Interview: Gretta Ray on the power of songwriting

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Things are busy for Gretta Ray at the moment — just after the release of her sophomore EP Here and Now and supporting James Bay during his Australian dates, she's about to embark on a tour to celebrate the release of her EP. We caught up with her at Melbourne's Royal Botanical Gardens to discuss the importance of friends in music, songwriting and being inspired by the world around her. 

Congrats on the release of your EP Here and Now. I saw you had a party to celebrate, which is fun! How was it playing the EP for the first time in a room full of people?

I was actually a little bit nervous. It was a small little intimate listening party. It was less of an extravagant celebration, and more of a quiet thing with a handful of people — a lot of them have been part of this journey to get to where we are, including people who have supported me along the way musically — including some musicians I’ve met and befriended. I really wanted to create an opportunity for those people to hear it for the first time before it came out. 

I had my friend Emilee South, who is a musician, interviewing me in-between songs, so I had the chance to talk about the writing process and how I produced the songs in the studio with my producers as well. I could give them an insight into how those songs came together before we listen to them in silence together — which was a little bit strange for me, but at the same time, it was pretty cool as it was a comfortable environment — everyone was very relaxed and having a good time, so it was good.

With writing, as well as creating music, it’s a process that’s done a lot in solitude and alone, so is it always exciting when you get to take your music and finally show it to people?

Yeah, it is. I’m so excited as I’m about to head on tour and I’m getting the chance to perform these songs in front of people and will look into the crowd and recognise the fact that amazingly, some of these songs have connected with those people, and they’ve taken them and interpreted the stories to resonate with their own life experiences and their own relationships and friendships and that for me is the most magical part of the process. It reminds me that we’re all here on Earth doing the same thing, having similar experiences and going through emotions together. When I get to perform and people get in a room together, we’re all friends and we’re all on the same page and singing about the same things.

That’s a good segway into my next question... in Australia, and especially in Melbourne, there’s a real sense of community in music. How have you found having great friends in music as a support for you in your own craft?

It’s very special. Someone I can think of that I became very close friends with when I was quite young and very new to the industry was my friend Gab, whose stage name is Japanese Wallpaper. We met at a show of mine, and we ended up becoming friends and then eventually he asked if I could come on tour with him as part of his band — so that was pretty amazing, and with that relationship, I can always turn to Gab in a time of need or when I have a question on music I am working on. Every musician doubts themselves from time-to-time and second-guesses their work. Gab has been a supporter of mine and I absolutely champion him and I think he’s a legend. So we get to exchange ideas and talk about things going on behind-the-scenes. Having relationships like that is very sacred and it makes you feel less overwhelmed and less alone.  


That’s so awesome.

As I was listening to the EP, I got this feeling of time as being an important factor. Is that something that you considered when creating the EP?

I did. There are two songs in particular that discuss the concept of time in a very big way — one of them is called ‘Time’ and the other one is called ‘Radio Silence’. I think I wanted to write about time in a way that personified it as this nurturing maternal figure that guides people through scenarios and leaves when she is no longer needed — as everyone looks at time as a positive thing and get frustrated when they run out of time, or that they need more time and are very dependent on it. I think a lot about time in the process of songwriting as well. Because if the experiences that I am writing about are things that I’ve experienced, I really want to do justice to those narratives and I look to spend as much time as I possibly can reflecting on them when I write about them and doing them justice through the lyrics that I write. So I don’t always write songs super consistently, because if I start something and the narrative that I am writing about is really important to me, then I want to be able to describe it in the best way that I can so people can get a sense of what I was going through and can talk about that feeling in a way people can connect to. 

The EP has this story like aura to it — it’s like listening to a series of observations. Do you draw inspiration from observing the world around you?

I do! Yes, I do. I’ve always been a bit of a weird person in the sense that I love people-watching. I have such a fascination with watching people’s reactions in the street. I remember being in LA for the first time and driving to Malibu and looking at all these glamorous and beautiful tanned people, and I’m thinking, gosh this lifestyle is so fascinating to me — and it’s this thing I don’t know much at all, and you get very invested in these characters you don’t know. It could just be me, it sounds like a weird and nosey thing to say (laughs). 

But I guess having that kind of perspective on people around me encourages me to write and focus on little details of how people interact or how someone’s face lights up when they see someone they care about from across the room — observing moments like that and writing it down and finding a way to put it in a song. I definitely do get a lot of my inspiration from those moments and experiencing those things myself, or when I’m talking about them with friends. Every now-and-then, I’ll be talking about something and someone will say something about a person or situation that they’re going through, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s such a cool way to think about that’ and might end up using it later. So yeah, songwriting is pretty amazing as it’s new every time and you always incorporate new ideas that you have.

It sounds like from what you’ve said that your approach is quite literary-focused. Do you source any inspiration from other artforms outside music?

Oh yeah! I have two songs on this EP that came a long time before the others — ‘Drive’ and ‘Towers’ — and they were the first two songs you’ve heard from the EP. I could of probably left them separate from this body of work, but then I thought, actually, they’re coming from the same place in my heart, even though they were written a year apart. The thing about ‘Drive’ and ‘Towers’, is that what separates them apart from the rest of the songs is that they’re directly inspired by poetry that I was studying at the time. I was studying Christina Rossetti’s poetry and all the poetry I read in the collection was about being completely consumed by the idea of a person, or the idea of love and what that does to you. It was written in a time where that was something that wasn’t very celebrated — it was this kind of secretive, passionate, seductive, beautiful collection of poems that I loved so much. So it was something that found its way inside of my music. That’s probably the most direct alternative artform that I can think of right now that has inspired me.

