(LONDON, U.K., FRIDAY 30 OCTOBER 2020) Featuring some extraordinary guest musicians, 11 songs, and whatever pours out of his brain in between, Tim Minchin today announces that he will perform the entirety of his new album, Apart Together, in a one-off concert from Sydney’s iconic Trackdown Studios. The special one-off concert will be streamed and available to watch from 7pm local time in Australia, U.K. and USA consecutively on 19 November to celebrate the record’s release on 20 November and will be available exclusively to ticket holders for 48 hours only. Tickets will be available from Monday 2 November at 12pm at https://shops.ticketmasterpartners.com/tim-minchin-live-stream.
Tim says: “I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make live entertainment in this no-live-entertainment world, and – as always – how to make a virtue of the restrictions placed on us as artists. And I’ve concluded that we have a fantastic opportunity to make a new style of “live” concerts. Not like the old model, where cameras are inserted into seats in an audience, or put on the shoulder of a camera operator dressed in black, skulking around the edges of the stage, pretending they don’t exist. But instead, I want to bring the audience into the room with us. I want the viewer to feel like they have been invited into the studio to watch the final dress rehearsal for a concert and have been given permission to stand in amongst the band, to sit down next to me (ewww), to be completely inside the experience. This album we’ve made really lends itself to this sort of performance: the songs tell stories that ask the listener to stay engaged with every lyric; they are generally very personal; they vary in style from proper all-out rock-pop tracks to seriously intimate ballads. I really hope people settle in with a really good set of speakers, a really good friend or two, and a really nice bottle of wine, and let me see if I can’t give them an online performance that isn’t quite like anything they’ve ever seen. Oh. That sounds like porn doesn’t it. *It’s not porn”.
To coincide with the announcement of the highly anticipated concert stream event and ahead of his long-awaited studio album Apart Together, set for release on 20 November via BMG, Tim Minchin has today revealed a new track ‘The Absence of You’ accompanied by an official visual.
Minchin’s divine signature storytelling vocals infiltrate the stunning piano ballad, building to a powerful chorus that sits deeply within the listener. Each single release has unraveled another story; embedded and woven into the creation of the globally anticipated release of Apart Together. Listen and watch the official video for ‘The Absence Of You’ [HERE].
“In this weird year, we’re more aware than ever that the absence of a loved one can, in a way, be as impactful as their presence. This is a song about that, I suppose. It’s also a frickin banger.” said Minchin.
Tim Minchin also sings, writes and stars in eight-part Aussie road-trip comedy Upright, which aired to huge critical acclaim and arrives on DVD and digital in the UK on 23 November. Minchin leads the irreverent series as the ironically named Laclan “Lucky” Flynn, a down-on-his-luck middle-aged man making the trip across Australia to deliver an old upright piano to his dying mother. In a dramatic twist of fate, his path collides with teenage runaway Meg (Milly Alcock), who has some secrets of her own. Set against a backdrop of stunning outback scenery, this unlikely pair throw in their lot with each other and slowly reveal, through a series of quirky happenings along the way, what each of them might be running away from, and what they’re seeking on the road. Juggling grief and complex family dynamics with gleefully dark humour, this series has been called ‘Addictively good’ ★★★★ The Guardian, and ‘Near-perfect television…a treasure trove of nuanced emotions’ ★★★★ The I Paper.
Tim Minchin is a veritable creative genius; he’s enjoyed continued worldwide success as a musical theatre composer-lyricist, countless sold out concerts, as well as being one of the most successful Australian comedians of his generation. Minchin also wrote the music and lyrics for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s multi-award winning stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda which has become one of the most critically acclaimed musicals of the last 20 years, winning more than 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical, a record 7 Olivier Awards and 5 Tony Awards as well as a GRAMMY nomination for the Broadway Cast Recording of Matilda The Musical. Seen by more than 10 million people across more than 91 cities worldwide, Matilda The Musical is now the longest running production to play at the Cambridge Theatre and is one of the top twenty longest running musicals in the West End having now welcomed almost 4 million audience members.
‘The Absence of You’ is available for purchase and stream on all platforms.
