Thursday, 22 September 2016

Weekly Zug Zug: Wallace 'Raffled Roses'

She's got one of those voices that effortlessly unearths emotion out of every moment. 

Future soul songstress Wallace and her gorgeously groovy single Raffled Roses is our Zug Zug this week. This tropical number shines a playful light on Wallace's indulgent and expressive jazzy tones (distinctly reminiscent of Macy Gray). 

Raffled Roses is this Wellington native now Sydney local's 5th single release after Vinyl Skips, Beauty ft. Sampa the Great, Negroni Eyes, and It You prod. Kraak and Smaak. A vibrant mix of electronic pop - she also smashed her Bigsound show and we WERE THERE!

Wallace's debut EP is in the works and is expected to be released later in the year. We'll be watching that's for sure.

Join our Zug Zug Spotify playlist.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Touching base with Astronomy Class...

As Astronomy Class gear up for their performance at Manifest QLD, September 23-25, we caught up with Shannon Kennedy (aka Ozi Batla) to check out what the boys have been up to since the release of their 3rd studio album, Mekong Delta Sunrise, and to hint at what we can look forward to at their show!

What have you guys been up to since releasing Mekong Delta Sunrise?

It's been a busy time for the Astronomers; Chasm has been releasing music under his Dr Don Don moniker and more recently, the Floating Pyramids project. Sir Robbo has just been working on a remix for the South Coast up-and-comers Shining Bird. Ozi Batla has been focusing on completing his youth work degree and has been mentoring and teaching young MCs and producers at the Street University in Liverpool, the same place that L-FRESH came out of.

Have you visited Cambodia since the album release? Do you feel the songs still resonate the same way it did 2 years ago? 

We went back to Cambodia last year. It's had a real lasting resonance in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in particular, especially Four Barang in a Tuk-Tuk which you hear in bars almost everywhere you go! Some local crews have been versioning the beats from the record in Khmer for their own tunes. We played a couple of great shows over there and Srey Channthy's (The Cambodian Space Project) profile has never been bigger. We're really proud of the project and took a lot of time to make it culturally and historically accurate - it feels timeless. Songs like Rumdul and Russian Market paint a picture of a time and place; a snapshot that should stand the test of time.

'Mekong Delta Sunset'. Ozi Batla, Sir Robbo, Chasm, Srey Channthy.

What can we expect from your show at Manifest QLD? 

We're really excited to have long-time collaborator and very good mate Vida-Sunshyne along for the ride at Manifest - that usually changes up the set quite a bit. So we go back through our catalog and bring out the collaborations we've done with Vida, not just with Astronomy Class but also on the Chasm solo records and the one Chasm and Vida collaboration record (Move). The one and only Johnny Laddox will be with us laying the bass. Chasm and Sir Robbo are also spinning a DJ set and Ozi Batla is doing a solo set, so plenty of Astronomy Class up in there!

What's next for Astronomy Class? 

We've got some ideas bubbling away. We usually take a while to process in-between records, until a new concept or direction comes to us. We're not in it for the money or the music career, we never have been really. So we have to have a good concept and all be in a good place for it to happen. The stars have to align! Mainly we want to have fun with it, so we need to find an ideal time for all of us to fit it into our busy lives.

Tickets on sale now via Manifest QLD's website.

About Mekong Delta Sunrise (2014)

Drawing on Khmer pop music from the 1950s to the mid ‘70s, Astronomy Class and Srey Channthy (The Cambodian Space Project) pay tribute to a lost Cambodian generation; their eclectic soundtrack seen in a new light.

Mekong Delta Sunrise spawned in 2012 when Astronomy Class were invited to Phnom Penh by Cambodian hip hop crew Klap Your Handz to perform a version of a classic Khmer rock song with Cambodian star Preap Sovath. During a six hour taxi ride through the Cambodian countryside, the band fell in love with the intoxicating, soulful sounds of Khmer pop that came drifting from the driver’s cassette player. Khmer pop effortlessly meshed the sounds of traditional Cambodian music with soul, rhythm and blues, cha cha, beat music, mambo, jazz, psychedelic, garage rock and many other genres. From the 1950s to the mid-’70s, Cambodia’s national radio popularised the dynamic 
and inventive music scene in Phnom Penh, at a time when the vibrant capital was known as 'The Pearl of Asia'.