For my last question, you mentioned earlier you’ve got the tour starting this week. You’ve played so many shows from your own shows to supporting shows, to festivals. How do you ensure that you feel cool and collected between rehearsals and all the preparation? What are some of the things you do to feel grounded?

I don’t really have a lot of strategies as of yet, I feel like I’m going to learn them over time as at the moment, it’s kind of all-systems-go and I’m just trying to get as much work done as I can. Before I was playing the James Bay shows I played recently, I was so nervous, and it was the first time I was playing solo shows for a long time and the way that I relaxed before going on stage was that I just danced to Odette’s ‘Take It To the Heart’ like a million times alone in my green room before I went on-stage and I was actually a lot more relaxed once I got there. A lot of it is being comfortable in your body when you perform, even standing still playing the guitar the whole time — not being tense and being relaxed in your own self is really important. 

So yeah, I’m probably going to try that more on this tour actually. No-one come into my green room, or else I’ll be embarrassed (laughs).

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photography by Kristy Smolcic (@wickeddkristysnaps)

Gretta Ray's sophomore EP Here and Now is available now. You can purchase it here.

You can also catch her on tour starting this week at the below dates:
Thursday 16th August - The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (w/ Al Parkinson & Nancie Schipper) (SOLD OUT)
Friday 17th August - Jive Bar, Adelaide (w/ Ollie English & Connor Black-Harry)
Saturday 18th August - Jack Rabbit Slims, Perth (w/ Jacob Diamond & Al Parkinson)
Thursday 23rd August - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (w/ Feelds & Connor Black-Harry) (SOLD OUT)
Friday 24th August - Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane (w/ Al Parkinson & Asha Jefferies) 
More information is available here 

EP Review: Pink Matter – Human Error

Monday, August 13, 2018

Sometimes the purpose of listening to music is to escape to another universe — Brisbane-based four-piece Pink Matter offer this on their debut EP Human Error. Human Error takes you on a journey  to another galaxy where soulful vocals, story-like lyricism, experimentation of textures and splendidly-layered instrumentals reign supreme.

The EP opens with ‘Dope’, which is a euphoric number that feels like diving into a bewildering dream. The lyric “my head's going out the door” sets the mood for the subsequent tracks that follow ‘Dope’. The perplexing emotion involved in losing track of reality is captured in the song’s frenzied instrumentals, which beautifully recreate this disorienting feeling evident in the lyrics. At approximately the three-minute-mark, the energy turns sultry with the instrumental deepening — whereas the first portion of the track describes the frantic emotion of being lost in another reality and the confusion it entails, the second section of ‘Dope’ portrays the sedative and satisfying feeling of escaping to another place.

This essence of being caught in another universe continues on ‘Giant’. The track feels like you’re floating upon a cloud — despite the dreaminess of the track, the lyrics are compelling in the way they describe a craving for something that’s going to cure the tedious nature of routine. The words “what can I do to shake this feeling / push me out of this atmospheric” appear as a desperate plea.

Listening to ‘Cleo’ feels like lurking in the shadows of a smokey alleyway. The track’s driving percussion stimulates this energy. The title of the track is intriguing — I could be reading too much into it, but the feeling I get from ‘Cleo’ is that they're referring to an entity that’s in a sense mythical. On a literal level, the lyrics appear as if they’re directly referring to a person, but I think ‘Cleo’ is much more complex than that.

‘Judgement’ has the potential of inspiring an array of dance moves that are out-of-this-world. Even though the track has an upbeat energy, the reflective lyrics discuss a mental state that’s been ridden by feelings of paranoia and panic. The words delicately tell a story of losing grip of reality.

The EP ends on a calming note with the ever-so-poetic ‘How Do I’. Listening to 'How Do I' feels like you’re finding your way home to Earth. The track is utterly charming and beaming with light. Ending their EP with ‘How Do I’ is a faultless choice by Pink Matter, beautifully bringing their project full circle.

Pink Matter’s debut EP is a sublime introduction to the storytelling superpowers that they possess. Human Error is a well-executed observation of the fragility of feeling trapped by an arresting and consuming state of mind.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can listen to Human Error by Pink Matter below:

Pink Matter will be appearing at BIGSOUND 2018, as well as the below shows:
24th August - The Foundry, Brisbane (with First Beige and L.Flora)
15th September - The Tivoli, Brisbane (Supporting Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
21st September - Toowoomba Flower Festival
29th September - The Valley Drive In
More information is available here 

Now Playing: Say Sue Me – 'Just Joking Around'

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Indie rock/pop quartet Say Sue Me, who are from Busan, South Korea, have shared their soaring new single 'Just Joking Around'. Their latest release is another addition to their growing collection of impressive alternative-rock releases, including their previous single 'Coming To An End'.

'Just Joking Around' evokes an essence of 90s alternative rock, especially with their use of atmospheric guitar riffs. Through the use of heavy steering guitars, they create an aura of haziness that makes you want to get lost in it. The track moves between varied stages, including a slow-burning section, which is where most of the track remains, but then turns into 90s-esque Brit-pop at the five-minute mark towards the end of the track. Say Sue Me have a true ability of capturing the rawest and most sentimental emotions and turning them into something incredibly beautiful.

'Just Joking Around' is a standalone single by Say Sue Me. They'll be releasing the single along with 'B-Lover' together on 24th August.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can listen to 'Just Joking Around' below:

EP Review: Demon Days – Magic Eye

Peppy neo-soul five-piece Demon Days has arrived with their debut EP Magic Eye — and like solo-eating a family size kit-kat, it satisfies and satisfies. Filled with buoyant grooves and musical prowess, the band from Perth have packaged their mixed bag of musical candy in a neat and tasty six-track project.

