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The EDM Inbetweeners

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Electronic Dance Music has gone mainstream and there’s no denying it. What was once confined to the bunkers of an intimate 4am boiler room has catapulted onto the main stages of Coachella, a spot which was once saved only for rock legends or pop princesses. While many arguments thrown around about artists “selling out” their music to Las Vegas or the highest bidder may actually be on point, going mainstream and appealing to the masses in one way or another, however, is not necessarily the devil, if played correctly.

Adaptation in the music industry is completely natural- it’s the survival of the fittest instinct which should push artists to produce engaging and unique new music. Many of these big name artists who have made their name and claimed their unique slot within this dance music industry have hit the mainstream and never looked back. But let me be clear here, going mainstream does not mean it is acceptable to be complacent. Yes, Calvin Harris has created the perfect anthem recipe, and yes he is now the highest paid DJ in the world for the second year – but his complacency, and that of David Guetta, has not gone unnoticed.

Who could forget Deadmau5‘s infamous “We all hit play” posted on his Tumblr in 2012, an interesting read on what it was like to be a DJ/Producer in 2012. While it is often unclear of the line between “DJ” and “Producer”, in his signature Mau5  rant honesty, he expressed how, as an actual producer, “[his] ‘skills’ and other PRODUCERS’ skills shine where [they] need to shine…in the goddamned studio, and on the fucking releases.” Furthermore, he stresses that it is a DJ’s job to take a crowd “on a roller coaster…and connect with them.” Anyone who has seen Laidback Luke play live would understand the talent in gauging a crowd and adapting your set to get them up and pumping.

While I did say the mainstream is not necessarily the devil, it can trap young artists whether they choose that path or not. If we take Swedish DJ Producer Avicii as an example: Off the back of his Levels tour, there appeared to be no stopping the then 22-year old superstar. Producing hit after hit, and doing over 250+ shows in a year, it then came at a complete surprise when he tried to break out, acting out his own rebellion to a televised audience ad at Ultra Music Festival in 2013. What should have been commended as a great leap of faith for the young talent – creating a folk album full of unexpected tracks and bootlegs – in fact left him in an even bigger mainstream big black hole. But should he be punished for trying something different, is it his fault that everyone learned to love Aloe Black again?

All hope is not lost, however. There are artists who have managed to successfully slip between the headline set at Stereosonic, to the top of the charts, to producing a pop-star’s hit, and right back to the 5am unplanned sets at Bonarroo festival (I’m looking at you Skrillex), with little to no resistance. These are what should be better known as the “EDM Inbetweeners.”  The clever adapters who have infiltrated the mainstream, our radio airways and our pop-charts, very often without you even realising. And the funny thing is, whether you admit it or not, or whether you know it was them, you love their work!

Here are a few EDM Inbetweeners who have caught our attention in one way or another.

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Zedd 

Here’s something you’d probably find hard to Believe, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj‘s Beauty And A Beat was originally produced by Zedd for his album Grammy award-winning album Clarity. While Clarity proved to be a mainstream hit for the well-established Russian-German EDM artist, it was his production on this Beiber hit which solidified himself as a lovable inbetweener. If that was not enough for the 25-year old, then his collaboration with R&B girl of the moment Ariana Grande has proved his versatility and knack for wielding lolly-pop infused dance perfection which surprisingly appeals to a wide-ranging audience, myself included.

…But is producing major tracks for major pop-artists a sell-out?

The answer is no. Zedd has managed to put his name, and his unique sound, behind some of the biggest tracks of the last two years as a producer and as an adapter to the market. Bridging the gap between the relatively unknown and the superstar mainstream, without eventually pissing off everyone, takes incredible skill and understanding of the industry. For Zedd, it was about choosing a pop artist who is in their prime, but also someone who compliments their dance production style. However, sometimes this does not always work, and this is probably the cue that Avicii should have been given before collaborating with flailing come-back kids Coldplay.

https://soundcloud.com/universalrepublic/ariana-grande-break-free-ft-zedd-radio-edit

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Dillon Francis

This lovable prankster, born out of the Mad Decent crew, is quickly becoming the biggest non-mainstream mainstreamer of them all. His track this ‘Get Low’ alongside DJ Snake, has found itself in every movie trailer release of the last two months, plus landing him a headline spot at this year’s Sydney Field Day later this year in Sydney. To add to this, he as be caught teaching Zac Efron to DJ and earlier this week, and signing to major label Colombia Records in May of this year.

