This interview is Part 2 of a 2 part interview series with Edmund Mantelli of Fan Palm. Read Part 1 here.
Words by Thea Martin
A place to share music of all genres and of all levels of completion amongst old friends and new...
on the internet. This is what Melbourne band Fan Palm has created with their livestream weekly gigs, Fan Palm Fridays (FPF). Each week, Fan Palm showcases 2-3 artists within an incredibly diverse line up, featuring everything from folk to indie rock, classical musicians, jazz and more. Here at The Australian Underground, we were lucky enough to host Adelaide cellist Jack Overall on our Instagram for one of these sessions, and the array of music presented has only grown since then!
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has drastically altered the way we consume and interact with live music. The livestream gig has done its best to fill the hole that the traditional gig experience left vacant, but perhaps these sessions are more than just a replacement; and are instead a new concert format that will persist and blend with the way that we consume music going forward. After all, livestream gigs make it easier than ever to showcase musicians of different genres and from different locations in a single 'space,' even if that space is Instagram. This is the concept we explore, as well as the origins of Fan Palm Fridays and much more in the following conversation with Edmund Mantelli, the musician behind FPF in collaboration with Kye Harn Loh. T: As a result of Covid-19, we've seen a huge rise in the number of livestreamed gigs as we look to consume music in different ways. I'm interested in why you felt this was something you wanted to get involved in? E: I wanted to create FPF because I wanted to just do something in general, I think my first idea was to emulate live sessions where each of us record our part... my idea was to release a collection of three songs, but logistically it seemed a bit too difficult to get together and to balance the feeling of authenticity and the live feeling, and also have it not be a complete mess. The inspiration behind FPF was that I was on the phone with my brother... he said if you want to do something, just do it. So I thought ok, I'm going to do it. I saw Isol-aid and thought it was a good idea, so I thought, "what's something that is good for bands like mine and people like me..." I have a lot of friends in bands that are incredible but don't have the popularity of other artists. We deserve a platform to express ourselves too! I wanted to make it feel like a gig, not a festival, I like the idea of a residency. Labelling it as a gig, it doesn't have to be heaps of people who are super well recognised, what I liked about gigging live was being able to send an email to a venue with my recordings and being able to set something up. I wanted to replicate that openness, where anyone can play... whether it be classical... I (had) a jazz trombonist coming on doing some free jazz stuff on the 31st... I really like the idea of being able to give people a place to share whatever they are doing, we can play new songs and demos, and just get stuff out. It gives you a formal context to do something relaxed and inclusive, its just a nice place to share.
T: I like that you use the term residency, because that is what it feels like, there's a sense of continuity...
E: ...And the venue is Instagram, that was the idea. T: I love that! It also makes me think of house shows, obviously a lot of the sets are being filmed in people's houses so it will inherently have that feeling, but the idea of people sharing what they're working on with things still in progress and sharing it very informally... I wish there was more of that in the scene in general regardless of covid! E: For sure, it actually stemmed from a subject at university called Exploring Music that my housemate and I were taking. We looked at an app which was setting up house concerts, and we thought, we could have that at our place... to have that communal experiences of sharing music. It made me really get into the idea of sharing music just for the sake of music, not for capital gain. I think music is very much a business as much as it is an art, and sometimes its good to really remember that it is an art. T: Would you consider hosting FPF live in one location in the future, or do you think there is something unique about having people stream from their own locations? E: I've actually thought about this for when I go back to Brisbane... to group in the house concert idea with FPF, where there would be a feature live from my place. I don't think we're too strict though on the method of doing it, I think to keep it functioning and relaxed we can't have too strict of a form. But I'd definitely like to see us presenting it in different ways in the future. T: What's been a standout moment for you with FPF so far? E: Probably the first gig we had, oh this is convenient (laughs), but it was the first gig we had with classical music included, which happened to be the one that you hosted. (You can check that out here on our IGTV with cellist Jack Overall!) I think that was a real standout moment to see the kind of diversity in that gig in terms of people, expression, the music... It made me realise that this was a really good thing I was doing and is glad exists. It made me optimistic for the future.
Follow Fan Palm here.
Check out their latest single 'Why Walk and Hold Hands' here.