Items filtered by date: April 2013
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 04:33

The Drones: Far From Mindless

Melbourne’s The Drones are about to embark on a national tour for new album ‘I See Seaweed’.
 
“We’ve gotta rehearse the whole thing yet, so we’ve gotta figure out how to do it,” says frontman Gareth Liddiard.

It won’t be the first live performance of ‘How To See Through Fog’, however. That track debuted when the band toured with Neil Young during some of his recent Australian shows.

“It was a complete trip being on tour with him. The stage had the set he used when he did tours for ‘Weld’ and ‘Rust Never Sleeps’, all these big stadium shows that he did… I grew up watching the live footage with those sets and all of a sudden I’m standing there with them, playing. It’s weird.”

‘I See Seaweed’ has been described as a return to The Drones’ noisy rock roots, and one particularly noisy (and excellent) track is ‘A Moat You Can Stand In’, which Liddiard says is about “not suffering fools and enjoying your short time”.

“The last Drones album was ‘Havilah’ and that was quieter than our usual thing... Then I did a record by myself in between which was completely acoustic, just me and a guitar [‘Strange Tourist’] so I really wanted to play loud electric again.”

Like all The Drones’ albums, the lyrics of ‘I See Seaweed’ touch on social issues and politics in a poetic fashion.

“[Rock & roll] doesn’t have to be music for idiots. Look at Bob Dylan. It’s pretty intelligent music but it doesn’t have to sound smart-arsey.”

Liddiard has worked in music since high school, often as a roadie, and says he never had a back-up plan.

“I had a messy high school and early adulthood. It was kind of out of control and I fucked up a lot of things … I had no fear of failure because I thought I’d already failed.

“[Music] was something to do and something I was really fascinated in. Other guys were trying to pick up girls, I was trying to pick up that Jimi Hendrix album that was really hard to get in Australia.”

The Drones play The Tivoli  Apr 12. ‘I See Seaweed’ is out now.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 04:29

The Jungle Giants: Back On Track

Brisbane indie-pop quartet The Jungle Giants are back in performance mode and gearing up for Track & Field #3 later this month.

“I guess it's been a while since we've played, since making the album, so we've kind of been in lockdown for a while,” says frontman Sam Hales. “We've definitely been working very hard on performance and stuff like that, so hopefully we'll be able to nut out a bit of a tighter set but a looser set at the same time so we can kind of dance around but at least we can still play our parts, as opposed to when we get too excited — sometimes we just fuck up.”

Discussing this year’s Track & Field, Sam’s excited to return to the festival where it really began for The Jungle Giants.

“The first Track & Field was one of our first real gigs,” Sam says. “Our manager, Stu, works in connection with that and he asked us if we wanted to play Track & Field and it was the craziest thing at the time because we'd never really played with any cool bands and this was our first validating gig.”

Sam and his fellow band mates will be playing alongside some of their favourite acts as well.  “The line-up's awesome: Astor and Alpine, I love Alpine's album, it'll be cool to see them live.”

The Jungle Giants’ first EP, ‘Mr Polite’, was released in 2011 and introduced the band’s own brand of rhythmic indie-pop, as well as Sam’s talent for writing catchy, heartfelt songs and his relentless commitment to his craft. 

“I worked 60 hours a week for weeks and weeks and weeks at the worst fucking places ever,” Sam explains. “Then I saved a bunch of money and recorded the EP. At the time Keelan [Bijker], our drummer, wasn't in the band yet so I played all the drum parts but then we got him on our set. Then it kind of kicked off a few months after the EP came out and we started touring and met a few cool people who were interested in the music.”

With the release and ultimate success of ‘She’s A Riot’, Sam feels they’ve taken a more decisive step in terms of the band’s musical direction. 

“It's been out for about a year now but it's kind of like our gap away from the ‘Mr Polite’ EP. I feel like that was a demo; I feel like ‘She's A Riot’ is pretty much our first EP if that makes sense, because this one has way more work behind it, way more time spent songwriting. I feel much more confident about the ‘She's A Riot’ EP in terms of direction and how solid it sounds.”

In preparation for Track & Field, The Jungle Giants have been logging countless hours rehearsing and honing their live show.

“We have a rehearsal space at our drummer's house and we just hang out there for a few hours. We do about three or four rehearsals a week so we've got a lot of time on our hands to get things right. We try and nail our tones, try to nail how tight we're playing, rhythm section, stuff like that.”

But in live music, as in life, even the best laid plans sometimes get thrown out the window.

“When we play live we just kind of break all those rules. We make sure we're still playing in time and the right parts but we definitely like having fun; we might like having fun as opposed to getting everything really tight.

“I think the best stage antics are the ones that aren't rehearsed, when they just happen on stage then they're pretty bad ass – or they suck, or they're just really bad but at least you can laugh about it after.”
For Sam, just being able to produce his own music makes all the hard work worthwhile.