‘Daria’s Smile’ begins the EP and as I sit back for a chill boogie. The discussions beneath the glossy synths draw me in. Underneath is a conversation about the unhealthy societal pressures that are put on women to look, act and be a certain way. It implores the listener to forgo what everyone thinks women should be and I cannot find a fault in its message.

The magically funky ‘Disco Baby’, my introduction to this band, does not stop the momentum. A song with a multitude of hooks. All the elements keep you coming back — from the vocals, synths and instrumental — it grips you every time.

As we glide into the next song, 'Highway', I picture a beautiful stretch of road beside a beach. Demon Days is leading a convoy full of musicians and they are playing this smooth track. It's without a doubt a road trip song if I’ve heard one. Isabella’s voice perfectly glides over the smooth groove instrumental.

Would this be a neo-soul EP without a pleasingly crafted instrumental? Here we are treated to ‘I Can’t See Magic Eyes’, which is a title that definitely speaks to me. Those books were so difficult and are honestly the likely reason I have to wear glasses on a daily basis. The track, however, is not difficult to listen too. A crisp intermission that feels like an ode to groove. Demon Days’ musical chops present themselves so precisely here.

On 'Moths', I went into it expecting a song about those cheeky clothes eating bugs but got so much more. I interpret 'Moths' as a beautifully abstract journey of letting go and removing the thought that earthly possessions have to define you. The track opens with silky arpeggios. From the intro to end, I’m enraptured by the band’s seamless skill at weaving through top-notch musical movements.

With some slightly Rap-esque vocality ‘6056’ perfectly concludes this EP. A song about the past, the masterfully visual lyrics sit atop an alluring jazz/neo-soul instrumental. There are hooks galore on this track and it’s been added to my daily playlist as we speak.

Demon Days are breathing a young and fresh take on this genre and I couldn’t be happier. The extended chords, the ever-present groove, and silky smooth vocals amalgamate to make something so charming and full of life. Magic Eye a delicious piece of ear-candy and it was a pleasure to experience.

Written by Roy Gordon

You can purchase Magic Eye here or stream it via Apple Music

You can catch Demon Days at the below dates, including BIGSOUND 2018:
31st August - Badlands Bar, Perth WA
1st September - Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA
4th to 7th September - BIGSOUND Festival, Brisbane QLD
7th September - The Gasometer Upstairs, Collingwood VIC
8th September - Brighton Up Bar, Darlinghurst NSW
More information is avaliable here

Interview: Tanners on 'Empress In Reverse', the 70s and Anxiety

Friday, August 10, 2018

NY-based singer-songwriter Tanners wowed us with her captivating single 'Empress In Reverse'. Just before the release of her self-titled EP, we were absolutely thrilled to have the chance to ask her all about the single, her thoughts on the 70s and songwriting.

Your latest single ‘Empress In Reverse’ is so incredible! It has a 70s-vibe to it too, which is really cool. What stands out about the time period for you?
So glad you dig it! I'm so happy to finally have her out in the world. I think the electric bass riff really informed the overall 70s-vibe and tone of the track. It was one of those moments when you hear something and immediately know that it's going to fit the song perfectly. It definitely influenced the rest of the production.

I've always been quite charmed with 1970s music and pop culture. The coolest thing about pop music of the 70s is that it wasn't a singular, narrow genre. Instead, it was made up of so many different sub-genres like funk, disco, glam rock, heavy metal, country, prog rock, soul, etc. There are so many different artists from that decade who set themselves apart but were still considered "pop" in some capacity. Like David Bowie, Donna Summer, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Sister Sledge, Blondie, Elton John, etc...

The song talks about feeling overwhelmed and anxious, what aspects of this feeling did you want to capture in the track?
Anxiety has always been a big part of my life. I remember going into this particular session feeling like I had so many ideas floating around in my head but the second I tried to grab ahold of one, it just melted away. Hence the line "I wanna make things, things that shine. But all I see are galaxies in my mind." Similarly to others who deal with anxiety disorders, I also struggle with pretty severe ADHD which can make songwriting frustrating at times. There's no worse feeling than when you think you have an amazing idea, and then it vanishes. It can be heartbreaking!! But I've really started to enjoy writing with other people more because they're able to reel me back in when I get lost in my head. And my wandering mind can sometimes take me to some wild places so there are always fresh ideas to share when things get stale.

How long did it take for the single to come to life?
A lot longer than I thought it would! I started writing this song with two of my collaborators, Mike MacAllister and Julie Hardy, in early spring of 2016 and it was fully produced by the end of that summer. I expected to have it out later that year, but a lot of things were in flux at the time. It was a special song to me so I didn't want just throw it online without a solid plan. I ended up taking a quarter-life-crisis trip to Asia by myself in the beginning of 2017 and by the time I got back, I was itching to get everything finalized. So from March to June of that year, I was working on getting "Empress" and the other three tracks from the EP mixed and mastered. Again, I thought I would have the whole EP out by the end of 2017 at the latest, but here we are! To answer the question, it's somehow taken almost two and a half years but I'm really glad I took my time with it.

How does songwriting provide a moment of release and reflection?
Similarly to writing in a journal or talking through something, your brain makes different connections and realizations when you're trying to put your thoughts together in a song. For me, if I leave a session where I'm exploring intimate details of my life I usually leave feeling like I untangled a really messy knot. I find that especially with songwriting, I have to articulate my thoughts so that they make sense to other people which can be really difficult when you're unpacking abstract ideas that seem pretty simple in your head... At this point in my songwriting career, my main goal isn't necessarily writing songs for myself. For now, I just want to make songs that other people enjoy and resonate with.

Will your EP also discuss similar themes of ‘Empress In Reverse’?
Yeah, 100%. The four songs definitely all live in the same general emotional neighborhood. They were all written as I was finishing my last semester of college which I think is a pretty stressful and transformative time. You're trying to figure out what you're going to do with your life as if there's a due date and you have to have it all planned out before you turn 23. So these songs were a culmination of everything I was worrying about and processing at the time. They all explore anxiety, loneliness, longing but through very different lenses which I think is apparent in the tone and mood of each song.

