A day in the life of an arena tour with Siobhan Cotchin

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A day in the life of an arena tour with Siobhan Cotchin

Siobhan Cotchin
Image by Olivia Repaci
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

While supporting Matchbox 20 and The Goo Goo Dolls is a huge step forward, it’s no shock that someone as hard working, honest and true would be selected for such a huge run of shows.

Siobhan Cotchin has slowly been building a following, mostly recently announcing her single “Too Good To Be True”, produced by Tim Nelson. The new single leans into Siobhan’s pop influence, melding her rock roots with a sprinkling of slide guitar with some of Siobhan’s vocal twang shining through.

Siobhan Cotchin

Her new single was announced with an Australian tour, beginning in Perth with Matchbox 20 and continuing through a few solo shows, followed by a few shows supporting Boo Seeka across Western Australia.

Read up on all the latest features and columns here.

“Too Good To Be True” speaks to the experience of meeting someone special at the worst time: you’ve just left a bad relationship and you’re really not ready for the dating world; though this new chance encounter is proudly waving their green flags.

“Yeah, you swear off dating after you’ve been through a hectic break up. And then, you meet one person, you’re like ‘Oh my God… I’m kind of obsessed with them.’ You just wanna fall back in love and be hurt again,” Siobhan acknowledges, laughing. “And surrendering to that.”

“I’m ready to get heartbroken again, I’m just doin’ it for the plot, so I can write about it.” she says in jest.

We shift gear here, speaking about construction of the song specifically. Where did it begin? Was she inspired by a true life romance or an amalgamation or moments? Maybe some chords rang true and inspired the lyrics?

“Well, I wrote this with the amazing Tim Nelson. I think Tim came up with a bit of a groove and some of the chords. It wasn’t really about anything at the time… as we kept writing it, it felt like what I’d been through at a particular point in my life.”

“As soon as I realised what I was actually writing about, I was like ‘Okay, this feels easier to explain to myself.’ If that makes sense?”

It makes sense for sure, the lyrics speak to something we’ve all experienced to the point that it’s a cliche or a trope from rom coms or binge-worthy drama series.

Siobhan pauses here, apologising for the rumble of the soundcheck, the sound of the massive PA coming through to her green room at Rod Laver Arena.

She continues, explaining that “To Good To Be True” seemed to come from nothing and all fell into place.

“Between writing and recording, I always take it to the band and we workshop it.” she begins, turning to the difference between the initial idea and demo that flourished into the final, polished single. “Before we go into the studio we figure out the parts, all that stuff, and then I go into recording fully prepared. I don’t like to mess around in the studio… that also leaves room for a bit more experimentation and stuff. It always goes to the band before the studio.”

I agree, saying it’s easier to improvise and experiment when you know the foundation of the song.

“Usually we’ll organise a rehearsal, they’ll [the band] figure out the chords, and then we’ll go from there. I’ll give them reference tracks as well.”

Recording wise, they begin with a scratch guitar and isolate everything from there. Siobhan’s first EP Highways and Heartbreaks was mostly live, capturing the raw sound of the band. In her own words “… but for this era of music I’m in, we’ve just been tracking it individually.”

“I like both processes, it all depends on what the vibe is.”

Siobhan manages to bridge the gap between pop and country, the new single offering a more broad palette of sounds and production, but retaining her own sound.

Genre wise, she says “I definitely think I’m in that rock, grunge area… but with a dose of twang. I can’t escape it, can’t escape the twang—and I don’t want to!”

“I basically like to think of my music like if Sheryl Crow and Courtney Love had a baby, impossible, but it would be me!” she laughs.

She explains that she loves hard-hitting, heavy rock but acknowledges the story telling and lyricism of country, melding it all together into one unique sound.

I pivot here, hearing more low rumble from the soundcheck— what does a day in the life of an arena tour look like?

“Well, I’m very privileged and lucky to have such a support network around me for this tour. My mum is here, my manager is here, my booking agent, and obviously my band and everything. I have a really great team that’s just telling me what to do and where to be.” she chuckles.

“But yeah, it’s higher stakes. Especially with the show, you have to be on time. You have to be early, I don’t have any trouble with that at all, but it’s a little more pressure.”

“Today was a little bit touch and go, we’re at Rod Laver, just casually, I love saying that!”

“Our flight got delayed,and so we haven’t even been to our accommodation, we just came straight here so it’s been a little bit overwhelming. It’s fun though! Because I get to play a huge rock show at an arena, with two iconic bands.

I interject here, she’s underselling the gravity of the shows she’s playing – with maybe two of the biggest bands of all time, right?

“Yeah! It’s actually insane, they’ve been so welcoming, Matchbox 20 have been so incredible. It’s pretty relaxed backstage thought it’s just the getting to here that’s a little bit like ‘Oh my God!’”

“I’m having a great…” Siobhan trails off and corrects herself “… a grand ol’ time.” she says with a wry smile.

So logistics wise – what is the soundcheck for an arena show like? Is it super involved or maybe highly organised and easy?

“No.” she begins “We literally only get a line check, which is really scary.” she giggles. “It’s only half an hour… max… but we’re all on in-ears, we’ve never used in-ears before, but it’s life changing. It’s so great.”

Siobhan continues, explaining the sound she hears on stage is pretty isolated for her, but when people tag her in videos from the crowd, she thinks “Oh my God, that sounds huge. I get the boat of both worlds, but I just love that I can hear my voice so well.”

The plan after the arena tour? “Depression,” she begins with a chuckle. “No, just hibernation! We’re doing a little regional tour with Boo Seeka, then a couple of headline shows, so yeah we’ve got a bunch of shows coming up anyway.”

“I think the plan when I get back is write a whole heap of music, get back in the studio, hopefully just keep on doin’ the thing.”

Keep up with Siobhan here, or listen to the new single.