GRETTA RAY

“I think part of me always knew that I was going to be a performer – I was lucky enough to begin performing at a very young age, and became addicted to it pretty much instantly!”

At just 19 years of age, Gretta Ray has had a big couple of years. Having been announced 2016’s Triple J Unearthed High winner, Gretta has since gone on to play sets at Falls Festival and Splendour in the Grass. 2017 has seen her return from a stint in the United States.

2016 was also the year Gretta won the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition, on the day of her Year 12 English exam, no less. It was an accomplishment, she says, she still can’t believe happened.

“It was amazing to be recognised and credited for my songwriting, because it is something that I have been working at for years. At that point in time, Drive was the song that I was most proud of. I am so grateful to have had the support from APRA that I have,” Gretta tells RSOM.

What was an eventful day for Gretta was also a reflection on her ability to balance her studies and her role in the music industry.

“I do recall feeling a sense of pride that I was able to maintain a balance (between school and music). I intended to give both areas of my life the same amount of energy, and that night I felt like that was something that I was achieving.” 

So surely such a stellar start to a career would require a kickstart from an early age? That certainly was the case for Gretta, with many of her family also being musicians. She says music was an underlying theme of her childhood.

“I grew up playing instruments and singing in choirs, as well as going to see a lot of shows with my mum, who made sure I was immersed in music from a young age.”

At the age of seven, songwriting had become a hobby, writing what she could on her keyboard, and she admits it was a hobby she quickly became passionate about.

“I didn’t write another song until about two years later, but from that point forward I really kicked into gear and was writing little ditties whenever I got the chance to.

“I perceived songwriting as a hobby that made me fantasise about being a performer. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality. I think the moment that I knew that I wanted that fantasy to become a reality was during the process of recording my debut EP ‘Elsewhere’. I was in my element in the space of a studio.”

Along with songwriting, Gretta began performing at a young age and as a result has years of experience performing music in Melbourne. Having performed with groups such as Young Voices of Melbourne and If You See Her, Say Hello, Gretta believes that her experience with these groups, particularly in Melbourne, have shaped her into the artist she is today.


“Within the choirs that I have been a part of in the past, I have learnt much about myself as a musician, and also made some beautiful, talented, life long friends.

The Melbourne music scene is an incredible community, too. I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Some years later, Gretta is known in the Australian music scene for her perfect rhyming, and use of alliteration, when writing. Despite her love of the English language; however, she admits that she doesn’t have a particular song writing process, and says this is what makes song writing worthwhile.

“A song often starts with a seed of inspiration, a concept, that I have been pondering on for a while. I will accumulate a bunch of ideas in relation to the initial idea, and then set side time to sit down with my work and construct the song.” 

And as for what she finds herself writing about, Gretta is particularly interested writing autobiographically, reflecting, rather than focusing on a narrative.

“I have predominantly written about relationships and the notion of observing the human condition. I want to write about a range of things over the duration of my career. 

[With Drive] I wanted to write a song that explored that concept of the intimate, magical atmosphere that is created in the space of a car when one is driving around with someone they love. In this song, the idea is portrayed as more of a fantasy than a reality.” 

With an abundance of songs up her sleeve, an EP and plenty more music to follow, Gretta is aiming to perfect her new music. Knowing the ins-and-outs of the Melbourne music scene, it will definitely be easier this time around, and slowly becoming a household name, she has plenty advice to pass on to up-and-coming songwriters.

Work really hard, make your own decisions about the direction of your career, seek inspiration, listen to those whom are more experienced in the industry and take their advice on board, continue to grow as a writer and person, challenge yourself but don’t become overly obsessive about your writing. Let your emotions and creativity drive your project.” 

There is no doubt that Gretta has had a massive couple of years, and that 2018 will be even bigger. Having finished off 2017 touring the country with fellow Melburnian Vance Joy, Gretta is back in the studio and is hoping to release more music in the near future.

You can check out Gretta on:

Facebook | Twitter YouTube | Website

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra 

 

RSOM at Face The Music Summit Day 1: 23/11/2017

Day one of Face The Music presented eager and aspiring talents in all facets of the music industry to join as a community and to hear from many different representatives in the music scene.

In Face The Music’s TENTH year, the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral was the hub of the two day conference as well as for Melbourne Music Week.

As a member of the Melbourne music community both as a musician and a female in the music business world, there were three important key themes that stood out throughout the day.

1. USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN A SALES POST AND AN ORGANIC POST. This was a major discussion in the first workshop titled “Meet Your Future Boss: Our Picks for Tomorrow’s Fearless Leaders.” Speakers featured Gloria Brancatisano, Music Editor of Beat Magazine, Alex Gleeson, Entertainment Manager of The Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood, Hip/Hop Rap artist, Mallrat, Georgia Cooke, Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records, and Charlotte Ried, Executive Assistant at Michael Parisi Management. “The key is not to always post about stuff that people can do for you,” explained Mallrat as she believes social media should be used to not only promote yourself but to share your personality and to engage in conversation.

