Items filtered by date: February 2013
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:09

Mad Dance House: Anniversary Celebrations

Mad Dance House (MDH), a Queensland dance institution celebrates its 10th birthday and celebrates the significant contribution the company has made to the arts.

From humble beginnings of running classes from church halls in the suburbs, to operating a fully renovated two-level dance space with four studios in the heart of the city, MDH has come a long way. MDH principal Meg Cooper said she was honoured to have played a part in putting Queensland on both the national and international dance stage. “It is extremely satisfying to reflect on Mad Dance’s journey in a relatively short space of time,” Meg said.

“In addition to giving southeast Queenslanders the opportunity to learn from some of the best dancers this state has to offer, MDH dancers have represented Australia, by performing overseas and showing the rest of the world the quality of dancers we can produce.”

She added, “We’ve created a space at MDH where individuals — from the beginner to professional — have the chance to engage in a variety of dance styles, as well as learn from leading overseas dancers and choreographers.”

To celebrate this impressive milestone, MDH is offering a day of free classes so anyone and everyone can come and see what it is all about. Classes include jazz, ballet, hip hop and tramp cardio and as Meg points out, “You can ‘taste test’ different genres and see what appeals. There is no obligation, no commitment. The only requirement is a positive attitude and a willingness to have fun.”

MDH is offering free classes on Sunday February 10 and is located at Level 1-2, 43 Adelaide Street, Brisbane City. For class times and more information, check out maddance.com.au

Published in Dance
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 15:03

Evil Eddie: Top Five School Subjects

1. Music (obviously). The class was actually called practical music, and it basically involved the teacher marking the role then leaving us in a room with a drum kit, some acoustic nylon string guitars and some really shitty keyboards. Good place to get your learn on.

2. Speech and drama. This was the only class I passed (yes, somehow I failed practical music) and I think it’s only ‘cause I cried in a play which somehow made my teacher cry. Moving performance, I guess.

3. Wednesday afternoon sport. Sport was easy to wag and in summer we got to go swimming. No complaints there.

4. Maths. I dropped from Maths 2, to Maths 1, to Maths In Society (dumb-ass maths) within about a three month period due to a weed smoking hippy friend of mine switching to my school. The original bad influence. Can't say I enjoyed maths, but dumb-ass maths was a walk in the park after Maths 2, so it definitely took the pressure off.

5. Engrish: it help me spell good. Never was a favourite, but ironically all I do now is slave over my silly little rap poems and play with words all day. Why? I have no idea.

Evil Eddie performs at the rescheduled SAE, Qantm official combined Brisbane campus opening on Friday February 15, cnr Jane St & Riverside Dr, West End.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:59

Hard Dance Alliance

Releasing an album of the year’s biggest club tracks remixed could be considered a daunting task, unless you’re Hard Dance Alliance.

Kicking off the new year with the ultimate compilation are Australian hardstyle veterans DJ Suae, DJ Pulsar and Steve Hill, combining their mixing powers as Hard Dance Alliance. Renowned for their complete devotion to all aspects of the hard styles movement, HDA are a force to be reckoned with.

‘Wild Energy 2013’ is the expertly mixed compilation split into three CDs to accommodate a variety of hard styles listeners.

“The last [Wild Energy] went to number one on the charts so we’re hoping this one does the same thing,” New Zealand’s Steve Hill says.

Dubbed the ‘King Of Euphoric Hard Dance’, Steve has certainly made a name for himself throughout Australia and the world for his hard styles antics. Having racked up over 300 productions, toured more than 50 cities worldwide and formed The Masif Organisation, Steve has a hand in the progression of the underground hard styles movement as it gains momentum throughout Australia.

“It’s become huge; in the last ten years the scene has totally changed. People are no longer force-fed what to listen to, they can access music on their own terms,” Steve explains.

