Music Farmers interview with Jeb Taylor

As every committed record-store frequenter wakes with the birds in a tense state of Record Store Day excitement this morning, Radar catches up with Wollongong’s nearest dearest record store owner, Jeb Taylor, to talk chance beginnings, what it’s like running a record store in modern-day Wollongong, and that which it’s all about – records!

R: What made you start Music Farmers in 2004?
J: There was no real plan behind it as such, my friend Simon and I were running a small scale music distribution label for a handful of international labels and we were looking for office space to run that from. When we found a space that also worked as a shop, we started selling local music and titles we distributed, then we introduced other releases and the shop gradually took over the distribution side of things. I guess like a lot of kids into music I’d always wanted to start a record shop but it more so just happened as opposed to intentionally starting it.

R: What would you say are your defining features as a music store?
J: Our main specialty is vinyl records and we try to make sure we stock a good selection of titles on that format. Vinyl is our niche and people have come to know that. We like to think the shop is your old style record shop where people can discuss music with us and get a more personalised service. With places like JB HiFi becoming the main physical places that people buy music over the last decade, music has become just another product that is scanned through at the checkout. There are still a lot of people that want to talk about music with the people they are buying it from. We have plenty of customers over the years that have become friends, I doubt that would happen in the supermarket-style shops.

R: How has the exhibition and live music space been working out for Music Farmers?
J: We seem to have resolved issues we had a few years back with live music but we try and keep it for special occasions so we don’t get too annoying for our neighbours. As a set up I think it’s important not just for record shops but any sort of niche retailer in this day and age to think outside the square in terms of getting people to their shop. It’s no longer enough to just set yourself up on the street and think people will come pouring through the doors. The exhibitions and shows here always provide us with people that have never been here before, and give established customers a reminder we are still here so it works really well.

R: As well as running the Music Farmers store, you also promote artists, own a label and organise events in the local area. How do you find the music scene in Wollongong and how has it changed in your opinion? What are the best and worst things about it?
J: It goes through peaks and troughs both in terms of the quality of bands and the people that go out and support local bands. These two things don’t always happen simultaneously though. There have been times amazing bands have had basically no support and some pretty terrible bands have been well-supported. It’s changed a lot with the increase of online accessibility for bands, they can now get their name out there online before building any sort of profile in their hometown playing shows, and this is something that even ten years back didn’t really happen. It is something that has positive and negative effects for the local music scene. At the moment though there are plenty of places to play and enough interesting bands around, I guess it could just use a bit more support from the wider community.

R: So, onto records. What are your top recent local releases?
J: It changes all the time and there are a lot of locals I haven’t seen/heard yet. There are bands I work with in some capacity such as Mother & Son, Leadfinger, Yardvark and Cape Tribulation that have put out good records in the last year. Aside from them, some personal favourite local releases over the last year are:

The Walking Who – Candy Flu

A lot of bands doing the epic psych rock sort of thing can get fairly lost in their songwriting but these guys have a batch of really solid and fairly focused songs. They have also managed to get what they do live really well sounding good in the studio. They are now starting to get much deserved recognition beyond Wollongong.

Places, People – Hid & Hunted

Brian has moved from Wollongong now but this record was written and recorded while he was here and it is really good. Fans of newer stuff like Fleet Foxes should like it but also anyone into the older American west coast folk sort of thing from the seventies should find it interesting.

Troldhaugen – S/T
I’m not a huge metal fan but I like and respect it when it’s done right. These guys make it fun, do something a bit unique and do it amazingly well. If they get themselves to Europe at some point they’ll do really well. Great live too.

Bec Sandridge – Lyons & Bees
This is a solid EP release from a young, local singer/songwriter. The songs are well written and it is really well-produced. She also has built a solid following via fairly DIY promotion and regular touring which has to be admired.

Totally Unicorn – Horse Hugger
These guys are a world class band. They probably haven’t totally captured their live intensity in the studio on their recordings yet but when you have the live show these guys have, that would be a pretty tough task.

Emma Russack – Sounds Of Our City

Not exactly a local release but Emma spent a few years here while at uni and played many shows here at Music Farmers. This is a strong and focused album; another ex-local Alec Marshall contributes amazing guitar work.

Perhaps an impossible question… Your top five records?
J: These aren’t necessarily what I think are the best five records of all time but they are five that had some sort of influence on me at certain points in my life:

Mudhoney – S/T
I started listening to I guess what you’d call underground music at a fairly young age and this was the album that started it. I was probably eleven when I heard this and suddenly realised there was a whole world of music out there that wasn’t just what was on TV and local radio.

Kyuss – Blues For The Red Sun

I loved this the first time I heard it; my cousin played it to me one Christmas and I went out and bought their albums the next chance I had. Later on I got to work with members of the band in different capacities and even tour around the world with one of them.

Tumbleweed – S/T
The debut album from Tumbleweed was a really big Australian album in the mid-nineties and for a young kid growing up at the time, it was pretty inspiring that the five guys that made the record were from my hometown.

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream

This was a big album when I was in high school; spent many hours with friends in the music rooms trying to learn the songs. It just was re-issued on vinyl and I think it still stands up today of one of the great albums of the nineties.

Arcade Fire – Funeral

The release of this record basically timed perfectly with when we first opened Music Farmers. As you can imagine, you spend a lot of hours listening to music in a record shop and you get to know albums really well. This was the most fresh and interesting record from that time period for me.

R: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to open a shop/get involved in the music industry in a similar way to you?
J: You really need to want to do it. There are too many tough times and unrewarding moments if you are doing it without full commitment. I’ve seen a lot of people come to the industry with good intentions but burn out fairly quickly and realise getting a ‘normal job’ maybe the easier option. I’ve made plenty of mistakes myself, some of them costly in different ways, but I’ve used them as a way to learn as opposed to a reason to give up. Having said that, working in the music industry has given me the chance to travel to incredible parts of the world I would have never have seen otherwise and meet some musical heroes of mine. So basically if you are prepared to put in the hours and not let the setbacks get you down, it can be a rewarding industry to be part of.

Record Store Day is today! Come and celebrate with Music Farmers from 1pm – live local music, exclusive releases, BBQ, and more (see below).

