1. What inspired you to become a singer/writer/band? And who are your early influences?
When I was 8, my Dad started playing drums in a casual surf band, Ventures and Shadows material, and they rehearsed at our house, which seemed to involve mainly a lot of beer drinking and laughing. My older brother taught me some chords and my memory of holding that 1st chord I learnt for which I practised for about 2 weeks. I was in heaven, and had found something I was good at.
We lived in the NZ countryside, and I had a Saturday job to save up for my first guitar. When I was 12, I was sent to boarding school, discovering that no one bullied me when I was playing the guitar, which of course led to constant practice. This was the rise of the guitar heroes, Clapton, Hendrix, Rory Gallagher, Allman Brothers etc.
I started going to Auckland Uni jam sessions in my school uniform and had gotten a reputation as a bit of a prodigy. I saved up for my first Gibson by cleaning nightclubs, and was the right age when NZ had changed it’s licensing laws from 6pm closing to 10, which opened the door to a pub rock explosion.
I then basically played gigs 3-5 nights most weeks, eventually with Streettalk, with whom I recorded a couple of albums, one of which won a NZ ARIA for album of the year (and which I only found out about many year later.)
The first album was produced by the (in)famous American eccentric Kim Fowley, of Bee Bumble And The Stingers, Runaways etc. fame, who mysteriously appeared one Christmas in Auckland, had liked our singer, and proceeded to write and record with us over 2 weeks of grueling 16 hour days in the studio. If we were getting too tired, he’d say “Ok, let’s do a reggae track”. At the end of the marathon session, he rang and recorded assorted luminaries in the US, asking for their opinion of our tracks, played at blistering volume as he held the phone up to the speakers.
2. Tell us a little about how you write, how do the songs come? What gets you going creatively?
I’m often playing word games in my head. I see double meanings, puns, poignant words or phrases that can mean two entirely different things (e.g “Sirens”). More and more I realise that my songsare an autobiographical diary.
The first verse or idea inevitably comes from some mysterious spark, often fully formed and perfect. Then I almost always get stuck, and putting myself in different situations, e.g cycling, driving the car, cooking helps me keep refining the ideas. Distraction allows a different part of my brain to take over, and it can take days and weeks of polishing before I have the final song.
Sometimes revisiting a song over and over, e.g “Only Love”, which sat as a melody and one verse for probably 10 years. And then the whole recording came together in one day.
3. Your bio mentions “Mental As Anything”, what went on there and more?
My daughter was starting school at Newtown School Of Performing Arts, and I went to the orientation day. While I had been playing guitar with Jenny Morris, Adam Brand and various country artists at the time, I was getting tired of having to learn new songs. I bumped into Dave Barraclough, who was bassist for The Mentals, and he had mentioned they needed a new Reg. I had a play with them, loved the songs and they were great people too. We played 100 shows a year for 11 years. I liked their pop sensibility, humour and the slide and surf connotations in their music. And Greedy and Martin are a pair of true pop eccentrics, in the nicest possible way. For any musician looking for a long term gig, I recommend hanging around school orientation days!
I also got involved with soundtrack music at that time, and worked on a few shows, including Mythbusters, which turned into a bit of a monster. I was flat out doing guitar sessions, so it was a very busy and diverse creative period. With The Mentals, I got to travel all over Australia, many times, and to Bangkok, Shanghai, Port Moresby, and Macau.
4. What is the first record you bought and why?
My first record was “Something In The Air”, by Thunderclap Newman, which I thought, and still do, is an astonishing piece of pop. Pete Townsend, at his creative best, produced it I believe.
5. What current OZ acts inspire you? Ditto for international acts?
I really like Bernard Fanning’s singing, the juxtaposition of his heartfelt voice and Powderfinger’s guitar rock made something special. Pete Murray’s songs; Tame Impala, Gotye, Shane Nicholson, all have an element of tenderness to their music that moves me. Neil Finn, not Australian but maybe associated via Crowded House is, as a singer and songwriter, way up there for me, and I’m inspired by the way he integrates creativity and family.
6. Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show.
Paraphrasing him due to the passage of time, my music was once described by producer Peter Blyton, as “haunting melodies over great beats”, and I hope that still stands. My songs have been called heartfelt, which is about the biggest compliment I could ask for. Maybe a tad “Haunted House”.
7. Favourite artists of all time?
Beatles, Stones, Clapton, Chuck Berry, The Pretenders, Neil Finn.
8. Fave film? Fave Book? Fave place? Fave animal or pet? And story if there is one.?
Fargo, by the Cohen Brothers, just grabbed me from the beginning to the end. The black humour and unpredictability. Left me hanging out for anything they do.
Fave book, probably Cloud Street. I like the way Tim Winton seems to chronicle the male condition in his writing better than anyone else I’ve read.
Fave place, Piha in NZ. Wild, black sand beach on the West Coast, where I’ve spent a lot of time. Patonga in Australia, a village at the mouth of the Hawkesbury while my daughter was growing up, surprisingly unspoilt for being only an hour and a half from Sydney.
9. Fave food or drink? And is there a story associated with that?
Most memorable was the catering touring Australia supporting Paul McCartney. Playing for 25 minutes to 10-20,000 people, having to the best (free) vegetarian meal imaginable, watching Paul and his great band for 2 hours, sitting and chatting to him about song-writing at 3 am after the last show. Doesn’t and probably won’t get better than that.
10. You are backstage with Eric Clapton, what do you say?
11. Where do you see Aussie music heading? It’s strange looking at the OZ music world from the perspective of someone who was there pre-internet. The record companies used to act as a filter, supplying the gargantuan amounts of money needed to make a record. And it’s easy to forget they supplied the promotion departments too.
Now the world is awash with music, someone can make a hit record on their laptop, using amazing tools they can buy (or even illegally download) for a relatively tiny amount of money. Then the challenge is to stick out, and it seems the collaboration of social media and old-school promotion does it best. And yet it’s all the same in the end, something strikes an emotional chord with enough people, and briefly shines.
12. What are your future plans for 2015?
Continuing to try and master the interesting, perplexing yet challenging world of performing and promoting my record, without the luxury of hiding behind someone else’s success.
Andrew Barnum known for the Vitabeats early 80’s electro smash album Spot the Spanner and single Beat Box has a new collaboration with Producer Boris Hunt – ‘Memory Collective’ is out and about – he gives us a little insight into his background below —
- What is the first record you bought and why? “The Rolling Stones ‘Big hits, high tide and green grass’ in a plastic sleeve from Palings, George Street, Sydney. I bought it because potential girlfriends and bandmates liked it, and all the mothers couldn’t stand Mick. The rebel factor. The first album would have been The Beatles ‘Please Please Me’, but we got that one for Christmas from our parents as a peace offering. “
- What current OZ acts inspire you? Augie March, Dick Diver, Basenji, Machine Translations, Courtney Barnett, Brendan Gallagher, Java Quartet, Perry Keyes, Mark Lucas, David Kilgour (NZ), Necks, Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly, Gareth Liddiard/Drones, Nick Cave, Sarah Blasko, Urthboy, James Muller, Mad Dog Boy.
international acts? Blur, David Bowie, Sufjan Stevens, Beachwood Sparks, Beck, Derek Trucks, Brian Eno, Flaming Lips, John Scofield, Sigur Ros, Mac Demarco, D’Angelo, Sun Kil Moon, Damien Jurado, Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Frisell, Radiohead, Daniel Lanois, Boards of Canada.
3 Tell us a little about your music and what a crowd can expect at a live show – ‘The Funky Folk-rock family band.’ Myself on acoustic guitar and vocals, Lissa and Cayenne Barnum on vocals, with Java Quartet members Michael Galleazzi (Bass) and Mike Quigley (Drums) plus guests.
