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Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:45

The Calibre Cats Preview

Music In Preview

Sexy swing, classy cabaret and good old fashioned family fun are all in a day’s work for Bridget Burnell. The Calibre Cats’ songstress is on the prowl ahead of this weekend’s Renaissance de Vaudeville at the Old Museum. “We’re trying to bring back some of that old-school charm that was around in the 1920s,” Bridget ‘Dollface’ Burnell says of the second instalment of Renaissance de Vaudeville.

“We’re very much competing with Sydney and Melbourne now, especially with the great venues that we have. You look at every bar and every club, there’s so many talented musicians and acts. Everyone is forthcoming in doing shows for the love of doing it, it’s not about the money. Everyone always pulls together really well. Big shows like Renaissance de Vaudeville are so exciting. It really is a ‘show’ with a massive stage, big lights, hosts and all the rest of it.”

A blonde bombshell fronting an eight-piece big band, Bridget is making a name for herself in what is traditionally a man’s world.

“It’s a pretty male-dominated scene so there was plenty of pushing and shoving, but I think what makes me stand out is that there is a female heading this fantastic swing band. That in itself is different. It was a bit hard to get ourselves out there, but we’re starting to get regular gigs and see regular faces.”

With three years of ‘pushing and shoving’ finally paying off, Bridget and her Calibre Cats are riding a wave of swing success as the classic genre enjoys a 2010-style revival. Young fans across Brisbane are embracing the roaring 1920s and discovering everything old is new again.

“Swing is something that lasts through every generation. Even if you’re into metal or pop or jazz, if you can’t get your feet tapping away with swing then there’s probably something wrong with you. There’s something about the sound that immediately turns heads. I think it will last forever and outlast everything else. Swing is having quite a big revival at the moment, so we’re just going to jump on the ship and ride it for as long as we can.”

The Calibre Cats play Renaissance de Vaudeville at the Old Museum, Bowen Hills, on June 26.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009 13:38

Steel Pulse Interview

Karma Police

Steel Pulse founders David Hinds and Selwyn Brown are music industry survivors. The Grammy Award winning UK duo are “positive spirits” who are committed to grassroots reggae and fighting for equality and justice.

David Hinds has fronted Steel Pulse for more than 30 years and has shared the stage with some of the most influential artists of all time, including Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Bob Dylan.

He performed at The White House in 1993 and was a vocal supporter of Barack Obama before he was elected US President in 2008.

“We're dedicated to what we started out doing in the first place. It's all about being aware of your surroundings socially and politically,” Hinds says of the group's longevity.

“I'm writing songs for a new album and I still think that way.

“We're still on the road to discovery. There's a lot of people who haven't discovered reggae. We've been knocking around the US for 27 years almost and there's a lot of America that isn't familiar with the ins and outs of the music politically.”

Hinds has seen the world and the music industry change around him in a career that has spanned more than 15 albums.

“People in the hippie period just didn't give a damn about money, it was all about peace and love and harmony for the world.

“Nowadays people are saying it because it sounds good, but really the fatter your back pocket is the better. People think, 'if me talking about peace and love puts Greenbacks in my pocket to buy a house in Beverly Hills, then let me live with that'.

“I'm sorry to say that's how it is, there's just a few people who are sticking to their guns.”

Hinds is looking forward to returning to Australia for the first time in 16 years as part of Raggamuffin on January 30.

“I remember the first show we did in Brisbane and then we went further down south and I absolutely loved it. My only qualm about the Australian shows is that it's taken us so long to get back.

“People have said to me that maybe reggae music isn't as popular in Australia, so I'm waiting to see the reaction when we come back.”

Steel Pulse play Raggamuffin at the Brisbane Riverstage on January 30. Other acts include Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Sly and Robbie and Julian Marley.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 15:57

DJ Sheep Interview

Nature Of The Beast

Hunted to the verge of extinction by digital downloads, vinyl still has plenty of life left in it. Just ask DJ Sheep. “There’s a real demand for a niche market when it comes to vinyl. People who love listening to music love vinyl,” DJ Sheep says.

