INTERVIEW: The Living End

Published in The Music (WA) | 26.02.14 | Issue # 27

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SECOND SOLUTION

It’s been a while since The Living End have partnered themselves with the company of punk and metal bands. Fresh from the nuthouse, bassist Scott Owen chats with Daniel Cribb about Soundwave and working with Ash Grunwald.

“We’re certainly not going to expect a bunch of punk-rock and metal fans to want to hear anything too reggae or easy listening,” The Living End bassist Scott Owen says on their Soundwave appearance. With Stone Temple Pilots pulling out less than a month before the tour, The Living End stepped up. “We’re all into a bit of metal, and it was just a bit of a no-brainer for us. I mean, we were looking down the barrel of not doing much this year, and when that came up it was a very last minute thing, and it was like, ‘The tour’s in three weeks, do you want to do it?’, and we were like, ‘Fuck yeah, of course we do. No questions asked’.

“It’s happened to us once before, where I’ve looked at a bill and gone, ‘Fuck, I wish we were playing on that’… It happened with Splendour In The Grass when Jane’s Addiction pulled out, and it was like, ‘Fuck yeah, I really wanted to play that’. I’m feeling very, very fortunate right now – that would be my online status, if I had one – ‘Scott Owen is feeling fortunate right now’,” he says, somewhat out of breath.

“[I’m] just sort of pacing around the road out the front of my house aimlessly talking on the phone,” he laughs. “I probably look like a lunatic because I’ve just been sort of walking around in a circle for the past hour, and if anyone’s looking out their window they’re probably thinking, ‘That guy really needs to go back to the nuthouse now’.”

With his schedule as of late, it’s not a stretch to think he may be stressed to the point of admission at times. It’s been a busy two-and-a-half years for The Living End. After releasing their sixth record in 2011, The Ending Is Just The Beginning, they embarked on another stretch of relentless touring, last year tackling Europe, but not before Owen and drummer Andy Strachan hit the studio and toured with Ash Grunwald mid-year – an experience that has given the pair a new perspective on The Living End. “It was all very spontaneous,” he tells. “All [The Living End] stuff is very structured – the songs are arranged as they are and we play them the same way every time and stick to their true arrangement, whereas with Ash there’s a lot more of an improvisational loose jam approach to his songs. It was surprising when we first played them with him… It’s been cool for me and Andy, just realising how much fun we actually have playing together.”

After Soundwave, the rest of 2014 will see The Living End recede into the shadows to take some time off, before regrouping at the start of 2015 to begin work on album number seven. “I really don’t know what the next Living End record will be like – we’ve never got a plan,” Owen says. And to round out the conversation, “I can hear the ambulance coming in the distance,” he jokes.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/02/26/the-living-end-scott-owen-daniel-cribb/24087/

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INTERVIEW: Alkaline Trio

Published in The Music (WA) | 26.02.14 | Issue # 27

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AN OPEN BOOK

After a drug-induced onstage meltdown in 2012, Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba has decided to trade in partying for waves and literature. He tells Daniel Cribb some sekrets.

“The good thing about being old, is you don’t have to worry about dying young,” Stephen King writes in Doctor Sleep, the follow-up to The Shining. It’s a line that could easily wrap itself around a melody spun by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, whose work often assumes a similar style. He’s spending the evening at his LA home with said King novel when his phone rings, forcing him to bookmark the page.

“I’m always reading,” Skiba tells. “I was writing lyrics for another project I’m doing and someone asked how lyrics came so easily to me and I said it’s because I read all the time, and I think that keeping that part of your brain healthy and constantly working helps a lot with the creative process in music.”

The project in question is Matt Skiba & The Sekrets, borne of inspiration stemming from Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry’s novel on the Manson Murders, Helter Skelter. “The way that we’re approaching this thing is a little different to the way we did the last time, but it’s moving along smoothly. We’re about halfway with some pretty strong demos, a lot of which will be used as tracks for the actual album, so we’re creeping along,” he says on the new Sekrets’ new record.

But, his side project will have to take a backseat for a few weeks, as Derek Grant (drums) and Dan Andriano (bass/vocals) are on route for Vermont and Florida to California to prepare for Soundwave. Originally slated to open stage five, they’ve been moved to a later time, which simply gives Skiba more time to hit the surf. Where in the past he may have spent the day partying, he now takes it a little easier on tour, a decision no doubt influenced by The Sekrets’ debut show in 2012 where he “hijacked himself with booze and drugs” and couldn’t get through the opening song. There’s no chance of that happening this time around, as he wants to be “present” when delivering material from the latest and ninth Alkaline Trio record, My Shame Is True.

