Darwin Muso Series: Ben Evolent, September 2019

Darwin Muso Series is a string of an indeterminate number of mini to medium to mega interviews with Darwin-based musicians and performing artists. Starting in September 2019, and we’ll see how many we can cover over the next weeks/months/years.

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Image courtesy of Ben Evolent Music

Ben Evolent

The Darwin Railway Club played host to the Darwin regional final of the Passport To Airlie competition in mid-September 2019.

Airlie Beach Festival of Music is held in November, however, in the lead-up, the organisers stage what is arguably* Australia’s biggest battle of the bands competition.

* If you can find a bigger one, I want it stuffed and mounted on display at ARIA or APRA headquarters, please.

Opening the batting for muso chats on the night (and for this series of interviews) was Josh Tarca of Ben Evolent.

(Just a quick Overheard At Passport To Airlie from my notes here. My mate leaned over as the third act came on and said, “I think the announcer said this band is from the Netherlands”.

Me: “No, the band’s name is ‘Ben Evolent’!)

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Ben Evolent performing in Passport To Airlie – Darwin at Darwin Railway Club

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Mensch, Monique in Australia, 2019

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Image courtesy of Mensch, Monique!

Folk On The Road

Mensch Monique!: Interview at Cobargo Folk Festival

Mensch, Monique! were in Australia earlier in 2019, playing gigs, house concerts and festivals. I caught up with Jule and Georg at Cobargo Folk Festival to find out how musical and family life had been treating them since the days of The Beez.

We spoke under a blazing sun, with welcome shade from the café marquee, perched
precariously on milk crates, sipping on ginger and lemongrass over cubed
ice (just brilliant on a baking hot day).

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Cobargo Folk Festival 2019

Bill Quinn: How long has Mensch, Monique! been going? What are you doing? How is it going?

Jule Schroder: Well, actually, Georg and me, we have been playing since 2007.

BQ: And how about music?

JS: Exactly! Playing music! (And we’ve been playing together longer than that!) But I was in a band called ‘The Beez’; for such a long time.

BQ: The Beez? Can you spell that? I’m not familiar with this band.

[If you can’t pick up the irony in that sentence, go to https://overheardproductions.com/?s=The+beez where you can read just one or two articles about this band by the authour over the past decade.]

JS: Tee Hahr Eeh Bee Double Eeh Zsedh. We were one Australian, one American, and two Germans.

BQ: And one of the Deutshes is now Australierin!

JS: That’s right. Deta got married to Rob a long time ago and now she’s got her spouse visa.

So, anyway, I was playing with The Beez, being busy. And there was just no point [after the birth of first child]. We couldn’t play gigs. Or we could, but it was just too hard.

So when I left The Beez in 2014, we said, “Let’s write some songs together”. And why not in German? And that’s what we did!

And it just takes a long time. You know, we’ve got two kids now. But we do it in our own tempo. Our own speed, you know? And we love it!

BQ: That’s very interesting that you do your songs in German, with English being the lingua franca for the world, the language that the majority of the planet understands. Tell me about when you perform in Germany. Is it 100% in German? Or do you mix it up a bit?

JS: We mix it up, but it’s really interesting because I talk to a lot of musician friends from Germany, and we came to the… schluss? … conclusion that we just HAVE to write songs in German because it’s our language.

It just doesn’t make sense that we only write songs in English, because that’s not our language.

And it’s a bit hard to sing in German, I must say. And what is really interesting for me is, because I write most of the melodies, I don’t think in German when I write the melodies. I can’t do that. It’s really interesting.

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Nina Lipscombe Art – ‘Witch’ Exhibition, Katoomba, March 2019

Image courtesy of Nina Lipscombe Art

Interview with Nina Lipscombe, Katoomba (NSW)

Arriving in the Blue Mountains for a few days at short notice, I consulted the font of all knowledge on what was going on in most regions (Facebook Events), and it turned up an exhibition in Katoomba called ‘Witch’ by local artist Nina Lipscombe.

The paranormal, mythological, and mystical aren’t things that normally pique my interest, but increasingly, I’ll have a look at subject matter outside of normal interests.

I’m glad I did.

‘Witch’ is an intriguing exploration of themes that may not exactly leap off the promo flyer or internet page. Speaking of our friend social media, a comment on the event page led to an exchange with the artist Nina Lipscombe, and a few days later, we were sitting in the leather-padded comfort of the guest lounge at the Carrington Hotel.

Bill Quinn: Just for my background, can you tell me a bit about how you came to be involved in art.

Nina Lipscombe: It’s an interesting story, because I didn’t do it very much in high school. I was doing theatre and television, but right after high school, I decided to dabble in it.

So I bought a kit from Hobby Lobby! It was Bill Alexander; he was the original happy painter. He’s the one that actually taught Bob Ross, with the happy clouds and the trees and everything else.

I bought this oil painting video, went to my garage, started painting, and I fell in love with it.

