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Interview with Andy Campbell from AM Reruns

Melbourne modernist trio AM Reruns have announced their debut self-titled LP, due 9 August and on vinyl from 23 August.

Tomatrax caught up with Andy Campbell, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, to ask a few questions.


How did the band form?

We got together in mid 2016, and we rehearsed for about 6 months without a singer. I’d written a fair few guitar riffs by that time, but there were no words and no melodies. Quang Dinh from Little Red sang with us briefly before doing Moonlover. Then later that year I watched a Buzzcocksdocumentary where Pete Shelley spoke about taking over lead vocals after Howard Devoto left. That inspired me to try singing and fronting the band. It was a case of our music getting heard or not – I needed to take responsibility for the thing and start fronting it.


Where did the name AM Reruns come from?

‘AM Reruns’ refers to whatever is on T.V. or AM radio after midnight. The lower quality the programme the better. I like B-grade horror films. I think I was watching “Lust For A Vampire” on Gem at 3.00AM one night after a gig.


Youre just about to release your debut album, how does it feel to have it finished and ready to go?

Personally, it’s an amazing relief to have it out. I feel freer. On a separate level, people are really enjoying it. It’s getting a lot of radio play and people are even arriving at shows already familiar with some of our songs. I cannot believe that the vinyl release is only two weeks away. Seeing our first LP is gonna make me faint.


What made you decide to make the album selftitled?

I love the act of having a self-titled debut album. “The Smiths,” “Pretenders,” “The Only Ones,” “The Plimsouls,” “Blondie.” It’s a classic move!


How does the rest of the album compare with your debut single, Looking For Victim?

“Looking For A Victim” is little more spacious and ominous, a bit trance-like (with that tremolo guitar effect at the start) compared with the rest of the album. But it’s an eclectic LP. Some of it is protopunk, like “Vicious.” “Dial-in Static” and “Thrill Me” have elements of power pop. But there is a clear musical lineage leading up to our record I think – you can trace the shared countercultural influences through 20th century bands, from Smokey Robinson, the Everly Brothers, Cramps, New York Dolls, The Only Ones, The Smiths and so on.


Was is it hard to pick what went on the album?

No – we had ten songs in our live set, and that’s what we decided to release. There were other demos that never made it into the set.

Youll be touring round Australia soon, what can fans expect from your show?

A very loud, loose and very passionate rock’n’roll show. Amazing haircuts, sharp outfits and a bit of showbiz.


Do you ever listen to your own music?

Yeah. I’m very proud of what we’ve released, and I can sit back and enjoy it. Obviously not every song makes it to this point though. We’ve got demos that lasted maybe 20 listens in the car before we had to abandon them.


What other music do you listen to?

Some things you’d expect – lately, RVG, Gold Class, The Only Ones, Hexdebt, the FlaminGroovies, a great Melbourne band called Bathhouse. But I also love Aphex Twin, Elliott Smith, Bert Jansch, and I recently bought the reissue of Snout’s record Circle High AndWide.


What do you have planned after your upcoming tour?

A lot of writing, and hopefully a lot more shows. We have about five new songs at the moment. We’ll look at them, plan a release for next year, and start writing more.

Check out AM Reruns Facebook page to find out more!

Wednesday 11th September 2019
Valve Bar Sydney
Thursday 12th September 2019
Sideway Canberra
Friday 20th September 2019
The Eastern Ballarat
Saturday 21 September 2019
Nighthawks Melbourne




Interview with The Barren Spinsters

Canberra two piece The Barren Spinsters have just put out their debut album, Ten Steps to Cynical Thinking, and are currently touring around Australia. Tomatrax caught up with the duo to talk about their music.


How did the band form?

Brendon: It actually started as a bit of a side-project while Matt and I tried to get a different soul/funk project off the ground. It’s funny which songs seem to stick and which don’t.

Where did the name The Barren Spinsters come from?

Brendon: It’s a bit of a call out to the awful way the media treated and scrutinized Julia Gillard during her time as our Prime Minister. It’s an archaic phrase, poorly used as an attempted insult. We thought we could hijack the phrase and make it mean something more positive. To us, the phrase ‘The Barren Spinsters’ is now associated with two dorky guys in cat shirts playing silly rock songs.

You’ve just released your debut album, how does it feel to have it out?

Brendon: Honestly, relieved. Immensely proud, but very relieved. It’s been a few years in the making so we’re both looking forward to moving onto writing and recording new music.

Matt: It was a lot of work but I’m super chuffed with the finished product. Happy as Larry! Whoever he is.

Where did the title Ten Steps to Cynical Thinking come from?

