Tag Archives: australia

Pataphysics (interview)

In November of last year an album was released filled with political hip hop and smooth jazz and soul driven tones. The artist, engineer and producer, Pataphysics, writes on his Bandcamp page that the album was recorded on the land of the Wurundjeri people in Australia. I contacted Pat to learn more about that statement, about this latest album of his, flow vs. content and his work with the refugee community in Melbourne.

 

 

For those not familiar with your work, who is Pataphysics?

I write lyrics, produce music, play trumpet as well, record, and mix a bunch.

 

How did you get into making music?

I always loved music, I used to rap in primary school, just making up lyrics about anything. Got more focused in high school.

 

You recently published a new album, Tip of the Spear (Nov. 2017). How was the process behind making that album?

On this record I try do dig deeper, engaging with content I had not previously wrote about. A lot of the songs and ideas presented on this record took a while to develop and articulate. I wrote a lot of songs and music until I achieved the sound/vision I had in my mind.

 

What are some of the greater developments since your debut album, Subversive (2012)?

I have enjoyed performing live and touring. Released an EP, then working on the new album while taking time to write and collaborate on other projects.

 

Has social consciousness or political messages always been a part of your music making or has it evolved gradually?

Ever since I started performing I enjoyed exploring these ideas. As I have grown as a person and thinker so has my content.

 

“If you are saying important things but have no flow, the listener might not feel it. I feel it’s like a poisoned tipped arrow. If one doesn’t get you, the other will.”

 

How important is it for you to write lyrics with the right political words versus less important words but that flow better for the rhythm of the song?

They are just as equal in my mind. Both need to be 100. If you are saying important things but have no flow, the listener might not feel it. I feel it’s like a poisoned tipped arrow. If one doesn’t get you, the other will.

 

You are the Music and Arts coordinator of R.I.S.E. (Refugees, Survivors, and Ex Detainees). Can you tell us more about that project and how you got to be a part of that?

R.I.S.E is the only organisation of its type run by refugees in this country. It does amazing work in the community. I often would work and mentor emerging artists in an informal capacity, when R.I.S.E began they asked me to help out and I was more than happy to help.

 

It is stated on your Bandcamp page that the album is recorded on the land of the Wurundjeri people. Can you tell us more about that?

They are the traditional owners of Narrm (Melbourne). The people who were here before invasion. Australia is one of the only countries that doesn’t have a treaty with its first nation peoples.

 

Refugees and the movement of people seems to be a topic you touch upon in more than one song. How important is the that issue for you? Is it close to you where you live?

In Australia we lock refugees indefinitely in “detention centres” prisons. This is against International conventions we have signed.

 

Who are your favorite political musicians out there, current or old?

Public Enemy were a HUGE influence on me. Chuck D is such an amazing human. Also love Rage against the Machine. These days ‘Bambu de Pistola’ is one of my favourites.

 

What’s on the horizon for you?

Bunch of live shows, finally getting out of the studio more now that the album is finished and out. But I am also writing more music, working on new material and producing for a number of artists in Melbourne.

 

Thank you so much for participating and for the work and music you make. Anything else you would like to shout from the rooftops?

If you wanna hear my album and my other music it’s available on spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5nIM4nB0A65tmrwoG1GH3w

 

 


Cover photo by Paul H.

Eco Faeries (interview)

Growing up in Iceland I am well aware of the existence of hidden people and giants but I am less familiar with faeries. In Australia there is a colorful group of faeries who use music to share their love of nature and how to take better care of mother earth. So I interviewed Faerie Cara of the Eco Faeries to learn more about these faeries and their music, nature preservation and how one can get married at their concerts.

First of all, who are the Eco Faeries?

Eco Faeries use entertainment to promote a love of nature and taking care of the environment. We specialize in performing for families with children who are in early childhood years of 2-7 years of age. One stage there are two main performers, myself Faerie Cara, and Faerie Kirstee. I’ve been working as a faerie for over 23 years, Kirsten came into the company two years ago now, but really she’s always been a faerie. We also have a team of faeries who work in schools doing educational incursions, faeries who run nature craft workshops, street artists and volunteers.

What is your background in music? Has it always been educational?

All our performers have different backgrounds. Kirstee is a classically trained flautist, multi instrumentals and vocalist trained at WAAPA. I’ve worked as a faerie my whole life, creating songs as I travel the world. We also love to collaborate with local musicians to create a certain sound. The way we work is first coming up with a message we want to deliver, then we create a song and record it in the studio. For our live children’s shows we use a karaoke track that we created in the studio so we can focus on singing live while dancing and acting. It’s important to be high energy and engaging for the age group we are performing for.

Yes it’s always been educational. We believe faeries are the guardians of nature and we represent them in a way they we’re talked about in faerie tales years before Disney cartoons we’re created. For us to represent faeries we don’t want to fluff about. We want to empower children to make a difference, to use their voices and be the change the world is waiting for.

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It seems at a first glance that you are more than just a band. Can you elaborate on the scope of the project?

