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Cosmos2

Cosmo’s Midnight on Facebook Stalking, Surfing & Telepathic Powers

CosmosMidnight

Sydney-based twins and Ableton aficionados Cosmo and Patrick make up electronic duo, Cosmo’s Midnight. Hailing from Sydney, the two have spent the past few years remixing and creating their unique, computer-generated music, as well as touring their set Australia-wide. We had a chat to half of the twosome, Patrick, ahead of their Beyond The Valley appearance next month.

How did you come up with that name? Why does Patrick get left out?

Haha! My brother Cosmo wrote a remix for Lykke Li/ or did a bootleg of Lykke Li and finished it at Midnight. We didn’t have a name to put on Soundcloud so we were like, well you did it at Midnight so we will just call it Cosmo’s Midnight Mix because it was heaps literal… and then basically everything we did after that we were just like, well let’s just call it Cosmo’s Midnight because we don’t have a name and it sounds kind of cool I guess. I don’t think Pat’s Midnight would sound very good, so I’m glad it’s not.

As a duo, how do you work together?

Well the way we do stuff is that one of us will have an idea then we sort of just pass it between us until it’s done or we’ll sit down and just finish a track.

Where do you guys mostly produce your music?

We have a studio in the city and we will go there if we want to finish stuff, but most of the time we just write stuff at home. It’s just the nature of music, you don’t really need to be anywhere, you can just sort of be at home. We sort of just created this studio to get in the zone or whatever, to knuckle down and just finish it.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/cosmosmidnight/goodnight-feat-polographia[/soundcloud]

I saw Stoli Vodka posted a video on YouTube of a challenge for you guys to create a mix in one hour. Do you find working under pressure sometimes works for the better?

Oh for sure! Most of the time I’d like to work at my own pace. But sometimes having a deadline for a remix or something forces you to get creative or at least get an idea out. I think that works a lot of the time. Sometimes when we have a deadline for a remix or something and they go, “hey we have a week and a half turn around for you, can you do it?”, we give it a shot. For the first week you just have your ideas and then all of a sudden you come up with something, because it just comes to you eventually, you are forced to think about it because you have that deadline.

I had a day off work yesterday to sit by Fitzroy Pool and listen to your EP Surge on repeat. Your tracks took my mind away from the 30 degree heat and into the depths of the ocean. Is the coastal landscape and chillwave style a big influence in your music?

I’d say indirectly a lot, but I don’t think about it too much when it comes to writing music. Cos and I have always been at the beach a bunch, we went to school at Bondi so we went to the beach after school everyday more or less and surfed. We don’t do that so much anymore because we don’t live on the Eastern Suburbs, which is where the beaches are at. We went to school there so it made sense to go but now we sort of go there when we can instead of everyday. It’s still awesome, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the main program or technologies you use in your mixing?

Pretty much everyone who does music uses Ableton, that’s what we use. It is like any other DAW, I don’t know what it stands for, it’s like the net technical name for it, but yeah! We just write everything on that.

What is one Festival in the world you both want to play?

Hahah that’s a hard question. There is this real cool Scandinavian one called Roskilde, that looked pretty cool. There’s a bunch of cool ones in the UK. I want to suss the American ones out. I don’t know too much about what goes on in other countries to be honest, regarding festivals. There’s that one, Tomorrowland, I think I just want to go to experience just cause it looks so crazy.

How did your collaboration with Wild Eyed Boy for your new single, Snare come about?

We went to school together and both did music. He sung on our stuff before but never really as Wild Eyed Boy. He lived in London for a bit and then he came back and we wrote this track together and that was it. We were school friends and we knew he had talent to do it and he was more than willing to do it so that was cool.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/cosmosmidnight/cosmos-midnight-snare-feat-wild-eyed-boy[/soundcloud]

Is there an intention for you to get behind new artists such as Wild Eyed Boy who don’t have a big following to help build one for them through your own platform?

Me and Cos are massively supportive of smaller artists, we often post about them on our Twitter. We don’t usually do too much of that on our Facebook because you need to keep tabs on that. We post stuff on Soundcloud, to get people the attention they need. It’s really hard to start off, so it’s really good to try and give people a leg up. If you don’t give them plays but maybe give them an industry hook up or something to point them in the right direction, like a label, potential manager or blog interview or something like that. It’s good to help people out.

If you could jump on stage with any other artist playing Beyond The Valley who would it be?

We want to make a track with AlunaGeorge so that’s a given. Maybe Danny Brown to rap along to his track. I really love Sinjin Hawk one of the smaller bands on the bill. If he is playing the same day I will atleast be on the side of the stage to support.

Are you guys Glamping it up in a Tee-Pee or roughing it out in a tent?

I wish were staying in either of those but we are actually staying off-site which is a massive bummer I reckon. I think we are just staying in a hotel with Basenji. I am going to hopefully stay as long as I can at Beyond The Valley because we have to head back to Sydney the next day to play another show.


 5 QUICK QUESTIONS:

What do you think is more groundbreaking in the world of news- The fact that Frances Abbott got a Fashion scholarship for being Tony’s daughter or Kim Kadashian’s amazing ability to balance a champagne flute on her ass?

If Kim Kardashian’s photo is legit I am going to say that is more groundbreaking. Because it doesn’t look real, I call bullshit on that. But if it is I am pretty impressed. The whole picture looks like it’s photoshopped.

Have you guys ever pretended to be each other before on a date?

Not on a date, I can’t imagine how weird that would be. We have done it at school before. ‘Cause we are sort of better at doing different stuff so I took one of his tests and he did one of mine so that was cool. But yeah, I would be interested to see how the a date would go.

Do you guys have telepathic powers between one another?

I wish we did, that would be pretty cool. I guess from being around each other so much we can get a feeling of what the other person is thinking. I think that’s more of a familiarity thing than super powers which sucks but you know maybe one day it will just click and we’ll be like, oh we were missing out all along.

I’m your 1272nd instagram follower because I find your 23 posts hilarious. What will you post next?

I wish I was better at insta, I don’t really do it enough. Instagram is an artform, you’ve got to do it right. I guess it will come to me, it’s just like any other artistic inspiration.

cosmos_insta

Who was the last person you stalked on Facebook?

I don’t want to say I stalk lots of people but I do often look through, you know, to see what’s going on. Maybe with people I haven’t added yet just to suss what’s going on before I add.

I look forward to seeing you guys play at Beyond The Valley.

Cheers, yeah, should be great. We are going to drop a whole bunch of new stuff, we’ve got a really cool remix we did that we are going to hopefully have out by then.

You can catch Cosmo’s Midnight at Beyond The Valley Festival. Tickets available here

BlackVanilla_Interview

Black Vanilla on Eddie Murphy, Neapolitan Ice Cream & Throwing It Down

BlackVanilla_Interview

Black Vanilla are a supergroup of Australian electronica, of sorts. Made up of Cassius Select, Guerre and Marcus Whale from Collarbones, the trio have made a name for themselves crafting innovative, introspective RnB mixed with a healthy dosage of electronica. This year Black Vanilla have toured with Whale’s duo, Collarbones, and are now set to ace it at Astral People’s OutsideIn festival. With their new track, Smacks, giving a harder, more aggressive sound, they’re bound to be a force to be reckoned with live. We caught up with Marcus Whale of Black Vanilla in advance of their upcoming OutsideIn performance.