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INTERVIEW: Henry Rollins

His days in Black Flag and the Rollins Band long behind him, Henry Rollins has been taking his unique insights, stories and observations on the road for almost 30 years now. Staging mammoth ‘spoken word’ (though, don’t call it that in front of him) tours across every continent in the world, Rollins has developed a cult following that of course links back to his days as frontman of the legendary Black Flag, but also that draws from a whole different demographic. Rollins’ performances are painfully funny, totally honest and bitingly witty. He will be touring Australia this April and May, with a show at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre on May 8. Henry was kind enough to answer some questions from Radar.

How do you describe what it is that you’re doing now? For me, it’s not quite comedy, and it’s not quite spoken word; it’s somewhere between the two.
All it has ever been for me is a talking show, that’s it. Sometimes there is humor in there, sometimes not. When I first heard the term “spoken word” I cringed.

What first motivated you to start doing these sorts of performances?
I started in 1983. I liked being alone onstage and able to do what I wanted. Being in a band was good, too but this was a good outlet for me.

How do you compare your touring lifestyle now, to that of your days in Black Flag, or the Rollins Band? Are there some parallels, or is it a totally different style?
 Things are more efficient now. I am not having to stay up all night with no place to sleep. Venues are better, sound onstage is better. The intent and discipline are the same, the surroundings and access have improved.

The sheer amount of things you do, or contribute to, is pretty immense; radio shows, writing for LA Weekly and Vanity Fair, acting, as well as these long spoken word tours. Do you like your life to be so busy, so frenetic?

Yes,  it keeps things real for me. I am not interested in doing nothing. It just doesn’t do it for me. I say yes to a lot of things and it keeps me on my toes.

Between the long tours, and all the other aspects of your life, is there anything you try to do to keep from burning out?
No. I just do the work. I go to the gym a lot to keep stress down but past that, I just keep it happening. One day, no one will want me onstage but until then, I will keep touring and working on things. It’s all pretty interesting.

I saw you on your Australian tour back in 2010, and I remember you saying that you don’t like to stay at home for too long, that travelling is simply part of your life. Maybe a tough question, but do you do these long spoken word tours because you like travelling, or do you travel because you like doing the spoken word tours? Which is the main motivating factor? Or is it a combination of both?
I like being onstage and being with the audience. Travel comes with, so it works out. When I am not on tour, I am traveling on my own. Being at the house is cool now and then, you can listen to a record you want to hear or something but that gets boring and too safe for me and I start feeling soft and that I am not trying hard enough.

The towns you perform in, do you try to get out and explore them while you’re there? Or is it more a situation of “drive to the venue, do the show, pack up, drive to the next venue”?
Depends on the schedule. Sometimes, there’s time to look around, sometimes there is not. Frequently, the pre-show hours are taken up with press, gym and writing obligations.

Does this kind of lifestyle get lonely at times? Always travelling, rarely being “home”?
A little but I am not the type that gets very lonely. I have been living this way for many years and I am all about the work, not the hang out so much.

You also speak often about your experiences travelling in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Saudi Arabia; what country have you been most surprised by, or fallen in love with?
None of it surprises me all that much, I just let things happen as best I can without getting too far in front of a place and put too much into what it is supposed to be. I really like being in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos. Southeast Asia is a great destination for me.

From following your Twitter, it seems like you’ve been spending a lot of time on the road with Dinosaur Jr. Do you get the urge to get back into music, or get nostalgic for the band touring lifestyle, in those situations?
Not at all. I like being alone onstage. It’s good for how I am now. I don’t want unity or to be in a group mentality at this point. I like the manual setting of being onstage alone. It’s very hard and very honest. It’s tough to be out there on my own, which is one of the reasons I like it. Also, I like being around less people on the bus post show and pre-show. I was never about the camaraderie.

When you perform, how pre-prepared is your routine? Do you have a set script that you follow each night? How much does your performance change from show to show?
I go to the stage very prepared. I don’t want to waste an audience’s time. The set changes a lot as new things happen in the world and I come up with things to talk about. I don’t write any of it out, I just work through the ideas I want to talk about and take them to the stage. I will do these ideas over and over and they get shape and speed. The US shows are different as there are more inside political references.

What can we expect from this particular tour of Australia?
I’ll be onstage, talking about where I have been, what I thought about it, what’s happening here or there, etc. It’s the same thing I always do but with different destinations, stories.

Henry Rollins performs at the IPAC on May 8th.

INTERVIEW: No Art

Sydney psych-pop outfit No Art are playing the second Radar Illawarra gig at Yours & Owls this Sunday (see info here), and will be launching their new EP ‘Exotica.’ Vivian from the band took the time to answer a couple of quick introductory questions, to give you a bit of info about the trio before the show.

How did the band start? How long has No Art been together?
The band started in 2009 – initially it was just Trish and I, jamming in her attic bedroom, but we found that guitar and bass was pretty limiting! Ha. So we decided to add a third person into the mix. Luckily we met our drummer Charles, and as soon as the three of us started working together it all fell into place.

What are some of your main influences?
Between the three of us we have quite different tastes in music. I guess to be broad we’re partial to a bit of no wave, shoegaze, John Frusciante (up to you to guess which one of us likes him!)…anything from Can to ESG to Nancy Sinatra. I wouldn’t say we consciously try to incorporate anyone’s sound into No Art’s mix; when we write we do it moreso on feel than trying to emulate any one specific act or genre.

How would you describe your music?
That’s a hard one! I think the best way for you to get an idea though is to have a listen for yourself: http://soundcloud.com/no-art

Tell us a bit about the EP. How long have you been working on it, and where & when did you record?
Well ‘Exotica’ has been a long time coming – it had kind of been ready to go for a year or so previously, but we had to sit on it, for various reasons. I think that it worked out for the best though, as in the interim we were able to tour more, and in that the songs were able to breathe and evolve in a live setting.
We tracked the drums in a studio in Western Sydney, and the rest we laid down in patches in our rehearsal studio/space – because of this we were able to take our time with it, which was a nice luxury.

What can we expect from the EP?
A lot of people have called it a journey of sorts, which I think is fair. We consciously tried to capture feelings of ritual and ceremony, as well as those untamed, unpredictable aspects of nature and environment, that primitiveness. There are passages of more classic song arrangements, as well as some moodier instrumental moments, so it’s a bit of a mixed bag that way.

What can we expect from your live show?
Well for this EP tour we’ve created a projection incorporating found footage that we’ve pieced together, that will play as we do (our video for ‘Epica’ is a pretty good preview). Beyond that I guess we get pretty loud!

No Art play Yours & Owls on Sunday, with My Little Underground and Elliphant. Doors at 6.30pm, $5 entry. Click here for the Facebook event.

