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Fiona Horne is a witch, author, commercial pilot, humanitarian aid worker, skydiver, yoga instructor and lead singer of electro-rock band – Def FX. This episode has within – from the archives – an unscripted chat with them, that was on the back of one of the re-union tour shows that were held in South Australia night prior. While the band may have called it a day touring Australia, Horne is still making the most of everyday as a pilot and as an author with a new book out this year called The Art of Witch.

Back in 2013 Fiona Horne spoke with radionotes at the Adelaide Airport, this is that chat…

To listen, click the green ‘play’ triangle… [note: may take few seconds to load] 

(Transcript of Fiona Horne 2013 chat below, check to delivery in audio)

IMAGE CREDIT: created by radionotes

Notably, Fiona Horne this year (2019) has released a new book The Art of Witch (Rockpool Publishing) which in it they share how to “grow with the times” and give measures to make more of the everyday.

SHOW NOTES: Fiona Horne episode

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In The Box:

Feature Guest: Fiona Horne (2013) – from The Archives

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Next Episode: Captaincy – a short story by Clio Em

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More details on playpodcast here, thanks to Matt from them.

[Radio Production – notes: Fiona Horne is feature guest – plenty of Solo and Def FX music to choose from]


Theme/Music: Martin Kennedy and All India Radio   

Web-design/tech: Steve Davis

Voice: Tammy Weller  

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For direct quotes check to audio, first version of transcript by Catherine M at REV

John Murch: Welcome. Well goodbye to Adelaide.

Fiona Horne: Yes, good morning and goodbye.

John Murch: The start of a national tour last night back with the boys. How are they?

Fiona Horne: The boys are great. It’s funny getting back on the road and just that whole banter that goes on. There’s a really unique kind of camaraderie that touring bands share and it’s funny to sort of come back to it. They’re good. I mean, you know, they’re all hung over as as hell this morning, but I’m not, so it’s all good.

John Murch: Health kick has got a lot to do with your lifestyle. You’re getting fit. I guess the other thing is you’re falling out the air as well.

Fiona Horne: I do skydive and I also fly planes, so I stopped drinking and all that kind of stuff a year ago, pretty much, and it’s a real lifestyle improvement enhancement. It’s just, I couldn’t operate heavy machinery at altitude, i.e., fly planes, let alone jump out of them if I was always feeling rotten and not clear in my head.

Fiona Horne: It’s a great lifestyle shift and I always have enjoyed things like yoga and alternative spiritual practices and healthy eating, but now combining it all with a definitive attitude towards substances, I don’t take them anymore. It’s a really beautiful healing and enriching life experience.

John Murch: Last time we spoke, Los Angeles was kicking you in the guts a little. How’s that going?

Fiona Horne: LA’s great because I left it. I actually, I spent over a decade there and I was going back there last year and starting to do TV shows again and all this, and I was like, “Why am I doing this?” I did it, I was on billboards up and down Sunset. I was on every bloody TV show, Good Morning America, whatever, in the country. I was like, “Why am I doing this again?” I was the world’s favorite witch, and witches are getting really popular in media over there and in entertainment again, it’s coming through that second, third wave, whatever it is.

Fiona Horne: But I was just ready for a change. So, as I embark upon the second half of my life at the age of 47, I am embracing a career in aviation. I fly Single Engine Land. I’m a certified private pilot out of the U.S. FAA, but I have flown in Australia. I flew on the weekend, flew a Yak, fantastic. Yakovlev, it’s an aerobatic Russian war plane.

John Murch: Put a call through to Richard.

Fiona Horne: To Richard? Which?

John Murch: Mr. Branson for a gig.

Fiona Horne: Mr. Branson. You know what’s funny about Mr. Branson, where I live now, I live on the Island of Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s out in the Caribbean and he owns an Island near Tortola. The company that I work with, and fly with, and market for, I’m a bit of a Marketing Manager over there in the middle of nowhere, but we often take Mr. Branson between islands.

