Katie & Tyrone Noonan To Celebrate The 20th Anniversary

The Polyserena 20th Anniversary Celebration will showcase the extraordinary talents of Katie and Tyrone Noonan and band – Brandon Mamata on guitar, Steele Chabau on bass, with Katie’s son Dexter Hurren on drums. Polyserena is an Australian classic. Debuting at number one on the ARIA charts in 2002, the album launched George onto the national stage, earning them six ARIA nominations that year – ‘Album Of The Year’, ‘Best Group’, Best Cover Art’, ‘Producer of the Year’, ‘Best Pop Release’ and winning them the award for ‘Breakthrough Artist – Album’. They became only the tenth Australian band in history to debut at number one upon release; Polyserena achieved gold status within ten days, platinum record status within three weeks and had reached double platinum by the end of 2002. It went on to spend thirty six weeks in the top 50 of the ARIA Album Chart that year.

Polyserena also gifted the band an amazing 6 songs in Triple J’s annual Hottest 100 poll across three years with Bastard Son, Spawn, Run, Release, Breaking It Slowly and Special Ones which also earned them an ARIA nomination for Breakthrough Artist, Single and an APRA nomination for Song of the Year in 2001. The album has more recently been recognised as one of Triple J’s Hottest 100 Australian albums of all time and landed in Double j’s Top 50 Best Australian Debut Albums. Polyserena will be released on black double vinyl for the very first time, alongside a digital deluxe package including previously unreleased tracks in November. Hi Fi Way speaks to Tyrone Nooan about this classic album and tour.

Great to be talking to you about this upcoming out. When you think about touring and celebrating this significant milestone for this significant Australian album Polyserena do you start to get a bit nostalgic?
Oh, thanks. I appreciate your kind words. It’s nice. Yeah, it’s good though. The thing for me that’s been refreshing is that it is nostalgic of course, but it kind of doesn’t sound old or tired music. That’s what I’m enjoying about it.

At times, does it feel almost a bit overwhelming knowing the legacy that it’s created and how important it album it is to a lot of people?
I really appreciate that, but I, I guess I don’t really try and take that onboard too much because otherwise, maybe it would be overwhelming. It’s very humbling to know that this record really did mean so much to people. I think was like a healing tool for people from a lot of the stories that I’ve been told over the years, which is pretty special to be a part of something like that.

Do you do anything special with your sister Katie to celebrate this milestone or is it just another one of those things?
I’d say first of all, we’ve got the biggest musical families having my nephew and Katie’s son on drums is just awesome. That’s really fantastic having that intergen, multi-generational reunion of the music, which is really cool and he’s a monster, he’s a such a gun it’s just amazing. That’s been pretty special and just being able to look over at Dexter and watch him just going off is fantastic.

Did you ever think that your life would change so much musically speaking when you were a part of the band George?
Um, no, we weren’t one of those bands, it wasn’t like Oasis, you know, where it was two siblings sitting down going, we’re going to take over the world. It was nothing like that. It started out as as a hippie jam on my sister’s back deck. I’d come back from a few years playing in bands in Ireland and England. I thought I was basically done with bands. I was more excited by what was happening in the club scene and the crossover between performance art and DJing and live music that was happening. I was more into that, but then I bought myself a second-hand electric piano, and I knew my sister was having these jams out on the back deck and I wanted to start playing again. So, I started joining in and that’s how it started.

What are the highlights that stand out for you when Polyserena came out?
For me the most incredible gig and I know this is going to sound like I’m making this up, but it was Splendour In The Grass in 2002. I just felt like the whole audience was with us. It was like this one heaving organism. I just remember getting up from the keys and going over to the front to pick up my guitar and I remember feeling like I was on the moon, and I was just floating up and down like I was completely weightless. It’s probably the most surreal experience I’ve ever had. It felt like everyone in the audience and us were completely connected, such an incredible feeling.

Did you have that feeling in the studio, particularly as the album was starting to take shape that this was a very special group of songs or did that come later when other people started getting on to and listening to it acknowledging this album as being significant?
It’s probably more that case, when you’re in the middle of it and you’re doing it, you’re just doing it. You don’t really think about it. People used to say to us, your album is going go number one and all this stuff. We just used to think that was pretty funny, was a bit of yeah right, this little art rock band from Brisbane is going to go number one! Yeah, righteo! It’s like good on you, thank you but yeah!

It must be great seeing Polyserena come out on double vinyl as well?
I just got the chest pressings recently from all the way from Czechoslovakia. I’ve been a DJ for a long time as well, I’ve had this experience once before with some songs off my debut jazz record made it on to vinyl in Europe on various compilations. For some reason, maybe I’m stupidly old school, but I feel like my music isn’t real until it’s in some kind of physical form. CD’s at the end of the day, yes they’re physical, but it’s more like digital.

Are you looking forward to these shows coming up to celebrate Polyserena? Are you planning to play the album start to end or are you going to mix it up?
Absolutely, we’re playing the album start to end and then adding a couple of extra songs as well.

Does the journey continue beyond these dates and possibly make some new music?
At the moment with this line up, we are definitely limited to the school holidays because Dexter is in his final year of school. I tell you what, there’s been a lot of people reaching out from places like Perth, Darwin and Cairns saying please come to our town. Who knows there might be a chance for another tour to get to those places, so we’ll see.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Polyserena will be released on black double vinyl on November 11, 2022. Pre-order HERE. Fans can also order a ticket/vinyl bundle – see here for more.

Tickets at Live Nation

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