art jam Nanyang Technological University Cultural Activities Club
Aug - Oct 2010, Issue 22.
MIC A (P) 175/ 12/2 009
FRE E CO PY
I Love Poop 8 n e e S rt A U T N 2 DrumZout 5 l 14 Tokio Hotel a iv st e F s :n a d 2 1 9 Voyage de la Vie 18 The Like 20 Orianthi
art jam Nanyang Technological University Cultural Activities Club
Aug - Oct 2010, Issue 22.
MICA (P) 175/12/20 09
publication team Editor-in-Chief Danny Wan Editor Audrey Lim Writers Cherie Thio Nur Asyiqin Maxie Thio Anjali Reguraman Jennifer Dhanaraj Photographers Mervyn Chua Willy Beh Graphic Designer Natalie Tuang Xpress Print Pte Ltd Tel: 6880 2881
Cover Credit: Universal Music Singapore
editor’s note Dear Readers, It’s sure good to be back! In case you’re wondering, what’s this magazine that you’re holding? Here’s a brief introduction. ArtJam is a magazine by NTU CAC that scours the local art scene for stories worth covering. For this issue of ArtJam, we managed to interview international acts that came during the concluded Singfest 2010 – Tokio Hotel, The Like and Orianthi. Other than that, ArtJam also previews Poop, Voyage De la Vie and the d:ans festival that will be staging very soon. Hope you enjoy it! Best Regards, Danny Editor-in-Chief
This is a Publication of Nanyang Technological University Cultural Activities Club To advertise with us or list your events in ART JAM, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
CAC Press 2 DrumZout
NTU Press 5 Ntu Art Seen
8 I Love Poop
Voyage de la Vie
12 da:ns festival
Personality 14 Tokio Hotel
18 The Return of the Girl Band - The Like 20
20 Rock Goddess-next-door - Orianthi
Reviews 23 The Suburbs
24 Wild Smile
Download the softcopy of ArtJam at http://www.ntucac.com/ArtJam
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Text: Danny Wan Photos: Mervyn Chua
Drums are merely instruments. In the right hands, drums are instruments that comes to life with a beat that gives a special energy to those that surround them. At DrumZout 2010, that magical moment happened. art jam 2
he competition started out in the late morning at The Cathay, where the teams pitted their percussion playing skills against one another. Other than just percussion playing, various teams had added choreographed moves to spice up their performances. This made DrumZout a feast not only for the ears but for the eyes as well. Different from the two previous years, DrumZout has a total of four different categories, namely the Mainsteam Percussion, Alternative Percussion and Fusion Percussion. The Mainstream Percussion category requires competitors to use mallet instruments that exist in an orchestra (think xylophones and marimba) while in the Alternative Percussion category, they are restricted to instruments made up of everyday objects such as rubbish bins, pot and pans. The Fusion Percussion category does not restrict the type of instruments used.
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The competition is tougher when compared to previous installations, as the decisions for the winners are done by judges that are heavyweights in the percussion performing scene â€“ Mr Vick Veera, Mr Damien Lim and Mr Syed Ibrahim. This gave the competition a further recognition as a one of Singaporeâ€™s premium percussion competition.
The Eaglez (Jurong Weat Secondary School), Nanyang Polytechnic Percussion Ensemble, Baracuda Batucada (Ngee Ann Polytechnic) and Drunken Flowers managed to wow the judges with their technical skills and creativity to emerge as champions for the Mainstream Percussion (School Category), Alternative Percussion (School Category), Fusion Percussion (School Category) and Fusion Percussion (Open Category) respectively. The category winners then headed down to ION Orchard to participate in a Popularity showoff where the winners are picked by the audiences. Instead of the usual individual team performance, the eventual winner is a joint effort between Baracuda Batucada and Drunken Flowers, which brings out the underlying message that DrumZout is not just a competition but also a platform to forge friendships with other percussionists. Indeed, DrumZout 2010 was a success on many fronts and one can only hope for the next competition season for another brilliant showcase of such talent.
