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Genre-pushing pop princess pairings of 2014

popprincessSomething’s been happening in the world of pop this year. Well, duh. Let me rephrase. A lot  has been happening in the world of pop this year. From Beyonce’s sly-dog release of Beyonce, to the alarming growth that’s firmly attached itself to Nicki Minaj’s behind, to Tay Tay getting busy exacerbating racial stereotypes while she’s shaking it off to Lily Allen’s comeback tour, it’s been a busy year for pop and its chart toppers. Controversial MTV appearances and obligatory twitter beefs aside though, what’s really interesting is that, in its fatigued 2014 state, pop just isn’t pop anymore. Blame exhaustion or simply growing out of that awkward preteen stage, pop is increasingly becoming less and less like the pop of the the late ’90s and early 2000s.

Once guarded by boy bands in matching outfits and bad die jobs, pop was a pristine domain reserved for the Britney Spears’ and Christina’s -before she was X-tina – of the world. A clearly defined realm, with the occasional true diva slash pop princess flourishing amongst a sea of Mandy Moore’s and Jessica Simpson’s. This year however, those same pop princesses that, in say 1999 or even 2009, would’ve been left to their preordained place on So Fresh of Summer and Ryan Seacrest’s weekly Top 40, have become, for all intents and purposes, transcendent. Chameleon-like, female pop artists of 2014 are opting to work with some seriously unlikely producers, and no, we’re not just talking about the David Guetta’s and Calvin Harris’s of the world. Suddenly, Ariana Grande is bosom buddies with Cashmere Cat and Miley’s a female rebel with Alt-J. And, do you know what’s even more interesting? As pop fatigues of its own pop game, and grows out of its own pop boots, those same unlikely producers are choosing to work back and undeniably helping to carve a new path for the future of a now more mature, dynamic pop. Here we have a look at just 5 unlikely pop princess pairings released over the last year that are helping to push the boundaries of the genre ever onward.

Ariana Grande and Zedd: Break Free

When Break Free dropped earlier this year, Grande’s Zedd produced mega hit broke all the rules on its way to freedom. Music camps everywhere sat perplexed facing the same conundrum, to like or not to like. Here was a song with undeniable pop appeal. With vocals bellowing out from yet another sequin-clad Disney Channel escapee, and a house-anthem quality to its thumping bass and roller coaster rise and falls, this song was surely destined for Top 40 success, buoyed by the starry eyed 12 to 16 year old girl market, while simultaneously anticipating ridicule from more discerning music snobs. Remarkably, however, it wasn’t just the aspirational tweens that found themselves crooning along to Grande’s grammatically incorrect chorus. Zedd’s production gave not only the song a level of unexpected credibility, but Grande herself. Instead of lampooning the 21-year-old for, well, what else are Disney graduates for? Pitchfork evoked comparisons to “Swedish pop mastermind, Robyn,” while noting Grande’s “sky scraping voice” was in top form. And Slate called it a “soaring pop ballad… propelled by synth chords and a pounding bass beat.”

Ariana Grande and Cashmere Cat: Be My Baby

Grande’s debut album My Everything is riddled with collaborations from Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, to The Weeknd and Childish Gambino. It’s well and truly old news, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, everyone wants a piece of this intergalactic pop princess. Perhaps the album’s most unexpected cameo however is by Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat who, not only produced Be My Baby, but in more recent weeks has released an alternative version to the sanitised edit that made its way onto Grande’s album. Brimming with blippy synths, all out gun shots and punch-packing chorus breakdowns, Cashmere’s re-edit is effortlessly cool in a way that the original could never be. While superficially the two artists find fans in diametrically opposed walks of life, collectively the same-same-but-different tracks somewhat unashamedly demonstrate a rumbling conversation currently taking place between chart toppers and the underground. It seems intrigue and a genuine desire to bust genre wide open is a priority on all fronts at the moment: Alien-pashing pocket rocket or super-side fringed cat alike.

Miley Cyrus and Alt J: Hunger of the Pine

Of all the pop princess collabs on this list, Miley’s sample on Alt-J’s track Hunger of the Pine was critically the least well received. Lifted from 4×4, a non-single track on Cyrus’s Bangerz album, Sam called the sample “beyond clumsy,” while Bianca vilified Cyrus for bringing her “big wrecking ball” in and ruining the track’s chance of truly “happening.” Billboard simply lamented Alt-J’s oversight in not sampling Nelly’s verse from the same song. A non-appearance by Nelly on any track is already disappointing enough, let alone when it’s replaced by Miley. Hunger of the Pine remains however, a crystalline example of how reworks, samples and collaborations between unlikely bedfellows attribute a fresh sense of credibility artists and their music. Suddenly Miley was not just Miley of Robin Thicke infamy, but Miley, an artist in the eyes of incomparable (thank god) Alt-J.

Jessie Ware and Cyril Hahn: Tough Love

Labeled breakout producer of 2013, Cyril Hahn has steadily been making a name for himself remixing and sampling the lofty vocals of female artists at the top of their game. From Destiny’s Child, to baby sister Solange and Californian outfit HAIM to a truly x-rated, quivering pants-party rendition of Mariah’s Touch My Body, it’s not surprising that the Swiss R&B re-animator quickly turned his hand to Jessie Ware’s Tough Love. Described as “the missing link between SBTRKT and Sade,” Ware was praised for the release of her down-tempo R&B, synth-infused pop album (yes, there is such a thing), Devotion, earlier this year. While there ain’t nothing tough about the original Tough Love, when in Hahn’s hands, the breathy pop-ballad is easily transformed into a house beat that bubbles frenetically under a vocal tapestry rich in high highs and slow burn crescendos. A Hahn remix is quickly becoming the tell tale sign of a true pop princess. Watch out Ariana Grande, he’s coming for you.

