Wednesday, August 25, 2010

INTERVIEW: The General Assembly

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Paper-Deer army, assemble! There's a new troupe on the horizon by the name of The General Assembly, and they're ready to slay the Melbourne music scene with their whimsical, left-of-centre melodies, laid back vocals and intelligent pop sensibilities (and an equally as clever logo). It's as breezy and easy to down as a deliciously fresh Angostura lemon lime and bitters on a hot summer's day.

These guys seem really unphotogenic. Here's a creative photo from their Facebook page of someone's feet.

Paper-Deer got to The General Assembly guys first! Here's a look at what the lovely boys revealed about themselves.

So, you guys originally started out with just Matt Wicking on acoustic guitar/vox and Guy Willoughby on electric guitar. What led to the later addition of Justin King on bass and percussion?
It’s a case of things coming full circle. Justin and I used to play music together years ago. Justin left to live in London for a few years and Guy and I began making music as The General Assembly. So it was really natural for Justin to slot in as part of the band when he returned to Melbourne. His bass and percussion have added a lot of depth and having a third person on board has allowed us to push our sound in much more interesting directions.

You don’t have a drummer… Drum machines or a rotating roster of drummers?
We have a little Roland drum machine from the early seventies, which has a great organic sound, and also a stomp box that gives us a pretty solid driving rhythm. Combined with some live percussion, I like to think we’ve used what could have been a limitation to add to our sound… but maybe it’s just a limitation.

Do you think that The General Assembly will eventually say goodbye to the little Roland and find a drummer to permanently add to the rhythm section?
Maybe. Personally I quite like the challenge of creating a full sound without a full time drummer – and it’s fun watching Justin trying to do ten things at once. But whether we add a drummer or a percussionist or something else, I guess the main thing is doing the right things for the songs.

Paper-Deer hears that you have an EP on the way. Can you give us any juicy details about it? We like gossip.
We sure do. We’ve just had our first EP mastered by Adam Dempsey at Jack the Bear and are getting ready to launch it at the Toff in Town on Saturday, September 25th. We’re very excited to have one great support act locked in so far, Kieran Ryan from Kid Sam, so it’s going to be a great night!

The EP is called Dark Mountain Music and we have a couple of tracks up on our Facebook page that people can check out in advance.

Kieran Ryan! Nice work. So the EP was recorded in a house in the eastern suburbs. Why did you choose this over a recording studio?
These days you can get a pretty amazing sound from a home recording – even in the eastern suburbs.

Oh, the poor eastern suburbs…
After doing some early demos with a friend of ours, David Johnson, he suggested that we produce an EP. As well as having heaps of recording and music-making equipment at his house, Dave has a fantastic ear and a great approach to recording. With him in charge of the sound, we could relax and focus on being creative. In a regular studio we would have had the pressure of getting the tracks down in a timely fashion and wouldn’t have been able to experiment in the same way. As a result, we really enjoyed the process and the end result has definitely exceeded all of our expectations. Apart from all that, Dave has lots of nice tea and biscuits at his place. So the choice was obvious, really.

The General Assembly is quite a new band. Why the decision to take David Johnson’s suggestion on board and record an EP so early? Rather than after gigging and making a name for yourselves on the live circuit?
We’ve been playing around town quite a lot over the last few years, but we felt like we needed a record to represent us outside of the live scene, something people can take away with them and share. The bonus has been that in recording the EP, we’ve improved the hell out of our songs and that’s bound to improve our live shows too.

  • Saturday September 25: The Toff in Town [EP launch]
Three musicians... assemblying... Geddit? Geddit? (It would be really funny if it was a random logo and we put too much thought into it.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

INDUSTRY INTERVIEW: Emma Wiking (Remedy Music)

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It seems that a large portion of Paper-Deer's beloved readers are either musicians or working in the music industry, so we've decided to run a series of interviews with some of the special people who make the Melbourne music scene the thriving cultural hub it is. Paper-Deer plans on storming backstage and getting the real story from behind-the-scenes industry folk like band managers, sound engineers, venue bookers, publicists and label reps.

Starting off our series of industry interviews is Emma Wiking, a woman whose resume must read like novel. The company that really made Wiking stand out in the industry was Rubber Records, where her business card must've been quite large to fit her entire title "Head of National Promotions, Marketing and International Label Management" on it. At Rubber Records, she looked after ace Australian acts like 1200 Techniques, The Exploders, Offcutts, Lisa Gerrard and JET. After her eight-year stint at the illustrious Melbourne indie label, she flipped over to Basin Records in 2004, lending her years of industry experience to the development of the boutique label. Wiking somehow also finds the time to run Remedy Music, which specialises in music promotion, digital distribution and synchronisation, as well as managing excellent bands like The Melodics. Honestly, this woman must never sleep.