What else do you have in-store for the rest of the year?
I think the rest of this year is going to be really exciting. My debut EP comes out on August 10th and I also have about 4-5 singles in the pipeline that I'm hoping to release throughout this year and early 2019. I'm also working on my live show and constantly rearranging my set for different environments so I can make the show as versatile and cohesive as possible. The biggest goal of mine is probably figuring out how to make this into a sustainable career in which I can eventually devote 100% of my time and energy. 2018 is just the beginning.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can stream Tanners' self-titled EP below:

Feature: National Indigenous Music Awards 2018 nominee Emily Wurramara on Groote Eylandt and Identity

To celebrate the 2018 National Indigenous Music Awards, which are set to take place this Saturday, 11th August, we had the opportunity to ask a few of the immensely talented nominees a few questions in the lead-up to the big day.

Groote Eylandt via Brisbane singer-songwriter Emily Wurramara has an incredible skill for poetically capturing her personal experiences in her music. This year, she's nominated for 'Best New Talent' and 'Album of the Year' (for her 2018 album Milyakburra) at the 2018 National Indigenous Music Awards. We had the opportunity to ask her about Groote Eylandt, home and identity

Congratulations on your nominations for ‘Album of the Year’ and ‘Best New Talent’ for the National Indigenous Music Awards! Where were you when you found out that you were Nominated?
I was at home with my daughter! I was very stoked!

How would you describe Groote Eylandt to anyone who hasn’t visited before?
Very chill, breezy and if it were a fruit it’d be mango.

How did your upbringing on Groote Eylandt inspire you creatively?
Definitely in a songwriter perspective! I’m inspired by nature as a singer-songwriter and reference the sea a lot.

Home and identity are closely connected, how does home inspire you?
Home is my identity, not just mine, my Mothers, my Grandmothers- it is a part of me that I feel I need to archive for my future grandchildren and so on, that to me is preserving history, especially in this generation. Home is my inspiration, it’s sea, salt, rivers, forests are inked in my legacy and my culture it’s a part of me.

Creating songs about personal experiences or of experiences of those close to you (such as ‘Hey Love’ and the experiences your mum went through during boarding school) may be challenging. Do you believe music can be an outlet to reflect?
It’s an outlet in all forms of expressions. It allows you to speak freely to speak truth, to speak lies to speak dreams. It reflects on a journey and your journey is sacred, allowing people to listen to that is important- sharing stories and knowledge is important, I’m constantly learning and making mistakes and people need to know that we’re only human.

What are you most looking forward to on the night of the National Indigenous Music Awards?
Seeing everyone!!! I can’t wait! It’s all love and it’s going to be a night full of laughs and happy tears and I know some beautiful memories are going to be made.

The National Indigenous Music Awards will take place this Saturday, 11th August at 7pm. If you're in Darwin, tickets are still available HERE. Stay tuned to all the action by following @NIMAWARDS on Twitter.

Written by Amy Smolcic

Now Playing: Wafia – 'I'm Good'

Wafia has delivered the goods once again with her newly released single 'I'm Good' via Future Classic. Along with the single, Wafia will also be hitting the road on a world tour, with Australian dates this October.

If you're looking for a post-breakup song, then look no further than 'I'm Good' — listening to track will have you strutting down the street feeling better than ever. In a statement, Wafia said that she wrote the song as a self-fulfilling prophecy, "At the time I could foresee heartbreak that I was going to have to work through and I wanted to write the song that I’d want to hear at the end of it all". 'I'm Good' features an infectious groove that's immensely addictive, you're drawn in instantly and won't be able to get it out of your head. Wafia's vocals are cool and collected and glide over the beat with ease.

Wafia will be working on her upcoming project with Future Classic. Be sure to round-up all your pennies and grab a ticket to see Wafia live in October, she's not to be missed!

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Catch Wafia live at the below shows:
5th October - Howler, Melbourne
6th October - Wooly Mammoth, Brisbane
12th October - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
18th October - Mojo’s, Fremantle
19th October - Sewing Room, Perth
20th October - Jive, Adelaide
More information and international are dates available here 

Listen: Local Gems of the Week – 10.8.18

We've searched the web to bring you some damn good local tunes that caught our eye (or ears) this week. We can't wait to spin these gems all-weekend-long.

Sahara Beck – ‘Here We Go Again’
Firey, fierce and utterly captivating — Sahara Beck can do it all.

Holiday Party – ‘Run Away’
Listening to 'Run Away' feels like stepping into a euphoric dream that you never want to wake up from.

Demon Days – ‘6056’
Fresh from their project Magic Eye, prepare to be enchanted by the ever-so-brilliant Demon Days.

cln – ‘Waiting For You’
Deep and reflective, cln wows once again with this sentimental treat.

CERES – ‘Viv In The Front Seat’
Full of heart, CERES is back and better than ever. Check out the lyrics for 'Viv In The Front Seat' here, they're truly a masterpiece.

pting – ‘Bus Driver’
'Bus Driver' will make your day instantly so much better. Trust us.

Your Girl Pho – ‘I Can't Take It’
Your Girl Pho's soulful vocals shine and they're an absolute delight.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

Photo by Michelle Pitiris

Now Playing: Many Voices Speak – 'I Saw You'

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Swedish songwriter Matilda Mård, who creates music as Many Voices Speak, showcases her stunning lyricism and delightful vocals on her heart-wrenching track 'I Saw You', which was released over a month ago.

