Through The Creative Door

Welcome to Through The Creative Door. Join Alexis Naylor as she chats to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their world and having some honest and inspiring conversations.

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7 days ago

Join Alexis as she sits down with the incredibly talented singer and creative Uma in this inspiring episode of Through the Creative Door. Uma shares her journey as a musician and performer, from her opera training to her cabaret performances. She opens up about the challenges she's faced, including navigating lifelong food allergies and a recent Crohn's disease diagnosis, and how these experiences have influenced her creative process. Uma also talks about her proudest projects, including her cabaret show “Intolerant” and her powerful songs “Houses On Fire” and “I Will Stand.” Tune in for an honest and heartfelt conversation about creativity, resilience, and the importance of self-compassion in the artistic journey
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Uma on instagram; @umamusicoffical
This episode was recorded on 24 January 2024 on the lands of the Woiworung Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Uma:
House On Fire - Uma Dobia: 
Haus Of Shmizzay - 
Soula Parassidis - 
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. 
Hello Uma, how are you? 
00:48 - Uma (Guest) 
I'm good. How are you? 
00:52 - Alexis (Host) 
Good. I am so chuffed to be chatting with you. You are such a talented bear and I met you through, actually, my manager at the time and her brother, who's a wonderful audio engineer and musician himself. But yes, I think you're just a vibe. You're such a vibe and it's so exciting to see on the outside, looking in, your journey's been changing quite a lot as a creative. You're doing so many amazing things. You are doing lots of opera stuff, which is amazing, and I might have done a little stalky stalk on um YouTube. Oh, so stunning. Oh, my goodness, so jealous. I did do a stint of opera, learning opera when I was in high school, just as a like a dipping your toe in and I'll tell you, there's so much respect there that is hard yakka, hard yakka. 
01:43 - Uma (Guest)
It's not easy it's true, it's true, it's never too late. 
01:47 - Alexis (Host)
I'm not sure that's my calling I think it's yours and I'm happy for you to talk about that. But um, I'm also super chuffed for you that you have written this phenomenal show Intolerant? Which I'll let you talk to everyone about it. But, um, yeah, just what's a bit about you, and I'm just, yeah, just even chuffed that you're here. Oh, I'm through the creative door, with you. 
02:16 - Uma (Guest)
I'm really excited to to be sharing this space with you too. I adore you and I admire you so much as an artist. You've done such gorgeous things
02:20 - Alexis (Host)
Aw thanks my love. 
02:22 - Uma (Guest)
Very excited to be here, yay. 
02:27 - Alexis (Host)
Well, I feel very chuffed that we are outside, very surprising that Melbourne's actually got sorry, that's really mean of me to say, but for those who know, Melbourne is usually four seasons in one day. That's right, it very much is. And we are sitting outside on your beautiful deck, your beautiful back garden, with the sun shining down on us, the birds chirping. It's just delightful, it's pretty nice. 
02:53 - Uma (Guest)
This is summer. This is our one day of summer that we get. 
02:56 - Alexis (Host)
Just one. That's one. I timed it very well, you did. I'm curious. You have been on this journey as a creative, as a musician, a singer, for a long time, but I wonder what for you, is a creative space. Like, what does it mean to you and why do you think that is? 
03:16 - Uma (Guest)
I think for me, the creative space has been in my head and at the piano a lot of the time. Not all the time. Sometimes it's at a cafe, 
03:25 - Alexis (Host) 
Oh I love this yeah, do you have a particular cafe? 
03:30 - Uma (Guest)
Well, because I've just moved up here to the beautiful Dandenongs and there is one not far down the road that I like to go and set myself up at. But I used to have, you know, my different places that I will go, depending on where I was living you know I lived in closer to the city of Melbourne for six years or so and I had a couple that I would frequent often to do some writing. 
03:50 - Alexis (Host)
Love this, first name basis. What’s your coffee order?=
03:57 - Uma (Guest)
It's a bit wanky. It's a large, weak soy latte, because I discovered that I liked the less strong flavour but I didn't want a small one, yeah okay, you know so, and that way if I'm really desperate I can have two, but if I've had a double shot, kind of two, I'll be up all night, yeah, anyway, anyway, that's too much information for anyone, but I think, like for me, I remember when I first started writing, writing my own music, which I had done, you know, bits and pieces of as a kid I dipped in and out of all sorts of different creative things, because that's what I love to do but, when I I had one song in particular come to me in a flash of inspiration literally after being on the train, and it came through my head on the train on the way to uni and I was like what am I gonna do? How do I get this out? So I was singing to myself as I was walking from the train to uni and trying to get it in a voice message to myself. 
04:50 - Alexis (Host)
How good are voice messages!
04:55 - Uma (Guest) 
So good, so good. But I suppose that's the thing is that usually, you know, my creative space is in my head. It's from a flash of inspiration, from a flash of a moment, and usually, very inconveniently, it's when I'm doing something else, when I'm at work, when I'm supposed to be doing other things, and I have to like quickly write something down. 
05:09 - Alexis (Host)
I can empathize with that. Mine seem to always come when I'm driving, when I do long stint drives, which is why everyone wonders why I like driving so much. I think they think I'm a bit nuts, but it's because it's like the time
05:21 - Uma (Guest)
Yeah, that's right.  Yeah that's right. It's when your mind is focused on something. Yeah, yeah, exactly and you just allow the inspiration to come instead of trying to make it happen, although everything sounds like that too. 
Yeah, you're like I have to finish this, yeah, but, um, but I guess it's so, I mean, ultimately the creative space becomes then taking the idea away and sitting down, you know, maybe sitting down at the piano, um, you know, spending some time working through different ideas. I'm trying more and more these days because I found it really works for me to just move with an idea, like it's the actual act of if I'm feeling inspired to dance or just to walk, you know, really helps me not get stuck in panic of, oh, this idea is crap or you know all that kind of stuff that comes up a lot yeah, so yes, cafes, my own head when you're doing something else and then at the piano when I get like I don't play. 
You know, you have such gorgeous you know gorgeous tradition of being able to play for yourself and do all that kind of amazing stuff. I never cultivated that. That was the one thing I was like. I don't want to practice, I just want to be good, so of course that's right and that never happened, but I play enough to write chords. 
You know around my songs and stuff like that. So when I get in that zone I can be there for hours because I love it. Um, and then that builds upon the other ideas that have already formed. But there isn't one set way I've found for me. There was one song, one of my favourite songs that I wrote way back in the day, came to me. I like woke up with it in my head, and that was another one where I was like where is the voice message? But yeah, it's a little bit random, 
07:09 - Alexis (Host)
Or what do they say? You should always put like a pad and paper next to your bed. 
07:11 - Uma (Guest)
Oh yeah, I've done that too. Yeah, yeah, I did that with my show. I did it before then, but I did it with my show. In the middle of the night I would wake up and like where's the script? Yes. Then in the morning you're like what the what does that say? 
07:21 - Alexis (Host)
Wait. I really need some time to decipher what it was I was thinking at 2am. 
07:24 - Uma (Guest)
That's right, and why is it on an angle and why is this letter really big and this letter really? Anyway, very funny, because I don't turn the light on, I just do it in the dark. I don't want to wake myself up. Yeah, true, I want to be able to go back to sleep. 
07:46 - Alexis (Host)
True, true. You have done so many things, so I think this is going to be maybe a hard thing to ask, but then maybe it won't be. What are you the most proud of creating, whether it be on your own or collaborating with others? Um, and if so, if there is one or a few things how did it come about? 
08:00 - Uma (Guest)
Yeah, I thought about this one a little bit. I there are. There are three things I'm most proud of, and the first is my show which is Intolerant, which I debuted at Melbourne Fringe Festival last year in October and it's coming very excited, taking it to Adelaide Fringe Festival from the 2nd to the 10th of March and then Melbourne Comedy Festival from the 27th of March to the 2nd of April. I've got to get that right. 
08:27 - Uma (Guest)
And then really excited to start taking it overseas this year as well. We're planning San Diego, maybe San Francisco trying to work that out and hopefully London as well later in the year which is really exciting, but this is the piece that I'm most proud of, for a few reasons. 
First of all, it allows me to do all the things that I've done, so like the writing and um, which is songwriting, but also some theatre writing. I have done some of that stuff before and I really enjoy it. It allows me to do the kind of performing that I like, which is I've discovered, you know, really being able to have moments with the audience where it's not just you're the audience and I'm the performer, and that's what you know. My journey has been a little bit all over the place, but that's what I came to discover I didn't like about a lot of the very traditional ways of performing, particularly in the opera world, which is kind of where my career has kind of gone more. 
09:19 - Alexis (Host)
Was that the thing that you liked about sitting more in the pop? 
09:26 - Uma (Guest)
Yeah, I liked the connection with the audience, for sure. And that informal kind of space where you can have connection, and that banter. But what I like about Cabaret, which feels to me like it brings all those worlds together, is that you're also able to create more play and more story and more comedy that adds to a greater story. You know, if you're doing a gig, that's great I love doing a gig but it is not. It doesn't have a shape in a story and a narrative. You can create it through the songs. Yeah, but that's not why people go and see a gig. 
You go and see a gig because you want to lose yourself in the music and enjoy what the artist is putting up there. You know, um, and I like that. Yeah, cabaret allows me to kind of straddle both of those two worlds, but with that informality that pop gives you where you're having a conversation with the audience. So um Intolerant really explores my experiences with lifelong food allergies and Crohn's disease, which I was only diagnosed with not even two years ago. It was in May of 2022. 
So that was a very difficult time, very physically difficult time. But I remember thinking partway through navigating that year because it became a horrific year when, yes, I got diagnosed, finally, after being, you know, sick for two and a half years um, with Crohn's, but without knowing it was Crohn's. Then, after I got diagnosed and we started looking at ways to treat it, I got COVID and then it became long COVID and it was a whole like that year was awful and I remember really feeling like, okay, when I'm well enough, I have to create something from this, like I can't just this is not just time that I'm laying in bed. This has got to come out of me 
It's got to be something and I, um, I think that that drive I don't know exactly what that drive is in me when I've I've had that very strong drive, you know, like I've got to do something about this, or I've got to like I can't let this pain go unacknowledged, like kind of thing. All the three things that I am most proud of. So I'll talk about the other two very briefly you know all. 
All of the projects that I'm really proud of have come from that place. So it feels very connected to who I am and very part of my values and how I've always kind of gone through the world. 
11:57 - Alexis (Host)
I can resonate with this so much. 
11:58 - Uma (Guest)
Yeah, right, yeah. That's why I like this so much. But it's just, it's so. Yeah, it's connected to my core and, you know, sometimes we forget about that and we go away from it. We have to live in this world. That, you know, pulls us in so many different directions. You lose sight of that, but when you are able to tap into that, it sounds really wanky but you know that essence of who you are you know? 
At your core and you can create something from that. That's so powerful. And I think for me this show, as I said, you know it allowed me to do all the things I love. It's original music, but it's also opera, it's comedy, it's play, but it's also got real moments of intensity and and um pathos. You know, it showed me that I can do that on my own. You know, would I recommend self-producing, not having a director, not having a marketing team?
No, I wouldn't. Uh, am I doing it again for the next rounds? Yes, I am. Would I recommend that? No, but that's how we are when we start, you know, when we're at the beginnings of these things. And it is very different these days in the industry. 
You don't just approach an agent and they appear you know, it doesn't work like that, no, so, uh, or a manager, you know. So, until it happens, you end up doing a lot of this stuff on your own, and it showed me how capable I am to do all of that stuff and to do all this other crap that I have no experience in, and it felt really, as I said, you know, aligned to who I am as a show and powerful, like the audience response was. I was really touched by the people, enjoyed it and felt connected to it, but also that I could do it like that was great. But then, in that same vein, you know, the other two pieces that I did under my stage name. 
The two songs that I'm most proud of are definitely Houses On Fire, which I released in 2020, which is a climate action song. Oh my god, it's amazing. Still adore that song and where it came from, you know. But then the other song that was on, like my very first kind of release, um which was called Girl On Caffeine funny, we talked about coffee um, um, that song is called I will stand, which again is about it's more from a social justice perspective and about, you know, standing up against hate, which feels very applicable now, uh, more than ever more than when I wrote it even. 
But those pieces that they just they hit something really deep in me. So it's not just creating the art, even though that's really fun and I love doing that and art for art's sake and fun for fun's sake and all of that. But when you, yeah, connect in, it's something else. 
14:29 - Alexis (Host)
But we're also multi-faceted we're allowed to just do those fun loving songs that are a bit more carefree and then for us to really tap into, like that's right, there's no rules, we're allowed to whatever, yeah, I'm so chuffed that you mentioned um those three projects because they're yeah, they're pretty special, so special. But then on, let's flip it. Yep, what do you think has challenged um your creativity and do you think there was like a major lesson out of that? 
15:02 - Uma (Guest)
I think the biggest one for me is um coming up against internal shame like coming up against internal shame like very often. That's really really powerful for me and and bites me in the bum all the time, you know, even when I need to go and practice something and go into the practice room to get started. You know that's my biggest challenge to getting into any creative space and I think that was really difficult in writing Intolerant. 
It made it so hard because so many of the experiences, the stuff that I experienced as a kid with my allergies and not being taken seriously, and then not being taken seriously, you know, with doctors for two and a half years before I was diagnosed with Crohn's, all this kind of stuff and the little things that happen along the way, you know, with things that people don't even think of. You know, like dating when you've got food allergies, is interesting. You know it's intense and you've got to find ways to navigate those things. And because so many of those experiences were wrapped up in so much pain and shame and yucky you know stuff, um, it was really hard to write the show, like I was getting blocked, I couldn't. I kept being like I have to finish this, I have to do it now because I've got to do this, xyz, and it just kept like. 
I just kept feeling blocked and it took a long time to work through that and I, you know, ended up having to talk a lot of it out, you know, with with my mum, with other people that I, you know, knew would be able to listen to it, rather than trying to sit and write it, because normally that's how I would do it and then come back and listen to what I'd said to be able to write it out. So it's those those old, very, very old emotions that really bite me, the bum, the most
17:00 - Alexis (Host)
Was there some tools that were you able to sort of? I mean, you just mentioned obviously leaning on your community to help you through that. Were there some other tools that were helpful during that time to try and regulate? 
17:12 - Uma (Guest)
I think that is a little bit more when I started leaning into okay, I'm experiencing this really strong thing. I need to move my body somehow. I need to get it out. Okay, I dip in and out of that. Some days I'm able to do that and some days I just kind of go and go much more internal but when I do it it's really really powerful and useful. 
Um, but also I think it was just kind of going learning to let go of that uh sensation like, okay, you're so wound up now, just take a step back, go do something else. Yeah, you're on a deadline, but forget about the deadline. You can forget about it for another half an hour. 
17:54 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah an hour is not in the big scheme of things the deadline's there, but an hour, yeah, it's not gonna break the bank. 
18:03 - Uma ( Guest) 
Right and I've learned over and over, and, over and over again over my years of everything, not just creating but doing it of life, of adulting, that's right like if you give yourself that time to recover is not exactly the right word, but if you give yourself that time to process stuff, you end up actually being more productive. 
And not that productivity should be the measure of who, we are. But when you are trying to create something on a deadline, yeah you know saying actually I'm going to give myself the afternoon off, or actually I'm going to give myself the morning off or I'm going to do, rather than being really hard on yourself saying it's not done, just go and finish it right so much more helpful. 
18:45 - Alexis (Host)
I don't. I don't know about you, but I always think I, whenever I'm in those spaces, I feel like I need to take a step back and be like, okay if I wasn't talking to myself and I was talking to a fellow human being, would I be saying those things? Probably not. I'd probably be like you need to have balance, you need to eat, sleep, move, see your friends, whatever. You can't work all the time, you can't, yeah and yet I don't know about you, but that, on reflection, it's like oh no, I expect, yeah, the utmost output
19:12 - Uma (Guest)
Well, and I think, like well I know, for opera singers and classical musicians in general, but particularly opera singers we're told you have to practice every day, you cannot miss it. You know like, and there's so much, as an opera singer, that you have to build in your toolkit you know, you have to be across the languages, as well as across the technique, which takes a lot of dedication. You have to be across the breathing. You have to be across the style. 
19:40 - Alexis (Host)
It’s so hard. 
19:42 - Uma (Guest)
It's really hard, right and, and it's impossible to well, unless you, unless that is all you want to devote your time to, it's impossible to have a life and and and maintain that. You know you have to live your life around your art, which some people want to do, and I suppose that's why part of the other reason why I've leaned more on cabaret is that my body is not made for that life. 
You know, cabaret allows me to be able to do that kind of stuff, that really precise work in the context of doing other fun stuff as well, and I think in terms of, you know, pop stuff we also get it from. You must hustle. You want people to listen to your music. You've got to be on top of this. You've got to be on top of that, you've got to be like all this kind of stuff, and I mean okay it's, it's, it's. 
20:36 - Alexis (Host)
Look, I mean, nothing we do comes without hard work. No, but I think that notion that you need to be hustling every minute of every day you're almost doing people a disservice because, like, everyone's going to burn out and people are the amount of I'm sure there's people in your community to make you. Yeah, we hear quite often, or not, that people burn out and if not, they have a hiatus, they totally leave the industry. That's right. 
21:04 - Uma (Guest)
Yeah, that's right. And also, I mean, I suppose it depends on what angle you're coming from, but the more you hassle people, the less they're going to actually want to engage with you too. So you've got to choose. You've got a big project that you're doing. Yeah, you're hustling around that, but you know, you've got to give yourself the grace too, I think. 
21:24 - Alexis (Host)
We need to love ourselves and be kind to ourselves. 
21:27 - Uma (Guest)
Yes, we've got to work on those things.
21:37 - Alexis (Host)
When you're creating, do you have an object or a thing and it could be something really like practical or it could be like sentimental but do you have a thing, an object that you can't live without when you're creating? And if so, what is it and why? 
21:54 - Uma (Guest)
I think for me it's. It's not a specific notebook. I mean, it would be a specific notebook that I've got those notes in, but it's like it's not that there has to be has to be this special one. I just have to have a notebook and usually I've got like the pen of the day, you know, the pen that has been my, my best friend for the last you know few weeks or whatever yeah until it's the next pen. Yeah, you know that kind of thing. 
So I want my favorite pen of the moment and I want my notebook. They're my two like things. 
22:25 - Alexis (Host)
I love this, yeah if you had one piece of advice, like a nugget of goodness to give another creative, what advice would that be? What would that little nugget be? 
22:38 - Uma (Guest)
I think, taking the pressure off yourself that you have to create in this particular way and you have to do it exactly like this and it has to be done like giving yourself that space to live there wasn't, and knowing and trusting that you're going to come back to your creativity because you are, like it's an innate part of who you are. Just because you put it down for a day or a week, you know, or you're on holiday for a month, it it's still part of who you are, it's still going to be there and that space might actually help you create something even more special, even more connected. I think that was something that was really. 
I listened to an interview with Trevor Noah and, okay, you know, stand-up is not my mode of creativity, although you never know, but never say never, never say never. But, um, he said something about that, how he was like pushing really hard, doing gigs and all this kind of stuff, and a mentor said to him how are you going to get new material? Like, if all you're doing is gigging and writing stuff and preparing for the gig and doing the gig, you're not creating any new material for yourself because you're not living, and I think that doesn't just apply to stand up, it applies to music and it even applies to operate. Yes, we have a lot of practice that has to be done, but if you're not also then gaining, you know, experience in other parts of life or giving yourself the space to develop more, you're not actually going to achieve like that. 
Every one of my biggest achievements or biggest steps forward in my development as an artist have been when I have had a little break that might only be three days, you know, or a day or whatever, but giving myself that space to then come back and it's like, oh, oh, oh, it's all happening. You know, you're just giving yourself, yeah, you're taking, taking a bit of the pressure off. 
24:30 - Alexis (Host)
If someone's curious to sort of do what you do, or just even not to even do what you do, but just curious how you got to what you're doing. Would you have any references or resources that you'd recommend, like are there courses or books or I don't know, influences? 
25:01 - Uma (Guest)
From an operatic perspective. There's some great like masterclasses on YouTube with, like really famous opera singers, so that will kind of give you a flavour of that world if you want to go looking in that direction. But there are also some really funny influencers on Instagram that do really silly content around opera singers. It's niche. It's niche because it's for opera singers, by opera singers. But there's some great stuff out there, like Haus is in H-A-U-S of Schmizzay is very good. And then Sula Parasitas she's an amazing Greek. I'm pretty sure she's Greek. 
I think she's Greek, she's a very good opera singer and she does some great like content as well. 
25:43 - Alexis (Host) 
Amazing. How great is TikTok? 
25:45 - Uma (Guest) 
Oh, so good. 
25:50 - Alexis (Host)
We’ve come up to the last question. If you could hear anyone else come on this podcast and answer these questions who would it be and why? 
25:56 - Uma (Guest)
Ali McGregor and Kate Miller-Heinke? Very selfishly, I'd love to hear them. 
26:01 - Alexis (Host)
I mean, all I can do is try to get them. 
26:06 - Uma (Guest)
That's right. I'd love to hear them. And I think you know there are some. There are some amazing artists that we're yet to actually see flourish. One of my dear, dear friends who's in the more comedy space, Hani Elrafi like, has had to really do his thing while having another full-time career at the same time. And I have been you, you know lucky in that respect, in that because I was studying a lot of the time you know, I had to focus on this stuff. 
That was, that was what I was doing, that's what I was studying, and then I was unwell so I couldn't be working all the time because my body couldn't handle it. And you know, lucky to have family support and all those kinds of things. But there are a lot of artists who don't have that and I'd love to hear from some of them to how they've made it work, how they've managed that balance. 
27:06 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, I love this. Well, oh, my goodness, Uma that was just delight. Thank you so much for coming or really letting me come through your creative job. No, well, good luck with all the future endeavours and, yeah, I can't wait to check out your show Intolerant, how exciting. 
27:23 - Uma (Guest)
It’s going to be really fun. 
27:27 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. 

