Items filtered by date: January 2013
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 15:53

I Heart Hiroshima: Big Returns

Legions of I Heart Hiroshima fans were beginning to wonder what it would take to bring their favourite band back together. The answer turned out to be a major music festival.

Talking to guitarist-vocalist Matt Somers and drummer-vocalist Susie Patten, you’re left with the impression they don’t realise exactly how popular their band is. In that sense, having the Big Day Out come knocking is maybe the perfect reminder.

“Well, it was pretty much our manager sending us an email a couple of weeks before Christmas saying that the Big Day Out had offered us a slot,” Somers says over the phone. “He just asked if we’d be interested in getting it together, saying that we could probably sort it out.”

Patten’s been based in Berlin for the last two years, playing in a number of bands, thus putting I Heart on the backburner. But having a festival with the scale of the Big Day Out calling for your services means such geographical gaps are easily bridged.
“They offered us enough that we could fly Susie in from Berlin,” Somers continues. “So our manager thought he’d ask to see what we wanted to do, and we were all kinda like, ‘Yeahhh!’” he laughs.

Patten will only be back in the country for seven days. Even so, she’s looking forward to taking a break from the German capital, which is stuck in the grip of an icy European winter.

“It's been drizzly and raining here for a solid three weeks,” she says via email, “so seeing the sun will be a nice change. Plus the festival show, I mean it is going to be crazy and weird and really fun.”

It’ll be the band’s first performance in just under two years, in which time Somers and Patten, as well as guitarist-keyboardist Cameron Hawes, have been working on their own projects. Scene interviewed Somers for his Rick Fights solo shows at the start of October, and even then he admitted to having itchy feet for some fresh I Heart material. Now, he’s almost ready to burst.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he says. “In the last couple of days I’ve been trying to relearn the songs, and I think I’d forgotten how fun most of them are to play.

“I kinda needed to do the Rick Fights stuff to really, really want to do I Heart again. Because what I do solo is completely different. But I dunno – we’ve been talking in the last couple of days about maybe trying to write a new song in the couple of practices that we have and maybe seeing if we can record it roughly and put it out on the internet, or something. And I realised when we were talking about it that one of my Rick Fights songs could quite easily be turned into an I Heart song … it kind of shocked me that one of the newer songs would work with I Heart. I thought I was drifting away from it, but I guess I wasn’t.”

Patten likewise has been head down in her own material, writing songs for an electronic act, RODEO. But she’s hankering to get back on the riser – particularly seeing as good friend and former Philadelphia Grand Jury bandmate Simon Berckelman has had her drum set on permanent loan.

“There was still always that desire that can only be fulfilled by playing acoustically that I missed,” she explains. “I have a drum set here, a beautiful 1967 Pearl President, it lives at Simon’s studio and he uses it a lot. I just seem to never have the time to play it and when I do I wish I was playing with a band.”

So, seven days to practice like mad, maybe pen a couple of new songs, play the Big Day Out, and then a second show at Alhambra for local fans. You’d think they’d be shitting their pants, but neither Somers nor Patten seem overly stressed by the itinerary – just excited to be back onstage together once again.

“I am super, super, super excited for the two shows,” Patten says. “Playing in Brisbane will be such a great time and it will be so awesome to play to the home crowd again … My nerves are pretty steady, I just think it is all a bit of a crazy trip, especially how it happened so quickly.”

I Heart Hiroshima play The Big Day Out this Sunday 20 January, and Alhambra Lounge Tuesday 22 January.
Published in Rock
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 15:45

Hermitude: The Evolution Of Paradise

It seems Hermitude has evolved in a remarkably less than stepwise fashion, with each new album astonishingly different from the last. Elgusto casually counters such profundity: “It’s just an evolution of what we were in to. At no point did we ever want to redo what we ever did before.”

And the incarnations have been stark, starting when Luke Dubs and Elgusto got together to play in a number of bands when they were just youngsters. Elgusto recounts, “I was a drummer when I was growing up. We were playing mostly reggae, jazz and funk, and I think that was the beginning of Hermitude’s rhythm.