One of the biggest mistakes in the music industry is that artists use social media just to advertise where they are playing so that they can get people to come to their shows, but as social media now plays a huge part in our everyday lives, artists should become more honest on socials and show their personality to their fans.

“Putting yourself out there and taking yourself out of your comfort zone is important,” said Alex Gleeson. He explained to the crowd that when applying to play at venues, it is like applying for a job. The applications that stand out are ones who show enthousiasm, initiative and dedication and doesn’t look like a copy and paste job.

The same applies when going for a job or internship. Don’t wait for Facebook to show you a job opening, call or email the company and express your interest as that shows that you are taking initiative for your learning regardless of your experience in the industry. For those who are under 18 and are wanting experience before stepping out into the real world, apply to volunteer at festivals and events so that you can meet people and build relationships from then.

2. USE SOCIAL MEDIA DATA TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE Times have changed and social media is no longer something we should fear, but embrace. In the workshop titled, Building Blocks: How to Grow, Understand and Meet the Needs of your Audience, the panel highlighted that Melbourne has a massive audience out there who want to see live music on a regular basis.

The panel consisted of Yvette Myhill, Swan Hill Performing Arts, Harley Evans, Moshtix, Sally MatherCorner Hotel and Stacey Piggott, Secret Service.

Last year, Live Performance Australia survey results showed that 5.6 million people went to see a gig in 2016.

The panel encouraged artists to be proactive when putting on an event such as asking the venues for ticketing data after a show or doing their own publicity if they cannot afford a publicist.

If you know who your audience is, you can target your marketing to that specific group, whether it be female, 18 – 35 from the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne and use Facebook’s advertising functions to help you improve your reach. Or, why not use it for a completely different group to help spread the word and GROW your audience?

There are short tutorials on Facebook that you can watch under Facebook Blueprint that can help you utilise this great social media platform to spread the word as an artist.

3. THERE IS STILL NOT ENOUGH REPRESENTATION IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY OF FEMALES, AGE AND COLOUR.

There are a lot of females who are working in this music industry that are so good at their jobs and don’t get recognised. Georgia Cooke was one who stood out as the 22 year old Promotions Lead at Remote Control Records confesses that she left out her age on her resume as she had a fear that employers would immediately dismiss her application. “Diversity and representation is important,” said Cooke as the panel highlighted that we are still in a highly dominated male industry.

“Being young and a female is an issue that people should realise and push away,” said Mallrat as she discussed the idea of having more female sound engineers in the music industry. “Every female artist always records with a male sound engineer. It would be nice to have somebody that is like you.”

What should be commended is the equality of male and female speakers in each workshop today and how each workshop that I attended commended that. As a female, it is definitely refreshing and comforting hearing from successful females in the industry and gives hope to those who are struggling to find a job.

4. MENTAL HEALTH AND SUPPORT NETWORKS ARE KEY WHEN WORKING IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. Working in the music industry is not a 9 to 5 job for most people, therefore it is important to take care of your mental health. If you are an artist, you could be on the road with little sleep driving for 2 hours at a time to a gig, or you could be an artist manager checking up on a client on the phone at 3am who is currently overseas on a US tour.

This theme again appeared in another workshop titled, The Manager’s Special with guest speakers Leigh Treweek, Owner of The Music Magazine, Charlotte Abromsfrom Hear Hear Group (Gretta Ray, Haarlo, Angie McMahon), Ellen Kirk from Lookout Kid (Courtney Barnett, Fraser A. Gorman, Jen Cloher) and Jim McKinnon from Team Trick (Dead Letter Circus, Mallrat)

This gave both musicians and music business individuals an insight into the life of these  managers as they work closely with household artists.

A manager is someone who is ultimately responsible for the direction of an artists’ career.  It is very important for an artist to have a relationship with their manager in order for the manager to bring out the best of the artist where possible.

“If you’re not taking care of your artist, then it becomes creatively stifling for them,” said. Charlotte Abroms.

Also, it is important for an artist to not just have a vision musically, but also as a person and know how they want to be represented so that their manager can lead them in the right direction.

All in all, the workshops gave music lovers an insight into the reality of our industry and really honed in a sense of belonging and community. It was a place where musicians could gain more knowledge and learn the necessary skills for them to implement into their career, no matter what side of the music industry they decided to take.

RSOM would like to thank Face The Music for having us this year and we hope to be involved next year!

Stay tuned for our review of Day 2 of Face The Music.

Written by Jena Marino

LUCCA FRANCO

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl.”

