Interview - Timi Temple

2017 is an important year for musicians and mental health. Accompanied by an ongoing openness, endless support and positive outlook, I chatted with Timothy Lockwood about his own experiences, observations and the launch of his solo project Timi Temple, as well his recent single What Are We Waiting For.

Having grown up immersed in a world of jazz music, Lockwood toured internationally during his early 20s with a bunch of middle-aged men. It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, however, leaving Lockwood a bit worse for wear.

“The other members brought their families on tour so as soon as we finished playing they’d go off with them, which is 100% fair, but made the weeks away super lonely.”

On reflection he wishes he had used this opportunity to explore, meet people, and make friends. “I think that’s kinda the biggest thing with the industry… we’re all too afraid of the failure so we don’t even start to attempt it and nothing ever happens.”

With his powerful connection to the jazz world, Lockwood expands on his views surrounding the genre. “Jazz allows you to explore the furthest reaches of your instrument… Jazz is introverted; playing for yourself to an audience. To be honest, I couldn’t notice if there were five or 5000 people in the crowd. Coming to view virtuosic talents, it’s not until someone claps and my eyes open that we interact.”

It’s never easy for humans to find their way. It can take time to get to where some of the most successful and happy people are. Going from this lifestyle, to playing with pop stars and feeling like his progress was halted, he adds, “When I’ve played for pop star-type people it’s a pretty basic gig; not as exhilarating or challenging.”

Touring with his mate Kilter, the two going way back to primary school days, the world of electronic music opened up for Lockwood. He muses “I wasn’t vibing the whole electronic scene at the time but when I joined the Listen Out tour with Kilter I thought, ‘Yeah, this is sweet’ and since then it’s been the most fun of a ride!”

Venturing out on his own, kick-starting Timi Temple back in April this year and combining what he grew up listening to with what he’s learnt, expect a fusion of psychedelia, electronica, and a hint of jazz.

What Are We Waiting For is a bright tune with a serious message, leaving an impression on the hearts and minds of listeners, including myself. The piece focuses on anxiety and depression with an aim to reach out to those dealing with mental health and show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Anxiety can stop you from really doing anything,” he muses. “It pertains to this project especially; for so long I was too scared to share my own music. So this is literally about me not even wanting to get out of bed to attempt to do my own stuff because the fear of failure can halt you before you even get there.”

An incredible example of someone who has conquered his fears and using his own voice as a chance to support those who feel voiceless, he furthers “If I can write a song about making a mistake then hopefully someone else doesn’t have to!

“I’m not invincible,” Lockwood exclaims, “I’ve been crippled by the thought of ‘That can never happen to me, I’ll get through this easy-peasy’ but then is comes in like a train.”

Using writing as a way to escape from being stuck inside his head, he has turned this into a creative process for his music, delving into how his lyrics or thematic devices for songs always start out as a story. “I put my emotions onto paper but not all will develop into a song. For example, whenever I’m feeling angry or sad I find if I write down why I’m feeling that way, not just describing but going into a fantasy land – I could write a whole story about it. I will then go revisit these stories when looking for themes to fit with the instrumental, turning them into lyrics.”

Going into a flow state, Lockwood has been known to sit in front of his computer for 12 to 16 hours at a time, as he reflects, “My girlfriend came down and was like ‘Have you even left the house?’

“I was like ‘No…’

“‘Have you eaten?’

“I was like ‘No…’

“‘Have you had anything to drink?’

“and I was like ‘No, ha ha, but I’ve got a perfect song and then that’s that!’

“I love doing it. It’s kind of the same as when you’re playing an hour set but it feels like three minutes.”

Lockwood will continue to use this method into the future, as well as keeping a journal to assist the body and mind. For those struggling with stress, depression or anxiety, the release of feelings, emotions, fears and thoughts can help you understand them more clearly by gaining control and establishing an order when you feel your world is chaos.

An electronic music gig focuses on the audience and ensuring they have a sick time, one reason Timi has gone down this path. “You feed the energy off them, everything that’s planned is for the benefit and enjoyment of the crowd forming a connection with the entire room like one big family appreciating the sounds. It is super important to curate that experience, with the audience putting trust in the act to fulfil a great show and make sure it isn’t cooked by egotism.”

