11th August 2015 Written by Warholst Just Listen

The Maker's Soundtrack

Making your own stuff can be pretty great. There’s something deeply satisfying about sitting back and admiring the fruits of a good DIY session. But do you know what is even better than making? Making to music!

We love makers here at Warhol’s Children, so we have put together some tunes for you to create to. And as an added bonus, if you’re in need of some DIY project inspo we’ve got that sorted as well… try getting stuck into some do it yourself jewelry. Go ahead, make yourself something pretty, or make a shiny shiny bauble for someone special instead. You know you want to!

Happy creating!

Lots of Love, WC x

14th April 2015 Written by Jessica Chehade Music

The Artist's Perspective: Where Art Thou, Success?

Work, of any kind, is demanding. It requires effort, time, and persistence. But artists’ work, that which is gruelling and rewarding all at once, can provide boundless inner joy once completed. That is, until the next audition, due date, or exhibit…

Miss Sarah Kristine is a 23-year-old singer, dancer, and actor. She featured on Australia’s Got Talent 2013 and The Voice Australia 2014. She’s performed in musicals of The Wizard of Oz and Hairspray, and I have had the pleasure of hearing her versatile and captivating vocal chords live in theatre and concert.

When I spoke to Sarah I tried to dive into her pool of thought, I wanted every drop of her creative juice to seep through my own fingertips and help me write. I sought to know for all the artists out there how one deals with the obstacles of an artists’ plight, I mean, flight.

I meet Sarah at Badmannercafé in Parramatta, It’s 9.30 on a Tuesday morning and she’s still in her workout gear having come from ballet class. She looks surprisingly awake and fresh for a Tuesday morning and I find myself in awe of her already (although this might be because I rarely rise before 9am). We take a lengthy look at the menu and place our orders. “Two soy caps, thanks.”

I spit some questions out in the void for us to have a chat about,

  1. A brief outline of your typical week and how it benefits you as an artist?
  2. What is your ultimate dream/goal?
  3. How does what you’re doing now contribute to this dream/goal?

Sarah is warm and down to earth. As we speak I can see in her eyes the fire and passion of a dedicated artist. She tells me she’s struggled with the daily grind, but seems to welcome it. It makes sense to me, because how can we succeed if we don’t work hard for what we want?

“My week as an artist can be an emotional journey” she says. She works two jobs, one as a singing and dancing teacher three times a week and two days as a receptionist for a construction company. She takes two ballet classes a week and slogs three sessions of boot camp, otherwise she can be found at an acting class one night a week and practising her singing every night.

“Aesthetics are undeniably a huge part of the industry. Therefore, nutrition and exercise are a huge part of my week.” But that’s not the sole reason for her busy regime as she admits that all these activities “benefits me on three different levels; mentally, physically, and disciplinary.” I tell her I’m sure we can all appreciate the need for disciplinary routines as the motto I feel can sometimes inhibit us and prevent the active pursuing our goals. She agrees.

“Inspiration is a dirty word for the creative soul. I believe that completing tasks like finishing a song or starting one, is the very same as an accountant going into their office each morning. It's work.You have to get it done to reap the rewards.

Sigh

But she doesn’t stop there. In order to be on top of the music industry and get herself known and circulating the right places she attends auditions, acting classes, attempts song writing and researches. A huge part of research, networking and publicity involves social media now. Sarah describes the upkeep of social media as “gut wrenching” but even if labouring over Facebook posts and Instagram disheartens you, “we must acknowledge the dominance of social media” she asserts, “irrespective of our liking it or not”.

“I do wish for recognition and for people to admire my work... but ultimately, doing what I love every day and making an income off it is the goal.”

For Sarah, “dreams are goals”, so set the tasks daily that enable you to reach your dream and you’ll be on the right path. “What I am doing is not a routine for before I reach my dreams, I do what I do now as a way of life." She admits there's always more to be done, and she's happy to do it, if it means getting her where she needs to be.

“At the moment, my plan is to invest in an appropriate laptop and music production program to have the ability and freedom to create my own work. My goal within the next three to six months is to have an EP of about five songs. Put them out there in the world of producers and social media and gage the feedback.

Despite the slumps of insecurity, self-doubt and criticism she admits even she goes through, “my aim is to live for the needs and demands of the present day to overcome that” she says. “Yes-sometimes it's hard to wake up at 5:40am to get ready for boot camp. But this is character building! It’s like that moment where you realise, even though you don't want to complete that song, you have the ability to do it. So you do it. Then, once completed (like exercising) you feel elated and strong. A strength that drives you to the next item on your to do list.

