Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
This will help them to appear more knowledgeable in their chosen field of journalism, while also preventing any damage to their credibility.
A glockenspiel [German Glocken (bells) + spielen (to play)] is a percussion instrument, composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal, thus making it a metallophone. The glockenspiel, moreover, is usually smaller and higher in pitch.
The xylophone (from the Greek words ξύλον - xylon, "wood" + φωνή - phone, "voice", meaning "wooden sound") is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated independently in Africa and Asia. It consists of wooden bars of various lengths that are struck by plastic, wooden, or rubber mallets.
These two instruments are both on display in the high budget music video for my song 'Monkey Eats Bananas' (below). The glockenspiel can be found at 0:20 with it's rather metallic and bell like tone, whereas the xylophone makes it's appearance at 1.04 with it's slightly more percussive & wooden sounding tone. Interestingly enough, while both instruments are tuned they are technically considered percussion instruments.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
As Jonathan Bree stood in line to board Pacific Blue Flight 252 he couldn't help but feel like a complete and total rock star.
Only ten years ago he had had to make the journey to Wellington by travelling ten hours in a van - but since then his resounding success as a musician meant he was now travelling by plane.
"Are you from Kings of Leon"? - a sweet female voice interrupted his musings. "Do you play guitar?" "There's a seat free next to me if you want a bit of a chat".
Jonathan Bree smiled coyly to himself. Having females throwing themselves at him because he looked like he was from Kings of Leon (who most likely fly using budget airline Pacific Blue too), was something he was only slowly growing accustomed to.
The Brunettes had always looked forward to playing shows in Wellington. A Wellington crowd was generally more responsive than an Auckland crowd. Furthermore, Jonathan felt that Wellingtonians still seemed to view him as somewhat exotic and special, whereas in Auckland he had become just another pastey white face in a sea of underweight musicians.
Whatever the reason, he hadn't played a show here in two years and was PUMPED.
Soundcheck was a total dream. The San Francisco Bathhouse was an accomodating venue and sound man Hayden, a friend and former band member knew the band's sound requirements like he knew his own mother. Fairly well because he'd spent a lot of time with her.
And so the night began.
The first and second acts performed strong and professional sets, which meant the pressure was on for the Brunettes. Even while chilling out / generally relaxing, musicians are always looking to jam and bounce off each others creativity, so it was extremely fortunate that the backstage area contained an upright piano. To raise morale amongst band members, an acoustic sing-a-long to Marcy Playgrounds Sex & Candy ensued.
While singing confidently and excitedly along, Jonathan Bree cast a friendly glance at fellow bandmate / wife / cousin, Heather Mansfield. He couldn't help but notice that she was not singing along to "and there she was like double cherry pie and there she was like disco superfly". Unfortunately for the Brunettes it was not because she thought the song was a crappy Nirvana rip off pile of steaming late nineties turd. She had lost her voice.
For Jonathan and all of the Brunettes, Heather losing her voice was like losing your favourite pair of jeans in the changing rooms at the Waiwera Hot Pools. Most likely bad, and definitely awkward because you cant really walk out with no pants on.
But out they did walk with no metaphorical pants on.
However this would only be the first in a series of challenges presented to the Brunettes that night.
As they set up on stage - Andrew Thompson, bass player, fellow bandmate / brother was adjusting the strap on his guitar when the strap lock preceded to break. This caused his guitar to fall on his toe, which also preceded to break.
At approximately the same time - also being adjusted were the knobs on the sound desk - not by Hayden the qualified sound man, but by Bruce the random and unqualified drunk man.
Yet the set went on. Heather bravely attempted to sing as best as she could, Andrew in excruciating pain managed to stay standing upright for the entire set, and Hayden with his desk in disarray managed to fix most major problems by half time.
But by half time - it was clear - this would be the worst gig of the Brunettes career.
Reflecting on the night while on the flight back home, Jonathan Bree felt an explanation would be needed for the people of Wellington. He tapped fellow bandmate / sister Chelsea Nikkel on the shoulder - 'hey do you think you could do some kind of blog thing about the gig last night, i kind of feel like we could at least try and explain some of the problems people might not have been aware of'.