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medium: performance date:
Text: Danny Wan Photos: Kelvin Atmadibrata
his performance is an exploration of reconstruction of human mind and body, from what is seemed to be humane to something that isnâ€™t, or demihuman. Inspired by virtual role-playing game, the artist takes the form of
a being, attached to an elemental (ice) and as the performance develops, he morphs into unrecognizable entity, both physically and his behavior. The use of the object, in particular ice, water and paper ball suggests an ongoing relationship between the two identity, past and present. The viewers at the other hand, staring and watching the whole progress of transformation, mimics the situation of a zoosighting. The artist hence through all of these elements become a victim not only in the real space and time between him and the viewers, but through the shifting in shapes and characteristics.
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Cloverfield:vertical medium: origami installation date:
december 2008 - ongoing
venue: december 2008: forth
loverfield:vertical is an installation questioning the idea of familiarity in contrast with physical appearance. Inspired by virtual role-playing game setting, the artist
creates a landscape which is uncanny and unreal yet it looks adaptable. Exploring the spatial landscape through vertical
gallery; mobile garden:
movement, instead of the usual horizontal panorama, the
an origami project, duet
installation gives hint of imagination yet viewers are challenged
by the duplicated images of the origami clovers, dominating
date: march 2010: illuma mall, sce arts program
the entire space. The installation is a series of ongoing project where the artist will install a mirror/s to link the previous installation with the next. The series will come to an end when the main sculptural form of the installation, which is a clover pillar reaches the height of 108m. Up to date, it has reached 14.8m. A performance was also part of the work when the piece was installed in Illuma mall in 2010.
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Baby’s Breath medium: performance date: May 2010 at the Arts House and July 2010 at Brother Joseph McNally Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art Singapore
his performance is a continuation of multi-disciplinary series titled Baby’s Breath which includes origami painting, tape sculptures and video. The main theme of the series
is about the contrast between minors and adults, in terms of innocence and decision-making. The performance piece focuses on the melamine-tragedy, where infants were the victims of their parents’ choices and decisions. In the performance, the artist use two contrasting representation of innocence, mainly the actual baby’s breath flowers, or Gypsophila and paper replicas of the flora. With a projection of crying baby in the background, the artist then creates a persona by attaching Gypsophila on his head and blindfolded, distributed White Rabbit candies to the viewers. This performance was part of a group show titled Eat With Family and also RITES project supported by the Artist Village.
Artist Information: Kelvin Atmadibrata Nanyang Technological University ( NTU ), School of Arts, Design and Media ( ADM ). He considers himself to be a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice includes installation, performance and mixed-media works.
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Born 1988. Singapore-based Indonesian artist. Currently pursuing his Bachelor of Fine Arts ( BFA ) in
I Love Poop!
aving earned good reviews since it was first staged here last year, Poop is returning for a second running this coming September at The Esplanade. It is easy to dismiss the play merely on the title alone. After all, the conjured is hardly even digestible. However, the play touches on the subject of life and death. This play is set in Singapore and starts off with an elderly lady trying to come to terms with her son’s suicide. In a fantasy twist, she tries to bargain with divine powers to get her son’s soul from hell. Unfortunately, she fails. She then brings up her granddaughter by herself, refusing any interference from her daughter-in-law. She teaches her granddaughter to treat death as a joke and not to cry about it. However, her granddaughter contracts a terminal illness and they now have to re-evaluate their ideas of death. Poop stars Janice Koh as the Mummy, Jean Ng as Emily, Julius Foo as Daddy, Neo Swee Lin as Granny and Ang Hui Bin as the ‘invisible’ Puppeteer. Director Chong Tze Chien explains the bizarre titling of Poop.
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“Poop points to the difficulties a young protagonist (an eight year old girl) has clearing her bowels after contracting a terminal illness. This title also has a larger dramatic significance as it refers to the subject of death, seen through a child’s eyes. In her mind, the path towards the
Text: Cherie Thio Photo: Tucky’s Photography
inevitable shares the same sewage pipes to down below. The subject of death and mortality is tackled from this child’s perspective.” Thus, be not surprised if you overhear conversations that go: “I love poop!” The person might most probably be referring to The Finger Players’ theatre production. Well, hopefully. DATE: 2 SEP 2010 THU 5 SEP 2010 SUN TIME: 3pm (Sat & Sun only), 8pm (60mins, no intermission) VENUE: Theatre Studio PRICE: $35 Early Bird Special (until 31 Jul): 30% discount for purchase of tickets to Poop and suitCASES 25% discount for purchase of tickets to Poop Concessions for Students, NSF, Senior Citizen, ASA & SDEA members: $30.00 (from 1 Aug) OCBC Arts Platinum MasterCard & Passion Card members: 20% savings OCBC Credit & Debit Cards, POPULAR Card members: 10% savings
Text: Nur Asyiqin Photo: Voyage de la Vie™ & © Genting International Management Limited.
