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Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Locals lads (and lady) Velociraptor have been attracting a lot of attention of late. With their energetic live shows, and notoriety for barely being able to fit everyone onstage, coupled with recent Triple J attention things are certainly looking bright for the band. I spoke to frontman Jeremy Neale about an upcoming tour, a new EP and getting all of the ‘raptors’ organised.

First and foremost, what is your stance on velociraptors?

They are they only breed of dinosaurs that can open doors. This makes them the most threatening species of Dinosaur present in today’s door obsessed society.

You’re about to embark on an east coast tour. How does such a large band go about organising themselves?

Well, fortunately this time around we have a top-notch management team. Other than that, everybody will have a piece of paper with the venue and time we’ll be playing and with any luck at least 7 of us will show up.

Velociraptor are listed officially as a 12 piece but you rarely seem to play as such – what determines the size of the band on any given night?

The rider. If we get word that there’s not enough to go around we draw straws to see who has to stay home and drink home beers. Also a few raptors play in other touring bands and live/ work outside of Brisbane.

I hear there will be a new EP coming out soon; can you tell us a little about it?

A small collection of upbeat pop gems that are suitable for singing and dancing along to. It’s been a good chance for us to get some of our/ audiences’ live favourites recorded.

What is the song writing process like a band with so many members?

A lot of the time I’ll just write something at home or in the car and then bring it to practice and the raptors will work their magic on it. Other raptors also write songs and bring it to the raptor table in the same fashion.

I’ve seen you guys likened to ‘gritty garage sex’ and a ‘vintage street gang’. How would you describe yourselves?

A real neato gang of super bros with good values and a penchant for truffles and fine wine.

How do you feel about the attention the band has received so far?

Besides the odd comment of  “I don’t understand why there’s 7 guitarists” it’s been really positive and I couldn’t be happier with it. We’ve had some solid support from Triple J for our track ‘In The Springtime’ and there seems to be a really rad buzz for the tour.

What is your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

It’s an awesome city, easy to source enough amps, we get to play with our friend’s bands and also at the end of the night we can get a limo home to the raptor mansion that comes complete with 12 beds, all of which are race car themed

What can the uninitiated expect from a live show?

It is pretty chaotic. I’ve always been a firm believer in that if you wanted to hear the song exactly how it was recorded, then you should have stayed home and listened to the record. It’s louder than the recordings and more aggressive but it’s a visual spectacle and even if I wasn’t in the band I’d still wanna go and see it.

What does the future hold for Velociraptor?

Godzilla and Monster X have been threatening to destroy Brisbane. We are training every day so that we may have the strength to defeat these gigantic angry monsters. Also, although it has been delayed many times, we do have a film clip on the way. An album will be most triumphant once we can get the necessary 900 dollaridoos.

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It hasn’t exactly been a quick journey to get to where he’s at now, but Sydneysider Andy Bull seems very at peace with his music career. He took some time out to talk about his latest EP and some of its more delicate backstory.

You’re just about to kick off a tour to support your latest EP, Phantom Pains. The EP has been out for nearly a year now, what’s stopped you from taking it on the road earlier?

I released the Phantom Pains EP about a year ago, and with very little fanfare, no great press release or anything. It was more a case of get together with some friends, record the songs and just put them out (which was very refreshing). Because of that, there was no great push for a headline tour early on. Instead, I’ve spent the last twelve months playing a lot of support shows, touring in the opening slot for a stack of artists, and just bit by bit creating an audience. There was also a bit of radio play on Triple J and community stations, and combined with the touring, it slowly but steadily built, I suppose, a potential audience for doing a headline tour. It has really satisfying to know that, in a world of sudden rises and drastic collapses, an audience can be built slowly but surely! So here we are- hopefully with enough of an audience to justify a headline tour.

Phantom Pains is the second of two releases from you. How do you feel it compares to your first album We’re Too Young?

I always describe We’re Too Young as being a step removed from me. I know a lot of musicians distance themselves from their earlier stuff, but you know, in this case I felt that way even as I was releasing it. There are some wonderful moments on that first album, but maybe it should have been performed by somebody else. Phantom Pains was kind of a correction- I made a lot of the opposite sort of choices that I did from WTY, stripping things back, doing things less formally, involving friends and just letting it be. I think it is just a matter of age and learning how you like to do things. I’m still refining my process, still refining the music and hopefully taking steps towards doing better things still. But Phantom Pains was a turning point for me, and I’m happy with how the process felt.

Is there any meaning behind the name Phantom Pains?

Well, as you probably know, phantom pain is a neurological phenomenon whereby the presence of a missing limb (absented through amputation or accident, etc) is still felt in the form of pain. Incidentally, I met a gentleman after a show once who told me about his own phantom pains. I was relieved that he hadn’t felt that his condition was exploited by the song- I think he actually enjoyed the recognition, even though his circumstances were not figurative but very much literal! He described variations in the constant pain that he felt in the place where his leg had been; tingling and throbbing sometimes, discomfort and spasms as if it were kicking around other times, and then also a more severe state of extreme, crushing pain that would incapacitate him for hours and sometimes days at a time. He refused to take medication to numb the pain because he said that while it numbed the pain, it also turned his mind to dough.

So, that’s actual phantom pain, but I thought it was a neat allegory for an emotional state as well. The song is about a guy who cuts off his hand to atone for what he believes is some past wrongdoing, only to discover that, on a kind of karmic level, he has atoned for nothing: he is just in pain. I think it’s a song about irony, about a man who chronically misses the point. He’s sees karma as a point scoring system, about right and wrong, when maybe it is more about cause and effect. And hey- cut off your hand, and you’ll be in pain, that’s it. Its like this idea of religious self-flagellation, it is probably less godly and more narcissistic than the righteous flagellant believes!

Boil it down further, and I think that there is some truth that, in as much as we can feel something’s presence, we can likewise feel its absence, which therefore is also a kind of presence, and therefore, presence or absence is not so much a literal delineation, but a perceptual difference. And, therefore, cutting off you hand to atone for a sin is not going to help as much as setting things right in your heart.

What is your favourite track the EP and why?

I think the title track is my favourite. Thematically, lyrically and sonically, it feels a bit more mature maybe, which is something I think is valuable. I still like listening to it. It was also the last thing we recorded during those sessions.

Can you tell us a little about the track ‘Dog’, and how the collaboration with Lisa Mitchell came about?

Well, the song ‘Dog’ is about depression. When I put the song out I also wrote quite a long blog about it, because I felt like, given the subject matter, it was appropriate to contextualize it, and take responsibility for it. It was really important that the matter be treated elegantly, and not simply exploited. In terms of recording the song, it was theoretically finished by the time Lisa arrived at my door one afternoon for a cup of tea. She and I had very casually thrown around the idea of singing together on something when we toured a year earlier, but it was just sort of passing conversation. But, there she was with a cup of earl grey, and the idea of collaborating still seemed appealing. So I put up a microphone and we just went through the song line by line, and within an hour it was all done. She added something very special, so I re-recorded my part to make my voice sound like hers- to give the impression of one person with two sides, rather than it being a duet, given the nature of the lyric. It was a very serendipitous week, because Little Red also appeared at my door later that week, and ended up singing on ‘Nothin’ To Lose’. Careful coming to my house, I’ll end up recording you!

You’ve had some fairly amazing support slots so far, which have been the most memorable?

Little Red, Lisa Mitchell, Tim Finn, Hungry Kids ofHungary- they were all very special tours and they were all very different. I also supported Duffy at the Opera house many moons ago, and to play in the concert hall was a real trip.

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Well, there’s been a few exterior “achievements” over the last twelve months, but really, the highlight is, and hopefully always will be, simply the process of making music- rehearsing, recording, writing, performing. That should be a continuing, never ending highlight. I ‘m a big believer in the process being the reward, since everything else is temporary and totally contingent on factors beyond personal control.

What’s your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

Brisbanecrowds are something else. By far the most vocal, involved and open crowd in the country. Sometimes I shuffle onstage, trying to gauge how I will be received, and there’s this big, loud Brisbane crowd waiting with open arms, doing their best to make you feel like you’re one of the bunch- and of course, that precipitates the best performances too, because you feel confident. It’s much appreciated.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live how?

Well, it’s a trio, and we have maybe an “unexpected” sound which is a little bit old and a little bit new. I usually talk a fair bit too, and sometimes people don’t expect me to talk about the things that I do. I know that the expectation is to “perform” but I’m trying to find a way of “performing” as myself. I hate being an audience member and being “sold to”, I want to feel like I’m getting some truth, and so I try to do that myself in my own show. Less earnest, more honest, maybe.

What does the future hold for Andy Bull?

Gratuitous narcissism and compulsive excess, mindless acquisition of gaudy bling, abuse of privilege, domestic rifts, self congratulating auto-biographical screen plays, “artistic” tantrums, studio meltdowns, drugs abuse, evangelical religious conversion, a talk show and, eventually, misguided political ambitions.

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Brisbane’s Little Scout have had a very busy couple of years. Having just released their debut album, lead single Mel Tickle took some time out to talk about musical collaborations, sneaking irregular time signatures into pop songs and keeping her mother happy.

Your new album Take Your Light has just been released – can you walk us through what the writing and recording process was like?

We worked on writing the album for around 18 months, and during that time completed a huge amount of pre-production in our friend Darek Mudge’s studio. Shem Allen (of Skinny Jean fame) came in and blew our minds with his guitar genius, so we flew him to Sydney with us to record a few things on the record. Scott (The John Steel Singers) and Jonathan (Boulet) were both instrumental in pulling all of the songs together cohesively. We basically surrounded ourselves with geniuses and went for it.

What were your main influences for this album?

We were listening to a lot of different music, but I suppose the main aim was to forget our first EPs and create something that had a time and place. We were listening to Deerhunter, Seekae, Parades, Camera Obscura and a heap of different bands we love. We found that all of these bands create albums that work together as a whole, and that’s what we wanted to do – rather than have a good single and a whole lot of piffle around it.

And how has it been received so far?

The reviews and love for the record have far exceeded our expectations – we’re pleased that listeners are really giving the record a few plays and immersing themselves in it. Our mothers are also very proud of us, so we’re still on the Christmas card list.

‘We Are Walking Out’ is the first single from the album, can you tell us a little about it?

There’s nothing better than sneaking a 5/4 time signature onto the radio! ‘We Are Walking Out’ was a real turning point for us. It was difficult to piece together, and really inspired the sound of the album. We’re a dream-pop band, rather than folk.

I read that it was recorded and mixed by Jonathan Boulet, what was it like working with him?

Fantastic, the guy is a freak. His setup is simple, comfortable and welcoming, but the sounds he pulls from that little garage studio are otherworldly. We’re very privileged to have completed this record with him.

You’ve been part of initiatives like MTV Kickstart and Triple J’s Next Crop a few years ago, how have these helped the band along the way?

Both were completely unexpected – we made our first EP as an experiment, and I suppose both initiatives motivated us to do something with our band and keep making music. We’ve started to take our time and avoid rushing things, ensuring we can play our recorded material well in a live sense, because we were very lucky to be given those opportunities.

I saw you support Belle and Sebastian earlier this year – that was pretty amazing! What have been some of your favourite support slots and why?

That was a fun night! Belle and Sebastian, The New Pornographers and Camera Obscura all stick out as our favourite shows. The Tivoli is such a beautiful venue. Oh and touring regionally with Josh Pyke was amazing and bizarre. Driving to Cairns and back in one weekend turned us into freaks. It’s refreshing to see good people who have worked hard for years still doing what they love. They were also really supportive of our band.

What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Honestly we’ve done so much more than we ever expected. Releasing our first album, having the opportunity to tour with great artists and being played on the radio is definitely a highlight.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live show?

A very atmospheric performance – you’ll have to come along on August 26 (Alhambra Lounge, Brisbane) and see and hear for yourself!

What does the future hold for Little Scout?

We’ve started writing new material, so hopefully a new album in the next year or two. We insist on letting it all happen pretty naturally, with a lot of hard work in the background – we hope to travel and keep improving. As long as we still enjoy making music together we’ll keep doing this for a long time.

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You better get to know about the Jungle Giants quicksmart, because they’ll be showing up more and more on the Brisbane indie radar. I spoke to frontman Sam Hales about the band’s debut EP and their first interstate tour.

The Jungle Giants are still only a relatively new band, having only played your first show late last year. How do you feel about how quickly this has all come together?
It’s been a little bit of a blur, but we are having heaps of fun. It’s a great feeling to be recognised for something we love doing.