Well, her bravado and vibrancy are infectious. I believe she'll achieve her dreams because where there's passion and dedication there must be success, even if it's measured on a daily basis. And hey, this article got written didn't it? Inspiration can only happen when you decide you're ready to succeed.

Image by Carol Matt via The Monday Jam

10th February 2015 Written by Ainslie Daniels Music

Angus and Julia Stone Roll Back Home

You could be forgiven for thinking that a self-titled album for an artist's third studio release is lacking in creativity. When you take a step back and look at the whole story of Angus and Julia Stone, however, you'll quickly realise there really was no alternative. The incredible duo burst onto the scene in 2006 with their single ‘Paper Aeroplane’, and garnered international attention immediately. Before they knew it they had five ARIAs and were touring around the UK and Europe.

Fast-forward to 2009 and their single 'Big Jet Plane' made the number one spot on the coveted Tripple J Hottest 100 list. By the end of 2010, brother and sister wanted to stretch their legs and explore their own music. Their third studio album, with its first single and video clip ready to go, was shelved and left to collect dust in 2011.You have to remember, the pair never set out to be a recording duo. Julia was singing back up vocals for Angus when they were originally signed.

Both brother and sister had independent success. Angus' first professional, and beautifully unexpected moment came when he was living in LA. Angus, nonchalant, recalls of his collaboration with surfing legend Kelly Stater, "His manager just rang me up and said he really wants to meet you... So I drove over there and had some beers and ended up writing a song'.

When you talk to Angus Stone, it's easy to imagine him chilling out on the beach, or on his farm, far from the circus of the media industry. When he's not making music, Angus goes back to his early days of carpentry, orchestrating jobs with, and for friends to complete construction. You almost get the sense he can't be bothered with the PR side of the music business, and who could blame him? However, you only have to ask him about the music for him to get passionate. "It's everything to us," he says, of what it means to him and his sister.

This self-titled third offering from the brilliant siblings, is a first, in a sense. For their previous releases, the albums would alternate between songs Angus had written, and those written by Julia. Their latest album is completely attributed to music legend, Rick Rubin. Both were well into their solo paths when Rubin called, "We really had to think about what it meant to come back together, to record again". With Rick's team, Angus and Julia, for the first time, wrote songs together. Swapping ideas, going back and forth, this album truly is 'Angus and Julia Stone'.

When I asked about the creative process for the album, Angus simply said "stylistically, it was really unhinged, we didn't t know where it was going to go. It was all based on emotion and how it felt to us". Emotive and unhinged, collectively, is a great way to describe the stones and their approach to life. I asked Angus if he believed in grabbing the unexpected things in life when they came up, and the response I got was lovely. "I'm a huge believer in that the most beautiful things come from the unexpected." This belief ties into how he hopes people discover the music made by Angus and his sister. Whilst he believes social media is having a positive effect on the music industry, he thinks there's potential for over-saturation by an artist. When I used U2s stunt of downloading their album to everyone's iTunes, he said it took away the magic of discovering a new artist. Instead he suggests that when you discover an artist in your own time, having a smoke with mates, or just stumbling across a new song, the impact is far greater, and the music means far more, than simply having it thrust in the faces of the masses.

For those that are discovering Angus and Julia Stone on this new adventure, their experience, definitely, will be magic. Their Australian tour commenced on February 4 in Perth.

Image courtsey of Mad Dog Publicity

5th February 2015 Written by Warholst Just Listen

A Certain Kind of Vibe

 

Here’s to a dreamy weekend.

Mwah xx

 

Image: Hannah Greethead

3rd October 2014 Written by Warhol's Children Music

Don't Say a Word, Just Listen

Hey,

Just listen to this until the weekend.

Lots of Love,

Warhol’s Children

 

 

 

Image: Hannah Greethead

8th July 2014 Written by Joseph Bautista Dangerous Ideas

Indigenous Hip Hop And Its (Non) Place In Australian Music

Article originally published for NAIDOC Week 2013

Earlier in the month, Australian comedian Aamer Rahman of ‘Fear of a Brown Planet’ fame posted on his blog a ‘WHITE RAPPER FAQ’ wherein he explores the impacts of white America’s involvement in hip-hop music. A few days later Urthboy, artist and label manager for renowned Australian hip-hop label Elefant Traks, posted his own response to the issue. He applied Rahman’s ideas onto a more localised Australian landscape and gave an honest self-analysis of his own position regarding hip-hop and privilege. As part of this year’s NAIDOC week celebrations, Indigenous hip-hop artist Jimblah recently took the stage on triple j’s ‘Like a Version’, giving two brilliant performances including a live rendition of his song, 'March'. Earlier on in the week, he also took part in the online cypher ‘Rappertag’, taking the time to subvert the entire framework of the concept by flowing acapella in order to send a message reflecting our colonial roots and its pervading effect on today’s society. Simply put, the local hip-hop community is abuzz with activity at the moment with accusations of a racist scene surfacing once again. To make sense of this all, and in the spirit of NAIDOC week, I ask the questions, how did this become an issue, why are its implications so terrible and what can we do to alleviate some of these problems?