Matt: It came as a bit of a nod to the tongue-in-cheek vibe of Brendon’s lyrics. There’s a snarky, sarcastic quality to them which I love. As there’s 10 tracks on the album, I had this idea of the 10 songs being a sort of guide to being a cynic. It linked really nicely with the artwork theme too.

What made you pick ‘Hey Ruth’ as your latest single?

Brendon: Duck duck goose? I dunno really, it just felt right. As a song it seems to get straight to the point and doesn’t faff around too much.

Matt: It’s always been first up on the setlist, and it’s the first track on the album too, so it felt like a strong contender to go with. We also came up with the idea for the music video pretty early on, so it all came together very naturally.

What was the inspiration behind the album’s cover? 

Matt: The album name and the cover idea kind of came together at the same time. At first we wanted it to look like an old 50’s advertisement for cigarettes or something. But when we got Ruth Palmer on board for the artwork, it morphed into more of a childrens book theme. Ruth has done illustrations for Enid Blyton books, and I honestly don’t know how we convinced her to do it. But we’re so thankful that she agreed, and the end product is super pretty.

You’ve been touring around Australia in support of your album, how has that been going?

Matt: It’s been a lot of fun so far. We’ve been really lucky to grab some spots on some amazing festivals later in the year, and the shows so far have been a blast.  

Brendon: We’ve spent so long doing band admin in preparation for the album’s release it has been wonderful to actually play some music for a change. People have been very receptive to the album so far,which has been awesome

What is the music scene like in Canberra?

Brendon: Cool, very cool. As I write this, I have ringing ears from just getting back from a local gig that featured two Canberra acts that I’ve never heard of before. That’s what I love about Canberra, there’s always a plethora of great acts around the corner that you’re yet to see play live.

According to your bio one of the band’s parameters was to have “few rehearsals”, what prompted you not wanting to have many rehearsals?

Brendon: That was kind of a throw away line poking fun at the fact we both have very limited time to rehearse as much as we’d like to. Matt & I also play together in a couple of other projects, so the musicianship and chemistry is always getting a work out, even if The Barren Spinsters songs aren’t.

Matt: There’s a certain spontaneity that comes from being a bit loose on stage, and not overthinking things. We seem to sound better when we’re a bit sloppy.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Brendon: I do actually. I know its daggy to say so, but bloody hell I‘m proud of what Matt & I have accomplished. It’s also nice to keep checking in on a track you’ve recorded to see if you still like it. Sometimes by listening back you get a fresh perspective that helps you to improve or change it for future gigs. 

Matt: I’m more into…like…good bands. I’m really more of a ‘5 Seconds of Summer’ kinda guy.

What other music do you listen to?

Matt: I think we’re both into a bit of everything and anything. At the moment I can’t stop listening to ‘All Things Must Pass’ by George Harrison. I don’t know how it took me this long to listen to that album, but I’m obsessed.

Brendon: I’m probably just like everyone else, in that I’ll listen to the same familiar favorites until I happen to come across something new I’ve never heard before that excites me. The following week is usually the same song on repeat until my partner threatens to leave me.

Matt: Yeah, she does that a lot. And who could blame her?

What do you have planned after your tour?

Brendon: Finish writing the follow up album for sure. Second albums are always seen to be the hardest, so I‘d love to get a head start on sculpting that bad boy.

Matt: I’m thinking some band therapy, like ‘Some Kind of Monster’ would be cool. Much like Lars, I’m also a massive prick, so I think it could really work for us.

Check out The Barren Spinsters’ website to find out more!


Beauty in Chaos & Jammer Direct present ‘Behind the Beauty: Remixing the Chaos’ film

Beauty in Chaos, in collaboration with Jammer Direct and Jammerzine, announces the film ‘Behind the Beauty: Remixing the Chaos’, which premiered on Jammer Direct. This marks two milestones for Jammer Direct – this documentary is their first film project and its release also helped launch Jammer Direct’s official Roku channel this month.

This film takes you behind the scenes of the making of the new ‘Beauty Re-Envisioned’ album from Beauty in Chaos, curated by guitarist Michael Ciravolo. It explores the ‘how and why’ of the album through its creators, featuring interviews with Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Ashton Nyte (The Awakening), guitar slayer Zakk Wylde, dUG Pinnick (King’s X), Evi Vine, Tim Palmer, Tish Ciravolo, Paul Wiley (Marilyn Manson), producer Michael Rozon and BIC curator Michael Ciravolo. Rolan Bolan also provides commentary on his collaboration with BIC and Wayne Hussey to re-create his father’s seminal T. Rex track ‘20th Century Man’.

