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’
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.
It feels contrived to label music, sometimes. After discovering the range of musical influences inspiring ESESE (Eastern Seaboard Electric Soul Ensemble) to create their unique sound, I felt inspired and refreshed. Chatting to the humble musicians Matt and Henok left me feeling their glow. It was such pleasure sitting down with the two and discussing their musical odysseys, creative processes and what inspires them.
ESESE have created their own sound. So it was no surprise to discover the vast array of music with which they have been surrounded throughout their lives. Having dissimilar upbringings with music, the pair use their diverse and wide palette of music taste to bring new flavours and create their own unique fusion of sounds and genres.
Matt went from Michael Jackson to early 2000s, metal to British psychedelia and swing – which he recognises is from where his love for brass stems. Henok’s music timeline started with his family introducing him to albums like Encoreby Eminem and Public Enemy.
When Henok started skating in grade five he naturally got into punk: “Cheesy punk like Avril Lavigne, Green Day and Blink 182. But I liked Sex Pistols as well. But then I got into house – terrible house. Then just back to hip-hop. I found internet rap. Wiz khalifa’s mixtape made me start looking for music online instead of the radio and that just changed everything. I like jazz too but to be honest as of late I haven’t been listening to music at all, I’ve just been listening to podcasts. I have little pockets — the last great records I listened to were J.I.D’s Never Story and Saba‘s Bucket List.”
Music hunting can be overwhelming with so much content out there. Matt always goes back to Dorothy Ashby as a source of inspiration.
Matt: “She is a 1960s harpist who delved into jazz and afro-beat territories. There’s this one record called Afro-harping and I keep going back to it. The other sort of beat stuff I’ve been listening to is South African house; afro-house in general, there’s a lot of auxiliary percussion – it’s cool to DJ.”
ESESE have just released two new singles, “Slow Down” and “Home“. The pair have been sitting on the original structures for about a year and a half until they collaboratively approached them as songs.
Matt: “The original structures of the song started with me jamming on a Saturday night as an alternative to going out and getting wasted. It was our Saturday night protest to going out and it turned into being, you know, lively, which was pretty fun.”
“Slow Down” went from horns and instrumental structures to a funky up-beat jam about not taking requests as a DJ – something each member, among most DJs, have to deal with on at least a weekly basis. With their long time collaborator and “long time jammer” (as Henok fondly describes) Cazeaux O.S.L.O bringing his unreserved verse to the track effortlessly.
Matt: “Having him involved was a blessing, really. He comes with so much knowledge. A lot of us have to DJ to make money and there is that element of getting accosted by a bunch of drunk people on Friday or Saturday nights. Whether it’s a grand final or hens night, they can be quite rude and demanding. He (O.S.L.O) actually put this thing up on Facebook saying this [track] is about the ‘what’s this?’ philosophy as opposed to the ‘play this.’ He put it eloquently.”
Certainly a philosophy Matt and Henok share, as the pair became friends through DJing. When asked about the conception of ESESE, it was refreshing to see their anecdotes jog each other’s memories further. As they reminisced, Henok realised that the birth of ESESE was in the very building in which we were chatting (The Toff).
Henok: “So my housemate at the time, he DJed at a club called Home-house, which was a super-club in Geelong. I finished DJing in the city and we picked up my housemate and we just thought ‘let’s see if matt wants to come’ – this is about within a month of knowing him. I’d been DJing with him every week. I was like ‘it’s just an hour drive!'”
Even though it was 1am, the hour drive lead them to discover each other’s musical interests and talents. Matt, later into the night/morning, discovered that Henok made music and Henok introduced Matt to new sub-genres of hip-hop of which he had never heard. Playing Chance the Rapper‘s Acid Rap to Matt in the car was perhaps the catalyst to ESESE – the soulful, big band fusion of genres greatly inspiring them.
Henok: “And then that coming Monday we started meeting at his house every few days and making music. We made three demos over the next few months.”
This took place in 2013, but they look back on this night as though it happened a generation ago — which makes sense considering how much ESESE has grown since then. Each memory they shared continued to unlock further memories, anecdotes and nostalgic laughs that spoke the depth of their friendship.
