ART.PHOTOGRAPHY MUSIC.DESIGN | FREE SPITPRESS.COM AUG/SEP
Things My Mother Told Me What did your mum think you’d become?
Joshua Radin “Keep trying new things; it’s the way to stay young.”
Soul Seeker Beautiful snaps from up and comer Jes Meacham.
The Techno-cality of Sexuality A look into electronic and cyber fetishes AND Seeker Lover Keeper Josh Pyke, Timber & Steel, The 11Eleven Project, Nikki Thorburn, Kurt Sorensen, and more!
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8. Spit Bucket 10. Faces 12. Seeker Lover Keeper 16. Things My Mother Told Me 20. Josh Pyke 22. 11Eleven Project 24. Joshua Radin 28. Timber & Steel 29. Two Baked Pooseys 30. Whispers That Wonâ€™t Wait 32. Brave Like a Lion 34. The Ethics of a Pencil Case 35. Soul Seeker 40. There Is No One. What will take care of you
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The Spit Press is published bi-monthly by Spit Press Media. The opinions expressed by individual contributors are not necessarily those of The Spit Press staff. All of the content in this issue of The Spit Press is artistic opinion, expression and interpretation of the theme Whispers. For more information visit spitpress.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Blog Editors - Erin Holohan & Alex Watts email@example.com Spit Press TV - Grace Tan firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Caitlyn Adamson, Edwina Storie, Sarah Lakos, Lauren Mahaffey, Fiona Murphy, Sally Jane Carter, Lynne Xie, Lyn Adamson, Angelique Lu, Lewis Collins, Jes Meacham, Kurt Sorensen, Zabrina Wong, Sophie Begley 4 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9
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Please the trees.
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PSSSSSSTT Welcome to yet another issue of our little street rag. Apart from having met and spoken with some aweinspiring musicians, artists, photographers and writers, we’ve also been busy lately planning some great things and we’d very much like you all to be involved. We’re still running our Spit Fire Emerging Music Award for you local up-and-coming musicians who want to lay down a few extra tracks. Just flip back a few pages for deets – you could nab some free studio recording time thanks to the good people at Fire Ant Recording Studios! For those readers who’d rather listen to someone else sing we’ve got two big events coming up. On the 26th of August we’re taking over the entire World Bar with MUM and our mates at Major Raiser for one massive blow-out featuring music from all over the city. Then on the 25th of September we’ll be turning Tone into a massive music market with the help of a few of our favourite online vintage stores and some talented locals; The Falls, Nikki Thorburn, Tin Sparrow and Matt Corby. So pen both of those dates in now! In the meantime we’ll leave you in peace to digest this issue. There’s music from North American wordsmith Joshua Radin, everyone’s favourite darlings Seeker Lover Keeper and Sydney’s pop-folk golden boy Josh Pyke. Get lost in a scape of wispy images from Jes Meacham and Kurt Sorensen and top it all off with another delectable Two Baked Pooseys recipe. There’s a buttload more, so get cracking! Tym & India.
Psssstt… Don’t forget to find us on the old interwebs at our Facebook and Twitter pages, download our free iPad App and look out for our new website spitpress.com.
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Boy in a Box As Sydney-siders we’re indoctrinated to despise all things Melbournian. However when it comes to Boy in a Box’s Glitter Gold Ruin we just cannot bring ourselves to do it. Playing in bands on the NSW Central Coast before relocating down south this selfclassified ‘SUPERHAPPYPOWERPUNK’ muso is belting out anthems for any dancefloor, summer festival or road trip. We dig it. Claire If you’re reading this column, you likely digest an unhealthy number of band blurbs each week. Here’s one that you really ought to remember. Claire colour their songs with the kind of subtle characteristics lesser groups would ignore in favour of brute force. Each member contributes to a sound which easily exceeds the sum of its parts; quality tunes are the top priority here. Their debut E.P makes this point clear, effortlessly blending tightly-wound riffs with sprawling instrumental passages. With a genuinely exciting live show to complete the package, Claire deserve your attention. Don’t forget the name. http://www.triplejunearthed.com/claire
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Rabbit Hole There is probably nothing that can make a Saturday night out more painstakingly slow than the curb-side conversation between drunken mates about which bar to go to next. That, along with having to grab two taxis for six people, getting kicked out of a venue at 1am, and realising that a friend has lost their wallet, can lead to one sad evening. Alas, those days are over as we welcome Sydney’s newest club night - Rabbit Hole at Tone. One Saturday each month Rabbit Hole hosts some of Sydney’s finest indie party music with the headlining act hitting the stage in the early hours of the morn. Open from 8pm-5am with the headliner at 2am, you really don’t need to go anywhere else.
Spoonful Mag Like most punters we love publications with some kind of point of difference - something unique and personal. We’ve found that and then some in a little gem we discovered trolling the ins and outs of cute little laneways all over the city. Spoonful Mag is stuffed with things to make, read and think about. Yes, with pink fonts and floral backgrounds it’s definitely one for the girls but fellas it’ll make a nifty little gift for your significant other. It’s a lovely lil’ zine with a big ol’ heart!
Owl Eyes With one of the most addictive singles we’ve heard all year, Owl Eye’s new EP of the same title, Raiders, oozes appeal. Airy vocals, enchanting melodies and a unique mix of electronic and pop elements creates a sublime record that matches a stunning live show. Not just filled with riffs that make you want to hit the town and strut your stuff like you’re in a movie montage, the record also evokes a diverse array of emotions each time you give the four tracks a listen. Make sure you catch this interstate, interstellar act when you can.
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Whisper. From Middle English whisperen, to whisper, from Old English hwisprian
1. To speak with soft, hushed sounds, using the breath, lips, etc., but with no vibration of the vocal cords. He whispered endearments to her. 2. To produce utterance substituting breath for phonation. 3. To talk softly and privately (often implying gossip, slander, plotting, or the like): The king knew that the courtiers were whispering. 4. (of trees, water, breezes, etc.) To make a soft, rustling sound like that of whispering. 5. To say or tell in a whisper; tell privately.
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Seeker Lover Keeper. Holly Throsby knows how to whisper in a way which is both melodious and meaningful. Interweave her melodies, lyrics and voice with those of Sally Seltmann and Sarah Blasko; and you have Seeker Lover Keeper. Lynne Xie spoke to Holly about long days in the recording studio and the women who laugh more than they cry. L: I just wanted to congratulate you on your incredibly productive past year – you’ve released your solo albums Team and See!, and now the album with Seeker Lover Keeper. How are you managing all that creative output?
think when one song took a direction that one of us wouldn’t expect, it was really kind of cool to see it go in a way you wouldn’t normally do yourself and then be happy with result. That was a really good learning experience.
H: Well I tried to stagger the releases. I did record all three albums in 2010 so it was a pretty full on year. It’s been really nice – the response to all three has been really good but also really different as they are completely different records.
L: From what I’ve seen of you three together it seems like you spend a lot of your time laughing together!
L: Well one of the differences has been that the Seeker Lover Keeper album was the first time you’ve written songs for other people…
H: Yeah we really do! We were just at the ABC doing an interview and Sarah just got the giggles and she just goes and then I go and then Sally has to try to hold it together. We get by, I think, by laughing more than crying.
