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Friday, 24 February 2012 12:02

Earth Frequency: Event Review

After driving for what seemed like hours through dirt tracks and dust clouds, Earth Frequency showed up as a metropolis of tents, tarpaulin and camper vans.

Miles from society, and surrounded by forest and mountains on all sides, a feeling of seclusion and nature pervaded. The festival itself was a mix between a glow stone wonderland and a shanty town, attracting folks from all walks of life: old, young, infant; for the music, for the culture, for the good times. The music was a mix of glitch hop, psytrance, dub, reggae and other genres of that ilk, skipping between two ornate stages — one with bamboo gates and spider web wings, the other under a canopy of woven leaves.

protonicaBeats five steps ahead of you and a drop to split canyons. Opiuo was a highlight of the festival.

Talpa’s clean cut ‘whum-whum’ ushered in the Sunday morning sun. Good set; shame his heart didn't really seem in it.

Protonica’s relentless 7am bass provided fuel for the hardened, the weary, and the lost at sea.

Spoonbill set the Saturday night on fire. Eclectic and masterful, stringing together samples like some savant seamstress from outer space.

A double mic fault left MC Heinz seriously lacking in swag. Luckily Miss Eliza had it on tap, wooing all with her haunting string interludes with Dysphemic cementing the set with his eclectic fusion of drum & bass, dubstep and glitch hop. talpa.2
Ill.Gates was at his finest; worked the crowd with industrial finesse and a whole lot of style. Someone get this man to a hospital.

All in all, a huge success. Great music, great people,  great setup. It could have used a few more showers, but hey - getting down and dirty with nature is what Earth Frequency is all about.

Images by Emelia Ebejer.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012 12:03

Darky Roots: Still Growing

After losing a core member to the commitments of family life, Darky Roots were on the brink of falling apart.

“When Clem, who did lead vocals on some of the songs and a little bit of songwriting, when he left, the band was actually up in the air whether it was actually going to fold or not. He was a foundation dude, pretty important, and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to keep going,” laments lead vocalist, Joshua Hillman.

From the very start, before the 'Darky Roots' moniker had seen the light of day, its members existed as a close-knit family of friends. Now the four-piece harmonic reggae troupe — which can grow to a nine-piece monster at times — has carved out a name for itself within the Brisbane roots scene; though the group are no strangers to change, or the pain that sometimes accompanies it.

“Every time there's been an integration of a new member, or demise of an old one, that's always pretty tough man, pretty taxing on you emotionally. We started off as a six-piece in the very beginning and we stayed that way for two years and when the drummer finally left I found it quite hard, even though we had another good quality drummer come take his place. It was something I was very new to. You know, like I said it was a very family oriented band. It was like losing a member of the family.”

While it was friendship that the roots group was founded upon, new blood was the catalyst for the band’s emergence.

“We started out as a bunch of hacks. None of us were super good. We did enough to pull a set off and then slowly dudes just worked on their own stuff and got a bit better as time went on. Then when we started adding things like horn players, they were the kind of guys who were schooled musicians, and really helped the rest of us, helped nurture us and helped us get better on our own instruments. They helped us sound a lot better all together.”

Two years down the line, the band stands at the same old dusty crossroad. “So after Clem left, I asked the band what they wanted to do,” Joshua says. “They were still pretty keen, so I was like 'well I don't know what to do here! I can't replace this guy. He was special. So I replaced him with a chick!’”

But does Amika, the aforementioned ‘chick’, cut the mustard? “She's fantastic, mate, fantastic. She used to front her own band called Rub A Dub Style. They folded due to some weird circumstances, so I snapped her up and now she's sharing the singing with me. Doing mostly background vocals but also some lead stuff as well. Just got a great energy on stage and a great stage presence. She really enriches the harmony.”

With plans for a limited edition, independent 7” vinyl to be released in December, and a debut album smack bang in the middle of production, it seems that Darky Roots will live to see another sunrise. In fact, Joshua seems inspired by the future possibilities for the band.

“I feel like since we've been playing for the last three, four years we've earned credibility to the point where we can get away with playing some of the more self-indulgent stuff musically on stage. Maybe play some really slow grooves; command the patience of the audience. Take some more risks.

“I've got such new and good players around me, when I go to rehearsal now I feel like a fan getting to watch these guys play. It's really cool, and exciting. It makes every gig fresh.”

DARKY ROOTS PLAY PACIFIC VIBES BRISBANE AT FITZY'S LOGANHOLME MARCH 3.

