Items filtered by date: May 2013
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:17

Film Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch. Directed by JJ Abrams.

It looks like Paramount might have pulled a swift one on us. When JJ Abrams' 'Star Trek' was released in 2009, it seemed to signal the beginning of a new, more accessible era for the franchise. "Come on in," the studio seemed to be saying, "the water's fine. Oh, you don't like Star Trek? That's cool; this is just a fun, sexy, action flick set in space. It's a lot like Star Wars, actually. You like Star Wars, don't you? Of course you do."

This time around, though, the message is very different: "True Star Trek fans or GTFO."

Sure, there are still touches of Star Wars in Abrams' approach to the action sequences, but 'Into Darkness' goes relatively deep into Trek lore. There are stacks of references to the original series, and certain plot points and character motivations that won't make much sense to casual audiences.

More than continuity, though, it's the tone that recalls classic Trek. 'Into Darkness' shuffles along at a much slower, more deliberate pace than its immediate predecessor; it's certainly more dialogue-heavy, and weighed down with the sorts of Starfleet intrigue and moral debates that were routine in older incarnations of the franchise and largely absent in Abrams' 2009 reimagining.

Having said all that, I adored this movie. It may not be for everyone, but if you're not completely averse to classic Trek, it's an absolute treat — the plot grips, the dialogue retains a sharp wit even at the darkest of times, and the action impresses.

Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a stellar performance as the mysterious John Harrison. He's the sort of proper thesp who lends gravitas to lines that should sound ridiculous. Meanwhile, the core cast — Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin — continues to make these roles their own.

With Abrams off to direct 'Star Wars Episode VII' — which, let's face it, probably would have been a better use of his time from the beginning — it's unlikely we'll see him in the chair for another Trek. If this is the end, it's been a worthy voyage.

4 Stars

‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ is out now.

Published in Film
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:12

Briefs: Cabaret In Preview

It's back... but bigger, better and much more brash.

The show's poster tagline reads “All male. All Vaudeville. All trash.” and that seems to sum it up perfectly. Fresh from glitter-bombing the globe, the cult variety show will return to their humble and dysfunctional Brisbane roots with a new show and new members, including Dallas Dellaforce.

Describe the show in 5 words?
Fast, furious, fabulous, flashy and feisty!

How is this different to the first 'Briefs'?
This incarnation has set out to raise the bar in terms of production. It will be slick and honed whilst remaining faithful to 'Briefs' hilarious and irreverent signature style.  

What is your role/ part in this?
I play many roles within the show, ranging from intense and edgy characters to ridiculous caricatures. But, I think altogether I bring a different type of glamour to the mix.  

I hear you also make costumes?
Yes, my background is in fashion design. I'm a visual artist and it really excites me to be able to contribute to 'Briefs' on this level. The boys are a dream to design for because they are all so goddamn gorgeous!

How do you decide on the looks?
The themes and acts that the boys have devised have really clear direction and have wonderful character development so it's very easy. I'm only responsible for a part of the show, the rest are the being overseen by the very talented Brisbane designer Nathalie Ryner.

And where did the idea/ inspiration for your name come from?
As a child I remember my mother telling me to stay away from a local bad boy called Dallas. Naturally as the forbidden fruit the name developed a certain mystique for me. I also love that it is traditionally a male name that has many connections to campy popular culture. Dellaforce was inspired by one of my favourite models, the stunning Carmen DelOrifice, whose career has spanned over half a century.

Fav moment in the show?
There really are too many to mention, but I am particularly excited about the 'Beast In Show' moment  which is going to be as hilarious as it is spectacular. It blends character and skill and allows us each to shine in a really lighthearted way. It's going to be so much fun to perform!

Who is the craziest in the cast/ crew?
Wow, that is a hard one. I think there is a 'lil bit of mad cow in each of us. I have to say though that I would definitely be one of the more insane in this crazed crew!

'See 'Briefs: the Second Coming' at the Brisbane Powerhouse from May 21-26.

Published in Cabaret
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:06

Crate Creeps: Hungry Heart

After having a heart attack in Germany, Brisbane beatboxer Tom Thum did the only thing that made sense to him – he wrote a song about it.

“I was chilling in bed in Germany after not doing anything at all,” Tom explains. “I wasn't exercising, not having any big nights or anything, just completely relaxed in bed and ended up having a heart attack. They can't tell me why it happened or anything like that so it's kind of like ‘oh shit’.

