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Monthly Archives: June 2014

I am thrilled to announce Faux Faux Amis have signed with record label Early Music (formerly Holy Eucharist Line).

Early Music logo

I met with Sam and Oscar from the label a few months ago and we bonded over ideas about performance, prolificacy, and to paraphrase The Streets, “pushing things forward”.  Early Music’s output is eclectic, including Canberra’s best vocal artist Aphir, big-in-Japan glitch-hoppers Gunwaif, jazz-flecked abstract beatmaker Stenxh, and acoustic folksters Northumberland – we are their first punk band, and both sides are excited about the possibilities.

Our first release will be for their winter/fall schedule – an EP of all-new material entitled X.  The elevator pitch is this: ten songs, all a minute long.

Faux Faux Amis

Photo by Tiffany Gleeson (Catherine, Mel and Nick Peddle not pictured)

Writing short songs is not unusual for me –  the Shine Tarts pieces were all brief, and my songs rarely include dead weight like, say, middle eights or third verses.  I’ve always had a fondness for albums that include fragments and pieces – Money Mark, Cody ChestnuTT, and Badly Drawn Boy spring to mind.

But I didn’t want fragments on X –  I agree with Chuck Klosterman when he wrote that he can look at an album’s track-listing, find the shortest song, and be confident that will be his favourite.  I treated each song on X as if it was that one awesome short song on a regular album.  It’s a microcosm of our standard set – there’s the occasional odd time signature, some French lyrics, hummable solos, a couple of in-jokes, and lots of backing vocals.  All of these songs could be “full-length”* – it feels decadent to blow them in ten minutes.

Early Music are big on multimedia outputs and cross-pollination between their artists – I’m keen to get involved with that aspect of being on a label, and looking forward to sharing the results. We start recording this weekend!

We are also planning a staggered release of videos for each of the ten songs – excitedly I’ve begun to enlist writers, animators and artists to come on board – basically either people I love working with, or people I wanted to work with – the list so far includes Tom Woodward, Nick Delatovic, Emma Gibson and Joel Barcham.

* Well, except one song, but more on that another time…

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EPLearning

Hey Guys, Nick here with anther absurd logistical pressure cooker disguised as an art project!

Sam King is the best record producer in the ACT and I’ve made him do some pretty cockamamie things over the years. This one might have taken the cake- putting a band together for one 14-hour day, in which 4 songs of mine were learned from scratch, arranged, and then recorded while also being filmed as a ‘live-in-studio’ performance vid.

EPAmpsEPLukeEPBandI always like to be the weakest link in any project I put together. This whole thing was a cheap tactic to get to put together the most bullshit-awesome backing band I possibly could to cut versions of some of my more Americana-ish songs. As well as Mr King himself on guitar and and slide, my Murderers Row included Julia ‘and the Deep Sea Sirens’ Johnson on vocals and ‘lectric, Nick Peddle (Fun Machine, Pocket Fox) on drums and Matt Lustri (Spartak and Los Chavos and well as playing with me in Cracked Actor and Prom).

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Our ‘studio’ location fell into our lap in somewhat comical fashion. The gym where I work, Elements Fitness, used to be an RSL-style venue. Bizarrely, the original stage has been walled off from the rest of the building and remains intact, leaving a room with little functional purpose aside from providing an acoustically-sound room with an endearingly odd feel for EP-in-a-day projects.

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Some of the guys had played  a couple of the songs in other bands with me so I thought we might run ahead of schedule. Ha! My naive dream of an 8-hour day disappeared on the breeze as each song was tipped, flipped or turned completely upside down by the rogues gallery. The guys exceeded my hopes in terms of their engagement and the efficient way they explored creative side alleys. EPHeadphonesEPBanjo

After 10 hours of woodshedding, it was time to roll tape (read: laptop) and turn on for the cameras. The film crew was every bit as over-powered as the band: Luke ‘Another Fine Mess’ McGrath, Shane ‘Nick Wants To Do What?’ Parsons and Adam ‘What Would You All Do Without Me’ Thomas (who is also responsible for these fine still photos). The cameras were extremely patient with a shoot that involved even more hurry-up-and-waiting than the usual film set. Thanks also to Leon Twardy for his exemplary engineering assistance.

