Q+A

Q+A with Rich Webb

Troubadour Rich Webb is back with a brand new single Love Someone, a heartfelt and vulnerable track inspired by the poor treatment of asylum seekers in Australia.  The moving song is released today, and is accompanied by a stunning animated video that illustrates the plight of those affected by war, seeking a safe place to start their lives over.  The expressive video was animated by Matthew Lawes-Wickwar of Other Brother Studios in the UK.   

This talented songwriter, who has won a slew of awards including Alt-Country Album Of The Year and Alt-Country Single Of The Year at the Independent Music Awards in 2019, is seasoned, classic and refined, yet remains observant, contemporary, and interesting as he continues to develop his sound with each release.  Love Someone, co-produced alongside Rohan Sforcina (Bernard Fanning,Kate Miller-Heidke) and released on Rich’s own record label All Killer Music, is the first taste of Rich’s new album.  The LP has no release date yet, but if Love Someone is anything to go by, it will be a beautiful collection of tracks that come right from the heart.  We caught up with Rich for a quick Q+ A

Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?

Nothing spesh, but it was pretty good all the same. My best days are often the ones without anything special in them. The weather in Melbourne was lovely as I walked our two lads to school this morning. I worked a little, made my partner lunch, worked some more, then picked them up. I chatted with a mate in the street on the way there, chatted with a couple of Dads doing the same at school, and then listened to some demos from an older mate I used to play with yonks ago when I got home. We found out a few days ago that we have to move out of our rental here because the landlord wants to sell and retire. It was a bit of a bombshell after 10 years plus. These things happen and it’s all good, but that’s also why I did fleetingly think about places we might move to and had visions of moving to the coast somewhere. Shoes were off and I could feel the sand under my feet for a moment there. Will probably never happen but was damn nice to think about. Then, after watching the news and deciding the world was even more fucked than yesterday, I sat down to talk to you guys. 

Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for? 

Pretty much forever. My first show was when I was as a nipper backing Mum on guitar in church. Mum had a fabulous voice and sang most of her life. I played in some fine bands in the UK before coming out to Australia. Played in some fine bands when I got here too, and then started doing my own stuff, as much because a lot of the songs I was writing weren’t fitting anywhere else. Pre-COVID, I was heading across to Europe, Germany in particular, once or twice a year, and playing with some brilliant musicians over there. Pretty keen to see that come back.

Who are your greatest inspirations?  Why?

In terms of music, my folks for sure. They had such wide-ranging taste, from Joan Baez to The Who via Johnny Cash, and were big into classical, choral and opera music. My brothers and I got taken to Sheffield City Hall to see some amazing classical performances when were kids – the power of an orchestra in full flight is still pretty much impossible to beat. In terms of the everyday, I’m inspired by people who can just get up and go every day and live in the moment – regardless of what’s just happened to them or the mountain ahead. I’ll take a bit of that.  

How do you create music?  Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first?  Explain your process.

For me, they come in all shapes and sizes and in lots of different ways. Mostly though, I sit down with a guitar and put a song together, lyrics and melody at the same time. If you don’t think too hard, that can work best. But I have notebooks everywhere with ideas. I’ve written to piano lines, drum beats. I’ve sung into my phone in the shower. I’ve found you have to finish stuff fairly quickly, or you lose that vital something that was making it work in the first place. This though is as much as I know.

What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?

Time. There never seems to be enough of it. I want 36 hour days, and I want em now!

Tell us about your new release Love Someone, how did it come about?

So, to totally contradict what I just said before, I wanted to write a song that directly addressed our appalling treatment of asylum-seekers and refugees. I was looking for a way into the subject and realised the only way for me to do this was to find what I couldn’t understand about our country’s response. I needed a simple song about the need for love and empathy for someone else. All humans deserve to live peacefully, and be treated with empathy and respect, wherever they may be and wherever they may be from. That’s not how we’ve been treating asylum-seekers and refugees who turn up here needing our help and support.

What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?

Just go for it and don’t be worried about anything. None of the things you think you don’t know matter anyway. Every artist regardless of how long they have been doing it, is still starting out every day. So, back yourself and have the confidence to allow yourself to create something brilliant. I hope you do. 

Tell us your favourite Zen practice.

I had to Google a few things to find out what might qualify, which is probably not the best start to this question – but it seems I do a couple of Zen practices pretty much every day. I always open a window in any room I’m in if I can, and struggle to sleep in places with sealed windows and aircon. I also love walking and do it every day. This question has made me feel better already!

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