Before we can discuss these implications however, we need to make some things clear. Please understand – no matter what your opinion of the genre is – that hip-hop developed as a social movement in response to countless years of institutionalised racism experienced by African-Americans and other marginalised groups. That apparent act of ‘stealing’ (we call it sampling) or ‘ripping off musicians who are actually talented/play their own instruments’? The result of black Americans not having any resources – or the right – to instruments or fancy things like ‘music lessons’. Those apparently ‘harsh’ and ‘aggressive’ lyrics? The attempts of a disillusioned people to carve out their identity within a society that shuns them. Of course, I’m oversimplifying things and there are indeed issues to be found within the genre itself (gender politics being the most obvious) but in order for us to have an honest discussion about hip-hop in Australia, dear reader, we must at least have some semblance of a shared definition of what hip-hop is on a larger scale. Please bear with me.

Many years ago, before he blew up to become the worldwide phenomenon he is today, Macklemore recorded a song titled ‘White Privilege’ in which he problematises his position as a white rapper. Acknowledging his white privilege and the concerns of cultural appropriation, he raps, “Most whites don’t want to acknowledge this is occurring / cause we got the best deal, the music without the burden”. Urthboy expresses similar worries in his blog when he writes, “I do know we take the lifestyle and conveniently bypass the life.” So, does that mean I’m saying that all hip-hop made by white people should be instantly discounted for lack of legitimacy? Should it even matter what the fuck I’m saying in this particular section? No singular person should be allowed to speak on behalf of an entire group of people and I’m in no way trying to step up to that plate or to ‘defend those helpless minorities’. That’s not my job to pass judgment. Besides, as Rahman points out, “You’re white. You can do pretty much whatever you want. It’s a sweet deal.”

In all seriousness, though, what I can do is provide an audience perspective – the view of someone on the other end of the business model, someone who actively consumes hip-hop on a daily and practical basis. I will readily admit that I listen to loads of white rappers, just as I listen to loads of black rappers and Filipino rappers and Japanese rappers and Jewish rappers and so on and so forth. Kno is one of my favourite people in all of hip-hop, and he’s white as they come. What matters to me is that he is able to speak from and about his views of oppression, either personal or experienced second hand (“But if they have the time to hate a whole race / how do y’all have the mind to tell me ‘bout my faith?”). His whiteness doesn’t bother me because, just like Macklemore and a myriad of other talented individuals (see: Brother Ali), their privilege is acknowledged and their art is a craft of respect and collaboration with others deeply embedded in the hip-hop community. Hip-hop as a genre is meant to be one of the most democratic forms of music in terms of participation and as long as it’s giving voice to those who would otherwise struggle to be heard, it’s fine by me.

But what happens when we step on to our shores and examine our own local scene? Urthboy was direct in simply saying that the huge majority of successful Australian hip-hop artists are white and male. It’s evident in radio plays and live shows. It’s evident in YouTube hits and OzHipHop forums. It sure as hell is evident when you notice that the crowd for any given Australian hip-hop gig is scarce with minorities. So now we have hip-hop, a genre that originally gave voice to an oppressed people, being disseminated in Australia by and for the group that happens to be the majority. Woops.

Sure, just as Urthboy states, there is no clear or overt racism in the content of the bulks of songs themselves. Nor have I personally experienced any hostility targeted towards me as a minority or any other person based on race in any Australian hip-hop gigs (though the internet community paints a completely different picture). What the real issue is however, is that the demographics of the local hip-hop scene reflects a more systematic and ingrained form of racism – discrimination through disclusion. We simply do not open up a discussion with these marginalised groups and as a result they are less likely to be part of our collective psyche. Music operates in a space that subconsciously and unknowingly informs our view of the world and if we are not listening to music from entire groups of people then we are missing out on another way to know about their experience. We miss out on a chance to share empathy. When I listen to a white rapper in American hip-hop, I am listening to one perspective in a scene that’s rich with varying views from all over the spectrum. When I listen to a white rapper in Australian hip-hop, I am listening to a singular, monopolised and decidedly white constructed narrative of what hip-hop means to the country. Something like Indigenous hip-hop is considered a novelty. Consider the language we use to describe it; why is it ‘Indigenous hip-hop’ instead of just ‘Australian hip-hop’? Why must we attach to the music a tag that signifies a deviance from what is normally expected?