Sia and Four Tet: Chandelier 

Sia’s Chandelier caught attention for a myriad of reasons. Firstly it was her bold, unapologetic announcement of return after an extended hiatus between albums. Secondly, dat video clip, am I right? And thirdly, the incredibly powerful press and TV talk show performances that accompanied its debut, all seeming to herald the return of this unique artist, while firmly maintaining her shadowy space, just beyond the limelight’s desperately creeping finger tips. Read, Lena Dunham’s doppleganger act on Late Night with Seth Meyers and her back-to-the-camera recreation on Ellen. Pitchfork claimed Chandelier made “her previously released solo material seem impossibly minor by comparison,” while our own writer Sam noted a presences of guts in Chandelier absent in the work of contemporaries like Katy Perry. In the face of such pop stardom, producers and DJ reactionaries have two choices, run in the opposite direction, save daring to take on soon-to-be pop classic or conversely dive straight in, rework and take the track in a totally new direction. For his take on Sia’s Chandelier, British producer Four Tet chose the latter. Stripping out the instrumentals, Four Tet left Sia’s impossible audio intact, twanging over an fresh hip-hop inspired beat and softly sparkling keys. Like the Cashmere Cat re-release of Grande’s Be My Baby, Four Tet’s Chandelier is more than a remix or mere dialed up BPM. It reinforces pop’s sky rocketing power to transcend what has been a chaste genre and a willingness on the behalf of certifiably non-pop producers to encourage this fresh approach to limits and genre. As Sam says, the Four Tet interpretation just “adds extra edge as if to take it from the hands of Commercial Radio and plop it in Triple J’s lap.”

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Introducing…Moving Castle

Introducingthe interns’ ‘Introducing’ series is a new segment focusing on labels and collectives who are making the music world infinitely more interesting in 2014. Each fortnight we’ll look at an individual or group of people that are spicing up their particular field starting this week with American collective Moving Castle.

It may seem lately that there’s been so much talk about PC Music on the interns that we’ve made it sound like a major label. It isn’t, in fact. In the grand scheme of things it’s very small and, while its cultural indent is progressively widening, there are plenty of other labels out there pushing the boundaries and churning out phenomenal music.

The collective in question today is Moving Castle. Run by four producers, Robokid, Hunt for the Breeze, AO Beats and Manila Killa, the label embodies a lot of what is exciting about dance music right now- it’s born in the heart of the internet, it’s culturally aware and most importantly, innovative. While together, they are being called a kawaii bass collective, their individual musical output is strikingly different. Between them, they oscillate from the kitsch, to the industrial with trap influences peppered in between. AO Beats puts it best when he says, “All of us have pretty similar taste in music but all have some unique stylistic characteristics that I think make the collective work well.”

Between them they’ve remixed Tinashe, Foster The People and Mariah Carey, predominantly reliant on the ever-changing trends of Hype Machine and a well kept SoundCloud. In a year they’ve released two compilations that gather together the group’s favourite producers including Dave Luxe, Vices and Ba-Kuura.

While the lack of information on Moving Castle may make it seem like they’re trying to be enigmatic, it seems rather that their existence is quite simple. As AO Beats put it to The Ripe, “We just wanted to create a collective of sorts that would allow us to support each other and our friends who all made similar kinds of music.” Their first step was gathering together their favourite producers for their first compilation which features tracks which have now had upwards of 80,000 plays on SoundCloud. Word of mouth travels at the speed of sound when the internet is involved and as such, in a very short period of time, Moving Castle has attracted many eyes and ears.

The feel of Moving Castle echoes that of physical music communities like the London grime scene or the rising Australian electronica scene, except the community is born online. Once, you’d start your career through hitting the clubs and getting your name out there by word of mouth but Moving Castle are proving it can be done the opposite way round. The four creators made their name online and have only recently started putting on club nights as Moving Castle and coming together as a tangible entity.

Their approach to releasing music feels as modern as their sound. Just by looking at their SoundCloud you can gauge a feel for how entrenched in music they are. Rarely, does a week go by where they are not reposting music or releasing some of their own. Each pushing the boundary just a little further whether it be by speeding up the tempo, tampering with the pitch or experimenting with beats. Their manager Brett Blackman seems to be drowning in new music. His Soundcloud is a goldmine of new electronic music, each week releasing a weekend playlist in excess of 30 songs. Given the fast-paced nature of new music online, it’s impressive to see a collective deeply aware of what’s going on around them and yet still boundary-bushing in terms of their individual output.

Below we have a look further into the sound of each of the four creators of Moving Castle.

Manila Killa

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Born in the Philippines, Manila Killa is making the most easily digestible music of the four. He’s remixed the likes of Lana Del Rey, Wet and The xx, keeping the melody intact but laying down twinkling beats and turning the vocal upside down. His knack is in taking nostalgic RnB tracks and flipping them, either slowing them down or speeding them up to reveal another dimension to the track. For Mariah Carey’s Shake It Off, he starts with a moody atmosphere before putting down that future bass sound that’s identifiable over the four Moving Castle artists. Away from Moving Castle, he’s part of the duo, Hotel Garuda, who are making brass-laden, funky remixes that are closer to nu-disco than future-bass.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/manilakilla/shake-it-off-manila-killa-1[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hotelgarudamusic/sets/lana-del-rey-ultraviolence[/soundcloud]

