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6 December 2022

"And then at the most hectic point where the house is completely engulfed in water, we had to separate." - Leesa Gentz

About the 


Leesa Gentz is the extraordinary voice behind the Hussy Hicks. Her soulful, bluesy vocals have become synonymous with the band's signature sound. As a talented singer-songwriter and guitarist, Leesa's performances are marked by raw emotion and impeccable musicianship, captivating audiences worldwide. Her dynamic stage presence and songwriting prowess make her a standout figure in the music industry.

The Production Talk Podcast - The modern way of producing music

In this episode:

Hussy Hicks singer Leesa Gents shares how she was trapped on her roof, while her bandmate Julz Parker only barely kept her head above water while rescuing an elderly neighbour.


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Contact the podcast host Jan 'Yarn' Muths at

Disclaimer: The Production Talk Podcast is independent of (and not related to) my teaching responsibilities at SAE.


Jan 'Yarn' Muths or, in the studio


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Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome to the Production Talk podcast with me, Yarn, of In this podcast series, we celebrate the modern way of producing music. We want to talk about all things related to songwriting, recording at home and music production. So, if you produce your music at home, this is the place to be. Please subscribe and recommend this podcast to all your friends. This is the Production Talk Podcast episode 70. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Welcome back to another episode of the Production Talk podcast. At the beginning of this episode, as always, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the country that we are meeting on today, the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nation, and I would like to pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: With me today is a very special person, the winner of the Gold Coast Music Awards "Artist of the Year", and lead singer of Hussy Hicks. With me is Lisa Gentz, welcome to the podcast. How are you today? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Oh, thank you so much for inviting me, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It is really great to have you. Look, we are both based in the Northern rivers. I don't think we have met in person before, but maybe we walked past each other somewhere in the streets, who knows? But at some stage, you know, would be great to actually meet up in person. But of course I've seen you on stage and I'm sure pretty much all of our listeners local or internationally have pretty much heard about the Hussy Hicks band. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can you tell us about a few milestones of your musical career quickly before we move onto other things? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Sure. So Jules and I met and started playing music together. 2004. And you know, we kind of just struck up this friendship that has meant that we've just continued to play music together and you know, TRAs around the world. And. Yeah, we, you know, we've we've put a lot of focus on touring in a lot of random and regional and remote places. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We love to travel, we love playing music and we really love meeting people and. Experiencing things outside of our comfort zone. So that's kind of been the ethos of the Hussie Higgs to just keep the show on the road and have as many wonderful experiences as possible. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You've obviously played in, you know some, some small places, but give us a couple of highlights. You've toured the world, so what were the musical highlights, the, the touring highlights of your career? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Ah, look, there are so many, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm, of Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: particularly, you know in. A couple of years before Covid you know, before 2020 kind of shut us all down for a while. We became sort of regular visitors to the touring circuit in Alaska which. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, which is such an extraordinary place. And the people there are so incredible. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We, we really did fall in love with it. So we, we've done several tours there and played one of their major festivals, which is called Salmon Fest which. Was definitely a highlight . We've also played we've played major festivals all through Europe and the uk and obviously here in Australia. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Blues Fest, which is our, our local major festival here is always one of the highlights of the year for us. We've played that many, many times. And you know, We pretty much always keep our fingers, firmly cross them, we'll be able to play it again, you know, in every coming year. But yeah, you know, I mean there's, there's been so many amazing experiences that we've had and every, everything from playing small house concert. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: In someone's wine cellar in the south of France to being on a major stage and playing in front of many thousands of people. You know? Yeah, we, we kind of, yeah, we kind of run the gamut of all different performance experiences. And yeah, it's, so, it's super hard for me to pick out, you know, just one or two because there's so many Jan 'Yarn' Muths: of course. Look, you don't have to, you don't have to. That's, that's fine. Look, you know, I've seen one of your Blues Fest shows and look, it knocked my socks off, you know, it's fantastic. You know, I really loved it. It's just gave me goosebumps, Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: thank Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can, can you tell us more about your band? Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Can you introduce your band members? So obviously you introduced Jules, but who else do you play with Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, so the Hussie essentially at its core, it's it's Jules Parker, myself, and our bass player is Tracy Stevens. We call her Tracy Bassy, but she's also local to this sort of region. And Ali Foster on drums who has been with us for. Six years now. So yeah, and you know, we've been doing prior to really nailing down this kind of four piece lineup, we had been doing a mixture of of acoustic and band touring. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: So we still kind of keep it. You know, it's always gonna be me and Jules. And we, we have a fully acoustic show that we put on, which, you know, is, is us, both of us playing a lot more percussion. And and me playing a lot more guitar actually. But with the band set up then, you know, my, my role changes slightly to more of a front person role. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, because you know, the songs are still split up fairly evenly between me and Jules. You know, as to who is the, the lead, who takes the lead on, you know, that particular song. But yeah, with the band, it's. It's a really fantastic experience, but certainly for me, because basically I get to just kind of jump around on stage and, and have the time in my life. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And you know, there's there's a lot of intensity. We, we have a a lot of light and shade in our live shows, so, You know, we, we try and really build up to, to huge moments and I get to, I get to sing from, you know, from every single part of my whole body. So it's, it's a really, really great experience and it's been wonderful. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: This last tour that we've done with the band has just been phenomenal. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Nice. Whoa, that's one fantastic look to all the listeners out there, if you get a chance to to see one of your shows, check out Sie Higgs. You will not regret that . Trust me. It's fantastic stuff. And we shared it just before we started recording today, and you said you are about to jump back on the plane and for more touring can, can you talk about that? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, so we, we got back to Europe in July this year for the first time since Covid stopped everything. And we, you know, we had such a great experience and a, and a bunch of the promoters and venues suggested that there's a couple of major events actually that kind of are the linchpin of this tour, but it's only three weeks we're heading back to Europe. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And we're doing a run of shows, a couple of shows in the uk and then a couple of guitar. Sort of, not really festivals, but guitar events acoustic guitar events, which we've done quite a lot of in Europe. And we, you know, in, in those sorts of shows, we, we basically get to go on and showcase. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: It's usually a sort of 25 or 35 minute showcase set. And and we'll be playing alongside some of the most extraordinary. Acoustic guitar players in Europe. Peter Fing is, is one who is a dear friend of ours, but, you know, just a legendary guitar player. He's absolutely phenomenal. And yeah, it's, you know, it's really wonderful to be surrounded by such high caliber musicians and to get the opportunity to do that. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: So we, yeah, we. We sort of scrambled and put a, put a bunch of things together to make it worthwhile as going over so that we can we can be part of these incredible event. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Fantastic. Look, I'm just so happy. Bands can tour again and, you know, to see you hitting the road and getting out Europe. That's really, really what I was hoping for earlier this year. So I'm just trying, trying to steer to a more serious subject. You are based in Lismore and Yeah, I've had quite a few episodes where we spoke about what happened in limo and the floods, and I would like to talk to you as well about what happened to you and it's my understanding that you've got a studio nearby the river and you were flood affected as well. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Is, is that correct? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, it's . It's almost an understatement. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. Okay. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We. Yeah. I'm, I'm actually sitting here where we were sitting on the 28th of February. So we we've, we've had this property for several years now and we've experienced a couple of minor and major. Floods and everything in between. And you know, we, we have this kind of process that we go through before a flood and you know, all the vehicles get taken out and it's not really until we're at the major flood level that, that we are really affected here. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, the, the studio is 3.2 meters off the ground. We lift everything up to the roof you know, There's a, a kind of routine that goes with living on a flood, on a flood plane. And we had done all of that and we were, we were anticipating a larger flood than we had experienced before. But you know, the, the February 28 flood was, was almost two and a half meters higher than anything on record. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And for. That two and a half meters meant over the roof. So all of the preparation that we had everything that had been lifted up to the roof line, which, you know nothing on record would, could have possibly prepared us for, for the amount of water that we had. But yeah, it, it, we, we were in here as the water was rising and it, it was, it was quite a slow process actually, the Sunday. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Was fairly chilled. You know, it, it had been raining constantly and there was heaps and heaps of water on the ground, but we hadn't actually been inundated by the river. You know, there's a point when the river comes across here and Yeah, it wasn't until late that night, late Sunday night that the water really actually started to rise. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And you know, there were a few rookie mistakes that we, you know, we, we forgot a few things that were under the house that had already started to float. And by that time you sort of, you don't really wanna be in the flood water, you know, so, so we sort of realized, okay, alright, this is really happening and. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. And then, you know, when it started to broach the floor and it's, it's almost like it's sped up and you start to watch the entire contents of your house anything that's left on the ground starts to float. Anything that I, I, I, I thought wouldn't float, you know, hardwood tables and chairs and things that are super heavy. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: They all started to float and everything. It becomes chaos. Everything ends up everywhere, you know, so, so we at, at the point where it sort of seemed like it would be dangerous to stay inside we went outside and jumped on our boats. So we had prepared two boats, one kayak, a one seater kayak, and one surf ski type boat. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And we had paddles, we had. You know, bug out bags packed with water and a few medical supplies and, you know, head covering and a warm change of clothes. But, you know, you couldn't, you couldn't take too much at first. Jill's had all of her hard drives in her backpack, but it was too heavy and the balancing on the boat became really quite difficult. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Gee. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: yeah, so we, you know, we, we really experienced the flood in. In the most intense kind of way. And I know, I know that there's thousands of people across the region who experienced it in, in a similar way. But yeah, it, you know, for, for me, I really, I really did feel that there was a point where it would stop and through our whole experience and to the point where we were rescued, the water was still rising. I sat, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: terrible. Mm. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I sat on the roof. You know as soon as we got the first bit of sunlight or, or light we decided that it was we had to go over to our neighbors and, and check on Jim because Jim had stayed in as well. And by that point, He, yeah, he was in a pretty bad situation. So Jules paddled across in the, the most sturdy boat, and I, I stayed here and sat on the roof which, You know, it was Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: It was quite an interesting time. You know, we'd, we'd sort of been through all of this kind of hectic watching the flood unfold. And then at the, at the most hectic point where where the house is completely engulfed in water we had to separate. So, so that was that was quite. Quite a lot to deal with. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: But, but both of us remained really calm. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. I mean, you know, we were clearly filled with a lot of adrenaline Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: and I, you know, everything seemed. Like it was happening the way that it was supposed to happen. I know that sounds really strange, but you know, I I was, I was sitting on the roof and I had, we had tied our backpacks underneath. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: The highest point of the outside balcony. So I just kept sort of leaning over and, and trying to lift them a bit higher and position them, you know, as high as possible. And that was kind of my focus and, and to stay calm and also to get help to us. So I, I, I called my family who arranged, you know, we've got, I have cousins who live in Walling Bar, so not very far away. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And at, you know, initially both Jill and I said, you know, we don't wanna put anyone else at risk. This was our choice to stay in. So You know, we'd called the SES about eight hours before that and kept calling and, you know, they were obviously completely overwhelmed. So our chances of being rescued by the ses We, we'd realized that they were pretty slim by this point. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And so, yeah. So eventually my, my cousin both of my cousins put, put the boat in and, and managed to, to come and rescue us. And you know, Jules Jules was over next door holding Jim out of the water, holding his supporting his body so that his, his head was out of the water. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh wow, Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: For many hours. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. Yeah. And it was they were still under the balcony because, you know, Jim didn't have great capabilities of movement. You know, he was in terrible shock and had been like he had been submerged in the flood water for several hours. And yeah, so the options of sort of swimming up and, and, and pulling themselves onto the roof. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Was sort of that, yeah, it wasn't really an option. So yeah, so you know, Jules was trying to work out what their next step was because they were at the point where their, they only had a few centimeters before their heads would actually be underwater, you know? So our rescue boat arrived just in time and yeah, we were, you know, where I. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I don't even know how far we are, but we, we kept kind of eying across Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, so Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: to kind of make Jan 'Yarn' Muths: could communicate. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: we could, and we had, we still actually had phone communication at that point. And, you know, both of us were constantly trying to call the SES eye, contacted all the neighbors that I Phone numbers for to say, do you have a boat? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We we're in real trouble here. You know, can, can you get us? And so there was a bunch of different things happening and, you know a bunch of different people were sort of planning to rescue us. And, and yeah, finally the boat came in and, and we managed to get. To dry land. And it was about four or five days later that we, we came back here, we borrowed another kayak and we, and we kayaked over the low part of the property, which was still underwater to access it. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And and we walked. And it was . It was unbelievable. You know, the drums obviously floated the highest , so there were just drums on top of things everywhere. Everything was upside down, everything was covered in mud. All of the guitars that we'd stacked up against the roof. You know, some of them were still stacked against the roof. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Some of them were, had fallen down and were, you know, in piles of just, you know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh no. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: covered. Yeah. So the, yeah, the whole, the whole studio was was yeah. Com completely ruined, you know Jill's this beautiful. Ns 10 speakers. You know, they, they're made of chipboard basically, so they just, they, they kind of explode, , you know everything that's made of wood kind of expands and, and the, the necks on the guitars kind of, you know, they've been hanging in water for a couple of days, so the binding pops off and. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, I mean the the state that we walked into was pretty crazy. Like yeah. Like Armageddon had truly hit Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Oh my God. Was there anything you could rescue from your studio? Any musical gear, Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. Amazingly, amazingly, actually some of Jill's beautiful valve compressors which, you know, we. Initially we were just gonna throw them all in the don't keep pile. And some musical friends of ours said the order damage is not necessarily the worst thing and that sometimes things can be saved. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: So Jill's got advice to to put a bunch of things in demineralized water. And so she got. She got these big tubs and filled them with demineralized water and put yeah, some of her rack units and some of her pedals. Yeah, a bunch of different things in demineralized water and left them sit there, which sort of allows the, the dirt and mud and stuff to settle and. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, thanks to her amazing technical guy based up on the Gold Coast. A lot of it was actually saved after, you know, months and months and months of you know, putting them in water and then, and sort of letting all of the dirt and mud seep out and then, You know, cleaning that off and then putting them in water again. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, just this constant process of really gentle cleaning. And yeah, we were absolutely stunned that that they survived. Some of her guitars are being rebuilt by some really dear friends. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Oh, that's great to hear. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: yeah, you know, all of the drum hardware. And actually the drum shells they were beautiful. DW drum shells and a, a drummer friend actually not even a close friend sort of a friend of a friend he said, look, I'll, I'll just take them and I'll let them dry out slowly and you know, I'll clean them all out for you and we'll see if. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: If they come good and yeah, and they, they did. So it's, yeah, it's, it's quite amazing. But, you know, when, when you are in the, the depths of everything in your house that's been destroyed it's, it's really difficult to see past that level of Yeah. Utter destruction, , you know, like, it seems like you could never possibly have enough time to clean all of this stuff up and to yeah, to It just, it's, it's completely overwhelming, you know, and I, I recall we had a wonderful team of just incredible humans. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: My, my, my family's neighbor is an electrician. He got a team of his, his guys to come down. They ripped all of the PowerPoints and light fittings out and and helped us carry everything out and gurney out the whole house and pulled. Pull down all the walls and lay them flat so they could dry out and, and you know, another friend was up on the roof pulling out every second roofing iron sheet and, and pulling the insulation. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We had that sort of earth wall kind of insulation in, in the roof and walls, and it's so absorbent that. The amount of water that it holds is, you know, it's so heavy . So, so he was pulling all of that out. We were pulling it all out of the walls and, you know, it was, it was a massive, massive, massive effort. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: But they're bringing, they're bringing things down the stairs and, you know, our job was basically to say, put it in the keep pile or put it in the don't keep pile. And you're so overwhelmed with the state of everything. I got into this head space of just, I just want it all gone. I don't wanna deal with it. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I don't wanna see it. I, I, you know, that the last you know my life up until now, is I'm, I'm happy to just let everything that I owned prior to this moment go, you know, you I guess maybe still in a state of shock or something. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Probably, yeah. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. But it, yeah, I'm, I'm really glad that there were a bunch of level headed people there who just sort of, No, look, maybe this could be saved. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, things like microphone stands and, and you know, things like that that are sort of a no brainer. You, you can wash them off and that's still gonna work. You know, you might need to oil the, the little components and stuff, but they're still gonna work. So, you know, things like that. And then, you know, we, we started thinking, okay, well maybe, maybe we just put all of the studio gear and no matter. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Bad. It looks, no matter how dire it looks, maybe we just put it all in a pile. And, and then we can slowly go through it and see, you know, we didn't know if there were any components of the speakers that may, may still be okay or, yeah. So we, we sort of ended up separating it to like all of the musical. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And and, you know, things that we thought we possibly could save. And then, you know, just this massive, massive pile of you know, couches and you know, bedding and, and just stuff that is so disgusting and, and, you know, the smell is so intense. Yeah, it's, you know, it's it, it, it was a lot to deal with and I'm, I'm super, super lucky that you know, I, I've spoken to other people in who, who have gone through the same process where you just want everything gone. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You don't wanna deal with it, you don't wanna look at it. So Yeah, I recognize that that's a natural human response. But yeah, I feel very, very grateful for those people who were like, hang on, wait, wait, wait. Maybe don't throw that straight out. Maybe, you know, maybe give yourself a little bit of time and and work through what's actually saveable. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And do you want to say that you. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Wow. Whoa. Wow. I'm, I'm speech speechless. What a story. Wow. And just to the, to the listeners who you know are, are not close by, we have many overseas listeners. This was your story out of thousands in Lismore. You know, there's a huge community, th thousands of houses that went under where there's many, many more stories just like yours. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Were luckier. Some were even less lucky. Wow. That gives us an idea of, of the dimension of, of what happened there. Okay. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Oh yeah. And you know, we actually got to the point where we felt like we were really lucky. You know, I know that sounds strange, but in the whole scheme of the devastation of this whole region because we have such a beautiful. And generous community of people through, through music, but also through, I grew up in this region. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I have lots of family in this region and you know, we, we had the, the most incredible outpouring of love and support. And, you know, things like I. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I felt like because I, I sat, sat on the roof alone in the driving rain, you know, and it was wild. The, the rain was heavier than anything I'd experienced. But then, A few days after that, I heard stories of people who were on their roof for days. And I, you know, I just, I, I couldn't even fathom that. And then you hear stories of, of people who have lived in the same house for 40, 50 years and you know, they. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: They don't have the community that we have access to, and they don't necessarily have the resources that we had to rebuild, you know? It's, yeah, it's it's one of those things, you, you, you can never measure your grief against someone else's or your trauma against someone else's. But. . But I do really feel like in, in the whole process of this incredible disaster that, you know, we, we had we were fortunate in many ways, if that makes Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm, I see. Yeah. Yeah. I see. So maybe let's talk about, you know, the days and weeks after. So, There was a huge cleaning effort and, you know, the community, the wider community rushed to, to help out. And I found that among all the devastation and, and the trauma, there were lots of, of bright moments of, of hope and, and help where it wasn't expected, where just random strangers walked up to random houses and started helping and just friend. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Built in these moments. So I found that our community came together, like I've never seen it before, and I found that, that gave me hope, personally. Tell me more about the experience of, of your friends. You know, you are obviously based in the area. You've, you've been there for a long time. You integral part of the musical community. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So how did other musicians get through it? Are there similar stories? How did the MUN musical community survive this? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, yeah. Look, amazingly The, the musical community is, is such a special place. , our, it was our musician friends who were the ones, you know a lot of people from the Gold Coast cuz we, we were based on the Gold Coast for many, many years. It was only really since Covid that we we sort of started basing ourselves full time down here. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And so many musicians. Just, they, they jumped in their vehicles. They went and, and, and filled their, their vehicles with e everything from cleaning supplies to, you know, feminine hygiene products, to toothbrushes and, you know, and, and cartons of beer, , you know, things like that. And then they, And they just drove around to random, random people's houses, and they would spend a couple of hours cleaning or they would just give them a beer and offer to sit and have a chat. You know, all, all of these really, really beautiful moments of human kindness that, that you mentioned that you know, constantly you would hear stories that would bring you to tears. As far as our musical family here who were affected yeah, it's, it's been pretty Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: One of our mates Dan Pearson, his his stage name is Triple Ne, her incredible spoken word artist and rapper. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: He, he lost everything. He, he did manage to get in and get his, his father's paintings and and some of his lyric books and and managed to clean them off and and, and, you know recover them, which, you know, he said was the only thing that he was really really concerned about. But yeah, you know, he's he's now. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Still, I guess however many months on we are living in a disaster pod. You know, so many people still haven't been able to return to their homes. And. Anyone who was renting, you know, a lot of landlords have just sort of wiped their hands of it and decided they're just gonna sell. So, so there's nowhere for these people to go back to, even if they did have you know, if they were able to sort of tidy up and rebuild, you know, the, the flood houses. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: So, yeah. So it's, it's been pretty wild. But you know, some friends of ours who run an event space they. They were you know, it's, it's a big old factory and they were, they're so high. It's unbelievable. You look, you look at how high they they are and and you know, water still it, it still went further than, than they you know, they, they had allowed so much, so much space and yeah, it's, it's just crazy. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: But the real. The real heart of, I guess the real spirit of the community was when people were finally coming back into town. And it took me and Jules a couple of weeks until we were ready to go back into town. Cuz we're six kilometers out of town. And when we did it was just amazing because. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You'd see, I, you'd just see dozens of people that, that, you know, and you know, at the Recovery Hub it kind of became like this You could, you could let, you could really release, you know, you, you'd get there and, and, and you would see someone and they would tell you their story and you're both talking and it, you know, you, there's, there's this sort of massive, like, like everything gets downloaded and or offloaded, I suppose is the, is the word. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And yeah. You know, you, you just, you just realize that, Everyone was re was really in the same position, you know, and and we, you know, we, we were all still trying to stay strong for one another. Whilst. You know breaking down. And, you know, at the time my my emotional breakdowns were not for me. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: They were never for me. They were usually caused by an, an amazing act of kindness or by hearing someone else's devastating Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Mm, well. Yeah. Wow. So many stories to be Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. I don't know if I've answered your question or if I've just been rambling. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: no, that's, that's perfectly fine. That's perfectly fine. Look, isn't, isn't music one of the best places to download or offload, whatever you wanna call it, your thoughts and stories and put them into song. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Oh, 100%. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Same boat. Is is one of your songs that I guess yeah, of course. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Some ripples, if I may say so. Can you tell us more about the song and where it's coming from and the meaning and the lyrics, what it's all about? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Well, sailboat sailboat was written probably a couple of months after the start of the lockdowns. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I see. Mm. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: and I guess, I guess in a way You know, we, we had a huge 2020 planned. We had three international tours that were canceled because of Covid. We had a huge Australian tour, obviously Blues Fest. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, we, that was all set to be, you know, the biggest year of our career. And I went through a lot of grieving, I think During the pandemic sort of grieving over missing out on all the experiences that I was looking forward to. And same boat ended up being I guess you know, me sort of coming to terms with, okay, well, I guess, you know, like it's not just us. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: It's, it's not that one of us has got sick and we've been grounded. You know, this is everyone , like Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Huh. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: everyone in the music industry is suffering right now. And and You know, unable to work. Obviously large gatherings of people were off the, off the cards. So that, that was kind of the essence behind writing same boat. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I, I wanted it to be fun. I wanted it to be a fun song because it's such a, it was such a serious subject for me. . So I kind of, I liked that contrast of this kind of You know, really kind of almost playful sound like with the, the production of it is quite deliberately you know, eighties inspired. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, it sounds very, you know, we listen to Cindy Lo snare drums and we, we listen to a lot of p Benita production and, you know, we, we went for that. We, we, we deliberately went for that and I think it really suits the song. But the, the most crazy thing about same boat is actually, let me back up one second. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We, we also released the song with a video game. So you know, it had been a long term sort of dream of ours to create an interactive film clip, which was essentially what. What the video game was. So you, you can just watch it, but you know, you don't earn any points if you just watch it. So so you can play. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And, and the thing is that the game, it starts with our tour van breaking down and then And this was created by friends of ours. We didn't make the game. We, we, we brainstormed concepts. And and over a period of a couple of months, it all came together. And so, so when we released the, the single we also released the video game. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And we, we released the video game a week before it went to radio. So the video game is US paddling paddling, this little boat. On a river and avoiding obstacles. So there's, there's crocodiles and sharks and mag pies and stuff like that. And then and then it goes on to two more little mini games. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Ones the boat becomes a parachute, and the next one is we make it to the gig. And, you know, you have to click the, the moving circle. So there, it's a super cute little game that goes with the song. Yeah, the, I ironic thing is that it was actually released to radio on the 28th of February, so the same day that Jules was paddling over to rescue Jim, and she was, she was avoiding plenty of stuff in the flood water. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: That was our official same. Release. So it just, it, you know, our, our heads were just spinning from, from that, you know, it took days for us to kind of come to terms with what had happened. , we almost sort of felt a bit responsible as to, well, in, in this weird kind of way. Like, what did we actually manifest this? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Surely not, you know, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Of course not. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: yeah. But, but a crazy experience. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Wow. Wow. Look, I think it's really inspiring to see how you turn a piece of music into a video game as well. And that got you a fair bit of attention by itself, didn't it? The video game. So wasn't there quite a bit of media attention as well? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. Yeah. Look, people really dug it. We, we, we loved doing the video game. So much that the boys from Monkey Noise who are are family friends friends of Jill's brothers, so she's known them for many, many years. And they are video game creators. So they enjoy the project so much that they suggested we, we do a video game for the, the rest of the songs on the ep. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We thought that was a great idea, and we actually ended up packaging the three video games and, and all of the songs into our very own Hussie Hicks app. So we have an app that you can get on the app store and. In, in the app it starts and it's kind of, it's almost like coming into our, our studio. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You go up the stairs and then, you know, you, you come into our studio and you'll see the band sitting there you know, jamming on guitar or playing the video game or whatever. And and then you can choose to go into whichever room you want so you can play the video game or you. You can play all three video games or you can just listen to the music. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We are planning to make another room where we can upload unique content that's only available on the app. So you know, there's, there's a lot of forward development as well that, that, that we're planning and you know, to, to also release like old, old demos and, and things because, you know, we've realized. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We lost so many hard drives and we've lost so much of our data and our old recordings that that possibly just, you know, sharing a lot of that, that catalog stuff that was never released. You know, it might, it might be a great way to do that. So yeah, and the app has really. Been it's, it's been cool. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: It's, a lot of people are like, I don't get it at all. I don't know what you're talking about. What do you mean you've got a Hussie, Higgs app? But the people who get into it absolutely love it. And we had we actually charted with the app, we charted on the iTune. App charts at number two just under Minecraft and, and above Grand Theft Auto, which was really cool. Yeah, so, you know, so it's, it's, it's kind of an interesting idea. We haven't heard of anyone else doing it. And you know, we, we definitely want to keep putting some energy behind that whole concept and and keep growing, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Well, I, I love it. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: that. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I, I love it. You are obviously thinking outside the box there and you're coming up with phenomenal ideas. That's, that's great. And that all hands out. So look, Lisa, I, I really. Respect and, you know, appreciate your, your resilience, how, how you got through the entire flat phase and now you are, you seem to be operating again. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You're touring just a couple of months after it's been, what is it, nine months approximately. And when you told us the flood stories, this sounds to me like something that would end so many careers. You know, a lot of people would just give up and walk. Start a new life elsewhere or, and, and you, you back up, you are operating and you're doing this so successfully. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: So my respect Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: thank you so much. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: what advice have you got for other musicians who are, you know, struggling in, in their life, who are experiencing hardships? How do you work through this mentally? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Look, I, I think that I think for me it's been really, really important to to remember that the music creation aspect of what we do is. Some of the most healthy processing of emotions that, well, for me, certainly, I can only speak from my personal experience, but, but that process of creation, of writing you know, recording, even, even just performing live. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: But but, you know, feeling all of all of the things like I, I, you know, In a live performance, I get to kind of run the gamut of so many different emotions. You know, I'm not, a dog is a really angry song, so I get to feel that on stage and get it out, you know? And, and yeah, I, I go through, I go through phases where I can't write and I get a bit blocked, but then, you know, then it's like everything just completely flows out and, and you're sort of back in this creative space and, and every, you know and I, I feel like it's really good therapy for me personally. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: It music is, it definitely is. Yes. It's, it's, it's so healthy for our souls and Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. And I know that with, with all the covid stuff that it's been extremely difficult. For musicians and, and music creators. You know, we've, we've all had to sort of question what our purpose is and and what role do we play in society. And, you know, it's, it's been a really tough time. But we have never, Jules and I have really never Spent too much time dwelling on the business, like the industry side of things. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: We, we have heaps and heaps and heaps of industry friends and, you know, a lot of the bands that we hang out with heavily involved with the industry stuff. But, you know, for me kind of consciously letting go of, of that trying to. Climb up the ladder, you know? And realizing that the, the process of creating and performing music is, that's, that's what I'm in it for. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I'm, you know, I'm not, I'm not in this to be on the television or to be on in magazines, you know? It is for the musical experience. And I think a lot of us can get caught up in the game and and forget that that part of our drive to do this or, or, you know, most of our drive to do this is because it's deep in our heart and soul and that it's important to get it out and, you know, that it's, it's not necessarily. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, even, even things like Spotify plays and, you know, numbers and stuff, like I know so many independent and record company musos who, who are really great at doing all that stuff. But for me personally, I, I'm not great. I'm not great at it. I think what I am good at is. is creating music and performing it to people. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: You know, so, so focusing on the aspect of, of you know, where, where the joy that you get from, from what you do. Does that make Jan 'Yarn' Muths: it. Yes, yes, yes, of course. So you, you're not trying to do everything. You're just doing what, what's what you enjoy most. And that's your superpower, isn't it? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah. Yeah. And and not, not getting stressed out about all of the other stuff. And, and again, using, you know, comparing yourself to other people constantly and all of that sort of unhealthy behavior. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, good. Got it. Look, I've got one last question. If I may. If listeners want to find out more about Hasi Hicks, about you and your band, where can we direct them to her? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Well, definitely the app Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay. Off to the app store? Yeah. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: up to the app store. Yeah, or, you know we obviously do all the social media stuff. I, I should say sign up to our mailing list. But I. This year, again, I've been terrible with all of that stuff. I didn't even send out an email for for the EP release. But you know, I, I do send out maybe a couple of emails a year to let you know what we're doing. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: But and we have, you know, we have a website where we host all of our, all of our gigs and Jan 'Yarn' Muths: What's the address? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: It's just hussie Jan 'Yarn' Muths: com. There we go. And it's gonna be in the show notes, of course. So all the listeners scroll down to the end, and I'm gonna put the video video in there as well. Of course. Any other places where we can find you? Social media channels, YouTube, maybe? Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Yeah, we've, you know, we've got quite a bit of stuff up on YouTube. And yeah, Facebook, Instagram are probably the, the main social media channels that we we post all of our events. But I, I would say if you really wanna experience The essence of Hussie Hicks, then try, try and come to a show, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Yeah. , of Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: because yeah, because that's, that's the real magic of, of, of the moment. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: And, you know, we've always, we've always said that we're a live act. You know, we're a, we're a live musical act. That's, that's you know, we, we love the studio. We love recording, we love creating in the studio. But it's, it's really live where we get to. Put all all of our things on the table, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Fantastic. Well, okay, look, Lisa, thank you so much for speaking to me today. I really appreciate all the stories you shared and, you know, it's really inspiring to, to hear you talk. So thank you so much. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Thank you so much and I hope I hope I haven't rambled too Jan 'Yarn' Muths: No, not at all. Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: I, I was worried that my tired brain may be inarticulate, so I Jan 'Yarn' Muths: I appreciate Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: you putting up with me, Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You did amazing. Thank you so much. I really Leesa Gents [Hussy Hicks]: Thank you. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Thank you so much, Leesa Gentz of Hussy Hicks Band and by the time this episode airs, Lisa is probably already somewhere in Europe, jetting around touring. So. I really appreciate that you made some time for me and it was a pleasure talking to you. Your stories are very inspiring and I have the utmost respect of how you got through the flood times. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: And look at you now, bouncing back and touring again, which is fantastic. All our regular listeners of course, also know that we've been working on the Flood sos project for quite some time for the Northern Rivers. It's an initiative that now has finally come to a conclusion. The record is out, da da. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: You can go to. Any music player that you like and search for flood songs compilation. I've worked on it for many, many months and it includes lots of amazing local artists, which you may know from previous episodes. So please go over, listen to the music and if you wanna support them, turn your music application in loop mode. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: Okay, if you want to reach out to me directly, of course you can do so on my website, mix Artist dot comu, where often mixed on services for clients worldwide and of course, studio recording services for anybody who needs a little bit of help pushing their projects across the finish line here in the Northern Rivers. Jan 'Yarn' Muths: That's all for today. I really appreciate you spending time with us today. And by for now.
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