Sunday, October 31, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

There's a small hip hop artist by the name of Illy, and by small we actually mean huge. This Melbourne musician only landed a deal with Obese Record last year, but his career has heated up faster than a Victorian summer, with Illy being invited to play at Pyramid Rock and getting lots of love from magazines and radio all around Australia with his beats and raps.

Illy tells Paper-Deer about how you can succeed if you sweat a little (literally).

The name Illy makes me think of “ily” (I love you). Where does the name come from?
[Laughs] It doesn’t come from that! I only got told about “ily” meaning “I love you” recently. Other things it’s been associated with are "illy", which in a gangsta rap context means “you’re a legend”, and Illy, the international coffee brand. But really, it’s just a nickname I’ve had since I was a kid. No exciting story unfortunately.

You only signed on to Obese Records in March last year, and it seems like your career has skyrocketed in this time. Are you still pinching yourself?
Yeah, it’s been a real trip with how everything’s gone, very heavy. I'm loving it all. It’s nice to know that what you get told is true - if you actually want something and work for it you can get it. Maybe I will become the first Australian spaceman president to captain Manchester United after all.

So we’ve heard about how you’re getting your fans to send footage of themselves singing for the video of Pictures. Funniest clip you’ve received so far? Most amazing location so far?
Yeah, we got quite a few! One in particular was from two girls living in Dubai who took it in their apartment on what must have been at least the sixtieth floor overlooking everything. The funniest was probably a dude singing the words, and when it zoomed out he was riding a cow. Weirdo. Shame we didn’t end up making the video. It would’ve been great.

Triple J love you. Your second album The Chase is now a Feature Album with the station, and they’ve been pumping out It Can Wait (feat. Owl Eyes) all week long. What does all this attention feel like, considering the Jays have a reputation for being “it” in the Australian music world?
It’s great. I love Triple J, no lie, and have grown up listening to it. It was very special on Australia Day to have our traditional Hottest 100 BBQ at our place with about fifty mates, and actually be in the countdown. That was a great feeling, and their support is unreal. Very trippy to actually know these people on a personal level, because I’ve listened to them for so long. And beyond that, there really isn’t a station like it in the world, no exaggeration. You really realise that once you’ve travelled, and we as listeners – not just artists – are very lucky to have it.

What would you say to someone who can’t decide if they should part with their pennies to pick up The Chase?
Look under the couch cushions, you tight arse!

Are you excited about Pyramid? What was your reaction when you found out you would be playing there?
Yes very. My reaction was one of pure unadulterated joy haha. I’ve been there as a punter a few times in the past, so to actually be a part of it is going to be huge.

And what will you be doing when the clock hits midnight on New Year’s?
I'll be partying for Australia, beer in each hand, with my mates.

You’ve shared stages with some awesome peeps like Phrase, Bliss N Eso and Dialectrix. Any artists that you’re just dying to work with?
I would love to do a track with BNE. I’ve known them for years and they’re real influences on me. Aside from hip-hop, I would love to do a track with Xavier Rudd, Megan Washington, Hayley Mary from The Jezabels or Regina Spektor.

Any embarrassing secrets about yourself as a musician that you can tell Paper-Deer?
I sweat a disturbing amount onstage. It’s gross and I have to apologise to people I take photos with after. All that, and I still refuse to not wear a beanie on stage! Dumb ass…

Illy's The Chase, out now.

  • Friday November 5: The HiFi 
  • Friday November 26: Yahoo Bar, Shepparton
  • Friday December 31: Pyramid Rock Festival, Philip Island

Thursday, October 28, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

The Madmen. Screamfeeder. Solo work. We All Want To. Brisbanite Tim Steward is one dedicated musician, hopping from music project to music project. His latest creative outlet We All Want To sees the singer-songwriter pairing up with four other talented musicians to create energetic indie pop that has been labeled as Tim's most ambitious work so far.

Paper-Deer had a chat to Tim Steward on names he's not allowed to use, their debut album and walking about with his arse hanging out (classy).
From what I've heard, the band spent months agonising over what to call the band, then ended up with something you randomly misheard in a restaurant. Care to share what the other possibilities that you rejected were?
Well, I'm not telling you the other main contender because I plan to use it for my next band, but the other big one down the line was Steve and Gloria - named after two characters in Douglas Coupland's The Gum Thief. Skye and I use that one sometimes when we do duo shows. I've always wanted to call an album Elephant Escalator Elevator, but I've never been allowed.