4 Favourite artists of all time? Randy Newman, Van Morrison, Byrds, David Bowie, Pete Seeger, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan & The Band, Go-Betweens.
5 Fave film? O Brother where art thou
Fave Book? Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Fave place? South Coast NSW / Mexico
Fave animal or pet? Starpup (Our 16 year old Jack Russell terrier) (see him starring on the video right hand pane- ed) plus 2 donkeys: Mercy Marley and Thesis Lloyd And story if there is one. We’ve recently moved: our city studio is Marrickville, but home is now Meroo Meadow NSW.
6 Fave food or drink Horchata (Cold drink from Mexico made from ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley)
7 You are backstage with Warren Zevon (RIP) what do you say?‘My first apartment stay in Hollywood was in the same street as the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel from your song ‘Desperados under the eaves’. When were you there and how did the song come about?
Yhan Leal, the Colombian born, now Bellingen based singer songwriter has created a fine new album with the help of Producer Rob Wolfe.
The songs were written in a an old tin shed on the back of his property
and honed while busking locally before recording with Rob at his local studio.
As a young immigrant growing up in northern New South Wales’
backwater life wasn’t easy. Classical guitar came naturally, working
his way through the magic of Lennon, Elvis and Richie Valens.
Writing his first compositions to suit his older brother’s poetry
nurtured a talent for song writing.
In 2013 Yhan released his debut EP Sail Home. His new Album
Wilderness, all recorded in a local North Coast Studio, is the next
major step in this musicians journey.
Already receiving comparisons to Surfjian Stevens,
Connor Oberst and Jeff Buckley-
Yhan has just last week SOLD OUT the local Bellingen
launch of the record and will soon
be taking it out on the road.
Official Release date – July 3
VIOLENT FEMMES RELEASE LONG AWAITED NEW EP & TOUR
The Violent Femmes are set to bid the world a belated “Happy New Year” with the release of their long awaited EP and massive 35 city USA Summer Tour. The four-track EP will be be released in June, and is their first collection of songs in 15 years. “Happy New Year” was recorded this past New Year’s Eve in Hobart, Tasmania(Brian Ritchie’s recently adopted home town), after the legendary band performed a sold out concert at the world famous Sydney Opera House. The EP is highlighted by the Jake Brebes-penned single, “Love Love Love Love Love”
Digital Release Date JUNE 5
Vinyl In Store(Planet/MGM) – JUNE 19.?
One of the most beloved bands of the golden age of indie rock, Violent Femmes returned to action in 2013 with an acclaimed performance at Coachella. Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls, Nine Inch Nails) joined founding members Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie and the newly reconstituted band embarked on a wide-ranging tour that included headline dates and ecstatically received festival sets around the world.
Violent Femmes came together in 1981 in Milwaukee, WI, and werequickly ranked among the era’s most inventive and original, constantly pushing forward with their singular blend of folk and punk, sarcasm and spirituality. The trio released eight studio albums and more than a dozen singles, among them such iconic classics as “American Music,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Nightmares,” “Add It Up,” “Kiss Off,” and of course, “Blister In The Sun.” Violent Femmes’ remarkable three-decade career earned them cumulative sales of many millions worldwide, with 1983’s VIOLENT FEMMES earning RIAA platinum certification eight years after its initial release.
Following the USA Tour Australian dates are due to be announced as well as Interview availability.
For more information, High Rez Images, CD Pro(due next week), downloads and streaming links and anything else, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
JULY UPDATE Further new press for True Believer
“If Quentin Tarantino hasn’t found the voice to lead the soundtrack of his forthcoming The Hateful Eight movie, he need look no further than this spellbinding masterpiece.”
“Cullen creates a moody atmosphere where the smell of sex, cigarette smoke and despair fill the air, there’s a hint of hope, but you’ll always find Leonard Cohen in the corner of the room collecting tears in a jar from shells of your former self. Cullen makes it okay for you to observe from a distance.”