We can’t put all the blame on ‘the powers that be’ of the music industry, though. There is a mutualistic relationship between the industry and the audience; this is our fault too. Before this month I had barely given a second thought to the underrepresentation of Aboriginal people and other minorities in Australian hip-hop. I call the scene a ‘white constructed narrative’ but I fucking bump that shit on the daily. I love the music; I seek it out and support the artists by going to shows. We can blame music labels, radio stations and local venues for not promoting Indigenous or other minority acts, but we must also consider the fact that we as an audience have not given them a reason to. Let’s now give them that reason. Let’s start seeking out Australian hip-hop that actually comes from a marginalised place. Let’s bump their records and go to their shows. Let’s demand this, for where there’s demand, supply will follow.

I commend Urthboy for his stance on this issue. He has acknowledged his pivotal position in the Australian hip-hop community, both as a respected artist and as a label manager and has stepped up to speak out about the inequality. Not only that but he has signalled a call to arms for people all over to take part in the conversation through action. Moreover, he understands that it is “not about charity or well intentioned white people, it’s about recognising how good we’ve got it and paying respect to this great culture created by black excellence,” and we need to understand that too. We must not fetishise charity and a sense of ‘the Other’, nor are you a white knight assisting those helplessly in need. Cultural historian Dominick LaCapra says that “empathy must be tempered by recognition that emotional response does not authorize one to speak in the other’s voice,” and this is something we all need to remember. What I have tried to do in this article and what Urthboy has done as well, is to suggest ways in which we can open up the gates for those marginalised groups to speak for themselves – to create their own stories and narratives.

In his song ‘March’, Jimblah raps, “My heart flows with mad love that is deeper than the ocean ever was / it is bigger than any mountain that any man has stood upon / For a place that we can all call home.” No matter the pigmentation your skin happens to be, I believe that hip-hop can one day be that home.

Click here to check out some hip-hop songs by Indigenous people and other minority groups. I willingly share the blame for the limited scope of artists included due to lack of knowledge and exposure.

9th May 2014 Written by Hannah Greethead Just Listen

The SheerKhan Selection

Hey hey hey, they’re back again! SheerKhan put this little collection of faves together aaaages ago. There’s a little bit of Jimi Hendrix, a touch of Tame Impala and a bunch of other good stuff. It’s a cheeky little follow up to our interview with the boys. 

If you missed the interview check it out here.

Watch the playlist below. 

25th April 2014 Written by Hannah Greethead Music

SheerKhan: The Interview

It's here it's here!! Our first video interview in yonks and it's with…. you guessed it, our current faves SheerKhan. We interviewed the boys at The Captain Cook Hotel last month and they gave us all the answers, check it out. And then go and check them out. The stars have aligned, SheerKhan are playing at The Standard this Saturday night, 9pm, you sure are lucky things! Watch it now, go find your party pants, put them on and have a dance.

10th April 2014 Written by Aimee Tracton Music

The Sycamores: A Musical Illustration of Sydney After Dark

I asked the Sycamores for an email interview and they sent me this. My questions were answered with a fully furnished editorial article complete with imagery of fabricated weather conditions at a café we never sat at. Their intellectualisation of music goes something along the lines of ‘me bang drum, make girl dance’. All these guys want to do is give you a good time, and they’re not even sorry about it. 

“Some people like cranberries a bit, but Jon likes them a lot. I can't get enough of these things," he enthuses. He'll happily offer his opinions on any berry or berry based dish—strawberries, blueberry pie—you name it; it could fill an afternoon's conversation. Ask him about his past though, and he's liable to go strangely silent. 

Where in England is he from, for example?

"It was a long time ago.", he relates, in what would best be described as a benign, low growl. He uncharacteristically breaks off eye contact and gazes out the rain-speckled cafe window. It is a gloomy day in Sydney's Glebe, overcast with intermittent showers. Perhaps he's feeling nostalgic, or perhaps not. 

"The music of The Sycamores is about now. It's about the moment you're listening to the song. We want people to dance. I apologise for not being more deep." I tell him he doesn't need to say sorry. "Maybe not, but I will anyway. That's not what our music is about though. A lot of other bands at the moment are apologists. We're not writing retractions and defences. Other people can do that for us, if they like. We're reconciling ourselves with the crowd by making them dance." That seems like enough of a musical philosophy to me. 

Lyrically, their songs render a sometimes colourful, sometimes murky illustration of Sydney after dark—drinks downed, fights witnessed, art made, more drinks downed. I ask Jon about the identity of "Reya", the subject of their new song, and he breaks into hysterical chuckling. "I'll tell you about that one off the record! But we all know a Reya, I think." 

