Monday, 29 July 2013

Interview with Sam of Ball Park Music

They say men can’t multitask, yet Sam Cromack can entertain a huge crowd while at the same time making a cuppa. It seems a difficult task, but Cromack is used to the juggling act. He and the boys from Ball Park Music are concurrently preparing for their national Thank Ewes tour and writing and producing the third album they’ve released since 2011.

It’s this all-or-nothing mentality that has helped the band progress from a bunch of rag-tag musicians playing small gigs in Brisbane to radio regulars. Much of their success can be attributed to their ability to balance pop allure with skilful song writing, sweet harmonies, shredding solos and the occasional F-bomb in the chorus. 

So far in 2013, Ball Park Music have played South by Southwest, hit up Dubbo for
the 10th annual One Night Stand gig and made their way onto the triple j Hottest 100 list.

All of which means that Cromack will have to update the bucket list he made for himself at age 17.

“It was kind of cute, I was so modest about it. A lot of that stuff I’ve already done – things like ‘I want to make an album before I die’, ‘I want to do at least one tour before I die’. I just did that so long ago and so many things that I never thought would happen have happened.”

Ball Park Music have set themselves a new challenge for their latest, as yet untitled, album by taking control of production (they previously worked Brisbane producer Matt Redlich). “We’re taking all of that knowledge and we’re setting up our own studio with all our own equipment and I’ll be sitting in the hot seat pressing ‘record’,” says Cromack.

“The aim…is to get in touch with a lot of the really direct songwriting that we had on the first record… and just release a really solid and creative album. It’s going really well so far and I’m super excited about it. We’re working in the studio three or four days a week so it’s pretty intense.”

By taking complete creative control, Cromack and the boys hope to return to the type of sound that built the foundation for their friendly relationship with Australian listeners.

Nowhere is that friendly relationship more evident than at Ball Park Music gigs.
“It’s still so exhilarating because a lot [of people]…who are there are super into your band which kind of scares me a little bit. It doesn’t make any sense. I still can’t believe that that many people show up to see us play our music. It’s really hard to take it in.”

However, Cromack says that sometimes their relationship with their fans can get a little out of hand. “We had a bit of a rock ‘n’ roll moment last time we played. We played at the Great Northern which was sold out. It was really great because we’d done shows there with really shitty crowds so it was awesome to feel like all of a sudden we could sell out a concert there.”

They started the set and a girl in the audience threw a pair of yellow knickers on stage. Being the fun-loving, playful nerdy boys they are, Cromack wore them on his head for the rest of the gig as a gag. The girl must’ve taken this as a good sign, as she came up to meet him after the set. “I think she was a bit older than me actually which also made it more awkward. I thought she was my age but she looked a bit older when I saw her up close and I didn’t know what to say.”

Ultimately, Cromack took the memorable incident in his stride, which is perhaps indicative of his laidback Brisbane attitude. “When it comes to making music everyone [in Brisbane] has that playful sort of attitude. No one wants to look too serious or too cool and they’re all really willing to take the piss out of themselves and have a laugh and I guess that translates to the music.”

As for that bucket list, after crossing off so much this early in the game it’s only natural to raise the stakes.

“The first time we got in the Hottest 100 we were in the 30s and this year we were in the 20s so it’s only natural you go…come on we can get in the teens or the top ten! Instead of selling 20 000 copies of your record let’s try and get a gold record. There’s always new things that you want to try and do if you can. We have to keep adding things to the list,” Cromack says.

After completing the national Thank Ewes tour and polishing off of their third album, Ball Park Music have plans to perform in the US, UK and Europe.

“I mean that’s exciting but it scares the crap out of me too. I think once we go those new territories and we’re back in square one we’ll have that real hunger all over again because there’ll be really clear goals when you’re there because you’re starting from so small again, so that will be kind of exciting.”

Published on Vertigo online. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Interview with Russ of Shining Bird

In the midst of preparations for local shows ahead of their debut album Leisure Coast due out in September, including an appearance at the At First Sight event at Carriageworks this weekend, Antigone Anagnostellis talked to Shining Bird’s Russel Webster about their single "Distant Dreaming" on Rage, living on the coast and song-writing from scratch.

