It’s evident that home life and work are intrinsically linked for Jimmy Singline and Hana Shimada, the couple responsible for iconic venue Goodgod Small Club. It was his music and curatorial background and her illustrating skills that made Goodgod what it was. Evidence of these interests is found in their Redfern home, which is full of records, framed artworks and prints plus native plants and flowers. They share it with their border collie, Nonna. Perhaps most striking are the beautiful white, navy blue and egg-yolk yellow tiles in the kitchen, hand-painted by their friend Mary MacDougall.
Singline and Shimada met 14 years ago in a share house in Marrickville. Singline had just moved to Sydney from Melbourne and Shimada was coming home after living in Japan. “It was the first house I lived in in Sydney and I was sitting on the couch when Hana walked in, to move in,” Singline recalls. “There was no consultation, no interview. Hana was a nice surprise.”
After a year of “courting at the kitchen table” the couple got together after Shimada returned again from Japan where she’d been collecting some of her things. “I got a new house and when Hana got back from Japan she moved into my new room.”
Since the “sad, but glad”, as Shimada phrases it, closing of Goodgod Small Club, the pair has been working on projects separately, as well as under the Goodgod name. Singline has been focusing on his curatorial work, working for Redbull Music Academy and on events like Dark Mofo.
The Goodgod Super Club made its debut at last year’s Vivid festival (although there were other Goodgod-themed events in 2014 and 2015), where those wanting to relive the glory days could do it in the basement of the Opera House.
“The thing about trying to set up a venue these days is that it has to have a good restaurant, cool fancy drinks, do live bands and have a club, all in one room. You can do that but you end up compromising on all of them a little bit,” says Singline.
“So, when we were talking about doing Goodgod Super Club at the Opera House we wanted to design a space that was purely engineered for dancing. That long-form journey with a DJ where you can really settle in and lose yourself.”
The Soft Future Piano Bar is a new pop-up they’ll be running along Super Club at Vivid. After witnessing their builds and decorations for the Super Club being thrown into a skip bin the morning after it finished, the pair came up with the idea to create a bar with a zero-waste philosophy.
Located in the Opera House’s northern foyer, the space features lush purple carpet and panoramic views of the water; the perfect place to watch the lights. “It’s like the ’60s and ’70s lounge environments. People can lie around in conversation pits and sling chairs. There’s this real sense of settling in,” Singline says.
With the aim of having only one bag of rubbish for landfill, everything in the bar will be recycled, reused, rotted or sent back to its previous home. Mattresses are made from the inner tubes of tyres, and felt sculptures, made by Shimada, will create different areas within the space. Any food waste, in collaboration with Events by Aria, will be composted, and wines will come from the keg. The Opera House even got beer taps in for the first time.
The tunes will be quintessentially Goodgod. With a focus on synth music, the Soft Future Piano Bar will feature incidental music, as opposed the kind that you stand and actively listen to. Cameron Bird from Architecture in Helsinki curated the venue’s soundtrack, though there’ll be nightly performances.
Talking to them, anyone would be able to tell that the pair works well together. Shimada says that’s made easy when you have such similar taste. “We share a lot of aesthetic appreciations, it’s nice to talk to someone who gets that.”
“We see something and don’t really need to check if the other person likes it, it’s a real inherent match,” Singline agrees.
The Soft Future Piano Bar will be open during Vivid from May 26 to June 4, 6pm until late. The Goodgod Super Club will hold events on May 26–27 and June 2–3.