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Tomatrax

An independent online music magazine

Interview with The Lautreamonts

 

After playing in so many projects on the last 25 years, Martha F. and Hudson from Rio de Janeiro felt that something was still missing. They teamed up to form The Lautreamonts. The duo then dived into lots of experimentation and the result was a sound full of percussion, odd tempos, exotic instruments and influences that go from Post-punk to Middle-eastern music.

They have just released their debut EP, Who are you wearing. Tomatrax caught up with the band to talk about their music.

How did the band form?
After playing in so many projects before, we wanted to reinvent ourselves and the way we make our music. There were lots of gaps that we wanted to fill in and a couple of years of not being in a band, we started to talk about this new project.
Then, we were chatting about how Martha’s previous band (punk/new wave act Set-Setters), started with the idea of making a cover version of Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds are Girls Best Friends”. The band was active for 5 years, but they never got to play that song.
So, we said we were finally doing the cover as a new project with just the two of us. As with the other band, the music developed, we’ve released this EP and the MM cover never saw the light of day! haha

Where did the name The Lautreamonts come from?
Do you remember the band that did the opening for Friends tv series? They were called “The Rembrandts”. I always thought it was a fun name. Then, when we were looking for name ideas for this band, we came with the name of Lautreamont, that was a writer we were a lot into by that time. Then we took the same idea of that band and put it The Lautreamonts.

You’ve just released your debut EP, how does it feel to have it out?
Totally relieved! Even though this is a short album, it took a real while to be done. This band started just as a playground of ideas where we were creating and experimenting things. There were a lot of trial and error until we finally get into what we thought it was our “music aesthetics”. Then, there was a lot refinement during the recording phase and a lot of working on the mixing. But now, we’re really happy and proud of it! And it seems that people are enjoying it as well. 🙂

The EP mixes influences ranging from Middle-eastern and Indian music to Post-punk, Post-rock, Dreampop/Shoegaze, and psychedelia is it hard to get the various sounds to work together?
Well, during the creative process, that wasn’t the most difficult thing. I think most of those elements were inserted naturally on the music. It was more a work creating a unity among the songs so it was perceived as a whole album and not a collection of songs. What really took time to do was during the mixing stage. Because the music is so full of elements, layers and small details that it was pretty hard to come with a polished version, but in the end, we think we’ve managed to do that.

You said that after playing in various projects over the last 25 years, something was still missing. Do you feel like you’ve found what was missing in this release?
I think so. As we’ve said earlier, there were some gaps that we had in other bands that we wanted to fill in now. First, we’d like to evolve our music, take a step further from the “1,2,3,4” from punk rock or the aggressiveness of metal. So, we took all of our other influences (that you’ve mentioned on the other question), put in a blender and got this result. Also, we needed songs that would fit better the softness of my vocals, instead of having to scream over 2 loud guitars, bass and drums. This music makes it easier to sing, control and make different things than with a punk band.
Another thing was that when you’re in a band with, say 3-4 other people, you have to deal with all this different egos, perspectives and goals. When you reduce it to only 2 persons, things are much easier to resolve.
And in that way, we wanted autonomy to guarantee the quality of the music in a live situation (something that we’ve never could control before). With this band and the technology that is available now, we have our own portable equipment that is tuned to our own needs, so we can create a more interesting either sonically but also visually, since we’re also bringing our video and light projection.

What was the inspiration behind the animated “button” video for The Adequacy Waltz?
We were looking for images to illustrate our lyric video we’ve got lucky enough to stumble upon this amazing video by a German videomaker called Linda Klotzbach. The title of the movie is “Auf Knopdruck”, which can be translated as something like “Pressing (or clicking) a button”, which made perfect sense to us since one of the chorus lines of our song is “Just one click away”.
Then, there was the plot of the film, which was totally in line with the meaning of our song, that is about the need for social acceptance, and an idealized model of behavior. It was a very happy finding!

What inspired you to cover Black Sabbath’s self-titled track?
We were watching a Black Sabbath concert on TV and we talked how good and “evil” that song was. It was a time when we were still working on the songs and we were searching for a cover to do. It seemed quite natural since metal is in both our backgrounds.
So, during the production, we had the idea of changing the lyrics so it would be sung by the victim’s perspective, not the devil himself. Do you know the Type O Negative’s version for this song? Peter Steele also changed it a bit to make it look like he was the devil. It was a fun to do this “answer”!

