Sage Pbbbt is a WAM Award nominated, experimental Perth vocalist, who is influenced by a wide range of things; from black metal to tuvan throat singing, as well as having a soft spot for 80s pop sensation Hayzee Fantyzee. MICHAEL HOLLICK talked to Sage prior to the launch of her debut CD, Invocations of Unknown Entities, at Four5Nine on Tuesday, November 14.
You are often described as an experimental vocalist. How do you describe your sound?
Extreme and messy and metal and very silly.
And is this the sound that is on Invocations of Unknown Entities?
I think so. Ultimately, I really wanted the album to sound like a thick textural mess.
What influenced the pieces on Invocations? They sound rather dark…
There are a few influences. Firstly, there is my exploration of an improvisation practice influenced by extreme metal, in particular, black metal and death metal. I also explored various shamanic music traditions that have a much more fluid sense of rhythm (compared to the western tradition of rhythm). I wanted to explore a music that felt like a waterfall or fast-flowing stream or busy freeway – a chaotic, overwhelming sound, but with a constant sense of flux and flow.
These are quite different to other current artists’ influences. What inspired you to go down this path and find these influences?
Specifically, regarding the album, the ideas came from my partaking in Dada Magick explorations of invoking something Unknown, like inviting in a stranger to take over your mind. So, it feels a bit like making fun of the more results-oriented stream of the western esoteric tradition as well as part of a broader project of queering the lines between explicit magick work and ‘musick’ and ‘everyday life’. And striving to accept anything that might manifest in one’s experience with compassion.
How did you record the album?
Tone List invited me to record something for their label and very kindly gave me a small commission, via Tura New Music, to do so. Dan O’Connor (Tone List) very kindly offered me his studio to record in, where we recorded a few different takes over a couple of days after playing around with various mic positions.
The album sounds very dense and thick. Was that intentional?
Definitely. I asked Dan to mix everything down to mono so the kicks, toms and vocals all sit at a similar level so everything sits in the same space. I wanted it to feel like a thick, muddy, bubbling sound rather than crisp and cleanly delineated.
It sounds like Tone List were very helpful?
Oh yes, Dan was amazing. And Josten Myburgh (also of Tone List) did a great job of mastering it. They really got what I wanted to do. I love how brutal and extreme and silly it sounds.
And finally, on a lighter note, what is the most recent joke that that made you laugh out loud?
Is it solipsistic in here or is it just me?
You can listen to the release now on Bandcamp.