What are you guys up to at the moment?
At the moment we are just finishing off bits and pieces for the album. And also rehearsing to get ready for shows.

How has this year been so far?
Yeah it’s been going really well. We’ve been finishing off the album and got the single out there and the reception was really good, we’re surprised. And also with the video which went really well.

That’s been on Rage, right?
Yeah, it’s been on Rage and it got picked up by a YouTube channel called Majestic Casual, which is a guy based in Germany. We don’t know that much about him but he contacted us and said he liked it and wanted to put it up.

What do you do in the Bird?
I do most of the songwriting at my house. Dane is the singer and we work together along with my little brother [Alistair]. It’s the sculpting and the mixing and the twiddling around for hours on end. Then it’s a process of getting the lyrics done. We kind of all work together.

What’s your musical background? Have you played other instruments? Have you always written songs?
Definitely not songwriting. I’ve been doing my own stuff maybe for ten years, and I’ve really learnt just to play basic things on the piano. I mostly have a background in computer-based chopping and editing and electronic music. The songwriting thing’s mainly been in the last three years or so with Shining Bird. It’s been a big learning curve. Dane’s the same – he’s done some singing in barber shop-style groups and my little brother is kind of the same. We only just got into the actual songwriting process in the last three years. It’s all pretty new. I came into it from a different approach.

Do you mean different as in no training?
Not as classically trained. It’s all just listening to records, coming up with ideas.

You’ve been marketed as the beach side band – how is that affecting the music?
I think generally we’re massively into the Beach Boys –we went through that phase about the time we started writing songs. There’s that side of things where we thought an Australian modern-day Beach Boys aesthetic or approach. It’s probably just living near the coast, really - probably more subconsciously in there in the production than anything.

How’s the debut record coming along?
It’s all finished now. We’re just doing the artwork and layout to send it off. We were lucky enough to get a local artist - Paul Ryan – to do the artwork, which is really exciting. He’s been a local legend. He’s just got this really deep knowledge of the local area and we just threw the idea out there, we didn’t really expect him to pick it up, but he agreed and he ended up doing some portraits of us as well. So we were stoked.

What’s the ideal place/time to listen to the new record?
I’m not sure when you would listen to it -probably by yourself. There’s a bunch of songs that you could listen to, as more of a communal kind of thing but a lot of it’s a solitary listening environment. I’m not sure. It’s real tough to describe the sound. There was definitely a subconscious effort to make it sound Australian but then I guess I was conscious to make it sound like a whole bunch of things as well. It’s just really spacious and lush and it takes a while to absorb it.

Who will you check out at Carriageworks At First Sight?
We’re certainly excited about seeing pretty much all of them. We haven’t seen any of them before – I really want to see The Laurels and The Twerps and keen to check out Songs. I think they’re all just great. It’s a really good calibre of music. I’m pretty psyched about it actually.

What are you guys listening to at the moment?
Recently, I think everyone’s been listening to the new Kanye West album. It’s just something totally different that we wouldn’t usually listen to. I think the last couple of years I’ve been listening to albums trying to steal ideas or whatever and or just looking to kind of get something from it to use something – it gets a bit like that. Kanye is just something totally different. It’s cool. You listen to it for what it is. Over the last year – I’ve been trying to consume as much Australian cultural whatever as much as we can. Not just music but a lot of film and stuff by Peter Weir – really into him – and a whole lot of poetry and art. Also, I’ve been listening to a fair bit of Nick Cave. Lots of the new National is good.

What’s coming up? What do you talk about that you want to do?
I think we talk about ourselves. We talk about the Bird a bit too much. It’s getting a bit ridiculous. We’re excited for the album to come out in September on Spunk and we’re going to be touring from then to the end of the year. We’re just trying to plan and get everything together. We’re hoping we can get some gigs with cool bands. Hopefully play some more festivals over the summer and start working on new material. Trying to stay productive.

What else?
We got a show on the 17th of July – the wed before Carriageworks – at the Beach Rd Hotel. We’re headlining the show at the freebie gig there. We’re going to be trying out a bunch of songs we haven’t played yet.