Wednesday, 08 February 2012 11:45

Saint Surly & Monster Monster

Saint Surly & Monster Monster produce low tempo, dreamlike beats.

“Yeah I dunno, I'm just sort of drawn to it,” ponders Cameron Rutter (aka Saint Surly). “I don't know why but whenever I start making something I never seem to clock my bpm dial past 95. It just seems to suit my mood. I'm not sure. It's weird. I think all the hip hop I've listened to, it's that mellow and sort of lullaby stuff — Pete Rock and that kind of thing. I think I just like the slightly introspective sound of things.”

Saint Surly & Monster Monster's sound is mesmeric, and haunting at times. Tinny old school beats create an interesting contrast against the flowing samples, and also remind us of the loose-fit genre. “It's instrumental hip hop in a sense,” Cameron says. “Both of us have a love for hip hop and beats. Stuff I make is probably a bit more traditionally hip hop. Dan (Monster Monster) plays in bands and stuff as well, so he probably has a more indie influence in his stuff. Plus he plays guitar and drums. Hip hop infused with a lot of other things I guess.”

Cameron works mainly on the sample front, and when it comes to his vast collection of music making technology, His nerdish side shines through. Interestingly, it is not the latest and greatest technology that holds a place in his heart. “I started making music on a computer, but I found in a sense I had too many options. So when I started buying hardware like an MPC, it sort of cut away all those distractions so I could just focus on fundamentals. I've found I've stuck to that.

“I've got an old SP 1200, which is a 12-bit sampler from the ‘80s and it's the most ancient, archaic piece of equipment. But there's just something completely elegant about how limited it is in terms of what you can do. You can do so much with those limitations. It's kind of my pride and joy.”

Saint Surly & Monster Monster support Brainfeeder alumni Ras G & the Afrikan Space Program at Woodland Bar Thursday February 23.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 11:47

Fort Kilsby

Father Beats

A collaboration of three writer/ producers from multifarious backgrounds, hip hop laced production collective Fort Kilsby were formed from a surplus of talent.

“We just had a bunch of music,” says drummer/ producer Tony McCall. “We weren’t that keen to push it that hard or do anything — we’d all been burnt out by normal avenues, so we were just doing something for fun. Then one day, Dave and Katch from Hydrofunk (Records) called us.”

McCall and Matt Napier are members of Dave Atkins and DJ Katch’s Resin Dogs, who’ve run the independent Hydrofunk Records since 1994. It was the spare-time collaboration between McCall and Napier that ultimately became Fort Kilsby.

“Even though we play in their band, they called us on a business level and said ‘hey, we’re in the car listening to this stuff, we really like it —  can we put it on our label?’ We were quite flattered to get that call. We were like, ‘why not, yeah, let’s put it out’. It’s available already on Bandcamp for free. I think we’re gonna go to old school tapes as well. The CD format’s a bit of a dead thing so we’re gonna go for wax, do the artwork ourselves and put some out on tape. We’re all fans of tape. There’s something cool about tape. I have an old Volvo and I rock all my old tapes on it, so that was kind of the inspiration.”

Respect for the old-school. As a reminder of just how old-school he now is, Tony’s 12-month-old daughter gurgles from the background. He takes a moment to wipe cake from her face and whisper some cutesy warblings. As a stay-at-home husband during the day, fatherhood has forced some changes.

“It forces you to grow up, and it forces you to be responsible. When you’re floating around nomadically by yourself you can just do whatever. It makes you realise that there is someone who is really dependent on you … and it’s really good for music. Some people it doesn’t work out for, but the last 12 months have been the best of my life, just hanging out with her and being creative. Such a wealth of inspiration comes out of it. It really is a unique experience. I can’t say enough good things about being a father. That’s the truth.”

Dirty nappies aside, Fort Kilsby will be playing their first live gigs early next month. “To be honest I’m not sure how that’s going to turn out but I’m excited and shit scared at the same time. Which means it will be fun, hopefully. Hopefully people can see a bit of that nervousness, and hopefully it’s cute, not bad.

“I’m doing live drums, Damien (aka Monkwhy) is on turntables and MPC keys. He’s playing samples live plus doing all the vocals, cuts, scratching and handling bass duties as well. Matthew is the guitarist and he’s going to be on guitar, obviously, but also keyboard lines and he’s playing MPC as well. There’s going to be sections where we’re all laying MPC together, and we’re going to mix it up.

