Pre-gig interview: Anna Coddington

Anna Coddington


Anna Coddington will be taking the stage this Saturday at the Lake Wanaka Wine and Food Fest on Pembroke Park as part of Willowridge Wanakafest. Anna has performed with Fly My Pretties and Eru Dangerspiel and released her second solo album, Cat & Bird, last year. MAEGAN JOHNSEN caught up with Anna for a pre-gig chat to find out more about her work and what keeps bringing her back to Wanaka.


You’ve played in Wanaka quite a bit!

AC: I just love Wanaka. It’s one of my favourite places in the world. It’s always a lovely place to visit for the nature and I love swimming in the lake!

The main thing that keeps me coming back though, as a performer, is the audience. I find them to always be so supportive and really responsive. I’ve never had a bad gig in Wanaka, it’s always been a great crowd, they seem to really enjoy the music and have a great time.

So in lead up to your performance at the Lake Wanaka Wine and Food Fest, can you tell us a little bit about what to expect from your show?

AC: I’ll be playing some songs off my last two albums, and a new cover song that I’ve been working on that no one down there would have heard before. I’m pretty much writing full-time now for my new album, so I will play some of the new songs and then we will see what else happens.

It sounds like you are working hard on your new album. Can you tell me about your songwriting process?

AC: That’s a very interesting question with a very long-winded answer.

Traditionally, for the last two records, I have written all the songs by sitting down with a guitar. That’s all changed in the last year or so. I still do that, obviously, but I’ve recently started using a music recording program called ‘Ableton’ that’s really user friendly and great for making beats.

I was in Europe earlier this year working with a producer in London who really flipped everything on its head for me. I’ve always written with voice and guitar and then filled everything else in, but with him we started with the drums and then just threw a bunch of chords at it.

It’s a very different to how I usually work so I have been trying out all kinds of different mixes. I’ve also done a couple of co-writes with some New Zealand artists recently. Just working with other people is really valuable, I think. I’m experimenting with all kinds of things at the moment and it’s going really well.

How will your new album differ from your previous records? Can we expect a different sound from you this time around?

AC: I can tell you that it’s not nearly finished. I am just writing for the moment. This one is going to be different from The Lake and Cat and Bird.

The way I’m writing is different, and the music I am listening to is also quite different. On my last two albums the songs were all live. This album might have some programming in it. Look for a few more beats and some up-tempo songs. I want it to be really effective, to have more of a groove to it and to move people to dance.

You were recently in Europe and played at the Homelanz festival in the UK. How do you find coming home and playing to a New Zealand crowd?

AC: I haven’t really done much over there, so I don’t have the same fan base there as I do in New Zealand. I’ve put a lot of time and work in here to build up my material and people know the songs. Over in the UK or Europe I’m not at that stage yet, it’s more jamming around where I can. I met some people who had come over from Germany to hear me play and that was like, Wow!

Before you come to play for us in Wanaka you have a show in Nelson with Don McGlashan and Julia Deans. You must take heaps away from working with such experienced artists like Don?

AC: I take a lot away from all collaborations that I do, and someone like Don just has that experience. He knows how to hold a crowd’s attention in every aspect. Even in the way he can simply sit there and not say anything, he’s better at that than I am. I think everyone has different strengths. Don’s very relaxed and comfortable on stage. I work with people who are amazing musicians and I always just try and take what I can from the experiences I have.

What advice can you give to emerging artists looking to make music into a profession verses a hobby?

AC: I think people should put the music first. They should play music because they really love playing music, not for any other reason. Not to get famous or be on the radio or whatever.

The other thing that I wish I had been told, I probably was but I was too stubborn to listen, is that if you want to take it seriously, then do that. Practice and put all your time into it. I’m doing that now and I feel like I should have started doing that from the get go. Try and perfect things, give it all you’ve got, don’t do things by halves.




Listen: Anna Coddington, Little Islands

Follow: @AnnaCoddington




Comments are closed