Hunt for the Breeze

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Hunt for the Breeze is a 22 year-old American producer who intertwines best with Manila Killa, stylistically. Sonically, he’s the more relaxed of the four. His originals are atmospheric and full of delectable sounds, more focussed on detail than working you into sweat. His latest track, Aquanaut, is built from a sunshine-induced synth and lightly tampered beats that effortlessly carve out a Summer groove. One of his finest releases is his remix of Mariah Carey’s Your Mine, which sees him collaborate with Manila Killa for a track that is constantly slamming its foot on the accelerator and releasing it suddenly. We imagine HFTB is the man making sure it doesn’t speed. The restraint combined with the anarchy is what makes the coupling of the two producers so intriguing. Hot tip: Hunt for the Breeze’s Soundcloud is a treasure-chest of new music as he regularly reposts the tunes piquing his interest.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/movingcastle/youre-mine-hunt-for-the-breeze-x-manila-killa-edit?in=huntforthe/sets/remixes[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/huntforthe/aquanaut?in=huntforthe/sets/originals[/soundcloud]

AO Beats

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Speaking of anarchy, enter AO Beats. The New York via Massachusetts producer knows how he likes his bass and it’s throbbing. His tracks are characterised by high-pitched, kawaii vocals alongside cascading beats with thumping bass. He effortlessly speeds right up before laying right back in the beat and letting things move along at their own pace. One of his finest moments is his remix of Foster The People’s Best Friend with Jai Wolf. He uses Mark Foster’s psychedelic chorus and candy-laden hook to stir the beat into a flurry before dropping an almighty wave of synths and percussion. The sped up instrumental hook makes the track sound even more enticingly melodic than the original. The same can be said for his original tracks, although they tend to sit more on the side of RnB. His original, It’s Okay was one of the standouts of Moving Castle’s first compilation, spurred on by a delicious vocal sample that single-handedly drives the melody.

Robokid

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Robokid is a 22 year-old Boston producer who has his hands in a number of different collectives including Peachboiz and Lifted Contingencies. His music combines the kawaii aesthetic of anime, sprinkles in RnB with a touch of Sad Boys to it. His releases alter through each different collective. Through Peachboiz, he’s serving up candy-filled tunes born from video games while for Lifted Contingency he’s just released Panther- a mature, restrained cut that’s dark and introspective. His tracks through Moving Castle sit somewhere in between. Hyper Beam, for instance, is characterised by perky, striking synths and down-trodden beats that mix a cloudy atmosphere with a sunny disposition. It seems Robokid is a man with many different modes just like any product of the internet.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/movingcastle/hyper-beam[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lifted-contingency/robokid-panther[/soundcloud]

how to screw up

How to screw up your music career

how to screw up music career

This week saw Australian hip-hop legend idiot and Bliss N Eso frontman smack bang on the front cover of the news, for all the wrong reasons. The crime? Posting pictures in a wax museum, pretending to perform violent and sexually suggestive acts against wax statues of celebrities like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Their punishment? A possible career-ending ban from youth broadcaster Triple J and an ever-growing crowd of outraged fans.

Many things are things to be learnt from this incident, particularly when it involves an act we have grown to know and love right on our front doorstep. Here are just a few things to avoid screwing up your music career in any shape or form.

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Do anything Justin Bieber is doing right now.

Justin Bieber’s latest film entitled “Justin Bieber’s Believe” recently bombed hard at the box office. Surprise, surprise. If there is one thing you can learn from this pouty, spoilt brat is that fame changes people – and not always in a good way. Racking up more mug shots than albums, Justin’s drunk driving offences of 2014 have left many tween Beliebers disheartened and disappointed. And while they may say that any publicity is good publicity, the Baby singer is slowly seeing a backlash, with fans turning their back on the previously untouchable singer. If Orlando Bloom’s hint wasn’t already the smack in the face he needed, then maybe the petition to get him deported from the US will get his music career back on track. Unlikely.

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Start your career as a child star

Girl next door Britney Spears was everyone’s favourite Mickey Mouse Club child star. Finding her place in every CD collection and So Fresh album of the ’90s, it looked like she would reign supreme forever. But this Lucky hit starlet was not the good girl we all thought we knew. When you peak at 16, where do you really go from there?

In 2007, Spears experienced a spectacular fall from grace which saw her shave her head, attack the paparazzi with an umbrella, lose custody of her children and eventually get committed to a psychiatric facility. Like too many of her generation, she illustrates the sad case of a child star that crashed and burned. While our hearts do go out to her, and from what it appears she is doing well $$$ in Vegas, it’s best to just enjoy your childhood years and have fame thrust upon you only once fully potty trained.

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Create unsuccessful publicity stunts

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Janet Jackson‘s infamous Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time “wardrobe malfunction.” The nip-slip in question, also known as “Nipplegate” not only left a bad taste in the mouths of innocent bystanders, but continued to be an ongoing legal battle for the pair.  Dare we say it, take a leaf out of Miley Cyrus‘ book on how to create a provocative and show-stopping publicity stunt, that consequently got her onto People‘s Most Influential list.

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Be an absolute dick

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise what not to do when you are Chris Brown. This talented artist with a promising career has been plagued with anger issues, assault charges and courtroom appearances. Ever since he hit the scene with his debut album, it seems the rapper cannot stay out of trouble. In 2009, Brown was accused of attacking his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. When questioned about the attack in 2012 on The Today Show, Brown allegedly threw a chair through a window backstage. More assault charges have followed since this infamous incident, proving orange is the new black for this artist.

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Get a bad reputation

Nobody likes a diva, ever. While Azaelia Banks may have produced one of the biggest smash hits of 2013, 212, this fiery UK vixen takes no prisoners, and is not afraid to vocalise this via any means possible. As far as her music goes, she’s released the stellar EP, 1991, and a totally addictive mix tape, Fantasea. In terms of her personal life and all-round bitchy demeanour, she has really said some dumb stuff in the last year which has got her into hot hot water. Picking fights with her record label, Disclosure, Iggy Azaelia, Pharrell, Lily Allen, just to name a few, and also playing only a 90 second set at Melbourne’s Listen Out, Banks is now known only for her temperament rather than her rapping talent.

