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The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Will climate change kill the Arctic Monkeys?

Andrew Ryan

Yes. It will kill all your favourite bands. But don't worry it will kill all the poor people who live by the water first. They might ask to come in, you'll say NO.

It's all over. Your daughter might listen to the monkeys up on Mars. She brought a canister up there, with "Sounds from Earth", genre "World Music" on it. African monkeys, Arctic monkeys - those entries come one after the other, because there wasn't time at the end, or monkeys, to get the full range of what Earth used to have to offer. 

This wasn't going to be lighthearted, but the truth is, I thought all day about the Great Barrier Reef, and a suddenly dead, disappeared huge river in Canada, but I still managed to laugh and smile tying bells to huge chopsticks for our other friends' wedding. Our friend told us a story about learning she was not Italian but Indonesian, and then learning she was not Indonesian but Chinese: slippery but good-hearted fathers.

All those places end up on the canister. Once you can't see Venice anymore you can still talk about it, like Atlantis. Venice, the second Atlantis of Earth, if you don't count Kiribati, the Solomons, Nuatambu, Choiseul, Taro, because they are poor and brown and fleeing. DON'T LET THEM IN. Do they even know how to DJ house music?

I wonder what they'll play over the speakers as the last Mars ship takes off. The launching pads have ocean water and a cyclone and desperate reindeer lapping at their feet. Will it be "The End of the World" 1962 semi-classic song by Skeeter Davis, made famous by the series "Mad Men", or will it be a song from the Murrum people of Norn Norn Nup (Walpole) sung for thousands of centuries and containing all the information we needed to live here forever until the sun dies.

That's the hope, another earth, another state of existance. "The End of the World" is country music, another dead genre. No houses, no countries, no gods, no masters, on Mars. Jks, just no houses.

I tend to think, everything is important. Every good action is worth doing, even if it's miniscule. But perhaps eschewing takeaway coffee cup lids is stopping me from starting or joining a true revolution. 

The 61,000 starved to death frozen reindeer are probably still there on the Russian peninsula. They will provide protein for the last rich people. Maybe Leonardo Di Caprio will remake "The Revenant" in real life, feasting on that last frozen flesh, afforded a plane ticket because everyone preferred coal and oil powered movie screens and plastic drink bottles and celebrity worship over taking care of Krill or Dragonflies or Balga Trees. 

My daughter is looking down from the rocket - this might seem like sci-fi but it's actually happening, I saw the vision on the land of the Murrum people looking up to Mars last week with 10 teenage boys, leading them through a wilderness we're ending, telling them over and over and they mocking me back with the words "Don't Step on the Moss!" as if it mattered. 

There you go. And what did we get for the end of the world? The cool aesthetic of the industrial revolution. BCF. Space travel. The concept of "work" (economics, not physics). White rice. A typewriter. Dying arctic monkeys. 

A new thing, homo ludens

Andrew Ryan

there's a whole theory about humans being more "players" than "thinkers". the guy's name escapes me, run run down the same track as all the memories of dreams, and the names of people who were special and it seemed i'd die if they didn't talk to me, look at me.

anyway the theory is called homo ludens. so i was thinking, why is it we "play" music? even in french, it's playing. what's it in your mother language? is it playing? doing? working? touching?

well, cause here it's play, it doesn't matter if anyone is watching or not. i'm 36 now so my body's just trying to get impregnated at any chance. but that's mixed in with me being a super private person who keeps their body to themselv. maybe part of the sublimation of those feelings is through music. the self that's trying to make a new thing plays alone or with another person and makes a new body. a body of a tiny baby, a body of a great piece of music that only you and nick in the music room have heard. we made a beautiful song, sprawling long organs, pt30 casio, guitar through all the wazzlers, voices through the 0s and 1s of digital crustacean, bit crushing, on and offing, pitch shaping, twisting, it was the perfect languid beast, ending up on a journey across the tasman strait, with leonie in the middle of it, her hair flapping wet across her face in the strait winds. "you caught a plane over/ but i put you on a ship/ your hair blowing/ you got a plate of weetbix". that's how it starts. but then alone nick took it over in a different direction, it's like the shape shifting musk duck in my dream, switching between immature teenager and duck - you might wish a body would keep its form… but that's the ultimate beauty , the change, which is also a euphemism for menopause.

we played a show on saturday and no-one was there, except ringham and pandora and all the people who played, and gentle lovely jim the sound man who i think likes my personality but not my music, with water from the band room above dripping onto his sound desk.

the rosemount was gutted out in a way that made it much, much, much cooler. the floor all concrete, wires hanging down from the roof, a big puddle of lake on the concrete floor which i dipped my boots into along with the rhythms of "reeks".

all the music was better for having no-one there. everyone was just playing not interacting with a crowd.

jordan shakespeare was first. he looks like a cool guy, he's got hair he's got glasses, a face, a tshirt, jeans, the coolest thing i know about him is that he used to really drink and now he doesn't, surrounded by cool kids in jeans also, getting high on cool things like liquid xanax, a kool look that writes both ways and takes you both ways, into a party zone and into temporary sleep - i'm just guessing.

i think my friend was on it when she had a big fight with her boyfriend which extended to all the extended friends, she's got the cool dark eyebrows with blonde hair combination and aside from teenage immaturity is one of the only true genius musicians i've met.

so from upstairs where kate with a big split in her dress to see her strong pale leg and i were talking to the Dirac Sea boys, kate explaining Safe Spaces and how no there wasn't going to be a panel after all because xanthea had got death threats for writing a mild article about sexism in band art and used maybe not the best examples, jordan's music was wafting strongly up to us. not pale, who did he have playing drums for him? someone great but when we went downstairs it was no-one, as in his own playing self from the computer. good work. big guitar, big drums, no voice to wash out the sense of it with too many overlaid words potentially in a non-self accent.

nathan too, no words. one time he was djing at the norfolk and leant me a jumper and that's the sense he gives off, good guy, always with a jumper to give and something humourous and intelligent to add to the playful conversation. what is this? am i reviewing these people as people? homohomo, manman. if i am, then he had tom on visuals, the only man i've been truly in love with since teenagehood, making everyone see his genius. he was holding a vhs camera, but with good reason, pointing it at the screen, with cut out dogs, poems about being on a plane to bali listening to bob marley, and legolas carrying his arrows in a coles bag. see? genius.

i forgot the cords for my main keyboard, so me and nick had to lay our balls out across the stage, skinned, with the scrotum open and the stringy bit stringing along. we made things up, in front of people, nick made things up with his mouth and wazzling guitar and me with the tiny casio and my stringy looped nuts. then i stood on one leg and sung an old song, then another old old song because nick MADE me do it with his eyes.

Reeks was next, no words again, phew. beautiful beats to which i whispered "footwork" to nick not knowing if that was right. he covered his head and face with his shirted cape so apparently you don't need a face to be cool. this all appeals to me, crushed chopped or screwed or worked beats and samples pinging over a concrete floor, dipping boots into water, never knowing if sincere worded songs, strongly pronounced production and true metallic metal exist in everyone's mind as the same thing, but they do in mine and they do in kate's who put the whole thing together. "it's better that no-one's here" i whisper in her ear, she kisses my cheek, and in my mind now telling her "it just means there's more room for us to make new beings to fill the space also, beings of our imagination, beings poured onto wet concrete, exchange of energy only, but still a new thing."

*this is about a show at the Rosemount Hotel, 25th March 2017, with Jordan Shakespeare, Henry Kissenger (Nathan Tempra w Tom Rogers), Rabbit Island, Reeks and Dirac Sea, by On The Side (Kate Daniel)

 

 

International Women's Day, You've Got Great Legs

Andrew Ryan

Steve Summerlin (Mink Mussel Creek, ALZABO) has beautiful legs, so I told him so. It was at a pale male gig - Reef Prince, GUM, Nicholas Allbrook, Lost Animal, and he was in short shorts as usual and the big padded workboots that Lost Animal was admiring. The boots are like what a dingo hunter would wear who has become a vegan.

I met a guy like that on the weekend - ex hunter vegan - we were spraypainting election banners out the back of a house of a mum who makes organic jams and used to be a biologist, and now lets people spraypaint banners and accidentally her driveway with thick black political slogans. She let us swim in the pool between painting, and her teenage daughter brought us fairy bread and watermelon - but that story belongs in the other article about Roe 8. So the ex-hunter got wrangled somehow into the fight against the Barnett shark culls and then crossed right over, to vegan, to anarchy, as one day my deep dream is we all will, even me. 

So Steve Summerlin and his legs and my legs were out the back of Mojos. It was a night of beautiful men, all depositing kisses on my cheeks from their sweaty faces. 

The thing is, with pale male line-ups; with pictures of headless women; with the "bitch" calls out on the street; with the anger walking in to pay for your petrol and seeing porno mags; with your friends talking about beyonce's ass instead of her music; with the "bitches and hoes" in all the ironic and non-ironic rap; with the male friends as soon as its just them and maybe you cos you're 'like a guy' just talking about women like walking meat; with getting patronised most days even when you're just trying to order nachos; with the walking home at night if you dare, pretending to be on the phone; with avoiding certain bars because you know the manager's a rapist but it's not public knowledge yet; ad infinitum; you sometimes think "it's just me". I'm too sensitive; it's cos I grew up spiritual; it's cos I'm too focussed on these things.

But no, in fact, it's because I'm a woman, and other women suffer and seethe and internally cry and dream of retribution under these things too. 

One of the greatest australian artists in music atm is Sarah Chadwick. She wrote on the internet on IWD about walking along the street and a guy calling out "Hi". She says nothing, he calls out "Snob". She smiles, he calls out "Bitch!" Sometimes men say there's no bias in music, and tell women they're overreacting about posters or lineups or whatever, but, this is our reality.

Anyway, so Steve has great legs and I told him. He said how he used to look at band posters and music magazines, and no-one in there ever wore shorts, and so he never wore shorts. And then one day he tried some short ones on, and instead of suffering in black jeans he was free. Now he gets called a faggot sometimes and I said to him that's sad but also a good thing in a way because as a hetero white non-dirt poor, bodily-abled man, he would never be able to understand what it's like to face daily discrimination without those faggy shorts. He told me a woman who goes cycling with him explained that being a woman is like being a cyclist: you're constantly made to feel threatened, abused, and sometimes literally run off the road, for being somewhere and doing something you have every right to do. 

Hmm.

I asked my friend Kate what her dream is for women in 2017. She talked to me about women in Kurdistan teaching young women and children to be fighters and teachers, and about how she thinks endometriosis affects many more people than we think, and can bring women together as we go through some of these collective troubles. She asked me and I said protection of fresh water sources and safety and freedom. I was thinking of Roe 8 and of women far away and of women locked up by our government so their friends can make money on the security contracts. 

So, I'm just one woman, and some women want their lips artificially pumped up by a needle, and new shit from Officeworks, or a non-multicultural australia, but I think I've also given you a tiny slice of the cake that's made from "what women want". 

And it would be great to write a piece about some of my favourite musicians who are women, or women friends or women in history who inspire us, but the fact is I was beaming at 9pm last night walking up to my friend's place in the dark, because once, for a whole day and evening, I hadn't been made to feel like shit because of my gender. 

