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Tomatrax

An independent online music magazine

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Interviews

Interview with John Barret from Bass Drum of Death

Bass Drum of Death are heading back to Australia for the first time in over four years this October to bring their primordial garage quicksand to Yours & Owls Festival in Wollongong, along with exclusive intimate headline shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Tomatrax caught up with John Barret to ask a few questions.

Where did the name Bass Drum of death come from?

 
The project started as a one man band, John Barrett’s Bass Drum of Death, so when I added a drummer I shortened the band name to just Bass Drum of Death.

What made you pick ‘Just business’ as your latest album’s single and title track?

 
It was the one that really popped on first listen and I thought it would be the best intro to the attitude of the album as a whole

 

 

 

Your press release says how your new album takes massive steps in the scope of your sound, what prompted these steps?

Not wanting to make the same sounding record twice!

You relocated from Mississippi to New York, how does making music in New York compare with Mississippi?

There’s a premium on space in NYC like there wasn’t in Mississippi, but overall my process is fairly similar; I just have to travel to a practice space rather than having one in my house.

 

 

 

Your music has featured on various video games and TV shows, what is it like to hear your music on these platforms?

It’s definitely fun; my parents get a kick out of it

You’ll be touring Australia in October, what can fans expect from your show?

A good mix of all the records with very little downtime…we get a lot covered over the full set

 

 

 

Do you ever listen to your own music?

Rarely, haha

What music do you listen to?

 
All sorts of stuff…right now, a lot of Faux Ferocious and NBA Youngboy

What do you have planned after your upcoming tour?

Fast tunes, good fun, and cold tinnies

 

Australian tour dates below. Check out Bass Drum of Death’s website to find out more!

Premier Artists & Out Of The Loop Presents…
BASS DRUM OF DEATH | AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2019

Thursday 3rd October 2019 – The Curtin, Melbourne VIC – with guests Horror My Friend and CLAMM
Friday 4th October 2019 – The Lansdowne, Sydney NSW – with guests Good Pash and Organs
Saturday 5th October 2019 – Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong NSW Sunday 6th October 2019 – Crowbar, Brisbane QLD – Tickets
with guests Horror My Friend and Whalehouse

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!

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!

Interview with Brendan McMahon

Brendan McMahon has just released his second single from his forthcoming album due out in November. ‘Only highs’ is Brendan’s first duet, featuring Hiney’s amber Ferraro.

Tomatrax caught up with Brendan to talk about his music.

Your single ‘Only highs’ features the vocals of Amber Ferraro, how did this collaboration come out?
Amber has done some backing vocal work on my last 2 albums, when we were in the studio working on Only Highs for my upcoming 4th album, I thought it would be nice if Amber took the lead vocal on the first line on the third chorus… she did such an amazing job that I asked her to sing the entire chorus… her vocal certainly added a lot to the track…!

You have an album due for release in November, how has that been going?

We’ve released 2 singles so far, “I Am” in May and now “Only Highs” and they have both been received really well. There’ll also be a third single released and promoted with the album. The album is finished so I’m getting more excited as the weeks go by.

How will the rest of the album compare with your first two singles?

I don’t really conform to a single music genre… I let the songs develop and grow in any direction that feels right. There’s country, pop, Celtic & rock influences on the album… a bit of a mixed bag to keep it interesting…!

Where did the title In the moment come from?

In The Moment is the title of a track that will be on my 5th album… this is how I name my albums. My first album was Falling To Earth, the track Falling To Earth was on my second album… My second album was Marker 758, the track Marker 758 appeared on my 3rd album… My third album was called On This Fine Occasion, the track is on my 4th album. Not sure why I started this way but I’m happy to keep it going.

What’s the music scene in Kapunda like?

Doesn’t really exist these days… Kapunda is a small country town about 80km from Adelaide. When I was younger, we used to hire the town hall and put on our own shows, we’d get up to 350 people come to the gigs… it was great fun.

You were previously the lead singer of a rock cover band, how does performing cover songs compare with performing your own songs?

To me is kind of like miming compared to singing live… it’s so much more exhilarating to have a crowd enjoy original music compared to covers.

You previously released solo albums under the moniker of Satellite Gods, what inspired you to use your own name this time round?

I originally set out with the notion of putting a band together however after the second album I decided the solo thing was the way I wanted to go… subsequently the name change.

What was it like to collaborate with Wilbur Wilde and Bob Spencer?

Great… Willy is exactly as you may have seen him on TV… a genuine nice and funny guy. I’ve been a fan of Bob for more than 20 years so when I got the chance to work with him it was like a dream come true… great player and lovely man.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
I hear it continuously while I’m creating and recording it, then I play it at gigs. Once I’ve finished an album I won’t generally listen to it much at all but every now and then if I’m on the road for a long time, I’ll listen to the albums one after the other… to get a gauge if my style is changing and to hear if the production and song writing is developing.

What other music do you listen to?

Everything I can… from hard rock to country to indie to pop to Celtic… anything goes. I like to ask other musos what they are listening to and I’ll generally have a listen to that.

What do you have planned once the album is out?
More recording, more gigs and more travel to inspire my lyrics…!

Check out Brendan McMahon’s website to find out more!

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