 

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8 songs that sound like they’re from Pokemon

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To many, Pokemon dominated much of their childhood. From the TV to the gameboy to trading cards, it was pretty hard to escape the loveable creatures and their carers/battlers Ash, Brock and Misty. Of course, it was all about Pikachu but then there was Bulbasaur, Squirtle and the dark-horse of the bunch (the best), Jigglypuff. Jigglypuff herself was a fan of a bit of a psychedelic tune, years before she knew that Pokemon and the wider anime genre would be influencing music.

We touched on this recently in a series on Japanese music we wrote for THUMP and today we continue to look at the influence of Japan and anime on electronic music by looking at eight songs that could’ve soundtracked the video game or the show. Grab your Pokeballs (iPods), ‘cos you gotta catch em’ all.

Ryan Hemsworth- Cream Soda

Canadian producer, Hemsworth is the ultimate Pokemon fan. He has a collection of Pokemon cuddly toys and makes Pikachu a regular feature of his Instagram. It makes sense then that his music has a distinctly Japanese feel to it. Cream Soda sounds like Ash and Pikachu catching Pokemon together in happier times, when Pikachu was at full force and escapading around lush grasses. The song’s starry synths, while feeling content, sound like they’re fully aware that there is something around the corner.

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[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/ryanhemsworth/cream-soda-with-tomggg[/soundcloud]

Macross x Yung Bae- Selfish High Heels

The Pokemon theme song was a rock-ballad of mighty proportions. Sounding like a combination of Journey and Foreigner it was one of the most inspiring tunes of the ‘90s. Portland producer, Yung Bae retains that aesthetic, combining American film influences with Japanese anime to deliver a ‘90s-inspired disco ballad. The song is funky, cartoonish and full of big, bold vocals just like the Pokemon theme song. It may sound like an odd combination but it’s one that reflects the popular mesh between American and Japanese styles in electronic music.

xxxy- Clocks

Just like Jigglypuff’s sleep-inducing concert, this track by British producer xxxy has hypnotic qualities. Its synths swirl and sparkle over top a throbbing beat that never quite climaxes. As such, the song circles around your head in a calming but ultimately destructive manner. Visually, it induces that sfumato style of anime where the lines between reality and dreams are slightly blurred as a town is taken over by the ultimate diva, Jigglypuff.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/xxxy/clocks[/soundcloud]

Tomggg- Hello, Goodbye

Tomggg is a Japanese producer and thus from Pokemon’s birthplace so it makes sense that he would be channeling some serious Pokevibes. This track takes The Beatles’ Hello Goodbye out of perfectly constructed pop-rock territory and into an 8-bit video game world. Imagine this as the feeling you get after just beating the ultimate Mewtew. The chopped and screwed vocals create musical rainbows with the tempo-raising beat creating a triumphant feel. You finally did it Pika, you finally did it.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tomggg/hello-goodbye[/soundcloud]

Pas Lam System- Like A Lady

Pas Lam System is another Japanese producer who is making trap-influenced, battle-ready music. At times it’s anxious, full of plastic beats and dense, starry synths while at other times it freezes in time, suspended by lengthened notes. Watch this over any Pokemon battle scene and you’ll understand why Like A Lady is an important addition for any Pokemon-soundalike collector. Also, speaking of battle, can we take a moment to remember Team Rocket and their pesky cat, Meowth? As far as villains go, they are one of the most memorable girl-boy-cat combos. The high-paced flighty nature of this song says one thing, “Team Rocket blastttinnnggg offff againnnnnnnn”.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/paslamsystem/pas-lam-system-like-a-lady[/soundcloud]

DJ Sad Anime- I Love You, So I Want To Kill You

DJ Sad Anime, as the name would suggest, is creating music that is born in a hyper-real world of anime and cartoons. This mix, I Love You, So I Want To Kill You basically typifies the underlying relationship between Ash and Pikachu. In every episode, Pikachu was in grave danger during battle with some of the Pokeworld heavyweights and if you can imagine putting your dog to battle like that every day/week, it would have been horrifying for Ash. Musically, this mix captures that feeling. The kawaii cuteness of Pikachu is recreated through high-pitched vocals while the possible-death is captured by atmospheric, slow-motion beats.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/lolilolipopthatbody/ilu[/soundcloud]

GRISFX- It’s Not Right To Battle Pokemon That Way

So horrifying was it for Ash to send Pikachu to battle that Brocky finally realised that it’s not right to force Pokemon to battle. Belgium-producer, GRISFX, captures this moment perfectly, sampling the narrative from the first Pokemon movie and laying it over a dark, string-driven instrumental that actually tugs at the heartstrings. Of course, the show continued to force Pokemon to battle because, without it, the franchise was at a loss.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/musicgrey/its-not-right-to-force-pokemon-to-battle-this-way[/soundcloud]

Porter Robinson- Fellow Feeling

One of the saddest moments of TV was watching Sally leave Home and Away, but the second saddest moment is when Ash momentarily farewelled Pikachu so that he could be with his own kind. That was soundtracked by the song Pikachu’s Goodbye and while it is extremely affecting, I can’t help but feel this Porter song would’ve been a better fit. Tear-inducing strings, tick. Layered instruments, tick. A dub-step-inspired breakdown, tick. Maybe the last one is unnecessary but Porter is clearly in tune with the hyper sadness that Japanese anime brings and this track is about as heart-wrenchingly epic as they come.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/oneangryfatman-1/porter-robinson-fellow-feeling-new-album-worlds[/soundcloud]

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Nina Las Vegas on Emojis, Australian talent & her upcoming NLV Presents Tour

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It’s been a massive year for DJ and radio-broadcaster Nina Las Vegas, who has spent the past 18 months touring and working with the likes of Pharrell, Baauer, Ta-Ku, Motez, Wave Raver, Flight Facilities and What So Not (just to name a few). Also playing at some of Australia’s biggest festivals in addition to presenting Triple J’s Mix Up Exclusives, you’d expect that Nina has no time for anything else. Quite the opposite, actually. 