I press him more for information on what he's been doing for the last few years—there’s even a rumour that he was once gored by an elephant at Taronga Zoo. A hint of a wry smile elevates the left side of his lips, as he again slips into John Wayne mode, staring out the question until I move on with the interview. I suppose we'll just have to hope they do a Facebook post about it one day. 

As much as the driving guitars, pounding drums, or the Ben Foldsy ivory smashing of pianist Patrick Coyte, the feeling of a Sycamores live show is determined by the subtle and understated stage theatrics of Jon. Jon is a striking figure, and his presence fills the room—but gradually, like a slowly inflating balloon. Passing through the doors of the cafe on the way in, he seemed unassuming and Moby-esque; I can't say I would have noticed him had I not been staring at the entrance for half an hour as I waited for him. As he exits, I feel almost as though he should stoop so as not to bang his head; he is a colossus of character. 

The Sycamores launch their Neon Screen EP at the Imperial Hotel on Sunday the 13th of April.

Listen here.

8th April 2014 Written by Otto Reitano Music

Ever Wonder How Much Money a Famous DJ Makes?

The highly desirable lifestyle of musicians and DJs is a dream for many, but a reality for only a select, talented few. In 2013, DJ and producer Calvin Harris was named the world’s highest paid DJ, earning just over US$46 million a year. Even if you don’t have a passion for music, a US$46 million paycheck could sway virtually anyone to becoming a professional DJ.

As it turns out, though, Calvin is at the tip of a very small iceberg. In fact, only the smallest fraction of producers, DJs, and musicians earn anything close to that. Producer and DJ, Nick Thayer, who recently held the #2 spot on the Beatport Top 100 chart for over thirteen weeks, just came out and burst an inflated, illusionary bubble.

In his recent Tumblr post titled “Do you wanna know how much money I make?” Thayer explains that after factoring in costs such as equipment, airfares, vocalists, mastering and label costs; he earns a mere $800 per week. Now, this might seem like a decent wage for somebody that simply makes music, but when you consider that he sat at the #2 spot on the world’s largest electronic music chart for over thirteen weeks, it’s quite depressing.

If you think this monetary gap seems a little unfair, there’s plenty you can do to help struggling artists. Thayer makes a plea for people to share music they like and, more importantly, buy whole EPs rather than single songs. The $2 difference helps chart positions, which increases exposure, which in turn means increased revenue.

14th March 2014 Written by Hannah Greethead Arts

Chop Something Up, Create Something New: Frankenstein in Musical Form

I was recently in Glasgow and while in Glasgow I visited a bookshop, and in that bookshop I found a curious album. I’m aware that this damp Scottish city has been the old stomping ground for more than a few musical wonders; Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand and Simple Minds to name but a few, but my album, the one I found in this little bookshop, is a little more on the experimental side. 

Titled Bad Brain Call  this album from Frearson Howe, consists of eight pop songs written using only words from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I had to buy it. A collaborative work by artist Annabel Frearson and Glasgow based composer Joe Howe, Bad Brain Call forms part of Frearson’s ongoing Frankenstein 2; Or the Monster of Main Stream art project, one that is based on the artist’s interest in using existing cultural material, rearranging it to generate, as Frearson calls it, ‘new relationships in a dialogical method.’ 

Bad Brain Call overtly ‘recycles’ a literary icon, however, what Frearson Howe have created is a thoroughly entertaining set of songs that still subtly reference their origins. The tracks are at times a little bit awkward and there is the presence of an underlying melancholy, however, they manage to be simultaneously catchy, in fact, some are a downright hoedown. 

I’m dancing like this…

 

You can listen to, and even purchase Bad Brain Call here.

 

25th February 2014 Written by Adam Disney Dangerous Ideas

Well...There are Some Limits

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but digital is a big thing nowadays. Yes, maybe I could narrow that last sentence down, but I’m not sure I want to, because it can cover just about anything. Publishing, medicine, communication, art – virtually no sphere of activity has remained unaffected by the great migration to 0’s and 1’s. Of course this is news to no one, and we’ve all reaped the rewards, but there’s a downside to possibility. As limitations are progressively stripped away, the kind of innovation born of necessity becomes ever more scarce. For creative types, such as musicians, this can be problematic. Powerful technology is fine and dandy, but sometimes the most original ideas come when you are forced to bend tools to tasks for which they weren’t built. But with tools this powerful, craftiness can fall by the wayside.

Now I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but I’m afraid I’m going to cite you a name. Yes, it’s awfully pretentious for a low-falutin’ writer such as I to be referring to the texts, but I couldn’t in good conscience claim paternity to all these ideas, so here goes. In his book How Music Works, David Byrne convincingly argued that the way different styles of music sound is largely dependent on the context in which music is created and intended to be listened to, including the limitations of technology used to create it. Thus changes in performance setting, broadcast medium, and recording technology have all had their impact upon the way music is written, as composers learn to adjust to the inherent quirks of an audio environment and compose tunes that ideally match its strengths and weaknesses.

