SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS Didirri, Woodes, G Flip and Baker Boy: the festival’s rising stars Bullet For My Valentine got the official seal of approval from Margot Robbie
Hedwig’s not-so-angry John Cameron Mitchell
How Celia Pacquola became a New Zealand box office star
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OFTEN IMITATED. NEVER DUPLICATED. INTRODUCING
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NEW PICKUPS. NEW COLORS. AUTHENTIC TONE.
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Debut album Including singles ‘Fuckin’ n Rollin’ and ‘Gap Year’
OUT 27.07.18 “...a dreamy limber, Tame Impala-like summer breeze of a song.” – Sunday Times
TOURING: AUG 24 THE GASOMETER MELBOURNE
“Death Grips have never been afraid of pushing ever boundary around them, and Year Of The Snitch is no different.” – Line Of Best Fit
Death Grips Year of the Snitch OUT NOW THE MUSIC
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HEADING TO SPLENDOUR?
Get these tracks into your playlist... Island Records Australia Splendour Playlist
Thundamentals I Miss You
Dean Lewis Be Alright
Lakyn Sweet Days
XIII Hell Mary
CLOVES Wasted Time
Vera Blue Lady Powers
www.islandrecordsaustralia.com THE MUSIC
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TOURING FOR LIVE NATION IN 2018
OCTOBER / NOVEMBER
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER
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FOR TICKETS AND VIP EXPERIENCES GO TO LIVENATION.COM.AU THE MUSIC
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Credits Publisher Street Press Australia Pty Ltd Group Managing Editor Andrew Mast National Editor – Magazines Mark Neilsen Group Senior Editor/National Arts Editor Maxim Boon Editors Bryget Chrisfield, Daniel Cribb, Neil Griffiths
Everyone wants to have a book club
Assistant Editor/Social Media Co-Ordinator Jessica Dale
spent the past month reading Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach – I take my time with books, I don’t binge them. Not normally someone who devours modern fiction, I was led to Egan’s writing via her much-vaunted 2010 work A Visit From The Goon Squad. There was buzz surrounding the book – not just because it was awarded a Pulitzer Prize, it was being described with terms such as a “rock’n’roll novel” and “post-punk”. It was neither novel nor short story collection but a mixture of both. It struck me as fresh. It spins fictitious tales set in the music industry – stories take place in an ’80s San Franciscan punk club and an indie record company office; they are about publicists, entertainment journalists and music fans. I was struck most by a PowerPoint-presentation-piece within the book that tracks the history of rock’n’roll songs that utilise pauses. Given that I started the book thinking it was going to be a music business expose along the lines of Hit Men (Fredric Dannen’s 1990 investigation of recording industry corruption), it was an unlikely take away from the book. Goon Squad now sits at the top of my list of music-related books that I recommend, should anyone bother to ask. What’s that? What else actually is on that list? One that could be considered this decade’s Hit Men is Richard Witt’s How Music Got Free. The 2015 book would lend itself perfectly to be developed into a Netflix true crime doco as it unravels exactly how the recording industry ended up battling for its life against the torrenting generation – it tracks down Pirate Zero. Other recent favourites include both Tracey Thorn’s memoir Bedsit Disco Queen (2013) and her collection of insightful essays about vocals, Naked At Albert Hall (2015). The former Everything But The Girl member is as accomplished a writer as she is a singer. And, if you had even a fleeting interest in ‘70s punk, you must read Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. by Viv Albertine, formerly of The Slits. Or, if you liked the 2014 film Frank, try the book about the title character (UK musician Frank Sidebottom) of the same name by Jon Ronson. Th is list goes on: memoirs by Carrie Brownstein and Rob Snarski, Bob Stanley’s amazingly encyclopaedic pop music history Yeah Yeah Yeah… and so forth. But, speaking of books, now is a good time to mention that a former member of our editorial team Sally-Anne Hurley is about to drop her first book How To Love The Shit Out Of Life (more information in our Arts Section), suffice to say the whole team here is looking forward to that. Which brings me to bidding farewell to another staff member, Melbourne-based Editor, Bryget Chrisfield. After a decade with us here she has left to pursue a life of writing without the distractions of day-to-day publishing. Having been lucky enough to have read one of her as-yet-unpublished short stories, I look forward to a book from her in the future too. And fear not, fans of Bryget’s work, she will continue to contribute to this publication. Finally, to scratch that reading itch we have a lot for you in our July issue. We celebrate the annual Splendour In The Grass festival by chatting not just with the top-of-the-bill headliners such as Chvrches and Amy Shark but also to four of the fast-rising young artists featured on this year’s line-up: G Flip, Baker Boy, Didirri and Woodes. We had so much fun with the young artists that we created a different cover featuring them on each of our mags in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. For now, enjoy reading your way through July.
Editorial Assistants Sam Wall, Lauren Baxter Gig Guide Henry Gibson email@example.com Senior Contributors Steve Bell, Ross Clelland, Cyclone, Jeff Jenkins Contributors Nic Addenbrooke, Annelise Ball, Sam Baran, Emily Blackburn, Melissa Borg, Anthony Carew, Uppy Chatterjee, Roshan Clerke, Shaun Colnan, Brendan Crabb, Guy Davis, Joe Dolan, Stephanie Eslkae, Chris Familton, Guido Farnell, Donald Finlayson, Liz Giuffre, Carley Hall, Tobias Handke, Mark Hebblewhite, Kate Kingsmill, Tim Kroenert, Samuel Leighton Dore, Joel Lohman, Matt MacMaster, Amanda Maher, Taylor Marshall, MJ O’Neill, Carly Packer, Anne Marie Peard, Natasha Pinto, Michael Prebeg, Mick Radojkovic, Stephen A Russell, Jake Sun, Cassie Tongue, Rod Whitfield, Velvet Winter Senior Photographers Cole Bennetts, Kane Hibberd Photographers Rohan Anderson, Andrew Briscoe, Stephen Booth, Pete Dovgan, Simone Fisher, Lucinda Goodwin, Josh Groom, Clare Hawley, Bianca Holderness, Jay Hynes, Dave Kan, Yaseera Moosa, Hayden Nixon, Angela Padovan, Markus Ravik, Bobby Rein, Peter Sharp, Barry Shipplock, Terry Soo, John Stubbs, Bec Taylor
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Contact Us Melbourne Head Office Ph: 03 9421 4499 459-461 Victoria Street Brunswick West Vic 3055 PO Box 231 Brunswick West Vic 3055 Sydney Ph: 02 9331 7077 Suite 129, 111 Flinders St Surry Hills NSW 2010 Brisbane Ph: 07 3252 9666 WOTSO Fortitude Valley Qld 4006
Andrew Mast Group Managing Editor
T H E S TA R T
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This month Editor’s Letter
Th is month’s best binge watching
AIR Awards Our predictions and we hear direct from the nominees
42 Markus Ravik Markus is a Brisbane-based photographer
Shit We Did: Immersion Therapy Guest editorial: NZ comic Guy Montgomery
Splendour In The Grass n e H i b b e rd
Didirri, Woodes, G Flip, Baker Boy
We chat to the buzziest up-andcomers on the bill
with over 12 years experience in the music
The Breaker Upperers
Bullet For My Valentine
The White Album Concert
Laura Jean, Pale Waves, Press Club
The Arts 56 57
Splendour Arts Program
John Cameron Mitchell
The Big Picture: Markus Ravik
The songs and stories of Hedwig’s Angry Inch
Why we lurk in the dark corners of the internet
The Grinch who stole Xmas in July, Melbourne Moonshine
hop, dance music (Detroit techno forever!), synth-pop and pop culture. She writes the urban column OG Flavas for The Music.
William Crighton, Leaps And Bounds highlights
Th is month’s local highlights
Backpacks We get colourful with our friends at Crumpler
Cyclone is a Melbourne-based (and slightly camera shy) journalist focussing on R&B, hip
known as one half of the international smash
VR & Escape Rooms On working with Beck and hoping to work with Janelle Monae
spite of his best efforts, is still tragically best podcast, Worst Idea of All Time.
Guy is an award-winning stand-up comedian and improviser from New Zealand who, in
Film & TV reviews
portfolio at markusravik.com
Exclusive free Amy Shark poster
and has photographed over 1,000 bands, the majority for The Music. Check out his full
The best arts of the month Bully, Marmozets, Chromeo
scene. He’s got a fierce passion for live music
T H E S TA R T
Cyclone’s enduring fixations are vampire movies and TV shows and, currently, Sarah J Maas’ fantasy books. She likes mystique.
VANS.COM.AU The Music
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Time’n again Fresh off his winery tour of Australia, Hot Dub Time Machine (aka Sydney DJ Tom Loud) is on the road again, with several shows this month from 6 Jul. This is the last chance for local punters to see the Time Lord before he packs up for his 2018 tour of the USA and Europe.
Small Rudd Evangeline Lilly and Paul Rudd return for a double dose of quips and property damage in Ant-Man & The Wasp this 5 Jul. The film finds Scott Lang (Rudd) struggling balance being both a super hero and a father as a deadly new enemy looms. Ant-Man & The Wasp
Notorious RBG Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s new film RBG follows the astounding, decades-long influence on America of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; feminist, pop culture icon, badass and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The film hits cinemas 26 Jul. RBG
SG lew is on Off the back of his high profile remixes and collaborations with the likes of Dua Lipa and London Grammar, SG Lewis is headed our way this 25 Jul. He is keen to make his Aussie debut following recent performances at festivals including Coachella and Glastonbury.
Struth Rose d’Or Award-winning series You Can’t Ask That returns to ABC TV and iview this 11 Jul. The third series continues to put public opinion next to reality by asking groups of misunderstood or marginalised Australians questions that would normally be inappropriate and uncomfortable.
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Stream dreams This month’s best binge watching
Orange Is The New Black, Season 6
This 12 Jul, following a spot at Brisbane’s Dead Of Winter, metalcore outfit Polaris launch their Dusk To Day tour of regional Australia to promote latest release,The Mortal Coil. They are supported by Sydney five-piece Justice For The Damned. Polaris
Season five was a real riot but it looks like the Litchfield inmates’ chickens are coming home to roost. The first teaser came with the tagline “Bye bye, Litch” and it seems like the highly anticipated sixth season of Orange Is The New Black is upping the stakes with a move to a maximum security facility.
Draught drought It’s that time of year when Aussies ‘round the country drop the grog and grab their cheque books. Dry July has raised $30 million for people affected by cancer since 2008 and they’re looking to up that figure, so this month don’t have a drink, have a heart.
Hot Dub Time Machine
Streams from 27 Jul on Netflix & Foxtel On Demand
The Second goes down a twisted rabbit hole of sex, lies and betrayal when the deadly truth behind an author (Rachael Blake)’s debut hit memoir is revealed to her publisher boyfriend (Vince Colosimo). Retreating to her family’s country estate to work on her second novel, the pair’s summer weekend turns when her best friend and muse (Susie Porter) rises up
Quintet-sential Revered Aussie singers Kate Miller-Heidke, Ella Hooper, Wendy Matthews, Kristin Bernardi and Rachel Gaudry have come together for Both Sides Now – Celebrating The Songs Of Joni Mitchell. Catch Mitchell’s catalogue re-imagined by this talented group from 15 Jul.
from her past. Streams from 20 Jul on Stan
An epic moral struggle set in the chaotic underbelly of Mumbai, Sacred Games follows veteran police officer Sartaj Singh (Saif Ali Khan) and his partner Anjali Mathur (Radhika
You Can’t Ask That
Apte) in their battle for the city against sinister kingpin Ganesh Gaitonde (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Based on the acclaimed novel by Vikram Chandra, the show is Netflix’s first ever Indian original series. Streams from 6 Jul on Netflix
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tarmunggie-woman by Cheryl Moggs
Celebration nation NAIDOC Week is back this 8-15 Jul. This year’s theme is ‘Because of Her, We Can!’ and there’s any number of events around the country celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at naidoc.org.au.
Double heder Nashville country outfits Joshua Hedley and Lillie Mae are returning to Australia for a string of shows starting this 19 Jul in Sydney. As well as Mae, Hedley, aka Mr Jukebox, is bringing along his five-piece band for the run.
Great minds Ladysmith Black Mambazo
It’s been a long three years since Cali legends The Internet’s Grammy-nominated third album, Ego Death. Thankfully, the wait ends now - after two knockout lead singles, Roll (Burbank Funk) and Come Over, Hive Mind drops this 20 Jul. The Internet
Forest: Stay Focused
App of the month:
Fit for the Queen
Forest: Stay Focused
South Africa’s finest singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will take a step down from playing the Queen’s birthday and snatching a fifth Grammy win to tour Australia. They play most capital cities starting 9 Jul in Sydney.
Forest: Stay Focused aims to cure you of your internet addiction. Plant a seed in a cute little forest plot and it grows into a tree over the next half-hour, eventually making a little garden of achievement. If you check any websites nominated on your ‘blacklist’ during that time the tree dies.
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Rhett & Link
Sh*t we did
Award-winning American comedians and YouTube sensations Rhett & Link kick off their first Australian stand-up shows this 27 Jul. They’re here in celebration of their first book (and New York Times best seller) Rhett & Link’s Book Of Mythicality.
With Maxim Boon
Rose Matafeo & Alice Snedden
Immersion Therapy According to old wives and their fabled tales, you should always face your fears. And as it turns out, this ancient wisdom can also be backed up by science. Immersion Therapy is a psychological treatment protocol by which phobias can be reduced by exposure to the
Podcast of the month:
very thing that scares you. Through prolonged
Boners Of The Heart
shit, the mind is desensitised and the “fight,
“immersion” to the afore mentioned scary flight or freeze” panic response is reduced, helping to manage symptoms of anxiety,
Gosh bless Rose Matafeo and Alice Snedden. We’ve all had sex dreams about Danny DeVito but the two delightful kiwi horn-dogs are the only ones out there talking about it. Their open explorations into the confusing ingredients of a hearton will absolutely put a shine on your day.
stress and other debilitating mental health complaints relating to fear.
The Verdict I am not brave. In fact, I’m a full blown, yella’bellied, lily-livered wuss: I once faked diarrhoea to get out of riding the hypercoaster at
Movie World (true story). So, I can confirm that my tolerance for fear is sufficiently meagre to be an ideal candidate for this phobia fixing treatment. But what variety of fear was I to overcome? When you’re afflicted with the full-fuckingEnglish of phobias, there’s a pretty damn huge burden of choice. While heights and bugs
Hire and hire
definitely have a higher fear factor for me, subjecting myself to those horrors can go eat a bag of dicks – and let’s be real, fear of falling or being assaulted by potentially toxic pests is just
Grace Stevenson aka Rebel Yell dropped her brooding banger of a debut, Hired Muscle, last month and now she’s taking it on a three-date run around the country. The album tour starts this 7 Jul in Sydney before heading to Brisbane and Melbourne.
evolution, and if it’s good enough for Darwin, etc, etc.Instead, I opt for a more irrational fear, a fear of something that cannot harm me and yet nonetheless I find brick-shittingly terrifying: horror movies.I opt for the six-movie Paranormal Activity saga for my immersive torture, and after a pre-emptive trip to the loo, I settle in for 444 minutes of supernatural scare tactics. I start off fairly confidently – I find the two main protagonists way too annoying to feel afraid. There are a few jump scares that I dutifully shriek at, but on the whole, nothing too traumatic. But as has always been the case, pride cometh before a fall. The second film fills me with just enough existential dread that by the third, and in my humble opinion scariest, instalment, I’m on the cusp of unhinged hysteria. However, I soldier on, and slowly feel my fear subsiding. I don’t know if this is the immersion is working its desensitising magic, or if it’s because the last three movies in the franchise are, quite frankly, terrible, but by the end of the truly dreadful Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, fear levels have dropped to, “Meh.” Either way, I’m willing to chalk this one up as a win. Scary movies, come at me brah!
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The unique charisma of Kiwi culture is ﬁnally getting the international recognition it deserves, but that doesn’t stop Americans from mistaking New Zealanders for Australians. Kiwi comic Guy Montgomery upped sticks and relocated to the States last year in search of fame and fortune. But it’s the cultural quirks he brought with him that have proven to be his most useful asset. He shares his experience of being NZ in the US.
Once the song and dance on lineage has been completed and the conversational partner has rebuilt their confidence, they are ready to share their fascinating insight into our culture. It will usually involve the very assured statement of a proper noun: “New Zealand? The All Blacks,” “New Zealand? Lord Of The Rings,” or “New Zealand? Flight Of The Concords.” Th is is a reductive yet ultimately effective conversational technique. On the one hand, we are so much more as a country than our single greatest achievements and on the other hand, while not necessarily astute, their observation is impossible to argue with. We have produced all of these things. Truth be told I am nearly always flattered and grateful for this social nicety. It has emboldened me to follow the same protocol when meeting anyone from another country. “America? The Grand Canyon”, “France? The Eiffel Tower”, “Spain? The language Spanish”, and so forth and so on. Admittedly this technique has led to a few sticky situations when I have not known enough about the mother country of my prospective friend. “Saudi Arabia? The Arab Spring! Or I suppose you would just call it spring there, right?” The third and final part of this cyclical tete-a-tete is my personal favourite, the confessional. “You know, I’ve always wanted to go to New Zealand but it’s just so far.” Th is is a phenomenal observation to make to someone from New Zealand who is having a conversation in America. Due to my accent and the information just shared, it would be fair to assume that this person is aware I am not in my home country, that I have travelled across oceans to be here. Yet somehow the idea of reciprocating is impossibly far away for them. Instead, they will usually dig out a friend or family member who has fulfilled their lifelong dream of visiting our fair shores, “Well my brother went down there three years ago, said it was beautiful.” I don’t know why people love to tell New Zealanders about their siblings’ travel habits. The only appropriate response I can think of is to exchange their familial trivia for some of my own; “My sister works as a business analyst,” is a great line, provided your sister actually works as a business analyst. At this point, however, I have usually alienated the keen American while simultaneously remembering why I think of New Zealand and New Zealanders so fondly in the first place. I love it here in New York, and I stand behind my misguided decision to try and break the stand-up scene in the biggest market and “Greatest” country on earth. But these moments serve as a constant reminder of all that I’ve left behind. I know this magazine is printed in Australia so it seems an odd place for me to opine and, truth be told, they actually asked Rose Matafeo to write an article about New Zealand culture but she turned it down due to her already burgeoning success, so there you go. Th is will have to do!
n October of last year, in a move of unspeakable hubris, I relocated my entire life to New York City to pursue my dream of living and working in The Big Apple. As it turns out, the logic underpinning this decision was: ‘Why would I continue to earn and save money in Auckland, New Zealand while comfortably ensconced by my friends and family, and everything I hold dear, when I could go and piss it all away in the company of unshakeable loneliness?’ Even now, six months in, why I moved in the first place isn’t always clear to me. I am of the firm belief that not only is New Zealand the most beautiful country in the world but also that New Zealanders are (conversationally at least) the funniest people in the world. Call it bias or accuracy, possibly both, the sound of a New Zealand accent cutting through a room of North Americans is a soothing balm. It promises an understanding of irony and a willingness to speak at a volume lower than 118 decibels (the unit of measurement and average talking volume here in the States). Yet in spite of these feelings, here I am, in my chosen home. There is confusing duality in holding New Zealand humour in such high esteem and yet, for my own personal and professional gratification, having the need to move to America to prove myself to people whose opinions and comic sensibilities I think of as inferior. And being a New Zealander holds immense value here. We enjoy a wellregarded international reputation, to the extent that my nationality is a prime source of companionship in the US. If I am wanting for company or a conversational partner (an upsettingly common occurrence), often I will simply start talking to myself loudly enough for a fellow patron or passerby to hear my accent. Ideally, this will engender enough curiosity that whoever hears me will proffer a contribution to my deranged monologue. Nearly always this opener will be something along the lines of, “Are you from Australia?”, leaving me to gamely explain that I am from a small part of Australia called New Zealand. At this point, the prospective friend/ignorant perpetrator will commence a seemingly pre-programmed three-step process for dealing with a New Zealander who has mistakenly been identified as an Australian. The first move will be to fall over themselves saying, “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry. New Zealand!? I was going to guess New Zealand. You must hate me now.” But I do not hate this person now. At this juncture I am grateful they’ve taken the conversational bait. It is remarkable to me that the vast majority of Americans mean to guess New Zealand and yet somehow never do, but I am yet to outline this to them. So grateful am I, for their speaking to me in the first instance, I will usually gloss over the confusion by saying, “Australia!? I wish. I love Australia, their country is geographically larger than ours.” An attempted joke that is yet to work.
“If I am wanting for company or a conversational partner (an upsettingly common occurrence), often I will simply start talking to myself loudly enough for a fellow patron or passerby to hear my accent.”
Boroondara Arts presents
It Goes a Little Something Like This
8pm â€‰Saturday 11 August
See The Twoks (Xani Kolac - electric violin/vocals and Mark Leahy - drums) perform their epic art-pop music in the intimate setting of Kew Court House. With eclectic influences ranging from Sigur Ros, Kate Bush, Phoenix, Leonard Cohen to Pat Benatar, this duo is truly one of a kind.
