Yours & Owls memories: Totally Unicorn

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. Next up is Totally Unicorn, as drummer Mike ponders egg/bird metaphors, getting laid, and dancing like Michael Jackson. TU will be playing the “after-party” at Blue Note/Fever nightclub, so make sure you’re still conscious enough to get in to see them (disclaimer: Mike says the Totally Unicorn boys will make no such guarantees as to their sober-ness)

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
We’d been friends with the boys from Owls since well before the egg hatched 2 years ago, and had been keen on playing there when they were still fertilising their ideas and spraying the white undercoat on the walls, but held off until September last year on a tour to promote the ‘Cool Dads’ film clip. There were streamers, piñatas, nudity, and the booze was flowing through the party hats. They probably don’t agree but that was their FIRST birthday celebration, so it’s an honour to be playing for them again at their second.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
The first one was hard to top and there was a lot of hype around that show, but the last time we played there with Rosetta, City of Ships and Nuclear Summer was incredible for a whole different set of reasons. All the bands played so tight that night and the crowd was super-intimate – it was a completely different vibe… almost grown up! It may have also been the last show Drew played in his tie-dye morph-suit too, so it holds a pretty special place in our hearts.

What’s your best memory of the place?
I think any night that we’ve been there and one of us have gotten laid during our afterwards would have to be a highlight. There’s been a few of those (thank you Owls). As for the best memory?… let’s just say it involves 8 men, the Weeknd, some party lights, and a huge sack.

What are some of the highlights of shows you’ve seen at Owls?
The Rosetta show was great, so was The Flatliners with Joe Knott, Pear & The Awkward Orchestra, and some folky type 5-piece band that played a handsaw, a washboard, and a whiskey bottle amongst other things – they were amazing.

How much of a role do you think Owls plays in the Wollongong music scene today?
They definitely take a more purist approach to music and arts from what I’ve seen. The guys always support the people that play there, are generous, flexible and happy to work with anyone with a splooge of talent or creativity. To be so eclectic and tuned in to what’s happening in Australia, and to be a 60-cap room and not have gone broke yet is a tribute to them as well as to all of the locals that support them each week. Without them I think it would definitely be a considerably more barren town artistically. Not to say that other venues in the Illawarra aren’t contributing by any means – but this is a significant place in our eyes.

Why do you think they’ve been so successful so far?
Because unlike the glasshouse you don’t have to be a cunt to go there.

What are you expecting for the 2nd birthday party?
Look, our main goal at this stage is to somehow stay sober enough to be physically able to play the after party at Blue Note or Fever or whatever it’s called (I’ve never been there before but I’ve heard the floor lights up like a Michael Jackson film clip, so I’m stoked). Apart from that I’m going to try to pick up any bi-drummers that may or may not be playing and check out Step – Panther, Fait Accompli, Let Me Down Jungleman, and Mega-Shark – anyone with a band name that good should be checked out!

What band are you most looking forward to watching on the night?
Oh fuck, did I just fuck this interview? Uhhhh… Let’s say Alotta Pressure & Doc Holliday Takes The Shotgun.

If you could buy Yours & Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
I already got them this Owlet (below) – they can fuck off.

TU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

Yours & Owls memories: My Little Underground

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. The first off the rank is My Little Underground, who recently placed third in the UOW band comp and will be playing the Owls venue on Friday night. Guitarist Jonathan Tooke spoke to us about his memories of shows there:

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
The Huchi Muchi launch party, 29th of September 2011. Crazy to think that that was under a year ago. Kind of a game changer for us really, in the last year we’ve done a ridiculous number of Owls slots.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
Either that Huchi Muchi launch party or the Thomas Covenant EP launch a couple of weeks ago. Both were fantastic nights, seeing an almost packed crowd each time really get into it was fucking cool and really fun.

Best memory of Owls?
The best memory I have would be a tie between seeing people really get into it at the Huchi Muchi launch and meeting new people there. That Huchi Muchi launch really was the first time we’d had people really react at a gig like that. Meeting new people has been great too, so many people I talk to very regularly I wouldn’t have met without Owls being there. So many bands as well that I’d have no clue about.

What are some highlights of your experience as a gig-goer at Owls?
Either Thomas Covenant at their launch night or Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen. Two very different gigs, but both great in their own right. Thom Cov was a messy party vibe where everyone was crowd surfing and stuff – so fun. It was a pretty long lineup of bands and everything just kept building until Thom Cov started playing at it was fucking cool. Them ending with ‘You Got A Friend In Me’ too was actually a really great moment. The Alkan Zeybek gig was quite a strange one. It was a long lineup of touring bands, most of which I’d never heard before. We’re on 2nd and Alkan Zeybek and the Lessermen were on first. Playing to roughly 10 people, they fucking ruled. By the 2nd song Alkan, the frontman, had jumped from the top of the Owls stairs and was wiping blood onto the setlist. Also – their EP rules so hard, a CD I actually played into not working anymore.

