Bigsound Review

e9911_866980Bigsound officially kicked off on Wednesday 10th September, though on Tuesday the party had well and truly started, with the fantastic The Night Before Bigsound party at the Black Bear Lodge with the likes of Tin Sparrow and Little Odessa on the lineup, though if I were to tell you your trusted reviewer missed it due to a lack of funds required to spring for an extra night you wouldn’t hold it against him right? Didn’t think so, jeez you’re good people.

I did manage to drag my poor ass along on the Wednesday and witness the full brunt of Australia’s answer to SXSW. With 70 shows in one night across 14 official venues it’s impossible to catch everything so compromise comes in to the equation, ten minutes of this band, twenty of that, though the sets are already short so bands are going as hard as they can for the entirety of their set. They understand the beast that is Bigsound. Adelaide teenager Jesse Davidson opened the New Globe Theatre with half an hour of intelligent indie pop. The Unearthed high runner gathered a crowd full of record company types and youngsters out for a good time.

Davey Lane warned us in an interview last week about Bigsound “to me there are just too many record company dudes walking around with lanyons, it’s too business oriented” he told us, and there is that element, but with that comes seventy bands per night playing their absolute arses off because it’s quite possible this festival is the moment they emerge from the underground and explode onto our radios and televisions in a big way. So as Davey said, it’s a necessary evil.

Bad Dreems played outside the Brightside hotel with Lucianblomkamp on inside. Remember that sentence about compromises? The latter built a mystique around himself from the beginning with smoke machines and an electric violin put through enough reverb you thought you were in heaven. He soon added in layer upon layer of synth, an eclectic beat and some smooth vocals, booty shaking was as plentiful as deep appreciation. Outside Bad Dreems were belting out some old fashioned but imaginative Aussie rock. The outsider band from Adelaide had the crowd pouring in right until the end of their set. An excellent cover of Bastards of Young by The Replacements was a highlight.

DMA’s certainly filled the stage with four guitars in total including bass, a drummer and a singer. Their dress sense is either straight out of deep Western Sydney, Campelltown, Liverpool etc, or they’ve seen Green Street Hooligans one too many times, lads or chavs take your pick. Delete and Feels Like were sung back to them in spades by an adoring crowd. The licks from their lead electric guitarist, the guy in the football jersey from the ‘80s, is what sets them apart from another indie band trying to be Oasis, the comparisons will come as the band gains momentum, but if you listen closely they have their own sound.

D.D Dumbo lit up the Alhambra Lounge, building his tracks one layer at a time with looping pedals, a snare drum and a guitar. His soaring vocals overshadowed his excellent technical skills however.

On Alex Cameron’s birthday Seekae closed The Rev, an old church transformed into a venue with excellent acoustics and an eerie aura. Barely visible through the fog of multiple smoke machines. The set was heavy, a mix of deep house and trip-hop beats. It was certainly a party, reaching it’s climax when they played the trance inducing Another.

Day two could have started better, with most weathering hangovers whilst watching Obama declare war on I.S and 9/11 commemorations on the news.

That being said there was still partying to be done and bands to be heard, the first of which was Sydney experimentalists Meniscus, who dazzled with an impressive visual display and tight instrumental set, welcoming new drummer Alex O’Toole into the band for his first live set.

Brisbane teenager Eves graced the Triple J Unearthed stage at Oh Hello and drew quite a crowd. Big things are expected from the teenager who has been busy writing with a host of industry big shots, she took over vocals guitar hooks, keyboards and a little looping while her drummer and bassist kept the beat. The watery hooks and elevated vocals of Zen got a huge response while the tropical drum beats of Heavy got everybody moving whilst Eves poured out intelligent lyrics.

Safia provided one of the deepest sets of the evening, it was easy to see why their cover of Cavalier earned them a call from James Vincent McMorrow himself. The packed Wooly Mammoth sweated and danced with the trio until they built up to ‘the song that started it all’ Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues.’

The undoubted highlight of the set from The Murlocs came when a highly intoxicated Zach Galifianakis lookalike was called onstage to play tambourine, and another crowd member tore his shirt off before he got up there. Resulting in three minutes of photos being eerily similar to the ones on the camera they find at the end of The Hangover.

Tom Thumb showed off his beatbox capabilities during Sampology’s set, as yet another impressive visual display was showcased. The heavy beats dropped perfectly in time with sprouting digital flowers on LCD screens that curtained the stage.

