Items filtered by date: November 2013
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:57

Lollo Meier: The Love Of Music

Lollo Meier is an amazingly talented guitarist and teacher, with a long career and a life spent in passionate pursuit of his art.

His visit to Australia for the OzManouche Festival later this month is a wonderful opportunity to see the works from his latest albums, ‘Plachterida’ and ‘Fleur Manouche’.

Can you give us an idea of the things you love about music and the origins of the Manouche style?
I love music because I grew up with it, I don’t know anything better. So it is a part of me. I grew up with the music of Django Reinhardt; he was into the Manouche music and therefore I love it forever.

What can you tell us about the new album; more specifically the original pieces?
The album is called ‘Fleur Manouche’. The songs I wrote are inspired by the great Django. I played Django for all of my life and everything I do is, in a way, inspired by his music.

Have you been to Australia before? What are your impressions of the music you’ve heard from here?
No, but I’m really looking forward to visiting you guys. I don’t know much about Australian music ‘cause I’m always pretty occupied with my own music.

Hot jazz always seems very inviting and inclusive of all the forms; do you think it is the more romantic notions that inspire people when listening to French jazz or the skill and aptitude musically?
People seem to enjoy the liveliness  of the romantic style. It is better understood than the more traditional free jazz styles. So the music is finding a direct way into the hearts of people.

Tell us about your earlier work and the other musicians you have enjoyed playing with?
I played with a lot of different people all over the world. Some of them were and are exceptional. I learned a lot of different styles and techniques. So I am blessed to be able to work with all these fantastic musicians. And I’m looking forward to playing with my friends in Australia.

Some more modern influences are apparent in your work. Are there any more modern influences on your music you’d care to mention?
Recently I’m working with flamenco musicians. I don’t know if this is a modern stream, but I love to do it. It is very new to me and I love learning the techniques and emotions of the music. I try to put down the jazz and flamingo into a mix of my  own. So it is very special to me. I hope something comes out of it and maybe I’m going to put it on a new album. I always try to be original, so I listen to very different types of music.

Please, tell us more about your home and where you rehearse, the space and the work regimen.
I live on a gypsy campsite with my wife and daughter. My family is also living on this campsite, so we are always together and therefore are able to play our traditional music. I play every day. It is necessary to keep up my techniques and I try to make lots of new music. So I look upon it as an hobby that has become my work. I simply love it.

Lollo Meier performs as part of OzManouche at the Brisbane Jazz Club Saturday November 30.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:49

Sarah Collyer: Live Review

In the gloaming, the borderland between day and night, activity and peace, it was onto the BJC for a truly border-defying musical journey.

Coincidentally enough, we share in the birthday celebrations of a marvellous and truly diverse local performer, Sarah Collyer.

There was cake!

With a placid, yet sensational voice, this local mainstay has a soft and warm tone, but a presence and grand power when called for.

The soulful arrangements of many fine standards and her own original works were proudly less traditional in this performance, with the core of the show being a lighter and more open, progressive feel; more groove than mellowness and a core that blended and threaded many styles together.

The styling of the pieces and the quality of the musicianship was of high standard, and in the moments of freedom a very natural and attentive side of the group became apparent; a group that allows the sum of the parts to reflect a single function or component for a given time and allows the shape to change and suit the components’ movement.

The standards were very left-field; a bossa here, a tumbao there, some high funk for good measure, but also very respectful and really visceral in the variation from the normal, more smooth and placid versions.

A very strong presence to the vocals and good rapport made the show quite entertaining, on an interactive, more inviting level.

The lead and solo sections were highly driven and very deft, with a rather amazing group beside her during some very memorable pieces in which the flavour stayed in check, but varied wildly to suit the inclination of the players. Awesome.

Sarah Collyer performed at the Brisbane Jazz Club November 9.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:42

Synthetic Breed: Return To Glory

There’s nothing synthetic about decade-long metal rockers Synthetic Breed and their upcoming third studio album.

"We've all been playing our respective instruments for so long now, it's really just a progression of where we are as musicians,” says drummer, Daniel Luttick.

“Our songwriting and our performance is a lot more mature compared to where we were ten years ago.”

It's a milestone for the band, signposted by the return of original band members Vincent Zylstra and Jonas Bahlo, as well as longtime vocalist Callan Hughes.

'Xenogenius', the band's most recent single, foreshadows the more mature, versatile sound Luttick describes.

"I think the fans appreciate that we're trying new things out musically and vocally. That we're not just churning out the same thing over and over again, which unfortunately you see so many bands doing these days.

"You'll hear and you'll know it's us even though it might sound different from our previous releases."

