Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: The Ninjas


Until very recently, garage-rock quintet The Ninjas were probably Brisbane’s best kept musical secret, but the release of their excellent new single ‘Yeah Yeah’ may be about to change all that. The band already have support slots for the likes of The Cribs and Sticky Fingers under their belts and with more recordings in the pipeline, the future looks bright for the group. I spoke to Pat Ferris (guitar) and Josh Stewart (vocals).

How are things in The Ninjas camp? What have you been up to recently?

Pat: Things are going great at the moment. We are currently recording some new songs with Sean Cook (Big Scary, Jeremy Neale) at his studio The Plutonium, and experimenting with an old Beta-movie camera and a green screen for our next video to go with our follow up single, ‘Kill ‘Em All’.

You’ve been thrust into the spotlight fairly suddenly with the release of ‘Yeah Yeah’. What’s it been like so far?

Josh: It’s been pretty rad; Ford choosing it as the soundtrack for their new Ranger commercial has been awesome for us. It’s sort of weird though; its not like we haven’t heard our music played back before, but when you’re watching your favourite show on TV and your song randomly comes on it feels kind of rewarding.

Describe your song-writing process. Is it a collaborative effort?

Josh: Our song writing process begins with ideas Pat and I have, then we jam them out with the rest of the band to work out and finalise the structure.

Supporting The Cribs was a pretty big deal. What are your memories of the gig?

Josh: Supporting The Cribs was definitely our favourite show. My memories from the gig are pretty hazy but I remember watching them side-stage and thinking “winning”.

Your music gets compared to a lot of different bands, from The Rolling Stones to The Stone Roses to Oasis to The Vines to The White Stripes. Which or any of these is most accurate?

Josh: They’re all awesome to be compared to, and they’re all pretty accurate in regards to our band’s underlying influences.

What would you rather be: a poor but revered cult band with heaps of critical acclaim, or a stadium-filling international juggernaut that nobody admits to liking?

Josh: Stadium-filling international juggernaut definitely has a nicer ring to it.

What would be on your ideal rider and why?

Josh: Budweiser; the king of beers. Plus some Captain Morgan Spiced Gold.

What are the band’s plans in the short term?

Pat: We’re looking forward to unleashing our next single ‘Kill ‘Em All’ around mid-January, with launches in Brisbane and Sydney around the same time. We have also been in talks with some peeps in the U.S., so another trip over there is looking likely soon as well.

When can we next see The Ninjas live, and what can we expect from the show?

Pat: I believe a sneaky little show at Rics Bar on Friday 13th of December with a special guest appearance by Jason on tambourine.


Check out the video for ‘Yeah Yeah’:

Interview: The Orb


Legendary ambient house godfathers The Orb are celebrating their 25th year in the business with the release of a brand new reggae-infused album and tour.

More Tales From The Orbservatory is your twelfth studio album. How does it sound compared to your previous work?

Warmer, fatter, more 23rd century and less 20th century; an Orb take on the future sounds of dub.

What was working with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on your last two albums like?

It was a real pleasure to work with the genius that is ‘Scratch’. The Upsetter was full of rhythm and sound. He was a constant source of vocal heaven. We completed 17 tracks in 3 days and that is a world record for The Orb. 

How did the collaboration with Perry come about?

From my DJ connection with Lee. I had played on the same line-up in various countries around the world: Mexico, Finland and the UK. 

Did you work with anybody else on the album?

We used a track from earlier sessions we had been working on in a side project called ‘Mad Orb’ and placed Lee’s vocals over the top. 

How aware were you of the fact you were inventing a new genre of music when you first started making ambient house?

We needed to get a name before the press labelled us something horrible. So we invented our own name and gave it to our music so people would remember us by that title. I have to say that was the idea; we never thought it would take off as well as it did!

What are your overriding memories of the early ‘90s, when ‘U.F.Orb’ reached number one in the UK?

Glastonbury headlining on the NME stage and recording in Jamaica . 

What would it take for an album in that style to get that high in the charts today? Do you think it’s possible?

No comment. No one actually buys music. Interesting thought. Will football end up free one day? 

Where did the fascination with alien and space sounds in your music come from?

As a child, I grew up as the Americans landed on the moon (I was 9). The Russian space program was also of interest with my air fix kit.

How has your approach to making music changed since The Orb first started?

It’s faster, fatter, warmer, more thought out and matted out in a true Swiss/ Scottish style . 

You’ve worked with some big names, like David Gilmour. Who would be your ideal artist to make a track with?

Teebs or Kutmah.

What can fans expect from your upcoming world tour?

Old tracks played in a new style for the first time in ages. ‘Toxygene’ and ‘Slug Dub’ are but two. Let it be a surprise, but I doubt it. People want to know these days what they’re paying for in advance, but I promise you, this is the best sound we have ever had. So come along and be impressed. 

Has the importance of playing live shows increased or decreased in the last 20 years?

Increased twentyfold. 

The Orb Headline Rainbow Serpent, Lexton Victoria, January 24-27.

Interview: Sandi Thom

sandi thom

Best known for her 2006 breakthrough single ‘I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair)’, Sandi Thom has had a busy year. With two trips to Australia, a festival appearance in China and European shows already under her belt in 2013, the Scottish singer-songwriter is now ready to release her new album The Covers Collection, consisting of acoustic covers of classic rock songs.

How was your most recent trip Down Under?

I’ve only been home for about three or four days now. I spent a week in Shanghai after three weeks in Australia. I played three festivals; one in Sydney, one in Queensland, and one near Melbourne in Anglesea. It was great; really cool.

What were the shows like?

At the moment I’m touring a solo act, so they were just me and two twelve-string acoustics and my harmonicas. They were personal and in really chilled-out settings. People seemed to really like it and they were good shows. The festivals were great; all outdoors with warm weather and good crowds. It was great to be back to Australia this year, as I hadn’t been since 2009, and now I’ve been twice this year, so I’m coming back with a vengeance.

Your new album is solely covers. What songs have you got on there?