Given you’re from Brazil, why do you sing in English?
There’s a couple of reasons for that. First, we’d say that 99% of the “rock” bands we listen to, sing in English (be they native speakers or not), so after all this years listening to this music, it just feels natural to sing and listen to music in that language. Whenever we hear a rock song that’s in Portuguese, it feels kinda weird to us.
Which leads us to the next point. This strange thing we perceive when we listen to a rock song in Portuguese drives most of our attention to the lyrics. And when that happens, we not only pay less attention to the music, but get influenced by how bad or good the lyric is. There are numberless of good music that are ruined by a bad lyric.
So, for us, music is always in the first place, vocals being just another instrument along with everyone else. We don’t want vocals to deviate our perception from a good song.

What is the music scene like in Rio De Janeiro?
Seems that it’s getting into a pretty nice moment right now. There are lots of small indie places here. It seems to have a “scene” and a place for everyone now. There are places where you will always find something more in an experimental vein. There are places to shoegaze/alternative stuff. Punk and metal always have their space as well. Plus, there’s a very cool venue that’s ran by girls with a feminist ideology behind, which is very inclusive. They actually released our EP through their label.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
All the time! 😛
And not on some indulgent way.. There’s a lot of listening during the production process of course. But then, after all is done, if we’re happy with the result (which in this case we definitely are), we’ll listen to it as frequently as another band that we like. Because, after all, the effort we’ve put on those songs were exactly to make it sound like a band we’d be fans of.

What other music do you listen to?
There’s a lot of good stuff out there and we’re noticing that slowly that some new bands are bringing back the “danger” and “abrasiveness” that the bands we used to love had.
But, we also have our all time favourites, which are: Martha: The Clash, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, New Model Army, Siouxsie & The Banshees and The Adicts Hudson: Foetus, the whole Mr. Bungle/Faith no More/Secret Chiefs 3 combo, Neurosis and lots of movie soundtracks, world music compilations and some extreme metal.
Also, there the main influences for this band besides the ones above, like Elysian Fields, Dead Can Dance, Einsturzende Neubauten and Xiu Xiu to name a few.

Now that your EP is out what do you plan on doing next?
We’re finishing the remix of the songs on the EP. Since we’re playing live as a duo, there was no way we’d be able to replicate that alive. Because of that, we’re changing the arrangements a bit so it will sound more electronic live.
Also, we’re preparing the live show as an audio-visual experience. We’re programming a light show in sync with the music, there’ll video projections as well. We hope it will be pretty cool!

 

Check out The Lautreamonts’s website to find out more!

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CD Review: Tia Gostelow – Thick skin

Since popping up as one of Triple J’s Unearthed High finalists a few years ago, Tia Gostelow has graced the Australian scene with her unique brand of atmospheric indie rock. She has now put out her debut album which shows off her amazing writing over these years.

Like many debut albums, this acts as a quasi “best of” with many of her great singles from the past few years making the cut.

Included in the album is the breezy atmospheric epic that is ‘Hunger’. The music drifts along blissfully carrying a huge fug of dreamy shoegazery along the way!

There is also the latest single ‘Phone me’. This sees Tia take on a more 80s esq poppy-dancy feel in the vein of Cindy Lauper or Olivia Newton-John. The result is a colourfully tune that shows off Tia’s great musical range.

‘Stranger’ is perhaps the most laid back tune on the record. Floating along in a chilled out fashion the music creates the perfect relaxed vibe. The calm duel vocals from Tia and Lanks add further to the relaxed feel.

Vague utopia brings in a great earthy rural atmosphere that floats in and takes you somewhere far away! Tia’s gusty and beautiful vocals gives the song a create character and further add to the hazy vibe!

Towards the end of the record is a reworking of ‘State of art’. This epic soundscape still has the amazing mesmerizing powers it possessed when Tia Gostelow burst onto the Unearthed High scene!

The album finished with the bright and breezy ‘That’s what you get’. The song has a faint Go-Betweens feel to it, with a bright colourful vibe felt the whole way through. Tia’s vocals are bright and catchy and finish off the bright and bouncing sounds beautifully. This is quite different from what Ms Gostelow has put out before, but really it shows how she can take on many musical styles and make them her own!

