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Live review: Velociraptor + SPOD + White Lodge – The Foundry Official Launch, Brisbane – 6/3/15

the foundry brisbane

Foundry: noun (plural foundries). A workshop or factory for casting metal.

Whether it was sculpted in sound/moulded in music/forged in the fires of rock ‘n’ roll (that’s my bad foundry puns exhausted), the newest and most promising live music venue in Brisbane has risen from the ashes (not literally) of the old Prince Consort Backpackers on Wickham Street in Fortitude Valley. It was Friday’s official launch party that gave people a chance to check out a new and potentially important part of their social lives. Thankfully, expectations were exceeded.

The first and most important thing to note about the Foundry is that it’s not just another bar with a stage. Besides the live music area and room for 300 punters, there’s a deck overlooking the Elephant pub, pool tables, arcade games, a creative hub of offices and studios, a spacious green room and accommodation for travelling artists. For those of us who care, it’s good to know that there’s a sustainable plan in place to ensure the Foundry remains an ongoing concern for the long-term, but for everyone else, it’s just good to know there’s a pretty cool new joint in which to chuck back some brews and see some bands on a Friday night. This particular Friday night would feature White Lodge, SPOD and Velociraptor.

With the words “Congratulations, Brisbane. I’m back!” SPOD bounded onto the stage and began with a rant at White Lodge’s “rookie mistake” of leaving their pedals onstage and unguarded, before dishing out bags of pork crackle to eager punters. Appropriately introducing ‘Deadshits’ as being “for all you guys up the back having chats like cunts,” the Sydneysider made it obvious he’s in fine, fighting form, before taking a swing at Andrew WK by pointing out his second song ‘Makin’ Party’ was written in 1996, five years before ‘Party Hard’. Other tidbits of wisdom from the mouth of the man include “Robert Downey Jr’s face is like my arse: perfect,” before Jeremy Neale joined in the offbeat brilliance on ‘Couple of Drinks’ and lyrics were forgotten on his closing track. Brilliant.

I was recently chatting with a mate about the consistent quality of acts booked at the weekly Trainspotters gigs at the Grand Central Hotel in Brisbane city, and the exchange contained a sentence along the lines of “Whoever is booking the bands really knows their shit and should be bought a pint.” It turns out that shit-knower is Patrick Balfe, who will be filling the same role for the Foundry as part of a three-man leadership team with building manager Brett Gibson and venue manager (and impressively-moustachioed Velociraptor geetar-guy) Corey Herekiuha. All signs point to promising.

It’s perhaps appropriate, then, that Velociraptor themselves be the band to headline. I count nine members onstage (I think), and all their usual charm and energy is present, as Jeremy Neale leads them through ‘In the Springtime’, ‘Robocop’ and ‘Sleep With the Fishes’, or “the hits”, as he refers to them. Although it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen them – they have a guy on guitar I don’t recognise, who looks like he’s never shaved – they’ve lost none of their rabid zeal, despite key members having things like running a new bar to worry about.

The thing is, though, this event isn’t really about the music; it’s about the venue, and the Foundry has all the ingredients to be up there with the best small live music joints in Brisbane. Get among its Facebook events page and go see for yourself.

For Scenestr

Jeremy Neale of Velociraptor: “It’s here now; the apology record”

velociraptor band

FOR five years, Brisbane many-piece Velociraptor have been living up to their self-elected position as Australia’s most dedicated party-starters.

Now, ‘earth’s mightiest band’ (their words) is releasing its debut album, and is ready to bring the party to a venue near you, says frontman and songwriter Jeremy Neale.

“It’s really exciting,” he says. “Although I’ve heard [the album] so many times that I’ve lost objectivity on it, so I don’t really know what it sounds like to a new listener. I think retrospectively I’m really happy with it, so I’m looking forward to seeing how people respond to it. In an ideal world it’d be satisfying to be releasing music at least every 12 months, if not quicker than that. For us it’s been two years now, which is quite a length of time, but it’s here now; the apology record.”

The band’s self-titled debut, which comes after EP releases in 2010 and 2012, is littered with pop-culture references and ’60s pop vibes, as on tracks like ‘Monster Mash’ and opener ‘Robocop’.

