Indie pop supergroup Dateline is the project of Hastings singer-songwriter Katie Everingham. She writes the songs, but brings in some of the local indie scene’s best musicians to put her ideas into practice. The latest Dateline song is called Dumb For My Age, a sort of self-deprecating take on the frustrations of life. Sam Smith spoke to Everingham about the song and her songwriting process. Made with support from NZ On Air.
“I think I probably was feeling a bit frustrated with myself when I wrote this one, and I think that probably spurred it,” reveals Katie Everingham. The idea ‘dumb for my age’ just tries to encapsulate a feeling that a lot of us have sometimes, without being too serious or dark about it.”
With a catchy earworm quality, Dumb For My Age is based around a strong pop melody and is less grungy than Everingham’s other Dateline songs, Everingham half-admitting she was deliberately trying to be a bit more upbeat.
“I tried to come up with a bit of a melody and then work the rest of the song around that. I am really bad with my songwriting because I don’t often sit down at a computer, record it, and write chords or anything like that. I will play a song, and I will go, ‘This is kind of catchy,’ and then if I remember it at a later date, that is sort of how it sticks. I think that is how the little earworm moments of my songs exist.
“I come to my band with ideas for songs and I go, ‘These are the chords, these are the ideas of the lyrics.’ But for this one, I didn’t really have a very direct vision. I wasn’t trying to do anything in particular but my bandmates are all amazing songwriters as well, and a lot of their music can be a bit more upbeat, so I think that influenced the way that it turned out.”
Geography can be a barrier for Everingham in terms of songwriting and recording. She’s based in Hastings while the rest of her band members, Ruby Walsh, Callum Devlin and Priya Sami are in Auckland. Despite this considerable hurdle there seems to be a method that works when it comes to presenting material to the rest of the band.
“We don’t really get many opportunities to create together, but if I am going up for gigs or band practice and have come up with something and think that it could turn into something, then I might show the band. They are pretty much very encouraging, and we go from there. We might play it a couple of different ways, slow it down, or make it more this or that, and then we work on it together.”
Dumb For My Age is from an upcoming Dateline album which Everingham anticipates will be out in 2022.
“We recorded it quite a while ago with Callum Passells. Dateline has had a couple of different iterations. I had recorded probably four songs with the original line up, and then we recorded the rest with this line up, and then it all went to Jonathan Pearce, who has been mixing it.”
“So there is an album, and it is quite a collage of different songs from different times, but this song will be on it!”