February, 2001, USA
Interviewer: Sonya Brown
A search turned up links to zines, forums or mags for which these authors have written, e.g. In Music We Trust, Nocturnal Movements and Gothic Beauty Magazine, all supporters of our music; an interview with Gothic Beauty 2004 appears elsewhere in our Press pages.
I notice a bird theme with your latest CD, Ariel… please tell us about the birds that are referred to so often in your music!
The magpie’s warbling is beautiful… One appears in our cd-art opposite a rosella of the Dandenongs. Both species are highly intelligent. Our opening song tells of a blackbird, an invader known as the flying mouse! My fascination with it is expressed in Stevens’ poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. Third song is about a wren (fairy-wren, blue-wren), darting in grass…
What does the title Ariel mean to you?
Ariel is the elemental air-spirit of Shakespeare’s play… a sense that nature is alive with spirits…
Your music invokes visions of gardens, trees and flowers… what is your own backyard like?
Lots of trees: walnut, almond, guava, pomegranate, feijoa, tamarillo, fig, mulberry….
What is your life like in Australia?
Australia harbours political, racial and religious diversity and free health cover but we’ve a long way to go in reconciliation with indigenous people. In music, we have parochial blind-spots… many Australian artists sign to foreign labels… Years ago my music was wiped off reels, left in gutters and excluded from festivals… (but) I’m fortunate to have worked with many open-minded souls.
Please tell our readers about Blue Tree…
“I was of three minds / Like a tree / In which there are three blackbirds” (Wallace Stevens)
Blue Tree is an imagined place (that) beckons with renewal…
You mention once sharing a group house with several artists including Dawn Perry… who introduced you to the music of her brother, Brendan (Dead-Can-Dance). How has this experience, and the music of Dead-Can-Dance, affected the music that you create today?
Your question sparked recollections of wild whimsy. Like heading into the sea dressed as nymphs. Or holding a ‘Phantosea’ exhibition, for which Dawn sculpted a mermaid chair… Certainly, my soul felt the imprint of songs like ‘Ulysses’. I regard Brendan Perry as one of the great troubadours of our time. I was one of the earliest supporters of Lisa’s solo masterpiece, The Mirror Pool. But I draw a line between respect and imitation. When Lisa’s husband advised me to change my previous album Alexandria, I went against his advice. Changing myself for approval would betray what DCD meant to me; spirit of defiance. I am still moved by DCD’s song ‘Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book’ (words by Luis De Gongora).
What is the “Magic Kingdom” referred to at your website?
You mean the Magic Theatre? A ref to Steppenwolf: The Magic Theatre – for madmen only!