Stamp Mix 107: Cowboys in Cold Ibiza

Coined by Nathan Savage AKA DJ and producer Bronze Savage, the term ‘Cold Ibiza’ refers to the influx of mainland Australians who make the trip to the Tasmanian city of Hobart each year to get their party on, despite the chilly temperatures.

Savage helms the Hazey Daze party series at 24 hour licensed venue The Grand Poobah, a night who’ve brought over artists like Jack J, Bradley Zero and (a little closer to home) Wax’o Paradiso’s Simon TK.

The latter struck up a great friendship with Savage at the party, born out of a shared love for cosmic country, Italian soundtracks and folk sounds. After half-jokingly coming up with the name ‘Cowboys in Cold Ibiza’, it stuck and the pair embarked on their sporadic collaborative project, taking a playful and singular approach to tell a story of history and film through these outsider country sounds.

For their Stamp Mix, the pair follow a similar cinematic narrative, flowing from Italian library music to Venezuelan psych-folk and intriguing covers of Lee Hazelwood and Kraftwerk…

For those unfamiliar, who are Cowboys in Cold Ibiza?

Cowboys in Cold Ibiza is a sporadic collaboration between Nathan Savage and Simon TK, and was born the first time Simon played for Nathan in nipaluna, lutrawita (Hobart, Tasmania) for his Hazey Daze party series. There, Nathan spoke about a term he’d coined, ‘Cold Ibiza’ referring to the tendency for mainland Australians to arrive en mass each year during the Dark Mofo festival to party it up despite the chilling Tasmanian temperature readings.

From there we realised a love for the universe and storytelling of spaghetti western, Italian soundtrack, acid country and outsider folk music. We half-jokingly started the ‘Cowboys in Cold Ibiza’ moniker as an outlet to blend these genres (+ some post punk, psych rock, cosmic stuff and pitched-down love songs), but it’s turned into a project we’re both extremely passionate about, albeit a slow moving one.

For us the CICI world is a cinematic, narrative-driven mix format allowing us to recontextualise country music into a format we can enjoy without all the unfortunate tropes that it often comes burdened with. In an era where Old Town Road has shaken our perception of country music to its core, and Ennio Morricone has tragically passed away, these mixes are a grubby and tongue-in-cheek attempt to trace a musical lineage through history and film, and enjoy it on our own terms outside of the white American country music establishment.

How’s this year been for you so far? How has it been being an artist in isolation for a chunk of the year?

We live on separate land masses within the same (so-called) country, on one of the most isolated continents in the world. It’s no wonder we’re making sparse, isolation-inspired mixes.

What lessons do you think the music industry can take away from the Covid-19 lockdown?

We both work as artists and events producers/promoters in our respective cities of naarm/Melbourne and nipaluna/Hobart, most likely local economies will take a while to rebuild and recoup losses, probably we’ll lose some venues, probably we’ll all take dancing much less for granted. Hopefully we all take more from the BLM movement than we do from this damn pandemic.

Could you tell us about the mix you’ve made for us?

Like the previous two CICI mixes, there’s a huge breadth of genres included, but hopefully a coherent narrative. The first Cowboys mix was actually an unofficial soundtrack to Lee Hazelwood’s ‘Cowboys in Sweden’ film, and designed for the bus ride on the way to Nathan’s Rose Quartz festival, set on a crystalline lake in Tasmania’s isolated alpine region. Semi-intentionally all these mixes follow a more cinematic narrative arc than a musical one.

There’s italian soundtrack/library, venezuelan psych-folk (out to Nadia Hernandez for the tip), a peculiar Israeli cover of Lee Hazelwood’s ‘Some Velvet Morning’ that Simon picked up scouring bins in the Middle East, a wild version Nathan found by Eric Wollo of Kraftwerk’s ‘The Hall of Mirrors’, and an incredible collaboration between Iggy Pop and Oneohtrix Point Never.

Are there any standout tracks that hold a special significance?

There’s a rich history of Indigenous Australian country music for those wanting to do further research. The Buried Country compilation is a great record to start with.

Djarimirri  – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu
Take Me Back – Black Allan Barker
Sailing – George Rrurrambu & Birdwave

Photo credit: Rod Savage in Cold Ibiza

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