Tag Archives: Future Music Festival

Drake: Force of Nature

drake

HE MAY HAVE started from the bottom, but Aubrey Drake Graham is very much on top of the world right now.

Rapping is the 28 year-old’s bread and butter, but with fingers in the metaphorical pies of acting, business, clothing, management, production and sports, the multi-award-winner could never be accused of being a one-trick pony.

The focus, however, will be very much on the Toronto native’s musical skills when he performs for the first time on Australian soil, headlining Future Music Festival and completing a run of sideshows. Drake tops a bill featuring Swedish EDM superstar Avicii, English electronic stalwarts and 2013 headliners The Prodigy, rap-ravers Die Antwoord, Grammy Award-winning DJ Afrojack, as well as local favourites Hilltop Hoods, in what is another stellar line-up put together by the festival.

Future Music Festival director Brett Robinson told news.com.au of the organisers’ joy about securing the rapper in a less competitive marketplace following the demise of the Big Day Out.

“Scoring Drake for the festival is a big jawdropper,” he said.

“We have been able to focus on presenting the festival we really want with less competition in the marketplace and not being pressured about who is going to get what act.”

“And that has been very good for the budget too with ticket prices going down.”

An appearance at Brisbane Entertainment Centre two days before the Queensland leg of the festival is set to serve as a warm-up, with support coming from friend and frequent collaborator 2 Chainz, who is also booked to appear at the festival. The fact that promoters have confidence enough to book a slot at the 13,000 capacity venue when a festival appearance is already locked in says everything you need to know about the Canadian’s popularity in Australia.

Rising quickly from an acting stint on the small screen in Degrassi: The Next Generation to holding the record for the most number ones on Billboard’s R&B/Hip Hop chart, Drake is a genuine phenomenon, with 36 million Facebook followers in tow and close to a billion YouTube views to boast about. But how has an artist who didn’t even release an album in 2014 managed to remain at the forefront of Hip hop and R&B culture? The answer likely lies in the diversity of his output; from becoming rap’s hottest co-sign and second biggest touring star (after Jay Z), hosting Saturday Night Live and the ESPYs, to allegedly getting his wood on in Nicki Minaj’s Internet-breaking ‘Anaconda’ video.

Great things continued to happen for him despite a misguided swipe at Rolling Stone for pulling his front cover at the last minute in order to pay respect to the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman. He also claimed quotes he supposedly didn’t say about Kanye West made it into the feature, which the magazine belatedly published.

“I’m disgusted with that. RIP to Phillip Seymour Hoffman. All respect due. But the press is evil,” he Tweeted, before adding “I’m done doing interviews for magazines. I just want to give my music to the people. That’s the only way my message gets across accurately.” Rucking with the music press has been the downfall of many an artist, but Drake has managed to ride the critical storm and come out the other end smiling.

Not happy with only taking verbal potshots at the media, he has been involved in so many beefs with other rappers that there is an entire Wikipedia page dedicated to them. Perhaps most prominent was his diss trade-off with rap mainstay Pusha T, in which the two traded lyrical and online blows before Chris Brown became the new target after an alleged incident in a nightclub.

As well as having his share of first-world problems, Drake hasn’t always had a life of glam and glory. Writing about the origins of his single ‘Started From The Bottom’ on his label’s blog, he said “I feel sometimes that people don’t have enough information about my beginnings and therefore they make up a life story for me that isn’t consistent with actual events. My family and my second family (consisting of the best friends anybody could ever have) all struggled and worked extremely hard to make all this happen. I did not buy my way into this spot and it was the furthest thing from easy to achieve.”

It’s perhaps unsurprising then, with such a willingness to roll up his sleeves and put in the hard yards, that Drake is so heavily involved in a number of successful enterprises outside of music. As global ambassador and member of the executive committee of his hometown basketball team the Toronto Raptors, he is subtly and successfully merging his love of sport and music. His record label October’s Very Own (OVO), which he founded with longtime friends Noah ‘40’ Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib in 2012, is home to a small roster of North American rapping talent, with ILoveMakonnen, PartyNextDoor and Majid Jordan being standouts. Building the OVO brand into a multi-faceted business which includes a clothing range and the OVOFEST festival – the latest of which featured Outkast and the man himself – Drake has proven himself to be equally adept at raking in the dollars via non-musical methods as he has done via rapping.