INTERVIEW: Alotta Presha

2011 saw Alotta Presha firmly establish themselves as one of the region’s finest bands. With this year barely two months old, the guys have played Stacked and Rainbow Serpent festival, been named FBI Radio’s band of the week, and reaffirmed their status in the top echelon of Wollongong music. The band will be taking a brief hiatus from playing live over the coming months, and as Justin and Liam reveal in a candid interview with Radar, they will be using the time to work on their next EP.

In this interview, the guys reveal details about the new EP, talk about the rollercoaster ride of 2011, and outline plans for where they’re going in 2012.

2011 was a big year for Alotta Presha. What were your highlights of last year?
Justin: Definitely a highlight was our EP launch. It was a pretty drawn out process and we were all getting a bit over it; then out of a disheartened state we threw the biggest freaken party, poor old Heritage, it was bursting. It was pretty overwhelming, definitely a milestone, and the whole D.I.Y. approach we took really was satisfying in retrospect. There was playing our first gig down at the Murrah Hall in Bermagui. Our mate Sez who was living down there organised the whole thing, assuring us it would go down a treat, and man, it was a beautiful time. Oh speaking of the south coast connection, getting into Foreshore by the complete fluke. One of the organisers was at a party in Mogo we played at to celebrate the mosaic created on the toilet block at Broulee by the esteemed Broulee Women’s Boardriders Club.
I guess starting to play in different places, like Sydney which was daunting, and it going down well. It was reassuring to know we didn’t just have cracking gigs in Wollongong because between the eight of us we have heaps of mates. Oh and playing our first Golf Club gig, getting my first mid song “Do you know any covers?!” followed by the helpful suggestion “Play some Bob Marley!” A year of firsts.

Liam: I’m not sure if you’d call this a highlight, but something positive to take from 2011 would be the band coming together, becoming committed to this joint project. With 8 members it’s difficult to get on the same page. I think you just have to get to the point where everyone agrees that we’re onto something and it’s worth it, and until then you’re just dragging it along waiting for the kick. 2011 brought a definite kick. It’s no longer just the unemployed members of the band who are interested.

You’ve kicked off 2012 with a bang as well; headlining Stacked Festival, playing Rainbow Serpent Festival and being named FBI Radio’s artist of the week. Gotta be happy with that, right?
Justin: Oh shit yeah, cannot stop the froth. Stacked was chocked with great bands, local and otherwise. I really hope it gathers steam because it was a wicked time, and great to check out some local acts that I hadn’t had the chance to before. Rainbow was amazing. You can safely say we headlined there. At the playground stage. At 12 o’clock. Being quite the festival whore in my fading youth playing at Rainbow, of all festivals was just a dream come true. Epic vibes, and we held our own down there too. We’re pretty excited at the prospect of more doors being opened to more mad adventures like that. FBi too, so stoked. Its feeling like we’re a real band. Definitely a cracking way to start a year. It’s spurred us on to put some hard yards in and try to get to most of this year while we’re on a roll.

You’re taking a bit of time off from the live circuit. Why so?
Justin: The usual write and record story, and also to kind of get on top of playing shows when we want to play them, as opposed to just taking everything that gets thrown our way. That’s not to sound arrogant, it’s so we can say, “This is record time lets put all our energy into it.” Then “This is gig time lets work out a corker set and put everything into that now.” Otherwise it all gets a bit stretched like last year. A band like us needs to manage our time because there’s so many of us with different commitments. Most of all we don’t want people to get bored of us.

So you’ll be working on your next EP in the time off. Where are you at in the process?
Justin: Yeah I think we’re pretty much ready to go, it’s essentially a catch up, we’re already playing new tracks that aren’t recorded and that are more indicative of where our sound is heading, so we want to get them down.  Then move forward. We need a couple of sweet records to say “Ok cool, we’ve got something behind us, lets go smash up some shows and have a good time.” We haven’t started yet, we’ve only just kind of put it on the ‘next priority’ list.

What details can you give us on the EP?
Justin: I guess we’ll record ‘None The Less,’ ‘Phoenix,’ ‘Still Element,’ ‘No Problems.’ We’ll probably do it at studio 55 with Yani our drummer again. We’ll also likely get some outside ears involved too.

When can we expect the new EP to be released?
Justin: I reckon around May. But we’ll see. As long as we beat 8 months, unlike last time, otherwise people will get hurt.

What can we expect from the EP, in terms of sound? Anything new you want to try? Any other big plans or details you can tell us?
Justin: Shiza, I’m the wrong guy to ask, I can tell you to expect all the guitar parts not to be shit, because that’s what I’m focusing on. I guess we want to try and capture our live energy, because that’s kind of how we work, plus we want our recordings to stay pretty true to how our shows sound. That’s the hard balance I guess, the studio and mastering is a whole other world, we could just auto tune the shit out of it and try to make some pop hits fo’ the club. Or not. I think it’ll be fat, like your ears getting sensually penetrated by bass, I reckon some of the tracks will translate well into recordings. We’ll focus on the mastering more; give it the time it deserves.

Liam: I think the sound will be more mature. We’ve been playing together for a few years now and over that time our song writing process has changed. We seem to let our ideas ferment and grow. We’re more open minded to part with bits we personally may love but may not be working for the overall track. This is obvious in our most recent writing. There’ll be more space and less erratic change that arise from us becoming bored with a song. We’re happy to keep things simple. And that’s the essence of good groove music.

Recently we’ve not been shy to move away from reggae music, which has been like a security blanket, and delve into whatever’s spilling out naturally. This has been a big step in solidifying a sound that we can honestly call our own. We’re loving the heavy shit at the moment.

You’ve pretty much conquered Wollongong by now; will you be more firmly focused on Sydney, and beyond, for 2012?
Justin: Yeah definitely, more adventures. You put a fair bit on hold and put a lot of yourself in a band, so to be able to travel around, with 8 mates no less, and play shows, and maybe come back breaking even. That’s the dream. And of course we’ll plan some big shows for the Gong far enough apart so that they’re not boring.

Liam: Getting a secure place on the festival circuit is the big one. That’s where we see ourselves. And N.Z in 2012 would be pretty sweet.

What other plans for 2012? Anything else big coming up, or anything you’re hoping to do or accomplish?
Justin: Well we’ve just got Sean on board managing; he’s into us even more than we are and kicking some major goals straight off the bat. So already we’re thinking bigger than before. I guess big support slots, touring around, getting festivals, all that business. I just want to be able to play in any state and have the rocking shows and crew that we have here in Wollongong.