…But is signing to a major label a sell-out?

Although the signs may be pointing towards this, who can really call Dillon Francis a sell-out? While many fans were quick to jump on the “DILLONSELLOUTFRANCIS” Twitter bandwagon, if you take note, he has maintained his relationship with his origins at Mad Decent and remained true to his cheeky public persona throughout this accomplishment. Francis has etched his way into the mainstream by playing sets and producing tracks which are always a surprise to the system, and a unique Moombhatton sound. Furthermore, he has won our hearts with the ingenious use of social media to perpetuate his “I don’t give a fuck” attitude – a little nudge I’m sure Diplo gave him early on in his career.

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Flume (+ What So Not)

It seems like a lifetime ago that we were introduced to Flume, a young Sydney talent who had a knack for using a launch pad and cutting and mixing the best of R&B samples. A game-changing album and a bucket load of ARIAs later, it’s hard to believe that he has managed to stay under the radar, meanwhile being the most loved and well-recognised electronic artists in the country.

…But is being endorsed by David Beckham a sell out?

He is a popular guy, there no doubt about it. But Flume lets the music do the talking – and that is how it should be. His unique sound has lasted the initial hype, but it his ability to adapt and continue to create is what has garnered him respect amongst his myriad of fans and industry professionals.

Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in (“Everything changes, nothing perishes”). Ingenuity is definitely key, and just last year saw him team up with relatively unknown Sydney DJ Emoh Instead, to create What So Not. This gold-mine of a combination, backed by none other than successful inbetweener Skrillex,   has offered a new spin on his work, and kept any ounce of the distasteful mainstream out of the picture. The duo has gone from strength to strength, appealing to the masses of the clubs, while still separately standing on their own and flying an Aussie flag on a competitive international market. Above all from what it appears, he is a good guy with a clear level-headed head on him, even telling The Guardian last year that he will do anything “to avoid the poisons of success.”

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Disclosure

This British duo have garnered an epic amount of success over the years, bringing the underground electronic sound to the mainstream and hitting the higher reaches of the UK charts with hits such as ‘White Noise’ and ‘Latch.’

…But is selling over 1 million singles selling out?

Since signing with big name label Universal, all could have been lost for the talented Lawrence brothers. In fact, it was quite the opposite. When signing with their label, they said told Billboard, “we had an agreement with that they could carry on doing what we’re doing and they could just let us get on with it, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Disclosure’s achievement should not be in anyway underestimated. This well-oiled machine continues to pump out talented vocal artist after talented vocal artist into the spotlight, whilst remaining themselves relatively unscathed – not through any act of god but through careful planning and commitment to their cause and their music. They have created chart-friendly dance music, whilst retaining underground credibility and not softening their sound to cash in on any current trends or the temptation of a Las Vegas $$$ slot. A crossover of old school house and garage culture, crossed with exquisitely produce instrumental electronica, combined with hooks to seduce a wide-ranging mainstream audience, they are truly building their style on top of countless dance acts who have gone before them and succeeded such as Daft Punk and The Chemical Brothers.

When asked, “now that you’ve got a song in the charts, are you going to change your music? Are you going to sound like EDM guys?” Guy Lawrence aptly replied, without any arrogance, “why would I need to change what I do? You’re always going to get haters, but I believe the dynamic has changed this year in the charts.”

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10 Songs You Need To Hear This Week

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Over the week we’ve witnessed Bachelor dramas, tri-breasted woman hoaxes and the new iPhone literally bending over backwards to infiltrate people’s lives. Here at the interns, we try to block out the distractions from daily life and keep our headphones firmly on and our fingers constantly on the pulse of our keyboards and linear, unbending iPhone not-6s to provide you, our dear readers, with the latest and greatest 10 songs the week had to provide. Go forth and prosper.

