By Ben Ohmart (Assistant Editor, MusicDish)
[gilli] hmm. Interesting first question. Because as much as I can be cool as a cucumber on the side, I can be full of turmoil on the inner. Because right now I want to be as expressive as I want to be and not let anyone tell me I have to be otherwise. Because I have a lot to say, and it's not all nice. Because of what I am wrestling with inside. As an artist, as a woman, and as a human being I live with an enormous range of emotions and my personality changes often. I can be very emotional It comes out in my art and my music. The first lines of my first piece on the album "Communication," talks about the dualism:
"We all have different masks we wear.
We are complex individuals with complex personalities
We all have multi-dimensional personas
As we reveal the hidden layers to discover our true selvesÉ we are still complex
I am sweet, loving, angelic, and angry, unheard, demonic.
I have wept and I have laughed. I have lived. I am alive.
I mirror you like you mirror me. I unveil the masks you wear.
We live the perfect life you and I. War, peace, fight then love. Truth, deceit, honor, corruption. Lust, hate, warmth, cold. Fear, faith, more, then less. Success, failure, adventure, stagnation. Life is a journey. This is perfection. Be brave temperamental angel."
I am all of the above and all of us have complex personalities. I'm trying to capture that in my art and music. Mainly, I want to be "treated like" a temperamental angel. Meaning, I want, especially in relationships with others, to be the complex individual I am, not false, not always smiling, not always the same. I have an edge in the twinkle of my eyeÉ
[Ben] What do you do to the folks that try to capitalize on Ôgilli moon'?
[gilli] I whip them and lock them in a closet! No, no, seriously. Nothing. Maybe a reminder. I try and explain why it's a little Ôg' and Ôm'. You see, gilli moon is a name I gave myself for arts' sake. Ôgilli' means Ômoon' in Kamilaroi Aboriginal dialect (Australia Ð by the way there are 500 different Aboriginal languages so Ômoon' is only Ôgilli' in Kamilaroi) So in fact my name is gilli gilli. Which is kind of funny because a lot of our Aboriginal towns in Australia are double. Like Wagga Wagga. Imagine living in a town called Wagga Wagga.
So I took on the name gilli moon but I felt that Ômoon' wasn't a surname, a last name. More, a feeling, an ism. So I decided not to capitalize it, nor capitalize on it. I use my name with much humility. Maybe it's an Aussie thing.
[Ben] On your merchandising page is a list of books, from teach yourself html to David Bowie to how to make it in the music biz. You seem like a chick who really Knows that art ain't all art. How much time do you put into the biz side?
[gilli] The music industry is like a battle field. Tackling it, and climbing to the top, is like war, and I as an artist have come to the realization that I must tap into the warrior within. I have decided, after much deliberation and waiting around for Ôothers to make it for me' (huh LOL!) that I had to really get out there on my own and make a go of it myself. It is really, really important to be a business person if you want to be a successful professional artist. I knew early on that talent was only a small part. The largest piece of the pie is the business. I stress this in every facet of my creative life (which may sound ironic but it's true.) I wear two hats. The artist (painter, sculptor, songwriter, musician, actor, singer, performer) and the business woman (record company owner, finance decision maker, business negotiator, marketing and PR person, sales person).
The only way I got to learn about putting out a record was by working behind the scenes in the entertainment biz. I've done everything from video distribution, tv programs, live opera, new york off-broadway stage shows, large corporate conferences, publishing companies, web sites and animation. And I mean, behind the scenes. I've learned the biz that way, what makes it tick. I like to see how the cogs in the wheel work. I founded a non-profit organization, called Songsalive! (www.songsalive.org) which has a strong philosophy for it's songwriter members: know thyself, and know the business.
And now, putting out my own record under my own record label, I m putting everything I know into operation. I'm dealing with the radio promoters, sending packages to radio, press, industry. Dealing with my distributor for inventory, pricing, coop advertising. Sending press releases. Strategizing a tour. I have to play all the hats. It's an incredible feeling to be in control of the ship, but a daunting one as well. I have to constantly remind myself that the business is about people, and so I try to work with others as best as possible and with the tools I have in my own little hands.
I'm currently writing a book about becoming a professional artist and I've interviewed about 40 people on their views. By the time I finish it, I think I'll have some answers on balancing art with the business. But this is a life long journey of finding out, really.
[Ben] What makes a warrior girl?
[gilli] I say a warrior of love, peace and hope. Of spiritual balance. Of inner balance. This is not supposed to be a mushy answer: warriors are also fighters. But we can be silent warriors too. For me, I am a warrior girl because I have overcome a lot of obstacles, and still am. I am an only child, a survivor of 5 children. I grew up quite isolated in the Australian Ôbush'. I came to L.A with $150 in my pocket, knowing no one. I see this as a battle with myself, and with the world, to make a mark, to make a small dent in a huge ocean.
[Ben] You say that you're a visual artist as well. Could you explain that?
[gilli] Love to. As much as I love music, I love art. I actually studied art for 4 years in Sydney. I went to teacher's college so I'm a qualified Visual Arts teacher for kids age 4 to 18. I didn't study music at college, or even school for that matter. You had to either be in the band playing some brass instrument and play in the local parades (ughh), or do another subject. So I picked art. I love to paint a lot now. My apartment is filled with paintings on the wall, full of vibrant colors. I am incorporating my art into my stage show and I'll do this for the first time on April 10 at the album launch at The Mint in Los Angeles.
I used to sculpt huge bodies out of plaster, or clay. I have over-life size bodies (man and woman) on the side of the dam behind my parents' place. The weather is slowly rotting the outside which is quite a torturous image but it suitsÉ like how love wears out with time.
