Premiere: PISS FACTORY – ‘THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE’

Weirdo Wasteland is stoked to premiere a new track from Melbourne punk trio Piss Factory. ‘The Day After The Night Before’ is the first glimpse of the band’s forthcoming EP, which features a collection of driving compositions that encapsulate the duality of life in Victoria’s capitol – equal parts romantic, delirious, and disenchanting.

Continue reading Premiere: PISS FACTORY – ‘THE DAY AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE’

VIEW: RVG AT BIGSOUND 2017

For a week in September, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley becomes the focal point for the Australian music industry as the BIGSOUND Festival kicks off. Hundreds of industry members, punters and musicians assemble to see the next wave of acts perform live across several official and unofficial showcase performances.

Weirdo Wasteland, in conjunction with photographer Jeff Andersen Jnr. and Jet Black Cat Music, put a call out to some BIGSOUND artists we admire to enlist them for a series of portraits taken at Bloodhound Bar throughout the week.The latest shoot from that week features Melbourne group RVG.

Earlier in the year RVG released its stellar debut LP A Quality of Mercy, which is getting a re-release on October 20 through Our Golden Friend. You can pre-order the vinyl here. We spoke to singer and songwriter Romy Vager about the album’s creation and the band’s overall process and inspiration. Check out the chat below, followed by the image gallery.

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Take me through the process of writing A Quality of Mercy! I read a lot of the songs started as demos and were built upon by the whole band. How long had you been working on these concepts before they became fully formed?
Most of the songs on the album come from little demos I made on Soundcloud. I wrote most of them in the space of an hour or so and I’d try to record them and put them online as quickly as possible in case I started to hate them. The demos definitely have the intention in them, but sonically they sound pretty sketchy. When we started playing as RVG, we only had a couple of rehearsals until we started to work out how the songs should naturally sound with a band. It was a lot more raw but we kind of knew what we wanted from the beginning, which is a blessing.

What was the difference between the early concepts of RVG’s songs and material you had written for different outfits?
I used to be in a band called Sooky La La. There’s a few things on the internet. It’s good for a kinda grunge band but it doesn’t sound like me too much anymore. I used to have a big defensive wall up, and used to scream a lot more. There’s none of the introspection that RVG has. For lack of a better word it’s quite ‘masculine’ music. When I started the demo’s that made up AQOM it was aiming to be a lot more accessible and poppy. I also promised myself that if was gonna write an angry song about someone it also had to be a bit about me as well.

 I thought A Quality of Mercy was interesting in terms of the complexity of its story telling – part cathartic introspection and part empathetic narrative. What sort of ideas resonated and informed the work in a noticeable way?
I guess at the time I was coming to terms that I was trans, and what I was going to do about that. I was rearranging and changing how I felt about everything around me and what kind of person I was, The songs on AQOM were very much like: Well what exactly do I believe in? What is an inherent part of me?

Making those demos were about working that out through the process of songwriting itself. I didn’t want to write another song where I already knew what I believed in and tried to justify it by throwing a bunch of words together.

On that note, would you say there are some core thematic philosophies in your song writing overall?
I’m always interested in exploring the ways that people treat each other. That seems to be a recurring theme. Sometimes it’s a big picture thing or sometimes it’s really small but it seems to appear again and again in the songs I write.

People have had a few months to digest the album now – what are a few things you put down on record that you hope listeners have picked up on?
I hope people appreciate the quirkiness of some of the songs. I hear a lot of people talk about the catharsis and emotion of the record but I hope they get the one or two little jokes that are in there. Maybe I’m not very funny though, I don’t know..

You’ve said in other interviews that the process of writing/recording/releasing the album was akin to shedding old skin. How do you feel as a musician/creative entity and as an individual after this process?
It’s felt really good! I guess it’s a normal thing that people do when they complete a ‘thing’. I’d never gone through the process before so it’s quite new to me. It’s also pretty scary because you finish something and then you’ve gotta think about the next one.

Looking towards the future, are you currently working on new material?
We’ve got about 3/4 of an album that we’re ready to record. We’re holding off on starting the next one until we work out if we can afford to change it up and go into a studio or if we’re gonna just record an album at The Tote again. I’m not super prolific so I wanna get a few more good songs together before that happens

How is it coming together? Are there some discernible differences in process, sound or concepts at this stage?
We did a few demos the other month and they sound much more lush and powerful than the first album material. AQOM was very much us still working out what we’re doing in a lot of ways. We’re a lot more confident and stronger now and i think the next album will reflect that.

What are you finding stimulating creatively these days?
Any strong femme presence in rock music.