H: Yeah, it was. It was interesting because it wasn’t as if we set out to write songs for other people. I think we were in some ways channeling each other and in some ways writing for the band; and then after the songs were written we decided who would sing which song. Some songs just really lent themselves to a certain person. When I was writing ‘Light All My Lights’ for example, I did kind of have it in my head that I wanted Sarah to sing that song. It was really nice to write with Sally and Sarah in mind.
L: As you said, the songs that all three of you write are really personal. As you sung each other’s songs did end you up sharing the stories behind the songs?
L: Did you find that you had a lot in common with Sarah and Sally? H: Yeah I was quite surprised actually. I knew from being friends with them that we had our similarities, but I was surprised as to how much that played out in the studio. We all kind of write songs from a similar spot – quite honest songs and quite personal songs. But it was really interesting being in the studio because we all had a really similar approach to the recording process as well which was nice to discover.
H: It really is – I think it’s one of her finest songs. There’s just something about it – every time I listen to it I’m really moved by what she says in it [about long-distance relationships]. I think all three of us relate to the song. I think a lot of women do; even if their job doesn’t involve the kind of travelling we do as musicians. For me the themes running through the album are so strong and our concerns as songwriters are similar across our own albums so it wasn’t that hard to get into that character.
L: And I assume all that would make for quite a harmonious recording process.
L: Is there anything that you think you’ve learnt from working with Sarah and Sally?
H: It certainly was; between the three of us it was very harmonious. We certainly came up against challenges as you do. We tried to make an entire record in ten days which wasn’t easy and we made it
H: Yeah, kind of a tremendous amount. Some of it I’m only just thinking about now because I think a lot of it is unconscious. I came back to Sydney and started piano lessons because I was so impressed with
a live album and it all sort of got hysterical at various times. In terms of our aesthetic and creative choices we’re really on the same page. I
Sally’s piano-playing. I loved watching her play piano. I feel very confident with guitar and I’ve written songs on piano and have songs
H: I think we kind of did but we didn’t always need to. I sung Sally’s song ‘Even Though I’m a Woman’… L: Which is beautiful!
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on piano on my albums but when I go onstage I look at these keys and have no idea what they mean. Watching her use her knowledge of that was really inspiring for me so I’ve started piano lessons. And watching Sarah work… it’s just lovely that we all really enjoy having creative control. Watching Sarah direct some of her songs – she’s a really strong person and she has really strong ideas and I think that both Sally and I both really respected the way she saw those things through. L: And I guess the flip side of that question – what do you think Sally and Sarah might have learnt from you? H: (laughs) Ah no, I have no idea. I think you’d have to ask them I really don’t know... L: Well perhaps an easier question then… if you could add any fourth person to the group – who would it be? H: Um, I think I’d really like to have Stevie Nicks over to have a mentoring session. I think there’s something about doing three-part harmonies, being the country music fan that I am. I mean a major aspect of country music is the three-part harmonies and I kind of don’t think it really needs anything else. I tend to take the low part and Sarah takes the middle and Sally takes the high and it’s kind of nice to know where your place is. L: Working with two other talented, creative women – did you feel any pressure to compete with or impress them? H: It was nerve-wracking when we first sat down and played each other the songs that we had written for the band. When I first played them I was nervous and shaky. When you’ve known people and are friends with people and are fans of their music, it’s a different experience presenting something you’ll all be collectively working on. I also really wanted to sing well and make Sally and Sarah’s songs sound as good as they could and do them justice. I think we’re all really conscious of saying to each other ‘Is this okay? Do you have any direction for me?’ And it was nice because there wasn’t even any of that necessary. The interesting part was to let the songs go and let them be a new thing interpreted by someone else. L: Finally Holly, how would you recommend listening to the Seeker Lover Keeper album? H: I think it’s kind of like an early evening record. Sometimes when I listen to albums they remind me of a certain time of the day and this record reminds me of the first glass of wine of the evening. For Sally, Sarah and I it’s probably our favourite time of the day. L: In the evening with a glass of wine – that’s a great serving suggestion… H: (laughs) Yeah that’s my serving suggestion.
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THINGS MY MOTHER TOLD ME Sarah Lakos spent a week asking creatives about their childhood, and the advice that sticks. We’re told a lot of things when we’re young. It begins with nursery rhymes and stories. They teach us right from wrong in the most utopian, idealistic, and extraneous way possible; don’t talk to strangers with poisonous apples, princesses always find their princes, and dragons eat those who are wicked. Our young, unaffected, trusting and accepting brains logic these stories into reality, and we play these fates out in the playground. Years later, we wise up. It appears not every stranger will try and kill us; talking to strangers is how grownups make friends. Sometimes your princess or prince turns out to be a total nutcase; we’ve all gone on that regrettable date, and sometimes, the bad-guys win (just watch the news). During this time, what our parents or guardians tell us seems more stable than these eroded fables. So, what have we been told that sticks? What have our parents told us that whispers in the backs of our minds? Mother and daughter, Tracey and Lyssa Trompf told me about Lyssa’s childhood in a single parent family. “She was my first born, and was the first partner in crime. It was a big load to put on her.” Chatting to Lyssa, that load doesn’t appear to have damaged her childhood. Instead, it has resulted in a mother and daughter dynamic based on friendship. What advice did Tracey give Lyssa when growing up? “I wrote a philosophy of life in Lyssa’s one-year-old birthday card… It was about being… you’re going to laugh because it sounds really daggy but, it was about… Being. Being yourself. And Certain.” When asked what Tracey thought Lyssa would be, she paused, “Well, that’s hard… My mum, when Lyssa was 3 months old, said that Lyssa would be a singer. It was because of Lyssa that I also started singing.” Lyssa didn’t become a singer, but instead works as an Event Manager, “Bringing joy and music to 17 to 22 year olds.” She quipped sarcastically. I hadn’t met Tracey and Lyssa before, and what I instantly saw in Lyssa was Tracey’s enthusiasm. “Some people want to dilute your enthusiasm. It’s happened to me before. You just can’t let that happen.” That is advice I am happy to subscribe to. Marcus Azon Jacometti and Alister Roach were encouraged to pursue their love of music. Together, they are two fifths of indie forestdance band, Jinja Safari. “We were told so many times that we could do what ever we wanted to do. If a child hears that so many times they’re going to start believing it, that they can achieve what ever they want,” Marcus said, from his beanbag on their living room floor. Alister, sitting on the futon couch added, “My mum would say over
been my older brother. It’s always been the dynamic.” I asked what they got up to when they were growing up, “…skating. That’s what I remember a lot. We used to skate, and build ramps. That and lighting fires.” Alister grins with mischief. So what did their parents predict or hope Marcus and Alister would become? “My parents told me I’d be a minister. My mum especially. I thought that was a good idea until I was fourteen.” Alister laughs. Marcus was encouraged to be a vet, “I liked animals, and they saw that.” I spoke to mother and daughter Julia and Belinda Campbell, and found a refreshing gem of motherly advice. A very academically driven teen, Belinda was told by Julia, “Honey, you can always strive to get a B or a C grade. It’s all right to get those marks. GO for the B!” That Belinda understood failure was just as important to Julia as it was that she followed her dreams. “That’s the standard one parents tell kids. My father’s more rational, and saw that my academic side was worth pursuing. Mum saw my artistic side, and encouraged me down that road. She said it’ll all work out if I trusted it.” Being comfortable with failure was Belinda’s insurance policy for her dreams. Belinda agrees, “Its important to fail. You can’t be afraid to fail.” Julia was sure of Belinda’s childhood artistic talents, “When Belinda was really very young, she would write books, and staple them together with pictures and stories about animals. I was sure she’d be a writer.” All grown up, Belinda is a singer-songwriter and photographer. Last year, Belinda’s photographic project was inspired by the traffic light window washers of Sydney, and was displayed in Glebe. A long way from her childhood days in Melbourne, where she remembers, “…my brother and I making a raft out of wood, in pouring rain… and mum encouraging us to test it out. We did. It was the middle of winter… We didn’t set sail.” Just as much as children can’t choose their parents, parents can’t choose who their children will become. I’m not a parent, so I have no qualification to say the following: All a parent can do is try and give their child the best advice, and the best example to follow. As you get older, you realise your parents aren’t always right, and certainly aren’t perfect. It’s confusing, and undermines a lot of what they’ve told you. I’m always calling my mum or dad to see what they’ll say – but I take their advice as friends now, and pick and choose their words. There are the parents who grow just as much as the child
and over again, she just wanted me to do whatever I wanted.” Marcus and Alister grew up in Tasmania, “We lived a few doors down from each other,” Marcus explains. Alister jumps in, “He’s
does. Then, there are the parents who ask us to dream, and figure out the practicalities as you go. The smart ones ask us to fail, and allow us to eventually befriend them.