The track opens on a mellow note, with her vocals taking centre-stage with a melancholic piano backing her. At the 1:15, the track picks up speed, with the percussion and guitars adding to the emotional weight of 'I Saw You'. Lyrically, her words are poetic and observant. On the track, she reflects on the feeling of being caught in the past. Though 'I Saw You' may appear dreamy, it's full of expressive and meaningful undertones that are truly exquisite.

'I Saw You' is the second single to be released from her upcoming LP Tank Town, which is due for release on 31st August via Strangers Candy.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

(Photo by Julia Mård via Many Voices Speak's FB)

Feature: National Indigenous Music Awards 2018 nominee Ziggy Ramo on hip-hop as a form of activism

To celebrate the 2018 National Indigenous Music Awards, which are set to take place this Saturday, 11th August, we had the opportunity to ask a few of the immensely talented nominees a few questions in the lead-up to the big day.

Ziggy Ramo, who is currently in Europe, has had a major 2018— including the release of his single 'A to Z', playing Splendour in the Grass and his nomination for 'Best New Talent' at this year's National Indigenous Music Awards. He talks about his experience in LA, as well as the importance of hip-hop as a form of activism.

Congrats on your nomination for ‘Best New Talent’ for National Indigenous Music Awards! Did you do anything to celebrate your nomination?

Thank you! It still seems surreal. It has been a pretty busy time lately so there wasn’t a big party, but it was a great reminder to be present. I had a really lovely call with my parents. Sharing moments like that with the people who have supported you from day one is honestly the best thing.

Your music has not only allowed you to travel the country, but you also spent some time writing in LA? What was the experience like? Did you work on ‘A to Z’ whilst you were there?

It was a whirlwind. I look back on it wishing I was more prepared, but I only feel more prepared now because I have now experienced it. For me it really opened up my mind and approach to making music. It’s just another beast over there. ‘A to Z’ was already written pre-LA but when I got back, taking from what I had learnt the song grew into what it is today.

Also, congrats on playing your first Splendour in the Grass! What was it like?

Blurry. Super blurry. I usually feel really present when I perform but the whole experience was just so surreal that it didn’t start sinking in until days after I had played. It was a blast though, loved every second of it.

What other art forms apart from music have influenced you as a creative?

Everything. That is a super corny answer but it’s just how it is for me. I try and be open to receive inspiration from any input. I just think art in general is so interesting. I would say though that I am very influenced by artists advocating and crafting work that is creating safe spaces for all intersections.

Hip-hop and activism have a shared history globally, how would describe the importance of hip-hop and speaking out against injustices, particularly in an Australian context?

I think it is a case of the voiceless finding a platform to be heard. To be honest I think it is pretty wild that there is an expectation for the marginalised group to carry the heavy load in creating change, so as important as using my voice is, if another artist just wants to write bangers they should have the agency and freedom to do it. However the more I get to travel the more I see the same mentality, the same experiences for oppressed people. Nowhere is perfect, each country puts out the positive aspects but under the surface, there is a lot of terrifying things going on. So in an Australian context, I think it's really important to breakdown the stereotypes, using my voice to report the reality. Equality is about sharing, getting everyone to an equal playing field.

What are you most looking forward to on the night of the National Indigenous Music Awards?

I am so sad that I am not physically able to attend. I am currently in Stockholm, Sweden and am not back in Australia till September. But for me, it is so amazing to see so many amazing creators coming into their own. I think the diversity of music being created by Indigenous Australians is so exciting as it will play a big part in breaking down the idea that we are homogeneous. We are united by our Indigeneity but we are individuals in our own right. So to see so many individuals celebrated for their own unique art makes me so incredibly proud.

The National Indigenous Music Awards will take place this Saturday, 11th August at 7pm. If you're in Darwin, tickets are still available here. Stay tuned to all the action by following @NIMAwards on Twitter.

Written by Amy Smolcic

Now Playing: Hannah Lucia – 'Strangest Feeling'

UK-artist Hannah Lucia is an astonishing storyteller and her latest single 'Strangest Feeling' is certainly no exception.

'Strangest Feeling' merges contemporary R&B and with a hint of electronica. The track's production by Branko is enticingly eerie — underneath the frantic electronic percussion and trickling beats is Hannah Lucia's lush vocals, adding a slice of light onto the track. The shadowy nature of the production works in harmony with her lyrics.  'Strangest Feeling' is about feelings of bewilderment in a relationship and how a surge of thoughts can cause you to feel confused. The track captures an aura that's reminiscent of that time of the night when you should probably be asleep.

 Hannah Lucia is set to make major waves in 2018 if 'Strangest Feeling' is anything to go by.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

You can purchase 'Strangest Feeling' here or stream it via Apple Music

Interview: A Chat with Barnaby and Tom from Friends of Friends

Goldie band Friends of Friends have just dropped a video for their track ‘Human’ off their debut EP Memory Motel.  The EP (as well as the track ‘Human’) is chock full of feels and super strong, emotive lyrics, which they’ve managed to bottle and then release in their lounge-room — as you’ll see in their film clip.  I managed to catch up with two of the band members, Barnaby and Tom, this week ahead of the release (and I think the third member, Barry has learnt the valuable lesson of making sure to be present at interviews).  We discussed the new clip, the depth of their lyrics and Snapchat stalking.

Hey mate, cheers for having a chat with me this morning!  Firstly, nice work on your EP Memory Motel.  What has the experience been like for you guys putting this thing together and then getting it out there?  Is it an intense process?

Tom: Yeah it is hey!  I’ve got Barnaby with me as well.

Barnaby: Hey Kate!

Hey man!

Tom: Yeah it has been hey, it’s been a long time…because it’s our first release, even sort of conceptually coming up with how we want it to sound took a really long time. So that was probably the biggest thing – there were so many songs that we kind of scrapped and changed a lot of stuff so it was a bit of a relief and a bit of, like, a point that we can reference now for the future.  But it’s been good though!

