Monday, April 30, 2018

The Rebranding of Mastin


The night before I am scheduled to interview Mastin, his grandfather passes away. With far too many apologies for someone who has just lost one of the most important people in their life, it's rescheduled. Meet Mastin: singer, songwriter, brother, son, grandson. Genuine nice guy.

Having all but grown up in the music industry - he won The X Factor Australia at 16, released two #1 Platinum albums and had three singles reach the top of the charts - Mastin could be forgiven for the kind of meltdown that catches up with most teen-turned-adult pop stars. But he hasn't succumbed. Instead he's rebranded, moving away from the commercial tracks that guided his teenage years and into the rock 'n' roll roar that first captured the nation's hearts in his onscreen audition. There is no pop star here, there's just Mastin and his captivating pup-rock vocals. 

"I think if A to B is my first record to this EP, the difference sticks out like a sore thumb." 


While Mastin admits that he is worried his fans won't adore his new sounds, he's made peace with the music he loves so much. He's new, rock 'n' roll tunes have also inspired a broader media pack to jump on board. "There's nothing better than hearing somebody really loves and appreciates your music...so in a way I'm okay with letting people find other rivers in the music world but hopefully keep the ones that want to come on my journey.

Currently underway with a national tour, patrons should expect "loud, dirty rock 'n' roll". Mastin is quick to point out that this string of shows will bring new tricks and more of him poured into it. This is the time Mastin has been waiting for, he's cast off old expectations, his first name and has created the album he's always wanted. With a refueled fire of music and the enthusiasm that only being your true self can bring, Mastin is ready to show it off to the world. 

"Reece will always be with me and part of me, but it's time for me to re-enter the music universe as the musician he helped me become - Mastin."

MASTIN ‘SUITCASE OF STORIES’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR

SAT APRIL 7 | TBA, SYDNEY | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX

FRI APRIL 13 | SALOON BAR, LAUNCESTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT APRIL 14 | WARATAH HOTEL, HOBART | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI APRIL 20 | SHOALHAVEN BOWLS CLUB, NSW | AA | TICKETS FROM THE VENUE

SAT APRIL 21 | WAVES, WOLLONGONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX

SUN APRIL 29 | FOWLERS, ADELAIDE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX

THURS MAY 3 | LISMORE WORKERS CLUB, LISMORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI MAY 4 | SURFER’S PARADISE LIVE, GOLD COAST |18+ | FREE

SAT MAY 5 | THE BRIGHTSIDE, BRISBANE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX

SUN MAY 6 | SOL BAR, MAROOCHYDORE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS MAY 10 | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH MOSHTIX

SAT MAY 19 | WINTON SUPERCARS, VIC | 18+ | https://wintonraceway.com.au/

FRI MAY 25 | GRAND HOTEL, MORNINGTON | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX

SUN MAY 27| MAX WATTS, MELBOURNE | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JUNE 15 | THE GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL MIDLAND, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX

SAT JUNE 16 | THE CHARLES HOTEL, PERTH | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
THURS JULY 12 | THE LOFT, WARRNAMBOOL | 18+  | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
FRI JULY 13 | THE WORKERS CLUB, GEELONG | 18+ | TICKETS THROUGH OZTIX
SAT JULY 14 | SS&A CLUB, ALBURY | 18+ | FREE

Buy the album now

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Gabriel Vargas


"There is no longer a need to hide from something which is intrinsically part of of you."

Gabriel Vargas is ready to show off. And when you hear his music, you'll understand why and why it's perfectly valid.

Back with Like Wolves, Vargas is here to make people listen and prove why music is one of the most important tools we having in spreading a message. A message that everyone should sit and listen to. Started from a Native American proverb and intertwined with the pain of a childhood trauma, Vargas has woven a tale all too common and made it into a song that will make me people stop and think.

Accompanied by a film clip featuring the artist's own sister, Vargas has created masterpieces beyond song with Like Wolves, and, with his promise to donate all proceeds from song sales to The White Ribbon Foundation, he's well on his way to doing something even more important than singing a song.

Firstly, thank you for sharing such a beautiful song with us all! How long has the song been in the works?
Thank you for your interest in the song! The song was written four years ago but I didn’t make the decision to hone in and make this my debut release until about two years ago. I think I actually started with the concept for the music video and then we went into recording the actual song itself – almost the reverse way of operating really. So it did take a while for the song to see light of day but there was never any rush or deadline…it would happen as it was meant to happen.

