Items filtered by date: March 2013
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 06:08

Ross Noble: Comedy In Preview

Hilarious Englishman Ross Noble is gracing our shores again this March and April on his new tour, 'Mindblender'.

The tour runs from March 12 – April 20 and marks 21 years in the comedy industry for Noble, who says his inspiration shows no sign of running out.
“Because I do so much with the audience, there's always new people and new things to talk about so it's all good.”

No stranger to our home that's girt by sea (he's practically an honorary Aussie), Noble has his own unique love of the Down Under touring experience. “I think it's just how relaxed it is, you know. There's the audience, obviously, but when you tour the UK and you drive up the motorways, they've got embankments up the side so you don't really see that much. Whereas here, you can drive through deserts and tropical areas and it's just a real pleasure.”

There will be ample roadside scenery to satisfy the retinas of Ross this time around, as this particular tour sprawls a wide variety of venues in towns all over Australia. “The great thing about this tour which I'm loving is we're doing this mixture of playing the huge arenas and then at the same time playing smaller regional towns as well so, yeah, it's the perfect mix.”

The name 'Mindblender' is fitting; in true Noble fashion the show is full of nonsensical genius that shows off his mastery of the abstract, his never ending imagination and love of spontaneity.

“I don't really write a show. I don't come up with a show that's got a topic — it's basically just what's in my head. So I thought rather than call it something that's like, 'Here is a show about this thing', the show is just about basically taking what's in my head and blending it up and pouring it out into a show, hence [the name] 'Mindblender'.”

Always one to tackle the absurd, Ross recently made his film debut as a psychotic zombie clown in the horror-comedy 'Stitches'. A self-professed fan of creature films, Noble says he jumped at the chance to step into the darkly hilarious role.

“When I read the script it basically had everything in it that I wanted to do in a film. As I said to the director, 'you had me at knife in the face' … When I read it, I looked at the script and just went 'wow, so he gets a knife through his head and then he falls into a dishwasher and dies at the start and then he's coming back with half his face missing and getting to do all these murders and stuff', it just looked like so much fun. And then I did it and it was brilliant.”

Seeing a comedian perform the role of a clown who gets accidentally killed by his unwilling child audience and then makes a deal to exact bloody revenge on their small bodies so he can come back to life, one has to wonder if the role spoke to any past grudges.

“I've had one or two audiences where I've gone 'eh', but never to the point where I've donned clown pants and wanted to remove their internal organs.”

I suppose that's a comforting notion for anybody going along to the 'Mindblender' shows, but don't think you're getting off easy, Ross Noble hates a dull audience.

“Don't come to one of my shows and think that it's just like going to see a play or a movie where you just sit there passively and just watch it. I want people to really feel like they're part of something … Just come along and, not put your feet up because that would be on the back of someone else's head, but just come along and just expect a really fun, live night out.”

Ross Noble and his new show 'Mindblender' are at The Brisbane Entertainment Centre Saturday April 13.
Published in Comedy
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 06:06

Danny Bhoy: Comedy In Review

Friday night and the Brisbane Powerhouse housed Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy — yeah, you thought he was Irish didn’t you?!

So did the Irish American Association of New York, Danny informed us, who invited him to an Irish-American comedy festival a decade ago! It was an hour-plus plunge into the wonderful world of letter writing to major corporations. The theme of the show was birthed after Danny bought a new Epson printer last year ... when the ink ran out three weeks later, Danny was rudely surprised to find the replacement ink almost cost as much as the printer itself. After writing to Epson, Danny was inspired to write to other multinationals: Telstra, Oil Of Olay (Yulan), British Airways and Vodafone all received scornful letters from Danny. It was an interesting approach to a stand-up routine, but Mr Bhoy pulled it off seamlessly — even his story about his one true lost love in New York had many in the audience wanting to pick up a quill and vent on parchment. His letter to his 13-year-old self had the full-house roaring with approval; even the World Trade Center joke was met with a smattering of guffaws from those who didn’t think it was ‘too soon?’. If you haven’t witnessed Danny Bhoy before, make sure you cross him off your bucket list next time he writes [sic] into town ... the man can weave a funny story across a range of topics, orchestrating the laughs with aplomb.

