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Wednesday, 24 August 2011 13:09

M-Phazes

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Gold Coast raised, now Melbourne based, M-Phazes is one of Australia’s most successful hip hop producers.

Not only has he worked with Aussie acts like Bliss N Eso, Phrase, Drapht and Dialectrix, he’s also had notable success in the US producing tracks for Pharoahe Monch, Amerie, Talib Kweli and Slaughterhouse. He was actually planning on moving there this year.
“But because a few things happened in Australia that were promising,” he explains, “I didn’t really want to drop everything and leave. I decided to stick around for a bit, but it’s definitely on the cards at some point in the future.”

Not content with confining himself to hip hop, he’s been taking on more general music production of late, including working with singer/ songwriter Kimbra.
“Kimbra is definitely the main change in the way I look at music and what I want to do with it. Thanks to her and her management who are sending a lot of new people to me that I usually wouldn’t work with. Right now I’m working with two other groups that aren’t hip hop at all. You know I’ll keep doing hip hop, but I definitely want to venture out to other genres as well.”

Last year the release of his solo debut, ‘Good Gracious’, won him an ARIA award for Best Urban Album. A second solo album is already in the works.
“It definitely won’t be in the same vein as ‘Good Gracious’. It’ll probably have a lot of different artists on there from different genres, probably American artists as well, not just Australian. I’m trying to do something different and out there as opposed to just following what I did last time.”

With an album that features a different MC on every track, he says his upcoming Brisbane show will basically be like a DJ set with special guests.
“We’ve got Mantra coming up, and my boy Seven who won the Triple J competition who’s doing some great things up in Brisbane, and then there’s a few other special guests that I can’t announce just yet. It’s a surprise. But yeah it’s cool, it’s quite interactive … a bit of random showmanship I guess you call it, as cocky as that sounds. I don’t want people to get the wrong idea and think I’m just pressing play on the turntable.”


M-PHAZES PLAYS THE SPRUNG FESTIVAL, AT THE BRISBANE RIVERSTAGE, SAT OCTOBER 15. SPRUNGHIPHOP.COM.AU

Thursday, 18 August 2011 13:40

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Theatre in Preview

Cheree Cassidy has just come from a fitting for the dress she’ll wear onstage playing Maggie in Tennessee Williams ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:04

The Adults

Forever Young

Shihad frontman Jon Toogood celebrated his 40th birthday in Brisbane recently. He was performing at QPAC as part of The Beatles Back2Back tour.

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 12:28

The Panda Band

A Breath Of Fresh Air

The Panda Band are enjoying the fresh air after locking themselves away in their Perth studio to work on second album ‘Charisma Weapon’ for what seems like a very, very long time.

They first caught our attention with 2004 indie-pop single ‘Sleepy Little Deathtoll Town’ and subsequent album ‘This Vital Chapter’.  They toured extensively in Australia and the U.S. But when it came to recording album number two, things didn’t go so smoothly.
Lead singer Damian Crosbie describes it as a “perfect storm of bad stuff for a band,” including multiple band members coming and going. But he’s quick to add that “if people like the album, then whatever we went through was kind of worth it.”

‘Charisma Weapon’ was recorded in the band’s own studio and is released on their own label Bam*Boo.  It’s a level of control that many bands dream about, but Damian says it’s not without challenges. “It’s got its good points and its bad points…I don’t have deadlines as such, and because we don’t have a label saying, ‘it’s gotta be due by here’, it dragged on a lot longer than a lot of people wanted it to, i.e. the other members in my band.  But for things like vocals it’s really comfortable, because I’m just by myself recording it all.”

His social life also suffered. “Everything that came up I was like, ‘no I’ve got to work on the album’, so I’d never end up going out or seeing anyone.  I had to actually make an effort to do that after a few months and go OK, it’s probably not good that I’m not getting any perspective or fresh air.”

When it came time to mix the album the band travelled to Brisbane where they spent two weeks working with award-winning producer Magoo on his property near Fernvale. It was still early days when The Panda Band released their first album, ‘This Vital Chapter’.  They didn’t have many performances under their belt, and Damian admits they weren’t thinking about how things would sound live.  That’s not the case with ‘Charisma Weapon’. “This one’s probably a bit more in your face. It’s pretty loud…I think it’s a bit more dynamic.  We’ve had a lot of time on the road since the last album and it’s influenced the songs.”

The Panda Band play The Globe Saturday August 6.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011 13:44

Vents

Best Friends

When it came to putting together his second release, ‘Marked For Death’, the aim of Adelaide-born MC Vents was simple: “Just make a better album”.

It’s been four years since his debut ‘Hard To Kill’ and a modest Vents finds it hard to look back. “Yeah I can’t even sit through the first one now. It’s kind of difficult to listen to, you know, because it’s so old … it’s a bit cringe-worthy.”

Never shying from contentious topics, his lyrics on ‘Marked For Death’ flow from politics to personal struggles, from economic inequality to ecstasy use. “I really just write what I think about, I guess … it’s just thoughts going on in my head. I probably should be writing more love songs,” he laughs.

There are exceptions though, as with the track ‘F.T.M.’. “It was Remembrance Day and I was watching TV and they were plugging navy and military armed forces ads all day and I remember just being like, ‘What?! Are you serious?’ That’s how that one came out.”

Vents lyrics are framed by the smooth production of his long-term friend Trials. The Funkoars member has been kept busy of late also producing work for Drapht, Ash Grunwald and Abbe May amongst others. “I’ve known Trials since I was 17 or 18, so that’s like ten or 11 years … he’s really important to me just in life anyway and it’s just really lucky to have one of the best producers in the country. I lucked out. We’re best friends as well.”

He’s also very happy to be on a new label, the Hilltop Hoods owned Golden Era. “I’m on a label that gives a shit about me, and yeah, it’s really nice. I want to put out more records ‘cause it’s actually been a good experience. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s never smooth sailing putting out a record, but yeah, it’s been great.”

Performing live is what it’s all about and Vents is looking forward to the Brisbane stop on his ‘Rollin Balls’ tour. He’s got fond memories of his last visit. “The last time I performed in Brisbane it would have been 2009 with the Hilltop Hoods. We did like 5,000 people, yeah, The Big Top … that was maybe the biggest crowd I’ve ever played to.”

 VENTS PLAYS THE STEP INN JULY 22.

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