So yeah, like I sang to lil Nick in the kitchen, completely unsarcastically "Happy International Women's Day to uuuuuuuu, Happy International Women's Day to meeeeeeee", until the day when biologist mums don't have to lock themselves to bulldozers, all the refugee prisoners are free, everyone's an ex-hunter vegan, cyclists rule the roads, everyone's lips are pumped just from peace and permaculture activities, and my musical heroes walk the streets getting called not faggot or bitch but HERO and HEROINE>>>>>>>>>
 

Of Magpies, Colin Barnett, Ponds and Wasps

Andrew Ryan

Nick Allbrook v The Popo. Still from Tahlia Palmer video 'All Organs and Organisms Join in the Protecting of a Wetland' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxMGMSJvRAQ"

Nick Allbrook v The Popo. Still from Tahlia Palmer video 'All Organs and Organisms Join in the Protecting of a Wetland' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxMGMSJvRAQ"

what is a pond? that's the question i'm going to answer you today. next week i'll tell you how and why our state premier colin is a liar, just before the election, with a little bit of detail, but this week it's the pond.

new things happen when you get connected to a body of water. we made a pond in the backyard, me and matt the soft and reliable permaculturalist. as soon as we poured the water in a wasp came and never left. we'd made a new place for him, without thinking of it, and he moved right in. sometimes the best things happen without thinking of it. at the pond show on saturday there was a special moment where i looked out from the wooden perch i was on, hundreds of sweat heads before and behind me, and i saw all the guys with their heads pointing in opposite directions. jay, jamie, joe, james and nick. this is because they weren't thinking, they were just music. at these moments the crowd became music too, all except nick odell because he's not into kanye.

i've been going a lot to watch bulldozing. i cry at the sidelines, get angry and scrape my anger along the fences in the form of my knuckles or a fallen newspaper. one day as i cried til i was nearly puking in front of the arrogant cop beside me who'd asked me if i had a job, paper bark trees getting crunched before me, everything getting crunched before me, i realised the way you can do it. it becomes like shaving your head, or weeding a whole garden, or throwing away everything you own: once you get started it just feels good to keep going. the pleasure of deleting everything. i saw the destructive meditation this man in the dozer was making, on and on and on. like this, you could clear every forest in the whole world and at some point we will.

i imagine colin now in his room, casting out wishes for a last breath, and the trees - because they don't think, just give and take evenly of the energy before and through them - give him his last breath. lazarus* comes down too, dipping a mining contract in water and squeezing it out so the drips fall onto colin's feet instead of into his mouth. lazarus is a man, and so he's capable of evil and of good.

not the trees, they're just capable of giving and taking, growing and falling.

i was touching my friend's arms who in the daytime orders the destruction of forests and in the nighttime goes to the gym and thinks about taking me up in the fremantle ferriswheel. from the ferriswheel you can see everything: cops giving move on notices to all the brown people, tiny birds falling from their nests as their tree is toppled in 20 seconds, carrier ships going to and from the port, half-laden with highlighters and plastic folder books and mouse pads for shitbarn(officeworks).

anyway, i touched his arms and said "but what's the point of going to the gym if you don't do anything strong?" and "just do a strong thing and quit your job."

anyway on saturday this was the first pond show james was playing where i could hear his drum style coming through. that's probably why nick odell didn't like it as much and why i did.

nick terry and his lady were beside me at the show, down on the ground. a few days later i watched him in the courtroom, doing his job but for free, speaking in the language of the magistrate to call up all the material facts but also their meaning, to get light sentences for the middle-aged women who'd locked themselves to trees in thinking of the ponds below where all the water goes. you can't lock yourself to a pond, the water runs right through. you can't handcuff a pond for good or evil purposes, it just flows.

i see lazarus in colin's bedroom, a human image of yin and yang, the black and white of a magpie. the black and white are both necessary, and of course, black doesn't represent evil, just the blackness of a feather, or a pupil, the only way we call all see the truth. my meditation is like this: inwards and outward, the black pupil to the outward, the closed eye blackness to the inward, the give and take that makes things intuitive and right.

and a few days after that i was on the psych's couch, and she sent me into my recurring magpie dream through hypnosis, showing me the once frightening magpie was a part of me, and getting me to feed it some cloud, hypnotised smile across my face, which i knew she could see because her voice changed.

we see through our ears too, etc.

what is a pond? what is a magpie? what is a liar? all these questions are easy to answer, especially if you are a wasp.
            white, anglosaxon, protestant, not protestor. 

 

 

*lazarus, back from the dead, symbol of extinction, symbol of the rich man and the beggar, symbol of miracles that can only last a lifetime etc etc, look this up if u like to go deep

still from tahlia palmer video 'All Organs and Organisms Join in the Protecting of a Wetland' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxMGMSJvRAQ

still from tahlia palmer video 'All Organs and Organisms Join in the Protecting of a Wetland' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxMGMSJvRAQ

Up Close and Perthonal: Carus Thompson

Andrew Ryan


Carus Thompson is a compassionate babe and deeply loved songwriter. Amber Fresh spoke with him about… pretty much everything, and his new album, Island.   

A: Hello how you going? 

C: Good good, just driving in to do a songwriting workshop.

A: Oh, who are the workshops for? 

C: A company called the Australian Children's Music Foundation. They put music into marginalised schools, where kids are on the outskirts, and to juvenile justice centres. I'm on my way today to Moorditj Noongar College. It's good working with young kids, getting them into music and song. 

A: Are there any kids you're teaching at the moment who are already better than you at writing songs?

C: haha

A: Or are gonna be stars? 

C: Well these kids are up to year six so thankfully not, but - especially at the Noongar school - I've been really impressed with their ability to own their own story, tell their perspective. As soon as you start talking about politics and pride in culture they're just right onto it. We wrote some really cool rap songs about who they are, where they come from. Pride in themselves and their culture. 

Rap's a great vehicle for that cause it was originally a political genre, and as a storytelling style of music. And these kids have got a story to tell. 

I think everyone has a story to tell. With my songwriting workshops I just try to make people realise how easy that is to do in a song. If people feel they can express themselves and their story a bit easier then there's power in that. 

A: Do you feel pride at the moment in where you come from? In your culture? 

C: Our culture? 

A: Yeah.

C: What, Australian culture? 

A: Yeah. 

C: Ah, definitely not! [laughs] I think it could be great. I mean that's sort of what 'Island', the album, is about. I really wanted to write a record that said something about modern Australia and what I see around me. All the stories on 'Island' are quite small suburban stories that everyone can relate to, but I've tried to make the themes quite epic. 

I was really getting into a lot of Springsteen and that's what he does in an American way; I tried to do it in an Australian way. To use all these small suburban stories and make some comment on where we are.  

I see us being at a real crossroads you know: there's two paths - and you really saw it the Australia Day weekend in Perth. In Freo we had this inclusive, different Australia Day. We didn't really celebrate it, because obviously for indigenous people it's a really intense day, January 26th.

They did this wonderful day on the 28th where there was a smoking ceremony in the morning, and then in the evening there was a great concert with John Butler and Dan Sultan, and it was just packed with all different people. Heaps of Muslim people there, heaps of Noongar people everywhere, heaps of white people and it was sort of like "wow". I just had this vision of the sort of multicultural Australia that's a bit more in touch with our indigenous history and our indigenous identity, and I went "This would be a great future, this is a great path." 

And then the other way is you know, status quo, stick to as we are, have our massive Australia Day celebration on a day that is full of pain for indigenous people. Look at America - you've got Trump, like, that's the other way we can go. We can just keep cutting services to vulnerable people and we can just privatise everything, continue with this path we're on, our attitude towards refugees. It's a path of cruelty, is what I see. 

A: Yep. 

C: We can either go the kinder, inclusive way, or we can just be assholes. So that's what the record's about. 

I'm definitely proud of this record… it's not like I'm anti-Australian. I describe my music as "I'm an Australian singer-songwriter" because the way I write songs is very Australian. There's a particular approach I think Australian songwriters have. If you look at Paul Kelly and others, it's very emotive, very direct. We don't mess around, we just really pull people in. I'm proud of that. But in terms of the country at the moment I think we're at a real crossroads. Part of the role of being an artist is you comment on that, and you try with the songs to get a bit of debate. 

A: I watched the film clip for 'Beach Fires'. That song was very heavy...

C: [laughs]

A: It seemed like that was a story very close to you. Is that very much from personal experience or just what's going on at the moment here? 

C: It was inspired by a conversation after a gig with someone in a place called Phillip Island in Victoria and I just said to him, "How are things since the desalination plant?" And he told me this story which is really common, all around Australia at the moment in regional towns, you know, "Everything's changed since the crystal meth came to town." It's a common story in WA - as they say, even the sharks are on meth here. 

A: I haven't heard that one.

C: You haven't?

A: Nah. I can't laugh at it, I could only get a tear.

C: Yes, it's a big issue in Australia at the moment, I wanted to write about it. That's great that you… I think with a song if you're singing it directly and delivering it right, people shouldn't know whether it's you or not. I think a song's always more true if you can confuse it with some of your own life. Like we all do, I've known plenty of people who have gone down that path - and the first line is about myself, when I was whatever 25 or something - but yeah it's definitely more of a narrative. Telling a story. 

A: The line about people's dead eyes seemed to come from someone who had seen those dead eyes. Because I've seen them too!

C: Yeah. Well I definitely think if you wanted to write a song about drugs or crystal meth and you had no experience with drugs or crystal meth it just wouldn't ring true. 

I think the thing with that style of songwriting is that to make something real you have to have lived it a little bit. That's why as a songwriter if you just sit in a room and don't do anything, don't meet anyone, don't go out into the world, well you're not going to have much to write about. Every person you meet, every conversation you have with someone, every experience, that grows you as a person, but also it grows you as a writer. If you have no experience then it's pretty hard to find anything to write about. Yourself: that gets boring after a while.

A: One of my friends Pete (Bibby), has a song called 'I'm Not Your Material' and it's - 

C: hahahah!

A: .. it's him telling the story of a guy he met at the pub who tells Pete all about his life. Like, the song's about the guy, and in the end the guy says, you know "I'm not your material" but that becomes the chorus of the song. 

C: Haha! Yeah you've gotta be careful. With that kind of narrative songwriting there's a responsibility that comes with it. The 'Island' album ends with a song called 'Gone But Not Forgotten' which is about a rough sleeper in Melbourne who was murdered, quite a famous guy, Mouse. He was murdered a couple of years ago near Flinders Street and the song is about rough sleepers and the homeless. You gotta be careful if you're writing a song about a real person because obviously they've got family… But what I do is just only use the facts. You just present what really happened, and when the story's strong enough the facts are enough. 

A: Yeah I think it can be hard sometimes if you're a compassionate artist, knowing when you're using stories in a good way or going into that realm where it's like -

C: Exploitative

A: Yeah exploiting the saddest version of the saddest story. 

C: Yeah. I wrote a song on my last album called 'Fifteen' and it was written about a young man by the name of Tyler Cassidy who was murdered. He was shot by Victorian police. He was fifteen years old. I wrote a song about him and his mother actually ended up hearing it. Then I met her and spoke to her and she just said "Thank you for the song." And that was the same thing, all I did was just take the pure facts of what happened and presented them.

These days, especially in WA where you've got one newspaper, you know mainstream media is just not recording everything. Lots of these stories out on the edges just don't get out there. That's one thing about being a songwriter - you can document these stories. 

A: Yes

C: You write a song about them and that song's there forever and it doesn't matter how famous you are or how much you get out there, but it's there. It's a document of something that's important.

A: I wrote a song a few weeks ago about the Beeliar Wetlands.

C: Oh yeah, there you go, classic example. 

A: I've made good friends with one of the workmen so one day maybe I can play it to him. 

C: hahah

A: I've been going down there a lot and that's my way of doing things, just trying to talk to people. 

C: Yeah, you gotta find your role in everything. People have different ways of accomplishing things. For me at the moment my way of involving myself in this whole debate about who we are as a country and what's our identity is to write a record and to create these songs. 

