This post is in the Appendices category

Appendix for assessment only. Not For publication.

Interviewer: I'm interested in where we differ in our perceptions

Mary: OK

Interviewer: just break the couch

So, Mary

Mary: Hi Colin

Interviewer: Hi Mary

Mary: are you sure you're getting me in?

Interviewer: yes I'm getting all of you

Mary: oh no don't do that!

Interviewer: no no I'm not getting all of you

Mary: I hate this sort of thing

Interviewer: I'm getting you from about there {knee} up, I want to make sure I get both our faces

Interviewer: so I though maybe what we should do is ask you to tell me about when we first met and ho hat came about way back when in - I can't even remember what year it was, in Wyong

Mary: yeah well, we first met in Wyong through a contact, Bill Conway, through the Baha'i Faith and it was to do with music because I was looking for other Bahai's who could actually play music and make another connection - and he gave me your number and said you were a producer and you should contact Colin Webber and all that and so that's exactly what happened and before you knew it I was on a train to Wyong and you said to me on the phone before I even met you "Ok this is what I look like I'm tall and skinny, white" and I said, "ah well you won't miss me coz I've got dreads and I'm brown" {laughs} or black or something like that - anyway there was a joke involved with that

Interviewer: I seem to remember that you were coming into Wyong and I said I would make sure I was on time because I was a bit concerned that there wasn't too many black people wandering around Wyong

Mary: yeah well anyway that's were we met, and we mainly met to talk about music and to meet you and especially being a new Baha'i that was in 2000, the year 2000, around about the Fast time because I was on the train

Interviewer: the first day of the Fast - I'm going to turn this bubbler off

Interviewer: so did you have any expectations about what that would result in?

Mary: Um I was excited to meet knew people and especially to meet musicians and especially to meet new Baha'is and um I didn't expect anything, no, I didn't have any expectations because just becoming a Bahai was already a huge thing for me at that time and I was just trying to comprehend all that so it was just - I wasn't expecting anything, no

Interviewer: we're going to stop because Tania's come home

Mary: Wyong

Interviewer: ok you were saying that you didn't really have any expectations of that time but I'm interested in your action to what we did, because we made some music

Mary: yeah we did, it was a really interesting process because, um, you know, I didn't know you and this was a really big thing for me - it was all about getting to know you and I didn't know what you did musically so I remember quite clearly the first day I had a CD or a tape and I said well this is what I do you were listening to it and you put your cd on and said well this is what I do.and so it was just a sharing of completely different musical ideas and um, I remember the process was you saying "well lets get in the car and do some jamming and find out if we can work together {laughs loudly} I'll never forget it - {hits couch}

Interviewer: why - coz - you said - I didn't feel like I needed to get to know you really

Mary: you didn't"

Interviewer: no because I always know that you put two musicians in a room and you don't necessarily expect them to gel

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: but I didn't really feel like I needed to know you personally to do that - but you just said that "I didn't know you so but, you, you find that funny...I'm interested in why, why when I said lets go and see if we can actually work together

Mary: now look ... Its just that

Interviewer: that was obviously something that wasn't within your experience

Mary: um its just the way you articulated it. With me it's like, "lets get together and jam" but you actually articulated it and said, we're both very different and "just because we're Baha'is doesn't mean that we can work together.


Mary:Ok, really big wake up call for me, because, here I am a new Baha'i coming in and thinking we can all get on together and we can all lovey dovey flower-power

Interviewer: {laughs}

Mary: halleluja sixties, here we go again, and you just sort of turned the light on and I thought about it and I thought - well that's actually very true - you intellectualised it for me. Where I'm just coming in to fairy land and I'm cool man and its all gonna be OK hippy stuff

Interviewer: Because one thing I notice about you since we always have known each other is that even in this house hunting process that you are going into at the moment, it has to feel right, the light has to be on for you when you go into a place and to be frank, I just don't understand that

Mary: ok

Interviewer: and so although Ive had experiences in the past with people when you are trying to do something musically and it just doesn't work and usually i find its because the people involved are too attached to their own ideas and I believe, and I may be wrong but I believe that I'm nor attached to my ideas. I believe that I put something out there and if its accepted and its good we can run with it and if its not then thats OK and I;m not, I don't feel like I'm - I don't feel like the ideas are "mine" or that a rejection of the idea as a rejection of me but I've worked with people who have that and I find that very very difficult


Interviewer: but yes, Ok I was a bit brutal was I?