Tuesday Jun 25, 2024

In this episode, Alexis welcomes the very talented Anna Hartley, the creative force behind Anna Hartley Photography. From a budding fashion photographer in her university years to a renowned newborn photography specialist, Anna shares heartfelt stories of capturing the fleeting moments of newborns which was a natural path taken through her experiences as a new mother. 
Listen as she describes the challenges and rewards of her creative process and business, especially during the turbulent times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or just love a good creative story, this episode is packed with insights on staying true to your passion, adapting to life’s changes, and finding joy in the art of photography. 
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Anna on instagram; @annahartleyphotography
This episode was recorded on 21 January 2024 on the lands of the Kurnai Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. Hi Anna. 
00:52 - Anna (Guest) 
Hi Alexis, hello hello. 
00:55 - Alexis (Host) 
How you doing? I am so chuffed. 
00:56 - Anna Guest) 
I’m good, how you doing, you doing good? 
01:00 - Alexis (Host)
I'm good, I'm good. I am just so chuffed that you are coming through the creative door with me. 
01:06 - Anna (Guest)
I know, I love coming through the door. 
01:12 - Alexis (Host)
Yes. So for those who are listening, we have just cracked a West Coast Cooler Original yeah, which I've forgotten what these tasted like. 
01:23 - Anna (Guest)
I did forget what they tasted like, but I knew when we seen them in Foodworks today we needed them. We needed them in our life and it just takes us back. 
01:33 - Alexis (Host)
Full of cool kids. Full of cool kids. I think we should start with just how much of a talented bear that you are. I well thank you. You're very kind of you to say um for those listening, you have this beautiful business called Anna Hartley Photography. And you have done lots of different things in that space. Babies, little wee babies. 
02:10 - Anna (Guest) 
Lots of little newborns
02:11 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, but you've done your little fair share of you know doing wedding photos. 
02:17 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, I started in weddings. My first five years of my business was solely doing weddings. Oh really, yeah, yeah. When I first started fresh out of uni, I booked a ton of weddings, and so for the first five years I only did weddings. That's all I did. And then I got pregnant with our first little baby, and when she was born I still had, I had racked up a number of weddings that I had to get through because I didn't realize the change and the shift that being a mom would would bring to my business. So I was like, yeah, cool, I'll have a baby and then I'll just keep working the way that I am. 
That'll work, that'll work and it did, it did. But I think I realized about probably like five or six months in I loved weddings and I and I was still always like my, I think starting my business I weddings wasn't the first thing that I wanted to do when I was at uni I majored in fashion photography and that's what I wanted to do 
03:29 - Alexis (Host) 
Really? That probably makes sense because you do love to play in that space. 
03:33 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, but then I never wanted to and I never wanted to like move to move to Melbourne or move to Sydney and do that. And so I think when I finished, or like approaching finishing uni, I was like I don't know what I'm going to do now, because my major was fashion and then I just kind of went into weddings and weddings went really well and and it boomed and it was big. 
And then when I had Harlow I I just I don't know, all of a sudden I was like babies grow so fast. They do because you have this newborn and then in six weeks they're an entirely different baby and I think it just made me want to capture every single thing that she did. 
And then, from then, I just my focus changed and I just was like I think I just want to work with babies, and so that was the shift to newborn photography, was through Harlow and how quickly she changed and I just, yeah, it just fully changed the focus of my business. 
And so I spent a lot of time and money in learning and doing different courses and workshops of you know, how to wrap babies and how to safely pose babies and how to do all these things. And I and I spent probably a good eight months on learning although I had a baby of my own at home but how to safely pose a baby in a photo shoot and how to tell if they're too hot or too cold or too, you know, and I and I just spent a really just just a lot of time on learning how I can safely, you know, pose babies and work with babies. And yeah, and that was the shift, and then I became a newborn photographer and then, yeah, now I that's solely mainly what I do 90 percent of my work is still newborns.
05:31 - Alexis (Host)
For those listening. You'd better check her out, because we're pretty good pretty cool. 
05:37 - Anna (Guest)
Oh, they're just they're born so perfect and they're just yeah, I just love them and I love the way that you can just, you can just pose them and you can just. 
05:47 - Alexis (Host)
They're like a little little clay 
05:52 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, they're like a little piece of plasticine. You just kind of mold them into what you want them to do and they just they do it. Yeah, they're beautiful
05:56 - Alexis (Host)
So that obviously you know you get to change um the space in which you work in but, I'm curious, like what does a creative space mean to you and why, like I know, you have a studio, yeah, but you haven't always had a studio? 
06:20 - Anna (Guest)
I think for me, that question is and it's going to be different for everyone but for me, a creative space isn't always I'm in my studio and now I'm creative, or I'm in my office and I'm editing and now I'm creative because I'm in those designated spaces where I, that's where I work. For me, you know, I find that my creative space is like who I'm with and where I'm at at the time and I think, being a photographer, that could change with the family that you have or the location that you're at or you know, and I'm big on the sun and I tell all my clients like when they book with me, I'll book a session based on, you know, we always have like a little bit of consultation on the phone before a session. 
You know, do you like the beach? Do you like the bush? Are you more of a rustic country person? You, you know, and based on what they choose and what um location they think will fit best for their family, I will then source that location but then I'll work out where the sun's going to be. So my creative space I think it's where the sun is, because I know where I want the sun to be in those places. So I don't think I have like a designated creative space of my studio or my home office. I think my space is where I am at with my clients, yeah, and where that's going to, and it's different for everyone. You know, like, if you choose the beach, it's going to be at this time, because I know that that's where I love to photograph someone at the beach if it's used to I know that bush is going to be an hour earlier than the beach, because that's when the light comes through the trees and yeah. 
So I think my creative space changes every single time that I work with somebody, but I always come back to my office and my creative space then, when I'm editing, needs to be I need to have my music and I need to have something that I'm listening to, that is, I can't edit in silence, I need, I always need music and I need. I need something to listen to. 
08:35 - Alexis (Host)
Have you got a particular genre of music?
08:38 - Anna (Guest)
Oh, I've got my playlist. Yeah, yeah. I've got my editing playlist, but I think um as far as a creative space. It's not always my studio. It's not always my office. 
08:49 - Alexis (Host)
It's a bit more fluid than that. 
08:50 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah it is. It's definitely more fluid than that. It's where I am with those people and what they want, it's always the sun. I just, yeah, we did a photo shoot this afternoon. We did. We did yes we did, yeah, and we got there at the right time, when I wanted the sun to be there, and I moved you pretty quickly to where I wanted you to be with the sun, yeah, so I feel like my creative space is when I have somebody in that space, which is outdoor, where the sun is, and I'll move you to where I want you to be. 
09:26 - Alexis (Host)
Do you know what's so interesting that you say that, because I've worked with you a fair few times, yeah, and you always do that. Yeah, it's not until you actually say it that I'm like oh, yeah, you do do that. 
09:38 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, my creative space is with the sun. Yeah, yeah yeah, because if somebody says, you know I'll do a photo shoot at like yeah, can we do like 12 o'clock in the day, I'm like no no because the sun isn't where I want it and so I think when I get the sun where I want it and I'm in the space where I want, that's when I can be creative, is when I have the people that I'm photographing in the location that they have chosen or that I've suggested, and I always know where I can get the sun and the clouds where I want them at that time and I think that's where magic happens is when you just get all the lighting right. 
10:15 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, yeah. It almost leads me into my next question. What are you the most proud of creating, and how did that come about? Do you think? 
10:32 - Anna (Guest)
Like the thing I'm most proud of creating or things that I'm most proud of in my business? 
10:40 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, I mean both 
Because I think that, I don't know, being proud is a big question. Um, I don't think I have a particular piece where I'm like that is my proudest piece that I've ever taken. Yeah, um, early on in my, you know, starting my business and you know, in the first probably like five to ten years, I used to always enter competitions and you'd win and then you'd be proud of doing those things, you know you'd be proud of a little bit and you'd be like, oh, that's really cool, like I did that or that was an international award, that was really cool. But I think if I look back and I've had my business now for 19 years I think the biggest things where I can look back and be like big, big points that I'm proud of, they would be that 14 years ago I left my job my nine to five because I realized that I had made this. 
The income that I was making on this on the sidelines, was bigger than what I was making nine to five and so for the last 14 years I've worked for myself and I remember leaving that job and then moving into a scene where I was like I just work for myself now, that was a big, big thing, where I was like that was a proud point for me. Um, and then I think moving forward from that seven years ago was when I got my first commercial space and for me that was a big, because it was like I'm not a home-based business now, I have a commercial studio, and so that was something that I was proud of at the time. So I think there's there's always going to be like little things you're proud of, but then there's the big things, that it was like that's life-changing. 
I work for myself. Now I don't work at home. Now I work in a commercial space. Um, day-to-day little little things. That make me proud, though, is I love when I'll be talking to a client on the phone, because I always do like a little phone consultation with whoever I'm working with, because I feel like it's important to not only book a session online, that you actually talk to them, and and be have that
12:53 - Alexis (Host) 
Have that rapport with each other
12:55 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah and in those, in those you know little phone conversations and little consultations I have with people, um, so many times people like just photos of the kids. I hate photos of me. We're just doing photos of kids. I'm like, well, dress that you might be in some, because whether you come in track pants or not, you're going to be in some because I'm going to make you not in a bad way. But, and every single time I will take a photo of that parent and I spin my camera around and they look at it and they love it and they're like I hate photos of myself, but I love that one and there's a little part of you that it is…
It's, it's like I had, yeah, this is a little happy, proud feeling because you've made that person feel good. My camera can only take what's in front of them and what was in front of them was them and yeah, that's, that's a nice little proud feeling. That happens multiple times a week. And then I think newly, moving into within the last 16 months, um, I started doing art therapy and working with clients who, a lot of them, are like I have no creative bone in my body. I don't know how to be creative. I don't know how to do art, I don't know how to do anything, and during sessions, over time, even in the first sessions that we work together, they create a piece and all of a sudden they finish the piece and they realize that they can do that and that and I think seeing them so happy and so proud makes me proud that it's almost like you, you know, you drew it out of them and they they could do it, but they needed a nudge and so I think there's
14:42 - Alexis (Host)
A little guidance
14:43 - Anna (Host) 
Yeah, and so I think, like I don't think that I could look at the time that I've been a photographer and been like I'm proud of, like this piece or this piece. I'm just proud of a few big pieces which were big moments, but then, daily and weekly, I'm just proud of making my clients feel good yeah. 
I think that's. I love that. I love making them feel good yeah, I love it when they make something in a in an art therapy session and it makes them feel good. I love taking a photo of somebody and then they feel good in that photo and 
15:24 - Alexis (Host)
It’s a gift, and you’re able to give that gift in all of those capacities I love that. On the flip side of talking about things that we're proud of, have you experienced or had like a challenge that sort of impacted your creativity and, if you don't mind, sharing like if there was one? And what was the major lesson? 
15:55 - Anna (Guest)
For me personally a challenge like business wise or or creativity?
16:07 - Alexis (Host) 
Creativity, like I think I can speak for myself, there have been times where my physical health with my crips diagnosis in my hand that has impacted my creativity yeah yeah, so you know health wise and um, but I mean, it could be anything yeah yeah, it could be, business could be. 
16:27 - Anna (Guest)
I feel like I've been pretty fortunate with like um, physical health and mental health, that I've not had big challenges with those things, and even um, and even you know, during you know, having kids. I feel like after the birth of all our kids, it kind of like rebirthed creativity because I had like a new little person to you know, like my kids would go down for a nap and I would just like pose them and do all these things. 
16:59 - Alexis (Host)
You know, you are my play toy
17:07 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, there is. Yeah, but I think for me, probably my biggest challenge, that impacted probably my creativity the most and I hate to say it was COVID. Yeah, because and I and I hate to say that that was what it was but I'd always had like such a smooth run and I'd never really had. You know, obviously there's like things in your life that come and go and they're hard, and but none of them really impacted the way that, like I always went to work or I'd always like that didn't impact what I was doing. 
And then in COVID especially living in Victoria, with our lockdowns I was closed for 11 months. You know, and that wasn't 11 months in a row, but 11 months all up, like, and it was you'd open, then, instead of having newborns, I had babies that were coming in that were, like you know, 12 or 13 weeks old and I had to then, you know, be like you can't fit in my baskets. And then I have to rework what I do because you've booked a newborn session and then now I'm reopened and I've got to change and I think it kind of threw me because I hadn't worked for so long and everyone I don't want to say everyone, but I know a lot of people around me in COVID were struggling, sort of. You know, we're just in this space of nothing and then you go back to work and I'm like this isn't, it was just a new, 
I had to just re rethink of every session that I did because it was all different and even the sessions that the sessions that I had outdoors, the first three weeks of outdoor sessions, anyone under the age of 12 had to wear a mask, so, yeah. So then I was like I can only work with kids under 12 and their parents were wearing a mask, standing at the side, and that, for me, we made it funny, we made it what it was, but I feel like, for me, having babies in the studio that were meant to be newborns and now they weren't, and just re changing props and changing like babies that are 12 weeks don't want to be wrapped like a, like a 10 day old baby. Yes, it's so different, and so I think it didn't. I made it work and everyone was happy with what I gave them, but I feel like that was probably my biggest challenge.
And I'm blessed that that was probably in the 19 years of my business that was the only time that I had that was, I don't know, COVID was a weird time. I think being closed just changed my thoughts and how I thought about you know. I just I think, being somebody that's creative, you always just want to be doing things and you know, 
20:01 - Alexis (Host) 
It is difficult to not have the ability to be creative. 
20:04 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, because you can't do your outlet, yeah, you can't do what makes you happy, yeah, and then not being able to do what makes me happy for so long, but then going back and it's entirely different. And so I think, yeah, I think, I think that would, I think that's got to be it, yeah like yeah, yeah, yeah. 
20:22 - Alexis (Host)
 I find that this is, this is gonna be an interesting question as a photographer, but is there an object that you can't live without while you're creating, and why? 
20:32 - Anna (Guest)
I mean probably my camera. 
20:34 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's why I was like I feel like it's, but then it could be something sentimental, something random that you might take with you. 
20:42 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, look, I'm not like one of those people that I don't carry anything else around apart from the camera. Yeah, camera, I've always got a spare, I've got two spares. Oh, camera, I've always got a spare, I've got two spares, oh good, yeah, yeah, can't just take one camera. Yeah, I think my camera, but I don't think the sun is an object, but the sun is a massive object. If I could control the weather. No, I just, I just yeah, I don't carry anything around that I you know need for good luck or anything like that, but I do, I always do have a couple of spare cameras, but yeah,
20:20 - Alexis (Host) 
And you're paying attention to where the sun's going. 
21:22 - Anna (Host) 
It's just, yeah, like I'm not going to photograph you at like 11.30am. No it's the sun. It's the sun and the camera. 
21:33 - Alexis (Host)
True true, true. If someone wanted to do what you do, Anna, what piece of wisdom or advice would you give that person? 
21:45 - Anna (Guest)
Do you know what I love this question heaps. Really I love it, I love it. 
21:50 - Alexis (Host) 
It fills my cup every time I meet people and their answers. 
21:54 - Anna (Guest)
I love it, because, going all the way through high school and then through to finishing year 12, multiple times people like what are you gonna do? I'm like I want to be a photographer yeah, cool, but what else? No, that's all I'm gonna do, I just want to be a photographer. And then leaving school and then going to uni and doing a diploma of photography, people like what are you gonna do? I'm like I'm gonna be a photographer, what do you mean? They're like well, you gotta have a backup, and I never had a backup. I didn't have a backup because I felt like if I had a backup, I might have done the backup. So I just didn't want to have one. 
But I think, having, being somebody that wants to do something in a field that's not a nine till five, you're always going to have people like What are you going to do, though? What are you going to do? So I think for me, it's like if you want to do something, you can do it, but no one, you have to make yourself do it. No one's going to do it for you. If you want to do it, you just have to work a different job until you can make it work or do, but just yeah. I think you just have to block everyone else out and just do it. Work really hard. 
Remember when I went to uni, I was doing that five days a week. I worked at a restaurant six nights a week and then I worked at the surf shop on the weekends and so I had one night a week off. That was it. Yeah, and I did that for two years and everyone kept saying in that duration of that time, what are you going to do when you finish? I'm like I want to be a photographer. 
23:50 - Alexis (Host) 
Are you guys not hearing me?
23:52 - Anna (Guest)
This is what I'm going to do, and so it was. It was really hard and even like booking weddings in the beginning was really hard, but I knew that I could do it and I knew that that's all I wanted to do. 
24:02 - Alexis (Host) 
And then like you said it, it evolved and changed, yeah, and, and moved towards new things.
24:09 - Anna (Guest)
Yeah, definitely, since I had kids, like especially, I think I think having Harlow like it just changed what I wanted to do and I'm like I loved weddings and I loved it at the time. 
But then, having Harlow, I just realized how quickly babies change and I'm like I want to capture that. I want to capture that little bit of, you know, newborns. You've got four weeks to capture that because, because between five and six weeks they look entirely different. They're not a newborn anymore, then they're a baby, and then they're a toddler and then and I, yeah, so for me I was like I want to do that. I want to capture that little special moment and I think for parents that that bit goes as a blur, like you hardly remember that. You remember bits and pieces, but just to capture the details of, like, all the little things. I'm like I want to. I want to do that. I want to be the person that captures that little blur. 
25:08 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. Extra question, what resources would you recommend if someone wanted to develop their creative process like and do what you do? 
25:20 - Anna (Guest)
I think all the resources are different for, for every field that you work in, you know whether it's you know, being a photographer, being a tattoo artist, being a singer, being you know they're all, they're all going to be like a different thing that you need to tap into. I think that if you have something that you want to do, you just need to like, follow it yourself or find a tribe that's going to support you to do that and and go for it. You can jump on Instagram or Facebook and be so inspired by so many people that are doing good things and you're like I want to be that, I want to do that, and you're like, yeah, cool, do it. You know what I mean. I feel like these days, you can be inspired by anyone because you feel like you can do anything yeah. 
26:08 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah. If you could have someone else anyone come on to this podcast and answer these questions? Yeah, who would like to have on here and whY
26:29 - Anna (Guest)
Who would I choose? This one. I don't think I could answer it with like one person.
26:34 - Alexis (Guest) 
No, give me a few,
26:35 - Anna (Host) 
All right. So if I go with people that I personally know and that's where I'm going to go, yep, I think that Naphellel Watts from Saltwater Creative. 
She is an incredible artist, yep she also runs workshops for resin and pottery and, amongst other things, she's just. She's an amazing businesswoman and I think she's inspirational to so many people more than she knows. And so I think Naphelle would be amazing, and I also think that Zoe Doland who is also. I don't know if you're familiar with her art?
27:11 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah her artwork is stunning. 
27:15 - Anna (Guest)
I think she would be really fun to talk to as well. 
27:18 - Alexis (Host)
Good choices, yeah. Good choices. Anna, thank you so much for coming through the creative door, and being on the podcast. 
27:26 - Anna (Guest) 
Oh thank you, Alexis 
27:28 - Alexis (Host) 
It was such a joy. Loved it. Love you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Tuesday Jun 11, 2024