We All Want To’s debut self-titled album took over a year and a half to record. Was it a conscious decision to record it leisurely and mull over it, or was the lengthy time due to constraints and commitments?
 A bit of both really. I guess we weren't consciously working towards an album till about halfway through. In the end we learned a lot of lessons about which guys to take which types of songs to in future, and we also learned that anyone who knows how to set up a mic correctly, get a good performance out of the band and pay attention to detail during the mixing will get pretty similar results with us! I'm such a control freak I'm always looking over peoples' shoulders anyway; firing off a constant tirade of "brilliant inspired suggestions".

The five of you have very different musical backgrounds and tastes - indie rock, folk, drone and pop. Is it ever hard working with musicians used to playing a completely different style?
Again the control freak side of me says yes, but the mature adult who has learned to relinquish a bit of musical control says that no. It's been quite fun. I'm a real one-trick pony – I have one way of playing guitar, the "Sid Vicious" style of constant downstrokes, never missing a beat. When I'm in a room with someone more versatile it throws me a bit!

I hear that you already have a second album's worth of new material. Is it frustrating promoting your first album when you've already got loads of new stuff to get excited over?
Nah, it's completely standard. It's always been like that for me, and I'm sure it's the same for other bands. You just have to learn to be patient.

What does each member of We All Want To bring to the mix?
Well Josh came through like a champ the other night and brought all the fixings for hot toddies to practice. Dan was feeling a bit off, and Josh had the scotch, lemon and ginger going within minutes. Josh also brings the lead guitar, he has a bit of a "Melbourne" feel to his playing, quite reverb-y and very wiry. Dan brings in patience, level headedness and humility. Todd brings in arrangement skills that put us all to shame, some real musicianship, jeans with ripped crotches, vodka and stubble. Skye brings in her flute, her lyric-remembering skills, songs and neck tatts. I bring in management, songs, discipline, rules, work ethic, lunch.

What city does the band call "home"?
Oh, Brisbane, for sure. We all live in Brisbane except for Todd, who is in Melbourne. Home is 4064, 4065, 4059. Josh lives on the southside of Brisbane… we're gonna have to do something about that.

Are you excited about playing in Melbourne?
Yes! Our favourite things about Melbourne are the food, kebabs, kebabs with chips in them, local pubs and non-apathetic music audiences.

Any embarrassing secrets and funny tales that you can share with Paper-Deer?
I was walking up the beach one time, Bondi Beach, the middle of summer, it was jam packed. Kellie and Dean (Screamfeeder) were pissing themselves - my shorts had given way right up the back and my whole arse was hanging out. I had no idea. It almost acts as some kind of metaphor for our musical careers – blissfully unaware, having the time of our lives.

  • Saturday October 30: Birmingham Hotel
  • Sunday October 31: Pure Pop

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

INTERVIEW: The Madness Method

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How do you stand out in the over-saturated music world? Create your own genre. Melbourne band The Madness Method coined the term Spock for their musical leanings, and while its name suggests it may be related to a certain pointy-eared fellow, it's actually a fiesty blend of ska, pop and rock. There may be madness to this method, and it is definitely working.

Debut EP Better Without You now available from JB HiFi

Paper-Deer deciphered the wacky world behind The Madness Method's singer Mandy Joan Meadows.

Is there a method to the madness?
Sometimes I wonder!

How did you come up with the name?
I wanted to tell people that my project wasn’t a pointless and frivolous pursuit. Perhaps I was even trying to reassure myself. Either way I was saying that there is a method to my perceived madness!

How did The Madness Method come about?
My background is in classical and jazz singing, but ultimately I want my idea out there, no those of someone who kicked the bucket hundreds of years ago! So I moved from New Zealand to Melbourne with not much money, absolutely no friends but grandiose ideas. I asked everyone I knew and trawled the net for the eclectic bunch of musos that stand here today.

There’s a huge ska flavour to your tunes. The first band that comes to mind is early No Doubt. Any other acts that have influenced your music?
There’s definitely a tip of the hat to the UK ska scene of the early 80s, to the likes of The Specials and Madness.

Paper-Deer had a listen to your debut EP Better Without You, and the songs got stuck in our heads for hours. How do you write such catchy tunes?
The secret is simplicity. I don’t claim to write intellectual music. With respect, it’s music for punters, not journalists. So I don’t work it to death – I start with the hook, work in the idea of the lyric, and the rest is just arrangement.

Tell Paper-Deer all about Better Without You?
We call it SPOCK – Take ska, add a hint of pop and mix with a sprinkling of rock! We were lucky enough to work with Lindsey Gravina (Magic Dirt, The Living End, Thirsty Merc) on our first release.

