Knitting and Ray Romano may not seem like central parts of the typical band, but the lads that make up Vertigo are not typical. They may not be a household name yet, but they are definitely on track to being so. In less than a year of performing together Vertigo have become a mainstay of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley precinct, known to pull large crowds on days when everywhere else seems to be dead.
Through this live exposure Vertigo managed to broker a deal with The A&R Department, known for their work with Harts, Meg Mac and SAFIA, and ultimately grab some studio time at Airlock Studios to record a few tracks for their upcoming EP ‘No Feeling is Final’.
We had a chance to sit down with singer Hamish, and guitarist James, to talk all things Vertigo. The lads, who met at high school, with the exception of bassist Hugh, have recently released their lead single ‘Get Away’. The track begins with an energetic guitar riff, joined by rapturous bass and the powerful drums of Nelson, before settling down into the bass driven verse of the song. The vocals of Hamish fit exquisitely amongst the distinctly heavy instrumentals of this tune, which is akin to ‘The Hunter’ by Slaves with markedly better vocals.
The lyrics of the track, written collectively by the boys, are quite poignant, pleading a friend to leave a corrosive relationship. Despite the subject matter of the song, Hamish told us that while the realism of the song makes it appear to be based in personal experience, it was not. James then said “We were writing it like it was a pretty generic human experience.”
‘Get Away’ was one of the first tracks the lads wrote when they were first starting out, back in March 2015. As Hamish quipped, “Our writing has definitely matured a lot since then”. They credit this maturity to having performed live. According to James “they were writing really elaborate, debatably self-indulgent music” prior to performing live. The experience of gigging on a stage has taught the boys how to work a crowd, using the reception of each song to adapt their set list.
The lads opened up about playing a private gig at a 50th, and how they managed to cater to that very different audience. “We played a 50th the other week… for this big country family. So we were like ‘we should probably learn some Johnny Cash. So we learnt ‘Ring of Fire’. When we were learning we were like what the fuck are we doing. What has Vertigo become. But then we whipped it out live and the crowd went wild… We played it twice and it went off even bigger the second time.”
Johnny Cash may never be heard again, at least not from these blokes, but it highlights the emphasis that Vertigo have put on performing live and creating a great show for their fans.
Vertigo not only care deeply for performing, and for their fans, but they also have a deep bond amongst themselves. Hamish highlighted this when he said “It’s like being in a relationship with three guys.”
The boys clearly get along. My afternoon of sitting with Vertigo was filled with laughter and jokes, often at the expense of themselves and their hobbies. Hugh spent the weekend they recorded ‘Get Away’ learning how to knit, since he had recorded the bass early and had time to kill. Or at the expense of those surrounding them. Prior to their first gig at Rics, James’ Mum ignited the bands light obsession with Ray Romano, often referring to the Brisbane venue as Ray’s. This collective joy of their creative process bodes extremely well for future performances and for their upcoming EP ‘No Feeling is Final’. They are definitely a band to watch in the future thanks to their collective drive to make great music, and have a good time while they do it.
They will be playing at The Brightside’s Homegrown Battle of the Bands in Brisbane on March 15th and at Blackbear Lodge of April 23rd.
Keep an eye out for their upcoming single ‘Velvet Revolution’, and their EP ‘No Feeling is Final’, both coming out later this year. You can also keep up to date with all things Vertigo here
After taking the UK by storm last Summer, the DIY, dream-punk quartet INHEAVEN are continuing to create funky sounds and getting people hyped for the debut album coming next year, with hit single ‘Treats‘ already sweeping up a positive reaction after being premiered by Annie Mac this month. We got to know guitarist James and talk idols, festivals and what remains important to a band such as INHEAVEN despite rising up in the world.
Hey James! What would you say is the main message of your music?
We think music should make you feel free, so we try to create songs that evoke that feeling.
Do you guys have a specific creative process when writing?
It’s weird but we can never explain how we write a song, it just happens! It is really something that happens completely in the moment.
Since you have emerged onto the scene, you have gained the seal of approval from many ‘royalty’ fans such as Wolf Alice and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), you even released your debut single on Mr Casablancas’s label, Cult Records! How did that come about?
We set up a website before we changed our band name and were called ‘Blossom’, and just used to put up weird videos and music on a daily basis. We ended up taking the whole thing down, but months later we got an email from Rory Atwell (who mixed our demos) forwarding an email from Cult Records! They said Julian and the label loved us and wanted to put out one of our songs. But yeah, it was one of the best feelings ever, it’s not everyday you get an email from one of your idols.