For sure!  And you’re about to release a ‘live’ video for your single ‘Human’.  Can you tell us what we can look forward to in this clip? 

Barnaby: It kind of has a little bit of a homely feeling hey!  Literally in our lounge-room!  But yeah it’s pretty straightforward.

Tom: We kind of set up something fun and we sort of probably got a little bit too into the song and I guess a lot of emotion comes through, some of it accidentally. But yeah just like a fun moment, we had a friend come over and film the whole thing, and she’s amazing.  She does a really cool, sort of edit and um, sort of revealed probably, a lot of…you know…what we’re going to look like live but more just like, I think a lot of the emotional aspects of the tune’s come through.  Which we didn’t really try to do but yeah, we sort of got real into it.

*check out the video here*

Well, I was going to say, you guys have got very strong lyrics in your songs, especially, in your song, ‘Stay’.  Who is your chief songwriter?

Tom: Barnaby.

Barnaby & Tom: Yeah (laughs)

Barnaby, do you find it nerve-wracking letting people in that deep, like putting yourself out there in that way?

Barnaby:  I do.  I think for a long time I would sort of struggle with trying to make something that felt good and I found that the only way that I could sort of making something that felt authentic was to really dig deep.  I’ve got a bit of a unique kind of life story and I guess I can’t really do anything else.  All I can do is just write from my experience.  And it can be a bit dark and it can be kind of tragic, but I feel fine.  I try to find the beauty in that as well.  Um but it’s definitely nerve-wracking.

I’ve gotta say, hearing what you just said with the dark but still, like, beautiful place I guess, my favourite track off this EP would have to be ‘Reverie’; even though I had to Google the meaning of the word.  But I mean, I know a little bit of French so I thought, like, ‘rêve’ means dream…

Barnaby: Yeah, I definitely used a thesaurus for that word (laughs).

(Laughs) But yeah wow it’s quite a lovely poetic word that you’ve placed in this super dark situation.  I feel like you’ve ‘Stanned’ it.  Like how Eminem took that happy, pretty Dido song, ‘Thank You’, and gave it such a different feeling.

Barnaby & Tom: Right. Yep, yeah.

Even though I have absolutely no experience in the field, you’ve got to let me direct the video clip for it.

Barnaby & Tom: (Laugh) Yeah sick.

I’ve got such a vivid um I guess reverie or vision for it.  Like an old-school horror movie taking place at the ‘Memory Motel’. 

Barnaby & Tom:  Yes! (Laughs) That’d be rad!  Yeah!

(Laughs) Or I dunno you could hire a professional.  Not sure what my question is here, I think I’m interviewing myself at this point.  Do you guys have plans to release ‘Reverie’ as a single at all?

Barnaby: Well I mean it’s on the EP so we’ll probably just let it hang out.  I mean once we get going and everything and we put out a debut album it will definitely be on there. But at this point I dunno if we’ll put it out again as like a sneaky single or…

Tom: Or maybe even do another little live video and try and capture the emotion of the song as well.

Barnaby: Yeah.

OK, cool, so kind of like what you’ve done with ‘Human’ but maybe not in your lounge-room.  You’ve gotta get some old motel, ‘Memory Motel’.

Tom:  Yes!  (Laughs) Yeah, that’d be sick.

Now Barnaby probably I guess one for you again.  Basically, I was thinking with the lyrics in, ‘Stay’, there’s one line reads, “’Cause I’ve been staring at my phone, oh why can’t you just stay?”. But I feel like this is nothing out of the ordinary these days.  Like everyone stares at their phones all day long.  So I’ve actually fixed the lyric for you, if you’re open to feedback? 

Barnaby: (Laughs) Yep.

So if you want to target the younger market, I think the line should say, “I stalk you through Snapchat on my phone, why can’t you just stay?”  Or something like that.

Barnaby:  (Laughs) Oh yeeeess! That’s way better (laughs)!

Cause they’ve got that stalking function on there now.

Barnaby:  Yeah it’s nuts!

Tom:  Yeah!  It’s weird, aye!

Barnaby:  So weird!

Tom:  Like where you can view people on the map?


Tom: Yeah that’s creepy as!  It’s too much

Alright I’ve revealed too much about myself.  Awesome.

Tom & Barnaby: (Laughs).

God dammit. 

Are the songs about someone in particular and if so do they know the songs are about them/have they heard them? 

Barnaby:  Yeah.  I mean, a lot of the lyrics can sort of be amalgamations of lots of different things.  For instance in ‘Stay’, it was about my girlfriend at the time but it’s also a little bit about my mum who had cancer.  So it’s kind of like this cross-section of feelings.  But I mean obviously, it’s like relationship experience and sort of feeling that.

Is your mum ok now?

Barnaby:  Oh yeah she’s sick.  Oh sick in a good way.

She’s like ‘Thorpey sick’, she’s “fully sick” now.

Barnaby:  Yeah she’s chilling, she’s just having a good time.

Good to hear.  So maybe some happy ones on the next EP then (laughs)?

Barnaby:  (Laughs) Oh yeah definitely need some.

Tom: Yeah!

Can we expect a tour with this EP guys?

Tom:  Oh definitely, probably closer/towards the end of the year.  Um, we’re still just sorting out a couple of things.  But we wanted to come out with a bang so we’ll definitely do some big fun shows.


1.  To Tom:  Ok, so out of the three bandmates, who would be most likely to survive a ‘Cast Away’ type situation and why? 
Tom:  Umm.  Yeah me, because I love camping most I think.  The boys are hermits!
Barnaby: (Laughs)
Tom:  I’m always outside adventuring!
Alright well I put this to you then, who would be the Wilson?
Tom: Barry!  (Both laugh)
Barnaby:  Barry is definitely Wilson (both laugh). 
Tom:  Yeah yep!
Barry this is what happens when you’re absent. You get chumped. 