If someone was trying to decide whether they should part with fifteen dollaroonies for a copy of your EP… what would you say or do to them to convince them otherwise?
If you’re sick of indie band after indie band lining up against a wall to look moody, why not try something refreshingly light-hearted and give TMM a spin. It’s fun and it’s playful. If you’re happy with moping and wailing, keep your money!

What is TMM TV all about?
We’ve put together some spectacularly low budget footage of a few of our recent adventures. TMM TV goes behind the scenes of our first photo shoot, video shoot and even touches on Jon’s preoccupation with worms. Yuck! You can find it on our MySpace site

So part of the band getting married… Did they meet through The Madness Method? Will the band be playing at the wedding?
They came as a package. I was after a sax and ended up with both The Hornies, as we call them. They’re getting married in December and, as yet, they haven’t asked us to play. I await the call ...

Any embarrassing secrets or funny stories about the band you can divulge?
Only Jon’s age – you’ll have to ask him about that! And while you’re at it, ask him about the time he got naked on stage with Cat Empire! Then there was the incident involving the pumpkin...

  • Thursday November 18: The Vineyard
  • Thursday November 25: The Toff in Town

Monday, October 25, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

In an age where Holga cameras are the de rigeur heavy weight hanging around hipsters necks, Polaroids are collectibles and every household seems to have a decent Nokia SLR in the cupboard, the word "cameras" makes you think of photography, tourists and taking happy snaps.

But if this Sydney band has its way, you may start associating Cameras with three fine musicians. Purveyors of dark, moody and decidedly addictive musical musings, this trio are setting our ears here at Paper-Deer on fire.

Paper-Deer listened to what singer and guitarist Fraser Harvey had to say about their musical experimentations.

Your Facebook page says “the band////not the machine”. Does having the same name as a very popular piece of technology get confusing? Not really for us, but I can understand someone seeing the word ‘cameras’ not immediately thinking of a band. We don’t exactly have the most Google friendly band name either.

Paper-Deer has been having trouble sleeping at night trying to figure out what genre you are… Cameras is very dark, very glittery and epic, melodic and epic alternative without the wankery. What would you guys classify yourselves as? There’s something quite boring about specific genres, so the words you’ve laid out there will suffice just fine. There’s always a dark element to our sound in some form, which I think is our common ground within the band. The rest of the sounds just happen around that central idea, and some songs will end up sounding quite bright and upbeat when we finish them.

So June was selected as an iTunes Single of the Week, and Defeatist was featured on an MTV show. What was it like having your music blasted out through millions of television screens in the US before you’ve even released an EP or landed a record deal? As a band, you want to get your music heard by new people, and it’s always flattering when someone takes an interest in your music so they were both good things for us. It was strange though being a band that not many people really know about, and your song is credited on a show next to Beyonce and Lady Gaga and people like that.

According to your MySpace, you’re not signed to a record label. Is this an active choice or has nothing appealing come up yet? We only ever do things if they excite or interest us, and that goes for everything we do, so it’s a case of both really. It was a conscious decision for us to put this EP out solely ourselves.

Judging from the almost addictive teaser track Polarise, your debut EP is going to be pretty phenomenal. Do you have any juice details you can give us?
We produced the EP ourselves, with Mike Morgan, a friend of ours, doing the engineering. Apparently Snoop Dogg had had sex on the couch of the studio control room we were working in while he was working there. I like to think some of that helped influence this EP.

What do you think about the great, almost comical, rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne? Do crowds here treat you differently because you’re from across the border?
There is a bit of a rivalry between the cities. I don’t think we’ve ever felt like we’re much part of the Sydney scene though, so it’s not something that really engages us. We did play in Melbourne about a week after we recorded the EP in May, with our friends Big Scary, really enjoyed the show, and appreciated everyone turning up a little bit earlier to see us. We are the kind of band though that people do tend to just watch. Occasionally we’ll get a wayward dancer, but our shows will often have a slight standoff feel to them anyway. I quite like the tension though.

Cameras EP now out through iTunes and other decent digital outlets

  • Friday November 29: East Brunswick Club

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

INDUSTRY INTERVIEW: Tiana Morrison of Shiny Entertainment

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The Evelyn may not look like much from the outside. Bare brick, a dash of colour paint here and there. A chalk board that always gets smeared with the constant drizzle that is Melbourne weather. And a smattering of silver chairs and that peculiar freestanding column (will someone please email in and let us know what it is before we die from curiosity).