How do you see Owls’ role in the local music scene?
They are the best live venue to see bands in the area. Without them, I can’t really see the local music scene being anywhere near as strong as it is today. I can’t really overstate it’s importance to local music.

Why do you think they’ve been to successful so far?
The high level of good vibes. Much of what I had heard about the heyday of the Oxford Tavern, the regular band nights and good vibes, has been definitely surpassed by my own experiences at Owls. I haven’t had a bad night there, and it’s the only venue around I can really say that about. Even a night which doesn’t go the best for us will still be a good night because of the people there and the other bands.

What expectations do you have for the birthday party?
I’m just hoping it’s a real big party. For it to be one of those really great Owls nights where everyone is just having the best time. Also, I’m fucking keen for This Mess, I’ve only seen them once before and I was really digging what they’re up to.

What band are you most looking forward to?
A toss up between Let Me Down Jungleman, This Mess and Totally Unicorn. The Jungleman dudes are great guys we get along with really well and they play in a damn cool band so we’re keen to see ‘em. This Mess, as I mentioned before I’ve only seen once before but I’m so keen to hear them again, just the depth at which their songs are written I really like. And Totally Unicorn – one of the best bands in the region and one of the few I haven’t actually seen before. Every night they’re on I had some unavoidable reason I couldn’t go so I’m really really keen for that

If you could buy Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
Real: An owl costume for each of the dudes. Imaginary: A ‘no-fine’ card, preventing the po-po from fining them again.

MLU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Totally Unicorn, The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

INTERVIEW: Bluejuice

By Lucy Smith

It’s the morning after a ruthless Wednesday night out. You’re standing in the wind on the verge of frostbite, waiting for some form of public transport in order to attend that compulsory two-hour lecture. Sound familiar?

Well, never fear! Bluejuice have vowed to “ease the plight of freezing students” by touring university campuses of Australia! Their “Winter Of Our Discotheque” Tour coincides with the release of the band’s fourth single ‘Recession’ off their album Company. Having taken a break from touring for several months, Bluejuice will be performing at the University of Wollongong Unibar on Saturday August 11th. Accompanied by Deep Sea Arcade and the Preachers, it is set to be a fantastic night of copious d-floor shredding.

Radar had a chat with frontman Jake Stone about all things tour-related, remixes and mould-ridden costumes.

So Jake, you’re currently getting ready for the tour – what influenced the decision to tour university campuses?
Well we basically thought we just wanted to go and do a type of tour that we haven’t done recently, and this is that type of tour. We haven’t gone to universities specifically in the last little while, we know there’s a lot of people there who are likely to want to see the band, and so we can pretty much guarantee that if we go it’ll pay off in the sense that we’ll get crowds. It’s us, Deep Sea Arcade – who are fantastic live – and The Preachers, who are just starting out; they’re a good Triple J band. So I know that’ll work and people will want to see it.

And we haven’t played in about two months, which is a long time for this band not really to play, so it just seems like the right time to do it. I mean, we came off the back of doing a lot of festival shows and we’ve been doing those for a while, and they’re all package tours…but this is our own tour where we pay for everything. So we want to make sure that it pays off doing it at all, because we’ve done shows in the last twelve months while the recession has hit and we’ve noticed that, because we’re not a huge huge band, it’s definitely more of a challenge over the last year to get crowds. People don’t really want to spend as much money or come out necessarily in the same way they did two years ago when everyone was just like, “Yeah! There’s gonna be a festival…Let’s just spend all our money on everything!”

And also the type of audience that the band has, they’re definitely going to be at uni, they’re definitely going to be Triple J listeners, and they’re definitely going to be probably congregating around the areas that we’re playing. So it makes sense, just seemed like a logical thing to do.

You’re obviously very energetic performers, whenever I’ve been to one of your shows it’s been wild – what satisfaction do you get when you look out over the crowd and you see people enjoying it just as much as you are?
Oh, it’s great. I mean, you’ve got to qualify whether or not you’re enjoying it at the time – but if you are and they are…it’s incredibly satisfying because it’s an absurd idea to even be getting up at all in a way. With a performance…I guess it’s a collective kind of moment of loss of inhibitions or impulsivity, which is what it feels like you’re encouraging – and that’s a good thing because people need to cut loose a bit. And also I think people need to get to a blind point with their own personality and feel confident to just express everything that they’re thinking of, so that in the rest of the week when they’re expected to be normal people…they can feel more at ease with themselves generally. Like going out and getting hammered, it really feels often like those kinds of moments – there’s a real rush doing those big shows like Splendour in the Grass…there’s definitely a moment of ‘holy crap, this is so massive and so amazing’. If that feeling is there and it’s real and you can hold onto it, it adds to everyone else’s feeling – and those things start to sort of play off themselves in a kind of self sustaining cycle of energy.  Which sounds pretty easy to say, but it’s true – I’m not easy at all, I’m a cynical guy – and that is literally what happens. It’s amazing, you feel like you’re part of this big perpetual motion machine that can’t be stopped and has no conscience, but just wants to party and have a crazy time, and you are glad to be apart of that.