“We have this little underground genre that is very independent and generally isn’t represented [by] any major media, yet we get 25,000 people at our festivals. To get that amount of people just by YouTube and social media is fantastic and really healthy. “

Between their vibrant solo careers and HDA schedules, Suae, Pulsar and Steve have a consistent flow of new releases, tours, events and productions. Steve knows all too well that it’s going to be a busy year when their first major compilation is released in January.

“While you’ve got the ideas you might as well put them down right?” he says. “We’re just enjoying where the scene’s at. The crowds coming to our shows genuinely seem to have a great time so we hope to keep that up for the rest of the year. We’re definitely going to keep pushing boundaries and at the same time enjoy the fruits of our labour.”

‘Wild Energy 2013’ is out now.
Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:53

Cosmic Gate: Tasty Trance

The success of German trance duo Cosmic Gate over the course of nearly fifteen years and six albums suggests the existence of some grand plan for world domination.

But as the impeccably polite Stefan Bossems, aka DJ Bossi, explains, it’s a laissez-faire approach that has seen Cosmic Gate rise to the top of the trance scene.

“We like to say it’s not like following a recipe,” says Bossi from Dusseldorf, where he’s enjoying some down time before some UK dates and a forthcoming tour of South Africa. “It’s not like cooking. We start and at the end we see how it tastes; hopefully it’s tasty and delicious.”

Bossi and partner Claus Terhoeven, aka Nic Chagall, have been serving up “tasty and delicious” trance music since the late 1990s, and it’s fair to claim that their formula of having no formula has paid huge dividends.

They’ve remixed the likes of Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Deadmau5, Paul van Dyk, Markus Schulz and Robbie Rivera. They’ve worked closely with Tiesto and released numerous cuts on his Black Hole Recordings, including 2011’s sixth LP, ‘Wake Your Mind’. Now, in 2013, as the American press increasingly label everything with a synth and wobbly bassline ‘EDM’, Cosmic Gate are using their latest LP to continue their subtle repositioning, to the uninitiated at least, as more than just a trance act.

“[While] we’re seen as trance, we don’t see ourselves as a typical trance act,” Bossi explains. “We came from the harder side of trance … and now, what is it? It’s a mixture of progressive, house influences; we don’t really care how the music is branded.”

So, while the pounding bass and driving rhythms typical of 2002’s ‘No More Sleep’ and 2009’s ‘Sign Of The Times’ remain on ‘Wake Your Mind’, Cosmic Gate are using vocals like those of Australian Emma Hewitt to produce a more accessible, progressive sound which is seeing them enjoy some commercial success around the world.

Australia-bound again next month for a second bite at Future Music Festival following their maiden performance there two years ago, Bossi is full of praise for Australian audiences.

“We always love coming to Australia because we have a feeling the Australian crowds are very open. If we’re playing the same stage after a techno act … it’s still kind of the same crowd on the dancefloor. This is what we like – people that are open-minded ... We see you guys and your scene as very happy.”

Routinely booked to play massive venues in the new frontier of electronic music – the United States – Bossi says he and Nic’s experiences playing at the likes of Marquee in Las Vegas have provided them with a more balanced view of EDM as opposed to the populist, and often wayward, view of EDM as a credibility killer.

“The American press needed a word and this is more like [what] Europe called techno in the ‘90s; now it’s called EDM,” he explains. “It’s flooding the world, and it seems to be that the US – and LA and Vegas – [that] are really the centre of it.

“You can see it as negative, that music is way more commercial. On the other side, you can see it as positive – that a lot of new people are getting into electronic music in general. We see it actually as something positive. For us there is not commercial and underground music. There is only good and bad music and we try to make our pick at playing good music for the people and producing good music for the people.”

Cosmic Gate play Future Music Festival at Doomben Racecourse Saturday Mar 2.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:48

My Fiction: Ready To Slam

After months of toiling away in the studio, Brisbane’s My Fiction will return to the stage to support live music.

My Fiction have been invited to play as part of this year’s SLAM Day (Save Live Australia's Music) festivities, to be held nationally on February 23.
SLAM  is a collective of non-politically aligned, independent music lovers working to support Australia's live music scene, an important cause for musicians and fans alike.