You’d be correct in thinking Motown was a thing of the past, right? Wrong. Meet Lucinda, known musically as Lucca Franco. The 24-year-old from Oakleigh has always had a love for Motown and soul, and is now taking her passion and reinventing the sound. And how did it all start? I hear you asking. Well as Lucinda recalls, it all started with one talent show that took place 14 years ago.

“When I was 10 years old I entered a talent competition where I placed and ended up winning. From there I started singing lessons and it wasn’t until I was about 13/14 that I really started taking it seriously. I just fell in love with music and that sound. I found my first Aretha Franklin record at that age, it was kind of like a ‘Best Of’ record, and I just fell madly in love with her sound and that genre of music- the old soul singers, Motown. People like Aretha, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, Michael Jackson and I just started singing all her tunes all the time. I became obsessed with the soul sound.”

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The talent competition wasn’t the only competition Lucinda starred in during her youth, either. The up and coming soul star placed in a song writing competition at the age of 12, adapting her with the skills she ended up using to write her debut album from a young age. The song, There Are Days, was the first song she ever recorded. She also admits that she came across it on one of her old computers the other day and “completely lost it.”

“I was 12 years old and it was the school holidays and my dad had bought me a little keyboard and I worked out all these functions where you could make beats and stuff. At school I was severely bullied, like I didn’t have very many friends when I was younger and it was just this song about having your family and friends support you through any situation.”

So many achievements at such a young age, and Lucinda had realised that music was the path she had to be on. Many artists make sacrifices when they first enter the industry, however Lucinda was beginning before she even finished school. Despite this, she admits that moving to Sandringham College from an all-girls Catholic school for year 11 and 12 was the best decision she ever made.

“Sandringham had amazing music teachers that nurtured my music and my creative side. One of the bands I started in the classroom became the band I ended up playing in right up until recently. We were like a reggae, funk band and worked our butts off and gigged from the age of 16 to about 22. Then Michael, the guitarist went overseas and worked on a cruise ship so whilst we never disbanded, it kind of put a halt to our music which led me to start the Lucca project.

“After that, I was really lost for a couple of years. I knew what I wanted to write but because I wasn’t super confident on guitar or piano, I was just banging out a few simple cords here and there whilst the chords were all in my head. I got myself a vocal loop station so I started writing with that but I was never really doing anything with the songs I wrote, I was just keeping them there.”

Lucinda was fortunate enough to meet her current producer, Lee Bradshaw at an event 18 months ago, where Lucinda worked as a vocal coach. Describing their meeting as a “serendipitous” moment, she says he completely understood the artist she wanted to become. The two went on to work together, with Lucinda going on to record not only a song he wrote, but writing, producing and recording her entire up and coming album with him.

“We wrote a bunch of songs that I’m really happy with that turned into this project. I worked with some incredibly songwriters and had some cool people playing on the recording- we did live recordings of the album. We’d spend 9 hour days in the studio and played these songs and it came out incredible. We’d overdubbed different sections as we couldn’t fit all the musicians in the room at the time. I got other vocalists in as I wanted it to echo the old soul sound and it was just so much fun. It seems like a lifetime ago now even thought it was only 6 months ago but I’m really excited to get it out on stage. It is my proudest achievement.”

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The Lucca Project was written entirely on piano and according to Lucinda each song was recorded with up to eight different musicians. She emphasises the team effort behind the album through the writing, recording and production as inspired by the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown. About The Funk Brothers, Lucinda describes the collaborative effort that they underwent and how she wanted to replicate that. Despite having been working on her debut single Sinking Feeling for years, she admits the support she had from her team was what solidified it into becoming her entrance into the industry.

“I started writing it ages ago. But I only ever had a chorus for it and it was constantly stuck in my head. I never knew where to go from there- I’m one of those people who has books and books and books filled with unfinished songs. When we started the process of writing Lee was like “Well what have you got? Bring your old stuff in” and he liked it. The way we worked on that song together was like thinking about what was going on and what I was feeling when I wrote it. It’s when you’ve got that ‘sinking feeling’ when you’re starting to date someone new and it’s all going cool and then things just start changing and getting weird really quickly. I write very differently by myself to when I’m co-writing as well but a lot of this album came out with just talking about what I was feeling when I was writing and it brought out all these cool songs.”

And the rest of Lucca’s debut album is set to have the same vibe, according to Lucinda with the ‘break-up’ theme no doubt playing a huge role. Fans are to expect it to be sassy and funky, whilst the sole love song on the able is sultry and sensual- “all of the songs are really different, but the theme of the album is definitely there,” she admits.

Showing just how much Lucinda wants to echo the Motown days, she will be pressing her album onto vinyl for die-hard vinyl fans. She also plans to head over to the United States and go back to where Motown all began, and also where her love for Motown all began.

“I want to bring my myself back to where this style of music was made. And if people like this project enough, then I want to create another one because I’ve already got a million ideas. I want to make Lucca my original – and full time – work. That’d be awesome.”