So it’s a simple concept, and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it first. It also reveals a conundrum. If we accept that creativity is guided by limitations, how are we to advance creatively in an age of no limits? We’re pretty much at the stage where any sound, whether naturally occurring or solely heard in the composer’s head, can be summoned forth and manipulated to the heart’s content. The computer is now the ultimate instrument, limited only by the power of your software and the size of your sample library. This is a difficult temptation for the music-maker. When you’re working with flesh and blood instruments, even the most rampant ambition will eventually run up against the wall of what You Cannot Do. Be it the tone, the pitch, the volume, or the speed of the music, all instruments tap-out eventually.  It’s therefore up to the composer to write music that can be comfortably, or at least pleasingly, played on the instruments in mind. True, the magic of the overdub has long allowed the creation of studio recordings that partially sidestep the limitations of the performer, but until digital there was always a degree to which the song could not be fully sculpted – there are only so many strings on a guitar, and sometimes you want notes that are just a little too high.

Obviously, this is a simplification. Musicmaking is still a complex and lengthy affair if you aim to make anything of any quality. But the ease with which one may now synthesise original sounds or radically manipulate pre-existing ones means that limits are scarce, as long as you’ve got the time to tinker. This is great for the individual, but may not be so good for creativity as a whole. With no technical limitations on how to get the sound, there’s no need for the kind of mother-of-invention brainwaves that lead to the wildest and most fruitful bursts of creativity. When you’re able to manipulate audio at the intense microscopic level possible today, there’s less of the failed ambition that can sometimes lead to the most interesting work. Given endless possibilities, the tinkerer forgets a crucial bit of wisdom: sometimes the sound in your head is less interesting than the sound that you end up creating.

This is a creativity-killer, and a pitfall that the modern musician would do well to be wary of. Too much freedom can be ultimately restrictive; you become hemmed in by endless possibility. Sometimes you need some hurdles, real or imposed, to break up your patterns and force you into unusual directions. This is not to say that composition in the digital age is without difficulty – I’ve experienced enough inexplicably faulty hardware to know that. It’s more that you get sucked down the rabbit hole, endlessly refining and refining, which is fine so long as you don’t wind up repeating yourself. New genres are above all unexpected. They are sounds you didn’t know you wanted to hear, and you won’t find them while searching for the sounds you know you want. Steve Jobs described the computer as a bicycle for the brain, and that’s all well and good, but there’s little point moving exponentially faster if you never leave the old neighbourhood.

Of course, as in all things, there’s no cut and dried solution. Whether it’s music, visual art, or whatever, you can’t deny the benefits of digitisation. Countless compositions exist solely by virtue of their being conceived via computer, and to deny their validity would be the height of foolishness. Perhaps it’s best just to remember that what you can do is not necessarily what you should do. Sometimes it’s entirely appropriate to rummage through the microscopic minutiae in search of the sounds you dream, but you run the risk of indulging yourself. Whether you toil in Ableton, Photoshop, Final Cut or whatever – remember that constraints can be freeing; they can force you into new and fruitful directions Some of the most beautiful works are lent lustre by the very things that infuriate their creators; the errant lens flare or over-saturated tape gives them a uniqueness and character that are revealed as positive qualities only by the passing of time. We may have the technology to simulate a quintuple necked guitar, or a twelve-octave voice, but where’s the fun in that? Creativity is a form of problem solving, and when there’s no real problem, you end up with a pretty boring solution.

 

Photo Credit here.

