MOST year 12 students are bunkered down in their bedrooms studying for HSC exams, feverishly updating social media posts or scheming their next house party.
Not Tilly Murphy. The 17-year-old was pursuing a more artistic endeavour in her Merewether Heights bedroom – an album.
Alone and without an ounce of recording experience, Murphy – who performs under the name Fritz - used music production app GarageBand to construct an album that ranges from lo-fi punk pop (Yuk!), experimental electronica (SentiMental), to Joy Divison-style post-punk (Weirdo Waldo).
While plenty of musical teens are using the explosion of rudimentary home recording equipment to release their tunes, most aren’t as ambitious as Fritz. The self-titled album has attracted the attention of Triple J and trendy Sydney station FBi, who have featured Fritz as an artist to watch.
“I did the whole thing on GarageBand,” Murphy says. “It’s simple to use and I’m not a tech whiz. I just started making little beats and I stated writing songs on there.
“I didn’t even have any guitar pedals, I did it all on garage band.”
Nostalgia is the overriding theme on Fritz. That might seem peculiar for a 17-year-old, but as Murphy approaches adulthood there is a tender longing for the innocence and memories of childhood.
“I’ve always liked songs that make you think about your childhood,” she says. “Songs you used to listen to or that your parents listened to, and newer songs which somehow remind you of your childhood.”
Following the release of Fritz in March on free music sharing site Bandcamp, interest spiked at several record labels. However, Murphy was so naive about the music industry she ignored the initial approaches.
“When it was first released I got a couple of emails from I don’t know who, I didn’t even know what the words meant at the time - ‘PR’ ‘management’ or ‘labels’,” she says.
“I just kind of ignored it. I didn’t think I needed it at the time because I thought it’s just a little album, who cares?”
But many have cared. Due to demand Murphy has started doing Fritz shows and on Sunday at Argyle House she will debut her new band that includes Campbell Burns (Vacations), Darren James (Arcades and Lions) and April Caslick (Liberties).
Murphy has also been invited to perform at the Sydney music festival Sounds Of The Suburbs on September 3, which features indie bands Skegss, Camp Cope and Waax. Due to her age, Murphy’s mother accompanies her at shows.
Despite her growing profile in music circles, Murphy remains a normal teenager at Hamilton’s St Francis Xavier’s College.
“It’s funny because apart from my friends who follow me on Facebook and know what I’m up to, most people at school don’t know what I’m doing,” she says. “At assembly people play live songs, but I would never do that.
“I find it so much different playing in front of people at the Cambridge rather than school assembly.”
School is taking priority in the coming months. There’s HSC trials to complete then the final exams begin in October, but once that’s over Murphy hopes to release a new Fritz single to celebrate her 18th birthday on November 20.
“My main focus is school at the moment as it’s almost over, so why not go hard til the end,” she says. “Then after school I’m definitely going to focus on music.”