The Melodics, the band that somehow turned Emma Wiking into a band manager

Job title:
Label Manager, Radio Plugger, Publicist, Band Manager.

Job description: Sign, license and work with emerging artists on an independent basis, helping them all to develop release plans that work towards their ultimate goals and be discovered by music lovers.

Bands you promote or manage: The Melodics, The Little Stevies, Angelas Dish, Georgia Fields, Alba Varden, Starting Sunday, [Me]…

How did you end up being a band manager?
I hadn’t planned on being a band manager, but after working with The Melodics on a promotional basis I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Not only do they write great music and put on a world class live show, they weren’t sitting around waiting for someone else to make it happen for them. When I first discovered them they were already selling out venues up the east coast on tours they booked for themselves. They impressed me because they were smart about how they promoted & marketed themselves and were clearly already on their way when I came on board. I think a lot of bands think that when they get a manager or are singed to a label, that that’s when things are going to happen for them, but in fact it works the other way around.

What's your secret to success?
Hard work and persistence has had something to do with it, and a passion for doing what I love, not necessary what pays the most.

What do you love most about being in the music industry?
There are no rules!

Being a band manager always seems like such a glamorous job. Can you let us in on any of the less-than-lovely moments you’ve had in the past?
To be honest, I think I’m a pretty lucky manager. I have a hard working band that share a lot of the responsibilities, so far it’s pretty much been all good! Sorry, no gruesome tour managing stories here!

Any advice to budding band managers out there?
When delegating roles in the band, be sure that everyone takes on some responsibility. Four or five people working towards a goal is a lot more powerful than one.

How do you discover new bands and music?
Mostly through word of mouth and our recording studio, Basin Studio.


Friday, August 13, 2010

INTERVIEW: These Patterns

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In late 2008, two girls and one guy started experimenting with dark electronic soundscapes, male-female vocals and tribal drums. The very excellent end result was These Patterns, a Melbourne band famous for their sombre brand of electronic music that has plenty of nightmarish textures, Peter Murphy-style vocals and live drums to distinguish them from the slew of electro jam bands out there. It might also help that all three of them are actually classically trained in their instrument of choice...

The trio is also slowly becoming known for its hardcore DIY approach - as part of the new breed of bands on the streets, these smart cookies realise that throwing money at an entourage of "help" isn't going to necessarily work anymore. Perhaps these three talented kids are just control freaks, but everything from management, booking and the artistic direction of their videos are all done within the band. These Patterns are so dedicated to their DIY cause that they have even started up a production house for their music video escapades. Hell, if Paper-Deer had asked them to write this blurb, they probably would have.

These Patterns are currently slaving away at the recording studo to work on their upcoming EP, so things will be a bit quiet on the gig front until the EP launch in November. But there's no need to worry if you're starting to have awesome-band-withdrawals - Paper-Deer was lucky enough to catch all three Patternites on their way to the studio. Paul Satur, Jess Njoo and Samantha Arthur give us the three different sides to the story.

What pattern is your name “These Patterns” referring to?
Paul: One thing that I have found to be really cool about what we are doing is that we all have different interpretations, encounters and reactions of our name. The name for me is about the fact that I have come from an overly developed suburban area and one thing I have struggled with over the years about such an environment is the monotony of everything, and how so many people just seem to accept that. They eat, go out and where the same things, they live in the same looking houses, doing the same things every week. Just like patterns (see what I’ve done there!), so I suppose these patterns is a reflection of my frustrations with that sort of thing.
Sam: Yeah, I guess we didn’t really have a meaning behind the two words, together they just kind of fit. For me it refers to patterns in life, art, music, nature… everything seems to have a pattern.
Jess: But really our name means whatever you want it to be.

These Patterns is an excellent do-it-yourself type of band and has started your own production company Ludwig Van. Why do you guys love doing things yourself as opposed to kicking back and hiring minions to do the dirty work?
Sam: Doing everything ourselves is a major priority for us. We like to be in control of every aspect of our music, from our designs to our music videos. I think for a band to take control of every part of their music reflects how important it is to us and how it gives us a great sense of euphoria.
Jess: I guess we can’t help it. We love being way too involved in everything. I don’t think we ever thought to get someone else to make us a video, or to help with anything else really. It just seemed like that’s what we should do. A lot of the other bands we like and admire are really DIY and I think that it’s a really important aspect of being passionate about something you are a part of.

The Loui video that These Patterns/Ludwig Van made is really excellent. Is it easier (because you have total creative control) or harder (because you have to do everything yourself) to create your own video?
Sam: We had a lot of fun doing Loui because it was challenging to try and make it as good but also as cheap as possible. We used all our sneaky little resources to make it almost a like a family event, everyone knew each other. We were all feeding off each other’s ideas. With areas like costume, make up and hair we let the artists listen to our music and contribute their own creative ideas and influences. Jess was the brains behind the entire piece, having just finished a degree in film and TV. She organised everything, Paul and I just tagged along and helped out where we could.

