In tough moments––the aftermath of a breakup, a friendship ending, losing a job––it's hard to have self awareness. It literally feels like the end of the world sometimes; hell, sometimes my phone runs out of battery and I feel like breaking down in tears. 18-year-old Tilly Murphy on the other hand, who records sparkling surf-rock as FRITZ, is enviably self-aware. Her latest single, the gloriously sunny-sad "Summer Holiday", is about "losing friends, a boyfriend, and inner confidence". But she's not too fazed: "It’s very over dramatic and naive though," Murphy says, "Considering I’m only 18 and basically singing about how being dumped by my first boyfriend was the worst thing that has ever happened to me, when really it wasn't."
The up-side? Murphy says "Summer Holiday" might be her favourite song she's ever written. It's got stiff competition; last year's FRITZ, which was written, recorded and produced entirely by Murphy when she was 17, is a beautifully composed entry into the canon of sad jangle songs that's been extended in recent years by bands like Alvvays and Best Coast.
Today, we're premiering the very Petra Collins-core video for "Summer Holiday", which was directed by Murphy and her friend Lazy Bones. Read our interview with Murphy, and watch the video, below.
Noisey: There are a lot of really interesting production choices on FRITZ like the rain noises or the kinda drone-y ambient intro track. How did you learn production? What’s your process when producing a song?
Tilly Murphy: I learnt from YouTube! I watched tutorials, researched, and bought the equipment I needed and started re-recording voice memos I had kept on my phone, turning them into actual songs. I always start with a guitar riff or chord progression when writing a song so I’d record them first and then add everything later. The vocal melody is in my head from the beginning too, but I start writing lyrics when the song is pretty well finished, so I’d record vocals last. As far as the experimental sounds that were in my first album, I think they came about just because I was so new to recording that I’m like “Wow, I can literally record anything, and layer it over the top of other recordings.” That album was just one big experiment for me.
I saw you at Sounds of the Suburbs last year and really enjoyed your Best Coast cover. What is it that you like about their music? How do you think it’s influenced you?
Thank you! I love Best Coast so much. I love how all their songs are so simple and catchy. There’s no ten minute guitar solos or anything crazy. It’s just really good surf and garage pop, [which is] my fave. They changed my mindset from being “Why do I only write songs with three chords and repetitive riffs, I must be a bad songwriter/guitarist” to understanding genre more than I used to. I like the way I write because I like the kind of music I write––which is ultimately similar sounding to Best Coast’s.
You’ve finished high school now; how do you think post-school life is impacting on your music?
I go to more gigs now and am much more involved in the music scene than I was in high school, though age was a big factor too. Every gig I watch inspires me and makes me want to play more and more shows. Knowing that I can fully dedicate my time to FRITZ now has has also impacted my imagination, I have a clearer mind and can attend to all of my musical ideas. I also have more time to listen to music I suppose. I’ve definitely listened to more music this year than I have any other year.
You made the video for “Summer Holiday” yourself. When you write a song, do you think about what visuals for it might look like?
I made it with a local photographer/good friend of mine Bronte Godden (professionally known as Lazy Bones). I do think of what the songs visuals would look like as I’m writing it. I think of how the song can be elevated with a video. Like the importance of music in film––vice versa is the same for me. I care about the appearance of FRITZ as much as my music. Like… I’m trying to make a brand here!
Why do you make music?
I make music because I love doing it, I love writing a song and then hearing it completed. Nothing better than that. Plus it gives me a sense of pride where I just want to show everyone! Like a little kid showing their mum a drawing they did in school. Except I want to show the world!
FRITZ 'SUMMER HOLIDAY' TOUR
WED 5 SEP | GYROstream Official BIGSOUND Party, BRISBANE
THU 6 SEP | Big Newy Sound, Official BIGSOUND party, BRISBANE
SAT 29 SEP | Yours & Owls Side Show, (ALL AGES)
SAT 29 & SUN 30 SEP | Yours & Owls Festival, WOLLONGONG
FRI 5 OCT | Bloodhound, BRISBANE
SAT 20 OCT | Molo Live, CANBERRA
FRI 26 OCT | Brighton Up, SYDNEY
SAT 27 OCT | Grace Darling, MELBOURNE
SUN 28 OCT | North Gong, WOLLONGONG
SAT 03 NOV | Against The Grain Festival, BRISBANE
Find Fritz on Instagram.
Shaad D'Souza is Noisey's Australia & New Zealand editor. Follow him on Twitter.