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Wednesday, 30 November 2011 14:33

Owl Eyes

Seeing Clearly

Chances are you’ve already heard of Owl Eyes, aka Melbourne singer-songwriter Brooke Addamo.

The 20-year-old has had a whirlwind year, supporting the likes of indie sensations The Wombats on their recent tour and gaining generous exposure on Triple J. She’s shown ‘pop’ isn't a dirty word with her most recent EP, ‘Raiders’.  “I love pop music. So many people are so stereotypical towards it when some of their favourite artists are pop, and they don't even realise it”, Brooke says.

However, Owl Eyes' blend of whimsical, atmospheric pop shies away from the generic artists who usually dominate the airwaves. “It's pop music with a bit of substance and intelligence behind it. It's a bit mysterious. I'm really inspired by dark pop — something with a bit to it as opposed to 'plastic pop’.”

Despite creating quite a buzz over the past few months, Brooke is unfazed by her supposed overnight success. “When you're in something you don't really notice it. I don't feel like I've made it or anything, I'm just making music and I feel so blessed everyday. I'm working hard and I haven't reached any kind of potential just yet, I've got a lot more in me!”

Starting her Owl Eyes project two years ago, Brooke isn't new to the music industry. Those with a penchant for reality TV may recognise her from ‘Australian Idol 2008’, when she made the final 12. Her talent show stint hasn’t held her back, with the experience merely motivating Brooke further to make it as a singer-songwriter. “I think being voted off was a blessing in disguise. The show wasn't beneficial to me in any way, apart from helping me decide what I didn't want to be. I think what helped me was taking two years away and developing my artistry. I didn't want to go out there till I felt ready and proud of my work — I think that helped people take me a little bit more seriously.”

After an already busy year, Owl Eyes is showing no signs of slowing down, with plans for a full-length album and stints at various festivals.  
“At festivals, people aren't coming to watch just me so you have to win over the crowd. That's kind of a challenge in its own right. It’s kinda fun.”

Owl Eyes plays Woodford Folk Festival (Dec. 27-Jan. 1), at Woodfordia, December 29. woodfordfolkfestival.com

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 13:54

St John Ambulance

Survivng The Festival Season

Whether you’ll be moshing to Soundgarden at Big Day Out or raving to Justice at Summafieldayze, one thing's for certain — the summer festival season is fast approaching. 

It's not all fun and games, though. Basking all day in the glorious summer sunshine and, let’s face it, indulging in a few alcoholic beverages can bring with it a nasty case of heatstroke or dehydration.

Brad Wessling, registered nurse with St John Ambulance, explains how you can enjoy the festival season safely.  “The main thing is to keep hydrated and stay out of the sun - I can't reinforce that enough,” Brad says. “Most of the cases that we attend to are related to hydration issues.”
What about beer? That counts, right? “When it comes to alcohol, alternate each drink with a glass of water. If you feel like you're getting sick, it's simply your bodies way of telling you you're poisoning it.”

For those who prefer something a little stronger, Brad stresses to be honest when dealing with medics. “If taking drugs, it's really important that people tell staff what they've taken, and how much. We're not here to judge or arrest them - we're just here to save peoples lives. If festival goers are going to try a substance for the first time, they should make sure it's from a reputable source - be sensible about how you do it.”

But what if things go a little too far? “If one of your friends is unconscious, the most important thing is to lay them on their side and call for help. Most people can do that, even if they're intoxicated!”

Toilet paper and deodorant aside, you may want to pack a few extra essentials if you're attending a festival this summer. “Band aids, Panadol and sunscreen - if I had a dollar for every time I handed out those items I'd be a very rich man!”

As for the infamous mosh pit, Brad advises moshers to be careful and, above all, stay hydrated. “Moshing isn't exactly safe, but it’s all part of growing up. Just make sure you're aware of your own body and the situation at festivals. Last of all - be nice to the medics!”

