Interview: Gavin Crossley (Twin Cities FM)

Gavin Crossley (Twin Cities FM)
Interview by Leo Abbs

How did you get involved with Twin Cities?
Staight out of high school I joined 897, in the semi empty depot studio (it’s hard to believe we got by, on what we had back then). I started doing producing for Dave Cosentino and Donna Hiftle (I fluffed my trial test broadcast, also the station manager didn’t like me much so I was made their bitch). I got the call-up a fortnight and the rest is a cliché’ and a long list of shows…..

What shows are on currently on Twin Cities FM?
Western.Oz (Tuesday Nights from 6pm) Western.Oz: Friday Nights (Friday Nights from 6pm) and The WA Top 10 (Friday Nights from 7pm).

What can you tell us about Twin Cities FM move to ECU Joondalup?
It was long winded, and hard work for us at 897, we are a bare bones operation, ECU did most of the intial setting up for us (they had professionals build the studios from scratch)…but we did the wiring of the equipment and installed the desks and ran as automated radio for 3 months while set everything up. I personlly couldn’t do much until the stuff was installed, because i’m terrible at manual handling stuff.

When we got set in, I did my job. I love the new studios, they’re not stuffy, they’re MUCH bigger and the new equipment is nice and makes me sound like i’m actually a good anouncer…which is hard to do.

You host the show ‘Western Oz’. Can you tell me a bit about this show?
Western.Oz is two WA Music shows weekly on 897FM. I host the pair of them. There is also The WA Top 10 is new intiative for Western.Oz, it’s our own Top 10 countdown based on the airplay of WA Music for that week on 897FM.

Doing these shows is an honour. The 897 staff love the WA Top 10. I think bands like being number one too!

You received a Community Broadcasting Association of Australia ‘Commendation for Contribution to Local Music’. What does that mean to you?
It’s my single greatest achievement in my radio career. Myself and my department worked our arses off to get that one. We were pipped for the major award in 2007 by a show who had presented Australian Music for 20 years or something. We won’t be attempting get the award this year due to our 3 months break. Look for us to win in 2009.

You have worked in community radio and also have had a stint on commercial radio. How do the two compare?

Actually i’ve had 2 stints full time and I also did panel work for 882 6PR as well.
They’re vastly different. Community on the most part has little to no funding, we have no funding for our show, I spend a lot of time on my own cash on that show, not that i’m complaining because I can think much worse things to spend money on.

Commercial Radio is having no control as an announcer, you can be entertaining, but you do release your creative control over your work, for a paycheck. But at the same time, it’s cool to just step into the studio and do that job. I love radio broadcasting, I just hated the town of Kalgoorlie which is why I’m back in Perth. Kal is a place if I never see again it’ll be too soon.

How far away can Twin Cities be picked up?

Warwick to Two Rocks….but it’s best to tune in online @ http://www.twincitiesfm.com.au

Why do you support local music?
I love it, I love the people, I love the high standard of music, I get to play. We are truly blessed in Perth. This scene makes my job easy. I would still buy local releases if I wasnt doing this show. Especially the stuf i’m a big fan of.

You have judged competitions such as Next Big Thing and Campus Bands. How important do you think competitions like those are to young bands?

The best people to ask are the winners, but Ben from Project Mayhem told me the winning of NBT has changed their musical lives. It’s incredible leg-up to win NBT or NCBC, you get good gigs, video clips, studio time and more. If you think you have the chops have a go next year.

Who do you think is a Perth act to look out for?

The Transients…they’re incredible, slick and professional. It’s only a matter of time before they’re the new Presets or Midnight Jugganauts. They will be HUGE!

www.twincitiesfm.com.au

Interview: Gigantic

Gigantic Interview

What is the new vinyl release about?

Smashed Records is a cool independent power pop/ garage label based in the Gold Coast that we’ve had contact with over the last couple of years. Rohan Belton who heads the label approached us about doing a limited edition vinyl release and we were aware that Smashed has had a lot of success overseas with their vinyl. So we are really excited about having our first vinyl release! The disc is a 10 inch picture disc titled “On the Verge of Something BIG” and all the copies have been individually autographed by Paul and I.

