Shire local Pete Murray has just released a long-awaited sixth studio album and is backing it up with a string of tour dates to share his latest with fans. Representing a large change in direction, we thought it best to have a quick chat to Pete to learn all we could about how he came to this new place in his songwriting works.
CG – Hey Pete, thanks for taking some time. How’s your day going?
PM – Yeah good, I’ve just been at Wategoes this morning, not that there was much around, but it was nice to get up and have a surf down there.
CG – I had a listen to the track, and I guess this goes without saying – it’s an obvious change in direction sound wise
PM – Yeah for sure! That’s the main thing I wanted to focus on
CG – It’s been six years since you released an album, has that been something that’s been building up and that’s why it took such a long time between albums?
PM – Well that’s why I took the time I think, it’s not easy, you tend to try and write what you do well and to change something up you need a bit of time to do it. The first thing I wanted to do was work a lot more with loops and beats so I started to write songs and I’d be adding in loops. Getting a different feel for the song, straight away. What I’ve done in the past is you write a song in the studio with the band, you write the bridge and chorus and everything had a slightly different feel as opposed to working with these grooves where it kind of simplified the song, but it made it really, cool. So, I sent them to a producer Trials, he’s also in AB Original. We did quite a few songs together, I’d send the beats to him and he’d enhance them. Trying to make the chorus’ a bit bigger and a lot more singalong. It took a bit of time to try and work out how to do that and get the right flavour I wanted.
CG – Great, so you wrote your own beats too?
PM – Yeah, I’ve always tended to find the parts to my songs, what I needed help with was making the sounds bigger which is where the hip-hop guys come into it.
CG – Those hip-hop guys know how to lay down a beat. Tell me about the vocal production side of things, they’re a lot more heavily produced now?
PM – Definitely. Through pretty much all of my albums there hasn’t been much production, you go into the studio and you record the guitar the bass the drums and the vocals, there’s not very much production at all and it’s all very organic. I guess that’s what you’re hearing, the difference between that old-school recording and something more contemporary where you put a lot more work into the production and you can hear that in the sounds and in the flavour of the songs. That’s been interesting for me too, getting away from having a full band in the studio and recording them. Over the last six years I’ve had to stop listening to things like Neil Young and Bob Dylan and started listening to a lot more hip-hop and electronica to hear what’s new in the sonics of what they’re doing so I can implement it into my music.
CG – New influences, nice. How will this translate to the live show now? Will you still be touring with a band?
PM – Yeah we will, we’re using a lot of sounds with the drum kit, a lot of pads now. We might have a few loops and beats here and there, but pretty much everything as live as possible. So yes, we’ll be a band still.
CG – Let’s talk about the upcoming tour, your first show is in July, in Lismore?
PM – Yeah Lismore. Oh yeah, everyone’s always been pretty good to me in Lismore over the years. I’ve always had a great crowd there and there’s some real characters – I had a guy up on stage dancing while I was doing an acoustic thing, it was good fun so I’m keen to get back there again!
CG – What are you looking forward to most about touring this year?
PM – The main thing I’m looking forward to is getting out and playing these new songs. One positive thing for me is that I’ve really worked hard to make this an album start to finish where there’s no weak songs. There’s been albums in the past where I wanted to play some of the songs, but not all of the songs. This one though, there’s nothing on there that I don’t want to play live, which is important.
CG – Are you nervous about how people will react to the new sound?
PM – I think I’m a little bit anxious, that’s probably the best word to use, before the album comes out. Everyone that’s heard it so far has had a really good vibe, and it’s early days but it’s exciting waiting to see what people think of it.
It’s hard to imagine what twenty five years of love, energy and tears poured in one project would feel like. It’s sometimes even harder to imagine what twenty five years consistently working alongside, travelling alongside and living a life co-entwined with a sibling and close friend would feel like. It’s hard, but that’s exactly what The Waifs have been doing for the past quarter of a century.