For more information call 3253 0500. stjohnqld.com.au

Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:38

Wau Wau Sisters

Burlesque In Preview

“We’re mostly circus performers and musicians. We also tend to take our clothes off once in a while.”

For siblings Tanya and Adrienne, otherwise known as the Wau Wau Sisters, their performance is a whole lot more than your bog-standard burlesque show. “We call ourselves the only two-girl circus in the world.”

The girls have been performing their act for the past 11 years, playing an abundance of festivals and winning awards for their unique show. “When we were kids we both did gymnastics and both sung songs like we were superstars, and we’re both doing the same silly things now,” says Adrienne.

The duo fuses together circus performance such as trapeze, tongue-in-cheek musical numbers and cheeky costume changes. The result is a fun, frivolous journey into the realm of the unexpected. “What you come out with isn’t what you’d expect. We fuck around with our audience a lot. We bring them up on stage or we sit on their laps as we change outfits. As performers, we like to go further than we’ve ever gone before. Doing something we’re afraid to do is liberating.”

Although their show is not solely a burlesque show, the girls do spend a fair amount of stage time sans clothes - though the act doesn’t depend on it. “I find performing liberating - if I’m taking my clothes off is besides the point. A lot of men are doing it now but it’s rarely referred to as burlesque; it makes me laugh because people will be like ‘Oh, he’s a magician’ and I say ‘I know, but he just took all his clothes off to music!’” laughs Adrienne.

Nudity aside, the pair cite music as a major influence on their act and have released four albums over the years. “Our music is very tongue-in-cheek. It’s not something you’d want to listen to all day but you may have a friend over and say, ‘You need to hear this song, it’s so silly and dirty!’
“We also like cheesy ‘80s rock. One of our signature trapeze acts is to ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ by Guns N’ Roses. I like everything we do to be funny and to make the audience laugh.”
As for the future, the Wau Wau Sisters are setting their aim high. “We’d like to keep touring, release a movie, a fashion line, a perfume, a book of poetry and a reality show.”

Catch the Wau Wau Sisters at the Harvest Festival, Brisbane Botanic Gardens on November 19.

Wednesday, 02 November 2011 12:25

Linsey Pollak

A Carrot A Day

Not many people can say they’ve toured Australia using a carrot as an instrument.

For musician Linsey Pollak, who incorporates an abundance of unusual objects into his live shows, it's all in a days work. Now Linsey, based at Kin Kin in the Noosa hinterland, is bringing the unique art of looping — forging various sounds from different mediums together — to Australia's first ever looping festival, LoopFest. â€œThe exciting thing about looping is that the audience gets to see the music actually being made in front of them,” Linsey, who hopes to make the festival an annual event, says. “For my own live shows, I think that people are always surprised and amazed at the sounds that can be made from a carrot or rubber glove.”

A musical instrument maker for the past 20 years, Linsey's eye for unusual items to use has led to some bizarre sounds. â€œI've been making instruments for years, and it just progressed to using found objects to make unique sounds. For me, I think my personal favourite has been carrots, though I have also used bicycles, the sounds of endangered animals and noises from the audience themselves.”

Things have progressed in the looping world since Linsey started out. â€œIt’s a lot easier now with modern technology. Now, you can make a loop that lasts 30 minutes. Twenty years ago, it was 1.8 seconds.” 

Today, looping is a unique genre that brings with it an exciting live experience that Linsey hopes LoopFest will showcase. The two-day event welcomes a number of the world's heavyweight loopers, and also features workshops where punters can learn the tricks of the trade. â€œMy workshop will be very hands on; there's only 12 spaces available, so everyone will be able to have a go at looping themselves. At the moment, looping is quite an underground scene, but although the genre is quite experimental, it is also very accessible to a wide audience. The festival welcomes people of all ages - my show in particular is pretty kid friendly.”

Whatever your age, get ready to get your loop on.

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