The majority of the songs are classic rock, or heavier rock. Hair rock even, like Guns ‘N’ Roses and Heart. Then there’s Nine Inch Nails and Fleetwood Mac, so it’s pretty much a rockers’ record. But really, all the songs have played a part in my life in some way, so it’s really just me putting some songs together as a fan and trying to cover their songs as best I can, and to remove it from how it was originally recorded. It was an unintentional record. It’s not like we sat down two years ago and decided to do it. I was just making these songs for the fans with a really simple set-up, even to the point where one or two of them are just literally a microphone into a laptop; so they’re very much bedroom recordings. People have responded to them really well. ‘November Rain’ in particular has become very popular, with more than 100,000 hits on YouTube. The idea just struck a chord with people and it seemed like a great opportunity to do a record and get it out there.

Is it a collection of your favourite songs, or simply ones you thought would make a good album?

They’re all significant to me, and have all been my favourite songs as a teenager. ‘More Than Words’ was one of the biggest hits on the planet when I was growing up and I sang it all the time, so doing it a cappella was the obvious choice as the original is already pretty mellow. Led Zeppelin, for me, is a test in playing the guitar part and the piano part, although the original didn’t have piano. I thought it’d be good to put a different slant on it. ‘Songbird’ is a hugely favourite song of mine, and ‘November Rain’ was massively popular in our house growing up, and it was one of my favourite songs. From my perspective as a fan, they’re songs that I love anyway, so to sing them myself doesn’t feel any different now to when I was singing them with a hairbrush as a kid. I think they’re also songs that I can do justice and vocally put on a performance that can move people, which is very important when you cover someone else’s work. You really have to connect to it personally in some way too.

Did you find it easy to translate the songs into an acoustic format?

Yeah, pretty much. I don’t really ever struggle with the concept of stripping something back to its roots. You know, usually if it’s a great song, it’s never a chore. A great song can be interpreted in so many ways, and still translate. So really, the songs themselves really made my job very easy. All I had to do was sit down and play. Anyone could sing it and play them on the guitar and they’d still come across well. I always used to say when I was trying to figure out which songs would be popular or not that if some really terrible musicians sat down in a folk club and got the audience going with your song, then you knew you were onto something. So, the songs speak for themselves.


Interview: Old Man Luedecke

old man lued

At 37, Chris ‘Old Man’ Luedecke isn’t exactly old. He is, however, a Juno Award-winning singer, songwriter and banjo player from Nova Scotia who will tour Australia throughout November in support of Jordie Lane.

At what age did you start playing music, and how did you settle on the banjo as your instrument of choice?

Pretty early. My parents had me in a program called Kinder Musik in Toronto at four or so. We played glockenspiels and sang nursery rhymes. I played and loved the clarinet and piano through grade school and high school. I gave up music, I thought, when I did a lit degree but I was playing banjo and writing songs two months after graduation. I don’t remember singing until I met my wife. We had an early date where we drove a borrowed ’60s Chevy pick-up on the Top Of The World highway to Alaska from Dawson City one night and I sang her every song I knew.

What can Australian fans expect from an Old Man Luedecke show in 2013?

Great stories and tunes. Thumping foot and rhythm with sparkling banjo, catchy melodies and thought-provoking lyrics.

Recording your new album Tender Is The Night took just four days in Nashville. How intentional was that?

I’ve always worked pretty quickly in the studio because I tend to arrive with finished songs that I can already play myself. Nashville wasn’t much different, but the cats were really heavy and I was able to get comfortable quickly. I really like the live sound of my records. They’re not over-thought, they just sound like people making music with my tunes.

Your songs reveal your fondness for language and literature. What literary influences went into this album?

Well, off the top of my head there’s Melville, Tom Paine, the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, John Prine, Robert Service, Walt Whitman, Ginsberg…


Interview: Jedward


Irish pop twins Jedward are a seriously excitable pair of lads. They have so much energy that every one of these sentences should probably end with an exclamation mark, and their upbeat lust for life and desire to talk and talk and talk some more is simply infectious. I spoke to John (as Edward was “in the other room eating cereal”) about their upcoming Australian shows and the trick to fielding questions about their famous hairstyles. Warning: some of these answers have very little to do with the original questions.

You’ll be coming to Australia for three headline shows at the end of November. What can Australian fans expect from your shows?

It’s really exciting because these will be our very first shows ever in Australia. We’ve been to all the European countries doing concerts; I think we’ve done about four hundred concerts in total over the last three years or whatever, so we’re really excited. We’ll have over thirty songs; we’ll be doing pop songs, dance songs, pop-rock songs, we’ll play guitar on stage, we’ll do covers that people don’t even know, and some that people will know. Our songs are really really catchy anyway, so even by the end of the song people will be singing along and having a great time. We’re so excited about coming all the way from Ireland! It’s such a long trip; twenty-three hours to get Down Under to do concerts for our fans.

What covers will you be doing?

We haven’t decided yet. We’ve done ‘Little Things’ by Justin Timberlake, and some Ed Sheeran. We need to pick some slow songs, and then some kind of more ‘pop’. We only decide about a week before or whatever, so we haven’t really decided yet, but they’re going to be songs that everyone knows so we can get a proper vibe going. We kind of just bang through songs; we don’t drag the songs out for ages. You know when you go to a concert and they do, like, a six-minute version? We kind of just do it quickly, then it’s next song, next song, next song. We also have ten outfit changes, and that’s a lot of outfit changes. Most bands only have, like, three maximum, so it’s really really good. We just can’t wait to rock it when we come to Australia!

You’ll be playing some pretty big venues. Will your show be a big production with special effects and things like that?

Oh yeah, we’re going to have lots of stuff; lights, choreography, screens and crowd interaction. Nothing’s scripted or anything; I mean, we know our songs and what to do on-stage and everything, but talking to the crowd when everyone’s excited and we’re excited as well, is a really good vibe. We rock out to the max, so if anyone wants to have a good time, come to our show. Even in Ireland, when we’ve had thirty-seven shows over Christmas, doing two shows a day, we always have energy. We’re really fit, we’ve ran a marathon, and we’re ready to do the shows!