What has been your favourite gig so far and why?
Reading and Leeds, we grew up going to those festivals so it really felt like a coming of age moment that we will remember forever! The best story from that year was probably us and The Magic Gang getting chucked out of a party for running up on stage and playing someone else’s drum kit.
INHEAVEN are known for having a strong DIY ethic, what is it you guys enjoy so much about that and why is it so important for the band to stay true to that even as you progress and grow in size?
We never set out to be a DIY band, we just did everything ourselves and never stopped even when we got signed. We always wanted to have complete control over everything we do, the only way we felt we could separate ourselves from every other band was to make sure we never compromised our creative vision.
Do you think anything changes once a band has signed to a record label and starts to grow in popularity and size?
Nothing changes, it just ramps up a gear. We are our own little creative hub, so we could be on any label and it will still always sound and look like us.
What have you guys got in store for us in the near future and what are you most excited about right now?
We are off on tour with Blossoms in December, and our Debut Album will be out next year. It doesn’t get more exciting than that really!
INHEAVEN are going on tour with the lovely Blossoms next month, buy a ticket here
Following a sold out tour with Milk Teeth and in the mist of the numerous festivals this Summer, we got to know Mark from one of the country’s most exciting bands at the moment, Black Foxxes. The band’s much anticipated debut album, ‘I’m Not Well‘ will be out August 19th via Search and Destroy/Spinefarm Records.
So how’re you finding the tour of festivals this summer? Has the experience affected Black Foxxes as a band at all?
Not especially. It was really important for me to get out and prove to myself I could tour and be away from home for long periods of time. Anxiety had always stopped me from doing that before, so if anything it’s just good to prove to myself I can do that.
Do you find yourself being in a community of alternative/hard rock bands that are similar to Black Foxxes? like yourselves?
We’re not really part of any community. We are just going in our own direction. It’s funny, there are so many bands that do the same tours together, are in the same magazines together all the time, play the same festivals… it’s all about who you know, but at the end of the day we couldn’t give a fuck about all of that. We’re just making honest music, if we don’t fit into a mould I’m okay with that.
How does your song writing process work, is it always the same or do you find it varying every time?
I will usually come up with the bulk of the song at home, something I’ve written that week or a while beforehand, then I’ll take it to practice and we’ll shape it however seems best. There’s no set formula per say, but we don’t tend to spend too long on the song, else it becomes over-saturated and non-organic.
So you just finished recording your debut album and the anticipation for it is already huge, what would you say this album is based on?
I think it’s pretty self –explanatory; I wrote most of the songs when I was in a really dark place, mentally and physically, and the album encompasses that. As far as inspirations are concerned we’re all into quite a wide range of music, but at the time we were all listening to a lot of Ryan Adams, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Death Cab For Cutie…
What’s in store for the future, the bigger picture following this album?
We’re off to the states later this year to play Riot Fest and play some other shows around the country, so that’s huge for us. Ultimately, we want people to relate to this band as much as we think people will, we want to make music that is going to stand it’s ground for years and years to come.
Finally, Black Foxxes are known for their inspirational acknowledgement of mental health within their music, how was your recent single ‘I’m Not Well‘ written specifically with Mental Health and personal experiences in mind?
I think the whole album is written with my mental health in mind, it’s so important for people struggling to speak out and seek help. I know first-hand how vulnerable and weak it can make you feel, and how much just talking about it will help you. I’m sure everyone will take their own things from this album, but if it helps people in any way then I’ve done something right.
Check out ‘I’m Not Well‘ here:
Where did you start out and how has your experience of coming from Denmark to the American and British music industry been?
I actually started Fjer in New York. This is where I came up with the name, released my first EP, found the people to work with and really started to believe in my self. It was so inspiring being here, around people speaking English, because I quickly learned the language fluently and began to get accepted in a different way. The UK audience came more recently and I’m so happy about that. England reminds me more of home – things like the weather and culture are way more similar to Denmark. I miss those things.
I’m inspired with Danish music in the sense that SO many great artists come out of there and it’s where I grew up. You can hear the cold, nordic sound in my music, I feel. The American/British music scene inspires me a lot too, because everybody does everything ALL the way, 100%. Nobody’s afraid to be an artist, and that’s something we struggle with in Denmark, where it’s kind of frowned upon to be super ambitious.
