Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

459 Fitzgerald Street
North Perth, WA, 6006
Australia

Just Announced

Behind the Zine scene with Love Letters

Andrew Ryan

Lola Pam Love Letter.jpg

Holed away in a share house in Fremantle, Lola Stephen and Pamela Bond sit cross legged on the floor surrounded by photographic prints, empty film canisters, a jumble of lap top leads and dozens of pages of scribbles and thoughts. They have been working hard on the inception, creation and launch of Love Letters - a DIY, not-for-profit zine showcasing female and non-binary musicians within the music industry. I had the oppurtunity to speak to Lola and Pam about all the gnitty-gritty in the lead up to the launch of the zine this evening at Mojo's.

For those who aren’t familiar – let’s start with the basics. Tell us the inspiration for this project – was there a ‘eureka’ moment that stands out to you?

Yep, definitely. It was around this time last year and I really wanted to put some creative energy into a new project and at the time was going through a bit of a bummer stage with a past relationship. I’d just watched The Runaways biopic and had made this playlist which heavily featured them, Patti Smith, Miss June and other loud female artists and it was one of the only things making me feel better. I thought it’d be cool to thank these women that we often turn to in these kind of times, the ones who give us a kick up the butt to be like ‘I’m good! I’ve got this! I’m great!’ - that’s where the idea of writing these ‘love letters’ to these women came about and the zine was born.

We’re very much in the age of the internet and online blogs and articles tend to be the major format for cultural and social discussion. What inspired the decision to put together a physical zine, as opposed to an online format? And what’s the importance of this to the themes and message the zine is encouraging?

I’ve always loved printed publications, having something to hold and flip through and pick up when you want and its so rewarding having a physical product of something that you’ve worked on for so long.

I’ve worked on zines and magazines in the past and always had this idea that I’d create one in every city I lived in (I’m from Scotland) and thought Perth was the perfect place to do one focused on music, specifically women in music because there is such a beautiful supportive scene here that I’ve never seen anywhere else. And although the music scene is thriving, there’s not much of a zine culture here so I wanted to bring that to the table and open more people up to the idea of creating your own DIY publications on whatever you want.

You’ve noted the inspiration of this zine is a celebration and exploration of femme and non-binary artists and their ability to provide a safe space when in times of need. I am more than familiar with this thanks to many contemplate evenings with PJ Harvey and Nico – which artists really affected you?

Oh gosh so so many. Big hitters for me are people like Debbie Harry, Patti Smith (lol how many times can I mention her in an interview), Kim Gordon, Beyonce!, Kim Deal, Angel Olsen, Jen Cloher, Julia Jacklin - I’ve written about Debbie Harry and Angel Olsen for the zine and our cover star is Julia Jacklin which is exciting.

Then there’s the women working and creating in this city around who through watching them play have given me the courage to start my own musical project from watching them do it, and kill it while doing so.

Love Letters Cover.jpg

The Love Letter’s scene utilizes a combination of photography, written words, art and design – why did you make the decision to include a variety of artistic mediums, and how does this marrying of mediums influence the way the ideas/topics are expressed?

For sure, I wanted to make something really visual and I know so many artists that I wanted to get on board to create imagery in order to accompany written aspects of the zine. I’m really inspired by 70s punk gig posters they’re always really bright and punchy so wanted to emulate that with Love Letters.

It was also really cool to reach out to friends who’s work I love and ask them to create these pieces and everyone created something so perfect for each piece. I think it’s really important to provide platforms and spaces for local artists and being able to merge so many different mediums into one publication is really special.

You and Pamela personally met with all the artists featured in the zine to photograph them. Was the direction/staging of the shoots quite deliberate? Or was there an organic, mutual approach to each shoot? And were there any artists that you particularly enjoyed chatting with/shooting? 

It really varied with everyone we met. For some we had a really clear image and idea how we wanted to photos to turn out, for example our shoot with Hyclass was a really strong vision Pam brought and created this really dreamy image, and then others had a clear idea how they themselves wanted to be portrayed. Sakidasumi was really cool to work with in that respect - she’s has such a strong image and is so sure and clear about what she wants. 

And then others we would just rock up at their houses and see what happened! A fun one was with Oosterbanger (hey that’s you!), there was some serious tree climbing involved - impressive skills. But it was really nice chatting to everyone involved and hearing who’s inspired and impacted their music. 

The zine celebrates femme and non-binary artists within the local community and across Australia. There is increasing awareness of representation and celebration for these artists within the music community. What decisions and steps do you believe we can take as gig-goers to support and strengthen this progress?

As gig-goers I think it’s really important to attend events with diverse lineups and question others which may be comprised of the usual straight, white, man bands we’re so used to seeing all the time. Diversity and representation is so important, Jennifer Aslett (San Cisco/Gunns), put it really well in the zine saying “you can’t be what you can’t see” which is so true, seeing someone like yourself on the stage really helps give you the confidence to do your own music or creative projects, it’s the little ‘fuck yeah I can do that too!’ push which is why it’s so important.

Can you tell us a little about the launch at Mojo’s this Thursday and where people can buy a copy of the zine if they’re unable to attend?

So our launch kicks off at 7.30pm at Mojo’s with an absolute killer line-up of women who we have featured in the zine - Childsaint, Demon Days, Ruby May, Kopano, Oosterbanger, Jamilla playing live sets as well as Nicole Filev and Love Letters DJs spinning tracks to keep ya dancing. And when I say Love Letters DJs it’s me and Soraya Stuart-Smith most likely playing Janet Jackson on repeat. They’ll be $10 on the night and we’ll be setting up an online place to buy zines, but if anyone is interested send us an email theloveletterszine@gmail.com and we can forward details. 

Cool Perth Nights' (Unofficial) Fringe World Festival Guide

Andrew Ryan

Blog-Fringe1.jpg

It’s this time of the year again, where the would-be poets, the emerging actors, and the hardened artistic veterans come out of their creative hidey-holes and come together in the celebration of the weird, the colourful, and the… Fringe. (ugh, this sentence, it’s so cringe.)