“I guess we got a lot of influence from Herbie Hancock, Parliament and James Brown of course. Herbie Hancock was kind of it for me in terms of his records. ‘Head Hunters’ with the song ‘Chameleon’ was where it all kicked in for me when I was young. The grooves on that record were incredible.

“Also there was a big influence when I went to Cuba when I was 15 years old, and my father and I studied Afro Cuban percussion. That was really an eye opener in terms of different styles and traditions. When I came back it really switched something in me.”
Eventually the inspiration and zeal culminated in the formation of Hermitude and they started writing music with a couple of synths, a sampler and a set of turntables. Since then, we’ve heard Hermitude play the instrumental hip hop that was all the rage in the early 2000s, then head off with some Latin sounds (which is understandable considering Elgusto’s background), and now onto something best described as future beats and electronica. Elgusto explains it is way outside of the square, but just what they’re into.

“As we progressed through the records we really liked to challenge ourselves. Soon we totally dropped the samples and played the instruments ourselves. When it came to ‘HyperParadise’ we wanted to challenge ourselves again with the general scene of beats in the last couple of years and the different synthesisers we collected on the way. And when we found a space, we set everything up in the one room all patched and ready to go. Then we sat there for a year and wrote ‘HyperParadise’.”
Some hip hop fans are highly likely to be exasperated by Hermitude’s new foray into future beats, but Elgusto explains that it’s simply an evolution of the band.

“I guess we wanted to move into a more electronic world rather than the hip hop world. We really wanted to focus on Hermitude’s core sound which was mostly instrumental. So instead of getting guest rappers or vocalists in we wanted to produce a whole instrumental record that could stand on its own two feet amongst the vocal albums out there.”

“Then we thought, how are we going to get this album to stand on its own two feet and get people walking away whistling a melody and getting really involved in the song? We thought there’s still got to be a hook, a chorus with a hook. So we started mucking around with samplers and synthesisers and just making sure that we had strong melodies to have people walk away and remember the song. And I guess what happened was that it came out more electronic than we thought and a bit more dance floor.

“I think we’re always taking steps and ‘HyperParadise’ was three years since the last album so it seemed like a large step. We’re back in the studio working on our next one and I think it’s going to be further down the road from where ‘HyperParadise’ finished.”

But it seems that regardless — or because — of Hermitude’s new sound, the duo are in high demand, even at unexpected festivals such as Earth Frequency.

“We’ve played at a number of doofs over the last couple of years. They’re always really fun with a bit more of an alternative crowd and they’re usually out in the bush somewhere with a really cool vibe. I think we’ve been booked a lot for doofs because our music is kind of ‘there’ but just a bit different.”

And when pressed for what Earth Freq-ers can expect to see, Elgusto states, “We like to perform our live shows as live as possible in an electronic sense. We never want to look like a couple of guys standing behind laptops nodding our heads. I guess that comes from the live performance background playing in bands. We have a bunch of synths on stage, an MPC sampler with drum pads and turntables, and we recreate the songs with all of those things on stage. We want to bring the live band and hip hop side of things into the electronic world.”

HyperParadise’ is out now. Hermitude play The Zoo on Sunday January 27 and will appear at Earth Frequency Festival at Landcruiser Park from February 15-18.
Published in Electronic
Monday, 14 January 2013 20:08

Time Capsule - Part 2

Scene Magazine celebrates 20 years on the streets in 2013. Each week this year, in this column, we're looking back at what we, and you, were doing.

scene-mag21Issue 20: March 30, 1994. It’s the Gurus on the cover of Club Scene Magazine, a publication searching for its niche in a city with two balls-out rock street papers. The advertising strip at the base of the cover was for Argon II rave feat: DJ Sasha.

Somehat incredibly, the mag didn’t actually have an editor yet — it was being cobbled together out of a residence in Bardon by the brothers Duggan; Rohan who was the catalyst for the project, and Howard who’d been seconded for his advertising experience with News Ltd.