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Tracey and Lyssa
ABC Radio National and Purple Sneakers (photo by Cam Taylor)
I met with Lyssa and Tracey at a café in Ultimo, a stone’s throw from Tracey’s work at Radio National. Arriving before her daughter Lyssa, she orders a coffee and chats animatedly about a photo of Lyssa she’s brought along. Tracey’s cropped hair and large hoop earrings tell me she’s not a stay-at-home-baking kind of mum. Lyssa arrives minutes later, sliding onto a stool alongside Tracey, pulling a 50s-inspired floral dress from her bag. “I’m going to get this altered for the event tonight. Shorter. Don’t you think?” Lyssa is an event manager for Purple Sneakers. A surprise career from someone who describes her younger self as, “terribly responsible… It was very brow furrowing.” As they laugh at one another’s sentimentality, I notice their brand of endearing self-deprecation. “When I was pregnant I called Lyssa ‘Felicity’ – which means great happiness. I almost named her Fern or Prophecy… It was a close call.” They burst into laughter. Tracey is a single mum, and confesses she wasn’t the least bit maternal when Lyssa came along. “Did we grow up together? … Yes. I guess we did. She was my good steady flatmate.”
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Julia and Belinda
Teacher and Singer-Songwriter/Photographer (photo by Cam Taylor)
Sitting on a park bench in Stanmore, I ask Julia how she would describe her daughter, Belinda. “She is very determined.” They mutually respect one another’s talents and drive. Julia is a teacher, who brought her own stamp of creativity to her two childrens’ childhood. Belinda remembers the family excursions with her mum, “We had lots of adventures. Dad I didn’t really get to know, because he was at work. But mum would take us on adventures, in school holidays. The adventures are what I remember most.” In awe of her daughter’s own artistic strength, Julia credits grandparents for Belinda’s creativity. Julia has poured strength and determination on Belinda. The premature death of Julia’s mother catalyses this outlook, “…what I got from my mother’s premature death is that you really have to get out and live life. You have no clue how short or long life will be. I probably did promote that way of thinking with my children. Just do it.”
Belinda is working on a collection of short stories, and recording an EP. Her ‘Intersections’ photographic essay can be found on
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Marcus Azon Jacometti and Alister Roach
Jinja Safari (photo by Alex Watts) After meeting Marcus and Alister, I find myself drinking tea on their futon couch talking about tattoos, families and touring as indie forest-rock band, Jinja Safari. My impression of their house is the place where all the grown up ‘lost boys’ now live. Both are from Tasmania, grew up in Christian homes, they spent their childhood as pseudo-brothers. I asked whether their parents were supportive of their music pursuits. Alister answered, “Our parents came to our first show. My mum cried. Out of happiness. She’s never been as happy as then about me going into music.” It’s been important for both Marcus and Alister to make their parents proud, “Everyone has that desire to impress their parents.” I asked what has changed between Marcus and his parents as he has gotten older, “My parents are more honest now [that we’re friends]. They don’t
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JOSH PYKE Tym Yee had a quick catch up with everyone’s favourite singer/songwriter Josh Pyke about his new record Only Sparrows, which is out this August. Taking a year off: I did the Basement Birds record which actually took up a lot more time than we had initially thought. We toured that and everything. For a year off it was kind of… it was a pretty big year. I had a kid as well, which is pretty amazing. So I’ve just been focusing on that for as long as I could before I had to get back to my day job and write again. It’s a pretty tricky balancing act, but so far so good.
was a very casual process. But this time I had limited time and I felt like I wanted to shake things up a bit and write in a different way. Going to New York was more about doing work this time. I really needed to be in an environment by myself where I could write a whole lot of prose and then refine that into songs. I wanted it to be a much more collaborative thing. The sound is much more band-orientated and fuller.
Naming the new record: It’s from one of the songs on the record called ‘Clovis’ Son’, a line which goes ‘We are only ever little sparrows on a mountainside’. I had the image from while I was in New Zealand one time and we bushwalked up to this observatory and there were these sparrows on the side of a mountain and they were so light and so tiny that the wind was literally lifting them. They had to keep on readjusting themselves and resettling so they didn’t get blown away. It just kind of struck me as a nice image and a nice metaphor for life. You know, we’re all tiny little light creatures at The creative process of Only Sparrows: the mercy of the elements, whatever the elements are. The next line of the The way I wrote this record is quite different to the past records. On song is ‘The wind came up and blew away our footing and forced you the past records I didn’t really have a process, I just had time to write into flight’. I like the idea that adversity forces you to adapt and forces on the road and when I’d get home I’d finalise the ideas I had done, it you to change and that can be a really positive thing. Writing in The States: It was more New York specifically rather than America. I guess because I’ve spent a lot of time there and I’ve always found it a really inspirational place. There are so many galleries and so many gigs and so many interesting things to see that it’s like a distilled version of everything that I kind of need to get my head into creative mode. It was also a chance to be totally by myself to really focus on writing.
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11/11/11 Separated by time zones, language barriers, religious belief systems and a little thing called the ocean, the rest of the world can sometimes seem out of reach, but for 10 long years the 11ELEVEN project has been working to bridge that gap, and the countdown is on until the world becomes one… for 24 hours at least. Danielle Lauren let Lewis Collins know what it’s all about.