Speaking of next big things, our next Gong show is with The Herd at Wollongong Uni April the 5th. It’s another fundraiser for Rugby League Against Violence in PNG, which we were involved in late last year. Plug, plug, plug. I’m really stoked; I reckon I went to my first Herd show almost ten years ago. They’re Australian heroes to me, never compromising themselves or their art. It’s a blow out, should be good.

Liam: Pushing the sound through experimentation. Moving into something new, new direction, new tracks. Creating an epic Alotta Presha experience that is like no other.

INTERVIEW: Bec Sandridge

Stanwell Park singer-songwriter Bec Sandridge is set to launch her second EP, ‘Lyons and Bees,’ next week (February 22). Ahead of the release, we had a chat to Bec about making the EP, touring the UK and Europe DIY style, sending “thousands of emails” and singing in the shower.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How long have you been making music?
I have been “shower singing” for a mighty long time, but only started learning guitar in Year 9. I wrote my first legitimate song towards the end of Year 10.

Prior to stepping out as a solo act, you were in local band Mad Polly. When, and why, did you decide to start your own solo project?
I stepped out as a solo artist almost a year ago now. I had never legitimately sang in Mad Polly, and I had always wanted to give singing a go, but never had worked up the confidence to do so; the idea of it was, and still is, mortifying! Mel [lead singer of Mad Polly] was going overseas for a couple of months and I couldn’t bear the thought of not playing music or writing songs for such a long time. Meanwhile my family had placed monetary bets that I ‘wouldn’t have the guts’ to sing in public by myself knowing that I needed finances to go overseas and that afternoon I was offered a show supporting Owl Eyes and Andy Bull at Otis Bar. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity with such pressures; so I kindly accepted the gig offer and attempted to write four songs that afternoon and learn a bunch of covers!

How different is it to have a solo act, as opposed to being part of a band? Was it daunting, to begin with?
Being a slight-control freak, I secretly love being a solo artist. This said, being a lone figure behind a microphone – quite literally projecting your secrets through a set of speakers in front of a room full of strangers and friends – is THE MOST daunting thing I have ever done in my life (thus far). In contrast to a band-setting, you learn a lot about yourself during a performance as you’re concentrating purely on you and your senses/what that song means and meant to you at the time of writing.

How would you describe the music you’re currently making?
Right now I’m obsessed with creating multi-textures or layered vocals which are kind of soundscape-y-esque. When recording, we literally just multi-tracked like 10 harmonies for one track and whacked it all together. I guess sound-wise I love the idea of toying with effects but still attempting to keep a record relatively raw and earthy. Oh and of course thematically most of my songs are little tales of unrequited love, being away from someone you are quite fond of or being unable to obtain something you think you need.

Who/what are some of the major influences you draw from?
I like taking every-day observations or personal encounters or hearing stories from friends and acquaintances when writing. Also poetry. I love prose; I am an English eclectic at heart, secretly. But artists I like also influence what I do; Feist, Laura Marling, Noah And The Whale… Aretha Franklin? (For real).

You’ve toured across the United Kingdom in 2011. How much work was involved, to actually book all those gigs by yourself?
In the UK i essentially did what I do best- go email and Facebook crazy. I quite like the idea of being independent, self-managed, a booking agent and artist all in on; I don’t like being a ‘lazy’ musician. I sent (most likely) thousands of emails to venues, promoters, musicians and friends asking for shows. I wanted/needed to play as many shows as I could to gain a wee bit of confidence and experience seeing as I hadn’t played that many before.

What was that experience like?
It was great (beyond magical). I played with so many talented musicians overseas including Passenger and Stu Larsen and saw and met some great artists including Lucy Rose, Sea Of Bees + BEYONCE AND KE$HA (dayum)- it is such an inspiring gigging atmosphere in the UK.

Would you encourage other local bands to take a similar approach?
I think it’s hard work and quite draining- travelling and playing every night (emailing nearly sent me crazy as I am quite impatient)- but a great learning curve- I definitely recommend trying to play as many live shows (even if it’s just living room shows) as you can. No show or audience is ever the same.

‘Lyons and Bees’ is your second EP. How do you think you’ve grown between the two releases? Are you more confident, or have a clearer idea of what you want to be and sound like?
I think the two releases are very different. ‘What Was Left’ was more a trial and error demo-type release, just sussing out my sound and songs and how people would react to them, I guess. I felt it was a very rushed bedroom type CD. Because I had never sung in front of anyone before, i literally sent my friend (Cal Thompson)/the sound engineer to get some milk whilst I clicked record, sung and played.
This time round for Lyons And Bees I came in the studio with my late-night scribbles and ideas for each song- knowing how I wanted each track to feel and sound. Lyrically, I am more confident in telling what I want to tell (without being too direct and awkward). I am really happy and pretty proud of the new EP; the new songs reflect more of a true, more certain or gutsy ‘Bec Sandridge’ sound.

How long did the EP take to come together? How long have you been working towards this release?
I wrote two of the four songs in the UK whilst away from home and I instantly knew that I wanted them on the next release. And the other two songs I had completed two weeks before hitting the studio, but were long felt emotions that were waiting to get out and be punched into a song or two. Studiowise I had a very tight budget so we recorded over two days and mixed for one; we were working 10am-2am each day.

Tell us a bit about the writing and recording process for the EP.
Two of the songs were written in Austria and half of one in Glasgow, Scotland. Both places I felt at peace and really at home. It wasn’t busy like London so I could think a lot clearer about love and home and certain people, all in perspective. The other two I wrote when at home on my veranda overlooking the sea, at ridiculous hours of the morning. I had been dwelling over some relationships which had been upon my shoulders for quite some time, and I decided to attempt to write love-letters (or just letters in general) to certain individuals. One song is titled ‘I Don’t Want You’ – it’s probably the most direct song on the release.

Any significance behind the title ‘Lyons and Bees’?
Lyons And Bees is the title track of the EP. To be completely honest, I have a mad crush on linguistics- In particular syntax and anything poetic or Englishy full-stop. I like phonetics and playing with how words sound phonetically etc, so it just seemed rather fitting to spell the song how it sounds when it is sung.

You’ve included a demo track as the fourth track on the EP. Why did you make this decision?
I think the demo on the EP ‘Empty Hand’ shows a side of fragility that a more-produced, studio track could not. It was recorded in a little shed in Stanwell Park, which was horrifyingly covered in cicadas and spiders. I like that you can hear the little creatures croaking at the end of the track and  a slight creaking of the door and foot-stomps. It’s 2:47 minutes of raw emotion; there’s more of a focus on lyrics, I guess.

