VIDEO: Los Campesinos! on David Letterman, and 89.3 The Current

Los Campesinos!

I didn’t write about it at the time, but Los Campesinos! had a pretty big moment recently. They made their US TV debut on David Letterman’s show. For those of you who don’t quite realise what that means – it’s huge.

Watch them perform “By Your Hand” below! It’s heart-warming to see a band I’ve followed for so long look so ecstatic at this important point in their career, and despite a slight timing issue and a couple of vocal hiccups, they do the studio version complete justice.

More recently, they also did a session for 89.3 The Current – a radio station based over in Minneapolis, who have done videos featuring some very talented artists, like Doomtree and Phantogram!

Check out the video of “By Your Hand” below, and get on over here to stream the full set and interview!

INTERVIEW: Coptic Soldier

Coptic Soldier

I recently sent a few questions across to Coptic Soldier – one of the members of excellent Sydney-based hip-hop collective I Forget, Sorry! I asked him about a very interesting project the guys are throwing together for this festive season…

Hi Luke! Hope all is well. I hear there’ll be five mixtapes from IFS! members dropping for free on Christmas Eve – whose work are we going to get to hear?

You will hear a full mixtape from each member in our camp. That is; Johnny Utah, Mind Over Matter, Phatchance, Smiles Again and myself all releasing a mixtape each – free. :)

How did the idea for the mixtapes come about?

Haha, it’s actually quite funny because Smiles wrote a song on his mixtape about how it all went down. Basically the mixtapes were his idea, however I’ll wait for you to hear the song, because Smiles tells the story there more funnily than I can. Maybe we can get On The Tune a Christmas Eve eve exclusive?

That’d be great! Five mixtapes is quite a lot of music though – are you worried that you could over-saturate listeners with too much new material at once?

It was definitely something we discussed. However as a fan, I love it when artists drop mixtapes in between albums, and I know all of us in I Forget, Sorry! haven’t dropped one in ages… so we are due I think. Besides, as a fan, mixtapes always make me want to hear more from an artist. It’s the artists that drop albums so close together consistently that are the ones who outstay their welcome I feel.

Any chance of a cheeky single including everyone involved in the project?

That song I mentioned earlier on the Smiles Again mixtape has everyone on it, even if they are only brief appearances. :)

Thanks for your time, and good luck with the releases!

Thanks for your support Jeremy, heads like you really help us get the music to the people!

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Check out an IFS! mixtape I put together a while ago – it’s legal and free. Get over here!

Check out a couple of teasers from the mixtapes below!

INTERVIEW: Miami Horror

I recently got to catch up with Miami Horror, one of Australia’s biggest electro-pop bands around!

On The Tune: You guys are currently getting ready to head out on the Summersun Tour before you head off to Los Angeles. This must be a pretty exciting time for you guys. Why did you pick L.A.?

Miami Horror: Well it was between NY and LA, we felt LA was better because we like a little bit of space and having the ability to step out into nature if we need. The houses are bigger and we feel it’s the right atmosphere for creation.

OTT: I get the feeling these last shows over here seem to close an era, especially here in Australia. Are you guys going to tour Illumination extensively overseas now that it’s getting released there, or will it be straight into new material?

MH: The international tour is pretty comprehensive however we’ve already done America twice in the last year and are off to Europe in May and also September… So I think hopefully from July onwards we’ll have a lot of time off to start new material.

OTT: Will we see new tracks to move in a different direction to the stuff on Illumination? What can fans expect from new material?

MH: We haven’t really had the chance to think about direction yet, currently what we’re listening to is quite different to MH, so we need some time to work out how we can work in our new direction without loosing the MH sound that people would expect.

OTT: It definitely sounds like you guys are getting great reactions from overseas crowds to your current material. Where have you enjoyed playing the most? Any places that have absolutely wild crowds?

MH: Chile and Rio were probably our biggest most interesting crowds, it was a great feeling to sell out some pretty reasonable sized shows in the US as we weren’t really expecting it.

OTT: Lots of bands dream of playing South By South West over in Texas, you guys got to actually go over this year. How do you guys feel your shows went? Being one of the biggest showcases in the world was it a fairly hectic experience?

MH: SXSW is always pretty hectic, its hard work to find the good music because there’s just so much in general, all of our showcases were completely packed and went really well. Its a great opportunity to play to the industry and can bring many new opportunities.

OTT: Thanks for the chat, and congratulations on an incredibly successful 2010 guys! Good luck on the tour!

