Alana Mundi on going solo and the worthy act

GOING IT ALONE: Alana Mundi has played in numerous Newcastle bands but is now focusing on a solo career.
GOING IT ALONE: Alana Mundi has played in numerous Newcastle bands but is now focusing on a solo career.

WHEN Alana Mundi was 18 she was walking home from The Hunter on Hunter Hotel – a long-gone Newcastle independent music venue.

When she got to the edge of Civic Park she met another young woman (Tiffany Samin) also walking home. The strangers decided they would walk through the park together because they both felt it was unsafe.

“It turned out she was starting a band with a bunch of other young women,” Mundi said.

“I was learning guitar … she asked me to join the band … which was Sycorax.”

Sycorax was Newcastle’s first all-girl band which wrote and performed original music with dark, haunting tones and aggressive, often confronting, lyrics. Mundi played guitar then switched to bass. It was the early ‘90s when girl bands were still seen as novel. 

The band stayed together about 18 months. Mundi then formed another band The Beef Curtains in which she played guitar. It was a thrashy five-piece girl band with a token male drummer – Murray Ruse, currently with the Hard Ons.

During this time she was also heavily involved in putting on shows with her partner Wayne McGregor (AKA Tad Poedee). 

“Wayne and I ran many, many gigs, mainly fundraisers for organisations like Greenpeace, the Wilderness Society, Amnesty International, in venues like Morrow Park, the Tatts Club … a lot of them all-ages… we put on Innocent Criminals [who soon after became Silverchair] at the Tatts,” Mundi said.

She is currently in the sometimes-happening Thrasha Polka, which fuses her background in punk with her solo work in folk. Its band members live in various postcodes across Australia and play irregularly. 

Mundi has always been a songwriter, something that has gone on quietly in the background, but rarely pushed herself forward as a solo performer. 

“Having a band is fun, but it’s time consuming. But it’s easy just with a guitar to turn up,” she said.

“I have had a lot of support and encouragement to just get up and play. I think I questioned whether it was a worthy act just on its own.

“But after all these years I finally have the confidence… I am worthy.

“And there is now a bit of an acoustic punk scene, the genre is a bit more evolved. There is this emotional punk. It’s about story writing and being really honest.

“Getting your stuff out through song writing is really cathartic.”

The material covers relationships, social justice and the environment.

Next gig: Croatian Wickham Sports Club, October 29.