Drake- Worst Behaviour (Saint Pepsi Edit)

Of course you’re going to be on your worst behaviour when there’s brass involved. Drake’s original of this was fiercely badass, but Saint Pepsi, almost comedically, turns it on its head, packing it with sunshine and making it completely danceable. It’s a different kind of Worst Behaviour to what Drake would have condoned. It’s more one where you get a little bit tiddly at a garden party and kiss the host’s niece for an accidental moment. More Pimms, please.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/saintpepsi/drake-worst-behavior-saint-pepsi-edit[/soundcloud]

TALA- Alchemy

T?L? is releasing a new EP, Alchemy, in a few months’ time and this is the title track from it. Where her last offering, Black Scorpio, was the Londoner in full-producer mood, Alchemy sees her adapt as a vocalist. She coos throughout over top a glitchy, middle-eastern flavoured beat placing modern RnB alongside traditional, cultural music. We haven’t heard anybody do it this well since M.I.A.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/talaofficial/alchemy[/soundcloud]

Ryan Hemsworth- Snow In Newark

Whether it be his own or someone elses, Canadian producer Ryan Hemsworth has been releasing music at a rapid rate in the last few months. Snow In Newark is the first single off his forthcoming album which, at the pace he’s going, will probably have 46 songs on it. Snow In Newark is one of the more delicate tunes he’s turned out with vocalist Dawn Golden giving a fragile vocal alongside icy, twinkling beats.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/ryanhemsworth/snow[/soundcloud]

Hudson Mohawke – Brainwave

Hudson Mohawke is due to drop his solo EP, Chimes, next week and in anticipation, he’s shared the new single, Brainwave. This track sees the former TNGHT member dabbling into more meditative territory, creating a tapestry of glitches, beeps and bloops, sewn together with heavenly vocals and a shuddering bass which feels like we’ve crawled into the Scottish producer’s head and taken a peek inside grey matter territory. Certainly an interesting prelude to his upcoming EP.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/hudsonmohawke/brainwave[/soundcloud]

Kendrick Lamar- I

This was the main event of the week – Kendrick’s first track off his forthcoming, yet-to-be-titled album. It samples The Isley Brothers’, That Lady and is one of the most upbeat things Lamar has produced. It’s easy, breezy and shows the lighter side of the Compton rapper. For somebody who’s done some seriously fierce raps (Control), he sounds like a genuinely nice guy and Kendrick if you’re reading this, tea, scones and some great banter await. Call us 😉

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/topdawgent/i-1[/soundcloud]

Azealia Banks- Chasing Time

Today marks the 133rd month that we’ve waited for Azealia Banks’ album Broke With Expensive Taste and while it’s still not here, we’ve got the best thing we’ve heard from her since 212. Girl can sing and she shows it here with a track that mostly features her vocals with a few quick-witted raps thrown in for good measure. Finally she sounds relaxed in the beat and unconcerned about what’s going on around her. Once again we wanna beat our chests for B.A.N.K.S.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/yung-rapunxel/chasing-time[/soundcloud]

Sable – Surf

This track from Sable is so kawaii-cute it will make you want to squeeze the cheeks of that infuriatingly endearing Pokemon-inspired mammal accompanying its Soundcloud as hard as you possibly can. Surf sees the Perth producer dabbling into Nintendo territory, with electronic synths and glitchy bleeps guiding the way down the rainbow road. Accented with a throbbing bass and ratchety drums, it’s the perfect prelude to the dawning weekend.

