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Friday, 25 May 2012 16:27

Live Review: Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman, Anton Newcombe, has come a long way since ‘Dig!’, the 2004 documentary capturing the love-hate relationship between BJM and The Dandy Warhols, and of course, the drugs.

The enigmatic, and now seemingly sober, musician led the band through an array of songs at The Hi-Fi last night, stretching from early drug-hazed BJM days to tracks off their latest album, ‘Aufheben’. All of this in between complaining about Australia’s crappy internet, that is.  

As expected, their experimental, psychedelic, or ‘mind-expanding’ as Newcombe has described it, sounds took the audience on a creative journey from the ambient instrumentals through to the rockier shoegaze and European gypsy-influenced numbers.

Overall, the band was in fine form, ending the set with ‘Straight Up And Down’, which included an extended jam outro.

Their reputation may have revolved around fights between band members and unfinished gigs in their earlier years, but they showed no signs of that last night.

If this gig was anything to go by, the band have cleaned up their act, leaving us with nothing but their multi-layered loud and loose sonic goodness that the crowd was so clearly eager to hear.

Click here to view images from the band's Sydney show at the Metro Theartre Thursday May 24.
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:21

The Black Seeds: Dusting The Dirt

New Zealand has always had a strong association with reggae, with the likes of Herbs and Twelve Tribes Of Israel paving the way throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, to more modern day forces like Fat Freddy’s Drop.

You can add Wellington natives The Black Seeds to the mix as well, with their dub, funk and Afrobeat musings elevating them to household name status in The Land of the Long White Cloud.

“It was just a good old-fashioned tale of a bunch of people getting in a van, doing lots of gigs, staying in shitty backpackers and having a great time,” guitarist/ singer Mike Fabulous says of the group’s strong work ethic. “Reggae’s popular all over the world of course and there’s always been a strong taste for it in New Zealand so it wasn’t like we were playing some obscure thing that people had never heard of. We just built things up the old-fashioned way doing gigs.”

It’s been four years since The Black Seeds’ last studio effort, 2008’s ‘Solid Ground’. But with new album ‘Dust And Dirt’, Mike is eager to reunite with his bandmates after forgoing the group’s last couple of tours to spend time in the studio. “It’s been going great, apparently,” Mike says. “I have to add that I didn’t actually go on the American and European leg of the tour. I got someone else to go in my place and I stayed here working in the studio. I’m about to jump back on board for the Australian and New Zealand shows. But by all accounts it’s been a next level tour over there.”

The band has taken a step forward on ‘Dust And Dirt’, revealing psychedelic and garage-rock sounds. While this may be new territory for the Seeds, they’ve already received a great response internationally, and Mike says it’s good to feel the love. “It’s probably the most satisfied we’ve ever been with an album I think, so that’s a good start and the response has been really good. We did give ourselves more freedom this time around and we had our own studio, which we were just about kicked out of unfortunately. We gave ourselves more time for the process, with good results.

“All the performances on there are just good natural takes of the band actually playing well and not trying too hard, so I think that’s where it really comes across.”

The Black Seeds may be known for their impressive live shows, but – having done all the engineering and recording for ‘Dust And Dirt’ – it’s the creative process that Mike’s most passionate about. “I just find myself increasingly wanting to be studio-based these days. I love the studio work; I think that’s probably my favourite. I mean I love going to rock shows and getting paid, that’s awesome. But I just like making stuff.

“It’s far more creative than playing live so that’s probably the most rewarding thing and it’s more practical for me. It means I can keep working in the studio while they’re away. I’m just really lucky they let me do that and that I’ve got other people that can fill in for me.”

With all the members of The Black Seeds having been involved in music for well over a decade, never did Mike imagine they’d still be together today.
“It’s weird if bands stay together for more than the first couple of years usually, so I always assumed it would just end the way bands normally do but it hasn’t so I had to change my thinking about that at a certain point. I soon realised, ‘Shit, we could end up like the Rolling Stones here!’”

The six-piece ensemble is anticipating their return to Australian shores next month, ready to show off the thoroughly roadtested ‘Dust And Dirt’ LP. “Basically the band will just be smoking. I find it usually takes around three weeks playing most nights and then you really start to get into that next gear. So the band’s going to be in fine form and because I haven’t been doing that I’m really going to have to come up with the goods. But I’m confident I can jump back in there.

“I love touring Australia and New Zealand. I think they’re still my favourite places to tour just because everything is reasonably familiar, and because we’ve been coming to Australia for seven or eight years lots of the places that we visit are all familiar now. You know where to get a good meal and get good coffee so it’s always nice coming back.”