Published on theAUreview.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Interview with Antonia of Beaches

Five girls plus three guitars does not equal "all-girl psych-rock" band. According to Antonia, guitarist and co-vocalist of Beaches, there are more elements at work. In looking back at the creation of their latest album, Antonia (who has art projects) finds a crossover in the creative worlds of music and art.

“I looked at some of the processes that we went through even in terms of layering, the way that we composed the music, and I see so many connections with the way that I make my own artworks. They are so interconnected and I think that there are interesting things that people can learn about art by including music within that sphere and vice versa.”

Now, returning to Sydney after their recent album launch for She Beats, Antonia says the group is happy to take a break from their busy lives in Melbourne to play an open, creative space. “We’ve played lots and lots of gigs in pubs so playing in a slightly different setting is such a good idea and people should do more of it.”
All of which began in an unforeboding way – in her back garage.

“Six years ago now we had our first rehearsal and we had no preconceived ideas about how it was going to go. I’d never played guitar before – I played bass in another band. A lot of us had really minimal experience or simply hadn’t played instruments that we were about to pick up. We sort of started with no idea about how it sounds.”

It’s been five years since their debut release but She Beats has been hot in the press.

“Yeah we were really pleased at how it’s been received. You never know what to expect. I mean you could make a really amazing album and it could get overlooked.”

“That’s not something you anticipate or rely on but it happens. The record comes out at the right time and the response is great because all the hard work you’ve done feels like it’s been affirmed by people that are receiving it.”

Nevertheless, Antonia is reticent to categorise it as a psychedelic album. Instead, Beaches draws upon the different interests, experiences and tastes of its members to create a rich, dense sound.

“In terms of our influences, there’s so much going on but sometimes people just say all-girl psych-rock. Sure, it’s just a tag, but it can be a bit reductive. There’s a little bit more going on than just that.”

“I like psychedelic rock, I appreciate it and I understand why we get tagged as that but I also like to think that there are other influences that come through as well – like post-punk and garage, even to an extent some 50s and 60s girl group or surf guitar music.”

And when it comes to playing live, although the songs are structured the group likes to leave space at the end of songs.

“We’ve got elements in our songs that are jammy, which means we have a group mentality that we’re going to see what happens. We don’t really know what’s going to happen and it’s just going to be a big rock-out at the end where there’s a lot of freedom in terms of where we take it.”

Their psychedelic intonations, however, did take them to Austin Psych Fest in 2011, where the group performed alone and mixed with other musicians such as The Black Angels and Spiritualized. Despite the miles of distance, Antonia says that the music scene in the US is not too different from home.

“In terms of the vibe and the types of venues we’ve played and the responses we’ve had to our music, it’s been really similar to Australia. Of course though when you go to the states there’s just so much music going on over there. I guess that affects bands and what they have to do to get noticed.”

"I think maybe in the last two years I’ve noticed more Australian acts getting attention in the states. When one band – say The Twerps – have done really well over the past few years it kind of puts a spotlight on Australia or on Melbourne or on Sydney or wherever."

Beaches came together through the Melbourne music scene – in fact, Antonia says that it was when they were all at a gig together that they decided to start a band. Now this musical project has taken them around the country and around the world.

“We’re so excited to play this Carriageworks show with such a great lineup. Also we want to go and buy lots of records on the day.”

And all because they decided to take a backyard jam seriously.

“It was really interesting, we weren’t expecting it to come together as well as it did and ever since then we’ve gone with that – listen to what we think is working and try to be really sensitive to that and follow through and see where it goes.”
Published on theAUreview.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Interview with Dan of London Grammar

LONDON GRAMMAR is vocalist Hannah Reid, guitarist Daniel Rothman and Dot Major keyboard/percussion. You may know them from their appearance on the latest Disclosure album (‘Help Me Lose My Mind’). In some simple twist of fate, they cracked it in Australia before England, with their debut EP making the top 5 Australian iTunes.  

In one of their first Australian interviews, Dan from LONDON GRAMMAR had a chat on London clubs, playing lame covers and prepping for the summer festival season.