n the tiny island of Sentosa just off the coast of Singapore, a theatrical whirlwind of song, drama and circus acts that has been brewing for the past three years has just been unleashed.
July till Sept Shows Wednesdays, Thurdays & Fridays, 8:30PM, Saturdays & Sundays, 5.30PM & 8.30PM
VENUE(S) Festive Grand, Resorts World at Sentosa
From 1 Oct 2010 Wed - Fri 8:30PM Sat & Sun 5:00PM & 8:30PM
TICKET PRICE (EXCLUDES BOOKING FEE) Standard - S$188, S$128, S$108, S$88, S$68, S$48
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The songs are all in English, with minimal dialogue.
Voyage de la Vie Modeled after the famed Cirque du Soleil, Voyage de la Vie (or “Journey of Life”) is Singapore’s first original circus theatre spectacular, and the resident show at the new Resorts World Sentosa, where it will run for two years. This 90-minute long show sweeps you off your feet and sends you tumbling into the embrace of a world that is best described as surreal. The show is stuffed to the seams with the mindboggling – a magician and a maestro who blur the line between illusion and reality; a mischievous young contortionist whose body twists into shapes and lines that seem physically impossible; an aerial artist who glides above the audience, teasing, always out of reach; a seductive diva balanced on one hand atop a motorcycle, her body rippling with intense control; a juggler who juggles 7 objects at a go; a death-defying crossbow which pits 16 arrows against a single man with an apple balanced on his head.
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And at the heart of it there’s a Boy, who could be you or I. Voyage de la Vie is an awakening for the Boy, a journey through his imagination and an escape from the boredom and routine of life as he struggles to find his identity and destiny. Along the way he encounters characters who represent themes such as Love, Temptation, Conflict and Life and Death, who teach him more about himself and opens his eyes to the show’s ultimate message: it is the journey, not the destination, that matters. And what a glorious journey it is. Voyage de la Vie takes place among meticulously crafted sets, and vibrant costumes. With an ensemble of international cast members from 16 countries, the show is a melting pot of diverse acts that swirl the fabric of reality and that of the imagination into an intoxicating feast for the eyes.
Interesting facts about Voyage de la Vie It was conceived by visionary architect and show designer Mark Fisher, who boasts an amazing portfolio that ranges from designing the world tours of U2, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones to his work in Cirque du Soleil’s Ka. The protagonist Boy is a role reprised by Joanathan Leong who made a name for himself in the Singapore Idol franchise when he clinched the first runner-up spot in its second season.
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Voyage de la Vie consists of a star-studded cast whose names are well-known in the circus and Vegas circuit such as Ukrainian Viktor Kee, who was named “The World’s most unusual juggler” and who plays The Lantern Keeper.
Text: Maxie Aw Yeong Photo: The Esplanade Co Ltd
Inviting you to fall in love with dance is this yearâ€™s da:ns festival that features nine performances presented by dance groups worldwide. Presented by the Esplanade, the festival promises something for everyone. In its fourth year, the da:ns festival consists of performances, workshops, some free performances and art displays. It showcases the works of both experienced choreographers and also innovative newcomers in the field.
A r t ja m p ic k s :
Hokkaido (Or Somewhere Like That) Kickstarting the da:ns festival is Hokkaido (Or Somewhere Like That), choreographed by daniel k, who is also known as diskodanny. Japanese influences are injected into the dance in terms of the multi-media work that is also used to enhance the performance, satisfying oneâ€™s visual senses. With the portrayal of time through the use of dance, video and animation, the dance tells a story of reminiscence, and of cherishing each moment. Informal post-performance talks with the artists involved are also organised to allow the audience greater understanding about the work.