Is it a new release or a single off the previous album?
The tracks on the 10 inch do appear on the Gigantaphonic Sounds album but it is the first time they have been released on vinyl. And we hope in time the vinyl release will become a bit of a collectors item. It has already been chosen to appear in a rare vinyl museum in Belgium.

You completed an international tour earlier in the year. What positives came out of it? Where was your favourite country to play?
Yes in February and March we played a stack of shows in Europe and the USA, including an appearance at the SXSW Festival which was awesome. It was great to finally get out there and do it and to meet a lot of the band’s overseas supporters face to face. Our favourite shows were in Spain because the fans were just so into it. We even had four fans from Madrid fly over and follow us for some of the US dates. And the Neo Winery in Aranda De Duero, Burgos has produced a limited edition Gigantic wine with us on the label.

Where is Gigantic having the most success as a band?
As mentioned earlier, Spain is where we’re enjoyed the most success. In Spain we are signed to Barcelona based Bip Bip Records who have done a great job of introducing us to Spain and we’ve had a lot of support from indi and national radio and television. We’re really grateful for everybody’s support over there and we can’t wait to get back to play some more shows.

What lays ahead in the next year for Gigantic?
Well we’ve got the BIGGER! BETTER! STRONGER! World Tour that we are about to kick off with shows lined up in Australia, Japan, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Spain and back to the USA a second time on that tour. We’re really excited about playing the POPKOMM Festival in Berlin and the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and getting back to Spain.

We’ve had a busy couple of years of steady touring in support of the last few releases. I think we’ve toured Australia five times, we’ve toured New Zealand and this will be our second big international tour this year so after this tour we are going to take a long break from playing live to work on new material and new recordings.

How do you see the Perth music scene after touring to other countries?
I think the Perth music scene stacks up pretty well. There is a lot of talent here and it is relatively easy for bands to play shows. In countries like Japan and the US, there is a lot of pay to play so for bands without labels, it can be pretty tough. Whilst these days our success is greater overseas than it is here and we don’t play in Perth as often as we used to, we really enjoy playing local shows with like minded bands. And it’s often a great way to check out some local talent as there are usually two or three other acts on the bill for us to enjoy as punters.

What’s the average day like for you as a touring band overseas?
There’s often a good few hours of waiting around at an airport or some other form of travel. Then get into town, find the hotel and maybe duck off for a radio interview or something. Then to the venue for sound check, grab a bite to eat and wait around for the most fun part, playing the show! Because of the travel element, there’s a fair bit of hanging around on tour which can be a real drag but when you get to play your shows it’s all worth it.

What do you miss about home, when on the road?
The main thing I miss is sleep because I don’t sleep so well on planes and trains and on tour there is not often an opportunity for a good nights sleep. You have to learn to squeeze in a couple of hours here and there. And touring overseas earlier this year, I found I really missed the good old Aussie meat pie. When we were in Spain, I tried very hard to describe to our Spanish tour manager what a meat pie was to see if he could assist in finding one or something similar in Spain but he just looked at me really strangely and had not idea what the hell I was talking about!

http://www.myspace.com/giganticau

Interview: Paul Wood (Red Jezebel)

Interview: Paul Wood (Red Jezebel)
Interview and photos by Dylan McArdle
Paul Wood
Red Jezebel are one of the mainstayers of the Perth music scene having been around for almost a decade now. Late last year saw the band release their second full length album after a string of successful shows on the east coast. Lead singer Paul Wood took time out from whatever he does when he’s not on stage to talk to Perth Sounds about their time in the musical spotlight.


In 2007 you (Red Jezebel) put out a new album and did some touring; by all means wouldn’t you say that it was a fairly successful year?
Yeah, it was quite a productive year by our usual standards. At least we’re getting our frequent flyer points up. This year should be much the same, y’know, because we’re a band and stuff.

