Tag Archives: Music

Why Beyoncé is the best thing to happen to the internet since Facebook.

Having smashed the music scene in 2013, owning the holiday season with her surprise release of the game changing , Visual Album, Beyoncé’s star continues to grow brighter and brighter, with no signs of slowing down. But what is the most interesting thing about the phenomenon that is Queen Bey, is how she is harnessing the power of digital to drive her dominance.

Beyoncé

1. If I don’t own it, I don’t need it – The Power of Earned and Owned Media

What has been most notable with Beyoncé’s marketing campaign for the Visual Album, is that she released with no paid media campaign – it was solely done via owned and earned media. Through utalising her digital assets and community, Beyoncé was able to generate her viral reach simply via word of mouth sharing, and hitting the right online influencers. This buzz then filtered through to mainstream media, such as this article from The Daily Mail, who furthered the commercialisation of the album launch for her. Through avoiding paid reach and instead using ‘word of mouth’ reach, her album release more impactful than her competitions planned and teased ATL campaigns.

To add longevity to the album’s release, Beyoncé has continued to drive awareness via earned media, with like, surprise PR stunts, such as the Christmas Wallmart Shopper Vouchers for the album.

Beyoncé

2. The Beyhive – An integrated online hub is the best media of all

“On December 13th, the date of the album release, Beyonce.com saw a major spike in traffic. There was a 1071.51% day over day increase in daily reach and a 4074.24% increase in daily views.” Via Compete PRO data

Through having a central online hub, Beyoncé was able to centralise and curate all media activity, including content and social conversations. Beyonce.com integrates all her social channels, including Tumblr, her blog, Beyhive, social media stream via #BeyGood, tour info, and more. Not only did this enable to have greater control over what was happening online, but also stay ahead of the game, through being able to generate and repurpose all the online buzz for her own benefit. It also gave all interested fans, media paps and voyeurs an easy access destination to stay up to date with Bey’s constant bomb drops.

Beyoncé

3. “I’m Beyoncé, bitch” – Creating News through Content, PR the Beyoncé way

Social media has given ‘backstage access’ to the lives of the rich and famous like never before. And with increase in smart phone technology, faster content applications and explosion of misguided youth’s adaption of all of the above, keeping control of one’s private life is an ever diminishing luxury. However, through consistently posting high quality, stylised content via her digital networks, Beyoncé has found a way to maintain her image (and privacy), but also dictate the news at the same time.

This article in Huffington Post’s Celebrity section utalises her stunning images from her appearance at the high profile, Michelle Obama 50th Birthday bash.

Beyoncé

4. She’s the (nice) Rupert Murdoch of Social Media – Consumer Loyalty Is Cost Effective

Whoever says customer loyalty doesn’t exist in the modern day is doomed. Beyoncé knows the true value of her fans, which is why she returns their love through sharing snippets of her life via her website, blog and social media, and never misses an opportunity for more personal ‘thank yous’, like her infamous photobomb, and the heartwarming “Halo” sign along with a sick fan at her Sydney concert.

All of which is loving shared and discussed avidly via her network of 55,522,294 Facebook Fans, 1,315,5645 Twitter Followers, 9,301,187 Instagram Followers, 730,199 YouTube Subscribers and who knows how many Tumblr viewers. How’s that for a media empire!

Beyonce & Jay-Z

5. “Crazy In Love” – She’s part of the Ultimate Brand Partnership

A lot of social media is about brand partnerships and leveraging your influencers. Beyonce takes this to a whole new level; Jay-Z (hubby), Solange (Lil sis), Barack and Michelle Obama, Gwyneth Paltrow (BFF) & Chris Martin, her Destiny’s Child sisters, Kelly Rolland and Michelle Williams… yeah, the girl’s got connections.

Michelle Sawyer
23rd January, 2014

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.

Kimbra
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…

2007
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.

2010
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

 

Praise Be To Prince

We’re gonna party like its 1999, ‘cause Prince is coming to tour Australia…

The everchanging, always original looks of Prince...

The Twitterverse was a-wash with predictions of Purple Rain, in the anticipation of a long awaited tour by Symbol (The Artist Formally Known As Prince). Chugg Entertainment confirmed that the artist again known as Prince, would be parading his greatest hits in May 2012 with his Welcome 2 Australia east coast tour.

So to celebrate the man who single handedly made ruffle/pirate shirts cool, let’s all put on our Raspberry Berets, jump into our Little Red Corvettes and turn on the radio to listen to what it sounds like When Doves Cry. Or… watch this short collection of Prince pop video perfection (in no particular order).

Title: When Doves Cry
Released: 1984
Random Fact: Whilst this would have to be one of the penultimate Prince tracks, it’s hard not to think about the amazeball cover featured in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (1996). American child actor/singer, Quindon Tarver, almost stole the show with his angelic a cappella version which literally had audience’s whispering in the cinemas, “who is that kid?!”.

Title: Kiss
Released: 1986
Random Fact: I FUCKING LOVE this song!! This is one of my all-time favourite songs to sing in the car, at karaoke, or in the penthouse bath tub at the Beverly Wilshire in LA… (See, it wasn’t actually Julia Robert’s looks as to what made Richard Gere fall for her character, or that she was a ‘safety girl’. It was ‘cause she was a Prince fan! How could you not love that?)

Title:Little Red Corvette
Released: 1983
Random Fact: This song is proof that sometimes it’s better to not fully understand the true meaning of Prince’s metaphors but to simply just enjoy the tune. Given that this was released the year I was born, I think it’s only fair to assume that this song helped to subconsciously shape my generation into its acceptance of female promiscuity. But hey, at least Little Red Corvette was also an advocate of safe sex –

I guess I must be dumb,
Cause you had pocket full of horses,
Trojan and some of them used.

Title:Cream
Released: 1991
Random Fact: Cream may not be one of his best songs (in what is a hell of a back catalogue), however, it is an apt depiction of Prince’s position in the music world at the time – total dominance. The accompanying 10+ minute long overly decadent, overtly demeaning, penis power music video further stamps Prince’s “Get on top” message home. Best summary of the 90s. Ever.

Title:Purple Rain
Released: 1984
Random Fact: It’s the song the spawned a hundred Twitter puns… Let’s play a quick word association game; if you had to describe Purple Rain in one word, what would it be? Epic < -- if this was not your immediate response, watch the clip again.

Welcome 2 Australia Tour Dates

Sydney – Friday, 11th May at Allphones Arena
Melbourne – Monday, 14th May at Rod Laver Arena
Brisbane – Friday, 18th May at the Entertainment Centre

All tickets available through Ticketek, 132 849.

Michelle Sawyer, April 2012

Armand Van Helden: The Man, The DJ, The Duck.

Armand Van Helden talks to Sawyer on everything from Duckzilla Vs Major Lazer and David Guetta Vs Barry Manilow, to Boney M. Vs that song… woo woo woo woo woo woo woo (best V-erse ever).

Interviewing one of the Big Apple’s biggest DJs, it’s…Well, it’s a long interview so let’s just get into it…

In 2010, you came out to Australia for the first time as Duck Sauce for Field Day. In an interview you did with them you made some New Years resolutions, so I’m interested to see if you’ve kept them. Did you learn to drive?

I didn’t learn to drive but I did get my learner’s permit.

Do you own a car?

I don’t, and here’s the funny thing. I would have had a car by now, but all my friends in New York don’t own a car. They can all drive though, but they don’t own a car. And my one friend that owns a car is always like “I’ll take you, I’ll take you” (to get the car). But then I’m like, you know, we need two cars because I’m not allowed to drive. So when we buy the car and go to pick it up, I need another person who can drive. So it’s kind of like this whole thing.

I need one car to go there, right, and two fully licensed drivers and me. And then we can buy the car and all come back, you get what I’m sayin’? It’s an excuse but it’s been the only hold back.

You also mentioned in the interview you were going to release a new album in 2011. Is that finished, is it out yet or is it coming out soon?

Yeah, we finished the album earlier in the year and it will be out soon. I don’t know exactly, I can’t even tell you a date ‘cause I’m pretty much in the dark, but it’s being worked on.

I spoke with Diplo last year when he came out for Stereosonic as Major Lazer and asked him, “if Major Lazer and Duckzilla had a fight, who would win?” So I’d like to ask you the same question.

Oh. Definitely Major Lazer.

Do you wan to hear what he said?

Definitely.

He said Major Lazer as well. He said “Duck Sauce is just a stupid duck. If it be like me and Switch Vs Armand and A-trak, Armand would win because he looks like a crazy muscle head. I’d probably be evenly matched with A-trak but Switch against Armand would just lose.”

See I think quite the opposite. I think Switch is the craziest of everybody and can just handle it on his own. To me, it should just be like all of us against Switch and we’d all lose.

You recently tweeted about your trip to Las Vegas that you were searching for Barry Manilow. Did you find him?

