Austra Announces New Album HiRUDiN
Today, Austra aka Katie Austra Stelmanis announces her fourth album, HiRUDiN, out on May 1st via Domino. While Austra's third album, 2017's Future Politics, was concerned with the external power structures that shape society, HiRUDiN points inward, tracing a deeply personal journey towards regeneration, dealing with the fallout of toxic relationships, queer shame, and insecurity along the way. Named after the peptide released by leeches that is the most potent anticoagulant in the world, HiRUDiN is about the importance of healing the self, letting go of harmful influences, and finding the power to rebuild. Working in a studio in the Spanish countryside in early 2018, Stelmanis, who has been the sole producer for Austra in the past, was joined by co-producers Rodaidh McDonald and Joseph Shabason for the first time. The resulting album reaps the rewards of Austra's leap into the unknown, in her most introspective yet inventive statement to date.
Having previously shared "Risk It" from the forthcoming record, Austra now celebrates the album announcement by sharing new single "Anywayz." The album's opening track, Stelmanis says of "Anywayz": "It explores the fear associated with leaving someone, and the terrifying realization that without them in your life, the rest of the world will continue unscathed as if nothing has changed."
The director of the video for "Anywayz" (and also the video for "Risk It"), Jasmin Mozaffari ('Firecrackers') adds: "I wanted the video to feel as dramatic and chaotic as heartbreak can be, bringing this fear into fruition. The concept focuses on Katie as a heightened version of herself, sequestered inside a barren mansion that resembles a cage of her own spiralling thoughts. She resists moving on, yet as time persists and the outside world thrives, it eventually forces itself upon her."
Being in a toxic relationship can sometimes feel like being lost in a maze. Every attempt to turn a
corner lands you back where you started. HiRUDiN is a bold acknowledgement of such patterns of behaviour and a testament to the power of breaking them.
Katie Austra Stelmanis has been better known by her middle name for three albums, ten years, and countless tours. She wrote, produced, and performed all her own records, occasionally sharing the spotlight with a band to tour live. From the outside, things were going really well for a while: she built a devoted fan base and sold out shows all around the world. However, on the inside, Stelmanis was beginning to feel stagnant and uninspired. "I was losing faith in my own ideas," she explains. Without realising it, she'd got caught up in a toxic relationship that was tearing her apart.
It wasn't until Stelmanis was ready to face her insecurities that she was able to see a way forward: "My creative and personal relationships were heavily intertwined, and I knew the only answer was to part ways with all of the people and comforts that I'd known for the better part of a decade and start again." Alongside making changes in her personal life, HiRUDiN saw Austra taking an entirely different, free-spirited approach to making a record. Stelmanis took a collage approach to sampling, arranging, writing and producing the songs on the record. Also, seeking out all new collaborators, she booked three days of sessions in Toronto with improv musicians she'd never met before. They included two thirds of contemporary classical improv group c_RL, the cellist and kamanche duo Kamancello, kulintang ensemble Pantayo, and a children's choir. Additionally, Stelmanis brought in David Wrench and Heba Kadry to mix and master the record respectively.
- All I Wanted
- How Did You Know?
- Your Family
- Risk It
- Interlude i
- It's Amazing
- Mountain Baby feat. Cecile Believe
- I Am Not Waiting
- Interlude ii
5/05 - Toronto, ON @ Longboat Hall
5/07 - New York, NY @ The Sultan Room - SOLD OUT
5/12 - London, UK @ Hoxton Hall - SOLD OUT
5/13 - Paris, France @ Le Badaboum - SOLD OUT
5/14 - Barcelona, Spain @ Mil.Leni Festival
5/16 - Palma de Mallorca @ Mallorca Live Festival
5/18 - Berlin, Germany @ Theater Im Delphi - SOLD OUT
5/20 - Warsaw, Poland @ Niebo
5/21 - Vienna, Austria @ WUK
5/22 - Madrid, Spain @ Tomavistas Festival