Suzi’s Punchy Sly Withers Collab ‘It’s Not A Competition’ Started With Drunk Fangirling

15 August 2023 | 2:42 am | Ellie Robinson
Originally Appeared In

She also can’t wait to see Bec Stevens at BIGSOUND 2023, as she told Kill Your Stereo in this exclusive interview.


Suzi (Nancie S)

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Suzannah Yaghmoor – better known to most simply as Suzi – is fast on track to being the queen of Australian emo. She cut her teeth behind a screen (first going viral on TikTok with the insta-classic Amelia) but over the past two years, the young Naarm/Melbourne-based artist has hit the road with vicious aplomb, making audiences all around the country swoon night in, night out.

Suzi’s loud and lively songs take cues from other Aussie favourites like The Hard Aches, Camp Cope and Luca Brasi, and thematically... Well, the titles kind of say it all – some of the standout tracks on her recent second EP, I Hope You Can Hear Me Now (which arrived independently back in February) are Everyone I’ve Met Hates Me, I’ve Been Letting Everybody Down and At Least My Dog Still Loves Me. This time-honoured combo of gut-punching poetry and soul-rousing music – spun through the web of Suzi and her bandmates’ luminous personalities – makes for a truly special live show. Just ask anyone that caught her at one of her four sets at BIGSOUND 2022.

It was there, in the loose-spirited labyrinth that is Fortitude Valley, that Suzi made fast friends with Boorloo/Perth powerhouse Sly Withers. A large chunk of the year that’s followed has been defined by that bond, which is funny when you think of how, if the Sly guys any other band, their meeting could’ve ended in total disaster. “I was introduced to Sam [Blitvich, vocals/guitar] by their manager Skinny,” she tells Kill Your Stereo, “and I was drunk out of my mind and couldn't stop going on about how much I loved their music. “I remember waking up the next day and thinking to myself, ‘Oh my God, Sly Withers will never want to work with me in any capacity, I’m so embarrassing.’ Funnily enough…”

Back in March of this year, Suzi embarked on her first national tour with Sly Withers (alongside fellow Melbourne stalwart Bec Stevens), an acoustic run that took in all the big touring hotspots. “Since then we’ve just been really great mates,” she says, “and it’s been really awesome to find out they’re as good as people as they are musicians.” Then came a largely sold-out headline tour in support of I Hope You Can Hear Me Now, plus a massive local spot opening for Mom Jeans and Microwave, and the top spot on Burnout Bookings’ birthday-honouring mini-festivals in Ngambri/Canberra, Guruk/Port Macquarie and Awakabal/Newcastle.

You’d think that by now, Suzi would be in desperate need of a nap. But alas, there simply is no stopping this guitar-wielding maniac. Just a few months ago, she reunited with Blitvich to record her scorching new single It’s Not A Competition, which landed on DSPs last Friday (August 11) – the same day she kicked off her second national tour with Sly Withers, this time co-headlined by the one and only Tigers Jaw. We tagged along to that first show, where Suzi crew a crowd that rivalled the size of Sly Withers’ own.

With gigs in Melbourne and Eora/Sydney down, the Sly-Gers Jaw/Suzi tour will continue this week with two shows each in Meanjin/Brisbane and Walyalup/Fremantle – one standard and the other acoustic – with a gig in Kaurna/Adelaide sandwiched between them (find tickets to all the remaining shows here). Then, Suzi will return to Fortitude Valley for her second year at BIGSOUND; who knows what her drunken antics will get her up to this time!

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In this exclusive interview with Suzi, we unpack the story behind It’s Not A Competition, get hyped right up for BIGSOUND 2023, and learn what she’s got coming up in the months to follow.

Goddamn sis, you really weren’t kidding when you said this was the pettiest chorus you’ve ever written! Can you spill the tea on the story behind it?

