Geoffrey Datson is a sound artist, combining spoken word, electronica and instrumentation in his recordings. Many poets recite their work to music, but few are also composers. Datson's work is a unique synthesis of forms of sonic expression in which the voice and the sound field are interdependent.
He began his career in Sydney surf punk band, Surf Side Six, part of the inner city live music scene in the seventies, and also Belle De Soir, with Cate Courtney (ex- SS6) and Ross Edgar (recently released in the M Squared compilation). His next band was Samurai Trash, one of the first Australian bands to sign to the brand new Virgin Label in 1984. When that band folded, Datson took a guitar and a bunch of words to NY where he met and recorded with Dana Velcek (Konk) (Fred) and Warner Bros-signed spoken word siren, Dana Bryant, also working as a session musician and travelling extensively. On return to Sydney he continued recording solo material by whatever means. Works from his early career in bands Belle du Soir and Surfside Six have recently been released in compilation albums and in 2007, the Surfside Six hit song 'Cool in the Tube' (written by Datson) was chosen for a Queensland Symphony Orchestra's performance of a history of surf music in Brisbane.
In 2000 Datson set up Stickylabel, an independent label producing spoken word works. During the early 2000s, he performed political spoken word and song as Protest Singer, releasing an eponymous album and “The Truth”, a collection of war poetry, with several live performances in Sydney. Stickylabel, with Datson as producer, also released Mohsen, the debut spoken word album of refugee poet, Mohsen Soltany Zand. He appeared in 2003 at the NSW Writers' Centre in performing works from that album, and was invited to appear at the 2004 Sydney Writers' Festival to perform with Mohsen following his release from detention. In 2005 he produced Mohsen Soltany's second album Australian Dream, works from which received national ABC air play on Poetica. In 2006 he participated in the Wordjammin's 'Random Acts of Poetry' at the Brisbane Writers' Festival, and in 2009 was a guest of the Reality Bites Literary Non-fiction Festival on the Sunshine Coast.
Since 2004, Datson moved his studio to a farm on the Queensland Sunshine Coast, where there was time to concentrate on new work, and where he began recording as DATSON+HUGHES with creative collaborator Annette Hughes. Since that time he has continued to record and release new work, most recently, New Depression Songs (released March 2009), works from which have received extensive airplay on national community radio, Brisbane's 4ZZZ and ABC Radio National's Sound Quality.
In the second half of 2009, Geoff travelled to Sydney over six months to rehearse with the reformed Samurai Trash (all original members) and to record a new album – this project continues with live performance slated in March 2010. His involvement was funded by the Arts Queensland Regional Arts Development Fund.
From November 2009, Geoff was an Australian Poetry Centre cafe poet in residence at Bistro Bistro in Cooroy, working towards a spoken word work Then, and Then; a memoir which was his project associated with the program, and which was launched by author and 'troubador', Linda Neil at the 2010 Reality Bites festival where he also be participated in conversation with other poets.
This work also includes, in a limited edition, Datson's first published work of poetry.
1979 Surfside Six 2 x singles Phantom
1982 Samurai Trash Live at the Wireless ABC 2JJ
1984 Samurai Trash 3 singles released Virgin
2000 Solo Star of Heart Stickylabel
2001 Producer Mohsen Stickylabel
2002 Solo Protest Singer Stickylabel
2003 Solo The Truth according to Protest Singer Stickylabel
2004 Solo France is Bacon Stickylabel
2005 anthology Inner City Sound:Australian Punk & Post Punk Laughing Outlaw
Surfside 6 song 'Cool in the Tube'
2006 Producer Australian Dream, by Mohsen Soltany Stickylabel
(National airplay, Poetica, ABC Radio National)
2006 Solo Great Leader Stickylabel
2007 anthology Can't Stop It Chapter
Belle de Soir song 'Treasure Island'
2007 anthology Do The Pop Redux Shock
(Surfside Six song – Can't you See the Sign)
2008 Datson Art Life Chooks promotional compile CD Stickylabel
2009 Solo New Depression Songs Stickylabel
(National airplay on ABC Sound Quality)
2010 anthology Terrace Industry 1980-83 (Belle du Soir) M Squared
Solo Then, And Then: A memoir (double album +book) Stickylabel
FILM Waking up the Nation: The Freedom Bus is an Australian documentary film shot in 2002 and internationally released in 2005, directed by Agostino Imondi. Music by Geoffrey Datson.