Thanks for the ‘cheering’ evening Danny.
Published in Comedy
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 06:01

Georgia Potter: Solo Soul

Brisbane songstress Georgia Potter is going it alone and turning heads as she goes.

Georgia has been part of the Brisbane music scene in one band or another since 2007, but it's her solo project that is getting the soulful singer noticed this year. After a long bout of overseas travel, Potter has returned to Australia with a bang, releasing two singles, the latter of which, 'Reckless' has already earned her the title of Triple J Unearthed feature artist last week.

“It's been an awesome first week for ‘Reckless’,” Potter says. “We've had thousands of listens on Soundcloud, and some really glowing reviews, and obviously it's exciting to be Unearthed feature artist. So that's very encouraging since the song's only been out for seven days.”

'Reckless’ was born in the back of Potter's car in the camping ground of Splendour In The Grass, when she awoke with the bassline in her head. Potter laughs that the song wasn't about her getting up to mischief but was “just to do with the kind of time that I was having. More so than specifically being about lust and desire, which initially the song is obviously about, it's also about spontaneity, about the fact that you do have to have those moments where you don't give a fuck about the consequences, and you're doing something that is reckless and whimsical and perhaps not as cautious. You've gotta just trust impulse sometimes and not try to predetermine anything. So, ‘Reckless’ is a celebration of that, I guess.”

Her solo releases have drawn comparisons to Frank Ocean, albeit female, which Potter says is the style she was aiming for.

“Frank is possibly one of my most favourite artists of all time,” Potter admits. “It's massively flattering that people are drawing those comparisons and really understanding what I'm doing. Probably, to be honest, there's a lot more kind of darkness in what I do than in Frank Ocean's kind of stuff, so I guess another massive influence on me is Portishead. That would possibly be the only thing that would equal or better that statement would be [a comparison to] Portishead.”

Potter will hit the road in April with Laneous & The Family Yah, of which she was previously a member, for Pink Dove III: The Bird Fire Review, a three-show tour of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The show is described as a five-hour long epic of Bird Fire Artists combining in various incarnations.

“I think it's going to run pretty back-to-back; there's going to be no dead-air time. So it's going to be kind of like those old-fashioned soul revue shows, where it is totally about the audience, and about having non-stop music. [It's] sort of paying homage to that kind of tradition of performance, rather than just putting on a normal gig.”

Fans can expect plenty of crossover between the 12 musicians who make up the bands of The Bird Fire Review.

“I think there's somebody in every band that's in the next band, and the drummer, she's playing in every set. We'll all probably guest with each other at some point, so I guess it is going to be a bit incestuous.”
Potter agrees that this nature is typical to the Brisbane scene.

“There's also camaraderie in Brisbane, and especially having seen other scenes — London and New York and being in those kind of places — I think it is really special that in Brisbane we are all kind of nurturing each other, and trying to bring as many people along with our successes.”

Potter credits her earlier work with bands like Laneous & The Family Yah for helping her to develop her musical style and persona.

“I guess only since my travels have I really decided to put my own project right at the forefront of what I'm doing and make it my sole priority. It's been nice to sort of find my feet and cut my teeth with all these other bands, and kind of bring a clarity to my own stuff from experience with those bands.”

Georgia Potter performs in Pink Dove III at The Zoo April 27. ‘Reckless’ is out now.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 05:56

Canyons: Art Vs Music

Sydney musical duo Canyons are bringing live music and visual art together.

The pair will land in Brisbane next month for a special one-off performance, but don't expect to hear any tracks from albums past or future. Instead, Canyons will present '100 Million Nights' at the Gallery of Modern Art, a collaboration with Aboriginal artist Daniel Boyd that combines live music and visual art.