From then on, I started to make acrylics, water colours – mostly oils still – and it just kind of evolved from there.

I didn’t really get too involved with the arts scene in Tennessee at the time. But later in 2011, I moved to Argentina, and it kind of thrived from there.

I had exhibitions, I did workshops, I had private classes with really amazing teachers there, and I took off.

BQ: When I think about art around the world, Argentina definitely is on that list. I’m gonna say that the Tennessee art scene is not one that immediately springs to mind. What was that like?

NL: Yeah, you’re right about that! I’m not 100% sure; I never got highly involved with it. They do have some good art galleries, and really good art has come from Memphis. But the art scene there compared to Argentina and compared to here in the Blue Mountains is not quite as big.

Image courtesy of Nina Lipscombe Art

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Bush Gothic – Looking Forward To A Festival In The Past, May 2018

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Image courtesy of Bush Gothic

Back in early February 2018, I interviewed Jenny Thomas from Melbourne-based folk band Bush Gothic, at a time when both of us were looking forward to attending the National Folk Festival in Canberra at Easter.

One of us got there. It wasn’t me.

It was to have been my first National since 2013, a year when I barely felt like I was there. Some nights I was tucked up in the tent by 10.30pm. It happens sometimes.

But of course, your worst day at a festival beats your best day doing many other things, so…

Events transpired that at the 2018 festival, instead of running around with various recording devices, filing copy for a small coterie of publications, I was roughly 400kms north on Lake Macquarie, providing various gardening and handyman services for a friend.

If you want to give your (or any) god a good laugh, make some plans!

Back to the subject at hand.

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Image courtesy of Bush Gothic

It’s been an absolute delight and pleasure to not only see Jenny Thomas and Jenny M. Thomas and Jenny Thomas and the System and the current incarnation of Bush Gothic perform, but also to interview Jenny several times, both here on the blog and also on radio in Canberra.

It’ll be great to see Bush Gothic perform again, down one of many dusty roads, but for now, here’s the interview we did in February. You’ll just have to put your headspace into some sort of cerebral TARDIS and pretend we are looking forward to another five or six days of magic at an upcoming National Folk Festival.

*** Sound file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Sound file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

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Image courtesy of Bush Gothic

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Big Tobacco Company – Alternative Progressive Metal from Ohio, May 2018

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

When opportunity and access to the appropriate hardware of the trade allows, it’s great to go on a whim and speak with random bands and artists around the globe.

On one memorable occasion, I was connecting with an Icelandic MOR band (Dikta) and within the week their interview with me was on radio in Canberra. That led to some lovely chats with their management in LA as well.

Something similar happened in March 2018 with Bobby Ullmann from Big Tobacco Company on Twitter.

Big Tobacco Company come from Cincinnati, Ohio and their sound has the sort of raw, rough edge that you might expect coming from people who live on the southern edge of the cold and forbidding waters of Lake Erie. Or it would be if I got the name of the city right, because that’s Cleveland that’s on Lake Erie.

Ok, American geography is not a strong suit. I have Google Maps.

I’m just guessing that if you’re that far up the country, it’s going to be colder than balls – except for maybe a week or two in July and August.

High tech interview setup at St Marys Rugby League Club, NSW, Australia

Minimal research before our interview proved to be a bonus. Some might call this ‘laziness’; the glass half-full version is: ‘living in the moment, all spontaneous and shit’.

No, seriously, it’s been beneficial in the past to not know too much about the interviewee before diving into a stack of questions, guided more by their responses than any predetermined views about the music, the genre, and the band’s ethos.

And so it was with Bobby. Any and all surprised responses from the interviewer are genuine.

Big Tobacco Company have a new self-titled album out now, and you can listen to tracks and buy them individually or en masse via their website.

On a stunning, clear, late summer lunchtime in St Marys in far, far western Sydney, Australia I pulled up a pew in the rugby league club and had a great chat with Bobby.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

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Image courtesy of Big Tobacco Company

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Coming To Blues On Broadbeach: Blues Arcadia, May 2017

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Image courtesy of Blues Arcadia

Blink twice, and in a two shakes of a lamb’s tail, it’ll be time for Blues On Broadbeach, that annual four day free festival of meaty and felafel-y good blues music in the heart of Queensland’s Gold Coast at (wait for it) Broadbeach.

About a dozen years ago or so it seems, Chris Harvey of Blues Arcadia sat down with Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions at Stones Corner Hotel to have a chat about the then way distant festival.

This interview is vividly memorable for several reasons, mostly because it was the day that, after giving Bowen and Ayr and surrounding areas a drenching and satching, Cyclone Debbie finally blew in to Brisbane.

We got our chat in just before the heavens opened.

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Herewith the chat.

Please excuse the references to the then upcoming Stones Corner Festival. That’s in the rear vision mirror now, and my colleague of sorts Ashley will be presenting her review in an upcoming edition of Trad and Now magazine.