Mary:no! well, you've actually said something really interesting because um, see when I came, even before I became a Bahai my whole musical process is that I was always the band leader. People always worked around me and they are all doing my music. Ok purely self indulgent, nobody question it , blah blah. And it wasn't really um we were working together, but basically they were playing my music. And people were enjoying that and I gave them the liberty and I hope they felt the liberty to create in that process.

Interviewer: yep

Mary:and, so when I came to you, it was a completely different situation because we were actually talking about, I'm gonna actually, I'm going to force - not force, but looking at a situation where we're going to work TOGETHER and I had never done that before until I met you

Interviewer: right

Mary: ok? so you've just made me realise, just then in your process, talking then is that I actually never worked with anybody on the same level in music before

Interviewer: right

Mary: in terms of producing something together, so it was a completely new experience and so when you articulated and said "just because we're bahais doesn't mean we're going to get on and we can work together, so we're going to go to the studio and we're going to see if we can do that. So I'm sat down with my bass and I'm like "Oh My God, I'm just so nervous because I was actually nervous that ..... I was a bit

Interviewer: it was like a personal audition ...

Mary:It was a personal audition one, it was, I was sharing my music that i'd never done, well I had with people I'd worked with, but this is somebody that I didn't know, so I was on unfamiliar territory, even though you were a Baha'i , I'd just met you, so I was sharing my music with you and I was completely opening up myself to everything, criticism, whatever, whatever it was. and when I started playing Akile and you started playing, I felt really good, because there were no words that had to be said, because you didn't have to say anything to me at the moment because you're actually hearing it and feeling it and it was being connected.

Interviewer: hm, did you, feel that um with you making yourself vulnerable in that way 0 did you feel that it was both ways did you feel that I was opening myself?

Mary: I was very well aware that we were both on sensitive territory, because you had opened yourself up and said, well this is what I do, and I knew that - there had to level of risk and there had to be a level of trust. In that moment, if we were going to whatever was going to happen, because we hadn't had an idea of an album or anything, we were just seeing if we could work together

Interviewer: yeah

Mary: so I knew that I had to just trust and see what the process was going to deliver - whether we were going to work together or not.

Interviewer: and if that hadn't have worked, you would never have heard from me again. You wouldn't have, you just wouldn't that just the way it was

Mary:no I mean - - in terms of the Faith I'm sure I would have still had a connection with you I mean -

Interviewer: well there's been a couple of people I've tried to do that with and its like "ft" that's not happened, Ok, fine someone else um

Interviewer: interesting because its, um the idea of that vulnerability is interesting because in that situation I think I was also aware that if I didn't want it to happen, I could just can it. it wasn't a matter that we were going to be forced to do it and I think that there have certainly been circumstances in my life with Baha'i s and also in the work that I was doing, because you are aware that I was in the studio where you were just put with someone who you just don't get on with anyway and you have to make music. And I can just do it, it just becomes a skill-set, it just becomes a craft


Interviewer: but the other thing with this idea that it was going to be "together" is that because there was some sense of equality because if you were used to the idea of being the band leader and having the vision and giving the vision for the band to follow it, adapt it whatever, then for me, I would have, my expectation was that you would just put all your stuff in the basket and I would put all my stuff in the basket and we'd pull the stuff out which ever ones come together best and to me, I don't care whether its yours or mine when we're in that process - it just "is" and I suspect that um, that's that level of collaboration that you were not familiar with and I know that since then, when I've done some things that people have noticed that. Um, that I just put my stuff in and that's it. That there is an equality between the people - because I just think everyone is the the same


Interviewer: whether its age, gender, whatever I tend to just treat everybody the same I don't respect authority so if you tried to tell me what to do I probably wouldn't have responded very well.

Mary:mm hmm

Interviewer: um Ok so we created this piece of music which was actually your story

Mary:I don't remember of the first track was Akile or Harim we were forking on or Free

Interviewer: we were working on fragments of "free" and then we started working on Wanpela"


Interviewer: and wanpela was interesting because that was the first -that's your story, your personal story

Mary:yeah but I wanted to tell tell you about the process that went on prior to that is that I was really going through a process of detachment, because in that process we were putting tracks down and you had Harim and Free and put it on a disk and said "take it home and listen" and I tell when I took it home I was like "oh, I can't handle this I don't like this you know"

Interviewer: right?

Mary:OK this was the process that i was going through, I don't know if I ever told you this

Interviewer: no

Mary:it was just like I don't like this but something deep in me was trying to tell me something I knew that God was trying to say "have a listen to it, because this is something that's done with not your ears"

Interviewer: right

Mary:its somebody else's, so I want you to listen to how somebody else hears it and puts it together instead of yourself you know, and that was a huge process for me to go through because it was my music, and that's what I was seeing - this is my music - what is he doing with it?