Individually, Henok has been making music for around six years and Matt, eighteen years. While Henok has always been making hip-hop, when Matt first started he was making — as Henok jokingly describes — “long hair music.”
Matt: “I started with garage-punk, sort of, then got into pop-punk… which naturally went to screamo and hardcore, then to really heavy shit. I started changing up style when I was about eighteen and got into blues and soul. I joined a few bands when I moved to Melbourne. I used to play at this place called The Underground (in Adelaide). There wasn’t much dancing — it was more about spinning the guitar around your neck than anything else.”
I ask them to describe their genre as though they were explaining ESESE to someone who exclusively listens to “long hair music,” to quote Henok. They go through a vast array of descriptions such as “retro futuristo.”Matt paraphrases one of his loved records from the nineties and Henok lists a range of genres, concluding with “hip-hop jazz soul brass.” They finally lock in “big band hip-hop”as their genre. The eclectic sound has evolved from a friendship to a growing project which sometimes involves the whole twelve piece band.
Henok: “It started as us two and then more joined to fill the gaps in the music. We haven’t fully written altogether in one room yet. We jam and make many songs that we’ve never recorded, so that’s next – fully writing with everybody.”
ESESE will celebrate their release with the full twelve piece band next weekend, November 11 at the Evelyn. Despite the logistical difficulty in bringing the full band together, they’re excited for what’s in store. With a year of weekly jamming practice at the ‘Now Here This’ night at The Toff, we can expect plenty of live improvisation, some crowd interaction and maybe some acts like Baro getting on the mic.
Henok: “We’ve got a trumpet, trombone, two sax players, keys, bass, guitar, drums and vocalists.”
The future for ESESE is full of colour and passion. The raw love for music and genuine energies of both Matt and Henok left me in good spirits. I am so excited for their future. ESESE are currently working on an upcoming album as well as a number of other separate projects. Henok is working on his own production and making beats for a rapper named Piatao. Matt is also working with another artist named Nynno.
In my opinion, ESESE is a realm of sound. While the E on the end of their name stands for ‘Ensemble’ on paper, the E is also open to evolution.
Matt: “Future is anything really. Bring on the Empire. Explosion. Enything.”
Catch ESESE playing with thando, Agung Mango and Lori(DJ set) at the Evelyn on November 11th to celebrate the launch of their latest releases. Grab your tickets here.
I was working with a sound technician the other day, who had seen Habits by accident at their show with Friendships in July at The Night Cat. He couldn’t stop raving about how immersive the show was, and even wanted to relive it via the footage we shot. It was all a reminder for me that Habits are amazingly still relatively unknown, even in Melbourne, among sound technicians, despite blowing minds every time they perform live.
Speaking of performing live, their single launch for ‘Shame/Desire‘ is on the 28th of September at The Curtin with Huntly and Sexistential Waterfall. ‘Shame/Desire’ was our track of the week last month, but don’t just take our word for it – listen and enjoy above. And below you can listen to Habits’ six ‘ultimate dev breakup songs’.
The Irrepressibles – ‘In This Shirt’
“This fucken song. Those strings when they climax is a goddamn punch in the heart. We stumbled across this when we were queer babies and the Anohni-esque vocals and tender orchestral arrangement have haunted us ever since. Simply describing wearing a shirt left behind by a lost love is such an effective vessel for exploring the deeper complexities of those feelings.”
Nils Bech – ‘A Sudden Sickness’
“This one captures the feeling of jealousy, insecurity and/or remorse of being the one who chose to end the relationship. The sudden hot, tingly uncomfortable feeling of being devastated. ‘I drink to get numb/to shut you out’ — literally name a more relatable lyric. To start a new beginning independently post break. We’ve been completely obsessed with this album, and finding a visibly queer Norwegian performance artist-cum-singer, since his album ‘Echo’ came out in late 2016 which is full of the different stages of breakups.”
Kwabs – ‘Perfect Ruin’
“‘Who said we had it all, ur hearts no longer lie’.