It’s obviously a deeply personal narrative, what do you hope people will take from it?
Yes, it is a personal narrative with topics that deal with childhood trauma but it is also authentic – that is, there is no longer a need to hide from something which is intrinsically part of of you, or hold onto a shame that is not yours to carry. When we come to terms, or find peace with these parts of us we have previously tried to avoid or suppress, we move towards a place of freedom. We shift from victim-hood to empowerment. We connect with our true selves and in doing so, our connections with others also become deeper and more authentic. I think this what the song and music video aims to capture …and I would hope it inspires people to be open enough to share their own experiences…because the more we offer our authenticity to these discussions, the more we can support one another through the journey. How else are we to heal our hearts and elevate our self-concepts if we cannot be truthful with ourselves?  

Can you explain a little more about the Cherokee Proverb that helped build a base for the track?
I was familiar with the Cherokee Proverb “Two Wolves” for quite some time and when the phrase “Wolves in the Fire” became the main lyric or essence for the song it was a natural connection for me to make. As it turned out, the Cherokee proverb of the “Two Wolves” was probably the most influential intertextual source, in that it really helped shape the conceptualization and direction of the song and music video.

Using your sister in the music video also helps build on how personal this track is, why did you choose her to help bring the song to life visually?
I chose her because she is beautiful, she is amazing and she is one tough and powerful woman. She has overcome a great deal yet she still carries such grace…and that really is a testament to the strength in her vulnerability.  It also helped that my sister is an amazing dancer too and I think she embodied the theme of the music video so well because she is “that theme”….and she is that story. She is the universal feminine spirit who has been suppressed far too long by a system built on the foundations of unhealthy and toxic masculinity, and she has had enough. She is making a stand and unapologetically pushing back…and she is bringing her wolf pack with her…

How has the Native American background helped to shape the song?
Well it was the Cherokee Proverb that started the ball rolling towards including Native American elements in the song and music video. I reached out to Red Horse Rivera ,who is of the Apache tribe but now living and based in Melbourne, to appear in the music video and add a Native American flute to the song. Both he and his lovely wife Natalia jumped on the project with whole-hearted love and enthusiasm. Having Native American elements was really about grounding the song in spirit and giving it an earthy “feel.” I have deep respect and love for all indigenous cultures of the planet and believe there is so much knowledge and wisdom to be gained from their understanding and harmonious connection to the earth. Unfortunately white colonialism has absolutely obliterated these cultures and with it, a lot of the ancient knowledge… I feel it is important for all of humanity to embrace the indigenous cultures and begin making that connection back to the earth, because if we keep going the way we are going there will be no earth left!

You recently had the launch show for Like Wolves, how was it received?
Oh it was great! A full house of around 200 people….it was really a great opportunity to bring people together and thank those who have supported me so far on this journey.

How do you feel playing and sharing something so personal to an audience?
I think music is the perfect vessel in sharing something personal because it allows you to say things in ways that words alone can’t. ...and even though the details of the story may be personal, the over-arching theme is usually always collective.  The beauty of this is when the music aligns to the intention behind the song, then a space is created for it to permeate through all those present and open to receive it….including myself. It goes from being “my story” to “our story” and the song is no longer performed “by” me but rather “through” me.

And finally what prompted your decision to donate all the online sales profits to The White Ribbon Foundation?
I think music has the power to influence positive social change and raise awareness about matters of cultural, political and social importance, and due to the nature of my background and the story of the song/music video, I wanted to use the opportunity to align music to a cause. White Ribbon work to raise awareness around Domestic Violence and the “toxic masculinity “ that is the root cause of it through educational programs.  It seemed a good fit.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Percival Elliott - Betty | Single Review



Named for one of the duo's great grandfathers, Percival Elliott is an indie rock group hailing from England's southern coast. With influences such as Queen, Supertramp and The Beatles, Percival Elliott is good company and it's obvious in their music. The duo are gaining momentum in the mainstream media, garnering interest from publications including Clash and Huffington Post

Their latest track, Betty, is packed with infectious melody and dirty guitar, all while celebrating the unassuming simplicity that made the music of yesteryear so appealing. This isn't the music that will make young girls scream, but it's the track you'll always turn up when it comes on shuffle. The track is a strong statement for the group, leaving behind any of the insecurities found in previous single Forever. And it works: Percival Elliott isn't a group that can hide out in the shadows.

Of the tune's theme - the feeling of emptiness brought on by fame - band member Samuel Carter-Brazier says, "this track holds a black mirror to society and reflects on how we all dress ourselves up to the world and pretend to be okay when deep down we're not". While on the surface this mightn't appear like a song with a broad reach, the band's seamless lyrical ability and the stuck-in-your-head tune will draw listeners in. And no one's going to want to leave any time soon.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sumner: All That I Am | EP Review

























This sultry four- track offering from Tasmanian duo Sumner, Chloe Wilson and Jack McLaine, is so slick it's hard to believe this is merely the debut. Playing around with distorted electro pop, as well as some RnB grooves for good measure, All That I Am is the well deserved reward for those who've been waiting. And for those who haven't, you're going to want to grab a ticket and enter into the seamless vibes of Sumner.