You’ve recently been playing double Collarbones/Black Vanilla shows. How do you handle doing the two at one time?

I realised that I needed to do a lot of vocal warm ups and try to take care of my voice. I thought I’d just be able to wing it but after the first night, where I could barely make a sound out of my voice in the final Collarbones song, I realised that it requires a lot of care and preparation. So for the rest of the shows I had to really think about it. 

On a performance level, I was fine. I would say that the Black Vanilla sets were definitely more dynamic than the Collarbones ones because of only having a certain amount of energy. But at the same time, Black Vanilla is more all over the place than Collarbones which is a bit more centred, and performing through the voice rather than the whole body.

How do you decide which band you’re writing for?

With Black Vanilla, we usually do it all together in a room at the same time. It’s quite sensual, quite immediate, because it’s meant for the live aspect. If you want to have a Black Vanilla experience, best thing to do is go to a live show. Whereas with Collarbones, it’s kind of like songwriting. Also we start with production first and then I sing over it. Black Vanilla’s a lot more in the moment. 

I guess it’s more about the experience, you can do more things on the spot?

Yeah, on the spot is definitely the feeling of it. 

What do you feel like you can do in Black Vanilla that you can’t do in Collarbones?

I think with Black Vanilla we can be quite aggressive. It’s a little bit punk, a bit antagonistic, and I really enjoy being able to do that, being able to be confronting. Collarbones by contrast is more about the atmospheric, about the concessionalism. And through that it becomes, for me, a different experience.

I recently read that you’re influenced by the spirit of hostility of death metal bands?

That’s a term that I have used, definitely. And I stand by that. I think that, for Black Vanilla, it has been important for us to try and counter the status quo which is a bit about trying to get up in the world. I guess really about trying hard, which is nice, but we’re not really interested in that. We’re interested in just throwing something down and being really strong with what we do. 

As per your latest release, Throw It Down?

Haha, yes, as per Throw It Down.   

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/club-mod/black-vanilla-throw-it-down[/soundcloud]

Have you performed any of your new material yet?

Well, we used to play Throw it Down about a year ago and we don’t play it anymore because we have newer music now. It takes a long time for these things to come out, so…here it is now!

So you’re getting a bit sick of it?

I think it’s become less relevant to the way that we perform now. The music we make now is more barren and aggressive than Throw It Down, which is more of a feel-good kind of song.

Yeah, because Smacks takes a bit of a harder approach to R&B, it’s a bit more aggressive.

Yeah, we made that six months after, so there you go. If you’ve been paying close attention to us, it would seem we’re going back and forth a bit, but it’s actually just like a narrative that’s been split up and moved around a bit.

What was the idea behind Smacks? What influenced you to take this more aggressive approach?

It became clear to us that we were more interested in being brutal and spectacular. I guess it differentiated us a little bit from stuff that we see around. And I think we’re also inspired by a lot of music that maybe isn’t the type of electronic music that’s popular at the moment. I would like to mention some friends of ours called Making, a Sydney band, they’re our biggest inspirations. They’re really incredible with their energy and their commitment to the sound they make. I think that sort of stuff is really influential for us.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/blackvanilla-1/smacks[/soundcloud]

You’ve been around for a while in your respective projects. How have you seen the music scene develop? In particular, the Sydney scene?

It’s been quite amazing. It feels like so long ago, even when Black Vanilla got together. Just to paint a picture, we started playing music in the middle of 2011, Jarred, Lavurn and I. Lavurn and I had been doing stuff for a couple of years before that. At that time, we were playing mostly warehouse shows, shows with rock bands. We were playing small shows with people like Seekae, Lavurn played a show where he was supported by Flume, that sort of stuff. And meanwhile, people that are actually younger than us have become really successful and in many ways it’s really exciting. Software is acceptable now, young people, anyone can make music really easily. And I think that’s great. It’s really democratising and it means that people can understand music more.

Your live performances, they’re very interactive. Being up in the face of the crowd seems to be a big part of the show. Do you feel that this level of personal interaction is important?

I do often wonder why we do it and I suppose it’s a contrast with the hierarchy, with the performer being on stage and people being down on the ground and watching you, being appreciative  in a passive way. I think it’s really about us wanting an active experience. Any experience in which where we are, is where you are, and that we’re all in the room experiencing the same thing at the same time. It’s interesting, the bigger you get, the more removed you become from the experience. It gets to a point where it’s like a big pop act. You’ll be on a big stage, you’ll have monitors so you can’t even hear the crowd. I’m totally into that mode of performing but for Black Vanilla, it’s important that we’re all together at the same time.

How does the audience usually react to that level of interaction?

Usually, these days, people come for that, people come to our shows to be in the moment. But before that, it was kind of us bringing people into the experience, trying to get them to be there with us and confront passivity a bit. I think it’s totally okay to be passive but we want to perform in such a way that you can’t be passive and our aim is to make you want to be as involved as possible.

Five Quick Questions

1. What’s your best party trick?

Being able to hit that top note in that Eddie Murphy movie, Coming to America. There’s an ad in the TV shop for Soul Glow shampoo and the theme tune of this fictional ad involves this guy singing so high and I can usually hit that note.

How often do you get to use that in day-to-day life?

Not often. I’m kinda clutching at straws here haha.

2. Would you rather collaborate with Avril Lavigne or Chad Kroeger?

Ugh. Definitely Avril. No one wants to hang out with Chad Kroeger. Although after that Hello Kitty song, maybe not, but I would with 2002 Avril.

3. What’s the weirdest or most embarrassing song on your iTunes?

I have everything from One Direction to ABBA…I’ll go One Direction.

4. On the subject of Black Vanilla, what’s your favourite Neapolitan ice cream flavour?

Vanilla!

5. Would you rather have Cheetos fingers or have a popcorn kernel stuck in the back of your throat for the rest of your life?

I’ll have to go popcorn kernel. As long as it’s cooked in oil, not butter. That way I could maintain my vegan lifestyle.

You can catch Black Vanilla this weekend, alongside Cut Copy DJs, Seekae, Giraffage & more, at OutsideIn Festival.

Tickets still available here

UVBoi_Interview2

We interviewed UV Boi through Snapchat

UV Boi is one of the fastest rising artists in the Australian electronica scene. Having charmed the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, the producer has churned out everything from kawaii sounds to iPhone messenger sounds. We took to Snapchat to interview the 18 year-old up-and-comer to prove we can still kick it with the cool kids.

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UVBoi_interview2

You can catch UV Boi at Paradise Music Festival and also at Future Classic & BBE’s XMAS WEEKENDER.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/pp17051996/paint-a-perfect-picture[/soundcloud]

Add ‘theinterns’ on Snapchat to find out what we’re listening to in real time.

Sampology_Interview

Sampology on Paddle Pops, Berlin & His Collaboration With Daniel Merriweather

Sampology_Interview

Creator of multi sensory, high octane, audio-visual landscapes, music producer Sam Poggioli (AKA Sampology) has had a busy past few months. Recently sharing the studio with fellow Aussie, Daniel Merriweather, to produce the uplifting track, Shine A Light, the Brisbane-born musician has just hit the road with his new AV show. Sam took time out of his BIGSOUND debut to have a chat to us about Paddle Pops, Berlin, his forthcoming album and collaborating with Daniel Merriweather.