You had a few difficulties along the way (change of record company etc), was it a relief to finally get the record out the door?
Yeah, it sure was. It’d been sleeping on my couch for months, eating all my food in the refrigerator and clogging up the drain in my shower. Son of a bitch avoided all rental payments as well. I had to start hiding my laptop for a while there while I was at work; it had a habit of chewing up my download quota with suspect movies.

Does the album title “How I Learnt to Stop Worrying” have any symbolic meaning?
I guess if it were written in Chinese it would be full of symbols… 我如何學會停止擔憂. Or even in sign language I suppose. I’d spell it out for you but I’m holding a burrito in one hand and finger typing with the other right at this very minute.

How would you compare it (the new album) with your last release – “Revelations”?
This one has more blue on the cover, different songs too. I guess its slicker than Revelations, but that said, I don’t think we lost any charm from the last one to this release. We’ve got the luxury now to stick our heads up our asses and do whatever we want with what resources we have, but still try to keep at the very least an ear & an eye out to make sure we don’t disappear up there completely. Plus there’s just no room up there now days. Most people don’t realise there’s only one giant ass that all musicians worldwide can disappear into. Mars Volta has bagsed most of the bedrooms in there already so there’s just not that much space left to set up shop.

I’ve noticed you’ve started using the acoustic guitar more of late, haven’t you?
Ah, I guess so. Is this a question or an observation?

Do you have a favourite song on the album?
Howl; It was the most fun to make. It took 3 people to make that weird guitar/tremolo/delay sound thingy. I sang through a toy megaphone which had police sirens on it. I think Parko was just trying to keep me entertained so I would cease to break everything in the immediate vicinity.

The band’s been together 10 years now, that’s some feat given the number of bands that were around when you started who are no longer together.
Shanks! Jebediah still have us beat though. I may soon have to stab Chris Daymond through the heart to put an end to that.

What’s kept you motivated all these year?
Prozac and gin, at the same time, as a suppository.

Do you ever feel jealous that you haven’t quite reached the heights of fellow Perth bands such as Jebediah or Eskimo Joe?
You’re just digging the knife in now. Why don’t you just give it a little turn while you’re at it? There’s an itch back there that I just can’t for the life of me scratch.

Speaking of Eskimo Joe, you won a competition which involved remixing their “New York” track. What made you decided to enter and how long did it take to put the remix together?
I actually did 2 remixes just for the hell of it. I gave the 1st one to Stu who described it as a beautiful red rose floating in a sea of shit (true quote), which led me to finish another one which I think confused everyone involved.

I remember a time back in 2002 or 2003 when the band appeared moody and uninterested on stage. Did you ever think of splitting up?
Every single day, in fact I’m thinking about it right now. I’m also thinking of a joke I someone told me today: Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine are in a bar. Augie tells Aquinas a blonde joke. Aquinas says “Yeah no shit Einstein, women don’t have souls”.

How did the loss of (guitarist) Chris Hayes (in 2004) affect the band?
Pretty badly until we found out 3 weeks later that he wasn’t actually dead, he was in fact sleeping off a nasty hangover. But by that time we’d already replaced him with Parko and had the funeral service, etc. He never quite forgave us for having to dig his way out of Karrakatta Cemetery.

And how did Dave Parkin come about as his replacement? Was he just the natural choice given he’d worked with you on the Revelations album?
Yeah, totally. Well, for that reason and also remember that Hayesy was 6 feet under at the time.

Does his work (as a record producer) ever get in the way of potential bands commitments?
All the time, but it’s okay because he’s not that good anyway so he goes by fairly unnoticed. For example, we took a flight from Melbourne to Brisbane last year on tour and it wasn’t until 20 minutes before landing that we realised we had left Parko back in Melbourne handcuffed to a shower rail.

If you were stuck on a desert island and only had three wishes – would one of them be Susannah Legge in a see-through dress?
It’d certainly be better than having a see through dress in Susannah Legge.
That’s just weird.