“So the whole song is based around having a heart attack in Berlin … it's kind of the story of that but more the funny side of it, not that there's much of a funny side to it — I had a heart attack and I got a song,” he adds with a laugh.

When he’s not trekking around the world, Tom spends a lot of time working on his collaborative project, Crate Creeps.

“Basically it's me and my long-time collaborator/ hombre, mister DJ Butcher. We formed a duo a long time ago called Crate Creeps, which is just an artistic collaboration between both of our elements: him on the turntables and me MC-ing and the whole beatboxing kind of thing.”

Crate Creeps will support music legend Afrika Bambaataa this Friday when The Godfather Of Hip Hop lands in Brisbane.

“It's going to be great because we haven't done a set together like that for ages. So we're very much focussed on the live MPC and beatboxing and MCing, just really showcasing all the skills we have; we also try to include a whole lot of fucking stupid jokes and shit like that so it's bound to be a good time.”

With two previous support performances with Bambaataa, Tom’s looking forward to showing off yet another element of his talent to Afrika.     

“This will be my third time doing stuff with him: the first time was the b-boying, the second time was beatboxing and this time it's the MPC and production – the whole deal kind of thing, so it's very exciting.”

Crate Creeps perform with Afrika Bambaataa at the Hi-Fi Friday May 17.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 15:02

Known Associates: Dark Therapy

Catching up over the phone with Known Associates, it’s little surprise to find them hard at work.

MC and producer Ciecmate, MC Maggot Mouf and DJ No Name Nathan are ensconced in the studio, but not to record. Instead, they’re shooting a video for ‘No/Live In The Studio’, the latest single from the trio’s debut album together, ‘Ashes To Dust’. Ciecmate explains that they’re filming the clip in one take, but with multiple cameras. The intention is for simplicity with the extra cameras adding depth – an elegant approach that reflects Known Associates’ overall MO.

Theirs is a dark, paranoid rap music, flexing its bass to rhymes straight-shot at the listener. Anyone who’s listened – or better yet, seen the video – to ‘Ashes To Dust’s lead single of the same name will understand how compelling a combination it is.

“I grew up on hip hop with drums that made you feel like you were getting slapped,” Ciecmate explains. “People will say that the concepts we’re using on the album are dark, but they’re only dark because people don’t want to talk about the reality of what’s happening around us … We’re not very dark people but the sound of the music we make has aggression and attitude to it.

“I see music as therapy. I’ve written songs that no one’s going to ever hear. That’s the beauty of having a studio. So I guess in terms of the overall sound, yeah it has a dark quality to it.”

Ciecmate’s output under his own label, Broken Tooth Entertainment, has always played in the shadows. But it’s natural to wonder if Ciec and Mouf’s methodology contributed to the gloom. The duo would meet every Tuesday evening for a year and sometimes work straight through to the following morning.

“We could be in the studio for 14 hours at a time,” Mouf explains. “It took its toll but it was worth it, that’s for sure.”

“We were sick of saying that we’d meet up every couple of weeks or so,” Ciec adds. “We locked it in: every Tuesday night, set it aside, and we’d just bang it out. And we did it. The premise would be to pick out one of the beats I already had or write a beat, and then we’d write a whole track. We’d record the song then and if we liked it we’d either re-record it later or leave it as it was. Pretty much every song on the album was written and recorded in one night, except for maybe two.”

Spending that intensive time together certainly contributed to the album’s most distinctive feature – Ciec and Mouf’s engaging lyrical interplay. Their verses are whittled down to short counter punches, one MC constantly handing off to the other. It’s something Ciec thinks there’s not enough of in Australian hip hop.

“It’s one of those things where people will go, ‘Let’s do a song’. But instead of sitting together and writing a song, one person goes off to write his 16 bars, the other person goes and writes his 16 bars, and then they hope once they record them that they sound similar but not too similar.

“It’s like bumping into an old friend and saying, ‘Let’s catch up on Facebook’, instead of, ‘Let’s catch up now’. So the whole point was that he’d come up with four bars and then wouldn’t be able to think of another four, so I’d jump in there, and then vice versa. And the songs just tend to write themselves when you approach them like that.”
Once the tracks were completed, Ciec and Mouf laid out some ideas for cuts and presented them to Nathan.

“That was cool and worked well,” Ciec says. “But next time we do an album we’ll have Nath with us throughout the process, because then he could tee up a few ideas at conception time rather than grafting them on at the end.”

The trio are now weighing up their tour options, although nothing is set in stone just yet. Right now, it’s simply about getting the record into people’s hands.

