Andrew Chats with Didirri

Andrew Chats with Didirri

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While at SXSW, Andrew made lots of new friends. One of these was Warrnambool’s own Didirri. The two lads sat down for a chat after Gang of Youths’ set at Cheer Up Charlie’s, where they touched upon all things music, life, and pop culture–and even got a surprise visit from RPM’s friend Laurence the Legend!

Andrew: Every great superhero has an origin story, what’s yours?

Didirri: 2 or 3 years of busking, and it gave me radioactive skin…when you’ve had someone rap a meter away from you about how shit you are, you learn just to deal with whatever, to do what you do, and do it well. I’m an ex-juggler, so I definitely use those skills managing my head and heart, as well.

A: What about your musical superpowers?

D: 3 years of jazz piano, 12 years of classical piano, and a few years of musical theatre teaching me how to use the pipes.

A: What shows were you in?

D: Hairspray, Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast…

A: Who’d you play?

D: Gavroche in Les Mis. In Hairspray, I played Wilbur, Edna’s husband, who runs a magic store. I was a magician at the time, so it made sense.

A: So the Christopher Walken character from the movie! Can you do a Walken impression?

D: No. No one can. It’s not a real thing.

A; Hahaha exactly, everyone has one, but no one can do it well.

D: I just can’t get that stutter down. (Tries) Nope, just can’t do it. Don’t even know how he does it.

A: In terms of music, was there ever an album/artist/song that changed the game for you?

D: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road…that album changed me.

A: We’re talking Elton John here, right? Not the Wizard of Oz soundtrack?

D: Exactly. I just fell in love with the idea of writing about real things…I fell in love with Bernie more than Elton, he wrote songs about Elton and said “here Elton, you can sing them…” cutting through the bullshit. I really liked that. Like, “Elton, you can tell everybody that this is your song…it maybe quite simple, but now that it’s done…I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is when you’re in the world.” Bernie wrote that about Elton, and Elton sings it about Bernie. That’s a beautiful relationship. It inspired me to write about something real, even if people don’t get it. Biggest gay love song of all time, and it’s sung at so many straight weddings.

A: Did you ever cover Elton John?

D: A little bit, but I don’t have his vocal range.

A: You do have the voice of an angel, according to Dave from Gang of Youths, and also, the public at large. Is there one in particular that you like? LIke if you were at karaoke…

D: Hold up. Karaoke doesn’t have to fit your range!

A: As someone who’s tried Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” before, I agree.

D: That’s…otherworldly.A: It did not go well. It never does.

D: She changed the game for me too. Hounds of Love inspired me to go into the studio and not take anyone with me. She produced it as well, it was just her–no one else in there. Kate Bush on piano, Fairlight, and vocals. That’s it. She’s the original Tash Sultana. She was looping before looping was a thing. That whole album is a loop station!

A: Kate Bush and Tash Sultana? That would be a fun double bill…

D: I was once part of a Kate Bush flash mob. We all did the “Wuthering Heights” dance in the trademark red dresses.

A: I think I’ve seen a video of that!

D: Have you seen Noel Fielding doing Wuthering Heights in a red dress?

A: Of course I have! I’m a humongous Noel fan, my actual comedy idol.

D: He’s a wizard!

A: Ever take inspiration from non musicians?

D: All the time. Stephen Fry, Tina Fey… both so huge. Intellectually changed me. Fry changed my life by reading Harry Potter to me when I was going to sleep as a kid [on the audiobook], but also his debates and his approach to secularism, being open to everyone but still trying to teach your perspective…Tina Fey is just on her own level, as well.

A: What’s your favorite Tina Fey work?

D: Mean Girls. She’s in her own world. Her writing is astonishing, the way she can connect with an intellectual and a non-intellectual audience at the same time…her and Amy Poehler together always blew my mind. Baby Mama kind of  fell under the radar it was a bit B grade, but they’re doing it cause they love it…when they ripped everyone to shreds at the Golden Globes, that was so funny. I read her memoir Bossypants–I love how that’s Alec Baldwin’s hand on the front cover.

A: Really? I read it too, and I had no idea! Mean Girls is pretty classic. I saw it in theatres with my dad when I was 8 and we both loved it.

D: Exactly what I’m talking about.

A: So your first songs on Triple J Unearthed were “Blind You” and “Jude” in May last year…how long were they kicking around?

D: I wrote “Blind You” the day I recorded it, actually…

A: Sounds like a productive afternoon.

At this point, fellow music superfan and friend of RPM, Laurence the Legend, comes up and says hi to Andrew and Didirri–while wearing a shirt for the band Elbow.

D: Elbow! That’s a fantastic band.

Laurence: One of my all time favorites.

A: I don’t know them!

D: Listen to the album Seldom Seen Kid. It’s incredible.

A: Will do! So how quickly did your life change after uploading those tracks to Unearthed?

D: Straight away. I think [triple J music director Richard] Kingsmill gave “Jude” 4 and a half stars, said it was “one of the best songs he’s ever heard,” and it just took off from there. I met up with Claire and a bunch of other people from Unearthed, they raved about it, and the fans just picked it up from there.

A: Did you expect to make it into the Second Hottest 100 Countdown?

D: Not at all. Didn’t think I had that many fans out there! I was in the studio with my producer when they announced it, we weren’t even listening, we were too busy recording the new single “Formaldehyde”…we cracked a beer when we found out.

A: Where did “Formaldehyde” come from?

D: I was reading about Frida Kahlo…they brought her baby to her in a jar, and I was just amazed at how sometimes it takes such serious guts to take something so horrible that happened to you and turning it into something beautiful. That’s what it’s about. Taking the hurt of losing something, and turning it into something that helps you. I always say: music’s for moving people or making people move…that’s the Didirri slogan! We’re getting socks with them on.

A: I love it. Make sure to get those when they come out!

D: They’re going pretty quickly, so get on ‘em.

A: You heard it here first. Thanks so much for joining us Didi!

D: Thank you for having me!

 

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Find Didirri’s Triple J Unearthed page here, and keep an eye out for his socks.

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