SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Midnight Drags

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with Melbourne power pop act Midnight Drags.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

My earliest memories of falling in love with music are when I was around 6 or 7 years of age discovering my parents vinyl collection.. they were big pop music fans and I used to spend hours & hours listening to stuff like Men At Work, The Beatles, ABBA, Billy Joel, The Fureys, Willy Nelson, Carole King & Meatloaf standing on my tip toes turning albums over (the record player was quite high!). I was particularly obsessed with one 45 single: Little Red Riding Hood by Sam The Sham & The Pharaoes, me and my big sis and cousins would play it over and over running circles around the couch.. I think we were equal parts exhilarated and scared shitless of the howling he does throughout the song.. 

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

I’m motivated to keep growing and pushing as a writer when I hear other great music.. It’s always inspiring to hear what other talented musicians are creating. I’m constantly influenced by new and exciting music.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Well the cool thing is that I’ve already accomplished some of my biggest goals ie: setting up my own studio and getting to work with other crazy talented people.. Releasing my own music that i’m super proud of (insert plug: Long Way Back Down by Lucas James & the upcoming Bad Business by Midnight Drags). So looking to the future I just want to be able to continue to do what I’m doing..

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

No touring plans (yet).. I think I’m just going to focus on getting more of the Midnight Drags stuff out in the coming months and keep writing new music.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

It’s essentially a love song.. A song about grief, pain and what happens to someone when the person they love gets taken away from them. It was recorded at my studio (Hot Bias Recording Studio) late last year with the greatest band on earth, consisting of : Ash Naylor on guitar (and co-production duties), Bill McDonald on bass & Brett ‘Wolfie’ Wolfenden on drums. Musically, I would describe the single “Ronnie’ as gritty power-pop with the rest of the album as floating between straight rock, hard rock, pop-rock, with a touch of glam rock in there too! It’s pretty rock 🙂

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Often it’s just noodling around on the guitar or jamming over drum loops that gets the juices flowing. Once a musical idea hits, I work pretty fast.. I’ll usually hash out a chord progression and a melody in the first 5 or 10 minutes. Then I start looking for inspiration for the lyrics to fit my melodic ideas. Sometimes I’ll look in my notebook where I have a handful of lyrical ideas I can work off and other times I’ll come up with a story idea on the spot. I don’t know what gets me writing as I never force it. It’s the unreliable muse.. I’ll go months and months without writing, then I’ll have crazy, prolific periods where I’ll write everyday for a few weeks. 

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

I think in every song I write there is a little bit of my story intertwined throughout. Sometimes I keep things intentionally vague. For example I wrote a song called ‘Freddie Steals A Twenty’.. So, now my mum can’t find out that it was me who stole her $20 when I was 14.

Success, what is the secret to it?

Don’t ask me!! 🙂  (But I’ll give it a crack).. I think success is doing what you love and being happy. I don’t equate success to dollars or followers or hits, those are all nice but to me a person is truly successful when they are happy and at peace with what they do.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Probably opening my own recording studio (Hot Bias Recording Studio). I’ve always had little home set-ups but the day I finally moved into my own proper space was a ‘pinch myself’ moment. 

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Producers like Shawn Everett and Paul Epworth are but a couple of people who inspire me, Kevin Parker is amazing and I’m a big Josh Homme fan too.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

As a matter of fact yes, I’m currently working with (actor) Stephen Curry on a comedy/music album! It’s going to be a bunch of silly yet very musical songs and skits that we hope to put out next year. People don’t realise that aside from being a funny bugger, Stephen is actually a very talented musician.. We played in a band together many (many) years ago.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

Hopefully doing the same things.. Writing music, working with other artists and bands and I would love to be writing/co-writing music with more varied artists.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Off the top of my head: The Teskey Brothers, Skyhooks, You Am I, Even, Frente, AC-DC, Paddy Come Home, The Bamboos, Peking Duk, The Chats, The Drones, The Living End, Nai Palm, Speed Mullet .. I could go on.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

I love the way that social media and new platforms have given new artists a way to get heard.. I’m one of them! If you’re an artist from a small town with no live music scene it’s really cool to know that you can still be heard and seen on social media. The industry has changed so much and it really is possible to have a career as an artist without being signed to a label at all. Although, you do need to be tenacious with good nouse (and hopefully hella talent) but it can be done for sure.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

Good question.. But to be honest it’s not something I think about! (terrible answer I know)

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

On the songwriting front, I would love to write with Jason Isbell, Kevin Parker, Mark Ronson.. In a playing/jamming capacity I want to play clean tight guitar with Corey Wong and funk it up.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Keep being yourself, don’t give up and work hard!

