Gear Talks: Salty

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Gear Talks: Salty

Salty Promo
Words by Lewis Noke Edwards

Salty is making her mark on Australian music. Following the release of her single “Why Don’t We”, which itself follows a string of singles, we spoke to Salty about making the single.

We discuss finding her feet in the industry, as well as carving a niche for herself by melding pop, electronic and funky rhythms that culminate in some crazy pop bangers.

Written with her best friends, “Why Don’t We” has been in the works for two years, Salty building a fan base the entire time. “Why Don’t We” speaks to the fleeting nature of the lives we lead, and wondering why don’t we just do what we want?

Your new single “Why Don’t We” is out now, how does it feel to finally have it out? We understand that it was “sitting in my playlist for over two years”!

It feels soooo unbelievably special that it’s out. I never understood when people said “wait for the right time for this one” but I am glad I sat on it for two years. It feels more relatable to me now than ever and I am so happy people are resonating with it.

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What inspired the lyrical themes? Something specific or just the general state of things?

I was feeling quite ‘existential’ at this point in my life (20 years old lol). We were in lockdown and a lot of our freedom was taken from us. It was a very strange time. I missed my friends, going out, human connection and all my free time made me think about the idea of dying, something I have quite a lot of anxiety about. I wanted it to be a celebratory anthem, shining a positive light onto a dark inevitable idea. I can’t listen to the song without tearing up, it has magic juice in it for sure.

How did “Why Don’t We” start musically?

So initially it started with a voice memo… I had this kind of melodic ladder type section (which is now the reimagined chorus) and I also had the idea of it being this ‘you only live once’ themed song. We had Charley [Vill] over because she was in our 5 metre radius (god that’s weird to think about) but yeah she’s like family so we had her over and just sat on the couch with an acoustic guitar, wrote the whole thing on there. Cyrus [Vill] then went into his studio for about an hour working his magic on a production skeleton via Logic Pro whilst me and Charley stayed in the kitchen making tea trying to finesse these chorus lyrics.

I remember specifically saying “it’s gotta be something people can scream while I am on stage.” Eventually Cyrus came and got us to show us what he had done in the studio and we immediately lost our mind. The track honestly hasn’t changed much production wise since that day. He created the exact feeling we needed for the song. Over the next few months we were working really hard at the arrangement and the vocals, I think re-tracked the vocal maybe 3-5 times to make sure it felt right. We used a [Shure] SM7 and an Aston Mic.

How do you think Charley and Cyrus Vill helped shape the song?

I think being best friends and having no pressure in the room has such a massive impact on what is created in sessions. I had been working with Cyrus for a long time prior and me and Charley have been friends for years so it felt like fun the whole time. Charley’s melodic direction and Cyrus’s ideas for production and vocal performance are incredibly important to this song.

Has the finished version deviated a lot from that original demo? Production aside – was the core idea and vibe there from the start or did it grow into something more involved?

If I played you the demo you would think it’s the same song – it really did not need much. I think we realised a few weeks later that we needed to write a bridge section but that would be the biggest change. Everything was just in the fine details towards the end.

How finished was the song when you started recording? Was this a studio recording session or home recording?

So I tracked my ‘demo’ vocals on the day we wrote on an SM7 through Logic and then once we lived with the song a bit and I knew how I wanted to perform it vocally we spent days nailing the final vocal with an Aston Mic. All recorded in Cyrus’s bedroom studio.

How does “Why Don’t We” compare to how a Salty song ‘normally’ comes about?

I feel more aligned with this song than any previous release. The way I feel about this song is something I want to carry throughout the rest of my career when writing and releasing. It’s super important to listen to your gut and how you feel rather than taking part in that noisy crowd of people which is what I feel like I was doing. So it feels nice to feel more certain about myself and I can’t wait to only continue to grow that feeling. Also the writing process felt extra natural this time ‘round as we were working at our own pace and just from Cyrus’s bedroom, and not in a big professional studio like the previous releases.

Salty feature

Have you got a ‘normal’ process for writing?

It usually starts with a theme or word and then the melody comes after. I am a melody girl at heart, it’s my favourite thing about writing so I love having a co-writer in the room to bring out the best possible lyrics. I usually work with Logic but from time to time producers sometimes use different DAWs like Pro Tools or Ableton.

Did Robby De Sa have any input besides mixing? Any extra layers or production he added when you sent it off to mix?

Robby has mixed all my releases. He’s honestly just the best in the business IMO. He absolutely added in his own sparkle and ideas through the mixing process but again, no big changes.

Thanks for your time! Anything else you’d like to add? Any funny stories that happened while “Why Don’t We” was being made?

I’m just happy it’s out. I have shared it around my close circle over the last 2 years and it’s just been our little secret, waiting for the day “Why Don’t We” is out in the world. Everyone’s reaction has just been the most amazing feeling. I am so glad that people are enjoying it and I can’t wait to play it live soon, that’s what it’s made for.

Keep reading with Salty here.