Despite the more polished and refined progression Synthetic Breed have taken with age, the special 'formulated chaos' that defines the band remains, with the group's lively, rhythmic energy supported by Luttick's steady, near-mechanical drum-beat.

But Luttick stresses the band is not restrained by labels and taglines.

"It's our personalities that people are seeing up on stage. We don't really sit around the table and say, 'Ok guys during this song we're going to this movement and this choreographed dance'.

"It's really just our personalities shining through as we feel the music."

This is precisely why these guys have been around for so long. What you see is what you get with Synthetic Breed.

Unfortunately, as Daniel admits, it’s still an uphill battle to win over mainstream audiences.

"It's very different than overseas, which is where we'd like to spend more time. What's really lacking in the Australian scene is the support.

"I'm not talking about the fans, there's just this general perception that if you play in a metal band then you're not really given the credit that perhaps you should be."

Synthetic Breed play The Neck Wreck Festival, Transcontinental Hotel, November 16.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:34

Seabellies: Fever Bellies

The Seabellies found a happy medium between making music and partying during their time in Berlin. Their new LP, 'Fever Belle', is undoubtedly a reflection of this.

Sydney based five-piece Seabellies have been on the Australian alternative rock scene for years.

“We started maybe seven or eight years ago,” says frontman Trent Grenell.

“When we first hit our straps we did the V Festival tour with The Pixies and Phoenix. It was probably the best time of our lives, it was incredible. We've been lucky to play a lot with The Temper Trap guys and we've done some shows with Tame Impala back in the day.

“We've been around for a while now. We're probably one of the most stubborn bands in the Sydney scene. We just won't give up … Most of our contemporaries are gone. It's sad. We're the lone wolves, we're just too persistent to kick it.”

They have toured and they have travelled, and they aren't looking at stopping anytime soon.

“[We] really like how different crowds are around the country. It's really phenomenal how different people and different cities react to us and music in general.

A show in Melbourne is very different to a show in Brisbane  and it's just fun. The different dynamics, the different places and the different sets.

"We really like playing live because it's actually still fun for us just because it's so convoluted on stage and we have a lot of instruments and a lot of different sounds, so it's always a ball.”

Trent goes on to explain their most recent trip.

“We lived in Berlin for about six months last year and we spent two and a half of those months recording and mixing. The rest of our time there was spent partying. We'll call it a 50:50 ratio of music making to partying.

“[The recording process for] 'Fever Belle' was fabulous. We put all the big parts like the drums and horns and strings and all that stuff in the studios in Sydney.

"But then we realised we don't need to spend all our money on big studios now... and Berkfinger [Simon Berckelman of Philadelphia Grand Jury] has this wonderful studio set up in the middle of the city in Berlin.”

Seabellies were blessed to also work alongside Tim Whitten, who has worked alongside the likes of Powderfinger, Augie March, Hoodoo Gurus, and The Go-Betweens.

“[Whitten] is one of the most experienced guys in the game, the collection of records he has made is incredible. Berkfinger [was] being all crazy and rewiring and trying all sorts of weird recording techniques in one room with us and Whitten was making sure everything was chronically beautiful — which was a really fun process trying to make things crazy but also trying to make sure they stay cohesive.”

For those who may not have had a chance to see or hear the Seabellies, Trent attempts to explain their sound.

“I guess we’re... can I say ‘ambitious’?” he laughs. “We're all multi-instrumentalists. There's a lot going on in our sound, we've always liked trying to do really widescreen stuff.

"We've always been influenced by bigger bands like Broken Social Scene, The National, Arcade Fire, all those guys who have lots of musicians but still have really great, tasty songs.

“That's what we try to do. We try doing a lot of diverse stuff, a lot of different moods and a lot of different rhythms. I don't know if that's a really good explanation but that's how we look at it.”

Lucky for us, The 'Bellies are “kicking the ['Fever Belle'] tour off up [in Brisbane] at Alhambra Lounge. We're looking forward to it … We're trying out a lot of new stuff so it will be quite an ambitious show… hopefully it works out.”

For those who may have already had the pleasure of seeing them in action, their set is expected to be a little bit different this time around.

“These days our sets are definitely a lot less brash. We're quite diverse, and we'll obviously be playing our new stuff. So the shows have a lot more highs and lows, the dynamics are different — we all swap around instruments… and it's quite melodic and quite hard work for us.

"For me, it's ridiculous — I am kind of kicking myself because I have strived so hard on this album to really push my range so playing it live is quite difficult. But the last tour was really great so I think we're getting there.”

Other than touring, the 'Bellies next single is dropping next week.

