Items filtered by date: October 2013
Thursday, 10 October 2013 07:08

Knox: Fiji's Marley

Drawing influence from reggae legend Bob Marley and rock bands like The Police, then tying it all together with his Fijian heritage, Knox is taking on the world.

In Fiji there is music everywhere. Everywhere that you go, from the churches to the shops, people are making music. It's also a very tourism-based island and because of that there are a lot of cover bands. I think that has influenced me to try to get out and make something for myself. I want to show the Fijians that you can make it outside of Fiji on your own.”

With so much musical inspiration flowing around the island, his writing process is stemmed from life experiences.

“I don't sit there and go 'okay, I'm going to write a song now'; that doesn't have enough of a real meaning. For me it has to be something that just comes to me, something natural.”

But it certainly hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for Knox, with more than a few hurdles in the path of his dream of making music.

“As a musician, people think you live really easily, but you have to be prepared for rejection. In a single year you can face more rejection than people do in their whole life.”

Knox always wanted to make a difference – and despite spending a year studying to become a doctor, music was where his heart truly belonged.

“It was difficult [for me] in the sense that I thought that my family might write me off of the family tree, because of our culture. My father did to begin with, but after about two months he understood. So that was probably the hardest part. I had to say, ‘okay, I am going to give this everything I’ve got’.

“I think that you need to throw your whole self into it. You need to ask yourself deeply, ‘is this for me?’ If it's just something that you're dabbling in or thinking about then it's not enough. You can't go into it half-heartedly.

“You also have to be good at it. It's not something you can learn. Yes, you can go and study music, but all that means is that you can play the guitar mechanically, not passionately.”

Knox Plays Byron Bay Brewery Oct 11, Nimbin Roots Festival Oct 12 and The Cooly Oct 13. 

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Thursday, 10 October 2013 06:46

Jae Laffer: Red

Vocalist and esteemed songwriter Jae Laffer has ventured out from The Panics with debut solo album ‘When The Iron Glows Red’, an ode to the common man going through the rat race of life.

“The album’s named after a quote I took from the paper,” Jae explains.

“I was working on some songs, then I read this quote from the guy who was the last blacksmith in Hanoi. He said, ‘when the iron glows red, you earn your money and that is your life’, and it had a poetic nature to it.”

The ARIA and J Award winner was making money unloading shipping containers in his hometown of Perth when he came across the article, and could relate it to the songs he was writing about people he encountered in the workplace.

“There’s a struggle that comes with the quote, a sort of resignation that you earn your money and that’s your life, and I recognise that gnawing away at a lot of people. You’re out doing the things you’re supposed to do in society – making money and getting married, but there’s also the dream.

"You’ve got to fight the things that make you old and cynical. That’s what I write about. It’s a record of half struggle and half hope.”

The album leads with vibrant new single ‘Leave A Light On’, and is accompanied by news of a national tour this October.

“Originally I was going to perform in a laidback way, but I realised that to work in the live arena you need a burst of energy, so I’ve put together a full five piece group. It’s from my heart and it’s fun stuff to play so I think it will come across well in the clubs.”

Jae is doing his own thing for now, but fans of The Panics don’t need to... well, panic.

“We are working on a bunch of stuff,” he reassures me. “It’s always fun making music with a group of people who share the same vision, so I will always prioritise that. But life is quick, so do whatever the fuck you want. It’s empowering for your creative mind to step outside and make an album just because you feel like it.”

Jae Laffer plays Alhambra Lounge October 18 and The Loft (Chevron Island) October 19. ‘When The Iron Glows Red’ is out now.

Published in Rock
Thursday, 10 October 2013 06:39

Electric Punanny: Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat

The brainchild of seasoned New York DJs MeLo-X and Jasmine Solano, Electric Punanny has built a reputation as one of the top monthly club nights in New York City.

“Roxy Cottontail asked us if we wanted to do the party at Sway and we said yes and that's where everything really blew up,” Jasmine says.