There’s also more in this peek behind the curtains of SAINTinLA Studios in Los Angeles to learn the story of the evolution from record to remix – track by track – to better encounter the beauty behind the chaos.

Directed by Ryan Martin (creator or Jammer Direct and Jammerzine) and Sophia Ciravolo, this film also includes music video segments were directed by Vicente Cordero at Industrialism Films.

“I think this documentary gives an intimate peak behind the curtain of the ‘why and how’ of this record.  I feel we got an amazing cross section of ‘re-envisions’ of these songs… that shed a new and different light on many of these songs,” says Michael Ciravolo.

Based in L.A., Beauty in Chaos is an alt-rock collective that involves numerous musical luminaries. Produced by Michael Rozon, ‘Beauty Re-Envisioned’ is their second-long play, including a wide array of remixes and alternate versions of tracks off the debut album ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’.

It features contributions by Wayne Hussey, Ashton Nyte, Simon Gallup (The Cure), Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Zakk Wylde, Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Rolan Bolan, Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets), producer Tim Palmer, Pete Parada (The Offspring), John Fryer, Alexander Kretov / Ummagma, Paul Wiley, Kitty Lectro, dUg Pinnick, ICE-T, Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Mark Thwaite, Evi Vine, Michael Aston (Gene Loves Jezebel), Sine Division, Betsy Martin, Kevin Kipnis, Tish Ciravolo, Statik, Johnny Indovina, Dirk Doucette, Roman Marisak, Sounds Of Sputnik, Tim Perry, Ulrich Krieger, Lola Bates and Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle).

Beauty in Chaos is the brainchild of guitarist Michael Ciravolo. Originally from New Orleans, he is perhaps best known as President of Schecter Guitar Research. Ciravolo has played guitar in Human Drama for the past 30 years, as well as playing live and recording with Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel since 1998.

Previewing this album, Beauty in Chaos’ single ‘Un-Natural Disaster’ ft. dUg Pinnick, Zakk Wylde and Ice-T (Collide Mix) premiered in Rolling Stone, followed by ‘Drifting Away’ ft. Robin Zander and Michael Anthony (Synthetic Capricorn Mix), remixed by Paul Wiley and Steven Alexander Ryan (The Black Queen) and ‘Storm ft. Ashton Nyte (Acoustic Version)’.

‘Behind the Beauty: Remixing the Chaos’ is now streaming on Beauty in Chaos’ official YouTube channel. Apart from Roku, itwill soon also be available via Amazon Prime and has already been approved and translated for broadcast on China’s largest independent TV station IQIYI, available to 500 million active users.

‘Beauty Re-Envisioned’ is available on deluxe CD, limited-edition heavy-weight colored vinyl and digitally via 33.3 Music Collective at Apart from the 14 core tracks, album orders placed via the website also come with 11 bonus remixes.

Between the UK and Germany: Def Robot present debut album ‘Makers of Mountains’


British outfit Def Robot present their new album ‘Makers of Mountains’, which will be released on June 7. This is their first batch of songs to be unleashed from the dark minds of Def Robot, addressing such themes as global ignorance of the destruction of our planet, relationship breakdown, guilt and hope, arrogance and censorship.

Paul Taylor and David Hancox, began life as Def Robot earlier this year, guided by a shared enthusiasm for punk, rock and Americana, mixed with northern English grit and dark film noir. Their sound and songs gradually came together.

“We are here to paint a bleak but thrilling picture like a brooding electric storm in a desert at night, with two shadowy figures on the horizon,” says David Hancox.

This is not the first time Taylor and Hancox have collaborated, being bandmates in several bands prior to this including Manchester-based Furball, Slouch and Kerosene.

“In 2018, we had reconnected, because we started working on unreleased Kerosene tracks, which were re-recorded, edited and mastered by all of the band,” explains Paul Taylor.

“We had found that our own recording and production skills had been individually worked on, in the intervening years since our former bands had ceased to be. Having been in three different bands together previously, it felt natural to start a fourth!”

Today Def Robot straddles the geographic divide between Berlin and Kendal (South Lakeland District of Cumbria). While historically renowned for pipe tobacco and snuff and grey limestone, today it is perhaps best known for its mint cake and the Kendal Calling Festival. The band recorded, produced, mixed and mastered this album in Manchester, Kendal and Berlin.

Pavement, Wilco, Fugazi number among their influences, as do the Pixies, Mike Watt, Descendents and Ennio Morricone, as well as 80s and 90s Manchester music.

As of June 7, ‘Makers of Mountains’ will be released on CD and digitally across online stores such as Apple Music and streaming platforms like Spotify. The album can also be ordered directly from the band in both format via Bandcamp.

Keep up with Def Robot
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