Items filtered by date: August 2013
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:05

Matt Fraction: Brisbane Writers Festival

Celebrated comic book writer Matt Fraction — of 'Hawkeye', 'Iron Man', 'Fantastic Four', 'Thor', 'X-Men', 'Iron Fist' and 'Casanova' fame — has a plan to make comics “less comic-y”. Well, sort of. 

“Oh, oh, I wish I was so organised and far-seeing as to make plans,” counters Fraction, best known for his work with Marvel and Image Comics. “I suspect it's more about trying to find my way in to writing these long-running (in some cases) or long-existing characters that I didn't create but rather inherit for a brief time - to start with the characters themselves and grow out from there. 

“The pyrotechnics and visual excitement and action stuff, the genre stuff, the superhero stuff — it's all meaningless if you don't care about who it's all happening to, I guess. Or if I don't care about who it's happening to.”

The stars of Fraction's comics may be godlike beings, but he never loses sight of the fact that they're also human beings. Unlike many other mainstream comics, which are often written for an ageing audience of diehard fans, you don't need to be a “supernerd” to understand what's going on in his stories. In fact, two of the biggest fans of Fraction's recent run on 'Fantastic Four' were his young children. 

“'Iron Man' and 'Thor', which I had been a part of for… eesh, like five years? Four years?... were very much NOT for kids,” he explains. “And so much of the early Stan [Lee] and Jack [Kirby] stuff just sparks wonder with kids, if you've ever shown it to 'em. 

“So we'd pile into bed at night and I'd read old Stan and Jack issues to them, and then when my issues came out, we'd read those. One night my son realised I was ripping him off for ['Fantastic Four' character] Franklin [Richards] and then realised I was basically just lifting my family life. He literally said — 'hey, that's just like I do'. And he gave me this very adult look. Hilarious.”

Matt Fraction will participate in a number of Brisbane Writers Festival sessions from September 6-8. For more information, head to bwf.org.au

Published in Writing/ Poetry

They wanted to perform Shakespeare’s works back-to-back, but couldn't reserve the theatre for the 88 straight hours. Plus, apparently there’re ‘laws’ where minors can’t perform for four days without sleeping or bathing or eating.

The 'they' are Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, and it was 25 years ago, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, that they first brought their adaption to the stage.  

Throughout the play, the three daring actors interweave the brilliance of the Bard with absurd innuendos and topical references. 

“Rather than perform all 16 of Shakespeare's comedies, they get combined and it's like we're pitching the plot to Hollywood producers. There’s everything from the Kardashians to Mel Gibson playing Shylock from 'Merchant of Venice'.

And as if the script wasn’t ludicrous enough, the costumes take it to an entirely different level.

“The designer, Ailsa Paterson, did a great job. But having done the play before with very simple costumes, it was a bit confronting at first. They’re all Elizabethan in template, but ridiculously and luridly coloured. Essentially my costume’s a peacock. It completely changes my physicality — the way I walk, the way I run. And you don't rehearse in the costumes, so my outfit arrived from the Philippines for the dress rehearsal, and all of a sudden I had this whole other entity sticking out the front of me. “The peacock has now actually become a character in the show. He's called Brendan. He has his own lines, his eyes light up … It was very much a last-minute thing.”

Wild and unforgettable, this is not a play to be feared if you have no particular interest or knowledge of Shakespeare. “The show moves so fast that most jokes land and another joke lands on top of it almost straight after. People generally see it and say 'I thought it'd be funny but I had no idea it would be THAT funny'.”

‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’ will play at Redlands Performing Arts Centre on September 7. 

 

Published in Comedy
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 16:55

Savo: Top Five Tracks Right Now

1. ‘Over Here’ — Partynextdoor feat. Drake. Anyone who knows me knows how much of a Drake fan I am, and I was really excited to hear about Drake co-signing a new artist and pretty keen to have a listen. I must say I’m loving this sound. This track is easily my most played track for the last two weeks.

2. ‘Kiss Land’ — The Weeknd. As usual, The Weeknd is back with another one of his unique styled songs. ‘Kiss Land’ is a huge favourite of mine, simply because the way he seems to structure and flow with the beat. I am addicted to his unique sound and I don't think anything he'll put out will ever disappoint me.

