Tash Sultana might not be the most obvious choice to record a song for the hugely anticipated new video game The Last Of Us Part II, but the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist says it was an easy thing to say yes to.
The internationally acclaimed, ARIA-winning Australian singer-songwriter freely admits to not being a gamer, isn’t much interested in recording cover versions and wasn’t even a particular fan of the “dark folk” style of Through the Valley, the Shawn James song that became a viral sensation when it featured on the 2016 trailer for what is expected to be one of the biggest gaming releases of the year.
“The song is not my typical taste of music but I appreciate everyone’s artistry and when I heard the song, I heard how I could do it,” Sultana says. “The person who wrote the song, who is a really lovely guy actually, reached out to me and said that he really loved my version of the track. So, I think I have done it the best justice it could possibly have.”
Sultana says not knowing just what a big deal the PlayStation 4 game was until being clued in by friends was actually helpful but the enthusiastic response from loyal fans and new converts alike has been gratifying.
“I was saying to my sister’s boyfriend, who is a gamer, that I was going to re-record a track for PlayStation – and it was for a game called The Last Of Us Part II and he was like ‘are you f—king serious? That is like THE game’,” Sultana says with a laugh.
“It’s almost nice not to know how big something is because then it doesn’t distract you from having this massive expectation. I just got in there and did the track because I thought I could I could work it out and I think when you don’t have an expectation of your work criteria, that’s when you do it genuinely and honestly.”
Sultana wants to branch out into soundtracks and films scores and said it was well worth making the time in a busy schedule to record Through The Valley. While many musicians have been struggling as COVID-19 has thrown their touring plans into chaos, Sultana is grateful to not be playing shows while making the follow-up to debut album Flow State, which reached No. 2 on the ARIA chart in 2018 and also made healthy inroads overseas.
“There would literally have been no way I could have made my second album if I was touring this year,” Sultana says. “It would have been an absolute disaster I reckon. I have been in there most days of the week for at least ten hours a day and I have been doing that for the last almost ten months now. And to achieve what I have been trying to achieve in there would not have been possible if I had shows this year.”
The coming release, entitled Terra Firma, is about “getting back to basics” for the multi-instrumentalist, who over the past decade has enjoyed an extraordinary journey from busking on the streets of Melbourne, through drug abuse and mental illness to becoming one of the country’s hottest musical properties.
“Terra firma, those words mean the earth, the ground,” Sultana says. “So it’s kind of like a huge reflection of the present and past things that have happened to me over maybe the last year and a half of my life. It’s like a big log of my challenges and all of that. It’s about coming back down to earth and putting my feet back on the ground and reconnecting with friends and family and sanity and health and my inner child as well.”
Greed, the second single from the album was released yesterday, and Sultana says the title is pretty self-explanatory.
“It’s all in the name really,” Sultana says with a laugh. “I mean we see it all the time within our political figures and whatnot. It’s a human trait that happens when you get too much of something and you forget that less is more. It’s not about me being greedy, it’s about when you achieve a certain amount of success, people around you become greedy. There are people I have not spoken to for ten f–king years and they think they will be getting VIP tickets to a show and we’re going to be hanging out. People just always want something from you. That is greed.”
The Last Of Us Part II is out now for PS4. Greed is out now.
Originally published as Why Tash Sultana is relishing life in lockdown