Back when the band started you played at the likes of the Grosvenor and Planet – do you miss those places?
Sure, they’ll always have their place in nostalgia. But at the same time, the current crop has vastly surpassed a lot of those jives.

How do the current crop of venues compare?
Hmmm, déjà Vu…

You played at the Railway Hotel before Christmas –it’s good to see some more venues hosting original live music, isn’t it?
Nah.

At that gig you played “Itch” for the first time in five or six years – did that bring back some memories?
Painful memories. That song’s about the Holocaust, of which Cruigy is a survivor. Or so he tells everyone…

You rarely play any pre-Revelations tracks live now – is it just a case that you don’t feel that you need to anymore, that you’ve moved on from that era?
Moved on and in a different headspace altogether. All we want to do is make new songs all the time with the odd game of car park cricket with the locals. There’s always talk of re-hashing some of the old gems, so hopefully we’ll get around to it sooner rather than later

MySpace – Personal social networking site or invaluable band promotional tool?
Using up valuable server room for pornography. We all know what the real purpose of the Internet is for, there’s no point denying it.

Admit it – Josh Carr is a champion isn’t he?
A champion of questionable orientation. A friend of mine lives next door to him. He tells me constantly how Josh Carr cranks up the Grease sound track at home and sings “Totally Devoted to You” at the top of his lungs.

Very soon you play three shows in three nights followed by some country shows; it’s going to be a busy February by the sounds of it.
OBSERVATION!

What are the country crowds like compared to those, say, in Perth?
QUESTION! Ah, much the same really. Mind you I’m not really the ‘paying attention to things’ kinda guy as our manager will confirm.

What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2008 yet? More touring? Plans for a third album?
All of the above. It’s a fire sale!!!

Finally – my first memories of the band (back in ’98 touring with Bodyjar) was seeing you come on stage with bright red hair. Will we ever see a red haired Woody again?
Only if I marry a ranga and have kids…


Red Jezebel play tomorrow night at The Bakery, Saturday night (6pm) at Langley Park and Sunday night at Mojo’s bar. See http://www.myspace.com/redjezebel for more details.

Red Jezebel’s latest full length album “How I Learnt to Stop Worrying” is out now on Sunday Ride Records thru MGM and is available in all good records stores.

Interview: The Chevelles

Duane Smith (The Chevelles)
Interview by Leo Abbs

Things may have appeared to have slowed down in the last few years for local Power Pop band The Chevelles, with it being 12 months since they last played live. However, it’s not necessarily the case with a new worldwide deal being signed with US Label Wicked Cool Records. Their first release through the label being a Chevelles retrospective in 2008 followed by the band’s first album since 2002’s ‘Girl God’, called ‘Accelerator’.

Perth Sounds caught with Duane Smith to find out more about the new deal, and a little about the Chevelles history.

The band has been around for 18 years, and have ventured out to Europe on numerous occasions, also the US and Brazil. Smith said that the biggest success hasn’t actually come in Australia, but in Brazil.

‘Probably Brazil where we sold most records, we had a record deal out there. We sold two thousand copies originally. We sold quite a few records in the mid nineties. Then we got invited back each year to do some shows and play some really big festivals.We went over as part of the Australian surf music festival in Brazil with Yothu Yindi, Gangjagang and Spy Vs Spy and we toured around and played to 30,000 people on the beach, and other big festivals and our own shows with between 2 and 5,000 capacity. That was probably the biggest market we got into. The main areas where we sold records were Spain and Brazil.’

Spain was the first country where The Chevelles travelled to out of Australia in 1991. Smith recalls it was a chance meeting at a gig in Sydney, which opened the door for the band to expand overseas.

‘There’s a funny story about that. We were playing a ‘Rock Against Work’ which is an afternoon gig on a Thursday at the Hopetoun in Sydney and these Spanish guys came up and said ‘Do you want to play (in) Spain? You’re quite big in Majorca, there’s a big festival there do you want to play?’ We built a 42 date European tour around those gigs.’

