Wednesday
Jul062011

Busby Marou

Busby Marou captivated audiences and the industry alike with the release of their debut album late last year. Now signed with Footstomp and Warner they’re set to embark on a nationwide tour, the bell was fortunate enough to talk to Thomas Busby one of the members of the talented duo…

This is the kind of music that doesn’t age. Stories woven by thoughtful lyrics set alongside breathtaking melodies. In contrast to other acts Busby Marou treat vocals and instrumentation as two halves of one whole – each of equal importance. There’s no sense of the term accompaniment and this is what makes Busby Marou unique.

“For both Jeremy and I coming from different musical styles or backgrounds it was quite refreshing to hear the music I would play by myself change entirely. Really our music is shaped by harmonies and Jeremy’s guitar melodies and that method hasn’t really changed since the first song we wrote together.”

It's certainly proved an effective approach save some occasions, as Thomas jokes, “It feels good when Jeremy does his harmonies. I’m always getting filthy with him when he’s had a few beers the night before and won’t sing the next day.”

 

Folk inspired pop is a fitting description of the distinct sound that is Busby Marou. Although grounded in the folk genre, Jeremy’s melodies are often reminiscent of a certain country feel. Layered with the alluring wail of the pedal steel and lush harmonies their sound is taken to an entirely new level.

“We learnt a lot from our EP and by learning I mean we made some mistakes. Looking back, that’s what I suppose an EP is all about. So we thought [this time] let’s just stick to a theme and acknowledge what style we are across the entire album as a whole.”

Both Thomas Busby and Jeremy Marou are Rockhampton locals and it was here along the edges of the Fitzroy River that they first met and began to make music together. From then came The Blue Road, their debut EP recorded with Anthony Lycenko and Pete Murray in his central coast studio. As always the band have remained true to their roots. 

“What we know best is where we’re from and how we’ve grown up. That’s really been everything to do with Rocky and Central Queensland. So I suppose what we write about is what we know and I’m glad that shines through because we’re proud Australians.”

Beneath Busby’s lyrics is a genuine nature and after having spoke to the man himself this comes as no surprise. As cliché as it sounds their music makes me smile. It seems that the worst scenarios are somehow made warm, a perception no more apparent than in the track Underlying Message.

 

don’t you love it when the rain falls down upon your face?

like sleeping on a train when there’s nothing left at stake

even when the sun burns and tears my soul apart

but I’ll never leave you stranded with your broken down heart

because I love it when it rains


First written in 2007 Underlying Message is an old favourite of the boys. I’m sure also, a new favourite for many to come. In the same way their lyrics draw from experience and lessons learned, Busby Marou’s music has also matured.

“Someone said the other day – It’s the ten year overnight success plan. It’s probably six years for us. We learnt a lot from our EP and by learning I mean we made some mistakes. Looking back, that’s what I suppose an EP is all about. So we thought [this time] let’s just stick to a theme and acknowledge what style we are across the album as a whole.”

With this dedication comes the finished product. Although to be fair it’s obvious that music is in their blood and like anything good in this world, Busby Marou’s music will only develop with age – a promising prospect.

“I listen to an album a day if I can, that helps improving songwriting. Particularly, we found, being the studio. All that playing together, structuring and helping with the production. You can’t beat experience and I think every album should be better than the last if you’ve got any talent.”

That being said, Busby Marou’s self-titled debut is more than that. It’s timeless in every essence. I can’t but help imagine that in years to come nothing will have changed. When I listen to the record it will still make me feel the same way. Content.

 

Drop in to JB Hi Fi for a copy of Busby Marou or any other reliable music store. Also feel free to check it out on Itunes.

Thursday
Jun302011

Israel Cannan

From the Central Coast, singer songwriter Israel Cannan

A successful musician is a lot of things. It’s difficult to determine what's at the centerpiece of their jigsaw puzzle of attributes and skills, although I’d have say its conviction. The same quality that first drew me to Israel Cannan’s music.

To my surprise it wasn’t his melodies or lyrics, although exceptional in their own right but the timbre of his voice. That certain conviction behind his words which made me believe in what he was saying.

