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Shaman - Audio Travellers

Author: Cyclone
Friday, 28 September 2007
Don’t be scared of the name Audio Shaman. They’re not obscure psy-trancers with the prerequisite hippy artwork. Audio Shaman have, in fact, created the lushest balearic sounds this country has yet produced. If you love Jose Padilla’s classic Cafe Del Mar compilations, Audio Shaman’s welcome traveller is for you. Interview by 3D’s Cyclone.

The pair from Surfers Paradise, Queensland are relative newcomers. Carey O’Sullivan isn’t an experienced interviewee and, at times, is nervous.
O’Sullivan befriended Paul George, an acoustic guitarist, in high school. They were both into flamenco guitar as well as, conversely, computer-generated music.

“We went off to do different stuff over the years, but we always come back together and we seem to have a knack of meeting up again and starting something new,” O’Sullivan says.

The mates continue to perform in a second more uptempo band, Tijuana Cartel. (They released the LP Frequent Flyers.)

“Paul and I have done lots of different bands over the past, from hard rock to hip hop – all kinds of stuff,” he says. “You can actually hear a lot of the influences in our music.”

O’Sullivan and George, into world music, conceived Welcome Traveller while exploring the planet. Still, with its cross-cultural pollination and contemporary electronics, Welcome Traveller transcends any ‘world beat’ stereotypes.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in India lately, which is really cool ’cause there’s some fantastic musicians out there,” O’Sullivan enthuses. “They’ve been studying since they were six or they don’t play at all - they can’t afford to be part-time.”

Earlier, George laid down the album’s guitar in rural France – “his father owns a villa in the countryside” – before reuniting with O’Sullivan. They then stayed in London. And so Welcome Traveller has been years in the making.

“Some of the tracks are really quite old – some of them are almost six years-old – and it’s been good to hear them again and rehash them and put them together with some of the new stuff that we’ve been doing.”

O’Sullivan is perceived as Audio Shaman’s producer, but it’s a role they share – and, in Tijuana Cartel, he plays guitar, too.

Today O’Sullivan is based in Surfers, but contemplating a move to Brisbane, while George is newly settled in Byron Bay. Where does that nomadic impulse come from-

“The Gold Coast is a great place for beaches and all that, but sometimes you just wanna go out there and see the rest of the world – especially when you listen to a lot of music from different cultures and everything,” he says. “You just wanna go out there and experience it for yourself.”

Welcome Traveller was meant to be a one-off, but Audio Shaman now recognise its potential.

“It began by us putting together a lot of the more laidback, chill-out tunes that we’ve done over the years in between other projects,” he says. “But now that we’ve put it all together into one thing, it does seem like something that’d be great to follow on with.”

Audio Shaman will launch Welcome Traveller with a live set in Sydney.

“We’re gonna really push the electronica side of it,” O’Sullivan says. “We’re just finishing off the visual side, which is gonna add some really cool elements to the show.”

WHO: Audio Shaman
WHAT: Welcome Traveller through One World Music
WHEN: Out now