Items filtered by date: September 2013
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:55

The Strides: One For One

Sydney eight-piece urban roots group The Strides are touring the country and taking it all in their stride, pun intended.

Currently in the middle of their national tour, The Strides are making the most of taking in all of the different landscapes Australia has to offer.

“We try and make time wherever possible. Our last few weeks have been so busy driving between shows that we've only been able to manage an early morning swim or a surf. We did have one day off in Byron Bay where we got to do some fishing,” tenor sax player Jeremy Rose says.

The Sydney group have just released 'One For One', the new single off their upcoming third album. The new song features the voice of future-soul artist Ngaiire, a song about self-realisation, self-discovery, and coming to terms with a new world.

“We've known Ngaiire for a few years now and after we'd written the song we knew she'd be perfect for it.”

To prepare for the upcoming album The Strides spent a week in Byron Bay followed by another week at Tanuki Lounge in West End with producer Paulie B. An experience Jeremy said allowed them to concentrate on the artistic direction and infuse a hip hop edge. But recording an album with eight musicians isn't always easy.

“We try and be as open as possible to everyone's thoughts on the creative process. Everyone has some valuable insight into how the music should be recorded, produced and finally mixed. But at the end, there's got to be a few of us steering the boat you might say,” Jeremy says.

The sheer size of The Strides lends itself well to the stage, however, creating a powerful dynamic.

“It can be quite a spectacle. The dynamic between our two main vocalists Ras Roni and LTL Gzeus is quite amusing to watch, with their iconic dancing and on stage rivalry.”

The Strides play Island Vibe Festival alongside Ill Gates, J:Kenzo, Soom T and many, many more at Home Beach Minjerribah North Stradbroke October 25-27.

Published in Reggae/ Roots
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:38

Seth Sentry: Regional Flavours

Seth Sentry is having a crazy day.

When his interview time with Scene rolls around he’s still stuck on the Tullamarine tarmac, his plane going nowhere. Besides, he’s managed to leave his phone at home.

The call finally comes through an hour later, Seth having finally arrived in Sydney for a show that night. On top of the travel and communication dramas he’s busily prepping for a soundcheck, so you could forgive him for sounding a little manic.

“No, it hasn’t been too bad,” Seth says reassuringly. “That sort of stuff happens.”

Seth Sentry is in Sydney to play the Rolling Stone Live Lodge, a pop-up bar that for a month is taking over some inconspicuous digs on Oxford St. But as far as the Melbourne MC is concerned it’s little more than a digression from the ‘Vacation’ tour, his extensive run of dates throughout regional Australia. The shows have been a blast.

“It’s been awesome, man,” he says. “We’re doing close to 30 performances. So it’s a big fucking run and coming after the ‘Dear Science’ tour, which was all capital cities, we thought we’d keep it really regional. So we’ve just crammed a bunch of dudes into a tour van and we’re driving around.”

It’s the first time in four years Seth has had a concerted set of regional dates, and he’s now wishing he’d done it sooner. Get him talking about the shows and it’s hard to shut him up.

“People are hungry for it. You do a regional tour and people come out and say ‘thank you’ after the show,” he laughs. “It’s really cool, man.

“They’re different in that they’re a little bit smaller than the shows you usually play. These are way more intimate and a lot of times people are a lot closer to the stage than other shows. It’s a different kind of vibe. It’s really personal. And I like that. I dunno: I just end up giving shit to people and making them a part of the show, which is fun for me. I’ve got a very short attention span and I don’t like to do the same show night after night – I like to keep it a little loose and a little improv’ed.”

But it wasn’t meant to be this way – or quite this way, at least. The ‘Vacation’ tour was a Plan B after Seth’s much touted support for LL Cool J on his Kings of the Mic tour in the US fell over at the last moment. Seth won the slot after taking out the Doritos Bold Stage Competition at this year’s South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas. But, he explains, he and his manager may not have read the fine print properly.

“Dude, we didn’t end up doing it,” Seth says evenly. “The shows that we got offered didn’t really make sense for us financially. Because we would’ve still had to pay our way to get there. It was such a massive line-up, so you’re playing when the doors open to 100 people.

