Items filtered by date: August 2013

Prepare yourselves for perhaps the biggest pop cultural mash-up in history.

You also might as well start busting out the classics like 'Bad' and 'Thriller' because Cirque Du Soleil's 'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour' will be arriving in Australia come September.

“It's an amazing concert,” dancer Leo Moctezuma says. “It has everything you could ever want from MJ, and it's been made using Cirque Du Soleil elements. It's basically the perfect combination.

MJ was very theatrical in his own right [so] it was a natural progression.

“His music lends itself to so many different styles, so theatrically it was a pretty … easy process to nourish. Everything Michael Jackson did was bigger than life, and those who are Cirque Du Soleil fans would know that Cirque Du Soleil is also bigger than life.”

It also appears that if the pop music revolutionary was still among us today the show would've been given his personal stamp of approval — MJ himself was an avid fan of Cirque Du Soleil.

“There's actually footage of him going to the Cirque Du Soleil headquarters and just being like a little kid. He was more excited to meet the performers than the performers were to meet him.

“He was just so young at heart, and when you come to Cirque Du Soleil you feel like you're in a wonderland, in a dream, and I feel that Michael held his childhood very closely to him.”

The show boasts an impressive cast of MJ-inspired characters to boot, ranging from Lady Gaga-like 'Smooth Criminal' gangsters to walking gloves occupied by dancers.

“The costumes are unbelievable; they're all tethered into each and every individual cast member; they're all of course very Michael Jackson-inspired, but with a modern-day twist.

“Zaldi [Goco] – the designer for the costumes – did the costumes for 'This Is It', so it stays true to what MJ would've done.”

In fact, a total of 252 individual outfits were crafted for 'The Immortal World Tour'. So then, which role does Leo play?

“There's five of us and we're called The Fanatics. Basically, we're MJ fanatics and throughout the show, I wear that iconic red jacket MJ used to wear. We get to go out into the crowd and interact with everyone. We take pictures with some people and we show MJ's moves to the audience. We just try to really involve everyone and make the experience the best experience possible.”

Perhaps the tour's biggest secret weapon is writer and director Jamie King, who not only has worked with household names like Madonna and Rihanna, but also with the late King Of Pop himself.

“Jamie King is a fantastic director and choreographer. I've actually worked with Jamie King on many pop tours and I've worked closely with him. It just made sense that Jamie was doing this tour because he has worked very closely with Michael Jackson as a dancer and visionary as well.”

Leo also attributes the success of 'The Immortal World Tour' down to its soundtrack — an authentic compilation of timeless hits like 'Man In The Mirror, 'Beat It' and a plethora of other tracks from MJ's chart smashing legacy.

“This tour is a great way for MJ fans to almost get closure with his unfortunate passing,” he says. “You relive him and his music because in the show all of the vocal tracks are his original tracks from the vocal vault.

“One of the best compliments we've ever had … was from a huge Michael Jackson fan who wrote to us and said, 'The show was amazing … but the only thing I didn't like about it was that by the end of the show you remembered that MJ wasn't there'.”

'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour' runs from October 2–6 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre.

Published in Dance
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 16:06

Nina Las Vegas: Bringing The Beats

Triple J ‘it’ girl, DJ, host and producer, Nina Las Vegas is in an affable mood ahead of her national ‘House Party Tour’ and release of her freshly mixed double CD, ‘Triple J House Party Volume Two’.

To describe Nina as busy would be an understatement. Though fans needn’t worry about burnout; even with her hectic schedule Nina’s sultry voice will still be heard across the airwaves, with the all-rounder managing to make time to continue bringing the beats as host and producer of Triple J’s Saturday night radio slot, House Party. But it’s the national tour of the same name that’s at the forefront of Nina’s thinking.

“It’s going to be a party on the stage for six hours, with all the favourite Triple J tunes, mixed with new club beats and party jams. It’s really cool ‘coz, like least year, we have heaps of different sounds covered. Cassian and Flight Facilities will do the disco house thing, I bang it out and play club stuff, then you’ve got Waver Racer, who's new on the scene, doing really forward thinking beats type stuff and Tyler Touche, who’s super young; doing a cool new thing live.”

Nina says she selected tracks for the latest ‘House Party’ CD that represented this moment in time.