“A big part of it has to do that the three of us are all such good friends, and we all really love what we do. There are only three of us in the band and there are not a whole lot of egos flying around. Everyone plays their part and collectively we have fun doing what we do, and we have what I like to say the best ‘job’ in the world.”

While Skiba loves what he does and is always writing – hence The Sekrets and another project titled theHell – it’ll still be another couple of years before the next Alkaline Trio record. “It takes so long to get a record together and there are so many different stops in the process, so it’s a little too early to start thinking about. We’ve recorded nothing, but there are definitely ideas – I know Dan’s been writing, Derek has a wealth of great ideas. We’ll get back to it when the time feels right.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/02/26/alkaline-trio-matt-skiba/24086/

CD REVIEW: Bayside

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) | 19.02.14 | Issue # 26

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BAYSIDE

CULT

18 February, 2014

Rhythmic and deafening drums greet us in Cult’s opener, Big Cheese, and a grinding, metal-esque guitar riff slides into the unique and gripping vocals of Anthony Raneri. Bayside have returned with their sixth record, and to say it sounds huge would be an understatement. Put headphones on and it’ll sound like you’re being suffocated by a sea of organised chaos. When Time Has Come rolls around, it’s clear that every part of every song serves a purpose. If you’re keen to get into Bayside but don’t know where to start, track five,Pigsty, would be your best place.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/album/2014/02/18/bayside-cult-daniel-cribb/

Interview: Issues

Published on theMusic.com.au | 15.02.14

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NO ISSUES WITH BIEBER

Fighting off a Flappy Bird addiction and overcoming Bieber fever, Issues vocalist Tyler Carter explains exactly why he still likes “the Beebs”.

“We’re all fans of the Beebs,” Issues vocalist Tyler Carter begins, on tour with Bring Me The Horizon. It’s winter in Denver, he’s tucked away in the bus, and the heater isn’t working properly. He may later blame hypothermia for such a statement, considering the stigma often attached to enjoying such acts, but hear him out: “His new album is really awesome; we love the throwback, we love the RnB influence on it. As far as him as a person and what he’s doing, I feel like when I was 18, I was a hooligan more than ever, and that’s no excuse by any means, but I think he’s just being the kid he never really got the chance to be.”

Why is Justin Bieber the first item on the agenda? Well, the first Issues recording was a cover of the Bieber’sBoyfriend for a Punk Goes Pop compilation in 2012. They then followed it up with their seven-track debut EPBlack Diamonds. Touring the world with Bring Me The Horizon, A Day To Remember, Of Mice & Men and more, and receiving a wealth of praise for Black Diamonds after only being a band for a year, it’s clear these guys have some serious talent. That’s due to the unique influence each member contributes.

For anyone who knows of Carter’s previous projects, most notably Woe, Is Me, with whom he parted ways in 2011, the quality of metalcore that Issues produce is no surprise. What come as a revelation, though, is that the whole time Carter was in the Woe, Is Me, he never really quite felt like he belonged there.

“I was in love with [Woe, Is Me] and I loved touring with them, but in the back of my mind I also felt like this wasn’t it. The musicians weren’t where they should have been to have a long-term successful career and I guess in the back of my mind I thought, ‘This is not where I’m going to be for the next five years; this is not where I’m going to end. This is just a milestone; this is just a practice run for what’s to come.’

“Issues has always been my baby, my brainchild. When I quit Woe, Is Me, I set out to be a solo artist, and I’m still doing that, but there was just a lot of aggression that I wanted to put in. I can’t deny rock music – that’s where I got my start, and I’ve just got way too much fucking energy built up to only be a pop singer. There are a lot of things that I wanted to write about in the past but it never felt like the right time. Looking back, it would have been a waste to write a song about the most special person I’ve ever known to waste it on another band that didn’t last.”

That’s why you’ll notice a brutal honesty flowing through Issues 12 tracks. “We’re bringing in more of the elements of the meaning behind the band name Issues,” Carter says on the themes of their debut self-titled record. “Everybody’s issues – good or bad, positive or negative – we kind of took them to write stories about. Whether it’s personal things we’ve been through, or someone we know, or something people can relate to. We didn’t focus enough on that in the past.

