Jamie Canny, the hairtastic saxophone player for Freo’s Funkiest, Koi Child plus countless others. I caught up with Jamie to have a chat about his work with Koi Child, James Teague and where it all began.
CC: Hey man, thanks for catching up with us. What are you up to at the minute? Is Koi Child the only project you’re working on?
JC: My pleasure! Thanks for asking me.
Lately it’s all Koi. We’re busy cooking up plans for the rest of the year. Many exciting things are always around the corner thus it demands a lot of our time. It’s definitely what we’re willing to give.
I was playing with Kashikoi (the original 4 piece feed) and The Weapon Is Sound (Pysch Dubby Goodness) for a good while. Currently both are “on the backburner” just keeping warm to be pulled out at any time. I’m working impossibly slowly on tracks of my own and hope to have something finished before I die. I also recently had a jam with a Cuban/Spanish group and it felt pretty good so I’d like to see where that goes…
CC: How did the whole Koi Child thing come about? I’ve heard an abundance of rumours but no one seems to know exactly. Can you set the record straight for us and tell us how Kevin Parker of Tame Impala got on board?
JC: Once upon a time (in early 2014) there was a gig at a bar named Mojos. Our bands Childs Play and Kashikoi were both on the bill and heard each other for the first time. We played what the other liked; Childs Play wanted more Nu-Jazz sounds and Kashikoi wanted more Hip Hop. A jam was proposed. The jam went well and a one-off gig was set up at another bar named X-Wray Café in April. Both bands played and then finished off the night with a jam that lit a fire in our bellies. Yet after that, the collaboration may have been an occasional thing at most if it hadn’t been for Kev.
He was invited by a great friend to see Childs Play and stayed for the whole show. Afterwards he came over to say hello, we all got chatting and he came back to a party with us. I arrived later to find out he’d offered us the main support for the Tame Impala show at Rottnest three weeks later!
All of a sudden, we had to be a band. Who wouldn’t jump at an opportunity like that?! Firstly, we needed a name and a few songs, the pressure was on. Merging our existing names together made sense so we went with that.
We crammed many rehearsals into those following weeks to fill a half hour set. It was a success! The gig was marvellous and we had our first huge adventure together.
Skip forward a few months to the recording of our first track “Slow One” and we were having a little trouble finding “our sound”. Shannon (Cruzy P) bumped in to Kev one night and mentioned our struggle. He offered to give it a mix and see what we thought. We loved it. We released it. It was received well and we were on our way to recording an album with him.
It’s a little bit of a silly story.
CC: Now signed to Warner, what’s on the cards for Koi Child or is that all hush hush?
JC: Almost everything that we’ve done since halfway through 2015 has been helped by Warner/Pilerats. They’ve been absolutely outstanding and we’ve come so far with all their patience and generosity. There’s plenty of brilliant shows and surprises coming up. It’s probably safe to say it’s still hush hush…
CC: The sort of music that Koi Child plays is obviously a blend of the two bands styles. What in your personal life do you listen to or play that you feel encouraged that sound to take it’s form?
JC: I really love Prog and Pysch. They’re probably my two favourite ambiguous attachments to many styles and genres. Old and new, there’s so much to discover.
In regards to my own playing, I think my style is mathematical, melancholic and spontaneous. I like to think it helped a little in the sound formation.
We all lent a hand in the arrangements which stems from listening to a lot of different styles of composition. Generally, I just love clever music. It’s why I love working with the Koi. I think they’re all very clever.
CC: As a musician, was saxophone your primary instrument, what inspired you to make music your career?
JC: Saxophone is my primary instrument and has been since high school. However, at the end of school and for five years on I was dominantly a bass player in a large variety of local bands. It was a lot of fun and definitely helped change my technique when I picked up the sax again. I also dabble in piano, guitar and drums. How original…
Playing on stage inspired me. Watching other local bands that I loved inspired me. Being around others with the same dreams inspired me. Music inspired me.
CC: Now, you know I’m a big fan of Perth born poet/singer-songwriter James Teague. That’s where I first saw you play, in Dunsborough. Have you known James for quite a while?
JC: As am I! Which is exactly why I had to be involved with the guy. I have so much love and respect for his creative output, I’ve known him for seven or eight years now. We both went to WAAPA in 2008, he was in the contemporary course with a few of my friends so we met through those people.
The following year we started chatting and seeing each other round a lot, I was playing many gigs and we played a few together. I saw him perform jaw-dropping solo performances that demanded everyone’s undivided attention.
Funny story, my sax broke the night of the gig in Dunsborough so I was just awkwardly singing and shaking an egg.
CC: How did you get involved with his projects? Where you involved just on tour or in the studio as well?
JC: Through mutual friends I ended up playing bass in one of the early line-ups of his band for a chunk of 2010. I ended up having to leave because of too many commitments. This played on my musical conscience for a while but we remained great friends.
In 2011 his debut gig with a full band blew me away and their first album was incredible. I eventually weaselled my way back in with vocal harmonies, percussion and my recently rediscovered sax.
We toured Melbourne in late 2012 with three of the band and built it back up to a seven piece with some good friends to help put on a few shows. It was a wild couple of weeks.
The original band toured over east again in early 2013 without me and I joined them to finish it off in the Albany and Dunsborough shows a few weeks later.
Our last show was at Fairbridge Festival. It was a beautiful way to end it.
He moved to Melbourne later that year and continued writing. A year later I came over to help record his second album “Beyond The Melting Dawn”. I played bass and sax.
Now he’s recording his third, I can’t wait.
CC: The level of talent I have found around Australia so far has blown me away. Who would you say are up there with the best? Anyone we should be checking out?
JC: Jaala – The explosive outfit fronted by the incredible Cosima Jaala. This is slick and hyper-colourful Jazzy Punk Prog from the Wondercore Label. I expect they’ll take the world by storm.
Slow Dancer – This is the solo project of one Simon Okely. His first album was “Surrender” was full of smooth velvet vocals and tasty r‘n’b flavours with a tinge of yacht rock.
His new single “Don’t Believe” is pure gold. It seems a new direction is on the horizon.
Wesley Fuller – Glam/Pysch/Rock/Pop. This kid is wicked-sick. I love the style, the cheek, the groove and the fashion. The sixties and seventies had a lovechild. He also has known and collaborated with Teague since the early days. Big things coming from this guy…