Sydney native, Via Tania, is a self-described outsider, but she's quick to note, "I've always been quite comfortable with it, though." Tania's quiet confidence is best on display with new album, Moon Sweet Moon, a collection songs ranging from whispered melodics to theatrically placed intonations.

We wanted to get to know the woman behind the mysteriously intriguing music, so we had a little chat with Tania to talk about her early musical career through this latest release.

SB: You've been playing music since an early age, more so rooted in the underground noise pop scene. What were your earliest musical inspirations to get you started?

VT: There were some bands I enjoyed going to see play live, that were based in Sydney ,and I was able to see them play throughout the 90s. The Hummingbirds, Ratcat, The Falling Joys to name a few. It was a good scene when I started to see live bands, I was underage but that didn't stop me, I really loved it. I loved seeing the women in these bands rock out too, but still be totally feminine about it. It really was great because up until then Australia suffered from a very macho pub rock scene and there were women here and there like Lindy Morrison (Go Betweens) before that but for the most part I wasn't aware of too many indie rock ladies. The other inspiration was my sister Kim who was older and just spent time working out cool songs on the guitar. She taught me to play by ear.

SB: After playing in the band SPDFGH (which was a facet of that early 90s postpunk scene), your style changed when you began working on solo efforts that focused more on an ethereally based sound. How and what sparked the transition from one genre to this, which is so drastically different?

VT: After a few years of playing this kind of garagey pop music I began to feel the need to balance it out with my own songs that didn't really suit the band format. I often only listened to music when it was late out and getting ready to fall asleep so naturally folky stuff was what I was listening to. I can't say I was ever hell bent on making it ethereal. It just sort of went that way. But the timing was also right, just at the end of SPDFGH days I met Tony Dupé who was beginning to make records in an old beach house on the coast of NSW, a great location and there was no pressure, no money and no one really knew we were making stuff. It was a perfect first experience to do some solo songs.

SB: Your solo debut came out in 2004. Now, 5 years later, the sophomore album, Moon Sweet Moon, is ready for release. Was this album all of the 5 years in the making and what was the process like in getting this album to where you wanted it to be?

VT: It indeed took a long time to make but it was more stopping the project, starting it again that stretched it out...

I'd record, run out of money, think about what to do next. Relocate, start that all again.

The project only really started shaping up to be it's own little record when Craig agreed to mix it. Before then it was a collection of songs and tracks that went in every which way and direction. A lot changes in 5 years! But, mixing and editing I think is where the real magic happens, that transforms songs and ideas into a record.

SB: Speaking of Craig [Ross] (who's done projects with Emmylou Harris and Spoon) on this album. Can you talk a little about the process of collaborating with him?

VT: He has a studio in Austin TX he built with friends, which has a great vibe. Collaborating with him was like working with a musician that I could trust. He has a melodic ear but he also had a great sense of who I was and what I wanted to say with that record. Also, he pushed me to cut stuff and start again which I enjoyed.

SB: Self-described as "moon pop", can you elaborate on why this is a fitting descriptor of your music?

VT: I love phrases with "moon" in them. I like the idea of the moon. I like moon imagery. I make pop music.

SB: You've played bass, along with singing, in your previous works. Do you play anything on this album?

VT: I think bass on a song, ukulele on most. And some guitar and keyboards.

SB: When was the last time you were in NYC? You're getting ready to head here for CMJ next week!

VT: I was in NYC to play last June I think. I do come to New York a few times a year for various things. I have Thanksgiving there too! I'm looking forward to a new experience with CMJ. I'm kind of curious about it.

Well, we're also itching to catch Via Tania during her stretch here next week. And if you want to see what a live moon pop experience is, check her out at the following spots.

October 22 - Le Poisson Rouge
October 23 - Norwood Showcase
October 24 - Joe’s Pub

mp3: Via Tania - Wonder Stranger