With tracks that would fit in comfortably on albums by the likes of Lorde, Frank Ocean and The Arctic Monkeys, Sumner are firmly cementing themselves as a duo with a very bright future. Having already shared the stage with Vera Blue and The Smith Band and graced both the Falls Festival and Party In The Paddock stages respectively, these are a couple of newcomers who it'd be smart to keep an eye on.

The February 16 release of All That I Am was a cathartic process for the group. Chloe and Jack that the "EP follow[s] a story from illness to a cleaner, healthier mind with a change of perspective through the process". While the subject choices are fragile and vulnerable, it's the self-assured nature of the music that draws listeners to them. Despite showing the dark sides to life, their unique take on what is often a cliched songwriters' choice is even more impressive for a debut EP.

An entirely self-produced and recorded album, Sumner have offered up a sleek set of tunes and a glimpse into a very promising career. This is music you can relax to, groove to or study to (although you'll likely get distracted by the seriously silky vocals) but above all, it's an album that'll make you excited to listen to.


Listen to the album HERE.

Friday, February 9, 2018

LA. Faithfull on dealing with anxiety

LA. Faithfull is the indie-pop goodness your life has been missing. This site doesn't usually feature too many first-person intros, but I'm going to make an exception here. People need music, she'll fill you in on that in just a moment, and people need music like LA's. Music with the wisdom of someone with shit to share, while the freshness of someone with so much left to learn.

This girl represents the time we're in right now, where purple hair and an incredible singing voice will catch your attention, but her articulate lyrics will hold onto it. She's someone who has stuff to say and someone who deserves to be heard.

As a site, giving platforms to upcoming artists is what I enjoy most. There is nothing quite like being blown away by young people, and LA. Faithfull is the perfect example.

As someone who has suffered from anxiety from when I was a teenager, there are a few things I’ve found help  - anyone who has suffered or is suffering it will know the noise in your mind sometimes makes it feel like your head will explode!

I’ve always found writing helps, its why I'm so drawn to music! For me songwriting gets the thought out of your head and you can stop thinking about it, even just for a minute. I think any form of writing is a release and a really great way for our minds to process a thought or feeling, so maybe keep a book where you just write these thought spirals down, or write a song like I do. I think its just important to get it out of your head somehow - writing always helps me!

Diet is a huge thing I notice too. I’m not a health freak or anything like that, but sometimes when my anxiety is at its peak I purposely cut out sugars and caffeine. I don't know if it’s just me, but if I am anxious and have a coffee, I just go into complete spiral mode and it’s awful! I always find when I cut them both out my anxiety gets so much better, and my friends notice it too!

I’m like a fish - I love the water and I’m totally not very competitive or sporty - I got all the music genes and not so much the sporting genes! But, people always say exercise is good for anxiety. Swimming suits me, because I find if I run I can still have those thoughts racing through my mind and it's not great for me – but swimming is amazing! Maybe it’s because you have to concentrate on not drowning. When swimming there are so many things to think about at once, and there’s no room in your mind for thought-spirals - I’m not sure why but it is one of the only times my mind is silent and it’s so peaceful and really cool! 


And then there’s singing. It is this incredible connection emotionally that just frees my mind from all anxiety - even as a teenager I remember being so anxious, but put me onstage and it was like I was free! There was silence in my head. I really recommend people get up and sing!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

To LA and back || Shelley Segal


Following the official launch of Somebody Like You last night, Shelley Segal is back in Australia after a stint in America perfecting her craft. In light of all the same-sex marriage debate continuing, her latest track is a punchy take on a love disallowed. A wealth of support, the song details Segal's own struggle with a past relationship that ceased due to religious conflicts. While heavy in topic, this is ultimately a message of hope that things will get better. Segal, though, explains it all best, that love, acceptance and forgiveness are choices and Somebody Like You is a song you should add to your playlists for summer.

It’s been a few years since you last stopped by the site, fill us in! How’s 2017 treated you so far?
Thanks for having me back. I'm really excited to be sharing this new tune. It's been a big year so far. Last year I moved to the US and this year has been spent getting really stuck into things here. I've opened my label and publishing company in the US and been working hard on the business side of things! Not to leave the creative world behind though: I've spent almost all of February, April, July, August, September and October playing shows out on the road! I've played around the UK and the US - through California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Wyoming, Florida, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, New York and Tennessee!

I've recorded music for an Emmy award winning webseries - Venice: The Series. I've been writing and collaborating with so many different artists and writers here in the states and had my music recorded by international artists. I've built my own home studio especially for a subscription service I've been working on through Patreon, 
where I upload new music and videos to my fans each month! I've been flat out and loving it!

