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Wednesday, 23 November 2011 10:09

Mariachi El Bronx

Wing Span

Punk and mariachi music definitely have their differences; as the love child of legendary punk band The Bronx, Mariachi El Bronx is no novelty.

“I think for the most part people are open-minded to it because we aren’t making a mockery of it, we take it very seriously and pour our hearts into it. We’re just as serious about the mariachi band as we are about the rock,” Jorma Vik, percussionist for the band says. “People respect what we’re doing because it’s coming from our hearts.”

Jorma talks in an intense tone about his feelings toward the band, and it’s little surprise when he tells me about the fruitful transition between punk and mariachi. “We got asked to play a TV show and they wanted us to do an acoustic version of one of our The Bronx songs and we weren’t really into the idea. So we got Mexican instruments and did one of our songs in mariachi style and we had so much fun, so we started writing some music. No one knew how to play the music before we started, we just got some instruments off Craigslist and watched YouTube videos and learned how to play them.”

Spreading their musical wings meant adding synth and piano to the mix on their first album; now they’re working on album number two and feeling a lot more confident. “When we wrote the first one we had just got the instruments, and we had just started learning how to play it so the writing process was also a part of the learning process. Onto the second record we were definitely a lot more comfortable and didn’t have to think about the rhythms we were playing. I feel like we were a little more well versed and had some doors open in our heads as far as what we could do and what might sound good.”

Ahead of Mariachi El Bronx’s Big Day Out appearance, Jorma wants an open-minded crowd. “Just eight dudes on stage having the time of their lives, playing music from our hearts and just enjoying Australia. Keep an open-mind — enjoy yourself. It’s so mindblowing to us, there’s so little Mexican culture down there, I think that the music is easily digestible you know?”


Wednesday, 01 December 2010 15:38

Sud Sound System Interview

Reggae Smoothie

By blending two opposing world cultures, Italian and Jamaican, Sud Sound System have managed to create a distinct sound, which will be resonating through your ears and into your raggamuffin brain sooner than you expect.

Reggae music is not generally associated with Italy. How did you get into traditional reggae and who were your influences?
Sud Sound System was born in Apulia, a region of south Italy; very poor at that time and killed by Mafia and drugs, we needed to find a way to escape from these terrible conditions ... It was the chance to find ourselves and other friends in the countryside and play together, creating rhymes and lyrics on reggae riddims such as Dennis Brown, Sugar Minott, Tenor Saw, U-Roy and others.

Reggaefest focuses more on the traditional reggae coming out of Jamaica. How do you feel being part of the line-up when you come from a non-traditional reggae country?
We have been part of several reggae festivals in Europe, where most of the acts where from Jamaica. It is a great honour that our music is appreciated by who represents the country of reggae music. Artists like Luciano, Morgan Heritage, T.O.K., Daddy Freddy, Anthony B, Voice Mail and many more have had the opportunity to collaborate with us on stage and in the studio recording, and everybody has seen our style as original.

How do you strike a balance between your local Italian culture and traditional Jamaican dancehall; and what influences do you draw upon from your Italian roots?
Jamaican music and Italian music are both traditional. The language is the patois and the music is of the people. We translated our traditional music into reggae music mixing together the culture of two countries so far apart geographically, but so close culturally.

Do you think your omnipresence as the best dancehall group in Italy has changed the Italian reggae scene?
Well, we're the reggae act who have produced more albums in Italy. The reggae scene is varied, the new, upcoming singers and DJs take inspiration from our lyrics and music and nurse the idea to sing in their own dialect. Some classic words of our dialect such as 'sciamu moi', 'sine moi', 'brucia moi' and 'massicci', have been taken from this new generations of artists in their lyrics. It's  like some artist learns to sing in Jamaican patois not being Jamaicans; the same happens with us.

Sud Sound System play Reggaefest at The Brewery, Byron Bay, this Saturday, December 4.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 11:27

Thousand Needles In Red

Ball Hairs

You may know him as the main man of The Butterfly Effect, but Clint Boge is just a normal dude. He eats, yawns, breathes, is pissed-right-off about fuel prices and likes to experience new things. One of those things is Thousand Needles In Red.

“Triz (guitarist Tristan Bouillaut) from Kill The Capitol came up to me and just said ‘hey man I’ve heard your stuff on the radio and I dig what you guys are doing, I’ve got these demos, do you want to have a crack at them?’ and I was like ‘ok, cool’. I really wanted to get back to doing some heavier stuff to get back to where I started and the music I love. He sent me some stuff over email and I really dug it and I just laid down some vocals on a little demo rig and he was like ‘yeah man, we should really do this!’ I was like ‘yeah, let’s fucking go’.”

Since their first show in March last year, Thousand Needles In Red have progressed through the usual stages of being in a band: hardship, EP release, national tour, rubbing shoulders with cool, industry folk. “I got the demos in the middle of 2009; we went and recorded between June and August, by September we were in LA mixing with Jay Baumgardner at NRG and then March 2010, that’s when we did our first run. So it wasn’t even a year. It was quick man!

