FEATURE: Mikhael Paskalev06.03.14
By Alana Mazurke
The charismatic man from Oslo, Mikhael Paskalev has proved exceptionally well that he is one of the most enigmatic, excitable upcoming musicians to date in an interview of firsts where more was discussed about Silverchair than if I interviewed Silverchair themselves; it’s a long story. The debut album What’s Life Without Losers, featuring first single release ‘I Spy’ making its way to #75 on 2013’s JJJ Hottest 100’s list, is out March 7th through Dew Process. It’s an album of Scandinavian pop delight, almost like describing a fine wine; delicate notes of indie with a touch of Summery pop…It’s easy listening at its finest.“We do have really great fresh summers but they only last for a short time, like where two weeks of the whole month are actually warm. It makes you appreciate it a lot more hah.”
“I’ve been raised with Home and Away on TV. That shows cracks me up; it’s amazing… I’m expecting to get drama and sunshine when I get to Australia.”
As a shared fan of Silverchair the discussion went on its own little tangent here, proving that he actually digs Australian music and knows; notable effort was to commemorate Sydney outfit The Preatures stating they were one of the most excitable bands he had heard in the last year. “I am extremely excited to come and play and like I’ve already said earlier been really trying to reach out to people who might know Silverchair – I’m really hoping they’ll have a re union when I’m down there. I love their music; it’s pretty like nostalgic for me I guess – not a lot of people from Norway listened to Silverchair…I don’t even know if I’ve heard the latest album…the scary thing right now is that when I was listening to Silverchair I was like 13 or 14 which was the peak of downloading music…I had loads of tracks but with none of them having actually been a complete record; I don’t even know what any of the records are called! I feel sorry for never giving them my money.”
The album What’s Life Without Losers was aptly named after the title of the single ‘What’s Life Without Losers’ was the forerunner in deciding on a name, a process which was deemed quite difficult by Mikhael. It turns out the morals behind the song weren’t as simple either. “I wrote the song and this is gonna sound kind of soppy and cheesy, but I met my girlfriend a couple of years ago and just a couple of days after I met her I started writing this song. Mostly because I had just left school in Liverpool and I went into my very kind of selfish state where all I wanted and needed to think about was myself. Then all of a sudden I meet this really cool chick that I just really wanna hang out with and it was just a big conflict in my head; the fact of if I should do this or not because she seemed so great yet she’d be taking some of my time. So I just started thinking about that and started writing the line and I guess just kind of that line what’s life without losers was championing to get to know her better.”
“I’ve always just been focused on song writing so I’ve never actually written for the specific reason of trying to reach a sound or concept kind of album I’m just always focused on melodies and song writing. Because I’m focusing on that as a core it’s always been very easy to take the song and make it into what you want to do; I think I can play 70% of the songs off the album completely different if I wanted to. Then there’s the ideal of a debut album, I’ve never done it before but I get that it’s a bit like songs that have accumulated over time. In the beginning obviously you write some shit songs and then songs over time that you just don’t know how you wrote them and you think they’re great so there’s always ups and downs; I think I just came to this stage where I started recording and I had enough songs for an album but I kept writing. I’d say its 50/50 maybe on stuff that’s written before I started recording and stuff that was written after I started recording.”
What makes the album great is this almost constant thoroughfare of eclecticism which Mikhael resorts to being his varied influences. “Music is obviously very inspired by music as well which often you forget to mention but it is extremely inspiring. Movies is almost as…if I wasn’t doing music I’d love to write a manuscript or direct or something I just love motion pictures – and ah I guess besides that you can’t get away from the fact that life is pretty inspiring and uninspiring – you quickly learn from experience about that.”
Unashamedly the rest of the interview continues to be a discussion and name swap of documentaries for the next ten minutes.
Watch the clip for single ‘I Spy’ here
Photo Review: NEKO CASE @ Melbourne Zoo Twilights 21/03/201405.03.14
By Alana Mazurke
Last Saturday night, The Melbourne Zoo Twilights of 2014 put on another spectacular evening with performances from Neko Case and Dick Diver. The local outfit was an exceptional choice for support, with the favourites showcasing the classic Dick Diver shoe gaze indie with that little extra eclecticism that keeps it a level above. The four piece kept their set clean and simple, crowd pleasing nonetheless with tracks from full lengths New Start Again and last years release Calendar Days. Neko Case came out at the most aesthetically picturesque hour – just as the sun was residing into the horizon; the fact we were watching this show in the heart of the zoo really kicked in. Neko Case brought to the stage a most achingly beautiful set, maintaining her stronghold on being one of the best female vocal talents I have ever seen live.