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

Left.- When My Body Sleeps

Left. are a boy/girl duo from the epicentre of the earth, Sydney and while they’ve only released two songs previous to this one, they’ve left quite a mark with their delicate, tapping electronica. When My Body Sleeps is from their debut album Sirens and sees vocalist Sarah Corry’s breathy, beautiful vocal overtop Jono Grahams darkness-infused, late-night beats. It’s one of those tracks that you’ll have to sit with for a while but like a good wine, you’ll be drunk before long without even knowing it.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/leftprojects/when-my-body-sleeps[/soundcloud]

BANKS – Beggin’ For Thread (Bag Raiders Remix)

Following up from their remix of Kimbra’s Miracles, Bag Raiders have once again chopped, changed, twisted and turned BANKS’ dark, sultry Beggin For Thread into a glittery, poppy rework, shedding some light onto the London singer’s melancholia. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all sunshine and rainbows, however. The thumping bass and textured, looping vocals will surely keep things in check.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/banksbanksbanks/beggin-for-thread-bag-raiders-remix-1[/soundcloud]

Kiesza- Bad Thing (Feat. Joey Bada$$)

We’ve heard a lot of ‘90s throwback gold from Kiesza but nothing in the RnB arena. In her first trip into the world of gold chains, booty and grillz, Kiesza recruits hot-as-shit rapper Joey Bada$$ and a beat that shudders like a prison chain. While she’s known for heighty vocals and climatic choruses, here she tones it down letting the chorus’ understated melody work its wonders before letting Bada$$ in to deliver an equally understated beat.

 

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SBTRKT’s ‘Wonder Where We Land’ reviewed

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London producer SBTRKT has released his new album Wonder Where We Land today and the title alone leaves a lot up in the air. We’ve heard a bunch of songs from the album but none of them have really given us a huge clue as to the overall direction of the album. We’ve spent the whole week with the album, much of it in the air, but now we’ve finally landed in a land of jazz-infused beats, twists and turns and soulful vocals. We were left a little lost for words so instead we made variations of the SBTRKT mask as a way of reviewing the album…and then we found our words again so we added some for your convenience.

Wonder Where We Land (Ft. Sampha)

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Indeed. SBTRKT’s debut album etched out such an iconic sound, there was always a question above what we would get. With gentle taps, sporadic keys and Sampha up front, this is the SBTRKT we’ve always known, however there’s always that hovering doubt of where he’s going to take the rest of the record.

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And this is where we land – right in the heart of an 8-bit world built upon strobing synths and J-pop beats, all the while a lurking atmosphere creeps up behind you. Three songs in and the darkness has been present in each. SBTRKT’s always been a producer who’s beautifully soundtracked the move from the club to the home and it’s no different here.

Higher (Ft. Raury)

Higher_RauryRaury is the most hyped young-gun on the album and he’s been recruited to help take the album to church. While Raury’s rap rolls off the tongue as quick as liquor slides over it, it’s all about that luminous chorus. Raise your hands to the air child, you have been saved.

Look Away (Ft. Caroline Polachek)

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While the darkness hovers throughout the album, it completely floods this track. Caroline Polachek’s heighty vocals are haunting and over-kilter throughout with an unsettling piano, enticing you to look. Polacheck brings a hip-hop flavour to the verses in what is an altogether odd but wonderfully successful detour for SBTRKT.

Temporary View (Ft. Sampha)

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Sampha pops up four times on the album, but this one is the most similar to his contributions on the debut. It’s soulful, minimal and glittering but it really adds nothing to an album that thrives on moments of oddity. Following Look Away, this one centres you once again, making you comfortable but not excited.

NEW DORP. NEW YORK. (Ft. Ezra Koenig)

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Who better than to sing on an anthem about New York than Ezra Keonig? Alicia Keys did well and we tip our hat to her but Koenig embodies that sleek, socialite side of New York. Meanwhile, SBTRKT drops his most out of the box beat, oscillating between indie pop and jangling, warehouse electronica. SBTRKT knows, if he can make it here, he’ll make it anywhere.

Everybody Knows

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This one takes us straight into the heart of London. It’s grimey and the most intricate track on the album- a tribute to Jamie xx and those who spin beats on rooftops with a rare glimpse of London sunshine. There’s jilted keys, a throbbing beat and a hesitance that says “don’t dance, look cool”.

