Bryony Kimmings (attempted) Interview Excerpt

My original pitch for the individual interview assignment was to speak to UK performance artist Bryony Kimmings while she was in Melbourne.


I’d seen the show she made with her partner Tim Grayburn, ‘Fake It ‘Til You Make It‘, at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and saw it again in Melbourne. I was really nervous about speaking to Bryony, and our correspondence had initially been just about meeting up to have a general chat about her work and what she does – more of a mentoring session than a clear-cut interview.


We met up in a really noisy café, and I was still so nervous about asking direct questions or being really frank about ‘doing an interview’ that we ended up having more of a rambling chat. I ended up with unusable tape, that’s cluttered with the background blare from the café and a very meandering conversational style that sounds more like a blind date than an interview.


I certainly learnt about technique, and certainly learnt that it’s best to be really forthright about wanting a straight-up interview, even if it is with someone I really admire! Luckily I had conducted the interview well in advance of the deadline, so I was able to organise another interview subject in a quieter location with a clearer and more direct line of questioning.


Radio Gaga at Emerging Writers’ Festival

Something that stole a lot of my attention throughout this semester was my internship with the Emerging Writers’ Festival as a Creative Producer – and specifically, my role in organising Radio Gaga.

Radio Gaga comprised of two events – a workshop throughout the day, titled ‘Audiophiles’ and a panel in the late afternoon, titled ‘Echomania // Sonomania’.

The seed for Radio Gaga was some of the work that the ever-amazing Jess O’Callaghan did with EWF last year, and she worked with me to create a new event. Jess is the co-Executive producer of All the Best radio, a show and podcast which I really love. In fact, All the Best was one of the shows we aimed to base the style of our feature for RWAV on.

We paired 7 young writers (some of whom were previously published in Voiceworks) with 7 young producers (who all work on All the Best, as well as with SYN and/or RRR) for the workshop, and they made pieces on the theme of ‘limits’ throughout the day.

The panel consisted of Jaye Kranz, as well as Kate Montague and Tiger Webb, who both came down from Sydney! Jess’ co-Executive producer Heidi came down from Sydney to host the panel and help us out with the workshop too.

It was incredible to be surrounded by writers, producers and radio-makers all day, and to get insight from 3 radio-makers I really admire and find interesting. Aside from feeling like the event went well, and we achieved what we wanted to, the main thing I went home with was the motivation to keep making more radio, to keep sound editing, to make podcasts.

A huge thing that came up in the panel was the desire or need for a community of critically-minded audio producers who will keep striving to make engaging and high quality content. Radio Gaga felt like another step towards being a part of something like that. Continuing with RWAV at RRR is a good way to keep that up too.

Now, more than anything, I’m feeling really excited about getting all my assessments in and having some time to edit all the tape I’ve been collecting…

NYWM: Poetry Focus

Romy Durrant reading excerpts from her ebook ‘Love Poems’
Outside of RWAV I’ve been doing a bunch of other projects in audio production. It seems a bit like I just can’t stop sometimes.

Doing extra work is definitely adding to my skill set and reinforcing what I’ve learnt through RWAV though too, so it feels relevant enough to post about here.

For Express Media’s National Young Writers’ Month, I interviewed 7 young poets about their practice, any advice they have and what they enjoy reading. Romy Durrant is the first interview I’ve posted for the week.

The idea was to try and provide a pretty broad spread of styles, content and inspiration for other young and aspiring poets to tap into.

I recorded each poet reading one of their own pieces. I haven’t added any sound effects or intros, although I’m considering going back to polish them up a bit more when I have more time. The main thing was that I wanted something they can link to for applications and opportunities – an enduring record of their work online. Recording and documenting is something I’ve recently discovered a lot of artists simply don’t think about.

I recorded the interviews, but decided to transcribe them as this is more accessible and more succinct. Here’s the full interview with Romy.

Kay’s Chicken // Caged Chicken

Kay’s Chicken?