The focal point of the nights entirety was based around the fact one moment she could be hauntingly present with performing songs like “Furnace Room lullaby” and cheekily charismatic with witty banter onstage. It was entertainment at its finest. Once known for her efforts in The New Pornographers, the sneak peek of songs from her new album were entirely enticing and are only a glimpse at her capability to sing and write brilliant music, steering her further away from past collaborations into a whirlwind of her own.
FEATURE: Josh Pyke26.02.14
By Alana Mazurke
Tomorrow night the amicable Josh Pyke will bring his Lone Wolf tour to the Melbourne Zoo Twilights, showcasing his ever talented ability to capture audiences. Last year saw the release of fourth LP The Beginning and End of Everything featuring latest single ‘Leeward Side’ and after making its way into the recent JJJ Hottest 100 vote, will undoubtedly be performed on Pyke’s first ever major national solo tour.
“I was most attracted to playing the Zoo Twilights actually; I haven’t yet been to one but I had heard a lot of really great things and they’re always successful…to be honest it was a bit of a no brainier.”
The tour which sees a lot of eclectic venue types was a continuing theme from agreeing to play the Melbourne Zoo. “It was the first show I had decided on and we filled the rest of the tour around it. It lead the way into finding venues to play at with a bit of difference.” The tour which began early February has already seen four sold out shows to which Pyke couldn’t be more humbled. “It’s definitely the better way to start off a tour!”
“I’ve done lots of solo touring but I’ve never done capital city solo touring; it’s only ever been quite rurally as a way to get my music out to regional areas. It can be quite prohibitive taking a van out to places like Broome or even Darwin.”
Pyke has had more than a lengthy career as a musician, starting out in 2003 with single ‘Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast’ and having been in a band for 8 years prior; touring throughout calls for a constant reinvention of performances. “Australia’s a pretty small place to tour and so you have to give people something different every time – either with a band, or different arrangements and venues and you know playing solo, I really have to reinvent a lot of the songs. It’s been a really fun experience but when you play these songs live I mean I can, but also the audience can relate to the songs in a different way and kind of get a different meaning from them.”
“I think there are more songs in me that I’ll ever have time to write. Music has been the vehicle behind my ambition but I don’t think I’ll ever stop feeling the need to kind of push against something to challenge myself whether it’s musically or having a family…”
In a time of firsts, the Lone Wolf tour will soon become available to listen on repeat for each show will be recorded live and released on CD. Coming from a lengthy desire to record his shows live, Pyke has opted this tour to be the release of previous lament. “I’ve done a lot of shows in my life but I’ve never rerecorded a live CD, we’ve mainly felt like it was time to do that and playing a solo show would give it a point of difference from my records. It was also born out of a bit of regret on the last tour, we did this amazing run of shows in all these different theatres, where we rearranged a lot of the songs with violins, auto harps, banjos… a lot of instrumentation and I really wanted to record them at the time but we just couldn’t get it happening…I’ve always regretted that.”
Though the career spanning eleven years has seen a lot of ups for Josh; providing what I feel to be some of the finest contemporary folk music in Australia to date and without a doubt upholding a major presence as a figure in the Australian music industry. Surprisingly contrary to my belief, this hasn’t always been reciprocated from Josh Pyke himself. “There was a point where it was either make it or break it or just quit…to be honest that’s pretty much what every other artist I knew at that point who was doing music had done. I just didn’t have it in me to quit and whether or not that was smart or dumb I still don’t quite know. The first single ‘Kids Don’t Sell Their Hopes So Fast’ was a demo that got onto high rotation on JJJ so from that point on it was really about capitalising on opportunity and being mentally ready to throw my hat in the ring and go for it…”
“…From that point until a few years ago I really didn’t feel established. I felt like I was dodging a bullet every time a record went well and even then I was still kind of hustling to keep going and keep finding those opportunities. It’s really only been in the last, well really since this records come out that I really feel like, I wouldn’t say that I feel established but can say I feel like I’ve done enough now to feel comfortable in what I’ve achieved; I still feel really ambitious but I definitely feel like I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.”
There is a real drive and ambition behind Josh Pyke in him and in his music. It’s so intriguing to hear the way he talks about his desire to capture audiences and how he really transforms each show to make it something extremely special for the punters. The ability to create an aesthetic of a live performance where the relationship between performer and audience is not only intimate but engaging is something that Pyke does extremely well and the only way to understand is to experience firsthand.