The lone staff member was Damien Herse (production), with a contributor list including future editor, Neil Richards, and Nick Black, who 20 years later will run Play Nightclub in Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley — a mere 40 metres away from the present-day Scene Magazine offices.

Issue 32: June 15, 1994. Name change to The Scene. Front covers of The Gurus, Skunkhour, Jimi Hendrix and KISS notwithstanding, the inside of the mag was starting to cook with vibrant art for club nights, raves and fashion — all in a full gloss format (just as it is today, but not before a number of format changes, including the dreaded newsprint, but that’s for another day).

The magazine was well and truly being drawn to the underground.

 

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Published in Time Capsule
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:11

The Hobbit: Film Review

Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Andy Serkis. Directed by Peter Jackson.

I was 15 when I first read 'The Hobbit' and was excited when I heard it was getting turned into a movie. As I’m not much of a reader and more of a movie buff, when people said “the book was so much better than the movie” I thought 'yeah right! Movies are the best.' Sadly I have to agree when it comes to 'The Hobbit.' Beautiful scenery, stunning shot angles filled with atmosphere kept me watching for the three hours. But after 30 minutes and the characters having not left Bilbo’s house, I began to wonder how they were to overcome the journey and slay the dragon with only two hours to go. The answer is a trilogy. 'The Lord of the Rings' was three books and three movies, 'The Hobbit' was one small book therefore should be one intense and action-packed movie.

Alas no. This movie dragged on and seemed like a director's extended cut version with five-minute songs about cleaning up dishes. This seemed unnecessary. This is an understatement. There are however, many positives in the strong acting from Martin Freeman as Bilbo, the advanced CGI effects and costuming. As an adventure-lover, I still felt engaged through most of the movie as the action was intense and the incredible 3D technology sucked me in. I, like many others, will still go and see the next two movies so that we can get closure on an amazingly written book.

2.5 stars

'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' is in cinemas now.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:07

Les Miserables: Film Review

Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe. Directed by Tom Hooper.

Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper ('The King's Speech') took on the massive challenge of converting one of the most beloved musicals of all time onto the silver screen. And for the most part, he succeeds. Based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same name, 'Les Miserables' is a sprawling tale filled with rebellion, violence, love, injustice, revolution, hope and redemption.  Deciding to use actors rather than professional singers, (a move that dismayed many) Hooper employs live voice recording rather than adding the singing tracks in post production. A bold choice, but one that adds dimension to the film and allowed the actors to become immersed in their roles. The cast, led by Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, were all visually perfect for their characters but some vocals were a little hit and miss. Jackman carried the film, playing lead character Jean Valjean, and was mesmerising on screen. Hathaway, in the role of Fantine, was exceptional — raw emotion coupled with operatic singing — and in the film for not nearly long enough. The rest of the cast — Crowe, Amanda Segfried, Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter — were all a little forgettable.

Overall, a film that delivered occasional punches of emotion, an unforgettable song or two, a new appreciation of all things Hugh and empathy for the people struggling with their place in life.   


3.5 stars

'Les Miserables' is in cinemas now.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 16:00

South Pacific: Musical Theatre In Preview

It is regarded as one of greatest musicals to ever play on Broadway, winning a slew of awards since its debut in 1949. Now after garnering seven Tony Awards and playing sell-out seasons all over the globe, the Lincoln Center Theatre's stunning production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's 'South Pacific' has finally come to Brisbane.

This ground-breaking new production, directed by Bartlett Sher, features a cast of 40 and a live orchestra playing Rodgers & Hammerstein's beautiful score. The story centres around an America nurse who is stationed at a US Naval base during World War II who falls in love with an expatriate French plantation owner but then struggles to accept his mixed-race children.

The cast includes Lisa McCune and Teddy Tahu Rhodes in the lead roles, supported by Christine Anu and Gyton Grantley. Anu, a seasoned performer, who had never been involved in 'South Pacific', gamely took on the challenge of being show ready in a very tight timeframe. 

