Posts Tagged ‘local music’

The news spread quickly today that one of Brisbane’s most loved venues, the Troubadour, will but shutting its doors for good by the end of the month. It hasn’t been said exactly why the venue is closing down, but details are supposedly coming soon.

I can’t even begin to imagine the impact this might have on the local scene, particularly with the recent news that Lofly Hangar will also be shutting down within the coming weeks and the uncertain future for the Globe. The Troubadour has always been one of my favourite venues and I’ve never had a bad night there. I’m pretty devastated that it’s shutting down, especially on such short notice, and I can’t even imagine finding an equal replacement for it.


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Final installment of my interview with Dean from Hungry Kids of Hungary. If you’ve missed the previous posts, click to see part 1, part 2 and part 3. Also make sure to check out the full article at Time Off Media.


‘No Returns’ on the album, it’s so different to anything else. It kind of reminds me of that Vampire Weekend song.


Oh yeah, ‘I Think UR A Contra!’


Yes! That’s the one. How did all that come about, it seems to be mainly singing with not much music happening.


It’s virtually sort of an a cappella song. Kane actually demo’d the song with all of the harmonies in it. He sort of tracked it himself at home and it had a really simple guitar track underneath it and we all responded to it straight away, but I think when we sat down and started talking about how we wanted to do it for the album, what became more and more clear was that we didn’t want it to have that normal song structure. We wanted it to be kind of free and sort of floating. We didn’t want a beat behind it or an acoustic guitar or bassline or anything like that. We did a lot of playing around in the studio just to get different sounds and we recorded an acoustic guitar track and put all these studio effects on it and then took the guitar sound out and all that was left was the studio effects – the echos and the strange noises. We messed around…our producer has this old footpump organ and decided to try and take a less obvious approach with the arrangement for htat song.


It’s worked really well though.


Thank you. It’s one of the moments on the record that I’m really quite proud of. But yeah, like I said it’s one of Kane’s songs and he always seems to impress me and makes me excited about being in the band. It’s always nice working on your own material, but it’s always nice to come up with something that I’m proud of. It’s also really nice sharing in Kane’s songs and having the opportunity to work with another songwriter who I respect so highly.


Are we going to get to hear it tomorrow (the Escapades album launch that happened at the HiFI on September 30)?


No……It’s the one song on the record that we’re not ready to play yet. It’s just finding a way to transfer that song as it is on the record to the live environment…something that we’re still wanting to spend a little bit more time on perfecting.


Fair enough. I suppose I can let you get away with that one.


But every other song will be played!


When did you get to listen to the album in full for the first time? Did you gather together and make it a special moment?


No, we didn’t really. We were so busy while the recording process was going on, when it was finally finished and the masters came back, we were all dispersed. We were getting mastered tracks sent to us via email and listening to them individually and a lot of talking happening over emails and on the phone talking about what we though. We finally got the…the first time I properly listened to it as a whole was when we got the promo copies that went out to the press outlets and that kind of thing. I got my hands on one of those and chucked it in the car and actually listened to the whole record in full in the car. I hadn’t listened to any of the songs for quite a while at that stage and it was nice to come back to it. And it was just this completed product.


The future kind of seems to be in your guys’ hands right now, is there anything you guys want to achieve after this tour, after everything’s settled down?


The record comes with a lot of commitments here in Australia and the tour is one of them and we have some festivals booked over the summer. A lot of good times to be had with that. I think as soon as those commitments are filled, I think we’re all pretty keen on getting overseas again. We did a pretty brief stint earlier this year and had an amazing time and found it really refreshing and inspriring being somewhere so completely different to Brisbane. It’s something we’re all really keen on doing again as soon as possible and as soon as time allows and our commitments with the record over here are done. So hopefully we can secure a release overseas so we can tour it somewhere else


Maybe go to South by Southwest or something like that…?


There are plans surrounding South by Southwest!!!


That would be completely surreal. We don’t have anything like that in Brisbane.


Well, Big Sound is growing year to year. I think this year was really a step up, so one day. We did the Great Escape festival which is kind of the UK equivalent I guess and that was just an amazing experience. But yeah, South by Southwest is kind of the big one. It’s the one that everyone talks about, and the one that we can’t wait to check out.


Are there any other dream shows that you guys want to do?


We’re only a humble little band. We don’t have these massive sort of aspirations about world domination or anything. Any show where people turn up and they enjoy it is a good show and it would be nice if we get to explore the world doing what we do.


I suppose it’s a bit hard at the moment when you’ve barely even kicked off this tour, to be thinking in a year’s time.


Yeah, that’s it. The brains are full of the task at hand and there’s a lot to be done in the next couple of months.



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Part 3 of my interview with Dean from Hungry Kids of Hungary. Click here to read part 1, part 2 and the full article from Time Off Media.


So Ball Park Music are coming along with you for the tour…they sound like a lot of fun, I’m sensing there might be a lot of practical jokes?


They are amazing fun!!! We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting to  be able to take them all along the country. They’ve done a few shows with us on previous tours – little stand alones and support slots at home in Brisbane. They’re just a band that we love. We’ve become friends with them over the time that we’ve known them. They’re great guys and a really exciting band and it’s really nice for us to be sharing in their first big national tour.


Was it important for you to have a fellow Brisbane band on the tour?


I just think it’s important to have a band that we all really love on the tour. Ball Park – I’d be into what they are doing, it doesn’t matter where they were from. It is nice that they’re locals and they’re guys that we watched a lot as they’ve developed and honed and seeing the sort of levels that they’re climbing to. They had a big single that got a really awesome response on the radio. It’s just really nice. And really rewarding for us to watch that and know that they’re a band that we’ve been championing since their early days.


Are guys just getting a big bus or is it private jets all the way?


No, big bus!! We’ve got a couple of guys who are going to be in a van taking all the gear, the backline and guitars and stuff around and then the rest of us, we’re all going to be in a big 12 seater I think. That’s going to be really interesting, to see how we all get along for extended periods of time. And it’s a bit group as well. It’s not like there’s just a few people who you’ve gotta get used to – there’s a whole bus load.


Have you worked out the seat rotations yet?


Look, I’m calling shotgun for the whole tour. Hopefully people mix it up and everyone mingles and all the bands get intermingled in the bus and everyone becomes really fast friends. I mean, we pretty much are already. I just wonder how Big Scary are going to deal with the fact that we all sort of know each other and we know each other’s quirks and they might have a go at the rest of us…


That sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun. I haven’t really come across any negative reviews for you guys, and I’m not saying the album’s bad at all but there’s always gonna be someone out there nitpicking at some little thing, are you a bit nervous that there might be some negative reviews around the corner?


You can’t please everyone, but I’m not nervous at all. Reviews aren’t something that I pay a hell of a lot of attention to. I mean someone’s always going to point them out to you, if you get a really positive one or if you get a really negative one someone’s going to be in your ear about it. It’s just opinions. It really carries no weight as far as I’m concerned. I think the greater masses will judge the record and that’s going to be more important than what one certain critic thinks.


So you didn’t really feel any outside pressure when you were going in to the studio to make something as great as your past EPs have been?


More so than that I think there was an inward pressure from the four of us to make it better. We were really interested in going beyond what we’d done in the EPs and really filling out our sound. Spending the necessary amount of time to make the record that we absolutely wanted, and we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do from the outset. I think all the through the recording process we were doing it ourselves – there was no label at that stage. We got picked up for the licensing deal after the record was finished so there was no pressure from the label and we weren’t really paying attention to any critical pressure. We just went in and made the record that we really wanted to make. I think that’s the best way to go about it. If we didn’t like it, or if we weren’t happy with it then we couldn’t expect anyone else to. At the end of the day  whatever other people think about the record, we’re really proud of the results and of the work we’ve put into it.


Well I’ve had a chance to listen to it and I have to say, I’m enjoying it very much. It’s pretty good to hear a different side of the band. Like some of the newer songs seem a lot calmer, I guess the right is…maybe a little more melancholy. What’s changed?


Umm…nothing’s really changed. The EPs had hints of that as well, I mean ‘Old Money’ in the second EP was sort of a slower placed, more ballad-y kind of number and there are a few songs like that on the first EP as well. It’s something that has always been part of the band but it’s not necessarily what people have heard, or if people are only really aware of the singles that have been played on radio which lean towards the poppier end of the spectrum of what we do. I dunno, it’s probably just where we were at when we were writing the record. In the end, you don’t really choose what sort of song you write… you get to choose the best ones in the batch when you’re picking your tracklist. It’s always been part of the band, but probably not necessarily the most visible part.



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Part 2 of my interview with Dean of Hungary Kids of Hungary. Read the first part of the interview, or the full article written for Time Off Media.


Do you feel daunted about debuting some of the new material?


Daunted is not really the word…excited. I mean we’ve been touring a lot and you play enough shows with the same sort of catch of songs and you start to get a little bit sick of them. For us, it’s really exciting to be able to play the new material. We’ve been rehearsing and working quite hard on the set list for this tour. We’re pretty much itching to get out and play them finally.


Will it be a bit weird having some songs where people aren’t really singing along and just kind assessing what it’s all like?


Yeah…I mean, it may be. We’ll see how it goes. Hopefully the crowds respond to the new songs. I think that they’ll catch on quite quickly for the people who are used to seeing us play. You know, the old singles are there and all the old favourites are there. We’re not cutting out big chunks of what we know that people come to the shows to hear. I think we’re almost playing the album in full, so there’s lots of new material in there, so people have something to get excited about – something they haven’t heard before.


That’ll be good. Well, you’re actually Triple J’s album of the week next week, so that should probably help out.


Yeah, we only found out about that today! I’m a little bit excited.


Yeah, it’s a pretty big thing.


Yeah, it’s a really big deal for us to have that level of support from those guys. They’ve been really great to us the whole way along. But yeah, feature record is amazing. We’re all sort of in a little bit of disbelief. We’re ecstatic.


You also had your first front cover recently, didn’t you, for Time Off Magazine?


Yeah, Time Off put us on the cover….our dubious mugs.


Was it weird seeing your faces all around the city? Time Off gets to like everywhere.


Yeah, it’s on like everywhere. It is a bit weird. I was out in Fortitude Valley on the weekend and I went to a venue that the band all spends a lot of time hanging out there, it’s like a nice little home base for us where we just go and catch lives bands that perhaps we haven’t seen before. And yeah, I walked in there and someone had the Time Off and started making fun of me for it.


So you’re not getting chased down the street by swarms of girls yet?


No, none of that ridiculousness. Thankfully not. Kane got stopped for an autograph in Sydney, which he was quite weirded out about.


It would be kind of surreal, wouldn’t it?


Yeah it’s sort of a strange thing, when someone just comes up and it’s like ‘hey I know you…’ I guess it’s all part of the weirdness of playing music. There’s a lot of people out there who are very aware of who you are and what you do and you’ve got no real control over that.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of the interview, to be posted tomorrow…

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Finally getting around to posting my interview. Sorry that some of the content is a little bit dated now, but still pretty interesting if I do say so. If you’d prefer to read the full article instead of Q&A style, go here.

I was able to have a quick chat with Dean on Sept 29, the night before the band’s album launch. He was driving back from the Gold Coast after playing an instore show at City Beach, Pacific Fair…

So how did the in-store go?


Yeah, it was bizarre. It’s a weird kind of show to play where it’s sort of foot traffic. You know, you’re in the middle of a shopping centre so that’s a lot of people coming and going and stopping for a song and then got somewhere to be. But yeah, it was cool. We signed a bunch of things. I guess it’s good to play shows for – it’s good to have these opportunities to play for people who are under 18 and might not be able to get to these shows.


I feel a bit ripped off that I thought tomorrow night was supposed to be the debut night.


Yeah, well, it was news to me as well! We turned up and the record was there! It was actually the first time we got to have a look at them. It was obviously nice and exciting for us but I was sort of led to believe that the first ones would go out tomorrow night, but oh well.


So are you excited for tomorrow night?


Extremely. It’s a big night for us in a lot of ways, I guess. A lot of cultivation of a lot of work that we’ve been doing. It’s good because it’s in our home town, and those shows are always really special. It’s the first show as well we’ll be debuting a lot of songs. The whole show, and the way it has been put together, it a lot bigger of a production than we’ve done previously. We’ve got an extra touring member with us. We’ve got some new gear and some fun stuff to take up on stage with us. It’s really exciting, I can’t wait.


I read about that fifth person…who is this mysterious person?


The mysterious fifth person! It’s a really good friend of ours – a guy called Remy. He and Kane, our keyboard player, have a project on the side that they do now and then. We’ve been discussing for a while, the idea of getting someone in to flesh out the sound for the live show because the record that we’ve made it’s really quite sort of lush sounding. It sounds a lot bigger than the past EPs. We wanted to match the sound of the record on the tour and Remy was just sort of a natural fit. We sat down and talked about who could possibly come along, and as soon as Remy’s name was mentioned it was just something that we all felt really good about getting him along to play the show. We’ve trialed him – he came and played a festival with us on the weekend, and we played a small show in Sydney on Friday night and he’s just a natural at it. We’re really excited about introducing him to the people at our shows. Should be good!


Is he going to be an official Hungry Kid, or just in the live band?


At this stage, just a touring member. We haven’t really discussed it…whatever the outcome is at the end of the tour. It may be that we decide that we want to keep him. And it’s also going to be a matter of whether he’d be interested in staying. It’s only early days. That hasn’t really been discussed yet.


The tour seems pretty big, are there any places that you’re going that you haven’t played before?


Uhh there are a few I think…just trying to think of where we’re going. I know there’s a lot of venues that we haven’t played before. The last couple of years have been pretty full on for touring for us but there’s not too many places in the country now where we haven’t been, so I’m not sure. We’re doing the Beach Road Hotel in Bondi and we’ve never done that before and it’s sort of a gig that we’ve been waiting to do for a while because we’ve been told that it can be quite a bit of fun.


That sounds nice!


Yeah…I’m still just trying to think….I think all of the places we’ve played at least at one point or another, but never on our own. Never headline shows though.


Come back tomorrow to read Part 2 of my interview of Dean from Hungry Kids of Hungary.

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Johannes van Vliet has been performing under the stage name of Hunz since about 2005, but his music was only introduced to me the other week by a co-worker. He makes this amazing indie electronica music, but pigeon holing him into those genres really don’t do his music any justice. His sound is fresh and modern, and some of the music he has manage to create just on the computer is simply astonishing. It’s worth checking out just for that.

He’s from Brisbane, completely DIY and completely independent – and that just makes it all so much more enjoyable. Go have a listen on Myspace or download a few tracks from Hunz’s Triple J Unearthed page. And if you really dig it you can download a full album for free!!

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If you follow me on Twitter, you probably heard me rant a few weeks ago about how difficult it was to get Seja’s debut solo album. I went to two out of the three JB HiFi’s in the city, as well as Rockinghorse – no luck. As I was sprinting around the city I couldn’t help but think ‘I bet Skinny’s would have stocked this‘.  Yes, I’m still a bit devastated that Skinny’s is no more.

Fellow blogger Darragh suggested I just buy it from iTunes…I looked into it, but to be honest I couldn’t justify spending $17 to download an album, when I could spend $20 and buy the CD and have it on display for all who enter my house to see. I finally tracked down the album on the JB HiFi online store, and went back to one of the stores in the city with this information. Of course they had no idea what I was talking about, so I just sucked it up and bought online. I finally received it in the mail last week.

For the most part, it’s not too bad trying to find local music JB HiFi and if it isn’t there it will definitely be in Rockinghorse. But every now and then, like with the Seja album, it just isn’t. And if you miss the live show, what are you supposed to do? Surely I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to buy their music from iTunes?

Alright, yes, it is me being picky about value for money but I can’t imagine spending more than $10 on a download unless I actually get some extra tracks or PDF to go with it. Do any other Brisbane-ites have suggestions where to get local music (or if they managed to actually buy the Seja album in real life….). Or how about readers from other cities – is it difficult for you as well?

I can’t help but think that if it wasn’t so difficult to access local music that these bands would be doing a lot better, and selling a lot more records.

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