Interview: Blue King Brown

Published in:

Inpress (NSW) | 30.04.13 | Issue # 1158

Drum Media (WA)



Putting the final touches on their new album, Blue King Brown vocalist Natalie Pa’apa’a tells Daniel Cribb they’re on a mission to change the world.

Sitting in the control room of the iconic Melbourne-based Sing Sing Recording Studios, Blue King Brown’s Natalie Pa’apa’a and producer/engineer James ‘Bonzai’ Caruso (Alicia Keys, Madonna) are somewhat hypnotised, mixing the band’s third album. For what seems like weeks, the band has been tucked away in the studio focusing on nothing but refining what they hope to be their defining record.

“It’s sort of a mix of styles as Blue King Brown is known for,” Pa’apa’a describes the record. “I think it’ll be recognisably ours, and our songwriting is ever-evolving, so it’s just been really great to have new songs and new sounds and keep working.”

Fast-paced, socially aware, infectious urban roots is what scored the band an AIR Award in 2005 with their debut, self-titled EP and earned them a play in triple j’s Hottest 100 in 2006 with their song Come And Check Your Head, off their debut album, Stand Up. It’s been a while since then, but with the release of album number three, Pa’apa’a confirms her yearning for change is as strong as ever. When Santana said that Blue King Brown was “the voice of the street and the band of the future”, he could see the passion resonating within Pa’apa’a’s creative mind.

“The world is such an incredible place, and to see so blatantly the injustices faced by so many of our people is just completely unacceptable to me. I’ve always had a really strong inkling for recognising injustice. Since I was young, I was like, ‘What? Why should those people be hungry and we are not hungry? Obviously there’s enough food to go ‘round’. So that’s something that has been who I am from a very young age, and that was always going to come through into my art.”

“Music has been, and always will be, an incredible medium for inspiring people, for comforting people, for raising awareness about issues, for actually gathering people together in one place in a non-violent way to celebrate life,” she explains. “We all have it in our lives daily; it’s a big part of, I believe, human spirituality, it’s something that’s kind of… it’s food for our souls in a sense.”

It will still be a few more months until the as-yet-unnamed new Blue King Brown album surfaces, but Perth will get a taste of the release when the band ventures west for Global Beats & Eats. With a strong belief that music can be an effective vehicle for raising awareness and provoking change, Pa’apa’a also feels food plays a vital role in celebrating multiculturalism.

“Everyone loves music and, yes, everyone loves food,” she laughs. “We have that really rich diversity in different cultures that live here, that have moved here, and that share their food. I love food from all over the world as well, I think everyone does, and so it’s a great concept to have Global Beats & Eats, obviously Blue King Brown fit into that sort of theme.”

Presented by Act-Belong-Commit, Global Beat & Eats is all about promoting good mental health and ensuring mental illnesses aren’t swept under the rug.

“I love that it’s a free event in the park, it’s family friendly, it’s alcohol free and it’s a good vibe, and I think also that the crew presenting it, the Act-Belong-Commit crew for mental health, I love how their whole thing is about encompassing mental health into the picture and the perception of what health is, because in Western society we have far too long ignored the bigger picture of health as being more than just our physical bones and physical things – it encompasses the mental health, our spiritual health, our emotional health, and to me that’s something that I think humanity, and especially Western culture, needs to start really accepting and learning about.”

Blue King Brown will be playing the following dates:

Saturday 8 June – Perisher Snowy Mountains Festival, NSW

Daniel Cribb


Interview: Alkaline Trio

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 25.04.13 | Issue # 335



It’s getting harder for the members of Alkaline Trio to find time to write music together, but vocalist/bassist Dan Andrianotells Daniel Cribb that, despite living in different cities and only playing the new songs together for the first time in the studio, they’ve produced a career-defining record in My Shame Is True.

It’s slowly creeping into the late hours of the night when Alkaline Trio bassist Dan Andriano answers his phone from his Florida residence. He picks up, and one of the first things out of his mouth, between sips of a freshly poured alcoholic beverage, is an apology. “I know I pushed this shit around quite a bit, and that’s usually not my style,” he explains. The singer-songwriter had to reschedule twice. The first due to last-minute band-related activities in LA, the second, Disney-related. “On Sunday I was out with my daughter and one of my friends. I took them to see this show… I thought it would be like 45 minutes long, and this show was like two hours long!” he laughs. “I kind of always have to put time with my daughter first.”