Did you actually run a marathon?

Yeah! We ran a marathon. We ran twenty-seven miles and we used to run five or six times a week, so we’re ready to go and do it. We ran it in three hours forty three minutes, but we were kind of just strolling it; we didn’t train for it. I play guitar on stage, and all our fans love when I play guitar on stage; they sing along with all their hands in the air. It’s a really really good vibe. I played guitar on the Internet, and I think it got a couple of million views on YouTube, so I decided to play guitar in all our shows. Our concerts aren’t all the same sound; we’ve got slow songs, dance, and pop stuff in there. It’s all different. We need to give people time to rest as we have loads of energy and we like to go crazy.

Where do you get all this energy? I feel like you could probably talk all day if I let you.

We’ve always been like that. We’ve always been runners and sports fans, and we always eat healthily. All this energy means we’re focussed and driven. You know sprinting when it’s like on your marks, set, BANG? We’re like that all the time; straight out there, but I think it’s the way we talk that makes people think that as well. We use a lot of actions words like ‘crazy’, ‘cool’ and ‘okay’; we use these words, like, a million times. That makes people think we have lots of energy, but we’re just like everyone else. For example, sometimes at airports, we’ll be talking to, like, a hundred girls all at once, when normally if you talk to girls it’ll be just you and the girl. Or if we do a C.D. signing and meet, like, a thousand people and have a thousand different conversations people might think we’re crazy.

Do you have any plans for new music?

We’ve done three albums. Our first album was just cover songs, our second album was more dance-y, and our last album was more of a live, pop-rock vibe. We wrote our next album all by ourselves, and we want it to have a more mainstream sound, not appealing to just one audience, and with a more solid, strong sound. We’re really excited about coming to Australia and doing TV shows and playing our new songs, and because we wrote them ourselves, we feel them one hundred percent. When we’re writing songs we really think outside the box; they’re all different and we never feel like “oh here we go again”. None of the songs have “I love you” or “love you” or anything like that in the titles; they’re really, like, solid and strong.

What else besides music would you like to get involved in?

I think the last four years have been such a learning experience, kind of like college. We want to do everything to a higher level and standard. We’re always going to have our hair and clothes and stay true to ourselves and stuff like that, but we just want to do everything on a bigger scale.

Don’t you ever get sick of people asking about your hair?

It’s okay; we don’t mind it. It’s like right in their face, it’s right there, so I think when people are lost for words ask “so how do you do your hair?” In twenty years time we still want to be performing concerts and doing ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘Lipstick’, so I think we have to accept and be appreciative of our fans and whatever they ask. It’s like Britney Spears; she still sings ‘…Baby One More Time’, like, fifteen years later because it’s for the fans.

If you could record a song with any singer alive today, who would you choose?

I’d like to do a song with John Williams. He’s a composer and did the soundtrack to Jurassic Park and loads of other great soundtracks. I’d like to write a song with him; he writes such ‘massive’ songs. He’s, like, eighty-four, so maybe before he dies we can do a song or something like that. I’d also like to do a song with Pharrell, Justin Timberlake or Timbaland; you know their sort of really cool, simple, uncomplicated melodies? I’d love that.

Do you ever have to tone down your accents or slow down when speaking to people around the world?

Yes! We were just in Singapore and everyone spoke English, but we really had to slow down a bit so they could understand what we were saying. I feel like in the future we’ll be going to a lot of different countries where they don’t even speak English, so we’ll have to talk really slowly and precisely. In Germany we had one of those translator things in our ears, and we had to talk really slowly.

What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

I’m looking forward to actually being in Australia, and I want to go to New Zealand as well. We’d like to go to the reef; you have the barrier reef there, yeah? We’d like to do some scuba diving and meet a koala bear and a kangaroo and do everyday Australian things like surfing. We’re really excited.


Interview: Haydn Ing of Calling All Cars

Calling All Cars

Melbourne’s Calling All Cars have just released a new single in ‘Werewolves’ and are about to embark on a national tour to launch the track.

The first time I saw you play, you were supporting AC/DC with Wolfmother in a bloody big stadium. What are your memories of that tour?

I remember the first show of the tour, walking out onto the stage and thinking…. “Holy f*#cking shit!!!” After that show, we really started to have fun with it. After all… How often do you get to support AC/DC!? It was rad.

You just played BIGSOUND, and drew a heap of people into the Tempo Hotel for your set. How was your experience of the gig, and BIGSOUND as a whole?

BIGSOUND was an excellent experience overall. It’s growing bigger every year, and there seems to be a real vibe around the whole thing, which is great to see! To be honest, we weren’t sure what to expect with our gig at BIGSOUND, as we have been in a writing hibernation for a while. Luckily for us, the room was full with a nice warmth in the room. We had a great set and then got drunk… er. We saw a whole bunch of rad bands, and also played a DJ set. Keep an eye out for ‘Calling All Cars DJs’!

There has been a fair degree of secrecy surrounding the upcoming new album. How deliberate has that been?

I’m not sure I can say… Haha. No, it hasn’t really been intentional, but we also don’t want to give it all away. Sometimes it’s nice to keep a surprise a surprise.

What does the new record sound like? Are you throwing any surprises in there?

Definitely. We have really pushed ourselves this time round. We wanted to step right out of our comfort zone for this album. We wanted every beat to be hip shaking, and every melody to be creeping back into your head when you’re least expecting it. Again, you’ll just have to wait and see.

Does having two brothers in a band help you to resolve disagreements quicker than you perhaps normally would?

I’m not really sure, as I have never been in a band without my brother. Ha. But I can only assume that it has its pros and cons just like any other scenario. Sure, we can resolve ‘tiffs’ nice and quick, but the ‘tiffs’ are usually over the dumbest things. I guess the cool thing is we can read each other on stage without words. That nice. Brotherly nice.

You’ll shortly be embarking on a tour to support the single. What can fans expect from a Calling All Cars show in 2013?

Well, a whole bunch of new songs. Also, we have reworked some of the old ones too. Lots of energy, drinks and fun.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

We’re always writing new songs, planning future tours and looking to travel. We’re just taking it a day at a time.