It’s a break up song in the wake of a relationship that was supposed to end. Kwabs captures that feeling where you know you’re wrong for each other but you still can’t help feeling sad about the situation and curious about how it could have gone.”
Rowland S Howard – ‘Shut Me Down’
“One of my (Mo’s) fave Rowland tracks, it had me from the first sad strum of the guitar and the repetitive pining ‘I miss you so much’. It has the defeated loneliness that you feel in the middle of the night, the song equivalent of that hurt in your heart and stomach. One of my favourite homegrown songwriters ever.”
Adam Tensta ft. Sibille Attar – ‘Let Me’
“This one forces you into reality. This track is about when you’re too raw to be rational. Maybe one day we’ll be friends but for now, don’t tell me about your new man and I won’t talk about myself either. That bassline itself is a ‘goodbye’ bassline.”
Jennifer Hudson / Dreamgirls – ‘Let Me’
“The ultimate. The everything. A desperate and hopeless plea for a lover to stay. An iconic drag queen number. Our favourite karaoke song. In this version Jennifer Hudson is a goddess and this performance gives us chills even after countless listens (and watches). Some people think musicals are bullshit and that’s their problem because this song is a healing and electric emotional tidal wave.”
Dekmantel brings together an impeccable lineup, incredible organisation, lush settings, solid sound systems and such a welcoming atmosphere that it is truly a festival that accommodates for a very special time. It also provides a platform for their affiliated and booked artists to test themselves as performers, musicians, DJs, producers and the like. It is a festival that is truly a haven for disco, house, techno, electro, acid breakbeat lovers.
With a significant portion of the world’s top and upcoming DJs, producers and artist all in the one vicinity, the standard of music across the three days was unbelievable. Set after set, the stages were heaving with crowds. Even between sets, the artists themselves could be seen enjoying each other’s craft – dancing and joining in as their peers performed for the crowds.
It was truly a three-day-extravaganza, with so much to be said about every aspect that brought together the pure enjoyment experience. As I spent my time there, I decided to note down my top tracks and sets so I could share them with everyone back home. This is my way of bringing everyone closer to the experience I had, to be right in the thick of it.
Calmly taking over from Nina Kraviz, Phoung-Dan dipped into an intrinsic variety of slow jams that entwined into acidic breaks, wonky basslines and humbling movements of abstract sounds. His bubbly stage presence and calm approach on the decks allowed for him to dip and dive through a range of atmospheres that would test and be well received by the many who joined in on his sublime selections.
Having seen Rodhad a couple of times before, I had a feeling that this set was to be one of a kind. The essence of his flow came down to his unique reading of the crowd, feeling their psychedelic energy and perusing abstract sounds. The arrangements slowly built to unremarkable drops that flowed from the speakers in odd yet welcoming time signatures.
Just before handing over the speakers to Juju Jordash, Joey Anderson slowly mixed in classic track Trans Europe Express‘ from Kraftwerk, which fit incredibly well with Juju Jordash’s sound, serving to both signal to and toy around with the pair before they begun curating their incredible live set.
On three separate occasions, Inga Mauer entranced me through diverse selections and mixing. Piecing together a broad range of trippy tracks at the Red Light Radio stage early in the afternoon on Saturday to a slowly gathering crowd, the intimate setting and energy from Mauer created a fulfilling hour that set her up beautifully for her set at The Selectors.
Mauer’s Selectors set, of which I only caught thirty minutes due to clashes, moved through acid and bass-heavy techno, and was rounded off with a fun stage presence as she kissed ice cubes and threw them to the crowd.
The third and final time that I caught Mauer was at Radion on Monday morning. Walking into the main room as she blasted a post-punk/metal track that was slowly blended into heaving techno, her efforts fell on deaf ears as the babbling crowd were still heavily intoxicated from the day. Despite the lack of attention, Mauer lay down a range of melodic, acidic, entrancing yet heavy tracks till it was Objekt‘stime to take a hold of the decks.
