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459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

The Amber Fresh Chronicles

Filtering by Category: amberfresh

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. 

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. 
 

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. 

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.

In The Town Where I Was Born

Andrew Ryan

Kalgoolie is the town where I was born. It's the town where my friend Matt once did a review talking mainly about how wide the streets were. It's the town me and my friend Lucy caught the train to, the train tracks getting struck by lightning on our way there. We waited in the carriages for extra hours until the tracks were ready to go again and ended up pulling in at midnight, our hotel closed, the main street all closed. We snuck through an open door and magically found a teenage girl wandering round in the halls in a nighty. She happened to know the owner, who showed us to our room late at night which happened to be the old ballroom, high ceilings, two nice beds for us, heaps of treats waiting the next day in the town, like the museum, chocolate cake with blue icing, spaghetti marinara served by skimpies, rain pouring down and then going away to just wash the town clean for most intense blue sky morning.

In some places, maybe even that hotel, if we'd been two black girls it might have been different that night though, us turning up at midnight as strangers on the loose. That's the truest, saddest fact. We might have been treated with mistrust. If it was a hundred and fifty years ago, Lucy, my friend who is Vietnamese as well as Australian, might not have been shown her room either. That's a true, sad fact too. I'm white, so here, everything's easy for me in terms of opening doors like that into a late night hotel. I only have to fear all men in general, but no-one else.

I read the long list in this New Matilda article about deaths in custody https://newmatilda.com/2016/08/31/the-kalgoorlie-uprising-a-rational-response-to-another-black-death/. They happen on and on and on. Non-white kids are in prison on and on and on. I'm glad all those people made noise and trouble too. I'm glad it wasn't just tears or destruction turned on themselves. All the shit writing in the West Australian passed my eyes at the coffee shop but I couldn't read it all because it turned my stomach, but yes, at every turn, the racism's just in there, in every line of the article, in every photo caption. It's what we all expect now.

Tomorrow Matt and I are running a workshop for Indigenous teenagers at a contemporary art institute about story telling in life and in art. It seems a ridiculous thing to be doing tomorrow, a day after a boy gets run down in the street and people worry about broken property. But we'll do our best to somehow do our best. 

Ghostbusters: The Fantasy of Escaping Male Gaze

Andrew Ryan

Well, it's a week later and not much has changed. 10 year olds are still in prison in WA, Australians are still pretty racist, The Bachelor has started. 

Last night we went to see Ghostbusters. For a quick review, the first half is amazing, the second half kind of sucks, but for a deeper look, it was a very strange feeling to go into a movie, to watch the minutes passing by and to keep being reminded of a very strange thing: no woman's going to have unwanted sexual things happen to her, none of the women are going to get more and more undressed, none of the women are going to get turned into bombshells or sexy ladies. This was a weird and a wonderful feeling. 

How could this be a revolutionary feeling? To go to the movies and to gradually, weirdly relax that you're not going to have to steel yourself against some general threat? This is a feeling that not everyone can understand, unless they try SO HARD to put themselves into your shoes, and then they might just get a little glimpse, and maybe it will change their brain. 

Well, I'm going to do something in the next few days, and that's imagine what it's like for some other people. Of course you can't really get in there, into another's brain, history, feeling, but you can try and the trying is worth it. Imagine if you're someone who never ever gets represented as a strong, unfettered-by-race character in movies or tv or the news? Like, if you're not an aboriginal Australian, try get into that feeling of never ever ever being just a character in a story as a straight up human, but always waiting for the moment when you have to deal with racism in the script or in your character's life. Imagine if one day someone just makes a movie where the actor is aboriginal and that's all. They get to live a normal life of a human without someone else having written in the racism all around them and into them. 

See, Ghostbusters is a fantasy on many levels. Ghosts are real of course, even if they don't slime people, so it's not crazy to represent them in film, but it's crazy and wonderful to represent females pretty much not being patronised either inside the script's logic, or undressed from outside the script's logic, or gazed upon in that way. 

Imagine being a young aboriginal Australian and seeing a tv show where there's aboriginal kids as the protagonists but they're not shown as "ABORIGINAL KIDS AS THE PROTAGONISTS", and it's a tv show where nothing too bad happens to them, and FOR ONCE you get a break from the pressures that, being a human, you just don't necessarily have to suffer, but you just suffer because of what form you were born in. Or, imagine being a young aboriginal Australian who doesn't have to deal with racism every moment, irl. This is fantasy. But making this fantasy gives us a taste of what is possible. Like, if you're a standard dressing whitish man, imagine having to imagine walking down the street without hunching your mind against the ever-present eventuality of someone yelling at you sexually from a car. If you're not a middle-eastern looking woman in a headscarf in Australia, imagine being a middle-eastern woman in a headscarf and having a day where no-one looks at you differently because of it. 
 
Thanks Ghostbusters, for giving me half a movie's worth of luxurious break from the male gaze (which can come from males, females, ourselves, everywhere of course). If I'm going to be picky I'd say try harder next time in the second half of the film to fill in city scenes with people, to be more careful with lighting when you're blue-screening and CGIing, and to only use Sigourney Weaver if you're going to let her develop a real character and not just deliver some throw-away feministy fluff.

I hope everyone gets a break from their miniature or major oppressions this week, or gives someone else a break by trying harder to understand these oppressions are real.  

Also, if you're at the movies with a date, don't forget to kiss them. ~Hot tip~

the good parts of groupthink

Andrew Ryan

last night as i was walking through the yard from the main house to my backrooms, i looked upwards and there, like always were the stars. my first thought was to stop forgetting them, to suggest to my housemate and new co-editor of a streetpress, “let’s spend time looking at these instead of/after Masterchef.” my next thought was to write a section in the next streetpress reminding all our friends to look at the stars too, and even at a specific time and day and even set up a buddy system where you text message a friend to remind them “NOW!” Now’s the time we’re all going to look at the stars together!

because we do everything together.

i’ve been enjoying Masterchef for this very reason, also for nostalgia to heal my wounded heart, but the knowledge that all round the place, the big fucking country, there’s other people seeing this too. me and the housemate got fish and chips last night after delivering the streetpress and there was a crazy eyed New Zealander sitting out there too, pinging after his footy training, smoking a ciggie, talking fast, not blinking and waiting for his fishburger. he had no shoes on, and shorts where you could nearly see into his soul. the way him and my housemate addressed each other i thought they already knew each other, but it turned out we were just connected through the telly
“we’ve only got foxtel” new zealand said, “you can’t get normal telly on it – no ‘The Voice’, no ‘My Kitchen Rules.’ i like ‘The Voice’ when they’re doing the button bit, where it’s just right at the start.”
“me too!” (that’s me talking)

well anyway, with all our friends we just do everything together sometimes and sometimes it’s a good thing. our friend started a paddle club and a swamp club and now everyone’s talking about the river – it’s not just me. we know the old name for it : derbarl yerrigan. we know the birds on it, including the yellow billed spoonbill which music photographer amber bateup told me she got to clean the cages of at the animal sanctuary where she worked.
“i had to grab them when i cleaned their cages,” she told me. “their beaks are really like spoons. if you ever get the chance to grab one you should grab the opportunity.”

all the girls too are talking about what happens to us 24/7. sexual objectification, patronisation, whistles, rape. some of the boys have no idea because they’re good guys, but as the groupthink goes they’re beginning to understand. ben witt, who releases his album soon, his eyes went very wide when he found out, yeah, actually girls get raped and then sometimes end up at the same show as the person who did it. that’s the sad group knowledge, but we all have to know. and he found out recently about a good thing – this history of the afghan cameleers who were a big part of the new culture taking over australia in the late 1800s, after whom ‘the ghan’ train is named. our schools didn’t drum this into us. our telly doesn’t tell us this, but soon all our friends will know and care about the afghan cameleers because that’s how it works here.

i kept trying to explain it to the french friends, how we just have to make everything ourselves here, perth. even the museum is closed for four years. but this is the beauty of our groupthink, and the way we will make things more beautiful all the days til we leave or die.