“We’ve got a show with Masta Ace next month that we’re pretty fucking stoked about,” Mouf says. “But as far as releases go and tours, we always like to release and then at least give it a few months, let people build a vibe to the songs and then do a launch that actually has some impact – you see people in the front row saying the lyrics. That’s always great.”

‘Ashes To Dust’ is out this Friday May 17.

Published in Urban
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:54

DJ Dixie: Party Professional

Melbourne-based DJ Dixie is riding a wave of success with his non-stop touring schedule and recent signing to Ministry Of Sound Australia.

Dixie (aka Dan Spec) says he taught himself how to mix music at the age of 12 with an eccentric assortment of equipment.

“I taught myself on some ghetto-ass equipment. I got my grandfather’s turntable, I got another one from Salvos, I got a busted Nexus from Radio Shack and I got some speakers that I found on the side of the road during hard rubbish collection.”

His career thus far has been an industrious one; Dixie has supported the likes of Chris Brown, Xzibit and Steve Aoki and toured with popular DJ syndicate Bombs Away. He says he has no plans to slow down, with the imminent release of his first original track.

“For the past nine months, aside from touring as a solo artist I've been the touring DJ with Bombs Away as well so it’s just been nonstop city to city, shows and festivals … I live in Melbourne but every weekend I play in two or three cities, so I virtually live out of a suitcase. 

“I've got my first single, 'Pitt' coming out soon as well. It's an original track and the vocals are done by a rapper from Florida whose name is Tony Madness.”

Dixie prides himself on his ability to get a response out of clubbers, and lists his sets at Schoolies 2011 and 2012 as some of his career highlights.

“As a part of Bombs Away, we played the Schoolies festivals at Surfers Paradise last year and the year before and that was just nuts because there were 40,000 people rammed onto the beach and there was a kilometre of people that we were playing to.

“I love getting crowds to go as crazy and wild as possible. I've had shows where they've almost broken the dancefloor and it's turned into a complete moshpit. I don't want to be one of those DJs that just stands there and plays music. I like to get up there and go nuts with the crowd because it’s just as much a party for me as it is for them.”

DJ Dixie plays the Hamilton Hotel Saturday May 18.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:46

The Upbeats: Raw Power

Jeremy Glenn, one half of drum & bass DJ duo The Upbeats, refuses to be the wanker who says that D&B is the new rock and roll.

“I guess for dance music it kind of is, because [our music] has quite a lot of raw energy. Well, the stuff that has drawn us into it anyway, has kind of got that raw, rock feel about it. But I think rock and roll is still rock and roll. There's so much good rock out there that there doesn't need to be a new rock and roll.”

He will, however, admit that he can happily accept such a flattering comparison.

“Actually, one of my favourite quotes ever was for our last album: one of our favourite producers Gridlock's way of describing us was that we were the Black Sabbath of drum & bass. We thought that was pretty fucking cool.”

Also cool is their fourth studio album, ‘Primitive Technique’, which was released last month. Glenn can describe it in a line — “an emotional roller coaster of raw bass power” — but, unlike their other albums, this one avoids following a theme.

“With 'Nobody's Out There', we wrote a story and all the music kind of suited the story. And 'Big Skeleton', we kind of had a vibe that we were matching. With this album, we just wanted to write; we just wrote music that we were really feeling, and we kind of put it together, instead of having a really strong outline of the kind of raw thing that we wanted to create, as we [have] found that that can be quite constrictive in the past.

“We like sounds [that are] quite primal or raw, so we thought that would be kind of a good starting point and a good basis for the album. And then everything kind of just grew from there. We had a pretty strong visual theme. We went and did a crazy photo shoot, we had costumes made by people that worked with Peter Jackson's studio. We went and we maybe got a little bit carried away. We like getting dressed up.”

Collaborating with Dutch electronica trio Noisia has propelled The Upbeats from their home of New Zealand onto the world stage in less than a year.

“Since we announced signing with Noisia, everything has changed for us, pretty much,” Glenn says. “Like, we've kind of consistently, for the last how many years, just been working and releasing music and just touring. And we were doing reasonably well as quite an underground act, but just within the last eight months it's just gone nuts, and I think that we've just been exposed to a completely different crowd of people through the fanbase of the Noisia guys.”

It's a fanbase that has now outnumbered local Australian and New Zealand fans.

