The unfortunate cancelling of Canyons live set meant that Indian Summer DJs took over the task of warming up the crowd for headliner Flume. They were an unlikely duo: one composed and in control, the other oozing crazed energy, bouncing around wildly in a Quit Your Job shirt. He clearly quit his job for a reason: the hyped up energy he put out completely transferred into the crowd. Dropping an eclectic mix of tracks from a sped-up version of Rack City
to Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs Tapes & Money
to the B-52s Love Shack
, Indian Summer DJs drew more and more people to the dance floor as they took it to the next level. Even those occupying the ping pong table ditched their bats to groove out to their killer mixes. The epitome was Tag Team’s Whoomp (There It Is)
laid over The Bad Touch
by Bloodhound Gang: brilliant.
Hyped as the hottest producer on the scene right now, Sydney producer Flume, aka Harley Streten, appeared to a huge ovation from the crowd. His huge grin betrayed how stoked he was to be playing to such a densely packed dance floor, and he wasted no time getting into the nitty gritty by dropping his most recently hyped-up remix of Hermitude’s Hyperparadise
. The dance floor erupted!
Despite each song carrying a distinct sound and flavour, Flume managed to mesh each track seamlessly into the next, meaning there was an ebbing flow to his growing catalogue of original tracks and remixes. By the third track we were introduced to a new remix of a Chet Faker track that Flume announced he had “just finished”. Probably the most chilled track of the night, with Chet Faker’s soft vocals laying a gorgeous hook over a highly danceable chill wave beat.
Occasionally bordering on experimental electronica, it was only fitting that the air was filled with the smell of marijuana smoke as his songs took the audience on an aural trip to a dimension completely outside of reality. There is nothing normal about the music that Flume produces. His unique sound draws the mind into this bizarrely funky musical dimension, which traverses every spectrum of electronica so effortlessly. Gravel Pit
took the mind into the dark underground of electronica, with deep underlying bass lines that vibrate deep in the chest, transcending in and out of a lighter synth-driven instrumental bridge, heightening in an apocalyptic-style break.
A quick glance around the venue was greeted with a sea of bobbing heads; never have I witnessed The Standard so densely packed. At the very height of Flume’s set, I noticed that the ground itself was bouncing as the dance floor moved with everything they had. Arms were in the air, girls were on shoulders, people were jumping around and completely losing their shit! The prime position is right in front of the speakers; if you’re going to go deaf, you want to go out dancing your tits off to Flume.
Flume is an intelligent DJ. He completely understood what mood he wanted to create with each song and constantly heightened the mood with excellent structure and feeling (not like house music does with their terrible repeated and elongated use of build ups). The crowd responded justly. There was a moment when he eased off a song into a really minimal beat, which the crowd vibed to gently, then suddenly dropped an intense bass heavy break out of nowhere and the crowd snapped into the wildest dance moves imaginable. You just want to let your body move uncontrollably to his music.
Highly popular remix Sleepless
was introduced as “the song you’ve all been waiting for”. With good reason, it delivered smooth tones of piano and throbbing synths laid over a silky vocal loop and a trademark bass line. It was so smooth it felt like being washed over by warm air. With an encore of his remix of New Navy’s track Zimbabwe
to finish off a energetic performance, Flume proved beyond question why he is the most hyped producer in Australia right now, with one of the finest minds for remixing in the business.
Written for Music Feeds
I catch up with 2009's Triple J Unearthed High winners Hunting Grounds (formerly HOWL) for MusicFeedsTV as they announce details of recently released single Flaws, soon to be released album In Hindsight and upcoming album tour.
The band’s new single Flaws
has been released and represents a ‘maturing’ in their sound as they incorporate more synthesised layers of sound in their music. Accordingly, a lot of songs to be released on their new album will mirror this trend. While unplanned, the band feel this development made a lot of sense while in the recording process. It will be interesting to see how this translates into a live performance environment.
music video makes a bold statement representing members of the band as leaders of what could be described as a cult-run community. The concept was proposed by band member Michael Belsar and was heavily influenced by an episode of the Simpsons titled ‘The Joy of Sect’. The band saw the idea as a great opportunity to produce a more creepy video that would engage their fans. You can check out the matching film clip for Flaws
While running the risk of alienating long-time fans, the band feel their new experimental approach to songwriting will ultimately produce better music. Thankfully for now, their heavy punkish roots will remain as a driving force in their music.