“We are going to be swapping around a fair bit, so visually hopefully it’s exciting and people can see what happens. It’s pretty hard to see what goes on in a hip hop gig. They can hear it but people aren’t really sure what happens behind the scenes. Hopefully we can break it down for them.”

Technology, eh? One might envisage future musicians on desk chairs, pounding out beats on their laptops as they fist pump the sky. It’s a dark and dystopian future. One where auto-tuned dubstep reigns supreme and cyborgs cannibalise each other like walking tins of tomato soup. For Tony, who seems like much more of a realist, the future is bright.

“It’s an amazing time for Aussie hip hop. We did the Sprung Festival down at the Riverstage and it’s very evident that it’s alive and well. It’s come a long way. I remember talking about hip hop records and people just drawing a blank on their face. But now everybody knows who Drapht is; everyone knows who the Hilltop Hoods are – they’re one of the biggest bands in Australia. It’s exciting that it’s acceptable and that people take it seriously. In all the genres it’s an exciting time for Australian music. I think as a country, we’re slaying it. It can only go forward.”

Fort Kilsby play Juicy at the Mustang February 2 and The Loft, Chevron Island, February 3.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:07

Benn Hopkins

Fading House

Once upon a time, deep house coursed through the veins of Valley streets. The times they are a-changin’.

Organising, promoting and DJing for over a decade, Benn Hopkins has seen the Valley house scene rise, and now he's watching it fall.
“I mean I’m next to The Press Club, and then I go to Kaliber - they've got exactly the same music now. The Press Club used to be great house music. I went there on Saturday night: Justin Timberlake — ‘Sexyback’; Salt-N-Pepa — ‘Push It’. This was one of the foremost deep house venues in Brisbane, and now they’re playing cheese on a Saturday night. I mean, they've got to do it as a business, but ...”

Having been involved in the business side of the scene, Benn gets the bigger picture. Unfortunately, it's shaped like this: $. "You've got to be aware that it’s great to have a party that has ten people there deep as fuck, but at the end of the day if the bar's not making money you're not going to have parties anymore. You have to have a holistic approach."

It’s plain to see Benn lives and breathes house music. And as one of Zuri's resident DJs he's going to do whatever he can to keep it alive ... even if it takes a little compromise. “House, new disco, funk and soul is where it’s going,” he says. “Our owner went and listened to The Press Club and the places I was speaking about earlier and he said ‘listen if we have to go down that road, I don't want to go down it' … Our approach is we keep to our policy of good music. If we've gotta throw in a disco or a funk and a soul track that's great, that's how we're gonna get away with it. We don't wanna have to drop David Guetta in order to get the crowd ... You can compromise for a little bit but then it's like, ‘no, that's hurting my soul’.”

His ten years worth of experience are evident as Hopkins explains the dance music industry is multi-faceted, and it's not all storm clouds.
“There are some interesting things that are happening. In order to change you have to sell out a little bit. I'm not saying selling out is negative, I'm just saying that you have to meet the market. I don't see selling out as being negative unless it is complete and you have given everything away.”
While Hopkins could point the finger at Valley venues and DJs for the negative shift in the industry, he suggests some of the negative changes are largely due to a growing lack of individual values.

“People’s personal responsibility for their actions has really slipped. When we started going out … you would go to these venues and there was a real click going on because it was all about the music, you don't have that anymore. There is no one pulling anyone into line, manners have gone out the window.”

Even after Hopkins lays the whole situation on the table, he insists that dance music is still alive and making noise.
“There are lots of positive things happening. There are more people coming out in the Valley than ever. I don't know how it’s going to end up ... I think places like The Met, Future Music Festival and Stereosonic are educating a wider audience to dance music.”

Benn Hopkins plays Zuri’s New Year’s Eve Party as well as their Xmas party this Friday, December 23.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 12:15

Red Light

Photography In Preview

In her latest exhibition, award -winning photojournalist Gemma Rose Turnbull reveals the horror, and the humanity behind the Melbourne sex trade.

Sex in return for survival is the oldest trade in the game. While we as humans have millennia of this practice behind us, it seems many of us remain ignorant, perhaps willfully, to the stark realities of the women who work the street. Perhaps sometimes it is easier to remain unaware of the darker parts of human nature. Gemma, now returned from 12 months of photography on lamp-lit corners, would be the first to admit this.

“I had had nothing to do with sex work in any capacity ever. I had one moment in Brisbane where I thought ‘what is that girl
doing out on the street at this time of night?’ And then I realised. I was very naïve y’know? So I completely immersed myself in this very strange world, and it is very strange. To rock up to prison one day and then go to court the next day and then to a mental health ward, and have these women coming in saying ‘Ah this fucking bastard wouldn’t use a fucking condom.’ It’s an extreme situation to walk into.”

