Well I’ve been reading through all sorts of best of 2011 lists and listening to DJ’s favourite records of the year and watching critics favourite movies of 2011 and it got me thinking back to the things that have moved me over the past 365 days. I thought it might be nice to recap some of them with you.
So here are my 2011 top people, places, experiences in no particular order:
For music inspiration:
I played with this band at a club called Mosaic in Shimokitazawa, Tokyo Japan in August. They are 4 multi-instrumentalists who make the most spine-tingling instrumental music. Starting with simple, stripped back lines, they loop and layer and add and change until you are completely surrounded by a shimmering, intense wall of sound. I felt the same exhilaration that I get watching Sigur Ros
It was a rare experience that I feel so lucky to have witnessed. They are an incredibly special band and I hope to see them again in 2012.
I’m not usually into metal but I had the great pleasure of meeting the fantastic band OL who will definitely float your boat if you like your guitars distorted and your kick drum- double and fast!
For inspiration on all kinds of levels:
I have never been so inspired, so relaxed and so happy as I was for a couple of weeks in September/October this year in the incredible surrounds of medieval village Labastide-Esparbairenque in the south of France. Run by 2 of the most beautiful and talented people you could ever hope to meet Kerry & John . I went hoping for a little bit of time-out and hopefully some space in which to get a few of the musical ideas that had been rattling around my head out on to paper or hardrive- I got that in spades, but I also got so much more. I got beautifully early autumn weather and watched the mountain view from my window turn from endless green to a confetti of oranges and browns, I got to collect fresh walnuts from the paths, drink mineral water straight from the source in the mountains, talk into the night with a group that have inspired me much more than I’m sure they realise. Stephanie Williams the gorgeous, intelligent screenwirter from LA who has made a brave move to Paris to achieve everything you just know within 5 minutes of talking that she is absolutely destined to manifest. Fellow Australians Clare Carlin wonderful woman and superb author and journalist and Chris the architect who is actually an artist but didn’t realise it and also baker of magnificent bread. Jessica Eve Watkins the Welsh lady who I suspect can and will do everything she puts her minds to- an endlessly creative spirit and last but absolutely not least the dynamo duo of the retreat: David Hamilton a writer, who’s presence and knowledge is absolutely captivating and the wonderful, irrepressible Rebecca who’s passion for her art is electric. I was lucky to share the whole experience with my gorgeously talented partner in crime Anthony Lyons who makes music that opens doors in your head and heart and champions my artistic leanings too. If you are looking to extend, find or reignite your muse- then this fabulous retreat is a brilliant starting point. I will be back in 2012.
For artistic inspiration
I spent the early days of late December 2010 and January 2011 scouring the streets of Paris for street art (Belleville and Place d’ Italie and our makeshift home away from home Oberkampf) drinking coffee, eating, savouring wine, devouring fresh bread and heading out to Museum after Gallery after Museum. So much beauty, so much to think about, to revel in, to absorb, to hear, to love. But there was one exhibition above all that absolutely blew my mind. I had never heard of him before, but I found and continue to find so much in his work. The way he pulled objects apart or grouped them together- the messages were so strong that they actually made me in turns; sick to my stomach or prompted to laugh out loud. Incredible.
The Fishionable Chippery on Nicholson Street in North Fitzroy
I moved house late in 2011, after 7 years I moved to the other end of the same suburb, but in all honesty it may as well have been a move to another planet. I feel like I’ve stepped back in time. After apartment living, I am back in a long ramshackle terrace house with a backyard and a cat! It instantly sends me back to the sounds, smells and thoughts of my early childhood. Our street is only 20 minutes stroll from the CBD but it’s so quiet! Your neighbours all say hello, they feed your cat and collect your mail when you are away. There is a local butchers, fruit shop, bakery and best of all there is an old school Fish and Chip shop. Fish and Chips was a Friday night special in my house growing up, so it makes me so happy to visit the gorgeous duo at our local Fish and Chippery, whom we have dubbed ‘Master and Apprentice’ they are genuinely friendly, they know our names, they know what ingredients we like in our veggie burgers and they coerce us into ordering minimum chips (which are really tasty) and they make me smile. Our little neighbourhood is a little oasis that has somehow warded off the renovation and trendy cafe obsession and while I know it can’t last forever, I am relishing every minute of it.
For getting away.
Anth & I spent one of the last Sunny weekends in early March riding our bikes out to Warburton and back on the sublime Warburton Trail. The weather was just stunning and the way that your inner city troubles and obligations are left behind as the country unfolds before you in a series of old dilapidated train stations, before you hit the precious gem of a town- Warburton was just magical.