Q: Describe the show in 5 words?
Captivating, Colourful, Classic, Confronting, Life-changing

Q: What is your role and how did you become involved?
I play the role of Bloody Mary, a souvenir hawker from the island 'Bali Ha’i', which is also the title of one of the main songs the character sings. I became involved in the show after being asked to audition when the role was vacated.

Q: Highlights of being part of such a big production?
Touring to different places and performing to so many different faces is always a highlight. Working with big-name stars and a reputable company as well as a huge pool of talent that offers wonderful support.

Q: Drawbacks or challenges?
Touring! Being away from my family and routine is a drawback. My challenge has been stepping into a huge role already established by the previous actor and cast, and having a short and intense rehearsal period, like being in a pressure cooker. It’s been a big challenge.

Q: Describe a typical rehearsal?
Eight days of something like this to start: there is a vocal call with the Musical Director concentrating on the first song, then hop on stage and block that song.  Then a vocal call with the MD to go through another song, then hop on stage and block that number. Towards the end, real actors come in and there’s a tech run on the second last day.

Q: Have you seen any other versions of 'South Pacific'?
I haven’t seen any versions of 'South Pacific', only this production.

Q: What makes a good musical?
A good musical must have an interesting plot, a theme, romance, comedy, sadness and mystery, great characters — the beautiful leading lady, the charming, funny and handsome leading man and maybe a villain. There must also be amazing costumes, choreography, lighting and sets and of course the music that enhances and drives the story and leaves you singing the songs long after and wanting more.

Q: Any funny/ crazy/ weird/ wonderful stories to share about being part of this?
I played 'Liat' in my high school production which is not a singing role. Strangely, the person playing Bloody Mary was painted black. The production I did played down the racial discrimination theme, where as this production, I felt very confronted when I started the show during rehearsal.

Q: Anything else readers should know?
I have to wear tooth enamel — black, red, and 'nicotine' — for every performance. It is a little hard to remove and of course the first couple of times left my gums bleeding and too sore to keep brushing but I have to, to get the stuff off.

'South Pacific' is playing at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC until January 27.

Published in Theatre
Araabmuzik had a fairly big crowd for the small Red Bull Stage, and given its location outdoors in the sun he did well in holding his audience for the full hour living up to his moniker as the MPC king. Playing mostly techno and dubstep, Araabmuzik seemed a little out of sorts playing in the huge DJ box where his MPC couldn’t even be seen. Nonetheless, it was still what people wanted to hear and he got a huge send off when he finished.

Acts like Mark Ronson, Eddie Halliwell and Hudson Mohawk had the crowd in raptures, but it wasn’t until the appearance of M.I.A. that things were taken to the next level. Hitting the ground running after a short delay with 2005’s ‘Galang’, M.I.A. had the audience in the palm of her hand from the get go. Flanked by a trio of two back-up dancers and a hype woman the stage show frequently resembled a war zone as M.I.A. fought feedback problems, but ultimately overcame it all through sheer power with tracks like ‘Sunshowers’, ‘Bucky Done Gun’, a remixed ‘Bird Flu’ and crowd favorite ‘Paper Planes’ coming off like monsters. M.I.A. has been criticised in some quarters for her political activism, but after an hour of unrelenting intensity its clear that she has a serious message to push, even if that message sometimes gets lost in the noise.

Pulling the pieces together for anything else was always going to be hard, but scores of people still managed to make it to The Chemical Brothers’ DJ set. Exactly what the difference between their DJ set and their regular set is I’m still not sure, but it really doesn’t matter as Ed and Tom flawlessly segued between beats throwing in the occasional hit like ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’. The light show was as epic as ever and the crowd lapped it all up with most staying for the entire two hours despite the temptation of Hot Chip just across the way.

