Canadian electro-pop artist and queer-icon, Austra, has announced the release of her new album, HiRUDiN which is set to soothe isolation-riddled eardrums by May 1.
The operatic Toronto songwriter has also released the first single off her new album ‘Anywayz‘ which is an authentic fit for the records new ethos of warmth, healing and catharsis.
Speaking to Star Observer from Toronto while holed up at home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the globe, Austra hinted that she’s taking to opportunity to start working on new and ‘aggressive’ sound.
“It’s been good and bad. I have my studio and my workspace, so I’m just pretending everything’s normal, but there’s definitely a new sound that’s forming” she said.
Austra wrote her latest album in a studio in the Spanish countryside and took a collage approach to sampling, writing and producing to reveal the songs that would form the collection.
After overcoming feelings of stagnation and demotivation, Austra decided to create HiRUDiN as a homage to the removal of toxicity, as well as provide a sound that she believes screams ‘liberation’ and ‘purification’.
“The record is roughly about toxic relationships. When I set up to make the record, I had recently parted ways with a lot of people in my life in both personal and creative relationships,” she said.
“I was spending a lot of time just thinking about that, and I just felt like I was in those relationships for too long, which were holding me back.
“Parting ways is extremely difficult to do, but it’s extremely liberating once you do it. It’s sort of like entering a very unknown year but feeling quite liberated by it.”
Named after the peptide released by leeches that is the most powerful anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN is devoted to the notion of self-care and healing, as well as letting go of the relationships in life which only cause you pain.
When asked about the innovations of her album, Austra said that she had created a much more natural element to her new music, but used the uniqueness of her singing style to keep her signature ‘Austra flare’
“I definitely knew that I wanted the record to sound warmer than the others by using real instruments,” she said.
“My voice stays the same, though. People aren’t really used to hearing voices like mine, it’s like opera. Some people just hate opera, but some people think its beautiful – so that’s who I’m singing for.”
Austra is an openly gay artist and proudly labels herself as a ‘gay band,’ by using her sexuality as an independent medium to make her music more personal for the average queer-listener.
Austra believes that this unashamed uniqueness, as well as her out-n’-proud attitude towards her sexuality, are some of the significant linchpins behind why she’s developed such a global cult following.
“When I first started out, I was very adamant that everybody knew I was gay because I wanted the gays to like my music and I wanted the gays to come to my shows,” she said.
“As a young queer person living in Toronto if I found a band that I was interested in, and I knew they were queer than I would become an instant fan.
“So I figured ‘if I’m super vocal and public about being gay, then all of the gays will come to my shows’ and that makes my shows more fun – because gays are just better at having fun.
“Then there’s this other side In gay man world where they love the female vocalist and the diva. Gay men love a lead woman vocalist, and I’m no Cher, but I think I definitely fit into it.”
While she may not be Cher just yet, HiRUDiN is definitely a lockdown album to rival them all! So keep your eyes peeled, your fingers crossed and your dresses flowing for May 1 – after all, you’ve got nothing better to do!