fucktheradio


Lunch With Tall Black Guy by Chris
September 15, 2014, 7:13 PM
Filed under: Interview, Lunch With | Tags: , ,

Lunch with Tall Black Guy had its issues at first- the main one being that it was 10:15am for him in the UK and 8:15pm for me in Australia and neither of those times are good for lunch. He assured me that even if it was lunch time, he had no food readily available anyway. But that’s ok right? I still got to sit down and chat to Terrel Wallace, somebody who has left an undeniable mark on the face of the hip-hop beats scene- won the prestigious Robert Glasper remix competition and is gearing up for a tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Tall Black Guy

FTR: When I got the call to interview you, I happened to be hanging out with some of the peeps who are opening for you at your Melbourne show- so I asked them if they had any questions. First up, Jackson Miles of Coco Noire wants to know where you got your name from?

TBG: Ah, well, I was in graphic design school- one of the assignments was that we had to create a company to represent ourselves. I was one of the few black students in my class, so to have more of a pro-black approach I decided to go with Tall Black Guy Productions, actually, before that I called it ‘Right On Productions’. I used to have this little guy with a fist and a pick and all that stuff but I changed it to ‘Tall Black Guy Productions’ and it stuck from there.

FTR: Well fair enough! Seeing you through the webcam- you are obviously black, but how tall are you?

TBG: (Laughs) I am a ‘guy’ too yes… I’m about 6′ 5″

FTR: Man that’s not that tall I’m about six five

TBG: (Laughs) It’s not that tall.

FTR: The next question is from Amin Payne, but before I ask- just on this note- have you peeped any of the Melbourne guys?

TBG: Actually Amin Payne I’ve conversated with him a few times, we’re friends on Facebook so yeah, I’ve heard of him before. And I also just got in tune with this other group called POLY, but they aren’t from Melbourne, they’re from… oh I’m trying to think of exactly where they are from… But anyway yeah, those are the only two from that way I think.

FTR: Cool, so Amin wanted to know, we’ve had a Hollywierd 1 and 2, will there be a third?

TBG: Nah, not really- those are more the experience that I had while I was in LA- I stayed in LA for about a year and a half- so I made that music in that place to capture my experience of being there so, I think that’d probably be it. For the next series what I’m trying to do is like, every-place that I live, create some type of media from that place. So when I went back home and stayed in Detroit, 8 Miles to Moenart that was the time capsule for that period of my life. Since I’m in the UK I’m definitely going to try and make a peice of music while I’m staying here as well, you know, at some point.

FTR: How would you say the London scene compares to Detroit or L.A? Are you more inspired? Is it totally different?

TBG: Well to be honest, with living in Detroit or LA I never really got out there as far as experiencing the scene of those two particular places so I can’t really comment. I have been to London for a few shows, I would say that the crowd is more diverse, it’s different types of people who come out- so that’s cool. When I was putting in the ground work while staying in Chicago, you had more or less artists coming to support the artists. There were fans, but it was mainly artists coming out to support the other artists, whereas over here, you actually have ‘fans’ and people from everywhere coming down to check out music so that’s pretty cool.

FTR: Oh! And I’ve been mistaken, I thought you were in London, but you are in a different part of the UK?

TBG: No, I’m outside of London- by train it’s like… two hours, driving is about three to four hours.

FTR: Oh snap! So what was behind the decision to move there from Detroit?

TBG: Detroit was not the best place to me at the time. It was very depressing. My wife is British, so it was one of those things… we actually just came over to visit, and her parents said you should explore the possibilities of trying to make something work over here, so we went through that whole protocol, it worked out for the better and we’ve been here almost three years now.

FTR: Cool- so it wasn’t a musically motivated decision?

TBG: No, at the time I knew at some point we would want to do it because my wife is from here, she had already been in the states for like six and a half years or something around there, so, you know, at the time I had never been outside of the United States except for once back in 2009 when I visited. Moving wasn’t even on my radar back then so when I did make the move I was like “this is the best. thing. ever!” (laughs)

FTR: Absolutely! Now another thing I want to know, break down your studio set-up for us; is it largely software based? Are you an analogue guy? How are you working on your productions?

TBG: I have a super duper limited set-up. I work with Sony Acid, a midi controller, and that’s it.

FTR: What controller are you using?

TBG: An M-Audio Keystation 61

FTR: So it’s apparent through your music that you are a jazz lover, you use a keyboard midi controller, and not long ago you put out a Grandmaster Flash flip in 6/8… Are you a musically trained guy? Or is it something that you just self taught and picked up?

TBG: Nah, just over the years listening to so much music and, you know, you pick up little different things. That 6/8 stuff, I was actually doing that for like, years and years. I’d say about four or five years before I started letting people even hear that stuff, so like, that 6/8 I used to just do it for practice. Know what I mean? One day I was like “Man, I wonder what The Message would sound like in 6/8″… I thought of it at work or something and it took me like a month to chop. I had to chop the beat first and then the hardest part was making the vocals stay in the pocket and make them say it in 6/8. That was very time consuming, I would work on it for a few days, stop. You know, I had to like mimic what I wanted them to say… but in 6/8 you know what I mean?

FTR: Lots of little chops.

TBG: Yeah, exactly. Very time consuming, but it went over well.

FTR: For sure! And your show, are you using the keystation to play live as-well? Are you DJing? What’s the live set-up?

TBG: The live show I’ve been practising for about three months, I’m using an APC40- I’m going to do more of the live thing, I got my tracks all tracked out into Ableton and you know, hopefully that goes over well!

FTR: Is this the first time you’ve done anything like this?

TBG: Well I got Ableton last year, and the APC40 last year as well, so It’s been a year since I’ve had it. When I first got it I was doing more of the DJ set up, you know, you do ‘A’ and ‘B’ with the cross-fader, tap in the track and stuff like that. But now I want to bring the live element to it and really try to ‘perform’ these tracks. This is my second time bringing it out live, I did it in Croatia literally like two weeks ago, same thing with the tracking it out and it went over really well so this one is going to be a little bit more, I have tracks that I’ve made over the years, all different types of tempos and everything.

