To try and chill out?
And what, do you listen to music?
Yeah. Sometimes I watch Netflix though.
What do you watch?
[Laughter] What is it about that show in particular that you like?
I like the female protagonist Lagertha and the way that she solves problems through violence.
Which is always a good thing, I think.
It's something to inspire, and something to be inspired by. I'm just kidding.
I did a DNA recently and I had discovered that I had no Italian DNA. It was all Saxon, German and mid-European. So, northern and mid-European: Germanic, Slavic, Scandinavian … so the Manfredi's are essentially, you know, Germanic peoples.
That's really interesting. What is it that marks our desire to understand ourselves? I mean, we sit there and we go to self-help exercises and groups et cetera, but there's this new thing where you go investigate yourself and get a DNA test.
What does it say about who we are that we must know our genetic history in order to understand ourselves, do you think?
Well, I think we're living in a very unique situation at the moment where kind of everything that civilisation has been built on, which is the ties to your ancestry—and Fred who begot Fred, who begot Fred, who begot Fredina, or however we use to think about ourselves in terms of where we came from and our place in the universe and our tribe, our clan—was survival. That was how we survived, and we don't have that anymore.
So I think it's really interesting that all of these systems or TV shows or whatever are cropping up, and people are getting really into them because they're about that sense of deep, ancient history and the time before time. I spent a lot of time thinking about all that sort of stuff when I made this record.
To try and understand what it means to belong?
Makes it sound like 2007 HSC all over again. No, I think it's more about people need—we need myth, we need some higher connection, and music is essentially how we would pass down story.
I wonder how that manifests itself because we live in such an oversaturated world, there is so much music out there, there is so much story to punch through or to filter through or to be heard. What is it that you feel you can do or you need to do to make that noise reach our ears, I suppose?
I don't know. Just do it.
[Laughter] It helps doesn't it? When you were a kid Izzi, you talked about you wanted to be a marine biologist and all of these other kinds of things, so it sounds like you had a reasonably complicated relationship to music. How did you find your way back to actually being a musician? Take me back to that story.
Well, started playing piano when I was three and I went to a music and language school so there was a lot of what you'd call ‘oral skills’, a lot of tah-teh-tah-teh-ta-ta, tafa-tefa-tafa-tefa-ta-ta, and I loved all of that stuff. Anything to do with rhythm, anything to do with people and a big group, singing or clapping or playing xylophones, playing instruments...I loved that. I remember really loving being spoken to or being sung to and then having to repeat that back to the teacher. And I had a great freedom when I was as kid ‘cause you don't care as a kid whether or not the chord you're playing on the guitar is the right chord. I had no idea how to play guitar, but I was always picking up my dad's guitar and playing whatever chords.
I got to about six or seven...I used to go and do little recitals and competitions, piano competitions. I don't have a lot...much memory of this other than the blue suit I used to wear. My nonna used to knit me these fabulous outfits when I was a kid and I had this little blue suit that I would go and play all the recitals in, and I'd do this, like, mum tells a story about how I’d do the piece, whatever the piece was—Mozart, Bach, something like that—and then I would improvise. She said without anybody telling you, you just do a piece of your own improvisation. And I have no memory of that.