Check out the gallery below:

RVG will be touring to support A Quality of Mercy’s re-release. Catch the band at the following dates:

Friday 20th October @ Howler, Melbourne
Thursday 26th October @ Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Thursday 2nd November @ Oxford Arts Gallery, Sydney

VIEW: DARTS AT BIGSOUND 2017

For a week in September, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley becomes the focal point for the Australian music industry as the BIGSOUND Festival kicks off. Hundreds of industry members, punters and musicians assemble to see the next wave of acts perform live across several official and unofficial showcase performances.

Weirdo Wasteland, in conjunction with photographer Jeff Andersen Jnr. and Jet Black Cat Music, put a call out to some BIGSOUND artists we admire to enlist them for a series of portraits taken at Bloodhound Bar throughout the week. Melbourne’s DARTS took part in the project, and guitarist, singer and songwriter Ally Campbell Smith was also kind enough to answer some questions about their newest bunch of music. Read the Q&A then check out the full gallery below!

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To start, take me back to just after the release of Below Empty & Westward Bound. What were your thoughts on how that record was received? Was there anything that surprised you about the response?
I think we were really in our own world at that point. We had pored so long over the album, and finally releasing it was something we were really nervous about. I guess, once it’s out, it’s a waiting game. Thinking back to the launch of that album, we’d hosted it in a place that was a little out of the way, we had no other bands supporting, it was just us in this big empty space and just hours before we performed we weren’t even sure anyone was going to come, but it packed out, completely. People were there, wall to wall, they’d been waiting, they were interested, and they’d come for only us. That was a big hooray moment for all of us, and following the release we were given opportunities to play bigger venues alongside bigger acts than ever before.

In terms of growth and evolution, was there anything that you were interested in experimenting with post-BE&WB?
We have definitely experimented since then in all aspects. We’ve expanded our sound, our songwriting technique, and the dynamics of our songs is a big focus. Sometimes it works, and sometimes we end up too far from where we want to be. We wrote a catalogue of material so far from the genesis of DARTS that didn’t feel authentic or honest, so it’s been a process to learn to channel all of our ideas and keep fluidity throughout our new material. Having five members all with insane talents is like having an endless supply of Lego, but you still need to be selective about what pieces you choose to make the masterpiece.

What are some key distinctions between your process and sound during the writing and recording of BE&WB and the material you are working on now?
Looking back to when we were writing BE&WB, we’d not long had Paige on keys and Jessie was flung straight into the studio so they, in particular, didn’t get an opportunity to really be involved in the song development process, so we’re more well-rounded when it comes to each instrument’s intention now than before. Angus and I have written almost all of the bones of the new material together, whereas before we’d just bring tracks in we’d done solo, so learning to write together and have all five of us developing the songs together has matured our soundscape infinitely.

‘Distance = Infinity’ and ‘Cinder Bloc’ are two tracks that boast different sonic forms. What was the reasoning behind dropping the two at once?
We’d actually recorded a whole bunch of tracks that we intended to be an album but we weren’t entirely happy with the feel of it as an album. These two songs were quintessential Darts to us, and we wanted to have them out there. It was an idea that had to be sold to us, particularly because we see ourselves as an album band, so we had to let go a little in that respect. It was also partly a gift to ourselves, releasing the tracks, because we’d put a lot into the whole process.

Tell me a little bit more about these tracks. How did they come about and what would you say is the inspirational context behind each?
‘Distance=Infinity’ actually came really easy. Angus and I laid out most of it in a couple of hours one afternoon. He was in the middle of a really hard situation, having a long distance relationship, and all of the feelings that come with that. We’d been talking through it that day and the lyrics naturally stemmed from those emotions and exorcising them. Cinder Bloc was solely Angus, so I can’t speak for what he was feeling at the time, but it was around the same time. He writes really visually, and draws a lot from old westerns, so he has a unique way of putting you into a particular setting.

Does the variation in tone and intensity signify an element of duality in your next long-form recorded work?
It’s something I think we’ve always had. Angus and I can vary so much in terms of our sound so you can probably ascertain which of us has written which song, and it’s definitely a contrast that we’ve played on. As I mentioned, we consider ourselves an album band, and we want to have those differences throughout the album because we view it it’s a story with characters, situations, emotions, and landscapes.

Without giving too much away, can you give us an insight into the themes and concepts that are shaping your new music?
In terms of a particular concept, we use an overriding feeling of solitude. With BE&WB we used a kind of “lone cowboy” concept. Vast nothingness. We’re using those same emotions in a different setting. I think it’ll make more sense alongside the artwork of the album, but consider a modern journey to an endless place.

