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Wallice on SXSW Sydney, Julia Jacklin & New Music

The indie pop singer-songwriter returned to Australia this month after supporting the 1975 here earlier this year


Le3ay / Amy Lee

The last time Rolling Stone AU/NZ spoke to rising indie pop singer-songwriter Wallice, she was preparing to come to Australia for the very first time to support the 1975 on tour.

That was only six months ago, but the US star is already back in the country, this time for her own headline shows and to showcase her music at SXSW Sydney.

Over two packed days this week, Wallice performed at Young Henry’s Rock & Roll Circus, Secret Sounds Showcase, and House of Vans Showcase, armed with the six intelligent and wry Gen Z anthems that make up her latest EP, Mr. Big Shot.

Wallice’s SXSW Sydney appearance is the latest positive step forward in her ambitious career, the sort of monumental moment that confirms her decision to drop out of jazz school was the correct one.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ caught up with the singer-songwriter on her second trip Down Under, finding out about her favourite Australian artist, SXSW Sydney plans, new music, and much more.

Rolling Stone AU/NZ: Were you happy with the reaction to Mr. Big Shot?

Wallice: I am! I think my fans have said that it’s their favourite work of my yet. Of course, I do wish I was able to reach more people and become more popular, but that’s an everlasting uphill battle. I think the slow and consistent growth I’ve had throughout my career is hopefully setting up for long-term fans, rather than a flash-in-the-pan viral moment which I am grateful for.

Do you ever miss jazz school? What was the most helpful thing you learned there?

I do not miss school. I did learn a lot about piano, theory, and myself in my year of university, but other than that I’ve learned more about music and the industry just by trial and error navigating an artist project.

How was the tour with the 1975? Any favourite shows?

Brisbane was probably my favourite show of the Australian run because the venue was amazing. The show was at Riverstage which is an outdoor stage on a grassy hill so it was a really great vibe. I also loved the energy of Brisbane fans. That being said, I have great memories from every Australia show – there were some amazing fans at each show. I was probably most nervous and remember the least from Perth and Adelaide because it was at the beginning of the tour so I was still a bit nervous, but by the third show I felt normal and confident.

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Was the 1975 tour your first time in Australia?

Yes it was! I had never been this far south or far from home before.

Did you enjoy your time here? Did you do all the classic tourist things?!

On the last tour here, we luckily had a bit of time in between shows or on show days to do some touristy things. We went to Lone Pine in Brisbane and saw all the Australian native wildlife, saw the Sydney opera house, and just explored as much as we could each day. When we were in Perth and Adelaide it was Good Friday and Easter Sunday so a lot of the city was closed, so I would love to go back and explore when it’s open.

Are there any Australian artists that you really like?

I love Julia Jacklin, she’s the first that comes to mind and one of my favourites.

And now you’re already coming back to the country! What are you expecting from SXSW Sydney?

I haven’t ever been a part of any SXSW so I’m excited. I’ve just heard it’s very busy non-stop – reminds me of the Lady Gaga audio, “Bus, club, another club, train.” I’m excited for these shows!

You’ve opened for so many great artists. In terms of future collaborators, who would you love to work with?

I really think it would be sick to work with Joji. But I would love to work with Mitski opening, No Doubt if they ever hit the road again, and Paramore are probably at the top of my current dream list.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

I think consistently Weezer, Gwen Stefani, and Radiohead have been my influences from when I was a teenager. I also love and am inspired by Mitski, Nirvana, Charli XCX, Japanese Breakfast, Alex G, and a lot of other modern indie alternative music.

And what’s coming up for you after SXSW Sydney?

I have no shows planned after this month which will be the first time I can say that in these last two years. I get home and continue working on my debut album. I hope to finish it towards the start of next year and then release and tour it the rest of next year! I’m super excited for the possibilities that come with albums and hopefully more festivals and travels to come!