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Tomatrax

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Interview with Rumours

 

Melbourne based rock/metal group Rumours has dropped their first musical offering, “Paralysed”, since their debut EP ‘Lost Together’ in 2017.

Tomatrax caught up with Harry Coote the band’s guitarist, and Reece Philpot, the band’s drummer, to ask a few questions.

How did the band form?

Reece: The band started when Jackson sent me a message on Facebook and he was pretty keen on writing some music that was a bit different than what he was normally into, we went through heaps of people and it just really wasn’t working with anyone until my little cousin joined and introduced us to Harry who asked if he could be apart of it and he was a perfect fit for us so that’s kinda the way we all got together!

Where did the name Rumours come from?

Harry: It was a bit of brain storming until “rumours” was mentioned and it kind of just stuck around

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

Reece: It’s always such an insane feeling releasing new music, this song is heaps different to our previous stuff but we wanted to experiment a little and have more clean vocals and so far the response has been more than what we were expecting so thank you to everyone who has checked it out! It honestly means the world to us!

This is your first release in around two years, what have you been up to over this time?

Reece: Just been doing our best to visit as many places with our music and play with as many bands as possible to kinda get in peoples faces

What was the inspiration behind the video for “Paralysed”?

Reece: That’s all Jackson he is the brains behind that he just told us dates and what to wear and he took care of the rest hahaha

Are there any plans for an EP/LP release?

Harry: We are getting all our heads together now and working out our plans from here regarding the direction we want to take but if you come to a show of ours there’s definitely a chance you will hear some unreleased material !

What is the music scene in Wagga Wagga like?

Reece: It’s definitely getting better than what it was, bigger bands are now coming through more regularly and other bands are starting to pop up which is always sick to see.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Reece: The only time I ever listen to our music is when someone asks to hear it and I show them! I love the songs and I’m super proud of them but I dunno I feel weird listening to them when I’m at home by myself hahaha

Harry: Honestly, depends! I listen along to practice or when we are writing new material I take the demos home with me to get a feel for what could be done different. Like I’ll listen at work and think is this something I would listen to and enjoy in every day life

What music do you listen to?

Reece: I was raised around metal my dad was a metal head so that’s 70% of what I’m listening to but I also listen to rap, pop punk and a heap of acoustic stuff!

Now that the single is out what do you have planned next?

Reece: Hopefully recording our next release and just play as much as we can

 

Check out Rumours’ Facebook page to find out more!

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Indie pop duo Ummagma to release first LP in 7 years, preview ‘Caravan’ single

 

Indie pop electronic rock duo Ummagma have announced their new album ‘Compass’, to be released in June via Manchester-based label Leonard Skully Records. Their third long-play, this is the duo’s first album in seven years and also the first time the band is releasing a record on vinyl.

Ahead of this album, they present the ‘Caravan’ single, along with a special B-side ‘Ty i Ya’. The title track is an invigorating pop rock anthem inspired by the musicians’ own journeys and infused with Carpathian gammas and percussion.

‘Ty i Ya’ is a vibe-injected upbeat track, with infectious Daft Punk-esque bassline, that Alexander Kretov composed and performs in his native Ukrainian language. This is the first single Ummagma has ever released in a language other than English, stepping beyond the confines of past songwriting limits.

“Caravan is about a personal journey – one that begins in the mind before any borders have even been crossed,” says Ummagma vocalist Shauna McLarnon. “The trip is so much better when you truly want to be part of it. You map your own destiny in many ways and dreaming is a great place to begin.”

The ‘Compass’ LP is beguiling in its post-genre nature. It is an album of grace and change, of familiarity and exploration, of emotion and euphoria, of sky-scraping cinematic highs and intimate and intriguing lows. This is the sound of a band allowing themselves to jump creative divides, to kick down musical barriers, and rip up the rule book or perhaps just ignore the fact that there ever was one in the first place.

Formed in Moscow in 2003, McLarnon hails from northern Canada while Kretov is originally from western Ukraine. Now based in Peterborough, Ontario, the couple completed this album over the course of five years and multiple moves, ultimately hauling their studio with them across the Atlantic and setting up all over again. With such transience in the real world, how could their sonic world reflect anything other than the same fluidity and movement?

This record follows on the trail of their ‘LCD’ EP with Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Dean Garcia (Curve), and ‘Winter Tale’ EP with 4AD dreampop pioneer A.R.Kane. Both of these were released in 2017.

They say you can tell a lot about someone by the company that they keep, and the same holds true for a band. Ummagma’s collaborations speak volumes. Apart from these three dreampop-shoegaze icons, they’ve worked with Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s Malcolm Holmes, Swervedriver’s Graham Bonnar, and nudisco kingpin Alexander Robotnick.

