I’m a massive soul lady and this record is something else, pretty much designed for vinyl right? I love that I can now put on a soul record from someone that isn’t from 40+ years ago, I’m putting something on from someone who is young (he’s 26!) and doing it right and uninfluenced. It’s from the same school as Otis Redding and Sam Cooke – he gets it, he gets soul and I can’t remember the last time that happened. It’s not R&B or anything else, it’s just pure soul – I’m into it.
Even in the artwork, you can see that the record is going to be something great – it looks like a classic soul record. Coming Home is the pick here for me, the best and most awesome way to kick off a record like this. AND, what I love about this so far is that all these kids have been coming into the shop to get a copy – I love it when I can see this old stuff re-emerge for a younger generation.
Each and every Sunday morning while casually scrolling through Instagram, we stumble upon photos with an illusive theme from one of the biz’s effortlessly cool individuals. Rob G is clearly as homely-disciplined as much as he is a gifted booking agent, for each week he posts an album cover alongside the caption “Sunday Vacuum Music”. This got us thinking – how the hell does he listen to this music with the constant drone of the cleaner: “I wear headphones that are wireless,” he reveals, “so I can roam from room to room. My weapon of cleaning is the Dyson DC37 Origin Bagless Vacuum Cleaner. In consultation with Dyson we choose the music. It happens every Sunday morning.”
Rob Giovannoni has over 20 years experience in the music industry. He has worked with Severed Heads, Itch E & Scratch E, Custard, Sidewinder, Swervedriver (UK), Aphex Twin (UK), Clouds with companies Trading Post Agency,Hype and Underground Promotions. Talent Booker for Spectrum, FBi Social, Oxford Arts Factory,The Gaelic Club, Newtown RSL & The Globe Venue & promoted club nights such as Underground Radio, Bleach & P*A*S*H. Currently he is the co-director of *SELECT MUSIC AGENCY for acts such as Ball Park Music, The Jungle Giants and Tkay Maidza amongst many others AND co- director of *SELECT TOURING – Crystal Castles, Public Enemy, The Dandy Warhols et al. M
We thought we’d have to convince him to do this but he embraced the challenge of naming his TOP 5 VACUUM CLEANING RECORDS. He says, “vacuuming has always been a joy! Music (the album format) must be part of the cleaning party (parties can be uplifting/can be mellow/can be anything…)! NO BETTER WAY TO MERGE THE LOVES – Cleaning + Music (the album format) = Brilliant!!! The selections are chosen just before the vacuuming starts. More a feel vibe on the day. The Music chooses itself…. “As I love every album that Dyson and I have shared, I’m going to go with the people votes – based on the highest likes via Instagram/Facebook/twitter. Its been awesome all the cool comments every week. I feel like that there’s a movement going on here!! In order so far – we have been sharing selections since 2013.- are…
We just recently welcomed I know Leopard to the family, and now we get down to the nitty gritty with lead singer Luke.
It’s rare to have a violin sound fit so well alongside indie pop vibe. You guys do it so well. Are you directly influenced by The Corrs in any way, or alternatively are there any other indie bands who use violin in their line-up that you think are nailing it?
Why thanks!! The Corrs! I wouldn’t say they were a direct influence. But they were (are?) great! I’m sure there are but I can’t think of many Australian indie bands at the moment using violin as such a feature like we do. I just think it’s such a beautiful, dynamic instrument. I think Beck’s ‘Sea Change’ album played a big part in our love for strings. Same with a lot of ‘The Verve’s’ work.
Where were you the first time you heard your song played on triple j and how did you react?
They played the first single ‘She’ of our first EP Illumina about a year ago. It was very exciting. I think it was breakfast radio. Todd called me and woke me up to hear it. They actually created a little segment around it. They had people calling into guess how many times I sang the word ‘She’ in the song, which admittedly is a lot. So I remember thinking… ‘Are they taking the piss?’ but then also thinking ‘Who cares, I’ll take any promo I can get!’
You’re currently touring with Last Dinosaurs and soon you’ll head out on the road with Gang of Youths, c’mon, be honest… which band are you more excited to be playing alongside and why?
