Are You Comfortable?

THE QUESTION OF KIRIN J CALLINAN

Published by Mess + Noise, 18 March 2013.

From Mercy Arms and Jack Ladder sideman to divisive solo star, Kirin J Callinan was a Kirin J Callinanfascinating figure even before his controversial Sugar Mountain set in January. ADAM CURLEY gives a long-form report from there as well as in the studio with The Presets’ Kim Moyes, where Callinan is making his second attempt at a first album. Photos by McLEAN STEPHENSON.

Kirin J Callinan takes a final swig of his Asahi, drops the bottle into a nearby bin and paces the wooden floor of the Forum, head down, five or so steps away from the bar, five or so steps back.

It’s 5.45pm, not yet an hour into the Sugar Mountain festival, held over one Saturday evening in January inside the grand inner-city Melbourne venue. On the stage is Lower Plenty, playing their wallflower pop to an audience of less than a hundred. Early-comers and media trickle in past the stalls to the standing area, shake hands, stop at the bars. Most are paying attention to the band even as they talk and settle.

Callinan is not. His eyes flick to the stage twice in quick succession. Otherwise they’re fixed on the ground. He’s dressed smartly but not conspicuously in grey suit pants and a tucked white shirt open at the collar. In a couple of hours the Sydney guitarist and singer will perform a collaborative set with filmmaker Kris Moyes upstairs in the seated theatre, the Forum 2, inciting walk-outs and long debates into the night. No one in the audience yet knows what is about to go down and no one notices him.

Now, with his arms folded, Callinan strides behind the gathering crowd. Now, Callinan paces.

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