Kew Court House 188 High Street, Kew On Sale Now Tickets: $29/$25 www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/arts or 9278 4770
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SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
Alannah Maher speaks with upcoming Splendour In The Grass stars Woodes, Didirri, G Flip and Baker Boy to discuss the reality of their incredibly bright futures. Cover and feature pics by Kane Hibberd.
his year’s Splendour In The Grass line-up is nothing short of mammoth, with international music heavyweights by the likes of Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, The Wombats and Khalid taking the top spots in a dizzying line-up. Among the slew of acts heading to Byron Bay for this iconic festival, some of the brightest new Aussie artists will be making their Splendour debuts with a promise of unique, high-energy performances. Ahead of the festival kick-off, The Music caught up with Woodes, Didirri, G Flip and Baker Boy to discuss what audiences can expect of their sets, and spoke about rising from relative obscurity to playing at the biggest festival in the Oz music zeitgeist. A self-described drummer turned bedroom singer-songwriter/producer, G Flip, real name Georgia Flipo, is beyond “stoked” to be playing Splendour. “[Splendour is] like my Coachella, it’s something that I’m going to remember forever,” she tells us. While she feels like she’s grown up with the festival, this will be Flipo’s first time ever attending, having never had the money together to go with her mates over the years. Flipo blew apart the odds with the instant success of her debut single About You, which quickly won adoration and was listened to all over the world (73 countries) within days of its initial release on triple j Unearthed in February. Only a year ago she was holed up in her bedroom surrounded by lava lamps and learning to produce music from YouTube videos, chasing her own sound after
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
years of drumming in bands (in 2016 she toured the US with alt-rockers EMPRA, before that she played in a funk band, and before that it was pub rock). “When I created all these tunes I only had my parents and my friends to show, and of course they’re going to be like, ‘Oh yeah Georgia, they’re great songs.’ But it wasn’t until I put About You on Unearthed that I got a real reaction from the outside world... and it was like, ‘Oh wow, maybe I am alright at this.’” Her knack for producing catchy songs imbued with equal measures of power and vulnerability carried through to her second single Killing My Time, which dropped in May. Flipo comes to Splendour off the back of a sold-out national headline tour and just two officially released songs. Her set will be a chance to preview all the other music she is due to drop by the end of the year. She says that punters can expect a high-energy set with lots of drumming and running around: “I need to get on a treadmill because I’m worried that the [Splendour] stage is going to be so big that I’m gonna get puffed out from running around! “I feel like when I stand on that stage and say thank you to the audience... I’m just gonna break down crying because it’s like my whole life has just happened in five months and this is my dream festival. A whole heap of emotion is going to rush over me.” Another artist set to dial up the feels is singer-songwriter Didirri, who comes to Splendour with his unique brand of incisive, emotional folk-pop. Full name Didirri Peters, this 23-year-old has been gathering a diverse array of fans since the popularity of his breakout singles Blind You and Jude in 2017, and he’s been releasing music and touring solidly ever since - completing several runs in the last year alone. With his strong, earthy voice and a deeply emotional, intellectual tilt to his lyrics, Peters writes songs that break hearts and put them back together again. “I like exploring taboos and talking about the things that I don’t think people are addressing in their own lives,” says Peters, comparing his writing style to that of a comedian. “All of my songs tend to be a warning or a letter of encouragement to myself, so it’s often born from mistakes that I’ve made or hardships that I’ve seen other people go through.” “Th ink about having the hardest conversation with a friend about something you really didn’t want to dredge up for them, and I’ve gotta do that every night with a bunch of people.” Despite the demands, this recent uni graduate (who not so long ago was busking the streets of Melbourne and working in customer ser-
vice) wouldn’t change it for the world. “I love touring a lot so that helps... A few people have come up to me and said very specifically how a certain song has changed their life, and that is enough for me and that keeps me going.” “On a scale of one to ten, I’d be around a really excited,” he says of his Splendour debut. “Don’t go to my set expecting to see a little folk singer, the band are all boys with feelings too, they get pretty rock’n’roll.” Despite any preconceptions you might have about a guy with a guitar making “earnest” music, Peters’ complete lack of pretence is the most disarming and likeable thing about him, and his music tastes reach widely. “Music is for moving people or making people move, and I just happen to be on the moving people side,” he says, remunerating on his lifelong love of Kylie Minogue. Amongst the players in the Splendour line-up, Peters is stoked to be on a festival bill with mate Baker Boy again. Danzel Baker, aka Baker Boy, has been on a wild ride since taking out the top spot in the triple j Unearthed National Indigenous Music Awards in 2017, with hit singles Cloud 9 and Marryuna both cracking the Hottest 100. While Splendour is a whole new experience for this rapper hailing from North East Arnhem Land, he is already practised in playing to massive crowds since landing support slots with 50 Cent and Dizzee Rascal on their latest Australian tours. Baker says fans can expect “a lot of energy and a crazy performance” from his Splendour set, and “there’s gonna be a lot of dancing”. He has the chops to back up those promises; before Baker was sending crowds airborne with his uniquely sunny hip hop performances he was touring the world with Indigenous dance troupe Djuki Mala. Taking the Yolngu Matha word for “let’s dance”, Marryuna is Baker Boy’s whole vibe distilled into a song. “In that three minutes of music you just wanna dance and have fun,” he says. With catchy beats and hooks, the infectious good vibes of his music have made Baker a massive hit. But before fame came knocking he was making music to empower young Aboriginal people, encouraging young kids to embrace their culture, their language, their education and their dreams. Rapping in English and Yolngu Matha language, Baker is here to prove that hip hop can be the perfect medium for crosscultural connection. “You can use rap music in a way where you can tell stories or tell people what the missing piece is they need... It’s freedom of speech,” he tells The Music. From the Fresh Prince of Arnhem Land to the ethereal wood-nymph of harmonious, cinematic indie-pop, Melbourne artist Woodes will also be lighting up the stage. The moniker of 24-year-old sing-
er-songwriter/producer Elle Graham, Woodes has been garnering solid airtime since her breakthrough 2016 single The Thaw. Th is hard-working artist has carved out her live performance style by supporting the likes of Montaigne, Dustin Tebutt and NGAIIRE. Fresh from her own 2018 national headline tour and supporting City Calm Down on theirs, this will not be her first time taking to the Splendour stage. Last year she performed as a guest vocalist with friends Set Mo and Kilter. Th is year she is excited to take the orchestral sounds of her latest EP, Golden Hour, and “figure out how to push that into bigger arrangements” with plenty of strings and percussion. “We’re trying to make it our biggest one yet in terms of instrumentation,” Graham reveals. As opposed to ballads about love or break-ups, her latest offerings are more “goal-oriented” and reflect inwardly. Graham counts Still So Young, a song about “perception and thinking bigger” among the tracks she holds dearest. Some of Graham’s biggest influences are artists who have gone on to create worlds and empires around their music like Bjork, Imogen Heap and Grimes. But it’s the Aussie musicians she surrounds herself with who are her biggest inspirations: “I’m just so influenced by friends in Australian music, where you can physically see people trying and creating and working together, and that in a way influences me more than an international artist,” she says. She looks forward to rallying up with the best and brightest of the local music scene to bring some amazing live music to the “big bowl of really happy people” in the Splendour amphitheatre. “It’s such a beautiful part of Australia for all these people to gather in. I can definitely see why it sells out every year because it’s such a unique experience,” she says fondly. Whether you’ve been frothing over their triple j Unearthed pages or you’re going in blind, it’s time to get to know the newest vanguard of Australian music makers. While each of them has cultivated their own unique style in their respective corners of the music landscape, there is an undeniable sense of authenticity, passion and purpose shared among them. The future of Australian music is in good hands, folks.
“I FEEL LIKE WHEN I STAND ON THAT STAGE AND SAY THANK YOU TO THE AUDIENCE... I’M JUST GONNA BREAK DOWN CRYING.”
Splendour In The Grass takes place from 20 Jul.
DIDIRRI THE MUSIC
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
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Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
LORDE If Melodrama sucked you into its luscious world and never let go, you owe it to your
She describes one of Chvrches mentors, Dave Stewart, as “a unicorn” and singer Lauren Mayberry — also a freelance journalist — tells Cyclone she’s “happy to go out and continue being grumpy about everything”.
he Scottish synth-pop group Chvrches have experienced a spectacular ascendance since 2013’s debut, The Bones Of What You Believe. But frontwoman Lauren Mayberry does have one regret. Early on, she fretted excessively. “I would like to go back to before the first record, and during the first record, and just be able to be present and enjoy it more and not be so concerned about everything,” the animated Mayberry shares. “I’d like to go back and tell myself, ‘It’s all gonna be fine.’ A lot of the monsters you see in the trees are real, but a lot of them aren’t as well.” A multi-instrumentalist (and freelance journalist), Mayberry formed Chvrches with Iain Cook and Martin Doherty in Glasgow. Here, the resolutely autonomous trio developed their allegorical emo electro-rock in a home studio and impressed bloggers. They’d become a chart band with The Bones Of What You Believe. Following 2015’s consolidating Every Open Eye, Chvrches have now discharged a bold third album, Love Is Dead — their take on progressive stadium pop. And they’re returning to Australia for Splendour In The Grass with a new live drummer. Love Is Dead originated in New York, where all three Chvrches members independently decided to resettle. “It just kind of happened, really,” Mayberry explains. “I came here at the end of 2015, because we were touring in the States so much and it seemed like it would be a fun thing to try and a sensible base to have. We’d always talked about going back to Glasgow for the record, but then it just felt like a change of scenery would be good psychologically for us to push ourselves, or challenge ourselves, outside of our regular comfort zone.” Chvrches also figured that, for album three, they’d team up with external producers. “It was never a given that we were gonna work with people. We took a month and were like, ‘Let’s just go around and meet a bunch of different people and see if we meet anybody that we feel like we really clicked with, and somebody that would push us in the right way.’ We had some great meetings and we had some fucking terrible meetings!” Indeed, the odd industry-type attempted to commer-
cialise the band. “I think it’s just a culture that we’re not a part of — this culture of one-size-fits-all songs,” Mayberry sighs. “We did some sessions where I’m like, ‘This song is fine, but it doesn’t sound like Chvrches. It sounds like “insert-a-namehere/generic thing on pop radio’,’’ which I probably would listen to and enjoy, but I don’t wanna make that; I don’t want it to be our music.” Besides, Chvrches sought to fully interact with outsiders, rather than be instructed (or indulged). Initially, the band collaborated with Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. Alas, those songs were shelved. “They were too far removed from where we’d ended up.” However, Mayberry commends Stewart’s mentorship, describing him glowingly as “a unicorn”. Ultimately, Chvrches recorded primarily with the versatile Californian super-producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Foo Fighters, Liam Gallagher). Mayberry holds that Kurstin “understands British music”, singling out his work with Lily Allen. Sonically, Love Is Dead is punchy like modernised ‘90s alt-rock. Mayberry duets with The National’s Matt Berninger on the atmospheric art-rock My Enemy. And, lyrically, it’s Chvrches’ most immediate album with Mayberry writing more about social issues than romance or her interior life. The haunting Graves chronicles the plight of refugees. Mayberry is particularly pleased with Deliverance, which is a takedown of organised religion. The vocalist has identified the album’s overarching theme as “the death of empathy”, hence the dramatic title. But perhaps the social justice messages aren’t all that surprising; Chvrches have long engaged in activism. Back in 2013, Mayberry wrote an influential op-ed for The Guardian about her encounters with online misogyny. Invariably, the media is now probing her about the #MeToo movement. Many big artists are reticent to discuss political matters lest they alienate fans (Mayberry has previously noted Taylor Swift’s selective feminism). After all, even Eminem faced a massive backlash with his Trump-critiquing Revival. But, for Mayberry, there is no other “option” than to use her platform. “The kind of ‘turn a blind eye and pretend it doesn’t exist’ thing doesn’t feel right to me,” she says. “The reason that you’re able to not talk about certain things is because you’ve been afforded the privilege not to. Those things maybe don’t affect you, but that’s because you’ve reached a level of luxury and privilege where it’s not directly impacting you. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not real.” Mayberry won’t be deterred. She laughs, “I’m happy to go out and continue being grumpy about everything!”
heart and soul to attend this one. It’ll be the Kiwi’s triumphant return to a festival she first performed at as a last minute replacement for Frank Ocean.
KHALID The American Teen ain’t much of a teen anymore, but thankfully The American Young Man (?) will be returning to Australia for Splendour. Hot off the release of his new single, OTW, with Ty Dolla $ign and 6lack, Khalid’s sure to have a few tricks up his sleeve.
HENRY ROLLINS Out of the van and onto the stage, Rollins rolls into the festival line-up after spending most of the year Down Under finding out what makes Australians so tough. Despite releasing his last album of rock music in
Chvrches tour from 21 Jul.
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
2002, we’re sure he’ll have plenty to say,
Australia’s #1 music news site
*Nielson audit October 2017 THE MUSIC
J U LY
NOT TRYING TO REVIVE THE PAST Bandleader Alicia Bognanno tells
we’ve ever played,” Bognanno enthuses). They’re touring in the
Anthony Carew w that keeping up with
2015 debut, Feels Like.
social media is her “least favourite aspect of being in a band”. She also
wake of their second LP, 2017’s Losing, the follow-up to their In making the second Bully record, Bognanno wanted to “be a bit more patient” with the process of writing; challenging herself to write harder guitar parts, better lyrics. “I wanted
hates is when her band Bully y are
to be happy with all the lyrics I wrote, instead of just settling
labelled as ‘90s grunge revivalists.
“I needed to make sure that none of them were making me
for whatever came to mind the first time around,” she says. cringe and I was ok to sing them every night.” Bognanno is reluctant to talk about her songs at length —
ully have a profile on the 280-character website; the
“I don’t think that everybody needs to know every detail about
photo-sharing one; the data-collecting one. Often,
every musician and have a breakdown of every song” — but
it’s bandleader Alicia Bognanno, herself, that’s pilot-
given she tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve, people
ing them. But, the 28-year-old who leads the Nashville-based
think they can tell what a song’s about. Bognanno is fine for
band, wielding super fuzzed riffs and passionate, hollered
some “confusion” to exist between her reality and listeners’
vocals kinda wishes she didn’t have to.
interpretations, but when she uncovers them in print, it can
“Having to keep up with any sort of social media is my
least favourite aspect of being in a band,” Bognanno admits. “If
“I don’t really read any reviews or a lot of press stuff,
it were up to me I’d just write songs, make records, put them
because I can be really critical [of myself],” Bognanno says. “I
out. I understand why it’s there and how it can be beneficial,
don’t really want to have a stranger’s point-of-view in the back
[but] I hate having to be involved in social media. It bums me
of my mind when I’m trying to write a song in the future. I
out knowing how much it really does help with records and
know how I respond to that, which is not very well... I’ll read
ticket sales. I don’t like being involved in it. It feels like a place
one thing that I maybe think was misinterpreted, or that other
where a lot of companies are profiting off your attention span
people wouldn’t even think of as a negative thing, and it’ll real-
and time, creating this desire to make you feel constantly vali-
ly just shut me down. It’s really stressful.”
dated. It doesn’t make me feel good. I never go on Instagram
Chief among her hated narratives: the recurring belief
or Twitter and come off of it feeling like a better person, or
that Bully — with their fuzzy riffs, Electrical Audio recordings
feeling better about myself. If anything, it’s usually the oppo-
and love of The Breeders — are grunge revivalists. “The one
site. I think, if I didn’t play in a band for my job, I’d like to be way
thing that has come up, non-stop, with the past two records, is
more off the grid.”
the whole ‘’90s grunge’ thing,” she sighs. “That’s a little bit eye-
Bognanno can handle the rest of the grind: she loves tour-
roll-y to me. I was born in 1990. It was never the goal to repli-
ing, playing guitar and, most of all, being in the studio — where
cate the era in which I was born. Sure, there’s a bunch of great
she records and engineers all of Bully’s songs, usually on ana-
bands from that era that I like, that’ve surely crept in there as
logue tape. She cut her teeth as an engineer: studying audio
influences, but there’s nothing about Bully which is trying to
engineering, interning at Chicago’s legendary Electrical Audio
revive the past.”
studio (where Bully would subsequently record their two LPs), and doing live and studio sound in her adopted hometown of Nashville. She’s taken this interview in a tour van “somewhere in Virginia”, she thinks, though she’s not quite sure which state
Bully tour from 18 Jul.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
The band are in the middle of another long bout of touring; a run of shows that will, eventually, bring Bully back to these shores (“Australia was definitely the best place that
KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY Marmozets guitarist Jack Bottomley tells Anthony Carew that when you start a band in your early teens the hardest part is convincing anybody to let you into their venue.
BAD BOYS FOR LIFE Talk box enthusiast Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel tells Bryget Chrisfield his duo Chromeo were headhunted by Daryl Hall. He also admits he didn’t realise “the Batman song” was by Prince back in the day.
hromeo have performed with the great Daryl Hall on a few different occasions and, when asked whether they reached out to the Hall & Oates lead vocalist to make this happen, Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel reveals, “Ah, no, actually, he reached out. It was right around the time when he started his Live From Daryl’s House episodes and we were in the first ten episodes! So I think that somehow — I’m not sure how
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
nglish math-rockers Mar Marmozets rmozets ar aree a fami family milyy bban band, and, d, a quintet comprised of two sets set etss of siblings: thee MacIntyres (Rebecca, Sam, Josh) and the Bottomleys (Jack and Will). Suitably, they’re a band that owes a huge debt to their families. “Our dad and my mum have both been into music all their lives,” says guitarist Jack Bottomley, 25. “When my dad would drop me at football practice, he used to just blast loads of records I still listen to now: Pixies, Big Black, Nirvana. I used to get myself revved up by listening to that then go run around and play football for an hour and a half. I discovered
it happened. One of his nephews — somehow we got to his ear and we were one of the first groups that he thought of for his concept of his show: basically bringing in current artists to do songs at his house.” We would like to think that Hall rang a Chromeo member direct, but Gemayel enlightens, “It was through our last manager,” before adding, “I wish it happened like that! I mean, you know, it’s different times... but [Hall] did tell us a story about how Michael Jackson called him up to ask if he could use a similar bass line as the one that’s in [I [ Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)] for Billie Jean. So, yeah, he personally called him like [impressively impersonates MJ], “Hi, this is Michael. I have an idea for this song called Billie Jean, but my bass line is very similar to ...(No Can Do), is it ok if I use this bass line?” In Chromeo, Gemayel plays synth, bass and talk box, the latter of which looks like a super-fun instrument to play. “It’s really fun! Very fun,” he gushes. So does Gemayel remember the first time he ever heard or saw someone playing this instrument? “Oh yes, I do! That was right after around the time when I started buying funk records and then, of course, being a hip hop fan; More Bounce To The Ounce, the record from Zapp & Roger, was sampled a lot in hip hop. I never really paid attention because the talk box was sort of always camouflaged behind a dirty sample, so I never really figured it out. When I discovered the original record... is when I first heard a clear rendition of the talk box and from that day I was sold. I was like, ‘I need to play this!