On the music scene becoming more supportive of positive mental health Lockwood confirms, “The electronic music scene is pretty supportive on looking after one another.”

However, in terms of gigs and socials, “It can feel like people aren’t really friends outside of the gigs… It would be cool if people actually made an effort to check up on each other outside of the industry. Especially as there is so much more going on behind the scenes that isn’t exposed online. For instance, instead of just liking a post, we should actually be calling up our friends.”

With heaps of goodies accumulating up his sleeves including his collaboration with Kilter, expect to hear and see some rad creations from Timi Temple.

 

Interview - Jesse Porsches

Coming in hot! We caught up with Sydney DJ and producer Jesse Porsches before the drop of his new single The Weekend (ft. Xavier Dunn, out today) we delved into the past and future projects of this thriving human – including the launch of his second duo Super Cruel – and the announcement of going solo.

“I started in high school playing guitar and drums but not taking it seriously. I was coming last in the class and eventually just dropped out of music altogether. The teacher hated me and I couldn’t even tune a guitar!” Jesse Sewell laughs. “I still feel like I’m not that good at music, some of my friends are freaks and just play the piano like Mozart!”

Kick-starting his career about two years ago with Carl Fox, his first duo – known simply as Porsches – saw the act collaborate with some incredible artists, including Flume, he wrote Sleepless for. Taking things to the next level, opening up opportunities and exploring new avenues and sounds, Sewell recently launched Super Cruel, his second duo with Adelaide’s Tigerilla (aka Matthew Khabbaz). “Matt and I put out our first song November [featuring Lisa Mitchell] which has been getting beaten up on the j’s, so that’s pretty cool. And then we’ve got our second single that’s getting mixed at the moment,” adds Sewell, referencing The Weekend which was unleashed this morning. 

Sewell shares “I am a huge fan of Lisa’s, so I was so nervous and then she brought Isabella Lucas with her to the studio! It was crazy and semi-stressful ’cause we did a photo shoot and I was so unprepared, but a really great time!”

Stepping into the spotlight by rebranding Porsches to Jesse Porsches as a solo project, he explains “I’ve stopped doing Porsches and am now just focusing on myself. I’ve got my first single out really soon which I am super excited about! It’s not even out here yet but has been picked up across the globe including the States, UK, Sweden, Netherlands and South Africa – places I’ve never even been to so I can’t wait to see the reactions.”

Recently signing to Dew Processes/UMA at home and Astral Works in the US, Sewell enthuses “Astral Works kind of had the final say and it was the very original demo they liked the most… I think it’s best not to copy the sound that’s popular at the moment, but try and make it your own and in your own way!” With a total of 40 versions (give or take) Sewell is pretty proud of his final piece and with nothing holding him back he is still keeping things spicy solo by collaborating with numerous artists such as featured vocalist Xavier Dunn. “Illy came down to write and we had a rapper at one point from New York, which we have since taken off, but it’s been a long process and the song has gone in numerous directions.”

Putting his time to good use as, at the time of the interview, “The release keeps moving back meaning a lot of waiting around so I can’t wait to share it with the world,” Sewell has been keeping busy working on some new remixes for your ear drums (Hint: anyone a fan of Major Laser?) “I’m still writing every day but you’ll have to be patient too as I want to release these first [singles] and wait for the response and evolve from that.”

With regards to The Weekend, he shares “It’s really easy to listen to with a catchy chorus, so I think various people will get into it, which is probably why it’s doing so well overseas.” Plus, there’s a rad cinema-worthy video clip to feast your eyes on too. Produced by the Jaen Collective video team and shot at Burleigh Heads in Queensland, Sewell exclaims “It looks like something out of transformers, the lead actually looks like Megan Fox!”

Don’t freak out, but Super Cruel will be playing at Splendour In The Grass this year, so there’s a chance for everyone to hear their second single that is actually being released a week afterSplendour. “They are both my babies… I don’t see it as the songs competing but people will either like one or the other so we’ll see what happens.” Comparing his sound to pizza – preferably margarita or Hawaiian – he laughs “As long as someone likes one of them I’m going to be happy.”