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8th & 9th October 2010. 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Ticket prices: $20-$30
Lluvia From Spain comes the Asian premiere of Lluvia. Awardwinning dancer Eva Yerbabuena presents Lluvia, or ‘Rain’ where she is said to “bare her soul” in this performance. Yerbabuena shares flamenco, a Spanish style of music and dance, and captivates the audience with her speedy footwork and dramatic style. With her four dancers and ensemble of musicians, Yerbabuena celebrates life and exudes power and speed with her performance. The dance captivates the essence of life and also the endlessness of it. Musical direction is provided by Paco Jarana and original poetry by Horace Gracia. 12th & 13th October 2010. 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre. Ticket prices: $20 - $120
Giselle France’s Lyon Opera Ballet presents Giselle, a dance which the audience may be more familiar with. Choreographed by Mats Ek, Giselle, the protagonist of the story, falls in love but ends up in an asylum and eventually dies after the betrayal of nobleman Albrecht. Through this rendition, we see the eponymous character’s struggle and the deeper meaning of humanity. The tragedy is enhanced with the elements that Ek has inputted into the dance, with the idea of social divisions and the grey area between sanity and the lack of it. 16th October 2010. 8pm at the Esplanade Theatre. 17th October 2010. 7pm at the Esplanade Theatre. Ticket prices: $20-$100
9th October 2010. 6pm at the Esplanade rehearsal studio. 10th October 2010. 3pm and 6pm at the Esplanade Rehearsal Studio. Ticket prices: $15
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A dance that reflects, and perhaps, questions the modern society is Glass House, performed by student dancers from the School of Dance at the LASELLE College of the Arts. The issue of public and private spaces is explored in the dance, which its name actually gives the audience an idea of the change in the meaning of privacy. The ideas of unity, life, and identity are infused into the dance, alongside both Eastern and Western culture.
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Text: Audrey Lim Photo: Universal Music Singapore and Willy Beh Interview courtesy of Universal Music Singapore
German band, Tokio Hotel, may be easily recognizable due to their frontman Bill Kaulitz’s flamboyant style but this young band has proven themself to be one of the greatest rock bands to break out of Germany in 20 years. ArtJam got to interview Tokio Hotel, consisting of singer Bill Kaulitz, guitarist Tom Kaulitz, drummer Gustav Schäfer and bassist Georg Listing, when they were here last month for Singfest 2010. The band exuded an air of confidence but not arrogance and the twins, Bill and Tom Kaulitz answered bulk of the questions, with slight banter and cheekiness.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in Tokio Hotel? Bill: That’s a hard question because our career started very early. Our first single came out in Germany when we were just 15 and then we lived this life. There was never really a Plan B. Tom: I would like to be a policeman in Germany. That’s a really relaxing job. We’d be hanging around the whole time, not paying taxes and eat donuts. Bill: Oh, I don’t know, I think we’d all be homeless musicians travelling Germany, earning some money. Tom: Yeah, I think it would be like that, because when we went to school, every weekend we’d play in a small live club in our hometown and earn some money, like 10 Euros (laughs). Yeah, it was like that so maybe we’d play in small clubs and earn some money.
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What are the musical influences for your third studio album Humanoid? Tom: We don’t really have musical influences, it’s like most of the time we listen to our own music. (laughs). And when we’re in the studio we’re playing and hanging around, writing songs and we don’t listen to other music. The whole time we’re just really into our stuff and our music. Bill: I think it’s because we influence ourselves and everyone in the band is so different. We listen to different kinds of music so you have like four different views on your own music. Everyone has a different opinion and I think that’s really good for the creative process. Tom: I think sometimes it’s different when it comes to musical influences. Sometimes when it comes to movies, you watch a good movie and you have a good idea for a song. Bill: You are inspired by everything you know, by your whole life, by cities, by fans and when you do your own music in the studio, you’re not listening to other music because you are just really focused on your work.