Sir Robbo and Chasm went to task sourcing the exotic sounds of the golden era via cassettes, vinyl and any other medium they could get their hands on. Mekong Delta Sunrise sees them tastefully re-fashion the heady soundtracks of that time with a classic boom-bap aesthetic.

Ozi Batla and Channthy cover vast ground with their stories. They pay tribute to the lives of some of the great singers of the time who disappeared at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge (Russian Market). On title track (Mekong Delta Sunrise) they shine a light on the ugly behaviour of western tourists (Four Barang in a Tuk Tuk) and pay their respects to Cambodia’s beloved King Sihanouk (Father).

In Mekong Delta Sunrise, Astronomy Class have crafted an album like no other, whilst documenting the vibrant musical, social and cultural history of Cambodia.

You can grab your copy of Mekong Delta Sunrise and past Astronomy Class albums on our website

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Weekly Zug Zug: REMI 'Lose Sleep' ft. Jordan Rakai

Lose Sleep is the latest single off REMI's upcoming album and is our Zug Zug this week. When you match REMI's flow with soulful guest vocals and luscious percussive beats, you get one hell of a hypnotic tune.

'Divas & Demons' is set to drop September 16 and features Substance Therapy and For Good ft. Sampa The Great - this album is gonna be huge!

Catch REMI on his 'Divas & Demon's tour. Tickets available via his website.

Fri 18 Nov | Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Fri 25 Nov |  Railway Club, Darwin
Sat 26 Nov | Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Wed 30 Nov | Transit Bar, Canberra
Fri 2 Dec | Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Fri 9 Dec | Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane
Sat 10 Dec | Republic Bar, Hobart
Sat 17 Dec | Howler, Melbourne

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Meet the animator behind 'The Arrow' music video...

What does is take to create a 4 minute animated music video? We caught up with the mastermind behind it all, Dom Aldis, to learn more about his craft and the process behind visually bringing The Arrow to life. Let's just say that it requires more than just a whole lot of time, paper, pens, and pencils...

How did you get to work with Urthboy on this music video?

I've always been a fan of Urthboy since I was 16 - his music is different, it's got purpose to it, he's a great storyteller. So I bought his album when it came out and at that point I just finished working at the studio that I was at - I sort of freaked out because I didn't know what I was to do. I wanted to get back into my own art because I missed it - I drew all day at this other job but I wasn't actually drawing the stuff I wanted to draw. I've always wanted to do music videos so I thought I'd just go for it and get in touch with ET.

Tim chose the song for me to collaborate with him on, but it was my favourite song on the album - I kind of related to it a lot as well. To me The Arrow is about following your career path, your dream, but it's also about all the shit that happens to you on the way and getting through it all. It's also about taking your personal life as it comes and still pursuing that dream of yours.

How would you describe your style of animation?

It's definitely messy. I guess with this style people can appreciate the mistakes. I think people like that rawness as it adds a bit of humanity to it - it's not so removed. All my personal stuff has been of a hand drawn style where I capture a lot of character - you can actually see the person in it that I'm trying to represent. My style of animating is not necessarily about the drafting skills. There's this free flow element where you sort of go from your eye and it evolves as you draw - it's more focused on the movement and the transitioning as opposed to an action starting here and ending there. It's that constant flow into the next thing that I'm more about.

How would you describe the world and character that you've created within the music video? What's the inspiration behind it?

I do this a lot where it's about the character being consumed by his environment. It's almost like he is at the will of everything else that's happening around him. I definitely got that from The Arrow in the first place so my style just aligned itself really well in the end.

To me it's about the journey. He's getting hit by waves, he's getting picked up by giant hands, and thrown off a building - he just keeps going. The purpose of what he's doing is meaningful enough to put up with all this shit, and he gets the reward at the end by stepping out on that stage in front of a big audience and does what he loves. I worked a lot from the lyrics - it was just easier to tie it in that way, but I was still able to interpret it in my own way.