3. ‘Make A Mill’ — Partynextdoor. This is pretty much the first solo song I've heard from Drake's new artist, Partynextdoor, and I am already addicted to his sound, which is very similar to The Weeknd's. I am really looking forward to what he will release in the future, I can see this guy becoming a really big artist, not just in the States, but the whole world.

4. ‘Objects In The Mirror’ — Mac Miller. This is by far one of my favourite tracks from Mac’s new album. I really like this one in particular because it's different to what he usually does. Instead of rapping, he brings his singing back, similar to what he does in his jazz songs. All in all, I’m really liking this new direction.

5. ‘Money Trees’ — Kendrick Lamar. I just feel like I can’t supply a Top 5 without including a track from Kendrick. Such a big inspiration in what I do with music, and I can really relate to a lot of his songs.

Savo plays Sprung Festival at Victoria Park September 21. sprunghiphop.com.au

 

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:57

Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour

'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour' brings together the best of Jackson's music and all the fantastical elements that Cirque du Soleil is known for.

Maintaining the musical legacy of Michael Jackson is no small feat, but this show is up to the task, says stage manager Laura Silverman.

“It's extremely important to us,” she says. “It's interesting because most people in the world, even if they aren't huge Michael Jackson fans, know at least a couple of his songs. When you watch our show and hear the songs you know — and a few more you didn't know were his — you realise how vast his musical catalogue is. There are moments when you just hear his voice, and you realise when you take away the sequin gloves, the moonwalk, and all the headlines, he was such a talented musician.

"His talent can give you chills really. He changed the entertainment industry forever, and everyone involved in the show is grateful for the chance to carry on his legacy. We want the audience to enjoy Michael's music from the early days of the Jackson 5, to his later hits from just before he died.”

When Cirque du Soleil get involved with a project, audience expectations skyrocket.

“It's Cirque du Soleil-meets-rock concert,” she says. “Fans will see all the acrobatic elements they know Cirque for, and of course Michael Jackson's music. There are a lot of his dance moves in the show — his iconography, his costumes, his messages, and his voice.

"We were given unprecedented access to all his original master tracks, and what you're hearing is Michael's voice from the original tracks played with a live band, so you feel like you're at one of his concerts. When you put those two entities together you come up with something pretty wild.”

Laura explains, “Michael was always a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil. He saw one of the very first shows in Santa Monica California in the '80s, and then in 2007 he visited our headquarters in Montreal and just fell in love with it. He got lost in the costume department and met a bunch of the artists.

"They planned to one day work together, but unfortunately the opportunity didn't come up, and then his estate approached Cirque du Soleil and decided this was the best way to create a show to celebrate him. We wanted to create a show that would pay tribute to his legacy, and who he was as an artist, and also that he himself would have loved and would have wanted to be a part of.”

The famously guarded Jackson family have given the show their blessing, adding that all-important element of authenticity.

“They were very supportive from the start,” she says. “Michael's mother, kids, and brothers came out to the world premiere in Montreal in 2011. They came to the premiere in Vegas as well, and his brothers came to Montreal during the rehearsal process to meet with the artists and creators. They've always been supportive of it, and told us that Michael would have loved this show, which is what we hoped for.”

'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour' is at The Brisbane Entertainment Centre October 2-6.

Published in Dance
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:48

Introducing: Moka Young

If you need an audio reference to what we sound like, think of...

J Cole, Lupe Fiasco.

My first gig was...

At Neverland Bar, Coolangatta.

I settled on my name...

About two years ago. Moka is my middle name, and Young is my mother’s maiden name

In the studio...

I let the magic happen.

If I could tour with anyone...

It would be King Hov, baby.

To date, my most embarrassing moment was the time...

I don’t really have an embarrassing moment; gettin’ naked is all part of the fun.

Life on the road...

Is fun. New adventures are something to look forward to. Eating shit food is the only downfall.

If you’ll have me on your bill, all I ask is that the rider contains...

A bottle of Remy Martin with two crystal glasses and a bucket of ice and tongs.

The most scary scenario I’ve found myself in was...

When I was bushwalking; I fell down a crevasse, a rock landed on my arm and I had to cut it off using a pocket knife — it took me about 127 hours.

What celebrity would you love to be spokesperson of the band...

I'd love Danny McBride to be my spokesperson, ‘cause he'd be funny as f*#$ and you'd never know what was going to happen.

Moka Young’s debut EP, ‘Young N Restless’, is out September 1. He plays miami shark bar september 20.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:43

Vello Virkhaus: Art Imitates Music

Production designer and VJ Vello Virkhaus says “being a doctor and being an artist are probably two of the hardest things we could do in our lives”.