SEAN PEARSON

Mark Ronson’s DJ set went off with a bang – literally – with the Brit producer’s new single opening a performance worthy of the three Grammys that grace his mantle. It was a real mix bag with Bruno Mars, Adele, Missy Elliott, Jay Z, and Ludacris in rotation as well as a tribute to friend and collaborator, the late Amy Winehouse. Helping Ronson out on the vocals was a member of the Business International and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt.

We then made the short trek over to the Field stage to catch Disclosure’s Aussie debut. The brothers, Guy and Howard Lawrence, opened with ‘Control’ and worked what was a relatively small but appreciative crowd with their funky, electronic beats.
Smouldering before a pulsating orange backdrop and wearing his trademark tribal mask followed SBTRKT who had punters transfixed by his tasty basslines and beautifully delivered vocals.

KIM VLASIC

Kimbra (wearing a multi-coloured dress resembling a pom-pom rainbow jellyfish) kicked off her performance with the jumping all-star track 'Warrior' (featuring A-Trak and Mark Foster). The fans present for this post midday show had chosen the fantastically unedited voice of Kimbra and her colourfully clothed band as a dazzling way to start the festival. Playing tracks from the jazz-inspired electro pop album 'Vows', Kimbra's strong hooks and catchy melodies made the Field Stage crowd dance. Kimbra dropped an unexpected Busta Rhymes chorus line from 'Touch It' and those roaming near the stage joined in the dance.

Hudson Mohawke has received critical acclaim from the likes of Drake and Chris Brown. And like using those names in the same sentence the music started like a fight, thick and ominous. The low-end production beat was built up when Kanye West's 'Mercy' dropped to a riotous crowd. The barrier separating us from Hudson shook under the pressure of the heavy beats. In true hip hop fashion four short-shorted girls booty popped onstage to Kendrick Lamar's 'Backseat Freestyle'. Hudson Mohawke's adaptability to fresh and classic samples showed why the young man is making major moves.

Fake Blood's electro-house DJ set predicted the reactions of the afternoon crowd without flaws. Deep basslines began with a mix of Velvet Green's 'La La Land' chorus 'those little pills'. He set a dark night scene in the daytime. Water bottles were tucked away as the crowd's arms flared and twisted. Fake Blood stood solo in front of expectant ears and ran his game like a professional.

HARRY PATCHETT
Published in Events Music
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 15:47

Garage Gamer: The Games Of Life

If a film made by Brisbanites topped the American box office, or a Brisbane band found their way onto one in three American iPods, it'd be a game changer for Queensland's culture industry. In the video game industry, it'd be old news.

Brisbane-based Halfbrick Studios' mobile game 'Fruit Ninja' can be found on one third of all US iPhones. Thanks to that achievement, and the work of other local developers like Defiant Development, Curious Bear, Disparity Games and Visual Outbreak, Queensland now accounts for 17 percent of Australia's $2.5 billion gaming sector. 

It's high time, then, for Queenslanders to find out more about this growing industry. That's the aim of Garage Gamer, the State Library of Queensland's new exhibition dedicated to locally made video and mobile games.

“It's being run by The Edge and State Library of Queensland and it features a venue that's going to be open seven days a week filled with playable games,” SLQ events coordinator Susan Kukucka explains. “They'll be refreshed as new games are created and launched. The events program features workshops, talks, films and special events such as a trivia night, concerts, album launches and our fortnightly Level Up games nights.”

The first of those Level Up games nights comes this January 11. You'll be able to grab a drink, play the latest Queensland made video games, and bear witness as two teams of designers go head to head.

“It's being hosted by the QUT Creative Precinct's Game On Program and brIGDA, which is the Brisbane Independent Games Developers Association,” Susan says. “They've come up with this idea that's basically a cross between 'Spicks and Specks', 'Iron Chef' and 'Cut n Paste' where two teams of developers will battle it out, responding to design challenges and attempting to make a game within three hours. It's game development as a bloodsport.