Cool Perth Nights has, in its generosity and desire to tell you where the good things are happening- after all we would absolutely feel awful if you had to sit through an hour and a half that you’ll never ever get back (and trust us, we’ve been there.). So in an effort to help you have as much fun at Fringe, this (very much unofficial) guide to what looks great (what looks great initially- may however leave much to be desired).

 

Without further ado-

 

Cabaret- This is why you go to Fringe. Presenting cabaret in the right setting is difficult to find any other time of the year, as are to find patrons who are willing to go to sleep at 2 am rather than a healthy 8 pm. Here’s some of the top picks at a glance:

Tomas Ford

Tomas Ford

Tomas Ford’s FXXK YOU tour- Tomas Ford is a veteran of the fringe festival circuit, like no other- after all he has performed at the Edinborough Fringe Festival, the holy grail of all fringe festivals, and was not booed out of it, as far as rumours go. Tomas Ford’s previous work included the (in)famous Crap Music Rave (the only time where it’s appropriate to have Rebecca Black on the playlist), and now he’s back on the road with a series of improvs, comedies, late night cabarets and dance-alongs by him and other company This is happening at the Rosemount’s very own Bar 459, and at the very least you’ll never have a bad time at Tomas Ford’s performances. How you process what happens afterwards, is up to you.

Jamie Mykaela’s Napoleon Complex- A frequent tour companion to the above, but nonetheless has become a breakout star in her own right- from being on the British X-Factor (but not quite making it) and being semi-viral in Malaysia- no mean feat for someone who is 4 foot 7. Complete with comedy, ukelele and saccharine whimsy, the entertainment could be way above six-foot- all of it happening at the Moon Cafe’s Loungeroom from the 11th to 16th of February (except on the 12th).

***

Theatre- All the world’s a stage and the men and women are merely players…. Yada yada yada. Theatre is the other most popular battleground of the festival, attracting both experienced playwrights, directors and actors, alongside ones fresh out of acting school ready to show they can be more than just themselves. Here's some of the top picks at a glance:

 

Fleabag

Fleabag

Fleabag- Based off the BBC series by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag is all about the daily lives of a 20-something millennial enmeshed in a world of shit, meaningless sex, and shit, meaningless jobs. Sounds like material that will relate to a lot of us. Fleabag runs at the Blue Room from 13-17 February, and then 20-24 February.

How To Kill The Queen of Pop- Three back-up singers in drag. One knife. It is the year 2000, and the Olympics have come to Sydney. Vanessa Amorosi will be the one singing at the opening ceremony- or will she? The concept is lurid, and honestly, this one can be roaring laugh out loud, or embarrassingly terrible. But such lop-sided risk / reward factors are part and parcel of Fringe World.

19 Weeks- 19 Weeks is a very personal piece by Emily Steel, about how she dealt being pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, and the aftermath. The setting of a swimming pool and the fact that you will be putting your feet in said pool promises to be an unflinching and intimate experience. 19 Weeks runs at the COMO pool, at COMO The Treasury (1 Cathedral Avenue) from the 30-31st of January, and then 1-3 and then 6-10 February.

***

Hannah Gadsby

Hannah Gadsby

Comedy- HAHAAHAHA!!! Or sometimes, the crowd goes quiet, and you know you’ve done goofed. That’s the comedian life for you.

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette- This is her magnum opus, and she brings it back to Perth as a final swansong to her comedy career. This might be your only chance to watch it live, and that alone might just be a good reason to go. It runs on the 27th and the 28th January at the State Theatre Centre.

***

Music- Perth is the most isolated capital in the world, yet produces a music scene that kicks ass. Cool Perth Nights always wonders if its something in the water that’s responsible for this- but we’ll leave that introspective solipsism for another day, and celebrate the fact that we have viable export material that doesn’t come from under the ground. Whilst music events tend to play out as sideshow, still it's something for everyone.

 

Menagerie Choir

Menagerie Choir

Silent Disco- The Silent Disco has been almost a part of Fringe World, that without it, would it even be the same festival? The Silent Disco is never not popular from dusk to twilight, the song and dance goes on. The atmosphere is contained entirely within a set of noise-cancelling headphones, and with several different channels to dance to, there’s something in it for everyone. Entry to this is rather unconvnetional, as you have to go to the Box Office to purchase Showman’s Coins- which is the actual way to pay for entry. This is on throughout the duration of the festival.

Menagerie Choir Presents: Keeping Secrets- The Menagerie choir is another very popular act, from its early days, several years ago, it finds itself performing everywhere, anytime, and here they are performing once again for the patrons of Fringe World. For those who don’t know, they make acappellas out of popular songs and have fun doing so. And you’ll probably have fun too, possibly singing along quietly, wondering why you didn’t join this choir (and they’re very open to newcomers!). On at the 17-18 and 24-25 February at the Teatro at the Pleasure Garden.

 

(Note: This guide should only be used as an advisory, and not a statement of fact. If you must see a show because a friend / relative of yours is in it, though do so by all means, and be gentle, unless you are a reviewer in which case, go strike while the iron is hot. Cool Perth Nights is not responsible for any lack of enjoyment you may have during the 2018 Fringe World Festival.)

6006 Feature | North Perth chats with Spacey Jane

Andrew Ryan

Spacey Jane.jpg

With North Perth Local's 6006 In The Park at Woodville Reserve just around the corner, we thought we'd have a chat with some of the incredible musicians playing the event. It's not often you get to see a line-up like this for free. We touched base with up-and-comers Spacey Jane to chat about their North Perth experiences, music, and pizza toppings.

To get things started - what’s the Spacey Jane origin story? You formed about a year and a half ago, was there a inspired moment of ‘this is a fantastic idea’? Or was it more of a natural progression?

Kieran and I have been playing for a few years now and we’d been looking for people to play with around Perth but being new to the city made that a bit tricky. When Ashton and Meils came along it wasn’t a big magic moment or anything, I think we were all a bit self-conscious, we whipped out Arctic Monkeys and Kings of Leon covers. It was all a bit awkward but it evolved pretty quickly, certainly a natural progression.

