Tag Archives: interviews

Sarah McLeod Keeps On Killin’ It

words: jade kennedy
featured photo: brittany long


“Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, ‘cause every little thing gonna be alright…”

When Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus serenades you with Bob Marley down the phone from her home in country Victoria while the world around you is going mad, it’s pretty well guaranteed to put a smile on your face. And make you believe her.

It’s Thursday night, and we’re doing an impromptu interview to discuss McLeod’s upcoming Facebook live stream of the set she had planned to perform at 14 dates across the country through April and May. A solo tour that has now – along with countless others – been cancelled due to COVID-19.

“Initially when the tour was off I was like, ‘Great! I don’t have to worry about finishing all of my rehearsals!’” McLeod said.

“Then I was like no, I should finish my rehearsals and I should do it anyway. There’s going to be so many people that are sitting at home and bummed – I mean I’m bummed and I’m bored and I need things to keep me busy and I need goals. They might not be financially viable, but they’re still things to keep me busy, and they’re still goals and they’re still musical.

“I just want to connect with people. We’re all isolated, I mean I’m isolated out here on the farm, people are isolated in the middle of the city; but my main concern for everybody is mental health. I know we’re all going through some serious shit and I just worry how people go. Money is tight, people start fighting with their families when they’re home too long, they start getting weird, and I don’t know, I just want to do whatever I can to just to keep connecting with people and talking with people and playing for people where possible. So I’m experimenting with a few different things, and Sunday’s stream is the first of them.”

So Sunday’s live stream isn’t going to be the last we will see of you for a while?

“No, no, Sunday is just a, ‘Here’s that show so I can get it out of my system,’ because I was working on it, and then I can put that aside and go cool, now I can never play that again,” she said.

“Then I have a plan moving forward of how to connect with people on a much more regular level than I’ve done before, and I’m going to reveal that plan on Sunday when I have all the ducks in a row. I’m just setting it up now.”

For McLeod, cancelling the tour was “a no brainer.”

“My agents were like, ‘Oh let’s wait,’ and I was like, ‘No way, no, just cancel it.’” she said.

“I just knew that I couldn’t do it. I mean, I cancelled quite early because I just knew that it wasn’t going to happen. People were saying, ‘Maybe cancel the first week or so,’ and I was like, no, I don’t feel that this is going to be a quick fix, just cancel the whole thing. I didn’t want the stress of it. I wanted people to know where they stood so they could make a decision and get their money back and work out what’s going on in their own lives. The more things we can put into place and square away instead of thinking what the fuck to do next, the better. Also, I didn’t want to put anyone at risk by thinking, ‘Oh maybe I could do it, it’s only a hundred, I could squeeze a hundred people in here.’ It’s not about me trying to squeeze out a hundred tickets, it’s just about us all looking after each other.”

McLeod said living on the farm was good during this period especially, and she had been “totally hiding out” without venturing into the city for ages. Just be careful of how you word things when you speak to her.

“If I hear one more person say, ‘Calm the farm,’… Fuck I hate that term… Like, suck a dick,” she laughed.

On a serious note, though, McLeod is not one for sitting idle. Even in the face of Armageddon she won’t be sitting around binge-watching Vikings.

“I’ve got a book that I’ve been working on, that I was going to release as a section of my life, but then I didn’t release it and I sat on it and now I’m thinking I should just sit on it a bit longer and just write my whole life, rather than just those couple of years,” she laughed.

“I’m working on a new project that I’m going to launch on Sunday that’s going to take up all of my time and it’s very creative and it’s very interactive and I’m actually looking forward to it, I think it’s going to be very fun. You know, times are changing and you’ve got to move with it, we’ve got to be fluid and we don’t have time to worry about or sit and moan about what we’ve lost, we’ve just got to cut it and think fast about where to go next.”

McLeod is no stranger to self-isolation. She wrote her solo album Rocky’s Diner from an apartment in New York where she deliberately self-isolated so she could focus on writing. So her advice to those not so accustomed to it?

“Give yourself a project,” she said.

“If you are doing something that makes your soul happy then you’ll be happy. It doesn’t have to be creative, if you’re not a creative person, but if you’re doing something that’s for you – you’ve got no choice, I mean people would probably rather be going to work for sure – but if you can’t go to work, if you find something that makes you happy that you can do at home the time will pass really quickly and it’ll keep you sane.”

McLeod, along with the rest of the music industry and it’s workers, were the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ when it came to the effects of COVID-19 on closures and job losses. Although she is “terrified” about the future of our industry, McLeod is also optimistic.

“I know that we will build it back up, because no matter what happens people always want to be entertained and people love music deep down, and even if it takes a couple of years to get back on its feet; even if it comes back morphed into a different way,” she said.

“Like, I was using the analogy; we’re very adaptable us human beings, so if the whole planet flooded we’d develop webbed feet: we move with the times and we develop, and it’s terrifying when the change arises, but we always find ways of adapting and making our way through. And from disaster good things always bloom. So we’ll see. I’m trying to look at it as a time of change and fear with some sort of silver lining at the end that hopefully will be good for everyone. (Laughs) Somehow.”

Amongst the adaptations, which are already beginning, we have started seeing free living room concerts being live streamed on Facebook and Instagram, musicians offering vocal and music lessons on Skype and Zoom, as well as coaching and mindset sessions with musicians and industry reps.

“Isn’t it cool though?” McLeod said.

“You can actually get closer to the artists now – and you’ll find that you will be able to do this a lot more – now that we can’t see them in person, you’ll actually be able to get closer to them because that’s the new way of doing it. So it could actually be really cool. It’s just, you know, in times of crisis people band together and I just like seeing people putting themselves out on a limb and helping each other. I don’t like seeing some of the bad shit. I’m really worried about how some people flick that switch and they start fighting, and fighting in supermarkets and pulling out daggers and going fucking bananas – that side of it I fear a lot. But I’m hoping that was just the minority groups and we as Australians who are caring, beautiful people, we love each other and we’re strong and we’re clever, and I think that we’ll be able to get through this if we just look out for each other and think of the future, think of the long term, and try to think of ways we can all help each other and keep each other sane.”

Before the world started locking down, McLeod released her latest solo single, Killin’ It Til I’m Dead.

“Ironically called Killin’ It Til I’m Dead,” she laughed.

“Well I didn’t realise how apt it was at the time. It was meant to be a tongue in cheek title because I get anxiety about certain things that I have to do, and my fear of certain situations sometimes gets the better of me, so I always talk to myself in the mirror and talk myself up, like, ‘You can do this! You’re a machine! Don’t have the fear, you’re a really good singer! You’re not going to make a mistake!’ So Killin’ It Til I’m Dead is this comedic catchphrase, like, ‘It doesn’t matter, I’m killin’ it til I’m dead, there’s no flies on me! I’ll be fine!’ But it’s got a whole different vibe now, hasn’t it?”

The whole songwriting process for the new track – warts and all – can be found on Kav Temperley’s (from Eskimo Joe) new podcast, HatJam.

“Yeah, (we wrote this) on HatJam,” McLeod said.
“So you can hear the song being written from scratch on HatJam. Like, he and I just sitting there going, ‘Okay… Uhhh… Now… What should we do?’ from the fucking very beginning. (Laughs) Which you never do. It’s cool. It feels very vulnerable. I’ve never done it before. I’ve certainly never had any audio that’s out online where people can listen to all of the shit along the way… because you always write shit along the way. You’ve just got to sit there and work hard enough, and eventually you replace all of the trash with cool stuff, but you’ve got to throw a bunch of trash on the table first. No one ever sits down and writes Let It Be… (Laughs) Well… (Laughs) you know.”

McLeod admitted the whole process was somewhat scary at first – the vulnerable and unknown – but she was getting used to the idea.