The great thing about a song like that one you wrote about Beeliar is obviously with Beeliar you've got the people who are on-side - if they're on-side, you don't need to win them over. It's the same with politics, the people who are on-side with refugees and a lot of the things I'm singing about on 'Island', I don't need to win them over. But songs and music can be so great because everyone loves music; you know, hippies, to full bogans, right wingers, you know, fully conservative people. Music is a human thing, and what you can do with a song is reach more of the middle ground.

The undecided people that never think about refugees from a personal, human perspective, they just think of it as this big thing, "No, stop the boats!" "Close the borders!" bang bang bang, but if you write the right song - there's a song on my album called 'Reza Berati' about a young man who died in the Manus Island riots… - If you really drill down and make it a really personal, human story, everyone can relate to it.

Everyone's got a brother a sister a mother a lover. If you can make the big issue small, sometimes some of those people in the middle ground will empathise, then they might think about it slightly differently. 

A: Yep. You seem to be someone music-wise and what you look like who might be able to (haha) connect...

C: With bogans?

A: Yeah! with the bogans. 

C: Yeah I mean I'm a huge Chisel fan and Paul Kelly is obviously a big influence. The pub rock thing is really a big influence on me, and I'm a huge Springsteen fan. I can talk to blokes, I can talk about football and I've been a labourer and I can dig holes, all that sort of blokier less sort of musician-y kind of stuff. It's something I've always had with my music. Guys have always dug me, girls connect with music that's about feelings, but because there is that pub rock element to it it's always reached out to guys as well. And also the "middle ground". 

I've never been a fan of preaching at people, yelling at them, "You're wrong!" "You're an asshole, that's the wrong idea!" I think you gotta be much smarter than that. And the way to do it is with telling stories and involving them emotionally and intellectually. 

A: Yep. One more question. So obviously, leaving Bruce Springsteen as the overall boss...

C: Haha!

A: Who would you like to be the boss of Australia? Political boss. 

C: I was always a massive massive fan of Bob Brown. In terms of policies that I think are more inclusive and progressive, I'm a fan of the Greens in that sense. Richard Di Natali I think is a really good guy, so...

A: He seems like a good guy, but Bob's better. 

C: Bob's really cool, you can't (lol) beat that guy. I just want to see someone that's… ... You know at the moment we've got two major parties and they just keep swapping the power, but a lot doesn't really seem to change. I still was so disappointed in Labor with their refugee policy. 

I just want to see more debate, and more creative ideas, and just more empathy. What's happened in Australia is our national conscience has been thrown out the window. I just want to see more feeling, and the details, that can be worked out. I just want to see someone be more compassionate.

A: Me too.

C: The deficit and all that bullshit, I mean, whatever. You know, that's the idea of a budget, you spend it. Sometimes you spend more of it sometimes you spend less of it. How bout the fact that the rest of the world thinks you're a bunch of assholes? Can you do something about that please? Cause they do! 

A: Yep. Well, keep fighting the good fight.

C: You too. … 

You can catch Carus Thompson this Friday at Mojo's Bar, tickets are still available at the Mojo's website.
 

Tops, 2016

Andrew Ryan

Ok, so here we are, heading to catastrophy, via entropy, as Dr Seuss says, "unless". In my way of thinking there's only a few possibilities for how to live as someone who'd be reading this article in 2016, going on 17: either just be cool, nice to your friends and family, with a job that means something or you like for breezy reasons; or become a permaculturalist; or become a climate scientist; or make bricks out of mushrooms or bacteria; or dedicate your life to peace - not necessarily pacifism, as George Orwell convinced me yesterday morning as I lay with him, words only, in bed; or stay on the ground, moving by feet or bike only, even if tours come up; or cover your whole body in plastic, plastic gleaned from the drinks you and your friends consume, plastic gleaned from your favourite beach, putting it on your body exteriorly instead of it becoming interior destructo-art in the guts of your favourite bird type; or blow up a something when no-one's there - weapons factory? big w store?; or meditate and pray in a way that everyone else joins you. We'll eat black beans and salad and just let birds land on us, watch native plums swell day by day while our smiles stay the same, we radiate with the earth. The earth is made for us, and we are made for it. We could stay here in some great utopia, if only we waggled and wazzled things in a non-destructive way. As a famous perth clip says "It's just sooo eeeeasy!"

Highlights? Well, the other night Stephen Bellair played as Reef Prince - this is the dying spirit of Perth music, dying but still with fifteen years left in it, the spirit of "going for it" - something borrowed, something blue, something half-baked, something amazing and new. He sang "She want my crayfish/I don't need a girlfriend". Great for a pale male, one of my favourites, a great friend, a flawed man as us all, a deep heart, deep intractable friendship that's saved my life this year, and this is the second thought - I went with friends to the Ab Music 30th year anniversary show. It was poorly attended. There was great kangaroo stew. A few people's voices gave me spiritual shivers. And they all were singing about wanting respect - women wanting respect from men; they sung about trauma, getting off drugs, suicide, family in prison. This is our two-tiered world and we all know it: crayfish and suicide.

Second pale male highlight: Benjamin Witt doing an acknowledgement of country for the first time, in his set at El Grotto. I spoke with Mt Mountain man the other night at Mojos, before Stephen played, and one of his only Perth highlights for 2016 was Benjamin Witt. Musically, but more than that, morally, historically, trying, trying to find what his place as privvo pale-male is in this world. He'll use his voice now for others, he'll step aside when it's time. Ben's talked about his new musical projects, all tied in to finding out about the history and people of this land we're all on, and because he's boss, he'll do it.

Another highlight - watching the singer from Mung Dahl play solo at the Oddfellow, two guys behind me quietly but not quietly enough judging, heckling. "Play something entertaining! He's only playing A minor" etc. I walked up to them, boozed as I never am, alcohol just makes me more confident and more loving, and said to the guy "It might not be entertaining for you, but it's very entertaining for me." "Why?" "Because it's real. You should listen." We then kept talking at the end of the set. He and his friend were embarrassed into listening with their hearts and came to see something different in the great personal music. The guy told me he was from the navy, he drives submarines, and we went down together into the discussion of ships and who should be on them - the cruise liner in Freo port, capable of taking 5000 people and how instead of taking 5000 champagne soft-skinned relaxers it could be bringing 5000 war-torn desperate people here, children, women and men - yes men too, muslim men, and talked about our families and at the end he was hugging me and I was hugging him, telling one another how special we each were. "When I make a mistake, people die" he told me early on. "You're the reason I do what I do. You're the reason I know there's another way" he told me later on, which was kind of confusing but I knew what he meant. And I knew that when he said "You" he meant all of humanity, because we'd covered that too.

Lana is also the winner of 2016. Her unashamedly great, trained voice makes people look at each other with big eyes, her weird and unpredictable sets mean the rooms are less full but everyone there is init. Her textures are a taste palate many people aren't used to, but appreciate as soon as it touches their tongue.

Hearing is the big interstate winner of 2016 - the song with the line "two boys, two boys", is the top hit for the year, as is Evelyn as Pikelet's song with the line "it is open/ it is unwritten" which gave my right thigh shivers even as I typed it.

Akioka is the winner of 2016. The 60 or 120 seconds at Highgate Continental when she shifted the crust of the earth beneath us, the sky above us, where it was impossible to believe the sound coming from her mouth was sound coming from her mouth, will be remembered.

Kucka is the winner of 2016, singing in Paris to thousands in front of Flume's pretty good creations, work ethic, personal ethic brilliant as diamonds.

Emlyn Johnson is the winner of 2016, his shows with his band at Mojos were also the interstate winners of the year - the most captivating, invigorating, philosophical and sideways political works of the year. Undeniable in their greatness.

And Swamp Clubb (Mei Saraswati/Matt Aitken/Mikala Westall), Lisa Stinson and Lyndon Blue are the winners of 2016. Swamp Clubb, a powerful tour of Northbridge through its spiritual and ecological past changed the way many people in our music and art community see the place we're on and in. Swamp Clubb's ripple effects are unhindered by the forces of gravity and friction. Lisa Stinson's explanation of 'Cas 9' and 'Crispr' at one General Knowledge Club session attended by less than a dozen people has also rippled into our world, changing minds; and Lyndon's curation of the greatest recent art and music space we've had - Success - underground, expansive, quality; yes, he done good.

Best Perth show: Drowning Horse at 208s. If a band can alter time, that's special. 2nd place: The Wedding Band featuring pale male cast of Lyndon Blue, Alex Griffin, Alex Last, Brett Smith and Chris Last, at the Dog Wedding on the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River). Best international show: Tame Impala at Zenith in Paris. Best choir: Burundi Peace Band Choir, Camp Doogs, Harvey.

2017: time (again) to change the world. No more heartbreaks please. Completely altered political and power structure please. Plastic-free, petrol-free year please. Plants and animals and all other elements: keep up the good work.

Heartbreak Hotel: Gizzfest with King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard, POND, White Fence etc. at the Urban Orchard 4 December 2016

Andrew Ryan

so i've checked in to heartbreak hotel again. it's not my first time here: they know my name, they know what i like for breakfast. the first few days are always the worst. you just sit by the pool and see algae and mosquito larvae, and then stare at the telly alone at night, not able to tell which bits are ads and which bits are the story. the best thing is falling asleep, because at least while you're sleeping you can't cry.

but then a few days later you notice the roses they put on the breakfast tables. you realise slowly you've got a bit more time to read, and get absorbed in your book for minutes at a time. one day in the first week you see a friend who's checked in as well, and magically the conversation moves on from the names of the people who left you, or who you left.

well, enough of the metaphors. almost, because the main thing that sticks with me from the king gizzard and the wizard lizard show is how their two drummers are like the two legs of a man, running. and the main lyric that sticks with me from the whole show is this: "something something something something, open the door" (where the "somethings" are representations of spaces in my memory).

the other main thing that sticks is this: all men show. i've decided to start calling cricket "men's cricket" and AFL "men's AFL," if it's the games where only men are playing. we'll see how that goes. lots of my friends are excited that young thug's coming to laneway. all my friends are excited. but what's more helpful, less aggressive to my kind: wearing a dress, or not calling women hoes? "something" can stand in for words i forgot, but "bitches and hoes" should never be a stand in for "women and girls".

well, my feelings and the ongoing struggle of women for equality, safety and representation aside, it was a great show.

the murlocs were playing when i got there. it was either the hotel card in my pocket or their actual music making me nonplussed, or some combination, but for some reason i didn't buy it. the crowd did though and they were singing along, hoisting each other up and smiling in wide ways into the sun reflecting off the band they love. joe ryan was there, and he gave me a food ticket because i hadn't eaten that day. it started out as a feeling of "maybe i'll fast to ask The Big about my future" but turned into just not eating. i ate rice and chicken - where did it come from? where does it go? and walked across to the bird for a break. noël at the bar gave me a red wine for free - maybe he could see my feelings on my face too, and then out the back we talked about the predictable stages of getting over someone, and how they all come in waves. we talked in french and english, and it was after i'd sat alone for a while thinking "i'm just alone again now" and reading aldous huxley's forays into mesculin vision, which felt so much like my own normal vision. i get to see the world in a magic way, on the reg, but i still get heartbroken and have to go through the predictable stages of grief. i started thinking maybe the real mystics are just people who are happy. eating chicken at home and watching telly, going boating, camping, fishing, and all with a perpetual grin written on their deep psyche.

well, i left that place where mei saraswati and flower drums and leure were going to be playing - a beautiful alternate reality i was leaving for another beautiful place. i got an icecream, thinking "i'm on my own, buying myself an icecream", and walked back to the urban orchard, passing jeremy bunny the aspiring actor who told me he'd be going to late night valentine's later, as every night, to party and lose his mind on the dance floor.