FTR: Dope! Unfortunately that’s all we have time for, but I gotta ask one more question- if somebody sees you at a show and they want to buy you a drink- what’s your drink of choice?

TBG: Uh… I don’t know…

FTR: You don’t know?! 

TBG: Some water or something probably at the time because I try to keep it straight until after I do my performance- so when we are in the middle of a performance I’ll probably just have some water and some fruit or something I don’t know (laughs)

FTR: (laughs) For sure dude, well on that note I’ll probably see you in two weeks at your Melbourne show!

TBG: Cool beans man! You have a nice night.

If you also would like to check out Tall Black Guy bring his new live set to Melbourne, click the banner below:

 Operatives



Lunch With Tigermoth by Chris
August 17, 2014, 1:30 PM
Filed under: Beats, Experimental, Interview, Lunch With, Psychadelic | Tags: , , ,

Tigermoth

 

FTR: So, great and venerable Tigermoth…

Tigermoth: Hey man.

How’s it goin’?

Really good! Had a really strange night though…

Why? What happened?

(shakes head) Oh man… fuck… man…

(laughs) You can’t just shake your head and swear, you gotta elaborate!

Uh… Crazy women.

This is going in the interview so be careful what you say!

(laughs) Exactly, I’ll leave it at that!

You are on your best behaviour- although you do have some exciting times ahead; the album release…

Yeah! Vinyl.

The vinyl is being released, what’s the story behind the name Traversing Karma?

Initially I had the idea of calling it ‘Traversing Karma Across Divides’.

It just popped into my head one day a few years ago and I knew I’d start making this album- I was piecing it together.

I just had this concept that had being evolving for a while- what my karma was… what ‘karma’ meant. Looking back on things and looking forward and seeing… I got this idea that sometimes what you think is good or righteous maybe isn’t, and people can get caught up in righteousness and soapboxing and I was really conscious of avoiding that and exploring what was right and wrong, who I was, and sort of navigating through that, you know? Without trying to be too self-righteous- just being true to myself without causing any detriment to anyone around me or anything like that. And it can be a difficult thing sometimes, you know?

And that spiritual sort of theme is something that not only comes through in the title and the artwork, but also the samples that you’ve used.

Yeah

Was that a very conscious decision on your part?

Not conscious in the way that before I start making the music I say I’m going to make ‘spiritual music’. I think that’s maybe just who I am, and so the sounds or whatever I gravitate towards, or the samples that I use are things that I’m drawn to. And the melodic ideas, it’s what I’m feeling I guess. So that’s going to come through, not consciously- it just is what it is.

So it’s just the way you feel it flows out of you?

Yeah

Has it always been that way?

I think my first album Underwater Beats… I started making before I went to live in Japan. When I got to Japan I really found a-lot of music that resonated with me. I found a-lot of spiritualism that I had been looking for that I hadn’t been able to find in Australia. So back then when I started on the first album, I’d make it, and then decide that’s not what I wanted it to sound like- I’d go back and add a couple of songs, take a couple out… It took me quite a while to create that channel where it could easily flow out. So I guess in the beginning it was much more conscious, but after I created that channel, and the more I did it- the easier it became.

Absolutely

You know, I’m making a-lot of music at the same time too, and a-lot of it’s not sounding like this… I just don’t let people her that kind of stuff.

Do you think then there’s room for an alias? Or is it just for yourself?

I’ll be releasing a hip-hop remix album under the Tigermoth name, but the alias I have been thinking for the more ‘club’ or ‘party’ type music stuff is ‘TJ Tigga’.

(laughs)

My nickname in school was ‘TJ’ or ‘Tiger’ so it really just chose itself.

You’ve got Traversing Karma on CD… there’s one in my car that I bump all the time. What was behind the decision to bring it to vinyl?

I released The 9th Tiger on vinyl. The digital album was 18 tracks but I couldn’t afford to press a double record so I had to go back and choose 8 tracks that fit on a twelve inch.

I’ve been DJing for… I think I started in 2001, I was DJing for a couple months just to get some money on the side as I was a musician- jazz, funk, hip-hop musician when I was younger. A couple of months after I started DJing I bought an MPC… Back then I knew four people who owned an MPC- two of them lived in Adelaide and two of them lived in my house.  I kind of had a different route, these days some people start with beat making because it’s so easy to access the tools, but back then there wasn’t even Protools for home computers. So I grew up with DJs and vinyl was always really important to me. Ever since my first album I wanted all of my albums to be on vinyl. I was very lucky that before I started Tigermoth I already had labels who had released vinyl for other projects I was involved in- I came in with that ethic. I think it’s really important for the legitimacy of the music to have it on vinyl and stay true to my roots.

So I make music now with the album in mind, and knowing that I have to make 35 minutes of music for one LP. And I’ll keep doing that… One day if I get more money coming in I’ll make double LPs. I’m always going to release on vinyl. I did Duality and the Infinite and that nearly got picked up by a label in the states and that was also made for vinyl so I’ll be coming back to that and putting that out on vinyl too.

So the end game for you is to always have your music in that physical form?

For these kind of things. These albums are very focused with specific ideas as albums not just track after track, you know? It’s a narrative, almost like the album is one long track itself.

So vinyl is the best medium to do that on, you put a record on and let it play out without skipping through tracks or putting your iPod on shuffle or whatever.

Yeah man! I was talking to Aoi yesterday- he started making beats on computers and he’s come back over to using samplers and he was talking about how anyone can get a computer program these days and watch a YouTube video on how to make a beat. You can do it in a week and develop some sort of proficiency but the music that really resonates with me and always has… I mean I might hear a dope track but it doesn’t hit me in the way that my favourite albums have. Albums are things that I listen to over and over again, it grows every time and it takes a level of commitment from the listener and that’s how I grew up liking to listen to music and it’s the type of music I want to make as Tigermoth.