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

If you’re a fan of mine then well done.. You’ve got bloody good taste and I love you mum!

Any last words?

Thank you!

Facebook: facebook.com/midnightdrags

Twitter: @MidnightDrags

Instagram: @midnightdrags

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Trevor Blake

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with US singer/songwriter Trevor Blake.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I’ve been involved with music since I was 15 playing in bands. I just loved the idea of being able to create something from nothing and put it out into the world, it’s an amazing process that I wanted to be a part of.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Seeing all the bands I grew up listening to do great things is a big push for me to try and accomplish those same feats. I want to make this world a better place than I left it and I think music is a great way to do that, changing peoples thoughts can change the way we live.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

I want to tour and visit some of the greatest cities in the world, and obviously I want my music to reach as many people as possible so a Gold record would be a nice touch.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I’ve got a music video for my single “Down” that I absolutely loved filming and I can’t wait to unveil that. I have my fingers crossed that we have a vaccine before the release of my album in 2021 so I can start playing shows again, but until then I’d love to do some virtual shows.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

My upcoming single “Down” is coming out on December 1st 2020. It’s a song about breaking out of the projected characters we play in other peoples lives and just enjoying life to the fullest and being whoever we want to be. I’d say my music is Pyschadelic Pop, not in the sense that it sounds psychedelic but more in terms of lyrical content, I love slipping in little things that most people would overlook.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

Typically it’s 3am and I hop on my piano and play around on my piano until something really clicks with me. Almost everytime I turn it on I write a song. I think whenever I learn a big life lesson I want to share it with the world and my creative juices get flowing and I just let whatever posses me to take over.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

Oh absolutely. Almost all of my music throws in subtle hints to my own psychedelic expericences, I know a lot of people shy away from being that blunt about it, but it’s an experience that needs to be talked about because it can bring so much value to people. 

Success, what is the secret to it?

Hard work, taking chances, creativity, learning, and dedication. There’s really no secret, it’s obvious that if you put in the work and have the know how you will succeed.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Making the music video for “Down” it was really the first time I had an idea for a video that came out exactly how I pictured it in my head and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Paul McCartney. I admire how positive he keeps his music and it’s amazing to see a man thrive the way he has even into his old age. Billie Eilish too, we can all see how hard it is to handle fame and her story is no different, struggling with depression myself I admire how she keeps herself afloat amidst all the negativity.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

My album is releasing in 2021 and beyond that I have plans to really experiment on the next record.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

It’s so hard to say, hopefully adapting. Obviously I want to say I’ll be touring and seeing great success but the future will tell itself. All I can do is put in the work and hope it all pays off.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

My favorite is performing and creating. The time between that where I’m prepping my release can be very discouraging not knowing how my music will be recieved, but I still find some joy in it where I can.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

In Hearts Wake is a great band, I actually had the oppurtunity to play with them while they were in America. Great guys, and have an absolutely amazing live show. Tame Impala is very good and even name dropped me in a song (although I’m about 95% sure it was a different Trevor).

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

The industry can be amazing when working with geniune people, but for some money talks and I guess we just have to take that as it is. Social Media has become an absolute staple and I think now more than ever we artists and media outlets need a better platform where we can be heard, I hope that some day we get that platform. For the time being all we can do is follow the rules in place now and learn and adapt.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

I make music true to me and I think that’s well recieved everywhere. Thankfully worldwide releases are now very easy and I love working with press outside of America, I’ll continue to do that as I progress into my career.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

So far I haven’t but would love to. Speaking realistically I’m a big fan of this new artist out of New York, Morgan Saint. Geena Fontanella is another, I follow both of them on Instagram and I think it would be awesome to work with either of them.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Be prepared to put the work in and be authentic to yourself. As much as this can be a job you need to enjoy yourself when you create your content, people can tell the difference.

Thank you so much for your continued support. I usually talk to most fans on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok but if you message me or even tweet at me I’ll see it, and I love to hear from you guys.

Any last words?

Watch Joe Pera Talks with You it’s an amazing show. Also, my single comes out December 1st and you can Preorder and Pre-save it on my website.

Website: www.trevorblake.co

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrevorBlakeOfficial/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Trevorashimself

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trevorblakemusic/

Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@trevorblakemusic

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Opal Ocean

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Opal Ocean.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

Alex:  My dad played guitar around the house and he always had friends coming over for late night  jams. I always knew I wanted to play guitar but it’s when I saw a DVD of the G3 with Joe  Satriani, Steve Vai and Malmsteen that I decided to take it seriously.  

Nadav: I have a very similar back story except it was my mum playing guitar and my brother’s musical taste which put me onto learning guitar at the age of 13 with bands like Metallica being at the helm of my musical journey. From that point on it’s been a journey of sound and exploring new ideas.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? 