Details about the Lone Wolf tour and ticket information are below.
February 28th // Melbourne Zoo Twilights
Tickets & Info here.
March 7th // Cairns
March 12th & 13th // Perth
March 21st // Newcastle
March 22nd // Canberra
Tickets & Info here.
Listen to latest track ‘Leeward Side’ here.
PHOTOS: Oliver Tank – The Corner Hotel – 20-02-201426.02.14
NEW: Babaganouj single ‘TOO LATE FOR LOVE’25.02.14
Brisbane quartet Babaganouj have today released a brand new single titled ‘Too Late For Love’. The 7″ digital release is now available, featuring the new track as well as B side ’4U’. Produced by Sean Cook of Big Scary and Jeremy Neale ‘Too Late For Love’ is the latest addition to the bands catalogue after their earlier release of debut EP Sife Lucks; continuing on with their adaptation of modern fuzz pop to the likes of influences Husker Du.
The array of experience within the band is evident with either member having been/continue to be involved in other known projects such as Yves Klein Blue, Inland Sea and Go Violets. The showcasing of this single makes for high anticipation of a full length release as not only does the single stick to the bands true sounds of lo-fi fuzz, it’s a refreshing take on the abundant indie pop available nowadays.
Fortunately for punters the band will be taking this single on the road, touring the east coast throughout March to promote the latest ‘Too Late For Love’. Tour dates below.
Listen to the single here.
March 14 // Melbourne
Tickets & Info: Public Bar
March 16 // Melbourne
Tickets & Info: The Tote
March 21 // Sydney
Tickets & Info: The World Bar
March 22 // Sydney
Tickets & Info: Brighton Up Bar
March 28 // Brisbane
Tickets & Info: Black Bear Lodge
Single from Sife Lucks ‘Love, Loathe, Love You’
Take a look at their socials;
PHOTOS: Magic Mountain Band @ The Howler – 14-02-201420.02.14
PHOTOS: Modesty @ The Tote – 08-02-201420.02.14
NEW TRACKS: Klaxons17.02.14
UK quartet Klaxons have released the latest flip track of AA single ‘Children Of The Sun’ after the success of prior release ‘There Is No Other Time’. It comes in the midst of awaiting their third studio album, set for release later this year. Both tracks prove that the long wait for new material was certainly worth it, grasping what is an explosive and somewhat enigmatic sound; causing all the more excitement for the full length LP. ‘Children Of The Sun’ which effortlessly provides an appealingly futuristic vibe was produced by Tom Rowlands of the Chemical Brothers, a combination about as good as maple syrup on bacon (don’t knock it until you try it, it’s delicious). The album is set to feature more collaborations with the likes of Erol Alkin and James Murphy named thus far.
The single package which will be released in March is available to stream online; listen below.
LANEWAY PICS MELB 2014: UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA11.02.14
LANEWAY PICS MELB 2014: Cloud Control10.02.14
LANEWAY PICS MELB 2014: CHVRCHES06.02.14
LANEWAY PICS MELB 2014: Earl Sweatshirt05.02.14
Melbourne Zoo Twilights: Clairy Browne04.02.14
By Alana Mazurke
Coming off the back of some rather incessant touring, nine piece power group Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes are rounding out the season with their last show this Friday evening. The 2014 Melbourne Zoo Twilight program are hosting a series of outdoor spectacles with Clairy being one of them. She took some time to talk about live shows, new music and all things bangin’.
“I definately prefer the more intimate headline shows to festivals. It seems nowadays festivals are becoming over run with young people there for all the wrong reasons…Playing Meredith was great; it’s fortunate that it’s been able to maintain that independence and vibe this whole time.”
The first time I saw Clairy Browne and The Bangin’ Rackettes was in support of one Charles Bradley at the Barrio Festival in 2012. I was so completely mesmerized by the whole night I’d rather let Clairy explain what her live show entails. “It’s a unique blend of sound and style – old school contemporary rock and roll, R’n'B and soul. You have your sirens singing back up vocals whilst performing finely tuned choreography, you’ve got the old school jazz sounds from the horns section and a strong female lead vocalist; it’s as much about the aesthetics of the whole performance as it is the music and it always has been.”
