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37. 42. 11.
08. What Goes On/On The Rip It Up Stereo, 11. Sam Smith, 12. First Aid Kit, 14. So What…/Tweet Talk, 16. Lloyd Cole, 18. This Month In Metaland, 20. Kasabian, 22. Who’s Next?, 24. This Month In Clubland, 26. Style Like First Aid Kit, 27. Tiny Ruins, 28. Style Like Jack White, 30. Gadgets, 32. Geeks, 34. Film Reviews, 36. Album Reviews, 37. Jungle, 38. Album Reviews, 39. Popstrangers, 40. Sharon O’Neill, 42. The Horrors, 44. Zoe Bell, 45. Tommy Bradson, 46. Brant Bjork, 48. Good Vibrations, 50. #Winning
WHAT GOES ON
MAYA ANGELOU Maya Angelou, a poet and author, has died at 86. Angelou died on last week at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, her son said in a statement. “She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.” She was one of the first African American women to write a bestselling book and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry and a Tony for her acting. She won two Grammys for spoken word albums of her poetry and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.
Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro are set to make their New Zealand debut at Auckland’s Powerstation in September. Headlining festivals and sell-out arena shows and even beefing with other artists, the trio Biffy Clyro are creating waves with the release of their sixth long player, the ambitious double album Opposites. The band toured solidly throughout the decade, cementing their reputation as a live force to be reckoned with. See what all the fuss is about when they play one New Zealand show in September.
Upon the celebration of this legend’s 73rd birthday, Chugg Entertainment can now confirm that Bob Dylan and his band will be coming back to New Zealand. For the first time in over two decades, Bob Dylan draws the fans closer with performances in some of the most iconic theatre venues in the country.
SEE THEM LIVE: BIFFY CLYRO TUE 02 SEP THE POWERSTATION, AUCKLAND
KATY PERRY After selling out 23 shows for her 2014 Australian tour, Katy Perry has announced that The Prismatic World Tour will head to New Zealand in December, playing two shows only at Auckland’s Vector Arena. Paul Dainty, Chairman of Dainty Group said “We are honoured to be promoting Katy’s tour in New Zealand. She is the hottest star in the world, her single and album sales are staggering and New Zealanders adore her.” Opening artist for Perry’s New Zealand shows is Swedish singer/ songwriter Tove Lo.
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ON THE RIP IT UP STEREO
BEETHOVEN ‘MOONLIGHT SONATA’ (1801)
CROSSES ‘THE EPILOGUE’ (2014)
TINY RUINS BRIGHTLY PAINTED ONE (2014)
PAOLO NUTINI CAUSTIC LOVE (2014)
DZ DEATHRAYS ‘REFLECTIVE SKULL’ (2014)
JAKE BUGG JAKE BUGG (2012)
BABYMETAL BABYMETAL (2014) ICEBERG SLIM REFLECTIONS (1976)
THE HORRORS LUMINOUS (2014) THE SHANGRI LAS LEADER OF THE PACK (1965)
The First Three Classic Albums, Remastered by Jimmy Page Including additional previously unreleased companion audio Available on Super Deluxe Edition Box Set 1 x CD / 2 x Deluxe CD / 1 x 180gm Vinyl 2 x Deluxe 180gm Vinyl
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BEETHOVEN The Symphonies
Le Gateau Chocolat
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SAM SMITH “I really believe that when you’re hurt, you are at your best as a songwriter. Everyone shares that connection.” music industry award whose previous winners include Adele, Ellie Goulding, Emeli Sande and Florence and The Machine. “Picking up that award made it all seem more real,” says Smith. “It’s a huge event and I met One Direction, Katy Perry and Rita Ora because of it. Everyone was congratulating me. It was surreal.” Discovered singing along to the radio in the car age 12, by his mum, Smith signed up with a local singing teacher and started performing in local theatre shows. But it was when he started writing songs himself he knew where his future lay. “I loved theatre but on stage singing from the heart is where I felt at home,” he reveals. “And it’s always felt so natural.” HE’S JUST 22 but his old school voice has marked him out as a name to notice. He first came to our attention with his remarkable soul vocals on Disclosure’s ‘Latch’, and on the ridiculously catchy Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’, a huge hit in May of last year. Now with the release of his debut album In The Lonely Hour, the spotlight belongs to Sam Smith. “Everything that has happened so far is beyond my wildest dreams,” he says. “I’ve worked so hard for this and have been dreaming of it since I was a child.” Growing up in rural Cambridgeshire in the UK, Smith grew up listening to power vocalists like Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce and Amy Winehouse. “Beyonce is my ultimate idol. I’ve loved everything she’s done from Destiny’s Child to her solo stuff. She’s never put a foot wrong in my eyes. Then Amy Winehouse was another huge influence. I used to sing along to everything on her album Frank when I was young. I would loved to have sung with her.” Smith’s singles ‘Money On My Mind’ and ‘Stay With Me’ prove that Smith is more than
a featured vocalist. The first two singles taken from his debut album have given him number 12 and number one hits respectively. ‘Stay With Me’ is a song about heartbreak, a theme carried through the whole of In The Lonely Hour. “It’s an album written in the depths of a broken heart,” he says. “Unrequited love – we’ve all experienced it but for me this was the first time. My first broken heart and I wrote an album about it.”
With a voice that oozes emotion, he’s often compared to Emeli Sande and Adele. “I’m loving all those comparisons as I’m a huge fan of both. I love the fact my album is compared to Adele’s 21 though whereas she is singing about one person and her broken heart, there are a few different people who inspired mine. And writing from the heart is the only way for me. I really believe that when you’re hurt, you are at your best as a songwriter. Everyone shares that connection.”
Smith’s talents began to be noticed after he moved to London and met songwriter Jimmy Napes who had previously worked with Jessie Ware and Eliza Doolittle. The pair are the main songwriters on In The Lonely Hour with other contributors including Lily Allen and Ellie Goulding writer Fraser T Smith and Adele and James Blunt writer Eg White.
Since winning his Brit Award, Smith has been travelling the world as he becomes a name to watch for internationally.
Smith says: “I think meeting Jimmy was the turning point for me. He understands my music and songs and we work so well together and it opened doors. When I met Disclosure we wrote ‘Latch’ in our first session.”
“I’m in this for life. If you listen to the chorus of ‘Money on My Mind’ I say, ’I don’t have money on my mind, I do it for the love’ and that is a message that I want people to understand and get.”
He was awarded the Critics’ Choice Brit in February this year, the distinguished UK
DEBUT ALBUM: IN THE LONELY HOUR
“I loved playing Coachella and my US shows have been insane. Going to Australia for the first time was special too. I can’t wait to get back and play more shows.
FIRST AID KIT our music,” Söderberg says thoughtfully. “If it inspires someone or makes them feel less alone then we’ve done our job. It’s there for us when we need it, when we need to be consoled, or when we’re down.” Once the songs are out in the world, Söderberg says they stop being theirs. “The more you play it [live] the further away from it you get and songs can take on a new life. We love that we’re giving our songs to our audience and they’re taking on a life of their own.” Ultimately, they want their songs to do for other people what music does for them.
STAY GOLD. IT’S the new record from Sweden’s lovely, and very talented, sister duo First Aid Kit. Their music hit the world harder than anything labelled “Americana” than I’ve known in the past ten years. Yet after talking to one half of the duo, Johanna Söderberg (who’s 23 – what are you doing with your life? Don’t worry, I asked myself the same question), not only would you never guess but her softly-spoken manner and frequent hesitations give the feeling that her and sister Klara (21), are nothing if not modest and understated. This article could be full of the maturity, growth and wisdom that have been touted as the milestones of this album, but that would be missing the point entirely. Because maturity, growth and wisdom come from pain. As Nikki Sixx says: “If it hurts, it means you’re growing.” And that’s no less true for two sisters that spent two years touring and were then dropped back into the real world to record a follow up to 2012’s
Lion’s Roar, which essentially became their breakthrough album. This is in no way a “woe is me” tale but more of a bildungsroman combined with living on the road. “It wasn’t intentional at all,” Söderberg says after a moment’s hesitation about the revealing nature of the album. “It just happened that way. I think we needed to write about it because Lion’s Roar was such a big success that there was pressure on us [to follow it up].” The pressure was bred from critical acclaim, touring and homesickness. It’s led to a change in lyrical style (don’t freak out, they’re still First Aid Kit, but they’re a more emotional First Aid Kit). “We went through a phase where we had writer’s block because we were writing thinking ‘this song needs to be on the record, it has to be good’ instead of thinking, ‘this is a song and it can just be a good song’.”
Part of that pressure came off the back of Lion’s Roar with the looming question: “what happens next?” “There were some trials,” Söderbeg continues, “and it was a little bit of a struggle but having Mike Mogi [Bright Eyes] as a producer helped a lot.” There’s a line from an old Sneaker Pimps song: “If you think you’re doing something special, it’s been done, so just think dumb.” And for the Söderberg sisters it became a case of “[trying] not to think too much when we write,” as Söderberg says, or not writing at all. It wasn’t so much a case of not being special – one listen to the new record will show that they’re exactly that – but one of distancing themselves from thinking about writing for an audience and, writing a follow up. “We try not to think about that too much when we’re writing because that would be too much for us. And it would be tough writing songs. We want people to feel something from
Part of that is being as creative as possible and seeing albums as “a document of where we are in our lives” at the time of writing, instead of feats to be topped. Söderberg remembers their earlier work fondly saying, “it has a childhood feel to it and I like that.” She says they never wanted to think about writing an album that was better but instead they wanted the follow up to be different. “We can’t think like that [in terms of topping previous albums] because it would kill the creativity.” Stay Gold. As much as it is a testament to their maturity, growth and wisdom, it is an album born out of the struggle of the pressures to write a followup record, the homesickness that comes with touring for two years, and learning to not over think and to overanalyse. It may mark album number three for First Aid Kit, but it also marks a lesson in pain, growth, life and self exploration on a scale that’s truly global. NEW ALBUM: STAY GOLD OUT 10 JUN
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Chris Martin doesn’t care that people think Coldplay aren’t “cool”. The singer admits the group have never been seen as fashionable but after scoring the fastest-selling album of 2014 with Ghost Stories, they have proved they have longevity. Chris said: “We have never been the coolest thing or the most fashionable thing. Well, maybe for a period. It just feels like we’re able to keep rolling and no one really notices.” Although the band have had repeated success and toured the world, they realise Coldplay may not last forever, according to the Daily Star newspaper. Chris said: “If we’re in that place in 10 years, that’s amazing. But if we’re not, that’s okay.”
Jamie Lynn Spears is “proud” of her sister Britney Spears’ achievements but is ready to show what a great artist she can be. The 23-year-old has released her debut EP, The Journey, this week and although she is happy to be associated with her older pop star sister she feels ready to “prove” herself as a country musician. The budding singer insists her love of country songs is deep rooted in her childhood when she was growing up in Louisiana. Iggy Azalea learnt how to twerk from strippers in Atlanta. The 23-year-old pop star perfected her butt-shaking dance moves at house parties before she found fame, and has revealed the performers in the strip clubs in the American city were an inspiration to her. Iggy said: “I used to live in Atlanta, and that’s just how everybody dances at house parties and stuff.” She added: “The best twerkers are probably all the strippers in Atlanta. They’re pretty good.”