Vello took time out of working on electronic dance group Krewella's set in Los Angeles to talk about his upcoming keynote speech at the inaugural Music+Design conference at Bigsound.

“I will focus on experience design, electronic music and the electronic music environment. I'm planning on presenting our Krewella project as a case study showing the process — a pencil sketch, a Google search, people meeting in a cafe to where I'm standing now is an interesting process.”

With a long career as a production designer, successful director/ VJ and founder of V Squared Labs, Virkhaus certainly has a story or two. “I wear a few hats,” he says.

Vello's line of work has seen him direct and perform the visual compositions for a long list of the biggest names in music industry including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Police and Jay-Z.

He created audio reactive visuals for Coldplay's 'Speed Of Sound' music video — which was nominated for the 2005 MTV Best Visual FX Award — and currently has his sights set on his 15th year of the Ultra Music Festival.

“Everything's come out well. I guess my batting average has worked out well. I haven't struck out yet.”

Growing up, Vello was always interested in the fine arts and studied with his grandfather, a gallery owner, before going on to graduate The School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago with a BFA specialising in art and technology studies.

“I was really interested in painting and more traditional fine art up until late high school and then I started exploring animation. I didn't know what major I wanted to have back in the day. I went multimedia for a while and got more and more interested in video in the college years,” he says.

When he moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to set up V Squared Labs, he had no idea what it would become.

“I felt like there was an opportunity going with what I like to do, which has just expanded into a much larger business model than I ever expected. When I moved I came to pursue my career as a director and I was always really interested in music work and so the company grew from that, and now it's a lot more than just me.”

Currently V Squared Labs work closely with both the music industry and commercial companies boasting clients from Coachella and The Grammy Amplifier Lounge to McAfee Security.

“The more experimental electronic work has really landed us the most opportunities. I think it's really inspirational. Through innovative music focus we've been able to branch into some more commercial projects which has been fantastic and unexpected.”

His advice for anyone wanting to break into the industry is: “If you're going to do this art work then just do it because you really love it because if you don't  get great satisfaction out if it then you should definitely not bother. Get another job that you don't think about all the time and that doesn't take as much dedication. We're always pushing the boundaries whether it’s new software or new techniques.”

Bigsound Music+Design takes place September 10-11.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:41

Pigeon: Darker, Heavier

Pigeon are different. While their music wouldn't be out of place in a nightclub, their blend of electronica and pop is bringing a fresh element to what can at times be a repetitive genre.

“So many bands are just either the same kind of set up or people get stuck behind their computers in that kind of post Flume producer thing. So yeah [there] definitely [was] an element of ‘cool, you know no one's really doing it’,” says bassist Chris Paget about the group’s use of saxophone.

“It's super cheesy and we know it's super cheesy, but I guess that's half the appeal.”

With Pigeon building a solid fanbase, particularly with Triple J’s Unearthed charts, Chris says the group wants to avoid a cookie-cutter mentality with their music.

“I think it's hard not to kind of write something like, ‘oh, you know, we should probably keep it like this, that's what Triple J like’, and we've actually been really conscious not to get sucked into that world. It can happen to a lot of people where they're writing for that kind of world.

We've always tried to do what we want in that sense. Just do it and see how it turns out you know? There's five of us so there's five different opinions. By the time we bounce all the opinions around the guys, in that sense it's really doing what we want to do and hoping that people like it, and we've been pretty lucky that people kind of think, ‘you know what, it's pretty cool, keep going’.

Following the debut of their first EP ‘Parallels’ at number six in the iTunes charts and the stellar sophomore effort, ‘Fortunes’, new single ‘Curtain Call’ ushers in a darker, heavier sound for Pigeon.

“I think it is definitely the heaviest and even the darkest track we've ever done. I guess it's exploring, lyrically as well, something that's a little bit darker and melodically trying something along those lines. It's exciting — we haven't done something like that so far.”

Pigeon play Oh Hello Aug 30 before returning with shows at the Cooly Sept 19, Beach Hotel Sept 20 and Solbar Sept 21.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:33

The Demon Parade: 1960s Rock & Roll

Michael Badger can sound quite profound when he speaks.

Clearly passionate about the music he and his band The Demon Parade make, he’s very clear on why their songs are different to any other rock & roll band out there.