So you’ve got the release party for the vinyl coming up on the 23rd, tell us about the line-up you’ve curated for that

Well, I’ve got Bevin Campbell from The Blend program on PBS 106.7FM. He has been very supportive of me for quite a-while now- going on three years. He is very under-rated as a DJ I think.

Absolutley! I was a guest on his show last Monday. The tunes he’s packing are phenomenal

Dude! Even as a radio host he’s one of the best in the world! I’ve always said that to him, like “Dude your voice is like butter man!” It’s made for radio, like they’ve cloned… or, you know…genetically modified classic radio DJs and put them all into Bevin’s voice or something (laughs). I hope he has a-lot of success with what he’s doing because you know, I know, and people who know, know what a great DJ he is. And as a selector, which is quintessential man. Super humble.

I’ve also got Able8 from Uncomfortable Beats. He’s been doing a-lot of things and is super supportive of other people, he’s had me down at one of his nights too.

And then after that we’ve got Amin Payne

From the Condensed Milk collective

I really like what he does with his beat show… He’s coming from a similar place, although his music is quite different to me- he’s got a certain sensibility with it that I like. I think it might be his Iranian heritage and I think he was a guitar player when he was younger too. He’s part of The Operatives too and doing a-lot of great things at the moment.

So the people I’ve been picking are people who I think are doing good things and are also slightly different to me, I didn’t want a whole line-up of my-sounding music the whole night, I wanted it to go through waves.

It’s looking like a must-go gig for Melbourne beats…

I hope so! I’ll be there! (laughs)

In terms of curating a line-up of guys from different collectives, there’s a strong beats scene in Melbourne; coming from Brisbane yourself though, what’s the comparison?

They’re different cities you know? I was really lucky when I was younger that the guys who were a bit older than me were really doing cutting edge stuff worldwide. And I was fortunate to have that as my influence.

There are lots of people doing things in Brisbane; I’m not really up with it because I was always a bit of a recluse up there. What I was doing didn’t really fit into it at the time I think. Brisbane is kinda like a hippy town, a-lot of the beat scene is… how would I put it… the live band scene is more prevalent than beat makers in Brisbane, so the audience is still slowly coming around to it. It’s really hard to put a beats night on in Brisbane because people have been doing it for quite a-while but it’s hard to generate interest. It’s not like Melbourne man, people love the beat scene in Melbourne- they do in Brisbane too- but there’s not the same quantity of people into it that there is down here. It can be difficult sometimes to put nights on and get large numbers, and maybe there’s not the same quantity of quality that there is down here!

If you are lucky enough to be down in ‘burn city on the 23rd you can check out Tigermoth‘s vinyl launch party here

You can also peep his Facebook and his bandcamp.



Lunch with Able8 by Chris
July 14, 2014, 12:00 AM
Filed under: Interview, Lunch With | Tags: , , ,

Able8 is a Melbourne-based beatmaker with ties to The Operatives, Uncomfortable Beats, Boom Bap Professionals, Innit Records & The Community Records. Kassie sat down with him  for our ongoing ‘Lunch with‘ interview series.

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 3.23.12 pm

How was the gig at Black Cat last night?

It was good, I think everyone was so hungover (laughs) myself included. It was definitely a very hungover gig, but it was good vibes.

It’s a bit like that on Sundays!

Definitely.

What are you up to today?

I’m meeting my friend James, U-wish. We’re going to work on some beats for awhile. And then later tonight I’m going to be mixing tracks for a local rapper called Slackjaw, most likely.

Is that who you went to Wide Open Space with? With Melody Myla as well?

Yeah!

How was that?

It was amazing. A really great festival. I’d recommend it.

And it’s in Alice Springs isn’t it?

Yeah, in the middle of nowhere really. I think it’s on a traditional Aboriginal ground. So they have permission to use the ground for the festival. There are just really good vibes there. We got really good feedback for our set as well, so hopefully we’ll be back next year.

Do you have any more collaborations planned?

Well, today I’m starting one with U-wish. I have a Dubstep collaboration in the works with 2fuddha. And also started a future beatsy, chill thing with Dr. Res from Barcelona, but he’s now living here. A few other random little bits and pieces.. I just finished one with Dusty Ohms, from London. That’s coming out on Free The Beats, which is a compilation label based out of Sydney.

You’ve got so much going at the same time!

Yeah (laughs) I like to keep busy.

And how’s Uncomfortable Beats going? Are you still spending time working on that?

Lots of it. The last couple of months have been particularly busy, we’ve released a compilation with 21 different beat makers from around the world. It’s a free compilation called Outer Crust. That’s online. There’s another by an artist called Wermonster, who lives in Berlin. He’s french, and makes really nice Hip-Hop beats. There’s 28 tracks, really short loops. We printed cassette tapes for that one. So there’s digital and physical copies up in stores here and around Europe, which is great. Just the other day I also released a new free track called Nintendoe, which is up there too.

How do you make all these connections from around the world? Do you meet them online, or while touring or…

It’s a mixture of a lot of things really. Sometimes there will be artists who come to Melbourne and other friends will get in touch with me online and say “hey, this guy is coming to Melbourne, can you show him around, or do you have any gigs?”

So for instance, with Dr. Res… My friend Tamin from Barcelona, came to Melbourne and I helped him out with a gig. He’s now back home and has since said I should meet his friend who’s now visiting Melbourne. So we made contact and just from his music we got chatting and kind of realised that we’re into the same stuff and started a collaboration from there.

I guess some of it is online too. For example, there’s a compilation called Pure Dopeness, on the label Sinoptic International, which is based in France and the US. They just released one today which has 38 different artists. I’m on that as well. I feel like every time I do a track on one of those sort of compilations I always have beat makers adding me on facebook and other social medias, and we just stay in touch. But travelling is another good big one. The first time I travelled to Europe I didn’t know many people at all, so I was on my own looking for gigs, making contact from SoundCloud and things like that. I met a lot of people through that and we just organised to meet up in various cities. It’s a bit of column A and column B. I’m always open to connecting and collaborating with like-minded individuals, and I think a lot of people feel the same, they just want to be around people that feel or think the same way they do, or are into the same shit. The internet makes that easier for sure.