Swamp Clubb/Wilson Tanner at Success

Andrew Ryan

hey leonie, so you know how anything you whisper in the ear of matt turns out as a fully formed thing: radio shows, bands, late night talk shows, perth version of monopoly, deep fried kangaroo, gatorade poached pears to celebrate the return of basketball to collective interest in the state of WA, etc?*

anyway, now matt’s become indestructibly more powerful, linked up romantically with mei saraswati. swamp clubb was another one of their children.

nick and me drove in to the city, listening to classic fm, talking a bit but not much. as we walked to the urban orchard i saw a man i knew from shopfront (soup kitchen) and wanted to stop and talk to him. he is an indigenous man. i’d never seen him affected by drugs and alcohol before but this time he was – it was 7 in the morning and he was drinking white wine i think from a water bottle and sort of talking strangely. but he was happy to see us and we stayed there for a bit. his teeth were all broken. what we were going in to the city for was to be part of a tour of northbridge all about how it used to be before all his family and ancestors were thieved of their patrimony. leonie, what are we going to do? we’re on stolen ground and there’s still no treaty, and i know 15 year olds from this people who pee their pants still because they’ve suffered trauma all as the direct lineage of everything being taken and shaken off them, deep troubles for their parents, their grandparents, their ancestors and down through to their children.

well, while we were still there listening to this man on the bench go a bit round in circles with his talking, making a mixture of deep sense and no sense, him mainly directing his babbling at nick, peter bibby came up. so it was the four of us, me, nick, pete and this man on his bench. eventually we left to go get the early coffee. on our way in the morning – an early rise for us had it not been for all the recent paddle clubb days and nick’s general insomnia – nick had said “it better not just be hamish djing when we get there”, because he was only willing to go to the city early for some real information, some real new experience, but i knew in my head that when we got there it was “just going to be hamish djing”. i even did a little drawing of that scene in my diary – nick saying that out phrase loud, me thinking that but not daring to say it out loud because i wanted us both to go.

anyway, yes when we got there it was just hamish djing, BUT also, a lot more than that. there was already a crowd, maybe 20 or thirty people, a mixture of all music friends (all the links and friendships have been so developed by our shared experiences through things like camp doogs, as well as just shows and parties, but yes, these outside experiences where even in a half hour of conversation in nature can propel depth of friendship a year or many years in advance) and then some fifty or sixty year olds who looked like the lovely sort of people double our ages who would be interested in something called a “ Swamp Clubb Eco Ghost Tour of Northbridge”. so music people and local history people, all beginning to form around a little table of bagels and cafetières, and a wooden sign cut by benjamin konto that said SWAMP CLUBB.

matt aitken was wearing a liegionaires hat, a few people were wearing swamp clubb shirts, and hamish was djing. i said shy ‘hi’s’ to all the deep friendship music people and then went on a little tour of the urban orchard with lockie, showing him which plants he could eat even tho i wasn’t always sure myself. then matt and mei and mikaela called us all together and the tour was ready to begin.

matt explained we’d be going on a tour of this land that used to be – and still is if you dig a bit – swamp lands, with a series of 7, no 12, lakes, that used to make up the entertainment and food district of the city. then matt said “first we’re going to do a toilet stop.” we all followed him, people half giggling and quizzically-browed not knowing if he was actually leading us to a toilet stop or it was a real start of the tour. but it was the real start. we all crowded into the small toilets at the top of the art gallery carpark and there was a map up on the wall, covered in plastic, used to guide tourists and locals to wellington street or the central train station or their office job. matt started explaining and drawing onto the map where the lakes used to be. the biggest lake was known in invasion times by the name of the engineer who ended up draining it. we learned how the river used to flow down to a big reef at fremantle, blown up by my hitherto hero c.y. o’connor.

matt drew the lakes in and already the transformation had begun. we were now in a new version of northbridge, an old and ancient version of northbridge. when it came time to move on, matt tried to wipe off the texta from the city of perth map, but it just smeared, and the wonderful political nature that this tour was creating started showing through more. everyone’s giggling continued as we left the toilets, the lake smears still there with ctv footage now showing an inadvertently council-approved graffiti act taking place.

we walked past the gallery and onto a footbridge kind of blocking traffic and the information continued, and perhaps at this point nandi chinna, local writer who it turns out wrote an entire book of poetry called “swamp” about just these ancient and mainly unknown things read her first poem. we were all in there, in the old times, with her words. then we headed down into another stairwell, the stairwell of some car park, one by one. we were given pieces of purple material each as we descended and through the doorway we started to hear singing. it was mei and andy williams (aj wigwams) and tessa (akioka) acapella-ing mei’s song “swamp gospel”. i’d heard and connected to this song so many times before, but new words became apparent after getting this new insight, like “see that tennis court, those manicured lawns? that used to be a food bowl but now it’s gone.” https://soundcloud.com/mei-saraswati-overflow/swamp-gospel (pls listen). as we descended the music became stronger. everyone was moved. tears started coming.

then we were all down the bottom of the carpark, but it was changed. we all stood there on the concrete, in the swamp, in a circle. we were given pieces of paperbark to touch, we were told to use the purple material to cover our eyes, and aj, mei and tessa created a soundscape of all that used to be there. them and surely the spirits of the land. tessa can make noises so much like magpies that i slitted open my eyes a few times just to see what recording device the magpie calls were coming from, but they were coming from a mouth. there was water noises, there were frogs, we were taken down.

then we went on, out into the day, walking on concrete, walking through the swamp. nandi told us more in her reading and in her stories of people digging up the ground to make car parks and finding the swamp flooding back in – it’s all waiting there leonie, for us to leave it alone to recover itself, for us to dig up and make space for all the plants and animals, the whole food bowl to live through again, supporting us and the thousands of species that were and are there.

in another outside carpark andy williams was sitting in the open boot of a station wagon. it began gently to rain through the sunshine and he sung about all that was not lost but still there, his smile and everyone’s eyes lighting up through time to be dewy and new.

it keep sprinkling on us and we moved on through the transformed landscape to all shelter at tables under a moreton bay fig and a young botanist told us more – all the species that were there, the species lost, explained that to be a biodiversity hot spot, as all our south west is, you need at least 6,000 endemic species but we have 12,000, but that the “hot spot” appelation comes if more than 70% of your native land is cleared and that in fact almost 90% of ours is. she passed around small species – nick, pete, me, lockie, will stoker, hamish, tristan, 30 other people touched and smelled the plants. she explained a few we could eat that live still down by the river.

well, can you imagine? this one 2 hour stretch on a friday morning 7-9am, changed us all. it’s happening again but you’re in melbourne, but maybe you’ll go down to a river near you then and just let it really sink in to you.

i also saw andy wilson (andras fox) and john tanner (eleventeen eston) play as wilson tanner in the enormous dark basement, now gallery, in fremantle under the Many building. behind them was a big screen showing a video filmed deep in the swan river/derbal yerrigan of a toy piano they’d sunk down there and all the fishes swimming by and exploring it.

we missed the start because of watching masterchef, but the last part was like this: you are in the early nineties. you’re in a loungeroom in the late/night early morning, the only light is coming from the telly, on which you’ve watched a whole stack of videos, from the video shop, and now it’s on to rage, and you’re in the friendship and video coma, on a floor covered with mattresses and doonas and pillows in the dark with a few friends around, you’ve all eaten lasagne, mandarins and dry cocopops and lots of cadbury chocolate and you let your eyes finally start dipping and staying dipped, so relaxed in an australian early nineties style of luxury. you would have liked that too.
http://www.hhv.de/shop/en/item/wilson-tanner-a-r-t-wilson-aka-andras-fox-and-john-tanner-69-472216

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*but really, it’s no-one whispering in the ear, it’s just matt, all this creativity pouring out of him. where does it even come from. i got an insight into it going to his dad’s 60th birthday. his mum invited me and a few of our friends and heaps of their family and friends and made costumes for everyone who came to the viking theme she’d decided on. we all got costumed up at the next door neighbours house and did a viking parade over to their house, ready for the viking feast, she got joni and the moon to play, this crazy emotional political deep set with her and tera’s shaved heads and feathers in front of all their negatively gearing friends. so weird and so transformative. in the speech his mum had such a potty mouth and when it was time to cut the cake – a silver herring – his dad poked out the eyeball first.

The Drones at Rosemount

Andrew Ryan

Well I fried some bananas and then went downtown to see The Drones. I’d been thinking all day about this one lyric “You came here on a boat you fucking cunt”. When I showed my french housemate who The Drones were I played her that one song, from “Taman Shud”. After about sixteen seconds she said through her lipstick and accent, “I can see already they are good”. And that is how it happens with all ‘good’ music – people who ‘know’ only need a few seconds to know. When Joe Alexander who runs Bedroom Suck Records was watching Peter Bibby for the first time though it took him several songs in, in fact ‘til Pete did that one song about Australia/Straya where the whole crowd was whipped into a confused and then riotous fever by the same spirit of “You came here on a boat you fucken’ cunt”, that he realised why Pete was special. What do bananas and Peter Bibby and refugees on fire all have to do with The Drones playing at Rosemount? Plenty.

So I was frying some bananas for dinner before The Drones show. I was doing them the way my friend’s African drug dealer in Paris, who’s name means liberty, did them. In France if you rock up unannounced and then declare yourself as a refugee they are not allowed to lock you straight into prison, so this free man without papers was frying up bananas in a Parisian apartment for me and my friend.

And I was here in Fremantle frying bananas his way – just in oil in thick rounds in a very hot pan, while Nick and Tayo made dubby music in the other room. When we visited the Fremantle prison on band camp in high school, all my friends laughed and made jokes about ‘garotting’, but I as the perpetually serious one burned against them with the words “These were REAL PEOPLE” making the whites of my eyes tattooed and bloodshot in the spirit realms.

What was Gareth Liddiard like in high school? Did he laugh with the garotters or was he already burning up at any mention of injustice, but already mainly impotent except in words? Well, as the bananas fried I kept thinking about what I’d said to Eva the night before, “I feel like The Drones are sort of the only important band in Australia,” and was thinking just three songs are needed for our country right now: ‘Taman Shud’, ‘Treaty’ by Yothu Yindi, and ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ by Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly. Love songs have some place somewhere in the landscape, but right now mainly it feels beside the point.