'Ok but only if you let me publish it with that lame photo of you casually glancing back at the camera while chilling out with your guitar in the desert'.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
WE ARE COMING DOWN TO THE SOUTH ISLAND TO PLAY OUR ALBUM RELEASE PARTIES!!!
FRIDAY THE 13TH OF NOVEMBER AT THE WUNDERBAR IN LYTTLETON/CHRISTCHURCH WITH THE DIALTONES AND ADAM WILLETTS!!!
SATURDAY THE 14TH OF NOVEMBER AT CHICKS HOTEL IN PORT CHALMERS WITH JOHN WHITE (OF MESTAR FAME)
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!!! I MEAN IT!!!!
Monday, November 2, 2009
This decision had been brewing in his mind since the 2009 Grammy's when he was infact not awarded / nominated for the category of BEST POP PERFORMANCE, MALE - the title instead awarded to John Mayer, for his 3 minute gem "Say".
This decision was also influenced by the success of his cinematic stand-out clip for 'Monkey Eats Bananas' by genius babe songstress Princess Chelsea. His clip went on to impress the Auckland City Council so much that they immediately demanded the song be used as a tourist trap / theme song for the city. It's effects have been noteable, with a large increase in immigrants and tourists in recent months, particularly from Samoa.
Below is his second offering - a short film made in New York earlier this year. Obviously the fact that Jonathan Bree managed to purchase a plane ticket, boarded a plane - and then actually LANDED in the city of NEW YORK, NYC / generally chilled out there for a while is a clear indication that he is very talented and clever and is a very big deal - not only in New Zealand but on a worldwide scale.
His short film, simply titled 'Red Rollerskates' tells the sensual tale of a young man in love with a mannequin (played by Heather Mansfield) who's crack cocaine / popsicle addiction threatens to tear them apart.
While seemingly a simple love story, the short film also has many hidden and double meanings involving world politics - most notably free trade and the Afghanistan war.
Critics have called it 'genius' and '3 minutes long'. It has otherwise been described as 'a cinematic masterpiece' and 'really cool omg you guys are so cute xo'.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Please find below a very impartial / unbiased interview with fellow bandmate, bff, and co-owner of record label releasing my album - Jonathan Bree of The Brunettes on the eve of the release of fourth album Paper Dolls + a complimentary remix of new single Red Rollerskates that sounds a little bit like Daft Punk.
PC: Paper Dolls is your fourth album. I understand it has taken a while to release?
JB: The album itself only took 6 months to record which by Brunette standards is relatively short period of time - however it took three record labels, three managers two booking agents and twelve months to come out.
PC: That sounds quite annoying, am I right?
PC: Despite all your issues I personally think the album is good.
It's quite electronic in parts which is zany. Did you set out to make an "electronic" album?
JB: No. It was just a natural gravitation for me, utilising a modern recording setup and working with keyboards and drum sequencing rather than organic recording. Saying that its electronic - it isn't really - anyone that likes electronic music wouldn't class it as electronic music at all, in fact they'd probably think it was rather organic. The reason we're putting in a press release that its electronic is that it is by far the most plastic sounding record that we've ever produced.
PC: What would you say to analog purists? I had an annoying conversation with some dick at a bar where he informed me that if it's not recorded on an 8 track (preferably a 4 track) reel to reel tape machine - its not a real recording. How would you respond to a statement like that?
JB: Nothing, I'd just smile and slowly back off into the shadows.
PC: I can imagine that certain websites / Ionlylikedtheirfirstepiamveryawesome types might not like your new digital approach......
JB: I remember when I made Holding Hands Feeding Ducks - I was fairly prejudiced against modern production values but since then have come to find some appeal in them. I wouldn't really knock anyone that doesn't appreciate the new production on Paper Dolls. I'm a huge admirer of Jonathan Richman but some of the production on his later albums can sometimes not do it so much for me. I guess some people need everything to be just so in order for it to be palatable. I don't really care I made the album that I still wanted to make.
PC: I personally believe that Paper Dolls has more in common with your first release than Structure and Cosmetics or even Mars Loves Venus. I know that a few of the songs on it were written ten I mean eight years ago. For me those songs in particular are an interesting listen - old songs kept in a time capsule and then finally recorded in a different way than they would have been back then. (See - Connection, It's Only Natural, Crime Machine).
PC. You mastered this album yourself. What were some of the reference tracks you used when mastering the album?