“I’m an independent artist. It wasn’t viable at all. Maybe later down the track we can organise something and go back to the States. But that’s why it was really cool to jump straight into the ‘Dear Science’ tour and then this regional tour to make up for it. So we didn’t waste any time.”

Touring the United States – even as a support – is a dream for many artists. So it’s natural to wonder whether the whole experience has left a bad taste in the mouth.

“No, not at all, man,” Seth says. “I can see it from their point of view. I was a little bit gutted but at the same time it’s been great because we had the time to do a serious tour in this ‘Vacation’ tour and it’s been sick. And there are a lot of places that I haven’t hit before.”

As part of the itinerary, Seth is doing something very different to a regional show when he hits Sprung Festival in Brisbane later this month. And as usual, ask him to look forward to the future and he starts regaling you with stories from the past.

“They set the bar pretty high last time, man,” he says. “The first time I played Sprung, there was a comic book convention over the road. So we rocked up and they’d organised all these Stormtroopers and Darth Vader to be onstage with me.

“Where do I go from there? What else is there for me to do?”

Seth Sentry Plays Sprung Festival, Victoria Park, September 21. sprunghiphop.com.au

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:35

Ride Into The Sun: Psyched!

Ride Into The Sun bassist Adam Vanderwerf is excited, with the Adelaide psych rockers headed north to play Bigsound.

“We've just released our latest mini LP that was recorded and produced by Alex Maas and Brett Orrison from The Black Angels, so we'll be playing a fair bit of that stuff [at Bigsound] and also throwing in a couple of brand new songs that we've written just for this set of shows. But yeah, really looking forward to getting up to Brisbane because this is our first time.”

While Ride Into The Sun are eager for their first visit to Brisbane, the five-piece aren't strangers to the stage. With a couple of festival appearances in their hometown as well as a number of international supports, the band are ready to expand their fanbase.

“We've obviously done a few festivals now, we've done our own headline. We're hitting up Bigsound and then we're heading over to Sydney for the first Sydney Psych Fest. So we'll play that and then we're going to concentrate on recording some demos and getting some stuff out. Back here in Adelaide we've supported Dinosaur Jr, Earthless, played Floor Elevator and Big Day Out, and also we got the number one most played band on our local community radio station.”

It's this kind of work ethic that has started to bring the band to the attention of the rest of the country. But Adam knows that living in Adelaide means his band has to work harder to achieve their goals.

“We're a hard working band, we recorded a full length album in the first six weeks of being together and [we're] constantly writing new ideas and trying to nut them out. I think you make do with what you've got. You try to push yourself and try to get yourself out there as much as possible.

“I mean, I never thought being in a band from Adelaide we'd get invited to play Psych Fest which is what we did. It's really setting goals and pushing yourself towards them and if you make those goals and you get somewhere further then that's even better!”

Ride Into The Sun play Bigsound at Press Club Thursday September 12 at 9.10pm.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:31

Jakarta Criers: Local Love

Brisbane melodic indie rockers Jakarta Criers are set to headline Elephant Sound.

Dubbed 'band of the moment', Jakarta Criers have been making music together since mid-2010. But their story goes back longer then that.

“Three of the lads have known each other since they were wee. They all went to primary school together and actually started playing music together when they were in fifth grade … which is a cool little backstory,” Seaton Fell-Smith, the band's lead guitarist, says.

2013 has seen the group in lock-down mode while creating their new EP. Seaton describes the yet-to-be titled EP as “deeper, and a bit richer, and there are a couple of more up-tempo and rock-y tracks on there as well, which is exciting for us because it's nice to play live, [and it's] nice to get out there and play more up-tempo songs live as well.”

The four-piece will be playing all of their new songs at the annual three-day Elephant Sound event, which coincides with the Bigsound conference.

“We'll be playing all of them which is pretty exciting. It's nice to be cracking out some new tunes after playing our older material for quite a long time. We've played [these new songs] a couple of times but only for smaller, informal gigs.

“This will be our first opportunity to play to a larger audience and they'll be more refined versions [of the songs] as well. We were playing them before [we started] recording them … In the studio we broke them down and changed them around … So this is the first time [in their new formats] that the songs will be heard.”