“I don’t feel vulnerable about it at all any more,” she said.

“I’m actually planning to do a lot more of that vulnerable stuff now that there’s a lot more working from home and things to connect with people on the internet. I think that’s the way to go. I don’t mind letting people in on things that I normally would have gone, ‘Oh no, you can only see the final finished product at the end.’ I’ve sort of chucked all of that out the window now. Now it’s like, we’re all in this together, let’s watch the process and maybe other people can learn from it.”

To support Sarah McLeod until she’s back on the road, you can buy her merch online at www.sarahmcleod.com.au, follow her on Facebook or Instagram and tune in to her live Facebook stream at 5pm AEDT this Sunday 22nd March. Local times: Adelaide: 4.30pm, Brisbane: 4pm, Darwin: 3.30pm, Perth: 2pm.

Listen: Sarah McLeod – Killin’ It Til I’m Dead

Everything Is Wonderful For Art Alexakis

words: Jade Kennedy


Last year was a somewhat selfish one for Art Alexakis – a fact he himself will happily admit. The Everclear front man released his debut solo record, Sun Songs, and toured it throughout the UK, Canada and USA. He announced the tour, which began in May 2019, in a somewhat odd fashion – by penning an open letter to fans disclosing his Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis almost three years earlier.

“I hadn’t been hiding from it, but I was diagnosed in 2016 and it was about three years before I talked about it,” Alexakis said.

“I guess part of it was not wanting people to get the wrong idea about me if I’d walk weird or talk weird, that they’d think maybe I was drinking or on drugs again. I’ve been clean and sober for 30 years.

“But also, more than that, I don’t like ever being disingenuous. I wasn’t being honest. I don’t like that feeling of that elephant in the room, that’s not being 100 per cent honest with everybody in my life.

“Also I wanted to be able to connect with other people and tell the story of how you can have a disease like this and still not give up. I’m not trying to be a role model, you know, but I’m kind of tuned into that space because as a parent, you’re a role model every day – I’ve been a role model every day for the last 27 years of my life.”

Alexakis said the revelation had been motivating.

“Ever since then I’ve been so driven… I’m like a shark, you know, if I stop swimming I’m gonna die,” he laughed.

“But it’s been a big year of changes for me, and I’m feeling things and taking care of myself and doing a lot of self-care.”

His statement – which you can still read on the band’s web site here – quickly and unexpectedly went viral.

“I mean, I just went on our social media and put it out there and it went viral,” Alexakis said.

“I’ve heard from over a hundred thousand people now, and every correspondence has been overwhelmingly positive and filled with love and support.

“It’s pretty amazing. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect the fans to be so full of support and a lot of people have been pretty sad about it, but for the most part it’s just amazing how supportive and upbeat and just positive people are. It makes me really proud of our fans and just, you know, people talk about how bad the world is, and there is bad things, but you know man, people overall are pretty wonderful. They really are.”

Chalking up three decades on the road – Alexakis did four Everclear tours just between his MS diagnosis and revealing it to the world – is enough to wear down anyone. But having a chronic illness is not going to steer this punk rock veteran off the road just yet.
“Well you know, (touring) is harder,” he said.

“Everything’s harder as you get older, and everything’s a little bit harder from the MS. It just is what it is. I try to give myself more time as far as back up between shows… it doesn’t always work out that way, so I’m still a lot of times doing four or five shows a week. I prefer to do three to four shows a week. But, you know, I have to eat right I have to sleep right… Back in the day I could go days without a lot of sleep or eating very well and it wouldn’t affect me. Now it does. It’s definitely not what it used to be.

“Back in the day it didn’t matter so much, as you get a little bit older, even in your 40s and 50s it’s not what it was 10 years ago, you know, even if you’re in good shape. I mean I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I’m eating well and working out and really taking care of myself. But I have to know when to recharge my batteries, to have enough energy… I want to be able to have as much energy and as much action at each and every show, and be able to sing and to have all of this stuff. And, if I don’t take care of myself I can’t do that.”

It’s safe to say Alexakis will be taking good care of himself when the band embarks on it’s longest-ever tour of Australia, taking in more than a dozen festival and headline shows around the country. He was excited about the prospect of what lay ahead after the 14-hour flight from California.

“We’re so excited to come back,” he said.

“I’ve never been there for as long as we’re going to be there – we’re going to be there for like three and a half weeks – and with that I think we’ve got 15 shows now? Something like that. And the Hotter Than Hell shows – I am so excited. There’s all these bands and it just harks back to our punk rock years, it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Hotter Than Hell tour will see Everclear perform with the likes of Cosmic Psychos, The Grates, Area-7, Frenzal Rhomb, Unwritten Law, The Superjesus and Motor Ace – a line-up reminiscent of 1990s/2000s Australian summer festivals like Livid, Big Day Out and Homebake.

I asked Alexakis about a story I vaguely recalled reading in a magazine in my high school days, which involved the band having a guitar stolen at a Big Day Out or similar festival.

“Oh yeah! It wasn’t Big Day Out, it was… Oh, what’s the name of that festival? It was outside of Melbourne…  And it was in ’98… It wasn’t my guitar though, it was our bass player’s bass that got stolen, and someone threw a pipe bomb on stage while we were playing,” he laughed.

“So… Wow, yeah, it was getting crazy. I’m trying to think now, what was the name of that festival? Oh, it might’ve been a little before your time. It was crazy!

“That was one of our weirdest tours, the band was going through some challenges at the time and, you know, it was what it was, but the shows were great.

“I remember also on that tour in Wollongong, we were playing a show inside a big, like, amphitheatre, and the lights were off and someone threw a boot and it hit my microphone and hit me in the mouth and broke my teeth (laughs) and I was like putting blood on the stage and had to leave for a minute, but went back and somehow finished the show (laughs). But you know, I tell you what, you guys are crazy – you guys are descended from criminals (laughs) so what do you expect? (Laughs) I love it!

“On this tour we get to go to Hobart in Tasmania, and those people are all really descended from criminals (laughs) we played there in ’98 and it was just insane… In-sane… I’ve never seen so many crazy people. And I think those crazy people are still there, because we’re almost sold out at that show… I’m pretty excited, it’s going to be a great show. It’s going to be a great tour. Playing the Hotter Than Hell stage is going to be just… Man, I can’t tell you how excited we are to come back and do this.”

Alexakis said although he had been to Australia 10 times or more – “which, for most Americans, that’s a lot,” – he had never heard of a lot of places on the Australian itinerary for this tour.

“I’m really stoked and excited that we’re going to be playing places that are kinda off the beaten track,” he said.

“I had to actually get a map out and, you know, ask Siri, ‘Where is this place?’

“If I have the time I’d love to go see Ayers Rock, I’ve never been there. And I’d love to go to Darwin, I’ve never been there. There’s a few places I haven’t seen before, but we have been there many, many, many times. Actually, more than ten times probably.”

Last time the band came to Australia was the 20th anniversary of So Much For The Afterglow tour in 2017 – this year marks the 20th anniversary of Songs From An American Movie Vol One: Learning How To Smile. Alexakis said fans could expect to see some tracks from that record if they were at the band’s headline shows.

“That wasn’t really that big of a record out there,” he said.

“I guess it would be for the fans, and you know what? For the headlining shows that we’re going to do, we’re going to go deep on that record… We’ll play the hits as well, but we’ll play Learning How To Smile and definitely Thrift Store Chair and maybe a couple other songs as well, because we know fans like to hear that.

