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Buffing Up With Bob Corbett

Written by Michael Carr on September 15, 2008

With more upcoming gigs than a junky has scabs, Music Feeds sat down with Bob Corbett to discuss his intense performance regime, looping and what could have been.

MF: So you’ve got a lot of gigs coming up, are you working out, you know getting in shape?

Bob: Yeah, I’ve been watching a lot of Hip-Hop Abs infomercials whilst keeping up a hearty intake of corn chips. The list of gigs that you refer to doesn’t include my part-time bands in Newcastle. Add them to the list and I have upwards of 57 shows before years end. I just like to play lots of gigs. I wear it as an insane badge of honour. I actually get sore when I don’t play.

MF: Are you excited about your residency at Bar Me?

Bob: Yes I am, it marks my first residency in Sydney. I will be performing there for one Sunday a month until the end of the year. Bar Me is a basement room that has a magical energy. It’s an old jazz cellar in Broughman Street, Kings Cross, which is just off William Street. I’ve been told that Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan have performed there back in the day. So it’s not only a unique and vibey room, it has heaps of history attached to it as well. My run of shows starts on Sunday, 14th September, at 6pm and I will be launching my album and brand new band on Sunday October 24th. Very exciting.

MF: You love your loops, what inspired you to start using them?

Bob: I first saw someone use live looping in Melbourne in 2003. It was a complete epiphany for me. For a long time I had wanted to move away from the infamous introspection that a lot of singer-songwriters are known for. Looping brings a unique energy to my performance; it makes a show of it and bridges the gap that divides a lot of singer-songwriters with their audience.

There is a nervous energy with creating live loops, if I come in half-baked then all the audience gets is this pissy loop going around and around all song, reminding us all that anything less than a 100% will not do. The process inspires me to deliver the best performance I possible can. I think this attitude helps break the ice with everyone in the room. People generally appreciate this.

MF: When you write a song like ‘One Song’, or ‘Just Leave Me’, do you write all the parts first then go about working them together or do you jam with yourself?

Bob: ‘One Song’ and ‘Just Leave Me’ illustrates two of the many different ways that looping can work in the creative process. ‘One Song’ had been written long before I started looping. It was a demo that was floundering in the back of my hard drive until I retro-fitted the looping to it. It was like watching a grub turn into a butterfly.

On the other hand, ‘Just Leave Me’ was completely born from a loop jam. I started with the rhythm and layer by layer it grew into the song that it is today. I still have the original recording of the jam, the song slowly took shape over a non-stop 40 minute jam.

MF: You’ve already won a spate of awards for song writing, what else would you like to win an award for?

Bob: I’d like to win “The dude that did it his way and still managed to feed his family” Award. That would make me very proud indeed.

MF: You’ve been and will continue to play at ‘ARTcoustic Thursdays at the Abercrombie Hotel’, what is it about the night that keeps you coming back?

Bob: Anything that nurtures the expression of music and the arts is something that I want to be a part of. ‘ARTcoustic Thursdays at the Abercrombie Hotel’ is exactly that. I want to support people that have the where-with-all to create events like this. There is also nothing better than to play to an audience that appreciates what you work hard to express.

MF: What superpower would you most like to have?

Bob: I would like the ‘no hangover’ superpower. That way I’d could drink as much beer as I like and never have to suffer the consequences. Of course, I would only use this power for good, and not evil. Cheers!

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