Interview: Chelsea Lights

Ben Sharples (Chelsea Lights)
Interview by Leo Abbs

It’s ironic that this interview took place on one of the first warm days of summer, with daylight saving having just kicked in. Reason being, I discussed with Ben Sharples from Chelsea Lights, the dark sound of their band and how it has more emotion than before. Not to mention the difference one new member can make to a lineup…

Ben Sharples enjoys many aspects of being in a band, but his favourite part is when people give positive feedback.

‘A thing that has always (meant a lot) from day one, someone says they like what we’ve done.
Even if people don’t emotionally connect, if they just come up and say they enjoyed it.
We don’t want to be indifferent. The worst thing is to play to your mates and they say ‘Yeah that’s alright.’

As well as getting positive feedback, there are many good things about being in a band. One of the things Sharples loves about being in band, can be the small things, like just chilling out before the gig, beer in hand, to the bigger things, like playing live, where on stage he finds himself becoming a different person.

‘I try to be a different person to be honest. What I like about being in a band, people are always watching you. You can in effect, do whatever the hell you want. You can throw shit, you can do whatever you want and people will still watch you. It’s a relief.’

And then there is the writing of music. When it came to writing the songs for Chelsea Lights new EP, it began with a different approach: The Rhythm section.

‘We got a new drummer and he goes to WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts), He comes from a different background, way more technical, and he does Jazz stuff.’

‘So we started jamming the songs. We weren’t really good enough to jam (before), I don’t think I’m personally good enough, but our bass player’s really good at improvising stuff and our drummers really good at improvising stuff. They start locking into a groove, and our singer will come up with melodies and (we) work out the structure and the guitar back from there.’

With this new lineup and new found ways of writing songs, Chelsea Lights moved on quickly from their debut single released in April of this year, and were soon ready for another recording. The result of all this jamming, and inspiration is a four track self-titled EP.

Chelsea Lights have an allages launch for their EP This Friday, the 30th of November at HQ in Leederville from 7pm.
With Support from Good Little Fox, The Violet Flames and Short Fuse.

www.myspace.com/chelsealights

Interview: Cinema Prague

George (Cinema Prague)
Interview by Leo Abbs

You played a return show after 9 years in September. How did you feel after the first show back?
It felt fantastic Leo. As one reviewer put it “it must surely rank among history’s greatest gambles” and for us it really felt like that. There were only two ways it could have gone – spectacularly or catastrophically. We put a lot of effort into the rehearsals, the songs and the promotion to leave nothing to chance and we gave ourselves lots of time to get things just right. It’s funny though, you can do everything conceivable, but once the night starts there’s nothing else you can do. You just have to enjoy it.


We had always intended on leaving the door open so we wanted to make it MORE than just a reunion gig. I think involving Roy (new bassist) helped in setting that “we’re moving on” vibe.


On the night, it was just awesome to see all the crew and lots of new crew too. It was a very sympathetic audience in that everyone wanted to have a good time. There we’re only a few people grizzling that it won’t be the same without Rex. You think we didn’t know that? It feels great to finally move on.

How does it feel to be playing with a new bass player?
Roy is such a great player, not only technically but his approach and sensitivity to the songs is very generous and intuitive. He’s a gun. Personally, I think the band is sounding better than ever because we’ve had time to think about what we are. We are a live band. In the past, our live show was good but it would try to straddle the gap between live and studio and would loose some potency.

Snakes Alive is the new album coming out. When it is to be released?
We have just started the mixdown of the album. At this stage, we’re on schedule for a Feb ’08 release. The album was recorded nine years ago and captured some pretty fiery performances. It’s really raw and rocking.

Who are the horn players? Are there any plans to include more members in the Prague live performance?
Trumpeter Marty Pervan leads the “horns”. We have done some work with him in the past (Freo prison CD launch, 1994) so he’s our man. It’s up to him who arrives on the night but for the Mojos (23rd Nov ’07) we’ve got him, Sirio on tenor sax and Mark of baritone. Sorry, I can’t tell you their surnames.

I guess the idea behind adding extra stuff onstage is to spice up the three-piece sound. They can do lots of singing parts too. Essentially, we’re a three-piece though.

Where did you first meet Tim and Rex? Are you guys the original members?
We are the original members and we were called Cinema Prague before we even began. In 1986, in a bedroom in Attadale, Tim, Rex and I started penning and recording punk tunes. Tim and Rex went to Attadale primary, and Tim and I went to Applecross High – so Tim was the link.

We’d listen to bands like The Dead Kennedys, The Sex Pistols, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Septic Death, The Exploited, The Clash, Depression and many more. There was such a cool alternative scene and rivalry between Applecross, Perth Mod (where Rex went), Hollywood High and also Jarrahdale high.

Lots of bleached jeans and Mohawks on 45-degree days and liquor that we would steal from our parents. At one stage, it was cool to be our manager, and we just couldn’t say “no” when people asked, so at one stage we had about thirty managers all doing their little bit for the Prague. When everyone turned 18, we could fill a pub, which really helped us get gigs.

What Prague songs are you playing in the setlist? Are you writing new material?
The set for the Capitol show and these ones coming up is pretty much a classic Prague set from where we left (off). It covers our whole career from George’s Blues (1990) – Rose Sun P and Snakes Alive (1998). We will start introducing some newies into the set next year but we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves. We will be touring Snakes Alive so those songs will be the focus.

You have done international tours before. Which countries have Prague played?
We’ve done a bit of overseas stuff. We got invited to the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa. It’s kind of like the SA version of PIAF but when we got there we discovered that we’d been invited and that was that! No gigs. Anyway, we hustled our way onto a line-up and it was such a success that we headlined every night at this particular venue for the two weeks of the festival.