Lucinda is launching her debut single Sinking Feeling later on Sunday April 23 at The Toff in Town and hopes to replicate her Motown idols.

“Hopefully it’s the kind of show Aretha would’ve put on thirty years ago except in Melbourne, sung by a little Italian-Australian girl alongside some incredible musicians. There’ll be hooks that grab people’s attention and singalong music, especially with Sinking Feeling.”

Check out details for her EP launch on Facebook here

Check out Lucca Franco on
FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM 

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

REVIEW: BLOOM SINGLE LAUNCH ft. TEMPUS SUN- THE WORKERS CLUB, FITZROY (11/1/17)

As soon as I heard that this gig was coming to town, I made myself a promise that I would be in attendance. I saw Bloom, and supporting act Tempus Sun at the Melbourne Music Bank finale in October and I was immediately impressed by both acts. These two acts represent how exceptional the Melbourne music scene is.

I walked into the Bandroom at The Workers Club just in time for the beginning of Tempus Sun’s set. I was amazed. The Bandroom has quickly become one of my favourite live music venues across all of Melbourne, but I had never seen it so crowded. Full of family, friends and fans, it was a true testament to Tempus Sun and their passion and love for the music they play.

The band begun their set upbeat and energetic, the best way possible for this girl who was attending her first gig of 2017. I can only describe the song as a ‘summer kicker,’ which enabled them early on to engage with the audience and have their full attention the entire set.

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With a mixture of upbeat and slower, heavier songs played throughout the set, lead singer Lucy was able to demonstrate her versatile vocals. Each lyric she sung had me entirely transfixed, as if I could feel every emotion she felt in that moment. ‘Stop’ showed us that her silky smooth vocals were able to be transformed into rock and roll.

Male lead Andrew was also fantastic. It was difficult to pick who he reminded me of, but they were definitely reminiscent of the likes of John Mayer and Jarryd James. Andrew and Lucy’s voices worked incredibly well together, with the entire banding meshing and playing the set of their lives, depicting just how much they love what their doing.

It was practically impossible to fault their set. ‘Owls,’ the song they won the Melbourne Music Bank with, was definitely the highlight of the night. Catchy but heartfelt, it is one of those songs that you just want to here on the radio.

After a short intermission, main act Bloom graced the stage with her presence. I saw her perform also at the Melbourne Music Bank Finale and she was nothing short of wonderful. I had noticed that the crowd had died down, but she was able to continue the engagement of those that were still there. It also made it far more comfortable in the room.

She begun her set smoothly which not only showed off her vocals but demonstrated who she is as an artist.

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I appreciated that her set wasn’t predictable and admired her diverse tracks. I didn’t manage to catch the names of the majority of the songs; however, which was disappointing. In saying that, she has a mixture of slower-jazz tunes and upbeat folky tracks, which she performed on the night with ease. She often accompanied her vocals with either a piano or a guitar, as well as the rest of the band. This was an obvious highlight, as she interacted with her band better than I have seen any solo artist playing at The Workers Club do.

There is a reason why these two acts were the final two acts in the 2016 Melbourne Music Bank and I’m sure Melbourne (and hopefully beyond) will see more of what they have to offer.

Follow Bloom on:

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Written by Jordyn Hoekstra

NAPIER

Their debut EP Sundance Romance has been dubbed a “summer soundtrack,” but Melbourne-based band Napier have proven that their music provides the party tunes all year round.

Led by frontman Nelson Dore, the band also consists of bass player Jimi Taylor, keys player Nick Dalton-Bocquet and drummer Matty Lansdown. Nelson and Jimi have known each other since primary school.

“I met Jimi in Primary School,” Nelson told The Real Songwriters of Melbourne.“We grew up together. We liked the same time type music and played together after school. It was just what we did music’s just what we’ve always done. I met the other guys through friends of friends at university. I studied Music Industries at NMIT, majoring in songwriting and record production.”

Despite coming from a non-musical family, music has always been a major part of Nelson’s life.  Multi-talented, he plays guitar and piano as well as vocals, and writes all the music for Napier. Having known Jimi almost all his life, they’ve always been in music together.

“I’ve always been in a band, with Jimi, and have always done the band thing. Whenever I wanted to play music, I always saw the bigger picture of being in a band.

“I generally write all the songs. So I’ll write up the chords, lyrics and melodies and take it back to the band, where we’ll flesh it out into a rockin’ song. Every song’s kind of different though. For this new record (Sundance Romance), the songs were written instrument-first, but it’s not always like that. Sometimes I could be humming a melody all day and can come home and make it a song, or a cool little lyric that I can’t get out of my head until I flesh it out. There’ll always be some kind of idea, whether it be from the melody or lyrics. Then I’ll force myself to make a song out of it.”

And even though he’s always made music in a band, Nelson admits it’s not easy bringing songs back to the group.