So I fried the bananas and went to the show. At first I wasn’t allowed in due to some miscommunication, and I stood at the entrance shifting my weight from foot to foot, looking at my phone, looking at the door people doing their job, looking at my phone. I could hear Ben playing, all great but all thin from far off. I just had to imagine everyone getting into it, new fans I assumed would be created, until they let me burst into the scene for the last song and some guy absolutely wild on either music or some highly effective upper/outer was emphatically with his whole body and heaps of fast words exclaiming the injustice of Ben, James, Marc and Brett not getting to continue for hours more. In the front row was our musical city’s private photographer Amber Bateup, and members of Rag n’ Bone, and of Usurper of Modern Medicine and in the second row members of Shit Narnia and Pat Chow, and Tristan Fidler, always Tristan. We’re always amongst friends now, but what are we going to politically do with it, all this friendship? Just keep on having a good time as people literally burn to be there too? Not at the Rosemount ready to hear Gareth repeat “You came here on a boat,” but somewhere close by with a free bed to sleep in, able to go to the markets in the morning for bananas or listen to the radio even if it’s not Tristan Fidler on RTR, or even watch Masterchef and gradually be able to see things on fire without traumatic memories rushing back in.

I hardly ever get the rush of waiting, waiting for the band to come on and then they come and it’s explosive, but that happened.

I rehearsed in my mind the songs they played in order as they played them, so I could do a blow by blow, but it’s all muddled in now and all I remember is the power of ‘Taman Shud’, maybe two songs in, and hearing voices singing the words all ‘round, but not knowing if it was the crowd or a trick of my acoustic mind or a bunch of angels on fire asking our country to start a riot. That’s what weaved through the whole show, a vision of everyone somehow rising up from apathy to actually break every single thing, set it all on fire until the basic justices are put in place: treaty, free entry for those that need it, someone to answer the fucking phone at Centrelink.

Then there were the songs when the three women came out. Gareth had been the centre-point of all of it ‘til then, your eyes moving to the joyous enthusiasm of Christian the drummer, the impenetrable sheen of Dan the guitarist, never a misplacing a note or tone, the guarded and generous mystery of Fiona the bass player, the cheeky monkey keyboardist Steve, holding in his full weirdness for the music (this is all my wild assumptions of personality), which all together is at certain moments the only thing that matters, the realest and most violent and effective way to change everything, feel everything, and at other times is actually just a band. guitar, bass, guitar, keys, drums and one white man out the front singing about his feelings that he might not say to her face.

So, the three women came out, and I looked upon it with a feminist critique, which is to say, just logic, but knowing there was no critique really here. But just in case, three women, dressed the same, singing with one voice, lit demurely, while the man in the middle strains and stomps across his pedal board and still has the spotlight square on his chest. But this is not a band of patriarchy, this is a band like no/every other, pulling at the strings of a dying country knowing that the strings are attached to something living still, even if there’s only a twitch of movement to prove it.

(I repeat, I am not making a critique of this band and their set up, I was letting my mind wander to the places it goes, where in other contexts the mud sticks, but here the mud is flinging off everywhere, showing some pearl of great price underneath.)

Prove it. Prove we’re not dead. Prove we care that someone’s alight. Prove we care all the coral is bleaching white, the shit white of a colonial past and present.

And in between all that, we do fall in love. I didn’t mean what I said, that it doesn’t matter. Gareth with all the women there singing “To Think That I Once Loved You” made so many tears well and fall. Imagine – everyone knows that thing, that feeling. I cried, I think Tristan cried. The Rag n’ Bones singer and bass player touched hand and shoulder from in front and behind me. The room swelled up, as much as with the violence and fire feeling, but with something different. When the three women sung too it was all a mess sonically, my brain couldn’t take it all in, but for moments when reached that same place of the Shud, wide, deep, motivating and frustrating and tear pulling.

Jimbo the sound man had given us all bottles of water, all the faces he knew from all our own shows, and to the weaker amongst us – me – gave earplugs which I kept taking in and out. It’s a travesty, but I want to hear all this forever if I have the choice. In history class in year 6 our teacher was explaining to us in detail medieval torture methods like ‘hung drawn and quartered’ and I put my fingers in my ears. I didn’t believe we needed to know all of the detail, I knew it wouldn’t help me to know the detail then, so I shoved my pointers in and defied Mr Beeck. We want to hear forever, and really hear, so sometimes we have to wear ear plugs for a few moments.

Whatever, the show was amazing. The next night I discussed with Bibby in the backyard how good or not good we reckon The Drones are, Liddiard’s solo album, instagram etc. and I remembered the car-sized silver flecked bass amp of Fiona, and Gareth’s heaving chest that reminded me of my Polish granddad as a young man, lifting itself up into the lights, the facial expressions of the other three men, and just the same question over and over and over, of how to get everyone to be at least kinda free.

Leafy Suburbs on the Lawn, One Band of In the Pines, Race to Your Face

Andrew Ryan


sometimes i write a “three best things in music this week” – that’s what i’m going to do right now, almost.

but the best thing in australian political life this week is png saying it’s illegal to detain refugees on manus island. here is a quote from the judgement and from abc news:

‘“Both the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional and illegal detention of the asylum seekers or transferees at the relocation centre on Manus Island and the continued breach of the asylum seekers or transferees constitutional and human rights,” the judges ordered.
In one of two lead judgments, Justice Terence Higgins said the detention also breached asylum seekers’ fundamental human rights guaranteed by various conventions on human rights at international law and under the PNG constitution.
“Treating those required to remain in the relocation centre as prisoners irrespective of their circumstances or status … is to offend against their rights and freedoms,” Judge Higgins said.’
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-26/png-court-rules-asylum-seeker-detention-manus-island-illegal/7360078
some people might say this is irrelevant to perth music, but of course, as all the large political questions of our time are, this is completely relevant.

on friday i was to play on a grassy flat outside the new perth library, outside the big cathedral. lyndon was there to play too as leafy suburbs. while i played the sun beat down in the most white heat way it possibly could, i squinted through the tiniest slit of eyelids for the times i had my eyes “open”, except for a few moments to look up up at the blue and white sky. the clouds were going crazy. my spirit was going crazy as i played, but in the best possible way, all the songs being resung back to me by the spirit of the earth and sky, saying “this is how this song is about me, and this and this”. i sung for my friend who watched another friend become braindead by overdosing in the car next to him, he was visiting the hospital while i played. i sung into the few people watching who i knew, wondering if they could feel what i was feeling at the time. i sung into the bright white heat of the sun and up through into the clouds. but from the outside it might have just looked like a small person squinting and sweating in the heat with a guitar pressed to their arms and torso.

that wasn’t one of the best things i was going to write about. the best thing was lyndon playing next. lyndon started to play at the end of the big grassy flatlands. to his left and to all our rights was the cathedral towering up, but in a perth way, so not outrageously impressive, into the sky, and to the other side the new glassy perth library, slitted windows all the way, mirrored glass impenetrable unlike every book in there waiting to be opened. it’s at the same time welcoming and dont-come-in ish. we are meant to be impressed, we are mildly interested, we are put off, but we are allowed to move freely at least. so, lyndon started playing and from the first beats i turned to rupert on the grass and said “i like this already”. then the special thing happened. an old man, in long rumpled pants, a wide akubra with the aboriginal flag colours twined around the head piece, emerged from the side of the stage area. he looked like someone playing his role in a play – even though we were spread a long distance across the grass rectangle, everyone could see his facial expressions and were all responding too them. he staggered a slight bit. he theatrically cocked his ears towards the stage, while still facing all of us. and then he pipped a harmonica straight into his mouth and pipped out one single blow which was exactly at a good timing and exactly in tune.

everyone’s bodies, eyes and ears became more focussed. we looked at the man, we looked at lyndon, this was classic theatre and we wanted to know what was next. the man edged closer to lyndon, still faced us and pipped again – again on time, again in the right key – magically as every harmonica is in a different key. and then he headed to the microphone. the next moments were tense… lyndon was creating loops of a song, beats and synth melodies, and this new staggery man was at the mic. he pipped the harmonica again and lyndon nodded and everybody took out their phones. then came bird noises – you know, you don’t want to turn the scene into a ‘mystical elder character’ scene, but that’s actually what it was like. the bird noises and then the man’s talking turned lyndon’s music into something bigger and yes, more like ancient sounds than the references might already have been.

and then the man started touching the synth. what would lyndon do? roll with it, be put off? did this piece of land belong only a few generations ago to this man’s family and now a bunch of foreigners were all seated on the fakely placed grass, between the monoliths of european invasion – church and library? hmm. well, the scene played out as it does in our country. the sound man felt obliged to step in, taking a long time to convince the man it wasn’t his place to play on lyndon’s equipment, but clearly not convinced himself, every other person on the grass watching with their own private thoughts about just the music, the coffee they were drinking, the history of their country, etc. etc. who knows. and after a while the man ambled away, lyndon kept playing, and everything went back to beigely normal.

second ‘best thing’ – benjamin witt’s last song at in the pines. his whole set was fine, good, great songs, but the last song i believe many people in the crowd were transported up and outwards and something special was happening. i actually thought “i never want this song to end” as the music took me elsewhere entirely, and after ben and his band finished playing dimity who had been next to me said “i never wanted that last song to end, i was in a different place!” so at least for two of us the same thing happened.

third ‘best thing’ – race to your face at mojos on sunday. they were playing for shit narnia’s end of tour launch show, and they were beautiful. the drummer, lee, covering his shirt from the inside with the sweat of true performance, majestically locking in to the loops created by the f-off good guitarist chris – drumming to loops is so so so so so hard, getting loops tight enough for someone to drum to them is so so so so hard. i wanted to see them paired song for song in a battle (but where both are on the same side) with mudlark. intricacies, effort, all of it. it reminded me of michelangleo painting the sistine chapel, im not being ridiculous, but just that thing of watching people who are putting in true effort and making something you couldn’t even dream of appear before your eyes. i was embarrassed to play after them, and didn’t do a great job, but then got cheered up by foam who i have loved from afar since the first time i watched them…

imagine one day if we could all make music in a country where there’s just the necessary injustices – like a few health problems and a bit of romantic heartbreak to deal with – instead of the big time fucked things like incarceration of refugees and people from poorer areas of the country, and insidious corporate and military power, and human created climate change, and an unrecognised and unredressed invasion history. that would be sick.

