Iva Davies: “I Was At The Opposite End Of The Scale To Midnight Oil”

22 August 2012 | 3:31 pm | Dan Condon

In an indepth interview with Iva Davies, he discusses the nitty gritty of the band's inconic Great Southern Land.


It's one of our country's most loved songs and, later this week, theMusic.com.au will publish an in depth conversation with Iva Davies, the man behind the Icehouse classic Great Southern Land, to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

“I, by then, was very unsure of myself in terms of songwriting,” Davies admits of the song. Despite a hugely positive reaction from his manager and record label at the time, Davies said there was some nerves surround the song's composition and whether it would be embraced by a public with a love of three minute pop songs.

“I was actually very nervous about the release of it,” he says. “One of the reasons for that was because it was very long. The suggestion was made – I think it was from within the record company – they wanted to cut off the very long note that starts the song and I absolutely resisted this because for me that one single note was the kind of defining core of the song; it was all about horizon, about that expansive view and to me that was best summed up by just holding one single note as if you were looking at the horizon of the sea or looking across some vast plain. So I absolutely resisted the idea of cutting off that note.”

As far as the lyrical content goes, Davies said that he wanted to raise questions rather than make definitive political statements; putting him on the other side of the fence to another legendary Aussie act.

“To me I've always felt as if I was at the opposite end of the scale to Midnight Oil. I always viewed them as putting a very strong opinion forward, quite black and white; this is where we are positioned, this is what we believe and we're going to tell you about it very strongly. So when you write a line like “The US Forces give the nod/It's a setback for your country”, you make your politics very clear in one line.

“I, on the other hand, took the approach that I don't believe my opinion is actually that important, in fact mu opinion is just one opinion and it's a personal one and I wouldn't to pump that opinion, what I would prefer to do is ask some questions and have people try and answer them from their point of view.”

Stay tuned for the full interview, in which Davies delves further into the writing process and the problem fraught recording of the song.