Multi-award winning South Australian musician, producer and composer Kiah Gossner is one of the country’s most innovative and talented young artists. Mentored by Grammy Award winning composer/producer Sam Dixon (Adele, Sia, Christina Aguilera, Megan Washington), he is a highly sought after creator and collaborator who has toured the globe.
His multi-art form performance piece Contact combines audio, visual and structural elements to explore the contrary forces of human emotions, journeying into a culture of domestic violence that is cyclical, shameful and ignored. Kiah answers some questions for Hi Fi Way.
How exciting has it been to be involved with the inSpace program?
The InSpace program’s a really great opportunity to develop work and get in to a professional level. I wasn’t sure about applying as my work was predominately music and a large portion of the applicants have been theatre and dance. However, I’m glad I did, the inSpace team have been really encouraging and given me a platform to build this work Contact.
For those who aren’t familiar with inSpace, how would you describe the program?
‘InSpace’ is a program the provides funding to develop a creative work and a space to work in for week. For me it was a kick up the bum. I was sitting on these charts as a conceptual piece of music and wasn’t that driven to get them off the ground because of funding. I was fortunate enough to gain the inSpace position and have a really creative piece of work at a profession level as a result.
How long have you been developing Contact for?
As mentioned I’d had these charts around for a while, maybe a year before the inSpace development. I started writing them on a tour through Europe. We were on the road for about four to five months and I had a lot of time driving between cities with the band. I started sketching out the concept for what became Contact. That was three years ago now.
What can people going to the show expect to experience?
Contact is for those who are wanting more than a quick fix of art. On the surface level it’s a beautiful score of music running alongside an incredible film, intriguing words, striking set and dazzling light show, but dig a little deeper and who knows. It asks the viewer to invest their time and if they don’t it will demand it by the end. The development showings where a great success, some people left uplifted, others crying. I think I really depends on how the content speaks to you and your experiences.
Did you learn a lot from being mentored by Grammy Award winning composer/producer Sam Dixon?
I sure did, but this show has very little to do with his lessons and more to do with my compositions. Sam was a huge motivator for kick starting my career as a producer. He was really the one who let me know that I have the capacity to do this job well. I have recently been invited to join the team at one of Australia’s largest studios (Studios 301) as a producer/engineer and he was an indispensable part of the journey that’s lead me there.
How important has it been for you to receive a Helpmann Academy Grant?
The Helpmann Academy has been great support. I only started applying in the last year that I was eligible, I wish I started earlier. They gave me the opportunity to go and work with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson in LA this August. In Los Angeles I wrote two contrasting albums that I’m fleshing out at the moment. Miguel was such a wealth of knowledge and is an all-round beautiful human, it was a treat to spend that time with him.
What’s next on the horizon for Kiah Gossner?
CHRISTMAS 🙂 Along with a whole lot of exciting work. Putting Contact up in the Space theatre is a huge job – as is filling seats for a brand new show!!! Please grab some friends and come along!! But before the end of the year I’m also recording/producing five records as well as developing the two I wrote in LA. My role at studios 301 has just begun and there’s lots of exciting things happening there in my role as Producer/Engineer. I have a few tours over the Summer as session player too. So there’s lots going on, definitely looking forward to the down time over the holiday season.
Interview By Rob Lyon
Contact is on from Friday 29 to 30 November at the Space Theatre. Tickets from the Adelaide Festival Centre.