SD: As much as I love being a bass player and touring and recording, with writing you get to be so much more involved creatively and you get shape something sonically and emotionally. I joined a band when I was 19 and we were all involved in that as writers, but that was very much the five of us in a room jamming with songs being written that way. I got myself a little computer writing setup eight or nine years ago and started messing around with that. I had been working with a bunch of ideas, practicing writing. A long-time friend of mine, Sia, an Australian singer-songwriter, had just signed a deal with Parlophone [Records] in the U.K. and was working on what would become the Colour the Small One album. She was like “Oh, I’m going to write some songs.” and I played her a couple ideas and said “Amazing, let’s do some writing.” That led to us to working really intimately. In 11 days, we wrote 13 songs and about half of them ended up on the record. That was how I kind of accidentally fell into it. Our relationship clicks very naturally and it was a really easy, enjoyable process. A lot of times in writing sessions, you might meet someone and it’s the first time you’ve ever met them and you’re expected to write a song over a day or two days. You don’t even know if you’re going to connect personality-wise, let along come up with a song.
SD: I was into skate punk bands like DRI, Dead Kennedys, and stuff that my parents detested [laughs]. At the same time, there were a couple of radio shows in Adelaide, [the Australian city] I’m from, that would play early 80s funk and disco-funk and that kind of got me interested in bass as well and how prominent the bass was in that. That led to discovering James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and on the flip side of that Miles Davis and the jazz side of stuff. That stuff I still listen to now. The skate punk stuff, not so much.
SD: My publisher said “We gotta get you working with some men” [laughs].
SD: Not at all. A lot of the time people will base whether they want to work with you or not based on what you’ve done in the past. Sia’s music is such soulful music and she’s female, so I think if other artists are doing similar sort of things they want to do similar heartfelt music. Also Sia and I have worked together a lot so maybe it’s being with other female artists. That’s the other thing, you can’t really plan what your next gig is. Everything’s a surprise. I guess you can plant seeds subconsciously.
SD: I got a call November last year, looking to put a band together with the touring and promotion of her new album. They initially reached out to Tim Van Der Kuil, the guitarist who worked with myself and Sia’s live band, and he recommended me for a bass player. Afterwards, I found out Adele had been to Sia’s shows so we kind of met, but not really knowing it.
SD: She’s incredibly honest and herself at all times, which is amazing and refreshing especially for someone at her level. She’s not a diva.
SD: Amazing. Absolutely amazing. She never doesn’t sing at 100 per cent. Even at 6 a.m. at a radio station promo she still sounds at the absolute top of her game. A lot of singers will reserve themselves or make sure they don’t go full on and that’s why we don’t do promo when we’re touring because she needs to rest her voice for shows. For camera rehearsals, she’ll sing those six or seven times at her absolute peak because she can’t hold back. It’s incredible.
SD: “Rolling In The Deep” and “Rumour Has It” because of the energy of those two songs. The ballads are amazing as well, especially “Don’t You Remember.”
SD: Definitely. All her songs are from experience and about personal relationships. This one song, “My Same,” she’s only started doing again recently because it was about a best friend of hers and they had a falling out so she didn’t play that song live for a couple of years. But they’ve since reconciled and now the song’s back in the set. There are some nights where she can be really affected by the song she’s singing. It takes her away to the place where she was where she wrote the song originally and you can hear that when you’re playing. The band, we’re sympathetic to that.
SD: What’s amazing about this tour is — and [Toronto] is an exception, [the Air Canada Centre] is the biggest room we’ve played as a part of this tour — most of the shows we’ve been doing have been 800 to 1200 seaters in very intimate, small theatres. For her to be at the level she’s at now and the scale of things, I can’t see her playing rooms this size ever again. The energy in the room, the excitement around her and where she’s at now as an artist . . . to be in rooms this size is amazing. It’s like this crazy focus and it feels like you’re in a much bigger room. You’re playing to 800 people and they’re as loud as 10,000.