What are you guys up to at the moment?
We’re been busy, relatively. We did a show with the XX on Saturday in London which was amazing – that was really cool. We’re doing all the festival stuff really. And then in between that just promo – we have a new single out here in the UK and we’re going to Paris this week to do stuff over there. So all over the place really!

What are you most excited for Glastonbury? Have you got plans for artists who you’re going to fraternise with behind the scenes? Do you usually go?
Well I’ve never been to Glastonbury before so I’m really excited. This producer emailed me yesterday saying they’d like to get together and we can watch their set and they can come and see ours, which will be cool. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest.

Is it true that you met Reid over Facebook? Is it true that you requested to have a jam? Or was that a rumour?
This has just become such a story. Hannah said this in one interview and now it’s become the story. No, there is an element of truth to this. Supposedly I saw a picture of her, I don’t really remember but Hannah’s sure of it – I think it makes me sound a little bit creepy. I do remember she had her picture of her with a guitar and I think that’s how we ended up chatting – because we were in the same dorm [at Nottingham University], that’s the thing.

Did you know she could sing when you messaged her?
Everyone was very friendly at that time because everyone was generally looking to meet new people and I think it was just a music thing at first. The first time I heard her sing I do remember immediately just being – because I’ve always been in bands and stuffs, I’ve never really heard anyone like her before. I don’t think she really had a clue quite how good she was. She definitely has no clue.

What was fun about playing your early club gigs? Who would go to them before you had releases?
I’ve got mates – a guy called Jamie who came to almost every show we did when we first started - and my girlfriend used to come to a lot as well. When it was just me and Hannah we were doing all stuff on guitar and her thing and it was really, really sort of lame cover type things. It was good –you’ve got to do that type of thing – but it was very, very different to what we’re doing now obviously. We came across some real characters because we were based in Nottingham as well which can be quite a strange place. But I think every band has to do that at some point. Especially for Hannah it was very important because it gave her some level of stage preparation and it made a massive difference when things did start because she had that bit she’d already been there.

What were the lame covers you did?
People don’t believe me when I say this but we did a cover of “You’ve Got The Love”. We were doing it before we had any idea - this is about four or five years ago now - that Florence had done a cover of the record. I remember we were playing it in a couple of bars and it got on a massive advert over here –that was the first time I’d heard of her. Then people would come up to Hannah and say: “is that you singing on this record? What the fuck? We heard you singing this song the other day.” because she sounded even more similar back then. Hannah sounded very similar to Florence. That was bizarre. So we used to play that. And we used to play old blues covers as well and The Doors.

Then how did you get into club music or more of the beats scene? Did you guys go clubbing, was that the London thing? Or was it that you guys were picked up by electronic acts?
I definitely don’t go clubbing that much – I’m lazy like that. Dot’s the one who’s more into going out and experiencing it that way. But I don’t think that’s really how it came into being, I mean from a production point of view in our music we were working with a producer called Bernard Armstrong. We spent some time with him and me and Dot started listening to a lot of 90s house records – I don’t know why we started exploring that kind of avenue and I’ve always been into hip-hop records as well. Through that it became a process of putting electronic beats into our own music and Dot’s started on the production and so did I and Hannah was obviously interested as well because she’d been interested in post-dubstep stuff just from being in London because that was what was big at the time.
And then with the whole sort of Disclosure thing it just became a by-product of that. I think people could hear the dance influence on our demos and Hannah’s voice was perfect they thought with that. I think that’s how it came about rather than a conscious thing that we all love dance music - I think we’re all fairly varied on it anyway.

Do you guys manage your social media? What is your impression of Australian fans so far?
The whole Australia thing is mind-blowing to be quite honest with you. It’s bizarre. Because ‘Hey Now’ started getting played on triple j over there. I think as soon as we realised that had happened, we just started getting an influx of messages on our Facebook. I look after most of the social media with a guy called Colin who works as our manager and showed us the ropes for a bit. We just sat down at one point we were getting so many messages from Australians writing, “are you going to release your EP in Australia blah blah blah”. I mean it is bizarre but it’s amazing. We genuinely feel privileged that people on the other side of the world have had the chance to listen and want to buy the EP. It is extraordinary but that is fortunately the beauty of the internet. It was interesting that the music was actually sought after in Australia because it didn’t exist on iTunes and it almost seemed to make it more exciting for people, I wonder if that had the effect. It seemed to work, I don’t know.