Interview: ill.Gates

ill gates

Canada-born, California-based EDM legend Ill.Gates will be at Island Vibe Festival later in the month for what promises to be one seriously bass-heavy party. From headlining festivals, to working with some of the best in the business and teaching up-and-comers, Gates has it covered.

What is the scene like for bass-heavy music in San Francisco right now?

San Francisco has an incredible scene for bass music. Period. Or maybe even exclamation mark. Yeah… I’ll go with exclamation mark! It’s awesome. People there are very forward-thinking and always want to hear whatever’s new and innovative. There are massive events and street festivals all the time and the people do not tolerate unoriginal music or poor sound systems. We are also lucky enough to have the American branch of PK Sound based in SF, so you can often find their sound systems bumping at special events.

The only thing you can complain about really is that the fetishism of new original music and high quality sound systems kind of ruins travel to much of the rest of the world. Trends move very fast, so whatever is new to the rest of the world is already old news in the Bay. Definitely a first world problem.

How do you keep up to speed on new technology and software as it emerges?

It has gotten to the point that many of the companies and innovators simply contact me directly as their gear is being developed and/ or send me demo units. I read a lot about new stuff online as well. Blogs like are excellent sources of reviews and there’s always the ableton forum as well.

What’s your favourite piece of DJ equipment that you own?

I’d have to say my MIDI Fighters are the most fun. I love Ableton Push for melodic performances, but the MIDI Fighter just slays it. It’s like an MPC made of arcade buttons, and then suddenly all those hours logged on ‘Street Fighter II’ at the arcade are musically useful. Go order one now. Trust me.

Another string to your bow is the role of musical educator. What form does this take?

Lately it’s nearly all online. Since I signed on with Circle (agency) I have been gigging more than ever before so it is very difficult to financially justify the time it takes to do a workshop. When I have a workshop online it can eventually generate the residual income to justify it to my management but grinding it out doing physical workshops doesn’t really make sense any more.

I am, however, treating this Australian visit as more of a vacation than a business venture so I will take the time to teach for the love of it when I’m there.

What is the biggest misconception about DJing that you would like to see change?

I would like to see audiences appreciating actual live electronic music more. People like Mad Zach, Araab Musik, Sibot, Shake Beats, AmpLive etc. are absolutely epic when it comes to finger drumming live. It’s amazing. To make a whole song happen ACTUALLY LIVE with no quantise or looping or anything to fall back on is magic. Audiences don’t really understand that it actually takes years of practice to be able to truly do it live.

I’d like to see more appreciation for the art and craft of finger drumming, and I’d like to see more people doing it. DJing is great, but being able to actually play instruments live on a stage is pretty amazing too.

Do you have any plans for releasing new material any time soon?

I’m basically doing one track at a time these days because nobody has the attention span for a whole release any more. I’m planning to keep going like that, and then put out mixtapes of all the favourites every now and then. That seems to be the format people are responding to. You can get a new release every month or so at or on my soundcloud. Bon appetit!

What drives you to continually find new sounds and styles?

Hack artists ruin every subgenre as soon as it gets popular, so if you like the feeling that music gives you then there is no other option but to constantly seek out new sounds and forms of expressing yourself. Music saved my life. Literally. I owe it to the world to return the favour. I’ve also got absolutely nothing else on my resume so I’d better give this thing my all if I want to support myself.

There really is something to be said for music as a full time profession. If you’ve got no safety net at all you really have to hustle to stay relevant. Artists and trends come and go so fast these days that it’s adapt or die.

You’ve played some huge festivals like Burning Man and Shambala, but what can fans expect from your show at Island Vibe?

I love Jamaican music. Love it. I have all kinds of remixes, dub versions, etc in my back pocket I’ve been dying to bust out for ages and I see Island Vibe as my best chance for it. In my previous trips to Australia I typically stayed away from playing tracks with vocals (Aussies tend to think it ‘commercial’, lol) so I’ll have a chance to explore some new territory this time around. I can’t wait!

And finally, what are your plans for dealing with the Queensland heat? Beer or water?

Coopers Pale Ale, obviously… cheers!

Ill.Gates plays Island Vibe October 25-27. He also plays the joint IV After Party/ Earth Frequency Launch Party at the Hi-Fi November 2.

Interview: Paul French of Mining Boom

mining boom 1

This Labour Day weekend is not only a three-day affair, but Goodgod Small Club is celebrating turning three with a birthday bash filled with more musical talent than you can shake a stick at. On the bill with the likes of The Murlocs and Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys is Perth indie-rock quartet Mining Boom. Frontman Paul French tells me what to expect from the gig.

Ok, so I was trying to look up stuff on Mining Boom, and your Tumblr basically consists of videos of trannies fighting and a picture of a man punching a giraffe. What’s the deal with that?

Rest assured, the Tumblr was made with the best of intentions. Early on we realised that we never had anything to update it with, so it just descended into all kinds of shit talking and pop cultural debris. None of us own a camera, or do anything other than playing music, so we never have any kind of band hi-jinks to document. In saying that, there is something about the concept of a physically imposing tranny, that we as a band fully endorse.

Your music has variously been described as “garage pop”, “stoner rock” and “suburban Australian misery”. How would you describe it?

Lately we’ve had a few people brand us with the ‘stoner’ tag. I would definitely say we are more of a meth-oriented band; in fact you might even say we are the Cypress Hill of meth. Nah, I’ve always had difficulty trying to put a banner term on what we do. The thing about genres is that they are generic. To me it’s just common sense kind of stuff, it sounds like the place it is from, it has synths because it is 2013 etc.

You’ve just played the BIGSOUND festival for the first time, and got pretty great reviews. How was the show for you? What other bands stood out for you?

We didn’t really get a chance to see many bands, between playing our set and trying to find a place to stash our equipment, we kind of had our hands full. Robert Forster was good and I heard Bad//Dreems played well. I saw Thelma Plum hanging around at the bar before we played and she looked good, I probably should have said something.

