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Wednesday, 22 April 2009 12:05

Juke Kartel

STRANGE TIMES

Life is a funny thing, full of ups and downs; or in the case of Melbourne rockers Juke Kartel, one day you’re playing the side bar at the Workers Hall in Wollongong, the next you’re opening for Slash (yes, he of Gunners fame) in Norway at one of the biggest rock festivals in the world.

“Yeah, I don't know how that works to be honest,” says knockabout frontman Toby Rand of the group’s recent itinerary. “It's pretty nuts though.”

Nuts doesn't really begin to describe the wild ride the Melbourne boys have been on over the last couple of years, a ride that has included near superstardom in the US via reality TV. “Yeah people can make of that (Toby placed third place in the second series of ‘Rockstar Supernova’) what they want, I mean we wouldn't have had half the opportunities we've had without it.”

Opportunities like getting to work with some of the best in the business, including Rick Parashar on their latest offering 'Nowhere Left To Hide'. Parashar has produced some of the finest balls and all rock records (think Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam) to come out in the last 20 years.

“Our record label over here gave us a wish list of which producers we wanted to work with and Rick was part of that list because of his past dealings and the fact he's produced albums that have sold over 60 million copies. Meeting the guy for the first time, we had a round of golf with him and a bit of chat and he was pissed by the sixth hole and I thought yeah I can work with him.”

The Juke Kartel lads must have mightily impressed Mr Parashar. With his reduced workload over the last couple of years, he doesn't get out of bed for just anyone.

“Yeah, he was great but it took us a few days to get our heads round working with him, because he communicates so much by body language. One of the boys would be playing something and he'd say 'good good… but I need you to play it a bit more like this' and (he) would start waving his arms around, and we'd all be looking at each other thinking, what?!”

For your last chance to catch Juke Kartel before they relocate full time to the States, get along to the Step Inn April 24, Bon Amici's Café Toowoomba April 25 or the Cooly Hotel April 26.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010 14:00

Qld Air Guitar Champs Interview

Guitar Hero

Air guitar; we've all done it before - usually accompanied by someone using a hair brush as a mic and your best mate playing savagely off-kilter air drums as you somehow combine star jumps off the bed into your act.

Now the Jubilee Hotel is showing off the best of these bedroom warriors and wants you to come along to the party. While it's obvious that the night isn't taking itself too seriously, a quick search on Youtube will reveal a veritable gold mine of men and women who give the term OTT a whole new meaning - something that one of this year’s judges Sophie Cowie agrees is part of the event’s charm.

“It's all about theatrics, crowd participation and being over the top, so judging by last year I expect a lot of loud costumes,” she says.

And Sophie would know, having competed in last year’s instalment and finishing a credible fourth with her enthusiastic interpretation of The Hives.

“I spoke to one of the contestants last year and he told me that they came into it with mates who had done it consecutively for several years... so there are definitely a few regulars that are there year to year.

“There was quite a few people watching it last year with around 15 contestants and it's definitely funny to watch. There was young and old alike - it's not just for the 20 year olds - there were some guys in their mid thirties up there giving it a go as well.

“We had a guy jump off the stage and one of them stole a customer’s drink - like full rock 'n roll and on Youtube there is a contestant who was one of the world champions from the year before who pretended that their amp had failed when they plugged it in and had audio tracks that they had obviously made with all those sound effects so it's pretty out there.”

And while the instruments are fake, the rewards certainly aren't, with last year’s Australian winner being flown to Sweden to represent the green and gold.

Just when you thought the world couldn't get anymore surreal.

The Queensland final of the Australian Air Guitar Championship happens Saturday March 27 at the Jubilee Hotel.

Wednesday, 02 September 2009 13:25

Miss Match Intrview

Made In Heaven

Considering the amount of you lovely ladies who get out on a weekend and shake yo money maker, it's surprising how few of you can be found up there in the rarefied air of the DJ booth - one kickass exception to this rule is Sydney's very own Miss Match who doesn't so much break glass ceilings as make them vibrate and hum to her own special groove.

How’s does a country lass like yourself get into house music?
I grew up in Tamworth (yes the Country Music capital of Australia) though I came to Sydney a fair bit for modelling when I was still in highschool. So I started getting a taste for it then, but really fell in love with house music when I actually moved to Sydney at the age of 18. Definitely a late bloomer but I like to think that I had fresh approach and energy that wasn’t drowned out by partying my youth and hearing away.

