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Ingrid Mae Breaks Down Every Track On New Album ‘Closing Time’

7 March 2023 | 12:26 pm | Mallory Arbour

‘Closing Time’ is out now!

(Image: Supplied)

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Ingrid Mae has written and produced an album where the broken pieces are beautiful. We know it is Closing Time and the party is indeed over, but we want to stay. From the first track No SOS, we are hypnotized by this haunting capture, and she holds us there; and we enjoy it. If Holy Smoke was the outlaw cry then Closing Time takes us back to the hideout for the after-party with songs like Like It’s Over and Poor Little Thing.

An explosive writer with the ability to traverse many different moods you can just label her at whim; Alt-country, Americana or Country Rock. Whatever country bucket she lands in, there’s a Mae-DNA in her music.

It was a labour of love for Mae and Rock Guy (drummer and partner) who produced the album. It was a bittersweet ending to a year that saw the loss of their beloved best friend and bass player, Eddie, who played on all tracks on the album and has been part of the family since the beginning. The new album, Closing Time, is dedicated to him and the time they shared in the old shack “707” recording this album back in early 2020.

Bradley Bergen was also a pivotal member of the album team, having previously worked with the dynamics and personalities involved on Holy Smoke. This made for a formidable production crew and a great group of friends.

For a female producer who writes her own songs, records in her own studio and commands her own ideas; it’s an album full of surprises yet giving you exactly what you need. We’re so delighted to bring you this exclusive track by track, as Ingrid Mae talks us through each individual track: the creation, sentiment, and everything in between.


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1. No SOS

This song was a strange song to write in that I had the guitar riff first. I knew I wanted the song to be about having no SOS and I knew the person in the song was very much in control. So, the guitars are syncopated like Morse code echoing out an SOS signal. I didn’t quite know what to do with the scratch track and it sat in my phone for few months before I reluctantly played it to the band, assuming the song wouldn’t make the album shortlist; and here we are!

2. How You Do It 

How You Do It already had a life of its own before we came to record this track. We’d tested and tried this song at many gigs, and it always had a Robert Palmer feeling for me that made me smile. The funniest part was when we were at our old recording shack 707 and I called on the boys to sing gang vocals “Ah, Ah, Ah” ... Rock Guy and Bradley Bergen encouraged each other to laugh, and you can’t help but laugh with them when they are on a roll.

3. Better Man 

I’ve got no idea why I wrote this song, but it always felt bigger than me. Bear in mind, it was written pre-pandemic, so it’s almost like a utopian idea of what life can be if everybody loves and accepts everyone for who they are. The vocals were essentially one take on this track, and it was the first time I’d sung the bridge that way.

4. Leopard Print 

Leopard Print was my old favourite for the album and I knew I wanted “her” to have a big attitude. It always reminded me of Maneater by Hall and Oates except my heroine has a tell in that she wears leopard print when she’s on the prowl. I really love the Hammond organ on this track and Bradley Bergen does a great job on guitars.

5. Closing Time 

I wrote this song a little while before the album was recorded and the bass riff was always an intrinsic part of the song. I’d tuned my guitar to a D chord, and I remember playing it to our bass player Eddie and he loved it. I guess the song can have many meanings if you listen to the lyrics but, for me, it was about how tired I’d grown of playing the Sydney covers roller coaster. When I sing “give me the horses” it’s actually a play on words.

6. Wayside 

I had the drum beat and guitar riff for Wayside before we went into the studio. Even though the final track listing was ultimately my decision, I really did take stock of what the band thought of the tracks. Again, I thought this song would be left on the side of the road. It’s a heart-breaking song for me and when I perform it live, I can’t wait to get to the instrumental outro which was Rock Guy’s idea. We all kind of go nuts and let go of the angst, bringing it back to that final riff at the end.

7. Like a Rose 

I’m kind of obsessed with my interpretation of old western songs and I’ve got so many of them. I’m not sure if I’m looking to write my perfect one but not many see the light of day. I love that the chorus chords of this song brighten up and get happy right on the line “Dead just like a rose”. It kind of leaves the listener to make of it what they will. The backing vocals by Bradley Bergen are just beautiful on this track.

8. Back in the Saddle 

This song is really about someone broken who needs to get themselves back in the game. It’s always a song that gets people up and dancing. We used to play it at our old local, the Gladstone Hotel at Dulwich Hill and the last time we performed it, we had a young bloke so overcome by the beat he took his shirt off; much to the enjoyment of the crowd. I used to stop playing altogether in the second verse just so I could enjoy Eddie’s bass riff.

9. Building Fences 

My favourite part of this song is the bridge. I kind of like to smack home my songs in the bridge and this song is pretty confronting. The idea of reining in the horses is a euphemism for locking down your heart and doing what you need to do to protect yourself. I then double down with the key change at the end.

10. Country Queens 

Country Queens was a late comer to the album. The album had sat for a couple of years basically finished pending a few lead vocals and Country Queens was a song that had to be part of it. My earliest memories are of driving to my Uncle’s dairy farm in Sandy Hollow and singing to the queens of country on an old tape. I was also really excited that Catherine Britt laid down backing vocals on this track. They sound amazing.

11. Hold On Me 

This song has a real island type feel for me and I think it’s one of the prettiest songs on the album. It’s about being exactly where you need to be despite feeling chaotic and lost at times. Everybody wants to feel like home and sometimes we have a person that helps us get there.

12. Like It’s Over 

This song is really an observation about what happens in relationships when one person knows it’s over, but they continue in a holding pattern. I love the syncopation of the drums on this track and the guitars are stunning. It’s one of the only songs I have a live video recording of as Eddie, our bass player, sadly passed away last year. He loved being a part of the band and our time recording the record were our last precious memories together, so it really hits home.

13. Poor Little Thing 

I love a bit of Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Etheridge and this song puts me in that kind of headspace. I had a clear idea of drums for this track, so I remember getting on Rock Guy’s kit at pre-production showing him what I wanted him to play. Lucky, he took my idea well… I’m not sure I’d be the same if he took my microphone and told me how to sing it.

14. Party’s Over 

I wrote this song the morning after the band played at Rock Guy’s birthday party. It was such a great night and I remember nursing a bit of a headache the next morning and reflecting on the evening’s proceedings. The production is pretty flawless in this track with effortless balance in space and music. I think it describes that feeling to a tea. The feeling that the party’s over but you wish it wasn’t.


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