What do each of you bring to These Patterns in terms of personality, energy and talent?
Jess: Hmm, hopefully all of the above! Although Sam and Paul seem to disagree, I think I have a killer sense of humour, however incredibly lame at times. I like to use a lot of catch phrases that have died out over the years - I think they help with band bonding.
Paul: For a long time we have always compared ourselves to animals. Our animals tend to change on a monthly basis, but right now I’m a baby giraffe, Jess is a gold fish, and Sam is a three toed sloth... make of it what you will.
Sam: I totally disagree with the three toad sloth comment, but musically we all have really absurdly different tastes. I come from a jazz background, Jess likes folk, Paul likes punk, but strangely when we start writing music these influences intertwine and we are left with a morphed music love child which is These Patterns.

You’re about to lock yourselves into the recording studio. If you can bring only three things with you, what will they be?
Sam: Three thousand pairs of drum sticks. I hit too hard, like a giant ape man.
Paul : Honey, green tea, and a can-do attitude....yay!
Jess: Yes, green tea! But also my camera and a pack of muesli bars.

What can we expect from your upcoming studio trip?
Sam: The sound is going to be more current to our new stuff, somewhere between post punk, experimental, electronic, a lot of tribal sounds strange noises and experimental lapses. We really want to explore every inch of our instruments and stay true to our live sound but also add more layers than we can physically do on stage.

Any embarrassing secrets about These Patterns that you’d like to share with Paper-Deer?
Sam: Alright, biggest embarrassing moment of my musical life was when we played at the John Curtin Hotel and I was carrying my bass drum down the stairs, slipped, did a somersault over it and somehow it landed on top of me. I stood up, looked up to see a bunch of people staring at me, dusted off my knees and hobbled to the car.
Jess: I’m generally pretty embarrassing and make a lot of lame comments which has led to me being denied an on stage microphone, so I guess no one will ever hear my hilarious jokes or embarrassing stories.

Any last things to say to your adoring fans before you leave us for the sound booth?
Sam: Paul will miss stage diving on small girls and spraying beer on expensive cameras.
Jess: Please convince Sam and Paul to let me have a microphone.
Paul: Turn off your TV.....cheers, big ears!

Still having withdrawals? Check out These Patterns rad video for Loui.

'LOUI'-These Patterns from LUDWIG VAN on Vimeo.

  • Friday September 10: The Tote
  • Friday October 8: 1000 Pound Bend [Gallery opening]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

Here at Paper-Deer, we're a bit like that teenage devil of an older sister you had. You know, the one who experimented with drugs and did every naughty deed under the sun, but eventually found a nice boyfriend and settled down. And got hitched at the age of seventeen. Okay, maybe we took that story too far.

Anyway, when Japanese rockers Vivarta rolled up into town for the second time since 2009, we knew we had to flirt with something different and exciting: a filmed interview. These three extremely sweet gentleman kindly agreed to have their mugs shot and tell us (in mostly Japanese, with a few English words thrown in so I knew what was happening) about what they love about Australia, and why they keep coming back to our sunny shores! Apparently we have very nice skies in Melbourne.

Filming by James Beilharz
Special thanks to James Young (Clockwork Artists) for arranging the interview.


Sunday, August 8, 2010


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There's a certain band that's been leaving a trail of party sparklers, cigarette butts and sore dancing feet all the way from their hometown of Shepparton to dirty Melbourne town, and they go by the moniker of 8 Bit Love. You may recognise those three syllables from their recent stint at Push Over Festival where these cheeky lads shared the limelight with Yves Klein Blue, Dash & Will, Horrorshow and Kisschasy. Rave Review crowned these electro kids July's Artist of the Month, and drummer Simon Findlay is being treated to a brand spanking new drum kit (which they plan to show off at the EP launch in a few days time) thanks to winning first prize in the Youth Central and Vic Rocks' Get Equipped competition.

That's a pretty full-on list of credentials for a young band, and they're about to add the launch of the debut EP, Super Mario Lovers to it. Paper-Deer have been lucky enough to get our dirty mitts on a preview copy, and it was full of syrupy disco beats, snotty vocals and guitars that are so crunchy that you'll think you have rice bubbles in your ears. Opening track You Like It sees vocalist Vito Lucarelli taunting the listener with the line, "You like it, you like it, tell me how much you like it". It's sounds like a naughty kid teasing other children because his mummy has just gotten him a Sega Mega Drive but no one else is allowed to play with it.