So what’s it like when a little Perth band, and you get popular on the other side of the world and you come back and play the Amplifier Bar?

‘We are all pretty realists, we’ve been doing it for a long time now. We were the next big thing on triple J in the early 90s and we were getting flogged by Triple J, and doing sizable tours and playing big crowds here. We found other countries to go to, there’s never really been a lull. And there was always somewhere to go. If we are playing to 50 people at a bar somewhere, it’s still rock’n’roll.’

One thing that Smith has noticed, is that after being around for nearly two decades, is that bands have started naming his band as an influence.

‘We’re 18 years old now, and In the past few years, a lot of bands are getting myspaces and putting us and other bands as influences. It’s like we get underground and cult status in pockets all over the places. It feels good and keeps us going again.’

After the Amplifier show, it will be time for an extensive overseas tour for the group, with fellow Perth band Gigantic.

‘Gigantic are going as well. They’re doing the whole leg with us, it’s part of Artswa mentoring grant, where the old blokes take young blokes on tour. (We’re) going to Sweden, London, and Switzerland, then 2 weeks in Spain. New York, South By South West in Austin, Texas, we’re doing 3 shows there and San Francisco and San Diego.’

With the band preparing for a new record deal and (another) world tour, it appears exciting times are ahead for The Chevelles.

THE CHEVELLES
The Surfin’ Santa Christmas Show
Amplifier Bar
Friday 21st December 2007
With Jack And The Beanstalk and The Smokin’ Eldorados

http://www.thechevelles.com/
http://www.myspace.com/thechevelles

Interview: College Fall

Glenn Musto (College Fall)
Interview by Leo Abbs

College Fall have recently returned from their second European tour, this time taking in UK, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The reason for this trip was to tour their debut album ‘Eleven Letters’, which has been released in Finland the UK. Perth Sounds caught up with Glenn Musto (singer/guitarist) over lunch in the city recently to find out more about the band’s European travels.

‘Our album is called ‘Eleven Letters’, which just got released in the UK as we arrived, and Finland. We went over to launch that and do a tour, and expand ourselves in Italy and a couple of other places’

Starting off in a country where they’d never played before, turned out to be a great way to start the trip. They were chosen to play a festival in Italy (where Jodie and Simon Bartlett from College Fall have family) in a village that was thousands of years old.

‘Italy was a highlight because we played one show at a town festival, which was just massive, and in beautiful surroundings in a village, that was over a ten thousand years old, and that village was a backdrop. We were treated really well and it was such an event for those people to have a band from Australia.
They’ve had a festival there for 12 years, and we were the first band from overseas, let alone from so far away and we were treated like royalty.’

The success of the first European tour was evident when the contacts they made in 2006, meant they had record companies ready to release the record in 2007. Of the two counties (UK and Finland), Musto said the latter was the best.

‘The Other highlight was definitely Finland. The record label that put out our album were really good. We played 6 shows and I think five of them sold out. We hooked up with the right people, who had a real love for the music we were doing, got what we were about and booked us the right shows as well.’

Tampere, Turku, Jyvaskyla and Helsinki were the four Finnish towns College Fall played in. they were university towns and the response to the band’s music was quite flattering for the band. Once again, the success in Finland was built through the previous tour. Once interesting thing Musto notes, is that live music in Scandinavia ceases over summer.

‘It was the start of the season, because they (pubs and promoters) shut their music down over summer.
In most of Scandinavia, the pubs and promoters do, because most people are on holiday. Uni towns (in summer) don’t have as many people.

Talking to Musto, he seemed to love Finland and they’ll definitely be heading back. He mentioned how much they love music there and it’s not just the love of metal which is well known, in fact the alternative indie pop music scene is thriving, which suits a band like College Fall well.