When I got into the Royal Academy, it was one of the best days of my life. It was so unexpected, because I was only 19 years old, there were hundreds of applicants and it’s just so hard to get in. Going there for the years I did, was a great experience and I learned music theory, producing and just being a better singer. But it was a very elitist school and the constant competition (especially between the guys there – it was a total ‘boys club’!) eventually broke me down. So I took a year out to go to New York and I haven’t looked back or regretted that decision for a moment. School will teach you so many valuable things, but there’s nothing like going out and trying on your own. You’ll learn everything faster.
It was lucky that I met producer and indie label-owner of Quintic, Peter Anthony Red, who believed in me from the very start. Fjer, has been us building together from day one and he released my two first EP’s with me. It can be super scary but also very freeing not being on a major label, fitting into budgets and ads. It’s like.. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. Nobody’s trying to change me or put me in a box.
Watch here and listen here:
Fizzy Blood have grown to be one of the best bands on our radar, after the Leeds boys reaped the rewards of their explosive debut EP, ‘Feast‘ (first recommended to us by thnksfrthrvw) and stole the show at Camden Rocks Festival earlier this month (live review here), it is clear that this is a band not ceasing to excel in creating hardcore rock ‘n’ roll magic anytime soon. We got to catch up with the lead guitarist, Paul Howells in between their gigs up and down the country with allusondrugs. Check it out.
How are you finding the tour with allusondrugs? Why is it your bands go so well together?
The tour’s been amazing! We’re all just really weird and on a wavelength with each other and we’re genuinely fans of each other’s bands so it’s just a recipe for love really.
allusondrugs and Fizzy Blood really are a match made in heaven, check ’em out here
Have you seen a noticeable difference in gigs across the country?
We’re always usually received a lot better up North being that we’re form there, but to be honest, the reception on this tour has been incredible in most places. Newport and Cheltenham aren’t exactly northern cities but the crowds were just really into it and having a great time, which made us have a great time in turn.
What’s your favourite track to play live?
We’ve been playing some new songs on this tour and I think collectively, those are our favourite as we haven’t toured them to death yet!
Fizzy Blood’s most recent single is ‘Sweet and Sulphur‘, listen here. We also got to hear the yet-to-be-released track ‘ADHD‘ live at Camden which was a highlight of their set.
What bands are you guys listening to at the moment?
Everyone should at least check out Demob Happy, Get Inuit, Floating Points, Anderson Paak, Frank Ocean, DTSQ and Dead Buttons.
Demob Happy and Get Inuit are also favourites of ours too, these guys really do have a myriad of differing influences.
Well this band may be heavy but they are nowhere near being static. With the pop-punk style vocals and heavy rock guitar lines courtesy of front man, Christian Patrick, Heavy Static are undoubtedly an energetic band who are on a mission. You can hear the band’s varying 70s influences in their most recent track ‘Andromeda’ (link below). This track has one purpose, to serve as all you need to understand what Heavy Static are about, and to make up your mind, – whether it be the choice of love or hate.
We got the chance to be introduced to the Toronto boys, to hear their opinions on the current music industry in which they operate, and their obscure passions, most notably their love of 80s horror films. “To me, [they] are so pure in their campy-ness. I’ve always loved how they unintentionally captured something that most movies today try so hard to do on purpose” This inadvertent encompassment of concept and feelings is something that Heavy Static also find themselves doing in their music. “I think we have a sound that captures something many get wrong nowadays”.
So are this band the coolest on the block? Perhaps, perhaps not. “Nothing done on purpose is cool. Cool is a side effect of honesty and I think that we’re a very honest band. Take yourself too seriously and you open yourself up to being laughed at. We have a very serious exterior in terms of our artwork and videos etc., but underneath that veneer is just three guys having fun.” It must, at least at times, be challenging and off-putting to operate in a new world of music where image, coolness and reputation is just as, if not more important than an artist’s music. Is this is a progressive move forward? Or a step in the wrong direction? Heavy Static go with the latter, complaining that “there’s a lack of honesty and everything is overly intentional”. Front man, Patrick goes onto say it’s resulted in “something being missing from today’s music and a big reason why I barely listen to anything new now – It’s bullshit and boring”.
