A few years ago Kim Salmon had the relative luxury of a day job in a record label warehouse. While the nine-to-five grind isn’t a routine the average artist yearns to embrace, for Salmon it did allow him to recalibrate the balance of his musical activities toward artistic exploration rather than economic certainty. “When I had a 'real’ job a couple of years back, the projects I embarked upon were much more artistically driven,” Salmon says. “For instance Salmon [Salmon’s six guitar, two drum super rock group] was done for the hell of it and so was that Wall/Paper album and the live stuff I did with Candlesnuffer (Dave Brown from Bucket Rider). Even the last Surrealists album was driven that way but now I'm in a different phase,” he says.
Salmon says his current musical activities reflect “more of a balancing act between artistic and fiscal concerns”. While that might suggest the need to occasionally sell-out to make ends meet, Salmon is enjoying the challenge of reverting to a full-time musician. “I actually like the independence you get when the thing you’re doing is sustaining itself as opposed to being patronised,” he says. So far this year Salmon has reunited with Spencer P Jones, re-kindled the Darling Downs project with former Died Pretty singer Ronnie Peno, teamed up with Scientists drummer Leanne Chock in the Science Test project as well as playing various solo gigs backed by Mike Stranges on drums. “I actually move between multiple projects because that’s the way my career has evolved for me to be able to earn a living off it,” Salmon says. “I doubt that any one project would sustain a living over a long period but I can move from one thing to another while they can. It’s a bit like crop rotation,” he laughs.
Salmon’s shows at The Old Bar with former Beasts of Bourbon colleague Spencer P Jones began in a somewhat haphazard fashion, before finding a roughly hewn groove by the end of the February residency. The pairing of the duo was so successful, in fact, that it led to spots on the Dig It Up! bill in Sydney and Melbourne. “We never gave ourselves a chance to get totally familiar with the material, because our schedules didn't seem to allow it,” Salmon says. “So it always seemed like we were making it up as we were going – that’s how it felt for me. Someone filmed it and gave me a DVD and I have to say I really liked it – I finally got what people were enjoying about the shows so much.” Salmon is open to offers to help the pair record some material. “If someone wants to make a recording happen for us that would be great – that’s a hint to any would-be patrons out there!” Salmon laughs.
Later this year Salmon will team up again with former Scientists band mates Tony Thewlis, Boris Sudjovic and Leanne Chock to promote the release of the Scientists compilation Rubber Never Sleeps, a compilation distributed originally on cassette in the mid '80s, featuring material going back to the original Perth Scientists days. “We didn't put it out back then,” Salmon says, “aside from the fact that it was our performances and material it had nothing to do with us.” Spanish label Bang! Records, a long-time supporter of Australian music, suggested Salmon afford the compilation a proper release. “Juan from Bang! came up with the idea,” Salmon says. “It’s out there and people seem to like it for that reason alone so I figured we might as well get something from it by putting it out with our authorisation.”
In May Salmon also hooked up with Ron Peno for a month-long Darling Downs residency. While the initial suggestion was that the Darling Downs would only be playing The Old Bar residency, and the odd additional gig, the shows were so successful Salmon says a new record is in the early stages. “We have about ten new songs and are in the process of writing more,” he says.” We're very much at the stage we were before we started playing back in 2004. We get together every week, have a good old laugh and in the process end up with the odd new song.”
This weekend Salmon will team up with artists including the Blackeyed Susans Trio, The Ronson Hangup and Matt Sonic And The High Times at The Hi-Fi for the Rock for Reclink fundraiser. “People who attend this event will be supporting a charity that helps homeless and underprivelged people,” Salmon says. “Given most of what people spend their money on tends to benefit overpriveleged people, it’s good when something comes along that can go towards redressing that imbalance.”
BY PATRICK EMERY
KIM SALMON plays ROCK FOR RECLINK, taking place at The Hi-Fi this Saturday June 30, alongside The Blackeyed Susans Trio, Davey Lane, Dave Larkin, The Ronson Hangup, Jess Ribeiro & The Bone Collectors and more. Tickets are on sale now via Moshtix.