While Andriano patiently sat through two hours of Disney classics, Alkaline Trio’s album new record, My Shame Is True, was quickly circulating across the globe. With the release of previous records, the band would be on the road most months out of a year, but having been around since 1996 and developing a solid following through relentless and painstaking touring, they can afford to ease up on their touring scheduled somewhat, allowing time for other activities, and family.

Playing music together for the better part of two decades, they’ve finally managed to capture the best elements of their previous eight studio albums, channel it into one unique sound and add a fresh spin to it all.

“I think [My Shame Is True]’s the best of what we do. We’ve tried a lot of different things, just because that’s who we are as a band – we always want to experiment a little bit in the studio and then simplify things on stage. We’ve been a band for over 16 years, so we want to do different things. If we’re always making the same record, there’s no point.

“But I think this time we really captured – and it wasn’t really a conscious effort – but I think we ended up capturing the magic that the band had when Matt [Skiba, vocals/guitar] first started the band, as well as some of the in-studio stuff that we’re interested in doing now as a band that’s a little bit older, that makes it more fun for us to record. So I’m really happy with the record.”

In keeping with a steady release cycle, pumping out an album every two to three years, the band went somewhat quiet after briefly touring 2011’s Damnesia, and each member splintered away from AK3 HQ to explore different streams in their careers. Andriano spent time touring the world with his acoustic guitar and released a solo album under the title of Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room, Skiba released two records with two different projects (theHELL, Matt Skiba & The Sekrets), and drummer Derek Grant lent his talent to different bands – most recently touring with The Vandals at this year’s Soundwave.

“I’m very excited to be doing what we’re doing, and I always have been, but, you know, it’s like, I didn’t go out and do my Emergency record because I was unhappy with the band or anything, and I don’t think Matt went out and did the Sekrets record because he was dying to be anything but Alkaline Trio, it just happened that we had a little bit of time and we both had these songs that maybe were a little different, and so we went out and did some stuff. In the process, I wouldn’t say that I had this realisation like I was not appreciative of the band, but I got out to play and go on tours with different people.

“I mean, I hadn’t toured with other folks in 12 years, and I went out and toured with Chuck [Ragan] from Hot Water Music, Dave Hause, Brian [Fallon] from Gaslight Anthem, and I went and did all these different kinds of shows and different kinds of tours without Alkaline Trio, and in doing that, it made me excited to get a bass back in my hands. I love playing guitar, I love playing acoustic guitar, I love writing songs, and just playing anything, but I started to feel like, ‘Alright, I’ve got that out of my system, it’s time to get back to what I feel like I’m here to do’, and that’s play with Matt and Derek.”

During their time apart from the band, Andriano and Skiba were constantly writing and demoing material for My Shame Is True. But living in three different cities in different corners of the US, it wasn’t until all three met up at the legendary Blasting Room Studios in Fort Collins, Colorado did the songs really take on new life.

“I’ll be very honest, we’d never even played those songs for each other – we’d sent them back and forth via email, and that’s kind of how we do things,” Andriano explains. “And so, when we finally get together to play them, they’re going to take on a life of their own. When I demo a song I put a little more emphasis on details and sounds and stuff. Whereas, when Matt writes and demos a song, he does it as fast as possible to get it done… due to natural of the way we write and rehearse these days as a band, things definitely change – the songs definitely come to life once we all get together,” he tells. “We write songs, email them to each other, and then wait to hear back, and someone will say, ‘Yeah, I like this, I like that part – can’t wait to play this’, or whatever. But it never really gets hashed out until we’re all in the same room.”

Long-time friend, idol, Descendents drummer and producer Bill Stevenson played a big role in shaping the songs. During pre-production, one song in particular almost didn’t make the cut, but was saved by flying a special guest into the studio for a few days.

“I came home from – and this is going to make me sound way more masculine than I am – but I came home from a run where I was listening to some pretty heavy music and I felt really, like I said, pumped, masculine, whatever. I was like, ‘I’m going to write a song right now, I’m going to write a high energy tune’, and so I wrote that song, I, Pessimist, really fast. I was kind of angry, I was kind of excited and I wrote the song about depression and insecurity kind of leading you down this path of madness, and that’s what the song’s about. As soon as I wrote the song I was like, ‘Wow, that’s really fun, but I can’t sing this song, so I don’t know what I’m going to do with it’.

