Dave Graney knows the Aussie music scene better than most. Since 1978 he has been apart of more than six bands, most notably Dave Graney and The Coral Snakes. As he heads to Malvern to perform as part of Sunset Sounds, he will be performing with his latest outfit Dave Graney and the MistLY.
“I’m playing a solo acoustic guitar, but I might get Clare Moore to sing and play some percussion with me as well. Clare usually plays the drums but I was planning to do it, and so I’m playing songs from over my career,” he says.
With two ARIAs to his name, Graney has never sought fame. Rather, he just tries to make good music. “I’ve always just done my own thing. Some people play music and they’re trying to fit into a genre. Sometimes for older musicians that’s the only way people can see them, like they play roots or blues music. But I’ve always done my own thing and played my own music, so I’m my own genre.”
Interesting is definitely the word you would use to describe Graney’s career, and that’s the way he likes it. “I wasn’t trying to fit into writing for a song. People nowadays, they write songs for triple j or whatever. I don’t come from that world.”
A legend of Aussie music, Graney’s evolution as an artist has naturally stemmed from the post punk era of the ’70s and ’80s. “It’s like coming from a school, and in my book (1001 Australian Nights) I wrote about that. I also come from a very blue collar South Australian town, and so that affected what I did at the beginning of it and where I come from, and so it’s a natural development.”
Graney’s musical partnership with Moore is also fundamental in his creative process, and together they have worked on 30 albums. “Music’s great when you have someone to trust to bounce your ideas off,” he shares. “Your relationships with other people are quiet ephemeral, so it’s good to have something, you know a voice, an opinion you can trust that goes deep and goes beyond that.”
Noting that he has seen the “ebbs and flows” of the industry, Dave gives insight into how it has changed over the last 38 years. “It is a pity now that there’s no music on television…I don’t think the Internet’s been totally good. It’s been probably more bad than good,” says the musician. “It has changed a lot, but it’s all the technology [that is] ripping it apart.”
Even with his wealth of experience, Dave Graney feels removed from the politics of Aussie music. “I don’t feel like I’m apart of an industry at all. You know? I’m just a musician, and I’m always interested in what other musicians are doing. Being a musician is quite crude – it’s pretty shady, it’s dodgy, and you feel like some old guy at the racetrack really.”
That’s Dave Graney – a man who is all about the music, but with a bit of a twist.
“People try to learn about music in schools and classes, but you just have to jump into it, and it’s very undignified for the most part. You have to embrace it and just go with it,” laughs Dave. “It’s silly, and it’s chaotic and unpredictable. And so I like all those things.”