Grenell says 'Berlin Horses' is “probably our biggest song on the album — it’s the biggest, loudest, most brash song, so we're looking forward to seeing how people take to that. We're also filming our film clip tomorrow, which is going to be ridiculous.”

Seabellies play Alhambra Lounge November 21. 'Fever Belle' is out now.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 13:18

The Offspring: Teenage Crime

Some bands are so iconic that introducing them seems equal parts pointless and completely overwhelming.

But I’ll give it a red hot shot. The Offspring are one of the biggest selling punk rock bands of all time. They were pivotal in the 1990s revival of a genre that has shaped popular music today, selling over 40 million albums and flinging hits and headline tours across the globe like giant, musical Frisbees.

Last year they released ninth studio album ‘Days Go By’, and whether a punk purist or pop fan, if you’ve been breathing on this planet in the past 20 years, you know the kids from California are doing more than alright.

“We were a band for ten years before anyone really knew who we were. We were slugging it out in clubs and travelling across the country in vans, always saving up money to do this on our summer vacations and on weekends,” explains guitarist Noodles, who’s been a member of the line-up since 1985 (allegedly because he was old enough to purchase alcohol for the other members) when the band was working under the short-lived guise ‘Manic Subsidal’.

“We got together out of a love of music. It wasn’t a business proposition. We didn’t set out to become rich or famous because we didn’t think that would ever happen to a punk band. So when it did, it was all gravy.”

No strangers to the tour bus, The Offspring will be hitting our shores to headline the Vans Warped Tour this November.

“The first time we were in Australia was in January 1995 for the Big Day Out. We didn’t know what to expect, and we didn’t realise that even songs from [sophomore LP] ‘Ignition’ were recognised down there because of all the surfers who had heard our tracks in surf videos.

"We were so stoked and have been back nine or ten times since. We just love it because everyone’s so warm and friendly and they love to drink, which is great for us!” 

Their last record, ‘Days Go By’, was quite possibly the final one the boys will put out with their longstanding label Columbia. In the true spirit of punk rock, Noodles seems unconcerned about what’s going to happen next.

“At this point, all options are open. Either we go back and try and renegotiate a deal with Columbia or work with someone else or maybe even make our music free on the internet.

"In a way it’s very liberating, as well as being scary, not knowing what to do and having to figure it out for ourselves, but you know, we’ve been doing this for quite a while and I’m sure we’ll land on our feet.”

They’ve certainly withstood the longevity test. So what’s the secret to staying relevant to today’s fickle youth, while still pleasing original fans grudgingly pushing the thin line between unruly punk kid and middle-aged suburbanite?

“We always come back to the kind of music we fell in love with as teenagers — melodic, yet aggressive punk rock. But we’re never afraid to mess around. We are not afraid to take chances. We’ll do a fun song, or a reggae song, or a piano song.

"We’re not afraid to mix it up and I think that’s what helps us keep it fresh and hopefully gives the fans a little surprise. I mean, this year we’ve had the best audiences of our career. Absolutely. There’s been a lot of old faces and a ton of new faces. We feed off that. We want them coming back for more.”

There are exciting times ahead. 2014 heralds both the 25th anniversary of their debut self-titled album as well as the 20th anniversary of ‘Smash’, the breakthrough album that transformed The Offspring into household names.

In 1994 it set the record for most albums sold on an independent label, its critical acclaim capturing the attention of the major labels and going six times platinum in the United States.

“We are going to have to do something ridiculous and make some sort of spectacle of ourselves for sure”, Noodles laughs.

Whether or not they make a spectacle of themselves, livers will be crying after they do the loop around Oz this summer.

“That’s how Soundwave was, and if this year is going to be anything like the Warped tour we did in the US in 2005, then it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ll be drinking with everybody.

"There are times when you just need to decompress because it’s crowd after crowd and you just need to take a walk away from everyone and be incognito.”

Unlikely. They’re a band that defies any interpretation of the term ‘incognito’. For over two decades The Offspring have brashly infiltrated popular and punk culture, paving the way for so many to come.

As Noodles reflects on his career, I ask if he ever regrets throwing in the mop and bucket and giving up his pre-Offspring life as an unknown elementary school janitor.

“Ahhh… No.” Fair Enough.

The Offspring will headline The Vans Warped Tour at the Rna Showgrounds on Friday November 29.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:26

J Balvin: Brand Power

Jose Alvaro Osorio Balvin - better known as J Balvin - is taking over the mainstream with his distinctly Colombian brand of reggaeton.