Interviewer: yeah because there were a couple of songs which were fairly fully formed when you brought them in

Mary:so it was a real test for me of detachment and you know, after my processes, after I prayed and that I woke up one morning and listened again Colin and I thought "i really like that, I actually really like it" because I started to understand what you were doing

Interviewer: hm - well I wasn't aware of that process for you at all

Mary:well that's exactly what was going on, I had to - and you said it to me, you've got a song here that's linear, you know flat and I can make a song to be in everybody's lounge room" and produce it like this so everybody's there you know and when I realised what you were doing with those tracks, I realised, well this is it, this must be the process but it took me a while to get to that, to actually let it go, I had to let go of my music and trust in the process, and when that happened then i was ready to do Wanpela with you

Interviewer: right

Mary:so that was the process and right until the end point I really understood one of the fundamental teachings of Baha'u'llah is to do things in unity and my process was to detach and I knew, and I always loved this about you that "ok this is an idea, does it work? no, well don't worry about it" and I was trying to get to that with my own music.

Interviewer: hm

Mary: and the CD was the process of me just letting it go and whatever we do together, which was the epitome of Wanpela, which happened so fast, and it was just telling me whatever you do together is what's going to go on the album and exactly what I had to learn

Interviewer: but Wanpela was interesting because a lot of it did come together, but that was the piece that got re-worked most over the period, getting the right key, all that kind of stuff. But in the process of doing that I'm interested to know if you felt that you were understood - if you felt that I was able to understand what you were going through, like Iv'e just said that I had no idea of what you were going through, and I know that later when we were doing vocals, that there were a few times when um, it was fairly clear that I just didn't get what you were trying to do emotionally


Interviewer: um and I;'m wondering if you were aware of that early, kind of both ways - do you think that I was easy to understand, and vice versa, do you think that I understood you or did you find yourself having to be verbally explicit - I know that I asked you many times, even way back then to tell me what you thought

Mary: yes, yes you did and I remember that and I really valued that and I think that's what made me trust you more because

Interviewer: ah , OK

Mary: because you kept on saying "if this is not right, if I'm not going the right direction, you need to tell me" and when I went back and listed and realised that OK, I've given an idea to Colin and this is how he's seen me half way and do I like it, yes it works its great, I understand what he's doing, so that what we work with, its not MY idea or HIS idea its THAT that we work with.

Interviewer: because I know that there were a number of number times when you didn't tell me that you liked stuff or not and that was very frustrating for me and since then

Mary: well because of that .... sometimes too I was trying to process it and it took me time

Interviewer: yeah, and I couldn't comprehend that. For me it's like "do you like it or not? Say so" and um since that time, I mean we're talking about 2000 and I didn't know anything about asperger's or those traits or anything, for several years

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: before then and looking back on it now, I'm aware now that when I go into a collaborative experience with people, I'm very explicit about saying to people "tell me what you think". and even with my classes, of students, I want them to, I say to them "do you understand, don't just give me a blank expression, I need you to verbalise have you understood this or haven't you, because I'm not necessarily going to read your face.

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and I know that I didn't know that then

Mary: mm

Interviewer: but what i'm interested is if you were aware that i was more verbal than you were used to in terms of explaining exactly what i thought?

Mary: I really liked that in the process because I felt that you, um, you had a presence as a producer and I wanted that. Because you have got to understand that that, recording that album was the biggest experience of my life, I'd never recorded an album so for me the whole thing was new, and we were going into a context of not a live situation but a studio situation. So when you were saying to me, do you like this or that, its like "I really need to just go home and think about that and process and see if I feel right about it

Interviewer: right

Mary: because

Interviewer: but don't you feel right about something instantly? Body Language:

Mary: um, no

Interviewer: well you've just told me that you don't because you said you hated the stuff, or didn't like it and then you thought about it

Mary: that's right!

Interviewer: because my expectation is that people will know, straight away if people will like something or not xxx

Mary: its like, there were moments where i'd sing something and i'd have the question mark and be a bit mmmm"I thin I can do better" and you're saying its good and I know in myself I can actually do better so, because, in my own process which doesn't really exist, but I wanted to go home and internalise the process

Interviewer: you see, in the final process, like two years later when we were recording vocals, I found that process intensely frustrating

Mary: mm

Interviewer: because I'm to things, I'm hearing the pitch, you know, it sounds good to me, it says what it needs to say to me, and obviously there were times it didn't and I't tell you, "no that's wrong, do it again" um, but we'd come to what we'd - - we'd finished, and two days later you'd ring me up and say, I want to re do that vocal and I'm going "ahhh, why couldn't she just have told me that before?

