On the Couch with James Henry

James Henry oncWho is James Henry?
James Henry is a bit of a jack of all trades. My diverse set of interests have lead me into the fields of music, photography, acting, various sports, travel and food and wine culture. I am also an Aboriginal man and love the opportunity to share my passion, knowledge and skills with the community here in Melbourne and sometime around the country when I have the opportunity.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would have started pursuing my passions a lot earlier and spent more time and money on equipment as an investment in my career. Perhaps having more focused interests I would be able to excel easier at one discipline.

Who inspires you and why?
I get inspired by quality art and people who try to share positive messages and seldom heard truths through their creations.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I would like to be able to encourage more empathy in what I do whether it be in my creative work or in my day to day interactions. Perhaps this might make a small contribution towards a more equal distribution of wealth in the world and more positive interactions between people and between humans and the rest of the natural world.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love Japan for its blend of the old and new. Their contemporary culture is so quirky and their ancient culture is so refined and finessed. The people are very lovely and make travelling and meeting people such a pleasant experience from customer service to a drunken night out.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
I like to take people to some of the cool cafes and bars in Melbourne. They have so much character and diversity and it was the stand out thing for me to do when I used to visit Melbourne as a Sydney Sider. I also like to take them on a tram and show them a hook turn as well. Maybe a footy game at the G as well as it’s a pretty awesome experience.

What are you currently reading?
I don’t read that much to be honest. My time I would otherwise spent reading is done watching documentaries, movies, youtube tutorials and stand up comedy.

What are you currently listening to?
I am really enjoying Kurt Vile’s new album Walking on a Sunny Daze. I am going to see him play at the Corner soon as well which I look forward to. Otherwise, I find myself listening to a lot of Psytrance and Mozart and a bit in between.

Happiness is?
Pleasing the senses and having someone to share that experience with. Also being able to make a positive contribution to someone’s day or life puts me in a pretty good mood.

What does the future hold for you?
I hope to be able to sustain a multi-discipline career in the arts and continue to improve at what I do. I would like to see more of the world and continue to have more new and interesting experiences. Perhaps with a combination of these I will be able to have something to say through my work and in a way that can make a positive impact in the world.

The multi-talented James Henry can be found involved in many fields of the arts industry. From singer/songwriter to engineer to musical director. His diverse skill set has seen him perform as a guitarist on the recent Black Arm Band tour of the UK, choir member and guitarist as part of the Archie Roach Into the Bloodstream tour and as founding member of the rapidly emerging Skin Choir.

His composition skills has attracted commissions from the City of Melbourne to compose for experimental medias and as musical director of the Dreamtime at the G performances. As the Songlines Aboriginal Music resident engineer, James has recorded for the community across various genres from traditional to hip hop to rock.

James has been working as a photographer since the start of 2010. Starting out by working alongside his job as an event’s organiser and musician, he made the transition across to shooting events quite easily and had a lot of clients keen to work with him in his new field.

James has since tried his hand at various disciplines from travel landscapes and cityscapes to fashion for his own personal projects. This has given him skills to take into the world or portrait photography for which he has been in demand across the state and across the country.

James’ distinct work will be on display in 2 projects for the 2014 Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival: Culture Love is a collaborative photographic projection work created with young people as they share their unique stories about what it means to be a young Indigenous person today; and All Bells that Ends Well, a work he has composed using the 39 computer controlled Federation Bells to reflects his heritage.

The Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival runs form 5 – 16 February 2014. For more information, visit: www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/miaf for details.

Image: James Henry