And is that how you book your artists for Tastemakers?

Sort of, most of the artists I know already. It’s different to Uncomfortable Beats. Tastemakers is more driving bass music. So it’s artists that I’ve always liked but who might not necessarily fit the Uncomfortable Beats sound. Tastemakers is more it’s own thing. But yeah, often there are artists online who I haven’t heard of before who will hit me up to play, and if their style fits I will book them.

And how has Tastemakers been going at Lounge?

It’s been great! Lounge are a good great venue to deal with. The nights themselves, they go from low attendance to high attendance, so it’s quite random, but it’s more hit than miss. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a Tuesday, it feels like a Saturday or something. So when it’s going off, it’s really going off. Overall it’s been going great!

How do you manage to keep all of these going at the same time? What keeps you inspired?

It’s both a blessing and a curse. For me, I really enjoy doing it but sometimes I get bored of booking, and I’ll have a big binge of writing music and then a big binge of events and promotion and things like that. So I kind of bounce between my own desires to different creative outlets. I don’t do too much stuff apart from all of this. My day job at the moment essentially is working with kids on music in Juvenile detention centres. So most days I’m doing something music related.

That’s great! Yeah I admire people who can maintain that level of creativity. Some days I just wake up and think, I don’t want to be creative today.

Yeah totally. So when I’m not writing music, I’ll think, well what can I do to help promote this release or future releases? Or I’ll go through samples or download new music to listen to. Having the gig every Tuesday inspires me to go out and look for new music. It’s also influenced the way I write music as well to a degree. I’m still writing really mellow hip-hop stuff, and electronic bits but I’m also trying to write stuff that I would DJ out at say Tastemakers or in more of a club environment. So that’s been cool. My Tuesday ritual is basically going through music people have sent me. Sometimes it’s a drag, but most of the time it’s really inspiring just to listen to new music.

And where do you hope Uncomfortable Beats, Tastemakers and ABLE8 will be in the future?

Well I definitely have long term visions for Uncomfy Beats. I want to be doing vinyl releases at some point and doing more worldwide releases. I guess, up until recently, all of the compilations and releases were by Australian artists, or at least artists who were currently residing in Australia. So more recently, trying to make it a bit more international and get releases from say Wermonster from Berlin, and the last compilation was artists from all over. So that was one of the things that I can tick of the list. But I’m going to try and keep going on that tangent, making it a bit more worldwide. For myself as ABLE8, I just want to keep expanding what I’m writing, on a bigger scale. I want my stuff to be heard more, tour more places, I haven’t been to the states or anything like that, yet. I want to be able to, in the long run, survive by just solely doing my own music and tours.

Do you have any gigs coming up?

Actually Benny Diction, who’s from London, he’s coming to Melbourne in August. So we’re teeing up some gigs while he’s down. The 25th of July I’ll be playing at the Gertrude Street Projections Festival. Where they have lots of gigs at different venues on Gertrude Street.

 

So is it a bit like White Night?

Yeah, like a smaller White Night. I think they do projections on the footpaths and little things like that, it’s pretty cool. On the 31st of July, that’s the day after Benny arrives, I’ll be doing an Uncomfy Beats takeover at Section 8. So there’s going to be a whole lot of people playing there, should be quite fun. And then on the 19th of August, just before Benny leaves, I’ve organised a Tastemakers gig, but rather than just being about the DJs, each DJ is going to be paired with a vocalist. So there’s going to be Alaska playing with Fraksha, Lady Banton with Nikki Finn, and I’ll be playing with Benny Diction. It will be a mix between grime, dubstep and reggae, dub etc.

Sounds great! I will be there! And if I (or anyone) were to buy you a drink, what drink would you ask for?

(laughs) It’s either going to be like a pint of beer or a scotch on dry.

So what determines the choice?

I guess most likely it would a pint of beer (laughs), and then probably later in the night I’ll be on the Scotch.

And what are you eating for lunch?

It’s from Coconut House. I got barbecue pork, barbecue chicken with egg noodles. It’s one of my favourite places to eat in the city, in a hurry. Malaysian, good stuff.

Whenever I’m in a hurry in the city, I go for Don Dons.

Don Dons is great.

I’ve never been to Coconut House. Where is it?

It’s on Elizabeth Street, near Latrobe. It’s around there. There’s another really good Japanese place that’s really similar to Don Dons; it’s less busy, less take awayish, but it’s still the same prices. It’s called Kanada, it’s in a little mall in between Little Bourke and Bourke Street. It’s really good.

I’ll check it out! I love Japanese food.

Yeah me too. I love all Asian cuisine. I’m always eating Asian food.

Yeah same here, except I’ve actually got this kind of gross Macaroni cheese. It’s one of those frozen meals…



Lunch with Kim Lajoie (Bare Toes Into Soil) by Chris

 

Simply put, Kim LaJoie is an all round ‘music dude’. He has over twenty-five years of music experience behind him spanning film composition, performing, recording, online marketing, management- even having taught music composition at Monash University and the Australian Institute of Music in lectures, small groups and one-on-one consultations. One of his projects, Bare Toes Into Soil has an upcoming gig this Wednesday at Melbourne’s Horse Bazaar, which you can check out here. We sat down with him earlier to chat over lunch.
kim2
FTR: How you goin’?

Kim Lajoie: I’m pretty good! How are you?

Not bad, not bad, I see you’ve got your lunch ready, what are you eating?

Uh, it’s not really exciting, just leftovers (laughs) leftover stir fry.

Oh well that’s much more exciting than me, I’m getting my kitchen re-done at the moment so all I’ve got to eat is this bowl of cereal, and I haven’t eaten a hot meal in days.

Oh no, are you sure it’s not breakfast?

Ok you got me, it is breakfast- I woke up half an hour ago. But anyway, you sir- are a man behind many musical projects.

So it seems yes.

Today of-course we are talking Bare Toes Into Soil, how would you describe the sound? You’d do a better job than me.

