Anna Smyrk is an alternative-folk singer & songwriter, originally coming from Central Victoria, more recently Anna Smyrk has lived all over Asia and the Pacific. Basically, Anna is a nomad who can’t stop singing.
That trait has brought Anna to the release of her new EP ‘Swim‘, an EP that originally started coming together almost two years ago, which Anna has slowly been plotting the release, but Anna has mostly been working overseas so much that she hadn’t had a chance to release the EP until now. However, Anna assured Eat This Music that it does feel “so good to put it out into the world.”
Speaking to Eat This Music on the release of ‘Swim’, Anna revealed that the EP is essentially a “collection of songs that” she “wrote during the last few years that” she had “spent living in Cambodia” and also the Solomon Islands.
“All the songs relate to water in one way or another: rain, oceans, rivers. It’s an EP about constantly moving through the world and across seas, and the changes that happen to you from that kind of life.”
Following on from the release of Anna’s 2018 release ‘Song of the Silver-Tongued Magpie‘, ‘Swim’ sees Anna take more inspiration for her life to conjure up these five brand new songs. Anna explains that she tends “to write story-telling songs that paint pictures of places” she has “been and experiences” that she has had in her life. Anna guesses that “a good example of that is the song ‘Benjamin’”, which is a song “about a couple of weeks” Anna spent on “a tiny little island in the Solomons.” The lyrics and the music for ‘Benjamin’ “are meant to give a snapshot of the place and the people,” and also to share Anna’s “feelings of struggling to feel at home in a new place.”
As touched on above, the creative process for ‘Swim’ started almost two years ago, however, Anna reveals that “the recording happened pretty quickly.” Anna had “a small window of time” when she was “back home in Victoria so” Anna pulled together a “bunch of old friends” for “a couple of days at” her parents’ place in country Victoria. Anna adds that she had “been thinking about the production for a while,” so recording the EP “was a pretty smooth and comfortable process.”
Anna explains making the EP was pretty important to her. Anna has “been playing these songs live for a little while” now, but she “wanted to record and release them”, so Anna “could share them more widely.”
“My first EP was released in 2016, so it was really time to put out something new!”
On the importance of the EP’s development, Anna expresses that she “wanted to make a record that shares stories from the last few years” of her own life. Anna states that she has “been pretty lucky to have lived in some special places” and when she plays “these songs at gigs” attendees “seem to really connect” to her experiences, even though the listeners may have “never been to those places.” Anna loves that feeling.
Anna expressed in our Q&A that she has “been waiting until” she “had a good chunk of time back in Australia to tour the EP properly” before releasing it. This is the first time in a while that Anna will “be around for a few months in a row,” so she will be touring all over the place over summer”, throughout Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia – tour dates are below.
Macedon Railway Hotel – Macedon, VIC — Nov 22nd, 2019
Spotted Mallard – Melbourne, VIC — Nov 27th, 2019
Illawarra Folk Festival – NSW — Jan 16-19, 2019
Newstead Live Music Festival – VIC — Jan 26-27, 2020
Terang Live – VIC — Feb 6th 2020
Wheatsheaf Hotel – Adelaide, SA — Feb 7th 2020
Stone Pony – Adelaide, SA — Feb 8th 2020
Anna’s EP ‘Swim’ is a lot to get into, from tracks like ‘Bones‘ to ‘The Wait‘, you have a lot of field to cover and smooth vocals to enjoy, however, Anna has two suggestions for first-time listeners to her music. Anna expresses that ‘Benjamin’ is a good track “for a taste of storytelling about faraway places”, and the song ‘Alight’ is good because it kind of sums up Anna’s “feelings about the world.”
It’s not difficult to see how passionate Anna is about music, as mentioned previously, a lot of her music comes from personal experience. And to be honest, Anna doesn’t actually know why she likes music, she just does. Anna states that “musicians say they play music because they don’t know what else they would do with their lives,” but that is “not the case” for her. Anna explains that there “are so many things” she is “interested in doing,” and that is why she has “been juggling music with” her work in “international development for the last 4 or 5 years” of her life. But no matter what else Anna is doing, she just loves “to write and perform songs”, and that is evident in what you hear today with the release of ‘Swim’.