“The audience will be able to get involved by voting on the best game and on how the games are progressing, and by picking the design challenges. You'll get to see how a game comes together behind the scenes, the raw look of the game and how a game designer actually goes about the challenge of creating a playable experience. All that's going to be visible, because we're going to be filming and projecting it for people to see. It'll expose the inner workings of a game, at least as much as you can in three hours.

“There'll also be other challenges for the audience during the night — we've got a ‘Fruit Ninja’ Kinect tournament on a five metre tall screen, and other activities around the space. It's going to be lots of fun and a good experience you're unlikely to get anywhere else.”

Indeed, the other aim of Garage Gamer — beyond showing off Queensland's prowess in an emerging field — is to recapture the social aspect of gaming, something that's become less prominent as so much of the multiplayer experience has gone online.
“The Level Up Game Nights are designed to be fun, social events,” Susan says. “We're inviting people to come along after work or school and stay back late at the exhibition, play the games and meet their friends. We'll be launching demos and full versions of new games as they're released, and the game makers themselves will actually be there, so you can come and meet these people that are making these amazing things.

“I guess our inspiration for these nights is to recreate that fun experience you might remember from your childhood, when playing video games was about playing with your friends and trying out new games together. It's about celebrating games as a social experience. The side benefit is that you get to be one of the first people in Brisbane, or the world, really, to experience the games that are being launched out of here. So it should be good fun. “And yes, there is a cash bar.”

The State Library of Queensland hosts Garage Gamer from Jan 5 to Apr 14, including the first Level Up games night this Friday Jan 11.
Published in Events Music

Pete Mitcham, aka Professor Pilsner, is an advocate of craft beer in Australia. Given the chance, he’ll convert anyone with a negative perception into a believer. He’ll be doing exactly that at Fluid Festival.

“The greatest thing about beer is that it is so flexible. Beer is thirst quenching, relaxing and a reward all rolled into one Australian culture. We tend to go for lighter, brighter crisp cleansing beers that match our sunny disposition and climate. When offering beers and ciders to the guests at Fluid Festival it's such a personal flavour that everyone has a hook, a flavour that sings to them.”

The Fluid Festival is dedicated to the finest aspects of beer and cider. Pete will host The Critics Choice Lunch, where a three-course meal is served and matched with five different Australian craft beers. Pete has taken meticulous care in planning the event including an introduction to the relationship between craft beers and the food they are served with.

“The only guideline I have for guests is to try the beer first and get a feel for what it's telling you, what the flavours they perceive are. Then they can try the food and the flavours in the beer make even more sense whether it's seafood, a roast, something grilled or slow cooked.”

To enhance the experience of each guest at Fluid Festival, Pete has concocted a few leftfield options that will surprise even seasoned craft beer drinkers. Wanting to keep the surprise a secret, Pete spoke in riddles.

“It's a big dark beer but it's not a stout; if you closed your eyes and were not told what it was you would think you had some sort of dessert in carbonated liquid form; and then you'd ask yourself what the flavour is underneath and you'd realise the beer is there. Is that cryptic enough?”

Over the last few years the popularity of craft beers and ciders has increased with the ever expanding number of small brewers and specialty beer bars. The catalyst for this change began with a few small brewers and spread as women got onboard with the movement.

“It has really changed in the last few years. Pioneer craft brewers like Matildas Bay, The Malt Shovel Brewery and Mountain Goat did it hard trying to offer something different. Slowly there was a groundswell of local support. Now the girls with their sophisticated palettes are leading and seeking out places that cater to beer tastes from a non-bloke point-of-view; like pouring it in the correct glasswear, offering a pleasant and comfortable environment and most important, the subtle hints of flavour. Now the blokes are following along.”

Fluid Festival will showcase more than 60 craft beers and ciders, but there are a couple that need special attention.

“Boutique Brisbane company Bacchus Brewing Co [will have] chocolate-cherry and smoked malt [beers]. The one that everyone must try is the Burleigh Brewery's Hef beer. It's a German wheat beer style that just won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup. The Germans are crying into their steins that a little Australian brewer has taken the title.”