The tour coincides with the release of the ‘Winter of Our Discotheque’ remix of Recession – can people attending the gigs expect more of an electronic/dance vibe to your music of that calibre?
Yeah definitely…we do like to play tunes for the audience that they recognize…and also just to keep ourselves entertained we want to change arrangements that we have, because otherwise you’re just playing the same thing for the songs live and it gets a bit dull.

So in this case we’ve taken elements of the remix and put them into our electronics that we use on stage to get play back, we can have all the extra synths running at the same time that you hear in the song – we wouldn’t actually be able to play all of that stuff because there’s like a gazillion layers of stuff going on – but we put stuff on our pads and our sequencer so that it sounds like the tune, we can put the kick drum maybe on track and have it running. So when you hear the song live it’s like our remix of the remix basically – that’s the idea.

The remix itself has been pretty well received, have you considered releasing more remixes of tracks off Company?
Yeah, we’ve got two fuckin’ SICK ones! There’s one by this guy Miracle – he’s living in Melbourne – and he’s a really amazing MC, I think he’s going to be a proper star in the next year I’d say. He’s just very very technically good and sounds really great on the track…and he did a remix of Act Yr Age that’s really good, it’s really hip-hop…a completely different groove to what the original does basically.

We’ve never had good remixes before, like we’ve gotten remixes done and we haven’t just hated them but they’ve been uniformly uninspired unfortunately. No one’s quite managed to get the song right, and often they felt they were a tack on part of the process we hadn’t managed properly…In this case we knew that we wanted to do a remix this time, our manager was more on it than the last record because he’s been with the band for longer and knows more about the band now, and it’s just been a lot easier to organize…more of a confluent flow to a good quality product, which happened here I think. All I know is that I was pleased when I heard the tune back and thought, “this doesn’t suck, this is good – I could dance to this!”

What are you most looking forward to for the upcoming the tour?
I’m actually most looking forward to playing with Deep Sea Arcade…we’ve toured with that band before and I just like them as people, I dig their music a lot, they’re really great live and on record, and they’ve produced themselves in an interesting and relevant way…I fully expect them to blow us off the stage in terms of quality of sound every night. But it’s gonna be good. It’s gonna be a good deal because you’re going to see two bands who are wanting to do something decent and one band who are in the prime of their youth, because Deep Sea Arcade are really coming into their own right now. It’s going to be a special show in a lot of ways I think.

Now you’ve been on stage in yellow jumpsuits and yeti jackets, can we expect any eccentric costuming at the Unibar?
You know what, this is the tour where I just want to wear clothes. <GASP> Look, don’t be disappointed, it’ll be all right – we’ll do stuff to the clothes. Altered clothes can work really well, sometimes it just suits the surroundings a little more.

That’s more than fair, and you wouldn’t want to expose Stav’s hairy chest in bright lycra again.
Exactly! Plus it’s hot in those things and they get really wet and disgusting, and you can’t clean them for the next show. You end up with this mouldy thing and you’re just like, “Oh God, do we really have to wear this? I’m getting a lung infection from this.” And sometimes you think, “Fuck, we started out as a band and nobody expected us to be wearing multi-headed Sun God outfits or anything.” People still came initially when we were wearing T-shirts, so why can’t we just do that again? The reason why the costumes started was because Jerry and other members of the band did not know how to dress themselves, they just don’t know how to wear clothes at all. I’m not suggesting I do, but…there was a point where Jerry was trying to wear Crocs on stage and I was like, “Are you kidding me? You’re in a band, you’re being looked at you know!”

Well regardless of what you’re wearing, your performance at Wollongong Unibar is set to be an excellent night and we can’t wait for your return.
Yeah, always excited and happy to come to Wollongong!

INTERVIEW: This Mess

This Mess are part of a new wave of local artists dabbling in electronic and bass music, crafting intricate electronica through a combination of programmed beats and live instrumentation. They are gearing up to release their debut EP, which is currently being mixed in Los Angeles by acclaimed producer Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups,  ). The local duo are headlining the ‘Under The Radar’ event at Yours & Owls this Wednesday (July 25) with The Omissions, Without Parachutes and ShereKhan. Jim Wilson from This Mess took the time to answer a quick few questions to introduce the duo, and also put together a pretty sweet mixtape for us too.