Succeeding her sell-out inaugural tour in February, Nina Las Vegas has announced another instalment, this time focusing on representing international acts in her aptly-named NLV Presents Tour – International EditionFeaturing global up-and-comers, Eclair Fifi (LuckyMe -UK)Sam Tiba (Bromance – FR), UNiiQU3 (USA) and special guest SWICK (Mad Decent  – AUS), the Sydney DJ and Twitter aficionado is pulling out all the stops to bring another throng of successful shows across Australia. 

Nina took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions and to create an Emoji-inspired playlist for us. 

What made you switch from promoting local talent to international talent?

After travelling for 3 months early this year, I got an insight into the rest of the world’s club scene. Australian’s dance music history is only just beginning, where European countries like France and England have been at it for years. Yeah, we’re killing it, but we need to experience different sounds, different acts and different vibes if we want the scene to grow.

I chose to book international acts that the Australian acts I care about look up to. People like Eclair Fifi and Sam Tiba have been in the game for years and play some of the most exciting music you’ll ever hear. It’s pretty easy to do the same thing hear in Australia, play the same set… I wanted to move forward and take a bit of a risk.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/eclairfifi/eclairfifitriplej[/soundcloud]

Which Australian artists have you enjoyed watching going up the ranks the most?

Seeing What So Not (especially Emoh Instead) tour so hard in America is amazing. Obviously being at some of Flume and Wavey’s first Australian shows is wild too.

I can’t wait to see people finally catch on to the crazy talent that is Melbourne producer Swick and also I have this sneaky feeling that Tkay Maidza is going to be huge in a matter of months. 

How did you choose the four artists for the tour?

Each of these acts I look up to for different reasons. Eclair’s taste is never bad, Uniiqu3’s production can be heard in almost every one of my club sets, Sam Tiba is one of the best DJs you’ll ever see and Swick, well I just mentioned he’s the best.

To many people it seems like you have the dream job. What would you say your job description is?

OMG, it’s freaking hard. I jam about 7 days worth of work into 3 days at triple j. I am writing music at the moment too (!!!) which is taking up every other moment… oh and touring. I don’t sleep.

Emoji-inspired playlist

mouth1

“Anything by the Rolling Stones!” 

monkey

“Arctic Monkeys’ Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” 

alien

“Anything by Skrillex!”


bunny“Dubbel Dutch’s Dip So

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“Something sexy and naughty! ‘Anaconda by’ Nicki Minaj” 

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/emoji-playlist[/soundcloud]

NLV Presents | International Edition dates 
FRI 10 OCT – Villa, Perth, WA tickets via Moshtix 
SAT 11 OCT – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne, VIC tickets via Oztix 
SUN 12 OCT – Zhivago, Adelaide, SA tickets on door
THU 16 OCT – Helm Bar, Sunshine Coast, QLD tickets on door*
FRI 17 OCT – Meanwhile at The Imperial, Sydney, NSW tickets via Oztix
SAT 18 OCT – The TBC Club, Brisbane QLD tickets via Moshtix
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Which Australian music festival should you attend this Summer?

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Spring has breathed its first breath and suddenly we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel of this depressing, dreary winter that has cast a shadow over our lives. That may be slightly hyperbolic but Summer brings with it so many wonderful things like crickets, Messina queues and of course, the Summer festival. We’ve watched on as Europe has had its time in the sun (literally) and now it’s our turn. However, before the fun can start, we must choose. Now is your chance to make that decision before finding out on arrival that Vance Joy is in fact not playing where you are. Although, that would probably be a relief.

Go forth and choose your playground for fun and frivolity or take our quiz.

Beyond The Valley

30 December- 1 January 2015

This is the new kid on the block but it’s certainly not showing any immaturity. With only two stages and set over two days, the Festival is giving punters a chance to see as much of the bill as they can and it’s an incredible one at that. They’ve collected an eclectic bill that mostly focuses on electronic music with a few mellow acts for good measure. Taking place on Phillip Island, this Festival could give Falls a real run for its money, with added VIP glamping options another notch in their shiny new belt.

For: Dance music fans that prefer Kaytranada to Calvin Harris and showers to mud.

Not For: Those looking for big headline acts. You won’t find The Foo Fighters here.

Lineup Highlights: Action Bronson, Dillon Francis, AlunaGeorge, MØ, The Preatures

Price: $299

Listen Out

Starts 27 September in Sydney

It’s not exactly Summer but it’s a warm prelude to it with some steaming music to usher in the silly season. Listen Out is returning for its second year after last year’s switch from Parklife to a more boutique-like festival worked out well for Fuzzy. It just goes for the day and it features a line-up of uber cool electronica, R&B and hip-hop acts that will have you dancing, dropping and twerking your way through Spring. Oh and Flume’s there *cue screams*

For: Those who like a little more groove than fist-pumping and like to use all their energy in one day

Not For: Those who find the term IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) wanky.

