ACT I, PART II
A renaissance man, of sorts, David Bridie is one of Australias
more gifted composers. As a pianist and vocalist, hes worked
hard for a decade-and-a-half underscoring both Not Drowning Waving
and My Friend Chocolate Cake. His debut platter Act Of Free Choice
carries a rare minimalist beauty as its own hallmark.
We should also mention that, with a damp tennis ball in his hand,
Bridie bowls a mean outswinger. Maybe thats what really gives
him that man for all seasons stamp.
Ensconced at a small table in the Cosmopolitan Cafe, Bridie was in
town last week to lend George Telek a hand. This week, Bridie returns
to Brisbane as a solo performer showcasing material from Act Of Free
Its Brisbanes first opportunity to hear music from this
remarkable album in a live context. While keen to maintain the original
mood and texture of the record, Bridie promises well be enjoying
it at a louder and more dynamic level. It wont,
he promises, be like sitting in your lounge room with a CD.
"Some of it kind of takes me back to the halcyon days of Not
Drowning Waving," he offers of the live experience. "Im
enjoying the louder volume on stage. Phil Wales is playing guitar,
and theres a lot of similarities on stage between him and John
Phillips. Michael Barker is a fantastic drummer. The samples and sequencers
are in there, and theres been a fair amount of experimentation
Bridies ambitions for the live shows still allow the artist
to chance his arm with the relatively unknown.
"We want to get a flow and a control over the music, without
being slaves to counting bars," he explains. "I wanted to
keep as much of the texture of the record as possible. Weve
done a few warm-up gigs in Melbourne and I was really pleased with
Unlike much of the work in his back catalogue, Bridie recorded the
material for Act Of Free Choice without the benefit of testing the
songs initially before a live audience.
"Live performance is always a very different animal from the
recording process," he continues. "Songs do grow. The songs
on Act Of Free Choice didnt need to be played live before we
recorded them. Part of the sound of the record is the process by which
it was made.
"The Chocolate Cake records, we nearly always played live beforehand.
This was never like that. Theres no right and wrong way of doing
things. If we hear something in rehearsals that we really like, we
keep an open mind and try and follow that path."
Anyone attending Bridies Brisbane gig can expect to hear the
bulk of the new album, with a couple of surprises thrown in for good
"Were just pulling one song from the back catalogue. Were
doing Dare Not Say A Word from the first Not Drowning
Waving record. Were doing a cover, too, if it gets to an encore,
of Wires Map Reference.
After the success of Bridies recent soundtrack to Bill Bennetts
In A Savage Land, other offers are in the pipeline. Later in the year,
Bridie will again team up with Bennett to work on the soundtrack for
a film set in New Orleans. Ideas for Bridies next solo album
"Im coming up with ideas in a very loose kind of way,"
he explains. "I havent really thought too much about the
next record. Ive no plans to do it in the immediate future.
I want to work on this for quite a while.
"For a long time there had been ideas in my head about making
this record. The year before I recorded it was the most difficult.
I wanted to do something different to what Id done in the past,
and I wanted to grab bits from my past and develop them further. There
was that fear that I wasnt good enough to do something on my
own, and I knew I wouldnt have the support of a band environment.
Once it kind of clicked, it was a really enjoyable record to make.
I never had a day where there was an anxiety attack that something
might be wrong. There was never a bad day. Because of that, I feel
things are setting up for the next record now."
David Bridies Act Of Free Choice is out now through EMI. Bridie
performs at The Tivoli this Thursday June 22.