“It was a stupidly hard selection process. The tracks stay on the CD forever, so I put on songs that I love right now. There will be sounds from Major Lazer, Shocktone, Tame Impala and Haim to name a few. There’ll be some classics, some new ones, remixes people may not have heard, and songs that I want people to hear. I treated it like the show, but then I had to be really formal about it, and ask all the labels for permission, unlike the radio show.”

When it comes to the art of DJing, aside from a little help from a friend, Nina is self-taught.

“My DJ friend Levins taught me, he asked me to play at a party and kind of showed me but I taught myself after that. But I also have a graphic design degree, so If I wasn’t a radio host or DJ, I’d be animating somewhere, or teaching music workshops again.”

It’s not all about the dancefloor, with Nina founding Heaps Decent with DJ friends Diplo and Levins in 2007. Heaps Decent is an initiative dedicated to finding and nurturing the creativity of indigenous and underprivileged young people. Nina is well and truly dominating a traditionally male-dominated industry, but says she can see a shift towards equality within the music scene.

“Sure, there are ups and downs. You’ve just got to handle the dudes. If you can handle them, you’re fine. You don’t see many girls being promoters or tour managers, but the good ones are there and they work hard. We need more girls making music, not just DJing. More girls on the radio, more girls putting on parties and being the promoter.”
Aside from her amazing organisational skills, Nina says to stay on top of her commitments she doesn't get much sleep.

“I am the most dedicated person to their iCalendar. I just write everything down and make time.”

To all aspiring DJs, Nina says work ethic is everything.

“Work your butt off, learn how to put your pride second and just play what people want to hear for a bit, ‘coz the more you do that, the more gigs you’ll get and the more you can push what you want to play.”

‘Triple J House Party Volume Two’ is out August 23. The National ‘House Party’ Tour Stops At The Hi-Fi Saturday August 31.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:59

Everyday: Everyday Equality

Adelaide emcee Everyday talks politics, equal rights and his debut album, ‘Equality’.

A drummer in a hardcore band seems like a funny way for a hip hop artist to break into the business, but that's how Everyday got his start, playing in his best friend’s band. However, it didn't feel right playing hardcore when it was hip hop that was playing through his headphones.

“With a lot of hardcore music, the vocals are lot more distorted and a lot of the time the lyrics go over the head whereas I think with hip hop, it's mainly the lyrics. I think hip hop allows you to get the message across that you want to say while still giving you a beat you can nod your head to.”

Everyday was raised in a family where music was always an integral part of the household. It was a childhood filled with fond memories of staying up all night singing and dancing to 'Saturday Night Jukebox'.

“There's a couple of tracks on the album, my childhood is reflected through them but a lot of it is pretty politically driven as well.”

Everyday's 'Equality' has been gaining a lot of traction as intelligent hip hop that touches on issues of equal rights, political agendas and power tactics.

“It was more about touching on the right now, what's going on in the world. It's 2013 and we're still fighting the same bullshit fights. This album was purely to put that out there, you know, my views on how have we not progressed past things like same-sex marriage and white versus black. As soon as we can push past that we can start living more in peace.”

Usually very collaborative, Everyday chose to go solo on this record to release all of the ideas he had building up.

“I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get out and when I'm inspired and driven and want to get something done I get a bit obsessive and that's all that I want to do.”

It wasn't long until he was back to collaborating with his mates though; he recently released a limited edition 7” 'Death From Above' featuring Realizm and Tomorrow who also collaborated on tracks for 'Equality'.

‘Equality’ and ‘Death From Above’ are both available now.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:50

Drapht: The Perfect Menu

Needing a retreat from the stress of the daily grind, Perth MC Drapht — aka Paul Reid — has turned his deft hand to grinding coffee beans at his new café to cope.

Fans don’t need to worry, though, as he’ll still be in Brisbane to destroy the stage at this year’s Sprung Festival with DJ Rob Shaker. 

“I am a hands on owner… The first couple of months in any business, you have to put your all into it. It’s all my inspiration, all my recipes and basically the way I’ve been living for the last ten years or so.”

A place to drench your arteries in burger fat it is not, Paul being a strict adherent to holistic health, a ramification of his battle with auto-immune and thyroid issues that make him wince at the sight of pasteurised dairy, table salt and processed sugar. We discuss the similarities between a track list and a menu.

