Celeste Potter of Ouch My Face — The Collapse Board Interview
I know that you have a fascination with Iceland. Where does that come from?
Bjork [laughs]. It also comes from when I grew up in Mt Gambier. It’s built on a giant volcano full of bright blue spring water, lots of mountains and caves. In the middle of the city next to the library there’s this great big fucking hole in the ground. There’s some really extreme geological stuff going on. When I left Mt Gambier and moved to Melbourne, only after I left I realised how connected I was to the place, to the land itself and how the landscape of the place you grew up with really helps form you. When you think about Iceland, that place is all volcanoes and the landscape is changing all the time, the shape of the land is never the same. Volcanoes are always erupting and changing the shapes of the land. It’s a really young country compared to the others. It also has really massive fucking extremes in terms of because it’s right near the North Pole, they have a month of darkness or something stupid like that and then a month of no darkness each end of the year. When you think about the fact that the whole country has the population of Geelong, that’s how big it is, but how much incredible art comes out of there. I think the reason that is, is because of the landscape. It’s just a truly special place. I can’t wait to go there. I should have been there already. Also I think the reason I think Iceland would be an amazing place and the reason why I think artists like Bjork, mÃºm and Emilíana Torrini they’re all brilliant I think because there’s such a small population and I think people think their voices are really heard. It’s fascinating that such a small population can create such beautiful art and music. That’s why I’m a little obsessed by that place.
Just recently on your Twitter you posted about the SBS 3-part documentary Go Back To Where You Came From saying it was “damn good TV”.
Yes! In one way I think it’s preaching to the choir a little bit because anyone who’s going to be watching it on SBS they’re probably not going to be a giant fucking bogan whose going to have a Southern Cross tattoo and a “Fuck off we’re full” sticker on their car … do you know Shaun Tan?
No I don’t think so.
He just won an Oscar, he’s Australian and he’s from Perth. He just won an Oscar for his short animation called The Lost Thing. He writes and illustrates children’s books, one of the books he’s written is called The Arrivals.
Oh yes, now I know who you’re talking about. That was one of my favourite books in the library I used to work at! I recognise the title…
Yeah, there’s no words in that book. It’s about the journey of refugees and them coming to terms with a whole new place. Ever since I read that book I really hoped someone would make something other than that book that would be a lot more accessible and have more reach to show Australian people refugees as real people with real stories, not just as terrorists that come in a boat and destroy our way of life and all that kind of thing — that they’re people in need. I think that show did it brilliantly.
Having family roots from the Philippines have you ever encountered racism first hand?
Yeah I have, not too bad. Living in the country when I grew up there, there wasn’t too many other Asian people around you kind of grow up and encounter it all the time.
Have you experienced it in the music community at all?
No not at all.
How about sexism?
Oh yeah! All the time! Constantly. It’s not just the music community but I think it spills over into the music community because it’s so ingrained in our society. I get it all the time. “You’re a pretty good guitarist for a girl.” As a girl even in a great music community I still feel like you have to prove yourself if you’re a girl more than if you were a man.
What are the things most important to you?
Most important to me is having creative relationships. I think I’d die if I didn’t have people to make music with, people that I play gigs with. First of all I have the creative relationship with my band, they’re so important. They give me all kinds of feelings of wellbeing. I really need to do that. I really need to make music. I really need to create with other people. Beyond that it’s just that conversation between you and your band playing music with other bands in the giant bubbling cauldron of the music community; ideas and music bouncing back and forth between bands and between people and scenes — all of that exchange is what makes me get up in the morning.