But inside, The Evelyn is one of Melbourne's best live venues. With the obligatory crusty velour couches, exposed metal beams and a roster of fine bands performing every night of the week, one could argue that the Ev is the heart of Fitzroy's music scene.

Paper-Deer had a chat with the ever-witty, perpetually-about-to-pull-out-her-hair venue booker Tiana Morrison, who is the person you want to stalk* if you would like to rock out at the esteemed Evelyn Hotel.

Job: Band bookings for the Evelyn and the Curtin Bandroom. 
Employer: Shiny Entertainment

Typical day in the life of Tiana as the Evelyn/Curtin booker?
Stumble from my work to work in a bleary-eyed, tea-needing state. Read the millions of emails that I get sent overnight and try to tackle them chronologically. Sate over-energetic bands that feel the need to send me THE SAME email every day with some kind of reply. Drink 8 cups of tea. Listen to radio and turn off the station when Muse or John Butler Trio are played. Eat a super-late lunch, stumble back to work. Reply to more emails and make everyone happy. Sometimes this routine is interrupted by meetings with venue owners, random musicians or managers and trying to pat the timid dog that is the companion of the builder doing renovations to the office. Oh and jokes, lots of bad jokes.

How did you get the job?
I volunteered for over a year with another booker for another venue, made some really awesome friends and somehow managed to impress Shiny Stav.

When did you first decide that you wanted to actually work in the music industry?
I dropped out of year 12 (stay in school, kids!) and worked a lot of crap retail and cafe jobs. Then I met a musician who I really wanted to help because of his talent. So we moved to Melbourne and worked our arses off while starving on the dole. I remember a very cold winter in an old Northcote house listening to music and drinking a cask of red wine every night before things started coming together.

Raddest thing about working in the industry?
Lots of free tickets, but then, if I have a full-time job and I don’t support bands, I’m not really supporting the industry, am I? Also, wearing whatever you want is fun. Means that when I wake up and put on the nearest item of clothing that is probably dirty, I’m not going to get told off.

Any advice to anyone else wanting to be a booker?
Be prepared to work long hours and deal with pissed off bands when you don’t give them what they want. Develop a tough skin but make sure your people skills don’t suffer. And volunteer. Lots.

Most musicians work in retail or in bars to fund their passion. Is it weird that you get to work in the industry for you day job?
It’s so weird! Makes the years of watching old women try on bras and getting yelled at for not making a coffee within 30 seconds seem worthwhile.

What else do you do in the music industry (maybe plug your bands here if you’d like)?
I play in and manage The Orphanage. It’s hard work and I don’t get paid for that at all, but the buzz you get from playing live shows is amazing. Been recording an album which was meant to come out this year but that’s not happening till next year now.

What do you like and dislike about the Melbourne scene?
I like the diversity of the Melbourne scene. My hometown has nothing like it. The sheer amount of venues with good shows on every night means that you could never be bored. The history of the industry's development is so rich. I guess the only bad thing about a scene like this is that it also breeds complacent bands. But there are too many amazing and hardworking bands to really get flustered by them.

Any embarrassing tales about your job as a booker that you’d like to share with Paper-Deer?
I’m sure there are, but I’ve only been here for a few months and haven’t screwed up too badly. Lately my only jokes are True Blood related, and they’re not funny unless you’re there. I won’t bore you anymore.


* Please don't actually stalk Tiana. That would probably get you banned for life, as well as a nice little holiday in the penal system.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

INTERVIEW: Leone Western

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When the most excellent Clint Eastwood starred in a whole bunch of spaghetti westerns back in the days before Paper-Deer was even born, I don't think the famous actor and director would realise that his work with director Sergio Leone would inspire a band to steal inspiration for their name, and write some pretty darn good music too.

Melbourne duo Leone Western don't pen tunes that make you think of tumbleweed and showdowns, but you definitely don't need the town outlaw to shoot at your feet to make you dance. If you like emotive synth-based with grime and grunge embedded in its grooves, check these two fellows out.

Paper-Deer hunted down both Dwayne and James for a chat about the band, their newest EP and spaghetti westerns.

Maybe it’s just me, but the name “Leone Western” makes me think of a place in North America, or something related to spaghetti western films. What’s the meaning behind your band name?
Dwayne: [Laughs] That’s exactly where it came from! A friend suggested “Spaghetti Western” as a band name and I thought there was no way we could be taken seriously with a name like that, but it grew on me and I found my self thinking about it a few days later. So it’s a bit of a play on words as Western Leone was like a mini Hollywood in Spain where all the early Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns were filmed and were directed by Sergio Leone.