In this episode, we dive deep into the world of creativity with Adelaide's own clown, actor, and director, Hew Parham. Known for his unique comedic characters and acclaimed performances like Symphonie Of The Bicycle and A Not So Trivial Pursuit. 
In this episode, we chat with Hew about his creative process, the importance of physical and mental space in his work, and the challenges and triumphs that come with being a professional clown and performer. Whether he's mentoring with the British troupe Spymonkey or performing his beloved character Giovanni, Hew's dedication to his craft and passion for pushing artistic boundaries shines through.
Tune in for an inspiring conversation that explores the highs and lows of a life dedicated to bringing joy and thoughtfulness to audiences around the world.
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Hew on instagram; @hewparham
This episode was recorded on 9 December 2023 on the lands of the Kaurna Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Hew:
Pema Chodron - When Things Fall Apart
James Thiérrée
Julia Cameron - The Artist’s Way
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door conversations along the way. Welcome to. 
00:52 - Alexis (Host)
Hello Hugh, how are you going? 
00:54 - Hew (Guest)
I'm good. Good, it's early, but we're here. 
00:55 - Alexis (Host)
We're in rainy Adelaide. What have you done? What is this? I know I wanted the sun. 
01:02 - Hew (Guest)
I promised you hot weather, the other day I was like it's good beach weather and then it's like Not acceptable. 
01:14 - Hew (Guest)
I'm good. I'm good. Yeah, I've had a really good week. I've been working with some dancers on a piece about loneliness I love this which was really, really cool. It was just working as like an outside eye dramaturg kind of working with text, just because those guys don't work with text a lot, so that was really fun. I actually had a really fun kind of nice. Kind of was nice to kind of waltz in and go yeah, that's good. Okay, bye. 
01:41 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. 
01:43 - Hew (Guest)
Rather than the week before was like I don't know what to do about this. Yeah, it's funny. You have some weeks that are like and then other weeks are. Yeah, that's the creative life. 
01:54 - Alexis (Host)
It is yeah. Well, thank you so much for coming through the creative door. And you are such a talented bear, such a talented bear. You are a professional talented bear, such a talented bear. You are a professional clown, you're an actor, you direct things that you were just saying before and I don't know. You're just such a champion in like lifting others up and doing so many amazing things. 
02:18 - Hew (Guest)
Oh, thank you.  
02:22 - Alexis (Host)
It's so interesting because, like we're talking about, like creative spaces, but for you, I'm curious, like what does a creative space mean for you, cause it could be very different depending on what you're doing right. 
02:49 - Hew (Guest)
Yeah, absolutely, um, I I'm pretty like in terms of like I'm pretty bad at home, I think I need a. I mean, it depends, sometimes I can kind of get into a pretty good writing mojo, depending on the day, but I do, I mean, I guess, in terms of like a physical space, like I often I do prefer a studio if I can get one, studio if I can get one, and then, um, uh, because I guess I find my work is often, um, quite physical, or often I kind of write a lot. I would say I write a lot through the body, so it's good for me to. 
I find, rather than you know, I think, if I sit at the laptop and write too much, often you find it's you go to read it out later and it's a bit stale, a bit laptopy, so I kind of find sometimes just being able to roam around in the space often probably like voice record a lot lie in the corner, have a cry, get back up again, play music, sort of. You can feel like you can be a bit of a disaster, um in the best possible way um, I made a show a few years ago called Rudy's the Rinse Cycle, and I had a studio of my own at the time. Yeah, and. 
I was like I would never have been able to make that show without that studio, because I don't know whether I was a bit blocked coming into it. And then it was only. I was in the Cabaret Festival, which is a pretty big festival in Adelaide, and it was about two weeks out and I didn't have anything. It was just like, oh my God, and so, but because I had that studio, I just went in from like 9 am to 11 o'clock at night and I don't know just be able to kind of, like you know, write and then kind of sit and look out the window and write and then sit out the window and yeah, that kind of space to kind of be able to designate I often find helps me a little bit. Um, mentally, mentally, I had this kind of funny thought. I got this show, symphony, the bicycle and in a weird way, like I've said, this thing where I go. 
I don't know if I would have been able to write that show if it wasn't for lockdown in a way, because like it was sort of like one maybe I had a deadline and to present a draft, but actually kind of having that space at that time was really massive. 
And then I was also really lucky to get JobKeeper, which I think just having that freedom and income and you know that steady income for that bit, and I was went to this conference recently they're talking about this universal basic income for artists and this, you know this thing going on Ireland and I certainly found, when I had, you know, I had that income coming in, that I could actually just I could every day so just get up without kind of having to go off and do other things and just write. 
I'm sure it wasn't perfect. Maybe I'm looking back on it romantically a little bit, but I think sometimes I find having that kind of separation or I guess recently, when I got a grant to work on a new show and I guess to have that three weeks specifically that I could kind of go and dedicate myself to and really kind of this is the time to work on this, I find sometimes when my brain is a bit split in four or five different directions and I'm, you know, I'm going to gig if I'm doing other kind of stuff and then things like that. Then I guess that I find sometimes that's tricky to kind of really go deep with something. So yeah, that's a few things in regards to space 
06:09 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, it's um, I think sometimes it is nice to separate, you know, home work, you know, and sort of have that actual physical difference in environment yeah, I mean not for everybody, but sometimes it's a frame of mind too, but yeah, yeah, I think it is nice to, yeah, be able to step into or out of. 
06:38 - Hew (Guest)
Yeah, like I think at home it's just so easy to get. Well, I'll just do a little bit of this and so it's much easier to procrastinate and sort of put some washing on. 
06:49 - Alexis (Host)
Put some washing on yeah, yeah, um, yeah. 
06:54 - Hew (Guest)
But then I think there's times I get into pretty good modes, um, and I guess even maybe a designation of space within the house. I sometimes find, as I think, when I've got sort of the spare room which is kind of set up for my creative room, a little office, a bit more of my office, and I think for a while I didn't have that kind of set up and at some point I really actually kind of specified no, this is that space for that, and to kind of almost go through that kind of creative door in a way that you go, okay, this is the space to kind of be creative and throw my phone into the river so you don't look at it. And it's like, oh God. 
07:33 - Alexis (Host)
You've got to put it in one of those jars that has a lock or a timer or something. 
07:36 - Hew (Guest)
I've been thinking about getting a phone prison. Oh man. 
07:44 - Alexis (Host)
You have been part of so many projects. You have created so many amazing things, so this is probably going to be a hard question. But is there a body of work or something you've been part of that you're most proud of, and how did it come about? 
08:00 - Hew (Guest)
I mean like all of them in different ways. I think a bit like Symphony of the Bicycle. I guess I'm proud of that. In different ways, I think it'd be like Symphony of the Bicycle. I guess I'm proud of that in some senses of I developed that. That took about seven to eight years to develop that show and sometimes you wonder with projects like should you let it go? And I often think with that one where it goes, it's a 90 minute beast. 
It started out as I had this idea of wanting to make a 20 minute clown show about a cyclist, just like a really cute little silent kind of thing, and then it ended up being this enormous behemoth, was like 20 accents and all these characters and but I guess it's. 
I kind of. There was this determination to tell this story in that show, especially about this real-life character, Gino Bartali, who was a cyclist who won the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948. And there's this thing which I always found fascinating about him is that during World War II he would go on these secret training rides to save, transport these documents, to save Jews in Northern Italy, and he never told anyone about it until near where he died. And I guess there was something about that, that nobility, and there was something about him that I kind of went. It was almost like part of me that I needed to explore. And then it's interesting working with collaborators. I don't know it's like and I don't bemoan any of them, but I think I guess it's sometimes and I probably as a director as well I've got to be careful when I'm trying to shape things away from maybe where the performer might want to be going but, I just had this feeling that I wanted to tell this story
I kind of it really felt like it was going away from it. 
I don't know whether it was obstinate or not, whether it was him, because he's a pretty dogmatic, stubborn character, but I just it's like I felt like I had to really really hold firm to that thread of the story and really wanting to tell it, and at times it was going in all sorts of other directions. 
And then it's, I think at some point people started to get it and they started to go no, he's, and it became such a massive part of the show and I guess then doing the show and then when people hear that story they're like, oh, now I want to Google him and I want to learn about him and stuff like that, and I go that I guess validation of yeah, I don't know it's sort of interesting about when to let people in and when to let other influence in and then when to kind of go to hold firm to an idea and kind of go no, I need to tell this. So I think that in a funny way kept me going across seven, eight years to kind of keep it going and through covid and through lockdown and stuff like that that are going now it's sort of I'm still determined to make it happen in a way. 
10:57 - Alexis (Host)
Lots of body of work to be proud of. Yeah, yeah on the flip side of things that you're proud of. I'm curious have you had challenges that you've sort of come across, that have stunted or affected your creativity? And if so, what do you think the major lessons or lesson has been?
11:20 - Hew (Guest)
Lots of things, lots like perfectionism is a pretty big thing for me. Highly perfectionistic it's actually. When you said, when you asked the question is, what came to mind was a bit my other show I've sort of got going at the moment A Not So Trivial Pursuit, and that show I it's. It ended up not being again maybe the show that I expected I was gonna make, make I was going to make this this idea of
11:50 - Alexis (Host)
Does it ever end up the way that we? 
11:53 - Hew (Guest)
Often? It doesn't. No, no. And sometimes I think you've also just got to let it go and let it live and take on what form it wants to take on and let yourself be surprised. And um, yeah, I guess you know it is that balance of when to take on and let yourself be surprised. And yeah, I guess it is that balance of when to let go and then when to hold firm and but, yeah, that show. I had this crazy idea of doing six different scenes based on the different categories of Trivial Pursuit, with six different clown directors from around the world, and then it just turned out to be an absolute nightmare, like trying to get everyone together and timing. And then in Adelaide, we were in this little bubble for a while a bit after you know, it was sort of actually things were quite good, and then we opened up the borders and then Omicron hit and then three of the directors that are here were parents, and then it was like they had to homeschool their kids. Schools closed down and then, um, and then I'm not exactly sure what I was going through mentally at the time I don't think I was maybe in the best state of mind like a few things had sort of happened and then I was finding, when I was even just trying to make the show as it was. 
I was it's funny I was really, I was giving up on everything. I was giving up on all my ideas. I would. I'd never really had that sense before. I had other times where I'd go, oh, that's shit or that doesn't work, but it was this sort of more, this real kind of defeated, like, this sort of real kind of collapse, this sort of um, yeah, it was this sort of very strange state that I hadn't experienced before, whether it was a bit of a depression or something and whether there's a few other things that were happening in life at that time. So I I mean it was probably a big help with some of my directors that were there probably helping and kind of helping persist through it. I remember there was this I did a session with my teacher in Canada that just he was again like just show me anything. Like show me anything, anything, just anything, just get anything out. 
And I had to really like, like, just off the floor. 
14:13 - Alexis (Host)
Like you're really like pushing uphill yeah yeah,
14:15 - Hew (Guest)
But then sometimes you just like it's like you just hang on to something, like you just hook onto something, and I think there's this character in the show the rules Nazi, and I think at that moment it was like oh, I think there's something in him. 
I think there's something in him, so let's like follow him for a little bit and then and then I think, where there was almost these kind of like ice picks that you sort of just kind of found up, like you found that bit and then, and then maybe that gave me a little bit of scaffolding to kind of go, and then you sort of, and then find another little bit. 
14:48 - Alexis (Host)
It's such a challenge to really just trust the process and if you've not done it before, it's being comfortable in the uncomfortable and yeah, it's just everyone tells you just to follow the process, but, like when you've not done that before, you're just like what do you mean? It all feels yeah yeah hard and shit and there's resistance and yeah you know you self-doubt and all of the yeah, it's tough. 
15:21 - Hew (Guest)
It's probably where a lot of projects have stalled for me is probably when I've become focused on the product. So, however scary, I've got to find a way to go back to process and go, and that might be like what do I want to discover about myself, you know? Or I just want to work on my writing and I want to work on my dialogue, or, yeah, I want to work on through this show building my physicality and getting to do better than my physicality. Or I'm gonna work on my accents and this is a really great having you to work on my voice and stuff like that you can kind of look at again. Oh, that’s weird. Then you also quite good. 
16:07 - Alexis (Host)
Out of curiosity do you have like a thing or an object that you can't live without when you create? 
16:15 - Hew (Guest)
Yes, there's a few things. I'm a bit of a pen obsessive, love Officeworks. This is my favourite pen. 
16:25 - Alexis (Host)
We're not sponsored by Officeworks, by the way. 
16:27 - Hew (Guest)
Or by Uniball. Hi, uniball, if you're there, I love your 0.7 signo. Uh, that's my favourite. My favorite pen because I do uh, I do journal quite a bit. Um, there's a thing called The Artist’s Way um, which is the book, yes, um, which is probably like probably a lot of people in the arts have probably done and gone like oh, my God like it will drive you crazy. Yeah, but it is transformative, so no wonder it keeps going around. 
17:01 - Alexis (Host)
And I guess I was just speaking to someone a couple of days ago who just bought it as well, I was like oh, it's making the rounds again. 
17:13 - Hew (Guest)
Making the rounds again. Yeah. I saw some in a cafe a little while ago and I was like, oh God, maybe for those who don't know, it's a 12, what do they call it? A 12 week recovery program, recovery program? I don't know. Is it program? I can't speak For creatives or I guess anyone really, but there's a thing in that is the morning pages, which is three pages freehand every morning. 
17:34 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, there's. There's something about that physicality pen to paper. I don't know what that is 
17:37 - Hew (Guest)
Yeah yeah and then I've probably started to use voice notes a lot and voice recording.
I love it yeah, and kind of, because I get like maybe being with dialogue and stuff like that, that's sort of trying to come up, I think if you can talk it out, and then it is more conversational and you get weirder phrasing and it's more real phrasing, and then and then taking it and transcribing it, and then you might need to muck stuff around a little bit. 
So I find that quite good. I use butcher's paper a lot, butcher's paper and sharpies, so I do a process called clustering, which is that's an essential part of my writing process. So I get a big piece of butcher's paper and in the middle I might write something like images and desires of myself as the ultimate scientist I wanted to explore a scientist character and then I circle that and then I just write like absolute gung-ho, like write a sentence, circle it, write another sentence, circle it, write da, da, da, and then you kind of you might go to the end of what I call a stanza. You might have I don't know 14 of them or you might have 30 of them. Go back to the middle circle, write, write write until you fill up the whole butcher's paper. 
So it's full of these bubbles amazing and then what you do is um, I get another notepad and then I um, close my eyes and I spin the cluster and whatever I put my finger on, whatever a bubble I put my finger on, they go. I'm an Albert Einstein looking at a nuclear bomb or whatever. 
19:23 - Hew (Guest)
Albert Einstein looking at a nuclear bomb, and then then spit it again. Whatever bubble I go, he thinks this is a bad idea or whatever um, and then I'll spit it again until I don't know. It's sort of about like 14 to 20 lines forms a poem and then the title of the poem is the top, which is images desires for myself as the ultimate scientist, or ultimately hungry, or ultimately a character, or my ultimate song could be anything, and then you read the poem and then you read the poem top down, and then the trippy thing is is read the poem bottom up and then, some reason, 95% of the time reading the poem bottom up, you're like it makes sense where you go. 
Oh, sense, or you go, oh that's the show or that's the bit, or so. I find that a really great process for, like, I guess, a lot of trying where possible, where I can go to the right brain yeah, at times trying to be too logical, often that's a good circuit breaker. If I need a, a thing I'm a bit stuck maybe go to that or, like, often use it in a lot of initial stages and then to kind of to find stuff. There might just be an image in it that's really unexpected that you go. Oh, or the way two lines join up which kind of go that to that goes. Oh my God, that makes so much sense. But it's sort of to that goes. Oh my god, that makes so much sense. But it's sort of it's a slightly deeper place or something like that. So, um, I find that a really great, a really great tool. 
Um, music is massive for me. I like I work with music 99% of the time. That's probably one of my biggest tools and triggers. And, um, often I like I write to use a lot of ambient music, but then I like to also surprise myself as well, and often music will lead and I will kind of I think I got from the artist way. It's not that it tells you to do it, but they said this thing about go on artist dates and so take yourself out to do different things. And a thing that I did was in my car I've got a six CD player and I find, you know, with streaming, you know, often it sort of feels like it's trying to lead you where you want to go or what your tastes are with things like Spotify, whereas I find sometimes going to the library and then just picking out six random CDs and kind of going oh okay, that looks interesting, that looks interesting.
And then putting those, and then I put those six CDs in my car for two weeks and then I'd kind of just listen to them, and then it's often it's like oh, that's crap, that's crap, that's crap.
But then you go, oh, that's interesting, yeah, I hadn't thought of that style before, or and then like and then I used to when I had a really old, crappy car which didn't have anything, just had the radio, and then often I just would go between different radio stations and sort of go just like in the car and then sort of like you know a big part of Giovanni and how that grew, was just listening to SBS radio and just trying to practice gibberish along to that, was trying to kind of create this almost Italian kind of gibberish to that. 
22:39 - Alexis (Host)
Giovanni's, one of your shows?
22:40 - Hew (Guest)
Yeah, so it was an Italian waiter character that I played, yeah, um, so there's things like that. I guess you know where possible like tools and resources, you know like where, if you can, you know your community, your collaborators, your peers is a big part of it finding those people that you really trust, your feedback and that you can kind of go to and that you sort of you've got a really good simpatico with. Probably for me, you know therapy, you know it's probably because it is, you know, it does bring up stuff and my work is very personal as well. So I think I mean I'm sometimes a little bit obsessive on that side of as well, but, um, those kind of, I guess, tools of taking care of yourself. 
You know I've found at times, therapy really useful and then other kind of self-care things, um, spiritually, books like um Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart there's often a book I go back to. I've found it's weirdly, I've found that book around the world when I've been in moments of distress. It's sort of. It's like it's almost kind of pops up. 
It just pops up and it's like everything will be okay and um also there's, I kind of think I mean I probably need to get a bit better at it at right at the moment, but it's also like in your skills and looking at your skills. And I think another thing I got from artist way was I like one of the artist dates and I had this thing of, for some reason I went there was this shop and it had this box set of DVDs probably watching DVDs a bit more of this French clown for Jacques Tati and I kept on looking at that box set. No, no, it's maybe a hundred and ten dollars or something like that. 
And I guess the Artit’s Way was quite good at going. You know, feed your artist and so what did your artist want? And I think I need to buy that box set and I bought that box set and um and his movies they're great with them in. They're slow and they're ponderous at times. But then what was really good was they would have these different directors analyze the movie afterwards and I actually kind of found them like they were breaking down comedy and they're breaking down the way comedy works and how he'd shoot and what he would do and certain gestures and other things that he did and actually through that I went oh, this is my craft like this is my craft, so like, , and then you know, and then. 
24:58 - Alexis (Host)
You had the aha moment 
25:01 - Hew (Guest)
Yeah So what I every now and then what I need to do is I'll go back to YouTube, you know, get YouTube resource, and then I might watch clown routines. Like I'll probably twice a year watch James Thierree who's Charlie Chaplin's grandson, who's just like like is there one, like can he share a bit of talent with someone else? 
25:20 - Alexis (Host)
How very dare you
25:23 - Hew (Guest)
He's like incredibly good looking. He's a phenomenal clown. He's so buff he, like he can roll a blade while playing the violin and then, he, he creates and directs and writes t, oh god, I'm like, oh he's, he's ripped. 
23:35 - Alexis (Host)
Got some bromance happening here, don't you
25:40 - Hew (Guest)
I'm like you're like, he’s ripped! oh my god, I need to, but like he's, but it's just, his skill, you know, and it's also it, it's so playful. And then, I guess, feeding yourself in that way, so even kind of going back to that, and even these sort of silly little clown routines that I might like or you know, I guess that's in some way that kind of goes ah, you know, that's your, you know. So I guess you know, whatever your field is, that you sort of also kind of um, remind yourself that it is your world and it's your skill and give to your artist and you know what kind of feeds the artist as well, you know so.  
26:26 - Alexis (Host)
As a as a musician, like some of my managers or like mentors have always said. It's like punters don't know necessarily and can't pinpoint it, but it's that authenticity and that, that thing that they can connect in and they don't know what that is, it's just something that they can latch onto right. If you could give one piece of advice or nugget of advice to another creative, what would it be? 
26:47 - Hew (Guest)
You know, a big part of clown is is like failure, I think, and being okay with failing and I guess sometimes we're afraid of I guess maybe sometimes it's even just that maybe even that first idea or dumping it out or it might be bad or something like that. 
And so I think sometimes just like or I can't remember who is it, is it Elizabeth Gilbert or Anne Lamott, whatever, talk about the shitty first draft, and I think the riot in a way is sort of just sometimes and it gets a bit like what my teacher would. Trivial pursuit was like just get it out, just get something out and then let's look on it and so then find that little scaffolding. So I guess sometimes just you know, finding another thing, my teacher would say it's, it's not work, it's puke. So he would say like vomited it out, and then you're like get it out, and then you can kind of look at it and you can find those little chunks and you can sort of go like, oh, that's actually that piece of pineapple is kind of interesting. Let's kind of put that over there. That's kind of unexpected. So I guess sometimes I think where maybe we can be kind of so paralyzed or so worried about doing perhaps anything, or like having the whole picture or something like that. 
28:05 - Alexis (Host)
So I think that we just don't start. 
28:07 - Hew (Guest)
We just don't start, you know, yeah, yeah. 
28:11 - Alexis (Host)
One last question. 
28:12 - Hew (Guest)
28:13 - Alexis (Host)
If you could have anyone come on to this podcast and answer these questions who would it be, and why? 
28:20 - Hew (Guest)
I was thinking about this one. It's like I mean, the dream would be Tom Waits. You know go to California and go to his farm and have a chat with Tom Waits that would be amazing. Um my friend, Ida Sophia, who's a visual artist here and she's started to do really um fascinating kind of immersive, durational performance art work um, which often is sort of very, very, very personal. 
There's been a couple of shows about her dad and I feel like it's a real, I think it's just, I guess, someone it's a friend and I kind of I'm not jealous at all, but I just actually kind of see, I feel like she has found her thing and she is in and really challenging this form in Australia and really kind of doing some really interesting work. Um, so yeah
29:13 - Alexis (Host)
Oh Hew , thank you so much for being on the podcast through the creative door. 
29:23 - Hew (Guest)
It's been an absolute pleasure thank you for having me. 
29:25 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. Thank you. 

Tuesday May 28, 2024

In this episode, Alexis welcomes the multi-talented Evie Lucas. Evie, a musician and creator of a wearable art brand Seams Nice, chats about her glittery jackets, travel, plants, fabrics, and music career. From capturing vocals on an iPhone and singing in a Latvian choir to building a brand that clothed pop star Bebe Rexha, Evie advocates for embracing experimentation. She emphasises that stepping into the unknown can yield delightful results, encouraging everyone to explore uncharted creative territories.
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Evie on instagram; 
Music @ evielucasmusic 
Wearable Art @ seams.nice
DJ @ djevielucas
This episode was recorded on 7 December 2023 on the lands of the Kaurna Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Evie:
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door.
00:49 - Alexis (Host)
Hello, how are you going? 
00:52 - Evie (Guest)
I’m good thank you
00:55 - Alexis (Host)
Evie, I am so chuffed to be in your space. Thank you so much for coming on to Through The Creative Door. We're through your creative door. 
01:02 - Evie (Guest)
You're welcome. Yeah, it's a bit squishy. 
01:04 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, my God, it's not squishy, it's fucking amazing. So I'm looking around a beautiful room with beautiful plants and beautiful glittery jackets and lots of fabric and a keyboard and I don't know, just like all the things that just make me smile. 
01:23 - Evie (Guest)
Oh, that's good, that's good. You're found your way around there. You're in this, the sewing zone section yeah. 
01:31 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. Um, so a bit about you. I mean, you are such a clever, talented bear. You have so many creative ventures yeah,
01:43 - Evie (Guest)
 I can't help myself a little bit. I'm busy. 
01:48 - Alexis (Host)
No, in all of the best possible ways. I mean I have fanned girled you from afar. You are such a talented musician, um, and I also. You know you work with one of my dear friends. Sophie Head as well, which I'm very jealous of some of the creative stuff that you guys have done. 
02:11 - Evie (Guest)
Come join Tipsy Twain. 
02:17 - Alexis (Host)
Oh my God, it'd be so good, I know. Every time I was like what else are you doing for fringe? What? else are you doing? But you, you apart from, obviously, music being one of your major loves um you have a wearable art brand? 
02:33 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah I'd say, for seems nice, yeah, so that was the idea um to try and fund music, because music doesn't necessarily fund life. 
02:44 - Alexis (Host)
Don't I know it. 
02:46 - Evie (Guest)
So the idea was to make my own merch or make things that I could sell as merch and like why not have it be wearable art? I've started with tinsel jackets, but I want it to get a whole lot weirder. I've got like like lots of Pinterest boards and lots of um ideas that in the middle of the night you wake up to go yeah and then you wake up and go no, no, no, how?  
So um, like, there's tinsel jackets, but the next sort of thing is going to be like raincoats with the tops of the tinsel. You know it comes in a strip at the top, like to chop that up into different patterns and put that in a raincoat so it's glittery but bits don't fall off and go into you know your world, or a festival or whatever. Yeah, like I want to do things that are glittery and outrageous, but that the pieces don't come off, because if you shimmy hard enough in this, you'll get some casualties. 
03:39 - Alexis (Host)
So, um, I mean, you want to encourage the shimminess? 
03:51 - Evie (Guest)
Well, you can't help it when you wear one. I guess yeah, yeah, the shimmy movement, it's just, it's yeah Part of it, yeah, so. But um, yeah, I wanted to have something, um something else. But yeah, there's lots of other ideas and like I want to do beading things and, um, yeah, like sequins and beaded stuff. But I think the idea is too that I need to do something with my hands. I'm very busy. I can't kind of help it, so if I'm watching tv I can't really sit still, I've never been. I've always been like drawing or painting or something while watching tv to chill out. So sewing actually feels like that's why there's a tv in here too. It'll be like Will and Grace or Kath & Kim or like some kind of something on like my partner's. 
Like, can you? That's a Kath & Kim quote, isn't it? So like, um, I'll be watching tv and sewing. So, um, it was to. Yeah, it's all like inclusive, all part of it. So it fuels multiple kind of parts of life and people have been super stoked when they've gotten a jacket so far. So I've been really, really happy with that. Um, and like just all of the clients that I've had that have gotten jackets have just been so awesome and lovely people. Yeah, like I had two brides in Perth, actually two brides from WA both wear jackets for their wedding when they got married. That's sick, yeah, it was so good and like just their colour choices. And they sent me a little video. 
Someone else was in it wearing dancing, and it just looked like such a good time. So, yeah, I don't know, it just all feels a bit more like joyful. Like I did lots of paper art and stuff and it was something to look at but something to wear. Um, where someone else feels that stagecraft. 
So I, yeah, started this thing to fund music releases because if I can sell some jackets then I could make a song and release that and then that could sort of be like a roll-on sort of effect, bit of give me some momentum, um, and it definitely has kind of done that. All of these jackets this year have helped me get to um, go to Latvia and be part of that choir, so it did fund things towards music totally, and that was like music, family heritage, like grabbing back with both hands, like heritage and stuff that I haven't been able to have access to. So that's been really really cool. Um, yeah and um a friend um helped me design um, all of that, because I was just like I just can't do the branding stuff, like help me um with that. So she, she did that and it sort of really helped kind of like elevate it and um, working with someone else when you know you can't do a hundred percent of everything.
Because I would always try and do that. Like I started doing singing lessons and then I was like, okay, I want to do like, be singing and do a gig. Okay, I need to be able to play guitar too. Okay, um, I have to learn how to play guitar. And then I want to write some songs. Okay, well, I got to try and practice writing songs and then I want to try and release them. So I got to learn Ableton and then I got to record everything and try and do that and try mixing, and then that's kind of quite hard too, and then releasing and do social media and just like making the merch, and then so it was too many things, so just taking like a piece of it off was quite nice. 
07:01 - Alexis (Host)
It is nice to share the hats. It is definitely nice to share, yeah. 
07:05 - Evie (Guest)
I like wearing lots of them, but um, taking some off is nice too. 
07:10 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, it is nice yeah, since we are in this beautiful creative space of yours and I know we've spoken a little bit about you know some of the items in here but what does a creative space mean to you and why? 
07:26 - Evie (Guest)
um, I think I was always of this sort of opinion that the space has to feel right before you can do something creative, which that might be like me being really particular or something, but having, um, it's like part of the vibe or something that it has. The vibe has to be right to then feel relaxed enough to go do stuff. That, yeah, it was sort of about that. So I've got like I mean, there's kind of stuff everywhere but I know where everything is like this yeah, reeds of fabric everywhere, but organized chaos. 
If you were like, oh, have you got any wire? I'm like, yeah, it's down deep in that drawer there like I can pin to the left. 
Yeah, literally like where things are where everything is. I know where things are, so, um, but it's just to get the vibe right and I'll still like, maybe, be in the lounge room and sprawl fabric out everywhere if I need more, more space or whatever. But, um, yeah, this was meant to be, this was our dining room, but, like I am always eating on the go anyway, or uh, why do I feel so angry? 
08:35 - Alexis (Host)
oh right, I haven't eaten in 10 hours because I've been sewing like I just I don't do that too way, like I'm not sewing. I am not a sewer. YIi to anyone listening, do not ask me to sew anything, um, but yeah, I do that too. We're like not sewing. I am not a sewer. If I are to anyone listening, do not ask me to sew anything, um, but yeah, I do that too. I'm like so immersed, yeah, that I forget to eat and suddenly I'm like shaking. 
08:52 - Evie (Guest)
I'm like yeah, like oh my god, what do I need to? Yeah, so, um, yeah, having the space used as like a bit of an office or creative space was more like suited us better than having a dining room to sit and sit still, we like yeah, so yeah, just to have the space feel like the right vibe, pretty much. 
09:16 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, yeah, so true, it's nice to have a designated space. 
09:21 - Evie (Guest)
09:23 - Alexis (Host)
Just to be in. I know we've touched on all of well, not all of, but quite a lot of your creative ventures, but is there a body of work or one particular project that you're most proud of creating, and how'd it come about? 
09:40 - Evie (Guest)
um, I guess probably I feel most proud at the moment of where all of this has kind of led me currently. Like it feels like I was going from thing to thing to thing for a long time in lots of different directions and then just going, oh right, why don't I just bring it all together? Then it all kind of made sense, because then I could make something and then make 20 other versions of it and then wear that thing in a film clip and then suddenly you've got something that does all go together. Um, and then I got this message on Instagram and it was like this person going oh, I'm, I'm a, I'm a stylist and I work in the entertainment industry and all this kind of stuff, and I was like, oh sure like me too, I was like I don't know who this person is, um, and just give like all the same info like, no worries, thanks for your message and just try and give, like you know, your good customer service and and 
chat to them and, um, I said they had some kind of project and if I wanted to um, know more details, what's a good email and whatever else. And I just said I've got what I've got available online at the moment, like some trench coats and jackets, but I'm totally happy to discuss with you and try and like. It's mostly about meeting deadlines. 
Someone will be like oh can I have this in LA by next Wednesday? And I go, oh my God, probably not. Like with the post, like the like with the post, um. But then I looked at their profile and they had like dressed like Gwen Stefani and Paris Hilton and people like this, and I was like what? Like sure, okay, um. And they said, oh, yeah, no, we, we really want, um, the pink trench coat, um, and the sizing works well. 
So I've gone ahead and purchased that on Shopify and, um, I was like okay. And then like I need it ASAP, though can you take it down to FedEx and use here's my like login, whatever, no worries, um, and I just need it ASAP. And I was like okay, uh, all right. And so I took it down and shipped it off and everything matched up the name and everything matched up and I was like okay. And then, like it arrived and they'd said they'd got it. And then I was like who's this gonna end up on? But it was, um, Bebe Rexha. She sings that I'm blue, yeah, um, and it was part of her tour, um, and I know she wore it in her shows for being like going across the US. I was like what the? 
12:05 - Alexis (Host)
That's amazing. 
12:07 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, I was just like what? Um, it was just so cool to see something that I had made with my hands on stage with somebody like that um, and I didn't have to do any of the performing sort of side of it, like, giving that thing away, that here, like, and if, like, that's the point of the clothes that I want to make is that it's meant to enhance how you feel about yourself, how you perform on stage, whether it's part of a performance or not. 
Um, like, recently I had, um a drag queen wear that as part of their performance too which was awesome, um, and so, just like that level of confidence that it seems that drag requires too, like you need um more um I don't know like the performance, wear and stuff has to be that elevated sort of thing. So I'd love to make more kind of pieces that are in that kind of realm. It seems like wearable art and I'm inspired by all of that kind of stuff, like these couture designers that do things for um drag runways and part of the or the drag shows. It's really cool. But, um, yeah, that kind of wearable art thing, um has been this kind of thing that I guess I feel more proud of. 
13:18 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, yeah, amazing, so so cool. Yeah, now, on the flip side of something that you're proud of, has there been a challenge to your creativity, and what do you think that major lesson was or is? 
13:40 - Evie (Guest)
I think the biggest one is trying to balance real life. Whether it's like you know, your just your life. You have to afford and live like a real adult and pay your bills and all that kind of stuff. That, and for a lot of my friends I noticed that can really stifle your creativity, just like
14:02 - Alexis (Host)
For those listening off off. Uh, mic, we, yeah, we talked about the housing crisis. Yeah, good times good times. 
14:08 - Evie (Guest)
But I think I had like seven grand put on my HECS just out of interest, like just interest, this this year, like uh, it's just wild, like how like people used to be paid for, paid to go to uni or the uni was free and stuff like um, it's just wild, like so trying to, yeah, just keep your head above water and and because I am, I think someone that's going to be doing gig life, like gig economy, like teaching, singing lessons is like a gig if, um, which is dependent on that student's health, like if kids are sick or whatever, you have to make up the lesson later and if you don't get to, or you, you have to make it work, yeah, um, so that kind of stress to make things work and make things happen is probably a bit stifling. 
Like I said, I haven't released anything like this year. There's a lot of like um half finished things or, like you know, you get into the zone of writing, maybe, and then you have a bank of songs that you need to then go record and, um, I think just life happens and then you have to try and prioritize it and I probably this year, differently, I haven't been good at prioritizing that side of things, I think. I think I'm in a bit of a writing chunk, but not a production chunk. 
15:33 - Alexis (Host)
I mean it's all seasons right. I know for me. Yeah, definitely go through a season where it's like yeah, I don't feel like gigging, I just want to write and just be in that space and and then yeah, the recording side of things and just want to be with others and creating, or, yeah, I don't know, I feel like it's seasons you're just in a different season. 
15:53 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, and I haven't really, because when I finished uni and I took off to Bali and I'd saved a bunch of money and I was like I just need to get out of Melbourne and I had that time. I was there for like a year and a bit and it was a chunk of creative time like that, because there wasn't, or there was still, like you know, bills and whatever money things to try and sort out, but I worked my butt off to save that chunk, so that I was. 
I was right for a while, um, and then I could write and practice and all that stuff. So trying to collect or save some time for yourself seems like really hard to do because you're sacrificing something, whether it's like time with family or having some kind of like stability, stable job, whatever that is. I don't know if I could actually do that.  I tried it and I failed and I'm sorry because my friend got me that job. 
16:45 - Alexis (Host)
I, you didn’t fail. It just wasn't. It wasn't the right thing for you, it wasn't on your path. 
16:50 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah and I just kind of expected that after the 40-hour week I would have a ton of energy to go use on creative stuff. I was depleted and so unhappy Like. I remember doing a Zoom call with someone and they were like are you okay. 
Like I just just evaporated out of myself. I thought I looked so unhappy so I can't, can't do that. But I guess, yeah, just managing the, the gig life, can take it out of you a bit. So I think, yeah, trying to take enough of a chunk of time out of a week, or just I don't know whether to spread that out over time, or like buy yourself time, have like a month off where you just do go somewhere and write and produce, or whatever. I don't know what the right thing is to do, necessarily, but I'm sure that's something that I haven't been so great at, especially this year. Or I've just said yes to too many things, like the Latvian choir. 
17:53 - Alexis (Host)
But it's so nice being able to say yes to things, but it's like we've got to have the art of saying no, right. Yeah, is there an object or a thing that you can't live without when you're creating? And I suppose that would probably be different questions for the different streams of creation. 
18:09 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, you do like I have to have a sewing machine to get anywhere um, but um, I guess not so much an object like I like having precious things in here, like this plant was from a cutting from um my auntie like friend, family friend, auntie auntie's house and that was from a cutting that my mum had given her. 
So like yeah, and like she passed away when I was 18. So it's literally it feels very special. I'm surprised it's growing because I can keep these, like Monstera, but other ones, like I, kill quite easily, so I think it's hanging on. But it feels really special to have like things like that in here and like it's mum sewing machines and it's mum some of like some of the jackets that have been sold have like mum's cotton in them from when she had because. 
I've just inherited all this kind of stuff, so all of that's felt pretty special. But I think, coming from this like eastern European family, it was sort of like, um, whatever skills you can build up within yourself is something that no one can really take away from you. When they really had to, like, hide who they were and change their names and run away to Germany or go into a different camp and have these different languages so that you could look after yourself and not speak the wrong one in the wrong place and stuff like that, because you'd just be sent off to Siberia or whatever. Like like all of you don't really hear of many Latvians because they were either um, you know, the land was taken over by either Russians or Germans at any point in time up until like 1991. 
So like you really had to, um, yeah, there was not a lot of independence there, so my family was probably quite um kind of scarred in that way. Like you had to build your own skills and stay quiet about who you were and and what you were doing, but no one could take those skills away from you because they were yours, sort of so, um, yeah, I guess that's sort of like yeah, your hands and, yeah, your voice and your, your things, are the things I have to try and keep. Keep with me and, like not you know, sew my hands over, so if I bust,
20:28 - Alexis (Host)
I mean they'd be pretty, they’d have lots of glitter and stuff yeah, yeah so not very good for the rest of any activities. 
20:46 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, so um yeah, I guess, not necessarily anything I can't live without, 
20:50 - Alexis (Host)
But I think I think, your object being that plant, I think that's a very beautiful thing. 
20:53 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, it's been doing pretty well, surprisingly, even like cutting, making more cuttings and shoving them in. They've taken, so it's doing all right. 
21:00 - Alexis (Host)
It's very lush yeah it's very lush. If you could give one piece of advice or nugget of advice to another creative, what would it be? 
21:15 - Evie (Guest)
I'll still be learning this, but taking the time to to be a bit shit, like I'm going to release stuff that people are going to think is shit, and it probably is shit, and that's fine, because you just want to not get stuck on the perfectionism of something because a painter or whatever doesn't sit there and go, oh, this one has to be perfect. You churn them out and like just get better at making things. Like my first jacket is not for sale because it was so average. But then you improve on everything that you're doing and just not being afraid to make stuff to, to have gone through that process to make it, because it's all worthwhile and and even if you don't do it quite right, like I, when I go to these piano lessons and I haven't done enough work and I'm like pretty mortified at my progress and I'm like a five-year-old with this, trying to read this sheet music but I know that I'm getting better at it because I'm going there and sight reading everything because I haven't done homework. 
So I'm like, oh, my skills are legit. They're small, but they're legit because I'm reading right now. 
22:16 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, you're flexing that muscle. 
22:17 - Evie (Guest)
Because I didn’t do the homework. Yeah, yeah, so like just letting yourself sort of sit in this uncomfortable space, like it will get better, and maybe it takes some people longer than others and that's still okay. Like it won't. You're never at square one more than once. Like, yeah, you know, um, and I think I sit in that place with like all the singing students that I've got that they feel so frustrated and and whatever else, but it doesn't last forever. So, just to try and let yourself have that time because you will get better at it, yeah, we all probably feel like what we're making is a bit rubbish sometimes? 
22:54 - Alexis (Host)
For sure, but we have to. What does Ed Sheeran says you've got to run the tap. You've got to run the tap bad songs to get to the good ones yeah. 
23:07 - Evie (Guest)
And you can write 100 and release seven. Yeah, that's fine, yeah, that's totally fine. And then, like because I've got this quote up on my wall, I watch this TED Talk. Her name's Sue Austin, she's in a wheelchair and she goes underwater and it's this like jet sort of thing and she just said that she would, um, be so outrageous in her wheelchair and what she would do with it and make art out of it because no one could go. Oh my god, you're in a wheelchair. Like, give her any kind of. She felt that it was. It was a restrictive kind of view on being in a wheelchair and she's like fuck, no, I'm like she's in scuba gear and like got this jet thing behind her and she said um, I'll read. 
“An arts practice can remake one's identity by transforming preconception” and this is by like doing re-envisioning the familiar, so like you've got some kind of familiar object but you're doing something completely out of the box with it that people don't have any kind of thing to relate it back to. 
24:07 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, they don't have anything a benchmark for it. 
24:09 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, so that's what I really liked with this like whole wearable art thing. If you're doing something so kind of strange or a bit out of the box, then you're kind of like making this new-ish thing, um, and I mean, so far it's only tinsel jackets, but it's just getting a bit more, um, permission for yourself to do something a bit more outrageous than you normally would. Yeah, which is what also feels like an important thing to do. 
24:38 - Alexis (Host)
100% is an important thing to do, so good yeah so good, yeah, if someone wanted to do what you do, any of the things that you do, all of the things that you do. Uh, have you got any resources that you would recommend for someone to develop their creative process? 
25:01 - Evie (Guest)
Um, resources, I, I, I really struggled to sit and watch things online but like I would probably say to be looking at things like I don't know, even like YouTube and stuff for things to do with Ableton or because I went down like expensive routes and like doing like actual study and taking chunks of time out to do that which, um, feels like a bit of a luxury. 
It is a stressor, but it feels like a bit of a luxury thing that maybe people can't go and do that, but just like anywhere you can collect it from. I remember just having to watch a video because I couldn't ask mum how to rethread this sewing machine when I got it out, like I just needed to find just one little piece. And then now I do that completely without thinking. But even to find that in a video somewhere ages ago, even if it's three minutes and it took me like re-watching it a few times and stuff, just that one day it all does build and compound and stuff too, so there might be like a little free course or like for sewing, there's an amazing woman in Norwood who like it's it was very, um, it wasn't very expensive lessons and she's like such a humongous wealth of knowledge, like and so lovely um helped me to learn how to attach a zip properly, or like do darts properly, and I was like oh god. 
I've been, yeah, like I might not do some things properly because I'm not formally trained in certain things, but it kind of doesn't matter. So any bits of wisdom you get from people I feel like is really valuable, even if it feels like a bit of a mishmash by the time you put it together. 
26:50 - Alexis (Host)
But we're all just, we're compiling all of it for our own good yeah
26:58 - Evie (Guest)
And I don't think you have to be like, lots of people are self-taught in lots of different ways anyway, yes, so, um, I think that's totally valid and and a great way to do things anyway now. Like all of the sewing stuff is is self-taught. I'm surprised that I listened to my mum. So I think I think just anywhere you can find it like there's so much online and and so many people you could ask, even if you find someone that you love, like even on any social media and stuff, and just watching what they do yeah. Yeah, I don't know, and like anything that I do is still all like muscles and stuff. Like one of the songs I did God, I can't even think of it now. But one of the songs I released, the vocals are on a phone and it's not the greatest piece of music ever, but all the vocals were recorded on a phone, all the film clip was done with a projector and it was all like from Pexels, like free to download video and stuff. 
So it was like meant to be a thing that literally anyone could do or make. I think I used um AI to master it and stuff like just I just chucked it as up as like an experiment sort of thing, yeah. So, um, yeah, I think anything that I'm doing, anyone could definitely do so I think,
28:15 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, I love it. One last question if you could pick anyone to come on this podcast and answer these questions, who would it be and why? 
28:26 - Evie (Guest)
I'm gonna say Sophie Head, because I love her um. 
28:32 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, I love her too. She's amazing. 
28:34 - Evie (Guest)
Yeah, she's just got a really passionate vibe and I think she's got a lot to share. I feel like she would be very modest but she'll kind of like turn her hand to anything and like totally pull it off. Like Tipsy Twain won, like fringe awards and sold out shows. It was like something they come up with on a New Years Eve together. So yeah, I would say Sophie 
29:04 - Alexis (Host)
Beautiful. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. 
29:08 - Evie (Guest)
My pleasure
29:10 - Alexis (Host)
So lovely chatting with you.