“With us, it's not what Canyons is,” says half of the Perth-born, Sydney-based duo, Ryan Grieve (the other is Leo Thomson). “We're not going to release an album of what we'll be playing for this show. It is an art piece. It's really for the visuals and the visuals are constructed for the music as well. So we've been collaborating all the way to get it to a point where it's not just us doing our thing and Dan's not just doing his thing. We've made it all about collaboration.”

It's a collaboration that came about at Boyd's request.

“Dan contacted us, as we'd worked with him before,” Grieve says, with the show growing from experimentation on both sides. “From the work that we'd done with Dan before, we just kind of had [the visuals we were] going to begin with, then we'd just sort of start [playing] basically.” Although there's still plenty of rehearsal to be done before the show, Grieve says the live art will influence the music on the night, and vice versa.

“We wanted to leave it quite open. Just be able to enjoy it and lose yourself in it. It's quite hypnotic and almost meditative in parts as well, so you want to be able to feel it and not be stressing out. You want to just be able to immerse yourself in the moment as well.”

The show will feature Canyons as a five-piece band, with elements of traditional instrumentation (think guitars, drums, and keyboard) coupled with electronic effects.

“It's more about textures really rather than what instrument, so much,” Grieve says. “So if it's a really abrasive part, maybe there's like bass guitar happening or a little bit of rocky kind of synth.” To accompany the sound, the light and colour visuals created by Boyd's signature veil of transparent dots will appear on a stunning three-panel video screen installation.

“I'm most looking forward to hearing it all through a nice big system and seeing the visuals behind us on the big screen, and that coming into sync.”

Grieve hopes the choice of venue will bring out a previously-untapped audience.

“It's not your typical venue I guess. It's a little more special, so maybe you get people that wouldn't necessarily go out to a club to see something, or wouldn't go to the standard venues. It's a bit more of an event, and a nice place to see something live.”

Grieve encourages people to check out his previous work with Boyd, 'Dark Matter', for a taste of what to expect at ‘100 Million Nights’.

“There'll be everything from very, very sparse landscape desert-road type textures to fairly unrelenting and psychedelic frenzied drums, and guitar wailing and synth madness. Lots of light and shade and everything in between. It's hard to explain. Hopefully people react in the way that we are designing the sound and visuals to make them feel.”

Grieve says a Canyons album is now in the works, provided no more side-projects crop up. “When good things come up you don't want to say no to them, you know? It makes things a bit more interesting, keeps it more interesting when you get out of just your own world of 'we're making our album, we're doing this for us'.”

Those good things include working on a track for the latest Grand Theft Auto game, and writing music for a film.

“We do these things that can take us out of that headspace a little bit, which is always refreshing. It's like a real breath of fresh air, that sort of stuff.”

Fans can expect a more “coherent” record when the album drops — “there won't be as many styles of music, I don't think” — with single releases later this year and a finished product expected in 2014.

Canyons perform ‘100 Million Nights’ at Goma April 12.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 05:15

Buzzcocks: Ever Fallen In Love

Seminal punk veterans Buzzcocks may have been around for nearly 40 years, but guitarist Steve Diggle isn’t tiring of playing live any time soon.

“The nature of Buzzcocks songs is that they're so catchy and well crafted in their own weird way, and they're always such a pleasure to play,” he says. “It just feels like you are playing a classic all the time. What I've learned over the years, is that a live show is about communicating with the audience. It doesn't matter whether I play a bum note or the wrong chord; we can all be in this together, and in that way you never get bored of playing them. We're feeding off the crowd every night, and I think that's where the magic is, human beings connecting, you know? But fortunately they're all pretty good songs as well.”

Coming to Australia to play the Dig It Up festival and headline their own shows is a double bonus for the band, but whatever the size of the gig, Diggle is clear about what to expect from a Buzzcocks show.