Next month will see these living pieces of modern Australian music history embark on a 25 year anniversary tour, taking with them a brand new collection of 25 songs recorded in a half-finished house, assembled into album format and named Ironbark. Locally they’ll be playing at the Bangalow A & I hall on Tuesday 4th April (sold out) as well as Wednesday 5th April (not sold out yet, tickets available at www.thewaifs.com )
We were blessed to spend a short amount of time discussing the upcoming tour and the 25 year milestone with The Waifs member Donna, prior to this upcoming tour. This is how it went.
CG – How does 25 years feel?
Waifs – Surreal. (laughter) Twenty fives years feels surreal, it’s a really odd place. We had to get reminders that it was 25 years, you know how life just goes so fast. There are times when I look back and think what was done in those 25 years is phenomenal; it’s been incredible what we have achieved. The countries we’ve travelled, the people we’ve met, the artists we’ve been able to see and sit side of stage of. It really took us by surprise.
CG – That sounds like you’ve really been living a good 25 years ‘in the moment’ then, if you didn’t realise it was coming up
Waifs – I don’t know how many bands make it that far, you know? Most bands only kind of make it ten years or so, and if they do make it longer they have massive breaks in between and come back together for a reunion tour. We’ve never really done that though, we always just keep going
CG – Yeah, you guys don’t stop. Have you ever thought about stopping?
Waifs – Oh yeah (laughter) In a massive fight, not stopping it’s like “I QUIT”. It’s either me or Vicky, and there’s Josh in the corner crying out “no, no don’t quit!”.
But really, that’s how it’s been at times. It’s been more of a personality thing, but it’s the music that always brings us back together; and the love. I mean Vicki and I are sisters, imagine taking one of your siblings travelling for 25 years.
We never thought about it too much, all we wanted to do was travel and it kinda just came about. The music just took over, it’s like this weird blessing, it’s hard to explain.
CG – You goal obviously isn’t to get rich and famous, it’s to make music and travel and have it work for you. Do you think that’s contributed to your enduring success?
Waifs – Not having a plan? Absolutely. We saw so many bands have a big grand plan and when nothing came through they wouldn’t know what to do.
I recall years ago, in 1998 we were driving in a camper van and we’d just gotten our first mobile phone when a big record company called and they said we want to talk to you guys about a record deal. They asked how many albums we were selling and they said “we can give you $1.70 per album and can get you on TV’. I said, “we earn $25 an album at our shows, and we don’t want to be on TV”.
Things have changed a lot since we started.
CG – They have, and along with that came a lot more recording options for artists also. It makes me think of how you recorded your last album in a house…
Waifs – A half built house
CG – A half built house. That’s something that you may not have been able to do at the start of your career
Waifs – You can record outside anywhere now. Technology is great now, you can record outside around a lake with beautiful microphones and get what you need, studios are for people who want to record track to track.
We’re just going back to our roots now. We’ve recorded in a mansion in LA, in the guts of New York City, in a studio in Nashville, in Minneapolis. It always felt wrong to us and we kinda went with it cause we didn’t know any better. Then we go out to Josh’s property where he’s this beautiful half built stone house, setup a few great microphones and some baffles. It was a great experience, we all sat in a circle, hit record and just played. Then we’d play it ’til we nailed it, then move on.
CG – Overall, did you find this process easier or harder than in the past, and was it more beneficial to your sound?
Waifs – It was romantic! After 25 years half cut between America and Australia we finally found ourselves in this forest, sitting down recording music together, it was incredible. We all cooked together every night and take a break and sit down in a circle and sing and work out our harmonies. That’s the way we always should’ve done it. For so many years we got caught a long way away from that recording where others said we should, but now looking back I can see it wasn’t for us. This is totally going back to The Waifs roots and I fucking love this album!
CG – What do you write about after 25 years?
Waifs – Well, I’m still having breakups. I’m the Kylie Minogue of the band, unlucky in love. My heartfelt breakup songs used to be quite angry, I used to sing quite nasty songs but now I’m a mum i’m a lot softer and more gracious about it; I sing about things like that.