Fiona Horne: So right near his Island. The interesting thing about Sir Richard Branson is that a hundred years ago, a million years ago when he launched Virgin Australia, I was on the inaugural flight. It was me and Krista Vendy, a good friend of mine at the time who was a Neighbour’s soap opera star. We were a bunch of us, Natalie Imbruglia. We were the girls that were guests on the plane and we flew the inaugural flight up the coast from, actually from Melbourne, through Sydney, through Brisbane. Then we had a big corroboree with Mr. Branson and then a big party night, and that launched Virgin Australia.

Fiona Horne: I remember he said to me, “Fiona, will you cast a spell on my airline to make sure it does well?” I said, “I will, but I don’t think you need the help, but I will do that.” And it’s done very well. He’s a very nice man. He likes deli sandwiches. We get him deli… Deli sandwiches are-

John Murch: What are deli sandwiches?

Fiona Horne: They’re massive American style sandwiches with 14 slices of meat and 15 slices of-

John Murch: Mustard?

Fiona Horne: Oh yeah, everything, it’s like a deli sandwich and a bit of everything. So we stock the plane with that when he needs a snack.

John Murch: So it is true that you have either flown him or could fly him?

Fiona Horne: I could fly him in a Single Engine Land plane, yeah. I’m currently doing my instrument rating, and then I have about 198 hours now on single engine. So at 250 I’ll go for my commercial, then multi-engine rating and it’s… I’m not going to fly jets. I doubt that, I wouldn’t rule it out if someone paid to put me through the thing, the course eventually. But for now I’m a Single Engine Pilot Land and I’m expanding my ratings, growing my ratings.

John Murch: You’ve admitted that you’re edging towards 50

Fiona Horne: I’m 47.

John Murch: You’re edging towards that.

Fiona Horne: Yeah, it’s kind of weird. People meet me go, “Oh,” they think I’m in my early thirties and I just think it’s funny. I think the nice thing about… I always say we don’t grow older, we grow better if we choose to. The nice thing about being on the planet for a little while is you get more easygoing about stuff. You realize that you don’t really need to sweat the small stuff. Everything gets worked out in the end, and if you can be, it might sound a little bit hippie and esoteric, but if you can try to stay in touch with being of service to others, and being happy, and being relaxed, then life works out just very nicely.

John Murch: Teenagers can be seen as getting less and less engaged with the world and with themselves in particular, which would concern you. There is a teenage book out called Witch.

Fiona Horne: Called Witch: A Summerland Mystery. My third-

John Murch: Can we talk about Bryce?

Fiona Horne: Bryce.

John Murch: Will we fall head over heels for Bryce?

Fiona Horne: Well, this is the first of four books. God, thank god, I haven’t had to start writing the other three yet, but it’s a whole big mystery that occurs. Bryce is like a, in this book, he’s a pivotal character in the lead character Vania’s life and in that she learns a lot about love and life through him, but most importantly she learns that you can’t love someone else until you love yourself, and that’s her lesson. I really tried, it’s interesting you mentioned how teens now are kind of disenfranchised and disconnected from the world in many ways.

John Murch: Am I wrong?

Fiona Horne: No, I agree. I think you’re right. And when I wrote the book, I wrote it to try and help teenagers, teenage girls in particular, feel that they can make a difference in their own lives, and by getting in touch with nature, and by getting out in the world, just getting the sun on you, not sitting in a room, Facebooking, Instagramming, Twittering, texting, whatever, playing video games. But actually getting out into nature and experiencing a natural shift of consciousness that’s very positive and empowering. That’s what I get her to do, and she’s… It’s fun. It’s like a kind of murder mystery, love story.

John Murch: And there is bit of, as you say yourself, there’s some real spells, some real witchcraft in there because a real witch actually wrote it.

Fiona Horne: Yes, that’s right.

