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Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:51

SAE: Electronic Dreams

Peter Trimbacher is a polite and softly spoken gent based at SAE in Brisbane. He’s also an accredited Ableton/ Logic instructor.

And with his new Electronic Music Production certificate course commencing on November 12, we thought it an opportune time to chat with him about it.

“After five years of teaching at SAE I still find myself absorbing knowledge from students and co-workers on a daily basis,” he says.

“I first got into music through breakdancing, believe it or not! I have always loved to dance and was listening to a lot of broken beat and that’s what the essence of dance was all about for me. It sort of evolved from there because the hip hop culture gained speed and started to feature more in the way of electronic instruments.”

Eventually, that interest in hip hop led to an interest in production. Which is a far cry from what he was doing prior — a course in Environmental Engineering. But when he found the clubbing culture, it formed the start of a creative streak that hasn’t let up since.

“It was like a discovery,” he explains. “I was being exposed to genres that weren’t being played on the radio and more and more, I wanted to get involved behind the scenes.”

So with the powerful Ableton software behind him, Peter has committed his life to helping create and build its user base.

“The software is all about the user base; that’s where it differs from Logic or Cubase. It is the user group that drives the improvements in performance and features. Ableton was born from the need to have a live performance — it is essentially a performance-centric program — and it is superior, in my opinion, to other programs. While many of them do the same stuff, the power and control of Ableton sets it apart.”

That said, the course isn’t based solely around Ableton. The college runs Logic and Ableton side by side, given they are somewhat complementary; and both systems are seen to be a good fit for teaching.

“Because when you teach something, it should be applicable across a number of digital workstations,” Peter says. “If something, features-wise, comes out on one, the others tend to pick it up if it’s successful. Our job is to explore the benefits of the software and that’s what we do during the course.”

For these reasons, the course is quite broad — it is aimed at building students from the ground up. If students have no knowledge of making music from a producer’s perspective, Peter argues they’d find the course useful because it is designed to run as such.

Yet while his Ableton course doesn’t require much in the way of prerequisite background work, he says the class can cater to the more advanced user who has used the software in the last two or three years.

“We’re about being part of the community. People have different needs for the software and we facilitate that. It’s a broad group of people and it’s designed to assist people at a pace that makes them feel comfortable.”

Peter is a music lover, producer and talented musician in his own right, and is kept busy with his own music as well as a label he is running in Australia.

“My background helps in providing a bit of a broad gamut of services in relation to the class and the teaching — we even have an Ableton user group here in Brisbane which we are running, and it caters to users of all music software. It’s pretty informal but it’s about bringing like-minded people together to assist them to do what they love!”

SAE’s fully accredited Certificate III in Music (Electronic Music Production) commences on Tuesday November 12.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:30

Horrorshow: All Hail The Kings

There’s no doubt that any label boss is taking a rather large punt when they back a new artist.

Yet when Urthboy decided that Horrorshow ought to be signed to his Elefant Traks imprint, his risk was very well calculated.

Sitting back some years later after seeing 'The Grey Space' and 'Inside Story' albums hit the big time, he can rest assured that LP number three, 'King Amongst Many', is doing even bigger and better things. It's a milestone in the group’s career that Nick Bryant-Smith — aka Solo, who teams with Adit to form Horrorshow — has been working towards for as long as he can remember.

“I always loved music from a really early age,” he says. “I was in rock bands, jazz bands, playing the drums and things. I liked to sing as a kid and when I was about 13 years old and started high school, I got introduced into hip hop around year 7 and year 8.”

Taleb Kweli and Common were the flavours of the moment, but it was really when Bryant-Smith heard '1979' by Adelaide’s Hilltop Hoods that the die was cast.

“Right then, I realised that there was this whole local scene and identity in Australia that I didn’t know existed; I was hooked from that moment and fully immersed myself in the culture.

“I went to the record stores and bought all the latest music that was coming out; at the same time, Adit, who was in my year at high school — as well as some mates of mine – worked and backed each other and collaborated on some music and we sort of started to find our way.”

Fast forward a few years and the lads are flying high after performing a swag of dates around the country to launch the new album.

“'King Amongst Many' is the most forward thinking album that we’ve done,” Bryant-Smith suggests. “At least lyrically, I’ve come to a point where, having dealt with the introspective — the teenage years, the puberty and so on — I’ve now broadened my focus and interest and that’s been the focus on this new album.”