Having started out as an idea floating around in the mind of Australian filmmaker Danielle Lauren, the 11ELEVEN project has gained speed and snowballed into a worldwide event. For Lauren, one day stood out. 11/11/11. For 24 hours every human in 196 countries across the globe can connect as one, simply by entering their photos, films or anything else that gives an insight into their world. But like all great ideas, the 11ELEVEN project hasn’t been without its setbacks. From the unavailability of technology to languages issues, Lauren has persevered, never thinking of wavering from her goal. “Obviously back when I had the idea, we didn’t have the computers or social media we have now, so waiting for technology to catch up has probably been the hardest task to face,” said Lauren of the obstacles she’s had to face since the conception of the 11ELEVEN idea. “Language barriers are other mountains we’ve had to climb. Luckily we’ve got some great bilingual volunteers who are running Facebook pages in over 10 different languages to spread the word of 11ELEVEN”. The use of social media has been integral to the development of the 11ELEVEN project as well as the dedication from its volunteers, sponsors and charities, with organisations such as UNICEF and WWF. That’s the World Wildlife Fund, not the World Wrestling Federation where sweaty men toss each other around a ring in nothing but underwear. Along with the help of charities, 11ELEVEN has welcomed the support of its educational partners from Argentina to Zimbabwe, who have dedicated their time and services to provide advice, equipment and support to those in less fortunate environments than ourselves, with 22 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9
Lauren maintaining that people from third world countries shouldn’t miss out on their opportunity to be a part of the global narrative. Don’t go thinking that as of 12/11/11 it’s all over and done with, because post 11/11/11 promises to be just as exciting as pre 11/11/11 with plans to take as many of the entries as possible and make a documentary in full swing. The documentary will highlight as much of the footage taken from around the world as Lauren can muster. The beauty of 11ELEVEN hides in its simplicity. No matter who you are, where you are or what you’re doing, for those 24 hours, the world is one. Since its conception all that time ago, 11ELEVEN has grown into something that even Lauren herself still hasn’t gotten her head around. “I don’t think it’s hit me just yet as to the scale of what we’re on course to achieve”. There are some big names set to jump on board and spread the word (however try as I might, Lauren wouldn’t give away any clues), which outlines the global importance of a project like 11ELEVEN. The persistence and dedication to our planet and fellow humans shown by those spearheading the project is nothing short of admirable. There’s only one thing left for you to do, pick up a camera and JOIN THE REVOLUTION!
Want to know more? Website: www.11elevenproject.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/11elevenproject Twitter: @11elevenproject
- AUGUST EVENTS Mon 1st & 29th - Social Media Club Sydney
Thurs 18th - Domeyko/Gonzalez EP launch
Thurs 4th - Jeremy Harrison
Fri 19th - Country Grammar
Fri 5th - Twist and Shout - Surf tunes
Sat 20th - Uber Lingua Relaunch
Sat 6th - Rabbit Hole - Live bands & DJ’s til 5am
Sun 21st - The Belly Off - Belly Dance comp
Sun 7th - Broken Rekord - Live ﬁlm scores
Tues 23rd - ESV + Mr Belvedere
Wed 10th - Gallery Burlesque
Wed 24th - A.I.M showcase
Thurs 11th - Red Fire Red album launch
Thurs 25th - Popfrenzy presents Times New Viking (U.S.A)
Fri 12th - Chocolate Jesus Ind presents Reckless Vagina EP Launch Sat 13th - U-Tern (Canada)
Fri 26th - Pigeon Album launch
Sun 14th - Dome Home 4 - Circle Pit, Stone
Sat 27th - Astral People Launch Party - Jonti (Stones Throw), Dro Carey, Wintercoats
Wed 17th - Elle Kennard EP launch
Sun 28th - Jazz Burlesque
www.tone.net.au /tonesydney @tonesydney
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JOSHUA RADIN Joshua Radin is more than just a lyrical charmster, creative soul and gentleman. Lyn Adamson discovered that your kids might one day be in his art class and you might watch his movies or read his books in the near future.
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L: You’ve released three full albums now – do you think they each L: So you started playing music seven or eight years ago and you reflect a particular season of your life or do they remind you of a were screenwriting at the time, right? What made you choose to particular period of time? How would you describe them? pursue music rather than continue with screenwriting? J: Every song reminds me of a particular point in my life. You know, they’re all like journal entries, just set to melodies. The first record, We Were Here, was definitely a break-up record. They were the first songs I had written. I went through this bad break-up with my ex-girlfriend; we had lived together in New York for about six years. That’s when I started playing music, right then. So, the next record, Simple Times, I would say was sort of a half-and-half record; half about a break up between the next girlfriend, there’s only been two girlfriends. And this third record, The Rock and the Tide, I would say is not really a break-up record. I tried to write a little more about what was going on in my life rather than just about romance.
J: Well, I picked up the guitar as a meditative instrument. I’d be stuck in a scene, writing dialogue, and it was more of just something to open my mind to something new; I’d learn a new chord. Then in about a year, I learnt a few chords, wrote my first song and about a year later I was touring the world. It was crazy. I’m really, really fortunate. I guess I’m the type of person where I just wake up every morning and I try to do something creative, try to express something. I’ve always just wanted to express what I’m going through, doesn’t matter if it’s a paintbrush or a typewriter or a guitar or whatever it is. And this was the first thing I’d tried creatively, this medium, that just fit right away. I put that guitar in my hand and it was like I never want to take this out of my hands. I’m really lucky.