Haha! I can’t answer that! I will tell you that ‘Last Dinosaurs’ are the loveliest humans you’ll ever meet. We hit it off right away as soon as we met before the first show. We have the last leg this weekend and we are pretty sad it is coming to an end. But I really think we’ve made some real, long-lasting friendships there. As for GOY, we haven’t really got to know them yet but I’m sure they are lovely too. We’re really looking forward to seeing and playing in all those regional areas on that tour. We’ve never been to most of those places!
You’re (almost) about to release your second EP, how does it differ from your debut EP and what can people expect?
I think the sounds are a lot brighter and bolder. It’s maybe more pop too. The girls’ voices feature on it a lot more than the last one too which is good cos they’re way better singers than I am.
What’s the weirdest thing someone’s said about your music?
One punter in Melbourne once told us he thought we sounded like ‘Rammstein’. I have a feeling certain ‘enhancements’ might have been influencing his opinion that night though.
What’s the nicest?
There’s a writer from the blog ‘Something you said’, I believe her name was ‘Jo Michelmore’ that wrote about our song ‘Hold this Tight’ and really engaged with it. She really connected with it in the ‘exact’ way we intended and understood it as a ‘celebration on friendship’. That made us feel really good. As an artist, there’s nothing better than knowing you’ve communicated something effectively with your audience.
If you were going to do a collaboration with another artist/band that has a breed of cat in their name, who would it be and why?
There is a band from our hometown of Adelaide called ‘Leader Cheetah’ that have been on a break for a while now but are a band that we were and will always be totally in love with. They wrote the most beautiful 2 albums that are so effortlessly melodic and timeless. I hope they come back. They have always been very inspirational to me.
You’ve been a self-managed band until now. What do you think are going to be the biggest differences between being a self-managed band and part of the Mucho Bravado management family?
I’m pretty clueless when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of the industry so I think it will be great to have someone protecting us from making bad decisions from now on. Also we are a bunch of space cadets so it will be good to kept in line a bit.
What’s next after the Last Dinos and Gang of Youth’s tour?
The EP will drop in August then we will hopefully be doing our own tour to celebrate. All the while, we’ll always be working on new tunes for ya’ll!
SUFJAN STEVENS is back! This record will break your heart in the best of ways. He’s come back to his stunning folk sounds which we all know and love. Intimate, fragile, honest, a record to really make you stop and think about life.
The story behind the album is well-known. Carrie & Lowell is titled after Stevens’ mother and stepfather. Carrie was bipolar and schizophrenic and suffered from drug addiction and substance abuse. She died of stomach cancer in 2012, and spent her life in drifting in and out of Steven’s . His stepfather, Lowell Brams, was married to Carrie for five years when Sufjan was a child. Brams currently runs Stevens’ label.
Many are claiming it’s his best album yet. It’s delicate, beautiful and it’s one of my absolute favourites this year.
Ever wondered what Gang of Youths plan on doing with their band name when they’re not youths anymore? FrontmanDave Le’aupepe took 3 minutes 52 seconds (exactly) out of his day to answer the tough questions, and to let us know what his dream trucker hat would be.
As you’ve said in many other interviews, ‘The Positions’ is about terminal illness and the associated feelings / struggles that rise up alongside it. Music is often seen / used as a healing mechanism – did you find the album’s writing/recording process to have significant effect on the healing process that came after these events?
I probably came to a point in my artistic trajectory where I realised that I needed to cut the bullshit, sit the fuck down and be entirely honest with myself about the way my life was looking and why the shitty music I was composing at the time wasn’t reflecting that adequately or truthfully.
When I began writing with the intention of a) producing something as a gesture of love for my paramour and b) unleashing the torrent of rage, terror, fear and hope curdling violently on a subconscious level upon nobody in particular, the true healing properties of music became more and more self-evident. Catharsis is beautiful when it is constructive and I found that I became less infatuated with the tragedy itself and more fixated on what I could do contextualise it, compartmentalise it and reanimate it into something life-affirming.
We read that the album took nearly three years to make – how much did the ideas / vision / music change throughout the drawn-out process?
