In pursuit of great songs (and the Japanese whaling fleet)
AFTER spending most of the past five years at sea with Sea Shepherd, activist and musician James Brook has decided to take an extended period of shore leave and is settling into life on land in the Northern Rivers.
He has just made CDs available of his last recording, South Ocean, featuring seven "modern pirate songs" that were recorded on the M/Y Steve Irwin during the middle of the anti-whaling campaign in Antarctica.
Recording in sub-zero temperatures with makeshift equipment, the recording also features the sound of waves smashing against the hull and the ever-present sound of the engines in the background.
"It's a pretty unique recording, I'd be surprised if any other album has been recorded that far south," James said.
During the 2011 No Compromise campaign, James was working as a bridge officer, responsible for navigating the ship for eight hours a day. When he came off shift he was writing songs about life on board and with the help of sound engineer Mike Morrell - who was working with a documentary crew on the TV series Whale Wars - they set up a rudimentary studio in the focsle (workshop) of the ship.
James said the songs were like 21st century sea shanties celebrating Sea Shepherd's militant direct action against the Japanese whaling fleet.