Hands Say Clap Clap is shiny electro rock genius that will make you as giddy as a nine-year-old who's just ingested an entire packet of blue Smarties. Think boppy beats, catchy melodies born out of distorted guitar and synths, and catchy vocals that will make you want to punch the air like Jet Li. If you're going to see 8 Bit Love live, you should definitely put away your high heels and wear your dancing shoes.

Paper-Deer had a little sneaky in-time with bass man Matt 'Darvo' Darveniza because quite honestly, you can't spell "badass" without "bass".

The names 8 Bit Love and Super Mario Lovers sound like they’re a bit inspired by retro video games. Are they?
Yeah, there was definitely a bit of inspiration by retro video games in both the name for the band and EP. We’re all a little nerdy on the inside, and revel in the occasional game from way back when we were kids.

So, while we are on a geeky topic, what are you favourite video games?
I’m going to have to cop out a bit here and go with all the classic Mario titles as our favs, particularly some of the Super Nintendo ones. Classics. Although we’re not impartial to a bit of Donkey Kong, or Duck Hunter either.

What does each band member bring to 8 Bit Love?
Vito (singer/guitarist/keys) brings some crazy riffs and hooks, as well as the most complicated pedal/synth/guitar/laptop setup I’ve ever witnessed, and some massive sounds along with it all. Being the front man, he’s also responsible for having a heap of charisma and personality. Simon (drums) tends to bring a pure and raw sense of enthusiasm to all of his performances, can be relied on for a solid disco beat, as well as a whole lot of antics to keep the rest of us on our feet. I play bass and keys, and bring a whole lot of charisma and energy to the stage, but I lead a sort of double life, being a closet nerd and getting really shy as soon as I get off the stage.

You’re just about to drop your EP Super Mario Lovers. What was the writing process for the EP like?
I guess you’d say the writing “process” was really long in some aspects. A couple of the tracks on the EP, Unsightly Cowards and Hands Say Clap Clap, have been in the works since 2008. The beds of the songs tend to come out pretty quickly, but the subtleties and nuances and little things of each song often take a long time to fully form. Vito usually comes into rehearsals with either a cool riff he wants to flesh out, or sometimes a rough vision for a song, and then we’ll spend hours just jamming and improvising around those ideas. Eventually we’d get a feel for what really worked, and try to take the best of those and form them into the sections for a song. After the structure of parts is all sorted, Vito will go away to work on some lyrics, and by next rehearsal, the song will have really taken form. We go on and add a few extra bits and pieces later on if we feel necessary, but the core of the song usually comes together pretty quickly, and is usually well thought out.

Is it hard capturing your live energy into a recording?
We actually had a lot of trouble trying to find the right balance of energy versus studio quality when we first attempted some demos for the EP. We tried to add too many extra parts and instruments to the songs, and the excitement of the live performance was somewhat lost.

But when we got to the studio this time, we decided that we’d try and replicate the live feel as much as possible for a more energetic record. Most of the recording was all done with us playing in the same room at the same time, similar to how we’d play live, with each of us feeding off the others for the energy required to truly replicate our live shows. In the end, the result turned out great, and the record really reflects what you should expect from our live shows, minus a few surprises we save just for the live crowds.

What would you say to convince people to grab a copy of Super Mario Lovers?
If you’re looking for a record that you can dance around to anywhere, and will stay in your head for weeks and not get old, Super Mario Lovers is definitely your kind of record.

8 Bit Love has played at Push Over Festival and has been called every nice thing under the sun by music reviewers. What’s your secret to success?
We’ve been trying to figure that one out for a while now, but I think it really comes down to a love of all kinds of music, and staying really hyped about it all. We regularly go out and see all sorts of bands, and always take some inspiration back with us, no matter what the style is. We try to incorporate all sorts of stuff into the music to get a unique sound that people don’t expect. But more than that, I think the best trick is just to make sure you’re having fun because the audience tends to notice, and then they’ll have a blast too. For us it’s all about enthusiasm, energy and fun.

8 Bit Love has lots of digital noises and you use Mac Books. Have you ever run into problems with all that technology dying on you during performances?
It’s a pretty common occurrence for something to go wrong with one of our setups halfway through a show. But that’s all part of the game I guess, and it definitely keeps us on our toes. And sometimes it forces us to improvise, and we’ll accidentally happen across something really cool because of it.

What is the band’s absolutely favourite song to perform and go ape-shit to live at gigs?
I think Hands Say Clap Clap is the true standout as far as freak-out songs go. We nearly always try to save it for last, and slowly build the energy throughout the song, until we reach a massive explosion of sound at the end, involving cowbells, yelling, screeching delay pedals, more exercise and running around than I get otherwise all year, and usually a lot of knocked over cymbal stands and drums, depending how nice Simon’s been to us over the last week.

