AND HIS DEBUT CD
SEPTEMBER 13, 2008
DON'T BORE US! GET TO THE CHORUS:
CURTIS PEOPLES TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HIS SELF-TITLED DEBUT CD, HIS BIG CHORUS MENTALITY, AND GIVING OUT SOMETHING GOOD.
LUKE MULHOLLAND TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HIS LATEST CD 'FURTHER', THE CHALLENGES OF BEING AN UNDERAGED ROCKER, AND LOOKING TO THE FUTURE.
LIKE FLOWERS THROUGH THE CONCRETE:
MARC PANNI OF LOS BLANCOS TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR LATEST CD 'JUST THIS ONCE' REELING IN THE AUDIENCE AT MAKING FOLKS RECONSIDER MUSICIANSHIP(READ MORE)
A BIT OF TITILLATION:
SCI-FI-VIXEN AND AUSSIE SOCIETY WOMAN JANE BADLER TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER DEBUT CD 'THE DEVIL HAS MY DOUBLE', FINDING HER VOICE, AND DOING SOMETHING ORIGINAL. (READ MORE)
SOUND AND VISION:
JEFF SHAPIRO ON CIAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT THEIR CD 'ANONYMOUS' MERGING ART AND MUSIC
AND APPEALING TO OTHER SENSES (READ MORE)
ALYSSA GRAHAM TALKS TO ROCKWIRED ABOUT HER LATEST CD 'ECHO'TAKING THE LISTENER ON A MUSICAL JOURNEY AND FILLING PEOPLE WITH A SENSE OF HOPE
MOVED AND AMUSEDThere was a certain amount of ease it took to speak with Australian singer-songwriter GUY BLACKMAN regarding the release of his debut CD 'ADULT BABY' on UNSTABLE APE RECORDS. Maybe the ease had to do with the fact that he is also a journalist and probably has a picture in his head of how the ideal interview should go. Aside from journalism, he is also the head and founder of the highly regarded independent label CHAPTER MUSIC. So why did BLACKMAN choose to release 'ADULT BABY on a label other than his own? "I didn't feel comfortable ringing up press and organizing publicity for my own album." says BLACKMAN "I thought a little about the idea of going 'Hey, it's GUY from CHAPTER MUSIC. I really want to talk to you about the GUY BLACKMAN record. I knew that UNSTABLE APE RECORDS had a good publicity team behind them and have had good results and they had other releases that I liked so I thought I would go with them. It was interesting to see how another label works. It's been quite an eye opening experience and quite a success. Everything seems to be going quite well."
GUY BLACKMAN TALKS TO ROCKWIRED
ABOUT HIS DEBUT CD 'ADULT BABY'
THE BALANCING THE MUSIC BUSINESS WITH HIS CREATIVE SELF
AND WORKING WITH A LABEL OTHER THAN HIS OWN
INTERVIEWED BY BRIAN LUSH
'ADULT BABY' is an album three years in the making and although BLACKMAN has been making music for years, 'ADULT BABY' is his first solo album. Complete with a cast of dynamic musicians, plush string arrangements and moody compositions brought to you by BLACKMAN himself, 'ADULT BABY' is a classic pop album in a world that has forgotten how cool a pop album can be.
ROCKWIRED spoke with GUY BLACKMAN over the phone. Here is how it went.
ADULT BABY was three years in the making. Why so long?
This is my first solo record even though I've been playing in bands for a while and I wanted to make something that was going to withstand the test of time and maybe it had a little bit to do with having completion anxiety too. Once the record is finished then you can't take it back. I spent a lot of time doing a little bit here and and a little bit there. It wasn't like we were in the studio constantly for three years. The album was self-financed and I was recording as money would allow . All these reasons combined together to make a record that took three years to put together from start to finish.
And now that it's finished how do you feel about it?
I feel good! It's a release. I put it on every now and then and listen to the things that I was I could've changed but now that it's done, it's nice to get feedback for it. For years it was just this thing that I caried around in my head and in little CD-Rs. But now it's out there in the public and people are listening to it. Generally, people seem to be liking it so it's making me feel good.
And it's your first solo recording. What compelled you to record this material given everything else that you do?
First of all, I've always been a songwriter and musician and in my mind, there are three streams of what I do; I run my record label , I play music, and I work as a journalist for money. In my mind, it's music, label, work. That's the order it goes in. I always want to keep writing songs and playing music. If I stopped doing that, all of the other things would seem a lot less interesting to me as well.
What drew you to music in the begining?
I had a musical mother and she played piano and she always listened to New Zealand radio. I played the piano from the age of seven or so and the guitar from the age of eight or nine. When you pick it up and you seem to be okay at it and people say nice things you feel inspired to continue. All through high school I was doing classical piano and playing SCHUBERT and things like that and doing exams. Music has always been there from the start. I didn't really listen to pop music until I was about fourteen or fifteen. I had discovered PINK FLOYD and I was converted from classical to pop. Or rock.
So you're from New Zealand originally?
I was born there and I moved to Australia when I was six years old.
How did your label CHAPTER MUSIC begin?