“We've seen a lot more outside New Zealand and Australia actually taking notice and seeing a huge shift. Like, we kind of keep track of the stats of where our music's being listened to, on Soundcloud. About a year ago, 80 percent of the stuff on our Soundcloud would have been listened to by people from New Zealand, whereas now all of the plays are coming from America and Europe. Like, New Zealand doesn't even feature in the top ten countries of where our listeners are coming from.”

Glenn and musical partner Dylan Jones have a hectic schedule ahead of them, with a current tour of New Zealand and Australia leading straight into a European jaunt, and a six-month stint in Noisia's Dutch hometown.

“We've been touring constantly all year. I've had maybe like two weekends off this year, I think,” laughs Glenn. “But that's awesome; I genuinely love performing.”
Glenn even promises to stay awake for the Brisbane show. “Years ago, before we were kind of doing this seriously, I once got quite drunk—I got physically challenged to drink a whole lot of tequila before I played—and I managed to fall asleep while performing.”

The Upbeats perform at Coniston Lane June 1.

Published in Electronic
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 14:30

Amy Rose: Creative Juices

Following the success of her ‘Peel’ EP in late 2012, Sydney songstress Amy Rose has gone from strength to strength with her engrossing take on lush, dreamy pop.

“After recording and releasing it late last year, we played a few gigs and then this year we've done way more which is really cool. More people seem to be getting really familiar with those songs and they seem to like it, which is really good.”

To achieve her unique style, Amy explored a range of different corners of her creative sphere – both musical and beyond.

“For that EP, I've always loved Imogen Heap so she was a big vocal influence for me as far as sounds and production go. But in terms of songwriting I've always loved Death Cab [For Cutie] which is a bit old school, and more recently Active Child where the instrumentation is a bit more varied and exciting. But I also love a bit of fine arts. Drawing kind of helps get the juices flowing and helps my expressionism a lot more.”

In addition to her style, Amy also had a somewhat peculiar upbringing, having grown up in a religious cult in Queensland.

“We moved up to this church in Toowoomba, which in the beginning had all good intentions, but as the years went on, it got more and more restrictive and strange in the end. I don't remember too much of it, but there's plenty of stories of me being too loud and in the dining room, and being made to sit in a designated area because I was disrupting too many people.

“But I think religion and music have always been tied very closely together so I draw a lot of influence from that experience and also others leading up to where I am now.”
The “now” that Amy refers to is currently a run of shows across the country, including a little place she's never played before called Brisbane.

“I've never played in Brisbane before, so I'm really stoked. But being based in the city in Sydney is really awesome. It's not as advanced as, say, Melbourne, but it has a lot of independent artists trying to revive the live music scene. Anywhere outside the city though is really quiet and no one knows what's going on.”

Amy Rose plays Black Bear Lodge Sunday May 19.

Published in Rock
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:58

The Vampires: Jazzing Up Brisbane

Fusion dynamos The Vampires are jazzing things up in Brisbane next month.

The Sydney ensemble brings together a unique blend of jazz, old-school reggae and South American influences as well as a collection of noteworthy young musicians, including award-winning saxophonist Jeremy Rose. The band is set to be part of a premier line-up of bands at the upcoming Brisbane International Jazz Festival at the end of May.

“A festival like this provides a platform for creative and original music to be heard. People are expecting to hear something exciting, fresh and new, and it's not often that they have such an opportunity.”

Being introduced to jazz via his parent’s record collection, Rose says his love of the genre was what prompted him to pick up his first saxophone.

“I wanted to learn the saxophone when I was in primary school listening to my parent's jazz recordings. I was always surrounded by music from their record collection … jazz is music that can excite or soothe people. It dares people to think outside the box; it's music with many possibilities and, because of its improvisation, it's music that can only happen in real time. It's music like no other in that respect and it can be an exciting experience.”

At the beginning stages of writing their fourth studio album, Jeremy and the band are still riding a creative high after a stint at the 2011 Banff Workshop in Canada.

“The band took a trip to Canada where we did a three week workshop with many of our favourite and top jazz musicians from New York. We were basically rehearsing every day and working with these musicians as mentors and we developed a lot of the material for our new album.”

The band is hoping to show this new material at the International Jazz Festival, but audiences can also expect to hear their trademark improvisation.

“We have been writing new material for our upcoming recording in August and we are about to head into the studio so we're hoping to have a number of new pieces … I would say that [improvisation] is the most exciting aspect of the performance. We play pieces that we've been exploring over our last three albums but every time we perform them, it's slightly different and we always come to a new meeting point.”

