Angeline x Maroc
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and where has your career taken you so far?
I’m Angeline Armstrong, a Filipino-Kiwi-Australian musician and filmmaker. I’m currently based in Melbourne. In terms of where my career has taken me so far? Pursuing an artistic path has both pushed me to my limits and softened the fall. It’s an escape, an adventure, a medicine and a pursuit. It’s been a rise and fall of triumphs and giving up and getting back up again. I’ve learnt to embrace the cycle and make lots of friends along the way.
How did you first find your voice and make your way to Telenova?
I was actually at a point of throwing-in-the-towel with music just before I met the other two musicians who make up Telenova, Ed & Josh. I mean, not throw it away completely, but in terms of ‘pursuing it as a career’ or seriously in a ‘music industry’ sense. I was just feeling pretty lost and disillusioned with past experiences in the ‘industry’, feeling quite powerless and disconnected from my art, and unsure of where my creative voice had gone. Or whether I had any sound of my own left at all.
Being an early-career musician, it can be hard to break through and find those early connections who respect and really hear your voice for who you are. The first day of meeting Ed and Josh was at an APRA AMCOS Songwriting Camp called SongHubs. We’d been selected and invited by Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie) and as if the invitation didn’t knock me completely off my feet, writing with Ed and Josh was just the easiest and most creatively freeing songwriting session I’d been in.
We wrote ‘Tranquilize’ on that first day, and haven’t looked back since. There was a real creative chemistry from day one, and a mutual respect for the unique perspective and musicianship we all bring to the project. I felt so supported and heard, and it’s been so encouraging hearing close family and friends say that this music finally feels like my voice.
Whilst you have honed your captivating vocals for Telenova, you’ve also managed to forge an impressive path through other creative mediums. What led you to film & writing?
I’ve wanted to make movies since I was a kid! I think it’s the desire to ‘create another world’ that has always played into a desire to write, or create music, or make films. In everything I create - whether that’s screenwriting, filmmaking or songwriting - I think I’m just tapping into 5-year-old Ange playing pretend in the garden, making castles out of cardboard boxes, rivers out of blankets and putting on plays at my grandparents’ house to the backing track of grandpa’s birdsong tapes. I just want to create another world and take an audience along with me.
Where do you seek inspiration for your creative pursuits? Is there a well-worn rhythm or do the processes change each time?
Inspiration comes from everywhere for me. Relationships, people watching, the sky, a warm bath, my favourite plays, an old movie, a phone call from home, a streetlight catching the morning fog. The process naturally changes and evolves for me, because I draw my inspiration from living. I can’t really imagine any other way. It’s always felt as if little images, ideas, thoughts, observations, words, pictures - are all floating around in my brain like thin silver threads, and eventually certain threads will start clinging to others, and weave and intertwine to form thicker threads, and as they grow, so grows a solid idea for a story - whether that’s in lyric form, prose or a film.
How have you been keeping sane through Melbourne’s lockdown? Any fun lockdown rituals?
Avatar: the Last Airbender got me through this most recent lockdown! I know it has quite a cult following, even though it’s technically a kids show, but I’d never seen it. Towards the last episodes I had to space it out, because I was so sad about the thought of it ending. I also got married in May and moved into a new place with my husband, so, homemaking and navigating newly married life was a pretty fun novelty to keep me sane. Fortunately we’ve been keeping each other sane rather than the opposite haha.
What are your plans for the future? Can we expect to see more from Telenova on the horizon?
So many dreams for the future, a lot of solid plans too. We’re actually kind of ahead of ourselves in terms of the song writing - we had so much time in lockdown to write, that we’ve got quite a backlog and are only writing more and more. We just love making music together. So you can certainly expect lots more music over the years to come. We’re ambitious about building a really substantial body of work. And we’re looking towards doing some international touring in 2022/2023, after our two sold out tours in Australia this year.
Maroc the label is centred around sustainable ethics and a commitment to women. Why do you think slow fashion is important?
The Western World is this weird contradiction of being driven by consumerism and materialism, but also not valuing material things at all. Especially with something like clothes - the expectation is to burn through trends every few months, where these clothes you may have cared about one month, just end up in landfill the next without a second thought. That’s kinda neither valuing the item of clothing, nor the earth that the clothing ends up polluting. And on a larger scale - the ramifications of the fashion industry churning out new and affordable trends with fast fashion - is that both people and the land have to be exploited and underpaid along the way.
I’m a Christian and we’re taught through the bible that humanity is called to be ‘stewards’ of creation (i.e. to take care of the whole world and all the living creatures and people within it). Part of loving and valuing and ‘caring for creation’, is having an appreciation for material things. For me, I’m not properly caring for the world unless I can look down the chain of production and say - this item of clothing, this piece of craftsmanship, has used the land and its resources sustainably and has been a source of pride, income and dignity for the people who have crafted it.
It’s becoming easier to choose to buy sustainable and ethical through the slow fashion movement - I think making little steps collectively will ultimately change things. Valuing the clothes we own for a longer time, by buying quality items rather than quantity, and being willing to pay more for something that’s values the earth and the people who have contributed to its making.
Right now, whilst we can’t travel we can still dream. What destination is at the top of your list?
Oh I’ve spent plenty of time dreaming. Road tripping through little villages in Spain is at the top of my list I reckon - I just want beaches, tapas, late nights in the plaza and long sunsets (I know that’s a pretty tourist segment answer, but after being cooped up in lockdown, that is truly the dream).
Who is your biggest female role model and why?
I want three! My mum, my grandma and my Lola (*Filipino grandma). They’ve all been so resilient, so strong, so resourceful and such a rock for the wider family through good times and bad. And they’re also all out there living their own lives with a really cool independence - they fill their days pursuing and enjoying things they love, surrounded with people they love. That’s success to me.
What small effort do you think we could all do more of to raise up other women?
Celebrate one another! I think inherently (or at least inherited by our socio-cultural context) women have a much higher sense of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. We could all do with our fellow-woman celebrating and affirming our efforts - rather than tearing each other down or being unnecessarily critical.