Interview: Liam Gerner

Liam Gerner, singer songwriter, Sonic Vista Studios

Photography by Ana Lui

Ibiza’s rich musical history makes it a magnet for creative types. Artists flock to the island to seek inspiration, tap into their imagination and write the songs that will shape their future, however for Australian singer songwriter Liam Gerner, it was more a case of the island discovering him. A series of events led him to Sonic Vista Studios to record his debut album – and the rest, as they say, will be history…

How did you discover Sonic Vista Studios in Ibiza?
I actually met studio engineer Dani Castelar while touring in Europe. We quickly became friends and really wanted to do a record together. He’d just met Henry Sarmiento and was coming to Ibiza to work with him, then I was signed to Warner Chappell and voila! Here I am.

Had you been to Ibiza before? What did you expect?
I thought it was going to be a bit clubby, but then I was on holiday in Mallorca with Bob Geldof, in a community where lots of musicians and artists go for summer. He’d been over here for three days and said it was so beautiful that if he ever makes another record he’d do it here. So of course I thought I should check it out! It reminds me of home in South Australia actually!

Is it easy to tap into your creativity here?
Places like this spark a different kind of creative space in your head, your heart and your music. You can really get away from it all. I go for a long walk in the morning to the other side of the mountain and practice singing in the valley. It’s so liberating, because in London you worry that your neighbours think you’re going mad!

So tell us about the process of recording your album here?
We’re recording in a simple, performance style, with just guitar and vocal until we get the right take. So much music these days is made and edited on computers – this is really raw. We have a really good vibe going, we’re in the right headspace – it’s freeing and satisfying.

Liam Gerner, singer songwriter, Sonic Vista Studios

Photography by Ana Lui

Do you feel pressure to get it finished?
The pressure is different to London or Australia, where you’ve accumulated the fluff of every day life. I come here and literally, all I have to do is play and sing songs… It’s an incredible feeling of accomplishment once you come through the tunnel.

How do you describe your own sound?
Kind of melancholic but also humorous. Henry calls it neo-folk! The driving force is to keep it simple, connecting music to the heart and soul, referencing things makes me cry when I hear them, memory and emotion. I write songs, I sing them and we’ll see how far that takes me.

Who are you influenced by?
People like Bon Iver and Nathaniel Radcliffe but I also love Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Brown, Nick Lobe, Peter Gabriel… My parents listened to loads of music – the best memory I have is singing Born in the USA into my tennis racket at age 10!

Do you see yourself coming back to Ibiza to perform live in the future?
Definitely – we’ll start just down the road there at that little bar… I just love Spain. I played in Zaragoza and Barcelona (with Alanis Morissette) to 10,000 people and even though they may not understand a word I sing, there’s a feeling and an emotion that connects us. People have been so receptive.

Liam Gerner, singer songwriter, Sonic Vista Studios

Photography by Ana Lui