Well I usually use some combination of the words ‘dreamy’… ‘atmospheric’… ‘downtempo’. I used to say it was a bit like Massive Attack but the sound has evolved a bit since then. It’s a bit more ‘newer atmospheric electronica’ that’s around at the moment. A bit heavier, a bit darker.

And your other project ‘She Hunter’ is a bit similar give or take. Do you think that there’s a golden combo of attractive female doing vocals paired with electronic-y instrumental dude?

(laughs) I don’t know if I’d call it a ‘golden combo’ but it is something that seems to work reasonably well. I’m not the first person to do something like that and I certainly won’t be the last. It’s interesting that you bring up She Hunter because that was actually not my project to start with; it was the singer and songwriter- Alice- her songs and her creative direction. And unfortunately she’s not making music anymore, which breaks my heart.

There does seem to be a big push on the female vocalist/male electronic instrumental duo though, if you look at other acts, even just in Melbourne you have ALTA, Willow Beats… on the international stage you have people like Crystal Castles. Do you think we are gravitating further towards a new way of performing electronic music live by having that element?

I’m not sure if I would call it a ‘trend’ if you like. This style of performance is not new at all, I mean, at its core it’s really not too different from karaoke. We are trying to push the boundaries a bit, I do live looping and sampling of Lyndal’s voice, and live processing and remixing of the instrumental parts… But ultimately it’s quite a simple arrangement. But as far as trends go or as far as what we are moving towards I’m more excited about the people who are integrating a-lot more acoustic instruments with the electronics, with laptops… and presenting them as equals rather than as a backing track with one instrument or an acoustic sound here or there. You know, using them not only in the performance but also in the song writing.

So someone like Low Leaf and her harp… are you familiar with Low Leaf?

No I’m not… I should be.

Yes! You’d love her. But speaking about your live set-up, and how you are moving into the ‘live realm’; there’s a few pictures on your Facebook that give a glimpse of an iPad running the Traktor app… and some sort of synth keyboard, also a kaoss pad I think I saw? What are some of the challenges you face when you bring your music into a live setting? It’s funny because people are trying to bring sets out of the DJ booth and away from Traktor, but it looks like you’ve gone the other direction and moved towards Traktor.

Yeah! There’s a couple of reasons for that. One of them is simplicity. I don’t want to bring a computer or heaps of equipment on stage, I mean I’ve been playing live for years and I’m thoroughly over having complicated set-ups. The other reason is before we started performing live, one of my ideas that I wanted to try was to re-construct the songs from scratch in a live situation. I tried a number of different ways of remixing or re-combining the material but ultimately I felt that the compositional choices that I’d made in the studio held true, and I wanted to uphold those choices on stage… so even running the backing tracks on Traktor I don’t do a-lot of re-arranging or remixing ‘live’ because I still believe in the choices that I made in the studio, I didn’t see any need to do things differently… If I did then I would have done them differently in the studio.

But a-lot of people seem to prefer making it more and more and more live and thus more and more and more complex because they feel it’s a better show. There is something much more romantic about playing out the instrument compared to just hitting ‘play’ on a Traktor backing track.

But I think it’s important to understand the difference between putting on a show and just doing more work for the sake of doing more work. When I perform with Lyndal, she is the one who delivers the emotional content of the songs and she is the one who connects with the audience. As far as the audience is concerned I’m just pushing buttons on machines, and it wouldn’t matter if  I’m running backing tracks or if I’m triggering loops or if I’m using Native Instruments’ Maschine or Ableton Live… It doesn’t matter because it looks the same, as far as the show goes there’s no difference between pressing play on my iPad or using some controller to trigger loops or change sections or that sort of thing. If I wanted to push it more towards a performance aesthetic then I’d probably bring a keyboard and play the keyboard parts myself, or bring on a percussionist… We’ve got a live show that we are planning probably in about three or four months where we are going to bring in a guitarist and he is going to bring in some guitar science to our set and to our sound. But if I’m going to be on stage staring down at machines, it doesn’t matter what machines I use as long as they are making the sounds, and I want to make it as simple as possible rather than just making work for myself that doesn’t actually pay off as far as presenting the music goes.

Ok, but when you do this are you trying to keep it as ‘live’ as possible? Or is it purely for convenience, because the way you describe it… You could go without the live looping of her voice… You could just walk on stage and hit ‘play’ once. Is there any element where you think ‘this is not live enough’?

Well it could always be more live… But performing with Lyndal is a very different show to performing on my own, which would basically look like a DJ set. You know, however I do it- doesn’t matter if I’m triggering loops or pressing play on Traktor or playing keyboards myself… It would look like a DJ set. Bringing Lyndal on-board brings a very different dynamic to our stage performance, and also for our show in a few months time, bringing our guitarist on-board is going to add a different dynamic as-well.

So you feel like you have to bring in more ‘members’ to add more elements, you are not going to personally push it more?

Well there are two reasons why I like the idea of bringing on more performers. One is that it certainly does add a very different kind of energy on stage and a different communication with the audience, because that’s what it is about- communicating with the audience. Having three dudes staring down at their laptops is not communicating with the audience in anywhere near the same way as people playing guitars and singing and playing percussion and that sort of thing- there’s a different physicality to it. The other reason is that musicians… the kind of musicians I work with have well over a decade of professional performance experience and they bring a very different creative aesthetic, and they bring on a different sort of musicianship. I mean I can play guitar… but I bring on a different guitarist because he’s got different experience to me, he’ll have different ideas to me, different ways of presenting the music and interpreting it.

For sure, for sure, when you speak of communicating with the audience, a-lot of people when they think of electronic music… I feel like they expect to be dancing, or to for it to have a dance sort of element to it. When you write for Bare Toes Into Soil, a-lot of it is very atmospheric and dreamy, are you trying to get your head bopping in the studio- are you trying to get into the feel? Do you feel like there’s a bodily movement within the music or is it more focused on telling a story?

