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Interview with Stazzy and Col from Frantic Chant

Winners of the Tomatrax song and album of 2017, Edinburgh psychedelic rockers Frantic Chant have returned with a new EP,  with four new songs covering the age old topics of love, hate, war, peace and alien abduction.

Tomatrax caught up with Stazzy and Col, Frantic Chant’s lead singer and drummer, to ask a few questions.

  • It’s been just over two years since you were last featured on Tomatrax, what have you been up to over this time?

Col – We were all set to start recording a new album and had a lot of interesting gigs booked. I then badly wrecked my shoulder in an accident which meant the recording had to go on the back burner. We honoured the gigs by putting together some programmed beats for the songs and I showed off my one finger keyboard skills.

  • You’ve just put out your latest EP, how does it feel to have it out?

Col – It’s been a long time coming after a few false starts. It’s a relief to see it out there, especially for me, after a long time wondering if I’d be able to play the drums again.

Stazy – We were due to record with our long time producer, Elle, but were unable to find dates that suited us both. We then had a go at recording ourselves but weren’t happy with the results. That’s when we found a great studio called The Groove Tunnel and finally got the songs down before the end of last year.

  • You said that the EP includes four new songs covering the age old topics of love, hate, war, peace and alien abduction. What was the inspiration behind covering these topics on this release?

Stazy – The first four topics are universal. “The Man Who Fixes Anything” is from a true story that Col read the night before a session which seemed to fit around a riff that Nick had come up with, which was “borrowed” from the Wonder Woman movie. So that was alien abduction sorted.

“Red, Wine & Glue” was inspired by a colourful weekend in a Glencoe caravan.

  • Your previous release was a 21 track, double album, what made you decide to release an EP this time round?

Stazy – It was just a case of wanting to get something out as quickly as possible. The plan is to release more EP’s this year so you can put your own album together.

  • Where did the title “The back green spaceship” come from?

Col – It’s a reference from the song “The Man Who Fixes Anything”, and back green is a Scottish phrase meaning back garden.

  • What was the inspiration behind the EPs cover?

Stazy – Our artwork is always done by our guitarist, Nick. He picks up little things from the words, music and feel of the songs and melds it with whatever else is going on in his brainbox.

  • Rod Spark produced the album and also contributed various instrumental elements, what was it like having him involved so closely?

Stazy – He seemed to understand exactly what we wanted without too much explanation and was on the same wavelength, sonically, as us.

Col – He came up with some great ideas for backing vocals and it was his suggestion for Mya [Gray] to sing on “Find Another Way To Die”.

  • Is Mya likely to appear on any future a Frantic Chant records?

Stazy – We only met her a couple of times as she was doing work experience, as part of her schoolwork, at the studio. She’s more than welcome on any future recordings.

  • Now that you have released your EP what do you plan on doing next?

Col – We have a few songs we want to record ourselves that will be probably be a lot more lo-fi. We’ll set up camp in our rehearsal room with a couple of mics and keep the overdubs to a minimum.

We’ve been a bit more active on Spotify recently and we plan to release a compilation of songs from previous albums that are no longer available to stream. This will also be on all the usual digital platforms.

Check out Frantic Chant’s Facebook page to find out more!

Beauty in Chaos and The Mission’s Wayne Hussey present ‘The Delicate Balance of All Things’

 

The Mission frontman Wayne Hussey and LA-based Beauty in Chaospresent ‘The Delicate Balance of All Things’. This is the first taste of Beauty in Chaos’ forthcoming full length album ‘The Storm Before The Calm’. The accompanying video was filmed and directed by Vicente Cordero, edited by Leslie Gladney, and produced by Industrialism Films.

Slated for release in early 2020 via Los Angeles label 33.3 Music Collective, this album was recorded at Ciravolo’s own SAINTinLA Studio and produced by Grammy nominee Michael Rozon, best known for his work with Ministry.

Beauty in Chaos is the brainchild of guitarist Michael Ciravolo. Originally from New Orleans and now based in Los Angeles, he is perhaps best known as President of Schecter Guitar Research. Before launching Beauty in Chaos, Ciravolo had 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.

