‘We try to make really positive upbeat music so we can share good energy with people. We never intended it to be like that but the feedback that we started getting when we started performing goated us in to really creating a safe positive space through our music so people could express themselves openly and not worry about things that don’t really matter.

‘We just want people to feel like they’re either in love or they are loved and that they can express that love through dancing or singing along or just being a part of a group of people who are focused on the same thing.

‘In society as it is, it’s almost like built-in to be shy and to watch yourself, but the fact is that we’re all on the same planet. It sounds so cheesy and I know people have said it in more elegant ways but we’re like one consciousness and we should stop and experience that together sometimes. Music is our language of doing that but you can see that in art or theatre or anything. We just choose to bring people to that realisation through music.

‘I’m part of a 12-piece hip hop soul funk band called The Regime who get pretty active in the Inner West. If we’re not gigging, we’re busking.’

‘I used to work on breakfast radio every morning on triple j and I’d wake up at 4.30 and leave the house when it was really dark and no one was out. But there’d be an old lady that slept out the front of our apartment door. She was there every day for a year.

‘It was kind of weird as I would always ask her if she needed anything but there was always a disconnect between her and myself. I guess that comes down to communication and what I can offer someone in that situation.

‘It’s not just money – it’s a blanket or do you need a phone call, or an OPAL card? Do you need a shower or do you need to use the bathroom? It’s those things. Taking part in the Newtopian Sleepout is definitely opening my eyes up to everything.

‘I’ve learnt a lot about homelessness so far – about how prevalent it is and how difficult it is to get out of the system. So many Australians, and I have as well, get caught up in this mind-set that we have Centrelink, why don’t you just get the dole, you know? You never really understand the complexity of any issue until you place yourself within that community. Not that I’m necessarily doing that just by sleeping in Newtown Square for one night but certainly just by being a part of this program I’ve learnt a lot more about homelessness. It’s made me more aware of what I can do as an individual in everyday circumstances that I will now be more aware of.

‘The thought of homelessness is terrifying. There are so many things that life could throw at you in any situation. I guess we all have our time at being “the one” at one stage or another and for now everything is good in my life and that’s why I’ll help out while I can.’ 

‘I run a charity called Pathfinders in Armidale and we help kids who are really doing it rough – many of our kids have been removed from their families because of abuse and they’re highly traumatised. Every year we organise a “Pumpkin Run” where our young people grow pumpkins, cultivate them over a six month period and then harvest them.

‘This year we grew about 10 tonnes of pumpkins plus we got another 3 tonnes donated. That’s probably about 5,000 pumpkins in total.

‘We then transport them down to Sydney and give them away. It’s about giving away something to people who are in need, feeling good about doing that and not expecting anything in return.

‘There are many things the kids get out of it. I think it’s being engaged in something that’s purposeful. It’s also about belonging to something that’s meaningful, working in a team, seeing the joy on somebody’s face when they get a gift like that, being able to communicate with a whole lot of other adults who are great role models to them and serving people who are less well off than themselves. Plus they learn about agriculture.

‘It’s important for people to realise that there is always somebody worse off than themselves. There are a lot of people who are living in poverty. This food nourishes children and young people who are living in poverty. I think it’s important for people to be aware that there are a lot of people who are homeless that don’t have a decent meal on the table every day. Budgets are really stretched to the max.

‘I think we should be finding ways to engage kids in our society. If we don’t invest in kids now and engage them in meaningful activities then a huge generation are going to be lost – particularly these kids.’

‘It’s really important to accept that there are differences between us but those differences aren’t an obstacle; they’re actually a way of helping us connect. Just because we are different and we come from different backgrounds doesn’t mean we can’t combine our energy, skills and experiences for the benefit of everybody.

‘Everybody’s got something to contribute. You’ve just got to find a way of helping that person contribute. Be open to engaging with people. All you have to do is talk to them – just a conversation. That spark can take a person anywhere.’

‘I have Stage IV cancer – it’s under control at the moment. I value every moment. I value the time I’ve got. I value friends and just the beauty of the world around me. You don’t have to go out in to the countryside to see beauty. There’s beauty here. There’s beauty everywhere. I seem to notice it more. I notice things more now. I don’t need to do spectacular things. I get pleasure out of very simple things in life.’

If you would give your ten year old self words of wisdom, what would they be?

‘I can’t remember when I was ten. I think I was a rebel then and I’m a rebel now. I would have said, “Keep it up kid!”’