Yeah, A-trak does all the tweeting. I don’t really have an account or anything. He does the Duck Sauce one; him and I think somebody from Fools Gold. The funny thing was, we were in the car as soon as we had landed in Vegas and I saw Barry Manilow, like in a couple of big ads, they almost look like a massive flat screen TV. And I just see Barry Manilow in the Jesus pose and he has that hair and everything. And I was just cracking jokes with A-trak and going “Look! It’s David Guetta”.

Can you tell who's who?

So I think he maybe tweeted something about Barry Manilow, ‘cause we were just having a laugh in the back. We weren’t saying anything bad about David Guetta, but it was just about, you know, when you do like the Jesus pose as a DJ? The Jesus pose is when you’re on the decks and you throw your hands up in the air like you’re on the cross, but the Barry Manilow ad looked like the David Guetta ad is all I’m saying. Was just funny.

My friend is a photographer and he often gets some good shots of DJs pulling the Jesus pose. I think it’s becoming sort of a trademark of a rockstar.

It’s grown into the trademark, oh yeah.

Ascetically it’s a really good shot, if you get the light coming up behind you…

Oh yeah, you get the sun going down and everything…

Speaking of Sunsets, you played in Sydney on New Years Day for Field Day. How was that?

It was fun, we had a good time. We did the day time set. You know I like our sets all hours, but sometimes it feels like our sound can translate better in the day time or to that degree. But we’ve done a lot of the festivals. I mean we could do the night thing, it’s not that much of a big difference, but the day time tends to be, for most people, the toughest crowd. Cause everybody can still see thing so good so it’s kind of hard to win over a day time crowd. But our music is so kind of chilled in comparison to most of the dance things that exist, I guess, that our daytime set seems to be just this really warm, happy environment. Cause it’s in the day time! Which is cool…

I’m sort of learning to be a DJ myself as part of a competition at the moment, and they’re always talk about the lost art of the warm up DJ where you’re just building, building, building up for the main act. When you play at a festival, is that something you think about when you are playing in a day slot, or do you just go out and bring out the bangers?

I think most DJs have two or three different kind of runs, set runs if you wanna call it that. Like a regular one if you’re like in a club or even at a festival and you’re on at like 1pm or 2 pm. You know that’s going to be your main kind of run through and you know what you’ve gotta do. When your on early as a warm up there is a different kind of flow, so you kind of want to make sure you have a lot of your big bangers at the end. There is some truth to that, for sure.

I was also very curious to ask you about my set list. I’m going against the trend of everyone else in the comp, who’re playing traditional house and tech-house, with a retro 90s set. What would be you song picks if you could give me some tips?

Like just 90s?

Straight 90s.

Oh god. Man that’s a big decade. I mean the 90s was just a massive decade of debauchery – but also amazing music. I mean it’s just like triple what the 80s was in terms of information. But um, for me on the dance level, I was spinning house back then so if you’re trying to play like 90s house I would say, wow. Something that always gets them… actually I’ll give you stuff that’s not normally as known and that could be better for you.

Play Underground Solution’s Luv Dancin’. Play Bobby Konder’s Nervous Acid or The Poem. Play Hot Music by Soho, or Earth People – the songs called Dance. I mean I could go on and on and on, 90s is a big era. That’s a big era man! I mean you’re talking… there’s a whole bunch of stuff!

I’m a big Boney M. fan. My favourite track, probably almost of all time, is Rasputin, so I have to say I really love what you’ve done with Barbra Streisand, just the simplicity of it and how you’ve turned it into something that has over 61 million YouTube views. How do you know when you’re on to something big like that?

Um, you don’t know. In short. That’s about the easiest way I can answer it. ‘Cause when you’re doing the kind of music, like when me and A-trak are together it’s very stylised, it’s not something you can predict. We are as much as in the dark as anybody else as to what’s gonna work and what’s not gonna work. Duck Sauce music is propelled by good will, basically. That’s how it works.

Are you going to be taking Duckzilla around Australia, like tweeting some pictures of him? Where are some places you would like to see him at?

I would say we would get down at Bondi and just put him out there in the middle of Bondi. Put him on top of the Opera House. In Melbourne, put him out on that bay thing or whatever that is. Put him on Ayres Rock. I think that would be the key. That would be the top spot to put him on, Ayres Rock. That’s the one. That’s what we’re shooting for.

Do you get to do the tourist thing when you come out on tour, or is it all just work, work, work?

Um, no. I mean I do a pretty good job. I mean sometimes even solo I just go into the towns on my own. I literally go to the hotel concierge and go “where’s the main street, like the hang out block or for sitting outside for some cappuccinos or maybe some shops”. And they just go “oh good!” and then they break out that map and I just kind of go on my own, my little own adventure. I like to do that when I can and I love to be alone in a new city. It’s like one of the funner things I can do.

You wear a lot of New Era caps and Mishka clothing, who are a NY brand. You’re very much a New Yorker, when you find brands like Mishka do you like to help promote them?

It’s all loose. I don’t know any of these people too well, I do know one of the Mishka people, but I was wearing it before I knew them. I’m not in contact with anybody. I mean if I just like something I just buy it I guess. It’s on that kind of a level.

I’ve been vintage my whole life, but I’ve really been vintage these days. I might wear like a cap, that might have a name brand or something but the rest, I dunno. I definitely love vintage ‘cause you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be unique. And I think that’s the thing I like to project the most.

Are you into movies at all? A lot of the music I like to source comes from film. For example the movie Uncle Buck has a pretty amazing 90s soundtrack, it had house of Pain and Wild Thing by Tone Loc.

Um, yeah. There’s a movie that I’ve been kind of a big fan of since it came out and I think it’s one of the more genius ways to use a movie soundtrack. Iit’s this movie called, Hot Rod. It’s with Adam Samberg from Saturday Night Live. It’s a stupid comedy movie, I think it’s hilarious. But the one thing he did in it, which I thought was genius was about 85% of the movie soundtrack was from this one album, from this one band called Europe (yes, the one with Final Countdown).

This album came out in like 1987 but he used 6 or 7 songs off that album in the movie. And it’s a shit album, like there’s no classics on it nobody cares about this album, but he put 6 or 7s songs from this album that was not anything in this movie. And it’s so good. ‘Cause you won’t believe how it matches the scene. So I thought that to be quite genius. And I know it’s him controlling the music. It’s a genius idea.

When you and A-trak got together, was it kind of natural or did you sort of poach him, like ‘he’s too good, I’ll either have to join with him or battle him to the death”?

Nothing like that, we had mutual friends and he had kinda just moved to New York. He’s a newbie from Montreal. And it was either bound to happen or to a degree as we kept seeing each other in the same circles. In a way, it was like the forces that be were putting us together. That’s the easiest way I can explain it.

In Australia we have this massive rivalry with New Zealanders, and I guess it similar between Canadians and Americans. Do you kind of hang shit on him for being from Canada?

Actually I don’t. What’s weird with my personality is that I’ve never been that way, because I grew up all over the place. So I never had that thing or vocational fun poking aspect. I don’t know why, but it’s just not in my personality. I mean I have my other funny sides, but that one, I don’t know why. Just never cared about where people came from. But I do find it funny when people come from super rural areas and they tend to be amazingly creative, like from a small farming town. That blows me away. How in the hell did something like this come out of a town like that? That I find interesting.

Tickets for Parklife Music Festival are available via Moshtix or their website

Michelle Sawyer, September 2011

tyDi – Australia’s Number 2 Dj (And That Ain’t Hey).

Fair to say, not many 24 year old lads from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast would have there shit together as cleanly as tyDi.

If Tyson Illingworth had a resume it would read like this: won Brisbane’s DJ Wars at 16, got a residency at Family at 17, got picked up by the world’s number 1 DJ, Armin Van Buuren, to record on his label at 18. Impressive? Yeah. More impressive still, is finding this soaring Trance trendsetter is still one of the most grounded and relaxed people I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing…

You mentioned in an interview that Trance is a lot like Wine in terms of taste. How does someone who grew up on the Sunshine coast get into wine, being 16 when you started, and trance to begin with?

Well I’m 24 now (laugh). It is one of those things were the town where I grew up, that genre of music wasn’t played on the radio and wasn’t very popular. So maybe when I heard it, because it was so different, maybe that’s why. ‘Cause it stood out that’s why I got into it. But it was a genre of music I just fell in love with.

It sort of sounds like there may have been one song, where everything clicked and made you go ‘yes, that’s what I want to do”…

There wasn’t actually one song, it was just more the style of music I was into at the time.

So was there a particular DJ you listened to a lot?

I remember when I was 16, I was listening to a lot of stuff by Armin Van Buuren at the time.

How is it, then, that he was sort of your idol and now you are doing world tours with him. How crazy is that?

It is crazy. I’ve never really had an idol DJ as such, but it’s crazy that the guys I was listening too like Armin and Paul Oakenfold, all those big DJs that I used to really look up to and who were exactly where I wanted to be 4 or 5 years ago. Now I play at their clubs around the world and tour with them, and make music with them. That is definitely something that feels pretty cool. It’s ahh, hard to explain I guess.

Are they now people you call friends? Like can you just call up Markus Schulz, for instance, and say ‘hey…’

They are all very busy guys. Markus Schulz is one of those guys who is on Skype all the time and I can call him up and see how he’s going. He’s a very friendly, down to earth guy and I run into him a lot at various shows around the world. Paul Oakenfold, he plays a lot of my music and I play at his nightclub at Las Vegas called Rain. Armin is probably the busiest of them all! He’s now a dad, and married and still touring the world. He’s the biggest DJ in the world, but he’s still nice enough that if I send him a new track, he’ll always let me know what he thinks of it. Yeah, it’s cool. It’s always nice to run into these people around the world and they are all very genuine, down to earth people.

Are you getting into Twitter, where you go to festivals you are playing at together and tweet each other?

I’m a total Twitter geek! There isn’t any that I don’t talk to on twitter. It’s ridiculous. I’m addicted to twitter, I think it’s dangerous.

I did an interview with Drop The Lime and he gave a brilliant quote about Tweeting, “The boobs will twitter themselves”. I thought it was very poignant as you can get into a lot of trouble with tweeting…

You especially have got to be careful with drunk tweeting. That’s the one that gets me sometimes. After a few red wines and them I’m out on Twitter spilling my emotions to everyone. And there’s 14,000 people reading my useless crap from home. But it’s fun. I like to vent through Twitter.

Do you Tweetpic as well?

Oh, all the time. Always taking photos of stupid things and uploading them.

So you actually are a bit of a wine connoisseur as well, it wasn’t just an analogy?

I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur but I do drink a lot of red wine and I love it.

Have you ever spilt any on your decks whilst you were DJing?

Probably not wine. I don’t really drink wine when I play but I have probably spilt my fair share of tequila on the decks.

One of the first things you did when you started out was win Brisbane’s DJ Wars. I’m doing a DJ comp myself at the moment called Yourshot. As a proper DJ, how do you feel about these sorts of event which seem to be popping up more and more, like Red Bull’s 3styler, for emerging DJs?

When I was 16 it was a really good way to get my name out there. I think it’s getting harder and harder for young, talented people to get recognised because there’s just so much competition and so many different social media things that you can use to get people to hear your music, so it’s making it very competitive. I think if you can win a DJ competition, even if it’s just a local one, I wouldn’t say that it’s the method, but it certainly helped me when I wanted to get gigs at local clubs and that lead to my first residency, which led to more fans, which led to interstate shows which led to touring the world. It’s just one of those things. You’ve still got to climb the ladder.

So you’re not a hater…

No. I’m not a hater at all. I don’t have time for haters.

Speaking of your first residency, you started off at Family, which is one of the biggest clubs in Brisbane. How was that?

It was awesome to play every week to a crowd that is like, over 1000 people when you’re 17, is a pretty cool thing. It was a big bridge for my career, and it was very nice of them to offer the residency to me. I enjoyed it a lot. And it definitely led to bigger and better things.

You had a little controversy around the release of your single Familiar Streets…

I don’t normally talk about that with the media. At the end of the day I had an opportunity that was going to change my life and it did. So I wouldn’t change a thing and I’ll leave it at that.

Fair enough, getting back to the important stuff – you were voted Australia’s number 1 DJ in the 2010 InTheMix Awards, you’re now number 2, knocked off by The Aston Shuffle. Little bit of rivalry there, or you don’t really care?

These days I hardly play in Australia, all my shows are over in America and around the world. This year I didn’t even ask anyone to vote for me, I was lucky to get number 2 again. I’m thankful that I’ve got such a fan base, I (honestly) didn’t think I was going to get number 2. These sorts of polls require a lot of pushing your fans, and asking everyone to rally up and support you, and I didn’t really do anything this year and still got the support so I’m super over the moon about that.

The ITM poll is a really important thing for my career and is always a good sign I’ve got fans. I mean these days I’m focusing on my music and my new album, and going overseas. So where I polled this year is huge. It wouldn’t have broken my heart if I came number 10 but I’m really excited to get number 2.

It’s a little less pressure as well as you still have a spot to go up, whereas The Aston Shuffle can only come down.

Yeah, now I’ve got room to move, hey.

With your new album, it seems like you are starting to get into a little bit of Dubstep. Is that something that is going to grow with your music?

Actually, it’s not that I’m getting into dubstep, it’s just the first song on the album is dubstep. It only goes for a 1:40secs. I was having a conversation with my friends and I was saying “I really love dubstep but after a minute it loses my attention”. So it was kind of a little joke to make the first song on the album a dubstep track. It was kind of, just enough that I could handle it cause after a minute it’s like “can I have something else please?”

Listening to your album, it doesn’t really sound like you are listening to a trance album, a lot of it feels more like club house tracks and even a little bit pop with some of the vocal mixes. But I suppose that’s why Armin picked you up, as you’re taking trance to the next level, you are the new generation of Trance Djs…

Well, I wouldn’t even say its trance. My new album had two trance tracks on it. It’s not a trance album at all. It’s more like a house album.

Have the clubs you’ve been playing at been a big influence?

Yeah. It’s just the new style, I think trance kind of, the old style of trance bores me now, genres need to move forward and change. I mean it’s funny, I have a lot of people, cause I used to play a lot of trance and now I don’t, who write things on twitter going “you’re new album isn’t trance, this isn’t trance” and it’s like, when did I tell people that it would be trance. It’s just an album of music, don’t get offended because I’m making up the genres.

People just want me to write one genre of music for my entire life, like is that what they want from an artist? So the new album is all over the place, it has some very pop influences as well. It’s just music.

You’ve got a bachelor of music from the Conservatory of Music, where you parent’s really proud that you got a degree, sort of like a way to legitimise becoming a DJ and keep your parents happy…

That was probably my way of tricking my parents, ‘cause they didn’t really want me to do DJing they thought you can’t really make a living out of, you can’t make money from it. But they’re very proud of me now and happy that I got the degree. It was kind of like a compromise, like ok I’m going to go and be a DJ but I’ll still get a degree.

The Number 1 DJ in Australia title wasn’t quite big enough…

Oh, look they were very happy with the Number 1 DJ title. They probably don’t understand the way that the DJ world works, it’s a bit of a weird career choice but my parents are very loving and proud, no matter what I do. So that’s good.

They sound like they keep you pretty grounded, cause you sound pretty grounded.

Oh, thank you.

Is it weird having fans and having people (like me) Googling you?

Yeah. It’s not weird. I mean I’ve had a few crazy fans, like stalkers, but beside those few it’s pretty normal and I’m able to have a normal life. I’m not getting harassed at shopping centres, so things are still good.

Brisbanites can change their home grown boy on October 8th, when he plays Full Noise Festival.. Tickets available via Oztix. Shooting Stars is out now on Armada Music. or tyDi’s website.

Michelle Sawyer, September 2011

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:
http://itunes.apple.com/au/artist/gotye/id161541223

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:

www.parklife.com.au
www.ticketmaster.com.au
www.moshtix.com.au

Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

What To Make Of Markus Schulz’ Dakota: Thoughts Become Things II

With the announcement of Summadayze 2012 – featuring non other than US based German trance-man, Markus Schulz – I thought it was a good time to scope out his latest offering, Dakota.

Who: Markus Schulz

Album: Dakota – Thoughts Become Things II

Background: Born in Germany, but now based in Florida – inevitable that he was going to become a Trance DJ and producer, Markus is the founder of the EDM label’s Coldharbour Recordings and has remixed everyone from Depeche Mode to Gabriel & Dresden and Madonna, finding not one, but two Billboard Club Chart #1’s with remixes of Jewel’s Intuition and Stand.

Here’s where Schulz last left us…

Now you are up to speed, I will begin…

Firstly, you switch the sound on and immediately Gypsy Room take you away from your shitty cubical desk job, and out floating through the skies across Fantasia on the back of Falcor, fist pumping the air (the last little thought might be different for others). Seamlessly transitioned into Red Star (I had to check which track I was on it was so dam smooth), the mood cranks up a notch and continues to do so but always maintaining its positive vibes.

The title, Dakota, is quite fitting, as this album has a lot of tribal elements – something I would imagine a bunch of progressive American Indian natives would dance and chant to around a bon fire – but it also keeps it’s modern trance sensibilities; unique, individual tracks that converge without ending up as just noise. This is not offensive trance; you don’t need to understand the genre (or culture) to enjoy this music, but if you do, you’ll love it even more.

Someone else who will love Dakota are DJs (like myself, sort of) who are looking for a solid dance track with high production value and sound builds, which could easily fit on a cross genre set list. There are going to be some clear clubber faves like Sleepwalkers, In A Green Valley and Sinners, but you’ll also find weekend house party anthems like Terrace 5 am and Miami. It could even be the soundtrack to a pretty out there road trip!

It’s rare that us Australians, due to our logistically challenging location, that we get to see such accomplished artists like Markus in the flesh. So if you are heading to Summadayze 2012, maybe head to Dakota first. I can’t guarantee your thoughts will also be that of Falcor: The Luck Dragon from The Never Ending Story, but this album will definitely evoke some trance-itional thinking.

Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

A Splendid Idea – Part 1

Sitting on the precipice of popping my Splendour In The Grass cherry, I stop to ponder the possibilities of what my weekend music odyssey will look like off paper…

Having been to as many festivals as I have been to in the last 18 months, it’s hard to believe that this is the first time I’ll be venturing up North to experience, what will no doubt be, three full on day of musical enlightenment. Yanking out the tent from the garage shelves, then taking the lazy route and asking my dad to fetch the thingy that inflates the mattresses (and the inflatable mattress), I start to feel that pre packing my camping stuffs is not really the preparation I needed most.

Firstly, the enormity of the musical ear fodder on offer is exhausting. And let’s not even begin to talk about all the other temptations that lay in wait. I’ll admit that I printed off and highlighted my must sees on the line-up pdf months ago, but that list has since become a blur of orange and blue Sharpie which is indecipherable to even the cleverest of code crackers. Clashes and conundrums crowd the cluttered page, what to do, what to do…

Day 1:
The Kills Vs Wild Beasts: So the winner here will be The Kills. I’m basing this on my morbid fascination to see Mr Kate Moss (Jamie Hince) in the flesh, as musically I heart them both equally.

Glasvegas Vs Warpaint: The winners? Warpaint – won’t be many who don’t go to watch these ladies play.

Gotye Vs The Hives: It’s been a few years since I last saw The Hives play live at Lovebox in London of 2008 (spesh), but only a couple months for Goyte who I saw at GTM in April… so you see where I’m going with this.

Kanye West Vs DJ Shadow: It’s Yeezy. Nuff said – sorry Shadow.

Day 2:
Foster The People Vs Sparkadia: I’m praying I have an out-of-body experience at this point so I can be at two places at once.

Regina Spektor Vs Pnau Vs Jane’s Addiction: I’m fucked.

Day 3:
Cut Copy Vs Pulp: Well I suppose I can be greatful this is the only MAJOR clash for the Friday that breaks my hea-aaa-aaa-aaar-rrt (lil Regina Spektor joke). Clearly with the massiveness of their reformation, has to be Pulp. Hands down.

Whilst clearly some decisions have now been made, I have a feeling which ever stage is located next to the Gold Bar is going to get the bulk of my attentions. Let’s pray it’s only a short walk/stumble to each stage…

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Michelle sawyer, July 2011

Mash-up Magicians

Taking one great track (or in Madeon’s case – 39) and blending it with another is what maketh the mash-up. But what maketh the makers?

The equation seems logical enough;
1 awesome track + 1 awesome track = A MEGA awesome tune!
But finding tracks that are both mergeable, as much as they are magical, is not quite as simple. So after a 17 year old French kid’s ‘spare time’ project Pop Culture – a collage of no less than 39 songs – went viral, the music world made note: there may be a lot more to the mash-up than we first thought. But is there?

Pop Culture by Madeon. Bet you watch this more than once…

Whilst it’s not necessarily a new concept, technology has definitely made merging songs and sampling a lot simpler – so much so that all it takes is the touch of a button. Madeon (that 17 year old French kid) and his music have almost single handily turned the underrated mash-up art form on it’s head, over night gaining a solid social media following with fans that include Martin Solveig, the Bag Raiders and just about every other electronic enthusiast alive. Not to mention all the blog coverage… (insert irony). Whilst the technique has been around for decades (I mean let’s face it, in it’s simplest form isn’t it just sampling?), this new hybrid version displayed by Madeon has been labeled as “the future of electronic dance music”. But let’s stop and take a minute to give some of this hype back those other sort of French men who first showed the world the magic of the mash-up way back in 2004 with the release of their album Any Minute Now.