When prompted to describe the sound of the new EP Seaton explains: “I don't think we're at the stage yet with our music where we've got a completely defined style. I don't know whether that's a good or a bad thing. We sort of write songs all [under] a rock genre.

“As [producer] Magoo has said, there's not really many people in Australia doing the same thing as us at the moment – this sort of melodic indie rock.”

Magoo has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry including Regurgitator, Custard and Midnight Oil. When asked if that makes them all friends by association, Seaton laughs: “Of course it does, there's absolutely no doubt about that”.

Jakarta Criers play Elephant Sound at The Elephant Hotel Sep 12.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:26

Dan Quigley: Top Five Jazz Trumpet Albums

1. Louis Armstrong - ‘Complete Hot Sevens’ (1927). He was called ‘Pops’ because he's known as the father of jazz. These recordings represent Louis Armstrong early in his career when he was at the forefront of innovations within melodic improvisation of jazz.

2. Dizzy Gillespie - ‘The Quintet Live At Massey Hall’ (1953). Called ‘The Quintet’ because the band had Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie. Great recording capturing the energy of bebop.

3. Miles Davis - ‘Sorcerer’ (1967). I personally feel this album was the most innovative of Miles' with his second great quintet, as the sound, compositional style and exploratory improvisation is still being emulated today.

4. Woody Shaw - ‘Stepping Stones’ (1978). Amazing live recording from the Village Vanguard, New York, capturing Woody Shaw in full flight who is considered the last great innovative jazz musician.

5. Wynton Marsalis - ‘Black Codes From The Underground’ (1986). This album conjures everything that has come before and represents the beginning of post-modern jazz. All the rhythmical, melodic and harmonic innovations are there and Wynton found his own way of ‘doing it’ on this recording.

Dan Quigley & His Hot Five play the Jazz On Sunday at the Brisbane Festival’s Spiegeltent Sunday Sep 15 from 2pm.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:22

Stringmansassy: Live At Bond

Eclectic duo Stringmansassy formed 12 years ago, yet they still haven’t been able to put a label on the exact flavour of music they create.

Guitarist Aaron Hopper ran out of breath as he struggled to fit his summary into a single sentence.

“We've always had difficulty describing it. We're both heavily influenced by people from all sorts of genres. Jazz, world music, bluegrass, electronic music. I don't really think I've found a term that sums it up. But, suffice to say, it's really the combination of all of those influences. It doesn't subscribe to a single genre, I don't believe.”

It's this unique fusion of worldly sounds that has allowed Stringmansassy to carve out a decade-plus career. In the theme of experimentation and fusion, the duo will be premiering a new sound at the Live At Bond event later this month.

“I wrote a piece of music for a festival and it's called 'Inspider'. It was influenced by trance, electronic trance. I wanted to try to do that on the acoustic guitar and I never really worked out a way of doing it, but I finally kind of worked out how to do that. So we'll be playing that.

Kasey's written some words to it so it's turned into a vocal tune now. So it's a huge sounding piece for the two instruments: guitar and voice. It's got a lot of momentum, a really really big sound. It's very fun to play.”

Stringmansassy play Live At Bond, at Bond University, Sunday September 29, 3-5pm.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 15:11

Pom Arnold: Dancer Interview

The ‘Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour’ will arrive in Brisbane early next month.

This once-in-a-lifetime electrifying production uses Cirque du Soleil creativity to give fans worldwide a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius who forever transformed global pop culture. Pom Arnold is one of the dancers involved with the production.

Growing up in the Netherlands, was Michael Jackson an icon for you?
Yes, always has been, but I was actually too young to buy my own CDs or find him on the radio, so I was really influenced by mum and brother. My brother was the biggest MJ fan with all the records on the wall.

Did Michael Jackson have any influence on your dancing?
Yes, as soon as I entered my dance crew we always used MJ songs in our performances. What drew you to being in this production? This is the closest you can be to work with Michael. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. Especially getting to work with people and feeling the energy from the people who have worked with Michael. As well as working with Cirque du Soleil, which is something I wanted to see since I was a little kid, but never happened. And now I’m joining this production, which is amazing.

With this being your first touring production, is covering Michael Jackson a daunting task?
Very, especially at the beginning. Everybody expects you to live up to the standards of Michael. Even though Michael isn’t there you still want to live up to the expectations that, in your own head, he would have of you. And of course the expectations that you battle with the man in the mirror.