And on that note, be patient, eat some pizza and go for a board at Thredbo Village where you can catch Jesse Porsches with KLP, Moza, Elizabeth Rose and Commandeur having a good time for G.H Mumm Poolside Apres Party. Don’t forget to hit them up at Splendour, Spilt Milk and stay tuned for future Super Cruel national tour dates.


21 – 23 July, Splendour In The Grass, North Byron Parklands, Byron Bay
11 – 12 Aug, G.H Mumm Poolside Apres Party, Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Thredbo

Interview - Crooked Colours

Crooked Colours have ended their 18-month hiatus with a brave return – touring with numerous artists such as Crystal Castles, releasing infectious singles from their upcoming debut album VERA and announcing a national album tour along with a handful in Europe! Perth’s native indie-electronic trio took a step away from their busy schedule, in this case handing me over to frontman Phil Slabber who had just popped off a plane.

“Leon [De Baughn] and I went to school in the same suburb, but being a couple of years apart we actually met through mutual friends. We were both kind of making our own music and we started to hang out, just recording stuff and becoming more involved with the WA music scene. After a few recording sessions we decided to form a band, but needed a drummer… A friend of ours mentioned he went to school with a guy who could play pretty well, putting us in contact with Liam [Merrett-Park]. Liam came in for a little jam session one day and kinda started it all from there which is now about five years ago.”

The three-piece went from DJing at house parties to major changes to get to where they are today, as Slabber explains, “Being the only kids in the suburbs with decks we would DJ all the parties playing a lot of dance-electro stuff. And living about two hours south of the actual city, we would go there to try to get some DJ slots before we started gigging much.”

Taking some time out – 18 months to be exact – the boys were still non-stop moving interstate, seeing Slabber and De Baughn in Sydney and Merrett-Park in Melbourne, whilst using the rest of their time to knuckle down and perfect some sweet, refreshing tunes for their debut. Living in separate states could have been a potential issue, but they going their routine down pat. “It’s pretty easy, we send stuff back and forth and when we have upcoming shows we’ll spend about a week either in Melbourne or Sydney just rehearsing and getting everything ready,” explains Slabber.

With label Sweat It Out and management company Falcona both based in Sydney, the move has definitely been worthwhile, as he adds, “That 18 eighteen months was basically moving over, getting comfortable and the majority of the rest of the time was just trying to write tracks.”

Crooked Colours have produced and released numerous singles and EPs, yet the creative direction of VERA saw Slabber, De Baughn and Merrett-Park aiming for quality over quantity. “Going into that period we had a bunch of demos ready that ended up getting scrapped. We haven’t been in a situation like that before where we had a long time to just sit and write, it’s always been short periods amongst touring and other things… So we’re really glad we took the time out to produce this,” expresses Slabber.

The rising act headed back to their hometown, spending about a month at Merrett-Park’s family beach shack south-west of WA to write. Deciding to do the album themselves, the process was a big growing period for all three. “Writing-wise the album was a pretty big task. We’re not used to writing that much material and at times it can be pretty frustrating; a lot of crippling self-doubts goes into it,” Slabber says. On their return to Sydney they did the rest of the recording in home studios and rented spaces to finish it off. “We did it all ourselves, except when we went to Studio 301 to crack some drums.” Listening to a big, broad spectrum of music and artists really shaped the sound and vibe of their upcoming album as Slabber depicts, “I was listening to a lot of Nicholas Jar, really spacy electronic stuff but at the same time listening to some surfy-acoustic stuff as well… I feel we write the best when listening to a lot of music, going to shows and seeing how people do it was our biggest source of inspiration.”

Listening to a big, broad spectrum of music and artists really shaped the sound and vibe of their upcoming album, as Slabber depicts, “I was listening to a lot of Nicolas Jaar, really spacy electronic stuff, but at the same time listening to some surfy acoustic stuff as well… I feel we write the best when listening to a lot of music; going to shows and seeing how people do it was our biggest source of inspiration.” This also influenced the production: “We didn’t want to get too electronic or heavy on the synth sounds; in the past, our music’s worked best when it’s really intimate with a more indie and airy feel about it,” he muses.

