Gordi today shares ‘Volcanic’, another cut from her forthcoming new album, Our Two Skins. The powerful song arrives with an accompanying video and follows the release of previous album tracks ‘Aeroplane Bathroom’ and ‘Sandwiches’. Set for release via Liberation Records in Australia and New Zealand, and Jagjaguwar for the rest of the world, the launch date for Our Two Skins has moved back a week to June 26, due to US manufacturing disruptions related to COVID-19.


A catharsis of sorts, ‘Volcanic’ pulses with a sense of urgency and mania. Gordi – aka Sophie Payten – wrote the track in 2018 whilst in Sweden. She was travelling with her parents and grappling with a new truth in her identity, against the backdrop of a Christian family and Australia’s same-sex marriage vote. The instrumentation came out of hours behind a piano at a warehouse in the old East German broadcasting centre and late nights in a hidden nook behind the kitchen of Berlin’s Michelberger Hotel during PEOPLE Festival. These original sounds can still be heard on the final version of the track, taken from the week-long creative residency organised by the Dessner brothers and Justin Vernon. Indeed if you listen closely you can hear plates, pots and pans clinking from the hotel’s dining area.


“’Volcanic’ speaks to a rush of anxiety – about why, about what is real and what is not, about the drama of it, about the vortex of it,” says Payten. “When it surges you can feel paralysed and out of control at the same time – ‘shut down’ and ‘manic.’ Its self-destructive nature can be so crippling. I wanted the song to feel like a wave of anxiety. The tempo never changes but the piano solo starts at half-time and rushes until it is double the speed, though the beat never changes. And then suddenly; it’s over.” 


The accompanying video was directed by Madeleine Purdy and shot around Gordi’s hometown of Canowindra, mostly on her family’s property.


“My experience with Sophie is that she is a calming and wise presence at all times. The challenge for me was to show the fluctuation between the Sophie I know and the state of disorder and mania the song shows. Ironically, seeing as we were shooting at the place she is most at home, we found a way to show Gordi as a stranger in a strange land.”


VIDEO: ‘Volcanic’ by Gordi


The writing of the album began after a nervous breakdown while pacing around an Etihad flight from Australia to Europe in late 2017. Gordi had finished exams to earn a medical degree and after trading her “nice, safe relationship” for a new one, she began coming to terms with a new truth in her identity. That identity struggle and her new relationship, which played out against the backdrop of the marriage equality plebiscite in Australia and her Catholic upbringing, led to an isolated internal state. That state was further fueled by distance, trying communication and lost loved ones. Our Two Skins chronicles the intense and impossible time that Gordi spent renegotiating who she is and how she fits into the world.


Eager to bottle the isolation and emptiness she felt during this period of rediscovery, the remoteness of Canowindra, the tiny town where her family has lived for over a century, proved the right location.  Here, her internal state could be seen, felt and captured.  Gordi called upon her friends Chris Messina (Bon Iver, Bruce Hornsby, Big Red Machine) andZach Hanson (Bon Iver, Hand Habits, Waxahatchee, Tallest Man) to help her achieve this sonic goal. The producer duo flew from Wisconsin to Canowindra armed with selected gear, and set up a studio in an old cottage on the family farm for a month – a quarantine-premonition of sorts.  There was no phone reception, no wi-fi, and a tin outhouse located in a nearby shearing shed. “It was very removed, very isolated,” Gordi says. The trio each selected their favourite few instruments and studio tools, and restricted themselves to just those resources while making Our Two Skins.


As the weeks to her album release approach and with the world currently in an altered state due to the COVID-19 crisis, Gordi has applied to return to the medical field, where she will likely be placed in a pop-up “fever clinic” or in a rural hospital to help take the impending burden off the hospital system. She is currently on standby with a variety of hospitals and health authorities, and is ready to return to the wards while touring is not possible.


“Since I quit my job as a doctor earlier this year it feels strange to totally turn my back on the medical industry in this health crisis. I’ll dig out my work backpack, make sure my stethoscope is functioning as it should and go back to my other life; it will likely be in a more frantic state than I left it.” 



Our Two Skins tracklisting:
1. Aeroplane Bathroom
2. Unready
3. Sandwiches
4. Volcanic
5. Radiator
6. Extraordinary Life
7. Hate The World
8. Look Like You
9. Limits
10. Free Association


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