What in your mind are the key ingredients for a killer club track?

At least one or two massive breakdowns, doesn’t necessarily have to have vocals BUT there needs to be something very infectious to make it stand out and be remembered amongst everything you hear that night. Dirty bassline of course, and introducing a whole new sound, tempo, key or style is what I think makes a fresh killer club track.

Is dance music a bit of a boys club?

Well yeah, it is still a predominately male industry, but females are always coming up through the ranks. I think we bring a breath of fresh air to the scene with a varied angle of entertainment and performance behind the decks. Obviously there are differences in what people see, but personally, I think females have a better edge of being able to read a crowd thus the energy and what people hear and absorb is slightly different. Technique, musical background, preparation, music choice, personality and experience are always dependent on the individual though – no-one is purely a better DJ due to being a particular sex.

People can catch you on your regular Thursday night NRL Footy Show stint – how did that come about?

It came through Groove Academy, one of the agencies I am respresented by here in Sydney. Basically The Footy Show was after something a bit different so thought to try their luck with a female DJ. So far it’s been great, a lot of fun and the exposure has been wonderful too.

Miss Match plays the Coolangatta Sands Hotel Saturday September 5.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:54

Systamatix : Interview

Self-Taught

Self-taught DJs and purveyors of rockin’ house parties, local electro house tandem Systamatix are currently killing it in clubland. The duo of Daniel Kaptein and Simon Reveco are hitting Planet this weekend, and we thought it about time we introduced you to Systamatix - over to you lads...

How exciting has it been watching the electro house scene blow-up in Brisbane?


It’s been very exhilarating to see the electro scene blow-up in Brisbane. From when we first started mixing, it was mainly house and trance. But when we first heard songs like Dirty South's remix to Evermore's ‘It’s Too Late’ and Tonite Only's ‘The Danger’, it was just different to what was out there.

So, how did you get involved with the local scene?


As the electro scene took over, we both got involved by changing our style of music to fit with what they were playing in the clubs.

You're self-taught DJs; was there a lot of trial and error involved?


Yeah, a lot of trial and error was done; spending a couple of hours a day on the decks building our skills. Watching other DJs mix taught us to become better DJs.

How important were playing warehouse raves for getting your name out as well as building your confidence in a live setting?


The early warehouse raves were intense. We would both be mixing to at least 500-700 people and watching all those people go nuts to the music ... it was such an adrenaline rush and built our confidence to play in a live setting.

You guys have been playing at Planet Nightclub for a while – what kind of a room do you get there?


We get a lot of freedom at Planet; playing a lot of funky tech electro stuff, a bit harder than mainstream and the crowd reacts well to it.

A bird told us you're studying sound engineering at JMC College - how's that shaping up?


Yeah studying at JMC is fun. They have so much to offer in production, in the studio and theory based knowledge. It’s a cool place to learn new stuff about the creative industries.

The rest of 2009 for Systamatix, what’s in store?


Mainly focusing a lot more on production stuff; experimenting with different elements to find our sound. We're working on a new track at the moment that’s pretty heavy, something more for peak time.

Lastly, what’s the Systamatix gear of choice?


Would have to say the Pioneer CDJ-1000; what you can do with it is amazing.

Catch Systamatix at Planet Saturday August 15.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:49

4zzz Radiothon

Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)

Clubs, bands and fans come and go - but there has been one mainstay in the Brisbane music scene for nearly 35 years now; community radio station 4ZzZfm. From The Saints to Regurgitator, Resin Dogs and The Grates to the Hungry Kids of Hungary, chances are you heard them on the Zeds first. And now it's time to put your money where your dial is and support this year's 4ZzZ Radiothon, which takes place August 15-21.

“We have a whole bunch of events coming up for Radiothon,” begins acting Station Manager and all-round nice gal Michelle Brown. “On the Saturday we have a car pack gig with an all-day breakfast with Seaplane, Turnpike and Undead Apes playing - then on the Thursday evening, the Ska Show and our Thursday drive show Concept Warning have got a few bands playing at that one too; Brass Razoo, Wayne Keys Show … and on the last Saturday, which is going to be the finale, we are having a trash and treasure event in the car park.”