Balvin recently told Billboard that he's “going to conquer the world”, and it's hard not to take him at his word. Since his breakthrough single, 'No Strings Attached', catapulted him to fame, he's racked up over 100 million views on YouTube.

In the US, Balvin's song 'Yo Te lo Dije' spent 14 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard Latin Rhythm Airplay chart.

On the day his latest single, 'Sola', hit the iTunes store, it rocketed straight past Daft Punk and P!nk to the number one spot. And when Robin Thicke wanted to add some Latin flavour to the South American release of 'Blurred Lines', he called Balvin in to spit a verse.

Beyond sheer numbers, Balvin believes that what sets him apart from other reggaeton artists in Colombia is his “corporate vision”. He watched the likes of Jay-Z from afar and learned the value of cultivating himself as “a brand” that goes beyond Billboard hits and gaudy download figures.

He's all about that paper, and he's not ashamed of it — he's quick to paraphrase his idol, Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Daddy Yankee, who has said that money cannot buy happiness but it can lengthen your smile.

Balvin attaches a value and importance to money that can only truly be understood by those who grew up without it.

He was raised in Bethlehem, Medellin, and while his family was not always poor (his dad “had a lot of power at some point in life”), they were broke by the time Balvin was 12. After “love”, he says, the word heard most often in his house was “overdraft”.

He remembers a terrible helplessness, a feeling of dread that motivated him to find his talent and take it forward. Eventually, he visited the US as part of an exchange program; he claims he was placed in the care of a mad woman, and walked through a forest filled with wolves and bears to escape her (at just 28, Balvin has already built something of a mythology around himself).

He went from Atoka to Oklahoma City and finally to New York, where he fell in love with hip hop. He was “hooked, hooked, absolutely” — in hip hop, he saw a reflection of the ambition, drugs, vices, power, and urban reality of life in Medellin, and he also saw a role model in Jay-Z.

Here was one of the most powerful men in the music industry, Balvin marvelled, selling clothes, video games and lotion, without losing his “street” appeal. “I saw the extent,” Balvin says, “that you can take the music as a business.”

Finally, Balvin had found his calling. “I fell in love not just with the music,” he told Billboard recently, “but the marketing. So I started doing hip hop, and then I was like, 'I have to do something that really represents us. I want to make a special kind of reggaeton that's more like hip hop; a Spanish version of American hip hop.”

He began his career with the CDM Crew, who released their first song, 'Pana', in 2004. His first solo album, 'Real', dropped in 2010. After years of honing his craft, Balvin's sensibilities seem to be perfectly in tune with the mainstream.

At this point, he says, he's not actively chasing crossover singles — he just does what he likes, and apparently, “it's very similar to what people want to hear”.

Balvin's latest LP, 'La Familia', sees him moving out of his reggaeton comfort zone. Incorporating R&B and jazz sounds, Balvin says it “works well in the disco, at breakfast, in the street… even at a wake, it sounds good.” It's an evolution, he says, a risk taken by an artist who can afford to take one.

Lyrically, though, Balvin's touch is as commercial as ever. He's crafting straight-up anthems for people who are looking for a good time.

“In reality, I'm not a saint,” he told Colombian newspaper El Espectador last year. “I am a young man like anyone else who falls in and out of love and wants to have fun. We're not going to discotecas to pray.”

Amen to that.

J Balvin plays The Arena on Friday November 15. To win tickets to the show, click here.

Published in Urban
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:09

Pussy Riot Tickets

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance this year, ‘Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer’ delves into the much-publicised trial of Nadia, Masha and Katie, members of Russian feminist art collective Pussy Riot.

Facing seven years imprisonment for performing a 40-second punk prayer (entreating the Virgin Mary to drive Putin away) in Moscow’s main cathedral, the girls soon became international symbols of youth resistance to Putin's authoritarian regime.

To win one of three double passes to an exclusive BIFF screening, Friday November 15 at 6.30pm at Palace Centro
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Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 4pm Thursday 14th November at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley.
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail.
3. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

Published in Competition
Tuesday, 12 November 2013 14:09

Filth Preview Tickets

A bipolar, bigoted, junkie cop (James McAvoy) manipulates and hallucinates his way through the festive season in a bid to secure a promotion and win back his wife and daughter.

Jon. S. Baird, who wrote and directed ‘Cass’ in 2008, has now written and directed ’Filth’, based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh (who also wrote ‘Trainspotting’).

The film also features Jamie Bell (‘The Adventures Of Tintin’), Jim Broadbent (‘Another Year’, ‘The Iron Lady’) and Imogen Poots (‘Greetings From Tim Buckley’, ‘The Look Of Love’).