“Within three months the cops came to shut down Spring Street because we had 300 people trying to get in. As the years went on things just continued to be insane just because of the formula we have for the music, the vibe and me and MeLo when we combine our skills.”

They're not definable by any genre and are well-known for drawing an extremely diverse crowd to their monthly parties. 

“We kind of exist where the music clashes. We like to go where all the blurred lines are between music genres and that attracts a lot of different people. Whether it's Jamaican people that live in Flatbush or hipsters that live in Williamsburg, we kind of exist on this beautiful blurred line.”

Taking club nights back to their gritty roots, this is not a high class affair. Notorious for being a sweatfest of daggering, grinding and down low partying, they never want a single person standing still.

“Literally every time we have a party we're always walking out drenched. Your clothes are drenched, your hair is drenched and I guess that's a good sign and it's been happening for about five-and-a-half years now. It was the aim and it's still the goal every time.”

Perhaps what makes this collaborative effort so intriguing is the fact they freestyle on stage, rather than playing to a set list.

“It's normally always freestyle, we can prepare as much as we want and we always have the newest dancehall or just the newest bangers across the board, but once we get there it's just all about the people. We feed off of what they know and what they react to because the whole point is to get everyone to move as much as possible and just let go you know.”

With their monthly soundsystems a staple of the NYC scene, Jasmine believes good ole fashioned block parties are on the rise.

“I feel like it's always been there, whether it's a warehouse rave or a basement party. I think the new thing we've seen in the past ten years is the art of the festival whereas parties, these dance parties that were once really underground have now come above ground and are a major money making business in the industry.”

About to embark on a world tour, Electric Punanny show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

“We're going to go on this world tour, that's what's next. We leave in four days and we are going to Paris, Sweden, London, Germany, Australia and Tokyo, so it's four weeks and it's ten different cities.”

Travelling to Australia for the first time together, what seems to be the most alluring thing for the DJ is the unfamiliar territory she will be travelling to.

“MeLo has been before and he has a nice fanbase there and we have a couple of fans that will hit us up on Twitter and be like 'come to Perth'. So I know that we have people that know about us out there which is really cool. For me personally, I don't know what it's like there and I think that's what's so exciting.”

Set to to play Island Vibe Festival in late October, they’re confident their music will translate sublimely from a nightclub atmosphere to a beachside environment. 

“The point of what we do is high energy. We'll combine one really fast track with a really fast EDM track and that's where we kind of attract a lot of different people. They don't even know what they're listening to but it's so good. It's high energy and we're combining all these different cultures right in front of your ears and it always produces a great effect.”

Electric Punanny play Island Vibe Festival, North Stradbroke Island, October 25-27. islandvibe.com.au

Published in Electronic
Thursday, 10 October 2013 06:36

The Mojo Webb Band: Breath Of Blues Air

Michael ‘Mojo’ Webb lives and breathes the blues, and this Aussie legend and his band are all set to headline the Queensland Festival of Blues next month. 

“The Queensland Festival of Blues is really great because it's put on by people that are really into this kind of music,” exclaims Webb, who has played at the festival the last few years.

“The combination of the line-up that they choose and the motivation behind the festival adds up to a really good atmosphere … [The line-up sports] quite a diverse range of different styles within the blues genre … They're all pretty much Queensland artists this year, which is great, it's really focussing on the local. I mean, some of them have travelled a lot further, but it looks like the focus is on people who originated from Queensland, which is cool.” 

The Mojo Webb Band aren't strangers to the festival scene, having played major music festivals like Womadelaide, Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival, the Woodford Folk Festival and the Caloundra Music Festival, among many others. Despite their constant presence at festivals, Mojo believes that both festival shows and solo gigs have their benefits.

“I think every environment is good for different reasons. There is something really nice about an intimate solo gig. You know you have 50 people sitting down and staring at you, watching what you do, but it's just a completely different vibe to playing at a festival where you've got people moshing and going crazy. It's cool, I dig playing almost any situation. Festivals are good because you know that the people are there for that kind of music. They’re just a lot of like-minded people, which is really cool.”