Are you excited for tonight?

I am for sure. It’s the first time I’ve done this new live show so I’m really excited. I’ve been to BIGSOUND a bunch of times, because I’m from Brisbane, and it’s just fun to go out and check out a bunch of stuff. It’s always good but it’s the first time I’ve actually showcased here which is kind of good timing because of this new live show and it’s kicking off the new album cycle. I’ve been working with different vocalists and musicians. Most of them are from Brisbane, like Jordan Rakei, who’s definitely one to check out, he’s an up-and-coming solo artist. He’s playing keys and vocals tonight. Also Tom Thumb, who I’ve worked with for quite a long time, and then Daniel Merriweather, who’s coming out from Melbourne to do the track (Shine A Light) tonight.

Is this your first time with two other guys on stage with you?

I’ve done heaps of stuff over the years, just like little collaborations, and I’ve done heaps of shows with Tom before. So I’ve always had stints where I’ve worked with other people but I guess in terms of putting together my own live show, it’s more on that live show/performer/new music kind of style. It’s definitely a new thing for me.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/sampology/preview-sampology-shine-a-light-ft-daniel-merriweather[/soundcloud]

Is this going to be the arrangement for you, moving forward? Are you going to be on stage with people in live shows now?

Definitely for the next year or so, but I’m still doing my visual show as well for specific tours. So in mid- to late November I’ll be doing a visual tour around the release of that single and then early next year-onwards, I’ll be doing live shows with the guys.

So the visuals will still be incorporated in the live shows?

There’ll still be that visual component for sure. I was never trained, I never went to uni for visuals or anything, I just had ideas that I kind of wanted to put on the screen. So I kind of taught myself how to do that stuff for the AV show and I guess from that stuff, I had more creative ideas around what I wanted visually for the live show. But it’s definitely a different style of things, because the AV show is more about taking found footage, and flipping it and juxtaposing. Juxtaposing is a pretty solid word to use for that show, whereas this show is following a strong art thing surrounding all of it.

Do the others contribute to the ideas surrounding the visuals?

No, it’s actually me and my Mum! She’s an artist. There’s so much more art to come out, around the album cycle that I’ve been working with her for. So at the moment I’m just really excited because I know I’ve got on my computer all the stuff we’ve been working on and there’s so much rollout over the next year and it’s all on the same thing. It’s funny, to me, my Mum is my Mum. Not really thinking she’s an artist. But it’s only recently I saw this one piece that she’d been working on, and I was like, “that really links to the music that I’ve been working on” and we developed all this stuff.

So this is the first time collaborating with your Mum?

Yeah! So the visuals that you’ll see on the screen are animations, inspired by stuff that she’s done.

Sampology_Five Quick Qs

How did collaborating with Daniel Merriweather come about? 

I had a couple of days down time in LA about four months ago and he was living there at that point and I hit him up because I wanted to work with him anyway on that track. It just so happened that we were both there. I was just going to work over the internet like I usually do but I was like, “oh, we’re in the same city,” so we met up for coffee, I played him stuff from the album which he was really digging and that track. The next day, I had to find a studio really fast and ended up knowing one of the engineers that works at the Mad Decent studio so I used that. He gave it to me for free so we recorded it there.

Is that the only track he pops up on?

Just that one track, yeah. But Jordan’s on a couple of tracks and Tom’s on another track and Hannah Macklin, who’s from Brisbane, is doing some vocals on some tracks. Really beautiful choir-stacked vocals. It was like halfway through making the album stuff, and I’m still working on it. I’m really happy with it at the moment because a lot of the sounds are inspired by overseas. A very Brazilian kind of influence on the Daniel track, as well as carnival and tropical themes, even though I’m using contemporary synthesisers and stuff. There’s that kind of element but then on top of that, there’s definitely a strong, next-wave, Brisbane soul artist world. It’s cool to represent where you’re from as well. That came about naturally so I realised it and went with it a bit more.

The Brisbane music scene’s evolving so much.

Definitely. And it’s kind of like, when you don’t expect it to happen, it just naturally happens. When I saw Jordan for the first time at West End at this super small gig, it was kind of like the split second he opened his mouth, I was like “woah”. Just that tone of voice that he has. I was like, “Holy shit, this guy’s from Brisbane.

sampology

It feels like a kind of change of direction for you. Almost like starting a new chapter of sorts?

Yeah, for sure. There’s lots of new stuff and the show and the sounds and the album…but at the same time, I kind of see there’s definitely extensions of what I’ve been doing. Shine A Light, for example. The original rhythm track that I made of that was from playing DJ sets and I always try to drop an upbeat, traditional Brazilian track. I find whenever I play Brazilian music, girls always get onto the dancefloor. This chanty, choir, Brazilian stuff. It just works really well. Even if I’m playing dance music that was made in 2014, I try and find these specific older tracks that you can bridge into nicely. So it was kind of after a few gigs of doing these kind of things that I was like, “I want to make a track that is a culmination of those two things.” So that was kind of the starting point for the Daniel track. I guess that was an extension of what I was doing in these DJ sets.

It sounds like you’ve had a pretty crazy year, travel-wise. Visiting a heap of places. Does that influence the sounds that you make?

I think so. I remember working on tracks when I was in India, even though there’s no Indian or Bollywood sounds on the album. I guess, you can be inspired in a specific place in the world, completely removed from Brisbane, but that doesn’t mean you’ll make music from that spot.

Was there a favourite place from your trip? Where you were like, “I’ve got to move there!”

I could definitely live in Berlin. It’s cheap and I’ve got a lot of Aussie and New Zealand friends. I probably wouldn’t do the “I’m moving to this city forever!” kind of thing, I’d do something like live there for three months.

Are there any producers or artists in particular that you’re listening to that maybe could have inspired the album a little bit?

I feel like different processes through the album. When I was working with the bass tracks, like the initial rhythm tracks, there were definitely situations combining traditional Brazilian thing with a contemporary track, and then layer a track over the top. So that’s kind of influenced the bass tracks and the rhythms. But then, situations like, going out and being a punter and seeing Jordan play or seeing Hannah Macklin play, those kind of situations, it would be cool if you combined this and this. I feel like it’s a different hat that I wear for my DJ sets because there’s so much new music. I hear it and then I want to play it in my DJ set. I’ve never thought about it this way but I guess it’s a different thing to be inspired to be making my own music.

On the AV side of things, how do you travel with it all? Or is it just your laptop?

With the AV show, I’m manipulating videos and audio at the same time using turntables. And with the visual show, I’ve got cameras pointing down so I can show that it is live. I send a green screen through this box and then I key out the green light, like the weatherman on TV, and it’ll show through to the camera shot. It’s kind of a tricky way to layer up stuff to get this cool effect that I wanted to do at the start of the year.

Is it easy enough to set that all up? In all these locations around the world?

It’s a little bit more complicated because I’m using all this gear that was meant for something else. Like, using it in a different way. So I cable it differently.