Tim’s forthcoming album is set for release on 20 November, available to pre-order [HERE].
The official artist store features exclusive merchandise bundles and signed formats including limited dual coloured vinyl.
About Apart Together
“For the past twenty years, I’ve always written from a point of view. It could be a pseudo-classical song about putting your baby to bed. Or an Austrian drinking song about the Catholic church. Or from the perspective of a six-year-old child who’s a genius. That’s great. But this isn’t that. This is about what fills the available space when you pause for a moment.”
It says a lot about Tim Minchin that even when he pauses to take stock, the very opposite seems to happen. In this case, the “opposite” is a brand-new studio album, Apart Together which is set for a worldwide release on November 20. That it’s taken Minchin until now to release his first “proper” album speaks volumes about the twists and turns his career has taken since he made the 14,500-mile journey to London from Perth in the hope of finding an audience for a kohl-eyed, shock-headed musical comedian. Since landing the 2005 Perrier Award for Best Comedy Newcomer, the bullet points mark a vertiginous ascent into wider renown: his music and lyrics for Matilda the Musical, which helped propel the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book to a record-breaking number of Tony and Olivier Awards; a string of sold-out arena tours; his celebrated portrayal of Judas in the 2012 touring version of Jesus Christ Superstar; and a snowballing acting and writing career which dramatically bore fruit in the acclaimed Sky Atlantic/Foxtel 2019 series Upright.
But, of course, that isn’t the whole story. As a devout rationalist, Tim Minchin will no doubt be aware of Newton’s third law – that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And so, with the giddy successes, there must be one or two concomitant setbacks. In 2018, four years after Minchin and his family moved to Los Angeles to start work on the animated musical Larrikins, the project – three-quarters and $50 million dollars into completion – abruptly fell victim to Comcast’s acquisition of DreamWorks. All of which needs to be mentioned, because these are all experiences that, along the way, have become fossilised into the creative fuel that powered Apart Together into existence.
And perhaps no more so than the first single to be released from the record. Following a long tradition of ambivalent songs about the City of Angels – think of, say, Rilo Kiley’s Let Me Back In or Albert Hammond’s It Never Rains In Southern California – Leaving L.A. sees our protagonist take one last tour around his adoptive home, in the process reconciling the dreams that brought him here with the reality of the four years that followed: “…the needy and the greedy and the homeless and horny/And the deals done on treadmills at ten to six in the morning/And the Captain’s on the PA saying, ‘Look for the sign!’/But I find it’s just some fucking letters on a hill.” Seeking to complete what he started with the lyrics, Minchin turned to his producer and co-arranger Daniel Denholm to lay on a suitably grandiloquent Hollywood setting. Minchin explains: “It’s a break-up song, essentially. One of those break-up songs where you’re trying to convince yourself you hate that person – but actually, there’s a fondness in it too.”
For an artist whose musical output has often been determined by the brief of a wider project – be it Matilda or Groundhog Day – The Musical – it was tempting to make this album “about” something. But early on in the process, Minchin realised that there’s something to be said for holding your nerve and waiting to see what happens. Almost immediately, the songs came. The first was the album’s opening track Summer Romance, another memorial to a city that changed the course of Minchin’s life. This time, the setting was London. A chorus of almost pyrotechnic grandeur acts as a suitable setting for a lyric which is ultimately about letting go. “It doesn’t have to be London,” he elaborates, “It’s really about a time of your life to which you can never get back. Reluctantly accepting that your future is elsewhere. And yet you might never again be as happy as you are here.”
Following on the heels of that song, came two more standouts: I Can’t Save You and Talked Too Much, Stayed Too Long. The former is a tender address to a character that most of us will meet at some point in our lives – the tormented soul who you would do anything to save, and yet in life, anything isn’t always enough. On the latter, Minchin turns the camera around to deliver the album’s most cathartic performance: a riotous recap of the highs and lows that propelled him to this point. Imagine The Ballad Of John & Yokowith a Count Basie swing and you’re some of the way there: “Took my eyeliner to Edinburgh in twenty-oh-five/Played to forty-five paying punters on that opening night/But to my surprise there was a rising demand/For a lovechild of Liberace and Edward Scissorhands.”
