Interview with KARIN PAGE
We spoke to the lovely Karin Page about her new initiative – Karinvan (a Facebook Live event every Tuesday), her upcoming tour with Folktronic artist Tobias (and what a folktronic artist is) and about a cool thing that not many people know about – Sofar Sounds.
You have just released a single and video which was part of your Star Maker prize at the Country Music Awards of Australia. How did you feel when your name was announced as the winner?
It was over a year ago now but I was pretty shocked. I guess I never regarded myself as a country music person. I knew my music crossed into country; into that genre but I went in there thinking gosh I didn’t really think they would be into my music as my music’s a little bit more folk and rootsy but I guess that country is all about the song writing and the story telling.
I guess it really spoke to people which was nice so it was a big shock for that reason and I was totally new to the scene. I didn’t know anyone whilst we were there – I was kind of the ring-in that’s what people were saying to me “how does it feel to be the blow in?” I was like “Um, I’m not really a blow in! I just really haven’t been to Tamworth before.”
Congratulations on your win
Thank you! Thank you very much.
Your single, Still Got You, is written about the move from Perth to Byron Bay. What made you decide to move to Byron Bay?
I guess we haven’t completely moved here. I guess we’re just based here because we’re touring. The whole idea was to be here on the East Coast to expand our fan base, tour more and get in front of bigger audiences.
We’ve been touring for the last 12 months but the caravan’s in Byron.
You used to run Sofar Sounds in Perth. For those that have never heard about it, can you tell us what that was all about?
They’re basically little house concert shows. It’s like a pop-up thing, gosh, I don’t know how long ago, it started in London about 8 years ago or something and it’s a global thing and basically it’s little secret house concerts where people come and listen to the music in an intimate and silent environment so that they can really hear what the artists have to say.
Do you know if it’s still going in Perth? Or around Australia at least?
Yeah it is. It’s going, pretty sure, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, have shows almost every month because I still get the mail out for it. I’m not sure who it is because the person who took over from me has left and there’s someone else looking after it now but I still see all pictures coming up every month on Instagram so it’s definitely still running in Perth.
If people wanted to, how can they get involved?
I don’t know if anything has changed as it’s been about 3 years since I’ve been a part of it but I think the website is www.sofarsounds.com and they can just join the mailing list for whichever city they are from.
It is definitely a great idea and you get to see some awesome artists that you may never have gone to see otherwise
Yeah, I think it’s gotten even bigger now.
You have been holding Karinvan sessions every Tuesday. What inspired that?
I guess, I’ve always been a little bit anti Facebook. I’m not really one to take selfies and that kind of thing and I thought I needed to be a little bit more involved in social media and I sat back and thought, what do I like doing and what’s important to me.
For me, I love performing; it’s one of my favourite things so I thought, how can I perform on a weekly basis to my fan base now that I have people all around Australia and I thought, this is kind of the new thing now and doing it live means that I feel that I can interact with an audience rather than just recording myself and then posting a video and replying to comments.
People feel like they are part of the show so it’s like putting on a show for people.
It’s a really cool idea
Oh thank you!
You have played solo shows and in two different bands (China Doll and Spoonful of Sugar). Do you prefer either one more? Or do they both have their different advantages/challenges?
Well I guess they were kind of the same band. The band evolved I guess but really, we just went through a name change and at the same time that we had a name change, we had a line up change as a couple of the guys who were playing in the band had other music engagements that had gotten busier for them.
It was always my songs and we played the same songs in Spoonful of Sugar as we did in China Doll. Obviously we had new songs that we added to China Doll but it was ultimately my band that I started and then the name was changed.
You’re about to head out on tour with Tobias (a Folktronic artist). How did that come about and for those at home wondering, what is a folktronic artist?
(laughs) I was actually asking the same question. So we actually met in Tamworth and Tobias and I both had singles in the top ten AMRAC Charts at the time and I was running a Songwriters session out of a place called the Longyard and he had his name down to come and sing a few songs.
I hadn’t actually heard him perform before and I was like, where did I hear that name? I realised it was because we were both in those charts and I had actually checked out his music and thought, this guy is really cool. We talked about; he’s on the Sunshine Coast and that’s only a few hours away from Byron.
We had talked about wanting to head out on tour with our new singles so we said, well, why don’t we go out together. It all just sort of fell into place and we decided that it was a good idea and the tour kicks off next week.
As for folktronic, I think it’s just that his music is quite folk but he does incorporate a little bit of electronic stuff but it’s definitely not like dance music or anything like that but it’s not just straight up folk I guess.
