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Wednesday, 01 June 2011 12:37

Helm

Rock With A Twist

Helm have shrugged off constant attempts to pin the band to any particular genre, rather defining themselves simply as a rock act.

This simplicity contrasts with their music, which is nothing of the sort. Their work acknowledges a taste for the experimental, elevating a greater dimension, which vocalist/ guitarist Lucas Stone admits is a natural expression. â€œThat's what comes out of us and that's what we do. It's not like we can choose anything different. If we started doing something else, it wouldn't be the band,” he says.

Opting to include the best of hard, pulsating and heavy rock alongside the more delicate side has worked much to their advantage, particularly in creating the chief vibe associated with the act.

With a work ethic that matches their ambitions, they’ve managed to conjure two independent releases, both of which have received a warm reception. â€œIt couldn't be better. We couldn't be more grateful on all levels, considering we're a band that hasn't received much major help from anyone. The response we've had at roots level … it's been nothing but 100 percent positive, so we can't complain, you know. We love the fans and it's been great for sure.”

Despite difficulties receiving airplay, Helm strive not to compromise their sound and hold true to their mixed bag of sounds. â€œDiversity is the most important thing. Bands like us tend to come under fire a lot. I think humans have a tendency or a need to find common ground in everything. The first thing that most people do when they hear something is say it sounds like 'such and such'.
“I guess within our sound and with our style, we try to defy that bit because we have our own thing and it obviously irks some people, and, I hope it does - you can't please everyone.”

The remainder of the year is filled with a number of different tour ventures, which Helm take pleasure in both the relentlessness and nature of their gigs. â€œWe pride ourselves on the fact that what you hear on the CD you get live, plus a whole show as well. You don't want to put out a great CD then be fucking shithouse live. We try and make sure that it's close to the mark as possible, if not better.”

HELM PLAY THE HAMILTON HOTEL FRIDAY JUNE 10.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 13:29

Music Video Mash Up

Time To Yodel

Better and much bigger than before, the Music Video Mash Up returns for the second time in as many years, calling on musicians and filmmakers from across the board for a unique opportunity to broadcast their creative capabilities.“We get bands and filmmakers to register and then randomly pair them together on a Friday night,” co-creator of the festival, Glenn Bernauer says. “They have to then make a music video together in a few days and hand the clip back in on the Monday. We then send the clips off to a panel of judges before we have screenings and an awards night.”

Since its inauguration last year, the original endeavour has stretched beyond Brisbane, allowing a larger group of entrants to compete for the $10k worth of prizes, a spot at Bigsound 2011 and airtime on Video Hits. â€œWe initially weren't planning on taking it anywhere straight away. We were going to keep it in Brisbane, grow it and then go, maybe, to Sydney and Melbourne. The Brisbane City Council were actually the ones who said to us that they thought we should take it national now.”

Like last year’s competition, Bernauer expects a varied range of applications. â€œI'd love a yodeller and I think Dorian (co-creator) is hanging out for a choir - just something really different. From a filmmaking point of view, when you set up on Friday night, you have no idea what you're going to get. You might have an idea in your head for a rock band but you might turn up and you get an opera singer. What you've got to do then, is quickly change your whole concept and make something.”

Looking to the future, Glenn and Dorian have a few tricks up their sleeve, but are keeping their cards very close to their chest. â€œAfter the Mash Up, we go straight into a corporate project for a couple of months. We've got a couple of ideas for some other festivals. We got big ideas and we've got little ideas as well.”

Entries for the Music Video Mash Up close June 3. Filming takes place June 10-13 across Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. mvmu.com.au

Wednesday, 04 May 2011 13:28

Chris Fraser

One Step Beyond   

Having accomplished so much in the past, the colourful and musically wise Chris Fraser keeps his focus on moving forward and giving more.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 13:49

Naughty By Nature

Yeah, You Know Them

Naughty By Nature have witnessed a lot since they dropped their mega-hit party anthem ‘O.P.P’.

In the ten years since their last release, what they've observed has only improved their appetite for further success. â€œI think hip hop is doing what it's always done ever since we were there,” said Vin Rock in a July 2010 interview with claytonperry.com. “It's just broader now. You have so many different flavours. You have so many different regions involved in the music now. And basically for us, we look at it as a competitive market.”

It's been a while since they were considered tough competition in the world of hip hop, as far as record sales are concerned, but this has not altered the ambitious and confident mindset within the group. â€œI'm happy with what's going on in hip hop right now, because I feel that we can always come in and still compete, whether it's with our studio recordings or live stage performances. We can go out there and basically f*ck with anybody out there.”

Taking advantage of their obvious energy, their desire to once again be involved in the development of the movement was paramount in their decision to return to the studio. â€œIt was about giving the people new music, and participating in the expansion of hip hop, especially with the corporate partnerships and just the general growth that you see guys like 50 Cent or Diddy or Jay-Z, a lot of our peers having with it.”

Their lengthy existence, never mind reputation, is admirable. Managing to maintain resonance amongst the ever-growing genre is not easy, but nevertheless something that Naughty By Nature have accomplished, with the assistance of a loyal fanbase. â€œThey could see that we were authentic. And then, we've done a lot of campaigning, a lot of hugging people and kissing babies and stuff, and it's been from a genuine perspective.”

Although without a major party anthem in the last decade, what cannot be denied is their drive and dedication to put on a show. â€œWe go out there. We're professional. We don't have crazy demands. We give a hell of a concert. We service the people, man.”