Since completing their full-length debut album, the trio have been making the most of their time: invited to support Crystal Castles on their Australian and New Zealand tour as well as performing with the likes of RÜFÜS and San Cisco, playing at festivals Groovin The Moo, Parklife, Wonderland, Southbound and more – all perfect opportunities to test out their new tunes. “We did the Crystal Castles support where we played a whole bunch of new stuff, and then we did the Hot Dub Wine Machine Tour as well, playing tracks off the new record. It’s hard to gauge people’s reactions when you know that they don’t know any of your songs,” he laughs, “but it went down really well and they were really fun to play which is important to us.” Having already released their first track Flow via Sweat It Out, it is also a personal favourite of Slabber’s, along with the last track on the record, Perfect Run. “Flow was the first track that was 100% done and finished, which set the theme for the rest of the album, so I’ve got a pretty strong connection to that.”

Teaming up with Aussie rapper Ivan Ooze who features on their track I Hope You Get It, “I didn’t know much about him at all, but we had a song that we couldn’t fit any kind of vocal to,” he explains. The band’s manager stepped in, suggesting they find a featured vocalist. “I got the song produced and had a pretty long think about it but I was unsure who would fit.” Exploring the idea of getting a rapper to do it, their manager was the one to put the rapper forward. “Having a listen to a bunch of his stuff I was like ‘Yeah! This could work,’ sending him the song that after around 4pm.” That same night the self-taught talent sent back what you hear now on the record. “So in like 24 hours we pumped out that song!” Slabber exclaims. “It went really smoothly, we met him and played a few shows with him when we did our single tour earlier in the year and turned out to be a legend.”

Following on from the album’s release on Friday 23 June, Crooked Colours are set to be touring in August, along with a run of shows in Europe immediately after – in October including Germany, Switzerland and France. You know what they say; two’s a crowd, three’s a party…


4 August, Karova Lounge, Ballarat
5 August, The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
11 August, Oxford Art Factory, Surry Hills
12 August, Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
17 August, Fat Controller, Adelaide
30 September, Yours And Owls Festival, Wollongong

Interview - WAAX

WAAX have entered the new year thriving; welcoming new band members, touring with Kingswood and with their new EP Wild & Weak soon to be released into the world you’re all in for a real tasty treat. The Brisbane-based indie-punks kindly lent us 1/5 of their band, drummer Tom Bloomfield, to delve into their life right now.

“Originally, we just played tiny rooms all over Brisbane to nobody,” he reminisces. “After a couple of years ridden with drama and a few line-up changes we found a couple of champions who decided to give us a shot at being a real band. The learning curve was extreme and we are still figuring it out, but it’s been an awesome experience to turn that shitty pub band into something exciting and ambitious.”

The end of last year was a turning point for WAAX, with major changes to the band’s line-up and to their sound. “Everything has changed, I don’t think you could even say it’s the same band, we just kept the name!” Bloomfield laughs. With some much needed decision making the musicians now feel like they’re on the right track. “The dynamic before didn’t work; now it feels like we are a unit, and we’re all best mates so the way we approach everything is nice and cohesive” he expresses.

Bloomfield describes their new sound as “something spicy, like a really hot burrito; we really like burritos,” which I couldn’t agree with more – please don’t deprive your eardrums from their finger-licking sounds. However, on a more serious note (pun intended) their new EP deals with much more personal matters, as Bloomfield shares with us “Marie [DeVita, vocals] was really getting into delving into her internal struggles and I think that’s what has inspired the record. Really emotive both lyrically and musically.”

With DeVita and Chris Antolak’s creative process down pack, the two work closely together to produce new material for the rest of the band, who then all collaborate further. “I think the real difference with this EP has been attention to detail. We spent literal months figuring out different parts and dynamics, it took a lot more time, and money, than anything we’ve worked on before,” Bloomfield states.

With the record being an outlet in itself, the emotive lyrics and raw energy of the songs mirroring DeVita’s emotional and mental stasis, as Bloomfield furthers “the phone image ties into the songs in that they both serve a purpose – to reach out and ask for help. The order of the songs is basically the order in which Maz went through a mental process, which she explored chronologically, so each song represents a stage of that process.”

