Search

Tomatrax

An independent online music magazine

Category

Interviews

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!

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  

Interview with Jérémy Rumerio from This Frilly Ape

This frilly ape is the brainchild of French musician Jérémy Rumerio. After a few years in the making, This frilly ape’s debut album has just being released, bringing forth Jérémy‘s own brand of experimental / avant-guarde rock.

Tomatrax caught up with Jérémy to talk about his latest work.

 

How did the band form?

Hard to call that “a band”, as I am the only member, here… even if this was not the initial idea! I wanted to found a trio, but things turned differently after some months with the rehearsals. In the future, playing with other band members again could be a possibility. Not sure.

To answer your question, the idea came when my son was born in 2013. I had the feeling that it could be great for him to grow in a house where he could hear music, played by real instruments. The idea to play music with my best friend was also a reason. Both motivations turned out to be bad ideas, as I already said. Long story… tell me if you’re interested to know!

Where did the name This frilly ape come from?

In the beginning, I was searching for a name related to the music itself. But it led to a dead end.

So, I asked myself: why are you making music? The answer was pretty clear: it was a way to communicate a message, an alternative to oral or physical communication forms, I mean. Then, I had the feeling that creating music was necessary to find a balance in my everyday life. I also observed that this music was evolving months after months. This made me think it had something to do with psychoanalysis.

Then, as I didn’t like the idea of something too serious, I tried to introduce auto-derision in all of that. I decided to consider myself, being a monkey on a psychiatrist sofa, venting my pointless problems, my stupid fears. This is how the first name “This ape psychotherapy” was born. But it was too long, and not so cool! So, I decided to finally select “This frilly ape”. I think it reflects the absurd side of the music, even if the main part of the initial idea is gone. But I guess you still get the missing part while watching the artwork, and the way this monkey looks like.

You’ve just released your debut album, how does it feel to have it out?

First of all, I’m very happy with the result: I struggled for many years with every aspect of the production, but except with some details, this was what I was hoping to get.

But there is something else: I am also very much disappointed about the album reception. I spent so much energy in this, and I’m just so surprised about the little bit of feedback I receive, while sending links to freely download this music! I mean: I’m very curious about the others music, and if someone I know recorded an album, or if someone I don’t know asked me to listen to its music, I surely would do it, and give my opinion about it. If I don’t like the stuff, it just takes 5 minutes to know what goes wrong between the music and me, and to write an answer about it… But nearly no one did that for me. OK, I’m not a professional of the music industry, I did it all by myself, and with a very little money. But after 5 months trying to promote this music (in which I believe), when I only hear about a dozen of people showing some kind of interest, I think I have some good reasons to feel disappointed. I guess people don’t respond because they lack time, or most probably because they simply didn’t feel concerned by the music… So, let’s say that I didn’t find an audience yet. On the other hand, it could be expected, with this kind of music 🙂

It also has to deal with the question “Why am I making music?”. As I already said before, I am creating music to find a good balance in my personal life. But this “music message” has no purpose if no one is interested in it. Until someone hears it, and proves it was touched by this music, that it understood the message spread in this music (e.g.: by recommending it to someone else), you only have the half part of the process being achieved…

What made you pick Lovely mutant cauliflower as the title track?

I think it was for 2 reasons: the first one is that this is the track I am the proudest of, in this album (even if it is more repetitive than the other ones). The acoustic part is rich and well developed, the central riffs spread some nostalgy, and the lyrics bring a good balance between this nostalgy and the dissonant/disturbing tones of the music. At least this is what I think. The second reason is that the idea of a mutant cauliflower that needs to be tenderly rocked was cool, and funny to represent!

What was the inspiration behind the album’s front cover?

As I just said, I was trying to illustrate the idea of this lovely mutant cauliflower: the smoke, the finger, the eyes and this slimy liquid on it make me think that it is alive, warm, quivering, just like if it had just come to life. I chose a nearly black and white photography and a dark background to fit the album imagery, that deals with subjects like lonely childhood, impressive factories, seedy apartments etc.

Finally, as I wanted something naïve, flawed, savagely organic, I decided to add a dripping purple layer over it, and a hand-written album title. I wanted to use flashy colors that may remind the 90s (ah, great ski clothes!): I decided to inspire from the cover of the Sonic Youth’s album “Evol” for that point.

What is the music scene in Durfort like?

Mmmhh… Not sure, but I think it’s nearly dead 🙂 However, there are a lot of great places to play around here! (There is a huge forest, great ruins and some abandoned factories)

Given you’re from France, why are all the songs in English?

The main reason is that I always thought that English language had nice consonances, and was more appropriate for my music than French. It seems to me that finding the sonorities I was searching for with French lyrics would add a layer of difficulty to the process. Maybe it’s a wrong idea, and by the way I can think about some great albums sang in French: “Play blessures” by Alain Bashung, “Déchirance” by Chevignon, “Macadam massacre” by Bérurier noir etc.

The second reason is that when you try to communicate a message, it is better when it is understood by the largest number.

The bad part of this choice is that I’m not a fluent English speaker: I was not able to choose the words with subtlety, like I would have done in French. However, the most important part of the message was the music, not the lyrics. So English was definitely a good choice.

