Tag Archives: Groovin’ The Moo

The Rise & Rise Of Kimbra

Sometimes all it takes is your Daft Punk, Justice, French Electro-Pop lovin’ hairdresser to point out the obvious… Kimbra is the new Kylie.

Picture: Nicole Cleary Herald Sun

To think that it was only a year ago when I was putting together an editorial piece for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2011 when I spied a little known Kiwi with a cool B&W body art profile pic and thought, “who the hell is Kimbra?”. Well slap me in the face for my ignorance, because Kimbra is actually one of the best things to happen to Australian Music since Kylie Minogue gave up acting and became a pop star.

Kimbra Tatoo Photo
That press photo which started all the noise…

Making the sensible decision to move to Melbourne in 2007 after being discovered by Forum 5 indie music boss, Mark Richardson, to record her debut album, she has since become one of us. OK, that last part isn’t true but given our track record for claiming Kiwis once they hit superstar status (i.e. Sam Neil, Russel Crowe, Crowded House), it’s fair to say Kimbra is now totes Australian. At least in our eyes. And here’s how it happened…

Kimbra wins Juice TV’s Breakthrough Music Video Award for her single, Simply On My Lips. Indie music mogul, Mark Richardson, makes a choice decision to sign her up. Kimbra moves to Melbourne, shit gets real.

Celebrity douchebag blogger, Perez Hilton, does good and promotes Kimbra’s single Settle Down to his insane following by posting an uncharacteristically flattering comment; “If you like Nina Simone, Florence & The Machine and/or Bjork, then we think you will enjoy Kimbra – her music reminds us of all those fierce ladies!” Perez wins some positive karma points.

More good stuff for the Kiwi Diva in ’10 when Miami Horror feature her solid vocals on their (epically underrated) disco-electro track, I Look To You.

March 2011
Herald Sun’s Mikey Cahill reviews the Melbourne International Jazz Festival 2011. Featuring as part of an ensemble with Tex Perkins, Paris Wells (who is she) and Eddie Perfect (please stick to acting) in Fly Me To The Moon, Cahill pre-notes Kimbra as ‘unstoppable’. Good call.

June 2011
The jig is up and us Aussies concede to joint custody of Kimbra when she signs with Warner Bros. Records New Zealand, opening her up to the massive US market. Her breakthrough album, Vows, is released in August/Septemeber and reaches #3 and #5 in New Zealand and Australian charts respectively in the first week. Champions of the Indie artist, Triple J, jump on it and give the beautiful brunette shedloads of airplay.

Then this happens…

Melbourne’s musical magician, Wally De Backer aka Gotye and Kimbra’s break-up anthem goes on an assault to smash every record known to man in the music world, creating a snowball of critical and commercial praise. Meanwhile, people’s minds and ears continue to explode from too much awesome as Somebody That I Used To Know join Savage Garden‘s Truly Madly Deeply in the record books for spending the second most consecutive weeks (8 to be precises) at #1 in the Official ARIA Charts.

January 2012
Kimbra scores a monumental 3 solo spots in Triple J’s Hottest 100 for 2011 with Two Way Street at #93 (my favourite Kimbra tune and this totes deserved to be higher up the list, but I digress), Good Intent at #53 and Cameo Lover at #25. Oh, and that Gotye collaboration get’s voted in at #1 which surprises no one (not even Gotye).

April 2012
The Somebody That I Used To Know juggernaut continues as Kimbra and Wally ride the mother all the way to a number #1 spot on the US Billboard charts. They subsequently score a set on Saturday Night Live and a place in the Coachella 2012 line-up.* Note From Sawyer: Yes, I’m aware the latter happened before the former but I’m enjoying my alliteration of “subsequently score” too much to change it.

My musically influential hairdresser confesses his fandom for Kimbra as Vows plays in the trendy St Kilda salon during my last 8-9 week scheduled appointment. Note From Sawyer: 8 – 9 weeks is the industry recommended gap between hair appointments.

Kimbra cements herself as the most sort-after female vocalist with the cross-continental A-trak (half of Duck Sauce, gifted child DJ, super cool New Yorker, etc) and Mark Foster (of Foster The People fame) collab, Warrior. Triple J get dibs on playing it’s world premiere. It’s a big deal.

May 2012
Kimbra tours with Groovin’ The Moo and Sawyer call’s Kimbra the new Kylie. And about an hour after I first posted this blog, Kimbra and Gotye get nominated for APRA Song Of The Year

Michelle Sawyer, May 2012


Aussie Pride Or Cheap Tricks

We Aussie’s are a creative bunch, especially when it comes to music. But do we still need to rely on some clever marketing ploys (or in my case, puns) to get our work over the line…

There is a lot of love for Australian music at the moment. Much of which has come thanks to a little duet from a top bloke named Wouter “Wally” De Backer, who you probably know better as Gotye. The sombre post break-up ballad, Somebody That I Used To Know featuring Kimbra (she’s a kiwi but we won’t hold that against her), is Gotye’s first commercially successful, knocking off the more internationally known Adele’s Someone Like You, from the top spot in the ARIA charts after a seven week run.

The creative clip, which features a naked but painted Wally and Kimbra pouring their hearts out against a wall, has already soared well about 2 million views on YouTube. And then there’s Twitter, which has seen a cavalcade of praise, but maybe none more important than actor and Cougar man-bag, Ashton Kutcher’s, who tweeted about the clip to his 7 million (!!) strong fan base.

*Tweet image courtesy of The Music Network.

I’ve been a fan of Gotye for years, all the way back since his 2006 single Learnalilgivinanlovin and (my fave), Heart’s A Mess, so it’s great to see one of Australia’s most talented and creative, self taught musicians getting the recognition he deserves; but I do have to wonder if it’s come to commercial light thanks to a little help from Hollywood? Fair to say, it doesn’t really matter, as the Australian media have jumped all over it too. Take a look at this very cool and interesting, in-depth analysis of how Wally’s first Number 1 came to be, posted by The Vine’s Tim Byron, (seriously good read).

Another creative kudos, which is also receiving some good Twitter action, is Gyroscope’s genius ploy of letting their fans pick the songs of their set list for their upcoming and self explanatory named, “Choose Your Own Adventure Tour”. Before they make their merry way around Australian in October – November, the Perth lads are letting fans pick the hits they want to hear, all very cleverly tied in with a promotion on their Facebook page (double marketing happiness). So there will definitely be no complaints of “they didn’t play my song” from any punters who will 100% “get what they paid for” – all round ingenious idea. My pick from Gyroscope’s back catalogue would have to be the lyrically loved up, Baby, I’m Getting’ Better, though I do also love Snakeskin… And having seen these boys bangin’ both tracks out live at Groovin’ The Moo 2011 I can say with 100% honesty fans are in for one hell of a show (fan-picked set list or not).

Another creative Tweet-worthy Oz music happening is the theft of a Parklife 2011 billboard in Perth. Now I’m not completely convinced this isn’t a ploy to pump up the presence of the major dance event. With what suspiciously sounds like a competition, the dude or dudette who finds the billboard get’s a couple of their More Expensive Tickets (METs) for nicks. Though having worked in Advertising me knows how expensive a high traffic billboard can be, so it is probably a genuine show of gratitude from some very annoyed (and perplexed as to how one would even fit a billboard of that size into one’s boot) Parklife promoters. To show I’m not making this up I have cut and pasted the Press Release as sent to me, word for word (word)…

Thursday 18th August 2011 – “Today, a reward has been offered to the person who can track down a Parklife advertising billboard, which was stolen in broad daylight at around 4pm on Sunday from Whatley Crescent, next to the Mt Lawley Subway in Perth.

Perhaps inspired by recent anarchy in the UK, bandits have taken off with the signage that is emblazoned with all the big names featured on this year’s Parklife bill. A passerby managed to capture this photo (below) from their car and have sent it to Parklife event organisers. They have described the two assailants as male, Caucasian, wearing navy blue, Hard-Yakka style outfits.

Parklife organisers commented, “We can assure you that this is no PR stunt. We actually think its pretty funny and hope these guys are just passionate Parklife fans who want this as a keepsake. God knows how they got away with it and where they’re hiding it, but we hope they have it somewhere safe!”

The reward for whoever comes forward with the whereabouts of this billboard includes two More Expensive Tickets (MET) and a side of stage experience at the Perth Parklife show on Sunday 25th September at Wellington Square. No legal action will be pursued.

Please contact events@boomtick.com.au with any leads.”

Now in my own cheap attempt to score some SEO points, here are some handy links for Gotye, Gyroscope and Parklife tickets and downloads.

Gotye tracks, including the single Somebody That I Used To Know for download on iTunes:

Gyroscope’s Choose Your Own Adventure Tour tickets go on sale Thursday, August 25th from the following outlets:

The Zoo, Brisbane – Wednesday, Nov 17th
Corner Hotel, Melbourne – Friday, Nov 18th
The Factory Theatre, Sydney – Saturday, Nov 19th
via www.oztix.com.au

Prince Of Wales, Bunbury – Thursday, Oct 20th
Settlers Tavern, Margaret River – Friday, Oct 21st
Studio 146, Albany – Saturday, Oct 22nd
L’Attitude 28, Geraldton – Saturday, Oct 29th
via www.heatseaker.com.au

The Gov, Adelaide – Thursday, Nov 17th
via www.venuetix.com.au

Parklife 2011 tickets are available via:


Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

Just Jens: A Chat With Half Of Digitalism.

They don’t do care for Dubstep or that soundtrack done by those “Frenchies”, but they do care about giving Parklife one of the best live sets of the festival…

Courtesy Frank PR

Digitalism will be playing at Groovin’ The Moo 2012, along with a host of other gems including CHIDDY BANG – KAISER CHIEFS – ADRIAN LUX – 360 – BLUEJUICE – CITY & COLOUR – PUBLIC ENEMY – ANDREW W.K. – BENI – KIMBRA – THE MACABEES – MUTEMATH – MUSCLES – SAN CISCO – MATT CORBY and a shed load more.

Click on the following dates for ticket info;
GTM Bendigo – Prince Of Wales Showground, Saturday 5 May 2012.
GTM Townsville – Murray Sports Complex, Townsville Cricket Grounds, Sunday 6 May 2012.
GTM Maitland – Maitland Showground, Saturday 12 May 2012.
GTM Canberra – The Meadows, University of Canberra, Sunday 13 May 2012.
GTM Bunbury – Hay Park, Saturday 19 May 2012.

If time flies when you’re having fun, Jens “Jence” Moelle and Ismail “Isi” Tufecki aka Digitalism, are clearly having a lot of it. Nearly 5 years since the release of their debut phonon album, Idealism, Digitalism have returned to again turn digital music on it’s head with their long awaited second album, I Love You, Dude. In prep for their headlining appearance at Parklife 2011, I caught up with the more ‘vocal’ (pun intended) of the duo, Jens Moelle.

It’s hard to convey someone as down to earth and jovial as Jens on paper but here’s how my 15 minutes with the man went…

I was curious to ask this question, when I spoke with Dave Dresden (from Gabriel and Dresden) he told me he’d had had a falling out with Deadmau5 over a girl. Have you ever had any issues with another band/artist like that?

We do keep on having some beef with this crew Chase and Status at the minute. We clashed with them last year, I think somebody wanted to beat up others and stuff. We had some problems again this year because they just wouldn’t remove their stuff off the stage until 5 hours after their show and blocked everything. The other acts playing after them were like “can’t you just pick it up?”

You often get compared to French DJs, Daft Punk; were you a bit miffed that you didn’t get asked to do the TRON: Legacy soundtrack instead?

Not really. I think TRON was just perfect for those guys and they came up with some really nice music. I have to admit that I’m not a big TRON fan anyway. I have the DVD at home but I’ve not watched it to death or something, so it’s probably better for the Frenchies.

Your new album, I Love You, Dude, seems more pop than your previous, Idealism, and a lot more vocally orientated. Has that been a natural progression?

When we finished the first album, that’s when we got into song writing and we really liked it. Over the years we’ve played live and it was just so much fun performing those songs, that there was no doubt that we were going to write more songs this time.

Now we had that chance with the new album, we didn’t want to repeat ourselves this time. We didn’t want to write Idealism 2 and we do like to walk our own path. So we didn’t end up with Dubstep or Hard Techno on the record. We didn’t want to create a movement or something, it’s just like this is our new album and that’s it. It was probably an anti-reaction to what’s happening out there.

Dubstep is a really controversial topic out there in the DJ world at the moment. Where do you stand on the genre?

We really don’t dig it. There’s a couple of guys who are really good, like we like Rusko and Caspa who we are going on tour with in the states, but there’s so much stuff. I mean the formula behind it, it’s like two-step back then (UK garage). I predicted it dying after a couple of months and it did, because the formula behind it was so limited to what you can do so everything had to sound the same.

So that’s one reason why we don’t like it. The other ones because we’re so not into this harder and more compressed sound; it really annoys us at the minute. When we DJ’d at festivals over the past year there were kids jumping around, like mosh pits at a dance music festival. They were completely freaking out but we were like, “Where are the girls? There’s nothing for girls?”.

We’re really not into this take it to limit hard thing, where DJs go stage diving and stuff. It’s a bit too much I think. You have to bring back some sexiness.

Your recording studio is a WWII bunker. Is that weird?

It’s not weird. They had these bunkers that they couldn’t get rid off because they would have had to tear the whole neighbour hood down, cause they’re just these massive concrete things. Ours is actually in this quite posh area next to boutiques and hipster mummies and stuff, and there’s this bunker.

It’s ok. It’s very isolated in there, like you don’t know what’s happening outside, like you don’t know what time of day it is, because we don’t have any windows and that makes you really creative because we have to imaging things. We really can say we’re doing our own thing in there.

I read you work off Macbook Pros. I am kind of obsessively in love with my Macbook Pro, do you get a bit attached to any of your equipment?

Yeah, we fall in love with stuff that works for us and that’s reliable. We recently kicked out a couple of instruments that just really sucked, we loved them but they weren’t good friends to us so we had to kick them out of the set-up. If something f***’s up we’re going to get rid of, but if it’s reliable we love it to bits.

We’ve got a couple of synthies, for example, we’ve got about eight of them for back ups in the studio because they’re just so much fun, and you can rely on them.

You guys played at Harbour Party at Sydney’s Luna Park for NYE, how was that?

It was really nice. We played after Sneaky Sound System and had a chance to go outside and watch the fireworks – it was a magical moment. We were a bit jetlagged though. The night before we played in Brisbane and that day we had just arrived so we felt a bit weird. It was a lovely night as you say, we had a good time – always do it again.

It was also nice because going to Australia we were forced not to work on the album, because it wasn’t finished then and it was the best thing that could have happened to us, so we had a really good time.

You’ve played in so many festivals, what’s been your favourite so far?

That’s really hard to tell, but I must say, one thing that was really impressive when we played at Parklife last time, in 2008, we had just switched over from our old live show to our new one, on the road. We switched from using 8 channels to 30 and we didn’t have time to rehearse. So we had one day of programming in Adelaide, and then the next day we had to play in Brisbane.

We always end up doing stuff like that, doing stuff that we’ve never done before and we don’t know if it’s going to go well or not. It’s kind of addictive. So we played our new show, for the first time in Brisbane, in front of 20,000 people on the main stage and it went down well. That was one of those moments were you get shivers, thinking like “this could have gone really wrong”. It was brilliant.

One of the first Digitalism songs I ever heard was Digitalism in CAIRO (remix of Fire in Cairo by The Cure). Are you going to play some of your old stuff in your set at Parklife?

We still don’t know what the set list is going to be, depends on how much time we’ve got to play and all that. We just started playing live again a month ago so we have to check a few things. But of course we have a new album out so we are going to play loads of stuff from the new album, but we are also going to drop some old songs as well because they’re just so much fun. I don’t know what the ratios going to be, or which song, but definitely going to play some older songs.

Michelle Sawyer, June 2011

Delving into Darwin Deez

Thank Baba for Darwin Deez.

When you’re born into a world where your parents are disciples to an ‘out there’ Indian Mystic, Meher Baba, you’re half African American but completely white in skin tone and have Jerry curls that are more reflective of being Jewish than that of mixed race ancestry; ending up in showbiz seems inevitable. But thank Meher Baba that Darwin Deez did. It would be a dull world indeed without him and his music.

Borrowing his last name ‘Deez’ from his bass player Michelle Dorrance, Darwin (aka Darwin Smith) is a beautiful contradiction to the current electronic trend of today’s music industry. One such treat is his self-made mash-up album of hip-hop and samples from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, titled Wonky Beats. “I did most of it on tour. I was just looking for a little fun project, something to get the creative juices flowing again. I don’t know where I got the idea from but I remembered a Lil Wayne song which I had already sampled,” Deez explains proudly. While he laments his inability to record anything with a guitar on tour due to being confined to his laptop, his next mix tape project is another matter. “I came up with the idea of making another mix tape focused on Paula Abdul songs exclusively from her album Forever Your Girl.”

As an artist, Darwin is very much at home with the unconventional, greatly reflected through his freeform vocals, modern lyrics and quirky melodies. A perfect example of this is his modern-day love song Radar Detector. Speaking about the film clip, “Radar Detector was made with a lot of help from the director. I’d had ideas about the video and it was better that they were rejected (though it was frustrating at the time) as the video was a success and that’s all that matters,” he tells. Where other artists have failed, Darwin has succeeded in maintaining the synchronicity of his style within the clips (even with minimal creative input) via his insightful self-branding. “I kind of like pick out some trends from six years ago, like my moustache and my headband, and they’ve stuck,” he notes.

Returning to Australia for Groovin’ the Moo Festival, Darwin’s fans are not just limited to ticket holders. Fellow touring artist AC Slater, whom Deez previously toured with as part of Parklife in 2010, credited Darwin’s live show as being the best live show of 2010. “His set is just pure fun” says Slater. In return, Darwin himself was caught enjoying some dubstep during AC’s Melbourne set. “I got really into techno at Parklife. That was fun.” When asked if he would allow AC to recruit him into a new “Rat Pack” during Groovin’ the Moo (AC creating ‘Team Trouble’ while on the Parklife tour, read out AC Slater interview for more) Darwin replies, “Maybe we can take the friendship to the next level. I think we could make that happen.” This fan certainly hopes so.

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011

Darwin Deez likes this interview, do you?

Groovin’ the Moo 2011: Bendigo Review

It’s more than just the fresh country air that makes the Moo one of the best festivals going.

There was not a vacancy sign flashing along the Calder Highway Hotel strip into Bendigo’s centre. Benders was packed tighter than the King Gees of a trucker.

True to form, the typical friendly/family country attitude was in full swing; from the Lions Club running the car park, to the VIP media tent filled with familiar faces with their plus one pals, (the free friend media pass greatly appreciated by us working folk). There were no warm up acts on this bill, with crowds gathering early to catch locals The Holidays, The Jezabels and Horrorshow.

Darwin Deez proved why he is voted one of the best live acts around with their fun set which featured not only their fab tracks, but some fancy-pants choreographed band dances, that could only be Deez. I will admit, I’m partial to anyone who also shares my affection for Enya’s Orinoco Flow. Just as crazy was Datarock dressed head to toe in their trademark red tracksuits – the ultimate in festival attire. The mostly chiffon shirt, shorts and onesies wearing crowd must have missed that memo.

Princess Washington showed us why she wears the crown as Australia’s best vocalist with her bang-on pitch performance. As The Go! Team wrapped up in Moolin Rouge, I moo-ved back over to The Udder Stage to catch House Of Pain. The grassy paddock of the showgrounds shook as ten thousand fans launched off their feet to Jump Around.

Gyroscope, as all good Aussie blokes do, BYO’d Betty the Blow Up Doll to the party. She proved to be one of the best crowd surfers I’ve ever seen. The Drums lead singer, Jonathan Pierce matched her with his own twists and turns as he moved on stage like the bastard child of Talking Heads and Joy Division. It was wonderful, and got my tastebuds for quirky moosic prepped and ready in time for Gotye.

The day had turned to night as Wally, aka Gotye, showed off his incredibly eclectic range of musical talents. Art Vs Science was also very vocal, attempting to make the first ever indoor/outdoor shower tent, sweaty stuff to say the least. Whilst the bulk of the crowd flocked back after the Aussie trio finished to see Birds Of Tokyo, I stayed at Moolin and enjoyed the synthetic stylings of AC Slater. The extra dance space much appreciated as my fellow hardcore Dub Step fans and I flung ourselves about.

I’d like to say I remember more of what was a fantastically fun day, but frankly after The Wombats, my brain jumped the fence and became lost in a spin of sound by UNKLE and Cut Copy.

Michelle Sawyer, May 2011.

AC Slater

Just a cool guy living the NY dream, really…

It’s hard to call somebody cool and not have it come across as condescending these days. But that is exactly what AC Slater is – just one very cool guy. He’s the dude everyone wants to be friends with, who goes beyond just being the ringleader. He is the man who prints up the matching “Team Trouble” T-shirts. Having cemented his skills as part of the Parklife 2010 tour, AC is about to come back to do it all again for Groovin’ The Moo in 2011.

Whilst AC Slater certainly has earned himself an array of dedicated Aussie fans, he is just as big a fan of Australia. “For me Australia is like number one. I’m not just saying that (because you’re an Australian) but it’s my favourite place to play. I don’t know why but the energy is just incredible there and the people are just hungry for music. I love it. It’s just so much fun,” he says. Having recently finished a tour of Canada, AC Slater certainly proves himself to be quite the connoisseur of parties. “I feel like Canada is somewhere between, in terms of personality, of the US and the UK as far as parties go. It’s just wild and they just love anything and are so open to new music.”

During his tour with Parklife, AC formed (what he lovingly dubs as his f***ed up family), Team Trouble with a few of his fellow touring artists Uffie, Chiddy Bang, Jack Beats and Jesse Rose. When asked if he would recruit fellow Groovin’ The Moo artist Darwin Deez to his team he replies, “I hope so.” With Darwin also part of the Parklife tour, AC Slater credits his fellow US artist as “Amazing. His set’s are just straight fun”, though laments that he was not able to see the full set due to a scheduling issue; something he hopes won’t happen again this time round. And it seems that the admiration is mutual, with Darwin caught dancing ardently amongst the rest of AC Slater’s followers during his Melbourne set, something at least this fan hopes to witness again.

AC SLATER – “TAKE YOU FEAT. NINJASONIK” from Trouble & Bass on Vimeo.

Based in Brooklyn, near the infamous NY music hub of Williamsburg, AC confirms to Citysearch the hype surrounding the mushrooming musical Mecca. “Yeah it’s really cool. It’s a nice little community. You see people all the time and it’ll be like A-Trak and whoever. I really enjoy living here a lot,” he beams. While he may have recently moved to LA to avoid the New York winter, AC will always be a true New Yorker at heart and remains humble as he describes how it all started. “When I was younger everyone called me AC, it’s my initials, and then people started calling me AC Slater (from Saved By The Bell) as a joke. So when I had to pick a DJ name I just kind of went with it as a joke and it stuck!”

It’s fair to say, the US teen TV show has had more than just an influence on his name with AC using samples from the show in a number of his remixes. Faced with the choice of who would feature in a Saved By The Bell skit music video, AC laughs as he reels of the lead characters. “I would probably put Drop the Lime as Zack, I’d have to incorporate my whole Trouble and Bass crew in there and maybe make Udachi Screech. We could make, Moby Mr. Belding.”

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011.