To win one of ten double passes to the preview screening of ‘Filth’ at Dendy Portside Monday November 18 at 6.30pm
This competition has closed.
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Terms and Conditions:

1. Winners will be drawn at random at 3pm Friday 15th November at Level 2, 192-210 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. [Winners drawn]
2. Winners will be notified by e-mail. [Winners notified]
3. Entrants' email address will not be used for any other purpose except the conduct of this competition.

Published in Competition
Friday, 08 November 2013 18:47

Chukale: Cuba Calling

Afro-Cuban salsa ensemble, Chukale have constantly been on the move, giving Australian audiences a feel for authentic South American music and culture. Frontman Gustavo Cereijo checks in from far north Queensland.

How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
Our music is a combination of African derived rhythms mixed with Spanish melodies, influenced also by jazz and funk. Our repertoire consists of traditional Afro-Cuban music, salsa, timba, cha cha cha, Colombian and New York salsa and popular music.

What encouraged the decision to record some of the tracks on your new album in Cuba?
On my past trips to Cuba I have been lucky to meet and work with some of the best singers and musicians from Cuba's golden era of music. I thought it would be a unique idea to record and perform with these people with Chukale. It is something that has never been done in Australia by any Latin band.

What initially drove you to create the group?
Before I arrived in Brisbane, I was running bands like Chukale in Sydney. Sydney already had a thriving Latin scene as did Melbourne. My objective always has been to keep the Latin music scene alive. Brisbane was in need for a stronger Latin scene. I formed Chukale for this reason.

Your authentic sound is justified by the combination of all 11 musicians. How important is each member’s role in the group?
Well, obviously the rhythm section is a very important part of our ensemble. As Latin music is very rhythmical in general the rhythm section must be strong and consist of musicians who understand how these rhythms and grooves are put together. Chukale is also lucky to have some of the finest brass players and singers of this music in Brisbane as part of our horn section and vocal section.

I notice each Thursday you conduct dance lessons as well as giving a performance at Cloudland. Is dancing important to your style?
And have the lessons been popular amongst patrons? Dancing is a very important part of our music. I've always believed that every musician should know how to dance this music, and every dancer should understand the music they're dancing to. The dance classes at Cloudland have been successful for this reason.

What has influenced your style? What sort of influences does the ensemble have?
Chukale influences come from Cuban, New York and Colombian salsa, timba, Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz and some funk elements.

What do you want to achieve with your music? Do you think Australia is exposed enough to Latin American music and culture?
Basically Chukale is trying to achieve our goal in getting our Latin scene in Brisbane and Australia in general to the standard it is in New York and Latin America. I truly believe that Australia needs more exposure to this music and culture.

How has the band developed over time?
As any band, we started from humble beginnings, but I was fortunate to have musicians that believed in me and my ideas for the music and scene, and helped me get Chukale where it is today. Chukale is not only a Latin music institution in Brisbane, we are a family.

What do you like most about your music and being a part of Chukale?
Chukale has been together now for 8 years with 80 percent of the band still being the original members. What I love about us is the connection we have on stage. We have played together for so long that each of us can anticipate each others moves. Not many bands have that quality these days and that is what amazes our audiences, our chemistry.

What future plans are in store for the group? What would you like to achieve next?
The two things we look forward to in Chukale is touring and recording. Spreading our music as far as it can travel, so more and more people can be exposed to our music and Latin music in general.

Are you looking forward to your performance alongside J Balvin?
Of course. Chukale looks forward to any support performance for an international artist. Chukale has done numerous support performances for international artists and is very appreciative to have had those experiences. 

Chukale supports J. Balvin at the Arena Friday November 15.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Friday, 08 November 2013 15:44

The Be Project: Support From Pez

The Be Project is a new national competition which asks young Aussies to produce an inspirational song or action sports film with the aim of forming a collective voice challenging Aussie binge drinking culture.

Hip hop artist Pez is encouraging young Aussies to get involved. Having seen the effects that alcohol can have on budding musicians, he's passionate about musos fulfilling their potential without succumbing to the pressures of binge drinking and ugliness that comes with it.

Footage of the amateur filmmaker’s category will have their clips mashed together and played over the soundtrack of the winning song to produce an inspirational music video – developed by young people for young people.

The ten best action sports clips will win a handheld action camera so they can continue to capture amazing action sports moments with their friends.

The winner of the music category (best track) will win a trip to Melbourne where they'll have their song professionally recorded by one of Australia's leading producers, a professional music industry mentorship and a Macbook Pro so that they can continue recording tracks at home.

The competition is now open and closes at midnight on Friday December 20.

To enter or find out more: or

Published in Rock


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