L: In terms of the sound of each album, would you say that each L: That first song you wrote was ‘Winter’ - do you think that the album is distinct or have you made a conscious effort to progress way you write songs has changed since you picked up that guitar your sound? the first time, knowing that now they will be released and people will definitely listen to them? J: I think it’s just constantly developing. I’ve only been playing music for seven or eight years now. I didn’t grow up playing. So J: Some of them. My first single on The Rock and the Tide called ‘I you just sort of sponge everything up, whatever you’re listening to. Missed You’ is definitely very, very different sonically than ‘Winter’. Sometimes I hear something and I just say ‘I want to write a song It’s the first time I ever tried to write a pop song. I was like ‘I wonder like that’ and then it will make me write five new songs that kind of what it would be like to write a pop song?’ so I tried and that’s sound like that. It’s tough to say. what came out. I guess you just write what you like and you see what people think. It’s not like I’m changing drastically. I remember THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9 | 25
reading something in an interview with Bono and he said that you need a single, that you need a radio song, to draw everyone to the rest of the record. The Rock and the Tide is kind of a different album for me and I figured maybe I needed a pop song to draw people into the record, so hopefully it does that. L: What is it about the song writing process that keeps you making music and releasing albums? J: I’m just totally addicted. The weird thing is, I’m not a depressive character in my life. I know that probably most people would think that by listening to the first record or some of the second record. I’m pretty jovial. I like hanging out with my friends. I’m a pretty happy go-lucky guy. When I’m sad I use art to get the sad out; it’s cathartic. I’m sure a lot of artists do that. But the best feeling I have, ever, is when I finish a song. So I’m not terribly prolific. I’m not one of those artists that gets up everyday and writes five songs and by the time I’m going in to record an album I’ve got a hundred songs and I pick eleven. I’ll write eleven songs and record eleven songs, to the frustration of many people around me. But you can’t force it. If I finish a song I’m usually like ‘I want to put that out’. If I’m halfway through a song and I’m like ‘Ah, I don’t really like where this is going’, I just stop. I move on to something else. So, the best feeling I ever have is when I finish a song. It’s totally orgasmic, it really is. L: And when you’re writing, what comes first usually, melody or the words? J: Always the melody first. I always have a melody running around in my head that I can’t get out of my head. And I’ll be lying in bed at night, at like three or four in the morning, humming this melody and I’ll have to pick up my phone and sing it into the phone so I don’t forget it. And then I walk around with my headphones listening to it for a few days, whatever city I’m in, and I get that melody right in my head, from beginning to end. Then I wait until I have something I really want to say. I’ll usually go sit in a coffee shop somewhere and stare at people’s faces and fit the words into the melody. So, I’m sure I look like a crazy person at every coffee shop I ever sit in. Just humming, throwing words around, talking to myself, sitting in the corner like some freak. But that was something that I remember reading about Bob Dylan, my favourite songwriter. He said that when he was starting out, in the very early sixties when he was in Minneapolis, he used to sit and write lyrics in coffee shops staring at people’s faces. I just sort of adopted that way of doing things. And I saw an interview with Paul Simon once, who’s another one of my favourite songwriters, and he said he always writes the melody first, the music first. So, right off the bat I was like these are my two favourite songwriters, I’m going to take those two pieces of advice and see if I can combine them and see what happens, and here we are. L: Do you ever come back to any of those songs that you leave half finished? J: Every now and again I guess I’ll come back to it, if there’s a certain melody, if there’s a hook in there that I can’t get out of my 26 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9
head. If it doesn’t leave my head, and it keeps coming back, I feel like it was meant to be. If it leaves your head, and it doesn’t come back, it wasn’t that great of a melody. L: It seems you write most of your music by yourself but do you ever co-write? J: A couple of songs, here and there. Most of them I write myself. If there is a co-write, I’ll get together with someone and we’ll come up with just a melody or a beat or something like that. Someone else brings something melodically to the table, something that I wouldn’t normally think of. And then I’ll take that melody and I’ll go fit my own words into it. But, you know, generally they’re pretty much all mine. L: And with songs you’ve written on your own and then performed with someone else, how do you find that experience of collaborating? J: I find it very interesting if I’m into the artist. Like my favourite collaboration is this song I did that I wrote called ‘You Got Growing Up to Do’ that I did with Patty Griffin. She is one of my all-time
really realise what you need and that you can be happy without these stupid little things that everyone thinks you need to be happy. L: And now that you’ve been all over the world, are there any places that you particularly look forward to going back to? J: Paris is my favourite city. I think I’m just a café culture type of person and that’s such a café culture. Like I could sit in a Parisian café, people-watch, drink coffee, red wine, read a book, and write in my journal. I could do that all day, everyday. Get on my bicycle, go visit museums and come back to the café, have some French food, sit there with some cheese, have some baguette. I don’t know, that sounds like my ideal day. That’s one of those things where as a boy growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, I would say, ‘One day I’m going to live in a flat in Paris’. L: What other dreams did you have growing up? Did you ever dream that you’d tour the world one day as a musician? J: I never dreamed that I’d be a musician. Like I said, it’s crazy that I started this so late and fortunately got a career out of it. I always wanted to be a painter, that’s what I went to uni for. I grew up doing that and then after graduating I was a children’s art teacher. So, I think, you know, when I retire from touring I’d like to start producing other artists, writing songs for other artists, things like that and maybe have a family, not tour so much. I got to find the right girl to do that with. Then, I don’t know, I’ll probably go back to teaching kids or something. I love teaching kids. L: So do you still paint? J: Yep. L: And do you do any screenwriting anymore? favourite songwriters. So it was so humbling to hear her voice coupled with mine in that song, especially because that’s probably the most emotional song that I’ve written. I wrote that the day my ex-girlfriend and I broke up and I was terribly distraught and that song just poured right out.
J: Not at the moment. I’d like to get back to that at some point. And if I don’t, well, you know. I know this might sound, whatever, but I’d like to write a novel before I die. I just think that’s the toughest thing to do creatively, to write a good novel. I love fiction. L: Any particular fiction?
L: In terms of collaboration, is there anything on the cards that we can look forward to in the future? J: There are a million artists I’d like to work with but I don’t really have anyone in mind right now. I’m just touring right now, you know, and writing here and there. L: And how do you find touring?
J: The Russians. Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Tolstoy. You know Dostoevsky was a crazy existential psychologist almost. You could read Brothers Karamazov over and over again. You’re in that world; it’s amazing. I read Crime and Punishment on a beach and I was like cold. That’s how powerful those words are. L: So we do have reason to expect one day that we might see a Josh Radin novel then?
J: I love it. L: And do you ever get homesick for anything? J: Just my friends and family. I don’t really get attached to things. You learn that very easily when you tour, when you have to condense your entire life into a tiny bag you carry around, you
J: If you wait a long, long time. I don’t know, I mean, seven years ago you could have told me I would be a musician and I would’ve been like ‘What are you talking about? I don’t even play any instruments.’ We’ll see what happens. I think if you just constantly reinvent yourself creatively, keep trying new things; it’s the way to stay young. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9 | 27
TIMBER AND STEEL Gareth Evans of Timber and Steel tells Angelique Lu about starting a folk music blog, and why folk music is going to take over Sydney. Photo by Emma Desira. It’s hard to imagine Marcus Mumford and Laura Marling as anything other than music heavy weights. For Gareth Evans, the founder of folk music blog Timber and Steel, an intimate gig at the Factory Theatre in 2008 by the pair was eye opening. There’s no need to talk about the presence of Mumford and Sons and Laura Marling on the world circuit since then, but for Evans, the experience was the start of something big. “I kind of went, ‘I was there at the beginning’, and for the first time ever I was onto something before anybody else was onto it. And I thought maybe there was other music I was listening to that other people need to be switched onto, and Timber and Steel sort of grew out of that.” His blog Timber and Steel started as a way to fill a void that other music blogs seemed to miss. “I wanted to capture those kind of artists that fall in between the gaps,” he said. “They’re not folky enough, or not traditional enough to appear at the traditional folk festivals, but not indie enough to appear at the kind of cool indie festivals.” “We had such a tradition of singer song writer folk influence music here, I thought there should at least be someone writing about it.” What started out as a modest project between two friends just over a year ago now has record companies and artists seeking the work of Evans and his team. “The thing is that I never had an ambition for it,” he said. “I just started it because no one else was doing it. It’s just kind of snowballed and become bigger and bigger.” With no active publicity, apart from a Facebook page, Timber and Steel’s success has grown completely out of word-of-mouth. “The publicity I guess comes from the professionalism of the writing,” he
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said. “It’s a real focus for us trying not to just be a blog talking about music, but for people to come to the blog and feel like they’re reading a professional news article. I think artists really appreciate that, record companies really appreciate that, so if an artist reads a review of a gig of theirs that I’ve gone too and they really like it, and they repost it to their fans, that kind of has a snowball effect when people come and visit T&S.” Despite the recent publicity about the decline of live music in Sydney, Evans is optimistic about the local folk scene. “The best thing about folk music is that it’s immediate. If there was a guitar here, right now, I could pick it up and start playing. There’s no need for a PA, there’s no need for a drum kit, there’s no need for that kind of bumping in and bumping out of a big stage show. So I think what we’re seeing in Sydney is that as these venues close down the smaller venues; the smaller pubs and cafes, are putting on acoustic music, putting on folk music. And so we’re actually seeing folk music thrive as a result of these venues closing down.” As for the blog, for Gareth Evans, the ultimate goal remains the same. “I’d like to hope that I’m exposing artists to an audience that they’re not exposed to.” “As a result you’ve got all these people who go, ‘you know I actually really do love folk music.”
