Items filtered by date: March 2013
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 03:38

Moriarty: Sing In Code

If studying the pages of musical history has taught us anything, it’s that melding cultural traditions is a tested formula for originality.

Splicing blues with country invented rock & roll; stirring Jamaican toasting together with funk delivered hip hop; and mixing equal doses of French pop and American folk gave birth to Moriarty.
“It all started with the American folk, blues and traditional music [from] our heritage because we grew up in Paris, France,” bassist Stephan Zimmerli says. “We are from mixed American and French backgrounds, so our music has always been about being transatlantic and using our music to reconnect the two sides of the Atlantic.

“We write our lyrics in English but we write [our] music in Paris – we've recorded all of our albums there – so there definitely is this tension between the old and the new world.”

Now with two albums released, the cover for Moriarty's latest album, 'The Missing Room', promises tales of revenge, hopeless longing and joy. And according to Stephan, playing music doubles as a vessel for storytelling.
“We imagine music as a riddle which you expose to people. Especially since we are based in France and we write in English, connecting with our backgrounds means French people do not understand 100 percent of what we're singing. We kind of enjoy that cloud because it leaves room for guessing.”

By the sounds of things Moriarty love keeping fans on their toes. The album art for 'The Missing Room' – designed by Stephan himself – lists a phone number that once upon a time unlocked yet another puzzle.

“That line with the phone number [on the album is] actually a mobile cell phone number that we bought when we were in Mambai,” he explains. “So, when people bought the album when it was first released, that number was open with an answering machine … that had a special melody on it.

“People who called that number would hear the melody played on a small xylophone, and some of them could translate the melody into words. There was a secret code which would open the door to something.”

Adding to Moriarty's artistic endeavours are the group's music videos. 'I Will Do' uses archival footage of some of the earliest films ever recorded. And considering the band's background in the visual arts, it comes as no surprise Moriarty conjures their aesthetic visions independently.

“Sometimes we call in directors to produce music videos and collaborate, but as much as possible we are the ones who see the images that fit our music. We don't trust external art directors to choose that for us.

“It's intrinsic also [for] making music because when we write music, we're often inspired by images, by films … [and] by paintings. So, we might find inspiration from images as much as from literature or other music.”

Moriarty's blend of myriad artforms also bleeds into the group's live performances. Having played at unlikely locations ranging from prisons to mental asylums, there seems to be something inherently punk rock about it all.

“We've all had this instinct from the start to look for unusual places to play that wouldn't feel like a regular concert venue. They are like the antidote to the standardisation of music for us. Music is an industrialised commodity, and when you start becoming a professional musician, you realise you will become a commodity if you don't react against it.

“You just get transported from one venue to the next and they all look the same, have the same sound system and the same everything – just like McDonalds.”

However, now back in Australia after playing a string of sold out dates last year, Stephan explains Moriarty will play a toned down set in Brisbane. Nevertheless, his unorthodox sales pitch has me sold.

“We're gonna play a pretty small gig in Brisbane this time, like a club or a bar. And the thing is I think our band works best in these little venues because that's where you see weird things, stuff you wouldn't notice on a bigger stage.
“You can watch Rosemary's eyes, and they're really weird and strange eyes, so if you look her in the eyes you might get a small shiver. You can see the veins on Thomas' head bulging when he plays the harmonica, and he's going to be sweating a lot because he always eats chilli peppers from the Reunion Islands before playing.”

Moriarty play at The Hi-Fi Saturday March 16.
Published in Reggae/ Roots
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 10:58

Time Capsule - Part 9

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-mag171Birthed as an electronic street press title, Scene’s live music credentials in 1997 were embryonic but there was still plenty of meat to chew on.

In another first for street press in Australia, our ‘Live Scene’ section, was at one stage in the late 90s printed on green paper to help it stand out (20 years later Scene Mag’s live guide listing e-mail address remains greenguide [at] scenemagazine.com.au even the though the green paper is long gone).