Lineup Highlights: Flume, Schoolboy Q, Chet Faker, Four Tet

Price: $130

Soundwave

Starts 21 February in Melbourne

If you’re going to attend Soundwave chances are the other festivals in this article will sound pretty pathetic. The Soundwave goer is one who’s ready to let the music assault the ears and the devil horns raise to the sky. With A.J. Maddah at the helm, Soundwave always delivers a hearty lineup that oscillates between heavy metal and punk. This year it’s expanded into two days just in case one day of rough and tumble wasn’t enough. If even that’s not enough, you can follow it around the country.

For: Those about to rock.

Not For: Anybody who could name a synth over a Fender guitar.

Lineup Highlights: Faith No More, Soundgarden, New Found Glory, Slipknot, Slash, Judas Priest

Price: $188

Stereosonic

Starts November 29 in Sydney and Perth

Just like Soundwave, this National EDM playground has morphed into a two day festival of non-stop beats and bass. It’s quickly become one of the most popular on the Summer circuit bringing out the likes of Avicii, Diplo and Calvin Harris numerous times to entertain thousands of fluoro-clad punters. Not one for the faint-hearted, it’s set in stadiums around the country dressed with massive sound systems. It’s the closest you’ll get to Ultra or Tomorrowland in Australia. If you’re planning on dropping some coin on this one you also better get a gym membership. Get shreddin’.

For: Readers who identify best with our writer, Lizzie, and thought this was bullshit.

Not For: Those who think Molly is just a nice girls name.

Lineup Highlights: Disclosure, Alesso, Calvin Harris, RL Grime, Porter Robinson, Nina Las Vegas

Price: $210

Falls Festival

Before and after NYE

Falls Festival enjoyed a massive year in 2013, expanding to Byron Bay and subsequently putting on three events at the same time in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. By all accounts it was a breeze, with few reports of the festival being unorganized. While last year somebody in Marion Bay pegged a flare at Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, by and large it attracts a friendly NYE crowd who look very similar to a Splendour in the Grass crowd. It’s without a doubt the biggest camping festival of the Summer and tends to provide the biggest spectacle.

For: Those who don’t mind a bit of dust and can keep a smile while experiencing a smorgasbord of genres.

Not For: Those who still think it’s worth getting pissed off Pink Champagne and watching the Sydney fireworks.

Lineup Highlights: Alt-J, Robyn & Röyksopp, Jamie xx, Glass Animals, Jagwar Ma, Todd Terje, Tkay Maidza

Price: $400

Meredith

December 12-14

Good ol’ Aunty Meredith puts on a quaint event in the stunning Supernatural Amphitheatre in Victoria. It’s not big on rules and it’s also not big on people who are there to ruin other’s experience. With an ecoplex cinema, Tai Chi and a pink flamingo bar, it’s a little more relaxed than other festivals but no less of a spectacle. You won’t find big headliners here but you’ll find interesting acts. Last year’s bill, for instance, attracted Chic, Joey Bada$$ and Derrick May. If you’re looking for a smooch, Meredith also has the Arch of Love which commands the two people under it to kiss. Pucker up.

For: People who are there for the music, to meet people and avoid the usual festival experience.

Not For: Dickheads.

Lineup Highlights: The Skatalites, De La Soul, The War on Drugs, Ty Segall, Cloud Nothings, Factory Floor

Price: $318

Laneway

Laneway began as a small, indie festival, born in the laneways of Melbourne but over the past few years it’s become a touring juggernaut. No longer is the hipster a minority, it’s the masses and those masses are the one’s lapping up tickets to, arguably, Australia’s best one day festival. The Laneway crew is on top of their game when it comes to scooping the freshest talent and have seen the likes of Florence and the Machine, Alt-J and HAIM grace their stages. They also do a great job of finding the perfect, concrete-laden venues for the acts.

For: The hipster inside all of us. Or, to be fair, anyone who like to consider themselves a tastemaker for a day.

Not For: Anyone who would complain that the headliner is not as big as Kings Of Leon.

Lineup Highlights: The lineup is yet to be announced but FKA Twigs, BANKS and Vic Mensa are rumoured to be on the bill.

Price: TBA.

Bluesfest

2-6 April 2015

Now approaching its 26th year, Bluesfest is a veteran of the Festival scene. Set in Byron Bay, the Festival has become known for having a huge amount of acts covering the newbies and the classics. This year’s event has six lineup announcements to form its huge bill that included John Mayer, Joss Stone, Erykah Badu and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. It’s kid friendly and likely not to take too much out of you if you’re happy to pitch a tent, share a story or two with your neighbours and toe tap to some excellent music.

For: Families and those who would rather not burn the candle at both ends

Not For: Fist-pumpers and twerkers

Lineup Highlights: The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Band Of Skulls

Paradise

28-30 November 2015

This is another boutique festival that had its debut year in 2013, pulling together an impressive lineup of local talent. Set on Lake Alpine Resort, it’s a BYO camping festival with two stages ensuring that not a minute of action is missed. Expect hot, sunny days and long, balmy nights with some of the finest electronic and alternative music this country has to offer.

For: Those who love the an intimate festival setting and are unconcerned by big headliners

Not For: People who don’t have a finger on the pulse when it comes to Australia’s musical trends. And those going to Stereosonic in Sydney or Perth- it’s geographically impossible.

Lineup Highlights: Oscar Key Sung, Kirin J. Callinan, Banoffee, Klo, UV Boi, Young Franco

Price: $130

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3 Aussie music conferences you need to attend this Summer

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We don’t all have the time or the funds to jet off to Austin Texas for SXSW, to Miami for Miami Music Week or even Amsterdam for their Dance Event conference. But does this mean we all must miss out? Not at all. Like many of our homegrown artists, Australia is starting to make its mark on the international music scene, conferences included.