JB: I used some tracks from Rubber Soul and Air's Talkie Walkie album for reference for my mastering - but I still find it really hard to get the mastering right.
PC: I understand you were also listening to a fair bit of Britney Spears and JT while making the album?
JB: That's true. I've always had a soft spot for Britney and the production work on her recent efforts has been pretty inspiring. I didn't necessarily set out to mimic it because i just wouldn't be able to - but it definitely was on the stereo a lot.
PC: My favourite song on the album is probably Bedroom Disco - whats your favourite?
JB: At the time of making the album i was probably most enthusiastic about the title track and thought that it was lyrically and musically a bit different for me.
PC: It is - the structure is quite wacky.
JB: It's not a good pop song.
PC: I suppose it's quite an effort for you to try and write a bad pop song HAHAHAHA. If someone was to go to a listening post at Real Groovy or perhaps JB Hi Fi or Marbecks and they only had say 9 minutes - which three tracks would you recommend they listen to / legally download to get a good sense of what the album is like?
JB: In Colours, Bedroom Disco and Magic (No Bunny)
PC: Your new single Red Rollerskates - is it about S&M?
JB: Its about how you cant keep up with me when we walk anywhere and how unfit you are.
PC: I see
JB: We haven't got you a pair of rollerskates yet, it probably wouldn't work in New Zealand yet because the footpaths are so crappy but it was a thought anyway - born out of frustration.
PC: Once I took my little sister out to a bar to see Holly Golightly play when she was 15 and she though it would be a very good idea to wear rollerskates.
JB: I remember that. Really, 15? I think I got in trouble with my girlfriend at the time for looking at your sister in rollerskates that night.
PC: Perhaps that's where the idea came from - subliminally.
So just throwing it out there - the album's called Paper Dolls, there's a very long track with lots of lyrics called Paper Dolls and all the artwork is little Paper Dolls and shit - I'm just assuming its a concept album about human behaviour and lots of metaphors and shit about paper...
JB: You know that it is not a concept album.
PC: So... do you have any upcoming shows?
JB: ............... [Walks off, annoyed]
The Brunettes - Red Rollerskates (Robbie Loggia remix)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
However, if you really must, then you can also see the song being earnestly covered by local pop darling Bic Runga and a massive choir at the award ceremony...
It isn't the first time, Milne has been nominated for this award and the previous occasion led to this OTT funk version of "The Pool" by Spacifix...
Monday, August 31, 2009
Two and a half years of work have come to an end. It's a really strange but wonderful feeling- we now have SPARE TIME!!Here is a picture of how we felt by the end of it all (in reality we weren't actually surrounded by records, but, you know...)
It's offical release date is 2nd November. We will be playing some shows in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin in November, please come and help us celebrate!
The record is called 'Pyschosis of Love.'
Friday, August 28, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Probably should have done this a few weeks ago, but The Brunettes are once again touring North America. These are the dates that we have left. We are also currently putting together a small Australian and New Zealand tour for the antipodean Spring.
See you there?