John Murch: Which would be yours.

Fiona Horne: They actually, if you want to do them properly with magic being fueled by the intent and passion that you fuel it, then they can work. So yeah, there’s the ultimate love spell in there that’s going to really hook the teens.

John Murch: This tagline of being the number one witch, the go to, as you said earlier in this chat, in America…

Fiona Horne: Favorite witch, the world’s favorite witch.

John Murch: Yeah, all that.

Fiona Horne: Ryan Seacrest called me Fiona the Hot Witch about eight years ago. And that stuck and got me a lot of leverage. It’s funny how just one thumbs up from someone will come along, but spiritually modern witchcraft is, I’ve practiced it with an eclectic approach, but anchored in Wiccan principles, is something that I’ve been passionate about and exploring in my life for over a quarter of a century probably. I mean it’s over 25 years.

John Murch: We’ve been there for at least 15 or 17 years.

Fiona Horne: Yeah, I kept it under the broomstick, I don’t know, I’ve kept it quiet for a really long time. It wasn’t until the band broke up in 1997, my first book about it, and I was learning and exploring the craft as I was writing those books. I mean there’s been about seven, I lost count, seven or eight books came out. The last big one about modern witchcraft, I guess, was Bewitch a Man, and that’s Simon & Schuster published that out of New York in… I think it was 2008, it was a while ago.

John Murch: That particular storyline, the women’s magazines and stuff absolutely adore. It’s something they can grasp on to.

Fiona Horne: Yeah.

John Murch: Do you think they’ve respected that over the years, that they’ve actually understood this is serious, this isn’t something to mess with.

Fiona Horne: Well, it’s an interesting point that you bring up. I mean anything that sort of gives you a sense of purpose and even control in a way over your own place in the world can be a potent tool of transformation I guess. Magazines will jump on things that have hooks like Bewitch a Man: How to Find and Keep Him Under Your Spell, but in that book it was all about, again, appreciating yourself, getting in touch with who you are before… Until you know yourself, you can’t really know someone else.

Fiona Horne: So there was that angle I think did get promoted as a positive female empowerment kind of angle in the book. But overall it was a fun sort of niche thing to promote, but I guess my point is, “What is it like now?” Well, it’s funny, I was talking to another very prominent witch who’s very much in the front line of the media in America at the moment. His name’s Christian Day, he’s quite controversial and there’s so many shows now coming up about witches, in a reality sense, it was always very hard.

Fiona Horne: I was the only, still the only witch to ever be on a reality show on a repeating, seasonal reality show. It was called Mad Mad House for the Sci-Fi Channel in the U.S., which is produced by NBC Universal. I was still the only one, it’s since then and that was back in 2005 I think, since then it’s been hard to get witches in reality because as he and I were talking about, at the end of the day, Hollywood needs the evil witch. It needs that stereotype, needs that commercial, entertainment oriented, scary stereotype in order to sell the majority of their films. If they start showing that witches, modern witches, are actually regular people with regular jobs who just have a spiritual and lifestyle approach to living that’s a little bit different from the main stream. I did a solo album called Witch Web about five years ago, six years ago, and then a spoken word album after that, which was spells and rituals.

John Murch: Yeah, the one I played off of has got a lot of commentary about the history of witchcraft.

Fiona Horne: Yeah. That was Witch Web. That was the track Green Lights, and yes.

John Murch: That’s the one.

Fiona Horne: That’s basically the history of witchcraft, ripped through in four and a half minutes.

John Murch: But you don’t get bored of it. Is it only four and half minutes?

Fiona Horne: Yeah, something like that.

John Murch: It feels-

Fiona Horne: But that’s an actual chapter from my book that I recited, one of my books that I recited over music. Yeah.

John Murch: Because it feels long but not boring.

Fiona Horne: Oh, that’s good. I mean, I’d like to thank you. I’d like to think there was some interesting information in there, but when you research the origins of modern witchcraft, it’s quite fascinating. Like any spiritual path or even religion, I don’t tend to use the R word very often, but there’s always a fascinating insight into social and cultural evolution of the human species.

John Murch: You can imagine, when I played that the phones went a little red hot.

Fiona Horne: Oh God bless them.

John Murch: What are the next projects for you.

Fiona Horne: For me, the next projects are definitely to keep flying and keep getting all my ratings so that I can get, to get my full commercial pilot status.

John Murch: That’s out of public life a lot.

Fiona Horne: Yeah.

John Murch: You’re going to enjoy that, aren’t you?

Fiona Horne: Look, it’s money over the years. It was one of the things I realized when I left LA. I only left LA May 1st of this year on Beltane actually in the Northern Hemisphere. May Day, I decided to… It was my own May Day and I needed to get out of LA.

Fiona Horne: No, look, I love the entertainment industry and I’ve worked in it for again, a quarter of a century since I was on stage at the age of 17 playing guitar in the Mother’s or something, but I just wanted, I just want to change, I what my life to just be something that’s more simpler, a simple life. Ironically, yeah, I operate heavy machines at altitude in flying planes, and I’m a marketing manager for a private aviation company out on the Island and I just really enjoy that.

Fiona Horne: But funnily enough, I’m filming a TV thing next week here in Australia. I’m flying a small plane, a Cessna 172 into the Outback for a show concept that will probably get shopped in Australia. So you might see me, I’ll be like Steve Irwin, but with wings and a wand.

John Murch: Which we can’t talk about obviously.

Fiona Horne: No, I just got to film it next week, so we’ll see.

John Murch: It’s all hush, hush.

Fiona Horne: Look any excuse to come back to Australia. The nice thing about living on Saint Croix is there is in the Caribbean, like in any of the tropical environments, there is a down season. Our busy season is November through the end of April.

John Murch: Oh great.

Fiona Horne: Then we have these months of September and October are very quiet on the Island. All the snowbirds, as we call them, leave, the Island’s population goes down by three quarters because all the tourists are gone and we have this quiet time. And that would be time if we were to film a show, I could come back here and do it.

John Murch: Last night, 30 year friend Wendy.

Fiona Horne: Oh, Wendy, god bless her, yeah, Wendy Hannah.

John Murch: That’s your Adelaide connection?

Fiona Horne: Yeah, she and I started a band here in Adelaide. This is where I got my music start was Adelaide. Wendy and I formed Sister Sludge back in 1983 and we used to play all the venues, Princess Berkeley and Hindley Street, a ton of different venues, and it was grunge rock. We played with bands like Salamander Jim, and the Johnnies; it was a great time and we could barely play our instruments, but we were just banging around, jumping around on stage, and just singing songs like Gravy Baby. It was all very Cramps influenced, that kind of sound, I guess, grungy, gothic rock. I don’t know. Not even Gothic. Just grunge, before Nirvana.

Fiona Horne: Wendy and I have been good friends and I think this is one of the lovely things about as we grow, maybe not older but better. You get to really treasure those original friendships, those shared memories. It’s like a family that you create and I feel I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve lived all over the world, and I come back to Australia, I see my family and I see my friends, and people like Wendy. It just reminds you that it’s doesn’t suck to be a human. We can forge these beautiful relationships that are very enriching and rewarding, and I get to enjoy them even more now that I’m sober because I’m totally present. I’m not having a vino and feeling foggy, I’m on it, and I love the sincerity and the authenticity of connection with people that you really love. That’s great.

John Murch: How has your body changed from being more health conscious?