Sampology Tour Dates 

The Factory, Qld | Nov 21

Oh Hello!, Qld | Nov 22

GoMA Future Beauty Up Late, Qld | Nov 28

Flinders Social, Qld | Dec 13

Howler, Vic | Dec 19

Hermitude_Interview2

Hermitude on Hangovers, Poutine & Plans Beyond The Valley

Hermitude_Interview2

After a solid stint touring, most recently around North America with fellow Sydney mates RÜFÜS, Hermitude are back in the studio. I chatted with one half of the electronic production duo, Angus Stuart, about various things, most notably mistaking his beer choice of Coopers for Cougars, the North American cuisine and plans on bringing in the new year.

You arrived back in Sydney a week ago, how was the tour?

Yeah it was amazing, we had a lot of fun with the RÜFÜS boys touring around, checking out America and Canada and playing the music that we love. It was a great experience.

We had a lot of shows over there in a small amount of time, we basically did 15 shows in 20 days. There was a lot of driving, we got to see a lot of the country side which I find inspiring but also meeting people from the audience in different cities, really getting a vibe for what that city feels like and what the people are like. I really enjoy that when travelling.

A lot of our music is rooted in hip hop, we also take from the electronic side of things as well, so I always like listening out for new music and usually come back with a lot of new music in my bag.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/hermitude/hyperparadise[/soundcloud]

What’s on for Hermitude in the coming months?

We are currently finishing up our new record, at the tail end of the process working on a bunch of tracks. It’s sounding really cool, we have just finished the single, thats coming out soon and dropping the record next year, so its all ramping up.

You have been touring a lot, how have you found time to produce new material for this next record?

Yeah, we have spent a lot of time on the road over the last couple of years since we dropped HyperParadise, there was a time we were writing in between travelling and playing some big festivals, so there are a couple of big tunes inspired from those experiences. When your in a plane or the back of a van you have this really interesting environment outside, creating different sounds which serves as a form of inspiration. This record feels like a progression on from HyperParadise, our production and song writing has stepped up a notch. I guess the main thing is whenever we write we just like to have fun and try different things and hopefully that comes through on the next record.

Are you incorporating any new instruments or technologies?

I’d tell you but I’d have to kill you after. Nah, for HyperParadise we used a bunch of old analogue synths that we still have but we have acquired a couple of new synthesisers- one of them is digital, theres a bit more digital sound going on with this record.. So yeah there are a couple of new things, a big mash.

Any collaborations which you can talk about on the album?

I’m just going to wait with that one.

What shows have you got, apart from Beyond the Valley coming up?

We have another one in Perth called Co-Lab Festival, it’s always good getting over there and we are doing NYE On The Harbour, thats going to be really fun and New Year’s is also my birthday.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/odesza/say-my-name-hermitude-remix[/soundcloud]

New Year’s resolutions on your birthday?

Yeah I know, sometimes I do New Year’s Eve resolutions and other times I’m just like, “fuck it”.

How did the AV component of your set come to be?

When we perform live we like to play as much as possible, we have two synthesisers, MPC sampler and turntables. We realised early on that we were playing all this stuff and half the time the audience couldn’t actually see what we were playing so we went to our Production Manager and said, “we want cameras”, so he came back to us with this whole device that he had built and all these Go Pro cameras, he helped us develop this live visual feed of what we are doing on stage so its been really cool, he’s a genius.

What other artists are you excited to check out at Beyond the Valley?

AlunaGeorge, Danny Brown, Bag Raiders…it’s going to be awesome.

There are hip hop influences throughout your music. Who are you excited about in Australian hop right now?

One Day Crew, it’s a bit of like a super group between Horror Show, Split Syndicate, Jackie Onassis and a bunch of other dudes but, yeah, they are really dope. Sydney based as well.

Last artists listened to?

James Blake, FKA Twigs.

 When you were over in the US you were talking about listening to other artists, bringing back records, whats ‘hot’ over there? 

There was this girl. Me and Dubs were in this store one time, it was just a clothing store or whatever and there was this track playing. We both walked out of the store and turned to each other and were like “did you hear that track playing, it was dope”…We didn’t find out what the track was and for the rest of the trip we were just trying to hear this track again. Finally, in LA, I was in another store and they were playing a tune, it wasn’t the same track but the voice, I think it was a female rapper or singer. Anyway her name is Dej Loaf, she has a new mixtape out called Sell Soul I think.. but the track Try Me was the first track we heard, I think it was in the midst of blowing up.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”250″]https://soundcloud.com/moaninmonkeys/dej-loaf-try-me[/soundcloud]

Apparently there is a hangover spa at Beyond the Valley, see you there?

Yeah, I’ll be there for sure.

5 Quick Questions 

Dedication to your recent North American tour- Meat pies or poutine?

That’s a tricky one, I think I’m going to go with meat pies just cause they’re a classic and they’ve been in my life for so long. Every now and then you just gotta have a good meat pie.

Mangoes or avocados?

Oh fuck thats a hard one, depends what season.. Im going to say mangoes.

VB or Melbourne Bitter?

Fucking hell, is there any other choices?

Top 3 items on your glamping rider?

A Sega Mega drive console from like 1990, with Sonic the Hedgehog, Mortal Kombat….umm what else would there be…champagne.

Tent or Teepee?

Teepee.

You can find Hermitude at either the Hangover Spa or on the stage at this year’s Beyond The Valley Festival. Get your tickets here.  

Yacht Club DJs interview

10 things I learnt from my interview with Yacht Club DJs

Yacht Club DJs interview

Back in August, it was announced that party duo and mash-up maestros, Yacht Club DJs, were calling it quits. Since forming in 2008, Gareth Harrison and Guy Chappell have entertained crowds with their unique mixing style and mash-up techniques, as well as their on-stage antics, which in the past have included nudity, crowd invasions and riding over the crowd in an inflatable boat. To celebrate almost eight successful years in the music industry, the Ballarat locals are throwing 14 massive send-off parties around Australia, beginning in Hobart and ending in their hometown, Ballarat. I was lucky to speak to one half of the super duo, Gaz, in one of their last interviews ever. Here’s what I learnt:

1. Music goes in circles

When I first started DJing, literally the biggest thing was deep house, pushing that sound all over the world, and then everyone went really backwards with it and didn’t want to listen to it, it was all too serious, and then it went ultra, ultra party and everyone was listening to hip hop and party jams. And when we came along, the whole mash-up thing happened, what with 2manydjs, and then that moved into the indie-electro sound by Justice, and then Daft Punk happened. And now it’s all come back round again and everyone wants to listen to deep house. It all happens in circles. Everyone out there is like, “I’ve got a fresh new sound!” and I’m like, “Bullshit! it happened in 2000!” It’s cool, though, there’s always going to be new discoveries. That’s music, that’s what it’s there for.”

2. Mumford & Sons and The Prodigy go surprisingly well together

“Guy was obsessed with playing a Mumford and Sons song in our set and I kind of hated it. I like Mumford and Sons but I came from this really serious band background so every now and then we’ll do something that will make my skin crawl. I had to do things to get my head around it so I started mixing Breathe by The Prodigy into it. This really anthemic Mumford and Sons song with this really garage thing (laughs). So like injecting that kind of sense of humour into it got me past the skin crawling phase because it was just so preposterous and funny. But that sort of thing still backs the spirit of the house party vibe we have. It’s like the kind of shit you’d put on your iPhone with your friends, like playing ridiculous song after ridiculous song.”