1) How long have This Mess been together?
We have been playing music together, in various shapes and forms, for about 3 years. We have done a lot of playing together in soul, RnB and jazz band situations previously, but This Mess has been going since the beginning of the year.

2) Who are your influences?
We have quite a broad range of influences. We both love Jazz and RnB but we have been really getting into the electronic movement that’s happening now. We are really into Seekae, Mt. Kimbie, Flying Lotus, James Blake, SBTRKT and Electric Wire Hustle. I suppose our goal for This Mess is to merge these two different worlds of music.

3) Tell us about your craziest gig moment as This Mess
Well, to tell you the truth, our gigs have not been all that crazy. We have supported some awesome acts but they have generally been pretty civilised affairs. We currently hold the record of attracting the oldest ever punter at Yours and Owls, Tace’s 86 year old Nanna. At our last gig at the patch there was a crazy guy on ‘shrooms who was exuberantly clapping out of time and giving us excellent life advice: “Shine your love on to the universe!”
Ask us in a year or so, we might have some more stories.

4) You recently signed with Dub Monster Music. How has this changed the game for you?
Primarily, it has given us a hell of a lot more time to work on music. We don’t really have to call and chase things up much any more. Sean (our manager) is always coming up with good ideas and he is excellent at keeping us on track with the business side of things. We value his opinion because he is super-objective and doesn’t like to kiss our bums. He is also an animal to party with.

5) Tell us more about your upcoming EP.
It’s due out by November this year. We are producing the whole thing at our home studio and it’s getting mastered by Dave Cooley of Elysian masters in LA. Elysian have mastered some of our favourite artists’ (J Dilla, Flying Lotus, Electric Wire Hustle) work so we are super pumped to work with them. We seem to take our time when producing as our music is quite layered, which is a luxury that you can only really afford if you are recording at home. We have worked really hard at finding a balance between production and spontaneity. Some of the tracks on the EP have had many, many hours spent on them while other’s have been improvised in 20 minutes or so. This all seems to come back to the ‘live’ vs. ‘electronic’ contrast in our music and influences.

6) Whats the next 6 months hold?
Number one goal is finishing and releasing the EP as well as playing some shows out of town. I (Jim) and working on doing some DJ stuff in the future. We are also planning on collaborating with Beaten Bodies on a track.

7) Anything you’d like to add?
We have released a little mix for Radar. It’s got a bunch of different stuff and an unreleased This Mess track on it.
Some of our other tracks are also available to download from http://www.triplejunearthed.com/thismess
We are playing this Wednesday at Yours and Owls as part of “Under the Radar.” We’re also supporting Jenny M Thomas. and The System at Owls on the 19th of August.

INTERVIEW: Tommy M & The Mastersounds

Tonight’s show at Dicey Riley’s will mark the last Tommy M and the Mastersounds performance for six months, as they are taking time off to record their debut album. The eight-piece reggae/funk act will also farewell saxophonist Ngaire East, as she departs to the Northern Territory for a working holiday.

2012 has certainly been a busy year for the Mastersounds – from a wild road trip to Katoomba to an already successful recording process at Sony Studios in recent weeks. The unique blend of influences to their music and the different personalities within the band has resulted in a number of achievements since their beginnings in 2010. With six band competition wins under their belt and the release of their EP ‘Pineapple’ in 2011, Tommy M and the Mastersounds has had a significant influence within the Wollongong music scene.

Radar caught up with both Evan Kerr (keys/vocals) and Ngaire (tenor sax) who gave an insight into the band’s recent endeavours and their plans for the future.

Tell us about the recording process at Sony studios recently? 
E: Our drummer, Joe Mungovan, scored us some recording time at Sony studios a few weeks ago, thanks to this Talent Development Project that he’s involved in. It gave us a chance to use some really nice equipment and the whole process was super easy, I think we got a lot done. Everything’s sweet when you’re looked after.

What were some of the highlights of your recent tour? 
E: Katoomba was fun. I certainly had too much fun. I nearly crashed the car twice on the way back at 7am in the morning – mad drifting ‘skillz’.

How do you manage to record and tour efficiently with a large number of people? 
E: It’s a challenge, of course, to organise eight people into rehearsing, playing shows, recording etc. But because we’re all good friends anyway, we’re always in contact. We also like the same things as each other (more or less), so it’s been okay getting everyone together in the same place at the right time.

When the band first began in 2010 did you ever think it would have gained such a wide following and reception in Wollongong today?
E: No, hell no. I assumed we would fit snugly into some sort of niche of listeners – but I realise now that the Conservatorium of music is just around the corner, most of us have been there at least for a while, and the horn players seem to like this kind of stuff  – myself included. Plus everyone from Kiama knows Joe, Evan B, Ngaire and the Masterboys from Kiama High, so I guess they’re also supporting their mates.

