Tag Archives: australia

Interview: Uberjak’d

uberjak'd

BEN Grzywacz – a.k.a. Uberjak’d – is fast becoming one of the hottest names on the Australian DJ scene. He’ll be joining a stellar line-up for the national Future Music Festival tour.

Hi Ben, how’s life, and what have you been up to recently?

Great! I’ve just been moving house, which as anyone who has moved knows sucks, but [I’ve] almost moved into the new joint and loving the extra space and new studio. I’m also just about to start Future Music and Goodlife Festival tours, which I am amped for.

What can fans expect from the shows?

Well I’m going to be testing out a lot of new tunes which I have been working on for my EPs for Dim Mak and Mixmash; I am humbled to be a part of the national tour this year. I remember as a young kid it was the first festival I ever attended, so to be on the national tour is something never in a million years I would have thought would be possible.

Will you get a chance to check out any other artists? Is there anyone further down the bill you’d recommend?

Well, I can’t wait for Prydz; for me, he was one of the guys that really inspired me to write music. He was always able to bring the melody and feeling with an upbeat energy. It’s also his first time playing in Australia, which is a pretty big deal!

What releases or remixes do you have in the pipeline right now?

Okay, so literally once I finish this interview, I’m getting started on a remix for Deorro. I can’t say much more than that though. I have a heap of originals coming with my Dim Mak EP featuring four tracks; ‘The Moment’ with Sarah Bodle is coming out very soon, I have an EP with Mixmash coming later in the year, as well as collabs with Will Sparks, Deorro, Zoolanda, Slice n Dice, J-trick Kronic and Chardy.

You recently had your first international gig in New Zealand. How was it?

Yeah it was an awesome experience! Really hope I can go over there again some time, New Zealand is a beautiful place.

How do you rate the club scene in Australia right now? Are there too many government restrictions?

Ugh, don’t even get me started on the lock outs; I have been going out to clubs almost every weekend for four years and I am still in one piece. It’s not the clubs that are the problem, it’s the streets. Apart from that, the club scene is great; Australia is getting a great reputation worldwide for its sound, so it’s a great time to be an Aussie (when isn’t it!)

I read that you’re heading to America soon. What is the plan for the trip?

I can’t wait for America, I’m going to be doing my first international tour, which is 14 dates over a month. As well as that, it’s WMC which I can’t wait for, I’ve heard it gets crazy over there in Miami around that time.

How do you respond to people saying DJs aren’t really playing live music?

I guess people that don’t understand it will say that, but DJing is an art. It’s like showing a million dollar piece of artwork to some bogan down at Centrelink (for those non-Aussies, that’s a welfare office and a redneck); they will probably not understand it and say it’s just a piece of card with some paint on it. But to the educated, it’s a masterpiece and they can appreciate the art and what the artists was trying to make them feel, I think DJing is a lot like this. In saying that, there are good and bad artists, just like DJs.

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

Spend more time in the studio! I never get as much time to do it as I want. Thanks for the chat and hopefully catch you next time I’m in your hood.

FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL DATES

Saturday 1 March – RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane
Sunday 2 March – Arena Joondalup, Perth
Saturday 8 March – Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney
Sunday 9 March – Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Monday 10 March – Adelaide Showgrounds, Adelaide

Record review: The Jezabels – The Brink (2014, LP)

Sydney quartet The Jezabels have become such an integral part of the Australian indie-rock landscape that it’s easy to forget that their debut album is just a little over two years old. While much of their time has been spent overseas since that well-received debut, The Jezabels are back with a bang and treating their Australian fans to an album release over two weeks before the rest of the world, and that can only be good news for us.

Intense, brooding and full of their trademark grandeur, The Brink picks up where Prisoner left off, albeit with slightly darker undertones and a few new sounds. Soaring anthems are what The Jezabels do best, and ‘Look of Love’, ‘The End’, ‘No Country’ and the title track are the best examples, while ‘Angles of Fire’ adds a touch of Kraftwerk-esque synths and ‘Psychotherapy’ is the token slow-burner.