The gig guide itself was a full tabloid page of listings in tiny type. The section featured luminaries such as Tumbleweed, Regurgitator, Tylea, Everclear, The Whitlams, Henry Rollins, Custard, Ratcat, My Friend The Chocolate Cake and Jebediah.

There was even a dual U2/ The Cardigans front cover in March. The Zoo, The Gig (22 Market St), Our Valley (Brunswick St rotunda) and Mary Street Nightclub (138 Mary St) were regular advertisers.

Notable advertised gigs included Silverchair/ Magic Dirt at the Riverstage, Presidents of the United States of America at Festival Hall (Vale), Sixth Annual Bluesfest, Keb Mo at The Capitol (Van Gogh’s Earlobe) on Stanley Street, Mater Hill, and Alice Cooper at The Gig.

The Healer (a soul, rhythm and blues room), where Electric Playground is today, celebrated its first birthday, while Valley Fiesta was headlined by The Earthmen and D.I.G..

Allergy Spring Music Festival was produced by the QUT Student Guild and featured the future federal Education Minister’s Midnight Oil, Skunkhour, Magic Dirt and Grinspoon (who were to grace Scene’s cover 15 years later.

Q Music was up and running promoting the local and live music with ‘Get Real Industry Showcase’. 15 years later, the organisation commands the national industry’s attention with BigSound.

silverchair 
 custard-Ad
 Keb-Mo Qmusic-Ad 
Published in Time Capsule
Thursday, 07 March 2013 08:09

Time Capsule - Part 8

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-mag201By 1997, the staff credits had grown considerably. Our advertising team had doubled (Karen Sellers and Justin Galt), and the super-talented Patrick Herlihy (production) began his tenure as Scene Magazine's longest serving staffer. A freehand artist and an early Mac-man (no PC has ever been used in the operation and production of of Scene Mag!), Pat's gothic tendencies somehow melded seamlessly with our electronic/ fashion/ arts bent.

Our lensman Jeff Polley was a prolific pithound whose work was showcased at Café Scene and, we hope, will be again as part of our public 20th anniversary celebrations later this year.

Advertisers included Substance Magazine ('Australia's Foremost Dance Culture Mag'), BPM Records (and alternative to Central Station Records), Jolt Cola (surely the first energy drink?) and fittingly, as we approach comedy season 2013, we remember Peter Grose's Crazies Comedy Restaurant (corner Caxton and Judge Sts, Petrie Terrace) where Elliot Goblet was in season.

But the most telling ad was surely from Mastercard, espousing the benefits of booking concert tickets by telephone no less and giving the operator the your card details down the line! Covers included Bjork, The Cardigans, Faithless, Skunkhour, Corduroy and Ultrasonic - we definitely loved our hardcore.

Next week, the live scene.

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Blunt-1997 Carl-Cox-Roxy-1997
Time-Tunnel Volume3
Published in Time Capsule

This year marks the 24th annual Alliance Française French Film Festival and there is a smorgasbord of delicious films, events and offerings. The team behind the festival has concocted  a mouth-watering selection of Gallic fare which incorporates 43 new films and documentaries.

In keeping with the food-related introduction, the acclaimed gastronomic delight, 'Haute Cuisine (Les Saveurs du Palais)', will launch the Festival. It is a film which tells the story of Hortense Laborie who, upon her appointment as personal chef to the President at the Elysée Palace, is faced with the challenge of creating culinary art in a world of political intrigue. And at the end of it all, for closing night, audiences will get the chance to experience a classic. Marcel Carné’s 1945 film 'Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis)' is a sweeping, period romance generally acknowledged as the greatest French film of all time, which has been meticulously restored from the original camera negative. Artistic Director, Emmanuelle Denavit-Feller, has again selected the most critically acclaimed and entertaining films to emerge from France’s thriving movie industry showcased across eight categories and include themes such as the universality of love, art and cinema, suspense, tales from our past, stories beyond fiction, inspiring women, laughter and tales for budding cinephiles.