The Wh White Stripes through uncle Whit i e St tripe pes thro roug ugh my u unc ncle l who ho was was a big big fan fan of theirs. the heir irss. It It was w s when wa en they tthe h y only on n ly had haad threee CDs CD Ds out, out, and and I just bought bougg ht all them the hem m and like an nd soaked so oak aked e them the hem up up like lik ikee a sponge. spon sp o ge. Itt was lik ikee I’d I’ d found foun fo nd this t iss new th new world.” world ld.” .” Growing G owing up Gr up in n West Yorkshire, Yorrks kshi hire,, Jack Jacck Ja ck (the ((tthe elder of the two went through tw wo Bottomleys) Bot B otto toml m ey eys) w entt th en hroug ugh h childhood loves standard lo ove v s th that at were w e “pretty “prrett “p ttyy stan nda darrd procedure for England”: first p ocedure fo pr or a la lad d in E En ngla land nd”: ”: ffir irst st h hee was was obsessed obsessed d with w it ith football, f otballl, then fo th hen skateboarding, ska sk teebo boardiing,, then music. “II was so o poor p or I used po useed to just u jjus ustt sit sit in play guitar, i my room all thee time, e, p pla ay gu guit itar ar, look up p lessons le online, look up on p other guitarists guit gu itaaris ists ts [play[ ing],” recounts formative years. Jack ing]],”” h he reco coun unts ts off hi his form mat ativ ivee ye ear ars. s. JJac a k and hi brother used their bedroom hiss br brot o herr us ed d to jam in n tthe heir ir bbed edro ed r om and shows [their] parents”, d “put “p t on show ws fo forr [their ir]] p are reent n s” s”,, callingg tthemselves Arrows”, But hemselv lves es “Th Thee Ar Arro ro ows ws”, h hee tells us. us. B Bu ut they “Itt was th never nev eveer played plaaye y d a show. sh was just j st fun.” ju fu un ” un.” Marmozets Marrmoz Ma ozet e s started star st a teed when wh w hen n Jack Jacck was was just ju jus u st 14. 144. “We “W We we were re aged age g d between beetw wee een n 13 and and 15 15 when wh n we start started, ted ed,, so it was waas almost almo al most st impossible iimp mpo ossi siible to o get et a gi gigg an aanywhere,” yw where,” , he he recounts. reco oun untts. But But their thei th eirr parr ents dad ents — the en thee Bottomleys’ Bo B otto toml m eyys’ d ad d and and the the he MacInM tyres’ online tyre ty res’ s’ mum mum m — used use sed d to o go go o nlline li and find them tth hem em gigs gig igss around arro ou und d Leeds Leedss aand nd Bradford. They found a home Club, me at at Th Thee 1 In n 12 12 C lub ub,, a 10 1100-capacity 0--capacity punk dive founded on n anarchist anarc rcchist histt principles. pri p rinc ncip nc ip ples. les. “It “It “I It was waas where The Cult did w their first Model Army, firsst shows show ow ws an and d Ne New w Mo Mod dell Ar A my, another big Bradford fo d band, band, d, they the hey played hey pllayed pla ayed there,” the h re re,” ,”” Bottomley says. “So we just used much used d to to gigg there th her e e as m uch uc h as we could; most weekends we’d play there doing play the h re d oiing ng tthe he ssame am set every time, playing the same ame am song song twice ttwi wice ce because bec ecaause we didn’t have enough to fill out half an n hour.” hou h our.” In between bbet etwe ween e their weekend sets, the band were still in school. Bottomley took subjects that he thought could help the band — music theory, graphic design, business — but
This is my new favourite thing in the world. I need to do this. This is me.’” Chromeo recruited a guest guitarist, Jesse Johnson (from the original lineup of Prince-associated band, The Time), for Must’ve Been so we’re tipping Gemayel is a Prince fan. “Not when I was a kid,” he recalls. “I wasn’t aware of Prince as a kid. I was really just a kid who listened to hip hop and that was it. I knew Michael Jackson, only starting from Bad. I never witnessed or lived through Thriller.r Let’s put it to you this way: my first two albums that I ever bought, when I was eight, was Michael Jackson, Bad, and LL Cool J, also called BAD [Bigger [ And Deffer]. r “Those were my two first albums and that pretty much tells you everything about me and about how I sort of adapted in America. And I wasn’t aware of Prince except that when Batman came out back then, I’m not sure what the...” Batdance? “Exactly. The video, the song was insane. Batdance was, unbeknownst to me, my first favourite Prince song. I never knew who he was... To me, that was the Batman song, you know? Relocating to Canada when he was just eight years old was “a very confusing time of [his] life”, Gemayel acknowledges. “I came in straight from Lebanon, I had a strange accent, I looked strange and I had a different culture. And Canadian culture was so far removed from Lebanese culture that it’s really sort of a cultural clash. But when you have an existing minority already in place, you tend to gravitate towards that. In Cana-
never dreamed dreaamed their thei h ir collective collec ective ve adolescent ado adole lesc sccen entt obsession obse bs ss ssiion wo w would ull uld always very knew bear be ar fruit. “I was as alw lwaays ve ery r rrealistic, eali ea list sttic ic, so I k new w that th hat a ggetting etti et ting ti ng famous to bbee in n a ffam a ous band band was was about aabbo bout bou ut ass difficult diiffffic diff i ul ultt as getting getti ting ng to to be b professional footballer,” a profes ssi sion onal al ffoo ootb tbaa lller,”” he h says. sayys. “It “ was my dream drea eam m to play pla p layy music, never musi mu ic, bbut ut I n nev ever err rreally eaa llly thought thou ugh ghtt that a I’d be ablee to.” When When n Marmozets Maarm M armo moze zetts signed siggne n d with Roadrunner Roa o drr un unn ner in 2013, 201 013, 3, barely they th ey were wer w ere still er stil illl in, in n, orr jjust u t ba us are relyy out out of, of, their tthe heir ir teens. teeens. When theyy released rele eased d their theeir debut debbut LP, P, The The Weird Weird And Annd Wonderful Wond Wo nder erfu f l Marmozets, M rm Ma r ozets, career iin n 2014, 201 20114, 4 they found fo oun und d th tthee ca areer that they’d they ey’d ’d dreamed dream amed d of, of, but off co comparisons unexpected. also al s a bunch ho compar ris ison o s that were ju jjust st as un nex e pect cted ed. “We used “W used to o get compared c mp co mpared to bands like Paramore orr Flyleaf, Fly Flylleaf, purely lyy because beccau a se we we had h d a girl singer, which always ha alwayys made mad ma de uss be ‘Ugh, ok’,” like,, ‘U Ugh, ok ok’ ’,” Bottomley Bott ttomley says. “We felt a bit pigeonholed. pig igeonhol oled ed.. was successful Itt w as still suc ucce cessful bandss we w were being b ing compared be comp par ared ed to, to, so o world. wasn’t it wasn’t wasn’t the th he end end of the he w wor o ld. But it jjust ustt wa us wasn sn’t’t h how ow w we saw w ourselves, all.” ours ou rsel e ve el ves, at al all. l” In writing Marmozets upped w ri riti itin ng their second d LP LP,, Marm moz o etss up uppe ped the sense “innovate” of ambition, am mbition, wanting to “innov ovat ate” e” and nd “write ““wr writ ite better materitellingly, Knowing aal”. l”.”. Theyy called it, telling g ly ly,, Kn Know owin ingg What What You You Know Know w Now. The album wass released after a h health scare: Rebecca MacIntyre albu al bum m wa w ealt lth h sc scar are: R ebec eb ecca M acIn Inty tyre re dealing syndrome, which deal de alin ing with the fallout of hypermobility hyy pe perm rmob obility syndrome me,, wh hic ich h required, walk req re quired, essentially, learningg to w alk again. Heading ng back out on the road, a ready-made ready-mad de support support system was in place: pl family. Marmozets being, literally, family ly.. “It’s definitely a positive thing, th hin ing, g, being bbei eing ng siblings,” sib ibli ling n s,”” Botcompletely. tomley says. “We know each other iinside-out, nsid ide-out, t, ccom ompl plet etely. everything. We’re super-close. It just helps everyth thiing. Obviously, we’ve never known it any other way — we’ve been doing this for ten years, it’s all we’ve ever done — but, it’s so lovelyy to have family around. It’s great, at shows, when both sets of ffamilies amil am i iees show up. It’s just nice.”
Marmozets tour from 18 Jul.
da — back then there wasn’t that many Lebanese kids around; in my school, at least. “And, you know, I looked around and I wasn’t really included in all the Canadian crews, and soon enough you find out that the minority in Montreal is Haitians, and you soon find out that you sort of naturally gravitate towards who sort of accepts you and who is closer to you in terms of culture. And, culturally, Haitians were very similar to Lebanese culture — in Montreal — so I
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
naturally gravitated towards rap and hip hop and black music... This is sort of how I grew up and how, me moving to Canada, the transition was made. Being completely lost and culture shocked, I sort of adapted myself and that shaped my musical tastes, you know?”
Chromeo tour from 20 Jul.
ARTS IN THE GRASS
There’s more than just killer gigs to be found in the North Byron Parklands. Festival-goers can also feast their eyes on a jaw-dropping, mind-bending, and utterly ‘gramworthy’ public art experience. Here are the highlights you won’t want to miss.
LAITH MCGREGOR | HIDE YOUR EYES Bringing a uniquely contemporary perspective to the tradition of fine art draughtsmanship, this self-portrait of the artist is an invitation to channel your inner Bansky and add your own tag in an evolving guerrilla art experiment.
COOL SHIT | SNOOP DOGG HOT DOGS In 2016, Snoop Dogg found out how hot dogs are made, and promptly renounced his namesake meat treat, saying: “I ain’t never eating
ASH KEATING | GRAVITY SYSTEM RESPONSE
another motherfucking hot dog. If that’s how they make hot dogs.” This piece celebrates that iconic moment.
Melbournians will likely be familiar with the vibrant murals of this street artist. His explorations of colour explore the relationship between expression and physical forces. You can catch this vivid and evolving piece at the entrance tunnel.
ANDY FORBES | THE WITCH HUNT There ain’t not boogie like a graveyard boogie. The iconic performance artist and installation guru is once again putting the boo in booty-
SAM SONGAILO | GATEWAYS 2
shake, with his graveyard, wicker man, Addams
And just when you thought Splendour couldn’t get any more dope, they only go and lay on these awesome AF side events. Check out these perfect pit-stops to visit between acts.
Songailo’s So S Son on ongai ga ailo’ llo o’’s o
family fantasy land. Come for the spooks, stay for
monumental m mon mo onume um me m enta nta tal ta
the socio-political commentary.
artworks play a art rttwor w ks p wo pla la ay with with th
SPLENDOUR IN THE CRAFT
between the he h e te ttension nsiio nsion on n bet betwee be wee en digital tthe he ed di digit igit gital ital al a and nd d th the the
With so much creativity on display, you’re bound to hear the
analogue. an ana n lo log og o gue. ue ue. u e Im IImmersive, me mer mersiv e siv ive, ve, e
call of your inner artist. Grab a glue-gun and handful of glitter
vibrant, trippy vibran vib rran an nt, t, tri riipp rippy p AF ppy AF an and d
and get crafty at a creative workshop.
straight TRON, sstr tr t aig ig ght ht out o off TR ou TRO RON, epic arches these the hese ee ep epi pca rc rch ch hes e a are ar re e ultimate the th he h e ul u timate tim ate selfi se elfi fie
SPLENDOUR COMEDY CLUB
backdrop. bac ckdr kd op op
Roll up LOL-lovers, it’s time to give your ribs a tickling. Come check out a cavalcade of comedy with stand-up talents ranging from seasoned pros to grass-roots newbies.
THE SCIENCE TENT Smarts are sexy, haven’t you heard? Building on its exothermic debut last year, we recommend you put a spring in your synapses and get your geek chic on.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE BROOKLYN WHELAN
Feeling philosophical? This program of discussion panels,
Splendour is proud to present its first ever artist in residence. Be sure to check out his jaw-dropping
debates, literary salons and Q&As is a place to stroke your
projection mapped artwork Zero Three. Fusing cutting-edge optics with his trademark ethereal cloud
beard and gaze wistfully into the middle distance.
paintings, prepare to have your breath taken.
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
Splendour In the Grass 2018 — Accommodation Wake up in a tepee wonderland
Nestled in a valley surrounded by forest, Tepee Love is the only accommodation in the heart of the festival. With hot indoor and outdoor showers, private toilets, its own cafe and chill out space, this is your private sanctuary to retreat to. Cosy tepees, no queues and a fun relaxed atmosphere will take your festival experience to another level. Tepee Love is available for private hire. Enquire about our events packages. www.tepeelove.com firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GREATEST FREDDIE MERCURY VOICE ON THE PLANET!
queen THE ULTIMATE
CELEBRATION Starring Marc Martel
“That voice. You listen, close your eyes and you think it’s Freddie. It’s really uncanny." - Roger Taylor, Queen
PERTH - AUG 28
GOLD COAST - AUG 30
SYDNEY - AUG 31
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MELBOURNE - SEP 1
FIRST LOOK These artists are new around these parts, so let’s show ‘em a good time, alright?
SUPERORGANISM Formerly known as The Eversons, these Wellington indie rockers have added a few international members and adopted a much cooler moniker along the way. Far more pop-oriented than their previous incarnation, this colourful team of eight are sure to appeal to the lighthearted side of everyone in attendance.
TOWKIO History tells us that we should always pay attention to any friend of Rick Rubin, even if they wear a septum piercing. With his debut album, WWW, dropping earlier this year, now’s the perfect time to see if the bearded oracle of hip hop production has a new star in the making.
SOCCER MOMMY As Bart Simpson once said of Lollapalooza: “making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel.” In reality, it takes a bit more talent than that, and Sophie Allison aka Soccer Mommy, has it in spades, describing her bedroom pop vibe as “chill, but kinda sad”.
TAKING OVER THE WORLD She recently won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition for Adore and Amy Shark tells Lewis Isaacs she was greeted by “about six people” outside Foo Fighters’ private studio when she turned up to work with Mark Hoppus. ou should forgive Amy Shark if she sounds overconfident talking about her upcoming debut album, Love Monster.r It’s an album that represents the work of two eras: the first, Shark’s years as an emerging singersongwriter on the Gold Coast labouring away and perfecting her craft behind the scenes; the second, the two years following the release of her single Adore, which changed her life overnight and propelled her into the Australian consciousness, opening do oors to the global stage. “I knew this record was going to be special. And even if it’s not for anyone else, it’s special to me and I’m very proud of it,” she tells. “It’s been such a long time comingg and I wanted it to be as big as it could be. I think wheen you listen to all the songs, th here’s a lot of stories that are reeally sweet and about passion and love and everything. Then there’s a lo ot of son o gs abou ut jea ealo lousy and an d in inse s cu curiityy. “I’v “I ’vee pu p t everyy bi b t of ene nerg rgyy into in to tthi hiss re reco cord r so oI’m m very prote tecc tive and att t ached d to it. The secon nd it comes es o out iss go g in ng to be a very ry good go od feeli f ling ng.”” S ark’ Sh k’ss jour u ne neyy to oh her e debut allbu bum di displayss a rel elentlesss work wo rk eth thic; writ itin i g songs no onsttop on thee ro road ad and build ldin ingg on tth he confidence an nd acccl claiim th hat Adore and her subbseeque qqu uen e nt EP, Night Thinker,r ha EP havve ve bbrro ro ou ugh g ht . Tours around thee US aan nd a notable appearance no ce on Th T he La Late tee Late Sho La how With James Corrde den a ls l so so oli lidi difi fied Sha hark’ss repu utatio io on as as a livee p per e fo formerr, bu but it’ss son ongw gwri ritt ti g th in that the Gol old d Co Coaast re resi side dent nt prides her erse self lf on. n Wi Win ni ning ng the recent Van nda & You ungg S Son ongw on w ri riti ting ng C Competi titi tio on for on forr Ad Ador Ador oree (ahead o off Ga Gan ng Of Yo Yout uth ut hs’ Da hs’ D vee L Le’ e’au aupe pepe who ho was ssho h rttho list sted ed for f mul ulttiplle tr traac acks acks ks)) lin liined ed he herr co coff fferrs wi w th a healt lthy hyy $50, $5 0 000 0 prize, pr e, bbut ut it’ss ar argguab g uably lyy tthe h rec e og ec ogni n tiion no of heer craftt that Sha th hark rk has as deriv ivved d mor oree valu lu ue fr from om m. “Th That’ t’ss a sp spec ecia ial on one, e, bbeccau ause se it is i based ased on n song ngwr writin i g. That at’s ’s w wha haat I am m and n tha that’ t s wh whaat I rea eallly love ve doi o ng, so tto o be r cogn re gnis ised ed d aas a so song ngw ng w rit iter is very very imp ve mpor orta tant nt to me m . Obvii ousl ou sly, y, the h prriize ze mon oneyy h has ass made tour urin ur ingg a lo in lott more more ccom mo om fo om f rt rtable ab le. The go oal iiss to spr preaad me aass an an Aus ustrral alia liaan ar arti tist st as fa farr ass po ossssib ible le,, and d th t at w was as a real ea l ga g me chaanggeerr. Itt was as ama m zi zin ng . ng.” That sson ong w ri riti ting ng sspa p rk was pa an n’’t ju ust notic iced ic ed d by fa f ns iin n herr own he n back c yard r . It It’s ’s d dra rawn ra w att wn tten en nttiion world ldwi ld w de de, le de, leaadin ingg to col ollaabo borati t on onss w wiith L or orde de’s ’ss p prrodu roduceer Jo J el Lit ittl tle, e son ngwriter/p pro rodu duce cerr an and d Bl Blea each cherrs fr fron fron onttm tman JJac ack An Anto ton to noff no ff,, as well as an app we ppea eara ranc ncee by b Bli link nk-118822’s Mar nk ark k Ho oppus ppus on Love Loove v Monnster.r Wh Mo W en e the oppor pp p r tu uni nity tyy ccam amee to w wor ork k wi w ith th h th these hessee big naames, Sha hark rk k was ssti till ti lll unw unw nwill liingg tto o be beco com me com me mpl plac acent.. “Th That at wa wass su uch an in incr cred dibblee eexp xper xp erie er ieenc nce. IItt was nce. was al alll do done in o in one ne w wee eek, k, w whi hich hw wass menta t ll llyy an and d ph p ys y iccal ally ly dra rain i in in i g, g,” Shar Sh ark k ad add ds. “I “I’m mn no ot the he t yp ypee to t eve verr be iin n a ro oom m cre reat atiingg
SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS
songs with people. When it’s locked in that I’m going in with Jack Antonoff and Joel Little, I put so much pressure on myself. Even though my whole team was like, ‘Just go and have fun and go and do what you do best and work, and if nothing comes out of it, then nothing comes out of it.’ But it’s like, ‘That’s bullshit, we all want something to come out of this. These are very big producers that are costing us a lot of money and we all want great songs to come out of it.’ “But Mark — [working with him] was such a crazy experience. When I rocked up at the studio, it was in the [San Fernando] Valley in the Foo Fighters’ private studio and about six people came out to the car to greet me — getting my bags, asking what I want for lunch, do I want a coffee — and a guy was ready to give me a tour of the studio. “It was such a crazy experience being in a studio with Hoppus. He ended up writing a verse on this song I had already written and it’s probably one of my favourites on the album. Despite Adore’s release two years ahead of her debut album Shark admits there were no reservations about album, including it on Love Monster. r “It’s the same as when Royals was on Lorde’s [album] and Riptide was on Vance Joy’s — it’s an absolutely idiotic move not to have it on there, I reckon. It’s my debut album, m peo opl plee ar aree st s illl le l ar a ni n ng about it all overr th the world. d. So it’s a gre reat opp ppo por or tu ort tun niityy for me to
havee it o ha on n a fful ull ul l l bo bod ody of wo ork to ke k ep pro romo m ti ting ng tthe hee song, g I th h in i nk n k it des eser erves that. ““Ad Ador ore is th t e reason I’v ’vee been ablle to t do a de debu but re reco cord rd, which h I never thought I’d ev ever e get et to do. do. I gu gues ues e s yo y u ca c n putt ever eryy cent n into it and nd not gget et much uch ou ut of o it, t, but iit’ t’ss reeal t’ a lyy nice knowing I’m m ggoi oing ng tto o reele leas asee th as this is a llbbum aan nd p nd peo eo opl plee wi will ll acctually hear itt. Ad Ador oree has cha haangged d my li liffe, fe wiithou outt a do dou ubt. t.””
Love Monsterr (So Sony So ny)) is ny i out thi hiss mo ont n h. A my S Sha h rk tou ha tou ours r rs from 21 Ju Jul. l.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
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THE BIG PICTURE
MARKUS RAVIK When it comes to capturing the rush of the music fest experience, few snappers are as skilled. We caught up with the seasoned festival photographer to find out how he captures his breathtaking images. Why do music festivals provide such rich opportunities for killer shots, and what’s the secret of capturing the energy and excitement of a fest? I find that festival-goers are always such a high spirited bunch of people. There’s always a lot of anticipation leading up to a festival, and you really can capture the overall excitement that’s in the air on the day. I’m always sure to have one of my cameras at the ready to catch those fleeting candid moments between friends or interactions between artists and attendees. Music festivals are notoriously messy. How do you keep your kit in good nick while you’re festival-bound? The inside of whatever sweat-soaked t-shirt I’m wearing on the day usually makes a decent enough lens wipe! Seriously though, I used to be incredibly precious of my gear right up until I smashed my first lens while shooting and discovered the true value of having my gear insured. Festivals are made up of epic experiences and small, personal adventures. How do you make sure you’re capturing both those shots of a scale and the intimate moments in between? Other than a lot of running around, generally I just keep my eyes peeled for anything interesting happening, especially off in the distance where I can catch those subtle, more intimate moments on my longer lens without disturbing people or shoving a camera right in their face.
Splendour In The Grass 2017
What are the most memorable moments you can recall from your years of shooting at Splendour? Honestly, a lot of them are probably the times shared between myself and the other photographers. As far as the festival goes, my fondest memory would have been shooting Blur and to have Damon Albarn jump down into the crowd, which not only made for incredible shots but was one of those moments where I realise why I keep doing what I do and why I love it so much. Other than that, I was absolutely floored to be able to capture (and witness) The Cure perform live even once within my lifespan!
