(L-R) Tanya and Matt Fisher and Paul Agar were winner at the North Coast Entertainment Industry Association’s Dolphin Awards. Image: Geoff Helisma
Lower Clarence musicians Paul Agar (Country) and Matt and Tanya Fisher (Adult Contemporary and Rock) won three awards at the North Coast Entertainment Industry Association’s (NCEIA) Dolphin Awards, held at Ballina RSL Club on October 24.
The Independent caught up with the winners at Paul Agar’s Heaven Recording Studio in Yamba.
Geoff Helisma: What is it about the Lower Clarence that produces Dolphin Award winners year after year?
Tanya Fisher: The relaxed atmosphere.
Matt Fisher: There are so many good musos around here that you can call on.
GH: Is that because you have taught them music in your job as a teacher at Maclean High School?
MF: Some of them are (laughs). There’s a whole range of ages, genres and instruments [being played].
GH: So, there’s all this talent and not much work for locals?
MF: And nowhere within an hour of here, that will pay you to play originals anyway.
GH: Tell me the story about how you originally recorded with Paul and so on to this year’s awards.
TF: We entered the Dolphin Awards two years ago [with a song recorded by Paul Agar] and won recording time with [past NCEIA president] Brett Hamblin at Deva Studio … at the back of Kyogle, for best rock song.
Paul Agar: didn’t you win something earlier?
MF: No, we were only nominated for Hot Blooded Woman, but NCEIA used the song on TV to advertise the awards the following year.
MF: It was played 800 times and we ended up with enough [mechanical royalties] to buy a bottle of Coke between us (lots of laughs).
TF: We got half a cent each time it was played, but we don’t do it for the money.
MF: We do it for our own self satisfaction.
TF: The sense of community as well, when asking other people to play.
MF: That spurred us on to the second lot of songs. From our winnings we recorded two more songs in the three days we had at Deva. And both of those songs won: one for Rock [R.O.C.K.] and one for Adult Contemporary [When It’s Cold Outside].
TF: We won $1,200 recording time at Deva again, but we do feel a little bit awkward each time we go out there, because we do love what Paul does.
MF: We’ve been telling him we’ll come and record more stuff, but we win recording time elsewhere.
TF: We’re cheating on you Paul [who laughs].
GH: Paul, you were a joint winner in the Country section for It Ain’t Far To Fall, as performed by Doot – isn’t that your old band?
PA: Well yeah, but it’s just kind of happened by default; there’s only one member left (laughs all around). I’ve still got the website and the domain name – until that expires I’ll just keep using it. Anyway, I don’t mind the anonymity.