You regularly post short Youtube clips of yourself performing covers, or sharing new song ideas. In the current day and age, is it becoming more important for artists to connect with fans like this? To think outside the box, and keep people updated with what you’re doing?
I think it’s pretty important- I do believe people like seeing, hearing and sharing new things every day as a form of expression or creative outlet.

What’s on the horizon for 2012? What else have you got planned?
February 22nd; EP release and a sneaky film clip to follow. Then an Australian east coast tour in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Byron. Then US/UK from May-July! And hopefully, if ya lucky, I’ll be posting some raw unreleased tracks of some newly written songs (just before I leave OZ in May.

Where can people access your music?
www.facebook.com/becsandridgemusic
www.triplejunearthed.com/becsandridge
iTunes
(Australia, UK, US, CAN)
www.youtube.com/becsandridgemusic
And I’m setting up a Bandcamp- as we speak!

FEATURE: Stacked Music Festival

The Wollongong music scene needs a rallying point.

As old, run-down, decrepit and fallen-from-glory that the Oxford Tavern was in its final days, it still held an important and significant role for the local music scene. It was a meeting point for musicians, for fans, for promoters and bookers, for anyone and everyone involved in music in this town. Granted, I grew up in Wollongong at a time when the Oxford was already losing its lustre; when I finally reached the legal age to enter the place, it was all but dead, taking gasping, wheezing breaths as it shuddered to its (some say long-overdue) death. But even I could see that while it has lost the prestige it once had, it was – for better or worse – the centrepiece of music in Wollongong. It was probably the one Wollongong venue that out-of-towners could name, the one thing that seemingly defined Wollongong music. With the closure of the Tavern in 2009, the local music community lost that centrepiece, that rallying point; we lost that one recognisable icon that symbolises the Illawarra music scene, and we haven’t found a new one yet.

Stacked Music Festival, maybe, could be that icon. That rallying point. While the inaugural event is still a week away, signs point to the festival providing an immensely important facet to music in Wollongong. Since the ill-fated Play Day festival some years back, Wollongong has not held a contemporary music festival (don’t even MENTION the Rewind Festival fiasco).

Stacked will see over 30 local bands, with a sprinkling of well-known Sydney acts, play City Diggers on January 27 and 28. A two-day festival across three stages, showcasing some of the region’s most talented bands – including Sydney Girls Choir, The Walking Who, Alotta Presha, The Conspiracy Plan and Tommy M & The Mastersounds – to an expected audience of over 1000 people; while it’s small potatoes compared to your Big Day Outs or Soundwaves, it’s an immensely important step for the region. While regional centres like Newcastle and Canberra each have one or more big-name festivals with international acts each year (Groovin’ The Moo and Foreshore, respectively), Wollongong doesn’t even have a local contemporary music festival. We have no big-name event to define Wollongong music to the wider Australian music public. Is it any wonder that 95% of people outside the area can even NAME a Wollongong-based band? Stacked can be the beacon that shows Australia – and, maybe even more importantly, the Wollongong community itself – that Wollongong has an unbelievably strong, vibrant and talented music community.

“It’s pretty obvious that even though we have so many great acts in Wollongong but we don’t have a festival to showcase them,” says Dave Morris, co-organiser of Stacked. You may know Morris from his hard-touring, hard-partying musical duo ‘The Tom & Dave Show, with Tom Hitchens, the other organiser of Stacked.

Morris says that he and Hitchens have been kicking around the idea of a local music festival for around three year, while the organisation itself has been about five months in the making.

“It’s something that we have wanted to do for about 3 years but we felt that the time was right to do it in 2012. Once we actually made the decision to stop talking and actually do it it all sort of snowballed and come together really quickly. There’s so many people who love live music in Wollongong that once we put the idea out there we couldn’t really stop it.”

While the music community itself has rallied behind Stacked – with a range of acts from rock’n’roll to synthpop, folk to punk, from the scene’s veterans and mainstays to the new young bloods – Morris says that the wider community has been hesitant to take a punt on local music. Not an unfamiliar story, right?

“We have got a lot of support for the festival so far from a lot of different places and also found a few roadblocks along the way that we didn’t really expect. We found it quite hard to attract any substantial sponsors to the event,” Morris says.

“We had a few businesses who should have gotten behind this from the start only offer us few vouchers and things like that but not really anything to help make the festival happen, so in the end we decided to just do it ourselves and forget about sponsorship.”

“We believe in it and the bands believe in it and I know it will be a great weekend. I think that it’s probably to do with the failure of large scale festivals in Wollongong in the past. We’ve seen Playday & Rewind fold before they opended so I guess there’s a reason for hesitation from a company’s point of view but it was a bit dissapointing.”

Bands themselves have high hopes for Stacked. Glenn Haworth, of The Conspiracy Plan (and the popular Haworth Guitar stores), believes the festival can continue into the future with the right support from the community

“We wanted to play because it looked like a professional festival which we dont often see in the ‘Gong,” Haworth said.

“It seems like everytime we get close to having one it gets cancelled for one reason or another. Good on the organisers for riding this one out and getting it done! They’re off to a great start… there is a cool energy in Wollongong at the moment in the music scene.”

Bennie James, also playing the festival, believes that the outcome of this year’s festival will be the main factor in whether it will continue and grow into the future.

“A show this size takes an awful lot of organisation and money, along with a group of dedicated people,” he says.

“There’s already plenty of people throwing support to Stacked, but if the event is a success I think you’ll see a much larger interest in the future.”

Morris agrees with this statement, saying that the inaugural festival is about “testing the water.”

“If we get a massive turnout then we know we can aim for much much bigger next year and take a much bigger risk. If it’s just a conservative turnout then we’ll still have to be a bit cautious and see how it grows over the next years. But 2012 won’t be the last time we see Stacked in the ‘Gong.”

“I want to see the festival grow into a festival that is recognised and respected Australia wide and I’d love to see it moved outdoors.”

In organising Stacked, both Morris and Hitchens have one eye firmly set on the future. Morris speaks about how the festival can – as mentioned above – act as a shining light for the Wollongong music scene, a way to draw attention to the region’s now-burgeoning live music community, and draw bands to the Illawarra.

“We just don’t have an opportunity like this in Wollongong. We’ve had confirmation from pretty much every major label and agency in Sydney that they’ll be here… This could be massive and who knows where it could lead.”