“I think for the Hotter Than Hell shows it’s going to be old-school punk rock Everclear. And maybe a couple of new songs off Black Is The New Black because that’s a pretty guitar-heavy record as well. But yeah, I think it’s going to be pretty rock’n’roll, not a lot of pop songs on the Hotter Than Hell Tour, But, you know, we’ll play the hits – you’ve gotta play the hits.“

For someone that didn’t have the smoothest start to life – it has been well-documented that Alexakis was raised by a single mother as the youngest of five kids in a low socio-economic area of LA, and his life was touched by death, substance abuse and suicide at a very young age – Alexakis has overcome a lot to have a professionally and personally fulfilling life by anyone’s standards. Perhaps without even meaning to, he has been inspirational even before his MS diagnosis.

So what, then is he most grateful for? And what would he like his legacy to be?

“Hmm… That’s a good question,” he said, quietly.

“I’m most grateful for my family. I know that sounds like a stock answer but it’s really true. I’m really grateful for my family and my relationship with my wife and my daughter and with my friends; just the support group I have in this world.

“But at the same time I am extremely grateful that I’m a 57-year old guy with MS and I get play for a rock band. I get to sing, and play guitar in a rock band for a living, and I’ve been doing that for almost 30 years… And I’m going to do it for the rest of my life. I’m very grateful for that.

“As for my legacy? I hope I will leave a legacy of positivity. That my music was positive and constructive and helpful to people; and it seems like that’s what people tell me it is, so I hope I can leave a legacy of that in my life. Leave something behind that means something.”

Watch: Everclear – Santa Monica 

Everclear Australian Tour Dates

Thursday 30 January: The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Friday 31 January: The Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Saturday 1 February: Hotter Than Hell, Adelaide SA
Sunday 2 February: Odeon Theatre, Hobart Tas
Thursday 6 February: Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne Vic
Friday 7 February: Pier Bandroom, Frankston Vic
Saturday 8 February: Hotter Than Hell, Melbourne Vic
Sunday 9 February: The Basement, Canberra ACT
Wednesday 12 February: The Helm, Mooloolaba QLD
Thursday 13 February: Parkwood Tavern, Gold Coast QLD
Friday 14 February: Racehorse Hotel, Ipswich QLD
Saturday 15 February: Hotter Than Hell, Townsville QLD
Thursday 20 February: Freo Social, Fremantle WA
Friday 21 February: Carine Tavern, Duncraig WA
Saturday 22 February: Hotter Than Hell, Dunsborough WA

Ready to Marvel Complex with Montaigne

words: Brittany Long

Montaigne is back, better and more Complex than ever.

The Sydney singer-songwriter is getting ready to release the follow up to her five-time ARIA Award-winning top five debut, Glorious Heights, later this month. Girl’s Brittany Long caught up with her to discuss inspiration, touring, and why she is so passionate about crediting artists for their work.

Hi Jess, how are you?
Yeah I’m good.

So where do I find you today? 
I’m at home at the moment, I live in Sydney so I’ve just been rock climbing, and I’m just making some toast now.

Well Congratulations on the release of Ready, can I just say what a fantastic song that is! 
Thank you.

So can you tell me a bit about it? What’s the inspiration behind it?
Well when we first wrote the song, because we wrote it in a day, it was called 50 songs in five days. It’s this program that gets put on for artists and creatives to meet each other for the first time and work on, like finish a song in a day. So we were writing the song for an artist named Eliott who’s from Melbourne. We were just talking about how she’d just gone on international support tour and then came back home and felt like she was doing nothing with her life. We sort of discussed how absurd that was, that so many musicians come to feel that nothing they ever do is enough. Or, what is making progress when you’re doing this career. Like talking to her and listening to her sing I was like ‘you’re incredible, like you’re very good at what you do, and it’s amazing that you got that international support, like not everyone gets those’. I currently empathise with that, that feeling of not being satisfied with where you’re at, and also feeling like you deserve more. So we sort of started writing from that perspective, of like I feel like I deserve more than the opportunities that are being afforded to me right now, and I’m sort of ready to go get them! That was sort of initially the take home for it. But to me it’s kind of evolved into this activistic song, like an anthem for people trying to change the world to hear, to get them fired up to do what they need to do. I feel like that’s really important at the moment.

Yeah it definitely feels like that, it feels like that call to action to just get up and do something. I guess, it’s like you can change the world one song at a time. Music can be so powerful!
Yeah, definitely. 

So where do you typically find inspiration for your music?
My life, just things that happen to me, and things I feel. I usually write about myself or something that is familiar to me. In terms of style and the type of imagery I use, just wracking my brain; I read a lot of books, I listen to a lot of podcasts, I watch movies. You know, there’s always some sort of creative input that I suppose I sort of chew on and then at some point, decide ‘yes’ and then poop it out into a beautiful song haha. 

I think that right there is the perfect description of a creative isn’t it! I’m a photographer myself so I totally get where you’re coming from. 
Awesome! Yeah I take everything that I’ve ever experienced consciously and subconsciously that’s what becomes variety within expression. 

Yeah amazing! So can you tell me the idea behind calling your album ‘complex’, where did that name come from?
I think from the titular song. One of the first songs that got written is the titular song Complex, so I wrote that about Messiah complexes, that saviour complex I suppose is the broad term, it’s a more secular term. I wrote it about that and I was thinking about some people I knew who have complexes, and also what my complexes were, and also just the way that humans and the way they relate to each other is complex and just word every facet of the word that can exist in itself is a complex word, it’s polysemous it has multiple meanings. So I think from my perspective it was an apt title for the album, because a lot of the things I was tackling in the expression involved many contradictions, and the feeling of wanting a certain thing and seeing the path to it but also not being able to adhere to the path or to, just to be able to understand what your goal is but just to have no idea how to get to that goal, and just how bizarre that is. You know you can know things intellectually but not actually achieve them in like full body-soul and mind you know.  So I think Complex is a title that just summed everything up conveniently.

montaigne complex album cover

Yeah definitely. Like one word but yet you’ve put so much hidden meaning and feeling into it, it’s truly a remarkable piece of work.
Thank you.

So, you’re going on tour again in November, how are you feeling about that?
Good, I’m excited. I love being onstage, so always excited, I do also love home so that will be tough, but I’m keen.

So what can fans expect from your upcoming tour? Is there anything special? Obviously the new album of course.
I think that’s probably the biggest point of difference, I haven’t really thought about it. I’m not up to there. I’ve definitely got some ideas brewing. Like I’ve got ideas about costume and a new musician maybe as part of the touring crew. Also how to perform these songs because they’re so multi-layered, layered with instrumentation that I do not have the money to have live on stage haha. So yeah, I guess it’s mostly just challenges I’m going to have to navigate, which might not necessarily be apparent or obvious onstage but will definitely be part of all the moving parts behind it.

Yeah absolutely. So like I said I’m a photographer myself, I understand that you’re really passionate and vocal about artists crediting photographers, can you tell me what drives that?
Well I think it’s just, just. I think it’s just to photographers to give them credit, because  in this day and age with Instagram, and everyone having a phone and a device that takes photographs, there is less and less and less money in photography, and that is also an artform that we need, and that is important. We all know the way that economy and business works and you can’t continue to maintain business if there is no money coming through. One of the ways to maintain business is to do marketing, and again photographers don’t have many options for marketing except to just try and get their photos out there as much as possible so as many people can see them. If a musician uses someone’s photo, for free, usually, reposts them and doesn’t credit them, that is a total disservice to an adjacent economy to music and art, and to the people who actually are helping in that regard. Whose service or product they’re actually using. I think crediting your photographer just allows people, for that photographer to become very easily visible in a way that otherwise they would not be. It’s not necessarily 1000 people calling them up for work. But if like a f**king huge popstar like Halsey or Ed Sheeran or whoever puts a photo up and then credits a photographer, like I can only imagine the level of traffic to that person’s page or website or Instagram account or whatever. There’s gotta be a few people in there who wanna throw their money at that and that’s like important and it’s that flow on effect that determines people’s livelihood. So that’s why I think it’s really important. 