T WEET TALK “I don’t think we’ll make a sequel to This Is The End, but if we did it would be called ‘No, THIS Is The End’.” Seth Rogen @Sethrogen
“In the last 2 days five billion dollars was spent for headphones and a basketball team. What does the bible say about that?” Albert Brooks @AlbertBrooks
“You may be living it but I’m watching you live it so trust me, I know better” Sarah Silverman @SarahKSilverman
“I think everyone deserves to have a hawk randomly land on their arm at least once in their life.” Rove McManus @Rove
“RT @CrazedJane: @ SethMacFarlane nothing beats that old book smell. // Except the thought of some dude reading it before you on a 1958 john.” Seth MacFarlane @SethMacFarlane
Joey McIntyre is thankful to One Direction for making boy bands cool again. The New Kids On The Block singer has confessed he and his bandmates are so grateful to 1D that they’ve even started covering their tracks during their concerts. Joey told the Daily Star newspaper: “It’s fun to see One Direction’s success, they have made people much more open to all types of music. It means people are more tolerant of our music too. We tip our hats to them in our new show with a cover or two.”
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LLOYD COLE “It’s the kind of title that will annoy the people I like to annoy, and impress those I want to impress!”
“I HADN’T THOUGHT of that,” laughs Lloyd Cole, after contemplating my suggestion to open his Christchurch show with John Hatford’s ‘California Earthquake’. “I like the obvious irony in that.” Cole tells me he came across the song when he was looking for other material for his acoustic sets. “I originally heard Mama Cass sing it. This one rocked my world – sorry, bad pun. It’s late.” Indeed it is. On the end of the blower, the very personable Cole is hiding up in his attic of his Easthampton, Massachusetts home where he’s lived pretty much since marrying his wife, Elizabeth, back in 1989. Their sons William and Frank also reside there with them. “She has a big family...one of seven children and I’m one of two, so the pull to move to this part of the world was stronger,” Cole replies when I ask him about why he’s based in a part of the USA that doesn’t appear to scream “rock ‘n’ roll!” “Though,” he adds “I travel a lot for my ‘job’, so I get out and see the world.” Born in Buxton, Derbyshire, Cole ended up in Edinburgh, and following time at university, his band The Commotions hit the indie scene big-time back in 1984 with the single ‘Perfect Skin’. Their debut album Rattlesnakes contained a heaping helping of literary and pop culture references – Arthur Lee, Norman Mailer, Grace Kelly, Eva Marie Saint, Truman Capote. Cole can’t help throwing in a few more references on his latest album, Standards,
which even quotes Blondie at one point “Yes I’m touched by your presence, dear,” he laughs, explaining his obsession with quoting the 20th Century. A case in point is the song ‘Kids Today’. “These songs are not for me, he emphasises, “Originally my plan was to go chronically through parents’ complaints – so you’ve got the New York Dolls, the Jitterbug and the Lindy-Lee hop all in one song – that’s the magic of song-writing, you can do that.” Of course Cole is prone to a few covers, too, Marc Bolan, Moby Grape, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Lou Reed to name a few. Occasionally the favour is returned, too, most notably the feminist version of ‘Rattlesnakes’ which appeared Tori Amos’s Strange Little Girls. Ironically, Standards only features one cover, that Hartford tune. And it was a bit of a black sheep for Cole, who’d established himself as an acoustic folkie since the break-up of The Commotions back in the late 80’s. “I was not sure I could go back to the sounds of The Commotions and that. I was playing a very adult space. But when I was writing these songs, they were all just ideas in old notebooks...about half were pop, I thought they belonged to my past. But I went ahead and listened to what the songs were saying, how they were. They wanted to be a pop record with a rock ‘n’ roll band.”
one (Broken Record) was a financial ordeal and a challenge.” The recording of Standards was partly funded by crowdsourcing, his record company and himself, through pre-sales of a deluxe limited edition of the album and the purchasers were also credited as executive producers of the album. “Fans of mine trust me. I’m not going to make a record cynically. Kickstarter.com does a certain amount for you but we chose to do it all ourselves...even the shipping. There’s always some held up in customs and a group of angry punters... never again! But then I spoke to (long-time collaborators) Fred Maher (drums) and Mathew Sweet (guitars) and we had a window of time to make it, so we just did!” When asked about the title, Cole giggles, “It’s the kind of title that will annoy the people I like to annoy, and impress those I want to impress!” His eldest, William, is a musician now and father and son are sometimes on stage together. William recorded for Standards, as is about to embark on a US tour. I wondered if it was harder for the younger generation to succeed in music these days. “Well, yes and no because really, as it was then and now, you’re either huge or you’re indie. The Commotions never made a number one single but we made a lot of money, but now that can be harder. The financial rewards are not as great. Thankfully he’s got his heart set on being huge!” “For me,” he adds, “Things are a little healthier (with the success of Standards). It’s been a series of diminishing returns since 1987 but it’s amazing to know that I’m still making a living out of this. Plus I get to play a little golf where I go. I have a day off in Wellington. A friend has teed up some links. That should be fun.” SEE HIM LIVE: LLOYD COLE THU 05 JUN GLENROY AUDITORIUM, DUNEDIN FRI 06 JUN CARDBOARD CATHEDRAL, CHRISTCHURCH SAT 07 JUN OLD ST JOHN’S, NELSON SUN 08 JUN JAMES CABARET, WELLINGTON THU 12 JUN BAYCOURT THEATRE, TAURANGA FRI 13 JUN CENTURY THEATRE MTG, NAPIER SAT 14 JUN SKYCITY THEATRE, AUCKLAND
“We almost didn’t make this one. The previous
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THIS MONTH IN METAL AND BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE METAL BAR. MONDAY’S 10PM JUICE TV SKY CHANNEL 112 METAL NEWS Polish black metal titans Behemoth were forced out of Russia for having the wrong Visas despite being told that that’s what they needed by the Russian embassy in Warsaw. The band’s frontman, Nergal, says they were kept overnight in a small cell with no toilet and the walls were smeared in faeces. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler has reignited the controversy over drummer Bill Ward’s absence from their reunion by saying his former colleague wasn’t well enough to take part. Butler believes Ward wouldn’t have handled the pace of touring and told us, “We started off with Bill and it just didn’t happen. To be blatantly honest, he just can’t do it anymore.” Megadeth have called off all shows for the next month so bassist David Ellefson can mourn the death of his brother Eliot, who lost a two-year battle with cancer.
Virtuoso bassist Randy Coven, known for his work with Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen, has died at the age of 54. The native New Yorker was a roommate of Vai’s at the Berklee College of Music, where they formed a band called Morning Thunder. Legendary British actor Sir Christopher Lee has celebrated his 92nd birthday by releasing a new metal album. Metal Knight includes two covers of songs from stage musical Man of La Mancha, based on fictional character Don Quixote. Lee said, “As far as I am concerned, Don Quixote is the most metal fictional character that I know. Single handedly, he is trying to change the world, regardless of any personal consequences.”
3. Grossest touring habit of anyone you’ve toured with? Igor, my brother. When we were in Sepultura he would hang the socks and gloves he played in up in the bus and brown liquid would drip out of them – it made me sick – disgusting man.
MAX CAVALERA METAL GENIUS 1. First album you heard that made you fall in love with heavy metal? It was Queen - Live Killers. My cousin bought it for me after I saw Queen in Brazil. 2. What’s your poison these days? Rum and coke – anything with hard liquor.
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4. Weirdest fan encounter or request? One guy asked me to sign his baby’s forehead. It was a quiet nice baby, maybe six months old wrapped in a blanket, the guy gave me a Sharpie and was like “sign my baby’s forehead”, it was weird but I did it.
HELLYEAH SANGRE POR SANGRE (BLOOD FOR BLOOD) Initially famous for being the band that got Vinnie Paul (ex-Pantera) back behind a drumkit again after the on stage murder of his brother ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott, Hellyeah have finally released an album as hard hitting and as aggressive as the sum of its parts always promised it could be. Gone are former Mudvayne guitarist Greg Tribbett, exDamage Plan bass player Bob Zilla, and most tellingly the party anthems. In comes Kyle Sanders (brother of Mastodon’s Troy) on bass and a determined, pissed off dose hardcore tinged metal. Where previously tracks like ‘The Cowboy Way’, ‘Alcohaulin’ Ass’ and ‘Drink, Drank, Drunk’ celebrated the endless good times, booze and women of loose morals, now your senses are assaulted by angular punkinfused groove metal, with a nod to Motorhead along the way.
METAL GIG GUIDE ABORTED (BE) WED 25 JUN CHURCHILLS, CHRISTCHURCH THU 26 JUN THE KINGS ARMS, AUCKLAND
5. If a kid asks you “what’s heavy metal?” which album do you hand them? Ace of Spades, give them a good dose of Motorhead metal.
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KILLER BE KILLED SELF-TITLED When you hear that Max Cavalera is involved in a project you think you know what to expect, right? Not anymore – Killer Be Killed also features Mastodon’s Troy Sanders, Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato and Dave Elitch, formerly of The Mars Volta. The result is a contender for the metal album of the year. With a progressive rhythm section, three vocalists and songwriting shared across the board this truly a different beast than anything Cavalera has previously touched. At times you hear Sabbath, then it’s Fear Factory, a touch of Neurosis and even early Killswitch Engage. One thing you don’t hear is the same idea repeated. Standout tracks for me are ‘Wings of Feather and Wax’, ‘Snakes of Jehovah’ and ‘I.E.D’, but there isn’t a weak moment to be heard. Do yourself a favour – buy it, it’s out now.
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IT’S BEEN TEN years since Kasabian opened Glastonbury Festival. Then, they were the first band on the Other Stage at the world famous English festival. This year the Leicester foursome headline the final night of Glastonbury, an occasion they believe they’ve have been ready for the past few years. “This year, it’s ours,” says lanky guitarist and songwriter Serge Pizzorno. “All roads lead to Glastonbury. It’s a show we are ready for and one I think about every day. Glastonbury belongs to Kasabian this year without a doubt. We’ve made the record I’ve always wanted to make. I love every one we’ve done but this is the one...it’s up there for us,” he says pointing to the sky. Fifth album 48.13, simply named after the length of the record, will be released a few weeks before their milestone show at Glastonbury. “It’s a futuristic and psychedelic. And it proves Kasabian are a band who aren’t afraid,” says Pizzorno. “There’s no playing safe with us. We are like an illegal rave played by a band from 1969. And it was getting my head into that mind frame that helped me make this record.” We meet the band before they headline another festival – Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow, Scotland – and the four are on fire. Playing in the festival’s tent, it’s the biggest crowd of the night and from the heavy guitar riff opening track, new song ‘Bumblebee’ with its chorus chant of “We’re in ecstasy!” to show closer ‘Fire’, they are an unstoppable force. “We are at our best live, we really are,” says Pizzorno. “And that’s not being big-headed, that’s stating a fact. No one
comes close to our live set at the moment. We played to 60,000 last year at London’s Olympic Park and the week before Glastonbury we play a homecoming show to another 60,000 fans at Victoria Park in Leicester. “Headlining Glastonbury is the one we are all looking to, and aiming for but we’ve been ready for this for years, at least three albums ago. We’ll be more than ready for that night.” After touring commitments finished in August 2012, Pizzorno said the band were ready to go home and take a wellearned break. Pizzorno, singer Tom Meighan, bassist Chris Edwards and drummer Ian Matthews all have young families and needed time at home following fourth album, 2011’s Velociraptor! “I had no intention of starting a new record,” explains Pizzorno, “but I’d built a studio at home (which a friend nicknamed The Sergery, a name that stuck), and so I’d be in there playing about, making bits of music with no intention of really doing anything with it. But before you know it, Tom’s asking me have I got anything to hear and I’d say, ‘Well actually, what do you think of this?’” The songs that make up album number five are “Stripped back with no excess and one to really silence the haters,” says Pizzorno. By that, the straight talker is referring to Kasabian’s critics who in the past have labelled them as another indie lad-rock band. “We’ve never been anything near what we’ve been labelled,” Pizzorno laughs. “And it’s a very British thing to knock a band who are doing well, but our critics are those who have never even heard our music properly.”