The Alliance Française French Film Festival 2013 is on from March 14 – April 4 at the Palace Barracks and Palace Centro Cinemas.

Published in Film
This year, audiences are spoilt for choice at the 7th Byron Bay International Film Festival and Festival Director, J'aimee Skippon-Volke is passionate about bringing the festival to the people.

J'amiee feels that Byron Bay has recently lost its sense of identity and hopes the BBFF can build a stronger sense of community and cultivate an attitude where everyone can come together to enjoy the film festival — tourists and locals alike. “I got very passionate about getting behind the BBFF because I felt that Byron was losing its distinctiveness, its identity in a way. So for me personally, it was about creating an event which really celebrated what Byron was about. I basically looked at programming the films that represent what we expect here in Byron, whether it's surfing films, environmental or social justice etc.. I think we're helping people having a better attitude. It's not about locals versus tourists — we want to bring everyone together for it.”

BBFF introduces a wide array of film subjects from human evolution, social issues, environmental sustainability, music, dance, surf, sexuality and even outer space.

“We literally have something for everyone. We have 220 films. I believe film is a universal medium. It's a bit like music, you can't really say 'I don't like music' and you can't really say 'there's no film for me,' because there really is something for everyone.”

With significant audience growth each year, J'aimee hopes the growth will strengthen. “We grow by about 20 percent to 40 percent every year. In the last couple of years it has been about 40 percent and we want to project that kind of growth ... we really do want to see the film festival grow. To have people feel like they really want to come from all over, to see a massive celebration of the best of Byron and the best of Australia too.”

J'aimee gives an insiders advice on two must-see films. “What would be a particular interest to your readers is a film called 'Electrick Children'. It's International Women's Day that day and that film is made by a female director. The other film that we are excited about is the closing night film 'Small Apartments' staring Matt Lucas from 'Little Britain' playing an American. It's a black comedy and it has some stellar performances.”

The 7th Byron Bay International Film Festival runs Mar 1 – 10.
Published in Film
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 15:00

The Walking Dead: Television In Preview

Under Glen Mazzara's direction, 'The Walking Dead' has become the most watched basic cable drama telecast in history.

As his last season races towards its conclusion, we sit down for a spoiler-filled discussion with the departing showrunner about his work.

Of all the possible explanations for the show's unprecedented success, the most compelling is its unpredictable nature. It's simply impossible to guess what's going to happen from one episode to the next with any degree of accuracy, as demonstrated by the sudden death of lovable prisoner Axel a few weeks back.

Using that death as a case study - why did someone have to die at that moment, and why did it have to be Axel? - Mazzara provides us with a revealing insight into his creative process.

“When The Governor shows up,” he explains, “he's not there to invade the prison or launch a major attack, he just wants to send a message to these people. And as he's doing that, he will look ineffectual if it does not result in a death. You know, we want to have a big gun battle, but he's not invading, so he's just going to snipe at somebody, and that's going to result in a death. Otherwise he looks completely impotent.

“Now the question is, whose death? To be very honest, I didn't want to kill off any of the major characters. We obviously didn't want to kill Rick. Carol was on the chopping block, but I didn't want to kill Carol, because we have a story coming up with her. We looked at the possibility of killing Beth. I don't think that actor knows that... but I felt that would have had too big an impact on the group. It would have just devastated poor Herschel. It would have taken him down a path I didn't want for the rest of the season. And we were already dealing with Maggie's feelings about her sexual assault by The Governor, so we didn't want to complicate that with mourning for her sister.

“We talked about killing Carl in that episode! We really did... unfortunately, you know, by the process of elimination, we got to Axel. Now I like Lew Temple's performance of Axel very, very much, and we were just starting to find that character and develop him in a way that we loved. And we probably could have had more stories with him. But The Governor was the main character in that piece. We needed to make sure he was not ineffectual. Because otherwise he's not a bad guy that could possibly take out our guys.”