when i got back kevin was there, and gum, and lucy and nick and nick and jasmine and ringham and rachael and pandora, names you'll mainly have to make up faces to. rachael looked down at my shoes and saw i still had the plastic loop of new shoes on them. for me the shoes represent "the first thing i bought without talking to the guy i love about it." i told rachael i like to leave the tags on because it reminds me i once bought something, like my guitar which still has its tag three years on. she bent down, scoffed, and later i realised she'd ripped off the tag - jasmine told me - and flung it on the ground. i like sassy women telling me what to do: we all know it's just a game.

white fence played and i loved it. everyone said the singer was like a doppelganger for our lloyd - the silent's main guy - and it was true, even just in image in front of me. he didn't sing too much, and when he did i felt like he meant it, even though i can't relay to you even one word. it was nice thick real considered sound. confident with a reason.

sam kuzich arrived. he'd come back from five months touring with taku and touring on his own, a month in cuba, everywhere else. he has no facebook, no instagram, no facetime, so the way he's going to tell me about it and the way i'm going to tell him about my glorious five months of non-solitude will be by soundwaves through the air, mouth to ear, probably over the waters of the derbarl yerrigan, ancient river that's been flowing since the body of the wagal made it.

a guy called 'dinner' played. he was loose but not loose enough for me. i wanted him to be using his hands for something. he made everyone sit down, and that was the best bit. the crowd adored it. i wanted more, or less, but i know that most things on earth are not meant for me, and if i even see one musical thing i like, that should be enough to be grateful.

pond played and nick was shining. i took lots of photos on a film camera. the whole thing whizzed by, except the moment in time when jay, gum, sung the song about climbing cranes. in that moment things stood still. and when nick acknowledged the traditional owners of the land. those things are worth a whole night's 'entertainment'.

jamil played as boulevards. he sang about the best smelling pussy etc. i'm calling him by his first name because as he walked by me and nick backstage from where the gizzards were playing he asked nick "who's this babe?" and nick said "amber." i don't know why he didn't ask me my own name, but that's what happens when people can sing onstage with their shirts off about all kinds of jizz: sometimes they still can't ask your name. i liked his show, liked watching him, liked trying to work out if the words were gonna upset me or not.

when the gizzards came on lots of people's conversation in the side bit started getting faltering. they have a power, a great power and it is a wall of men coming towards you, with fans blowing their hair back, streamers flying backwards from their hair and limbs, marching towards you, flying to you, as one. it's like a great dream that goes on and on. it's like a cool cartoon from when you were 6 or 8 and you feel part of it and talk to the characters as you watch from the carpet. it's like being in a desert where there's heaps of animals you've never seen before, and you're like "woh! cool!" every few seconds, with your eyebrows up and your eyes popping. king gizzard, saving me once again from heartbreak with your double drummers and great relentless medieval riffs.

lots of the boys stage dived - a shy guy in overalls from white fence, gum, jamil, joe. gum's description of it at the cafe the next day was of how he jumped in and six seconds later the song stopped. "i got dropped to the ground and there was this sea of long haired blonde guys looking down at me saying, 'woh, jay watson! where's kevin!' they all seemed like nice guys but that was all they could say, 'get kevin to come out!'

well, i'm going back to my room now to read some paul auster and get ready for dinner. see u at the pool.

 

 

Small and Leaning Forward, Why 4 Year Olds are The Best Drummers: a Review of Red Hot Go Improv Ensemble at the Fly By Musicians Club

Andrew Ryan

on the way home, i said to my friends "i want to get ziggy to drum for me". i'd already said it in the back room after we jammed. it was ziggy's fourth birthday and his brother's sixth. it was mainly adults at the party. they talked about children, drugs, music, science, maybe not sports this time. some friends rocked up late cooked on speed and alcohol. that doesn't sound too savoury and it kind of wasn't, but at least they could get in the vibe of the wild small and big people gangup game that was happening in the lounge room. i got bitten, i got thrown over someone's shoulder, and i beat up other people with a small soft toy turtle called "Mr Right". chie from the great band … was beating people with a soft shark.

it's a very strange thing how drugs wazzle their way into our lives and then stay there, grow, fade away, destroy everything, make for dumb food decisions and lots of left over dishes for someone else to clean up. usually it's the women that clean things up, whether you're nineteen or thirty five it's just the same. the boys party and make a mess, and you clean it up, while they go away on tour again or to make cooked songs at their own house. they don't notice, and you're not really meant to notice, but you do.

lyndon blue is one guy who probably never partied and then left the mess for someone else to clean up. that's how you know he's a true "really good guy". that and the million billion great things he organises around perth to truly fertilise our music and art community. the reason i told you about ziggy is this: ziggy is four and in the car i told them the reason i wanted him as a drummer: "no adult can play like that". it's a thing that happens as you get older to your creativity and confidence: skills increase but freedom decreases. even people who are true improvisers are bound by more sets of rules and conventions than they were when they were the age to whip their penis out in front of others and wee in the garden - not in an act of toxic performative masculinity, or lack of being kind to others while deep down knowing it's not that nice - but just without thought, only with the body's thought of "i need to wee/i will wee/i am weeing/let's drum again".

my male friends are talking about feminism more these days. i kind of wish they would do this thing, as well as talking: listen to their women friends for ages about some topic, watch them do something they're really into even if the man is bored, turn off rap if it's misogynistic even if they're just with their man friends, and clean up heaps for the women. what should women do? maybe not expect to be looked after…  

anyway, we had a great big and small people jam in the back room at nick odell's place, then an allstar jam of me, tom rogers, nick odell (CEASE), nick allbrook (Pond etc), mei saraswati (Mei Saraswati, Savoir etc). this was a most exciting free flowing jam - i was on the big organ, two stacks of notes, one big set of notes you play with your feet, certain frequencies only being bounced off the wall across the tiny room, other frequencies just coming from the normal place, once. mei was on the kit, characteristically good at that as everything - at some point tom played the broom as percussion, at some point he had a drumstick in one hand to play and a dumbell in the other to pump. anyway, this seven minutes of heaven produced an amazing piece, four on percussion, one on harmonic instrument, and at the end everyone was PUMPED, high fiving, sweating, grinning large.

but the best drumming had come from nick's 4 and 6 year olds, and like i said, it's because they're free. free from developed skill, but still with skill, free from constraints, but still with some idea of how a jam works. archer, the second smallest child, named the song he, nick and i made as "balls in the water" or "bulls in the water" depending on how you understood him, and he had a list of the four first albums we'd make.

but you see, the next night, lyndon blue proved to me in a very easy way, that "adults can play like that". we went down to watch this group, down at the new fly by night, that lyndon had put together. and he'd put it together like this: ten people all playing instruments they'd never played before, coming to do a show, following certain cues from a powerpoint presentation. eduardo cossio was on violin, hayden was on clarinet, sage - who can do meditative throat singing - on saxophone, richard ingham of mink mussel creek on trombone, tom on some percussive, melodic stringed instrument from vietnam that lay on the ground, some freo men whose names i forgot on keyboards, euphonium, violin (zane and… ), a girl on trumpet, robin woodward on piano accordion, jordan webber the handsome twitcher on violin too, and of course, lyndon on trumpet and powerpoint. anyway, i might have forgotten someone, but this beautiful line of people, with just two at the front, were on stage to just explore a new thing, try and play it, make a thing individually and together, in front of a small and leaning forward audience in the downstairs club.

i don't know if it was a "piece" that existed before: ten people improvise on instruments they've never played. this might be a new music theme. but lyndon's way was incredible and the whole piece they made was incredible. signs on the powerpoint, to guide the group ranged from "one note" to a diagram; a photo of a bear catching a salmon to a series of dots and dashes; "pause" to ~. the beautiful thing was watching the childish (pos word) discovery on the faces of the players, their will to explore and please, their surrendering to something they couldn't control, and also the music that was made itself. so much more interesting than hearing the same songs again where you know when the song's going to end and where it's going to go. this was EXCITING.

on the way home some guys were shredding in a loft section of the big barn that's the raw kitchen, shredding "rock" music and we peered in an up and that was kind of nice too. it showed skill, and it was cool, but the real magic was down in that club, ten beautiful strangers, strangers to their instruments and strangers to each other, making a new thing.

 

A Surfer You Could Trust. Some Breasts and Ants. A Slight Review of Success Show 5

Andrew Ryan

i was hanging my boobs down in the backyard, long and thin, and thinking about the boobs of the american first lady. i thought about them - the first lady boobs - because i'd seen them on the internet. not the whole boobs, but enough to get a feeling for them. i was in my gardening outfit: skirt, undies, hat and sandals, and one 925, made in italy, 92.5% silver chain that fell off some man's neck onto the street and was now hanging down from my neck with a jade pendant from my great aunty, in the shape of a heart on it. 

a jade heart hanging down from my real heart. real boobs hanging down, with the idea of 80% real boobs, newly political boobs, somewhere far away, in my mind. 

well, as i walked along the street today i thought about whether it matters if people just have fake flowers or real ones. you could just buy one set of fake plants and flowers for your baby when it's born and then those stay with it for its whole life. one plastic coffee cup to use over and over, one toothbrush with indestructible plastic bristles, as the baby will already only have one set of eyes to last its life time. 

(the thought of an eye! incredible! the thought of ants farming aphids, which they do, stroking their backs to suck out the honey dew, and keeping all those lady birds far far away, incredible!)

well, the other night there was an exhibition down down the exhibitions are down in the success gallery, underneath the myer building which is no longer myer. it's the last success show. everyone down there was crying tears of astro turf and all the turf tears landed as a series of mini-golf games. you could hire a putter but the queue was too long. once a tall american woman who's made a series of artworks about the death of the humanoid earthtime, via people humping dirt, inseminating flowers etc., handed me a putter and so i tried to be an artist by using the golf ball to putt the putter. my eyes (only ones i've had, given at birth, continuing likely til death) glanced up sideways at my bf to see if it impressed him. "i'm being an artist!" i said. 

we often see the curator lyndon on the street. he's always got nice hair, white teeth, a briefcase, and the respect of every person he comes into contact with. maybe he's born with it? 

so also at the show there were two guys about to play with a third man off to the side. they all had sets of electronics, and the two guys about to play music had a banner, lengthways from the microphone stand, with their name "bullet train for australia". the music men were sam and ben, classic names, but they didn't just play classic music. they were improvising the whole time, and this is what made it good. all electronic except a trombone, all beats based at the core, all repetitive but constantly moving, wah, like a train i guess. it was a conceptual performance and it was a great performance. 

a man off to the side looked like a surfer you could trust. not just to look after your laptop while you go to the cafe toilets, but for example to transform your whole house to solar power maybe, or in this case to make an incredible visual eyescape, constantly moving to go with the sounds. i walked up close to him during the show and there it was all laid out in front, like tim from basic mind's analogue synth set-up. all home made modules, small audio sensing shards of silver wood or plastic inside a tiny bed of water, moving with the music, tiny lasers going amongst them, a tiny smoke machine blowing over this toy train sized videographic wonderland.

because oh yes, there was a toy train set too, set on top of an indigenous map of australia, all the countries and people groups coloured in by someone, finally, to show a thing that gets ignored. 

 

my boobs hang down, projections happen through water and smoke, a little train keeps on going and going, ants farm aphids and stroke their backs for a specific purpose. hmm. 

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Perth Music and Arts Community responds to the election of Donald Trump

Andrew Ryan

Some very unexpected and very disturbing things are happening around us right now. Ice is melting, we have far right people in our senate, we're all still driving petrol and diesel cars, our country is locking up people fleeing war, there's still no justice for indigenous people. To bring all this and more to the fore, a man who speaks without respect to and about women, people from other countries, many others, has become leader of a big nation that our country is mixed in with culturally, economically, environmentally. 