This is a fantastic debut record that really shows off Tia Gostelow’s incredible musical ability. Each song paints a gloriously colourful soundscape full of feeling and life. Given this is the first full length, there is no doubt many more glorious sounds to come!

Check out Tia Gostelow’s website to find out more!

Interview with Raouf from Seraphic

Brisbane symphonic metal outfit Seraphic have just released their new single ‘The Monster Within’. In this brand new single, Seraphic build upon their core, quintessential instrumentation – soaring soprano vocals, lightning guitar solos, memorable melodies and keyboards as a driving melodic force – but the addition of more prominent rhythm guitar grooves and harsh vocals cements the framework for a stronger, darker and more modern take on traditional symphonic metal.

Tomatrax caught up with Raouf from the band to ask a few questions.

You’ve just released your latest release, how does it feel to have it out?

It feels great! We released our debut album just over a year ago, and we couldn’t wait to release more music. We feel that ‘Monster Within’ helps usher us into the next phase of our songwriting. We’re pretty happy with the response to it so far.

What made you pick ‘The monster within’ as your latest single?

It was the first song we wrote after releasing our debut album, and it was quite a collaborative effort. Honestly, it was one of those songs where everyone just clicked, and as a result I think we have a refined and tight song. We got so excited that we just wanted everyone to hear it as soon as possible!

You said that ‘The monster within’ was written while going through a dark time, is it hard to have something that personal on show for everyone?

Sam, our vocalist, wrote the lyrics, but I think for me, it’s a song that has themes a lot of people can relate to. I see no harm in exposing yourself to the world through music, and if anything, I think it shows everyone that it’s ok to be honest. Everyone experiences difficult moments in life, and writing music this personal is a way to express yourself and connect with people who might be going through a similar thing.

You’ve received a fair amount of acclaim for your previous work, does that make you feel any pressure going forward?

Not really. For me, I always want to improve. The next song must be better than the last, so I think if there is any pressure it’s mostly self-inflicted. I’m just incredibly happy that our music is appreciated, and I can’t ask for more than that. Over time our music will naturally evolve, so I’m hoping that our listeners will keep the same appreciated.

Are there any plans for another album release?

Yep, for sure. We’re currently working on album 2, which ‘Monster Within’ will feature on as well. We’ve completed 3 songs already, and have a full album’s worth of material to polish yet. Hopefully a mid-late 2019 release is on the cards.

You’ll be playing a few shows next month, what can fans expect from your show?

We’ll be throwing a lot of energy, as we usually do! But we’ll also be playing another new song at our single launch on October 12, and most likely have another song premiere before the end of the year.

Where did the name Seraphic come from?

The name is derived from a “Seraph”, and is essentially considered an angelic or celestial being. We feel the name represents the style of music we try to create.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Quite often! I especially listen to our music after we’ve just recorded it, then I listen to it so much I leave it for a few months before going back.

What other music do you listen to?

Quite a variety. I love prog metal and melodic metal in general, but my metal upbringing was handled by bands such as Slayer, Megadeth, Cannibal Corpse, Arch Enemy. These days I enjoy bands such as Leprous, Karnivool, and other similar prog rock/metal acts.

What do you have planned after your upcoming shows?

We’ll be continuing songwriting. We hope to begin recording the album early next year. Aside from that, more shows!

Seraphic’s new single “The Monster Within” is available online now for streaming and purchase at Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, Amazon, Google Music, Deezer and Pandora and tickets for their single launch are on sale now at Woolly Mammoth’s site, Tickets for Halloween Hysteria are available at Oztix and tickets for Kamelot’s show are available at Oztix as well. 

 

SERAPHIC – MONSTER WITHIN SINGLE LAUNCH SHOW
FRIDAY OCTOBER 12 – WOOLLY MAMMOTH ALEHOUSE
WITH SUPPORTS AMICABLE TREASON, ELKENWOOD & DARKLORE
GRAB TICKETS NOW

SERAPHIC APPEARING AT HALLOWEEN HYSTERIA
ALONGSIDE THE BENNIES, KING PARROT, DROWN THIS CITY & MORE
SATURDAY OCTOBER 27 – JUBILEE HOTEL
GRAB TICKETS NOW

SERAPHIC SUPPORTING KAMELOT
MONDAY 3 DECEMBER – THE TRIFFID, BRISBANE
GRAB TICKETS NOW

Interview with Fourplay

Photo by Joshua Morris

Electric string quartet FourPlay have been wowing audiences around the world for over 20 years with both their radical stringed reinventions of pop songs and their wildly eclectic original material, such as the latest single, ‘Wish’ – a powerful ballad about living in a climate-changed world. ‘Wish’ takes this to the next step: with haunting melodies and tones reminiscent of Not Drowning Waving and ‘70s folk protest songs.