Shortly you’ll be playing the Goodgod’s third birthday party. What can Mining Boom fans expect from the show?

Pyrotechnics, choreography, classic band banter.

In ‘Craigie’, there’s the line “One day I will bash that c*nt,” and “One day I will go to the gym.” Is it written about one person in particular, and are you more of a weights or a cardio band?

People always misquote that line, it’s actually ‘one day I will go legit’. It must be my thick West Australian accent or something. I’d say we would be 75% cardio 25% weights, on account of our drummer, Brendan. He is quite the physical specimen. I’ve seen him rip up phone books and impregnate men.

Recorded music from Mining Boom: we want some. What is on the horizon in terms of your debut record?

Yeah we are still working on our album, it should be all done by the end of the year. It’s going to be called ‘TAFE’ and will be available on Spunk Records early next year.

What would be included in your ultimate tour rider?

Protein shakes for Brendan (jack3d, horny goat weed etc.) Camembert. Coon. Quince paste. Emu Export. Tony Abbott’s daughters.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Finish the album.


Interview: Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys

Bed Wettin Bad Boys

This Labour Day weekend is not only a three-day affair, but Goodgod Small Club is celebrating turning three with a birthday bash filled with more musical talent than you can shake a stick at. On the bill are Sydney’s brilliantly shambolic punks Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys. We chat to Nic and Ben about their plans for the gig and life as a ‘Bad Boy.

I have to start by asking you about the band name. How did you settle on Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys?

Nic: The same way all good bands get their name, a ouiji board ceremony with celebrity magician David Bowie.

Shortly you’ll be playing the Goodgod’s third birthday party. What can BWBB fans expect from the show?

Nic: A pretty similar set to most BWBB sets: eight or so loud rock songs, with one or two mishaps and maybe a bit of jive-talk. As Adam Lewis and the Goodgod team have taken care of promotion and organisation very well we don’t have to worry about back line, parking, figuring out the door split etc., so we may even be a little more relaxed than usual. When your band is called Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys you’ve pretty much got to create most the shows you play. So thanks Adam for asking! I’m looking forward to plugging in and playing for once in my friggin’ life and having very few other responsibilities.

Ben: Today some people at work said they’re going to come to the show. I have a distinct professional, as opposed to social, way of dealing with things. Expect accountability, micromanagement, responsibility, outcome measures.

You’ve just played the BIGSOUND festival in Brisbane, and got pretty great reviews. How was the show for you? What other bands stood out for you?

B: BIGSOUND was the one time as a band we got a few perks. They put on a free barbecue during the day after we played. We got to watch cable TV. A guy let us borrow a drum key. It was a great few days. We played an all ages show at Tym’s Guitar Store with Songs, and it was good to see a bunch of young people at the show having fun, in a place like Fortitude Valley, which can be really draining in every way.

N: I don’t want to talk about it, ’twas a strange few days. Glad we did it though as it showed the industry you don’t have to be a caricature of a human to be in a band.

It’s practically impossible to find a written description of your music – including Pitchfork’s – that doesn’t mention The Replacements. How much of an influence were they on your musical development? What other bands have shaped how you write and play music?

B: Sometimes I feel as that The Replacements comparison is warranted, but other times it’s just lazy writing, an easy way out. ‘This band is gonna rock you like this band,’ rather than working at writing actually how a band makes you feel.

N: We all agree The Replacements are a great band but I actually don’t think they were that important on our development musically, as in I don’t think any of us use them as a template for our song writing or playing. I do think there’s an underlying philosophy or approach to playing rock ‘n’ roll that we share though, essentially being liberated by punk then drawing from the history of guitar music until it forms into something that feels familiar but isn’t some awful retro-rock revival. I think the huge scope of music I’ve listened to has indirectly shaped how I write and play music as opposed to any specific artist. From (Australian) X to Brian Eno, the behemoths of classic rock to your humble basement rockers.

Moving to Sydney from Cairns must have been an experience. How did you find the move at first, and in what ways did you discover music when you got there?

B: This is a really complex question to answer and I just wrote down a huge answer but didn’t cover anything significant. I’ve been in Sydney for six years now. A quarter of my life. I was back in Cairns a couple of months back and it was the first time since moving to Sydney that I realised what an unbelievably beautiful place it is, visually.

BWBB have a reputation for performing while less-than-sober. What would be included in your ultimate tour rider?

N: Collectively I don’t think we’re ever that drunk playing any more, I mean at least not most of the time. It’s nice to have a few drinks before, while and after playing cause we’re all busy people and it may well be the only time we get to let loose that week. I think people confuse less-than-sober with not being a bunch of timid, top-button-on-shirt-done-up, beige, flaccid indie band. Ya know; being a little bit primal, rock ‘n’ roll as a release, not a fashion show.

B: I feel there’s a real boredom during the three hours between loading in gear to a venue and playing. Don’t drink out of boredom, but sometimes there’s nothing else to do. Drink to celebrate. Hey, we’re a group of friends playing rock ‘n’ roll and at the end of the day there’s no pressure to do any more, any less. I’ll drink to that! (note I’m not a very good guitar player just to clear up reasons why I mess up at times)

N: Tour rider: I’d prefer some type of stout or dark ale opposed to the watery beer usually provided. If we’re talking big dumb music festival that breeds inflated egos: Gin and tonic water. DVD of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Some Lebanese bread and dips. Picture book of baby animals. Music device that plays rap music like Kool Keith, Big L, Tommy Wight III, UGK, Clipse to get me PUMPED UPPPP.

B: For the tour rider, I’m a sweet vermouth man.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

N: Being a Bed Wettin’ Bad Boy feels real easy at the moment. For the first time since Doug joined which was 2 to 3 years ago we don’t really have any set goals or deadlines. We literally have no plans and will just continue to do what we do. Earlier this year we wrote a list of half-song, riffs, home demos and unreleased songs we’d like to re-work or re-visit. Hopefully through the summer we’ll have the time to “work” on them. I say “work” cause I don’t think it’ll feel like work. Playing together has started to feel like second nature and although we’ve been taking it easy post-album launch and tour I think we’ve unknowingly been pretty creatively productive. Once we have a big old list of songs ready to go we’ll think about working towards another record.