Maybe it’s a case of you want what you can’t have.

It got into the top 5 of iTunes here, that’s pretty crazy.
It’s mad. My PR man called me up about that and said have you seen you’re in the iTunes charts? I said “no, I had no fucking idea.” He said, “somehow you managed to fucking break in Australia before you have in the United Kingdom.” So this is extraordinary. What we can we say? Amazing. I think it’s one of those incredible stories - it’s really cool.

I guess we’ve got the opposite. We’ve got bands that break it in London before they make it here.
I know. There’s a band called Jagwar Ma – have they kind of done that, or are they big over there?

They’re doing wells here, are they big in England? Because they’re from Sydney.
I think considering the kind of band that they are they have broken in a little bit more than initially. I only know this - not because I’m a huge Jagwar Ma fan - but my engineer at work was telling me about it. Empire of the Sun are also huge artists but I presume they are over there too. It’s cool.

That’s interesting to know. Have you encountered any other artists or producers?
We’re willing to meet more people at festivals. Generally, it’s quite a friendly atmosphere so everyone talks to people. I just get a bit funny around people – I get quite sort of nervous. I listen to so much new music so I’m just in awe of people if I’m particularly fond of them – like a little kid, which does end up happening. Meeting the XX was quite a bizarre thing because obviously so many people have been saying that we sound like them. So that was a bizarre thing but they were very lovely to us. I met this amazing producer called Don Hopkins and he’s an incredible, incredible producer. You meet people. Disclosure are lovely guys and it’s cool. Hopefully we get to meet more and more.

What are the sentiments behind the record? What is underlying the record that our listeners don’t know about?
Hannah tends to write of her lyrics but you know from speaking to her I think there’s obviously an emotional sense that tends to come from her own experiences – with people or guys or family and all those things. I think with Hannah, the amazing thing with her, what I’ve found being around her and listening to her lyrics and working with her is that she has this ability to write about personal experience that she’s had with one person and it just translates on such a high emotional level. I always find myself thinking about people and the way they work and it seems to be more general than just one relationship and I hope that’s what people seem to relate to so much on an emotional level, which they seem to do. I guess it’s the same thing for her anyway. Those experiences definitely translate, I think, to everyone in a genuine way while sort of seeming quite personal at the same time, which I think is really unique, I don’t know how she does it.

I reckon I’d agree with you, especially you guys are pretty young, to have already crystallised the writing.

You guys did live sessions on BBC - how did that go? How important is Radio 1 for your target audience?
Radio 1 is sort of in this country like the most important thing in music, almost. It is vital for how everything in this industry works if you want to become a new artist. Because their target is so young and so reactive to being played a record, it really is like a massive important thing for us. So when we were asked to do that session it was an incredible thing for us.
In general, though, Radio 1 have been so supportive of us and we’re incredibly lucky that they picked up on us so early. It testaments what they do because they have DJs and producers there that are picking up music at such an early point that they showcase bands –there are bands that I hear on the late night shows that are so early in their development that they might not be releasing records for another year or a half. I think on a national radio station to be playing for millions of listeners is quite exceptional. I think triple j do that to some extent. But I’ve gone to other countries, I’ve been in France and they’ve said how they lack that Radio 1 presence. It is incredibly important no doubt. 

What’s still on the bucket list? What are you guys talking about that you’d still like to do?
I think everything’s that happened so far is a massive bonus and we’re just very, very lucky and happy to be doing anything at all. I must say that we do talk a lot about coming to Australia – we would like to although it is a bit far – but we have plans for the future. So that gets looked at a lot. Whatever happens we’re just excited about the future. I think releasing the album and coming for a little trip to Australia are the next big things.

