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 - 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