Nikos Fotakis

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Also a father, a husband, a writer, an editor, a coffee addict, a type 1 diabetic and an expat. Born and raised in Athens. Based in Melbourne. Jazz is my country.

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king. Also a father, a husband, a writer, an editor, a coffee addict, a type 1 diabetic and an expat. Born and raised in Athens. Based in Melbourne. Jazz is my country.

Ross McHenry: how the Shaolin Afronauts made a new soundtrack for Mad Max

Those who saw the Shaolin Afronauts last year shouldn’t expect the sequel to be just a repeat of the original. “We didn’t want to repeat anything that we had used; we wanted this to be a completely new experience for the listener”, says Ross McHenry. “This time, we’ve actually written a lot more new material; we’re working towards a new album so it was a bit of an opportunity to ‘try some new material”.

Harry Mitchell: “Perth is a really unique environment for young people playing jazz”

“I wanted to surround myself with musicians that made me want to play. I would have been happy just to sit back listen to them play together in that setting. Apart from how easy I find it to make music with them, they all have strong personal voices and I wanted them to put their own mark on my tunes, which they did”.

Selene Messinis: “Each ISM tune can be a journey in many different worlds all at once”

We all composed three tunes each for the album, having the other members in mind. There are a lot of different moods because we have different compositional styles. Maddie writes a lot of quirky, frantic compositions, still heavily rhythmically driven, with lots of space for free improvisation and Isaac would write more traditional jazz tunes with beautiful melodies. I care so much about rhythm and keeping time and groove, that in my compositions theres usually a lot of business in rhythmic patterns and ideas with very simple melodies.

Paul Grabowsky: “Bob Dylan is a prophet”

“The fact that I’m interested in his music should come as no surprise, as he is a truly great songwriter, and most jazz musicians love great songs. The only difference between Dylan and say Jerome Kern is the musical and lyrical structure of Dylans work, which tends to narrative and abstraction, often in strophic form. But there are plenty of examples of more lyrical songs as well.” ‘Just Like a Woman’, ‘Lay, Lady Lay’, ‘Forever Young’, ‘Don’t Think Twice’, ‘It’s all over now, baby blue’…the list goes on and on.