Can you give a bit of an insight into the process of making this animation?

It took me almost two months and about 2700 illustrations. I was basically working on it everyday because I was working a casual job as well - I'd come home and sit down and start drawing. It was in Canberra during the middle of winter and I didn't have much space in the house so I set up in the back shed - it was just freezing cold. 

I did a lot of tests but I actually found the concept fairly quickly. Lachlan Pini's (storyboard artist) style is very comic book like so I got him to draw up a character concept for me first - he's tidy so it's a crisp drawing. I took his concepts and adapted it to my style. 

Illustration by Lachlan Pini

I was using tracing paper to draw on and working on a light box - I was just laying the paper on top of each to see the top and bottom key frames so I could draw the betweens from that. I realised that there's actually animation paper that you can flick through a lot easier. 

Illustration by Dom Aldis

Who else did you work with on this music video?

I definitely didn't do all this by myself. I had some talented guys working with me. One of them is an incredible background artist, his name is Kit Rigby - he's from Katoomba and actually knew Tim and played at the same cricket club as Tim. He did most of the backgrounds - he did all those really stunning ones. I got him to draw up some of the features from Katoomba - you'll see some of the streets and mountains in there is you look carefully. I had a storyboard artist, Lachlan Pini, who I've worked with since first year uni so we sort of understand each other really well - he's all about the composition and planning it all out. 

I had a 3D guy, John Carolan, who did the chorus part for me because there was no way I could've animated 4 minutes on my own - he's actually my room mate. He saw me every waking minute trying to get this thing finished so he thought he could help out as much as he could. Then I had an intern guy, Tom McCarthy, who contacted me because he wanted to get some advice on hand animation. I needed some help so I offered for him to come do some stuff and he ended up doing a lot of the inking with me - I did a lot of the pencil work and he'd draw over the top. 

There was also Pete Bailey who worked as the compositor and editor. He put in a lot of hours cutting the video together with me and is extremely talented at cinematography. He also helped me in the early stages by filming some reference videos of me acting out some of the shots. He's a big fan of ET and was really keen to get involved. He put in some really cool camera moves and parallax shots that really added to the animation.

Photo by Dom Aldis

What are your thoughts on the status of animation as an art form?

I think it's really under appreciated. I don't think people realise what goes into it. Hand drawn animation really helps because people can actually see the drawings a lot better - you see the pencil texture or you see where an artist has made mistakes a lot more with this stuff. Whereas you don't really see it with stuff you watch on television so it's really easy to criticise. There's people that work to strict timeframes and it's a bit frustrating how people judge it when they don't realise that person probably spent a year working on something just to get it as a clean and nice as possible for television or a movie.

And here is it from start to finish: 'The Arrow' by Dom Aldis

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Weekly Zug Zug: Coda Conduct ' Usually I'm Cool' ft. Jimblah (Produced by Jayteehazard)

The latest track from ya girls Coda Conduct (Erica and Sally) is our Zug Zug this week! Featuring members of our fambam with Jimblah dropping some sweet verses, and a tight hook and Jayteehazard on the beats, Usually I'm Cool offers up a determined and soulful earworm. Spitting rhymes on the fly in the force of fiery beats, Usually I'm Cool takes you into an affair that never loses its cool with its deadly charm.

Usually I'm Cool is out now, taken from their forthcoming EP set to drop later in the year.

Catch Coda Conduct on their 'Usually I'm Cool' tour. Tickets available via their website.

Sat 27 Aug | Cream Festival, Canberra
Wed 7 Sept | BIGSOUND, Brisbane
Fri 9 Sept | Plan B Small Club, Sydney
Fri 16 Sept | Grace Darling, Melbourne
Thu 22 Sept | On Notice Festival, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool
Fri 7 Oct | Transit Bar, Canberra
Sat 8 Oct | Sad Grrls Festival, Factory Theatre, Sydney
Fri 21 Oct | Rocket Bar, Adelaide

Join our Zug Zug Spotify playlist