Ummagma’s music has always presented an exhilarating positive vision, showcasing their ability to wander diverse musical pathways. Representing Ukraine among 23 countries, they won the Alternative Eurovision on Amazing Radio in 2013, and have been featured in a full-page spread in Rolling Stone Russia. In 2015, their collaborative ‘New Born’ album with Sounds of Sputnik also received a Jagermeister indie award, Russia’s most esteemed music award.

Ummagma’s ‘Caravan’ single is out on May 8. The ‘Compass’ LP will be released on June 21 via Leonard Skully Records, available on black vinyl and CD with artwork by Alexander Kretov and also digitally everywhere, including on iTunesAmazon and Spotify. In the meantime, it can pre-ordered directly via Bandcamp.

Interview with Tom Morgan from The Mean Times

 

Melbourne’s The Mean Times have returned with EP number two. Tomatrax caught up with Tom Morgan to talk about the band’s latest release!

How did the band form?

This band has been coming together and falling apart for about 7 years now! It started off when I returned from living overseas and wanted to start a slacker pop band with a group of old ex-Tassie mates living in Melbourne, who’d all previously played in bands together back home. As lives changed and people moved on (with the exception of me), I roped in a mate from work (Rob) and then plucked Eoin from the depths of the internet and things became a bit more solid for the three of us when we realised we were all on the same page as people and in our musical tastes and ambitions. We then enjoyed a procession of deadbeat drummers (see what I did there?) – from ex crims to overgrown man-children, all without cars, jobs and focus – so we’ve since decided to crack on with just the three of us, roping in drummers we trust, and other support musos, along the way.

 

Where did the name The Mean Times come from?

Nowhere in particular. We actually took ages to come up with a name. I was sitting around having a beer with Dave (who was our first guitarist), arguing about band names among other things. We like to argue. We were both gunning for really obscure names and each thought the other’s suggestions were shit. So we mutually agreed to pick something which was reasonably bland and simple, yet sounded kind of cool, with a meaningless play on words. The Mean Times was the only suggestion we agreed on. We still think it’s cool though.

 

You’ve just released your second EP, how does it feel to have it out?

It feels bloody excellent. It’s also a relief. We faced a lot of problems along the way, but I’m glad we stuck to it. It took more than twice as long as the 12 months we’d originally planned, A lot of our friends had thought we”d broken up, but we were just knuckling away trying to get it right. We poured everything we had into it right from our initial rehearsals, through tearing the songs apart and rebuilding them into something that was as good as we possibly could. It took up hours and hours of production, financial cost and the loss of so many hours of sleep. It was important that all these challenges were dealt with by keeping the overall purpose of what we’re trying to do very close to mind.

Where did the name Raw Prawn come from?

When we started thew recording, we actually ended up recording enough for an album, but decided to split it into 2 EPs – ‘Raw Prawn’ being the first. In making this decision, we realised we had two very different batches of songs that were also somewhat related. So we wanted to name them both in similar ways, like light and dark or black and white, but we realised those types of names were a bit too bland for our sense of humour. So for no particular reason, we went with Australian fish colloquialisms… the next EP will be called ‘Stunned Mullet’. We felt the bunch of tracks we selected for ‘Raw Prawn’ belonged together because they’re a little more raw – emotionally, sonicly and in their approach.

 

What was the inspiration behind the EP’s cover?

We just wanted a cool prawn illustration! We also prefer good artwork to photos of us. We’re boring. A friend of ours called Manny has been doing all our artwork – he came up with the idea and theme. Check out his art on insatgram – @zigposca

 

You’ve shifted from a synth pop sound to multilayered guitars, horns, and strings, what influenced this change in approach?

I’m not sure we ever really intentionally had a synth pop sound, but in hindsight, when you listen to the first EP, I guess I can see why people thought that. We thought we were just a slacker geek rock band playing silly little songs like Weezer. Then we started recording and playing around with synths, so we ended up adding it to the recording. We never played the synth pr synth lines live though, so we never really associated ourselves with that tag. With the most recent release, we’d orginally intended to put out a pretty raw rock album, which sounded like we sound live. But then, once more, we kept hearing all these horn lines and string lines in our heads and began playing around with synths again. Then we’d start thinking, ‘Man, we should add another 20 guitar layers to that song!” We just couldn’t help ourselves. The difference now though is that we’re replicating it live, by playing with a horn section and incorporating some keys here and there. The short answer to your question is that we just thought it all sounded cool and made the songs better!