Admitting that he's always been into history, Bryant-Smith sees the LP as an opportunity to carry on a tradition.

“You’re a small part of a bigger thing,” he says. “We’re about gaining the respect of other hip hop heads and knowing where we sit amongst the world around us — as well as communicating all of that to your audience. The whole album fits into an ideology of tradition and freshness and originality.”

Unsurprisingly, the media has already welcomed their new material with open arms; punters have voted with their feet by quickly selling out shows in Melbourne and Sydney. Expect the Queensland gig — coming towards the end of the tour — to be the most hyped. The lads have had the chance to refine their performances and will want to go out with a bang.

“We’ve flipped things up a little bit for these sets,” explains Bryant-Smith. “We’ve played a lot of live shows in recent times; we’ve really cut our teeth on the live show format and with that we wanted to kick things up a notch and give people a new experience musically.”

So with Adit making a special effort with a whole swag of on-stage gear (yes, more than a set of turntables), expect transitions and live experiences not ordinarily associated with hip hop.

“We’re looking to really inject new life into this set,” explains Bryant-Smith. “Largely with a whole lot of new stuff, but also a few old favorites for our fans.”

'King Amonst Many' is out now. Horrorshow play The Zoo Friday November 1, SolBar Saturday November 2 and Byron Bay's Beach Hotel Sunday November 3.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 14:45

Dubfire: Back To The Future

Ali Shirazinia is a name that is written in EDM folklore. Initially as a part of the supergroup Deep Dish, but now as a bona fide solo superstar.

The Dubfire name is associated with deep, meaningful productions as well as a superb ability to read a crowd from behind the mixer.

“It has been a pretty wild ride this year,” explains Shirazinia. “I've had a pretty punishing tour schedule in 2013 and started a bit of a new project which is the Dubfire live show; so getting that process hatched has been a big focus for me this year.”

On its own, that should be enough to get fans of not only Deep Dish but also Dubfire excited — because you can bet it will feature the best of both worlds. Shirazinia confirms fans' expectations. “It's basically going to be a one hour show of the most recognised productions, edits and remixes I've done in my career. What I've done though, is taken those things and rearranged them for a live audience. With that, I'm also going to be working on a visual show to match the audio onslaught.”

Logistically, the setup will include Ableton, live controllers, iPads, control modules as well as anything else that might take his fancy between now and then.

“I'm really keeping my ear to the street to get a feel for what's in the background,” he explains. “The idea was actually to launch the new show at the Future Music Festival, but based on what's involved I'm wondering if I'll be able to launch it by then. If I do get it up and running shortly afterwards, I promise to get back to Australia to do some gigs!”

Inevitably, our discussion turns to rebooting Deep Dish.

“We have seen that ball gaining some traction,” he admits. “To start, we have been talking about putting together a retrospective boxset that covers our career together. We have many releases that didn't see the light of day and to preserve the legacy that was Deep Dish — something that was important to both of us but to so many passionate people as well. To do some shows and tracks — that would really mean a lot.”

With the time that has passed, the lads have come to understand — more than ever — that they most definitely had a unique musical vision.

“Looking back, there was a lot of in-fighting between us about who was doing what, but that was a typical part of a group who was passionate about what they were up to. We always questioned each other's motives and skills, which in the end was a positive outcome for us. And when we get around to doing things again, it will no doubt facilitate the creativity and drive that we so enjoyed when we worked together.”

Regardless, Shirazinia remains focused and committed to his current pursuits too, particularly with his SCI+TEC imprint, with a release schedule that's pretty much full until early next year. “The label has really been an opportunity to seek out and nurture new and exciting artists. I've really gotten behind The Junkies, Carlo Lio and Shaded — these guys are doing great and exciting things; I learnt a long time ago that I can't take on everyone, so with the label now I'm trying to zero in on the ones that have the drive we're looking for.”

Finally, Shirazinia shares some thoughts on getting back to Australia again for a series of dates with Future Music Festival in 2014.

“Some of the best memories I've had were at Future Music Festivals - particularly with Sven Vath at the side shows in Melbourne and Sydney. We weren't just hanging out together, but also with other artists generally and that's what I love about those types of festivals. I wish that happened in the United States; travelling from city to city you’re always meeting with producers who are at the top of their game. All sorts of things always come of that too.”