With this last show at Dicey Riley’s with Ngaire – what will you all miss about performing with her?
E: It’s gonna suck, but it’s also gonna rule, if you know what I mean. I think we’ll change a little bit without a female member around – I’ll probably shower less. We’re gonna miss the feeling of the whole group being together, and I think that would happen if any of us went away for a long time.

What future plans are in store for Tommy M? 
E: More recording, more material, maybe a big fancy do sometime in the future but you’ll see it when it happens.

Some of your favourite local acts at the moment?
E: Oh man, I’m loving A Cat Named Kesey right now. Thomas Covenant go hard and it makes me also. Jack Reilly’s gonna come out with some good stuff real soon, so watch out for that. To be honest with you, I used to leave Wollongong if I wanted to watch live music, but now it’s quite the opposite. And it’s a good thing.

Ngaire, what are some of your highlights from the past two years of performing with the boys?
N: Highlights with the boys would be winning the Mercury Bluescope Band Comp last year ($15000). We worked very hard for it and it was the perfect kick start to our musical career and gave us the confidence/exposure that we needed. Also our six hour road trip in May out to Mudgee to play our first wedding. We had no idea what to expect in regards to the travelling, the performance, audience, atmosphere and looking back on it now – it was the best fun I’ve had with those boys as a band. We got lost, got fines, got drunk, played music to an amazing bunch of ridiculously happy people for hours, partied so, so hard and suffered severely on the drive home the day after, but it was 100% worth it.

What will you miss about performing with Tommy M and the Mastersounds while you’re away?
N: Everything – being up on stage with them and watching people lose themselves dancing to our music, then looking back at the boys and watching them grinning, singing and dancing, and loving it as much as the people in front of us – most of the time (laughs). I’ve also met so many amazing musicians through playing gigs together, hanging out at practise, mucking around and – believe it or not – having to put up with all their extremely stereotypical male personalities. I love them all like my brothers and sharing the music and performing with them is like a massive bonus. Between the seven of them they’ve taught me a crazy amount about performing, writing and enjoying music and I can’t thank them enough! The band is the best thing that’s ever happened to me! So they better take me back when I return.

INTERVIEW: Cold Youth

Young hardcore dudes Cold Youth have been together for only a matter of months, but have already established themselves as one of the region’s most prominent and popular punk bands. Racking up shows and miles in the van up and down the coast, they’ve been pretty relentless in their playing schedule already. Organising the majority of their own shows, the DIY attitude has seen them win loads of fans and shows alongside Idylls, Coma Lies, Vices, Lo! and Graves, from Newcastle to Huskisson and beyond.

We got together with frontman Tim Waters to wax lyrical about their touring attitude, all ages shows, and supporting influential UK band Basement next month.

How long have Cold Youth been together?
Cold Youth have been a band since November 2011. We added Mitch to our line up who plays second guitar.

What are your influences?
Dead Swans, More Than Life, Have Heart, The Carrier, Killing The Dream, Verse, Turning Point just to name a few bands.

Recently you have been on a spate of statewide shows with lots of different friends. Can you explain how you managed to organise so many shows and fit them into everyone’s timetables?
These friends are pretty much all new as we’ve been approached by them or we’ve approached them and gain connections through given opportunities through playing other people’s home towns and bring them to ours. Usually if you help someone out they are going to be more inclined to return the favour. For example, we are super close with the three bands we had the pleasure of playing the HMWRKRS tour with, Clipped Wings, Perspectives and Snakepit because it was literally playing in each bands backyard plus Newcastle. This is usually the main reason we get shows because you have to be in it to win it, right? Everyone has their own commitments but we fit it around that by organising shows in advance and taking time off work.

Is that “play anywhere anytime” attitude something you specifically set out with? Or has that developed since starting?
As long as we can get the time off and everyone is available physically and financially we will pretty much play wherever we can because it’s all really good exposure. The further we have played from home the more friends we are making and we enjoy new adventures with these people. I guess we’ve set out with this intention and it seems to be working as we’ve seen a number of new places.

What do you believe to be the reasons why you’ve gathered such a strong sense of support for your band?
The majority of us have been going to shows for a number of years previously. This means that we’ve known a bunch of people and our friends have supported us from the start. Along with this, we have been networking and gaining support through a number of music blogspots and things similar.

Cold Youth has played a vital role in the expanding hardcore scene in Wollongong by organising a bunch of local shows. How do you think other people can help to further improve the local music scene?
From the start of this band I (Tim) have wanted to just play our music to whoever we can and to organise shows so I can see bands regularly. Sometimes it’s hard to participate for a number of reasons but the way I see it, anyone can book shows. It’s literally the easiest thing ever and people have started to really support the movement once again (click here for pictures from the last Good Jelly show).