[Ben] How has Ôtaking on the cybermusic frontier' changed your life, or at least your viewpoint towards active music marketing?
[gilli] On one hand it has allowed me to grasp the business side in the palm of my hand as I'm able to function like a record company used to Ð selling cds, advertising, promotion. On the other, it wears me out. I'm constantly on the internet. I set up my two web sites, www.gillimoon.com and www.warriorgirlmusic.com to promote my artistry and my record label. but I'm always updating, adding info (a good thing really, as that means there's action!) As far as the financial rewards, I haven't seen the true results yet from cyberspace. I think it's a myth that you can put out a record on the internet alone. It's like a supermarket, but a giant one. If they don't know your product is on the shelf, they won't buy it. Street promotion, the bricks and mortar approach, is still the most viable option.
[Ben] You were a child prodigy, being a pianist at age 4. Many child prodigies later regret they didn't have a proper childhood. Or did you have a kick ass one in between practices?
[gilli] From the age of 4 to about 13 I played pure classical music, Bach, Beethoven, Czerny, etc. I hated practicing. My hands were so little too (I still am pretty short!), so I couldn't hold down an octave with one hand. Then I gave up. I didn't play for about 3 years. And all of a sudden I was drawn back to it when we moved to the country (not much else to do out there!) and began to compose my own melodies and songs.
To answer your question, quite frankly, playing music was just another part of my own choices to be creative. My parents didn't push me. I wanted to be pushed. I am still that way today. I want to learn, to do, to achieve, all the time, every day. I'm anal about that. No, I didn't have a proper childhood, because I'm not an ordinary human being. I lived a very unusual life with my folks which only inspired my creativity. We lived in the city, then on top of a mountain in the wilderness on solar power. We traveled the world. I traveled solo for the last 10 years. I'm a nomad. And I'm STILL a child.
[Ben] You've played leads on stage, as in The Wizard of Oz. What shows would you like to play now if you had the chance?
[gilli] First and foremost, the gilli moon show at The Forum, L.A, Wembley, London, Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Live in Central Park, New York. Umm, that's in the next two years (whewÉ hope I can manage to fit all that in!)
Then, maybe Broadway. Yeah, some Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber production. Or Les Miserable - Epanine. Notre dame would be fun.. in Paris. I'm writing a musical Ð been writing it for 8 years. I have to hurry up and finish it. But I can't. It's about "making it in the music business" and I don't think I can finish it until I've, you know, made it (in my own meaning of the word.)
[Ben] Tell me about the new album. What's the buzz?
[gilli] I'm wearing these big, white wings on stage. The album is called 'temperamental angel,' and through the distribution company my label is signed to, Kaisonic Experience, Inc (Californian), it's released nationally on April 10. we are celebrating the release at THE MINT on the same night. Pico Blvd/Crescent Heights, Los Angeles. 8.30pm, and will be webcast on www.liveonthenet.com
I wrote all the songs on the album, and produced the album, with co-producer and great friend Evan J. Beigel at his studio, Seasound Studios, in North Hollywood. Even before the release of the album, "Plenty" one of the scheduled singles, won Best Pop Song in The Netherlands Song Expo. that was a buzz!
The album marks my first true epigraph of what I'm really about Ð sensitive yet strong. It is an expression of personality, of raw emotion, and how we relate to the people in our lives through the various love-hate disguises of our personas. It's edgy, it's organic, all the instruments are live. I've had quite a few reviews in already, on my web site now, and I'm really happy with the response.
[Ben] I've noticed several of your promo shots are rather Ð enticing. Does sex sell? Or is nudity more honest, natural than stark clothes?
[gilli] Well, sex does sell. But that's not the higher purpose behind these shots. The whole album cover has me butt naked. Not one item of clothing. It's about being Ôtrue to myself' and revealing myself to my audience. A song on my album, called ÔNaked' is also about that. It's not about sex, it's about being true, honest. Baring all. Nothing to hide.
My last relationship taught me a lot about this. He wanted me to hide everything about us. I don't know why. Maybe out of shame. He had his own things to work out. I don't want to be secretive in my life. Read me. Touch me. Know me. Read my diary on the web site. Know who I am. I am not ashamed. It's all poetry really. Life is art Ð art is life. I loved Andy Warhol.
[Ben] How do you solve a problem like Maria?
[gilli] Get her out of the nunnery!!! That was my favorite musical. I played Liesl, the oldest daughter, in a version back home. What a cack! (that's Aussie for Ôwhat a laugh.') I was so in love with Rolf!
[Ben] You were on MTV's The Cut when you were in LA. What was that like?
[gilli] Nerve racking. I was the only Caucasian singing R&B. I had braids down to my hips. I nearly tripped down the stairs live on air. I much prefer rock music now, hee hee.
[Ben] Where can we see you lately?
[gilli] All my gigs are posted at http://www.gillimoon.com, go Tours. the Mint on April 10 is the big launch date in Los Angeles. I'm playing The Gig Hollywood, The Whisky, Genghis Cohen, Molly Malone's, 14 Below. I'll be in Philadelphia and New York in June and possible Ottawa Canada in July.
[Ben] What're gilli's plans for the future? The Presidency? The moon?
[gilli] Growing vegies on the farm back homeÉ no.. seriously. BIG TOURS. MORE RECORDS. Maybe a movie or two. More time back home swimming in the ocean with my puppy. Get the record everyone. It's me.
[Ben] Thanks much for the chat!
[gilli] ThankU. xx gilli