If there’s one thing you learn after waking up the Bombs Away guys and DJ Kronic to chat at 10:30am, it’s that you shouldn’t do so unless you have coffee and vodka to offer them.

Perth brothers Sketch and Thomas Hart of the genre-defying DJ act Bombs Away have teamed up with Adelaide’s DJ Kronic as they set off on their ‘Swagger’ tour following the release of the latest edition of one of Australia’s best-selling dance compilations, ‘Wild Nights 2012’.

The trio have been working together over the past year, and put the CD together in a week and a half, mashing up what’s hot, new and working for their dancefloors. “We’re super stoked because we got a lot of leeway with mixing the CD. We’ve done a lot of our actual mixtape style,” Sketch says.
“Yeah we were able to mash it up, go crazy and get creative on it, which was fucking awesome,” DJ Kronic adds.

The Bombs Away brothers have been DJing, partying and joking around together for eight years now; finding a name for their creative outlet was as easy as following a truck. “We were driving along and Bombs Away was the name of a tow truck company,” Sketch says.

After suggesting adopting the name, Thomas, according to Sketch, “looked down at his three inch wiener and was like ‘oh okay’”. And so it was.
A few years later Bombs Away were at a festival when they heard a performer going crazy, kicking speakers off the stage, so they checked it out. It turned out to be none other than their now touring partner, DJ Kronic. Their second meeting was no less eventful.

“Two weeks later we met at a Gold Coast club with my girlfriend at the time,” DJ Kronic says. “We were going through a rough patch. Sketch hit on her and there was nearly a punch on. It was all a big misunderstanding though and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Fast forward to 2012; Bombs Away singles ‘Big Booty Bitches’, ‘Swagger’ and ‘Supersoaker!’ have received massive responses from dancefloors around the country and big things still lay ahead following the release of DJ Kronic’s new single, ‘Looking For Some Girls’, which features Bombs Away.

“We, especially with ‘Supersoaker!’ since it’s crossed over to radio, have got an amazing range of new fans,” Thomas says. “When we made that crossover we found that our music is not limited to the 17-25 demographic anymore. I guess it’s still a youth audience but it’s really varied. People in general like to party.”

Bombs Away and DJ Kronic are no strangers to their local club scenes, but when the rest of the country received a taste of what they each had to offer the ball started rolling too fast for them to keep up. Well, almost. “Bombs Away has just been an amazing experience. We haven’t been back to our actual house in Perth for 18 months. It’s just happened so fast that I’ve still got food on the kitchen table,” Sketch says.

“I love the travelling,” DJ Kronic says, “I love meeting people and partying with the crowd and other DJs. You get to travel around and see the world, just get loose and run amuck, and party with girls. I’m always looking for some girls.”

“Bombs Away and Kronic are looking for some girls on the Wild Tour. It’s true, and it’s what is happening,” Sketch adds.
So what would they be doing if they weren’t DJing?

“I’d be driving a forklift. Thank fuck for turntables!” DJ Kronic says. “I’d be at home watching porn,” Sketch says. “Maybe a career in porn, ah that would be good. My porn name would be Charlie Griffith.”

Seeing as their career backup plans are clearly no longer needed, and given they’ve already worked with, or supported, their fair share of mega international artists such as Stanton Warriors, Snoop Dogg and Pitbull, a more realistic question would be ‘who would you like to work with next?’

“I would like to work, if the opportunity would arise, with Charlie Sheen,” Sketch says. “I would work with Charlie Sheen on the condition that he does our next tour with us. What would he be doing on the tour? Winning! Who would he be doing? Everyone. And mountains of coke. I love Charlie Sheen, I’ve actually got the tattoo ‘winning’ on my wrist. He took that from me.”

“I want to ‘work’ with Miley Cyrus,” Thomas says. “Oh Miley!”

Fantasies and looking for girls aside, the ball keeps rolling for Bombs Away and DJ Kronic as they prepare for the continued international success they’re hoping this year will bring. “We’re all going to America this week, we come back and do the Wild tour, and then we are moving to LA for a little while because our stuff is doing so well there, we’ve got such a good response,” Sketch says. “We basically just want to go over there and really sink our teeth into that American market for a couple of months.

“We run our own record label through Central Station called Bomb Squad and that’s our priority for this year. We’ve got a few new releases coming out on that already. It’s just a crew of other DJs and producers who are like us in style and just general attitude.”

Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:24

Djs From Mars

Destination: Planet Earth

You may only recognise them as the box-headed DJs that soundtrack your weekends, but DJs From Mars are now one of the biggest names in the mash-up scene and their goal is nothing less than to conquer the world.

With New Year’s Eve around the corner, Brisbane better get ready for some alien domination as the duo prepare to bring in 2012 with Western Australia’s Bombs Away. “We are damn excited, of course. We have been working hard every week in between gigs to be sure we have the freshest sound so expect some brand new bombs! Last year when we played there for the first time we didn’t know what to expect, but now we are prepared so you better be ready for a party hard night! Bring your own boxes!” the excited Turin duo said via an email interview.

The coming weeks will see DJs From Mars performing in France, their home country of Italy, and Austria before reaching Australia, their final destination for 2011, where the music is not all they’re excited about. “Not just because we are talking to you, but we honestly can’t wait to come to Australia again. Last year’s Aussie gigs were amazing. We met and worked with amazing people, the food was great, everything was perfect and last but not least, all of our friends will be freezing while we’ll be hanging around in t-shirts and short pants!”

DJs From Mars officially formed back in 2004 and have made quite a name for themselves since. With music playing such a big role in their lives, it’s hard to imagine what life would be like if they weren’t DJing. “We would be preparing fries for a fat guy waiting and screaming at us behind a fast food cashier! No seriously, we’ve been DJs long before the DJSFM project, and we were involved in several other projects at the label we worked for so our job has always been music and we feel so lucky about that, especially today as it’s getting pretty hard to make it as a kid.”

Part of what makes DJs From Mars stand out from other globetrotting DJs is their unique image combined with a sound that is, as their name suggests, a bit out of this world. “It was all made very randomly. We chose the ‘DJs From Mars’ name because we wanted to express a ‘different’ feeling and we both love sci-fi movies. The boxhead image came when shooting one of our first videos for a track called ‘Who Gives a F**k About Deejays’. Our label’s manager came up with this idea for the video, and we tried to keep it going during the gigs. It was a lucky choice because it became our trademark.”
Constantly performing with a box over their heads has meant their identities are always concealed from the public, with this disguise now an important part of who DJs From Mars are.

“We try not to reveal our real identities. We love the fact that people don’t know who we really are. After the show the best part is to hang at the bar sipping on a drink with all the guys around saying ‘Hey those DJs were great’ without knowing we are there. The bad part is when they say ‘so glad those mother f***ers finished their set it was soooo boring!’. Fortunately, most of the time they like it.”

They’ve more than created a stir with numerous international tours, YouTube videos with hits in the tens of millions, support from leading DJs like David Guetta and Bob Sinclar, remixing tracks for Ciara, Cascada and Fragma, and a burgeoning loyal following. It’s understandable why picking the best thing about being a DJ would be so difficult.

“Free drinks! Ok, no, the best thing is going to sleep after a great show in a foreign place miles away from home and thinking that someone called you to rock the party. It’s definitely great! On a larger scale, every day you wake up and realise you are paying for your food with money that you earned doing something you love. That’s absolutely perfect.”

When you have the enthralling ability to captivate an entire dancefloor for hours without ever showing your face, memorable moments are bound to be plentiful and 2011 has provided the biggest so far. “We opened for Tiesto in Atlantic City in March this year and it was amazing of course. Under our boxes we were thinking ‘Is this really happening or did someone put some pills in our drinks?’ Then we came back to Italy and we saw the videos only to realise it was really happening! That was one of the best gigs of our lives so far, and we hope to have a lot of other magic moments like that.”

There is one dream, however, that is yet to be fulfilled. “Our dream will be always a dream. We would love to work on a track with Jimi Hendrix and see him making music with computers. We still cannot believe what he did to contemporary music with the help of barely anything.”

Considering the ever-changing face of popular dance music, keeping up with the kids can be hard. Dubstep may be taking over at the moment, but DJs From Mars are determined to resist conformity while still keeping it fresh and embracing new sounds. “We love dubstep and we tried to insert some of that in some of our tracks but we’ll never go dubstep just because it’s the trend of the moment. Otherwise next year when it goes out, we’ll have to change again.

“We think that everyone has to keep their own style. Look at Daft Punk and how great they are without following any trends. We try to build our own style, every day incorporating everything we love, including dubstep, heavy metal, hip hop, soundtracks, classical music and so on. We feed ourselves with music not with trends!”