3. Australia’s killing it in the music scene

“There’s so many good dudes in Australia now, we’re taking over the world. Just to see people do what they do, like Chris from What So Not, Flume, all those guys, are absolutely taking over the world. And then there’s dudes just killing it, like Paces and Spenda C. Also, Yahtzel, I love that kid. He’s unreal. And he’s such a good DJ, it’s ridiculous. Australia’s scene is really, really strong.”

4. Their onstage antics are unplanned

People make it sound like our shows are really planned. We just go on stage and do our thing. One time, I got this really intense cut on my back and was bleeding everywhere and it just got written off that I had planned it. And I was like, ‘I’m really hurt here?’

Another time in Byron Bay, I broke my leg. These things don’t get planned. This shit just happens. If I get naked, I get naked. If I accidentally break my leg, I accidentally break my leg. We’re never going to go on stage and be like, ‘Alright. 10 minutes in, I’m gonna do this, you’re gonna do this.’ Who even wants to plan that shit? It’s so ridiculous!”

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/yachtclubdjsmusic/hooroo[/soundcloud]

5. They hate the lockout laws

“Last time we played, we had to play so early so everyone could go out afterwards. And then I couldn’t go out afterwards! I went on stage, got a beer and was like, “Sweet, let’s go out,” and then it was like, “Nup, can’t go out.” Fuck the lockout, I hate that stuff!

It doesn’t work. Ballarat, where I live, is the first place that ever did it. And if they looked up what happened here, they’d know it doesn’t work because everyone goes out on the streets and fights each other. No lockout, it’s a shit idea.”

6. They really, really love Meredith Festival

When asked about one of his favourite moments of his career, Gaz replied, “I’d have to say the very first Meredith we’ve ever played. I worked at that music festival for so long and I absolutely adored it. I always said that if I ever got on stage there, I’d take a shovel and just bury myself out the back…and then we got to play it three times.

I’ve walked on stage at a lot of festivals and and there’s nothing like the rush when you walk on that stage there. And that includes all the stuff we did over in America, which was a huge rush and such an incredible experience, but there’s just something about Meredith. I think also having my best friends in the front row just giving me shit the whole time is good. It definitely holds a special place.”

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7. Gaz wants to be a fortune cookie writer

When asked to choose between professional sleeper, dice inspector or fortune cookie writer as his next career options, Gaz was quick to choose the latter: “I love unloading truth on people.”

8. Their career was a huge surprise to them

“We only ever did this for fun. The whole career has been a huge surprise to be honest. We started this just for a laugh and like 8 years later we’re still doing it and we’re like, ‘holy crap, how did this even happen?’”

9. Gaz is taking a well-deserved break  

“I don’t have any plans but I know Guy’s got some other stuff he’s working on. I just want some time off. I’ve been DJing full time for 15 years. I just want to do something else and I kind of like the idea of not knowing what I’m going to do. After 15 years of having a pretty regimented life, I think I’m just going to wander around and see what happens.”

10. They’re quitting the biz and there’s nothing we can do about it

It seems the duo are pretty confident there’ll be no John Farnham-esque comeback tour. “Definitely zero chance,” said Gaz. “I’m not as young as I used to be and who the fuck would want to see me when I’m 40 and playing party music at a nightclub? I don’t think that will ever work.

We never wanted to get what we do to get old. We always said, if we get tired of it, leave it where it is. We’re still doing really good things with it but at the same time we want to do other stuff so we’re like “fuck it, let’s just  call it off.” Let’s leave it as this thing. It was really good and never got old so let’s, yeah, move on.”

Yacht Club DJs’ Hooroo! tour kicks of tonight, 31 October. See below for dates. 

Fri 31 Oct – Republic Bar | Hobart TAS | Tickets 

Sat 1 Nov – Republic Bar | Hobart TAS | Tickets 

Fri 7 Nov – The Northern | Byron Bay NSW| Tickets 

Sat 8 Nov – The Brightside | Brisbane QLD | Tickets

Fri 14 Nov – The Cambridge | Newcastle NSW | Tickets 

Sat 15 Nov – Oxford Art Factory | Sydney NSW| Tickets 

Fri 21 Nov – Barwon Club | Geelong VIC | Tickets 

Sat 22 Nov – The Corner Hotel | Melbourne VIC | Tickets 

Fri 28 Nov – Jive | Adelaide SA| Tickets 

Sat 29 Nov – Lost at The Vic | Darwin NT | Door Sales Only

Fri 5 Dec – Amplifier | Perth WA | Tickets

Sat 6 Dec – ‘Hooch’ at Toucan Club | Mandurah WA | Tickets

Fri 19 Dec – Karova Lounge | Ballarat VIC | Tickets

Sat 20 Dec – Karova Lounge | Ballarat VIC | Tickets

DMA's_2

DMA’s on Oasis comparisons, Danny DeVito & other Little Bastards

DMAs

DMA’s were hyped even before their debut EP was released. With a look that drew comparisons to English bands from Oasis to the Stone Roses, NME took no time in hailing the band as the next big thing and Aussie media has swiftly followed. Their self-titled EP ranges from firing bursts of angst to tender ballads that juxtapose their harsh image. Delete has become somewhat of an anthem in a very short time, with the Splendour in the Grass audience lapping up a chance to sing-along to one of the year’s most poignant melodies.

We sat down with DMA’s bass player, Johnny Took at BIGSOUND in Brisbane to chat about the copious comparisons, what’s next to come from the band’s tune-cannon and what DMA’s stands for.

How’s it all going? Are you stoked about the tour selling out?

Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. I‘m looking forward to going to Adelaide in particular. Adelaide will be cool.

Have you been before?

I have, I’ve got some family that live down there. But I’ve only played a couple of random shows so I’m looking forward to really understanding the music scene down there a little bit.

Does it feel like it’s all happened quite quickly? I guess, to us, it looks like it did but was there a bit more going on behind the scenes before you got signed by I OH YOU and it all took off?

Yeah, a lot more, man. We were writing for a good couple of years. Between the three of us, we could record everything because Tommy’s a drummer, and most of the songs are just done with drum loops when they’re demoed. It kind of has happened quickly but we were writing and recording for quite a while before that, which is good because now that things have happened quickly, we’re kind of prepared for it and not completely freaking out.

Did you have a plan going into it? Was it like, “we want to release this music?” or was it just for fun?

We planned it about 3 years ago. So I wanted to hide away, record and then drop some tunes. We had about 50 or 60 songs.

Are there songs in the EP that were written really early on in the piece?

Yeah, like Delete was written six or seven years ago. Some of the next tunes that we’ll be bringing out I wrote when I was like 19, 20. So they’re all kind of picked from a six or seven year period.

Do you think they developed in those years?

Some of them have, if you ever heard the originals. Like, Delete is completely different with electric guitars and shit at the start and also an extra part added. When I think about it, Your Low, which is on the EP, has as well. Some of them have grown and some of them haven’t needed to. You know, a song is a song. In hindsight, growing up in the time I was in when I wrote it, it doesn’t need to change. It represents that part of my life and vice versa.

