Music / Features
Track by Track:
Hope Wilkins - Coffee Cups
Words by Josh Hicks
Friday 16th October, 2020
On her long-awaited debut EP Coffee Cups, Canberra-based singer-songwriter Hope Wilkins shares a collection of evocative indie-rock, packed with heartfelt musings and wry jabs at toxic exes. Now one week since its release, Hope gave us the inside scoop into what inspired the EP.
Hailing from the country’s parliamentary capital, Hope Wilkins has made a name for herself with her expressive blend of folk, rock, punk and soul, with a voice that could fill up a stadium. After spending the past few years supporting acts like Art Vs Science and Greta Stanley, and building a devout following of fans, she’s finally unveiled her debut EP Coffee Cups.

Opening with ‘Bloodloss’, we’re immediately introduced to the power and grandiosity of Hope and her full band. Although unpinned by a sense of despondency, the soulful track still packs one hell of a punch, showing off Hope’s impressive vocal ability with each of the heart-rending choruses. Next up is ‘L.I’, a track that was released earlier this year as the first taste of what the EP would become. A folk-punk track with a hint of soft-emo cynicism, ‘L.I’ quickly revealed Hope’s ability to contradict herself musically, its upbeat tempo and bright chords starkly contrasted by her wry lyrics and ‘fuck you’ attitude. Followed by EP highlight ‘You & Other Drugs’, we’re again shown Hope’s ability to blend conflicting moods effortlessly, the dynamic track simultaneously sounding lovesick and empowering at once.

‘Fly For Me’, the next track and the EP’s latest single, is the most personal track of an EP dedicated to personal tracks. The acoustic folk piece predominately features layered acoustic guitars and wavering vocals and reverberating harmonise, before exploding into a tumultuous instrumental bridge section, brimming with passion. As the title track rounds out the EP with its distinctive western feel, the emotion that’s been building throughout finally erupts. There’s a deep sense of angst and anger to the track, especially so as Hope delivers her final line “no they don’t give a damn or a fuck or shit about me”, and although she's referring to members of the music industry, it’s easy for this moment to resonate, transcending past the specifics and leaving a powerful mark on listenesr.

The EP displays her ability to musically chameleonize, shifting genre to genre with her tactile voice suiting whichever direction it is taken. Hope did us the pleasure of sharing some deep insight into the origins of Coffee Cups.

I had just come out of a long-term relationship and just felt like I’d lost myself and didn’t really know how to be alone. ‘Bloodloss’ is about exactly that, feeling lost in your own skin. This track has pretty transparent lyrics that reflect pretty much exactly how I felt at the time. I was in a rough place in my own head when this was written, but kind of used it as a way to move through my thoughts.


I was 17 or so when I wrote this song and completely forgot about it, until I got one of my old laptops working and came across this dingy little recording of it. I remembered how much I missed it and reworked it with the band. It feels strangely nostalgic playing it because I wrote it so long ago, but it’s still so relevant today. This track makes me smile whenever I think of the person that hurt me and I wanted to share that same empowerment with others who had even been through the same thing or experienced something similar.

You & Other Drugs

‘You & Other Drugs’ was written in a garage at a party after a few too many. I ran into an old friend (who now plays guitar with me) and we just went and jammed together out the back. He randomly started fiddling with this beautiful rhythm and I was just kind of improvising melodies. I had all these recordings on my phone that we listened back to the next day, and the main line “but if you come back now, promise that I’ll love you like I used to” got stuck in my head. The rest of the song somewhat wrote itself after that.

Fly For Me

‘Fly For Me’ is by far the deepest track on the EP. There’s a certain vulnerability that came with writing and releasing this track as it’s very personal to me. I was going through my own mental health issues and financial difficulties - struggling to pay my bills. This track really focuses on those hard times and how they can completely destroy and then re-build you. My family member had also just lost a close childhood friend and seeing the pain and effect it had on them had a very strong influence on my writing.

Coffee Cups

I was feeling pretty mixed up about the industry and the trust issues you develop within it, and creating this song was a reminder to myself that the right people will love and stick by you. Even though I felt like I wasn’t meeting my own or others’ expectations of myself, I was sitting in the sun with my partner drinking wine out of this shitty mug and everything felt right. This track is about the fear of failure and letting it go. I brought ‘Coffee Cups’ to the band the day after getting all the lyrics down and it was melodically one of the quickest songs we’d constructed. It just flowed together really freely and naturally.

Coffee Cups is out now in all the usual places, and if you're lucky enough to be in Canberra, you can catch Hope and her band launching the EP on Friday, November 6th at The Basement.