Dubfire plays Future Music Festival at the RNA Showgrounds March 1.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013 16:03

Peking Duk: Feels Like

Together since 2010, Canberra lads Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles — aka Peking Duk — reminisce about the water that has passed under the bridge since their formation.

“I pretty much started out listening to my dad playing Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix records around the house,” explains an eloquent and circumspect Adam. “With Reuben in bands and things, I kind of dabbled with the guitar and then progressed into hip hop, which I’m a little embarrassed about,” laughs the proud youngster.

“I was making these terrible beats on Garage Band on the computer and then ran into Reuben who was doing pretty well with his band Rubicon at the time,” Adam says.

He explains that as the lads turned 18 and got a taste of the club scene, later becoming somewhat obsessed with its energy and vibe, they decided to start producing.

“We got our hands onto Reason software and Reuben covered off on that really quickly. Then we bought some really crappy $50 decks and started jamming on those; we didn’t actually learn to DJ on them; it was when we got to DJ at the club we were told that if we couldn’t make people dance, we’d lose our jobs!”

But dance they did – and they continue to do so. It didn’t hurt Adam and Reuben, either, releasing tracks ‘The Way You Are’ and ‘Feels Like’, both of which have become bona fide smash hits.

“Musically, we decided when we started out writing electro and even more funky stuff – and then pondered some of the stuff we were producing now — we’ve evolved onto a sort of indie tip. We’re enjoying guitars and organic instruments as opposed to just synths. We enjoyed writing ‘The Way You Are’ and wanted to write a follow up single and worked on it pretty carefully; the new single, ‘Feels Like’, really did that and feels like it’s on the summer vibe we were looking for.”

Adam claims the duo have a lot of music in the bank, outlining a forthcoming collaboration with 360 and Daniel Merriweather they hope will see the light of day shortly.

“We’ve also got a collaboration with Laidback Luke and Benson from Melbourne coming up – as well as the plenty that we’re already working on,” he says. “There’s a real range of styles there too — soulful and dance oriented, but also upbeat party tunes – and while the Laidback Luke track is a straight up party stomper, we’re trying to temper that with music that goes in different directions as well.”

Maintaining that broad appeal without being pigeonholed then appears to be their raison d'être.

“And as well as that — more than anything — we are just music lovers, 100 percent,” chimes in Adam. “Between the two of us, we spend so much time listening to and appreciating music. I love getting inspiration for the music we write from everywhere. I have to admit though, we don’t necessarily listen to the sort of music we create – for example, I’m getting into cheesy hip hop like 2 Chainz; and I’m constantly on the lookout for new music; I’m always browsing through blogs and trying to seek out inspiration in order to find new ways of doing things!”

Finally – and let’s be frank — the lads are about to hit the big time. Not only are Triple J supporting them heavily, but Big Day Out has invited them along to their annual music-fest.

“Yeah, we’re both really, really excited,” Adam says. “We’re working hard on a really cool visual show with lots of props and fun stuff on stage. Hopefully, we can bring Gareth, the new character from our film clip onto the stage as well and have a bit of a laugh – it’s going to be a good, sweaty time! A lot of the crews playing at this gig are our favorites – groups we’ve both followed for a long time. To be giving something back, being at the other end as it were, that’s a really rewarding feeling. We’re both completely stoked to be honest!”

Peking Duk play Big Day Out at Metricon Stadium and Carrara Parklands Sunday January 19.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:47

N'Fa Jones: New Technique

When it comes to Australian urban legends, it doesn't get a whole lot bigger and badder than N'fa Jones.

The frontman from the 1200 Techniques outfit still has a place in the hearts and minds of his fans from all over the world, and even in 2013, is showing no signs of letting up.

“Music is just something I grew into,” he says. “When I was a kid, people were playing the recorder and stuff at school. That was all good but I had a different set of ideas. Then my brother brought home some hip hop records and we got into Bob Marley and cool stuff like that.”

At that time, the lads were listening to a lot of the original old school music from the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Artists like LL Cool J, Public Enemy and Run-DMC — they were the groups that gave N'fa his motivation to really explore the urban nature of street music, and ultimately what gave him the energy to do 1200 Techniques.