Another song I wrote was about an old rich woman who keeps poisoning her husbands and getting richer and richer, it’s called sugar mama (laughter)
Then, I wrote a song called Syria which is… one day I was sitting outside and this song came to me. I was sitting in my garden and I could see this Syrian man’s face and hear his story while I had my guitar in my hands. I’ve got my little kids running around outside complaining because they don’t have enough ice cream, and there’s this man, saving his coins to put his kids on a boat in the middle of the night. I found myself shaking after thinking “where the fuck did that come from”.
CG – You guys reached out to your fans to hear their stories of how The Waifs were involved in their life, it’s a fascinating spin on things, have you ready any of them and do any stand out?
Waifs – I’ve read some, I haven’t had much of a chance to read them all with the things going on at the moment but there’s been lot of beautiful stories over the years. People say they met at a Waifs concert, it was their soundtrack whilst driving across the Nullarbor, it was their soundtrack while picking fruit in Kununurra. There’s a lot of romance in there.
There’s one girl that drives from Broken Hill to Adelaide. She won’t miss a show. It’s great to see what the band means to these people, it’s really heartfelt, it’s really cool.
Our fans are so loyal and that’s why we want to say thanks for 25 years, because without them, we’d be playing to empty houses.
CG – How does it feel to have such a far reaching influence into people’s lives through your music?
Waifs – That’s a great question. Personally, I feel like I’m a fuck-up who plays music. I’m really quite vulnerable and I have all my shit going on, I’m very vulnerable and very open so maybe that’s why people can relate. They feel like we’re just like them but don’t pop us on a pedestal.
CG – We’re looking forward to seeing you at Bangalow shortly, any parting words?
Waifs – Jez Mead. To me he’s the most under-rated artist in Australia, he’s been my muse for years and he’s playing with us on the 5th April in Bangalow.
This year, Falls Festival are giving a local band a chance to share the stage with an epic lineup including the likes of Childish Gambino, The Avalanches, Violent Soho, Matt Corby & more through a media sponsorship program.
Common Ground is excited to say we’re getting behind local four-piece PLTS, and we’d love your help in getting them all the way there. In the coming weeks, we’ll be spending a little time with the band getting to know them even better and sharing a bit more about the people behind the music.
The past year has been huge for these guys They have released two massive singles with producer JP Fung whose discography is longer than this article (including Birds of Tokyo, Art Vs. Science), landed a slot opening the main stage of Splendour in the Grass through the Triple J Unearthed competition and embarking on a couple of East Coast tours.
Voting is open to the public now and with a bit of local love, we can see PLTS take another big step towards reaching their well-deserved dreams.
“…deep and thoughtful music which befits the man who is responsible for some of the country’s most iconic songs.” Rhythms Magazine
“…he is a naturally engaging performer with an endearing stage manner that is never short of humour, but more than anything, it is his voice that commands attention.” The Australian
With his solo career now tipping the 10-year mark, Bernard Fanning has firmly cemented his position as one of Australia’s finest songwriters and lyricists. To celebrate the release of his third studio solo LP, ‘Civil Dusk’Bernard Fanning is excited to announce a national tour that will see him take the stage at some of the most stunning theatre spaces in Australia, including the State Theatre in Sydney, Melbourne’s Palais and The Tivoli in Brisbane. Showcasing new songs from ‘Civil Dusk’ for the first time in a live arena, alongside some old favourites from his extensive song book, spanning twenty-five years.
Bernard will be joined by two of the most exciting local acts in the country right now; hailing from the pristine surrounds of Armidale on the mid north coast of NSW, J Award nominee Dustin Tebbutt has been making waves since the release of his debut EP, ‘The Breach EP’ in 2013. Gathering fans, including UK legend Ricky Gervais, and building up intense anticipation around his debut album, ‘First Light’ which also drops on August 5th.
On top of being declared Australia’s version of Tina Turner thanks to her soul soaked power crooning, Ainslie Wills has an AMP and Melbourne Music Prize nomination under her belt! Appearing as a guest vocalist on #1 Dads track So Soldier, and support slots with Leon Bridges and Vance Joy to suit, Ainslie will open these shows with a heaving dose of progressive pop.
Civil Dusk is part one of a series of two albums. The second instalment Brutal Dawn will follow in early 2017.