“With the café, it’s the same sort of creative energy, but in a different avenue. It feels like I’m working with Trials, Suffa or Ta-Ku. That’s like me working with the chef, coming up with all these lists of ingredients seeing what works and doesn’t work. It gives me a bit of time to take away from the pressure of my music, but still have that creative outlook on something different.”

As a self-described perfectionist, and the ‘Life Of Riley’ album leading him to the brink of insanity, it’s easy to picture Drapht blowing blood vessels like Gordon Ramsay perusing a burnt tomato. However, Paul has learnt to keep this in check over the years.

“I’m trying my hardest not to [give in], I’ve grown up being very hard on myself with anything I’ve done creative wise. Perfectionism is not a nice thing, it’s not something to pride yourself on. I’ve learnt within the last five years I need to give myself a bit of a break and not go overboard.

“If it’s with my music, I can sit there with a song for weeks on end trying to get it perfect, but no one’s going to notice the difference. Those extra days you put into it, it’s not even worth it, no one appreciates that extra length you go to.

“You put yourself through the ringer to please everyone but yourself. Your health is unfortunately the catalyst of that, and you end up being the person most affected by it. By no means would I ever do that to myself again, there’d be no slaving for 18 hours a day on an album anymore. That’s why I want to work on music the way I used to work on music.”

We talk about how the process has changed over the years, from the angst driven young Perth rapper leaking out of ‘Pale Rider’, to the ARIA success of ‘Brothers Grimm’ and the trappings of fame.

“I started writing music when I was 17 and I spent every waking moment on it that I wasn’t working because I loved it. After the success of ‘Brothers Grimm’, I had to push myself to write the whole ‘Life Of Riley’ record. It turned into a job and I hated it, I hated that aspect of music and I hated what it became after it was successful… I wanted to strip everything back and really get the love back and use music as the venting process that it was.”

Paul cites the release of ‘Tasty’ with Ta-Ku as one of these opportunities. A surprise for many, the song’s trap style beat and hard hitting rhythm were a far cry from the sample driven ‘Life Of Riley’, but the track perfectly captures the notion of breathing new life back into the creative process.

Looking forward to Sprung, whose line-up reads like a who’s who of local hip hop, Drapht is happy to be back on stage surrounded by his peers.

“It’ll be like having Wu-Tang on stage with the amount of guests I’m going to have for Brisbane and Melbourne. I’ve been touring with a live band for the last six years. They are some of my closest friends, but this time they can’t come out. So I’m going to flip it up and take it back to where I started, have some MCs and a DJ, that’s the formula. It will be nice to get back to those roots.

“It’s throwing me out of my comfort zone a little bit, and I’m a little bit nervous not having the band behind me.”

With all eyes on Paul, I ask whether his perfectionist tendencies make it harder for him to perform solo.

“You’re not helping me whatsoever here,” he laughs. “You’re putting fear into my head, even more anxiousness.”

Drapht plays Sprung Festival at Victoria Park September 21.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:37

Chet Baker: Like Someone In Love

David Goldthorpe would like to introduce you to his good friend, the infamous Chet Baker.

“Why Chet Baker? I’ve always loved Chet Baker’s music. I was introduced to him later in life when I saw ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ where Matt Damon does the impersonation of Chet Baker. That's what did it. I walked down to the record store and bought one of his albums and started listening to it. I really fell in love with his trumpet playing as well as his singing.

“Then, I had to develop a theatrical piece for something in my last year of drama school that I had a personal connection with. I had quite a personal connection with his music already and I was interested in the darker side of his life with drug abuse as I've always wondered what would have happened if I had wandered down that path myself.

“The juxtaposition between his sweet music and the dark character he shows most of the time makes him a really interesting person. That's why I went with Chet Baker.”

David has performed ‘Chet Baker: Like Someone In Love’ every year since its first production in 2007.

“It’s like putting on an old worn pair of shoes that I really like wearing. Every time I come back to the performance it fits well and is so comfortable but every time I do it, it's always in a different place with different audiences, in different cities, in different venues.”

Chet Baker: Like Someone In Love plays the QUT Gardens Theatre August 22-23.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:25

Chocolate Strings: Havin' A Good Time

There is no mistake. Kasper Skou of Chocolate Strings has confirmed they love nothing more than making music and having fun.  