“Well, obviously one of the greatest songs of all time is called ‘Monster Mash’,” Neale laughs. “I just wanted to use that as a way to paint the scene. If you imagine someone dancing to ‘Monster Mash’, you immediately get the vibe of that party, but the song is a bit dark, and I like the juxtaposition of the happy imagery in the middle of a sad song. The Robocop thing was a cool context to put it in, but the real sentiments behind the song were about being in love with something who is everything to you, but to them you’re just the best option at the time. I don’t know how Robocop came into it, but I wanted to create that kind of imagery of essentially a gritty, neon city that features on the cover art of the album. When this album was first demoed, everything was quite minimalist in its approach; everything was just power chords and simple beats. The vision for the album was to do a dark, ‘Pet Sematary’ or ‘Bonzo Goes To Bitburg’ kind of record, but after we played around with [the songs] in the studio it become more of a variety record than how it might have sounded.”

With anything up to 15 members in the band at any time, you can never be sure of what you’re going to get at a Velociraptor gig.

“We keep it all quite fluid, as everybody does have responsibilities,” Neale says. “It’s kind of like ‘here are the dates, who’s in?’ There’s nine of us going to Perth this time, which is out of control. It’s obviously a lot of fun, and it’s a unique and rewarding experience once we’re there. Having now done the record and booked all our flights, except for Adelaide, theoretically all the hard stuff is done. Now, we just have to go and have a good time and deliver the product. We’ve been playing [first single] ‘Ramona’ live for probably a year, and we added ‘Robocop’ and a song called ‘Leaches’. When we added them both to the set ‘Robocop’ [went down] fine, but ‘Leaches’ just did not work for people on first listening. It’s a very interesting experience working out what people want to see live; they just want to be familiar with it, I guess. They looked at us like ‘what are these guys doing; a weird cover or something?’ Once the album is out in the world and people have had a chance to hear it and still want to hear it, we’ll be able to get behind everything on there. It’s all relatively accessible and it’ll be more ‘party’ and faster live. I have high hopes for how it’ll translate.”

VELOCIRAPTOR’S SELF-TITLED DEBUT IS OUT AUG 22.

TOUR DATES:

THURSDAY 21 AUGUST
NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB,
MELBOURNE

FRIDAY 22 AUGUST
NEWTOWN SOCIAL CLUB,
SYDNEY

FRIDAY 29 AUGUST
THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE

SATURDAY 30 AUGUST
THE COOLY HOTEL,
COOLANGATTA

SATURDAY 6 SEPTEMBER
THE CAUSEWAY HOTEL, PERTH

SUNDAY 7 SEPTEMBER
THE NEWPORT HOTEL,
FREMANTLE

SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER
PIRIE & CO SOCIAL

For mX

Shane Parsons of DZ Deathrays: “We can pretty much do what we feel like”

dz deathrays

THEIR debut album might have won the 2012 Aria Award for Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album, but Brisbane thrash duo DZ Deathrays are expanding their sound on follow-up Black Rat.

“Our single ‘Northern Lights’ was one of the first songs we wrote,” explains singer-guitarist Shane Parsons. “It came together pretty quickly. We hadn’t put out a slow song in a long time, so we thought we’d do something that’s kind of like our ballad. We went over to England to do some shows with our other band Velociraptor and we used that time to jump in a studio and do that song over there. We wanted people to see that we could do other things; we’re not always going to be all loud guitars, cymbals and screaming. It’s the slowest song on the record by far; everything else is more upbeat and some songs are the heaviest we’ve done. It was like a bit of a curveball, I think; to see how people would react. We got a lot of good feedback, and we also got some people who were shirty as us for releasing a song that wasn’t exactly how the other songs sounded, which was interesting. But we can pretty much do what we feel like, and some people are going to like it and some aren’t.”

The duo of Parsons and drummer Simon Ridley have had a meteoric rise since their humble beginnings playing house parties, having toured relentlessly and played some of the biggest festivals in the UK and North America.

“We started playing a few of the new songs at SXSW, including the latest single, ‘Gina Works At Hearts’,” Parsons says. “We’ve played ‘Northern Lights’ for a bit, and another song called ‘Ocean Exploder’, which we’ve been playing since we toured with The Bronx about a year ago. It was our third year doing SXSW, and we did ten shows in four days. It was good to have that much to do, but at the same time it began to get a bit tough. We were playing a show at midday and then had a last show at one in the morning, and we were in town the whole time sitting in bars trying to stay sober but also stay a little bit drunk, you know? We played a couple of really great shows, but unless you’re a band that’s really high up on the buzz radar, you’ll play five shows and two will be good, I think. Maybe four out of ten were good for us this time. We only really saw the bands that were on before and after us, and even then I was too busy packing it. That was the worst thing probably; not being able to see other bands that I wanted to see. I had a couple of days off where I went to some showcases and saw a few bands. I went to the Laneway showcase and saw Royal Blood and a bunch of bands in one go, and the pressure was off, so it was good to just mosey around the festival. You go there for the experience, and we decided that we’ll do a lot of shows and push ourselves to the limit, and then we had a week off and went to San Francisco.”