Well us photographers appreciate artists like you so much Jess. I’m actually a photographer in a wheelchair, so things are often a bit more difficult for me. A lot of the photo pits are teeny tiny so I shoot from the barrier platforms, I lie on the floor, I do anything for my shots. 

Honestly the way I say it to people, like you said it’s an economy, and half the time we’re not getting paid. I myself don’t get paid. But like it’s literally an @ symbol and tagging someone’s username but it makes a massive difference. That exposure when you’re working for free has the potential to lead you to a new client even.  
Yeah absolutely, agreed. 

So let’s go big. If you had the chance to tour with anyone, dead or alive, who would you choose?
Arcade Fire or David Byrne, or Björk, I think they’re my three. 

If you were chatting to them side stage what’s something that you’d ask them?
I don’t really know, I haven’t really thought about that. I’ve never thought about what I’d ask them. Like if it was just like that one question. 

Yeah if you could only ask one single thing. 
I feel like I’d just want to hang with them and just get a feel for them. I don’t feel like I have a burning desire to know about any one thing about these people. I think if you wind back a year or two ago I definitely would have. I think I would have asked something along the lines of would you consider yourself as introverted or extroverted or how much space between the two, and is it difficult for you to get onstage or do you thrive or is there an in between there. I’d be interested to know about their confidence levels about what they do, and if previously they’ve had difficulties with confidence and if that has changed and what happened to make that happen, like that whole trajectory of, I guess their belief in themself, I’d be interested in that. But I don’t know that I’m so curious anymore about that with these people. Because I’ve kind of done a lot of my research and my reading on that kind of thing and, I’ve also found myself in this place where I am myself self-confident and can see what the trajectory has been and that is kind of enough for me now. But a couple years ago I definitely think I maybe would’ve asked that. 

Wow! So now it’s time for what I’m calling fan faves in a minute. I’m just going to fire them at you. Ready. Favourite; 
Ice-cream: Chocolate
Movie: Swiss Army Man
Artist: David Byrne
Biggest inspiration: I actually don’t know the answer, probably David Byrne again
Dream place to tour: I’d love to do the whole of Europe thing one day, I think that would be fun
Disney Film: My immediate response, the first thing that comes to mind is Tangled, so let’s go with Tangled. 

Amazing! Well I’d like to really thank you Jess for taking the time out to speak to me today.
No, thank you. 

I’ve had the chance to listen to your entire album and I may have only played it like five times in the past two days, I love it. 

I wish you all the very best and can’t wait to hopefully come see and shoot one of your shows one day.  
Thankyou. Hell yeah!

Watch: Montaigne – Ready


Tickets to Montaigne’s upcoming Complex Tour can be purchased here.

Friday November 1 The Beery, Terrigal N.S.W
Thursday November 7 The Gov, Adelaide S.A.
Friday November 8 Badlands, Perth, W.A.
Saturday November 9 Mojo’s, North Perth, W.A.
Thursday November 14 Solbar, Maroocyhdore, Q.L.D
Friday November 15 The Zoo, Fortitude Valley, Q.L.D
Saturday November 16 The Northern, Byron Bay, N.S.W
Thursday November 21 Tap House, Bendigo, VIC
Friday November 22 Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Saturday November 23 The Croxton, Thornbury, VIC
Thursday November 28 UC Hub, Canberra, A.C.T
Friday November 29 The Metro, Sydney, N.S.W
Saturday November 30 UOW UniBar, Gwynneville, Wollongong, N.S.W

River Sessions – Regional Festival Ramps Up

With River Sessions festival just days away, Girl figured it was time to chat to Festival Director Michael Delaney, who kindly took some time away from last-minute prep to chat to us about the event.

The festival, which this year features acts like Amy Shark, The Rubens, Illy, LDRU, Middle Kids and Skegss, has been running for a number of years. Delaney has only recently joined the team, he is just as excited for this year’s event as the rest of us.
“Everything is coming together great,” he said.
“We are extremely lucky to have some amazing stakeholders working with us in Mackay. We’re less than a week out now from festival kick-off and the site is going to be looking great, the weather is meant to be lovely, so we’re feeling confident.”

This year’s event has been moved to Mackay Harbour, which takes it further out of the city to previous years.
“We chose the new location in J.M. Mulherin Park because it’s beach side and a great park, but also because the original park is under construction this year,” Delaney said.

The change of venue also allows for a bigger crowd – organisers are expecting 5,000 people to attend this year’s festival, which is up from last year by well over a thousand.
“Over 1500 tickets were sold from the Brisbane area this year, too, which is huge,” Delaney said.
“This year we’re featuring 15 hand picked local food vendors with gourmet foods, as well as some amusement rides and arts and craft stalls.
“There’s plenty to do and see besides the awesome music.”

Delaney said there were definite challenges to hosting an event in a regional area like Mackay, although the original motivation for hosting the event in Mackay still stands.
“We are locals ourselves and we want to give the locals something they can call their own, whilst bringing people to Mackay from out of town,” he said.
“Organising regional festivals takes a lot more work than in metropolitan areas, being that the market is a lot smaller, and it can sometimes take people some travel to attend.
“But it’s a testament to what a great festival River Sessions is that not only locals enjoy the event, but plenty of people make the trip from Brisbane too.”

Delaney said a considerable amount of effort was put into choosing the acts to perform each year, although even with the best planning there were still plenty of surprises.
“Each year we do extensive market research on who is bringing out new content and who our audience are loving at the moment, to make sure we can bring festival-goers a line up to remember, every time,” he said.
“There has never been a time when the event has always gone as planned,” he added.
“There are always curveballs thrown our way, and we have to deal with them the best we can. That’s what makes organising an event like River Sessions so exciting.”

One such curveball was an economic one, which forced the event to shut down for a couple of years. Organisers have made an effort to keep tickets affordable upon their return, though.
“We always like to keep the local community in mind when planning the festival, as in the end it really is for them,” Delaney said.
“Due to the mining downturn the festival was no longer sustainable for the region. However, the break allowed us to come back bigger and better than ever, which has been a huge bonus.
“To make sure the tickets are affordable for everyone to come and enjoy the music, and fall within festival-goers’ expectations, we keep an eye on the market, as well as receiving assistance from tourism departments in Mackay and (wider) Queensland.”

At the end of the day, the regional weather is also a drawcard for out of town festival-goers in June.
“The winter weather in North Queensland is just perfect for a festival,” Delaney said.
“With no bad weather – not a cloud in the sky – and still above 22 degrees.”

There are still limited tickets to this Saturday’s River Sessions. Head to riversessions.com.au for all the info.

Watch: Illy – ‘Then What’ (Audio)

Butterfingers Ready For Big Breakfast Tour

words: Jade Kennedy


Butterfingers 2.0 – Pic by Keira McCall (supplied)






There seems to be something about Aussie hip hop and breakfast – The Waitress Song made Seth Sentry a household name and, long before that, Brisbane independent debut album Breakfast at Fatboys landed Butterfingers on the ARIA charts, triple j’s Hottest 100 and scored them an ARIA nomination.

This year marks the “accidental classic’s” 15thanniversary – an event being celebrated by a vinyl debut and a national tour with the current Butterfingers lineup.