Wayne Hussey and Beauty in Chaos (Michael Ciravolo) have been enjoying a fruitful collaboration since the inception of BIC’s acclaimed debut album ‘Finding Beauty in Chaos’. This followed by the subsequent ‘Beauty Re-Envisioned’ album, Between the two albums, Hussey contributed to four different BIC tracks – ‘The Long Goodbye’, ‘Man Of Faith’, ‘The Long Goodbye (Au Revoir)’ and Marc Bolan’s ’20th Century Boy’ with his son Rolan.

“I was adamant about releasing something new…  I wanted the new record to be a bit darker and brooding.  I sat down with a drum machine and blasted out several ideas that seemed to convey the overall ‘tone’ I wanted for the record. Sonically and lyrically, I think this song perfectly sets the ‘feel’ I want ‘The Storm Before The Calm‘ to have,” says Michael Ciravolo.  

“Michael Ciravolo asked if I’d be up for contributing yet more vocals & lyrics to yet another BIC track… The tracks arrived. First one up – whilst I was thought it was okay it didn’t really grab me. Same for the next one. And then the third. I immediately started humming along, I liked this one. Despite the piece of music being very angular and broken into essentially 3 sections – all in different keys – the challenge for me was finding a vocal melody that sounds like it stays in the same key. I rose to the challenge,” says Wayne Hussey.

“I had the title of ‘the delicate balance of all things’ previously and was considering even possibly using it as an album title at some point (may still do) but it seemed to fit perfectly for this new tune of Michael’s. I scrabbled some lyrics together and recorded a vocal and sent it to Michael. He wasn’t, at first, sure about it because of the low register that I sang the song in – I think he prefers it when I’m straining at the top of my range – but this music was dark and heavy and I just loved the juxtaposition of a more laid back vocal against that noisy background. I have to say that of the 5 tracks I’ve been involved in with BIC this new one is my favourite, being closer to my spiritual home.”

BIC also involves many other music luminaries, including Simon Gallup (The Cure), Al Jourgensen (Ministry), Robin Zander (Cheap Trick), Pete Parada (The Offspring), dUg Pinnick (Kings X), ICE-T (Body Count), producer Tim Palmer, guitar icon Zakk Wylde, Ashton Nyte (The Awakening), Rolan Bolan, Kevin Haskins (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Michael Aston (Gene Loves Jezebel), Paul Wiley (Marilyn Manson), Michael Aston and Dirk Doucette (Gene Loves Jezebel), Pando (A Flock of Seagulls), UMMAGMA, Evi Vine, Johnny Indovina (Human Drama), Danny Lohner (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson), Betsy Martin (Caterwaul / Purr Machine), Kevin Kipnis (Purr Machine / Kommunity FK) and KITTY LECTRO, among others.

‘The Storm Before The Calm’ album will be released on February 21, 2020 via 33.3 Music Collective. As with the two albums released to date, it will be available at www.beautyinchaosmusic.com/music-store and Bandcamp.

Keep up with Beauty in Chaos
Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Store | Blog | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | iTunes | Spotify| Press contact

 

Interview with Kim Salmon

Kim Salmon has had an extensive musical career playing a key role in the Scientists, Beasts of Bourbon, Antenna, as well as putting out a heap of solo records.

He has just launched his book ’Nine Parts Water One Part Sand. Kim Salmon And The Formula For Grunge’, being inducted into the WA Music Hall Of Fame for his old band the Scientists, and put out two new singles. To top it off Kim is about to take his music on the road again with an tour across Australia later this month.

Tomatrax caught up with Kim to talk about his various work.

You’ve put out 30 albums over the years and are still putting out new music, what’s the secret to your longevity? 

Stubbornness. Also I hate working to a formula and essentially go back to the drawing board with everything…this has not been a quick way to success and has brought my stubbornness back into play every time.

You’ve just had a book about you written by Douglas Galbraith. What was it like to hear your story told by someone else? 

Its nice to hear someone else’s voice at times. One does get tired of the sound of one’s own voice occasionally……but not too often.

Given your extensive musical career with various bands, was it hard to narrow the stories down to fit into one book? 

It wasn’t my problem so I can’t answer that. Doug would invite me to brunch and prompt me with various questions to talk and off I’d go. I pitied him to have to sift through all that really. 

How does having a book written compare with writing and playing music? 

Much easier! Except that its taken till a couple of years ago waiting for someone to be ambitious, tenacious or stupid enough to write a book about me.

The book features various insights from your band mates, was it important to ensure the book covered various points of view when telling the story?  

Oh yes, I even say in the forward in my thanks that it was the other people who gave my story some credibility.

You’ve received a lot of acclaim with your work with the Scientists and the Beasts of Bourbon, does this make you feel any pressure when making new music? 

No way! If anything I’ve always reacted to whatever reputation I’ve been given from my past work. Practically every album I’ve made has been a reaction to the one before it eg, the mark 2 Scientists were dark and primitive and the earlier band was poppy and punkish. The same for all my bands.



Your work has often been cited as a major influence to newer grunge and punk rock artists, what’s it like hearing music influenced by your work? 

It depends on how good it is. If the music is a subset of something I’ve done I just think “Oh have I inspired this mediocrity ?” , and if its fantastic, I feel like taking credit for it….but of course I can’t be blamed or take credit for either. Everything comes from somewhere and the things that make it good are what each individual brings to it, not where it comes from.

In addition to being involved in various bands you’ve also done a fair few solo releases, how does performing solo compare with being in a band? 

If you mean by solo – me performing all of the instruments involved, I like doing things on my own because ideas get fully developed in the direction that I intended ….or if I didn’t know where it was going to go I could still steer it fully and be in complete control…which I like!. However other people’s involvement takes things to other places and its more like a journey somewhere strange and new.


You’ve just put out a split 7” with the Scientists, what inspired you to put out a split single? 

I was asked if I’d produce a single to go with the book and one of the songs I wrote was obviously a Scientists song so I got the band to play it and realised that that would be more of a special thing.


Are there any plans for a full length release? 

The Scientists actually have a full length album in the can and all that’s needed are the finishing touches, so I’d have to say “yes there are”

You’ll be touring Australia later this month, what can fans expect from your show?  

It depends where the show is. In Hobart, Brisbane and Beechworth I’m playing on my own which enables a more rambling storytelling kind of a show. These shows go far more diverse places than a band show can and are also more spontaneous. However my band shows this time will feature the guitar, keyboard and vocal talents of Claire Birchall who along with my other players bring e fulller more produced pop kind of sound than people would have been used to from me. 

Do you ever listen to your own music? 
All of the time when I’m making it and putting it into production but hardly ever after that. Usually I’ve O.D’d on it by the end of the process but unfortunately for those who live round me, its necessary for me to “thrash the ‘shit’ out of “my songs.

What other music do you listen to? 
A lot of the time its local indie stuff from the scene that I’m living in. I just ‘discovered’ a fantastic 3 piece band called Plaster Of Paris who will be playing at my Melbourne, Tote show. But I’ve found myself going back into the past and discovering things I missed the first time. Kevin Ayers and Sandy Denny are big for me at the moment.

Check out Kim Salmon’s Facebook page to find out more!

TOUR DATES:

Friday 31st January 2020 – Mona, Hobart (Arvo Show) / Republic, Hobart TAS

Saturday 1st February 2020 – Mona, Hobart TAS  

Friday 7th February 2020 – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide SA

Saturday 8th February 2020 – Bassandean Hotel, Bassandean WA

Sunday 9th February 2020 – Grumpy’s Music Bar, Perth WA

Friday 14th February 2020 – The Tote, Melbourne VIC 

Thursday 20th February 2020 – Smith’s, Canberra ACT

Friday 21st February 2020 – Union, Sydney NSW

Saturday 22nd February 2020 – Junk Bar, Brisbane QLD

Saturday 29th February 2020 – Tanswells Commercial Hotel, Beechworth VIC  

Tomatrax Unearthed Picks – Best of 2019

Merry Christmas everyone! Once again it’s time for the Tomatrax Christmas present, lots of great music!

Yes the annual Tomatrax Unearthed Picks has been compiled for 2019 and can be accessed here!  It features 38 tracks from 38 Australian artists. All of which you can download for free!

As is always the case with the Tomatrax Unearthed compilations, they are only around for a limited time! As soon as one of the artists takes their song off the Unearthed page, it will disappear from the playlist. So be sure to get in quick and listen to all the songs right away!

That’s all from a Tomatrax for this year. We’ll be going on a semi hiatus for a while but will return sometime next year to countdown a series of best of the decade lists!

 

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