Q&A with MANE ahead of WOMADelaide 2017

Words by Freya Langley

It's been a busy year for local songstress Paige Renee Court aka MANE. She's received widespread critical acclaim for her debut, independently released EP House of Horrors - a deeply emotive, collection of honest songwriting with a distinct blues influence. This, backed by a string of intimate, sold out shows across Australia and a US tour, places her among the likes of Tkay Maidza as one of Northern System's most successful alumni and a true Adelaide treasure. We caught up with the Adelaide indie-folk darling ahead of her appearance at WOMAdelaide this weekend.

Congratulations on your spot on the WOMADelaide line-up. What's it like to be playing such a huge festival on the Adelaide calendar?

It's super exciting, I've been wanting to play at WOMAdelaide for a while. I’m really stoked to be playing at it, especially amongst so many amazing artists.

Who else are you looking forward to catching at WOMAD?

I’m keen to see Montaigne, The Waifs, Fuel Fandango and DD Dumbo.

You recently played a string of sold out shows across Australia as well as a few dates in America, just after releasing your debut EP. How was that for you?

It was amazing. Just being able to play the new music I'd been working on under the MANE banner was really great and it was pretty awesome to have a great response to the shows we played. I’m very happy with how it went. The tour in the states was great and we had a really great response! I played at Piano in New York - which is an amazing venue and was one of my favourite shows over there. I also played a show in a warehouse which was really awesome. Playing in Nashville for the South Australian Showcase, which sold out beforehand, was amazing. It was really cool to play my music over there.

Tell us a little bit about your music. Where do you draw your inspiration?

Most of the inspiration from my new stuff is coming from personal experiences and those of the people close to me. I think it has a bit of a blues influence and a slight melancholy to it all. I mostly draw on the feelings and emotions involved with them with the personal experiences.

Your songs 'House of Horror' and 'Ashes to the River' are deeply personal and emotive songs. Tell us a little bit about their meaning?

I suppose 'House of Horror' is kind of about a bad relationship, falling into a pit of darkness and trying to get out of that. 'Ashes to the River' is about a family member, who was passing away. It was their last words, in a way, and I wrote it for them.

Is there an element of catharsis in such deeply personal songwriting for you?

Absolutely! Songwriting is so cathartic for me. It's almost like therapy in a sense - you get put everything out on the table in song form. It's definitely quite therapeutic at times.

How do your black turtleneck sweaters influence your music? Is it a superstition?

I wore a black turtleneck to a gig once, and since then I've never not worn one. It's become a safety blanket. I feel comfortable in it and I think it’s kind of shaped an alter-ego of myself now. I wear turtlenecks most of the time now, so maybe I’ve permanently become my alter-ego [laughs]. Who knows if it’s a superstition - maybe? I’m not willing to find out.

What can we expect from a MANE show?

Lots of the songs are quite sad, so we try to make it a bit fun. So you might be dancing around and all of a sudden realise the song is quite sad, but keep dancing anyway. We’re planning to play a lot of new stuff at WOMADelaide. I’m really excited - I think the live set has really come together and the band I play with have really been getting tighter and tighter.

What's on the cards for you in 2017?

Hopefully some new music very, very soon! We’ve been working on some new music and we’ve got some really exciting people on board with that. And we’ve got some more touring planned.

You can catch MANE at WOMAD on Saturday 11th March. Tickets and info here.