Vocalist Eddie Jacobson explained who had joined himself and fellow founding member Olly Thomas, and why:
“So Dave (Crane) was our original bass player,” he said.
“When we reformed we reformed with Brad (Cochrane), who’s our new bass player. None of us in the band had any – well, no decent – contact with Dave, so it just wasn’t really on the cards, I guess.
“But we did reform with Damien (Green), our original drummer, who has since been replaced by Tony ‘T-Bone’ McCall… that’s due to an unfortunate incident last Christmas where Damien bought a skateboard for his son for Christmas and fell off in the driveway trying to show him how to do a trick, I think, and he actually smashed the ball of his elbow into something crazy like 23 pieces.
“So he was out for the last tour, and he’s been on the mend but they weren’t sure if he would ever be able to drum again. I’m not sure if he has the capability but on top of that he’s studying his teaching masters, and yeah, looking at the run of dates that we have coming up – it’s 21 shows and a lot of them are four days a week – Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. He’s got a family, he works full time and he’s doing his masters, so I think he just looked at the run and was like, there’s no way I can do this. So yeah, he’s taken a step back and T-Bone is our guy.”

All of the guys are now dads, which Jacobson admitted probably made things harder for their partners when they go on the road.
“I mean, it does create more stress at home because the mums are doing the solo parenting bit at home while we’re away on the weekends,” he said.
“Having kids is hard work, everyone who has kids knows that. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not. But tour is a lot of fun, and the saving grace is that sometimes we can make money. And if we do go away but come home with some money it softens the blow a little bit. I don’t know how it works for the other guys, but when I’m back I sort of have to do extra, family wise I do extra.”

Not only are there impressionable young ears at home these days – they’re also appearing in the crowd. Butterfingers fans of old are bringing their kids to shows, with several videos of the band’s appearance at Woodford Folk Festival last year showing young fans singing along to the tracks we all know and love.
“I did put a fairly large disclaimer on the start of that,” Jacobson said.
“I said something like, ‘These words are only to be said in the next few minutes; you don’t say them at school, you don’t say them to your parents, you don’t say them to your friends.’
“I don’t disagree with the sentiment of anything I’ve said, but… I don’t know, it’s just more graphic than I probably would be if I did it now. Yeah, the imagery and the language is a bit hard core.”

One of the band’s more explicit tracks comes from the Breakfast at Fatboys album, which they will be performing in full on this tour… with a few surprises.
“A track off Breakfast at Fatboys that we’re bringing back from the dead – obviously we’re playing the whole record start to finish – so this song we haven’t played for a long time, it’s called Piss On Ya, and we’ve actually mashed it up with a Black Keys song,” Jacobson laughed.
“So it’s gonna be interesting… It works! It’s drum and bass mixed with blues rock but yeah it works.”

The original track also contains a female vocalist – which Jacobson said they would bring support MC Fresh Violet up for.
“It’s pretty brutal, like it’s brutal lyrically, and I actually called Violet a couple of days ago and said, ‘You know how you’re supposed to do that verse in Piss On Ya? You know, if you don’t feel comfortable saying that stuff you can write your own piece for it because it doesn’t have to be exact…’ and she was like, ‘No no no, I think the crowd will really appreciate staying true to the original,’ so I was like, ‘Okay, wicked!’”

Violet is an up and coming female rapper whom Jacobson said ticked all the boxes for the touring support slot.
“I can’t remember exactly where I saw her first,” he said.
“I saw one of her tracks and the last time we toured she opened for us in Melbourne, because that’s where she’s from, and I just really thought that she had a lot of potential and she’s got skills, like she’s a really good rapper, but on top of that she’s just got a really good attitude and that plays such a massive part, especially when we’re looking for someone to support us on the entire tour – you want to know for sure it’s someone you can get along with. She’s legendary. So yeah, up and coming, really good at what she does, nice person – that ticks all the boxes.”

Although he now manages the band and runs their label, Bewilderbeats, Jacobson recalled being very green when Butterfingers first entered the studio to record Fatboys.
“I remember being super hard work when it came to recording, for Magoo, who produced the record and mixed it and recorded it, I was very pedantic about things that in hindsight may or may not really matter,” he laughed.
“But I’m happy with the result. I was very anal about drum sounds and picking the right loops and stuff like that. That’s what I remember about recording it… I remember a huge sense of pride and excitement when we were recording it, and the celebratory events that followed the release were… a bit of a blur… but I remember the overall feeling!”

He does, however, lament not paying more attention whilst working with legendary producer Magoo, who is now teaching more than he records or produces.
“I could’ve learned more,” he said.
“I wish I’d paid more attention to what he was doing with all of the equipment and stuff, because I’m mixing and sort of doing that stuff myself now, and there’s probably quite a lot of tips and tricks he probably wouldn’t be able to just recall off the top of his head, but when he’s in the moment doing it, if I had paid attention and written it all down I’d have more tips and tricks of my own now. Yeah… I kind of hated the whole mixing part of it back then, so I never really foresaw that I would pursue it as part of my own career.”

The band is currently working on a new album, which Jacobson said he had been recording some demos for and wouldn’t rule out taking more of a production role for.
“I’ve been doing some of the demos, which I’m happy with, but I still think there’s a little bit of work to go, some fine-tuning of my ears to be done, but I have a feeling that I am going to be able to by that time have the skills that I need to do it myself, yes,” he said.

The first single of the new album should be released mid-year – but Jacobson said not to expect most recent singles Big Night Out or Bullet to the Head to appear on it.
“The record itself is actually a concept album, it’s more like a story start to finish – like a movie kind of thing – so those tracks that we’ve already released don’t fit into the story, so they’re not making it onto the record unfortunately,” he said.
“I really like Bullet to the Head and we just got nominated for an award (Queensland Music Award) for the video but unfortunately it’s going to remain a single alone.”

Although this is the official vinyl launch tour, all of the Breakfast at Fatboys limited edition orange vinyls had sold out long before the tour would begin. But Jacobson said the vinyl pressing had come before the anniversary tour.
“It was just like, ‘oh, we’ve got some money so we should print some of our stuff so we can finally put it out on vinyl,’ it was just something to do,” he laughed.
“But so many people collect vinyl these days, and we’ve always wanted to press vinyl – especially being a hip hop act, vinyl’s always been a staple of hip hop releases since forever. But yeah, we got all pressed then went, ‘okay, let’s release it – you know – tomorrow!’ Then we went, ‘oh you know what, next year is the 15thanniversary of it coming out so maybe we should hold off.’
“So we decided to hold off, so that’s why it’s coming out now. And – little known fact – I’ve actually pressed the Evil Eddie record as well and the second Butterfingers record as well, but since having the realisation about the anniversaries those records will not actually be released until their relative anniversaries. So they’re just sitting here in my house, ageing like fine wine. And the Breakfast at Fatboys vinyl sold out so there’s not gonna be any vinyl at the merch stand this time either.”

Butterfingers Breakfast at Fatboys 15thAnniversary Tour Dates

Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95439 
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/c09d8c30-e619-4aa1-ace8-0118bdf59832    
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/57f6f97d-e85d-4e15-91bc-564191523ffc    
Tickets available from https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/butterfingers-special-guests/108156?offercode=BUTTER 
Tickets available from: https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tour/pre-sale 
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95499 
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95551 
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95449 
Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tour-tickets-52043827489 
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95453 
Tickets available from https://tickets.oztix.com.au/outlet/event/bddb42c8-42da-44ff-80d5-7ffab03963f4 
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95456  
Tickets available from https://www.moshtix.com.au/v2/event/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys/108114 
Tickets available from https://www.eventbrite.com/e/butterfingers-15-years-of-breakfast-at-fatboys-tickets-51995296331?discount=FIGJAM
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95460 
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95462  
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95463  
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95464  
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95465  
Tickets available from http://tickets.oztix.com.au/?Event=95466  

On The Eves of Something Big

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Eves Karydas live at The Foundry (Pic: Matt Officen)

Eves Karydas is a force to be reckoned with. In just a few short months the Australian singer has added a number of achievements to an already extensive and impressive musical resume. Now she has a new album dropping later this month which is bound to impress both existing and new fans. Girl at a Rock Show‘s India Marx spoke to Karydas about her upcoming release, and caught one of her stunning live shows at Brisbane’s Foundry.