Civil Dusk is released August 5th 2016 via Dew Process / Universal Music Australia
Listen to ‘Wasting Time’ and pre order Civil Dusk here. Brutal Dawn will be released in early 2017
As is customary each year, Splendour in the Grass teams up with Triple J to select one lucky band a chance to play the festival, hopefully kickstarting their career in the process.
This year it’s local act PLTS, and we’re proud as can be about it. They’ll be opening Amphitheatre stage on Saturday at midday, if you’re floating about the place it’s your chance to be part of PLTS history so head on over.
Naturally, we wanted to have a bit of a chat to the guys pre-splendour and Byron (guitar/vocals/classically appropriate name) was kind enough to take twenty minutes out of his skating day to do so. Here’s how it went.
CG – G’day Byron! How are you going?
PLTS – Hey mate, well!
CG – What have you guys been up to?
PLTS – Just having a little skate today. But we, have been rehearsing, just rehearsing like crazy trying to get ready for the Splendour show
CG – That’s huge, are you nervous?
PLTS – You know what, I feel nervous for the first time in quite a while to be on a stage like that. I feel like we’re well prepared and have been rehearsing a lot, so I think we’ll be ok.
CG – What was the band’s reaction when you found out about Splendour?
PLTS – It’s interesting cause we had a lot of things we were concentrating on at the time, thinking about plans and the rest of the year. I got the call from Kit who is the contact for the band, they called him and I was just at home watching TV and I was just stoked. We totally didn’t expect it, we hadn’t put thought or expectations into it so it just came out of the blue.
CG – Congratulations! Such an iconic thing that a Byron band gets to play Splendour.
PLTS – Yeah! It’s cool, we’re just so excited and it’s been such a good thing to look forward to.
CG – So you’re not shitting your pants?
< laughter >
PLTS – Nah we’re not shitting our pants. I feel like we’re capable and prepared, so we’re going to get up there and try and enjoy ourselves. We’re doing what we love to do but we get to do it on a much bigger scale which is exciting.
CG – Cool. So you’re a Byron band and a lot of our readers are familiar with you already, but let’s take it back to the start to have a quick re-cap on how PLTS came about. Is aviation the connection point between you all?
PLTS – There is a little bit. Not so much myself, but Harry our drummer and Kit our vocalist/guitarist are huge aviation fans and always have been. When we’re somewhere and something flys by either one of them can name what type of aviation aircraft, they’re total plane nerds.
CG – Are either of them actually pilots?
PLTS – No, but I think it’s a bit of a goal for Kit one day. When we were tossing around names and that one came up it just kind of made sense.
CG – Your first EP went pretty well, tell us about it
PLTS – Yeah, we saved up our pennies from doing pub shows here and there and playing around the traps. We were fortunate enough to record with Nick Didia who is a very accomplished producer and the fact he said yes and took the project on was awesome, so we were stoked. He was a great guy and really opened up our eyes to what we could do with writing and producing music.
CG – And this time around with On and On, you opted for a different producer?
PLTS – Yeah we used a guy named JP Fung, he’s from Sydney and we were a big fan of his previous work – he’s done some great Australian artists like Josh Pyke, Last Dinosaurs and even Cold Chisel – so he’s truly a very accomplished young man. When we first approached him and sent him some demos he loved the songs and said he’d love to work with us which was really exciting.
So we flew him up, did some writing and pre production with him and just became good friends. We grew up on the same type of music – three out of four of us love our punk rock music – so we really just gelled as a whole. Working with him was not only really exciting but super cool, he’s a rad guy and we’re stoked with the final product.
CG – Well yeah, it’s a great song. There’s a bit of a change in sound compared to the EP, were you guys heading down that path already or was it influenced by JP?
PLTS – I think it was a combination. We just had Eli added to the band and he had played with myself and Harry growing up and were all into heavier sounds, and it just came through. We weren’t necessarily trying to be a bigger band, but just having Eli come in and then working with JP it just kind of went that way.