Clearly, relocating from Los Angeles to Sydney at the beginning of 2018 had left Minchin with much to process. Having written songs in the past in which he elegantly repudiated the cliché of the tortured artist (Dark Side, Rock and Roll Nerd), Minchin found himself wrestling with a new emotion. “Sometimes it’s not enough to remind yourself how privileged you are. And that was weird for me. Because I’m good at reasoning my way into a happier state of mind. When it finally went away, I just woke up and realised, ‘Oh! That was just grief, was it? Phew!’ But that emotion – even though this was never going to be a bunch of whiney songs – that emotion is probably the base paint for this record.”
It’s a point borne out with every turntable mile accrued in the company of Apart Together. Had Minchin’s earliest plans to record a solo album borne fruit, his debut album would have emerged 20 years ago. Desperate to mark out a similar niche to inspirations such as Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright, the young Minchin moved from his native Perth to Melbourne in the hope of a record deal that never materialised. However, Apart Togetherbears scant resemblance to that record. And while you can hear those aforementioned inspirations in the mix – most immediately on the ivory-thwacking powerpop of Beautiful Head and Airport Piano – this is unashamedly the work of a husband and a father with his own unique story to tell.
From the author of If I Didn’t Have You (“…well I really think that I would have someone else”), we know not to expect anything that one might term a straightforward love song. And the title track of Apart Together is something of a companion piece to that long-time live comedy favourite. Inspired by a news story on Los Angeles radio station KCRW about an elderly couple in their mobile home who died of hypothermia in each other’s arms, Apart Together tenderly teases out the improbable beauty of such an outcome, and frames it in an exquisitely pensive setting. “From the outset,” he explains, “if you enter marriage wholly accepting that it’s a commitment to watching each other decay, there’s something far more beautiful in that than the greetings card depiction of love that it’s overturning.”
This cards-on-the-table candour spiders out into several more of the record’s most affecting moments. While other songwriters may seek to portray marriage as a force-field that protects you from the temptations of life on the road, Minchin’s songs square up to a more fascinating reality. Before being blown into the blue by a soaring, show-stopping rock chorus, the delicate baroque pop beginnings of The Absence Of You see our protagonist wandering through romantic settings in Paris and London, attempting to reconcile this idyllic moment to the one thing that it lacks – the companionship of his wife. In a moment of weakness in a New York apartment, he succumbs to a kiss from a stranger before the enormity of what’s being put at risk puts any longing for short-term gratification into perspective. In the epic ballad, I’ll Take Lonely Tonight, he is even more uncomfortably honest, seemingly only just choosing to be loyal to the girl who has his “heart in a house on a hill”. He calls it his “monogamy-by-the-fingernails” ballad.
Australians are frequently wont to talk about “the tyranny of distance” and, even listening to Apart Together, it’s easy to see why. With travel come increased opportunities to be alone with your thoughts. And inevitably those thoughts turn to the relationships that define you, both with places and people. It’s a process we saw beautifully portrayed in Minchin’s portrayal of Lucky in the eight episodes of Upright, many of which he wrote, in the process, drawing on relationships in his own life. And it’s also there in the signature song of that series which also closes Apart Together. Eschewing the grand ornamentation of what precedes it, Carry You is perhaps the album’s most affecting moment of emotional disclosure. “If they would let me trade,” he sings, “I’d give a year for half a day/Just curled up on the sofa with you.”
Sometimes, in jettisoning almost all extraneous detail and writing down your own truth, you alight on something universal. It’s tempting to surmise, upon spending time with Apart Together, that it all happened this way – both the highs and the lows – for a reason. But, of course, its creator has no truck with that sort of supernatural talk. “You’d be mistaking cause and effect for destiny,” he smiles, “I’m 45 now. I’m married and I’m a dad. But more to the point, I’m acutely aware of all the things I’m not. I’ve finally figured that it’s ok to write the songs that I write – they do tell stories and often they are very theatrical. And that’s fine.”