Hayley Mary’s voice is the unquestionable highlight and places her near the top of the pile of Australian female vocalists plying their trade right now, and when everything else seemingly falls into place so easily, it makes for another strong showing from one of the country’s best exports.

Mark Hosking of Karnivool: “It was a nice cap on what has been a very busy year”

karnivool

THEIR LATEST ALBUM might have won them an ARIA, but don’t expect Karnivool to go changing to try to please us, says guitarist Mark Hosking.

“I certainly didn’t expect it to happen with this band, you know?” he says. “We were nominated for a couple, I think, and hard rock is such a weird area. We don’t even really define ourselves as hard rock, and it’s hard to say what we even are. The new album is quite challenging, but we don’t make apologies for that as it’s part of what we do. I think all awards need to be taken with a little bit of humble pie, but it’s a nice accomplishment. You never know how these things are going to go, so it was a nice cap on what has been a very busy year.”

More than four years in the making, the Perth quintet’s third full-length record sees the band once again pushing the boundaries of rock music.

Asymmetry is a continuation of the journey that this band is on,” Hosking says. “We’ve always said we’re never going to do the same album twice. With this one we really had a chance to try a few things we’ve never tried before. The process of taking a long time to write music, turning every stone over and making sure we always find something we can use to our advantage is just the next phase of how we’re trying to be creative with this band. If we had our way we’d do an album every year, but we just know that’s not physically possible with the kind of stuff we’re doing. We do need time to breathe, and to be honest there are a couple of songs on the album that have come together in weeks, and others that have taken six to seven months. We’re happy because if we wanted to change it we could, but we seem to keep falling back to this period of time which tends to be around three to four years, when it feels like it’s cooked, if you know what I mean.”

Australian fans won’t have to wait long to see the band, with a national tour locked in for January.

“We definitely back our live show,” he says. “It’s something we feel is strong and we love to do it. There’s always trepidation about how new songs will be received; some people are going to like them and some people aren’t. On the live front, some people hear the more challenging songs and it clicks, or they get it more when they hear it live. We know that live, we have a better chance of getting our music across to people and they can better understand what you’re trying to do.”

Despite the ARIA win and plenty of recognition at home and abroad, Hosking is clear that the band won’t be resting on it’s laurels.

“We’ve just had a discussion about what’s happening in 2014,” he says. “It’s all a bit of a balancing act as we all have other things going on in our lives now and we’re no spring chickens any more. In saying that, we’ve made a big commitment to tour, tour, tour this album hard. We’ll be doing at least another run around Australia. There are some festivals overseas, more European action, and hopefully we’ll be getting to the States, as we’ve promised so many people we will. Around that, we’ll be trying to get these new ideas out of our heads and starting to form the next album.”

KARNIVOOL PLAY THE SHOWGROUNDS MARQUEE JAN 11.

Interview: Jerry Only of the Misfits

Jerry Only

AS iconic and influential a band as you’re likely to find still touring today, horror-punk Godfathers the Misfits are known as much for their genre-swapping music as they are for their Halloween-themed image. With line-up changes, legal battles and reunion tours behind him, bassist/vocalist Jerry Only continues to fly the band’s flag as loudly and proudly as ever. I spoke to the energetic frontman from his tour bus near Pensacola, Florida.

Hi Jerry, how are you? What have you been up to recently?

We’ve been up to just about everything, to be honest, I guess. We have a whole bunch of new releases all in different categories, we’ve been working on our label, and doing a world tour right now. We’re just finishing up the last leg in the United States and then we’re down in New Zealand and Australia after the new year break.

Tell me about the current line-up of the Misfits. Who have you got in there?