Where do you see the Wollongong hardcore/punk scene right now?
With the decline of Strike Hard Bookings a while back there was an extreme down turn in the number of shows with only (rarely) bigger bands like Confession booking shows at halls that weren’t viable for kids in the scene to book for local bands. This has been rectified with an incline in interest and venues seemed to be opening up in a number of different areas. There were AA shows coming out of Good Jelly which is literally all we needed but now it’s closed down and we are back to square one. There is still interest but it needs to be backed by the individual for the greater good.

Favourite local bands?
Graves, Mowgli, Break A Leg and Directions.

Favorite moments or shows during your time together?
A while back on the HMWRKRS tour we played a show in Newcastle at a place called “the Ghetto shack”. There is no real explanation possible but let’s just say it was the most dangerous/fun thing we have ever been a part of. After meeting and making a whole lot of new friends we played last weekend in Sydney at Jura Books. This was a super cool vibe because it was a book store and had most of our Sydney friends there whilst everyone were enjoying themselves.

Future plans for the band? New release, upcoming shows?
We are playing soon with Basement from the UK. Hopefully just play a large number of shows, announce some big tours with interstate bands (which are confirmed) and keep writing new material.

Cold Youth support Basement (UK) and Endless Heights at Yours & Owls on July 2. Grab their ‘Wanderer’ EP on Bandcamp.

INTERVIEW: Ash Grunwald

By Lucy Smith

What happens when you combine a Skrillex drop with raw blues? Ash Grunwald is discovering just that on his latest Australian tour following the release of his new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Collaborating with Fingers Malone, Grunwald has perfected his acoustic blues style, which has been influenced by “driving dancefloor rhythms, buoyed by hip-hop beats and slammed by the dubstep crunch.”

Growing up in country Victoria, Grunwald nurtured his talents of singing and playing guitar before moving to Melbourne to make a name for himself and commence touring. His first release ‘Introducing’ (2002) established his roots in acoustic blues, however the influence of non-stop touring and festivals saw Grunwald experiment with a dance style with the agenda of “trying to make a really big sounding one man band.” Despite modifying his set with a band for several years, Grunwald has kept the nucleus around his solo show, saying “there’s a particular thing about playing solo that you can’t do with a band, you’re just way more connected to the audience.”

Grunwald has had many significant achievements over his ten-year musical career. From supporting Jack Johnson and James Brown, to an array of awards including the MBAS Blues Performer of the Year and APRA’s Song of the Year.  His consistency and hard work has lead to his “greatest achievement” – the creation of new album ‘Trouble’s Door’. Grunwald describes his work as “honest and bold” and “a bit more of a social commentary”. The production of beats by Fingers Malone sees the album dabble in the integration of new styles of electronic music with a rock-feel, whilst still maintaining the traditional unique blend of roots and blues. After a decade of performing Grunwald is “stoked to be doing something new, it’s like I’m just starting…and I want to just keep learning.”

After a very successful few weeks of touring, Ash is excited about the hybrid between being “on one hand a blues guy, and on another hand almost a DJ”. Combining the old set up using the kick drum and slide guitar, as well as DJ’ing beats from the albums into the show, Grunwald is thrilled with how it has been so well received – “I dreamt it up a couple of years ago and I’m just so stoked that I’m now doing it…I have a range of fans from all ages so I did wonder how it would go, but I’m so happy it went really well.”

The performance at The Patch on Thursday 21st of June will be a Triple J ‘Live at the Wireless’ event, with Grunwald promising a “more diverse show over all”. Keen to return to Wollongong Ash expects the night to go off; complete with “bass-heavy, bad-ass sounds” and acoustic dubstep jams, this is a performance you cannot afford to miss.

INTERVIEW: Go Away, Everyone

Go Away, Everyone will be opening the next Radar gig at Good Jelly on July 7 (click here for more details). We caught up with frontman Seb Wattam for a quick chat and introduction to the newcomers.

Radar: Introduce us to the members of Go Away, Everyone.
Seb: Ben Abraham (Vocals and Guitar), Sebastian Wattam (Vocals, Guitar and Keys), Lachlan Ibbet (Bass), Alex Carling (Drums) and a new member who will be announced at the next show, known only as Agent Z…

Radar: How would you describe Go Away Everyone?
Seb: In terms of genre, probably some kind of alternative rock. At the moment I’d describe us as a band that is trying desperately not to write songs named after Family Guy quotes or in reference to Death Note.

R: Tell us about the history of the band. How did the band come about?
S: We actually formed because Ben came home one afternoon and said ‘do you want to enter battle of the bands?’ and I said ‘sure, let’s make a band then’. I live with Lach who got on board, and Alex was a mate of ours who was currently not with another band. After we had written a few songs together, we all decided that if we enjoyed battle of the bands and we were received well, then we would stay as a band. It happened pretty quickly.