“If the festival heads in the direction I want it to, we’ll attract a lot more attention from big name touring bands to come and play in Wollongong and the great live music venues we’ve got here.”

Morris concludes with these words: “A grass roots festival might be just what we need to stop being looked at as ‘Sydney’s younger cousin’.”

Amen to that, brother.

Stacked Music Festival runs from January 27-28 at City Diggers. Tickets start at just $16 per day, or $28 for a weekend pass. Click here for full lineup details, or see Stacked on Facebook.

INTERVIEW: Vulpes Vulpes

Of all the new young acts emerging in post-Oxford Wollongong, Vulpes Vulpes are surely one of the brightest and most promising. Blending rock’n’roll, post-punk and indie into a very slick, very British-sounding brand of guitar-pop. In a short space of time, the four-piece have made a sizable mark on the local music scene; enjoying success in various band comps, headlining venues both in Wollongong and Sydney, playing the Huchi Muchi launch party in September alongside Chicks Who Love Guns, and impressing us here at Radar enough to score a slot on the Radar Illawarra Music Awards earlier this month, Vulpes Vulpes are fast making a name for themselves.

They were recently selected to play the Foreshore Music Festival in Canberra, alongside the likes of Gotye, Boy & Bear and Ladyhawke, and have just finished up recording their debut EP, ‘Vol-Pez Vol-Pez’ (see the band’s video tour/recording diary here). With a quickfire EP launch tour through January, including a support slot for US indie royalty Lydia and a spot on the Stacked Music Festival, 2012 looks bright for the young four-piece. Ahead of their EP launch on January 1 at the Illawarra Brewery, alongside Tainted Fist and Round The Corner, we caught up with Jack and Anton to chat about all things VV.

Introduce the band for our readers.
We’re four guys from the Southern Highlands that now live in Wollongong (apart from Tim who lives in Sydney). Tim sings and plays guitar, Jack plays guitar, Matthias is on Bass, and Anton plays drums like they did in his homeland (Croatia.)

How and when did Vulpes Vulpes come together?
We all knew Anton, and he was in a bad place, at the start of 2011, he needed a distraction so a few of us that played instruments basically got together and started a band to give him a bit of purpose in life.

How would you describe your sound? What influences do you draw from?
Most of the band enjoy the Arctic Monkeys, Joy Division and Kasabian, but we also take influence from ‘Claptonesque’ era rock. We also are really big fans of The Walking Who. We cover ‘Candy Flu’ frequently, possibly better than the Walking Who play it.

What are some of the venues you’ve played since forming?
All over Sydney and Wollongong really. Our first show was at the Clarendon in Surry Hills for one of the Bat Country nights- which are awesome for bands just starting up. The Mum nights at World Bar in Kings Cross is always a good night. Same as the Wolfden nights at Phoenix in Sydney. For Wollongong our favorite venue is probably Yours and Owls but the highlight so far would have to be the Foreshore Festival in Canberra.

You were recently selected to play the Foreshore Festival in Canberra, alongside the likes of Gotye and Ladyhawke. What was that like?
Awesome. The sound on stage was the best we’ve ever experienced. We also got to meet some cool bands like Boy and Bear, Architecture in Helsinki and Bombs Away. Check out there hit single ‘Super Soaker’! No, actually, don’t do that.

You’ve also played quite a few shows in Sydney. How do you compare the vibe in Sydney to that in Wollongong?
Pretty different. Sydney venues are much more setup for bands, better sound setup and equipment, usually a better turnout, but Wollongong is still good too. Yours and Owls has been excellent for both touring and local acts in Wollongong, it’s rare to have a venue that prioritises live music over djs these days.

Would you encourage other local bands to make the leap to playing in Sydney?
Definitely. We actually found it easier to get shows in Sydney first off which was strange.  Sydney venues seem more willing to give bands a go. It’s always cool to get away and play out of town, one of the best things about being in a band is travelling to new venues, partying with new people and discovering cool new bands.

You’ve just finished up recording your EP at Def Wolf Studios in Sydney. This will be your second EP, correct? Tell us a bit about the recording process.
Wouldn’t say second EP, those older tracks were sort of demos… or that’s what we tell people now. Recording was tiring. But fun, very fun. We worked with Dave Hammer from Def Wolf studios. Really cool guy, knows his stuff and wasn’t afraid to contribute or kick our arses. We are very proud of the end product. We experimented a bit with the drums, we ended up recording the cymbals and drums on separate tracks, it was probably more time consuming but it definitely made a stronger drum sound. It was also the longest the band had spent consecutively with each other, which we thought could get interesting, but in the end it was a really cool week playing music and hanging out.

'Vol-Pez Vol-Pez' EP cover

Why did you decide to record in Sydney, rather than locally?
We wanted to make sure we recorded with a sound engineer that suited to our style. It was definitely a good choice. It often seems that the limited number of local studios means that most Wollongong bands go through the same studios no matter what their style is, and we wanted to make sure we captured a more unique sound suited to us. It’s a costly process recording properly, so we were pretty determined to find the right studio.

What can we expect, sound-wise?
It’s a four piece indie rock and roll record all the way through. Two tracks on there have a pretty epic feel to them- Mirrorvine goes for about 6 minutes and is probably the heaviest song we’ve written as well as one of our favourites. The last song (The Struggle of the Pieces) is pretty epic too, the end especially as it’s got an intense end with some cool delays. When we do the song live we generally have a pretty loose jam at the end to it was cool to sit down and actually write and record a concretee ending for it. We’ve kept a pretty striped back classic rock band feel to it, no computerized effects or extra percussion, so it comes across as close to our live shows as possible. (Take a listen to a few new tracks at the band’s Triple J Unearthed page)

You’ve booked a tour to launch the EP, with dates in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Looking forward to it? Playing to new audiences?
We sure are! We started out booking this tour looking at it more as a road trip with the novelty of playing some shows along the way but then we ended up booking some pretty awesome venues. We made a few contacts throughout the year that helped us lock in some cool shows like our Canberra one at Transit Bar run by the Purple Sneakers guys. Johnny Rock and the Limits from Melbourne were really helpful and set up one of our Melbourne shows. So hopefully we can pull a few new fans along the way.

What do you think, generally, about the state of music in Wollongong?
It’s getting pretty good. Yours and Owls has helped so much to get interest back into live acts by providing a venue that’s for once not just interested in getting numbers through the door. The Wollongong scene probably gets put down more than it should- it’s actually really going well at the moment from our perspective in terms of bands. There’s a few awesome people out there getting things like LAZE nights, Huchi Muchi events, that are really improving the live scene in the area.

