Nestled among the coastal towns of NSW is the suburb of Austinmer, where a small group of family and friends are united by their passion for the waves, music, and Australian culture. This group is known as Shining Bird, and together its members produce sounds that carry the refreshing and tranquil nature of Australian coastal life.
Founder and composer Russell Webster tells us exactly what the country means to him, and how it flows through the songs of Shining Bird.
STEPH: The band was founded on a love of Australian cinema and culture. What are the things about Australia that motivate your musical spirit?
RUSSELL: Cultural cringe, Australian opals, Indigenous art and spirituality, Australian colours, Les Murray, Australian landscapes, The Bush-Tucker Man, being girt by sea and much, much more.
S: How does your recently released LP Leisure Coast represent your home culture?
R: Most of the songs have both the light of the beach and the darkness of the escarpment.
S: Music vs bodyboarding. Which wins?
R: I don’t actually surf as much as I used to because I’m scared of making my surfers ear worse. Katesy, our percussionist, is the most dedicated bodyboarder amongst us, and he absolutely shreds. No doubt he’ll be searching for waves on our Tassie trip. For me, music plays a far bigger role in my life so I guess it wins. Couldn’t tell you why, though.
S: Most memorable Aussie gig?
R: Probably the show we did recently at the Treehouse in Byron. Epic little restaurant!
S: Distant Dreaming was released earlier this year – does Shining Bird have dreams to take its Aussie sound to distances around the world?
R: We would love to play all around the world! I’m not so good on long flights though. I’m just way too tall for the seats.
S: What can we expect from your Tassie tour?
R: We should be in prime condition by the time we reach Tassie shores, after playing a whole bunch of shows in October. We will hopefully be bringing our visuals with us also, which will be amazing. We are all super excited to play in Tassie!
Hear Russ and the Shining Birds on November 1 Hobart’s Homestead and November 2 in Launceston’s Fresh on Charles.
BY STEPHANIE ESLAKE
This article was featured in WARP Magazine October 2013
(Image sourced Warp Magazine)