Tom and Bill, is there sibling rivalry between the both of you in Tokio Hotel? Tom: No, not really. I mean we’re like one person so we don’t have rivalry, I mean I’m ten minutes older, I’m the older brother and he’s listening to me the whole day and I was always like a role model for him and it was always like that so there’s no rivalry. Bill, would you agree with Tom? Bill: NO, not at all (laughs). Like Tom said, we’re really like one person and it’s like a third connection thing, we are like so connected. It’s a really special connection and we do everything together in our whole lives. We were never alone. We went to school together, and we had the same friends and we’re in the same band and we have the same problems. Yeah, we live together and we have vacations together so it’s like you never think about something to do alone. So are you thinking about the new record? Bill: We’re not yet thinking of a new record. We’re always in the studio collecting new ideas and writing new stuff but we haven’t thought about a new record so far. So how do you guys cope with all the female attention? Tom: Oh! That’s okay for us (laughs). Bill: I mean you know, we are four boys, so I think everyone likes that.
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Is there any meaning behind the song, Dark Side of the Sun? Bill: I like it when you can have your own stories for the song. I don’t like to explain what it means but it basically means that there can be something out there in which you can’t influence and there are things that happen in which you can’t control. And everyone has their own problems, and thinking about them when I’m up in the air on an airplane, it seems like everything is so small and then I think to mysel that okay, there are so many things out there in which we can’t control and have no influence over. Are there any artists or bands that you would like to work with? Bill: I think a dream for us would be to do something together with Aerosmith. Tom: Yeah that would be great but there are no plans. Bill: That’s really cool because Tom really likes Joe Perry (Aerosmith’s guitarist) and I really like Steven Tyler (Aerosmith’s vocalist).
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Any advice to aspiring musicians? Bill: I’ve always hated advice. I didn’t want any advice from anyone. I think it’s important to make mistakes and go for it. And never listen to your record company, if you have one. It’s really important to stay true to yourself, that’s the most important thing. As you can see, everyone does his own stuff in the band and everyone has his own style and that’s because we want to be ourselves and I think that’s the main point. Tom: Make your own decisions. Bill: And stay happy with everything you do.
The Return of the Girl Band ARTJAM - The Like roundtable interview
Text: Anjali Reguraman Photo: Willy Beh Interview courtesy of Universal Music Singapore
our piece LA girl band The Like are like a blast from the past. Decked out in their all black and white ensembles of mod dresses, tights and perfectly lined eyes, the four stunning ladies would not be out of place in the 60’s. A bygone era that may be, but that did not stop the girls from playing in Singapore recently, as the opening international act of Singfest Day 1. The group comprises of lead vocalist and guitarist Elizabeth ‘Z’ Berg, drummer Tennessee Thomas and two new changes to the line up: Laena Geronimo on bass and Annie Monroe on organ. The coiffed foursome was a picture of poise in their Fairmont hotel suite, with a panoramic view of the Singapore city skyline. De facto leader Z did most of the talking, as she gave a brief history of how The Like came to be; “Tennesee and I met when we were 15 and 16. We started playing music together. We put out a couple of EPs when we were in high school, and then we made a record when we graduated, toured for a few years, found these two new girls Laena and Annie and here we are today in Singapore!” she said, delivering the back story in one breath. Being a four piece band, with a 60’s influence, The Beatles parallelism is inevitable and Tennessee acknowledged that “from that period, there were all those girls who looked great, and sang really well, but there was never a band just like The Beatles that comprised of women- that played music, and had the look and wrote the songs. We’re trying to be that missing link.” Large shoes to fill, one would think.
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It is not every day you come across a girl band in the first place and The Like seems bent on dispelling any notions that girls can’t play just as good as the boys. “I think there are a lot of people who are going to assume, even before seeing us play, that we don’t know how to play but it’s the satisfaction of changing those people’s minds”, Z says with conviction.
You get the feeling that this is not the hard sell, but commitment to the cause, because Annie finally spoke up to say “They say we play like guys. We play like girls that like to play music.” Their latest album, “Release Me” was produced by ace producer Mark Ronson. Z described the process as “super intense” as they managed to cut the album within a mere two weeks. She also sang praises (excuse the pun) of Ronson“He’s just a really great producer who knows how to get the best out of an artist”. When expounding on the creative process behind the album she was brutally honest and said that she drew inspiration from “a lot of heartbreak, and a lot of very complicated, difficult relationships” but through song-writing she found healing. “It’s kind of the way I deal with the world really.”
