“What am I doing with my life?”
That’s the question a lot of us – millennials, mostly – have asked and still find asking ourselves almost daily. It’s the same question that Melbourne singer-songwriter Ainslie Wills has been asking herself, and which has become the inspiration for her latest single, Society.
“I want this song to be a talking point for people who feel restricted by the pressure that society places on us to fit into a conventional way of living and existing,” said Wills. “I know I feel that pressure constantly.”
Mixed by Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), the song – which has been described as a “delicate, personal prayer” – features Wills’ strong vocals and deep character. And with the music video directed by Ben McNamara, her fearless songwriting and raw talent are highlighted even further.
Society will feature on Wills’ highly-anticipated second LP, All You Have is All You Need, available early 2019.
It follows her APRA ‘Song of the Year’ nominated Running Second, an appearance on #1 Dads So Soldier, her 2015 genre-bending Oh The Gold EP, and the Australian Music Prize nominated album You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine in 2013.
We recently caught up with Wills to find out more about her latest work.
How did you get started as a singer-songwriter?
“I wanted to start writing my very own songs after my brother played me Jeff Buckley’s Grace album when I was around 12. From there it was about trying to learn the craft by digesting as much as I could from the music around me.
“I then studied music performance for 5 years and upon completing that, began writing my first EP. The first track off that EP was Unearthed by triple j and I got to support Missy Higgins on her On A Clear Night Melbourne show.”
How would you describe your music?
“I would say it’s a reflection of all of the music I listen to which is soo very broad, I think that can sometimes alienate people but I love being able to create from a broad palette. I suppose you could say it’s emotional, melodic, sometimes ambiguous, and sometimes fairly direct, pop music.”
What was your creative process like when you were making Society?
“Society was very much a collaborative effort. I was lucky enough to write Society with Mozella and Bram Inscore as part of the APRA Song Hubs sessions, where a whole bunch of writers from around the world get in a room and try to leave with something audible in a song form.
“The lyrical elements were inspired by the reflection I was going through at the time about where my life was heading and how I felt that there was so much pressure, on women especially, to follow a particular life trajectory.”
Where did you turn to for inspiration for your second LP, All You Have is All You Need?
“The inspiration behind the album is about finding a sense of emancipation through embracing who you are and what you have to offer in the world, or as my home yoga practice teacher Adrienne Mishler puts it, it’s a ‘letting go of things that no longer serve you’.
“The way in which this is reflected in the music is that I’m no longer concerned about having the music fitting into a particular genre, it’s diverse and I’m ok with that now, once upon a time, I felt I was trying so hard to fit the square in the circle so to speak.
“The themes that recur in the album include career, womanhood, independence, and relationships.”
What should fans expect from you for the rest of the year and also 2019?
“More music on its way! A UK/EU tour including a spot at Reeperbahn Festival in Germany and Paradiso in Amsterdam as well as some special shows here in Aus.”
I feel, especially nowadays, we all cram so much shit into our lives, that we have zero time to breathe and reflect. Society was written when I did have some time to reflect. Where was my life heading? Why wasn't I hitting any of life's milestones like so many people around me were? Society looks at the ways in which we can feel the pressure to conform to a 'conventional' way of being. It’s a reminder that the actualities of life are a lot more beautifully complex than we are sometimes led to believe they should be. Society is out now worldwide (link in bio). Lots of love to the people who helped put this together! @apraamcos, @mozellamusic, #BramInscore, #ChrisWalla, @lachlanjc, @lawfol, @sonyatvmusicpub, @awal, @god1649, @thisisbenemac, @positivefdbk and last but not least the incredible @charlotteabroms for all your hard work in getting this thing off the ground! x