Problem Solved (Ft. Jessie Ware)

jessiewaremaskJessie Ware also collaborated with SBTRKT on his debut and she’s back her as a fully fledged star. With her new found stardom she could’ve easily overshone SBTRKT but she delivers a beautifully understated vocal over a jazz-infused beat. This pairing feels completely naturally and as such it’s the most effortless track on the album.

If It Happens (ft. Sampha)

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Sampha is in the blinding spotlight here, with SBTRKT taking a backseat allowing Sampha to sing like a love-lorn singer in a smokey jazz club. It’s a well-deserved breather and a warming track – an example of how SBTRKT can succeed with simplicity.

Gon Stay (ft. Sampha)

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It’s Sampha hour now and he’s cheered up a bit since the last track. For the first time, there’s no sign of that looming darkness – it’s full sunshine delivered through funky bass and a perky snare. It’s more indie-pop than London electronica but we’ll take it as a welcome flood of light into an otherwise shadowy album.

The Light (Ft. Denai Moore)

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It’s perhaps ironic that the light disappears on a song titled after it. Upcoming London songstress Denai Moore steps up on this heart-wrenching track. “Tell me I’m not the only one,” Moore sings sounding completely devoid of any more energy. At the same time, SBTRKT keeps upping the density of the track ending right in the thick of swelling emotion.

Voices In My Head (Ft. A$AP FERG)

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It may take until the final track but here it all comes together. SBTRKT’s penchant for live instrumentation melds perfectly with his signature beats and the unsettling keys create an odd yet followable melody. A$AP Ferg’s rap is so full of character and woozy that you almost forget how batshit weird the whole thing is. If weird is the flavour of the album, then this track is the best indication that SBTRKT can pull it off with the utmost style.

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Elliphant & MØ drop risqué video for ‘One More’

Elliphant and MØ had us enamoured when we first heard One More in this week’s First Impressions and now they’ve definitely grabbed our attention again in the accompanying clip. Donning Geisha-inspired hair-dos and Adidas-clad in matching jackets and light-up slides, the pair get messy out on the town on a night of drunken debauchery. Directed by Tim Erem, it features the two gals drinking, dancing, fighting, kissing and making up.

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SAFIA release apocalyptic video for ‘You Are The One’

Canberra locals, SAFIA have released their apocalypse-inspired clip for their latest single, You Are The One. Directed by Jimmy Ennett, it was filmed in one single shot and features cameos from both Yeo and Citizen Kay. Ennett has said of the video:

“I really wanted to do the theme justice without going deep into cliche or the easy route… The end of the world seemed like a good place to start, and it meant we could also stretch creatively and cinematically to create a piece that has a complete symbiotic relationship with this amazing song.”

The trio has gone from strength to strength this year, touring with Lorde and performing at both Splendour in the Grass and BIGSOUND. You can catch them at their You Are The One national tour this week, opening at Bendigo.

Star Bar, Bendigo VIC – Friday 26th Sept

Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC – Saturday 27th Sept

Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC – Sunday 28th Sept

‘Yours & Owls’ 4th Birthday, Wollongong NSW – SOLD OUT Saturday 4th Oct

Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW – Sunday 5th Oct

‘Halloween Party’ @ The Bakery, Perth WA – Friday 31st Oct

 

 

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Stream Ryan Hemsworth’s entire Secret Songs compilation + new single, ‘Snow in Newark’

ryanhemsworthRyan Hemsworth has been busy overnight, releasing the first single from his second studio album as well as the entirety of his Secret Songs compilation. The former, titled Snow In Newark, is a collaboration with Mad Decent’s Dawn Golden and is a softer, more sentimental offering from the Canadian producer. Although more subdued than previous works, it still features his signature Japanese-inspired percussion, creating a sound similar to a wind-up jewellery box. Hemsworth has said to Vogue that his upcoming, self-proclaimed “happysad (one word, no spaces)” album is “about trying to get back to my first love, emo music.”

