Interview with DC Cardwell from The Table Tribune, Indiana, 2007

Interview from 2007. Updates in red.

1. DC, have you always lived in Australia?

No, I moved to Australia in 1996 with my wife and two sons. Before that I lived in Vancouver, Canada for 8 years. I’m originally from Northern Ireland, as is my wife Marjorie. My eldest son, Joel was born there and my younger son Samuel was born in Canada.

DC Cardwell in 2006

2. Have you ever been to the United States?

Yes, we used to pop over the border to Bellingham to buy cheap gas, milk and cheese. We made it as far as Seattle a couple of times.

3. What is the hardest thing about being in the music industry in Australia?

I hate to admit it, but I’m not really *in* the music business in Australia, or anywhere else, for that matter. Until now all I’ve done is write and record a few songs at home. I haven’t yet figured out the “business” side of “music business”. It took me long enough to figure out the music part. However, in September my name will appear on a “proper” CD for the first time. That’s when “Sensory Lullabies: The Ultimate Jellyfish Tribute Album” will be released. Track four on disc one is my version of “I Wanna Stay Home”. I’m excited!

4. How often do you write songs? Is it a routine, or do you write when inspiration strikes?

There’s hardly a day when I don’t have some song ideas going through my head, but most of them just disappear into the ether as I don’t have time to write them down or record them. I manage to hold on to some of the better ones and once in a while I get time to sit down and get a song going. I usually start with a phrase relating to some concept I’m interested in and the phrase will pretty much instantly suggest some kind of melody and feel, and I just take it from there. The biggest problem is narrowing the ideas down to something concise.

5. What was the one thing that inspired you to become a musician?

Hmmm, hard to narrow it down to one single thing, but perhaps it was when a distant relative, Steve from Australia, was doing the typical Aussie round the world jaunt and stayed with my family in Northern Ireland for a few weeks. He had a battered guitar and would sing the usual wandering hippie songs such as “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, “Blowing In The Wind” etc, along with what I now know to be classic Australian art songs, for example, “Pub With No Beer”. My two sisters were very impressed by this handsome beach bum and soon afterwards they both bought guitars and learned to play. I would sneak into the sitting room and secretly strum on them. I played so quietly, using the pad of my thumb,  that I could barely even hear it myself, but I gradually figured out how to play better than either of my sisters!

8. What song of yours do you like most. Why?

My favourite song of mine is “Nobody Taught Me”. I guess it’s because it’s in a style that I really like, and I’m perfectly happy with what the words are saying and I think they say it simply, directly and elegantly. I think both guitar solos are among my best, and I like the way I played almost pure blues guitar against a fairly non-bluesy chord progression.

9. How can we get one of your fine CDs of their very own?

Time for another “hmmm…”

Hmmm… good question… At present I don’t have much of an infrastructure to produce very many CDs. As I mentioned before, I make them all by hand. For anyone on Myspace, if they add a song of mine to their profile or send out a bulletin with my widget in it, or in any way help to promote my music, all they have to do is send me their email address and I’ll send them a link where they can download the whole album for free!

Anyone who’s interested could also order a copy of “Sensory Lullabies” – just follow the link on my Myspace page ( As well as my version of “I Wanna Stay Home” there are two whole CDs of amazing covers of both Jellyfish albums in their entirety, along with a number of rare songs.

10. Would you be willing to autograph them for a limited time?

If anyone would like to copy my autograph that’s OK! Well, perhaps, if someone really, REALLY wants an copy of my CD actually autographed by me (why!) they can harass me at or email me and I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps I could trade it for something or they could buy me something from my Amazon wish list. Be warned, though… eventually I’ll get organised enough to start charging for it!

2012 UPDATE: “Way With Words” was expanded into DC’s first official album “Some Hope” which is available from and also on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby etc. For more details click on STORE on the menu above or go HERE. If you’d like your copy autographed, just order it from Madcar Records and add a note to that effect and I’ll happily do it! The Jellyfish album is still available on iTunes and a few CD copies may still be available from Burning Sky Records.

11. What rock star/band deserves a big smack in the mouth and why?

Hmmm, hard to narrow it down to one single rock star.

– DC Cardwell

Interview by Nancy Allen, The Table Tribune, Indiana


[imported from Myspace]

Current mood:amused

So, I was loitering around Melbourne today by myself and I went to Chinatown for lunch. I’d got so hungry that I went into the first place I saw, sat down and looked around. It was the “Post-Deng Cafe”, and the walls were festooned with large posters and photographs of Deng Xiaoping.

(Rather than try and explain who he was according to my limited knowledge, I refer you to Wikipedia, where it says he was “the de facto leader of the People’s Republic Of China from the late 1970s to the early 1990s”)

The menu began by saying “Why Post-Deng Cafe?” and went on to explain how he pioneered Chinese economic reform and ushered in a new era of prosperity etc, etc.

I ordered my meal and noticed another lone chap at the table opposite me. His meal looked cheaper but better then mine.

When we had both finished off our lunch he walked over to my table and said “ASCAP or BMI?

I was a little taken aback and said “why do you ask?”. He explained that he thought I looked like a songwriter! I’ve no idea why or how, of course, as I just look like a normal guy.

He’d heard me speak to the waiter and thought that I had an American accent, which may be because I have a slight touch of Canadian in my speech. That’s why he said ASCAP or BMI (they are the two main American performing rights organisations, by the way, which means they collect royalties for songs). If I had been more on the ball I would have replied with the appropriate antipodean acronym, “APRA”.

He went on to explain that he is a music publisher, so I said, “Sit down, I’ve been  thinking of trying to find a publisher!”

Post-Deng Restaurant, Melbourne

We chatted for an hour or so and arranged to meet up again. He was very interested in my little MySpace “career” and of course I hyped everything about my myriad of devoted fans and my tremendous inroads into the music industry. Well, not really. I just shrugged and said that I didn’t know why but people seem to like some of my stuff. Told him about some of the interest from record companies, and about how someone really should be able to pick up the Tom song and make a lot of money out of it, but it’s not entirely representative of my work, etc, etc.

He told me a bit about his own career – he’s from London and worked with a lot of big names in LA for many years but has been in Australia for some years now. He has close contact with a very major record producer, I’d say one of the top ten most famous ones in the world, but I’d better not say who.

I promised to send him a CD – I know I owe about a hundred of you a CD if I ever get a batch of the things made, but as I met this guy face to face he goes to the top of the list and I’ll burn him one specially!

Anyway, boring story, really, except for that one little quirk that he guessed I was a songwriter. I assure you I wasn’t humming loudly and frantically scribbling on a napkin or anything like that! In fact I generally go around actively resisting the urge to write another song because I don’t even have time to record the ones that I have waiting!

By way of illustration, I was so amused (it doesn’t take much) by the Post-Deng Restaurant thing that I took a photo of the plate with my mobile phone. Before there was any food on it.


Post-Deng Plate