Things that mat­ter to me...

WITH ROMY VAGER OF MEL­BOURNE BAND RVG.

Frankie - - MUSIC TALKS - In­ter­view So­phie Kalagas

CROSS­WORDS I adore cross­words. I don’t do the print ones as much as I’d like to, be­cause all the good ones are in con­ser­va­tive news­pa­pers and I don’t re­ally want to sup­port them. There are a few online that I like to do, though – they aren’t too easy or too hard. Find­ing the right words is re­ally im­por­tant to the kind of songs I write; some­times I’ll stress for days over a phrase just to get it per­fect. I like to think that do­ing little things like cross­words keeps my vo­cab­u­lary up and makes it eas­ier for me to say what I mean. ...................

MY GUI­TAR The gui­tar I play is a black Dan­elec­tro that was given to me as a sur­prise birth­day gift at a time when I didn’t have a work­ing gui­tar of my own. It re­ally blew me away. I’m very prone to de­pres­sion and self-doubt, and I think about quit­ting mu­sic all the time, but the gui­tar re­minds me there are peo­ple out there who love me and care about the things I’m do­ing. It’s the most valu­able thing I own. ...................

TOURING THE WORLD This year my band has been lucky enough to play a lot of mu­sic over­seas. I’d never been to Amer­ica or Europe be­fore, so it’s been amaz­ing to travel and see the world while play­ing my songs to peo­ple. It’s great, but it’s also very stress­ful. Be­ing a trans­gen­der per­son and play­ing mu­sic to new au­di­ences is a chal­leng­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that I don’t have a lot of ref­er­ence points for. I know that when we play, there are peo­ple in the room who are go­ing to have a prob­lem with me, no mat­ter what I do. It’s a frus­trat­ing and some­times scary re­al­ity, but it’s re­ally im­por­tant for me to be out­side my com­fort zone. I know when I throw my­self into the deep end, I’m mak­ing things a little eas­ier for peo­ple like me who are con­stantly ridiculed or ig­nored by the mu­sic in­dus­try. ...................

WALK­ING There are all these al­ley­ways in Mel­bourne’s northern suburbs that are re­ally long and usu­ally filled with cats, birds and lemon trees. It’s nice on a sunny day to fol­low them down to where it’s quiet and there’s no traf­fic or peo­ple any­where. I re­ally feel as if I’m the only per­son on Earth when I walk down there. ...................

COF­FEE I am ob­sessed with cof­fee. Some­times I drink about

15 to 20 cups a day. I’ve got a very ad­dic­tive per­son­al­ity and I need to have some­thing to hold in my hands and sip, oth­er­wise I start to feel strange. Be­ing over­seas this year was weird, be­cause nowhere else apart from Aus­tralia knows how to make good cof­fee. It’s been real sat­is­fy­ing to get back home each time and buy a flat white on Syd­ney Road. Next time I leave Aus­tralia, I’m go­ing to have to pack a per­co­la­tor with me. ...................

THE BANK I used to live in this old bank in Pre­ston. It’s just a build­ing now, but for a few years it was a pretty amaz­ing share­house/venue/record­ing stu­dio. I wrote so many songs there, and my band played our very first gig in the stu­dio space. I never used to feel like I was part of any­thing, and it gave me a real sense of com­mu­nity and en­ergy that I’d never had be­fore. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have some­where you be­long and are free to be your­self. I’m grate­ful for the things I’ve learnt and the friends I’ve met while liv­ing there. It still en­er­gises me.

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