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WAM INTERVIEWS: Joni In The Moon & Peter Bibby

23 Apr



Both playing a superb edition of RTRFM’s In The Pines this Sunday (playing times here), recent Song Of The Year winner Joni In The Moon and rapscallion Peter Bibby are sure to be highlights. WAM’s Lauren Bettridge and Aarom Wilson interviewed them, digging out some well shaded memories of the fave local music festival, what best to serve up to Kate Bush, and when “unfiltered swashbuckle” is appropriate fare…


A brief history:
Josh and I started flexing our musical muscles together properly in around 2011. We released Sorrow Trees in 2014 with a few SOTY noms. In 2015 we were awarded WA Music Award for Best Female Vocalist and WAM SOTY award in Pop category for War and Porn.

Your sound?
We’ve shifted from world influenced folk-pop into more electro-pop territory. I definitely consider that the music I write is for everyone, so yeah, I write pop music. My main influences vocally are wild female vocalists – Kate Bush, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos. I’m really into Sia at the moment. Josh is more of a sound nerd – he idolizes Flying Lotus and Bjork. We tend to rummage through all kinds of random reference tracks when producing each song, from 17th century chamber music to Justin Bieber.

Considering your recent win at the WAM Song Of The Year Awards in the pop category, what words of wisdom would you give to other aspiring WA pop writers?
War and Porn was a soul vom – it just kind of happened in one sitting, and that’s not always the case when trying to write music! Perhaps if I could give any suggestions for aspiring pop writers it would be to be fearless and creative in what you’re actually writing about. For me, War and Porn has a greater global purpose than just expressing some kind of self-indulgent idea, and I think that may be why so many people have connected to it so strongly. The fact such a politically potent song managed to win a pop song award is pretty awesome.

A number of this year’s SOTY winners were parents, including yourself. How has this inspired or affected your songwriting, and how do you balance having a family with your music career?
Being a single mum and trying to balance a career has been by far my biggest challenge when it comes to my music. Songwriting isn’t the problem, I’ve always been able to find/create space to write when the urge happens. My kids have never known any different and they have always been my first audience so to speak. The music industry isn’t the most family friendly industry though, especially if you don’t have a supportive partner to take care of the kids at night when you have shows or rehearsals. Yeah, I have relatively good family support, but it’s still hard. I don’t know that I do balance it and, if I’m extremely honest, I don’t get the balance right most of the time, and it can cause resentment. On the other hand, I don’t know what kind of mother I’d be if I wasn’t able to follow my heart with my music and model that to my kids. My kids are a pretty potent muse, however difficult it may be, so in short: it’s a mixed up, muddled up circus of pleasure and pain!

What’s your fave/funniest/tree-riffic In the Pines memory?
All of my In The Pines memories involved mucking about with my closest friends, though singing onstage for headliner Abbe May last yeah was pretty awesome.

Act you’re most pining to see at In The Pines and why?
Oh, this year, SO MANY!! Probably Radarmaker – such nostalgia, I loved playing with and seeing those guys play back in the day, and I’m looking forward to being taken back to my mental teenage years. I’m also really excited to see Hayley Beth (HeebieJeebies), Ben Witt, Peter Bibby… Gosh the line-up is so good this year… every year!

If you could have a picnic with any music act (alive or dead) who would they be and what would you feed them?
Kate Bush – I’d make a hearty soup and some crusty bread or scones.

And how has RTRFM helped grow your career? RTRfm has been instrumental in launching our music to the world, seriously, THE most supportive folks we know when it comes to pushing and playing our music and promoting our shows. It’s an absolute honour to be asked to play their main event this year!

What’s happening for you in the near future?
In The Pines will be our last show for a while. It sux, but we’ve hit a roadblock with our next album launching (was originally planned for this month). One of my daughters is undergoing a pretty intensive limb lengthening starting in a few weeks and so I’m going to be out of action for at least a few months caring for her whilst that’s going on. Because there are so many uncertain factors in the process, we’ve not booked anything in the foreseeable future, though hopefully we’ll be back up and running, and releasing the album by the end of the year.



A brief history:
Played around Perth for a few years in various bands after realising venues generally gave free beer in exchange for live performance. I moved to Melbourne after a few years of doing that and played there for a few years, got signed to Spinning Top Music, toured Australia a fair few times, played overseas a few times, put out an album that was received very nicely (through Spinning Top). A few months ago I moved back to Perth (biggest achievement so far).

Your sound?
Unfiltered Swashbuckle, matured in an old mans belly, garnished with organic parsley fresh from the backyard and served with warm sourdough. Influences include Sleep, Wutang Clan and Bobby Lee Trammell.

What’s your fave/funniest/tree-riffic In the Pines memory?
That would surely be the time I met a dear friend of mine for the first time who had gotten extremely inebriated on some over the counter chemist syrup and needed me to help him cross the road so he could sit by the river. I can’t remember who was playing at the time, but I think it would have been in about 2009 or 2010…

Act you’re most pining to see at In the Pines and why?
HEEBIEJEEBIES. I love both Hayley and Brendan and am yet to witness this collaboration. I also love getting the heebiejeebies so it’s a bit of a win win for me.

If you could have a picnic with any music act (alive or dead) who would they be and what would you feed them?
Emlyn Johnson. I would feed him unfiltered swashbuckle, matured in an old mans belly, garnished with organic parsley fresh from the backyard, served with avjar and boiled eggs.

What words of wisdom would you give to budding acts to help them put down roots in the local music industry?
Fear not the great unknown.

How has RTRFM helped grow your career?
How HASN’T RTRFM helped grow my career? From over playing my music, to having me as a guest on countless radio shows, to filming me and my friends play for The View From Here, RTRFM has been an unstoppable force behind the Peter Bibby musical career.

What’s happening for you in the near future?
I’m working on a new album which will be released hopefully by the end of the year. Besides that I’m laying low on the music front and focussing on rendering walls and slow cooking fine meats.


Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.