Items filtered by date: October 2013
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:49

The Gatling Gun: Kitty Cat

Local DJ Kitty Gatling talks university, ‘90s jams and the imbalance of the sexes in the industry.

“I get really cranky when people come up to me and say 'how lovely, you're a chick',” admits The Gatling Gun aka Kitty.

The Brisbanite started DJing so she could play her favourite music while making people dance.

“I was just tagging along with my friends. I decided that I really appreciate it. People were hesitant to play ‘90s music, hesitant to play real cheesy bangers. I was like ‘well look, I'm going to fill the gap’ and it's worked out really well for me.”

Often asked if she's attending a ‘90s dress-up party when she goes out, Kitty thinks the era, often ridiculed, is an untapped music resource.

“TLC's 'Waterfall', that's a good song. It's actually my jam. Until everyone appreciates it, I'm going to keep playing it.”

In a male orientated industry, Kitty isn't afraid to break the 'sexy female DJ' mould.

“I'm trying my best by being weird looking. I really wish there were more girls out. It's a lot of pressure to be like Havanna Brown and have long wavy hair.

“There's a total imbalance between the sexes,” she continues. “I think we need to smash it down. Brisbane needs more of a mix and not just a douchebag guy with a backwards hat.”

Kitty has only been DJing a few months, but has already had the opportunity to play at this year's Splendour In The Grass.

“I got back to uni and said to everyone, 'you don't understand what's happened to me'. I'd just seen so much. I had this sense of  like 'look at me I'm really special'. I went to uni and everyone was like, 'we don't really care'.”

As an emerging artist, Kitty is looking forward to performing at the youth-only 2high festival.

“When you think about all of the great musicians you know, they've all had a leg up. It's really important to take it a step back and have a look at the people around you and see what they can bring to the local art culture.”

The Gatling Gun performs at 2high at the Bris Powerhouse Nov 2. She also provides the soundtrack at 2high pre-event at The Rabbithole Ideation Cafe Oct 12.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:45

Little Scout: Big Future

Brisbane four-piece and former Triple J Next Crop artists Little Scout have released their second record, ‘Are You Life’. They’re stoked to be touring it... mostly.

“We all get pretty cranky when we haven't had a lot of sleep or if we're hungry,” Melissa Tickle explains. “The morale is low at those times. Otherwise it's so wonderful to be able to play shows, so you have to take the good with the bad. We are taking a few great bands on the road with us like Eves (Hannah Karydas), I A Man, Bree Tranter (formerly from The Middle East) and Little Casino … So yeah, we're really excited to be playing with those guys. And playing this new album is so much fun, so that's also going to be great.”

'Are You Life' was released in early September, and the band were lucky enough to work on it alongside Lars Stalfors, the US producer and engineer who's worked with the likes of The Mars Volta, Matt & Kim, Cold War Kids, Deap Vally... and now Little Scout.

“[Lars] had emailed us and asked if we'd like to work with him,” Tickle remembers, “which was quite incredible for us. He is such a fabulous human being. He's so supportive and encouraging and he really gets what we were trying to achieve. He… really experiments with weirdness. It's such a wonderful thing to be encouraged by someone of that calibre. That he's such a personable human being is an added bonus.”

Despite having their latest album mixed in America, Tickle makes it plain that Little Scout will never forget their Brisbane roots. “Brisbane is a family and the Brisbane scene is really supportive. Within that, there's so much talent and so much exceptional songwriting, it's quite mind-blowing that we are a part of it. I really love that, and I just hope that the dialogue that's going on with young bands talking to older bands who've sort of seen it all, I hope that continues and is still such a strong community in years to come, because it's such a wonderful thing.”

Little Scout play The Beach Hotel Oct 10, Black Bear Lodge Oct 18 and Solbar Oct 26. ‘Are You Life’ Is Out Now.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:44

Paul Dempsey: Calls Shotgun

What started as messing around during soundcheck has turned into a new solo record for Something For Kate frontman Paul Dempsey.

Soon enough, Paul was covering classic tunes with just an acoustic guitar during shows.

“Basically it just became this challenge every night of the tour. They would throw a song at me and I would just do it in one go, so they were very unrehearsed and kind of loose and spur of the moment. They're all obviously songs that I love and songs that have been inspiring, and all the different artists are all very influential artists for me,” Dempsey says.

The result of these ‘spur of the moment’ covers is ‘Shotgun Karaoke’, an album featuring emphatic renditions of Queen, You Am I and others. Paul wanted to pay respects to the songs as well as showcase the brilliance of the music.

