Items filtered by date: September 2013
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:44

Grand Atlantic: Top Five Tour Moments

1. Losing Mat (drums). Always losing Mat: New York, Perth, Melbourne, Seattle — the list goes on.

2. Dude gets thrown out of moving car in front of us. While waiting to cross the street in Tokyo, a guy skids 20 metres along the road right where we were standing. Obviously made the wrong people angry.

3. Sean nearly killing us in San Francisco. As we were rushing to the airport on the highway, Sean (bass) almost missed the exit, and in doing so we narrowly avoided driving into a car-sized ditch to our deaths.

4. Forgetting guitars. We met Morgan (guitar) in Sydney for a show. When he arrived, he asked where his guitar was. We had left it in Brisbane.

5. Meeting all three members of Hanson in Austin Texas. True. Story.

Grand Atlantic are calling it a day, with one final ‘goodbye’ show taking place at the Brisbane Powerhouse’s Spark Bar Sunday September 15 at 3pm. They also have a double A side, digital release titled ‘Tiny Wounds/ Never Say Goodbye’ available to download Sept 9.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:34

London Grammar: Getting To First Base

Dot Major is ready for commitment.

Over the course of recording their debut LP, 'If You Wait On', the London Grammar trio have forged lasting bonds both as musicians and friends. Each of them are in each other's lives, and it is only together that they have been able to enjoy their recent success. It's no wonder, then, that multi-instrumentalist Dot feels like he's in a relationship, one that he hopes will last the distance. As far as this muso is concerned, he's found the one.

"There are a lot of bands where there would be only one or two main writers. I think the fact that we all write means that we had to learn to let go of things. It's a collective vision, so ultimately there are things that you'll disagree with. But the longer the process goes on, the more you assimilate into each other's likes and dislikes and learn to let go of other things. By the end the three of us were on the same page, but it takes time to learn that dynamic. It really is kind of like being in a relationship."

Writing and recording 'If You Wait On' spanned the better part of 18 months. It's a long time to spend fleshing out a single album, even if it's your debut. It's hard to escape the feeling, though, that the members of London Grammar consider that time as a period of musical courtship rather than one of arduous creative struggle. It's arguably that period that has made the band who they are today.

"The actual writing and recording took place over such a long period of time. We sort of developed it over that time sonically as well. It changed a lot over that period, and there are some tracks where you really notice that. [But] I really enjoyed the writing process. We spent about three weeks in this really cool studio called State Of The Art. The guy who owns it modelled it on the old ‘60s studios; there's all the old ‘60s Beatles gear they used in Abbey Road."

This intimate relationship the band now fosters was inevitable, really. Pick a London Grammar song — any song — and listen to the lyrics. Then listen to them again. Those among you with keen ears will realise that these aren't just phonetic pop patterns being pattered out over some nice chords and drum beats. Inhabited within each song is a personal experience which has been painfully yet unashamedly dragged forth into the spotlight.

"Hannah writes all of our lyrics and they're all really personal to her. All of her lyrics are from personal experience and she's really interested in psychoanalysis; if she wasn't in music I think she'd probably want to be a psychoanalyst. So she can't help writing from within herself and I don't think her lyrics would be as great if she didn't. The result is that we know everything about her, but she knows everything about us anyway. I think, though, that there are some great moments in her lyrics that everyone can relate to."

Many Australians are still wondering how London Grammar's music ever managed to wash up on our shores. Wonders of the internet aside, when 'Hey Now' began pummelling the radio waves the band was yet to sign any deal in Australia. Their music hadn't been released here, it wasn't listed on Australia's iTunes store, and fans had no way of buying the single despite hearing it played every day.

“When we put out ‘Hey Now’ we didn't have anything else at the time. We didn't have any press shots or a video. So when it became big we had to react. I have no idea how it happened. It just got to the stage where it was being played three times a day on Triple J. It's mad! We were all just really surprised by it."