Published on adamNOTeve.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Interview with Barney of Wordlife

 WORDLIFE. A promise. I swear to you on my life that I tell you what is true. Whatever comes out of your mouth is true to yourself and you ain’t lying about and people can’t change what you just said.

Typically, that’s what the throwaway slang term stands for and for this Sydney duo, it looks as they though have adopted a mirror attitude to life: be yourself, be expressive.

“It’s kind of like the mindset that we try to have, we try and do stuff that’s a little bit against the game and not let big, commercial concerns of making music affect what we want to really make –not do what everyone else is doing and just do us really.” [It’s really important, you know, for us as artists.]

But for now, Barney, one half of the progressive dance duo feels like he’s working all the time prepping for their east coast Club of Life tour “almost like the calm before the storm”. 

Despite their wish to prioritise their work over commercial interests, earlier this year they were signed to CLUB MOD of Modular label. A big move, considering the boys are used to working with smaller, independent labels.

“Usually you only have one or two points of contact whereas with Modular you have a whole bunch. But it’s been good, you know. It means that our music will get out there further, to more people than ever, which is a good thing.”

It wasn’t a quick start for Worldife, but Barney says that they learnt that it’s better to work on their own style rather than trying to emulate a certain trend.

“It’s a good time for artists to be brave and play their own music rather than relying on others singles to save your set. Then we have to work harder to rock the crowd but it’s a lot more rewarding and I think it’s going to pay off in the long run.”

Besides, he agrees that the Sydney beat scene is opening up its ears to the more experimental. Even in more general sense, there is a lot more appreciation of wider types of music.

“I think that people appreciate lots of different tempos now. More than they did before. It used to kind of be like sort of centred around 135bpm or 125bpm. House music and that kind of stuff is still very popular but I think that the kind of stuff people are into is growing wider.”

“It kind of reminds me of when I first got into electro music in the 90s - when you had your Chemical Brothers but also things like Massive Attack and all those kind of different flavours of electronic music that were around then. I think that the time now the music’s evolved a lot more. I think that the evolution in technology has meant that instrumental music’s a lot more accessible as well.”

Barney is careful, however, to make the distinction between artists and DJs-turned-producers.

“People like Alison Wonderland and Indian Summer and Flume – I see them more as artists rather than DJs making music to follow their DJ career.”

To complete the picture of key influences, Barney realised that international artists have made a big impact; citing French label San Pellegrino, Club Cheval, newly exploded Disclosure who they’ve been watching for some time and the fiercely divisive new Kanye material.

“Whether you like that or not is beside the point. I think it’s brave that he has gone and done that and made that an album that’s aimed at the commercial market but it’s not commercial at all. I think that’s brave and exciting. A lot of the things have been retro, looking back at the past, and I don’t find that as exciting stuff that looks forward.”

As part of their job, Wordlife keep on top of new tunes to inform their DJ sets. Then, when it gets time to perform live the duo chop and change their own work in a sort of deconstruction.“Adam plays synthesisers and drum machines over the top of the live mix, which is the barebones of our music stripped back. Then we try and make all the music that we’ve made in our career into an interesting one-hour experience for people.”

All of which took them to the US for a string of live performances. Last time Wordlife spoke to AU Review they said they were keen to head overseas with their music. A year later, they’ve met some icons and explored the LA beats scene.

“It was interesting to see all of these artists that we’ve heard over here and we think, “oh that guy’s massive”. We read all about the hype over them but then you go over there and see them in their natural element and they’re just people like us and all of our friends who hang out, go to restaurants, go to the movies. They do the same things as us it’s just a bigger world.”

In the end, Barney says it was very much like home.

“Well it’s interesting because it’s like very much Australia in a way. If you’re making underground music, no matter where you go in Australia it’s underground.”

Apart from the fact that it’s mainly a midweek affair, where the underground acts take over the regular clubs, and there is a strong sense of corporate sponsorship, which doesn’t exist in Australia.

“It just means that they present their music in a way wins over new fans, which I think is really cool. If you give a room full of hipsters free beer they’re going to be a lot more interested in the music. It’s like going to an art gallery, you know, and you have a few wines and then all of a sudden you’re buying a piece of art. I think that works well.”