Any embarrassing secrets about 8 Bit Love's past that you can divulge with Paper-Deer?
Oh gee... The first band that Simon and I were in back in Year 9 was called Alektoraphobia (meaning a fear of chickens) and we only knew one song, Seven Nation Army. We thought we were pretty awesome, being in a band and all, and entered a local battle of the bands, not realizing that we’d be expected to play more than just one song. We got up there, played Seven Nation Army for our sound check since it was all we knew, and then played it again after sound check, and we somehow stuffed up halfway through and stopped. So rather than bailing out of shame like we should’ve, we started again, and played the song the whole way through. It’s a good thing that apart from our parents, no one else was really there. I’d like to think we’ve come a little way since those days…

Apparently this is the new shit when it comes to wrinkle treatment.
  • Friday August 20: Revolver Upstairs [Super Mario Lovers EP launch with Rush In Attack and Samson]
  • Friday August 27: Yahoo Bar, Shepparton [Super Mario Lovers EP launch with Sampson and Apollo)
  • Sunday October 31: The Abbotsford Convent [World Vegan Day]

LIVE REVIEW: Splendour Report

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Dearest Paper-Deer readers, you may have noticed that this blog went eerily quiet from July 28 to August 3, which is the fault of a little festival by the name of Splendour in the Grass.

Paper-Deer and entourage rolled up to Splendour's new crib at Woodford, where we were met with mud and thirty-thousand new best mates to get muddy with. The "security" check on a car consisted of an awesomely laid back guy who seemed disappointed when we told him we honestly didn't have any drugs on us, and told us to let him know if we scored any... presumably because he was in desperate need of dope.

Day one proved blistering hot for our delicate Melbourne skin, and Paper-Deer's skinny-leg-wearing travelling companion was heard complaining, "I almost put a pair of shorts in my suitcase when I was packing, but then I told myself to not be so stupid." After nearly passing out from erecting a tent in the scorching Queensland sun, we managed to drag ourselves to the festival grounds but not before getting seriously lost in an endless sea of navy, khaki and silver temporary homes.

Violent Soho was the first aural feast of the festival, and they did not disappoint with their grunge-revival tunes. Hailing from Queensland but now based in the US, they opened Jesus Stole My Girlfriend by explaining that this song got them in trouble with our conservative Yankee cousins. That tends to happen when you call the son of God a "cunt".

British India seemed to please the indie segment of the crowd, and the Little Red crowd were more then content with the syrupy, retro-inspired tunes by the band. Although we should add that there were a few very angry young men dressed in black skinny legs, Doc Martens and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club shirts checking their watches very anxiously during Little Red's performance. A couple of stray girls from Little Red's set decided to stay on and hung tight to the barrier, but the sight of a completely badass leather-clad Peter Hayes doing sound check with a rebellious cigarette dangling from his pouting lips absolutely frightened them. "Um, excuse but are Black Rebel Motorcycle Club heavy? Will we get trampled?" one of them nervously asked another punter. The four girls managed to survive because of a tamer-than-normal mosh pit, most probably because the crowd were absolutely blown away by the phenomenal three piece's grimey, blues-drenched garage rock.

Back at the GW McLennan tent, Lisa Mitchell (aka Audrey Hepburn lookalike) frolicked around a stage decked out with coloured flags and her devoted backing band. But despite all the hype about this gorgeous nymph going from an Australian Idol contestant to Australia's next idol, her performance totally panned out. Weak, Angie Hart-esque vocals sound dainty in the studio, but guess what? Dainty just sounds weak in a live setting. One punter was overheard saying, "Wow, it's like over-processed open mic night" before shaking his head and running out of the tent screaming, thus lowering the male to female ratio in the tent even more. LCD Soundsystem was a loud relief to the ears after that all that soft, whingey folk, and they turned their stage into one big muddy arena of people dancing like drugged up music lovers. Which they probably were.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the day was not watching amazing bands while sun baking on a gorgeously green Queensland hill, but frustratingly trying to find our way back to our tent. Poorly marked out roads, lack of lighting and the fact that the marshals were completely uninterested in even directing us to a map didn't help us in the slightest, but we somehow managed to get to our tent but only after a considerable period of time and picking up a few other lost souls on the way.

Despite our greatest efforts to laze about naked in our sleeping bags until at least noon, it turned out that a plastic tent in the northern heat makes quite a good oven. Instead of roasting away, Paper-Deer and co trudged along and watched the very talented Jonathan Boulet and his backing crew hammer out their delicious, percussion-driven indie pop tunes at the main amphitheatre, followed by the also excellent Band of Skulls doing their thing.

