Sure we’ve heard about you before, but we think it’s time for Tone Deaf to get to know you a little better. Slip in to something comfortable while we put on some music, pour us a couple of drinks and turn the lights down low.
Who are you and what do you do in your act?
I’m Xani and I play electric violin and sing in an Art/Pop Duo commonly referred to as The Twoks.
‘Fess up. What records have you stolen from your parent’s record collection and why?
I’ve stolen almost every record owned by my parents from Fleetwood Mac to John Fogerty to James Taylor and Joe Cocker to Enya. I stole Pink Floyd as well but I gave it back. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that, though.
What’s on heavy rotation on your iPod right now?
My “Fun, Fun, Fun” playlist – bits of Feist, The National, Roy Orbison, Beach Boys, Raphael Sadique and Fleetwood Mac. And other stuff, too.
‘Home taping is killing the music business was the catch-cry of the record industry in the 1970s, but it managed to survive until now. What do you think is the difference between mates taping copies of friend’s records back in the 80s and 90s and file sharing now?
I’ll preface what I’m about to say by saying that there are a lot of people out there who are very passionate about music, who love it, go see it and buy it, treasuring it as much as a vintage car or clothing collection. However. There are also a lot of people out there who listen to music all the time that they haven’t paid for.
Although it’s good for musicians and the kind of word-of-mouth promotion we rely on these days to get our music out there, it makes me feel a little bit sick knowing that a common assumption pervades audiences that music is disposable and that they’re entitled to have it and use it for free.
Being on the other side, studying music since the age of seven, accumulating a HECS debt over six years of undergrad and postgrad study in music and then spending my life’s savings on violins, pedals and musical instrument insurance, part of me dies every time someone says “Hey, can you copy your entire iTunes library on to my computer?” An ENTIRE library??? Seriously! (Sorry that was pretty rantish)
So to answer your question, the difference seems to lie in the appreciation for what it is that friends are sharing.
You must answer this question honestly or we steal your rider. What was the first gig you went to? Where was it and what was the venue?
Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill at the Geelong Celtic Festival when I was in Primary School. I loved it. I went with my whole family and we were reunited with that experience again when the duo played East Brunswick Hotel a couple of years ago. It will remain a special moment ‘til the day I die.
What’s your favourite site to download music from and do you ever pay for it? Can we find any of your releases there?
I was late to jump on the iTunes bandwagon but I love it. It’s easy. I tend to pay for all the music I listen to these days unless it’s free. My music is also up there.
What artist made you want to pick up an instrument and/or sing?
I kind of just found it by myself.
Have you ever been arrested?
Do you have any particular ritual before you go on stage, or even a lucky charm you take with you?
No ritual, although I am trying to get into the habit of doing vocal warm-ups these days – they really work! But I will say that I have a weird superstition that tends to take over common sense at really important, big gigs that I do. Basically, I have this belief that if I am happy and calm and okay before a big gig then it will go really badly. So I run around being stressed and anxious on the day of the gig, about 35% because I’m genuinely nervous and worried and 65% because I’m scared that if I don’t, then I’m not taking the event seriously enough. I hope revealing that hasn’t just caused some gigantic ripple in superstition land.
Because it’s more fun to do things together, which living Australian artist would you most like to collaborate with? Tell us why?
I’d love to arrange all of my songs for string orchestra and have the ACO play it with The Twoks.
Right, let’s get really intimate. Tell us what releases you have that we can listen to with the lights down low, or even better, where we can see you play in person next.
The Twoks just launched our EP “240 Volts” which should be up on iTunes soon. It’s definitely up here: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thetwoks1 And as for where you can see us play next, come to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August and we will be there playing in a gorgeous big tent called the Dans Palei.