Guy Sebastian’s New Perspective On Life & Music

Published on, Feb 2017


There’s a freedom to Guy Sebastian’s upcoming LP Conscious that the singer hasn’t explored yet. The Aussie favourite tells Daniel Cribb all about his new perspective on life and music in the lead up to a series of intimate album preview headline dates this March and April.

Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind your new single, Conscious.

It’s a breaking of some shackles for me. For a while, I think I’ve been bound a little bit to a fear of letting people down, and almost not being myself because I’m trying to uphold this certain thing that was drummed into me for a lot of my life. I think sometimes it causes you to not necessarily be as real as you can be and to almost hide your flaws a little bit, but that’s just not a normal world because we’re all flawed and we all do silly things. Sometimes it’s better when you just let everything out in the open.

I grew up fairly religious and I think that song’s about saying, ‘You know what? If you’ve got an opinion about me, I really don’t care,’ because I know who I am and I know that I don’t need to be weighed down by people’s opinions anymore.

What triggered that change?

I think growing up and having kids of my own and caring a lot less about what people think of me. When you have kids, your whole world changes; you reshuffle your priority list and [your] kids come first. The person who they grow up to know as dad is way more important than someone criticising me for something I might say or do or believe in. As long as they grow up knowing I was always honest with them, and real, and loved them as much as I humanly can, then that’s all that really matters.

What’s the significance of naming the album after the song Conscious?

It’s the one that, on a personal level, stands out the most. It’s probably the most raw as far as what that song means to me. A person might listen to it and it might not resound as deeply as it does with me — to another listener, Conscious could be waking up to their boss and going, ‘You know what? You’re a dick and I’ve been trying to please you for so long and clearly you just can’t be pleased.’ Whereas, for me, that song has a much deeper meaning.

How does the single compare to the rest of the album?

The whole album has a little bit more of an electronic tinge to it. Obviously, there’s a lot of focus on electronic music at the moment and that’s the style of music I’ve been listening to the most; I’ve been discovering new artists and producers on Spotify. It’s an exciting time in music, to have so many people be able to have careers whether it be on SoundCloud or just streaming.

My friend M-Phazes has a track out called Messiah and, you know, you’ve got people like him and Flume — so many producers who are just killing it — and it’s almost like they’ve brought production to the forefront to be acknowledged as much as the artists are and I think that’s really important.

I’ve worked with some incredible producers – I’m going to Sam Sakr’s studio right now, actually. Sam produced Conscious and he produced Home as well. I think anyone who likes electronic music will definitely be pretty inspired by Sam’s drum programming in particular.

What do you and Sam have planned today?

I’ve got a bunch of ideas in my phone that I’m going to go through and probably just take a couple of top lines to Sam and see what sticks. We’re not going to necessarily work on anything existing, I think we’re going to start something totally new. I’ve got an EP that I love [Part 1], but I keep trying to beat it. I’ve written all the tracks for Part 2, but I’m still writing just in case I get something better – I wrote something last week that’s replacing one of the tracks. I guess it’s about constantly trying to pump it out and better what I’ve got.

How will the Part 2 release fit in around Conscious in June?

I’m not really sure when it’s going to be released exactly – I’m shooting for May.

You’ll be giving fans a preview of Conscious in March and April at intimate venues like Corner Hotel and The Triffid – what can we expect from those shows?

It’s definitely different. Just last year I did a tour with a full band – horns, three singers, massive lighting show – and I was playing Rod Laver and entertainment centres around the country and to be in the headspace of being in a much-smaller music venue is exciting.

I wanted to take the vibe I had in the studio to the stage and so basically I’ve just kept it really simple and really stripped back. I think I just wanted to keep that stripped-back production focus with these shows and just give my supporters and fans something as a point of difference. I’ve got a lot of fans that have been to every tour that I’ve ever put on, so it’s really just about bringing something different – something people haven’t seen me do before and making it something a bit more intriguing. Those sort of venues will lend themselves to doing something like that. It’ll just be about lights and delivery in a very stripped-back way.

Can we expect to hear your Like A Version rendition of LDRU’s Keeping Score?

Yeah, I reckon I might [include it] on this tour. I didn’t do that on my last run of shows, so I think I’ll do that.


INTERVIEW: Neil Hamburger

Published in The Music (NSW) on, Feb 2017


Receiving death threats from Britney Spears fans is all in a day’s work for Neil Hamburger, as the man behind the character, Gregg Turkington, tells Daniel Cribb.