When portraying the sex trade, it is this angle the media tends to latch onto. As such we are usually exposed to only one or two of its faces: either the empowered, confident and seductive call girl, using her charm to siphon the wealth of lonely men, or the shameless smack addict who will turn any trick under the sun to get her next hit. After spending a year learning the lives and loves of the women of St. Kilda, Gemma wants to show that the world of paid sex is not a black and white one.

“Any situation that you investigate has shades of grey … one woman that I interviewed who was a lesbian said her time as a sex worker had really improved her relationships with men. Most of her clients were older men who were lonely, and she saw herself as providing companionship. I think that’s as valid an experience as an 18-year-old girl coming in and saying ‘I’ve been beat and tied up and raped by this guy.’ Both of those are valid experiences, it’s just really hard to take them both and tie them up into the same statement. It’s very much about individual experience.”

Stereotypes exist for a reason, and unfortunately in Gemma’s experience, life-controlling drug addictions do play a major role in the continuation of the industry. What she wants to express in her exhibition is that these stereotypes are not defining.
“They’re just like everybody else. They want the same things as everybody else. They have the same dreams and desires; they’re just in a fairly precarious and difficult situation. They have kids and they have lovers and they have birthdays and dreams. They want better living quality for themselves and they want their kids to be loved and happy and looked after … They want dogs and nice homes and good relationships with the people in their lives. That was the biggest realisation — they’re just like me.”

St. Kilda Gatehouse, a non-profit organisation run solely from donor funding, is an organisation committed to making these dreams come true. “The work that St. Kilda does is in a large part to build up trust with them, you know, ‘we’re not going to let you down, we’re not going to talk behind your back, we’re not going to take advantage of you — we’re just here.’ That’s pretty epic for them, although it doesn’t sound like such a big thing.

“They run on practically nothing. They provide food parcels and clothes and haircuts, and girls come in once a week and do nails and arts. No expectations. They also offer drug and alcohol counselling and support services, so often they’ll go to prison and to court with women. One woman’s actually having a baby today, so a support worker’s going to be there with her during the labour.”

Alongside the exhibition, there will be a book available for purchase featuring interviews, Gemma’s experiences and photography from both her and the workers, whom she armed with 35ml SLR cameras during her stay.
“100% of the proceeds from the book go back to St. Kilda Gatehouse. Since April we’ve sold 600 copies of the book, which means we’ve raised $30,000.”

‘Red Light Dark Room: Sex, Lives and Stereotypes’ will be at the Brisbane Powerhouse until Sunday December 18.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 11:57

Shaneal

With Attitude

Sporting a Kravitz fro and moves like Jackson, Shaneal has hit our golden shores to spread the love, and bring the funk back.

There is an unbound enthusiasm in Shaneal’s voice. Fresh off the phone from Grammy award winning songwriter, collaborator and non-blood 'brother' Malik Yusef, he swoops straight into his latest projects. "We’ve just created a purpose built house in Ascot with a studio, swimming pool and accommodation near the airport in Brisbane so I can bring acts from the States and writers and producers here. And from here we’re going to be hitting a lot of the southern hemisphere. We’re going into China, Japan and India."

Between spinning projects like an extended family of proverbial plates, Shaneal also makes his own brand of high pace, dance infused R&B, from the ground up. "I’m known as a top-liner, which means I’m very good at writing melodies and producing so you can literally take me into a room and I’ll write from scratch with nothing like a true artist. I literally play the instruments from nothing and produce and record full songs from nothing."

Literally. What exactly defines a 'true artist,' other than Shaneal's self-proclamation, is a good question. His influences are a good start. "I get really inspired by a lot of the old school. I like music the way it used to sound. I’m right into my ‘70s funk, my ‘80s, my Parliament, James Brown, Prince, Bob Marley, The Doors, AC/DC. I’m eclectic in that sense and I really appreciate the analogue era."

There are certainly some traces of funk juice to be found in Shaneal's pop dance concoctions, of which there are many. His career has spanned over ten years, his success self attributed to his contagious and positive attitude. "Oh man attitude is 100 percent. You only live once. Are you going to live your life doing what you love doing or complaining about it? Let’s break it down. If you’re between the age of 25 and 30 that means you’ve got 350,000 hours until you’re dead. Are you going to spend your time talking bullshit and being counterproductive, or are you gonna do what you love to do with your life, which is to have a good attitude and go for it?"