You’ve been in the States for over a year now, how has the move changed your music?
I feel that the US really suits my style so I haven't had to change much about what I do. The biggest change for me has come through a lot of collaboration really. In LA everyone wants to collaborate - to grow their body of work and to expand their networks so you are writing with new people all the time. That's been a new experience for me that I've really cherished. Working with different people allows me to open up in a way that I might not have allowed when I'm writing on my own. I've been able to go in different directions when writing for others than I would have gone for myself. I've learnt different approaches to writing from seeing so many different approaches from other writers. A lot of growth for my writing this year for sure. Also I have had a bit of country influence as well! So much time spent on the road in the south listening to country radio stations has started to seep through.

Besides the music, what do you love most about Los Angeles that Australia doesn’t offer?
Los Angeles is so huge. The opportunity and drive for collaboration is something really different than what I experienced at home. The population size makes a massive difference. You can find whatever it is that you love, that you're into and there will be a huge scene, a whole group of people here that are into it too. The population of the US means you are able to tour and keep touring in ways that wouldn't be possible at home.

Your latest track Somebody Like You is rockier and more rugged than some of your other tracks, is this a direction you’re looking to explore more?
Yes. I think it really suits this song and my upcoming EP really explores this sound. I've always loved rockier elements with folk - my biggest influences/musical heros growing up were Ani Difranco and Alanis Morisette and they both really explore the rock genre in their music. I think a big part of the sound is this being my first ever band record. My past projects have focused on having my guitar/vocals as the centre, often playing solo or with session musicians but this was the first record where I actually recorded it with my band that I had been playing and touring with for several years. It's been really hard to leave them, I miss playing with them a lot but it's great to have this record of the time that we shared together. 

Considering everything happening in Australia regarding same-sex marriage, it’s a poignant take on love that causes family rifts. How do you feel about sharing something so heartbreaking with the world?
I'm so grateful for the result. It's something people have been waiting their whole lives for. I'm proud that we got there with the numbers although disappointed that we were ever able to hold a vote on equal rights in the first place.
I am glad to be able to share my story and my music. Self expression through my songs is really consolidating and cathartic for me. It's empowering to be able to share these things and very rewarding to get a response - to feel it resonate with others and express something for them is the most I can ever hope for with my music.


How has your family reacted to the song?
My immediate family are fine with the song. It's been quite a few years for us now and we have been able to get past that difficult time, for which I consider myself very lucky. I know that for a lot of people who go against their family's wishes or traditions it can often end in permanent separation so I'm incredibly grateful for the support and love of my family. I'm proud of their growth and acceptance. 

Lastly, for anyone who is going through something similar to your own experience, what would you want to let them know?
I would want to let them know that it gets better. You are not alone! Look for support online- there are support groups for people who are leaving their religions, online and also locally based. There is a peer support Recovering From Religion hotline; it's US based but they have an online chat option as well. Talking to people who have been through similar experiences can be a huge help. Therapists/social workers can provide support and strategies to deal with the hurt and stress and help locate further support services. I've spoken to some people for whom coming out about relationships or about questioning their faith to families has put them in danger so please put your safety first. No one should be able to tell who you can love and how you can love, or what you should believe but as a dependent young person you might need to keep things from your family until you have other options for shelter and support. If you are struggling to find somewhere to live or are experiencing financial, mental health or other difficulties visit reachout.com.au.*

THU 4 JAN | CALLY HOTEL, WARRNAMBOOL, VIC | 18+ | Free Entry 8-11pm
FRI 12 JAN | PAYNESVILLE WINE BAR, PAYNESVILLE, VIC | 18+ | Tix at the door 7-10pm


*You can find further, state-based LGBT+ support at Reach Out, by calling the Gay and Leasbian Switchboard on 1800 184 527 or by visiting www.minus18.org.au 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

MAYA || What We Are Worth


The ever lovely MAYA is back on the the blog this week, and it's been non-stop work since she last stopped by. Recently dropping her seductive second single for the year, What We Are Worth, this girl just keeps on getting better. You've seen the photo of her above, and I promise, her music is just as captivating as those curls.

Growing into herself as a pop soul artist, What We Are Worth is the product of MAYA's own questions to the universe and putting down her answers without apology. "It's a song about yourself and the earth we live in," explains MAYA of her desire to inspire people in reassessing their impact on life.

Having gained invaluable experience through a 2017 spent split between Los Angeles, New York City and her hometown of Melbourne, MAYA is back in Australia in time for the official launch of What We Are Worth. Those in attendance are the lucky ones that will witness what is undoubtedly a special night on the music calendar.

"People can expect some serious euphoric dancing and soul-searching."


MAYA ‘WHAT WE ARE WORTH’ LAUNCH SHOWS

THUR NOVEMBER 30 | FERDYDURKE, MELBOURNE VIC | 18+

FRI DECEMBER 1 | THE NIGHT CAT, FITZROY VIC | 18+
Tickets available from www.thenightcat.com.au

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