Monday, April 30, 2012
RÜFÜS co-founder JON GEORGE talks to RACHEL BARNES about trying to hold onto their DIY mantra while gaining more and more recognition.
Rüfüs have been going from strength to strength as both local and global recognition of their music continues to grow since the launch of their debut self-titled EP in 2011. With their second self-titled ‘blue’ EP recently released, the indie-dance outfit have hit the road with their This Summer Tour and are planning to further their accomplishments.
Despite the band’s successes, George didn’t always want to get into the music business. “I was thinking about a bigger picture or something that’s more typical like the doctor-lawyer route that my parents wanted me to go down. I suppose when I left school I realised I could do anything,” George says. And lucky he did. After pursuing a career as a DJ, George decided to take on a sound engineering degree and quickly found himself wanting to make music. While George was in Byron finishing his degree he met his brother’s best mate, Tyrone Lindqvist, and the two quickly became inseparable. “It worked really well,” George says. “I suppose the best thing was the workflow, it was just super easy, and we realized we had our own sort of sound pretty quickly and that we could give it all a shot.”
After they finished their first EP the boys locked in their drummer, James Hunt, so they would be able to reproduce their music live. Rüfüs have been working non-stop since and are finding themselves booking bigger and better gigs and even gaining some international airtime. “We’ve had some pretty bizarre phone calls from people travelling overseas and being at a house party and hearing one of our songs,” George says. “It’s an awesome feeling but it’s really surreal.”
The band has been rehearsing for their summer tour for months and will be showcasing all the songs off the blue EP. “We are super excited to play an action-packed set, as far as we’re concerned it just doesn’t stop. I’m just pretty pumped to get sweaty and get it out,” he laughs.
As the band’s following grows bigger, the amount of work to do increases. Although they were once a band set on a DIY style, the boys have had to reach out for assistance for the first time. This EP is the first Rüfüs release to hit record stores with the help of Gigpiglet Recordings and Inertia, and the added exposure has forced the band to have more and more people working behind the scenes. “We still have a massive part in everything that happens with the band and that has happened right from the get-go,” George tells, “so this time around we’ve got our hand in every process … It’s a massive workload so we’ve got a good team behind us.”
It’s fortunate they have the support, as Rüfüs are planning to release a “substantial amount of work” by the end of this year and hope to tour overseas as soon as they find the time.
RÜFÜS play The Loft (Gold Coast) on Friday May 4 and Alhambra on Saturday May 5, supported by Polographia. The RÜFÜS (blue) EP is out now through Gigpiglet/Inertia. www.facebook.com/rufussounds
Monday, April 23, 2012
GCCEC – Fri Apr 20-Sun Apr 22
When you arrive at an event to be greeted by a weapons check-in area, you know that you’re in for one heck of a weekend. From the most intricate cosplay outfits (including those that barely cover anything at all) through to comic book signings, card games and movie memorabilia, the first Gold Coast Supanova is well-equipped to cater for every aspect of fandom.
It’s standing room only for most of the weekend in the exhibitors area as dedicated fans raid every inch of the vendor stalls hoping to find the perfect wand, comic, figurine, replica weapon, or that set of dice they have been saving for. If you’re not spending $350 on a replica World Of Warcraft Frostmourne blade, perhaps you’re watching an idol speak or waiting in line to get their autograph. And when it comes to superstars, Supanova has quite the range.
Peter Facinelli is one of the headlining actors at the event, much to the delight of Twihards everywhere. The perpetually 20-something Dr. Carlisle Cullen looks less pale in person, but still ravishing enough to make some girls squeal with excitement; although to be honest, most of the squealing is coming from the Weasley corner. Oliver and James Phelps’ autograph line never quite seems to diminish as wizards, witches, mudbloods and muggles alike put aside their differences and become wildly excited about the chance of seeing the Weasley twins in person. Elsewhere, ‘Geek all-star’ Wil Wheaton lives up to his title and is definitely the right pick for an expo seminar. Having featured in shows like The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Guild, he’s also a lifelong gamer and seems to really connect with the crowd that is gathered. Bullied most of his teenage years, Wheaton leaves the audience with some wise words of wisdom: “Be kind, be honest, work hard, and always be awesome.”
With cosplay competitions, live wrestling matches, Rockstar Rock Band performances, anime showings, and so much more, the proud geeks of the Gold Coast are all going home with smiles on their faces, and possibly a new suit of Boba Fett armour.
SUPANOVA will be back at the RNA Showgrounds in Brisbane later this year, from Nov 9–11. www.supanova.com.au
Monday, April 16, 2012
WATTIE BUCHAN, frontman for Scots punks THE EXPLOITED, talks toRACHEL BARNES about evolving while still holding strong to his roots.