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: or why couldn't she have told me that she just wasn't in the mood? and we should have just canned it and not done it, and so, but i didn't realise that, really until you just told me that, that it took that amount of time for you to examine ### that emotional

Mary: see its the same thing happening now with me and Andy, is that we'll put down a track and I've gone back, same process, Oh look, I really don't like what we did there, we need to change that and its me. and its me being self evaluating and saying I don't like that because I'm looking for a particular feeling that want the audience to actually experience and its not happening there, and unfortunately time is money in these sort of situations and ..... its such a different space for me as an artist to sing to an audience thats not there, in a studio

Interviewer: yeah

Mary: its a very hard thing for me because OI can't create that feeling that I can actually produce just like that in a live situation for somebody to feel it takes a process for me to actually go back and reassess and say - that's not the right feeling I'm wanting on that

Interviewer: you're certainly a very different performer live to in the studio in a live situation you're extremely animated and in the studio you are definately not but

Mary: and the thing is its because, especially if I'v got an audience that's reacting I can give them a feeling and a note to coincide with that just purely on what I'm feeling from them. In a studio I find that very difficult to create the whole thing

Interviewer: and do you find that my - the interaction with me in the studio, is that a help or a hinderance?

Mary: um, Body Language: sometimes it was a hinderance, because it depended on the mood that you were in because sometimes you were in a closed mood and sometimes I felt like, oh my god what's it going to be like today

Interviewer: what do you mean a closed mood?

Mary: well it wasn't open, some days I go "hi colin" and your' "g'day!" and sometimes I go hi and you're - "lhl" Body Language: but when I see you on days like that

Interviewer: do I really do that?

Mary: yeah!!!

Mary: and it even happens when I come here to stay with you and I go "hi colin" and I know instantly what mood you're in because it - you react like that

Interviewer: oh. Ok .{laughs} well that's embarrassing! because, when you walk in to the house - its like, you haven't left

Mary: I haven't what

Interviewer: you haven't left yeah, so every time you come into the house, when you come and stay with us, whatever, Its like, you didn't leave anyway so

Mary: Body Language:{laughs} she hasn't left the building!

Interviewer: I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing but I don't like I have to ... there you go, Body Language: I don't feel like I have to make a big thing about saying hello, because you're just here again. It's not like you've gone away and come back, its just that you're here.

Mary: yeh Body Language:

Interviewer: you know I had a friend, I used to go b=past her shop every morning, a persian lady and she used to say " hello colin, how are you?" and I'd say "g'day" and one time she took me aside and said "you know, this australian etiquette you use you have to explain it to me" I said "what are you talking about" and she said " I say hello and how are you every morning and you never tell me how you are or say "how are you back" and I said to her no , well I say "good day" I say "I wish you a good day" because nobody actually is interested in how anyone else is anyway. You say "how are you?" - well do you really want me to tell you? I said no so I just say "good day" and wish you a happy day and that's how I ... so I don't know where I'm going with this

Interviewer: I've been told that when we're in the studio I have a habit of staring at the desk rather than looking at the person who's singing. Some people like that and some don't at all, they think I look disinterested or I'm concentrating on the technicalities rather than the feeling and others think that's good because they feel vulnerable in the studio and being watched but .. there's been a couple of occasions with people and I've gone, "nuh, do it again, do it again, " and its like a machine and I know for me when I'm putting something down I do it until I get it right or at least acceptable and then when its done its done and I'm not interested in going back and re-doing it and so this thing about listening and going off and absorbing it and coming back again, making a choice about whether its enough, its right, is quite foreign to me

Mary: mm

Interviewer: so and partly that i'm working in a technologically driven process that I can perfect something, but I'll just l=keep going until I get it right and I don't care how long it takes

Mary: well see but, you were talking about what you value, how does it feel, um, and that's exactly why I do that process, because for me its about making an emotional connection with another human being through the music.

Interviewer: well it is for me too but I'm not sure whether it works .. and I've got people who have said to me, "I've got something out of your music and I'm going "oh great, good on you" and it's not necessarily what I thought I put in there but then that's the nature of music,

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: and I think that's probably one of the things that i love about music that it really doesn't matter whether what u=you put in is what comes out its the receiver's personal journey its not actually a direct communication at all, so the intent is almost, not - it doesn't really matter --- but I actually believe that it has to matter. I put the right things in there and if other people get it, they get it and if they don't they don't.

