It’s musicians doing what musicians do, but there is this insatiable desire of people to categorize things. It’s almost what makes us homo sapiens – we like to think of the world in categories.
When Fourplay started 18 years ago now people had no idea where to pigeonhole us and that almost held us back. When we first put our albums out, it was great for airplay because we were on ABC Classic and Triple J and all the local AM stations… We fitted everywhere but no-one could find us in record stores because people would file us under jazz or classical or rock or indie or whatever.
These days that doesn’t matter because nobody goes to record stores.
Tim cites the big music festivals as a major driver of MDWMD.
At Woodford or Port Fairy, big festivals with very diverse talent pools, people wander around and see other musicians and say hey, do you want to jam? Result: cross-fertilization. Classical Indian Bobby Singh becomes close friends with rock drummer Ben Walsh, creating something totally new. Katie Noonan was studying opera, then started hanging out with jazz musicians.
The Sydney Opera House has done a stunning job in bridging so many genres. Fourplay’s manager put the Graphic Festival to them and that’s gone twice now, very successfully.
And some musings about where it all began:
It started most obviously with Brodsky and Kronos, a few years before Fourplay started. Now you’ve got people like Owen Pallett, highly trained classical violinist with a spectacular technique, doing amazing stuff.
In a way it goes right back to Kurt Weill, a classical musician picking up on what was the pop music of his time. Weill took the concert hall to the cabaret. That was a bigstep.