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Posts Tagged ‘the tivoli’

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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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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Adelaide quartet City Riots have had a busy couple of years. Now they’re about to do another national tour, this time with local Brisbane band Ball Park Music. Frontman Ricky Kradolfer sat down to chat about touring locally and internationally and fondly reminiscing on times spent with grunge gods the Smashing Pumpkins.

Can you tell us a little bit about how City Riots came together?

My dad used to be a drummer, so we always had musical instruments lying around the house when we were kids. I went from playing saxophone to drums to piano before finally settling on guitar. My brother Dan now plays drums. There was always music being played in the house, but it was when my dad bought me Springsteen’s Born in the USA record that really kicked things off for Dan and I and we soon started jamming every night, pissing off the neighbours and writing songs. We met Matt Stadler (keyboards/guitar) at a local hangout in the west end of Adelaide one night. Matt was impressed with Dan’s – and I quote – ‘hi-hat skills’ after watching a City Riots show. Dan was equally impressed with Matt’s hair and thought Matt should be in a band. Incidentally we needed a keyboard/guitar player. Matt could do neither, but within two days he was sitting in our lounge room learning the song. Three weeks later he was on tour with us. As for Matt Edge, we knew him from Sydney band Traps. When the Smashing Pumpkins tour was offered to us and we needed a bass player, he was the first guy I thought of. He is an incredible songwriter and player in his own right and luckily he said yes to joining the band.

How would you describe your sound?

Guitar driven, indie rock, creating pockets full of pop gems

Who have been your main musical influences in forming the sound of City Riots?

Anything that has great melodies and great hooks. We’re all fans of Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Prince , Ryan Adams, My Bloody Valentine, Icehouse, The Smiths, The Cure, The Kinks.

You’re about to embark on a tour with Ball Park Music, what are you looking forward to most?

The best thing about doing a run of dates with another band is the comradery you build with the other band through the tour. We haven’t actually met any of the BPM dudes yet and from some of there videos they seem like a lot of fun, so we really looking forward to hanging with those guys. Perhaps there will be some kind of on-stage collaboration too!

I’ve heard that you played a few shows over in the States recently – what was that like?

We had spent a fair bit of time in the US in the past 3 years or so. We were recently over there at the end of last year to play Filter magazine’s ‘Culture Collide’ festival as well as the CMJ festival and support Boy and Bear. The US is always a lot of fun and the audience really love Australian music and there are always lots of venues to play. Plus, there is also nowhere else in the world where you can order eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a side of waffles, French toast and get a complementary stack of pancakes on the side and receive it all on the same plate.

What was it like to support the Smashing Pumpkins on their most recent Oz tour?

It was one of those tours that went way to quick. We didn’t want it to end. It was a great experience and we learnt a great deal from it. On one hand it was a lot of fun, on the other hand it was like bootcamp. We had toured a lot in the past, but had never seen anything like this. Just the logistics of all the backline and staging alone was mind boggling. As for the shows, it was actually really tough. Pumpkins fans don’t take any shit, and to be honest, when you go to see a seminal bands like the Pumpkins you don’t really give a shit who is the support act. It was a hard, gruelling and amazing experience on how to win over a crowd. We had to work for every clap we got, but 3 or 4 songs in, when people began responding more and more, we knew that what we were doing was working which was a good feeling. We also had the chance to hang out with Billy where I had some of the most interesting and insightful conversations I have ever had, and at other times, the weirdest, intimidating and uncomfortable conversations and situations I have ever experienced. It was one hell of a trip and something we will never forget.

What can the uninitiated expect from a live City Riots Show?

A show full of rocking pop gems that we aim to have you unknowingly singing the next morning while drinking your coffee.

What’s your favourite thing about playing in Brisbane?

The weather is always warmer in Brisbane, so Brissy people are always happy and in the mood to have a good time, which is such a great, infectious vibe and atmosphere to be around. We also get to see our lovely friends in Drawn from Bees, Hungry Kids and John Steel Singers who live up there.

What has been your most memorable moment as a band so far?

Supporting Smashing Pumpkins at the Tivoli in Brisbane. It was the last show of the Pumpkins tour, at such a beautiful venue, we were hitting our tour stride having played quite a few dates in a row. Billy Corgan asked if he could iron his pants in our tiny dressing room and James Hetfield from Metallica said ‘nice set’ then later accidently belted me in the arm when he was air drumming to Bullet With Butterfly Wings.

What does the rest of the year hold for City Riots?

Our new single “In My Head” was just released! It comes with ‘She Never Wants to Dance’ and a previously unreleased track called ‘Stupid Questions’. We’re looking forward to hitting the road and having a blast on and off the stage with Ball Park Music through July before we record a sneaky little track that we’ve recently come up with that we’re excited about which will be on the EP that comes out this October.

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Brisbane kids Little Scout opened the night’s proceedings – laid back and relaxed, they entertained the quickly growing crowd. They aren’t a particularly showy band – musically or vocally – but they do generic indie pop well and most people seemed happy with them as openers.

When ticket prices were dropped to $50 on Sunday, I expected that the Tivoli would be rather empty. Oh how wrong I was. A roar of applause filled the near-packed venue as a dim blue glow lit the stage and the opening chords of ‘I Didn’t See it Coming’ began to play. The Scottish twee pop legends slowly came into view as the song progressed, a high anticipation building in the crowd. Next up was ‘I’m A Cuckoo’, which gained a much bigger cheer, showing where the audience preference for material lay. ‘Step into My Office, Baby’ was of course a highlight and one of the few songs of the night that really got most of the crowd singing along.

Musically, Belle and Sebastian are tight – always completely spot on – but they’re also fantastic performers. Banter between songs was highly entertaining and crowd interaction was strong. Lead guitarist Stevie Jackson walked the audience through the ‘oohs’ of “I’m Not living in the Real World”, and later even responded to an audience request and did an impromptu cover of ‘Last Train to Clarkesville’ by the Monkees.

I’ve always found Belle and Sebastian’s more energetic, rockier songs to be a little abrasive, and in a live context the stronger drumming style definitely took a bit for me to get used to, sometimes seeming a little out of place compared to their calmer songs. The group performed an absolutely stunning rendition of ‘Piazza, New York Catcher’, with frontman Stuart Murdoch’s gentle voice showing no signs of wear or tear.

‘The Fox in the Snow’ was accompanied by gorgeous strings and proved to be a really beautiful moment in the set. One of the best things about Belle and Sebastian’s live performance is all of the extra little musical touches – the strings, the brass, the woodwind – to help flesh out the original arrangement in a live context.  Murdoch prompted a clap along as ‘There’s Too Much Love’ began and pulled a few audience members onstage. They danced awkwardly as the band launched into ‘The Boy with the Arab Strap’; their efforts rewarded with plastic gold medallions before being promptly ushered offstage by security.

The set closed with ‘Sleep the Clock Around’, which turned into one of those special concert moments that make your heart go all warm and fuzzy. One of those moments where everything is just played so well, where all the tones, textures, energy and everything else is just absolutely perfect. They took the brief obligatory break before beginning an absolutely golden encore with ‘The Stars of Track and Field’ (a song that had received many shout-out requests throughout the night) and a surprise appearance of ‘Another Sunny Day’. “This will be our last number” was met with booing from the crowd – everyone obviously still enjoying themselves – and Belle and Sebastian closing their fantastic set with ‘The Blues are Still Blue’.

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