With far more line-up changes than albums, The Exploited have seen their fair share of difficulties over the years. For some, it may come as mystifying as to how the band is still together, with incidents and line-up changes littering their career, but their longevity is more understandable when you listen to their music or see them live. The Exploited simply epitomise punk rock.
Since the band’s humble beginnings in Scotland in 1980, their lead vocalist and founder Wattie Buchan has used the band to vent his growing frustrations. “Back in the ‘80s there was lots of poverty over here, and punk music gave people a voice to get the anger out. So I started a band,” Buchan says with a laugh.
Success didn’t come easy for the band however, a lack of publicity forcing them to survive by gigging constantly. However, what seemed to be a hindrance ended up helping The Exploited gain a massive following of local hardcore fans. “We’ll still get the same people who followed us from the beginning coming to the shows. The only difference is that sometimes they bring their kids,” Buchan says.
This new generation of fans has also inspired new music from the band. Staying true to their punk rock roots, The Exploited’s newer songs are arguably some of their best yet. “The new stuff goes totally massive, that’s why we get so many 14 or 13 year-olds coming to our shows. The last album did really well.”
Even though the band may be a little calmer now (they haven’t been banned from any countries lately), they are still just as passionate about their political and social beliefs as ever. “I’m Scottish, but we’re controlled by the English government. That’s why we’re here, explains Buchan, “and that’s what we’ve felt since the beginning and that’s part of why I keep The Exploited going. It’s just anger.”
The Exploited are bringing this anger to Australia for only the second time in over 30 years and Buchan is excited to get his tourist on. “If we get past the customs again, a second time, we’re looking forward to it,” he laughs. Despite their last tour through our country being anything but spectacular, playing in small clubs with few fans, they are just happy to play.
Buchan says fans who make it to their gigs can expect to see a “real punk band” that has become one of the best. Although it seems they won’t be up to their usual antics until later on in the tour as they are hoping not to get into too much trouble before the trip is done. “We’d like to finish the tour first, and then you can deport us,” he chuckles.
Despite a lawsuit hanging over their last four albums, triggered when Buchan found out his producer and friend of 20 years had tried to release a bootleg album without telling the band, The Exploited are planning another album and already have seven or eight songs waiting to go. With any luck Australian fans will get to hear the new songs soon.
THE EXPLOITED play The Hi-Fi on Thursday Apr 26 supported by Chainsaw Hookers and The Scam. www.the-exploited.net
Monday, April 2, 2012
DEAD MEADOW frontman JASON SIMON tells RACHEL BARNES that while they’ve regained a founding member of the group, time has continued to change both how the band writes and how they sound.
Formed in 1998, Dead Meadow was actually created out of tragedy, with each of the original members coming into the project from various dead punk and post-punk style bands. “I feel like we just came together and figured out what we were meant to be playing, what kind of sound, and what not,” Jason Simon explains.
With each member inspired by artists like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix since they were kids, it’s no wonder Dead Meadow started playing the style of music that they did. In the band’s early days the music was centred around the use of “far out imagery” that allowed them to distance themselves from each song’s true meaning. “I think sometimes using imagery like that makes it easier to talk about more direct things in a way,” he says.
However, Dead Meadow has slowly been moving towards a more confronting style of music. “I think over the years there’s definitely a lot more direct style of songwriting that has emerged, especially on later records,” he says. Although there has been no drastic change to the band over its lifetime, it only takes a comparison between the band’s first album to the new stuff they’re cranking out live right now to see just how far the boys have come. Simon hopes that the fans are enjoying their progression in writing. “Despite everything, I think all the way through we definitely have a sound that is ‘Dead Meadow’.”
This slow change was definitely assisted by the coming, going, and coming again of their original drummer Mark Laughlin. After he left the band in 2002 to become a lawyer, Dead Meadow found a replacement and pushed forward. However, when their latest addition decided it was his turn to move on, Laughlin was simply in the right place at the right time. With the news that Laughlin was moving back to New York and looking to get back into music full time, it simply took what was supposed to be a one-off show to solidify their decision. “We just had a lot of fun, it just felt good playing,” Simon says.
The band has a new record half recorded and a bunch of new songs that they are ready to try out while on tour Down Under. “I feel that over the last year and a half that Mark has been playing the music has really started developing in a new way.” Simon says that people who come out to their shows will definitely be able to see the bands new direction.
Their Australian tour sees the boys with just one day off which they are hoping to fill with some of our most clichéd tourist attractions. “I think I’ve seen our drummer write emails to our promoter various times, all he wants to do is hug a koala. Every time I come to Australia that’s what we want to do. We still need to make it happen,” Simon laughs.
Dead Meadow’s latest album is expected to be released either mid to late 2012, but if you can’t wait that long to escape from the troubles of the day to day, Simon says an immersion in their psychedelic music at a live show will do the trick.
DEAD MEADOW play The Zoo on Thursday Apr 5 with special guests Pink Mountaintops. www.deadmeadow.com