100 PICTURES | 100 STORIES // Azaria Byrne

How would you describe your practice?
Life is art and art is life.

I’m in a rock band and I have been lucky enough to travel the world. We work together, write together, live together and tour together. We have thrown ourselves in the deep end.

How did you first start & why?
With music… I was a bit of a nerd. I stuck at it in my room and learnt all the instruments. I was lucky enough to win an award to go to art school. I finished that and because I had recorded all this stuff in the meantime, we got signed to a major label. I recorded everything myself and used that as a communication for what I wanted to do creatively. I find that art, music, writing, painting… it doesn’t really matter what medium it is, it’s all a form of communication. The bass player was my highschool sweetheart and we are like family, we bounce off each other. Music is about being part of something bigger. You can’t walk away. You go on the ride WITH the viewer. I was attracted to that, as well as putting myself in a challenging position and getting over my fears of anxiety.

What revives your creative spirit?
Stepping away from it actually. Getting out of the bubble of my own mind. Being a citizen of the universe and continually learning things. I really love building as well – my friends own clubs in Sydney, where they let me smash up shit and rebuild it. I get a lot of satisfaction from it and feel very lucky to be able to have that opportunity to learn new trades by process.

What keeps you going with your music?
Tomorrow you could write a song that means something to someone. Having a common interest and passion for doing these huge crazy things… like jumping on a plane to play a festival and then those people overseas connecting with you because of the song.

We’re just nature – some days it’s a down day and other days you can see a doorway to the other dimensions. It’s the investigation of that, which keeps me going.

What is the last dream you remember?
It was a mate that I’m not friends with anymore and the whole dream was about me having to beat him off with a crow-bar. It was a violent dream. Not the loving kind that you want.

Do you have any regular or daily rituals?
I need a coffee and a cigarette *laughs*… but I’m trying to get into positive rituals like yoga and meditation.

What are your other creative outlets?
I spend a lot of time doing abstract painting. I find that with people when you first meet them they are very refined and clear, but when you get really physically and within their mind and soul, they are actually quite abstract. But at the same time it’s beautiful.

What props did you bring to the shoot? Why?
I wanted to bring a weapon. I brought a crowbar and a war hammer, which has the little teeth and I wanted to do the peace sign to show the war and peace juxtaposition.

What is the hardest thing about your practice?Not to be so sensitive! Everything in this world is a manifestation of your mind. Even though you’ve put a lot of time and thought into something, you also can’t be too precious about the music and art. You need to keep moving. But at the same time dedication is needed. So it’s a balance and it’s hard to know what to let go of and what to spend time on and stay dedicated to. But that’s the important thing of any artist right? Is choosing those moments. You gotta know when to hold ‘em know when to fold ‘em.

What has been the most significant moment for you creatively so far?
For me personally, it’s when a band that you worship asks you to support them or tour with them. It’s more of a retrospective thing though. At the time it’s kind of stressful actually! It’s a reflection afterwards. Beforehand it’s surreal. It’s like ‘what the fuck!’ – you have moments when you talk to other musicians and they’re envious, but you’re just thinking “oh man… you have no idea, I was like homeless and broke.” – but then you just realise… “Yeah man I got to do those things…and…also… now i’m not homeless any more.” *laughs*

How do you find motivation or find what you are going to work on next, how do you start the process of writing a new song?
With songs, it just comes straight away, that’s free flowing, but with a band there’s four ideas coming into the process. I try to focus or look on things that didn’t work or make me feel good. And then make a new path or channel that will work this time.

If money were no object, or it didn’t exist, what would you do?
I would think this world has some sanity to it, instead of just being owned by the banks! Whether I’ve been in a good place with money or not, I’ve always created art. This is the language that we speak.

What do you see yourself doing, when you are say… 63?
I wanna sit on a porch.. Like on King Street and randomly shout out out crazy nutball things to people as they walk past… i’ll be entertaining myself mostly. I’ll be knowing that I’m playing the crazy guy, but it will be for their entertainment as well. Just to be a glimpse of imagery in their lives. The sanest person I’ve ever seen, was when I was a kid, and there was a guy screaming “wrong, it’s all wrong!!” – and i just thought “he makes more sense than anyone!”….turns out that he was angry that the pub wasn’t open. That crazy guy was a genius. It’s a ripple effect.

What are you currently working on / what’s coming up for you?
I’m currently working in the art department of the new Aliens film. So I’m working on that which is a lot of hours and I’m loving seeing the results! In the music world we are touring in October, and hopefully release our new album… finally!

What does “Create or Die” mean to you?
It’s like Do or Die. Make love or Fuck off. Create or go home. Just fuck off. Be in the matrix be out of the matrix.

~ Portrait by Chrissie Hall / Conversation with Deb Morgan / as part of Create or Die’s 100 Stories Project ~

Azaria Byrne_Photographer-Chrissie-Hall-Writer-Deb-Morgan

 

 

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