“A lot of unsuspecting people collect vinyl. On face value you look at someone and think they probably download their music from iTunes, but they have a really good record collection. I think MP3s are pretty much going to take over music, and it’s not just vinyl that’s going die, it’s CDs as well.

“Music will unfortunately become intangible. It will be something which only exists digitally, which is really sad, but you can’t do anything about it. The music industry is a tough game.”

Sheep has taken his love of vinyl to the masses as part of Weird Gear. Brisbane’s first monthly record fair is held at Rumpus Room and offers everything from hip hop and funk to rock and soul.

“It’s different every time. Sometimes we get people who want to chill out after a big party on the weekend and other times we get music nerds who listen to weird tunes,” Sheep says of the Weird Gear crowd.

“Vinyl will live forever because of people buying it and loving it. There’s a process involved in getting vinyl and it’s rewarding. At the same time, I’d say 95 percent of music on the internet is absolute shit. That’s my old man rant.”

Sheep has supported the likes of Black Eyed Peas, Lyrics Born and Hilltop Hoods and rates Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow as two of the best producers going around. His record collection has reached and breached the 1,500 mark, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

“Me and the other guys involved in Weird Gear, we proved to each other that we’ve got amazing record collections,” Sheep says. “We’ve got weird records, but the key now is to get people to come and buy records and come and listen to tunes. It could be funk, it could be hip hop, it could be electro, but we want to get people to a monthly record fair so they can buy vinyl.”


Wednesday, 20 October 2010 16:13

MGMT Interview

No More Pretending

Brooklyn boys MGMT are returning to Australia with a new album and a new sound. Frontman Andrew VanWyngarden talks records, reviews and redemption. Andrew is particularly philosophical about the success of MGMT’s debut record, ‘Oracular Spectacular’.

“I think the first album had some super catchy songs on it,” he says. “Some of the songs were on mainstream radio and we also had the psychedelic side to the band that is more rock influenced, so there’s lots of different stuff for different people.”

 The 2008 release featuring the singles ‘Time To Pretend’, ‘Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’ catapulted Andrew and bandmate Ben Goldwasser to international stardom. Chart success, award nominations and a world tour followed as the Wesleyan University graduates provided the soundtrack to summer.

“A lot of people don’t realise we’ve had this band since we were freshmen at college and we were 19 years old,” Andrew says. “We’ve always been about being different and changing, sometimes trying to throw people off and confuse people.”

Enter ‘Congratulations’, a nine-track collection that hits you like a psychedelic sledgehammer and has polarised opinion among fans and music industry types the world over.

“I’m proud of the whole thing, but the thing I think I’m most proud of is the fact that we didn’t give a fuck about the label or anything anybody else was saying,” Andrew says of the album’s mixed reviews.

“We really stuck with what we wanted to do, and people can talk shit about it or whatever, but to us it’s what we wanted to do and we’re really proud of it. That honest approach is something that fans appreciate, and it flies in the face of people that hated on the album when we are playing sold out shows.”

MGMT will play next year’s Future Music Festival alongside The Chemical Brothers, Dizzee Rascal and Pendulum in what promises to be an electronic explosion.

“We always have a great time in Australia and it will be nice to go back,” Andrew says. “We’ve had some really fun shows in Australia. I think the ones that stand out are the ones like Perth at the Belvoir Amphitheatre with Tame Impala. There’s kind of like a hippie vibe to it. I think that is what works best with our band in Australia.”


Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:20

Underworld Interview

Sweet and sour romance

Thirty years is a long time in the music industry, especially if you’re one half of iconic UK dance duo Underworld. Karl Hyde has battled his demons and lived to tell the story.

“There were phases of our career where we said ‘we don’t need to like each other in order to work together’ and that was true and kind of inspiring,” Karl says of his musical journey with band-mate Rick Smith. “We just always seem to find something inspiring about working together. There’s something about Rick which truly inspires me to go beyond everything that I think possible.”

It all sounds very romantic for two men in their 50s.

