Faye Webster is ready to swap thick socks for jandals in her very first gig across Australia and New Zealand. Avidly preparing “for a very busy year”, she tells Rolling Stone AU/NZ how excited she is to make her Laneway debut.
“We’re gonna play a lot of new songs,” she teases from a cold afternoon in Los Angeles. “That’s probably what excites me the most.”
Webster certainly has a lot of new material to sprinkle throughout her setlist: her fifth studio album, Underdressed at the Symphony, is set for release on March 1st. According to Webster, the songwriting process for the record, which is about a break up mixed in with some comic relief, was like therapy.
“During that period of my life, I would find myself going to the symphony a lot… when it came to naming the record, it just felt like the most meaning thing I could relate to,” she adds of her droll and understated album title.
Part of the vanguard of contemporary alt-country artists emerging out of the US, Webster has always found time for strings, keys, and guitar in her music, and going to the symphony only inspired her to do so even more on her new album.
“[Although] my records always find a place for them, I feel like with this [album], it was even more so,” she affirms. “Especially with piano, I love piano music. [This album has] less keys, less synths, and more grand piano.”
When asked how Underdressed at the Symphony may be different to her previous titles, Webster says every record of hers has a clear evolution to it.
“I feel like there’s a song on [2021’s] I Know I’m Funny haha that could have been on [2019’s] Atlanta Millionaire’s Club. But then always, [there’s] a majority of it that’s like, no, too soon. If that was on haha, it’d be weird. It’s always a next step evolution,” she adds, not giving too much away.
Webster has continued to keep her sound fresh with her latest release, “Lego Ring”, a collaboration with longtime friend Lil Yachty.
“Lego Ring’” tells the tale of an item she covets, the music video taking place inside a game where her and Lil Yachty try to hit all of the right notes.
“We made it over a week and a half that we were at Sonic Ranch,” Webster says of the recording process. “It’s this ranch outside of El Paso, you’re extremely isolated, and we all lived in the same house together. You’d walk to the studio in the morning… I mean, there’s nothing to do but work. It was a really cool experience.
“[Lil Yachty and I], we make songs all the time together. I feel it was just like another thing of sharing together and it just felt really fitting.”
Explaining her everyday music process, Webster says her day-to-day in Atlanta honestly doesn’t seem like much.
“Yeah, um, I do [a] lot of nothing! And I feel that really translates in my music. If I’m not writing about a personal experience then I’m just writing about how I have nothing to do and how that impacts my thought process.
“When you just have a lot of blank space in your head and too much time to think, that’s when a lot of my thoughts come out.”
When it comes to her Australia and New Zealand shows, one song fans can expect to hear Webster play is her current favourite, “But Not Kiss”, an anti-romantic song that’s “really intense…but sets the bar for the rest of the show.”
“It’s about having a lot of care for somebody but it being really bad for you,” she explains. When asked if she is an anti-romantic, she simply replies “no.” In an era when our intense relationships with our favourite singer-songwriters means we often overvalue confessional songwriting of the most literal kind, Webster’s playful elusiveness is to be enjoyed.