Alex: I see music as a gift and I was very lucky to receive it at a young age. As a musician the goal is  to pass it on to others and inspire people to pick up an instrument. In that process I’m trying to keep it interesting for myself with songs that I enjoy to play.  

Nadav: Exploring new territory is always a goal when it comes to music. There’s so many bands I love but I never have “enough” when I listen to their music. This makes me want to create music to fill that satisfaction. 

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish? 

Alex: They are many, but if 2020 has taught me anything is to be happy with what you have now,  you never know how the future is going to play out. A lot of my childhood dreams of playing  music live and inspiring others to play have already been accomplished. Now I can only hope  to continue that trend and keep evolving in my professional and personal life.  

Nadav: I think just being able to break the notion that you need a singer to top the charts. Instrumental music is notoriously hard to make a big statement as there’s no human voice to give a message and it would be very cool to see if that would ever happen But as Alex mentioned we’re both very happy and grateful to have what we have now.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? 

Alex: Our local council has opened up the possibility to busk in some areas. We are very excited to get out into the world again as we’ve been in lockdown since late March, apart for the month  of June. Melbourne has been severelyhit by the virus and we had to cancel all plans for touring  until the country opens up again. We are working on shows for 2021 but at this point it is all  uncertain.  

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music? 

Alex:The Hadal Zone is the title track of our new album and it represents our love for the  progressive genre. It was meant as a tribute to Tool with a 7/4 groove throughout the song. For us this is definitely on the slower side as we usually write songs much faster than this but we  fell in love with the tumbling feel of this rhythm and decided to push things and see where it  would take us. Overall this is a very special song for us and it is a new milestone in our  development.  

Nadav: Our music overall is definitely an eclectic mix of genres all mashed onto two acoustic guitars. When we play these songs we really imagine us with a full band playing Heavy Metal Or Prog Rock but the acoustic nylon guitars give the music much more of an interesting texture and ultimate softer output!

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? 

Alex: I suppose it all comes from a sort of vision Nadav and I have. When we tour and play a lot  together, we stumble on moments of music that make us raise our eyebrows, so we take notes.  Over time we compile those ideas and when we feel like we have enough we’ll find the time to  sit down and put those songs together. We are on the hunt to keep ourselves stimulated  musically, so anything that feels new and exciting is given the green light to be pushed  forward. 

Nadav: Atmosphere. Watching live music and other great artists is very inspiring for creative juices! With our particular playing style we can take a lot of influences on board so hearing something new and fresh makes us eager to try adapt and translate that into our own style. 

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

“You don’t need to be a full band to sound like one”. That  would be the main message we’re  trying to move across. 

Success, what is the secret to it? 

Alex: We still haven’t figured that one out! But from the little success we’ve had I’d say a strong  vision and lots of perseverance is key if you want to do anything in this industry.  

Nadav: Determination, discipline and direction. Know what your goals are (direction), use your passion to motivate yourself to get where you need to be (determination) and make sure if you lose focus or get distracted you have the discipline to get back on track. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far? 

Alex: I would normally say, playing Montreux Jazz festival, the millions of views on our original  songs, and that time we got into Quincy Jones’s birthday party at Montreux or even having  Jordan Rudess on our album. But what I really hold close to my heart is the amazing people  that helped up over the years. I had no idea strangers could be so generous, welcoming and  straight up legends. From the fans that take the time to learn our songs so we could have a  jam, or the fan that opens up his home to us for a few nights on tour to the fan that backs us in  our crazy crowdfunding campaigns. Those people are why we give it 100% and we’ll continue  to give it 100%. 

Nadav: I think The Hadal Zone album. It’s not out yet but it feels like we finally found our voice in the music industry and that we are doing something unique and fresh. We’re not exactly sure how everyone will take the album but we’re happy with how the album came out overall.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? 

Alex: Anyone that has some degree of success in the industry has something to teach you. As  musicians we respect all the virtuosos of this world, because we understand the amount of  work and dedication those skills represent. And the same goes with artists that think out of the  box, we’ll check him out and go through his repertoire and work out if we can apply any of it in  our world. 

Nadav: It’s always inspiring to see self made musicians and the ones which worked to get where they are. Playing and busking on the street has given us a better understanding of what it takes to get from the ground going as an independent artist. When we see others gaining success it is truly inspiring.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline? 

