We had a really fun chat with Tamara from Melbourne trio Tamara & the Dreams to chat about their debut EP cracked phone screens.
Pinnies: So how cracked is your phone screen?
Tamara: That’s such a good question. I guess it’s a sign of how much I’ve matured and grown since the writing of the songs, ’cause my screen right now is actually perfect. It’s immaculate.
Pinnies: Oh wow, that’s a lot deeper than I was expecting from that question hahaha. I’m interested to know how you got into making music. Was there any moment in particular that really inspired you to start reguarly working on songs?
Tamara: Yeah, I’ve always loved writing songs. Like my whole life it just kind of happened. As a kid I would write stupid RnB songs based on what I heard on the radio. And then when I finished school, I dismissed trying to pursue music ’cause I thought you had to be like really good at it.
But then my friends started introducing me to indie bands who weren’t necessarily very good at their instruments or good at singing, but everyone loved them. And I was like, “oh, I could do that”.
Pinnies: How do you go about writing your songs?
Tamara: I like to say that the songs just like, vomit out of me. They just come when they come, and I can’t control it. I just think of little lyrics and write them down in my notes app, and then eventually the song will just be done.
Pinnies: I saw that St Kilda Beach was heavily inspired by Elvis, do you have a favorite track by him?
Tamara: Oh yeah, I love Don’t be Cruel. Are you into Elvis?
Pinnies: Yeah, I’m a big fan of Suspicious Minds which is pretty classic, but I reckon it’s a great song.
Tamara: I love Suspicious Minds. I think I’m more of a fan of the really early fifties stuff.
Pinnies: Nice. Were there any other artists that inspired the EP?
Tamara: I’m really inspired by Frankie Cosmos, I feel like there’s not many Australian bands that are doing it like her. Just like, really simple poetic song writing.
But for St. Kilda Beach, I was inspired by my friend, Gabriella Cohen, who’s another Aussie artist. And during the time between writing the song and releasing the song, I became really good friends with her, so that was nice.
Pinnies: Aw that’s really nice, yeah. So what’s the story behind internet song?
Tamara: So the story behind internet song is: I was writing songs for my band when we first started and I remembered a trip to Paris that I’d taken. And there was this funny, artsy, philosophical French guy that I met and we were like messaging after the trip, and I would always be like, “oh, have you written any songs?”, ’cause he was in a band and I thought that was so cool. And he sent me a voice memo of him singing some weird, broken English lines about the internet. So I ended up stealing one of the lines and that was what inspired internet song.
Pinnies: Which line was that?
Tamara: It was, “If you’re not online, do you even exist?”. But I feel like I got around the plagiarism by saying in the song line, “He said”. So it’s not like I’m trying to pass it off as my own lyrics.
Pinnies: What are the chances of him tracking you down and trying to get a piece of the royalties?
Tamara: Well I messaged him on the day the song came out and I was like, “listen to this”. But we hadn’t spoken in like three years. He’s a philosophy lecturer now.
Pinnies: What is the craziest thing that you can remember seeing on the internet?
Tamara: I’ve seen a lot of really fucked up things on the internet, but the craziest is probably seeing a bunch of people I know blow up on TikTok, and I’d always be like “ah, I don’t think I could, blah, blah blah”. But then yesterday I posted a clip of the video that I made St Kilda Beach, and it blew up. I checked my phone an hour later and there were thousands of notifications, and I was like, “wow, it actually happened”.
It’s not quite viral yet, we’re talking like 3000 likes, but yeah, there’s some hate comments, which is when you know you’ve made it.
Pinnies: Do you reckon TikTok could be a new promo venture for you?
Tamara: Totally, yeah. I feel really inspired by it right now hahaha. But I dunno, I think it’s fundamentally such a different platform to anything else and it rewards short attention spans and gimmicky things. So I don’t want to put all my trust in it.
Pinnies: Yeah, I feel like it suits your aesthetic pretty well though, so I reckon it could be pretty successful. And so, you’re playing a show in Castlemaine on Sunday. What can people expect from your shows?
Tamara: A lot of it is just me doing really ridiculous onstage banter, like me rehearsing for my eventual standup comedy debut.
Pinnies: That’s amazing, I’m 100% going next time you play in Sydney.
Tamara: We’ve actually never played in Sydney, so hopefully soon.
Check out the music video for St Kilda Beach below.