Caitlin Harnett and The Pony Boys on new single ‘5AM’ and why country music hits you in the heart

Sydney band Caitlin Harnett and The Pony Boys’ latest single 5AM is out today with a video that encapsulates the sunny, tongue in cheek vigour the band is becoming known for. Written on the road in the USA amidst a whirlpool of emotions, 5AM explores the fear in the unknown and the perennial paradox of love and hate when questionable decisions are made. Their newest release will warm your heart while gently slicing it in two - our favourite type of ditty. We spoke with singer Caitlin Harnett ahead of their upcoming (sold-out and socially-distanced) single launch live shows in Sydney.


What was the writing process behind 5AM like – did you come up with this in one go, or was it a song that evolved over time?

I wrote this song when I was on tour in the USA with my guitarist, Sam and our friends from Charleston, South Carolina, SUSTO. It’s a very literal song haha! I had been in Canada prior to going to the states and I’d made a couple of stupid decisions with my heart that led me to being on the road in the deep south of America, thinking I was pregnant and going into a complete melt down!!! Turned out everything was fine in the end. This song came out in about half an hour while we were out on this beautiful property staying with family of the band. It’s probably the most personal song I’ve ever written.



What do you want people to take away from listening to 5am?

I hope it’s something that a lot of women can relate to and not be afraid to talk about. I also hope that it can be a song for anyone going through that shitty time when you love someone, but you hate them, you still want to be around them, but you don’t. Just tell them to take a hike!


Where did you film the video for 5AM and who directed it? Did you work on this concept together?

We filmed it out at the Australiana Pioneer Village in Wilberforce which is near where I grew up. It was really special to film it out there close to home. It was filmed by Jack Saltmiras and directed by Aimee-Lee X. Curran. We all came up with the concept together; though Aimee wrote the script. I don’t like to take myself too seriously and want all my clips to be quite comedic. I think we’ve nailed a kind of twisted Australian story here haha!



What do you miss most about playing live in Sydney and touring as often as you and the Pony Boys were last year? Have you found your shows, though there are less in 2020, feel bigger (metaphorically speaking) and more meaningful as a result?

I miss the feeling of playing sweaty shows and dancing and seeing people singing a long with me and I miss being allowed to drag 20 people up on stage. It’s definitely a different vibe now. I think I look forward to shows even more, because they’re so few and far between at the moment. I’m enjoying having that one on one time with the audience. Opening up our stage and letting them get to know us on a different level has been really cool.



You have been playing live music and writing songs for {I may be wrong!, is it way more?} well over 12 years now. What have you learnt about the industry during this time and how have you seen it change? What advice would you give to young artists in 2020?

It’s been really amazing for me to have grown as a musician and release music through different periods of time in my life. With the never-ending support and love from my beautiful mother, who guided me so fiercely throughout my younger years in the music industry, I have learnt a lot. The business side of the music industry is a beast and I definitely got lost in there for a while which is why it’s taken me so long to release new music. But now I’m just focusing on the music and not the rest. (Well, not as much, cos someone’s still gotta do it, ha!) Thats my advice for anyone starting out. Don’t forget the reason why you started making music. For me, I was an 11 year old girl, sitting in my room writing stories which then turned into songs. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else but myself and that’s something that can get lost along the way, so hold onto it tight.


I am a big fan of your “Bad Bitches” playlist on spotify. Kylie Minogue, The Cranberries, Shania Twain, Tracey Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Garbage, Janet Jackson, the list goes on. If you had to sum up just one of these women and how they have influenced your taste in music and the music you make, who would it be and how bad are they on a scale of 1 to 100 baddy?

Oh dear, this is a hard one. This playlist is a bit of a 90’s throwback so in saying that I’m going to have to pick Kylie. Whilst I wouldn’t say she influences the music I make currently she definitely played a big part at the beginning of my writing years. I had ‘Did It Again’ on cassette and I taped the video clip on Rage and would watch it all the time. I thought she was so cool. Grungy 90’s pop Kylie is the best!!! I give her a 100 for badassery.


You also play in Andy Golledge’s band – and I understand you two are long-time friends - how did you two start working together? It was a delight to watch you two perform a stripped back set in support of DMAs at their recent gigs in Sydney.

It all began on a winters night in 2015 at 88 Victoria Rd with a pack of cuban cigars and a bottle of rum. We’ve been playing together ever since.


Which album – new or old – has guided you through lockdown and the like in 2020?

James Thomson - Golden Exile. This record is everything and has seen me through a number of debaucherous COVID nights at home.


Once travel restrictions ease, and you’re allowed to travel anywhere in the world for inspiration and time to write, where will/ would you go and why?

I’d go to Italy. I was supposed to go there for my 30th this year and visit the town my Nonno’s family lived, but of course it couldn’t be. I’ve only ever been to America so I’m dying to get to Europe and explore and get a little creative boost!


What is it about country music, particularly sung by a female, that hits so hard in the heart and soul?

Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I think it’s the aching tenderness in her voice and the woman’s perspective that gets right into all those sorrowful parts of your soul.


What is the greatest life advice you’ve ever been given?

Never squat while wearing spurs.



Watch the video for 5AM here.


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