Homecoming, eulogy from afar

Andrew Ryan

i think i’ve told you that sometimes teenagers from south america write to me and say “all i want to do is move to perth.” this is a very strange turn of events, as we’re all used, from the moment we arrive in perth, to artists and musicians saying it’s shit and they want to move to some other cultural capital. but in paris, people who love music know perth. and in chile there’s twenty three year olds late at night telling me “i just want to learn in the flesh what is to organise as a community”. i was reading an interview with methyl ethel the other day, who are becoming “big”, and in it they’re asked about cliques here. it’s something that gets thrown around on the edges of things – the idea that people only get to play shows because of being in a cool crowd or clique or something – but what the boys said in their interview was true: that it’s about people who have heard each other’s music and like it and want to hear it again making that happen.

i feel like there’s two big reasons it’s easy here, looking at this place on a homecoming from a cultural wonderland of a different kind. ok, three. we have space: everyone has a place to play music, backyards, lounge rooms, parent’s houses, bedrooms, kitchens, no apartment neighbours to make a fuss. the second thing (not in order) is perth is super RICH, off stolen ground, living on stolen resources dug up from the ground that’s making more trouble across the world while being useful: resources that are going to run out soon – and are already running low so everyone’s posting on facebook to find jobs for the first time because the boom is DONE. and three, people have created here a magical community where things are good and people support one another and friendships are deepened week by week by experiencing music together, backyard talkshows, festivals where it’s just friends putting it on, suburb-wide water fights, football games between musicians, people raising money for other musicians when someone’s sick or got their gear stolen by a junkie to deliver the money eventually to organised crime, helping at soup kitchens together, getting high together except me, making and making and making.

well, anyway, much more seriously, one of the people around perth music died last week, and it was someone i’d like to hear a minority report from on all of this but i can’t anymore. i liked this guy very much – travis doom. even though we only ever had a few conversations, and just saw each other ‘around’ he affected me very much. i would have met him when we were younger and both writing semi-anonymously for a zine called “The Ponies”, but i can’t remember that. but i remember our first recent conversation when some friends and i put on a show to raise money while we were doing ‘live below the line’ where you live on $2 a day for a week and do fundraising. he told me it was kind of ridiculous, raising money like that through a show, with a tiny door fee and then just people putting money in a hat when everyone’s spending heaps on alcohol and most people just don’t care anyway. he was right, even though i was right too when we talked about it. he was right but he was still there. this is what i keep thinking about when i think of him, that conversation, his general intolerance of hypocrisy – something missing from our circles all around – and him not smiling, but looking at me and me at him across cafes in our suburb with what i interpreted as the loving gaze, moving through our private darknesses and hopes to meet in the middle just in eye contact that said ‘we are different, we are the same, you are someone i like.’

hey travis, sorry if i’m misquoting your private thoughts, who knows what you thought (your true deep friends and family do probably), but what i thought of you makes me smile at the kitchen table, as you would know if the soul extends in a different way to the body and you’ve become semi-omniscient like a god. i hope you are covered in roses and that you found out the secret of the universe is that everything’s going to be great (is it??) and that you can hear all the thoughts of random people like me who loved you from afar although maybe if everything’s amazing and continues you don’t need anything extra for eternal happiness.

what is it like to organise a community here? very very easy when you’re in a rich country, with people with good hearts, and a mix of cynics, optimists, secret creators, show-offs and everyone else, with big enough houses to make a lot of noise.

NO ZU & THE SPIRIT BEAT INTERVIEW

Andrew Ryan


hello beautiful no zus

as soon as that heat beat clip came on, i felt the climate and landscape drying my mouth out. i was in paris and it was contemporarily nostalgic (continuity with change) to get that feeling. i liked watching the sweat grow on the brows of becky sui zhen and daphne and then drip down. where was it? was it really hot (can you prove this by an anecdote?) what did you eat between takes or how did you get there?

The Spirit Beat video was shot in Clunes, Victoria (near Ballarat), at a few locations, but mainly in the old mining ruins that dot the landscape there. It was really hot and there was nowhere to hide because ever since colonial invasion people have had a fetish for ringbarking trees and destroying the earth to find rocks n shit.

I love that you got that dry mouth feeling. That’s exactly what I kept banging on about to the director, Jack Peddey. “We need people to be thirsty!” The producer of the vid, Ruth Morris, mentioned that she had never bought so much water for a shoot. We and the crew were desperate for water the whole time. We drank the dregs from warm water bottles left in cars, from hubcaps and licked sheep skulls, then shifted plenty of tins as soon as the sun went down.

i loved those big topless men wrestling and dancing. it all seemed very 2016 australiana and also ancient. yes/no? who where they (the men) and how did they end up in the desert with you?

So did I…. and correct. The video is a collage of an Australian Hades, a very down-under(ground) ‘Afterlife’ (out now on Chapter Music ). The characters in the vid represent ancient myths and some new ones of our own. All of the vignettes are connected by the fact that the people are stuck together in the same post-apocalyptic land, forever doomed to perform pointless tasks in vain for eternity. Australia is an ancient land that has experienced particularly dreadful upheaval from 1788 on. Australia is an absurd place in many ways – full of ugliness and beauty.

The wrestlers included James, a real wrestler that is a total purist when it comes to old fashioned wrestling… and majestic mullets. The other guy (sorry I forgot his name) was sourced by asking around at the local pub the night before and agreed to do it for two slabs. I drove James to the shoot and I have to admit I was a little wary of the kind of character I would meet. Turns out we got along like a flamin house on fire and connected over a love of Oz-ploitation films, which our video definitely references. He also owns five chihuahuas.

it seems like your music is ancilliary to an artistic/thematic concept. is that tru?

No. We make our music by feel and without intellectualising anything. The heat beat is body music that has no time for the brain. I later mould lyrics, art, aesthetics and so on around the jams informed by their mood, my thematic obsessions and referencing other ZU world spirits that have been floating around since 2007. I’m obsessed with the heat beat, mortality, x-rated taboos, euphoria, transcendental experience, history (ancient/Australian/evolution) and many more things that humans are curious about – these things come to the surface cover us like shiney sweat when we perform and are possessed by the Heat Beat™.

remember when you came to w.a. for camp doogs? i do. when you played the ‘yiayia’ song everyone was dancing, and at one point my hands went straight up in the air on their own. do you have a desire for what types of bodily or spiritual reaction you want your music to inveigle?

This is it. I want all bodies there, including ours, to turn to rubber with brains and hips melting to the heat beat and then for us to all levitate together leaving only clothing and sweat behind.

did we seem like ‘country people’ to you, or sophisticated music lovers, or miners etc?

Sophisticated lovers mining our collective ZU hearts.

if i’m allowed to have a favourite person in your band, it’s the trumpet player who looks like woody harrelson. is he the molten core of no zu and that’s what i was sensing?

blushing I’m actually a Natural Born Killer and the NO ZU director. The only talent I have is drawing much much better musicians into the Heat Beat gravity than me though.

please tell me if you really believe in an afterlife, and also is your band’s spiritographical universe an artistic creation or based on some old time/new age ideas?

No. I wish I did, then I wouldn’t have this obsession with mortality, eternity, infinity and so on. Human brains can’t handle this, eh? ‘Afterlife’ is a reference to belief systems taking over lives, to colonial invasion, to the our first LP ‘Life’ and taking its vibe into darker nocturnal sex-dream territory and also probably many other things.

Our ZU universe is an artistic creation yes, but I don’t see a great divide between a creative life and the everyday. NO ZU is our very own pseudo-science belief set.

same subject: on your fb page you list star signs of the members. is this something you really believe in or are you just being cute?

Neither. I don’t think we have ever been cute or ironic. In fact I began NO ZU in direct reaction to things like that. We are completely sincere, but also a totally zonked idea and totally absurd.

Isn’t it weird how we all know our star sign and like to hear about our supposed character traits? I’m seductive yet emotionally manipulative apparently ….

there are lots of you in the band. what joins you together?

We have a bdsm dungeon that we are locked in each evening. It has an eight set of handcuffs. It’s also where we store our land clearing and land mining gear as they serve as fetish instruments too.

Go Pies. Comment?

Bloody oath m8y ubloodyripper kickagoalson chest mark daicossssss swannyyyyy. Brain washed young. Rats tail grew naturally from my head both in my youth and again now in my adult life because of my belief in the Magpie Gods and I frequent the church of the MCG often. Nice Facebook profile browsing btw ;)

if all your dreams could come true when you play here next, what might be included?

