We sat down with Josten Myburgh, the Co-Creative Director of Audible Edge Festival ahead of The Rechabite's Audible Edge Festival program this week to find out about the 2021 Festival and what's in store for the future!
Tell us about the vision for the 2021 Festival
The vision for Audible Edge in general - it’s a gathering of a certain community, a community that rarely gets to play gigs in Perth because the stuff that they are doing is so out there, or so particular, or specific. Whether it be too loud, or too quiet, or too strange, or too uncompromising for your everyday situation.
That's what Tone List exists for, to represent that scene, and then Audible Edge Festival is an occasion to raise the stakes I suppose, and open that world up to a bigger audience and a bigger practitioner base.
The theme of the festival this year is ‘Unlimited Permission’ and that was our way of saying to the artists involved ‘we will make a space for you, or we hold a space for you, and you come in and do literally whatever you want, and we’ll deal with it’. It’s basically about offering a context for artists to do the thing that they have wanted to do for a long time but have never had the context to do it.
And the only other thing that I would say, which applies a bit less to these gigs at The Rechabite, is that something really important to Audible Edge since it began is international and national collaborations. Both last, and this year we really wanted to shift gears to focus on Southern Africa and South-East Asia, so thinking about collaborations with geographic neighbours and the long-term plan of reduced carbon emissions for touring.
Those regions have been neglected from the experimental narrative, Australian organisations have been skipping over these regions for decades and focussing on Europe and the US and I think that's a pervasive problem, unless we start doing something it's not going to change. The work that is coming out of those places is really, really good and we want people here to hear it.
(So to sum), the main thing is that collaborative spirit and giving permission.
Tell us about what’s going down at The Rechabite this week!
Nika Mo Album Launch - Of Cloven Hoof in Honey
Nika Mo’s album launch is going to be unreal, there’s an eight piece band with custom-made costumes. Every member of the band is playing multiple instruments and singing. It’s been an enormous team effort to put this piece together, and it’s just a really ambitious and experimental project by Annika Moses (Nika Mo) that’s a real about-turn from all of her previous work. She’s definitely the most popular local artist on the bill!
Make a Jazz Noise here
We’ve been wanting to collaborate with Perth Jazz Society for a long time because we believe there’s some common ground. There’s two projects for Make a Jazz Noise. Jalan-jalan, Djuna Lee’s Band is just a really ridiculously virtuosic quartet, and they’re going to make some weird dance music, so we’re hoping to subvert the normal ‘jazz thing’ of sitting down, drinking a nice cocktail and watching something, to actually trying to get people to go nuts to this spooky-groove-music.
Ben Greene’s project is really ambitious, it’s an hour long suite for three horns, two guitars and drums. Every member of the band has pedals, even the horn players. It’s a real bridge between Ben’s old days as a drummer in Tangled Thoughts of Leaving, through his weird experimental music world, into the jazz stuff he’s been doing. It brings all of that stuff together in a really strong narrative.
Come What May
Then on Friday night in the Basement we have a ridiculous program of really brutal experimental metal, evil sounding drone music, and really confronting political, experimental theatre by Joe Lui, Tahlia Russell and Kristie Smith. (Through this show) we’re looking at multiple perspectives on darkness and intensity, and those kinds of experiences. We’re trying to push the idea of darkness beyond ‘loudness, volume, and rawness’, and actually stretch the ideas into as many directions as we can. Some of it will be quite soft, but will work on your psyche in various ways.
And yeah, that's the spirit of Audible Edge...we want the diversity of responses and the dialogue that happens - “what the hell was that? '', “I thought that was beautiful”, “I really didn't get that”. And that’s success I think, rather than everyone in the room screaming in approval. The whole context should be exciting and generative, but in a slightly tricky way.
Where are you hoping to take things for Audible Edge in the future?
Well, I think one thing we’ve decided, which is kind of implicit in the way that we’re doing it, is that we’re not really interested in it growing, so to speak. We don’t want it to be something bigger because it really needs to be ‘this on the ground’ thing that the audience can really touch.
Without being too snarky, I do think that there’s a lot of art in Australia that is confined to these big, intimidating institutions that have a kind of aura about them, and there’s a certain untouchableness to it. Whereas there’s a kind of joke with experimental music that's like ‘Oh, he’s just throwing stuff at his drums, my 3 year old son could do that' ' and my answer to that is - yes, of course your son can, that’s awesome! We want the participatory thing, or the feeling that there’s not that much distance between you and the performer in the Festival.
And that doesn't mean people haven't worked extremely hard to do what they're doing, they really have, but the beauty of it is that you don't need a $120,000 degree and all this equipment. All you need to do is start experimenting and playing with sound yourself, because that’s something that everyone has access to, you don't need formal training to do that. You just need to start listening creatively.
So that spirit really speaks to the Festival. What we want to do is make what we’re doing more possible and more sustainable, and have the feeling that it's generating and regenerating. We want to keep in touch with those international and national neighbours and communities and hopefully one day have visiting artists come back from those parts of the world. But the thing is just to keep it alive and keep that grassroots, messy, chaotic spirit - because that’s what matters to us.