“We have those times where we (the band) aren’t really gelling or we’ll take a song and it just won’t work. So we’ll be like ‘forget it.’ Sometimes I’ll bring it back a few weeks later and we’ll nail it. It just depends on the timing.”

Nelson’s songwriting has been successful regardless, as the band’s debut single ‘Shake! Shake! Shake!’ has proved popular among their growing fans.

“The song’s on the EP, but we released it as a single to get our vibe out there. When I wrote it, I was vibing off Bo Diddley and that kind of music from the 50s and 60s. I found a riff that worked and thought it’d be cool to have a song like that, because nobody’s really doing that anymore. It ended up being a really catchy number and goes down well live.”

Apart from Diddley, Napier’s biggest influences include The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and even Elvis Presley. Nelson admits that Jett was the band that brought him and Jimi together. Most recently, the band have been taking influence from Tame Impala and Nathaniel Ratecliffe.

They also entered the Melbourne Music Bank in 2015 with Shake! Shake! Shake! and made the finals.

“It was an invaluable experience. There are so many industry professionals there, and it is the industry that votes on the top 12, so being selected validates you in the industry and also gives you the confidence that people want to hear your songs. It’s a great opportunity to network and receive advice about how to get your music out there. To play a song I’ve written in front of people makes me nervous, but it’s a relief to get a good reception. And we got a pretty good reception with the song.”

Napier launched their EP Sundance Romance on Saturday November 19 at the Ding Dong Lounge in Melbourne CBD. The EP, as Nelson describes it, consists of “pre-drinking grooving songs, late night kicking songs and Sunday sippers.” The band hopes the show will be high-energy, full of catchy songs.

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Check out Napier on:
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Soundcloud | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.

REVIEW: NOAH EARP ALBUM LAUNCH- THE TOFF IN TOWN, MELBOURNE (27/10/16)

The minute I stepped into The Toff in Town at the Curtin House, I knew it was going to be a good night. For starters, I adored the venue from first sight! It was relatively small, but I loved that the bar was set up at the back of the room and the tables set up.

I’d missed the first supporting act, Easy, but made it just in time for Gretta Ray, who I was excited to see. The year 12 student (who had sat her VCE English exam only the day before!) was crowned the national winner of the 2016 Triple J Unearthed competition. She is the 2016 winner of the Vanda & Young songwriting competition, which was announced the same day as the gig.

With so many accolades at such a young age, you could only imagine the pressure placed on her to perform well to a crowd of people she mostly knew. But she definitely did not  disappoint.

At just 18 years of age her songwriting ability is beyond what most of us could even imagine. And while her vocals were versatile and impressive, it was her vivid, occasionally haunting lyrics that drew me to wanting to hear more.

I appreciated that she performed a set full of original songs, as she was able to show everything she had to offer. She also went out of her way to interact with the audience. Providing the whole package, the short set she played was enough to gain me as a fan.

The final act of the night was the headliner: Noah Earp. Noah, launching his debut album ‘Disinheritor,’ was supported by his band, including the violin-playing manager of both Noah and Gretta- “Jono.”

I was transfixed by his voice from the opening song. His unique, bluesy tone took me back to the 1960s/70s (a period where I wasn’t even alive) and his talent was shining through. The band too were talented, however, for most of the night they overpowered his vocals! The set-up of the stage meant that any sound coming from it was most likely to echo as well so at times it was difficult to understand what he was singing. Regardless, Noah is definitely one to watch.


Listen to Noah Earp’s new single, The Raw and the Cooked.

I loved that he played his entire album in order. Sometimes the ‘no surprise’ element can become predictable, but as I think this was done perfectly considering he was debuting the album. The best possible advertising he could’ve done was to play the entire thing in order, so everyone who ended up buying one knew exactly what they were getting.

The highlight of Noah’s set was his instrumental tribute to American Delta Blues Artist Blind Billy. Despite being introduced as an instrumental, Noah admitted at the start that he was ‘still going to sing’ in it. And honestly, it worked. The song was a true reflection of his feelings towards this artist and his story, leaving everyone in the room in awe.

Two great sets were performed by Gretta and Noah. We’ll definitely be seeing more from both of them in the future. 

Follow Noah on
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.

REVIEW: THE HUNTER EXPRESS EP LAUNCH- GASOMETER, COLLINGWOOD (22/10/2016)

I’ll start by saying, I’m no stranger to the Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood, but I had never set foot inside the Bandroom. It was a charming little venue that reminded me of the local pubs you’d find in British films. In saying that, I found that the Bandroom was possibly too small for The Hunter Express, as the audience packed in for what was a night of music to remember.

The first act of the night, Jane Sea, was a last-minute fill in. She definitely succeeded beyond her role, however! Her powerful vocals shone through as she played a mixed set of covers and originals. I adored her acoustic cover of MGMT’s Electric Feel, as she was able to impress with her vocal ability.