The current line-up of the Misfits has been around for going on thirteen years now. We have Dez Cadena, who was originally Black Flag’s frontman, and he was guitarist when Henry Rollins came on board. In 2001, I brought him out as a special guest for our 25th anniversary, he’s been with me ever since, and we’ve been doing some really great stuff together. He adds a dimension to what we do that we didn’t have earlier. He’s very fluent and has the ability to do some very fancy chords and stuff like that; his dad used to run a jazz and blues label. Dez basically grew up around the studio, so he’s got a really great ear, so when we do a cover of Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’ he can add some guitar over the top of it that’s still very punk rock, but fits very well with what we’re doing. He’s also working on a thing called Flag right now, which is the original members of Black Flag minus Greg the guitar player, and that’s going extremely well for him. I tell him that he must be a professional musician now, as he’s got more than one gig going at a time! Then we got Eric Arce, or as we call him ‘The Chupacabra’. He joined up with us back in the day when we had some issues and he was in Murphy’s Law, who were on tour with us at the time. When the band kind of melted down in the middle of the tour he filled in for us, and in the early 2000s he kept filling in for Robo every time he had a problem with his Colombian passport, and he would fly in and do the job. He’s young, hungry, and really aggressive with his very strong double-kick drumming, so he gives us this extra element of surprise. Now, we’re right up to speed with the tools needed to pull off some really thrash-y stuff these days. And me, I’ve been doing this shit forever!

What can Australian fans expect from your shows?

We try to be consistent, you know? I mean, for those of you who’ve seen us before, we have some new material which we think is amazing. We’ll be bringing that all with us, and as far as the fans go, they can expect pretty much more of the same. I tell people that every day we get a little better, and one day we’re going to be the best, so it’s a work in progress. It’s not something I’m going to change; I’m not going to try to come up with some sort of new gimmick for you. Our material speaks for itself, and you’re getting what you expect when you come, and we hold no reservations there. It’s just a matter of if you like the Misfits, come on down, and if you don’t, stay the hell home.

I notice you’ve made a Christmas record…

Yeah! I haven’t got one in my hand yet. I’m getting my first one tomorrow, and I’m very excited. I grew up watching all kinds of Christmas shows; as a kid Christmas always started around Thanksgiving, and I’d be looking in the catalogues thinking about what I want for Christmas, and The Grinch would always be in there. We re-did the song for that; it took a little while to figure out the formula to make it really, really cool, but it came out great. Then we did a cover of Elvis’s ‘Blue Christmas’. Now, back in the day when Glenn was in the band we had done a quick spurt of ‘Blue Christmas’ in Max’s Kansas City one night. I always wanted to redo it, and I always thought it was a cool song, and that’s where Dez comes in and shines. If you listen to it, it’s a punk song, but it has all the little Elvis innuendos that really make it amazing. We also did a song called ‘Island of Misfit Toys’; now I don’t know what Christmas programmes you have down below, but we have what’s called Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which is kind of an animated cartoon with clay puppets, and they have what’s called the Island of Misfit Toys, where all the toys that have been fucked up, have got something wrong with them, or nobody wants them, or whatever the problem is, go to this island, and this song is based on that idea from that Christmas show. For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy shop again. I get the songs about all the stuff I liked as a kid, and use them, and I’m very happy with it. I was thinking of pumping gas, but this might have changed my mind!

You’re often credited with inventing the horror-punk genre. When you started out, did you have any idea that you were starting something like that?

Well, I’ll put it to you this way. I thought we did the same with speed-metal and hardcore as well. We’re a very diverse band, and our subject matter and our image is definitely a horror and science-fiction based image, but our musical extravaganza is all over the board. We go from songs like ‘American Nightmare’, which is a pure rockabilly Elvis Presley/Gene Vincent kind of a song, to something like ‘Earth A.D.’, which is pretty much the speed-metal bible when it comes down to it. We got songs like ‘Halloween’, we got ballads, we got thrash, we got metal, we got it all you know? A lot of time that leaves us in a position where we’re kind of in a class all of our own; it’s really hard to lock us down. A lot of people tag that horror-punk thing on us. Are we a horror-punk band? Of course. But do I think a horror-punk can sustain itself without having great songs? No I don’t. The longevity is in the music, not the look. We’re almost finishing up our fourth decade, we’re going into our 38th year, and my job is to try to keep the band together for fifty. In that time, I’ll build my catalogue to a point where I have stuff all over the place, so when people make movies in the future, they can come back to a Misfits catalogue and pick a really great song that fits any application. I’m not limiting myself to being a horror-punk band. Did we father it? Sure. But we also fathered the Metallicas and the Anthraxes of this world. We have a lot of influences, and it’s based on simplicity and tasteful vocal melodies. I think Glenn really struck a chord when we did something like ‘Earth A.D.’ and he’s really crooning through this stuff, you just realise that it’s a matter of doing tasteful stuff, and I like to think we have a little bit of taste.