2.       To Barnaby:  What’s the most embarrassing song on your phone?
Barnaby:  Oooh.  Dear lord.  I mean I’ve got some rippers from Whitney Houston hangin’ out. 
Barnaby:  But hey if you scroll through voice memos it’s like all those awkward 16-year-old emo songs. 
In your voice memos?!
Barnaby:  Yeah like, you know how you record the stuff… Oh I dunno, that’s what I use to write stuff.  I don’t play them.
Oooh, so they’re your ones?  I thought you’re here like covering ‘Simple Plan’ or something in your voice memos. 
Tom:  Oh my God, that would’ve been amazing.
Barnaby:  That would’ve been sick. 
(Laughs) I’m glad that you’re not. 

3.       To Tom:  Do you guys have a song you can cover the absolute shit out of?
Tom:  Yes.  ‘Black Smoke Rising’ by Greta Van Fleet.
Barnaby:  (Laughs) Yes!
Tom:  Have you heard that though?
I dunno, I don’t think so.  Is it famous?
Tom:  Oh.  You have to listen to it.
Barnaby:  You have to.
Tom:  We’ll send you a little…
Barnaby:  Compilation video
Tom:  Compilation.  They’re like these young dudes who are between 18 and 23 and sound identical to Zeppelin.  And they are blowing up right now.  There’s this one ripper song.
Barnaby:  (Laughs).
Tom:  The kid’s vocals on it are insane.  And Barnaby, somehow, I dunno how you do it…
Barnaby:  Oh no.
Tom:  Smashes it as well.  Whenever we’re driving, it’s our driving tune and we’ve started learning so hopefully we can sneak it into our sound-check or something.
Barnaby:  (Laughs) Yeah.
Tom:  ‘Black Smoke Rising’ by Greta Van Fleet.
Kate:  Awesome looking forward to that. 

4.       To both, beginning with Tom:  What’s the best pick up line you’ve ever used or maybe had used on you?
Barnaby:  I mean I just have to say, “Hey my name’s Barnaby”, and it’s already the longest conversation starter ever!  (Laughs).
Oh shit.  The girls just line up.
Barnaby:  Yeah or people get angry. 
Kate:  So is that Tom’s pick up line, he walks up and says he’s Barnaby?
Barnaby:  Well I reckon it would work. 
Tom:  Um.  Oh man.  Barry…
Barnaby:  Oh he’s the chief to answer this.
Tom:  I don’t actually think I’ve ever had to use a...
Barnaby:  Oooh (laughs).  He just has to show his face.
Tom:  Nah nah.  I don’t think I’ve like, attempted in that way to be honest. 
Oh really?  You go the genuine attempt?
Tom:  Yep.  Yeah, usually.  (Laughs) nah (laughs). 
Barnaby:  Um can we get Barry to answer this?
Yeah alright!  Get Barry to email me his response.
Tom:  Yeah.  He’s definitely that kind of…
Barnaby:  He’s the promiscuous one. 
Barnaby & Tom: (Laughs)
Oh shit.  Alright.  I’m already seeing a Nelly Furtado gif for this. 

Tom:  Oh that’s the best.  Definitely.

*From the email – apparently he had a few winners but the favourite was from the movie ‘Hall Pass’ that reads, “You must be from Ireland, because when I look at you, my penis is Dublin”.

5.    For both, beginning with Tom:  What Simpson’s quote do you use the most?
Tom:  Oh… Simpsons quote….D’oh!
Barnaby:  Yeah you actually do though!
Really?  He actually says, “D’oh!”
Barnaby:  He does!
Tom:  I’m quite clumsy anyway… so.  I’m always punched and kicked or tripping over or something like that, aye.
How often do you get punched and kicked?
Barnaby:  I think you’ll find he does it to himself (laughs).
Tom:  Self-inflicted from my clumsiness.

What about you Barnaby?
Barnaby:  Oh I’m just… I reckon Bart, just writing lines the whole time.
Always in detention?
Barnaby:  Always (laughs).
God dammit Barnaby.

6.        What are you bingeing on Netflix ATM?
Tom:  Oooh right now…
Barnaby:  I love a bit of Chef’s Table.
Tom:  I’m watching How I Met Your Mother.
Barnaby:  Well it just finished but it wasn't on Netflix, but [The] Handmaid’s Tale.  Frothin’.  Yeah, frothin’ hard.
I haven’t seen it but I’ve heard it’s good. 
Barnaby:  Yeah it’s kind of scary but sick.
Tom:  I almost want to go back and watch Black Mirror again.
Oh, Black Mirror’s alright?
Tom:  Yeah did you ever get into it?
Nah, I haven’t seen it.
Barnaby:  Always a good time
Tom:  You should watch it.

Also looking forward to seeing the video for ‘Human’!  Make sure you flick it to me!
Barnaby:  Yep.  Will do!  Thanks for the call!  Appreciate it!

Written by Kate Carnell (@Kate_Carnell)

You can stream Memory Motel below:

Now Playing: The Molochs – 'Too Lost In Love'

LA's The Molochs are currently prepping for the release of their LP Flowers in the Spring, which has been slated for release on September 7th via Innovative Leisure. Until they share the album next month, they've unveiled 'Too Lost In Love', which is set to appear on the LP.

The contemplative and raw lyrics of 'Too Lost In Love' muse on being distracted by love — "Too lost in love to see what’s going on" appears in the chorus. The repetition of the chorus is incredibly catchy. The Molochs note that though love is a beautiful thing, it can also mean that you become so distracted by it that you can forget to notice that the world is actually in pieces.

