The Chris Doheny Interview – Part 1

DDR Records goes back through the archives with one of Chris Doheny’s favourite interviews from his decades of Interviews. Chris is looking forward to chatting to Australian Musician again soon. In the meantime here is Part 1. Part 2 will be published shortly.

After a stellar music career spanning decades, Geisha frontman, singer, songwriter and producer Chris Doheny finally delivers his first solo album and is keen to tell AM’s Greg Phillips all about it. 

When it comes to artistic output, prolific Australian singer, songwriter Chris Doheny takes the Jackson Pollock approach … throw everything at the wall and see what sticks! Among his myriad of current offerings, he has just released a single (‘I Love Everybody’) as the Demolition Crew, a collaboration with his industry mates David Briggs and Steve Strange. There’s another recording project called Slow Release Syndrome with Shaun Gardener. Chris also has a corporate act he calls Australian Made, a band which plays classic Australian rock songs, including hits he wrote with his 80s group Geisha. He plays regular solo and duo gigs, has a record label (Diamond Dog Records), writes songs for other people and produces other artists. On top of all that, he has managed to put together his first real solo album, Doheny, which is out on Christmas day. 

“It actually frightens me sometimes,” he says thinking about his workload, “but look, it’s kinda cool too. Having my own studio, I am my own person and can take on whatever project appeals to me.” 

Demolition Man 
As mentioned earlier, one of Doheny’s current projects is Demolition Crew. His partners in crime are David Briggs, an experienced producer who is also known as an original member of the Little River Band, and there’s Steve Strange, who came out of the 80s DJ scene and is known for his mix wizardry. The trio has just released ‘I Love Everybody’, an infectious, brassy, soul tune. 
“We meet mostly on Friday mornings for breakfast,” he says in explanation of how the ‘Crew’ works. “We basically write and record and work on whatever is on the agenda for any given day.” 

Slowly Does it 
Slow Release Syndrome is Doheny’s other new recording project. It features guitarist Shaun Gardener and they have recently released a single called ‘A Lesson or Three’, a slow, brooding, passionate ballad. “Slow Release Syndrome… the name means basically that we’re not in any hurry to release records,” Chris states. “We did all the tracking for A Lesson or Three at my house and I left the mixing to Shaun to do in his own time. He mixed everything completely different to the way I would mix it, which is good.” 

Finally … the Solo Album 
The project that Chris is most excited about however, is his self-produced solo album ‘Doheny’. The album features 11 tracks including two previous singles; Gallipoli, which was released for Anzac Day this year, plus a reworking of his successful AFL Footy Show theme, More Than A Game. Opening with a new track, Oz Rock’s Glory Days, which mentions every iconic Australian rock artist you can think of, there’s a distinct Australiana theme to the album. Many of the songs were co-written with friend Ronny Addlem, who came up with some of the concepts and lyrics, while Chris fused it all together musically. 

The album’s singular title and cover art is a homage to Paul McCartney’s first solo album. Chris has used McCartney’s back cover art as inspiration for his front cover, replicating the photo of Paul in fur-lined coat with a baby tucked snuggly inside it. In this case, it’s Doheny’s youngest daughter. 

During his decades in the industry, Chris learned his recording smarts from the very best: Peter Dawkins (Dragon, Matt Finish), Richard Lush (The Beatles), and David Courtney (Leo Sayer) to name a few. The solo album gave him the opportunity to draw upon all of that experience and self-produce the album in the comfort and convenience of his own home studio. 

“I’d been planning this album for a long time,” says Chris. “I think I’ve just been so busy with so many other things. There’s always been something that got in the way and I also  moved around a lot. Finally I settled down and was able to move into a place with the space for a studio. Until then I’d be going to other people’s studios and in the mean time I was just recording on small gear and you know, breaking it down all the time. Now I’ve got a purpose-built studio that I can go in after everyone’s gone to bed and I can basically do my work and get on top of it. I can leave it set up and go back and do some more work on it whenever I like.” 

Source: Australian Musician,  2014.12.21