Melbourne-based outfit friendships have indisputably one of the most unique voices in Australian music. With output that inseparably combines music with visual art, they are almost intimidatingly creative.
Despite their ambitious output, friendships are still very much a result of the flourishing musical and artistic scene currently at work in Melbourne.
“We met just as fans of each other’s work. I saw Mish’s work in a gallery and was immediately drawn into it, and started hanging around, and I was talking about putting on a live show, and we started talking about doing some kind of live visual act,” he said.
“It’s kind of just fumbled its way to where it is now, and seems kind of cohesive. I still think there’s a lot of growing to do, I don’t think this is it, like even with technology progressing, we can push it in so many new avenues that aren’t apparent yet.”
It’s in these ‘avenues’ and this unexplored future potential that their great passion for what they do becomes highly apparent.
“Expanding on what we’re doing is key. Morphing the realm of audio and visual together, so it doesn’t seem like an audio act and a visual act, so it’s one complete thing. I think it may come in collaborating across different mediums, like virtual reality would be awesome to venture into, with what we’re doing. It’s just about branching out from what we’re doing, and from live performances, and what live performance is.”
“Expanding beyond music and visual to other realms is definitely where we want to progress and move into,” he continues. “Influences are such a tricky thing. I can’t speak on behalf of Mish, but I’m influenced by music and hearing different incredible things, but I’m definitely influenced by my heritage and growing up. I grew up in country WA, and even clubbing in Melbourne and the nightlife, as well as even my work, like working in the wine industry. I feel like every bit of your life comes through in one way or another, it all seeps in.”
“Looking for new ways to express an old message, or reinvent it using new technology – I think that’s the way to steer it forward. Not being afraid of progressive technology; like it’ll happen and it might sink into people a bit better,” he adds.
“Communication is definitely the key. There are always gonna be new ways to present things, and new ways to present it to an audience.”
While these ideas and concepts will inform friendships’ future, as well as ours, the value they ultimately hold the highest is still creativity.
“I feel like if you’re tunnel visioned about it, you’re just gonna make one type of art and not let those other influences in. That’s where artistry stops and cloning starts. It’s not creating something truly original or individual. That’s probably a bit wanky but…” Nic says with a laugh.
Their desire to keep pushing things forward in an interesting way recently extended to their recent workshop at Melbourne music conference Face The Music, as Nic elaborates.
“With panel discussions, you’re bringing your own piece of the puzzle to it, and I guess it’s such an interesting time to be involved in music and art, because people are waking up what’s happening. In terms of creating safe places and creating inclusive zones, it’s really an interesting time to be in this culture and in this scene, where people are waking up to it, and there’s no room for exclusivity.”
“I don’t know if teaching comes naturally, but I definitely enjoy it. Even if it’s just teaching Ableton, which is something I do on the odd occasion, is something I enjoy. The framework itself is intuitive and particular, like with a program like that, there’s so many ways to tackle it,” he said.
“I’m not really sure what will happen, it’ll be a bit of a surprise, I guess. Mish and I have given lectures before on artist collaborations, so I’m hoping something will happen, that someone will get something out of it.”
Despite their humility, after the release of their superb Nullabor 1988-1989, it’s clear that friendships are one of the most exciting acts to come along in a while – though it’s where they’re going that’s most exciting of all.