MUSIC

Bec Sandridge talks coming out to her parents, battling anxiety and finally making her debut album

GLOVES UP: Bec Sandridge fought through a relationship breakdown, social anxiety and self-doubt to record her debut album Try + Save Me out on October 4.
GLOVES UP: Bec Sandridge fought through a relationship breakdown, social anxiety and self-doubt to record her debut album Try + Save Me out on October 4.

WHEN Bec Sandridge came out about her sexuality to her mother at 22 it caused a serious fracture in her Pentecostal Christian family.

"At the time she definitely didn't take it well," Sandridge says. "I had to move out of home and I was really close with both of my parents.

"After I came out to them we didn't speak properly for a year, so we had to see a therapist. There was a lot of individual and family therapy.

"It affected my relationship romantically and friendships and had me feeling like I couldn't trust myself or other people and feeling othered. There was a lot of learning."

Six years on, Sandridge has long since healed the riff with her parents, but she used the trauma of the experience to fuel part of her debut album Try + Save Me.

For someone who admits to being frightfully introverted the 28-year-old isn't afraid to bear her soul through her music from underneath her trademark peroxide blonde hair and dyed-dark eyebrows.

Bec Sandridge - Stranger

After a series of EPs - including the acclaimed 2016 effort In The Fog - the Wollongong indie artist has stepped up her brand of '80s-inspired synth-rock.

From the Pink Floyd In The Flesh-style opener BS to the anthemic club vibe of Stranger, Sandridge is brutally honest about her anxieties and mental health battles.

"When I was working on it I just had a bad break up in the most cliche way possible and I didn't actually realise how bad my anxiety was until I was alone," she says.

"I documented the break up, but more so the aftermath of a break up and social anxiety and having to be independent.

COVER GIRL: Bec Sandridge questioned whether she had the ability to write an entire album.

COVER GIRL: Bec Sandridge questioned whether she had the ability to write an entire album.

"After getting back together with my ex, the image I see of the album is me with one hand around my ex's waist and the one foot in my therapist's office and I'm trying to juggle the two."

Despite the heavy lyrical themes, Try + Save Me has an anthemic party vibe full of throbbing synths, urgent guitar and Sandridge's trademark falsetto.

The songs were heavily influenced by German club music and the theatrical punk of Siouxsie & The Banshees.

Sandridge also called in Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper) and Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy) to produce and perform on the album. Strum and Dawson are arguably two of the most polished synth players and guitarists in the Australian indie scene.

Working with the pair was not only important to the sound of the album, it assured it was even completed.

FRIENDS: Bec Sandridge called in Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper) and Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy) to produce the album. Picture: Paul Dear

FRIENDS: Bec Sandridge called in Gab Strum (Japanese Wallpaper) and Oscar Dawson (Holy Holy) to produce the album. Picture: Paul Dear

Sandridge admits she initially doubted she possessed the songwriting ability to sustain an entire 11-song album. The self-doubt proved misplaced.

"Over the last year and a half I thought I actually can do it and it was bit of a cop out," she says.

"I think I was just a bit scared of making an album. It's bit of a narcissistic journey, like I'm going to put my voice on 11 songs, so I was a bit scared about doing that.

"But I ended up finding the right people to work with."

With the album nearing its release, does Sandridge feel like she's purged those feelings of anxiety?

"No, I think that'll be a constant," she says. "Just when I wrote it, I just felt uncomfortable with that being a constant thought. I think I've come to terms with that. It's just human."

Bec Sandridge's Try + Save Me is out on October 4.

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