“Well I’ll tell you what, it’s not,” Hyde says with a laugh. “There’s a lot of beanbags, there’s a lot of dirty dishes, there’s a lot of disagreements. It’s far from romantic and I’ll tell you another thing about working with a Welshman, he will not let us wallow in romance.”

Now Hyde and Smith have delivered their eighth studio album in stunning style. ‘Barking’ is a genre jumping, nine-track collection held together by Hyde’s trademark sweet and sour vocals. It’s smooth and sophisticated and shows a group at the top of its game.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to do anything at all,” Hyde says of the recording process. “You just look at that studio and it’s taunting you, saying ‘you’re finished, you’ll never do anything again’. That’s the nature of the way we work, but the point is to make a start. We try to record as often as we can to build up an archive of material that we can use as the starting point for new tracks.”

Underworld’s big break came in 1996 when ‘Trainspotting’ took a near ten-minute track called ‘Born Slippy’ and let it loose on an unsuspecting public. It remains the duo’s most successful song and is a guaranteed party starter anywhere in the world.

“Without tracks like ‘Born Slippy’, groups kind of fade into obscurity,” Hyde says. “We were incredibly fortunate to have an iconic track like that come out of our archive. Every time we play it you can see it’s connecting with people of all age groups, and that’s a wonderful thing to have in your back pocket.

“You dream of having number ones, but you never think you’ll ever make something which is an anthem that transcends time and place.”


Wednesday, 15 September 2010 16:19

Sasha Interview

Waiting For The Call

Superstar DJ by night, everyday bloke by day. Meet Sasha; he enjoys football, cooking and making music.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010 13:58

Delphic Interview

Setting Sail

James Cook is a musical explorer. Like Captain Cook before him, the lead vocalist of Manchester trio Delphic is a risk taker and an innovator. Fiercely independent, Cook will set sail on his first Australian tour later this month.

“It's a common thing in England, either before you go to university or after you go to university you always make the pilgrimage to Australia,” Cook explains. “I've watched so many of my friends pack up and go to Australia and I've always been really jealous. I've heard about hot weather and blonde chicks, so I just hope everyone enjoys the music and the gigs go down really well.”

Delphic's music combines the best bits of pop, rock and dance. The trio's live show slides seamlessly from song to song, drawing on influences from Bjork, Radiohead and Kraftwerk.

A shared love of film and media has also inspired the boys to produce their own visuals as well as a YouTube channel, television ads and CD artwork. “Visuals for us go hand in hand with the music. It's like an extension of the music and we love that collaboration and what it can achieve. When you play on stage the music and the visuals come together as one. “We've never been told how to look on stage, what visuals to use, what track listing to have on an album. We're in control here, this is our vision.”

Delphic's debut album 'Acolyte' is sweet, sprawling, epic and energetic all at the same time. The ten-track collection is a brooding, bubbling soundtrack that moves you from one moment to the next. It's almost like an art exhibition in recorded form. “It's interesting, at the moment we don't really know when we'll be able to knuckle down and focus on the next release.

“When we started writing 'Acolyte' we were heavily into synthesizers, samplers and drum machines. Although we don't have a lot of time, the music we're making now is a lot more refined. “We're looking at all those great song writing techniques, and in terms of what we are listening to, it's a lot more organic and a lot more refined. I think in time that's something we'd like to embrace more in the live set. That's the sort of sound we've found for ourselves.”

Delphic play The Hi-Fi on March 25. ‘Acolyte’ IS OUT NOW THROUGH MODULAR.

Wednesday, 08 September 2010 10:47

Scripted Dialects Interview

Mainstage Action

Scripted Dialects is all about the music. The Brisbane trio is dancing to its own beat, and singing to its own tune on the way to a debut festival outing later this month.

Rupert Faust is cool, calm and collected when discussing his group’s first foray into the world of festival frivolities. The 24-year-old will take the stage at this month's Manifest as one third of Brisbane hip hop outfit Scripted Dialects.