If your sound was a pizza – what would be the toppings (edible toppings are preferable).

Fruit salad and carbonara. It wouldn’t be much of a pizza.

Songwriting break down. Do lyrics or riffs come first? Do you have a main songwriter or is it a collaborative effort?

I (caleb) usually bring the band most of a song and we work at it together and everyone’s parts come together over a couple weeks. Sometimes I write riffs or Meils and I share a riff for a song, it’s pretty fluid, we haven’t really locked into a formula just yet.

You launched your debut EP No Way To Treat An Animal in November last year. Are you still basking in the wonderful achievement? And what have the roll-on effects of the release been?

Yea its been super nice to have a body of work to put our name on, it’s the result of lots of work for us so we feel a little chuffed with it. It feels like we solidified a bunch of great fans, its amazing having full rooms singing along to our songs. There’s a few other exciting things rolling out from it but that’s a secret for now…

I’ve wrangled you in because you’re playing North Perth Local’s 6006 In The Park event next weekend celebrating the local community. To get thing started - what’s the weirdest night you’ve had out in North Perth (keep it PG – this is a family event).

Living in freo makes it pretty uneconomical for me to get up here very often, one of last times I had a big night up there I fell asleep on the train home and woke up back in the city with bunch of concerned suits looking at me. Had work in an hour so I spent 50 on a taxi (questionable) and my driver was a retired priest who helped me sort out my life choices for our 30mins together.

You’ve won $500 on a scratchie and are spending the day in North Perth. What do you do? Where do you spend it? What do you buy?

This is tough one seeing as we don’t have a firm grasp on North Perth geography but a good friend of ours shared this from his memo.

“…bought a hot chicken and some wonder white bread from coles and spent the day fighting Ibis in Hyde park”- Nath Lewis.

You can see Spacey Jane alongside Tired Lion, Rick Stelle and Felicity Groom at the 6006 In The Park event held at Woodville Reserve in North Perth on January 28, kicking off at 4pm.

6006 In The Park.jpg

Mailout Soundtrack - A Crow Looked At Me

Andrew Ryan

It is significant that Mount Eerie, who's album A Crow Looked at Me was amongst all the top ten album count downs that matter, has sold out Mojo's Bar. Check this openly sombre album while you pick at the final potentially mouldy left overs from Christmas day.

Fireside Chats: With the Ban Uranium Mining Permanently (B.U.M.P)

Andrew Ryan

BUMP in action. Photo: Claire Anderson.

BUMP in action. Photo: Claire Anderson.

Nuclear.

Ever since humanity dropped the atomic bomb- illustrating its dangerous potential- we have been nonetheless fascinated- and to some repulsed by it. When the threat of nuclear annihilation receded, humanity was then immediately challenged by the spectre of global warming, one to which we are yet to solve (assuming that we do at all).

Often conversations about environment boil down to energy. After all electricity is something we use- and by use- literally dependent on it. Coal, gas and other fosil fuels fuel our energy-reliant society (especially in the age of BitCoin), and the constant expansion for new sources inevitably results in the trampling of natural resources, to which some segment of our population disapproves.

Nuclear power has often been billed as an energy efficient, environmentally friendly replacement for the smog-inducing coal power plants. But the use of nuclear power always presents the spectre of the deadly fallout, that thankfully, rarely ensues. For some, however, it is a price too high to pay, and groups like Ban Uranium Mining Permanently dedicate day, night and twilight to fight.

So here I am, Clayton Lin, part-time arts reviewer, writer of miscellaneous topics and occasional player of card games, gets out of his typical medieval-history filled box, to chat to Olivia from B.U.M.P about the glowing, smoldering issue at hand.

***

C: As someone who is a more of a hermit than in the know, explain to the uninitiated who B.U.M.P is and what they fight for?

O: BUMP (Ban Uranium Mining Permanently) is a grass roots collective of volunteers working out of Fremantle. BUMP has been at it for nearly ten years and was previously called FANG (Fremantle Anti Nuclear Group).

We are a pretty diverse group of people with a range of different skills and expertise, but at its core BUMP is driven by some incredible individuals who have dedicated most of their lives to the anti-colonialism and anti-nuclear struggle. I think BUMP strives mostly to be an accomplice to the Aboriginal people who are opposing the brutal and permanent dispossession that is Uranium mining.

Where most people get involved is through one of BUMPs biggest and longest running projects which is the Walkatjurra Walkabout, now going in to its eighth year. Walkatjurra Walkabout is a month long walk in the northern goldfields that takes place every year, usually at the beginning of August. Every day the walkers travel on foot through country, from camp to camp, connecting with the land and learning about the strong history of resistance to uranium mining in WA. Internationally there is a powerful legacy of walking for country and the Walkatjurra walkers get to be a part of that.

Definitely check it out ~ https://walkingforcountry.com/

C: On to the topic at hand- whilst I did some of my own cursory research regarding the Yeelirrie mine site and its contentious approval- but the populace at large who may not have heard of this story- explain to us what is at stake here and why the public should care about the issue.

O: Yeelirrie is an incredible place in the northern goldfields of WA. Yeelirrie is within Tjiwarl Native Title lands and means ‘place of death’ in the local language. The uranium deposit at Yeelirrie is the largest known deposit in Western Australia and Traditional Owners have fought to stop it for over 40 Years.

A Canadian mining company called Cameco wants to create a 9kmlong open pit mine and uranium processing plant at Yeelirrie. Not only will it destroy this sacred area but mining and processing will use an estimated 8.7 million litres of ground water a day. This project is estimated to generate 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits. The Environmental Protection Authority has officially warned that that this project would lead to the extinction of several species of subterranean fauna.

The proposal threatens important cultural heritage sites that are part of the Seven Sisters Dreaming song line.

For me it is important to know that the history of the uranium industry in Australia is a history of racism. Aboriginal people face the destruction of their land by this industry and its radioactive legacy. Uranium mining functions as a violent and oppressive perpetuation of colonialism in this country.