You performed numerous shows across BIGSOUND. Was it a good opportunity to road test the new material in a live setting?Absolutely. We weren’t sure initially, I mean, BIGSOUND is such a great opportunity to showcase your best, and we had to make the decision to play a mix of older songs and the singles, or offer up songs that were super fresh. One of them we’d only tied up three days beforehand. We went with the latter, which was a big thing considering how meticulously we consider what we perform, based on how well we can pull it off live, our vocals, etc. but we relished showcasing current Darts. It was a breath of fresh air for all of us.

Check out the gallery here:

VIEW: HOLIDAY PARTY AT BIGSOUND 2017

For a week in September, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley becomes the focal point for the Australian music industry as the BIGSOUND Festival kicks off. Hundreds of industry members, punters and musicians assemble to see the next wave of acts perform live across several official and unofficial showcase performances.

Weirdo Wasteland, in conjunction with photographer Jeff Andersen Jnr. and Jet Black Cat Music, put a call out to some BIGSOUND artists we admire to enlist them for a series of portraits taken at Bloodhound Bar throughout the week. The latest in the series is of Brisbane’s Holiday Party. We pitched Holiday Party’s Mel Tickle some questions about the band’s journey so far, as well as the ideas and concepts that are informing their sound currently. Have a read and check out the gallery below.

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Take me back to the beginning – who is in Holiday Party and how did it begin?
Holiday Party was formed by Luke McDonald and myself a couple of years ago – Luke was working on a film soundtrack and asked me to sing some vocals on one of the tracks that was in consideration. It was such an enjoyable experience that we decided to keep writing and recording between touring with our other bands and see what we could create.

Members of Holiday Party have performed in different outfits in the past; was there something in particular that you were looking for in a new outlet that was different than what you’d done before?
The biggest difference between Holiday Party and our other bands (The John Steel Singers, PYNES, Robert Forster, Little Scout) is the songwriting process – our other bands have guitars, bass, synths and drums, which we absolutely love. We’re now constructing songs with samples of those instruments from iPhones and dumped sessions, reworking them and processing them to create something completely new from the stuff that usually just ends up filling hard drives. It’s gonna sound cheesy but there’s a tiny glimmer of a memory attached to every sample. From there we’ve worked out how to play them live – our friends Peter Bernoth (synths, piano) and Scott Bromiley (bass, samples) have joined Holiday Party! They’re both lovely and incredibly proficient musicians and songwriters, so we’re especially lucky to have them join in.

How long did it take before you honed in on a sound that excited you?
The first song we created for the film was definitely the defining moment. It didn’t quite make it into the movie and we’ll probably release it in 2018.

For the uninitiated, how would you describe the type of music Holiday Party creates?
Luke’s friend described it as ‘junkyard pop’ – I really like that. We’re influenced by artists that make interesting electronic pop music like Beach House, Animal Collective, The Avalanches, J Dilla, and lots of other stuff.

What ideas or concepts are you using Holiday Party to express?
Our concept was to create an album based around a teenage house party gone wrong. We want to make off-kilter pop that you can either dance to or recline to.

What do you notice fans are catching on to the most with Holiday Party so far?
I’m not really sure! Hopefully the amount of fun we had making these songs in the studio have translated into the music. That would be sweet.

Check out the gallery here:

VIEW: DONALD HUGH AT BIGSOUND 2017

For a week in September, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley becomes the focal point for the Australian music industry as the BIGSOUND Festival kicks off. Hundreds of industry members, punters and musicians assemble to see the next wave of acts perform live across several official and unofficial showcase performances.

Weirdo Wasteland, in conjunction with photographer Jeff Andersen Jnr. and Jet Black Cat Music, put a call out to some BIGSOUND artists we admire to enlist them for a series of portraits taken at Bloodhound Bar throughout the week. The latest musician to be featured is electronic artist and member of the Spirit Level label, Donald Hugh. Have a look at the gallery series here:

VIEW: SLOW DANCER AT BIGSOUND 2017

For a week in September, Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley becomes the focal point for the Australian music industry as the BIGSOUND Festival kicks off. Hundreds of industry members, punters and musicians assemble to see the next wave of acts perform live across several official and unofficial showcase performances.

Weirdo Wasteland, in conjunction with photographer Jeff Andersen Jnr. and Jet Black Cat Music, put a call out to some BIGSOUND artists we admire to enlist them for a series of portraits taken at Bloodhound Bar throughout the week. The latest musician to be featured is Western Australian singer-songwriter Slow Dancer, whose latest album In A Mood is a beautiful, contemplative and nostalgia-laden collection of songs. Have a look at the gallery series here:

Musical endeavour – in depth. Underground music from Australia and New Zealand. Contact: weirdowasteland (at) gmail.com