To check Gareth and his team’s blog, head to timberandsteel. wordpress.com. Or like them on Facebook facebook.com/ timberandsteel
Apple Crumble Pie, with dark chocolate and orange peel.
All you need is your snuggie and a spoon!
Method: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
“I’m feeling really horrible,” I huskily whisper down the phone, “I don’t think I’ll be able to make it into work today.” Now that I don’t have to change out of my warm pjs or venture into the rainy Winter day to go to work, its time to bake myself an apple pie. An apple pie is the perfect winter comforter. It’s so easy to make, the oven warms up the kitchen and the smell wafts through the house making the mouth water. The end result is so delicious I always find myself eating it straight from the pie dish with a spoon. Trust me, this is the best way to eat it and don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t!
To make the pastry: Sift the flour, almond meal and icing sugar into a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix. Add butter and blend for roughly 2 minutes or until the mixture has combined and forms rough breadcrumbs. Add egg and salt and pulsate until just incorporated. Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and press the dough together. Glad wrap and leave to rest for 30 minutes.
Keep warm, Sophie and Zabrina.
For the filling: On a low to medium heat, melt butter in a large pot. Add the apples and allow to reduce for roughly 2-5 minutes, stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to evenly cook down the apples. Once the apples have softened slightly, add cinnamon and brown sugar. Leave to cook down further for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside and allow to cool before use in the pie.
Apple Crumble Pie, with dark chocolate and orange peel. Ingredients: Pastry 300g plain flour 100g almond meal 150g icing sugar 250g butter, super cold or frozen 1 egg Pinch salt Filling: 5 large green apples 20g butter 1 tbls cinnamon 3 tbls brown sugar
Crumble: 1 cup rolled oats ½ cup plain flour 4 tbls brown sugar 1 orange rind 100g butter 100g dark chocolate (good quality)
For the crumble: Combine oats, plain flour, brown sugar and orange rind in a small bowl. Add butter into to the flour mixture and, using your hands, rub the flour and butter together until the butter has been incorporated and the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Toss in coarsely chopped chocolate. Assembly: Between two sheets of grease paper, roll the pastry to 3-5mm thick. Grease the bottom of your deep pie dish and line the dish with pastry. Prick the base with a fork a few times, cover with grease paper and add pie weights (or uncooked rice if you don’t have pie weights) then cook for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Add apple filling then cover the entire top with crumble, make sure the chocolate chunks are evenly spread across the pie. Return to the oven for 30 minutes then serve piping hot with wisps of cream or ice cream. Note: You can purchase ready-made shortcrust pastry from the store, but I find it far more satisfying making the entire pie from scratch. THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9 | 29
Whispers That Won’t Wait Although he works to hide it, Mark tells Edwina Storie how his secret continually threatens to reveal itself.
Who are you without your secrets? Those whispered scars that stay below your breath never to venture past your lips. And are you everything you know without the colour of your emotions? Without the heartfluttering love that engulfs you in waves of yearning, the nervousness that sends cement to your stomach or the anger that burns so hot through your bones it could make your skin peel. Mark’s* secret stole his emotion from him when he was four, replacing it with indifference. His secret constantly threatens to reveal itself while it could simultaneously end his life. Keeping it in the dark means never having to explain the pills or the regular tests, nor the web of other secrets that have sprouted from it. The years of avoiding telling the story – and the strange reactions and faded friendships that it causes – has made his identity a costume. “I think people would think differently about me once they knew, and while this isn’t true for a few friends … I need a great deal of trust in someone before I want to tell them about what feels like my dark side.” His secret is the paroxysmal dyskinesias that sporadically takes control of his body. The rare condition unexpectedly consumes his muscles with convulsions or episodes of involuntary movement. It blocks him off from control while creating intense
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waves of pleasure. “It feels better than an orgasm,” he explains. “It happens whenever I try something new that my body isn’t used to – like swimming. And it can become dangerous because I cannot lift my head above water, but while I’m suffocating the feeling is so amazing that I don’t care if I die,” he smiles. The medication that works to prevent the life-threatening spasms numbs out his ability to feel emotional changes. It fences him off from the electrifying highs of excitement and the humbling empathy of sadness. He spent a majority of his childhood and teen years clinically depressed, never being able to appreciate the balance of moving between different feelings. Instead he is impassive, perhaps as though life were a silent movie played out in grayscale – somewhat enthusing but not engaging. In the back of his mind itches the question of who he would be without his secret condition. “One of the side effects of [the medication] is that it can limit your creativity and stunt your intelligence… To think that I might have permanently stunted creativity and intelligence because of the drug due to the condition has a great effect on my identity. I’m hypercritical of myself because I’m trying to push through boundaries both mental and physical that were created outside my control.”
While his disorder is the foundation of his secret, hiding it has sprouted more. “The acting out of emotions is certainly a secret that stems from the condition,” he confesses. His friends don’t know that the emotions he shows are only borrowed and not owned. No one finds a relationship fulfilling with someone who doesn’t receive the same satisfaction, so he learnt to mirror the reactions of those he was with. He laughed when they laughed, listened intently to their news with a façade of interest, and even shed tears on call. “I was hanging out with the theatrical crowd and I became a brilliant actor. I learnt everything I know from them,” he grimaces. “While I couldn’t feel what the other person was feeling, I learnt to simulate or act out the reaction and the body language I knew they were expecting.” The specialist who had medicated him for his entire life was diagnosed with cancer when Mark was 15. For the few months before his death he taught Mark how to self medicate. Once he was moderating his own medicine he began to flirt with the idea of experiencing the naturally changing mental states that everyone else had the luxury of. He stopped taking the tablets and the world opened up into something he’d never known before. “For the three months when I went off my medication the world literally
looked more colourful and shiny. You are so lucky to see the world like that.” But he was thrown into the uncontrollable wrath of caring intensely. Feeling the waves of uncensored emotion for the first time became nearly as intense as his now far more frequent convulsions. He was opened up to the multicoloured spectrum of feeling. Crushes became obsessions, disinterest turned to hatred and disappointments became tragedies. But as the life-threatening episodes continued to snowball he had to return to the medication. “I think that the acting out of emotions was at its worse just after I had to go back onto the medication in 2008. Now I’m stuck in a situation where I’m not sure what’s really me and what I might have copied [from the acting]. So I guess it just becomes easier to keep it secret and not think about it.”
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Brave Like a Lion At just 19, Sydney singer/songwriter Nikki Thorburn has big aspirations. Erin Holohan spoke to Nikki about releasing her first EP, throwing paint and taking things slowly. E: You’ve just released your first EP. How does that feel?
E: You worked with Ollie McGill [The Cat Empire] when recording the EP. As a pianist I think that’s the coolest thing ever and I’m incredibly envious. How did that come about and what was it like?
