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Joe Mungovan’s Sophomore Era Reflections

Illawarra indie darling Joe Mungovan has recently released his second studio album, SUGAR, CANDY, LIPS, a masterclass 9-track record full to the brim with smooth, funky alt-pop perfection. SUGAR, CANDY, LIPS, is a collection of observations on a creatively chaotic and jam-packed period in his life. It follows the release of his debut album, A Flower In The Weeds, which arrived to audiences in 2021, and exhibits a great deal of exciting change, stylistic development and sonic experimentation since that point. Recorded between Joe’s home studio on NSW’s South Coast and The Grove Studios (Birds Of Tokyo, Violent Soho, Vera Blue, DMA’s), the new album was mixed by Izaac Wilson (The Moving Stills, Chillinit), and mastered by Joe Carra (Genesis Owusu, Courtney Barnett, The Teskey Brothers).

In celebration of the release of SUGAR, CANDY, LIPS, Joe has shared with us 5 things that felt different, or happened differently, in the process of creating this, his second album, compared to the debut album cycle. Read on below to ponder these reflections with Joe:

Collaboration: I’d say the biggest change from ‘A Flower In The Weeds’ was the collaborative aspect on this album. On AFITW, I played all the instruments myself. On ‘Sugar, Candy, Lips’ I had over 40 friends/musicians involved in the recording and writing process. This community and gathering has been the most important, gratifying and rewarding aspect of the entire project. On Mon Cheri, my co-producer and I had a collection of artists send recordings from around the globe to lay down a virtual choir for the track and on Watermelon, we sought out the talents a local female choir from Dapto NSW, who had never recorded music before to literally weave the sense of community we were longing for into the album.

Themes: I had to navigate the way to approach discussing difficult topics such as greed, addiction, lust, overconsumption, and our society’s blindness to these things, without coming across as cynical or judgemental. These themes touch my life also, and it’s not lost on me that many of them had to be used to produce this album… but it was a cathartic experience to call out how I see some of these things being misused in my life and in the lives of those around me and reconfigure what feels like a healthier relationship with them.

Flow: I took a much more ‘trust the process’ approach with this album. I think when you let others into the creative space of making an album, you have to be malleable and willing to let everyone add their own flavour to your work. This often means letting go of the control of what you think the song should sound like, and letting it find its own path.

Producer: Previously to recording this album, I’d never even met Izaac. I’m now lucky enough to call him one of my mates. The texture and colour he added to the songs really helped glue the whole album together. It was a pleasure to watch him in action and to now have his ideas scattered through this body of work.

Time: This was the quickest project from start to end that I’ve worked on so far. The time it took from writing the songs, to having the final product really forced me to make quick decisions and not overthink things.

Written by John Zebra