THE BIG PICTURE
As someone who knows a thing or two about navigating Splendour’s sprawling site, what are your top tips for festival goers? I’m always a comfort over style kinda guy, so I would say comfortable footwear is #1 for me. Onace that ground inevitably turns from grass to muck, always take the route over that big hill from the Amphitheatre with caution... unless you’re totally munted and are ok sliding face first down that brutal muddy slope. Don’t underestimate that mud. Don’t be a dickhead, everyone is there for the same reason, and that’s to have a good time and see some epic live music. So, try to be courteous when walking through the crowds and follow instructions from the poor blokes trying to run security for the festival, they are there for a reason — to keep you safe. Lastly, and most of all... have fun! Explore the entire site, don’t just stick to the main stages, you’ll find some hidden gems amongst all the stalls and smaller stages.
Splendour In The Grass happens from 20 Jul
What we do in the digital shadows Don’t throw shade, we’ve all been to the dark side. Maxim Boon takes a close look at some never-unseeable online trends.
have to admit, I never actually saw the infamous 2007 viral video popularly known as Two Girls One Cup. Not first hand, at least. That might not put me in the minority today — and if you’re not familiar with it, let’s just say, don’t google it at work. But just over a decade ago, when this poopporn freak show first boom-boomed its way onto the internet, it was arguably the most dominant pop-culture touchstone of the digital age to date. Objectively, it was one seriously fucked-up, not to mention stomach-churning, piece of scatological erotica, in which two women get frisky over a whipped-shit smoothie (like I said, don’t google it at work). But it nonetheless became a bizarrely galvanising shared experience. People around the world collectively subjected themselves to this never-unseeable faecal fiesta, and were more than happy to swap notes on it. Somehow, a piece of extreme kink became a handy social icebreaker, a witty punchline, and a piece of common ground on a scale few pieces of online ephemera had ever achieved before it. And while I never had the dubious pleasure of witnessing 2G1C for myself, I still kind of feel as if I did. Because if anything could be said to have surpassed the shit-smeared reach of those two poor girls and their one terrifying cup, it would arguably be the genre of digital media that this inglorious porno gave birth to: the reaction video. Purists will say the first true examples — the Scary Maze Game reactions — predate the Two Girls One Cup variety by a year. But the sheer volume of Two Girl reaction vids makes them a watershed phenomenon in their own right. And there’s something remarkable — dare I even say, scientifically so — about the emotional vector replicated, almost verbatim, video after video, as people documented the knee-jerk responses to this minute of hardcore horror. It begins with an incredulous gasp, followed by a few seconds of slack-jawed incomprehension. Then the revulsion builds and the pupils dilate, until the harrowing scene sends the viewer into a scrambling, near-hysterical panic. And there’s a good reason why these reaction videos are so strikingly similar, which also reveals why the global ascendancy of this shock porn filth-fest isn’t as inexplicable as it first appears. According to forensic psychologist Maycon Merlo, videos like Two Girls One Cup can highjack the brain’s most primitive responses. “It triggers something known as the ‘Th ree Fs’: Fight, Flight and Freeze,” Merlo explains. “And this is controlled
by one of the main compositions of the brain, the amygdala. Th is part of the brain controls sensations of fear, anxiety, pleasure and other important instincts for survival. All mammals have these same responses hardwired into the nervous system, which activate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine.” These naturally occurring substances can quicken the pulse, sharpen the senses, and create feelings of exhilaration. But whereas our tree-dwelling ancestors used these chemical cues to avoid danger, modern humans process these responses in an altogether different way. Much like the rush we get from a roller-coaster or a scary movie, in the absence of genuine threat, these survival reactions can give us an appealing high. “We have a highly evolved prefrontal cortex, so we are able to intelligently rationalise these responses. And we also have empathy — we can mirror and engage with the emotional responses of others in highly imaginative ways,” Merlo adds. In the decade since Two Girls One Cup first shook unsuspecting viewers into a giddy, adrenaline-fuelled frenzy, many similar memes have followed in its smutty footsteps, including seminal classic Blue Waffle (google at your own peril). But back when smartphones were dumb Blackberrys, social media was MySpace, and early adopters were only just figuring out how their online personas intersected with their day to day reality, exploring this type of media was an oddly social affair, and even digital content only went viral by word of mouth. Today, hacking our amygdala is a more private activity, and to that end, behind closed doors there’s a veritable smorgasbord of digital media geared towards hotwiring our neurochemistry. And not always to give us a creeped-out buzz. Some types of content have been found to instil a sense of satisfying calm, in particular videos involving cyst extractions and similar dermatological procedures. The popularity of these clips is mind-boggling: the videos on Dr Sandra Lee’s Dr Pimple Popper channel, one of YouTube’s most popular in this genre, have been viewed more than a billion times. There’s a similarly ferocious demand for ASMR content, which activates the brain’s Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, characterised by tingly, deeply relaxing sensations in the scalp, neck and face. These sound driven vids, of which there are more than 13 million on YouTube, feature the soothing tones of whispering, stroked surfaces, and other subtle noises like towels being folded, paper being crumpled, hair being brushed, and even microphones being
T H E M U S I C • 3 4 • C U LT U R E
licked. Several studies have explored the effects of these videos and found them to have measurable therapeutic results including reduced stress and insomnia, and even lowered blood pressure. (Having test driven a fair few of these clips during the research for this article, I can confirm that they really do chill you the fuck out!) But as with all human pursuits, there is a dark side. As far back as the mid-1990s, websites began emerging, most notably the now-defunct rotten.com, which catered to an underground yet thriving community of people seeking the macabre and disturbing. Most of these early sites, constrained by the limits of dial-up modems, simply featured images of gruesome crime scenes, including murders, suicides and fatal accidents. However, in recent years, as super-fast broadband has made accessing videos effortless, the scope of media available on shock sites has grown, and with it the scale of the taboo surrounding this controversial and divisive content. Perhaps the most disturbing examples being widely distributed online today are of jihadi prisoner executions, commonly by beheading, stoning, or being thrown from tall buildings. It’s not a stretch to grasp why a penchant for such graphic viewing isn’t something many people are prepared to admit to, although the colossal traffic these sites attract means that, if you’re not watching yourself, it’s highly likely you know someone who is. But is this fascination with death and depravity really such an anathema? Throughout human history, from the Romans’ gladiatorial battles, to the public executions of the Middle Ages, to the scandalising illustrations of Victorian London’s Penny Dreadfuls, our past is littered with examples of morbid curiosity and gore-fuelled entertainment. And in a similar vein to Two Girls One Cup, the appeal stemmed from the yummy rush of stimulants provided by the brain’s instinctual reactions. It might well be an innate fascination, indeed a part of our anatomy, but fear of judgment has driven these online habits into the shadows, not least because of the dangerous intent an interest in such horrific viewing implies. However, as Maycon Merlo explains, deranged psychopaths are unlikely to be tuning in. “Psychopathic and sociopathic behaviours are the result of an absence of emotion and empathy, so the empathetic relationship that triggers the Th ree Fs response just isn’t there. For a psychopath, watching a video of a public execution would be as affecting as watching someone brush thei teeth.”
W W W . A U D E A R A . C O M
Perfect sound, always.
“Once fully tailored, the sound quality of these headphones was absolutely magnificent. Atop of that, the noise canceling option works like a charm.” – EDM Sauce
“These headphones are capable of delivering superior sound that is like no other headphone on the market today.” – Sanvada
“It’s the sort of idea that could change the way you listen to music.” – Australian Financial Review
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JUL LY Y
Credit where it’s due Ahead of the release of the duo’s debut album, Cosmo’s Midnight’s Patrick Liney sits down with Cyclone to talk Pharrell samples, Tove Styrke guests and first flights.
osmo’s Midnight — twin brothers Patrick and Cosmo Liney — have charmed the R&B and hip hop icon Pharrell Williams with their glitchy synth-funk. He allowed them to sample N*E*R*D’s 2008 single Spaz for the track Montego off their debut album What Comes Next — dispensing with the red publishing tape. The Sydney musicians were cutting it fine when, two months before release, they submitted their clearance request to Williams’ team. “We literally just did it because we were like, ‘What have we got to lose, other than not being able to even have this song on the album?’” says Patrick, stepping out of a local pub, leaving Cosmo inside. Cosmo’s Midnight received an expeditious response. “Pharrell just wanted to be credited as a writer. He didn’t ask for any money or anything. He just wanted it to be out there.” Pat was “stoked” — a word he uses often today. The easygoing Lineys are accustomed to questions about their “twin synergy” as creatives. But as Patrick stresses, fraternity is the key. “The fact that we can basically be very blunt about anything is great.” The siblings each have distinct skills — with Patrick performing vocals and keys, and Cosmo guitar and bass. As composers, Cosmo is adept at initiating tracks and Patrick completing them. “I don’t know how to write music by myself, to be honest!” Patrick quips. Hailing from Petersham in Sydney’s west, the Lineys were constantly exposed to music in their childhood. Their parents caned a huge vinyl collection — spanning gospel, jazz, soul, psych and disco. “I ignored it then, but it definitely rubbed off on both of us in the long run.” The brothers began experimenting with production as high schoolers. Both studied Film Music at university — trailing their composer mum. Meanwhile, they conceived Cosmo’s Midnight. In 2013 the
pair introduced their hybrid urban dance with Phantasm — showcasing another newcomer in Nicole Millar. “If I had to summarise our music, which is always really hard, I feel like it kinda fits in the intersection of house, [low-] slung house, and hip hop, really.” Increasingly, they’ve referenced those legacy artists — such as Boney M. “I just love being able to draw on the past and put a futuristic, not futuristic, but our own spin on these things.” Now aligned with RCA Records, Cosmo’s Midnight spent three years labouring on What Comes Next — the title conveying their growing optimism. The LP has already generated hits like the triple j fave History and Get To Know (with Winston Surfshirt). Cosmo’s Midnight have curated unusual vocalists — ranging from Townsville singer Woodes to Boogie, an MC co-signed by Eminem. The single Lowkey, evoking A Tribe Called Quest vibe, is a collab with Compton rapper Buddy (from Williams’ i am OTHER stable) and East London’s Jay Prince. The Lineys persuaded Swedish pop star Tove Styrke to feature on the groovy Talk To Me — written with History songwriter Sarah Aarons. “We’d been listening to Tove’s Say My Name single — and she was about to drop her album. So we went and saw her play at Oxford Art [Factory]. We were just blown away and ended up meeting up after the show — we hung out, had a few drinks — and then we ended up going to Melbourne a few days later and recording Talk To Me.” Patrick himself sings lead on the chilled Polarised. Cosmo’s Midnight recently premiered an ambitious live set at Groovin’ The Moo and, from July, they’re touring it as headliners. “We basically have gone all-out and it’s more like a band sort of vibe.” Patrick is on drums. Cosmo’s Midnight have successfully visited the US. This year, they’ll embark on their first European dates. Ironically, when in 2013 the Lineys were booked to support TOKiMONSTA in Adelaide, they’d never flown — let alone travelled beyond New South Wales. “We were both terrified!” Patrick laughs. In fact, he didn’t envisage their success, given the industry’s precariousness. “It was like a pipe-dream... Everyone tells you just to do what you want and follow your dreams and stuff, but it’s really hard to stay motivated and all that. But, when you start seeing the fruits of all your efforts, it’s so damn satisfying. So I’m really happy that we stuck with it.”
Waiting for the world to catch up She’s already opened for Beck and now Kiwiborn, New York-based songstress Kimbra tells Liz Guiffre she would also love to collaborate with Janelle Monae.
just finished a seven-week tour where I went to places I’d never been before, places like Birmingham, Alabama and
San Antonio, Texas, and got a real snapshot of just how diverse, and certainly politically different, certain parts of America are,” Kimbra says, talking from her Manhattan home. New album Primal Heart is a cracker
and it’s bloody exciting to have her touring it to Australia. On the record, her voice is like a sonic postcard, giving snapshots of the different places she’s been. While she says America is ‘interesting’ at the moment, she adds it also remains a real land of musical opportunity. “That [broader] tour was fantastic. Because when you only tour New York and Portland and those kind of places, you don’t get a real overview of what the place has to offer, both good and bad,” she laughs. In addition to developing her own sound, audience and following, America is the place that has allowed Kimbra to also explore music-making with kindred spirits such as eclectic darling, Beck. “Yeah, it was such a dream to play with him, I’ve been following him since I was really young and we already had some connections — we already play with some of the same musicians... We had a few common friends and, yeah! The shows were great,” Kimbra says of opener a series of shows for the legendary genre-bender. “He said so many cool things to me while we were on tour, one of them was, when he was young, his dad was playing him his favourite band and he [young Beck] said, ‘I like it, but why does every song sound the same?’ And his Dad said, ‘Oh, that’s just kind of the genre, that’s the sound,’ and he [young Beck] was like, ‘But wouldn’t it be so much better if every song was different?’ So that basically became the premise of his kind of art: he’s just trying to be that kind of artist that follows their interests down the rabbit hole. And I love just how unapologetic he was; I was the same as a kid. I thought, ‘Why can’t I like black metal and Bjork and Destiny’s Child and George Michael all at the same time? Why can’t I make music that takes from all of those things? Why not?’” she laughs. “And it’s a really great example of continuing to do what he does and waiting
What Comes Next (RCA/Sony) is out now. Cosmo’s Midnight tour from 6 Jul.
until the rest of the world catches up. I think it’s great and really inspiring.”
Primal Heart certainly explores different genres and eras, taking a notable stop in the ‘80s. Driven by bold vocals and some really striking sonic choices, it’s the kind of music that makes you excited to hear what
Songs about ‘love and lust and hatred’
sort of music might come out of Kimbra next. One rumour has been a possible tour (and collaboration) with another talented arthopper, Janelle Monae. “It would be so amazing, I know we both would love that. But it’s so important for fans to realise how much
It wasn’t until she was in her early 20s that Harriette Pilbeam, whose musical moniker is Hatchie, started feeling intense emotions that she felt needed to be expressed through song, Anthony Carew discovers.
of our schedules are dictated by other people,” Kimbra laughs. “Especially when we’ve both put out new records, and there’s lots of people who have strong agendas for where we tour and how for those. We are both very passionate and committed to the promotion of our new records and if that works to, like, bring us together for some shows, then we would jump, 100%, at the chance. We both talk about it a lot.” Pausing as if to consider this prospect once again, she repeats, “But it’s really about scheduling. At this point it probably means that right up to mid-2019 [we’re both busy], but there’s so many people to bring it together and we are committed to continuing to kind of like remain musically connected, I think.” Perhaps the only way to make that work would be to actually make a record together, a formal Kimbra/Monae collaboration. Imagine how awesome it would be if both artist’s combined their sounds and spectacles? “I know, it would be a great collaboration,” Kimbra says warmly.
Kimbra tours from 16 Jul.
t’s weird to be talking about myself so much,” says Harriette Pilbeam. The 25-year-old is the Brisbane musician behind Hatchie and, thus, she’s living life as a human buzz-band. This means endless interviews, including fielding phone calls from Australia when she’s in London and it’s 7am. “It’s not that I’m an antisocial person, but I’m kind of a deflector in social situations. I don’t like attention being on me, which I know sounds ridiculous given I’m an artist trying to make my way.” Pilbeam continues, “I’ve always been a bit shy. And I’ve gotten a bit more shy as I’ve grown up. Not in a bad way, I just think more carefully about what I’m saying. I was just more annoying as a teenager. I’ve always been into music, that’s one thing that’s remained a constant the whole time.” Growing up on Brisbane’s north side, Pilbeam took singing lessons, played piano and guitar, was choir captain in high school. “And, along with that, I’ve always been an intent listener of music and a mega-fan of certain bands through the years,” she offers. “When I was really little, my sisters and I were obsessed with the Spice Girls. Then, when I was starting high school, it was Fall Out Boy and Paramore. A little bit later it was Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes. After school, I got really into New Order and Joy Division, Beach House, Wild Nothing, Yuck, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart.” Pilbeam only started writing songs, really, at 21, Pic: Alex Wall by which time she was a veteran of the Brisbane indie scene, having played in Go Violets as a teenager, then in Babaganouj. “I tried writing some songs as a teenager, but I just don’t think I’d experienced enough. I was always a pretty happy kid, I had good parents. I didn’t have anything horrible or super incredible to write about. When I got into my early 20s, that’s when I really started feeling these emotions that I needed a way to express.” In turn, Pilbeam says, the songs on her debut EP Sugar & Spice — five earworms delivered in bright, shiny, dream-pop shades, earning comparisons to The Sundays along the way — are about young love. “They’ve all ended up being about love and lust and hatred, because I wrote them all between [the ages of] 21 and 24. They’re all very telling of a certain period of my life, of a certain age,” Pilbeam says. “I must sound like some young girl who’s obsessed with my boyfriend. I’ve grown up a bit and I’ve learnt a lot, since I wrote those songs. But, I’m still in the same relationship that I’ve been in this whole time, so, in that way, they still feel 100% true to my life.” While playing in Go Violets and Babaganouj, Pilbeam was studying “creative industries”. That combination of playing DIY gigs and studying the music industry has meant she’s
felt plenty prepared for her sudden buzz-band status. “The best way to learn about the music industry is to be in it,” she says. “I’ve learnt more about the music industry, the good and bad and ugly, just how dark it can be, from being in bands, playing shows.” So, even as Hatchie-mania has set in — a Best New Track from internet overlords Pitchfork cementing her ‘rising’ status — Pilbeam has felt in control of the band and its narrative. “I feel like 90% of it is me. I control my social media. I approve of everything that gets put out into the world,” she says. Getting used to the constant conversation, both in the press and on stage, has been the biggest change. “It’s definitely weird and I’m still getting used to it,” she says. “I’m
not a popstar, I never will be, and I don’t really want to be that kind of artist. I want it to be more of a band, even though all the music is all written by me. The hardest thing is being the only one who talks between songs. I’ll start telling a story and halfway through I’ll have forgotten where I was going with this, or realise that there’s no punchline to the story. I’ve got to get better at it. Th at’s on me.”
Sugar & Spice (Ivy League) is out now. Hatchie tours from 12 Jul.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
Baby got back(packs)
Phone charger, keys, gym kit, wallet, sunnies, laptop, emergency choccy bar, spare pair of undies: life’s many essentials can make for a hefty cargo. But there’s no reason why you can’t get your clobber from A to B while making a style statement on the way. And our friends at Crumpler have got more than a few swish options for those who like their luggage intelligently designed and beautifully finished. Check out these and a whole bunch more at crumpler.com.au 1: View laptop backpack in Redwood, $129 2: Big Breakfast travel bag in Gravel, $129 3: Squid bag in Veneer, $39 4: Art Crowd backpack in Tactical Green, $169
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Your guide to the 2018 AIR Awards Last year, A.B. Original scooped the pool, taking home five gongs. So who will dominate at the 12th AIR Awards ceremony? Bryget Chrisfield has a red-hot go at predicting the winners.
Rising Flames Music SA’s Adelaide live music showcase Scouted returns in 2018, once again coinciding with the AIR Awards and Indie-Con. Hosting 16 up-and-coming acts across four venues, The Music is proudly hosting the Jive stage and here’s who you’ll be seeing on the day.
Siamese Fans of anything Ken Andrews has ever touched will want to get their ears on these space-rock fellas. With a massive guitar tone and washedout vocals, Siamese are proudly continuing where HUM and Failure left off. Earplugs are recommended.