The full debut album In Hindsight
will be released on July 6, 2012. There will be an official album launch party on 12th July to be held at a secret location in Melbourne. Guests will need to compete via the band’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hgnoiseInterview by Andrew Nock
Video filmed/produced/edited by Daniel Taylor
Production coordinated by Tim Poulton
Photo by Cai Griffin
On the darkened stage of The Standard lay a bizarre sight. An array of gold-plated dolls heads scattered the scarce stage; whilst golden skeletons flanked their Halloween counterparts from a jet black backdrop. Elizabeth Rose emerged amongst these eerie figures, cutting a picturesque solo figure behind her desk of electronic samplers, laptop and keyboard. Appearing small and petite in a black vintage frock with intricate gold trim and puffed shoulders; her stage presence grew exponentially as she emitted her first words of her captivating voice, with an exclusive new track called Space Glow. Exuding energy with every movement, her body language complemented her music; a click of the fingers to signal the snap of a snare, a stomp of the foot to coincide with a bass kick, a small bounce to and fro in an instrumental bridge. It was clear by her trance like state as she bounced around with effervescent energy that she was completely immersed in her music, and the audience followed her lead by moving in tandem to her funky electro-pop sound.
Elizabeth Rose has a great talent for being able to convey emotion through the layering of sounds, most effectively through synthesizers and samples. The more moody and dark side of Elizabeth Rose shone through on Crystallise and a cover of Fever Ray’s Dry And Dusted. The throbbing and fluctuating synths of Dry And Dusted captured the haunting feeling that Elizabeth’s soft vocals conveyed, proving to be the most emotionally provoking track of the set. Unlike many of her tracks, which seem to transcend the darkness by shifting the tone up a gear to a more joyful chord progression in a chorus/melody, Crystallise stays dangerously deep throughout the entirety of the track, never leaving that deep, dark groove.
Her ability to create atmosphere with complex layering of musical elements is complemented by the large room at The Standard. A short journey to the upstairs viewing platform portrays just how well the room captures her ambience, exceptionally enhanced by the looming space, enabling the sparseness of Blue and Stars Ago to echo off the walls. The deep synth that drives Blue is so funky and dense it almost sounds like a wobbly trombone (just try describe it, I dare you), which is both warm and fuzzy in texture. The layering of musical elements in the song builds a density that is all encompassing and impossible to escape, and why would you want to? It’s a place you just do not want to leave.
Much of Elizabeth’s music has a strong dance element - one of the reasons she was hand selected to play major dance festivals Parklife and Field Day recently - so it was no surprise to see the majority of the crowd grooving out to her funky dance beats. The underlying bass took over in Triple J favourite and latest single from her debut EP Ready, a song that revolves around an intriguing vocal sample that coincides with a thumping bass line that heightened the enthusiasm of dancing amongst the crowd. Ready has a pop feel with its glitteringly smooth production, more accessible vocal melodies and straight forward chorus, that provide a more straight up sound than many of her other darker, and more atmospheric tracks. Maybe it’s a sign of the direction she will take with her forthcoming EP, out mid-2012.
Her glossy, yet dark and introspective electro-pop sound is so effortlessly reproduced live, by triggering samples whilst playing keyboard; whilst her voice provides the crucial overlaying element with its softness and maturity. Sometimes though, as she focuses all her energy into her vocals, her hands don’t seem to be doing much at all, which makes one question whether she is just singing over a backing track. Elizabeth also refrains from looping vocals live, which reduces the effect of the vocal layering that is so important on recorded versions. As a solo performer, I’m sure these are things she has thought about and it can certainly detract from the excellent production that goes into every track. However, these thoughts are few and far between, since they do not detract from her performance at all.
Elizabeth Rose is a captivating performer, who was engaging and energetic as a solo act for an hour long set. To elaborate, she is still to release her debut EP, and she played four major festivals in the past year. At 21, she oozes talent and promise as one of the most exciting electronic artists to watch for the future. Keep an eye on Elizabeth Rose: she is going to do big things.