“When we recorded at NRG in LA, man, we rubbed shoulders with a few celebrities, that’s for sure. Linkin Park were in at the same time we were in there, which was a trip. They said they were recording their new album, which turned out to be ‘A Thousand Suns’. ‘A Thousand Needles In Red’, ‘A Thousand Suns’, I don’t know, am I putting five and two together and getting 20? I don’t know,” Clint says, the sarcasm dripping down the line.

Speaking of uncanniness, while writing their latest single, ‘Into Eternity’, there was an eerie aura about the whole thing as well as the omnipresence of The Tea Party’s Jeff Martin.
“Triz wrote the music and before he sent it to me he said ‘man, there’s definitely something eerie about this music’. His godfather told him a story about how he spent the last few days with Triz’s dad in France before he passed away. Triz relayed this story back to me and I just put it into lyric form and interpreted and translated the story.

“Along with the music, it was freaky. I wrote the lyrics on one section of road whilst I was driving near my house on my way home, and these lyrics popped into my head. Not to sound corny, but it felt like someone was sitting with me and whispering into my ear almost and Triz got the same thing. After we had finished it, Jeff (Martin) came in and totally polished it, he added some 12 string guitar, and some piano, he really added the finishing touches which is exactly what you want a producer to do.”

The saying ‘no place like home’ is thrown around a fair bit, but Triz and Clint take the saying to a whole new level with a little friend of theirs called Skype.
“Triz writes the songs. He uses Pro Tools and sends it off to me via email and if we’re both into it we jump on Skype and start dissecting the song and saying you know ‘try this’ and ‘what about that?’ It’s just video conferencing but for musos. It’s just like sitting in a room with him but we have the luxury of not being in the room with each other so we can’t hit each other with stuff if the music sounds shit.”

The heart of live musical expression is sometimes lost within many people’s modern day lifestyle. The reason musicians play live changes from performer to performer. Clint Boge likes it raw. “You’re pretty close to people; you’re right up in their grills so to speak if I can use some ghetto talk there. You’re close and you get that energy from the sheer volume and weight of four guys on stage, or three guys, or five guys, or four women, whatever.

“However many musicians are on the stage playing, sweating profusely, the smell of stale alcohol, it’s fucked man. I love getting out there and playing live, you just can’t beat it!”

With the future of the band resembling the interior of a candy store for Thousand Needles In Red, Clint is optimistic about what lies ahead for the group.
“I’ve got my fingers crossed, my ball hair is crossed, let me tell ya, I’ve got everything crossed man. I’ve been extremely lucky with Butters [Effect] so everything should be good.”

Thousand Needles In Red start their national tour at the Hamilton Hotel on March 3.

Wednesday, 09 February 2011 14:24


Perpetual Flapping

Spoonbill has found some feathers and is getting ‘Airbourne’ with his brand of crunchy, tantalising galactic samples. Hold onto the closest solid structure, Spoonbill is here.

A Spoonbill feeds by sweeping its partly opened bill from side to side in water and once a tasty treat touches its bill, it slams shut. How and where does Spoonbill source his sustenance (sounds) then? Spoonbill’s owner, Jim Moynihan gives us a few answers

What is the weirdest sound you have sampled?
An egg being cracked on the front tooth, the shell cracking apart and the raw yolk sliding down the gullet.

Your new album ‘Airborne’ is like nothing I’ve heard before. What reaches of space did you charter to retrieve these crunchy samples?
The migratory path has led to uncanny outposts and far distant realms, where new and strange aural stimuli were swept under wing.

Why do you play live? What draws you to it?
I dig sharing my tunes with different mobs, and it’s always fascinating to see how people react to my creations.

With your live show, how would you like the audience to feel as they leave your show?
Sonically satisfied, in a jovial mood and with a wide grin on their face.

What gear do you use to convert these weird sounds into a tantalising, funky tune?
I use mics to capture live instruments and foley. Plus synthesisers, samplers and digital processing with software plugins inside the Cubase environment. My tunes are crated from an amalgamation of disparate sources and tones, massaged together to create groove-based tangental sonic entertainment.

Where was Spoonbill hatched and how did this influence his musical direction?
The Spoonbill project hatched on a mountain top in 2003. The vantage from this lookout meant flight was the only option, and so the perpetual flapping begun!

Earth Freq is coming up this month. How should we prepare our minds for your set?
Well i suppose a solid mind massage would be a decent prerequisite for a good session of thought sculpture.

What direction does Spoonbill want to migrate to after the release of ‘Airborne’?
I don’t think I’ll ever settle on one direction; the art of constant experimentation and pushing to learn and try new directions is too appealing, and so the surrounding vista looks good where ever you focus attention.



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