And it doesn’t end here in Australia. Everyone is stressing out at the threat of nuclear warfare, well where does that threat begin? Uranium mined in Australia fueled the disaster at Fukashima. It was Australian uranium in those reactors.

Not to mention that mining and processing uranium is a very carbon intensive process, and not the solution to climate change that people are being sold.

This is an amazingly multi-faceted campaign, with many people fulfilling different important roles; from people who are passionate about policy making and international campaigning to the people who attend, play music and cook food at grass roots events like The Nukecracker.

When lands are threatened right in our back yard in the city, its hard to ignore and essential to act. We need to remember that there are fights happening on the stolen lands of people living in the Goldfields and the Pilbara, and all over Australia, all the time. Wanti uranium – leave it in the ground.

C: The controversy regarding the approval and the long drawn out legal battle for both sides, but more so for the Band Uranium Mining Permanently. To this end, your organization has decided to hold a fundraiser at Mojo’s called Nukecracker (whoever came up with this name needs to be given a pay rise or an extra lump sum on top) to help raise money to continue the fight. Again, for those who aren’t aware of this story- can you tell us about the legal battle in the courts, and what are you hoping to achieve through it?

O: Three Tjiwarl native title holders and Conservation council of Western Australia with the EDO (Environmental Defenders Office) have taken Cameco and the State to court over the approval of the Yeelirrie uranium mine by the Liberal Government just weeks before the election this year. The EPA had recommended that it not be approved as it would lead to the extinction of several species of subterranean Fauna.

This court case will set precedent for all of Western Australians and their right to have a fair and environmentally conscious approval process for development projects. Ministers should not be able to sign off on the extinction of a species.

BUMP seeks to support the Tjiwarl native title holders in their continued struggle against this project. Part of this is by helping raise funds for this court case, which is entirely crowd-funded. The Nukecracker will be a party celebrating the efforts and strength of everyone who has been involved and all money raised will go towards the court costs. 2017 has been a massive year and we need to celebrate all the hard work that has gone in to keeping WA nuclear free.

It is important to note that this mine is currently not economically feasible. The company has stated that they need a $55- $60 a pound for uranium, to break even, current prices are $24 a pound.

Uranium is a dirty and toxic industry and there is no current plan on how to clean up the mess this mine will make, especially if Cameco goes bankrupt, like almost all uranium companies are currently doing due to the instability and undesirability of uranium as a global product.

You can donate or read more about the court case and Yeelirrie at our Chuffed account https://chuffed.org/project/yeelirrie-court-case

C: Non-topical and closing question- Whenever I do interview, I make it a tradition to ask about their most favourite breakfast, lunch and dinner, and in addition to any other hobbies / fun stuff you do outside your activism?

O: I guess I prefer to be eating whatever Id be eating when I’m the bush. Which I means I eat a lot of watermelon when I’m in the city. At the moment I love boxing, trail running and playing music.

 

Cool Perth Nights | A Year In Review | Tash Sultana Home Coming Tour

Andrew Ryan

What a year for music culture! Aside from Cool Perth Nights owned and operated Mojo’s Bar picking up the publicly voted WAM award for best venue, and Cool Perth Nights programmed and marketed venue Rosemount picking up best live entertainment venue award, 2017 saw many glass ceilings righteously smashed by femme activists and artists. 

The gender playing field is still out of whack – and there’s still a lot of work to be done - but in the same breath, 2017 has been a year of celebration and consolidation for all the hard work and progress achieved.

In keeping with this, Cool Perth Night’s produced and promoted our biggest shows to date with the one woman band world beater – Tash Sultana – selling out her Fremantle Arts Centre performances, with close to 7000 music lovers attending to share in this incredible experience.

We have additional large scale events in the works for 2018 and 2019 – and at the same time, are continuing to champion Under 18 artists with our Sweet Oblivion programming at the YMCA space HQ. Mojo Rising is slated to continue through 2018 sharing the love at both Mojo’s Bar, and a selection of other performance spaces.

Eternal respects and congrats to Carla Geneve, one of the brightest stars we’ve been privileged to see at such an early stage of their career and no doubt the beginning of a long and prosperous journey in music and performance.

And with that we leave you with this incredible video filmed and produced by our new and very talented friend - Jacob Crawford – featuring Tash Sultana performing at Fremantle Arts Centre.

THE VICTIMS | New release "Charlie"

Andrew Ryan

The Victims.png

Charlie Manson is dead: goodbye and good riddance from The Victims. 

In 1977, The Victims went to see a film called Helter Skelter, a made-for-TV film that received a cinema release in Australia. Helter Skelter depicted the Manson murders and the subsequent investigation and trial. Charles Manson himself had become a notorious figure and for some people he was a pop culture icon, a kind of anti-James Dean. People were endlessly fascinated by the lurid details of the murders and the bizarre world of Manson and his followers, his co-called “Family”. The Victims took a different view - they thought Charles Manson was a total loser. After watching Helter Skelter, drummer James Baker (who went on to gain notoriety in the Beasts of Bourbon and The Scientists) wrote some lyrics and Dave Flick, aka Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus), set them to music. Charlie was born and became another Victims anthem in the tiny punk scene in Perth, Western Australia. 

Flash forward to the 2017 and Baker and Faulkner performed under The Victims name for the first time in nearly four decades with aussie hardcore legend Ray Ahn of The Hard Ons playing bass. They enjoyed themselves so much they decided to record a half dozen of The Victims songs that had never had a proper recording back in ’77/’78 when they were active. Excitingly for fans of this highly influential punk outfit, these brand new Victims recordings will soon see the light of day. Charlie is the first taste of the sessions which took place at Perth's RADA Studio's earlier this year. Manson himself died the day before the band went in to mix the first couple of songs so he will never hear how little respect The Victims had for him. 

Who cares what he would have thought. Now we can all dance on his grave metaphorically, singing “Charlie Manson, you’re a fool!”.