Give Heavy Static a listen and make your own mind up here:
Don’t forget to also connect with them on facebook
Following his emotional and elusive single ‘Stormy Weather‘ (out now, link below), New York artist, YELLOW SHOOTS has been experimenting, planning and exploring other musical influences. We got to hear all about it in this interview.
‘Stormy Weather‘ was a really comfortable song to write for me. I actually completed it in less than a few hours, which ultimately made the process extremely honest and personal. The overall reaction to the song has been great. People seem to connect to it and understand it.
Yes. I really do. I feel that in order to grow you need to collaborate. Collaboration isn’t easy, so it forces you to work with other people’s work styles and values.
I think the music scene here is pretty awesome from an international perspective. There are some many people here from all over the world following their dreams. That really makes NYC a place where you’ll see something out of the ordinary quite often. I really like popping into an unknown bar and seeing a band play.
Moving- no. Traveling-yes. I’ll be heading to LA to do some writing soon. I’m also planning to do some shows in the UK and Australia.
Actually most of them are non-RnB groups. Bands like Radiohead and Yes. Tame Impala has been a great influence lately. A lot of jazz influences like Wayne Shorter and Robert Glasper too.
Currently working on a few music videos and my live show. I’ll also have a new EP for you in about a month or so.
Check out and download the new single ‘Stromy Weather‘ below:
Following the release of their latest EP ‘Mainstream Propoganda‘, we got to have a chat with the previously BBC Introducing backed group, Big Zero about their music style, somewhat old-school recording process and exciting future plans!
So your latest EP, Mainstream Propaganda is now out, how does this EP differ from your earlier releases? What ideas are the EP based around?
Our last EP, “Escape from Uncanny Valley”, was our take on how humans are utilising technology in the modern world and what the future held for robotics. With ‘Mainstream Propaganda’, BIG ZERO has turned their safety-goggled attention to the way society is using communication, the media and advertising to create a conforming consumer culture; these themes are most prominently felt in ‘Buy Synthetic’ and ‘Turn Up Your Radio’. Interlaced within the EP is ‘Disco at the End of the World’, a jovial tune discussing the apocalypse as described by a mixture of scripture and thermodynamics, and ending with ‘Mental Arithmetic’, a historical look at the impact of the number 0 on human progress; as Tobias Danzig said “In the history of culture the discovery of ZERO will always stand out as one of the greatest single achievements of the human race.”
How did the recording process go? I heard you guys do something quite different when recording and shooting new material…
Here at ZERO HQ we like to resurrect dead formats. Starting with the recording process, we like to record everything played live directly into an 8-track cassette recorder. The limitations of the 8 track really work for us and force us to focus on capturing the best full band performance.
From there we transfer the recordings into the computer for extra production and mixing, but by starting on the tape it gives the tracks an extra level of analogue magic.
BIG ZERO have always concentrated their efforts on making their music videos distinct, often shot on old school VHS cameras, what got you started you off on this tradition?
We’re huge fans of old sci-fi/horror movies, and really wanted to bring some of that texture to our videos…but with no budget.
The way we see it, everyone now has access to a high quality digital video camera on their smartphones, so for us to present something different we look to obsolete technology.
Using VHS cameras and tape takes a lot longer, and we’ve suffered from tapes snapping and getting chewed up in the camera (we kept some of the damaged footage in the video for ‘Hardwired’ right at the very end) but it’s totally worth it.
The lead single ‘Tear It Up and Start Again‘ was released on Record Store Day, do you guys feel that their is a significance in the recent rise in vinyl as a form of listening to music?
As avid cassette and vinyl collectors ourselves, we believe the rise of vinyl was inevitable; humans can only handle characterless functionality and clinical ease of use for so long. There’s nothing sexy about a CD, it’s just a glorified USB stick; you can hold a piece of vinyl, you get no such comfort from a download. Art is what made us distinct from our hominid brothers and sisters, and the comfort of holding and owning something is a basic human desire. The reanimation of ‘dead’, physical formats was inevitable.
Tell us about the abstract television mini-series that is being released right now, reminds me of something out of the Mighty Boosh!