Donato Dozzy & Peter Van Hoesen (hybrid)
Five hours and two geniuses of the minimal/techno/acid scene, who on a number of special occasions have been paired together to enlighten everyone; this time it was in compounds of Dekmantel’s UFO tent. Working together on an almost telepathic level, Van Housen and Dozzy moved through heaving rhythms, structured to slowly build and drop into bending synth, captivating acid, and booming bass lines as rolling percussion swiftly manoeuvred the dance floor.
I partook in the journey for four and half hours of the five and came out of the tent completely mesmerised by what I had witnessed. An unforgettable set that I wish every Dozzy/Van Housen fan gets to experience at least once in their lifetime.
As I was sitting, collecting myself after being blown away by Peter Van Housen and Donato Dozzy’s set, a strong gust of wind brought across a short but intense downpour across the festival site. As many scattered under cover and to the bar to collect their free poncho, I proceeded to be mystified by Jon Hopkins at the back of the Main Stage in the rain as he dropped Daniel Avery‘s ‘Drone Logic‘. Hopkins entranced all that took cover, as a number of people around the edges of the covered area embraced harsh downpour.
It was as if the woodland settings of The Selectors stage was Vladimir’s home, with the festival just so happening to be on his doorstep, as he quietly wandered from his cabin out back to close out Saturday evening. Playing warm natural soundscapes with groovy soulful melodies and baselines, Vladamir slowly built his set from natural instrumentals into reformed electronics that held varied structures and crossed genres; consistently creating a bubbly and heartfelt atmosphere within each mix.
After catching the beginning of Illum Sphere’s set, I came back into the Greenhouse to the sounds of this masterpiece that stunningly drifted and built into the next track, creating a sense of suspense as the crowd waited for the anticipated drop.
The UFO tent hosted throughout the weekend some of the world’s top techno affiliated artists, and Karenn (Blawan and Periah) for an hour took a hold of everyone’s mind, body and soul. Searching deep into some of the more obscure and hard-hitting sounds, implementing them through energetic structures, they unleashed an intelligent, vibrant and yet savage live set.
Playing a 4-5:30 pm slot, Willikens brought animated and bombastic sounds to the bustling and lush settings as the sun shined through the windowed walls of The Greenhouse. Bursting with energy and a clear vision of what she wanted to explore, Willikens instantly fixed everyone’s hangovers and depleted energy reserves from the day/night before, restoring each and every soul through charismatic and genre bending electronics.
Orpheu The Wizard
At the end of any festival, everyone scampers to find the perfect finale and as I got a little underwhelmed by the crowds reaction to Objekt & Call Super‘s eclectic set, I set off to find a vibing closing set which so happened to be at the smallest stage of Dekmantel, The Red Light Radio stage.
Playing psychedelic and charismatic house tunes to what would have been 100+ people, Orpheu’s selection built for a grand finale and within each mix had everyone busting out their last moves of the weekend in style.
A last special moment was at Radion in the early hours of the morning. After the crowd had dispersed and the loyal music lovers were the only ones left, Objekt dropped a tribal percussion-based gem, Lena Willikens‘ remix, and this brought a heaving atmosphere back into the room.
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 Genius.com 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].
This is both mine and Ripe‘s third time attending Amsterdam’s Dekmantel, so we have some idea of what to expect at this years’ gathering. With so many world class artists coming together for the 10th year of the festival, we thought we’d introduce you to a few of the more obscure acts we’re excited to see push sonic boundaries from the 2nd to the 6th of August.
Drifting between euphoric synth, driving bass and relentless percussion Bristol-based Aleksi Perälä curates his live sets with a strong dance floor vision, piecing together a futuristic array of sounds that hold a distinctive atmosphere. His eerie, up-lifting, nostalgic sets create an experience many other producers are striving to construct, welding together a series of reflective sounds that are not confined to one seminal structure, constantly testing you as an auditor whilst engaging you as a dancer.
Aleksi Perälä performs his unique live set at the UFO stage from 15:00-16:00 on the Friday of the festival (the 4th of August).
Inga Mauer reveals her knowledge of a variety of genres with a unique approach to DJing, allowing each track time to progress and mixing in the next only when she sees fit, giving her DJ and radio sets a great sense of belonging. This applies to her production as well — a quirky, distorted and charismatic blend of techno that explores the depths of the electronic world.