Having just recently wrapped up her headline Australian tour, Karydas teased fans with snippets of what to expect from her upcoming album titled summerskin.

The singer says fans can look forward to a healthy mix of “electronic and organic” music, dubbing it a “really fun record”.

Since making her move to London she’s written over 50 songs, only a handful of which have been selected and refined for the album.

Recently released track Damn Loyal is an exciting morsel of things to come. With a punchy hook and fierce lyrics that speak volumes, this album is going to be killer listening. Think loud tunes and long drives.

“It’s a 10 track record so there will be a lot of the songs I played (on tour) that will be on the record but there are things on the record that I haven’t played live yet,” says Karydas.

“It’s all super fun, it’s pretty bouncy. It’s definitely electronic but it’s a very nice mix of electronic and organic. It’s just really vibey and fun.”

If Karydas’ sold-out Brisbane Foundry performance is anything to go by; this album is definitely something you’ll want to sink your teeth into.

The singer’s performance was the sort where you left craving more. Karydas has an enthralling presence on stage and you can’t help but get pulled into the story she’s telling. Her show has a certain humility, juxtaposed with an owned sense of self and sensuality; all packaged up neatly via a voice that carries itself with ease.

The crowd at her Brisbane performance was a testament to the fan-base she has already created.

Fan favourites such as There for You were known lyric for lyric while major hits such as Couch and Further Than The Planes Fly were brought to life via inflatable couches and rockets passed around the audience.

“I’m so humoured by that inflatable couch,” she says.

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Floating couches at The Foundry (Pic: Matt Officen)

“They brought that to Splendour and I didn’t know they were going to bring it to the show. So I saw it and was like here we go. Then the next song there’s this rocket. I didn’t even know you could get inflatable rockets. So great. I think it’s funny because I think that inflatable couch at Splendour got more press than I did. People were talking about it more than my show.”

In July of this year, Eves graced the stages of Splendour for the second time, the first being in 2015 under her original name, Eves the Behaviour.

“It was different because the last time I played I was so new and I only had like two songs out, so I was playing to an audience who were interested in me as a new artist but probably weren’t as invested at the time.

“Then this Splendour I still don’t even have the record out so there’s a large part of my set that people don’t know but the recognition felt a bit different. So that was awesome.”

Having already built a solid foundation of followers since her debut as ‘Eves the Behaviour’ and cementing them with her evolvement to ‘Eves Karydas’, the songstress is building her rapport among European crowds.

“Australia is main audience at the moment because it’s my home country and it’s quite hard making a name for yourself overseas before you’ve cracked your home market,” she says.

“I played a headline show in London in May, it was amazing it was sold out as well. Then I played The Great Escape which was also incredible but it was still like, I’m not sure who they (the fans) are. In Australia I can see what groups my fans fall into. A lot of young girls and guys and 18-24 age range but in London it was very varied.”

Karydas has worked with a catalogue of musical icons, kicking off the year as support act for English sensation Dua Lipa on her Australian tour.

“It was amazing,” says Eves.

“I’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time and I remember when I got the email I was just like ‘WHAT’. It was so surreal.”

She’s also got a collab with Thundamentals out this month.

“It was a dream,” she says of working with the band.

“They are just the nicest lads. I was really honoured the wanted me on the record and working with them was super breezy and the song is really fun. I’m excited for people to hear that.”

She has also worked closely with producer Sam Dixon, who has worked with international greats such as Adele, Christina Aguilera and home grown Australian icon Kylie Minogue.

“Sam’s like my big brother now,” says Karydas of the producer.

“He’s just such a nice person. I’m pretty big on when I write and work with people musically I kind of have to be friends with them. I’m don’t really know what the point is otherwise. Sam has just become like family to me. When we work together we joke around all day. It’s just fun, no pressure. That’s why I’ve written so many songs with him that I love because it doesn’t have a force of nature to it, he’s really awesome.”

Such collaborations again setting high expectations for summerskin.

“I’ve done a whole heap of sessions with people I’ve never met before and you kind of just go in for two days never having met them and you never really get anything out it. That’s why with this record I decided I wanted my collaborators to be a small selection of people I knew and that I loved. Which made the record awesome.”

With summerskin dropping in just a few weeks, what’s next for the Aussie songstress? Expect more extensive touring!

“I think I’ll be doing some more shows later in the year. I’ve never played a headline show in Adelaide or Perth,”says Karydas.

Eves Karydas is one of this year’s most exciting emerging artists to grace our ears. She has a way of writing songs that speaks to your inner romantic, bringing about an indescribable nostalgia. Her hit songs such as Couch, Further Than The Planes Fly and recent release Damn Loyal have cemented Karydas place as one to watch. From supporting Dua Lipa, to headlining her own Australian tour and dropping a new album, it seems sky is the limit for this songstress. Be sure to get your mitts on her new album when it drops on 28th September!

For more photos from the show, check out our Reviews gallery.

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Eves Karydas with Girl at a Rock Show’s India Marx (Pic: Matt Officen)

Caravãna Sun’s Beauty, Pain and Creative New Direction

Caravãna Sun live at Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane. Photo: Ash McGregor

For the last 10 years, Aussie band Caravãna Sun have forged a musical career out of upbeat, feel-good sometimes frenetic songs. However, the release of their latest single, ‘Beauty and the Pain’ challenges their signature sound as the band explores new musical territory. Girl at a Rock Show‘s India Marx had a chat with singer-songwriter Ant Beard, Caravãna Sun’s vocalist and bass guitarist, about the band’s new sound.

‘Beauty and the Pain’ is a drastic contrast to the band’s previous work, especially compared to songs such as ‘The Bottle’ or ‘Gaia’ which have a deeper dependency on instruments like the trumpet to truly bring them to life, whilst their latest tune has a far edgier, almost risqué vibe.

Beard attributes the band’s new direction to a new method of creative output.
“For 3 hours at a time we were just playing in a room together. Nobody was talking; just recording it all and seeing what would happen.
“That song didn’t have any lyrics to it, it kind of came from a bass melody and a couple of things that clicked over about 20 seconds,” he said.

Beard generally takes the role of lyricist within the band, describing his style as soulful and blue in colour.
“I took that idea back to my house and thought man I’m resonating with this for some reason! Something’s in it!
“So, then I went home and started expanding on a bunch of the lyrics and I took my version of it down.
“Then the song kind of took on this new upbeat life”.

The lyrics effortlessly compliment the track the band worked together to create as the song dives into the reality of relationships. The good and bad times and the inevitable struggles that expose themselves in all relationships.

The success of ‘Beauty and the Pain’ has paved the way forward for the band with the vocalist acknowledging the song as the catalyst for their new style.
“It was definitely the start of opening up this whole new can of worms that is now filtering through all of our music which is super exciting,” explains Beard.

“It’s always a hard one with music and I think the biggest thing I try and maintain throughout any creative process is as soon as you start standing in front of a song or start to put your mental hands on it, I find that is when it starts to lose its essence.
“I think for songs like ‘Beauty and the Pain’ it has that sort of darker edge with the lyrics but I think it was a perfect example of not trying to stand in the way of something that is meant to be said in the moment.”

