On average I interview 3 bands a week and 90% of the time the subject is friendly and chatty, but as am I, it’s the game you play, the way to make the subject relaxed. Sometimes you will interview someone and get their genuine vibe straight away and that happened when I interviewed David Cosma as part of Damon Smith and the Quality Lightweights. We instantly became friends who encouraged and chatted about music. And then when he intoroduced me to his wife Sharon’s store, Robin Street Market I fell in love with it! I love the idea of creative couples, couples that push one another and inspire one another to go further. And now with the expected birth of their first child I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peak into how they make it happen in harmony.
I want all of my interviews to be somewhere the subject feels creative and comfortable, for David and Sharon this was their home. Set in the Melbourne suburbs not far from Melbourne City, this traditional looking home is among a tree lined street that looks like Pleasantville with a family sized car in the driveway, freshly mowed grass and well kept garden.
The couple greeted us at the door and were warmly welcoming. We spent the first 15 minutes besotted on the new babies room, looking at the nostalgic bits and pieces they’d both collected to put in their new childs room, from vintage bikes, derwent pencils and golden books, this child is steeped for creativity already! We then make our way through their home, to a classic Australian back yard, with a cubby house, hill’s hoist and garage with the classic car that’s ‘being worked on’. David invites us into his studio, while Sharon gets us refreshments. I feel like I have died and gone to heaven. The walls in David’s studio are plastered with Elvis and The Beatles memoribilia, along with scatters of U2, Marilyn Monroe and Neil Diamond. Soon enough Sharon brings along soda, red wine, whiskey and cheezels and it was time to start the interview.
David Cosma is an independent Melbourne musician, singer/ songwriter married to Sharon Parker, owner of the website Robin Street Market.com, where she sells unique and handmade gifts from all around the world.
Cassie: How did you meet?
David: Through her brother who was very good mates with one of my very good mates and he came out with us one night and brought young Sharon along and that was about 13 years ago I think.
Sharon: Longer, 15, 16 years ago. I took one look at him and said Yep, that sounds good!
David: Done! And we just celebrated 10 years of marriage!!!
C: David how long have you been making music for:
David: I have been making music for about 10 years I’ve been doing my own original thing, full time for the last 4 or 5 years, I threw out the full time job and concentrated on the music. Music has always been apart of me and what I do but writing original stuff has been about 10 years.
C: And when did you start your project Sharon?
Sharon: The website launched in December ‘09, I still have a day job, I’m a partner in an accoutning firm in the city.
C: Two different worlds!
Sharon: Yeah exactly. A couple of years ago I was getting the feeling that I needed to do something different. Dave and I went on big whirl wind overseas trip and met lots of artists and crafters and I had this idea for the business. We did a lot of research, bought a lot while traveling and came back and launched the website and now it’s almost two years.
C: It’s quite interesting having a creative couple in two different creative fields, do you find you help push each other in that way?
David: Absolutely! I wouldn’t be doing what I do full time if it wasn’t for her support but she’s always pushing me artistically with what I’m doing with writing and demoing and getting feedback and the business side of it, obviously she’s business savvy.
Sharon: I think of him as the creative one I don’t think of myself as creative.
C: Exactly! I think a lot of musicians don’t have enough of a business brain!
Sharon: Without a doubt and I think with musicians they don’t see it as a business and I think you have to. If you want to be successful, and you want to sustain it you need to see it like that, I think.
C: So it’s more than a coincidence that 10 years ago you got married and that’s when you became a full time musician?
Sharon: I never thought about it but possibly.
David: I started concentrating at that time, writing original stuff.
Sharon: You became more structured about it.
David: Good point, I’ve never thought of it like that.
C: I want to talk about the home studio where we are
(photo by MELTREV)
David: I built this when I went full time with the music. I needed a space that wasn’t going to cost me rent every 5 minutes, so I built this sound proof studio and it’s surrounded by things that inspire me and things that i like being around. It’s where I’ve tracked 90% of the things I’ve recorded and released. I’ll track things here and mix them elsewhere or do drums elsewhere essentially everything else is done in here.
C: And it’s good to separate work from home.
David: Yeah! It’s away from her and gives her her space. I can be here until 3 in the morning and not bother her.
Sharon: It feels creative. I often come here and sit with the dog and we have a chat about various things. It feels like ideas are happening. It’s got a really good vibe about it, much different than any other room in the house. He comes here to write songs.
C: What’s the advantage of having a musician husband? It’s one of those ideas which is so glamorous sounding yet so scary. Do you go to his gigs?
Sharon: I love watching him play, the interesting thing is combining that with my day job as it’s quite a demanding job, I’m up at 6:30 in the morning, at work by 8 in the city and it’s quite long hours so it’s not like I can go to every gig, often you’d start playing at 11pm, i certainly don’t go to every gig and certainly not in the past few months of pregnancy but when I get to go i love it! I really enjoy it. He’s in other bands that i love going to, I love music! It works well I certainly don’t think I have to be there all the time, which I think if I did feel like that it’d be a bit painful .
C: And dave what’s it like at a gig when you look out and see sharon in the crowd? Do you get excited still?
