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Mick Harvey - Growing Diamonds From A Bad Seed

Author: 3D
Friday, 23 November 2007
Mick Harvey – member of the Bad Seeds and birthday party and composer of the scores for Chopper and Suburban Mayhem – is back in Sydney to promote his second solo artist album Two of Diamonds. 3D pulled him aside for a chat.

You’ve just gotten back from a stint in Europe, was that business or pleasure-
Well, it’s always a bit of both if I’m there for any length of time. The recent trip we mixed the new Bad Seeds album, then I played about eight of my own shows in Ireland, Italy and Switzerland. After that I took a little break in France with my family before heading home via Egypt together. I suppose you could call that ALL pleasure if you wanted.

You released a solo album earlier this year, Two of Diamonds; how long has that one been percolating, and do you prefer working solo or in a band-
Two of Diamonds followed pretty quickly on the heels of One Man’s Treasure so it was conceived as a continuation on what I’d started with the first album. Certainly One Man’s Treasure percolated away for many years before I proceeded with the release process. I like working alone but only in short bursts. It can get lonely and is a bit tiring. When it comes to playing music for any length of time it’s much better with a band and having those other ideas and personalities to bounce off.

How did you connect with the other members in your current four-piece-
Rosie (Westbrook) I’ve known for years and had it in mind to ask her along for quite a while. When it came to that moment it was doubly appropriate as I’d decided along the way that double bass was really what I’d like to have backing my “subdued” singing style. I wanted to be able to sing very gently at times and the acoustic, open sound affords one a lot of space. For the Sydney shows I’m being joined by Julitha Ryan and Brett Poliness, who are both in Melbourne band Silver Ray. I’ve known them for years. Silver Ray toured with the Bad Seeds in Europe back in 2004.

Were you pleased to be inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame by Nick Cave recently-
I was more pleased to be inducted by Nick than I would have been to go through the process of accepting the gong from ARIA directly. I must say I usually found the Hall of Fame section of the ARIAs the most cringe-worthy part of the evening anyway. Though I missed the broadcast. Not sure what he actually said, just that everyone else seemed to think it was “really cool”.

Any more film score work on the horizon-

No. I must have put off all the Australian filmmakers by being so opinionated. I think I got worn out putting up with having my music compromised to someone else’s vision. But that’s what has to happen on some level. I’m just not used to compromising at all I guess. I think I needed a break from films at this time.

Finally, what are your plans after this series of shows in support of Two of Diamonds-
Lots of Bad Seeds work, lots of touring next year with The Bad Seeds in Europe and probably North America. I’m also working on the 5.1 mixes of the back catalogue. I think it’s meant to start coming out late next year. Apart from that I should be making a couple of cameos in Sydney in the new year. One with The Triffids at their four-night season during the Sydney Festival in January and the other probably opening for PJ Harvey on her tour in February. Harvey & Harvey!

WHO: Mick Harvey
WHAT: Plays the Vanguard
WHEN: Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 November