“Bill seemed kind of lukewarm about it. And I was like, ‘But wait! This is not how this song is supposed to be – I’m not supposed to sing this song. I want to get someone like Tim [McIlrath of Rise Against] or someone’, and as soon as I said that, Bill kind of lit up like a Christmas tree and got really excited and called Tim… he agreed to come out in like a week and he did it so fast and hung out for a night, and we all went out and got delicious vegetarian Chinese food and then he went home, and that was awesome.”

Daniel Cribb

Drum Perth (Apr 25, 2013)

CD Review: Off With Their Heads

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 25.04.13 | Issue # 335




26 April, 2013

Focusing their efforts on genres that tend to pull more revenue, it’s rare that Epitaph takes on new punk bands. So when they do, you know that band has something exciting to offer. They’ve been around since 2002, and in their second Epitaph release, Home, Off With Their Heads have produced a record that more than proves their worth on the label’s roster.

It’s hard to pinpoint what makes this four-piece from Minneapolis so unique and accessible. They’re a quality pop/punk rock act that are rough around the edges. Vocalist Ryan Young is what you get if your standard pop punk vocalist sculls scalding hot coffee and then jumps in the vocal booth. It may sound surprising, but such vocals aren’t unpleasant to listen to – they add more emotion and energy into what might otherwise be lifeless melodies at times.

With this sort of gruff rock, it can often be hard to capture the vocal energy and find a fine line between a rough recording and something so polished that it kills the vibe, but producer Bill Stevenson has found a healthy mix, and Colorado’s iconic Blasting Room Studios have churned out another flawless sounding record.

Off With Their Heads have had countless line-up changes, appeared on a mountain of splits, compilations, and EPs, but this record finally sees a solid line-up and 12 songs that work together perfectly. It seems such a frequently rotating line-up has enabled their sound to stay fresh.

Having already established a name for themselves within the beard-punk community years ago,Home is the record that will see Off With Their Heads break out of their little subgenre and onto broader horizons as a force to be reckoned with.

Daniel Cribb

Show Review: Buzzcocks 18.04.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 25.04.13 | Issue # 335



Having weaved their way onto an impressive amount of shows this year, openers The Coalminers Sect were a familiar name to many. The benefits of playing together so often were clear, and the five-piece were in fine form.

When preparing an audience for one of the world’s most iconic punk bands, there’s little room for a sloppy or unconvincing stage presence. Who better to represent the best blues rock Perth has to offer than “lowdown jungle stomp” three-piece The Floors. In a short, sharp set, the talented three-piece gave punters who only climb out of the woodworks for international acts a reason to pick up a local gig guide.

A diverse crowd, most of who were still grasping onto the ‘80s, were ready to drink themselves stupid, scream until their voices gave way and do some damage to their hearing. Buzzcocks frontmen Pete Shelley and Steve Diggle may be pushing 60, but from the first pop-infused screaming leads of Boredom they made the efforts of most punk bands today look pathetic.

Much like major labels riding off their back catalogue, Buzzcocks are still touring the world on the tidal wave their ‘70s and ‘80s hits incited. With no new album since 1986’s Heaven And The Sea, there were no concerns of the band flooding the set with new material. Because, really, there are few who would want to hear new material when the band have such an impeccable back catalogue. Sick City, You Say You Don’t Love Me, I Don’t Mind – it’s easy to forget just how many hits the band has.

While Shelley and Diggie have remained the foundation of the band for the better part of its existence, Buzzcocks have had a ridiculous amount of bassists and drummers. Currently riding with bassist Chris Remmington and drummer Danny Farrant, they were tighter than ever. Musically, the new(ish) rhythm section were tight. It was their stage presence that fell short – Remmington looking like a nervous teenager most of the set.

While Shelley’s unmistakable voice was upfront most of the time, it was Diggle’s guitar-wielding, crowd-saluting manor that took control. But in the end it was when their voices united did they really shine. They fitted together perfectly – Shelley taking control of the higher end of the spectrum and Diggle filling out lower frequencies.

When a band like Buzzcocks walk offstage and they haven’t played their biggest hit – a song many would have paid admittance just to see – there’s not one second of doubt about an encore. With little to no talking to the crowd throughout their whole set, they resurfaced and played a blended mash of Harmony In My Head, Ever Fallen In Love, and Orgasm Addict.