B: I was away for four months this year and I guess it’s a bit of catch up still after that. We’re all busy people outside of this band, so we just try do what we can when we can.


Interview: Gary Jarman of The Cribs

gary jarman

Having recently celebrated ten years in the business of making top-notch punk-tinged indie-rock and with a new record full of songs spanning the band’s career, Gary Jarman, the refreshingly down to earth bassist for The Cribs, is looking forward to coming to these shores for a run of shows next month.

What can fans expect from a Cribs show in 2013?

Usually when I’m asked this question it’s a pretty tough one to answer, because we’ve always hoped that, idealistically, it’ll be somewhat unpredictable like it always used to be when we first started out. We always thrive off the idea that we never really plan stuff too much, and we’re never a particularly slick prospect, as that was the thing that used to drive us and keep things interesting. With these tenth anniversary shows we’re trying to mix in a bunch of the older stuff for people who didn’t see it the first time round, as we never toured the first album in Australia. The shows will be smaller, and I think that’s the right way to do it, and will hopefully be the best representation of where the group is coming from and from where we first started out.

If someone told you ten years ago that you’d be touring Australia for your tenth anniversary, how would you have reacted?

It would have been a real thrill, you know? But that never goes away; we’re still the same band that we were when we started out. We still have the same motivation and we have the same feelings about things. I think that comes with being in a band with your brothers; we’re still kind of amazed to be able to travel that far away from where you’re from and have people be interested in it. We never lost that sense of disbelief that a project you started with your kid brothers will be something that people will not only care about, but care about for a decade, and then to travel pretty much as far away from Wakefield – where we’re from – as possible, and have people come and be excited to see you play. That’s something we’ve never taken for granted, and being in a band with your brothers has been key to that. If I’d been in a band with other people I might have become jaded over the years, although it’s never been plain sailing for us – far from it. But the fact it’s a family thing makes us such a close and tight unit, and it makes us so honoured that it’s resonated in some way with people, no matter what level.

Some bands with several family members end up hating each other over time, but it obviously works well for The Cribs?

I think so, because the key thing is that we trust each other, and we grew up with the same stuff, and when we formed the band it was out of necessity as my brothers were the only people who had the same tastes as me, because we grew up with the same music. So it was basically a really convenient and ideal scenario for us. Over the years, we’ve managed to retain that, even though we all live in different places thousands of miles apart, and that’s been really good for us as we can all bring different things to the table from our different experiences. Rather than being alienated, it helps us.

Obviously Johnny Marr is no longer in the band, so what challenges does that bring when playing live?

Well, as far as live goes, we never expected to be a four-piece when we started the band, and we never expected there to be a fourth person there, as we didn’t have a fourth brother! Johnny coming along was like a really surreal and exciting thing for us, so we had to adapt to being a four-piece rather than re-adapting to being a three-piece, so it was really natural to go back to being a three-piece. But we do have another person playing guitar with us, who is like a live member, so we can add extra things to records and still pull them off live.

What do you miss most about having Johnny in the band, besides his guitar playing?

The camaraderie. While it lasted, it was a good way of dissipating the intensity in the family dynamic. Everything becomes really extreme in that sense; when the shows are good they’re really good, but when they’re a bit off they can be destructive. So having another person there makes it easier to reduce that intensity. There’s a different dynamic with your brothers or with your family than what you’ll have with anybody else, and you can often forget that unless there’s someone else in the room. It’s easy to forget how full-on it can be and how differently you speak to people you’ve grown up with. It was nice to have someone, not necessarily to mediate, but to see things a bit more rationally, instead of the emotionally-charged way we would always do things.

You won the Outstanding Achievement Award from the NME, and just released what’s essentially a Best-Of album. How do you feel about reaching milestones like these when you’re still so young?

Winning the award was such an amazing thing for us. When you can step away from things and look at them from a distance, it’s really a crazy kind of scenario. To get a lifetime achievement award like that, and to have a greatest hits record – if you started a band aiming for things like that, it’d be an egotistical and cut-throat thing. We never set our sights on that sort of stuff; we came from more of a punk-rock background, but it’s nice to be able to sit back and look at all the ups and downs of the last ten years and lay them all to rest and move on, in some ways. We’ve been playing a lot of these songs for ten years now, and that’s a kind of insane proposition, so this is a nice way to wrap it all up and move on to the next chapter I guess.

You’re known for having a DIY and independent approach to things. Is that something that will change as the band gets older?

If anything, it’s got a lot more pronounced. Initially, it wasn’t something strange to us, as we had no choice. But when the band started doing well, we didn’t feel the need to deviate from that, and we enjoyed doing a lot of things that way, and we took satisfaction from it. For example, we used to love playing on the main stage at the Reading Festival, and we’d be the only band who had a van; there was something perverse and appealing about that. But, from a different point of view, we’ve never been signed to a major label in the UK, so there was never a great deal of money flying around. We’re actually a really efficient band, you know? We do things on a level that avoids all that rock-star shit, and even when we’ve had top-ten records it’s been business as usual, and that’s possibly why we’re still here after ten years. We get a lot of satisfaction from adversity; we’ve always been so independent and nothing’s changed. Nobody makes money from record sales any more, and it doesn’t bother us at all; we’re used to existing on a shoestring anyway. We’ve never been dependent on anything and although it sounds like a bit of a cute statement, the only people I’ve ever depended on is my two brothers. If we get offered a show and we want to do it, we find a way to make it happen one way or another. It’s an idealism thing. I hate the idea of being dependent on things that other bands depend on to make things happen.

What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

We had such an awesome time last time. We came out there in January, and it was one of the most fun tours we’ve ever had, so it’s not that I’m looking forward to one single thing, just the knowledge that we had such a really awesome time last time is enough to be really exciting for us.


Interview: Harrison Koisser of Peace


Self-confessed upstarts, the four young lads that make up Birmingham quarter Peace are headed to Australia for the first time. Frontman Harrison Koisser explains how the group are looking forward to sharing “our ideas”.