When we wrapped up our editing for the day and submitted our final piece, it was time to feed my grumbling belly before descending into the editing basement that has become my home (for…wait for it…more editing! On some other projects).

Callista and I said goodbye to Claudia and walked toward QV. Callista started explaining that one of her favourite dishes was “caged chicken”, and that Claudia enjoyed it too.

“That’s a bit mean, isn’t it?” I said, confused.
“What, Kay’s Chicken? Mm, not really. Well, I guess maybe,” Callista replied.

When we arrived at Hanaichi and I went to order, I realised my mistake.

“Oh, KAY’s Chicken? Hah! I thought you meant like a chicken in a cage. I wan’t sure I wanted to eat that.”

We laughed about it, and decided that ending on a miscommunication felt somehow apt.

The next question though, would be whether it was Peter or PETA who said not to eat Kay’s Chicken…

Final Feature Submission



Finally, the time has come. After months of talking, prep and interviews and hours and hours of editing in the basement, we’ve submitted our final cut of our feature for RWAV, ‘The Unspoken’!

It’s been a fantastic process, and Claudia and Callista were great to work with. Below are some of my musings on today’s editing.

Final Edit // Cut
I was able to put up a rough cut of the whole piece when I was in by myself yesterday, using the files we’d all uploaded to ROAR and allowing everyone to listen, make notes and consider the final cut overnight. It made it much easier when we all came in today and were on the same page, so could agree on polishing edits quickly!

This also gave me a chance to think of some sound layers that could be used to segue between pieces, and check in with everyone about what else we needed, and whether I needed to collect any more tape for the ‘how do you greet a stranger?’ segment.
Final Edit // Polish
We had a few minor frustrations with Audition today – mostly just learning how to use the multitrack function.

I learnt:

  1. You can’t cut and paste straight into a multitrack session – you have to edit the file as an audio file, then open it in the multitrack session
  2. You can’t modify a file that’s open in the multitrack session or it stuffs it up
  3. The bar at the top of the screen where you can see the joins between tracks is a really useful way to navigate the sections we were working on (mostly just the seams, and linking each segment up)

I was particularly happy with a couple of things as well though:

  1. The opening, where I blended the sound of an old dial-up modem with a track by Eels. I was worried it might have been too long, but we all agreed it settled the listener into the tone of the piece really well
  2. The use of ‘Trying to Reach You’ by Nurses as a recurrent motif. I feel like this track suited the tone of the piece well, and the lyrics were relevant to the theme but not ‘on the nose’. We chatted about the motif, as we weren’t sure that the piece would work with that, or whether it needed it (plus this pushed us a little more over the 10min mark) but we decided that having something to segue between segments was an important signifier for the listener, and I was happy with the way we mixed it down underneath the speakers’ voices.

Suite As


Another long day in the basement, and I’m beginning to feel a bit like a mole. I’ve finally cut my interview with Conor into a rough draft, which is about 4:30. So still about twice as long as it’s meant to be.

Our interview moseyed a bit and went on a number of tangents that could be quite interesting, but I’m getting to the point in the process where I’ve realised I just need to be ruthless.

The style we’re going for is based on Invisibilia, and I knew it was ambitious, but I’m only just realising how difficult it is to edit the stories with the kind of strong narration that they use.

Basically, the way that Invisibilia (as well as Serial and a bunch of other recently released podcasts) is constructed is like an audio essay, with the interview material punctuating as evidence. I really like this approach, because it saves a lot of time – it’s to the point, and it directs the listener in a way that’s way more helpful than listening to a straight few minutes of someone waffling about a topic. They press questions, then use the tape they have to provide answers.

We’re committed to this style now, and I do think it will work but it’s going to take a fair amount of work. I’ve also listened to a lot of All the Best to see if I can get any more inspiration from the ways they narrate their interview tape.