If The Governor doesn't “take out our guys” by the end of this season, he'll have to do it under someone else's watch. Mazzara's run is coming to a close, and 'The Walking Dead' is about to welcome its third showrunner in four seasons. There was a time when fans wouldn't have noticed, but they seem to know everything that happens behind the curtain now. Is that increased attention a good thing?

“I think so!” Mazzara laughs. “I think the showrunner deserves it! They're driving the creative vision of the show. So even though it is a collaborative medium, the showrunner is the equivalent of the director of a feature film... there's no aspect of the show that I'm not involved in, that I don't approach from a position of authority.

'The Walking Dead' Season 3 premieres every Tuesday at 7:30pm AEDT on FX, exclusively on FOXTEL, less than 33 hours after US audiences. Read the full transcript of this interview at scenestr.com.au.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:57

Dave Thornton: Brisbane Comedy Festival

Our favourite pencil-legged comedian returns with his new appropriately titled show, 'Tall and Pointy'.

Not only is Dave Thornton an actor and comedian, he’s also a professional procrastinator, so much so that he managed to write a 765 word post ALL ABOUT PROCRASTINATING. Alongside his love for blogs lies his beloved twitter account. “It has increased my potential to connect with anyone and everyone and made my procrastination that much more interesting. For instance did you know that Amazon dolphins are often involved in nasal sex? Thank you @WhatTheF***Facts.

“Tweets or blogs? To be honest I’d prefer foot massages at the beach whilst drinking Daiquiris but coming in second is either of those two.”

Onto 'Tall And Pointy', Thornton guarantees it’ll be completely in 3D and there will be 20% less lip syncing than previous years. “Stand-up can sometimes offend. We can swear and that may offend people. If you are offended by swearing know that police can now fine anyone who swears in public. I guess I’ll have to refer to them as lieutenants and ****stables now.”

We were impressed by his capabilities to act, write, present and be an all-round funny guy and wondered if there was anything he couldn’t do? “From what I gather, I’m only a few Peptide doses away from being an elite athlete.”
Elite athlete or not, Thornton said his TV time on ‘House Husbands’ and ‘Talking 'Bout Your Generation’ was fun. “Yeah it was a bunch of fun, even a punnet of fun. Possibly a bouquet of fun. All of the above”.

His three theories to overcome a stuffy audience include answers like, “Look into the sun? Hold your breath? Swallow a spoon full of sugar. No, wait, that’s sneezing isn’t it?”

Anyway, a final note for hecklers — just don’t. “You’ve paid for this service so why ruin it? It’s like booking a plumber to come in and fix a broken pipe only to kick the pipe in as he’s finishing up. It’s your money you’re wasting!”

See Dave Thornton from March 5-10 as part of the 2013 Brisbane Comedy Festival at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Published in Comedy
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:53

Chance Waters: Taking Chances

Sydney MC, Chance Waters ditched his Phatchance moniker last year and is excited to show off his new style at Live It Up.

“I've never done an under-18s show in Brisbane before so that will be really great, it'll be nice to meet and connect with younger audiences,” Chance says. “I don't think there are enough opportunities for younger people to go and see music from bands that aren't absolutely massive.

“I think festivals like [Live It Up] are a really great initiative and are making a new niche and new opportunities for kids — young people are more passionate about music than older people so it's nice for them to get the opportunity to go and see it.”

Chance is also looking forward to playing on such a varied bill, alongside hardcore rockers The Amity Affliction, and electro-dance party band Pigeon.

“I think they're going half harder/ half hip hop selection, and I think that'll actually work. I don't know if they’re doing a one-stage or two-stage setup so that'll be the interesting part but I think it'll be great. There's more cross-combination of music styles now, particularly in the younger kids, than there used to be so I'm sure it'll be an awesome day.”

Headed north for Live It Up, Chance will also return in May for the Caxton Street Seafood festival. And the Sydney emcee says audiences at both events can expect an energetic set.