Well the new album is coming out on the 16 of October so we’ll definitely be busy till then.  We’ve got a masterclass series we’re putting together. Hopefully that will come out at the end  of the year. We definitely want to film some more music videos for some of the tracks off the  album. Then if all goes to plan, we’ll be getting ready for touring Europe in June. We might even record some more tracks if we find the time and money… 

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

Alex: I know the industry has taken a massive hit with covid-19, in all honestly, I would be happy  being where we were before the pandemic. Touring and recording music is the best. 

Nadav: Yeah I’m the same, if we can get to where we were with being able to survive touring the world off our music that would be amazing right now.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? 

Alex: My favourite part is performing and connecting with people, and my least favourite part is the  insecurity of revenue that we unfortunately have to deal with since day one. 

Nadav: Creating and expressing something that means something not just to ourselves but to other people as well. Financial security. Not being able to create new music to the standard we want because we have bills to pay  or not even knowing if we can pay those bills ha!

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Malcura, Tommy Emmanuel, Karnivool; Pilini; Xavier Rudd; John Butler Trio; AC/DC 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use  of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you  in getting your records out into the public eye? 

Nadav: Social media has been the number 1 driving force of getting us out there. It’s a tricky one as these days it feels so over saturated and forced to get people to listen to your music but at the same time if you don’t push it out there you won’t ever get people coming back to check you out. Overall though our experience has been positive but hard work!

Alex: It’s great! We wouldn’t be where we are today without social media. It’s very cheap to run and  we have a lot of control over it. It’s a lot of trial and errors and you have to be diligent about it  but that’s nothing new, especially for musicians.  

How will you continue appealing to the international market? 

The truth is that we mostly appeal to the international market, we’ve never toured Australia  because it’s such a hard country to tour and how little fans we have here compared to Europe  or the USA. 

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? 

Alex: Well, with the new album, you can tick off Jordan Rudess of the list! We’ve played with Beardy Man, Malcura, The Trouble Notes and Tribubu. Personally, I would love to collaborate with  Infected Mushrooms or Shpongle, I feel like the Psy-Trance scene would connect well with our  music. Trio Joubran is one of my favourite acoustic bands, I would totally love playing with  them, same goes with Rodrigo y Gabrieal they basically inspired our band form the get go.  

Nadav: There’s definitely some interesting ways we could collaborate with people but the main one would have to be a film composer like Hans Zimmer or David Elfmam. I feel our music could already be synced to a film or TV show because of it’s instrumental vibes. It would be such an amazing experience to work with someone like that on a project.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

 Be different! There are so many musicians today that being “the best guitar player” no longer cuts it. Find what makes you truly unique and build it up.  

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and  fans?

Nadav: Just be yourself! I have always been that guy who waits hours to talk to the band after the show or take pictures so I know what it’s  like from the fan perspective. Because of that we always try to make time in person or online to respond to your messages or want to have a chat!

Alex: I miss meeting them after a show, we’d always spend a lot of time after a show or before to  hang out with everyone and share their stories. Thankfully we have social media that enables  us to keep in touch but it really doesn’t compare to face to face rambling. I Hope everyone is  keeping safe and I’m looking forward to being on the road again.  

Any last words? 

Nadav: Don’t be afraid to express yourself! We’re all just trying to connect with one another and music is our universal language!

Alex: Thank you for this opportunity, I always enjoy talking about my journey as an artist. I hope you  and your viewers are safe and if you ever feel bored just put on some Opal Ocean to ease your  mind for a while, Enjoy!  

Website: www.opalocean.com.au 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OpalOcean 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/OpalOceanBand

Instagram: www.instagram.com/OpalOceanBand 

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Jake Bosci

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM special interview with Jake Bosci.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry? Music began for me around 12 years old. My dad taught me to play an acoustic guitar and I suddenly found myself hiding away in my room all the time trying to make music. It wasn’t until I was a little older in high school though that I really started to give it a try. I formed an indie rock band called Ellington with my friends and things just went from there. We started touring, recording etc.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

There is a lot of great artists out there and they certainly inspire me and motivate me too. I have never really tried to sound like anybody in particular but when you here a great song it really inspires me to sit down and try to create something. In general, day to day I am inspired by things going on in my life whether they ate good or bad or things going on in other people’s lives that really inspire me with subject matter. 

