MOANA: Dark Arts
Undisputed art-rock queen of the WA music scene Moana returns to The Aardvark on Friday night to launch her dark and sensual new single 'E LIX A'. Mia Hyde caught up with her ahead of the show. Get your tickets HERE.
Not only are you working on your upcoming album, but we hear you are also in an upcoming theatre production with the Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company. What’s that going to be like? Must admit, I’ve never heard of a Hip H’Opera before! Yeah, it’s a first of it’s kind I believe! It’s a show that combines the form of operatic theatre with the language of hip-hop to tell a story. It’s a story about 3 characters deeply entrenched in the world of methamphetamines, trying to find their place. It’s heavily music based so I’ve been collaborating with the crew writing music and lyrics for my character and developing the show over the last year. It’s been amazing to spread my creative wings into the realms of hip-hop and production with the legends of Downsyde, Dazastah (Drapht, Downsyde), MC Trooth and Layla as my comrades. Not to mention the writing and direction from Yirra Yaakin to bring the spirit of culture and story to the forefront. It’s a heavy subject but incredibly relevant in our city and across the world at the moment. I believe using the language of music to tell the story really cuts through to the heart. It’ll be showing in October at the Subiaco Arts Centre and I’m so keen to perform it.
You’re a musician, creative, theatre performer, writer and so much more! But what is your preferred or favourite medium as a creative space? What opens you up and makes you passionate most? Each have the ability to tap into my soul and move me emotionally. Tough question because they each allow me to express a different side of myself (and there are many). I feel music has always been “it” though. For me music is the most universal, the most emotive, the most mystical of the arts. It’s also a never-ending realm of knowledge and expansion and that excites my wild mind that loves to learn and study. It feels the most liberating for me and the form that encompasses all the others and amplifies them to new places. That’s why my musical project encompasses not only music but all these other mediums.. It’s just natural for me they entangle and interrelate with one another, beyond the form. I foresee this happening more and more for future projects as I get more interested in conceptual work.
You seem to have a real Freo based family with your music community/fans, what are some of your favourite things about being a part of the Freo music scene? What makes it special? Fremantle is full of character and characters and I find people are more open to expressing themselves and letting their freak-flag fly around Freo; and that suits me perfectly. I grew up in the country so I’m a pirate at heart and the barefoot, busking, free, open vibe in Fremantle feels close to home. The artists and musicians around here just have vibes, ya know? There’s not so much of this stuck-upness you get in other places. It’s fun, it’s flirty, it’s free, it’s out there. We’re all friends and like a big extended family in the community and that makes it special too.
When it comes to “Moana”, i think people find what stands out most is your eccentric and unique style/fashion. What’s your inspiration behind that? Where did it all grow from? And where can we get some of those clothes!! Getting dressed every morning for me is like the first paint an artist takes to the canvas. The textures, colours, styles of different clothes and icons fascinate me and I can’t help but just get so involved in the process and before I know it I’m covered head to toe in velvet or I’ve got all my jewellery on or or embodying some kind of character who springs to mind… I feel life is short and we’re all just children playing this crazy game called Life so why not make it fun? Why not adorn yourself in what makes you feel happy, alive, inspired, beautiful? It’s amazing how clothes can shift your mood. And being someone who morphs through many ‘faces’ in life it’s fun to play with those characters. From rainbow dresses when I’m teaching kid’s music to latex and very little else when I’m a raven in the night.. it’s all just creative play. Life is Art. Pretty much every piece I own has a story and I love that about clothes. I mostly shop at op shops, also when I’m travelling. Sometimes vintage shops if I’m feeling fancy. I design a lot of my own clothes, my mum makes them or I’m very lucky to be gifted so many awesome things from friends and people I know.
What is the purpose behind your music? What do you hope to put out into the world with your work? First and foremost, I make music because I love it and it brings me joy. I couldn’t care less about who is listening to it, who likes it, where it takes me.. Music connects me to my spirit, my soul and the depth of ‘me’. There’s only so much that talking, thinking, interrelating or anything else can do but music really connects me to the depth of my human experience. It’s like a map of my life, a way for me to process the complexities of it all and that makes it a rare realm of magic. And I am so grateful I have the tools to do what I do. I hope through doing that for myself I could positively effect other people to live their Truth. I hope to connect us back to a sacred place. To the Divine Wild Feminine and therefore, to the Earth. To the wild woman, to our animal selves. To encourage depth… a deep connection to ourselves and the world, to see the magic, to traverse the darkness, to enjoy your shadows as much as your light. To spark freedom and liberation of all that has been buried for too long.
It’s so awesome to see such a powerhouse woman of the heavy music scene out there kicking ass! Do you have any advice for women out there, from your experiences, trying to make it in this area of music (it being a predominantly male-lead genre)? I’d say stand strong in your beliefs and your visions, do not doubt yourself and choose who you work with wisely. I’ve needed to step into my strength and my courage in this scene to get my point/mission/vision across and that’s taught me a lot of confidence, assertiveness and boundary-setting, but I’d also say remember not to get caught up in too much of the masculine energy surrounding you either.. I think there’s this huge expectation that because you play heavy music you’re a hardcore, tough bitch but I’m a complex human and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Get me off stage and out of my Leo mania and I’m a dedicated, nerdy artist who needs to feel supported by the people she works with and given space to be vulnerable and soft. I’ve sometimes felt I have to put on a tough exterior to get my point across and that’s so far from who I am at the heart. People are complex and sensitive, especially artists and ESPECIALLY women, so make sure you surround yourself with people who see all of you, who respect you and want the best for you. Don’t waste your time with anything less. I’ve personally dealt with a lot of “I’m not good enough”s internally and that has resulted in me doubting myself and my creative abilities and doing things I didn’t want to do just to make other people happy. I realise now it’s ok to be exactly who you are as a wild, creative woman and the world can just deal with it. Don’t let those internal voices or other people’s insecurities impact on you. Just be you and go for it.
We’ve seen on social media you are starting to experiment with new tech/instruments in your set, does this mean your live set is changing up? What can we expect from this next chapter of performances? Yes we’ve started to incorporate drum triggers and pads, so we’re starting to merge the heavy-rock live sound with something a bit electronic, which is a closer representation of the recorded sound of the album. There’s definitely some new sounds happening and our single launch at The Aardvark will be our debut of this. We’ll definitely be incorporating this into our set more and more and I foresee a whole lot of new writing happening in this realm of rock / electronic weirdness.
Lastly, what are your top tips for managing all the projects in your life at once? How do you do it all?
I’m definitely no master. Sometimes I’m nailing my busy life and having the best time with a great attitude and other times it feels totally chaotic and overwhelming! The key for me is to remain grounded and disciplined with my mind-body relationship. Eating well, looking after my body, time in nature, creative writing and getting enough sleep are daily practises that help keep me clear. When I party too hard or give my energy to others more than myself I can easily get off-track. Starting everyday from a place of Love and from a place of Gratitude are important to set my attitude straight too - taking each day like the miracle that it is can just really shift you back to the heart so you’re operating from a place of joy rather than stress throughout the day. Setting boundaries with technology is really important for me too - allocate times you will look at your messages/social media instead of constantly being available to people or zoning out through “the scroll to nothing”. It’s important to remember you can only do so much everyday as one person - make time for what truely makes your heart sing everyday and do it from a place of Love and everything is so much more enjoyable. Great friends and an amazing team surrounding me are true angels for me too.
Moana plays The Aardvark on Friday 06 September with support from Giant Dwarf, Shaus & Post Depression Makeout Session. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE