Animation Station includes a heap of different genre styles, in past articles you described the sound as ‘someone flicking though TV channels,’ can you elaborate on that? Or rather, how did you come about incorporating so many styles into the album?
I guess because I am like a little kid and um I get obsessed with one thing for like a week, or I’ll hear a new thing like I discovered Beck when I was making that album, which is pretty late to the game. I discovered him and was like ‘oh my god this is awesome,’ at some stage he must have just said like fuck it, like the white boy rap thing and some funk. So I would hear something like Beck, be like COOL and be inspired and do something like that.
Yeah the 200 Days song, like funk kind of bass-line and the rapping that was a joke at first, like a Beck experiment.
The other thing is a lot of the songs on the record are quite old now, like the first song is 5 or 6 years old now. At the time I didn’t know I was putting an album together, just kind of recording stuff and my friends and mucking around while in other bands, this particular housemate was like ‘man this is cool ,you should finish it and release it’ and I was like ‘ohh yeah… shit’ so i guess thats another reason why it is so eclectic, is because its from like 20 year old Ben, then 25 year old Ben then 28 year old Ben…
Sweet. Eclectic is a cool way to describe it.
Yeah I mean its pretty strange just coming out with an album, but I just wanted to get rid of it, to put them in one place. Well not to get rid of them but to ‘be done’ with them
So it’s kind of like an outlet I guess…
Um yeah I guess the reason its like someone flipping through TV channels is because its not one genre, its all over the place really. Which I kind of like because I have a short attention span so… like I love Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt Peppers but they stick to the same thing conceptually in those albums. I couldn’t listen to a whole punk album or record, I think I would get bored. Ahh maybe I should think a bit more about what I am doing.
Haha – no what you’ve got going is great! I think it sets you apart from what everyone else is doing at the moment, like the whole album narrative that you can see bands like King Gizzard employ, is almost over done to an extent now. It’s refreshing to see a different format out there.
So obviously you’re in Dream Rimmy, you play for Shiny Joe, Nick Allbrook is featured on AS; Perth loves a collab. Is there any artists that stand out locally for you? That you would potentially want to collaborate with or whats one that you would like to see happen?
Good question. there is so many super talented people around town that I am lucky enough to count as my friends as well. I would like to record with people like Dylan from the Money War. At the moment he gives me advice when I’m like ‘yo, what do you think of this.’ Not so much collaborating but getting him to help pad things out, he would probably think of something that I would never dream of, like a chord progression or something and it’s cool that we can do that. I would like to record with Jay Watson, he has some fun toys. Some songs that will come out later, one features Stella Donnelly, she used to be in the band and also Ali from Dream Rimmy who features on Animation Station, it would be great to have her back and do vocals on some upcoming tracks – she has such a rad voice.
Thats cool, it’s nice as well to see some female representation.
Well I try to sing like a girl, like the BeeGee’s or something but I am not a very good singer and my voice wont always work so I have to play it by ear on a daily basis and record when my voice is having a good day. So I probably end up keeping my recorded vocals there and then having some other people chiming in. It’s not more about getting the best sound but creating a choir of vocals, and Ali’s are so nice they fit in really easily to most things.
So do you have a gig highlight or a favourite venue to play?
With Human Buoy do you mean?
Just in general, your musical career.
Okay well one of them would have been, I filled in a couple festivals with Pond a few years’ ago, that was definitely a highlight. I love those guys and their songs. It was really nice and fun to do that. The first time I played in front of a lot of people was at the Astor, me and Sam who plays drums in Human Buoy. We, and Jake from Methyl Ethel used to play for a gal called Grace Woodroofe. So yeah we did the Matt Corby support tour and the first gig was at the Astor.
I saw cover Vitamin C live the other day at The Bird, its on the album too, how did that come about, why did you chose to cover that song?
I knew about that song and that band because ages ago I used to play in a band called Sun Silo Circus ages ago and we supported Damo Suzuki back in the day when he played at The Bakery with Pond as his backing back and the just improvised for an hour and that was my first introduction to CAN and Vitamin C is I guess one of their most popular songs, BUT I had kind of forgotten about it for ages and I went to Cypress with my Mum for Xmas and we watched Inherent Vice and that songs in the opening credits and I was like oh yeah! this song! this song rocks!
Its such a banger hey, it does feature on Step Up 2 so it’s got good vibes attached to it for me obviously. So to hear you play it at the Bird, that was cool.
Yeah so just from the movie, good old’ Joaquin Phoenix I think. I was originally going to do Damo’s accent but then I thought that people would think I might have been racist, which I wouldn’t have been I think its beautiful but it’s nice to make it your own. That’s actually the only song on the album that is recorded live so everyone played it at the same time together, which is cool. I feel like it had to be like that because its such a jammy song.
We had Jamie from Koi Child come and do Sax, Dave the drummer from Peter Bibby’s Dog Act, he is such a good conga player. Jamie on bass.
So who is in Human Buoy at the moment.
So its a 3 piece for now, there is Sam Marr who plays for Katy Steele and does his hand pan thing which has seen him get international coverage and my friend Steve who is playing bass. We used to play in a band together called Hunting Huxley and Dave was the drummer in that. He is an amazing guitarist and I am not as good, but good as bass so we level each other out well.
When I see you play you confuse me because I can’t even play a guitar and here you are with multiple pedals, changing all the time, your impressive, it’s cool, I dunno!? You do good.
I try and dumb it down as much as I can to make it less stressful, but once you know whats what and what does what it’s more simple. If you want it to be atmospheric *boop boop boop* put those on, if you want it to go *pinball game over machine sound* press that, if you want distortion flick that. I kind of relied on effects to hide my less than competent guitar playing in the past.
So you teaching music at the moment?
Yeah I mainly teach Ukulele actually, people love Ukulele.
Sick, anything else in the works at the moment? Anything planned?
Ok well the ‘plan’ a the moment is to do an EP early next year, we have recorded 2 new songs already, one came out the beginning of the month (see above) so I want to do an EP because we can finish and release it quicker. Even though albums are much cooler. I wanna do 2 EP’s next year and release both on one vinyl at the end of the year. I fell like unless your established or got something really insane going on, people don’t generally listen to the whole album. It only really takes one good song and stuff will happen, i’m optimistic.
I’m going to go home and wait for some trick or treaters and make some mulled wine, maybe dress up as Eleven from Stranger Things with the blood nose.
Did you binge watch it too? Where you up to I’m up to episode 4
I’m up to episode 6.
Do you watch Rick and Morty
Do I like Rick ad Morty hahaHA
I was so stoked when they got released by Netflix, well done guys, V happy for you.
James Ireland and Hamish Rahn pair up again to create their own brand of ‘blissed out sadness.’
Hamjam’s just announced their debut album a/s/l?, due out on August 11th. Their first single is called Lean and the music video has been described by Remote Control Records as “a pastel reflection on domestic decadence, and an unfounded pining after early morning TV aerobics.” Which is ah yeah pretty spot on really so here you go.
a/s/l? musing on feelings of inadequacy, unrequited love and insecurities and steered by synths, the wait is finally over and it was worth it. To pre-order a/s/l? click here.
Listen / purchase ‘Lean’: https://hamjam.lnk.to/Lean
Let’s begin with two people.
Deep in the gloom a phone rings. They take the call. The voice on the line slips beneath her skin and curls its fingers around his stomach. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, you can barely feel it. You can’t hold on tight enough.
These people, these sisters and lovers and pilots and brothers are joined deep beneath the surface, below knowledge, down where desire and depravity lie. The line goes dead and these two people catch a glimpse of what’s to come, as it retreats back into the fog.
A new work from Side Pony Productions (The Confidence Man, The Pride) and The Last Great Hunt (Falling through Clouds, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer), The Irresistible is a reckless, intoxicating love letter to the subconscious.
Showing at PICA from the 14th to the 24th of June. we highly recommend checking this performance out.
As far as gigs go, this one was probably the nicest smelling one I have attended.
I don’t know where it came from really. I don’t know if it was the lady’s shampoo I was standing near or if someone was burning some incense in an art room or whether I am just slightly unhinged… but god damn it smelt like musk Lifesavers and it was so great.
So pair this with the comforting ambiance of Fremantle Arts Centre and a night that’s slightly colder than perfect and BAM you have got a good time.
Oh yeah, the music.
Henry Kissinger – the better one – is surprisingly cool. He’s probably my new favourite keyboardist (sorry Ray Manzarek) thanks to his bass fueled loops and beats that make me dance quite good without having to think about it too much.
Ziggy’s performance is astounding. I love Hip Hop. A lot. Discovering a new local artists I can listen to at home and follow throughout their career is why I keep going to gigs really. That and the exercise I guess. So give these guys a listen if you like your breakbeats and flows. Ups to JCAL as always, as well.
POW Negro hardly need an introduction sentence anymore. If you live in Perth you’ve probably already witnessed their wondrous live performance; theatrics, musical instruments and now these amazing visuals, and well if you live anywhere else, you can’t claim to be the music connoisseur of your mate group unless you know these guys, sorry.
On this particular Friday night, the gang was launching their single ‘Money for Portraits.’ The song in its self is a banger. Not just because its catchy but because its arranged nicely. The verses have great lyrics, the bridge is a highlight and really pumps you up for the riff driven chorus.
When I said musical instruments before I wasn’t just drawing attention to the fact this band plays instruments (shocking, I know) but more that Pow! Negro are a breed of artists that interchange the composition and roles of their members frequently.
This reminds me of A – The Beatles and B – the struggle millennials are facing to get a job; no one’s going to look twice at you soon unless you bring that little bit more to the table.
The drummer sings, the guitarist plays drums, there is a saxophone, singing and rap intertwine, there is dancing, banter and so on and so forth. I love it, but also am exhausted by the dynamics, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
I guess the band it’s an accurate representation of life. Without stating the obvious, we all know art is a perception of society so what I am trying to say here is Pow portray feelings of the community on a small scale and humanity on a global scale well, which is ah kind of necessary, but a bit deep for a single launch review.
I existentially wonder what is next for music. I love the hybrid everything that seems to come with conscious human evolution condensed into one lifetime, but also still love simple well-though out compositions. Really, I don’t know what I want and I am sure you don’t either but that being said we can figure it out together. Something to look forward to in this post-truth world.
As an audience member and a music consumer I can kind of tell that each member is bringing their own vibes to the table behind the scenes and then as a band they pick up what’s good and work on something from that – obviously beautiful cooperation.
It really is ‘Zac de la Rocha-ish,’ but to be honest I’m sick of people comparing them to Rage Against the Machine. Like that’s accurate but lazy and they’re so much more.
They’ve nailed the funk, the melody and the jazz. Next up I would love to see more slow jams. They already have one or two – check out Sam | Saim on Soundcloud – which they pull off well.
RacketBall goes off as always and when performing ‘Hidle Ho’ they are joined on stage by Ziggy and MC Marley which made everyone smile. Trust me, I genuinely looked around and took note and everyone had their pearly whites on show.
A lot of their music is still not available online, or rather has been quite scarce in the past but with their Big Splash 2016 win, hopefully we will see more recordings pop up on the World Wide Web.
So anyway, that’s enough tangents from me – to wrap it up, can’t wait for the EP.
Maybe it’s because his voice is as smooth as a dolphin’s underbelly, maybe it’s because I read an article last year where he named his top 3 musical influences as D’Angelo, Radiohead and Fat Freddy’s Drop or maybe it is because the harmonies and tempo’s in his songs can entice a rolling sense of relaxation while simultaneously encouraging the listener to move their body.
Whatever you chalk it up to, there is no denying that there is something quite refreshing about Jordan Rakei.
On March 26th he graced Perth with his presence, performing at Jack Rabbit Slims with an amazingly curated line up of supports.
Grievous Bodily Calm were kicking off their first song by the time I walked in. The sound hit me in the face like a big beach ball I was welcoming with open arms. The drums were off to the left of the stage, the keys to the right and the wall of sound they created ebbed and flowed in fervent waves. Pierced, but not punctured, by the rolling sounds of Matthew on the trumpet, the vibe was gaining momentum. By the end of their set, the guys seemed to be enjoying themselves just as much as the crowd were as we all bounced along to this hybrid-jazz-funk that seems to be (finally) infiltrating the Australian scene.
Pow! Negro were up next. Awarded the 2016 WAM Award for ”Most Popular Live Act’ as voted by the public, their performance literally never disappoints. Front man Nelson brings a theatrical element to their set, his facial expressions and lucid dance moves are their point of difference; luring the patron into their narrative that is far from being based on fiction. Watching them perform padded out songs that grew from short verses heard in sets they played early least year is a pleasure and personally I can’t wait for their EP in October. The dynamics between band members are a joy to watch (re: Rhys on the drums) and the ambience is contagious as more people flooded to the dance floor while they finished their set with some old crowd favourites.
Ruby Ruby Ruby. It is hard to believe such a huge voice comes from such a petite lady but ya know what, it does and it’s amazing. I always feel myself getting wrapped up in emotions when I hear Ruby May sing because she is just that good. Her sunshine soul radiates through her voice and when she performs with the Chakra Khans it’s feels like a huge yet intimate family reunion everyone is over the moon to be invited to.
All these soulful sets were sandwiched with beats from Nicole Filev who dosent even really need introducing. Her name is associated with a good time in the local scene as she brings those disco and funk bangers most of us can’t remember the name to but LOVE so it’s like kind of bittersweet but of course you dance your little heart out to the track while you can.
Born over the ditch in New Zealand and currently based in London, Rakei finally hits the stage and cascades straight into his set. Seeing him perform with a full band, their dynamics and ability to merge perfectly produced production with creative improvisation is immaculate. Their enjoyment apparent. Rakei is not only an amazing singer but a multi-instrumentalist and his talent for creating perfect compositions is evident when he is performing on stage. Every inch of his body sways in time as all the impeccably placed sounds take the audience through a range of genres, all without missing a beat. ‘Blame it on the Youth’ was a highlight, a slow jam, crammed into a funky set that didn’t bring the tempo down at all.
Music consumers are looking for more. They’re looking for that human connection in their selection, the emotions, the soul and the improvisation of the essence of living through sound. We are seeing less of a lean towards the segregation of genres and more ‘fusion’ compositions. Hip-Hop artists rapping over jazz-noise, the funk of rnb mashed with catchy punk riffs, nothing is off limits – think Tom Misch, Questlove and Hiatus Kaiotye.
There is no denying that we are smack bang in the middle of an ‘intelligent music’ surge. In a time period where we are bombarded by different sources, an array of noise, a choice of representation of our identity – we want more than catchy beats and lyrics that get stuck in our heads, we want to feel, to be rattled in both positive and negative ways and Jordan does this oh so well – and I’m not the only one to notice judging by his sold out European shows.