“A selection of great classic songs, and a lot of excitement on-stage – that's the nature of Buzzcocks music. Bigger festival crowds bring that big sense of occasion, but then the smaller crowds are more focussed intensely on the music. So it's great to see a band in a small place as well; you can really get the essence of what they are. When I'm on-stage nowadays, it's not what I'm playing; I'm more concerned about what the crowd are doing and feeling.”

Buzzcocks are one of the few original punk bands to still be together since their formation in Manchester in 1976.

“When you're on the road together all the time, it's like being married to four people, and it's bad enough being married to one sometimes! This is why a lot of bands split up. We split up for a while in the '80s. We had a lot of success, we were on tour all the time, and all of those things take their toll. But when we got back together again we learned a lot from the break-up; to keep things in focus and in check, and now 35 years down the line we know how to deal with all that. We started when I was 20, and a lot of success came to us quickly, but then I realised that rock 'n' roll is in my blood and I embraced it. Like Turner, I nailed my colours to the mast and went out into the seas and experienced it all. Some people start taking it all personally and cracking up, you know? We got over those things quite early on, and that helped us survive. It's been a great journey. Like James Joyce's Ulysses, we were Mr. Bloom for a day, but the day went on and on for about the last 37 years.”

Organising their trip down under is easy for the experienced and well-travelled band.

“I bring two guitars and that's it,” Steve says. “In the early days when we went to America, we took the whole of the back line with us. Now we just turn up and plug in. The great thing about Buzzcocks is that we don't need rows of effects pedals. Australia is a little like home in a sense, because we're always well received; it's a great understanding we have. We know what to expect, and Australia knows what to expect, so let's all get down to it.”

While a Buzzcocks show may be rooted in music from the band's long career, Diggle is also very much looking to the future.

“I'm working on my solo record,” he says. “Pete lives in Estonia now, so it's hard not being in the same country. It's easy for me to do a solo record as I'm in London and the studio's just down the road. We will get a new Buzzcocks record out at some point. In the mean time we've got about 150 songs which are great to play live. Our live experience has always been the best.”

Buzzcocks play The Zoo Saturday April 20.

Published in Rock
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 19:34

Dubmarine & Kingfisha: Live Review

Live Review from The Hi- Fi March 22

It was reggae, but perhaps unlike anything you have seen before. A unique combination of soul mixed with electro and a splash of pop, West End hosted a night to be remembered if you ignored the strange smells coming from some of its dreadlocked patrons. Friday night at The Hi-Fi launched the latest singles from Dubmarine and Kingfisha: ‘Beat In Control’ and ‘Digging For Fire’. But first up were special guests The Chocolate Strings, who were great to watch. Beginning the night to a smaller crowd, they did their best to get the beats flowing and their onstage presence is not something easily forgotten.

Combining great sounds and shall we say varying dance styles, The Chocolate Strings are ones to watch. Dubmarine’s nine-piece band were in sync and had clearly rehearsed. Front-woman Billie Weston did not disappoint fans, and alongside front-man Kazman the duo brought plenty energy to the stage. Kingfisha also brought to the stage clean and synced sounds, but lacked the same onstage ‘oomph’ that Dubmarine had. But you’re better off soaking in their brand of reggae dub, with plenty of heads nodding in appreciation as the night went on.

See photos from the night at Scenestr


Published in Pop/ Electro
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 19:20

We All Want To: Smacked Smurfs

Brisbane fans are in for a treat when We All Want To serve up a new platter of their old songs.

“We're performing the second album [‘Come Up Invisible’] with a different singer on each song. The rest of the shows on the tour are just regular band shows,” frontman Tim  Steward says.
The Brisbane show will incorporate a bunch of talented local artists.

“We've got the guy from Inland Sea [Alastair McRae), Ed Guglielmino, Chris Hetherington from The Slow Push, we've got Jamie Hutchings from Bluebottle Kiss, Sue Ray, a singer called McKisko, a guy called Ross Hope — he's in Disco Nap and Iron On — a poet called Ghostboy and a guy called Daz who's the singer of The Good Ship.”