The group has come a long way since graduating from the UQ student bar to host Funk n Soul’d Out at The Globe and supporting fellow Brisbane outfit Butterfingers.

“We’ve known the guys from Manifest for quite a few years now. When I first started going to festivals I think they were going to quite a few festivals as well and we became friends,” Rupert says of the three-day September celebration.

“It was a natural progression for us, of course we had to be there. It’s their first festival and it’s our first festival. We didn’t have to think about it, not at all. I guess there’s a little bit of nerves, but we play a lot of shows so we’re quite comfortable being on stage. It could very well be the biggest crowd we’ve played to.”

Confident but far from cocky, Rupert says the Scripted Dialects story is going – dare I say – according to script.

“We had a pretty long-term vision and there was never really much doubt in our mind as to the progression of our music, it was just a matter of time. We want to keep making awesome tunes, stuff that we love to listen to, stuff that we love to perform and stuff that other people love to listen to as well.

“We’re always just trying to create songs that we haven’t heard of and I suppose topics that we haven’t heard yet. It’s all hip hop, but I think we’re looking for something a bit different.”

Scripted Dialects is one part Brother Beans – Rupert – mixed and mashed by producer Supervised and turned upside down and inside out by freestyler Philosopheyes. Together the boys are working on their debut longplayer and remain focused on the future of Oz hip hop.

“I never listened to hip hop to be honest. It’s quite funny, but I was a punk rock and metal kid right up until I finished school. Then I sort of got into 1200 Techniques and The Herd and I was like ‘wow, hip hop can actually be cool’.

“That was at the turn of the millennium when all that bling bling gangster shit was getting popular, and then I heard some Aussie hip hop and realised you could actually say what you wanted without sounding retarded.”

2010 has seen Rupert take on an increased role in the Scripted crew in the absence of former DJ, Professor Phat. Brother Beans moves between the decks and mic as a self-confessed “control freak” who was born to create banging beats.

“Coming up to the ‘Just Pressed Record’ EP launch Professor Phat said ‘that’s going to be my last show with you’ and he wanted to try other things. Then I sort of fell back into the DJ responsibilities and I’ve been working hard on that. It’s pretty cool because I’m a bit of a control freak.

“It’s good to be behind the decks and finding samples, because all three of us are developing songs. Instead of having someone else do things for us I can get in there and do it. The album is coming along well. We’ve got 19 tracks on the board and we’ve done seven or eight of them live. We’re looking to start recording in October."

“We’re looking for a release in mid next year. It’s easy to say that, but it can always get pushed back. For us man, we just want to keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully people will enjoy the music. That’s what we’re all about.”

Scripted Dialects plays Manifest at the Bestbrook Mountain Resort from September 24-26. Other acts include Propatingz, Hermitude, Mr Mirra, Organic Hybrid and The Bird.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 10:16

Kool Keith Interview

To The Future

Keith Matthew Thornton takes on many weird and wonderful incarnations. One of the most creative and innovative rappers of all time is returning to Australia armed with a collection of new tunes. This time Mr Thornton will pass through customs as Kool Keith.

At first glance, renegade rappers like Black Elvis, Dr Octagon and Willie Biggs have nothing in common. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find all three share the same unmistakable lyrical delivery that has breathed life into classic albums like ‘Critical Beatdown’, ‘Funk Your Head Up’ and ‘Sex Style’. Whether it’s Elvis, Octagon or Biggs, Kool Keith is a force like no other.

The founding member of legendary New York crew Ultramagnetic MCs has worked alongside The Prodigy, Tom Waits and everyone in between. Forget pushing the envelope, this guy tears it to shreds.

“I think I write more outspoken than the average rapper,” Keith says. “I think a lot of kids that are into hip hop are not knowing that hip hop has got to move on. Leave the 70s and the 80s alone. And the 90s.

“All the singers are singing ‘I wanna take you to the Bahamas and drink pina coladas’. I be saying stuff that's kind of more real. I never got into that era of the urban soul stuff. I think I write more exotic records. I’ve seen rap come from a street pole and lamps in the street.”