Their upcoming headline tour of Australia will provide the perfect opportunity for fans to hear new material on home soil.

“It’s been great playing the new songs,” Parsons says. “We’ve been putting together the set-list for the Australian tour; being able to chop and change between the new songs is really fun. It’s not hard to reach an hour long set now, with two albums of material to choose from. It was a funny one because we really wanted to get something out last year. We had done a bit of touring at the beginning of last year and had the rest of the year off. We were a bit worried about being away for too long; especially from the UK and America. Then it just took time to actually get the songs together and get them to a level we were happy with for the album, and it’s really good to have it all sorted and ready to go. We did a few writing sessions where we went away into the countryside and came back with ten or twelve songs, and four of those would get re-written again and again. Even up until going into the studio there were a couple of songs about to be recorded that we hadn’t finished and were kind of half done or maybe didn’t work as well as some of the others. We just tried to write as much as possible and eliminate any dead weight. We wanted this album to be shorter in track numbers and a bit more punchy in terms of the songs grabbing you straight away, so we did focus on that a little bit more than on the first record.”

The growth in the band’s sound means an additional touring musician is needed, with a potential long-term opening for the right person.

“The new record has a whole bunch of extra guitars on there, and they’re the best bits,” Parsons says. “We can play the songs without them, but it doesn’t have the same impact as having them there. It’s just an evolutionary thing for the band, and if we could train somebody up on all the songs we would be happy to tour as a three-piece. We had a choice to have another person up there playing or having a backing track, and we’re always going to choose to have another person there. We had Cesira [Aitken] from The Jungle Giants play with us at SXSW. We’ve got a friend playing a few shows on the Australian tour, and Dion [Ford] from Palms – who are supporting us – is going to do all the rest. At the moment, we’re doing four songs they’re going to play on during the tour. I’ve got the guitar parts all tabbed out, so they just have to learn them, but it’s pretty easy stuff. In the future I guess we’ll see if somebody is willing to go full-time with us and tour everywhere. The only thing is it’s quite hard for somebody to go on tour with us, which means they can’t work at a job, which is hard when people have to pay rent and stuff. We’ll see how we go with it all; there are only a few songs which need an extra guitar, and the rest we play as a two-piece.”

BLACK RAT BY DZ DEATHRAYS IS OUT MAY 2ND. AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES:

Thu 8 May Elsewhere | Gold Coast, QLD (18+)
Fri 9 May The Zoo | Brisbane, QLD (18+)
Sat 10 May Spotted Cow | Toowoomba, QLD (18+)
Thu 15 May Karova Lounge | Ballarat, VIC (18+)
Fri 16 May Corner Hotel | Melbourne, VIC (18+)
Sat 17 May Jive | Adelaide, SA (18+)
Thu 22 May Prince of Wales | Bunbury, WA (18+)
Fri 23 May The Indi Bar | Scarborough, WA (18+)
Sat 24 May Amplifier | Perth, WA (18+)
Sun 25 May Newport | Fremantle, WA (18+)
Thu 29 May Transit Bar | Canberra, ACT (18+)
Fri 30 May Rad | Wollongong, NSW (18+)
Sat 31 May Oxford Art Factory | Sydney, NSW (18+)

Interview: Velociraptor

velociraptor band

The Eight Miles High mini-fest is flaring up a second time around at Alhambra Lounge on Friday 8 June, indulging in all things psychedelic, ’60s, surf, shoegaze and garage pop. I caught up with Julian from Brisbane’s biggest musical orgy Velociraptor ahead of their spot on the bill.

The velociraptors were the coolest dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, but ultimately got the shit kicked out of them by the T-Rex. Who would win in a fight between Velociraptor and T-Rex the band, and what would be your finishing move?

I’m pretty sure the raptors let the T-Rex win because raptors are horrible gamblers and owed a bucket load of cash from a bet gone wrong. Out of us and T-Rex (the band) however, we would win. We have more members, more super powers and three of us can breathe underwater, which I can imagine would really come in handy. After a collective bashing, we’d finish them off with a ‘Knights of the Round Table’ from Final Fantasy 7. Ultimate finishing move.