A stage set that looks like the most gaudy new style gym Australia can offer with hundreds of human history’s gods (including Peter Daicos) working out as we play our jam, Zeus Zam. The crowd’s and our ZU brains will melt into hot Heat Beat lava that will flow throughout WA and into the Afterlife. Our rider will include a two tonne container of protein powder, vodka and techno.

thanks you legend(s). we loved you last time and are looking forward to your return. :*

Flume: Beau Gosse at Le Trianon in Paris

Andrew Ryan

If you’re also someone who hasn’t really listened to Flume because you’re surrounded by snobs, try the track “Ezra”, that’s what I’m trying now. Last week I didn’t have to try because I got to have Flume right in the face in the middle of Paris, with hundreds of French people going absolutely crazy and singing along to every single thing except for the two girls who broke up their karaoke devotion with “F*** me Flume!!!” over and over. I don’t know if that’s the best pick up line in the over-privileged world. Personally I could be won over with “You look like you want to work hard on creating utopia on earth, want someone to make you sandwiches and push you to truly get on with it?”

Anyway, our own Perth Kučka (Laura Lowther) was there in Paris on tour with Flume to just sing two songs at each show and to gradually draw around her more people to love her music. An easy task if any one ever sees her play. My favourite person to watch watching Kučka do shows is the boyfriend of RTR’s music director. Every time he’s a little bit drunk and gets more and more inebriated and invigorated on his own body’s reaction to Laura’s music.

Well, me and Laura hung out in her dressing room. This is what tours seem to be made of from what I’ve seen of all the friends. It’s just transport, being in rooms, instagram, playing a tiny bit of music and then taking up whatever oysters of quick friendship and delicious food and beverages occasionally come your way as everyone wants to please a star. How do you please a star? Just by looking up at them through time and space as they gradually burn out as all of us do, back in to dust, etc.

Well, Laura put on her makeup, we talked about whether it was possible for either of us to be a spy as a job, or whether we both just can’t be truly normal in make up. She did great big eyes, a good hairstyle with her pink hair that in so conservative Paris was enough to make people turn around in the street when we walked along later that night and in the morning. We listened to my masters and talked about songs and she gave me some insight into what the Flume boy is like: basically a truly “beau gosse” (bo goss) which is a French way of saying what a deeply babing babe. You can see it when you look at his face, a truly nice guy, the best possible guy to be having girls yelling “F*** me” and not take it seriously, the best possible guy to be rolling in dollars and slightly embarrassed about it and wondering how to use it for good. And a truly great musician.

Well, yes, Flume played and I got to be in my favourite place, at the front, saved by the barriers and not crushed in the crowd. He was beautiful, he did the same hand gestures to try and give a “Yes! I can see you and want you to be excited” to the crowd, but so humble too. How can you be in front of hundreds (or tens of thousands) of screaming people, just you on the stage, all the love and devotion directed at you, and exude humility? Dunno but he did it. He obviously played all the hits because everyone knew all the words, but the parts I could truly love were where it went away from easy poppy production and into some darker places – but darker like the beauty spots on a smiling 13 year old who had kind parents and is looking after a lamb out in the back yard and defends anyone at school who gets picked on. Not like Slayer dark. The other day I made the mistake of saying to my friend in between showing more and more good Australian music “Let’s listen to some Slayer!” and I’m still traumatised by the first five seconds of the film clip. Not that kind of dark.

Anyway, after dancing with Laura after her beautiful two song triumphant appearance, and the crowds ongoing going-wildness, three stories of a beautiful remade palatially theatrical room in Le Trianon, we went for a late night drink and kept talking about music, and our town, and all the good things about it and the moments of shittiness when people rag on other people’s music, and how to change the world, and Harley (that’s Flume’s actual name for all the snobs) came by with some crew members with a brand new keyboard under his arm – one where the keys are even more sensitive than the keys of an actual piano, and at this point I saw how he’s like the other “big stars” we know, because he told us “I’m going to go play with this for a while and then go to sleep”, instead of staying downstairs with us, talking and eating soup and soaking up a room full of random Parisian late night energy. Good choice little Flume, you’re truly a true beau gosse. <> <> <>

Bananas, Condoms and The End of The World

Andrew Ryan

so tonight in the next to last metro home a woman came nearly past but instead up to me and said “do we know each other?” “no,” i said, “i just smile all the time.” i had been smiling at her momentarily and so that was her chance to stop in front of me and begin talking. she had grey white hair with all the hair the same colour – that’s kind of rare if you look around at your friends or at your own hair in the mirror – and her top teeth were squiggly and her bottom teeth were all long and encrusted with age and food. this is a grosteque picture of her mouth but in fact she was lovely to look at, and a welcome voice on the same train platform, creating a circle of two women talking, one with grey white hair and one with various light and dark brown and reddy blonde hair, to make a small temporary force field together against late-night man trouble.

although it turned out she hadn’t always had a force field around her. she showed me in the first few minutes of conversation a plastic bag and inside the plastic bag was a dvd with her same face on it – grey white hair, long bottom teeth, smooth 69 year old french skin, looking at least ten years younger than australian skin. when she was 18 a man took her to america to be a prostitute and so, this was the story she recounted to me in the six metro stops to where we were both getting off the train. she told me about selling the dvds of her life story, which is how she earns her living now, and about how things got bad in the time of peak aids, and about the fact of not drinking or smoking and just eating fruit making her skin stay nice as it truly was. when she asked me to guess her age i thought about my mum – how old was this woman compared with her? – and thought about how to give a true but also potentially flattering answer. it didn’t occur to me at the time that she too could be my mum.

this happens often, people tell their whole story, or some particularly intimate part to me. earlier in the day i went to buy a banana on the way down through the streets towards the river and the man in the grocery store and i ended up talking about french attitudes to contraception. he was not being sleazy when he said, through his long eyelashes and islamically and grocery-store influenced world view, amongst all his opinions “it’s like licking honey through a pane of glass”. at first i thought he meant sex without being in love is like that, but in fact this was his way of describing sex with a condom. he explained to me how women in his village who didn’t have access to the pill or other contraceptives seemed to do very well with taking care with their husbands of the times in their menstrual cycle for not getting pregnant, and other special methods for when that way couldn’t account for desire.

i couldn’t understand everything the woman in the metro was saying, but one of the things was definitely about her job changing during the biggest aids time and how that affected condoms/no condoms/being able to do the job she was doing with or without the fear of death. “life and death” were also mentioned in the little grocery store, through the smiling conversation with the long lashes man. i can see his face and her face now as i think back to them.

i went to see music too, in a record store. a band called “volage” who later my friends and i agreed on a rating of 65% for, given the mainly excellent self-mix the band did of the semi-acoustic versions of their songs, the mix of songs that seemed like solid hits and those that lacked some balls, the mix of band members with and without charisma, the feeling it was all good but not mind-blowing, but still good. during the show the room of variously cool 20-45 year olds nodded along, drank the free wine and beer, mainly refrained from talking so as to be respectful to the music, and kept their ideas about aids, contraception, making a living by working 16 hour shifts in a grocery shop or as an international prostitute for the moment to themselves. it’s not a fair review because we only saw them play once and it’s hard to compete general folk-rock lyrics with a man bringing out “it’s like licking honey through a pane of glass”, but in french, in a grocery store where you’ve got a banana in your hand and as usual the almost-total absurdity and impending end of the world on your mind.

p.s. climate change

p.p.s here is an unrelated photo of some great dogs we saw in the bois de vincennes

International Women's Day and King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard Heal My Broken Heart

Andrew Ryan

Can I fit those two topics into one article? YES I CAN.

So, yesterday was International Women’s Day. Wikipedia threw up a great image from 1932 in Russia, colour palette reds through to yellows, white and grey. At first I interpreted it as a woman helping another woman off the street, but in fact it was a woman helping another out of a pile of furniture and kitchen items. Both of these have their place in a general utopia of equalities becoming manifest. As soon as I realised what the day was, starting from a facebook post from Matthew Aitken about his great Greek grandmother who was the first female bus driver in WA, I felt good. Because, truly, sometimes being a female is actually fucked. And somehow, having this day where lots of friends made posts about their female heroes did achieve something, at least in my own heartbrain.

The thing the Russian poster taught me, via wikipedia, was that the day was initially about workers rights, and I thought – even for Coolperthnights – imagine if me and Lyndon got paid differently just because of being peeny or vageeny. But of course, there’s still a billion direct ways and vestiges of ways that living in patriarchy and often misogynistiarchy in Australia or France 2016 sucks balls.

All day I revelled in the feeling of “Make it count”, “Think differently”, “Do things differently”. Alex Griffin interviewed me for some project where he asked lots of questions about women in music and directly asked the question “What can we (men) do?”. He asked this question several times and I tried to answer, but the thing is, we’re taught from really young ages to not say what we (females) really want, to swallow our own desires, to put ourselves second. Putting oneself second is a wonderful way to go through life if it’s done the right way, but when it’s a symptom of systematic small and large oppressions and violences from when you pop out to when you get dug down, it’s not wonderful.

Anyway, five nights before that I was in my usual heartbroken state, not having been re-engergized yet by a day just for my downtrodden sex, and I was contemplating bailing on the King Gizzard show. I had wangled free tickets though, and had a friend who wanted to go for his first time to the Flèche d’Or, so I rallied. Every time King Gizzys play in Perth I seem to miss it. Never again. Thanks to RTR I had heard them in bits and pieces on the radio and from the radio their music somehow intrigued me but somehow also seemed like a cypher of itself, of its own genre. But seeing them live the cypher was filled in, the Lacanian hole was made replete and my little heart was sewn up again song by song, drum fill by drum fill.

