E^ST, aka Mel Bester, is one busy bee. In the last few months alone, she has released a seven track EP entitled Life Ain’t Always Roses, and did a tour of major Australian cities. Add this to a massive year filled with wins for the 20 year old, such as placing #63 in the Hottest 100, being named one of the top 100 women revolutionising pop by Paper Magazine and signing an international record deal, it’s safe to say she is one to watch.
We had a brief catch up with Mel to chat music and the silly season ahead.
BYO: So you’ve had a massive year, with the Hottest 100 placing, feature in Paper Mag and now an EP coming out. What has been a highlight of 2018 for you?
MEL: That’s actually so hard to choose! Maybe touring with Panic! At the Disco, that was a pretty ‘dream come true’ vibe.
BYO: Tell us about the EP; what inspired it?
MEL: Well the EP was written across the span of two years. There wasn’t ever an overarching theme, it was inspired by what I went through from my late teen years to early adulthood, just growing up and becoming more self-aware.
BYO: How did you go about writing music; do you work alone or collaborate?
MEL: I guess I just kind of like to see what each individual song needs. I might start forming a song in my head and think, ‘Oh I want to work on this with this person,’ and then other songs I think to myself, ‘Wow this one is really, really personal, it feels better to keep it to myself.’ Some songs are 100 per cent written by me in my bedroom, and then other ones have come out of hanging with people and making music together.
BYO: Who would you usually collaborate with?
MEL: It is always changing, I’m always needing different people and getting different visions for the sound. On this EP I did a few songs with Dann Hume, who I love very dearly, and we write a lot together. I also did a song with one of my old band mates Ross James and Japanese Wallpaper as well; he’s a good friend of mine. My favourite collaborations come out of friendships that I have with people more so than getting in a room with a stranger.
BYO: What do you hope 2019 will look like?
MEL: I hope that I keep pushing myself in terms of being an artist and that I am always working on making things as good as they can be. I’d really like to start travelling more and do a bus tour in America, I think that would be super fun. Basically, just do what I have been doing but just on another level!
BYO: Tell us a surprising thing about yourself? A hidden talent or fear?
MEL: I can tap dance! People wouldn’t suspect that of me. I took it very seriously as a kid, I even did exams and everything. Then I became a teenager and just thought ugh. Now I regret giving it up! I wish I could pull out the moves. It’s still hidden deep down inside, but I’m a bit rusty these days.
BYO: You don’t whip out the tap moves on stage?
MEL: No! But I reckon I’m just going to start practicing, so that one day I can be at a place in life where I can pull out the tap moves on stage.
BYO: Favourite food to eat after a night out?
MEL: Ooh, Hungry Jacks just started making a vegan burger, and that has definitely been my go to. After a night out, I’ll try and find a Hungry Jacks somewhere and indulge in their vegan burger.
BYO: Is it any good?
MEL: You wouldn’t think so but it’s actually good. I’m proud of them they pulled it off.
BYO: Hangover cures?
MEL: Well, I don’t really get hungover if I’m going to be totally honest. I guess just trying to drink loads of water before you go to bed is the best way to stop a hangover.
BYO: How will you be spending your NYE?
MEL: I still haven’t made up my mind. It’s my 21st birthday two days afterwards, so I’m tempted to rent a house, like a lake house, and spend New Year’s and my birthday with my friends by a lake.
BYO: A passion outside of music?
MEL: I’m really into literature. I don’t really write myself, but I love reading books, especially fantasy books.
BYO: If you weren’t pursuing music, what would you be doing?
MEL: When I was a kid, I wanted to go into musical theatre! But I guess that is still a form of music… but yeah, I would probably be doing that.
BYO: What’s the very next step for you in your music career?
MEL: I don’t know! I’m definitely someone who never has a plan for anything. I don’t really think things through… I haven’t played Splendour [in the Grass] yet, so I feel like playing Splendour would be really fun!
You can stream E^ST’s new EP Life Ain’t Always Roses now on all good streaming services.