Sarah Chav' -

24 Dec The 100 Best Australian Tracks 2017

Looking back on the year that’s been, 2017 has been exceptional. So many of our Aussie artists have exploded overseas, exposing the amazing talent we have here. The element of live performance has also evolved, as we see more and more the creative and the adored putting on insane performances that leave us all in awe.
It is truly an inspiring time in Australian music to see the growth and abundance of talent.

Therefore, as is tradition, we have compiled what we hope to be a comprehensive, exciting and awe-inspiring list of great Australian music.
The list doesn’t just feature a diverse range of genres. It is rightfully made up of many different artists from all walks of life. We’re absolutely delighted to see such a spectrum of artists receiving the attention they deserve!

To help accommodate (and celebrate) as many great tracks as we can, we have decided to limit our annual Australian Top 100 Tracks list to only one song per artist.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who emailed and submitted music, liked, shared, retweeted or @tagged this year. It means a lot to the whole Ripe team. Let’s do it all again in 2018!


100. Doona Waves – ‘Come Around’

99. Kaiit – ‘2000 n Somethin’

98. Mount Trout – ‘Home’

97. Sloan Peterson – ‘105’

96. Nali – ‘D.R.D (B2H002)’

95. Georgia Mulligan – ‘Any Given Day’

94. Mic Mills – ‘Too Hot To Sleep’

93. Huntly – ‘Kate’s Bed’

92. Exhibitionist – ‘Hands’

91. Godtet – ‘Take Off’

90. Michael Beach – ‘I Never Had Enough Time With You’

89. No Mono – ‘Butterflies’

88. Rough River – ‘True Wild’

87. No Sister – ‘Overpass’

86. Total Control – ‘Vanity’

85. Milwaukee Banks – ‘The City’

84. Other Places – ‘T.R.N.’

83. Angharad Drake – ‘Baby’

82. S Y Orosa – ‘You.’

81. Trevor – ‘Sensual Mediation’

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11 Dec Another Stellar Weekend in the Crater – HOPKINS CREEK 2017

Words by Sam Chesbrough // Photos by Kathleen Mary Lee

The months leading up to Christmas can be an absolutely tiring time for some. Between festivals that go loud and large like Strawberry Fields, time honoured classics like Meredith and a slew of other events, it’s easy to get lost among the big names. Hopkins Creek not so much managed to get its foot in the door for summer festivals, as it did firmly kick the door down. While only sporting two international headliners, Hopkins Creek nailed so many things in its second year that larger and more established festivals still seem to fluff up.

If you’ve kept your ear to the ground you’re sure to have picked up a bevvy of track IDs from the weekend – so rather than a comprehensive list of every act, we decided to go with Hopkins Creek’s top five moments (in no particular order). Hopefully, if you were there you might agree – and if you missed out, maybe this will encourage you to get your act together and come along next year.


CC Disco smashing out “Great Southern Land” by Icehouse

If you follow Melbourne’s disco darling on Instagram you might have seen a great clip from under the tent of Courtney pounding out an Australian classic. In a set typical of CC’s fondness for definitive disco cuts verging into housier gems, it’s hard to pick out a song or two. However, closing up her set as Saturday night ticked over was a track that got everyone singing. Other noteworthy numbers would be “Dance Ritual I (Lipelis Dream Dance Remix)” by Auntie Flo, but nothing quite compares to a track that would have my parents dancing as much as I was.

Mount Liberation Unlimited teasing out “Double Dance Lover”

The two Swedish maestros brought a brimming live performance to the crater this year, the first international act to play for the festival. Stringing the crowd along with the chipmunk vocal snippets of their most popular track, Mount Lib kept punters going with a fifteen-minute epic.


Sunnyside bringing the funk on Sunday morning

Bringing some balance to the electronic skew of tracks, Sunnyside’s psychedelic jazz performance was the perfect balm for those who might’ve gone a bit too deep in the crater the night before. Proving once and for all that the clarinet can well and truly be an instrument of dancefloor destruction, the quartet swung effortlessly through tempos and some bonus lyricism, bringing some hip-hop swing to their jazz.

Brian Not Brian singing along to Vera’s “Take Me To The Bridge”

Coming in hot from the UK was certified crate digger Brian Not Brian to headline Hopkins Creek. Slotted with the closing set for Hopkins, Brian Not Brian came on after a phenomenal closing track from Pjenne (Kings Of Tomorrow’s “Finally” if you’re interested). Opening up with a spoken word piece announcing that “peace is the word, the word is peace. Peace,” Brian brought in the healthy kick drum, bells, and whistles of Beautiful Swimmer’s “Oh Yeah”. With plenty more percussive belters like “Trummor” by HNNY, Brian Not Brian guided dancers through an exceptional sunset over the crater. As darkness settled and the end of Brian’s set came rolling around, a scarily familiar slap bass line came crawling over the speakers. There was a palpable energy as everyone grabbed their closest friend and sung the hook to “Take Me To The Bridge”. Clearly, Brian was vibing it too –
having an absolute ball in his gumboots (clearly well equipped) and it was enough to get an extra half an hour out of his set.


Hopkins Creek DJs, playing pretty much every classic under the sun

Whispers had been floating around that there would be an extended bar set after Brian Not Brian from the organisers – and after such a stellar effort from the team, they had truly earnt themselves that dream closing slot. Not one for subtleties, things got started with Tears For Fears‘ “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. Between Todd, Olly, Ryan, Josh and James Keys there was a bit of one man upmanship over some hours, maybe being a bit disjointed sometimes but certainly entertaining. Everything from some deeper cuts (Dense & Pika’s “Colt” and Fort Romeau’s “Saku”) to soulful disco numbers (Jocelyn Brown’s “Somebody Else’s Guy” and Mary Clarke Jr’s “Take Me I’m Yours”) to the downright classics (Eric Prydz “Call On Me” and Groove Armada “Superstylin’ ”). Arguably it would be “Retro Grade” by Moda that burnt the house down, heavy on the effects and a nostalgic throwback to the parties that incubated the idea of Hopkins Creek. For me, that would have to be a personal highlight for Hopkins Creek 2017.


Of course, there were plenty of other exceptional moments that deserve a mention. Andy Garvey playing some electro bombs like “My World (Night Drive Mix)” by Sunday Brunch would have to be a hit. Also props to the annoyingly rare “Do I Do” by Maurice McGee getting a spin by Barry Sunset and Fitz-e (Rayko’s edit to be specific, a gem that teases out the vocal for oh so long). Also Claudia Jones – you guys were so much fun and exactly what Hopkins needed to get everyone dancing that Friday night.

All in all, Hopkins Creek proved that bigger isn’t necessarily better, during a time where Australians seem to steer towards smaller and more boutique festivals. The organisers held it together despite any inclement weather (I was feeling nervous camping in what was essentially a giant bowl during a one in a hundred year storm).

Everyone looked like they were having a good time, and from what I heard their policy of inclusivity and calling out any unwanted behaviour was held up. Facilities were ace; staff, sound, and light all did a fantastic job – as did Rhys Newling on the visuals. Not to mention the setting in the crater was sublime. Checklists aside, it was simply an incredibly fun weekend, and hats off to the crew who put it together. You can count me in for the crater next year.


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27 Nov Face The Music 2017: Recap

Words by Elvis Walsh

From Ariel Pink’s ‘scatological’ cycle of creativity, to the deeply intertwined cultures of Krautrock and the Aussie music scene, Face the Music 2017 was as interesting and educational as it was diverse and expansive in topics. The two day Australian music industry conference, annexed by Melbourne music institution The Push, is in its 10th year, marking a milestone in public arts and the local music industry. An absolute Mecca for aspiring youth craving to cut their teeth in the music scene, as well as seasoned veterans willing to explore the infinite facets of an ever moving culture, Face the Music prides themselves on their scholarly speakers and the spectrum of expertise brought with them, ensuring a fascinating experience for attendees with a plethora of musical backgrounds.

This year’s was based out of the grand St Paul’s Cathedral, an iconic central Melbourne landmark in its own right. The conference took place over eight separate venues, often running over four sessions at once. The breadth of topics and range of geographic, gender, racial and cultural backgrounds of the over 100 speakers is obvious draw card for the conference’s continual turn out, with purple lanyard sporting conference dwellers to be found in every corner of the CBD.

Kicking off the first day was a keynote panel featuring the ever exciting and enigmatic Ariel Pink, offering intimate insight into his creative processes and influences, including the unusual and poignant story behind his latest album Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. Later, and certainly a highlight for the day, the panel ‘Whitewashed’ tackled the prominent issue of the misrepresentation of people of colour throughout the industry, spawning debate and praise throughout conversations overheard around the cathedral.