It’s odd that no other band has claimed the name Peace before. How did you arrive at the name?

I think it was staring at us in the face the whole time; and then when we forgot about choosing a name it became very obvious.

What has the reaction to your debut album ‘In Love’ been like so far?

Very positive. Some older people like to make a point that we sometimes sound like something they knew when they were younger, but I think that’s happened to every band ever. It just feels like your old dad nagging you to do the washing up, though. We’re very positive people most of the time and the majority of things we hear we abide with.

You recently toured with Miles Kane and Palma Violets. Any good tour stories?

Many. It seems so long ago. We had a good lark with all the boys. They’re all diamonds.

Which band member cares most about how they look on stage and in band photos?

I know you’re supposed to say you don’t, but I think all of us do. You’d have to be a total slob to not give a fuck when there’s a couple of thousand people watching or when there’s photographic evidence going around. Not in like a huge way, but you know what I mean.

September will mark your first trip Down Under. What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

I’ve heard the lifestyle is different but the ideas are the same. It sounds like something we can get along with. I want to feel it.


Interview: Ed Kuepper

ed kuepper

Hi Ed, we’re looking forward to your upcoming run of solo shows. What can fans expect from your show?

I’m doing a series of request shows every night, pretty much playing what people ask for. Every night has been a different set and I expect that to continue – the audience decides. Because it’s a request show there have been lots of songs played that haven’t been performed for ages – so lots of surprises.

You have your own record company. How important to you is keeping control of the business side of your own musical output?

Well it is important; often times when others are in charge things may not work in one’s best interests.

To what extent have you embraced the Internet as a means to distribute your music?

Definitely more and more recently.

How did you feel when you won the Grant McLennan Lifetime Achievement Award, and in what way did it inspire you, if at all?

Well it seemed a bit strange getting it in a lot of ways, but yeah; it was nice.

What has it been like to play with Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds?

A lot of the shows were quite good I thought; the tour had its moments.

You have been incredibly prolific throughout your career. How do you find new motivation to constantly be making music?

The best way to do it is to set yourself a deadline, or make a commitment to release a new album or something.

You are considered to be one of the best and most influential musicians to ever come out of Brisbane. Are you still in touch with the music scene there?

I’ve been pretty absorbed doing my own stuff, so I don’t really go out of my way to hear things, because it tends to get in the way.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

Finish this tour, complete the new album I’m starting on and start planning the follow-up tour.


Interview: Dan Rothman of London Grammar

london grammar

With favourable comparisons to The XX and Florence and The Machine, English art-rock trio London Grammar have barely been making music together for a couple of years, but are already being tipped by some as a band with a big future. I had a chance to chat with guitarist Dan Rothman ahead of the release of their debut album, If You Wait.

Your new album is coming out on September 6th. What does it sound like?

It’s kind of consistent to what people have heard so far I guess. I think that was the idea. We released a few tracks that were representative of the record, as I think we always wanted to make quite a consistent album with a consistent sound, mood, atmosphere, and that kind of thing. That was our intention anyway. There are also a few surprises in there that people might be excited about. It’s quite dark and emotional; I think that’s the warning I would give as well.

Your band has a definite sound that makes you pretty much unmistakeable. Is that something you consciously developed or did it just naturally happen that way?

We definitely developed it consciously in that regard because it’s something we wanted to do, but the fact that we have that specific sound is also a natural development as it’s just what happens when the three of us are in a room together, and we all have different influences which help to make that the case. Generally whether we want to play guitar, sing, or play a song as a whole, it’s really important to have a sound that’s someway recognisable as being our own. And that’s what hopefully separates us from other bands.

Do you sometimes clash over influences?

We’ve clashed a fair few times. Me and Dot tend to have these huge arguments over certain bands which tends to fuck Hannah off for various reasons, mainly having to listen to us arguing. Mainly we argue over The Smiths, as I’m quite a big fan, but Dot despises them.

So, how do your songs come together?

It tends to vary a lot; Hannah has written certain songs on the piano and brought those in and we’ve worked on them from that point onwards, or I’ve brought in guitar parts, or Dot’s brought piano parts, but probably the majority of them – like ‘Hey Now’ for example – were written in a room together in a rehearsal, or in my garage in a jam-like fashion. It does vary; there’s no set format for us.

How was the recording process? Did you enjoy it?

Personally, I really enjoyed it. I think the process for us was long, and it wasn’t quite how I envisaged it; it was quite a choppy process, almost messy and complicated, and I kind of find it difficult to recall what happened, as we spent so much time developing it in different studios, demo-ing it up and getting it to a certain point, and once we had all the songs written, we went into the studio to record the album. From that point I think of really fondly; I really enjoy being in the studio. There’s loads of old gear to look at and lots to learn, but it’s also a bit stressful as we were so concerned about making the right album, so we had arguments over certain choices. It’s a wicked thing to do, and was definitely one of the greatest experiences we’ve had – I think we all really enjoyed it. We spent so much time on the album, and every different part was so arduous that we were so glad to have it finished by the end, and as a result we find it kind of hard to listen back to it now, which is a shame, but it’s just the way we are I guess. I’ve spoken to other bands who’ve had the same feeling after finishing an album, but I think we’re all really proud of it and happy with the final result. When you’re going through the whole process of writing it, producing it, re-producing and re-editing it, and then being involved in the mixing process as well, you’ve heard the songs a thousand times and it’s hard to view it objectively any more.

How do you feel when your band is labelled as an overnight sensation?

It doesn’t feel like that to us, because it’s been such a long process, and it’s even been seven months since we put ‘Hey Now’ out, but a lot of people think that it’s happened really quickly for us, which I guess it has in some ways. I wouldn’t want to disagree with the fact that things have happened quickly for us, and we’re really grateful for it. If people want to label us as that it’s completely fine by me. There was a singer in the ’80s, Paul Young, who said he spent ten years becoming an overnight sensation, so that’s a bit worse than us. His act was just so ’80s, so once the ’80s were finished he was pretty much fucked!