"We've been very fortunate to play with a lot of Brisbane bands in the last couple of years that we've been together,” My Fiction’s lead guitarist, Jimmi Laubscher says. “It's really good because while you're making friends, you also get to go touring with them and get a bit more experience in the game of writing and presenting your music. When you can go play at a gig with a really good band, it charges you and makes you feel like you have to put on a good show as well."

My Fiction will return to The Zoo as part of SLAM Day with a host of fresh tracks that Jimmi says are “very happy”.

“It comes from a very good place in our hearts. We're in a good place in our lives, so I suppose it's more of a matter of just trying to get everyone in the same mental space, or in the same spiritual place where people can be in front of music that is hitting them not in the ears, but in the soul, and helping the message of the actual day come across."

With their second album set to drop later this year, the band have been working alongside prominent producer Magoo to refine their sound.

"We're working a lot closer with Magoo with the second album. He gives us pointers and things like that, which is cool considering he's been in the game for so long. I suppose this time we are more prepared for what to expect.
“Magoo pulls an incredible sound, so we know that it is going to sound good, we just have to make sure the music is actually good. It has given us a bit more of an idea of how we like to construct music that we really like."

Alongside The Familiars, House Of Giants and Ammunitions, My Fiction play SLAM Day at The Zoo Saturday February 23. slamrally.org
Published in Rock
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:44

Mutemath: Dueling Banjos

Having created waves with their inaugural Oz tour last year, American rockers Mutemath have decided our island home is just the place to try out some new tunes.

Mutemath drummer Darren King explains from his hometown of New Orleans. “We are trying out brand new music in Australia that we will have never played for anyone else. So yeah, we’ll be playing new songs for the very first time.”
Following the 2012 release of their third album, ‘Odd Soul’, Mutemath are currently in the midst of writing for their next record.

“We’ve been writing all kinds of stuff and just trying different things,” Darren says. “Today I bought a banjo… I’ve just been trying to buy new instruments in the hopes that that will get me thinking in a different way,” he laughs. “It will sort of be my running gag … anytime there is a quiet moment in the studio, I [will] bring out my banjo and suggest that it be put into the song!”

Despite the band being in writing mode, Mutemath couldn’t resist the opportunity to return to Australia.

“It was even better than I expected and I had high expectations,” exclaims Darren, referring to the band’s previous trip down under. “All of the Australian bands were really good, like Big Scary, San Cisco, Matt Corby, Ball Park Music — all of these bands I’d never heard of before. I got to do a lot of fun stuff … first impressions were pretty great.”

Darren also takes the opportunity to express his sympathy for Queensland flood victims, “We made it through Hurricane Katrina because… at the time, we were just a little bit north of New Orleans in a town called Mandeville. It didn’t flood in Mandeville.”

Years later, however, Mother Nature caught up with the band.

“We’d rehearse in Nashville in this warehouse right by the Cumberland River and then we would park our cars right by the river and then leave for a tour. Sure enough, we leave and the very next day, the flood of Nashville happens. There is a picture of our van and all you see is just the top inch of the roof of our van, that’s it.

Mutemath perform at the Hi-Fi Saturday March 23.
Published in Rock
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:39

Oh Mercy: Busy Bees

Alexander Gow is best known as the creative genius behind the ever so multi-faceted alternative pop band, Oh Mercy. But it appears he’s taking a break from fronting the group.

Well, sort of. Alexander is slated to play a string of solo dates this month where he'll cover a variety of Oh Mercy's catalogue. However, any pre-conceptions of the typical unplugged acoustic set should be left at the door.
“Technically I never do them acoustically,” Alexander explains. “I really enjoy playing the electric guitar when I'm playing on my own. Playing acoustically on your own means you have to present yourself with an acoustic guitar, which [in my opinion] usually sounds like crap anyway.

“When I play on my own it means I can play the songs I've never had the time to show the band – new songs, old songs and I cover my favourite songs as well. I enjoy presenting the songs in a bare bones kind of way because all of the songs are written in a really simple chord, melody kind of fashion.”