With so many great events on, why wouldn't you want to support one of Brisbane's cultural gems? After all, few stations in the world can boast a history as colourful or as influential as the Zeds - a history that stretches right back to 4ZzZ being granted Brisbane's first FM license and its first day of broadcast on December 8 1975. And the first track ever heard on radio in glorious stereo in Brisvegas? The Who's 'Won't Get Fooled Again' - a defiant, inclusive tradition that continues to this day.

“On Monday from 6 till 8 Locked In is our prisoners show with the guys; Nicki, Heather and Blue; hosts Zim and Charlie try every week to fulfill the requests of our prisoners - that's a really important one, because they don't get that anywhere else, they don't get to do shout outs, or request songs at any other station in Brisbane, and that's always been a big thing for Triple Zed to help support.”

And it doesn't stop there, whatever your position in society - whatever your music taste 4ZzZ has the flavour for you.

“We have (seminal hip hop show) Phat Tape, we have a few shows for dubstep and reggae shows (The Yard, Ska Trek, The Baron One Way Show) so that side of things is very well represented. We also have a youth show, which has been going strong for many years - where the announcers are usually under 18 and that's getting great experience for them through radio.”

Vibrant, engaging and sometimes just plain fucking weird, the station not only supports the wider community, it needs the community to support it to survive.

“We aim to support the under-represented communities in Brisbane and surrounding areas - whether that be with music or the Gay and Lesbian community, or prisoners we try and support a whole range that other mainstream media don't represent. So we hope that because we give back to the community, that the community can give back to us.”

But don't worry; the station doesn't expect you to hand over your hard earned cash for nothing. When you subscribe not only do you get a warm fuzzy feeling (good for about three days of feeling much better about yourself and the world) the benefits to subscribers are massive. If you’re a solo artist, or in a band and aren't on the books, what the hell are you thinking? And that's not even mentioning the rad prizes they’re throwing up if you stick your hand up to donate during Radiothon week - water tanks, overseas trips, free entry to The Zoo for a year- it's all there. So pray tell, what exactly are you waiting for?

The 4ZzZFM Radiothon is happening August 15 - 21. Ring 3252 1555 or hit the website at www.4zzzfm.org.au for details on how to subscribe.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009 11:45

Nacho Lovers

PASS THE SALSA!

When you hear the phrase 'electronic music', what's the first thing that pops into your head? If you’re a proud member of Gen Y then it's a pretty good guess that building, crunchy electro beats were working there way round your noggin.

But it wasn't always this way. There was a time when melody drove the song, which is why you should get some Nacho Lovers on your iPod right now.

It's a heritage that one half of the Toronto duo, Andrew Ross wears like a badge of honour. “Scott (Seewhale) and I sort of come from a school of making music and DJing,” begins the polite Canadian. “And we know that we really like old classic house and classic techno records and they always had a good melody. We don't really make the tracks that are really popular these days. We just like to have a melodic line in whatever we are doing and we really like percussion so we are always playing with percussion and poppy rhythms and stuff like that in our tracks.”

And it's not just their song structures that hark back to a different era either, with the boys favourite bit of kit being the positively pre-historic Roland TR-909 Synth. “Yeah that's one of the main drum machines that we use, the 909 is the first drum machine I bought and we have a couple of others like a TR-727, which is like the Latin version of the 707, which is a little bit of step down from the 909 and we use a lot of hardware. We don't really use a lot of soft synths if at all really.”

This old school sensibility has paid off for the boys in spades, with Nacho Lovers being picked up by super cool dance imprint Fools Gold through whom they've put out the stellar ‘Acid Life / Go On’ 12”. “We don't have to use someone else’s framework, we aren't limited to using their stem to remix, and with original material too we can show our personality a little more. Plus there is no real deadline for our own material, so we can sort of take our time.”