So yeah, we got to the Flèche, I wangled the door lady, said a quick hello to Ambrose whose keyboards we’d hardly hear but can wait til their Perth show, told my friend “I’ll just watch two songs and then leave, ok?” except in French, and then headed to the closest possible place to watch amongst a full room of initially reserved and soon stage-diving French people. It was so beautiful from the first moment and then all the way through. Beautiful in the way that unconsciously my mouth blurted out quiet “Fuck yeah!“s many many times through the show and I could actually feel the tears of the day quick-drying as if the two drum kits and closest amp were emanating a delicate form of liquid nitrogen. On particular middle-tier of the musical podium (that means GOLD rather than MEDIOCRE) was the guitarist closest to us. What is his name? I shall “phone a friend”. Only four pedals and one of them was a tuner – what a tru boss. It seemed like there were guitars everywhere, but his was the closest amp, and his were the most delicate tones that floated my way, stuck in at every point by the simultaneously tight and humble bass and those two drummers. Oh how I eat up the double drums when it’s not a curly affected mannerism but impressive and necessary.

It’s hard to distinguish ones own feelings from the spirit of the crowd – in a way this is good, a reminder of all being one one one one one – and in another way it sucks because I don’t know if I’m right or egotistically interpreting the mood of the night to say that the more languid songs were more loved, where the drums swung, where spaces were left. I did the usual thing my mind does with Melbourne boy-bands for some reason, which is imagining what each member would be like as a father, and what jobs and hobbies each have outside the band and which one is an architect or barista, who learns piano concertos on the side, who mainly plays video games, immobile and slouched as both a complement and inversion of their role as psych musician on stage.

Well, it was wall-to-wall bewdiful and the full crowd of Parisians, and one guy from Sydney who we found out after the show had met his girlfriend via their shared love of the Gizz, were all heaving in joy, creamy breasted red-heads and overly zealous drunkards expressing admiration in their own ways. I’ve never heard an encore call as long as that – it was left unanswered and we all spilled out into the smoking section. There I met Eric, maybe drummer, maybe architect/barista, who was being accosted on all sides by tru-fans and beery-eyed moderately lovable douchebags. My friend asked me, laughing, “Do you remember all the songs they played to write in your review?” and I laughed back “I’m lucky if I even remember any of my own songs,” but magically enough another friend happened to be one of the tru-fans with a brain of titanium. And so this first ever set list to grace a Chronicle comes direct from Pierre-Jean’s phone to mine, to Coolperthnights for those of you who care, along with the name of my favourite guitarist because of proximity on the night: Joe Walker, and photographic screen-proof that P-J has listened to the song “Am I In Heaven” from the album “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” 292 times just on his computer. Emoji hearts as original in text message.

Set list for King Gizzard, La Flèche d’Or, Paris, Jeudi 3 Mars 2016 (thanks to Pierre-Jean)
Robot stop (Nonagon Infinite 29.04.2016)
??? (Probablement une chanson de Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Nonagon Infinite (Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Gamma Knife (Nonagon Infinite 2016)
Hot Water (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Trapdoor (Paper Mâché Dream Balloon 2015)
River (Quarters!2015) <3
I’m not in your mind (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Cellophane (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014)
Head On (Float Along – Fill Your Lungs 2013 <3)
Am I In Heaven? (I’m In Your Mind Fuzz 2014 <3 pour l’original)
Head On reprise (Float Along – Fill Your Lungs 2013 <#)

Pierre-Jean’s caveat:
“If you listen to the albums you’ll see that Float Along – Fill Your Lungs, I’m In Your Mind Fuzz, Quarters!, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon are often variations on a musical theme. It’s very probable that there are other songs which were played together. That said, I’m pretty certain about my tracklist.”

So anyway, King Gizzard show ended with a salmon pizza, a reconstituted heart and an introduction to the French version of Aesop’s tales in the metro on the way home, and International Women’s Day ended with me sitting with three men discussing their trips to strip clubs in Pigalle (the strippy part of Paris where a few days later I’d meet great Australian actor Noah Taylor), and then a few moments of awkwardness as I made my friend say in a louder and louder voice “Today is International Women’s Day!” and then my final interjection at the end of the strip club story of “You know, you can’t buy a woman!”

King Gizz 10/10
International Women’s Day 8/10

Roses, Beanies, Sharks and Trump

Andrew Ryan

i met a man a few nights ago, who i think i will remember forever. maybe not on my deathbed but once in a while til then. i was with my friends and they were drunk. everyone’s friends are always drunk, or leaning on Lean. what even is Lean?

everyone’s friends were drunk, but not this man, jamal. his name was jamal but i’ll call him “tom” so that if you’re not also from bangladesh you can’t “other” him.

so the friends were drunk or stumbling from one bar to another and i was lagging behind and tom was selling roses. in the bar my friends told me “ah, this is a real parisian bar you can do WHATEVER you want!”

tom came in with his roses, all the white french people at the tables discussing art or asses. and my friend bought one red rose for me, one white rose for joe, and one coffee for tom, and wingled tom into staying, who was winglable because it was the end of his night’s work.

i won’t remember tom on my death bed but i know at least four people who will. his mother, his wife and his two little kids who lived in bangladesh, who in february 2016 couldn’t see tom but could feel his presence as he walked shyly amongst drunk french people and foreigners selling roses stem by stem.

we talked out in the rain. my friend swapped beanies; tom’s surfer beanie for his thick black french saint james beanie, and tom told us his job in bangladesh was selling clothes. in fact, he had a whole shop. “is it hard being away from your family?” my friend asked and i had to translate from french to english with my head down thinking “don’t ask that,” and, “what do you think of photography, like, in general?”

my head was down, but who knows what shy tom wanted to be asked.

at the end of the night tom still had almost all his roses. he had sold five when we saw him at 2am, since 8pm, two to my friend, and he had given me four more for free, because we spent half an hour with him.

my six roses ended up strewn on the street after a late night fight (well, four because i gave two to a man cross legged and asking for money and kisses sitting in his own filth on the way home), which is sad, but not as sad as being far far away from your home because the political parties are fighting for real, or as sad as watching george pell’s testimony on a laptop (i fell asleep with his words coming through headphones and the laptop resting on my stomach) or watching a ridiculous man inch closer to being a presidential candidate.

in some good news though, sharks are coming further up the swan river, and more local news – pat dodson; hooray! and international news – today in paris it snowed, big clumps of multi-flake flakes clinging to everyone’s coats and hair and faces, and personal – you are loved, at least by me and four other people.

Chats with Ana of Hinds

Andrew Ryan

Hinds. They appeared like all things should – suddenly and into thousands of loving arms. A few years ago two of the members (Ana and Carlotta) couldn’t play guitar, so the story goes. Now they’re pumping out hits all over the globe, grinning and chugging beers (and coffee) and being smart, confident, Spanish, and very very lovable.

I talked to Ana Perrote, guitarist and “second” singer. I wanted to ask more in depth-questions like “Do you guys wear lipstick in the daytime all the time?” and “What’s your actual favourite guitar tone?” and “Do you think more female bands have double singers because we’re taught to put our own singular desires aside?” and “Do you have any advice for me in my love situation?” Instead, the following is what I asked, and this is what she said, in a fluffy Skype call where I managed to hide that I was only in a midriff top, and Ana’s lovely face was mainly turned into a balaclava’d marshmallow thanks to a wobbly connection on the Birmingham side.

My advice is – go watch a few minutes of Ana talking on the youtubes so you can read this back in her voice…

A: Where are you at the moment?

Ana: I’m in Birmingham in the UK. Where are you?

A: I’m in Paris?

Ana: Paris?! We’re going to be in Paris in a couple of weeks.

A: Really? I’ll be here, I’ll come and see you.

Ana: Nice! Perfect!

A: What have the England shows been like?

Ana: Very good, very good. This is the first tour we do knowing it was sold out before, all the shows were sold out before we started so it felt like… We feel like queens, seriously, so so so so lucky. I mean there’s so many gigs, and every night it’s sold out and every night people are just so happy just because of us being on stage, like when we walk on stage, people is already happy! I dunno it’s just fantastic, it’s very exciting.

A: Has there been anything else you’ve done in your life that has been able to produce that? – Not for so many people, but where you’ve felt you can really change how people feel?

Ana: I used to be on a theatre drama thing and I felt that a little bit but it’s not the same cos… When you go to a theatre you don’t expect anything, you just go and suddenly feel, but when you go to a gig you’ve already felt something about the music, so when you come and you actually see it live, that makes you feel, like, stronger, you know what I mean? Just like you already have a feeling and suddenly it connects with another feeling you are having in that moment. An explosive sort of a feeling you know what I mean? It’s just stronger.

A: I read in interviews you guys saying that in Madrid the music scene you’re part of is pretty small and friendly. Do you think that that has changed how you’ve made music or feel about what you’re doing?

Ana: Yeah for sure! That’s how we started, with other friends helping us and telling us like “Ok this is a guitar amp, this is how you should set up.” We really started out of nowhere, really from zero so all these bands were helping us just because of friendship you know what I mean? Just because of love of art and new bands and stuff and they were like “Ok you wanna support us in this gig?” “I’ll help you..”

Like one of The Parrots, he’s the producer of our single and of our album – everyone helps each other just because of nothing, just because of friendship and art. So it’s definitely stuck in our brains and it feels like the way we would love the whole industry to work or something, like whenever we are touring with other bands we really start to get friends with them and we’re like “Ok I’ll send you my deemos for the next album” (“deemos” is the only time I’m gonna put in Ana’s bewdiful accent) or “Do you want to listen to this new song?” or “What should we call this album?”