CG – It feels like you guys are a lot more comfortable in the new sound
PLTS – Yeah, I think so too. It’s something we always thought, when Kit can really belt his vocals out and push himself it always sounded really good. So maybe subliminally we started writing songs to get that sound out of him.
CG – Do you guys write as a group, or is someone the principle?
PLTS – The way we normally write is Kit will bring a skeleton to the table, whether it be a riff or a melody that he’s come up with, and the three of us just start vibing and jamming. Sometimes he’ll bring us a finished product and that’ll just be the song, then other times he’ll come with a little bit as I said. It’s a super group effort, which is cool, it’s a lot more fun when everyone is involved.
CG – Is there anything you have coming this year up you can share with everyone?
PLTS – There’s a few things happening, but nothing we can really share right now. We’ve just been heads down writing and trying to line a few things up, there’s some stuff happening for sure but post-splendour we’ll have some stuff to share.
As an artist in continuous motion, new Byron resident Bernard Fanning has accumulated one of the most celebrated and distinct songbooks on the Australian rock spectrum; charting a course from creation to an interactive live experience like no other. With his solo career now spanning 10-plus years, Fanning has firmly cemented his position as one of Australia’s finest songwriters and lyricists. From the country folk-tinged charm of his multi-platinum debut solo album Tea and Sympathy (#1 ARIA Debut) to the rock grooves and horn breaks of its follow up Departures (#1 ARIA Debut).
Join Bernard and his band and discover, Civil Dusk – a collection of songs by an artist who is not satisfied with settling, but rather using his life’s own rear-view mirror to question his choices and to deal with the consequences. Whatever they may be.
Civil Dusk will be released on August 5th as part one of a series of two albums. The second instalment Brutal Dawn will follow in early 2017. Enjoy!
Internationally adored Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow has today announced his new album We Move, which will be released via Dew Process on September 2, with its debut single ‘Rising Water’ premiering online today.
The Nineteen85 (Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’) produced single premiered on Annie Mac’s Hottest Record In The World BBC Radio 1 show, and received its Australian radio premiere on triple j’s Mornings program, adding to what has already been a massive 2016 for McMorrow, who recently surpassed 100+ million streams, collaborated with Kygo on the huge single‘I’m In Love’, and featured in the quickly-viral trailer for the latest series of Game of Thrones with his haunting cover of the Chris Isaak classic ‘Wicked Game’. Now he’s poised to continue that wave of momentum with the release of his third, full-length LP, We Move.
Written and recorded between Toronto, Dublin and London, the album is McMorrow’s most expansive, generous and ambitious record to date – following in the massive footsteps of 2010’s platinum-selling Early In The Morning and acclaimed follow-up Post Tropical, which lead to sold-out worldwide shows, including two nights at the Sydney Opera House.
Far from the dense, protective imagery at the heart of Post Tropical, We Move is ultimately a record open in its portrait of anxiety and social unease. For McMorrow, it’s about celebrating mental fragility and how we move forward in life, rather than, “people listening to my songs and believing that I’m out in the forest all day long, thinking about trees. Because I’m actually at home, trying to convince myself to go out and get milk.”
The first steps towards the release of We Move took place in 2014, when McMorrow – having been asked to write for different artists’ projects – started sketching out ideas for others on tour (and subsequently stopped over-analysing his own work). Intent on doing the opposite of everything he’d done thus far in his career, McMorrow then came off the road as a musician, but continued to travel and write, before returning to Dublin determined not to just produce another album himself, but to work with people who could articulate the unique world he heard in his head.
Those people eventually became a list of the who’s who of the production world, namely Nineteen85 (Drake, DVSN), Two Inch Punch (Sam Smith, Years & Years), and Frank Dukes (Kanye West, Rihanna). Mixing took place largely in Miami with one of McMorrow’s all-time heroes, Jimmy Douglass (Jay Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake), who finessed the record’s warm, vintage sound, while still infusing it with a forward-thinking feel.
The resulting record is essentially the realisation of McMorrow’s long held musical fantasy – “I grew up wanting to write songs like Neil Young but produce them like The Neptunes”. The first single ‘Rising Water’ epitomises that concept entirely, with its starkly-produced composition reflecting his hip hop influences, while also laying the perfect foundation for the layers of McMorrow’s ethereal falsetto, with which he sings with a skyscraper-sized sense of catharsis.