Paper-Deer just missed out on Melburnian gems Oh Mercy (damn queues for mini Dutch pancakes!) but got to dance up a storm at the incredibly amazing John Steel Singers, who were accompanied by dancers wearing horse masks. The boogie-trend continued with Philadelphia Grand Jury with their jump-worthy tracks like I'm Going To Kill You and I Don't Want to Party [Party]. The three men ran about stage in their usual haphazard fashion, smashing equipment while pre-recorded banter blared out over the amphitheatre, and previewed a new song for the Splendour crowd.

Next up on the main stage was Operator Please, who have proved that they are most certainly not a one-hit wonder. While they did play Just a Song About Ping Pong, they got the crowd moving with a reworked version to keep it fresh, as well as showcasing their seriously shiny and amazing fashion sense.

We headed down to the GW McLennan Tent (which a friend dubbed "the boring acoustic tent") to watch Laura Marling and to see what Jack White is going on about. She was undoutably charming, and it was quite hilarious and lovely to see completely "blokey" going all mushy and singing their hearts out while clutching to their beers.

Back at the main stage, Wolfmother turned the main amphitheatre into bogan central with their excessively safe and wanky tunes. It must be said that the Led Zeppelin/Black Sabbath cover band did seem to impress most of the fist-pumping crowd, but there were quite a few of us hanging out the back rolling our eyes.

By the time that Florence & the Machine came onto the stage, the summery skies closed up with thick, purple clouds ominously rolling around above us. There was almost an electric quality to the air as Lady Florence started belting her heart out in a floor length lace dress and a white cape with her fiery red hair peeping out of the hood. If Lisa Mitchell disappointed us with her lack of stage presence, Florence was the complete opposite. Tearing across the stage, bouncing along barefoot, the red-haired Briton unleashed her vocal abilities with songs like Kiss With A Fist, sometimes bashing away at a floor tom by the microphone. With her almost mystical persona and waving a drum stick about like a magician's wand, the crowd watched her every move in awe like they were witnessing a goddess.

The Strokes headlined night numero duo, and lead singer Julian Casablancas seemed totally overwhelmed by the crowd every time he addressed the audience in between songs. "Look at this cauldron of humanity!" he proclaimed, in what has probably become the most quoted line from the three-day festival. The New Yorkers planned out an excellent set for their fans, full of crowd favourites like Last Night.

'Flo of the 'Mo

Despite the lack of proper showers and incredible amounts of dirt, this reviewer was incredibly jealous of all the beautiful girls strutting around in perfectly clean clothes and immaculate make-up, and was half tempted to sneak back to their tents to see if there was a make-up team on hand. But back to the music...

The day opened with Cloud Control soothing tired festival-goers with their mountain music, followed up by Surfer Blood back at the main amphitheatre. We Are Scientists' banter was definitely the best at the festival, with Keith Murray's incredibly bizarre but hilarious sense of humour. At one stage, he put out a safety announcement, warning the crowd to be careful of the steep slope in case they slid down at landed on the giant spikes at the bottom of the hill. Some of the slower (or perhaps inebriated) punters looked confused, but the rest of us has a quiet chuckle to ourselves. The greying band was followed by Ash, who impressed Paper-Deer until we realised that they had a backing track. Tsk tsk.

Unlike their hilarious David Letterman performance, The Vines' set was rock solid, and packed to the brim with their seriously fucking excellent garage rock. Lead singer Craig Nicholls seems to have put on a few pounds but his signature sexy crazy-man hair and devil may care attitude was more than intact. The Sydney band had the crowd under their thumb as they played songs like TV Pro, Winning Days and Get Free.
Kate Nash was hilariously crude and ladylike at the same time, with a banner in front of her keyboard reading "A CUNT IS A USEFUL THING" (point noted). She did have a several good whinges to the light guy, doing a little girl singsong tantrum routine about the lights "attacking" her, but we weren't sure if she was just playing or was just a legitimate princess.

At the Mix Up Stage, Alison Goldfrapp of Goldfrapp came onstage in a fierce flurry of black streamers, and wowed audiences with her electropop-ness but Paper-Deer had to leave before Goldfrapp had a chance to play any favourites like Strict Machine or Black Cherry to get a good spot for Pixies at the main amphitheatre.

Paper-Deer are not really into Mumford and Sons, but there is no denying how truly amazing they are. Armed with their beautifully crafted acoustic songs and humble onstage personas (repeated thanking Australia for being so good to them), the crowd loved them every bit back. The amphitheatre was completely packed, with not even a patch of dirt to spare. Everyone was jumping around, waving their arms, taking photos, singing along wholeheartedly, and there was even an inflatable zebra in on the action. It was clear: Mumford and Sons should definitely start a cult in Australia.

