Music Interview: Adalita is in residency
Adalita has been on the Australian music scene since 1991, with the formation of the highly-acclaimed Magic Dirt. As well as playing in the seminal Australian band, she launched a successful solo career after Magic Dirt went on hiatus. Adrian Pedić was lucky enough to have a chance to talk to her about her upcoming residency at the Gasometer in Melbourne, the new material she’s planning to perform, as well as some of her thoughts on the Australian music scene in general:
How did your residency at the Gasometer come about?
It was just an idea that came from something different, you know, play some shows. I haven’t really done a residency in a few years, and it’s good to do something intimate, and get back in my home town, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to it.
So what in particular are you looking forward to about your residency?
Well, just having a place to go to, spend time with my mates, and it’ll be good just having a bit of a routine, and having a place and a familiar stage to go to every week. I haven’t played there since the Gasometer changed hands. It’s a really cool place, I like the feel of the room, I think it’s a good rock pub, and the people that go there love music, and the people that run it love music. It’ll be good to be there every week, and play songs, road testing new songs, and hopefully just getting up and having fun.
Yeah, you’ve said you’ll be playing some new material. What can you tell us about that?
Well, just playing some new songs, playing new songs every week, and just see how they go in front of a live audience. It really helps with the new songs. It’s always good to expose the song in front of a live audience. It can change the whole perception of it. It’s a good little litmus test.
Yeah, totally. Well your previous two solo albums, in my opinion at least, seemed to have had a central theme, or a driving force, behind them. With your new material would you say that’s applicable?
I think you can pick a theme out of whatever I do. I just write the songs, link them together, and make an album. The songs come from an individual who sees, who feels. I don’t really know what is underlying it, if there’s something that holds together. Each song is just thoughts, impressions and needs that I always have. It just comes from personal experience.
I agree. Like both of your solo albums, to me, have seemed to have been centred around change.
Yeah, I guess it’s hard to know what it’s all about until I have the finished product in my hand, and it’s all done, and there might be a prevailing theme. I mean, I’m only kind of halfway through the new album, so I don’t really have a perspective yet. But I guess I’m maturing as a person, and maturing as a songwriter, so that might be leading me into another direction, or something slightly different from the last album. It’s all early days yet at this stage.
So you’ve also just done a series of shows with J Mascis, how would you describe that?
Oh yeah, it was amazing. It was a really good solo show; it was really great to watch. He seems to be one of those musicians that can really pull off a solo show. And then he’s a guitar legend, a hero of mine, and I grew up listening to Dinosaur Jr. They were one the bands that were around that I was really inspired by. It was a real honour and I hold him in really high regard.
Yeah, of course. I’m sure a lot of people who love Dinosaur Jr would have been blown away by that, myself included – let alone actually doing it.
It was too wonderful. I’m still pinching myself. Just so incredible.
Yeah, so in a sort of similar way, there’s a lot of great bands coming out, and it’s starting to take hold. So as the front-woman for Magic Dirt, which is a really well-regarded and influential Australian band, how do you look at the local scene these days?
Well, I don’t go out that much, but I have seen some bands, and I’m really impressed and excited by what’s out there. There’s a local band, Dark Fair, that’s just starting out… two girls, and I just want them to be up there, and hopefully they’ll be huge. I think they’re gonna be big, because their songs are just undeniable. There’s so much great talent, and I’m in love with it. I get to see so much great music, and it’s lots of different genres, lots of people doing it, creating so much different music.
Yeah, Melbourne in particular seems to have very fertile ground for new artists, so how much of an influence would you say that had on you, both with Magic Dirt and with your solo career?
Oh, huge, you know, Melbourne was the Mecca, still is. For musicians and different sorts of artists, who are coming here to write songs and make their art. Like when Magic Dirt started out in Geelong, to make it to Melbourne, it was a huge deal. And I’ve been here a pretty long time. I’m very lucky, it’s totally the place to be.
So with that being said, what are some of your favourite places to play in Australia?
At Melbourne I’ve always liked playing at the Tote, and the Prince of Wales as well. I don’t get to play there often but I think it’s still a classic rock venue. In Sydney I’ve always played at the Annandale, but that’s all changed now. We played at the Gold Coast with J Mascis, and we did a place called the Soundlounge which was incredible. It was just great vibes, great staff, great crowd, with people who just love music. It was smack-bang right in the middle of this huge RSL. It wasn’t what you’d expect from a place like that, but it was my favourite show of the whole tour. In Adelaide, the Grace Emily, it’s a great pub, full of music lovers, great owners and it’s run really well. It’s just a great vibe, very relaxed, you know? There’s too many great venues around the country that are still going, and I’m really glad they are, and you need it. Kudos to those people that are putting their money, their time and their energy into keeping live bands safe.
Well, as a Sydney local, there’s a strong scene of people just getting out there and playing shows and releasing music, mostly for free. As somebody who’s come up through that, what would you say to them?
I’d say just play. Just play as much as you can. If you’re passionate about it and music is your life and you love it, then nothing’s really gonna get in your way. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Just play and get out there. Play at your local pub, hang out with other muso’s, make friends with other bands and go to their shows. Just go to gigs. It’s a great way to meet other muso’s and create a peer group. Play anywhere. Play parties, just get up and play – if you can’t get a pub show, make your own, do a house party. If you love it, you’ll find a way.
You’ll be able to catch Adalita every Wednesday night in March at the Gasometer in Melbourne. Support comes from: 4th – Ghostly // 11th – Ali E // 18th – Warmth Crashes In // 25th – Claws And Organs
Interview by Adrian Pedić