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Honestly, I just want to connect with more listeners. I want people to feel like they can relate to some of my music. It’s always hard as an indie artist to find yourself on things like Spotify playlists etc and so my biggest goal right now is to try and see some growth in my audience over the next few months.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? Touring is a little tough right now due to COVID but I am focusing on getting an EP out early next year and will be releasing a few mor singles between now and then online.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

I wrote my new single “I Miss You” whilst in government quarantine. It’s a little random but I was returning home and was made to do the quarantine period. I was away for a while and just missing everybody and everything about home. I luckily had a little set up to record music on and recorded the track, sent it to my friend Lane Johnson and it came out like this. I think a lot of people are missing a lot of things right now and simply put, that’s all the song is about.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs? Like I said before a lot inspires me but usually, I just sit down in my studio with a chord progression, lyric idea or a feeling I want to write about. Some days it comes very easily and others it doesn’t. I have been through times where I get bunkered down comparing myself to others with more views, likes, Spotify playlisting or whatever  and I think I’ve finally let go and see music as a lot more subjective and just because it might not reach a lot of people, does not mean it is not successful. In my eyes anyway.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? I don’t think there is anything hidden to be honest. I think my songs are pretty right to the point and easy for people to understand what they’re about. I like it like that.

Success, what is the secret to it?

I will have to tell you when/if I get a taste of it. 

What has been your biggest career highlight so far? I think the places I have been with music, the people I have met. Touring around Australia as a young kid to sold out venues was something I will never forget and a lot of the time it is the idea of that which keeps me going now.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? I’ve always been inspired by bands like Dashboard Confessional. Lyrically. Right now I am listening to a lot of Nightly, MUNA, Dutchkid, Gordi, Chelsea Cutler, Handsome Ghost. 

Are there any new projects in the pipeline? I am starting to produce some stuff at home for others and excited to announce the first artist on that front soon but for me, just writing and trying to hone in on great songs for an EP.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years? That’s a hard question. My motivations may change, I may not release more music by then, who knows. I hope by then to have just left songs out there in the world that I can be genuinely proud of.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why? My least favourite is the TON of rejection you can receive from industry people. That really kicks gets me down some times but I just remind myself music is subjective and keep rolling with the punches. It can feel like an uphill battle if you don’t have a good team around you some times.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists. Gordi, Tyne-James Organ, Fergus James. 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? When I first started releasing music, I am talking Myspace days. It was amazing for me and our band back then as a platform. We could communicate with people so easily and release so easily. We built a fan base from nothing in a short amount of time. The biggest change I have seen as I get older is how much you need to rely on connections these days. Industry connections. If someone doesn’t like your song, it won’t get reviewed, If someone doesn’t like your song it wont get radio play, if you don’t already have momentum it won’t be put on editorial playlists. For me I feel like it’s become harder if you’re not connected.

How will you continue appealing to the international market? I will just keep releasing my songs and if they hit home then great. I don’t think for me I am trying to appeal to anyone in particular. I am just a guy writing songs. 

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list? I would love to work with more songwriters on creating music for others. I would love to work with an endless list of Australian singer songwriters and hopefully one day I can. 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps? Just enjoy your music, be proud of it, spend time creating something you will always be excited to tell people is yours. Also, don’t be discouraged. It’s now normal to be rejected in the music industry unfortunately but don’t let that stop you!

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans? Thank you for listening, it means the world to me. Shoot me a message, comment or whatever on Instagram and I will always reply on there x

Website: www.jakebosci.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jakeboscimusic

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jakebosci

Instagram: @jakebosci

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: VOIX

THEAUSSIEWORD.COM catches up with the boys from VOIX for a special interview.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

Andi – I was always around a wide variety of music from a very young age. My parents and 4 older siblings introduced me to everything from classical (Vivaldi, Beethoven, etc) to 90’s Grunge, Rock, Indie, all the way to modern pop and boy bands (Backstreet Boys are my personal favourite). Listening to music always made me feel so much and provoke such mood, both positive and negative. I dabbled with piano at 5 years of age, happily accepting the odd lesson from a close family friend until I picked up a guitar on my 8th birthday, thanks to my dad. Once I started playing music for myself there was no looking back; I knew what I wanted to do with my life, it just made total sense.

Mike – I’ve been interested in music for as long as I can remember! My first CD was Michael Jackson, Off the Wall so had a fascination with the soul and groove in music from the age of 8. In the words of Alex of Blur, every house should have a £100 piano, and my parents had just that! And old, out of tune piano that I learnt to understand pitch on. Guitar shortly followed with all the usual power chord shapes and learning every available Nirvana song. The first pop record that caught my ear was L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani. That is when I realised that there’s way more behind pop music than most people and I really thought. 

We both met in our mid 20s after growing up in the same small town and going to the same schools and playing all the same venues, somehow managing to avoid each other!

When we finally met, whilst producing for local bands, we totally hit it off and decided that one day we’d have to make some music together. And here we are!

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Andi – It has to be the love and passion that I feel towards the creative process. I want to be able to make people feel something special through the sound of what we create, and although it’s probably impossible, it drives me to create and never stop. There have been so many opportunities to give up in the last 15 years of the musical journey.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

Andi – I would love to take our music around the world and share something special with people from all walks of life. As far as “career” aspirations, it would just be nice to have our music exposed to a wider audience and whatever outcome that creates, is perfect for me.