Backstage | Amber Fresh chats with Dean Lewis

Andrew Ryan

Dean Lewis.jpg

Sydney local turned globe trotting musical extraordinaire - Dean Lewis - played to a sold out crowd at Mojo's Bar last week. It only seems fair he has a fellow wondrous human to celebrate with, so here's the lovely Amber Fresh chatting with Dean at Mojo's Bar, Fremantle, about all things life, music and lovely.

Fireside Chats: With Leafy Suburbs

Andrew Ryan

Lyndon here thinking about the course and direction of human civilization.

Lyndon here thinking about the course and direction of human civilization.

Lyndon Blue is a man with many friends. He is impossible to hate. If somehow, he rubs you the wrong way, you might be on the list of people I would want to have nothing to do with. (and when I say list in this case, I probably hint something like Arya Stark’s kind of list)

Anyhow, Lyndon Blue is a man with many talents, the first and foremost is the skill in which he masters the musical arts. He is proficient with the violin, guitar, double bass, bass guitar and keyboard. He also writes for Cool Perth Nights when he has some Sriracha/ABC-spicy music to tell Perthlings about.

As I began my interview, Lyndon prepares himself a delicious satay tofu (well i’m more partial to the satay part than I am on the tofu part). One of Lyndon’s many acts is Leafy Suburbs, which represents his foray into the world of ambient and electronica, and he has recently released a record named ‘Blushes’ which is out via Roof Garden Records, a Glasgow-based label (Glasgow is renowned producing top-tier musical acts such as CHVRCHES). Clayton Lin, part-time music journalist, film and arts reviewer and amateur-professional Magic: The Gathering player sits down with the man himself to talk about tunes

C: To get to the present, one must look to the past- how did Leafy Suburbs come about?

L: All my musical projects basically start because I get an urge to make something (or something I accidentally like), but it doesn’t feel like it belongs in the world of an existing project. At the time around late 2011, I had a few things on the go but none of them really lent themselves to fully electronic soundscapes, which was something I enjoyed making. I was also getting inspired by “musique concrete” and new age ambient type stuff. So those interests came together and made sense to me under one umbrella.

C: For the uninitiated, what is “musique concrete?”

L: Basically, it’s just an early form of sampling- using recorded sounds from the world as musical material, as opposed to using purpose made musical instruments.

L (cont.): It emerged from the work of French composer Pierre Schaeffer who said he wanted to collect “concrete sounds, wherever they came from, and to abstract musical values they were potentially containing and finding way to create it. Which to me, is very inspiring. I spend a lot of time walking around, if I hear something of interest, I’ll record it on my phone or field recorder, then go home and find the bits that to me, are the most “musically” compelling and use that as the foundation for a new tune.

C: No conversation about you would go without mentioning that you play in a lot of bands, or fill in as substitutes in other people’s bands. How do you juggle of all this?

L: Hahah, with some difficulty. For example, we did the launch for the new Leafy Suburbs record two nights ago, and then this coming weekend I'm playing with the Solar Barge Big Band at a top secret festival in WA, I'm sure you can guess which one. And it does take a bit of mental and emotional gymnastics to get out of one headspace and into the other. I like to think I'm getting better at pacing myself, for example it's been a few years since I was willing to play multiple gigs with different projects on the same night. That was silly and I was getting burnt out.

C: Okay, let’s get to the main event- to the record at hand- ‘Blushes’ which you’ve mentioned revolves around themes in the realm of science fiction. Can you elaborate?

L: Sure can, so, the record's called 'Blushes' which refers to the old Hebrew name for Mars... 'Ma'adim' or 'The One Who Blushes.' I was reading about Mars and thinking about it how it's been flagged culturally as this kind of contingency plan, a destination to colonise once we (maybe inevitably) ruin the Earth. And I found it amusing, this idea that resettling on Mars would be this kind of embarrassing concession - a reason to 'blush' - rather than a triumphant moment of space conquest.

L: (cont.) What does this have to the music? Nothing necessarily, there are no lyrics, so you can take or leave the thematics. I guess the music and the concepts that I've framed it with kind of developed in parallel, and you can hear the space junk, the cold Martian winds, the digital interference and so on in there if you listen for it. But it's not supposed to be a coherent narrative or anything, Leafy Suburbs is all about evocation rather than trying to represent anything directly.

C: Obviously it’s not often that you have music associated with rather celestial subject matter, but there are probably examples out there. Was there anything that inspired the direction of this record?

L: Strangely enough I had never considered that question until now, like in terms of what actually influenced it sonically. I guess had been listening to more aggressive, cold-sounding dance music - for example a lot of footwork and techno, and some of that seemed to resonate with the apocalyptic themes. Kind of stripping back the human warmth and letting the machines just spin out.

L: (cont.) But then there are some warm moments 'cause I'm a big softy at heart. The track 'Sun Dew' is a more juicy, upbeat tune where I was imagining a sun dew plant gaining purchase in Martian soil. And I'd say it was probably influenced in part by Mort Garson... his 'Plantasia' album is a big favourite of mine. Oh and 'Sojourner' was built around an Ariana Grande vocal sample, go figure.

C: Was there any interesting lessons learned, or new techniques you applied in the creation of this record?


L: Mmm, the process for this record wouldn't have been particularly interesting to look at - no microphones poised over waterfalls or anything. But it was interesting for me personally: it was the first time I recorded tracks by "performing" them in Ableton Live, as opposed to developing layers and spending hours tweaking the arrangements. I think it sounds a bit more spontaneous as a result. I also used various DJ effects to add variation as the sections played out - things like beat repeat, bandpass filters and live delay... which is not to say I know how to DJ, but I was trying to kinda get into that mindset. I wanted to achieve a kind of "alien dance floor" aesthetic.

C: Leafy Suburbs has previously released other EPs and records, such as ‘Slow Light’ and ‘Psychic Lease’. How do you feel ‘Blushes’ differentiates from the aforementioned titles?

L: I think it definitely sounds colder and more digital... those other two records you mention both had plenty of live synth, some guitar and field recordings from nature. The more recent album, Honda Jazz, is also quite warm and organic sounding in a lot of ways. So I guess the short answer is, Blushes is less "earthy."