Songs from the five-track EP have been in the works for over a year, and Bloomfield enthuses “after recording on and off, finishing the record was the best feeling in the world.” Wild & Weak has taken WAAX on one hell of a trip. The title track itself “Is about getting in a habit of masking problems with reckless pursuits” he adds. Working with Miro Mackie, a producer outside of Brisbane from Kelvin Grove’s Plutonium Studios (owned by The John Steele Singers) has been one of many rewarding experiences that definitely paid off. “Aside from his incredible work ethic and ability, we worked with Miro because he really, really wanted to work with us. That’s been a mantra of ours since the beginning; we are really passionate about what we do so it’s very important that the people on our team are as well,” he explains.

Heading on tour with Kingswood witnessed some true highlights in WAAX’s career, unfortunately Bloomfield missed out on one, as he reveals “The highlight would have to be the final show in Perth where everyone except me joined Maddy Jane and the Kingswood lads on stage for their last song of the tour. I was having a drunken philosophical conversation with a bartender and didn’t know it was happening,” he laughs.

But he says they got to build a strong relationship with the band while playing mini golf before soundcheck, drinking a load of beers and driving over seven thousand kilometres, or as he puts it: “an absolute fuck-tonne!”

With confirmation of their biggest national headline tour to date, more singing rather than screaming from DeVita and Bloomfield’s personal favourite track (which is yet to be released) –  the last song off the EP, as he clarifies “take my word for it, it’s a jam” be sure to not miss one of the biggest acts in Australia’s emerging music scene.

30 June, Rocket Bar, Adelaide
1 July, The Gasometer, Melbourne
7 July, Crowbar, Brisbane
12 July, Beach Road Hotel, Sydney
13 July, Proud Mary’s, Central Coast
14 July, Brighton Up Bar, Sydney
15 July, Rad Bar, Wollongong
29 July, Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth
19 August, Shakafest, Miami Tavern, Gold Coast

Interview - The Cactus Channel

The Cactus Channel are collectively the biggest band I’ve ever interviewed; with seven members as of 2017 I got to catch up with one of the insanely talented musicians, Lewis Coleman (guitars/synths). I cannot think of a better way to have spent my morning than delving into the history of the band, their first release of 2017 Do It For Nothing and how Coleman managed to get Sam Cromack from Ball Park Music (BPM) to sing for them on the EP – pretty cool, huh?!

Based in Melbourne, this alt-soul group initially formed in the good old days of high school when they had too much time on their hands. “Pretty much we were all just trying to figure out what to do with our lunch times,” remembers Coleman. “A few worked this out earlier than me, already playing music together, and I’d be walking past the corridor and see them. It was about a year or so after when I started hanging out with them.”

This seems like a great use of time and a logical step for the whole band, with no clear future in mind they were already onto something magical. Hudson Whitlock (drums/percussion) had a family property in the Victorian countryside where the group got to muck around and play music together. “This was the first time I’d gone away with them and officially joined the band.” As the years passed, members came and went from ten at one point to their current seven members, but never has it been too much to handle. “There’s been quite a lot of us from early on, it’s always been a huge amount” adds Coleman.

The release of the collaborative EP in April shows that The Cactus Channel have listened to fans and gone and treated us all to some introspective lyrics by the one and only Sam Cromack. Coleman shares: “We’ve done two instrumental albums but it’s always been in the back of our minds for a vocal edition. We keep getting nagged by people after gigs saying things like ‘See, you’re great but you know what you need? A singer,’ and we’re just like ‘Ohhh thanks… no one’s thought of that,'” he laughs.

You’ll never guess how this collaboration actually came about. Coleman, an original fan of Ball Park Music, was attending one of their shows thinking “‘Awh man they’re cool, such a tight show.'” Once he got home he still had an urge to message them. “I don’t know why I did, I think I had a few beers, but I just sat on my computer in bed and Googled our band name and BPM’s band name wondering if we’d ever been mentioned together,” he explains.

There was an interview for Spotify from a few years back where Cromack had listed The Cactus Channel as one band he’d been listening to; with no prior contact and no collaboration in mind, Coleman and Cromack started talking, eventually meeting up, and the rest is history. “It’s crazy that it’s possible to make music with someone that you really respect and like from just contacting them and doing it!”

