Ned Collette: ‘The songs came from a brilliant anarcho-buddhist-free-jazz guitar teacher I had as a teenager’

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Ned Collette: ‘The songs came from a brilliant anarcho-buddhist-free-jazz guitar teacher I had as a teenager’

Ned Collette

We chat to Ned Collette ahead of his gig at The Brunswick Ballroom on March 24.

What inspired you to pursue a career in music and how did you get your start as a singer/songwriter?
I actually had a budding career in customer service benchmarking but felt I should probably pursue something more demoralising, so I chose music in the 21st century. The songs came from a brilliant anarcho-buddhist-free-jazz guitar teacher I had as a teenager, who told me if I wrote some almost inaudible songs and sat in the corner at parties people might find me interesting. He stressed the word “might.”
How do you feel your music has evolved over time and what themes or ideas do you explore in your latest work compared to when you first started to release music?
I first started putting words to music as a way of comprehending the shitty direction the world was taking. As we were all exactly right about where this direction would take us, the ideas have been stuck in an evolutionary dead end. My first record Jokes & Trials was recently reissued though, which I guess means some of the ideas held. Maybe that’s as important as them developing? I don’t know. Maybe there were just more love songs. Love doesn’t date. I’ll be playing a bunch from that at the Brunswick Ballroom gig on March 24.


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How do your collaborations with other artists and your work in bands inform your creative process and solo work, and what have been some of your favourite collaborations to date?
It really depends on the piece and the person and the context – it’s always different. With the songs, mostly I have a pretty clear idea in place before I get other people involved, and usually ask them dependent on something they can do that I can’t. In this respect I’ve been sending songs to Mick Turner for the last year or so. I’ve been hugely inspired by his guitar playing for a long time and seeing as we’ve played together in different contexts for a while it was definitely time to get him on a record. Mick’s sound is instantly recognisable and inimitable, which is a tremendous feat for a guitarist. He really paints with it, no doubt because he’s also a great painter. Same goes for the pianist Chris Abrahams, who I’ve also been working with the last five years or so.
What do you enjoy most about performing live and how has the experience of touring and playing shows evolved over the course of your career?
It’s being in a room together, sharing something that only exists right then. Or, as the great drummer Steve Heather put it during lockdown, “I need someone to clap at me.” Remember all those zoom gigs? Ugh. And like everything, touring has devolved into an anaemic reflection of the multicoloured “realities” of the internet. At the Melbourne show I’m throwing the stage open to my friends Leah Senior and Michael Beach. I love both of them and their respective musics, so we’re going to hop on each other’s songs and try to conjure up some sort of lovely, momentary chaos.
What inspired the move to Berlin? How have you found living there and how does it differ from your experiences living in Melbourne?
It was probably a move away from everything I’d known more than a move to Berlin specifically, but the short answer is Germany offered accessible visas for freelance artists, which wasn’t the case anywhere else. Living in Berlin is great, the main difference being these two kids I have there, whom I don’t remember having in Melbourne.

Grab tickets to Ned Collette’s show at The Brunswick Ballroom by heading here

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This article was made in partnership with The Brunswick Ballroom