For those who have already seen The Mojo Webb Band play, their performance at the Queensland Festival of Blues will focus on their new songs.

“We've got a relatively new album out so we’ll mostly play a lot of songs from this album. It'll be a lot of original stuff off that, and just explosive. I think that's the thing that pops into my mind when I think about playing with the band, because I do a lot of solo gigs, but with the band it's really explosive — it's like three strong personalities all just exploding at the same time.”

Koojee Timms and JB Lewis are the other two people in the band.

“We've basically been playing together since 1998, so it's been years and years and years. They're my favourite people to play alongside, so I'm lucky that they're the guys I play with all the time.”

The band formed in 1998, but Mojo has been playing the blues a lot longer than that.

“I started when I was about 12 [years old]. My guitar teacher happened to be an amazing jazz musician. That was his real gig. He was also a professional guitar teacher for many years… there was something really cool and hip about him being a jazz and bluesy sort of dude.

"He wasn't just your regular guitar teacher. One of the lessons was a standard 12-bar blues song, and when I was about 14, I found out about the blues show on 4ZZZ and started listening to that as a kid, and just learning about blues. It just hit me… and that's all I have really been into ever since.”

If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Mojo's glad to be part of the Australian blues scene.

“It's kind of healthy. There's a real fondness here for rootsy kind of music... when I was in America last year in Memphis talking to musicians and seeing the general scene and the general vibe, it's really tough over there for a roots musician unless they get into the upper echelons of the scene. It's really tough. They're playing for tips and they're playing really cheap.

“I mean, in a way, Australia is this nice little naïve pocket of the world where musicians actually get paid. Well, sometimes. But, you know, just the fact that there are good festivals and regular gigs [here]... and the fact that I never really had a day job... I'm extremely lucky that that's the case with me. I'm not sure if it would have been the same overseas. Possibly, but I don't really know.”

The Mojo Webb Band will play at the Queensland Festival Of Blues at The New Globe Theatre Saturday November 2.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 09 October 2013 15:09

Clave Contra Clave Tickets

Clave Contra Clave is an Australian Latin music competition created and produced by Gift Abroad Qld to support Latin culture in Australia by providing a platform where musicians can share their music nationally in a collaborative, positive and nurturing environment.

Launched in 2011, the event invites professional Latin music bands from around the country to participate in state battles in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The Brisbane heat takes place at the Tivoli Saturday October 12.

To win one of three double passes This competition has closed.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 1pm Friday 11th October at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail. [Winners notified]
3. Winners must arrange to collect the prize from Scene Magazine's offices at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, during business hours.
4. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

Published in Competition
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 17:28

Benny Lackner Trio: Melody Is The Key

The new album from The Benny Lackner Trio delves deeps into the pool of knowledge, yet stays smooth on the ear as the group winds and wefts into another sonic essay on modern jazz.  

Upon first listening to your material, I find a simplicity to the arrangement, though not to any common theme or formula. Can you please explain your style.

The number one goal here for us is to dedicate all exposure to melody. The choice of material is all derived from the idea that the melody has to carry the tune and not the soloing or the harmony. Melody is what makes every listener, no matter what musical background they come from, relate to the music.

A piano trio is usually seen as pretentious or idolatrous; but what I’ve heard doesn’t reflect that. Were you conscious of that perception?

Well, I am certainly aware of the lineage of piano trios throughout the history of jazz. For me there wouldn't be: Art Tatum, Monk, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau, BadPlus, Vijay iyer, Craig Taborn... the list goes on and on... development without the other. They are all related in a way and influence each other even if some of them do not want to admit that. Personally, I don't worry about where to fit in, I just have no choice but to play my music.

Jazz is enjoying a fresh resurgence in Australia; it’s no longer seen as obscure or hard to approach. Have you experienced this in other parts of the world?

Oh yes, definitely. Especially in places like NYC, Berlin and Hong Kong. 

With the blending toward modern styles, has there been any surprises in reaction regarding the more populist-feeling material?