Fiona Horne: I don’t know. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. It’s funny. So many people think that as you age in years that you have to get unhealthy. You don’t, you can actually get more healthy. My mum is 73, she had major lung operation two years ago. They removed a lump, they thought it was cancer as it turned out it wasn’t. She broke her shoulder the year before when she slipped and fell over in the garage. My mum’s joined Curves, lost 12 kilos, walks 10,000 steps a day, is so healthy, vibrant and vital, and I feel so blessed that my parents are in their seventies and eighties are healthy and we get to do beautiful things like go to the airport together. Last weekend, they live out in the Southern Highlands, we went to the airport, I flew a big Russian Warbird, Mum and we dumped all this smoke and did a smoke display, it was an aerobatic. It’s actually the Russian Roulettes and Redstar Aviation.

Fiona Horne: I’ve made friends with them and they took me up. It was a fantastic Russian aerobatic team that’s based out of Australia. I just was thinking, God, I’m so lucky that my parents are healthy, and as someone who’s found some peace within herself and some sincere joy that doesn’t have conditions, it’s just I can live a happy life, a simple happy life. It’s such a blessing, to share that with my parents, it’s just… it’s awesome.

John Murch: How do you deal these days with heartache?

Fiona Horne: Heartache? Well, I’m not dating at the moment. I’m taking a break from dating.

John Murch: You do seem quite vibrant.

Fiona Horne: You spend a lot of your life defining yourself by how others perceive you, and certainly as a woman, how your man in your life perceives you, or other men perceive you. I’m just really enjoying taking a break from all that and just focusing on flying my planes, doing my yoga, doing my paddle boarding, having amazing quality time with people that I sincerely love. And it’s just a blessing.

Fiona Horne: Yeah. I’ll date again at some point, but heartache is something, I’ve had some interesting experiences with that in the last few years. When you survive it, your life is always stronger and richer for it. You just got to get through it.

John Murch: Inspiring writing at all or have you just…

Fiona Horne: I’m so busy on social media, I write things all the time on my Facebook fan page, my Fiona Horne Facebook fan page and I like to, the things I write is, they sort of come out from what’s going on in my head, in my heart, and it’s inspirational, aspirational stuff to some people. So I’m finding that very gratifying. There’s a couple more workbook projects in the works. I’m always writing even, if I’m not flying a plane or marketing charter operations of private jets at this new job I’ve got. I’m writing stuff, stuff will come out.

Fiona Horne: I love the freedom of the internet now. When I started in Def FX, there was no internet. I think we were the first band in Australia to have a website.

John Murch: But a lot of people are saying that’s the death of music as well.

Fiona Horne: No, it’s the life of it.

John Murch: How though?

Fiona Horne: It’s the life of it because anyone can… It’s a beautiful medium. Look back in the day, I remembered being in my first band, my girl, Mothers rock band, and we just wanted to put out a seven inch single, and then we wanted to put out a 12 inch single, and then we… It’s just, you want to express music, well nowadays you can put it online… You have to be organised. To do it well, you’ve got to be organised. You can’t just put crap up there and expect it to float. The good stuff comes through and I think the freedom that modern technology offers us as creative people is just really exciting. I love it.

John Murch: With the internet, that means the music is often free and a lot of people aren’t getting paid for their music.

Fiona Horne: Oh look, we never got bloody paid as it was anyway. I had no money to show after Def FX. You’d get money from doing gigs and stuff. I think it comes out in the wash. You can make more money selling a single at a dollar a pop than you can having a bunch of albums sitting on a shelf that no one gets to see. I mean more of my books have sold by ebook download than they have on the shelves. There’s always that. It’s just life is shifting and I’m very much a natural organic person in my lifestyle practices, but I totally embrace modern technology and the way it can disseminate information and creativity.

John Murch: So my point obviously being, is the bands that are complaining that, “Okay, we’re not actually earning,” they shouldn’t be thinking so much about the earning, they should be thinking about the creative.

