Virtual country

Perth singer-songwriter Siobhan Cotchin.

AWARD-WINNING Perth muso Siobhan Cotchin played a rip-snorting gig at Mojo’s in Fremantle last weekend.

But before you call the self-isolation police, there was no audience there and the performance was streamed live.

It’s just one of the innovative ways artists are getting live music out to the public while social gatherings are restricted.

Cotchin says playing a deserted Mojo’s was very surreal.

“It was so strange! As a performer who really thrives off of that interaction with the audience, it was difficult to act normal,” she says.

“I just wanted to fill those awkward silences with lame jokes…I kind of already do that at regular gigs though.

“Luckily, I did have an audience – my mum has come to every single one of my shows so having her there is such a relief. My manager Amber was also there dancing along.”

The alt-country/rock singer-songwriter is only 20, but has already been nominated for a West Australian Music Association award (Song of the Year) and won the emerging artist award at the Fairbridge & Nanny Music Festival. Despite her young age there’s an introspective quality to her music, which blends sweet melodies with poignant lyrics and dark themes. 

There’s a nod to artists like Lucinda Williams and Bob Dylan, and her songs have the depth and maturity of an older, battle-hard performer.

“I’ve quite enjoyed being home a bit more and having time to myself (this whole situation is kind of an introvert’s dream), but it’s been really difficult coming to terms with the fact that I can’t play shows; being on stage singing your heart out and seeing your friends sing back and dance is my most favourite feeling in the world,” Cotchin says.

I have been using this time to write songs and find new music to obsess over, which is the best form of self care for me.”

A full-time musician, Cotchin says she has managed to make ends meet during the Covid-19 pandemic by selling her artist merchandise and staying at home with her parents.

“I can’t wait to return to my second home, the stage, and play gigs again. I can’t stop thinking about how incredible and rewarding that first gig back will be.”

Cotchin’s new single Do You Know What I Mean? was released on all streaming platforms this week and you can watch her gig at Mojo’s on their Facebook page:

Mr Mojo rising? 

MOJO’S BAR in North Fremantle is likely to remain shut for a few more months, says owner Andrew Ryan. 

This week bars and cafes reopened across Perth as the state government announced that social gatherings of up to 20 people were permitted, but Mr Ryan says they will only re-open for gigs when they can deliver that authentic Mojo’s experience. 

“We are waiting for both regulations and community sentiment conditions to be right so that Mojo’s does open resembling what our punters expect; a great vibe and vibrancy while all artists, punters and our staff are safe…Mojo’s is not open to the public and the venue is not trading.

The bar will probably stay that way for a few months.”

In the meantime, Mojo’s has started streaming live performances from the empty venue, with Perth singer/songwriter Siobhan Cotchin performing a full set last weekend.

During the lockdown, venue management also successfully crowdfunded more than $60,000 to cover outstanding bills and stay afloat. Mr Ryan says the live music scene will bounce back as restrictions are lifted.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way and the display of countless online gigs and virtual audiences shows that there is a will.”


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