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Interview with Helen Carter from Do Re Mi

 

Do Re Mi, arguably the most successful Australian act of the post-punk era, make their long overdue return this summer for the By The C Festival appearances (featuring Icehouse and Sunnyboys) and headline shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The Sydney born band featuring singer Deborah Conway and bassist Helen Carter are best known for the chart hits Idiot Grin, Adultery, Guns and Butter; the indie chart topper Standing On Wires and the controversial Man Overboard.

Tomatrax caught up with Helen Carter to talk about Do Re Mi’s reunion.

Do re mi played together last year for the first time in around 30 years, what inspired this reunion?

Deb and I have remained in touch since the band split, and we were asked to perform the closing song at the inaugural Australian Women in Music Awards. Of course, it was Man Overboard! A bit of a feminist anthem in many ways, so it was a good fit. After that, I got a call from my pal Pete Oxley from Sunnyboys. He asked me if Do Re Mi wanted to play at the By the C festivals with them. I said, Sure! But we don’t have a band! It wasn’t long after that I was able to bring together the fabulous Julia Day and Bridie O’Brien to be part of the new lineup. We feel that the songs are still very relevant – maybe even more so – politically and musically, so playing them again was an exciting prospect for us.

Has it been hard to return to playing your music after this time?

Yes and no. Yes because I haven’t been consistently playing since those days, and No because the music seems to have been welded to my soul and so with a bit (a lot!) of practice the fingers have caught up.

Youll be playing shows around Australia, what can fans expect from your show?

You can expect some awesome merch! Oh and of course a banging set, shorter at the festival shows and full length at the headliners, filled with those funky, angular beats that we are so well known for. We’re doing all the singles from both albums – Domestic Harmony and The Happiest Place in Town – including Man Overboard, Idiot Grin, Warnings Moving Clockwise, Haunt You, King of Moomba, Adultery…

Are there any plans for any new music from Do Re Mi?

Not at this stage but we’ve had so much fun we won’t say ‘never’. 2019 is busy for us all so we’ll see what 2020 brings. In the meantime, Bridie (guitarist), Julia (drums) and me on bass are continuing to work together after the Do Re Mi shows and we are super excited about the possibilities. The three of us worked hard in the lead up to this mini-tour and we enjoy working together. We want to take advantage of that.

You had an unreleased third album, are there any plans for this material to be released?

No, unfortunately there’s no money to do anything with the recordings. I might upload something onto social media at some stage. We’ll see.

Youve been cited as an influence for Australian indie/punk bands, how does it feel hearing music from artists you inspired?

Personally, I feel very humbled by that. Even after just a couple of shows so far, lots of people have approached me to tell me how the feel about Do Re Mi and my playing. Amazing, and very much appreciated.

Since making music for Do Re Mi youve embarked on a career in non-profit management, working for Greenpeace, aged care and disability organisations. How does managing these issues compare with making music?

I use quite a few of my ‘management’ skills in music and vice-versa! It’s all about people – bringing them together to achieve something good and feel valued. Creativity has always been a hallmark in my management career. Both jobs take a highly developed sense of humour and persistence.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

I’ve listened to a LOT of my own music recently J in prep for the shows. But no, not really.

What music do you listen to?

I listen to a bunch of different stuff, from Miles Davis to E.S.T, Wire to Courtney Barnett, Bach to Zoe Keating, Neil Young to Regurgitator. Depends on the situation of course. I love Spoon and Ryan Adams…the list could go on.

What do you have planned after the upcoming shows?

Bridie, Julia and I want to write together and perform. I’m hoping we’ll have something to debut this year.