MH: Thanks!

INTERVIEW: Big Bird’s Bear Trap

Yesterday a friend of mine directed me to a YouTube video, and my mind was absolutely blown.

Although uploaded over a year and a half ago, and consisting of a home recording from their lounge room, Big Bird’s Bear Trap’s video shows them displaying serious vigour and energy as they perform one of their earliest songs. Their fan-base may not have expanded far beyond the local region, but if the video is anything to go by, then BBBT have one of the wildest live shows going around right now.

Of course, the harsh instrumentation and occasional screaming may put some listeners off, but the beautiful undertones of honesty and integrity in the lyrics will hit home for many, and it’s the contrast between the quieter moments the band has and these brutal surges that really differentiate them from other artists.

I caught up with Mitch Reinke from the band to talk about the band’s future and how they feel about their older material.

On the Tune: You guys have been fairly quiet recently, what’s happening? Can we expect some new material soon?

Mitch: Yeah, you’re right we have been quiet for a while. We sort of took a year of to pursue other goals we had and we were going to just see what happens I guess. We have a few projects going and a few new bands coming up but you never know, BBBT might be back sooner than you know.

OtT: Your live shows look insane – any chance of a tour sometime soon?

M: Look, we are in the process of working out logistics for a tour but with the tightening rules around firework accessibility, gun control regulations and the fact that OH&S say were not allowed to get 17 independently powered Van der Graaf generators to make the crowds stand on end, due to a high risk of mass electrocution to what ever city we would be touring in first, it might be a little while before its up and running. But we will keep the fans informed.

OtT: What was your inspiration for “Ode to Beethoven”? Apart from Beethoven, of course.

M: “Ode to Beethoven” was a fantastic breakthrough song for us as we were really experimenting through many different genres of music, which ones sort of just melded naturally together, and low and behold it turns out we stumbled upon something. Who knew Classical and what we like to call DESTRUCTO METAL would fuse so perfectly together in a sort of harmonic and sanctimonious love fest of notes. I guess the reason that we were inspired to dedicate this song to Beethoven was just that we wanted to have a song that really showed the evolution of music from where it was back then to where it is now, and I think that Beethoven’s music really summed up the feeling in his day, and I believe our music really sums up the world we live in now. But again that is open to the individual’s interpretation.

OtT: I hear Warner Music have picked you up recently, is this true? Are you signed now?

M: That’s a simple misunderstanding there, but the label was in fact WarNed not Warner. WarNed Records is a record company based in Austria and the rough translation is War=WAS and Ned=NOT. Its great working with Was Not (to use their English name) Records, they’re all really great guys and despite not being able to understand them we have had a great time. This would also answer a question of the next album release date which will be, as far as I can gather from the reaction I got from our producer when I asked him the question, “ich verstehe dich nicht, ich verstehe dich nicht, ich weiss nicht was du hast gesagt.” And I can only presume that is good, so it shouldn’t be too long.

INTERVIEW: Steering By Stars

Recently I was lucky enough to do an interview with Rory (guitar, backing vocals) and Tom (drums) of Adelaide band Steering By Stars. They’ve got their debut LP “Cables” coming out on Thursday the 8th of July, 2010, and I’ll have a review of it up very soon. But for now, enjoy!


On The Tune: Firstly, congratulations on recording such a great album. I’m interested though, what made you decide to only release Cables digitally and on 12" vinyl? There’s been a resurgence in the popularity of vinyl, and digital downloads are a large part of music distribution now, but why leave out a CD release?

Rory & Tom: Thanks for your support, greatly appreciated. CD’s are somewhat of a redundant medium in our opinion. Sure, we still buy them occasionally, but they don’t really have the romanticism of a Vinyl, which is something we all enjoy, and why we chose to press to Vinyl. We recognise though that not everyone has a record player, and so the digital medium allows our music to be shared diversely.

OtT: You allowed yourself only three days to record Cables. How did that impact on the recording process? Was there a lot of tension in the studio, having the mindset that you had to get it right and there wasn’t time to mess around?

R & T: We actually only took two and a half days to record this album. I make this admission not in a gloating sense, but rather, that we just couldn’t squeeze out any more music. Having only three days to record we realised the importance of being well rehearsed and clear about what we wanted the record to sound like. It also meant that it had to be a live recording. The first two days were fantastic; we had almost tracked the whole album, with just finishing touches remaining. By the third day exhaustion had taken its toll, and worries both monetary and timely in nature had started to creep their way into our conscience, yielding quite an intense vibe amongst the band members. Because it was quite intense towards the end of the recording, I think some of that angst came out onto the tracks, which is probably a good thing!