Mike – Id very much like to develop a company to help develop artists, like an old traditional record label but with a modern twist. We love working/collaborating with other artists and this is like an extension of that. 

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

Andi – We plan to release 3 more singles and a remix between now (September) and January 2021. We would love to play some DJ sets next year and get out and about, but due to the current pandemic, we may have to do a raincheck.  

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

Our newest single is called, ‘Hard to Find’. It’s a high energy and uplifting dance-pop track, taking influence from Synthwave and 80’s style drum machine pop. The song itself is a story of love and loss, which contends with unrequited emotions and an uncertain outcome in a relationship. Something about the mystery of the unknown in our songwriting seems to be appeal because we keep doing it. 

We feel like our music could be described as positive, emotive and powerful. We aim to create feeling in our tracks and we hope that it comes across.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

We write in a few different ways, but it usually starts with either a vocal memo/melody that is sung in to a phone, or a produced track/idea that we have, which we then write to. Sometimes it’s random inspiration and we just have to try and capture the idea that comes to us. 

Once we have something solid that we feel good about, it’s a matter of creating the right production to match what we want the song to represent. Some songs just flow and we end up with a finished idea really quickly, other songs are more complicated and have to be produced a bunch of times until they match our vision.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

We try and leave the meaning to listener; there are a many different ways that the lyrics can be interpreted and that is no accident.

Success, what is the secret to it?

I’ll let you know when we arrive…

Define success… to create music that we love and have other people love it too, which feels a lot like success.

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Somebody recently told us that our music helped them heal and pulled them out of a long depression. That felt amazing.

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Andi – There are so many great talents in the music industry at the moment; I think Jacob Collier is hugely inspiring to me…

Mike – Although a tad predictable Id have to say Max Martin, he’d managed to do something completely unheard of in an industry where it seems everything has been done. And relatively under the radar! 

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

We have plans to direct our music towards a more collaborative project, whilst developing ourselves as a label. We are collaborating and writing/creating for other artists and labels at the moment and we’re looking forward to the challenges of the next chapter.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?

We would love to be working alongside other artists and champion the next generation of musicians/producers if we’re in the position to do so. 

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

Favourite – Creating music together and spreading a positive message to others.

Least Favourite – Administrative duties, lack of support from others in the early stages.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Flume – unbelievable producer with such an interesting style and take on modern EDM.

Sia – definitely one of the most accomplished songwriters of this generation and such an great voice.

Parkway Drive – one of my favourite metal bands that I’ve followed since 2005, Byron Bay represent!

The Broadcast Fiasco – They’re led by a friend of ours, Rob Howe who is a real talent. Check ‘em out! 

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

It seems much harder to grab people’s attention nowadays. Social media is so noisy and apparently there are in excess of 40,000 songs released on Spotify each day, which makes independent music like finding a needle in a haystack.

It’s challenging when a lot of the support outlets for new artists, such as blogs, radio stations, etc, don’t seem to champion upcoming talent and are only really interested in exchanging support for profit, this is a bit sad, but it seems to be the nature of the new industry.

In a more positive light, never has the artist had more creative control over their product. If you get it right and manage to find some investment early on to build a real fanbase then you could have a career without having to relinquish any control. Which would have been impossible decades ago. 

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

We’ve always aspired to learn and grow as musicians, producers and managers of our own project, and I’m sure we will continue to put our best foot forward. Hopefully, if we create something meaningful for long enough, we will have the opportunity to reach a lot of people with our music.

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

We do collaborate and are really looking to do a lot more of it. Wish list… hmm… Max Martin? 

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Work really hard and set some clear goals to focus on, no matter how big or small. Stay hungry to improve and remember that you can only fail if you give up.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Thank you so much for supporting our music, we really hope you enjoy what we do. You can get in contact with us by DM on Instagram @wearevoix

Any last words?

Huge thanks to theaussieword.com for the support.

Support your local radio, blogs and venues, they’re the ones that have enabled the world’s greatest artists to continue making the soundtracks to our lives. 

NEW MUSIC: Casey Barnes – Bright Lights

CASEY BARNES’ FOLLOWS 2 CONSECUTIVE #1’s WITH LATEST SINGLE “BRIGHT LIGHTS”

After 2 consecutive number 1’s, “We’re Good Together” and “Sparks Fly”, Casey Barnes hits the airwaves with “Bright Lights” his brand new single off his ARIA #1 Country album, “Town of A Million Dreams”.