Fiona Horne: Yeah, I think so because everything else takes care of itself. I mean, some people might go, “But I need money. I need this and that.” I don’t know. Look, my own person experience, money’s never been a strong point with me. It comes and it goes like when the Def FX broke up, I had no money to show for the band. We broke up under very poor management and poor circumstances, and I had nothing other than my life, and our life, and happiness, and a smile on your face. Well you know, no money can buy that. You’ve got to work on that yourself, and I think just the joy of performing music. Look, you can be smart about it and use the internet and that environment to make money. You just have to be smart about it.

John Murch: How can women be smarter in being themselves? You’re one of my favorite feminist role models because-

Fiona Horne: Oh bless.

John Murch: … there’s not too much gloss to the way you go about it, but share some knowledge with us on how feminists can actually be stronger.

Fiona Horne: Wow. I would say being a feminist is about being female, so don’t sort of step away from any of the, kind of behavioral or mindset traits, I guess, that would denote femininity, but that can be… This is where it gets all very cross pollinated I guess.

John Murch: Yeah.

Fiona Horne: Femininity is not gender specific, but I guess my point is for women now, I like to… As a 47 year old woman living my life on the planet, and having found a sense of serenity and peace as I go into the second half of my life. I just think we have to, in order to live a fulfilled life, define ourselves by how we view ourselves, not by how society or others would, and sometimes that means taking time out. One of the things women have never been encouraged to do, and we put it in context, if men got periods there would be a mandatory four day break every month for men to go into their cave, and restore, and rejuvenate themselves.

Fiona Horne: I think as biological creatures, we are cyclical. We have times where we need to step away from life and step away from the roles as mother, daughter, sister, whatever, wife, and be ourselves. And I think if there was some mandatory break for women that they got some time to rejuvenate and restore, that would be a wonderful way of balancing our consciousness as a collective whole. But having said that, we can find that time for ourselves.

John Murch: Yeah, that same line would be used of why women can’t take leadership positions because they so much, allegedly, need this time out.

Fiona Horne: But men do too. You saw what happened this morning, John, it’s like the bloody guys, they come to two pillars where the trolley won’t get through with the bass case on-

John Murch: Science.

Fiona Horne: … and they all stand there freaking out, wondering what to do and whether they go down? I just picked the bloody cases off the trolley, walked them through the little gap, pulled the trolley through, stuck them back on and we were in here in two and a half seconds.

John Murch: Yeah, but you know what you did straight after that?

Fiona Horne: They would have stood there all day.

John Murch: You grabbed their jaw and went…

Fiona Horne: But on the road I can’t say anything like that because I’m the sole female traveling with a bunch of blokes, and “Yeah, you know, it’s all good.” Women now, as it’s been said, can multitask. Some sort of funny sexist stuff, I guess, comes up flying. I’ve said to people when they talk about whether women or men are better pilots of planes, I say, “Well, the plane doesn’t know whether it’s a woman or a man flying it. You just fly the plane.” That’s what I love about it.

Fiona Horne: If someone’s thought in circles and creative holistically for so long, to work in a very machine oriented mechanistic environment, if something goes wrong, there’s a sequence of events and you go back and you can see where something happened. The chain of events that created a problem or you can fix something, and I love the mechanistic approach to flying. It’s very balancing after spending so many years in the entertainment industry, purveying a very spiritual kind of circular approach to life. Now it’s for me with work, it’s start, end.

John Murch: It’s also multitasking.

Fiona Horne: Oh, there’s so much multitasking that goes on in bloody plane stuff. We’re going to use that thing against women. We should say that we can actually operate complex machinery more effectively because we can do more than one thing at once. Speaking of which, I need to get on a plane as a passenger in a minute. I think my flight’s going to be leaving soon.

John Murch: I was about to say, where has they got to.

Fiona Horne: Everyone’s checked in. We should probably…

John Murch: Are they over there?

Fiona Horne: Yeah, they’re over there.

John Murch: All right. Fiona Horne, absolute pleasure. Thanks for your time.

Fiona Horne: Thank you, John.

John Murch: Thank you.

Fiona Horne: Thank you so much.