‘Finland has a history of being big in metal, but they are huge music fans. I read recently that Finland has more bands per capita, than any country in the world. Probably because it’s so cold, what else are you going to do? People do indoor activities. So many bands and so many bands that love pop music.’

Back in Australia, College Fall barely took time to rest, before playing their first shows, heading to the north of WA, to play Kununurra. An unusual place to play, but once again Musto was enthusiastic.

‘It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. It’s like nowhere else in Australia.’

He talked a little more about the trip up there, saying they played six shows over ten days in the main pub to packed crowds, proving once again, there’s plenty of opportunities for local bands outside of Perth. Finally he added, ‘As a band, as people, we’re not interested in doing the same old thing.’

College Fall play their return show in Perth, Sunday December 2nd at The Paddington Ale House in Mt Hawthorn. Doors open 6pm with support from Adem K (Burton Cool Suit)

For other tour dates visit College Fall’s webspage at www.collegefall.com (.)

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

Interview: Steve Parkin

Steve Parkin
Interview by Dylan McArdle




Photo of Steve, also by Dylan.

This weekend is RTRfm’s 30th anniversary and to celebrate they’ve managed to get 10 Perth bands to re-form for one night only in what is set to be a killer show. One of the bands on the lineup is Autopilot and their former lead singer Steve Parkin took some time to us about his time in the band and his ongoing career as a solo artist.

So…Autopilot are reforming to play at the RTRfm 30th Anniversary gig. How did that all come about?
RTR Asked Me. I Hesitated. Then saw Circus Murders Were on the bill, so said yes!

It’s been a while (since Autopilot last played) hasn’t it? What is it – 5 or 6 years now?
Yep.

Will playing together again bring back some memories?
Um…maybe. I live with Hugh now, so see him all the time anyway. Jayde is in Africa or Japan, or somewhere, So we got a fill-in drummer (Hobbsy)

What made you guys call it a day? Was it a tough decision?
We lost momentum. Personal Issues. Yeah, It was hard, But Ultimately a good choice for all three of us.

You said recently (in relation to The Bank Holidays debut album)
“you have made the album I wish Autopilot had made”.

Do you have any other regrets from your time in Autopilot?
I wish wed’ waited three to start ripping off The Beatles. We were a bit early. Jet Vines, Sleepys could have told us!

What happened to the material that never got released as part Autopilot’s 3rd CD? Are they shelved forever or will they make it in some form on to one of your solo releases in the future?
They are in a box. In a warehouse. In a nondescript western town. Next to a certain…ark..?

Of all the songs you’ve written, which is your favourite and why?
Pure Gold Baby. Coz I still like it after ten years!

I heard the song “Haemophiliac” on an advert for Honda North once. How exactly does that song entice me to buy a Honda?
Um..coz…They’ll bleed you dry?

I know Hugh (Jennings) has played with you in the Bob Evans band and The Foreign Films as well as in End of Fashion. What happened to drummer Jayde after the band split up?
Parts Unknown

Speaking of the Bob Evans band, how was/is working with Kevin Mitchell? Does playing in someone else’s band compare to being in your own?
It was a challenge because I’m easy on myself
I had to be disciplined a bit. Kev is awesome. He is a great guy. A great songwriter, and (contrary to his earlier press) a fucking awesome singer! I had a top time with Lil Kevvy Mitchell.

I guess you could call yourself a veteran of Perth music scene. What do you think of the scene right now? Do you think it’s better now than it was, say, 6 or 7 years ago?
It’s certainly got more attitude, and it’s younger. Like, really young (Flairz, Mink Mussel Creek etc) Seem you gotta have a record deal before high school now!

Are there any Perth bands you wish were still around?
Ikey Mo, Ammonia, Bluetile Lounge, OH Man, Heaps. Pink Fluffy Bunnies. Left Nut!

You’ve played in a lot of different venues over the years – is there a venue that you enjoy playing at the most? Is there anywhere you don’t like playing?
Perth Concert Hall. Hands down. All time favourite . Won’t name the worst. They know who they are.