Taking an international perspective, through the Victorian Govt.’s brand new ‘Music Passport’ program, there were a range of German guest speakers representing names such as Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Fest and German label Kontor Records. These speakers gave interesting advice for Australian musicians regarding the mega yet obscure market of the German live music scene. Concluding the first day were local artists Body Type and Press Club supporting the ever invigorating Kirin J. Callinan on the St. Paul’s stage for a free show, accessible to anyone so inclined.

Day two began with Herald Sun’s musical ex Mikey Cahill with a nostalgic retrospect of Melbourne music. Simultaneously, talks on artist management essentials such as exposure and accounting took place across the seven other venues. Later on was the hugely popular Planet Radio featuring Cheryl Waters, globally renowned DJ, programmer and host for Seattle’s KEXP radio station. You may be familiar with our own King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s numerous appearances on the station. Spread amongst the remaining day were numerous discussions and panels, including Marky Ramone, who featured in conversation on the ins and outs of the dense yet rewarding and expressive industry. Again, to top it off was ‘Cookin’ with Kirin J. Callinan, an interview/showcase of Kirin’s culinary skills and inner thoughts as an artist, cooking and divulging live from the carpark.

To mention every standalone event held at the conference within one article would result in a short book. This year’s event has topped its previous year’s yet again, with a larger turnout every iteration, and a continually impressive lineup of speakers.
For any person even remotely interested in music or behind the scenes of your favourite artists, festivals or labels, Face the Music is an amazing resource at your disposal.

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Sarah Chav' -

01 Aug Twitter, Bedroom Suck & Spotify Mistaken Identity – An Interview with Good Morning

Words by Marcus Rimondini // Photos by Sarah Chav’

Good Morning may not be one of those well-known household names in Melbourne at the moment… But they should be. With a recent signing to Bedroom Suck Records, it was an absolute no-brainer to take the opportunity to chat to the Melbourne pair Stefan Blair and Liam Parsons to find out how they’re going.

In the world of laid-back, mellow and subtle artists, it is a rarity to see any bands or solo artists rise up the ranks. For instance Mac DeMarco would be one of the more recent artists to achieve this, and the “feature” that separates Mac from his peers is his humour, whether lyrically or on stage. This is something that Good Morning share with Mac, their ability to laugh and enjoy a good joke. Although I feel at times a more serious nature could help them on their way up, their playful approach to life and music translates to curiosity, and an eagerness to keep an open mind. Their signing with Bedroom Suck (who I feel are heavily underrated, signing some of the best bands in the country) could be that final step-up Good Morning needs to break out and become an industry staple.

So Good Morning is where my money would go at the moment, with a brand new album already recorded, I get the impression that the boys are in a good head space right now. They seem to be taking leaps, with a Europe Tour being the biggest one, and I can’t imagine they’d take these risks unless they believed in the new album. Until it comes out, let’s play catch-up below with Good Morning.


Marcus Rimondini: Where have you been hiding for most of this year?
Liam Parsons: Recording, slowly.
Stefan Blair: Mixing some stuff.
Liam: [laughs] Taking ages to finish it. It’s been nice though, no time restraints or anything. We checked out of the whole thing for a while there.

Did you not know the next step after the initial releases?
Liam: We’ve had demos of what the album’s going to be for a year and a half or so…
Stefan: We started mixing it, but it was a bit fucked. So we went back and started again just a few weeks ago.

Are you two mixing it?
Liam: Yeah, [we] tried to do everything this time.

Have you always done everything yourselves?
Liam: It has slowly progressed that way. The first thing we did was recorded and mixed with our friend Hamish Mitchell (I’lls). Then with the second EP we recorded it all ourselves, then mixed with him. Now, with this one, we’re recording and mixing it all ourselves.

How did the Bedroom Suck Records signing happen?
Stefan: One day Joe Alexander just sent me a message on Facebook [laughs]. I think he was just plotting away things, like he usually does, and was interested in doing this re-issue. Which was coincidentally around the time we were thinking about the record and wanted to send it to him anyway.

So he snuck in by just asking about a reissue, but was secretly looking to… ?
Liam: I think secretly we were trying to get the album in.

So you were both secretly trying to play it cool?
Liam: [laughs] Pretty much. I think we both got what we wanted in the end.


It looks like you barely have a break from touring until October, is this the longest you have ever toured?
Liam: We have actually never really been on tour… we did go on a trip to New York once for CMJ, but that was just staying in the same place.
Stefan: It was sort of more of a holiday.
Liam: I guess we’ve been to Sydney a couple times? And went to Brisbane once.

Does this tour make you excited or daunted?
Liam: Excited! I haven’t been overseas since CMJ.
Stefan: I’m into it. I like getting out of Melbourne, and visiting somewhere near like Switzerland will be exciting.

Question… Do you get paid more or screwed over more in Switzerland?
Liam: … I don’t know actually [laughs].
Stefan: [laughs] We’ll probably end up spending way more money than we should.
Liam: The beers cost more, that’s for sure.

Has it always been just the four of you in Good Morning?
Liam: Yeah, just the four of us playing live.
Stefan: And Joe’s coming too this time.
Liam: And our friend Kim Ambrosius is over there in Copenhagen. She’s been helping Joe with Bedroom Suck so it should be good. It’s going to be busy I guess.

What’s the jamming/recording process like in Melbourne?
Stefan: We mainly work at home and Liam’s beach house in Lorne.
Liam: … And I guess we are mixing it in my bedroom in Fairfield [laughs].

Did the beach house influence the sound or the atmosphere of the recordings?
Stefan: It kind of sounds glassy?
Liam: [laughs] There’s glass windows everywhere. We recorded the Glory EP there and had a construction site going on next door the whole time. So yes, you can hear hammering and drills in the background. However, there’s no WIFI, no people… it’s good for that. You just kind of sit there, and all of the sudden you’ve been there for 14 hours.
Stefan: You sit there until very early in the morning, go to sleep, wake up and do it again. It’s a nice routine.
Liam: There’s nothing else to do, maybe rent DVDs? [laughs]


Do you do anything creative outside of music?
Liam: Not really, we’re not very good at anything else [laughs].
Stefan: We play in other friends bands and stuff like that.
Liam: We try to do our own artwork, posters, and t-shirts!
Stefan: Although, they are usually thrown together in a couple minutes [laughs].

… Is ‘we’ actually just one person?
Stefan: Nah, whoever wants to do it.
Liam: [laughs] Whoever can be bothered.

Is it just you two who record the music? Or do you bring in the band when it comes to recording?
Stefan: We record it all. Some of the songs we will play with the band before we go in and record them. But most of the time we just record them as demo’s and show it to everyone else and see what they make of it.

Has the band always been the same four members?
Liam: It’s always been the four of us because there are more shows at the moment. Not everyone can always make them, so we’ve had Joe filling in on drums and Stefan’s brother on bass for a while as well.

How was the Tasmanian tour?
Liam: So good!
Stefan: It was pretty wild.
Liam: There was this crazy bar called Dan’s Bar in Franklin. It was this weird little alternate universe [laughs].
Stefan: We ended up having an after party at this woman’s house named Jane – she was 82 I think. She had a bunch of us back at her house for drinks and weird stew.
Liam: She was just sitting there drinking goon and chain smoking [laughs].
Liam: There were some good, weird pub shows as well – especially in this place called Wynyard. People were just shouting at us to play covers [laughs]. So it was us TRYING to do that, and making up covers on the spot.


Do you guys have any directional changes moving forward? Anything new you want to add to Good Morning, or just more refining?
Liam: We’ve been thinking more keyboard. It’s probably cleaner.
Stefan: Yeah, more saxophone as well. A lot of it was written on keys, there wasn’t much of that before.
Liam: No huge effort put into changing things, but it has naturally changed I guess.

Are the songs more internal or external?
Stefan: I feel like they’ve stayed somewhat the same.
Liam: They go deeper, maybe. We tried to be somewhat less whiny, tried to whinge less [laughs].
Stefan: The vocal performance hasn’t improved whatsoever.
Liam: [laughs] I don’t know how it panned out though, it’s really pretty whiny.

Do the track lengths vary more this time around?
Stefan: They are all pretty short still.
Liam: There’s a couple of four minute ones… Or almost four minutes [laughs]. One’s about 3 minutes 50 seconds, but at the end of the day, it’s like 10 songs in 27-28 minutes.