Bright Lights” tells a real-life story of chasing a dream, getting a taste of success but at the same time missing the ones you love back at home. Of the song Casey says, “it’s a reaffirmation that no matter how driven you are to reach your dreams, how drawn you are to what that might look like, what really matters is the people in your life who are closest to you.” In Barnes’ case it’s his wife, kids and family (and his drummer, there’s is a special bond not understood by many).

With the perfect blend of modern country pop, a great vocal hook and a huge anthemic chorus, this latest offering is set to ensure Casey continues with what’s become a break out year for him in 2020.

The Gold Coast country music star and winner of Artist of the Year (Gold Coast Music Awards 2020) is showing no signs of slowing down. The new single is a radio edit of “Bright Lights”, as featured on his latest album that debuted at #1 on the Australia Country Album Charts and #16 on the ARIA album charts. “Town of a Million Dreams” also provided us with chart toppers “A Little More”, that’s generated over a million steams, “Sparks Fly” which ignited across Australia with 7 weeks at #1 on The Music Network’s Hot Country Charts, and “We’re Good Together” that held number #1 for 5 weeks on the charts

The release of his latest single coincides with the start of his long-awaited Town of a Million Dreams Album Tour. The tour will see Casey bring his high-octane and lively performance energy to coastal and rural towns throughout Queensland. Tour Dates and ticket link here: https://www.caseybarnes.com.au/tour

CHUGG MUSIC PRESENTS 

THE TOWN OF A MILLION DREAMS TOUR


Friday 25-Sep – 
Highfields Tavern, Toowoomba [SOLD OUT]

Thursday 1-Oct – The Salthouse, Cairns

Friday 2-Oct – The Branc Bar, Kerribee Park Rodeo Grounds, Mareeba

Friday 16-Oct – Mo’s Desert Clubhouse, Gold Coast [SOLD OUT]

Saturday 17-Oct – Hamilton Hotel, Brisbane [SOLD OUT]

Friday 23-Oct – Wonderland Under The Stars, Mt Isa

Saturday 24-Oct – Wonderland Under The Stars, Mt Isa

Thursday 5-Nov – The Metropolitan Hotel, Mackay

Friday 6-Nov – Leichhardt Hotel, Rockhampton

Saturday 7-Nov – Old Bundy Tavern, Bundaberg [SOLD OUT]

Saturday 21-Nov – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville

Saturday 28-Nov – Rockin Country, Redland Bay

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Neon Pattern Sundial

Singer/songwriter Ben Rizio of Neon Pattern Sundial stops by THEAUSSIEWORD.COM for a special interview.

How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?

I guess just between the ages of around 8-15 I slowly realised that this is what I like doing more than basically anything else. When I was 13 or 14 I downloaded FL Studio and got into production and I became particularly excited by it all.

What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?

Well I’m definitely inspired by a lot of other artists, whether they’re musicians or visual artists or whoever.

But I’m also excited by the idea of trying to make something unique and exciting to my own taste, and to push listeners a little more beyond what they’d expect. Like trying to incorporate unlikely combinations of styles in one song, or using a style of sound design or production that typically doesn’t align with the context I’m putting it in, or putting two songs next to each other on a release that I don’t think people will expect.

I also have a fixation on larger works such as albums or EPs, but also series of albums/EPs as opposed to just individual songs. I feel like with larger works like that there’s more space for the aesthetic or themes to come through. I love artists that are extremely committed to an aesthetic, that’s one of the most inspiring things to me.

I get a lot of enjoyment out of brainstorming tracklists for albums, and imagining what the mood or style will be for each track as well as the titles and artwork associated with them. I think aesthetic concepts are often more exciting to me than even lyrics or melodies.

What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?

One of my ‘goals’ is an immersive AV show. Visuals, lighting, and a setlist that consists of alternate versions of the songs, medleys, and all sorts of fun stuff like that. I’ve always loved hearing live versions and unreleased music at shows of my favourite artists, to me that’s one of the most exciting parts about live music.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?

I don’t imagine any touring in the current world but, there will be a new single soon and some very exciting news to come along with that. I can’t wait to play some shows once we see this all through, I’ve got some ideas for that too.

Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?

‘Wendouree’ is a song that took a long time to finish and still often confuses me! But I’m proud of it and its uniqueness. To me it’s about trying to be more involved in the present as opposed to dreaming about a change of scenery in the future, because our lives are never going to be the way they are today. So let’s try soak it up before it passes!

I think I better understand how to describe my music once people describe it to me. It’s been described as poignant which I love. To me it’s just guitar-driven alt-pop scattered with synths and electronic production.

Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?