Do you ever listen to your own music?

It happens to me sometimes, yes, mainly because I’ve heard each part separately so many times, with so many different sound mixes that I’m always delighted to hear the final result, with the elements mixed together!

But this is mainly some kind of “engineering” interest. Musically speaking, it’s kind of irrelevant, as you already know by heart what’s happening there. I guess it was time to move on, when the album was released. This is the same for any other album that I like: I listen to it for some weeks, and finally put it away, knowing I may listen to it again some years later.

What other music do you listen to?

I had a long black metal period during my teenage years. I then moved over something more “avantgarde” (Virus, Voivod, fleurety, Dodheimsgard, Thorns, Ved buens ende).

More recently, I rediscovered the grunge scene (Soundgarden, Alice in chains), and more especially Sonic Youth & Thurston more, that I worship more than any other band. I’m also listening some no-wave, post-punk or noise rock stuff (This heat, Joy division, T. Segall, Pavement, Swans, The Breeders, Wire, The conformists, Pile, Pere Ubu, L. Lunch…)

…and also, some contemporary / modern / romantic music (K. Penderecki, B. Bartok, D. Chostakovitch, I. Stravinski, PI. Tchaikovsky, J. Williams, S. Yokoyama, P. Glass, E. Satie, G. Ligeti)

…and also, Captain Beefheart, F. Zappa, F. Kuti, Magma, Queens of the stone age, with of course other classic rock stuff!

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

As I bought a new house, I’ve got some odd jobs to do in my week ends 🙂

Then, I think I’ll return to oil painting or drawing stuff for some months. Finally, I’ll probably start to write music for a new album. I don’t know if I’ll be alone to record this new album, but I feel like I have many other things to say with my guitars, my bass, my drum kit, and the other instruments that are in my house. I guess my contemporary music project can wait some years more…

 

Check out This frilly ape’s bandcamp page to find out more!

Interview with Lawson Doyle from Port Royal

 

Brisbane rock band Port Royal have put in the hard yards and made a name for themselves through honing their craft of live performance and sweating it out on stages all across the country.

 

How did the band form?
The band formed as a post highschool project with a passion for the optimism and energy of classic rock and roll music. A passion project that very quickly became something more when their first hometown gig hit its 150 person capacity.

Where did the name Port Royal come from?
Looking around a jam room and we were trying to find a name. There was a bunch of different items and objects lying around the place. You weren’t gonna call it the brand of the fan “Sunbeam” nor the brand of the TV “Panasonic”. I don’t smoke anymore but I used to love chuffin down a good ol’ Port Royal rollie and it was the first thing that made sense, when I saw it.

You’ve just released your third single of the year, are there any plans for an EP or LP release?
This year has been hectic for us. We’ve been recording in the background… not that there’s very much downtime but working on it. I have almost 15 new songs unreleased. Just culling them all down to get the best of the bunch ready for the new year. 

What was the inspiration behind the video for That’s how you want it to be?
We wanted to do something Brisbane, but also something relevant to our peers. The music video is a play on the lyrics of the song and tells the story of 2 lovers playing the tug of war with one another. It’s an artistic take on the social games we play between one another, trying to not be too ‘keen’ on one another.

You recently headlined at the Caloundra Music Festival, how did that go?
Wow what a gig. Probably one of the best everHuge response from a huge crowdFunny though, we were setting up as The Veronicas were playing over in the other tent and there was absolutely no one in front of us. I was shitting myself going ‘who designed these set times?’ but sooner rather than later the tent was full with what i’d say close to 1000 people. Total madness. One of the biggest highlights of the career for sure and a great opportunity to showcase lots of new songs. 

What was it like to take out 3rd spot in the Triple Z Hot 100?

A complete honour to rank on what is arguably the most important radio station to any Brisbane band. The atmosphere at the Hot 100 countdown was insane that year. There is something great going on up in the waters of Brisbane music. 

You’ve already received a fair bit of acclaim, does that make you feel any pressure going forward?

We’ve got heaps of work to do. I don’t think pressure is the right word but I definitely feel we’ve got a hell of a lot yet to prove and I think the best is yet to come. The only pressure is too keep writing and even that, that only stops when you choose to.

Do you ever listen to your own music?
Haha – only in the accompaniment of other people for the purposes of self promotion…

What music do you listen to?
I listen to a lot of old school stuff, ya know 60’s, 70’s classics. I love good pop, I don’t care what genre but anything catchy I’m always interested in. I love good hooks. Obviously my heart lies in guitar based blues influenced rock & roll. Anything similar to that of The Rolling Stones, Oasis, The Beatles, The Doors, Led Zep – tickets all the boxes for me. 

What do you have planned for 2020?
Huge year planned with more to come. We’re playing a number of big festivals to start off the year including St Kilda Fest in Vic early Feb. Lots more on the horizon with an EP in the back pocket – some of my best ever songs yet to come. Ya never know, you might even see a Royal escapade outside of Australia in 2020 – it’s all open to interpretation yet. 

 

Check out Port Royal’s Bandcamp page to find out more!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