“Glastonbury belongs to Kasabian this year without a doubt.”
First single ‘Eez-Eh’ has already got critics talking. An early demo of the song, which is “based on a late-night chat I had on tour with Tom,” says Pizzorno, contained the lyrics “Horsemeat in the burgers, people commit murders, everyone’s on bugle, we’re being watched by Google.” Says Pizzorno, “It was a fucking demo and I played it to a journalist. Next minute there’s a serious news story about us tackling the horsemeat scandal. I’ve even seen this mentioned in reviews of the album yet those lyrics aren’t on the album. It was a bit of a last minute laugh – silly nonsense that came into my head for a demo, so I could play something to the writer. Next minute it’s horsemeat-gate everywhere. Do these people not have a sense of humour then?” Central to 48:13 is the techno-rock track ‘6.53’ aka ‘Treat’ which is a future Kasabian live anthem. “It’s about the demon in me battling with the real me,” he explains. “You know, it’s time to go home, should you carry on with the consequences it brings or go home. It’s something we all battle with as a band on the road versus the family men we are. We are a gang and when we are on tour we like to have fun, have a drink and a laugh but we also miss home and with our loved ones. And it does get more difficult with age.” Album closer, the bluesy ballad ‘S.P.S’ which stands for “Scissors, Paper, Stone” is a song Pizzorno wrote about childhood friend and the band’s singer, Tom Meighan, after their relationship hit a low in 2012.
there’s time for one more song/ Let’s play at paper scissors stone.” The two found their relationship strained for the first time when they toured the US for nearly two months in 2012. Playing smaller venues than they were used to and having to “start again” according to Pizzorno, there was some drunken rows and the pair were at their lowest ebb. “It’s all fine now but it was just a bad time. Tom can be very vocal and it adds pressure. We were all missing home and it was just the wrong time for us to be there.” And how did Meighan react to the song? “He loved it,” smiles Pizzorno. “But now says he has to write one for me.” Kasabian will be heading out to Australia and Japan later in the year, something Pizzorno says will be more great shows. “After Glastonbury, every show is going to be legendary,” he promises. “When we were in Australia in 2009 we had a terrible time as we were quarantined when Tom came down with swine flu. The rest of us were poorly too and so holed up in our hotel. We couldn’t go anywhere. We had to cancel some shows so every time we travel that far, we always want to give a bit more, to make up for the shows we cancelled back then.” NEW ALBUM: 48:13 OUT FRI 13 JUN
It includes the lines, “Didn’t we all have such a good time?/I know
DELETE DELETE Auckland synth-guitar trio Delete Delete have been flying under the radar, but they’re starting to turn a few heads, especially after opening The Beck’s Sets series for New Zealand Music Month. Dishing up a plate full of punk sensibilities there’s also a hearty serving of rock on offer, as well as some sweet synthy electro on the side. One third of the trio and founding member Kurt Shanks (former bass player and sometime songwriter in the award-winning band Stellar*), explains that he was simply born into a musical life: “Being artistic and making music was a natural thing for me to do, as opposed to playing rugby or something.” When Stellar* disbanded, Shanks went solo, releasing a his own album in 2012. Friend and fellowmuso Lani Purkis (Elemeno P) contributed vocals to a track and Shanks liked their voices together. “We decided to write and record some songs together — our first two singles ‘What Do You take Me For’ and ‘Between The Lines’ came out of those early sessions. Since then, Chris Van de Geer has also joined us.” With an energetic live dynamic Shanks and Purkis both sing, as well as swapping between synth, guitar and bass. Using programmed drums and beats there’s no need for a fourth member on stage, so Van de Geer is free to focus on guitar
and ensuring the tech setup runs smoothly. With influences ranging from Joy Division to Prince, Joan Jett, Straightjacket Fits and MGMT, Delete Delete’s rocking electro is full of strong hooky melodies and packs a mean punk-fuelled punch. Collectively work-shopping ideas for new music, Shanks concedes that being a relatively new band the writing process is still a moveable feast. Fortunate to receive NZ On Air Making Tracks funding, Delete Delete have been able to add a couple of videos to the arsenal. ‘What Do You Take Me For’ is an animated clip based on an early PS1 game, made by Matt Heath and Phil Brough. “And our latest video for ‘Between The Lines’ was directed by Si Moore who used a fancy-pants hi-res camera out at Muriwai Beach, featuring a a couple of cameos by the band too. Delete Delete make music that celebrates genres which have influenced all that’s come since, provoking a certain nostalgia. But that’s not to say their sound isn’t current, as the band have their sights firmly set on the future and forging their own path. “After playing the Music Month bash down at Tyler Street we discovered a whole bunch of people really like our tunes. So we’re really excited about the new songs we’re recording at the moment. “ DELETEDELETE.BANDCAMP.COM
MZWETWO Mzwetwo (Miz-way-two) has been around for a while, formerly producing and performing under the moniker of Loui The Zu. But these days that’s simply a point of reference, testament to the fact that although he may only be 19, he’s by no means inexperienced. Everything about Mzwetwo as an artist is new, as he crafts genre-bending rock ‘n’ rollinspired hip hop and hip hopinspired rock ‘n’ roll. Listening to his three-track Gallantino EP, released earlier this year, is a bona fide musical slap in the face; lo-fi music that transcends genres, featuring gently percolating production one minute (‘I’d Go Back On My Heart’) and aggressive, rhythmic battering-ram-raps the next (‘Michael Jackson’). There’s crackling bass, tender melodies, stabbing staccato, crooning vocals, wailing guitar and moody electro. So where did this multifarious melting pot of musical expressionism stem from? “The first time I was inspired to make music was when I heard the verse of Lil Wayne’s ‘We taking Over’. I was inspired to produce beats when I heard ‘Crank That’ by Soulja Boy.” And not surprisingly, influence comes in many guises for this young producer – fashion,
film, Ray Charles, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix, Lil Wayne and Drake to name a few. Explaining that his music is all about honesty, Mzwetwo’s writing process begins whenever he’s moved by a feeling, “...or when I hear a word that I like, a word that moves me.” He then finds a piano or starts making a beat, writing the words and melody in his head as he goes. “I never write my lyrics down.” The recording process is separate entirely. For example, his latest track ‘Horror’, was recorded down in Hamilton with Taste Nasa (“He played the guitar parts in there too”). Mzwetwo’s happy to admit he doesn’t know much about the recording side of things and leaves it up to others. The production in ‘Horror’ is slick. Taste Nasa’s done a good job; echoing synths, layered vocals, and like the tracks that preceded it, heavy with emotion. Somehow Mzweto manages to combine disparate elements into music that is intense and intriguing. Combining varying vocal styles that traverse multiple beat structures, this music is complex and clever. “I’ve learned that there’s a big difference between bad and good, but only small details between good and great.” SOUNDCLOUD.COM/MZWETWO
JUNELLE “I know it’s just an EP and not an album, but I’m freakin’ stoked! It feels like a huge achievement and I’m delighted,” enthuses Junelle of her debut EP Just This Sky. And fair call, I would be hella proud if I could put my name to her ambiently layered electro-pop – delicate yet assertive, it’s mesmeric and delightful in equal parts. The foundations for most tracks were laid on guitar and piano, written within Junelle’s reference parameters of folk, soul and jazz. Wanting to step outside the confines of acoustic simplicity, Junelle then enlisted partner Abraham Kunin (The Means, Homebrew, Coach), and his production genius: “I hardly ever explained the meaning behind the songs either, he just got it...that still amazes me.” Making music and living together led to some challenging times and a creative process that was often intense. But as the album grew so too did their ability to handle each other’s criticism, resulting in something very special. “Knowing that we were creating material that we loved – and not straying from that – maintaining our integrity and intention, we were both really happy.” Articulating thoughts and feelings honestly is of the utmost importance to Junelle, preferring to strip back the emotional layers and write in a state of vulnerability The rolling reverbheavy ‘Intertwined’ is just such a paradigm: “... about seeing
someone you love in a certain space, somewhere you can’t reach, and the sheer worry that comes with that.” Similarly, the shimmery ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ was written after coming to terms with a situation that wasn’t working out; being ok with the disappointment and being okay with feeling hurt. “It was at the exact moment of acceptance – I remember very clearly – that the song just naturally came out.” With a home set-up that that lends a DIY ethos and intimacy to her soundscapes, Junelle’s Just This Sky EP was recorded with a cheap condenser mic onto Ableton Live 8 through a “super basic – and buggy – Alesis iO2 Interface.” Guitars were all DI’d through a 2 watt Roland Micro Cube and mixed via a fairly stock-standard pair of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. With most projects comes a little newfound wisdom, a set of learnings, and Junelle laughs at the clichéd nature of hers: “There’s no time like the present.” She explains that while creativity is about inspiration, it’s not always about waiting for inspiration. “Working with Abe, who’s super-efficient, I‘ve learned that actually creating the right circumstances to allow for inspiration is key.” Reflecting for a moment, she then adds, “I think some of the of procrastination is more about being afraid. But efficiency kindly leaves you little room for that.” SOUNDCLOUD.COM/JUNELLE-EMA-LEE
LONTALIUS Lontalius is a genus of butterfly in the family Lycaenidae – see Wikipedia. Lontalius is also a genus of musician in the family Verytalented – don’t see Wikipedia. Otherwise known as Eddie Johnston (and Race Banyon), the 17 year old Wellingtonian initially released music as Shipwreck, until deciding he needed a new name: “...so I clicked ‘Random Article’ on Wikipedia. I think it’s a really lovely word.” Choosing his artist name in a curious sort of a way, his interest in music and performing is also worthy of a mention: “I used to lip sync to boy band CDs in my bedroom.” He was able to put down the hairbrush when his parents bought him a guitar at the age of eight, after which he had lessons for a few years before starting to write his own songs. These days there’s not a trace of his boy band predilection. In fact, this young Casio-playing singer-songwriter is the complete antithesis. His introspective tunes have a strong lo-fi aesthetic (‘yr heart is beating’), while maintaining an endearing simplicity (‘ride wiiiiith me’). His spectral vocals heighten the prevailing melancholic mood of most tracks (The World Will Never Know About Us EP), creating an anachronistic musical mix. Inspired by listening to sad songs on repeat in his bedroom at 3am, Lontalius describes his sound in
much more simplistic terms: “I’m trying to combine my favourite parts of R & B and electronic music with my favourite parts of, like, Wilco songs.” Beginning with a short loop on his Casio MT-45 or guitar, Lontalius then records with Ableton Live and builds a song around these humble beginnings. Never straying far stylistically, Lontalous also does covers, probably some of the best covers you’ll ever hear. Emulating Beyonce for ‘XO’, there’s also ‘Trophies’ by Drake and his most recent gem, ‘Happy’ by Pharrelll Williams. Put aside all preconceptions, misconceptions, all your ‘ceptions, because although this commingling shouldn’t work, it really does. I’m not discounting alchemy of some sort, for these tracks transubstantiate completely and the end product is a wonder to behold. Oh and speaking of wonders, Ryan Hemsworth featured Lontalius’s ‘yr heart is beating’ on his first mix of 2014, aptly named ‘Ryan Hemsworth’s Cool DJ Mix’. Proof of the aforementioned Verytalented, the mixtape has led to Lontalius actually working on some songs with Hemsworth. “It’s given me a huge confidence boost. He’s one of my favourite producers and it’s a dream to be working with him.” Dreamy alright. SOUNDCLOUD.COM/LONTALIUS
THIS MONTH IN CLUBL AND FOR EXTENDED INTERVIEWS CHECK OUT RIPITUP.CO.NZ/CLUBLAND
THE CHAINSMOKERS Alex & Drew, also known as The Chainsmokers, are two high flying twenty something EDM producers and DJs from New York, who went from side-stage to main-stage with the help of their surprise 2014 hit ‘#selfie’, an ode to the cellphone self photograph. You are a relatively new production outfit. Where did the two of you meet? Indeed we are. Drew was graduating from Syracuse School of Music Business at Bandier and producing and Alex was in NYC working in an art gallery and DJing around the city, having just graduated from NYU. A mutual friend introduced us around 2012, who sort of understood our philosophies, and we really hit it off. Where did the name come from and do you smoke? No, we don’t smoke. The name just stuck with us. We felt like it was a nice name and had a familiar feel to it. We aren’t into the idea of smoking but the symbolism of the chain smoker was interesting. The guy who is
music. ‘#selfie’ was definitely eye opening though and we think we are way better for it in terms of what we need to make because our taste really lies in the masses. We want to make fun, relatable music that lots of people can enjoy, we really love that. So the
next single is nearly done and we think it has a great blend of our sound with the various styles of music that we really enjoy and it’s very catchy.
bass, that darkness, the fog and some flashlights, was the most fascinating thing for me. And from there on I wanted to create something like this.