C: What next for Leafy Suburbs, after this record?

L: I've got a backlog of tracks that will hopefully see a release in the next 6 months or so. 'Blushes' is strictly digital which I think suits its sound, but looking forward to getting some vinyl out, which would be a first for the project. The forthcoming material will be a mix of "lush" electronic sounds and maybe some elements that people wouldn't normally associate with Leafy Suburbs. I like setting limitations for projects, but also pushing at the corners to expand the possibilities.


Lyndon Facts:

Breakfast: Generous spread of eggs and sourdough toast with mexican style beans, coriander, mango salsa, avocado and many varieties of hot sauce. And a big pot of coffee.

Lunch: Just a Perfect Sandwich. The Di Chiera Veg Conti was a good example. And the sandwiches you can curate at Elmar's on Beaufort Street.

Dinner: It's a draw between pizza (which is the sort of food that makes life worth living) and like, a felafel situation with heaps of baba ganoush and hommus and pickled turnips and olives and everything. Oof.

Other tidbits: Lyndon also likes to garden, planting some tomatoes and strawberries. They are yet to mature and bear fruit.


Listen to Leafy Suburbs Blushes here

Blushes - EDM.jpg

Tash Sultana's Second Fremantle Arts Centre Show Announced

Andrew Ryan

The one and only Tash Sultana has just announced a second show Friday December 8 at Fremantle Arts Centre! 🎉

Tickets go on sale Thursday September 14 at 10am WAST > http://bit.ly/2gZhc7f

Be sure to get in quick as the first show sold out in 24 hours!

Sailing in the wake of a recently sold-out world tour, this will be the last chance to witness Tash Sultana's mercurial talents until the end of 2018, as she bunkers down to write and record one of the most anticipated debut albums in recent memory.

Live in the Labyrinth: Emlyn Johnson

Andrew Ryan

emlyn.jpg

Gertrude Stein said of Picasso that he was the only painter at the time in her charismatic biography of the well know painter. Such sweeping statements are the stuff of fancy and we love it. Give us absolutes or wither away – you dandies.

Similarly, Emlyn Johnson is Australia’s only poet. Good friend and unhinged muse to other musicians who are far more well known to the man.

We capture Emlyn in the Labyrith at Rosemount. A place more commonly used by lovers or soon to be lovers, who dine and wot not in these spaces at Rosemount Hotel.

Vote for Marriage Equality

Andrew Ryan

The Libs have used a barely disguised tactic of demographic targeting via the marriage equality postal vote. They believe young people will be too disengaged to bother voting Yes.

We can see what they’re doing – and we will prove them wrong. You have 14 days to register to vote or update your details if they have changed since the last election. Make sure you are enrolled to vote now

Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP

Photo: Lukas Coch / AAP

Somewhere Over The Babe Rainbow | Interview with Angus Dowling of The Babe Rainbow

Andrew Ryan

As soon as the needle settles into the bright orange grooves of The Babe Rainbow's debut record, a tingle of fresh air seems to hit your skin. Laptop speakers and increasingly condensed I-Phone head phones never really do it justice. Their jangling, psychedelic tunes colored with gliding bass lines and melodic vocals fuse our modern day experience into the free lovin', grass roots spirit of the 60s and 70s green change movement. Your soul remains satiated long after the record ends.

We were lucky enough to take a few minutes of drummer and vocalist, Angus Dowling time to have a quick chat.

Can you tell us a bit about how you all met and came together as The Babe Rainbow? The origin story?

In the Dreamtime, all Earth lay sleeping. Nothing moved. Nothing grew. One day the babe rainbow came out from under the ground to make love (forever).

This is your debut album after the release of your much loved (and sold out) EP. What was the recording experience like? How did this filter in to your lives outside of the band?

The EP was very much our life in performance and a reflection of us as young people and members of the young people's society of music for chameleons. We went to Paris in the summer of 16' and met a young venezuelan who taught us so much about love and folk songs and electronic sound. The new record is Phase 2 : Jungle Music. It's travelling music, and music made while travelling through music as a stratosphere. We've just finished our second full length album called 'Double Rainbow' it will be out soon too. Our lives filter into the recording process more than the vice versa I think.

The video clip for Peace Blossom Boogy released in April is such a visually beautiful showcase of freedom, landscape and love with a real 60s/70s nostalgia vibe (including an amazing dog of course!). How did the concept come together? And what was the process for filming?

The process for filming that video and any video we've ever made or maybe will ever make is totally immediate and the creation of a completely heavy New Zealand friend of ours named Kristofski (thats Masedonian for Equinox). He carries his camera around often and usually films these clips without the general consent of the collective and more because he just knows what he's doing at the time than the round table pool of ideas we might have in mind. I'd like to make a video with him in a hot air balloon. I think it would be lovely, though.

The album artwork and vinyl design for both your EP and new album is incredible. Was there any particular inspiration? How does the artwork play into the music? 

Thank you! The first EP art cover was a hilarious accident inside photoshop with a simple watercolor thing a librarian named Elliot painted for us. The second one the LP cover was inspired by the work of Bridget Rilley foremost, whom we love and admire, and is our version of the 'babe rainbow' herself, a woman bending with her curves inside the curves of a bent rainbow (us). I've been thinking about the next cover lots, I think it's going to be a photo. I think we're finally ready.

You’re about to embark on a truly epic International Tour for the album. Any secrets to handling the hectic tour schedule?

It is hectic. Drink plenty of water I guess, stay hydrated, stay cool. We only eat superfood, that's a joke. 

Are there any surfing breaks over west you’re looking forward to checking out while you’re here?

Yes please you will find us at the city beach superbank. We're coming early to go to Margaret River on Thursday actually we're really exited we've heard big things. It's different without frogs or crocodiles. Thank-you (in a pleasant way).

Having sold out their shows at Babushka on Friday July 28, and Clancy's on Friday July 29, you can pre-order a vinyl copy of their debut record The Babe Rainbow at their website. Digital downloads of their EP are available via their Bandcamp page.