Tuesday May 14, 2024

In this episode, Alexis welcomes the talented Natalia, an artist and psychologist whose passion for creativity knows no bounds.
Following her artistic journey, from the enchanting vistas of the Pilbara that sparked her solo exhibition, to navigating the delicate balance of her roles as both therapist and artist, Natalia shares invaluable insights and experiences as a creative herself. She places great emphasis on the value of community, highlighting the importance of actively engaging with fellow creatives, both in person and through digital channels, as each individual has something different to contribute. 
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Natalia on instagram @nataliafidyka
This episode was recorded on 24 November 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples.We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Natalia:
Books; Rick Rubin - The Creative Act, Holly Ringland - The House That Joy Built
Online Courses: Flora Bowley
Course: The Life Cycle of a Creative Spark
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door.
Natalia, thank you so much for coming through the Creative Door or being on the podcast Through The Creative Door. I'm so excited to have you. 
00:58 - Natalia (Guest)
Thanks for having me. 
01:00 - Alexis (Host) 
Oh, my goodness, I heard your name actually through a previous guest on Through The Creative Door, Millie Taylor, who had raving reviews about you, not only about you as an artist and the phenomenal body of work that you do, but also she talked about how she went to one of your workshops and just got so much value add from that, and she was quoting you on the podcast, which was very lovely. So for those that are listening, I will be sharing those details for that workshop in the show notes, so watch this space, but also not only. I mean, we're multifaceted humans. You are a phenomenal artist I've still got you on socials, but you're also a psychologist as well, which is bloody amazing, yeah yeah, and a lot, I'm sure a lot. 
02:00 - Natalia (Guest)
Yeah, it's amazing. I love it, love them both. 
02:02 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah. So I guess this question that I'm going to ask first more so as an artist, but maybe it is about how you intertwine with your other job as well. But what does the creative space mean to you? 
02:20 - Natalia (Guest)
Good question. You know, I don't think anybody has ever asked me that before. 
02:25 - Alexis (Host)
I find that very hard to believe. Only because I would have thought that that would be because you talk about creative spark so much.  
02:36 - Natalia (Guest)
Yeah, well, okay, so let's see if I can try and answer it. So, creative space is, I think, a a place, but it's also a mindset, which I think you suggested that, um, in your earlier questions and I really liked the idea of the mindset is actually probably the most important thing for creating the creative space and I would say the mindset for that is entering into the space, whether it's the kitchen bench like you saw the chaos on my kitchen bench because it's been so hot in Perth I can't go into my studio. 
03:18 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, just for those listening off mic. We made a cup of tea in the kitchen and we needed to just move some of the paints off the kitchen bench just so I can find a little spot for my coffee. It's okay, makeshift, makeshift while there's a yeah, it's a heat wave in Perth at the moment.
03:48 - Natalia (Guest)
Actually you've reminded me that is something I do talk about, about having micro studios. Oh my god, I'm gonna be rambling. So let me go back to what I started, and that is the attitude that we turn up to any creative space is is really important, and for me that is turning up without a intention. As soon as I sort of go in like I'm going to create this piece of work, it ends up being a shit show. So turning up and just starting with, like letting myself get in gently and I do that by just doing whatever I feel like, even if it's just doing lines with a piece of charcoal or just colour swatching, like whatever it takes to get me in, and then the creative flow kind of takes off. And then I'm running and that's been very helpful for me and having micro studios sprinkled around my house. 
So I've got a big studio in the garage and that's where I have my little workshops, that's where I do all my big pieces of work. But sometimes it's too hot or there's people banging and building houses or you know whatever it is that's going on, or it's just simply too far, like I know that sounds, I mean, you know, terrible, but that going out my back door and opening the roller sometimes feels like it's too much, yeah. So I've got little micro studios sprinkled around the house and that's just like a few journals, some paints and pencils and it's there so that nothing gets in the way there. The less excuses and reasons for me to paint, the better, and proximity and immediacy is one of those things that's really important to me. 
05:36 - Alexis (Host)
A friend of mine used to say scattering musical instruments around the house was the best way, because you could just, instead of having to unpack a guitar from a case, you could just pick it up and play a couple of little bars, put it back down. Exactly, yeah, I think that's probably the same right?
05:54 - Natalia (Guest)
Exactly it. I used to live with a beautiful creative Sharoni and when she moved in I was like, so can we turn the kitchen, like dining table, into an art space? She was like, yeah, and so again, like you know we had, she had her half of the table and I had my half of the table and it was just there. And we'd wake up in the morning and often find one or the other just kind of doodling. 
06:18 - Alexis (Host)
You've been an artist for such a long time and will continue to be, yeah, so this is probably a difficult question to answer, but is there a piece of work or a body of work that you are proud of creating? 
06:36 - Natalia (Guest)
06:37 - Alexis (Host)
And how did it come about? 
06:53 - Natalia (Guest)
Over covid, I ended up traveling up north a lot up to the Pilbara and I went up with a friend once and then I think I went up by myself and then I went up another time with Banji
07:05 - Alexis (Host) 
For those listening, Banji's this beautiful dog that's in this beautiful space with us. 
07:11 - Natalia (Guest)
Yes, little therapy dog and I had the privilege of spending some time with an Indigenous man up there and he took me to some really wild and special places and he gave me permission to collect some ochre and some rocks and when I came back I started making paint out of it. So I just crush it up and mix it with a bit of like an acrylic medium. 
07:47 - Alexis (Host)
07:48 - Natalia (Guest)
And I ended up just making an exhibition Like I, just my first solo exhibition. I just locked and loaded it, didn't think about it too much, and then I just worked with all that inspiration and some of the pieces were really beautiful. I mean, all of them were cool, but the ones that were the most popular had the ochre in it, so, whether you could even see it, there's just some energy in the work that people could feel. And the exhibition was called Oasis because all through the Pilbara there's little oases. You know it's like red rock desert. You come down all these like stone roads and then suddenly it's like palm trees and ice cold water and it was just amazing. 
08:41 - Alexis (Host)
So spectacular places, incredible, I mean obviously in the world. But like W.A has some gems, we have gems. 
08:50 - Natalia (Guest)
Oh yeah, we have so many gems and I haven't even touched the surface yes, I mean, I just found a cool place in Riverton oh really, yeah. I took banjo for a walk this morning, for a swim, and it was the most stunning river and I've never been there. And I just found a beautiful gallery space in South Freo Early Work Gallery Amazing and they supported the whole process and it was just amazing. 
09:16 - Alexis (Host)
Congratulations, that sounds so beautiful. 
09:18 - Natalia (Guest)
It was stunning. Thank you. 
09:19 - Alexis (Host)
On the opposite side of something to be proud of, have you found anything that's challenged your creativity, and what do you think the major lesson, if there is one? 
09:38 - Natalia (Guest)
The things that I struggle the most with. It's pivoting between being a therapist and being a creative, and not that that is actually that different, but running the two, trying to run the two businesses. It's a lot of code switching and it feels like it would be easier if I could streamline everything into one. Sure, but I don't know if that will ever happen, because I love lots of things all the time, so my energy gets split over a lot of things and I'm coming to realise that organisation is helpful for that. 
10:25 - Natalia (Guest)
That's a new concept for me, I'm not known as a very organised person and you saw my kitchen benchtop. So yeah, I think that can be challenging sometimes and, like social media, you know it's such a love-hate thing. It's such a love-hate a love hate thing. Like I meet the most amazing people like you, and I've made some artist friends that I've never met in real life, it's incredible, um, but trying to work out the whole thing in post and and market and sell so you can keep moving, it's a lot
11:04 - Alexis (Host)
And it never feels like it ends.
Because it's always changing right. Yeah, like it's they're. They're always changing something, or you know the market gets saturated in this and so then people are bored of being sold to like that. So we go try new things, and so I think it's, I think it's mentally organizing myself is probably the hardest thing. 
11:30 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, I can empathize with that. I mean, it's small business at the end of the day and you have to wear all of those hats. It's really hard and you are your product. You know you're the face of the product whether that be either of the hats that you wear.
11:52 - Natalia (Guest)
Yeah totally. Yeah, it didn't even occur to me. But you're right, all the things like the graphic design and the content creation and the emails and. 
12:01 - Alexis (Host)
I'm going to wear my PA hat today. This afternoon I'm going to wear my manager hat and then get an accountant hat.
12:14 - Natalia (Guest)
Exactly, but you know what? Yeah, and that's a challenge. But it's also like how cool is it that we can do that? I was born in the 80s. If I wanted to have a website, I would have had to like get somebody to do that for me for thousands of dollars. Graphic design, like I couldn't have done any of that. And now I can do it all. 
12:31 - Alexis (Host)
That is a wonderful thing about technology is that it does. It's got smaller and more accessible and more cost effective, which means that you can do it all yourself in some way. But yeah, and then it's also that you can, which means that should I yes, I don't know. Sometimes I wonder if I should just outsource a lot of things. 
12:53 - Natalia (Guest)
Yes, which is something that I'm ready to do. Yeah, okay, and I have somebody fantastic I don't know if I can mention her name Krystal Hudson. She's doing my new Kajabi website. Oh 
13:09 - Alexis (Host)
Might get some more clientele. When you're creating, is there an object or something that you can't live without when you're creating?
13:37 - Natalia (Guest)
It's kind of a ritual that has an object. It's not as profound as you might. It's a cup for my coffee. And it's Amy McNee. She's like a creativity coach and she doesn't do merch anymore, but when she did and I saw this cup, I was like I have to have that cup and it's because it's a giant cup. It's not like this cup, it's like twice the size of this cup, because my morning coffee is huge. It's a bucket. And on it on it it says “we need your art”, like handwritten, like black, and it's like every morning, because I paint in the morning mainly, um, and it's just make the coffee, get the coffee cup, sit down, and it's there and it's constantly reminding me 
14:30 - Alexis (Host)
oh, I love that. It's cool, that's so great. I wonder if you had one piece of advice or a nugget advice. If you could give that to another creative, what would it be? 
14:52 - Natalia (Guest)
It would be to always listen to your, I call it the creative spark, but it could be the breadcrumbs, like what you're interested in, what your hunch is, because it's usually not usually it's. It's always the right way, because that's coming from inside you and it's like if you're interested in something or if you want to do like, spray pink over blue or whatever it is that you want, that impulse is coming from you and sometimes we judge it and we go, oh I, I couldn't possibly do that, that's weird or that's not enough, or what would people think if I do that thing, it's like that thing is your style, your soul print, it's your intuition. It's all you ever need to be really listening to in the creative process.  
15:43 - Alexis (Host)
Amazing. I love when I hear people's little nuggets of advice, because it always just fills my cup. Every time I'm like, yes, yes, Alexis, remember this. 
15:56 - Natalia (Guest)
It's simple, right, oh, but it's so complex because, as humans, we have so many interruptions to following our intuition, like through the entire creative process, you know. It's like where do I start? What am I interested in? Does it look good enough? It's like you've got so many like inbuilt judgments and um limiting beliefs and all this sort of stuff that gets in the way of doing something as simple as following my joy. 
16:28 - Alexis (Host)
and it's true, we do, there's all these external factors coming in. We always need to be able to come back to self, to being like what is authentic and true.
16:41 - Natalia (Guest)
That's inside, yeah, it's in my body. Yeah, it's not even in my head. That's all like conditioning belief systems. So what feels good in in the heart? You know like sometimes when I'm painting and it's like right on literally, I feel like euphoric, it's like a drug when you're in flow with the work and what you want to create. 
17:11 - Alexis (Host) 
Such a beautiful space, such a beautiful energy. So good. 
17:13 - Natalia (Guest)
It’s joy, yeah, it's, and it's um, like you can lose sense of yourself, and I think that's one of the components of being in the flow is that you're no longer self-aware, but you're kind of like just floating in bliss
17:28 - Alexis (Host)
eah, there for the ride. If anyone wanted to take a leaf out of your book and do what you do, is there any resources or books or references or things that you would suggest? 
17:45 - Natalia (Guest)
Yes, I have two. One is the artist who brought me back. Oh, I have so many actually. Okay, I got three. Flora Bowley she's an Oregon painter. She's been painting, doing I think she was like the first artist who did an online course oh, wow, yeah, she's beautiful and she does like intuitive art classes. So she got me back in. I think in my late 20s, after studying, I sort of kind of fell away, kind of fell away, so she got me back in. And then Rick Rubin has written an incredible book called the creative act. It's all about the creative process. And lastly but um, it's Holly Ringland has written a book called That House That Joy Built. She's incredible. You're going to fall in love with her. Oh, yes, and that is about from what I've read a little bit is it's about why we need to move through fear to create and that joy is a really good reason to create. 
19:07 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, I love that. 
19:08 - Natalia (Guest)
Yeah, so they're my three. 
19:12 - Alexis (Host)
What wonderful suggestions. Put them all in the show notes for everyone. Last question, if you could hear anyone else come on to the podcast and answer these questions, who would it be? 
19:26 - Natalia (Guest)
The person I have in mind is actually, I think, in South Australia, and where is she? Victoria, maybe she's in New South Wales? Her name's Holly Eva and she is quite a prolific artist and she does beautiful, colourful abstracts of like flowers and women. But the reason why I'd love to hear about her she has nailed like creative flow. She has made a business out of her art. Makes it look easy I'm sure it's not and she is so supportive of her creative peers like her and I've never met, but she reached out to me and just said some beautiful things about some of my work, really encouraged me through a particular phase, answered some questions that I had. She's just a really generous, creative, oh beautiful. And just wanted to shout out to Holly because she's been wonderful. 
20:34 - Alexis (Host)
How good is community? 
20:37 - Natalia (Guest)
I love it when people it's a funny thing, they're like gatekeeping of like information and I'm sure you know there's a time and a place for it. But I really value, like, if you, if you give them a slide in my dms and you want to ask me something, I'll answer it yeah and because I've had so many people do that for me and it's just been so helpful and you feel so much more supported and less alone. So yeah, I like that kind of world. 
21:08 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, and I think we do live in, myself, as a creative, I feel like I live in a space like that where you just have to ask yeah. Natalia, thank you so much for coming on Through The Creative Door. It's been so lovely chatting with you. 
21:25 - Natalia (Guest)
It was my pleasure, Alexis, beautiful chat. 

