HATTIE O’DONNELL had a chat with Sydney-based folktronic songwriter CAITLIN PARK about wine-fuelled music-making, embracing your inner DF diva and having the eyes of Cat Power’s mother.


What was the first album you ever bought?

The first album I ever bought was What’s The Story (Morning Glory) by Oasis. I bought it on cassette from Fish Records in Balmain – I was obsessed with ‘Wonderwall’.


What memory of music during your childhood stands out for you?

Watching Fantasia when I was four. It was my favourite film – I remember being mesmerised by the way the characters moved with the music, and afraid of the dark beasts at the end.


When did you start getting into music, and what made you do so?

I’ve played music in different forms since I was young, but I got into songwriting at university, when I was about 20. I had some friends who were older doing a similar thing, and I loved the lifestyle and creativity.


What sort of music are you into now?

The Books, Cat Power, Bill Callahan, Jane Tyrrell, Joanna Newsom, Brother Ali, Lauryn Hill, The Sleeping States, First Aid Kit, Oscar Key Sung, Beyoncé, and so on.


Has your taste in music changed over time?

I’ve always listened to Australian music. I used to listen to Jebediah and Grinspoon as a youngster – and as I grew up, I listened to more folk music, like Joni Mitchell and even older songstresses, such as Ella Fitzgerald. My very early songwriting was strongly influenced by the likes of Sarah Blasko and Holly Throsby – I think they were part of a strong shift in Australian female singer-songwriters coming to the forefront.


Have you ever met one of your musical heroes? What was that like?

I have met a couple. I met Cat Power only a year ago, and I was upfront about being a mess in front of her, she told me I had her mother’s eyes… they welled up for days afterwards.


Do you have a signature dance move or an amazingly awkward dance floor story you could share with us?

Haha, not really. I wish I had an awkward dance experience, I’m sure it would be an enjoyable story to tell. I never used to dance in public, I used to be quite insecure – but now I love dancing. Who cares if you’re not amazing at it – it’s about self-expression, right?


Where is your favourite place to make music?

On the back step of a house, alone in the dark, with red wine.


If you could go back in time, what would you give the younger version of yourself to listen to?

Beyoncé – younger me had an inexplicable ignorance of pop music.


What is your ultimate car jam tune that you shamelessly rock out to?

‘Fu-Gee-La’ by the Fugees.


How do you think music has influenced your outlook on life?

It has affected a lot of aspects of my life tremendously – as my life affects my music. Most importantly, I think music has taught me to be assertive, and openly emotive.


What instrument do you play, and what do you like about it?

I play a number of instruments, but most of the time I play the guitar. I like it because it’s very versatile, and it’s deep, and it sounds like wood. It also suits my voice.


Finally, what are your top 5 track recommendations?

‘Closer’ – Joyride

‘All I Could Do’ – Oscar Key Sung

‘Another’ – Seekae

‘That Right Ain’t Shit’ – The Books

‘All Coming Back’ – Sarah Blasko

Caitlin’s album, The Sleeper is out now. More at caitlinpark.net