|August, 23 2009 08:00 PM - Record Bar|
|1020 Westport Rd, Kansas City, Missouri 64111 - |
|August, 24 2009 08:00 PM - Vaudeville Mews|
|212 4th St, Des Moines, Indiana 50309 - |
|August, 26 2009 08:00 PM - 7th Street Entry|
|701 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|August, 27 2009 08:00 PM - Courtyard Cafe / University of Illinois|
|, Urbana, Illinois 61801 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|August, 28 2009 08:00 PM - The Annex|
|1206 Regent St, Madison, Wisconsin 53715 - |
|August, 29 2009 08:00 PM - Subterranean|
|2011 W North Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60647 - |
|August, 30 2009 08:00 PM - The Boat|
|158 Augusta Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2L5 - |
|August, 31 2009 08:00 PM - Il Motore|
|179 RUE JEAN-TALON O, Montreal, Quebec H2R 1A1 - |
|September, 1 2009 08:00 PM - Middle East Club|
|472 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 - |
|September, 2 2009 08:00 PM - Mercury Lounge|
|, New York City, New York 10002 - |
|September, 3 2009 08:00 PM - Johnny Brendas|
|1201 N. Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125 - |
|September, 4 2009 08:00 PM - Rock and Roll Hotel|
|1353 H Street, NE, Washington DC, Washington DC 20002 - |
|September, 5 2009 08:00 PM - Duke Coffee House|
|Crowell Building, East Campus, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708 - |
|September, 7 2009 08:00 PM - The Drunken Unicorn|
|736 Ponce de Leon Pl NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30306 - |
|September, 8 2009 08:00 PM - Club Downunder|
|644 W Call St, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 - |
|September, 9 2009 08:00 PM - Spanish Moon|
|1109 Highland Rd, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 10 2009 08:00 PM - Rudyard’s Pub|
|2010 Waugh Dr, Houston, Texas 77006 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 11 2009 08:00 PM - Mohawk|
|912 Red River St, Austin, Texas 78701 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 12 2009 08:00 PM - The Cavern|
|1914 Greenville Ave, Dallas, Texas 75206 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 14 2009 08:00 PM - Modified Arts|
|407 E Roosevelt St, Phoenix, Arizona 85004 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 15 2009 08:00 PM - Echo|
|1822 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 16 2009 08:00 PM - The Loft|
|3610 5th Ave, San Diego, California 92103 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 17 2009 08:00 PM - Rickshaw Stop|
|155 Fell St, San Francisco, California 94102 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 18 2009 08:00 PM - Luigi’s Fun Garden|
|1050 20th St, Sacramento, California 95811 - |
with Throw Me The Statue
|September, 19 2009 08:00 PM - Music Fest North West - Berbati’s Pan|
|231 SW Ankeny St, Portland, Oregon 97204 - |
|September, 21 2009 08:00 PM - Media Club|
|695 Cambie Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6B 2P1 - |
|September, 22 2009 08:00 PM - The Vera Project|
|, Seattle, Washington 98109 -|
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Chelsea: How does it feel to be Lil’ Chief's 3rd oldest artist?
Ed: Fucking hell.
Chelsea: That’s true. How old are you?
Ed: I’ll be 35 in August. At least I’m honest about my age. How old is JB these days?
Chelsea: He’d be really upset if I told that. All I can say is that he’s older than 25.
Ed: Ha. You wait till you’re 35 Chelsea – you’ll be all miserable and shit, hanging out drinking Sauvignon Blanc’s with your other miserable 35 year old girlfriends – wondering was happened to your dreams. Just kidding – don’t ever be miserable Chelsea, it’s depressing. I have episodes of depression, but I’m not a miserable person. Anyway, do I look like the oldest person on the label?
Chelsea: No Ed, you look fine, you look a bit like James Blunt. Anyway, didn't you say in the last interview that you were 37? Whatever. You’re also very creative – do you come from a creative family?
Ed: I sound like James Blunt too. Yes, my family was very creative actually. My dad was very creative when coming up with racist names for brown skinned people. He was also very creative at the T.A.B, he could choose all kinds of horses to put bets on. He was also very creative with his chosen method of self-inflicted death.
Chelsea: Shit, sorry Ed.
Ed: It’s fine; I’ve got a great shrink at the moment. He’s says it’s ok for me to laugh about my Father’s death. Everyone has terrible things that have happened in their lives, if we can’t make gags about them, then there’d be nothing to laugh about.
Chelsea: Moving right along…what are you’re dreams and aspirations Ed? Have you achieved everything you want in your music?
Ed: Man, what is this interview? I’m not dying or anything!
Chelsea: Of course not (perish the thought) but what is there left that you want to do musically?
Ed: Well it’s unlikely that I’ve got many good songs left in me. Songwriters tend to peak in their mid-twenties anyway. My engineering and producing is getting better – but I’m probably just imagining that. My singing voice isn’t improving. I’m still pretty uncomfortable on stage. I’ve ‘outed’ some of my personal politics on the Pie Warmer album – whenever music artists do this there’s always some kind of backlash, so it’s doubtful whether that’s a good artistic path. I’ve always wanted to study medicine, but it’s a bit late for med school, and they don’t accept loonies anyway. I really love sailing. Maybe I’ll just get myself a little place by the sea and an old boat to fix up; like that Tim Robbins character in The Shawshank Redemption.
Chelsea: Ed you’re sounding kind of miserable?
Ed: Well I felt fine this morning.
Chelsea: You shouldn’t feel miserable Ed, you’ve just finished a fascinating new album. The album was reviewed in yesterdays Sunday Start Times – Grant Smithies awarded it 4 stars. Are you ok with 4 stars?
Ed: I’m pretty sure Grant operates the 4 out of 4 star system. Either that, or he sensibly leaves an extra star up his sleeve for proper overseas reissues like Jimi Hendrix, or The Smiths. Do you think Morrissey likes Hendrix? he must eh. Anyway, do albums get called ‘fascinating’? Isn’t that a word you’d use to describe an autobiography? Or some crazy statistics about how horny and perverted Christians really are?
Chelsea: I guess so. I think you’ll find that people will have trouble with defining the Pie Warmer album. They won’t really know what to say about it, in case they say the wrong thing. I could be wrong, but it appears that you’ve set up a series of ‘traps’ in the album whereby if a reviewer hadn’t listened to the album carefully, they may find themselves saying something really idiotic about it.
Ed: Mmm, fascinating. I think maybe you’ve listened to the album a bit too ‘carefully’. However, if I have inadvertently set a series of ‘traps’ to make album reviewers look idiotic, it may well be the best (and critically least sucessful) thing I’ve ever made! Seems kind of unlikely though…
Chelsea: Time will tell. Have you done any other press so far?
Ed: Bits and pieces. God, I’m getting paranoid now...
Chelsea: Don’t worry, and it’s ok to be paranoid, just don’t be miserable, right?
Ed: I’ve just put the album on.
Chelsea: Ok, cool. Maybe you can give us a blow by blow while you’re listening to it?
Ed: A what? Alright.
Chelsea: So you’re on the first track, The Fearsome Feeling right?
Ed: Yup, it’s 1 minute in.
Chelsea: There’s a bit of paranoia going on in that song?
Ed: Yeh, well love is scary shit.
Chelsea: Do you think that recreating a woman being attacked is an appropriate way to frame the fear that encompasses love?
Ed: Hey, a guy gets attacked later in the song as well. Fear in love knows no gender boundaries.
Chelsea: I see.
Ed: I’ve taken the album off, I don’t really want to listen to it.
Chelsea: That’s not a very good advertisement for the album Ed?
Ed: No, I guess it isn’t. I think a good many people might be doing the same thing when they get the album!
Chelsea: Fingers crossed Ed!
Ed: I just hope my album is cool enough.
Chelsea: Do you think it's important for albums to be cool?
Ed: Well, I was reading the NZ Musician magazine the other day, and there was a feature article on some retarded band. In the article they were dribbling on about how they weren't trying to be cool, and how making pop music wasn't about being cool. And I started thinking: are you sure you guys have chosen the right profession? I mean, in my estimation, pop music has everything to do with being cool. Whether being cool means 'x factor cool' like Michael Jackson, or 'so uncool they're cool' like The Carpenters. I was thinking, if these guys think pop coolness is unimportant, maybe they should give up music and become Physiotherapists or something? Pop music has everything to do with being cool. Whether pop music SHOULD be this way is an entirely different question - you're fighting millions of years of human evolution; Ug the caveman thinks Og the caveman's club is cool because it's swamp green and it's got sharp spikes and a cool blood splatter on it.
Chelsea: So where do you put yourself on this coolness scale Ed: Michael Jackson, or Richard Carpenter?
Ed: Sadly I fear that I fall in the no-mans-land in the middle somewhere - just like most pop musicians out there. Pop music is defiantly a young persons game, and it’s a testament to my unwavering delusions that I still even release material! I think my future might be in Children’s music.
Chelsea: What, children’s music filled with obscenities?
Ed: Ahhh, possibly. My youngest son Jim Jupiter (he prefers to be known as Tom) has started saying ‘fucking ho’ all the time – we’re actively trying to discourage him from doing this, he’s only just turned five. He’s really into Linkin Park – I’m hoping it’s just a phase. I reckon he’ll be over it by the time he’s six. Most kids stop listening to Linkin Park by the time they’re six, don’t they??
Chelsea: Yeh, actually most smart kids get over Linkin Park by the time they’re 3 or 4.
Ed: Shit, do you think Jim’s got some developmental issues?
Chelsea: Nothing to worry about - girls generally mature a bit faster than boys. By the time girls are five, they’re usually finished with Linkin Park and on to Slipknot, or even Metallica’s back catalogue.