Catch the Nacho Lovers at The Ruby Tramp April 25 and at Monastery May 1. ‘Acid Life / Go On’ 12” is out now through Fools Gold.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009 09:42

Muph & Plutonic : Interview

Back To The Lab

They've been kicking arse and taking names for a few years now, so it’s no surprise that when we caught up with Dan Young, aka Muph -  half of skip hop flagwavers Muph & Plutonic - that he was taking a well earned rest. â€œI've got all the time in the world taking a month off - doing as I please at the moment. I think we've got three shows coming up in June … It's good having that break cos it gets you excited about doing shows again. I'm hanging, I am really looking forward to it, we actually have a show coming up in Sydney - which is a festival, and we are doing a rehearsal tomorrow and I am really looking forward to rehearsing and nutting out a new show.”

The thought of a revitalised Muph & Plutonic should have loyal skip hoppers rubbing their hands with glee, because the daily grind of success and touring has been taking its toll on the guys. â€œIt’s only been a month off, but it’s hard to remember back that far (to their last tour). Cos it goes so fast and you are kind of just consumed by the machine. You get up, play the show, then you crash out, and then you get up and do the same thing again. So you kind of get to take in the scenery but you don't get to inspect different places. I can picture a venue in my head but I am not sure where it was".

Just don't mistake fatigue with the boys getting all prima donna on us all of a sudden, they appreciate their building fan base, which is taking off in the most unlikely of places - Perth, Canberra and Hobart, cities that don't necessarily roll off the tongue when you put the hip together with the hop. And they sure are going to miss the buzz of their live act when they take another break in a few months time to concentrate on solo projects. â€œYeah, I want to go out with a bang, I want to put on the best show that we can. The plan at the moment is to get working on a solo project. Plutonic is doing a few things - working on a instrumental album, which will be his fourth - then a bunch of other things as well.”

Fans can relax though, the emphasis here is on break - not break up, with another combined effort already in the pipeline to follow up their stellar album '…And Then Tomorrow Came'. â€œWe've decided we are going to start working on our next album next year. We've planned it a little bit, in what we are going to do. But at the moment I am going to be doing a little side project and he's going to be doing his other things.”

No surprise that the boys what to branch off and take a break from the Muph & Plutonic brand for a while - after all, it was their solo work that got them into bed in the first place. "I think definitely that is a big part of it because we have brought our lessons together, the things we have learned together. When we were working together it never really felt like work, it's pretty straight forward and there's rarely any arguments, he's (Plutonic) pretty easy to work with and because we are friends as well I guess.”

And anyone with half a head on their shoulders, who's ever been to a Muph & Plutonic joint, knows how good this chemistry is when it kicks off live on stage. So what have the boys been cooking up for their upcoming Brissie show? â€œYou can expect just a dope show. The line-up is huge and we wanted to put something together that was quite diverse, kinda like a big party. So we just want people to come along for a good time.”

Muph & Plutonic play at The Hi-Fi, June 27. Coalition Crew, Rainman, Pure Product, Eloquence & Truths, DJ Katch and DJ Firstbourne support with host MC DNO.
‘...And Then Tomorrow Came’ is out on Obese Records.

Wednesday, 03 June 2009 16:45

Blunted Monk

Star Trucking It

Safeway manager by day and cosmic hip hop, anti-war hero by night Melbourne's Blunted Monk has been a busy boy - and he only looks to get busier with his latest release, 'Operation Dreamscape', getting Triple J airplay.

“There's been a lot of positive feedback so far,” begins the likable rapper, “it's a little bit different from my brother’s release, he did all the production on it … so it's a transitional period with his sound, but I am definitely happy with it.”

And it’s this partnership with his brother aka Urban Monk that has them pushing forward; an equal balance of Urban's beats (whether via drum machine or tapping on the table) and Blunted's ethereal, often fantastical lyrics on tracks such as 'On The Doorstep Of The Galaxy'. “Yeah I like to think outside of the box, but on that track Urban came to me with the beats first and I began with the hook … and I do like my sci-fi.”

This methodology and out there role playing lyrical content is continued on the EPs other headliner 'The Blood Of My Brother', the tale of an American soldier and a rebel civilian in the Iraqi war.

“That started with Urban; it sounds like he is going with a sort of bongo drums thing but it’s actually him just tapping out a beat on a table, and he does this weird thing with his voice - and it sort of sounds like to me like a Middle Eastern instrument and it sort of just popped up in my head that I would like to do a track like that, like two different points of view on one track sort of thing.”

And there is another side to the Blunted Monk story as well, with the southerner working a day job at his local Safeway (Woolworths to us Queenslanders) in order to make ends meet.