A: That’s what it’s like where I’m from too, Perth!

Ana: Cool. Plenty of love.

A: What made you guys decide to write in English?

Ana: It wasn’t really a decision. It just came that way cause when Carlotta and I wrote our first ever song it was ‘Trippy Gum’, and we were pretty drunk and we were like, “Ok imagine, imagine, ok just be free be free be free be free” and when we write melodies we’re like “Wahwhwhwwahwahhh,” like we’re not saying anything but we’re doing a melody and you just could tell what we were saying in those melodies were in English.

I mean the music we do is the music we want to listen to, so it just makes more sense for our ears and it’s, like, better. All the music we listen to is in English you know what I mean, we’re similar to what we like, so it was just because of that.

A: I think it’s good because whenever you’re writing in a different language – even if you say something very simple – because you’re not expressing it in exactly the same way as a native speaker would, it always comes out more like poetry.

Ana: Yeah, yeah! It’s kind of like our own language or something. It’s not Spanish and it’s not English, it’s just like a Hinds vocabulary.

A: Are there any bands from Madrid that people wouldn’t know about that you wish people would know about?

Ana: Yes. I’m going to write in down in here.

PRESENTING ANA’S SKYPE LIST OF MADRID’S (AND FURTHER) GREATEST LESSER KNOWN BANDS the parrots los nastys baywaves lois miqui brightside John grey ex novios novedades caminha

Ana: Parrots, this is the band where the singer is our producer, and then Los Nastys, and err…

A: Your face is very fluffy

Ana: Oh really?

A: You look like you’re wearing a riot girl mask. A balaclava.

Ana: Hahaa :)

A: Hahaa :) I can just see eyes and a mouth.

(More lols)

Ana: Yes. I think, from Madrid that’s mainly everything I really really love. But then there’s also, not from Madrid
there’s this band (mujeres). There you go, there’s my favourite bands.

A: Do you guys ever get worried that touring so much you’re not going to be able to keep writing, or you know playing songs a million times that it will lose any magical –

Ana: It already happened!

A: Really?!

Ana: Yeah it already happened last year – not losing the magic – but this version of our record wasn’t written when we started touring, like we just had five songs and then we started touring and touring and touring and touring and suddenly… We only write when we’re at home, and suddenly we stopped being home, at all.

So I remember we were in Christmas and we were looking to the calendar and we were like “Ok so basically we are recording the album in April so then there’s like 3, 4 months, and we have like 10 days in Madrid. How the fuck are we going to do it.”

It was very very stressful for us because writing music is not like studying or something, it’s not about how many hours you spend. Just like randomly maybe you’re going to write four songs in one day or maybe like you’re going to be one month without writing anything you like, so it was very very tough for Carlotta and I cause we had to stop doing the laundry, stop sleeping, stop watching our friends and family when we were home.

We were like “Ok we just gotta focus on this” and “Ok come to our place,” so I drove to her place we got drunk as possible and we were like “Ok next song, Ok what about this?” and “We gotta close the next song, and another one,” and “We gotta change this one! and “I don’t like it anymore!” and “Yeah but we have one month to do it!” It was so so stressful but we made it and we are happy with the album and we really really like it so it was worth it.

A: Well I mean it’s hard to say no when someone’s saying “Do you want to come to this beautiful country, have thousands of people cheering for you…”

Ana: Exactly. It’s hollywood. At the same time at the same time I seriously didn’t even realised the world was this big until we had this band. Like there’s places all around the world and people listen to music everywhere so it’s just like wherever we just say “Ok Australia, we just have like these five dates, we’re coming in May!”, people are gonna say “Why don’t you come to this city! Why do you go to that one?” It’s just like “Dudes please like we’re travelling so much you could travel a little bit for us if you really want to see us.”

A: Hahaha.

Ana: Like it’s so shocking for us!

A: But Australia’s big!

Ana: Yeah but it’s incredible that people all around the world wants to see us so we’re like “Ok, they wants to see us, we better go! We gotta go!” But then we can’t go everywhere and write and be healthy at the same time!

A + Ana: lols

A: But you’re happy with how you’ve chosen so far?

Ana: Yep. It’s like really one of the most tiring jobs in the world but at the same time it’s one of the most incredible and satisfying ones.

A: Do you think you guys will keep going for a long time? Til you’re 60?

Ana: I think so.

A: Really?

Ana: I really think so.

A: Hinds reunion tour, 2060.

Ana: For another couple of albums at least. We have a lot of things to say yet.

A: I know that you guys are very very proud of where you come from. If I go to Madrid what should I do first that people wouldn’t usually do?

Ana: You should go to this neighbourhood called Malasaña. Whenever we’re in Madrid we’re always in that area, all the clubs that we like are there, all our friends are always gonna be there, there’s so many cheap restaurants, it’s just so nice it’s like a little town it’s just four streets.

And I dunno there’s just something about the streets in Madrid, the weather is very good and everyone is drinking cans for one euro in the street and talking to each other and there’s so many great bars with great music that we love to go to.

A: Yeah do you ever drink anything apart from beer? I always see photos of you guys chugging brews! Never a coffee.

Ana: Yes! No, I have two coffees here! (shows them) Yeah we drink a lot of coffee cos we’re always very tired. Cheers!

clink Ana and Amber’s coffees across Skype

Ok, so we drink coffee in the morning, during the day we drink water, and early like coca cola, and then when we get to the venue we’re very tired cos we partied the night before so we’re probably going to have a Redbull, and then after soundcheck we start drinking beer and if it’s a crazy night we will probably have a tequila shot or a gin and tonic or a Bloody Mary if we’re feeling very fancy and they’re for free.

A: I’m gonna write a detox program for people based on that.

Ana and Amber: Hahahaa

A: Hinds detox “Wash it down with a tequila.” When you come to Perth, which is in May, in Australia, I’ll show you good bands and good places if you like.

Ana: Perfect, awesome.

A: I better let you go to the next interview. It’s nice to meet you.

Ana: Nice to meet you!

Braless Forestial Valentines

Andrew Ryan

so, i pretty much don’t wear bras at all anymore. what is it like, you might ask. well, it’s like, you’re exactly the same person, but you don’t have any bras on.

that’s kind of what it was like when i didn’t use to shave my leg or arm hair when i was a fully grown teenager. fully grown as in still small and everything, but with all the pressure of life as a white rich-country teenager. as in, hardly any pressure except that all the life around is trying to disconnect you from yourself and nature, and you just have to struggle to re-connect yourself in any way you can.

anyway, so not wearing bras is a wonderful new thing. what are bras good for anyway? shaping something that would prefer to shape itself. it started because i was living with a french girl, and we were going to a new years eve party in dresses with thin straps.

for a while i thought maybe it’s bad for your body, that the boobs would start to go low, but instead it turns out it’s very healthy and helps your self pull itself together. you are soft and free and moving upwards, actually. and, if someone wants to touch you, or you want to touch your own body there are less impediments. women friends, be free, someone told me the secret (no bras) in a french whisper and now i tell it to you.

also it was valentine’s day and i was in paris. i went walking with a beautiful man of a similar height to me, meaning, if i’d like to say something, he can hear it straight away. i’ve wondered if this is the reason couples here are more affectionate, namely that they are more often more or less the same size, so there’s no struggle to be close. or perhaps it’s because just up the road there is a museum called ‘le musée de la vie romantique’ – it could be that too.

so it was valentines day and i was with a nice man, eating salmon, sour cream and small pancakes next to some wattle and gerbera flowers in a tiny apartment kitchen, listening to the radio, and then went walking in the big woods. this is the woods where people live too in tents all around the forestial paths. one tent i saw even had a garden that the people had started constructing around it, there in the middle of the woods.

“they live like birds” i thought to myself, and said out loud “not producing, not doing tertiary industry, just finding food and eating it.” the nice man said “you don’t know that, they might have jobs.” and he was right. i’d thought i was being poetic, instead i was being a dog.

we wandered a long way in the woods, through the trails that people who visit and people who live there use. there was one tree i wanted to look at for a significant part of forever, and said “i wish everyone was on mushrooms so i could look at everything on this tree for as long as i like, and it not be weird, and other people look too.” the man was taking photos and perhaps didn’t reply. i looked at all the mosses on that tree. each small area of lichen or moss had a different colour of tiny protrusions growing from its centre. there was lichen with black protrusions, lichen with white protrusions, green lichen with green spots, green lichen with orange spots; funguses; water colourings. the day before we had done water colours in the apartment. he made shapes like a true artist, going for it with the colours. i tried too hard to get the folds of his adidas or similar squeaky jumper and the highlight stripe right. that’s not what watercolours are about. but this plant was doing everything watercolour exactly right.

so this tree was just growing there, on valentine’s day on the edge of paris, throwing out every colour it felt like, mainly shades of greens, browns, blues, whites, greys, oranges, and we were there looking at it in our own ways. i found one leaf that was fading away into being a piece of see-through silk and said in the other language “what is between life and death?” and answered my own question, cutting the man off, “life and beauty.”

so, braless and on valentines day we both kept walking and marching through the woods, past many lovely dogs now, owners, lakes, footbridges joining islands in lakes, dog poo, leaves mid-death. and we went to buy wattle and gerberas and bread and wine for the russian man and his guitarist wife. they fed us blood sausage and potatoes, and nadia the wife played a series of incredible classical and then turkish-inspired pieces on the guitar, lifting her hand in the air at the end of phrases, and knitting and unknitting her long brows. each time she did something, said something, clinked glasses, laughed, the russian man would turn to her and give her a kiss on the lips, sergeuï, a singer too, but of course making room for his wife who is the true artist.

they and the tree and the tents and the actual dogs showed what valentines day could possibly be, braless and free.

xxx

DAVID BOWIE REINCARNATED IN A PARIS METRO AND OTHER BRIEF INTERACTIONS

Andrew Ryan

Let me give you an update on a few people. Remember Mehmed? He’s the man that sits outside the bakery and asks for money in a little plastic cup. And Amina? The lady that was sitting in a big triangle of doonas and bags in the metro. Well, I saw them again.