Not at all... it’s actually weird nowadays if you have a modern jazz group that doesn't have a contemporary rock or pop song in their repertoire. I also believe that the concept of taking current material and arranging it in a jazz setting is what jazz musicians like Miles Davis have based their entire careers on. 

Your piano moods have a wide reach as far as style goes; can you tell us more about the inspirations and methods behind your arrangements?

I am influenced by the ambient feel of Radiohead, the harmonies of Brahms and Chopin, the melodies of all of the above. We like to incorporate slight electronic embellishments as a contrast to the acoustic sound that a piano trio usually produces.

You have a really cool and dynamic style to your handwork and composition on piano. Has there been a prominent figure of influence on your playing that you’d like to mention?

Well, thank you very much. When I was 12 I heard Oscar Peterson's ‘Night Train’ for the first time and decided instantly that I would have to lead my own trio one day. Then I heard Keith Jarrett and it was over. There was no choice in the matter anymore. Then at age 20 I studied with Brad Mehldau for a year. He opened me up to classical music and the the development of contrapunctal improvisations rather than a lefthand chord style with the everlasting one note sole in the righthand.

Your group seems to have a really broad improvisational vocabulary; yet there seems to be a conscious move toward simpler, less ostentatious soloing. Is this part of a conscious paradigm or just a natural occurrence between all players?

Well, in the beginning of my career it was a way of dealing with the fact that I simply didn't have enough chops to burn all the time. Now that my technique has developed I try conciously not to overplay all the time. But it's hard... it’s fun to ride the wave of a burning rhythm section and keep going and going. But one can loose focus of the tune and the audience easily that way.

The jazz spectrum is mostly perceived as hard to approach and elitist. Do you have any words for those who are curious about the J-word?

I think nowadays there is only instrumental improvisational music of all styles. People call it jazz for a lack of a better reference. It hurts the musicians because jazz to many means noise or Dixieland.  

The Benny Lackner Trio play the Brisbane Jazz Club Thursday October 10.  

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 14:38

Jac Stone: Goes Her Own Way

Former ‘The Voice’ contestant Jac Stone is paving her own path to stardom.

“‘The Voice' was amazing, I have come out with really nothing negative to say about it. It was a really positive experience for me,” explains Jac.

“Performing on 'The Voice' … was so intense and so foreign. There is so many aspects to it. You're singing to the crowd in the stadium, but you're also singing to the camera and singing to the audience watching at home – it's the most bizarre experience.”

Jac, who was mentored by Seal throughout her stint on the talent show, explains he was “lovely, as you would imagine he is. He's a normal, genuine person who is really generous with his time, so that was great.”

'The Voice' isn't Jac's only claim to fame. She played Splendour In The Grass in 2010, and supported Powderfinger for their farewell tour.

“I don't really remember much of [my performance at] the Powderfinger gigs … my adrenaline was to over-the-top so I [just] don't remember much.”

Jac recorded her debut EP, 'Leave Me Here', in 2010 with Darren Middleton of Powderfinger.

“It's been amazing to have someone like Darren to give me advice and to go to, so I am able to make the right decisions about my career.”

Jac has been back in the studio recording her second EP, which is yet to be titled. She explains her style of music.

“It's kind of folky-pop acoustic music … [But] I guess it's always changing. I write it all myself so it's kind of personal but in a very open and honest way. It's about my family, and my relationships … I am really excited to just get out and play my songs again. We've got some new stuff, and we're playing a little bit of old stuff that we never really released.

“I'm just really excited to be able to share the music again … We've got Brother Fox and O'Little Sister supporting us at Black Bear so it should be really fun.

“We'll have a copy of the single for people to take, but I will probably shove another track on there from the EP ... so there'll be two EP songs that I will be giving away.”

Jac Stone's single launch is at Black Bear Lodge Wednesday October 23.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Monday, 07 October 2013 11:47

Bullhorn: Hard-Hitting Brass

Built on an energetic live show and equally hard hitting songs, Bullhorn are about as far from an atypical brass band as possible.