How big a role has the Internet had in your breakthrough?

Pretty much a huge part to be quite honest, although it’s not like one of our songs went viral and had millions of hits or something like that Gotye record did, or ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey. Everything combined – from blogging, Twitter, Facebook – did it for us I think, and a body of stuff on there has propelled it forward.

What are your plans for the rest of 2013?

Touring, lots of promo, and we should be coming out to Australia some time too, although I’d better not say anything, because l got in trouble last time for telling someone we were playing at Laneway and we weren’t!


Interview: Lindsey Stirling

Global Youtube phenomenon Lindsey Stirling is about to bring her signature violin-electronic-dubstep style to Australia for the first time. I tripped over all those hyphens on the way to the interview.

Your style has been described as ‘hip-hop violin’ or ‘classical fusion’. How did you arrive at the sound people now know you for?

I started playing to hip-hop tracks because I wanted to make the violin fun again. I wanted to dance and I wanted to entertain both myself and the crowd. When I was finally able to produce my own music, I basically took all my favourite styles – electronic, dubstep, classical, and Celtic – and combined them all together.

Growing up in Arizona, what music influenced the songs you make today?

I always listened to electronic music. I think I was the only kid in my high school who liked techno. Haha! But I also loved pop-rock. My favourite band of all time is Evanescence.

After being dismissed by the judges on ‘America’s Got Talent’, were you ever tempted to change your style or approach?

I was actually considering giving up. In my mind, I had failed so dismally and I was so humiliated after that experience, I wondered if I had the courage to get back no stage again. But after much thought I turned fear into motivation. Nothing gives me more drive than when someone tells me I can’t do something. I now had a point to prove.

How does it feel to know your videos have over 300 million hits on YouTube?

Mind blowing.

Do you think it’s still possible for artists to ‘make it’ without the Internet?

It would be really difficult because that is where people connect now; not TV, not radio, but through the Web. The Internet and technology has made it possible for the Average Joe to do it on their own and bypass the record label.


Interview: Sonny Chin of A Cartoon Graveyard

a cartoon graveyard
Hi Sonny, you’ve just released your debut album, The Men Who Stole Your Horse Are In The Woods With My Friend. How would you describe the songs on the album?

I think the songs really need to be described as part of the album. And the album I might describe as manically nostalgic. The songs for me really reflect off each other and have a certain completeness when heard together on the album. Its kind of like how without Data’s inventions or Chunk’s big-heart the Goonies would never have found the hidden treasure. And that can only lead to evil developers destroying small sea-side towns. So yeah, in a way they’re good enough.

I’ve always been an albums person and for me there was no other way to put out these songs. Singles seem to be becoming more popular these days but I think eventually people will come back around to the album as the way to listen to music. Or maybe not, whatever.

Tell me about your writing and recording process – is it something you enjoy or something that can prove difficult?

I love writing music which makes it a pretty easy thing to do. I don’t really think about the process too much. The recording process is a completely different animal. Its a self-produced album, so we were doing all the mixing ourselves and you can end up getting quite self-conscious when you’re mixing tracks that you also play on. I think we ended up getting the hang of it and the last few songs we recorded were done in a fraction of the time that it took to do the others.

How does it feel to have your album finished and in the public domain?

Its great having it done and its good to know that our music is somewhere out there in the sub-ether. Although since finishing the album most of my life has been taken up with promoting it, which is a bit up the hill backwards, but its good to know the songs are now on ‘record’ in the literal sense so that we can look forward in a way and perhaps start branching out from what we have been doing for a while now in our live show.

What has the reaction to your album been like so far?

The reaction so far has been good from the people who have heard it, although it would be nice if more people did hear it. The great thing is that these days there’s this under-current of people searching for music that isn’t necessarily heard through major media and so we’re slowly building an audience there, which is cool.

You know, its like those jazz or Cuban music albums that used to be made as short-run pressings for small fan bases. The guys who made those albums were doing it on a small budget and were basically doing it for the love of playing music. So from the outset I felt like that was the sort of album we were making, except with rock music.

Which artists have had an influence on your music, and which do you currently rate?

As a band and as individuals we’re influenced by a whole range of artists and hopefully that comes through in our music. The Ventures are one of those great surf guitar bands that I think heavily influence our sound. Again, I’m into bands that have created great and diverse albums. The Beatles, Bowie, Big Star… and that’s just the B’s. My favourite current artists are probably Dirty Projectors and Okkervil River.

You are playing an album launch show at Black Bear Lodge on 19th June. What can fans expect from your show?

Wow, well for starters I’ve organised a massive LED stage for the audience to dance on, there’s gonna be some pyrotechnics and the whole club is going to be moved to a remote country town for the evening. In fact, we may not even be there, but if we are we will be in robot helmets. I just hope it hasn’t been done before.

If you could share a stage with one artist, living or dead, who would it be?

I’d probably go with a living artist, because you can almost guarantee that things would get a bit messy with a dead one. I did once have an idea of forming a tribute band called The Zombie Beatles, and we were going to play covers like “With a little help from my friends’ brains” and “While my re-animated flesh gently weeps”, so maybe Zombie John Lennon. I think he went vegetarian so we wouldn’t have to worry about the whole ‘eating brains’ issue as long as we kept a few heads of lettuce around the stage. We’d play ‘Rain’ so he could join in on the harmonies in the chorus. Actually, how about dead Bieber?

How do you rate the current scene in Brisbane for bands like yourself? What could be done to improve it, if anything?

There’s definitely a scene. But unfortunately there are only a handful of venues that will actually play original bands which makes it difficult. Hopefully more venues will open up under small bar liquor licences and give bands that have modest followings more places to play. Venues and bands alike need to take more risks. Doing what everyone else is doing is an easy way to guarantee numbers, but nothing great was ever created by maintaining the status quo. Other than ‘Rockin’ all over the World’. People also need to get out and support local music, and see a band they haven’t heard of. It’s also becoming more important for bands to be well organised and plan gigs and releases well in advance.

What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2013?

We haven’t really thought past the 19th June. You can over plan these things.