Shaneal celebrates Christmas with a free VIP show at The Exchange Wednesday December 21.

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 03:01

Dubmarine

Exploring The Depths

For Dubmarine's frontman D-Kazman, diversity is what makes us human, and eclectic is best.

"The job of a storyteller or songwriter is to contemplate things and bring it all together. Some songs just come out of nowhere, but others can take time to process. I actually like those songs the best, the ones that you take time to think about, get your subject matter and converse with people about. Great songs don't come from one mouth. They come from a multitude of different ideas."

For Kazman, Dubmarine is as much a dub group as it is a vessel through which ideas and emotions can be shared. The message is one of harmony and acceptance, working towards a world where differences are celebrated rather than separated. On stage, he's the embodiment of this idea. "The guy on stage is a character that I've created. Byami Melchisedec is the name that I've given him. Byami is the name of the serpent and Melchisedec is this deep spiritual practice involving Kaballah and angelic work. He's essentially a depiction on the corroboree.

"The corroboree is a collaboration of all the arts together, and when you had a corroboree, the whole family was connected. You had the storyteller, that would tell stories, and then song men would sing the story and the painters would paint it as it was being told. The dancers would dance the story, and the musicians would play the music, rhythmically in tune to the story. So all the different elements of art were united. I guess that guy is a modern depiction of all of those together."

Live, Dubmarine are known as a force to be reckoned with, and Kazman, with his primal dancing and vocal gymnastics, leads the way. "That's why I paint up before a show. I have the Aboriginal flag around as a modern take on who we are as people, and I mean everybody, y'know - we use flags to recognise our identity. I recognise it as that but also just as a cool piece of cloth that I can wrap around myself and even take the piss out of a bit."

Dubmarine launch their new single, 'Unconditional', at The Hi-Fi Saturday December 17. They also play Woodford Folk Festival December 31.
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:37

Briefs

Theatre In Preview

The ‘Briefs’ boys are back in town, and they're lewd, rude and ready to blow your flimsy notions of what is PC back into the dark ages.

Does life ever get you down? Do you ever feel like the grey monotony of each day is crushing your soul, second by second, into a little colourless cube of lifeless gelatin? It’s ok, just relax, I think I may have found a cure.

Returning, triumphant, from a month of high jinks and success at the Edinburgh Folk Festival, Mark Winmill and his troupe of kinky carnival folk are finally back home, and ready to pry your mind open like a can of tinned pears.

Their show ‘Briefs’ is an eclectic blend of circus, ‘boylesque’ and gender-bending theatrics, guaranteed to loosen up even the squarest of quadrilaterals. Even the British liked it! “Actually, the English and the Scots get our stuff almost more than Australians. It’s funny, we did the whole month of shows and the Scottish were just the perfect audience. It’s in their history of theatre. They’ve gone to the theatre a lot more than Aussies, and I reckon that showed. The English also have these hidden boundaries, and they push against them a lot more. There’s that façade of pompousness but it’s very much a façade. They really get a lot of our political stuff,” says Mark.

I couldn’t help but remark that he sounds strangely normal, considering the flamboyant nature of the group’s billboards. “Yeah, I’m pretty normal (laughs). I think people get a bit deluded about a performer who’s so crazy and out there onstage. I’m actually pretty real offstage.”

Crazy indeed. Mark, or should I say Mark’s alter ego, ‘Captain  Kidd’, a scantily-clad, strip-teasing, scallywag sailor, was recently crowned the king of burlesque in the city of sin. “Yeah, I went to Las Vegas in June for the burlesque hall of fame; this big weekend reunion for the ‘50s and ‘60s burlesque women. It’s a massive weekend of performance and craziness and competition and I entered the male section of the burlesque and won. There were quite a few amazing boys there, all American boys, and a lot of Chicago boys who do burlesque and circus. Quite a few amazing performers, but in the end the Aussie came away with the trophy.”

It’s nice to know we’re winning at something these days. Perhaps we should take our focus off the rugby and channel our efforts into our burgeoning male burlesque talent. That’s the kind of world I’d like to live in. If you’re unconvinced, or still wondering what exactly this whole burlesque business is about, Mark has an answer for you. “It’s always been the classic striptease of the ladies of the old days, but now there’s neo-burlesque which is a punky, cabaret style. There’s old world style which is still stunning striptease, then there’s boylesque which is pretty big in the States and kicking off in Australia. There’s a whole new generation of burlesque, but it definitely came from the classic striptease of the ‘40s revival. Even in the early 1900s in theatres, there was burlesque but it was very comedy-based and on the female side.”