Did it feel like, coming from different musical ventures like Little Bastards, that you wanted to separate, in your mind, DMA’s and have a different sound? Were you trying to channel something different?

Yeah, Little Bastard is more a live band. Like people, wasted and shit, big hoedowns and whatnot. DMA’s was always meant to be more of a studio thing. Eventually we had to cater for that for a live audience.

The songs are kind of melodically strong and sound like, as you said, they’re meant to be played out loud. Was melody a massive thing going into it? Particularly, vocal melody?

Yeah, when I was younger and writing songs, I used to just do verse/chorus things and they quickly got boring so now, when we write, I always like to have a verse, a pre chorus, a chorus and then a riff. So as long as there’s five strong melodies in a song, I feel like that should hold it together. Tommy and Mason are both really strong melody writers and if Mason brings in the tune, a melody he’s been working on, that stimulates you to have an idea you never had and vice versa.We find that we bounce off each other really well in that aspect.

How did the three of you come together?

I met Mason when I was doing solo stuff, like folk music. I met him at a folk festival when we were about 21. And then I met Tommy when I was 19 and in a psych band. He was the drummer and I was playing bass. And then the other two guys were songwriters in their own right and there wasn’t really enough for space for us to write, so that’s when Tommy and I first started writing together.

So you’ve obviously been through quite a few genres. Was there an influence or certain music that you were listening to at the time that kicked off DMA’s?

Nothing in particular but between me and my mates, and I’m sure it’s with everyone with the internet, you listen to so much music. Like, one day I’ll be listening to Doc Watson and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and then Neil Young and all of a sudden you start crossing into heaps of stuff like Primal Scream, Stone Roses (Tommy’s a big fan), Dinosaur Jr, The Jesus Mary Chain…all those noisy guitar bands but, like I said, the way I think of it, Little Bastards is classified as a country band and the only thing that makes it country is the arrangement.

The lines are a bit blurred.

Yeah, you can play any song. You can play Made of Stone by The Stone Roses and put a banjo over it and all of a sudden it’s a country song. A good song’s a good song, that’s what I’ve always believed. How you want to arrange it, that’s your prerogative.

Do you guys like reading on the internet “they sound like this”, do you find the comparisons interesting to have a look at?

I think it’s pretty funny when people say stuff like that. We get the Oasis thing a lot. I like Oasis but they wouldn’t be in my top 10, you know what I mean? It doesn’t really bother me too much.

I guess you get those comparisons because you’ve got a ‘90s aesthetic about yourselves. Do you think that’s because you’re drawing reference on growing up?

Yeah, I guess there’s a bit of nostalgia, like early ‘90s. I was in kindergarden in ‘94 and it’s just like all those tunes that were being played at the house while growing up.

Have you been surprised by the attention you’ve received overseas?

Yeah, it’s been surprising but at the same time, a few years ago when we started writing, we felt the songs were strong and we were attached to them. But like I was saying before, we never really thought or cared too much about what other people think. The beautiful thing about the internet is that anyone can have their opinion. It’s an amazing thing and also the beautiful thing about this world is that it doesn’t take a lot for it to go around. I’ve never really listened to other people’s opinions and I’m not going to start now.

So you’re headed off to CMJ this year?

Yeah, man!

Will this be your first overseas tour?

Well, I went to New Caledonia with Little Bastard one time, which was pretty cool. We’re apparently huge in New Caledonia? That’s the only time I’ve done it. I went to Europe when I was 19 and I came back and told myself I wasn’t going to go back until I was doing music. Because I felt like I was pissing my money against the wall, not playing gigs there and whatnot. That was about 6 years ago.

So I suppose in that way it feels like a massive achievement to be going back there and playing?

Yeah man, it’s exciting and the live set’s come together. So I’m just looking forward to going there and having a laugh really.

What’s the timeline then? The Aussie tour and then pretty much straight overseas?

Yeah.

Are you recording at the moment?

I’m always recording!

Do you have a next release in mind?

I think we’ve got a couple of things in the bag, but…we’re…actually, I don’t think i’m allowed to say too much about it.

We don’t want to get you in trouble.

*laughs* Yeah, I tend to do that a lot.

Is it sounding good, though? Can we ask you that?

I’m happy with it. It’s been a bit of a process. I love recording at home because you can take  your time. But I’m pretty happy with how they’re sounding. I feel like I’ve been in bands before where people can get really precious about that stuff, I think you can get too precious sometimes. I’ve seen so many amazing, beautiful songs by friends that never get released because they think about it too much or they’re scared of what people think.

5 Wacky Questions

Your band’s name is an acronym. What’s your favourite acronym?

Oh, DMA’s isn’t an acronym! It doesn’t stand for anything. It’s basically a bunch of letters we decided on with an apostrophe.

Favourite Danny DeVito movie?

Oh, woah…Matilda!

Will you be purchasing the newly unveiled Apple Watch?

Nah, I think it’s a bit lame, huh?

If you had to merge into another band to create a super group, who would it be?

There’s too many. Maybe War On Drugs would be pretty cool. Big fan of Kurt Vile.

Favourite board game?

*pause* I used to play a little Risk when I was younger…that was pretty cool. Twister can get pretty whack as well. I’m gonna go with Twister.

DMA’s have completely sold out their Australian tour. 

Bluejuice_interview2 copy

Bluejuice on breaking up, the past & the future

bluejuice_interview

In a decade-spanning career, Bluejuice have become one of Australia’s most-loved bands. If you’ve been to a festival in the last ten years, chances are you’ve seen a vitriolic Bluejuice, burning up the stage in questionable gold leotards.

While their energy and humour was a big part of their appeal, behind them are three albums that showcase brilliant pop writing. As such, the band scored a platinum record with their 2009 track, Broken Leg and went on to have two albums reach the top 40 in Australia.

If you look at their Wikipedia page now, you’ll notice it says “Bluejuice was a musical act”. It’s not completely over yet but Bluejuice referred to in the past tense will soon be a reality as the band parts ways after one more tour and a greatest hits compilation, RETROSPECTABLE. We chatted to Jake Stone from Bluejuice for the final time on why it’s the right time to break-up, the highlights, the lowlights and what’s next.

Have you found the response overwhelming regarding the breakup?  

Yeah, it’s been really good, actually. We’re going out on our own terms which is the right way. I’m glad that it’s working out that way and I wouldn’t have known how to do it otherwise. I think that by making that decision, while sad, we did the right thing.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/bluejuicemusic/broken-leg-3[/soundcloud]

Is there a part of you that’s like, “maybe I shouldn’t be doing it” after all the positive responses?

We’re only getting that positive feedback because we’ve done something dramatic. It feels right to go out now. Otherwise we’d die a slow death, not because we wouldn’t be able to do good music, but because people wouldn’t care enough even if we did do good music. I think in a way it’s the right decision and we’ve managed perception in the right way. We’ve gotten on the front foot and done what needed to be done so people are happy and comfortable and we aren’t working against people’s perceptions. It doesn’t matter what anybody thinks, what matters is how we come out of it. I’m not sure I’m going to be happy at the end of this but I’m happy that it’s working out now.