“We're all pretty close together, the unit itself. The majority of us have lived together at some point or another. We've all been friends for so long. It's sort of like a big family. We’re just hanging out and having roasts or cook-ups and just jamming, going to pubs and having fun.”

With eight members jamming up a storm, Chocolate Strings has a bit of everything.

“I like to say it's a reggae bass music but it sort of bleeds into dub, soul, a bit of R&B. It's a bit of everything. We have a pretty broad range of styles from our members so we just bring it all together and make it fun.”

Recently returning after a two year break, these guys are more focused on their music but not at the expense of having fun.

“We're recording for our second album, and because we had that break, we're not really in a rush. I mean, we do want to get it out as soon as possible but we want to make sure we're really happy with it.

“We all just need to do that for everyone, all the people who have been coming to our shows. It's been years since ‘Carnival’ came out. We attempted to write an album but then that album just got shelved. We've got all the recordings but we decided to re-do them anyways. I think we just feel that they deserve a better album and something that we're really, really proud of.”

Kasper also mentioned that their big group has recently expanded.

“Alex, our guitarist, just recently had a baby as well and she gets to come to some of our festival shows now which is exciting. The Strings' goal in life is to have all these kids and we can just retire and they will take it away.”

Chocolate Strings play Sol Bar Aug 23 and Island Vibe Festival Oct 25-27.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:18

Darren Middleton: Found In Translation

Former Powderfinger lead guitarist, Darren Middleton is amidst preparations to perform his debut solo album ‘Translations’ at Bigsound.

“Sideways and forwards.” These are the two words Middleton uses to describe ‘Translations’. The record, not due for release until November, is being kept tightly under wraps. A number of things have, however, been revealed. Firstly, there are a number of exciting guests that feature. Secondly, the lyrical content and the story behind the album deals with the period of time that Middleton denotes as the “big comedown after the whole Powderfinger thing… [I] needed to kind of find my own identity again, and [at least] find a purpose”.

While ‘Finger and music fans have to wait until November for the album’s release, Middleton will be performing material from ‘Translations’ at Bigsound next month. But it’s been over two years since he has performed in front of a crowd in a traditional band scenario.

“It’s funny because I am getting a bit nervous about the idea of getting up there and doing it again … I’m getting butterflies back in my guts, but it’s not a bad thing.”

If there is one thing Middleton is looking forward to, it’s the freedom to present himself however he pleases – there is no aspect of “oohh, maybe I shouldn’t do that because, you know, it might not be cool by the band. You can really just be yourself.”

Despite some slight nerves about performing at Bigsound, Middleton is stoked to be a part of “one of the best festivals you could hope for”. He compares Bigsound to Austin, Texas’ South By Southwest.

“It’s an industry event, but not a boring industry event – the world turns their eye on Brisbane and the rest of the Australian music scene for a few days. The music coming out of Australia at the moment is unbelievable… it’s so strong.”

Darren Middleton polays Bigsound September 10-13. ‘Translations’ is due for release in November.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:17

Peter Helliar Tickets

Obvs, espesh, ridic, awks, totes – who the hell knows what the youth of today are talking about? Peter Helliar, that’s who.

Pete is ditching his Malvern Star for a fixie, replacing his trackie dacks for a pair of skin-tight jeans and turfing his Reeboks for a pair of vintage slip-ons.

Oh, and he’s getting as many tattoos as he can – completely on trend, of course.

To win one of two double passes to Pete’s show at the Sit Down Comedy Club Friday August 30 This competition has closed.
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Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 4pm Wednesday 21st August at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
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Published in Competition
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:13

The Preatures: All Or Nothing

With all of his eggs currently in one basket, The Preatures’ Gideon ‘feels comfortable’ ahead of the release of the band’s latest EP, ‘Is This How You Feel?’.

“It's kind of at a point where [the music career] has to work. I had one guitar lesson in my whole life but he didn't teach me what I wanted to learn. I went on and picked up the guitar again later down the tracks. I went away overseas and travelled for a bit and came back. I dropped out of university numerous times and so I've put all of my eggs in one basket.”

The band has been pleased with the response of fans to their move away from an independent label towards a poppier sound.