Gus from UK rock band Young Guns sits down with me for Music Feeds before the bands support of Sydney pop-punk juggernauts Tonight Alive at Manning Bar. Gus explains the journey the band underwent in the recording process, being inspired and empowered by their trip to Thailand, and recording with Dan Weller of Djent (sub genre of Prog-metal) pioneers Sikth. We also explore the band’s involvement in the London Olympic Games torch relay, what it was like play to 22 000 people supporting Bon Jovi and their first attempt at a love song.
Young Guns third single off new record Bones, called Dearly Departed. Solid first attempt at a love song, dontcha think?
Interview for Music Feeds TV
Filmed, edited and produced by Dan Taylor
A journey into the depths of World Bar’s back room dance floor is usually greeted with thumping bass and the unmistakable odour of sweating bodies writhing to whatever vast array of dance music is being served. Tonight proved no different. The downstairs room at World Bar is something of a clubber’s wet dream. A compact dance floor lies between the DJ booth and the stage, cut off by huge speakers delivering fierce bass in the face of the punters crammed into the tiny space. The low ceiling hosts a colourful arrangement of fluorescent light tubes that are electronically triggered to coincide with the music. One bizarre inclusion for tonight’s show were lasers situated behind the dance floor that were invisible to anyone who was watching the band. Someone didn’t think that one through.
In the corner of the basement at the back of World Bar there is a stage. A low-rise stage lining one side of the famous dungeon dance floor. On this small stage stand the duo of Parachute Youth: Matt K Von and John Castro. Their simple live set-up consisted of laptop, keyboards and Mark Ronson-esque hexagonal electronic drum pads, which got pretty neglected as the show progressed; perhaps they were just for show and (not) tell.
Quickly pushing aside technical difficulties in the opening song, Parachute Youth had the crowd moving from the very start with their deep four-to-the-floor house dance rhythms, peaking into overdrive during Awake Now
. Having only released two songs, the aforementioned Awake Now
and Can’t Get Better Than This
, Parachute Youth filled their 40-minute set with a stack of songs that were fresh to the ears of the punters. The standout was a funky, 70s-style track that revolved around a number of disco style keyboard solos, which had Johnny Castro’s fingers in a blur, flowing well over the top of a smooth beat. Another track [that I have very good reason to believe is] titled Runaway
also caught my attention with its softer textures, a gentler electro pop sound that broke up the more house-influenced dance rhythms nicely.
Lead vocalist Jonny Castro sung with a vocal timbre that is soft and inviting, despite being heavily modified electronically. He draws similarity to Andrew VanWyngarden (MGMT) and Mark Foster (Foster The People) not in vocal quality but in the distinctly unique sound that he produces, which relies much on the way he pronounces words, as well as the all-important vocal distortion. It is this vocal element that distinctively defines their sound.
Spending much of the set roaming the stage with microphone in hand, Castro surprisingly spent much time huddled in the back corner of the stage, leaving his other half to pump up the crowd with spontaneous arm flails in between laptop fiddlings. The few times that he got up to the front of the stage and jumped around, the crowd followed his lead in a flurry of mistimed bounces, like he was implicitly instructing them to do so.
Parachute Youth closed with an extended version of Can’t Get Better Than This
, and my word it was worth it to see the sheer joy on the faces of the people around me as every single person collectively lost their shit. The packed dance floor became a writhing, bouncing, fist pumping array of smiling kids who were overdosing on happiness singing "can’t get better than this" at the top of their lungs. Arguably the most thrashed song on triple j this year, and with 1.7 million YouTube hits, its popularity is most certainly warranted [it’s been my weapon of choice for pre-night out dance music for ages]. The energy that it creates with that throbbing atmospheric synth laid over a simple four-to-the-floor beat is so infectious, it’s impossible not to lose your marbles to it live. The lyrics ‘I don’t wanna go away, I wish this happened every day’ couldn’t be more accurate for that moment.
Angry side note: If you’ve been dragged to a gig with your group of girlfriends, don’t stand 2 people from the front with your back to the band for Hendrix sake! You obstruct everyone’s view with your doomy gloomy look of disinterest, and frustrate the hell out of people who came to watch the band. Go to the bar and prey on some poor man for a drink, you walking mood kill.
Written for and published by Music Feeds