With Shelley and Diggie fast approaching 60, there’s only so long they’ll be able to keep such high-energy performances up, but for now, Buzzcocks are still one of the frontrunners of punk, and have impressive and classic live energy.

Daniel Cribb

Interview: Sincerely, Grizzly

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 18.04.13 | Issue # 334

sincerely_grizzly_600NO PAIN, NO GAIN

Adelaide “literature rock” three-piece Sincerely, Grizzly are just as crazy off the stage as they are on it. Bassist Griffin Farley talks new music, writing fan mail in blood and touring alongside their idols with Daniel Cribb.

To ensure every show is as epic as the last, when Adelaide rockers Sincerely, Grizzly map out their tours they base them around weekends. More people will no doubt attend a weekend show than one mid-week, and it also allows their weeklong hangovers to dissolve before kicking into gear again. Currently on tour, although when he answers his phone it’s mid-week and he’s at work, bassist Griffin Farley has more than enough stories to qualify them for true rockstar status. “We were kicking off the tour [in Adelaide], and within the first minute of our first song, Josh [Calligeros, vocals/guitar] decided to jump up on top of Rowan [Mount]’s drum kit and he forgot he was wearing socks, and stacked it royal. We had to stop the show and get him all cleaned up and put the drum kit back together and start again,” he recalls, before darting to the following weekend’s visit to Brisbane.

“We regrettably chose not to book accommodation in Brisbane, so that was pretty hectic. We had to carry all our stuff around at 3am in The Valley, watching all these drunken people and club music blaring around us and holding onto our gear making sure that no one ran away with it,” he laughs.

Winning a triple j Unearthed competition that got them added to Laneway Adelaide, having their single Issac racking up substantial airplay on triple j, and its corresponding film clip premiered by Dom Alessio on the Home & Hosed site, there are few people the three-piece can’t charm. That’s why, when they heard that …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, one of their all-time favourite bands, were coming to Australia back in 2011, frontman Calligeros reached out to the band to see if there was any chance of supporting them. Soon after they got a reply with an offer for their Melbourne show. “We got there a day early and partied with them before the gig, and partied with them pretty hard and could barely play the show the next night…there were a lot of drunken casino antics and a few too many tequila shots watching Spencer P. Jones,” he laughs. They must have done something right because they’re doing the full Trails national tour this May.

In-between the rockstar touring life, they’ve managed to carve almost an album’s worth of new material. “We’re not trying to limit ourselves to a certain style, that’s for sure, and we kind of pride ourselves on keeping things fresh and not really conforming to a specific genre, or a specific sound. So, yeah, we’re always trying to mix things up, and something that will test our skills is always another thing – we don’t like playing stuff that’s too easy to play, we always like to challenge ourselves, and I think that’s just a result of the new stuff. We’re just kind of pushing forward and growing and that’s kind of showing in the new music.”

Their latest EP, Doom And Gloom, was funded via Pozible, a site where fans pledge certain amounts towards the project in return for a gift of some sort. While it was a huge success, Farley admits they probably couldn’t ask for anything more from their fans. That and they probably couldn’t outdo their last incentive list. For $200 “Josh [would] write and send you a letter in his own blood”. One person pledged for the unusual reward. “I think Josh still has to write his brother a letter in his own blood…it was his younger brother. His brother broke into his piggy bank and got all the money he could get and bought it from his brother as kind of a sick joke. I think he’s still hounding him to do that.”

Interview: Chelsea Basha

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 18.04.13 | Issue # 334



A breakup was the driving force behind Chelsea Basham’s debut album, but the WA-county girl assures Daniel Cribb she was careful not to turn into a cliché Taylor Swift rip-off.

Having circled the world, supporting the likes of Adam Brand and Lee Kernaghan, playing to packed out rooms across the country and winning Best New Talent at the Australian Country Music Awards in Tamworth earlier this year, WA-born pop country singer Chelsea Basham finds herself preparing for one of her toughest crowds yet when she picks up her phone. “I just got up to Wongan Hills, my hometown. I’m singing at a school assembly for the kids at the primary school I went to today, so that should be fun,” she begins from the small country town two hours north east of Perth. “It’s really cool going back and showing them what you can do once you leave school, and just teaching them that even though they live in the country, live in the sticks, [they] can still achieve. So that’s kind of the goal today.”

