SOC X Live N Local: MOAT feat. Drmngnow Interview

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We would encircle around the cube, our shadows intermingling with the visual projections like puddles among the polychromatic wash that floods over the space. Embodying a moat, we would wade alongside an amalgamation of sound, dance and animation, experiencing a spectacle of synergised energies and sensory performances. SOC caught up with the curator of MOAT, Charlie Paino, to discuss collaboration, representation and the magnetic artists and musicians brought together for a captivating evening of total sensory immersion.

This interview took place on stolen land belonging to the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We remember and continue to pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging; sovereignty has never been ceded.

1) As the curator for the MOAT event, could you explain the MOAT event and what it will be encompassing?

MOAT will be a diverse line up, with theatrical elements designed to represent each artist, and create a total sensory understanding for the audience. It will take place at Alex Theatre, a classic and accessible Saint Kilda venue, and the musicians will perform inside of a cube, on a stage in the centre of a room, encompassed by the audience. Instead of watching the musicians perform, the audience will have a total 360 view of the pre-considered visuals being projected off the cube; so that we can provide a stimulating, and evocative, guided journey through our line-up.

2) What was your inspiration behind the event?

The cube idea was conceived by the boss man Theo, at South of The City. Before he passed the reins over to me, he had already locked in the venue, and Neil Morris from DRMNGNOW as the headliner. Neil’s music is powerful, and culturally rooted. His lyrics are poetic and convincing. His values are what have inspired this creative direction, and so has he. My method of curation is collaboration; so that the outcome of the night is honest, and properly representative of everyone involved. We want the audience to leave with a TOTAL sensory understanding of each performer.

I asked Neil who he’d like to see on the line up, and I asked him to consider how their music’s visuals will guide the audience to his set; like a story, with a beginning, middle and end, but without the direct narrative. And by making sure everyone’s values are aligned in this, I know that when each artist plays, they will fiercely represent themselves and truly support each other.

3) The event is a striking interdisciplinary collaboration between different artists, how did this curation of artists come about?

Collaborating senses. Collaborating values. Collaborating musical elements. Collaborating art and music. Collaborating culture. Sharing skills, sharing resources, sharing insights, asking for other’s opinions and listening to them.

4) The common thread that links them together is in their focus on music and sound. How does sound and music inform these artists individually? What are the differences and similarities in their respective practices?

For me the common thread is energy. I think the energy they provide is unique to each other, but just as charismatic and familiar. If you draw out certain elements of their music, a consistency you can hear is this liberation and representation of character. They are all releasing something that’s relatable, and powerful. Pania brings a divine feminine energy - perfect for an opening act. Lubuwla, brings an eruptive ethereal quality, that’ll shift you into an ambient open space, and prepare you for this juxtaposing reality check that is DRMNGNOW.

5) As a collaborative unit brought together for this event, how would you describe the relationship between the participating artists and their roles in the execution of this performance.

Their role is to naturally complement each other, and visually translate themselves to the audience. We will be collectively deciding which tracks of theirs will create a fluid movement of energy; and we’ll decide when we should include extra visual aids, such as dance and animation. They also have freedom to include any art works, or advocate for a personal cause, in the entrance of the theatre, which will be covered in Australian native plants.

6) There will also be visuals projected onto the cube during the performance. Who produced these visuals and what is their purpose in this performance?

The visuals are produced by our super talented projectionist, Jay (@fanclub.president), and each performer. I’ve asked that they work closely together so that the projections will be fully expressive of the performer’s music, and individuality. We have also offered a practising animator, Peta Treble (Bassist in Girl Germs).

7) DRMNGNOW’s performance will take place within a cube that is centred in an open space alongside a dancer performing outside and beside the cube, creating an inevitable interaction between the performers and the audience as the moat encircling the performance. What were your intentions and desired effects in curating a space that allows for such interaction?

Physical, human translation. Collaborating visual forces and interpreting sound with movement. Experiencing sound as represented by an alternative medium.

8) The event details purposefully titled the viewer- You- as the MOAT “circling the performance- understanding from all angles.” What sort of understandings are you aiming for your audience to reach during the course of the performance?

I’m hoping the audience will achieve a total sensory understanding of each performer’s individuality. We’ve used props, lights, backdrops, costumes and make-up before, but what’s rare, is seeing musicians remove their stage presence, and rely on their sound and their external visuals to represent them.

We want each artist to think about the colours that they connect to; do they relate more to organic textures or geometric patterns? Have they developed footage they want you to see? What symbolises them? How does their music look when depicted by other modes of creative movement? This is the kind of understanding the audience should gain. We’re bringing the backdrop forward and presenting their isolated musical energy in the form of a cube.

Theodore CarrollMusic, More