Tell me some of the things you use as inspiration during your song writing process.
Vodka. Mary Jane. “Stress” Pills. Punching Bag. Egg Whisk..

Who is Sandy and where is Sandytown?
Listening to the album backwards to find out!

Eskimo Joe credit you for your help on “London Bombs” – is there a story behind that?
Yeah I did all the work. They sat back and sipped french champagne and received backrubs from supermodels while I slogged my goddamn guts out. Wankers.

Are you jealous/envious that they (Eskimo Joe) have achieved more success Australia wide that you’ve managed to so far?
Well, considering they just signed me to my first proper record deal and I’m now gonna spend all their hard- earned money…um..no..

You work at Mills Records; have you ever recommended “Sandytown” to a customer who didn’t know who you were?
Are you nuts? Of course I bloody have.

You also done some TV commercial appearances, haven’t you? Didn’t I see you on adverts for Western QBE and Curtin Business School?
Shut up. What about my scene with Toni Collette in Japanese Story? That was much cooler.

It’s been a few years now since you released your solo debut album “Sandytown”. Is a follow up in the works? When is that due for release?
We’re halfway through it. Should be out next year. It’s a guitar pop odyssey. Timberlake meets flock of Seagulls.

Do you think it’ll ever be cool to do the Beatles in Perth again?
Ask Bank Holidays and Luke Steele!

RTRfm’s 30th Anniversary show is this Saturday at the Hyde Park.
For more info see RTR’s website – http://www.rtrfm.com.au/events/74

Interview: Sons Of Rico

Alex ‘Boff’ MacRae (Sons Of Rico)
Interview by Leo Abbs

It’s been three years since Alex MacRae last got to experience a CD launch. It was at the Amplifier and it was for the launch of his band’s Bus #56 debut disc. In 2007, it finally has come time for his band to release their second CD, their first under the name ‘Sons Of Rico’ complete with a line up change.

Perth Sounds emailed some questions one Saturday Morning to Alex and got a very quick and very enthusiastic response.

So why have you changed the band name to Sons Of Rico?
Bus#56 was initially intended to be just a temporary name but got stuck after a few shows and even more so after a demo EP. We were never happy with it and felt that now with a new CD and a new member; the time is right to make a full transformation.

How has the second EP progressed from the first?
The first one was a ‘cut all corners’ kind of project. Everything was tracked in a bedroom and mixed and mastered very very cheaply. This time round we employed the likes of Shaun O’Callaghan for some tracking and all mixing, as well as paying to use another studio for the rest of the tracking. Also the songs are generally more developed and refined than the first batch.

How does it affect the band, having members in touring bands such as Birds Of Tokyo?
Well, if birds are on tour, then we can’t play any shows! Hehe. But we’re a pretty organised band. If we know in advance that someone isn’t going to be around for a few weeks, we can still be writing new material or rehearsing in preparation for the next show.

Is there any particular styles that you would like to try in a song, that you haven’t already done?
I think for now we’ll try and establish ourselves as a kick ass rock band before we start getting too crazy with other styles. It might be confusing for would-be fans if they’re not so sure what style this band is. When we have a bit more material out there we may look to experiment more with different styles.

What is your favourite song on the EP and why?
For me it’s definitely Orange Skies. I like the melody and flow of the song. I’ve heard it so many times yet I’m still not bored of it. Also, I enjoy Ignite because it’s totally badass and has a million guitar solos.

Do you write at home by yourself or in a jam?
For this EP I wrote the material by myself at home and refined it in the jam room and studio. It was the best thing for everyone to get things happening while the other guys were busy. Having said that, the next release will be more of a band effort.

What do you find useful on the Internet as far as being a local Perth band?
Is the correct answer Perthsounds.com? J But seriously, MySpace is the most powerful tool for any band in this day and age. There are many useful tools on the internet that can help us, but MySpace is by far the most powerful at the moment.

Most exciting thing to happen to the band this year?
The whole new package!
New lineup/ new name/ new CD!

