Interview of Caity Fowler by Sophie Law
After a whirlwind national tour with her band, Melbourne-based indie-rockers Playwrite, musician Caity Fowler has made a somewhat spiritual return to solo writing in her new stripped back one-woman-show, I Am Another Yourself…
Hi Caity, how’s life treating you?
Hey Sophie! Really well thank you.
What music have you been listening to lately?
A varied collection as usual! I just performed in a friend’s fringe show, which was a live full band performance of the soundtrack to Baz Lurhman’s Romeo & Juliet—so I’ve had that stuck in my head for a while now, killer soundtrack! I’ve been drawn back to some old favourites in recent times, so Tegan and Sara’s “So Jealous” Album and Lior’s “Autumn Flow” cause they both bring back great memories. I also listen to quite a bit of chanting and devotional music that goes together with my meditation and yoga practice; one of my favourite artists in this genre is Krishna Das because of his incredible heart-centred and resonant voice.
Your new show, I Am Another Yourself, has an interesting title; can you briefly explain the idea behind it?
Sure. It is a translation of the words “In Lak Ech,” which come from a Mayan poem. The poem says basically that any harm I do to another I do to myself and any respect I give to another I give myself. It’s about the idea that we are all connected and in reality smaller parts of one whole. In Western culture we are very identified with our individual bodies and minds that many of us have forgotten this truth. Even if the spiritual dimension of that doesn’t resonate for you we are physically all living on one planet and our life is interdependent on one another.
We hear the show will feature some new original music…can we maybe expect an EP to follow?
Actually I’m planning on recording an album of the same name featuring most of the music from the show and a few other bits and pieces. I hope to do this late 2016/early 2017. It will be a collaborative project featuring some solo pieces and several duets and group numbers. I’ve been messing around on different tracks with friends all year and I’d love to have their voices and their love poured into this special collection of songs. I think this will really enhance its beauty and encapsulate the theme of connection.
You’re a qualified yoga instructor—that’s amazing! How and why did you get involved with yoga?
About two years ago, my band Playwrite were lucky enough to support Elbow on their Australian tour, which included shows at the Opera House and the Forum. Even though I’ve played hundreds of shows in that band, when I stood on the opera house stage for sound check my body filled with nervous energy, it was just so huge. I hardly ever get nervous before I perform and I could feel my body was shaky and my throat was tight and my head was a mess and I knew I had to do something to get back in my body. So after soundcheck I went back to my dressing room and did yoga and rolled around on the floor a bit and made lots of strange noises with my voice and while I did I could feel all that excess energy just leaving and feel myself coming back down to Earth. The show that night was incredible. That lead me to pursue yoga teacher training; I think it’s an amazing skill for performers who need to be present on stage and in their bodies especially if their body is an instrument or connected to one.
You’ve had a pretty awesome career so far covering lots of different facets of entertainment, what have been your biggest highlights to date?
Playing the Sydney Opera House and the Forum Theatre, Melbourne with my band Playwrite, supporting Elbow. Performing in a beautiful contemporary opera called “Voicing Emily” at the Malthouse Theatre. The Opera was based on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson; it had a stunning team of designers and I got to work alongside Theresa Borg and Helen Noonan, all three of us playing Emily at various stages of her life. Being in a big Disney musical (for a very short time) was a pretty spectacular experience. It was an amazing process to be part of something with such a big budget and so many resources. Recently the big highlight is seeing how all of these very diverse experiences have shaped me as an artist and as a person, and even though I’m not working on productions that are large scale at the moment I feel like I’ve found my authentic voice and a very deep sense of satisfaction in what I create and how I share it.
Your band Playwrite have recently taken a step back from creating music. Can we expect anything from the band in the future?
I honestly don’t know yet. We are great friends who are all pursuing other things right now. Whether or not we will come back together to create again is unknown.
Your 2013 solo EP, Whitelight Blackdog, tackled depression. What did it mean for you to go on that creative journey?
It was really important to me, especially at that point in time. A lot of people in my life have been affected by depression and I wanted to contribute to a conversation about it. It seemed to me then, and still now, that depression is often accompanied by shame or feeling isolated or defective in some way. When we bring something into the light and discuss it and start to be vulnerable with one another we get to see that our experience is common, that perhaps it is normal even and that it doesn’t alter our wholeness. This was very healing for me.
What has been the most valuable life lesson you’ve learnt?
To let go. Let go. Let go.
Finally, what advice do you have for our Ramona readers?
You are a human BE-ing, not a human doing. Remember to make time just to be, to relax, to rest, to stretch, to drink tea, to look at clouds, to wander, and to find quiet inside. There is nothing you need to do, or achieve or create or prove, to earn your value, worth and wholeness. They are yours always and nothing can change that.
I Am Another Yourself
Follow Caity on Instagram here