Drawing on the organic nature of the song, ‘Beauty and the Pain’s video clip is built off behind the scenes footage and provides an insight into the groups dynamic.
“We’ve been together for 10 years and I usually do all the film clips for the band just cos I really love that aspect of it in the sense of organising.
“That one was honestly the least amount of money and the least amount of effort and has probably had the best response out of anything we have done.
“So I think it’s exactly that this song was born from this creative thing and we wanted to get a camera in there and capture what this was looking like. Simple but I think sometimes simple is best,” says Beard.

Fresh off the back of their Australian tour, Caravãna Sun are prepping to head overseas for their seventh European tour.
Beard recalls the time he and the band played in the Netherlands seven years ago: “We were so excited and we got to play up in the Netherlands and now seven years later we’re headlining that actual festival in front of 10-12,000 people.
“It’s been a really nice journey in that sense of us going back and forth to Europe.”

Beard says the band’s new style has been well received by fans around the world and has exposed them to a new audience. “It’s been amazing,” he says.
“Before we released it we had it there and we were like holy shit!
“This is very different to anything we’ve released and it was definitely that feeling of people are either going to love it or they’re going to hate it!
“I think it’s been an absolutely incredible response and I think ultimately it’s just been such a fresh and contemporary version of what we do.

It seems fans are happy to follow the band’s creative journey as their last album also saw success when they worked with Eskimo Joe’s Joel Quartermain.
“That’s been a huge highlight for us as we keep creating music today in this contemporary age. It’s nice just to follow wherever we want to go and have fans who will follow and that are accepting.”

The song’s success is also thanks to producer Steven Schram, best known for his work with The Cat Empire.
“He really got the fine touches down and really embellished the parts that needed to be embellished. He really made the song almost what it is,” says Beard.
“It was an amazing experience and it was so nice working with somebody else, like a third party outside of the band.
“Because the four of us; we care so much about what we want it to sound like and all that sort of stuff, but when you have somebody sitting on the outside that is so unemotionally attached to it, it’s so refreshing.
“I think that is a huge aspect when you’re working with four creative, emotional, sensitive… boys,” he laughs.

Fans can expect to see new music from Caravãna Sun around September/October as the band looks forward to spending more time in the studio.
Expect big things from these guys as they continue to discover their new sound!

Video: Caravãna Sun – ‘Beauty and The Pain’

Caravãna Sun Beauty and the Pain European/UK Tour Dates

Thursday 5 July – Bierzelt Tour 2018, Buch AT *AA
Friday 6 July – Madnes Festival, Ameland NL 18+
Saturday 7 July – Rock Oyster Festival, Cornwall UK 18+
Wednesday 11 July – Sugar Factory, Amsterdam NL 18+
Thursday 12 July – Häkken, Hamburg DE 18+
Friday 13 July – Gastfeld, Bremen DE 18+
Saturday 14 July – Balmers Herberge, Interlaken CH 18+
Wednesday 18 July – UFO, Bruneck IT 18+
Thursday 19 July – Lendhafen Café, Klagenfurt AT 18+
Friday 20 July – Bierzelt Tour 2018, Perchting DE *AA (SOLD OUT)
Saturday 21 July – Lost Weekend, Munich DE 18+
Sunday 22 July – Bierzelt Tour 2018, Mainz DE *AA
Thursday 26 July – Farsons Beer Festival, Megesheim DE 18+
Saturday 28 July – Der Krater Bebt Festival, Megesheim DE 18+
Friday 3 August – Reggae Sun Ska Festival, Bordeaux FR 18+
Sunday 5 August – Bestival, Dorset UK 18+
Tuesday 7 August – Watering Hole, Perranporth UK 18+
Friday 10 August – Koblenzer Sommerfest, Koblenz DE 18+
Saturday 11 August – Zandstock Festival, ‘Tzand NL 18+
Sunday 12 August – Bierzelt Tour 2018, Bad Brüchenau DE *AA
Tuesday 14 August – Bierzelt Tour 2018, Dettendorf DE *AA

Five Minute Intro To: The Wayward Franklins

Pic: Supplied

There’s a new band on Townsville’s music scene, and they’re not here to sit back quietly. The Wayward Franklins only emerged as a complete outfit earlier this year, but the individually seasoned musicians (some may recognise drummer Damien McCluskey as the former frontman of Three Mile Road) have brought together an eclectic mix of inspiration and experience to create the region’s freshest bluesy punk rock sounds.

Girl caught up with lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jonathan Brian to find out more about the band.

Girl: Who are you, how did you meet, and when did you decide to start a band?
JB: “The members of The Wayward Franklins are Callum McIntyre on lead guitar, Damien McCluskey on drums, Chad Saunders on bass, and myself on rhythm and vocals.
How we met is pretty standard for musos these days. Well me and Chad have been mates since I moved here back in 2014. We both sort of knew we could play guitar, but like a year after meeting I had some riffs and songs ideas and asked him to come round for a jam. He was actually going to sell all his music gear and I convinced him to keep his bass and come jam with me haha. We jammed for a few months with a little drum machine from my multi effects pedal and realised we wanted to actually give the songs a go. So we did the classic move of posting some ads on the Facebook musician page for Townsville. Thats where Callum came in. Then Callum brought Damo in. A couple of jams later we all kind of realised that hey these songs have got something and to top it off we all really get along. Thats when the band really came together.”

If you had to describe your sound and aesthetic to the uninitiated, what would you say?
“I’ve had a few goes at this question and always find it difficult to answer haha. To start with I was after a blues sound but with some heaviness in there too. A bit like Black Keys or Jack White but heavier in places. Now that we’ve written a few songs and we’ve evolved a bit I’d say we are still bluesy with a hard rock vibe thrown in for good measure. But all our songs are very different. From softer ballads to some punchy rock and punk. A real mixed bag!”

What’s been your most memorable gig to date, and why?
“To be honest we haven’t played many, maybe four or so? But two stand out for me personally. Our very first gig at the Herbert Hotel was great because we were absolutely packing it, screwed a few things up but we had heaps of support from experienced musos and punters and our mates. We played so fast we chewed through our set! The other one is our most recent gig at the Loona Lounge. They’ve been really good to us, it’s a great set up and it’s just heaps of fun. Also The Koffin Rockers were playing after us which was a big highlight. Any chance to get up there is memorable though.”

If you could record a track with any artist, living or dead – who would it be, which track, and why?
“Oh dang… that’s really hard. I’m a massive Doors fan. Jim Morrison has really influenced me musically for a lot of years. But of course all the greats come too mind, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Page etc. Current artists for me would be Jack White, Mike Einzinger (Incubus) and Johnny from a band called Highly Suspect. Dude has a voice, man! And Jack’s work with the fuzz pedal and all his tones is just glorious.”

What would you say is the most challenging thing for up and coming artists in regional Queensland?
“This is a really interesting question. I think for sure we are up against it compared to bands from bigger cities like Melbourne. Purely an exposure thing. When I lived in Melbourne we could play heaps of gigs to a wide range of audiences, make a lot of contacts and really gain some traction. In more regional areas there is less gig space for original bands. Maybe less of a music scene? Although the people I have met here are amazing and really give you a go. The other issue is a jam space! No dedicated jam rooms to hire out. My neighbours are really getting sick of me haha.”

You’ve just released a video online – tell us a bit about the track?
“The song Fuck it’s Hot was one of the first riffs I’d ever written myself. The title of it was just the working title. Me and Chad were just tinkering with it in my house and it was one of those intensely hot and humid days we get here. We had no fans no aircon and were rocking out! So I called it “Fuck it’s Hot.” We sat on it for a long time and eventually Damo was able to arrange it into a workable song and wrote the lyrics for it. It went from something I was going to just throw away to something entirely different. It had a new kind of soul to it, thanks to Damo.”