We maintained a pretty even sense of what our vision was — to make an ambitious, melodic, life-affirming and emotive LP that would stand the test of critical scrutiny but also find its way into the hearts and ears of anybody who would give it a shot. We desperately wanted our record to connect heart-to-heart without being predictable or too sentimental. The band line-up, songs and production style however changed significantly. We re-recorded a lot of material and I wrote a tonne of new material after the first recording sessions with Kevin McMahon as my unbelievable shit show of a personal life became shittier and more convoluted. A few of the tracks that weren’t going to make it onto The Positions like ‘The Diving Bell’ and ‘The Overpass’ found their way back as tracks we intended to include in the sequence like ‘Benevolence Riots’ and ‘Riverlands’ and ‘Evangelists’ were dropped. A lot of the reasons we changed sequencing so much is because for much of the time it took to make the fucking thing sonically and thematically everything seemed pretty bipolar.
Your songs tend to sway towards the drawn out, grandiose end of the spectrum. What is this trend informed by – your musical influences, a desire to create a certain vibe / atmosphere?
Hahaha we do, don’t we. I suppose I’m drawn to tension and release as a musical device, elongating the ascent to the climactic musical or lyrical moment on LPs like Daydream Nation, Spirit Of Eden, Born To Run, and Joshua Tree. I know it’s not cool to admit that U2 was important source material, but we did make an hour-long concept album about cancer so clearly ‘cool’ was never on the cards for us. I also feel like I wanted to take time with these songs and not to rush the narrative — longer durations lend some breathing room, so maybe it also just worked out that way as I was writing everything.
Since these songs are so deeply personal, what is the experience like playing these songs live? Do you find it to be a confronting experience, or is it somewhat therapeutic?
Both column A and B are applicable here. The visceral gratification of yelling about all this shit to a paying audience is addictive though — I have the gift and the curse of turning anything I love into a drug, so maybe I’m addicted to both the respite and the pain. I do know this though; I never want to play a show that costs me nothing, that doesn’t deplete me or drain me of my essence or humanity. I never want to strut and fret upon a stage for a measly and pitiful hour spewing falsity and insincerity and indigestible bullshit. You can call me mawkish or too earnest, you could say I care too much if there is such a thing, but goddamnit I’d rather be those things and denigrated by cynics and assholes than unmoved and benign, chickenshit and cowering in the wake of some neophyte ‘tastemaker’s’ opinion like it’s this impossible, unbeatable leviathan. No thanks. Gimme the blood and the sweat and all that other shit. We like caring. Caring is kryptonite to posers.
On the topic of playing live, what’s been your favourite show and venue you’ve played to date?
Playing at Webster Hall in NYC with Sky Ferreira and Smith Westerns was fun. It just sticks out as a good time had by all.
What are the band’s favourite songs and artists of the moment? Are there any Australian acts that are standing out to you?
I can’t really speak for the others but a friend of mine named Andy who works in music introduced me to an Italian metal/post-hardcore band called Amia Venera Landscape. They released an album in 2010 called The Long Procession that is one of the most fucked-up and exciting heavy albums I’ve heard in a really long time. ‘My Hands Will Burn Fist’ is my favourite song from the record. In terms of Australian artists I’ve been listening to Tkay Maidza pretty much non-stop in between all of the evil heavy music I digest. My friend Jess who goes by the name Montaigne emphatically suggested that I listen to her music, so I did and lo and behold, I’m now a weird ass fan boy.
When you guys aren’t youths anymore, what are you going to do with your band name?
Good question and no idea. I think we’ll be ok because Reagan Youth and Sonic Youth are still kicking around so that gives me hope. I’m only 23 though guys, gimme a fuckin’ break!
Last up, what would you spend your last $50 on?
Probably something stupid like a custom made trucker hat that says “quit yr. bitchin’” on it because I am a classy motherfucker and everybody likes funny hats.
GANG OF YOUTHS’ DEBUT LP ‘THE POSITIONS’ IS OUT NOW.
From start to finish, this album is 100% excellent. Great songs, written by guys in their early 20s about telling Mom and Dad to SHUT UP AND LEAVE THEM ALONE.
1) 1989 – Taylor Swift
Legitimately incredible album. Every song is a pop masterpiece and Tay-Tay has the most incredible voice. T-SWIZZY 4 LYF.
x Dom Miller is manager of Fox & Fowl, The Phoncurves, Ben Salter and a bunch of other rad acts… he also books some rather great venues around town including Southside Tea Room, The Scratch, Eat Street Markets and Shady Palms.