Cover image by Claire Warren
Beniah and I thought it would be a cool idea to introduce ourselves, talk a bit about our backgrounds and tell you how we got to the place we are.
What's your name, pronouns and instagram?
Beniah Colbourn, he/him, @beniahc
What's your age?
T: 23 (March 1997)
B: 24 (June 1996)
What's your hometown?
T: Wollongong – Dharawal Land (Now a proud resident of the Inner North of Canberra - Ngunnawal Land)
B: Canberra - Ngunnawal Land
What was your first show?
T: I went to a lot of Wiggles concerts when I was younger with my mum but first one I remember would have been a Vices show at Rad Bar circa 2013/2014
B: Groovin' the Moo was my live music experience in 2013, but my first show was Joelistics on his Blue Volume album tour at Transit Bar in July 2014.
What's been your favourite show?
T: Loungeroom show at Jono Tooke’s (Cry Club) old place in Wollongong for the launch of Jack R Reilly’s ‘Newland Street’ Featuring Max Quinn, Antonia Susan (The Lazy Susans), Dog Dirt (Sports Bra), Jack Tickner (Basil’s Kite) and DJY (Nothing Rhymes with David). It was such a beautiful and wholesome show and it was where I decided I wanted to try and write some solo music.
B: Angie McMahon's album tour at the Canberra Theatre Center in 2019 was the most stunning performance I've ever seen. Plus with Haley Heynderickx on support, it was overall a beautiful night.
Who are your favourite artists?
T: The Mountain Goats, The Hard Aches, Jack R. Reilly, Cry Club, and Kelso
B: Ceres, Phoebe Bridgers, Camp Cope, Treehouses, and Bec Stevens
What are your favourite albums?
T: Transcendental Youth by The Mountain Goats, Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats, So Far From Home by Amends, How To Socialise and How To Make Friends by Camp Cope, Drag It Down On You by Ceres, Untidy Lines – Rachel Maria Cox
B: Drag It Down On You by Ceres, For Ages by Carb on Carb, Salt by Angie McMahon, Maybe I'm A Friend That Stuck Around Too Long by Pemberton, You're Gonna Miss It All by Modern Baseball, Stranger In The Alps by Phoebe Bridgers
Tell us about your musical background
T: My family was always really musical growing up. I lived in a house with my Costa Rican Grandfather where it was not uncommon for his brothers to come over on weekends and they would sit in the backyard playing music, I would join in playing percussion and singing in the broken Spanish that I knew. I also grew up going to church and it was in the church that a lot of my live music experience came from, I got a bass when I was 14 and my first experience playing in front of people was at church, I learned live sound through church, I started singing in front of people at church and I learned the power of music to move people in church. My love for live sound shifted into a love of recorded sounds, sitting in with Jono Tooke as he worked on Jack R Reilly’s album and experimenting with recording at home to the point where it's now one of the many things I do and I have been fortunate enough to work with bands that I love and record some incredible songs. I took bass lessons for 4 years, learning the ‘traditional’ jazz method of playing and started to teach myself guitar when I was around 16 and I have recently started teaching myself drums. I studied for 3 years at University of Wollongong in their BCA Music program and completed an honours in Musicology at the ANU with my thesis being focused on Australian Folk Punk.
B: Growing up in a church, I was always experiencing live music every Sunday morning. My brother was the church drummer, dad regularly handled the sound desk, and mum was singing the loudest from the front row. In grade 4 my year group at school was taught guitar once a week where we learnt basic tabs like TNT and Smoke On The Water. From there I continued to play and still do today. In year 9, my best friend lent me some CD's he loved and one of them was The Hard Road by Hilltop Hoods and I fell in love with Australian Hip Hop. From there, I starting listening to triple j and got really into indie rock and electronic music. Over the years I listened to more heavier stuff, eventually discovering the punk scene, and now I listen to lots of DIY and folk.
What shaped your music taste?
T: I grew up listening to a wide variety of stuff. It all started with my family. My mum loved all things 80s, power ballads, pop, rock operas, so I listened to a lot of Meat Loaf as a young person, we would also listen to Fleetwood Mac and pretty much anything that was on the ‘throwback’ radio stations. From my grandfather I got Bob Marley and Willie Nelson, as well as a lot of Latin music. From my uncle I first heard things like Prince, Parliament Funkadelic and D’Angelo which showed me how much music could groove and make you want to move your body. After that it was my peers at school, in high school I had a friend named Tim who was really into Hardcore and Metal and it was with him that I. started going to Rad Bar Shows where I fell in love with the ‘Alternative Scene’ and all things heavy. Rad Bar is really a cornerstone of music for me, I got exposed to so much cool music there and really started to fall in love with live music and Australian music and it became a staple venue for me in shaping the bands I was into through late high school and uni.
B: The message and the community. The best music for me is music with an important message. And the best music is also music I can share and experience with my closest friends. When I started listening to music in the DIY scene and meeting people in that scene, I found myself a culture and community build on love, respect, and music - and that's what drew me in.
How did you get involved in Australian Music?
T: I started playing in bands when I was in high school, most notably was a pop-punk project which was more interested in hanging out and saying we were in a band rather than writing anything. In uni I started my first real band, Indie Kid Callum FKA The EUPH, where I played bass and I was in this band that I really started learning how to write music and play with other people. We recorded an awful demo (which can still be found regrettably) and played some really fun shows. Indie Kid Callum kind of petered out when everyone else started other projects that took up more of their time which gave me space to start writing my own stuff (particularly after the show at Jono’s place which I talked about earlier) and also playing keys for Jack R Reilly. I also started recording stuff through my time at uni, learning the theory in class and having opportunities to record projects and experiment with recording at home, from there I have gone on to be able to work with some incredible musicians and record and produce songs that I am so proud to be a part of in some small way. It was my time playing for Jack that has had the biggest impact on me, learning what life was like on the road on the few tours we did, watching Jack as a performer, songwriter and business person, meeting incredible people all around the country, getting opportunities to play my solo stuff in front of people on a solo tour. Truly playing with Jack has been the biggest influence on my journey in Australian music to date and I’m sure my interactions with him will continue and shape me. The final thing that has gotten me plugged into the Australian music scene was the fact that I love going to shows. From shows at Rad Bar at 16, through to playing shows through uni at various venues to being in the band with Jack and playing up and down the East Coast of Australia, to moving to Canberra and having shows in the house that I live in and booking shows at a couple of venues with Homegrown Sounds. Live music is like a religious experience for me, it is my church service, it is my act of worship, it is where (most of the time) I have felt safe and loved and a part of something greater. That is why live Australian music is so important to me and why I will defend it on all levels, from an organisational level where it should be considered an important part of our culture to a personal level where everyone should feel safe and loved at any gig no matter what they look like or who they are.
B: Started meeting different musicians, promoters, and industry people a few years ago. At that time I was studying graphic design and so I began making lots of album covers and gig posters for the local scene. From there, I found my love for working in music and began running events of my own and managing artists.
Fun fact about the other person
T: Beniah is genuinely one of the nicest people I’ve ever met but one of my favourite things ever is when Beniah realises something (usually the meaning behind some crude innuendo) and the look of realisation on his face. It might just be the most pure concentration of sunshine I have ever seen another human exhibit.
B: Travis knows EVERYTHING about music and it's impossible to find anything about music that they don't already know.