I’ve always found it really interesting that when a relationship ends, it feels like there is this unspoken rule to look like you’re doing better than the other person, whether that's by posting really hot Instagram pictures or going out heaps. I took a lot of inspiration for this song from that mentality and engulfed myself in the petty nature of it. I came up with the chorus and finished it off with my friend Nick Keogh [guitarist in Suzi’s band], who adds a great second perspective on the track!

So obviously you and the band are out on tour with Sly Withers – and Tigers Jaw, holy shit – but this is actually your second trek around the country with them in the span of six months. What were the standout memories from that acoustic run, and what are you most excited to get up to this time around?

The acoustic tour was maybe one of my favourite tours yet. It was really awesome to get to know Sam and Jono [Mata, co-frontman of Sly Withers] so well and hang out with Bec Stevens, one of my favourite people in the world. One of my favourite memories from that run was in Perth when we had a big group dinner before the show and I got to meet the rest of Sly Withers, who weren’t on the tour, and it was just wholesome family vibes. This time I’m really excited to bring the band along with me, they’re some of my best friends in the world and I can’t wait to travel with them. I’m also really excited to play the new song live with Sam, as God intended.

I’m not usually big on stereotypes, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you were definitely a Tigers Jaw fan growing up, right? How stoked are you to be touring with them?

I love Tigers Jaw. I’ve always been really into the American emo scene and obviously they are such a huge part of that. I’ve covered a bunch of their songs on TikTok in the past, and they were definitely on the list of dream supports. I’m pretty sure I cried when I got the offer.

After these shows, you’re heading back to Meanjin to play this year’s BIGSOUND – your second year in a row! What made you want to make the trek up there again?

We had such an awesome time at BIGSOUND last year and made so many connections with so many artists that I’ve looked up to for so long. It was also a great opportunity to start thinking about the industry and what roles I would like to fill. This year I’m going in strong with lots of meetings and lots of plans.

The lineup for this festival is so fucking insane. Who are you most excited to catch for yourself at BIGSOUND 2023?

Bec Stevens for sure, I admire her as an artist so much and her album Big Worry is on constant repeat in my brain. Also Smol Fish, who are a local Perth band I’ve recently discovered.

I wanna circle back to It’s Not A Competition for a sec, because of course, this is the first song of yours to follow the stunning EP I Hope You Can Hear Me Now. What’s this “era” been like for you thus far, touring the EP and celebrating it with your fans over the past six months?

It has been such an incredible six months! I was pretty nervous to put out the EP – I’d never felt more proud of anything and also so anxious about sharing it. The response from the crowds on the headline tour was the most heartwarming, encouraging thing in the entire word. People sang along to songs that I had written from such a personal place and that felt so surreal.

Does this new tune serve as our first preview of the next longform Suzi record, or is it just a one-off track to keep the hype train rolling on?

This is a small piece of something big to come!

I know you’re always writing up a storm and frequently linking up with Deano [Tellefson, producer] – I believe the word “album” has been said once or twice in recent months? What can you tell us about the new stuff you’re working on?

It’s always been a dream of mine to release an album, and with the way Deano and I manage to create songs so often and quickly I don’t think it’s too far off! We went away on a songwriting retreat at the start of the year and we made some really special tracks, so I’m excited to polish them all up and share them ASAP.

How do you want your next record to push yourself forward as an artist, or build on what you established creatively with I Hope You Can Hear Me Now?

I just want to continue to be authentic, genuine and connected to the music. It’s always been a outlet for me and it’s really easy to get lost in the industry of it all. I want to make something I’m really proud of.


Tuesday August 15 – Meanjin/Brisbane, The Brightside (SideFest)
Wednesday August 16 – Meanjin/Brisbane, The Brightside (SideFest, acoustic)
Friday August 18 – Kaurna/Adelaide, Lion Arts Factory
Saturday August 19 – Walyalup/Fremantle, Freo.Social (SideFest)
Sunday August 20 – Walyalup/Fremantle, Freo.Social (SideFest, acoustic)