‘#SELFIE’ IS OUT NOW
sort of always around watching things and being observant. How did the connection to Dim Mak (Steve Aoki’s label) eventuate and the track ‘#selfie’ blow up? We showed the song to a close friend of ours who works with Steve a lot and he knew we were looking for a label to work with and he said he would send it over to him. It was sort of a set up, because we loved Dim Mak and were hoping he would do just that so when he offered we were very pleased. The track blew up for about a million reasons it seems, it’s a great piece of entertainment, timing, great promotion from Dim Mak and ourselves, a well thought out marketing plan, it’s fun, who knows…
When did your love affair with electronic music begin? I grew up in Rostock, Germany in the late 90s, and I fell in love with electronic music in general. It started with downbeat & trip hop – stuff like Kruder & Dorfmeister, Massive Attack, Tricky and so on...afterwards there was drum and bass. At this time I started to produce my first own tracks, but they’ve never seen daylight, except some instrumentals and remixes I did for some local hip hop bands. In the mid 2000s I moved to Berlin and this was the point where I tried to take producing more seriously and became more dance floor focused.
What was your inspiration for the music video for ‘Oh For Da Fonk’? There was not a special idea behind it. We just wanted to do something stupid and something with running. “Just some kind of funny’’ was the plan. So I was sitting together with Jan Oberlaender, who shot it, DJ and one of my best friends and we did a short brainstorming & script for the shooting and that’s it. SCHLEPP GEIST TOP 5 TUNES MANO LE TOUGH – ‘RETURN TO YOZ’
Once the hype from ‘#selfie’ dies down, what’s next for The Chainsmokers? Well that’s when the good stuff starts. ‘#selfie’ wasn’t a song we want to disown but musically it doesn’t represent us, just comically. So we are excited to get back to what we built our initial fan base on which is good
Who and what influenced you to get into it? I think the biggest influence is the party itself. In the late 90s I started going out to smaller raves and the sound and the mood at these events was something completely new for me. To get lost into this sound for hours, with nothing than this huge
DOUGLAS GREED – ‘THIS TIME’ TERRANOVA – ‘HEADLOCK’ MADMOTORMIQUEL – ‘SAD REINDEERS’ MATTHIAS MEYER – ‘NOVEMBER RAIN’ (MARIO BASANOV REMIX)
SEE HIM DJ: SCHLEPP GEIST (DE) SAT 14 JUN CASSETTE NINE, AUCKLAND
DOSE MIND THE FUTURE The debut LP by Chris Truman, aka Dose (originally from Christchurch) shows off his own creativity and authentic tough signature sound. Mind The Future, some six years in the making, is jam-packed with serious belters that should come with hazard warnings for the unsuspecting listener. Tunes such as ‘Like This’ and ‘Nowadays’ are straight dance floor bangers. The album’s name sake ‘Mind the Future’ goes straight in, pummelling
the senses and spiralling into what I can only convey as an unrelenting frenzy. The track ‘Something’s Wrong’ takes us back to a more pure format, reminiscent of the Concord Dawn Chaos By Design era, while ‘Moving On’ tantalises with smooth vocals and some seriously punchy bass. Overall this is not an entry level album and can be quite an intense ride. If this is the future of drum and bass then I don’t mind at all. TAMMY WOODROFF
ARMIN VAN BUUREN A STATE OF TRANCE 2014
released material. A double mix suitably selected for your mood.
Armin Van Buuren is one of the most consistent producer/ DJs in electronic music. He has been voted the number one DJ in the world five out of the last seven years, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 and is about to smash another milestone, celebrating 650 episodes of his weekly radio show A State Of Trance by hosting live broadcasts at events in nine different locations around the globe. What’s unique about Armin Van Buuren is that he has, for the most part, managed to stay away from getting on musical bandwagons and is still very much in touch with his diehard fans. No better testament to this statement is true than A State Of Trance 2014.
Mix 1 is On The Beach, which starts a little tougher than I was expecting, so I’d rename it to “Pool Party Las Vegas Mix” which is packed full of big riffs and top tier producers such as Gareth Emery, Markus Schulz, MaRLo, Aly & Fila and Alex M.O.R.P.H.
Essentially, ASOT 2014 is a “best of” the radio show tracks from the past few months with plenty of up front and soon to be
LUCKY DATE What year did you start producing and what were your early attempts like? I started in 2004 when I was 14. I made hip hop until I was 18. How did you get your early releases noticed and eventually signed? YouTube! I owe all of my early signings to YouTube. I posted
everything there and created a production tutorial community, which allowed me to showcase my first songs. How did the collaboration with Moby on the song ‘Delay’ happen? He reached out to my management years ago after hearing my song ‘Six 16’. We worked back and forth via
email. We are planning on doing another track together at some point down the road. In a cluttered sea of copycat “EDM” tracks how do you try and stand out? I don’t know how to describe it because I’m not exactly sure how and why, but whenever I try to write something more in
Mix 2 is In The Club and is just as you’d expect: smoke machines, intelligent lighting and hands in the air. It picks the tempo up slightly with a mix of uplifting and electro tinged trance. The Armin productions shine on this mix with no less than four of his own including the future hit ‘Ping Pong’. A reliable set of tunes interwoven perfectly by Armin Van Buuren, proving to be the ‘Toyota’ of trance.
the vein of an “EDM” track, I subconsciously start changing it until it sounds right to me. By the time of completion, it usually sounds a bit weird and a lot less mainstream – which certainly has its pros and cons. SEE HIM DJ: LUCKY DATE (US) WED 02 JUL CODE NIGHTCLUB, AUCKLAND
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TINY RUINS “To hear thousands of people singing them together in such far-flung places is pretty special.” What’s your favourite thing about being a musician? The uncertainty of it is both alluring and maddening. Working for yourself and allowing things to unwind spontaneously means you’re not bored or unfulfilled. Heading off into the unknown can be stressful...but overall, when you get to the end of the night and it’s been a good show, all the difficulties fade into feelings of...gratitude and freedom. It allows you to be yourself, even if sometimes you long for a more conventional life.
UNCUT DESCRIBED IT as “an album that both bruises the heart and lifts the soul” while NME lauded it for its “affecting, intimate power”. Brightly Painted One, the sophomore release by New Zealander Hollie Fulbrook under moniker Tiny Ruins, has built upon the success of her widely acclaimed debut album and Taite Prize nominee Some Were Meant For Sea. Once a solo project has now evolved into a three piece (Cass Basil on bass and Alex Freer on drums), and the subtle folk pop fleshed out ever so gently with brass, percussion and strings. The minimalist approach is still there, it’s just furthered through lush arrangements that support Fullbrook’s mesmeric voice with haunting confidence.
the album’s end. Was this intentional? When I wrote that song, I knew it needed a change of tempo and a newness to the arrangements to reflect what it’s about. I thought the drums needed to feature strongly. We didn’t record the album with the order figured out – that all fell into place afterward. It was a happy accident, or maybe some weird subconscious intuition, that both the track-listing and the changing richness of the arrangements ended up giving the album a bit of an overall ‘arch’. Tom Healy, who recorded and mixed the record did a beautiful job of this song, as did Cass and Alex who really lifted it far beyond what I might have done by myself.
James Manning caught up briefly with Hollie, right after she accompanied Neil Finn for a performance on Jools Holland. She shares stories of being on the road, the background of Brightly Painted One, signing to UK label Bella Union and the freedom of being a musician.
You’re currently touring Europe with Neil Finn – what have been the highlights? The encores, where the whole audience is singing along. Neil has so many killer songs. To hear thousands of people singing them together in such far-flung places is pretty special. In Manchester, Johnny Marr joined us on stage and we played the Smiths song ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’.
What were your musical intentions with Brightly Painted One? I had a bunch of songs that felt cohesive and I wanted to get them down in a way that served them well. I was keen to have more emphasis on the band’s rhythm section. I wanted it to be bolder, in terms of the song structure, layering and choice of instruments. ‘She’ll Be Coming Round’ is one of my favourites. Three quarters of the way through the tone changes, and the layering becomes more prominent right through to
Could you share a memorable gig from your travels? Cass and I were to play a festival in the English countryside a couple of years ago. We were low on cash, but Cass found a campervan that needed relocating to Amsterdam (where we were heading next), giving us free reign for seven days for only £1. I just hugged her and we jumped up and down like in a movie. The only catch was that the van featured the Rastafarian flag and was emblazoned on each side with an enormous portrait of Bob Marley and a big cloud of smoke wafting up the sliding door. After getting lost several times, we finally rolled into the festival grounds and got stuck in the mud right at the entrance gates, in front of some contemptuous hipsters. It was worth it. What does the future hold for Tiny Ruins? Just keep chipping away I guess. Touring for most of the year. I’m working on some new stuff, so we’ll see how that pans out. NEW ALBUM: BRIGHTLY PAINTED ONE OUT NOW
SEE THEM LIVE: TINY RUINS THU 05 JUN LECAFE, PICTON
Last year you played New York’s CMJ festival, which led to signing with UK label Bella Union. How did this come about? Simon Raymonde from Bella Union saw us play in Auckland and expressed enthusiasm for releasing Brightly Painted One. I was really thrilled. It’s done us wonders in the UK and Europe. I’m also lucky to be on Flying Nun in America, Arch Hill in NZ, and Spunk in Australia.