“the Sydney-based lounge lizard artfully marries Southern Gothic dustiness to black-sequined seediness in a way that actually reveals a true sense of class”.
Recorded on analogue tape, using old tube microphones and plentyof equipment with large bakelite knobs, co-produced by Michael with Tim Powles (of the Australian masters of guitar atmospherics,The Church) and mixed by Danton Supple (Morrisey, Coldplay) Cha Cha exudes a vintage but timeless sound.”
“Michael, a post-punk veteran, has matured into a full voiced solo song writer and performer who delivers glass half empty narratives in a unique and textured baritone vocal style with echoes of American mid century pulp writers. Michael has also often cited the Curtis and Tom Waits.”
On Cha Cha, Michael’s rich punk croon spills out of a lush but driven clectic amalgam of styles including Stax, Mowtown, Americana, New Wave and 80s British pop, entreating the listener to take one more chance on romance despite the fact that happy endings seem unlikely – even improbable. What else is there?
“Inspired by the likes of Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits, you nevertheless get a very Michael Cullen experience. He is strong and has a distinctive baritone vocal that weaves through the music, making this album unique, and uniquely valuable.” Sydney Morning Herald
Michael Cullen’s music resonates “with moody melancholia and astrange, dark beauty [and] is a reverb-drenched, atmospheric slice of pop that explores both the nature of love, and the nature of love gone wrong.” PunkNews.Org.
“True Believer is a hedonistic, lush, red velvet-curtained fragile andbeautiful album. Imbued with the sexual frustration and louche ambivalence of Robert Forster from The Go-Betweens and underpinned by a Nick Cave-like gothic baritone darkness, each listen reveals more complex layers, greater humour and a melodic strength. Every song is this lounge-room lothario performing in a haze of smoke and whiskey.”“True Believer is a smooth nine track album of broody vibes – eerie, hypnotic and relaxing. The songs are about regret, bitterness and a love gone sour. If you like Nick Cave you will love Michael P Cullen. The vocals are a rich baritone cocktail of spoken word, singing and crooning while Powles provides seamless, charming accompaniment on the keys and drums. It’s intoxicating. It has to be experienced.” Rip It Up Magazine
Dali and the Paper Band are a Hobart based trio, who capture audiences with intriguing originals and improvisations.
After playing many show’s around Australia and abroad, they decided it was time to hibernate in the studio and craft some magic again. Many long days passed, and finally a new EP titled ‘Island’ was born.The EP contains an eclectic mix of Indie, Dance, and Hip-Hop sounds. It was recorded on Bruny Island, in Tasmania, where many of the songs were also written. The songs were finished and mastered by Damien Gerard Studios, in Sydney.
The first indie-dance style track, ‘Too Good To Be Good’, and the final song, ‘Move On’, which draws upon hip-hop, jazz and funk, both reflect upon the hedonism of youth.
‘Heartless’, which was recently released as a single, was inspired by the documentary ‘The Cove’, is about the slaughtering of dolphins in Japan.
The third and title track ‘Island’, was written by Dali about his childhood and the nomadic lifestyle his mother preferred, whilst ‘Insane Train’ is a brief story about a memorable train journey
The band will tour the east Coast and Tasmania throughout April to support the release – see dates below
April 4th // Adventure Bay Hall Bruny Island
April 10th // The Royal Oak Launceston
April 11th // The Homestead Hobart
April 16th // The Tree House Byron Bay
April 17th // Rics Bar Brisbane
April 22nd // Valve bar Sydney
The EP was released on the 27th Of March through FOG/MGM to cinched with the Tour.
RELEASE DATE 20TH MARCH 2015
After the albums release on Friday the Tribute has just been set for AOTW on Brisbane Starting today
Listen to the stream here
Tony Romeril and Various Artists “Will You Remember Me” – A Tribute to Ted Mulry Songwriter.
Tony Romeril, the former lead singer of 70s hit Aussie band Autumn, is soon to release a new music project to honor the final work of Ted Mulry.
