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Meet the creatives:
River Yarra (Raudie McLeod),
Musician & Dj


Get to know the people behind the new Kioski campaign.

Hi Raudie! Before we dive into the compelling music you created for the Kioski Pre-Spring 2021 campaign film, we’d love to hear more about your background. How and when did your musical journey begin, what got you interested in it?

I have hazy memories of waking up on weekend mornings, age 8 perhaps, to the sounds of Springsteen or Dylan blasting from my parents’ sound system with which my bedroom shared a wall. I also remember becoming obsessed with Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In The Mirror’ and The Beatles’s ‘Paperback Writer’ which I found on Best Of compilation CDs my Grandma gifted me for my 10th birthday. Car rides to school when I was around 11 were soundtracked by RRR, a local community radio station in Melbourne. I wanted to listen to the rock and heavy metal on MMM, the rock station, but my dad wouldn’t have a bar of it. I also learnt guitar from an early age and played in bands with friends imitating pop-punk groups we loved at the time. I suppose there wasn’t any defining moment where my journey began, more so that I hitched a ride on this river of music which seemed to flow through my life via my parents and friends. However, once I was going with that flow, I couldn’t (and didn’t want to) ever want to leave it.

How would you describe yourself as an artist in three words? How about your art?

Playful, Serious, Humorous. I like to work in the paradox of taking it all very seriously but having as much fun as possible in the process.


What or who inspires you?

I am deeply inspired by nature, science and the systems of life. I can spend hours walking through the bush daydreaming and letting the visual and audible stimuli provoke my curiosities and take my mind into abstract yet comprehensible places.

Could you tell us a bit more about the background of the name River Yarra?

I grew up in a leafy suburb along the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. I have a strong connection to the water and the country around it. At some point when I was first writing music, I conceived a 2 hour performance with a full ensemble performing music inspired by the river. I still plan to do this but am waiting for the right time and place for it to eventuate. After realizing the scale of this project was too large for my meagre means at the time, I decided to begin by writing music on my computer as River Yarra.

You live in Melbourne, Australia. Top three places in Melbourne you find most inspiring and why?

I would say the Yarra river is number 1. I take dips upstream in the river and wander languorously along the banks and the bush.

Number 2, but not technically in Melbourne, are the Victorian Alps (also known as the High Country) which are a small part of a vast and stretching complex of mountain ranges, plateaus, upland areas and escarpments which cover the entire eastern coast of Australia. The High Country is home to many unique species of flora and fauna whose existence is a delicate dance on the ecological stage.

For number 3, I’m going to have to choose not a specific place, but the diversity of food our city offers. Because of our rich immigrant history, we’re lucky to offer high quality food of any country or cuisine your taste buds desire. In Melbourne you can have Yum Cha for breakfast, Sicilian for lunch, Vietnamese Banh Mi for afternoon Tea, Ethiopian for dinner and some baklava for dessert, all within walking distance of one another.


You created the music for the campaign film using the omnipresent sounds of our printing factory. Tell us a bit that process?

Coming from a percussion background, I am well acquainted with withdrawing quirky sounds from unusual objects and finding the soul in the machine. When listening to the sounds of the factory, the different tones and timbres lilted instinctively about my mind forming rhythms and melodies. All I had to do was extract the music in my mind and recreate it using Ableton Live on my computer.


What was your main inspiration going into the project?  

I wanted to ensure I could keep the Marimekko spirit alive even with sounds made by large, cold, steel machines of industry. I needed to retain the soul, the fun and quirk within the song which may not have been immediately present in the raw sounds.


What does creative courage mean to you? 

Creative courage is to forge ahead with one’s vision regardless of adversity. To take confidence by the horns and show it who is the matador. To climb those few meters further to find an invaluable vista awaiting. To trudge through the knee-deep snow to find the warm log cabin at the destination. To just keep swimming because the tropical island lies somewhere just beyond the horizon. To beam a tenacious smile while riding a bike through rain, hail and sleet. To arrive at that special place within, which we all know intuitively, but is ineffable.


Tell us a bit about your future plans – what does 2021 have in store for you? 

Well I had many plans for performing in 2020/21 and to continue along my trajectory but as we all know, plans were disrupted! Instead I’ve taken stock of where I am and have decided to concentrate on writing as much music as possible. I am about to release my first album under my real name Raudie which is more of a traditional pop/indie album. I also am preparing the first River Yarra album which will examine the Australian identity from many different perspectives. I will also be unveiling a new project late in 2021 called Zam Ram TV which is a collaboration with my DJ/singer friend Jess Zammit. It seems that 2021 will be a busy year.