Last year techno was all the rage, pumping throughout nightclubs around the globe, last week it was electro, today it’s dubstep and tomorrow who knows. So what happens when dance music dies? “Music will change radically, but dance music will never die. For us, house music is just the third millennium version of disco music, which is the twentieth century version of African tribal dance. It’s just a kind of music you can dance to, and if you talk to a 14-year-old kid today about house music he’ll probably think of Deadmau5, not David Morales. Styles are changing, but people will always dance.

“Working in this business for such a long time has taught us that music always has its ups and downs. The ones who make it are the ones who can manage the downs.”

In 2012 DJs From Mars will continue their plan to take over the world, time permitting that is.
“We have 100,000 ideas and such a short time to work on all of them. If only we had 48 hours in a day.”


Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:21

Spit Syndicate

With The Best Intentions

Whether he’s guiding a Sydney Harbour Bridge climb or on stage as the other half of hip hop duo Spit Syndicate, Nick Lupi talks shit for a living and manages to keep his audiences entertained doing it.

“At the moment we’re just trying to juggle doing Spit Syndicate stuff with the real life stuff we have to do in order to pay bills and things like that,” Nick says. “I’m a tour guide on the Sydney Harbour Bridge; I take people up and talk shit to them about Sydney. It’s not that different to what I do in music, it’s just a different way of talking shit to people and trying to keep them vaguely entertained.”

Alongside fellow emcee Jimmy Nice, Lupi and Spit Syndicate are back with the first part of their new mixtape, ‘Best Intentions: Part One’, which features a range of guests from Pharaohe Monch to The XX. “It was just something that happened really quickly and really naturally and I think that’s why people dug it; because it didn’t sound forced. Some of the songs on the mixtape are other people’s beats. They’re just beats that we really vibe on, things that makes you go ‘Shit I wish I had that beat for myself’.

“The finished product isn’t 100 percent yours. It’s not your original piece of art but the lyrics are yours. The mixtape was free, it didn’t cost us anything to make and it doesn’t cost anything for people to hear it. It’s just art for art’s sake, if you will.” But that’s not all the duo has been up to in between touring. ‘Best Intentions’ is a two part mixtape, with ‘Part Two’ set to come out by the end of summer with an album in the making too.

“‘Part Two’ will be out in the first quarter of next year but we’ve actually got a third album due and that’s probably a higher priority than ‘Part Two’ of the mixtape so we’re working on them both. The album will hopefully come out in the second or third quarter of next year. For us it’s just about being as productive as we possibly can over the summer.”

The new album will pick up where the last one left off, conveying Spit Syndicate’s thoughts, feelings and experiences they’ve had over the past two years. “We’re not particularly old yet but we’re getting older and it’s just where we’re at in our heads. We like to make songs that make people think but not intellectual rap. We try to make stuff that has a good groove to it, that people can dance to, and that people can enjoy live but we’re also firm believers in lyricism. That’s the sort of hip hop that we like, people that take time to write something that means something.”

Spit Syndicate will be playing at this year’s Blah Blah Blah festival where they will be ready to test their new material. “We did a tour with Illy about a month ago supporting him on a few gigs around the country and doing those shows and Blah Blah Blah festival is about road testing your songs, trying them out live. We’re still at the stage where we don’t know which of these songs will make the album and which will be cut. We will see which ones people respond to, which ones get a good reaction and which ones perhaps don’t get the reaction we were after.”

While the twosome wouldn’t say they’re living the good life just yet, getting the Spit Syndicate name out there has provided a few glimpses of fame, with one that stands out from the rest for Nick. “It’s not an entirely glamorous life trying to get your music off the ground but I found out the other day that the actress (Lara Cox) that used to play Anita on ‘Heartbreak High’ is a Spit Syndicate fan and I’m a huge ‘Heartbreak High’ fan. Anita was always a fairly sexy character so I’m pretty chuffed about that.”


Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:43


Rattling Heads

He may be a warehouse manager by day, but come nightfall you can catch Caughtz ripping up south east Queensland with his crew, Triple3.

Captivating audiences with Triple3 for almost four years, emcee Caughtz is ready to take the stage alone, dropping his first solo EP, ‘The Lost Soul’, next month.
Brought together by a mutual bond of music, Triple3 members Caughtz, XXI, 7ravesty and DJ Immaculate are locals in the Brisbane and Gold Coast hip hop scenes, each with more than a decade of experience under their belts.

“I’ve been involved with emceeing, writing rhymes, breakdancing, graffiti and the culture in Melbourne and Sydney for ten plus years and Trav has as well, while XXI has been in the scene for 1,000 years,” Caughtz says.

