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Interview with Pharmercy

 

Pharmercy is the psychedelic rock project of solo artist Liam Turner. Having played in guitar bands in his early years, he has gone it along, playing all the instruments in his debut single ‘Entropy’ with an EP on the way!

Tomatrax caught up with the man behind Pharmercy to talk about the project.

 

When did you write your first song?

The first proper song I wrote was when I was 16, it’s a simple one but I still play it today, who know I might release it one day

Where did the name Pharmercy come from?

hahahaha so this is a bit of weird one. So there is this competitive video game called Overwatch that I have sunk a ridiculous amount of hours into, low key addicted to it. Any way there is this strategy in the game that involves these two charters that have great synergy together, they are called Phara and Mercy, so the overwatch community gave them the clever nickname “Pharmercy”. So there I was one night playing away playing as Phara with my Mercy companion and I had a gig coming up and I didn’t have a name yet. The organiser was asking what my stage name was so I panicked and said Pharmercy. People seemed to like it so it’s stuck ever since

What made you decide to use an alias rather than your name?

My name is kinda boring, It’s like could you imagine an announcer introducing us “And now welcome to the stage LIAM TURNER” pretty lame tbh hahaha

You’ve previously played in bands, how does performing solo compare with being in a band?

It has been the most creatively liberating thing that has happened to my music. Not having to convince three other people that there should be a bass solo with a big fat phaser over the whole track really promotes experimentation. However it can be lonely, I do miss the social aspect of being in a band but as far as the end product is concerned it has been way better for me.

You play all the instruments in your music, do you have a favourite instrument to play?

Definitely my 8 string guitar, that thing is a beast! So much fun to play. Whenever I’m at work I just daydream about being at home chugging away on it.

Is there any instrument you’ve always wanted to play are are yet to do so?

Piano for sure, it is such a versatile instrument especially in the digital age, if you have a midi keyboard you can do so much its crazy, very jealous of people who are good at it

You’ve been working on an EP, how has that been going?

It’s been good but it’s taking its sweet time. I’m very critical of the music I make so I’m constantly going back and re writing things. I started writing Entropy 4 years ago and I only just released that hahaha, but I promise its close

What will the EP be titled?

Decay

How will the rest of the EP compare with ‘Entropy’?

Each song is quite different in genre and vibe but I’ve tried to keep the narrative constant, hopefully if people listen to it from start to finish it will tell a greater story

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

It’s basically a direct recreation of the songs story, I was in a band for a long time with my best mate and I had a girlfriend at the time that I was very in love with, but unfortunately she cheated on me with him. So I lost My mate my girl and band in the same day. I guess the over arching theme is accepting things don’t last.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

I do but I listen to it in a critical way, I will render out my song at the end of night and listen to it through out the day taking note of what I didn’t like, then when I get home ill go about trying to fix it

What other music do you listen to?

Stevie Ray Vaughan is on constant rotation for me, his tone, passion and musicianship still give me goose bumps every single time I listen to him. Another big part of my library is Animals as Leaders, absolute guitar gods, they are my inspiration for getting an 8 string. The other big part of my listening time is dedicated to Sam Gellaitry, complete opposite of the music I make but I’d contest that he is one of the best musicals composers alive today. Lush synth design combined with insanely complex percussion with the perfect tone is something I can listen to on loop all day every day

What do you have planned once your EP is out?

No idea, I hope to be playing shows at that point but if nothing else music is my passion and my goal is to get as good at it as I possible can.

 

Check out Pharmercy’s website to find out more!

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Crooked Ghost challenge the burden of depression in ‘Black Rainbow’ single. ‘Colors Bleed’ EP is out September 20th

With a new intriguing melancholic offering, post-punks Crooked Ghost present their new single ‘Black Rainbow’, offering a tastes of their forthcoming album ‘Colors Bleed’.

This haunting track follows up the EP’s first single ‘Sinew in Red’,  They also now present the video for this sleek and sultry track about self-obsession and dirty secrets.

“Black Rainbow is a bittersweet song about mental illness and suicide. It sounds bright, but if you look a little closer, the darkness peers through. It’s a song that means a lot to me personally, and I hope it can shine a little bit of light on a dark and taboo subject that really isn’t discussed enough. The video has a ‘dark Ray’ who is skewering ‘light Ray’ who is trapped inside his own heart, desperately trying to communicate with the band through electronic devices. I’m really happy with how this video turned out, Rome and everyone involved did a beautiful job,” says Ray Lark.

Rome Widenhouse, who filmed and directed this video, elaborates: “The video for Black Rainbow explores the relationship of spiritual and material aspects of the self. Often indulgence in impulsive vices comes expense of the spiritual self. Those we surround ourselves with provide us with advice they believe to be helpful, but is little more than revisiting of their own wounds and dysfunction. Black Rainbow describes the plea for help, lost in translation”.