I feel smart. Now, there are only two of you. Does it make it harder to make decisions because you can’t have a majority-rules type of system, or easier because there’s less people involved?James: I only recently joined Leone Western but have taken as much of Dwayne’s influences on board as I can and have tried to get into the whole ‘Leone Western’ vibe – it’s getting more and more enjoyable as we go. But overall I think being a two-piece is not only a challenge for us to get a big sound going but to write music that we both enjoy playing, which is the whole point.

What do each of you bring to the band?
James: Leone Western is definitely height impaired, and I suppose you will find out why if you come and see us play! [Laughs] Besides that, Dwayne is the grungy guitar and the raw Interpol-like vocals of the band while I bring the cleaner melodies through the synth and vocals. A big element of Leone Western is that we’re a complete contrast to each other.

Leone Western’s EP Hearts’ Still Beating was released in September. How did the EP launch go?
Awesome! We played with some wicked bands – Cheerleader and 8 Bit Love –  who really set up the night well and made us lift our game to play our best gig ever.

Where can people grab a copy, and how much will it set them back?
We sell them at our gigs, just come up and say hi at a show. They’re $10 bucks, or you can checkout our online shop
Paper-Deer has seen bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Radiohead and Sonic Youth listed as your influences. All excellent bands, but all very different. What is it about these bands that inspires you?
Dwayne: If it’s got a click and a beep in it plus some distorted guitars, then I can’t get enough of it. I think what inspires me about those three bands is they’ve all been quite experimental or alternative but they’ve still managed to make their songs really fucking catchy, and that’s why we hear them on the radio. Their songs seem to evoke some kind of emotive reaction and that’s what good music should do.  

Any terribly embarrassing secrets or hilarious stories about Leone Western that you can tell Paper-Deer?
James: Well, my guitar has been having some problems, so I have recently been joined on stage with my friend’s pink guitar, which, um… looks great!

  • Thursday October 21: Yah Yah’s
  • Wednesday October 27: The Arthouse
  • Thursday October 28: The Victoria Hotel


Thursday, October 14, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

These boys may be called "Drunk Mums", but Paper-Deer is thinking that they should be called "Drunk Musicians" after hearing tales of their wild band-related adventures. Originally hailing from Cairns, the quirky poncho-wearing troubadours ended up in Melbourne where they have a tendency to infect punters with the head-shaking disease. (No, not rabies. The other one.)

Paper-Deer had a bit of a blast swapping words with the Drunk Mums boys about their grimey blues rock band, their alcoholic mothers and American soldiers.

Describe Drunk Mums in one word.

Googling “Drunk Mums” turns up some very interesting results. Which is your favourite website from the resulting search?
Most definitely the YouTube clip of the Dr. Phil’s episode about mums who drink. Heart stopping stuff. 

Drunk Mums is an interesting name. Are your mums drunk, or do you like other people’s mothers drunk?
All our mums were drunk during labour.

This is a very random question, but Paper-Deer are obsessed with ponchos and capes. Where did your singer pick up his poncho that he wore at your Tote gig?
Our Mexican friend’s vintage shop “Bam bams” in Williamstown.

May have to stalk your Mexican friend. Unless your MySpace biography is lying, the band started out in Cairns and ended up in Melbourne. How many cities and gigs were between these two cities, and how long did it take?
We are all from Cairns and accidently ended up in Melbourne after our American self-funded unorganised tour was cut short due to our van being stolen by hombres in Miami. So with fuck nothing to our names we decided Melbourne was the next city to live.

What does each member of Drunk Mums bring to the mix?
Joel the drummer brings hung-over stock market advice, Tim brings a debt to the band rider, Dean brings all the boys to the yard and Jake brings a stiffy.

Worst thing to ever happen to Drunk Mums onstage?
On our way over to The States, we made a brief stop in Guam to play a show. Before the gig an American soldier spilt Dean’s scotch and coke. Feeling bad about it, the soldier replaced Dean’s drink and challenged Dean to a good old testosterone fuelled drink scull. Before realising he had skulled a full pot of straight scotch, Dean was passed out on stage by the second song.

  • Saturday October 23: Public Bar
  • Friday November 12: Espy Front Bar
  • Thursday November 18: Pony

Friday, October 8, 2010

INTERVIEW: The Melodics

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Sometimes bands meld together genres, and it sounds like the sonic equivalent of some dodgy guy welding together two cars in his backyard. Terrible.