Scott Candlish was the next act to take the stage and despite his laid-back nature, he didn’t fail to deliver. I found it difficult to place him into one particular genre without any prior research, but he did give off a folky vibe with some country undertones. Regardless, I really enjoyed his set! He performed part of his set alongside his friend Annabelle and their voices balanced each other out superbly. A highlight of his set included the launch of his single ‘Two Feet.’

Concluding the night was main man Brad Ellis aka The Hunter Express who was launching his debut EP Bluestone Lane. His mixture of roots and big-band, as well as his heartfelt lyrics created an EP that is definitely worth checking out! Hoping You Don’t Mind at All, the leading single of the EP, was the most memorable song. It’s big-band vibe and catchy lyrics had everyone in the room singing and dancing away.

I also really enjoyed Feels Alright, as Brad was able to show off his folk ability. He and Scott performed part of his set together, which I loved as the banter between them was fun and easy-going. That is what I really appreciate about smaller gigs!

Despite the venue being crowded, three acts with bright futures played their hearts out in what was a great night of music!

Congratulations to The Hunter Express on the launch of his debut EP, Bluestone Lane.

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 Follow The Hunter Express on
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Click here to buy Hunter Express’ EP titled Bluestone Lane.

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.

L A C U N A

Singer, songwriter and composer Tamara Violet Partridge opens up about loss, recovery and her transition from classical to electronica under the new project name LACUNA.

‘Recovery’, LACUNA’s debut EP showcases Tamara’s talents as a songwriter and artist in the electronica genre, however, she admits that this wasn’t always her path. Having resided in Melbourne her entire life, the 22-year-old discovered her passion for music at the mere age of seven. After being told she was too small to play the trombone, she took up the flute which has driven a love for both woodwind instruments and classical music ever since.

‘I wasn’t good at anything else, I suppose. I didn’t come from a musical family, but my whole family loved music. They were always playing records or going to live shows, so they’ve always supported me. They never told me I couldn’t do music, which has had a really big impact.’

Not only is Tamara writing, recording and performing as LACUNA, she runs her own business composing music for film and games. The multi-talented musician, who also plays guitar, teaches instrumental piano, woodwind and voice lessons to students.

‘I didn’t get into composition until I was about 16, after being diagnosed with chronic tendonitis in my wrists, which caused me trouble playing music.’ 

This would’ve been enough for most people to throw it all in, however, not Tamara. After the loss of her father, music became her only escape. It wasn’t enough to give up just because she couldn’t follow her original plan of becoming a concert pianist or flautist.

‘I found composing and the use of technology a much better avenue and I was actually able to do it. So I went to university to study composition, film and sound design and began performing again. I could still play a lot of jazz and soul on the piano, just no longer for eight hours a day. This seems like a lot but that’s what is required of you to become a professional.’

 Despite no longer having the same classical-based focus she once had, she believes that her background has been beneficial in all areas of her work. Along with composing, Tamara began writing songs at the age of 10. Coming from a music loving family, her influences growing up ranged from Black Sabbath and Cat Stevens, to Frank Sinatra and the Eagles. There were a few particular songwriters from the electronic genre, however, that caught her eye.

‘My influences in song writing go all the way back to women including Delia Darbyshire, Daphne Oram and Wendy Carlos [prominent in the early/mid 1900s]. These women were pioneers in electronic music at a time where it was such a battle for women to partake in any industry, let alone something creative.”

And while she isn’t afraid to admit that her writing is driven by emotion, she aims for her music to create awareness about taboo subjects.

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‘My music comes down to stories and what I want to talk about. And what I want to talk about a lot of the time is making taboos not taboo. So that people don’t feel so isolated, judged or separated because they’ve experience something others haven’t. This generates a negative emotion around the situation rather than honouring the peripherals that we feel.’

The individuality of her music can only be constructed by the methods, or lack of methods, she uses in her song writing. Tamara acknowledges that song writing is different from multimedia composition, which is often formulaic.

‘I can’t tell sometimes [the way in which she writes]. It depends on the song. Sometimes it’s the melody, sometimes it’s the harmony and sometimes it’s the beat that comes first. The melody and lyrics always play into each other, however. I find that melody is the sonorous aspect of portraying what the words are saying. You might have three words for the entire song but it can be really powerful with the right ‘rise and fall’ of melodic content.’

Debuting her new project LACUNA in May with the launch of the EP ‘Recovery,’ Tamara was able to use her emerging passion for electronic music to push past the grief that is associated with loss. She created ‘Recovery,’ focusing on “five stages of grief” and the desire to make death a less taboo subject. As a result, she felt an entire album was unnecessary to encapsulate her feelings.

