It’s been a challenging year for Deepwater husband-and-wife duo Kissing The Flint, but they’ve risen from the ashes to release a carbon-negative debut EP and start work on music videos showcasing the local area.
Their home, along with many others in their coastal community south of Agnes Waters, came under direct threat from major bushfires late last year.
Now the smoke has cleared and life returned to normal, they’re about to release their first collection of original music Unconditionality on CD and digital platforms.
They’ve also received some coin through Gladstone Regional Council’s Regional Arts Development Fund to produce two music videos in coming months, featuring their beautiful Discovery Coast area.
And as if that wasn’t enough to keep them busy, they’ll be performing at EcoFest in Gladstone on June 2 as part of eight sustainable Take pART collaborative pop up art projects at that event.
“We’re so blessed to still have our home, thanks to some truly amazing emergency services personnel”, says frontwoman Leah Chynoweth-Tidy.
“We’d only just the day before returned from gigging in Gladstone and unpacked all of our music gear.
“The call to evacuate came the following afternoon and we packed everything back into the car before heading to friends in Agnes Water, unaware at the time that we’d be stuck on the outside of our community for nine days!”
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the safety of their home, Leah and bass-player husband Ken managed to gig during their evacuation as well as undertake another recording session with Dave Beacon at High Lion Studio.
That creative partnership has been in place since since July 2017 when Dave first approached the duo after seeing Leah perform in Gladstone as a panellist and impromptu vocalist with the RocKwiz National Tour (her second crack at this personal music nirvana).
After an initial meeting focused on something that had been on the Flints creative to-do list for some time – recording in a studio and bringing some of Leah’s original songs to life in that environment – Dave made them an offer they couldn’t refuse and the creative project wheels on their debut EP began to turn.
“I’d been performing around my home-town Gladstone and region since about 2012 fronting various cover bands, which gave me valuable performance experience, but focused very little on writing and developing my own songs”, says Leah.
“Once all the bands had dissolved by 2016, it was the perfect time to lift my game as a solo performer and work on my own stories. My husband Ken later joined me on bass, despite working as a tech-sound guy in the UK music industry for many years and swearing he’d never become a muso himself.
“But I guess he got tired of being a gig widow and wanted a piece of the action on-stage too”, she laughs.
Participation in the Queensland Music Festival’s inaugural Songs That Made Me regional female singer-songwriter mentorship programme in 2017 provided a further catalyst for Leah to develop her original work.
“The four of us chosenin Gladstone for that programme received invaluable guidance and inspiration from some truly amazing Australian female artists such as Katie Noonan, Hannah Macklin, Leigh Carriage, Deborah Conway and Gladstone’s own Hayley Marsten”, says Leah.
“It was challenging but ultimately super-inspiring to share stories and work towards increasing the number of APRA-registered female artists.
“Ultimately I hope that my ongoing development as an artist and this resulting debut EP will inspire other creatives, particularly women, to find their unique voice and tell their stories through music.
“I’m also a passionate advocate of support for live and local artists and venues, especially in regional areas”.
“This EP will also be carbon-negative, embracing an ethic that we are both deeply passionate about – we’ve lived and rehearsed off-grid for the past decade. It was a no-brainer for us to choose, as other like-minded Aussie musos such as Paul Kelly and Missy Higgins have done, to work with companies such as Austep Eco and Green Music to bring our original music to hard-copy life. Sustainability wherever possible is another message that we are passionate about paying forward”.
“Although the music marketing boffins would love me to, I don’t consider myself as an artist packaged into one particular genre box,” says Leah.
“My stories evolve organically without commercial classifications in mind and the tracks on this EP cross genres from roots and reggae through pop and even Celtic influences.
“The title track of the EP, Unconditionality… came to mind in my songwriting, encompassing how we should view all relationships within our lives – no conditions, no rules within yourself or with others. Accepting and being accepted for who you are without conditions – a message I hope will speak to many and inspire more empathy in this troubled world”.
Unconditionality will launch at the 1770 Festival on the weekend: catch Kissing The Flint performing live at the festival at 12pm on Sunday, May 26.