“I just liked the whole vibe and the culture and I sort of connected with it and started writing rhymes,” he says.

Yet fast forward almost a decade and he’s still enjoying his craft as well as the opportunity to spread his musical message.

“It's been a really great 12 months for me actually,” he explains. “I've done a bunch of gigs around the place and have quite a few lined up as well. ‘Wayooy’ [featuring Roots Manuva] came out and that did really well. And I've been working on a few other things and been really enjoying the direction of the way things have been unfolding.”

His plan in 2013 is to continue to release original music while continuing to evolve artistically. “We all develop and grow,” he explains with some authority. “I listen to our earlier music and you can still really hear connections to the stuff we did back then; it's kind of interesting really. My voice has changed a little which is quite bizarre but it's still hip hop music infused with the electronic sounds.”

N’fa Jones joins Drapht on The Uni-verse Tour with shows at The Spotted Cow, T’ba, Mar 6, The Red Room, UQ, Mar 7, Wharf Tavern, Mooloolaba, Mar 8, Parkwood Tavern Mar 9 and Great Northern Mar 10.
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 14:31

Cheap Sober: Going Unnoticed

Australian hip hop tends to take no prisoners. It’s pretty raw and gritty a lot of the time, as is the case with Cheap Sober, who has recently released his second album, ‘Gone Unnoticed’. But the NSW emcee isn’t necessarily about keeping the status quo.

“I wanted to add something original to the scene,” describes the lad from Illawarra. “I wanted to bring my own sound to what I was doing to be honest.”

First getting involved with music as a youngster by listening to the golden era of hip hop — artists he names are Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang Clan — Cheap Sober describes the inspiration he received and why as a result, he wanted to pursue music more seriously.

“There was this youth centre near where I lived and they had all sorts of different types of musical equipment, and they encouraged the kids to learn how to use it. I was pretty curious and recorded something when I was about 16 years old, and I really quite enjoyed it. From there, I bought some gear for myself and decided to take things a little more seriously.”

With his apprenticeship completed, Cheap Sober is now promoting the release of ‘Gone Unnoticed’.

“It did take quite a while to get through it,” he explains. “There were a few things that came up in my life that sort of held me back from doing music for a while too. So I'd say it took me from around 2010 to 2012 to produce and complete the album.”
That said, an album that evolves over a period like that, is bound to have depth and diversity.

“For sure,” agrees Cheap. “I think there is balance on the album. It took me probably twice as long to finish as I thought it might. I also ended up doing about twice as many tracks in the studio versus what actually ended up on the LP. I had to pick and choose the ones I liked most to really get the result I wanted.”

All in all, Sober considers making music something of an emotional outlet.

“If I want to get something off my mind or have something to do or have something to say, music is where I'm at. It has helped me deal with anger and frustration, get things out of my mind, and it has also made me feel better about myself. To see and hear people listening to your music saying that they're feeling it and all that — or even that it helped them through something — that's really positive.”

The production of ‘Gone Unnoticed’ was taken care of by a number of his compatriots, both locals and from overseas. Likewise, the sound is diverse and unique.

“I've got this group of contacts that I've picked up from all over the place and I've kind of leaned on that for the album. To be honest, I wasn't too fussed where the producers were from or what they'd done before — as long as they brought the fire for this release!”

Yet not to be outdone, Sober is also back in the studio working on another EP, just to tempt the appetite of his fans.

“I just want to keep the buzz happening,” he says. “After that, I will have a break for six months and then start thinking about the next album. It's probably not something I'm taking as seriously as the album, so it was a little more fun to do, but I am still serious about it and looking forward to that release as well.”

Finally on the tour, he is ready to promote the album and suggests that it's going to be a much more lively than it was in the past.

“Tracks like ‘Puzzles’ are going to be a bit deeper, and there are some others I've re-done a bit too. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's responses to that. I've also got a great set of support acts that are coming to help out so it's going to be a high-energy show for sure.”

‘Gone Unnoticed’ Is Out Now. Stay Tuned For Details Of Cheap Sober’s Brisbane Show. Facebook.Com/Cheapsober

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 16:04

Nicky Romero: Wherefore Art Thou?

Nothing is going to turn the Nicky Romero ship off its course - not even a massively grueling touring schedule.