It is just the first taste of what we can expect from We Move – an album that continues a remarkable journey for the Dublin-born singer/songwriter, whose early work offered little clue as to the sounds and situations that would follow. It’s a remarkably assured collection that is sure to be judged as one of the most triumphant releases of the year.
SEE JAMES VINCENT McMORROW PERFORM HIS ONLY AUSTRALIAN SHOW AT SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS – SATURDAY JULY 23, 2016
‘Wilder Mind’ was recorded at Air Studios, London and produced by James Ford (Arctic Monkeys, HAIM, Florence & The Machine). It features twelve new tracks, written collaboratively by the band in London, Brooklyn, and Texas. A number of the new songs were written and demo’d at Aaron Dessner’s (The National) garage studios in Brooklyn. The band also returned to Eastcote Studios in London, where they recorded Sigh No More, for further writing and demo sessions.
The new album marks a significant departure for Mumford & Sons from their previous records, 2009’s ‘Sigh No More’, and 2012’s ‘Babel’ . The early sessions in New York and London witnessed a change in the band’s approach not just to writing and recording, but to texture and dynamics, too. There is a minimalist yet panoramic feel to the new album, whose sound Marcus Mumford describes as “a development, not a departure.” It came about by both accident, and by conscious decision.
“Towards the end of the Babel tour, we’d always play new songs during soundchecks, and none of them featured the banjo, or a kick-drum. And demoing with Aaron meant that, when we took a break, we knew it wasn’t going to involve acoustic instruments. We didn’t say: ‘No acoustic instruments.’ But I think all of us had this desire to shake it up. The songwriting hasn’t changed drastically; it was led more by a desire to not do the same thing again. Plus, we fell back in love with drums! It’s as simple as that.”
“It felt completely natural, though,” says Ben Lovett, “like it did when we started out. It was very much a case of, if someone was playing an electric guitar, drums were going to complement that best; and, sonically, it then made sense to add a synth or an organ. We chose instruments that played well off each other, rather than consciously trying to overhaul it.”
Mumford and Sons are currently touring Australia and playing a sold-out show at Brisbane’s Riverstage on November 7th.
Tickets are still available for The Domain, Sydney November 14th – click here
Parkside Orchestra are a dynamic psych rock three piece spawned in the Byron hinterland back in early 2014 comprised of Torsten Gustavsson (Vox, Guitar), Scott Finch (Bass) and Freyja Hooper (Drums). After storming through the Southern Hemisphere’s largest band competition – the National Campus Band Competition, all three members attended Southern Cross University – and emerging victorious, they rode through a busy year landing slots at Bangalow Home Grown Music Festival and Mullumbimby Music Festival and concluding by settling into the studio to record for their debut EP.
Today’s release, Rabbit Holes, is the first song to be heard from that forthcoming EP. Lucky enough to be recorded at Studios 301 Byron Bay before it closed it’s doors by Paul Pilsneniks (Angus Stone, Grinspoon, Boy & Bear to name a few credits) and mastered by Andrew Edgson (Matt Corby, MT Warning, Foster The People), Rabbit Holes is exactly as it’s named; a smooth psych-rock journey with a bass line groove and luring drums that draw you deeper down the hole, trapping you at the bottom under the weight of Torsten’s infectious vocals and psych guitar tones.You can listen to the new track here https://soundcloud.com/parkside-orchestra/rabbit-holes and go keep track of the band’s progress over at www.facebook.com/parksideorchestra
Brisbane-based, sub-rockers Orphans Orphans radiate the inspiration of yesterday’s heroes. Oozing inklings of Lou Reed and Ziggy Stardust, their songs burst with hard licks, unfettered electrics and neo-classic, cinema-poetic lyrics. Sign up to our newsletter and send us a Contact email HERE saying, “Make Me An Orphan” and we’ll get a copy of the brand new Orphans Orphans EP in the post to the first lucky five…