MANY MUSICIANS argue on unconvincing grounds that there’s something unique about their musical endeavors. That they are artists – when, in fact, they’re merely conformist mouthpieces perpetuating the commercially-oriented status quo. These are the people that ensure that actual artists are reduced to scraping and scratching for the attention their art deserves.
Local icon-in-the-making Edward Guglielmino is a fitting example of the polar opposite – a young singer-songwriter with an authentic take on ‘music as art’. The uniquely artistic strain in Guglielmino’s music was recently recognised with due regard when he was short-listed for the inaugural and prestigious Grant McLennan Scholarship.
‘It was really flattering for me, especially because I’m a really big fan of The Go Betweens and have been for quite a long time,’ Guglielmino beams about his short-listing. ‘My father used to play them to me in the 90s; that’s one of the reasons why I applied.
‘But I really didn’t think they’d like my music, so I was so surprised when I was short-listed. They wanted 20 minutes [of recordings], so I sent in five songs – three from the EP and two new recordings, which were ‘Devils Eyes’ and ‘Crushed By A Late Night Dream’.’
Guglielmino – who has had songs from his aforementioned debut Tacky [A Very Tacky] EP spun on Triple J – has just released one of those acclaimed new recordings, ‘Devils Eyes’, as his next single, and the dark, autobiographical tune has already received national critical acclaim.
‘I wrote it in high school,’ Guglielmino explains of the single. ‘I was 17 and went to this block of show homes – we found one with a key in the mailbox. We went in and drank vodka and cooked on the stove, I passed out in one of the cupboards. I woke up at three in the morning and called my girlfriend, and the first line of the song is from that.
‘When I came home the next morning I wrote it in my bedroom and recorded it. I had a different voice when I was younger, so it was different. But I started playing it again recently and people started telling me they really liked it, so I recorded it. It’s been doing quite well, which is really funny because I wrote it when I was 17 – maybe I should go back to high school.’
‘Devils Eyes’ is just another overt illustration of Guglielmino’s passion for creating rather than recycling, something which is quite close to the young lad’s heart.
‘I’m quite proud of the fact that I’m doing something innovative,’ he says. ‘I think that’s making it harder for me in Australia than it would be if I was doing what a lot of the artists who get attention in Australia do, which is emulate stuff from artists overseas.
‘I mean, you can definitely hear my heroes in my music – Nick Cave and Kurt Cobain are there – but I really think that if we want to evolve as a nation we need to have Triple J play more of the innovative stuff and less of the copied stuff. A lot of the [Triple J] presenters own my records and are quite aware of my music, but they can’t get it on the air because it’s too ‘weird’.’
Edward Guglielmino plays The Troubadour ((((ACTUALLY BARSOMA)))) Monday Sep 17. Tacky [A Very Tacky] EP out now independently.