Kids in her hometown don’t often get the delight of live music, so growing up so far away from what she loved, her parents enrolled her in singing lessons. In her teens, Basham relocated to Perth to study music, and three days after graduating high school, she packed up and moved to Sydney to really kick things in motion. “That’s sort of where it all began in my country music career. I just got out on the road and did some supports and was just selling merchandise, just so I could be on the road and learn what it was all about. I learnt a lot.”

From there she kept on striving to take her music to the next level, eventually calling iconic country producer Graham Thompson in 2011, who she had respected for years, to ask him to be a part of her debut record. Spending months working on the songs in Sydney, the pair then flew to Nashville at the start of 2012 to begin recording with some of the industries best session musicians. With such a talented backing band, it only took two days to lay all the music down.

“I’d just recorded my single, which was released a couple of years before that, and that was really my only taste of the studio, and so going over to Nashville and seeing the studios over there and how they work was just mind blowing. It was something that I’d never really experienced before, so I just soaked it up and cannot wait to do it again, but, you know, it’s a costly thing, so you just have to keep saving for the next one – like drugs, I guess,” she laughs.

“It’s a bit of a rejuvenation album. I wrote it during a breakup, but I didn’t want to go all Taylor Swift and write a bunch of breakup songs, I really wanted to turn it around and make it a little bit more positive and look on the bright side of life, and I guess he did me a favour,” she laughs. “I’m really happy with it and I think it sort of tells where I was at that point of my life, and I guess even since then I have changed a lot and I’m really looking forward to getting back to Nashville this year and writing the next album because I’m a lot different to how I was then, so even though it was a couple of years ago, you do change a lot, and I guess musically as well, life would be boring if you kept on writing the same sort of style and same songs. So yeah, I’m looking forward to writing the next one.”

Chelsea Basham will be playing the following dates:

Thursday 25 April – Wongan Hills Civic Centre, Wongan Hills WA
Saturday 27 April – The Fly Trap, Fremantle WA
Sunday 28 April – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth WA
Saturday 4 May – Urban Country Music Festival, Caboolture QLD
Thursday 9 May – Maryborough Sports Club, Maryborough QLD
Friday 10 May – Brothers Sports Club, Bundaberg QLD
Saturday 11 May – Glenmore Tavern, Rockhampton QLD
Monday 12 May – Capella Cultural Centre, Capella QLD
Thursday 16 May – Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Proserpine QLD
Friday 17 May – Burdekin Theatre, Ayr QLD
Saturday 18 May – Dalrymple Hotel, Townsville QLD
Friday 24 May – Old Mill, Handorf SA
Saturday 25 May – Norwood Live, Norwood SA
Sunday 26 May – Old Clarendon Inn, Clarendon SA

Daniel Cribb

Drum Perth (Apr 18, 2013)




16 April, 2013

In front of a sold out Regal Theatre in Perth last night, 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan addressed the bad press he received in Melbourne on the weekend.

“All I’m trying to do is make people laugh,” he said onstage.

Fans allegedly stormed out of Hamer Hall during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in disgust – some demanding refunds – claiming he was misogynist and lacked humour. Women’s rights campaigner Melinda Tankard urged for the cancellation of his remaining Australian dates.

“Collective Shout is calling on Regal Theatre to not give Morgan a platform for Morgan’s misogynist hate speech,” Tankard posted on her website.

“It’s fear, [Tankard] doesn’t understand me,” Morgan told Perth fans. “I love her anyway,” he added.

Social media exploded with conversation after the initial MICF reviews surfaced.

“Unfunny, sexist, racist, misogynistic, disgusting rubbish,” one Melbourne attendee posted.

“I left thinking he is chauvinist pig and I can’t believe I paid almost $80 for it!” commented another.

On occasion last night Morgan made jokes at the expense of his enemies and refused the censor his material. “Go home and blog some shit ’cause you ain’t gettin’ any,” he said. “I don’t give a fuck what you think.”

In an interview with Morgan said, “People need a story. People want drama. Some people are just waiting for scandal, for gossip. But I don’t care about that. Because I’m a focused man. I’m a grown man. I’m 44 years old. I’m not a little kid anymore. I’m not a teenager. If I was going to go off the deep end, I would’ve gone off the deep end long ago.”

Reporting by Daniel Cribb