I would expect it’s both. Obviously there’s a very human physical connection to music. Every culture on Earth has created music in isolation, there’s no culture on Earth that does not have music. There’s a very physical connection on a basic human level with rhythm and melody, and this is something I hope to capture in the studio when I’m working on it as-well; it’s not academic music… it’s not there for people to sit around and stroke their beards. It’s music that I think is successful if I help people to feel something.

Yeah,  awesome! Also, you’ve covered a Gosti track… ‘Boy’ I think it’s called. That’s the most recent Bare Toes Into Soil release I could track down?

Yes. I’ve got about half a dozen remixes ready to release. I mentioned the larger show coming up in a few months, that’ll be an album release of remixes and alternative versions… basically a love letter to my other musician friends and showing what I really enjoy about their songwriting and approach to music.

So it’s you guys (Bare Toes Into Soil) remixing other people’s music? It’s not remixes of your songs?

It’ll be both. There’ll be some covers, we’ll be releasing songs we’ve re-interpreted and re-performed. There are some remixes where I’ve done a Bare Toes Into Soil interpretation of someone else’s song, and we’re lining up one or two other producers to do some remixes of some of the Bare Toes Into Soil originals.

And is there a sneak peak of who those people may be?

(laughs) Not yet, I’m not in the business of pre-announcing things that aren’t ready to roll yet.

😦 fair enough. But speaking of other producers, that Gosti whom you covered is another Melbourne act… Are you friends with her? How did you come to the decision to cover her?

We worked together quite a-lot last year. She released her album in 2012 and in 2013 she did three single launches. We were working together over that period quite a bit. There were a couple of her songs that I felt really resonated with me, I mean I like all the songs on her album but there were two in-particular… One was ‘Charlie’ which I haven’t done anything with, but the other was ‘Boy’- which is the cover which you heard.

Well let me quiz you on the lyrics to ‘Boy’ then. Think you know them?

(Laughs)

Pick a colour / take a number / wash it all away…

Ummmmm…. I’m gonna have to cheat. (Laughs)

Well it was a year ago! It’s ‘Take a photo of your brother / put it in a frame’.

Well I’m not particularly sensitive to lyrics… and this is something that I’ve had a-lot of interesting conversations about with other musicians. Because some people are quite sensitive to lyrics and when they hear a song they hear the lyrics first- a-lot of people are. But for whatever reason when I hear a song I hear the instrumental performance and the arrangement, and the post production and the creative direction on a sonic level rather than on a language level.

Yes, I feel like I’m very similar to you, but how about when you listen to other genres like Hip-Hop which is a much more lyrically-driven medium, is it a challenge?

I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge, but again, with Hip-Hop a-lot of my favourite Hip-Hop is very engaging sonically rather than lyrically.

So what are some examples of Hip-Hop artists who you think describe that?

Well there’s one which I think has made a-lot of interesting music- Sage Francis, he’s from the USA. I’ve been listening to a-lot of older Hip-Hop recently, a-lot of Outkast, De La Soul… which I’m probably listening more as a history lesson rather than pure enjoyment, if you like. Another interesting approach is… do you know of the Grey Album?

Danger Mouse’s mix of The Beatles’ White Album with Jay-Z’s Black Album?

Yeah the Jay-Z/Beatles mashup, very interesting from a sonic point of view. Another artist I really like the sonics of… I don’t know if you know… Atmosphere?

I remember the terrible board game AtmosFEAR

(laughs) yeah! With the VHS cassette!

That’s the one!

No, no, I mean the rapper- he’s got some really interesting sounds. I also suppose in the mainstream I’m a follower of Kanye West- he makes some really interesting decisions from a creative point of view.

So would you say you are a fan of Kanye’s production over his lyrics?

Yeah, I would say so… I think his lyrics are sometimes interesting as well, but I’m more interested in the production than the lyrics generally.

Ok focusing on things that you are enjoying… You’ve covered a T A N T R U M S track ‘Stella’. T A N T R U M S are another Melbourne outfit, who else in Melbourne has got you excited?

Ooh, Sweets are really good, they are currently recording their EP or album, they’ve just got one song out at the moment. I’ve gotta plug Jennifer Kingwell– I recorded her EP here last year. Sleeper Thieves are really good, I went to see them at Purple Emerald and really, surprisingly soulful music- their singer is really spot on. There’s also an artist called Jehan who just released an extended EP which again I’m really excited about.

So would you say you are more of a band person than a producer person?

Ooooh what do you mean?

Melbourne has a very rich scene of solo producers performing electronic music that they’ve created on their own, whereas a-lot of the people you’ve just mentioned are more based around more than one member, playing instruments, etc.

Well I go out a-lot, and I see a-lot of live music. I’m drawn towards musicians making the miracle of creating music out of thin air.

So you don’t feel like producers play into that miracle as-well?

Well you are talking about electronic music, with elements of mostly pre-recorded material, which goes back to Bare Toes Into Soil– which is why I feel it is important to bring onto stage the likes of Lyndal, and Caleb our guitarist.

Well you do have a gig yourself coming up real soon at Horse Bazaar on Wednesday- that’s titled ‘Elektro Musik’. What can punter expect from you and the other performers there?

Well we’ve been talking about what the Bare Toes Into Soil show consists of, one of the other acts is the Kerang Jefferson Quartet which is a band of four guitarists who all play electric guitar and do covers of film themes… I think they’ve also got a Deadmau5 track that they’re doing and a few other interesting interpretations which people would recognise, but they perform it on four electric guitars. It’s interesting because what you are seeing is the musicianship… of creating music where there is no music there. There’s no pre-recorded materials, there’s no people sitting there checking their email… it’s actually playing instruments.

(Laughs) I don’t think there’s anyone sitting and checking their email during a gig although I’ll have to try that next time I play.

Try it, see if anyone notices.

Would you say you are slightly anti-DJ then in that regard?

No I wouldn’t say I’m anti-DJ, DJing is a legitimate skill and a legitimate mode of performance, of-course it is. And some DJing performances cross over the barrier to what I’d call musicianship. So I wouldn’t  say I’m anti-DJ because to say that would put all DJing into a category of being ‘non-musicians’ or ‘non-performance’, which I don’t think is true because I think it’s quite possible to do a very compelling musical performance as a DJ. But of-course there’s a-lot of DJs who don’t do that, what they are doing is entertaining people and playing other people’s music but that’s not necessarily ‘musicianship’.