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SINGSTAR REBOOTED FOR PS4
WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW ORDER PS4 It’s been five years since the last Wolfenstein game, and 22 years since Wolfenstein 3D cemented itself in the minds of PC gamers everywhere. Again we see William “BJ” Blaskowicz fighting off hordes of Nazis in an alternate telling of WWII, and this time we are treated to quite the storytelling. The game starts in 1946 where we see BJ and his squadron heading into Deathshead’s castle to end the war once and for all. Things take an unfortunate turn and members of the squadron are captured, choices have to be made, and upon escape an explosion renders Blaskowicz unconscious and left for dead in the waters surrounding the castle. Blaskowicz learns that the Nazis won the war, due in part to his squadron’s failure (but mainly due to the nuke they dropped in New York) and that freedom fighters have either given up or have been imprisoned. The world has been converted into a blonde hair, blue eyed, Aryan state and technology has skyrocketed thanks to Nazi engineers. The world is far more advanced than expected, with
concrete and steel covering the majority of the populated cityscapes. The new Wolfenstein is immersive and while I’m not saying the story itself is great, the storytelling sure as hell is. Machine Games have done their homework when it comes to what the big players are doing with cinematics, and it shows. With no sign of quick time events, it’s easy to just place the controller down and absorb every minute detail of these moments. As I said, the plot may not win any awards, but at least you’ll enjoy watching it all unfold. Characters have been fleshed out – they have their own pain and sufferings – female characters are strong, driven, and unique, and an over the top action hero isn’t over the top or as self-absorbed as one might have thought. Kind of like the game itself. Instead of putting part of the development budget into creating a multiplayer game that no-one was going to play weeks after release, all attention was put on making the solo experience a great one. It’s not going to be the best first person shooter you’ll play, but it’ll be one you remember once it’s over. REAGAN MORRIS
We all knew it was going to happen, but Sony have officially announced that SingStar will be released on their new PlayStation 4 console later this year. While the core “karaoke-style” game will remain unchanged, the microphone peripheral will not be required this time around. Instead, players will be able to use a free app to use their smartphone as a microphone. The app will be available on “most” iOS and Android devices, and as well as
WARCRAFT MOVIE NEARLY FINISHED Director Duncan Jones has announced that filming for Universal’s Warcraft movie adaptation, which is set for a 2016 release, finished last week. “Final day on Warcraft now officially...wrapped!! Off to bed for three hours before a meeting in the AM. Goodnight/good morning twitter!” wrote Jones on Twitter on Friday. The film’s cast will be headlined by Paula Patton (Mission Impossible: Ghosts Protocol) and Travis Fimmel (Vikings),
the microphone functionality, will allow users to create customized playlists. London Studio is also working to optimise the social experience of SingStar, making it easier to share moments from the game directly to Twitter or Facebook, and are improving the scoring system for the game. Additionally, London Studios announced that SingStar: Ultimate Party will be coming out for PS3 and PS4 later this year, which will comprise of 30 select tracks aimed at people new to SingStar.
but little is known about the plot, other than that it will focus on the conflict between the Horde and Alliance factions. At last year’s BlizzCon, Jones explained that neither side will be portrayed as the “correct” side of the war, much like the World of Warcraft game. Filming began in January this year, ahead of an expected 20-month post production phase. The movie was originally planned for launch on 18 December, 2015, the same date as Star Wars: Episode VII, but was later delayed until 11 March, 2016.
LAURA WEASER LAURASSCREENING.COM
FILM REVIEWS DIRECTED BY BRYAN SINGER STARRING PATRICK STEWART, IAN MCKELLEN, HUGH JACKMAN
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST The crew’s back! Uniting pre-reboot and post-reboot X-Men films together seemed like a gamble, after the franchise took a wrong turn with the final installment of the trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand. But with all your favourite cast members back in the fold, and director Bryan Singer in the hot seat, the sequel is bigger and better as the war between mutants and humans
escalates beyond control. The future is bleak as mutants are being wiped out by sentinels, set to adapt and destroy anyone who gets in their way. In a last-ditch effort to change the course of history, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time to stop the events that cause a chain reaction of destruction. Despite his painfully terrible spin-off series, Wolverine is far from the weakest link between
DIRECTED BY GARETH EDWARDS STARRING AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON, ELIZABETH OLSEN, BRYAN CRANSTON
GODZILLA Breaking down the barriers between B-grade monster movie and big-budget disaster blockbuster, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is a Frankenstein of movie, crossing dramatic clichés and heartfelt emotional moments with there’s-no-way-that-could-happen “boss fights” between the alien creatures. But while some have criticised this reboot for failing to evoke the right tone, the blend of humour and humility is what makes us forget about Roland Emmerich’s 1998 box-office flop.
The iconic monster Godzilla returns from dormancy, awakened by the arrival of a creature that’s unleashing mayhem on earth. After his father Joe (Bryan Cranston) discovers the monster’s existence, tracking it from a 1999 nuclear disaster to the present day, marine Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) unwittingly gets caught up in the efforts to contain these destructive forces. But Godzilla has other plans and man’s attempts to control nature are put to the test. Putting the franchise in the hands of Edwards,
past and present, and the film benefits from his presence (shirt on and off). But as always it’s the dynamic between Xavier and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and their older counterparts Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan) which forms the strong foundation of a great X-Men film. New additions see a few iconic characters popping up, including the return of Iceman and Kitty Pryde, and despite a lengthy legal battle with Marvel Studios/Disney over the rights to Quicksilver, X-Men: DOFP includes the wisecracking teen; Evan Peters playing him with a brash cheekiness that provides well-timed comic relief. Tweens will go gaga over Jennifer Lawrence due to The Hunger Games, but the praise is well-deserved as she turns up the sass in this adult role and gets plenty of screen time kicking ass in a blue body suit. After The Last Stand left a sour taste in fans’ mouths, X-Men: First Class hit the sweet spot, thanks to a strong script and talented cast. Keeping hold of the fundamentals, while adding elements of the original trilogy which worked, X-Men: DOFP blends the two together in a cohesive movie that also draws on real-life events to tie it all together – ready for round three.
***** (director of the 2010 runaway cult hit Monsters), sees a finesse and complexity given to characters that could have easily fallen into Emmerich-style stereotypes. The marines have more soul, the scientists more compassion and even the monsters are given a purpose that is, despite their extra-terrestrial boundaries, grounded in realism. Building up to the big reveal, the film drives forward at a steady pace to successfully create suspense and mystery around Godzilla’s return. Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston is mostly to thank for this, as paranoid scientist Joe Brody, explaining his conspiracy theories with a Heisenberg-like intensity. Co-stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen bring the drama as husband and wife separated and caught up in the madness of the monster’s destructive force (fun fact: they weirdly play brother and sister in the upcoming Avengers flick). But the real star of the show is Godzilla; his sheer size and scale cleverly portrayed on film through comparative shots give gravity to the situation as he tears down skyscraper after skyscraper, and as silly the final battle between monsters may seem, it’s this B-grade tonguein-cheek action that makes the emotional intensity all worth it.
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ALBUM REVIEWS BLANK REALM GRASSED INN
What a pleasure this album is: melodic guitar and perfect-match basslines cascade and devolve within thrummy haze as two Spencer siblings (there are three in Blank Realm, helmed by pal Luke), yelp and whirr their joyous repetitions over shambolic layer-cake below. Grassed Inn’s psych-steeped collection of tuneful scruff makes varied stops at the altars of 80s indie-pop, Suicide and Velvet Underground but its greatest sonic-simliar would be a more consistent (sorry) Flying Nun trinity of Kilgour/
Scott/Carter. However, namedropping and genre-stuffing does a disservice to the unique qualities Blank Realm have managed to cultivate on this release. Tone changes from track to track compel without feeling forced, monotone phases exist without sacrificing catchiness and darker lyrics lollop like gentle giants in beautiful cycles of guitar phrase. Perhaps I’ll take a leaf from Blank Realm here and happily repeat: what a goddamn pleasure. SARAH THOMSON
***** THE BLACK KEYS TURN BLUE
LITTLE DRAGON NABUMA RUBBERBAND
FATIMA AL QADIRI ASIATISCH
***** MR SCRUFF FRIENDLY BACTERIA
Ah, the dual blessing and curse of Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton’s Midas touch. Moving on this release from long-time producer/ collaborator to fully fledged songwriting/performance pal, Turn Blue is both The Black Keys’ first US #1 record and a bit of an homogenized bore. Much like Broken Bells’ (Burton & James Mercer) recent After the Disco, the Keys’ eighth album is oddly mired in atomic age retro-futurist gunk. The first track on Turn Blue courtesy of Auerbach/Carney on their lonesome sticks out like a joyous filthy thumb, hitching you to recall the pleasures possible in the Keys’ bashy blues-influenced frotting. Sadly, this does not last and we are returned to flourishes of organs in orbit and the odd Brothers Gibb approximation (in fairness, almost impressive from Keys’ vocalist Auerbach). Add an ill-chosen heartland rock closer and the whole really is, in this instance, far less than the sum of its parts.
Swedish pop. It’s colonising the world, and it seems there’s nothing we can do to stop these pale, sun-deprived Swedes from inflicting their pale, sun-deprived music on us. But it’s not all bad. Little Dragon’s fourth album, for instance, is an example of when something is so wrong that it’s right. Singer Yukimi Nagano has clearly spent the last year or two listening wall-to-wall to old Janet Jackson records. Here, she attempts to exude the essence of the King of Pop’s sibling in a Japanese/Swedish context. It works. Janet is vastly underrated these days, and Nagano has delved into her more plaintive, ballad-type vocals, rather than the dirty girl of ‘Nasty Boys’. Nagano’s tribute works a treat. The thing is, she can sing, and because she emotes beautifully, the snapping mechanical beats and icy synthetic tones of her band make for a great contrast.
The publicity hype for Asiatisch drones on pretentiously about how it’s a conceptual work commenting on an imagined China, an Asian fantasy “refracted through pulpy Western pop culture”. Apparently, the possibly mythical Kuwaiti “multidisciplinary artist and musician” Fatima Al Qadiri has concocted this short album in homage to a sub-strain of the grime genre called sinogrime. ‘Yeah, right!’ I thought, ‘pull the other one.’ And then I found that sinogrime really does exist, however obscurely, in the margins of early 21st century electronica. Its 10 mostly brief pieces comprise cheesy synthetic keyboard emulations of intentionally clichéd Asian musical motifs, chopstick kitsch featuring ‘flutes’, ‘gongs’, ‘mallets’ and ‘choral’ effects. Sadly, however, percussion and bass are sparsely measured out, and for all its promise, Asiatisch never gets its groove on.
The whimsical, quintessential Englishness of the Ninja Tune label and its most quintessential act, Mr Scruff, made it one of the more entertaining, sample-heavy, slightly eccentric head-nodding experiences of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Mr Scruff’s Keep It Unreal (1999), with its happy jazz-swing-house hybrids, still makes for great Sunday grooving. Andy Carthy, the man behind the name, has yearned for collaborators and a way out of his stylistic rut. He’s sacrificed some of the fun, as it takes on less bouncy beats and acquires a certain darkness. But that’s the problem with brands: to many, Mr Scruff will always be that happy, eccentric, cartoonish character of yore. Maybe he should have used his real name for this outing, with its dirty synth sounds spurting everywhere and more sophisticated sound palette. Generally, Friendly Bacteria is good for the gut and the auditory cavities.
JUNGLE much better when you don’t push it. And you form much more honest reactions when you come to it naturally,” T says matterof-factly.
JUNGLE SIDLED INTO the music industry door last year with a couple of retro-futuristic soul singles, accompanied by music videos co-directed by the band: ‘The Heat’ featuring Icky and Silence from the High Rollaz skate crew and six-year-old B-Girl Terra absolutely killing it in ‘Platoon’. Their furtive entry was not a lasting thing as the videos went viral and all of sudden everyone was clambering to find out more about Jungle. The core duo, lifelong friends J (Josh) and T (Tom), preferred to remain incognito and let the music speak for itself, to the immense frustration of bloggers and journalists. But a year on, the collective (live they’re a seven-piece powerhouse) are set to release their eponymous debut album via XL Recordings, and are happy to share their story. The summer of 2000 is where it all began, when J and his family moved in next door to T. Not interested in unpacking, J set off to explore the backyard and was soon in hot pursuit of children’s voices: “I was in my neighbour’s garden playing football and this kid just jumped over the fence and said, ‘Hey, what’s up?’” Not quite as complicated as making friends in the adult world. That was all it took, and they started
playing, fighting, exploring and learning together: “You have fights as a kid. But then you learn it’s better to back each other up and win the fights together.” As well as some rough and tumble time, T had an old acoustic guitar lying around the house and an out of tune piano. The pair mucked around on the ignominious instruments, which was as much about finding ways of expressing themselves as it was about music. But when the wonders of the internet were revealed to them, everything changed: “I think we were about 14 and I found some cheap music software, which I installed on the family computer. And all of a sudden this whole new world opened up to us.” After leaving school the pair were involved in a couple of projects, which kept failing. Born out of this period of frustration they decided to make a few changes: “We’d got to this point in our lives where we were trying too hard to do things...ya know, be this, be that, make contacts. Just too busy trying to force a career,” T explains. They started working together exclusively and changed their philosophy, which they soon found was incredibly satisfying. “It [music] comes
Working with an “incredibly democratic” artistic practice, they decided to release their first tracks without anyone knowing who they were. This wasn’t about wanting to appear mysterious or elusive, as many thought at the time, but simply about removing egos from the equation: “I’ve called Josh ‘J’ since I was 11, and same with him. We weren’t trying to hide, we just wanted to make sure the most honest thing was our music.” Producing kaleidoscopic modern soul that’s unmistakably British, yet with true global appeal, T reveals their love of experimenting and having the freedom to do just that is what really excites them about the project. “Sitting in the studio eating crisps; if you record it six times it kinda sounds like a snare drum. We don’t have a set script or any rules...if you’re trying to create within confines you’re not being true to yourself.” For something that started as an excuse not to get a job, J and T were somewhat surprised when the videos started garnering so much attention. Initially writing music simply to share between them, T admits he can look back on things with a little perspective now. “We haven’t had distinguished careers as musicians or anything, so we’re not going to sit back and pat ourselves on the back.” And with this newfound notoriety came the interest of major labels and being signed to XL. “It’s bonkers, especially growing up in West London and knowing about it. Also makes a nice change from J’s bedroom,” T laughs, “but mostly it’s really humbling to be on the roster.”