 

NAUGHTY BY NATURE PLAY SIN CITY ON MAY 1.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011 13:41

Alphabeticus 27.04.2011

First Up

Wasting no time at all, local outfit Alphabeticus have emerged from the shadows to offer a groove-filled taste of what is to come.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 14:56

Anthony B

THE MESSAGE IS KEY

Jamaican artist Anthony B will be speaking out about equality and the oppressed (and playing some roots reggae) when he lands in Australia this week.

You’re known for being a voice of the people by confronting political injustices. Do you believe this is a role of popular musicians; to bring such issues of the people to forefront? Well, music is a platform of influence confronting political injustices. It’s a part of my mission as music gives a voice to the poor whose voice can’t be heard and that’s what makes reggae music so great.

You’ve known for being diverse as an artist, incorporating hip hop, reggae, dancehall, roots, rock and soul into yourwork. Are there other genres you wish to explore
? Being a diverse artist, I still have a lot of musical style to touch. As to my music, I wish to explore trance. The message is important. Listen to the words not just the beats.

You’ve performed at many places around the world, carrying the torch for Jamaican music. Where has been your favourite place that you’ve played? My favourite place in the world away from Jamaica is Africa, and anywhere in the world where Jah Mission takes me.

You have shown through your songwriting that you’re both fearless and confronting. What inspires you to write in this style? Being fearless and confronting in my songwriting comes from youthful experience and learning to see the real reality of life at a tender age.

Representing Jamaican music around globe must be interesting. What sort of reception do you generally receive abroad?
The reception around the globe compared to home is great. And the work is the same for me. The world knows me for what I do in Jamaica, so when people come out to see me perform I know they want to see what they have heard before. So it’s all the same. It’s just that you get a longer time to perform abroad.

ANTHONY B PLAYS WITH CE’CILE AT THE HI-FI, SUNDAY APRIL 24.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011 14:45

Gregory Terrace

NEW NOISE

Like a kid in a candy store, the avenues of new and exciting music light up his eyes and inspire Gregory Terrace to do what he does best - create.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011 12:29

Jono Fernandez

Go Jono Go

Upon learning of Jono Fernandez’s musical endeavours, it’s quite reasonable to assume he has an impersonator out there.

The diverse and restless musician avoids being labelled by adopting a variety of styles for separate projects. Moving from here to there, geographically and stylistically, is more a reflection of his widespread talent than a split personality. â€œI find it very good for the soul to have some different projects going on, which is why I like to have my fingers in a lot of different pies,” he says.

An enthusiast of instruments both live and electronic, he considers this passion helpful in achieving his hybrid sound.“I tend to move around, between genres, like with my band project where I can pick up a guitar and start playing rather than listening to club beats for a whole day.”

It would be fair to say Fernandez has enjoyed greater success with dance music, his recent hits sliding their way comfortably into the low numbers of the ARIA dance charts.

But a stream of hits occupying the dance charts is only one element to his success. His recent venture, indie rock/ electonic outfit Friends Of Mine, is an example of the aspiring rockstar. â€œThey complement each other. I tend to bounce ideas off each other, even though they are different sounds. I might be sitting there working on and producing beats and I think about a cool rhythm or a cool sound that would work well in my band project or vice versa.”

Confidence playing piano, violin, flute and guitar has perhaps rewarded Fernandez an unfair advantage in the studio, which is an obvious element in his crafty tech-house and electro compositions.

For the moment, though, his ambitions are a little more shortsighted. A meeting with the Brisbane crowd is next on the multi-instrumentalist’s agenda.“I’m really looking forward to the set. I like to get involved and really blur that line between the studio and a live set. The thing is to expect the unexpected. I like to put things on their head and move between genres. Every time I’ve come to Brisbane, I’ve had a really good show. I think they’ve got a great crowd, a great following and a great music scene.”

Jono Fernandez plays Electric Playground April 15.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 13:47

The Driving Conditions

Wet And Slippery

They’re real, hard-hitting and they smash guitars on the regular. These guys don’t emulate Australian rock n roll, they live it.

The Driving Conditions’ raw and no nonsense style has earned them comparisons to the greats of Aussie rock and also landed them support slots with the likes of Rose Tattoo and Jimmy Barnes. Nathan Ward of The Driving Conditions knows what the band is and wears that on his sleeve. â€œSome media sources have tried to say that we’re emulating that Australian rock n roll convict thing, but the truth is, that’s who we are and we can’t help that,” he says.

With an album in stores and a second DVD due to be released, The Driving Conditions are certainly making their mark, but that doesn’t mean it has put them where they want to be. â€œBasically, where I’d like to be is where I think we deserve to be and that really comes down to how f*cked up the Australian music industry is at the moment. Until main media sources are going to start opening themselves up to music that actually moves people, the Australian music industry will keep turning their back on it.”

Nathan’s obvious frustration may be part of the fuel that fires their energetic and gritty gigs, which have been both frequent and popular in their native Brisbane. Playing in front of a home crowd is something a bit special for the quintet and it’s not without a lot of work that their gigs are so well attended. â€œIt’s taken us a long time to build up the following that we’ve got now in Brisbane and I’m really proud of that. The whole camaraderie and personal touch we have with our Brisbane scene is great.”

Achieving their sound and style was effortless given their deeply rooted connection to the Aussie rock genre and it’s apparent that they stay true to this. â€œIt’s something we’ve always done. It’s no bullshit, straight up rock n roll, mate. You know – sweat, blood and tears, really.”

Their new DVD, ‘Live At The Zoo’, captures the band in action at the popular local venue, documenting their wild and heavy performance, a true reflection of their character. After its Australian release, it’s off to Europe where they plan to continue their success.

The Driving Conditions play The Elephant and Wheelbarrow on Saturday March 26.

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