Some of us have a talent but do not know how to market themselves, or need that extra push in the right direction. Others just have an unshakable passion for music and want to find out how the industry works. It’s time to go beyond the gig or festival – here are three awesome and slightly more affordable conferences you need to attend this Summer, right on your doorstep!

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BIGSOUND

Sept 10-12 Brisbane

Genre: Anyone and everyone – local up-and-comers in indie pop, rock + electronica

Leading the charge for our first of the awesome Aussie music conference this season, BIGSOUND is creeping up on us ever so quickly with a line-up better than ever before. The conference is in its 13th year so it must be doing something right, with a strong international influence as well as a passion for showcasing the best of the best in local talent. Brisbane will once again play host to over 120 bands in 12 venues plus some of the biggest names in the music industry – including representatives from SXSW, Bonnaroo and St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.

Why go?: BIGSOUND has been dropping speaker announcements like they were major festival line-ups – a lot of talented individuals are going to be there. However, you do not necessarily have to go to the conference to have a great time and enjoy the up-and-coming talent, both nationally and internationally, with BIGSOUND LIVE providing a much more affordable option. Plus its an A&R mega hub – the bookers want to meet you as much as you want to meet them.

Key Speakers/Artists : Alison Wonderland, Banoffee, Fractures, KLO, Spookyland, Tkay Maidza

BIGSOUND Ticket Price: Prices start from $550

BIGSOUND LIVE Ticket Price: Prices start from $51

http://www.qmusic.com.au/bigsound/2014/

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AWME

Nov 13-16 Melbourne

Genre: Roots

AWME has cemented itself as the Southern Hemisphere’s premier roots music industry conference and showcase event, held annually in Melbourne over four days in November. This genre specific conference and festival attracts over 500 national and international music industry delegates with a divers public festival program. AWME creates opportunities for artists from the region to market their product to Australian and international buyers. In 2013, over two-thirds of showcasing artists plus countless other non-showcasing artists benefited directly from the event including national and international festival bookings, distribution, licensing, publishing, agency representation in new markets as well as increased national and international media coverage/exposure.

Why go?: It’s pretty simple really, four days of the finest roots music from around the world. If you are into that genre, then this is your Mecca.

Key Speakers/Artists : Ash Grunwald, Benny Walker, Bart Willoughby, Louis Baker (NZ) + Basil Cook (ABC Music) 

Ticket Price: Early-bird prices start from $180

http://www.awme.com.au/

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Electronic Music Conference (EMC)

Dec 2-4 Sydney

Genre: EDM, Dance, DnB, House + some + anything Stereosonic

The annual Electronic Music Conference is about to head into its 3rd year this December. Previously held at Carriageworks Sydney, in 2014 the conference will be relocating to the Kings Cross precinct. Like all conferences, the opportunities to network and learn are endless – A&R meet and greets, drinks with your fellow artists, masterclasses from the big touring artists, panel debates as well as keynote talks from your idols in the industry. This move across town will allow EMC to expand beyond just a daytime industry-focused conference, with EMC Play, a program of public evening showcase events, set to take place at some of Sydney’s best music venues. Think SXSW but with a serious Aussie Summer twist.

Why go?: To state the obvious, EDM and electronic music is not for everyone. However, EMC is smack bang in the middle of the Stereosonic Australia tour, making it a great time to celebrate the electronic music scene in Sydney. Everyone just wants to have a good time, artists and delegates included. Most importantly, this year’s theme is ‘Discovery’. The event aims to be a crucial stepping stone in connecting Australian electronic music talent with some of the world’s biggest talent buyers and A&R Executives who are coming to EMC with the goal of discovering and booking Australian talent. Want to get seen and your music heard? Then this is your chance!

Key Speakers/Artists (1st Round Announcement) : Steve Aoki, Will Sparks, Nina Las Vegas, Peking Duck, Gary Richards (Hard Events/Destructo), Lorne Padman (Dim Mak Records) & Nathan Mclay (Future Classic)

Ticket Price: Early-bird prices start from $299

electronicmusicconference.com.au

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City Spotlight: London, UK

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City Spotlight is a  feature where the interns go behind a particular city looking to uncover its musical trends and cool hangs.  This week we’re taking a trip to ye olde London Town. 

London is a tricky city to do for City Spotlight. There’s something to say for those cities with well, less creative potential to offer. Slim pickings can be a beautiful thing. As it is, London, much like New York and all those other cities with a back catalogue from here to Mars of songs written about them, has always had an allure about it that encourages the young and foolish to flock there in pursuit of dreams, wilfully turning a blind eye to the impracticality of said dreams. Yes folks, dreams are not worth following unless they’re practical. For many on the London music scene, they’re quickly and unapologetically introduced to the sheer volume of other talented hopefuls. They face the gruff no-bullshit POM-ittude on a daily basis and, before they can say “I’d like to sing the Elton John classic…” as if all of London were an X-Factor stage and all the men and women merely contestants, they’re chewed up and spat out, left to take the long tube ride home to godforsaken Zone 4 with nothing to show for their once-dream except the stark realisation that good is just not good enough and delusion doesn’t count for shit in a city where socks are perpetually wet and ears cold. Call it what it is though-a numbers game. With more and more wannabes trying each and every day, and more and more being turned away, there are, ridiculously, more and more making it. At the moment London is burst with younger-than-I-am talent so here are just a few names and venues making waves in the great British cesspool. 

Click below to explore the various facets of London’s music scene. 

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The next Australian artists to make it overseas

 

aussieartistsYou only have to look at the overseas festival circuit to know that Australia is a musical hotspot. Glastonbury, Coachella, Primavera, Roskilde and more have seen Flume, The Preatures, Jagwar Ma, Courtney Barnett and Anna Lunoe grace the stage to hundreds of thousands of people this year, showing that Australia is no longer the isolated scene that it used to be.