I asked some Perth's music and arts people to respond to the election of Donald Trump, and asked to publish some of their online reactions. Here are their responses to this event. Amber Fresh.

 

T.S Eliot, Heart of Darkness, Samuel Beckett... All these powerful stories I was exposed to by some wonderful high school English lit teachers as a teenager in a school in this lizard daemons federal seat. Little did I know the horrors of these stories would manifest so close to home. Hosting award nights for muslim students one night then out blindly supporting team trump the next day. DISGUSTING. If 'doing their job' means endorsing a sex predator white supremacist then QUIT your fucking job. 

Anyone who supports or tolerates this lizard please unfollow me.

PS To the Hyde Park Hotel that have had a Trump themed burger night all year. I guess telling them to absolutely get farked too…: "Dear Hyde Park Hotel and any other establishments with casual Trump-humour themed menus and promotion. If this was the 70s I'd throw a brick through your window."  

Facebook post, Matt Aitken, Camp Doogs, Magnolias, Swamp Clubb, Paddle Clubb, The Gulls, Gilbert Fawn.
 

My response to the US election is that this result, along with the Brexit result, is deeply concerning. We have to look at it objectively and ask why people are voting this way in response to fear campaigns. It's easy to jump on the bandwagon and label people racist and I, as well as others I know, are guilty of making that mistake. However this doesn't solve anything. Why are people scared of immigrants? Why are people scared to lose mining investors? Why are people so quick to drop any ounce of empathy they may have the second they feel someone is taking something from them....

My one hope for this result is that it sparks a discussion that everyone can be involved in to help unscramble this egg and figure out why so many people are so angry and unhappy. 

I am still shocked at this outcome, but we have to use this as a driver to ask 'why did this happen?'.

Steve Knoth, Scalphunter.

 

My response has been to try and listen to the people who have been rocked to their core by the decision. I have never experienced sexual assault or racism. I am as privileged as a person can get. I have seen domestic abuse in my own childhood home, but it wasn't directed at me. It took a day but now I am crying my eyes out for all the people I love that are tired and sick from the bigotry in the world. I just want them to feel safe and loved like everyone deserves to.

I am thinking more and more every day, how to use my privilege to add hope and love and happiness into a world that needs it. I am sad but hopeful. 

Matt Sav, Music photographer, Designer, Director, Abalonely, Perth, Apricot Rail.

 

I don't think we have any right to be condescending to Americans because of the ass clown they have elected to be their president. After all, 'we' elected that mad monk, Abbott. 'We' begged for the Asylum Seeker torturing Turnbull. The world is full of horrors, and increasingly more so, it seems. For now, I have chosen to focus on love. I've been staring at my infant nephew's little feet since the news broke. It keeps my heart full. I highly recommend focusing on love during this time. 

Abbe May, Abbe May.

 

Whilst the world is distracted by Trump's victory, Colin Barnett sneaks off to stab a few sharks and build a new casino whilst eating the flesh of an infant refugee.

Peter Bibby, Peter Bibby, Chief Richards, Frozen Ocean.

 

Music is the language of community: prediction, vision, warning, hope. I wasn't really raised to think life is meant to be fun - I think fun is likely the problem. Coincidentally I also do not think there is an excuse for wah-wah anymore. Our progressive art must be critical, emotionally resonant, engaged and intersectional, or it's not at all. To be able to make art in a free country is a privilege which has to defend itself, since it's always under attack, and it has to defend others. It is, as ever, a good time for teeth, for stomping, mourning, dreaming: keep singing with everyone else at the front of your mind, and hopefully they'll sing with you.

Alex Griffin, Mining Tax, Ermine Coat

 

I feel like I need to put my head in a beehive, or be eaten by a snake.  I feel like burying myself in a geothermal vent for a little while.  I feel like running to a telescope and looking out across the universe into a deep timescale past the speed of light. I feel like getting in a uber and going to Naomi Klein's house, where Margaret Atwood will run me a bath and and Donna Haraway will sing me a lullaby.  I don't feel like .gifs, memes, sarcasm, or south park. I feel like the world is collectively being traumatized beyond belief.

Loren Kronemyer, Pony Express, Ecosexual Bathhouse, American citizen. 

 

Watching this disaster happen live on NBC I noticed many hosts coming to the conclusion that the media and inner city dwellers/elites had not been listening to rural America enough which lead to the shocking result. Given that this was mostly the white man demographic, it is no surprise that they expect to be listened to and when they weren't listened to (by the democrats) the last 8 years, they had a tantrum. I am ashamed to share gender and color with this shit.

Aden Senycia, Soft Machine Studio, Flower Drums.

 

On a gut level, I feel nauseous that so many people would cheer for a man that would look at me as something to rape or something to ridicule. That’s a core hurt that I imagine is felt by many others on a daily basis. 

The result of the US election has concreted the set of emotions I felt after the last Australian Federal Election. Constructive conversation and discourse is seriously lacking in both countries and in many others. Why are people scared? Why are people angry? As left, liberal thinkers we need to listen to people whose opinions we disagree with most. Mockery and ridicule is an easy fall back, but it’s only serving to dumb down a culture already hurtling towards irreparable ignorance. 

When I’ve patiently listened to those who hold differing opinions I’ve gained insight into another’s struggle and in turn been able to explain my thoughts, fears and hopes. 

It’s not always easy, however mostly that person will leave the conservation thinking more broadly than when they entered it, as do I. On a community level, I’d like more forums where people can openly discuss their thoughts without the worry of insult or degradation. A form of “Belief Amnesty” needs to take place, before both sides dig their heels into their well trodden ground.  The left are my people, but we can be just as close minded and cruel as those we rail against.  We need to be smart, and we need to find common ground with kindness and respect.

Rachael Dease, Rachael Dease, Schvendes. 

 

"The only positive thing to come from the election is Martin Shkreli live streaming unreleased wu tang."

Lana Rothnie, Lana

 

Hey world what if:

Gylany > Hierarchy 

Mutuality > Mastery

Performance > Production

Gift, Offering > Commodity, Money

Earth > Machine

Active rest > Passive Speed

Womb > Tomb

Depths > Surfaces, heights

Smell, taste, touch > Sight, hearing

Wetland > Dryland

Fire stick farming > Mining

Commons > Enclosure

Sacrality > Sanctuarism

- ideas by Rod Giblett

Facebook post, Mei Saraswati, Mei Saraswati, Sibling Music.

 

I can’t feel the tips of my fingers or my toes. In times of stress the body redirects blood flow to where it’s most needed. My heart needs it. And my head.

It’s unfathomable that a man so worldly, so privileged, could be so immune to the superficiality of difference in humans.  

I won’t despair or invest in worry. I’ll do what I can do now.  Share stories that break down misconceptions and prejudice.  Call out as many ‘isms’ as I see.  Hug you.  See your worth.

Meri Fatin, RTRfm.

 

This result has really shocked me. I feel like a fool for not taking the threat of this man and his followers more seriously, but most of all I feel sad and scared that bigotry and hate have been normalised. My main hope now is that kind, decent people will get stronger and shout louder to call out the kind of behaviour this man stands for.    

Caitlin Nienaber, RTRfm. 

 

A truly worrying aspect is the knock-on effect of Trump's successful movement giving power to Australian right-wing conservative forces seeking further expansion and legitimacy here. Cory Bernadi wearing a red cap, Julie Bishop wearing a red dress, Pauline Hanson filming her congratulations. FUCK OFF. #LickspittleFever

And I know, re: Naomi Klein quote that shit is already incredibly fucked here - but the feeling today is that there is no bottom and it can always get worse, which is as true here as it is in the States, so save me the hot takes already unless you've got something productive for me to do.

Facebook post, Tristan Fidler, RTRfm, Magnolias.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write here...

If They Even Exist

Andrew Ryan

so i went to put on a record just now. in my mind it went like this "i'd like to listen to some music by a woman." i ruffle through the records. there were some ladies in there - but mainly just as pictures on the cover.

i looked and looked. it's not like trying to find a needle in the hay stack, but it's like trying to find a four-leafed clover. it's 2016, man.

anyway, thursday night we played at el grotto. me and evelyn had been eating mint slices in the back yard and ev talking about a musicians' union. we started it - the union - the next night at the bird. it went like this, me: "i'll join it", matt saville, photographer, musician, videographer :"me too". there we go: begun.

well we drove to scabs, pulled up in front of this loud, dim lit, fully-scabs taco and tequila eat and drinkery place. women in high heels, men with hair gel and long tshirts. and that was it, el grotto. ev and i burst out laughing when we saw it. "ahh, do they know what music we play?!"

it seemed crazy, but we were ready, a gang of two. the gang became three when we realised luke rinaldi from the bakery was doing sound, and then five when we saw rupert and rebecca, there to be Erasers, and six when one of the owners, kane, came out and told us we could have food, drink, our tab was at the bar, and then started in straight up with the music talk and compliments to ev, who he'd seen do their pikelet set at camp doogs a month before. i thought he was keen on ev but it turned out he was just truly keen on music and on bringing strange good things into his taco and tequila bar, taking the scarborough bra boys up on their exposed v neck chests and saying "here you go fella, you've exposed your heart to the night, here's something real and true to pour into it."

and then eight - beth from Pool Boy and jordan the handsome bird watcher and private piano player joined us too.

well, i set up and started, began with some loops to quiet the crowd, but instead just gave myself a taste test of why it would actually be good to start practicing. it was so loud - people devouring their delux tacos and cocktails and thinking about their branding. i'm not trying to be a snob, just be humourous, and then ev got up on the drums, buddying up behind me to send something out into all that ocean swell. people were sitting at the front, smiling at us. i can see them through my closed eyes, for the last song i called out over the mic; /"this is a VERY SPECIAL SONG, LISTEN TO ME". but really i meant listen to the song, and then sung to them about human rights and every other thing that truly just consumes us every day.

i read an article the other day where the woman's thesis was that everyone's into special foods and clean living because we are going mad and perishing under the evil weight of this current kind of capitalism and the climate change it brings, but we're too lazy or uninspired or beaten down to attack the real problem so instead we give up sugar once in a while and complain about identity politics. i concur, kind of.

even though i'm reducing her argument somewhat.

team rupert and rebecca are ready now for you. they are flawless these days, it's just the walls and the ceiling surrounding you, and your legs get taken on a trip elswhere. not really, it's really grounded, in the sounds, in their solid compositions set something up and stay there. it's repetitive and never boring, like the first two weeks an alien comes to earth, marvelling daily at the rising and setting of the sun, and viewing human life as a … film, all vivid patterns, repetition, unity, grand design. i was eating a taco but got in there quick smart - but actually the sounds were even better outside - somehow louder, more unified. but we can't help wanting to be close to our friends. even if they all had the plague we'd go right up next to the stage to look them in the eyes.

some guys from a "brand" came to talk to me. they were enthusiastic. they offered me other drummers when they found out ev was from the other side. they talked of new year. brand is a strange word, but people think it now even when they don't use it. but comeon, let's fight against the commodification, the brandification of everything.