This set us up for a quick national tour of SA and played in Jo-burg, Capetown, Durban and others. From there we went to Madrid but didn’t play any shows. We went to Amsterdam and did a couple of gigs before settling in London for six months. This is all in 1997. We did some shows in London, Liverpool and Manchester and went to America to do two shows in LA. That’s pretty much our international CV.

We came back to Perth, recorded Snakes Alive and then broke up. While we were over in Europe, I had to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail – Prague. I traveled there with my girlfriend at the time and we went and saw “Men In Black” at Cinema Prague – it exists!

Gig Details:
We have two shows this weekend:
Friday 23rd November – Mojo’s Bar, North Fremantle
Supports are Brash & Sassy and Day of the Dead.
$15 door sales from 7pm.

Saturday 24th November – The Bakery, Northbridge
With Brash & Sassy, Druid Le Roth, Fall Electric, Bourgeois Bogan DJs and much much more.
$15 pre-sale through heatseeker $20 on the door from 8pm.

www.cinemaprague.com

CD Review – Institut Polaire

Institut Polaire – The Flora and the Fauna
Review by Danielle
Hanrahan


Perth’s indie wonderkids, Institut Polaire have released their debut ep “The Flora and the Fauna” out through Popfrenzy bringing the heavy instrumentation and catchy-pop, soulful lyrics to a crossroads of something a little country, a little folk and a whole lot of something we wish there was more of.

The WAM Song of the Year winners from last year have delivered a five-piece compilation of songs which has married the textured layers of the instruments, the lyrics and the voice of Eric Hecht to new heights. Produced by Rob Grant and including contributions from Jim Colvin on saxophone, Melanie Price on trombone and Monique Archer in the role of soprano vocals, adds another layer to the vast instrumentation of the permanent members of the group – a sound aspect to the band that has set them apart from their contemporaries.

The title song, “The Fauna and the Flora Are Too Closely Allied” is one of those songs that if you haven’t been convinced from the outset of listening to this band, this song will soon change all of that. It marries the violin from Colvin and the trumpet from Brannen exclusively with that of Eric Hecht’s smooth tone to give the listener a graceful, and pop-styled melody – a song that will be hard to forget.

The body of work on the ep shows a vast range of instruments, melodies and song structures, which the group can call on to deliver a resounding and unmistakable sound. Each song delivers in equal measure to the listening pleasure of the package and brings an unforgettable end, in the song that many will recognize Institut Polaire for – “City Walls and Empires”.

Institut Polaire have come a long way with only a few releases, but have made a deep and resounding impression on Perth and Australian audiences who have seen them live or heard their material, making ‘The Fauna and the Flora Are Too Closely Alllied’ an essential addition to anyone’s music list.

News: Sonic Sessions at Freo Arts Centre

SONIC SESSIONS Comes to a close for 2007

Presented by Fremantle Arts Centre, Sonic Sessions is an unprecedented opportunity to join host, Lucky Oceans and WA superstar musicians in a mix of conversation, intimate concert and old- fashioned jam in the magical Inner Courtyard.

Sonic Sessions offers rare, up-close insights into these huge stars of the WA music scene.
“Its like going to Mt Olympus and receiving honey from the Gods,” an excited guest exclaimed
after the first show.

Fremantle Arts Centre, General Manager, Jim Cathcart said, “We are knocked out by the calibre of the line-up. These great musicians jumped at the idea of having a chat and playing music with Lucky in such a friendly setting.”

Book now for the final show in the 2007 series:

Kav Temperley (Eskimo Joe)
8pm Thurs 6 Dec 07

Eskimo Joe have sold hundreds of thousands of record world wide, won numerous ARIA’s and
are growing in the US market. Kav Temperley cut his musical teeth in local Freo pubs to become one of Australia’s most successful songwriters with Eskimo Joe lauded the world over.

All tickets $20 – General Admission. Book on 9432 9555 or in person at Fremantle Arts Centre.
All shows starts 8pm – Gates open 7pm. Bar open – No BYO – Café open for light snacks.

Fremantle Arts Centre located at 1 Finnerty Street Fremantle. Visit www.fac.org.au

News: RTR Event ‘Spring In Sao Paulo

Spring in Sao Paulo

Friday November 30, 8pm – late
SoCo Cargo
Roe St Northbridge

Brazilian good times, sun soaked rhythms and party styles shake Northbridge this November.

It’s the return of the massive RTR Event, Spring in Sao Paulo.

Get along to SoCo Cargo an amazing self-contained set up on Roe Street Northbridge, Friday November 30 from 8 til late and catch some extraordinary RTR DJ talent on a beautiful and bouncy bill.

Our DJ talent at the event includes: Nik K and Tom Foss from Global Rhythm Pot, old RTR head DJ Gear, Jumpin Josh and Claude Mono from El Ritmo, Ben Taaffe from Underground Solution, Graceberg Slim from Soulsides, Wrighteous from Black and Blue, and Dart and Sardi from Wednesday Full Frequency.

Plus our very special guests, those latin rhythm masters, direct from sweaty Sao Paulo via down town Perth, Sambalicious – live and in full effect.

Admission is by door sale only. It’s free entry for ALL RTRFM Subscribers and only $15 for General Admission.

Head down and enjoy the beats, the great venue and a wonderful RTRFM styled atmosphere in the middle of downtown Northbridge.

Spring in Sao Paulo: é um celebration grande.