Strict Face It’s been a busy year of touring for Adelaide DJ and grime producer Strict Face. But after
Best Independent Artist nominees: Alex Lahey, Baker Boy, Jen Cloher, Stella Donnelly, The Jungle Giants. The two most nominated acts this year are The Jungle Giants and RVG, each up for four gongs. History shows that the Best Independent Artist trophy is picked up by a nominee who is shortlisted in multiple categories - eg. A.B. Original (2017), Courtney Barnett (2015) and Flume (2013) - so, given that RVG are not actually shortlisted in this category, our money’s on The Jungle Giants. Best Independent Single nominees: Every Day’s The Weekend - Alex Lahey, Marryuna - Baker Boy Feat Yirrmal, Ubu - Methyl Ethel, A Quality of Mercy - RVG, Feel The Way I Do - The Jungle Giants. These five songs are all absolute belters in their own way and make us swell with pride over the pukka, diverse, homegrown talent on display here. The Jungle Giants’ Feel The Way I Do makes us pogo at the desk (luckily it’s a standup one) and Methyl Ethel’s Ubu always results in a, “Why’d you have to go and cut your hair?” singalong, but we’re tipping Alex Lahey will take out this category (and not just ‘cause she’s managed by one of The Music’s Directors - full disclosure). Every Day’s The Weekend featured in the commercial for clothing label Esmara by Heidi Klum (Google it, it’s ace), which is pretty bloody awesome. Plus, it’s just so damn catchy! Best Independent Album Or EP nominees: I Love You Like A Brother - Alex Lahey, See You Soon - Alex The Astronaut, Jen Cloher - Jen Cloher, Everything Is Forgotten - Methyl Ethel, A Quality Of Mercy - RVG, Quiet Ferocity - The Jungle Giants. Again, such a strong category. We cannot get enough of Jen Cloher’s fabulous self-titled set, but have noticed it’s not unusual for the act that takes out Best Independent Art-
ist to also take out this category: Hilltop Hoods (2006), The Drones (2009), Flume (2013), Courtney Barnett (2015) and A.B. Original (2017). Also, Quiet Ferocity by The Jungle Giants took out the Queensland Music Award for Album Of The Year earlier this year. That said, The Jungle Giants will probably add this trophy to their collection. Breakthrough Independent Artist Of The Year: Angie McMahon, Baker Boy, RVG, Stella Donnelly, The Jungle Giants. Th is is also a tough one, ‘cause all of these artists have certainly broken through in major ways over the past year. Since she was named the Josh Pyke Partnership winner in 2017, Angie McMahon has supported a slew of artists such as Alanis Morissette, Father John Misty, Angus & Julia Stone and The Shins, and is now playing her own headline shows with a full band. If there was record for the most festival bookings is a single year, then Baker Boy - whose Cloud 9 and Marryuna singles both landed in the triple j Hottest 100 countdown - would definitely take it out. Since the release of their debut album A Quality Of Mercy, RVG have been on one helluva ride. Romy Vager’s band have already graced the Meredith Music Festival stage and just returned from their first international tour, which took in The Great Escape festival in Brighton. They’ve toured relentlessly this year, including an appearance at the Commonwealth Games, Sam Hales is currently overseas writing their next record and The Jungle Giants are so bloody busy that we unfortunately couldn’t get a hold of one of them to put their two bob’s worth in via a quote before going to print. Stella Donnelly was the name on everyone’s lips after BIGSOUND last year and she’s just returned from an international tour, taking in The Great Escape, as well. She’ll perform at Splendour In The Grass and then return to the UK for more dates - phew! As such, we reckon Donnelly will collect this gong.
releasing an EP entitled This Heat in 2018, he’s been strangely quiet on the recording front. Here’s hoping he announces something new before the
Some of this year’s nominees tell us who they’re tipping to win at the AIRs
audience of Jive.
Wing Defence The new project of two women with an obsession for indie-pop, Wing Defence are sure to play their first two singles of the year, Listerine and Stuck, to a crowd who’ll definitely find a lot to love. We’re sure this could be the start of something beautiful.
Romy Vager (RVG)
When my band and I were on the Groovin The Moo tour this year, our set-up time backstage was exactly when Baker Boy’s set was on, meaning I got to see him and his crew play their guts out six festivals in a row and we never got sick of it. It was so inspiring to see such a special artist attract the attention of festival-goers for all the right reasons: tight flow, killer moves and an enormous amount of energy and love for music.
I really enjoyed Jen Cloher’s album that came out last year. It really hit the mark on the current political and social climates in Australia and seeing it live was something else. She’s not your typical female singer-songwriter and I think that for those of us who cut odd shapes in the music world, it’s been particularly rewarding to watch her take over the world recently.
Jen Cloher’s album has soundtracked the last eight months of my life, her song Regional Echo made me ache when I heard it. I’m going to be cheeky and mention two. I was absolutely floored when I first heard Baker Boy and floored again when I watched him perform, holy moly!”
Stella Donnelly has come up on my radar a lot in the last six months. I watched the Her Sound, Her Story doco recently and really appreciated Stella’s clarity and willingness to talk about gender inequality in the music industry. I also saw her perform at the One Of One women in music breakfast on International Women’s Day and she owned it. I feel like Stella represents the next wave of courageous, thoughtful women in music.
Naomi Keyte The latest album from this wordy singer-songwriter, Depth Of Field, is being hailed by many as her greatest musical achievement yet. It’s also been 14 years since her debut album, so you better expect both quality and confidence from this veteran.
The 12th Annual AIR Awards take place in Adelaide on 26 Jul. For full list of categories and nominees head to theMusic.com.au.
Fake nation creation When Bryget Chrisfield sits down over iced lattes with two of The Rubens brothers, frontman Sam Margin and keys player Elliott Margin, they discuss “spooky” deja vu experiences in the studio, channelling classic R&B songs and the band’s norules ethos.
e never thought we would write a Never Ever,” Elliott Margin, The Rubens’ primary songwriter/keyboardist marvels. His brother/The Rubens frontman Sam seconds that motion with an emphatic, “No!” before Elliott continues, “I mean, I never thought we’d do a duet and then it happened, and we were like — we would’ve been against it if they were saying, ‘We need another song for the record, we want you to do a duet,’ we would’ve gone, ‘Fuck off, no way!’” It would’ve sounded like a dud idea? “Totally!” They reply in unison. For the second single from The Rubens’ upcoming LO LA RU set, The Rubens teamed up with Sarah Aarons for a songwriting session after they’d finished work on their third record. Or so they thought. Elliott elaborates: “When we were in the studio with Sarah
and the suggestion was thrown around like, ‘Why don’t we make this a duet?’ In both of our minds it was like, ‘Well, it’s not a Rubens song, then,’ and we were fine with that; we were just like, ‘We’ll keep writing and then see,’ and then obviously finished the song, and loved the song, and we were like, ‘Are we allowed to make this a Rubens song?’ And the answer was of course like, ‘Why not?’” “It sort of just capped off the vibes on this whole record, like, the LO LA RU thing; making our own little place where we can do what we want,” Sam continues, referring to their album’s title, which represents a fake nation of their own creation where there are no rules. “And it was the final decision we made on the record, like, ‘Oh, yeah, fuck, of course we can. Why can’t we?’ We can put a girl on the record that isn’t in the band, we can have an extra feature — there aren’t rules.” In order to include this surprise duet on their album, “some shuffling” was required as Elliott tells. “You get attached to what you think the album’s gonna be and then you get another song that you really, really love and that gets put on the album; it’s hard to say goodbye to songs that you envisioned being on the record.” Their solution? “I think we just decided to do a secret track on the end, so one of the songs gets pushed back and not listed,” the keyboardist reveals. Didn’t The Rubens have a similar experience when writing their 2015 Hottest 100topping single Hoops, the title track from their previous album? “Yeah, that was [written] after finishing the record,” Elliott confirms. His brother chuckles, “I hope the record label’s not gonna expect that every time”. “I know!” Elliott seconds, before pointing out, “We recorded [Never Ever] with the same guy as Hoops, as well... Eric J [Dubowsky] in Sydney... After writing the song with Sarah — that happened in one day — and then teeing up a session with Eric to finish it off and get
everyone else on the song, it was just like deja vu the whole time and everyone would be like, ‘Remember this? You know, three years ago doing that for Hoops?’ It was spooky.” We’re all seated at one of the outside tables of Faraday’s Cage cafe in the inner city Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy and order a round of iced lattes. Sam has grown a beard, his eyes are concealed behind Tom Ford shades and he sports a forest green hoodie under denim jacket combo. This is Elliott’s first stop from Tullamarine airport having just flown in this morning. He pulls his grey marle hood up over a well-worn Goodyear peaked cap. Both speak enthusiastically at a million miles an hour. Million Man, the lead single from LO LA RU, could not stray further, stylistically, from its follow-up single if it tried. In fact, The Rubens venture down many previously untrodden musical paths on this album. Sam admits, “I’d get so bored if we stuck to...” Elliott finishes his brother’s sentence, “The same thing,” but Sam doesn’t miss a beat, “The stuff that’s worked in the past for us, ‘cause if we did we’d be still doing My Gun, you know; that sort of [The] Black Keys-y, Spaghetti Western kind of rock’n’roll. And if we tried just to do Hoops again, we probably would’ve done a crappy version of that song. So it’s kinda natural to keep just trying whatever comes out and then that’s our style for the record, I guess.” Another of the new album’s standout out tracks, I Know, reminds this scribe of a classic ‘90s R&B song. Are they familiar with Would
I Lie To You? by Charles & Eddie? “I remember that song, yeah,” Sam enthuses. “Is it [sings], ‘Would I lie to you, baby/Would I lie to you, baaaaby’...” Affirmative. “That’s cool!” Then Elliott confesses, “I’ve had that song stuck in my head recently, maybe that’s why. Maybe we copied it, I dunno,” he laughs. “Oh, yeah, I can see that,” Sam admits.
“If they were saying, ‘We need another song for the record, we want you to do a duet,’ we would’ve gone, ‘Fuck off, no way!’” “It’s same register, similar melody — yeah, I like that. I love that.” We make a suggestion that the band could perhaps inject a segment of this Charles & Eddie song into the live version of I Know and Elliott seems keen. “Like the [Arctic] Monkeys do in Arabella: they put in whatever song people say they copied from, um, Black Sabbath, War Pigs was it? Yeah, they put that section in there. Maybe we should.”
LO LA RU (Ivy League Records) is out now.
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
Kiwi tee-hee Hollywood has finally caught on to the fact NZ is producing some damn funny people. Here are some of the comedy Kiwis breaking into LA-LA Land.
nison n e D n Julia This bright young thing has had a spectacular couple of years, starring opposite Sam Neill in New Zealand’s highest-grossing film ever, Hunt For The Wilderpeople, and most recently in the whopping blockbuster sequel to Deadpool. In both those movies he showcased an irreverent, smack-talking cheek, bringing the comic relief as well as adorable charm.
y Darb s y h R The Flight Of The Conchords star is now a full time resident of LA, but unlike many of his fellow Kiwi A-listers, he’s not had to hide any of his New Zealander quirks to get ahead. Since making his blockbuster debut in 2008 opposite Jim Carrey in Yes Man, his career has skyrocketed, most recently starring in the hotly anticipated Jumanji sequel, Welcome To The Jungle.
aititi W a Taik Few Kiwi stars are on the rise quite as meteorically as director Taika Waititi. After making the cult horror-comedy What We Do In The Shadows in 2014, and the huge home-grown hit Hunt For The Wilderpeople in 2016, he landed his big budget debut directing Thor: Ragnarok, even managing to infuse a healthy dollop of Kiwi flare in the guise of audience favourite character Korg.
The best part of breaking up Hot off the release of The Breaker Upperers, Alannah Maher speaks to the outrageously funny Jackie Van Beek, Madeleine Sami and Celia Pacquola about love, queer representation in film and the changing landscape of the film industry.
ackie van Beek and Madeline Sami have proved that it takes a couple of Kiwi filmmakers to not only break the beigeness of the standard rom-com but bring a refreshing authenticity and playfulness to the anti-rom-com genre while they’re at it. The pair star as Jen and Mel, two unlikely best friends united by a hearty cynicism about love and relationships, who run an unconventional business breaking up couples for cash. Feigning pregnancies, faking deaths, and impersonating cops and strippers are all part of their extensive repertoire. The Breaker Upperers sits somewhere between Broad City, Muriel’s Wedding and Absolutely Fabulous with its ode to female friendship and unflinching, absurdist humour. “I’ve had so many conversations with people about that dreadful feeling that you have when you realise that you have to break up with your partner but you just so desperately don’t want to do it,” said van Beek, talking about how the idea for the film first struck her. “I was thinking about how so many people would probably pay money not to go through that process... It’s a sad thought, but a funny idea for a movie.” She immediately called up the “funniest woman she knew at the time” to co-write it, five years later we have The Breaker Upperers. With Sami and van Beek behind the wheel, it’s evident that their shared humour and authenticity is able to flow through the film. “We both love romantic comedies but we both shared a similar feeling toward them in that they always end very conventionally, and we really wanted to, in our small way, have the message that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be a happy ending,” said Sami. “It doesn’t have to be a heterosexual marriage in a church,” added van Beek. “There’s such a bigger world out there and it’s great that that’s being explored a bit more creatively by people and it’s certainly making its way into the mainstream.”
Among a stellar amount of appearances from the cream of New Zealand’s comedy crop, Australia’s own Celia Pacquola makes her first feature film appearance as the distraught Anna, whose recurring presence holds a mirror up to the suffering Jen and Mel are causing. “It was at a really busy time for me but it was written, directed by and starring two really funny women — of course I want to do that, it’s everything I stand for,” Pacquola told The Music. While the film revels in its place as an escapist, feelgood romp — its effortlessly, intersectional injection of casting and storylines is actually somewhat revolutionary in the world of conventional films that so often get stuck in certain (straight, white) demographics. From the unabashed bisexuality of one the lead characters, to the multicultural melting pot of Auckland depicted, the film embraces characterisation without reducing anyone to a tokenistic cameo. “We were conscious of the fact that heartbreak is universal and we wanted to represent a spectrum of people that are going through this and who our characters would come across,” said Sami. “It was intentional to present the world as we see it, which is everyone living harmoniously and unharmoniously together...” When the film premiered at SXSW in March, the hype train surrounding it soon took off, and among the fanfare and the comparisons to their Kiwi contemporaries, van Beek noted that it definitely felt like they were “being interviewed as female filmmakers,” and that actually wasn’t all bad. “There’s always that trepidation with women and comedy which I don’t understand at all... The funniest people I grew up with were women,” added Sami. “You still get asked that question occasionally: ‘Are women funny?’” “Certainly I haven’t been asked that question in the past twelve months, I don’t think you’re allowed to ask that question anymore with the current political climate,” said van Beek. “It’s nice not being asked those ridiculous rudimentary questions, but I enjoy being in focus as women. I think it’s important for women to embrace the spotlight and talk about making films as women... It will be nice when it’s just so normalised that we’re not interviewed as female filmmakers and we’re just interviewed as filmmakers, but we’re not there yet.” Sami mentioned she’s had a lot of feedback on Twitter about her character’s queerness: “Someone said to me it’s like the queerest film that’s not a queer film that they’ve seen in a long time. Which I feel really proud of, because that’s life, gay people are all around us.” “We had a very strong idea when we started making this film that we wanted people who might not have their shit together to watch our film to feel that’s okay,” said Sami. From insights into the complexities of modern relationships and dating, to the daggiest coke snorting scene you’ve ever seen on film, The Breaker Upperers is everything you did and didn’t know you wanted from a movie.
In cinemas from 26 Jul
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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes Personnel changes. Divorce. Margot Robbie. Bullet For My Valentine main man Matt Tuck gives Brendan Crabb the lowdown on the making of the metal heavyweights’ new album.
erhaps inevitably, given their globetrotting, mega-selling, award-winning success, Welsh heavy metallers Bullet For My Valentine can count several celebrities among their devotees, but the most famous of all would appear to be Hollywood star Margot Robbie. Earlier this year, Robbie guested on BBC Radio 1 host Nick Grimshaw’s morning show. The host has interview subjects rigged up to a heart monitor while attempting to produce surprises that may get the heart pumping. Robbie’s heart soared when shown footage of Bullet For My Valentine dedicating Tears Don’t Fall to her at a show in Saskatoon, Canada. “It was just lovely, her reaction was incredible,” Tuck says. “It took her aback and she kind of looked like a 15-year-old girl again when we played it,” he laughs. “It shouldn’t really be a surprise; everyone likes what they like.” Although also buoyed by sixth LP Gravity’s creation, the brush with an A-lister may have been a rare bright spot for the frontman in recent times. Tuck’s personal life nosedived and long-time drummer Michael “Moose” Thomas was replaced by Jason Bowld. It was the group’s second lineup shift in quick succession; 2015’s Venom marked their first album since the departure of long-serving bassist Jason James and subsequent addition of Jamie Mathias. Collectively it took a toll on Tuck. “Th is album is a very personal record. There’s nothing really band-related as such
lyrically on this record, but, having gone through a marriage break-up and stuff like that, it had a massively profound effect on my life behind the scenes. Thankfully I’m all through that now and everything’s great now, but the kind of stresses emotionally that come with something like that as well as being in fucking Bullet For My Valentine and touring the world and having a lot of decisions to make, and going through the departure of Moose and stuff like that — it’s been a demanding couple of years; I just channelled all of that into Gravity and it’s been a very rewarding thing to do. “It was a very challenging album to write for many reasons. But now we’ve come through the other end, it’s done and dusted and we’re embarking on getting out and touring it, it’s incredible.” While bristling with the arena-sized hooks the band’s renowned for, Gravity injects a sizeable dollop of electronic and industrial flourishes. “Jamie and Padge [Michael Paget, guitars] were — not struggling with the idea of that, but they were a little unsure of what I was trying to achieve,” Tuck explains. “It’s hard to try and explain to someone what you
want to do without actually playing them a song. So it was more just writing together, writing individually, bringing everything to the table, giving everything a fair listen and then just kind of taking charge.” The frontman acknowledges that it would have placated “everyone’s egos to take a song from everyone and put it on the record”. “But it would have made it nonsense; the whole vision would have been pointless, it would have been diluted down... Thankfully after we wrote a few of the key songs like Gravity, Letting You Go, Over It and stuff like that, it became clear then and I think it became easier for them to let go of the band’s history. “Venom, it’s a very fast, thrashy, technical record. A lot of shredding, multiple solos — we just went balls to the wall with the metal elements. We just felt that Venom had taken that as far as we could. So we just wanted to obviously still make a heavy, dark, intense record, but write it and execute it in a different way [from what] we did for Venom and a lot of stuff in the past.” There’s sometimes a perception that when a group reaches a certain status and
“We were just four fucking dumb-arse kids from Wales and all of a sudden we’re on the stage with Metallica.”
then undergoes their first major line-up shifts, the initial group mentality established dissolves somewhat. Does he feel that sensibility has subsided, but been supplanted by an enhanced professionalism? “It’s never a great thing, especially for us more than anyone. When you start a band, you start having all the success, you tour the world together year in, year out and make multiple albums. All of a sudden if something changes internally it has a massive effect on us. It’s never something that we’ve anticipated happening, but times change, people change, attitudes change and the band definitely changed. “We were just four fucking dumb-arse kids from Wales and all of a sudden we’re on the stage with Metallica and stuff. It was like, ‘Holy shit!’ Those moments have a massively profound effect, positively and negatively, unfortunately. I think the gang mentality did kind of dwindle away, but having Jamie and Jason on board now it’s very much back. They were outsiders looking in, so they know exactly what this band means to a lot of people, because they were fans. To have them come in and give their perspective of it — their input and talents — is great. It’s given the band a new lease of life, for sure.”
Gravity (Search & Destroy Records/ Caroline) is out now.
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It takes a lot of chutzpah to take a swing at the kings, but Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Tim Rogers and Josh Pyke have never been lacking there. After two runs of The White Album Concert, the four are reviving the hit show for the iconic record’s 50th anniversary.
Have there been any change-ups since the 2009 and 2014 tours?
What’s your advice for tackling one of the most iconic albums of all time live?
What’s your favourite hidden gem on the album?
In your opinion where does ‘The White Album’ sit against classics Abbey Road and Sgt Peppers?
No the song allocation. We are doing Not essentially the same songs that have been divided up on past tours. We are going to add a few extra songs and a few little surprises. It was Tim’s idea to do something special and different towards the end.
I think we all realised the first time we did this show that we needed to put our own spin on the songs. It’s such a revered and loved record it’d be silly to try to copy it. But you also want to show respect, so it’s a fine line.
Julia. Not exactly hidden, but the hurt and bewilderment of that boy’s relationship with his mum is laid bare, then completed two years later with Mother. Hang on, must call Mum.
‘The White Album’ is a double album filled with quirk and flaws and terror and melody and avant-garde and country and rock’n’roll and craziness. It kind of has everything. It’s broader in scope that the other albums, making it a great live experience.
– Chris Cheney (The Living End)
– Josh Pyke
– Tim Rogers (You Am I)
– Philip Jamieson (Grinspoon)
Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
The White Album Concert tours from 13 Jul.
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Hopelessly devoted to tunes Not content with just releasing glorious albums, Laura Jean has signed up for a degree in psychology and legal studies. She also tells Carley Hall her family are both her biggest fans and her harshest critics.
ith an album about to be borne
I found the sounds and rhythms on it were really evocative to
into this world and some inter-
my past. And then these ideas just sprung up in my head.
esting live shows coming up,
“Writing songs is how I process my world. I have breaks
one would think Laura Jean would be in the
from it but the tension builds up and comes to me in big
throes of preparation. Instead, the Melbourne
waves of work, then I spend the next few years refining those
chanteuse is at home tackling her degree
initial ideas into something relatable to the rest of the world.”
in psychology and legal studies. For what
Subject matter aside, writing about her past wasn’t
overall purpose Jean is not entirely sure of at
the only challenge in recording Devotion. Having first
this stage, but her field of study is hardly sur-
penned most of the songs in 2015, Jean said they eventually
prising given the intimate, psychoanalytical
melded into the current shape with some help from producer
nature of her lyrics to date.
“I really just wanted to study and learn
“I wanted the songs to be as immediately effective and
more,” Jean reasons. “I’ve just started, but I’m
affecting as they could, so I worked on the songs for quite a
really enjoying it. You’re in there with all sorts
few years just so I could refine the structure and make the lyr-
of people from different backgrounds and
ics all fit,” Jean explains. “That part was challenging, because
you’re there with the common goal of want-
sometimes the songs just wouldn’t budge and I had to play
ing to learn more.”
them over and over.
