What a way for October to end! Many of my dear friends are without power and flooded in NYC and surrounding areas, in the aftermath of a storm of historic proportions, that hit the east coast of the US. I’ve been thinking of everyone all day long and was reminded of the devastating floods that hit my home state, Queensland, in early 2011. I understand what many of you are going through. My thoughts are with you all at this challenging time, please take care of each other.
This month has been another action packed one, much like September. Lots and lots of interviews! I’m getting close to reaching my personal best for the number of interviews done in a year. Last week marked the 100th interview for the year. Last year, I achieved my best effort yet, at around 112 interviews in a year. I have 20+ interviews in the works currently so I’m confident I’ll top last year. I am my own taskmaster and cheer squad.
Interviewing is really important to me and part of my spiritual practice, it’s a magical, sacred thing, an art. I share stories and experiences, I celebrate brilliant creative minds and hearts, I document places, feelings, communities, underground culture, innovative ideas, and moments in peoples’ lives as they live their dreams and navigate life—most of all though, I learn and grow from these conversations.
I learnt about hyperosmia from Chelsea Wolfe, and got a reminder of the importance of taking your time to create. Pop Levi introduced me to Ethiopian music. Heather Gabel, her art and our conversation (without even knowing it) helped me with my deep feelings of loss and the frustration I feel in relation to my mother’s deteriorating health. NoVenue and Melk’s Siena Hart inspired me with all the hardwork both her and her boyfriend Nic does – instead of complaining about there being no shows, places to play etc. they make their own. Deathproof PR’s Emily Kelly and Riot Act Media’s Nathan Walker gave me a greater understanding, and appreciation of, the (often thankless) work publicists do. Mystic Knights of the Cobra’s fun-loving attitude incited me to remember to let-loose a little more. Bands, Los Angeles’ Nightmare Air and Wollongong’s Mother & Son gave me insight into travelling in Europe, as they both checked in with me from tour. NYC designer and musician, Laura Rebel Angel, inspired with her hard work ethic, perseverance and super positive attitude—PMA all day! And, Rolling Stone editor-in-chief Matt Coyte gave a glimpse into the workings of one of the most enduring and iconic popular culture/music magazines. The following are the 10 Most Read Interviews on ConversationsWithBianca.com for October (click the artists name to read the full interview)…
I have folk roots and am always going back to folk and acoustic music in one way or another. The “doom” part isn’t so literal, I guess it’s just a comment on the content of most of my songs which leans more towards the harsh reality of the world than the easy, fun-loving parts. But I am interested in revealing the beauty in the darkness of things so I don’t mind the description so much since it holds two parts.
I was really hung up on the upside down cross for most of my twenties, but I’ve always been enamoured with symbols in general. I’m half Egyptian so that particular symbolism has always had a special significance for me. Touching hieroglyphics for the first time sent shivers down my spine. It’s like they possess a magic from being charged with so much history and stillness.
I grew up going to Gilman Street and Burnt Ramen shows. I felt like I had found where I belonged – with the music, the creativity, and the rowdiness of it all! I would design flyers, T-shirts, and album artwork for my friend’s bands. Cinder Block was always a big inspiration to me, with Tilt and her merch company. I love Del! The Cobras actually just went to Oakland’s first annual Hiero-day recently.
When I realized that other bands might want to use the space, I put a little ad in the Village Voice newspaper. I named the studio ‘Roach’. My second client was Richard Hell and the Void-Oids, one of the most infamous punk bands in the city. They practically took up residence 4 afternoons a week. James White & the Blacks, the Bush Tetras, & the Stimulators were a few of the bands rehearsing in the 17th Street studio. Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags) was just a kid and played drums in the Stimulators, his aunt Denise’s band – Harley had to stand up to play so he could reach all the drums!
My father taught me how to wield a camera, as he was a keen photographer, so it’s been a really key part in shaping who I’ve become. He’s a really amazing man who taught me the art of observation at a really young age. Imagery is such a powerful, malleable thing. How could you not be bewitched by it?
I’ve also noticed scandal seems to be a tactic commonly employed by bigger labels and promoters in modern day music PR, but I think it’s a very fine line to walk and its one I’ve never been particularly comfortable exploring. Bands who deliberately say divisive shit or create controversial cover art feel tacky to me. It’s a sure-fire way to get attention but so much of the time it feels too calculated. Maybe that’s just bitterness and old-age speaking.
My first exposure to DIY would have to be my amazing mother. I grew up going thrifting with her, and she would always come home with clothes that weren’t quite our sizes but she would tailor them to make sure they’d fit us perfectly. Sometimes she’d even buy decorations for our house, and when we’d get home she’d break out paints and cover them in her own designs. I learned a lot from my mama!
I’m not a collector for money so I rarely get too lusty after extremely rare records once their value is known. A recent holy grail for me was finding a limited release of a Little Wings live to tape collection of covers and originals. 200 copies and every last copy had a hand painted album cover done in watercolor by Mr. Little Wings himself, Kyle Field.
Shit, my brother took me to see Jimmy Barnes. It was terrible, ha! I then realised that I had to find my own music that spoke to me. I discovered the Hard Ons and Tumbleweed and would always be hunting down their shows in small venues. They just had an honest energy to them which I admire.
The first music that I got into was Black Sabbath and Black Flag, both of them had a lifestyle around them—punk and metal. There was a lot more going on than just music, I wanted to know what ‘punk’ was even. I was maybe about ten when I got into Black Sabbath and I thought it was terrifying! I thought it was the scariest thing ever. I was fascinated and terrified about it and needed to know more about them so I could go to sleep at night [laughs].
October also saw me head to Toowoomba, Jhonny supported Regurgitator (!) a band that we’ve both loved since our teens. They are the nicest guys ever! Awesome friends – Dion and Michelle (who makes quality, comfy cushions from incredible fabrics she comes across in her travels for her home décor label, Disewn) – even travelled two hours to make the show and support Mystery School! You can read a little more about it: Regurgitator show was Amazing! I also helped screen print Mystery School tees in the lead up to the show. Each time we do a run, I add in a couple of shirts to print for myself, so now I have an assorted rainbow of Mystery School tees to rock! Making your own tees and clothes is the best, something I hope to start doing a lot more of soon.
Then there was, the West End record fair (many gems were found), I also got to dig through a private record collection, Sunshine Coast Zine Institute’s ANALOGIC stall-a-Rama and Zine and Indy Comic Symposium (which I unfortunately couldn’t attend last minute) had their first meet up to organise next year’s event which will be a 2-day celebration of the zine and comic mediums in my hometown of Brisbane. If you’d like to know more, email me and I can send you the minutes of the meeting. One of the favourite venues – The Waiting Room – also had their 1st year birthday bash celebration!
Oh and how can I forget? Suicidal Tendencies announced an Australia tour. Excited! ST! ST! ST! ST!
Wishing you a brilliant November! My birthday countdown begins now AND the me getting to see Bosnian Rainbows live finally countdown is also ON!
*Photo credits: self-portrait, Mystery School and Regurgitator pics by me. Check individual interviews for other credits.