iOTA joins forces with WAYJO to slap and tickle Fringe World audiences

Last year iOTA wowed audiences with his Fringe World show Average Joe, now he’s coming back to create a brand new project with WAYJO – the Western Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra.

OUTinPerth sat down with the singer-songwriter during rehearsals for the show. Camped out in WAYJO’s Maylands base he was working alongside director Mel Catwell and WAYJO’s Mace Francis to create the show that will be on stage this weekend.  

iOTA told us working with younger musicians wasn’t the driving force behind his desire to work with the orchestra.

“For me it’s just the fact that it’s something new, it’s not rock ‘n roll.

“It’s just that I haven’t done it before, it’s going to be loud and pizzazzy, it’s just going to be amazing, it’s going to be a new way for me to go artistically.”

iOTA says he hopes the young musicians find working with him to be a good experience, but he wasn’t approaching the project from a mentorship mindset, “I just want to work with them because they’re really good.”

As a teenager growing up in Pinjarra, iOTA said his big influences weren’t artists he came into contact with, but those he idolised.

“I was just influenced by all those untouchable American musicians and stuff that I was into, KISS, Motley Crue and all those American hair bands of the ‘80s.”      

In the show iOTA plays a clown named Slap, who appears with his offsider – the gimp Tickle.

“It’s like a variety show, but it’s not. It’s a theatrical piece wrapped in the facade of a variety show. There a clown Slap, which is me, and my gimp Tickle, the sidekick, and we’re putting on a show. Slap plays all the characters and Tickle is the stage manager who makes sure everything runs smoothly. They have a little journey.” iOTA said.

Asked how his songs for the production are going to sound, iOTA had a simple answer.

“The interesting thing for me is that they’re my songs but I don’t know how to describe my songs, it’s just going to be…” He pauses before saying “….jazz!”

“Except from someone who writes rock n’ roll.” he adds.

“I’ve only heard a little bit of what they’ve done with them so far, I can’t wait to hear more of them.” iOTA said. “Brass is loud. I did a Frank Sinatra tribute years ago and it had a brass band and it was so good, it’s not rock ‘n roll but it has a power.”

“It’s going to be as surprise and I’m going to get things that I’m not going to expect, but that’s what I want.”

Slap and Tickle is at Fringe World from 27 January  – 3rd February. Get tickets at

Graeme Watson

Image Credit:-  James Guiney

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