I’m blissfully happy with the rough mixes of the audio and will post them soon. The whole thing is a big experiment in Instant Musical Gratification and we’ll see how it scrubs as a video thing, but in the meantime I’m sold on the format as a fun and rewarding way to record.

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AusCupKeyIn a small digression from the usual arts stuff, I competed in a national freestyle wrestling comp a few weeks back. Had four matches and won three (two by points and one by pin), which was enough to snag me the silver medal.

AusCupMedalsI’ve been wrestling for close to a decade and it’s been an insane slog the whole time. The guys who do this sport combine elite physicality with pinpoint technical brilliance and a simply stunning work ethic.  I lost dozens of matches in the most humiliating manner possible over years before I started to put any of this together. I still pale in comparison to the top guys in Australia, but it’s an honor to have progressed to the level where I get to compete against them.

Wrestling has become pretty central to my sense of self. The fact that it’s so difficult, so constantly humbling, such a slow grind of progression, at the very least it keeps my ego in check in a massive way. The people I train with in Club ACT are some of the finest people I’ve ever met, it’s truly a sport that demands and refines character.

It’s also the FUNNEST thing I ever do. When I wrestle, there’s no space in my head for anything else, it’s the only time in my life that’s like that. Wrestling someone is such an uncut dose of reality- ‘here is how you stack up next to this other person’s mind and body’- that even when I get totally destroyed there’s a euphoria that goes beyond just the obvious endorphin release.

This silver medal may be the best I ever do at the competition level. There’s a HUGE gap in ability between myself and the guy who beat me for the gold. Still, at one pint it would have seemed impossible for me to have done this well, so let’s see.

I can’t talk about my wrestling without highlighting two people in particular. Pete Sutton is the best strength and conditioning mind in the the ACT (as well as a phenomenal combat athlete) and I’m absurdly lucky to have him as a friend and mentor. He is the primary reason that, at the age of 31, I’m able to compete at a high level in one of the most physically demanding sports in the world.

Above all, I’d like to thank Coach, known to his family as Witold  Rejlich. The most inspiring figure in my life, Coach is not only the best teacher of wrestling this country has, but the most inclusive and nurturing presence I’ve ever come across in any sphere of my life. He put time into me when there was NO indication that it would pay off. That’s why, although I wrestle for myself, I compete for Coach.AusCupBack

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Photo by Rob Thorman!

The latest PROM Spectacular was took place at The RUC  the other night. We’re still trying to make every gig a high-concept party, and Julia had the idea this time for a gender-blending theme.

As is my want, I tied myself in knots trying to make sure that the event was pitched as a celebration of gender-performance ambiguity rather than an offensive night of trans-tourism. God knows if I succeeded, but here’s the event page copy for your reference:

‘Life-Livers! The Canberra Musicians Club and your friends at PROM are sick of the binary norms that rule our dance floors. We aim to turn the Turner Bowls into a sweaty cauldron of diasporadic dance! Grapevine up and down the Kinsey scale to the an identity-fluid line-up of bands and DJs!
Whether you’re an LGBT MVP or the star of CIS: Miami we want you to come and explode your gender performance in every direction. Dress code: anything that defies easy definition!’

Blender

That copy was drafted with assistance from some far greater minds than myself, who I shall refrain from naming lest their brilliance be conflated with my limitations. Julia made the poster- one of the funnest parts of doing this show was doing an old-school postering mission for the first time in ages!

Whether we hit the brief or not, I think we played well and the (smallish) crowd came hard with the wild outfits and dance moves. 

Huge love to our support acts, especially Chris Endrey for his tireless pushing of live-gig-as-discourse and Danny Wild for his peerless taste in dancefloor bangers,