Jean’s raw and rugged lyrics teamed
“It was a real puzzle for a while and finally John said, ‘Can
with her folk-pop stylings have been the
you leave me alone with it for a couple of days?’, which was
backbone of her career since the release of
really hard for me. He said he just needed to let go and give
2003 EP The Hunter’s Ode. With her latest,
it what it needed — which was really simple bass guitars, a lot
Devotion, she’s five albums deep and tow-
of reverb — and it was perfect. From there it was just a matter
ing an impressive musical CV behind her that
of keeping that energy without overcooking it or undercook-
includes shortlistings for the Australian Music
Prize and nominations for The Age Music Vic-
Looking back over a musical career that has been wisely
toria Awards. The new album brought with it
and carefully curated, and with the knowledge that there will
an edgier keyboard-pop that Jean says even-
be more songs to come, Jean is refreshingly gracious in her
tually wrapped around the subject matter
estimation, where so many others can be quick to point out
well: her family and, in particular, growing up
with her mother and sister along the coast.
“I feel a lot of empathy for myself as a younger person try-
Does writing for such close loved ones pres-
ing to achieve these things,” she offers, “and I think it’s such
ent its challenges?
a huge body of work and time that it’s hard for me to neatly
“It’s often my family that I write for, so
sum it up.
in a weird way they often really love it,” Jean
“But the main feelings are pride and I’m incredulous that
laughs. “But when they don’t, wow! I showed
I’ve devoted my life to something that is quite crazy; like, it’s a
something to my dad and he said, ‘Nah it’s
kind of crazy thing to devote your life to in a material sense.
not there yet.’ My friends and family are the
You’re always poor and always struggling, but what it gives
ones that I aim to please; they know when
you in return is so invaluable — a community and a [sense
you’re being real and when you’re not, and
they know what you’re capable of. “It was a delightfully difficult album to write,” she continues. “The songs came in a wave and my friend gave me this keyboard that he found on the street, and as I played it
Devotion (Chapter) is out now. Laura Jean tours from 28 Jul.
Beyond the Pale Heather Baron-Gracie of Pale Waves sits down with Cyclone to discuss life as the new queen of goth-pop, musical soulmates, The Cure and an upcoming Aussie Tour.
anchester’s Pale Waves are known for their black garb — frontwoman Heather BaronGracie especially striking with her big raven hair. But, broody undercurrents aside, Britain’s hottest new band are not necessarily goth. Indeed, they dig the glimmer of classic pop far too much. “I think people give us that label because of our image, but I see us as dark pop music,” Baron-Gracie says of the ‘goth’ descriptor. “We’re heavily influenced by the ‘80s era, and musicians from that time, but we love modern pop music. So I feel like we take inspiration from the past and the present and then sort of combine them both.” In fact, by putting the jangle and a groove into emotive synth-rock, Pale Waves could be a Mancunian Paramore. Pale Waves formed in 2014 out of Baron-Gracie’s friendship with drummer
The kids go hard
Ciara Doran. Both hailing from northern English towns (Baron-Gracie’s hometown is Preston in Lancashire), they met at music school in Manchester. Baron-Gracie had envisaged herself as a solo singer-songwriter toting an acoustic guitar. However, she clicked with Doran. They conceived a rockier vehicle, with Baron-Gracie on rhythm guitar. Today the besties remain the core of the band — even after being joined by lead guitarist Hugo Silvani and bassist Charlie Wood. “Ciara is basically my soulmate,” Baron-Gracie laughs. “We get along so well. She’s like another half to me. I guess I’m sort of the driven, bossy one. Ciara’s the more subtle one, underneath me. Then the boys are just really passionate about music and love playing live, so they let me and Ciara take the lead. They’re perfectly fine with that.” Signed to the London indie label Dirty Hit, Pale Waves have a close relationship with their labelmates, The 1975. Lead singer Matthew Healy co-produced the quartet’s premiere single, There’s A Honey, and its follow-up, Television Romance (also directing the video). Additionally, Pale Waves have supported The 1975 — even at Madison Square Garden. In February, Pale Waves issued their first EP, All The Things I Never Said. In a crossover bid, they shot a slickly dramatic clip for Heavenly, centring on Baron-Gracie. Recently, Pale Waves aired the single Kiss — which was synced for Netflix’s emo TV hit 13 Reasons Why. Pale Waves have maintained ties to Manchester — and, considering the city’s music history, that affords them an automatic allure. Still, Baron-Gracie doubts that the connection is relevant in the digital age. “I don’t really feel like it’s an advantage
“It’s not an uncommon story, by any means.” Frontwoman Natalie Foster tells Anthony Carew that Press Club’s blistering, punk debut stems from the frustration of being forced out of your home to make room for apartments.
because, if you create great music, it doesn’t really matter where you’re from; people will just listen.” Pale Waves often cite inspirations such as The Cure (for whom they’re opening in London this July), Prince and Madonna. There are also guilty pleasures. “I love Avril Lavigne!” Baron-Gracie geeks. “Ciara actually listens to a lot of rap music and R&B music — she loves Brockhampton.” Between live dates, Pale Waves have been busy recording their debut album that’s due this year. Baron-Gracie is pleased with its progress. “We have about a week left in the studio now, so we’re quite close
to the end — we can see the finish line,” she shares. “But it’s coming together really nicely. I think it’s gonna be amazing!” The vocalist has indicated that her lyrics will be darker — and more personal. “From the singles, there’s only so much you can say with those in a four-track EP. So, with an album, you get the space to be more creative. It allows you more room to show your sides of songwriting that you wouldn’t be able to show really on a four-track EP. [The album] just basically talks about more issues than romantic issues. It talks about issues that I have with myself, some mental health issues... It just gets pretty deep and dark!”
Th is winter, Pale Waves — who sell out shows at home — are hitting Australia for their first Antipodean tour, playing some very intimate venues. Will they preview any album tracks? “We possibly might play some new songs — we haven’t actually decided on the set as yet. But, from our live performance, we try to give a really fun show and put all of our energy into it and just play the most honest performance we possibly can give.”
to see you otherwise. It was so great to get to play in Darwin and Alice Springs, because, when are we going to get an opportunity to go there as a band? It’s really expensive, and really hard, to tour out there. We loved it. And we got to play a lot of underage shows, which was really cool. Because kids go hard.” The tour also found Foster playing her first-ever ‘hometown’ show with Press Club, back in Ballarat. “It was pretty fun. I was pretty nostalgic. There were some of the same bartenders that were there when I was 19, 20,” Foster laughs. Growing up, in the ‘Rat, she studied music, playing piano and cello, writing folkie songs. When she moved to Melbourne, it wasn’t music that brought her here; instead, she studied Advanced Maths, Physics and Chemistry at Melbourne Uni, making her a rarity in the rock’n’roll world. “No Arts degree! Absolutely not!” Foster laughs. Foster would play shows around Melbourne — she vividly remembers her firstever show, at the Rainbow Hotel — and, when the band first spoke about playing together as Press Club, it was as her backing. But, things soon changed; the punk energy between them palpable from the beginning. “It was literally as soon as we got in that room for the first time, to see if we could write some tunes. We immediately all just went, ‘Ah, shit, this is going to be good!’” Foster recounts. The volume, and vehemence, with which the budding band played and sang reflected their lives. “I was getting kicked out of the house I’d been living in for four years, I had
to move out,” Foster recounts. “It was getting demolished for apartments. It’s not an uncommon story, by any means. But having had that, and having seen the guys go through that, I think we had this sense of frustration about our lives, our living arrangements. The artwork reflects that.” The artwork for their singles and album shows images of inner-north gentrification: Foster’s half-demolished old house, the rundown weatherboard shack in Brunswick famous (and flipped as) ‘the Beyonce house’, an empty block behind a pizza shop covered in ivy, surely about to be sold for a mint. The latter image is on the cover of Late Teens, a pic just taken on Foster’s phone. Against this recurring visual theme (echoed by the title of single Suburbia), the name of the album stands in contrast. But as to why Press Club chose the title Late Teens for their debut LP, Foster offers a shrug. “That’s a good question that we don’t have an answer to,” she says. “I think a lot of other people have been getting more from it than we have, have been interpreting it in these very deep ways. To us, it just felt right. And, sometimes, you’ve just gotta go with what feels right.”
t’s almost like a riddle: Melbourne quartet Press Club recorded their debut LP — the impressive Late Teens, an album full of both punk fury and a persistent melancholy — as live as possible, capturing what they thought was their strongest quality: their dynamic as a live band. The only thing was, when they recorded the album, they’d never actually played under the Press Club banner outside of their rehearsal spaces. “We started with the album,” says singer Natalie Foster. “We recorded it before we started playing live.” Press Club were born, essentially, from the pieces of the now-defunct Tully On Tully in the Brunswick East house of bassist Iain MacRae; the house turned into a songwriting ‘sweatshop’, the band writing over 50 songs over a four-month period. “We got together in a room and jammed, and figured out what was gonna come out,” says Foster. “And, it turns out, it was punk music.” Once they’d cut the album, the band made up for lost time, gig-wise; playing a constant stream of word-of-mouth-cultivating shows in Melbourne. They recently took their show on the road: spending eight weeks touring Australia with The Smith Street Band and Bec Sandridge. “I’d say that touring with The Smith Street Band was one of the best experiences of my life,” Foster says. “It was awesome. It was really exciting to go to so many of those places you wouldn’t usually go and engage with a different audience that wouldn’t get
Pale Waves tour from 11 Jul.
Press Club tour from 6 Jul. Check The Guide on theMusic.com.au for more details.
ove Monster is the highly anticipated debut album from Gold Coast singer-songwriter Amy Shark and is unsurprisingly full of memorable melodies, lyrical poetry and pop sensibility. The album features Adore, the earworm that brought Shark huge success, a global audience, the #2 spot in triple j’s Hottest 100 in 2016 and, more recently, performances on popular US late night shows. Every other track on the long-awaited full-length album shares the potential for that same success. The indie-pop singer has an adept ability to paint a picture and tell a story with clever lyricism on each one of her songs. On the album’s lead single I Said Hi, Shark shares her response to the turbulent nature of the music industry with boxing metaphors and on the infectious Don’t Turn Around she makes good use of simile with the hook, “Make a girl fly like a bird on a wire”. On the latter, Shark expresses a desire to run into someone she has feelings for, almost rapping with the vocal rhythms she delivers over strummed guitar during the song’s bridge. With Shark seemingly unafraid of being vulnerable and exposing it all in her lyrics, Love Monster is full of super-specific storytelling that still seems universally relatable. She’s clearly experienced a fair bit of heartbreak and evokes some serious emotions on tracks like The Idiot, the pining, suitably titled The Slow Song, Mess Her Up and the slow-burning, nostalgic You Think I Think I Sound Like God. In terms of composition and production, Love Monster draws influences from several genres and styles, resulting in an interesting final product, bound together by Shark’s distinct vocals.
Amy Shark Love Monster Sony
Shark has an instantly identifiable quality to her music that separates her from other artists. She adds to her sonic palette with some more electronic elements this time ‘round, on songs like All Loved Up and the angsty Middle Of The Night, but for the most part Shark sticks to her established formula of layered vocals over acoustic guitars and reverb-laden hip hop beats. The album only contains one feature, but it’s a good one. Shark has been vocal about her life-long idolisation of Blink182 and has had the opportunity to collaborate with band member Mark Hoppus, who appears on album highlight Psycho. The stripped-back, mostly acoustic duet is sweet and has a slight pop-punk feel, and their voices nicely complement each other as they sing about love over fingerpicked, intertwining guitars and crashing drums. Shark set the bar incredibly high with her breakout single Adore, but has somehow managed to reach it with every subsequent release. Love Monster is well worth the wait and solidifies Shark as a force to be reckoned with as one of Australia’s most promising current exports. Madelyn Tait
Between You & Me
Fraser A Gorman
Lamp Lit Prose
Everything Is Temporary
Music For Nations/Sony
Brown Truck Records/Caroline
Although we almost certainly reached peak metalcore some time ago, Bury Tomorrow remain dedicated to the cause on their fifth LP, with these Brits perhaps among the style’s perennial B-teamers up to this point. That said, there are earworms to be found here, a la the anthemic chorus of the Gothenburg-influenced title track. Meanwhile, More Than Mortal will be truly incendiary in the pit, boasting a beatdown sure to have chiropractors working overtime on damaged necks. For a batch of heavy, yet accessible tunes, Black Flame isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it’s a solid effort bolstered by a combination of energy, melody and power.
For better or worse, the selfishness of 2017’s self-titled Dirty Projectors remains on Lamp Lit Prose: Break-Thru. The story of lead Projector David Longstreth’s new love is not a celebration of a wonderful new woman in his life; it is a celebration of her enabling him to break through the sadness of his earlier break-up. Women are not agents in Longstreth’s world; they are props and plot devices. Longstreth namechecked Kanye on the previous record and Drake on this one. He stands alongside them both, as a terrible character and great artist. These are the awful men we should all avoid, but they sure make some incredible records.
It’s been a while since Australia has blessed us with such an exciting pop-punk act; Between You & Me’s debut album Everything Is Temporary might just fill the void you didn’t realise you’ve been missing. There’s a bitter heart in all of us, and this album will be sure to bring it out all the emo feels in an energetic way that only masters of pop-punk know how to do. It’s the powerful anecdotal tales in songs like Move On and Friends From ‘96 or the incredible guitar riffs in Good Intentions and Catch A Break that’ll leave you wanting more. The debut album stays true to the sound that the band founded in 2016 and it’s a bundle of pop-punk magic.
The stovepipe suits and permanent sunglasses of 1966 Dylan have been superseded by a more relaxed and conversational style — but while Fraser A Gorman’s songwriting is maybe a sturdier thing now, there’s still some quirk. The record has a recurring theme of relationships lost, or at least pending and overall, the music has a richer tone. Brass and/or organ sometimes sneaks in then fades away. A chorus of female backing vocals are partners viewed from various distances — or maybe just a conscience. Easy Dazy could be Gorman finding his own style, and that’s something to enjoy.
For more album reviews, go to www.theMusic.com.au
Outlaws ‘Til The End, Vol 1
Hope Street Recordings
Coolin’ By Sound
The trendy Brunswick collective formerly known as The Do Ya Thangs have returned with a new moniker and new album for 2018. It’s a mixed bag, perhaps too long for its own good. There’s certainly some effective moments of perfectly likeable funk pop on offer, best shown on songs like Sucka or lead single Getting To Know. The mood that Leisure Centre establishes and maintains throughout is likely to appeal to more alternative fans of vocal groups like Pentatonix. For everyone else, Leisure Centre are at their best within the confines of Spotify’s “Chill Out” category.
An outspoken country fan, DevilDriver vocalist Dez Fafara delved into his contact list, including Lamb Of God and Fear Factory personnel, to release an entire album covering outlaw country songs. Enlisting Cash family members and Hank III adds a whiff of authenticity while the presence of Fafara’s distinctive roar and the turbocharged guitars ensures certain tracks exude the aggression fans desire and could potentially be mistaken for DevilDriver originals. The album is a curious concept, but arguably outstays its welcome. Perhaps issuing an EP would have heightened the impact.
Broadcast Park is gritty, raw and thick, full of misleading lulls presented here as potholes on a dirt road. It’s excellent if you’re in the mood for being thrashed about. A vocalisation of manifest injustice, it’s the burning of the straw man in variegated and at times atonal intonations that flux from sombre to manic without diverging from a brand of beat delivery that feels as jarring and unacceptable as its subject matter should. Th is is malaise meets rage at its most percussive and poignant. Th is is the sound of someone who’s finally had enough and is ready to speak up.
Phantastic Ferniture may be unfamiliar, but singer Julia Jacklin is well-known to Sydney’s folk-rock scene. Her intentions with this collective may well have been to explore a happier pop vibe, but this album delivers a harder-edged brand that doesn’t quite ignite the indie dancefloor. It’s kinda dreamy, damaged and rather melancholic, much like the vibrations that come from fingering through your parents’ record collection circa their ‘wearing black’ period. The question is whether Jacklin enjoys the different energy of Ferniture’s short but comfy debut enough to want to furnish us with more.
To A Stranger
Night Time People
Angsty pop-punkers Real Friends are back with their third album, providing ten new tracks to aggressively sing along to. Composure is an exciting and well produced pop-punk record, but there’s part of us that wanted something more. The cathartic release of such candid emotions throughout the album are prevalent and inspiring. What is missing, however, are some slower paced songs to break the record up a bit. Lyrically Composure can be pretty brutal, while a few stripped-back tunes would have made this record goosebump worthy. Or, maybe we’re just suckers for sadness.
When Georgia ‘Odette’ Sallybanks assuredly made her mark on last year’s Hottest 100 it lured an enviable list of producer names to her phone’s ‘favourites’ list, with the likes of Paul Mac and Jason Cox furnishing Odette with defter flourishes than their usual productions. Th is artist who claims to lack any real self-confidence sounds just as comfortable with stark backdrops as she does with a rich synth underscore and a guest spot from LANKS. To A Stranger is enriched by a ‘less is more’ MO and throughout this often confessional LP it is Odette’s voice that takes the centre on what remains an intimately small stage.
Night Time People sees Melbourne’s big band sensation The Bamboos striving to produce quality pop tunes deep under the influence of the usual funk and soul suspects. At the centre of the mix are the vocals of Melbourne’s very own soul diva Kylie Auldist who ferociously belts these numbers out. The sly, funky strut of Pony Up brings together jazz and funk vibes in ways that bring Prince to mind. Night Time People continues to radiate party vibes and finds Auldist pushing a very retro early ‘80s rap. The Bamboos are a bunch of seasoned players who simultaneously play it tight and loose. Just a little bit disco funky,
Most of the time, having a lovely voice just isn’t enough to satisfy the listener. With a tone that hovers somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Nico, lead vocalist Zoe Randall guides us through her wordy realm of musical serenity for another album under the Luluc moniker. The problem is, most of these heavily lyrical tunes lack the necessary amount of substance to justify their unobtrusive nature. Lead guitar and other instrumentation from Steve Hassett provide some nice backing and it’s all pleasant and well produced, even if something like the finger-picking on Moon Girl is nicked straight from Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide.
J U LY
The NGV Contemporary The arts is a subject that deals in superlatives: the most acclaimed; the most amazing; the most successful, blah blah blah. And yeah, it’s not long before all that waxing lyrical becomes a white noise of PR spiel. But every once and a while, an announcement comes along that soars above the usual hyperbole, and given the scale of the sweeping upgrades to Melbourne’s Arts Precinct announced late last month, we’re inclined to take Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at his word when he dubbed the project “once in a generation”. The jewel in the crown of this facelift will be the NGV Contemporary, a new gallery to be built on the site of the Carlton and United Breweries, adjacent to the National Gallery of Victoria, opposite the Southbank Theatre and Melbourne Recital Centre. When completed, it will be the nation’s largest modern art gallery, cementing Melbourne’s place as Australia’s cultural capital. In addition to the new building projects, the surrounding areas will also be transformed, with new green spaces, improved infrastructure and public areas that will connect the precinct from the Hamer Hall on the banks of the Yarra, through to the institutions on Sturt Street. The building works are due to be completed by 2025.
The best of The Arts in July
ACMI Series Mania We’re living in the golden age of TV binge watching, so it’s about time there was a festival celebrating the fact. Building on its stellar debut year last year, the world’s most prestigious international TV fest returns to Melbourne. From 19 Jul at ACMI
Sally-Anne Hurley How To Love The Shit Out Of Life Let’s face it, it’s way easier to be a pessimist and a cynic in these wild Covfefe times we’re living through. But what if we didn’t have to be? Th is slick and sassy self-help manual is a must read for anyone in search of those elusive rose-tinted glasses. Available now from Brolga
Provocare Festival Chapel Street will once again welcome a program of art to ensnare the senses and challenge the mind. Th is year’s Provocare is set to be the most ambitious to date, including a nude flash mob with celebrity photographer Spencer Tunick. From 5 Jul at venues around Chapel Street
Melbourne Theatre Company An Ideal Husband The bone-dry wit of Oscar Wilde meets one of Australia’s most cherished funny ladies, as Gina Riley stars in this opulent comedy of manners. A whip-smart story of political intrigue and social climbing, this is a notto-be-missed classic.
From 30 Jul at Arts Centre Melbourne
Malthouse Theatre Blackie Blackie Brown Comedy maverick, award-winning playwright and proud Gamilaroi woman Nakkiah Lui unleashes her razor-edged social commentary via the unlikely medium of comic book superheroes. Expect belly laughs and kickin’ ass.
From 5 Jul at Malthouse Theatre 6.
