Exclusive Interview: The Community Chest
Everybody is celebrating this year and for good reason. In The Pines turns 21 and Adem K turns 10. Of course we are referring to Adem K’s 10th performance in this year’s In The Pines Festival. He will be playing live alongside band members in indie pop group The Community Chest. WAM’s Claire Borrello spoke to Adem about his career in the music industry.
In The Pines is celebrating it’s 21st year and it would be fair to say you’ve been at a number of those… Top 5 highlights/craziest moments etc?
1. Being asked to play this year after being around the scene for almost 20 years.
2. Reforming Turnstyle for the 2013 In The Pines.
3. Playing my first In The Pines in 1997 with my new girlfriend (now wife) looking on.
4. Playing drums for Mitey Ko at the 2005 In The Pines.
5. Psychedelic good times in the late 90s.
How many times have you attended, and how many times has a band you’ve been in played In The Pines?
Someone will have to do the math on that but I’m pretty sure Andrew Ryan pipped me during my 2008-2012 drought. This will be my 18th In The Pines and the 10th time I’ve played.
This year you’ll be playing the festival with your band The Community Chest. What can we expect from your live show?
It will be a set reflecting where we are heading with our new stuff. Having said that, the material will be slightly less fruity, meatier versions of some of the songs we’ve released thus far. I informed my bandmates last night that there will be no stage banter or rock moves – it’s old hat.
The Community Chest description on Facebook consists of “A film made in 1973 about 2013.” Please explain…
Wow. Uh… I don’t recall exactly but when I wrote that bio in 2010 I was heavily obsessed with Brian Eno’s first album, Woody Allen’s Sleeper and the paintings “Bus Terminus” and “Truck and trailer approaching a city” by Jeffrey Smart, all from 1973. I often put my obsessions into my music.
You started playing with Turnstyle in the mid 1990s and since then have continued to play and release music in a number of bands and as a solo artist. What motivates you to keep making music when so many other veterans of the scene spend most of their time complaining about how ‘the good ol’ days were better’?
Everyone’s time was the best time wasn’t it? I love reminiscing but I don’t bang on about it. It’s just that my ‘time’ is still going. The past is what keeps me enthused about the future. I decided early on that I didn’t want to or couldn’t be a career musician and the fact that I have kept it as a hobby has definitely contributed to my longtivity and productivity. My life is simple. Family life, work and music. I don’t do anything else. I am always writing songs and fortunately I usually have a backlog. I release everything eventually. I can’t say what’s good or bad, they are all expressions of the time (which is probably why I am prolific!). I am rather frightened of dropping off and not releasing music or performing so in that regard, music also keeps my mental health in check.
What are the most important five lessons you’ve learnt over the years?
1. Never have a sense of entitlement.
2. Connect with like minded folk – strength in numbers.
3. Don’t be precious. Put it out and stop over-analyzing it.
4. You can’t make the same music with different people.
5. Play music with your friends.
When you started Turnstlye there was no Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube etc, not to mention there were very few blogs and media outlets in general. It must be great to be able to so easily share your music today but with so many mediums now competing, what are your thoughts on the difficulties of making your music stand out through all the noise?
I agree that sites such as Bandcamp are great places to create your own store and share your music. As I am also mad about films and music videos, Youtube and Vimeo are winners as well. Facebook is pretty ridiculous with the whole ‘fans’ thing and how many ‘fans’ you get (and pay for!!!). I’m perplexed, preferring Twitter. As far as the associated difficulties go, well, it is hard to stand out, sell music and rise above the noise I guess. I’m 39 years old so I’ve kinda stopped trying to be ‘the man’ but of course I would still like exposure and attention. Over the years I have been able to form friendships and relationships with people in the industry which is of a great advantage as I can usually get a leg up with each release and then I let it fly. Some of it does better than others. I would imagine it’s hard for a new band now to stand out from the noise unless they want to sit at their laptop more than at their instrument but we are starting to see a resurgence in buzz bands in Perth which is always exciting.