“I’ve been shooting a couple of seasons worth of Decker: Unclassified,” Australian-born, LA-based comedian/actor Gregg Turkington begins.

The Adult Swim show follows cult favourite Tim Heidecker as a special agent, and while it might look fairly rough to someone not familiar with the pair’s work, it takes a lot to make that style of TV look natural. “The thing is, you can have something that’s just shitty, or you can carefully construct something to appear shitty… we want to have this very specific type of shittiness to it; it’s not as random as it might seem to people.”

Having two new series of Decker in the bag as well as another Heidecker/Adult Swim project, On Cinema, ready to go, “it’s the perfect time to take a trip” back to Australia for some headline gigs, returning to his beloved alter-ego Neil Hamburger, who was the subject of feature film Entertainment in 2015. “With [Neil Hamburger], I definitely like a mix of impromptu things happening and then the set of jokes I have to draw from. I mean, Jesus Christ, there’s 20 years of Neil Hamburger jokes to draw from at this point.”

The character of Neil Hamburger as it’s known today can be somewhat attributed to Aussie punk legends Frenzal Rhomb and their management, who first convinced Turkington to do stand-up with him. Given that Neil Hamburger records have been released on music label Drag City the past 20 years and that Turkington got his start as a musician — playing in bands and running a label — it’s not surprising his upcoming dates sees a return to live music venues instead of traditional comedy spaces. “I’ve always been more of a music guy than a comedy guy,” he tells. “The comedy clubs I always find pretty alienating; the buffalo chicken wings, and the nachos and the two drink minimum — the whole way that it works, it’s nothing I can relate to. The fact is, the people that go to those clubs, they don’t really like me either,” he laughs.

Luckily for Turkington, he’s noticed a shift in the scene since first starting out, with more comics taking to music venues and more punters keen to experience comedy in that environment. “I think there’s so much bad music and people are so fucking tired of these garbage bands that right now people who wanted to go to the music club to see music are kind of happier going to see comedy because music has let them down.”

Musical comedy, on the other hand, is a different story, with Turkington saying it is often going unappreciated. “I love music and comedy being mixed and I think sometimes people dismiss it more quickly than they should as novelty – they think it’s just a joke,” he tells. “But you know, comedians after often pretty serious about what they’re doing.

“The last album we did was half songs and half comedy… I thought it was pretty interesting, but I don’t know, I think I’ve talked to three people ever that have heard the album, so that makes it less interesting to do more of them.”

A few years ago Turkington was developing an idea for a concept album that would see his unique style of comedy take aim at the garbage music that’s on offer, but had the wind taken out of his sails. “There was this weird period of time where I was at war with all these Britney Spears fans on Twitter and they were just threatening death and getting really angry, and I was kind of baiting them and it was all this back and forth stuff.

“It went on for a few weeks and it was really fun and I had this idea to do this album that sort of used a bunch of different people coming in and doing the voices of people screaming at me and me doing the Neil Hamburger thing, responding to them, and working it all together into this strange concept album but the weird thing was at that time, you couldn’t have access to tweets that were past a couple of weeks old.

“I got in touch with [Twitter] and was like, ‘I need to get a transcript of these battles,’ and they said, ‘Sorry, we can’t release that stuff to you.’ If I’ve got a bee in my bonnet I’d be into making another album.” More Than Just Nostalgia – Simple Minds, The B-52s Bring Their A-Game To First Aus Show

Published on, Feb 2017


Simple Minds, The B-52s

Kings Park

Feb 2

“Let’s forget politics and go to Mesopotamia,” The B-52s frontman Fred Schneider yelled after bringing up the awkward phone call between Trump and Turnbull that had been dominating headlines that day.

The new wave/art punk masters were on fire from the moment they graced the stage, with Schneider’s unique and quirky vocals darting between the trademark harmonies of fellow singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson.
Pierson was quick to take lead, dishing up short, sharp bursts of angst-fuelled vocals as the trio engaged in corny and infectious dance moves, dressed in attire ripped straight from the ‘80s.

“Is there glue on your seats?” Schneider barked. Unfortunately, the energy offered up from the band during songs like Lava and Is That You Mo-Dean? wasn’t matched by the audience until Private Idaho, Love Shack and Rock Lobster rolled around. It’s been almost 40 years since the Deadbeat Club played their first show in Georgia and they’re still just as compelling and charming as ever.

The bubbly tone set in place by The B-52s disappeared with the sun, as the vibe went from picnic pop to stadium rock with Simple Minds’ stage overflowing with smoke trying to hide a mountain of equipment.

