Carol Bowditch talks to Melbourne-born, Berlin-based musician Ned Collette about his upcoming album and Australian tour:
Your sound seems to take influence from different genres. Do you have an especially eclectic music taste?
Sure, I guess. I mean I listen to all sorts of stuff from all over the shop really. Different times and places. And though it might seem eclectic it's somehow all tied together in my mind by some indefinable thread. Goodness, or honesty, or risk, or something that makes me feel like the artist/composer is really putting themselves on the line. I guess the one thing I'm not really good at is knowing about new music - stuff that is coming out now. It seems to take at least five years or so for something to filter through to me. I keep realising things I think are new are ten years old already.
In what ways do you think this album differs from the 2009 long-player that Ned Collette + Wirewalker released? Were these differences planned or did they occur organically?
It's a lot more sonically diverse, mostly because it began as stuff I was recording on my own and was then developed with Joe in any direction we felt like taking it, rather than from one session based around the band recording some songs on our usual instruments. So it's not as rock, it's not really as heavily guitar based, though the lyrics and themes have continued in a direction I can't seem to avoid. In that sense it was really organic but the album certainly wasn't planned as a Wirewalker album until quite far into the process.
You created the new album after expatriating to Berlin. Was it an easy relocation? There are some dark themes within the album that suggest that there might have been some difficulties.
It was remarkably easy really. Berlin is a a wonderful city that is very easy to become familiar with. Sure there were difficulties, but no more than usual in a comfortable, first world, white middle-class kinda scenario. I find personal difficulties always get projected on to the background of one's environment though, and I really like writing from that point of view, as if the city or the space around you is somehow an accomplice or at least a witness to your experiences.
You recently toured the UK and Europe. How was it? Any particular favourite gigs/cities?
We haven't toured here properly since 2010, but I've played a fair bit here and there solo since then. It's good. People listen like crazy in Europe - the rooms are silent. They like to let you know exactly what they think afterwards too, which is sometimes interesting, but often gets in the way of the first drink… I played one at the Swiss Cultural Institute in Rome last year which was very beautiful but not
a great crowd - a bunch of Swiss artists and scientists wanting to get off their faces and dance to a horrible Parisian cover band. Other than that, the closing party of a warehouse party institution with the Wirewalker in Freiburg, the regular gigs to a very faithful but also varied crowd I do in a small place here, playing with Kurt Vile last year…
Are you excited about your upcoming tour of Australia?
Yes, very excited. The band played one show of this material when I was back in Melbourne mixing it in October and it was by far the best gig we've ever done. Easily. Even though James and Ben weren't involved in making the record, they understood and fitted their respective things effortlessly into the songs. It was really very enjoyable.
After the tour, what do you have planned for the remainder of 2012?
Well, the album is coming out worldwide in August through Fire Records, so I'll be back here and hopefully busy with that, and with trying to find a way to get the whole band touring a bit more over here again. I'm also going to spend a couple of weeks on a Greek island with a bunch of friends at the end of summer, which has been taking up a fair portion of my consciousness ever since we made that
Tell us something that we might be surprised to learn about you...
I genuinely think George Michael's 'Faith' is one of the best albums ever made.
Ned Collette + Wirewalker Australian Tour 2012
June 14 - Brisbane, Blackbear Lodge
June 15 - Sydney, Fbi Social
June 16 - Adelaide, Metro
June 21 - Canberra, Front Gallery (Ned solo)
June 23 - Melbourne, Northcote Social Club
plus Inevitable OrbitTickets: www.northcotesocialclub.com
Interview by Carol Bowditch. Visit Ned's site here: www.nedcollette.com