Living in the inner-west has heavily shaped the music and outlook of award-winning Seddon musician and composer Peter Knight.
What is your connection with Seddon?
We came in 1999 because it seemed like a lovely place, and prices were cheaper than St Kilda. I met Tamara, my partner, and we were living at opposite ends of Melbourne; we had some friends moving to Seddon and we found a really nice place. We bought this old factory and it’s a great space that really supports our work.
What do you love most about the area? Is there anything you would change?
I love the diversity. Proximity to Footscray is great, but the vibe in Seddon is pretty laid-back. The development of Footscray has been pretty ad hoc, and I think that’s a real shame. A lot of the potential in Footscray is untapped; there are these monstrously ugly developments along the Maribyrnong River and I don’t know why there isn’t better urban design in such a wonderful area, they are a blight on our neighbourhood.
What are your favourite local places?
I actually love the port setting and the industrial setting – the feeling of the urban and the industrial, the feeling of the movement of the boats and the people coming in from all around the world. I love the cafe culture in Seddon and Yarraville, there are some really great spots to sit and talk and while away the hours. I love the Sun Theatre, this incredible site we are so lucky to have. I also enjoy running and riding my bike along the Maribyrnong. Yarraville Yoga is another favourite sanctuary, what a treasure that place is.
How did you come to pick up the trumpet?
I liked the trumpet as a kid because it was shiny and interesting looking. Then I found out it had an amazing sound. I kept playing it because I discovered Miles Davis.
Tell us about Way Out West and last week’s Music Victoria win for best jazz album?
I was asked to put a band together for the Big West Festival, which was tragically wound up by an incompetent board this year. The band would not exist without that festival and we have toured the world many times taking some kind of musical interpretation of Melbourne’s inner west to audiences far and wide. The win was for the first album we have released in five years, it was very satisfying. I also just won a composition prize for something I wrote for the Australian Art Orchestra, it’s a funny old world how these things happen.
How has living in the west influenced you?
It has been really deliberate. In forming the group Way Out West, we wanted to get the sounds of the west and the different meetings of cultures. It’s a huge influence on my music, it’s exposed me to a wide range of ways of approaching music. I have been the artistic director of the Australian Art Orchestra for nearly four years now, I took over from Paul Grabowsky. We often work in the space between cultures and have a lot of cross-cultural collaboration with Indigenous musicians and lots of Asian collaborations, exploring these different approaches to music.
Peter Knight will be performing with his son, Quinn, and friends on Friday night, playing jazz standards from 7pm at Feedback Café, 31 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. The Australian Art Orchestra will be joining celebrated Canadian composer and turntablist Nicole Lizée as part of the Sydney Festival on January 19.