Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, music group Topology are set to re-visit their house concert beginnings with the release of 'Tortured Remixes' a new full length 'mixtape' album being launched through this years Anywhere Theatre Festival.
“We've been doing this since '98. Back in the late '90s we had a residency in Ric's Bar in the Valley and that's when we started doing this,” Christa Powell (a member of the group) says when I ask about their 'Tortured Remixes' show and the launch of the album of the same name as part of that show."
“The album is a collection of our favourite songs going back as far as the '60s. They're not covers. We torture them, we bend them, we stretch them and we take them somewhere new. The word 'topology' actually means an object that can be bent or stretched without changing the original properties, so we apply that to our tortured remixes, so the original song is in there. Some are further away from the original than others, some are very recognisable and some are hardly recognisable at all depending on which composer's brain they've been through.”
It's a format that clearly works. They have toured nationally and internationally, worked alongside the likes of Geoffrey Rush and The Kransky Sisters and were nominated for a 2014 ARIA Award for best album. When I ask Christa what we can expect at the 'Tortured Remixes' show, she says “basically just some really fun music. It'll be a great night. I love Anywhere Theatre Festival, it's such a great festival.”
“I think what they're doing for Brisbane is fantastic, I think Brisbane is the perfect city for it. You find a lot of musicians move away and come back to Brisbane all the time because it is such a collegial atmosphere and that's what I like about this festival. It's really embracing that everyone is really helping each other out and there's no competition.”
While talking about the Brisbane arts scene, Christa says “I feel like Brisbane is going back to the '90s, and in the '90s there was a great underground scene, there were people doing things in sheds and church halls and anywhere really and what I love about Anywhere Theatre Festival is it's really going back to that great time. You know everyone would do their hand written posters and stick them on light posts and that's how you'd hear about things. I tell my students that's how we used to promote shows without the internet and my students go 'what? How?'.”
“We've got a really great younger generation of musicians and artists coming through doing similar things now and really finding pockets of great venues.”
“Theatre venues are really excluding independent artists I think, and that's not on purpose, it's just because of the way funding is... And everyone's strapped for cash and I mean they've got to make their own money as well but independent artists can't really put on shows and have 48% of their box office taken.”
So it is no surprise that this festival drew Topology in as a platform to release their newest album.
"We wanted to go back to our roots. In the '90s we would do our concerts anywhere we could find that we could put on a show.”
'Tortured Remixes' plays Vulcana Women's Circus Studio on 11-12 May.