True to this, Israel has captivated his audiences at home and abroad in a similar way. In 2010 he embarked on a three month tour throughout Australia filming video diaries tell his story along the way. He lived the life of a genuine troubadour and traversed 124 cities and towns, all to play his music and promote his appropriately named LP "Walk". 

It’s been nearly a year since Walk was released and we decided to catch up with Israel, have a chat and see where his feet have taken him this time – London.

 

 

 How did you first become involved in music, do you have any early memories?

I think my earliest memories would be pulling all the pots and pans out of the cupboard, lining them up and beating them with a wooden spoon. I received a toy drum kit soon after, I was about two years old. My mother is a guitar teacher and has been as long as I can remember so music's always been a big part of our family. I started taking music seriously (although still just as a hobby) when I was about 10 years old.

What's the best thing about being an independent artist?

Having creative freedom is always a good thing, the right to record and release something as you feelit should be released... Saying that, I think it's just as possible to do this with a major label just depending on who your working with and how well everyone understands each other... 

Last year saw the release of your debut album Walk, tell us a little more about the writing and recording process behind the record...

Well to be fair "Walk" isn't actually my debut LP. A lot of people think it is as it's probably the first thing I have done that hasattracted some attention, even if only a little.... I did a recording back in 2006 called "Poets Corner" which a few people from my home town know me for... It was a long time in between drinks "musically speaking" but after the Walk journey and Album I think a few more people from outside my local area started to take notice.

What do you feel is most important in a song?

Probably the truth.... No matter what the agenda or where its coming from, or even what style of music.Truth can be subjective, but for a songwriter truth is that stuff that's hidden deep down in some dark corner of the soul.

 Apologies if that was a bit deep ; )

In terms of music, do you find living in London Inspiring?

I have only been here a couple of months but the answer so far is yes, yes, yes....Its a bigger and much older pond than the one back home so it has a lot more history in the venue'sand the music scene in general... Saying that I still miss it back home!

What's in store for the rest of 2011?

I'll continue to do my thing here for a little while longer, It's been going better than expected so there's no reasonto rush off anywhere just yet. We are talking with a label in Canada about the possibility of releasing Walk over their later in the year, if that goes ahead I will also do a few shows their... I plan on being back home in Oz for Christmas, summer bbq's and hopefully a few shows also!

Just for fun if you could take the stage with any artists, alive or dead, who would they be?

Tough... I like so many different artists and to be honest don't have any absolute favorites... Maybe me, Bob Dylan & Eddie Vedder can start a trio???

 

Israel is playing a host of shows over London this Winter so If you're one of our overseas readers or if your going on a trip take a look at our gig guide and you can buy Walk from Itunes

Monday
Jun202011

San Cisco

There’s something to be said of the music that has emerged from Perth our west coast capital and San Cisco are no exception. There’s Jordi James (guitar, vocals, keys) Josh Biondillo (guitars, vocals, keys) Scarlett Stevens (drums) and Nick Gardner (bass, keys).

"San Cisco is a place situated between reality & a dream state. It is kind of like a huge cauldron we put all out creative input into, mix it together to make a super explosion of fantastic, wild creations. This is San Cisco."

After releasing Golden Revolver earlier this year, San Cisco has impressed both audiences and critics alike with their unique blend of indie pop. They’ve played a host of festivals and supported the likes of Architecture in Helsinki, the Grates and Jebediah soon to come.

With an average age of 18 and the youngest member Jordi James yet to finish high school, many say San Cisco’s music is beyond their years. I can’t say this really sat well with me. The way I look at it their sound is their years. It’s fresh, upbeat and reminds me of bliss filled summers.

It just goes to show that great music comes at any age, anywhere.

 


 

How would you describe San Cisco’s sound?

It has a lot to do with the music I am listening to at the time. As I listen to new music the sounds I make are influenced and sound like the music I have been listening to. For example, I bought the entire Flaming Lips Discography and have been listening to that, which dates back to the early 80’s. Its pretty incredible, the changes they have been through as a band is quite interesting. Wayne Coyne is actually so cool. Listening to The Flaming Lips then led me to listen to a lot of other music that is produced by Dave Fridmann, who has pretty much produced all of the flaming lips stuff. Bands like Mercury Rev and Sleater-Kinney and obviously MGMT, Tame Impala… Sleepy Jackson. Dave Fridmann has pretty much produced most of the music that I love.

