Bri­die back to find­ing his voice

David Bri­die is stretch­ing his hori­zons yet again, writes Kathy McCabe

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - LIVE ’N’ LOUD -

DAVID Bri­die has al­ways worn many mu­si­cal hats. Since launch­ing his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer with Not Drown­ing Wav­ing 30 years ago, he’s formed the band My Friend The Choco­late Cake.

He has com­posed and recorded award-win­ning sound­tracks for film and tele­vi­sion in­clud­ing Bran Nue Dae, Proof, In A Sav­age Land, Mabo and The Straits.

The re­spected mu­si­cian has also pro­duced artists in­clud­ing Archie Roach and Chris­tine Anu, and has helped shine a light on the mu­sic of PNG le­gend Ge­orge Telek.

And he has been a solo artist, re­leas­ing his fourth record, Wake, ear­lier this month.

It has been five years since his last hit out on Suc­cumb and Bri­die ad­mits he was itch­ing to get back to his day job. While not un­grate­ful for all the creative op­por­tu­ni­ties, he was feel­ing com­pelled to re­turn to his own mu­sic iden­tity.

‘‘I had been do­ing a whole lot of other stuff with other peo­ple and wasn’t en­joy­ing it so much be­cause it needs to fit around other peo­ple’s sched­ules,’’ he says.

‘‘When Not Drown­ing Wav­ing started, I was writ­ing songs and singing them, and that’s what I en­joy do­ing, that’s what makes me feel good about what I am do­ing, even though I am for­tu­nate for all the other op­por­tu­ni­ties. I needed to do it. I was get­ting cranky at my­self.’’

Bri­die, like most artists, also ad­mits to suf­fer­ing a dose of pro­cras­ti­na­tion.

‘‘I was a bit scared of it, to be hon­est. The thought had crossed my mind that maybe I won’t do it any more,’’ he says.

His mas­ter plan for Wake was to go back to the be­gin­ning, writ­ing sparse but lushly cin­e­matic songs fo­cus­ing on voice and pi­ano, in­spired by the solo work of Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan.

‘‘Most of the songs were writ­ten on the out-of-tune pi­ano in the liv­ing room; it’s tuned now,’’ he says.

‘‘I have to ask my part­ner’s kids not to play their Cold­play songs on it too hard be­cause it costs $200 to tune it.’’

Bri­die says the early tunes were road­tested at the an­nual mu­sic in­dus­try con­fer­ence BIG­SOUND last Septem­ber.

‘‘They were em­bry­onic then, just ideas, and I fig­ured that if they were any good, they would have to be good live,’’ he says.

‘‘I never get ner­vous at Cake gigs but I think if you care about what you do, there’s go­ing to be a phase where you are ner­vous about the solo stuff be­cause you want to chal­lenge your­self.’’

Af­ter that ex­per­i­ment, some of the songs dic­tated a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, adding lay­ers in the same way Bri­die had done with Not Drown­ing Wav­ing all those years ago.

‘‘I started to en­joy the process of sculpt­ing the songs and have peo­ple play on them, es­pe­cially on songs like Del­e­gate and Stoned In Kabul,’’ he says.

Adding peo­ple to his solo en­deav­ours fur­ther fleshed out his vi­sion. His old mate John Phillips, The Bam­boos’ Kylie Auld­ist, Pow­derfin­ger’s Ian Haug, The Orb­weavers’ Marita Dyson, Black-eyed Su­san singer Rob Snarski, Even’s Ash­ley Nay­lor and long­time col­lab­o­ra­tor, cel­list Helen Mount­fort, were among those en­listed for Wake.

‘‘It is a won­der­ful thing to be able to trust mu­si­cians you have known over the years and that I know well enough to not just say ‘that sounds great’ if it doesn’t,’’ he says.

No doubt all of them would have been im­pressed with his free­wheel­ing imag­i­na­tion on Dr Seuss Is Paint­ing The Sky.

‘‘That weird key­board sound is so creepy it’s good,’’ he says, laugh­ing. ‘‘Dr Seuss books are just phe­nom­e­nal. Go­ing back to Dr Seuss is not a bad way to open a record.’’

Now the tough sell on the road be­gins – in­clud­ing a show on the Coast.

Bri­die isn’t so much wor­ried about the loy­alty of the fans as he is about re­mem­ber­ing his lyrics. He has of­ten counted on the trainspot­ters in the front rows to fill in when he goes blank.

‘‘I have been known to ask some­one in the front mouthing all the words what the next line is,’’ he says.

David Bri­die & The Pills and Chris Sheehy play The Loft, on Chevron Is­land, on July 14 from 4pm.

Cel­list Helen Mount­fort and singer David Bri­die team up again on Wake.

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