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Wednesday, 28 September 2011 10:07

New Navy

Short Shorts

After I mistook Jamie Corson’s instrument for his surname in the first minute of our conversation, the New Navy band member was convinced ‘Jamie Guitar’ was a worthy alternative.

“I wish my surname was Guitar. That would be awesome. I might have to change that now,” he says.

The Sydney group is still basking in the afterglow of their first demo's success; topping Triple J Unearthed charts and winning the JD Set last year. Jamie remains decisively debonair even though their latest EP, 'Uluwatu', has attracted even further praise. “You can only do what you can do. We just write and play music that we like and play shows that are offered to us. If people turn up they turn up. We've been lucky that we've always generated decent crowds and we haven't had too much trouble getting shows.”

Something fans may have picked up on after watching their music clip for 'Zimbabwe' is that all four guys aren't afraid to don a pair of short shorts. “I think above the knee is safe,” he laughs. “How high you can go depends on how good your legs are I suppose. Once you hit the pubic area I think you've gone a bit too far.”

He recounts how the four-piece packed up their acoustic guitars and flew to Indonesia to write the EP. “Before then we only had a few ideas floating around about different riffs or melodies that we could use. So we flew there to force ourselves to write and as a good excuse for a holiday really.”

The guys are excited to head to Brisbane for Valley Fiesta, but Jamie will neither confirm nor deny whether those short shorts will be making a second appearance… even if it's to impress a certain female DJ who’s also headlining. “We're really looking forward to seeing Hungry Kids of Hungary. I haven't seen them live yet but some of the other boys have. Nina Las Vegas will be good … she's a babe so that's a win. It's a good line-up; we're happy to check everything out.”

New Navy plays at Valley Fiesta October 7-8.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011 14:07


The Sound Collector

Forget stamp or coin collections, Rocco Rampino from southern Italy has an intriguing preoccupation with unusual sounds.

“I still have some drum sets so I can actually sample straight from them or sometimes I open YouTube and just tweak sounds I find. It's really enjoyable to experiment and find new sounds because it stops dance music from becoming really repetitive,” he says.

The man behind Congorock is still gathering his thoughts after another busy European summer festival season, but explains in perfect English how he often samples sounds from video games. “I think some video games are real masterpieces and so are their soundtracks. I try to write my music like I'm writing a scene from a movie or a video game.”

Given that he never quite grew out of his love of gaming, imagine how chuffed Rocco was when a track he created for the character Liu Kang was featured in the latest instalment of ‘Mortal Kombat’.

“I was so excited, it was like a dream coming true. I'm a big ‘Mortal Kombat’ fan since I was a teenager and so I couldn't believe it! I think I worked on that track like I never did before … I just put everything [into it] with a really genuine approach. Because it was a track that was meant to be descriptive and not a dance track, I felt I didn't have any limits … and I'm really happy with the final result.”

Despite having produced popular remixes of songs like 'Somebody To Love me' by Mark Ronson and 'One' by Swedish House Mafia, Rocco has found happiness creating original music.

“I just released a single called 'Sirius' … and another single is going to be released around November. I'm hoping my album will be out by the beginning of next year.”

Rocco admits he's been working on delivering a more AVDJ style in future performances, but doesn't think he'll have the technology perfected for a few months yet.

“Everything is still in the works. I hope to bring this material into the clubs when it's possible, but I'll take any chance I can to express what's in my mind when I make my music.”

Congorock PLAYS Electric Playground September 29.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:15


The Staple Is Reggae

Paua vocalist Jay’s early encounters with music are far from the typical childhood experience of being glued to the TV watching Mary Poppins.

The New Zealand born singer recalls family events where relatives busted out the guitar and everyone sang along. In fact, you might draw parallels between his childhood and the children in the musical.  “It's just the way it is for us. Especially Maori culture because it's very musically based … that's just normal for us, it's how we grew up. At family get-togethers there's always a guitar and there's always singing no matter what.”

Jay assures me he never had a nanny who cleaned his bedroom with a click of her fingers, but the passion for music is something he has definitely inherited from his ancestors. “Like I said a lot of our cultures are based with music as a massive part of it. We grew up with music from when we're still in the crib.”

Jay's bandmates for the most part share a Maori or Polynesian heritage, but he admits that with a band of eight people it can be tough to keep track. “It's really hard co-ordinating eight people in our band but the lucky thing is that we're all like-minded and we all love what we are doing.”