Towards the end of last year we were driving to a show and listening to ‘Please Please Me’ by The Beatles. We started talking about how great that record sounds and how quickly it was all recorded. So we challenged ourselves to write and record a BIG ZERO Rock N Roll album in three weeks (two weeks writing, one week recording). We met our deadline and the next logical step was obvious; book flights to the Spanish Tabernas Desert and shoot an episodic, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, future-western adventure series. It was just the three of us, 3 vhs cameras, a tripod, a rental car and a whole load of ideas. We stayed in a cave in the middle of nowhere and sneaked into different desert locations everyday. We didn’t realise until we arrived that the locations had been used to film scenes from Indiana Jones and Game of Thrones.
What’s in store for BIG ZERO next then?
Our new EP ‘Mainstream Propaganda’ was released on iTunes on May 20th through Do Yourself In Records, and we’ll be releasing a limited cassette shortly after on Tapeheads Recs.
In May and June we have been invited to open up at a couple of shows for one of our big influences – weirdo pop legends Bis!
- May 27th – The Deaf Institute, Manchester (with Bis)
- June 10th – Sub89, Reading (with Bis)
- July 16th – Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading (with Bennet)
New EP ‘Mainstream Propoganda‘ is OUT NOW. Give it a listen on iTunes.
Newborn. An alternative-rock trio from Brooklyn, NY. Made up of Allen, Eric, and Blake.
Newborn are an energetic, alternative sensation that have risen up from Brooklyn and are definitely ones to watch both in the UK and the US. After their first EP, ‘Broken Virgo‘, gained a positive response on the local scene, they are now looking to broaden their horizons and cement in their band identity with their new self-titled EP (To be released June 14th). With a strong online following and an ever-growing local fanbase, this group are headed to do great things. Check out their new single below.
I got to catch up with Allen (Lead vocals and guitar) to discuss their background, inspirations, and future plans.
Hey guys, so you guys have been doing your thing and growing as a band since 2013. How did you guys first get together? And how have you grown as musicians over time?
“Eric and I, who had been close friends since high school, decided to start a band in 2013, although I don’t think we really got our start until December of 2014. We were trying to be a 4-piece band but our first year was a mess of lineup changes . Finding a drummer was the biggest problem. We met Blake through a mutual friend in 2014. Our bass player at the time soon left the band. We eventually grew tired of looking for band members so Eric made the switch from rhythm guitar to bass and we became a three piece. On December 28th, 2014 we played our first show as a trio. We’ve grown quite a lot. I for one, had never sung before until we started the band. Eric never played the bass before.
I think what matured the most, though, even in the course of just over a year was our songwriting.”
You seem to write quite personal songs, such as beautiful disguise, what would you say is the main inspiration behind your songwriting?
“It’s so many different things, to be honest with you. Every song is different. Beautiful Disguise, for example, began as a bass riff that Eric would play at rehearsals. He said it reminded him of people in masquerade masks dancing in a ballroom. So that sparked the idea for me to continue a masquerade theme musically and lyrically. The song is about using beauty to hide one’s vulnerability. Often times that beauty comes with a touch of cruelty. “
How do you find the music scene around New York with so many creative people everywhere? Is it positive or quite challenging?
“It certainly is challenging, but we see that as a positive. Sure there are thousands of musicians here but it only makes us work harder and strive to be better. We are incredibly blessed to live in NYC. There are so many venues, festivals, events…etc., music here is alive and kicking.“
Do you guys have any plans to come over to the UK soon? I reckon you would get quite a positive reaction here!
“Thank you! The UK is definitely on our list. We have been gaining a lot of fans there through social media. Unfortunately, it’s a bit difficult for us financially to travel overseas. We all have day jobs and rent to pay (that’s the true challenge of living in New York). But where there’s a will there’s a way. I know it will happen one day. Hopefully soon!”
So you’ve got one EP down last year, and a new one coming up this June, how has the writing process gone for the new EP, have you guys done something different with this one?
“We recorded it in a new studio and the production quality sounds lightyears ahead of our first EP. We never really had a writing process aimed at an EP specifically. Songwriting is just a part of our lives and all 5 songs were just chosen out of the 20+ songs we had written this past year. I think this EP differs from the first in the sense that these songs represent our style and our sound better. It gives us a much stronger identity as a band. That’s why we self-titled it.”
What are you plans for the future, ie going on tour after the new EP launch?
“We have a big EP release show on June 19th at The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn. We will most certainly be gigging a lot in NYC. We also would like to plan a tour of the local states on the east coast. We’re really looking forward to this summer!”
Newborn’s latest music video:
You can also check out their souncloud here
And their facebook here