Have you been playing the new album on the recent tours?
Liam: Yeah, we’ve been playing most of the tracks for a fair while. There’s still a couple that we don’t know how to play live because of the arrangements – trying to figure out how to make it a band song.
Stefan: Yeah, how to tune without having four guitars on stage.
Liam: [laughs] Like Wilco.
Stefan: Jet [laughs].

What’s your connection to Baro?
Stefan: We still play in his band – I play bass.
Liam: I’m on guitar.
Stefan: We recorded a couple tracks with him on the EP that he just put out.

Is it nice being able to defer to somebody else?
Liam: Yeah, it’s great [laughs].
Stefan: You just rock up, you’ve got your instrument and that’s it. It’s nice to add another genre to what we can do I guess. I think we’re going to try and make a record with him at some point, but we will see if that happens.

Have you learnt much from that type of experience?
Liam: It’s definitely helped me play the guitar better, expand the range I guess.

Some guy named Alejandro Tafurth made the ‘Warned You’ video on YouTube, did he ask you? It has 660K views
Stefan: Yes! So he sent us a message and said: “I made this video, can I put it up on the internet?” I was like “Sure!” [laughs].
Liam: Me and Joe were talking about that yesterday, people think it’s the actual video. It’s quite funny. The video is very sexual [laughs]. There’s a couple of those, where people go on skiing trips or hiking trips and they’ll make little holiday videos.
Stefan: It’s like those videos you see of like two twelve or thirteen-year-old kids hanging out with their iPhones, filming some shit. It’s just their day, hanging out.
Liam: There’s this one where some kids in America played one of our songs at their high school talent show [laughs]. It’s wild, and actually really beautiful.
Stefan: There was also a band in Japan that used our track in some sort of battle of the bands.


Have you guys gotten any other weird requests in your DMs?
Liam: Not exactly weird, but a lot of people ask for lyrics because we never put our lyrics online. I guess we mumble a lot, so nobody ever knows what we’re saying [laughs]. We just sort of ignore them. I think we used to send them out.
Stefan: There’s a lot of incorrect lyrics out there [laughs].
Liam: The reissue has a poster in it with all the lyrics that we did, it’ll be interesting to see if that actually changes anything.

Have you seen what’s happened to your Spotify? There’s an album in your profile clearly not by you…
Liam: [laughs] Yeah it’s so good.
Stefan: That shit got us a lot of weird messages. People were quite confused.
Liam: There’s some great tweets actually.
Stefan: There’s a really funny one that we got this morning. A girl in South America sent us a message saying “Come play!” Then we got another message this morning and she changed her mind: “My girlfriend and I just listened to your new album, it sucks, don’t come” [laughs].
Liam: [laughs] Here’s another one: “Confused as to what the fuck you just released, did you just record some pre-made beats and just loop them?” — “I am sorry if you spent a lot of effort on the new album, but it sucks” [laughs].

What’s planned after the Europe tour?
Liam: More touring and more writing.

Have you played any festival circuits?
Liam: The only festival we’ve played was Paradise Music Festival. We did a few with Baro over summer which was funny. It’s a whole different world and pretty entertaining. The problem was we just got drunk and tried to meet semi-famous people all the time.
Stefan: Jamie T side of stage [laughs].
Liam: I don’t think we met anyone at Laneway, but we used a bunch of their resources, someone got a free massage.
Stefan: I did get a free massage! Then we just took all the free beers and went to the nearest fish and chip shop.
Liam: Cheers Laneway! [laughs].



A U S | T O U R D A T E S
Thursday 20th July – Melbourne @ The Tote w/ Dianas & Way Dynamic
Saturday 22nd July – Geelong @ The Barwon Club Hotel w/ Great Outdoors, Hachiku, Hollie Joyce & The Tiny Giants Friday 28th July – Adelaide @ The Metro w/ WORKHORSE & Goon Wizarrd
Saturday 29th July – Adelaide @ Holly Rollers w/ AVANT GARDENERS, Fair Maiden, David Blumbergs & The Maraby Band + more Friday 4th August – Coldedale @ Coledale RSL w/ Ciggie Witch, Unity Floors & Solid Effort
Saturday 5th August – Braidwood @ Braidwood Hotel w/ Ciggie Witch Sunday 6th August – Sydney @ Petersham Bowling Club w/ Ciggie Witch
Saturday 12th August – Beechworth @ Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel Friday 25th August – Castlemaine @ Petersham Bowling Club w/ Ciggie Witch
Tuesday 5th – Friday 8th September – Brisbane @ BIGSOUND


E U R O P E | T O U R D A T E S
Friday 15th September – Copenhagen @ Stengade Saturday 16th September – Stockholm @ Landet
Tuesday 19th September – Aarhus @ Tape Thursday 21st September – Berlin @ Internet Explorer
Friday 22nd September – Dresden @ Ostpol Saturday 23rd September – Trier @ Ex-Haus
Wednesday 27th September – Manchester @ Castle’s Thursday 28th September – London @ Shakwell Arms
Friday 29th September – Brighton @ The Joker Saturday 30th September – Paris @ Espace B


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26 Apr Australia’s Sunday Best – Inner Varnika 2017

Words by Sam Chesbrough // Photos by Jasper van Daatselaar

Come April you could easily be fooled into thinking that the Australian festival season had well and truly run its course. The nights are longer, colder and having so many weekends away have taken a heavy toll on your mind, body and bank account. However there’s still respite to be found from the impending Melbourne winter, with Inner Varnika — a three-day festival situated in dusty Bookar. For many, this last hoorah might even be their biggest, with the combination of a small crowd, broad music styles and a single stage lending itself to prime festival vibe.

The first peek of the rolling hills and white tents from the windows of the coach bus up to Bookar was enough to stir a whole lot of excitement. The familiar rocks, thistles and occasional cow skull that are now engraved into the Inner Varnika experience haven’t changed a bit.


And neither have some of the DJs, apparently. IV favourites the Alley Tunes DJs were the first to play, bringing with them some heavy dub tracks. DJ Manchild was back again too, dealing a healthy dose of afrobeat tracks in the afternoon. Set highlights include the stuttering organ of Timmy Thomas’Why Can’t We Live Together’, and uplifting soul of ‘Awake O Zion’ by Twinkie Clarke.

The first international of the festival was Stones Throw staple James Pants. Performing live, Pants bought a weird blend of funky, psychedelic jams. Experimenting with vocal work, the off kilter beats teetered on the edge of that oft-overlooked genre of aqua-crunk/wonky. Testing the water with tracks maybe a little different to what revellers have come to expect from Inner Varnika, Pants no doubt captivated the crowd with a set that was as danceable as it was unique.


As night had well and truly fallen it was time for one of the hardest working producers around Melbourne, Rings Around Saturn aka Dan White aka 2200, to take the stage. The multitude of gun fingers and air drumming for ‘The Hammer (Think Mix)’ proved jungle is still enjoying a strong renaissance. Dan White’s latest release ‘Erosion’ (on Analogue Attic Recordings) also enjoyed a very warm reception.

While the night tipped over into the deeper and darker side of things, In Aeternam Vale was setting up. Playing in a dusty bowl to revellers kitted out in all manner of haphazard clothing, I couldn’t imagine a better scene for IAV’s caustic sounds.

Working tirelessly on a hulking mass of cables in front of him, IAV whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Switching between the more traditional format of 4/4 techno and jarring polyrhythmic sounds, the Frenchman seemed to be enjoying himself as much as those in the crowd. As impressive as it was to see him holding his iPad up to the crowd and happily pointing towards the screen, he could’ve been pointing at Candy Crush for all I know about modular synths.

It’s no easy task following an act like IAV, but Inner Varnika knows how to structure its timetable and selected Moopie to follow. Having played several years ago, Moopie is a veteran to hard hitting techno that draws upon a breadth of influences like breakbeat, electro and acid. Crowd pleaser ‘X’ by Gesloten Cirkel was my swan song before turning in for the night.


Come Saturday morning and a much-needed coffee from the guys at Alley Tunes, it was nice to sit up on the side of the hill and hear Silver Linings exude some lovely funk sounds. It may still be the morning but that wasn’t stopping revellers from pulling out the badminton nets for a quick hit or trailing a silken wedding dress through the mud, a tinnie in hand. The hedonistic nature of the Australian doof coupled with its unique setting is really worthy of admiration.

Who better to compliment this debauchery than Toni Yotzi. As many talented artists as there were for the weekend, Yotzi would no doubt have to be my pick of the locals. Running effortlessly through genres, Yotzi swung from noise to punk to grime, possibly via trap, and many more. Big man tune with ‘Shots’ by Lamont & Grim Sickers as well as the very NSFW track ‘Manikin’ by Dopplereffekt.