Quote1

Was there a specific moment that felt like the right time to end it?

When Jerry left, I thought there was a good chance that it might be the end of the band. That that was about a year and a half ago now. I knew it would be challenging to continue because of his talent but, in actual fact, we continued on and put out singles anyway and now the band is at a good stage where the people in the band are just as good as what Jerry was. But it’s kind of hard to continue because now we’ve got this great setup and can write good songs. But I don’t think that it’s possible to do it under this name, in a way.

So do you feel like there are more projects that you’ll go onto after this that reflect a changing musical taste?

Yeah, I hope so. I’m basically writing constantly at the moment. I’ve had a lot of songs for a long time and it’s kind of like a long-standing accruing of tunes that I’ve been doing in my studio at home. I’ve got some songs there that are ready to go that I just have to figure it out because I don’t want to put them out in a way that’s going to be associated with me directly, as people can easily say something about it that’s negative. They can have a negative perception of it and not support it, both the media and the public, so I just have to just sneak the songs in someway that will be good.

quote4

So I suppose that’s kind of the flip side to dealing with media, that they can have perceptions of you that are hard to change. We’ve always seen Bluejuice in a really positive light and as a very fun band but have there been tough times as well?

Of course. For seven years we didn’t have a hit, so you can imagine. It’s been hard because you’re always kind of trying to make people believe that you’re something they need in their lives, but without sounding desperate, because people are very hard to pin down. You have to seduce them. Really, that’s what it is. You have to be seductive, in whatever fashion, whether it be sexually, comically or whatever it is that you have to do and for seven years, we were the ugly duckling of the Sydney music scene. Nobody wanted a bar of us and it’s hard to do that and get people on your side and draw them into what you’re doing, to make them believe in you and to think they’re the ones that made the decisions.

Luckily, Vitriol did that, seven years in. But seven years prior to that, we were working very hard. I was a music journalist, I worked at two bars, it was really hard. And we’ve been a band that fought with other a lot as well so it hasn’t been that easy. Nothing that’s worthwhile just sort of happens like that. I don’t think London Grammar, for example, just happened. I think they did a lot of stuff for a long time and people picked up on it. So perhaps they went  from being small to very big really quickly and that might’ve been challenging for them and I think every type of career projection has its own challenges. Ours has just been really focusing on keeping that stuff happening and making sure that it continues that way.

quote2

Were there points early on before Vitriol where you were just like “this is a really hard slog, is it worth it anymore?”

Everyone was ready to break up the band just before Vitriol came out. Like, literally. I was never going to break up the band, I was never going to stop playing. It’s not easy being in a band. Some people have the stomach for what it takes and some people don’t. I don’t mind because it’s my job, to think my way around it and to come up with good songs. It’s not just about the music – you’ve got to figure out how to get people into the thing beyond just the music.

Looking back in hindsight, is there a record where you feel like you really hit the nail on the head?

I think Company. All of the things that happened around that record, everything centred around it were sort of perfect. The relationship I was in was the most important relationship that I ever had in my life and probably one of the most dramatic I’ve ever had. So, whether it was healthy or not, it was making an impact on my writing. Other than that, we figured out how to produce it in a way that wasn’t shit. We were like, “oh, we can actually be okay in the studio now,” be what we want rather than be completely be held onto a producer who might not share the vision for what we’re trying to do, which had been the case before.

On Company, Alex and I wrote Act Yr Age and Shock and those songs really galvanised the band’s reputation on the radio and continued to push forward and allowed us another three years of professional work, cementing our reputation beyond Broken Leg. In my opinion, Act Yr Age is the most sophisticated song we ever put out because it followed two big songs and continued to be able to be successful. When you play as a DJ, and put the record on, it still sounds current, it still has the production quality that cuts through next to music with modern production.

One of the songs featured (The Presets’) Julian Hamilton and it’s got a lovely quality that only that guy could lend to it. The design is also good. It’s very personal, taken from a photo of my ex from Skype that we then refigured and then re-cast.

Bluejuice_Company-500

Company was my proudest moment as a writer. It sums up the band’s interest and was the best thing we ever did. It’s not the best record I’m going to make, I hope, and it might be the most interesting album I’m going to make as Bluejuice but I don’t think it’s the most sophisticated or mature thing I’m ever going to do.

I still have a lot of those songs that are unreleased. A lot. And they’re all really good songs. I’m just keen to put out more music, that’s what I want. When the band ends, I want to figure out how to do that in a way that will work. We were much harder on ourselves as editors than you think. There are a lot of great tunes that didn’t make the record that weren’t Bluejuice songs that I wrote myself that, by politics or otherwise, never made it onto the album. Managers, they don’t know everything, they don’t all know what’s appropriate for the time. There’s all these songs flying around now that I want to put out.

Did you record I’ll Go Crazy with the knowledge it would be one of your last songs?

Yes we did, absolutely.

So you weren’t planning to record another album or anything like that?

Well, we had been writing so we probably had enough material to do a record but then we hit on the idea that we’re going to wrap up the band and will be doing our last tour, and we needed some singles to put out. And so then we thought we only really needed three good songs to be able to put out a greatest hits record with new material on it. And I personally need, as an artist, to have the last two songs tell a certain story.

So I need a pop song that everyone’s going to love, that kind of represents the pop band that we are, that we always have been. And then I need a ballad that’s going to close the band in a way that’s emotional for other people and connects them to the band’s history, to make them understand where we came from and tell that story in a sincere way. And that’s what the one after this will be. And that’s how I see the band wrapping up. It just makes it easier. Because I’m really proud of the songs so I think it’s worked out alright.

 

perfume_featured

Perfume Genius on confidence, rage & hateful tweets

PerfumeGenius_interview

Seattle-born Mike Hadreas, most commonly known by his stage moniker Perfume Genius, is not your regular entertainer. After making an impressive debut in 2010 with his LP, Learning, Hadreas returned two years later with Put Your Back N 2 It, cementing his place as a revolutionary, emotionally-affecting showman. Delicate, yet emotionally intense in both their nature and delivery, these two albums were a beguiling introduction to the man that is Perfume Genius.

Two years down the track, and a controversial YouTube rejection in between, the singer/songwriter has made a bold comeback with the stunning new record, Too Bright. Its grandiosity and assertiveness a stark contrast from his previous works, Hadreas’ latest offering generates a figure that is a far cry from the reserved, vulnerable artist that first entered the music scene four years ago. Confidently delving into topics such as gender, race and sexual orientation, Too Bright is a bewitching, emotionally intense journey that is sure to delve into the inner psyche of any unsuspecting listener.

Upon his return from a three week touring stint across Europe, Hadreas and I had a chat about the new album, negative feedback, his influences and everything in between.

You’ve just returned home from your first tour of performing songs from Too Bright. How did everything go?

It was good, although I’m not really used to it anymore. I didn’t really feel clicked into the whole routine- waking up really early, going to bed really late. There’d be a lot going on and then I’d have to do a photo shoot and try to look, like, cute while I’m sweating. I gotta up my game perhaps and have a beauty regimen. I feel like I need handy wipes or something.

Was it mainly new material that you were touring with?