If created years ago, 'Too Lost In Love' could have featured in the soundtrack of your fave 90s teen-romance film.

The Molochs are on course to create something ever-so-special with their upcoming LP, and we're eagerly anticipating their next move.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)

(Photo via The Moloch's Bandcamp page)

Now Playing: Essie Holt – 'Better For You'

With pulsating energy and hopeful lyrics, Essie Holt takes you through a moving musical journey with her most recent single, ‘Better For You’.

Following on from her anthemic last single ‘Magnetise’, ‘Better For You’ displays a brilliant example of musical combination — with Essie’s upbeat production working together brilliantly, synchronising together with her flowing vocals — which creates a mix where neither side overpowers the other. The track swells with energy through the chorus’ with beat-laden dance synths.

This newest single easily adds itself to Essie’s growing catalogue of hits, ‘Better For You’ is full of accomplishment and a testament to her continual growth on her previous works.

Hard to stop listening too and a real mood raiser, ‘Better For You’ has a deserving spot on any 'favourites' playlist.

Written by Daniel Hanssen (@dangigman)

Tour dates supporting LANKS:
Thursday 9th August - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Friday 10th August - Kingscliff Tavern, Kingscliff
Saturday 11th August - Sol Bar, Maroochydore
Thursday 16th August - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Friday 17th August - The Lansdowne, Sydney (*SOLD OUT*)
Saturday 18th August - Wollongong
Sunday 19th August - Transit Bar, Canberra
Thursday 23rd August - Sooki Longue, Belgrave
Saturday 25th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne (*SOLD OUT*)
Saturday 26th August - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

'Better For You' tour dates:
Saturday 15th September - Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
Thursday 20th September - The Workers Club, Melbourne

More info on tour dates here 

News: NYE On The Hill Announce Their 2018 Line-Up

NYE On The Hill is back for another year, with a stellar line-up focused on some of Australia's best current and growing artists.

Set down at the spiritual home of The Hills Are Alive record group and festival; the Farm. Dropping the line-up yesterday, NYE On The Hill’s line-up is sure to make the most humble Australian music fans mouth water.

The lineup includes acts like Australian rockers The Smith Street Band and Slowly Slowly, electronic acts such as The Kite String Tangle and many more.


More acts to be added soon.

Tickets are on sale now, so snap them up while you can via the link.

Feature: We Play 'What Song...' with Loose Tooth

After unleashing their debut album Keep Up on 3rd August, Loose Tooth have had a major 2018. The Melbourne three-piece spent this June with Courtney Barnett playing shows in the UK, Paris, Luxembourg and Germany. They also have an upcoming show on 25th August at Howler in Melbourne, tickets are available here.

Etta Curry from the trio recently shared some of her favourite tunes with us, check it out below!

What song reminds you of your youth?
'Never Ever' by All Saints
This was the first album I ever bought with my own money. Me and Nel made up synchronised dances to this song in my front room.

What song would you love to sample?
'Soulful Strut' by Young Holy Unlimited 
Very groovy. Bonus fact: my dad had a radio show in the 80s and this was his theme song.

What song did you last listen to?
'Heaven's Only Wishful' by MorMor 
I heard this on the radio a couple of days ago and really love the vibe. Its a really really good song and goes to really interesting places. A lovely voice too. Very soulful.

What song do you wish you collaborated on?
'Hey Ya!' by OutKast
Cha Ching $$$. Also one of the best pop songs ever written, I reckon.

What song has been your favourite track of this year so far?
'I’m Your Man' by Spiritulized & 'Native Tongue' by Mojo Juju (ft. The Pasefika Vitoria Choir)
Such a great song! Also Native Tongue by Mojo Juju is up there too. 

You can purchase Keep Up here or stream it via Apple Music 

Photo by Gina Nero


Gigs time! We've rounded up all the gigs that you need to know about and won't want to miss. 

NOV 2ND - The Forum, Melbourne
NOV 3RD - The Triffid, Brisbane
NOV 6TH - Metro Theatre, Sydney 
NOV 8TH - Powerstation, Auckland


OCT 5TH - Howler, Melbourne
OCT 6TH – Wooly Mammoth, Brisbane
OCT 12TH - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
OCT 18TH – Mojo’s, Fremantle
OCT 19TH – Sewing Room, Perth
OCT 20TH – Jive, Adelaide


AUG 16TH – The Dock, Sydney w/ Swansea Hit and Run (free show)
AUG 17TH – The House Dining, Sydney (free show)
AUG  22ND – Junk Bar, Brisbane w/ Tiarne and Jo Davie (tickets through Oztix)
AUG 25TH – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne w/ David Western(free show)
SEPT 2ND – Republic Bar, Hobart (free show)


SEPT 7TH - Junk Bar, Brisbane

SEPT 21ST- Grace Darling hotel, Melbourne
SEPT 28TH - The Lansdowne, Sydney
NOV 10TH - Baroque Bar, Katoomba

OCT 4TH- Workers Club, Geelong VIC
OCT 5TH- The Curtin, Melbourne VIC
OCT 6TH- The Waratah Hotel, Hobart TAS
OCT 11TH - Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA
OCT 12TH - Badlands, Perth WA
OCT 13TH- Prince Of Wales, Bunbury WA
OCT 18TH - Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane QLD
OCT 19TH- The Northern, Byron Bay NSW
OCT 20TH - Miami Shark Bar, Gold Coast QLD
OCT 24TH - The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
OCT 25TH - The Lansdowne, Sydney NSW
OCT 26TH- Strawberry Boogie @ UOW Uni Bar, Wollongong NSW
OCT 28TH - Transit Bar, Canberra ACT


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