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The Straight-Jacket Tailors
New

Artist

The Straight-Jacket Tailors

Indie, Punk, Rock (Alternative Rock, grunge, post rock, ...)

Adelaide, SA

N.Y.C.K.

Featured Artist

2016

17

Oct

N.Y.C.K.

Melbourne, VIC

This Melbourne duo have made one of the most memorable debuts of 2016.

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How did you develop the nyck sound?
What we stumbled upon really early with the nyck sound was that because Dom and I sing really well together and just have a really good sense of each other in terms of the way we sing, that we really decided that we didn’t need much else. So the whole process with our recording so far has been about taking things away rather than adding them. Some bands are really intricate and then for us it’s just like, we struck this really great feel with just vocals and piano.
 
What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?
We’re always inspired by the little things that say a lot. The way that some writers can talk about the smallest details that you could easily pass off as nothing, and make them seem so important. Mike Skinner does it in The Streets. He’ll be writing a love song and throughout, he’ll keep talking about how the girl is spinning an ash tray on the table. Or he’ll say he’s “looking to the left slightly, then looking back down.” It puts you right where he is, and says so much about the way he’s feeling without actually saying it. We’re inspired by writers who can put you in a moment in just a few lines. 
 
What can punters expect from the nyck live show?
We’ve been through this really great process with our live show. It’s been the same with our recordings - we started with all these layers and parts and then slowly stripped everything back. We’re really comfortable singing together, and feel like the songs and the lyrics are strong, and that the vocals and the melodies and harmonies come together really beautifully. So everything else is in the background. There’s a lot of stillness and silence. But we like to think there’s something brave in silence. 
 
What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?
We’ve got our EP into this really great demo stage, and we’ve been really careful in trying to finish it. And worried about finishing it the right way. Maybe a little too worried. The other night, a good friend of ours, Chris Rigney, told us that the imperfections are what make it sound unique. It’s so true in music. It’s often the mistakes and imperfections and idiosyncrasies that make it sound your own. 
 
What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?
Things of Stone and Wood - Happy Birthday Helen
Because the lead singer, Greg Arnold, wrote it for his girlfriend Helen on her 21st birthday. He wasn’t trying to write a hit or anything, it was just, like, a recount of their relationship and all of the things they’d done together. Then he took it to the band and they turned it into a hit song. The best thing is that they’re still married today, 25 years later.
 
What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?
Leonardo’s Bride - Even When I’m Sleeping 
Dom is listening to this song right now while we’re at the airport on the way to Sydney, where we’re playing our first show. We both think this is one of the most beautiful Australian songs ever written. 
 
You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?
Crowded House - Mean to Me
Because everyone sings along to Crowded House songs. 
 
What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?
Dom and I had too many beers at the pub last week and then tried to get into the Montaigne show at The Corner on a whim, but it was sold out and we couldn’t get in. Dom tried to sweet talk the guy at the bar and the lady at the door but no dice, so we went to get a falafel/kebab instead. 
At Big Sound in Brisbane recently we loved Sampa The Great, Olympia, Mallrat and Lanks.
 
Tell us about the bands or people in the Melbourne music community that inspire you.
Dom and I both love Hayden Calnin’s music, a lot. We’ve been listening to his production and love how patient and slow and beautifully constructed it is. His song ‘Nothingness’ is everything. We’ve been listening to it heaps lately. We also love our manager, Pete Sofo, because he shows great belief in us and literally forces us to be inspired by filling our calendars with events and shows and sessions. 
 
What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and in to 2017?
We’ve written our EP, 10 Years and 12 Weeks, so we’re just putting the finishing touches on it for the rest of the year. Lyrically, it’s a concept EP. It’s about how you go through great stretches of your life really stable and centred. And then every so often, it all falls away in the space of just a few weeks. In this case, it was 12 weeks. It wasn’t meant to be conceptual, but all of the lyrics tied together and told a different piece of the story, starting with a song about the breaking point called ‘Decision’ and ending with a resolution called ‘This Might Be My Year.’ 
 
Along with that, we’re paying Valley Fiesta in Brisbane, Supporting Emma Louise at The Corner in Melbourne in November, and playing our debut shows in Melbourne and Sydney. 
 
We also want to start writing the next EP or album, but we want to try something a little different and see some of Australia while we do it. The plan is to pack up and hit the road and stay in some road side motels in the desert. Maybe drive across to Western Australia, and all the way up the west coast into Northern Territory. There has to be an EP on that road somewhere.

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Jacob Diamond
New

Artist

Jacob Diamond

Indie, Roots (alternative, Alt-Folk, Pop, ...)

Perth, WA

Mount Defiance
New

Artist

Mount Defiance

Indie, Rock

Melbourne, VIC

Alex Lahey

Featured Artist

2016

14

Mar

Alex Lahey

Melbourne, VIC

Melbourne's Alex Lahey is your triple j Unearthed Feature Artist this week. Already named as one of triple j Unearthed's artists to watch in 2016, her incoming debut EP (recorded with Oscar from Holy Holy) has us all sorts of excited.

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Tell us about your music. How did you develop your sound?

I've been playing music my entire life and really started taking it seriously when I picked up the saxophone at 12 years old. I played in big bands all through high school and went to uni to study a jazz degree. I was always writing songs through high school as a means of teaching myself how to play guitar, and found when I got to uni that my ear was more attuned to appreciating a great song rather than a gnarly bebop lick - I was listening to way more Carole King than Charlie Parker. So, I dropped out of my degree and to focus more on writing songs. Oscar Dawson who plays in Holy Holy has helped me bring my songs to life with his incredible production skills. Funnily enough, he also didn't finish the exact same degree as me. And here we are.

What’s your greatest source of inspiration for making music?