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Tickets for all shows are on-sale from feelpresents.com

Saturday 19th January 2019 – Camp Shortland, Newcastle East NSW
Sunday 20th January 2019 – Stuart Park, North Wollongong NSW  
Saturday 2nd February 2019 – Queen Elizabeth Park, Coolangatta QLD
Thursday 31st January 2019 – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Friday 8th February 2019 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 9th February 2019 – Leura Park Estate, Curlewis VIC
Sunday 10th February 2019 – Glenelg Beach, Adelaide SA
Friday 1st March 2019 – Marrickville, Bowling Club, Sydney NSW – SOLD OUT
 
Check out Do Re Mi’s Facebook page to find out more!
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Ministry’s Al Jourgensen fires loaded version of ‘20th Century Boy’ with Beauty in Chaos

 

While Ministry is mid-way through their current North American tour, frontman Al Jourgensen, together with LA-based Beauty in Chaos, have unveiled their new video for ’20th Century Boy’.

This is one of 14 brilliant tracks found on the debut album ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’. which was the Tomatrax album of the year for 2018!

 

This album, which was released via the LA-based label 33.3 Music Collective on vinyl and CD on November 30, features nearly 80 minutes of music, curated by guitarist Michael Ciravolo on deluxe CD and limited-edition heavy weight, colored vinyl. You can read Tomatrax’s interview with Michael Ciravolo here.

“The Beauty in Chaos project is a tribute to both community and family and what I think is lacking in the music industry these days. It’s an honor to be a part of this great line up! At 60, I never thought I’d be singing “I’m your Boy, I’m your fucking Toy”, but maybe all the AARP discounts are helping me stay young,” says Al Jourgensen.

Born of frustration and creativity, this project an audio assemblage curated by LA-based guitarist Michael Ciravolo and produced by Ministry’s Grammy-nominated producer Michael Rozon at Ciravolo’s own SAINTinLA Studio.

Originally from New Orleans and now based in LA, Michael Ciravolo has played guitar in Human Drama for the past 30 years, most recently on ‘Broken Songs for Broken People’ (2017). Perhaps best known as President of Schecter Guitar Research, he has also played live and recorded with Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel since 1998.

The debut album ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’ also numerous other music luminaries, including Wayne Hussey (The Mission), Simon Gallup (The Cure), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Pete Parada (The Offspring), dUg Pinnick (Kings X), ICE-T (Body Count), Michael Aston (Gene Loves Jezebel), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Dirk Doucette (Gene Loves Jezebel), Ashton Nyte (The Awakening), Pando (A Flock of Seagulls), Evi Vine, Betsy Martin (Caterwaul / Purr Machine), Marc Danzeisen (The Riverdogs), Kevin Kipnis (Purr Machine / Kommunity FK), Rudy Matchinga (Red Scare), Johnny Indovina (Human Drama), and Tish Ciravolo (StunGun/ Daisy Rock Guitars).

“I initially met Al while we were recording his vocals for this song, and our shared interest in Jaguar cars and old country music (and wine) sparked a wonderful friendship. He offered me the opportunity to engineer and mix the last Ministry record ‘Amerikkkant’. Quite an honor for me as I view Al as a true architect of sound. We are on track to record the new Ministry record in February 2019,” says Michael Rozon.

Earlier the band previewed the singles ‘Man of Faith’ feat. Wayne Hussey of The Mission and Simon Gallup of The Cure, as well as ‘Storm’ feat. Ashton Nyte (The AwakeningMGT) which took out the Number One spot in the Tomatrax Top 100 of 2918, and ‘Look Up’ feat. Tish Ciravolo.

The video for ‘20th Century Boy’ was produced by Industrialism Films and directed by Vicente Cordero, who says, “Working again with Beauty In Chaos and Michael is always a pleasant adventure. Out of the 3 videos we have done, each has been a completely different visual approach specifically designed for each song. When we made the video we wanted to go with a raw feel so we decided to film in a seedy bar and have a high energy performance, and Al Jourgensen and BIC did deliver”.

“This was a song I always wanted to cover, and finding out Al was also a T. Rex fan turned on the light for me to do this,” explains Michael Ciravolo. “Ironically, my now wife Tish and I’s first real date was seeing MINISTRY at Lollapalooza in ’92. They were simply brutal and what a sonic assault!  We both became big fans. Fast-forward 25 years and Al is sitting in my studio singing and blowing harp on this song! Tish and I sharing the stage with him in this video was pretty special and it shows that you never know where life will take you”.