A large portion of the Mumford crowd stayed to watch grunge gods Pixies, but most did not stay. This writer should probably add that she is a massive fan of the quartet, but was seriously disappointed. Black Francis' dour attitude at their recent sellout show in Melbourne seemed to have gotten worse, and the only bit of banter in the entire set was a delightful little exchange between Francis and Kim Deal at the start of their famous Where Is My Mind. But it was admittedly hilarious when many non-fans (eager to hear at least some sort of interaction) actually replied to Black Francis when he yelled out "HEY! Been trying to meet you!" at the start of Hey. Perhaps they were a bit offended when he didn't reply, or just plain bored, but the human pit that Mumford and Sons commanded turned into a wide open space after a mass exodus about three songs into their set. On the plus side, devoted fans were treated to many non-Doolittle tracks like Bone Machine, Gigantic, Cactus, Caribou, Cecilia Ann and Velouria. It kind of proved that being able to sell out show in a couple of minutes doesn't always mean they should. (Paper-Deer is also readying itself for an onslaught of angry Pixies fans commenting on this post.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

INTERVIEW: Autumn Gray

We have moved! Our blog is now at

A few miserable winter nights have passed since Autumn Gray's stunning launch of The Diary of a Falling Man at the Evelyn last month (read Paper-Deer's write up here), but there are no signs of dying down for this hauntingly beautiful seven-piece. Paper-Deer talked to Jim O'Neil about the Melbourne alternative folk pop troupe's logistical nightmares, home studios and democratic song writing methods.
Is autumn the band’s favourite season?
Personally, I’m fan of the “forgotten” seasons - spring and autumn. Everyone talks about summer and winter, but I like the moods that come with the other two. With spring there’s a sense of anticipation for the summer and the weather to come. Whereas in autumn there’s a kind of wistful retrospection as the days get shorter, which kind of suited our material. That’s not actually where the name came from, but I think it’s why it stuck.

It seems that The Diary of a Falling Man has received lots of lovely reviews. What is the best thing that anyone has said about your debut LP so far?
There’ve been a few very flattering comparisons, but I think we’ve just happy that people seem to like it. We had a friend tell us that the album has helped him get through some tough times, and that’s probably as gratifying as it can ever get.

How did the launch go?
Great! There was dancing, sing-a-longs, guest musos, the other bands that played were awesome, and the crowd was great. We had a cracking good time and it seemed like everyone else did too. That launch party has been a long time coming for us so it was a bit cathartic.

Paper-Deer has heard things about your amazing stage presence and live show. What’s the difference between watching Autumn Gray live and just listening to Diary of a Falling Man at home?
There’s more energy live than you might expect from listening to the album. We do our best to maintain the gentle qualities of the quiet sections, but in the louder bits we tend to let a bit loose. We’ve done our best with the seven of us to get as many of the layers from the album reproduced on stage, so it’s a pretty full live sound.

What was it like to record The Diary of a Falling Man in self-fashioned recording studio?
Honestly, a bit taxing. Right in the middle of recording the album, we weren’t even sure the band would survive. The recording just seemed to be stringing out to eternity. It was a pretty incredible learning process though, about a whole bunch of things.

We did the first sessions for the album in a little country retreat in a town called Blackwood, and sort of rather optimistically hoped that we’d be able to get most of the bed tracks done there. In the end, it turned out to be more like pre-production. Some of the tracking from those sessions survived onto the final product, but it was the sort of thing where we came away with the understanding that in order to do the songs justice, we’d need to invest a whole heap more time. Hence building the studio. The Hovel is actually a run-down share house that I used to live in and it was hot in there in summer. With all the foam and egg cartons on the walls, after a hot stretch it would be too hot in there to record for a week.

The other thing that worked a against us was how much better we all got as musicians through the process - we had to actively draw a line in the sand and say “We’re not re-doing anything anymore” because it became too tempting to iron too many of the imperfections that were more present in our earlier sessions.

There are so many of you. Does it get tricky with moving mountains of equipment?
Ha! Yes! Back before Greg joined the band, we used to be housemates. I put a poster up for one of our gigs in the lounge room and he crossed out the band name and wrote “Logistical Nightmare” instead. And that was when there were just six of us.

The band is often praised for your beautiful melodies and moving lyrics. How does the Autumn Gray writing machine work?
Typically, one person brings in a song and then the band has its way with the song. Sometimes that means that a complete song, harmonies and all, and we just need to learn it, or maybe it’s just a riff and we’ll build a song up from nearly scratch. We’ve sort an understanding that once the song comes into the band, you have to be comfortable with it moving in a completely different direction, but the principle songwriter still has the right to veto. That person tends to be the person who writes the lyrics - so the music’s collaborative, but the lyrics are personal. You also need to have a thick skin, because no one’s shy about telling you something is crap, or not working, which is great actually.