Brandom… a new company that use plant-generated algorithms to design your next campaign - colours, copy, even the product. aie! this is my instant idea.

when evelyn played, my body and spirit set to tingling. it began two songs in. the first songs i was talking to jordan, the twitcher, about what it's like to play shows, what it all means, what i want people to feel, how you never can know how it's going to turn out. well, then evelyn got into it, and i, as one of her audience got into it. i could hear she was singing for the woman whose dad had introudced her to ev as "my son, i mean, my daughter, i mean my son". wrong crowd for that hesitation.

this song she was singing "it is open, it is open, it is unwritten", well, i'm getting goosebumps on my skin from the mind of the Big Infinite just thinking about it. like, right now at the typewriter, listening to Buzy and telling you about a song. that's what you want, music blessed by the Big Spirit that can change people, hold them up in their distress, fill them with power to change self, world, move the spiritual realms if they even exist. 
 

Tell Your Friends: Dungen's Gustav Ejstes Up Close and Perthonal with Amber Fresh

Andrew Ryan

Influential, beloved Swedes Dungen make their wonderful way to Perth in December. Amber Fresh chatted with Gustav Ejstes, main Dungen man, and put her psych music theory to him: "is psych any music you can put flute over and it sounds right…?" Ejstes provides his first youtube memories and generously dedicates Dungen's music to all our Australian friends "Tell your friends: it's all their music."

GE hello!

AF hello! is that gustav?

GE hej!

AF hello

GE hey yeah it is

AF this is amber, from perth

GE heejj!

AF i think you know a few of my friends, melody prochet and nick allbrook

GE oh right! yeah yeah! they are part of the extended family, (both laugh) - the international family

AF well, can i just go straight into it?

GE yes, yes go ahead, dig in to the 'interview'

AF do you have any particularly happy memories from last time you were here in australia?

GE (laughs) particular… good memories…! the thing is, the memory is kinda that i have a BAD memory. no bad memories like that bad stuff happened, but i just don't remember.

i remember one amazing thing, because this was like in the summer of 2006, yes… we were doing support tour for wolfmother and we were sitting backstage at a huge venue somewhere, i dunno [where], cos when i think of that journey it was like big venues, a lot of heat, and a lot of flying. no bus riding at all, just plane, epic venues, and warm air, and no water. there was signs every where to keep in mind to shut water off, save the water, blah blah blah.  

so we were sitting backstage and i was watching youtube for the first time!

AF mmmm! how exciting

GE yeah and i was like 'oh like, EVERYTHING is out there?' i was starting to search for like rare [+muffled word+] videos

AF rare breast videos?!

GE like, rap…

AF oh rap, i thought you said breast

GE haha! because i think like youtube, it was probably old already, 2006, it had been around a long time but that was the first time i watched it so, that was kind of cool

AF sometimes people are surprised that our friends here who play rock music and psych music are really into rap, but have you always been as well?

GE that was my first own music that i went out to buy myself, as an 11 year old kid with my hard earned money. i bought public enemy records so that's something religious for me forever. but i guess it's my generation also, like i'm born 79 and i grew up with the 80s and 90s music and that was so much based on loops and breaks and samples before it was too illegal to sample.

so that also made me find out about so much other music, and the openness in most of the music back then was amazing - you could learn so much like "what song is this?" "yeah, the original comes from whatever" and so… 

so, we're totally… i'm totally a record nerd, a music nerd, so i try to find new stuff.  so that maybe could be, i dunno about the others, but that's my story.

AF do you ever limit yourself to what you can find in record stores rather than looking up information about groups on the internet, or do you go straight there [record stores] when you have a mystery?

GE yeah i mean i think, if i make music myself i also learn through the ears. i remember when i met reiner, the guitarist in dungen, he is like a pretty heavy collector, he's ten years older than me. when i met him the first time he had all the records and i was like "oh i want to copy it all!". i had a music recorder i wanted to take copies of all his rare stuff, and he was like "yeah but you know it's good you haven't heard everything because the more you hear it's gonna be harder to create your own thing."

and i was like… yeah, maybe. [laughs} but he really has a point because for me i'm not satisfied with just consuming, i want to make my own music, and as long as i have that strong will of feeling "create my own stuff", i, not on purpose but during periods, it's very like - shut down - to let stuff in. but i always go into record stores, i love record stores more than buying stuff online.

i mean people get crazy on discounts and ebay and shit but i'm like, if i go into a fine record store and am talking to people and giving recommends and shit, that's more that's it's like i said when i'm trying to make my own music i try to… in these periods i really shut down the window and see what's, see myself -  this is so bad english, sorry! [pretty bloody great english! ed]

AF do you mean metaphorically you shut the window, do you mean just not listening to other music, or do you limit other things?

GE yeah, yeah, exactly exactly.

yeah. i mean that's how i grew up because we because we didn't have any internet and we were like longing for stuff, and we were waiting, we were dreaming about "i wonder how that music would sound" and "that record i would never get a copy of it and i would probably never hear it but i wonder how it sounds, maybe it sounds like this," and then i would try to make my own music. do something good with it. i don't know, that's just my way.

AF i was born in 1980 so i understand what you mean.

GE yeah there was not that many impressions, today's very fast. there is a very lot of stuff going on at the same time.

AF in terms of what comes into you apart from music that affects what goes out of you musically, what do you think is kind of the biggest thing, that is affecting you.

GE ahh. i guess everything from environment to relationships, the classic - i mean i'm just a regular guy.

 [both laugh]

living a regular life. and it's quite boring [laughs]… i try escape and try to create something beautiful. i don't really know anything that really influences me of making stuff my own. i mean, i have this strong feeling of like not [being] satisfied with listening and consuming music and art so i want to do it myself. i have that feeling since i was a kid. i don't really know what it comes from.

AF but it is special for people. people have emotional, spiritual, all kinds of reactions to your music.

GE oh that's amazing. [both laugh]. it's ah… i don't know what to say that is. it's honouring and flattering to be that. [laughs]

AF when nick was in sweden he talked about it as a bit of a wonderland at the moment, like everybody is taken care of, there's total equality between the sexes, he was so excited that your recycling is set out well. do you feel as optimistic about your country as maybe visitors do?

GE what do you mean?

AF like, when friends have gone to sweden they talk about it as a complete wonderland. you know?

GE ah ok ok. yeah, i mean i'm totally. i'm blessed. living here, born here, it's a beautiful country and we have a great system that works. i mean compared to other places it's actually really working, but when you're living it, living here we have personally our issues, and things here that are not that good. i don't know that it's a wonderland but compared to places where it's definitely not a wonderland it's nice. but also, speaking of things that effects you and your creative, we have two months every year that's supposed to be summer. the rest of the year could be like, nine months of darkness, and it's a very high suicide rate. like today it's not that wonderlandish, now that the fall has really taken its grip around us. it's dark and cold and chilly and stuff.

AF well it will be good that you can escape it in a few months and come here.

GE yeah, it's perfect.

AF this time we'll make sure you have enough water.

GE haha yeah totally.

AF i think that's probably enough of your time to take for an interview. 

GE yeah, i'm here if you want to ask something more, i would love…

AF well, i'm just going to ask you one more thing. well, i've had this theory, i asked different friends, for a while i was trying to work out what actually psych music is, and my theory is it's just any music you can play a flute on top of and it fits… even if there's no flute….

GE sorry, i didn't really get it. i didn't hear every word. one more time [laughs] sorry!

AF for a while i was trying to understand what psych music actually is, and the theory that i arrived at is that it's any music that you can play a flute over, and it seems like the right thing to do. do you think that's true.

GE ahh, that is probably true, if it's… i mean, that expression and that musical genre is… we, dungen music, has been labelled "psych" music.. when i go into a record store i go to the stacks - there's a label like psych, prog, indie music, and i go through the records and i find out the similarities between the different records but i can't really tell what exactly it is.

but at the same time i mean, this year we did touring a lot, and we met bands playing music and they're saying that they are influenced by us and they're influenced by tame impala and it's like, i don't know. i mean, they're saying they're playing some kind of psych, like, alright… so it's just the combination of these bands, long answer. i don't really know, but the thing about the flute is it's such a beautiful… um… yeah, i agree, it's one of the truths actually. yes totally. [laughs]

AF but yeah, maybe flute belongs everywhere.

GE yeah

AF well, i'll leave you to your day now. i'm going to go swimming.

GE ahhh you going to go SWIMMING, because it's warm and nice :(!

AF but you can do that when you're here!

GE and i'm going to go see my accountant and i'm going to go, with the umbrella, to my studio, put on all lights and lamps that i have in there, and just let the light shine, because it's going to be dark around four or five in the afternoon. it's gonna be darkness.

i'm feeling amazing, exciting to come there. and i'm so glad australia wants to have us there.

AF well, yeah all of the people around me have been talking about your music for a long time. people are very happy you're coming.

GE i'm so honoured, it's amazing. tell your friends: it's all their music, it's all yours.

AF alright, have a good day, i might see you when you're here.

GE yeah maybe, thank you very much

AF seeya gustav, bye.

Hearing Big Moths By Coal Lamps

Andrew Ryan

hearing

photo by anna cunningham

 

there was a very big moth in my dream. i watched it hatch from out of its chrysallis, and then watched it take its first faltering wing beats. i wondered whether it'd fly straight up, or whether it would have to learn, even if the learning only took a few minutes. but the flying was in its nature. ben witt was there. i showed him the moth was as big as my hand span, which reaches an octave and one note easy, and sometimes an octave and two on the piano. my mum popped her head up. she knew what the moth was - of course she did. rtr were looking for only women to host new music shows. i dreamed of a show just about plants and insects and thought a lot about a particular elephant i'd fallen in love with, but i knew the shows should really be just about music. and what do i even know about music? 

ben witt was there, and in his nature was the ability to play guitar, but then he practiced, for more than a few minutes. that's how it seems with the people from melbourne. but they are more like dolphins that have learned to unlock a lock on a cave down in the river, where there's an endless supply of fishes just waiting for them, they don't even have to chase. 

melbourne people came here for camp doogs - this is not in a dream. Hearing were one of my favourites at the festival, and then they played again at the bird. liv's voice was incredible. i had made the rookie error months ago of thinking she might not know what she was doing with music, because someone was helping her plug in the keyboard at a show, but that's some patriarchal jizz clouding my abilities to think. well, she and her band made a magical thing at doogs. they made the air, the water and the ground and all the people glow and vibrate faster while they played. and even though the euphoria like that didn't hit at the bird, all their songs after the first few seemed like hits. 

all the connections in my brain are turning into plastic ciggie filters so i can't remember which bands reuben from melbourne was playing bass in, but i remember his lines as he played. very very interesting lines that i feel people from here do not do, same as when liv played bass for Real Love, some more intricate melodious way that we're all too busy brushing sand off our feet getting back in the cars at the beach to have made. there's so little competition here, so only the very very committed and single-minded ones get good at their instruments. 

the song with the words "two boys, two boys" in it by Hearing keeps coming into my head. like all hits of a particular kind i feel it and most of their other songs belong in movies, good, dark, driving movies lit by american lights or australian lights all pumping out light from coal dug up from not that deep into the earth. we can't even go that deep. 

the other best thing was yes, Real Love. the boy sang like ween when dean or gene ween is singing "push the little daisies" and even though that song was ridiculous it seemed sincere, and i have a strong memory of being at the bad girl's place in albany, our family was at her family's for dinner and she rocked up drunk from a party and fell in the shower, and then out the back in the dark explained to me everything about parties and what they would be like and what happens with guys etc and somehow "push the little daisies" is playing in my head at the same time. 

well, Real Love's singer had that same voice, and it cut through everything, being sincere. i asked matt aitken about that whole show and he said the same: that was his favourite. it's fine for us to pick favourites, they change all the time, i've already written about the others. the drummer was kind of sloppy, the bass sound was completely wack, but all these things just added to make it perfect somehow. not in the same way that sometimes you don't want bands to practice because part of why it's good is that they're just taking a risk with every note, but in some other way, where the not-on-purpose loosey gooseyness made it easier to attend to the feeling of the music. 

is there a band called Feeling? if so, i hope they're good. 

um, that's all i'm going to say. a small thing about a show at the bird, a small thing about my moth dream, inspired by the birds who've just given egg birth in the wall at our place, and a small thing about the all-melbourne show at the oddfellow. much more happened. but much more always happens. 