OtT: At the moment it seems like the music industry is constantly telling us how much illegal file-sharing hurts everyone. However I’ve noticed a divide in the opinions of musicians. As a smaller independent band, what’s your stance on the file-sharing debate? Do you feel it hurts or hinders the artists, or is it somewhere in between?

R & T: Being a small band, and being unlikely to profit greatly from this release, we feel that file sharing is probably a good thing. Personally if someone in France gets hold of the record for free and enjoys it, or even gives it a listen, that’s probably better for our interests than profiteering. However, we can sympathise with the bigger bands, which need to support their touring and livelihoods. For them I imagine the business side of the industry becomes quite important.

OtT: The Australian alternative music scene seems to be warming to you guys quite a bit lately. Do you think Australia is going to develop a stronger post-rock scene in the near future? Do you feel like it is growing on people as a different style of music that many wouldn’t have been exposed to before?

R & T: We don’t really have any evidence to back this up, but we think post-rock is starting to make headway in the Australian scene. Maybe not typical post-rock, but you can definitely feel its influence in a number of Australian bands. We think its growing on people; we’ve had a few compliments from punters who have said that they wouldn’t normally listen to a style of music similar to ours, but that they really enjoyed it. We think post-rock is pretty innocuous and accessible.

OtT: I feel that Cables is one of those albums that you should listen to in its entirety, but on the other hand, there are moments, like single "Closer", that stand up on their own. Was it a conscious decision to make certain songs more accessible as individual tracks, or is that just how it turned out?

R & T: We had written ‘Cables’ as a single piece and we attempted to record it that way. However there are single tracks like ‘Dissonance’, ‘Closer’ and ‘Ether’ that have that single vibe. That being said, they weren’t intentionally written as singles, but over time it became obvious that they could stand on their own.

OtT: The tracks on Cables seem to blend together effortlessly, it’s a very cohesive album. Was it difficult to get the tracks to flow and stick together correctly?

R & T: We really love placing emphasis on the fluidity of our sets. Almost as much as we work on the individual songs, we work on the transitions between them. We wanted to create a contiguous listening experience for the audience. We thought that through not giving the audience time to clap etc, that they would be more captivated by the proverbial ‘journey’. We hate using that word. Perhaps we could substitute, ‘field trip’, or ‘excursion’, or ‘jaunt’. The thesaurus isn’t helping us right now.

OtT: How do you as a band interact in a live setting? Do you expand upon tracks, mix stuff up and chop and change songs, or is it essentially a performance of Cables?

R & T: At this point, we have chosen those aforementioned tracks that ‘stand on their own’, and mixed them in with our new material. We still try to provide that contiguous listening experience though, focusing on the transitions as much as the songs themselves. In a live setting this more often that not translates, but sometimes due to sound constraints, or audience vibe, I think it can leave us feeling a little vulnerable.

OtT: Do you have any plans to tour the other states anytime soon with your new album?

R & T: We are heading to Sydney to play a show at the World Bar on the 23rd July, and we are hoping to make it to Melbourne and Brisbane in August. Touring is definitely something we’d like to pursue!

OtT: Lastly, who are your favourite contemporary Aussie bands at the moment? Anyone you think we should be keeping an eye on?

R & T: We all have quite divergent musical tastes, so not according to genre or locality the following bands have really captivated our attention: Parades, Bearhug, My Disco, Absolute Boys, These Hands Could Separate the Sky, Box Elder, Fire! Santa Rosa, Fire!, and too many other Adelaide bands to mention!


Thanks so much to Rory and Tom for answering my questions and to Emma and Samuel who helped organise it all. Look out for my review of “Cables” very soon!

NEWS: Radiohead – No new album?

Slightly misleading post title. It’s not all doom and gloom, don’t fret.

In an interview with The Believer magazine, Thom has said:

“None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again. Not straight off.”

“I mean, obviously, there’s still something great about the album. It’s just, for us, right now, we need to get away from it a bit.”

All hints are pointing towards Radiohead releasing a few EP’s in the future instead of LP’s. Probably over a short period of time. Hopefully anyway. But they are in the studio now, and have been recording, so if there’s no LP’s, chances are they’re gonna work on some EP’s.

But, priorities in order, let’s just hope they’re good. Though I have absolutely no reason what-so-ever to think anything otherwise.

I can’t wait to hear some new material.