Grampians Music Festival headed by sombre folk dandy Didirri

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Grampians Music Festival headed by sombre folk dandy Didirri

After wowing at BIGSOUND earlier this year – including topping multiple best-of lists, being added to triple j rotation, featuring on multiple Spotify and Apple playlists and selling out a headline tour, Melbourne’s self-described sombre-folk dandy Didirri is headlining the three-day Grampians Music Festival next year. We chat to Didirri ahead of the festival.

Hey, thanks for chatting to Forte. You’ve had a productive year releasing ‘Blind You’ and ‘Jude’ to the masses and both have received fantastic reviews. How are you finding the reception so far?

It’s been very pleasant. I wasn’t expecting as much as I have got. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind really, considering a year ago I was writing music for myself and playing for cafes in Warnambool when I was a teenager, now I am playing some sold-out shows. It’s been a bit of a strange one really.

‘Jude’ in particular has been receiving a lot of attention for its haunting lyrics. It has been described as an ode to your brother who has autism, but it seems to be more layered than that as well. Was it a cathartic or confronting experience writing ‘Jude’, or something entirely different?

It was more of an observation of how my brother has a very, very good perspective on life and that you should just do what you love and try not to get in the way of anyone else doing what they love. I mean he won’t say ‘hi’ to me when I get home but he’ll give me an extra-long hug. Anyone who’s been a sibling of someone with a disability, especially a mental disability, there’s a love for them that is very different to anything you’ll ever experience in your life. He’s not just a brother, he’s his own thing. And in the wake of being a bit of a carer to a friend that was suffering from some pretty severe mental illnesses, I went and hung out with him and he really put life into perspective for me and he taught not to overthink stuff too much.

An amazing slant to your music so far is just how grounded and poignant it is. For someone that is only in his early 20’s, it seems as though you have a wealth of life experience to draw from. What would you say has been the biggest influence or motivator for your music?

It’s probably a cliché to say, but I’ve always been trying to improve myself. A majority of my songs are kind of just advice to myself but then things that I think and mistakes I’ve made in life, I think other people could maybe benefit from. Or just observations, a lot of it is me drawing inspiration from the darker side of life which makes music a kind of healer for me and a processing thing. Happiness is a pretty simple concept so you don’t really need to process it, if that makes any sense. I get worried about the observer effect where if I think about why I’m happy too much it might wreck it.

You have the Grampians Music Festival coming up in February. Do you like the festival set-up and how does it differ to your smaller intimate gigs?

This is my first experience with the Grampians Music Fest, I’m excited because I used to travel to the Grampians a lot so it’s kind of like my second home and it’s a beautiful scene, but I have played a bunch of festivals recently. There’s definitely something to be said for the atmosphere of a festival, there’s nothing else like it. It’s kind of rare in our day and age to have a bunch of people going for the sole reason to observe some form of art and I find even myself when you go to those kind of places, suddenly your phone becomes unimportant and whatever you’re doing at home can wait until Monday. It goes out of your head and while you’re there you just take in as much as you can.

It’s almost like a hive mind, like I played Woodford Music Festival, which I think 110,000 attended but by the end of it I felt like I knew everyone which is impossible but you just have this feeling that we’ve all shared this weekend together. I guess that’s what I try and capture in one of my shows anyway, whenever you all go and share this emotional rollercoaster together. I think that’s why live music isn’t going anywhere. People are addicted to that feeling and I think it’s a pretty good thing to be addicted to. It gives me a buzz and makes me feel like I’m doing something right in the world.

Hailing originally from sunny Warnambool, you’ve made the pilgrimage to Melbourne city. How has the new scenery affected your music?

It’s hard to say. I’m quite an effeminate male and even though I am straight, living in a small town was kind of difficult and I don’t want to speak ill of the entire place because I love it. I love Warnambool and I still frequent it quite a lot, but being a singer in their teen years was difficult and what I like about any city is usually you find people that are similar to you because there’s a bunch more people. I would say I feel a lot more free to express myself now and politically on stage now with the equal-marriage bill being passed through the senate and I speak quite highly of those kind of things at my gigs and in cafes in small towns, that kind of thing is difficult. Again I don’t want put a bent on it because I had a beautiful time growing up but artistically things have definitely changed.

Thanks for chatting with us, any last words on what you’re working on?

I’ve finished work on an EP called ‘Measurements’ and before the EP comes out I have already started work on an album so there’s a lot of song to get out. I’m happy to roll it out in quick succession.

When & Where: Grampians Music Festival, Halls Gap – February 2 – 4 2018.

Visit for the full lineup.

Written by Daniel Jubb