23rd January 2014 Written by warholst Music Madness

Falling For Falls

There was dirt, music, tents, dirt, dreamy bands, and more dirt. In other words, attending The Falls Music & Arts Festival for New Years was the best idea that ever popped into my head. Ever. It was the inaugural year for The Falls in the North Byron Parklands and, apart from a few bumps, didn’t disappoint. I volunteered at the festival (for a free ticket) so I think I have some insider knowledge on how things went down. What would’ve been a sweet three-day trip for you turned into a seven-day lifestyle choice for me. I was hooked on festival life. Waiting 40 minutes for a shower is underrated, I swear. Oh-boy, were there some bands. The array of bands blew me away; there was something for everyone. The Roots were the ones who brought us into 2014 with their funky beats and a few catchy covers. Although the count-down was a little underwhelming, the huge crowd all gathered to boogie down and make out. DAY 2 The following day was welcomed with hangovers, which were followed by naps on the different grassy hills that created the natural amphitheatres. While you were napping I witnessed the greatness of Sydney five-piece The Preatures who rocked out to favourites like ‘Take a Card’ and ‘Is This How You Feel?’ The lack of crowd wasn’t due to a flat performance, but the fact that the sun clearly hated us all. There was no doubt that the heat was testing our allegiance to The Falls and also our ability to find the minimal shade that was offered (a minus to the festival). The afternoon brought our attention to Big Scary,who appeared as if in a dream. Their catchy melodies created some hard-core swaying from a bewitched crowd, with tunes like ‘Twin Rivers’ that progressed softly into ‘Belgian Blues’. Changing stages, Tom Odell, a Brit who was clearly suffering from the heat, brought some soul with his sombre serenades and left girls swooning everywhere. The Rubens drew a large crowd for a band so new and, as an added incentive, were extremely easy on the eyes. Punters rocked out and sang along as front man Sam Margin reached into the crowd, only to be held back by security to prevent him crowd surfing like at The Falls in Lorne. The night brought some amazing headliners like Grizzly Bear, New Yorkers who have mastered the art of harmonies and are admired for their effortless yet intense atmosphere. They’re an amazing spectacle that should be seen and enjoyed by all, all I say! Vampire Weekend finished off the first day of the year with a performance that appeared routine but was undoubtedly spectacular. I admit that this review is coming from a die-hard fan-girl, who also managed to get backstage to meet them (#ezrafoldshispizza), but I think that the raging crowd would agree that a fun time was had by all (they’re gods, amirite?). Vampire Weekend ended the set with ‘Walcott’ which tested everyone to dance in an uncomfortable mosh before heading back to their respective tents, still buzzing. DAY 3 You may think that baby wipe showers and a lack of sleep might be getting old by now, but you’re wrong. This was the best day yet. Personal hygiene was thrown out the door as we all sat in the dust to enjoy the humble and baby-voiced Gossling. Her tunes were chilled and rang a bell with every triple j listener. A collective “aaaw” was echoed throughout the Forest Stage whenever she spoke. Things were kicked up a notch when Cub Sport, previously Cub Scouts, took to the stagewith an array of giant beach balls that were happily welcomed into the mosh (my goal in life was to touch one of those). The Brisbaneites used their synth-sounds to their advantage, which got this punter got moving to songs like ‘Paradise’ and ‘Told You So’. Finishing off with their Destiny’s Child medley seemed a little out of character and in my opinion didn’t suit their sound, even though it was fun. The Violent Femmes played their entire self-titled album, released in 1983, with expressions of what can only be described as pure joy. They were so happy doing what they love! The Violent Femmes are an outstanding band that surpasses the surprise of longevity, to give a new generation the exact same music as thirty years ago. Later, when we perched ourselves in the dark, the members of London Grammar received a shock due to the size of the audience, as when the lights came up, front woman Hannah Reid had to stop to take a photo. Man-oh-manowitz this British indie outfit is really something to stop and listen to; the haunting vocals create epic songs that portray maturity beyond their years. Skip forward to 9:40 pm and you’re definitely already at The Wombats. We sang in the rain and danced to the infectious ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ before screaming for more. When a band can unite a crowd and make best friends of complete strangers, you know they’re doing it right. To close the festival many stayed at the Amphitheatre Stage to listen to MGMT, and for most that was a mistake. For a band that is well-known for their lacklustre performances, the psychtronica band didn’t disappoint in that respect. To spice things up there was a 2000+ person flashmob that accompanied the song ‘Electric Feel’, but it was indeed a deflated end to an amazing time. Was it dirty? Yes. Was it uncomfortably hot? Hell yeah. Would I do it again? In a heart-beat.
17th January 2014 Written by Ophelia Overton Just Listen

MUSIC FOR A BORING THURSDAY - LITTLE DRAGON

Little Dragon is a Swedish (trip hop, indie pop, downtempo, synthpop indietronica, dream pop neo soul? We’ll let you decide) band from Gothenburg.
16th January 2014 Written by warholst The New Frontiers

NEW FRONTIERS SERIES: PRESENTING LINCOLN SAVAGE AND FOUND

Part of The New Frontiers Series: The project to surface and support Australia’s most interesting and unique crowd funded creative projects. Made possible with sponsorship from Bulleit Bourbon. Found is an emerging creative venue for artists and musicians in the Brisbane community. The warehouse is set to allow for anything from a dinner party to a full on music event and is located near the Albion train station.
15th January 2014 Written by warholst Pop Cultured

Throwback Tuesday: Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988)

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a Haitian-American artist who carried a neo-expressionist style that splashed across surfaces in New York during the late 70s-80s where hip-hop, post-punk and street art life intermingled. His work combined words, poetry and doodles which spoke loudly to challenge racism. I find his art exuberant, political and hectic with a zany scrawling lilt to it.
24th December 2013 Written by Hannah Chapman Just Listen

THE RUBENS INTERVIEW– AND BEHIND THE SCORNED MAN BREAK-UP LYRICS

The Rubens are rising rock-star darlings, a four-piece from Menangle, New South Wales (I Google-imaged it. There were many pictures of cows and pretty houses in paddocks).