What can punters expect from the show?
This show is Cirque du Soleil meets a rock concert. All the acrobatic elements that people know Cirque for, paired with the iconic choreography, costumes, and music of Michael Jackson. And of course Michael Jackson’s voice. It’s a high energy celebration of the King of Pop! We also have the greatest cast to put this out every night. We are a super good team and every single one of us tries to make the show the best every night. I’m happy and honoured to be one of the chosen ones.

What is the most difficult aspect of dancing in this production?
The most difficult part is having Michael Jackson behind you on the super size LED screen; the audience can see exactly what the steps are supposed to be. And then trying to pass on that legacy while he’s behind us. He’s constantly on screen. I feel like every night I can improve myself because you can never be better than Michael. There’s always a reason to work on your skills. I try to make my moonwalk as smooth as possible.

What do you think Cirque du Soleil’s production brings to the Michael Jackson empire?
Cirque du Soleil presenting this show about MJ who is the King Of Pop is amazing! This is one of the biggest creative productions on the planet, it’s huge and for me is really two in one. There are so many wow moments! We are also travelling the world, which is why it’s so special. It’s not limited.

Michael Jackson created a legacy with film clips like ‘Thriller’, ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Billie Jean’; was there constant pressure to make sure you do these dances justice?
Yes, always. Because he’s always on the screen you need to constantly be on your best game. What do you think makes the idea of Michael Jackson so enticing to audiences? He changed the whole entertainment industry: music, dancing, performing, and short films. I think people are still trying to live up to what Michael created from way back. As you can see, new artists like Chris Brown and Ne-Yo are trying to adopt things. And people will never forget where this came from and it continues to grow.

The Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour lands at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre October 2-6.

Published in Dance
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 14:59

Lords Of Wong: Safety Word Whiskey

Hailing from the gutters of West End, Lords Of Wong play hard and party even harder.

The Wong boys take their partying very seriously, rarely seen without a cigarette or alcoholic beverage in hand. Sometimes, though, their play hard lifestyle takes its toll. When they relocated to picturesque Maleny in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland to record their new album, vocalist Jimmy fell ill, although it didn't stop him from partying.

“I lost my voice before recording and then I just kept drinking and smoking. But the other boys put the backbone of the songs down,” Jimmy says.

In true rock and roll fashion it's their experimentation with drugs and alcohol that inspires them most. Case in point is 'Club Bistro', the seven-minute title track from their new record.

“We were inspired by the landscape, by LCD and whiskey and marijuana and that helped us to write this very long song, very long Wong song.”

Don't let the partying lifestyle fool you though. The Wong boys take their craft seriously. Initially beginning to record in November 2012, the Lords took some time away from their work before returning to make sure it was just right.

“I like our recordings to be a bit raw, so I think we've taken off a bit of the extra stuff that we did when we over produced it. It was nice to have a break from it and go back,” Jimmy says.

Following the current trend taken up by other local bands, Lords Of Wong will release 'Club Bistro' on vinyl in November. For them, it's less about being in vogue and more about the tangible memory a record offers.

“We've put the other recordings on CD and we just thought it would be something special for us to hold onto when we're old men. It's a bit of a collector’s item. It's something good to hold onto.”

Celebrating the eclectic mash-up of music styles in their old stomping ground of West End, Lords Of Wong will play the Block Party, officially closing this year’s Brisbane Fringe Festival.

“We do get rowdy and we push each other around, all in good jest. We just do our thing.”

Lords Of Wong play the West End Block Party Sunday September 15. The day kicks off from 10am.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 14:54

August Burns Red: Operation Restoration

Set to fire up Soundwave with an explosion of metal, August Burns Red talk up their recent album, ‘Rescue & Restore’, and why the genre needs it.

“There is a song on the record that is all about how, in America specifically, the arts has pretty much gone by the wayside. Society’s culture is based around music, art, entertainment — if you take it all away from these kids, what's left except for robotic mass science?” guitarist Brent Rambler asks.

'Rescue & Restore’ boldly aims to 'warp the constraints of what it means to be a metal band'.

