A post by guest blogger Jahlia Sara

Challenge Yourself, Other People Will Understand

Where does creativity come from? Is it talent, inspiration, monetary incentive? These questions were all discussed with independent Melbourne band, Hiatus Kaiyote when they came to talk to the young musicians of the Byron Shire. Their track ‘Nakarama,’ was nominated for a Grammy under the category of best RMB performance in 2011. They performed at the event. Lead singer Nai Pal said she “stuffed it up” but “Pharell liked it anyway.”

Music teacher Tom Whitaker rounded up well-known musicians from young Byron bands included members from Potato Potato and TORA and individuals including Gabriel and Cecilia, Matilda Dodds, Annie Plumber and Nick Scales, who have all been making waves in our local music industry. Nai Palm, Bender and Perrin form 3 of the four- member group and gave invaluable advice to the younger artists one afternoon a few weeks ago. Eccentric lead singer Nai Palm, bedazzled in an intricate head piece, hat, and a variety of tattoos, gave all sorts of advice to do with sticking to your passion whilst avoiding ‘sharks in the music industry.’ The band had come to Byron, along with herds to play at Splendour in the Grass, stopping off to have a chat in the music room of Cape Byron Steiner.

The atmosphere buzzed with a sense of creativity. Some of the students had learned one of Hiatus’ songs and performed it to the audience, all of which were filming the experience. As I looked around, I noticed everyone was smiling. Nai Palm, who told the room she was always jealous of her backup singers’ job, sang backups to Cecilia Brandolini who sang one of the bands hits ‘Nakarama,’ accompanied by members of local band Potato Potato. The band told the budding musicians that their music was an echo of their creativity, and that making their music had been hard and challenging, but also ‘really fun.’

The workshop was an inspiration in itself, everyone on the same level, showing each other what they were creatively capable of. There was a cascade of helpful tips including connecting with people who you could work with in some way, even if they weren’t directly related to your field. The band spoke about a close friend who became their manager and was great at it. They had worked this out because he enjoyed planning parties. A theme ran through the afternoon of pursuing what you enjoy, even if people don’t understand it or it’s difficult to achieve. This advice rings true for Nai Palm, who had not had any formal musical training, which made it difficult for her to be able to form a band. She met Perrin and Bender who were able to understand what she was trying to do with her music.

This mesh of Nai Palms creative flair and Bender and Perrin’s knowledge of music theory could be the reason that Hiatus’ Kaiyote’s music is so interesting. The message left at the end of the afternoon was to celebrate your imagination, and to pursue what you love, the rewards being that you will be successful because you are passionate. Perrin summed it up by saying, ‘yeah, music is pretty cool.’ This hub of artistic expression, advice given from one group of musicians to another was a promise of the continuation of creation, and the importance of keeping the imagination alive.

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