Can you walk us through the beginnings of the band – who’s in it and what do you all do?
We all met during high school and formed the band right before graduation. I [Sam] started the band and [am on] Vocals/Rhythm Guitar. Cesira is the lead guitarist. Andrew is the Bassist/Backing Vocalist, and Keelan plays Drums.

You’re about to play some shows interstate for the first time, what are you looking forward to most about playing in different cities?
We’re super excited to see how our music goes down in the other states, we’ve never played anywhere other than Brisbane, so we are looking forward to having a dance with some Sydney-siders and Melbournians.

How has the EP been received since its release?
We’ve been hearing a lot of good things, so we are really glad people are enjoying it.

What was the writing and recording process like it?
The writing process was really simple because Sam wrote the songs a while before the actual recording. Our time in the studio was great, because we were working with a great local producer, Yanto Browning. We only had four days to get it all done though, so there was no time to waste.

Your lead single ‘Mr Polite’ has received a fair bit of attention – can you tell us a bit about the song?
It’s a pretty simple song with some fun melodies and rhythms. It’s about an on-off relationship, but plays with idea in a positive light.

Who have been some of the main influences (musical or non-musical) in forming the sound of the Jungle Giants?
Acts like Two Door Cinema Club and Bon Iver are major influences. Their music and stage presence is amazing, and really inspires us to get better and better.

You’ve already supported some fairly notable bands in your short musical career, what has been the highlight so far?
Our favourite show by far was Track & Field. It was a boutique event that we played at alongside The Belligerents, Ball Park Music and Last Dinosaurs. It sold-out and was absolutely mental.

Are you looking forward to playing the Big Sound Conference later this year? Will you have anything special in store for us?
We definitely are! We are super excited to present ourselves in a in such a wicked setting. We have a few new songs and some other special things prepared. Will have to wait and see!

What does the future hold for the Jungle Giants?
A stack of great shows, with some sweet bands. We are also hopefully getting back on the road for another tour later in the year.

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Local boys the Cairos are about to head off on another tour on the back of their Summer Catalogue EP. I got a chance to ask lead guitarist Alfio Alivuzza a few questions about the touring life and signing to a major record label.

Have any of the band members actually ever been to Cairo?

Unfortunately no! Cairo came to us and we’ve yet to return the favour… Mind you there’s only oneCairoand four of us.

Can you walk us through how the four of you got together?

Three of us went to the same high school and soon after, realising our mutual crushes on various shredders we decided we would emulate our heroes together.  BC [drums] floated in somewhere but that’s another story….

Who have been some of your main influences in forming the Cairos’ sound?

With four vastly different musical tastes, it’s hard to pinpoint directly what influences go into our songwriting. Songs are usually written together in the moment and tend to be vastly different from one another. Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds soundtrack has definitely served as Inspiration more than once.

You’re just about to start another tour!  What has been the highlight of your touring adventures so far?

Running out of fuel 10 km from Gundagai, pushing the car at night on the highway past semi trailers with no hazard lights with the battery dead for four hours definitely has to be up there.

You’ve played a whole heap of shows now, how do you try to keep each performance fresh and exciting?

We never hesitate to try new songs. It gives us a chance to test out new material and understand which tracks work well and which ones don’t. There’s a lot of songs we’ve played that will more than likely never be recorded.

How has the response to your Summer Catalogue EP been?

Summer Catalogue was a collection or songs we wrote and recorded only months after our Lost At Sea EP was released. After much debate the decision to release the songs over a year later proved to be worthwhile and we are very thankful for the positive encouragement people have bestowed upon us.

You seem to have played at almost every venue in Brisban. Where is your favourite place to play and what do you love about playing in Brisbane?

I think venue wise, The Tivoli always brings out the best in us. Both in performance and fun. (the healthy rider helps too!). [Brisbane] is the place we have measured our goals and milestones. Many of our greatest musical memories have been in this city.

I read that you guys recently signed to Island Records – what will this mean for the band?

It pretty much means if we don’t sell a lot of records we’re doomed! Fortunately they will be too so they’ll be working extra hard to put our name out there. I hope haha…

I hear that you’re about to head into the studio to start recording your third release – what can we expect?

Some older songs we’ve been playing for around a year some newer fresh songs. With Wayne Connolly producing were hoping to have a lot more focus in the songwriting and then finally release an up to date product from the Cairos! (Although who knows how long until these songs are released!)

What does the future hold for the Cairos?

Parenthood and then old age and then hopefully we’ll be stuffed and passed on through the ages.

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Perth may not be considered a musical capital of Australia, but it has certainly produced some great acts over the years – Jebediah, Eskimo Joe and Tame Impala just to name a few. And more recently, singer-songwriter Abbe May. “Perth is a great place to be if you’re a musician,” she muses. “It’s a pretty small and supportive community. Everybody knows everybody…and there’s less of a competitive edge to the way bands interact and more of a collaborative thing.”

This local comradery is how May came into contact with local producer/engineer Sam Ford (also known for his work playing bass in psychedelic rock band the Silents), who ended up playing a big part in the writing and recording of her recently released third album Design Desire. The singles we’ve seen so far (‘Mammalian Locomation’ and the title track of the album) have shown a bit of a change in the musical direction for May, something that can be attributed to Ford’s influence. “I wanted to make a really heavy rock and roll record after spending the last few years working on blues/punk music,” she explains.

May goes on to explain how the two went into the studio together, focussing on the detail of each track rather than the overall sound. “We were pretty interested in specific tones for the drums, guitars, bass and vocals. There was a lot of experimentation in this regard.” The end result is a rather psychedelic sounding rock album, barely even hinting at her blues past.

This change in musical style was a progressive one though, as May explains “As time passes you listen to different music, watch different movies, read different books and are influenced by different people. I would be worried if I was still making the same music because that would mean nothing was influential.” Rather than listening to the rock n roll standards like Led Zeppelin, May broadened her horizons to more experimental artists such as CAN, Caribou and even a bit of Enya.

May will be touring the album locally throughout August, but has her eyes set on the bigger picture. “IUS and European tours!,” May says, “[And] I have started co-writing my next album,” May says, which will again be a collaboration with Ford.

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Perth’s Young Revelry are about to take their fuzzy rock sound across the country on their first headlining national tour. Still riding on the attention and success received from their debut EP that was released almost a year ago, frontman Sebastian Astone took some time out to chat about touring as a relatively young band.

You’re just about to embark on your own national tour, what are you most excited about?

It’s always cool to play to people so I am probably most excited about that. I think we are really excited about being able to play some new tracks as well and see how they go down live. I think we might be playing somewhere where it snows; I’m also really excited about this.

What are you looking forward to about playing in Brisbane?

Brisbaneis always fun, it has a weird vibe to it. It feels like there aren’t any buildings built prior to 1989. I am looking forward to channelling this energy into our set, and also the prospect of playing somewhere potentially warmer is great.

You’ve toured the southern states quite extensively, what has been the highlight so far?

Playing our first show as a three piece in ages at the Factory in Sydney was a lot of fun!

Do you prefer playing smaller shows in more regional or bigger ones in capital cities?

They are both great – bigger venues are usually cool because you can hear yourself, but if we are playing in a smaller venue and it’s really packed out it can be amazing! So both are good given the right context.

How has your debut album You and I been received since its release?

We released it almost a year ago and it’s been odd, some people seem to be only noticing it now. I don’t really know how it’s been received I try not to read reviews anymore because I think they can effect the way you play. But You and I has had some great reviews which is cool.

Who have been some of your main musical influences over the years?

We all have pretty diverse musical influences; everybody has an appreciation of good songs in the band no matter what genre.

Young Revelry has had some pretty awesome support slots over the last year or so, has there been a standout?

We have been really thankful to any band that has given us the opportunity to play to their crowd. The Children Collide tour was heaps of fun because there were a bunch of good mates around, we played some gigs with You Am I that were a lot of fun too. I was amazed at Tim Rogers’ and Davey Lanes’ guitar interplay stuff.

What would be your dream gig/tour?

A tour of purely holiday destinations, this has been a dream of mine for a long time… still hoping.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live show?

A bunch of idiots with loud guitars and average haircuts.

What does the future hold for Young Revelry?

Hopefully something intriguing and fun… will let you know!

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