As far back as 2009 he was writing the lyrics “I want the money/Money and the cars/Cars and the clothes/The hoes, I suppose,” for his song ‘Successful’. Fast forward six years and he’s got all of these things and more in the palm of his hand. Now it’s Australia’s turn to feel the force of Aubrey Graham.

DRAKE PLAYS BRISBANE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, BOONDALL, MARCH 5 AND FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL, DOOMBEN RACECOURSE, MARCH 7.

For Scenestr

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

Interview: Paul Van Dyk

paul van dyk

If there ever was such a thing as a DJ royal family, German superstar Paul Van Dyk would probably be considered the king. Having sold over 4.5 million albums worldwide, consistently been voted the number one DJ of all time by industry magazines, and been in the business longer than most, he is a bona fide legend of the DJ-ing and electronic music world. An album of new material is in the works for early 2014, before he graces our shores to play Future Music Festival in March.

Hi Paul, what can fans expect from your show at Future Music Festival?

I have a new album in the pipeline, so there will be a lot of new music, but people always ask me to play some of my music that I’ve done in the past, so it’s going to be a very intense combination of both. The other thing is, of course, the way I perform and play my music is somewhat different because I use keyboards, computers, and custom-made mixers on-stage, and all sorts of different things that enable me to actually play very, very lively.

What can you tell us about your new album? What does it sound like?

Well, it’s electronic music and it consists of a lot of collaborations with people I really admire, as well as people that are up-and-coming and very talented. I can’t wait for it to be out and about. Some of the collaborations are in the early stages, so I can’t tell you yet!

How have you managed to stay at the top your game for such a long time?

Well I’m very passionate about it, and I’m not bending my back towards whatever is the latest trending sound whatsoever. That authenticity is what I believe people appreciate about it. The other thing as well is I’m not just pressing a button and raising my hand to the audience. I’m entertaining people in a much more intense way, by playing instruments and I believe that’s a very successful element of why I’m still around.

What’s more important to you, putting out albums or performing shows?

They come together; you can’t really take them apart. From the very beginning I have been a recording artist as much as a DJ or musician or performer or radio presenter. All these things always came naturally to me as one thing, so I can’t take these things apart at all.

How important has it for you to change and evolve throughout your career?

It’s always been a normal process for me. It’s not like I’m sitting down with a marketing team and saying I need to change this or that, or only wear green, or only wear red. To me, music and the art-form of electronic music comes in a very natural way. I’m always interested in something new, so my music and the way I perform always evolves. For me, electronic music always had something to do with breaking boundaries on the creative side, and on with people using new technologies as well. A lot of my production gear and stage set-up is always evolving as well, so it’s not something I strategically plan, but it’s more like an artistic progression.

How do you keep on top of all the new technology available to you?

Whenever there’s something new, I read about it and try it. In terms of production technology, there are so many possibilities these days, and I’ll find out about things and learn about them. What I do is never about resting on what I have achieved; it’s always about looking forward towards the next element that can enrich the performance or production. My set-up is like a mobile studio and everything is necessary, and I can actually construct a track completely live, going from channel to channel by first programming some drums, and adding a bass-line or some strings. That in itself is a very creative tool. I also have a custom-made controller that enables me to do all the levelling that is necessary completely organically, which is something that is very special. I also have a mixer, and there are only three of them in the world; it’s kind-of like very organic media mapping if I want to; if I feel like I need the top left corner button to do something, I can just quickly do it. That in itself makes it a very lively way to bring the music across, and that is what I enjoy about it.

Do you write a piece of music with a collaborator in mind, or finish the track and find a vocalist to suit?

It depends. If I’m actually working specifically with a vocalist from the beginning of the track, then of course it’s a planned thing. But it’s usually during the process that I develop or imagine a sound or feel of what the voice is like, and develop an idea that can bring that process to life.

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

The shows, of course. The audience in Australia is always very open and excited about new music. Whenever I come to Australia these are the memories I take back home. It’s very energetic, very powerful, and in a positive way, extremely crazy. I’m really looking forward to it.

PAUL VAN DYK PLAYS FUTURE MUSIC FESTIVAL MAR 1-10. http://www.futuremusicfestival.com.au/