Interview :: Heavenly Antennas

May 20th 2013

Deep down we’re all just a bunch of 5-year-olds, standing in mouth-gaping awe any time we see pretty lights.

This common experience is just part of what makes the Vivid Sydney Festival such an irresistible attraction year after year. With only a week left before our city becomes host to swarms of those gaping mouths, this interview with Heavenly Antennas should have arrived just in time to warm up your jaw.

The duo create sounds – both musical and otherwise – that paint the moving image in a very flattering way. Their skills in this field piqued Vivid’s interest, and we’ll soon see them become the first Australian artists to create an accompanying sound installation for the annual Sydney Opera House light projections.

The Flog’s Nazzy Jakes explored the musicians’ involvement in this year’s Vivid Sydney Festival with Kyls Burtland, one half of the duo.


FBi: You’ve done some major international productions, but how are you feeling about being able to present your work at Vivid on Aussie soil?

Kyls: It’s just thrilling. The Opera House is such a huge canvas and Vivid is one of my favourite festivals, so I’m just stoked!


Can you give us a hint of what we can expect from your score for Vivid?

It’s a collaboration with the visual company, Spinifex, who do massive installations and they’re always about spectacle and transformation. With our score, we’re just hoping to provide a centre point for that and also marry to the size of it. It’s quite a big work. The longest projection that’s been on the Opera House for Vivid is 7 minutes, and this one’s nearly 20 minutes, so there are many different pieces of music in it. They range from quite electronic, to bombastic and orchestral, to little sections made out of found objects that we’ve recorded. The score’s quite a gamut of different textures and colours.


Your new single ‘Misery’ is quite a funky track, but despite the upbeat music, the lyrics are actually a little sad. What was the inspiration behind it?

I co-wrote the song and the lyrics are very ironic. It’s about how people who enjoy being miserable are actually happy because they like their misery. We worked with a beautiful singer, Larissa Rate, and she has a delicious voice. We’re giving it out as a free single during the Vivid festival as a gift to the good folks out there!


What has been your most unique work to date?

The zaniest job we’ve done was for the vibrator documentary on SBS, which is about the history of the vibrator and hysteria. We made the soundtrack for that with antique vibrators and their sounds that we had recorded and manipulated. The vibrators actually sing their own little melodies.


How many vibrators did you have to use for that?

Well, I had to source antique ones because the modern ones don’t make any noise for public decency and privacy reasons. In all there were probably about seven and they all made different sounds and I recorded them.


If you could symbolise Heavenly Antennas’ music in an animal, what animal would you choose?

I think it would be a platypus. It’s a hybrid mix of animals and it’s the same with the Heavenly Antennas and all our very different styles.


The soundtrack will also be broadcast on short wave radio throughout the Quay for smart phone or radio on the frequency 91.6FM.

You can download their brand new single, ‘Misery’ for free HERE.


WHAT :: VIVID Sydney Festival
WHO :: Heavenly Antennas
WHERE :: Sydney Opera House & Circular Quay
WHEN :: 24 May – 10 June, 6pm – midnight
HOW MUCH :: Free!

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