And for those who prefer a shandy to a beer, there’s still plenty to learn with a new breed of drinker potentially emerging according to Pete.

“Fluid Festival is an opportunity to think about who brews your beer and where it comes from instead of how many you can drink in one session. It's un-Australian to be seen as a beer snob but I'd rather be a beer snob than a beer yob.”

Fluid Festival Takes Place At The Pig N Whistle Riverside Australia Day Saturday January 26.

Published in Events Music
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 15:26

The Bloodpoets: I Predict A Riot

The garage rock of The Bloodpoets is all over local radio with new release ‘Ra Ra Ra Ra Riot’, and drummer Todd Orchard says the new album will be just as grand.

They're a bit too heavy for the hipster scene and too poppy for the hardcore kids, but The Bloodpoets have their own niche in the Brisbane scene. "We're somewhere in the rock/ pop realm,” according to Todd. ”We started out playing very poppy music, and over the years our sound's become a bit riffier, rockier. I think we play tunes with riffs and hooks that people can dance to, and they're memorable as well."

As for the group’s name, the 'Bloodpoets' tag has stuck since the early days.

“When Tom [Murphy] initially got the band going, it was him and his brothers, so the blood thing was a reference to family and the brotherhood. And poets refers to the creative aspect of it all," Todd explains.

It's no longer a family affair, with the line-up now consisting of Tom on vocals and guitar, Jake on bass and Bec on the keys, with Todd manning the drum kit. Together, they're an authentic rock band where the focus is on tunes rather than fashion. Are they not influenced by the hipster zeitgeist at all?

"No, not really!" Todd says. "Between the four of us, we listen to lots of different stuff. We're into bands like Muse, Biffy Clyro. Those bands that do the really big, dynamic riffage with catchy melody stuff as well. We're recording our second album at the moment, and it's a lot more rock than our previous album."

Proof of this can be seen in first single, 'War', as well as their latest offering. 'Ra Ra Ra Ra Riot' is an in-your-face jam that recalls early Spiderbait: loud, catchy, and over in less than three minutes. "I think it sets the tone for the new album in a lot of respects. It's looking like 40 minutes of that sort of intensity, which is what we were shooting for."

The album will be "hopefully recorded by February, though I think that might be a bit of a stretch at this point. We've just got to finish it up and mix it. It's looking like it will be called 'The Grand Machine' at the moment."
Keen to try out the new material, the 'Poets recently played at The Elephant Arms’ new Thursday night, ‘Underground Elephant’.

"We purely focused on the new album stuff, and didn't play any old stuff. There's a good energy about performing those new songs because we haven't had the opportunity to, really. The crowd seemed positive, so yeah, it was very encouraging!"
Todd says the group are looking forward to hitting the road again, with a few new places to visit on the list.

"We're hoping to do some east coast stuff. We've been getting quite a bit of airplay in New Zealand at the moment, so we've got some wheels in motion there as well. We're hoping to get over there at some point early [in 2013]."
At this point, Todd thinks more overseas dates are a bit further off, but says it "absolutely" depends on the new album's reception.

"We try to keep the intensity and energy up," Todd says about the band’s live show. "We all play very hard, and try to get the crowd involved and people dancing. If someone's danced at a show and walks away with a couple of tunes in their head, that's what we strive to achieve with our live show."

After a triumphant 2012 for The Bloodpoets, Todd finds it hard to narrow it down to his best moment.

"I think hearing 'War' on the radio was a highlight. Launching it at the Hi-Fi was really good, and also getting airplay in New Zealand for 'War'. In recent times 'Riot's been really good as well. I think as far as next year goes, finishing this album and getting it out there is the top priority at the moment."

The Bloodpoets launch their latest album, ‘The Grand Machine’, at The Zoo, February 2. The Elephant Arms’ weekly Thursday night event, ‘Underground Elephant’, Launches on Jan 24.
Published in Rock
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