Charlie Lane on the power of Dance With You: ‘On stage it can be brutal just to sing to anyone’

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Charlie Lane on the power of Dance With You: ‘On stage it can be brutal just to sing to anyone’

Charlie Lane
Marcus Coblyn - Photography / Meg Guthrie - HMU
Words by Staff Writer

Breakout Naarm singer-songwriter Charlie Lane wowed us all with Gold Drips, and now she returns with her most personal and powerful release yet.

Taking influence from indie darlings, The National, Kate Nash, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more, Dance With You is for fans of Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Fake Empire (The National), with a modern, uniquely relatable Charlie Lane twist, exploring the ideas of rejection, understanding attraction and nerves.

“Dance With You was really a way for me to subtly open up as a Queer woman through song,” Lane says. “It’s also about those times when you really like someone, in this case a girl, but your insides are just churning. I guess, the over-thinking of the rejection that hasn’t happened yet.

“It feels really exhilarating to be releasing my second single off the album, but particularly Dance With You. I directly sing this song as though I’m singing toward a female, and I’m really glad I have finally opened up more in my songs about being a Queer woman. I feel really proud of this song and where it’s going to go.”

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There’s so much depth to this release – balancing the empowerment of opening up about your Queer identity with the inherent anxieties of falling in love. It must have been an explorative process to write this song, tell us a bit more about the journey you’ve gone through recording it?

You know, it’s nice now, to listen to it all, watch it all, take a breath and realise…oh yeah, I actually put a lot of myself into this song. Writing Dance with You was quite a process of looking back on a lot of things, and confronting myself to be able to write about them. I started writing the song about a person I really loved that had sadly passed away, but the anxieties of falling in love, was a general state I found myself in and still do. I had to put my head in that state of mind and wrote from there.

It would be interesting to hear more about your creative process in general, given the amount of time that went into Gold Drips?

So, the creative process was very different to Gold Drips, as this time it was a bit more of a fresh track that I took straight to Adam Heath to co-write with him. It wasn’t as old a song as Gold Drips, and much less planned out structure-wise pre ‘demoing’.

We wrote most tracks off the album during Covid lockdowns. At the time of Dance with You however, Adam actually had Covid so we couldn’t see each other at all. I would just send him voice memos with little rhythmic patterns and pretend guitar lines, something like “ da da da, … I really wanna dance with you, or something like that, what do you think?”, he’d respond with this sick acoustic guitar line that completely made sense and was almost like, okay so how did you just get that out of my brain from a voice memo?

When Adam finally recovered from Covid, I was finally able to go over as he lived up the road. We laid down a lot of the stems of the track in a session or two and then took it over to HeadGap to Rohan Sforcina, got Louis and Jet Kalt, my beautiful session drummer and bassist in and started getting it finalized. I told Adam from the start I needed synths, it had to have some sort of gentle electronic element to dynamically lift everything and that’s where we can thank Jazz Johnston. She’s a wiz on keys and synth.

How does your approach change when you’re directing a song towards someone, and how does it feel to perform as opposed to more reflective work?

It’s not often I write a song directly toward just one person, but when I do it’s usually about someone in a reflective manner, or sometimes I find my songs interweaving from directly singing about, say a family member, to myself or a group of people all in the same song.

A lot of the songs from my album are about my family, relationships I‘ve been in, labels I have, and also a lot of trauma. On stage it can be brutal just to sing to anyone.

How have you found performing the song for an audience, what has the response been like?

I performed this for the first time at The Workers Club on March 14th for the Gold Drips single launch. I remember it pretty well actually, we played it second in the set and had Katy Ruben get some nice snippets of footage for the band and I.

I really enjoyed playing this one live with the guys, Adam sings such beautiful harmonies in the build to the chorus too, so singing it live with him is just really pretty. Response has been amazing so far, especially with the beaut clip from Rick Clifford!

With a decade of performance experience and broad critical acclaim behind you, how have you found coming up through the Naarm scene over the past few years? How has this city and its venues evolved you as an artist?

Naarm’s music scene has been such an amazing culture to be a part of for these past few years. It’s been so amazing to be able to connect with such a variety of different musicians, and to play with them at a variety of shows. I got to play at the first Happy Wanderer Festival in 2013. It was such a highlight for me. Just being out in the bush, camping in this tiny tent surrounded by all these different musicians wanting to live and breathe the same life that you do. Literally a dream.

I’ve definitely had to become more adaptable as a disabled artist in venues, that’s for sure. You have to be when some of the venues you play at, especially in the early stages, they weren’t accessible. It was quite tricky, especially as mine are pretty invisible. I’m really glad that more venues are becoming accessible for disabled people though. We’ve come a long way in the industry.

It’s always interesting to read how artists envision their work being emotively received – indie discovery playlist, awkward night out, teen angst film, 2000s indie favs. First of all, did you have a bit of a mood board when writing this?

No I didn’t really have a mood board at all when writing the track, I did draw from a few inspirational indie artists like The National, I was listening to them a lot at the time. I also really liked the idea of writing a song about dancing, and thought about subtle ways I could drop hints at the fact I was Queer identifying. I remembered the song by The Black Kids, I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Girlfriend How To Dance whilst working in my garage at the time and it sparked the initial lyrical idea, so I immediately sat down to write.


Go over to you tube to watch my full film clip of ‘Dance with You’ directed, filmed and edited by Rick Clifford. Then go stream and follow me on spotify ❤️ Hmu Emily Stacey Assist Guy Perkins Style Mia Romero #videoclip #may17 #videography #youtube #singlerelease #dancewithyou #katenash #thenational #musicaustralia #melbournemusic #indiepop #pop #alt #sharonvanetton

♬ original sound – Charlie Lane

Secondly, how do you go about balancing the personal appeal of indie songwriting with synths, slow builds and other production flourishes?

I just really knew I really wanted synth to add an electronic element to the song and build dynamics, especially in the pre chorus’ and before the bridge. Adam suggested contacting Jasmine Johnston as he knew she worked amazingly with production and synth. He wasn’t wrong. We had so many stems to work with, it was great!

Name an interview question you wish someone would ask you about this song, and answer it.

This is a hard question. I’m not really sure. You’ve been pretty thorough, haha. I guess, who was it initially about? An ex-girlfriend. She sadly passed away during Covid.

In a dream world, how would this track be reviewed?

Well I’d hope that it’d be reviewed in a way where the audience would really just hear the song, and somehow see a glimpse of me through it. It’s all perspective though right? I would want to know who you hear, what you feel, what does this bring up for you?

Listen to Charlie Lane here and follow her everywhere here.

This article was made in partnership with Charlie Lane.