It’s that time of year again – the one and only, Oscars. Which means GIFs, GIFs and more GIFs (yes). With over 43 million viewers this year, 2014’s ceremony and it’s stars gave us some of the most shareable social media moments to last us until next years awards. Counting down from 10 to 1…
10. Ellen, the good witch of the north.
Perfectly sums up how we all feel when dressed in something OTT ridiculous.
9. Jim Carey, still the master of facial contortion.
“Of course, the magic I’m referring to is LSD… I might be reading that wrong. It’s animation. Wow, I was way off.” Never change JC!
8. Ellen, ‘Selfie’
The first of many…
7. Julie Roberts, what big teeth you have…
The happiest and most radient I have seen this pretty woman looking in a loooong time. Lovely!
6. JLaw Fall
Wouldn’t be the #Oscars without a tumble from Jennifer Lawrence. Bless.
5. Benedict Cumberbatch Photo Bomb
Thank you Jebus for the magnificant Mr Benedict Cumberbatch aka Khan aka Smaug aka Sherlock aka awesome! (Aware this isn’t a GIF but it’s too brilliant not to be in this list.)
Leo’s face. Priceless.
3. Lupita Nyong’o Wins The Best Supporting Actress Award
Pure joy, love and everything this world should be.
2. The Selfie That Broke Twitter
Only Ellen could make this happen… (what Hollywood dreams are made of.)
1. Steve McQueen Clap
The only clap you will even need to share on social media again. Ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
5. “Crazy In Love” – She’s part of the Ultimate Brand Partnership
Sometimes all it takes is your Daft Punk, Justice, French Electro-Pop lovin’ hairdresser to point out the obvious… Kimbra is the new Kylie.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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…
Thursday 19th of April 2012 – they say things come in threes and Australia Music is no exception…
MASSIVE EVENT N0. 1 – Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know Feat. Kimbra reaches Number 1 on the US Billboard’s Hottest 100
It started early with the news that Gotye’s once in a lifetime song, Somebody That I Used To Know Feat. Kimbra, had reached the number 1 spot in the US Billboard Charts. After becoming the second longest running single at Number 1 in the ARIA Charts (at 8 weeks) alongside Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply, Wally’s 9 times platinum break-up behemoth again joined Savage Garden in earning a number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hottest 100 charts – something that hasn’t been achieved by another Australian artist for 12 years.
Gotye feat. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used To Know
Gotye’s appearances with Kimbra on Saturday Night Live and set at the epic Coachella Music Festival are attributed to the number 1 spot. Reports from Coachella were that “every DJ [at the Sahara Stage] had a remix of Somebody That I Used To Know, and every time it was played, the whole tent and everyone around the area erupted.” (Triple J’s The Doctor Podcast, Aired Monday, 16th April 2012.) But it’s not just the song that is earning praise…
MASSIVE EVENT NO. 2 – Rage Turns 25
Rage Theme Song
Gotye’s equally quirky and epic video clip for Somebody That I Used To Know (which is currently sitting on 166,577,833 views on YouTube), will be featuring as part of an all time greatest music video’s special to celebrate Australia’s longest running video shows 25th birthday. Yep, Rage is turning 25. It’s the music show that most of Gen-Y’s (myself included) have grown up with, nursed a hangover with and (likely) pulled an all nighter with.
