There's something inherently classic - an elegance - to Downey's blend of pop, rock and folk. Reminiscent of Bryan Ferry or Leonard Cohen, his voice transports you somewhere deeply familiar. However, the songs are punctured and detailed by unmistakably contemporary sounds. He is an artist uniquely capable of balancing cheek and sincerity, classicism and swagger, and grandeur and restraint all within a single, composed breath.
Much like his music - limitations, stillness and contrast played a large part in Downey’s youth. A born entertainer, he grew up in rural Victoria on a property out of town, far from any audience. At 10 he was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis.
“I was a young boy with an old man’s body,” he explains. “There were days when I couldn’t walk and during the worst of it my hair turned grey for a while.” He matured fast and got a sense of humour about life fast too. “Being a forced bystander through those early years really bound me to my love of art, music and cinema.”
Running was recorded across New York and Melbourne - at the Brooklyn studio of Zoe Randell and Steven Hassett of duo Luluc. It was produced by Hassett, who Downey met when supporting Luluc on their 2014 tour. The two quickly became friends, recognising a kinship in their musical tastes and visions. It was a perfect pairing with the two of them embarking on an intense five weeks of recording. “Steve has an amazing, innovative ear and could always understand where I wanted to take something, how to achieve it and more importantly, when to stop me making the mistake of taking it there at all.”
Release: April 13th, 2018, Barely Dressed Records
Words: Barely Dressed/Remote Control