The voice behind The Prodigy’s ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ has been accused of promoting violence against women. While feminists say his so-called “porncore” lyrics are degrading, supporters says Keith is literally standing up for the common man.

“I think people get mad because I make more direct records. I write a lot of songs about my impressions from a man's point of view. I'm not against women. I'm not against men. I just write about me telling my side of how I would say something.

“If you want to say you got to take a woman out to a fancy restaurant, I write songs about ‘hey I'm not taking you to a fancy restaurant, I wanna take you to McDonald's’. You have girls that sing about guys ain't paying their bills and men are this and men are that and I write about women who want to go out for free, they don't want to pay for the dinner, they try to get over, they wanna leave. I think I’m not scared to say anything I want.”

Keith embraced independent distribution in an era when major labels were often the key to major success. He bucked the trend and bucked it good, maintaining his creative freedom and crisscrossing genres at will.

Keith has shared the studio with the likes of DJ Q-Bert, Dan the Automator and DJ Shadow.

He has a huge following online and a discography that is almost impossible to track. His new outing, ‘The Legend Of Tashan Dorrsett’, tells the ongoing story of his latest alter ego.

“Tashan Dorrsett is the reality person from New York City with an image of being real and regular, dealing with daily life situations. The essence of urban living to its all-time fullest, block after block, the brick buildings, the hot sun.

“You can't live it through television, you have to walk out and touch it like I've done for years. To all the areas that many people will not visit, I will constantly. Everybody's slow right now, there's nothing happening musically. Everybody's all on cable television and being manipulated by all the television right now, what's on cable telling people what to listen to and stuff.

“Everybody's still in the 70s and 80s musically, still making remakes. I think a lot of the high technology is distracting. I had been making futuristic records way before a lot of the groups that came out, but now everybody is running to make their albums sound new, but it sounds too made up. I'm not about nostalgia, I'm not about looking back. If I made a hit, I moved on and never looked back. The future is what I should be dwelling on right now.”

Kool Keith headlines a monster night at Step Inn on Tuesday August 10. Other acts performing include Pure Product, School Fight, DJ Katch and DNO.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010 13:22

BabeyDrew Interview

Passion for Property

The man behind superstar rapper Chris Brown and the recently jailed Lil’ Wayne makes plenty of noise in his own right. Whether he’s turning tables or talking Twitter, BabeyDrew is loving life as ‘The Full Package’.

First up, what’s it like being tour DJ for the likes of Chris Brown and Lil’ Wayne?
DJing for Chris and other celebrities is definitely an experience because I get to see things in a short period of time that would normally take a long time to see! I also get to perform in front of very large crowds. I didn't get a chance to hang with Wayne like that. I only worked with him for a short run (but) he's one of the most humble people I have met; he literally waited after the show at the side of the stage to thank us for a good show! Chris is family. He's like my little brother. So on stage we have fun because we know each other.

You say you’d be dead without music. How did sound save you?

I would be dead without music because music is life.

If you had to work a nine-to-five, what would your job be?

If I had a nine-to-five I would use my degree in advertising and work for some type of firm before starting my own ad agency. I would also touch on real estate! Buying properties is one of my passions.

And what about BabeyDrew ‘The Full Package’? What does this package include?

My ‘Full Package’ saying was given to me. I think it means that I'm not just stuck in one realm or genre of music. I have a certain look and personality that makes me marketable (this is what I was told).

Who or what is your dream collaboration?

My dream collaboration is producing a record for Jay-Z!

You’re a bit of a Twitter junkie; what’s one of the weirder things you've shared with people?

I have subliminally shared EVERYTHING on Twitter. I love to express with words, even if I'm the only one that understands it, I don't care.

What sets your live show apart from the rest?

During my live show I love to mess with the crowd. I love to use my personality. I love to show off my scratching and blending skills also. I stay true to the artform of DJing. I don't use CD players. I love my turntables. The day turntables go away I will stop DJing.

Catch BabeyDrew at Magic City at The Church Sunday April 25.

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