My lyrics tend to come from interactions I have with other people. I'm big on communication - I like to talk things out - so a lot of the words in my songs happen to be directly taken from conversations I've had. Musically, I get inspired by melody and groove. There's nothing better than hearing a song where there's a sweet chord change or melodic idea that makes you go "what the hell was that? I need to know!"

What can punters expect from your live show?

Coopers Sparkling, Bruce Springsteen-style count ins, fuzz pedals and a drummer who cries whenever he watches 'School of Rock'.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and who was it from?

My friend's dad tells me "fortune favours the prepared mind", which I'm pretty sure is a Louis Pasteur quote. Basically, I interpret that to mean even if you're feeling you're not producing the best output at a particular time, you're preparing yourself and your skills to create something you're really proud of down the track. Another friend of mine has a similar piece of advice, which is to "sift through the shit", but I don't really like the visual that suggests... Let's stick with the Pasteur one.

What Australian track would you play to cheer up someone who was crying?

'Our Place' by Verge Collection

What Australian track would you play to someone to make them cry?

'Can We Work It Out' by Gordi

You’re the DJ at a party. The dance floor is pumping. What Australian track do you put on next?

'She's So Fine' by The Easybeats

What was the last local gig you went to? How was it?

I don't know if this counts, but I went to see Alvvays while I was in Sydney the other weekend and they were incredible. I referred to their music a lot while recording my EP. I know Alvvays aren't a local band, but Major Leagues opened and they were just as good. Great songs, great chops, great night.

Tell us about the bands or people in the Melbourne music community that inspire you.

I'm really lucky to be part of a community that inspires me so much. My friends Eilish Gilligan and Greer Clemens both play in a brilliant band called Frida and have their own solo projects. I froth on the feedback I get from them when I show them new songs or mixes. Kate Duncan is the creative producer of The Push Inc and works to give young people opportunities to learn about playing/putting on gigs, being in the studio and releasing music - she's an amazing person who has been looking out for me since I was a bub. My best friend Ollie Whitehead plays sax in Animaux with me and has a sweet new project on the go, which will be excellent. Every time I go into the studio with Oscar, I come out a better musician and writer. Also, shout out to my manager, Leigh. Hey Leigh!

What are your plans for 2016?

Write more songs, play more guitar, play more shows, release my debut EP, tour lots, do more recording, drink all the beers. Not necessarily in that order.

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Go Get Mum
New

Artist

Go Get Mum

Indie, Pop, Rock (Indie, Pop, Rock, ...)

Melbourne, VIC

courtney barnett

Artist

courtney barnett

Indie, Pop (Marvellous, relaxing)

Melbourne, VIC

Alexander Biggs

Featured Artist

2016

12

Sep

Alexander Biggs

( )

Melbourne, VIC

Devastatingly evocative "sad boy folk" out of Melbourne's inner north.

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How did you first get into playing music?
I first got into music by just wanting to copy my sister - she played piano when I was quite young and I just looked up to her and wanted to copy her. So I've been playing piano for 15 or 16 years now. I started out doing just classical stuff then later found a lot of hardcore, emo and alternative bands that I got my angst out with, and from there got into contemporary music a bit more.
 
What sort of music were you exposed to when you were younger?
When I think about the music I was exposed to when I was younger I can only recall negative experiences. My mum raised me on a lot of Backstreet Boys and Shania Twain. I get that some people might like that, but it was a pretty dismal experience for me.
 
How did you develop your sound?
I developed my sound through a lot of trial and error. Initially it was hardcore and alternative music that opened me up to how emotions can be conveyed in song. Through that I discovered artists like Elliot Smith, Bright Eyes, Bon Iver and other artists that know how to emote really well. So I think a lot of the process has been trying different things until something's clicked and since this has clicked it's been about finding the best way to convey and emote the things I want to say.
 
How would you describe your sound now?
I like to think of it as fairly honest music. I try not to dress it up too much. It's just an exploration of ideas that are going on in my head. My approach is to sing the songs in a way that is like you and I are just hanging out and I'm telling you what's going on. Describing it as "raw" might be a little cliche, but it is quite genuine and unfiltered. It's been called 'sad boy folk'. Just listen and have a cry.
 
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A lot of the inspiration for the songs I write just comes out as the songs manifest themselves. It feels like unconscious writing. It comes from a place that's quite heartfelt. The stories usually come from personal experiences or they are reflections on a personal experience. The occasional song will be inspired by a friends experience, but it's all pretty close to home.
 
How and where do you produce your songs?
I produce all my songs out of my bedroom in Thornbury, Melbourne. It's a beautiful area. My house is on the corner of a road, so there's a lot of heavy traffic going by. I record and mix all my music there - so that's why if you listen really close you'll probably hear a car or some birds in my tracks.
 
What do you do when you're not creating music?
When I'm not creating music, I'm performing music. It's become so much a part of my identity that I don't do much aside from create, record or play music. When I'm not playing my own stuff, I'm playing in mate's bands.
 
What can punters epect from an Alexander Biggs live show?
When you come to a live show you can expect me and an acoustic guitar. I'm working on putting a band together, but for now it's just me. It's a very simple setup and an even more honest experience than listening to my recordings, because there's no production or double-tracking. You can hear every word of my songs, plus I can give you some cheesy banter inbetween them.
 
Please tell us about the Melbourne music scene.
The Melbourne music scene is a beautiful and incredible thing, and I'm so blessed to be involved in something so genuine and cool. It's friendly and embracing, there's great venues and just so much incredible talent to play shows with.

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The Oh Balters
New

Artist

The Oh Balters

Indie, Pop, Rock (folk, alternative, Rock, ...)

Melbourne, VIC

Elli Belle
New

Artist

Elli Belle

Indie, Pop, Roots (Indie, alternative, folk, ...)

Adelaide, SA