Tuesday Apr 30, 2024

Get set for a shot of inspiration as multi-instrumentalist and vibe creator Mark Turner links up with Alexis on this juicy episode. They dive headfirst into a lively chat, with Mark sharing personal insights and anecdotes that offer a sneak peek into the dynamic world of his creative process. From his early days in session work to his original projects, Mark dishes on the importance of trying everything you can and being okay with the outcome, because there is bound to be another project on the horizon. 
Whether you're a musician, artist, or just someone who loves creating good vibes in your own way, this episode is bound to ignite your creative spark and reassure you that you're not alone on the wild journey of creativity.
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Mark on instagram @markturnermusic 
This episode was recorded on 23 November 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door.
Hello Mark Turner
00:50 - Mark (Guest)
Hello Alexis Naylor
00:51 - Alexis (Host)
How are you doing? 
00:54 - Mark (Guest)
I'm lovely, it's a busy time, but here we are. 
00:58 - Alexis (Host)
Well, thank you for coming and chatting to me through the Creative Door. 
01:03 - Mark (Guest)
Oh, the door is wide open. 
01:04 - Alexis (Host)
The door is wide open. Indeed, for those who don't know you, you are a very talented bear, does lots of things, multi-instrumentalist and doing recording things and singing things and tootie-tootie on the saxophones. 
01:21 - Mark (Guest)
Jack of all trades. Well that's the aim, jack, of all trades. Yes, well, that's the aim. That's the aim. I do the things that I enjoy, you do and try to do. It helps my ADHD brain. It's self-diagnosed. 
01:37 - Alexis (Host)
So, considering that you do so many different creative outlets, it's probably a hard question to ask. But what does the creative space mean to you? 
01:50 - Mark (Guest)
Well, great question, and it's ever evolving, Alexis.. Creative space I mean it's like a space can be a hotel room or a toilet or a car or, in some cases, your van when I've been in it. Long drives, when you're just by yourself and you're left with complete creative freedom. But also those spaces change, like one of the biggest things I always wanted was a creative space and then I got it and I used it a lot and then, you know, circumstances change and then the neighbour next door was in my creative space workshop. The neighbour next door started living there so I couldn't be creative, like when I was creative. I felt very exposed. So for me, creative spaces are vulnerable spaces where I feel safe to explore and try ideas and see where the world takes me. 
02:40 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, so that's obviously changed and evolved over time. 
02:45 - Mark (Guest)
Yeah, it's fully evolved and it's just a, it's just a lovely, it’s a lovely thing to be able to have one and also to be able to especially as a travelling musician and a travelling a lot I love travel so to be able to create a creative space or be somewhere and find that rhythm is cool, I really enjoy that. I feel very fortunate to have that ability to you know set up and be creative where I need to be. 
03:14 - Alexis (Host)
It's interesting because I think, well, maybe I'm projecting, but a lot of us would strive to have a studio or a creative space in that sense yeah, and then, when you get it, perhaps, like you said, definitely use it quite a lot, but then, like you, take it for granted almost.
03:34 - Mark (Guest)
Absolutely, I mean it's funny because I've had so that the space where questioning is it kind of fell about by accident. I was looking for somewhere to hold my, and harness my creativity, and it's the kind of thing. When I found it I was like this is I've found the gold mine. 
And it is, it is it is the gold mine and it was. It was when those circumstances changed, maybe four years into having it where there was, you know, the neighbour situation. It changed the silver lining for me, but then I've kept it because it's still. I know that the gold is there. So I feel extremely lucky to have that space and a space that I can call mine to create in. I think if anyone can find a way to make a space that is theirs, it's one of the most joyous things. But I had an experience recently and I believe they may be on your podcast. You might have to edit this out, but, Daine, has Daine been on your podcast? 
No, Cut cut paste. 
04:35 - Alexis (Host)
Are you telling me that I should have him on the podcast? 
04:39 - Mark (Guest)
Oh, he's a brilliant brain yeah, um, so Daine was in there recording recently and he came and he dropped the key back to me and he's like mate, that place is magic and it reinvigorated me, because a space is only as magical as it feels for you. So to see him experience that same magic that I felt, without any of the emotions being shifted because of past experience, it was just like that, is awesome and I love that he felt that and it reminded me of the magic that a place or a venue or a situation can feel. But it's okay to let things change and for that to shift. 
05:15 - Alexis (Host)
You're like, oh, I want to go back in there, I want to experience the thing. 
05:18 - Mark (Guest)
Absolutely. It was that kind of wow, this is actually a vibe. So I was like, wow.
05:24 - Alexis (Host)
I'm curious. I mean, you have been involved in so many ensembles. You have released lots of different music with different people. You've done lots of different projects. You've also been a videographer. Like you have been involved in so many things creative. 
05:48 - Mark (Guest)
Jack hammer of all jacks. 
05:49 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, yes, but I guess it's a hard question to ask Is there something that you're most proud of or is there a body of work? I know that seems like a real-loaded question, right? 
06:03 - Mark (Guest)
Is there something that I'm proud of? I'm constantly proud of, I'm constantly proud of everything that I've created. So, like I'm, I see things and I'm like, oh, I'm proud of that. I look back and reminisce and I'm super proud of the (whether it be music) or all of it. 
Yeah, I mean, uh, the thing that came to my mind recently was a Christmas album I did with Steve Hensby, and so Christmas is around the corner. I was like, oh yeah, I made a Christmas album once and I listened to the song. I was like God, it was just such a beautiful time and memory. And then Sam Timmerman, who is our dear friend, reshared a story of when we all lived together and we did some amazing things in COVID and it's like, wow, I'm so proud of what we achieved there. Jessie Gordon and myself just released an album and I'm super proud of that and it's just little things that I'm like along the journey you've just got to kind of like, there's moments like pat yourself on the back and go that was great, you did good, keep going, it's okay. 
07:00 - Alexis (Host)
And I don't know about you, but, and I don't know about you. But I find it's hard to do that sometimes. And it actually is a real conscious effort. Once you've finished a project, released it, put it out to the world. Well, this is how I feel anyway to actually take a minute and be like actually, yeah, I did a thing, yeah because you're so caught up, because you're caught on to the next thing, moving on to the next thing
07:25 - Mark (Guest)
And that is hard because you just, especially for my brain I'm here, there and everywhere, so to stop and take stock is a challenge, but yeah, I'm just stoked that I get to, I guess at the core of it is like how cool is it that we can create stuff in our lives and share them with others? 
07:47 - Alexis (Host)
07:48 - Mark (Guest)
So that to me is I'm super. I guess at the core of it I'm proud to have a body of life that I get to share with others who also enjoy it. So you know, it's not just I guess it's hard to pinpoint any one thing, it's all of the bits. 
08:03 - Alexis (Host)
All of the bits in all of the things. Yeah, on the flip side of something proud, do you think that there's something that's challenged your creativity and if so, what was the major lesson? 
08:18 - Mark (Guest)
Something that challenged my creativity. The first thing that comes to my brain is remembering COVID as an entity and then coming back out of COVID, because you and I, Alexis, had a very different COVID to most people, where most people went quite inside and quiet and found their own space and did what they did we want. We turned our house into essentially a nightclub slash music venue, which I'm incredibly proud of. 
But it was the kind of thing where it became this creative, uh, mega space and all nothing was off limits. So that to me, was the first time. I was like whoa. I haven't felt freedom like this in years. So it was this really like no one was. I didn't have to be, and I guess in a lot of ways, I don't have to be accountable. I'm accountable for every decision I make, but in that moment I was in control of every decision that I was making for me and us musically. 
And then, when the world switched back on in Perth specifically, it was so intense with the amount of work we had, the amount of well, we just had to get back on with it, because that's what I was programmed to do and it was a really challenging mindset to go. But you had the best time of your life in this window of creativity and you've now, basically, you were in neutral, the engine was going, everything was cool and then in COVID, we switched the engine off and relaxed and now not only is the engine on, we're like on sixth gear. Full speed ahead. 
We're on the Kwinana Freeway, pelting down to somewhere who knows. 
10:01 - Alexis (Host)
Wait, surely there's a faster..
10:05 - Mark (Guest)
Yeah, maybe Brand Highway, who knows? Yeah, Kwinana Freeway is definitely not the right analogy, but you know what I mean Great Southern Road or something, caning it down the freeway and it's like whoa, that was hard because I was like, oh, I am burning myself at every candle. I basically got six candles, which I also do enjoy, but it’s alot.
So I was just like whoa, this is crazy, crazy, so I don't know that, that to me was challenging, and it's still a challenge to consider what that looks like 
10:40 - Alexis (Host)
what do you think the major lesson is there, though, like how do you come through from that? 
Well, I'm not learning from that. I'm not listening to my own heart, but I guess the lesson is is to allow space for creativity, and it's something that that I've tried to do with Jessie in terms of our writing and our time. We create time to be creative and just booking in me time, which is so hard to do, it's so hard to dedicate time for you, for yourself. So, as I sit here preaching about something that I don't do, I'm going to analyze that and think more about my life choices but ultimately, it's a balance right it's all just a balance.
I love everything that I get to do, so I love the work that I get to do. It's so varied and exciting, but there is also, the challenge is finding the balance to be me and produce my own me to the world that they can see. Um, but I guess you know, yeah, exactly what I said. There's me in everything that I'm currently doing, but there's also the other me that wants to maybe create and do more freedom-based things that we had in that period. 
11:56 - Alexis (Host)
You definitely get I don't want to say pigeonholed, but like it's easy when we're already in those lanes to then just keep going down those paths without re-imagining. It takes a lot of effort to reimagine something, I think. 
12:11 - Mark (Guest)
Yeah, absolutely, and it's also. I mean, we've got to earn money, at the end of the day, you've got to exist, and that, to me, is the core of it, like, okay, we've got to just do that, but then also there's, you know, we've got to make space for all these things. 
12:27 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, to let the creativity out. Let it out, let it out. 
12:30 - Mark (Guest)
Let it out, be free. 
12:36 - Alexis (Host)
Is there any object or possession that you can't live without when you're creating. Like something sentimental or something like super..
12:49 - Mark (Guest)
Oh yeah, they're all tools. Yeah, I mean my saxophone's pretty sentimental, but even if someone told me they melted it down into a cupcake or something, or like a teacup, I'd be like, oh that's really weird, why would you do that? And then I'd just go and find another saxophone. 
13:04 - Alexis (Host)
That was my saxophone, but okay, yeah, why'd you do that? 
13:07 - Mark (Guest)
I love my acoustic and electric guitar, but you know they're wood and I'm very attached to them and they're mine, but at the end of the day it's a tool that helps me create and be. I reckon I'd be lost without my friendships. I think that is the things that you can't, that would be, they're probably the most important things. 
13:31 - Alexis (Host)
13:31 - Mark (Guest)
The things that if I lost those I'd be pretty sad. But for me, everything I mean you know data. Data is make sure you back up your content in three places, or those that doesn't exist, that you know, but then if you've got it three places, it does exist, so it's fine. But data you know, like memories, content, that those are the things that once you've created something. 
13:58 - Alexis (Host)
Making sure you've got it everywhere. 
13:59 - Mark (Guest)
Make sure you don't lose it. But yeah, there's nothing that springs to like, if the house was burning right now and I had to grab something, I mean I'd grab my laptop because it's got all the data on it. The laptop is just a tool. I'd probably grab my saxophone and my acoustic and my electric guitar, my memory box. Oh God, you, just you know. These are the order of. 
14:19 - Alexis (Host)
You need a container to take all the things before the fire gets in. 
14:27 - Mark (Guest)
Well, I bought fireproof boxes, so everything is hopefully nothing, touch wood. No pun intended about the wood, but yeah, I mean, I love my vinyl collection. That would be really hard to replace. There's a lot there and it's come from all over the world. But yeah, nothing that, I'm just trying to think what's in there? No, it's all just stuff. But I love stuff. 
14:44 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, but you can create you can start again. 
14:50 - Mark (Guest)
I mean, I had a moment the other day my friend who I'm teaching I gave a few lessons to on the saxophone and her name is Fernanda and she's moved down south and she's just starting her musical journey and I had a spare keyboard piano controller. I was like, you should take this. And she's like Mark, my world has exploded, everything has changed and it's like one thing that I didn't even use anymore, like I've got pianos everywhere. I just and for her it's like changed her life and it's just one little thing, it’s like, you know, they're just tools to help you get to unlock doors no, also lso, maybe this piano accordion. I got that when I was a kid. I'd be pretty sad if I lost that
15:36 - Alexis (Host)
As in, someone gifted it to you? 
15:37 - Mark (Guest)
Well, no I purchased it, it was one of my first instruments that I was learning 
15:43 - Alexis (Host)
oh, really, yeah, but I I how old were you? 
15:46 - Mark (Guest)
Oh, 10, 11. 
15:47 - Alexis (Host)
And that was what you chose at 10? 
15:48 - Mark (Guest)
Well, I chose the piano. I wanted to be a rock and roll piano-er, but I was pretty bad at it. I was pretty shit at piano. 
But the guy who taught me also learned piano accordion. So we yeah, that was I had to get, and my grandfather played piano accordion, so I started on his and then we found this one and then, you know, hit 12 and found the saxophone and then put the piano accordion back in its case. But I've ended up using it a few times recently in recordings. And you know, weird, I played in a Billy Joel tribute band. That was weird. Yeah, it is vibe, but you know, sentimentality is. Yeah, that's a great question. I like it. I take my friends with me. If the house is burning, you and me go to the pub. After we put the fire out. 
16:36 - Alexis (Host)
eah, yeah, yeah, we'll try it at least. If you could give one piece of advice, one nugget of gold to another creative. What would it be? 
16:54 - Mark (Guest)
Oh God, there's so many, Mum always said everything in moderation. 
16:57 - Mark (Guest)
But, that's not advice. No, the first thing that pops into my head is it's fine, it doesn't, there's, like whatever happens will happen and whatever the journey is, it's going to be fine. And I think I get so caught up worrying. I remember when I was 30, I was like I'm done, my time's over. I was 35. I'm like I'm done. I'm 35. Who cares? No one's going care and I'm like what happens, my hair goes gray and I lose them. Who cares? It doesn't matter. Like everyone's gonna be with you on the journey and no one goes to experience art to have a bad time. Everyone always goes out to have a good time. 
So, like, take the pressure off yourself and it will work out and it's so hard to, and I mean this is I'm internalizing my feedback, saying it doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter If you, if you do you know, we start a project, you don't finish it. It doesn't matter, it's okay,
17:52 - Alexis (Host)
It's also okay to pick it back up years later. 
17:58 - Mark (Guest)
Yeah. It's, but it's, it's. It's so internally hard to. There's just so much pressure in this world and my favourite thing is when I meet someone and I can just tell that their steam valve is off. There's no more steam, they're just relaxed. I'm like, oh, that looks like a nice time. Where's my steam valve? Maybe it's in my butthole. 
18:20 - Alexis (Host)
How do I turn it off? 
18:21 - Mark (Guest)
How do I release all this steam? How do I do it? But that's also part of what makes me me, so I wouldn't change that part of it. But I think it's just relaxing in the journey and it's like you can get caught up on so many parts of this life and it's like the journey is the part that is the best bit, the adventure, and it doesn't matter, just keep going, keep enjoying, keep doing whatever it is, and if it doesn't work, it's fine. 
18:48 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, try something else yeah. 
18:51 - Mark (Guest)
And, at the end of the day, whatever you've done and whatever you've created, it's amazing. Even if it's just your mum that likes it, that's fine. My mum does like it. 
19:01 - Alexis (Host)
I was just about to say how great are mums my mum always likes it too, 
19:26 - Mark (Guest)
Yeah so we're very, very lucky,
19:10 - Alexis (Host)
We are very lucky to do what we do. Would you have any advice on like resources or books or I don't know podcasts. Any references if someone wanted to, I don't know do what you do yeah. 
19:29 - Mark (Guest)
Well, if you do want to do what I do. 
Well, I mean, I'm an interesting case study in that I struggle with certain kinds of education. I've taught myself most of the things I know, but, you know, the biggest lesson that I've ever learned is by watching others and being around people who are very good at what we do. I'll never forget being in a room I don't know just started learning. I learned guitar when I was 14. And I think when I joined Adam Hall's band I was 21. And he asked me, invited me, to go on tour with a guy called Big Jay McNeely, who is no longer with us. But he was this killer honk and sax. He was like the definition of honk and sax, Like he was this old cat. He had his first hit in 1949, and Adam had brought him over to tour Australia. And we're sitting in the hotel room. I've just met Big Jay, he's sitting on the bed with his saxophone that's cut, painted fluoro orange. I'm like who is this dude? 
And he puts the sacks to his mouth and he honks a note louder than uh, if the heavens opened up and a saxophone appeared and started playing. It was louder than that and all of us in the room, except Adam, who'd heard him before like whoa, holy shit, balls like. This guy played so loud and it was so clear and so much passion in one note. I was like, oh my, we are serious. And so we started playing and I was playing guitar and he's and, and this Big J just knew what he wanted. He's like to the dominant, go to the dominant man. I was like what is a dominant? I wouldn't know a dominant if it slapped me in the face and I was like I don't know and Adam's like, just go to the C. 
He was helping me. I was like I don't know what this means. 
21:15 - Mark (Guest)
And so we're playing and Big J was just saying things and Adam was helping me. It was amazing, but it was one of those moments like you've got to learn fast there's, you've got to get your butt into gear, and it was one of those moments like I learned more in a 40 minute rehearsal than I did in the last six years of playing guitar. 
The six years had led to that moment for sure it had the, but it was, it was in that moment that my ass got handed to me and it was in that moment and I I there are vivid moments of my life. I remember recording my first ever. I was playing drums, recording and Kieran Candores, I was 17. I was playing with an ensemble. We were making a Christmas album. I don't know why I can't drink Christmas albums, but I was 17. 
I remember Kieran setting up the mics on my drum kit and he's an incredible engineer here in Perth and he put these mics in place and I was watching him and I was like, why did you do that? Why did you do that? And he was so kind, he told me all this information and I went out. It was the next five years. I bought every single mic that he put on that drum kit. I learned every single thing that he did and it changed my life. I remember going to watch Trevor Jeller. The first time I saw someone play guitar live, it was Howie Morgan and Trevor Jeller and these guys are so cool. I remember being underage, going to the Universal Bar and just being like, oh my God, that's what I want to do. 
You know it's those moments of like deep connection, watching, sucking every piece of knowledge from that experience and then learning how, like almost reverse engineering, just geeking out, yeah and now we're so lucky to have youtube and you can you can watch, you the people you admire on the internet now, like that, and it's like you can learn this stuff. But getting hands-on with the people that inspire you or that you learn from, is the people that inspire you or that you learn from is, I think, hands down. It happened to me the other week, James Newhouse recorded our Jesse and I's new duo album and we wanted to have him mix it, so I went down and sat with him and it was just like six hours of hang. But I think I learned more in six hours than I have in two years. 
23:18 - Mark (Guest)
Same with saxophone. I've been playing sax my whole life. I don't know what I'm doing. I had lessons as a kid. I had one lesson with Matt Stiles, who's one of the lead lecturers at UWA, I think, or WAAPA, and we sat and we had one hour lesson and he kind of was like, just play a scale. And he was like, okay, I see what you're doing, but have you tried doing this? And he said one thing that just changed everything and I was like I'm gonna have to go away for a year and understand what you just said. 
And it took me a year to work on it and it was like it's like little moments like that. All it takes is a little. You know, yeah, 180 degrees, flip it upside down and look at it in a different way, and you're like, holy shit, that changed my life. Um, and for those playing along at home, it was just, you know, open your like, drop your larynx, drop everything and allow the air to just go power through. I was like, whoa, that explains that's why I can't play saxophone. Now I can. Thanks Matt Stiles. You know little things like that. You're like, holy, shit. Blows your brain. You're like, oh, I never thought of that. 
24:24 - Alexis (Host)
Love it. One last question. if you could hear anyone answer these questions on the podcast. 
24:30 - Mark (Guest)
Who would it be? I, I mean my, the people that I really look up to. Like James Newhouse is a great example. He's such an interesting fellow and so inspiring. I'd love to hear his thoughts on these questions. Yeah, people that I look up to is, find all them and ask them all these questions, because then I can learn more. 
24:47 - Alexis (Host)
Big list. 
24:49 - Alexis (Host)
My goodness Mark Turner. 
24:51 - Mark (Guest)
24:52 - Alexis (Host)
Thank you so much for being here and coming through the creative door. 
24:57 - Mark (Guest)
Oh, I enjoyed being in the door of my own house, the creative space of love, arigato gozaimasu. It's been an absolute joy. Bye. 
25:10 - Alexis (Host)