“There’ll be a full live band, we're doing banjo, I whip out the iPad at one point, I've got vocal effects, we'll have bass and guitar, keyboards and stuff. It should be a fun show; we like to mess around with it … maybe a Nintendo controller to rig up to some samples.”

Chance’s second full-length album, ‘Infinity’, was released last year and represents a change in musical direction for the young emcee.  

“With 'Inkstains',” he says, “that record was very much a personal snapshot of my life and I don't think I went outside myself very much on that album at all, so stepping into this one I definitely knew I wanted to make something that was a bit more external and a bit more relatable to people.”

For ‘Infinity’, Chance has drawn upon his own personal beliefs to create at times humorous social commentary such as his single ‘Maybe Tomorrow’, which jokes about the end of the world.

“Well, I'm a bit of an agnostic but I guess I'm really into existential ideas and I'm really into broad social patterns, anthropology and the things that make humans tick so I like to work those bigger things in,” he says.

‘Infinity’ also sees a change in production style, with Chance almost exclusively employing the services of renowned hip hop producer, One Above.

“One of the big factors in the change of production sound was that I started working very closely with One Above; he produced 10 of the 12 songs on the record,” he says. “He has been changing a lot in regards to his production so we just grew together and the beats that he was selecting for me and the stuff I was choosing was all a bit different, not 'typical' hip hop.”  

The change has also been influenced by other musical projects Chance has worked on in the past few years.

“I worked on an acoustic project between ‘Inkstains’ (2009), which was my release under Phatchance, and this album ['Infinity'],” he explains. “I think working with the musicians on that I developed a bunch of people I go to for stuff and my sound changed in that period. So by the time it came to work on this album I was much more used to getting more musicians through the studio and working with stuff that wasn't typically hip hop, and I think that stuff has carried over.”

Since his debut as Phatchance in 2003, Chance has seen the Australian hip hop scene change and evolve almost as much as his musical style.

“The first battles I was in were around 2003 and at that point it was still really a homespun genre,” he says. “When you'd go to gigs you'd know everyone there, you'd know all the performers. There were really only two or three acts of any large-scale notoriety and an act of my level back then, in terms of the ‘food chain’, would have had no hope touring … it was just a totally different scene.

“That's opened up though,” he adds, “particularly in the past year or two, I think things have started to change; there are a lot of people going in different directions and that's good … a bit of diversity never hurt.”

Chance Waters plays Live It Up Festival at the RNA Showgrounds Saturday April 13. He returns for the Caxton Street Seafood Festival Sunday May 5.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:48

Halfbrick Studios: Fruity Fun

For all you Fruit Ninjas out there, Halfbrick, the Brisbane studio that developed the immensely popular app, will be hosting a games night as part of Garage Gamer.

Halfbrick Studios Chief Marketing Officer, Phil Larsen, says the event will give fans the opportunity to interact with and learn from a range of studio professionals.

“What we try to do is really engage with the fans and the community who want to know about games or what we do,” he says. “What we do have is several people, each in a different area of expertise at Halfbrick; we’ll have a talk and a Q&A, so someone who is an artist or a designer or whatever should have an expert to talk to and get some insight into what we do.”

With Fruit Ninja installed on over half the smartphones in the United States, Halfbrick Studios has become a Brisbane success story. Phil wants to share that success by encouraging and educating a new generation of local game developers. 

“We’ll be able to give some really great examples on how we engage with community and what you do when you do have a successful game. You need to be able to talk about the business side of it, because to reach that many people you need a lot of business support and you definitely need a lot of marketing behind it as well, so we’ll be covering that.”

It’s not all business though: avid Fruit Ninjas should sharpen their Katana fingers and be ready for a live fruit-slicing experience.

“We’ll also be running some competitions with prizes as well and it’s something that people can get involved with, so that’s really good to see,” Phil says. “Fruit Ninja Kinect is always a really big crowd favourite so we should definitely have that and prizes for people who come out and play games. Other than that, we really try to keep it casual; people will be drinking and having fun, talking — we’ll mingle and see what people have got.”

