Out of the Box Festival : We chat to the jellyfish from Songs of the Sonar

The Out of the Box Festival is returning to Brisbane tomorrow and bringing along 8 days of fun workshops, musical performances & lively concerts for children 8 years and under. This year’s festival is all about the many relationships children have with living creatures, both real and imaginary – an absolute must for your child’s calendar.

The Queensland Museum is thrilled to have hybrid human jellyfish, and mystical sea songstress Deepstaria Enigmatica, join us for 10 days of under the sea activities that feed on mystery, music and fun! She took time out of her busy sea-schedule to invite us into her cavernous underwater realm to discuss Songs of the Sonar, learn about her deep ocean friends and chat about the discovery of her musical talent.

Songs of the Sonar
Get up close to a glowing jellyfish

What brings you up from the deep, mysterious seas to the Queensland Museum?
Some of my friends, including the famous giant squid, were coming for a visit to be a part of the Deep Oceans exhibition. It sounded like an excellent adventure, so I decided to swim along! When I arrived, I found a cave just for me; It’s filled with over a hundred glowing jelly friends! The Queensland Museum asked me to make some music for the Out of the Box Festival, so I was chuffed!

You’re a very musical jellyfish! Are all jellyfish this talented?
Most of us like to sing a tune or two in our own underwater way. There’s a huge no-wave scene on the bottom of the ocean. New venues are popping up all the time. I discovered a giant clam that had opened the other day – it had a great vibe and spongy bright blue seating. The WiFi isn’t always working that well though. It floats in and out… but when it does, we can hear each other from miles away! It’s a great way to share stuff.

What or who are your major musical influences?
Obviously, the whales are fantastic. I don’t know any of them personally, but they have been a major inspiration for me. I just find them so expressive and constant. Their plight with the humans is very interesting and keeps them reinventing themselves musically as the currents change. They really are great mentors to their smaller friends. I also enjoy the dolphins and Weddell seals. They make more catchy, positive pop music, which I find relaxing and vibrationally uplifting. Occasionally, we get to see a mermaid or two performing live. There is an Icelandic lass that seems interested in our style of music. Her name is Bjork. She’s great and listens to our stuff. I hope to visit her waters sometime.

Can you describe what your deep sea habitat is like?
My home is dark and cold. The only lights we see are each other. Sometimes it feels like a jelly-eat-jelly kind of place. The food supply can get pretty dire. But we try to take care of each other and accept each others needs and wants, even if that means eating some friends along the way. It may not sound very nice to humans, but we love it. My family and I have lived there for 650 million years. We’re a fairly primitive swarm. I guess you could describe us as aquatic gypsies.

Would you ever give up a life in the sea for a life on the land?
Never. I do enjoy a jaunt to the surface now and then, but I find the deep blue a comforting place. I guess it’s just what I’ve grown up with.  The ocean is o incredibly huge, I could float around all day every day for the rest of my life and never really get to see it all properly. One day, I would like to see Atlantis and the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Experience the mystery and wonder at Songs of the Sonar
Experience the mystery and wonder at Songs of the Sonar

Who are your best sea creature friends, what are their musical strengths?
Well, my closest friend is an isopod named Poppy. She lives on me. Right inside my jelly belly, she’s a great friend. Sometimes these isopods can be quite parasitic, but Poppy is great. We feed off the same musical ideas as well as food. It’s a symbiotic experience. There’s no way I would have started the Ocean Floor Orchestra if Poppy hadn’t been encouraging. Neither of us have a musical bone in our bodies, but we have musical jelly, it’s mostly made of water and that seems to work for us.

You have no eyes or brain, and some people may describe you a peculiar, what do you say to that and what is the best thing about being a jellyfish?
I think all creatures have their special qualities. I like the fact that I don’t have a brain like humans. I use my senses and body to sail through life. If we were all the same, what an incredibly boring place this universe would be! I think my friend Blobfish is pretty strange but then again, he thinks I’m quite odd too. Celebrate diversity, I say! The best thing about being a jellyfish is my freedom to float wherever I like and discover new things.

What can kids expect from Songs of the Sonar?
You will get a chance to experience what my home is like! This is a fairly unique opportunity as apparently it is easier for humans to visit the moon than the ocean floor. So come along… I’m looking forward to meeting you all and making some underwater tunes for ‘The Ocean Floor Orchestra’. Maybe you’ll even get to jam with some of my underwater friends!

Book tickets to Songs of the Sonar
Dates: From 25 Jun to 4 Jul 2014
Times: 10.15am (except Wednesday 2 July 10.30am), 11.45am & 1.15pm,
Venue: INVENTory, Level 4, Queensland Museum
Cost: $16.50
Download Creative Learning Guide
Out of The Box Festival Map

Make a day of your visit! Check out Deep Oceans on level 3 too! Buy tickets here.