Tasmania’s Asta was blown away by the reception she received on her East Coast tour, which took place earlier this year. ‘I’ve released three singles, but I’d been behind the scenes a lot and I haven’t really been out in the open’, she says. ‘For me, that tour was such an amazing experience because I actually got to see my fans and it really gave me so much more motivation to keep doing what I’m doing’. She cites selling out a show and subsequently playing another in Melbourne as a highlight. Indeed, selling out a show on a first tour is an incredible feat, but when you become familiar with the quality of music Asta is making, it’s no surprise.
Layered with influences both acoustic and 80’s (and some decidedly more ‘now’), the 19-year-old is smartly riding the wave of popularity that dance music is experiencing in this country at the moment, but is bringing with her a unique voice that sets her apart from the rest. Asta often finds herself surprised by who she is compared to. ‘I just make the music I like and that I want to hear. Often it’s not until someone says ‘you sound like this person’ that I look them up and I realise that they do influence me’. Right now she’s concentrating on discovering what she likes and trying to ‘hone in on what the Asta sound is’.
The fact that Asta’s career is showing so much promise speaks volumes about what triple j has done with their Unearthed High comp, which she won in 2012. Year after year, we are introduced to young artists who have been waiting in the wings for their chance to break out. Of this, Asta sings the stations praises. ‘I think triple j really doesn’t get the thank you it deserves. It’s just an amazing hub for up-and-coming artists, so we really should thank them for the opportunities they’ve created for the Australian music industry.’
One such artist who has benefited from triple j is Flume, now well and truly Australia’s most in-demand act. Asta is enthusiastic when we speak about his success. ‘I love his music because it’s a little different and he’s got his own little world happening. It works because we shouldn’t have to try and pigeonhole our sound and try to make it fit in. We should just hone in on what we love and what is unique and doesn’t sound particularly like anything else’.
But Asta is equally aware of the pressure placed on female artists to fit a certain mould. She is emphatic when we speak about the sexualisation of mainstream female pop stars. ‘It’s on the forefront of my mind every day’, she says. ‘I just get so upset that females have to go through that, to get even a flicker of attention. And if we do speak up about things we get called divas’. Asta says this battle is a constant source of motivation when working on her music.
When I ask her about her upcoming slot at Falls Festival, Asta speaks excitedly and says playing at the festival has been a dream of hers since she was younger. ‘I’m really, really excited to be able to showcase my sound – I’m even getting a costume made for it. It’s going to be incredible and I can’t wait to give the public a taste of what I’ve been working on’.
If 2013 has been huge for Asta, 2014 promises to start off a little quieter.
‘I want to keep experimenting with co-writing and I want to get in a studio and just record and really find that sound that resonates with me.’