R: What would you say inspires you as a band? What are some of your interests as a group?
S: I know I can speak for everyone when I say that in some way or another, Karl Stefanovic seeps into everything that we do as a band, a modern hero of ours. When we started writing, we had each member say the first band that they enjoyed playing/the sound of. Those four were Tool, Manchester Orchestra, Say Anything and Enter Shikari. We all have different backgrounds and it all meshes together in writing.

R: How do you approach the writing process?
S: A few of us have played in different bands before Go Away, Everyone. Ben and I had been in a band through high school so we had written together before. For Go Away, Everyone we are trying something new. Generally I come to the group with lyrics and a rough idea of a song, and we shape it as a group until we are all happy and everyone has had an input.

R: Any plans for a proper EP or release?
S: There sure is! At the moment our focus is to write, rehearse and perform as frequently as possible to build a repertoire and some confidence as a group. From the songs we write we will choose the best ones to appear on an EP, which we will launch by the end of the year. We already have the concept for the record and we have an artist on board to work with us on the album design. We’re really excited.

R: How do you find the Wollongong music scene at present? How do you think it has changed?
S: I didn’t really know it too much before I moved down here in 2009, but I have spent all of uni being exposed to these great bands with real character and charisma on stage. The calibre of bands is really impressive and they should be given every opportunity to be heard.

R: Who are your favourite local bands?
S: One of the first bands I saw in Wollongong was the Plasmon Resonance Band, I loved every second of the shows I saw and I wish they were around more. The likes of The Pennys, The Omissions, Jack Reilly, Obscura Hail, Vulpes Vulpes and Tommy M and the Mastersounds are all so good

R: What can we expect from Go Away Everyone in the near future?
S: Aside from an EP launch by the end of the year, we are playing the Radar party on 7 July, and Yours & Owls in August which will be awesome. We are a pretty young band so our focus is on writing for the next few months and trying out material for people. Come and get to know us, tell us what you think. It’ll be nice.

Go Away Everyone join Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Round The Corner, A Cat Named Kesey and Beaten Bodies at the Radar Presents gig on July 7. Click here for more info.

INTERVIEW: Never See Tomorrow

Wollongong metalcore mainstays Never See Tomorrow have just released their debut album, ‘NST,’ after a long period of writing, recording and mixing. Together since 2006, they are one of the last few remaining bands from Illawarra hardcore’s hey-day in the mid-to-late 2000s, and have proved their mettle with big support slots alongside the likes of Parkway Drive, Confession, Thy Art Is Murder, The Amity Affliction and more. With the album out, and the band set to play the Hot Damn Wollongong Roadtrip next weekend, we caught up with the boys to get the low-down.

The album has just been released, what’s the general reaction been so far?
It has been 100% positive! Which we are blown away with, we didn’t expect it to be as well received as it was. We are hearing some real good feedback from the fans.

Are you happy with it?
We are very happy with it, we put so much time into it and all feel satisfied with the outcome.

NST has been around for a while, why did you wait so long to get your first album down?
We had most this album written about three years ago but due to members leaving and various changes in our personal lives you could say we were “distracted” when it came to knuckling down and recording.

Tell us a bit about the album. Where did you record?
We recorded the guitars and bass in Koz’s living room and took them to Electric Sun Studios to be “re-amped” ( A process where we run our recordings through electric suns set up) This saved us a lot of time and money! All vocals were done at Electric Sun with producer Dave Petrovic. He is a genius when it comes to recording, as you can hear in our album.

What was the recording process like?
Fun for the most part, staying up late, drinking buds at kozs house and recording all the parts. The studio was a mini holiday for us and a good excuse to have a few more beers!

How would you describe the album?
We can only describe it as the exact type of music we want to hear and by the reaction, what a lot of people have been waiting for.

As far back as March 2011, you’ve been talking about the album. Why has it taken so long to finally come together?
Basically, we took our time with it and did all the artwork etc on our own, this all took time. So that with the mix of us being generally lazy left us leading people on with the release date, which we apologise for!

You guys are playing the Hot Damn roadtrip in Wollongong next weekend. Looking forward to it?
Yeah we are! The last one was very successful and we hope to keep up the pace!

You’ve played Hot Damn in Sydney before, and you’re on the bill for their long weekend party too. How does playing the club compare to a “regular” gig?
It suits us well because we all love a beer, but unfortunately the sound is usually sub-par and this gets to us a bit as we are pretty picky with that stuff.

As said above, NST has been around for a while, and continued where a bunch of other prominent heavy local acts – Kohere, Another Days Remains etc. – disbanded. Why do you think you’ve stayed together, when a lot of similar bands haven’t?
I guess we carried more passion and our new album is a pure sign of that.