Buxton Contemporary Ronnie Van Hout: No One Is Watching you The Melbourne-based, New Zealand-born artist showcases his unique brand of existential absurdism in this major exhibition. Featuring work spanning more than 20 years, this kooky, surprising, tragicomic show is as weird as it is whimsical. From 12 Jul at Buxton Contemporary
O N I N J U LY
Film & TV ★★★★
On Foxtel’s Showcase from 9 Jul
Reviewed by Guy Davis
t first glance, Sharp Objects seems like an algorithmic dream. If you liked Big Little Lies, here’s the same director, Jean-Marc Vallee. If you liked Gone Girl, here’s the same author, Gillian Flynn. If you liked Amy Adams in anything, here’s Amy Adams. One could be forgiven for perceiving this eight-episode pay-TV adaptation of Flynn’s first novel as a round of prestige-TV bingo, and, well, it is that. It’s also confronting, compelling, challenging and very, very good. Flynn displayed a real aptitude for blending compulsive, deliciously pulpy storytelling (replete with vivid characterisations) and incisive depictions of gender politics in Gone Girl, and that’s evident in this adaptation of her first novel, which also uses a crime story as the framework for its true mystery — a woman’s history and identity. That woman is Adams’ Camille, an emotionally fragile journalist dispatched by her editor to her tiny hometown of Wind Gap to report on the murder of one girl and the
disappearance of another. Upon her return, Camille is remembered fondly by many as the town’s prodigal daughter — a great beauty destined for great things. But Camille’s past is littered with pain and trauma — it’s a past she drinks heavily to avoid facing — and her being back in Wind Gap, a town with its own deep reserves of pain and trauma, constantly threatens to bring everything back to the surface. Using its murder mystery as the hook, Sharp Objects quickly and deftly draws one in, Vallee, Flynn and showrunner Marti Noxon all adept at setting an intriguing scene and introducing fascinating players. What gradually emerges, however, is a story of long-buried secrets and long-repressed feelings that has one both dreading and eagerly awaiting the next revelation. It’d be worth watching Sharp Objects for Adams alone; fortunately, there’s plenty here to keep one well and truly enthralled.
The Breaker Upperers
In cinemas 26 Jul
Reviewed by Anthony Carew
he Breaker Upperers verily begins with the kind of makin’-it montage usually left to the second act: Jen (Jackie van Beek) and Mel (Madeleine Sami), Kiwi BFF’s running the titular business, playing out all kinds of wacky schemes — dressed as pregnant other-women or missing-persons police — to accelerate the demise of couples. The rollicking montage summons Wes Anderson’s Rushmore and the whole film — with its deadpan air and symmetrical framing — carries stylistic echoes of both Anderson and its own executive producer, Taika Waititi. Sami and van Beek are co-directors as well as co-stars; the film, suitably, is less about the relationships that they help break up and more about the relationship between them. At times reminiscent of Daniel Warth’s darker, more existential Dim The Fluorescents (another film exploring female friendship through the prism of an absurdist business), The Breaker Upperers is, beyond its breezy comic air, essentially about what it means to make a living from falsehoods. In its most
gripping moment, the film goes full-Costanza, taking a lie to its limits, Jen and Mel heading to the local police station that they don’t work at, acting as if they do, with anything and everything suddenly on the table. Where the opening montage serves up deceivingly good times, it’s situated at the beginning so that the drama can move away from their sitcom-ish small business’s viability and into poking at this harmonious partnership. And so our central relationship is tested, but never really threatened. There’s all the familiar story beats as we head towards the end: a crisis of conscience, a falling out and a grand public declaration of love as the rousing feel-good finale. Along the way, there’s backstory depicted by hallucinatory karaoke videos, a Tinder-hook-up cameo from Jemaine Clement, an exuberant/puppydog-ish turn from James Rolleston and a dance sequence on close. The Breaker Upperers is brisk, non-threatening and crowd-pleasing; getting by on the incredible comic rapport of its stars/directors.
The forever cult
The Origin Of Love: The Songs & Stories Of Hedwig is finally coming Down Under. John Cameron Mitchell talks to Anthony Carew about countering the idea that “environmentally and politically, it’s all downhill from here”.
ohn Cameron Mitchell is, finally, on his way to local shores with The Origin Of Love: The Songs & Stories Of Hedwig. A production he describes as “really just a rock show”, Mitchell’s first-ever visit to Australia finds him performing the songs from his beloved musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch, which was first brought to the stage in 1998, then screen in 2001. His tale of a genderqueer East German singer has proven unexpectedly popular and universal; touring the world and finding huge audiences in queer-unfriendly Korea - “I attribute it to the divided peninsula,” says Mitchell, 55, of the film’s Korean popularity, “the flag has the yin and yang symbol, which is similar to the divided state, in the Hedwig film, that so many people get tattoos of. “It crosses all gender and sexuality boundaries,” Mitchell continues, “and seems to work in any culture.” Those who love the musical find solace in its depiction not just of queerness, but also of outsiderdom. “It’s such a privilege to like the people who like your work. A lot of famous actors... find they have the most obnoxious fans, just because they’re an Avenger. I don’t have that. There’s a very small, fervent, lovely core who loves Hedwig.” That fervency started early, the initial off-Broadway production managing to stay on stage due to repeat viewings. “One woman saw it 450 times in our two-year off-Broadway run,” Mitchell offers. “Glenn Close came back 11 times. We got superfans very early and it meant a lot to us. We barely hung on, we were not a big sell-out show. The film was actually a flop in theatres, people only discovered it afterwards. Even when it was on Broadway [in 2014], we were a success, but it wasn’t Jersey Boys or Hamilton... It’s never going to be a mainstream thing. It’s always going to be cult, which, to me, is better. That means sometimes I can’t pay my bills, but the people who love it really love it.” Though the Hedwig film wasn’t a financial success, Mitchell - who served as its director and star - scored a Golden Globe nomination for his leading performance, which, in turn, led to lots of Hollywood
offers. “But I knew that if I just threw myself into any old thing, I wouldn’t be happy. I was older then, so I wasn’t swayed by glamour or money,” Mitchell recounts. In fact, he was downright wary of the trappings of a big-budget production, especially when it came to producers. “When you avoid working with assholes, that just naturally makes it take longer. Finding the financiers who aren’t assholes, that can be tricky.” Mitchell eventually directed 2006’s Shortbus, best known for featuring nonsimulated sex. “Shortbus made no sense in a career way,” he admits. “It had lots of sex, so there was no chance of it making a lot of money or even being widely distributed. But I wanted to challenge my peers, and America’s fear of sex, in a way that [explored] problems with connection through the language of sex... We never really paid our investors back, but, to this day, I still meet a lot of people who say they saw it at a certain time and it really helped them. That’s the best compliment. I believe in art as a healing thing. And, if it’s not, and if it’s not a little scary when you’re making [it], it’s probably not worth doing.” After 2010’s Oscar bait-ish, grievingparents drama Rabbit Hole - which starred
Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart - his new film, How To Talk To Girls At Parties, is “a little bit more fun”. Based, very loosely, on a short story by Neil Gaiman, it’s a tale of punks meeting aliens in late-’70s London. Starring the ever-amazing Elle Fanning (“She’s a miracle,” Mitchell enthuses. “Every take, from first take to last, is perfect... I really think she’s going to be one of our greatest screen actresses”), it’s a giddy, brightlycoloured, ridiculous, pop depiction of first love and formative sexual experiences. Mitchell’s goal was to “make a film that a teenager would say is their favourite film of all time”, but, he offers, “There’s other little messages in there. There’s a Brexit, nativist metaphor: people in British flags jumping off buildings to try and avoid contamination with aliens. There is a little bit of panic in there about what it means to close ranks, to die pure. That relates to the Trump/Brexit/ Marine Le Pen way of thinking.” He saw the tone of How To Talk To Girls At Parties as running counter to the constant stream of dystopian settings in YA novels and movies. “It’s a weird thing to be young now, and to be told that, environmentally and politically, it’s all downhill from here. It’s scary. That was something that had to
“It’s never going to be a mainstream thing. It’s always going to be cult, which, to me, is better. That means sometimes I can’t pay my bills, but the people who love it really love it.”
T H E AT R E
be countered, with this film, as well. This is our small, modest, romantic, punk way of screaming into that void.” Mitchell wanted How To Talk To Girls At Parties to be a sex-positive film for young people. Queer and trans rights may have undergone an evolution since Hedwig..., but Mitchell sees societal views on sex being more confused, regressive. “Even though people can be free to explore their sexuality, and the internet has given people access to so much stuff, in a way capitalism has won. Sex has been categorised and capitalised, there’s a transactional element to sex, while panic about consent and harassment has risen... there’s this increased jitteriness about the very concept of sex. Young people, in turn, are having less sex; because of the messiness of it, it’s easier just to keep it online. In this climate, Shortbus might not even be able to be made anymore, it might not be able to find finance. It feels like we’ve gone a little bit backwards in terms of our relationship with sex.”
John Cameron Mitchell tours from 6 Jul.
“I remember when I first saw the film back in 2011, afterwards I thought, ‘I really feel like this is a play. This is a piece for the stage.’”
Destruction production Playwright Declan Greene sits down with Maxim Boon to share the hurdles of transporting Lars von Trier’s Melancholia to the stage and the secret to adapting the impossible.
he room fell silent, save for the scattershot of camera shutters urgently capturing this unprecedented moment. Sat at a table flanked by his actors, celebrated Danish director Lars von Trier seemed hell-bent on plunging his career into a kamikaze nosedive. A rictus-grinning Kirsten Dunst, shifting awkwardly in her chair, placed a hand on von Trier’s shoulder, attempting to bring him back to reality; next to her, a quietly desperate Stellan Skarsgard looked on with wide-eyed incredulity. In front of them, the world’s press, assembled at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, could do little more than bear witness to this inexplicable scene. von Trier, with a strangely mundane tone to his softly spoken voice, had just claimed to be a Nazi, adding, “What can I say — I understand Hitler.” Th is extraordinary press conference in 2011 was intended to promote von Trier’s latest film, Melancholia, a work that had been tipped for greatness at Cannes and other major international cinema events. Instead, it had turned out to be a baffling display of career suicide, in what many commentators predicted would be the end of von Trier’s rise as one of the world’s great auteurs. But von Trier’s Nazi sympathies (which he later dismissed as being a joke) reveal a more essential perspective — one that has always been the fulcrum from which his storytelling hangs: the belief that destruction is inevitable. Found in the heartbreaking injustice of Dancer In The Dark, the psychosexual horror of Antichrist, and more recently, the erotic corrosion of Nymphoma-
niac, von Trier has always been drawn to the idea of obliteration. At the core of his art lies an urge to provoke inner tortures — both his own and his audience’s — that in metaphorical and surprisingly lyrical ways find form through a kind of bittersweet romanticism. Is it all that surprising that an artist whose work is defined by acts of wanton annihilation would stage a similar moment at his own press conference? Director Matthew Lutton also has an affinity for stories of destruction (although not, I hasten to add, tone-deaf Nazi comedy). Many of his major outings during his tenure as Malthouse Artistic Director have imagined insurmountable forces — the supernatural in Picnic At Hanging Rock; the physical in The Real And Imagined History Of The Elephant Man; the innate in Edward II — pitting his characters against challenges they cannot hope to overcome. In this regard, Melancholia is an ideal narrative for Lutton. It explores the strained, emotionally wrought relationship between two sisters, Claire and Justine, the latter suffering from profound depression. At the same time, the Earth faces a devastating and unavoidable collision with a rogue planet. By contrast, Playwright Declan Greene, the adaptor of this reimagined stage iteration of Melancholia, is best known as a writer of queer, satirical theatre. Th is foray into a more earnestly anchored theatrical voice could be seen as something of a departure — “Th is play is honest to god naturalism. I’ve never done that before,” he admits. But while he may share a less explicit link to the tonality of von Trier’s work, he
nonetheless feels a close artistic connection to Melancholia’s narrative. “I remember when I first saw the film back in 2011, afterwards I thought, ‘I really feel like this is a play. Th is is a piece for the stage.’ If you step back and look at the bare bones of the story, it’s a bunch of aristocrats in a far-flung country house, and this family unit starts to crumble and dissolve under the weight of this kind of dramaturgy of depression and a life unfulfilled. It’s set in one really pressurised location. There’s a lot of intimacy,” Greene explains. “And that’s always stuck in my mind, every time I’ve rewatched the film: this is a story about those intense relationships, not a cosmic disaster.” There are, however, significant hurdles for anyone transplanting von Trier’s film to the stage, beyond the obvious technical headscratcher of how to depict a collision between two heavenly bodies. Much of Melancholia’s dialogue is improvised and its dramatic inertia is driven by von Trier’s trademark cinematography, with its playful use of framing, jump cuts, and slow motion. Overcoming these challenges has altered the nature of Greene and Lutton’s task; this reimagined Melancholia has become more of an homage than a traditional adaptation, taking the core themes and characters of the film, but gifting them newly created dialogue. It’s an approach that von Trier himself has authorised. “One of the briefs we had was that we should adhere to the spirit of the original — that was the main piece of direction we got from Lars,” Greene shares. “Obviously, I absolutely love the film, and I
T H E AT R E
do feel a reverence towards it as a film buff and a lover of von Trier’s work. But I also feel like the act of adapting, it can’t be reverent. You have to be able to take that source material, and reconfigure it so it succeeds as brilliantly as possible in its new format.” Released from the pressures of creating a shot-for-shot live action version, Greene has been able to explore the characters of Justine and Claire with more freedom and intent. “I feel like what I’ve written is actually a chamber drama. I’m not fucking with the philosophical or the metaphysical ideas, or that beautiful set of complex questions the film poses. I’m far more interested in figuring out the best way to create a stage language that articulates and accommodates and teases out those ideas,” he shares. “It’s been a process of distilling the essence of the thing down to something that is stageable. For example, one aspect the film achieves so successfully is how it represents the experience of depression. It’s so evocative in its sense of trauma and its sense of deeply sinking into nothingness and stasis. von Trier does it by lingering on Kirsten Dunst when she’s in that state of mind, by creating these sublime moments of calm. Obviously, you can’t literally do that on stage, so it’s been a process of figuring out how to capture that complexity and nuance, and how to communicate the individual viewpoints of the characters and the way they see the world.”
Malthouse Theatre presents Melancholia from 13 Jul
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Leaps And Bounds Music Festival The massive showcase across the City Of Yarra that is Leaps And Bounds is back from 13 – 22 Jul. Spread across a smorgasbord of venues in the City’s boundaries, there’ll be everything from home-grown up and comers to internationally acclaimed artists and everything bizarre and fantastic in between. Among many, many events there are debut shows (Star Time) and finals shows (Moon Rituals), genre crossings from the heavy (King Parrot) to country (Women Of Country), the massive Indigenous celebration that is Smith Street Dreaming, the inaugural Fitzroy Bowls Record Fair and Girls To The Front, showcasing female and female-identifying acts in the hip hop scene, featuring in its line-up Dijok, one half of DJ duo the Mai Sisters.
Pic: Dijok. Photographer – Desiree Cremona, Stylist – Hannah Rose Fry, Make up - Chloe Rose
I want to get away
Through a scanner brightly The real world blows, and Sam Wall’s looking for a way out.
istorically speaking, to escape the endless drudgery of reality people needed a half decent imagination. With a sharp enough mind’s eye any old stick can cut down dragons and 26 squiggly lines sufficiently jumbled can create universes. But this is 2018. Why play make-believe when technology is getting to the point that it can make you believe.
Out of this world If you’re looking to leave the real world behind is the most complete option is virtual reality, for the same reasons that it’s the clunkiest. You need to be completely cut off from your surroundings, which means gear, and we’re still working out the kinks there. A big one is the ‘screen-door effect’. Basically, the definition needs to be insane because when your eyes are pressed right up against the screen you can see the fine lines between the pixels. Another is kit fit, since wearing a weighty, front-loaded headset for more than half an hour gets pretty uncomfortable. Neither things are great for immersion. The VRace is on though. Finnish outfit Varjo have developed limited, vision-quality VR and if their hilariously supervillain-y demo video keeps its promises fuzzy digital adventures might be a thing of the past in the near future.
The nights are long, the winds are cold, and the summer heat seems a long way away. If you’re anything like us, you’re looking for an escape, and because we love you, dear reader, we’ve got your back. Check out these awesome distractions from the winter blues.
HTC’s latest, Vive Pro, has also made huge leaps on both issues (although the price tag is just not on). Belaying those costs VR arcades have been steadily increasing around the world, providing somewhere to blast 3D zombies without dropping a grand or more on maturing technology. The prime example is (of course) in Japan — Shinjuku’s VR Zone. As yet it’s the only place in the world where you can fire Kamehameha blasts at Dragon Ball Z characters, pilot an Evangelion EVA against an Angel and physically sling shells at your friends in Mario Kart — also making it the best place in the world.
Twisted vision Augmented reality takes a different, but still time-tested, method of innovation: Find something that already works and tack the new shit on top. We don’t re-invent the wheel every time we design a new car, so why create an entire digital universe to house your fantasies when you can layer them on the mostly functional analog one we have. And people definitely respond to it. When Pokemon Go was released it famously doubled Nintendo’s stock value in just over a week, despite actually being developed by Niantic, because as anyone who quietly thought an owl might drop them a letter when they turned 11 can tell you, people want their favourite stories to be real. It’s cheaper, easier and can work through your phone, so Google and Apple are all over it. They’ve both created open platforms for “building augmented-reality experiences”, with ARCore and ARKit 2 respectively. The first apps to come out of them were from brands, ‘cause even Bill’s gotta pay the bills. You can now digitally place IKEA furniture around your house to see how it looks before ordering (still pretty cool), and Lego AR Studio lets people interact with their block creations by populating them with chatty little Lego folk and missile-firing mechs.
Other people are using it to make all manner of games and Apps available. ARise is an MC Escher-esque puzzle game that places a labyrinth on any flat surface — you then use perspective to guide a little adventurer through it — and AR Dragon has taken Tamagotchis to their logical conclusion by giving people a pet Spyro to feed and play with.
Get in to get out While brains are dorks that believe any old information we feed them, bodies can be a bit tricker. Haptic equipment like vests and gloves that give physical sensation to virtual actions are bridging the gap. Seattle-based Haptx’s glove has 120 reactive microfluidic bladders in the palm alone, so you can feel individual raindrops on your hand in-game, and a finely tuned resistive exoskeleton that means when you pick something up it has weight. They’re bulky as all hell though, not readily available and, again, wildly expensive. Digitally augmenting a physical location is just more realistic at this point, and escape rooms are on to it — incorporating elements of V and AR to better trip up your sense of disbelief. While still heaps of fun, your garden-variety escape room can be kind of ‘Adult Cluedo’, boiling down to rummaging around a themed room for the combinations to bike locks. Others, like Strike’s The Old Haunt room, up the atmosphere. Thunder cracks over the speakers and rain spatters against the LED ‘window’ where you can see a storm raging in the night. The latest space to open in Melbourne has gone a step further. Built by Ukiyo Melbourne, Kuebiko: The Crumbling Prince mixes a Miyazaki aesthetic and Legend Of Zelda puzzles with beautifully constructed masks that interact with the environment through built-in lighting and 3D holophonics. It’s a Wizard Of Oz solution, really, but if you enjoy the ride then why pull back the curtain?
Donald Finlayson channels Ebenezer Scrooge to help readers survive the incoming blizzard of Christmas in July.
f Christm Christmas spirit is your drug and Carols by Candlelight is your dealer, we understand that December can seem like a painfully distant time. But for the rest of us Grinches, ChristDecemb little more than a season of Lynx Africa gift packs, Vince Vaughn films and getting mas is lit T-boned by Commodore VL’s with reindeer antlers. So why the hell would we want all that in July? Here are ar the best tips for surviving this second coming of the silly season.
Unleash your grouchiness Rage rooms, anger rooms, smash rooms — whatever you want to call them, they’re the perfect outlet for any sudden feelings of Juletide rage. We’ve yet to find one that will let customers take a chainsaw to a Christmas tree, but the regular plate smashing experience is available to all rageaholics across the nation. Even the fellas at Collingwood’s The Break Room know that Melbourne is the artistic hub of the nation. That’s why they’ve accommodated the city of starving artists with plenty of paintings, guitars and kitschy items that are ready to be sacrificed.
Wake me up when July ends After suffering through years of unwanted visits from crusty relatives during the festive season, we’ve become quite good at quietly hiding in our rooms until the storm has passed. So why can’t the same stealthy tactics apply to Christmas in July? Gravity Flotation Centre in Northcote and Armadale offer customers the chance to spend hours in the cosy darkness of their sensory deprivation tanks. Forget your worries and your cares in this oasis well away from the carolers and your roommate’s batch of bathtub eggnog.
Exit strategy The one advantage that Christmas in July holds over Christmas in December is that it’s far easier for us to escape from. While mid-year Crimbo may be a uniquely Australian celebration thanks to seasonal patterns that could make an American cry, that doesn’t mean you need to escape the entire hemisphere to get away from it. If you’re a dignified wino who’s yet to take the plunge into fullblown snobbery or crippling alcoholism, check out the Barrel Tasting Weekend event courtesy of the Bendigo Winegrowers Association. Get a buzz on and escape to the safety of the countryside, just don’t try driving back to Melbourne straightaway.