I definitely work in unpredictable bursts, which I’d say usually means I’m quite slow as a writer. It’s almost laughable… I’ve put quite a bit of thought and effort into trying to cultivate my workspace all nice and whatever, but I get a lot done sitting on my girlfriend’s couch hunched over my laptop screen, after I opened a project because I “just wanted to give it a listen”, but then it’s been a few hours and I’ve got two new sections to a song. And then… I don’t touch it for weeks! Months even! Apart from playing the demo on repeat of course.

In all seriousness though, I do also spend a lot of time making lists of what I need to fix in a demo I’m working on and then going and fixing those things and then repeating the process with many many iterations of lists. It’s a combination of those two processes that eventually gets it done for me. It’s quite a system I’ve got going.

Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music? 

Not necessarily hidden meanings (yet), but definitely links between songs and releases. As I release more music I’m sure a lot of people will work it out pretty quickly.

Success, what is the secret to it?

Hahaha haa ha… The secret to success is to define your own! Make sure that it actually aligns with your values and not just looks or seems pretty. Stadium tours with full AV production are pretty cool, but also seem pretty intense and stressful. I don’t think I’d call that success… If I can just live off my music and go for a nice walk that’d be sweet. You know?

What has been your biggest career highlight so far?

Hmm well, it’s been an incredibly short career so far, so I’ll mention an experience from my old band Echo Mono… Over the course of about 9 months or so we worked our way up through the Battle of The Bands competition in Victoria, and performed at the St Kilda festival here in Melbourne. We were on the smallest stage in the afternoon, and we started with just a few friends and family watching. But there was a point where we realised that an enormous crowd of passer-bys had stopped to watch us. I have no clue how many people it was but it really had us all smiling at each other on stage. Holy shit! People actually like this song we made!

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?

Justin Vernon, Matty and George of The 1975, Amber of The Japanese House, Jon Hopkins, Madeon, all come to mind pretty quickly.

Are there any new projects in the pipeline?

Absolutely.

The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself in a few years?

Oh man, really the only thing I’m sure of is what I want to release in the next few years. I’d love to do a few shows around Melbourne before hopefully branching out to Sydney and some regional areas. Doing some production for other artists would be awesome too.

What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?

I love writing and producing, trying to build an aesthetic around my music, and trying to expand my processes a little bit all the time. I also love playing shows and can’t wait for that to happen again, as I’ve never performed as this project!

Unfortunately I’m not particularly enjoying occupying my social media profiles, which is a relationship I hope to improve. Occasionally I’ll have a great interaction and it’s great to hear from someone who has enjoyed my song, but for the most part I would rather just be working on new music.

Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.

Apart from my super talented friends I have a real soft spot for Golden Features. There are so many great Australian artists I wouldn’t know where to start.

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?

Personally, I don’t love social media. I definitely wish it didn’t exist sometimes. But it makes complete sense as to why it does exist and why I need to be there. Peoples attention is always going to gravitate towards the most bold, fast-paced, bite-size form of media that they can digest quickly, so it’s no surprise that the newest platform that’s making waves has a maximum video length of 60 seconds, and a focus on snappy, loud content.

This sort of thing has obviously impacted the music industry hugely in terms of the way musicians are marketing themselves and gathering an audience. It’s all become very casual and improvised. Which is by no means a bad thing.

But there are certain platforms I don’t want to exist on despite knowing that they could result in a lot of benefit for my music. Social media is already something that affects me in a largely negative way, and it comes down to if I want to take up that trade-off at the consequence of me having to spend more time creating and interacting with content.

How will you continue appealing to the international market?

One step at a time… I’m just gonna think about Melbourne first!

Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?

Everything that I’m releasing this year is the result of working closely with a few of my friends. Particularly Marc Scollo who recorded and mixed everything. I bounce all my ideas off him now from very early in the process, and he let’s me know when an idea is really dumb. I’ve also got a song coming out this year with my friend Jonah Orbach who’s a member of the band Blue Belly.

There’s plenty of big and small artists that I’d love to work with. The artist Goldwater interests me a lot as I delve more into electronic music again. I would also love to work with another vocalist and produce for any rappers.

What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?

What’s on my mind right now is that being an independent musician involves acting as a few different roles. And it takes a bit of work to figure out how to dedicate some time to general admin and your social media presence, while still remembering that the music comes far above all else. Especially if you’re trying to do your own PR, artwork, production, etc.

A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?

Instagram messages are chill.

Any last words?

Thanks everyone for the support so far, it’s been really really awesome. And thank you Brian at the TheAussieWord.com for having me! I’m particularly excited to share the next few drops and the music I’m currently working on 🙂

Website: neonpatternsundial.bandcamp.com

Facebook: facebook.com/neonpatternsundial

Instagram: instagram.com/neonpatternsundial