I saw the description and was fascinated by it
I know! I was the same, I was like foltronic; what does that encapsulate?
As we get older, our experiences and influences change. How have yours changed over the years?
I guess, especially being over here and being part of this country music scene which I was never really a part of, I guess quite a few of my influences musically have, well I’ve checked out a lot more country artists and Americana artists – more of an alt/country kinda thing.
It’s opened my eyes up to new songwriters, new ways of touring and things like that. It’s been really exciting as I found that when I was in Perth, I just didn’t know what more I could do or where to go.
I felt like I was playing all the festivals like Nannup, Fairbridge and everything and playing the popular venues in Perth and I didn’t know where else to go. Here, it feels like, well there’s a lot more competition so people are a lot more innovative with their ideas and with what they do so it’s been really inspirational on that front.
You have been around in the scene for quite awhile now. What are some of the biggest changes that you have seen?
It’s kinda hard because I feel like I came out of a different scene there to what I’m in now so it’s a bit hard to compare the two but I think as a whole, the whole CD and digital thing like before it was really great to get into the studio and record and have those CDs as your merchandise because that’s how you recouped the cost of touring and stuff like that.
A lot of people are now downloading music these days so you have to get a bit more creative with your merchandise and ways of playing shows. People do still buy CDs but a lot of them keep them as a keep-sake more than anything else. If people just want to listen to music they just don’t go straight for the CDs so that’s definitely something that I’ve noticed as times change.
I’ve also noticed that every second person plays music these days and everyone’s like, in 5 different bands and you’re not like “oh wow you play music! That’s so cool!”
It’s now “oh I play music too!” we’re not special any more I think!
I remember going to Amplifier Bar one night and talking to random people and every single one was in a band
Yeah Amps in one of those places where all the musos go – straight to the music hub.
If you had the opportunity to play with anyone in the world, who would you choose?
I think I would have to go Carole King. She’s my absolute, ultimate (and I know she’s an older artist and maybe not as cool as some of the big guns that are kicking around right now) but she is really what inspires me and whenever I am feeling like I need some musical inspiration to write, I always go back and listen to Tapestry.
It’s my favourite album and she’s definitely my Number One Idol.
Have you ever had the chance to meet her?
No, but I went to her musical (laughs). There’s a musical; I think it’s coming to Australia or already here but I saw it when I was in New York last year and it was just amazing.
It was a little history of how she came to be and all the people that she wrote music and it was just amazing. That’s my closest thing. It wasn’t actually her but it was someone playing her.
She would be really interesting to meet
Yeah I think so. She seems like an amazing lady with a lot of history.
Any plans to bring the tour over to Perth?
Yes I am hoping to bring some shows to Perth. I still sort of live between there but it’s just harder to incorporate with what I am doing at the time. It is expensive to get back to Perth just to play shows.
I am actually looking at being back there towards the end of June/beginning of July and hopefully; my shows are booked til the end of May at the moment but we are looking at extending the tour a few more weeks so I’m hoping that it will end far enough so that I can include Perth as part of those dates as well.
Anything else that you would like to add?
I’m going to be recording my new single soon and I know that I’ve just released this one but this is obviously part of my Star Maker prize and although it’s only just been released about a month ago, I have been working on my own material outside of the competition too so I hope to release something towards mid to late this year so that’s exciting!
One more thing, you guys played with Phil Jamieson a couple of years ago when he was over here so are you going to go and see the Guide To Better Living Tour?
I don’t actually know if I’m in any of the places at the same time that they are. I think we might be crossing paths but I would have loved to because they were one of the first bands that I won tickets to go and see at Metropolis Fremantle. I think I was like 14 and they had an under-age gig but I would have loved to have seen them again.
Are you heading along?
Yeah I have my tickets already. They were one of the first acts that I saw that I fell in love with too.
They are so good live. I’ve always been into surfing and stuff and their songs; that album; were on every surf video at the time so that’s how I got to know their music, through those surfing videos so it was pretty cool to then go and see them live.
And then get to perform with him
Yeah that was really cool. It was kinda surreal and a bit weird you know coz I was like a kid when he was knocking about and being in a rock n roll band and then I was an adult, playing and he’s like a dad now so it was a bit weird but that’s all good!
I’ll definitely let you know if we’re heading to Perth. It’s just been a bit hard to organise as every time you think “oh yeah I could go do that” something else pops up over here.
It’s been hard but we are planning on being there quite a bit, maybe June/July otherwise we will definitely be back in August, definitely back in November and we’re there for a couple of weeks at a time. So hopefully we will see you then!