Tuesday Apr 16, 2024

Dive into the dynamic world of creativity with host Alexis Naylor as she sits down with Terry Hart, a Melbourne to Perth producer, mixer, composer and creative writer. 
Terry shares his fascinating journey navigating the intricate balance between technical prowess and emotional resonance in creative spaces. From his experience at Melbourne’s Sing Sing Studios to his own space, Terry has spent many years honing his craft as a producer and as a session player and explores the challenges and triumphs of being on both sides. 
From the pitfalls of over-reliance on technology to the power of experimentation and authenticity, Terry's wisdom offers a roadmap for unlocking one's creative potential. Talk about inspiring! 
Whether you're a seasoned artist or an aspiring creator, this episode of 'Through the Creative Door' promises to inspire and enlighten you, inviting you to embark on your own journey of artistic discovery.
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Terry on instagram @maestroman
This episode was recorded on 22 November 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Terry:
Course: The Sound Academy - Simon Moro 
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door.
Hello, how you going? 
00:52 - Terry (Guest)
I’m good. 
00:54 - Alexis (Host)
Nice to have you here
00:58 - Terry (Guest)
Thank for inviting me
01:00 - Alexis (Host)
Thanks for letting me come into your creative space. Yeah, that's all right. I am so chuffed that you said yes to chatting with me because, I mean, I was an admirer of yours from afar before I even met you, before we even got to record and do things together. And then that was many moons ago. And now you're suddenly from the east coast over on the west coast. 
01:16 - Terry (Guest)
I came here for you, 
01:20 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, stop it! Well, well, now we'll have to book all these things in and we'll have to do lots of projects together. Yes!
01:24 - Terry (Guest)
Can't wait
01:27 - Alexis (Host)
I'm so excited. But thank you so much for coming on through the creative door. I wanted to have a chat to you because one you are just a multi-talented human being and have a brilliant mind and I'm curious, obviously you've graced me with the ability to come into your studio that you have here, but also the assumption that this is the only creative space that you have is probably not correct. 
01:53 - Terry (Guest)
Well at the moment kind of is. I'm new to town so this is what I've got. 
02:00 - Alexis (Host)
You brought it with you. But what does a creative space mean to you? Do you think? 
02:10 - Terry (Guest)
It's a very hard thing to get right and I've worked in lots of different studios over the years and the gear, the bits and pieces it's all great, but they're all tools to do a job. One of the things that a lot of studios fail in is what you're talking about is a creative space, um. One I used to work out a lot in Melbourne was Sing Sing studios and that always felt like a home. Kai and Jude that ran. It felt like like this amazing aunt and uncle and they're always there to take care of you and there was always this really good vibe. 
The rest of it's kind of superfluous if you're not comfortable to to create to make things um, especially when you're recording, because that's a that's a high. Comfortable to to create to make things um, especially when you're recording, because that's a that's a high um stress environment. You know a lot of people have saved for years to have a recording studio for a week. So you have to perform and um I know you've been there you jump on stage. If you're stressed it doesn't work like you really need to be in the right headspace to perform. So having a space that does that and allows you to do that, allows you to get into like uh, you know, like a flow state and really, um, enjoy the creation process, is is it's it's owed a lot more credit than it probably gets credit for so true, though, because I have definitely been in spaces over the years where, yeah, it was. 
03:26 - Alexis (Host)
I mean, you just walk in and there's a particular energy and suddenly, yeah, everything that you do is like under a microscope. 
03:35 - Terry (Guest)
And that's probably not good. No, like that cold, that sterile thing. 
03:41 - Alexis (Host)
And you wonder why you can't perform in a particular. It's like oh, I had this yesterday. 
03:49 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I can't do it. Had it yesterday. You've probably played it a hundred times on stage and had it, but, like when it matters, where we at, where's it gone? 
03:55 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, no, that's very true. That's very true. I'm curious. I mean, you have worked on so many projects, but you've also done a lot yourself, personally. I wonder and this is such a loaded and difficult question to ask but is there one bit of work or a body of work that you're most proud of today? 
04:19 - Alexis (Host)
I can work backwards. I can say I love making music, but I hate making my own music because it's a very lonely process. I like getting to the end. I am so intrigued about this, do tell me more what?
04:29 - Terry (Guest)
I work with bands and I get them in there. I try to give them this experience and they they say they want something and I have to try to figure out exactly what that is and get them there and things will break and things won't go wrong. And I keep that to myself and I figure out how to do that to make sure that they get that really positive experience. So we're talking about like the vibe in the studio, that homely feel and you're always nice and comfortable. I don't get that when I do my own stuff. It's just I'm filled in all the issues and trying to be creative. So I find it really really, really difficult and as far as I know, I'm not alone with that a lot of people who try to do a similar thing. It's a very difficult thing to balance. 
05:14 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, that's so true. Do you think that, will you always be having that hat on when you're in the studio doing your own, or could you potentially
05:29 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah, I haven't yet. Usually, when I've been doing my own stuff, it's been um after hours and just sort of I've got a bit, I've got a moment, so let's, let's give it a go. 
I hadn't got. I haven't gone to the lengths of sort of investing in that side of things, because there's a saying in my industry you got to decide which side of the glass you're on, and I did make my decision 10, 15 years ago. And, and I love producing music and and living in studios and being up to the wee hours trying to create something. Doesn't mean that I don't want to occasionally just just sneak across to the other side of the glass and see what's going on. 
06:08 - Alexis (Host)
Well, that, I'm sure, was your first love. 
06:13 - Terry (Guest)
Yes, yeah, that's what. I started off as a session musician. So I was on the other side of the glass playing, you know, piano and guitars and backing vocals and then violins and things like that on records when whatever people needed. That's how I got my foot in the door. But then, yeah, learn to love the rest of it slowly. 
06:31 - Alexis (Host)
We've spoken about something that you're proud of, but I also think on the on the flip side of that, do you think that there's been anything that has challenged you in creating or helping create a product with others? 
06:46 - Terry (Guest)
Again, there's always technical issues, but it's mostly communication. I think you'd find that most artists don't 100% know what they want and a lot of people see that as like a bad thing. But it's not. It is a like they know what they don't like more to as opposed to what they do. So that makes it a very difficult journey. So communication is always the biggest challenge, to try to figure that out, because it'd be great if you sit in the studio and go, okay, we've got this song, let's do a folk version, let's do a thrash metal version, let's do a, you know, an industrial rock version. Try everything and see which one works. But that's not very practical when it comes down to budgets and things like that. So getting into their heads, with obscure questions, you know I've been mixing for people and I've asked them like, if you were listening to this song, do you think it's orange or blue, like anything like that. It sounds silly but it kind of. 
It makes them think in an abstract form and it gives you something abstract to work from and that stuff can really hel, so communication is really always the challenge in the job because you're trying to translate a vision from nothing, which is it's an endlessly complicated job if you're actually trying to do it by chance. 
08:08 - Alexis (Host)
Would you have any advice? Is there things that you, if you could say to someone coming in, like before you come in? Maybe think of this kind of descriptive words or reference tracks. 
08:24 - Terry (Guest)
I do often. Yeah, I'll send like a questionnaire, especially if I get, if I get a sense of the project um, certain jobs, I'll sit with the bands in the rehearsal studio and we'll really nut it out. We might be doing that for months by the time we go into the studio, and usually by then and I do say usually, sometimes sometimes not at all, but usually by then we're on the same page. You've got a pretty good idea of what's going on. But otherwise those questions can be really helpful. Also, no musician ever wants to be asked what genre is your music. No artist wants to be asked that. 
08:59 - Alexis (Host)
So funny. I hate that question. Why do we all still ask this? 
09:02 - Terry (Guest)
Because we don't want to think like we're making something in the box. Otherwise, why would you be an artist? If we wanted to work like in the box, we'd go be a merchant banker and just call it a day. 
09:13 - Alexis (Host)
So true, but why do we all still ask that question? 
09:17 - Terry (Guest)
That's the thing. It's not about trying to make something like that, it's just like a guide in light. It tells me a lot if you want to make like a uh, independent sounding pop thing like Sia. I know you don't want to be Sia, but if you told me that it would just give me this world of palettes to open up in as far as instruments and things, um, it's just. It's just helping us do the job. So my best piece of advice is when somebody asks you that question, it's not, it's not a blight, it's literally because we're trying to help you. 
09:49 - Alexis (Host)
You're like yeah, I'm helping my brothers and sisters out
09:55 - Terry (Guest)
And I'm no better, if somebody asks me what genre my music is, I'll tell them to get out. There's the door. 
10:00 - Alexis (Host)
I don't know if this is going to be the right question to ask. We'll see. I feel like you're going to have lots of answers for this one, but is there any object or thing that you can't live without when you're creating? 
10:24 - Terry (Guest)
Honestly probably my dog. Yeah, yeah. 
10:31 - Alexis (Host)
Well, I mean for those people on the, you know listening. I got a lovely welcome when I came today from your beautiful dog. 
10:39 - Terry (Guest)
You're probably still sodden from licks and things like that.
10:45 - Alexis (Host)
 Yeah, I got all of the kisses. No, I love that. Do you think, especially because you're in this space, in the studio, for long periods of time and working on things for so long, yeah, do you think that is like? I think, like a, not a prerequisite, but a very healthy
11:05 - Terry (Guest)
No, but something like that. It goes back to what we were talking about before with the studios that I've seen at work are not the sterile clean line things, they're the ones that have got that homely feel. Now I've taken my dog to an insane number of sessions and I've seen this little ball of fluff, sort of devour, the negativity in the room, and sometimes there's arguments, sometimes there's confrontations between band members or whomever, and the dog's really, really good at breaking that down and bringing, like it's, a positive vibe in the studio. If you're looking for that, there's not really a better advocate for that. But look, I do. I make music for myself, for others, I work as a novelist, a writer, a fair bit as well. She's the only common denominator and I love having her around like, yeah, whether it has any difference, I don't know. 
11:56 - Alexis (Host)
I love that. She's the support dog for everybody. Yeah, exactly. 
12:01 - Terry (Guest)
I've seen it work. I swear. 
12:02 - Alexis (Host)
What else do you do with your writing? 
12:06 - Terry (Guest)
I've been doing creative writing for a good like you know, getting close to 10 years now. I used to write for magazines and things mostly about audio gear and things like that reviews but always had a passion for that, so I've been nutting out of that. I released one novel but I've been working on a bunch and just seeing what I can get to wear at the moment. I just really enjoy the process of that. I released one novel but I'm just I've been working on a bunch and just seeing what I can get to wear at the moment. I just really enjoy the process of that and it's different for me. 
Um, there's a bit of pressure because of what I do. If I wanted to make music, I love making music, but when I make my own it's hard for me to get out of that. That's a whole new Avenue for me. Like I'll admit to you now I do like being creative. I might have a little bit of a soft spot for it, but that's like a nice outlet for me which isn't what I'd call my profession, at least not at the moment. 
13:05 - Alexis (Host)
But I think if we've got that little spark of creativity in us, it manifests in so many different ways.
13:11 - Terry (Guest)
Oh, I don't think it matters. Yeah, got that little spark of creativity in us. Yeah, like, yeah, yeah, if you, if you, you can, either um tap into that flow state or you can't, but where you take it doesn't matter. Yeah, um, the rest of it's uh, a matter of practicg getting good at whatever you're doing. It, um, yeah, but it's, it's a great, it's a great outlet and allows me to get that uh, to get into that state and uh and also be vulnerable. 
There was a time there was a long time there that I was making records for other people and I did very, very little for myself and it's very easy to get, um, maybe jaded or maybe just a little bit loose sight of what the creative process is. Didn't mean I wasn't good at the job, but what it did mean is it made it hard to sympathize with the artist. So if I have something like that, I can kind of be there, be vulnerable, know what it means to someone when they give you criticism. Um, you know constructive criticism, but still know that that's it still is going to hit you in a certain way because you really are bearing yourself and being very vulnerable and, um, I think doing that on on the side makes me a lot better at at uh, yeah, just listening to what an artist has to say and respecting it, because, um, it can be hard, um to to really be there 100% and sympathise with people you work with, but, yeah, it's helpful for that. 
14:34 - Alexis (Host)
But also for yourself, as in it's multifaceted how it gives back and feeds back into you as a creative. 
14:42 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah, yeah, I'm definitely only speaking in a sense of what I do here, but I love doing it. 
14:50 - Alexis (Host)
If you could give a nugget or a piece of advice to another creative, what would it be? 
14:57 - Terry (Guest)
Oh, that's a hard one, get a dog, I guess. 
15:01 - Alexis (Host)
Get a dog. I'll write that down, yeah. 
15:04 - Terry (Guest)
The first thing that comes to mind is technology is not your friend and it's made so many things convenient, but it's also really pushed people's heads a little bit out of what's important, and it really is. If you can sit there with an acoustic guitar and make another human being cry with a song you made, that's all that matters. So there's a tendency to want to get into the studio and mess with sounds, and when I say studio, I mean people have. 
it's remarkable what people can do on their laptops you know, but jumping into that too soon and forgetting about the rest of it, because those endless choices have meant that people actually make less choices. Generally, the choices are kind of almost made on their behalf with a lot of the software 
15:48 - Alexis (Host)
To try and keep into a particular aesthetic or sound. 
15:58 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah things like it can be as simple as tempo. They just oh well, I will start, I'm going to start writing this song and they put their click on and put a drum beat you know, an artificial drum beat down, but then that artificial drum beat won't have swing. So they lose the idea that that song, the way they were playing the acoustic guitar, did have a tiny amount of swing. They don't have a, you know, and so your drummer's not going to hear that and react to that. And suddenly you've written this different song. 
It's so easy to lose the tiny little details that make something special. Um, so cause I, because I see a lot of. I'd have a lot of students when I did a lot of sessions back in Melbourne and they'd say bring a piece of gear up it's just like a program plug-in, say for a compressor or something and they'll mess with the knobs and try to make this sound work, even though it's not really working. And they've got endless different ones that a click of a button, but then they stick on one and get stuck on it. 
Now, when I was working on huge analog studios, I'd listen to something that wasn't right. I'd walk all the way over to the other end of the thing, pull out the wires that had patched it in, plug in new wires and try a new thing, like that was just a habit you had. Yeah, now it's easier to do that today than it's ever been. It's a click of a button and people do it less. So it's kind of. Technology is very good at making people lazy, but you can't be lazy if you want to make really good art. 
17:23 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, my goodness. That's so true. 
17:26 - Terry (Guest)
And you've been in the studio a fair bit, I'm sure you've been in those situations. Have you ever sat there looking for a synth sound to fill in a thing and you're just going through preset after preset after preset just trying to find that sound? 
17:38 - Alexis (Host)
17:41 - Terry (Guest)
It kind of. At some point you're just like a scene through time. You don't even know what's going on, right, you get that kind of moment where you lose that, yeah, yeah you lose space time context yeah, yeah, and it's overwhelming. 
17:54 - Alexis (Host)
And I'll be honest, like I don't have trained ears like you, so like for me, sometimes they all. Then suddenly all just I don't even know where I am. They all sound the same they just start blurring. Yeah, they're all blurring, whereas I think your ears would be far more in tuned for longer to be able to hear the finite difference between but even a lot of times, it just doesn't matter yeah. 
18:22 - Terry (Guest)
The big thing: is you're not making music to make it to like, you're not writing a song to find the perfect canvas for a perfect synth sound. You're looking for a synth sound to express a certain emotional state. That's all music is. It's a cathartic experience. People listen to it to feel something. So if you start listening to those synths and saying which one sounds like, my partner just left me. If that's what your song is about, you know it sounds. But um, that's a big part of what, what, what happens in these places there's. You get a bunch of sounds together. There's a little bit of work to make a snare drum sound like a snare drum, an acoustic guitar sound like an acoustic guitar. Once that's done, you've just kind of hit the bass line of beginning the. Then you've got to start to make the acoustic guitar sound like it's been hurt by some trauma or it wants to dance or it's, you know, whatever, whatever. 
19:18 - Alexis (Host)
Whatever the emotion is that we're trying to portray. 
19:22 - Terry (Guest)
 I need a thesaurus, I'm bragging about being a creative writer and I can't even think of more than two emotions. Like how are we going here? 
19:29 - Alexis (Host)
We need to watch that movie. It has all the emotions. 
19:32 - Terry (Guest)
Yes, that would be a great idea. It wasn't the elementals. I know the one you're talking about. Pixar right, yeah, Pixar, Pixar for the win always.
19:38 - Alexis (Host)
That's so true. No, I, it's all about sometimes finding that balance of, like, stripping it every back, stripping it all back to, yeah, the fundamentals, for sure, um, and yeah, it's lovely to have toys, it's lovely to have, yes, like you said, an opportunity to create in that particular way, but it should be supporting the message or the, the thing that we're trying to. 
20:12 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah, yeah absolutely yeah, and that that's the only thing to keep in mind, that it is supporting that um and that's the question just to keep asking yourself. 
Paul Mccartney put it really well. He said um, he was talking, I think, specifically about backing vocals. Okay, but I think it works across the board for production. Um, he said that, um, if it's not adding, it's taking away. So you can put in endless vocal harmonies if you want, but you just listen to it and go. Is that adding? And if it's not, if you can barely hear it or whatever, just scrap it, it's probably taking away then. Yeah, it's a good mentality and a good thing to keep in mind in every decision you do. Because, yeah, we can get into the studio and decide that we're going to spend half a day on finding the perfect snare drum I've got 40 snare drums here. We're going to find the one that really suits this song but if in that time, the whole band just loses energy and can no longer be bothered even performing the song and are tired and are hungry, then snare drum sound didn't really matter at t that point you know you've got nothing 
21:22 - Alexis (Host)
It's not really going to uh, put the electric energy back into everyone yeah, yeah yes, we found the sound . Would you, is there any resources or, like I don't know, books or courses or something like if you, if someone was wanting to um, do what you do? Is there there anything that you know, good resources that you would suggest? 
21:56 - Terry (Guest)
There's kind of endless resources. I know a mate of mine, Simon Morrow, in Melbourne, he's doing an online course for music production and he and I talk a lot about music production. He's got a great ear for that, so I trust what he's saying in that. But, at the same point, youtube is filled with things you want to figure out how to patch a hole in the wall. It's got you covered. 
It's not much different with music production. There's a lot of bits and pieces on that, but it's the same as anything. Sure, it's not sponsored and, um, in the sense that you're kind of getting an honest review, not just a sponsor, um, you know someone talking about something to get kickbacks or whatever, but there's probably, whatever issue you're having, there's probably a, a youtube video dedicated to that. So it's a great place to start. But, more than anything, if you are getting into this, your ears are the only thing that matters, and your ears get worse over time in many ways, not better. When you don't really know what things are doing, you just listen to them for what they are, and that's a good time to really be in the studio and mess around and experiment. 
If you want to do it, you have to be a mad scientist type in the sense that you should sit there with an acoustic guitarist for a day and every mic you can get your hands on and every preamp and every different mic setup you can think of, because there's not a right one and often there's not a wrong one, but it's knowing what gets you what results and how it changes moving things around and how that can work to your advantage, because it's kind of the UK style of record making, where you have a sound and it may not be perfect, but then your next sound tries to make that sound perfect. 
So you might put a piano sound in and you close mic'd it and it's a bit of a tinny kind of clanky sound. There's no room to it, it's impersonal. It's like oh okay, now we could go back into the studio and get a beautiful C5 grand piano and do it properly, or we can just take that and we wanted to put an acoustic guitar in anyway. Let's not close mic the acoustic, let's put a mic across the room from it and get a bit of natural room and ambience to it. Then suddenly you have this contrasting clanky piano sound with this beautiful sweepy acoustic sound and you're starting to get a sound stage. 
You know, that's why, not just knowing a way to do things, but all the ways you can do things and experimenting. You can know how you can manipulate these sounds to really put things together and start to build something. Because a song and music's really music when you start to hear into it, because it kind of messes with you. It pulls you in, but then in being pulled into the song, you're actually inside the vocalist thing because they're they're always up front and centre, you're kind of really being drawn towards them. Yeah, it's a trick, you might be pulled towards the acoustic guitar, but you are leaning in and that's body language, that's telling, you're telling you, telling yourself that you are actually coming towards it. 
25:17 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, yes, yeah. 
25:19 - Terry (Guest)
Yeah, but yeah, like getting into this is really experimenting as much as you can and um there, there is no right answer um to things. So when you start looking, if you want to start looking at YouTube videos, just understand that it's an opinion and it might be useful to you and it might lead you astray as well. 
25:44 - Alexis (Host)
just go down that rabbit hole.  
25:48 - Terry (Guest)
It is going to be a rabbit hole, but so is anything that's worth doing, you know. 
25:50 - Alexis (Host)
If there was another creative that you could ask these questions and have them on the podcast. Who would you want to know these things about, and why? 
26:02 - Terry (Guest)
Oh look, I always love to hear from artists, because that really is where all this begins and ends. So I mean anyone who's doing those things, anyone that's making music that's really, really works, you know on another level, and speaks to you a bit more than just that face value. I'm always ready and fascinated to hear what they have to say. 
26:26 - Alexis (Host)
And no, it is interesting thing where we can be so similar and then so totally different all at the same time. 
26:36 - Terry (Guest)
That's the beautiful thing about it. It's supposed to represent humanity and we are all a little bit nutty in our own way. 
26:45 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, we are well, I know I am anyway. 
26:48 - Terry (Guest)
I wouldn't hold you to that that.
26:54 - Alexis (Host)
Thank you very much.  Terry Hart. Thank you so much for coming on Through The Creative Door.  
26:57 - Terry (Guest)
So nice chatting with you yeah, no, thank you, you too, yay, cheers. 