Pikelet - Evelyn Ida Morris - Speaks Camp Doogs Highlights with Amber Fresh

Andrew Ryan

Ev has her "best Pikelet show ever" and talks "nature", euphoria and melancholy…

Doogs was amazing. More mud, maybe less magic, still amazing. Mink Mussel Creek blew our minds, so did many others. Evelyn Ida Morris came to play solo as Pikelet and with wild ones Baseball as le drummer. We talked in the backyard post-Doogs and here's what she said:

Evelyn: bonjour

Amber: bonjour. why are you learning french?

EM: because i want to live in france for a little while, and just try it out.

AF: what do you like about france?

EM: it's in europe (laughing). there's lots of things actually. i just want to live somewhere where i can tour easily. also i just want to learn another language and being there would make that easy.

AF: what was your general impression of doogs? for someone who's been to lots of festivals and played all over the place?

EM: well it reminded me a lot of being at camp a low hum in new zealand which i've been to a few times and i really love.

general impression was it was very muddy (laughing). but also what i loved about it was… it wasn't trying to be a bigger festival… i liked that it was doing some things like putting bands in an order that they wouldn't have them at a bigger festival.

like, i was really shocked that i was playing a pikelet set later on in the evening, because i thought that that wouldn't work. but what was amazing was that all of that stuff did work just because the crowd was super up for things. and that's what makes it a really good festival i think. the crowd is just like, just up for everything. like when krakatau played last on the first night it just felt really good.

AF: cool. what was it like to play a baseball show again?

EM: we had two shows in melbourne before we came over to prepare. actually i think i wasn't prepared enough or something. i didn't do a very good set, i thought. everyone said all this nice stuff to me and i was trying to be all humble about it, but really i was just beating myself up cos i didn't play as well as i wanted to - i wanted to do a REALLY good job because i have such fond memories of coming to perth really early on in baseball.

AF: i think i permanently injured my neck dancing sitting squished underneath the bar of the hyde park hotel, just dancing with my head when you guys played.

EM: yeah that show was so fun. and was that the first time we met?

AF: maybe…

EM: it was at the swan. that one you and i played together, with baseball, we were meant to play in the basement but it flooded so we played upstairs. it was the first time i met nick… anyway (at doogs) i was just "do a good job for the perth people!" and then i fucked it up.

AF: well, yeah, i mean my perspective is it's quite obvious that you're a genius even if you're making a few mistakes.

EM: oh thank you amber (laughs).

AF: what did you particularly love at the festival music-wise that was a surprise for you?

EM: i have to say i was a bit in my melbourne bubble so i saw a lot of my friends' bands that i would always see in melbourne, which is probably a bit of a bad move and i hope people don't hate me for that. but Hearing actually kind of stole the show for me, and hardly anyone was watching them.

AF: i was watching them

EM: yeah i remember. there was something fucking magic going on during their set. it was raining lots so there was hardly anyone down front, but they're great songs and they just had such a good set, i really felt very moved by it.

it wasn't super a surprise because i've felt that way before with them, but something about the setting, and the comraderie of everyone standing in the rain just felt really special. so yeah they were definitely my faves, Hearing.

AF: did you feel connected to the landscape at all, aside from just having it upon you in mud form?

EM: that's something that i actually find really interesting about festivals. but it's not unique to festivals; it's actually how i feel about nature throughout my life. i have this kind of weird melancholy, whenever i'm around nature. which feels like "i'm sorry". like i feel bad because of i know that i've done so much damage to general environmental situations.

i feel like that especially at festivals because you can see the literal destruction, but also i feel bad because i don't feel connected to it, and i never have, and i understand that the best, respectful, most best way for me to treat nature is to just not fuck with it. and to keep my distance.

i have this urge in me to be connected to nature but i know it's probably not going to happen because our systems have gone too far apart. it's not going to happen in my lifetime. so whenever i'm at festivals, it's almost like more of an actual literal expression of how i feel in nature all the time.

AF: woh

EM: deep, hah!

AF: yeah that's pretty heavy. i have it sometimes.

EM: yeah

AF: when i'm not basically ejaculating in my pants of happiness at looking at small bits of nature, i get the melancholy too. even last night from the sunset. it's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen in your life, but there's a melancholy. i feel like maybe it's something to do with infinite things, and that it's hard for us to integrate

AF: infinity (simultaneous)

EM: that amount of knowledge (simultaneous)

EM: i agree. i think that's why the systems we have were created. because infinity and mortality are intangible to us. we can't deal with them. that's why we made all these systems that are about, "go to work!" and, "do daily tasks!" because those bigger things are too impossible.

i don't know. nature is just always going to be a crush i have that i can't quite grasp. i've never had the guts to ask it out on a date.

AF: well i was wondering when you were talking before if maybe your gardening (ev gardens, even doing 'green composting' with broad beans) is a way to be close?

EM: yeah, well gardening is… a bit futile as well. i always feel like i'm just… what's the saying - there's definitely a saying for this - it's like trying to hold the ocean in your hands, like there's always weeds coming back in and you're constantly trying to fend off the "natural growth". weeds are not natural though, so i kind of feel ok about killing them. anyway, i sound like a hippy.

AF: that's ok it's good to be a hippy. .. yeah, any other special moments? any other non-melbourne musical special moments from dooglets?

EM: hmm. well actually, but this is another melbourne one. sarah chadwick's music makes me cry every time. and also she's an old friend and we haven't seen each other much lately and so i miss herd early. actually i wept like a baby during her set. and gregor was standing next to me and i had to like hug him and cry. which i think happens to a lot of people during her sets.

i just felt like wandering around that everyone was being really respectful. it didn't feel like a gross festival vibe. like, people were wasted but … it felt like people were taking care of each other. i guess that's not really a moment but it's a vibe and honestly, during the pikelet set - 

the whole time i was there - i think i told you this - i was trying to practice this thing where i was in the audience but trying to let go of the fact that other people might see me. like that other people might be looking at me. i was trying to let go of the gaze, i was just trying to be in my body. and that all sort of culminated that when i was playing the pikelet set, i just felt completely, really present and that audience were just so loving that i just felt extreme euphoria.

i've never had a pikelet set feel that good.

AF: woh

EM: that was definitely one of the best times i've had playing music. and ever since doogs i keep thinking back on it and just going "wow". haha! like it just felt… i don't feel like i played especially well, but i just felt so good. you know, it was a really really good situation they set up. and i loved all the banter in between the bands as well. i thought that was pretty amazing.

AF: i gotta type this up so i gotta stop. any final words?

EM: i feel bad that i haven't got any perth bands to speak of.

AF: don't worry there were hardly any.

EM: yeah exactly. ok.

AF: it was special for us to have lots of guests over you know. there were only a few local bands.

EM: yeah there was mink mussel creek, and they were…

AF: they've not played for four years.

EM: that was pretty wild, i was dancing a lot behind them.

AF: and mile end, and adam said galore, and verge collection. i think they were the only local ones. oh no actually the choir - (Burundi Band and Peace Choir)

EM: OH THAT WAS AMAZING! and actually i have to say that soukouss internationale they

AF: i think they're actually from here

EM: they were fucking amazing. i had the most incredible conversation with someone while they were playing and we were dancing, they were just the funnest band. i thought they were great and the choir were great. the end.

AF: thank you

EM: no worries

AF: eleven minutes!

 

Come Through It's Lit

Andrew Ryan

the other day it was like this at the house - nick making hits in the music room, eva transcribing her grandmother's dreams, and me at the kitchen table reading kim gordon's autobiography, given to nick by steve summerlin, who'll be playing bass at the pre-fabled mink mussel creek show tomorrow night (TOMORROW NIGHT!) in the inland town of harvey.

this seemed like the real dream, the dream where great things are being made and great things consumed and all the thoughts are cool, interesting, productive, and you have a BIG SHOW to look forward to as well. and in a way, it is the real dream. a place where we can create, unmolested by fascists or nazis or tempests or being on dialysis machines. but i think deep down the real dream, at least for some of us, is to be acting to create the new world. expending every breath and moment in changing ourselves and the world around us into something that can let eternal creation continue, rather than destruction of the elements our species needs to keep on going; to be able to make rock music, literary hits, romances, political upheavals and gentle glacial movements on and on, on this same planet, with all the species to interact with including our own.

the phrases i keep saying in my own mind are: no identity politics on a dead planet; no feminism on a dead planet; cede power to plants. it seems like everyone's choosing easier things to get upset about than our own comfortable way of life, focussing on things other people need to change, rather than going for Really Big Things like saving the entire earth, that involve changing ourselves and fighting the powers and ideas that are destroying species, water, temperature. we are part of this, so it's easier to pick a fight elsewhere, the sexist, racist, fascist other.

really looking at our own lives and finding what's awry, and doing something about it - that's the true challenge that it seems hardly anyone - me included - is willing to take on.

anyway. one special world changing thing was last week, on a camp for kids with a parent in prison, tessa darcey aka akioka, and matt saville, aka matt sav/abalonely, came to do a music workshop. these were kids where some of them couldn't last ten minutes without a crisis of some kind - climbing roofs, ditching rocks, calling the people around them who care about them "fucking cunts", getting wild and crying because a game didn't go the way they wanted, tying their legs and arms with masking tape and telling stories about seeing their relatives really cutting into themselves. see, all the crisis comes from crisis. all the violence comes from violence. anyway - tessa and matt set up keyboards and percussion instruments and drum machines and harmonicas and ocarinas and a laptop and a sample pad and proceeded to be the instruments of these small kids' creations. they were just 8 or 9 or 10 years old, all out of whack from a whack life, but creating incredible songs. tessas eyes lit up as a tiny boy from northam who couldn't go to sleep at night because of bad thoughts, and still wet his pants, created an incredible ambient track on a beat machine. my eyes went big when a boy whose stories were like a horror movie made for the first time lyrics to a straight up great hiphop song, chopped, reversed and also left in original glory by tessa on the sampler. this was a changing moment in their existence, a long long moment to be inside music, music to be inside and emanating from them.

anyway. yes, we can do both. yes, fighting racism means first nations peoples and their connection to lands could take over the way things are organised to increase the possibility of human survival, yes, fighting misogyny might mean life or death for a woman with a partner who'd otherwise see her as less than himself. yes, all of this. but we also need to look deeper and further within our lives to find the places we're too scared to go, but have to go, if we want to have a chance for those kids and those kids' kids' kids to breathe, live, see every animal that now lives, listen to recordings of mink mussel creek's fabled camp doogs 2016 show. hm. 

