Mathas’ Trolling Australia Tour hits Amplifier this Friday, May 20, with special guest Diger Rokwell. Bob Gordon reports.
You're in the midst of your national tour, how's it been going?
It’s been excellent. People actually turned up! It’s also been a great testing ground for my new band and as a travelling unit we work really well together.
There’s been a lot of laughing. It’s also the first time I've travelled with more than just a suitcase.. the amount of gear you’re moving around on cheap early flights is immense and an experience in itself. From one bag to two trolleys' worth.
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Just for the record too.. Diger Rokwell is a hilarious lunatic.
What's it like being joined on a full national tour by your old friend?
Diger gets excited about adventures. I seem to have lost the ability to get excited anymore but when Diger’s excited and in a good mood he’s the trippiest one-man comedy sketch show. So with the amount of time we’ve been in fits of laughter on this tour, I think that’s actually helped me to be more excited, which in turn makes for a better show. Also Diger’s been a good dude to me over the years, he let me use a room in his house, free rent for almost a year while I tried to finish my last album. So it’s nice to feel that i can pay back some small fraction of that dudeness.
Going out on tour you must see up close the influence that Armwrestling Atlas has had on your following as well as how it has furthered your musical career. What have you noticed?
I’ve noticed a lot of people I don’t know belting out the lyrics at each show and the thing about that is that my lyrics are pretty long-winded and convoluted, so for someone to have learnt them means they’ve probably listened to the songs a lot. When you make music like mine you’re not expecting a sing-a-long.. so when you get one, you know that those people resonate with the song’s concepts; it’s not just a bunch of people singing a pop chorus because it gets stuck in their head. These are people with analytical brains who love words somewhere as much as I do. Nothing is cooler than that.
You share some deep stuff in your songs. Does that get easier over the years or is it something you still have to take deep breaths about?
I think the hardest part of giving so many of your thoughts and ideas to public forum is that they act as a testament to that period of time.. but then the songs live forever. So if you write something and then your opinion on the subject slowly morphs as the years pass on, you still have to perform the song with the same conviction, even though you feel less passionate about the argument you presented in the song. So currently I've been writing some slightly more light-hearted music (laughs).
You're performing at State Of The Art on June 6. What's it mean to you to be involved in that showcase?
It means I get to share the stage with some of the best acts this state has to offer. It also means Elizabeth Quay will be put to good use, which I think is likely necessary to make Colin Barnett feel a little less fidgety. He’s been a bit shaky in his interviews lately, the poor bugger.
Originally published in X-Press Magazine