HI GOD PEOPLE interview in Sauce magazine, Feb 2006

What have you been up to today?

Julian visited me at work, probably scaring my co-workers. I told him he looks like a Centurion in that photo I sent you and accused him of having Roman ancestors, coming as he does from the north of England. He took my camera to photograph a drain in Moonee Ponds for the cover of his forthcoming solo album. Dylan contacted us. Dion is silent today.

What about in the last month?

We taped a half hour show for channel 2. The photo I sent you is from the taping. I hope we make it to air. One of the guys there thought we looked like Godspell - a strange, sick Godspell. We are the Not Quite Right Shop of music.

Your bio which was great by the way describes you as "a performance group from a diseased dimension". Which dimension would that be, and why?

The dimension thing reminds me of the Fall song "Just Step Sideways". Glenn from Volvox used to talk about earth being a prison planet controlled by aliens from Planet X. Dave Graney talks about dimensions too. It's just a different way of looking at things. We are renters, but viewed from the right angle we are sound artists. It's like a horror movie every now and again 5 or 10 people scattered around the northern suburbs stop what they're doing and assemble to form HGP.

What's the meaning behind the band's name?

It's the name of a Christian cult from the 70s. They made music acoustic guitar songs like nursery rhymes with kids singing along in the chorus - like a religious Sesame Street. Older readers may have participated in that kind of music at Sunday School. They meant "Hi, God!", as in "hello". They put out a few LPs, and sure enough we found one in an op shop - the cover's worth a look. You can find them in Google, though we tend to swamp them now. Karma would have a religious band in the future use the name.

Your upcoming EP is called "Terra Australis Incognita" what can you tell us about that?

It's a bit complicated: the EP is really called "Shortwave Children", but it's part of a series of EPs that the Melbourne label Shame File is releasing over the span of a year or two. The series is called Terra Australis Incognita (Latin for something like "unknown southern land"). The bands in the series are from the Australian underground music scene. The EPs are available on cd or by mp3 download from Shame File.

We made the EP by mixing together a recording we did at radio 3CR in Collingwood with a recording of a show we did at the Rob Roy in Fitzroy. We were supporting the KES album launch, so we did a Not Quite Right guitar-and-harmonies show. I think you will find the EP is quite unusual and yet musically pleasant to listen to. There"s a lot of vocal sound on it.

What other musical projects are the Hi God People involved in, and how do the Hi God People differ from them?

We're from quite diverse musical backgrounds and when we come together there is discomfort and pain as we collide unpredictably. Dion is currently enjoying chart success with his band Panel of Judges, edging out John Farnham from the number one spot with his new album 'No Scandal No Future In Heaven'. Julian has played in indie rock bands, releases a lot of solo music, and puts on strange plays in strange locations. Dylan plays in computer-music duo Snawklor and plies his drawing trade in art galleries and on posters and T-shirts. I operated the band New Waver in the 90s (cd out soon) and am fortunate to have played in some crazy groups.

HGP at the Hobart Fringe opening party You're performing at the Fringe Festival. Do you feel that you belong there? What would be the ultimate show for the Hi God People?

I think if you're going to the Fringe you're expecting something a bit experimental that may or may not work and that's probably the right frame of mind in which to experience the HGP. We're aware of the Tasmanian music scene and know people there so it will be interesting for us too.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the making of the AC-DC video where they played on a truck driving down Swanston Street. That could be a good show format for HGP. Myers in Bourke street are having performance artists in their shop window during the Commonwealth Games why weren't we asked? We could make your workplace Christmas party end early.

In that notorious bio of yours, it claims that you want to create a "symphony for senses other than sound". Which senses did you have in mind? Smell?

We did that in a restaurant venue in Melbourne last year. Due to limited time we covered only three senses - sound, taste, and touch though the sense of embarrassment got a good run as well. You can use speakers to deliver sound to an audience, but taste and touch require people to run around with plates and containers, which made us indistinguishable from the waiters.

Your first album was on Varispeed, and your second was on Spill. Why the label changes?

Varispeed was Jon Dale's label in the 90s. After releasing our cd he sensibly closed down the operation and started a new one. Spill is my bedroom label. Saying our cd was on Spill is code for "Greg paid for the cd pressing".

What's next for you?

Tea break then back to my filing.