Q&A Scene: Jodi Phillis

Tell us about your new album ‘Becoming’?

I started writing the songs about 5 years ago with a view to making a modern day, hippy, spiritual album. It’s something that has been brewing in me since I was a teenager. Some of my favourite songwriters when I was young were Leonard Cohen, Cat Stevens, George Harrison and Joni Mitchell because their music made me feel connected to the heart of the universe. I love the acoustic sounds of the 60’s and 70’s, with deeply soulful lyrics being the primary focus.

Soon after I started writing the songs, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then my father with prostate cancer, so everything was kind of put on hold and turned upside down while my family and I nursed them until they died. I was also going through menopause. What a combination!

So as you can imagine, the album shifted into something even deeper than I could have made if those events hadn’t happened. Becoming has become a musical document of grief and transformation, including some songs that pay tribute to my mother and father.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Well it’s generally the last thing you’re working on right?…well, either that or the next thing you haven’t even started yet! So I guess it is Becoming.

I am really happy with how it has turned out. It’s quite a journey.

Once again I worked with Tim Oxley. He had a major hand in creating the music underneath and around the melody and lyrics. He played the bass and drums as well. Tim pushed me to keep polishing the songs and write some new ones that had more magic in them. He is an amazing musician and producer. It was hard to do because we had so much personal stuff going on and weird sounds buzzing through the microphones but somehow we made it through. We’re a great team.

I also had some fantastic musical input from guitarist/composer Damien Lane and some beautiful piano playing from Cameron Bruce.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.  

I’m not great at remembering events or anecdotes. Ask anyone who knows me.

Here’s something….I did a little tour with Rebecca Barnard recently where we each played a set and then played some songs together. We didn’t even know each other before we did this but we hit it off so well.

We laughed so hard, on stage and off. We were laughing like hyenas with tears running down our cheeks. It’s hard to sing when that is happening. It was getting scary. I was losing control of my faculties.

We both lost our mothers way before we were ready to. They were our best friends, so we have a very deep connection through that shared grief…..among other things.

What, or who, inspires you?   

I have many heroes who I share a similar world view with. I read whatever they write, or watch their interviews on youtube. They are generally artists of some kind…or spiritual teachers. I love David Lynch so much. I have always loved his movies but delving deeper into his spirituality and whole creative process is so inspiring. Marina Abramovic is an incredible artist who is so brave and powerful in everything she does. Underneath all her outrageous work is a great understanding and compassion for humanity.

There is a song on Becoming that I wrote as a loving tribute to the artist Vali Myers who I have loved since I first saw her art when I was 14. There is also a song where I name check Mary Leunig, Michael’s sister. Mary’s simple cartoons are so raw and brutal and ultimately expose the darkest parts of us. She is very brave and honest. I am inspired by anyone who is brave and honest and who cares deeply for this world and it’s inhabitants.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Rainbow Connection by Paul Williams!

What’s next for you?

I’ll be touring to launch the album, in solo mode, plus I’ll play a few gigs with my new band, featuring Tim Oxley on bass, Damien Lane on guitar and Phil Lally on drums.

After that I’m composing music along-side Amanda Brown for a dance performance, to be played by the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra. That will be fun. There will be more Clouds activity as well.

What’s your scene?

My scene is pretty quiet really. I enjoy hanging out with my family and making music and drawing and hanging around big trees. I’d love to travel more and explore this crazy, beautiful world but right now, I have a few projects that I need to work on until they’re finished. I love the people I have met in the Illawarra community, especially the Port Kembla community. I am an artist in residence with Tender funerals, the most progressive and hip funeral parlour in Australia I reckon! I sing at funerals and facilitate a community choir. I really enjoy that work.

www.facebook.com/jodiphillismusic

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www.artbyjodi.tumblr.com

JODI PHILLIS ‘BECOMING’ NEW ALBUM OUT FRIDAY 19TH OCTOBER & SOLO TOUR

After leaving her mark on the Australian cultural landscape with The Clouds, Jodi Phillis has returned to her default mode of acoustic singer songwriter, mining the deep seem of neo-romantic folk pop.

Successfully crowdfunded and produced by Tim Oxley, Jodi’s new body of work is an acoustic, intimate account of grief and it’s fallout. Real life is flipped inside out, shaken up and transformed into vintage filtered songs that celebrate life and the quest to find meaning in a broken world. ‘Becoming’ will evoke cherished memories, childhood day dreams, and visions of a longed for utopia, while urging the listener to follow their bliss.

Jodi will perform songs from her new album ‘Becoming’ as well as a selection of songs from earlier solo albums and a few favourites from her other musical incarnations. Real, raw, vulnerable and life affirming are a few words to describe what you will experience from Jodi’s performance.

Come along and let your heart sing with Jodi on this most intimate occasion.

JODI PHILLIS ALBUM LAUNCH / SOLO TOUR
Saturday 3rd November – Junk Bar, Brisbane QLD
Friday 9th November – Servo, Port Kembla NSW
Saturday 10th November – Gasoline pony, Marrickville NSW
Thursday 15th November – Grace Emily, Adelaide SA
Friday 16th November – Kastoria Club, Nth Coburg VIC
Saturday 17th November – Major Tom’s, Kyneton VIC
Sunday 2nd December – Mona, Berriedale TAS

‘Becoming’ is available through Bandcamp, Cdbaby and at rogerlovesbetty.com

www.rogerlovesbetty.com
www.facebook.com/jodiphillismusic
www.instagram.com/jodiphillis
www.twitter.com/jodiphillis
www.artbyjodi.tumblr.com

 

Jodi Phillis is an ARIA nominated singer/songwriter/composer/artist who first made her mark on the Australian cultural landscape with alt-rock band The Clouds, who formed in 1989. Jodi has forged a parallel career as an independent, influential solo singer/songwriter, producing five albums under her own name.

Additionally, Jodi formed the groups The Dearhunters, Roger Loves Betty, and jazz vocal quartet,The Glamma Rays.

Jodi is constantly exploring new musical realms and recently spearheaded the all female composer’s project Seven Stories for Vivid, which premiered at City Recital Hall in 2017. Jodi is an Australian Film Radio and Television School graduate and has scored music for the big screen, orchestral music for dance theatre and music for tv.

For her latest independent solo release ‘Becoming’ out on October 19, Jodi has returned to her default mode of singer songwriter, mining the deep seam of neo-romantic chamber folk-pop.

Successfully crowdfunded and produced by Tim Oxley, Jodi’s new body of work is an acoustic, intimate account of grief and it’s fallout. Real life is flipped inside out, shaken up and transformed into vintage filtered songs that celebrate life and the quest to find meaning in a broken world.

‘Becoming’ will evoke cherished memories, childhood day dreams, and visions of a longed for utopia while urging the listener to follow their bliss.

Jodi is based on the South Coast of NSW, Australia.

“Phillis writes with such authority that we go with her vision wherever it may lead.” John Hardaker, Orange Press 2010

“Phillis is an underrated national treasure” Kelsey Munro, Rolling Stone 2001.

 

About Mary Boukouvalas 922 Articles
Mary is a music photographer and reviewer.

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