It was only a matter of time before they decided to combine their talents and become an official crew, leaving the naming of the group up to chance. “We decided to make a goal of this or we’d just end up plotting away in a dead-end job. I’m just a warehouse manager so my nine to five life is nothing special at all. We don’t have a back-up plan if this fails but hopefully we’ll do alright, we’ve just got to think positive. “Two of the crew members, XXI and 7ravesty, used to live in a little unit block in Stones Corner where we used to record all our demos and the number of it happened to be 333. So that’s how we came up with the name.”

‘The Lost Soul’ has been in the pipelines for more than a year, with Caughtz furiously recording and getting it together over the past six months. He’s super enthusiastic about preparing for its release at the Real Talk Battle League later this month. “Once we finally committed to getting it down and the record label gave us the okay and the funding to do it we were really excited. I’ve got some really good collaborations and all the production and recording was done at Capthat Records with Paul Patterson, who’s just an absolutely brilliant music engineer. It’s been a long hard road so it’s definitely all paying off and worth it, I can’t wait to get it out.”

Inspired by the ‘80s and ‘90s east coast American scene (the Wu-Tang Clan, M.O.P.), Caughtz describes his solo sound as a little bit different to the norm. “I’m from the era when hip hop wasn’t cool. Now every man and his dog is an emcee and every man and his dog wants to be part of the culture. We were a minority back in the day. I come from that true four-element hip hop representation.

“My EP is not generic run-of-the-mill Australian hip hop, it’s different. I tell it like it is and I call it how I see it. My rhymes are brutally honest. I haven’t had a terrible upbringing but I haven’t had the world’s most fantastic upbringing and my lyrics are real. It’s going to rattle some heads, definitely, because it’s not the norm that the Brisbane hip hop scene is used to.”

His music is not the only thing that’s different. According to Caughtz, gone are the days when hip hop battling was all about freestyling. “Personally I’ve never been a battle rapper but I think my solo music seems to cater for that battle league sort of crowd. We’re all very capable of freestyling, but even the battle scene these days is all pre-written. Battlers basically find out who they’re battling a month before and they start writing from there. “All Triple3 live sets are very well planned, there’s nothing sporadic or off the top. We’re very much a uniformed outfit.”

Caughtz says 2011 has had a number of pinch-yourself moments with the highlight getting his EP out. Following its release will be the unveiling of Tricksta’s EP, ‘The Wars Awaiting’, with a Triple3 EP in the mix as well. “After my album drops and Tricksta’s album drops in a month or two we will go straight into the studio to record Triple3’s first solo EP and then we’ll start touring. Trav is also working on a free mixtape/ EP so once we get all that out of the way I’m sure there might be room for another project. 2012 is definitely going to be a big year for us.”


Wednesday, 12 October 2011 12:31



After solidifying himself as one of the nation’s most prominent hip hop artists, emcee Illy is ready to ditch the temperamental bitch Melbourne calls weather for some sunshine at this year’s Sprung Festival and 600 Sounds.

“I’m really looking forward to both days,” Illy says. “Bliss N Eso and Drapht are both mates playing at 600 Sounds and Sprung’s line-up is crazy! I guess just getting up to Queensland, being among a bunch of cool crew and enjoying the nice weather and some good music should be really fun.”

First realising his dream at just 13, the now 26-year-old Melburnian has toured the country extensively, performing sold-out shows with M-Phazes after the release of his sophomore album, ‘The Chase’, late last year. “Having ‘Pictures’ come #66 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 last year and then ‘It Can Wait’ reach #29 this year was awesome, not to mention playing Pyramid (Rock Festival) last New Year’s as well as Splendour, the Melbourne shows, and selling out an entire tour. There’s been a lot of pinch-yourself moments lately and hopefully there’s still a lot more yet to come.”

While ‘The Chase’ has received rave reviews all around, producing the album was nothing less than an all-consuming effort in between touring and completing a law degree at Monash University. There were points when the workload just seemed overwhelming. “It was pretty hectic making ‘The Chase’. I was still a full-time student and I was touring flat out so there were times when it got pretty ridiculous. The whole concept behind ‘The Chase’ was that at the time I was making it I was pursuing three different things: touring, making the album and finishing uni. I was chasing these three different goals but not actually realising any of them.”

Now less than two weeks away from graduating, Illy has his head on his shoulders and a strong plan for the future. “I’ve always said I wanted to push this as far as I could before I turn to a career, I just wanted to have the degree behind me. After graduation I’ll hopefully have a couple of years of just being able to focus on the music and see what happens there before I chuck on a suit and tie.”



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