Check out the Beauty in Chaos website to find out more!

THE TWILIGHT SAD SHARE VIDEO FOR ‘VTr’ TAKEN FROM NEW ALBUM, ‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’

With their much anticipated fifth full-length – and first for new label Rock Action RecordsIT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME arriving next Friday (January 18th), Glasgow’s The Twilight Sad return today with the accompanying video for their current single: the driving, motorik ‘VTr‘.

The clip – which was developed by a concept from the band’s Brendan Smith and directed by Michael Sherrington (from The Forest of Black) – perfectly captures the frenetic, cathartic energy of a Twilight Sad show, albeit one here portrayed through the distorted lens of memory. Shot on 16mm film with an onus on expressionistic lighting and practical visual effects, it vividly conjures the dark and atmospheric tone of the track itself.

Watch the video for ‘VTr’ here

 

Speaking of the video, Smith says, “We were keen to do something that felt like one of our gigs and to stay away from elaborate narratives or abstract concepts. Playing live is the exciting part for us and having a video that represents that was always the intention for ‘VTr.’  Working with Michael again was an easy decision, he really understands what we’re trying to do and has great ideas. We collaborated with him on the video for ‘I/m Not Here [missing face]’ and it’s important for us to have that consistency throughout.”

Sherrington continues, “When the band approached me wishing to create a performance-based promo for ‘Vtr’, I was enthralled (as were the band) with making sure that we didn’t just capture a documentation of them playing the track but create something that felt more thematically relevant to them. The aim being to make a piece that felt as visceral and arresting as the soundscape that the band crafts within this track all from the perspective of someone’s memory of one of their performances. I have always personally been interested in how we as humans perceive the world, the interplay between reality and our memory. How we experience events and the fragmentation of it when replayed through the prism of our consciousness.”

While the 11 tracks that comprise IWBLTATT largely began to take form during the band’s lengthy recent tours with The Cure, it wasn’t until returning to the UK and the isolation of his London home, that the band’s Andy MacFarlane distilled the group’s collective aspirations – to find immediacy in their writing, to bring a new hugeness to the often dark matter of their songs – into demos for their fifth LP. Following six months of pre-production, his vision was made flesh during a productive residency in a remote rehearsal space on Loch Fyne last November. Eager to keep momentum, the band subsequently tracked their efforts at Devon’s Middle Farm Studios with long serving live engineer Andy Bush in January of this year.

Revisit recent single ‘Videograms’ here

For this record, frontman James Graham and MacFarlane officially brought long-time touring members Brendan Smith (The Blue Nile, The Unwinding Hours) and Johnny Docherty (Take a Worm For a Walk Week, RUNGS) in from the wings to help push The Twilight Sad to the next level. The results speak for themselves: an exhilarating listen, by turns cinematic and claustrophobic in its scope, the band dug deep to produce It Won’t Be Like This All the Time, and it’s perhaps their most raw and dynamic record to date.

“It’s a dark record but I think there are some uplifting moments to be had too,” Graham offers. “There are so many extremes here – there are moments that are harsh, then others that are quite melodic and others that are stripped right down. This album definitely comes with the extremes of every side of the band, I think. There’s a certain direct openness and candour now but at the same time I want to keep some mystery. We don’t like to throw things in people’s faces and spell it out for them.”

Interview with Poss and Steve from Klammer

Hailing from Leeds, Klammer draws from the members’ shared love for all things angular, dark, loud and melodic. Previously described as the love child of XTC and Gang Of Four, Klammer offer an enticing twist on the post-punk attitude, blending in elements of goth rock, punk rock and dark wave, all with dark pop sensibilities. Here you’ll find plenty of hooks and a dark and edgy broodiness coursing through their sound.

Tomatrax caught up with Steve and Poss from the band to ask a few questions.

Where did the title You Have Been Processed come from?