‘It [the death of loved ones] kind of happened really early for my family and me. People say “oh my goodness, that must’ve been awful” and it’s like “yeah, but I’m alright now. It’s going to be alright because this happens to everyone.” And the more we just keep going, it won’t be a huge burden where you can’t handle life.’

Each song in the EP explores an element of the grief and heartbreak Tamara went through and the progression of coming to realise the accepting her experience was the only way to move forward.

‘It’s a progression from “Anomalous,” which is about being in a state where you can’t have an attachment to anything but yourself and the experience of being an anomaly to yourself. Then is “Epiphany,” where I have recognised that this is an issue and I need an awakening in which I can realise how I can get out of this. It depicts the idea that the more you look for something, the less you are to find it. The third track “Isthatall” is the realisation that emotions are valid. Validation was really important to me.’ 

In the final two tracks, “Fleshandbone” and “Atomically,” Tamara recollects her experience, the underlying anger that later arose and the ability to think metaphysically. It was “Atomically” that concluded her journey of realising that acceptance is required before moving on.

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Tamara will be launching the single “Shake + Bake,” under LACUNA at the Revolver Bandroom on October 28 with special guests. You can buy tickets on their website.

Check out LACUNA on:
Facebook | InstagramSpotify

Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.

CHLOË VIOLETTE

“I just want to look back in ten years time and be like ‘yeah, I gave the music thing a red-hot go.’”

22-year-old Southbank resident Chloë Violette grew up along the Mornington Peninsula, which she cites has influenced the laidback vibe in her music. Having only taken up music when she began high school, she isn’t classically trained, but rather her music come from feelings or personal experiences.

“I played clarinet for the first three years of high school and then decided I didn’t want to continue with it. So I bought myself a nylon-string Valencia guitar and taught myself. I just started strumming away and the melodies and lyrics followed.”

Chloë began writing music as soon as she began playing it; admitting that she very rarely collaborates with other musicians. At first, she would find chord progressions that worked and then followed with lyrics, but now tends to keep the two separate.

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“Lately, they [the lyrics and chords] have been coming separately in terms of my imagination. Song writing is frame-of-mind based. It’s a matter of coaxing yourself into a creative state of mind.”

Currently residing in Southbank’s arts precinct and working in a bar at the Malthouse Theatre, Chloë finds herself living in what she describes as a “hub for creative people.” Studying a Bachelor of Arts/Secondary Education alongside a Diploma of Languages in French at Monash University has contributed to not only her music, but also her love of teaching.

“In a nutshell it’s a music major, a drama performance minor and a diploma in French, for the purpose of teaching. I find teaching inherent to human nature, whether it’s in the classroom or on stage. The ability to paint a picture through words and linguistics interests me, especially learning another language.”

Her alternative folk/acoustic style is influenced from many artists, both past and present. She cites Carole King, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Daughter, Ben Howard and Florence and the Machine as some of her biggest influences.

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“I saw Carole King and James Taylor in concert in 2010. I was probably the only person under the age of 40 there, but it was something else to see powerhouse performances from people in their late 60s/early 70s.”

Chloë’s main goal is to get as many people listening and connecting with her music as possible. She hopes that people will be able to connect with her raw lyrics and appreciate that as a songwriter, her life and experiences are reflected in the songs. This comes following the release of her latest EP Gypsy Girl its debut single ‘Hurricane.’ She describes the song as being about the innocence of youth and the lessons you learn growing up.

“The EP follows the narrative of the ‘gypsy girl’ and her emotional journey throughout life. I like having an understanding that all the songs are interconnected. It’s a snapshot of my lens looking at the world from the age of 16 to now.”

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Chloë is launching her EP Gypsy Girl at the Workers’ Club in Fitzroy on October 30. She hopes to thank and celebrate the culmination of artists that have been influential and inspiring through the process of the EP’s creation. You can buy tickets here.

Check out Chloë Violette on:
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Written by Jordyn Hoesktra

KINGS

Melbourne’s KINGS take on the West Coast with their new single

Melbourne’s underground electro-pop music scene is already champing at the bit, looking to get a taste of the latest release single from local music group KINGS, titled, (U) West Coast.

The band features producer and vocalist Hayden Jefferey, guitarist Sam Buirski, bass and keyboardist Caleb Williams, and drums and audio sampler Tim Cox.

Coming off of the back of their previous release, Whispers, which has garnered over 110,000 plays across YouTube, Soundcloud and radio and continues to grow, (u) West Coast is a vibrant new track looking to arc back to fond memories of the band’s past, and the nostalgia of sunshine and summertime. The single is sure to be a hit across the board from intimate gatherings up onto to summer festivals with its laid back, optimistic attitude.

The song has already garnered attention from multiple Australian music and media circles including Triple J’s Unearthed.

What will likely impress listeners the most with this latest track is the quality of its production and mastering, as the song throws you head first into a deep pulsing rhythm, punctuated by glassy highs and sharp percussion.

