Singer, songwriter and composer Tamara Violet Partridge opens up about loss, recovery and her transition from classical to electronica under the new project name LACUNA.
‘Recovery’, LACUNA’s debut EP showcases Tamara’s talents as a songwriter and artist in the electronica genre, however, she admits that this wasn’t always her path. Having resided in Melbourne her entire life, the 22-year-old discovered her passion for music at the mere age of seven. After being told she was too small to play the trombone, she took up the flute which has driven a love for both woodwind instruments and classical music ever since.
‘I wasn’t good at anything else, I suppose. I didn’t come from a musical family, but my whole family loved music. They were always playing records or going to live shows, so they’ve always supported me. They never told me I couldn’t do music, which has had a really big impact.’
Not only is Tamara writing, recording and performing as LACUNA, she runs her own business composing music for film and games. The multi-talented musician, who also plays guitar, teaches instrumental piano, woodwind and voice lessons to students.
‘I didn’t get into composition until I was about 16, after being diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in my wrists, which caused me trouble playing music.’
This would’ve been enough for most people to throw it all in, however, not Tamara. After the loss of her father, music became her only escape. It wasn’t enough to give up just because she couldn’t follow her original plan of becoming a concert pianist or flautist.
‘I found composing and the use of technology a much better avenue and I was actually able to do it. So I went to university to study composition, film and sound design and began performing again. I could still play a lot of jazz and soul on the piano, just no longer for eight hours a day. This seems like a lot but that’s what is required of you to become a professional.’
Despite no longer having the same classical-based focus she once had, she believes that her background has been beneficial in all areas of her work. Along with composing, Tamara began writing songs at the age of 10. Coming from a music loving family, her influences growing up ranged from Black Sabbath and Cat Stevens, to Frank Sinatra and the Eagles. There were a few particular songwriters from the electronic genre, however, that caught her eye.
‘My influences in song writing go all the way back to women including Delia Darbyshire, Daphne Oram and Wendy Carlos [prominent in the early/mid 1900s]. These women were pioneers in electronic music at a time where it was such a battle for women to partake in any industry, let alone something creative.”
And while she isn’t afraid to admit that her writing is driven by emotion, she aims for her music to create awareness about taboo subjects.
‘My music comes down to stories and what I want to talk about. And what I want to talk about a lot of the time is making taboos not taboo. So that people don’t feel so isolated, judged or separated because they’ve experience something others haven’t. This generates a negative emotion around the situation rather than honouring the peripherals that we feel.’
The individuality of her music can only be constructed by the methods, or lack of methods, she uses in her song writing. Tamara acknowledges that song writing is different from multimedia composition, which is often formulaic.
‘I can’t tell sometimes [the way in which she writes]. It depends on the song. Sometimes it’s the melody, sometimes it’s the harmony and sometimes it’s the beat that comes first. The melody and lyrics always play into each other, however. I find that melody is the sonorous aspect of portraying what the words are saying. You might have three words for the entire song but it can be really powerful with the right ‘rise and fall’ of melodic content.’
Debuting her new project LACUNA in May with the launch of the EP ‘Recovery,’ Tamara was able to use her emerging passion for electronic music to push past the grief that is associated with loss. She created ‘Recovery,’ focusing on “five stages of grief” and the desire to make death a less taboo subject. As a result, she felt an entire album was unnecessary to encapsulate her feelings.
‘It [the death of loved ones] kind of happened really early for my family and me. People say “oh my goodness, that must’ve been awful” and it’s like “yeah, but I’m alright now. It’s going to be alright because this happens to everyone.” And the more we just keep going, it won’t be a huge burden where you can’t handle life.’
Each song in the EP explores an element of the grief and heartbreak Tamara went through and the progression of coming to realise the accepting her experience was the only way to move forward.
‘It’s a progression from “Anomalous,” which is about being in a state where you can’t have an attachment to anything but yourself and the experience of being an anomaly to yourself. Then is “Epiphany,” where I have recognised that this is an issue and I need an awakening in which I can realise how I can get out of this. It depicts the idea that the more you look for something, the less you are to find it. The third track “Isthatall” is the realisation that emotions are valid. Validation was really important to me.’
In the final two tracks, “Fleshandbone” and “Atomically,” Tamara recollects her experience, the underlying anger that later arose and the ability to think metaphysically. It was “Atomically” that concluded her journey of realising that acceptance is required before moving on.
Tamara will be launching the single “Shake + Bake,” under LACUNA at the Revolver Bandroom on October 28 with special guests. You can buy tickets on their website.
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.