Yep, I’m talking about David and Stephen Dewaele aka The Flying Dewaele Brothers aka 2manjdjs aka Soulwax aka the maddest over 40 DJs alive (in my opinion anyway)! More than just their music, the mash-up has made it’s way across to their videos like NY Excuse, their live shows via the hilarious conversion of clips like a cut out of Nicolas Cage’s head with movable mouth; not to mention their posters, record covers – even their logo.

Who else would get away with displaying the Eifel Tower as a radio antenna? They are unquestionably, still the masters of mash. And in the midst of all this merging of pop culture, they have even managed to create some of their own…

Unquestionably an inspiration for fellow Frenchy, Madeon, their appeal has made an impact all the way over here in Australia too, teaching acts like Yacht Club DJs how to turn years of misspent youth into a money making music machine. And so far for them it’s working. I for one am hoping the mash-up works it’s magic for me when I attempt to turn tunes in the DJ comp Your Shot. How’s the DJ name ‘Michmash’ sound?

Editors Note, Jan 2012: Though I wrote this blog back in mid 2011, it would be remiss of me not to include a mention of the mash-up DJ of the moment, Girl Talk. Having owned the latter half of 2011, taking a long time to come to prominence as a popular artist, his has finally (and deservedly) become one of the most hotly anticipated acts in music. Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, has the skills of a surgeon when it comes to mixing tracks by punk bands such as The Ramones, with modern-day Hip-hop anthems the likes of Missy Elliot and Jay-Z. Girl Talk takes post-modernist music to a whole new level!

Check out this nice interview by Craig Mathieson for The Age on the American Monster Masher. If you are lucky enough to already have tickets (and I think there still might be some left if you don’t), you can see Girl Talk dicing and splicing at the Big Day Out 2012.

Michelle Sawyer, July 2011

Holy S*** It’s A Holy Ghost!

To capture a Holy Ghost! you really do need to call the Ghostbusters.

Holy Ghost! fans were left shocked and saddened in 2009 after they were forced to pull out of (what would have been) a massive summer festival season for them due to the tragic death of their drummer. Nearly a year later, Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel will finally be haunting our shores with their 80s synth sounds as part of the line-up for Parklife 2010.

With aptly titled tracks like I Will Be Back, and the ability to float through walls, chatting with Alex was never going to be easy. After a trinity of obstacles (a NY cab ride, giving someone street directions and the Brooklyn Bridge) we finally caught our Ghost.

There are so many new electronic acts coming out of Williamsburg in NY at the moment like The Drums, you guys and MGMT. Is there something in the water or do you just feed of each other as inspiration?

I think there is a bit of myth about NY that’s there this scene happening in Williamsburg. There is a scene happening there but it’s not like we’re all, um, I guess from a business side. To be honest its like you get to see a band do so well and then we’re like ‘maybe we can do that too’. When MGMT’s record Oracular Spectacular did so well you have to take some time and sit down and listen to that and go, ‘how did they do that’? But that’s not really our style of music.

True you both have very different styles. MGMT are very modern were as you guys seem to have a genuine 70’s and 80’s style and sound. Is that because you’re children of the ‘80s?

Yer, we’re 80’s babies (both born in 1982). Both our parents were really musical, so we grew up listening to the music of that time, whether it was Michael Jackson or Steely Dan. My mom was really into dance music, she used to go out to discos and stuff… so that was playing in the house.

It’s not like we’re trying to be cheeky or ironic, like Calvin Harris, no offence. It’s not like we’re taking the piss. It’s more than nostalgia, it’s just a really big part of who we are, and we both think records just sounded better then.

So the old sound boards in your video clips, are they more than just props?

Yeah, the gear we use is almost all from that period and the way that we master our tracks. From the first stages to the final stages we try to avoid new technology ‘cause we think it just doesn’t sound as good.

What was the first album your bought?

Naughty by Nature, Kriss Kross and Black Sheep on cassette. I went to the record store and got them. It was a big problem ‘cause they all had parental advisory stickers and my parents didn’t approve of them.

So Missy Elliott must be big on your list to see at Parklife.

Definitely. I really hope we’re not on the same time slot as her. We tour a lot and it’s not a name that we see often, so there’s something special about that.

What about Classixx? We spoke to Tyler a few weeks ago and he said they were originally supposed to join Holy Ghost! but couldn’t due to “scheduling issues”.

That’s their line but I’ll tell you the truth, the parts were too hard. Tyler just couldn’t cut it. No I’m just kidding, they actually were too busy. Those guys know all the songs though, so maybe they can jump up on stage with a guitar or something.

Michelle Sawyer, July 2010