As the song progresses, the sharp, repetitive phrase of the hi-hat contrasting against the smooth melodic lines of the keyboards creates an almost “double layered” effect, keeping the ears focussed on two elements at once in a sort of trance like state.

The effect doesn’t stop here, as the lead verse casts out the multiple competing elements and leaves us with a relaxing mix of ambient guitar and clean vocals layered on top of thick, reverberating bass accents and airy synths.

It would come as a surprise if anyone can go through this song without thinking of summer, sunshine, beaches and the vast expanse of the ocean. For an even greater challenge, try not to think about those things while watching the official lyric video on YouTube, with its complementing backdrops of some of the nicest coastal scenery on offer bombarding your senses and compelling you to kick back and revel in the satisfaction of the simple things.

On top of all this, what may come as a surprise to those new to the bands work is the fact that the entirety of KINGS’ music is produced, recorded and mastered from the one location, in vocalist Hayden Jefferey’s home studio in the heart of Melbourne. As a testament to their work, the production value of their music stands up strongly against even professionally mastered pieces.

I sat down with the bands producer and vocalist Hayden Jeffery and discussed KING’s unique approach to music production in an ever growing and diversifying indie landscape.

K: “I take it that you have known each other for some time before KINGS was formed, how did you come to pursue music together?”

H: “We all knew each other (before). Tim Cox [drums, audio sampling] and I knew each other and have been playing music since we were about 15 through high school, and we knew the other members from other schools. So eventually when we all got out and went to uni, our paths found their way toward each other and we ended up starting KINGS together.”

K: “Is there a particular genre or style of music which you take inspiration from? What do you hope to achieve as a band?”

H: “Where we take inspiration from is not entirely different from what we’re doing, but of course we’re not trying to replicate what we’re inspired by. We basically take our inspiration from various types of electronic music, we’re quite into a lot of melodic stuff like R&B from over in the U.S. What we’re trying to achieve musically is a sort of smooth, electronic style with a rock influence.”

K: “Has music always been a pursuit for you? When did you turn onto music?”

H: “I think music was something I was interested in since I was about 12 years old, and I knew that music was going to be my full time pursuit from the moment I started High School. I just wanted to make music all the time, and I had those visions of a young High School kid where music would be enough to make a living through. We’re centring everything we’re doing on making a career in music.”

K: “Do you feel that the constant diversification of the independent music scene is beneficial or is it cornering your audiences?”

H: “It’s very interesting to see the different trends that come through. It’s a big thing to be (making music) completely solo, and have no backing band on stage at all. Something that KINGS really try to do is treat our approach to music traditionally with the four of us as a band. We still call it rock music and we still perform with our instruments on stage and give people a live experience. That’s what we’re really all about.”

K: “Let’s talk about your home studio production, what are the benefits of recording in your own space?”

H: “It’s where we rehearse as well as where we record. It’s a space that we don’t have to pay for, with no time pressures. We’re not wasting anyone’s time or creating pressure or stress it’s about having (people) in the room and being able to get things done by ourselves, and we can just pick up from where we left off. We record everything ourselves and I product it as best as I can. We then bounce the sample off of a mixing engineer that I really trust, we talk over the phone and we get things the way we want them.”

K: “Has your home studio approach garnered attention from any prominent people? How so?”

H: “West Coast did actually just gather some attention from a videographer called Jarrad Seng, who called us up and has used the song in the upcoming Oktoberfest festival’s promotion. That was a big step which we weren’t expecting and are very excited about. So all the hours critiquing and getting West Coast exactly how we wanted it to be really did pay off. It’s kind of something everyone picks up along the way through self-teaching and sharing different things you discover with your mates.”

K: “Where are you planning to go with this next single? Is this going to become part of a greater project?”

H: “We are working towards a track list for an EP, and now it’s just working out which tracks will stick with us and which previous tracks will be on the EP. But that doesn’t mean that we’ll be leaving the other tracks behind us, we’ll be pushing them as well and continuing to perform them live. We’re still unsure if the EP will be entirely new songs or if we’ll stick with some of the songs we’ve already released and push them further.”

K: “How did you settle on the overall style and layout of the music video?”

H: “With the song being titled “West Coast” the verses are completely based around summer and coastal scenes. Something that has been a massive part of my life is going down to the beach every weekend possible and getting into the waves, having a surf. My girlfriend and I would go and explore the coast and cliffs, and so it’s a big part of my life. We thought it would fit really well to have images of that (kind of) scenery. I called up a friend who is quite decent at editing video, and we gathered a massive library of footage from our friends which we put together. We basically filmed it in one night and stuck the lyrics over the top.”

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(u) West Coast is available for purchase on iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1124506888?ls=1&app=itunes)

Follow KINGS on
Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter 

Written by Kieran Balmaceda

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