David: I do! At least there’s one person listening to me, there’s always that encouragement and i’m pretty critical, like any muso on their live performance
Sharon: very critical and if there’s anyone that can tell me how it is, it’s her and she’s seen enough gigs to give me a fair assessment so it’s good.
C: And as you mentioned earlier you call on Dave’s opinion when selecting art for the website so obvisouly you value his opinion also.
Sharon: Absolutely! Anytime I go to buy something, like last night i was sourcing these home made Christmas cards and I’ll narrow them down to what I think and then I’ll always call on Dave for his opinion and we have slightly different takes on it, we have very similar taste but he has a different view.
David: And the website is also developed from a product based website to a multimedia thing so it’s an experience where you learn a little bit about the place, you learn about the experience and part of it is doing the robins on the loose videos which you know is something I’m able to do with video and use my songs.
Sharon: A bit of travel and video diary.
David: It’s good, we work well together on that level.
Now it is the eve of the birth of your first child, thank you so much for having me share this exciting moment with you and share with all the readers I’d like to know being in the creatively industry it’s quite scary having the thought of someone rely on you, was it scary when you came to make the decision to bring a child into the world?
Sharon: It was a long time, we’ve been married for 10 years and we didn’t even know that we were going to have kids.
David: I think if you had asked us two years ago “are you going to have kids” the answer would have been we’d see what happens and where it goes.
Sharon: We were having too much fun and we didn’t think we needed to.
David: Yeah! We’ve traveled a lot and we’ve enjoyed ourselves and got to the point of ‘let’s think about this a bit more seriously’ and here we are!
Sharon: (laughing) I don’t know if we ever said ok that’s it we’ve made the decision we’re going to. I think we just got a bit more relaxed about it
David: I think you are concentrating on other things, Sharon’s been pretty full on with work for a while and then with Robin Street Market and with my music, you do guard that quite closely and consider it as something like having a kid is really going to be a massive effect on what you do, but then you learn very quickly and look at things happening around you that you manage to process and things can happen and time doesn’t stop so I think I’m more exciting to making it all work than anything else, that will be the challenge.
Sharon: David’s a bit more resistant to change than me, he will get there kicking and screaming.
David: I am resistant to change.
C: And have you thought of the effects it will have on your creativity?
Sharon: That’s a great question.
David: I think the baby products from Sharon’s website will probably develop a bit more. I think bringing a kid up is the ultimate for creative.
David: Next week I think I’ve got a couple rehearsals and a gig and this and that and she’s coming home and you just start thinking about how it’s going to work, how it’s all going to happen.
C: It doesn’t seem like children have the opportunity to be creative these days and the modern up bringing of a child is quite digital based, even on the walk through your home to the studio you seem like quite traditional people, have you thought about the approach of raising a child in todays world?
David: We have. My parents are quite old school. I’m the youngest, my older brother is 14 years older than me so my parents come from that era of the wooden spoon
Sharon: And Italian immigrants so that has a big influence on the way you’ve been brought up.
David: Yeah and that’s the challenge.
Sharon: We’ve talked about it a lot with discipline and also values and it’s so easy to say when you don’t have a child. I always say I don’t want the child to have a mobile phone and do all those things too early and you want to hope that they appreciate real things.
David: It’s inevitably going to learn about the simpler things in life because that excites me so I’d buy it a record player, not so much streaming something, that’s just the way that I am so naturally that’s going to work into it’s influence.
Sharon: You hope it does, we were laughing the other day, we were saying it’s going to love music and what if it ends up being different to us and ends up loving all that new technology, you just don’t know how much influence you can have.
David: The unknown!
C: And apart from a baby on the way what’s coming up for you both?
David: Well, for me I’m demoing some new songs at the moment and hope to get in the studio and have something sorted by the end of the year to have a recording ready to release by the end of this year, start of next year but demoing new songs and new material, gigs and festivals early next year and then an east coast tour in Queensland, we spend a fair bit of time up there .
Sharon: I’m trying to do the new season up to having the baby i’ve been thinking I might be a bit busy but Christmas is the busiest time, we did really good trade last year mid November and Christmas so I think we’d just be busy with orders and then usually it’s quiet in January but there’s always the process of sourcing new stuff but now I’m having people contact me which makes my life a lot easier, I have a blog I try to update so there’s always a lot to do.
C: The baby’s not stopping anyone!
Sharon: No, the baby will have to work into our schedule! And then we will go overseas again, we haven’t traveled since Vietnam in march and we want to get to as many places. As much as you can meet artists on the internet face to face is much better and holding the product.
C: Will the baby come too?
Sharon: I think so, I hope babies can do that
David and Sharon: laughing
Sharon: It’s something I really love, for our baby to travel. I was born in the U.K. and lived in Malaysia for 6 years when I was a kid and I think it’s important to be well traveled if you can, for the child.
David: Not for the parents though, we’re happy just to stay here, I’m happy to go to Phillip Island (Victorian beach town).
Interview x Cassie Walker
Photos x Matthew Rosamilia (unless otherwise noted)