Well that brings us to my last question, one thing we ask everybody we’ve interviewed on Fuck the RadioSomeone sees you out and they want to send a drink your way, what should it be?

Probably orange juice.

Just orange juice? No vodka in there to stiffen it up?

Nope no vodka- I like being sober!

Well there you go- probably a good choice then!

(Laughs).

Check out http://baretoesintosoil.bandcamp.com/ for more music and here: https://www.facebook.com/events/780948205272222/ for their gig this Wednesday 25th.



Lunch with Galapagoose by Chris
November 14, 2012, 11:52 AM
Filed under: Interview, Lunch With | Tags: , , , , ,

A few weeks ago Kleo got together with Melbourne producer/genius/nice guy Galapagoose over lunch… Skype lunch. In anticipation for Inca Roads Music Festival – where Galapagoose and the Fuck the Radio Collective will be sharing a stage – they chat about music, Melbourne, fame, Low End Theory, and most importantly Gourmet pizza:

Howdy! What are you eating?

I’m eating pizza, but currently some garlic bread. We have a ridiculous pizza place around the corner from our house and it is outta control.

Where do you live?

Just in Fitzroy North.

What’s the pizza place called?

It’s called Al Albero.

All right, I’ll keep note!

It is…the best pizza I think I’ve ever eaten…maybe…ever. This [pizza] is ridiculous.

That looks amazing! What’s on it?

I think it’s like: pumpkin, capsicums, parsley and goat’s cheese. The most amazing part is the tomato sauce; it’s like the best tomato sauce…ever…anyway, hi I’m Trent!

Hi Trent, I’m Kleo, nice to meet you. All right so lets talk music just briefly.

More about food.

Actually yeah let’s talk about food. There’s a tradition on Fuck the Radio when we’re interviewing musicians to ask what their preferred alcoholic beverage is:

I would say just a straight scotch. Just a real smoky scotch, or maybe like a cocktail, like a Manhattan.

And we have a question from a fan: He’d like to know that if you were in a band would you be called ‘Galapageese’?

[Laughs] Actually, its come up before. One of my friends had a dream, and in his dream I was being given an award and they called out my name but they called out Galapageese, and they were like “Trent, Trent! What’s happened? They said your name wrong!” and I was like “No, no! They said it right, it’s plural now! I’m just that huge!”

How did you start making music? When, and how, and why?

I’ve played music since I was a kid. Since I was like seven or eight or something. I was playing guitar and a little bit of saxophone and a little bit of piano. I guess I started writing music when I was maybe fourteen, fifteen. Just as being an angsty teenager and needing an outlet. I started doing electronic stuff that led into the Galapagoose stuff… not until the end of high school, start of uni…eighteen, nineteen. So what’s that? Like six years ago now? I just turned twenty-five.

Have you ever listened back on the stuff you wrote when you were fourteen, fifteen?

Little things. I actually listened to them the other day, ‘cause I just moved into this place and I was at my parents’ house cleaning out old CDs that had been there for years and years. I found all these demo CDs and stuff from when I was like fifteen, sixteen. Really funny: like, me playing guitar and singing really badly, my friend playing drums. It was kind of cute but at the same time it was really embarrassing.

Can I ask what it was about?

I was quite into abstract lyrics and stuff so it was very umm…

Metaphorical?

Yeah…talking about lightning rods, and lots of random things. Then there was some whiney “La la la, I wish I was with you. La la la why don’t you love me? La la la…”

Now you make, in a broader sense, electronic music. Do you feel like everyone’s doing it now? Do you get that feeling ever?

I feel like it’s easier these days to record and release electronic music than it is with acoustic music or, you know, music that you make in a room. It’s much more expensive and complicated to get recording equipment than it is to just use a computer. So I think that naturally most of the music being made, it’s by people who make it on the side for fun. You get that feeling a little bit. I do think that you hear indie music or rock music and everything seems to have a synthesiser now and it seems to all have some kind of processing. I like that, I’m kind of happy to embrace that. It’s just kind of looking at the tools that are available and making something.

So tell us about “This Thing”:

This Thing is kind of a record label, kind of just a collective mostly run by my friend Dylan – Wooshie. He handles more of the day-to-day stuff. It’s basically an outlet for us to release music and find music that we like. If we find other people making music that we really appreciate and connect with in some way, it gives us an outlet to take that to the market. Also it’s just been really good in terms of teaching us a lot about the industry; how to interact with more industry-type people, how to book gigs, how to deal with other record labels and distributors and PR people and all that. It’s almost more of, at least from my perspective, a learning setup but at the same time we throw some really amazing parties. It’s one of those great things where you learn along the way.

Who else is in the collective?

It used to be a lot more specific, it’s more loose now. It’s: Electric Sea Spider, Naps, Kane Iken, a couple of other guys like Mike Katz. I guess kind of Baba X and Zanzibar Chanel, but they’re kind of doing their own thing and those guys are totally crazy, they’re good fun.

And you guys are going to be at Inca Roads with us (Fuck the Radio Collective)?

Dylan and I are both playing, I think Electric Sea Spider is playing as well. Should be really fun. The idea of doing like a big outdoor festival but with only a few hundred people is really exciting.