The past couple of years has been one crazy ride for The Cactus Channel who have been working and playing hard alongside Sam Cromack in both their hometowns of Brisbane and Melbourne to release the record. “We gelled really well, the creative process being similar to us coming up with music when together.” Cromack’s involvement was not limited to just vocals – he was also a key melody maker. “He came up with probably the bulk of all the melodies for at least four of the songs off the EP” Coleman furthers.

Recorded at Sing Sing South, their new found friendship also brought in Matt Redlich on mixing dutires, who also did BPM’s last record; and recorded by Bob Knob of HopeStreet Recordings. Bandmate Jon DiNapoli (tenor saxophone) also brings his artistic skills to the EP, creating the artwork along with Daniel Sutton (trumpet) who recently left the group but came on board to do the layout of the record. “It’s nice that we can extend the relationship beyond the band,” extends Coleman.

With mutual appreciation for hip hop collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD, Alabama Shakes’ album Sound & Colour and Stax Records as their biggest influences and inspirations for their own buzzing sound, Coleman explains that “as a band our sound is changing a bit, with a conscious decision to wanting to be a band that makes music and what not without having to try please anyone in particular. The sound itself has a lot of funk and soul schoolings – what we’ve grown up on as a band playing music together – describing it recently as an alt-soul, alternative, pop, indie vibe.” Coleman is currently working on a unique word to describe The Cactus Channel because that one’s kind of a mouthful…

I will now leave you with this personal message from Coleman: “Come to the show if you want, have a good time, you know, it will be fun with special things and we’ll be rehearsed really well so it’s worth seeing us play if you want to see us play.”

Interview - Sheppard

Sheppard have just wrapped up a trot around Australia and New Zealand tour supporting Justin Bieber, with one sixth of the dream team, George Sheppard, finding time to hop on the horn to talk about their up-beat new single, upcoming album and UK tour.

Rewind the tape back to earlier days and you’ll find that this band wasn’t always a hexagonal three-sibling-three-friend existence. Their inception in 2009 consisted of George, his sister Amy Sheppard and Jason Bovino – “a trio-type deal that went on for almost two years,” Sheppard offers. Bringing Emma Sheppard, the third sibling, on board along with Dean Gordon and Michael Butler, they formed a bond like no other, as Sheppard furthers “It’s so valuable to have people you trust one hundred percent in this business, whilst also having that feeling of home where ever you are.”

Following on from 2014’s debut Bombs Away, Sheppard are hitting the streets and the charts with their electric new single Keep Me Crazy, debuting at #1 on the Independent Sales Charts in Australia and notching up Top Ten chart placements globally. “We have been out for about a good year and a half trying to write this album and I often think ‘Do people still know who we are?’” he laughs. “So when we receive something like this award it’s refreshing to know we’ve still got fans out there!

“It’s a catch 22; even if people get impatient and we lose fans, we want to make sure the next album we release is actually better in every way than the first album… It takes time and a lot of energy to get that done – you have to write 30 to 40 different songs to find the 12 that are going to fit perfectly in the album.”

Expect to hear and see dreamier, surrealist and imaginative video clips like the creative treatment of Keep Me Crazy. Sheppard drew inspiration from Bruce Springsteen to produce this indie-pop single: “It’s about finding wild, lasting love that keeps you youthful, enthusiastic, and passionate.”

Expressing his view on relationships in this day and age, he muses: “It seems everyone’s afraid of commitment. For example, Tinder, where people are connecting but not having that real connection, and with so many options often thinking ‘My life is going to be boring if I stay with one person’ – we want to promote the opposite effect.”