Heading into the evening there was a lot of excitement building up for Terre Thaemlitz aka DJ Sprinkles. A lot can be said about her vast body of work and strong political messages embedded in her art. If you are interested in the above I strongly urge you to visit Comatonse Recordings’ website and have a read of the articles and essay transcripts.


While it is impossible to detach the political nuances of Sprinkles set, I’ll try my best to recount the set for the music alone. Put simply it was one of the most cohesive and emotive pieces of music I’ve heard. Deeper than deep sounds coming from the stack of speakers, the crowd almost in a meditative dance for parts of the set. Over the rolling bassline you could hear people talking to one another, in lieu of the familiar vocal loops and samples that charge DJ Sprinkles’ work. As much as a buzzword as this sounds it felt like “conversational” house, an unhurried moment where you could dance or talk.

This was until about halfway through where Sprinkles, hands scurrying across an echo sampler, worked in the charged vocals on Nina Simone’s ‘Sinnerman’. Continuing this dynamic, DJ Sprinkles played what I’m sure would be many people’s festival highlight – Frankie Knuckle’s poignant ‘Whistle Song’.

Given a mammoth four hour slot to close the Saturday night, Peter Van Hoesen played all manner of techno. It would almost be easier to recite the tracks than describe the closing Saturday set. Everything from ‘Alienate 4a’ by Alien Rain, ‘Chrome’ by Roadking, a subtle nod to IV15 with Voices From the Lake‘s ‘258 B’ and the massive ‘XLB’ by Pearson Sound.


Dusting off the cobwebs for the last day of Inner Varnika it was time for Suit Sunday, an event that has taken on a life of its own. Thanks in part to a loophole which affords Inner Varnika tax exemption if a significant portion of attendees are wearing church-appropriate garb — i.e. a shirt and blazer — Suit Sunday is one of the festival highlights. Some beautiful numbers were on display, with Christmas suits, wetsuits and hot pink numbers with matching flamingo sunnies.

Not to make the same mistake as last year, I was up early enough to see Albrecht La’Brooy performing live to a crowd that sat patiently on a tarp in front of the stage. Shifting from gentle ambient sounds with a rich selection of field recordings, the two worked up their improvised set into more of a driving rhythm.

After kicking myself for missing D. Tiffany‘s set on Saturday, I was sure not to miss the second musical offering from Canada for the festival – Jayda G. Considering she made her debut on none other than Frankston’s finest Butter Sessions, I’d like to think Jayda would be vibing Melbourne in particular. Her performance, dance moves, mixing and selection gave us the impression that she was enjoying the show almost more than we were.


Heavy on the faders and bopping to all manner of hip house and disco, Jayda laid down some huge numbers. The strong female vocal presence in her track selection like Norma Jean Bell‘I’m The Baddest Bitch (In The Room)’, Cece Peniston‘He Loves Me 2 (Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley’s 12” Mix) and the hugely addictive hook of ‘Who’s Dick Is This’ by Princess Di brought out the most salacious dance moves, before closing on Aaliyah’s ‘One In A Million’.

The bar was set high for Sex Tags, both by Jayda and their previous two years. Could they deliver for almost six hours? Would Sotofett and Burgerfett be able to match the energy of the Suit Sunday crowd? Would they play ‘Return of the Mack’ again?


To clear up the last question, lest it linger and distract from the rest, the answer is unfortunately no. That’s not to say the set wasn’t full of some feel good housey-garage numbers though, like Terrence Parker’s ‘Your Love’ and Barbara Tucket’s ‘Beautiful People’. The whole set was certainly a journey with an electric hour of rolling acid-type dub, finishing off their set with a bass heavy number. Or was it their last? As the crowd was clearly begging for more, Sotofett asked to play one more track (or was it ten more?), finishing with The Brothers Johnson‘s ‘Stomp!’.

So, yes — that was IV 2017. Dare I say it, the bar was raised slightly higher once again. All the feedback I have for the crew, crowd and artists of Inner Varnika is: keep on doing what you’re doing.

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Sarah Chav' -

16 Apr The Transformation From DJ to Spotify Artist – An Interview with Roland Tings

Words by Marcus Rimondini // Photos by Sarah Chav’

One of the most exciting Australian electronic artists on a continual rise at the moment is Roland Tings. Since his debut LP release back in 2015, he has played festival stages across Australia, headed overseas to play internationally and dropped a new EP Each Moment A Diamond which has received nothing but praise alongside his first release. His music brings to our Australian scene a vibrant array of colour, interesting textures and basically an overall package that is totally unique to us at the moment.

Whilst touring around Australia and New Zealand on his ‘Each Moment A Diamond’ EP – AUS & N.Z Tour’, we caught up with Roland Tings in his old suburb of Fitzroy to chat travel and tours – in particular his inclusion on the St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2017 line-up -, his friend and also rising artist Harvey Sutherland, his inspirations and future, and what we can look forward to from him in terms of his production and vision.


Marcus Rimondini: So in the past year you have spent a lot of time travelling around the US. What were some of the ups and downs of being there?

Roland Tings: Touring there is in its own world – it’s very different to touring in Australia where you fly to most of the gigs. In America it was a 30-day tour with Chrome Sparks, in a van, just driving all day and playing all night. We’d only be sleeping in shitty roadside motels for three or four hours at a time.

Did you find it difficult to perform by the time the 25th gig came around?

It’s easy in some ways, harder in others. You can get into the venue, set up your stuff and do what you have to do – but by like the 27th show in Washington D.C., after we had driven around the entire country, I was just at the end of my tether. Doing 27 supports in a row with a variety of good and bad shows, it was taxing emotionally.
But so many great things did happen on that tour! I even went out with RÜFÜS / RÜFÜS DU SOL as well and did six dates with those guys, really cool time. Touring around I enjoyed the vibes in Seattle, Portland and LA, whilst New York was quite an experience. I stayed there for about a month and a half in between tours with my friends in Greenpoint.

Why did you choose to release just an EP this time around?

It just made sense. From my perspective, my manager’s perspective and the label’s perspective it seemed right to not jump straight into an album. I’ve got so much material, the EP could’ve easily been an album; my last one was eight and ten on the vinyl, so it just felt like the right thing to do. I think for a lot of the time while I was making the EP, I was trying to work out what kind of music I wanted to make.

When I made the first record, I didn’t really know what I was trying to do. I just made a bunch of stuff quite quickly and I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in it. But everyone did seem to like it, which was really cool for me. So with this EP, it was a case of going back to the drawing board and having to think deeply about what I was trying to achieve, what kind of sounds I wanted to use and how to push the sound forward from what it was through to what it is now (which is a bit more refined with better production).


On your new EP ‘Each Moment A Diamond‘, is there a reason why you included ‘Hedonist’ and not ‘Eyes Closed’?

The EP was done quite a long time ago. I got really frustrated with various delays and thought ‘I just need to release something to feel like I still exist’. It’s hard to be a musician and go a whole year without releasing a single piece of music. I had ‘Eyes Closed’ sitting around, made it in winter last year, so we put that one out to stop myself from losing the plot while we waited for the EP to come together [laughs].

I did think it might be a bit confusing to not have ‘Eyes Closed’ on there, especially because the artwork is similar, but the tracks didn’t tie in… You got me [laughs]. I honestly thought about this, and I thought, you’d really have to be paying attention to notice.

How much do you think about the track order of the EP? Or now that we’re in the streaming age is that less of a big deal now?

For me, it’s really important and it’s still something that I care so much about. I want to create a body of work that flows and is a good listen from start to finish – I want people to sit down and ‘LISTEN’ to the record. I mean, I used to listen to DJ mixes almost exclusively and that was the only thing I would listen too. But since I’ve started getting into Spotify, which I had to get for Roland Tings, I really got into it and now I only listen to albums start to finish. It’s funny because the consensus is that in the streaming age fewer people do this, whereas I’ve gone the other way.

When you’re constructing a song is there anything specifically that you start with or does it vary?

It’s never the drums. It’s always something melodic and it’s also usually never a chord progression. Some kind of sequence, some interesting melodic idea, or an interesting combination of things that I’ve chopped up and rearranged. Then from that point, it’s anybody’s guess. [Momentary distraction by every one of cute dog in Edinburgh Park]

When you added a vocalist, did you look specifically for a female voice? How did that come about with Nylo?

I definitely wanted to work with a vocalist but didn’t really have any solid ideas about who that had to be –
I had a think through a bunch of different options. We hit up a whole bunch of different people, and very interesting, talented people had a go, but Nylo was the one who really stuck with me. She did a great job, we got straight into the studio and nailed it in just a few sessions and that was it. It was a fast process.


