Read Sarah Mary Chadwick’s emails with Adam Curley

On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 5:41 PM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

Bro πŸ™‚

What do you think of marriage?


On 17 Mar 2015, at 8:38 pm, Adam Curley wrote:

Hi Chads,

This is your first question?! OK, well, I feel fairly ambivalent about marriage, but it’s all political and I don’t believe anyone can ‘opt out’ of an institution as big as marriage, so I’d have to say I’m anti-marriage. I just think marriage is eternally embedded in the patriarchy and feel there must be better ways to live out our relationships – and I’m pretty insecure so the idea that I would reject someone’s desire to lock down their interest in me is a difficult one to own. On another level, I find the amount of money funneled into lobbying for gay marriage a bit disturbing when there are so many more urgent problems for queer people. But, really, as an idea marriage feels quite separate from how I view the world. It feels like something that pulls us apart rather than brings us together. Hey, you know in the song ‘Ask Walt’ on your new album, you sing about how you’re just one blade of grass amongst many but how that description doesn’t do justice to the human experience. I was wondering if that’s a reference to that Walt Whitman poem that starts: β€œA child said, What is the grass?.” In the poem, Whitman’s first answer to the child is, “I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven,” which I think is a really relevant sentiment to your whole record. Maybe it also ties into your view of relationships, or even marriage, whatever that is?


On Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 7:34 PM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

Hey curls,

Yup it is a reference to leaves of grass. I just re read parts of it in a weird hotel in New Zealand and bawled my eyes out. I really do feel like that sentiment is in the album too, for example when Walt says ‘and that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and brothers’ I realised after, that my vibe kind of mirrors that, eg lyrics in ‘lying down’, ‘and every human here is a prism dark and clear, first glass, then dust’. HA. I’m likening myself to walt Whitman. We’re all blades of grass.
It’s the, real complicated but simple, cold as a blast of winter air but as many sides as a shattered window aspect of that poem that (obviously) appeals to me. It’s something I’ve consciously admired and wanted to touch throughout my life, and am perhaps slightly more able to articulate now. If you think that came through in the album, then that would make me happy.

Yeah it does tie into relationships/ marriage ( as a conventional symptom of relationships) / life. It’s so hard and pointless to have an opinion. It’s too selfish and egotistical, and embarrassing, like puffing out your chest. It’s too quicksand and irresponsible. I wanna be unique but not with a capital U. I wanna be a tiny member of the world. I wanna be a bit of sand that skids around the bottom of a bucket, and I want the world to bow when I’m thrown back into the ocean. I’m drunk.
Curls do you feel like that at all? It’s a kind of powerful displacement or something. Which of your creative outlets, if any, do you feel makes u feel further away from feeling like shit?


On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 11:05 AM, Adam Curley wrote:

I don’t think I knew you were so into Whitman. You sound like you’re in a good touring headspace, and probably a really good performing headspace if you’re feeling like a bit of dust in the universe. I really think that’s the best state of mind for making anything, and in that sense I probably find writing and singing variously useful for not feeling like shit. It isn’t the form, it’s just whatever fulfills the need at the time (and sometimes that’s doing nothing at all). But writing and singing are different for me: I’ve been writing forever and it feels a bit more like pulling something truthful out of myself, whereas singing – or at least performing – is more about using myself to create something that is effective in the space I’m in, something along those lines. I think it’s why I cut my hair short and why I wear plain clothes at shows: I’m a bit militant about my place in the band/music. But we’re also in the middle of mixing the album and I have the mixing blues so everything about the band feels like it’s getting away from me this week. I also always have a crash at the end of any creative project – I’m in my boyfriend’s apartment escaping my life at the moment. But you have a theory about creative outlets, about having one you love and one you’re not so good at, right?


On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 9:41 AM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

ha do i? what number wine was this on? i guess i think that its good to have a few, that way one doesnt get too pillaged. i think we were speaking about things like…i find art easy because its always been recreational, music has had extra weight on it at different times in my life. nowadays i feel more removed from ‘industry’ and the ambitious side of music, so its been able to devolve back to being like art, cathartic enjoyable and personal. i dont have productive reactions to having instructions or what i perceive as being inescapable directions imposed on me – i guess thats why i was talking about marriage before for example, and even with the gay marriage thing. i dont like feeling like words are being put in my mouth, as as someone who is currently and who has been in same sex relationships before, it feels like im being herded into thinking what people want me to think. i feel the same about complusory voting, but not wanting to sound like russel brand, probably better i dont start down that slippery slope πŸ˜‰

i think its the whitman thing, the world is too diverse and inexplicable to be divided and binary. even with feminism, as i obviously care a lot about women being (anyone being) treated badly, but its like…i wish people would stop trying to decide for me what my beliefs look like. i was brought up catholic, i know what dogma looks like! maybe its the catholic thing, im very tired of the hangover of catholic guilt that impacts my thoughts day to day, of feeling like im a bad person and struggling to nail down the reality that im actually ok. and thats whitman i guess – its all ok and not ok.