After releasing their debut self-titled album earlier this year, Paua's fanbase has continued to grow. “Where we are from - in New Zealand - reggae is a part of the staple over there especially amongst Maori and Polynesian people … There are lots of other sorts of music but reggae has always been the heart of everything I do.”

After attracting attention overseas, Jay says the band haven't ruled out travelling to Hawaii, the US and parts of Europe next year.
“When you do something that comes from your heart and it's real and people appreciate that especially when it's from some far out place that you've never been to and they let you know that they're hearing your music and they're loving it … it's an amazing feeling.”

Paua plays at Reggaefest at Missingham Park, Ballina, September 17-18.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011 12:48


Against the Grain

With Pedestrian turning heads locally with his dubstep-infused sets, it’s hard to believe three years ago the Byron Bay DJ/ producer (real name Charlie Boyle) hadn’t even heard of dubstep. â€œI was a vocalist in a hardcore metal band on the Gold Coast when I was 15 or 16 … Our band broke up due to personal differences and I started another band which was a lot more heavy death metal,” Charlie says.

The time spent as a vocalist for two heavy metal bands was not kind to his vocal chords. â€œAs you can hear now I sound like a young Barry White. My voice is completely busted … It's good though, I still use a lot of my vocals in my own tracks.”

Charlie says there's a technique to screaming without straining your voice box, but it takes plenty of practice to master. â€œWhen you first start you sound really bad; your throat kills and by the end of it you can't really talk. I guess I was just so driven to want to be able to scream that I just kept going and going. Now it doesn't really hurt at all; it just took years of practice to actually get that art down.”

After another band broke up a few years ago, Charlie Boyle stumbled across electronic music by accident one Halloween. â€œI was just watching MTV and they started playing clips that were supposedly scary. I saw an Aphex Twin clip for the song 'Window Licker' and from there I was like, 'I want to do this. I want to make electronic music that's against the grain and heavy.' Coming from a metal background and hearing really industrial heavy music played electronically, my passion just grew from there.”

He says metal fans who don't agree with his move to electronic music should diversify their taste. â€œThere's a lot of diehard metal and hardcore fans that look at me like I'm some kind of sell out because I'm a DJ now and I'm more of a club atmosphere rather than having gritty shows in warehouses … But there's a whole lot of tunes by people like Borgore or Tomba that are definitely metal based … Coming from metal and discovering dubstep, it was just a natural transition.”

Pedestrian plays the Dubthugs night at MyBar June 17 and supports downlink at the Step Inn June 19.

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 16:10

Peo de Pitte

Following the Sun 

Swedish born and London based, Peo de Pitte has landed in Sydney for six weeks to perform several shows, produce new music and check out the nightlife.

“I'm from Sweden but the weather is not really the greatest at the moment so I thought it would be quite inspirational to be over here … I always make better music when the sun is out,” Peo says.

If having the freedom to relocate at a whim is one of the perks of being a DJ, he also says playing to different crowds is definitely a highlight.
“Of course playing to … different people around the world and to see different crowds and cultures and stuff is definitely rewarding after spending all those days in the studio.”

Peo explains that the changing nature of the music industry means DJs must work harder than ever to be successful.
“You have to have a regular output all the time. You can't really sit back and relax, so the studio takes more time than ever to make tracks.”

He says over the last three to four years, releasing music has changed dramatically.
“Everyone today who is under 30, they want their listening up front and streaming right away. They don't want to sit and wait for their music to come on MTV; they can just go on YouTube and listen to it directly so it's sort of the way forward. Everyone wants everything … instantly. Also, the lifespan of music today has moved from six months to two weeks.”

Peo has been keeping himself busy of late, with a release for Will Bailey's label and a collaboration with NAPT among the music he has coming out in the next few months. Though he’s still reeling from the success of his Sidney Samson ‘Riverside’ remix, which has received close to 100,000 downloads.
“I mean, it's crazy. I did the track just because I needed something to work with my set [but] … it got really enormous and then it just kept spreading.”

Peo says the success of the remix has only helped him gain further recognition.
“Every time I get booked for a gig I usually ask the promoter how they found out about me and they say that's how they found me.”

Peo de Pitte plays Electric Playground Friday March 11.


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