“As far as brass bands go, we've been compared to a rock band because it's all modern material, we're playing a lot of hip hop, drum & bass, funk and soul. It's all just upbeat, high energy shows,” sousaphone player Stevie Buchanan says.

An eclectic group formed in 2011 from various other Brisbane bands, they've proven to be a dynamic force bringing a modern twist to a traditional style of music.

“We all played in a lot of Brisbane bands over the years, old bands such as Darky Roots, we've got members from Dubmarine and Pelusafunk. So we have a lot of experience playing in these line-ups. [But] it takes a while to adjust and really understand everyone's different role in the band.”

With most people typically expecting a classical performance when they picture brass instruments, the recent addition of Roman MC to the group has helped dissuade that perception. 

“It's hard because people can be a bit standoffish just because of the instrumentation. It really helps having Roman MC. He's just great at communicating with crowds. He's really good at warming the crowd up and getting them comfortable with the idea of this weird instrumentation, but then by the end of the set we've always sold everyone.”

Bullhorn are not a band afraid to experiment; alongside the inclusion of Roman MC they also play with sample pads and different amps.

“Our drummer Joel often works with a sample pad that we put different samples in and I run my sousaphone through a bass amp with just bass pedals. So definitely we're open to anything, that's been the real concept of this band, just being open to any instrumentation and any tools that are at our disposal.”

Despite not being together for an extensive time, their sound has already begun to evolve significantly.

“Definitely it's evolving, it's just as everyone gets used to it, it is a strange instrumentation to work with so it takes a while to adjust and really understand everyone's different role in the band and how to write for that. Also Roman the MC has only been an addition to the band this year so it's been adjusting to writing with him.”

While most bands find a formula that fits and keep it, Bullhorn attempt to change their style every time they record.

“When we come to the studio we usually take a different tactic in and are always keen to get some guests in and do different things when we're in the studio. We're fairly prolific writers so it's constantly changing and evolving.”

Bullhorn's latest offering, 'Roll Off The Top', highlights their tremendous stylistic diversity over two tracks. 'Roll Off The Top' is a heavy R&B piece, with vocals from Roman MC and Laneous, which is highly contrasted by the second song 'Beach Party'.

“They could not be more different, 'Roll Off The Top' has some R&B style vocals over the chorus. Then the second track is completely different, it's like an instrumental old school sort of soul tune called 'Beach Party', it's just upbeat, catchy, good times sort of old school soul tune basically.”

Subverting the traditions of the stereotypical brass band, Bullhorn are quickly making a name for themselves as a band anyone, no matter their genre of choice, can enjoy.

“Most of it is just sort of hard hitting upbeat tunes so we've never failed to really get people dancing, so it's just all about the material you work with. It shows you can work with nearly any instrumentation, it just depends on the tunes you're playing basically.”

Set to launch their single next week, the band will embark on a tour to promote it throughout October and November.

“We're touring for the rest of the year and then we're looking at releasing another single in March next year and then dropping the album halfway through the year.”

Bullhorn perform at The Zoo Oct 11, Solbar Oct 12, The Great Northern Nov 15, West End Block Party Nov 17 and Sound Lounge Nov 29.

Published in Urban
Monday, 07 October 2013 01:32

Stonefield: Put A Curse On You

It wasn’t meant to take this long, but the delay of Stonefield’s debut album has only made the band stronger.

The Findlay sisters blew down the door of Australian independent music in 2010, winning Triple J’s Unearthed High competition with their song ‘Foreign Lover’. It was the perfect story: four teenage sisters from rural Victoria putting down the books and picking up instruments – and a degree of cynicism might have initially been excused.

But Amy, Hannah, Sarah, and Holly Findlay capitalised on ‘Foreign Lover’ with a firebrand debut EP, ‘Through The Clover’, and continued to quieten the doubters with its classy follow-up, ‘Bad Reality’.

That’s when Stonefield went quiet. But the pause to release a self-titled debut album hasn’t dulled any of the wider interest in the band. Indeed, ask Hannah Findlay and she thinks it’s been a good thing.