“You lucky people, what’s it like living in this part of the world?” frontman Jim Kerr began through the haze.

Chunky bass gripped the audience and reverb-drenched snare bellowed up the banks of Kings Park for Waterfront.

Ambient guitar leads and pacing keys set the mood, and Kerr was the perfect embodiment of a classy rocker, dressed in a casual suit and scarf with vocals that toed the line between melodic and rough.

The bass continued to be a driving force with synth looping its way throughout killer riffs from Charlie Burchill, but it wasn’t long before Kerr demanded the spotlight again for Love Song. Everyone was on their feet, mesmerised by the flurry of lights and wave of constant noise relentlessly and repeatedly crashing over them.
Down on one knee and winking his way through the front row, Kerr was dripping with sweat (perhaps that scarf wasn’t such a great idea after all), leaving the stage briefly to dry off while backing vocalist Sarah Brown led the intro of Book Of Brilliant Things, resting on nothing more than piano and synth – a welcome relief from the onslaught of noise.

Kerr took position on the edge of the drum riser – one if many raised platforms occupied by various members – before leaping back into close proximity of his tipsy and adoring fans for Someone Somewhere In Summertime.

Nostalgia came in thick and fast during Real Life, with its hollow verses, big fills and harmony-drenched choruses, the latter of which was courteous of Welsh multi-instrumentalist Catherine AD, who came down from her platform at the back of the stage for the song.

While upbeat classics like Promised You A Miracle were a Glittering Prize, it was ballads Alive & Kicking and Let It All Come Down that really did justice to the talent of each individual member. With that said, nothing beat the atmosphere when the house lights came on and every last person was echoing the chorus lines of Don’t You. Don’t Panic – Trump’s US Visa Chaos Won’t Affect Aussie Artists

Published on, Feb 2017


A lot of Australians didn’t really think Trump’s US presidency would have much of an impact on them, until a few days ago, when the news exploded around a number of changes to the country’s visa system, including the ban of citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries.

For local bands that want to or already have booked tours, the uncertainty surrounding the situation has created quite a mindfuck and has been aggravated further after today’s revelations about Trump’s aggressive phone call with Turnbull earlier this week.

Speaking with The Music, Brooklyn-based US immigration policy and procedure experts Tamizdat – who frequently deal with Australian artist applications – said “theoretically nothing” will change in the process.

“The Executive Order only impacts people from the seven banned countries,” attorney Matthew Covey said.

Covey also said US Customs and Border Protection has indicated Australian artists with dual-citizenship in one of the banned countries also don’t need to be concerned at this stage.

“It appears that they will not be affected by the ban, provided they are entering with their AU passport,” he said.

“This is the word from CBP, but it’s not official yet.”

The US Customs and Border Protection has updated their website since Trump signed the Executive Order with some FAQs, including one question that reads:

“Does this Executive Order apply to dual nationals of the seven countries who want to enter the US? If they apply for entry based on their citizenship from one of the countries NOT on the list, will they be allowed entry?”

To which UCBP answered: “Yes, but travellers are being treated according to the travel document they present.  For example, if they present a Canadian passport, that is how they are processed for entry.”

Fellow New York-based organisation RAZCo Visas has been providing visa and immigration assistance to musicians for over 40 years, with owner Ron Zeelens also telling The Music Australian artists need not worry.

“There have been no changes for artists applying for either an O or P visa and I do not foresee there being any issue for an Australian artist under the Trump administration. The basic costs are the same,” Zeelens said.

However, California Immigration Consultant and Global Access president Brande Lindsey told The Music in recent years the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services have “implemented a sticker interpretation of the government regulations”, meaning the application process has become harder in general.

“The artist and their reps need to market the artist to show there is a demand for their employment services in the United States,” Lindsey explained, saying the new changes could result in further delays.

“The Consular processing times and the actual interview process could be expected to take longer and include more stringent background clearance screenings which can ultimately could cause significant delays inevitably postponing dates…allow a 3 – 6 month window to include petition preparation, USCIS adjudication and US Consular visa processing.”

INTERVIEW: Craig Charles

Published on, Feb 2017


Craig Charles On Skipping Syd & An Exciting Melb Collab

Lockout laws will see British Red Dwarf star Craig Charles’ funk and soul show skip Sydney, but as Daniel Cribb discovers, that just means more time in Melbourne for an exciting collaboration.

“I could quite easily move to Australia and feel right at home because a lot of the people over there have the same sort of musical sensibilities as me,” Red Dwarf actor and now revered musician Craig Charles begins from his Manchester home, preparing for a trip Down Under.