Who does your artwork? It’s one of the few pieces of music artwork I’ve seen recently that seems to match exactly how the music sounds [to me] – how did you come across them?

The guys who do the artwork, Tim and Ed, they’ve been my friends for ages. Previously when I was a graphic designer they were like my idols. I loved their work so much and they kill it with everything they do. I think we come from a very similar place – we’ve spent years going to the same parties, listening to the same music, going to the same exhibitions. We have the same friends, go on holidays together. Tim, Ed and Roland Tings come from the same world. When it comes time to do a record and the artwork to go with it, we have a meeting and I tell them what the record is about, what I was thinking about when I made it, and they just go and make it happen.

When they come back it’s always spot on, it’s always amazing, and they always nail it. The stuff they send back is always kind of weird, but then you look back in two years and everyone’s started doing that same thing. Their aesthetic is part of the sound. They listen to my music while they work on other stuff. Sometimes I look at their work and I think about what kind of artwork they would make for the song that I’m working on. I feel like they’re almost members of the band.

You mentioned you used to listen to post-rock? That escapism can still be felt in the new EP. Do you still listen to post-rock or have you moved on to a more modern version?

[Laughs]. Yeah, that post-rock stuff is a little dated now… Maybe. I very rarely find myself listening to electronic music these days. I mostly listen to ambient music or rock bands, you know, good old Smith Street Band or like Eddy Current.

Are you keen to explore more usage of guitars on further releases?

There’s guitar on the last record, and I’m definitely keen to explore a bit more of that when I make an album. It’s going to have a lot of guitar. [CORRECT] I really like as a great blueprint for the way that these palettes are done in post-rock, combine well with electronic music like Mount Kimbie. [CORRECT] I think they do an amazing job with those sorts of tones so that’s a huge reference for me.

Where’s the best place to listen to the new EP – the countryside?

I would say just driving through the countryside. I like listening to stuff on planes, looking out the window, and not everybody gets the chance to do that very often. I think moving vehicles, especially in the car are one of the best places to enjoy music. You can have it up as loud as you want, the physicality of the sound coming out, the changing scenery and crazy coincidences with the weather. You can’t be on your phone, so you’re more locked in.

So yeah, I think the car, unless you have a really good setup for listening at home where you don’t have your housemates coming in [laughs]. Or let’s just say ‘kick-ons’, but the more relaxed version where it’s just a few people, all the lights are off and you’re all lying on the floor of your living room with the music up really loud and the sun’s coming up.


How important is it when it comes to translating the songs live?

The live thing has always been a large part of it. I noticed not a lot of people doing that in Australia (playing electronic music live) when I started. I knew there were loads of people in America doing it, and always been reasonably big in Europe, but not many people were doing it here.

One of my favourite Australian groups for the longest time were Seekae. They were so cool and I went to all their shows. So it was those guys and Speed Painters that I know for me and my friend Harvey Sutherland were basically our inspiration.

Who is your live partner in crime?

Bill was the drummer for the Chrome Sparks tour – he’s played for Shlohmo, he’s based and produces in LA, he does loads of different stuff, session and live touring stuff. On the Chrome Sparks tour, I was doing lots of improvisation and Bill has existed not so much in the world of house and techno, but he was like “I love what you’re doing with your modular, we should do something”. So we went out to Joshua Tree after the tour and just jammed it out, it was sick. I was like “Dude, come to Australia and we’ll do this on the St. Jerome’s Laneway tour and make it happen”, so he did. It was a lot of hard work but we put it together and it worked!

Now I work with Julian Sudek who plays in World Champion. He’s used to playing on a live kit and an SPD, as opposed to Bill who was all MIDI-Control, so that again brings a different vibe. However I think this is the one that’s going to stick for awhile – it just really works.

How was the St. Jerome’s Laneway tour?

It was really cool. For a very long time I didn’t really feel like a part of the music industry or anything. I hadn’t felt like I was a part of a Melbourne scene at all, and I’ve never felt part of the higher level Australian music scene of people who do these big festivals and stuff like that. Splendour In The Grass last year, for my first time, I was in the artist area and there were people that I knew there, it was like “Oh hey, I met you at this festival and we had a beer” [laughs].

I feel like the Laneway tour was again was like that – I knew some people on there, I had some mates on the tour. Bill and I were doing a show that we really believed in, and people responded really well. It was wild some of the scenes in Melbourne and Sydney in particular – just hundreds of people going mental and we were basically on the stage doing completely improvised modular techno [laughs]. It felt like something very special to me.

The Laneway crew was sick as well and I had so many cool random encounters. I was talking to somebody about why do people always cry on planes, and he had an amazing and elaborate theory, and we just kept talking. Then he was like “Oh I’m in Glass Animals” and I was like “Oh cool!” because they’re like a really big band and it was cool that the tour had big bands. They were full of the people that I would just hang out with.


What’s some of the gear you use live on stage?

It changes drastically all the time. For example, the current tour has the full drum kit on stage with a snare drum, a tom mic’d up and running into a mixer on the stage where I’m doing delay and reverb effects on the live drums with an SPD also running into my mixer. So essentially I’m manipulating the live kit and sending back out to the front of house. Then I’m doing my usual thing of a synthesiser and effect pedals.

It’s fun to play, as opposed to the Laneway tour, where it was all modular and mostly improvised which made it very hard. It’s way more nerve racking because if you get up and don’t have anything prepared, and there are a thousand people watching you, it can create a lot of stress [laughs]. People are going to hate this if it doesn’t go well, it’s really bad when it goes bad [laughs].

I’ve used a few Roland Tings tracks in DJ sets – do you ever think about the intro and outro and how it translates to mixing like some house artists do?

Absolutely, I think it’s one of the prime things – even though I’m not really making music for DJ’s so much anymore like I used to when I started. Now I know my audience is more like people who are listening on Spotify rather than DJ’ing. It’s always got a DJ friendly intro and outro, there’s always 16 bars of something to get you in and out if you choose to DJ the songs. I don’t know why I keep doing it, it’s just how I like to make music, and when I’m making my songs I like to try and mix into another track and see what works, and what doesn’t work.

The art of the intro is actually really, really hard to get right. I don’t know why it’s so hard but it is. If you listen to some commercial dance stuff it’s literally just 16 bars of the drum bit and then it drops into the song. But getting something that builds up organically from the intro and is interesting I can find very difficult yet fun [laughs].

What’s the plan for the rest of the year?

I’ll be going back to the US in May to go on tour with Com Truise and Clark which will be sick. It’s a big tour going everywhere so that’ll be cool to eat McDonald’s with those guys every day [laughs]. Then I’ll come back and start working on an album, or whatever that looks like, I don’t really know.

Are you excited or nervous?

I’m excited and honestly can’t wait to grow this project because I already feel like I’ve advanced musically so far beyond where I started. I just can’t wait to keep it going. So many sounds I want to explore, and so many people that I want to work with – I’m looking forward to it.


A U S & N Z | T O U R D A T E S
Saturday 15th April – Sydney, Oxford Art Factory
Sunday 16th April – Adelaide, Fat Controller Saturday 22nd April – Brisbane, The Foundry
Friday 28th April – Auckland, REC Saturday 29th April – Wellington, Meow


U S | T O U R D A T E S
Monday 1st May – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room Tuesday 2nd May – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium
Thursday 4th May – Portland, OR @ Holocene Friday 5th May – Vancouver, BC @ Imperial
Saturday 6th May – Seattle, WA @ Neumos Sunday 7th May, Eugene, OR @ Wow Hall
Tuesday 9th May – San Francisco, CA @ Mezzanine Wednesday 10th May – Santa Barbara, CA @ Soho Music Club
Thursday 11th May – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent Theater Friday 12th May – San Diego, CA @ The Belly Up
Saturday 13th May – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf Sunday 14th May – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
Tuesday 16th May – St Louis, MO @ Firebird Wednesday 17th May – Nashville, TN @ Exit
Friday 19th May – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall Saturday 20th May – Boston, MA Together Festival; The Middle East
Sunday 21st May – Hamden, CT @ The Ballroom Tuesday 23rd May – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar
Wednesday 24th May – Philadelphia, PA @ Coda Thursday 25th May – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Friday 26th May – Montreal, AC @ Theatre Fairmount Saturday 27th May – Toronto, ON @ Velvet Underground
Sunday 28th May – Detroit, MI @ The Shelter Tuesday 30th May – Pittsburgh, PA @ Rex Theater
Thursday 1st June – Indianapolis, IN @ The Hi-Fi Friday 2nd June – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop
Saturday 3rd June – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall Sunday 4th June – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Music Cafe
Monday 5th June – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown Tuesday 6th June – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
Wednesday 7th June – Dallas, TX @ Trees Thursday 8th June – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
Friday 9th June – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk Saturday 10th June – Mexico City, MX @ Sala Corona

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30 Mar Australian Music & Artists Abroad – An Interview with Daze

Words by Blake Creighton // Photos by Mathew Jones

Australian music today is not only enjoyed within our borders – it’s internationally recognised and well received. For many Australian artists, this means the opportunity to play and perform in many places across the world is not as far-fetched as once thought (even though standalone tours can be a difficult, strenuous effort). However, once greeted with open arms in such places like Europe and the UK, the idea of moving yourself and your music to a new permanent location is tempting.