Embarking on three intimate shows in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, this is the first time in two years that Sheppard have done a headline tour, providing an opportunity to treat all of their fans to a sneak peek at the new album. “Playing live is so important to us, and before things get too crazy overseas we are looking forward to playing for our fans here.” Keeping busy, Sheppard just finished a five stadium tour with pop icon Justin Bieber, Sheppard saying that “this was one of the most surreal experiences we have been through,” including playing at their hometown’s Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

The seasoned travellers that they are, Sheppard are soon venturing back to the UK on tour with Little Mix. “Being on tour is a lifestyle you can’t really ever properly recreate or express… It’s like being on a camp except really intense, with 4am starts and 1am finishes,” Sheppard explains. “Imagine a shitload of promo work to be done, acoustic performances to be played in-between live shows and lonely nights in empty hotel rooms after playing in front of a thousand or so audience, along with numerous flights, and then repeat this everyday. It’s exhausting, but the best type.”

There’s definitely a light side to this lifestyle; before the show the band will have sound check and then hang out in the green room for an hour or two before they walk on stage: “I try and Zen out by listening to music, doing some stretches and vocal warm-ups,” he enlightens. After the show is a complete different vibe: “Everyone is buzzing, that moment in the last five minutes of a show where you know it’s all gone well is the moment that makes doing what we do worthwhile.”

Exciting times ahead for Sheppard as they embark their next journey to the other side of the world for a run of headline shows around the UK and then back home to serenade us in Oz. Be sure to catch the release of their second album mid to late this year!

27 May, Eaton’s Hill Hotel, Brisbane
10 June, The Croxton, Melbourne
11 June, Metro Theatre, Sydney

Interview - Alex The Astronaut

If you’re suffering a quarter-life crisis and think you need to step up your game, then you probably do, ‘cause multi-talented soul Alex The Astronaut has the strength to undertake a split athletic-academic scholarship on the other side of the world. Like flying through time and space, Alex Lynn is turning dreams into a reality, exploring and uncovering a connection with various generations through her powerful story telling ability. Lynn reminisces: “My rock star uncle taught me Space Oddity when I was 12 and it taught me that oddness is great and that maybe, a space-obsessed explorer has something important to share.

“I started out playing guitar when I was ten. We moved to London and I had to properly learn an instrument, which lead onto writing and recording crappy songs. Once I turned 16 I sent them to numerous venues and blogs, but I honestly had no idea how the music industry worked… I was just trying to get feedback but 99% of people didn’t reply, I got approximately four positive replies which is all I needed to give me confidence to keep pursuing and recording.”

Lynn’s journey so far has received sudden exposure with her indie-pop, folk-felt EP To Whom It May Concern reaching out to thousands of ear drums. “It’s amazing knowing people are listening to my songs,” she says. Whether the tunes are pouring out of a parent’s car or a mate’s headphones, “It doesn’t feel like an invasion of privacy but more like when someone knows you but you don’t know that they do… One time a boy messaged me explaining he was going through a rough patch but when he heard Already Home it genuinely helped. Moments like these are so beautiful,” she furthers.

Lynn has been creating numerous soothingly upbeat tracks consisting of humbly composed lyrics to further that connection with her audience. Being constantly inspired by her surroundings, she expresses “I want to share what is important to me in way that is meaningful to others – at the end of the day this is my reason of creating. Sure, it’s great when people know the lyrics to my songs, but when people actually inform me of their understanding this is why I keep writing; to connect.”

Playing solo in local venues and support gigs with other musicians on the rise was just the beginning for Lynn, exposing her to the reality of the music industry. “I’ve dealt with some shockers; music venues can be really strict and intimidating with tickets, promoting and denying you. It can be pretty rough but those experiences have made me a bit more resilient when it comes to larger scale shows.”

However, it’s not always a bad time as Alex has had the opportunity to play at some incredible venues in both Australia and America, including sold-out gigs. “It was crazy… Even my friends missed out!” she laughs. Living between two countries can make life pretty difficult to manage, but this isn’t stopping the talent from getting things done. Beginning to record about a year and a half ago, she muses “My producer Ben [McCarthy] and I didn’t have a clear outlook, we were aiming to get a complete EP out and so it ended up that we recorded in July of 2016 deciding to include songs Already HomeRockstar Cityand I Believe In Music… The others happened after, everything moved really smoothly but really fast.”

When Lynn returned home earlier this year she had the chance to do her first-ever radio interviews – one with FBi Radio and another with triple j. Second track off the EP, Rockstar City, was premiered on triple j along with Already Home scoring a sweet rotation. “I was emailed to be interviewed by Richard Kingsmill, I didn’t expect it. On the day I was shown around the office I saw Julia Jacklin doing her Like A Version and then Richard came out all calm and collected, radiating Dad vibes, it was all so surreal.”