“I've just gotten back from a long tour,” chimes the youngster from the Netherlands. “It started on Boxing Day in England which was an awesome way to start. I did two gigs in one night — one at Gatecrasher Birmingham and the other at Cream in Liverpool! After that, it was straight off to the United States. I started out in Miami where I played the Space Terrace for the first time! Some more gigs after that we landed safely in Los Angeles where I had the pleasure of recording my label's first official video clip for my track with the Nervo twins, ‘Like Home’.”

So at the end of a whirlwind year that he says was an amazing experience, Romero is getting ready to smash Australia with some countrywide dates. But it hasn't been all-roses for the youngster, who could just as easily have headed a different path if it wasn't for his drive, commitment and determination.

“It can be a very intense life in music,” he admits. “Though I feel blessed to be in the position I am in today. It is every musician’s dream to be successful so I have to be very thankful to be doing what I love every day. My career is everything I hoped it would be — and more. The people I get to meet, the places I go, as well as the overall impressions I get every day — it is all one great gift!”

Touring aside, the lad has been rather busy in the studio since his 2012 EP ‘Sparks’ rattled a few feathers (in a good way).  “Many things have been going on musically recently. I produced a track for Rihanna that features on her latest album ‘Unapologetic’. I also released that track with the Nervo twins, that was released on my own label Protocol Recordings which was great as well.” Label wise too, Romero explains how he has signed another track on his imprint by Tony Romera called ‘Pandor’. “David Guetta also asked me to do a remix for his track with Ludacris and Usher called ‘Rest Of My Life’ which will be released shortly too; so all in all we have some great collaborations lined up for 2013!”

The notion of ‘keeping busy’ for Romero may well be an understatement — it doesn't hurt to dream, though, and despite having released tracks on some big labels already, he’s got even bigger goals for the future.

“It's my lifetime dream to work with Timbaland, actually,” he admits. “This is aiming for the stars but I hope that things will become reality some day! Otherwise, some of my collaborations have just come about by hooking up with artists who I had respect for. I am very happy with my collaboration with Avicii for example. My team has played a great part in my success too and we all work really hard — and the results keep coming in, so that is very exciting!”

He acknowledges the special feeling you get as an artist when you receive recognition from your peers, especially since many of them have been in the music business for considerable periods. “It is very special and I am thankful every day,” he professes proudly. “But what is also really great is that I have such an enthusiastic and loyal fan base. Just this week I received a video put together by my hardcore fans to wish me a happy birthday. It was absolutely touching and overwhelming! Also, playing to crowds all over the globe and seeing people partying to your music is one of the most fulfilling things in my life next to making the actual music.”

Clearly then, the Dutchman couldn't be happier. His performances have developed now to the point where he is playing his sets with a majority of his own music. “I try to mix the hottest tracks of the moment into my sets; and I try to feel out the crowd I have in front of me to see what gets them going. I always try to bring a mix that is fresh and reflective of what I am feeling at that time. I always play a good mix of different genres but I do try to stick with a story — it depends on the vibe of the festival, the crowd and so on.”

Finally, while Romero longs for a day off, he admits that even when he does get one, he usually spends the time in the studio doing an even longer session than normal. “A far distant second to music is my motorbike, too,” he says, almost as though he’s surprised to remember he has a life outside of music. “Riding that is a passion and helps me clear my head! Otherwise, at the gigs you can expect me to go all out and bring the freshest tunes, new productions and loads of energy!”

Nicky Romero plays the Big Day Out at Gold Coast Parklands on Sunday January 20

Wednesday, 05 December 2012 14:48

Lady Waks: Russian Breaks

Born in Saint Petersburg, Lady Waks is bringing the noise and representing a part of the world that seems to be establishing a place in the hearts of fans, artists and producers alike.

“In previous years, I've spent most of my time in Europe. Now nearly every weekend I'm away from home, but I always try to come back home quickly — except for my recent tours of Asia, Canada, US and of course my favorite one, Australia!”
Clearly then, she knows the way into the hearts and minds of her fans down under.

“Recently, the main project I had been working on has been for the Breaks Arena Festival, which took place in Saint Petersburg in late November. I'm also running my monthly club nights called In Beat We Trust. As well as that, I'm also running a booking agency where we represent breaks heads from around the world.”

