premiere: angie hasn’t conquered her fears, but she has made them into a record

The artist and musician’s new album ‘Shyness’ is a meditation on public terror.

by Shannon May Powell
22 March 2017, 1:30am

Musician and artist Angela Garrick has been playing in bands since she was sixteen, securing her place in Sydney's underground music scene before she was out of her teens. Across the years her reputation has grown and evolved alongside her sound, which today sits in a more minimal, instrumental place. Her artworks are also concerned with presenting noises through interactive installations that borrow voices which aren't her own. The combination of the two pastimes means she stands as both a performer and an orchestrator of performances; one moment she is on the outside observing, the next she is centre stage, purging her feelings and terrors. It's also worth noting, Angie is very shy.

For some musicians, performance is a natural inclination, but for Angie that's not the case, she'd rather be reading a book or cooking at home. Luckily for us, her urge to play music is greater than her fear of being on stage. We spoke to the solo musician, just hours before her live show in Sydney, about the ephemeral and cathartic nature of music, and the artistic resilience it takes to bring something into the world despite fear.

Your new album is called Shyness. You have made artworks previously exploring the nature of performance and degrees of shyness. Do you tend to examine the same themes in your visual art as you do in your music?
Yeah I guess my role as a visual artist is to be a kind of wall flower, like the prankster that sets up the scene and then disappears. But with music I'm so present in my performance and my song writing. Most of the works are about trying to illicit performances from those who would not usually see themselves as performs. And a lot of the interactive installations use voice, and to make the artwork work you have to perform otherwise nothing will happen. So it could be seen as a projection of my own musical insecurities. Or my wish for everyone to feel that they can perform too.

How do you feel about performing live?
Well, I'm pretty shy, maybe shy is not the word but as I get older I find performing really difficult. Last time I played a show I did it completely on my own and I felt sick all day, and I'm playing tonight and kind of feel the same. I'm not an extrovert at all. The idea of giving a speech is the most terrifying thing on Earth for me. The idea of playing music is actually terrifying but I want to play so bad that the personality traits that would stop me from doing so are pushed aside.

Is it cathartic though, to play and work through those fears?
Yeah definitely. It's kind of cool, sometimes people from the audience approach me afterwards to ask about the lyrics and although I feel nervous the whole time playing, it's producing a response. I guess I like the idea of music performance as a communication of thoughts. The idea that a very specific thing might have triggered you to create this small moment and then playing it to somebody who then makes their own meaning out of it, that part of it really interests me.

I'm definitely an introvert. My favourite things to do are reading and cooking, but I also love making music. It's the best medium because it can be so ephemeral and connected to your emotions, if you play a show it can be very cathartic and even if it doesn't go very well it still helps you in this weird way and if people enjoy it it also helps them. So, in terms of putting your efforts into something creative it's the best but also writing music is sometimes really difficult.

So Shyness is out this week, how are you feeling about this project being out in the world?
Yeah I feel really good. Stylistically it's very different to my last album but I love that it's different and I couldn't be happier that it's coming out. I'm excited to go and perform the record because I haven't performed it yet. I'm playing a bunch of shows around Australia that are on a grand piano. Even though that sounds wanky as fuck, I'm excited about that.

Check out Angie at upcoming east-coast shows.

Friday May 26 at 107 Projects, Sydney

Saturday May 27 at Ainslie Arts Centre, Canberra

Saturday June 3 at Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne


Text Shannon May Powell
Photography Charles Dennington

Angela Garrick
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