Despite so many previously mentioned quality sets Client Liaison probably won Bigsound, Monty with his perm-fect mullet has the stage presence of Prince playing to a sold out arena, never mind that it was Oh Hello and a crowd of 300 odd. Through newer tacks like Queen and earlier releases like Free Of Fear the boys had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. At the close of The End of The Earth, Monty standing shirtless with his arms spread wide in a haze of smoke, like some Christ figure with a fresh perm, the band’s words ring true. ‘Think Nothing. Feel Everything. Pleasure is Good. Fantasy is Truth.’

Though the official Bigsound sets were finished parties went on all night, with more happening tonight, it’s a two-day festival that basically runs for five with Fortitude Valley completely encompassed by the industry. So when Bigsound 2015 comes around get yourself a ticket and some nurofen and get in on this party.





Interview with Young Franco

Young FrancoIn a seemingly endless wave of young Australian DJ’s and producers flooding our airwaves, Brisbane product Young Franco stands out as one to watch. This Civil Engineering student is producing some of the more mature sounding piano house tracks this side of the equator has heard, and following a mammoth tour with Alison Wonderland and Wave Racer, and a few hectic Splendour in the Grass days, Franco has been announced on the Stereosonic lineup, and following the release of two-track EP Close 2 U he’s been jetting off around the country spreading the Franco love. Cam Warner had a chat with him and found out a few things, like what it’s like to party with Alison Wonderland, and how his name has nothing to do with looking a whole lot like a young James Franco.

So you’ve been on your own tour since August, before that you did Splendour and before that a tour with Alison Wonderland, are you freakin’ exhausted?

Yeah, you know what I had a nap today. It depends, sometimes it’s fly in fly out stuff and that’s okay. When you’re on the road it can be pretty full on though. I’m studying at the moment too so it can be tricky to fit everything in.

How has the tour been?

It’s been really good man, a really good response and it seems like people are really starting to get up on Franco. I’ve gotten quite a few people who know the songs, really good turnouts, and it seems like people are actually there to see Franco rather than just get drunk. I mean hopefully, you never really know why someone’s there.

Tell me about the Alison Wonderland tour were the warehouse parties pretty wild?

They were really wild, they were just huge. Everything just tied in together really well. Wavey killed it, Alison killed it, and the crowds were really responsive. It kind of fit well because I was playing housey disco stuff then Wavey came in and played his kind of glittery future shit and then Alison came on and smashed it with more heavy stuff. It was just a really good fit of artists I think. So the whole night built from my more chilled out piano based house into Alison’s heavy stuff.

Did you, Wave Racer, and Alison Wonderland run amok? Any shenanigans you can tell us about?

The first few shows were pretty intense, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane were over three days and the flights were at 7 a.m so it was pretty full on. But that last Sydney show was pretty loose, we had a week to prepare for it and it was at the end of the week so yeah, things got loose.

Tell me about Splendour, how did it compare to last year and did people take a bit more notice of you this year?

It was pretty good, it was stretched over those few days. People came in and I was able to build it from midday and just play songs that I like, because they were long sets. So you’ve got to prepare yourself for that. When people were into it, it made it easier. As a spectator the natural amphitheater was great. You didn’t have to be behind a thousand people you could actually see really clearly, especially for things like Outkast. DJ’s and Producers have a dynamic between themselves that no other genre really has.

When one guy comes out with something good a whole lot of other people will remix it and put their own spin on it. Is it thrilling to get your stuff remixed by Benson and Luke Million etc?

Yeah it’s really cool, you listen to a song in a particular way for so long, so then somebody else’s interpretation of it is awesome. It’s someone else’s style on your song. The songs came out really nice too.

Have you ever heard a remix of one of your songs and thought, shit, that’s better than my track?

Like, every single time. I think when you’ve heard a song so many time you can be like oh man not this again. When someone puts their spin on it it’s just exciting and new. But I think you still like your own song better because of all the work that went into it. There’s all these little things that people put to the forefront that you forgot about that and they make you think oh cool, I forgot about that.

Do you think EDM in Australia is in a pretty good place right now?

Mate, it’s been great. There are just so many cool people coming out with really original stuff. It’s really exciting to hear people you know putting out really cool stuff, it’s refreshing. It’s very exciting times.

Who are you into at the moment?