Hosted by You Am I’s Tim Rogers, the special will air at 10.20pm on Saturday and will feature an avalanche of epic clips that include:
Peter Gabriel’s Sledge Hammer, Beyonce’s Single Ladies, LCD Soundsystem’s Drunk Girls, OK Go’s Here It Goes Again, The White Stripes’ Fell In Love With A Girl, The Avalanche’s Since I Left You, the Fatboy Slim spectacular featuring an unforgettable dance explosion from Christopher Walken (see below) and shed loads more…
Fatboy Slim, Weapon Of Choice
MASSIVE EVENT NO. 3 – Splendour In The Grass 2012 Line Up Announced
Finally (as if the first two weren’t enough) the ABC’s other music megalith’s, Triple J, announced the much anticipated Splendour In The Grass 2012 line up. And it goes a little something like this:
Jack White, Bloc Party (ONLY AUS SHOW), Smashing Pumpkins, At The Drive-In (ONLY AUS SHOW), The Shins, Hilltop Hoods, The Kooks (ONLY AUS SHOW), Gossip, Miike Snow, Dirty Three (ONLY AUS SHOW), Lana Del Rey, 360, Azealia Banks, Tame Impala, Explosions In The Sky (ONLY AUS SHOW), Ladyhawke, The Afghan Whigs, Missy Higgins, Wolfmother, Metric, Kimbra, Mudhoney, 50 Years Of Dylan, Band Of Skulls, Spiderbait, Django Django, Gypsy & The Cat, San Cisco, Last Dinosaurs, Electric Guest, Muscles, Angus Stone, DZ Deathrays, Howler, Lanie Lane, Fun, Big Scary, Michael Kiwanuka, Seekae, Friends, Yacht Club Dj’s, Bertie Blackman, Jinja Safari, Blue King Brown, Youth Lagoon, Pond, The Beautiful Girls, Yuksek, Tijuana Cartel, Ball Park Music, The Rubens, Ben Howard, Bleeding Knees Club, Zulu Winter, The Medics, Shihad, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Husky, Kate Miller-Heidke, Father John Misty, Emma Louise, Chet Faker, Here We Go Magic, Parachute Youth, Mosman Alder, The Cast Of Cheers, Wolf & Cub, Gossling
Beni, Sampology (AV/DJ show), Canyons (DJ Set), Nina Las Vegas, Danny T, Alison Wonderland, Nice and Ego (AV/DJ show), Flume, Gloves, Luke Million, Harris Robotis, Alley Oop
The White Stripes, Fell In Love With A Girl
Tickets for Splendour In The Grass go on sale Friday 27 April 9am AEST. Now excuse me while I go lay down for a bit…
We’re gonna party like its 1999, ‘cause Prince is coming to tour Australia…
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.
When triplej announced Radiohead would be returning to tour Australia for the first time since cancelling their 2nd Melbourne show in 2004, people lost their minds…
Hailed as one the most influential bands of all time, and, likewise, their lead singer, Tom Yorke as one of the most influential musicians, they transcend the general boundaries that separate indie and commercial music – basically everybody likes them. Remember this ad for Scope?
So whether you fully comprehend the deepness of Radiohead’s driving melodies and droll lyrics or just dig Tom’s dance moves, you will likely enjoy this brief timeline of Radiohead’s rise to EPICness by way of music videos…
Title: Creep Album:Pablo Honey Year: 1993 (Single released 1992)
Fun Fact: Captain Obvious aka BBC1 banned this song from airplay, deeming it “too depressing”. Bet BBC1 wants to kill themselves for that call.
Title:Just Album:The Bends Year: 1995
Fun Fact: R.E.M’s Michael Stipe, helped to bring the band and album to prominence through his promotional buzz as a fan. The proverb “awaken the sleeping giant” comes to mind, with the band’s popularity overshadowing R.E.M in later years.
Title:Karma Police Album:Ok, Computer Year: 1997
Fun Fact: Before recording their “album that changed everything”, the Radiohead boys would take inspiration from listening to The Beatles, DJ Shadow, Ennio Morricone and Miles Davis – yeah, DJ Shadow!
Title:I Might Be Wrong Album:Amnesiac Year: 1998
Fun Fact: Bit of a blank for a few years with music videos, with the Radiohead lads going a little too far with their “depressing” motif on Kid A; critics labelled it as a “commercial suicide note”. Luckily, Amnesiac was a bit more cheery…
Title:Go To Sleep Album:Hail To The Thief Year: 2003
Fun Fact: Yorke denied that Hail to the Thief’s title was a comment on the controversial 2000 US presidential election. Don’t really understand the denial; a lot of band’s tried to “ban the Bush” that year.
Title:Body Snatchers Album:In Rainbows Year: 2007
Fun Fact: I’m aware this is not an actual music video. But my point is: if you listen to this album, you will never be the same again.
Title:Lotus Flower Album:The King Of Limbs Year: 2009
Fun Fact: This clip was probably more memorable for the spin of parodies of Tom Yorke’s “interpretive” dance moves, maybe more than the music – but still EPIC as always.