Mehmed was sitting in the same place as three months ago, the same bakery. This time he had more clothes on – it’s winter somewhere in the world that’s not heatdeath Perth – a big beanie, sleeping bags around him. He saw me from far off and his face went pink and happy, mine too. He speaks about 50 words of French and the rest is in Bulgarian but somehow last time he managed to explain to me the whole story of him and his wife and his family. This time we tried again but even though we were smiling the conversation was full of non-comprehension. Even to try and tell him “I’m very happy to see you” midway through the conversation dropped into a ditch of indecipherable sign language. He tried to explain something about papers and something about Monday and something about me coming at 1 or 2 on Monday to see him. But still, I guess like with birds and trees there’s something you understand and appreciate about each other even if you can’t actually talk. Hmm.

Do you know the story of the Tower of Babel? It’s somewhere in the bible, probably every way of understanding the world through a book has its story about how all the languages came to be. This one is about maybe humans trying to build a tower up to the sky, because they wanted to be as powerful as gods, but the god god was like, uh-uh I don’t think so and crumbled it all down and sent a wind that carried a million different languages so none of the people could understand each other enough to build large-scale constructions, the ones in the style of our love, C. Y. O’connor. Well, I made up the bit about the wind. I don’t have a book here to look it up.

But, I don’t want to build a tower to heaven, just want to be able to have one proper conversation with Mehmed.

There was Amina too. Remember her? She was the moroccan lady. She made me laugh when she explained how people holding on to their money are so ridiculous. This seems to happen here: if I sit down beside the right person they just start talking to me as if we were friends forever, even though we still do the getting-to-know-you part. This time Amina was again in the underground tunnel of the train station and at first I rushed by like everyone but then thought “What is life for” and went back. She got straight into it again, even though we’d only talked once and it was four months ago. And then she started producing food for me. I was going to meet someone I didn’t know for a drink, a fan of one of the friends’ bands who maybe wanted to become a friend, and I hadn’t eaten, and now I was being fed dinner by a lady sitting in the spat-and-peed-upon very all-kinds-of-grey concrete of the dirty underground railway station. She produced a sandwich someone had given her – with ham, so no good to her anyway – and some loaves of sugary bread which in the end I left elsewhere in the street, and a little jar of very good paté. She told me, in her accented French but still French, that she just needed money for her place she lives, to pay the rent, she didn’t need food. So, I gave her nothing again, and she gave me dinner and some paté.

And I guess because this website is about music I could tell you about some music I saw. Again, at the end of a day of thinking about bombs and plastic and love and “What is my place in this world” I went down the metro in another place and underground this time was music, but, BIG music. It’s kind of like Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree – each time you go up, or in this case down, some new weird thing is there to greet you. This time, it was some maybe Portugese people sad to be missing Carnivale, a guy on guitar with long big wavy hair, a man on bass, a man on drums, a woman just shaking a tambourine and all playing a raucous mixture of rock and ska and then two young boys taking turns at freestyling over the top with all their teenage friends egging them on and filming on their phones. The boys were sort of happily invited by the band and sort of wrestling the mic off the man with wavy hair at the same time.

And then there were people watching and then there were people dancing. A woman of maybe thirty in very plain clothes and spectacles who couldn’t help herself and a white man with combed grey hair and a pin stripe suit with pants slightly flared at the bottom and a red tie, and a big tall black man with a different type of suit, more ragged and a leather beret. All around other people were just watching but these three were really dancing and the boys were really singing. My body was moving a little and so the tall black man came and took my hand and danced me over to the woman and the pin stripe and within a few moments me and pinstripe were couples-dancing. He was a good lead, and even though I don’t know how to move unless it’s alone, he lead me through a series of steps that were beautiful, funny, romantic, close, and as I looked into his eyes I actually thought for several moments that he was in fact the reincarnation of David Bowie, come to dance with me for a few minutes in the metro.

Some people might think this is all naïve, but no-one’s trying to steal my wallet. It’s just all people doing what they’re made to do – work to live, dance to enjoy. There’s sometimes talk in my city and probably every other one about beggars ‘organising’ themselves, but you know, who doesn’t work for a corporation that’s organised? And who’s job doesn’t involved mainly sitting, not producing much – as in not producing food or art – and just waiting for a person with more money and the will to do it to put a few coins in your cup?

HOLDING HANDS WITH EVERYTHING: Tame Impala at Zenith, Paris.

Andrew Ryan

I’m jumping out of bed with one cat slipper on to bring you this little review of Tame Impala playing at Zenith in Paris. Yes, white boys from private schools* (fact check) playing successful music. This is a reference to Triple J’s hottest 100 – if you’re not from Australia, don’t look it up, look up the photographer Jean Gaumy instead – but really, that particular night – Sunday – if world justice wasn’t possible, then music from white boys was just what I and thousands of Parisians were in the mood for.

I nearly made Cam late for the show by spending too long drying my hair but when I got to dinner he and Ash told me I looked beautiful. That’s pretty nice if you’re someone who doesn’t feel like they look good most of the time – is that everyone? What does it mean to look beautiful? Where do hairdryers go when we die? Fuck. Anyway, Cam put bits of steak in my mouth with the fork, jiggled his leg and talked about projects, Ash be-d lovely and a small dream of soft-heartedness, I tried to think tough to not be on the heart-break mind train and just soak up some pleasure.

The taxi driver was real nice, Ash and Cam were going song for song on their phones, us three in the backseat – I checked if he minded us playing music but what I really meant was “Is it annoying to have three rich white people in the backseat just having fun as every single day and night and seeming to not know what real work is, what long shifts are, what putting up with shit from strangers is?” It’s not exactly like that, but it’s just that here it’s in your face, every bar you go to it’s all white people having a “good time” inside and the only not-white person is working on the door, sorting through who can get in and who can’t. Pewk. Everyone has their troubles and hardships, but the general sorting of who gets in and who can’t is the layer of weird injustice over everything, all the time.

Well, we made it, those two went through the backdoor, Cam with ten minutes til he was meant to be on stage, and I collected my friend from the front, who put his hand in the middle of my back making me dream of true affection and inside all the boys had already started playing “Let it Happen”. This song is magical, so many of the songs are magical. I didn’t come by to this music via music, but by personal familiarity, but all the songs have been working on me day by day since the first time I really had to listen when I was interviewing Kevin for Oyster magazine. Sometimes “everybody” is wrong about what they like – coffee in takeaway cups, Australia Day, formalised religion/atheistic agnosticism, Rubens/Hoops – but sometimes they’re right, and this is the time.

They played a million great songs, ‘Let it Happen’, ‘Apocalypse Dreams’, ‘Cause I’m a Man’, ‘The Less I Know the Better’, ‘Elephant’, ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’ – not in that order, and not only those, and usually I’m not the kind of person to care song for song, but I dunno this was something different, they are all hits and they were all hitting into that right spot for being in heart-break but moving you into uplifting abandon to the possibility of a happy ending despite all the signs to the contrary. And right in the middle of all of it was ‘Eventually’, the most perfect song for me personally right then and there, but also like I said before for several thousand Parisians. Everyone seemed to believe the words. I hear those words for my own heart and for the whole heart of the whole world – eventually, eventually, eventually. And maybe music by white boys from private schools is a wonderful part of that eventually. I believe it is.

Anyway, the whole crowd seemed to rise up in this song, and I didn’t know if it was just me but afterwards my friends said too, in his French accent “Eventually!!” Yes, the big spirit flowing through that song.

And yeah, the sound, nearly perfect, a little on the mud side, a little on the bassy side, the drums always take over but so they should, always simultaneous homage to Julien in the present and Kevin in the creation past, the most ‘Perth’ moment for me being when Kevin stood for a few moments longer than maybe even he expected just playing notes on the guitar to the oscilloscope, letting the notes and the shapes created ring out – like really ring out – creating stars and Lord of the Rings and splitting time and joining light and sound back together in green lasers on the big screen behind him.

Well, so it was a great show. Afterwards up in the room where the boys were there was Nicolas Godin from Air (I didn’t know who he was till they told me), with his gentle lovely teenage son fanboying on Kevin, Kevin and Gum fanboying on Nicolas, me fanboying in friendship on Dom who I only get to see every six months. Ringham who looks after gear talked to me about matters of the heart and possibly mathematics, Noemie who looks after tour managing gave me a true hug, everyone just moved along in their own worlds but at the same time taking care of one another, me included, even though truly they’d all already healed me a little bit in the show.

I could tell you about the rest of the night, but that will happen another time, when I’ve got both slippers on.