You took a DIY approach to the video – how come?
“Everything we do is DIY. It’s what we know haha. With the software that’s out there these days, DIY is not what it used to be. You can get some great quality out there. Of course it won’t be as polished as a studio recording, but we are very excited about what we are doing and just wanted to get it out there! Further along down the line we will definitely get into the studio but for now as we are just trying to get the word out.”

Where can we see you perform in upcoming months?
“We are playing a fundraising event in Ingham on the 25th of November which we are pumped for. Should a fun and relaxed atmosphere. After that we don’t have any lined up as we are coming into the end of the year so we will look to next year to get back up there.”

Can we stalk you online?
“We are totally stalkable. On Facebook we have a fair amount of content posted. From short snippets to live performances and rehearsals. We like to stay up to date with all the social media, it’s a great way to connect to other people. From people like yourself, other bands, people that host bands and music fans as well. We just opened up our YouTube channel too, so watch that space!”

What’s the band’s plan for 2018?
“2018 is going to be a lot of refining our stage performance, writing new songs and of course as many gigs as possible. Additionally we will be booking studio time to record and release some stuff. I feel like 2017 was us getting our stuff together and making in roads. So 2018 we want to push that a little further and really make some head way.”

Watch: The Wayward Franklins ‘Fuck it’s Hot!’ – 


The Tea Party 20 Years Into Transmission

The Tea Party national distribution re-sized 2017

The Tea Party is without a doubt the best thing to come out of Canada, with the exception maybe of Terrance and Phillip. Maybe. Vocalist Jeff Martin has since based himself on the East Coast of Australia, whilst band mates Jeff Burrows and Stuart Chatwood still call Canada home.

The band is embarking on a tour of Australia in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Transmission, their third and some still say greatest studio release to date. Girl caught up with bass and keys man and self-confessed geek Stuart Chatwood on the eve of their Aussie tour.

How are you Stuart? What’s been happening?
“We’re actually recording some new songs today in Byron Bay, but really there’s only one big thing on our minds right now and that is putting on one of the best rock shows that people can see where music is at the centre.  We’re extremely excited to perform at The Thebby in Adelaide this week with shows in Tasmania, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to follow.”

You’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of Transmission this year – why did you choose to tour this album over the first few?
“We actually toured The Edges of Twilight as well.  These two records are the pinnacle of our career so it was an easy decision for us.”

So are these shows broken into two sets? Kind of Transmission & Tangents? 
“That’s a good way to put it.  We do the full record Transmission then we take a break and return to perform a set of our hit songs.”

Obviously Jeff moved out to Australia a while ago now, and you guys are here quite a lot – are you looking forward to coming back again?  Do you have any fond Aussie memories?
“Our Aussie memories are too plentiful to list, but our love for this country is deep rooted and authentic.  We love the people and the passion they bring to our shows.  Touring Australia is a highlight for almost every musician I’ve ever met.”

The Tea Party essentially broke up for a few years there – what happened? Did you consider it a break up or just a break?
“We didn’t think it would last 6 years, but it did.  Perhaps you could call it a pause or a reset which the band needed at that point.  We had grown to be complacent and under appreciated the position we occupied in the world.   I happy to report we’re busy recording and we really appreciate the support we get from the fans of the band nowadays.”

Would you liken being in a band to being in a relationship, in some respects?
“We’re brothers.  We fight. We make up.  It’s family at this point not friendship.”

So what did you get up to while the band was disbanded?
“Many things actually.  I did the soundtracks to 7 Prince of Persia games and I recently scored the indie smash Darkest Dungeon, which won the RPG game of the year and is higher revered.  On the rock side, the first thing thrown my way was to replace the bass player in the Smashing Pumpkins.  We had mutual manager friends and I was on a list of 5 or 6 male bass players to replace D’Arcy or Melissa but in the end they found an awesome female bass player.  I then was talking back and fourth with Craig Ross from Lenny Kravitz’s band about forming a group with Jeff Burrows on drums and Jimmy Gnecco as the vocalist.  After 2-3 moths of chatting, I met with Craig backstage at his Aerosmith/Lenny show and there was chemistry but in the end it didn’t pan out due to scheduling. That would have been a cool band.  JB and myself then worked on a project called Songs from the Chapel with Todd Kerns of Slash/Age of Electric and Ryan Dahle of Limblifter/Age of Electric.  We recorded 8 or 9 songs and wrote about 20 ideas but the project failed to get off the ground.  I think Ryan has mixed the tracks so they might see the light of day soon.  I then had JB finish some songs I had been working on for 2 or 3 years called Art Decay with a Toronto vocalist Kent Leggatt.  It had a very Nick Cave/Echo and the Bunnymen influence.  There was an EP worked on and it could or should come out in the following year if things go as planned. For me Art Decay evolved into a new project with a Toronto based bilingual singer called Tecla Burey.  This project is still a work in progress, so I’m not sure how long this will take to get out.
Finally, apart from the scoring and rock stuff, I got involved in a project in NYC called Uncommon Folk.  This has been my main focus since 2006 and it is essentially down regulating or relaxing ambient/folk songs with celebrity vocalists with a goal of raising awareness about misophonia or as it was called prior to this, Sensory Processing Disorder.  The music has some therapeutic aspects as well with it being down regulating/relaxing.  We recorded about 26 songs over 11 years with vocalists like Glen Campbell, Mavis Staples, Jacob Dylan, Robin Zander and the Blind Boys of Alabama. We recorded vocalist and string players in NYC, The Hamptons, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Wales, Toronto and Vancouver. The first single with Glen Campbell was released in August and we are preparing the Mavis Staples song and the full album for release in the coming months.  It is a very cool project that will leave you feeling relaxed.
I hope someone can hop on Wikipedia and update my page now!

You write a lot of music for video games – have you always been a bit of a gamer yourself?
“Yes, my love for video games goes back to pre Atari days when my family bought a Magnavox type system that allowed you to play Pong at home.  I got into computers in a big way in elementary school.  I actually read a machine language programming book in Grade 6.  Major geek!  My friend at the time Richard Hawtin is now a famous Techno DJ in Berlin but back then, it was 8 bit computers.  He was a C64 guy and I was an Atari convert.”

Speaking of playing, you play a ridiculous number of instruments! How did you get started, and what made you pick up some of the more exotic instruments, like the tanpura?
“I started on trumpet at age 10 but I didn’t take music seriously until I joined Jeff Martin’s band at age 15 and took up guitar.  I moved to bass when The Tea Party formed and with the Edges of Twilight, we challenged ourselves to expand our musical vocabulary.  I started playing keyboards in the band and I had to cover some of the instruments that Jeff Martin had played in the studio when we toured.  This included the Tamboura, Santur, lap steel, Mandolin and others.”

You worked with the late great Glen Campbell – how did that project come about?
“Glen was one of a handful of celebrities that we asked to participate in the Uncommon Folk project which started as a music therapy project of ambient folk music. At the time SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder was not addressed in the DSM manual for psychiatry.”

What – if anything – did you learn from working with someone like Glen?
“It was a relatively short session with Glen in 2010.  We realized then that he had the early signs of Alzheimer’s.  He was able to share some amazing stories about the Pet Sounds sessions with The Beach Boys.”

After nearly 30 years in the industry, what knowledge would you impart to someone up and coming right now?
“Be original.  The world has access to your music now, so if you are unique, your tribe will find you.”

Watch – The Tea Party ‘Temptation’:

The Tea Party TX20 Australian Tour

Friday 27 October – The Astor Theatre, Perth
www.astortheatreperth.com or 1300 111 369  

 Thursday 2 November – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide

 Friday 3 November, The Odeon Theatre, Hobart

 Saturday 4 November, The Forum, Melbourne

 Thursday 9 November, The Tivoli Theatre, Brisbane

 Friday 10 November, The Enmore, Sydney