Despite the climate juxtaposition — Charles currently staring at frost in his garden while Australia powers through another summer heatwave — his funk and soul passion aligns nicely with our scene.

After scoring a regular Funk And Soul Show on BBC radio in 2002, which he still hosts to this day, Charles began performing live, quickly forging a completely new fan base outside of his acting work as the legendary Dave Lister on Red Dwarf, hosting duties on Robot Wars and ten-year stint on UK soap opera Coronation Street.

He released his fourth Funk & Soul Club compilation in December of last year, which opens with Aussie soul legend Kylie Auldist’s Family Tree. “Melbourne’s got such a great funk and soul community going on, with Lance Ferguson and The Bamboos and Black Feeling.”

Auldist’s voice topped numerous charts last year when her feature on Cookin’ On 3 Burners’ This Girl became a global hit via a Kungs remix. “I’ve been championing those guys for years,” Charles says.

With a week off after in the middle of his upcoming Australian tour, Charles is set to enter the studio with them for a unique collaboration, focusing on the UK star’s roots. “They want me to do one of my poems to music, so I’m going to do that and have a proper chillout,” he reveals. “I don’t know what we want to do; we’re just going to spend a day in the studio and see what happens.

“I’ve just done these epic poems called Scary Fairy & The Tales From The Dark Wood, they’re kind of children’s nursery rhymes, but I’ve done them with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, and they’re 45 minutes long with a 95-piece orchestra behind them.

“I want to see if I can do funk and soul version of them… Sort of like a concept album.”

Charles has been venturing to Australia for the better part of two decades, and while this trip sees a return to Adelaide and his first-ever Perth date, Sydney will unfortunately miss out. “There’s loads of stuff coming out of Sydney as well, although I’m not playing Sydney this year,” he tells. “I think they’ve got this curfew now in Sydney. That’s going to kill the fucking music scene, isn’t it? I’m shocked that I can’t come over there and play because I love Sydney.

“I was over there doing Robot Wars stuff, staying in Darling Harbour and they gave me my own motorboat and I was sailing around on my motorboat for four weeks — it was brilliant, I didn’t want to go home.”

His touring schedule will also see press for Red Dwarf XI, which dropped last year. “Dave Lister is a very big part of my life. I started playing Dave Lister when I was 23, so he’s been with me my whole adult life, and it’s one of those career-defining roles,” he explains. “I was in Coronation Street for ten years, which is like the biggest show in Britain, but people still call me smeghead in the street,” he laughs.

“He’s a character I’ll never shake off, nor would I want to. I’ve really enjoyed playing Dave Lister and he’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

First airing in 1988, the sci-fi comedy shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “Red Dwarf XII comes out this year,” he reveals. “That’ll come out in autumn this year. We’ve got all sorts of plans for Red Dwarf XIII and XIV and a stage tour, a stadium tour, which would be fantastic if we could get it off the ground, so it’s exciting times.

“We’ve been doing it nearly 30 years and we pinch ourselves that we’re still getting away with it — four broken down old TV stars stumbling onto a stage, it’s quite cool,” he laughs.

His role as Dave Lister was one of the reasons he got cast to host Aussie favourite Robot Wars. It was revealed last year that Robot Wars would reboot for another season, and the production company made the mistake of moving forward without Charles. “Because we’re in an ageing population, nostalgia is really big business. I don’t think you should mess with people’s nostalgia,” he explains. “We were filming Red Dwarf at the time and they made this new Robot Wars without me hosting it and there was a massive outcry over here from the fans because basically the production company who made it were fucking with their nostalgia.”

Although he’s developed different fan bases for each aspect of his career, that theme of nostalgia binds them all together. The longevity of good TV and film can be compared to that of classic albums. “I have arguments with my misses about this, you know,” he says on that point. “My wife Jackie, she doesn’t watch a film, ‘Aw, we’ve seen that film.’ I can watch a film ten, 20, 30 fucking times. That’s like saying, ‘Oh, I’ve heard that album.’ You listen to an album over and over again.

“You listen to an album over and over again until you learn the lyrics and good TV is like that.”

And there are some records in Charles’ collection that he’s indeed played over and over. “I’ve been collecting records since I was a teenager and it was a hobby for years and then all of a sudden it turned into this parallel profession. I don’t see it like working; I get invited to all the cool parties and I get to play the music.”

Craig Charles’ Australian tour kicks off this Friday, Feb 3, at The German Club, Adelaide, before he takes on Melbourne and Perth.

Check out theGuide for all the info.