“There’s a song [called] Disappear [Remember When] that was written about a friend of mine that I lost some years ago. They were the whole reason that I decided to pursue music as a long-term career, and that song was pretty tough to write and record just because I had to relive a lot of brokenness and a lot of hurt that I endured from that.”

With the new project being such a cathartic experience for its members, they felt it was time to step up their interaction with fans. At the beginning of 2013, they sent out postcards to fans and told them to write down some of their issues and mail them back. The band then scanned the handwriting for use on the cover art.

“A lot of them were really tough. I remember – and AJ [Rebollo, guitar] is going to kill me for telling you this – but I remember one night, we got the first shipment back and there were over 200 of them. We were reading them, and some of them were funny and some were a bit heavy, but then there were some that we’d be reading together and we’d just start crying, we’d just tear up because we couldn’t believe how painful some of these kids were and we felt so bad and I guess that’s when the compassion set in… I think giving these kids an outlet like that is therapeutic in its own way and I think a lot of the kids were probably able to overcome some of the obstacles just being able to express that to us.”

To lighten the mood and create some hype around the finished project, once the artwork was revealed, they encouraged fans to send in their own interpretation of it. The best were uploaded, and even Flappy Bird made an appearance. “They’ve had a bet on the tour, and the person who has the highest score by the end of the tour gets like $200. It looks like AJ’s in the lead,” Carter pauses to inspect the scores. “He’s up to 279, so they’re pretty addicted. I’m trying to not get involved – I don’t want to lose myself.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/02/15/issues-daniel-cribb/23731/

Show Review: Chris Wainhouse 03.01.14

CHRIS WAINHOUSE

YA YA’S

3 January, 2014

Religion often lends itself as a punching bag to the comedy realm, but few comics manage to partner downright obviously offensive comments with a healthy blend of intelligent observation. In his new show, The Anti-Chris, not only has Sydney comic Chris Wainhouse found a healthy balance between the two, he’s also incorporated his own overtly religious upbringing into the mix.

At his best when throwing hilariously absurd and shocking humour around, he threw in the occasional touch of self-deprecating comedy which seemed to ultimately win over a tough Monday night crowd.

The Anti-Chris takes audience members through Wainhouse’s upbringing, detailing all the wonderfully confusing religious concepts he was introduced to as a child and analysing them in depth. Some jokes may have missed the mark – remember, it was a Monday night – but if a punchline didn’t quite evoke the reaction he was looking for, he would somewhat punish the audience with shockingly crude material, which turned things around. While Wainhouse is still refining the show, once The Anti-Chris is in full throttle, no one will be able to stop him.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/comedy/2014/02/14/chris-wainhouse-yayas-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Jimmy Eat World

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, QLD, VIC) | 12.02.14 | Issue # 25

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NEW WORLD ORDER

While most would find 20 years in a band an impressive accomplishment, Jimmy Eat World frontman Jim Adkins doesn’t believe aging warrants a celebration. He’s more concerned with what’s next and a new side project. Daniel Cribb auditions.

Ever since their debut self-titled record came out in 1995, Arizona pop punk legends Jimmy Eat World have made a name for themselves as a band that pumps out hit after hit. Eight albums in and frontman Jim Adkins still knows his way around a catchy riff or melody, as evident in last year’s Damage. For a man who’s constantly writing, it’s not surprising he can find inspiration in seemingly insignificant subject matter. “My mind was kind of blown there,” Adkins begins, from the band’s rehearsal space. “The hold music was old zydeco, which is not the first thing I think of when I think of Australian hold music. It was kind of bluesy, with a lot of accordion. I think that’s a pretty good band name – Australian Hold Music. That’s going to be my side project.”

On top of penning classic hits for Australian Hold Music, he’s also in the midst of jamming for the band’s appearance at Soundwave. The last time Jimmy Eat World played Soundwave was in 2010, when My Chemical Romance withdrew less than a month out from the tour, and they took their place. “When I’ve seen those dudes around, I’ve been like, ‘Man, I feel bad for whatever you guys were going through to cancel, but thank you very much for cancelling’,” he laughs. “The music world is a really strange community. You run into people all the time that you have the most wild connections to and it’s all the time.”

As far as Soundwave goes, they’ve toured with Green Day, are good friends with Rocket From The Crypt and AFI, and even stay in touch with Perth’s own Jebediah, with whom they released a split EP in 2000.

While the aforementioned bands have been around just as long, if not longer than Jimmy Eat World, and, according to Adkins, “ageing isn’t a choice, so in that regard, it doesn’t feel like so much of an accomplishment”. Apart from changing bass player in ’96, they’ve had the same line-up since playing their first show in February 1994.