It was clear that they were excited to be in Singapore and even more so to play at a festival. When talking about their experiences at festivals, Tennessee explained that “festivals are so much fun as well because there are loads of bands to watch”. Z chimed in, talking about their recent gig opening for The Strokes in Sydney- “the great part about opening for shows like that is that we can play a show and THEN have another dance party”. The Like have also been on tour with bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Muse. With a success story like theirs, it seemed only fitting to ask what their greatest lesson since starting out was. Annie is forthcoming with her response- “Just follow your heart. If you have a dream, and you believe it in it- no matter how crazy it might seem and how much the odds are against you- if you put all of your energy into something then it really will come true”.
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Then comes the clincher from quietest group member Annie-“We are in Singapore”.
Text: Anjali Raguraman Photo: Willy Beh Interview courtesy of Universal Music Singapore
Female guitarist extraordinaire Orianthi was in town recently for Singfest 2010, the third instalment of the Singapore festival. Part of a stellar line-up of international acts brought in for the festival, Orianthi took time off just hours before she was due to go on stage to talk to the press. All of 25-years-old, she has had an enviable career, playing with the likes of guitar greats like Steve Vai and Carlos Santana. But you most probably recognise her as the blonde-haired rock goddess who shared the stage (and held her own) with Michael Jackson on his ‘This Is It’ tour movie. She has since made a name for herself with her foray into singing and song writing, releasing her album “Believe” in 2009 to great commercial success. For all her achievements though, she is your typical laidback Aussie chick. She reveals that she would be working with animals if she was not in music. Her easy air and cool Aussie chick vibe extends to the playful nail colours she has on- blue, turquoise and purple, all on one hand! Her nails were visibly chipped; a testament to her dedication to the craft (and her guitar-playing prowess).
ARTJAM - Orianthi roundtable interview ArtJam: Your latest album is called “Believe”- What’s your greatest belief in life? Orianthi:The power of music and how it can inspire and help people, and just take you back. Sometimes you hear a song and it takes you back to like, when you were seven and you were hanging in the car with your best friend. ArtJam: Which song means the most to you on album? Orianthi: I love ‘Highly Strung’- I got to write that with my idol, Steve Vai. ArtJam: You’ve had the opportunity to share stage with Santana - how is your style influenced by him? Orianthi: He’s the reason I play electric guitar. I was studying classical at the time. I went to the show with my dad, turned to my dad and said ‘I don’t want to play classical anymore; I wanna play electric guitar and be just like Carlos. I was just obsessed with it - I just wanted to learn all of his solos; I wore out one of his videos ‘cos I kept pausing it, trying to learn a certain song. Getting to go on stage and jam with him was a surreal moment for me, ’cos he’s the reason why I play guitar- and he’s such a sweet person! Having his support means so much to me.
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ArtJam: Who are some of the female guitarists who have inspired your music? Orianthi: Definitely Jennifer Batten (also formerly Michael Jackson’s guitarist) and Bonnie Raitt - they’re both incredible players. Actually Jennifer Batten came out to one of my shows in Oregon. I invited her and she came along, and it was pretty crazy having her there in the audience- she’s someone I look up to immensely and she’s a very awesome player.
ArtJam: You’ve worked with Idols like Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta. Would you have joined singing competitions like American Idol? Orianthi: If I had to choose between playing the guitar or singing, guitar would definitely be my first choice to do. Singing for me is fun and everything, I love it, and it’s a way to really connect with people using lyrics - but I love being just able to get out there and play guitar and collaborate with people. Guitar is my first passion - and I’d feel a little awkward getting out there without a guitar! I’ve done it before, and I was like, what should I do with my hands? It’s funny- when I’m in the studio and cutting my vocals, I’m playing air guitar...So if anyone had a camera going, they’d see me rocking out with a guitar. It just feels more natural to me to be singing and playing the guitar. ArtJam: What advice do you have for young girls who want to be rock gods? Orianthi: If you want to play guitar, and you want be a performer and do what I’m doing - you just gotta love it. Never give up. Don’t let people tell you otherwise. If you want to do something, don’t let someone tell you “Oh, I don’t think you can do that”- You got to just silence those voices because they can really get to you and hold you back. Just let go of all the fear. I mean, it’s very easy for me to say it, but sometimes when people say things to you that are negative - trying to shut them out is really difficult, but you HAVE to in order to be happy, and be free and content.