I got a chance to chat to Elliot, the guy behind those glorious, gospelly keys and organs….

You must be pretty excited with how your music career is going so far. Winning, Triple J unearthed, recording in New York, strings of sold-out shows all over the country…

“For sure, yeah, we never thought that anything like this would happen…you just gotta sort of accept it and just do your best to not stuff it up, really. We’re very, very excited.”

The Rubens self-titles LP sound like many things. Catchy hooks you’ll be humming for days, tracks that don’t shy away from a power snare or brash piano lines, some sneaky horns, bluesy bass. Sometimes it even gets a bit dark country, or at least reminds me of someone drinking whisky and lamenting a lost love in a bar. But catchy seems to be the running theme with all the tracks. Always so catchy, and with a smack of soul. When I asked Elliot what he would call it, he said “bluesrockpopsoul? That’s kind of the lazy way of doing it, maybe we should make a new word.”

20th December 2013 Written by warholst The New Frontiers

Here comes the sun, doo doo doo doo.

Sooooo, whaaaatchya doin’ this summer? Great, great—what you should be doing is this: Exploring our fair and sunny city, travelling upon our serpentine pubic transport systems, through our beloved public spaces and landscapes while being mind-blowingly amazed by the live music that will accompany this convoy. You will, that is, be attending one of Train Track’s summer melodic cavalcades. If you haven’t already been acquainted with Train Tracks, shame on you, but I can’t stay mad at you, so here’s a link to our interview with Steve, one of the founders and organisers of this Sydney collective.
19th December 2013 Written by warholst The New Frontiers

Part of the The New Frontiers series: The project to surface

Part of the The New Frontiers series: The project to surface and support Australia’s most interesting and unique crowd funded creative projects. Made possible with sponsorship from Bulleit Bourbon.
10th December 2013 Written by warholst Just Listen

Throwback Tuesday: Hannah & King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s love for music is evident in their psychedelic performance in a club of girls on LSD and ubiquitous drunken louts. They’re a band you need to hear.
9th December 2013 Written by warholst Just Listen

INTRODUCING POND

I have a six degree’s of separation style connection to Pond; my friend’s cousin Jay seems to be one of the more permanent members of the band. It’s one of those links that you lay claim to in the hopes that it will make you seem just that little bit cooler, although I’ve never effectively exercised my ‘connections’ to meet the band, in fact, I’ll admit it, I may have given up the opportunity to do so in favour of a cheeky kiss with a boy that I liked. All in all, I’m rather fond of Pond, and I totally know them. Playlist
5th December 2013 Written by warholst Just Listen

Music For A Boring Thursday - Subsonic

Subsonic is upon us people. The best music festival in Australia kicks off tomorrow as productivity is projected to drop for at least the next week amongst ticketholders.

3rd December 2013 Written by warholst Just Listen

Throwback Tuesday: Georges Méliès

French filmmaker Georges Méliès: a founding father, genius and magician of cinema. He was the major force in combining traditional theatrical elements with motion pictures. Méliès’ experimentation in technical and narrative development has made film what it is today; it is because of him we have special effects and techniques as the likes of stop trick, multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted colour (yes, HAND-painted). It was Méliès who stumbled across the ability of cinema to manipulate and distort time and space. What good is cinema without the ability to distort reality?

15th November 2013 Written by warholst In Conversation

AN INTERVIEW WITH INDIE DIVA DARLING ASTA.

By Colin Gilmore Asta’s the kind of singer-songwriter who makes you grateful there’s much more to pop vocal life than X Factor’s cookie-cutter commercialism. These days you’re probably hearing more from New Zealand’s Lorde, who has, willingly or not, all but hit the mainstream. But since gaining indie diva darling status by winning Triple J’s Unearthed High of 2012, our own Asta has been out there shaking worshippers from venue rafters with her infectious dancing and alto crooning.
15th November 2013 Written by warholst Just Listen

Music for A Boring Thursday: The Pissed Off Playlist

We’re pissed off! Because…because…wait why are we pissed off again? Oh that’s right, we’re not actually pissed off. In fact, we were just in love with this picture of an old lady having a grand time in a ball pit and wanted an excuse to post it. Here’s a playlist matching the expression on this gem’s face. Check out the playlist here.
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