And considering Oh Mercy's material is usually performed by a quartet, stripping the songs down to the basics is enough to change their dynamics and structure. So, is there a contrast of audiences when Alexander is flying solo?
“Playing the guitar in the particular way I do – which is quietly and not very well – puts the words at the forefront. It's the kind of show where you have to be prepared to be open-minded and not everyone's ready to do that. The people that usually come to my solo shows are interested in songwriting and our songs, as opposed to being out for the night with the girls and taking an Instagram photo and tweeting about being there.”

It's not the first time Alexander has reinvented his musical direction, either. Oh Mercy's latest release, 'Deep Heat', departed from their previous folk pop sound in exchange for a groove-laden, almost soul approach. However, it seems not all were pleased by the change.

“They've generally been with me in that they're willing to give it a shot and look into the motivation behind the change in direction. There are some people I seem to have disappointed and they've been pretty vocal about that, but at the end of the day I'm not writing for them, I'm writing for me.

“I'll just keep following my whims and keep making music I'm interested in until no one else is interested,” he laughs before insisting, “and then I'm gonna keep doing it anyway.”
By following his ‘whims’ to explore eclectic genres of music, Oh Mercy's entire live set has also succumbed to a full-blown revamping.

“We've rearranged the older songs so they don't stick out like a sore thumb with the new stuff, so the whole set's really consistent now. The crowd reaction's still kinda daggy jiving – mimicking my daggy jiving no doubt,” he jests. “I won't pretend I'm any good on the d-floor.”

Whether or not he busts moves like Jagger, Oh Mercy has impressed all the right people with 'Deep Heat'. Its release earned them the support slot for Father John Misty's national tour which commences this month. And judging by his appraisal of Father John's debut album, you can just tell Alexander's eagerly anticipating the shows.

“That record that he put out last year, 'Fear Fun', [has] been with me since it came out and it's one of the greatest records I've ever heard. I've played that album to death – and still do – and I think he's one of the few very important modern songwriters.”

Father John Misty also played sold out shows last time he was on Australian soil; however, the prospect of it happening again doesn't seem to faze Alexander.

“We're going to do what we always do, that is we're going to approach playing the songs we love with a level of integrity and a lack of professionalism. And we have fun because we genuinely love playing these songs and we're really great friends, so we try not to think too hard about it.”

Oh Mercy Opens For Father John Misty At The Zoo Feb 20. Alexander Gow then plays solo at The Southside Tea Room Feb 21 before returning with Oh Mercy For Bleach Festival At The Coolangatta Hotel Feb 22.
Published in Rock
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:03

Bloc Party: Four More Years

Kele Okereke has an appetite for sticksmen.

"We ate them," he says about the eight drummers Bloc Party munched through before settling on lightly-seasoned beatmaker Matt Tong. "We killed them and then we ate them, so I'm not allowed to talk about it."

Five seconds go by. Silence. I begin to laugh awkwardly. See, quoting Kele out of context can be very misleading. Reading his responses, it can seem as though he's making a light-hearted joke, even if it is about an octuple-homicide cookup. The reality, though, is that Kele's disdain for interviews is well documented, especially if you work behind a desk at Billboard.

Yet even with that fact in mind, on this particular occasion he seemed even less enthused than usual, as if the mere prospect of talking over the phone seemed to him akin to several hours of listening to Oasis. To be fair, I had sympathy for his mood — I would get sick of answering the same question for a straight 12 months. "So, Mr Okereke, tell us... did Bloc Party kind of, almost, nearly break up?” Every response must begin with a long sigh... so naturally it was the first thing I asked, too.

"I don't know where that rumour came from. Obviously we take time out to pursue our separate interests. You know, I wrote an album by myself. We all just did various things. Then in 2011 when Bloc Party reconvened to start making the record we were being asked questions about what was going on but we were being evasive, and I think maybe some of that spiralled out of control. So, you know, maybe there was room for rumours but obviously they weren't true."

