Tash Sultana at Mad Cool Festival: “You spend a lot of time being shit before you start working out what things should sound like”

We all remember our first festival. Whether it was drinking warm tinnies your pal’s older sibling bought you at Reading or Leeds, or feeling like a pro because your first festival was Glasto, it’s hard not to have fond memories of camping in a muddy field with your mates.

But for musicians there are two first festival memories. The first festival they went to, and the first festival they played.

What was the first festival Tash Sultana played like? “Shit!” they tell NME backstage at Mad Cool Festival after their brilliant (and decidedly not shit) set on the main stage. “It was awful! You spend a lot of time being shit before you start working out what things should sound like, or how you should sing it. Or you do something that you think feels really cool and you hear it back and you’re like, “I’m sorry for punishing everyone with that, that was fucking horrible!””


Tash is in the middle of a busy summer that includes a flurry of European festival dates and a few weeks back home in Australia, before they embark on a US tour. And in the midst of all this all they’ve still managed to find the time to release new music, in the form of Matt Corby collaboration, ‘Talk It Out’.

“He just sent me this song that he didn’t put on his album, and gave it to me to fill in the spaces. And I thought he was fucking crazy for not putting that song on his album, as I thought that was the best song that I’d heard,” Tash explains.

Writing ‘Talk It Out’ was a fairly smooth process, as the two artists worked so well together. “We collaborate very well together because we’re very very similar as people, different as artists, but similar as people,” Tash said. “I’ve done some other collabs with different people that are a little bit more challenging. Especially as I don’t have a producer, and if you work with another artist who has a producer, then it’s a really odd change – which is normal, and a good thing.”

And it came at exactly the write time, as Tash had been struggling to write new material. “I needed it because I had full on writer’s block, and I wasn’t writing shit and I was hating the stuff I’d written. I was hating the show I was playing as I was stuck. But now I’m fucking loving it! I’m loving all the shows I’m playing, I’m loving all the stuff that I’m writing, I’m loving the song we did, and I’m proud of it.”

Watch NME‘s interview with Tash Sultana to hear more about the new material they’re working on for album number two, and their first festival memory as a punter.