its the INTERNET i spose. opinions opinions opinions. how boring, especially when people find it impossible to separate the personal from the political, and dont know the difference between empathy and sympathy. i dont feel like i do either, btw.

escaping life at ur bfs house sounds nice…do you rifle through his stuff? πŸ˜›


On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 12:09 PM, Adam Curley wrote:

You know, I don’t actually. I always feel like an intruder in other people’s spaces, even lovers – or maybe not an intruder but slightly out of place, or an observer, or all those things. I’ve always put it down to being the youngest of four kids; as the youngest you get dragged around constantly and so you’re always in these spaces without any agency and your experiences are as an outsider/observer and are only your own. I turned a bit of a corner recently where something happened in the relationship and I woke up one morning and looked around his bedroom and saw his things as belonging to a person who was also just trying to make something in the world, and so I feel less at odds with his stuff now. I really relate to the lines in your song ‘I’m Like An Apple With No Skin’ where you sing, “Because this apple has no skin, sometimes I’ve gotta rein that in.” I’m sure my interpretation is different to your intention, but I feel as though I’m constantly controlling an urge to let people and experiences envelope me and to respond with unfiltered emotion. Because I don’t think that urge is fair on anyone. I guess it relates to the idea of ‘powerful displacement’. You can be a grain of sand but you need to understand that everyone else is a grain of fucking sand as well; you are as responsible for them as they are for you. I want to try to tie this into the way you view your art and music in the marketplace. I guess you’re often positioned as an ‘outsider’ artist, and Batrider was too, but I think we agree that a ‘me versus them’ position isn’t very relevant to now or maybe just not very mature and not very feminist (and yes, I also agree that Facebook and the internet at large aren’t conducive to empathetic discussions of any of the things you’ve mentioned above, particularly if you think a position of uncertainty is a legit one to take – and I do). BUT Aquarius Gemini (great title, btw) is being released on a label and I think artists should be given credit for and held accountable for how their art enters the world. You made something, you’re putting it out for others to touch and taste, and just as I have to understand myself inside my boyfriend’s apartment, maybe every artist should understand themselves inside the traditions and institutions they inhabit. I guess what I’m asking is what you want to achieve for yourself or with your work, and also what your personal experience with that has been outside of a band environment, as a solo artist. I hope that makes sense. Also, how’s life on the road today? Oh and hey, I totally get the Catholic thing. I was raised Catholic too and I still constantly punish myself for nothing; it’s hard to escape. Catholics aren’t the only ones though. Also I realise you might not have defined thoughts on the above so feel free to respond as you wish.


On Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 7:49 AM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply curls! Been in a strange way, family/loneliness roller coaster that is still going on!! Also I haven’t had a laptop so I’m getting RSI from typing on my phone. But anyway πŸ™‚

Where do I see my music in the marketplace, was that the main question? I don’t, really, I spose is the answer to that. I don’t have any major problems with the music ‘industry’, any more so then I do with any industry, but I’m not surprised nor offended that this far this hasn’t included me really. To start with I’m not particularly prepared to interact with people on a less thn personal basis. Secondly I do feel like what I do has merit, merit which is not necessarily currency. Also I am so used to operating autonomously I have no idea how more involvement from outside forces would influence me- probably negatively I would imagine. In saying that, it would be nice to not have to balance work and life. But then it’s nice that I have avoided music becoming work… If I was starving and dying because of lack of money I might feel differently. But I have always found it easy to find work (albeit mostly shit work – cleaner, call centre, cafe) so that’s ok. I don’t mind working. I mean, I don’t mind it any more than I kind anything else. I’m no longer one of those people who feels like it’s a personal affront to them to have to use their soft guitar playing hands to wash dishes or whatever. I guess in a depressing way I fee like it’s all the same pot of shit- cleaning for someone else, cooking for someone else, writing music with other people’s pressures and impetus. Presently I have no motivation apart from my own. And that feels pretty good.

In terms of feminism…I think that potentially as a woman I am hindered, if only in that people have hard scary lives and most are less likely to gravitate to something that is unfamiliar or odd to them. A loud woman yelling into a mic about her feelings in a downer way is not necessarily par for the course. But I don’t really fee offended by that, I don’t think it’s good or particularly endearing about people, but I get it. It’s like voting, I get how people vote for people who don’t have their best interests at heart, it’s cause they’re fucking deeply scared and people with money cash in on that fear. But that doesn’t make me angry at the people. That makes me fucking angry at money. If money was distributed more evenly then there would be no agency for people to create environments where they make more cash out of hot women rubbing their oiled up butts together, and gormless men embodying non existent stereotypes of rockstar womanisers, that whole embarrassing ‘Llewyn Davis’ thing. Fuck that movie. I imagine men , conciously or not, find that stereotype as weird as I do.

NZ has been so weird and hard! A lot of driving, devastating family time.

Ha what a boring rant. What do you think curls? I avoid opinions cause like we spoke about before, mine are poorly researched and 100% about ‘the vibe’. Do you feel my ‘vibe’?


On Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 7:14 PM, Adam Curley wrote:

Hey, I’m really sorry you’re having a strange time over there. Come home! I can’t imagine the combo of touring and family time is an easy one – I know it wouldn’t be healthy for me. I’m so happy someone else hated that Llewyn Davis movie though. I just had no idea what it could have been trying to say aside from “male musicians can be hapless arseholes and still be sympathetic characters because they really care about authenticity, man”. That’s a really clear and also generous response to my questions, too. I think I’m angrier with people than you are. And I hope I’m not making you repeat yourself, but I think it’s an interesting topic, particularly now that anyone who makes music or art or writes is taught to view themself as a small business. The responsibility has been transferred to the people with less power (i.e. less money) and so we’re told we have to push our work out there and find an audience and build a ‘brand’ and it’s important and nice to note that you can step outside that a bit, or entirely even. I wonder if it does have to do with being a solo artist as opposed to working inside a band, because I relate so much to that with my writing (I realise there’s essentially no market to speak of for me, so I say no to almost everything and am happy to quietly work away at my own pace) but with the band I feel more responsibility to push things because I see how hard the other guys work and want to see that rewarded. But we make decisions as a band too and the truth is that we haven’t done anything that hasn’t involved people we know and like. I don’t know, maybe you just get to a point where you’ve overcome the initial hurdle of getting anyone at all to pay attention to your work and that makes it easier to work to your own schedule and your own values…? Maybe this is a good chance to get you to talk about the artwork for the album, which is one of your pornographic watercolours. I think the protective side of me wants to get in before anyone writes about it as a juxtaposition to the music or as a grab for attention because (and correct me if I’m wrong) I feel like it’s more about something that on the surface is brash but is inherently natural too. Or embarrassing but honest and about human nature… Yes/no?


On 31 Mar 2015, at 8:05 pm, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

heya curls πŸ™‚

the album artwork issss….ok. i feel like its not a juxtaposition to the music cause i feel like it comes from exactly the same place. its the same weird enjoyment bummed out turned on kinda disgusted very embarassed bit sexy and confident open mouth crying eyes getting fucked and taking advantage of vibe that i feel day to day and that i think the album has. i think its almost exactly the same.

i like the confusingness of pornography and i like things that are awful and sexy. i like how the woman in that image is powerful and powerless at the same time.


On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 8:31 PM, Adam Curley wrote:

Because that’s how life feels, right? Hey, congratulations, your album is out now! It’s kind of cool that it has come out while we’ve been doing this. And now you’re back in Melbourne. What a time… (Meanwhile I’ve been nowhere but the album is mixed and I feel excited about it again.) How do you feel about the response so far?


On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:20 PM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:


i feel pretty happy aye, its been nice that a lot of the feedback has been centered around lyrics and content and also that people have noticed how awesome geoffs production is. people in nz who have known my music for a while were so into it, which made me feel good about time and life.

haha youre all done?? thats awesome and good that you feel positive again!! i cant wait to hear it. theres always a hangover from recording i think, its a hearty helping of yourself for anyone and can kinda make you feel like purging and never hearin your own music again.

i feel like i mis represented my nz trip a little, cause the last four days were great. such nice and suportive and small andoverwhelming nz times, old friends and great people.
tell you what though, tasks are hard πŸ˜‰

when do you think your album will come out? do you have any idea how people will interpret it? do you care?

ps how you feeling abut shooting this video tomorrow??


On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:47 PM, Adam Curley wrote:

It’s a pretty magical pairing, you and Geoff. I’m so in awe of it and it’s a real privilege to know you both and know how ‘about the work’ you both are, without any bullshit. It’s really a great source of motivation. And it is really great that people have just gone there with you – you don’t need to hand out any ‘time police’ fines. I think I want to join your time cop task force, meanwhile; I know a few people who deserve fines. It’s a worthy cause. Yeah, the album is done. Hopefully the record will be out later this year. I honestly have no idea what people will make of it. We’ve really had nothing but positive responses so far, but it’s early days for us and I think we’re all willing to ride with whatever happens. I’m watching this Xavier Dolan film and feeling a bit sincere right now so I’m just thankful anyway gave me a microphone and that I haven’t been laughed off any stages. I’m also moving into a writing headspace but yeah, I had to have a little breakdown first, ha. It’s all going to be ok and not ok, right? I’m excited about doing your video. I have no idea what is happening (apparently I’m wearing clothes now?) but I’ll take any chance to be a small part of your album. Maybe you can wrap this conversation up. Anything you want to add?


On Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:01 PM, Sarah Chadwick wrote:

ha you’re only wearing undies my friend!! probably with my head in your crotch. kudos to me! luckiest woman alive πŸ˜‰
i feel the same about you adam, feel lucky and relieved to know you. talking is the goooood stufff and its so nice to chat to you, always. aww breakdowns are the worst until two years later when youre like, cool i did heaps of shit on that breakdown-petrol!

yeah lets wrap it up. wanna have a little peruse and see what we can salvage? i feel like i trust your eyes a LOT more than mine (NB: just had to google the spelling of ‘peruse’).

so much love pal, enjoy your moofie, and see you tomorrow night! i’ll message you in the day about where/when to pick u up.

ps youre absolutely already a time cop.


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