Katie Noonan is one of Australia’s most celebrated vocalists.
Getting her start in the industry as part of indie band George, Katie quickly built a reputation for her range and versatility, but it wasn’t until she branched out into her solo career that the whole of Australia really took notice of her talent.
Katie has since worked with the likes of Tim Finn, Sia, Don Walker and Josh Pyke, and racked up seven-times-platinum sales across a range of projects and genres. Her latest album, Transmutant, see her unique talent soar to even greater heights.
We recently caught up with Katie to learn about her camping past.
1. Where did you go for camping holidays when you were young?
Well my family weren’t really campers, so I think I discovered the joys of camping more as a teenager when I went off with my mates. My favourite place to camp is North Stradbroke Island, I grew up in Brisbane, and it’s an absolutely idyllic, beautiful, beautiful island just off the bay. It’s got incredible camping spots. Pretty much the best view in the world is at the Point Lookout. It’s crazy; you just wake up looking at the beach. That’s where I enjoyed most of my camping. The other spot is the Woodford Folk Festival, which is not your traditional camping, but over the years I’ve camped there a lot.
2. Did you stay in a caravan or a tent?
Only ever in a tent but I would like to go glamping, as they call it, with the more caravan style thing. My husband and I have talked about doing that in our golden oldie years. I love the freedom of just driving and not knowing quite where you’re going to land that night, it’s a very beautiful thing. I travel a lot with my work so my idea of a holiday usually involves staying in one place. I’ve only ever done very lo-fi camping, I know you can get into all the gear but I’ve not gone down that path yet.
3. What are some of your favourite places to camp and why?
Most of my camping was at Straddie; I just loved the chance to really connect with nature. I think more and more, nowadays because we’re living in such a digital age, I would imagine camping is becoming even more popular because it’s a chance to unplug, and to get off the screens and escape the digital social networks.
4. Tell us about some of your favourite camping memories.
Just hanging with my girlfriends. I’ve always had a really great bunch of women in my life, its important to connect regularly. It’s amazing as you get older how the day to day life takes over and you forget to see your friends. Just connecting with friends, cooking together and making a fire together, all that simple back-to-basics stuff. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting around a fire with your friends, shooting the breeze and chatting, and just looking up at the stars. Relishing in the incredible majesty of nature.
5. Any not so enjoyable camping memories or experiences?
Festival camping. I think when camping at music festivals you really need to accept that you’re not going to get much sleep and there’s going to be mud. At Woodford there’s extraordinary heat, and there’s only so much breeze you can get through the windows. You can’t sleep in because not long after the sun’s up the tent’s too hot. I’m not really interested in that anymore. Music festivals and camping are great, but they’re the things to do when sleep doesn’t really matter.
6. Do you have any camping tips?
I would just say, and I’m certainly not an expert, but if you haven’t done it it’s a really great way to connect with nature and to connect with your friends. Nothing beats being at one with nature. And the majesty and magnitude of it is just a thing of beauty and a think to be feared and be careful of as well, especially in Australia with our amazing weather and wildlife. There’s no better way to switch off.
7. What are some of your favourite destinations around Australia?
Right now I’m sitting in Bellingen, which is a beautiful part of the world. I live near a town called Eumundi, and we’ve just set up an RV park there. I know it’s a much better option now for people with campervans and Winnebagos. Tasmania is incredible too – it’s a distinctly different beauty to the mainland. WA is amazing, you really feel like you’re on the other side of the country – its very different. Seeing the sun set on the ocean, the soil is very different, and the wildlife and flowers…
8. What’s next on your camping wish list
I haven’t got into camping with my kids yet, but it’s something I want to get into. I think they’re old enough now to really enjoy it and be part of the process and be able to help out a bit now. I think its something we will get into in a little more in the future. I got quite inspired by that book Wild. It’s about the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes from Canada through the USA to Mexico. The solitude of that really appealed to me. I think there’s something quite frightening but empowering about that, just being on your own and dealing with whatever comes your way. But now as a mum of two that kind of camping isn’t really an option, maybe later on in life.
9. Have your travels/touring inspired your music?
Oh yes, of course. I’m constantly writing and travel is part of my life. I love travelling, and it’s not as glamorous as people may think, but you do get to see all these wonderful communities around Australia and the world. I think travel is vital to the human soul, and I don’t think I would be anywhere near the person I am without it. I think the great thing about travelling is that it makes you realise how small you are and how big and wild the world around you is. The experiences are limitless.
10. What’s your favourite song on your new album, Transmutant?
I guess if I were to draw attention to any song it would be Quicksand, that’s the leading in track we did. I’m really very proud of the film clip for that. I imagined that in my head the whole time I was making the song and the record. I’m proud of all of the songs for different reasons, it’s quite a broad journey through a lot of sounds.
Transmutant is in stores now. Visit katienoonan.com to learn more.
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