What could be changed, or altered, to better support music in the region?
That’s a hard question to answer. A lot is being done to try and support live music in the area, the Illawarra has such a wide mix of people, some who prefer to lose their shit to some guy playing music from his ipod, rather than seeing a live band. Perhaps more venues like Yours & Owls that appreciate the live music within the area would be a good start. It might also be that lots of people in the area aren’t aware of how good the live music scene is. But a bunch of organisations in the area are starting to change that.

‘VOL-PEZ VOL-PEZ’ EP LAUNCH TOUR
January 1 – The Illawarra Brewery
January 5 – Revolver Upstairs, Melbourne
January 8 – Worker’s Club, Melbourne
January 13 – Cabbage Tree Hotel  (supporting Lydia)
January 14 – Transit Bar, Canberra
January 20 – Candy’s Apartment, King’s Cross
January 27 – Stacked Music Festival

INTERVIEW: Feedback Scars

For the past few weeks, we’ve been bringing you news on Feedback Scars, the mysterious all-star recording project coming together in Main Street Studios. You’ve heard about the mind-boggling array of local musicians making guest appearances on the album; and you’ve also heard the first track from the album ‘Emergency Interplay’; and of course, Radar is presenting Feedback Scars’ album launch and debut live performance tomorrow night at Rydges CBD Bar.

But for all that, the actual lineup behind Feedback Scars has been a closely-guarded secret. Today, Radar can exclusively reveal that the mastermind behind the project is none other than Adam Jordan, of Main Street Studios! This is Adam’s first foray into the band world, working on the other side of the recording desk for the first time in his nine-year career. We had a chat to Mr Jordan himself to find out more about Feedback Scars:

Tell us about how Feedback Scars came into being
Earlier in the year I decided that I wanted to do something for myself. It wasn’t about feeling that I was getting old, because I still act like a teenager… I have been at the studio for 9 years and never released anything, so I decided that I wanted to work on some songs that had been sitting around and put something out. The original idea was a 4 track EP but I kept finding more songs I had worked on previously as well as writing new songs over the year as well.

How long had these songs been around for?
One of the earliest tracks I did the music for in 2006 or 2007. I had 4 songs I was working on, then my hard drive died and I lost them, but I did have an instrumental mix for 2 of them, so I added to those. One of them is the track featuring PomPom which I added the guitars and piano to, the other is a hip hop funk track with Simon and Alex from Free Agent Crew and Rob from Policing in Crisis. Most of the tracks were ideas I had recorded onto my camera phone over the last 2 years and a few I wrote in the studio when I had some free time.

What made you finally make the move, from behind the recording desk to actually recording your own material?
In April I had a day that wasn’t booked and I wanted to record an acoustic track with the idea of getting other people to play over the top of it. Murray [Stace, Policing In Crisis] came in to record me playing and we put down the basis for that track. I didn’t have any aim of actually being a band, it was more about putting down some of the song ideas I had, plus we have so many good musicians around that I wanted to work with and let them add their flavour to the tracks, the majority of the musicians playing on the tracks I had in mind to perform from the earliest stages of planning the album.

How long have you been working towards this album? How long has the recording taken?
The actual recording first started in April and the sessions were booked around the studio bookings as well as the musician’s availability. The album had to be completed early October to be ready for the gig, so I booked out 4 days in the studio to do the mixing and Murray had also been doing some of the tracking in Studio B while I was working on studio sessions in A.

This is the first time you’ve recorded your own material; was that a bit scary?
Whenever people ask if I play an instrument I say I play guitar, badly. Being on the other end of the metronome really put me in my place and I certainly feel for the musicians I record, now that I have been on that side. The beauty of being an engineer more than a guitarist meant that I knew the best way to use the tools available to me to get the performance I wanted. So I wasn’t afraid of doing some copy & paste and “Pro tooling” the tracks.

What was the recording process like? Looking at the teaser video for ‘Emergency Interplay,’ it looks like it was recorded largely live…
The teaser video was from one of the rehearsals for the gig, the actual recording was me playing the guitars to a drum track I programmed and then getting the drummers in to play to those performances. The recording process, being booked around the actual “real” studio work, took quite a lot of time. Most of the musicians came in after work or on days off. It was at times hard to co-ordinate between studio availability and musician availability. The studio is generally booked about a month in advance so at times it became quite a mission to get the parts down.

We’ve heard the first track, ‘Emergency Interplay,’ but what else can we expect from the album, sound-wise?
That track is the “heaviest” track. I see that one as an industrial doom kind of track. Each track on the album is different. There is a hip hop track, rock song, hardcore punk track, acoustic/indie track, club style track as well as a couple variations of atmospheric and experimental music. I listen to so many styles in the studio and like so much different music that I don’t want to focus on just one style for myself.

Is there a set lineup for Feedback Scars? Who will be playing with you at the album launch?
The band for the gig is myself and Murray Stace on guitars, Brett Williams on bass, Scott from Crash Tragic on drums and Andrew Smetanin on vocals as well as some vocals from Scott and I.

Why did you source so many local musicians to appear on the album?
I know my limitations as a musician and I know what so many of the musicians I work with are capable of, so I could hear in my head who would suit what songs. For example the rock song I could hear Shaun Snider wailing over it as soon as I put it down, I knew it would suit his style. My other aim was to get some of the musicians playing on stuff that was also out of their style but I wanted them to add themselves to the tracks, examples of that are Chris Harbin playing bass on the club style track and Atanas from Mind At large playing guitar to make it sound like a violin melody on the indie style track.

What can we expect from Feedback Scars in future? Is this something you’re planning to turn into a live performance project?
I am already working on 3 songs at the moment for future release and I have in mind some of the musicians for them as well. I don’t think I will release a physical format album after this one, this one is more of a special event and is limited to 100 copies at the gig, after this I think the future releases will be digital downloads… I would be open to playing more gigs live.

Feedback Scars launch their debut album tomorrow night (Saturday) at Rydges CBD Bar with Policing In Crisis and The Sidetracked Fiasco. Free entry! Click here for more details.

INTERVIEW: Art vs Science

Controversy; Jim Finn from Art vs Science reckons regional shows are more fun than their big city counterparts.

