Curiouser And Curiouser
A quick chat with Bertie Blackman on the release of â€˜Secrets And Lies Remixedâ€™ reveals her to be darkly quirky, impish and as complexly delightful as her music.
2009 was a big year for Ms. Blackman - among other achievements, â€˜Secrets And Liesâ€™, her biggest step forward as far as electronic experimentation was concerned, won an ARIA for â€˜Best Independent Releaseâ€™.
â€œJust completing that record was huge,â€ she says when asked about a clear highlight for the year. â€œMaking a record is a lot like giving birth - you put absolutely everything you have into it, your soul, heart and sweat and blood. When itâ€™s out of my hands itâ€™s a really odd feeling and I have to shut up a little bit.
â€œThe process of writing is what I love, itâ€™s my favourite part of what I do, so I always cherish that and sink my fangs in when Iâ€™m working.â€
Bertie recently handed â€˜Secrets And Liesâ€™ over to a bunch of (generally) lesser-known producers to tweak her work - what does she think of the results, and were there any big surprises?
â€œI wanted it to be underground and more indicative of where I started with the record. James Weir from Forum 5, a Melbourne DJ, helped me put it together. Itâ€™s not really my world, so I handed the project over a bit. Itâ€™s been a little treat to put out to groove along to, to have sex to ... whatever people want to do with it,â€ she giggles. â€œI might even go and have sex on a dancefloor to it! You should do it - you have sex to it and let me know how it goes.â€
One listen to Blackmanâ€™s lyrics and itâ€™s impossible to miss the ever-present animal imagery - vicious, feeding sharks and clawing birds of prey litter her songs, and it seems that Bertie likes to attach human characteristics to the animal world. Or possibly vice-versa.
â€œIn my imagination, people donâ€™t exist, they are all creatures. I also donâ€™t want you to think I have a sick, weird animal fetish. I donâ€™t, like, have sex with sharks or anything like that. Youâ€™d probably die. Iâ€™m a curious creature and I guess Iâ€™m a bit childlike in the way I approach things, I use a lot of imagination in my work. Probably, subconsicously, the sharks are various parts of the music industry, things like that.â€
Bertie Blackman plays the Surfers Paradise Festival, Surfers Paradise Beach, on Sunday May 2. This is a free event.