Tuesday Apr 02, 2024

In this episode, Alexis dives deep into the world of artistry with the exceptional Kirsty Hulka. Also known as soul-pop artist Sgt. Hulka, Kirsty is a Perth musician, singer-songwriter, mother and lover of all things with sparkles! 
This episode is a treasure trove full of honest reflections on the challenges and triumphs of the songwriting journey. From the solitude that fuels creation to the evolving musicianship shaped by technology, Kirsty opens up about her own songwriting process, her battle with ongoing revisions and perfectionism, and the beauty of finding confidence in her own unique sound. 
Although making music a priority can sometimes feel like pushing a rock up a hill, Kirsty illustrates the rewards of forging relationships with fellow artists to the final product of a song, is unparalleled by any challenge. 
If you’d like to see more of, you can follow Kirsty on Instagram @sgthulka_
This episode was recorded on 12 November 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Creative references from Kirsty:
Software: Logic, GarageBand
Tools: Rhymezone
Podcasts: Switched On Pop, Song Exploder
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. 
00:48 - Alexis (Host)
Hi Kirsty
00:49 - Kirsty (Guest)
Hi Alexis
00:50 - Alexis (Host)
How are you going?
00:52 - Kirsty (Guest)
Good, how are you? 
00:54 - Alexis (Host)
Thank you for coming on Through The Creative Door. 
00:56 - Kirsty (Guest)
Thank you for having me. 
00:58 - Alexis (Host)
I spent some time thinking about like how I met you and just like just being in awe and fangirling before even we were friends but you are. I don't know. I have so much respect for you as a creative because not only are you a phenomenal writer, singer-songwriter, performer, but you also are so creative in like your endeavours, Like I've seen you be uber creative, like with merch and like getting your hands all in there and and making things sparkly. 
01:32 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah yeah, it's, I do I do make a lot of things sparkly
01:39 - Alexis (Host)
And also like, yeah, making merch, and like your last show that I saw you, you had a piano that you oh, 
01:47 - Kirsty (Guest)
Oh, a piano shell. 
01:51 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah, so it looks like a grand piano. I'm going to take that with me today actually. 
01:54 - Alexis (Host)
Oh really,oOh my goodness, I feel like that needs to be a staple 
01:59 - Kirsty (Guest)
For stages that will fit it. It's quite big. 
02:02 - Alexis (Host)
is it quite heavy? 
02:03 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah, yeah. So yeah for shows that um the stage is big enough, then I'll bring it, but yeah when it's um a smaller stage it won't fit. 
02:12 - Alexis (Host)
So thank you for having me in your home. I also have seen some of your little creative space that you have at the front, yes, but I'm curious what does a creative space mean to you? 
02:24 - Kirsty (Guest)
To be honest, a creative space to me is solitude. I really struggle to create musically when there's other people around. So one of the things that I have noticed just about myself is that, even if someone else is home and, um, I'm, you know, wanting to create some music, I can't do it. I feel like there's people listening, or, you know, when I'm trying out different ideas and going, oh, like this is a cool little idea to play, or this is a cool little song, I end up, if there's someone else home, I feel self-conscious and I feel that I can't create. 
And so one of the things that I've worked out is that, for me, creating musically needs to be a solo thing. I need to be alone in the right headspace to be able to really get into it. One of the hardest things is time, obviously, um, finding the time to allow myself to be creative is often hard. When I've got limited time during the day to be alone, um, and there's always washing to be folded, there's always dishes to be done, there's always an email to be sent, there's always another thing to do, and so being able to actually allow myself to be creative is also one of the biggest challenges, and so I guess having the creative space is one thing, but then, yeah, having the mental space to be able to, to be able to create, is also hard um 
04:02 - Alexis (Host)
Do you find that you schedule time in and can delegate it, or is it just more when you've..
04:10 - Kirsty (Guest)
Sometimes I can. One thing that I've worked out that works well for me now is that everything is a progression, so like I will start a song and I'll come up with an idea, and then I've got to sit on it, yeah, and then I'll do a little bit more on it and a little bit more on it. I've got to kind of keep coming back to that same idea, the same thing of, like you know, a painter will have their blank canvas and they'll start painting and it's like a work in progress. For me, songwriting is a work in progress. I'm not the kind of person that can sit down and write a song in one go. I have to kind of keep coming back to it and keep readjusting and, yeah, rehashing it and going does that work? How does that work there, if I put this bit there, is that better or is that worse? And I kind of keep going back and forth for a while until I come up with the final product, the final product. So yeah, the creative space is definitely more of a mental space for me rather than an actual physical space. I can create anywhere. 
One of the interesting things I did a while ago, before I had a daughter, I went down to Pemberton, booked a little chalet, stayed down there for three nights or four nights, I think and just set up all my equipment and went I'm just going to get creative. And I got down there and I sat down at the piano, blank nothing. And you know, I'm surrounded by beautiful forests and I've got all this time alone and nothing. And so I sat and I sat and I sat and I went far out come on, Kirsty, we can do this and I ended up, um, so yeah, first day was a write-off got nothing done, nothing at all. Second day went all right, I need tp, I need to do something about this now. 
So I woke up in the morning and I went for a run and I thought I'm going to listen to the songs that I love and the songs that I want to kind of aspire to be. So I listened to a bunch of songs and then I got back to the accommodation and went I'm going to learn those songs and I'm going to learn how to play the songs that I really like and pull those songs apart as to what they have done to make them songs that I like and that I want to listen to and why other people like as well. So I pulled those songs apart and I learned how to play them. And then, since doing that, suddenly it just went ping and I started to get some ideas flowing and going oh, if I just do this, I can be inspired by what they've done there. 
And you know I can use that six, eight time signature. Yeah, I can use that, you know I can go to this chord there that they've done in that song or something. And so then I found that I'd come up with an idea and then I'd let it sit and I'd go for a run and as I'd be running I would get another idea pop into my head yeah and then I'd come back and I'd put that down and then I'd go, all right, cool, that's that bit, and then I'd have to go and do something else. 
So I find my creative space is in little blocks. Yeah now. So to put the pressure on myself of I'm going to sit down and write doesn't work for me. I need to do it in little chunks. I find first thing in the morning I'm very creative. By the time it gets to eight o'clock at night I'm useless. 
07:37 - Alexis (Host)
I know. Obviously, at the moment you have a project, Sgt. Hulka, which is amazing. Kicking goals. But, you've also had a lot of projects and a lot of ensembles and things that you've worked on over the years. I'm curious if there's a body of work that you're most proud of and how it came about. 
07:57 - Kirsty (Guest)
I'd probably say Sgt. Hulka is the one that I'm most proud of. It's, in terms of how it's developed and how it's progressed, is something that I've put a lot of effort into and I've and I've kind of set myself the goal of good is not good enough. It's like if it's good, that's not good enough. I want it to be better than good, and so whenever, like the last EP, when we recorded the EP, I took all the tracks to my producer and I said these are the tracks I want to record. And he listened to me and he said, oh yeah, they're good. And I went cool, so how do we make them great? And he went well, what do you mean? And I said, well, if they're good, we need to make them better. And so it was trying to pull the songs apart so that then I could go you know, listen to it. From a different perspective of just because that's how I've written, it doesn't mean that's how it has to be. And so I worked really a lot with my producer and working out how the songs could go from good to like really good something that I was able to go. 
I'm really proud, proud of that song. So I think, in terms of, like songs that I'm really proud of. Forget What I Told You, is one that I still surprise myself like I wrote that that was. You know, that's pretty cool that I wrote that. In terms of songs that I'm really proud of and ones that I yeah, something that I can go, I'm really proud of that, Forget What I Told You is one that I am really proud of and I think 
09:341 - Alexis (Host)
Well, it's a banging song. 
Yeah, it shows, because of, yeah, the amount of what I put into it. I guess, yeah, even when we were mixing it and my, and you know, Patrick said you know how's it sound, Kirsty? I'm like, yeah, it can be better. And I think by the end, Patrick was a bit like come on, Kirsty, I think it’s good. Yeah but no, it can be better. Yeah, um, and you know it's getting that fine detail of going back to something enough times to be able to go cool, that's it. But there's also that trap of going kind of continuously, going back to it over and over again and then never being happy with it, kind of like the painter that never finishes the painting yeah because they're always making final tweaks. So there has to come a point when you go all right, it's done 
10:29 - Alexis (Host)
And what's that point for you do you think? 
10:31 - Kirsty (Guest)
I think part of it would be when I feel like I've done enough and I feel like there's nothing more I can do, but also timing. It also gets to the point where I go all right, I've got to actually get this out now. 
10:48 - Alexis (Host)
I find for me, for myself, having certain particular deadlines and allowing, yes, there's a little bit of time to pick it up and put it down within that space, but there's definitely a deadline. 
10:59 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah. So there has to be a deadline there. I've found that as I've gotten older, my creative ability has just massively improved. It's like if I look back to the songs I wrote when I was 20, I'm like, ooh, can't let people listen to that. 
11:20 - Alexis (Host)
But how great is it though, because I know for myself. It's the same as the look back and you go oh look, how far I've come. 
11:24 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah, that's and that's great. I think that's also like when I, you know, being proud of that product that I can put out is that if 20 year old Kirsty was to like, look at what I'd done with the whole EP and the, you know how much I'd put into writing and arranging and recording and everything like 20-year-old Kirsty would have been like wow, that's awesome, whereas like if back then, I would never have been able to do it. 
11:55 - Alexis (Host)
11:56 - Kirsty (Guest)
It's like I wouldn't have been able to do it. Yeah, it's like I wouldn't have been able to have to have the mental space, the ability um the knowledge of songs that I've got now.
12:08 - Alexis (Host)
You need to flex that muscle. 
12:11 -  Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah. The more that I do it, the more I learn, so yeah. 
12:14 - Alexis (Host)
So, on the flip side of things that you're proud of, has there ever been something that has challenged your creativity and, if so, what was the major lesson, do you think? 
12:27 - Kirsty (Guest)
I think, like everyone, we get the mental block. That's something that's challenged my creativity, especially as a songwriter. You like I, for so many years I would write songs about, like personal songs. This is what this means to me. This is how you know, songwriting is a way that you get out emotions. It's a way that you process what you're feeling. One of the biggest challenges is when I'm feeling really happy and I'm like, well, well, everything's pretty good in my life, so I don't know what I'd write a song about. 
13:01 - Alexis (Host)
It's so tough. You're not the first person I've spoken to. That's just like life's really good, and so I don't really have.
13:09 - Kirsty (Guest)
Like, how am I going to write a heartache song, and so it's trying to find a song, trying to find inspiration to write when everything's all good. So you know, generally you go into writing songs when you're feeling sad or heartbroken or whatever. But to be able to go right, I'm going to write a song about periods, yes, or one of the things for me is that I have to know what the song is about. I can't write a song when it's got no meaning. I need to have a theme there, even if I don't have lyrics. This is what this song is about. Even if I've got one line in the song and that's the only lyrics I've got for the song, I have to know what the song's about. I have to know what direction it's going in and what message I want to get across. So sometimes finding that inspiration of what do I want to write a song about is the biggest challenge, because songwriting is storytelling. That's the way that I look at it. It's got to be telling a story. You've got to engage with your listeners in your lyrics, otherwise it could just be an instrumental song. 
One of the biggest challenges is finding ways to write songs and what it's going to be about. The other one is the blockage of going. I don't know where to take this, and one of the biggest lessons I've learned is to sit on it, don't rush it, don't push it, just wait. So usually for me it's a six-month process of writing a song, like from beginning til end. I couldn't even tell you the last time I wrote a song. Oh no, I'm sorry. There was one song that I wrote last year that I think I wrote in a weekend, but to me that's my simple song. It's like it's a simple structure. It's simple lyrics. Well, not simple lyrics, but there's nothing complex about it. It's a nice song, but it's not a song that I'd go um. You know, it's not a complex one, if that makes sense. 
15:13 - Alexis (Host)
So I do think I mean maybe you feel the same. There are the occasions where suddenly a song just sort of pours out of you yeah, and it just all sort of works yeah um and others where you're just like, yeah, there's a great idea here, but I, yeah, definitely need to sit it down and yeah, mull over it for a bit, yeah, yeah, so like, for example, I was one of the things that I kind of used to get over that challenge, which I've never done before, is, um, the inspiration of other people's songs. So it's not to say that I'm going to listen to a song and be like, oh, I'm just going to copy exactly what they did there. Um, it's trying to use the subconscious of songs that I'm inspired by to create the sounds that I want. Like, one of the songs that I've the next single that I'm going to be releasing had the chorus and I was just struggling with the verse. I'd kind of written it and gone, oh yeah, you know, that'll do, that'll do for now. But in my head I was always like, but I'll get it better at some stage. But I had to get something down. 
And the other day I was driving and one of my favorite songs came on, um, Perfect World by Alan Stone, and as I was listening to it I was like, oh, that's what my verse needs. It needs something soulful and at a higher pitch, because I was trying to sing the verse like too low and it just wasn't working, and so I kind of used that inspiration of what that song was and then tried to put it to the song that I'd done and suddenly it just yeah, it just all went and fit and I was like there it is. And so I think it's about not letting yourself, or not letting myself, being stuck in that moment of frustration of like I can't get it, I don't know what to do with this song, and instead consciously letting it sit, if that makes sense. Now I've learned just to go. I'll take a back step and I'll just leave it and it'll come when it comes.
But also making a conscious effort to allow it to do it. So, listening to songs that inspire me, pulling apart songs that I really like, like well, what chords did they use there? Why do those chords work? Oh, they do some like really cool stabs in that bit that sounds really cool. Oh, they've got like a violin doing some weird thing at the top there and actually pulling other people's songs apart, I consciously find inspiration from the music that I love. 
I think one of the things that I've discovered as well now is that I used to always, you know, write songs in all kinds of different styles. So, you know, I'd get a melody idea and I'd start writing like oh, you know, this one's a bit more of a folk song, or this one's a slower one, or this is a this kind of song. But now I'm a lot more focused on my product. Is I'm going, this is the product that I want to achieve? How do I achieve that? So what do I need to add into a song to make it the product that I want? Rather than, oh, this is how I'm inspired and this is what the song is, I'm taking a much more conscious effort to say I want to be a soul pop artist. I'm fitting it into the style of music that I want, rather than that's just the product that it is. Yeah. 
18:24 - Alexis (Host)
I'm curious. I know that we sort of spoke about how you know you don't necessarily need a particular space to be creative, but is it an object or a thing? 
18:42 - Kirsty (Guest)
No. Interestingly, the time that I get most of my ideas is on my motorbike. Motorbike and driving. That's when I get ideas pop into my head, not so much car, but yeah motorbike and driving. It's weird and, I don't know why, interesting, but there's been many, many times I've been riding my motorbike and suddenly I'll just get this idea in my head and I've literally had to pull over and get my phone out and record it into my phone and then keep going again. Perhaps it's the know there's nothing else to listen to. Yes, there's. There's no, no one to talk to. There's not a radio to turn on, there's not a podcast to listen to. It's just me and myself focusing on staying safe on the road.
19:27 - Alexis (Host)
It's interesting that you say that, because for me, when I do long-haul drives in my camper van on tour or travel, I find that, yeah, it's like because you're concentrating on something else it's like your subconscious has a chance to then start to like make ideas. 
19:44 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah, like there's nothing else I can do. I can't check my texts, I can't quickly send an email, I can't hang the washing out. I've just got to drive and be safe. 
19:55 - Alexis (Host)
If you could give another creative nugget of advice, a piece of advice, what would that be? 
20:02 - Kirsty (Guest)
Don't stop. So my advice would be don't stop trying. And I think one of the things with writing music is the moment that you, like I said to you before, the moment that you stop, no one's going to come knocking on your door asking you why, they're, you know you'll just stop. 
Um, when I stopped writing music, when I was in I think I was 26 or 27 um, it was like I I needed a break from it, but I missed it and I wanted to keep doing it, but I lost a. You know, I'd, every weekend, I'd be out playing gigs and suddenly I wasn't, and I wasn't going out and playing gigs. And then I felt bad because I didn't want to go and watch any shows, because I wasn't making any music and the. It took me a couple, quite a few years to actually realize, you know, what was wrong, why I wasn't feeling good about myself, why what was missing in my life. And then I made a decision to start playing music again and it was almost like oh, there it is, that's what I needed, um, and especially playing original music. It's like I needed to be creating again. 
21:20 - Alexis (Host)
We spoke off mic about that community and like having your cup filled and how people don't necessarily check in with you, but they're just doing their thing.  
21:30 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah it’s, I don't regret having a break. I think I needed it. I needed to have that break to pull back and kind of reassess what I wanted. But I'm glad that I've pursued and that I haven't given up. Creativity is, It's hard to allow yourself to do it because you think you know what. I've got to work, I've got to do all these other things and this isn't earning me any money. It's like what's the point of doing it? But the point of doing it is the friends that you meet, the community that you find the cup that you can fill up. It's like I create music because I have to. Yeah, I don't do it because you know I want to be Adele or I want to be Beyonce. That's never been my goal. My goal is I do it because I have to and I know what it's like when I don't do it. I think you know I just I would end up drinking so much because I wasn't playing anywhere and, you know, because I didn't have anything to do. 
22:36 - Alexis (Host)
Is there any resources that you would suggest or recommend for someone who's wanting to develop their creativity? 
22:46 - Kirsty (Guest)
Logic. Honestly it's game changer or GarageBand. What it's like now as a creative and writing songs, like I started writing songs when I was you know 14 or something, and it was just the piano and that would be all there was. But nowadays the technology that we've got to create like to kind of get the ball rolling, like get some Logic loops and just loop some different riffs going and like sing some words over it and see if it works. Like, there's so much out there in terms of you don't have to know how to play an instrument. You can get creative and write songs. 
23:30 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah love it. One extra question, one extra last question. If you could have anyone else come onto this podcast and answer these questions, who would it be and why? 
23:42 - Kirsty (Guest)
I mean I would love to hear the creative process of Bon Iver, the whole thing of like how he kind of found his sound in that creative way. So, yeah, definitely Bon Iver. 
23:55 - Alexis (Host)
Kirsty, thank you so much for coming on Through The Creative Door. It's so lovely to have you be part of it. Thank you and yeah, excited to see what else is coming down the pipeline for you.
24:07 - Kirsty (Guest)
Yeah, exciting things coming up. 

Tuesday Mar 19, 2024

In this episode, Alexis is joined by Morgan Joanel, a Perth artist, musician, jewellery maker and a true versatile creative force. Alexis and Morgan explore the essence of nomadic lifestyles, discussing the significance of anchor points and how important it is to find your own rhythm in a world of noise. 
They explore the dance between structure and spontaneity in the creative process and how navigating societal norms and personal boundaries can be a true challenge for every creative. Drawing from personal experiences, they reflect on how having boundaries can often feel like hitting a wall, like Morgan’s car accident, which can disrupt your journey and leave you yearning to return to where you were before. Yet, through these challenges, we often discover a profound truth: boundaries, though initially restrictive, can serve as catalysts for growth and self-discovery. 
If you’d like to see more, you can follow Morgan on Instagram @morganjoanel
This episode was recorded on 6 November 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Disappear Music Video: 
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. 
00:48 - Alexis (Host)
Morgan, welcome to Through the Creative Door, morgan. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. How you going?
00:51 - Morgan (Guest)
Thank you, I am very good. 
00:54 - Alexis (Host)
You have been jet-setting around. You are always jet-setting around. 
00:58 - Morgan (Guest)
I feel like I don't think I was for a really long time, but recently I definitely have been, so I'm probably making up for all the time that. 
01:07 - Alexis (Host)
Amazing. Yeah, yeah, just put it all.
01:11 - Morgan (Guest)
Yeah, one little container, get it all out. 
01:15 - Alexis (Host)
I love it. I am so chuffed to be able to be chatting with you because I've been fangirling you from afar. I mean, when we talk about creative, you've got your fingers in all of the creative pies. I've been fangirling you for, actually, I came across your music video for Disappear.
01:42 Morgan (Guest)
The stop motion? 
01:45 Alexis (Host)
Yes, yes, and I was especially because you released that during COVID? 
01:46 - Morgan (Guest)
I think it actually. You know what? I think it was one month before COVID hit and I did a launch for it and I did all the PR for it, did the whole proper release, was really happy with it. And then bang. Oh yeah, so it probably got a little more airtime, because everyone's at home and I'm going to work out. 
02:07 - Alexis (Host)
I wasn't going to say that. I was just saying that it felt like it was very present in the COVID time. Yeah, because. 
02:12 - Morgan (Guest)
I feel like I honestly think it was February 2020. And then that next month and during that time it led to other people having seen other musicians saying “Can you do something for me?” And so when COVID hit, strangely I was inundated with all this digital work and artist work and I was like I guess I can do this stuff for other people. So some crazy good timing. Whatever happened, it happened. 
02:42 - Alexis (Host)
Oh my gosh, that's so interesting. Well, for those little listening, make sure you go check out that music video, because I actually think it's quite stunning. It's very beautiful. 
02:52 - Morgan (Guest)
Thank you, I very much enjoyed it. I just learned how to stop motion animate stuff for that and I plan to do more, because there's something really special about having being able to always look at it like choreographing the scene, the characters to the music, the colours, and you have the ability to print stuff at home, cut it out on paper and then make it work how you want it to work, and you can do that while you can't go outside, and it's a nice little creative thing where you just let the music come to life. 
03:25 - Alexis (Host)
So good and you're. I mean, I'm just mentioning one part of your creativeness. But we're in this beautiful space of yours which you've got a piano, but you also have a sewing machine. You've got lots of beautiful little beading and things like that that I'm assuming from my time of working at a fashion jewellery company back in the day. It looks like all bits and pieces to making jewellery. 
03:54 - Morgan (Guest)
It is. It sure is, and I only recently labelled it all yeah, I'll, I'll. I'll say myself a little more time. 
04:02 - Alexis (Host)
So I guess it comes into the first question that I had for you, which is what does a creative space mean to you and why? 
04:14 - Morgan (Guest)
I think for me I can get away with just a couple of things that are like anchor points. 
So because of the travelling, because of, you know, just being in Europe and going to music festivals and then also being creative and working for a friend's fashion label, shout out to Vera Black it's like living out of a suitcase, being really far away from home and then being in someone else's creative space. That can feel like you just get swept up in the wave of other things and if you're not at home with your specific things that you usually anchor into, it's nice to have just a couple of things that you can carry with you. And so I feel like I can get away with just a few things. Definitely, colours mean a lot to me, so there's specific colours that I don't know why, but because I paint and I often link music with colours, with wording, with art styles. If I have specific like, I have like a specific sarong that I've had for ages and anytime I travel I don't need it, but I'll put that in and if I go, I'm in a hotel room
They'll just be on the pillow or hang it over something and it just it anchors you into this feeling of being at home and safe and creative. And so then you can kind of put the whatever that creative side of your is able to come out, no matter where you are. And so I used to do it where I'd take all. I'd take specific crystals, I would take very specific things because I felt like I had to have certain things, and over time you realize you just don't need as much as you probably think you do in order to activate creative stuff. 
So, yes, you look around my beautiful space, and there's a lot here because I'm making things for other people, or I'm making jewellery for the brand, or I need a record so that my guitars have to be here, or there's my paintings, and but I don't need any of that. It's more like, look, I'm here for a while, so I may as well just keep it all in one place, and then it does inspire you because you know, the more you have, the more you're anchored into it. Yeah, so I think creative space it doesn't have to be one singular space, I think it's a feeling, and I think even down to if I do it a lot with playlists on Spotify. I have one or two that allow me to meditate, so if I'm tired or if there's too much going on and I need to switch off, I have a specific playlist that I love to listen to. So, even down to just sonically, having something that allows you to put your headphones on you could have no shawl, no crystals, no, nothing of yours. 
But when you have, and being a musician, you would get it, you can relate to it, having that space to just go “All I need is a rhythm” and I'm used to this playlist, I'm used to this rhythm. I know it puts me into a calming space. I know I can breathe through it. If I've got pain and I know you experience pain and things like that as well it's something to distract you from it and allow you to go. Everything's okay right now, and then you get back into the wave of life. 
07:41 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, so true. It's so interesting that you say that about music because, funnily enough, when I paint which I don't do very often, but I always seem to listen to Linkin Park when I paint. And for whatever reason it puts me in a particular mood to paint. I love that. I've done it since I was a teenager. I don't know, I don't. I don't question it, it just is a thing I don't. 
08:08 - Morgan (Guest)
So if you are like at the shops or something, and Linkin Park comes on. Does the music activate you to want to go and paint? 
08:13 - Alexis (Host)
It makes me want to paint. 
08:15 - Morgan (Guest)
So it works both ways.
08:19 - Alexis (Host)
Yep! Speaking of what I mean, you have, like we were just saying, you just have your finger in all of the pies, which is bloody amazing. So I guess this next question is probably going to be a hard one. But what is something that you're proud of creating, and how did it come about? 
08:35 - Morgan (Guest)
I think, as a general rule of thumb for me, I don't tend to feel a specific feeling of I'm proud of that that I've created, which is probably due to creating so much that it, to me, just within myself, that end thing is not as much what I'm doing it for. So the end thing like if I'm creating a Mandala artwork or something the end thing is more oh well, like that's just the end of it, that's not what I was doing it for in the first place. So it is a little hard. But I think when there's risk involved with something and I'm putting all of my eggs in one basket, which is usually what you're not meant to do, and when it's a real risk, I literally have to take the risk tattooed on me, probably to remind me to keep doing it. It always works. So I could say, when it comes to actual projects, probably the last Kickstarter project that I put out, the campaign which was crowdfunding, I did the last one to pre-fund and manufacture a deck of Oracle cards which had my artworks all turned into it, and doing that project, the time frames and actually having to get so incredibly structured to bring 56 artworks from paper to digitized to then choosing the manufacturers to uploading, to writing the meanings, but having the risk of people pre-buying it. It's like you have to deliver. 
10:24 - Alexis (Host) That's a gamble, isn't it?
10:26 - Morgan (Guest)
It is, and I learned okay, there's certain things about this. I should. That was a mistake. I should not have done that, but you do too bad, you've got to keep going. So I think that was something, most recently, I'm very proud of, but also so that was a year ago. And then just more recently, on a personal, overall life level, choosing to go overseas on a one-way ticket and just rolling with it absolutely changed my life and I'm really proud that, even though that pragmatic side of me was saying this is not a good idea, because what are you going to do when you've spent all your money and you come back and you can't work because technically I'm not allowed to work due to injuries and things like that and thinking, well, you're just going to spend all your money and then what are you going to do? And trying to quieten that voice and actually ignore it and go, but everything in my body and everything I'm feeling is telling me you just have to do it. And then riding that wave and seeing the magic that's come from it, probably more proud of that than anything else. 
And that's recent, so it's nice to understand that side of things. 
11:35 - Alexis (Host)
And we spoke off mic about just the pull and throw that's within us as creatives, 
11:38 - Morgan (Guest)
The back and forth the organized, the organized in the gypsy and the wanderlust, exactly the pirate and the mermaid. It's like. 
11:54 - Morgan (Guest)
There's always like a nice flow and like the rhythm of, I think, the waters like or the structure, and it's great to have that and you can follow it. But then there's also the fire and the spark and the unpredictability, or however you say it, of stuff that just happens and capturing that pulse. And how do you, if you're really structured, how do you capture the gypsy moments, the spontaneity? 
12:24 - Alexis (Host)
Because you want to be in the moment and present for those. But that doesn't involve being so structured and rigid. 
12:30 - Morgan (Guest)
Yeah Exactly, and then if you're always in the fire and stuff, you don't get to enjoy the things to be proud of. That take time and they need the rhythm. So it's a very interesting line to walk and I think a lot of creatives have that you were saying it's like that friction between which, which you know and I switching the hat. 
12:51 - Alexis (Host)
I think that is just the ongoing lesson or ongoing dance that we do, yeah, and it is a dance. 
12:59 - Morgan (Guest)
It is a dance because sometimes it's about letting the spontaneity be the leader, and sometimes it's absolutely not. 
13:06 - Alexis (Host)
And both of those are scary
13:09 - Morgan (Guest)
How do you know which is which? Andno one else can tell you either. 
13:11 - Alexis (Host)
No, that's right. 
13:12 - Morgan (Guest)
Because everyone has their own process. So, as a creative we were saying that just before that it's like one structure or system or rhythm can work for one person, but as an artist, you have your own, your own thing to express, and so it has to work for you. 
13:30 - Alexis (Host)
And I think that's a beautiful thing about speaking to others as well in your community, to be reminded that it's like we're all trying to find the rhythm for ourselves. But it's nice to hear, perhaps the journey of others, to get a bit of like oh okay, maybe, maybe that, maybe that works for me, maybe that bit works for me, maybe that doesn't work for me, because everyone has different aspects. 
13:55 - Morgan (Guest)
And, yeah, you're right, like one different person will take, cherry pick a couple of things that are going on for you. When you share your story of what you're doing and how you're achieving things and what's going on for you and what you're working through and how you go about it, some people will cherry pick certain things from your story and say, well, I relate to those things. I might take a couple of them and the person next to them would relate to the complete opposite parts of what you've said. But that's the point is sharing stories or expressing yourself, and we're so lucky that we get to do it in such a beautiful way and really get in touch with emotions and have the, you've got to be brave to be able to share it Honestly. Yeah, especially with algorithms and all that stuff and it becoming this whole thing where it's not even about art, it's just about let's just get popular. 
14:44 - Alexis (Host)
Well, I guess that's an interesting way to step into my next question, which is has there been something that's challenged you creatively, and what do you think the major listen was around that? 
15:01 - Morgan (Guest)
You know what? Being challenged creatively is probably a similar theme that's come up over, you know, 20 years, 15 years, 10 years, and the more professional that I've gone with bringing music out or doing art, whatever creative expression is, the more I recognize that themes keep repeating and, over time, in different creative outlets, still the same thing that shows up and I genuinely think it's as simple as if I feel suppressed by somebody else in whatever way that is, whether it's partnership, whether it's maybe at school, it might be teachers or, you know, over time, record label, like certain things. If there is a, we were talking about boundaries earlier- if there is a boundary, I will run as hard as I can at that boundary. 
And I come at things like that with if there's a boundary, I can climb over it, I can go through it, I could go under, I could go around it, but I will find the way through. And so in that sense, it's a really strange dance between when you're suppressed and you can't do it, but also being inspired to make it work. And I think that two and a half years ago, when I was in a car accident that came out of nowhere and everything across the board in my life got taken away, family, home, ability to stand, ability to go and play when everything was away, it cleared out maybe cobwebs, it cleared out probably patterns I'd become to think, I'd started thinking and I realized that I was probably suppressing myself in so many ways in the few years leading up to that, and I wasn't even trying to express myself how I'd previously done it and it's. I'm just working this out now, as I'm telling you. So thanks. 
17:10 - Alexis (Host)
I can empathize with that in so many ways a totally different journey. But for me, with my complex regional pain syndrome diagnosis at the start of the year, that's just upside down and it's affected your hands. 
17:27 - Morgan (Guest)
Yes, so you see, if it had affected your feet or something like that, you'd still be able to play piano and everything, and I couldn't stand because it affected my leg. And so to play guitar and I just can't sit and do it, and you know, and so it. When something physically takes away your creative expression, you're left with having to look at things differently and probably understand why it's so important to you, and then you it's, it's crazy. Then you have this journey of essentially doing whatever it takes to be able to get back to who you already were before. 
18:06 - Alexis (Host)
Isn’t that crazy, it’s so true! 
18:08 - Morgan (Guest)
Other people, I think, who aren't, say, already expressing themselves and making a living out of it, and stuff would be in their jobs, or wanting to be able to express themselves. And probably looking at anybody who's doing even small gigs, let alone like professionally or whatever, just be thinking, I wish I could express myself in that way. And then you're doing it as your job and as a living and as you know how to do it, and then it gets taken away and you will fight harder to get back to what you're doing when other people have the ability to do it but they don't even know that they can fight towards it. And I find that so interesting. 
And I think that when I said before about having a boundary, I feel that when I had the car accident, it was an explosion that did take everything away, but it took away all the things in all the areas of my life, not just creatively, and the one thing I still had was my mindset, and then that got me through getting through physical stuff, and then, once I started yeah, once I started getting back into feeling that everything was going well, it's like it switched and then I had physical things back, but my mindset was getting worse and worse and worse. 
So I went on a real journey where it was really strange and I got to heal all of this stuff through the whole thing. And I think, as we were saying I said earlier that they do those studies on kids in like an, like an oval, like a playground, and if you put humans in one spot and there's no boundary, no circle on the outside, they all stick together because they don't want to push the boundaries. But as soon as you put a fence up, all the kids will run to the edges and go towards it
19:56 - Alexis (Host)
There's the boundary. I want to touch it. 
19:58 - Morgan (Guest)
I can do it, I can take the risk, I can do that and I think that's probably when I had this car accident and everything just went bang, itt was almost like that was me, that was the boundary of somehow I don't know how to explain that but something that took all the creativity away. So I was like, right, that's it, I have to get back there. I don't know something strange like that.
20:20 - Alexis (Host)
It's interesting that, I dont’ know who I. Something that one of my chiropractors said to me at once was that “the journey to get there is easier because we've been there before.”
20:33 - Morgan (Guest)
Oh, that's good. Great advice.
20:33 - Alexis (Host)
I got given that, when I was just feeling really disenfranchised, really deflated about ever getting full mobility in my hand back and it was like but you have done that before.
20:53 - Morgan (Guest)
I got goosebumps look. Yeah, because that's exactly what I was just saying before, that if people haven't experienced pure expression and knowing the feeling of that joy and just that, what do you even call it? Where you're not even in control of it, it's just coming through you and it's total freedom, right, like when you're able to just whatever you feel inside. You can then put it in the physical world, and when people appreciate it or they listen or they support it, it's bizarre because you think and I'm just doing what's inside of me- how is it that 
20:53 - Alexis (Host) 
I'm just a vessel for the thing
21:25 Morgan (Guest) 
Yeah, how is it that this, like you, understand it? You know, and other people who can't do that or aren't at the place yet wanna get there so badly. And you're right. That's an incredible way that you're a chiropractor put it to say you've already been there, so you know the way back, and it's just you know the end goal. 
21:44 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, it might be frustrating, but you still have been there. You've done all the hard steps. You've really paved the way. 
21:50 - Morgan (Guest)
There you go, and then, when something comes, up like a chronic pain thing or a misdiagnosis or whatever it is, you realize. Well, I can go under it, over it, through it, around it, cause I know I will know when it feels like I'm back there. Yes, yeah, that's great, a great way to put it. 
22:07 - Alexis (Host)
I love how we're talking this through. 
22:13 - Morgan (Guest)
Yeah, it's amazing. Look at us. We're healing everything here, yes. 
22:16 - Alexis (Host)
I need to rename the podcast Healing Podcast. We talk about what we need to just work through. 
22:23 - Morgan (Guest)
22:27 - Alexis (Host)
Actually, maybe that's a good way going into my next question, which was if you could give one piece of advice or a nugget of advice to another creative, what would it be? 
22:41 - Morgan (Guest)
A piece of advice I actually think is somewhat similar to what I was saying before, that we all, as humans, have our own internal rhythms and a beat of you know the beat, the back beat right, just the backbone of your life and the way that you interact with people, and it all gets built through families and as you're growing up and, of course, all of that and then your expression, and I think that there's a lot of, we're in a society that is structured to certain calendars and so there's certain societal rules, you know that that make you think you can do one thing but you can't do another, and there's boundaries and all of that stuff. 
And so I really think the best advice anybody could take is you have to find your own rhythm and then you have to be able to accept it and you have to be able to start working with it, especially when it goes against what other people your family, your partners, your friends, your job like, whatever it is will probably be at friction. And the further away you are from being able to express yourself, probably the bigger journey you've got to find it again, because we're all born into this society, which has its own rhythm and it's not created for creative people. So that's always why it's the struggling artist or the crazy artist. So because we're more like anomalies, we're on the outskirts looking at things, because we've found at least parts of our own rhythm. And I think any way, whether you're a musician, poet, designer, artist, painter, filmmaker, photographer, model, actor, playwright, whatever you do, you've got to find your own rhythm to keep it going, because otherwise you get affected by everything else, infected by everything else and it takes over. 
24:50 - Alexis (Host)
It's like what you said before about it takes courage to do that and our communities around us. For some of us, we're very lucky and we find the community as we're figuring out what our journey is and what our rhythm is. 
25:09 - Morgan (Guest)
But, yeah. You know, I never felt like I had community with creative stuff, probably because I'm a bit of a, I'm like this in. Have you heard that saying the way you do one thing is the way you do all things?
I love that and a lot of the time it's really scary, because if you figure something out and you think, oh, I don't like that about myself or how that's interacted, whatever it is, and then you go Wait, if I'm noticing that I do that here, oh no, am I doing this in other areas? And then sometimes you can sweep across and go ooh, okay. 
25:42 - Alexis (Host)
It's a common denominator. 
25:43 - Morgan (Guest)
Sometimes it's ugly and not cool and sometimes it's great and you go. I'm so glad I have that courage or I have that ability and, yeah, I can apply that and I just I never really had community and I, and that's just, I was an only child. Well I am. You know, I still am. But so being on my own and being creative, that made sense and a little bit of a social butterfly and a little bit of going from art to painting to singing, to designing things, whatever that relationship to creativity was enough to feel like there was stuff going on. And so it's only been since I went overseas and really found that creative group of people, casual community, and then coming back to Perth realizing it's all here as well and like that's wild, because it was always here but I wasn't there for it or I don't know. It's hard to explain, but it all feels great now and I think, man, that accident, that car accident, was great, just blocked everything out so I could get more straight through the centre. 
26:50 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, you don't wish it upon anyone to have trials and tribulations, but if people can get through them as healthily as possible and learn things from them, it helps in some way, I don't know, bridge the divide. 
27:08 - Morgan (Guest)
Yeah, like I've been told I can't work. I've been told I've got prescription drugs, everything, and there's times where I'm like I can feel that I've pushed my body physically too hard so I will have to take some of the prescription medication. And then other times I'm like I don't want to take the prescription medication but then I've got vices and I'll lean into that and drink my tequila and whatever, and then that'll make it okay, and then you're unbalanced and then you've got to come back through that rhythm and there's a lot that goes on with all of that stuff. And it's just it's interesting to navigate it all and figure out your own rhythms. 
27:49 - Alexis (Host)
Yes, so true, so true. I have one last question for you. If you could have anyone come on to the podcast next and answer these questions, who would it be and why? 
28:05 - Morgan (Guest)
I'd love to hear Vera Black answer all of this stuff. Yeah, I think that would be great and she does, has a fashion label, designs hats, and she's Australian and she's from Perth and was in Sydney and is now over there and I think it would be interesting to hear her answer. 
28:24 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, Morgan, thank you so much for joining me Through The Creative Door.
28:29 - Morgan (Guest)
Thank you for having me. It was great to chat with you. I feel really happy that you asked me to be involved. 
28:36 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, I'm so chuffed again. I was fangirling for a while. I love that. 
28:41 - Morgan (Guest)
Oh, well, then we're going to have to play more. Do shows together, all of the things. 
28:47 - Alexis (Host) 
Love it, thank you.
28:48 - Morgan (Guest)
Thank you. 