“It was in the back of a warehouse of a used clothing store. I’m sure it was horrible,” he laughs. “We thought it went well, but I’m sure it was horrible. It was a big concrete warehouse with a crappy vocal PA and we were probably playing our amps way too loud. It was set up by someone who was our age whose parents had some kind of managerial position at the store, so it was chaperoned – it was a pretty lame party to begin with, and it was our first gig, so I’m sure we were horrible.”

Twenty years later they’re still going strong and are one of few bands who surfaced in the pop punk wave of the late ‘90s that have managed to maintain a steady following with every new record. “When it comes down to it, I don’t see how people mess this up,” Adkins responds when queried on the secret to their success and longevity. “I mean, c’mon man, how do you mess this up? I kind of don’t understand. Maybe we’re just fortunate that we all were relatively sane people deciding to join a band together. If things are going well and you’re having fun, why would you bring in the elements that would mess this up?”

They spent the better part of their formative and prime years signed to a major label, and while bands often relay stories of overbearing labels making it hard for them to be creative, Jimmy Eat World have never really had anyone looking over their shoulders. “We mixed and mastered Damage before we even had a record label, we were out of our deal with Universal and we just decided we’d make a record. I don’t even think [Universal] heard the material for Invented until two days before we were mixing, so we never really felt that pressure to play up to whatever the expectations [were] from a record label. Any label that would sign us would know better than to mess with what we’re doing.”

Lyrically and sonically, Damage is something of a return to form for the band. “There’s a bit on the title track,Damage, the bridge section on that is probably the oldest thing that exists on that record. That came from an idea that I had maybe in ’98 that for just whatever reason never ended up as a fleshed out part. In some ways things have kind of come back to a simpler mindset. I think we sort of focus on what feels right and trusting our judgement and walking away from it when it’s done”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/02/12/jimmy-eat-world-daniel-cribb/23602/

INTERVIEW: Sky Ferreira

Published in The Music (WA, NSW, VIC, QLD) | 12.02.14 | Issue # 25

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SKY HIGH

Her free spirit may have seen her debut album delayed five years and her name in the news after an arrest, but Sky Ferreira’s new record is proof that creativity will always reign triumphant. Daniel Cribb discovers the power of independence.

There comes a point in high school when you’re forced to think about what you’ll do after graduation. When your parents, the school counsellor and almost everyone else you know don’t believe in a dream you’re trying to turn into a reality, things tend to feel a little hopeless. When LA-based singer-songwriter/model/actress Sky Ferreira was in such a situation at age 16, she left home, dropped out of school and put all her efforts into getting signed. It wasn’t long before she was picked up by a label, but then another roadblock was forged. Convinced they had the next Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift, writer after writer was brought in to try and mould the rock star to fit certain conventions. But Ferreira didn’t budge on her creative image and thus was stuck in what seemed like an endless loop.

That’s when she realised it was up to her alone to get the job done. “I think they thought I wasn’t going to do it, because I remember one person saying, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, and I was like, ‘Fuck you’,” the now 21 year-old laughs from her LA home. “I used all my modelling money to do it, and I always have. I really love modelling, but one of the main reasons I do it is so I have the freedom to make whatever I want to make, and do it the way I want to do it and as wild as I want to without having to rely on other people.”

Her independence paid off. Even though her record, Night Time, My Time, was written and recorded in just over two weeks, it flows effortlessly and is a result of someone who has surfaced from a near-career breaking period, maintaining creative integrity and control. She may only be 21, but it comes from a more mature headspace. “I’ve always been an old soul. I remember being five years old and being over it… I think that has to do with upbringing; I’ve always been very independent,” she tells. “I think in some ways, when you raise yourself, you have no choice but to become an adult. I was out of the house by 16, and already working and living on my own and not getting in trouble. Like, actual trouble,” she laughs.

But the day after announcing her debut album, she did stumble across some “actual trouble”, when she was arrested along with her boyfriend, Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV, and charged with possession. “People like to talk – they’ll get over it. It still gets mentioned all the time. I’m more than my…” she pauses and laughs, “I can’t believe I was about to say it.  Oh well, I’ll just say it – I’m more than my mug shot, and once the album came out it kind of proved that. For a second it was, ‘Look at Sky, she fucked it up’. In a way, I’m glad it happened before the album rather than after.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2014/02/14/sky-ferreira/23704/