We caught up with Perth’s electro-pop star Grace Sanders to find out about her career, her inspirations, and her new EP Gums

Over 7 tender and intimate tracks, Sanders showcases a stunning blend of electro-pop and psychedelia. Hazily grooving guitars and sultry synths unravel around the fierce and carefree confidence of Sanders.

Throughout the EP, Sanders mines painful and personal memories to reflect on them in her thoughtful songwriting, whether it be grieving a lost friend or reminiscing about a past relationship.

“Ezekiel (Padmanabham) and I approach each song as its own thing, stripping back all the elements and allowing inspiration to flow for whatever the emotionality of the song is calling for to make it come to life in its own unique way,” Sanders explained about the EP.

As part of our popular Get To Know series, we spoke with Sanders to find out more about what makes her tick.

GUMS is out now and can be found here.

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Check out ‘MISSED CALLS’ by Grace Sanders:

Click to play videoPlay

How did your artist name come about?

I was born and my parents said: ‘Hey, she looks like a Grace Sanders, let’s call her that’ so I decided to roll with it since then.

How would you describe your music to your grandma?

Both of my grandma’s seem to be into the EP? Obviously they love me so it’s not like they’re going to tell me it’s bad or anything, but maybe they’re just being nice, who knows. I think they both prefer when I do songs that have more organic instrumentation and centre around my voice because that’s more to their vintage. I would describe the music like: ‘This is an assortment of vibrations you probably don’t like that much but you’ll learn to love because it came out of the brain of someone you love so you just have to get used to it because mum and dad are going to make you listen to it a lot.’

Tell us about a few of your tracks; their titles and what they’re about?

‘Calling My Mother’ was written about how disjointed the experience of grief can be, after a friend and collaborator of mine, Charlie Young, passed away at the start of 2019. I was sitting on the bus when I got the news and it felt like this bizarre shock, like this was a moment that would be seared onto the folds of my brain and yet the days of the people sitting next to me remained undisrupted, undisturbed, unremarkable- life goes on, time stops for no one.

‘Sanity’ is about learning to prioritise your emotional needs in an unhealthy relationship dynamic. It was written during lockdown: at the time I wasn’t receiving any Centrelink support after having lost my job, I was very disheartened by shows and opportunities we had lost, the financial blow, missing my support networks etc and I found myself under a lot of mental strain trying to manage my anxiety. At the time, a person who is close to me who struggles with several mental health conditions would call me and launch into tirades about things that were stressing them out and what they were struggling with.

I empathised, but also realised my lack of boundaries in the relationship had led our dynamic to a place where I felt so drained after these interactions I no longer had the emotional energy to support them to the extent they wanted me to. The song is my attempt at learning how to say to someone so close; ‘I love you, I am here for you, I will always be here for you, but right now I need to be here for me and protect and nurture my own energy’.

Check out ‘CALLING MY MOTHER’ by Grace Sanders:

Click to play videoPlay

What do you love about your hometown?

Being outdoors on a warm night in summer when it’s windy and it feels like it might rain. Lying on the floor of the ocean, watching the waves roll over me with water in my ears. Walking the suburbs alone at sunset listening to a record. Everyone knowing everyone and friends to be found wherever you go. Living within walking distance from the city and paying dirt cheap rent for a big room. Driving 45 minutes and being in the bush, in the quiet, away from everything.

Career highlight so far?

Making an album that Ezekiel and I both love and are proud of. The greatest highlight you can have is achieving art you really enjoy and believe in, even after hearing the songs a million times.

Fave non-music hobby?

Sauna and steam room! I’ll say it once, I’ll say it a thousand times- there is no better way to chill out than sitting in a sauna talking about life with the most diverse mix of ages, ethnicities and cultures you’ll find in a crowd anywhere. I like to keep fit in general so I lift weights, practise yoga, swim, run and cycle and I usually hit the sauna at least 3/4 times a week to unwind. Any fellow insomniacs out there – the sauna is the place to be. Really helps me to relax, clear my mind and sleep better.

What’s on your dream rider?

All I would ever want is a masseuse. Could you imagine that? I don’t need anything fancy in terms of food and drink, but if I could get nice and relaxed before and after going on stage that would be amazing because all the head banging I do really throws my back out. 

Dream music collaboration?

I love Todd Terje and Mildlife and would be obsessed with doing a vocal feature on one of their tracks. I would also love to do a track with Grimes… I feel like she could really do something super interesting with my vocal and I’m so inspired by her world-building and playing characters in her songs; we could do some weird, immersive  A.I./Alien stuff. There are so many, I’ll just try and leave it there.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I think it all depends on how things are going with the climate crisis… maybe I will have moved to Canada or somewhere colder by then, maybe the world economy will have collapsed and the world will have descended into madness. I don’t want to be pessimistic though so I’ll just say hopefully in 10 years my skin will be great and Ezekiel and I will have the funding to make the kind of art we dream about making now on an international scale.

What’s your go-to karaoke song?

No one likes it when singers do karaoke. Period. The point of karaoke is not to get up there and do your job, it’s meant for the people that don’t get to stand on stage and live that fantasy very often. So call me a party pooper but I won’t get up and do karaoke, I have a moral objection to it. HOWEVER hypothetically.. if I did… I would do ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ from The Sound of Music.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

There is no such thing as failing, only learning. Every mistake you make is a guide on your path to success, you will only guarantee failure if you never try. Success and happiness, mistakes and victories are determined entirely by your perception of what they mean to you.

What’s one obsession you have that no one would guess after listening to your music?

Well, I’m not sure what people’s perception of me would be based off the music in the first place, plus I’m very open on my social media so it’s hard to deduce which obsession might be a surprise to the average listener? I don’t think anyone would guess I work in an art framing shop making custom frames and canvases etc to make money on the side (so I always have cuts on my hands and seldom get my nails done). That’s kind of niche and unexpected I guess!

GUMS EP TOUR DATES

Saturday, April 3rd

(Supporting Brightsider)

The River, Margaret River, WA

Tickets: Oztix

Sunday, April 4th

Bungalow Neighbourhood Social, Dunsborough, WA

Free Entry

Friday, April 9th

Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA

Tickets: Oztix

Friday, April 23rd

(Supporting Michael Dunstan)

Six Degrees, Albany, WA

Tickets: Oztix

Saturday, April 24th

(Supporting Michael Dunstan)

Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance, WA

Tickets: Try Booking

Check out ‘GREEN’ by Grace Sanders:

Click to play videoPlay