It was a pretty equal mix from all three albums. I guess I didn’t want to play too many new songs because I didn’t want people to hear them first in a YouTube video. Not that I think anyone cares enough to put them on YouTube but sometimes they do that. Also, my drummer lives in Paris and my guitar player lives in the UK, and we now live in Seattle so we have really limited rehearsal time. I wanted to make sure we had time to rehearse the new stuff before we play it, especially since there’s more elements now.

quote4Yeah, you have a lot more instrumentation this time around as opposed to your other records. Is it exciting to have a backing band on stage with you?

It is! I guess now it’s just naturally a little more complicated. I didn’t grow up in other bands so I’m not really used to it. It’s a little nerve-wracking because it’s not just me singing behind a piano anymore, keeping things really minimal. I feel like I know how to do that, whereas this is risky and new. As much as it’s nerve-wracking, it’s also fun.

There’s obviously a lot of difference in the stage set-up for your previous, piano-based material, compared to your new material that requires the inclusion of a backing band. How do you find it, alternating between such contrasting materials when you’re performing?

I kind of have to map the setlist out a little differently so none of the songs are mean to each other. I’m a fairly crazy person so it’s not that hard for me to go between moods. I can get there pretty quickly but I guess there are some songs that are similar in subject matter and mood to some of the louder songs so I try to pair them together. I don’t want it to be too manic-depressive for anybody. Or maybe that’s cool, I dunno.

How did the audience respond to the new material that you played?

The first time I ever played the song, My Body, I played it in Tokyo, and nobody clapped or anything afterwards…but maybe it was just because they didn’t know the song. It was the first time we had performed anything like that and it was pretty loud and dark and everyone was a bit freaked out and shaken up afterwards and when nobody responded I was like…erm…But then I played it over in a few other countries and it seemed to go well.

I guess some of the songs from the album have the ability to leave the listener a bit unsettled.

Yeah, one of my friends said that when I play that song they just put their hands over their face and look in between their fingers, freaked out.

I feel that songs from this album can shake up something from within, enabling people to kind of draw references from their own lives.

I really hope that’s what it is. I hope it’s not like, “who is this screeching weirdo on stage!” Like when they played My Body on the radio, somebody tweeted, “Just heard the worst song I’ve ever heard in my life,” probably hearing just a bunch of disgusting noises with just a screech over it…which I guess essentially is kind of what that song is.

quote3So how do you deal with that kind of negative feedback?

With this music it’s very different. I’m really proud of this album so if people talk about the music and they don’t like it, it doesn’t really bother me. If people talk about how I look, however, like rude, grossly weird vain things like that, then I get really upset. It’s just really personal. Whereas when it’s about my music, it doesn’t really bother me that much. I’m kind of lying a bit because it essentially does bother me but not as bad as it used to.

I guess it’s quite confronting putting yourself out there creatively. Do you find you’ve become better at dealing with the feedback over the years?

I think so. And I think I feel really confident, beyond just the lyrics or what the songs are about. I’m confident the music is really good and this is the first time that’s happened. Not that I thought the music was bad in the other two albums, I really still think it was pretty and nice, it’s just that I was a lot more considerate and thoughtful about the sound on Too Bright, as much as the lyrical content.

quote5Too Bright definitely does sound a lot more confident, a bit more grandiose. You’ve also described it as “an underlying rage that has slowly been growing since ten and has just begun to bubble up.” What made you draw upon these references of your past in this album?

I’ve always made music to process things, so if something was bothering me, or something needed healing or a relationship in my life was screwed up, writing was a way I could deal. But I kind of used up all the memories that I needed to heal on the first couple of albums and this one’s a lot more about how I’m feeling now and almost a projection of how I want to be, not so much looking into the past. That anger was kind of some of the more immediate things that I needed to process.

With your songs and the visual representations in your music videos, I feel that you’re drawing upon not only this anger, but also some of the other deadly sins; greed, lust, gluttony. Was this intentional?  

No, but I like that. It perhaps wasn’t intentional but I like showing things that maybe I’ve been ashamed of or things I think are gross about myself. Or that I’m scared that other people think I’m gross or too ‘faggy’ or too feminine. I kind of like doing it defiantly and pushing it into people’s faces.

It seems you’ve managed to achieve this in the videos; kind of pushing it into people’s faces, providing an amount of intensity at times but then you manage to draw it back at just the right moments. You’ve carefully oscillated between the two ends of the spectrum.

Yeah, I never want the videos to be just pure rebellion, I want there to be a purpose to them, or have it be empowering or have some sort of importance. More than just giving someone the middle finger.

Do you have a lot of input of the content for the videos?

Yeah, especially this last one. Both of them are collaborations, but I feel like Queen was almost equal measure me and Cody Critcheloe (SSION), the director. I really trusted him and I guess that’s why I didn’t mind meeting in the middle more. I didn’t mind patchworking of all our zany ideas into one dream. I can come up with the ideas but I sometimes don’t know how to make it cool, you know? And the director I was working with was very cool.

It must be nice to tell people your ideas and have them filter it out into whatever you picture in your head.

Exactly, and that’s what she did. I sent her a bunch of weird, run-off sentences and words and then she sent me back this storyboard complete with pictures and visual references. Everything she had was exactly what I was thinking.

Speaking of collaborations, Too Bright was co-produced by Portishead’s Adrian Utley. What kind of influence do you think he had on the album?

Technically, he’s more capable than I am. When I gave him emotional descriptive words, he’d know what instruments to use, what knobs to twiddle and what cord to plug in where to make that sound. He understood emotionally where I was coming from and he wasn’t nervous about going too far or being too dark and serious, while also not being scared of being too patient or gentle or sensitive about the quieter moments. We’re pretty open and light-hearted while we’re talking but creatively, we’re kind of dark and wild so it was like a perfect relationship to be in the studio.

You wrote your first album while living at your Mother’s house. Where did you write your music this time?

This last one I wrote in a thick-walled apartment, so I could write when I felt like it and I could scream and be as loud as I wanted and I think that was the big help for expanding what I do. I could experiment with my voice in ways that could have potentially been really embarrassing or goofy, but I wasn’t scared of being overheard; I was screeching and screaming and squealing.

quote6Your boyfriend sings and plays with you on stage. Does he contribute to the songwriting process?

Oh yeah. I come from an emotional place and he’s more musical. He went to school for music so his way of thinking is completely different. He would come home after I’d been writing and would listen to the actual song. Whereas I would only look into what the song meant, he would hear what it really sounded like, so that was really valuable.

Do you find he inspires you artistically?

Yeah, I would either take his advice or I would get rebellious and pissed off. If he said he didn’t like the song, I’d make it even worse.

How is it touring and being on stage with your partner? I can imagine there’d be friction at times?

It’s good, you’ve got to learn how to fight and we’ve learnt to fight really well because if you’re around each other 24 hours a day, it’s inevitable. But we’ve learnt how to fight and almost laugh immediately afterwards. I can’t imagine leaving and being gone for all those months without seeing him.

Perfume Genius’ Too Bright is out today in Australia, released via Matador Records / Remote Control. You can stream it here

 

NLV_Presents

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

NLV_Presents

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

suss

“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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