Interviewer: I have a question here about communication between the two of us when is something final? at what point are we agreeing on something and how do we know?

Mary: well I think we went through a three year process and I knew inside my body that I had to accept that whatever you did - personally I hoped that it was the best that I could do with you. That was my fear, that

Interviewer: I guess that what i'm trying to figure here is whether I'v decided something, is not then a matter of you just accepting, "oh well, colin's decided" and thats as far as it goes, or is there a feeling that the decision is made mutually

Mary: I think its a bit of both, because as you said you felt frustrated I had to go away and think about it. There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing because we both had to be happy and we both had to find an equilibrium, you know even with the process, with the family and everything I had to be flexible, and I didn't mind that but it was a process of being flexible and being detached from the process and I realised that everything that went with that recording was part of that [process

Interviewer: yeah it was a rather unusual situation. A lot of the recording was done in the midst of family

Mary: well its a home business, done with family and you know, yeah, you know

Interviewer: no!

Mary: I mean I had to look at the holistic thing was that it was done for the whole family, for people and mainly kids

Interviewer: the family has been pretty involved in a lot of ways, and I tried to a lot of the time just go "ok we're not in family mode now, we're in studio mode and the two didn't separate very well and I found that a bog source of frustration but that's life / work

Interviewer: I want to talk about the music itself and I want to talk about your impressions, of comparisons of musicality because one thing I think is the case is that from observing my own music and process and the outcomes that I'm very detail driven and there tends to be a lot of detailed, frenetic rhythmic stuff and stuff going on all the time and when I come to do mixes, its like, OK what can I take out I don't think I've ever been in a mix when I've gone, I think I need to add something else here its always, there's too much going on. Because I think I become lost in the process when I'm making, that that is so fascinating for me. I'm process driven rather than outcome driven I think, and that process of doing it and adding stuff together and getting that little tiny detail right is so absorbing, and you've mentioned to me sometimes and we've started something and then I'm like, "ok I want to work this idea for a while and then I disappear into my own head for a couple of hours and you're left wandering what to do. I'm thinking of a couple of times when we were working in Cooroy and you made comment to me sometime later that there were times when you needn't have bothered to be there and I'm interested in your observations of that process in terms of the process and the musical outcome, as a musician when you listen to the music, whether those details add anything or get in the way?

Mary: Oh I think they are brilliant, the album is brilliant, I think they're great the detail is great, its my personal opinion. I think its very tastefully done and where it needs to be, not overstated I mean do I feel like I'm breathing instead of suffocating through a song? Yes I do

Interviewer: ok

Mary: a comment from someone in Hagen, and this is from a Highlands guy he said, "oh your music is very sophisticated" and I thought that's really interesting its got everything, like, house or whatever, but there's a level of sophistication that comes down to the rhythm stuff the sophistication of how the offbeats are played and a lot of stuff going on, people have commented that a lot of work been put in there, its not just one two three four, even the stuff that I'm working with ??? there's a lot of stuff that the average listener wouldn't be averse to

Interviewer: somebody asked me once to make some relaxation music

Mary: big laugh

Interviewer: why are you laughing


because I'm thinking of all the complicated stuff and the rhythms going and thinking how the hell are you going to relax like that!!!

Interviewer: well that's exactly what happened - it was someone who was attached to allied health in Toowoomba way before I met you

Mary: I'm just saying, look, I'm sure you'd be able to do a great job but I'm just thinking about, if she listened to the, if you gave them the album and get them to relax to that [laughs]

Interviewer: well unfortunately, um I don't have the pieces anymore

Mary: what pieces

Interviewer: the pieces I made for the relaxation

Mary: ok

Interviewer: and I wish I did because they'd be an interesting example because they were very complex there was this going all the time, I played it to the people and they said, well there are some people who would probably not be able to listen to that at all not be able to stand it. They used it for some people and not for others, but I said "for me its like if I have a marimba pattern, dici ai di, it get to the point that that just becomes like glass

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: and everything else can just float over the top

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: and there are moments in the album where that has worked and I know I do it a lot, those little patterns, but that's what is going on inside my brain and its like, if that's not there, then the floating doesn't happen

Mary: its like a pad

Interviewer: its like a pad but its and active pad

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: in terms of the process though, I know that when I'm creating that pad, I get sucked into it and there were a couple of times when you surprised me by getting up and walking out of the room when I was doing that, I'm working on this , I'm just going to do this for a while and you getting up and going "ahh" and going off to the kitchen and