RPGs, Authentic Forms, Montaigne Q&A with Amber Fresh

Andrew Ryan

This is a very tiny interview with Jessica Cerro, stage name Montaigne. It weren't over the phone or Skype otherwise we would have wangled longer answers from her and posed follow-up questions, but this still gives a sense of her, and if you are a fan will give you more fuel to invite your friends to the show at Mojos, 30th July. She is a great singer and songwriter, a free deep thinker who named her music after a French philosopher of the Renaissance and loves to play puter games.

So, here you go….

                                                MONTAIGNE - "Maybe an RPG"

AF The other night I was watching Rage - the women from The Go Betweens were programming. One of your songs came on and my housemate stopped in his tracks. We both watched and listened in silence while you played and sang and lip synched and acted. I think it was the power that comes from pure self expression - not everyone can do this, but you can. How do connect with your deep self and then translate it to music? 

JC I spend a lot of my time focusing on my thoughts - thinking about my thoughts, you could call them metathoughts - and where they come from, why I have a proclivity for certain attitudes or modes of thought or behaviour etc. From that very clinical, cerebral place, I then let my natural irrational emotions wash over, and I think that maintains a sense of trueness to my Authentic Form whilst allowing for a bit of melodramatic storytelling and poetic whining.

AF I know you think and act to care for the planet, other animals etc. How do you deal with caring about climate change and world issues, and having many long flights and van rides as part of your creative life? 

JC Well, no one is perfect. And at least I am doing the best that I can, within the parameters of my lifestyle. 

AF As a never-gaming person, can you tell me what you love about gaming?

JC The escapism of it. I’m a big fan of fantastical universes and the stories and worlds and lives that exist within them. The soundtracks are almost always incredible, too.

AF What would an RTS game of your life be like? 

JC Haha, I don’t really imagine my life could be made into an RTS game. Maybe an RPG.

AF What genres of music do you think people would be surprised to learn you're close to? As in, music you love, or music you see as near yours that might not seem a straight forward comparison? We've been listening to Joni Mitchell's Blue album at home, and her lyrical density and experimentation and whatnot reminds me of you. Kate Bush of course but people probably mention her all the time to you… Who do you love that would surprise people? Apart from David Byrne :) 

JC Secondhand Serenade, Jonathan Boulet, John Mayer, My Chemical Romance, Owen Pallett, M83, Yann Tiersen, Darwin Deez, Big Scary, The Swell Season, Bright Eyes, Sigur Rós, Paramore, Linkin Park, Utada Hikaru - people would probably be surprised by most of the music I listen to. 

AF “It was a melancholy humor … which first put into my head this raving concern with writing,” the other Montaigne says… I only just found out it's not by accident you share the same name. Do you find writing songs a 'raving concern' for you? 

JC Yes, yes I do.

AF So many heavy questions! So lastly I guess, what's your favourite way to do your hair ATM? 

JC Hmm. I don’t really do my hair per se, I kind of wake up and hope for the best, or get out of the shower and let it dry and hope for the best. 

AF Also: comment not question, but I think you should have your own new-age/sci-fi tv show. If you don't become a sports star after music, maybe that could happen.

JC Heheh, who knows!

AF THANKS Jessica, good luck for life as a human and musician, love Amber Fresh

JC Thanks guys x

Photography courtesy of Montaigne @montaignemusic

Tash Sultana | Homecoming Tour

Andrew Ryan

Cool Perth Nights is incredibly proud to be presenting Tash Sultana at Fremantle Arts Centre, Thursday December 7.

Tash has fast become one of Australia's rising stars, landing the number three slot in last year’s triple j Hottest 100, picking up the Unearthed J Award and hitting the top 10 of the ARIA chart with her EP Notion.

The Homecoming Tour marks her last headline shows for almost a year as Tash bunkers down to finish her debut album and continues to tour internationally. Tash will be supported by fellow former buskers the Pierce Brothers and tropical rave pop duo Willow Beats.

Sign up to exclusive pre-sale tickets before they go on sale to the public on 10am AWST, Friday 28 July. Pre-sale tickets are on sale from 10am AWST, Thursday 27 July.

Abbe May's Weekly Residency at Mojo's

Andrew Ryan

Perth's fave musical queen Abbe May returns to Mojo's for her weekly residency each Wednesday in August! Catch Abbe's electrifying performance of her back catalogue, plus a sneak peek into unreleased music from her upcoming record, as well as a slew of stellar local supports. Find further info and tickets here

For a taster, check out RTRFM's The View from Here featuring Abbe, KT Rumble (Bass) and Matt Wright (Drums), filmed at the historic Victoria Hall on High St below :)

PHONING IT IN WITH JAPANDROIDS

Andrew Ryan

Canadian two-piece Japandroids are touring Australia this July, off the back of their new album “Near To The Wild Heart Of Life”. Prior to the release of this record, the band had spent three full years completely removed from public life, giving no interviews and disappearing from social media. Now they are back and as busy as ever. I caught up with drummer David Prowse at his home in Vancouver to discuss returning to public life, playing new songs, challenging yourself creatively and the weather in Australia.

Jackson: So how does it feel to be “back”, so to speak, after your three year break from touring?

Dave: Three Years is a very long time, obviously. So there’s a little bit of fear that, you know, your time has come and gone for you. I mean it feels great that, you know, there’s been a good response and it’s been fun coming back and playing all these different places over the world we haven’t been to in a while, having great crowds there and people are stoked on the new record. Life’s pretty good, man.

Jackson: Did you spend a lot of that time [away from public life] working on the new record? The record itself marks a step forward, perhaps a step in a different direction, from the last one. It feels like you’re working with a broader range of songs on this record.

Dave: Definitely. We take a while to write, you know. And we did with Celebration Rock. But the thing about recording Celebration Rock or Post-Nothing, compared to this record, is once the songs were written, it was about documenting it pretty much as is. Whereas with this record there was a lot more experimenting in the studio. It was a much more involved process with mixing because we just tracked so much more on every song. So yeah that part definitely took a lot longer than previous records, for sure.

