Fig, Spice & Sounds – Artist Interviews
This month on Mojo Junction we are paying tribute to the humble yet glorious fig. We caught up with a few talented musicians from around Australia and quizzed them about their experiences and associations with figs. As for me, I love the old Italian imagery of the fig, pink and blossoming, and poetically (and sometimes unpoetically) compared to the beauty of lady parts. Blush.
Fiery gypsy and bohemian singer, Felicity Lawless stimulates the senses and elevates the soul with music fusing gypsy, world, rock and folk elements. Her sound is characterised by flashy fingerpicking, soaring vocal melodies and hypnotic rhythms blended with uplifting lyrics to inspire and raise the energetic vibration. She performs with an energy that infuses her crowds with enthusiasm and joy.
Tell us about your first fig experience… My first fig experience was dried. I was so enchanted that I ate so many and it did funny things to my belly. Then I realised when I added the fine fig to my superfood-fruit-nut magical smoothie breakfast, the texture was the most exquisite of all the ingredients! And then came the discovery of the fresh fig—aaah, bliss.
If you could give the fig an entirely new name— what would it be? Pass the parcel, seed-filled castle.
If you could marry a fig with any spice, what spice would you choose? Sexy cinnamon.
Figs— best in a sweet or savoury dish? Figs literally forced me to eat sweet food for breakfast out of pure delight and helped my plight of vegan light.
And lastly, if you could put a soundtrack to the feeling of devouring a fresh fig, what would it be? Well it would be a Felicity Lawless song of course… Gypsy/rock with some Spanish overtones. Now I have to go and write that song—whee!
Simon Jerrems is the lead singer of the internationally respected Australian Reggae band, FYAH WALK. Fyah Walk is an eight-piece band with brass section, three-part harmonies and strong lyrical messages. Hailing from the Northern Rivers region, Fyah Walk band-members have been together for seven years touring Australia and have just released their third album in 2014, ‘Spirit Fyah’.
Tell us about your first fig experience… Still trying to ‘fig’ure it out, ha ha! It was on a plate of dried fruits. I ate it and was utterly surprised by the unique texture and taste considering my under-ten experience and relatively undeveloped palette.
If you could give the fig an entirely new name—what would it be? Amber Candy.
If you could marry a fig with any spice, what spice would you choose? Vanilla bean.
Figs—best in a sweet or savoury dish? Sweet Dish, most definitely.
And lastly, if you could put a soundtrack to the feeling of devouring a fresh fig, what would it be? ‘No Bones No Blood’ by Jah Sun. Turn this one up! http://youtu.be/K6Sdmax1s8Q
Mal Webb (Melbourne, Australia), is a multi-instrumentalist and performs both solo and also in various groups in the Australian music scene. Webb is known for an eclectic range of musical styles, techniques and his adventurous vocal talents, which include sideways yodeling, beat-boxing and overtone singing. When performing solo, he often uses a loop recorder as well as playing guitar, trombone, slide trumpet, chromatic harmonica and the mbira. His most recent credits include doing the music for Woodley (ABC TV), collaborating with Jim Moynihan (Spoonbill), with whom Webb often performs. In 2012, he recorded brass for Charlie Mgee’s Formidable Vegetable Sound System and has been regularly touring with that group since then.
Tell us about your first fig experience? I was little, it was dried and I was not comfortable with the experience. Better next time though.
If you could give the fig an entirely new name—what would it be? EmoFlower, because a fig is actually a flower that blossoms inwardly, and a little wasp (Chalcidoidea) burrows into it to fertilise it.
If you could marry a fig with any spice, what spice would you choose? Well, if only one, I reckon allspice (pimento).
Figs—best in a sweet or savoury dish? Sweet, but not sickly so.
And lastly, if you could put a soundtrack to the feeling of devouring a fresh fig, what would it be? Second movement of Prokofiev’s 2nd violin concert. Mmm!
Dan Brown, based in Lennox Head, Northern NSW, is one of the region’s most celebrated and widely known keyboard players. He masters everything from Jazz to classical to funk, soul and R&B. Known for his flamboyant soloing style and infectious enthusiasm on stage, Dan Brown has played with a plethora of well-known bands both nationally and internationally. Over the past few years he’s enjoyed rocking out with the likes of Pete Murray, Shelly Hughes, Red Bantoo, Aurora Jane, Fyah Walk and a host of other fabulous musicians.
Tell us about your first fig experience… I had an awesome tree in Bex Hill, where I lived in Northern NSW, and l would do fig and ginger jam. My mum also used to make individual little sockettes for her figs to keep bats and bugs off them—I’ve helped her peg them on a few times.
If you could give the fig an entirely new name—what would it be? Figgles.
If you could marry a fig with any spice, what spice would you choose? I’d say ginger, love that jam (also with lime, brown sugar and scotch, that’s pretty much the recipe ).
Figs—best in a sweet or savoury dish? Hmm. You might be able to fig-ure it out now.
And lastly, if you could put a soundtrack to the feeling of devouring a fresh fig, what would it be? Miles Davis playing a ballad.
Concept & interviews by Carla Versitano