One Melbourne band that has been doing it right are The Melodics. Known for their undeniably satisfying mash of electro, rock, new wave and hip hop, these cool kids sold out the Hi Fi last year for the launch of their debut album 4D. One year later, they're back at it again with the upcoming release of Paint It Gold.

Paper-Deer chats to the synth-hoppers about fusing sounds, crazy performances and wearing women's underwear.

The Melodics seem to draw influence from so many different genres – hip hop, new wave, electro rock, synth pop. Does each member listen to very different music?
Driving around in the tour van is often testament to the diversity of taste. The speakers will be blasting Iggy Pop, Shostakovich and Black Star, all in the one trip. It's always been in our nature to play a shit load of different styles, the biggest challenge has been trying to narrow it down. I think our love of the eighties synth-pop and post-punk era has helped us bring it in. Human League, Devo, Talking Heads, Siouxsie & The Banshees and all that good stuff has inspired us a lot. 

What was it like selling out The Hi-Fi Bar for your Melbourne launch of 4D?
It was wild! It was great to witness that many crew gave a shit and wanted to come see us do our thing. I guess it felt particularly good because we were entirely self-managed at the time and we weren't sure whether we should book out such a huge room… so to pack it out felt bananas. 

Paper-Deer has heard Jeremedy describe 4D as a “best of”. How would you describe your upcoming release Paint Me Gold?
If 4D was a “best of” I'd call Paint Me Gold a psychedelic sampler. If 4D was a lengthily journey I'd call Paint Me Gold a short trip out. If 4D was a complex painting I'd call Paint Me Gold a well refined design. If 4D was an eclectic debut from a cross-genre band I'd call Paint Me Gold a kick in the pants from an electric ninja.   

The 4D launch featured some crazy shit. How are you planning on topping your horn section, guest rappers, extra drummer and 3D visuals for the Paint Me Gold launch?
It's much like the difference in the 2 CDs… last time was about emphasising the diversity, whereas this time around it's all about refining and delivering a coherent set of bangers. Of course there’s still a flippin’ huge amount of variance and a bunch of guest artists and visuals but it will be ten times fatter and ten times more direct.  

There are some seriously excellent producers on 4D, like Jan Skubiszewksi, Russel Fawcus and Forrester Savell. Did each of them have a different approach to your music?
Jan is the hip as fuck modern dude with a vision, Russell is the master of texture and sounds, Forrester is the super chill visionary with massive sonic balls. The Melodics are just lab rats with synths and drums and a little book of lyrics. 

Any embarrassing secrets or funny stories about The Melodics that you can share with Paper-Deer?
Yeah. Our bass player Jamie Barlow likes to wear women's underwear on stage. He says it makes him feel more comfortable - don't tell him I told you.

  • Saturday October 23: The Corner Hotel [Paint Me Gold Launch]
  • Thursday December 9: The Bended Elbow, Geelong

Sunday, October 3, 2010

INTERVIEW: Premodernists

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Premoderists. The Premodernists. Premodernist.

There's lots of ways that venues and writers seem to misspell Premodernists, but there's one thing you can't forget - their sound. A blend of just the right amounts of garage, indie, post punk and alternative to please even the biggest hipster in town, Premodernists have been impressing audiences all around Melbourne with their music and their tendency to yell things at awkward times on stage. It seems to be working, and their EP Dance A Little has gone from being a home-made, handwritten production to being in shiny little crystal cases in record shops all around Melbourne (including Polyester as well, which will keep these little hipster kids happy).

Oh, so that's what happens to TVs when you throw them out...
Paper-Deer had a chitty chat to bass extraordinaire and overworked band manager Brad Elphinstone on why he's celebrating his tenth birthday thirteen years too late, and why you should buy their EP.

Describe the band in one word.

What’s with the television fetish in your latest photo shoot? Is there any significance or meaning behind it?
It’s actually based off our EP’s cover art. Ashley Ng who designed it asked me for some ideas, and I sent through some images, including that of the TV on the cover. She sort of took a pop art approach and repeated the TV over and over, which we really liked. To me it sort of represents the homogeneity and repetition of commercial media, which as someone who’s certainly been influenced by Marxist theory, is something I’ve incorporated lyrically into some of our songs, like Flicker Little Lights and Modern Man. We decided to keep the TV motif going, and fortunately, at the time hard rubbish collection was going on in my area. Since everyone’s upgraded to plasmas and LCDs, there were heaps of discarded TVs sitting on the side of the road which we nicked and used for the shoot.  