“We were hoping to record the album at the start of last year,” she explains over the phone from Melbourne. “But it just didn’t happen. A few things got in the way. But in the end I think it’s worked well. We’ve had a lot more time to write and make sure everything’s good … Because we’ve taken this time, people will see that we’re taking it seriously and we’re here to stay and do things properly.” ‘Stonefield’ is an album done properly. It immediately catches the ear and doesn’t let up for the next 40 minutes. It’s a terrific collection of songs, and confirms beyond any doubt the four-piece’s talent.

Helping is Ian Davenport’s production. Davenport recently twiddled the knobs for Band Of Skulls and brings the same muscular propulsion to bear on ‘Stonefield’.

“We actually had another producer that we were going to work with,” Hannah says. “And as things were getting closer and closer to recording, we felt that it wasn’t right and things weren’t going to work out. We just had different ideas on things. 

“So we decided to move on and look for someone else, and our A&R guy suggested a few producers and then we really loved the Band Of Skulls album [‘Sweet Sour’], so we said it would be cool to work with Ian. We had a few meetings with everybody and it just clicked. He really gets it and it felt really right with him.”

It was Davenport who narrowed in on the idea of using a choir on the Findlays’ ferocious first single, ‘Put Your Curse On Me’, lifting a song Hannah says wasn’t even going to make the final cut.

“We had this idea for ages that we would love a choir on a couple of the songs. And we just weren’t really sure which songs to put them on. During pre-production, Ian suggested putting them on ‘Put Your Curse On Me’, just because it’s not really a typical choice.

"We weren’t sure how it would work out, but we got the choir in and as soon as they started singing we thought, ‘Yep. That’s awesome. That’s it.’ … It really brought the track to life and made it really move along nicely.”

With the record ready for release, now comes a new challenge: taking these belters and converting them to a live performance. There are no nerves for Stonefield, though – just excitement.

“We’re so happy to get back out there again,” Hannah says. “I think it’s probably one of our favourite things to do, to play shows. It’s great to have a whole album from which to draw songs. And it’s really exciting playing the new cuts. It makes the show a lot better. It’s good.”

It makes you wonder, is the stage the natural habitat for Stonefield?

“I did [think so]. But recording this album, we all had such an amazing time. Our past experiences have been fun, but we always still preferred playing shows. And then when we did this album, we just had so much fun. I don’t know – we enjoy both a lot.”

Of course, getting excited about touring is a lot easier when you’ve been locked in to support Fleetwood Mac at the Hope Estate and Hill wineries. 

“That is absolutely fantastic,” Hannah says. “I can’t believe we’re actually supporting them. We grew up listening to them so when we heard the news, we were stoked.”

And the future? More singles, more touring, and maybe a trip or two overseas. With the album release and younger sisters Sarah and Holly moving towards the end of their schooling, Stonefield finally feel they can flex their musical muscles.

“Definitely,” Hannah says. “Because we’ve had those few years starting off and playing around Australia. And learning all those different things, I think we’re really ready to start doing bigger things. I’m really happy with how everything’s gone, and we’ve done everything for a reason and so far everything’s worked out really well.”

'Stonefield' is out Friday October 11. The band play Alhambra Lounge November 22, The Other Side Festival November 23 and The Northern, Byron, November 24.

Published in Rock
Friday, 04 October 2013 13:02

Mr Grevis CDs

Already receiving Triple J airplay for single ‘So Beautiful’ featuring Joyride and Ness, and ‘The Apology Song’ featuring Drapht, things are looking promising for WA rapper Mr. Grevis’ sophomore release, ‘My Escape’.

Combining his supreme knack for storytelling with structurally savvy songwriting, Grevis has teamed up with fellow SBX cohort Dazastah for the bulk of the album’s production, with additional beats from Cam Bluff and Rob Shaker.

Other guests include: Trials, K21, Layla and Optamus.

To win one of two CDs This competition has closed.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 5pm Thursday 10th October at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail. [Winners notified]
3. Winners must arrange to collect the prize from Scene Magazine's offices at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley, during business hours.
4. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

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