E^ST: The Best Things In Life Are Free
Still a teenager, E^ST has accomplished much in her relatively short time on the music scene. Just five years ago, a then 13-year-old Mel Bester signed a publishing deal with Swedish label The Kennel and she hasn’t stopped since. E^ST (pronounced East) now has three EPs to her name, has toured with Japanese Wallpaper and Twenty One Pilots and has filmed multiple highly polished video clips, bringing some of her best future-pop tracks to the flat screen.
Her latest super catchy single, ‘Get Money!’, is currently tearing up radio waves. But the track title is somewhat misleading; If I end up on the streets, oh, at least I’m making beats / If I got no home, got a microphone and got pedals at my feet. “The song’s actually about cutting yourself loose from the world’s expectations and just doing what makes you happy, despite the physical situation that may put you in,” Bester says.
Another single off the Get Money! EP is social commentary track ‘Screentime’. The thudding, grungy beat ties in delightfully with the light and poppy keys section to create a finessed electro-pop sound. The video sees millennials with eyes exclusively on their phones surrounding E^ST as she tries to get their attention via a snazzy megaphone. Somewhat ironically, the extras in the clip were found after E^ST did a call out to fans over her Facebook page. “I was definitely nervous that no one would show,” she laughed. “But the angels came through for me! They were the loveliest people and total pros even though it was probably the first time some of them had been on a set.”
Whilst this super switched on up-and-comer doesn’t shy away from highlighting social issues, her writing stems from her own life too. ‘Disappear’, from her second EP The Alley, was a cathartic release during her parents’ divorce. “I definitely draw on personal experiences. But I also draw inspiration from the people in my life, and sometimes from stories or photos. It’s great to use songwriting as a personal outlet, but songwriters can also be storytellers and I try to keep myself open to that.”
Adding to the proof that traditional schooling isn’t for everyone, E^ST bailed on studying year 12 to pursue her musical dreams, and it’s paying dividends. “I definitely feel it was the right call. This is a tough industry, and you have to be able to put your everything into it … I still get moments where I kinda freak out about not having finished school, but whatever,” she adds nonchalantly. E^ST is set to take the stage during Canberra’s freshest festival Spilt Milk and is looking forward to the event. “Honestly, the whole line-up is so amazing! But I would love to meet Violent Soho … [Canberra] feels very peaceful and serene to me, kind of what I picture Alaska to be like.”