Many of these artists came from humble beginnings. Courtney Barnett started out as a Triple J Unearthed artists and was still working at a pub in Melbourne only a year ago. Anna Lunoe rose up the Australian club scene ranks with party contingent, HOOPS, with Nina Las Vegas and Bad Ezzy. And Flume, do we really need to go there? Within the blink of an eye, he’d gone from shy schoolboy to friend of Skrillex.

It was only two years ago that Gotye stormed the charts with Somebody That I Used To Know and shined a spotlight on Australia. From there, Tame Impala have become NME and Pitchfork favourites, Noel Gallagher has called Jagwar Ma the “future of the galaxy” and, dare I say, 5 Seconds of Summer have had the highest selling debut in the US of any Australian act.

At the end of 2012, NME called the Australian scene, “easily the most exciting in the world”, but two years later are we still? Below are six artists that we believe are the next to be snatched from this barren land and thrown into obscurity overseas.

Tkay Maidza

This 19 year old firecracker needs little introduction. We’ve already lauded her over a number of times on the interns and we’re not about to stop. Following her explosive single, Brontosaurus, she’s captivated festival audiences with her pop-crossover raps which place her somewhere between Nicki Minaj and Azealia Banks with more cool and less tantrum tendencies. Her latest track Uh-Huh is an expertly crafted pop tune with a sheen that beats just about everything at commercial radio right now. Unlike most hip-hop coming out of Australia she is accent-neutral and clearly understands the genres that are shining through internationally at the moment.

What they’re saying overseas:  “Well it’s Friday so let’s crown a SONG OF THE WEEK. It’s Tkay Maidza’s ‘U-Huh’” Popjustice

Collarbones

The duo of Marcus Whale and Travis Cook have been chipping away at it for a while but we feel they’re on the edge of their international break. They’ve been championing the RnB revival far before it was in vogue and their last album Die Young, is by any standards, superb. They’re currently gearing up for the release of their next album, Return, and are embracing a more outright melodic pop sound as demonstrated by the first single, Turning. It’s likely to make them more approachable for an international audience clamoring for anything that sounds remotely like the early 2000s. Last year, The Guardian called them one of ‘The best Australian bands you’ve never heard of’.

What they’re saving overseas: “together they make some rather fine electronica-inflected R&B.” The Guardian

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/collarbones/turning[/soundcloud]

TIAAN

Tiaan was born in Australia but she’s currently residing in LA so she’s already halfway there but it looks like this year may be the year she breaks out. If that is the case, we will, of course, hurry her back to the country for a victory run. We don’t know a whole lot about her apart from the fact that she’s just released two slices of effortless RnB in the way of, Clean and Devil’s Touch. The standout is the latter which combines the restraint of Jessie Ware with the sensuality of RnB contemporaries like Tinashe and Kelela. Its chorus slowly creeps up to you and then works away at your ears with a subtle but addictive melody. There’s a lot of people trying to emulate this sound right now and TIAAN nails it.

What they’re saying overseas: “a super-smart, smartly sparse electronic R&B ‘jam’ that only a colossal idiot could fail to find completely beautiful.” Popjustice

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/tiaan-official/devils-touch[/soundcloud]

D.D. Dumbo

This central Victorian native has already been making some serious headway overseas this year, but his takeover should be even more extensive once he releases some music. His last release was his self-titled debut EP, released in 2013, which was built upon crunching guitar riffs and industrial percussion. The standout of that was, Tropical Oceans which centred around his heavenly vocal riff. Since that release he’s played SXSW, impressing NME and NPR and he’s signed to 4AD Records which is home to artists like Bon Iver and St. Vincent. He’s set to take on Australia’s version of SXSW, BIGSOUND, next month to further spread his influence.

What they’re saying overseas: “Mystery seems to swirl around D.D. Dumbo…it’s hard to nail down his influences.” NPR

George Maple

We’re going out on a limb with this one given that Maple hasn’t released any formal solo material since last year’s seductive, Fixed but that was enough for us to know Maple is something special. She’s currently living over in London with her heart clearly set on overseas success. Many may not know it but she’s already been casting her spell over an Australian audience with her features on tracks by Flume and Goldroom in the past year. She can be distinguished by smokey low-register and the ability to reach giddy heights when she draws her notes out. Just last week she was back in the country touring with Little Dragon as her first official gig since signing with Future Classic. Given Future Classic have had a hand in crafting the careers of Jagwar Ma and Flume, we think she’s in safe hands.

What they’re saying overseas? ““Fixed”, is an earworm that emphasizes Maple’s tender, warm register.” Pitchfork

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/george-maple/george-maple-fixed[/soundcloud]

Japanese Wallpaper

At the tender age of 17 Gab Strum, aka. Japanese Wallpaper has already made a few fans. His track, Breathe In, was chosen to feature in Zach Braff’s film Wish I Was Here alongside tracks by Bon Iver and Cat Power and he’s also been chosen as the winner of Triple J’s Unearthed High. His tracks are atmospheric, lush creations that are comfortable by lulling at a low tempo. Breathe In which features Brisbane vocalist, WAFIA, is an inspiring production. It twinkles with bedroom keys in the middle section and floats into dense instrumentation in the latter part. For a young producer, he has an impressive confidence that allows him to play things at his own pace and in the meantime mesmerize thousands. That kind of charm is likeable far beyond just Australia.

What they’re saying overseas? “There’s something oddly warming in his sound which has managed to grab a good number of ears.” Earmilk

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/japanesewallpaper/breathe-in-ft-wafia[/soundcloud]

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