You guys are playing the Eight Miles High festival of psychedelic music in the next couple of weeks. What level of wasted should I get before arriving, and what can I expect to see at your show?

We go from a twelve piece to a twenty-four piece, and sometimes onward depending on how blurred your vision is, so the more wasted the more amazing the spectacle. Expect shenanigans, techdeck tricks, a white leopard, little green men, an ant kingdom and truck load of guitars. We literally have a truck dropping off out instruments before the show.

Most of the time Velociraptor consists of twelve dudes playing brutal garage pop, but how do you agree on what tunes to listen to before a show, or on the tour bus? I’m imagining the band splitting into two camps – one insisting on the Hives while the other screams for the Kinks?

It’s literally like being in hell. Take the two camps, and then split them again – it’s more like 6 camps between the 12 of us. Each member has their one taste, and yes we all scream for the Hives, and we all scream for the Kinks, but in the end we realise we didn’t bring any of their albums because we only had room for ourselves and gear. Luckily our super powers can take form of a sing-a-long and Kumbaya drowns out everyone’s screams until we’re thousands of kilometres away from home.

What can you tell us about your next EP? When do we get to experience its delights?

All I can say is that we’re casting a spell on every copy, so expect some fuckin’ magic.

Your bio describes Veliociraptor as ’12 Ultimate Party Dogs’. But have you ever had a moment of thinking “fuck this, I’m quitting to become a train driver and/or an acupuncturist”?

We are 12 Ultimate Party Dogs, but we already have the shitty day jobs that you speak of. Some of us are sales reps and some of us are accountants. Some of us are loans processors, glassies, and some of us are tradies. The list goes on. The true thought in our heads is “fuck this, I’m quitting my job and Velociraptor, and becoming a train driver”, because that would be way cooler than what we do.

One time my bass E string broke and hit my thigh. I couldn’t walk for about two weeks. What’s the worst or funniest injury you’ve had in the line of duty?

Several of us have been face punched at several different locations – we can’t go more than a year without one of us being struck down. Our instruments are usually injured far more than we are. I’d hate to see how much cash has been splashed on drum skins, tambourines, guitars and costumes – we’ve bought masks and the like before and thought “this will be rad” and they’re broken within 10 minutes of the show because we’ve head butted everything in the room. Costumes are clearly for bitch bands.

You must get some pretty crazy fans at your shows. Tell me about the craziest thing a fan has ever done to get your attention.

When we played Byron I think a majority of our fans wanted to fight us. They enjoyed the show, but they thought that by fighting us they could truly become fans. After we whooped all of their arses we gave them lemonades and we all laughed. They were crazy, but in the end they realised that fighting isn’t the solution.

If Velociraptor could share a stage with any act living or dead, who would it be and why?

The cast of Happy Days…but playing their characters from Happy Days. We’d play Arnold’s diner and really get down. There’s an episode when Fonzie’s cousin comes to visit, and he’s actually really nerdy and nobody can believe that he’s even related to Fonzie. After some hilarious mishaps the gang finally realise he’s not that bad and accept him into their arms. He’s not in any more episodes, so I really hope he could make it to that

Record review: Velociraptor – The World Warriors (2012, EP)

velocirapt
Velociraptor are well-known in the Brisbane music scene for their party-starting garage-pop and chaotic live shows. Ranging anywhere from a seven to a twelve-piece, they have even spawned another band in thrashers DZ Deathrays, who have thus far eclipsed their bandmates by releasing an internationally acclaimed debut album and touring across Europe and the States. The World Warriors – Velociraptor’s second release since 2011’s eponymous debut – gives them a chance to reclaim some of the limelight for themselves. At just twenty-three minutes it is fun-sized and fun-filled, and drips with influences ranging from the surf pop harmonies of the Beach Boys to the urgent garage rock of the Hives. Infectious to the point of making you want to dance whether you’re listening to it quietly on the train or walking down the street, it is a record bursting with good times and the joys of being willing to start a party at the drop of a hat. Opener ‘Cynthia’ sees frontman Jeremy Neale serenading his girl in his trademark croon like the best of the ‘60s boy groups, while in ‘Do The Ruby’ he’s howling like a banshee over some delightfully brutal riffs. Current single ‘Riot’ features what seems like all twelve members screaming the chorus at the top of their lungs, and closer ‘Surf City Raptors’ is their most obvious nod to their favourite groups. With The World Warriors, Velociraptor have grabbed hold of the limelight once more, and don’t look like letting go any time soon. (Create/Control)