Akioka Tape Launch Pt 1

Andrew Ryan

it started with breathing, lots of breathing. that's how life started and that's how akioka started for her tape launch. well, first she began with her palms together and her eyes closed inside a placenta, in front of the screen, with a crowd of people waiting outside the opening in front of her, to see her as she emerged. well, she emerged from that meditative place, sitting in front of us, sitting in front of the screen, and opened her mouth and began to breathe.

before that i'd been talking to my old friend sage, who used to be thomas when we knew each other. she is studying something about the intersection between insight meditation and non-traditional, or super-traditional forms of singing, as in throat singing and all the rest. these were not all her words, these are my words to describe what she generously was describing to me, her eyes wide as when we knew each other in the past, my eyes wide as ever too. when she lived with my friend edd, edd used to wear raver pants and feed me frozen peas under the doona while we watched movies, but now i think he would find a show where someone's just breathing "pretty weird". what is weird though, breathing, or wearing raver pants?

well, akioka, who is tessa began, and it was all breathing. then she opened her mouth but what came out, and through the microphone, pedals, PA, didn't seem like it could be her voice. imagine someone talking with helium, except this time it's not funny it's primordial and cosmically interesting/confusing/real/intriguing. that's what it was like. and these were looped over one another and her bff aside from her son (i assume this relationship, based on photos) had set videos to go over and through the experience.

the videos are like this: you are seeing a galaxied sky, turning in front of your eyes. you don't know how she has made this galaxy, green planets, vision rods, the goo which makes up dark matter. in fact the french man called me on skype today and told me if i really want to know about physics, the only and most important thing is, in fact, dark matter. well, it seems like a galaxy, the video going behind akioka, in front of us, on to her face, through her music, but then very eventually you see it's the particles floating on a lake top or something similar, and you realise - well, the same thing really isn't it? lake, galaxy, planet, particle, gooey dark matter, gooey dark matter.

 glossalalia - akioka, is this part of what you're doing?

 Well, this is Part One, because this week I go on camp, to run the camp, with 13 lucky number of kids with a parent or both of them in prison. And Akioka, aka Tessa, is going to do music with the kids and Part 2 is going to be telling you all and every thing about that.

 

Stone's Throw 20th Anniversary @ The Rosemount, 16/09/16

Andrew Ryan

photo credit: Isolation Nation

the guy who i see the most at the moment jumps the fence to get to our backyard. it's a small tall fence between three or four yards and he hikes up his sarong and clambers over. we can hear him in the house, and in their house they can hear me, when i hike my body up and over the corrugations, making happy bruises on the way. 

this guy has been singing "egyptian lover, egyptian lover" around the place in a kind of robot voice for the last month, in between when we all talk about latex, birds, our friends, etc. and him and others put on clips of mndsgn (mind design) and get excited. but see, sometimes when i get to go to shows i feel like a lil dawg, a lil fraud, because it's not me who's getting egyptian lover robots on the mind.

well, this special label, stone's throw, were having their 20th birthday, and i didn't know anything about it but i went. it seemed strange as usual, all mainly monochrome perth people dressed quite similarly about to see music of a particular culture that's far far away but is firmly entrenched, all vaped in to their pores over much time in smoke machined rooms, backyards, headphones, everyone dipped in the hats and shirts and music. it's beautiful and weird. i can't write about the music because of course it was great but i don't know how. mndsgn felt new and collaged and sweet and delicate and strong, egyptian lover felt heavy nostaglic and skilled and confusing and i wondered how people were internally reacting to him saying he "likes the lesbian bitches" as one of the types of bitches that he'd like to get amongst. 

yes, there's still always that way to see things, and i couldn't help it, but sometimes it's a mirage. when mdsgn was playing, a woman came up behind him on the stage and started undressing. he was just playing and she was just undressing, taking her collared shirt on and off her shoulder, taking her fleshy (what else would it be, but it was really that way) nipple in and out of her shirt. 'oh man.' i thought 'does it have to be everywhere like this, men making the music, women in the background just taking off their clothes?' but in the end it wasn't part of the show. it was just some lady dancing and wanting to show off her haircut and nipples and moves. 

there was cool dancing though, out in the very edge of the whole place. me and the fence jumper were walking along the periphery of the rosemount, all the perth people on all the sides, and then there were these three shy people popping and locking squeezed up by the window. this was a very cool sight to behold. i used to go to break jams occasionally, with a nice bboy from jandakot. they'd all cook pasta together and then get in the cipher. it was true bliss in fact, true story, and some of the breaking was great. so these three were very shy and very just into doing their popping, locking, and shy looks at each other. two, a girl and guy, were very thin and looked like they could have easily been into world of warcraft and dressing up as into breaking. maybe both can exist in the same human. 

well, kids kept calling out to the fence jumper because of his teklife tshirt, saying "RIP DJ Rashad!" and "teklife!" and it was a happy moment for him. and tristan fidler was there - see, this is the thing, tristan is just a guy, like dj rashad, that everyone should know about, or at least he should have a growing cult following, and when someone wears a 'rich tapestry' shirt, people should call out "long live t-fid". one day. 

we saw mei saraswati play there too, everyone in the room probably thinking the same thing as i did - she should be on the big stage - even though it was not her best ever show. i was watching a florist called lauren sitting on the floor in front of her, her smooth hair brushed gently backwards from her face, her nice schooly shoes, her soft features, and she loved it so deeply. yes, mei should be going 'straight to the pool room', as in the main stage, where she belongs. 

so, dancing, teklife, t-fid, egypt egypt. all of it playing its part for a cool night where i was lost but everyone else was deep in, hearing the sounds they've grown attached too, inspired by, musically nurtured by. thanks for the free ticket, next time i'll do some more research.

Luis Vasquez - The Soft Moon

Andrew Ryan

the soft moon is coming to mojos soon. repeat three times, nice assonance. here's the interview we did with luis vasquez, phone from fremantle to berlin, getting cut off a lot, but tips of gold still winging their way through.

***

LV: hello

AF: hello is that luis

yeah that's me

it's amber from cool perth nights

hey how you doing (small talk etc.)

where abouts are you?

i'm in berlin

in where sorry?

in berlin, germany

oh i've heard of it

ha ha i'm sure you have

what is it like living there compared with - you're usually in california, right?

yeah. it's different and the same at the same time. the night life is quite similar to los angeles. it's a little bit more extreme i would say. as berlin's known for its party culture.

but it's cool, i like it. i'm enjoying it.

there's so many australian artists that go over there, is that the same for americans?

yeah i meet so many australians out here.

are there not that many people from the US going there as a destination for pursuing music and art?

yeah, usually the americans that i meet here are just here for tourism purposes. but i do meet many musicians: italians, french, spanish.

did you choose berlin at all because of its closer connections to industrial music - and what you're making - than LA would be?

initially i decided to come out here for business reasons. the majority of touring i do is in europe so berlin is quite central as a starting point. i wanted to be in europe so i could be readily available for anything that comes up.

in the beginning it was kind of a pain in the ass because i was flying from Oakland. i couldn't really take up on the offers of some of these festivals that would happen last minute. i'd get these really great offers but because i'm so far away…

also my manager lives here, my drummer lives here, but then of course on top of that i would say yeah, definitely the culture and the industrial music, the history, that all definitely plays a part too. and it's a very artistic city. it's quite inspiring, it helps creative types survive.

are there any artists there you've found particularly inspiring?

ah not so much, noone in particular, i would say that --- (much talking, but none gets through the phoneline)

hello

hey, that sounds better

don't know what happened

yeah me neither

(we continue) yeah no-one in particular just the music culture itself is inspiring on its own, you know places like tresor, all those techno clubs i don't quite frequent anymore.

how come?

you know, a lot of people come out here and the first thing they want to do is explore and experience these clubs. but you can only do it for so long unless like you're, a super techno head. i have friends that do that, going two or three years, they still go quite often but i gained enough from that experience and i kind of harnessed it in a way. i don't know, perhaps it will come out in my future projects.

it seems to me sometimes people that are actually making music have a little bit less voracious appetite to go and see music all the time.

exactly. yeah, you know you'll rarely see me at a show these days. i don't really listen to music that often, and if i do it's usually something nostalgic for me, something from my childhood, something from the past. but yeah as far as friend musicians that i know, we're all similar -we'd prefer to kind of work.

(phone dies, we reconnect)

i have musician friends who are also the same, people who like to work here, not really participate in all the activities.

are you writing at the moment?

yeah. started a few months ago. at the moment there's no hard deadlines or timeframe i've just kind of been writing as inspiration hits me and we'll see.

i don't know if this is a hard question but where is the music that you're making coming from at the moment?

um. that's an interesting one. i've been going through a lot. kind of a rollercoaster of life and personal struggles. i'm always learning about myself, i think everyone learns about themselves as they evolve. but yeah dealing with a lot of personal issues - and that's kind of what's making its way into my music.

life is pretty interesting at the moment. i guess i'll learn more about that as i continue to write. that's how i find out what my problems are or what my emotions are, it's through the music. when i just let go i'll be able to answer that question more later, or the music will answer those questions.

~ phone death ~

hey i don't know what's going on, they've given us a dodgy line

yeah it's weird

i forgot what we were talking about

oh yeah, you were asking where were the songs coming from. and i was explaining how i'm going through some personal struggles - some confusion - that's left me feeling at a loss. i won't know what i'm going through or where the music's coming from until i'm actually writing. my music shows me what's going on with me.

yeah that's a very magical thing that can happen that when you're making things - you understand it afterwards, or it sort of teaches you.

yeah. exactly. ha.

have you had that happen with other albums that you've done?

yeah, every single one. music for me, it's therapy, it's like my therapist, you know my instruments are my therapist. a lot of times i can write a song and not know what it's about. then a couple years later i'll go 'oh ok that's what i was going through'. that's what happens with pretty much all the tracks that i write.

when listen to your music and watch your clips it kind of reminds me of my dad telling me about being in korea, and he went to some sort of festival and got put in a coffin by some monks and they put the lid on

oh wow

and it's this thing that you go through to i guess have some sort of experience of, or confrontation with, um, death and darker things. so i just wanted to ask you, do you see your music as dark but not in a negative and hopeless way, but kind of positive way?

exactly. yeah, it's definitely dark, especially the sonic aspect of it. you know i'm always using darker synth sounds, so even the tones are dark, it's quite dark but it's also very optimistic. everything is like a war against myself, but there's always that hope and there's always that sense of defeat, so

yep

it's just like the struggle. it's all about struggle. and suffering, but being able to conquer. to conquer these things; and that's the whole point of this, is to get through. the music represents how i feel, everything is, is ---------------

****

and we go into the blackness. luis promised to answer my last email questions, but they haven't come back yet. you can ask him your own questions though, when you go to his show - soft moon coming soon etc.

here's the titles of his tracks for the last album, deeper, so you'll know why it all made me think of the coffin:

inward

black

far

wasting

wrong

try

desertion

without

feel

deeper

being

never

x

amber fresh.

[addendum - just got the extra answers]

 

Have you already got any sense of what Australia is going to be like? I think it's your first time here…?

Yes, it will be my first time in Australia. As far as what i've been told, read in books, and seen in documentaries i guess i'm expecting to see many different wildlife? Perhaps that may sound a bit adolescent on my part, but as of right now i can only depend on my imagination as of what Australia is like. From what i can tell about all the Aussies i've met here in Berlin i can say that everyone seems to have great attitudes.

I wanted to ask you too whether you're very concerned about gear - if you have synths you love above others at the moment for example.

I'm not much of a gear head myself. I have preferences on certain synthesizers for how they might sound of course, but i'm far away from the type of person who goes nuts collecting everything on the market, or even knowing about everything. I've always found a big difference between know-it-all gear heads and actual musicians. I feel that their brains have different wirings. To be honest, my favorite instrument in my collection is an old beat up trashcan i found in a parking lot that i use for live shows and on some of my recordings.

And also, I was in Oakland last year, the morning after some of the streets had been lit up with cars, shops looted, and lots of deep political passions mixed in with a sense of mayhem. I know you're not there at the moment, but how do you feel about how your country is going right now? Optimism, darkness… ?

It makes me sad and angry. It seems unthinkable that it could've gotten worse, but it has and there doesn't seem to be any optimism in my opinion. I've actually made plans to finally return to the states after four years living in Europe to buy a home and settle but at the looks of how things are going down i just don't know anymore. The elections will also be a big deciding factor for me wether or not i return. Only time will tell.