Interview: Etéana – hipflask

Interview: Etéana

We sat down with Lana Rothnie, the voice of etéana, which is comprised of herself and Peter McAvan. Hailing from Perth, Western Australia, etéana blend soulful r’n’b, jazz, dreampop and electronic soundscapes to create a creamy concoction set to thrill your aural tastebuds.


How would you describe your sound?
A mix between dreamy, electronic, soulful. It’s heavily influenced by jazz.

Are there any particular artists or groups that have influenced your music making?
My music taste is constantly changing, and is influenced by everything from local acts like Kucka, to the really classic jazz singers. Most of the time I’m just listening to My Bloody Valentine, which is funny because then we come up with all of this electronic music – on the side there is all this really noisy stuff that I’m making and listening to, and then we go back and make this super dreamy pop. It all works for me because its great to break it up. Also Frank Ocean and The Weeknd – The Weeknd was the first thing that really got us to start making music – we were listening to it and a lot of stuff was home produced – and people like James Blake who produced music in their own home got us thinking wow, we can start doing this with the right software, we can really just make it all on our own and that has really revolutionised everything for us, thanks to the internet. 

Do you think the internet has been very influential, especially with things like social media?
There has definitely been a lot of influence, but there are positives and negatives to it. I think that a lot of people think “wow, now i can be a DJ too,” and then they just kind of make really bad Skrillex remixes, and some other really terrible stuff. You really have to wade through all of that to get to the real gems – theres some really weird stuff, some really great stuff all hidden in the internet. In the beginning we were making everything on the computer so it was all digital, but I was drawn to analogue technology and started using a Micro Korg in our sets and hopefully we will keep expanding in both mediums as we progress.

Are there any songs that you maybe wish you hadn’t of done?
Uh no,  I think I like them all. Some of them expose parts of me that I am embarrassed about, and there are others that I have written in times of delusion. Sometimes i have had my ego at heart, and then look back on it and go “that’s not really me now – I am deeper than that and love more than that, I’m not so self-obsessed as that”. But I am glad that it shows all the aspects of the human emotion and everything that we go through.

Is there a song that you’re most proud of?
Hmm, well on the album, my favourite is probably one of the newer ones. “Tee-ball” is a song about my childhood. It’s about how my twin sister and I used to play tee ball at school. My sister had glasses, she really couldn’t see and she couldn’t wear her glasses when we played – she would just try to swing at the ball and it would just hit her. All the kids would try to get us to not be in their team – so we were always sitting there last when the teams were picked. I really remember that, so the song is about that experience, and about us letting go of the previous pains and bullying that we had been through in the past. The song is really important to me because it is about me, my sister and my brother, going through living in a country school and getting teased, and then me getting over that and not having a victim complex for the rest of my life. Its really expressing that no matter how bad things were, the important thing is to let go of your own grudges, and your own victimhood. 

Whats the story behind the name?
We thought of that a while back – it’s basically “Peter” and “Lana” without the first consonants. We really wanted it to sound organic and not have any associations so that it is just this new abstract thing that we are putting into the world.

What would you like etéana to be known for?
I want to be known for healing people with music. This is incredibly important for me because I actually have fibromyalgia and use music to heal myself,with things like binaural beats and a whole bunch of other musical things to meditate to. I want the music to really heal people and reach out to them, make them feel loved. And also to make people dance.

What goes through your head when you’re performing?
Usually at the start I’m thinking about all the technical things – am I singing in tune, am I singing in time? After I have done that, I’m thinking to myself that i need to reach out to the audience and just touch every single one of them at a different time. I will look each one of them in the eye at a different time. That’s what I’m really thinking about because it’s the most important thing – you are performing to people and entertaining them – you are giving them a little insight into your life and they need to feel like they are a part of it. 

Is there a side to your music that the public doesn’t always see?
The music making process is a challenge and often involves a really complex mix of emotions. The stuff behind the scenes that a lot of people may not know is that I spend a lot of time in pain, and then relieving myself of pain through music. I get up on stage in a lot of mixed emotional states, and am always battling fatigue. It’s strange, throughout the whole set I am kind of living and moving through the pain but at the same time it is bringing me into the “now” and making me aware of my own being and the great euphoria of life, love and music.  [Does the music distance you from the pain?] It comes and goes because the nerves are always bringing the pain back, but then the music, and intensely loving and needing the music, brings that release from pain. 

You can catch etéana’s blend of soulful r’n’b, jazz, dreampop and
electronic soundscapes on hipflask here:

Hussle Hussle – Mojos – 13th February 2015 

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