This release has also coincided with the debut of Hemsworth’s full Secret Sounds compilation, #ffb6c1, a spotlight of ten of his favourite songs at the moment. You may have heard Swick, Lewis Cancut and Tkay Maidza‘s Wishes on the collection a few weeks ago and now the complete set has been made available. Featuring Kero Kero Bonito and et aliae, it’s a colourful, kawaii collection of cheeky, quirky melodies. Stream both Snow In Newark and #ffb6c1 below or experience the latter in its full glory over at its dedicated website.

FUN FACT: #ffb6c1 denotes a light pink colour on the RGB colour space. Hopefully this means there will be some more hues on the horizon.

 

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Stream the brand new single from Kendrick Lamar, ‘i’

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Kendrick Lamar has dropped the very first single from his hotly-anticipated follow-up album from Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City. Produced by Rahkiit’s all about me, myself and with the artwork reportedly depicting members of the Bloods and Crips street gangs in unity.

Check out the world premiere below:

https://soundcloud.com/topdawgent/i-1/s-GT9Cd

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Bluejuice on breaking up, the past & the future

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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Azealia Banks drops new single, ‘Chasing Time’

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Azealia Banks has released the second single to her upcoming, (delayed) debut album, Broke With Expensive Taste. The latest, Chasing Time is a little less fiery-tongued and a bit more melodic compared to her earlier material, with Banks half-singing, half-rapping over a grooving, syncopated backbeat. Listen below:

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/yung-rapunxel/chasing-time[/soundcloud]

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Introducing…Magic Yume Records

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the 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. This week we’re looking at music label, Magic Yume Records.

For the last Introducing, we looked at Moving Castle, an American-based label born from the internet and this time, once again, we’re looking at a label that’s been conceived in the Soundcloud age. From U2 dropping their album on iTunes to most artists uploading their album to release before streaming, it seems most artists have accepted that music exists in a non-tangible sense now.

Producers and labels alike are taking on this idea and creating collectives that exist almost solely on the internet. It’s a world that unites people through similar tastes and nostalgic references, collecting a following mostly of those who grew up in the ‘90s. Introducing, Magic Yume – a self proclaimed internet label with a logo that features Japanese anime and our favourite Pokemon Jigglypuff.

On first look, you’d be forgiven for thinking Magic Yume is a Japanese-based label. Yume in Japanese literally means dreams and much of their output inhabits that kawaii sound that Japan has nurtured for years. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover Magic Yume is actually an Italian label, not that the geography of the label means much.

Their about page reads, “Magic Yume Records is an internet label and a promo collective of musicians. Born to find new talents on the web, the goal of the label is to create a roster of artists who can transmit emotions to make you dream.” They further add that they’re spreading “love, peace and friendship”. And you know what; given the sfumato, dream-state of the music, they probably are.

The label was created in April of this year by Ricardo Danielli and has since amassed quite a following on Soundcloud by churning out nostalgic, Japanese-inspired music that says Dance Dance Revolution, Nintendo and dial-up internet. It’s hard to imagine that Italy would produce such a thing but creating music from a bedroom for the internet has meant boundless possibilities in this age. It’s the reason why Ryan Hemsworth was able to be so influenced by Japanese music without having travelled there and how Sampology is about to release Brazilian-flavoured music despite living his whole life in Brisbane.

In its short history, Magic Yume has released seven albums and 10 singles, mostly for free to a niche market that growing ever-larger. Their Soundcloud followers now include Grimes’ producer Blood Diamonds and influential Japanese label, Maltine. It’s impossible to believe that any of this music would have seen the light of day if it had to be shipped to stores and survive on the power of the press.

It speaks volumes that most of the producers that have released music through the label have more followers on Soundcloud than they do Facebook. This music is enigmatic and faceless with no real need to reveal itself. As such, we wish we could give more information about Magic Yume but just like a dream, this is all we can gather.

Below are our favourite releases from the label so far and an attempt to make sense of wtf is going on.