In a series of interviews with touring Australian artists who have made (or are thinking about) this move, we’ll be discussing the difference between club cultures, making the decision to leave and how to tour. Our first interview is with Melbourne based, Ballarat-born DJ/producer Daze (Lobster Theremin) who was on tour in London when we sat down and had a chat with him.

Blake Creighton: Being your third time playing in Europe, how does the club culture here differ from Australia’s?

Daze: I try not to make sweeping statements, but in the places that I have played there is perhaps a level of ‘openness’ to new experiences and music that I find is a little ‘weirder’ – they push the boundaries just that little bit further. I think that at times in Australia you need to be more mindful of what you are going to play, and perhaps cater to the crowd a little bit more. I can only speak from my own experiences but when I play over here, I truly feel that I can play whatever I desire, and can follow whatever narrative I want. As a general rule as well, the crowd are happy to follow, so that is a major difference and allows me to play a lot more techno and a lot quicker.

Have you ever thought about making the move to Europe?

Definitely. It’s been on my mind since the first tour, which was largely about seeing what it is like over here. I had only been to Europe as a tourist once, so I was largely uninitiated as to what it would be like. Ever since the first tour, where I played some big shows in some big clubs, it certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities over here as an artist.

I’ve tried to just make a living as a DJ in Australia and it’s notoriously difficult. You might play Sydney once then you can’t play there for another six months. There is also not a whole lot of shows in Melbourne that perhaps suit what I do, so that becomes the major difference. I feel like over here I could probably play a couple of times a week, which would be very comfortable, whereas at home it is more of a slow grind.

I do question whether I would live in London. I feel like Amsterdam is more aligned to how I feel. I come from a fairly small town, and Amsterdam has a small town vibe… Although gentrification has certainly taken over and I have heard it is fairly hard to get an apartment in the city. So that is something that is ever present at the moment, and I’m getting very close to the point where I want to make the move. Perhaps try it out for six months and see how it goes.


How do you think it will improve you as a producer?

I think primarily it would give me more time to explore myself. At the moment I’m still working a full-time job back home, so finding the time around work to be able to make music is where a lot of artists find issues, like me. Whereas if I’m over here, I would try and work a part-time job and dedicate a lot more of my time and effort to being in the studio. I think it would give me the ability to explore many more ideas of what I want to make, and it isn’t strictly club music. It would give me time to let these ideas ferment, which I just don’t have at the moment back home.

How do you think it will improve you as a DJ?

The greatest benefit would come from being able to play more regular shows to crowds that are perhaps a little more open. It would allow me to play through more records, buy more records and hopefully speed up the process in regards to me becoming a more rounded DJ. I still feel that I am in the infancy of what I can do as a DJ. I have only been doing this seriously since 2014 so I feel that I have only seen a snippet of what I am able to do.

How do you think it will improve you as a person?

I have only ever lived in Victoria, Australia, so I have never made a wider move. I think it would be a process of finding out about what I’m capable of and a little bit more about who I am as a person as well. It would be interesting to see who I might become. I want to get over here and do it at some stage soon.


Has touring had any effects on your life in Melbourne as a DJ/Producer?

I don’t think at this point it has changed me as a producer. I’m doing what I want to do in the studio and that’s what I’ve always done. I do however bring back a lot of records from tours, so there is an overflow of music. Although, I do sometimes feel quite constrained in the shows that I play, being unable to present that weirder music – weirder techno, faster techno – but I don’t think it has made a significant change to what I’m doing.

Has touring had any effects on your life as a person?

No, I don’t think it’s changed me as a person. I am who I am, and that won’t change that much. I haven’t had any epiphanies or any grandiose plans like that at this point. Apart from now knowing that I enjoy coming over here and playing shows to crowds that are excited to see me, I tend to get home from a tour and start thinking about the next one – forever hassling my agent, “When’s the next one?!”

To other aspiring artists, what is some advice you would give on how to tour Europe?

Plan your travel well – when you do get here put some thought into it. I feel like particularly for the uninitiated, the travel can be really taxing the first time around. That was the problem I faced on my first tour. I got four weeks in and thought “Fuck, how am I going to do this!” I think the first tour was eleven weeks, it was fairly ballsy and ambitious for the first time. If you do have the luxury of having the input into what you do and how you travel, then I would do that and try to lay out space in between flights, and where possible don’t go from the club straight to the airport.


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27 Mar Huntly ‘Songs In Your Name’ EP Launch, Live at Boney (17/3/17)

Words by James McNiece // Photos by Thom Mitchell

The launch of electronic three-piece Huntly’s new and second EP Songs In Your Name took place in the Boney band room. My first live experience with the band took place at Gaytimes festival, and they instantly struck a chord with me – sounding incredibly fresh particularly within a sea of contemporary artists performing a similar genre.

Self-described as “doof you can cry to”, their sound blends futuristic, jolted beats with chill synths and experimental vocal effects – fit enough for any loungey Sunday afternoon spent at home. But what sets Huntly apart is that everything about their creative output sounds ambitiously inspired and refreshing, while being familiar enough to quickly get behind.


Usually only attending the venue for club nights, I had little indication of what to expect with a gig. Featuring supports from house music group SHOUSE and local DJ legend Brooke Powers, Boney’s classic musical offerings were kept in check, helping build huge momentum leading up to the headline set. Despite a false start due to technical difficulties and an epic cactus plant tumble (which was humbly resting on vocalist Elspeth Scrine’s keyboard for company), spirits were still high (and if not, more exciting).

The slight delay was handled like a pro, with Elspeth performing a short acapella from her hypothetical Joni Mitchell cover band. This was followed by the initiation of a calming chant with the audience “You are going to be okay”. It’s moments like these where I’m reminded of how entertaining gigs can be, particularly when the crowd is just as engaged with one another as the artist. Once the set got going, it felt as though the initial delay provided more momentum, so when the intro track kicked off it came in with a bang; A pounding rhythm and pitched vocals looping “I’m sleeping in the middle of the bed, I’m taking up the bed” followed by their hit song ‘We Made It‘.


Huntly’s sound blends modern electronic aesthetics with personal-heavy lyrics, and while being emotively engaging, is also just so damn fun to get immersed in. Whether you want to tap out and just dance, or become engaged with personal stories and expression from each vocalist’s own experiences, Huntly can provide either with equal amounts of enjoyment.

Set highlights included new song ‘Tempelhof‘ – a piano-fuelled, soulful-dance ballad that explodes into a breakbeat finale, and a song that makes for the perfect introduction to the world of Huntly if you haven’t already explored it. Their set closer ‘Please‘, also a new song, was a bouncy-hopping-duet track that finished with an outro of fast spoken interchangeable vocals from both Charlie Teitelbaum and Elspeth.


Walking away from the gig, I felt grateful to be in Huntly’s presence. It is always great to see an artist enjoying their craft as much as appreciating the support, and this was particularly shown during this set with the utmost sincerity. Watching Elspeth being brought to tears by the sheer support of fans and the band’s passion for music was a heartwarming experience. Alongside their incredible set, the announcement of a potential album being around the corner was made. Before it drops, I urge you to get prepared and listen to what has become one of Melbourne’s most promising up and coming acts.

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27 Mar Pitch Music & Arts Festival Makes Its Mark

Words by Matt Bladin // Photos by Bodhi Bailey

Any new festival entering the Australian market is faced with an identity crisis. How do you stand apart from the already saturated landscape of electronic music events and offer something unique and memorable to punters?

With no previous years to relate to, no word of mouth to rely on, Pitch Music & Arts Festival was faced with the massive task of drawing in an audience at the end of a long summer, on an already crowded weekend with nothing more than press.

Though the festival was to be hosted by two experienced local crews, Novel and Beyond The Valley, and was to be held in the idealistic Grampians National Park, it was the line up that instantly put Pitch Festival on the map.