"I think that the great thing about rock & roll is, in it's true form it's an expression of where you're at and at a certain time in your life, and if you can translate that from your brain onto record, then that's going to be different to everything else."

The Demon Parade are everything 1960s rock & roll was: loud, unapologetic and magnificent.

"I grew up listening to my parents play music and they all played that sort of music so I guess I'm just trying to put a new spin on what I've grown up on. I like listening to that sort of music and it just makes me want to create it."

Their new single, ‘Open Up Your Mind’, is a psychedelic delight that builds on their growing reputation nurtured with support slots for international tourists Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Bellrays. However, whatever success they garner, they'll never let it be their driving force.

"You never feel like you've accomplished what you've wanted to accomplish when you're a musician, like there's always something more you want to achieve and I think that alone is kind of what keeps you going."

The next step for the group is international recognition .

"We're going to be getting the album to college radio this year, so it's going to be our first step and next year we're looking at trying to get over to America as well and the UK."

The Demon Parade will be headed north next month with Brisbane in their sights, and Michael will be ready to feed the audience all sorts of crazy emotions.

"You know what was our best show we all feel we've ever played? It was one where we felt like the crowd was actually part of the show as well. It's all about feeding off each other, audiences and the band, and that makes it fun."

The Demon Parade headline The AU Review’s 5th Birthday Party at Black Bear Lodge Sep 13.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:31

MTNS: Chart Rousers

MTNS (pronounced mountains) are an electro folk trio whose chart-topping first single has roused the electronic scene.

Released just weeks ago, the captivating tranquillity that is MTNS' latest single, 'Lost Track of Time', reaped 20,000 plays on Soundcloud, reached number one on taste-maker chart Indie Shuffle's ‘Most Popular’ list, and was third most popular post on US music news site Earmilk.

An impressive start to the trio of Tom Eggert (vocals/ guitar), Joseph Thiang (drums) and Robbie Hellberg (keys).

“Last year I went on tour, filling in with one of my friend's bands,” Joseph says. “The keyboardist knew Tom, who was looking for a drummer. So that's how I met Tom. Robbie came on board probably five months ago. He's been a pretty good friend of mine for a while now and we needed a keyboardist who could make some epic music.”

The single's expansive mix of tones, beats, lyrics and textures reflects the complex soundscapes featured on MTNS' soon-to-be-released EP.

“We all like listening to all different types of music … and we all stemmed from acoustic instruments. But at the moment, electro's what we're exploring and people seem to like it. It's really fun to try to jam out live as well. We play live because we don't want to be a band that sits behind a DJ desk.”

But while experimentation is the force behind MTNS' distinctive sound, their music radiates expert cohesion. 

“Robbie and I are very instrument-specific. Well get together and jam a few things, then put it all out there in a collaborative effort and flavour. We all give each other a lot of feedback.”

Complementing 'Lost Track Of Time' is a music video, alluring in its simplicity.

“It's funny how it all happened. Tom's friend Teresa went to New Zealand with a bunch of friends and she had all these great shots of all the scenery and friends hanging out. We got together with her and created this video. It turned out pretty good.”

MTNS play Bigsound at Oh Hello Wednesday September 11. They also support Pigeon at Oh Hello Aug 30 as well as Beach Hotel, Byron, Sept 20.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:28

Elixir: Top Five Pop Sax Solos

1. ‘Just The Way You Are’ — Billy Joel. Phil Woods beautiful alto sax solo is GOLD! Love, love, love it — incredibly lyrical and interesting.

2. ‘Smooth Operator’ — Sade.
Sade's voice is so sexy it is crazyyyyyyyyy. Also sexy saxophone... so a double wham thank you ma'am moment.

3. ‘Careless Whisper’ — George Michael.
Alto saxophone of Steve Gregory. I wonder how many babies were conceived to his tasty solo? I can't think of this solo without thinking of that ridiculous film clip — ‘80s magic.

4. ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ — INXS. Alto saxophone of Kirk Pengilly. This song is just perfect pop — what a killer band.

5. ‘Who Can It Be Now’ — Men At Work. Greg Ham made the sax cool for me... love this band and really love his playing. And while I am at it, it was a very sad and unjust day when Larrikin Music managed to sue Greg and Colin Hay — very sad. RIP Greg.

Elixir headline the Noosa Jazz Festival August 29 until September 1.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion

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