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Findserene from “the land of lost love”, according to his/her Soundcloud, is making atmospheric, emotional music that is probably the least kawaii thing that the label has released thus far. “I hope at least one song stays on your mind enough to keep Findserene alive,” Findserene says about the release. It’s the first release from the producer and is accurately described as ambient and nostalgic with a mix of trap and pop. The result of that is brooding, contemplative music that is sometimes depressive but always with a light glimmering somewhere. On a song like Please Don’t Go, the synths hover above in an unsettling manner while on Ayanami’s Oyasumi, the beat pulsates like an irregular heart-beat.

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Et Aliae- W A I T I N G (Ulzzang Pistol Remix)

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Ulzzang Pistol has only released this one remix through AM Discs but this gives us a chance to talk about the young producer, because he’s doing some very impressive stuff. Firstly this remix of the enigmatic Et Aliae, is a glitchy, tempo-raising masterpiece and one of the best things released by Magic Yume. At 30,000 Soundcloud plays, more than the original, the remix is a testament to the infectious, universal nature of Ulzzang Pistol. The rest of his productions take a more j-pop inspired route, but they’re no less melodic or energy-laiden. Special mention to his I Miss You EP which puts him right up there with Japanese producers like Tofubeats and AZUPUBSCHOOL.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/magicyumerecords/et-aliae-w-a-i-t-i-n-g-ulzzang-pistol-remix[/soundcloud]

inbirth- Kawa

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There is very little we can tell you about Kawa about from the fact that the producer joined Twitter in 2009, which means that he/she wasn’t a trailblazer but also wasn’t slow on the uptake when it comes to tweeting. That’s completely besides the point, but very much on the point is the fact that their EP, Kawa is a perfect melting pot of kawaii sounds and trap-based hip-hop. Cascading beats define inbirth’s production with songs like Compression sounding like they could easily house a rap by Future if it weren’t for the mournful piano. All the tracks on the EP find a peaceful middle-ground between ambient and trap which sees it maintain a laid-back beat that lulls you in and keeps you there right until the very end.

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Friendly Sneakrz- Flowers From Above

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We’ve made you stick around right until the end for a hit of kawaii-filled, anime-inspired sound, but thank goodness you’ve stayed because Friendly Sneakrz has that in abundance. Flowers From Above is the debut album from yet another faceless producer making music with plenty of personality. The album is defined by dense soundscapes of perky synths and high-pitched vocal samples. At times it creates the dreamstate of a ‘90s Mariah ballad while at other times it’s rushing at a mighty pace like a video-game soundtrack. All the while, it maintains these delectable melodies that sink right in like a perfect pop track. It’s the most optimistic release by Magic Yume and a colour-infused success for Friendly Sneakrz.

[bandcamp album=2677563792 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=grande3 transparent=true]

 

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Watch: Video for SBTRKT & Ezra Koenig’s ‘New Dorp. New York’

Read our review of SBTRKT’s Wonder Where We Land. 

It seems like every day we have new material surfacing from London-based producer, SBTRKT. Leading to the release of his upcoming album, Wonder Where We Land, we’ve heard tracks such as Higher, The Light and Voices in My Head and now he has released a video for the first single, New Dorp. New York., featuring Ezra Koenig. 

The animated video was directed by Fond Schiedon, a Dutch director/visual artist whose work is internationally recognised and has been featured in such publications as The Guardian, ELEPHANT and Cartoon Brew.

Wonder Where We Land is out in Australia this Friday, 26 September.

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AO Beats flips Rihanna’s ‘Rude Boy’

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We wrote a few weeks ago about how Moving Castle is one of our favourite collectives right now and today one of the co-founders, AO Beats has proved just why we think so. He’s taken badgirl RiRi’s ultimate badgirl anthem, Rude Boy, and turned it into a delicious laid-back, number complete with vocal tampering and funky synths. It’s been almost two years since we’ve had a new Rihanna album which is almost unheard of for rapid hit-maker, Rihanna so this is a nice interlude while we wait. Actually if Rihanna’s next album sounded exactly like this that would be great. Rihanna meet AO Beats.

[soundcloud width=”750″ height=”200″]https://soundcloud.com/aokamura/rudeboy[/soundcloud]

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