After 6 years, Ainsley Farrell is back with her sophomore album Dirt
June 28th 2023
- :: Ainsley Farrell on Mornings with Sam Lane
The sophomore record from California-born, Eora-based musician Ainsley Farrell, Dirt examines feelings of loss, existentialism and anger through a sonic palette of brooding indie rock. I sat down with Ainsley on Mornings to chat about the album, which was our album of the week last week here at FBi.
Dirt seemed to be a long time coming, with Ainsley’s last album having been released in 2017. A self professed “slow writer,” Ainsley took her time with the record.
“Over the following years… all the songs started to come together. The songs were written over a three, maybe four year span.”
We moved on to talk about the title track from the record – which to my ears seemed to be the deliberate centrepiece of the album. It’s a sprawling 7 minute track which places Ainsley’s vocals front and centre.
“That song was probably the most challenging to record. We played it a lot differently going into recording and that song took us the longest out of any of them to figure out how we wanted to play it for the record. It definitely wasn’t intentional – it just sort of happened.”
My ears pricked up at the mention of the existence of a different version of the track, and I asked Ainsley if it was something that would ever be heard outside of rehearsals. Excitingly, it seems that Ainsley and her band are going to use the more uptempo version in live performances.
“I don’t know if I’d put everyone through an 8 minute version live!”
When you listen to Dirt it becomes clear that the recording is simply top notch. Something that stood out to me especially was the contrast between the earthier (get it, because the record is called Dirt) instrumentation and the soaring quality of Ainsley’s voice. I quizzed Ainsley about the recording process to find out how she did it.
“We recorded the album on the Central Coast. My partner’s grandma has a beach house so to save money instead of recording in a studio we got to record in this beautiful house next to the beach. Tim [Harvey, producer] drove up all the way from Melbourne and set up and transformed the house into a house-studio.”
This organic environment seemed to contribute to the feel of the record.
“It is kind of nice because it’s a place I’ve gone to often so I’m comfortable there. Sometimes a studio can be not as comfortable… It was cool, it was returning to a place we’d enjoyed before.”
Catch Ainsley performing live at the Dirt album launch on July 14 at Low 302, with support from Nick Griffith tickets here). We talked about other things as well, from American culture shocks to songs Ainsley’s been loving lately, so make sure to listen back to the full chat up top. You can also buy/stream Dirt below.