“I think there’s a lot of opportunity in America because there are so many more people I think there’s definitely a lot of good stuff happening there and a lot of positivity and people pushing each other forward just because there’s that many people doing that in one place.”

While they praise the work of the original underground, Barney says they still come across a few WTF moments online.

“I saw a website the other day that you can get people to make music for you and you just put your name on it. Basically selling your DJ career and they’ll set up a soundcloud and twitter account with followers.”

In all seriousness they acknowledge it’s much easier to break into the industry as a people-pleaser, especially in the realm of dance music. Barney says it’s disappointing that some artists choose accessibility over innovation.

That would not include the acts who they have done support for – production legends Ryan Hemsworth, Hudson Mohawke and Rustie.

“In a way it freed us in the end to do that kind of stuff. It makes it harder to get your music signed but I think that if you do your own thing and stick to your guns then eventually people will see the value in it even if they can’t in the short term.”

After their Australian tour, Wordlife will be returning to the US.

“We’re going back there to do some more music in a couple of months. Hopefully we can work with a few more vocalists and we’ll be able to bring back some work, which will be cool.”

And that ain’t a lie. Despite the international touring, club shows and having signed to a huge international label, Wordlife keep it cool.

Barney pulls a lyric that he remembers from Underground Resistance circa 2002: “There will be people who say you don’t mix this with that and you will say, "watch me".

Published on the AU review.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Spray 'n' Wipe 2013 at the Espy

Most music festivals try to create an unrivalled party but Spray n Wipe takes on cosy and unassuming to wander freely from to room, buy drinks without missing a set and enjoy what it is all about – the acts. Honestly, despite the long list of acts across four stages the night passed quickly. In between DJs kept the crowd happy but live music was the family favourite.

With a line-up leaning heavily on triple j acts, this installation of Spray n Wipe felt right at home at the Espy.  

Tokyo Denmark Sweden got the crowd standing and warmed up for the night with their synth-pop filling the main stage.  With a combination of regular setup (guitar, drums, mic) and some extra electronics TDS created an atmospheric scene for spacey dancing. As soon as the drums kicked in on their single When It Breaks’ there was more dancing than head-bopping. The trio also pulled out their tracks more suitable for the night ‘Lights Off’ and ‘Little Quarters’. Although they kicked off relatively early, they had gathered a large crowd by the end of their set keen to keep it lively.

As a general rule the bands stuck to their upbeat songs – it was not a night for slow ballads by any means. Brisbane boys Gung Ho started their set with a jam that showed off their electric guitar prowess. They then put on a fierce show, which puts them far out of the category of indie pop but kept it down-to-earth at the same time. Cool and conversational, they roamed through songs from the harmonic ‘Twin Rays’ to the more upbeat ‘Side by Side’.

On the side, the Mezzanine hosted a string of DJs but most of the crew hanging around there were on the balcony, at least until much later. The sweaty dark dance party was happening downstairs in between sets – especially dropping new Disclosure, Hot Chip and even some 90s classics.

A lesser known but solid act Melbourne’s World’s End Press then took to the stage with an energy-fuelled performance, which surprisingly was a standout of the night. Frontman John Parkinson jumped around stage while belting out the vocals and the bassist beside him also took part. Unlike the other acts, the sing-a-long factor wasn’t strong but it didn’t stop everyone from soaking up the dramatic distorted pop.

Meanwhile, The Griswolds held their own at the Gershwin stage with their no-fuss garage-jam performance as a sort of calm before the storm.

Photo: DZ Deathrays/Facebook

Shortly following were DZ Deathrays, who attracted a fervid crowd and as per usual saw plenty of intense moshing, crowd surfing and stuff getting chucked around. After playing the notorious “The Mess Up” a good chunk of the crowd swarmed as a writhing mosh into a stage invasion. I’m not sure how everyone managed to fit and DZ kept playing unbothered. (Facebook reports that all their gear got trashed).

Alpine were the last live act of the night, with their rapturous dance tunes and quirky stage antics bringing the night for a close.

As a side note, much more dancing than your average gig night.

Published on adamNOTeve.