Steward connected with the artists by online means and hopes the audience will get more from the songs by hearing them in a different manner.
“Although it was a logistical nightmare to put together it's probably going to have its perks, like the songs will be interpreted differently.”

We All Want To were all drawn from entirely different backgrounds and Steward says it was a big musical awakening.

“We've got a drummer who as a kid was in a church band, and a marching band. Our singer Skye grew up listening to real folkie sort of '70s stuff on the Sunshine Coast. She was a singing waitress for a while. Dan the guitarist grew up learning Rage Against The Machine and Nirvana … so it's a huge diverse thing. If we can get a song from A to Z … finished and recorded, however it comes out that's fine by me.”
Steward spent his former days with the alternative rock band Screamfeeder and before that he was a member of '80s punk outfit The Lethal Injections, formerly known as The Psycho Skate Smurfs On Smack. I was intrigued to know where the name came from.

“Holy shit I've got to think back to 1986. We were just a bunch of drunk kids sitting around at band practice and we were like, what's the stupidest name we can think of and that was it. We had a bunch of one and a half minute punk songs. It was a crazy scene. The drugs, the booze, the punk music, the whole lot.”

We All Want to play The Judith Wright Centre April 19.

Published in Rock
The Living End bassist Scott Owen has been keeping himself busy collaborating with other musicians; most notably roots artist Ash Grunwald.

“We're both into surfing, so we've gotten to know each other like that,” reveals Scott. “[Then we] discovered from late nights sitting around someone's backyard with a couple of guitars and a bass with a few beers … that we really enjoyed jamming together.”

The friendship has since turned into a musical collaboration, with Scott initially joining Ash on upright bass for a run of shows late last year.  After dragging his family and upright bass to Byron Bay for a “sea change” a few years ago, Scott has since found himself part of a small community of elite musicians who have also made the town their home base.

“It's a pretty healthy little environment for music here at the moment,” Scott says. “I guess it always has been. Byron's just got that sort of appeal for artistic people, but it just seems to be particularly strong at the moment.”

With The Living End taking some downtime, collaborations with other local musicians such as Ash have naturally developed. 

“Yeah, I think it's just really healthy to play with other people and get influences from other players. It's really good as far as being a musician goes to have that sort of versatility.”

Staying true to this philosophy, Scott recently worked with Byron Bay local Pete Murray, recording on one of the tracks from Pete's most recent album. He also plays with Mr Cassidy, a country act founded by his wife Emily and Ash's wife Danni while their husbands were jamming.

Scott also discloses that he was very excited to get the opportunity to work with Midnight Oil drummer, Robert Hirst, on a string of shows with Ash Grunwald in late 2012.

“[It] was pretty unreal, because I'm a huge Oils fan. I've actually pledged my allegiance to Midnight Oil by tattooing one of their logos on my left shoulder.”

Scott laughs as he explains how he had broken the news of his obsession to Robert. “I had to wear long sleeves for the first 24 hours that I saw him, because I didn't want to make him feel awkward. I waited for 24 hours before I revealed that piece of information to him, which he took very humbly.”

Since then, Scott has continued to work with Ash, but has been joined by his band-mate and drummer from The Living End, Andy Strachan.

“We were down in Melbourne about a month or so ago and I did a couple more gigs with Ash and we got Andy from The Living End [to play] as well,” Scott says. “That was so much fun that we're going to do it again. He's going to come up to Brisbane and play at the [Caxton Street Seafood] festival … so that will be a bit of a treat.”

Scott confesses that he misses playing with Andy while The Living End are taking some downtime, so the shows with Andy are a welcome opportunity to reconnect.
“I know that I'm awfully biased ‘cause I've been in a band with him for years and years, but he is probably my favourite drummer to play with.” 

Scott goes on to explain how Ash's philosophy to rehearsals actually suits Andy's abilities as a drummer.