Hailed by many as the most exciting and enterprising dance lineup in recent memory, it seemed to instantly fill a space that many had felt was vacant in the Australian festival calendar. Clearly drawing inspiration from European festivals like Melt! And Dekmantel, it offered a range of producers and live acts at such a scale previously unseen in Victoria. Pitch Festival had identified its niche and set out to own its space.

As the festival kicked off on Friday, streams of punters made the journey to the Grampians National Park to discover what the first ever Pitch Music & Arts Festival had in store. The drive from Melbourne was long but only helped to build the anticipation and excitement many felt to get started on what was certainly set to be a big weekend of music appreciation.

With music starting at 1pm, those who could take the day off were treated any one of three stages throughout the afternoon as the crowds slowly rolled in. Sensible ticket numbers and the fact that many had to complete their 9 to 5 responsibilities meant that there was little congestion getting into the beautiful camping grounds. By the time Detroit Swindle took to the Béton Brut stage at 10:30pm, a large, energetic crowd had well a truly established itself. The Amsterdam-based duo displayed why they’ve caught the ears of renowned labels like Freerange and Tsuba with two and half hours of smooth, classy house tunes. Moments of disco and funk (like Glenn Underground’s ‘Contact’) were mixed in with a body of more traditional house like Blue Boy’s classic ‘So Lonely’. Detroit Swindle’s tempo and energy gave a nice juxtaposition to the harder, more techno-driven sets throughout the weekend, while still setting an impressive pace at the main stage.


In many ways, Saturday the 11th was Pitch’s formative moment. For any new festival, the first full day of music is the first chance the audience and music community at large gets to see how things will run, sound and feel. These first impressions are key because they set the tone and mood of the next three days which more importantly dictates the narrative people share through word of mouth when they get home.

The massive line up across all stages meant that the soundtrack to the day had something to please everyone. The Vanish Point stage featured an impressive back to back roster of live acts until the late evening including Chrome Sparks, Friendships and Juan Du Sol. Highlights included the afternoon set from Kllo who drew a reasonably sized crowd to sway along to their mellow, garage fuel beats. Despite the limitations of a day time set, the light and smoke display paired with impressive sound mixing gave the two piece a commanding stage presence as they reeled through a set list of new material and reworked favourites. No Zu brought their signature blend of racketing percussion and frantic vocal arrangements. The high energy set featured multiple vocalists and an array of live instrumentation being swapped effortlessly between the eight or so band members.


Francesca Lombardo on the Béton Brut stage well and truly brought in the afternoon as the crowd continued to grow in size. She covered a range of bases from the more tech-heavy sounds like ‘Good Lucky’ by Los Pastores, through to her own vocal tracks and even moments of ghetto-tech. As the clouds of dust rose in front of the impressive faux-concrete stage construction, the audience moved along to tracks like Tiga’s ‘Let’s Go Dancing’ and her recent original ‘Django’ before finishing on an unexpected but welcome remix of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’. The crowds and the dust persisted as Berlin local Dave Dinger took the stage, continuing the momentum with a deft selection of deep-house.

One of the most talked about highlights of the festival would certainly have to have come in the late hours of the opening nights. Gerd Janson has the unique ability to mix a set of vintage house and dance numbers with contemporary sounds and make the whole thing sound bespoke and entirely natural to a festival headline set time. It takes a certain prowess to throw down tracks like New Order‘s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’, Oxia‘s ‘Domino’ and Ashley Beedle’s remix of The Streets‘Weak Become Heroes’ to an audience of largely techno fans and not only fully engage them, but have them talk about it for days to come. Perhaps this set could be best summed up in the tracks UNIT 2Sunshine’ (KiNK Remix) or Chilly – ‘For your love’ (Todd Terje re-edit). Both songs from 1991 and 1978 respectively, yet reworked and made contemporary by producers today to great effect.

Finally Fatima Yamaha closed with a live set. As a producer, his songs have developed a distinct sound in both their instrumentation and chord structures. When played live across an impressive array of synths and percussion pads these patterns became even more prevalent. But rather than becoming monotonous it made for an hour of music that blended seamlessly from track to track, so that whole set felt like one long soundscape. Highlights included the vocally driven ‘Love Invaders’ and of course, the slow-burning anthem ‘What’s a Girl To Do‘, complete with synth freestyles throughout the driving chords. Fatima ended with his latest release ‘Araya’ via Dekmantel. Though it’s only been out for just over a month the reaction was massive enough to send the message that Pitch’s audience had been anticipating it.


Those with the strength to rise early enough and get down to the Béton Brut stage on Sunday morning were witness to another much talked about performance; Henrik Schwarz. His finely tuned live set has been refined over two decades of performing. Though he made his mark in the Berlin techno scene in the late 90’s, these contemporary live sets have become renowned for bringing his (often) orchestral and world-music inspired productions to life. As the day heated up, crowds once again formed under the dusty shades to the blend of tribal vocal cuts from Ebo Taylor & Pat Thomas‘s ‘Ene Nyame ‘A’ Mensuro‘ and Emmanuel Jal‘s ‘Kuar (Henrik Schwarz Remix)’, along with the more synth-based tracks like his own recent release ‘Not Also You’.

Âme, one of the biggest names in the tech-house scene of the last few years, is no stranger to Australia – having played at last years’ Strawberry Fields, Let Them Eat Cake 2017 and a whole slew of sideshows around the country in between. But despite their potential over-saturation locally, they continue to deliver and draw large crowds. They also have the great ability to make the most of a longer set time (in this case three hours), and build a well-crafted listening experience that builds, falls and crescendos at the end. This was the case on Sunday as their blend of dotted techno rhythms rolled on seamlessly, featuring much of their own work and highlights like Benjamin Fröhlich‘s ‘Holloway (Shan Remix)’ coming together to create a larger, blended soundtrack.


Dixon, one of the biggest draw cards of the festival, is a producer at the top of his game. Having taken out the Resident Advisor #1 DJ spot three years in a row his mixes, productions and performances have become some of the hottest tickets in recent times. With this in mind, it was easy to understand why such a massive crowd had gathered with a palpable air of anticipation for his evening set. The next three hours featured a methodical and diverse selection of music that bounced between genres and continued to pleasantly surprise. Glitchy, deep house moments like Undercatt‘s ‘Futura’ and ‘Experiment H‘ by Eagle and Butterflies was balanced against slower, more soulful sounds like Khan feat. Julee Cruise’s ‘Say Goodbye (Losoul Shes Homeless Mix)’. Tempo changes were plentiful yet effortless, and just when it felt like the set had begun to fall into a rhythm Dixon would u-turn into something tribal like ‘Canima feat. Adama (Ifaaaye Remix)‘ by Zepherin Saint.

The Electrum stage was the scene of an ongoing, more intimate party all weekend. The stage itself had an imposing industrial design, enhanced by the two massive adorning LED screens above and below the DJ alcove. But despite the impressive visual profile it cut against the national park bushland, the atmosphere was always inviting and energetic. With such a personal proximity to the DJ, this stage provided many memorable moments such as Omar S ‘ sunset performance, filled with plenty of jazz laden house, or Jobe Josse finishing a set, already filled with obscure moments, with the Soulwax remix of Tame Impala‘s ‘Let It Happen’ this lead into another festival highlight, Dj Tennis maintained the high level of energy till the early closing hours with a dance party, filled with uplifting movements


The challenges faced by a first-year festival are insurmountable. Logistically the list is endless, but on a more fundamental level, the need to impact and form a positive connection with the patrons is paramount to the continued success of the event. While one of the most impressive lineups Australia has seen in recent years certainly draws a crowd and delivers a large part of this experience is the more intangible elements that truly make a festival a lasting memory. Things like stage design, sound, layout, facilities and minor additions like the art facilities (The Spiral and Yoga Bass) all culminated in an environment that felt wholly unique, special and mature far beyond the festival’s years.

In an already saturated scene, let alone Labour Day weekend, some may argue that there wasn’t space in the market for a new four-night festival. Off the back of a successful opening year, however, those doubts have now been cast aside as Pitch Music & Arts Festival cements itself at the forefront of dance music gatherings in Australia.


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Sarah Chav' -

23 Mar The Embrace of Nihilism – An Interview with Darcy Baylis

Words by Marcus Rimondini // Photos by Sarah Chav’

Despite only being in his early 20s, Darcy Baylis has been around the Melbourne scene for half a decade with several impressive releases. His undefined ambition, unique combination of skills and ability to execute his work so well, has caught the praise of critics and fellow musicians alike. Rather than looking to fit in, Darcy chooses his own subconscious path, involving genres spawning from every decade since the ’70s. Wanting to further pursue this approach in more interesting and different depths, makes his work some of the most memorable of our plethora of local artists we have today.

