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WAM INTERVIEWS: Sounds Of The Goldfields artists Ange Leech & Ruben Wills

12 May

Having recently completed their recordings for the WAM Sounds Of The Goldfields compilation CD,  Ruben Wills and Ange Leech featuring Michelle Meehan are now readying for the launch event at Goldfields Arts Centre on Saturday 28 May, which will see all ten acts from the recording project showcasing their wares, as well as an acoustic set from Eskimo Joe (tickets available here). WAM’s Claire Logan spoke to Ruben and Ange, uncovering a number of stories that could only happen when recording in Kalgoorlie.

 

ANGE LEECH featuring MICHELLE MEEHAN

 

History in brief? Playing on and off over the last 15 years. Previously played in a rock band in Melbourne for a few years around 2005. Play and jam in pubs around Kalgoorlie Boulder.

Your sound? Heavy acoustic rock, blues, desert rock.

What was it like being involved with Sounds Of The Goldfield and how do you think the program benefits regional artists? It was a real privilege to be involved in the project. I knew it was going to be great, but it exceeded  expectations. This opportunity provided real insight into the technical aspects and the amount of work invested into the recording experience. I feel now when we undertake further recording projects, I have a realistic understanding of the time and value of the studio hours. Being in the Pop up studio was very much like having an out of body experience, it was a space where Michelle and myself were able to focus and celebrate on the song we had created and in the end be pushed beyond our comfort zones to explore the possibilities within the music. I say out of body, because I felt like we had been picked up and shifted to some up market full blown professional studio in Sydney. Having access to the expertise and guidance of Matt Gio and Sean Lillico was a real gift and has had a significant impact on our music and recording experience. Equally as exciting and rewarding was the connections and confirmations of the amazing musical talent we have in the Eastern Goldfields, and the fact that Libby Carmody (local radio announcer and producer for Tjuma Pulka 96.3FM) was present and able to absorb all the skills and knowledge that WAM bought to the Goldfields. Now we can access these experiences; up and onwards into the future. Musician and WAM Regional Officer Nigel Bird’s attention and commitment to the whole process really made it a solid and enjoyable experience. Hats off to the whole WAM team and everyone that made this album possible.

From your experience during Sounds Of The Goldfields, what are three of the most important things you’ve learned about recording a great song?

  • Have as much fun as you can
  • Exploration and discovery must be embraced
  • Focus, dedication and commitment to quality

What do you believe the biggest challenges facing regional artists are today, and any specific to Goldfields artists?  Accessing professional networks, workshops and development opportunities.

Can you tell us a bit about where you write/play/rehearse your music? I write at home, sometime out doors in the desert. Most public performances are in the local pubs. There are a lot of awesome pubs in Kalgoorlie who are really willing to get behind local musicians and support and pay well. You can really make your opportunities here and the broad community will support it. People love live music here and will support it, especially if you put the work in to promoting it

What’s the environment like and do you think this influences your music at all? People, energy and the landscape influence our songs and being.

What’s the most un-expected/funniest/craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while performing? Nothing like jumping off a stage with a loud distorted guitar and getting thrown around audience while you playin’ “Kick out the Jams”.

What’s your dream gig? Would love to play in the middle of a salt lake, which I believe we are going to make happen. Who would open or who would we open for, we would say some of the awesome local musos up from Laverton way. There are a lot of talented people in this region and I want to see local musicians from all over the region getting there music to the masses. Who would be there, I love Jack Black! Bring on the metal!

What’s happening for you in the near future? Michelle and I will continue to jam, share our tunes, hopefully pull other local musos out to do it with us. I am going to jump on a plane and go to the US to see if I can convince some venues to let me on their stage, even if it’s just open mike and or something like that. Then back to do some recording with Michelle Meehan and the fantastic Libby Carmody at Tjuma Pulka Original Nation’s Station. There are many other awesome musos in remote communities especially amongst Original Nations people, so hopefully generating more accessible opportunities like Sounds Of The Goldfields again and again in the broader region. And please check out local musos from Laverton in the LA Unplugged Laverton Project!

 

RUBEN WILLS

 

History in brief? I started playing guitar just shy of eight years old and have many memories of performing my own music live as part of my music school’s gigs. I’ll admit that I never took music seriously as a career path and went about my life through school and university with my guitar as a hobby, often not playing for large periods of time at all. Moving to Kambalda in 2014 allowed me to activate my musicality again in the capacity of a guitar specialist, and as director of a music start-up Eleven13 Records.

Your sound? My works are generally very lyrically-driven; the meaning of the song must be conveyed with integrity through the music. I enjoy being immersed in a song with a great story, and I hope my music makes other people feel the same way.

What was it like being involved with Sounds Of The Goldfield and how do you think the program benefits regional artists? It was fantastic. Matt and Sean are outstanding lads who are extremely easy to work with. Longer answer at my blog, here.

From your experience during Sounds Of The Goldfields, what are three of the most important things you’ve learned about recording a great song?

  • Strip it back. Remove any preconceptions of the song and let the creativity take hold.
  • Share ideas. Talk with the producer and give your thoughts. The best work comes from the creative process, which requires a back-and-forth.
  • Breakfast burritos.

What do you believe the biggest challenges facing regional artists are today, and any specific to Goldfields artists? Probably the access they have to quality recording equipment and promotion. Kalgoorlie’s music scene has grown quite steadily in the past several months, and I hope the momentum that WAM has created will continue after the project wraps up.

Can you tell us a bit about where you write/play/rehearse your music? What’s the environment like and do you think this influences your music at all? Generally an empty space. I don’t like anyone to hear a song at any stage until I’m ready for them to hear it.

What’s the most un-expected/funniest/craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while performing? Somehow, I forgot the first line of Hotel California. Whilst playing the introduction repeatedly I racked my brain to no avail. I was able to attract the attention of my fiancé to approach me and provide the lyrics I so desperately needed.

What’s your dream gig? The WAM Sounds of the Goldfields launch.

What’s happening for you in the near future? I don’t have any performances lined up personally, but on May 15 Eleven13 Records is debuting its ‘Sessions’ project, which I’ve been very busy organising. More info here.

For more info on the CD launch…

moreinfo

 

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

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.