Part of it was just a break, we toured forever and then took a much deserved break at the end of the tour cycle for Celebration Rock. Then writing took quite a while and in the studio, you know, we spent at least twice as much time making this record than we did with [Celebration Rock]. I think, like you said, you can kind of hear there’s just a wider variety of sounds and moods from song to song. A lot more attention to dynamics, a lot less of that feeling of having to record the songs the way you play them live. Instead we went pretty far in the other direction, where we tried to not concern ourselves with how to recreate the songs live and just follow whatever idea we had, for how to enhance the songs in the studio. It’s a bit of a rabbit hole, you know. Like, you can do that forever. Or you can do it for as long as you have money to pay for recording time [laughs]

Jackson: [laughs] yeah, for sure.

Dave: But we definitely took our sweet time recording and mixing this record. I think that was a really liberating experience, having more time to just sort of mess around in the studio. Some of those songs, like I’m Sorry (For Not Finding You Sooner), that song was basically written in the studio. Arc Of Bar was a song that took on a life of it’s own in the studio as we kept building and building on it.

It would have been a very different record if we were just in a hurry and needed to get something out there to get back on the road. That wasn’t really appealing to us. It was a lot more interesting to see where we could go in the studio. You know, really try to take some sort of step, maybe not forward but take multiple steps outward from what we’d done in the past.

Jackson: I think it’s necessary, especially if you’re on your third record. You want to start seeing what else you can do and how you can challenge yourself in that environment.

Dave: Exactly! I think some people would have probably been real happy if we just made another Celebration Rock. That just wasn’t a very appealing concept to us. It was more interesting to see what we were capable of, if we pushed ourselves to make something that was still Japandroids but with a different spin on what we’d done before.

Jackson: So this tour that you’re doing in Australia is the fifth time time you’ve visited us since the band broke internationally?

Dave: I think it’s the fourth? We did Laneway, we did another tour of clubs on Celebration Rock, then we did a sort of half-tour of Australia late last year, where we didn’t make it to quite a few cities. We did Sydney & Melbourne and played a couple festivals. That was round three in australia and this is round four.

Jackson: And how have you found it here, since you first came with Laneway?

Dave: I mean Laneway was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had as a touring musician. First of all it’s, like, February. Which means it’s the grimmest weather back home or in Europe.

Jackson: And the weather would have been beautiful here.

Dave: Yeah, we just got to hang out in summertime Australia. Second of all, it’s just a fantastically curated festival. I mean the bands we were playing with. That year was such a stacked line-up, really awesome bands (Chet Faker, El-P, Nicolas Jaar, Perfume Genuis, Shlohmo, The Rubens, The Men, Twerps). You get to tour with all these bands that you really love and admire. It was kind of an amazing, like, weird rock and roll summer camp. So that was a fantastic experience. And a great introduction to touring Australia. Then, getting to come back and play proper shows where everybody is actually there to see you is always a lot of fun. The one downside of festivals is it’s hard to gauge how much people know your band or whether people are just strolling by and checking it out because they’re at the festival. But when we came back and did that club tour it was awesome, the response was great. And the shows we just did were kind of the best of both. We got to play Meredith Festival and another whose name escapes me at the moment [Fairgrounds Music Festival]. And then we played these super sweaty, smaller shows in Sydney & Melbourne in these little punk spaces which was really rad.

Jackson: I had some friends who were at those shows. I heard they went off, man.

Dave: Red Rattler and The Tote? Man, those shows were so much fun. So much fun, man. And I’m excited about this run. The best thing about it is that we finally get to play to people that have had a chance to hear the new record. That was the only downside of that tour we did in december. We were leaning heavily on the new record which, at the time, were a bunch of songs that nobody had heard yet. It was a little bit of a weird vibe, because you’re introducing music to people. There’s this atmosphere at Japandroids shows that’s very much about people being involved in the show, singing along and having the feeling that everybody’s part of the show. It’s not about everybody just standing and watching us play in silence. People are totally engaged in the show and singing along. So it’ll be cool to see that aspect come alive a bit more with these new jams now. After working on this record for a million years you want to get the payoff of seeing people react and respond to it in this inspiring way.

Jackson: That must be such a good feeling, you must really be looking forward to coming back.

Dave: It’s the best feeling in the world. Getting to play songs and people singing along, it’s incredible.

Jackson: Where are you headed after Australia?

Dave: So after Australia we’ll play a couple of shows in New Zealand and then we go home for a little bit. Then we’re doing another run in Europe, playing some of the summer festivals like Reading & Leeds and End Of The Road. Then we’re doing a big North American Tour in the fall in like October, November. After that, we’re gonna take a little breather.

Jackson: It sounds like it’ll be well earned at that point. Finally man, can you tell me what you’re listening to at the moment?

Dave: What am I into at the moment? Well, I’m going to see Kendrick Lamar right after I get back from this tour and that’s going to be incredible. I’ve loved everything he’s ever done and I think his new record is just as amazing as his previous ones.

Jackson: Likewise.

Dave: Yeah man, he’s just so far ahead of every artist, regardless of genre. He’s the guy who’s killing it on every level right now. I’m really digging the Sleaford Mods record [English Tapas]. We got a chance to see them, we played this festival called Primavera in Spain & Portugal and we shared a stage with them and the whole after party thing… yeah. They’re a really unique band, maybe band’s not the right word, but they have a very unique sound and I really really enjoy that new record. I really love this band Priests. They’re an American band from Washington DC and they’ve put out a really great record called Nothing Feels Natural. They’re super rad. I’ll give you a local guy too, there’s this artist Andrew Lee who has a thing called Holy Hum. He’s about to put out a record that he’s been working on for a really long time. It’s a combination of like, Bon Iver’s new material, modern sounds mixed with singer songwriter stuff, and then this great post punk vibe. He’s releasing it in Canada, hopefully it gets out to the world. I think it’s great.

Jackson: Thanks for your time Dave. My band [Foam] is supporting you here in Perth, I’ll catch up with you then.

Dave: Oh that’s rad! For sure man, see you then.

Interview conducted by Jackson Hawdon