“I guess the other interesting thing about this it that sometimes by just reducing a song down to nothing but the acoustic guitar, it really shows people just how amazing the song really is because it can still sound so good with just one instrument. Some songs you can't reduce down to the acoustic guitar because they just depend on so much studio trickery or so many different gimmicks, but a truly great song should be able to be played on just one instrument.”

Recognising it was crucial to translate the impromptu feel of the live covers into future performances, Dempsey is starting from square one when putting together his upcoming tour. With inclusions from his solo work alongside several Something For Kate tracks, the show looks to be an eclectic mixture of music.

“I have to start again, I've played all these songs twice, maybe three times. I really haven't rehearsed and it's because I kind of want to keep that really loose, spur of the moment energy about it. It's the kind of thing where if I rehearse it too much it's not going to work, but it's just supposed to be loose and fun and I think the audience is sort of going to go there with me.”

Paul Dempsey plays The Zoo October 5-6. ‘Shotgun Karaoke’ is released October 4.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:35

Adam Simmons Toy Band: Free Your Inner Child

Accept the invitation to tap into your inner child with Melbourne’s Adam Simmons Toy Band at the upcoming Festival Of Toy Music.

The quirky festival brings together artists, such as New York’s ‘Queen of the toy piano’ Margaret Leng Tan and Australian acts Clocked Out, Matthew Horlsey and Toy Death, who combine serious talent with whimsical and witty toy instruments.

The man behind The Adam Simmons Toy Band is multi-instrumentalist, artist and teacher Adam Simmons, who describes their sound as a big brass band with a bit of weird thrown in.

“We’re made up of three saxophones, two trumpets, trombone, bass and drums – along with four suitcases containing hundreds of assorted children's toys and toy instruments. We’ve got a wide range of eclecticism; from beautiful lyrical music to big band jazz. It gets a bit funky, and then it just gets strange, like when we’ll play party blowers or rubber chickens. It’s slightly like ‘The Simpsons’; not just for kids, more a family thing.”

Experimenting with the toys in live music happened very organically for Adam.

“I started playing with toys at an artist colony in upstate new york called Music OMI. There was another woman there who was playing toy instruments and noise guitar and cut-up DJ stuff. So I got into playing toys with her, and then bought some toys at the Hudson music store and started incorporating them into my solo show.

“One reason for using the toys is stretching the sounds I get out of  a normal sax or clarinet, its just exploring sounds.Then I got asked to put a band together for the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery for an opening. I was given a budget and they wanted something lively, and the toy band was born out of that. It [came out of] trying to combine something that was going to have an up, festive vibe with these moments of weirdness and artiness about it.”

Adam says the criteria for choosing the toys that make it into the show is entirely subjective.

“A good toy that makes me laugh gets in. We’ve got spinning tops, remote controlled dinosaurs, party blowers, balloons and various rubber animals or meat. Most are old school but occasionally an electric one sneaks in.”

It’s an honour and privilege, he says, to be part of the Festival Of Toy Music (which also has a children’s workshop component, where kids will be able to make a music box with Adam).

“There are some amazing artists on the program, and it’s nice to know there are other people exploring toys. The beautiful thing about toys is there are many different approaches; the variety will be surprising to the musicians and the audience. It’s the way that toys bring you in, without you realising, into these weird and wonderful sound worlds. It’s really liberating for an audience.”

So, with all that in mind, what can audiences actually expect to see from Adam’s set?

“Our show is a mix of both theatre and music. There are structures, but we are always just as surprised as the audience. It will be a journey with beautiful moments of weirdness. We're definitely serious about having fun.”

Adam Simmons Toy Band will play The Festival Of Toy Music at Brisbane Powerhouse October 5.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:30

Xavier Rudd: Be The Change

Gifted multi-instrumentalist and icon for positive change, Xavier Rudd, will join musical powers with Donovan Frankenreiter and Nahko & Medicine for the feel-good tour of the year.                                                                              

Fresh from three months of heavy touring in Europe and North America, Xavier says the decision to unite voices, cultures and music with Donovan and Nahko just happened.

“I saw Nahko and Medicine last year and they were brilliant. We collaborated and connected so I asked them about touring with me to the States, from there we decided to continue that journey here. I've known Donny for about ten years; we played shows in Europe last year and talked about performing together in Australia ‘round the same time as Nahko, so we just decided to put it all together.” 
The new tour will see some onstage collaboration between the musicians, and a new visual show to accompany their beautiful sounds.

“It’s going to be a really stunning audio visual show by Sinem Saban, who directed the great documentary ‘Our Generation’. It’s three screens of beautiful and destructive visuals of our planet that have come in from all over the world. I’ve wanted to launch these visuals on tour for a long time. It’s exciting.”

Promising to play a mixture of new and older tracks, Xavier says he's recruited a new drummer to his usual 'one-man-show’.

“I'm playing with an amazing drummer called Charles Wall, also known as Bobby Alu. He drummed with me in the States. He's deadly. He's just got so much love and so much groove, it’s a pretty cool little exchange.”

Xavier Rudd plays Yac Ampitheatre Oct 7 and The Tivoli Oct 8. Xavier also plays The Caloundra Music Festival Oct 6.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:24

Enslaved: Extreme Ritual

In a world rife with sub-genres, Norway’s Enslaved is one of the few heavy metal acts that refuses to be slotted into an easily defined style.

You see, ever since they rose from the ashes of their former death metal band, Phobia, in '91, Enslaved has forged towards something more ambitious.
“We decided to split up [Phobia] because we were kind of bored with the so-called death metal we played,” vocalist and bassist Grutle Kjellson explains.

“We wanted to start from scratch again with this lyrical concept based on Norse mythology.

“We combined Norse mythology with – well, at least in the beginning – pretty harsh and primitive metal. It was kind of a reaction to how trashy death metal had become.”
Further distinguishing Enslaved from the hordes of Norwegian death metal groups are their songs, which often exceed ten minutes. But not even the term 'progressive' seems to sit well with Grutle.

“When people refer to progressive music, it's a bit ironic because those bands that claim to play progressive rock tend to play very regressive rock because they have a formula.
“If you step outside of the boundaries and try to explore a little bit, I think that's what you could call progressive – in that sense we're a very progressive band.”

The band's latest LP, 'RIITIIR', also represents their eagerness to ignore the guidelines laid out before them.

“I think it’s our strongest album to date. We actually went back a little in terms of recording philosophy. We decided to try to record the thing live again for the first time in many years. We tried to have a more dynamic and live band, and there are some minor mistakes here and there, but I think the sound breathes a lot more than the contemporary, sterile, typical metal production.”

'RIITIIR' also finds Enslaved exploring beliefs foreign to the realms of Norse mythology.

“It's a constructed word inspired by an old Norse word … and it more or less means 'ritual', and the concept is the primal rituals of mankind. A lot of the same themes are in very different mythological systems, yet they didn't have any contact with each other.”

Enslaved play The Hi-Fi Nov 3.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:15

Bobby Rivas: Bringing Salsa Home

You might not know his name, but in the world of Latin music Bobby Rivas is a superstar. Oh, and he did a little voice-over work in the Spanish version of the Disney classic, ‘The Little Mermaid’.

“I remember when I was like 20 years old; I did a lot of commercials and infomercials for a production company. One day I was doing something for McDonalds and they wanted me to do an opera song. I started playing around and the [‘Little Mermaid’] producer heard me so they went after me. And that is how I began doing voice-overs. I'm still doing a lot of voice-overs right now for a lot of different movies,” Bobby explains.

Complementary to Bobby's extensive acting and voice-over career has been his involvement in salsa music production and composition since he was six years old, fifty years ago.

“My father is my inspiration. My father used to listen to the big stars of salsa. He was a feature and played [with] the New York Giants [American football team] so he was very involved in salsa music before I was born.”

Bobby was born and raised in El Salvador in Central America with music central to his daily routine for the majority of his life.

“It's been challenging but nothing impossible to do. Salsa music is rich to everyone who has melody in their souls. Music without a melody cannot go on.”

Being a salsa musician, one would think Bobby would have struggled to break into the Western market. But in fact, it was his home airwaves that he struggled to reach the most.

“My biggest challenge in the industry has been relating to my people. When I say my people, I mean the people from my country. And finally it's a dream come true. After several years I've tried and tried to become recognised by the people from South America. And finally last year somebody invited me to play a show in town, in my country and then people got to listen to my music.

"Since then we've had something going on. I feel that is the inspiration for me to keep on going now. I was achieving different markets in Colombia, Venezuela. So now it's my country and I'm happy for that.”

Bobby may only just be breaking the market in his home country now, but some of his most successful music projects have been collaborations with other salsa music industry professionals including Enrique Izquieta.

“The Enrique Izquieta thing came up when I was working in a nightclub here in Los Angeles back in 1986. We played a prestigious festival. Working with so many artists, that was a gift. I was working at the well known nightclub that everybody would go to see the greatest artists at that moment.

“I was working there and we all just became friends having a good time. And the other artists, they collaborated too and made lots of records. Then we started going on and on and on doing some more productions and actually performing at different festivals around the world.”

Bobby’s body of work shows no signs of slowing down either.