So, I told you I was going to…and I definitely am going to… ask you about Low End Theory:

It was really cool. Its funny, it gets built up as this huge club party but in reality its way more about a bunch of young kids particularly between sixteen and twenty – it’s an eighteen plus show in LA where everything else is twenty-one plus – but it’s 18+ and its quite loose. It seems like everyone in LA has a fake ID, it seems like that’s the way it is. It’s full of kids, and it’s like they go there every week. Its not like a big venue where its like, “Oh are we gonna sell enough tickets?” Every week it’s full. There’s a line down the block and around the corner. We tried to go a couple of weeks after we played and there would’ve been a line about 600m long. Kids that’d been waiting there for four hours and we turned up at midnight and we’re like “Oh. I guess we’re not getting in…” It only goes until 1:30 in the morning. There’s the band-room upstairs which is quite small and has a huge incredible sound system which isn’t that loud but has so much bass it makes your guts rumble in a way that I haven’t really felt except at a huge festival. It’s really over the top in terms of how many subs there are. So it makes it really fun to play, but also really ridiculous. The venue’s quite big but the performance space is quite small. There’s a huge courtyard, and then another layer above it, and every week people go there and catch up with their friends, and meet people, and you get to talk to the people that make the music. Everyone there makes music or loves music. Its not the scene in like a hip, trendy way; it’s the scene in that these kids love hip hop music or they love this kind of electronic music. It’s their place to go and catch up. It closes at 1:30am which is when Melbourne kids start going out.

So do you feel like (in LA) its more about passion and love for the music and a little bit less about partying and being hip than Melbourne?

I think so, but at the same time there’s definitely the same kind of thing there as well. I think that it’s just that I haven’t really seen a party quite like that in the city (Melbourne). It (Low End Theory) is on a Wednesday night in a really bad part of town. The venue does have a very liberal smoking policy, so its not like kids are going out and taking pingers and drinking heaps of alcohol. It’s quite a different vibe there. So I think that maybe that contributes to why it’s not such a late thing as well. It starts earlier, finishes earlier, and people are like “yeah cool, I had an awesome night. I’m gonna go home now”

Don’t you feel like in Melbourne it’s more about doing the drinking and taking pingers thing? Or am I just being bitter?

I think if you go to the wrong places it is. That being said I don’t know many of the right places so… I mean most of the parties I go to these days are just friends’ houses or a warehouse party or a gig that I really wanna see one of the acts.

No clubs necessarily?

No I haven’t really done that for a while.

Is that because there’s a lack thereof?

I don’t know. I think maybe I’m just getting old and boring.

Do you get frustrated by Melbourne being small in comparison or do you like it because its cosier?

In terms of Melbourne being small, I don’t think that. I think, coming back, I’ve realised the potential of this city and Australia more generally. There’s actually a lot of kids that are really into it. Maybe there’s not quite as many but the ones that are really into it have a bit more money and are more willing to put themselves out there. It’s quite different; you go to the States and you can’t sell a record for more than twelve dollars, whereas for us they cost ten dollars to make. For us it’s “Yay! We made two dollars buy selling a record!” its kind of amazing that we can work on a small scale but run in it in more of a sustainable way. There’s a lot of positive things that we have that they don’t have in the states.

In that way, that means you can be at the headway of the progression in Melbourne. Artists like you and on your level are the ones that are going to bring it forward and make it bigger…

Yeah totally I’ve felt that even in what I’ve done. From where I’ve started to where I am now feels like a huge thing. For people to have heard of the record even if they haven’t heard it. It’s baby steps but its definitely happening. It’s fun to be on that leading edge, but more on the side of being able to bring it to more people rather than the ego trip.

Is there a little bit of ego though?

In terms of the ego thing, for sure you do deal with it. It comes and goes. I’m lucky to have friends who call me out and put me back in my place a little bit.

Have you seen any egos?

I’ve dealt with a few. Part of this whole entertainment industry is a bit about ego. You have to learn how to handle those people. Its hard to make a living, you have to suck it up and let people have their way. It’s a good skill to learn how to deal with those egos.

Who’s one of the most exciting people you’ve gotten to play alongside?

I got to play onstage with RJD2, that was kind of cool. I was in New York a while ago, doing some production work. I went down to Philadelphia for a trip to meet this guy called King Britt and his now ex-partner Russell. They used to put on these nights called Saturn Never Sleeps and I went down for one of them. The idea is that each person has a solo show and at the end there’s this weird collaborative jam thing. It was the two of them, myself, RJD2 and another guy whose name escapes me; this crazy technologist. It was really funny and bizarre but also fun.

In terms of inspiration, the people around Melbourne are as inspiring as anybody. I love making music with my friends; playing with Wooshie, or playing with Naps.

Tell me about how it felt when you released Commitments:

I think receiving the records was one of the coolest parts. Having a big cardboard box turn up on my doorstep… well, I had to go to the post office and pick it up. It’s this big weighty thing full of records. You open it up and you’re like, “Oh my god this is what eighty records looks like. Then the next day another box turns up and you’re like “Crap” this is a third of the records we’ve made. It kind of creeps you out. The cool thing about releasing a new record that’s different to what you’ve done before is that it opens you up to a wider audience.

How do you pay the bills? Is the selling of records enough to keep you alive?

Selling records, definitely not enough. Selling records makes you very little money. That’s the funny thing about our music; you might make 500 selling an album but the equipment you use to make that album is worth like fifteen grand. Before I did music full-time I spent a year working full-time doing a crappy office job, which helped me save money so I could afford to live.

Could you imagine doing an office job and being stuck in the grind for the rest of your life?
I can’t really imagine it, no. I don’t think I’ll ever be quite like that. I have lots of ideas of what I wanna do if I’m not making music but they’re all quite self-directed.

Because a lot of artists don’t know about artists’ grants could you explain how a grant works? I think young musicians would appreciate hearing it from you:

The easiest thing to do is search for Australia Music Grants online, and you’ll get lots of responses. Basically you come up with an idea…you look at what you can get a grant for…you can get a grant to write a new work which is what I got one for, but that’s gotta be more of an academic or a classic or a jazz kind of approach to what they’re expecting. In Victoria they have grants specifically for experimental music, there’s grants for touring, there’s grants for helping you promote and advertise a record. There’s a lot out there and there’s lots of different categories. Basically if you look at what you’re already doing and think about how do I get from here to the next step, you can probably find a grant that’ll get you from here to the next step.

I think I’ve taken up enough of your time Trent! How much of your pizza have you gone through?

This is piece number three, there’s only four pieces. I think three might be my limit! It’s hard work, even though it’s really good.




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