‘I play the Oud. It’s a Middle Eastern lute. There’s a new album out on ABC called “Permission to Evaporate” which is a recent one I did in New York with two great jazz players. One is Mike Stern who was in Miles Davis’ band and Christian McBride – the biggest double bass player at the moment on the jazz scene in the world actually. So I was very lucky to get the chance to record with them.’

If you could describe the Oud as a human, how would you describe it?

‘It’s pretty much like me – short necked, half pear shaped. It’s perfect. I’m exactly like the instrument!

‘I’m playing next Thursday (26th) at Camelot Lounge Marrickville in a repertoire called Angel. We only play that repertoire twice a year to commemorate my parents’ passing. It’s nice to commemorate them through music. This one is to commemorate my mother’s passing two years ago.

‘She was quite sick towards the end. I think there were quite beautiful moments within the short space of time you spend with them in the end. It doesn’t get easy not having your parents around. I think it really gives you fuel for your music. It helps you as a human being and helps you grow. We’re constantly healing and that’s the beautiful thing about music. I guess you’ve just got to take these things as a lesson and grow from them.’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhp-IpRPxIs

‘The mainstay of my work is sideshow. I swallow razorblades, walk on broken glass, eat lightbulbs and stuff. For a circus performer, I’m neither fit nor flexible. It’s all in my fingers and tongue. I had an act where my assistant would feed me razorblades. She’d then swallow some string and then we’d snog. As we snogged, we regurgitated what we swallowed and tie the razorblades under the string with our tongues.’

How did you get in to this?

‘It’s weird. I studied business. I thought that was the smart thing to do. I didn’t study art and drama like I wanted to because like that’s ever going to make you a living. I picked up fire twirling just by randomness and started getting work for it. I then started to diversify. I went from fire dancing to fire eating to fire breathing to sword swallowing to swallowing other things to just working on controlling responses of the body that are normally automatic that we normally don’t have conscious control over – that your subconscious takes over itself.

‘What I do, it’s not like an adrenaline rush. I’m not seeking death or pain or anything like that. It’s actually more methodical. It’s more mastery of your body. It’s not even mind over body. It’s more mind over mind really. My old assistant used to say, “Everything is in the mind. Even the mind is in the mind.”’