Not only was Lynn signed with Universal last October, she also released Already Homethrough her own record company, Minkowski Records, relating back to the mathematician’s space/time graph taking her on another journey of exploring and life lessons. “I didn’t want to sign too early to a record label, especially whilst l am working things out and writing my own stuff,” she explains. “Having distribution to Kobalt to get songs out on music sites, I later told my manager that I aimed to start my own record label, recalling that Kobalt mentioned they did label services without any of the ‘signing your rights away’ policies. This has been extremely helpful giving me more freedom, flexibility and the ability to change release dates.”

News on the street is that Lynn will soon be returning to Australia to work on some exciting new ventures. “I am graduating in May, and then I’ll be back and announcing a few tours soon. I’ll also be recording as soon as I get back around early June!”

Interview - Inês Vaz de Sousa

Inês Vaz de Sousa was born in Portugal, but having moved here at age five she now considers Australia home. Her heritage shines through – a kind yet fiery soul with a riveting presence and highly distinct vocals, describing herself with a laugh as “officially the craziest star sign of the zodiac… Very split down the middle but the most fun and the craziest.” Known for their expressive traits, this Gemini is not one to hold back; her passion, out of this world creativity and non-stop spontaneity makes this empowered musician one to admire and definitely not one to be missed live.

Taking it back to early childhood, Vaz de Sousa grew up as a dancer practicing ballet. Naming herself a “bun-head” she expanded this avenue by attending Newtown High School Of The Performing Arts. The musical side of the school captured Vaz de Sousa’s interest – along with a desire “to be John Coltrane” she laughs – turning her attention to learning the saxophone.

She was heavily involved in the music scene while studying, “focusing on big bands, swing bands and improvised jazz music. It was through those avenues – alongside being one of the only girls in the school band – that my singing progressed, filling in whenever the singer was ill,” she explains. During the last years of high school Vaz de Sousa saw herself accumulating more and more gigs, opening up extraordinary experiences and opportunities.

Now you can find Vaz de Sousa performing all across live music venues in Sydney supported by her incredible band – though “you may not be aware of these young, prolific players by name, but by the bands they play in,” Vaz de Sousa suggests. She and David Rodriguez [Sampa The Great] met while performing a gig together whilst both filling in for other musicians, and Rodriguez’s roomie Miles Thomas [Montaigne, Japanese Wallpaper] joined them on drums. The fatalism of living arrangements struck again introducing Vaz de Sousa and the band to Jan Bangma [bass – New Venusians] and Andrew Bruce [keys, vocals – Wallace, Ngaiire].

She is a fierce spirit at the best of times, but when her band join forces they never fail to fill a room with their sound. “I owe them everything!” she gushes. “We write together, I basically bring the melodies and chord progressions to them and then we record in a fashion of improvising in a studio and then adapt that for a live show.”

On their latest release The Vessel you can expect to hear “songs titled and associated with the body, being ruled by my own vessel, my body, through dancing and having a high pain threshold, I tend to write about disfigurement, displacement and love,” she explains.

Over the last five years Vaz de Sousa has divided her time between Australia and New York, finding inspiration in “the abundant hidden music spaces [and] being surrounded by people who have been doing this for a lot longer than us back home; a true cultural taste where music first flourished. With no aspirations to actually make it big in New York, I hope to see Sydney as the next cultural hub, foreseeing a thriving underground, building up.”

She says that the lockout laws “have just exasperated a need for people to do their own shit. Yes, I have lost a few venues due to them, but the laws have pushed my band and I to expand to areas in the Inner West… Tyson Koh is doing an incredible job with ‘Keep Sydney Open’,” she extols. “People power works, everyone coming together to support the culture of night life. It isn’t centred around alcohol consumption, it’s about freedom of creativity and the ability to express yourself,” she adds. “This is the way forward to make a living for new musicians, contributing myself by putting on my own gigs, taking action and investing personal money and time into local venues to draw in crowds and to spread a sense of community.”