N: It’s exciting. It’s such a small step in the scheme of things though. You can never get too excited about these little things. I wish I could have just released a whole album but you’ve got to do it slowly. It’s exciting to N: It was kind of crazy how it all worked out. One of my good friends get the music out there and have people giving you feedback about it. from school, her sister is his partner. She said I should give him a demo just to see what he thought. He really liked it so when I had finished E: How do you define your music? school I flew down to Melbourne and recorded 10 tracks with him. I was very young and it was quite overwhelming. He is absolutely N: When people ask me to categorise it I find it really difficult. It’s incredible. Now I’m lucky enough that he’s moved to Sydney and I’m kind of a blend of ethereal folk pop. That’s how I’ve learnt to somehow actually playing live with him. pigeon hole it. I really like a lot of different styles and even a little bit of jazz comes in there. That comes from all my influences growing up. I E: What would I find in your ‘Recently Played’ playlist? was always surrounded by a lot of different music. N: A lot of Lykke Li and Bat for Lashes. A lot of the old school 60s E: Tell me about the writing process for you? music – I’m kind of a wannabe 60s girl. Old school jazz, a lot of experimental music and also gospel music. World music too. Everything! N: Often I will have a little idea for a song that I’ve had for a while and then I’ll get this random wave of inspiration and it will all fit E: A lot of artists these days are building a name for themselves together. That’s kind of strange because it’s as if that song was meant before releasing an album - releasing multiple EPs and touring to be written. I often write more about the feeling of something after a extensively. What are your thoughts on this approach? specific event rather than the actual event. N: I can be bit impatient sometimes so ideally I’d love to go and just E: You remind me of Julia Stone. Has anyone else ever told you that? release an album but looking at it realistically you’ve got to tour and build your fan base up. I guess I’m looking to release a couple more N: I’ve gotten that a few times. In terms of the voice I actually get the shorter EPs before I think about getting an album out there. Norah Jones thing more. E: What’s your plan for the rest of the year? E: After watching the film clip for Walking in Circles all I wanted to do was get a few buckets of paint and start throwing them around. N: I’m touring with another artist, Thom Crawford, in August. Was that awesome to shoot? E: Lastly, where did you find that gorgeous dress you’re wearing in N: It was crazy! Looking back at it I wonder how the hell we pulled that your film clip? off. When you get people with paint all they wanna do is throw it round so we had to yell at everyone to wait until the camera was rolling. N: Paris actually! 32 | THE SPIT PRESS | www.spitpress.com | ISSUE 9
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THE ETHICS OF A PENCIL CASE Sally Jane Carter dabbles in some home crafting and tells us all about her experience and the importance of slow consumption.
Sitting at my sewing machine for the first time in months, I felt nervously excited. I had planned to give my husband a pencil case for our 2nd anniversary (made of cotton, the traditional gift). Instead of blithely handing over a plastic card, I was investing my creative and technical skills - and time. It was my way of participating in the slow movement which, when applied to consumption, values process, meaning and ethics over cheaply machined goods of cheap quality. The resurgence of home crafting can be seen as an offshoot of slow consumption. These practices may only whisper into the noise of mass consumerism, but my feeling is that people are getting tired of the constant whir and are opting for quieter, gentler approaches to living. This is not something new. Crafting has a rich heritage in the Arts and Crafts movement of the mid - late 19th Century. Its founder William Morris sought to slow down and add meaning to production by replacing machines with medieval hand craftsmanship. The latter gave pleasure to the maker, Morris reasoned, the former destroyed all such pleasure in the process. He had a point. Morris’ workshop juxtaposed the grinding factories of the industrial revolution. Unfortunately this juxtaposition continues today - embarrassingly so, in a stunning contradiction of values. In my house is a hall table designed by my husband and hand built with his father, which brought them both joy as well as together. Also in my house is an ipod touch assembled by hapless drones at Foxconn, a Chinese motherboard manufacturer. Months ago I read about the robotic conditions leading to suicides of these young factory workers
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(and writing this article has reminded me to register my dissatisfaction with Apple). Not that I am against machines. But high volume, high speed production lines should be balanced with consideration given to the human experience. Consider the human experience of the simple pencil case. Sold for $2.49 by your humble stationer, a vinyl case made in China of similar proportions to mine may be acquired painlessly by you or I. Or not, if we count the long hours of the machinist sewing on a noisy production line designed to be repetitive and monotonous by its inherent economy of scale. My own experience of sewing starkly contrasted that of a factory worker’s. I was using a machine, however my hands and heart were happily engaged. And there was a touch of post-Morrisian satisfaction from creating a unique item rather than supporting mass production. In keeping with the ethics of slow consumption, I also sourced organic cotton designed and printed locally using non-toxic waterbased dyes. Not as cheap as what I could have found perhaps in your humble textile retailer, although it came without the fertiliser that poisons land and farmer, the petrochemical dyes and formaldehyde for good measure. The pleasure of seeing a little pencil case come together culminated in its proud presentation to my husband, posting photos of it on facebook and writing about it in this article. You can’t get that much meaning from a vinyl version, even if it does come with plastic slots to “personalise” with cut-out cardboard letters.
SOUL SEEKER Photographer: Jes Meacham Model: Bel Sherriff Stylist: Madeline Johnson
Young Sydney photographer Jes Meacham is best known for her humble ability to capture all of the true raw beauty of the world from behind the lens. Although her style is one she sought to create, it’s clear her gift for finding beauty is one she was already blessed with. After being given an old digital SLR by her stepfather when she was just fourteen, she has spent the last five years trying to capture the beauty in the simplest of things, like sunlight reflecting on the water, in a way that others can appreciate and relate to. She never uses artificial light, asking “How can a flower truly be beautiful if it is not naturally shown this way?”
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THERE IS NO ONE. WHAT WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU? Kurt Sorensen is a Sydney based photographic artist. His work concerns the relationship between the Australian landscape and European settlement, directly referencing the inherent fears and anxieties that seem to permeate through their interactions. In order to capture this anxiety Kurt researches historical stories from colonial history and then attempts to represent these events in his images. These stories are often momentous yet largely unknown. The uneasy relationship between European settlement and the Australian landscape has been particularly well represented in classic Australian cinema like Peter Weirâ€™s Picnic At Hanging Rock or Fred Schepisiâ€™s The Chant Of Jimmie Blacksmith. It is from cinematic references such as these that Kurt takes much of his visual inspiration. These films portray the Australian landscape as not just a backdrop but as a significant character, one that has a major effect on events that unfold. Dark, brooding and mysterious the landscape seems to envelope the human characters in an eerie, anxious beauty. Kurt has shown in several Artist Run Spaces and Regional Galleries in Sydney and in Melbourne. He recently exhibited a solo show at the Queensland Centre for Photography in Brisbane and later this year will be artist in residence at Hill End, which is organised through the Bathurst Regional Gallery. He was selected as a finalist in the 2011 Hazelhurst Art on Paper, Sunshine Coast and John Fries Memorial (opening August) Art prizes.
