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STATE OF THE ART 2015 Way Of The West

Birds Of Tokyo
Birds Of Tokyo

The State Of The Art Music Festival happens this Saturday, May 30, in the grounds of the Perth Cultural Centre. BOB GORDON catches up with some of the performers to share their thoughts about WA and its music. 

IAN BERNEY, BIRDS OF TOKYO

It seems that WA, more than any other state, takes a real pride in the music and musicians who come from here. Do you agree and if so why is it?

I can’t speak for the other states, but I know I certainly do. Perhaps it’s the time spent meeting local bands around Perth. Perhaps it’s finding the closest friends I’ve ever made through the scene, or just that Perth bands are awesome (laughs).

What’s it mean to you that Birds Of Tokyo are playing an event such as State Of The Art in 2015?

Personally, it means a lot to me. This is the first time Birds has played a show alongside some of my favourite Perth artists. I’m a big fan of Rachael Dease and I’m a big fan of my old compadre, Brendan Jay, from The Weapon Is Sound.

Looking ahead, what musical plans are afoot in 2015 for Birds?

Birds, by all estimation, should be having a very big year. There’s another bullet in the chamber that’s coming out if and when the single, Anchor, dies down. I’m excited, I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, but when I played the demo to my 11 year-old nephew and my 65 year-old father they both started frothing at the mouth (laughs). I felt a wave of confidence-smile-emoticon. Those two are my harshest critics!

Greg Dear
Greg Dear

GREG DEAR, THE HOLY ROLLERS

It seems that WA, more than any other state, takes a real pride in the music and musicians who come from here. Do you agree and if so why is it? 

I’m not sure. There is a great pride in Melbourne about homegrown talent there, but perhaps in WA, so many bands who started out here have gone elsewhere to establish themselves, that we keep them dear to us after they leave.

 

You’ve had opportunity to revisit line-ups of bands from your past, what’s it like being able to add chapters to previously closed books? 

With The Holy Rollers it has just been getting together to perform the old songs to new audiences or just for the fun of it among ourselves. There are no expectations or pressure, so it is much more relaxed than it was back in the ‘80s when we were trying to get somewhere with what we were doing. With my band, The Beautiful Losers, who are gigging again with a new line-up – but still with Cliff (Kent, bass) and I who were the only members in every line-up back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s – it has also been more relaxed than it was back then, but it has also been invigorating.

I’ve found myself questioning why I ever took so much time out of the live scene. Re-working old songs and putting them alongside new material I’ve written in the past few years has been great fun. Until I accidently glance at a mirror, I forget what age I am.

 

Looking ahead, what musical plans are afoot for you? 

My current band, Beautiful Losers, are recording an album that is planned for release in August and we will be playing a few gigs in Melbourne late August to promote that and back in Perth promoting the album in early September. We also have a gig on Sunday, June 14, at the Railway Hotel in Freo. We are loving being back in the saddle again.

Novac Bull, Boom Bap Pow!
Novac Bull, Boom Bap Pow!

 

NOVAC BULL, BOOM BAP POW!

It seems that WA, more than any other state, takes a real pride in the music and musicians who come from here. Do you agree and if so why is it? 

I agree wholeheartedly with this! There just seems to be a real sense of community and camaraderie among the bands and musos in P-town. No one’s out to ‘better’ another, if so more than anything, to support and barrack almost for their fellow bandlings. There’s a deep feeling of pride when you see mates getting their respective tunes out into the ‘big wide world’; particularly because of our geographical location and isolation.

What’s it mean to you that you’re playing an event such as State Of The Art in 2015? 

It means more than most care to consider. One of the better line-ups we’ve been involved in in a very long time.

What acts are you looking forward to seeing? 

You Am I, Gareth Liddiard, The Scientists, Grace Barbe, The Love Junkies, The Community Supergroup.

Looking ahead, what musical plans are afoot in 2015 for you? 

Writing, recording and a possible stint overseas in October. To be confirmed!

Kim Salmon
Kim Salmon

KIM SALMON, THE SCIENTISTS

It seems that WA, more than any other state, takes a real pride in the music and musicians who come from here. Do you agree and if so why is it?

I think it’s a hangover from pre-internet times when Perth was not as connected to the rest of the world as it is today. Due to their isolation Perth artists felt that the odds of succeeding on the world stage as opposed to just the local stage were insurmountable. So even though we’ve had Tame Impala, Empire Of The Sun and before that the Hoodoo Gurus, The Stems and indeed, The Scientists succeeding in different ways at various levels in various places outside of WA, we’re still in the old mindset and never quite believe that we’re capable of such success.