At the end of the 40k ride it was glorious to be able to walk down to the river (have an impromptu and super refreshing dip in icy water) We then stayed overnight in a little apartment that felt like you were in the guest bedroom of your Aunty Florence. Frilly bed cover, Floral wallpaper- superb in a Nanna kind of way before riding to 40k’s back into the big smoke. It was one of those weekends that even before you start it, you just know it will be filled with memories that make you think you were one of the kids in Stand By Me
I launched my album One Hundred to the Ground at the Toff in Town back in mid-July it was quite an undertaking. One of the funniest things that has ever happened on stage was right before we were to start a song, a kind of crazy siren sound came blaring through the speakers on stage- the look on my sound guy- Warwick Newman’s face was priceless as he tried to figure out from his end at the mixing desk what the issue was. It turned out to be the battery in one of my bass player Dave Evans pedals going flat- apparently this produces a state of emergency evacuation siren to be emitted. He quickly changed the battery, but every time I think of it I cannot help but giggle. The moral of the story is that ‘Golden Power’ batteries are probably not that Golden, nor powerful. It set the tone of the night which was just one of jokes, laughing and mishaps whilst presenting songs that I’m really proud of, in front of a room full of my beautiful friends and family. It also reiterated that the problem wasn’t the sound Engineer! Waz you are just fantastic and Dave so are you!
For the love of friends: old, new and occasional.
I really do have some pretty incredible people in my life and 2011 made for some amazing achievements from lots of them. Some got married, some gave birth to beautiful kids, others got great jobs, others had the courage to leave not so fantastic jobs and search for something better, some had to overcome some really difficult things, others just lived life with happiness and I’m very proud of you all. A lot of my friends are creative, I guess it goes with the territory that your circle of friends would include many people working in the same areas as you. Anyone who knows me has most likely on more than one occasion heard me bang on about supporting other artists. I really feel like paranoia, selfishness and self absorption are all too common amongst creative peeps, There is room for everyone and we all have moments to shine, so get out there and hold a talented friend up to the light!
Here are just a few people that make me want to be better and braver because they are just so inspiring:
Myles Mumford Myles has worked on both of my albums and is an all round talented guy. I spent a couple of weeks sitting on his lounge in February this year, editing many of the tracks on One Hundred to the Ground. He is always busy because naturally he’s in demand from half of Melbourne’s music community! Myles is one of those guys who listens to your wild ideas of what you want to achieve. Puts up with your hideous tracking vocals, is super creative in how he achieves things and takes risks. An added bonus is that during breaks from editing he likes to sit, chat, drink turkish coffee and watch silly things like this!
Josh Cohen I played in a Chillout/Trip Hop cover band with Josh when we were both MUCH younger and innocent. He was freakishly talented on the keys from the get-go, but it’s his dark, warped sense of humour that I like best. Josh dreams BIG and the beauty of it- is that he makes his dreams reality. I just watch him go from strength to strength every year. If you want to learn piano and you live in Melbourne- His school is just so fancy! If you want music, he’s your man too. I love our monthly breakfasts if only to hear what magical plans he’s devising.
Nathan Curnow had the pleasure of meeting the wickedly talented poet Nathan via Anthony, when they collaborated on a piece called ‘The Last Chocolate Factory’ for Pure Poetry in May. A cross collaboration project between musicians and poets, which produced some really beautiful works. I have since heard Nathan perform his works and just hung out in general and he is just an all round hysterically funny guy and clever wordsmith. I also love that he champions everyone around him, even though he could quite easily get up on his pedestal and refuse to come down. Possibly has something to do with the influence of his brilliant wife and kids.
Amy Tsilemanis Fateful was that night in May- I not only met Nathan, but I met the foxy go-getting Amy. I suspect she doesn’t sleep, she is typing the final words of her Master’s Thesis as I write this blog post. She is an actor, a radio host of the brilliant Tinderbox on voice FM, she sings, she plays drums, she’s makes visual art . She just all round rocks.
Other friends/people I’d like to know/people I used to know who have done amazing things in 2011 in my humble opinion are:
Thuyen Nguyen – Comic Creator // Game Developer // Film Maker // Mobile Producer. Yes he is all of those things. Great guy, and super talented Dad to 2 kidlets.
Steve Aarons– The man behind Red Sky Music has an awful lot of drive. It takes a lot of energy to get a whole music channel off the ground let alone one that champions all Australian music! It’s a credit to Steve’s work ethic to be making it happen. The hard work happened in 2011, the exciting bit is the launch next year- Stay tuned.
David Payne – He shoots, he films, he blogs, he tweets, he puts himself out there and that makes me happy.
Chris Duffy– Chris is many things- one of which is a phenomenal drummer so it has been brilliant to see his band Second Hand Heart– going from strength to strength this year. He also manages to juggle teaching, a handful of other bands and impersonating Ringo Starr very well.
Kylie Cooper Kylie manages her own music career and being a mum with entertaining children with so much passion and energy as does Super Mum and Music Making Child Care expert Bree Hansen– if you want your child to have amazing experiences from their childhood music classes then you really need Bree or Kylie on your team.
Anders Bach– Denmark is my second home, I love everything about it. So it comes as no surprise to me that it produces so many musicians doing super things. Anders is part of a great trio called Ice Cream Cathedral with his equally talented lady Anja who fronts Bird Alert
Ok- I think that’s enough recollections and admiration. To all my wonderful family and friends have a safe, happy and glittering Christmas/Festivus/New Years- Bring on 2012.
Lots of love,
Aimee (aka osh10)
and her sidekick LL Squirrel the Third esq.