Gin Wigmore first came to widespread attention in 2009, with her debut album ‘Holy Smoke.’ It featured the hit single Oh My which showcased a neo-soul meets rock n’ roll sound that coupled beautifully with Wigmore’s signature rasp. Holy Smoke gained a swag of trophies at the New Zealand Music Awards that year, including album of the year, pop album of the year, and breakthrough artist. She followed this up with 2011’s Gravel and Wine, and one of its singles Man Like That featured on the James Bond film Skyfall.
On a bitterly cold Waikato winter morning I am sitting in a studio bundled up in a duffel coat talking to Gin Wigmore via phone. She is calling from her new home in Los Angeles, and breezely tells me its mid-afternoon, she’s in shorts, and contemplating a swim after this interview. “That sounds lovely” I say with a hint of envy. I pull my coat a little tighter. Averting my eyes from the ominously grey scene outside my window, we begin talking about her latest sonic venture.
2015 sees Wigmore releasing her third studio album Blood to Bone. The title, she explains “is a continuation from Gravel and Wine. I was told during that album that I needed to bleed for it. I was sweating but I needed to give it blood…I have been more involved in the production side and I’ve been digging a little deeper too. Now I am older I am shedding my armour and getting deeper insider myself, bone deep.”
By allowing herself to go “bone deep” in Blood to Bone, Wigmore has immortalised some deeply personal moments and emotions in song. Since her sophomore album, she has been through a break up with an ex fiancé, married a punk-rocker, and moved to Los Angeles.
“Was it a difficult decision for you to allow your listeners and ultimately the media such an intimate glimpse into your life?” I broach the subject delicately, twisting my woollen scarf in my hands.
Wigmore answers with a philosophical candour: “Yeah its difficult, but I’d be doing a disservice to my music if I wasn’t really honest about the subject material. I have to be. But that’s what I see for myself as a writer and musician. I have to be an honest writer, an honest musician, I’ve got to be vulnerable to get the best stuff out, and yes it’s difficult, but at the same time, truth can never come back and bite you. I really think that honesty is one of the strongest cards to play, and that’s how I choose to live and write and create music. There’s no other option for me, it’s a blessing and a curse. We are here for such a short time, and I don’t want to live on a superficial surface state, I want to live deep and intensely. (In order to do that) you’ve got to look inside yourself and look inside your relationships, and what resonates with you and what doesn’t and make bold moves sometimes.”
Listening to the album, there is an endearing sense of self-assuredness to each of the songs on. It is an album of firsts for Wigmore, she acts as co-producer, and we hear her playing the piano and her husky voice hitting falsetto notes. Bold is a good way to describe the musical transition Wigmore has undergone in Blood to Bone. This confident approach to creating an eclectic array of music has been partially inspired by her move to L.A.
“There is no real feeling in this city, you can dream so big and still not reach the top of where you could take that dream.” Wigmore enthuses. “You might think that you may be doing something obscure…. but you will find a whole thriving community doing that just by way of population. It’s cool to have that access, and that confidence that it’s not just one person doing it, there’s tones of people exploring that style and I guess that’s what gave me the confidence on Blood to Bone. I tried many different things because I felt that there was a place for all those different styles on this album.”
Electronica is one such example of a new style and is due to the involvement of Charlie Andrews, who produced Alt- J’s runaway hit An Awesome Wave, an album much admired by Wigmore for its “cool, tasty, classy” take on electronica. She tracked him down and “basically asked if I could go over and write with him.”
What was meant to be a couple of days ended up being two weeks, with one of the results being her new single New Rush.“
We both really pushed each other to try new things…the way he works is really inspiring, the way he manipulates sound, he’s like a mad scientist making things out of tin cans. He’s such a polite lovely English dude, (he’s) low stress and taught me a lot about how to go about making an album.”
On the back of the release of Blood to Bone, Wigmore will be hitting the road and touring once again, and is thrilled at the prospect of coming home for the first time in three years. “Yeah!”she exclaims with idiosyncratic zeal. “I’m going to have a mince pie, see Mum, and play at the Powerstation.”
This article was first published by Rip It Up Magazine on June 19th 2015.