As a musician, how does living in Berlin compare to living in Melbourne?
Ahh this old chestnut. I’ve answered this question so many times and I always get in trouble. Australians are obsessed with it. The truth is, it’s never been as busy for me gig-wise, but I’ve always felt like that also affords me the opportunity to get a lot more done. And it’s also a bit unrealistic for me to compare the two now, as I left Melbourne seven years ago so of course I’d also have to think about how my life there now would compare to where I left it. I mean I have a daughter now, life is different from when I was in my twenties in Melbourne. I probably wouldn’t be playing so much there now either but also writing and recording more… who knows. I have a lifetime of connections there, and still work with all those people. But yes right from the start I felt that Berlin gave me more space to work on a variety of projects at the pace I wanted, whereas in Melbourne I tended to feel I was being pulled down a certain path. I guess more the band thing, because Australia does that so well. It really does. It does a good band scene, which is really, really rare. But it’s all very personal, there’s probably a million different experiences one could have here or there as a musician. And of course the touring scenario is a little more detailed here. You can focus on whole countries right next door, or do a European tour that takes in a few cities in many different countries. For now anyway before all the bonkers nationalists get their borders back…
What is the next project that you are working on?
I’ve just finished a big “solo” double album that will come out next year. It features a lot of collaborations but no band as such. Joe Talia, of course, Chris Abrahams from The Necks, Alexander Garsden, Ben Bourke, and Anthea Caddy on cello and voice. See – all Australians [Actually Chris Abrahams is a New Zealander - Ed.] It’s ludicrous. Anyway it’s quieter and perhaps more organic sounding than the last couple of albums. More folk again I guess, but long songs and a lot of instrumental pieces. Also Anthea and I have a more sound based/improvising trio with percussionist Steve Heather (Australian) called Crying Room that did some recording in June… there’s hours of material that I think once whittled down to an album’s worth will be really good.
I’ve also got three shows at The Gasometer in December playing back through my catalogue up until now, and I’m arranging everything for strings (Biddy’s playing), wind instruments, synths etc… Looking forward to that. If people are interested they should buy tickets now because it’s in the small upstairs room there.
What music are you enjoying listening to right now?
Laurence Crane’s chamber works, Jürg Frey’s second Quartet, anything involving James Rushford, Little Annie’s latest album, Neneh Cherry’s album from a couple of years back, Gareth Dickson, Coltrane, Victor Jara like mad, Wes Montgomery with the Wynton Kelly Trio, Schubert’s been on, Will Guthrie’s music and Bohjass’s last album, so I’m excited about their new one.
What is your favourite podcast?
Mike Watt’s ‘Watt From Pedro Show’ ! Such a dude.
If you were not a musician or performing artist, what would be your ideal occupation?
I’d like to build stuff. Shelves and the like. Or homicide cop. I’d be killer at that.
To book tickets to Ned's solo shows in December visit www.thegasometerhotel.com.au