You can't help but feel that Kele is still being evasive in his answers. It may be that Bloc Party was closer to breaking up than he is letting on, given guitarist Russell Lissack's hint that the band may be continuing on without Kele's presence. Then again, it's also very plausible that the whole thing was a massive hoax, and that the band's 'evasiveness' was actually a clever ploy to spin the writers at NME around enough times to make them vomit. Preferably over their own laptops. Either way, none of it matters now.

A lot has changed for Bloc Party in the last three years. In 2009, this was a band finishing up a world tour following the release of its critically-acclaimed LP 'Intimacy'. The album was, in a way, a hat-trick. For the third time Bloc Party had been showered with the unexpurgated praise of every music writer with an internet connection. Well, except for the folks at Pitchfork, who still only show love for D'Angelo. However, fast-forward to the present day and a 12-month hiatus around the rumour mill has left a cloud over the band. Even with the recent release of 'Four' that cloud of doubt is only now dispersing.

"When I made the solo record we didn't have any plans to make another record. We said we'd take a break for a year. In that time, that's probably the closest I've felt to asking 'Will it work?'. Only because I was doing my own thing and I was immersed in that, and I knew at the end of that year we'd have to have the conversation about what it was we were doing. That was the only time the future looked uncertain.

“It's hard to look into possible eventualities because I only know what did happen. I feel that we wouldn't have made a record like 'Four' if I hadn't done something that was the opposite of that beforehand. Once I do something I feel like I need to do the opposite thing next. You get bored, you want to discover something new. 'The Boxer' was a kind of layered, electronic record, and I don't think I would have found loud guitars as exciting if I hadn't done that beforehand."

Ironically Bloc Party's hiatus has, in the mind of Kele Okereke, only served to strengthen the cohesive bind holding this four-piece together. It's no secret bands will use periods of hibernation to determine for themselves whether ties between members would be best left severed. Yet each Bloc Party member seems to know for himself that it is only with the other three that they’re able to succeed. The band is a formula, and each component has been carefully selected to ensure against future internal combustion. As Kele did eventually explain, drummer Matt Tong is the perfect example.

"We knew what we wanted from a drummer and we tried lots of them, but finding a drummer in London isn't so easy. Everybody plays guitar and bass and whatnot, but to be a drummer you have to have a space to practice... and that's not really a premium in London. So there weren't that many drummers and the drummers that we did find didn't really gel.

“It's funny, actually. The drummer we had before Matt left because he was a session drummer or something. And in the year after 'Silent Alarm' came out we did an in-store at an HMV in Brighton, and that guy was working in that HMV. It was a strange moment for him, I think, because he could have been in it. He could have been in the band. But I'm very grateful he wasn't because when we started playing with Matt we realised he was the right member. There's no hard feelings or anything, I'm glad things turned out the way they did. Matt definitely has a presence."

It's a presence Kele has recently acquainted himself with.

"We just played a gig in Tokyo that was filmed, but it was just one static shot of the stage. So I watched this DVD and for the first time ever in the ten years we've been a band I saw the concert as if I was just in the crowd watching the stage. And I was very much drawn to the way Matt plays, which I never see 'cause I have my back to him. But all the members of the band add something."

So what of 'Four', Bloc Party's fourth album released after a four-year wait by the original four members? Hey, maybe the album title is a reference to one of those things. Slightly more mysterious are the reasons behind Pitchfork's decision to give the album 4.9 out of 10 - a little harsh, perhaps.

"In terms of critical opinion, I've never been concerned about that sort of thing. I've never personally paid any attention to it. I don't care if people like our records or don't like our records. When we put out 'Silent Alarm' in 2005 it was somewhat strange seeing the reaction that people had to that record. I was reading all this stuff about what a great record it was, but for all this stuff that I read nobody seemed to pick up on why it was a good record for the reasons that I thought it was. It was a weird situation to be in."

Bloc Party Play Future Music Festival At Doomben Racecourse March 2; They Have A Side Show At Riverstage March 5.
Published in Rock
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