Tickets for Radiohead’s 2012 Australian Tour go on sale Thursday, March 1st at 9am (local time – check triple j’s website for more details) or you can enter triple j’s comp and maybe win yourself some FREE tickets and pre-party guest passes – double happiness!
Having recently read the ‘enlightening’ Up & Down With The Rolling Stones, by Tony Sanchez, I got to wondering, who would be the rock ’n’ roll rebels of today’s music world?
With the long overdue decision made to read more music biographies in 2012, I kicked off my quest with the mostly true tails of Tony “Spanish Tony” Sanchez (better known as the drug dealer and friend of The Rolling Stones), and his much loved (semi) biopic; Up & Down With The Rolling Stones: My Rollercoaster Ride With Keith Richards. If you haven’t read this little page turner and are a fan of the band – 60’s & 70’s – sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll – and the rest, I implore you to order it IMMEDIATELY from your local book store or Amazon.com.
In brief, the book recalls some of the many adventures of the Stones both musically and, more interestingly, personally with particular emphasis on Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and the late Brian Jones. Also very intriguing are the brief insights given on other great artists of the time including The Beatles (particularly John Lennon), Brian Ferry (Roxy Music), Eric Clapton and Ronnie Woods (pre Stones days). It also delves quite deeply into the women of the Stones, most of whom were Jagger’s ladies, Marianne Faithful, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall and the ultimate Stone’s WAG, Anita Pallenberg.
Now there have been a number of fascinating reviews on the novel itself, so I am not going to compete with them, instead recommend this one I came across which is a pretty decent read called, Spanish Tony, Where Are You?. Rather, I chose to ponder the more intangible question of ‘if Up & Down… was written today, who would it be about?’
For me, the obvious choice to replace The Rolling Stones, is The Strokes: Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar), Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass guitar) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums and percussion). Firstly, given the period which Up & Down was set, London was then considered the bohemian capital of the world; but now it feels more appropriate that New York has become the new Mecca for musical, intellectual, uber-trendy, young things, more commonly known as ‘hipsters’ to congregate and call home. MGMT, The Drums, Armin Van Helden and A-Trak (to name a few) all reside in Williamsburg, as an example.
The Stones were all about pushing boundaries both in common social ideals and in music, and The Strokes have certainly done this. Forming in 1999, they sparked a bidding war amongst record labels after the anthem, Last Nite from The Modern Age EP, was given away as a free MP3 by UK magazine NME. When, Is This It, hit the world a short time later, it was the sound a generation had been desperately awaiting. Reinventing the indie genre through their hypnotic guitar riffs, deep rolling vocals and occasionally political lyrics, they also, like The Stones, set the trend in fashion with their incredibly tight, low slung grey jeans, fitted, black leather jackets and vintage rock-band-branded T-shirts. On a more generalised note, they directly emulate The Rolling Stones with their long “anti-establishment” hair-cuts, pale skin, good educations and slightly arrogant stage presence.
If the Stroke are the Stones, then today’s Beatles would have to be Coldplay: Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion. What can I say here, that has not already been said about these musical masters? I know many enthusiasts will argue that they are too commercial and ‘pop’, but then many also would say that about The Beatles. Like The Beatles, they formed after a chance meeting at university. Both have ‘unofficial’ fifth members (their long-time managers) and both are unquestionably ground breaking both creatively, visually and subsequent in record sales.
Another similarity is their long time leading ladies. Gwyneth Paltrow is an odd mash up of Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney. Her personal influence over lead singer and husband, Chris Martin, or the rest of the band has never been (commonly) publicised and whilst she does not seem likely to start the catch phrase “You broke up Coldplay”, she has certainly leant on her husband’s fame to establish her own music career; recently playing roles as a country music singer in the feature film, Country Strong (2010), and returning Glee guest role of the substitute teacher, Holly Holiday. But unlike Yoko and Linda, she has earned critical praise by some of music’s genuine talants, like Cee Lo Green, for her performances and if you look at the Glee cover of Landslide, by Stevie Nicks, below, you might find yourself inclined to agree with them.