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Also just keep at it - I would say, practice five or six hours a day. I was obsessed with it, and I still am. As a female guitar player you’ve got to work twice as hard as the guys, just to get the OK, like “She’s alright for a chick” y’know. If you want to do this for the rest of your life, just go with it. Never stop writing songs. Never stop playing as much as you can - playing in front of people, and collaborating and learning off other people. You pick up things like different approaches on how to play things. Everyone has their own fingerprints on playing the guitar so as much as you try to copy somebody, you’re still going to be yourself in a way.
ArtJam: If you didn’t do music, what would you be doing? Orianthi: I’d probably be a vet- I love animals, and I love cooking as well! So I’d be a chef, or a vet. Or working out in a farm somewhere, ‘cos I just love animals so much! The thing is, I’m saying I’d want to be a vet, but I couldn’t put an animal down... so maybe just working with animals out on a farm- emptying food into a pig trough or something. ArtJam: Are people ever surprised to find out that you’re Australian? Orianthi: Yeah sometimes, they’re like, I didn’t know you’re from Australia – ‘cos I don’t sing with an Australian accent. Someone actually said to me ‘Is your accent real or fake?’ ‘cos they thought I put it on! It was just a really bizarre question to be asked - but it was kind of funny. ArtJam: There are so many Australians in Hollywood nowadays. Do you think you would ever cross over into acting? Orianthi: That would be a real challenge. When you do your music videos you’ve gotta act to a certain extent – once the cameras start rolling you have to be on. Even if you’re feeling tired, or it’s hot under the lights. I remember doing the “Shut Up and Kiss Me” film clip and I was so sick that day- I had the flu. It was so hot ‘cos I had the catsuit on, and the lights in front of me – I was almost in a toaster! But as soon as your start rolling, you’ve gotta be on, so that’s acting. But I’d love to try it down the line, for sure. I just wouldn’t want to really suck at it- I’d want to make sure that I’ve got the character down pat, and I do a great job at it. I’d never want to make one of those movies where people want to forget about it. ArtJam: Would you ever say yes if the people behind Guitar Hero approached you? Orianthi: That would be awesome! I suck at the game- it’s kind of embarrassing. I’d have to get better at it, but that would be really cool. I actually have a song on Rock Band right now, ‘According To You’, so you can play along with that on there. I have a little app as well on the iPhone where you can play on that as well.
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We did this radio thing not too long ago where I had to play with one of the competition winners and I was convinced there was something wrong with my (Guitar Hero game console) guitar ‘cos this other person was annihilating me! Then this dude grabs the guitar I was using and wins the game. I was like, “OK! I’m leaving!” ArtJam: So who are you listening to now? Orianthi: I bought the new Ozzy Osbourne record. Jason Derulo is really cool... Um, also Stone Temple Pilots, the new Slash record, the new Thriving Ivory one, yeah!
