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Byron Shire
December 1, 2021

Interview with Tainui Richmond

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The Power of Being Complacent

It’s always a thrill when you live long enough to see the grown children of musicians you’ve always admired find their way onto stage. Tainui Richmond is the son of Terepai Richmond (The Whitlams, DIG) and thanks to Great Southern Nights he is playing Lismore City Hall this Saturday.

His latest single is Complacent, a deeply personal and honest snapshot of a transformational time in his life. He spoke with The Echo.

Complacent has a really beautiful feel… tell me about where you recorded it? What was the feel you were looking for?

For me, the feeling lay dormant… waiting to be unearthed. We found it in Complacent quite easily; it wanted to be this boozy stumbling thing that you could sink into and ponder on gently. I like music that immerses you in a world of your own, and you get little scenes and images come afloat in your mind, all cinematic’n’ stuff. My dad, Terepai, played the drums in his garage in Coopers Shoot for the demo, which we ended up keeping ‘cause it really added to the feeling. The rest was recorded at Cooper Lane in Surry Hills. My very good friend George Georgiadis, a sound engineering wizard, and co-producer on the song was working as the house sound engineer there at the time.

With live music on the down low since March, what have you been doing during COVID?

The lockdown gave me some space to explore my relationship with music, and deepen the connection to my own musical pathway. I quite enjoyed the lack of social pressure; did a lot of meditating, some surfing, and a fair bit of writing and rehearsing my live show. 

Where are you based normally?

I grew up in Cronulla, moved up [to the Northern Rivers] about four years ago when my dad bought a place in Coopers Shoot. I grew up with Jacob Boylan, frontman for Miniskirt, who is an all ‘round great human/friend, who has recently moved up here as well. He was my social tour guide in the beginning. Started working in the bar at the wonderful No Bones, where I met my beautiful woman Tahlia, who is a part owner and also my boss! She and Yasmina have done an incredible job of growing and evolving the place, which has been a joy to witness.

How do you work a song generally? Do you grab a riff, or have a hook that you build on?

Often little melodies pop into my head, sometimes it’s a theme song for feeding the pets. You could scroll for hours through my voice memo’s. I’ll find some chords, and build the lyrics to suit the melody and feeling. But I have a few different methods, and it’s nice to switch it up. The feeling usually comes out different, depending on how I start.

What should we expect for your upcoming Lismore show?

Expect a theatrical theme-park ride to take you on an emotive journey – less the motion sickness. A little glimpse into my mind, a few stories, and hopefully some witty banter too. There will be a few different instruments on stage. Will be good fun! Come one, come all!

Tainui Richmond plays at Lismore City Hall on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tix $40 on lismorecityhall.com.au.


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