Ready for release, the hypnotic funk-inspired tracks could have come straight from the seedy nightlife of ‘70s New York; old-school grooves and 21st century electro soul bursting with hook-laden hits. Warm and sinuous, as a whole the album is visceral and emotive. “There’s an incredible power in human connections and sharing emotions – these days it’s easier to Snapchat someone than knock on their door and have a conversation. Connecting emotionally is one of the most important things as a human and it’s what we all crave on some level.” Track one, ‘The Heat’ is dancefloor-ready with a capital D, while ‘Accelerate’ swings into smooth, subtle vocal melodies. ‘Busy Earnin’’ is a bold brassy celebration-cum-warning of the need for work-life balance, contrasted with the beautiful 4am synth-soul of track six, ‘Drops’: “So come down from the clouds | Come down now | I’ve been loving you | For too long.” ‘Smoking Pixels’ is all lone-horseman-riding-through-adeserted-town…maybe on acid. And album closer ‘Lemonade Lake’ is a just over four minutes of shimmering heartache, nestled in floaty electro. Yes there’s pain, hope, joy and regret – all the highs and lows of human interactions – and T’s ready to give his album to the world. “It’s almost been like 12 moments of true bliss in the creation of this record, every track has taken me by surprise at some point. Like suddenly when a song connects with you, you get this rush of euphoria and meaning floods out of the speakers in to your eyes and your mind.” This is music for dancing feet and the unconscious mind. DEBUT ALBUM: JUNGLE OUT FRI 27 JUN
ALBUM REVIEWS POPSTRANGERS ***** FORTUNA CARPARK
London-based NZ three-piece Popstrangers are back with their second album barely a year after their first, Antipodes, a record that should have won awards and toppled governments, but sadly did not. Fortuna pulls back on the raw noise and instrumental firepower, but it’s no less remarkable for it. The accent is on the ‘60s psychedelia that hovered around Antipodes, with a layer of ‘80s English shoegaze for atmosphere. The tunes here,
TUNE-YARDS NIKKI NACK
which sometimes sound like Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd with a touch of SF Sorrow-era Pretty Things, have enough melody to appease sing-along disciples, but still have a deep, moody soundstage that no boy band fan would tolerate. It’s astonishing the big sound and fulsome textures Popstrangers get out of three plugged-in instruments and a few voices. This 10-song set is better than any of those NME ‘hype of the week’ bands that cover the column inches in Mother England. GARY STEEL
FUJIYA & MIYAGI ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS
TINY RUINS BRIGHTLY PAINTED ONE
LYKKE LI I NEVER LEARN
Merrill Garbus trades in some pretty heavy juxtapositions. Children’s playground chants intertwined with Busta Rhymes references, winking Cola advertisement nods with takedowns of colonialism and body image, a musical phrase from Michael Jackson’s ‘Beat It’ with a domestic abuse warning, ridiculous rapidfire performance poetry plus a large amount of Byrne-esque pillaging of non-Western musical tropes. Erudite passions are out in mosaic force on Nikki Nack, which can mean proceedings get a little exhausting upon occasion. Nate Brenner’s afrobeat-imbued basslines are then a pleasingly anchoring constant within Garbus’ postmodern playhouse. Fans will no doubt find much to love on this release. But newcomers may find Garbus’s many talents tricky to navigate at first. Start, then, with lead single ‘Water Fountain’, ‘Real Thing’ and the calmer ‘Time of Dark’ before applying for full Yo Gabba Garbus membership.
You get a weird sense of disconnection listening to Fujiya & Miyagi. While their primary influences are clearly the “Krautrock” rhythms of ‘70s German bands like Neu! and Can, with a side of robotics via Kraftwerk and ‘90s IDM, their aesthetic is still somehow closer to the Butlins Holiday Camp dance neuroses of early Fatboy Slim. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that bad, but it’s odd feeling that dance music imperative boiling up through grooves as austere and concentrated as those of Can. Artificial Sweeteners is intrinsically English, with its self-conscious wordplay, whispered monotone ‘singing’, and always a hint of the Ecstacylaced acid squelch of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. It doesn’t substantially move the goalposts from their previous releases, but at least they can wrestle some fun out of styles that are too often canonised as the domain of the truly serious artiste.
Many a time does the ink spilled on Hollie Fullbrook’s Tiny Ruins refer to weather. Temperatures, suns, nights, seasons and the envelopment within or escaping thereof. Hers is a brand of intimate dream-folk that easily begets such atmospheric comparisons, with Brightly Painted One working not as a collection of individual warming matches but rather an embrace from the whole hearth. Tone perfect accompaniment from bassist Cass Basil and percussionist Alex Freer deepen Fullbrook’s appeal on this release, her songwriting maintaining its Nick Drake/Sibylle Baier familiarity while her lyric wit agreeably steers proceedings away from the potential morass of ‘twee’. Mid-album ‘She’ll Be Coming ‘Round’ showcases all concerned at the height of their powers, progressing from simple Fullbrook finger-picking to full band thrumming upon the winking possibility of free will. Beautiful.
Damn. Someone got their heart squished. Nine cuts at collectively just over half an hour of swelling Spector/gospel confessional corebleed. (Don’t be expecting the sassy hip-flick of a ‘Get Some’-esque single to pop up anywhere on this effort). Li herself has offered during live performance that the album clocks in as a “bit of a bummer”, but this isn’t necessarily what halts I Never Learn’s effect. After all, pop has long catalogued the gamut of shades of heartbreak, right? Well, yes. Just not on this particular release. With little modulation of tone I Never Learn can get a tad same-y in its plaintive wallow. Standout tracks, such as ‘Gunshot’ and ‘Heart of Steel’, are enjoyably reminiscent of a minor chord torch song Belinda Carlisle, perhaps owning to their Rick Nowels (responsible for hits for Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Lana Del Rey among many others), co-write status.
POPSTR ANGERS “We were just trying to make off-kilter pop songs, so we wanted them to be catchy but we also wanted them to be weird and interesting as well, moving besides proximity. Along with their label, they decided they needed to be closer to the rest of the world. “We’ve been to do a lot of stuff we weren’t able to do before we came here, like, we play festivals and stuff.” Having the infrastructure of Carpark Records to support them has made the process of recording and releasing Fortuna quicker for the band, after a long three years between their last EP release, Happy Accidents, and Antipodes.
FOR MANY, THE word “pop” connotes with something fleeting or insubstantial; a throwaway genre for the undiscerning masses to easily digest. It’s designed to be temporary, content to fade with the times. Not so with Popstrangers and their approach to their twisted brand of weird rock’n’roll pop. The band has been based in London for the last year, after the success of their first LP Antipodes, which was released internationally through Carpark Records. It heralded a big step in their evolution as a band, littered with an undercurrent of hooks not to be trifled with, and signaled that they were taking the long haul approach. Their latest album, Fortuna, is another big step forward and a development on Antipodes, coming from a quite distinctly different place, though one that isn’t necessarily geographical… “I’d say [the move] hasn’t changed the music, we’ve changed the music,” says Adam Page, the band’s bass player and a gracious “night owl,” (we spoke at around 12.30am London time). “I think the music was going in the direction it’s gone before we got here…but it’s hard to say because I think just we’ve done what we’ve done, and it’s hard to know what influences that. With Antipodes, the last song we wrote for that was ‘Heaven’, which in many ways that was the more pop song, so Fortuna was kind of a natural progression from there.”
The album as a whole lightens up on the grungier, darker aspects of their previous releases, and delves further into the melodic and hooky. That’s not to say it’s lost its power or grime, but it’s wiped off some of the dirt and polished itself off a little. As the songwriting develops and comes further to the fore, it makes sense to reign in arrangements, to give the songs themselves room to breathe and be understood. “We were just trying to make off-kilter pop songs, so we wanted them to be catchy but we also wanted them to be weird and interesting as well, which I think we’ve managed to achieve.” Interestingly, that more open and honest approach to serving the songwriting has meant their lyrics have also come to the fore. Much has been made of their latest single, ‘Country Kills’, and the chorus lyric “My country will kill me now.” “Someone wrote that it was about our love/ hate relationship with NZ, which is not what the song’s about at all…I think Joel finds it frustrating with people misinterpreting his lyrics. I don’t know think it is kind of cool, if people are drawing their own conclusions on the songs then they’re obviously listening to the lyrics.”
“We were like, we’ve got an album to record, and they were like, it’s going to work if you guys want to put it out in May, so it was basically up to us to finish it in within that deadline. That definitely makes things easier, to know we’re going to record an album and we’ve got a good team behind us to push it.” Though deadlines can serve well as motivators, Page says the band work hard by their own accord, and their main motivator is constant improvement. “We all work pretty hard as a band and we are pretty dedicated to what we do, but we also do it because we love doing it. We just try and put pressure on ourselves to make a better album than before, and that was a major motivation, to make an album that we’re really proud of.” With each record the band have not only been developing strongly and perfecting their sound and the way they play together as a band, but in particular their songwriting. With plans to tour Europe and the US for the rest of the year before hopefully heading back to NZ for a set of summer shows, and a strong focus on where they’re heading, you can’t help but get the feeling these guys are here to stay. NEW ALBUM: FORTUNA OUT NOW
Though it’s easy to see, given their move, that people would read into the lyric, Page is quick to play down any ulterior motive behind
SHARON O’NEILL DEAR SHARON, AWESOME CHAT! LOTS OF LOVE, JAN MAREE. I can’t believe it as I read Rip It Up’s email with a release attached from Sony Music. Sharon O’Neill is in town on Tuesday. My boss at Rip It Up does not even have to ask me if I want the interview…she knows that I would sell a kidney for even a minute with Sharon O’Neill. She is my biggest idol. Throughout my teens and early twenties her music was my soundtrack. In the late 70s and early 80s all girls in the Hutt Valley wanted to be Sharon O’Neill, complete with her shark tooth earrings and fierce exterior, not to mention the dream of being able to write and sing her heart-stopping harmonies. If there was one interview I thought I would never get to do, it’s this one, and come Tuesday I cannot drive any faster toward Sony’s Ponsonby Road HQ. Standing in reception I feel goofy as she emerges from a doorway. “I heard my name,” she says. Just like that, here is this tiny woman shaking my hand. Immediately warmth radiates from her as we make our way to a quiet space. She arrived yesterday from Sydney, today spent with constant media. But she is crackling with energy as we launch into it. Obvious question up top; she has hand-picked a greatest hits album. “Sony put it to me. I said, yes! Let’s go for it! It’s been great, very personal.” How were the songs chosen? “Initially Sony’s suggestions.