Ed: Do you think I should get Jim a Slipknot album?
Chelsea: No. Don’t get him any Gangsta Rap either. It sounds like his mouth already needs to be washed out with soap! Chelsea: No Slipknot Sux - they’re from Iowa. I'd suggest that if you were going to buy him an obscene album that you would better off going for some early Wu-Tang Clan or Dr Dre so as to broaden his cultural horizons while also broadening his x rated vocabulary. Also I felt I should drop that in in case any overly PC (excuse the pun) people reading this interview think we are racist. On a different note - you'd be better off still washing his mouth out with soap.
Ed: You don’t hear that expression very often any more.
Chelsea: Oh, I think you’ll be hearing that a bit more often, especially in reviews of the Pie Warmer album
Ed: That’s a great idea for a press album photo – me washing my mouth out with soap!
Chelsea: Ewww, would you use real soap?
Ed: I guess so. I’d have to find some nice hippy soap made from oatmeal and mango or something. Are we finished yet?
Chelsea: Yes. Well done Ed, I look forward to the soap photo!
Chelsea: What are you watching on Youtube?
Ed: Everybody has probably seen this already. I think the song and the production is incredible. The video is amazing too – don’t be fooled by the title!
Ed: And every man and his dog has seen this too. The creators of this deserve a Grammy!
Ed: My new favourite band. THE COMPLETE. Incompetent Texan Acid Improv – live on a PBS channel.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
We're going just to get a new perspective on everything. New Zealand's awesome, and heaps of people have helped us out a lot, including Lil Chief. It'll be really sad to leave everyone behind, friends and family, but what the hell. We're young, we'll give it a go.
I'll keep posting stuff up around here, but check out our blog for a regularly updated tour diary: www.littlepicturesmusic.blogspot.com
Monday, May 25, 2009
"The $1.8 million Big Little City marketing campaign to attract more domestic visitors to Auckland has made a big little faux pas in its first week.
A 60-second television commercial featuring 84-year-old Dick West with locks of silver hair cycling through the central city at daybreak has been changed following a complaint he was not wearing a safety helmet.
Anticipating there could be a complaint, campaign organiser Heart of the City filmed Mr West with and without a helmet.
Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney said he preferred the version showing Mr West's hair. It showed him as a slightly whimsical, non-threatening, elder statesman waking up to a city with cameos from well-known locals, including chef Peter Gordon, musician Boh Runga and fashionista Denise L'Estrange-Corbet.
"It's a domestic campaign. We want people from Invercargill, Oamaru, Ashburton and Taumarunui to not be intimidated by Auckland," Mr Swney said.
Most of the advert was filmed with Mr West on a trailer, he said. Only in a brief shot of him cycling down O'Connell St without a helmet was he pedalling for real.
The commercials began a six-week run on May 17."
Monday, May 18, 2009
Here is my very first music video for my song "Monkey Eats Bananas". Basically the plot follows along the same lines of most commercial music videos - I dance around and show off all my different outfits.
The video is directed by Jonathan Brunette and produced by JB and Joseph Harper or Joe 90s as people like to call him. The music video features a cameo by it's director plus of course Phil Collins, Bill O'Reilly, Corey Feldman-Haim and the now infamous 'Monkey' who also appears in a live music video for the band Still Flyin'.
Anyway Still Flyin' are this supergroup of talented musicians who play a trendy hyrbid of modern dance hall ska reggae type of stuff (forgive me I'm not an expert on the genre hence the word vomit) - many horns and dancing singing people on stage plus an extremely engaging and charismatic front-man. Still Flyin' features some of our friends from Architecture in Helsinki and The Ladybug Transistor.
While I'm on a tangent, Monkey appears in a Still Flyin' video - crowd surfing on a boogie board through manny thousands of people at Laneway Festival in Melbourne. Somehow he was was returned to me. Interestingly enough some footage of this same day is in my Monkey Eats Bananas video (the footage that is obviously not blue screen and where some moron is being all woohoooo Dunnerz4eva theres a camera here yess let me get in on it all up in my grill).
To be honest Monkey is a bit of a scene hopper and if you trawl the internet carefully enough you'll find photos of him with various different rock stars.