You’ve describes your music as teenage angst for people in their mid-late-30s, do you see 30s angst as an emerging topic?

I hope so! Because as long as it is, old bastards like us will remain relevant! Jokes aside, I actually think it is a relevant topic. There are a lot of people in the mid-late 30s who are struggling with life. Society says they’re supposed to have their lives on track, but it’s bloody hard, life, and it takes it toll. And there will always be dickheads around for you to get pissed off with. Angst is not just for teenagers!

 

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Only when I put it on repeat on Apple Music while I sleep to rack up the number of plays! Actually, throughout the recording and production process, it was all I was listening to! But at the moment, I think we need a break from each other.

 

What (other) music do you listen to?

I’m really challenging myself to listen to new music and not be that old whinger who moans about the kids not doing anything worth listening to these days. At the moment I’m listening to West Thebarton and Ought. But I can’t help listening to older music. I’ve recently had a listen to ‘Exile on Main Street’, some old You Am I albums (usually ‘Hi Fi Way’ is on high rotation) and Dinosaur Jr.

 

Now that the EP is out, what do you plan on doing next?

Getting it in the ear holes of anyone who will listen! And playing live as much as possible. Then we’ll release the other EP and keep wearing people down until they succumb to the joy of The Mean Times! Constant badgering is the most effective way to get people to listen to you.

Check out The Mean Times’ Facebook page to find out more!

L7 Release New Album ’Scatter The Rats’ Friday 3rd May on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records

 

The first L7 album in 20 years, Scatter the Rats embodies everything that made the band so iconic in the first place – the distortion-heavy riffs and head-banging rhythms, sludgy grooves and indelible melodies. And in their lyrics, L7 achieve a direct transmission of raw feeling, often spiked with biting commentary on the chaos of the world today.

Scatter The Rats was produced by Norm Block (Jenny Lee, Paper Cranes, Plexi) and Nick Launay (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Yeah Yeah Yeahs). “Burn Baby” opens the album with a galvanizing reflection on letting go of old grudges for the sake of fighting a greater evil, while “Fighting the Crave” offers a slice of life on the inner push and pull of whatever one might crave. Throughout the album, L7 also examine depression (Sparks’s “Holding Pattern,” which matches its delicate melody with a disarming vulnerability), lonely hearts (Suzi Gardner’s gloriously swampy “Murky Water Café”) and codependency (the unhinged “Garbage Truck,” written by Jennifer Finch). And on “Uppin’ the Ice,” the band delivers a dance-worthy track inspired by a bit of advice Demetra Plakas got from her doctor upon breaking her arm before the band headed into the studio. “I took the idea of upping the ice as a metaphor for throwing down and doing what you have to do to make something happen, naysayers be damned, because that’s who we are as a band,” says Sparks.
Formed in 1985, L7 first began as a collaboration between Sparks and Gardner. “We were from the art-punk scene but we were making a rather Flinstones version of metal,” says Sparks. “Not heavy metal but more like scrap metal – grab a pile of scrap and we’ll make something out of it.” Later adding Finch and Plakas to the lineup, L7 released their self-titled debut in 1988, followed by 1990’s Smell the Magic and 1992’s Bricks Are Heavy, a Billboard 200 hit whose lead single “Pretend We’re Dead” reached the top 10 on the Alternative Songs chart. In the meantime, L7 founded Rock for Choice and organized the abortion-rights nonprofit’s inaugural, history-making concert (a 1991 event also featuring Nirvana and Hole). With Hungry for Stink arriving in 1994, the band joined that summer’s Lollapalooza tour, later releasing 1997’s The Beauty Process: Triple Platinum and 1999’s Slap-Happy.
Announcing an indefinite hiatus in 2001, L7 returned for extensive touring in 2015, then put out a pair of back-to-back singles: 2017’s “Dispatch from Mar-a-Lago” and 2018’s “I Came Back to Bitch.” In addition, 2016 saw the release of Pretend We’re Dead, a feature-length documentary on L7 directed by Sarah Price.
Having toured the world to massive sold-out crowds, L7 are now augmenting their live set with their tonally eclectic new material. “Some of it’s dark, some of it’s funny, some of it’s ‘f*ck you,’ but you can rock to all of it,” Plakas says of Scatter the Rats, available May 3rd on Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records.
“I think it’s good for people to enjoy a meat-and-potatoes rock band for a change,” says Sparks. “We’re not rocket science, we’re rock & roll. And there’s value to that, and we do it pretty well. So if you want to rock, come on back to L7.”
Check out L7’s website to find out more!

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