Likewise, her weekly radio show on Russia's largest and best-known radio-station, Record, is kicking goals every Tuesday night. She adds that fans can listen and watch her sessions live ( Further, her IBWT music imprint has just had a new release from ilLegal Content featuring Steppastyle.

“Presently, I'm working on new beats, some of them are in collaboration with the other breaks DJs (including) man of the moment, Germany's Marten Horger,” she says.

So after finishing school, the lass decided to study in Russia, enrolling at the Saint Petersburg University Of Culture and Art.
“I started to work at the radio station, hosting my own radio show where I was promoting my favorite tunes and music styles. I had lots of cool artists performing during my sessions and lots of great DJs who played for me. After that, I started working at an events company as a designer, but changed my position to a booking agent and event manager at the same company, later starting the club night.”

By 2004 she’d decided to DJ at her own nights, simply as a result of having too much music to share.

“Then, after I met Hardy Hard in 2007, I went to the next level and started to make music; and after meeting Westbam all three of us went on the Electric Kingdom tour ‘round Europe. I basically came to the music industry and met artists who kept inspiring me to do what I have done for the last 13 years!”

Studio wise, she adds that there are some new tracks that she’s currently working on.

“I'm really looking forward to doing a remix for Deekline and Ed Solo — they are releasing a new album in the near future. I'm also very happy about my collaboration with Marten Horger and MC Jay. And I can't wait to get back into the studio after my Australian tour! The truth is that after maternity leave, I haven't spent enough time in the studio, which I should have — so that is my current plan.”

Furthermore, she has resisted the desire to pack her bags and head off to other parts of Europe or the USA permanently.
“Of course I had the idea to move to Europe — and it is still an option for me and my family — but there are lots of things to do here. I've done a lot of work to get the breaks scene to the level where it is right now. And after ten years of looking for people to work with, I have finally found quality business partners. People I can trust; people that I believe are doing the job they should do at a level we need to, in order to become a bigger company. I can't leave all this and move somewhere! The music scene is huge in Russia and in some ways it's very good to be a Russian with a German education. You know how organised the German people are!”

Lady Waks will be joined by Marten Horger and The Nextmen when Blah Blah Blah takes place at Cloudland December 28.
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 15:57

Mojo Webb Band: Bluesy Cats

Michael Webb (call him Mojo) is a bona-fide Aussie blues legend. A man who simply adores nothing more than a “good blues gig” is coming of age — album number two has hit the streets.

“I first heard blues when I was about 14,” explains Mojo. “Right then, it immediately hit me and so I became an avid collector of records and things like that; I was listening to a lot of local blues radio stations so it was something that was a passion for me. And it's something that basically turned into a career.”

Not bad work if you can get it, either. But there’s more to this blues love story than just a guitar, a microphone and a stool. Because the gift this man has transcends the one-size-fits-all methodology that a lot of musicians possess, nowadays.

“I was primarily a guitar player and then I got into playing harmonica as an adult. I'd always loved those sorts of sounds and from there, in time, I learnt to play harp as well. So by the time I went to do the first album — which was called ‘The Burden’ — I'd started to play all of these different instruments over the years — oh, as well as the drums.”

Yet that's not all. The lad doesn't mind a bit of saxophone as well, admitting to learning to play that instrument for a couple of years as well.

“I'd always done it for pleasure,” Mojo says. “When I bought my first drum kit it was basically for me. The sax was the same. And then moving onto a blues bass guitar was pretty straightforward. That was all around the time of the first album. That was a project where I went to this little farmhouse and recorded it myself.”

That first album took a while, and only a little water has passed under the bridge since then — in fact about enough for him to collect his crew, head to Melbourne and record a second album, this time titled ‘The Cat’.

“The songs on the new album are all original. One of the songs was co-written with Brisbane boy Coojee Timms — my drummer and an absolute legend of the music scene.”

And with it, he claims the album became like a picture that he painted in his head. “I basically had the songs and took suggestions for certain things,” he says. “I do admit I'm pretty much a blues musician and not much else — that's all I really listen to when I'm not writing or playing. And when I do play, I play a lot of old style blues; the 1920s type stuff. And with the band, we don't do just pure blues so it does sound pretty original.”

Between busting out his harmonica or letting his fingers do the talking, the engaging style that is The Mojo Webb Band is almost without peer.

