1. Growing Up
Mum took me to early childhood music classes. My most intense early musical memory was the joy of singing in a massive choir when I was nine.
The first album I owned was Icehouse – Man Of Colours. Other ’80s idols included Janet Jackson and an important early inspiration was Paul Simon’s Graceland. Dad got me on to Frank Zappa early. Later inspirations include Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
3. Your Band
The EP features Bree van Reyk on drums, and as creative producer. Bree and I played together in our first bands in Canberra when we were 16. I was in admiration of her then and am still now – she brings such diversity, having played in all sorts of rock and pop settings, but also is a trained classical percussionist.
Alyx Dennison is on synths and vocals. I met Alyx working on a dance/music show together a few years ago and we hit it off instantly. She was one of the first people I told about Pheno and has been so supportive. When I heard her self-titled album in 2015, I was completely blown away. Her voice is one in a million and she’s a very gifted songwriter. I’ve also had the wonderful Bonnie Stewart on drums for the live shows – she is also an amazing singer-songwriter.
David Trumpmanis engineered the EP – he’s a great musician himself and I’ve really trusted his feedback on performances on the album. He’s been a big part of the production of the EP too.
4. The Music You Make
Art pop/art rock; I’m definitely on the experimental end of the spectrum. I’m super inspired by Tune-Yards, St. Vincent, Deerhoof, Dirty Projectors… The live show features a three-piece band, electric guitar, drums, synths, samples and lots of vocals!
5. Music, Right Here, Right Now
The music scene in Australia is exploding with originality and talent, but it’s a tough city to make a buck. It’s sad that the Newtown Social Club can’t survive, but there are small bars opening up and putting on music. The Gasoline Pony in Marrickville is great, and I’ll be playing at Leadbelly soon – I’ve always loved the theatre of that space.
Dragon Year is out now independently. Pheno plays Leadbelly on Sunday May 28.