Having your song played three times a day does seem a little excessive, despite Triple J's penchant for mashing the station's repeat button into oblivion. But as Dot points out, being played on the radio isn't the kind of overexposure the band is worried about.

“I don't think airplay on Triple J can really be overexposure ... there are things that I don't think it's best to advise new bands to do and you learn what those things are. We've done a couple of things in the past that maybe weren't right. It's important to realise that even as a new band you can be picky about what you do and what you don't do.”

London Grammar's debut album 'If You Wait On' is out Friday September 6. The band play The Falls Byron, which takes place December 31 until January 3. fallsfestival.com

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 13:24

360: Everything Went Black

Some people are very hard to pick.

There's a persona 360 has cultivated of a brash, obnoxious, unapologetic stalwart of Aussie hip hop that permeates its way through every public appearance and every syllable spoken on a track. To be honest, before chatting to him on the phone it was this persona that I was expecting to encounter; I was bracing myself. In the end, it turns out he doesn't even answer the phone as ‘Sixty’; how did I not already know his name was Matt?

"Everyone sees a successful artist or musician and thinks they must just be living the life, everything must be amazing. But there's so much other shit going on behind the scenes that people don't know about. It's really hard to deal with suddenly going from that dude on the street that no one would look at twice to suddenly getting harassed a lot in public for photos."

Sixty isn't generally one to plaster his issues across the public space. Even having his photo taken in public has been something the rapper has had to come to terms with.

"This was in my time when I was not a very healthy person. I was a little bit anxious. [But] I still struggle with that shit. When everything first happened we had a gig in Perth. I went to a General Pants store before the gig but I didn't realise that it was just when school had finished. Someone came up for a photo and I was like ‘Yeah, no worries’. Next thing I look back and the whole shop is packed, full of kids waiting, just waiting. I had to go out the back door 'cause I couldn't really deal with it."

Sure, public relations can be tough, but at this point I wasn't convinced that Sixty actually had that much to deal with. I asked him what else was going on. I was not expecting to hear he was going blind.

"I've got a disease in my eyes. I had a transplant in my right eye, and I can't see really out of that at all. And now my left eye has just started going. So it's just a matter of time and then I'm gonna have to have another transplant and then I'll have fuck-all vision. I don't think it'll be 100 percent blind, it'll just be about 80 percent. I'll just see colours, it'll look like I'm underwater. That's what it looks like if I use my right eye. It's all good though, man! It could be a lot worse.

“I'm in a very good place now. There's no drug abuse which there was for the last four years. That shit's like a rollercoaster 'cause it's so much fun. It'd be a lie to say that it's not fun to do it but it slowly creeps up on you and becomes something that swallows you and becomes part of your life. You battle with it so many times. It's a fucking nightmare to really go through it. But I feel like a changed person. I've gotten off everything apart from marijuana because I don't think that's that bad."

Perhaps brighter days are ahead, even if Sixty has had to accept the prospect of living them in darkness. He's been keeping himself busy, excited by the prospect of a follow-up to 'Falling And Flying'. His next album will be even bigger, he tells me, even after I remind him he's talking about an LP that went platinum four times over. And then there's the elephant in the room, an elephant by the name of Pez.

“We've always planned to [do an album] together. So the plan is for his album to drop at the end of this year, my album to drop early next year and then for us to work on a Forthwrite album for next year as well. It's definitely gonna happen. One hundred percent. It's just depending on when it comes out, it depends on how long it takes to work.

"Me and Pez are very different in the way we work. It's actually really good. Pez tends to put a bit of time into his shit. Sometimes he puts a bit too much into it. He's such a perfectionist, that's just what he does. I'm the opposite of that; once one thing's done, if it sounds good I just leave it, I don't go back to it. But then when we're together we bring the best out of each other. I get him to just chill out and he gets me to become more of a perfectionist.”

360 headlines Sprung Festival at Victoria Park Saturday September 21. sprunghiphop.com.au

Published in Urban
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