We sat down at Dr. Morse and talked with Darcy about recording Intimacy & Isolation (out via DOWNTIME) while travelling last year, the importance of vocals in his music and looking to work with local rappers and improve Australian rap music.


Marcus Rimondini: I’ll start with – how was the Golden Plains experience last year? Is that the biggest crowd you’ve performed to?

Darcy Baylis: It was like the greatest night of my life. Categorically, objectively – it stands out as the best hour. I have no other way to describe it. I don’t even know if I was expecting it to be that good. I guess because I had never played anything remotely on that level I knew I had to step it up. Funnily enough as well, it was the only gig where I wasn’t nervous. My manager said to me “Do you want to have a look at the crowd to get ready?” So I did, and even though it was a lot of people, I just felt so prepared and like nothing could go wrong.

You the spent last year travelling and recording this album – what gear did you take on you on your trip to record? Did you borrow gear? What do you wish you took with you?

Just my laptop and microphone. [Laughs] I’m not a big gear person, synthesisers are cool I guess, but it’s just not my thing. I think even if I had money to access things, I probably still wouldn’t buy much gear. I primarily work within my laptop – I consider that to be my main instrument. I didn’t borrow any gear. I just took my laptop and some clothes and I was good, didn’t really need anything else.

Did you try to collaborate with anyone for the album? Anyone you’d love to work with?

I think it’s very important that I’m transparent about the collaborations that were involved on the album. For instance, on the first track there’s a reading of a poem by my friend Polly titled ‘All I Is’. I think that poem is integral to a lot of the words in the album, she also co-wrote some lyrics for ‘Emergency’.

I came back to Australia with a large portion of the album half done, and I went to the studio with my closest friend and collaborator Joseph Buchan. I asked “What do you think?” and he’s someone who won’t appease me for the sake of it. For instance, I’ll play music to other people and they’ll say “This is great!” but with Joe it’s more constructive – “I think you can do better”.

As far as collaborative work, those two people were integral in encouraging me to get better, step back and think about why I’m doing what I’m doing, how the best way to do it is, and how I can actually make it stand out. As opposed to making it as good as something I’ve done before.


There’s a ‘90s sound that sticks out, artists like The KLF. Was there a particular era or sound that influenced the album or is that just naturally what comes out when you produce at the moment?

It’s just kind of everything, which seems like a cop out to say that. I think because a lot of this album was written with a deadline, because I needed new material for Golden Plains, I figured out the only way to make good music quickly is to not think about style, I pretty much gave up on the idea of making a house song, or an electronic record, or whatever. It’s literally all the things I like, democratised in a way, and all given their equal share of play. There’s definitely things like Orbital, Aphex Twin, but there’s also contemporary rap, like Future and Drake. Even some of favourite albums of all time like Björk’s Vespertine.

So it’s more of a natural stream of thought?

I think so. It’s very important to me in my practice, the democratising of style, and making sure that things that are traditionally considered highbrow are lowbrow, or are presented as equally important. Rather than here’s a techno record with an ironic flourish of pop, I don’t do anything ironically. I’m at a point where it’s really hard for me to find music that I dislike.

You mentioned how you hope this album appeals to teens – is that because you feel that’s difficult to do or just because you want them to access more interesting music?

Yeah totally. Teenagers are the future. The way that they approach social media and interact with each other, they’re figuratively and literally the future. I think they have the most innovating taste out there and I think that’s really interesting. I think it’s also really important to discover music that you love as a teeenager. I feel everyone’s obsession with music begins at that point.


If you had to associate yourself with any other similar artists in Australia, who comes to mind. Friendships to me would be the closest artist. Are you familiar with their work? What do you think is the main difference between your works? Or do you feel there’s nobody exploring the same territory?

I try not to compare myself to other people as a general rule of thumb because I used to spend so much time doing that. It drove me insane, falling into this weird insecurity, aspiration anxiety. I have a lot of respect for Friendships, I think they’re great, incredible musicians and artists. They sound a little bit like me, but not heaps. I’ve been trying to actively consume more Australian music, but I don’t try to think about what I do compared to other people. I think there’s an importance between influence and reference, there’s things that my music literally sounds like, but there’s actual reference points. I just consume music and see what happens.

There’s a lot of effects on your vocals throughout this album and your previous EP – do you feel the vocal manipulation separates you a little from the other local electronic producers?

That’s a really nice thing to point out! I appreciate that, nobody’s actually mentioned that. I think that was an essential part of the record. In contemporary rap and pop music, the timbre of the voice has kind of become the main instrument. Auto-tune itself has become a very malleable instrument, vocal processing has become an instrument, and it’s also become essential to innovative or standout or create interesting music. The human voice is this transformative, transcendent thing. I think if you spend three hours working on a synth sound and then just sing over it, seems kind of pointless, I think everything should be given equal treatment.

Do you find it easier to use your voice than a sampled voice?

Yeah I find it way easier, the big difference making this album was I had a good microphone for the first time in my life. I could get the ideas out quickly and make the music. A lot of the lyrics, I don’t tend to write them down, they’re just phrases in my head at some stage.


What’s the meaning behind the line “Force won’t kill me”?

That’s an example of a sentence that just appeared in my head, fully formed in that rhythmic melody. If anything it’s an embrace of nihilism – that point where you stopped being so concerned about not being afraid to die, but you also very much celebrate life as well. I feel those two things are very close. That point in the middle, where it doesn’t make sense that you’re here, but you’re going to do your best to figure it out. Which is a grand statement to explore.

Did you performed the guitar solo in ‘Emergency’?
Yeah. Guitar was my first instrument, I started when I was 11 years old, my sister played me ‘The Taste Of Ink’ by The Used. The next day I was like, I need to learn how to play this song. I started off playing punk music, then jazz and classical. After this I discovered electronic music, so the guitar has always been around, and something that’s existed parallel to my own electronic music. I think for the next show I play, I’d like to shred a bit more, to show that it’s something that I can do and because it’s fun.


Now you’re going back to university – how big of a commitment is it? Does it keep you free to make music and tour?

It’s bigger than I thought – on my first day back I was thinking “… I might be in a bit too deep here”, juggling study, touring this album, trying to write a 45 minute composition with an accompanied thesis, text people back and still get eight hours sleep a night. [Laughs] it’s going to be pretty tough but I think I’m very much capable of it. I don’t want any of it to slow down as a result of it. I’ll just be looking stressed out for the rest of the year, but I’m prepared for that. I think the greatest resource I have at university is the ability to bounce ideas off peers. Collaboration is so integral for any good arts, that’s why I can’t stop going back, because I want to see what all my friends are up too. I’m such a nerd about it, I want to be there all the time.

You mentioned a song called ‘Cucks’ that you’ll play live – what is it about and why does it not feature on the album?

It was made just after the album and is about me being traditionally not a very masculine person and my friends not really associating with either side of the gender binary. So being perhaps a male presented person, who embraces the ‘cuck-hold’, I guess. It’s part joke, part very, VERY serious. The song itself is like a really cheesey ‘70s new-wave, synth-pop. It almost sounds like primitive Kraftwerk before they got cool. There are other songs I’ve been writing since the album that contain more guitar, and you could definitely describe them as tech-grunge [laughs]. I’m just trying to get weirder, in terms of lyrical content and what it sounds like. I think I’m done with being suicidal and sad but with a tech beat – it was fun, but I’m ready to do something vastly different.

You’ve also mentioned producing for rappers. Any rappers in mind, local or international?

I’ve been in talks with a few in Australia. I don’t like to talk about things until they’re confirmed, because if they don’t happen it’s devastating. It’s something I used to do with weird American internet rappers a while ago. I figured I was mostly listening to rap music, and rather than being like “Australian music sucks”, why not try to make it good? Reach out to people you do admire, see if they want to work with you and try make something good out of it. People underestimate the importance of the beats, it’s weird. I feel like you don’t really realise it until you hear a great beat but with a really lackluster rapper over the top – it’s integral. Even though production is 50% or more of a song, the rapper is everything, that’s just how that form of music works.


I remember actually catching your set as ‘Namine’ at Strawberry Fields 2013. I was quite impressed, is there any advice you’d give to your 17 year old self?

Wow, yeah just wait a bit longer. If I could go back, I probably wouldn’t put anything out until this album. But then it’s stupid to think that you put out something that I think is this good as your first record, you have to put out a few average ones first.


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