Songwriter Interviews

Gin Wigmore

by Carl Wiser

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This Gin has fizz. When her then-boyfriend suggested to Ms. Wigmore that another tattoo would dampen her beauty, she dumped him and finished her half-sleeve. That drive-fast-and-take-chances spirit comes through in her songs, and in their accompanying visuals, which often find her in some kind of peril.

We're a bit flummoxed as to why this strikingly original firebrand isn't a superstar outside of her native New Zealand, but her 2015 album Blood To Bone (to be released stateside August 28) could rectify that. Working with Alt-J producer Charlie Andrew, Wigmore drew inspiration from a tumultuous two-year span that included a breakup and a move from Sydney to Los Angeles. It's an inspired effort that includes the emboldened track "New Rush" and the urgent "Written in the Water," a song about a guy she knew was trouble.
Carl Wiser (Songfacts): What was the moment of clarity when you realized it was "written in the water" that it was time to leave this guy?

Gin Wigmore: When I starting making decisions from my heart, not my head.

Songfacts: You've said that much of Blood to Bone was "written from beats." Can you describe that process?

Gin: Well, I would often start with a drum rhythm or loop and sing whatever melody I felt worked over the top of that. I would record the rough melody ideas and then build all the other instrumentation around that. I then write the lyrics and the song would (for the most part) be pretty fleshed out.

Songfacts: How do you go about writing lyrics?

Gin: I begin by just riffing with whatever phonetically works and subconsciously comes to mind and works with the melody I want to have. From there I will go through and replace words to build the story or thought or feeling I am trying to get across lyrically.

Directed by Zachariah de Cairo, the video for "Written in the Water" finds Wigmore abducted by a shady sheriff and taken to a swamp to meet her doom.

That's not a stunt double getting tossed overboard: Wigmore had to take the plunge over and over, staying under water until a standby scuba diver made the save.

The Clyde to her Bonnie is played by her husband Jason Butler. They met in 2013 when she was playing the Warped Tour and Butler was performing with his band Letlive.
Songfacts: What are your thoughts on music videos?

Gin: I love them now. I used to hate them, but that's only because I didn't understand how I could enjoy them. I now see music videos as another creative avenue to make short films to visually accompany the music, which in turn can be very powerful.

Being such a lover of film, it feels like I get to dabble in that world when making music videos, which is awesome.

Songfacts: Your songs are very personal. Can you describe how it feels to write one that expresses something important to you?

Gin: It feels like the weight in my world gets lifted. It truly feels as though nothing is weighing on me, the problems are all solved and my mind, heart and soul all fall into alignment and are at peace for a moment.

Obviously that quickly fades as life presents more issues that come to a head, but for that moment when that song has just been written and expressed with total vulnerability and openness, well, that moment is a beautifully exhausted bliss.

Great Moments in Gin Wigmore History


2004 - At 18, becomes youngest-ever winner of the International Songwriting Competition.

2009 - Debut album Holy Smoke, backed by Ryan Adams' band The Cardinals, is released.

2011 - Releases Gravel & Wine, tours America with Phillip Phillips.

2012 - Sings "Man Like That" in a Heineken commercial starring Daniel Craig connected to the film Skyfall.

2014 - Marries Jason Butler of Letlive in Hawaii the day after he proposes.
Songfacts: Your latest videos find you in a bit of peril, but being rescued in the end. How did those concepts come about?

Gin: I think up all the concepts for how I want to have my songs visually portrayed. And then with the help of brilliant directors like Zachariah de Cairo, we work together in making it all become a reality... well sort of ;)

I love the intensity of extreme conditions and I want the viewer to be moved and feel present when watching my music videos. I guess this is why I choose to make quite perilous and dramatic visual music videos.

Songfacts: What is the song "New Rush" about?

Gin: It's about stepping into this new chapter of my life. Late twenties is an interesting time of life. Very confronting to say the least! It's kind of your "do or die" moment, and "New Rush" symbolizes that confrontation with my own life and where I want to take it.

Songfacts: Water is an important theme in the visuals for this album as well as the title track. What does the water represent to you?

Gin: Water to me symbolizes a rebirth of sorts and the idea that it can wash away all the bullshit. It is transparent in nature and nothing can be hidden.

Blood To Bone is about seeing everything for what it really is. Therefore water seemed to be the perfect property to visually accompany this album.

Songfacts: What song on Blood to Bone do you most connect with, and why?

Gin: It changes daily depending on how I feel about things. But the most consistent in terms of its resonance with me is a song called, "I Will Love You." It is a song relating to my most current state of mind which is for the most part a place of pure contentment and love. I am not very familiar with this frame of mind, but I assure you that it's a welcome feeling and something I hope to have stick around a while.

Songfacts: Were you always the non-conformist you sing about in "Black Sheep"?

Gin: Ha, my mum can probably answer that question best. I can say that I have always been very independent and staunch in my life choices and decisions, even to my own detriment at times! But, at least I can only have myself to blame if it doesn't pan out the way I want, right?!

Songfacts: What inspired the song "Black Parade"?

Gin: I wanted to write about how it feels to never measure up to the expectation that the people you love have for you.

Songfacts: How has your transition into married life affected your songwriting?

Gin: I am now able to write from a deeper emotional state because I know that I have my beautiful husband to crawl back into the arms of after I have ventured down that dark rabbit hole.

July 15, 2015. Get tour dates and more info at ginwigmore.com.
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