Monday, 23 March 2015

At Home with Rhys Fox - The Point Sunshine Coast

As you might have guessed by previous blog posts I love to talk to people who have a passion about something. Delve deep enough and you will find that is exactly what inspirational people have in common. I am a huge fan of the live local music scene here on the Sunshine Coast so had often witnessed Rhys in action in several of the bands he is in ( yes, there are three!) and I am a regular reader of his website The Point.  So Rhys was the obvious choice for my next post. I wanted to know more about this very busy lad and how he juggles his family responsibilities, his 'day' job as well as play in several bands AND run The Point. But as I was to learn, his passion for music is what keeps him motivated to continue and to always learn and grow as an artist and fellow music lover. I sat down for a chat and a beer ( hey, it was a sweltering hot day) to talk about  his background and how The Point came about.

Flash back to six years old and Rhys received his first guitar, it seemed it wasn't the instrument of choice so next came mucking around on a synthesiser and then a baritone horn in high school. Well as you can imagine that wasn't considered the coolest instrument so when Rhys's sister managed to arrange for him to borrow a bass guitar over the school holidays he thought that was a good deal. The bass player for the school concert band was leaving so over the holidays they swapped knowledge, Rhys showing him how to read music while picking up some skills in bass. The first band formed with friends was called The Wild Wombats and they mainly played covers of bands like Metallica and AC/DC. He was then poached by another band called Elysium and they covered music such as The Doors. They entered Battle of the Bands and were disappointed to not win but get a highly commended. This lead to making a decision on a change of direction, they agreed on metal and then won Battle of the Bands of the next year and played small gigs like the Blue Light Disco. In total Rhys recalls he has been in about 14 bands in the last two decades, most of that time has been metal music including the band Technical Simplicity.

Most recently Rhys is a member of three bands, Kindread (funk, reggae, dub, rock, blues, jazz), Those Old Soles ( blues, rock n roll) and Bearfoot ( roots, reggae). He has always had an eclectic taste in music so it makes sense that he is able to play in different style bands.

One thing that becomes apparent to me while talking to Rhys how much of a great music community we have here on the Sunshine Coast. There is awesome comradaree and a great desire to help out each other which is probably why there is many musicians who play in several bands or are happy to jam together at open mike nights etc. Rhys explains to me the various different musicians and their journeys in different bands. I am surprised to learn how many started out in metal bands. It seems the laid back lifestyle has had  influence on some musicians to progress to a style of music that alot of people love to dance to although there is still a great metal music scene here.

Rhys and I both went to Nambour High School together and although he has lived in a few different areas on the Coast he now calls Nambour home again. It's a perfect choice for him to stay around the Coast. Being a dad to three girls it is important for him to stay close by to their mother and also his parents who live nearby also. He laughs when I photograph him on the couch with the butterfly cushions and explains that although it is as much of a bachelor bad as possible there is still some influence from the girls.

As would be expected the house is full of instruments. Rhys is a bass player so of course there are several bass guitars, as well as a piano and a ukulele. Later I tell him I will be learning the drums and he kindly shows me a few skills on the drum set that is in the garage. The drums are the perfect outlet for letting out frustrations he explains and can even be quite meditative to get lost in.

I ask how the idea for The Point came about. It turns out it started from a conversation in the green room of the Sands Tavern while Rhys was still in a metal band. There had been a Sunshine Coast based music magazine at the time but it had been becoming more Brisbane-centric  and the bands on the coast were not getting the exposure they hoped for with the scene becoming a bit stagnant. A discussion with a friend and fellow band member Rohan Nitschke meant they both came up with two separate ideas and decided they would got with whatever worked the best. Well, Rhys had created a website by the next month and showed Rohan who was impressed so it was agreed it was a goer.

Originally the website was a point for band members to come together and support each other, not so much for the general public. The first 'Point Party' was held at Rhys parents place and was acoustic only and then grew each year after that, in time in came to include more and more established bands and their friends and fans. It was free to attend but prizes were given from a local music store for raffles to help raise money for the running costs of the website. But as Rhys explains it has never been a commercial venture, it was simply a way to bring bands together ( and now their fans ) to help support each other. Rhys knows what it's like to be a musician and that they often don't have a huge amount of money to promote themselves so this provided a free way to do just that. The website took on a life of it's own and then a Facebook page was established which is updated daily ( often several times a day). How the heck does he fit in time to do all this I don't know but as I said he is passionate about helping fellow musos.

Of course being the sticky beak I am I wander around the house and ask about his other loves beside music. It turns out he is a huge fan of Star Wars and the Back to the Future franchise. As well as seeing his comic collection I also spot some framed comics on the wall. It turns out he has a prized signed Spiderman comic from 1974, signed by Stan Lee himself. Other pride and joys include the three Batman comics signed by Kevin Smith. I find out Rhys also has a Batman suit but resists my encouragement to wear it so I photograph him for the blog,  he's saving that one for the misses ;)  Of course Rhys also has a vinyl record collection and has fun changing the framed vinyl on the wall on a regular basis. He loves finding vinyl in places he just happens to be passing by and of course from the awesome lads at the Time Machine and Back Beat Records.

Although Rhys is the chief editor he also relys on friends and fellow music lovers and musicians ( such as co-creator Rohan Nitshke and friend Rad Phil) to submit interviews, photographs and gig reviews onto the site which he greatly appreciates as he obviously can't be everywhere at once, especially when being a musician himself. There are more plans for the site and some top secret projects in the works which I am excited to see evolve over time.

Make sure you check out the Point website, 'like' the Facebook page and most importantly get involved in your local music scene. I learnt today how much our support is appreciated. See you on the dance floor soon! :)


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