FOR many people Nick Drake's Pink Moon soundtracks the tragedy of an unappreciated genius lost under the weight of his own demons.
Yet Demi Mitchell sees light and inspiration amid the darkness.
The Maitland-raised singer-songwriter was 19 when she discovered the English folk classic courtesy of fellow musician James Thomson. Often she would drive to Newcastle and sit on the beach alone, listening to the poetic imagery and sparse acoustic production under the moonlight.
"It's one of those records you can listen from start to finish, the tracks flow into each other," Mitchell says. "It has that repetitive, rhythmic, meditative thing as well.
"It's why it resonated with so many people. It's one of those records that feels like a grounding meditation."
Pink Moon was Drake's third and final album, released in 1972. Due to Drake's reluctance to tour or promote his music and his debilitating depression, the album, just like its predecessors Five Leaves Left (1969) and Bryter Layter (1970) sold poorly. This was despite critical acclaim.
Following Pink Moon Drake retreated to his parents home in rural Warwickshire to live in seclusion before he died in November 1974 from an overdose of antidepressants. Despite being relatively ignored during his lifetime, by the '80s Drake had gained widespread fame as a folk genius.
Popular music readily romanticises artists that die young, particularly through self-destruction. Joy Division's Ian Curtis and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, like Drake, are poster boys for the "doomed genius" stereotype.
"I know a lot of people hear the record and think, 'what a sad record', but to me, I don't hear it that way at all," Mitchell says.
"I actually find really hopeful sentiments in it. It made me want to write as well, because you can provide people with that cathartic experience even if you're not in a good place yourself. You can make someone else feel less alone."
Mitchell became so enamoured with Drake's music she adopted his open C guitar tuning from the song Free Ride on her debut album, If We Don't Leave Now, released under her former moniker De'May in 2014.
Yet it's lyrically, where Pink Moon had the greatest influence on Mitchell's songwriting.
"I've always felt like I'm not someone who is a story-teller and I think that's why I loved Nick Drake so much," she says. "It's not so much about telling stories as it is being so emotive and taking you to a particular place.
"I feel like that's how I write my music."
During the COVID-19 pandemic Mitchell knuckled down writing songs for the follow-up to her 2018 album The Overflow, which received a four-star review in German Rolling Stone and praise from French-Canadian newspaper Le Devoir.
"The theme between them is loss, whether it's loss of a loved one, relationships or even just different versions of yourself," she says of the new songs. "It's a real exploration of loss and hopefully coming out the other side with good feelings."
Albums That Made Me #1: Tori Forsyth on Nirvana's In Utero
Albums That Made Me #2: James Thomson on the genius of Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited
Albums That Made Me #3: Lachlan X. Morris on Wilco's sprawling A Ghost Is Born
Albums That Made Me #4: Grace Turner on Tracey Chapman's acclaimed debut
Albums That Made Me #5:Ben Leece on Public Enemy's Fear Of A Black Planet