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The Amber Fresh Chronicles

RTRFM The Big 40 | An Interview with Tanaya Harper

Andrew Ryan

Tanaya Harper.jpg

Tanaya Harper, a belle of Bell's Rapids, beautiful-toned guitarist and clear as a bell singer, made a pick of artists to be part of RTR's Slightly Odway supergroups for The Big 40 RTRfm show.

Amber Fresh spoke with her, somehow not mentioning trees or birds, but covering all the other requisite bases.

Harper's piping hot musical skills are translated metaphysically into a deep sunburn, as a sign for all, in the pic we picked to accompany her reflections.

AF Ok, so I don't know anything about the Slightly Odway bizzo for The Big 40, can you tell me what it is?

TH It’s 4 super group bands - performing big local hits from the past year as the Slightly Odway Orchestra.

AF Fabulous. How did you choose who to ask?

TH Jackson Hawdon and myself were asked for a meeting with Chris Wheeldon at the Scotto, which was shocking and flattering for me, as I’ve never organised something to this scale with such an amazing organisation (not sure if that’s the word).

AF Community? Rather than organisation?

TH Yeah that’s it. They asked for more ‘contemporary’ artists to play this component of the event, as they’re kind of displaying the ‘future’ of RTR, where it’s heading.

I guess he picked us because he felt we had the connections and dug our personal music style and conduct? Not sure!

AF Is there a particular song you had the most fun learning?

TH Ubu - Methyl Ethel. It's so hard - I am playing the riff over singing the hook - I never play riffs generally, especially one this hard! So I’m glad to say that it isn’t just a breeze, I’m also learning a lot and gaining skills

AF Haha, I played guitar for the first few Methyl Ethel songs, it was definitely above my capabilities.

TH Haha crazy stuff, Jake is such a talented song writer. Having said that - singing 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' (Rag n' Bone) has given me even more respect for Kiera’s abilities, and I didn’t think they could actually go any higher.

AF That's beautiful.

Do you see any themes in the music that's being made around you in Perth at the moment? Like, if you had to describe "the future of local music for RTR"?

TH Hmmm well the local scene is definitely focusing a lot on politics which is fitting for the state of our current gov. and political climate, not just nationally but globally - everything effects everything else, that ripple effect is being acknowledged constantly, but I think there’s always also that focus on alienation - I feel like I’ve noticed a lot of lyricism discussing mental health and anxiety as of late + feminism also and gender equality - it’s a really interesting time and there’s such a variety in song style and mood too, it’s a beautiful time.

AF Yeah, I think its a good thing that even though most of us have easy lives in many ways - food, housing, friends who love us - it's good that people are speaking to things that could be better, and speaking on behalf of those who don't always have a voice.

TH Yeah exactly - it seems less self indulgent as of late and more a communal awareness of what effects everyone, not just themselves.

AF Are there other elements of the Big 40 show you're most looking forward to? I'm excited for Adam Said Galore, and also for the Tura/Difficult Listening stage.

TH I’m excited for those too, also Abbe May with WAJO, like omg what?? That will be the best rearrangements/interpretations ever. Odette Mercy and her Soul Atomics with the Tongan choir - I imagine that will be beautiful.

And of course Rok Riley

AF Tell me about your connection to RTR - what has it meant to you to have a true community radio station? And also, what was your radio heritage being from a regional place/Albany wonderland?

TH I actually am from Perth, my mum moved there (Albany) 7 years ago, haha! I love being able to go gain clarity and have a break from my scattered mind though whenever I want (as there’s a bed for me if I need it)

I discovered RTR almost ten years ago when I was at WAAPA, trying to find the alternative sound that wasn’t just my Radiohead CD collection haha, and then I discovered RTR and decided they were the coolest of cool and always hoped I would have something to do with them. It always made me feel warm and fuzzy hearing how supportive they are of local musicians, and everyone else outside of our WA community. Different presenters embrace music from all over the world - Lo fi recordings done in Ghana, West Africa, to the underground club scene in the UK. RTR inspires me every day, and reminds me there’s so much out there even though I can’t leave my house and go see those acts

AF YES, so true. Thanks Tanaya. Do you have any last recommendation/motivational advice for people who haven't decided whether they'll go to the Big 40 yet?

TH This is a once off. Everyone playing represents those amongst the cream of the crop, performing completely original acts that will actually inspire, and you’ll leave so glad you did come.

AF Thanks for the hot tips. Good luck for the show