Where did your musical journey begin?
Sitting on the edge of my bed strumming an imaginary guitar when I was in primary school. Convincing my parents to buy me a guitar and pay for lessons. Jamming with school friends. Forming dodgy bands, forming better ones. Still figuring it out. But as soon as I started playing guitar, I knew this was the thing for me.
What do you hope to achieve through your music?
Fun. Seriously, I want to have fun making music the way I want to make it. To play to people who enjoy what I do. To get the music that’s in me out. That all sounds selfish in a way, but I don’t think I’ll make music that will change the world in any tangible way. If it makes people happy or inspires them in some way I’d be pretty chuffed.
Which music artists have influenced your musical style?
Too many to mention. I listened to my parents’ Beatles collection when I was a kid, then my older brother’s Bowie records. While I’m dwelling on the letter B, I could include Brian Eno, Big Star and Jeff Buckley. An instinct for melody and a knack for rhythm will tend to pique my interest, especially if it involves guitars. I love the charm of Jonathan Richman and Guided by Voices and the La’s, and the drama of the Straitjacket Fits and Talk Talk’s later albums and Siouxsie and the Banshees. I aim to walk the fine line between charm and drama. It’s tricky, but fun to try.
As an artist, what's on your musical bucketlist?
For a long time, I would’ve liked to have played guitar in David Bowie’s touring band, because what a wild musical adventure that would’ve been, but that’s not going to happen. I’ll have to figure out a new bucketlist ambition. Maybe curating a show in the concert hall of the Sydney Opera House. I don’t know what that show would be, but I’d make sure it was spectacular.
How do you define success in the music industry?
I’ve stopped being concerned by what “the industry” thinks, because that means putting your fate in the hands of gatekeepers, who can be capricious. That gets tricky. I’m much more interested in success on my own terms, which mostly involves being successful enough to be able to keep on making and performing music on my own terms. That’s what fires me up.
What's your proudest career moment to date?
I’m not sure what it did for my “career” but years ago I found myself backstage at a Ben Harper show teaching Ben how to play Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over” which is not a trivial tune to play if you use all of Jeff’s chord voicings. Then there was the time I played guitar in a band called the Sex Industrie, and we played at a Sex Party political campaign launch in Canberra. Like I said, I’m not sure whether these things were great contributors to a musical career, but they were fun at the time and they make good anecdotes.
What's coming up for you over the next 12 months?
Gigging will be the big adventure. Lots of exciting shows to be performed, which means finalising the live line-up and rehearsing. Then the plan is to get back into recording the follow-up. I could probably record two more albums with the material I’ve got stored up right now. The next album is likely to be 2017’s major project.
What words of wisdom do you have for upcoming music artists?
I have no wisdom regarding career success. I’m doing this for personal reasons. So for me it’s about playing music you like, having fun doing it, and not being afraid to experiment and test your boundaries from time to time. Be a bit adventurous.
Two other things: first, British musician Laura Kidd of She Makes War has published a great blog about being a DIY musician. It’s worth a look. (Link: http://shemakeswar.com/6-years-of-disarm/)
Second, google “The Millennial Whoop”, and swear to whichever deities matter to you that you will avoid doing it.