I’d say see you at Blues on Broadbeach, but you’ll just have to have my share of the fun, and flood social media with pictures, videos (if allowed) and reviews.

Rock on!

Bill Quinn
In a Central Queensland caravan park camp kitchen typing with one finger!

David M McLean, Skinny Devil Music Lab and Lexington Music Awards, January 2017

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

David M McLean is yet another of those prolific musical entities that are the engine room of independent music.

You know the sort of person who slogs away in the foreground and background, tirelessly making things happen and ensuring the world is a music-filled and art-filled place to live, breathe, and hear.

A writer, composer, guitarist, producer, teacher, and possibly most front-brain right now, the brains* behind the Lexifest music awards for Lexington, Kentucky.

* Refer to the interview for how the brains and brawn of this event are distributed and attributed.

In 2017, I spoke with David as he sat in his truck with his cell phone somewhere on a cool Lexington KY evening. We spoke so long that my intention was to break the interview into two parts. However, after a series of technical gremlins and many edits later, I’ve whittled this down into the one sound file.

Part of the editing leaves the back end of our chat slamming like a door in a stiff breeze, so apologies for the abruptness.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

I’m looking forward to hearing about Lexifest 2017, and here’s hoping the blizzards stay away from town in the run-up this year.

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Image courtesy of David M McLean

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Fred Smith Launches ‘Dust of Uruzgan’ Book, October 2016

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Image courtesy of Fred Smith

The first lesson of communication is that everyone digests information in different ways, and the savvy communicator has their content in multiple formats for multiple audiences.

Fred Smith certainly has a few bases covered with his ‘Dust of Uruzgan‘ project.

“It started as a war then turned into an album and then into a theatre show then into a musical and now into a book. It’s a pretty straightforward sort of setup, really.”

Fred Smith spoke just before his Brisbane book launch and a house concert in Maleny.

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There is an award in a supporting role for Fred’s daughter Olympia, but we cut out and saved some of the higher high C notes she regaled us with for the extended 12″ remix of the audio file that originally appeared in this article.

Fred next takes the book on the road to Melbourne, Victorian regional centres, Canberra, Sydney, then back to Queensland for some regional appearances.

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From The Vault: Interview with Myf Warhurst, Spicks and Specktacular, December 2011

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In eight days’ time (Sunday 30 October 2016), Overheard Productions is closing its doors OR it might be transitioning into something similar only different.

Yeah, I’d put money on the latter!

Hold on. 30/10/2016 = 13 = 4 = death. Strangely appropriate in one way, but a bit final given my plans! Meh, that numbers game is like a horoscope to me. Interesting for shizs and giggles, but not to be taken overly serious.

[Just look over there while I throw some salt over my left shoulder and turn around three times.]

Over the next eight days, I’m going to (as time permits) resurrect some old interviews and sound files. I’m paying these days for unlimited Soundcloud space, so I might as well make use of it.

This is one that I strangely never attached to a WordPress document, which is very weird since it’s one of my favourites with one of my all-time favourite on air/screen people.

When the Spicks and Specks offered me a choice of Alan Brough or Myf to interview, I did think that Alan would be a fascinating man to speak with given his encyclopaedic knowledge of music and his brilliantly dry and funny wit.

But dude. Myf Warhurst. MYF WARHURST!!!

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I was like a cat on a hot tin roof, though not as alley cat-like as my daughter figured (as mentioned in the interview).

Enjoy.

Myf is currently presenting the lunch show (11am to 2pm ADST) on Double J radio (digital radio, online and Channel 200 on Free To Air television). Though at the time of writing (Saturday 22 October 2016), I believe she may still be overseas and the chair is being skillfully warmed by the aforementioned Alan Brough.

No, that must have been a pack of lies, as my late mother would say. Looks like she’s back!

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Karen Green Artist (Canberra) talks about art, social justice, and Grey Woman Matters, October 2016

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Grey Matters Woman exhibition, 2014. Image reprinted by kind permission of Karen Green.

Audio of interview with Karen Green Artist also of Grey Matters Woman.

Karen Green talks with Bill Quinn of Overheard Productions about art, entering the Archibald Prize 2016, and expressing her passion for social justice through art and Twitter.

Karen Green first came to our attention via her art on display at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

Karen came into the studio with fellow artist Gosia Orzechowska one morning for a chat, and Overheard Productions has been interested in her works ever since.

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

*** Audio file will be removed by the end of March 2020 ***

In more recent times, Karen Green has been very active on Twitter, sharing thoughts, links and events about social justice. It was this interest that led to a chain of events that saw her enter a portrait of Kon Karapanagiotidis of the Melbourne-based Asylum Seekers Resource Centre in the 2016 Archibald Prize.

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Kon Karapanagiotidis by Karen Green.
Entry in 2016 Archibald Prize. Image courtesy of Karen Green. Continue reading