Premodernists’ sound seems to be an amalgamation of alternative, garage, indie and post-punk. What musical artists are the most influential on your sound?
It’s hard to say really, since we’ve all got our own personal influences. There are bands that we all listen to, like Interpol, Radiohead, QOTSA and Nirvana, but there are also bands that we each listen to that no one else does (like how I’m a big Primus fan). It’s actually been really interesting hearing what other people think of us. We played live on PBS a while back and the sound engineer said we reminded him of Gang of Four, who were a band I’d just started listening to at that point. In reviews we’ve also been likened to bands like Sonic Youth, Snowman, the Velvet Underground and even the B-52’s in varying degrees.

Each person is left to their own devices and given enough room sonically to do their bit, and I guess that’s why our sound covers a bit of ground. We just play what sounds good to us rather than trying to emulate any particular sound or genre.

What does each member bring to the mix?
Tyse bring map reading skills. Aswin’s got the technical nous and experience required to record stuff without paying anyone. I book the gigs and organize pretty much everything, and Nick’s responsible for terrible Dad jokes.

Dance A Little is now in stores. If you could go up to everyone who’s ever picked up your EP in JB Hi Fi, what would you say to convince them into giving up $10 of their hard earned cash (or however much it is)?
First of all, I’d tell that they can pick it up for the low, low price of $6.99, and that there’s an unlimited list of amazing things they could buy with that remaining three bucks. Second, I’d probably say that supporting local music is totally ace, and that Beat Magazine seemed to like it, so it can’t possibly be too bad. And even if it is, it’s only $7 for a stylish drink coaster.

The EP was first distributed earlier this year as a home-made EP, and so Premods are doing a second EP launch to celebrate its distribution throughout retail outlets in Australia. Is having two EP launches akin to having two birthday parties for your tenth birthday?
I didn’t actually have a big celebration for my tenth birthday because my family was moving to Victoria at the time, so this EP launch will be a substitute for my tenth birthday. It’s a pretty good deal I reckon, I doubt that my parents would’ve allowed me to get drunk back then.

Premods seem to play lots of gigs all around Melbourne. Favourite venue in town?
I’m immediately going to rule out Ding Dong and Revolver because of those damn stairs. We’ve played at The Tote a few times though, and I’ve always enjoyed it there. It’s obviously got heaps of history and it’s always been fun playing there since the stage is a really good size and the sound (especially since it’s been upgraded) is great. Plus, last time we played there one of the other bands put on a massive barbeque which included some amazing potato salad. I’m not sure if liking a venue by association of potato salad is typical of most people, but it’ll do.

Was Hey Sylvana written for a particular girl?
See, I’d really like to say that it was. But it’s not. The real answer is actually super lame. When we write songs, the music always comes first and the vocals/lyrics second. As the music was coming together we thought it sounded a bit like Silverchair meets Nirvana. You can probably figure out that happened next. It was soon realised that the ensuing portmanteau was actually a girl’s name, and so the lyrical direction of the song was set.

Most embarrassing secret or funniest story about the band?
Isn’t the origin of Hey Sylvana embarrassing enough? Our EP was recorded in the radio lab of a local university after I convinced security to give me the door codes (apparently all you need to do is say you’re a PhD student). There were a few fun nights there, sneaking a drum kit up onto the third floor of the respective building and recording until the wee hours. 

  • Saturday October 23: Pony [EP re-launch with 8 Bit Love, The Whole Molko and Villains Lair]
  • Friday November 12: The Espy

Saturday, October 2, 2010


We have moved! Our blog is now at

People seem to either love or hate Aussie hip hop. But here's a thought - why can't we just have hip hop that is from Australia? Melburnian wordsmith Ryan Egan is changing that perception with his fresh raps and unpretentiousness.

Paper-Deer swapped stories with Ryan Egan on his mix tapes and life as a hip hop artist.

Paper-Deer hears that you got your start as a hip hop artist from rapping at parties as “Fly Ry”. When did you start getting interested in urban music, and was there any secret rapping in front of your bedroom mirror involved?
Honestly I was listening to my parents’ music until I was thirteen, fourteen. That was mainly sixties and seventies rock, blues, soul, pop and all the etceteras. Then when I was fourteen a friend played me some Wu-Tang and Dr. Dre and my entire perception of music was completely flipped. From that point on, hip hop slowly took over and I just became obsessed with it, not just the rapping but the production behind the music, the stories, and everything else associated like clothing and sneakers. There was a heap of secret rapping going on in my bedroom, mostly muted when other people were home [laughs] and then nice and loud in the garage where I knew no one could hear. True story – I came home on a Saturday afternoon when I was 15 and my parents asked me what I was doing all day. My reply was, “I went to the city and I won an emcee battle.” They had no idea about me and rap before then. I guess that’s just suburban life…

Why did you decide to use your birth name instead of the typical stage name business?
At the end of the day, I just feel weird telling someone I have a stage name. I don’t know why – just feels a bit awkward to me, so I started using my own name. I was comfortable with it from the start, and the fact that it had some people looking at it like “what the fuck” made me want to use it even more.

