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IVAN BEECROFT

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSTRALIAN ARTIST IVAN BEECROFT

Hiya folks, thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

I was taught to read play and perform classical music on woodwind instruments such as flute and alto sax when I was about 10 years old.  I wasn’t thinking about it as a vocation at that age, it was just one of many things that my parents encouraged me to do along with playing lots of sports such as cricket and football. In secondary school, I used to get out of a boring science class by playing alto sax in the school band.

The first time I really took more of an interest in music was when I was a teenager; my older brother put a punk band together with his mates.  They were trying to play Sex Pistols songs but the left-handed drummer that they had at the time was rhythmically challenged and promptly quit and sold his drum kit. I thought it would be cool to hang out with my older brother’s mad mates like some sort of musical gang so I bought a beat-up old Pearl drum kit and started jamming with them every Sunday at the local scout hall.

After about a year we all went our separate ways – I began my boilermaking apprenticeship and didn’t think about music until I had finished it. One day my girlfriend bought me a cheap electric guitar and amp to give me something to vent my frustrations on after work.  I wouldn’t say that I made a conscious choice to be a musician. I think that it chose me if that makes any sense.    

What was life like for you before music?

I remember before music came into my life my parents encouraged me to do athletics and other sports. I was a voracious reader. I really enjoyed reading books and getting lost in a story. The street that I lived in was full of a lot of older kids who beat me up every time I set foot outside my door so I think reading a lot was my way to escape to a world that wasn’t like the brutal one I had to deal with outside of our home. 

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

Not long after my girlfriend bought me that guitar and amp she bought an album by the Georgia Satellites and we used to listen to it while driving around in my first car. There was this song on it called Red Light Roadblock that really made me sit up and take notice due to its thumping drum beat and energetic lead guitar playing. After work, I would have fun on my crappy amp and guitar trying to emulate the feeling I got from listening to that album.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

As far as the music industry goes I have always felt that they view me like that dog that you own that would always come out and drag its arse around on the carpet in full view of everybody every time you have distinguished guests around that you want to impress.   

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

I learned a lot from members of the very successful and talented Australian band The Models, especially Sean Kelly, and more recently Matt Thomas from The Mavis’s.   In particular: don’t be an asshole and be kind to everyone in this industry; everyone including sound crews, roadies and bloggers are all sucking on the same shit sandwich that you are.

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

I have no idea what to say in interviews.

I loathe keyboard warriors who attack people behind their fake coward accounts on social media. 

I think I am really talented.

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

To somehow magically become the mystery illegitimate son that no one knew John Lennon (or any one of the Beatles members) had.  Seriously though, just to have super awesome band members who a) love what they do; b) occasionally want to run around smashing a big pile of smartphones with a hammer, and use a stack of Taylor Swift and Sam Smith vinyl records as a ski jump; and most importantly c) have a killer sense of humour. 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

No, I don’t give a shit what anyone thinks. That’s their problem, not mine.  If someone came up to me and said “Hey Ivan did you see that cancel culture thing walking down the street?” I would grab a shovel and smack it over the head bury it in a deep hole and pour a ton of concrete on it so that it doesn’t come back to wreak havoc on the world again like a zombie. I despise it that much. 

Do you subscribe to any conspiracy theories? If not, why not?

I am probably going to regret answering that question. It never fails to piss me off every time that term gets used as a way to dismiss inconvenient questions directed at governments and bureaucrats. 

What was the worst experience on stage?

I remember a gig I did in a three-piece band after a long week one Friday night in a place called Joey’s in St Kilda.  We were the first on, early in the evening, so there were three people in the venue. After the second song one of the guys started heckling us and yelled out “Play some Nirvana” so I grabbed the mike and replied, “Why don’t you go and dig him up and bring him up here and we’ll have a jam with him?”  This guy and his two mates walked out and we finished the set to an empty room.

What makes you stand out as a band/artist?

I have been told I have a distinctive voice and that my performances are energetic.

IVAN BEECROFT

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?

Carousel was written and recorded two months into the start of Melbourne’s controversial extended lockdowns. The inspiration for the song came from rereading George Orwell’s 1984 the month before – the song seemed to write itself one day in my dining room. During that time there was a constant barrage of press conferences with slogans reminiscent of Orwellian Newspeak, such as “staying apart keeps us together”.

One event, in particular, sparked my ire: a police minister encouraged people to spy on and inform on their neighbors like some kind of East German Stasi; hence the angry energy of this track. Its lyrics have an indignant defiance with an abundance of pure rage, expressed succinctly in the line “It’s not too late to stop this living hell”.

The song has an eerie prophetic quality to it, foreshadowing events that happened well after it was recorded. One incident that stands out to me was when a woman in Werribee set fire to herself and died, in an act of sheer desperation.

In summary, the song “Carousel” is to me personally like a historical documentation of how I and lots of other Melburnians felt during this period. Each time I listen to that song it’s hard to not get emotional as it brings back a flood of feelings that are still too difficult to put into words.

What was the recording process like?

The process was fairly simple. There is very minimal processing on this track as I wanted to keep the sound raw and accessible. The lead solo was probably the thing that took the longest to get it to sound the way that I wanted.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Finding the right sounds and instruments to give the tune its own personality without crowding it with things that really don’t need to be there.  I think I spend more time taking things out to create space for the musical hooks to stand out. 

Would you change anything now that it’s finished?

No, I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Just be yourself: everyone else is taken.

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