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YOU HAVE TO READ THIS Hype Hives Farwell Sydney, with your caddish charms and café culture. G’day outback, with your cumbersome dial up connections. Fiona Murphy writes Given that NBN seems to mean ‘Not Bothered Now’ instead of the National Broadband Network, I should be safe in the country. I need to get away from the Internet; I’ve almost got hives from film hype. Back in the day, a film was considered sufficiently hyped if its poster was splashed on the rear end of buses. Now it’s the norm for advertisements to be spewed over all social media platforms and teaser trailers made to count down to the release of the ‘official’ trailer. There’s nothing wrong with studios creating buzz around their films. However studios are sharing far too much information. Film campaigns are more drawn out than the Napoleonic wars and have more mundane status updates than Kim Kardashian’s twitter feed. The promotional machines are starting up and cranking out hype even before the film is committed to celluloid. Calculated whisper campaigns are popular, with tantalizing tidbits ‘leaked’ online, as seen with photos leaked to announce production has started on ‘The Avengers’. This announcement is just the beginning of what appears to be a flurry of feverish updates covering all aspects of the film’s pre-production, production and then editing. This hype doesn’t even include the typical slew of press junket interviews when the film is actually released. ‘The Avengers’ is going into hype overkill, yet it sets the trend for all film releases to come. ‘The Avengers’ isn’t my catalyst for country living. No, I heard an online whisper that ‘Meatballs’, Bill Murray’s 1979 Canadian Summer Camp romp, is being remade. It is difficult to determine if this is pre-production hype or just some falsehood. But I need to avoid anything to do with this remake, as it’ll be like picking apart the emotional fabric of my soul, or pillaging my brain of happiness or getting someone high on glue to cut and paste my DNA into assuming shapes.
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Am I making any sense whatsoever? Barely. Am I overreacting? Hardly. A meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Social Psychology concluded that film is the most effective method of artificially influencing mood states. Even more effective than music, social interaction and imagination. Andy Warhol believed films to be potent - “People sometimes say that the way things happen in movies is unreal, but actually the ways things happen to you in real life that’s unreal. The movies make emotions look so strong and real.” Sure not all films will induce visceral and psychological reactions. In fact ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ was so overwhelming trite, that it left me with a lap wet with drool as I underwent a 150 minute emotional lobotomy. But there are films which burn into your retina; Forrest Gump breaking through his leg braces, Marty McFly letting loose with Johnny B Goode, Renton of ‘Trainspotting’ diving into the worst toilet in Scotland. Emotional arousal has been shown to excite neurochemical activity in the areas of the brain responsible for encoding and storing memories. Therefore emotionally charged situations, be they real-life or artificial, are more likely to be stored and subsequently recalled with more clarity than mundane events, like your year twelve maths syllabus. This explains why you can readily reenact scenes of films you may have only seen once. You see, I don’t want images of the remake to tarnish my memories of ‘Meatballs’. So I am going to try and hide from the hype. Unfortunately remakes tend to generate more hype as the film distributors try to overload the public consciousness with the spiffy new cast to eradicate any memories resonating from its predecessor. I’ll be on the road to Gundagai well before the teaser trailers for ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘My Fair Lady’ start rolling out.
Forceful Freak Fanatics There’s something remarkable about finally finishing a book that you’ve told yourself you’d read for years, or watching a film that you’ve been obsessing about ever since that tantalising trailer. Even more remarkable though, is indulging in something that you never had great expectations for and upon its completion thinking to yourself “My God?! Where is my face?! It’s been blown off by this amazing [film / book / song]. The world needs to know!” Caitlyn Adamson writes. A strange and scary change comes over a person when they become passionately obsessed with a particular piece of artistic work. Sometimes the crazy obsessed person will stalk this particular piece of work excessively, finding out every single fabric of detail about its origin, purpose and context. Fantasise about it for days on end and daydream about how they’d interact with the characters if they could ever possibly meet in real life. Follow it home late at night and wait outside its window whispering sweet nothings into its ear, optimistically hoping that one day it will love them the same way they love it. These people, and you’ll know when you meet them, are Triple Fs, aka Forceful Freak Fanatics. There are Triple Fs everywhere. You can often recognise them from their lack of sleep due to obsession, their ability to have an appropriate quote at their disposal for any type of situation and of course a buzz of desperation to recommend, suggest or force another human being to succumb to a particular film/ book/song. Us Triple Fs create hype. We willingly bestow onto our fellow man the rich tapestries of brilliant taste and underappreciated art forms. We’ll let you borrow our books and keep our CDs for months on end if only to discuss what you thought and how it made you feel. We’ll drag you along to art galleries and interpretative dance festivals just to let you bask in the warm delight of such earthly pleasures. We’ll make you listen to a song on repeat and continually ask “Did you listen to the lyrics?” just to make you a fan. Hell, we’d handcuff you to a chair and force you to watch a new, groundbreaking French film about displaced people after the abolition of the Cold War if only to pass on its glory.
Yes it sounds excessive. Yes it sounds bizarre. Yes it is verging on totally psychopathic and insane. But don’t be ashamed, those of you out there, you know who you are. I’m here to say that it’s OK. That there’s no need to resist your urges to shout from the rooftops how much you love and admire Gustav Klimt or the early sketches of Kahlil Gibran. Or that there’s no shame in rewinding, pausing and playing a scene from your favourite movie for your friends to enjoy time and time again. There’s no remorse in brutally defending your favourite novelists and spitting in the face of a disagreeing opinion (actually, withhold from the spitting...a little bit). There’s only ever a little harm in hype. It might hurt a little if it’s not reciprocated. You may have to lay low for a while. But at least you can proudly say you did what had to be done all in the name of loving your/other’s art. You passed it on. You’re a top person *thumbs up*. A word of warning though, my fine looking and passionately crazed little fiends, there’s a thin line between respectfully expressing your opinion and barking on at dangerously loud levels about how life changing an artistic work can be. Most people are confused and baffled by the likes of us, we need to be careful that we don’t make what we’re trying to hype up seem totally unappealing by our disposition or nature. We need to be careful in order to be affective. We need to figure out the difference between right hype and wrong hype. Between what’s socially acceptable and what isn’t. So how, you ask, should a Forceful Freak Fanatic such as yourself pass onto the world your impeccable taste and incredibly wise artistic opinion? In a whisper? Or a high pitched girl-like shrill? My advice? Shrill away my friend! And take no prisoners. The world needs to know.
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rah collective book 2011 launch + exhibition ambush gallery 4a james st waterloo
opening:august eighteen at six pm view:friday-sunday twelve til four featuring:rah collective: qwux, luke burcher, jessica minervini-eringa, kirst ohh, jess cally, thom bransdon. + friends: nick boerma, terry chisholm, dan gray, kirbee lawler and chris yee. limited edition book featuring fresh creative talent from all over australia available on the night for $30
book available now at www.rahcollective.com proudly supported by:
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Whispers. Issue 9 of The Spit Press features: Joshua Radin, Seeker Lover Keeper, Josh Pyke, Jes Meacham of Ruth&Rose, Photographer Kurt Sore...
Published on Aug 8, 2011
Whispers. Issue 9 of The Spit Press features: Joshua Radin, Seeker Lover Keeper, Josh Pyke, Jes Meacham of Ruth&Rose, Photographer Kurt Sore...