“It's been a very cool thing the last few years, The Jungle Giants have really been the first chance for me to realise what I want to do with the rest of my life … it's pretty much my whole existence: music and songwriting and playing to festival crowds and tours. It's everything I’m all about and I’m very passionate about it and I could just see myself doing this forever.”

The Jungle Giants play Track & Field #3 at The Rev Alley + Electric Playground Friday April 26.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 04:18

The Getaway Plan: Breaking Barriers

In 2009, Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan disbanded after releasing their breakthrough album, ‘Other Voices, Other Rooms’. And to say fans were shocked by the announcement was an understatement.

It was a familiar story told by The Getaway Plan; in fact, it almost seemed like the tale of a modern-day Nirvana – minus a tragic suicide, of course. You see, the quartet – barely in their 20s at the time – were flat-out exhausted by how quickly they had struck the big time. However, in 2010 The Getaway Plan reunited and later released their sophomore record, 'Requiem', in 2011. The album was a notable progression from their earlier LP, trading in earlier influences like Underoath for more eclectic ones such as Radiohead.

“It kinda fell into place as it did,” drummer Aaron Barnett explains. “Once we got back together and did some tours and shows, we started writing. And in between the break-up and getting back together, we went off and did our own thing – obviously we grew up in between writing the last record as well.

“All those changes and influences came into place, but we never sat down and said we're going to write the record a certain way. We just wrote and that's what came out.”

While Aaron cites the expansion of musical tastes partly for The Getaway Plan's new-found direction, he suggests the band's personal development played a more vital role in redefining the Aussie rockers.
“I think the whole growing up thing [was responsible] for that. It would've been about three or three and a half years since we started writing the first album, so we grew up and matured a lot as musicians. We did start to listen to a lot more Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay, and that sort of thing comes into play without you even realising.

“We were pretty young when we did the first record and we were all into the emo-screamo crap. Growing up from that, we branched out a lot more … into the weird rocky sort of stuff. Then again, you still do keep elements of what you used to listen to and used as your influences – it still comes across when you write.”

The Getaway Plan also worked with David Botrill – the Grammy Award winning producer behind the likes of Tool and Muse – on 'Requiem'.

“It was intimidating at first – going in and waiting to see him – but he was lovely. He came in straight away and we just became friends with him, and he was on the same page as we were with the direction we were going in.

“We pretty much went straight into it. He knew what he wanted, we knew what we wanted and we just worked so well together. He pushed us harder than we could be pushed and it was amazing.”

But recording with Botrill wasn't all hard work because, according to Aaron, the two parties bonded so well that Botrill invited the boys to his own private island. 

“A couple hours north of Toronto he [owns] a few big lakes,” Aaron says. “His family grew up there and it's pretty much a tiny little island. He's also got his family cottage there, but he's also built his own wooden house there. It's actually photographed by National Geographic as [having] one of the best sunsets in the world.

“It's amazing out there – it's literally like being out in the middle of nowhere on your own island. We just drank and ate and swam in the water, but it was incredible … After the first time he took us, we kept nagging him and nagging him, and I think he just gave in and took us again.”

Of course, we've all trawled the internet enough to know that whenever a band makes significant changes in style, it often results in some fans rejecting it. However, The Getaway Plan seem to have struck the right chords with their latest release, earning themselves new followers across the globe.

“People are always going to criticise something either way and we're not fussed – we just wanted to write something that we wanted to write and that's what we did. As far as I'm concerned, it's grown on people. We always knew it was gonna be a slow record that you wouldn't get on your first listen – you've gotta listen to it a few times.

“Just from talking to people in the industry, doing interviews and even talking to fans, they've said that … and that's a good thing. And now obviously we've been going back and forth to the UK and it's really taking off over there, which is really cool to see because we're starting in a completely new country.”

In fact, the positive reception to The Getaway Plan in the UK has been so overwhelming that it's lead to two full-blown tours in England.

“You hear little things on the internet about fans knowing you over there, but you never really know until you get over there. We were well overdue to get over there because of the break-up and everything, so finally getting over there was really exciting and our first tour was with Pierce The Veil. It was an odd bill for us to be on.

“Going back again over the last month was with Anberlin, and that was a much better suited bill for us and more of an over age crowd. Just going back the second time and seeing people come in early just to see us was incredible, and our merch sales tripled since the last time.”

Considering the warm response in the UK, it’s unsurprising to learn that The Getaway Plan have pinpointed the European nation as their base of expansion. Who knows, the Melbourne lads might just be the next Aussie act to crack the British market.

“In the UK they appreciate everything, and for us and our music, I think it slots in a lot better and people are already grabbing at it and we're getting a lot of fans. Obviously we're talking about going elsewhere as well, like Asia and America, and that will slowly come. But at the moment we're just concentrating on building [in the UK].”

The Getaway Plan Play under 18 event Live It Up Music Festival at The RNA Showgrounds Saturday April 13. liveitupfestival.com.au

Published in Rock
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