You’ve had opportunity to revisit line-ups of bands from your past, what’s it like being able to add chapters to previously closed books?

Well, interesting to say the least. This line-up of The Scientists is a case in point as it didn’t stay together long enough for the band to start festering and have the chemistry, if I can use that word, fizzle out. Generally bands reunite in the same mindset as when they finish up and that’s quite often not a very positive place. This line-up of The Scientists finished at a still very positive point and therefore reformed in that same point. Our last reformation felt like we were on the way up as opposed to being on the way down. It was lots of fun!

What’s it mean to you that The Scientists are playing an event such as State Of The Art in 2015?

Well, to me it seems like recognition of our contribution to the state of things now where Perth performers can start from a level footing to the rest of the world, which I have to say was not the case in the past.

Looking ahead, what musical plans are afoot for you?

I am just putting the finishing touches to what I consider my first real ‘solo album’ so getting that out into the world is what I’ll be preoccupied with. This project is where I’m at now so it’ll be a good thing to do after revisiting times from 37 odd years ago.

You Am I
You Am I

TIM ROGERS, YOU AM I

This is possibly the first time that You Am I have been framed from the aspect of the band’s WA-ness…

That’s true, that’s true. Geographically the thing that’s often most thrown at us is the Western suburbs of Sydney and that’s pretty much where the band started, but I’m a Sandgroper and so is Rusty. I don’t know if I’m particularly proud about that but I guess I am in a way that I enjoy when people ask, ‘where are you from?’ and I say, ‘I’m from Kalgoorlie’ it sounds like someone sort of cloying for an identity and I’ll wear that (laughs).

I think it does inform my character, somewhat. It definitely does for Russ and he and I as West Australians that’s one thing we’ve got in common. And I guess there’ll always be that commonality, even if it’s just some little cheeky wink that you can give each other. The pointed part of that show is that I’m in Horsham in country Victoria the night before and driving overnight to make the plane to get to WA. Then we play that show and jump on a plane to London that night to go a play with The Replacements. It’s going to be a hell of a week (laughs)

#RELAX

Celebrate WA’s campaign this year asks people to Relax on the coming long weekend and to make a public pledge that they will commit to doing something relaxing that they enjoy or they feel is typically West Australian. So, you’re sharing your pledge via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, use #WADay and #relax.

IT’S BIG DEAL KINDA DAY

Really. The SOTA Surrounds stage will feature: Boys Boys Boys, Brad Hall, Custom Royal, David Craft, Dream Rimmy, Ensemble Formidable, Flooded Palace, Husband, Joni In The Moon, Legs Electric, Little Lord Street Band, Maurice Flavel’s Intensive Care, Moana, Odette Mercy And Her Soul Atomics, Our Man In Berlin, Patient Little Sister, Rachael Dease, Riley Pearce, The Weapon Is Sound, Wanma Presents: Decibel’s Stuart James Plays The Infinity Machine and Pinata Percussion, plus the return of the MC Battle.

Along with stripped back performances from Ben Witt, Charlotte Vinney, Claudia Tero, Helen Shanahan, Hindley, Jacob Diamond, Justine Walshe, Katie J White, Pete Byfield, Robbie Jalapeno, Russell & Tom, Segers and Xanthea.

Then there’s the Rough Love Sessions at PICA Bar showcasing some of Perth’s best up-and-coming DJs and producers from 6pm until late: Dave Samuel, Kid Deep, Lenard Lewis ft Giorgio Bano, Mot3k, +1 and Tenru.

Of course they’ll be joining Birds Of Tokyo, You Am I, The Scientists, Downsyde, Gareth Liddiard, Katy Steele, Sable, The Love Junkies, Timothy Nelson & The Infidels, Rob Snarski, Holy Rollers (Reunion Show), Rainy Day Women, We Two Thieves, Lois Olney, Mt Mountain, Lower Spectrum, Grace Barbe, Boom! Bap! Pow!, Koi Child, Hideous Sun Demon, Lilt, Rag N Bone, Marksman Lloyd and The Community Supergroup (feat. Diger Rokwell, Empty, Wisdom 2th and more).

 

Tickets for the licensed all ages SOTA are $55 (plus booking fee) on sale from sotafest.com.au.