Hailing from Asheville, North Carolina, ‘Colors Bleed’ is the third release from Crooked Ghost, following on the heels of their ‘Skeleton House’ album (released February 2019 on limited edition 12″ colored vinyl). These four new songs see the Ghosts moving in a more colorful direction. The songs are bigger and brighter than those before, with dreamy melodies, and some of Crooked Ghost’s most honest lyrics to date.

This EP was recorded in Black Mountain, NC by longtime friend and producer Edward Madill. The EP itself was inspired by mental illness and the struggles of growing up LGBTQ in a not-so-accepting world.

Formed in 2013 by Ray Lark, Crooked Ghost was initially a channel for leftover songs that didn’t seem to fit in any of the other bands he was involved in, but quickly became the focal point of Ray’s creative energy. Today Crooked Ghost is Ray Lark (guitar, vocals), Chris Saldin (bass), Alex Cannon (keyboard), Jon Wyatt (drums) and Charles Reed (guitar).

The band released their debut LP ‘Strange Burial Rituals’ in March 2017. With two distinct halves (the first is lighter, the second darker), the album plays out like a story, or rather, two opposite stories that are intertwined. Their most recent videos are for ‘Roadkill’ and ‘Sleepwalker’.

The full ‘Colors Bleed’ EP will be released on September 20 on limited edition CD through the band’s own imprint, and will be available digitally across platforms such as iTunes and Spotify.  It can already be pre-ordered via Bandcamp.

Keep up with Crooked Ghost
Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube | iTunes | Spotify

Interview with Reg Barber from Beast Machine

Introducing Beast Machine and the debut single ‘Time Slowed Down’.These guys hail from the laid back central, Northern NSW. But there’s nothing laid back about them in terms of their hard hitting Rock n Roll.

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

How did the band form?

I moved to the area from Sydney. I already knew Josh, we had played gigs together in different bands, so I just messaged him out of the blue. The timing couldn’t have been better because he was just finishing up the band he had been in for a few years. I sent him a couple of demoes I was working on and he gravitated towards a song called ‘Passenger’. We still play that song.

Fast forward two years and Pete was looing for a drummer and contacted josh to see if he was keen. They had a couple of jams in that band until Josh convinced Pete to join Beast Machine. We’re lucky to have him; he’s the perfect fit.

Where did the name Beast Machine come from?

It’s not the most entertaining of stories. I made a list of names using an online word cloud. It’s a writing technique I use to come up with song titles too. There would have been 50 combinations of words in a list; I think I’ve still got it somewhere? I sent the list to Josh and Beast Machine stuck out to him. It took a while to grow on me. At the time there was no deep meaning behind it, but in hindsight I think it suits what we do perfectly. Josh is the loudest drummer in the country; he is a Beast Machine!

What made you pick ‘Time slowed down’ as your debut single?

We went into the studio to record three songs. We had already decided that a song called ‘Crawling’ would be our first release. It has a great melody and dynamics to it. We finished that song first and then had a bunch of songs to choose from for the next two. Josh already had his heart set on a song called ‘Hurricane’

On the morning of recording the drums for the next songs I was sitting with Forrester and I played him a bunch of demoes on my phone. We narrowed it down to a couple of songs and he liked ‘Time Slowed Down’ best. Once he had them mixed it stood out as a great song to release first. ‘Crawling’ is still my favourite though; we will be releasing it soon I hope, cant wait to show it off.

You have also been working on your debut album, how has that been going?

It’s going really well. Our only problem is deciding which songs to use. The songs that work live aren’t always the ones that work when you’re listening to them on the radio or Internet. Our live set still sounds pretty different to the latest songs we have written; we tend to gravitate towards the ‘thrashier’ ones at shows. It feels a bit weird pulling back the tempo and playing in 6/8 when the adrenaline is flowing. We are still working on finding a balance.

How will the rest of the album compare with your debut single?

Our next release will be a song called ‘Hurricane’. It’s more of a heavy rock song, sounds like System of a Down crossed with ACDC. It is a very rhythm driven song with a four on the floor chorus. ‘Crawling’ will be the third release. We’ve already started on the film clip; it’s going to be an amazing looking clip. Can’t wait to show it off!

The rest of the album is still yet to be tracked. We are heading to LA in October and tracking songs in New Monkey Studios with the amazing Luke Gerard Webb. We will be recording on Elliot Smith’s old Trident A Range console. Hopefully that will impart some of his melodic mojo into our songs? Hopefully he isn’t looking down thinking you can’t polish a turd?

What will the album be titled?

It might be time to make another word list?

Your bio talks about letting out your frustrations through music; do you feel you achieved that with Time Slowed Down?

We love playing shows. I’d happily play at the opening of an envelope. There is no better feeling than playing a show. Its our Zen place, you’re not thinking about what happened yesterday or what you’ve got to get done tomorrow, its like time slows down!

What is the music scene in Northern NSW like?