“We're working on some projects right now. One of my own and two productions with some other artists. The productions are musical shows. One is for Vegas. Right now I'm passionately into doing more music, music that I am writing, music that I dictate on my regime.

“I would say my next challenge is production and helping the younger and needy musicians who are trying to achieve something in life. Those who really have a dream, like I did, to become somebody, to be somebody in music, to reach a goal in music. That's one of my dreams right now, to help the needy. To help the people who want to achieve a musical dream. That's what I want to do.”

Bobby Rivas is one of the judges of the Brisbane heat of Clave Contra Clave, the Australian Latin music competition, at the Tivoli Saturday Oct12.


Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:08

Dizzee Rascal: The Pursuit Of Dizziness

A few years ago, Dizzee Rascal’s single ‘Dance Wiv Me’ signalled a change in the cheeky UK rapper’s music, away from the grime sound of old, in the direction of unabashed pop.

His new album, ‘The Fifth’, sees him embrace the idea of pop even more. Packed with dancefloor-ready beats, it’s his most joyous release to date. As he tells it, he wanted to make an album that would give his live show more punch. “The whole thing with this record is that it’s geared towards live audiences,” he explains.

“The earlier stuff didn’t have a lot for the crowd to latch onto in terms of hooks and the rest of it, it was just me rapping away, so this time, I really wanted to give people something. I challenged myself to bring those big hooks in and make it work.” 

Dizzee has said that if his last record, ‘Tongue n’ Cheek’, represented him dipping a toe into the swimming pool of happiness, then ‘The Fifth’ is him diving in and going for a swim. I ask him what brought about this new way of thinking and he says, simply, that he’s arrived at a point in life where he appreciates the benefits of happiness and positivity.

“I want to see people smiling and jumping around and having the time of their lives at my shows,” he says. “I want music that facilitates that. I mean, the energy that it gives off, people might run around and have a fight too, but I want people to have a good time. I want to make people feel good. I want to make classics. I want people to put my music on when they have a celebration. That’s how I want to be remembered.” 

‘The Fifth’ was made in Los Angeles, and the atmosphere of the city — itself undergoing something of a hip hop resurgence at the moment — contributed greatly to the sound of the album.

“I’ve been coming to LA for years,” Dizzee explains, “it’s actually the first place I went when I came to America back in 2003, but I’ve never made music here before this album. It’s always been my favourite American city, even ahead of Miami. This time around, I decided to come out here and do the pop star thing — I worked with some big people in some big studios, and I just had a laugh.

"It’s funny to be waking up in hotels, every day is sunny, going to the studio all day … There are so many people here. You can go to a studio here and anyone can be next door. You’ll be walking the halls and bump into Tyga or Chris Brown.” 

Across a decade-long career, Dizzee has always produced his own material. But when making ‘The Fifth’, he decided to try a new approach, entrusting production duties to his various collaborators so he could focus on songwriting instead.

“I’d never done that kind of thing before, because I’d always done it myself from home,” he says. “It was cool, though, because the calibre of producers and beat makers I worked with was very high.”

Pop heavyweight RedOne contributed, along with R&B star Baptiste, and many more.

“The production side of me was still there, because I picked the beats, and I worked on the arrangements,” Dizzee continues.

“The way things fit together on the album isn’t necessarily the way they fit together when I was first presented with the beats. When you have to build a beat then write to it, your thought process is different, so I liked that I started out working with smashing pop hooks for this one.” 

Dance and hip hop are changing and evolving all the time, and on that front, Dizzee considers it a part of his job to always be on top of the newest sounds and the newest beats.

“That’s especially true when it comes to hip hop,” he says. “My heart’s still there, it’s still the core of what I do, so I wake up every morning and look all over the internet for new shit, from the mainstream as well as the underground. That’s my main thing. 

"I also listen to a lot of club music – it’s not necessarily my main thing, but I hear a lot of it about, and I’m always curious about why and how people respond to different beats. I was in Ibiza and went to the clubs there and had an eye-opening experience there.

"It’s not necessarily what I’m into, but it’s not always about what I’m into, it’s about finding out what stimulates people, and then trying to find a balance, putting that into my own music.”

Dizzee puts on a very energetic live show, constantly bouncing from left to right around the stage, and ‘The Fifth’ will only add more energy to the performance.

“I definitely give it my all in the show,” he says with a laugh. “My knees are fucked afterwards! I feel super hyped after I come off. I put everything into the show, but I always find that if you give everything, you’ll get it back.

"There’s nothing worse than seeing a lazy rapper. Live performance is the most important part of this whole thing for me – when people come to see me, they want to see the music come to life, they want to have the full experience, and it’s very important for me to give them that.”

