Tess recently had a chat with Rich Webb to talk about his new single / music video "Love Someone"
Tell me a little bit about how you first got into making and performing music.
Hi Tess, it seems like I’ve always done this. I played a bit of piano and then guitar as a kid. My mum was a fabulous singer and performed for most of her life, and my first show was when I was a nipper backing her on guitar at a chapel in a local village. I knew right then that performance was something I loved too. I was also heavily involved in the band side of the school youth theatre, performing some fantastic original tunes by a brilliant musician and teacher Bob Cuthbertson. That’s where I started to learn about playing in a band, and a lot more from Bob besides. It was a brilliant education in music and how to deliver it, and I’m forever grateful to Bob for all he shared with us. Bob is now a good friend and continues to make amazing music.
Was there a specific moment or person that made you realize that music is what you wanted to pursue professionally?
Probably all the above.
I’m always genuinely curious about what artists want to convey with their music. If you had to describe it without using genre names, how would you describe it?
I think music is about connection. It’s about shared feeling. It’s about realising you are not alone because other people in the world are as happy, sad, nervous, angry, ecstatic about the same things you are. That people have many of the same experiences as you do and that there is strength and positivity from sharing them. I think songwriting is also about creating something that is bigger than yourself. While you might use things from your experience to trigger a song, you’ve got to take it above that so it can connect with other people. It doesn’t need to mean the same thing either - it just needs to make some sort of connection. Music can also take you somewhere else you’ve never thought of or been before - and I love it for just that.
Going off of that, who are some of your musical influences?
Probably my folks. Dad had a great vinyl collection - Johnny Cash, Creedence, The Who, Charlie Rich, Sinatra, Dean Martin. Mum was playing Joan Baez, Cat Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Shirley Bassey, The Seekers. They both loved loads of classical, choral, and opera. There may have been the odd Perry Como or Andy Williams record in there too, but if you start from that kind of platform, you are already reaching for the top.
Let’s talk about your new single, Love Someone. First off, congratulations, we here at Silver Tiger Media know what it is reflecting on, but can you give us your story behind this song?
For sure. It came from thinking about the appalling treatment we have given for many years to asylum-seekers and refugees - people who have arrived here desperate, seeking our help. We treat them like criminals and lock them up in unlimited mandatory detention. It’s inhumane and shows a lack of compassion and humanity on our behalf. I don’t understand it. So I wanted to write a simple song that got right to the heart of the issue, which is about having love and empathy for someone else, regardless of who they are and where they are from.
I always love hearing about the songwriting process so I was wondering if you could give me a glimpse into what it was like specifically for ‘Love Someone’.
Nothing special, I’m sorry to say! I sat down with a guitar and started writing. I did demo the song a couple of times, which was a bit unusual, but other than that, it was pretty much the same as any other song I’ve written. I have learnt over the years though that you need to finish them, there and then, or they go into a pile of 10 million unfinished choruses!
The accompanying music video is interesting. Are you able to give us some insight into the making of that?
Matthew Lawes-Wickwar (who made the video) and I put the video’s storyline together around war, leads to refugees, who are scared and running away, forced to leave their homes and live in camps, leave by boat, endure shockingly tough conditions to get somewhere to safety, picked up by Australian border security and placed in detention where ultimately, the ‘big hand’ of Australia says, ‘no, you can’t come in, we can’t help you.’” I wanted to show the Government’s continued stance of: ‘If you come to this country by boat, you won’t get to stay’ for what it was - heartless. We filmed the singing and music sections of the video at home during lockdown, and then Matthew took the whole thing away, and came back with this beautifully drawn and appropriately stark animation. Big raps to Matthew for all of it.
Were there any major changes made to “Love Someone” once you got into the recording studio, whether it be in the lyrics or something sonically?
Not really in terms of the song. Sonically though, lots. The track was recorded, mixed, and produced with Rohan Sforcina at Head Gap in Melbourne, and he was crucial in getting it sounding as lush and intimate as it does. Special mention also goes to the wonderful Charlie Woods, who rocked up and laid down the beautiful trumpet in about as long as it took to play the track through a couple of times. I could hear trumpet in it but nothing quite as wonderful as that.
What are some music industry-related goals or benchmarks that you’re aiming to reach in your career the next couple of years?
As a start, to get back to where we were. I’m not pretending musicians were the only ones hit on any level, nor even close to the worst impacted, but the last couple of years have been tough for pretty much every person I know working in the music industry. If we can get back to where we were, I’d be happy. More than that? Even happier!
Thank you for chatting to us, and once again congratulations!