The participation of both performers and punters at a live show is entertaining to say the least. Watching people transform from slight, dull dance moves to letting everything go and allowing themselves to be free to the music in the space of about two minutes is so wonderful. “We’re unapolagetically sexy, that’s for sure. It’s a participating experience; I love watching people let go to the whole nostalgia of the rock and roll vibe.”
2011 saw the release of their first album Baby Caught The Bus which received well earned adulation, however, the past year has seen the album soar with a re-release in 2013 after signing with the acclaimed US label Vanguard records. Hopefully the wait for the new album wont be long with the release date set for this year. “Writing on tour is a myth! Bands that say that are just making it up or have small moments where something comes through, otherwise it just doesn’t exist. We’ve just recorded almost the entire album in Nashville with Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes); during our break we plan on finishing and doing final recordings.”
Playing what will be their last show in Melbourne for some time at the Zoo Twilight series this Friday the 7th, it will undoubtedly once again be a Clairy Browne bangin’ affair with her fellow Rackettes. “It’s one of those nights where a lot of great artists get involved in the lineup which adds to the already booming music scene here in Melbourne. It’s going to be fun!”
You’d be a fool to miss this show and with tickets scarce but still available there’s no excuse not to go. As Clairy would say “Big hair. Big love.”
Purchase tickets here.
LANEWAY PICS MELB 2014: Dick Diver03.02.14
By Alana Mazurke
There’s a reason why this young four piece from Sydney are opening for the likes of Go Violets, Vampire Weekend, Wavves, Best Coast and Real Estate. Their latest EP THE NIGHT HERO WASTE TIME GETTING BETTER produced by acclaimed Dann Hume (Alpine, Matt Corby, Snakadaktal) showcases five tracks all brilliantly epitomizing the ideals of pop music; or as most people continue to refer it to – indie. Band member Jonas Nicholls took some time to answer my questions about catching a break, playing with idols and recording new material.
Pretty soon after the release of your second EP you did a National tour with Go Violets. How do you feel the reception to the new material went? It must be a pretty humbling experience playing new music to fans.
Playing new songs is definitely a humbling experience, it feels like a lame version of what I imagine bass jumping to feel like, just your song is the parachute while the audience holds the ripcord that decides if you splat. We’d been playing most of the new EP songs for a while before the tour though, which was sick. Love them Go Violets.
The EP was produced by Dann Hume (Alpine, Snakadaktal, Courtney Barnett), was his knack of working with predominately Australian artists what appealed most?
He’s definitely had a hand in a bunch of great sounding Aussie releases of the past few years, he did a really great job at creating sonic worlds for Snakadaktal, Alpine and Courtney Barnett that are tailored to their vibe/aesthetic. I think his ability to do that is reflected in his creative process. When we did a song with him for our previous EP it was such good vibes, and that was probably the main reason we went with him again. Recording was always spurred along by beers and talking shit. Riding those good vibes is a great way to get in the zone and smash a take, but I think the chats were also his way of getting an idea of the bands personality so he could bottle it up in a sound.
The name of the EP The Night, Hero, Waste, Time, Getting Better is derived from the title of each single off the EP; how did the decision process to name it this come about? Was it a group effort or more just a one genius idea type situation?
It was at the suggestion of our manager Andy Casselhoff while we were trying to think of a name, we’re really bad at naming EP’s in that we forget to think about naming it until the last possible second
Getting named JJJ unearthed artist of the year unlocked some pretty big doors for SURES including a slot at the 2012 St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival. How does an opportunity like that affect a young emerging band?
It was a pretty amazing feeling, at the time we’d only been a proper band for around 3 months. The doors were flying open as well, so quickly that it felt a little unfair. But the early advantage did come with its own inconveniences. Inexperienced bands need to cut their teeth live, I’ve heard someone say it took the Beatles 1000 live shows in dingy pubs around Liverpool to get tight, imagine how long it would take a bunch of gronks like us.
Is there the same kind of feelings/incredulity when playing with names such as WAVVES, Real Estate, Vampire Weekend, Bleeding Knees Club etc.?
Definitely, I’m always stoked for days every time we get a sweet support. A surprising number of the bands we’ve played with are bands whose records I’ve smashed on the old iPod too, it’s a weird feeling supporting a band you know all the words to. For me who sings whatever song is in my head on autopilot its a constant struggle to avoid accidentally singing their songs while they’re in earshot.
Two years ago the single The Sun was released from first EP STARS. Looking back to that time, as one of your first recordings, how do you feel about the song or even EP now?
