An interview with Ross McHenry of Shaolin Afronauts

1. Tell us a bit of information about who you are and what your experiences include?

I'm a bass player, record producer and composer based here in Adelaide, SA. I'm a current member of The Shaolin Afronauts, The Transatlantics, and Max Savage and False Idols. I've played and toured with all of these bands as well as alongside US artists Eddie Bo and Marva Whitney.

2. What are some of your successes as a bassist, musical director and composer?

I think my greatest successes have been the records I've written and produced. These include several independent Transatlantics 45s as well as an album, the ARIA nominated Shaolin Afronauts debut release and some other records due for release next year. I'd also count playing festivals like The Falls Festival, The Big Day Out, and Womadelaide as major achievements.

3. What do you hope to achieve from being mentored by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson in LA at the end of this year?

I'm in awe of Miguel Atwood-Ferguson's composition and arranging style. I'm interested in how he creates different sonic textures, particularly within the context of contemporary modal music.

4. What can punters expect from your performance at Sessions next year with the expanded 18 piece Afrobeat ensemble?

For anyone who's familiar with the band, it'll be more of the same afro-soul but hopefully with greater compositional depth. The sonic landscape of the band has been expanded considerably with the addition of 8 new members for this show. I think it's going to be an exciting musical experience

5. After the show in January, what can we expect next from Shaolin Afronauts or yourself?

We are currently planning a European tour in support of the new album, due to be recorded immediately after the space sessions with the expanded line-up. The Transatlantics are also releasing a new record next year and will also be heading to Europe to tour it. As well as that we have two Max Savage albums due for release, and touring next year. We've recorded 4 albums across 3 groups this year so I'm sure there be plenty of new albums in the New Year too!

The Shaolin Afronauts will be performing as part of Sessions, running from 6th to 21st January 2012, at the Space Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre. Other artists appearing include Fefe, Asa, Adam Page and Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro. Full information can be found at

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