Mary: no, but sometimes I was just joking and just going to go off for a walk or something because I knew tha at that point there was nothing I could do with you because you were just doing your thing

Interviewer: because I'm doing my thing

Mary: what can I do

Interviewer: laugh I probably should have chosen other times to do my thing

Mary: well you see this is the thing, that you now see that process. That's probably right while your's here we can work on things that we can do together and then I'll work on this in my own time

Interviewer: but you're um process in the contribution to the project is instantaneous its "I sing" or I have a lyric or whatever, for me all those little things require time, its actually a different process as well

Mary: so that's your process of going away and working on stuff, like I have to internalise the actual music

Interviewer: I guess, yes

Mary: that's your process of observing and making sure its right

Interviewer: but I feel like I observe it from inside when its being made, I observe it from its construction, rather than looking at it from "above" once its made its no longer mine, i'm no longer involved in it

Mary: sure

Interviewer: I've met people who have recorded something and they'll play it to you and when they play it to you you can see them re-living it its so much a part of them. they re-live it as they hear it. For me its gone. I mean I listen to the album now and its like someone else's music, its not mine anymore its "out there" I don't own it anymore. But when I'm in it in that process of building, its like the house around me um building it from inside. So the idea of spontaneously giving like you do in singing is fascinating because I don't think I can do it - I can analyse it to the pint of saying to a bass player or something, oh you need to hit that note a fraction earlier, it'll sit better - I do that all the time, and you as a bass player know that times when you've played parts for me, I'm highly critical I know

Mary: yes

Interviewer: in terms of ... but I think its a very opposite process of the creative process that we do is very different. I guess it is for every singer, because its so much a part of your body.

Mary: well it is part of the body, but the thing with me, its not just the singing its the whole thing, listen to the whole thing and making sure it feels right and because its always been a personal thing, I need to go back home to my personal space and actually observe and absorb the whole thing and its gotta feel right, in the first two seconds am I going to be still interested in that track and if I'm saying no thank you very much then its obviously not right so you taught me those processes but you know I guess the thing with me as a musician is I'm always thinking "is that my best performance" that's why I go home and think, could I have sung that a lot better thats what the process is for me. Have I given this 110%

Interviewer: ok. Do you think that the cultural aspects, the cultural differences between us have a positive, negative or any effect on the way that we work together?

Mary: I thought it had a very positive effect. The fact that we are so different culturally or otherwise, that was what made the album so special. There is one comment on the website from a Norwegian lady, she says its so wonderful to hear something from two different cultures being so beautifully put together, and so thats from someone we don't know. Absolutely its been a positive experience in so many ways

Interviewer: do you think the ways we actually communicate is affected?

Mary: ??

Interviewer: I have a theory, I'm interested to know what you think of it over the last fifteen years of my music career I've frequently chosen to work with people who come from other cultures and my experience has been finding it easier to work with someone who comes from another culture than someone who comes from something closer to my own

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and I think its because the expectation of understanding instant understanding each other is reduced because there might be a language difference or a cultural difference or a musical difference that requires an explanation and it actually allows you to do things like saying "i didn't understand that can you explain that" um rather than relying on gesture and so forth so I'm thinking of a tabla player I worked with and being able to be very explicit with him, um, what are you trying to do

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and he actually said to me early on in those sessions, just tell me exactly what you want" and it worked really well, whereas other times I've found it quite difficult, people expect you to understand what they are trying to do and I'm wondering if you are conscious of that, what you thought of that

Mary: I actually really liked you telling me what to do because it was such a foreign environment for me and you have great ears like you were saying sing this part, I didn't have to do any work - it cuts down the stress for me and I really appreciated you actually "producing" the tracks putting on the producer's hat and I felt very confident about that you were guiding me on that

Interviewer: hm ok.

Interviewer: that will do

Interviewer: just about, ok, the cross over between the working relationship and the non working relationship. Because when you work in a studio, however long you work with someone, particularly with vocalists, there's a level of intimacy which develops between the two people, because generally speaking, you are trying to get someone to express themselves. and so that closeness, while its happening is quite intense,

Mary: hm

Interviewer: i find it really intense its, among the most intense interpersonal experiences that I have

Mary: for sure, yeah Body Language:

Interviewer: when there's a friendship, you can have your deep and meaningful conversations and they could be about anything, but I find it quite difficult to come out of the studio and go back to being a different relationship. like, there's been students that I've worked with, a teacher / student relationship and then you go into a studio in a working relationship with them, you spend that studio relationship time with them and when you come out of that, its something else, the relationship, the teacher student relationship has changed. or the friendship that you had before has changed because you've gone through that together. and I think its a tricky area. Certainly when I was working in Wyong, there were people who I 'd work with on that level who I wouldn't probably associate with outside that, but because you've gone through that together there is a change, for me there is like an expectation that that level of intimacy continues

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and then I've been quite hurt when it hasn't, I've felt like that communication you've had which is often quite explicit in terms of, you listen to the music, you talk about the music its not a linear, intuitive process, its, we did that, we analyse it we talk about it we think about it, we assess it, can we do it again, can we bring a feeling out, a story. Everybody has talked about a story from memory that you can bring into one line, so you get to know singers, you get to know about things that they've done in their lives

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and then when you come out of the studio, there's been people who have just been like, cold again and I'm like, well there's been a connection there somehow, and now, its gone again. And I felt with you that that hasn't happened. but its probably because its been such a family involvement all the time?

Mary: mm

Interviewer: but its something I struggle with a bit, um, trying to - Your wife always says well you talk about,

your friend this and your friend that but are they really your friends? how well do you know these people? " well its someone I work with or a student for a couple of hours and I think they're my friend because I've been through that um,

Mary: but maybe for some people its just a studio recording and thats it

Interviewer: yeah, but for me its a connection

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and its probably the easiest place to make the connection. Its safe in the studio

Mary: mm

Interviewer: is it? Is it safe in the studio?

Mary: well not for me, I feel completely out of my depth in the studio

Interviewer: {laughs} well for me its safe

Mary: well that's what you can write about because its where

Interviewer: for me its where the conversations that you have abut the music, about the experiences you have are all within that box of making the music and its really safe. And when you get out of that its really dangerous

Mary: mm

Interviewer: and the trick for me is I've been in a safe place with someone and the interaction that you've had in there is not safe when you take it somewhere else um you were saying that for you its a vulnerable place

Mary: its not familiar to me, that was my first time in the box if you want to say it like that. My safe place is the stage in front of thousands of people, I feel safe and bang thats it. Its the complete opposite with you

Interviewer: well I want the control you see, I like the studio because of its control and dislike the stage because of its lack of control

Mary: yeah, but its interesting because in the studio I feel completely out of control even though its a controlled environment, because there's very little people to get an emotional reaction from

Interviewer: so do you get one from me?

Mary: yes you did, most of the times, but the times you didn't, it was difficult to work with, and at the same time, I think the hardest song for me to do was the prayer

Interviewer: yeah

Mary: because that required me to all the songs I had to shut my eyes but it was a completely different feeling I was going for and it really - I said to Alfie one time, how do you sing in front of the Baha'is because I was used to singing to all sorts, but how do you sing in front of spiritually based people how do you do that. Alfie gave me a really good answer, she said just pretend that Abdul Baha is in the room and so when I thought about that, and this is what I teach my student, you've got to create the atmosphere of prayer and prepare yourself for that. Prepare yourself for the environment to connect that ladder, its the same thing with music, especially when you are singing a prayer, I have to get myself together and thats why OI found it very hard because it was a totally new area and I had to imagine that Abdul Baha was there and how would I be. It was completely foreign territory and right out of my comfort zone, the whole album was right out of my comfort zone and I learnt so much about working with other people, definitely it was an intimate process, especially that prayer, but the greatest thing it was teaching me was about how people work together in diversity whether it be ethnic or mentally, intellectually or musically - all those differences and how does it work

Interviewer: OK, here's a left of centre question. You've heard a fair bit of my music that's not the stuff we do together. Does it have an emotional content?

Mary: Of course it does! I love it

Interviewer: the reason I ask is that I know that I don't give off a lot of emotion a lot of the time

Mary: hmm

Interviewer: except maybe the grumpies, but I have had people say that the music moves them emotionally which I find a little weird, maybe that's my natural language somehow

Mary: well you definitely have a gift for it. Whether you are aware of what you you do and how you affect people and stuff like that you definitely have a gift for it

Interviewer: can we talk about visuals. We had a lot of discussion about the visuals for the album and now that you are thinking about possibly changing the album art work its come back to my mind about the process of choosing the images and so forth. I'm attracted to really strong images and I remember that were a couple of things that we talked about. Remember the first mockup that we did? the face in the rock? was quite a strong image and I remember you said at the time, no that's just too intense. were I wanted the intensity The current album cover with the face in the billum is quite a striking image actually, its framing, its sparse but it has focus about it. - Don't really know what I'm trying to say!

