The Monthly speaks to Adam Gibson from The Aerial Maps – Part 2 – The emergence of a spoken word artist

You set up The Aerial Maps in early 2000’s?

Spoken Word and Slam Poetry was taking off in the early 2000’s in Australia. I was going to slam poetry competitions around that time, although I didn’t write slam poetry and I wasn’t that kind of a performer.

I went to Europe in 2006 and I lived in Paris where I was aiming to write a novel. I had a lot of fun but then I went to Northern Ireland and stayed at a friend’s house in Dundrum Bay near Newcastle. While I was there I had a real longing fir Australia, it was February it was very cold, and I started writing about Australia.

I think I was trying to capture a sense of the Australian silence, feelings of the appreciation of distance. I had spent time in the Outback with a former girlfriend who was a manager of an indigenous arts centre. All these influences were impacting me.

What happens then?

When I was flying back to Australia I opened the window blind on the plane and all I could see was the Australian landscape. I decided on the name of the band then, that was late 2006 and by early 2007 we were recording the first album.

Does The Aerial Maps come fully formed?

I think so, in the sense that I had thought about these ideas for a very long time and I wasn’t able for many years to find an appropriate form. I came through various fascinations, I loved certain groups and forms of music, especially those writers and musicians who seemed to have, whatever limitations they might have had, their own voice.

Through The Aerial Maps I think I was able to articulate my ideas and thoughts, my own voice.

When I am performing my material I try to speak as I am speaking to you now. And I think that can connect with an audience. I think an authentic voice works for people.

Where to now?

We are working on the new album. I have been writing over the last few years about quite climactic events; the floods of last year, the fires of a few years ago, and while I am not an activist, I have written about the human impact of those events. About people losing their houses, their livelihoods, what those events have meant more generally.

On this new album there is more of a song structure to the material and we are recording the album with Jim Moginie who was the guitar player in Midnight Oil. We are very excited with this new work and hope to tour later in the year.


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