I think the first EP was great, if I can say that without sounding like a tosser. It was at a time that we had just started delving into writing melodies and chords and we weren’t too sure how to dress them up yet. At the end of the day that EP is the sound of Sures learning how to write songs. A process we’ll hopefully always be going through.
The first film clip for the EP was single Waste directed by William Colvin, depicting a very 90’s feel. Second film clip for single Time, directed by Simon Knox is a little more lyrical yet suits the song perfectly. Does the band have influence in the storyboard or do you predominately leave it up to the directors? How did the relationships between the band and two director’s form?
We heard about Will though a crazy video he directed for his fake band, it was pretty wacky and we wanted to bring some of that stuff into the Sures world. Will would voice his thought process as he thought about which of his crazy ideas would work for us and which wouldn’t. In a fashion similar to Dann Hume his decisions stemmed just from chatting and getting to know each other a little before and during the shoot. Simon was already a mate so he had a good idea of what would work for us, we chatted about his ideas a few times and he went off to shoot all the narrative stuff exactly how he wanted it. We did collaborate in the editing, it was a pretty intense time, we all had exams coming up but were sitting in front of the computer trying to work out some kind of order for the shots. When you get on a roll creatively I find it gets easier though, there were times when it felt like we synced up and thought of an idea at the same time, pretty strange.
How do you feel the Australian music scene is faring right now? When touring, are there any notable differences from Sydney to any other capital?
The Australian music scene is great, we never have a bad time playing anywhere. Touring is one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, every city has people keen for some brews and a chat. Places like Brisbane are great, it’s a sweet setup, people are keen on the bands as much as they’re keen to get wasted and dance. The local music community is so tight knit I’d imagine they’d have a hard time meeting someone they don’t vicariously know at a show, needless to say it’s make outs galore. Sydney is the victory lap, like playing to the home crowd after a series of away shows. Sydney-siders are the nicest people, I feel like they understand us better if that’s something that makes sense, and they’re always keen for a chinwag. Adelaide is great because in the words of a drunk Adelaidian himself, ‘We don’t have fuck-all to do here so ‘course we gonna get pissed and watch you play’. His words, not mine.
SURES have been referenced to a number of genres most commonly ‘surf rock’. As easy as it is to leave the genres to the critic, surely there are times when you think people are completely off the mark. I think your genre reflects your influences; who is SURES main influences in both past and present tense?
Yeah, I think calling our first EP ‘surf’ is fair play, but if I can have an aside I’m not heaps stoked on genrefication of music, simply because it can become a crutch for its appreciation. Its like one of those pictures made up of heaps of tiny pictures, an understanding of genre is understanding what the big picture looks from far away, but the artists that are clumsily lumped into each genre all look like something completely different through a microscope. In that way genre is a simplification for the sake of classification, one that a lot of people never quite see past.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t have its uses, if I was to talk about our influences I could, but only through the sweeping generalities of genre as opposed to minute details of specific artists. For example a love of emo/punk music and hip-hop both have their role in our creative process. We all used to listen to emo music growing up and I think that’s where our focus on melody comes from, possibly some of the angsty songs are in that space too. The rap influence comes through in our approach to production when recording, when we record its all about creating the right sonic and rhythmic environment to frame the melody. Come to think about it, punk music is pretty influenced by hip-hop rhythmically as well.
There are talks of an album set to be released this year; what pushed you into doing a second EP rather than diving straight into an album?
We started out to create a record as soon as the first EP dropped, but every new song we wrote was a step away from the first EP. It would have been fine if they were steps in more or less the same direction, but there were songs going fucking everywhere, it was a mess. Anyway, we’d been live trialling a few of the songs that most fit with the rest of the set and it wasn’t too long till we thought to put out the ones that stuck. It sort of created a sonic trajectory for us to extrapolate from when it came to working on the album.
How has the feeling toward writing and recording this new project been so far?
Its been a fun process and we’re all stoked on the songs. It was daunting at first, we had about 40 songs recorded on garageband to narrow down and only a loose idea of how we thought those songs would fit together on an album. We’ve just been jamming and recording for last month and half and right now we’re in the middle of finishing up our second batch of demos.
I guess seeing as its still close to New Years I can beg the question of the possibility of a SURES new year’s resolution?
Think of a name for our album, ha.
Watch latest film clip for single ‘Time’ here:
Film clip for single ‘Waste’ here:
SURES have been announced to play at 2014′s Secret Garden!
Tickets and details here