You might have caught Angie at one of our I.C.E.HAUS shows last year- if you found yourself wanting to know more about one of Sydney’s iconic DIY heroes, have a scroll through this.
An interview with Angie, who’s had a long and influential career in the Sydney D.I.Y scene, that’s taken her from the punk of Kiosk, the glam of Circle Pit, to the more introspective, piano based recent albums that are among her best. She’s played everywhere, from Greece to New Orleans and the Opera House. Now she’s got a kick ass rock band, and will be playing I.C.E.Haus 5 to promote her new album Underling, out now on Dero Arcade, a Melbourne label run by her ex Kiosk and Circle Pit band-mate, Jack Mannix.
You’ve had a long and varied career in music. Give us a bit of a history lesson from Kiosk to now.
Gosh, I can barely remember! I’ve played in many bands! Kiosk was with Jack, who I just knew would be my best friend from the first moment we met, and Catherine, who I met on the internet and realised we were almost the same as each other which was a suprise! We travelled around the USA, played a zillion shows, released a 7″, an EP and recorded an album at Dub Narcotic in Oregon with Calvin Johnson that was never released! Since then, well there’s been a couple bands, mainly Circle Pit and Ruined Fortune, and Southern Comfort with my friend Harriet. They were all great trips! Recently I’ve been making records on my own, which has been another kind of challenge, but an amazing ride, one that’s taken me from Greece to Brazil to the deep South in the US and many places in between!
Where have you played and toured that have been memorable?
I played a solo show on a coffee plantation in rural Brasil which was definitely unforgettable – all of the families in the area came with their kids, and their response was very beautiful, it was a beautiful night and there were so many stars in the sky that were so bright, there was almost no need for artificial light. Circle Pit played a house party in New Orleans on Halloween, that was definitely one to remember! When ‘Angie’ toured solo in the US with Nathan Roche, we were each other’s backing bands and played many memorable events, although we had to work twice as hard every night, playing twice! My favourite places on that tour was Virginia, it was a unique place with lovely people and unforgettable landscapes. The last time I played solo in Greece I had a small backing band of locals, which was great also, and an unforgettable experience. Greek people are very focused and considerate musicians. Kiosk also played many memorable shows including on the back of a Ute at Reclaim the Streets in Redfern, and my personal favourite show which was at Manacle club with Limp Wrist in Sydney’s Darlinghurst.
What support did you need / have when you were starting out?
I always had the support of my mum, who didn’t buy me instruments, I had to get a part time job as a teen to get those, but she did help me out a lot by getting me lessons in guitar and piano. For that I’m always grateful because lessons are expensive! She also was very convinced that I should be studying music which was very encouraging for me. I also had a series of chance findings and ‘luck’ that kind of led me to a community without too much searching. I felt like the whole thing was kind of fortuitous in a way, but I found a series of people that shared my interests and goals at almost the same time that I realised what I wanted to do..
What do you think can be done in Western Sydney to help original artists evolve?
Support for artistic institutions – galleries, studios and music venues; spaces to host the organic movements and work of people starting out – is essential. Its awesome that there is places like I.C.E, Parramatta Artist Studios, Beat Disc, and the new artist-run initiative Pari in Western Sydney. As long as these places can continue and flourish and there is venues and forums for collaboration, support and presentation, artists will evolve.
Do you think all-ages shows are important?
Definitely! I found it really hard when I was underage – I didn’t want to drink or party, I just wanted to see music. I had a Fake ID and in hindsight that probably wasn’t safe or smart. But I was just so very determined to see live music and performance at whatever cost. Having all-ages shows provides a safe space for young people to experience music at the age where it can really inspire them and change things in life. Thanks to I.C.E and the venues that do provide this service, it’s truly invaluable.
Interview originally written on 1/10/2019 by Chris Sammut
Image: Lyndal Irons 2019