Rising stars Paulina and Aodhan have joined forces on Paulina’s hauntingly beautiful new single ’Don’t Let Me Go’, a mesmerizing pop ballad combining gorgeous lyricism and ethereal harmonies from the duo. It’s the latest offering from Paulina’s upcoming EP, which is set to be released this August.
The two singers interviewed each other for a fun chat about their collab, Paulina’s upcoming EP, musical inspirations and more!
Aodhan to Paulina
Aodhan: Is your upcoming EP your first body of work, and how does it feel to finally release it soon?
Paulina: Feels good, it feels really great. When we first started writing music together, (Tim Bettinson and Luke Jenkins) we were just writing singles and they actually ended up asking me, ‘Hey, do you want to make an EP with us?’. I was like, ‘Holy shit. Of course I’d love to.’ It was so good to actually be like okay, let’s get into the studio around 3-4 times a week, smash out a tonne of songs and explore lots of different topics. So overall it’s been so nice to be constantly writing and thinking hard about different topics, instead of just focusing on one song at home - because that’s what I did mostly up until this EP, I just wrote songs in my bedroom. So yeah, it feels good to have it come out soon.
Aodhan: What was the process like? Did you find that they were very easy to collaborate with and just awesome to be around, or?
Paulina: 100%! They're both just such good human beings, super genuine, and just super easy to work with. We would also grab a lot of food in our sessions. I spent so much money on food, because before a session I’d be like let’s grab some croissants and juices, then 2 hours in we’d go get ramen, and maybe some dessert afterwards as well. It was just a huge mix of music and food. Overall though it was a really, really great vibe, and they had created a super safe space in their studio in Brisbane, and it was just really beautiful to create with them.
Aodhan: Amazing, well I’m definitely keen to hear what’s on the tracklist! Are you going to be basing a little tour around this new release?
Paulina: Yeah, I’ll actually be playing my debut headline show on August 20th at The Bearded Lady here in Brisbane, which I’m so stoked about. Afterwards, I’ll be flying over to London and back home to Germany as well, to play a couple of shows there! It’s going to be so sick finally debuting over there! And once I come back, I’m hoping to play a couple of shows along the coast over summer as well! But overall, I’m just super keen to finally play these new songs live.
Aodhan: Absolutely. And internationally as well, that’s great!
Paulina: Thank you! Yeah I’m keen, very, very keen. You know I love London and always love being back home in Germany, so I think it’s gonna be a really great time.
Aodhan: So good. So you used to live in Germany for a little bit?
Paulina: Yeah! So, I was actually born in Hamburg, Germany, and then moved here when I was around two. But I’ve travelled back pretty much every year since and have spent a couple of months at a time over there as well. Like in 2019, I went and lived with my grandparents for 3 months and went to the old high school that both my parents went to. I can confirm that not much has changed there since the 80’s haha. I was also just recently over there again for 3 months to record some music, but that’s the longest I’ve lived there. With that being said though, I am super keen to hopefully move back there super soon and spend my twenties over there.
Aodhan: Oh awesome. Did you record any tracks off the EP over there as well?
Paulina: Yeah! Well, I wrote most of the EP in Brisbane and then ended up recording it while I was there, because Tim had just toured Europe and so he was over there and I was like, ‘I’ll just come to you.’ So, I ended up flying over to Lisbon in Portugal for a few weeks, and then just ended up turning it into a whole 3-month trip.
Aodhan: Wow that’s phenomenal. So crazy, but awesome.
Paulina: Haha thanks man! You know, life is too short not too, right? Plus, also Lisbon is just, wow, what a beautiful city. I fully recommend you go. It's only got a relatively small population, but it's just so full of art, is super student friendly as well and just has the absolute coolest bars, cafes, restaurants. Like I said, just so much art, whether it's music, visual art, or a tonne of graffiti everywhere, it’s an incredible city. It was also just so nice to record in this little apartment that had windows looking out onto a beautiful street, and it was raining some days whilst we were recording too, so there’s some rain sounds in the vocal take. Luke probably got rid of it in mixing haha, but still, it was special recording in a city full of such passion. While we were recording it, I realised that this song felt like a conversation between two people, who loved each other so much that just simply having one another in their lives made life worth living. That was when I thought, ‘Okay wow, I need someone to sing this with me.’ Then I thought of you, because I’d been listening to your music for a while already and loved your style and voice! So, when I got back home I hit you up and like they say in the movies, ‘the rest is history!’