Mary: intensity and image

Interviewer: yes because I think I have the necessity to be very intense in a given process

Mary: so the question to me is "does it work?"

Interviewer: well I'm wondering if there's a relationship between that visual quest that I have for something that is highly focussed and not too much going on around it and its really full on and intense and emotive. I wonder how that corresponds to the musical process because in music I want detail, detail detail to make it work - they almost seem opposite. Having said that though, I do occasionally enjoy an a capella voice

Mary: mm

Interviewer: but i think the intensity aspect - I've been told off for staring at people that kind of thing, the gaze is a bit full on sometimes.

Mary: are you asking me about the intensity of the album cover

Interviewer: generally, am I an intense person

Mary: I have to think, no I don't think so. Um to me an intense person is like this Body Language: all the time has to have control, a control freak. M is intense bang bang constant energy, constant and no let up. I don't think you are intense, I think you are very focussed and intense then, in the moment.

Interviewer: interesting

Mary: look you are an intellectual, analytical, very "heady" but you're not intense

Interviewer: do you think that the analysis process gets in the way? Do I think too much Mary

Mary: no I just think you are an intelligent person

Interviewer: in our music process, because there's always this thing in music this is music for the head, this is music for the heart this is, you know. I remember you saying to MK stop thinking and play

Mary: yeah he was very upset with me

Interviewer: he did but he came to me afterwards and said, you know I really needed someone to say that to me

Mary: now HE's intense to me take a chill pill, its alright. I can't relax when I'm around him

Interviewer: I can't relax when I'm around me!

Mary: but I can relax when I'm around you you are not intense to me, other people might find you intense

Interviewer: what that means is the veil's working. Because I am. I'm like this all the time, but I think when you've seen it have been when you've said, oh the wall's up

Mary: yes! when you are in your little world, the lights on, everybody's home and the doors are SHUT, ok OK I can't really have a conversation with Colin today thats sort of day, but its because I know you Colin! I mean, you cooked a beautiful dinner last week and I felt great and I didn't feel un-relaxed, we all enjoyed it

Mary: yes I enjoyed it too, I enjoyed cooking, I cooked a meal for my father , no that was the day No that was horrible, but that was an odd one

Mary: but what I like about your intensity, is that its focussed in your creative process. For example the album cover, I got to Hagen and I honestly didn't know that "billum" meant woman's womb until Maggie pointed it out to me and sad it was poignant that you put that there because its such a powerful symbol for every Papua New Guinean, men wear the billum, mother, we're all born and carried in the billum, so its a very powerful symbol. Now that intensity, don't ask me how it happened but the process, resulted in that

Interviewer: for me, knowing that reinforces it for me because that symbol fits my ,,, um, I like that. I like the fact that not only is it the face and the bag you carry a life in but its THAT basic and fundamental and visceral. Now you said to me that the billum is what you carry your whole life in, and now, I feel, I'm getting excited about it because that level of symbol is very reinforcing for me

Mary: I didn't know it meant that, I was mortified, I couldn't believe it, we just hit it on the nail, so poignant to Melanesian society and that album just from that symbol

Interviewer: hmm, well we have to keep the album cover then

Mary: well I told you - interesting thing is how I want to change things, I've got this funny ideas, but it always comes back, this is my process, I'll think something, even when I'm singing and it will be just like me throwing a word, having a conversation with you, but I;ll have to go home and process, like God says, be accountable, what are you doing, well that's mu process what did you do, what did you say today, and its the same with music.

Interviewer: when you started putting the show together, when you came here and you invited me to work on the songs again, I had a very strong reaction to that, which I don't fully understand to be honest. Because I'd given that album away

Mary: yeah

Interviewer: the album was finished for me and I wanted to see it being sold and recoup some money and all that stuff, but there was an opportunity to put more life back into the songs, but it meant a lot to me somehow that you would ask me to do that, um, meant a lot to me

Interviewer: to work on the songs live, to work with the band

Mary: well absolutely, it made perfect sense to me, why wouldn't it

Interviewer: I don't know why ...

Interviewer: like I reacted really strongly to that and I don't know why

Mary: because probably you were used to being in the studio and this is foreign

Interviewer: no not really, because I like working with .. its like a pre-production process with the band and I enjoy that anyway, I think it was something much more personal than that

Mary: well we had a connection that was being extended now

Interviewer: i guess, maybe it was a being valued thing

Mary: absolutely

Interviewer: but anyway, glad we did that, even though the band is not really doing that process I'd love to see them working, see a band do those tracks, but maybe one day the time will be right for that.

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