Tuesday Mar 05, 2024

In this episode, Perth-based songwriter and creator of the series “Tender Is The Night,” Leigh Gardener, joins Alexis to share insights into his creative journey. From his experiences coordinating ensembles to his innovative approach to songwriting, Leigh offers a candid look at his creative process. He reflects on the importance of finding a creative space, sharing anecdotes about his trusty desk that has been a constant companion throughout his musical endeavours.
Leigh also discusses the genesis of the “Tender Is The Night” music series, born out of a desire to support fellow musicians during challenging times. Through this project, Leigh bridges the gap between contemporary music and classical composition, providing artists with the opportunity to hear their songs transformed by string arrangements. 
However, Leigh's creative journey hasn't been without its challenges. He opens up about his struggles with mental health and the realization that his approach to songwriting was taking a toll. Despite setbacks, Leigh remains resilient, seeking healthier ways to channel his creativity and offering valuable advice to fellow artists (like you!). 
If you’d like to see more, you can follow on Instagram @chuditchmusic OR @tenderisthenight_music 
This episode was recorded on 29 October 2023 on the lands of the Wajuk Peoples. We hope that this episode inspires you as a creative person and as a human being.
Thanks for listening, catch you on the next episode.
Psst! We are always on the lookout for creative people to share their story and inspire others. Have you got someone in mind who would love to have a chat? Get in contact with us via Instagram @throughthecreativedoor
Grasping At The Water by Chuditch - 
Music Video to Grasping at the Water - 
Let’s get social:
Created and Hosted by Alexis Naylor
Music by Alexis Naylor & Ruby Miguel
Edited and Produced by Ruby Miguel
00:08 - Alexis (Host)
Hi, my name is Alexis Naylor and I am your host here at Through the Creative Door. On behalf of myself and my guests, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians on which this podcast is recorded and produced. We pay our respects to all First Nations people and acknowledge Elders, past and present. On this podcast, I will be chatting to an array of creative guests, getting a glimpse into their worlds and having some honest and inspiring conversations along the way. Welcome to Through the Creative Door. 
Hi Leigh, 
00:48 - Leigh (Guest)
00:49 - Alexis (Host)
How you going?
00:50 - Leigh (Guest)
I'm good, how are you? 
00:51 - Alexis (Host)
Welcome to Through the Creative Door. 
00:54 - Leigh (Guest)
Thank you for having me. 
00:55 - Alexis (Host)
Oh, my goodness, I'm so excited that you're here. You are such a talented bear. You do lots of things, thank you very much. Lots and lots of things, things that people might not see all the time. 
01:07 - Leigh (Guest)
No, probably not no. 
01:09 - Alexis (Host)
01:10 - Leigh (Guest)
And that's sometimes a good thing. 
01:11 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, yeah. You have been part of heaps of different ensembles over the years, so you were a very accomplished musician yourself, and you've also seen how the industry works and given back in lots of different ways. Why I wanted to chat to you is because, all of that stems from creativity and I would be curious to know what, for you, is a creative space. 
01:45 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, look, I think that's all I have going for me in a lot of ways is because I wouldn't really even consider myself a musician. 
02:01 - Alexis (Host)
Which I find very hard to believe, considering that you play so many things. 
02:07 - Leigh (Guest)
No, I enjoy marking around on them, but I feel like my niche has more been coordinating other people that are creative as well in some ways. Well, that's what I think everything has sort of led me to. That's that, like, I still love creating for myself, but I think yeah, it's a weird one I don't necessarily think. I still don't feel like I understand music at all. I hid my masters of theory books that were up on this and I just hid them because I was like I don't want people to see that I'm still trying to do level one. But yeah, no, we're all still learning. 
02:56 - Alexis (Host)
But yeah, no, we're all still learning. 
02:58 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, we are, we are. But I guess you know it's. I think that's what I've found. Like I have ideas and then I am good at trying to make them come to fruition. I think that's been my strength in this industry. Yeah, I think that's and that's. Yeah, you're going to be comfortable with what your strengths are. 
03:21 - Alexis (Host)
That's true. That's true, and we're in your little. I don't want to say dungeon, but.
03:26 - Leigh (Guest)
It's been said before
03:30 - Alexis (Host)
It has been said before. But this is your office, your, your space. 
03:35 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, I guess when you sort of said that I you know what is your creative space. I have been living the share house life for 18 years, I reckon at least since I finished high school pretty much and I was trying to think like where is there a specific place that I feel creative and I couldn't really pin down an exact thing. I think one of the things I really love about being creative are those Eureka moments, those things that come from being unplanned, that just sort of. And it's a detriment to me as well, because I feel like a lot of my songwriting I rely on that feeling to feel like I'm doing something good, whereas I think good creatives don't wait for that feeling. They just work. It's like a job, they just sort of work through things, they wait for inspiration and stuff, but they don't have to feel this massive elation to be like, oh, I'm doing something, that's good. They just consistently work at it. 
But I could say that I guess I felt for the consistent thing I've had for 18, those 18 years and probably longer is actually this desk. This desk belonged to my great grandfather and then it was my dad's and then, I reckon, since I was about eight or nine. We had some refurbishments in my house and this desk was sort of shoved into the bedroom that me and my brother had and you can see there's like holes in it from where extra shelves were added like alarm clocks and stuff, and all down the front of the drawers there are stickers that came from. Do you remember, like those scholastic book fairs? 
05:38 - Leigh(Guest)
That came to the libraries and stuff. I think I bought a sticker book or something and it was all around. I think it was the Atlanta Olympics in 2006 or something. 
05:48 - Alexis (Host)
Oh yeah, I see gold medals.
05:50 - Leigh(Guest)
Gold medals and country flags and all this rubbish. So it stuck with me. I've dragged it around to pretty much every share house that I've lived in. This desk has gone with me and it's kind of this drawer here at the bottom. I've decided to repurpose it but for I reckon since I was probably 15, 16, when I started to be a songwriter, I used to, whenever I'd have those little Eureka moments, I would write the lyrics down on a piece of scrap paper and it would go into this drawer and then when I would have a song idea or when I'd finally had sort of a melody or a chord progression, I would start pulling out all those little slips of paper and start jigsawing the lyrics together. And that's how I've kind of always worked as a songwriter is sort of having little ideas and almost trying to fit them together, and I don't know if I would recommend it as a songwriting technique. I know INXS used it. 
They said they used to use like a washing basket or something and they would fill that up. 
07:08 - Alexis (Host)
I think there's a mod. I swear I've heard on the grapevine there's a modern band who has a spreadsheet and they have little bits that they put in as well. 
07:17 - Leigh (Guest)
Well, I mean nowadays I use my phone and that's I always put my. I have a couple of notes where it's just ideas, but yeah, for a long time they went into that drawer and then I'd pull them out and they were the most disgusting scraps of paper. Yeah, a lot of my early songwriting ideas came because I grew up on a dairy farm. It would happen when washing down the yard, at the end of milking or during often during milking, because you'd be singing little songs in your head or just thinking about life in general or anything. And you know it's something that I've sort of picked up. 
You know I really love watching documentaries and stuff, but I think being bored Paul Kelly said being bored was a really important part of being a songwriter or being creative is having that time where there's nothing else interesting you. And I know Elliot Smith, he used to love working really boring, laborious jobs like plastering or making mud for bricklaying or something like that. I think he used to do a lot of those sorts of labour jobs where you could be incredibly repetitive and not actually put much thought into what you're doing and that way you had space to be somewhat creative but also you weren't exhausting your mind during the day. 
08:47 - Alexis (Host)
I can empathize with that. I find, when I do long-haul drives.
08:53 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, yeah I do love driving. I used to love. I, yeah I often people sort of go why don't you put the radio on when you're driving? It's like that's the best time. It's just having some science. But the frustrating part is when you do have an idea and then you have to somehow get it down and sometimes rocked up to places. I've got scribble notes my thighs. Yeah, I've written it like just grabbed a pen written it on my thigh as I'm driving or when you get to a traffic light or something like that. 
09:21 - Alexis (Host)
I've definitely had to pull up. I'll be like doing a hundred and ten somewhere and having to like pull straight up so I can do a voice memo. 
09:28 - Leigh (Guest)
I think, yeah, I think it's more scary when you've actually got a melody idea, because then it's, you can write down words. But you know, having all those that's a lot harder to remember. I think. Well, for me anyway. 
No, I can't so yeah, I guess, if we're gonna talk about some sort of consistent space, this, this desk, would be one. When, when I had my first band, Louis and The Honky Tonk, and we used to do a lot of artwork, I quickly realized why am I paying other people to try and come up with band posters and stuff? Just make it yourself. Not really realizing, I was totally and totally am and still quite inept with like any sort of photoshopping or anything like that. 
10:12 - Alexis (Host)
So, off the back of that, you have done so many things and I'm sure you will continue doing so many things, but is there a body of work or something that you're the most proud of creating, and how did it come about? 
10:25 - Leigh (Guest)
if we were talking about me as an artist, I would say this song Grasping At The Water. I felt like I got it was it was. I just felt like I got most things right with it. Like the chord progression is very easy and that's because I did it. The drums are very simple, but I just got the right people to do them and that they sort of took something very simple and made it interesting, which I think is really, I think the listeners really like. I think people like that, you know, not that it's had any massive traction or anything, but I think there's really something to something being very simple but done in a way that makes it interesting, rather than, you know, if you do try and do something simple that sounds complicated or something that sounds simple and is simple, it just doesn't quite get people. But if it's something that's, yeah, simple but interesting, or I think the flip side of that, you have to do something that's complicated that sounds simple. But I was very proud of that song. 
11:34 - Alexis (Host)
I mean, and the accompanying music video.
11:40 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, that worked out particularly well as well. It’s funny, the video is of me somewhat getting, I get shaved and I get my teeth brushed and, but it's all done through the lens of almost a Instagram filter and there's people commenting and the comments would affect what the hands coming into the footage would be doing to me. I guess that's the one of the not a flaw. But the song was written as a sort of description. It was meant to be a metaphor for how, in particular through social media, it was hard to do anything right, like anything you tried to do, there'd be people that would disagree with you, and in writing the song, I sort of set up a metaphor of it. You know, in particular, I felt you know women. 
It was particularly hard to be able to do anything correct, like it's a pretty difficult space and women probably get criticized far more than men in that space, you know, unfairly, in particular. If we’re being selfish, that's a creative thing that I'm very proud of. I guess on a bigger scale, the Tender Is The Night music series. Like that came about during COVID lockdowns, when a bunch of friends of mine who were composers and string players had 12 months of work cancelled because no one knew if it was going to happen or what was going to work. And some of them had mortgages and stuff and they're just freaking out. 
And everyone was coming together as a community and really trying to help. And I was being a bit extremely naive, like thinking back and just going you're an idiot. But I had, you know, a few thousand dollars in my account and in my savings account and I was, like, you know, I've had this idea for a little while. After working with Beck on having strings on my songs, I was thinking, you know, I feel like that's something everyone, every musician, really wants to do is have that, you know, Nirvana unplugged moment where you're getting to play with string players and stuff, or The Verve Bittersweet Symphony, you know, like we all think of. It's a really kind of, it's something that almost feels out of reach to, I think, contemporary artists having a quartet play your music. 
14:04 - Alexis (Host)
Yeah, such a special feeling and sound that yeah, unless, of course, someone's going to encourage you to go into that space, perhaps. Yeah a little, like you said, a little out of reach. 
14:16 - Leigh (Guest)
It does, and I guess. So I decided to commission a few composer friends to write some music, and it just grew into a small little show with Tanaya Harper, who was amazing. And then we sort of went, oh wow, this, this works, maybe we should do another one. So we got another artist and then another artist and it just then, all of a sudden, another friend sort of took, took it to a council and said this looks like something you guys should be doing, like support these people.  
And so now it's turned into you know, we're just entering our fourth season and still, you know, trying to support composers and, you know, upcoming composers and string players, and but also giving this opportunity to contemporary musicians to to have their music with a quartet and hear it in a different way. An what I think I really like, what I really like about strings is you can hear what people are still saying. You like so that the message of their words which is what I'm really passionate about with music was, to start with, was the words that still comes across, and and often the strings really enhance what's trying to be said. 
15:37 - Alexis (Host)
They’re so emotive.
15:41 - Leigh (Guest)
Yeah, they are, they're incredibly emotive.  So, yeah, I feel like that's being particularly as it sort of came for me at a really important time in my life where I didn't feel like I was contributing so the music community anymore, and I didn't know how I was going to contribute, going forward, it, it sort of it came as a real blessing. So I feel like it's something that's bigger, way bigger than me now and way more important than then just my feeling good about myself and helping those friends. It's, it's, you know, it's something special. 
16:19 - Alexis (Host)
So flipping that coin on it's head yeah. Has there been a time or a season that has challenged your creativity, and what was the major lesson? 
16:37 - Leigh (Guest)
I still haven't got the lesson out of it, maybe. Okay, still something I'm working on. I had some mental health struggles and I kind of realized that the way that I was trying to write songs, having those Eureka moments, wasn't healthy for my mental health. I was ruminating a lot on things that were going on in my life and I guess to me those song lyric parts and what part of the reason probably why I like Grasping At the Water is, I felt like they were really complete lyrics and said exactly what I was feeling or what would I was trying to say. But in doing that I was having was ruminating on things that weren't healthy to ruminate on for a long periods of time. I was being very self-critical and very harsh on myself, maybe, and it just wasn't healthy, and so the realization was I can't keep putting myself In that position to create art. So I sort of walked away. Not well, I had it, didn't walk away. I finished a few songs and I definitely finished them from a healthier position, but they still probably aren't incredibly healthy songs. 
After Grasping The Water, I released Cue The Violins, which is pretty much exactly about what I'm saying is like cue the violins oh, you know you're feeling sad, you know like, but it was all about I've got something that I need to talk to someone about, you know, and I guess there was somewhat a bit of a guilt about talking about your feelings and but you know the song, the first line, so “I want to separate the fiction from my fate.” You know that, that fiction that I was creating in my head to almost work myself into a state where I felt comfortable with those lyrics, that I felt they were good enough to be in a song, you know, but in a way I was creating a fate for myself that wasn't really where I wanted to go. So I had to sort of stop that and I've sort of said to myself I need to discover a way of a more healthy relationship with writing songs. 
18:56 - Alexis (Host)
It brings me into my next question. Yeah, is there an object or a thing that you can't live without when you create? 
19:07 - James (Guest)
To me, I've have one of these in my hands quite a lot especially if I'm bored, 
19:11 - Alexis (Host)
For those who are listening, it is a cricket ball.
19:17 - James (Guest)
And I'll spend a lot of time leaning back in my chair just throwing it into the air, watching the seam rotate, as if I'm, you know, bowling a ball to swing, yeah, and trying to get that into the right positions. 
19:30 - Alexis (Host)
But just, perhaps, maybe that's your object that keeps you I don't know grounded while you're yeah, I think. 
19:36 - Leigh (Guest)
Well, it's like I said about the Paul Kelly thing about being bored and you know, maybe when you're trying to think something over, just having some something, that I find it really hard to just stay in one spot. If I’m being creative, I like to be walking, moving sometimes, and sometimes that's good, but sometimes if you're trying to finish something, it's counter-intuitive. 
And you know, if you just need to stay at your computer for a moment, like sometimes, like alright, I'm just going to throw a ball for a moment and it’ll, keeps you in your seat, keeps you from getting up yeah, I love that. 
20:13 - Alexis (Host)
Off the back of that, if you could give one piece of advice, nugget of advice to another creative. What would it be? 
20:23 - Leigh (Guest)
In some ways I think you really need to be like laser, laser beam focused. Like I said, I've got lots of gear and some. 
I reckon that takes up a huge amount of space in my head and always has for some reason, like I've always had a bit of an obsession with the gear and you know you'd go on pages and look up what guitar pedal someone's using or how what guitar amps they're using, and then it turned into an obsession about microphones and like reading up on studios and recording. And you know, buying gear and to buy gear you have to keep working and so you get a job that pays well. And then you know I got into drums. So I started buying heaps of drums and all this sort of stuff, all this sort of stuff. But the truth is it's not important and, you know, stupidly, my dad's not a musician but he told me that it's very early on. It's like you don't need that to do what you're doing. You know, but he's just, he's just as bad. He's always going through the Farm Weekly which is the magazine that you'd get every fortnight or something looking at tractors and the latest you know, machinery and stuff. 
So I probably got it from him to be honest but he was, you know he was probably trying to be honest with me. It's like, do you actually need that to do what you're going to do? And it feels good to have a nice guitar in your hands, it feels good to have drums and they can be inspiring, but it doesn't stop you from writing a song. Having a, being in a fancy studio doesn't necessarily stop you from recording. So that leading into, like having that laser focus on what it is exactly you're trying to do. 
And you know I also flip side saying you know, going into producing, so producing shows, going into trying to manage a band that you're in, trying to, and I've worked in the music industry as a stage manager and a backline manager and a guitar tech and a sound person they're all great things and they're all things that stem from that love of music. 
But they take you away from, maybe, what you were trying to do to start with and you spend too much time, you spend your weekends doing stuff for other people. Sometimes you get so caught up in what you think you are and what you think you're trying to do that you don't hear what the world's actually saying. Actually, you're really good at this, you know that's what you should be focusing on, so that could in some ways that could take you away from what you really should, what that laser focus, but in some, but in some ways it's really important to be open to those other possibilities because they will lead you to who you maybe you actually are and what you are actually good at. I don't know if that was a great answer.
23:28 - Alexis (Host)
It's a great answer. I love it. I love it. One last question if you could have anyone come on to the podcast next and answer these questions, who would they be and why? 
23:39 - Leigh (Guest)
Ian Grandage, who is like the Perth Festival director. I guess he would be pretty amazing because not only is he a classical composer, but he's now sort of been curating a festival and I think that that would be incredibly like so, so freaking hard, and I you know, it'd be amazing to know how he does that
24:05 - Alexis (Host)
Well, I'll see what I could do. Maybe he’ll be on a future podcast. 
24:09 - Leigh (Guest)
Who knows? 
24:10 - Alexis (Host)
Leigh, thank you so much for speaking on Through The Creative Door with me 
24:14 -Leigh (Guest)
No worries, thank you so much for considering me. 


Welcome, creative souls!

I'm Alexis Naylor, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the enchanting realm of creativity on “Through The Creative Door.” Whether you're passionate about cooking up delectable dishes or letting your imagination run wild on a canvas, the way we express ourselves speaks volumes about who we are. In this podcast, I invite you to join me in delving into the fascinating minds of a diverse array of creative guests.

Together, we'll explore their worlds, unravel the stories behind their artistic endeavours, and engage in candid and inspiring conversations. So, buckle up for a journey filled with insights, laughter, and a celebration of the boundless possibilities that lie “Through The Creative Door.” 

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