As a band of accomplished young musicians, Rose and his fellow band mates juggle The Vampires with their own individual projects and achievements. Rose himself is currently writing an extended work for a large jazz orchestra, having just finished a commission for a string quartet that aired on the ABC. Trumpet player Nick Garbett is a regular member of Columbian ensemble Watussi as well as Sydney reggae band The Stride. And drummer Alex Masso holds his own having a string of collaborations and tours under his belt, including an album recorded in Norway. While they're all in demand, Rose says their individual projects do not get in the way of The Vampires.

“It can be quite challenging and often frustrating lining up everyone's schedules, however, we all place a priority on particular projects and events and so we always make the time and somehow make it work.”

Rose and his band mates have taken much of their inspiration from their travels around the world. Mixing Caribbean influences with their jazz backgrounds, and now looking to explore Latin rhythms, travelling has kept the inspiration alive with their unique compositions.

“I think travelling broadens your horizons in so many different ways. Often, in Australia, you can feel like you're somewhat separated from the rest of the world. You can access music on the internet but we often don't get to see musicians from around the world performing face to face. Travelling facilitates that experience and leaves you feeling truly inspired.”

Having brilliance and the capacity to travel the world always helps, but The Vampires have faced the same challenges as most musicians trying to establish a career.

“I think, no matter what style of music you play, the path of a musician can face many challenges. I guess jazz music often fights for the spotlight among many different styles across the broad spectrum of music, but I think through dedication, commitment, and if you believe in what you're doing, then you're always going to be supported by people in the industry and that's what our experience has been.”

The Vampires play The Brisbane Powerhouse as part of The International Jazz Festival June 1.

Published in Jazz/ Fusion
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 13:50

Seth Sentry: Tomorrow Has Come

Seth Sentry may not have been looking for fame, but fame found him in 2013.

The Melbourne MC is coming off the end of a huge summer following the release of his debut album, ‘This Was Tomorrow’, and its clutch of high-rotation singles, ‘My Scene’, ‘Float Away’ and ‘Dear Science’. A trip to the United States for South by Southwest and a performance on Triple J’s One Night Stand have followed, squaring the ledger somewhat for time passed since the release of his ‘The Waiter Minute’ EP in late 2008.

But there were numerous points during that four year break when ‘This Was Tomorrow’ wasn’t going to happen, Sentry spooked by the raging success of his breakthrough single, ‘The Waitress Song’.

“The album did die a number of times,” he explains over the phone from his Melbourne home. “Because I was going to quit rap and I had all sorts of crazy thoughts. I just lost momentum after the EP and I didn’t know what to do and it scared me so much how well ‘The Waitress Song’ did. I made this little five track EP and that song did so well, and even ‘Simple Game’ off the same record started getting played on Nova and shit. That was bizarre. It just terrified me. I didn’t really know what to do after that.”

‘The Waitress Song’ hadn’t even been intended for release, which in Sentry’s mind drove home how much of a happy accident it had all been.

“We were going to scrap it,” he says. “So it was like, ‘Fuck, that was a fluke’. And then I thought, ‘I’m never doing music again because that was terrifying’. Eventually I just had to go back to writing songs that I wanted to hear about things that I wanted to write about and not over think it too much.”

But it perhaps didn’t feel like four years between Seth Sentry projects. As he somewhat harshly puts it, he “got lucky” with appearances on a 360 mixtape and a tour with Horrorshow, for which he penned a new cut – ‘Our Song’ – with the Sydney duo.

“That just happened to get picked up by Triple J and played a lot. So little things just kept me around enough for people to give a shit. But in 2012 I just ramped it up and went hard on the album. Because people set deadlines on me, and once I had the deadline there I thought, ‘Fuck, I’ve gotta do it now’. And it worked. I got really creative. I was working fast, but it felt like a lot of good stuff was coming out of it.”

The album was finally released in September and met with rapturous reviews by critics. If the subsequent summer has been Sentry getting used to the idea that he may be a legitimate artist, then it’s also been about adjusting to music as a fulltime job.

“It’s been a good transition, really,” he says. “It’s always been something I’ve done in my free time and a little bit of hobby, and since September it’s been fulltime … 100 percent, that’s surprised me. I never thought it was a viable option to become a career or something. It’s just something that I do because I enjoy it, and I still really enjoy it. I feel like I’m cheating.

“There have been little downtimes, but there’s always something coming up, or something in the not-to-distant future that I’m gearing up for. Which is good: I had four years of doing fuck all, so it’s about time,” he laughs.

