We sat down with Sarah Mary Chadwick to dive into her powerful new project Please Daddy, a woozy and sludgy collection of emotive tracks that peel off the layers to reveal the grit and grime that exists in every human shell.

Please Daddy, by Sarah Mary Chadwick, which comes out on the 24th of January, is a hard days work. Going through the tracks to reach the end is much like running through the mazes of a mind in anguish. Sometimes you hit a dead end, and other times you see the lights of hope through the hedges, but ultimately, the experience is a tour of the hellish ways hurt can come to play in our lives.

The album is, without any hint of exaggeration, a wretched exploration of a mind working against itself, begging for a taste of light in the overwhelming darkness.

Singer and songwriter Sarah Mary Chadwick has such a way with words that at times, it feels like you’re intruding into the personal diaries of her life. But here, there is no such thing as intrusion. In fact, you’re invited along for the ride. Melancholy will come to find you, death will offer its hand in slow seduction, but ultimately, you’re not alone for the ride.

I interviewed Sarah Mary Chadwick after multiple visits with the incredible work that is Please Daddy, and the end result was solace after a dark and tumultuous time. Clarity in the pits of uncertainty. Her latest album is an impeccably rewarding listen, but it isn’t for the faint of hearts. Here’s what she had to say when we spoke about her upcoming project.

Listen to ‘Please Daddy’ below.

Interview with Sarah Mary Chadwick

So, your album, Please Daddy, is coming out the 24th of January. First of all, what made you decide on the title for this new project?

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Well, it’s the title of a song. So the third single is called ‘Please Daddy’. It’s got alternating lines. It’s a bit sad, it’s a bit sexy. I’m kind of quite bad at choosing titles, to be honest, so I kind of often just pick a song I like the most to be the title.

Well, it’s a very good title that you ended up landing on. I must say the whole project is laced with such an incredible pain but also, tinges of humour. Was there any difficulty recording any of these songs?

I think not so much with recording, because I actually really enjoy recording, because you’re so busy and there’s a lot of practical stuff that you’re concentrating on. Because lots of it was with a band, you’re kind of more focused on that performance, and capturing that emotion or whatever. But we didn’t rehearse a hell of a lot before recording. So, kind of just concentrating on getting the groove of the songs and stuff. But they have actually been difficult to perform, to be honest.

Do you find them hard to perform?

Yeah. Usually, I can hold it together a bit more but, I don’t know, for some reason… I don’t even really find them to be the most challenging content of anything I’ve ever done but for some reason, yeah, they’ve been quite difficult to do.

I’ve done a bit of crying on stage lately. Which hasn’t been that good but I think to make it better for myself, I’m trying to be a bit more ‘lolsy’ on stage and kind of talk a bit more shit. Just because, otherwise it can get a bit too heavy for me, really. And probably not particularly enjoyable for other people, I don’t imagine.

Do you find it difficult sometimes to mix humour with such serious topics? Or do you find it’s quite easy for you?

I think it’s easy. I generally am someone that, kind of, takes the piss a lot. So, it kind of doesn’t bother me. And it helps, sometimes, playing with a band too because you can sort of rag on them.

The new album has a strong sense of bravery in the face of death, but also, it’s very confident in its sexuality. Do you find it difficult or easy to blend these two powerful themes together?

I think it was an easy blend. Shit, it’s all kind of part and parcel really, I imagine. It’s not something that I really put too much conscious thought into. I don’t really put extra thought into what I’m doing when I’m songwriting. I just try to write as unconsciously as possible. That way, it just kind of comes out naturally.

When you’re writing close to your own life, then you’re kind of always going to write. And if you’re writing all the songs around the same time, it’s quite natural that they’d all end up having the same tone and content.

What would you say, at the moment, is your favourite track off of ‘Please Daddy’

I do find this (project) really sad for some reason, so I haven’t really been listening to it a lot. But I think I really like ‘When Will Death Come’. I think that’s kind of like a nice, big, sleazy track. That’s me doing late-era Elvis.

There’s a song called ‘Nothing Sticks’ that I quite like. But that’s me trying to do, like, Elliot Smith, kind of. I really like that one too.

Listen to ‘When Will Death Come’ below.

You mentioned ‘When Will Death Come’. Was there anything behind making that the very first track that people will go into listening to this project? Because t’s a very hard-hitting track to kick off the themes and melancholy of the album.

I think I wanted to use that one because I think it’s a pretty big song. I think I wanted to use one that had all the instruments on it. So, my friend Hank playing the flute and my friend Joel playing the trumpet. And then, obviously, Jeff and Tim on bass and drums. But yeah, I don’t know. I kind of like it in the way that, you know, it sounded like that Leonard Cohen record Death of a Ladies Man.

I quite liked how it’s just kind of woozy and sleazy. And I kind of thought it was more uplifting than other tracks. However, I guess, in thinking about the actual lyrics, I guess it’s not! But yeah, I didn’t think it was as depressing as what some of the feedback has been. Which doesn’t bother me, but you know, it’s just funny.

Yeah. The feedback for the project so far has definitely seen everybody say things along the lines of “it’s a very sad album”. It’s not just all sad, guys!

No! I guess, I think about past albums where it’s a bit more solo and way more stripped back, and in my mind, I would think those ones are more depressing than this one. Maybe just because of the overall feel of this one.

And we need to talk about the album cover for the project, which is just one of the artworks that you’ve been creating recently. What made you settle on the one that you did?

So, it’s a self-portrait and I think I’ve kind of accidentally always put a self-portrait on the front. I just think it’s a strong image; it’s quite graphic. I really like doing portraits at the moment. And maybe just because the previous ones have all been colour and stuff; and I’m enjoying not using a lot of colour at the moment for painting.

With your last album; which only came out in 2019, there was such a small space between the two albums. How would you personally define the differences between The Queen Who Stole the Sky and Please Daddy?

In my mind, those two and the one I’ve most recently recorded that won’t come until maybe, I guess, the end of this year or the beginning of next year, they kind of all work together. Because there’s the organ one, then the band one and then just the piano one. In terms of The Queen Who Stole the Sky and this one, I think obviously that’s such a crazy different instrument than I’ve ever used before.

There’s something about that queen album always makes me think of New Zealand. I don’t really know why, it must have something to do with the content, but I think that Please Daddy doesn’t have that, it’s less rural sounding or something, I don’t know.

Do you have any music videos planned for this era?

Yes, I do. So, there’s one for ‘Please Daddy’ that I made with Brent Griffin and that’s coming out soon. And also, a friend of mine from LA named Tristan has made a really epic one that, he actually just sent me a rough cut of before for ‘When Will Death Come’ that is amazing. It’s kind of like he’s got the same kind of sensibility as me in that everything is a bit extravagant and over the top. But it’s almost like if a gay guy made a Mike Lee movie.

Listen to ‘Let’s Fight’ below.

Sarah Mary Chadwick – ‘Please Daddy’ Album Launch

Brunswick Music Festival, Wednesday, March 11
Howler, Melbourne
Tickets here