Aodhan: Thank you for thinking of me and having me on this project, I really appreciate it, and really enjoyed the process as well. You know, I recorded my vocals from home and then sent them up to you guys. It was a lot of fun, but I remember we sort of struggled at the beginning.
Paulina: Yeah, a little bit hey? Those verse 2 lyrics were hard to figure out.
Aodhan: Definitely, it was a bit of a process, but we definitely got there and I think that really just says a lot about what the song actually is. It's quite a complicated situation, isn't it?
Paulina: I agree. You hear it all the time, that when people fall in love with someone, they can sometimes find it hard to tell their partner exactly how much they mean to them and love them - and that’s what this song’s about.
Paulina to Aodhan
Paulina: Since we’re doing this interview on Zoom right now and did a couple of Zoom sessions together to work on this song, I wanted to ask if you do a lot of Zoom sessions or more regular studio sessions? What would you say is your favourite set up to write music in?
Aodhan: Yeah, I think the obvious answer would be to work in person with anyone that I work with because there's really nothing that matches having just that real kind of energy within a room. You know, with that being said, I have done a lot of Zoom sessions and I'm pleasantly surprised with the outcome every time. I’ve written a lot with Riley Pearce and a bunch of really amazing artists, even some that I've looked up to over the years and yeah, it's been sick. I gotta say, if we're talking on just the sort of songwriting level, Zoom’s not a bad way to do it. I think things get complicated when things like production and stuff come into it, but for songwriting itself, I don't really have many complaints about it. But, being in a room with some people and kind of having a jam, there’s nothing like it.
Paulina: I love that. Well, seeing as you prefer being in the studio, if you could pick one dream space to record in whether that’s in a specific studio or any place in the world, where would it be?
Aodhan: I really want to do the Bon Iver thing. Just disappear off into a cabin, get a nice wooden place, and just get this whole sort of lofi kind of thing going. It doesn't have to be the most pristine, quality sound, like I'd much prefer a bit more of a raw sound anyways. But yeah, just the whole environment of having a living room in a tiny cabin or something, just having everything set up in there and ready to go would be the ultimate goal I think. You know I could get people to come with and collaborate sometimes and do stuff myself at other times. There’s lots to enjoy about both of those things, and I mean you can do whatever you want then. Depending on the situation, you can either feel very pressured by it or you can just really give yourself permission to be as free as you want with it. And then when you're working with other people, it's the same thing. You don't have to worry as much about what you're doing for your career as such, and instead just make music with your friends and have some fun with it.
Paulina: Seeing as you’re talking about occasional pressure when making music, do you think you’d ever go into a different style or genre, like some artists who just completely change their sound each project?
Aodhan: Absolutely. I love too much music to be able to fit everything into one project. I think for the past four years I've been doing this, I'm still not too solid with what it is that I'm doing. You know, I still haven't quite figured out how I can execute my love for rock music and then this sort of DIY indie lofi sound that again is that kind of raw sound. Something else I really value when it comes to making my music is being able to not only have a nice sound sonically, but also to tell stories in the way that I'd like to from my own perspective and to always be improving the way I write my lyrics and stuff. So yeah, I’ve been trying to find a sound that is cohesive with all of that. Previously, I've done things like kind of alternative, folky sort of sounds, which I do love that stuff, but I don’t want to be trapped in that box and don't want my projects to just be that. I kind of want a little more flexibility for sure. But yeah, I’ve just been trying to figure it all out.
Paulina: Yeah for sure. I don’t think anybody, even at the top, ever reaches a point where they can say, ‘yep this is my sound, that’s it.’ I think everybody’s always on that constant journey.
Aodhan: Definitely. Always evolving in some way.
Paulina: 100%. You said you love a lot of different music. Which artists, albums or songs have inspired you the most over the years?
Aodhan: I think in previous years, just referring to all my releases, I took heaps of inspiration from bands like Wallows, artists like Day-Glo and just that kind of whole guitar pop, synthy, sort of indie sound. But as of lately, I've been really loving Wilco and they're basically doing what I want to do. So yeah, they’re very inspirational and Radiohead as well, the obvious one. I'm also super inspired by a lot more kind of singer songwriters like Josh Pyke and Alexander Biggs, who are both Australian, which is great.
Thanks so much to Paulina and Aodhan for the interview! You can stream 'Don't Let Me Go' now.