I think ultimately what seems to work for these programs is that they conduct interviews in order to learn about the topic, but then provide the listener with a summarised run down – for example ‘Connor explained that for him, Facebook is the most interesting medium for new writing’ instead of 45 seconds of tape that takes a while to get to the point, and then you can launch straight into what your interviewee actually said.

This kind of sparse and direct narration really appeals to me because it gets to the point (signposting for the listener why what they’re hearing is significant) whilst also adding context that means you can just use snippets of audio that economically convey the interviewee’s point.

Time to do some more scripting, and time to pare down even more from the interview tomorrow!

the isolation-solitude-confinement-happiness-freedom domain

May 07, 2015

After discovering that our feature episodes don’t need to be anywhere near as long as I thought (I was thinking like ~1hour…turns out they only need to be ~10mins) I thought I should do some research into shorter-form radio.

I looked up this episode of Paper Radio specifically because of its length. I wanted to listen to a few more podcasts around the 10 minute mark to see how much content would be required, and also to get a handle on whether we’d actually be able to fit the three interviews we plan to conduct into the timeframe.

The episode opens with an intro from one of the Paper Radio producers, Jessie, and it’s quite direct and personal. She explains that she’s sick, introducing the episode ‘from quarantine’ and referencing her co-producer John, implying that her listeners are familiar with them.

The episode is a great sample of Paper Radio’s style – one person telling a story, with sound art overlaid. There is a lot of detailed description, and the sound responds to the story and draws you into the space. Something I particularly enjoyed about this episode is how tangible the sense of place is – I was sitting on a tram in the CBD, yet I was also somehow present in a dark, wet room with a sensory deprivation tank.

– the sound story is constant, and the vocal and audio inform and respond to each other
– vocal effects give a really strong sense of space
– not only hearing about the weirdness, the existential crisis but also the minor cosmetic details
– humour is used to shirk some of the discomfort and grossness, allowing them to tell all (e.g. Narrator ‘I have to tell you I’m naked right now’)

Listen to the isolation-solitude-confinement-happiness-freedom domain here.

In the absence of sound

25 May 2015

My laptop’s been out for the count a while now…almost a month ago, the speakers started crackling a bit. The next day, it wouldn’t turn on. Apple took their time repairing it…but after replacing the entire logic board, the speakers are still crackling of their own accord and no sound will play through the speakers or the headphone jack.

This new soundless environment has given me pause to think about just how often I engage with sound, on a day-to-day basis. Particularly when it comes to multimedia communications, and my use of the internet. For example, the #freethearts protest last Friday included a video about how to learn ‘the hoofer dance’, and I was completely unable to engage, because the sound was necessary to understand the instructions.

My RWAV group’s piece is based on the topic of ‘communication’, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the particular ‘palettes’ of communication we have available to us. For example, different languages and dialects can vary so widely yet still be open to interpretation. I found travelling through Europe that Spanish or Catalan was far easier for me to understand than German, less because of what was being said than how. The German words were closer to English, but the Catalan way of expressing themselves was closer to Izzy-speak.

Something that came up time and time again in our group discussions was Auslan – the language of the deaf. It’s interesting that the three of us were so drawn to this particular form of communicating, particularly because it’s something that is incredibly difficult to communicate through radio. How would we use a sound-based medium to communicate a language that is so visual, that is essentially the absence of sound?

After exploring a number of different avenues, and also realising we probably have more material than we can actually use already, we decided to forgo the interview with a person who is deaf. I would still really like to explore this at some point though. Having an interpreter and speaking about such a visual language may simply not work for the radio format, but I’d love to try and see if it would be possible, and explore some creative solutions around how to communicate a conversation in Auslan through a sound-based medium like radio.

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

It’s been a long time. I’ve been scribbling notes in my phone and my notebook throughout semester, but I’m sorry I’ve neglected you blog.

After waiting for time enough to build my website and include a blogroll section there…I think it’s time to get this content out. Expect some throwbacks to the start of semester as I sort through and post some backdated journal entries from earlier in semester.