“The only dynamics in a [metal] song nowadays seems to be: 'you guys are screaming here and now you guys are singing'. There's not much that changes other than that.
I think the fact that we've made a conscious effort to add different instruments and ensure that there are ups and downs throughout hopefully means that we can continue to push the envelope further.”

With that said, current fans of the band shouldn't be left disappointed.

“I think that there is enough stuff there that is reminiscent of our album 'Leveler'. Hopefully that keeps those fans’ attention, but I also hope that more stuff in the record makes them think 'huh, that was kind of different, I like that’.”

Rambler also talks about how meeting the expectations of metal-loving fans can be physically draining.

“I don't know who started it but it seems like if you're in a metal band that you've got to go nuts on stage. The only band that kind of breaks that mould is Between The Buried And Me; they put on a great show without going absolutely insane and moving around a lot. I don't know how they got away with it but they did.”

August Burns Red play Soundwave, Rna Showgrounds, Feb 22. ‘Rescue & Restore’ is out now.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 11 September 2013 14:19

The Rusty Datsuns: Missing Parts

What’s the difference between a violin and a fiddle?

This is the question that I forget to ask Fern Thompsett, fiddle player for The Rusty Datsuns, and it may have been my last chance. Though the Datsuns have only been around for a handful of years, and despite their debut LP having only just arrived (‘Riverbank’), the band will be calling it quits... for a while, anyway.

"That's my fault,” admits Fern. “My sister is living in California and she's about to have a baby. We're really close so I'm gonna move over and live with her for about a year or so. The rest of the band has threatened to follow me over there. But it will definitely be our last show in Brisbane for a little while at least. We've only been going for about two-and-a-half years so there will be a little bit of a lag. But that'll be fine, West End never forgets."

Fern's words are particularly apt. The Dattos are a part of West End, after all. The band lives and breathes the Boundary St air; the suburb is their town, it's where they came together, and it's where they'll be remembered most. Yet with a following as dedicated as the one Fern's outfit has managed to accrue since its formation in 2011, it's with no quick flick of the wrist that she has decided to leave. An adamantine bond exists between Fern and her sister. It's strong, even for siblings.

"She taught me to skate, she taught me to surf. We used to spend a lot of time together growing up. It was really just the two of us. When you're surfing and you spend time out the back of the ocean with one person you become really close."

A year can often seem like quite a short amount of time in the music world, yet knowing that both your band and your friendships are being put on ice for 12 months is no less daunting. It's taken some time for The Rusty Datsuns to come to terms with Fern's departure, though the remaining members will still have enough to keep them busy. Guitarist Sian will be attending to her solo career, while Al Skinner will likely be found chilling out with Chocolate Strings. In the meantime, though, expect some teary-eyed folksters after the Dattos play their last Brisbane show at the Old Museum.

"We're all pretty sad about it to be honest. Playing with them has given me some incredible experiences and it's been tough at times as well, to be honest. But the last time I went to California it was only for two months, and I really missed them! I missed them far more than I expected to. There's been some talk of getting a new fiddler and replacing me! But there aren't that many people that play the fiddle in Brissie. All the other ones have been snapped up by other bands. You know, there's only three of us... wait, that's another exaggeration. I don't know how many there are."

Before the curtain falls, however, The Rusty Datsuns have kindly decided to help out the rest of us. As this article goes to print, all three band members and any friends or passers-by they've cajoled in are huddled around a table, sticking together a thousand individual album covers. It's fitting, without being ironic. A DIY band, departing West End with a final act of DIY madness; a debut album, made by hand. If they were Radiohead they'd just put the album online for free.

"When you fold the CD open this little storybook pops out. But what it means is that we have to make a thousand pop-up albums by hand. We've got a bit of a factory production line going at the moment. I was there from 10 in the morning until 8 at night and we made 50... which means we have 950 left to go! It'll be worth it."

Oh, and by the way. If you were wondering if there's a chance Fern may not return, put your mind at ease.

"I'll be in West End as long as you can buy a $4 kebab there. If West End wasn't in Brisbane it'd be a shithole."

The Rusty Datsuns play The Old Museum on Sunday September 15. ‘Riverbank’ is released September 13.

Published in Reggae/ Roots

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