“I think people have warmed to it more than anything else we've ever done. These new tracks, people are getting it, singing along and really connecting to it. I think people are going to really like it. It's danceable, there are moods to it and it's like what we had before where there are down points and there are uplifting points. In that way it's a bit like a journey. As a whole, sonically, it's going to make sense to people about how the feel fits into it all.

“People understand that this was a decision that the band made. We haven't changed. If we were to have put out an independent record, we would have put out the same record. We did it all ourselves and in our own space and the label were really good and gave us our own space and place to develop, do what we needed to do and write what we needed to write.”

Among their influences, The Preatures name Prince, Fleetwood Mac and Roxy Music.

“I guess at heart, as a band, we're built in classics. We look to the past for inspiration. We do like a lot of sounds that people are using at the moment and we thought we could incorporate that as well this time.”

And if Gideon could be reborn into another decade, it would be the 1970s.

“I'm a secret fan of disco and the whole culture.”

With all of his eggs currently in one basket, The Preatures’ Gideon ‘feels comfortable’ ahead of the release of the band’s latest EP, ‘Is This How You Feel?’.

“It's kind of at a point where [the music career] has to work. I had one guitar lesson in my whole life but he didn't teach me what I wanted to learn. I went on and picked up the guitar again later down the tracks. I went away overseas and travelled for a bit and came back. I dropped out of university numerous times and so I've put all of my eggs in one basket.”

The band has been pleased with the response of fans to their move away from an independent label towards a poppier sound.

“I think people have warmed to it more than anything else we've ever done. These new tracks, people are getting it, singing along and really connecting to it. I think people are going to really like it. It's danceable, there are moods to it and it's like what we had before where there are down points and there are uplifting points. In that way it's a bit like a journey. As a whole, sonically, it's going to make sense to people about how the feel fits into it all.

“People understand that this was a decision that the band made. We haven't changed. If we were to have put out an independent record, we would have put out the same record. We did it all ourselves and in our own space and the label were really good and gave us our own space and place to develop, do what we needed to do and write what we needed to write.”

Among their influences, The Preatures name Prince, Fleetwood Mac and Roxy Music.

“I guess at heart, as a band, we're built in classics. We look to the past for inspiration. We do like a lot of sounds that people are using at the moment and we thought we could incorporate that as well this time.”

And if Gideon could be reborn into another decade, it would be the 1970s.

“I'm a secret fan of disco and the whole culture.”

'Is This How You Feel?' is out now. The Preatures play Black Bear Lodge Sep 27. 

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 14 August 2013 15:08

Taylor Mac: The Walking Man

Internationally acclaimed cabaret artist, Taylor Mac, is back with his sequin sprinkled, high energy ‘20th Century Concert’. But not before he returns from the US where he’s bunkered down at an exclusive work retreat.

What was your motivation to participate in the retreat?
It's called the Sundance Theatre Lab retreat and it takes place at the Sundance Resort in Utah.  It's essentially for playwrights to workshop new plays and is the Cadillac of retreats in America. I feel pampered, enriched with ideas and art, and my new play ‘The Fre’ is really shaping up as a result of being here.

You perform one song from each decade in ‘20th Century Concert’. What sort of songs are you covering?
The oldest was written in the first decade of the 20th century by Irving Berlin and the youngest is a Tori Amos song written in the 1990s. The concert consists of standards, new age, disco, an agit-prop song, an epic Patti Smith song that's in the tradition of spoken word and punk, and just about everything.

Your costumes are very crazy and edgy. Do you assist with the designs?
I used to design everything I wore, but in the last five years I've been working with the magnificent Machine Dazzle (one of New York's best costume creators). I usually talk to Machine about my concept for the look and then let him go at it. He always surprises and exceeds expectations.

What else can the audience expect from ‘20th Century Songs’?
It's always different every night, because there's so much improv in the show, but the foundation of the show stays the same. We sing songs, make people laugh, challenge their boundaries (in a kind way) and generally make fools of ourselves.

In the early ‘90s you took nine months off from performing and walked across the United States. What inspired that journey?
It was a political walk to spread information about nuclear proliferation. It changed my life and I think, in many ways, showed me what kind of artist, activist, and human being I wanted to be.

Taylor Mac plays the Brisbane Powerhouse Thursday August 15.  

Published in Pop/ Electro

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