I have been listening to a lot of albums lately. Vic Mensa, I love Childish Gambino, I listen to a lot of rappers. I’ve been slowly getting into Drake and there’s some really cool shit. I just like albums and respect when people create a body of work that can last for years and years.

Is that one of your goals to create a bigger body of work, an album?

Not necessarily, I think it’s a different thing for someone like me. It’s probably more applicable for me to just release EP’s and Single’s. Like Flight Facilities, they’re releasing an album now but before that they just put out a bunch of awesome singles and then sort of worked them into EP’s.

So you look quite a lot like a young James Franco, is that where the name comes from?

No my middle name is actually Francis, so that’s where it comes from.

If you’re still in this game at age 45 will you simply be known as Franco?

Maybe middle aged Franco, go get a real job Franco, something like that.

The Close 2 U tour officially kicked off in August but you can still catch Young Franco at any of these dates.

Sat 13 Sep // Smirnoff Snowdome – THREDBO
Sat 20 Sep // The Factory – SUNSHINE COAST
Sun 21 Sep // Stranded – STRADBROKE ISLAND Wed 24 Sep // The Wall – SYDNEY
Thur 25 Sep // Baker St – GOSFORD
Fri 26 Sep // The Small Ballroom – NEWCASTLE
Sat 27 Sep // Carmens – MIRANDA
Sat 4 Oct // Anyway – MELBOURNE
Sat 11 Oct // Zhivago – ADELAIDE

Interview with Andy Bull

Andy BullIndie sweet hear Andy Bull kept us waiting a very long four years before releasing his much anticipated second LP Sea Of Approval. Hit tracks Keep On Running and Baby I Am Nobody Now did the rounds late last year and built a lot of hype around the record, earning him the title of ‘most blogged about musician in the world.’

Now the falsetto voiced synth wizard has proudly released Sea Of Approval, which has been met with world wide acclaim, and he’s sporting a national tour in celebration. We caught up with Andy ahead of the tour that kicks off in September at the Brisbane Festival.

You kicked off the Baby I am nobody now tour in October last year and played a few tracks off Sea Of Approval then, although the official album tour starts in September do you feel like unofficially you’ve been touring this album for a while?

Some of the songs we tried out last year, at one stage there were maybe four songs that we played live so that’s almost half the record I guess. But it feels like a new tour, I just feel like we’ll be comfortable playing these songs live. It definitely feels like an album tour, the venues are bigger which is kind of novel. I didn’t expect last year to be playing the Metro last year, so that kind of stuff makes it feel way more like an album tour.

The album has been very well received, do you feel like you are in fact swimming in a sea of approval?

It’s funny, you never ever do. It’s kind of what I was predicting when I called the record that because you never feel that way. It’s kind of complex, when you finish a project you automatically start thinking about how you’re going to do the next project so I don’t feel as if you reach a point where the work is done and you can just tick the box. And in terms of getting audience support, some people like what you do, some people don’t like what you do, some people hate what you do. Some people like what you do then they don’t, some people don’t like it then they come around, it’s not a very solid thing to pin yourself to. So it’s really nice when you get some praise, but there’s definitely an anxiety that comes if you start paying too much attention to what people think. So the sea of approval is something you should never really pursue. But first and foremost it’s nice to have a record finished. I did the best I could, there are elements of it that I’m really proud of, it’s not perfect but nothing ever will be, and the process of making it wasn’t perfect but I’m on the right path and I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing.

 Speaking of the process of making the album, is there a lot of trial and error creating an album that’s so densely layered?

Yeah for me there was a lot of trial and error, some of the songs I did many versions of. There were some other songs that I also trialed and trialed and trialed that didn’t make the record. That’s one way of making a record, there are instances where you work really quickly, some parts of songs and some key ideas arrive really quickly. But being on your own means that you have to do everything layer by layer, so you don’t always have the context of other players knowing if something works. In a band you can feel when something clicks because everybody is doing something and it just works. On your own the pace of that first discovery is different, because you’re doing it piece by piece. So for about 80% of this record there was a lot of trial and error, there were many versions.

So why did you keep us waiting so long (almost five years) for another full length release?

Over the course of the four five years I was really busy, I toured a lot. I actually recorded heaps of music in those four years, trying different things. I recorded a few EP’s but decided not to release them too.

 Why not?

