Karen Heath vs. Roni Shewan
KAREN HEATH (pictured left) GRILLS RONI SHEWAN
Roni, you’re about to move to Berlin. Are you aware of how jealous this makes me?
“Yes. But you’ve worked with Stockhausen. Do you know how jealous that makes me?”
You’ve been likened to Kate Bush, PJ Harvey and Lisa Gerrard. How did you become so insanely awesome at singing?
“I just mimicked all their tricks.”
Your producer Red Black is in A State of Flux with you and your work together is exceptional. How did you two meet and come up with your various projects?
“We met through mutual friends and I bugged him when we were drunk at a party. He gave me a CD of his stuff expecting that I’d only really like the downbeat trip-hop tracks, but I recorded vocals for all of it. I think he admired my enthusiasm.”
One of your singles that you are launching is called Helen. What’s the backstory on this piece?
“It’s actually about Helen of Troy. I studied classical history and became obsessed with a play by Euripides called Trojan Women which deals with the aftermath of the Trojan War. The war was started because of this one woman, Helen, and I became fascinated with the opinions that the other women had of her.”
If you could support anyone in the world, who would it be?
“Rufus Wainwright because he’s awesome. Not only is he an amazing musician, we could also trade fashion tips.”
On the other single you’re releasing, This Place We Get To, you’re doing a duet with Melbourne ex-pat Mijo Biscan. How did that come about?
“We met at music school and I became a huge fan of his band at the time, Lamplight (I even got to sing on their album). He had heard some of my solo material and encouraged me to pursue it seriously and offered to sing on some tracks. Later on, I was working on a song about a relationship breakdown which really needed a male voice.”
RONI SHEWAN (pictured above) RETURNS THE FAVOUR
We are both in Prog Rock bands and we both have solo projects that are produced by the guitarists in our bands. Discuss.
“We are twins. It is only now, that we are finally doing a show together, that this is being revealed.”
You mastered pretty much every woodwind instrument known to man. Why the hell did you decide to take up the Koto?
“Um, isn’t Koto a woodwind instrument? It’s made of wood, yeah? Okay, on a serious note, I found a Koto in a second hand Japanese furniture warehouse – the rest is history!”
Your music is very atmospheric, evocative and moody. Did you write in Iceland?
“No, but I did record one of my songs at Abbey Road Studios in London. It was very cold that day, though, although not quite as cold as Iceland.”
Back in the day, I was a huge fan of The Grand Silent System and now Ennis Tola and your solo project. How do you transition between projects?
“I find that all the different projects are very different. I suppose Ennis Tola and TGSS are similar to a certain extent – perhaps my solo project is an outlet for doing something musically where I don’t have to play woodwind instruments.”
Name some of your influences.
“I’d have to say Bjork, even though heaps of people say Bjork. Also, Jonsi. It makes me feel a little bit broken-hearted how good that man is. Otherwise, I love Kate Bush’s melody lines and lyrics. She’s brilliant.”
“What are your plans for you next solo release?
“At this stage, I’m still working on some more tracks to record, but I’ll be heading into the studio soon to follow up from my single release Early.