Don’t blame it on the moonshine
Find out more at melbournemoonshine.com
is behind you and you get on the cocktail list,
you bringing out what is considered a pret-
people are more likely to give it shot, for nov-
ty a niche spirit?
elty value if nothing else.
Two and a half years ago, when we first
If the first things that spring to mind when you hear the word “moonshine” are Prohibition speakeasies and grizzled hicks in the Deep South, you’re clearly not in the loop on the boutique renaissance this muchmaligned hooch is currently enjoying. Maxim Boon meets the Andrew Fitzgerald, the man behind one of the best brands on the market, Melbourne Moonshine.
What have been the biggest challenges for
launched, we realised pretty quickly that we
There are a few novelty moonshines on the
needed to educate people on what exactly
market at the moment - including a bubble-
moonshine is - if I’m pouring someone a glass
gum flavoured one. That’s not the vibe of
and I don’t get asked, “Does it make you go
Melbourne Moonshine though...
blind?” then it’s a shock! It’s fair to say we had
We have put so much passion and energy
our work cut out for us convincing people that
into making something really high quality, we
moonshine is every bit as high quality as the
wanted the spirit to be taken seriously. So, we
premium brand vodkas and gins and whis-
spent a lot of time and energy on the brand-
keys out there. And in fact, when you go into
ing, we didn’t want it to look like it was in a jar,
the technicalities of how moonshine is made,
prohibition style, or for it to be crazy colours.
it’s actually a lot more complex than making
We didn’t want it to be pitched as a drink
whiskey, for example.
for rednecks, ya know! We sort of went more upmarket - maybe for a redneck in a tuxedo.
What first gave you the idea to revive this
And now you’re branching out into other
Ben [Bowles], my business partner, is from
areas at your Melbourne distillery?
South Carolina and he introduced me to
Our focus for the last little while has been dis-
moonshine and I thought, “Fuck that’s deli-
tilling a lot of whiskey, and we’re also bringing
cious!” So I knew if we could bring it to Mel-
out a gin too later this year. Moonshine is a
bourne people would love it. But then the
great fun brand for us that keeps the lights on,
challenge from there became about getting
and there aren’t a lot of boundaries to it. But
people asking for it. Not being a gin, not being
we care a lot about the craft of our distilling,
a whiskey, not being a vodka, you know, not
and this is a way for us to show everything we
many people are walking into a bar and say-
have to offer. It’s a competitive marketplace
ing, “Can I get a moonshine and coke?” So,
for sure - when we first started, every time I
what we’ve relied on with the moonshine is
heard about somebody else starting a distill-
really our relationships with bars. Melbourne
ery I was like, “Oh fuck, fuck!” But it’s all good
has one of the best bar scenes in the world,
now. We’re really confident in the quality we
and we’ve been really lucky to have some
put out there and we’re excited for what’s
really great bars support us. Once a bartender
A hop and a skip Leaps and Bounds Music Festival returns to the City Of Yarra 13 – 22 Jul. Be sure to catch these highlights.
The road more travelled William Crighton tells Chris Familton about the first time he heard Eric Bogle’s And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, which closes his latest album.
T Queering The Pitch A two-night, musical extravaganza of queer artists, all handpicked by producer and Jazz singer Mama Alto, Queering The Pitch is a night of stereotype-smashing goodness for all to enjoy. Joined by Selina Jenkins, William Elm, George Munro and much, much more, you won’t want to miss this one.
he best songwriters are the ones who treat their craft like a journey, through which life experiences, awareness and self-education all feed into their process. William Crighton first came to the attention of most as the bearded troubadour singing the ear-catching song Woman Like You. There was something there; something raw and sensitive in that deep voice and the heavy emotional content of this song. His debut album was mostly an inward-looking affair but now, on Empire, he’s taken a widescreen look at the world around him through the lens of travel and experience. “For this one, I was on the road a lot travelling and visiting different places,” Crighton explains from his home in The Hunter Valley of NSW. “I love travelling. We’re world citizens these days, we’re all thinking about the same things, and this album was a bit of a reflection of that. It’s an interesting time we’re living in, from practical choices in day-today life to internal questions about how we evolve our mindset and the problems we have to overcome — there’s a lot of
don’t set out to do anything differently, though I consciously set out to be open to things,” he acknowledges. It all starts with songwriting, though, and Crighton explains he has no set formula. “Songs can come out of nowhere. You might not write anything for a long time and then you write a bunch [of songs] very quickly. You’ll be trying to write a lot and then only one will come. It just depends on different situations, for me. It also depends on what instrument is laying around, which will determine how I write a song. The song Someone has a parlour guitar on it, which I’d never played, and that inspired a lot of things that I hadn’t thought of before. I have no real set process, it’s a real mixed bag.” Crighton’s debut was steeped in alt-country and dark folk music and there are still strong strains of those styles at the core of Empire, but now the colours are wilder and the dynamics more exploratory. “It’s been three or four years since I recorded the first one,” Crighton points out. “My observations have changed and I’ve learnt new things and that’s the same for my music, too.” When asked what music he was listening to before recording Empire, Crighton reveals, “Astral Weeks [by Van Morrison] was a big one — I’ve been listening to that a lot over the last few years. Tinariwen is another band I’ve been listening to. There’s so much music out there to discover and I wear my influences on my sleeve so I’m always trying to listen to inspiring stuff.”
20 & 21 Jul, Hares & Hyenas
Smith Street Dreaming Smith Street Dreaming pays tribute to and celebrates Indigenous history and culture in a free outdoor event. Catch talented artists like the Djirri Djirri Dance Group, Alice Skye and more.
21 Jul, Cnr Stanley and Smith St, Collingwood
“People say that friendships come from war, but those friendships come with attrition, too.” Porpoise Spit Named after the seaside town from Muriel’s Wedding, dream-punk outfit Porpoise Spit are finally releasing some new music, the aptly titled GOD YEAH!! EP. There’ll be dramatic readings of monologues from the aforementioned movie along with epic supports by Cable Ties and other rowdy ratbags.
22 Jul, The Tote
stuff going on and that provides inspiration if you’re open to it. It definitely filters into the songs and Empire was more of a process of reacting to what’s going on right now and not just what’s going on in my life.” From meeting and working with his producer Matt Sherrod (Crowded House’s drummer) to the places he’s visited and the wider palette of sounds he’s introduced on Empire, a certain serendipity has defined Crighton’s career to date. “I
From fervent, wild-eyed rock tinged with post-punk rhythms to heartfelt paeans to his wife, Crighton covers plenty of musical bases on Empire, but one song at the end of the record ties together its personal and universal themes, specifically the futility of war and its toll on the human body and spirit — Eric Bogle’s And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. “I first heard that song in primary school. We had to learn the words and our teacher used to say that the ANZAC Day memorial was becoming too nationalistic and it felt really truthful. It’s anti-war and there’s no nationalism in it. It talks about how nothing good comes from war. People say that friendships come from war, but those friendships come with attrition, too. It’s not a preachy song, it’s just telling a really horrific story, which is the power of that song.
Empire (ABC Music) is out now. William Crighton tours from 12 Jul.
HOWZAT! Local music by Jeff Jenkins
Celebrate the failure: 30 years of The Fauves
n 23 July, 1988, The Fauves played their first gig, at the Mt Eliza Football Club. Singer Andrew Cox later reflected: “There was no rider, we were underpaid and no one got laid. It was a microcosm of an entire career.” The Fauves — four mates from Mt Eliza High; singer Andrew “Coxy” Cox, guitarist Phil “The Doctor” Leonard, bass player Andrew “Jack” Dyer, and drummer Adam “Doug” Newey — considered calling themselves “The Glow Worms”, but decided to take their name from a short-lived art movement. Coxy later ruminated: “What caused us to name ourselves The Fauves, a name so ludicrously and frustratingly mispronounced and misunderstood, I don’t know.” Thirty years on, The The Fauves circa 1988 Fauves are our most successful unsuccessful band. “Each new album feels like a major victory,” Coxy notes. “A gross improbability come to pass, despite a sales record that should deny all hope of ever again securing a commercial release.” Remarkably, The Fauves released four albums on a major label, one of which
In 1992, the band got their first international rave, with UK magazine Select awarding The Scissors Within EP four stars, declaring: “Fantastic trumpet parts, brilliant tunes, sodden with emotion... Top!” The Fauves have played more than 1,000 shows in their storied career, including support slots with Kiss at Rod Laver Arena (“about 12,200 people more than we’ve ever pulled to a show of our own”) and Live at the Prince, where the American rockers impounded Doug’s snare after accusing The Fauves of stealing their guitar stand. “No amount of Christian values would enable them to forgive us.” Dave Graney is just one famous Fauves fan. “They are a very impressive unit in the way that The Triffids were in the old days,” he says. “Very selfcontained and light-hearted, yet possessed of an evil and misanthropic humour... They aspire downwards to Oz rock, which is odd; they are too weird for it.” The Fauves supported Hunters & Collectors on their farewell tour, a marathon trek in 1998. Mark Seymour wrote a whole chapter — about 5000
Milestones and memories 2018 Judith Durham turns 75 (3 July). Marcia Hines turns 65 (20 July). Savage Garden’s Daniel Jones turns 45 (22 July). 1 year ago The Hummingbirds singer, Simon Holmes, dies, aged 54. Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu dies of liver and kidney disease, aged 46. 5 years ago Perth band Karnivool score their first number one album, with Asymmetry. It comes four months after singer Ian Kenny’s other band, Birds Of Tokyo, scored a number one album. He is the first singer to have two number one albums in the same calendar year with two different bands. 20 years ago Marc Hunter dies of throat cancer, aged 44.
The Fauves circa 2011
Cold Chisel release their comeback single, Yakuza Girls. 30 years ago I Should Be So Lucky becomes Kylie Minogue’s first hit in the US, reaching number 28.
acknowledged “no chart action, no radio”. Indeed, they have never troubled the Top 40 scorers — their highest-charting album was 2000’s Thousand Yard Stare, which peaked at 60. Howzat! once called it “Fauves Luck” — anything that can go wrong, probably will. A US label once offered a deal, thinking they were TISM. In 1996, the band had their biggest exposure, singing live on the ABC’s Recovery. But the show recorded its lowest ever ratings — it clashed with Kieren Perkins’ 1,500m victory at the Atlanta Olympics. In 1999, Coxy was a contestant on Celebrity Sale Of The Century. “At the end of normal time, Glenn Ridge misread the scores and declared me the winner. But the scores were actually tied and they had to re-shoot the ending.” The tiebreak answer was Penny Marshall; Coxy had never seen an episode of Laverne & Shirley, and he cruelly lost to actor John Diedrich. But there have been minor victories along the way, including the acclaimed documentary 15 Minutes To Rock, heavy triple j rotation for Everybody’s Getting A 3 Piece Together and Dogs Are The Best People, and an ARIA nomination for Future Spa. The Fauves received their first live review in May 1990, in Juke for a gig at the Punters Club, supporting Greenhouse. Craig Mathieson wrote: “The Fauves shambled on stage, plugged in, and proceeded to play a set so full of contrasts that it was debilitating.”
words — for his book, Thirteen Tonne Theory. “The deal was that The Fauves’ gear would go in our truck,” Mark explains. “We had 13 tonnes of gear, so the crew was not happy about also having to ‘move the fucking Fauves’. Th is story is about how it suddenly became ‘all about The Fauves’.” The chapter was cut before the book was published. They also aren’t afraid to be political. Their eighth album, Nervous Flashlights, featured a message for then PM, John Howard — I’ll Work When I’m Dead. “Thanks man, for the helping hand,” Coxy sang. “So I can play in a nowhere rock band.” Coxy has been a regular at his local Centrelink. His work resume refers to The Fauves being ARIA-nominated. “It’s such an empty statement, but I’m sure some of them think, ‘This guy’s obviously a genius who’s just down on his luck.’” But The Fauves’ longevity is a triumph. Cast your mind back to 1988 — Kylie teamed up with Stock Aitken Waterman. John Farnham released Age Of Reason, and Daryl Braithwaite made his comeback. Rick Astley had the year’s biggest single with Never Gonna Give You Up. Guns N’ Roses had an Appetite For Destruction. Sure, The Fauves might never have reached the giddy heights of any of those acts, but they’ve made some of the smartest and most incisive music this country has seen. It’s been 30 years of razor-sharp songs and the same post office address (PO Box 199, Mornington 3931). Long may they rock.
The Hard Rock Show It’s like a real-life version of Wayne’s World. They drink and swear and celebrate everything that is great about hard rock. The hosts — Andrew Brown, Denis Sudzuka, Jimmy Van Zeno and Nikki 666 — are passionate, knowledgeable and opinionated. If you don’t get Channel 31, head to YouTube or their Facebook page. Drink up and rock on!
For the latest live reviews go to themusic.com.au
City Calm Down @ Forum Theatre. Pics: Joshua Braybrook
With their album Echoes In Blue released back in April, City Calm Down finally managed to hit the road around the major capital cities, supported by Woodes.
“The crowd can’t get enough of [vocalist] Jack Bourke and his bandmates as they dance along to these fantastic tunes.”
City Calm Down
- Tobias Handke
The Presets @ Forum Theatre.
Pic: Monique Pizzica
The Presets presented a high energy set as they made their way around the country to share their new album Hi Viz.
Jen Cloher @ Milk! Records Residency
“They are quite literally on fire as a fire warden wanders over to extinguish some sparks, downstage right, with a hand-held fire extinguisher.” - Bryget Chrisfield
Milk! Records Residency @ Coburg RSL. Pics: Joshua
Setting up shop for the last three Wednesdays in June at Coburg RSL, pretty much all the Milk! Records roster made an appearance over the course of their residency, including label-founding ledgends Jen Cloher and Courtney Barnett. With the line-up never being revealed beforehand so you’d never know who you’d witness.
“The appeal of a mystery lineup cannot be underestimated.” - Bryget Chrisfield
Courtney Barnett @ Milk! Records Residency
THU 20 SEP
SAT 04 AUG
ABRAMELIN, FR ANKENBOK + DREADNAUGHT w.
FRI 21 SEP
ZELJKO SAMARDZIC LIVE
SAT 22 SEP
SAT 11 AUG
THU 12 JUL
‘CHEERS’ 15TH YR ANNIVERSARY TOUR 2018
SAT 14 JUL
FORGE - LIVE METAL NIGHTCLUB w. VALHALORE,
WITCHGRINDER, TRIGGER & TRIPLE KILL SAT 21 JUL
CHROMEO FRI 27 JUL
TRILOGY OF ROCK
WHOLE LOTTA ROSIE, GOLD CHISEL + LIVE & DANGEROUS
PSYCROPTIC, ARCHSPIRE + HADAL MAW
SAT 27 OCT
CALUM SCOTT FRI 16 NOV
FRI 24 AUG
ENSLAVED + SOLSTAFIR
THU 25 OCT
SAT 18 AUG
FURNAPALOOZA SUN 29 JUL
THE CHERRY POPPERS SHOWCASE
VANISHING POINT & ALARUM SAT 06 OCT
FRI 17 AUG
FURNACE AND THE FUNDAMENTALS PRESENTS
METAL UNITED DOWN UNDER w. LORD,
PRIMAL FEAR + SINNER:
AUSSIE TOUR 2018
APOCALYPSE IN AUSTRALIA
SAT 01 SEP
FRI 30 NOV
VLATKO STEFANOVSKI TRIO AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2018
THU 06 SEP
DEEP CALLETH UPON DOWN UNDER
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This month’s highlights Fire warning Furnace & The Fundamentals are back from the UK and raring for their biggest Australian headline tour to date. Catch all the big screens, light-up suits, inflatables and dancefloor bangers at Max Watt’s, 27 Jul.
Baby on board
Furnace & The Fundamentals
After stealing hearts with her relentlessly awesome shows and last year’s In My Mind, Baby Blue have unleashed their follow-up EP. They’re giving Do What You Like a live launch at The Curtin, 6 Jul with The Ocean Party and Emilee South.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-choices CHANGES has left Melbourne with some impossible decisions this 4 & 5 Jul. Barley Dressed, Anti Fade, Chapter, Milk!, Poison City, Bad Apples, on and on it goes - absolutely everybody is doing a roster showcase for the summit in venues throughout Collingwood and Fitzroy.
Trip aces Cat Canteri
Th is year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Because of Her, We Can!’ and Melbourne Museum’s Nocturnal series has gotten right behind it with the formidable line-up of Thelma Plum, Mojo Juju, and Kaiit - as well as DJ Sovereign Trax on decks - this 6 Jul.
Anti Fade artists Parsnip
Melbourne Guitar Show is rocking Caulfield Racecourse once again this 4 & 5 Aug. As well as all the exhibitors, panels and workshops there will be a stack of live acts like UK guitar legend Albert Lee to local gem Cat Canteri.
Aspiring musos take note; Alice Ivy, Ainslie Wills, Benny Walker and more are holding songwriting workshops, masterclasses and networking opportunities for the inaugural event, The Melbourne Sessions, 6 Jul at Kindred Studios.
OTT Alice Ivy
After her recent signing to Island Records, and with her debut EP on the horizon, Melbourne singer-songwriter Eliott is headed out for her debut headline shows. See what all the fuss is about 6 Jul at The Gasometer Hotel.
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the best and the worst of the month’s zeitgeist
The lashes Front
The great Gadsby
The genius of Aussie comic
Hip hop seer Donald Glover,
The inventor of the Face-
American First Lady Melania
Scale model juggernaut
The Socceroos crashed
Hannah Gadsby has gone
aka Childish Gambino, will
book rager, Corey Worthing-
Trump made a colossally
Revell has withdrawn its kit
out of the World Cup in a
global with the release on
be gracing our fair shores
ton, isn’t just the ultimate
insensitive fashion faux pas
for the Nazi UFO ‘Foo Fight-
controversial clash with
Netflix of her astonishing
in November. He’ll headline
party dude. He’s also an ath-
by wearing a jacket embla-
er’ Haunebu II, for “historical
Peru. The opposing team’s
Spilt Milk in Canberra before
lete – apparently! He’ll com-
zoned with the phrase, “I
inaccuracy” and because,
first goal should have been
Nanette. It may be her swan
rolling into Perth and Mel-
pete in the gruelling Ninja
really don’t care. Do you?”
oh yeah, it’s covered in
ruled off-side, but in truth, it
song tour, but what a way to
bourne. Demand for tickets
Warrior show next month.
while on her way to meet
Third Reich symbols which
wouldn’t have mattered, as
end an extraordinary career.
is likely to be nuts, so get
Whether he’ll be wearing his
isolated immigrant children
are massively offensive.
our boys in gold and green
trademark sunnies is yet to
in one of her husband’s
Facepalm Revell, facepalm.
ended up ranking last in
The final thought
When life’s BS gets you down, just remember Newton’s third law of motion.
Words by Maxim Boon
f ever there were any doubt, which I seriously doubt there ever was, I reckon we can officially call it: some people are the worst. And by ‘the worst,’ I mean, seriously, the fucking worst. The total, absolute, weapons-grade worst. And by some people, I mean a lot of people. Way too many peo-
ple. So many, in fact, that most days I feel like god damn Oprah: “You’re the worst. And you’re the worst. And you’re the worst. You’re all the worst!” Th is avalanche of ‘the worst’ would, of course, bury us enlightened types under a big steaming heap of rock-bottom misery, if it weren’t for a universally acknowledged scientific truth: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And as it is for physics, so it goes for social justice, in ways both big and small. On the micro end (and yes, that is a small penis joke), there’s a recent, nauseating incident involving a certain pseudo-celebrity fascist and all-around fuckhead, who I refuse to dignify by including his name. Pig-headedly wielding his testosterone-amped brand of moronic righteousness in Melbourne’s Fed Square, aggressively confronting muchloved street comedian Dandyman over his apparently odious costume, there was a shocking lack of action from security staff at the public space, although the Police did eventually step in. At first, my worst fears about the impunity with which such hate can be unleashed seemed to be confirmed. But a day later, when Dandyman returned to Fed Square, members of the public, arriving in great numbers, as well as many from the cabaret and circus fraternity, turned out to support this artist’s right to perform,
reclaiming Federation Square as a place where self-expression and community will always outshine bigotry. On a more global scale, the unstoppable success of Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette on Netflix is another shining example of defiance in the face of discrimination. I was extremely fortunate to catch the show when it premiered at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2017. Back in its first incarnation, much of its passion was anchored to the then-imminent SSM survey and the shameful insistence by the government that Australia needed a national litmus test to make a decision on basic human rights. Leaving Melbourne Town Hall after that show I felt an unforgettable cocktail of emotions: astonishment, gratitude, awe, but more pointedly, fury, and on a very personal level, a deep sadness alongside a question that has repeated, over and over, in my mind, and the minds of many people from the LGBTQIA community, for years: why do they hate us so much? The show has since modulated its material since marriage equality was finally made law in Australia, but Nanette has lost none of its fire. It is a beautiful and devastating reminder that we must resist, always, intolerance and persecution of every scale, no matter how inconsequential or overwhelming it may seem.
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