“We haven't rehearsed. This is another thing that me and Ash didn't have in common is that The Living End have been the most well rehearsed oiled machine.  We never go on stage without rehearsing a set probably ten times before we play it at a gig and Ash is the absolute opposite. We've sort of found middle ground I think … but Andy is such an intuitive drummer that there's really no need to get in a rehearsal room and play the same thing over and over again. He picks up on it first go anyway.”

In the meantime, Scott reassures fans of The Living End that although two thirds of the band are playing with Ash Grunwald, The Living End is still going strong.

“We've got a few Living End gigs coming up this year and we're also going to do a trip to Europe and doing a bunch of shows over there,” Scott says. “We haven't hung up the boots or anything like that, but yeah, we're just putting our finger in other pies, so to speak.”

Ash Grunwald with Scott Owen and Andy Strachan play The Caxton Street Seafood Festival Sunday May 5.
Published in Reggae/ Roots
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 18:47

The Black Seeds: The European Connection

New Zealand reggae-soul outfit, The Black Seeds will be returning to Australia in April after spending the summer conquering the European festival circuit and earning the title of ‘best reggae band on the planet right now’.

The Black Seeds released their fifth studio album, ‘Dust And Dirt’, last year that saw the band enter a new creative phase by fusing elements of punk, rock and disco with their trademark bass-heavy reggae/ dub sound.
“People have really responded well to it, they see we're not strictly a reggae band,” says vocalist Daniel Weetman. “Since 'Into The Dojo' I think that’s been shining through: just a bit more of a darker feel on that album and a few more synth ideas and tones coming in there. So yeah, it has been well-received — really well-received in Europe actually.

“We get some really good write-ups in Europe, they give us a chance and have an open mind to checking out something new that they possibly know nothing about or just hear that it's a New Zealand band.”
The group’s first foray into the European market was with their third album, ‘Into The Dojo’, in 2006 and with the success of ‘Dust And Dirt’, particularly in France and Germany, both Rolling Stone and Clash Music UK have dubbed The Black Seeds the best reggae act in the world.    
“For me, I feel like it’s from this opinion they have of us as one of the best, or the best, comes off ‘Dust And Dirt’ I think. It shows the variety that we’re not just strictly [reggae]. From ‘Into The Dojo’ to ‘Dust And Dirt’, we’ve tried to push the genre of reggae music and still be able to do a bit more of a traditional sound, but in our way we’ve tried to create our own sound as The Black Seeds and I think you can really hear that.”

For Daniel, it’s important the band doesn’t become stagnant.

“I really wanted to make a progression on reggae because so many reggae acts just play what they love, but it’s playing it very safe so how can you progress the reggae music? I haven’t really heard any band actually try to do that, but I think we really try to do that, that’s what we’ve been trying to do — the Europeans really get that.

“With each album you want to branch out [and] try different things,” Daniel adds, “and with this album more members were contributing to writing, and at the time of writing the album we had our own studio space: we could jam ideas a lot more and come and go as we wanted in the studio so that was really healthy for the band. We got to experiment a little bit more with a rock influence which is a big thing for me and tried to bring that slightly into the band.”

While Daniel is relatively modest about their European success and the acclaim they’ve received, he says it’s their live show that really makes the band as popular as they are.
“I think live we’ve always brought a great entertaining show … we don’t overplay and from day one we’ve always been there for the audience. They pay the money to come see us and you put in your two hours to perform and give it everything and we’ve always done that.”

The Black Seeds also make a point not to underestimate their fans.

“If you believe in what you’re writing then people will hear that, I think that sometimes some of the songs that weren’t quite at the standard, maybe your heart wasn’t fully in it, I reckon your fans just totally see through it, you know? I mean, I definitely see through it with bands that I like.”

After playing to crowds over 50,000 at some of Europe’s biggest festivals such as Rock En Seine and Lowlands, Daniel has observed a few cultural differences between how Australians and Europeans enjoy their live music experience.

“I think Australian crowds are possibly a bit more vocal and maybe in Europe they'll be into it but they might not be grooving out as much if they don't know it, but they’ll be listening to it. Especially in France, the early days of playing in France and wondering if they're actually into it because they'll just be standing there and they're just listening.”