Born in Oldham, England, Ted Mulry first came to the attention of the music industry when he was signed to the legendary Albert Productions. He rose to fame as a solo singer/songwriter with his own composition, the pop ballad ‘Julia’, which made the Australian charts in 1970.
In 1972 he formed his own band, The Ted Mulry Gang, with guitarist Les Hall & drummer Herman Kovac. The band released their first album ‘Here We Are’ in 1974. Their first major hit, and the biggest of their career, was the 1975 single ‘Jump In My Car’ which spent 6 weeks at number one on the Australian singles charts.
As a close friend, Tony spent a lot of time with Ted during his final months. Ted was much under rated as a songwriter and Tony believed that some of his best material was released on his last solo album ‘This Time’.
Tony has re-recorded and re-interpreted 8 songs from the ‘This Time’ CD, as well as including of ‘Julia’ and ‘Will You Remember Me’ (the album title track). The recording sessions featured a mix of artists and singers from the 1970’s and 80’s such as Peter Cupples who knew and respected Ted and also some younger artists who loved his work and wanted to be part of this project.
The CD will be released on Autumn Records and distributed through MGM Distributors. 10% of the profits from the sale of this CD will be donated to Support Act.
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Soundcloud Radio Tracks Stream
Online Deep Background
New dates added
May 1 – Currumbin Creek Tavern, Gold Coast (QLD)
May 2 – Shores Tavern, Yamba (NSW)
May 15 – Harvest Bakery, Byron Bay (NSW)
and then a double header
SATURDAY MAY 16
CRAWDADDYS, NOOSA HEADS QLD
SUNDAY MAY 17
“Creeper Vine” is the new record from singer-songwriter/guitarist Luke Escombe.
Drawing its musical inspiration from the vintage sounds of artists like
Chuck Berry, Freddie King, Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones,
the 6-track EP features songs about modern urban life –
from advice on how to manage the rat race (Drink more coffee),
live with debt and survive the tensions of a long-term marriage (Axe in the house)
to tips on how to appreciate women over the age of 30
and cope with the loss of the female prime minister in your life (Julia).
Sharp, urgent and darkly funny, the album continues in the tradition established by Escombe’s 2012 studio album “Mantown”, which spent 9 straight months in the top ten of the Australian Blues and Roots radio play charts.
2014 saw Escombe release 2 critically acclaimed live albums on the same day –
“Luke Escombe and the Corporation: Live on the Coast” and “Chronic Symphonic”.
Writing about these releases in the Sydney Morning Herald reviewer John Shand wrote:
“Luke Escombe is funny and brave, a showman and an artist, a brilliantly engaging lyricist, expert tunesmith, fine guitarist and exceptional singer. Seldom is such sophistication wrapped in a coating of such overt fun. Buy both. Hear him”
Luke was nominated for a Green Room Award in 2012 for his one-man show “Chronic”, which took him to festivals around Australia as well as to the Edinburgh Fringe. He has performed 3 times at Parliament House in Canberra as well as at New Zealand’s National Museum in Wellington and spoken at conferences and health industry events across the country in his role as ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis Australia.
He was awarded the title of “Sydney’s sexiest man voice” in 2011 in a radio competition on Mix 106.5FM and recently won the prize for Best Kid’s Show at the 2014 Sydney Fringe with his “roots musical” creation The Vegetable Plot.
“Creeper Vine” was recorded at Vienna People Studios in Sydney and features Escombe’s long-time collaborators Aaron Flower on guitar and Jamie Cameron on drums, as well as legendary rock-soul bassist Harry Brus (Renee Geyer, Kevin Borich, Billy Thorpe).
Producer Michael McGlynn (L-Fresh, Little May) adds piano, organ and percussion,
with backing vocals on two tracks by soul singer Carmen Smith.
The March 12th release of “Creeper Vine” will be accompanied by a 4-city East Coast tour.
See dates below-