‘The Fifth’ is out now.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 15:05

Owl Eyes: Nightswimming

Brooke Addamo comes across like an endangered species.

The woman known as Owl Eyes is softly spoken, like she's found her feet but isn't ready to step on anyone's toes.

Split-seconds of hesitation meander down the phone line as Brooke launches into a dialogue that doesn't quite relate to the question being posed, instead answering one I wish I'd thought to ask.

She tells me that her favourite artist isn't Madonna, her favourite Beatles song could be ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’, and that her favourite time in life could potentially be right now.

Addamo's story is an unlikely one, although not so unlikely as to verge on the unbelievable. It's a faux pas to bring up her reality TV past. Though so many moons ago, her appearance on that notorious talent show which cannot be named still seems to have left a residual effect.

Brooke believes in opportunism, without being an opportunist. She's careful, without being cautious. There are other aspects of her demeanour, too, which leave one wondering if they exist because of an awkward teenage moment.

"Not too many people bring up ‘Australian Idol’ anymore. Usually in the cities I never get asked about it, but if I'm doing a regional tour I might get asked. I don't mind it. Everyone has a backstory and this is mine. I don't regret it, I just take it with a grain of salt.

"Everyone has their dorky, awkward teenage phase... mine was broadcast live on national TV. The main thing that’s annoying about it is that it's all over Youtube. Once it gets on there you can never take it away!"

The awkwardness would arguably have been greater had Brooke never pursued a career in music. But she's not a TV phenomenon, despite her YouTube acrimony. Brooke Addamo is 22, she's released two EPs, and her debut LP 'Nightswim' dropped onto Richard Kingsmill's desk early this year.

When Brooke refers to herself as an artist it's not in passing; she means every bit of it.

Every silver lining has a cloud, though. Earlier this year, Clare Bowditch told us that young, female artists have to struggle to be taken seriously as musicians, that they have to escape a cloud of doubt and earn their legitimacy, and Brooke doesn’t disagree.

"I guess that argument has some weight to it. I guess when you're a young female artist you get questioned a lot. I was talking to Amy from Stonefield. They get asked a lot of hard questions about whether they actually really love what they're doing or if they're actually just being fed that from a label.

"But I just try not to focus on things like that. You can get very caught up, very overwhelmed and upset by things like that. But that's just the way it is, you just have to take it on yourself to say that you love music and that's what you love doing."

Brooke finds herself in the developmental crossroads that often defines being in one's early twenties. She tells me her age gets brought up quite frequently in interviews, that people like to remind her how young she is. She doesn't feel that young.

"I guess I'm still young, but I also feel quite mature and I feel like I'm finding myself as an artist more than I have in the past. I've been doing music for a long time now, so I don't feel too young. There are so many up-and-coming artists, there's producers who are only 16 that are making music and putting it on Soundcloud and getting signed. But I feel like I can still take risks and not be too harshly criticised because I'm in my lower twenties."

Brooke’s political beliefs are rarely criticised, mainly because she never talks about them. Truthfully it's no one's business to ask... but hey, it's an election year. Let's hear it.

"I don't really get involved in politics because it makes me quite mad. But my main policy would probably be to legalise gay marriage. I think it's ridiculous that we're living in the past. If you love someone you should be able to show that.

"I have a lot of gay friends and I feel quite passionately about that. I'm not too sure what my political party would be called. Probably something funny to do with cats."

Or dogs, perhaps. Given her affiliation with Oscar's Law. Perhaps 'affiliation' is too strong a word, though. She's not so much campaigning for them as she is lending them a face and a name. Brooke is just an artist, after all.

"I don't really take a stand on a lot of issues because I'm not an activist, I'm not a politician. But I do support the belief that if you believe something you should talk about it.

"Oscar's Law came to me and asked if I was interested. I read about them and thought it was a good cause. I do believe in animal rights; I don't think puppy farms are the right way to go. I didn't know much about them before they contacted me but after looking at how dogs are being treated in those facilities I thought it was something worthy of my time... even if it was just for a photograph."

The interview comes to a close and I realise I haven't asked a single question about Owl Eyes' latest LP, 'Nightswim'. It's quite rude, really, and perhaps a little frustrating.

"No, the main thing that frustrates me is when people don't do their research, like when people ask me if I've toured before. I like being thrown different questions. I do have opinions, obviously, I'm not a puppet."

Owl Eyes plays Alhambra Lounge Friday October 11 and the Woombye Pub October 12. The ‘Nightmixes’ EP is released October 18.

Published in Pop/ Electro
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