The CD launch next week is something we’ve looked forward to all year, so hopefully that’ll be a highlight for us too. Cheers!

CD Launch Details:
Saturday 17th November
Rosemount
Sons Of Rico ‘Orange Skies’ CD Launch
(formerly called Bus #56)
w/ Good Little Fox and The Vice Chancellors
www.myspace.com/sonsofrico

Interview: Nathan Gaunt

Nathan Gaunt
Interview by Leo Abbs



Nathan Gaunt is launching his latest album ‘Halcyon Dazed’ on Saturday 3rd November at the Railway Hotel. What is different about this album is that it is an internet only album – available for download on Gaunt’s website at http://www.nathangaunt.com.au .

The album is called ‘Halcyon Dazed’ and it came about because Gaunt revisited a bunch of his favourite albums from 1997 and 1998, which inspired him to write songs for a record, with sounds from that era in mind.

‘I had written some music for a fashion show in New York, and around this time I was writing a very beats-based soundtrack for the models on the catwalk. I went back and listened to a lot of my Massive Attack and Portishead records for a bit of research, and in doing so, I started listening to a lot of music that was coming out in 97 and 98.’

‘I hit upon this idea, that, that was when I first started playing music, and listening to music seriously. So, I pulled out all the records that I bought in the year and a half’s time and listened to them for about a month, two months, while I was travelling. I got into this real kind of nostalgic trip, because they were my Halcyon days of my music listening life, and so these eleven songs were born out of that.’

This period was also around the time Gaunt started playing live and when he started really getting serious about music, both as a musician and as a listener. So instead of doing the usual, greatest hits approach, he has revisited an era where it all started.

Not only did he take a different approach with the music, but also with the way it was released. The idea to make it an internet only album came after starting a download service on his website last year. Considering it was a success, Gaunt decided he would record an album and only release it through the net.

‘Upon doing this show in New York, I decided to do one for just those who were involved in the website, people who came by and checked, for people on our mailing list. Literally within an hour of finishing mastering this album, I uploaded it up onto the website and people started downloading it, and that’s when I thought, ‘this could work’.’

As for how the idea is going, Gaunt said:

‘It’s been up for 4 months, and we’ve nearly sold a thousand copies. We’ve done no press, no promo, it’s literally from just traffic.’

If there was one deviation from the theme of 1997/98, it was something that Gaunt always likes to do on his albums. It’s to pursue what he has always loved about Led Zeppelin – their ethnic rock influences. Which he did on this album, on the track ‘Kali Underground’. Zeppelin being a bigger influence on Gaunt, than Jeff Buckley, who he has been compared to in the past.

‘It’s just one of those things, the minute I open my mouth I’m going to get comparisons.’ Gaunt said on the Buckley comparisons.

‘From a technical point of view, my vibrato is almost identical. On this album, I’ve actually tried to tone back the vibrato, and just sing very straight and change the tone of my voice.’

‘When people look back on the amount of work that I’ve done, they’ll see that ‘s a completely irrelevant no-brainer comment. The only similarities are that occasionally I sound like him and occasionally I do ballads. It’s hard to escape, but I never saw him play with an Indian Orchestra on a 12 string guitar, tuned to sitar tuning, for 4 ½ minutes with the record button.’

In the end, the amount of work Gaunt has released and the diversity of it, will leave him to be remembered as an a unique artist in his own right. With his eight album ‘Halcyon Dazed’, he has proved it again, trying new ideas that he hasn’t touched on before.

‘I always take the long road with music and that is no one will fully understand what you’ve done, until you’re gone. It’s a sad truth, and once you reconcile it as an artist, if you really believe in the work (that) you’ve done, it becomes irrelevant what people call you. You know what you’ve done. I’ve put out eight albums and each one is completely different.’

Launch Details
Saturday 3rd November
Railway Hotel, North Fremantle
w/ support from Myles Vincent, The Chemist and Good Little Fox

To download the album go to:
www.nathangaunt.com.au