Speaking of WAGs, the other key players in Spanish Tony’s all revealing memoir, are the prominently discussed four Rolling Stone’s leading ladies, who included: Marianne Faithful – Jagger’s first girlfriend (and almost wife) Bianca Jagger – Jagger’s first wife (who gave birth to his first child, Jade) Jerry Hall – Jagger’s last wife (who he stole from Brian Ferry) Anita Pallenberg – Arguably the most long term of the Stone WAGs, she was Keith’s old lady (and she also slept with Jagger)
To go into more detail on any of these mysterious and deathly attractive iconic women would be a blog un-to-itself, sticking to my for-mentioned topic is tough enough to summarise into a single paragraph. Suffice to say, none of today’s rock muses compare to those immortal creatures of Up & Down, but that the appeal for a rock WAG to be a one-of-a-kind beauty is still the same today as it was back then; though being an actress/model also helps.
Some of today’s notable music WAGs have been: Kate Moss – She’s the girl every girl wants to be and for a number of years, she was famously the girl of renowned musical prodigy and drug enthusiast, Pete Doherty, former lead singer of the Libertines. She has since married her other long time rock love, Jamie Hince from The Kills, in 2011. Kate Hudson – Divorced from Black Crows frontman, Chris Robinson, who was the father of her son Ryder, she gave birth to Muse frontman, Matthew Bellamy’s baby, Bingham, in 2011. The two are predicted to wed in 2012. Alexa Chung – Wearing the label of UK’s ‘It’ girl as well as numerous other fashion houses, the model and TV presenter was famous for being ‘Alexa’ of ‘Alexa & Alex’, dating Alex Turner, lead singer of the Arctic Monkey’s for 5 years. They recently split in late 2011. Drew Barrymore – She dated The Strokes drummer, Fabrizio Moretti for 5 years, which to-date has been her longest relationship. Kirsten Dunst – Aside from her openness to smoking a joint, she has featured in a couple of music videos and dabbled in various musical roles on film. She also dated Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell. Carey Mulligan – A proclaimed “one to watch in 2012”, after trying out the ‘dating a co-star’ thing with Shia LaBeouf, she came to her senses and became engaged in 2011 to childhood friend Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Sons.
So whilst there does appear to be a tangible stereotype emerging with both bands and WAGs alike, the magic and originality of the music and spirit remains.
Mixed for Feet Vol.1 –it’s a dance compilation, but not as we know it.
After their much appreciated reformation in early 2011 and a shed load of touring, progressive trance duo Gabriel & Dresden have given birth to their first album release Toolroom Knights, Vol.2 in 2007. Like they have done through out their much celebrated and industry awarded career, Josh Gabriel and Dave Dresden have taken their twist and turned it into one of the hottest dance compilations of 2011 with Mixed for Feet Vol.1.
Now normally when it comes to an artist release, you would expect to find nothing but self named tracks (I know I did), so I was pleasantly surprised to find a gathering of some of the biggest and best names in dance to date, scattered across the track lists. Tiesto, Fredde Le Grand, tyDi, Umek… and that’s just disk one. And, of course, there are plenty of G&D hero anthems for the devoted.
Aside from the sheer professionalism of production, what comes through loud and clear is the love. Personal favourites are Eponym by D-Wayne Vs Jacob Van Hage (disc 1) and White Noise-Red Meat by Dada Life (disc 2) and classic Motorcycle (original clip above) remix of As The Rush Comes (It’s The DJ Kue Remix!) – all guaranteed to get you into the happy holiday headspace. Making over classic Gabriel & Dresden anthems, like Tracking Treasure Down feat. Molly (original clip below), is definitely a masterstroke, though there are also some new tracks which are destined to become favourites with fans and dance enthusiasts alike, like Josh Gabriel Presents Winter Kills’ Oklahoma Town.
Anyone who was fortunate enough to see them play live in ’11, as I did at Creamfields in May, would have witnessed the powerful playfulness of the two accomplished DJs first hand. Mixed for Feet Vol.1 further stamps the statement “we’re back” – and this fan couldn’t be happier.
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?
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”.
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?
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
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
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
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