I just didn’t feel like it was right, it wasn’t the right time, the ideas and songs didn’t work for me. I’m not sure I just didn’t feel right about it so I didn’t do it. But this record only took a year to work on, I sat down and said I’m actually going to start working, see if I can do a record for public consumption and once I decided to do that it took about twelve months from start to finish. So it’s not like I spent four or five years trying to come up with these ten songs, but over the twelve months I recorded maybe thirty or fourty songs and these were the ten I liked best.

 So I guess you’ve got a lot of songs in the song book for release down the track then?

Yeah because a lot of ideas in songs are good, the ideas are good but the song itself doesn’t work for some reason. But a good idea can last I think, if you try to put an idea into a song and it doesn’t work it might find a home next year.

Obviously the biggest news of the past few weeks was the passing of Robin Williams which is raising a lot of awareness of depression and anxiety, your lyrics suggest you may have had similar issues, do you think there’s enough support for artists and performers battling these issues?

There’s an understanding of what it is on a general level because a lot of artists and performers have a kind of vulnerability to them, so a lot of artists without stereotyping them can be a little bit up and down. So in the arts it’s not such a foreign concept that someone is anxious or depressed. But on a person by person level there’s not always a great deal of knowledge as to how to manage those aspects of a persons life, that’s a cultural thing I’d say rather than an industry thing, but I feel like it’s changing, it’s becoming more legitimate to speak openly about emotional states however there’s obviously a long long way to go.

This may be controversial but I would suspect that more people suffer from depression than statistics suggest, I don’t know the numbers but I’d say it would be closer to 1 in 4 men suffering from anxiety. I think in our society people aren’t very good at dealing with those aspects of their personality and it can come out in the form of anti social behaviour. In that regard there’s a lot of space for cultural understanding in our society, not just for anxiety and depression but just people’s emotional states in general. Everyone’s born with a mind that goes in every direction, and everyone has to learn to live with that mind.

 I know you’ve played on a few tracks with Bluejuice, were you sad to hear about them calling it quits?

Well Jake and Stav are close friends of mine I met them through music but they became close friends of mine outside of music. I met them when Bluejuice first started, it’s sad to see that party end but I have been watching them for ten years and people have to move on as well. I totally understand if they want to move on to the next chapter in their lives. They love the music, they’ve always loved the music and you can tell because there’s so much energy in their records and live shows, they give absolutely everything they have to it. I really admire them for that. But I suspect they just wanted to move on to the next chapter of their life and I totally understand.

Catch Andy at any of these gigs nationwide











Panama – Stay Forever

artworks-000088126680-sw0exg-t500x500Panama have re-emerged from the shadows, releasing their new slickly produced track ‘Stay Forever’.

‘Stay Forever’ is suave piece of summery disco that is a delight to fans of old and bound to earn them plenty of new followers. Its just another example of the polite infectious electro sound that Panama have become synonymous with, and quite clearly perfected. These guys are now a staple of the Future Classic stable, plying their trade so successfully that its not a surprise that they are selling out shows throughout the US and Europe. With the track available for free download, let hope an EP or album isnt far around the corner.

Lauren Glezer – This Living

Lauren GlezerEvery now and then a song just grabs you. ‘This Living’ by Lauren Glezer is one of these aforementioned songs.

‘This Living’ is the first single of the debut EP ‘Searching For Tall’, and signifies the emergence of a very talented young folkstress. This delicately arranged number is loaded with radiating melodies and heartfelt vocals that melt your ears and leave you feeling all fuzzy inside. Simple and polite, there is a lot to like about the tunes of Lauren Glezer.

Orphans Orphans – Lighten Up Your Day

artworks-000079372020-kfmwv9-t500x500Orphans Orphans have dropped single number 2, ‘Lighten Up Your Day’, ahead of their first East Coast tour and impending EP.

Featuring band members from the likes of The Jungle Giants, Belligerents, Last Dinos and Millions, you always knew that Orphans Orphans was going to be entertaining, and pretty poppy. Not suprisingly, ‘Lighten Up Your Day’ is both those things, albeit with a lot more grit and grunge to it. Its pop rock made in the garage for people to thrash about to, and its that rawness that just makes it so infectious. The raucous nature of ‘Lighten Up Your Day’, and the stomping beats of earlier single ‘Orphan’ are looking like great predictors for a live show that is going to be off the hook, so get along to those debut gigs.

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