Your blog is called Cassette Walkman. Are you a big fan of Walkmans and retro cassette tapes?
[laughs] I’m a fan of both actually. I just see a Cassette as a metaphor for an era when you could make a mix tape for a friend. You were sharing art and spreading the word about something you liked. A blog really is no different in my eyes. You can give someone a link to Cassette Walkmans and all my music, influences, favourite images and videos are all there, like a modern day cassette I guess?

You’ve been to the US, and Paper-Deer has heard you describe how the New York scene is massive and open-minded. Do you think that the Melbourne or Australian hip hop scene is harder to get anything going?
I do, but only because our population and demand is smaller. NYC has more bars, clubs, nightlife and just general people to fill certain places on a nightly basis – so opportunity is way more evident and you feel it when you are there.  Hip hop that’s being made in Australia is still really young. Sure, it’s come a long way since the late nineties (yes, it existed then) but it’s still relatively young. So even though there’s more radio play and exposure, there still a lot of people that are unaware of it and still adapting to its style and sound. So I guess in that sense too, opportunities are still a bit more limited than if you were a rock band looking for gigs.

But in terms of opportunity there is in NYC – it was on another level! People were out there everyday trying to make something happen as opposed to waiting for it. Dudes are selling their mix tapes on the sidewalk, promoting themselves 24/7, trying to get you to listen. I was walking down the street one day and saw Bobby Hundreds (who runs LA Lifestyle Brand, The Hundreds) and handed him a copy of The Intern – the next day I’m being blogged on a site that has over a million views a day. After that I literally walk around a corner and A-Trak casually strolls by me. You’re eating lunch and Natalie Portman is at the table beside you.  It’s seriously like that, everyone’s either in pursuit of the dream or living it.

Melbourne has a massive music scene, but a lot of it revolves around indie, electro-rock and experimental pop music. Is it hard getting a gig in this town?
I’d be lying if I said it was easy, and that’s not in a bitter type of tone, it’s just that you want to align yourself with the right artists and be seen by certain crowds, especially when the music you are doing is a bit eclectic and left-field. There’s no point me opening for a headlining act that gets up on stage and starts cussing the crowd. So I’ve had to decline certain gigs just because I know it’s more productive to record more material or chase a different slot that might be available. I will say this though - a lot of promoters get stuck into the routine of booking the same acts for every show and don’t bother listening to the demos that have been sent to them, or even reading the artist bios. I just wish the live music scene in Melbourne for hip hop was a bit more competitive, or competitive enough to keep the artists sharper.

You’ve also said in an interview that you believe that artists shouldn’t worry about genres and stereotypes. Are there any closet musicians that you love that would surprise people, given your hip hop leanings?
[laughs] There are plenty! I’m known to listen to some Howlin’ Wolf on Saturday nights and Buddy Holly on Sunday mornings. I can talk The Beatles catalogue with the best of them, Bob Dylan too. Bruce Springsteen is an endless supply of motivation, and there are weeks where I just listen to The Doors non-stop. And The Velvet Underground? Don’t even start me. I know I’m really late on this, but The XX’s album blew me away. Incredible stuff.

Tell us about all about your mix tapes. (E.g. how often you release them. Where you record them? Who works on them with you?)
In April this year I released The Intern, which was pretty much an LP but I made it a free download because there was way too many sample clearances to do if I wanted to retail it. The Intern was basically a bit of everything, rapping with melodies, hooks, I kind of just used Hip-Hop as a starting point and branch out from there to wherever. Then in June I put out the first instalment of Tapes, Decks & Paycheques when I was in NYC. I did it just as a way of saying “thanks” to my fan base but it was much better received than expected. Then in September I released Tapes, Decks & Paycheques 2. I had that much material done by that point that it was only fair to put some of it out there, so far the response has been great. Tapes, Decks & Paycheques was a lot more based on Hip-Hop and its core values and me just re-assuring everyone that I can still rhyme words.

 Download Ryan's Tapes, Desks and Paycheques 2 here.