Since our interview, Sentry has returned from a short tour in North America during which he visited both South by Southwest in Texas and Canadian Music Week in Toronto, as well as playing a clutch of smaller shows throughout the rest of the continent. The undoubted highlight, though, was his win in the SXSW Dorito Boldstage competition, which means Sentry will support LL Cool J on the LA-based rap legend’s June-July US tour. It’s a small sign of the potential for penetration Australian rap music has in an American market, although when we spoke to him Sentry wasn’t totally convinced the local genre is prepared to make the final leap.

“Maybe. I think the thing about Australian rap – and I know Chuck D said this – we’re still really focussed on the lyrics here and we have that skill set with our raps. That’s opposed to a lot of the more mainstream stuff in America: there’s still a massive underground scene there, but in the mainstream that’s been lost a little bit – it’s glossy and your swagger and all that stuff. Here, we don’t have the greatest voices and we haven’t got the best accent, but we focus hard on getting our flow right and the lyrics, the content.”

Indeed, while many remain concerned about the isolationism of local hip hop culture, Sentry doesn’t regard it as being a total negative, pointing out that it allowed the Australian genre to develop its own sound and differentiate itself from the music coming out of the US.

“It’s been kinda good doing that,” he says. “At the start, a lot of the acts who were big were really Americanised, and we adopted whatever the American trends were at the time. People were trying to put on American accents and stuff, and I think it’s been a nice little break away from that. We do our own thing and have our own sound happening now with a unique style. But I do think people get a little lost in that sometimes, and pick a particular era or sound from America and say, ‘That’s hip hop and we’re refusing to budge from that’. Which I think can be a little unhealthy as well.”

Much more practical concerns are now on Sentry’s agenda, with the ‘Dear Science’ tour set to check in at major centres around mainland Australia.

“Originally it was going to be the ‘Room For Rent’ tour,” he laughs, “but now it’s the ‘Dear Science’ tour. Because we didn’t pitch ‘Dear Science’ as a single – it’s just all been really organic, which has been awesome. Triple J started playing ‘Dear Science’ without ever announcing it as officially being on rotation. They just started playing it and the song did pretty well, so now it’s the ‘Dear Science’ tour.

“I’m taking my DJ, B2, who’s an Australian DMC champ. I think he came sixth in the world in terms of the championships. He’s very good, he’s overqualified! And supporting will be Tuka and Ellesquire. Once I’ve finished my tour, I’m going to take a little break. By then the new ‘Bioshock’ game should be well and truly out. I’ll play the shit out of that and then maybe another tour or two later this year.”

Published in Urban
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 18:22

Little Bastard: Bigsound and Bluegrass

Little Bastard vocalist Johnny Took is sick of bands trying to look cool, and wants crowds to go crazy when they play Bigsound later this year.

“We don't take ourselves too seriously, we push and shove on stage and have a laugh,” Johnny says about his Sydney band. “I really hate it how there's some of those ‘cool’ rock & roll bands that just stand there and act all uptight. It just feels so hipster and really dampens the mood. At our gigs everyone's just dancing and crowd-surfing. We want Bigsound to have a real party atmosphere.”

The first line-up for Bigsound was announced last week and includes Amanda Palmer, Billy Bragg, Megan Washington and Xavier Rudd.

“I was very excited when we found out. I went last year and was playing bass in a band called Underlights and I learnt quite a lot ... all the hard work and promotion that goes into it beforehand.”

Little Bastard play a mix of bluegrass and rock & roll and were inspired by acts including Creedence and Ryan Adams. Johnny believes Bigsound is vital for young acts, especially when it comes to the live performance.

“It's perfect, especially if you've crafted your live show. That's the thing with Little Bastard. We've never actually had a proper rehearsal. We can give a good live show and this festival really thrives on that.”

With seven people on stage, it can create a very interesting dynamic. But Johnny says the songwriting process works well.

“Little Bastard started because a couple of us were all doing that alt-country music style, and I was a bit sick of being a singer-songwriter because there's not many
opportunities in Sydney for that kind of stuff.

“We're pretty fortunate, songwriting-wise, because there's four of us normally writing and at the same time everyone has their music theory down pat.”

Before the boys make their way to Bigsound they will embark on a national tour supporting Adelaide band The Beards.

“Those guys have a lot of experience under their belt and the chance to play those bigger venues will be great. We're playing at the Hi-Fi in Brisbane and I've heard good things about it.”

Bigsound takes place at numerous venues around Fortitude Valley September 11-13.
Published in Rock
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