How has it been being able to develop your sound in WA - a state home to a unique music scene, not to mention some of Australia’s most iconic bands?

Couldn’t ask for a better place to grow up really.  Mingling with amazing musicians and other musically orientated folk is interesting. It’s a really supportive atmosphere, you can’t avoid learning and improving living in Perth. 

What was the best thing about recording the EP?

Learning about the recording process and hearing the tracks develop from live songs to polished recording is really interesting. Also having something to show for the hard work is nice. 

What’s in store for the rest of 2011?

Another EP recording in July, some TEE exams, lots of education and a number of gigs, it is certainly looking pretty bright.

Given your pick, if San Cisco could take to the stage with any artists (alive or dead) who would they be?

Well that’s easy. The Beatles.         

 

Sunday
May292011

 Ghostwood

 

 “There’s a great beauty in darkness.” 

This line seems to have stayed with me. Caught between the pages of an old edition of Mojo written five years ago in the wake of Johnny Cash’s death. I am yet to hear a more accurate way to describe Cash, let alone what constitutes great music. 

Maybe then, this is what first drew me to Ghostwood’s sound. The hidden edge behind what seems to me a brightly packaged exterior. I don’t think it was until I saw the band live that I fully understood the gravity of this. 

There was a raw energy that filled the room in King’s Cross. Pent up emotion that only seemed to increase with the soaring guitars and Gabriel’s powerful vocals. Ghostwood’s set solidified what I had thought when speaking to Gabriel previously - this was a band beyond their years.

Since they first began to play music, Ghostwood has continued to evolve. Looking back at their first EP, released through Modular in 2007 Gabriel admits, "We released an EP a little while ago when we were a lot younger. We’ve grown up quite a lot since then and realized things."

 

"To be honest, I’ve never really told anybody this, but when we recorded it we wanted the EP to sound like the new one now, but we were so young, like seventeen or eighteen, that we didn’t have the confidence to be outspoken.”

 When recording the EP, Ghostwood worked with guitarist Jim Mogonie of Midnight Oil fame.

“I play a Fender Jaguar, which was kind of the seminal surf rock guitar. The Beach Boy’s all used Jags, so that was the sound we were talking to Jim about. It’s funny because he’s now in a surf rock band called the Break… so we connected quite well.” 

Perhaps it was this sound that made way for some critics to reference the band as psychedelic. In saying this, Ghostwood cannot be so simply placed. This is apparent when the guitar is coupled with reverb and at times, haunting lyrics. 

“Projection is really difficult, getting that idea out. When you’re trying to write music or songs people will push you in different directions because they think they understand it. I don’t really think that we are psychedelic. I don’t think the bands we look up to as sort of forefather’s like Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine – they’ve got a broad spectrum of sound,but they’re not psychedelic bands.”

For fear of placing things in boxes myself, it is bands like these that share not a sound, but an indescribable underlying element with Ghostwood. That great beauty in darkness.

 
In a similar way, when it comes to songwriting Gabriel talks of how Ghostwood look up to older bands for inspiration in terms of their approach, not their sound.

"It’s like that age old thing when you at older bands that you look up to and what they did, you don’t want to copy them but imitate their methods. There’s a lot to learn in observation.

I was reading how the Beatles used to record and they’d write each other’s parts. They would all write each part together as a team. I think that’s a good lesson to learn from such a good band. I like looking at how they approach the problem, or the creative process.”

 I can’t say that any of the bands I have interviewed concede that songwriting is a natural process, nor static. The same applies for Ghostwood, “I think patience and the enjoyment comes naturally, from an early age I was really content just sitting in my room playing music. I don’t think writing songs comes so naturally but If you love it so much.”

Tuesday the band will kick of their Stargazer Tour along the East Coast and in the near future release a 2011 EP. When we spoke about the band’s recent successes, it seemed to come back to one thing.

“You’re the luckiest person on earth If you can do what you love doing and bring home the bread doing it.”

 

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