“Definitely! In the cities, crowds are bigger, but they get bands coming through all the time,” the vocalist/keyboardist says down the line from Toowoomba; it’s the second night of the Art vs Science ‘Feels Like Home’ regional tour, and the three-piece have just finished soundcheck, before a sold-out show in regional Queensland.

“Out in small towns, its a rarer opportunity for them to see a live band, so they are more appreciative for bands to come to them. They seem more excited, and really get into it; more than city crowds, I think!”

While music fans in Sydney, Melbourne and alike may protest this assertion, it’s pertinent to note that Finn is probably one of the best-placed Aussie musicians to make such claims. Since forming in 2008 as little more than a side-project, the electro-rock trio – completed by Dan Mac and Dan W – have rarely spent more than a month or two at a time off the road. Indeed, they’ve returned from a big US tour just days before the ‘Feels Like Home’ jaunt, and have already played a few shows as part of the JD Set tour, paying tribute to iconic Aussie act Icehouse.

“That was brilliant,” Finn gushes. Art vs Science were joined by a host of big-name Aussie guest singers, which Finn explains; “it was great to play with Kate Miller-Heidke and Patience [Hodgson, from The Grates] and Tim from Dappled Cities, they’re all incredible performers in their own way. And to play with Iva Davies from Icehouse was amazing; I think there’s footage of him with us, I’m just looking at my keyboard with this massive grin across my face!”

Midway through this tour, AvS will jump on a plane and play a short run of shows with Gossip in Malaysia, before finishing up their Aussie assault… then jumping on another plane for another stint in America.

“Touring is something you get used to; even something you miss doing,” Finn tells Radar.

“On the road, you miss your girlfriend and your friends and family… and then you’re home and you miss touring and you want to get out on the road again! You see the world, see amazing things and meet amazing people.”

For now, however, the band are focused squarely on their Aussie “homecoming” tour, as Jim puts it. After a big capital city tour earlier in the year to launch their debut album, ‘The Experiment,’ the band have been looking forward to getting out on the road less travelled, and bringing their hyperactive brand of dance rock to as many fans, in as many towns, as possible.

“It’s just great to be back touring Australia. We’re getting out to places we don’t normally go; I mean, I’ve never been to Toowoomba before, but the show tonight is sold out! I’m just keen to see a lot of smiling faces on this tour,” Jim says.

Eyebrows were raised when Perth-based blues-rock act Abbe May was announced as the tour’s main support act, but the band themselves specifically picked May to join them on the road. Big, crunching, stomping blues riffs mingling with sugar-high electro? Surely that’s an odd combo, right?

“I like to think that we’re sort of similar,” Finn says of the rationale behind the decision.

“Abbe May has those big dirty grooves, which is sort of similar to our music; big loud noises, big grooves… except that we’re more dance and she’s more bluesy, obviously!”

“Plus, we all think she’s awesome; so if we like her music, and people like our music, then people should like her music. That’s the triangle of music!” he laughs.

Art vs Science plays Waves Nightclub, Towradgi on Sunday October 2nd.
Tickets are on sale now, via Moshtix.

INTERVIEW: Troldhaugen

‘Jethro Tull on steroids’ – Troldhaugen awaken the trolls

For a band that only began in 2008 and played their first gig early last year, local folk-metal experimenters Troldhaugen have come a long way. Here is a band that despite only having released their debut self-titled EP in October last year, have already made international sales and even distributed a limited edition cassette tape overseas. This is no small achievement, but, as Radar discovers talking to Meldengar, guitarist/programmer/likely multi-instrumentalist for the band, nothing about Troldhaugen is less than pretty freaking epic.

Overcoming a potentially fatal computer crash which wiped all progress on their initial album, Troldhaugen have developed a distinctive name for themselves over the past few years, their sound and style evolving into something best described as eclectic. Meldengar tells us, “Our original style was very European folk music influenced, even down to the lyrics and folk tales. While we still hold this music very dear, we were battling with the idea ‘Can a band from Australia authentically write and perform this music?’. Our new music has developed into our own style and takes the folk music that influences us and combines it with strong progressive roots.”

Listening to Troldhaugen’s material, it is easy to hear that all members of the band are extremely talented – and adventurous – musicians, making use of standard metal instrumentation in addition to more obscure, ancient instruments such as the Jew’s Harp, that are rarely heard on modern commercial recordings. Meldengar cites this diversity as a starting point for interesting and collaborative inventions within the band.

“Being that everyone’s instrument is so varied and each member has a high level of technical proficiency, we all bring ideas for our own instrument or something to challenge another player” he says. Diverse and experimental tastes also help. “The whole band draws from different influences, we are all very influenced by progressive and experimental music and that is making its way into our music. Being that we are all influenced by both the Finntroll’s and the Zappa’s, it’s only natural for us that the best transition from a mandolin or jew’s harp breakdown to a symphonic black metal section is through a choral or spoken word section!”

Zowie! So what does the band sound like presently? According to Meldengar, words like “troll-ridden,” “fetid,” “grimy” and “twisted jazz progressions” might give you some idea. “Our new pieces are definitely more technical,” he explains; “fun, attention grabbing, catchy and [evoke] images of trolls and swamps.”

Geez, with so many trolls abounding and all those grimy jazz progressions twisting around, one might be propelled to ask, how do audiences respond to Troldhaugen’s music? “Very positively,” Meldengar says, “especially considering the extreme lack of commercial appeal our music has. Every show we play we have people coming up to us and saying they didn’t even know this sort of thing existed. We are so secluded in our style that we tend to fit on most bills, and I think the audience likes that we are more ‘Fuck yea! Rock and Troll!’ rather than the ‘Metal is serious business’ attitude that a lot of other bands have.”

Indeed. It does seem that this kind of attitude is difficult to come by in mainstream metal culture, and perhaps it is this very attitude that has helped Troldhaugen’s debut release become such a success along with the thousands of hits the band has received on various social media platforms.

At the core of it all, however, we are necessarily drawn back to an exciting exploration of musical genres, styles and techniques that is what makes the foundation of this band so strong. As Meldengar explains, Troldhaugen are pushing generic boundaries, winding together many different elements normally restricted to particular generic expressions of music; “A technicality found in jazz fusion or technical death metal, an energy normally associated with hardcore punk or thrash metal, a genuine groove you can get up and move to and a vibe that is invitingly brutal and grim.” Such a combination is surely hard to come by, and the way Troldhaugen pulls it off, with a wicked sense of humour to match, is really what makes them something to look out for.

Troldhaugen are currently working on material for a new album and an accompanying tour.

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