Steve: It was something throw away that Poss said on the tour bus and it stuck in my mind and I kept coming back to it. So much in modern life is soheavily processed, our personal data, our food and water, music, our whole life from cradle to grave. It seemed to fit with the songs we’d written.

You previously produced a number of artist’s albums, how does producing someone’s work compare with making your own?

S: On one hand it’s easier to produce someone else because you’re a bit more detached from the songs, but at the same time it’s harder as you’re having toscoop out of the bands heads what they want/don’t want. Whereas I’m just having an internal dialogue with myself as too what I want it to sound like.

What was it like producing The Cure’s work?

S: Brilliant! Most of the studio stuff I did with them was on the engineering side but I did get to produce a few songs with Robert. I was a big fan of their work before I got to meet them, so I was a little nervous in case they weren’t good people, but they are lovely people to work with and be around. It was fantastic to live in their bubble with them for a number of years. As well as writing fantastic songs, Robert’s ear and eye for detail is amazing. I learnt a lot from him.

What was the inspiration behind the video for ‘Spiral girl’?

Poss: We all liked the idea of a ghostly dancing girl and were inspired by the opening sequence of the late ‘70s UK TV show “Tales of The Unexpected”.

You’ve previously been described as the love child of XTC and Gang Of Four, do you think that’s a fair call?

P: Haha, that was Alex Kane from the Richie Ramone band who said that about us! I think some of our earlier songs had the angular guitars similar to those bands but I think our sound has changed quite a lot now.

S: We’ve had so many different comparisons, some of them are bands I’ve never really listened too. I remember one guy saying we had a bit of New York Dolls in our sound which is so far wide of the mark, I like the Dolls but I don’t think any of their influence makes it through to Klammer at all.

We’re not quite Punk, not quite Rock and not quite Goth but somewhere in the middle of all of those.

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

P: It varies but I’s say it’s generally the music. Sometimes I will have a full set of words or a few ideas in my “scratchpad” and I put those to the music Steve has sent me. There are a couple of songs on the latest album where the feel of the music inspired me to write “on-the-fly” (‘Human Clay’ and ‘‘Twas But a Magpie’).
S: I’m lucky to have a studio at home, so the demos I send to Poss are pretty complete. Once he’s written the words he comes to mine and we have to alter the arrangement of the song to fit the lyrics, which is all very easy to do on Pro Tools. Sometimes we have to swap what I thought would be the verse and chorus around, as Poss has has written the lyrics the other way!

Where did the name Klammer come from?

P: Steve and I met in a bar to discuss the band name. Steve had written down a shortlist, I remember “Cousteau” being on there but it sounded more suitable for an electronic or ambient type of band. We liked “Klammer” because it’s quite an angular word and very European. The bonus is that also sounds like the word “clamour” which means ‘a loud and confused noise’!!!

Do you ever listen to your own music?

S: I’ve spent so much time writing, recording/mixing and playing theses ongs, it’s not something I do very often for pleasure. It’s the same with the bands I have engineered and produced. If I’ve listened to a song 1000 times at the studio, it’s time to find something new to listen to at home.

P: All the time!

What (other) music do you listen to?

P: Bowie, Roxy Music. Nadine Shah and lots of 70s classic Punk and New Wave

S: Other than all the obvious influences (lots of post-punk bands, Bowie, early Roxy, Iggy), I also really like a lot of electronic stuff like Boards Of Canada and LCD Soundsystem. Nadine Shah is someone I’m just getting into but really liking. I think we are both into quality pop music but that seems to happen less and less nowadays.

What do you have planned in 2019?

P: I’m hoping we can build on the success of last year. I’d love to do another tour too.

S: Hopefully lots of gigs and our first trip to Europe. We have fans in Austrailia and South America but there’s no way a band of our size could make it to those parts of the world, but we can dream!

I’ve already written the music for 18 new songs, so fine tuning those and getting Poss to fit the lyrics onto them!

Check out Klammer’s website to find out more!

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