“We are certainly influenced by early blues, as I said, I don't really listen to much music outside of that — it's pretty much just old black music. I can't find myself playing anything else — it's just the artists’ aesthetic; I have to say, you do get a lot of satisfaction from recreating something that has come before, in the spirit of creating it the way it was supposed to be created, originally.”
And doubtless, Mojo and his band know exactly what it means to work a crowd. His partners in crime, Coojee and JB Lewis (bass/ guitar), are ready to deliver the pure blues experience to fans, old and new alike.

“I think what happens when I sit down to record something and then I'm recording ideas onto my phone and then turning it into a song — that's a very rewarding feeling.”

Except this time, you'll be getting all the rewards, because the Mojo Webb experience is coming to a venue near you. “The album is pretty wild and energetic so we'll be playing a fair bit of material off that. We really just want to let it all hang out; it's the same as when I play solo. Someone's always jumping around — it's real music, authentic music and it's delivered in an energetic way. We get people up and dancing and they really do have a great time!”

The Mojo Webb Band play Elephant Sound at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow Thursday September 13. ‘The Cat’ is out now.
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 15:38

Skryptcha: Staying Mindful

As a teenager, it isn’t difficult to be influenced by the urban movement. Beats, skateboards and keeping it real are kind of timeless notions.

Maybe not so hip anymore or even a little cliché, the movement in 2012 is a far cry from its roots. But the key ingredients remain, and Skryptcha is mindful of growing up around it all.

“There were these skating videos with mad soundtracks from Dre and Beatnuts,” remembers the Sydney MC. “That was my first introduction to music, really. We really put our minds to it in the beginning. We would muck around when we were going through high school, putting rhymes and things together. It was sort of one night where we decided it was pretty awesome, writing raps and going online on forums.”

And while there was no real plan at that time, one thing led to another.

“You get good feedback and it inspires you to do more. You start recording and things just keep rolling; I started to think bigger and bigger about things and felt like I was getting into music more and more seriously. It went well and now I’m putting out the ‘Mindful’ album.”

‘Mindful’ sees Skryptcha evolve as an artist, treading ground where perhaps he hasn’t before.

“I had been doing my thing with music, having fun. Then things sort of got to a point where I thought I was good enough to make a professional product. For me it was all about contacting labels and seeing what they had to say. To be honest, I wasn’t directly thinking about a record contract at that stage, I was more interested in getting good feedback so I could use that to build up my skills.”

Things got real when Oz hip hop superhero (and Obese CEO) Pegz called him out of the blue.

“I nearly fell out of my chair,” Skryptcha laughs. “He told me that he thought I had potential and I sort of flipped out. At that stage, I’d done basically one or two shows in my life and they were all for fun… that was around 2008 and he thought we could work together pretty well. We worked on things and kept in touch and you know the story, one thing leads to another.”

Before you know it, you’re putting out albums and continuing to nurture your passion for music while inadvertently helping to foster and build a local scene which could fairly be argued to be in its infancy.

“Hip hop in Australia is pretty new so there is a real opportunity to explore different parts of the genre and do different things,” says Skryptcha. “I really dig the soulful part of the genre and that really got me thinking as well. It was a real passion for me; I was sitting down with my booking agent one day and they looked at me and said I had to experience things outside of Australia. So I ended up in New Orleans, Memphis, New York and experiencing the scene over there – it was an amazing eye opener.”

No doubt, the emcee didn’t squander the opportunity.

“I was at a jazz festival and it was so inspiring and that led me to sort of embrace the soulful part of the genre that I’d really loved. I’ve just picked up a lot of ideas that have really evolved into something that I feel I have created. It was inspirational as I said – but it was really a big dream. I got to work with a whole lot of different people on the album and the result is something I’m really happy with.

“And then I hooked up with Illmind in Brooklyn and we basically put the whole album together. It was great to build a relationship that was basically made over the internet. I had heard his beats originally from a website where people would trade beats and then you’re working with a producer that you deeply respect. Wow!”

Regardless, Skryptcha has finished counting his lucky stars and is pumped for a series of shows that will showcase his most recent work. “Man, I can’t wait to get out there and do my thing. It has been a long time coming and I really feel like I’m ready to unleash.”

’Mindful’ is available now.
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