Making its way back to the Caulfield Racecourse for its fifth consecutive year, the Melbourne Guitar Show is eyeing August 2019 off like a dog eyes off its dinner. Poised to be its biggest and best jaunt yet, this year's show – kicking off across the weekend of August 3rd and 4th – promises a (quite literally) jam-packed lineup of performers and exhibitors, with an emphasis on getting punters hands-on with the enormous array of axes on show.
In the lead-up to this year's Melbourne Guitar Show, Australian Guitar is going full steam ahead on the hype train. Every Tuesday and Friday, we'll be going head-to-head with one of the top-notch fretboard warriors making their way to the show, in the pursuit of getting to know a little more about who'll be melting out minds when they take to the stage. In this edition: Robyn Payne.
An award-winning engineer and producer by trade, Payne shines with an infallible knowledge of music technology, which has allowed her to commandeer the bass guitar with a mind unlike any other. Every deep, rumbling jut on her fretboard cuts through the mix like a hot knife through butter, her playing impossibly rich and stunningly deft. Taking to the stage at the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show with Engine Room, punters are in for one hell of a set – their loose and livid, jazz-esque jamming often spins them off in all kinds of wild directions, so it’s guaranteed to be a wholly unique experience.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2019 Melbourne Guitar Show?
I’m looking forward to meeting fellow musicians and catching up with what they’re up to, and performing! I especially love to perform for my peers and entertain those who are into what Engine Room plays.
Why do you think events like the Melbourne Guitar Show are so important for guitar lovers?
You get to see who’s making what and who’s playing what, and you're introduced to new styles, techniques and gear.
What can punters expect from your performance at the Melbourne Guitar Show? Do you have any exciting surprises or curveballs up your sleeve?
Strangely, I start by talking about our drummer. He’s a weapon, and the most exciting drummer I’ve played with, which then inspires me to play well. I do a couple of songs where I play bass with one hand and keyboard with the other, which is a bit of a crowd pleaser, and a few interesting bass solos. Our guitarist is a gem – he’s a brilliant musician for his tender years. He will definitely be watched closely by all the guitarists present at our performance.
What are you most excited about in the guitar world right now?
Referring to bass, I’m most excited about the new techniques that so many players are coming up with. There seems to be no end to it, and some folks are playing so beautifully.
What innovations would you like to see companies take with the guitar in the near (and distant) future?
I’m so spoilt as I sit around and consume what is brought before me! There are so many small operators making delightful instruments, and I get to pick them up and enjoy them. I’m happy with what everyone else is doing.
What guitar(s) are you playing on at the moment? Do you have any particular go-tos or favourites?
I have a Ken Smith five-string bass, a Kennedy bass (built by Neil Kennedy, who also does Cole Clark Kennedy basses) and a fretless Soundgear by Ibanez, which is a pleasure beyond belief to hoist over my shoulder. My go-to seems to be the Kennedy for gigs because it’s sexy and very light. I tend to use the Ken Smith to record with, because I don’t have to do a thing to it once it’s tracked.
Let’s go way back: what was the first guitar you bought, and what was it about that guitar that reeled you in?
My first guitar was a Maton Wildcat. I loved it because it was sexy (there I go with the sexy thing again), but it sounded great and was fun to play. It was red. I like red.
What’s does the rest of your rig look like? Effects, pedals, amps…
I have an Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 head and two SWR 15+ horn cabs. My pedalboard has a Zoom B3 multi FX and a POG 2, and I’m on the lookout for a good bass-to-synth pedal. 'Til then, I have to use a Novation Bass Station keyboard for synth bass on stage.
If you could design the ultimate guitar, where nothing is impossible with it, what would you put on it?
I’m no fun, I just love what I’ve got and what’s already out there.
Who are your favourite up-and-coming guitarists? Anyone we should be keeping an eye on?
There are a few local bass players who I really love. Especially notable is Marcelle Yammouni, who plays bass and guitar equally as well. Craig Newman has always been an inspiration to me, and a couple of my ex-students are also inspiring. One young guy is Sean Close. He plays all styles well, and he's a nice guy.
Melbourne Guitar Show 2019
Stars (ft. Mal Eastick, Nick Charles and Roger McLachlan)
James Norbert Ivanyi
Cartridge Family (ft. Sarah Carroll and Suzanna Espie)
Simon Hosford’s Fair Warning
Saturday August 3rd + Sunday 4th
Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne VIC
Tickets on sale via australianmusician.com.au