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Penny Ikinger



Pic: Marilyn Jeanette

Penny Ikinger performs for the first time in Perth at Four5Nine Bar on Friday, May 23, and Mojo’s on Saturday, May 24. BOB GORDON reports.

Penny Ikinger first rose to prominence as a guitarist in ‘80s Melbourne outfit, Wet Taxis. Since then she has flourished as a collaborative musician and solo artist. The key, however, seems to have always been to work wi8th many and varied musicians.

“I am fortunate to have a wide international circle of musicians, who I tour and collaborate with,” Ikinger says. “Rock music is an international language that transgresses culture, time and space. We are all always learning off each other. It is a continual process of evolution. My main interest in playing music is to learn something new. My main forum for learning something new is on the stage.”

Ikinger cites Sydney-based singer, songwriter and piano player Louis Tillett (with whom she first played with in Wet Taxis), Charlie Owen (Tex Perkins, Beasts Of Bourbon) and Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) as her favourite instrumental collaborators.

“I have a rhythm section in Paris who I play with under the moniker Penelope Inc. The drummer is Dimi Dero and Vinz Guilluy plays bass. As a three-piece we have a unique and exciting sound. They really get my music and feel it! I also enjoy working with Craig Harnath, who is the sound engineer at Hothouse studio in Melbourne.”

Vocally, Ikinger has been very much personally inspired by the late-and-great Divinyls singer, Chrissy Amphlett.

“Chrissy and I did some sessions at Yikesville Studio in Melbourne some time back when I was recording demos for my Electra album. She sat in as Vocal Producer. She helped me to see the importance of delivery and phrasing. I had come from a musical background as a guitarist in rock bands. I didn’t know much about singing then. I was very fortunate that she helped me as a friend and mentor. It was scary though!”

Ikinger’s last album, Penelope, was released in 2012 through Citadel Records, making a number of ‘Best-Of’ lists that year both in Australia and Europe. Following her shows in Perth, Ikinger will head to Japan to record a new album with Deniz Tek in the producer’s chair.

“Deniz and myself have been writing some fantastic songs for a new album,” she notes. “I am really happy with how it is sounding. Quite different to what he and I do as individuals – a new sound! We will be recording an album in Tokyo with Japanese musicians Masami Kawaguchi on guitar, Louis Inage on bass and Keiichi Sakai on drums. They also play in their own bands New Rock Syndicate and Hallucionz, both based in Tokyo and are heavily influenced by psyche garage rock. I have recorded and toured Japan with them before. I am thrilled to say that I have been awarded a grant from the Australia-Japan Foundation for this project.”

In the meantime, Ikinger’s visit this weekend is her first ever time in Perth. She’s looking forward to performing in solo mode.

“My music is influenced by many different styles and sounds so I think people can expect some variety,” Ikinger says. “I try to take the audience on a journey into my world. At times it can be unsettling, but I hope not boring! I love playing solo. It gives me a chance to concentrate on different aspects of the songs that might get lost in a loud band format.”

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