And so if you were to tear your RSI fingers away from the computer for a night and venture to the Brisbane Powerhouse, what should you expect? “You’ll be greeted by a bunch of boys in short shorts and socks, then they do a big feather fan group act, then you’ll see a bearded lady and some crazy circus acts. There’ll be a raffle, which ends up being a hideous lap dance and all of this hilarious crap - circus acts and an amazing handstand artist at the end of the show. There’s a high school element, which is good. It’s refreshing for people; it’s not just a bunch of boys getting their shit off. Yeah, it’s awesome. We get great punters, and such a wide mix, from oldies to young, queers, straights and old circus people. Some of it goes over people’s heads but many people get the satire. A lot of the older crew that you doubt would really get into it, love it, and the younger crew are more shocked. It’s great, we get to educate.”

‘Briefs’ will be performed with abandon at the Brisbane Powerhouse from Nov 30 - Dec 3.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 11:35

Krash

When Planets Collide

Like a collision of big hairy super magnets, Australian wild men Ash Grunwald and Kram (Spiderbait) are Krashed.

Musical giants in their own right, Ash and Kram recently played their first gig as Krash (an ingenious amalgamation of Kram and Ash, if you hadn't yet noticed). Mixing the oh so soulful roots guitar of Grunwald with Kram's battle cry voice, it’s quite the concoction. Musical alchemy you might say. Watching their fist gig on Ash's 'Road Dog Diaries’, one might even say they've outwitted the bony fingered alchemists of ages past — because they seem to be making gold.

So how did this magical union come about? "Well me and Kram did a gig together once in Melbourne, when we didn’t really know much about each other’s music or anything really. That sounds pretty funny me talking about Spiderbait in that way. I mean I knew ‘Black Betty’ and I loved it. And as I get to know Kram better I realise how many of those Spiderbait songs I did know without knowing any of them. They’ve had a fantastic career.

“Kram’s a very talented songwriter, and has gotta be one of Australia’s best rock singers, for sure. It’s interesting having two front people in a band. Anyway we had a jam in Byron and did a big, long, all day jam, and just got loose and made up stuff, but we recorded it all properly. We just came up with so many songs that we were like, ‘we should do more with this’. And then coincidentally ended up um ... this house I’m moving into right now, he lives on a different street, but I could walk through the bush for about two minutes and be at his house. That’s pretty dangerous.”

Not the bush that is. I made sure to confirm that. We can't have two of our musical gems bitten by  snakes and spiders. “Haha no, the woods aren’t dangerous. The access to each other for nightly jams and drinking sessions is the danger. It’s a good danger.”

One must wonder, when two highly successful musicians get together, who gets to wear the big boy pants. What if Kram zigs when Ash wants to zag? What then? Is there a struggle for dominance? “There potentially could be. Well not really, I’m always encouraged by Kram, and he pushes me in different directions, but I really see him as the leader, because of his sensibility. When you view our music, he’s the more accessible kind of guy. Often if we do a rocky, more mainstream song, it really makes sense for him to be singing that big chorus and then for me to just join in.

“The things that I would come up with tend to be more bluesy, and that tends to be more bridge/ verse kind of things. It just works perfectly. There’s no rules. If we were to go into it, and I know for myself, being a soloist, and whenever anybody plays with me it’s very much a dictatorship and it’s just like ‘you’re part of my band, this is what I want, blah blah blah’. Which is great, because anybody who’s played in a lot of bands would probably agree that if you can ever have that situation, it’s so good not having to go through endless decisions and confrontations. It’s just like ‘this is the way it rolls’. So I reckon if I came from that context and started getting competitive it would just be cheesy and obvious, because my ego would get into it. And I’d hate that to be the case for either of us.

“I’s just really cruisy, and the thing is we’ve been hanging out together for about the last year. Our families hang out, our kids play together, we’re just really great friends. We did more of that in the last year than music, and it’s just towards the end of the year that we’ve really come home and started work on our songs and recordings.”

One of the country’s more talented live performers, at his core, Ash is a humble, cool, dreadlocked family man. His life philosophy? “I don’t think you can sum it up in one thing ... I think to be a positive, happy person would be my aim in life ... It’s a bit cooler, maybe, to be negative, but I just don’t have the time for that kind of coolness.”

Krash play the Elephant & Wheelbarrow this Sunday, November 27.

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