Iva Davies – A Man Of Talents

Written by Jacqui James

IVA DAVIES IS CURRENTLYcelebrating 30 years with Icehouse (briefly known as Flowers until 1981) who unexpectedly found themselves re-grouping this year after years of concentrating on his solo projects including composing ballets and the scores on movies including Master and Commander starring Russell Crowe.

Icehouse won so many awards including a highly honourable sixteen 16th “Mo Awards” (Australian Variety Artist Association) for “Best Male Performer”.

Fast forward to 2011, one night unexpected patrons who were queued outside Melbourne’s iconic Espy Hotel witnessed what would be Icehouse’s first gig in several years. With the gig getting high publicity and praise, their White Heat album was released. It has a massive thirty hits on it as well as a DVD spanning Icehouse’s career as one of Australia’s influential bands; featuring such chart-toppers like Walls, Hey, Little Girl, Great Southern Land, Crazy, Electric Blue, My Obsession and Man Of Colours.

In 2012 Icehouse are supporting Hall and Oates when they tour nationally and as it will turn out 2012 is the 30th Anniversary of Primitive Man and Great Southern Land plus the 25th for Man Of Colours.

(photo by  Scott Barbour)

As someone who had her first ten years in the eighties until ’87, it’s been a real honour to Iva about his solo projects, Icehouse’s comeback and what would the future holds for the band. So a massive thankyou to Iva for your time and a thankyou to Rebecca, the Senior Publicist at Six Degrees Creative.

You’ve recently played sold-out show at Espy, which was totally kept well-hidden. You’re also in the Homebake line-up so had you and the other guys decided to regroup ages ago?

The decision to start playing again was quite recent and came about after the unexpected success of (and interest in) the Flowers/Icehouse 30th Anniversary Edition which was released in May this year. Suddenly a bunch of promoters and venues offered shows to the band and there were enough for us to look at it and make a couple of runs of dates. The band members were all available and enthusiastic so we said ‘yes’.

With the new technology in music now, what are the differences in the sound?

The sound is similar – perhaps a bit fuller – but the technology is more compact and reliable than when we were first using synths, modules and computers in the 80’s.

Next year you’re supporting Hall and Oates. Without stating the obvious, are you and the band excited about that?

Yes, everyone involved in and around the band are all H&O fans. John Oates co-wrote Electric Blue with me which went on to become one of the most recognised songs of my career. So it will be a privilege to share a stage with him after all this time.

As you’ve mentioned, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Flowers/Icehouse. Where does the time go?

I feel that the time goes into making the work, in my case songwriting and recording plus performing. Between 1979 and 1994 I really didn’t have much time off between recording and promoting eight albums and the singles from them. And I was fortunate enough to have my music accepted around the world so there was a LOT of touring.

In those thirty years Iva, what other projects have you done?

Among other things, I’ve composed ballets (Boxes and Berlin for Sydney Dance Company), composed the scores for a couple of movies (Razorback, Master & Commander) and a TV series (The Incredible Journey Of Mary Bryant), written pieces for the opening of the Olympic Games and the Games in DOA, composed and performed a piece called The Ghost Of Time for the millennium celebrations in Sydney, and at one time I played guitar in a band for Japanese superstar.

(photo by  Scott Barbour)

From the 80’s do you have one stand-out memory for the better or worse?

Not really – there were so many extraordinary times with fantastic people as we toured the world making music.

What’s your viewpoint of the music industry today?

I don’t really get caught up in the ‘industry’ side of things so I don’t feel qualified to comment. However, I think there are some truly exceptional Australian acts coming through over the past few years and I think musically we are in a very exciting time.

In your bio it says you learnt to play the bagpipes as a young boy. Can you still play them?

If really pushed I can but I haven’t played them for many years. I still regularly play the oboe {looks like a clarinet but is made out of wood} which was the instrument I went to following bagpipes

Can you see Icehouse making a new album?

It is really hard to know whether an audience would be interested in new material from Icehouse.

What’s next for Iva Davies?

I’ll complete the touring we have planned over the summer and in the meantime will look at making all the other existing albums available again but with enhanced packaging and added material, all of which takes time to find and put together. 2012 is the 30th Anniversary of Primitive Man and Great Southern Land plus the 25th Anniversary of Man Of Colours so they are what I’ll concentrate on first. And it seems there may be some offers to play overseas which could be fun if it all works out.

You might still be able to pick up tickets for Hall And Oates featuring Icehouse. Check Tickmaster for availability.

 

 


FEBRUARY

2 – The Plenary, Melbourne, VIC
4 – Centennial Vineyards, Bowral, NSW
5 – Sirromet Wines, Mt. Cotton, QLD
8 – Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, NSW
11 – Peter Lehmann Wines, Barossa Valley, SA
12 – Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley, VIC

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Gigs 'n Interviews is owned by the journalist Jacqui James 2014