What do you think about hardcore or heavy music in Wollongong now? There’s very few bands around now, compared to a few years ago.
The scene dropped off for a bit, it started to get too repetitive but lately there has been a resurgence. We aren’t particular fans of the “scene” as it seems to come and go, we just wish the gong had better AA venues!

Any locals you’ve been particularly impressed with lately?
We saw Totally Unicorn the other day and it’s safe to say we were impressed.

On Facebook last month, you hinted something about a new music video. What’s the latest there?
We are mid way through filming it. We have an original idea that involves us acting a little bit. We dont take ourselves seriously and its going to show in this video.

Your cover of Vanessa Carlton’s ‘1000 Miles’ was a huge hit, do you have any plans to do any other covers in the future?
We are starting the next run of shows with a cover of Promises by NERO but other than that we haven’t put any thought into it, we don’t want to be seen as cover band as we are so proud of the album.

With the album release, what’s the plan for you guys? Touring plans on the horizon?
We plan to do as many good shows as possible and hopefully get on as supports to as many international artists as possible

Never See Tomorrow play the Hot Damn roadtrip with Where The Enemy Sleeps, Wake The Giants and Aftermath on July 16 (next Saturday) at Hostage X. Say RADAR at the door for cheap entry!

INTERVIEW: Beaten Bodies

Beaten Bodies have been together for just over six months, but are already causing a bit of a stir in the local music community. Joining Tommy M & The Mastersounds and Rocking Horse & The Baby Dolls in channelling a groovy, funky, soulful sound reminiscent of days gone by – as well as having a mammoth eight bodies on stage at any one time – the collective have only performed sparingly and rarely since forming; but impressed judges enough at their recent UOW band comp heat to advance straight to the final. They’re are playing our Radar x Good Jelly gig on July 7, so we caught up with bassist Liam to get the skinny on Beaten Bodies.

Radar: Introduce us to Beaten Bodies. Who are the members and what do they play?
Marli Truran-Lakaev – Vox
Novak Manojlovic – Keys
John McCoy – Drums
Liam Copland – Bass
David Reglar – Tenor Sax
Matt Tarrant – Trumpet
Geordie Crawford – Alto Sax
Nick Chater – Trombone

R: How would you describe Beaten Bodies?
A mix of all the old groove stuff: soul, funk, Motown – with a contemporary sound.

R: Tell us about the history of the band. How did the band come about?
It started as a throwaway comment. My brother was turning 21, and everyone was doing something for the party except me. I told the parents I’d work out the music, maybe an iTunes playlist. I’m not very computer savvy and it became apparent that the whole thing’d be easier if I got some people together for a jam. That was in November last year.

R: What would you say inspires you as a band? What are some of your interests as a group?
Creating something that we wanna listen to ourselves is the obvious. Big funk/soul bands are the inspiration—lotsa horns, lotsa bodies on stage, everyone working at a vibe that is both improvised and aware of its purpose. We’re all inspired by different things, but as a collective, the big ones would be Winehouse, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, The RH Factor, maybe The Bamboos.

R: How do you approach the writing process?
We all just get in there, yell, stick our hands up, wrestle, and laugh a lot. The writing process is extremely productive for us. We’ve got members burning with great ideas. Crazy inspired people with ideas oozing outta every orifice. That being said, the challenge for us is knowing when we’re doing too much, convoluting a song that needs to breath. But yeah, to answer the question, the writing process is collaborative, the songs evolving each and every time we get together, even when we’re not playing them.

R: Any plans for a proper EP or release?
At the time of this interview, we’re pretty close to finishing our debut E.P. All that’s left to record are the vocals and the mixing and mastering stages. There are four tracks, all a bit different. In an attempt to reflect a few different shades of what we’ve been up to, our goal was to go for a sound specific to each song. It should be out in September, at the latest.

R: How do you find the Wollongong music scene at present? How do you think it has changed?
The scene is good, inspiring. Wollongong is going through such a prolific stage at the moment, every second person plays in a band. With so many people in bands, there are so many people going to gigs, and the scene has only flourished because of this. This explosion of bands have urged people to stay in Wollongong for their entertainment, this is a change.

R: Who are your favourite local bands?
Off the top of my head: This Mess, Totally Unicorn, and Kool and The Gang.

R: What can we expect from Beaten Bodies in the near future?
We’re playing the Radar gig at Good Jelly on the 7th of July and the UoW band comp final on the 23rd of August. But the release of the E.P is definitely the big one.

Beaten Bodies join Tommy M & The Mastersounds, Round The Corner, A Cat Named Kesey and Go Away Everyone at the Radar Presents gig on July 7. Click here for more info.

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