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Story behind making of Acoustic Didge Drum Bass by The Katamaran


     I had just quit playing bass in the John Butler Trio in late 2001 and was living in my van between Melbourne and Byron Bay. I had met Grant Smith, The Katamaran drummer/percussionist and we had formed a busking/street duo with myself on the double bass. Grant and I rolled into a festival at Bald Rock in Northern NSW near Tenterfeild. At the Festival we met Mark Hoffman the didi player known as EMDEE. We immediately had a strong musical connection. We spent that summer playing and busking around Byron Bay and Brisbane. EMDEE is a highly motivated individual and a good business person. He created a finical model where by we would busk to get cash, pull it and record a demo at someones home studio, burn CDs. photo copy the covers, go back out on the street and make more money than before by selling of the demo’s.

     EMDEE returned to Darwin then flew back down to Melbourne in early 2002. Grant and I were still kicking around (Melbourne is Grant’s home town, I’m from Fremantle). We busked up the money hired a studio for 2 days in the hills of Melbourne.
     I was the songwriter, musical director, producer and band leader. I called in Julian Goyma on the drum kit. Julian was a young up and coming drummer who went on to play with bands like Blue King Brown and the Red Eye’s.
     We cut all the tracks the 1st day and mixed and mastered the 2nd! I insisted that my double bass was recorded acoustically with animal gut strings for the authentic bass sound and that we used an electro kick trigger on Julians bass drum to get a modern dance sound in the mix. After this Grant an I moved to Darwin in mid 2002 to form the band Katamaran.
     To be totally honest the record is raw and has parts of music I believe should not have been released. Especially my vocal tracks. I am not a good singer. Also some of the bass playing leaves a lot to be desired. However, saying that, the album moved really fast. We independently sold 5000 units in the 18 odd months we were together as a band. The album has had over 30,000 views on Youtube (we got in just before music became free!) so we must of done something right. Internal divisions between the 3 members eventually led to the demise of the group. Such is life!

   
     I am studying jazz at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) in Perth. I run a post modern piano jazz trio in bar’s clubs private party’s festival’s weddings etc.
     The name of this group is The Gavin Shoesmith Trio. Some venues we play conventional swing others we play modern style, using funky back beat, Drum n Bass grooves etc to older jazz standards, modern pop tunes and my original compositions.
Before I decided to get into jazz I had run a root’s band for the years after Katamaran called the Groovesmiths. 
     I fronted, wrote and arranged the music, was the producer of the to recording released, managed and self funded the Groovesmiths. We were a rocking blues roots reggae group.
I was the lead vocalist! Terrible mistake! I suffered anxiety for years about my voice and it was a relief to fold that band and move into instrumental Jazz!
There are Youtube video’s of my transitional band the Groovesmith Nu Jazz Ensemble. I hired a Fremantle based singer, a Japanese didj player, a Colombian percussionist, with 2 young local jazz students on sax and drums.
     I am going to wait until I finish my studies in 3 years time before I record and release any music again.

- Gavin Shoesmith
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