Here’s one of the more exciting things I’ve been working on while I’ve been away. The record label Elefant Traks is a great Australian institution, founded by The Herd over a decade ago and supporting top-class Australian music and writing ever since.
A few months ago I joined forces with Ozi Batla on a new project. He assembled a supergroup under the ET aegis, with members of The Herd and Metabass joined by ace rapper The Tongue, soul singer Candice Monique, and spoken word legend Adam Gibson. The whole crew is heading to Newcastle in a couple of weeks to offer an intensive workshop combining writing with music. And it’s free.
This is part of the National Young Writers Festival, which I’m co-directing, so all kinds of writers are welcome. Rappers could get involved, but so could short story writers, poets, slammers, spoken word artists, anyone else who says things aloud. Quiet or loud, cynical or sincere. We want to find people who don’t think their style belongs here, and make it belong here. I’ve always been interested in working with music, but never really had the opportunity to follow it up. So I wanted some writers to get that opportunity, to work with some of the best musicians in the business, and people who really understand how to blend speech and sound.
Spaces in this workshop are extremely limited – as few as 10, a max of 15. So you need to sign up ahead of time. If you are a writer who’d be into this, or know a writer who’d be into it, get them to sign on. This is an unprecedented chance to work with this calibre of musician, in depth, at no cost.
The workshops will run over two full days, on Friday 28 and Saturday 29 September. You’ll develop your work in small groups, with support from the rappers, singers, and musicians on staff. Then on the Saturday night, you’ll perform the finished product, with the Elefant Traks band backing you up, at the NYWF Saturday Night Ball. Your work will be recorded for posterity. You’ll need to get yourself to Newcastle, but this is something well worth travelling for.
Recording a piece with Elefant Traks is a pretty special opportunity, but you need to apply, and REALLY soon. Send an expression of interes to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a sample of your work. An mp3 of you reading would be handy, text will do if that’s not possible, both would be ideal. Quality isn’t an issue, just record a voice note on your phone and send us that. Something that gives us an idea of your style.
We’ll let you know if you’ve got a place ASAP. Do it. Or tell someone else to. As the great sage Marshall Mathers warned us, you only get one shot…