Naomi Oliver - Self Portrait, 2021
I met Naomi in the mid noughties when she was in full swing with the The Motel Sisters, her art/drag/performance dup with Liam Benson. I was really drawn to Naomi. She's a beautiful and kind soul and a cool n kooky sister to boot. Our connection was that we had both studied Fine Arts at UWS. I'd graduated a few years before she started. We are both really into making music and share an addiction to glitch aesthetics. We've collaborated a lot over the years and I'm really proud of the work we've done together.
Sword My Lord was our first proper musical collab in 2014 and I'm still partial to it. It's a track from my first album. Most of it was created on a drum machine. I made patterns with a few horn and key samples and fit Naomi's ethereal vocal sample around it. Her voice reminds me of Tori Amos, Shirley Manson and Kylie Minogue. We performed it at a fundraising event for a friend's gender reassignment surgery at the Red Rattler. Naomi also contributed a remix to my Dirty Daddy Remix EP (2018) titled Dirty Daddy (Downlow Mix).
Naomi Oliver and Ladonna Rama performing 'Sword my Lord' at The Red Rattler, Marrickville, 2015
One of the most memorable art experiences I've ever had was with Liam and Naomi, who invited me along to the Broken Heel Festival. It was such a trip! They invited me to sing at the opening of their show at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery in 2016. We flew out to the desert in a wonky little tin plane. Let's just say regional flights aren't the best for my nerves but when we arrived it was heaven... see for yourself below...
Naomi, Ladonna and Liam enjoying the buffet in the bistro at the legendary Palace Hotel, Broken Hill during the Broken Heel Festival, 2016
Ladonna, Liam Benson and Naomi at the opening of 'Dream Merchant' for Broken Heel
at the Broken Hill Regional Gallery, 2016
There's lots more musical collabs with Naomi sitting on my hard drive set for release this year. The most recent thing we've worked on is the music video for my track 'Akuma (Vocaloid Version) featuring Miku Hatsune on lead vocals. Check it out below. Naomi created a psychedelic, tripped out world to lose yourself in. Click below to watch and hear. It's also heaven...
So anyway! I asked Naomi to answer a few questions about being an independent creative and the challenges it involves. Please read on to hear her responses and see some more of Naomi"s gorgeous work...
Monochrome Monitor- Green on Black (2020) video still
How would you describe yourself?
Lo-fi enthusiast and error artist.
On de Maistre - Video Clip still
What inspires you?
New Age 70s/80s aesthetic, psychedelica, glitch and code art, digital signals artificating, b-grade movies from 60s - 80s.
Where are you from?
Blue Mountains, Australia
Tell us about some of your most interesting jobs.
The Motel Sisters in Care was a four-week artist-in-residence program (in 2018) in which performance duo ‘The Motel Sisters’ (Liam Benson and I) lived and worked at the Abel Tasman Aged Care Village (ATV) in Chester Hill. We lived and interacted daily with dementia patients, bringing unexpected bling, pampering and fun into their everyday. LINK: motel-sisters-in-care
What are you most proud of?
Getting into creative coding over this last year, and making video clips for musicians and bands I love.
Still from Naomi's music video for Melodiqa's 1981
Who would you most like to collaborate with (living or dead)?
What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?
The Motel Sisters, along with an amazing drag version of Prime Minister John Howard (by artist Jane Polkinghorne), enacted a guerilla performance at Kirribilli House during APEC 2007 - police present were openly wary of us and it all ended in a hasty exit.
What's the most challenging thing about being an independent creative?
Income generation and balancing workload - getting time for creative work in between day jobs/other commitments, and then finding time and resources to have real time off to recharge occasionally! Artists do need holidays.
Best piece of advice you've been given?
Don't compare yourself and your journey to others.
Making more Instagram filters, live video mixing, learning more about coding, getting a video synth to play around with.
What would you like to plug?
My instagram, for art/gig updates: @n40m1o
Attribute/ SOFT PEDAL II (2021) Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre Photography by George Tillianakis