tunesday - an interview with antony hegarty & melbourne festival

by georgia frances king

Hold your breath, count to ten, and breathe out again. We're super thrilled to bring you a little excerpt from a chat we had with none other than Antony Hegarty, lead singer of Antony & The Johnsons.

Coming back to Australia for the Melbourne Festival not only with a phantasmagorical, exclusive, orchestra-backed double performance, but also an exhibition of their new work and a documentary, Melbourne Festival this year really does seem like the Antony Festival (which we don't mind just one bit).

However, before we get into Antony's triple bill of awesomeness, there are some other rad Melbourne Festival events we reckon you might like. Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore (who also fronts our dreams) will be wooing even the toughest of hearts on October 25th, his bandmate Lee Ronaldo's solo project is the night before, local jazz junkie Brous is playing Thursday and Theesatisfaction and Big Freedia & The Divas are described as being "soul-quaking booty shaking", which sounds like our idea of a good night out on October 18th. Plus if you're a theatre, dance or film fan, their program is completely expansive and completely amazing - have a peep here to get down to something between the 11th and 27th this month.

Antony's involvement at the Melbourne Festival is threefold: Swanlights, a transmorphic concert spectacular originally only intended for a one-off performance at New York's Radio City Music Hall, Paradise, a fresh collection of Antony's drawings, paintings and paper creations, and Turning, a collaborative documentary with legendary doco maker Charles Atlas exploring the lives of 13 women.

It's the holy trifecta, really, and we were so thrilled when Antony had a little chat to us about it:

"There's not a common narrative thread between the works," he said demurely, "but in essence they have a similar resonance. They're all investigations looking into something, gazing deeply into it in a very contemplative and almost metaphysical way. It allows a very creative reverie and looks for a stillness or luminosity within the feminine, in nature, and seeking to connect to that luminosity and sense of joy. There is a sense of connectedness that might even be a crying feeling, might be a suffering feeling. It might be sorrow, but it's the feeling of being alive. And especially of being alive, now, in this world, today, facing what we're facing. So there's something quite wholesome about it."

"The visual work is a bit more coded in a way, and yet it's an unfurling of space. It's my working more internally with processes that I try to manifest more externally in performance."

"They definitely are connected in the value system that informs the work. It seeks to connect to a feminine, spiritual archetype in a way. And that is synonymous with [how] spirituality and nature are the same thing. So in a way, it's the stuff that you could learn a lot more about from your own indigenous population than you can learn from me."

Oh, Antony Hegarty: you make us look deeper inside ourselves than we ever dared to look. More from Melbourne Festival here.

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