What would you like to do in music that you haven’t yet done?

Right now it’s funny, because I kind of covered a lot of things with this Christmas record. Covering ‘Descending Angel’ again, which is a song I wrote for my dad about 1999 when he was sick, and he just passed and didn’t get to hear the song before it came out, is important. I’ve realised the importance of trying to get things done as quickly as you can and not put things off, but the B-side of that is ‘Science Fiction Double Feature’ which I’ve always wanted to cover. We’ve always wanted to do a fifties project; we’ve done that. The new album, I’m very happy with. Right now, I want to go back into the studio and do a lot of the Elvis tracks that I’ve always wanted to do. Also, with the Christmas record, we missed the shelf time for it to actually be bought, and we’d like to get a full-length album out of it for next year, and really go for the Christmas angle with some really cool artwork. We also have images of Marilyn Monroe wearing our T-shirts all over the country now; that’s something I always wanted to do. I mean, if you can align yourself with Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe and people like that, I don’t see how you can’t be recognised as a force, you know? And we’re doing it in a tasteful way too. People who see our skull on a T-shirt know exactly what it means, and those who don’t are still attracted to it. It’s like a moth to a flame; we’re just trying to make that flame as big as we can to get as many of those little moths in there as possible.

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

The only throwback about coming to Australia is the distance between cities, so for us to actually make it economical, we need to fly between shows, so we do kind of come bare-boned. In saying that, if there’s any band out there who can come and take it to the hoop for you guys, it’s us. We’d love to come down and do some of the big festivals in the future, where we can bring all our stage gear, lighting and set. At the same time, seeing the Misfits in our raw form is what it’s all about anyway. We haven’t been there in three years, so I think it’s going to be refreshing for those who have seen us, and for those who haven’t it’s going to be an experience. So, I hope that does you!

MISFITS AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES 2014:

Thursday, 16th January
The Zoo, Brisbane

Friday, 17th January
Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Saturday, 18th January
The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Sunday, 19th January
Amplifier, Perth

Record review: The Vernons – Volume I (2013, EP)

Vernons

The Vernons are four guys from The Gold Coast, who – having plundered their parent’s record collections and loaded up on retro-fuelled rhythms and a truckload of optimism – have set out to create music that makes you want to rock. Damn hard.

The band’s bio lists their interests as “beer and rock ‘n’ roll” and this four-track debut EP is built on solid foundations of both those things. While it’s hard to describe their music without listing the obvious influences from the best of ’60s and ’70s classic rock, the young quartet have enough of their own thing going on to avoid being labelled copycats.

Opener and highlight ‘Shake ‘n’ Roll’ borrows heavily from the likes of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Ten Years After’s ‘I’m Going Home’, and barrels along at a frantic pace from the start, before breaking down into a more bluesy groove as the song progresses.

‘Standing In Line’ is a more controlled affair, but loses none of the band’s trademark groove in the process, while ‘White Wine’ is even smoother still. Closer ‘Mercy’ makes a return to hard-rockin’ riff territory before we get too relaxed and before we know it, the EP is finished. With a similar sound to contemporary bands like WA’s The Love Junkies and NSW’s The Rubens, The Vernons have a good thing going on here, and the fact this EP is called Volume I would surely suggest there’s more to come from these Queenslanders.

These songs sound like they would be dynamite played live, and with a reputation for a killer live show, The Vernons are a band to keep an eye on.

VOLUME I BY THE VERNONS IS OUT NOW