Citizenship: Kieran Ryan
The Australian Government isn’t the only entity that puts people through a rigorous cross-examination to prove their loyalty to a bunch of stars and a Union Jack. Each week at M+N, we make an Australian act kiss the flag by asking them questions about their favourite local acts: who they’ve been listening to recently, their underground heroes, or whether they prefer Kylie or Dannii Minogue.
Taking the test this week is Kieran Ryan, one half of the acclaimed Kid Sam and more recently a solo artist. (Or at least, an artist working with others under his own name.) While Kid Sam has been on hold, Ryan has been busy finishing a album and will support no less than Thurston Moore at the Arts Centre next Thursday (Oct 25), as part of the Melbourne Festival.
a. When’s your solo album coming out? Can you tell us a bit about it?
It should be out early next year. It’s called a solo record, but it has wound up having many layers of instruments on it. Myles Wootton of The Panics and I spent a long time at his place working it up, and a lot of musicians dropped by to play different parts here and there.
b. You’re supporting Thurston Moore at Melbourne Fest: what’s your favourite Sonic Youth song?
Let’s say ‘Sugar Kane’.
c. What’s the status of Kid Sam?
Right on hold. I took a bit of time to make another kind of record, and it’s been a while since Kish and I have done anything. Probably unlikely to happen again any time soon.
Part 1. Geography
a. Tell us about your hometown.
I grew up in a small village by the Manning River near Taree in NSW. It only had a general store and a butcher. It was very sleepy and quiet. As a child, you could disappear into the bush on your bike all day. As a teenager it was pretty dull; I played a lot of guitar in my bedroom.
b. Name your favourite bands from your neck of the woods.
Seagull. Mining Boom. Lost Animal.
c. Where’s your local and what’s it like?
I live about 20 metres from the Rose on Napier St, Fitzroy. Sometimes I drop in and squeeze through the people watching the footy to get a pint.
Part 2. History
a. Which Australian bands did you grow up listening to?
My dad had a Redgum tape he used to play in the car a lot. I thought ‘Diamantina Drover’ was the most haunting song. I used to love ‘Blue Sky Mine’ when it came on Rage when I was very small. When I was about 10 years old, I remember being excited when Triple J got broadcast to Taree and I could listen to Spiderbait and those kind of bands. I moved on to Augie March when I was a bit older. By then I’d grown up.
b. What’s the first Australian record you bought?
Hah, not sure. Probably Grinspoon or something, like most 14-year-olds in the ’90s.
c. Who’s your favourite Australian band/artist of all time?
There’s no way I can really pin this down.
d. What’s the most “Australian” record ever produced?
Hard to say. Born Sandy Devotional by The Triffids might be it.
Part 3. Current Affairs
a. Who are some of your favourite new Australian bands?
I quite like Mining Boom, who’ve rolled over from WA recently.
b. If you could collaborate with one current Australian artist, who would it be, and what would it sound like?
I’d like to sing a jazz duet with someone so I get to wear a tux. Who’s the big name in middle-of-the-road crooning these days? Whoever that might be.
c. Last great local gig you saw.
Geoffrey O’Connor, wherever it was I saw him last.
d. Do you think an Australian artist needs to go overseas to succeed?
Succeed in what sense? It means different things, obviously. One certainly doesn’t have to go overseas to be good. Maybe to get rich and famous, but then again, the odds of that seem small wherever you go.
Part 4. Multiple Choice
a. The Voice or Australia’s Got Talent?
I have no idea which is which.
b. Hungry Jacks or Red Rooster?
Hungry Jacks has a pretty bloody satisfying veggie burger. It’s not on the menu. You’ve got to ask for it special. It’s a bubble-and-squeak kind of thing. It’s a junk-food fix for vegetarians.
c. Northcote or Brunswick?
Brunswick. You can get cheap roasted almonds.
d. Potato cake or dim sim?
e. Dan Sultan or Dan Kelly?
Don’t make me choose!
f. Kylie or Dannii Minogue?
Well, Kylie, obviously.
g. Cate Blanchett or Nicole Kidman?
h. Neighbours or Home & Away?
i. Cheezels or Twisties?
j. Kimbra or Gotye?
There’s this song they sing together that I think could really take off one day.