Inga Mauer will unravel her brain from 16:00-17:30 at the Selectors stage on the Saturday of the festival (the 5th of August).
Poet, singer and producer Marie Davidson intertwines dark, sometimes frantic synth with strong interchangeable baselines, which dip and dive between varied structures and genres. Marie’s voice takes on varied personas from track to track, every chord and melody serving to test you. Years of experience and a refusal to conform to any one writing style has allowed Marie to develop a charismatic, indulgent and challenging sound.
Expose yourself to what will be a unique experience in the Greenhouse from 16:00-17:00 on the Sunday of the festival (the 6th of August).
Every year Australian music is just getting better and bolder. Our artists are flying overseas more and more, and the live music experience and level of experimentation we have is hitting new peaks. With this year already off to a cracking start, we thought to break away from our usual Top 100 Australian Tracks and give you a look at what’s been happening in music so far.
We’ve collated a bunch of great tracks in alphabetical order to help you stay on top of what’s been released, and for ease of listening we’ve created the playlist on both Spotify and SoundCloud.
We also wanted to take this opportunity to send out a huge thank you to everyone who has sent us music this year, contacted us, shared, liked, commented or re-tweeted Ripe.
We couldn’t enjoy this level of music, or share it with you all, without these hard-working artists, publicists and music managers that spend their time sharing with us. After all, we are all here to support each other in just REALLY enjoying Australia’s music offerings. The rest of the year is looking bright and wonderful.
1. András – ‘Vinyl Only’
2. Angharad Drake – ‘Baby’
3. Baro – ‘Lay You Down // Sexy’
4. Blank Realm – ‘Jesus, Part Two’
5. Cable Ties – ‘The Producer’
6. Darcy Baylis – ‘At Sloterdijk Station / The Force Won’t Kill Me’’
It’s not Summer anymore and sadly the festivals are long gone. Enter: Leaps and Bounds Music Festival, our saviour during Melbourne winter. There are plenty of live music shows throughout the colder months, but nothing quite brings that cross pollination of fans from different styles and genres like a music festival.
When it comes to artists who cross genres at the highest level, Friendships and Habits have earned a place a-top the list. They are playing a show together with BV and Wahe at The Night Cat on July 14th. If you’ve experienced these artists before, than you know how captivating the experience is. If you haven’t, buy tickets now.
To help get you hyped during pre-drinks before the show, Friendships have sent us five of their current favourite tunes.
Other Places – ‘T.R.N.’
“IT Records pull a biggie with this slice of absolute class from Taipan Tiger Girls drummer Mat Watson AKA Other Places. This track sounds expensive. It evolves and flicks with perfect kineticism. It’s the kind of track you wish you wrote. Huuuuuge banger!!”
Nitzer Ebb – ‘Control I’m Here’
“I love to have a few late night glasses of bubbles with Miles Brown and let him fill my brain with his insanely massive knowledge about everything. This came from one of those nights (along with everything currently in our DJ set lol). ‘Drinking with Miles Brown’ should be a class you take at Melbourne University when you study Music History.”
Habits of Hate – ‘Limelight Roles’
“I know nothing about this group. I found this two track release when I was digging for bangers in my itunes. I tried to find more and couldn’t find an effing thing. If anyone knows anything HMU!! Miles Brown??!?”
Dead Sound & Videohead – ‘Fuck TV’
“BANGERS BANGERS BANGERS BANGERs!!!”
Gold Class – ‘Twist In The Dark (friendships remix)’
“I’ve been a massive fan of Gold Class for a good long time. They are incred live, incred recorded and such beautiful fellas. I was honoured when the cuties asked us to remix their banger “Twist in the Dark”. The remix is a bit of a longy, but effin worth it I swear!! Find yourself a big sound system, chuck it on and neck a bottle of prosecco. toot toot!!”
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.
‘Each Moment A Diamond’ EP – AUS & N.Z Tour @ Howler Melbourne
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.
‘Each Moment A Diamond’ EP – AUS & N.Z Tour @ Howler Melbourne
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.