Halfbrick Studios hosts Level Up Games night at the State Library of Queensland Friday March 8 as part of Garage Gamer.
Published in Events Music
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:39

Live Review: Future Music Festival

Torrential rain and fields of knee-deep mud did nothing to dampen the spirits of the crowd at Future Music Festival on Saturday. By early afternoon Doomben Racecourse was a veritable mudbath but somehow it just made the crowd want to party that much harder.
 
Despite a late start, Gypsy & The Cat performed their encore set to a packed and rowdy audience. After their seemingly endless sound-check, the lads were urged to the stage by the restless crowd chanting, “play some f*****g music!” en masse.

Over at the main stage, London four-piece Rudimental braved the elements to deliver a high-energy set which featured a guest appearance from sultry British songstress Ella Eyre for ‘Waiting All Night’.
In the all but washed out Warriors Dance Arena, Canadian dubstep duo Zeds Dead (aka DC and Hooks) kept the soaked and muddy crowd warm with an incredible heart-thumping set.

As the grey and gloomy day became a dark and stormy night, the glowsticks were out in force for French producer Madeon, who gave an amazing electronic performance accompanied by a truly impressive lightshow. The young producer’s stage presence was messianic as he mixed up his original beats with party classics, such as Daft Punk’s ‘Around The World’.

Everybody’s favourite rascal, English MC Dizzee Rascal, hit the main stage mid-downpour proudly exclaiming, ‘My name’s Dizzee f*****g Rascal, now make some f*****g noise!” The crowd happily obeyed while Dizzee had them dancing and singing along to a string of his hits, as well as introducing brand new material from his forthcoming record.

As if moved by some occult hand, the rain finally eased for ‘90s indie darlings, The Stone Roses, who by far gave one of the best performances of the day. Opening with guaranteed crowd-pleaser ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, the Roses played favourites from their extensive back-catalogue, broken up by good ol’ fashioned psychedelic jam sessions complete with kaleidoscopic visuals.

Click here to see photos from Brisbanes Future Music Festival

Matt Innes

For those who arrived early, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike entertained the crowd with a thumping dance mash-up. Their use of samples ranged from the inspired (Depeche Mode, ‘Tetris’ theme) to the somewhat alarming (Linkin Park), but their slick beats were enough to get an already ecstatic audience stomping up and down on the muddy grass.

Ellie Goulding had just enough time for a small assortment of lovely piano ballads and dance-infused tracks (including the catchy Calvin Harris-produced ‘I Need Your Love’) before worsening rain made her end the set prematurely (BOO!). By the time Fun. took to the stage, icy winds were piercing everyone’s flesh and the torrential downpour was quickly turning Doomben Racecourse into a dirty big swamp. Luckily the New York indie-pop band managed to brighten things up a little with their sprightly tracks.

Temper Trap frontman Dougy Mandagi said a special “fuck you” to the rain as the band commenced a set full of fan favourites like ‘Love Lost’, ‘Fader’ and ‘Drum Song’. Although the downpour slightly diluted their music’s emotional intimacy, their performances were strong, and it was hard not to be blown away by the powerful finale: ‘Sweet Disposition’.

Israeli dubstep wiz Borgore played a decent bunch of tunes including his hit ‘Decisions’. It was a solid set, and although a few more originals would have improved it, the mash-ups of artists like Knife Party went down a treat.  
Then came The Prodigy. Featuring a live guitarist and drummer, the UK legends opened with ‘Voodoo People’ as vocalists/ dancers Keith Flint and Maxim worked the crowd. In a set that would have been a nostalgia trip for many, hits like ‘Breathe’, ‘Firestarter’, and ‘Invaders Must Die’ were performed with a crazed, manic energy. After an audience participation-filled rendition of ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ it looked like the show was over, until the guys came back onstage for a triple encore of ‘Take Me To The Hospital,’ Their Law’ and ‘Outer Space’. After all these years, this group have lost none of their menacing brilliance.

Daniel Wynne

Published in Events Music
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