Arcade Fire- The Suburbs With their debut album, Funeral, Win Butler and his crew of multi-instrumentalists explored themes of childhood, neighbourhood and nostalgia wonderfully especially with songs such as “Rebellion (lies)” and perennial favourite “Wake Up”. With their sophomore effort Neon Bible, they explored bigger themes like the environment, violence and terrorism. The result was grand and tremendous that eventually led to critical acclaim and phenomenal success. Despite their valiant efforts at producing such big, anthemic songs, Neon Bible was a more distant and impersonal album as compared to Funeral. However with The Suburbs, Arcade Fire return to the theme of childhood and neighbourhood but from a different perspective altogether. It’s mostly about finding your identity in the suburbs and dealing with alienation and abandonment. The title track, which also opens the album is not a clear highlight but it does set the tone for the rest of the album- one that showcases a range of influences from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to Bruce Springsteen. Lyrically, The Suburbs are more emotional and expresses the themes of the album from the onset. (“Why I want a daughter while I’m still young/I wanna hold her hand/And show her some beauty before this damage is done.” The album is definitely the most straightforward and accessible out of all their releases because this is their
most concentrated attempt in producing music that’s just essentially rock. Their trademark huge, orchestral sound is still present however especially in songs like “Ready to Start”. Giving us a strong drumbeat right from the start with the bass giving us the main melody, the song is a thrilling, triumphant rock exclamation especially with the strong build up of percussion toward the end of the track. Arcade Fire releases have always featured gigantic production and instrumentation and a heavy use of string instruments. However in this album particularly, the fact that the production rarely overpowers the songs is much appreciated. This allows listeners to feel the emotional depth without being too overwhelmed by the onslaught of the strings. This is particularly evident in “Half Light I ”, which is the standout track of the album. Butler’s wife Regin Chasaggne takes the spotlight for this track and the result is nothing short of beautiful. It is built around a spectacularly gorgeous stirring string section that propels the emotional depth of this song so much further. By the time Win Butler and the rest of the band join in for the climax, you are convinced that this may just be one of the most beautiful Arcade Fire track to date. The Suburbs is the best Arcade Fire album because of its straightforwardness, accessibility and especially the variation among the 16 tracks. There is also fantastic and consistent storytelling throughout. The imagery used in the lyrics paint a depressing picture for us which only drives the emotional appeal of the album. The Suburbs is basically an album that has cohesively put together the best elements from their two releases. This album is definitely a grower.
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rcade Fire’s recent concert at Madison Square Garden was streamed live over youtube worldwide in August. The Terry Gilliams directed webcast shows how phenomenally successful the indie-rock band have become over the years.
Text: Jennifer Dhanaraj
Suckers- Wild Smile Review Frenchkiss Records
Text: Jennifer Dhanaraj
The world’s a colonoscopy; save your love for me. Quinn Walker, front man of Brooklyn-based indie rockers, Suckers sings this off-the-wall yet romantic lyric in ‘Save your love for me.’ The opening track to their debut LP, Wild Smile is a gorgeous, dynamic song that only seeks to set the tone for the rest of their album. The song starts off beautifully with a memorable guitar riff accompanied by some lovely, tranquil piano. What follows is the introduction of Quinn Walker’s eloquent vocals. This 6-min song takes its time to unfold slowly and therein lays its charm as it slowly adds in more layers such as the vibrant drums and additional guitar licks. These layers eventually progress to a climax, which is propelled further by Walker’s off-key falsetto and Austin Fisher’s background vocals. Wild Smile is essentially an album that combines elements of many musical influences including David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, the charming theatrics of Queen and lead vocals similar to Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. Although it shares similarities with such influential artistes, Wild Smile showcases more inventiveness that many of the new indie bands out there vying for similar hype. The album’s successful use of a multi-layered sound can be clearly attributed to a plethora of instruments including the synthesizer and strong percussion. The masterful execution of harmonious vocals comprising of Walker’s falsetto and Austin Fisher’s low-pitched background vocals play an important role in balancing and sometimes, even challenging the instrumentation. “Martha” is a perfect example of a track with layers of charming musicality and showcases the Suckers’ ability to produce sing along hooks. The track begins with a lovely blend of harmonized voices juxtaposed with blaring horns. A cute, fun, psychedelic-like melody aided by synthesizers then follows. These elements slowly come together toward the middle as Walker sings about a man impatiently awaiting the arrival of sexual partner Martha who is assumed to be putting on some make up before they make love. It is clear throughout the album that the Suckers have the knack of getting you into a groove. One of the highlights of the album, “It Gets Your Body Movin’ ” is an epic, anthemic track that has been known to be crowd favourite at live performances. This track perfectly showcases how the Suckers make use of instruments to create climaxes that lead to a grand finale. It starts off with uncharacteristically hushed vocals before being joined by a lovely trumpet solo. This leads into a chorus singing ‘It gets your body movin’ repeatedly which is nothing short of glorious.
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Despite relatively obscure lyrics peppered throughout some of the songs in the album, Wild Smile is a very accessible album made possible with whistle-friendly melodies and danceable hooks. The personalities of the eccentric members of suckers are clearly evident through their instrumentation, vocals and arrangement.
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