“Sometimes you come home after a long day and you just don't have the energy or the motivation to write, sometimes you have to push it and I really don't like to push it that often. I find if you push it too hard you end up hating what you write anyway. I would rather it just come, when it comes.”

Blunted Monk plays City Cyphaz 6 at the Jubilee Hotel Friday June 5, with support from Prophet Rayza, Dwizofoz, Doobs, Ripe, Lil Hek, Red Styles and DJ Darkwing Dubs. ‘Operation Dreamscape’ is out now through Pang Productions/AmpHead.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009 15:38

Blunt Instrument

Blunt, The New Sharp

The mid-nineties were a golden era of hip hop, with the influential Ninja Tunes holding the title as THE label when it came to smart, ground-breaking hip hop; the full impact of which is now only being realised and manifested in groups such as local lads Blunt Instrument. â€œWithin the genre of instrumental hip hop (they) are hugely influential on guys that are coming out now,” says one half of the duo, the laid-back Luke Latimer, on Ninja Tune. “And definitely within that hip hop culture they are THE label.”

So does he have a favourite Ninja Tunes release then? â€œI just recently picked up the original 'Jazz Break 1 & 2', which was quite exciting - it's nothing like what we do now, but as far as back catalogue? Probably Tobin's album 'Out From Out Where' definitely was a bit of a mind blower for us personally and Blockhead’s first album was awesome, and Ecstatic's first album … so those three are probably the most influential.”

While, like all good boffins, the guys know their chops, it's the way in which they take these influences and make them they're own; with a certain bent for the glitchier, techy side of the fence, that should excite Brisbane audiences. â€œWe have about four of what I would call polished demo tracks, but there are another 40 or so tracks that we are working on.”

It’s this process of refinement; with beats and melodies often cannibalised from one track and thrown into another - either on the run in their live shows, or through their own bedroom noodling, that define the Blunt Instrument sound, a sound that the punters are digging. â€œYeah, like all [our] music it often begins with either me or Rocko (the other half of Blunt Instrument) humming out melodies and that usually forms the basis for most of our tracks.”

It’s this level of synchronicity and a building live rep that has the Blunt Instrument fellas as the group to watch in '09. A fact that more and more peeps are picking up on. â€œYeah … when we played with Spoonbill recently we were actually surprised that they were that many people there … and it was great that people were receptive to it.”


Blunt Instrument play ‘Gemini’ at Uber June 6. They then support Blu & Exile at the Red Bull Music Academy show at Alhambra June 11.

Wednesday, 08 April 2009 15:23

Impossible Odds

Anything's Possible

There aren't too many artist out there that can cite Kev Carmody, Archie Roach and the best of American hip hop as the primary influences on their career. And there definitely aren't too many people who can boast Tongan, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal heritage, but then again there aren't many people 'round like Fred Rhymes aka Impossible Odds.

“Yeah I am a bitsa, like everybody else,” laughs the laidback Brisbane local on a quick break from work. “And I guess your DNA just comes out in your music, just telling your story. Who I am means that I have to break down some barriers through telling my story. But it's more a force of habit thing. I mean I just listened to all that different type of music - my Mum's Kev Carmody tapes, what my friends were listening to and it all went from there.”

If that's where Fred’s muse is coming from, where his music is going got a big shot in the arm when he decided to apply for the JB Seeds Grant, to gain skills and cash to follow his dream. “Yeah it was actually my wife who pushed me for that. I had been doing this music thing for about ten years and she just said to me 'Just go for it, and if it doesn't work out you can move onto something else'. But just getting into a room with all those managers of different bands really got my head around the business side of things.”

Lucky for us, the listener, it did work out. When you hear the words indigenous and hip hop you know it’s going to get a bit political. That it’s going to make our ears prick up a little bit, but you certainly don't expect the product, the beats, the flow to be this solid. “Yeah I feel like my career is just like an airplane getting ready to take off, that point where it just leaves the ground and is just going up and up. I just think that in Australia we can't help but take influences from everywhere and give it our own flavour and that's what's happening with hip hop; different beats and cultures coming together and making something new.”

Catch Impossible Odds at Uber April 17 and at the Stylin' Up Festival, CJ Greenfields Sports Complex, Inala May 30.

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