I took one out and put a couple in. Debbie Harwood put her two cents in to the running order.” I mention hearing Debbie sing at Dave McCartney’s memorial concert. Sharon is sad for a moment. “A lot of people I’ve known have passed. Guys like (Dragon lead singer) Marc (Hunter) pass and are a big loss, a massive chunk gone. But you’ve got to just soldier on.” We go back to the early days when Sharon sang upfront for Christchurch band Chapta. “The band fizzled out and I didn’t know what to do. I went solo on a couple of television shows in Christchurch and I was really scared. That’s when I seriously started putting my poetry to music. I’m self-taught. That’s when I went to Wellington. I had a friend who worked at Radio New Zealand who said ‘let’s do some demos’ which then became the basis for the first album. From there I did a TV talent show and came third. John McCready from CBS decided to sign me. At the time there were not a lot of singer-songwriters around doing their own music so he opened the door for me. He was a good guy.” I refer to an old playbill advertising a show at The Mayfair Hotel in Hastings and ask Sharon what advice she would give herself then, given what she knows now. With a wily smile and without hesitation she says, “Get a grip and get some confidence!” She laughs as she continues, “I was a novice. On the brewery circuit, we played The Mayfair for six months at a time (along with other venues on the east side of New Zealand). There was not a lot of pressure on me then, everyone had a turn up front. It was a great training ground.”
sales nowadays, many acts are forced out on the road. “Touring is like a joke, it was something you did in the 80s if you had a new album out. So step one: get a band! The next question is ‘will we fit?’ Some of the stages are tiny. I spoke to one booker who is booking so far out that I wondered ‘how will I get a band to commit to this?’ It is hard for a solo performer if there isn’t a nucleus band around you.” As an artist who is self-taught and plays by ear she admits, “It is my own music and I can’t have that stifled feeling of playing the same note every second of every show. There’s no breathing space, no emotion. That’s why it’s so fantastic when I get home to work with Debbie (Harwood)’s band. Alan comes over and plays keys, we all know each other, everyone breathes it. It feels lovely, it’s very special.” I ask her what Sharon O’Neill’s dream band looks like. Immediately she says, “Debbie’s band! They are great, and lovely. The family is there. It’s a good band and we sound great!” I ask Sharon to comment on the progression in the continuum of women in music, given that her influences were Cilla Black and Carole King, and that she sits neatly in the middle of the industry. “Oh there’s the huge artists like Pink, our girls Kimbra and Lorde. They’re more edgy, it’s such a different genre of music. I don’t think there is as much sitting at a piano and writing. It’s not so boxed. Much more now, acts are left of centre, like St Vincent. And it has gone off. Kids’ ears are tuned to that, they want morbid or spectacular (music). Someone who can hang upside down and still sing, like Pink.” She laughs. “How she does that is beyond me!”
With the demise of CD and vinyl
I don’t think there is as much sitting at a piano and writing. It’s not so boxed.”
“It is my own music and I can’t have that stifled feeling of playing the same note every second of every show. So what is the future sound? “There are so many different types of music now. I would like sound to become warmer, less condensed and flat. I need some dynamics in the voice and in the music. Like Emily Sunday, hers is a very pure sound but she can also rock out.” Smiling, she continues, “(Music in which) I can hear breathing space, ambience, warmth...” What is Sharon listening to? “Emily Sunday, yes. I enjoy St Vincent, and her recent collaboration with David Byrne (Talking Heads). It’s entertaining, it’s amazing, different, fresh.” On the subject of duets I mention a favourite of mine, ‘Don’t Let Love Go’ with Jon Stevens. Sharon perks up: “Oh, it is on the CD!” Sharon has never made a secret of her love for harmonies. “The excitement of hearing that click of a soaring chorus. That is the moment I love. I think I got that on ‘Don’t Say No To Tomorrow (the Telethon song)’.” If you were to ask me, all of her major hits have that spark of well-executed harmony, and one listen to her compilation CD convinces me of this. Here in front of me is this incredibly humble person with so much success behind her. Our time is almost over, and Sharon tells me about the making of the music video for her 80s superhit ‘Maxine’. “We filmed that on King’s Cross, Sydney. The girls (playing Maxine and other street walkers) got changed at the police station there. It was pretty shit. The duty sergeant said, ‘It’s a good thing our boss
isn’t here. He hates women.” And then once we got out on the street, right there at Alamein Fountain all the (actual) pimps started coming up to the director and the cameramen and saying, ‘Get your girls out of here, they’re taking business away.’ It’s like they didn’t get that it was a music video. The police came and lingered while we got it done, there was no trouble but it was full on.” And yes, she still has the outfit ‘Maxine’ wore in the music video. “Yeah, the little black bustier and red PVC skirt. I think I will auction it one of these days. I take it out sometimes and just think ‘Oh my God, those were the days.’” Sharon O’Neill, solo artist legend, is a jobbing entertainer, which is not all champagne and caviar. “It’s not like the old days, and I never thought I would be on major tours singing back up vocals. But I am. And I love it. I love harmonies so I am happy to get to do that.” And if she wasn’t an icon of New Zealand music and working the live circuit in Australia, what would she be doing? “I would be a journalist. Anything to do with writing.” And with that, the label executive is back to usher Sharon into another call. She takes a moment to sign my vinyl copy of her album Maybe. It reads: “To Jan, Awesome chat! Lots of love, Sharon O’Neill.” And I know I could say the very same to her. WORDS – THE VERY BEST OF SHARON O’NEILL ALBUM OUT NOW
THE HORRORS band’s own east London studio. “It’s just made things easier for us,” he says. “We have our equipment there and it means we can stay late and really push things when we are making an album. All the bands I love have their own studio and it made sense to build one. “Plus we are instrument hoarders – Tom (Cowan, synths player) especially likes collecting vintage equipment. One special piece of equipment The Horrors were given making Luminous was the huge pyramid synth from the ‘Changing The Rain’ video which their XL label boss Richard Russell had especially built for them. “It’s huge,” he says. “And we were like kids when we first had it, all wanting to experiment with it. Naming the album Luminous was because of its definition: “light without warmth or heat”. “That fits the songs well. It has a powerful meaning, a release of energy which we believe our music gives the listener. THE HORRORS HAVE come a long way since they emerged as part of the indie scene of 2007 with their debut album Strange House. Then they were seen as a garage-goth band with a limited sell-by date. But their second album, 2009’s Primary Colours earned them a lauded UK Mercury Prize nomination and third album, Skying, was an international breakthrough success and featured in many end of year polls. “We were written off by many as a onedimensional type of band at the start,” says singer Faris Badwan. “But with each album we’ve moved forward and developed without any loss of quality. And you can hear that on this new album (Luminous).” Badwan says they would never compromise their integrity for the sake of a hit. “We are careful what we say yes to in terms of festivals, TV and interviews, as it has to be about the music. “We’ve grown up as a band together and share the same goal – a band like the Arctic Monkeys are a huge inspiration to us as
they’ve done everything for the right reason from day one.”
“‘In And Out Of Sight’ is one of the most euphoric songs we’ve ever made,” continues Badwan.
Badwan says he and his Horrors bandmates remain “a gang” as much as they did when they formed in English seaside town SouthendOn-Sea in 2005.
“And weirdly, that was one of the tracks we made when we decided to give ourselves more time to work on the album. It is a track that gives the record something more. So after hearing that we decided we’d delay finishing the record by another seven months or so to make it twice as good. There are real moods on this album that we are proud of, in particular ‘And I See You’ which is the central song of this album. There was a huge excitement when we finished that song.”
“When we formed this band our only ambition was to make a 7-inch single,” says the 6 foot 5 singer. “Then after we achieved that we just went with the same ideals – making music that we wanted to hear.” Luminous has a huge dance element to it, and it’s something the band says they’ve always touched on. They’re also set to play London’s Lovebox festival in summer alongside big dance acts like Chase & Status as well as A$AP Rocky and M.I.A. “Yes, it looks an odd one for us,” smiles Badwan. “But that’s one of the reasons we said ‘yes’. It’s good to be out of your comfort zone. Some of our favourite gigs have been to audiences we’ve had to win over or surprise but we’ve always left with new fans. What’s the point of playing safe?” Like Skying, Luminous was made in the
The Horrors are now looking forward to getting out on the road and playing their own headline shows. “This album begs for more visuals and films to accompany the songs,” he explains. “We’ve just started planning where we can go with this album on the bigger stage. The possibilities are endless. I feel we are just getting started with what’s coming next for The Horrors.” NEW ALBUM: LUMINOUS OUT NOW
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ZOE BELL “You know, I just speak that language with women, doubling women for so many years. I know how to help them find…it sounds so lame…find their inner warrior really [laughs], ‘cos women are nervous to be tough, so it’s all about showing them it’s fun.” The low-budget, independent flick also gave Zoe scope to try her hand at producing, something that came naturally after being on and around film sets since 1992, when she jumped out of a car on Shortland Street.
FLANKED BY HER entourage, a close friend and the publicist for her latest film, Zoe Bell appears every inch a Hollywood star. Dressed in an elegant maxidress, nails and hair immaculate, it’s a far cry from rough-and-tumble tomboy image the stuntwoman-turned-actress crafted since she famously doubled for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. But despite making the move to Los Angeles eleven years ago, the Waiheke Island-born star remains every bit a Kiwi, from the accent to recounting her love of Bloody Mary shots with oysters. And while Zoe can now call herself a multi-hyphenated talent – producing, starring and doing her own stunts in action film Raze – it hasn’t been an easy ride. “The first three or four years were…they went less well. LA is a really hard city if you don’t have any access points because it is just faceless. When I first got there, I didn’t know anybody and I didn’t know where places were – it would be like if you were dropped in Howick and trying to find Ponsonby for the first time. Now, I’ve developed a life there, so I love riding my beach cruiser to the pubs, surfing, walking down the street and people know me.” In real life, Zoe may have found her comfort zone, but on screen she’s been making a point to step outside her stuntwoman safety net. After getting bitten by the acting bug in her first big role in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, Zoe has been consciously turning away behind-thescenes roles for leading lady opportunities and has starred in blockbusters such as Oblivion and Whip It, alongside A-list stars Tom Cruise and Drew Barrymore respectively. “It’s been easy to shy away from the scariness of acting,” she admits. “It sounds stupid, but I
feel more comfortable throwing myself off a building. But I don’t want people to say, ‘Oh she’s just a stunt girl who does dialogue.’ I want them to see me as more than that, so it’s been sad to say goodbye to what I know, but it’s for all the right reasons.” Fortunately, Raze gave her the opportunity to do both. After being sought out by director Josh C. Waller for the top-billing part of Sabrina – a story which Zoe recalls with glee as she loves the idea of being “a big person whose name is being thrown around the ideas table” – the actress spent 34 days fighting other women in hand-to-hand combat, in a “fight to the death”-style blood sport designed for the entertainment of the wealthy. Reunited with her Death Proof co-stars Tracie Thoms and Rosario Dawson, Zoe says, once again, she’s thrilled to be working with “cool chicks”. “I’ve been really lucky in my career that I have ended up working on lots of different projects where there have been lots of women – which, when I first started, I was like, ‘Ugh, that sounds like my worst nightmare! Actresses are all crazy!’ [laughs]. But I’ve just worked with awesome ladies on every single project.” And, as it turned out, she learnt a lot from her co-stars – as they learnt a lot from Zoe, who first started training martial arts at age 15. “The irony was that I spent weeks before shooting the film working on my acting skills, while the girls were coming in on their own time and training for the physicality. Then I’d come in and work with the fight choreographer and tweak the movements. The girls and I just fed off of each other, and they were all super supportive of me, and in turn they were really appreciative of having me around.