Any funny stories about Autumn Gray that you’d like to share with Paper-Deer?
With seven clumsy idiots in the band, there’s any number of stories of stupidity: Greg almost starting a fight with an audience member at a show, Pato accidentally smashing a chandelier, me forgetting lyrics to my own songs nearly EVERY show, the zombie face that Matt pulls whenever he’s blissing out playing guitar... but I don’t know how many stories I can tell that don’t end in “You had to be there!”

  • August 8: Wesley Anne
  • August 27: The National Hotel, Geelong [Geelong album launch]
  • September 7: The Wesley Anne [acoustic show for Darebin Music Feast]
  • September 16: Yah Yah's [Pensive Penguin's album launch]
  • September 18: The Birmingham
  • September 24: The Cornish Arms
  • October 16: Gertrude's Brown Couch


Thursday, August 5, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

If you’re one of those special, devoted Paper-Deer enthusiasts, you’ll probably know all about [Me]’s newest single Your Favourite Colour, and are probably blasting those neo-classical rock riffs from your iPod dock right now. If you have no idea what we are talking about, no need to run yourself a warm bath just yet – just check out the free goodness here.

Carousels have never looked more fun.

The Melbourne classically-influenced, theatrical band is gearing up for their upcoming EP by launching Your Favourite Colour at the East Brunswick Club on Saturday August 7, so Paper-Deer caught up with guitar-genius Damien Tapley to have a little heart-to-heart about fudging their trademark classical sound, their ever-confusing name and how they plan to impress the pants off you this weekend.

The name [Me] can get confusing in conversation. "Are you going to see [Me] tonight?" Has anything funny happened because of your name before?
Plenty! Once a venue didn't pay us because when the booker wrote ME on the paperwork, the manager thought the booker was talking about her, and paid her instead.

How did you come up with the name?
We wrote out 1000 names over a few months and none of them were quite right, then we started trawling the dictionary until we got delirious.

There seems to be a lot of rock opera/classical influences in your music. Do any of you have classical training?
We have no classical training. I can fudge classical guitar and piano, or at least play in that kind of style and make it up, and Luke can do the same on piano. Spike as a drummer has done a lot of theatre shows so I think that helps with the theatrics.

You guys have had a lot of attention in the past few months (shortlisted for Triple J Hottest 100, Big Sound showcase, rave reviews). Was there any pressure when it came to writing your upcoming EP?
Nope, no pressure yet! There's more pressure in making sure we get it all done on time and in a way that's right for the nature of the songs. Without getting too broke.

Has your sound evolved from your early work like Working Life to your new EP?
Definitely. There’s still a lot of unrecorded stuff because it costs a fortune every time we set foot into a studio. Recording has been a long process for us, we have to play a lot of shows to build the cash, and do a lot of pre-production and organise extra bits and pieces to give our recordings an edge. Also, the production on this upcoming EP is a big step up - Sing Sing is a truly an amazing studio.

Did any notable producers or sound engineers work on the upcoming EP?
Matt Voigt, who recently did Big Scary and Oh Mercy. The guy is a legend and we feel physical pangs of guilt for working him so hard. We really hope it pays off for him! Clint Sigmund who recently did Rat Vs Possum recorded a lot of the orchestral parts at his studio, along with Jonathan Dreyfus.

You’ve got a 14-piece orchestra lined up for your single launch…
Well, it's been whittled down to ten because our string leader got sick! The band arranged the parts in a basic way initially, but our very own orchestral nutcase Jonathan Dreyfus brought the parts to life and added a lot in. At the East Brunswick there will now be two fanfares, which have only been taken care of in the past fortnight.

I hear that you'll have crazy, roving performers on the night. What can we expect?
Fire show, carnival-esque kinds of things and much more that I don't even know about that Mikey has organised. There will be a drum troupe who will also join us for some songs, and have their own act between the second and third support bands.

What kind of reaction have you had to your new single Your Favourite Colour?
Happiness! We haven't even released it properly and it got a Triple J spin and Unearthed feature, and a lot of our mailing list likes the track! Anyone can download it for free at

What are your plans for your world domination?
We've planned a single launch tour which covers most Australian cities, and we're planning another later in the year for our EP. We have some festivals coming up over summer too. We hope our fans love the EP, and that a lot of new people get to hear it too.

Over the next few years it's not so much of a desire to dominate, but more to kick some ass in the world. We are really keen on being in Europe, particularly the UK, in the hope that people there will go ape shit for our songs and our style. We also are really keen to do an album somehow, do some super super shows and festivals, and to be played lots on radio. Really what I want is for people to be in love the songs as though they were a sentimental gift.

  • August 6: The Bended Elbow, Geelong [Your Favourite Colour Tour]
  • August 7: East Brunswick Club [Your Favourite Colour Tour]