We like to be seen as an entertainment company and make everything as catchy, high energy and memorable as possible. Within that framework we are educators. We have a message to deliver and through creating magical moments within the community, the families we meet continue to speak about what they learned from the faeries.

Can anyone learn to become an Eco Faerie?

We have a live performance show for events, shopping centers and schools, plus we run workshops, create art installations and just generally create a faerie buzz of activity wherever we can. We also organize our own events and create education videos in partnership with local organizations.

Are you part of any other musical projects?

Yes we are! Here in Perth, Western Australia we love to collaborate with like minded performers to create crowd stopping shows. Our main partners in crime are Junkadelic, an explosive live performance brass band with percussion instruments made from junk. Together we work with other local groups to put on themed shows at street festivals.

Is it true that one could attend a Eco Faeries concert and get married at the same time?

It’s true, it’s a sneaky twist to our faerie tale. I’m an authorized civil Marriage Celebrant in Australia. I was hoping that same sex marriage would be legalized so I studied and registered to become a celebrant. Unfortunately we are still waiting for marriage laws to change, in the mean time I’ve been able to officiate many amazing weddings from barefoot ceremonies in the forest to cabaret shows in a ballroom. It’s definitely not the focus of the main Eco Faerie company but it’s been amazing to be part of so many outstanding weddings. (Input: shortly after interviewing Faerie Cara, Australian people voted in favor of same-sex marriage!)

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What do you hope to achieve with your music?

We hope our songs are enjoyed and are continued to be sung by families. We deliberately make them catchy and fun, then the messages written into them are remembered. We’re always aiming to reach more people so we find new events to visit.

Next year we’ll be touring Australia some more, who knows, maybe once day we can do another international tour. In the mean time we just made three short educational videos that can be viewed through our website. These we’re produced through a grant from Keep Australia Beautiful WA so they all have a waste theme. They feature a short educational segment followed up by a song. That way we can share what we do with families around the world and not have to fly about too far.

How has the response been from peers within the music industry?

The response has been great so far. Eco Faeries has been running for 13 years now and is a full time gig for us. We keep our work polished and original so bands and organizers see the hard work that goes into everything we do. Every event that we do leads to more gigs so we must do something right.

Are you connected with faeries around the world?

We keep an eye on social media to see what other faeries are up to. We also love to connect with mermaids or just groups that are working hard to change the world. Everyone represents ‘faerie’ differently. We work on keeping our work original and pull from our own ideas but it’s always fun to meet faeries when we travel. Years ago I travelled through Canada and USA and met some inspiring magical creatures on the way. I love to see the evolution of their performances over the years.

What is on the horizon for the Eco Faeries?

We’re in the midst of our peak performance season but we are looking ahead to 2018 where we’ve booked some interstate events, a few Fringe shows and hopefully we can make more videos.

Thank you very much for participating and for the work you do! Anything else you would like to shout from the rooftops?

Thank you so much for connecting with us. Please check out our website, watch Eco Faerie TV where you can see us in action anywhere around the world and don’t forget that the magic of nature is in you.

 

Formidable Vegetable Sound System (interview)

From Western Australia comes the fantastic Formidable Vegetable Sound System. This collective uses ukuleles, horns and the idea of permaculture to funk some awareness into all of our lives. Halldór threw a few questions at Charlie Mgee, one member of the collective and we at Shouts thank Charlie kindly for participating in this project.

 

First off, for those not familiar with your project, who is Formidable Vegetable Sound System, and what is your mission?

Formidable Vegetable Sound System is an experiment in eco-swing-funk with mashups of ukulele, horns, violin and electro-beets solely aimed at pounding simple solutions for sustainability deep into your consciousness! Our mission is to make the world realise that ‘Permaculture’ has nothing to do with curling your hair.

 

In this world filled with apathy and senselessness do you feel alone making the music you make? Or is there a scene out there of like minded artists?

I think there are a lot of artists who are expressing ecological ideas through their music. Maybe we are just more blatantly obvious about it and don’t use as many metaphors. I often feel alone in this crazy world, but I think that’s just a natural byproduct of being a fringe-dweller at heart and not necessarily a reflection of reality!

 

How important is it for artists of all disciplines to use their voices to raise awareness? Do you think it makes an impact, especially coming from underground groups (as it so often does)?

Artists (especially famous ones) have some of the most powerful voices in the world, which ought to be used more for raising awareness about important issues and educating people. It’s a shame that there’s such a corporate industry surrounding music, as it is mostly geared toward making as much money as possible, instead of what I believe is the real purpose of music, which is creating change.

 

Do you have other projects or work relating to bettering the world besides the music?

After 5 years of galavanting around the world, I’m finally back in my yard growing a garden again, which makes me very happy. I’m also currently trying to build a tiny home out of recycled materials on an old fire truck that runs on vegetable oil, which ticks a lot of my boxes!

 

What’s on the horizon for Formidable Vegetable Sound System?

I’ve become more and more excited about writing songs for children and have even taken 2 years off to study education with the aim of doing more of it. Hopefully this gives me inspiration to write more educational music that can be used as a teaching tool for young people to learn about sustainable living in an uncertain future.