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PERTH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL Meet the artists jazzing up Northbridge


Taking place from November 5-7 in Perth and November 13 in Busselton, the Perth International Jazz Festival has something for music lovers of all kinds, showcasing the world-class talent WA has right on its doorstep. Grooves n Brews is set to be of the highlights of the 2021 program, as Northbridge Piazza will be transformed into a hip outdoor bar on Saturday, November 6 and Sunday, November 7 for two evenings of jazz, funk, and hip-hop artists.
The free community event is running in partnership with Northbridge Brewing Co, who are celebrating the occasion with a new limited edition tropical XPA called “Jazz Juice” which will just be available over that weekend. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with a few of the acts hitting the stage including Flewnt, Trisk, The Liquid Project and [email protected] Description, to find out more about Grooves n Brews, their musical journey to date, and what they are looking forward to most at this year’s festival.


FLEWNT

How did you get into playing music and what has kept you doing it until this day?

I’ve always loved music and I knew I had to serve my community (the Indigenous community) in some way. Hip-hop was my thing and it seemed to fulfil that obligation, so I’ve kept it up to this day.

What artists have influenced your sound the most and why?

Musically in the early days I was into New York rap like Nas, Big L and Biggie, but now I really like to study the styles of J Cole, Denzel Curry and Kendrick. But I would also like to add that my mother is a visual artist that told her people’s old stories through art and that helped me shape the sound style I have, because I wanted to do that with my music.

When people come and watch you play, what do you think they will remember most about you?

Well Flewnt’s Boorloo Block will be different for me in many ways with the live horns and vocals. I’ll be performing some new songs so it will be a different vibe and energy. I’m uncompromising in my beliefs, it resonates within my music and live sets and hopefully leaves a lasting impression.

What events or artists are you looking forward to catching at Perth International Jazz Festival this year and why?

I’m looking forward to Richard Walleys Six Seasons, which I’m a part of with Junkadelic. We’ve been rehearsing and it’s sounding tighter than ever. Will be a massive show not to be missed. Also my big homie Optamus and Trisk are on after my set so I’m definitely excited to catch that! But this is my first time at the PIJF so I’m super buzzed just to experience new types of music and artists.


TRISK (answered by Nick Abbey)

How did you get into playing music and what has kept you doing it until this day?

Playing music, and the bass, especially, didn’t have any particularly illustrious or notable beginnings for me. Essentially, a group of my high school friends had this opportunity to start a cover band, and I got drafted in and delegated the bass! My cousin lent me her cheap Fender P copy, and I was off. I was so lucky to initially learn from the incredible Gary Costello, and through those lessons and my school’s big band program, I quickly got into jazz.

The idea of creating is really what motivates me to keep making music, not even in the sense of it being for an audience, although that’s great, but just for its own sake. Writing, recording, and performing original music is just so intrinsically challenging and rewarding. I love it and always want to be doing more! The other big aspect is the social side of things. Playing music with people over a long period of time and developing a deep relationship with them and their approach is a very special thing. On the flipside, being able to meet someone for the first time and immediately making something happen musically is also an exciting feeling. So, a bit of everything, really!

What artists have influenced your sound the most and why?

For both me personally and the band more generally, it’s a pretty eclectic variety of influences, some of which manifest more obviously than others. Myself, it encompasses artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Cypress Hill, Charles Mingus, Avishai Cohen, Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Glass Animals… I don’t know, a whole host of really random and disconnected things!

The band TRISK takes all of that and crosses it with the huge number of equally disparate influences that keyboardist Chris Foster and drummer Daniel Susnjar bring. It’s kind of a mix of jazz, world music, R&B, folk…everything from odd time signatures to James Blake style synths to Afro-Peruvian grooves to 90s hip-hop, all smashed through this filter of Chris, Dan, and I spending too much time playing together in a bunch of different bands over the last eight or so years!

When people come and watch you play, what do you think they will remember most about you?

I think it’s that last thing, the rapport between us! We love sharing the stage together, bringing the energy, and just going for stuff. There’s this fiery high risk, jazz-influenced improvisation mentality that’s coupled with fun grooves, catchy hooks, and surprisingly emotive turns. We understand how to draw it out of one another through our musical trust and knowledge of each other’s playing, and I think the blend makes for a compelling experience for our audience.

What events or artists are you looking forward to catching at Perth International Jazz Festival this year and why?

At the risk of sounding too self-involved, I’m actually really looking forward to hanging and checking out the other bands either side of our show at Northbridge Piazza on the Saturday afternoon – be there, guys! Flewnt is fantastic, and I’ve heard lots of great things about [email protected] Description, who are coming over from Adelaide. Very keen to check them out. Otherwise, as always, there’s so much good stuff happening! I’ll probably get to a few of the solo piano sets at the Ellington, the late-night jams, and it will also be a great opportunity to see the masterful Scott Tinkler play again.


THE LIQUID PROJECT (Answered by Yoann Degioanni)

How did you get into playing music and what has kept you doing it until this day?

I think a lot of us were lucky to have had parents that steered us in that direction, this is certainly the case for me, and although my family wasn’t musical I very much found a world I could escape into and from partially. I’m sure some of the guys in the band feel the same way. My parents took me to symphony orchestras when I was younger, and although I mainly engaged with classical music, jazz was always a strong second and slowly became something that felt much more accessible as a language and a way of making music with people.

What artists have influenced your sound the most and why?

Any of the old school funk and disco cats e.g. Parliament, James Brown (and the JB’s), Roy Ayers, Herbie Hancock, Romantic Warrior, and some more modern guys would be Bruno Mars, Anderson Park. Seeing as we have such a big band, being influenced by older artists who had a lot larger ensembles isn’t surprising.

I think with all of these artists the groove and the meaning behind the grooves and what that represents is king. I think we strongly identify with that, and that our music, like their music, stands for something culturally significant that hopefully people identify with and feel uplifted, I think that’s funk, disco, and jazz at its best.

When people come and watch you play, what do you think they will remember most about you?

That it’s just a big old party and we want to have the best time possible. There are many little moments within our performance that make it more like a show, and hopefully that’s something that will make people want to stay, if out of curiosity than out of personal taste.

What events or artists are you looking forward to catching at Perth International Jazz Festival this year and why?

The two artists who are following us that day for Grooves n Brews, Bad Whip and Supathick, I have never seen and I am super keen for them both, they both seem like a lot of fun. We have quite a few bandmates who are in other projects (Lucy Iffla, Will Pethick) so I’m very keen to see them, and I really want to see the Kohesia Ensemble, it looks like such an interesting musical experience.


[email protected] DESCRIPTION (Answered by Jack Strempel)

How did you get into playing music and what has kept you doing it until this day?

We were all studying jazz together and wanted a chance to explore electronic and beat-based music so we started jamming together and then writing our own tunes. What’s kept us going is being able to constantly challenge ourselves and each other with new music and concepts and the momentum that we’ve built up along the way.

What artists have influenced your sound the most and why?

Pomrad, Robert Glasper, Knower and Dirty Loops. These artists have majorly influenced our sound and were huge inspirations the moment we first heard them. Watching them continuously re-invented themselves throughout their careers has been another major influence point.

When people come and watch you play, what do you think they will remember most about you?

High energy performance, spontaneous jams and tinnitus.

What events or artists are you looking forward to catching at Perth International Jazz Festival this year and why?

We are looking forward to the late-night jam, Bad Whip, and Jessica Carlton.

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