Amazing! There is such a concentration of all kinds of musicians in the area. The local University has a great music course, the world headquarters of SAE is in Byron and the three best music festivals in the country happen down the road. Thanks to its slower pace it’s a great place to write music. There are buskers in the street, amazing music in the cafés. People love music and support live music.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Yes, when I’m trying to make a song better I’ll listen to it in the car and critic it. I never sit down and put on my own records though. When I do hear a song come on a playlist that I’ve written it usually reminds me of what was happening around the time we recorded it and miss people who are no longer in my life.

What other music do you listen to?

My first love was punk rock music. The first time a friend played me his older brothers tape of DK’s Plastic Surgery Disasters I was hooked. Another friend gave me a copy of ‘In God We Trust Inc.’ His family ran a caravan park and someone had skipped town and left their record collection behind. He grabbed it for me before it was chucked in the skip bin and I would sit down for hours listening, looking at the album artwork. I still listen to those records.

Another friend had a copy of a Splatterheads record, an amazing Sydney rock band from the early 90’s. I came across one of their songs on YouTube so I jumped on eBay looking for their records. There was one copy of their record so I bought it. Turned out it was my friend from school and it was the actual copy we all listened to as kids. It’s now my Enchilada cooking record, I prepare everything during side A and have it in the oven by the time side B is done.

What do you have planned once the album is out?

By the time this record is out I know we will have written another record and be planning to release that. Pete has been super busy organising our own ‘Black Market’ gigs; we played last weekend in a Brewery. We are looking at doing more; the next one is in a Gin Distillery. It’s great to break out of the traditional model of playing at the pub; we seem to be working backwards. It wont be long before we will be playing in a field of barley and hops.

 

Check out the Beast Machine’s website to find out more!

The Hard-Ons Announce Tour Supports and Share New Single & Video From Forthcoming Album

 

The Hard-Ons are back with their rampaging 12th studio album “So I Could Have Them Destroyed” which is released on Friday 11th Octobervia Music Farmers. Today, they deliver the next taster from the album by dropping new single “Oh, You’re Crushed?”, the accompanying video clipwhich you can watch here and announce the support acts for their upcoming national tour of Australia (see below for details).

Clocking in at a concise 30 minutes through 12 tracks, “So I Could Have Them Destroyed” is a wild but focused memorandum of the current incarnation of the Hard-Ons. Original founding member Keish is welcomed back into the fold, joining drummer Murray and co-founders Ray and Blackie.

“So I Could Have Them Destroyed” sees the Hard-Ons distilling their best musical traits. Brutal velocity. Rampaging guitars. Throbbing rhythms. Beautiful harmonised vocals. Here are 12 electrifying reasons why some artists get better with age. Good to see Hard-Ons sticking to their tried-and-true dogma: NO FAT – JUST MUSCLE.

Remarkably “So I Could Have Them Destroyed” does not sound like any other Hard-Ons release. It straddles the sweet spot between their treacherous and chaos-laden free-for-all approach and the diamond-hard solidity their beautiful melodies crave and deserve.

Producer and long-time friend of the band Lachlan Mitchell has thankfully managed to clear any unnecessary musical clutter and has harnessed sheer power and melody resulting in a crystal clear documentation. Brilliantly highlighted is the band’s incredible song-craft and musicianship, that has been cultivated and developed over a ridiculously energised career that started back in 1982.

The pulsating, super-charged bare-chested glory that is the Hard-Ons has now been given an extra dimension with the return of Keish. Here comes the pigeon-hole busting punk-metal-powerpop release of the year.

More good news: The Hard-Ons are undertaking a tour to launch this sizzling new nugget! These shows are sure to be as usual, action-packed and electrifying.
CUSTOM MADE PRESENTS…
The Hard-Ons “So I Could Have Them Destroyed”
National Headline Australian Tour 2019

Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne VIC – Tickets
with guests Arse

River Rocks, Geelong VIC  – SOLD OUT

Friday 15th November 2019

Rosemount Hotel, Perth WATickets
with guests Leeches & Mascara SnakesSaturday 16th November 2019
Mojos, Fremantle WA Tickets
with guests Leeches & HussyFriday 22nd November 2019

Vinnie’s Dive Bar, Gold Coast QLDTickets

Saturday 23rd November 2019

The Foundry “Punk Fest”, Brisbane QLD Tickets
with guests Fat, The Cutaways, CopiusFriday 29th November 2019
Altar, Hobart TASTickets
with guests ItSaturday 30th November 2019
Pub Rock Diner, Devonport TASTickets
with guests Without Fall
Crown & Anchor, Adelaide SA – Door Only
with guests Meatbeaters, Cull The Band, Get SomeSaturday 7th December 2019
Brighton & Seacliff Yacht Club, Seacliff SA – Door Only
with guests Numbskulls, MeatbeatersFriday 13th December 2019
Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney NSWTickets
with guests Arse & The Mis-MadeSaturday 14th December 2019
Dicey Riley’s, Wollongong NSWFREE Entry
Tickets on-sale now

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