Tomatrax caught up with the band to ask a few questions (all answers by Lara Goodridge except where indicated).

You’ve been making music together for over two decades now, what is the secret to the band’s longevity?

I’d say we are really family now (oh, and Peter and Tim really are family!).  We’ve been through our 20s and 30s together, so we’ve been through thick and thin! We have a lot of fun together, share similar sense of humour, and love food! Bands are like any relationship, you need to have love, care and respect for each other so that everyone’s different needs, schedules and hopes are heard and met enough to continue. I think we do that as best we can. We still have a great time together and love making music together.

What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Wish’?

(Tim Hollo) We wanted to do something visually powerful that conveyed the journey of the song, which was inspired by my daughter’s anxieties about climate change, and our conversations about how we can’t “wish away” the times we live in – we have to do with them what we can. It follows a young girl, portrayed beautifully by dancer Marigold Pazar, as she takes in the shock of climate change disasters, sees and perhaps gets involved in activism to face up to it, and becomes able to walk with confidence into the future. The film-maker, Heidi Douglas, is also a passionate environmental activist, and was able to bring her wonderful ideas to life with footage from 350.org and others, as well as wildlife photographer Rob Blakers. The idea of projecting images onto us was particularly inspired, I feel.

Are there plans to put out another album?

Yes, we have an album ready to go to release for next year, and we also have a collaboration album with author Neil Gaiman which will also probably come out later next year!

You’ve just begun a tour round Australia, what can fans expect from your show?

We are playing a lot of our originals. It’s the non-genre-specific melange it’s always been! Some rock, some gypsy, some jazz, some post-rock, some vocals. It’s big, it’s fun, it’s intense, it’s beautiful.

You’ve done several cover versions, transferring guitar driven music to the strings, how does playing your own music compare with making covers?

We really do love writing our own material nowadays. We also find it harder to agree one what we want to cover! We looooove doing our version of Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine, and the audience loves that without fail, and we aim to find some more killer rock songs like that, that aren’t in some way a gimmick for us to play. We feel in some sense that we’ve moved on from that and performing our own music is really fulfilling for us.

Has anyone ever suggested making guitar driven covers of your original material?

No they haven’t. You need to spread that word!

When writing what comes first, the words or the music?

Well, we write a lot of instrumentals, so ya know, no words there! Often it’s a riff, a small idea, we will jam on it, and it grows into something, or doesn’t. We write together as a band, in the room together, plugged in and making sounds, and things take shape over hours and hours of playing. With lyrics, that’s usually added to the music afterwards.

(Tim Hollo) – With Wish, the two came together. I had the chord progression in my head, but tweaked it as the lyrics started forming. And the arrangement of the song, which we did together as a band, as always, came after the lyrics.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

No, not really! Although I like to go back and listen to the most recent recordings to make sure I’m still happy with them before it goes out. So far, yes, I’m happy and can’t wait to release it all!

What music do you listen to?

We all have very varying tastes. Peter has an enormous and very wide ranging eclectic interest in music which will range from folk to electronica to Egyptian jazz, I’m a bit more singer-songwriter-y, Tim loves his 90s music a lot! And Shenzo loves jazz and 80s rock!! But we all love a huge variety of music.

What do you have planned after the upcoming tour?

We plan to rock! And move you with soaring string melodies and harmonies, with driving, crunchy rhythms and glorious musical twists and turns. Ya gotta come and see it live!

 

 

Remaining ‘Wish’ single launch tour dates are listed below. Check out Fourplay’s website to find out more!
Thursday 20 September
Waywards, Newtown NSW
Onstage: 8.00pm

Friday 21 September
Bison Bar, Nambour QLD
Onstage: 8.00pm

Saturday 22 September
Brunswick Picture House, Brunswick Heads NSW
Onstage: 7.00pm

Sunday 23 September 

Brightside, Brisbane QLD
Onstage: 8.00pm

 

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