While The Black Seeds now enjoy a cult status in France, it wasn’t always the way; they’ve had to work hard to make a name for themselves among the music-savvy French.

“They enjoy things differently and they're spoilt for choice so they're always waiting, like, ‘Wow, what do you have New Zealanders? Can you really entertain us?' and it used to be quite strange in the early days when they didn't know our music, but nowadays they're right into it, they're coming to our shows.

“You'd have a whole crowd of French people just standing there,” Daniel says, “maybe a few people nodding their heads and then afterwards they really show their appreciation: there'll be clapping but the clapping will go on for a few seconds and then just stop, dead silent.”

The Black Seeds play The Coolangatta Hotel Friday April 19. ‘Dust And Dirt’ is out now.
Published in Reggae/ Roots
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 09:42

The XX: Angels And Demons

If Biggie Smalls was still alive he’d be a fan of The xx.

Take the first album from the most relaxed, minimalist band in the world, and play it over The Notorious B.I.G. rapping about gats and the size of his appendage. Who in their right mind would think that's a good idea? Ironically it's the best idea that Californian DJ Wait What has ever had.

"When I first heard it, it was pretty surreal. I liked it. I still don't know the full story about it, I don't really know where it came from. But I'm into it, I'm glad it worked."

Oliver Sim confesses that both he and his sister are huge fans of Wait What's 'The Notorious xx'. That said, Oliver seems to be a fan of basically any mixtape that samples an xx song.

"I like our songs being sampled, but it depends in what kind of way. I think when it's people at home doing stuff, it's nice to hear. I love remixes, when they're taking something you've done and taking it to a really different place it's exciting, it's inspiring. It gives it a new life in my head. But then, you know, in other ways you're pretty protective of it. It's your baby! You'll sometimes end up turning on the TV and seeing our music on a really bad TV show, and it kind of kills my heart a bit. But you know, you don't have control over those kind of things."

This is generally the part of the article where I give an example to back up what Oliver's saying. The thing is, I've never seen a bad TV show that's used an xx song. Then again, I don't watch Channel 7. Besides, Oliver seems to think it's much harder for artists in the UK to control whether their music will appear in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ or ‘Cougar Town’.

"With TV in England it's a blanket rule — either you say 'yes' and your music is allowed to be used on TV, or you say 'no' and it's not. It's a black or white deal, so [if you say 'yes'] your music can crop up in the weirdest places. But in terms of artists sampling our songs, we do have a level of control. Rihanna is the only artist we've signed off on and given permission to release something with our music."

As far as I'm concerned, if Rihanna is asking for permission to sample your music your band is doing OK. Oliver isn't content with doing OK, though. He wants The xx to be taken seriously, instead of being passed over as a bunch of kids that got lucky.

"When we were coming out with our first album people were bringing our ages up, because we were 19 when we made it and just turned 20 when we released it. In a couple of write-ups it was like a double-edged sword, because they really liked this album but they thought it was a fluke. I don't think they thought we made a conscious effort — they thought we stumbled across this record. They thought we were underserving. To a degree it was kind of true, we did stumble across it. But that's how I think it happened. Naturally. It just came out of us. It wasn't contrived, we weren't trying to do something just to be different."

Surely the release of 'Coexist' has those same critics eating their words. It's an album that Richard Kingsmill still can't shut up about. It was labelled a 'masterpiece' by Uncut. Even Robert Christgau gave it an A-minus; impressive considering Vampire Weekend is the only band he actually likes. It seems quite ironic that the only people not on board the hype wagon are The xx themselves.

"We haven't had that proper moment to stop and take in all that's happened. But I do feel good about it. We were in Australia when 'Angels' got released, and it was the first time we ever heard it on the radio. It was a really big moment for us. And after that, just driving around, we heard it about ten more times."

Well, Oliver, that's Australian radio for you.

The xx play the Brisbane Convention Centre Tuesday April 9.
Published in Rock
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