CHAPTER MUSIC began in 1992. I was about seventeen years old and doing a fanzine. It was a fanzine dedicated to SYD BARRETT, the first singer from PINK FLOYD during their psychedelic years and was an obsessed nerdy fan. After doing a few issues of that fanzine, I decided that I wanted to have a cassette that accompanied the magazine with lots of local bands from Perth, my hometown. Once I did that, there was such a great response and people were really excited that I thought I'd continue, so I ditched the fanzine and started up the label. The initial ten or so releases were all cassettes. CD's were coming in though they were still quite inaccessible in my hometown. Back then, cassettes were kind of the format of choice. As time went on , I progresed from cassettes to vinyl and then, kind of grudgingly, I started putting out CDs in the late nineties.
And this was in Perth?
It started in Perth and then I moved to my current town of Melbourne in 1995. Melbourne is like this next big step. Perth is the most isolated state capitol city in the world. It's about a two days drive to anywhere else. So Melbourne is a step up from Perth.
With CHAPTER MUSIC, you had the resources to release this album yourself. Why didn't you?
CHAPTER MUSIC is a cottage industry. It's basically just me. I didn't feel comfortable ringing up press and organizing publicity for my own album. I thought a little about the idea of going 'Hey, it's GUY from CHAPTER MUSIC. I really want to talk to you about the GUY BLACKMAN record. I knew that UNSTABLE APE RECORDS had a good publicity team behind them and have had good results and they had other releases that I liked so I thought I would go with them. It was interesting to see how another label works. It's been quite an eyeopening experience and quite a success. Everything seems to be going quite well.
They seem like a pretty hands on label. I noticed on JANE BADLER's record that he played on a couple of tracks. I can't remember if he did on yours or not.
No, he doesn't on mine. I think the music thing has come lately to him. I don't remember him being in bands before but just in the last couple of years, he started to play as a backing guitarist in other peoples bands. Its nice to see that taking on a different element for him. A lot of people only do one or the other. I've always done both; put records out and play on them. I think he's just quit his 9 to 5 job and now he's devoting more of himself to the label. It's good to see him surrounded by music.
How does the experience of being a solo artist now compare to being a member in another persons band?
The major band that I was in had four people that all wrote songs. Each songwriter also took turns singing. It was quite schizophrenic. Each song would sound like it came from a different band. As a solo artist, I've got more control but fundamentally, the feeling isn't all that different. I still get up on the stage and I get a bit self concious and I play some songs. Since the album came out, I've put together a touring band which is fairly constant so it's got the same feeling now as a bunch of people up on stage and supporting each other. It is a little bit weird hearing my name. I toyed with the idea of creating a pseudonym or a bands name for my solo project but inthe end I decided to use my own name. Now when people talk about GUY BLACKMAN, it sounds like someone other than me. It's a weird experience.
Why the title ADULT BABY?
There are few different reasons I guess. I'm a big big BEACH BOYS fan and I love BRIAN WILSON. In the sevenites he was going to make a record called 'ADULT CHILD' and that never got released. You can find various versions of it on the internet if you look hard enough. In one aspect, the title is a reference to that. Also it is a reference to the fact that it took me so long to make my first solo album in my early thirties.
How do songs get written for you? How does a song go from something you hear in your head to something that a person is going to hear over the speakers?
I've never been one of those people that has woken up with a song in their head. I just sit in front of the piano or or play the guitar until I come up with a melody. It takes me a long time. I'm not very prolific at the moment. I write four or five songs a year if I'm lucky. Nowadays, I wait until I have an idea and then I just kind of hammer it out.
From the album, are there any songs that sort of stand out for you at the moment?
'GAYLE' is the one I'm the proudest of. It's about one of my oldest friends. His name is GAYLE. We went to high school together and lived together for many years. It's a song about me moving from Perth to Melbourne and our friendship changing over time and periods where we drifted aaway in and out of tuoch and now we're close again. It's really sweet to have a song about a real person who is now hearing that song on the radio and people are calling him up and saying that I heard a song about you. I really like the arrangement of it. I like the hrns and there is a slightly blue-eyed soul kind of white funk feeling to it. It was a lot of fun putting it together in the studio.
You said earlier that you've put a touring band together. Are you touring at the moment?
At the moment,I'm in between shows. We did a whole national tour for the album. Once the album was out, we went from city to city. Now I'm waiting. I've got some festivals coming up and I'm going to America in October, and I'll be doing another tour of Australia when I get back in November. Right now it's nice to have a little bit of a break. I still haven't learned to moderate myself when I'm touring. I want to drink and smoke and do the same things everynight at a show and I'm not quite young enough to bounce back anymore.
How have people embraced the live shows?
It's been really great. I think people liked it when it was just me. I did a lot of shows as a solo performer with my piano, but I think I was the one who had hang ups about that. I just assumed that people would get bored of it because it was just me playing and singing. Now that there is guitar bass and drum and some string players from time to time, the show becomes a lot more a spectacle and it grabs peoples attention more. I think people do tend to drift off when it's just you on stage. Now I feel like I've got this muscular rock band behind me and that I can reach people a little more easily.
What do you want a person to come away after they've heard ADULT BABY?
I want people to be emotionally affected I guess. What I look for in music primarily is something that has an emotional impact. The songs to me are all emotionally based and personal. They are songs that had an impact on me. That's why I write songs. I don't write a song until something has happened to me that has had a very powerful impact onme and has made me feel something.I want people tofeel somnething. I wan them to feel moved and amused. Those are the two things that I hope people get out of the record.