“I was pretty hands on,” she reveals. “It was an interesting process realising how much I didn’t know and on the flipside realising how much I just instinctively knew, the knowledge I had just sucked in by osmosis. There were days when I’d be like, ‘What the hell? How does this work? What do I do?’ but I really enjoyed that. “My biggest cross to bear is that I feel like I’m a beginner for a long, long time before I realise I’m not anymore. I constantly feel like I’m green in this industry, but being a producer on Raze, it gave me permission to step up. I think from here on in there might be projects where being an actor and producer will be too much to handle, but it was the perfect combo for me on this project.” As one of a growing number of women in Hollywood taking on the action movie genre, Zoe is part of a movement that’s transforming the way actresses are portrayed in this “men only” zone. While she’s reluctant to say she’s leading the charge, Zoe’s more than happy to do her part. “The thing is, I don’t want to pave the way by, excuse the pun, beating people over the head with it. I want people to pave the way by doing it, by being in more movies like this. And we, women, have to fight for it and against people who say, ‘What’s the point?’ So you just do it and you do it as good as you can, and hope you convince more people. “Basically, being the person I’ve been allowed to be growing up, the woman that I have become, the career I have and the work I do, to fight for feminist causes is almost overkill. The women that were in Raze all felt empowered. Every woman walked home like, ‘Dude, did you see that bruise? I got a fucking bruise.’” NEW DVD: RAZE OUT NOW
TOMMY BRADSON ACTOR/SINGER Who’s in the dead supergroup for your dream hologram show? Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. What’s an upcoming film you’re jazzed about? Under the Skin. Where can your stalkers find you during the weekend? Tenpin bowling.
& DARK SIDE OF THE MOON Tuesday Night Double Feature Includes two glasses of wine and a snack.
8PM 10 JUNE 17 JUNE 24 JUNE
The best place for a date night is… Tenpin bowling. You’d get arrested if the police knew that you… Don’t always pick up my dog’s poop. People say you look like… Geoffrey Rush from The Pirates of the Caribbean.
What happens when you mix Coca Cola with Pepsi? A fat child dies.
Five celebs on your f**klist? Julianne Moore, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder (but only her in Edward Scissorhands), Janelle Monae and Gary Oldman.
Your fantasy spirit animal is… The owl.
Kittens or puppies? Hounds.
Your signature “I’m an amazing cook” dish is… An open style pie with goats’ cheese, lentils and zucchini. It’s effing ace!
What generic current affair has your blood boiled? Increase in the cost of loo paper.
The best TV show around at the moment is… 3rd Rock From The Sun. I’ve been having Third Rock marathons with my girlfriend. God bless YouTube.
Plug whatever it is that’s coming up for you. My running bath. SEE HIM PERFORM: TOMMY BRADSON AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL CABARET SEASON WED 04 JUN – SUN 08 JUN CONCERT CHAMBER, AUCKLAND AUCKLANDLIVE.CO.NZ/CABARETSEASON
BOOK NOW AT STARDOME.ORG.NZ /09 624 1246
BRANT BJORK helped by having people connect. “Self-expression and feelings and thoughts are all part of what I do,” he says over the voice of his mother-in-law in the background. “That’s what we all do. Creating on any level is part of the human condition and that’s what artists are, they’re interesting people.” “You can tell,” Bjork continues and then takes a moment to rephrase “I can tell which artists are out there for self discovery and discovery of the soul and which ones are there to entertain and to juggle balls.”
Self Indulgence The cellphone reception around LAX is shit. I’ve always found that surprising (keep in mind that geography is a weak point) because everything in America is supposed to be bigger, better, faster, more efficient. Hell, they’re supposed to be better at self-indulgence than we are. Brant Bjork is no exception. He takes it in his stride and there’s a gentle reminder that “selfindulgence is involved in any personal endeavour.” That’s what art is, especially solo work, and as Bjork says there’s simply no avoiding it: “You’re exploring yourself and it’s safe to assume that any path, solo or indie, is going to be self indulgent…my music is part of ‘what do I wanna listen to?’ and ‘what do other people wanna hear?’” His choice turned out to be simple: He’d go with what he wanted to listen and, “people are coming to the party and they’re coming to the party because they enjoy it and they want to be there.” Self-indulgence has the
connotation of being inherently negative but for Bjork it’s what has brought people to his music. As he says, people are there because they want to be, because they “dig the same kind of music that I dig and that’s what gives you the connection, it isn’t just entertainment.” Art That said, he wouldn’t, conversely, call self-indulgence easy. In fact, he doesn’t know anyone that would. It’s not the sentiment of a trumped up rockstar pouring out his first world problems. It’s based around the idea of exploring yourself, exploring your soul, as Bjork puts it. To indulge, in this case, means also to divulge. “It takes a lot of courage,” Bjork says thoughtfully, “everyone has an opinion and now with technology you hear everyone’s opinions.” Divulging is what makes his art “therapy…medicinal.” He views himself “first and foremost” as an artist and with that comes a degree of selfdiscovery and so a degree of social acceptance towards that self discovery – undoubtedly it’s
Bjork reasons that part of not being an entertainment spectacle is accepting your lot. “I’ve accepted the reality of what I do, financially. I’m never going to make a million bucks. It’d be awesome if I did and I’d love that, but I know I’m not going to.”
Growing Up He learned that lesson from Sabbath when he was all of 13 years old. But like that lesson, bands like Sabbath, The Stooges, The Ramones, fuel him as much now as they ever did. “That was the golden year for me and I always want to have a portal back to that. Back to 13-year-old me.” While he still wants to channel into the excitement of that time, he’s also inevitably grown as a musician. However, “in some ways, I’ve stayed the same.” He remarks with a laugh. “I’ve explored music and I’ve become a better musician; wiser and smarter.” Part of that growth was stumbling around in the Kyuss years and learning a few especially painful lessons. “To
“That was the golden year for me and I always want to have a portal back to that.” He talks with self-assuredness. There’s no “woe is me”. As an artist it’s the path he’s chosen. “None of it has been commercially viable. It isn’t commercial music. I’ve been trying to challenge commercial music.” After this many years of being in music you could wonder at the fact that he’s still original. It’s a double edged because in part, he says, he’s listening to everything from “cheesy RnB” to “smooth jazz”. Forever learning what’s come before and what’ll come after. The other side is a lesson he learnt from Black Sabbath: they taught him there’s no shame in repeating yourself because it works to reinforce that [that type of music] is what you do.
say I’m proud [of the mistakes] would be too extreme but in a sense I am because I stuck to my beliefs and what I thought was cool at the time.” One of the biggest stumbles: intellectual property rights. “…I should have trademarked the name, the concept, the band but I didn’t know anything about that and it never crossed my mind. As I got older I understood it was a mistake.” At the end of it all there will be more self-indulgence, art and growing up. SEE HIM LIVE: BRANT BJORK WED 04 JUN BODEGA, WELLINGTON THU 05 JUN THE KINGS ARMS, AUCKLAND
GOOD VIBR ATIONS All very well and good, but for Holmes, making the film was his success. “It really it was a labour of love…for a man who truly inspired me into music,” Holmes expounds enthusiastically in his broad Northern accent. “I’ve been buying from Teri since I was eleven years old. His shop was that perfect escape amongst all the chaos of the times.”
“WHEN IT COMES to punk, New York has the haircuts, London has the trousers but Belfast has the REASON,” shouted record store and label owner Teri Hooley before introducing one of his bands. It was 1976, one of the most violent periods of the “Troubles”. Northern Ireland split in two. The country was exploding in a less-than-civil war. In the midst of this, a veteran hippy, Hooley, decided to defy all odds and common sense by opening a record store on Victoria Street, Belfast, which was known at the time as “Bomb Alley”. He called his shop Good Vibrations, not after the Beach Boys song but as a nod to the aftershocks from the Belfast booms. Hooley’s philosophy was “that there’s a record for every occasion”. Music was agnostic to religion, politics, everything. His shop was a place where people could escape the day to day chaos, if only temporarily. He wanted he world to know that there was more to Belfast than just bombs and guerrillas. At that time, the punk scene was firing up. It didn’t matter if you were Catholic or Protestant, had green, black or blue hair. Only music and the message of rebellion against oppression mattered. Hooley was persuaded to check out local punk act Rudi and was transformed by their song ‘Big
Time’. He fronted up after the show and offered to record it, right there on the spot, without the slightest idea what that would entail. And the rest, of course is history – the kind of history that fleshes out this roguish, ratty tale of Northern Ireland’s very own Punk Svengali. Although he ended filing for bankruptcy in the early 80s, Good Vibrations had helped to start the careers of many well-known new wave/punk acts including Derry’s The Undertones, whose track ‘Teenage Kicks’ became an 80s anthem. After a couple of misfires I finally got one of makers of Hooley’s bio-pic Good Vibrations, super DJ and producer David Holmes, on the line. The film is slated to screen here shortly. I asked him how he became involved in the project, which is directed by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn and stars Richard Dormer, Jodie Whitakker, Michael Colgan and Dylan Moran. “It was my company that produced it along with financial support from Bruno Charlesworth, Chris Martin and Snow Patrol’s Andrew Eaton. The film was made back in 2012 and released last year, grabbing awards and accolades, including a BAFTA nomination.
He tells me that growing up as one of ten children in the suburbs of Belfast, he listened to the music of his siblings – punk bands like Gary Gilmour’s Eyes and The Jam. “I didn’t know anything else. My aunt worked in a record shop and made me cassettes because money was very tight. But it got me interested. Then Teri opened this shop, two blocks from the Europa Hotel – which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the most bombed hotel in Europe!”
Hooley. “We were honest and he appreciated that.” And just in case you’re wondering, Hooley doesn’t die or explode or ride off into the sunset at the end of Good Vibrations. It’s not that kind of film. But the legacy does continue. “He’s still going strong. A few blocks from where it started. He’s opened and closed down more than 11 times for various reasons: money, compliance, he even got fire bombed once. But he rallies and comes back again. He’s never been good with business. But it doesn’t matter to him. It’s always been about the music and sharing that passion.” The movie has been good to Hooley. It’s allowed him to go on speaking tours and TV appearances – another way to share his passion. In conclusion, Holmes is very satisfied with the film. Through
“It was one of those shops that got stuff from the States at a time when it was impossible to get or even know about.” “Teri was a shambles of a businessman,” Holmes goes on to explain. “He probably gave me more records than I bought. But it was one of those shops that got stuff from the States at a time when it was impossible to get or even know about. He had soul, Northern soul, rock ’n’ roll, rockabilly, ska, beats, everything. One time he just gave me a whole crate of 45’s – free – what an education it was – vintage soul and R ’n’ B. I’ve paid him since but then I guess he’d figured that they were worth more to me than him. Teri was like that. A shambles. But he always landed on his feet – karma for being a good person. He knew we weren’t going to always paint him as some perfect figure,” Holmes adds, on the way actor Richard Dormer portrays
its lens he was allowed to tell the story of the people who wished to remain unaffected or at least insulated from the Troubles. “Until now there have been some pretty bad movies about Northern Ireland, always focusing on the Protestant or Catholic struggles. Always war scenes, the evil of the IRA or other paramilitary groups. We wanted to tell the story of the people growing up in the middle, who just wanted to have a dance at the pub and listen to their band. I grew up in 70s Belfast and I tell people I had a wonderful childhood. Mainly that’s because I didn’t know any different.” And partially it was because of Teri Hooley and his wonderful record shop! IN CINEMAS THU 12 JUN
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