Melbourne artist Felix Riebl is a man of many hats; award-winning artist, globe traverser, family-man, footy fanatic, leader, amateur green thumb, cooking enthusiast. He has found comfort in chaotic spaces, performing to sold-out stadiums across the world, and in small domestic moments whilst surrounded by family and friends.
There’s often a misconception that the euphoria you experience while out in the world is lost once you return home, however Felix finds magic in the mundane with the creation of his latest album Everyday Amen, out November 25 via AWAL.
“Everyday Amen is one of the most exuberant, full-of-life albums I’ve ever been involved in. It brings together Worlds that are particularly special to me. One of them is international, full of fragments and scenes that drift around my mind after years of tour. I’ve recalled the rush and colour of the big shows, but also the wandering travel moments. The other one is my domestic life, equally over the top, but in a more insular, everyday way. The songs, which range from the raw to the near orchestral, live in places where life overflows, in one way or another. For me, this album is the coming together of those different states. It’s a celebration of the extrovert and introvert in me, and the music comes to life at those points where the familiar flips and suddenly becomes magic.”
The album at its core is a celebration of life. It’s the interplay between insular domesticity and very extrovert overflowing international moments that drives the songs and allows the listener to reflect on their own Everyday Amen moments.
“For me the Everyday Amen moment is that instance where something that you think is expected turns on its head, or becomes curious, or funny, or mad. It’s just a moment where you’re back in life for a second.”
Standing at 11-tracks, each song details the wonder and obscurities of life with joy and exuberance. The album is timely as it breathes life into a new world. Surrounding himself with a dream team of musicians, along with engineer Andy Baldwin (producer / engineer) and Ross Irwin (co-producer / arranger), the recording process itself was very free flowing and only took two weeks to create.
Everyday Amen delves into Felix’s own personal life with an element of light-heartedness and humour and celebrates moments of contrast. The juxtaposition of a string quartet thrown into a rock song can be found in ‘Liar’, paying homage to the strong classical contingent in his family.
Drawing on evocative and colourfully haunting imagery that has been mentally sketched from a previous time and place – Hamburg, Cuba, Apollo Bay – songs like ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’ came out of fragments of memory, acting as contrasts to life yet somehow affiliated in nature.
‘Barcelona Beers’ speaks of a touring pattern; a dream that plays on repeat. A forgotten memory in the morning that is relived each night as though it’s the first time.
Closing track ‘Are You Awake Love (Anya’s Song) is a lullaby for his daughter who struggled sleeping. It’s a love song; a quiet anthem for all those who are sleep deprived, half mad, but very alive all the same.
From a very young age Felix was drawn to music and kept coming back to the piano. Writing was a cathartic vessel from him, “writing gives me an emotional and psychological vehicle to process life and to somehow turn things that would otherwise be really limiting or debilitating into things that flow again and can potentially bring some joy to me, and hopefully to an audience after that”.
Through his authenticity, Felix has built a career on a broad and colourful music palette – never being type-cast in to one music genre, yet somehow always finding an audience. Across his projects, The Cat Empire, Felix Riebl, and Spinifex Gum there is a thread that ties all three together and that’s a sense of community, collaboration, and respect for the craft.
“I think that’s one of the most amazing things about music for me, that there is something of a waking dream to it. You sort of forget how good it is until you’re back in it again”