Anyways less namedropping and back to my shameless self promotion. NEW MUSIC VIDEO. We made it on a budget of $0 and some sandwiches. If I ever manage to get a NZ on Air grant I promise to make one set in Space / Underwater.
Also - Monkey eats Bananas is now available for download on Itunes.
Friday, May 1, 2009
There was a time about three years ago when I had a sudden inclination to write a song in Japanese for my girlfriend (her being part-Japanese). I stole some lines from a phrase book and pieced them together into a half-arsed song. Then my girlfriend got a letter saying that she'd been accepted to teach english - she left a month later and spent the next two years in Japan. The song remained just the ghost of an idea and faded into the ether...
I went from playing in the Tokey Tones to playing in the Ruby Suns. My friend Kiku heard me noodling about with a song one afternoon and was surprised to find that it was written in terribly-pronounced Japanese. Funnily enough, this was about the time that my girlfriend got back from Japan and I thought that maybe I would record a rough version of the song after all. I twisted Ryan (main Ruby Sun) to lend me his assistance for an afternoon. We recorded the drums and guitar together, then he sprinkled some of his indie-pop fairy dust over the rest of the track and we ended up with something halfway decent.
Hayden from bFM heard it and liked it enough to get it on their playlist, though the song was so short that DJs often weren't ready for it to end and it would result in a patch of dead-air while they figured out that it was time for them to start talking or put on another song. I listed the track as being by The Investigations (myspace page is here). But when the Ruby Suns needed a digital bonus track for the UK release of their first album and a bonus track for the Australian pressing, the track magically became a Ruby Suns track as well (though if you don't like it, then I'm happy for you to blame me rather than Ryan). It was enough to win the girlfriend back, but not enough to keep me in the Ruby Suns for much longer (though I did tour a bit with them and wrote about here). Pretty soon, I'd drifted into the Brunettes instead (yet another link, here! or you can read about it in the next issue of No Magazine).
Ryan then took the Ruby Suns on a search for the 'new sound' (excuse the Mighty Boosh reference, but do check out the Ruby Suns Myspace Page for more idea of where the band are at these days, e.g., touring the US at the mo). I offer up this little nugget from the past merely as a nice piece of nostalgia ... (please don't use the pronounciation as any sort of guide to Japanese - it'd be like learning English from a Guitar Wolf track) ... here ya go:
The Ruby Suns - Michi Ni Mayoimashita
Monday, March 23, 2009
Anyway thought it might be of interest to any Shaft enthusiasts to see this footage. Check out the original versions of 'Woman of Love' and 'Pacific Ocean'.
Axemen on Myspace
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Our flagship band, The Brunettes, have been masterful at this game - repeatedly holding back their videos until most of the band members featured in the videos have already left the group. This fine tradition began with "Boyracer" - on this occasion, the video was in fact held back so that it could be re-edited to downplay the role of recently departed bass player, Gerald Steward. Of course, by the time it screened, the drummer (Kari Hammond) had also left. Their next drummer, Nick Hart, quit to focus on his own group (The Shocking Pinks) before the video for "Polyester Meets Acetate" (which included him) could hit the air. One could already see the writing on the wall, when "Small Town Crew" featured a new line-up of members - three of whom (Harry Cundy, Stephen Hart and Hayden East) had already left by the time of it being shown.
The Tokey Tones followed this tradition by waiting until a full three years had passed before half-heartedly releasing a flurry of internet-only music videos through the Lil Chief youtube account. Ed Cake had three separate attempts at making a video for his student-radio hit, "Gunga" but, in a Kafka-esq statement about the futility of life, he refused for any of them to be completed.
The Ruby Suns have also kept up this fine tradition. Their third video being the finest example - after receiving the funding to make a video for "Hard To Let You Know", the group took a video camera out on the road with them to get footage ... and then it was incinerated along with the rest of their belongings when the motor-home that they were travelling in caught fire. Now the Ruby Suns are trying to out-do the Brunettes with the timing of their new video, "There Are Birds." The song not only features, but also was written by Amee Robinson ... who has just left the group (her place was recently taken by Gus Franklin from Architecture In Helsinki for a tour supporting Of Montreal through Australasia)...
The video for "There Are Birds" was made by Marco Viduarre, who has also been a long-term provider of accomodation for Lil Chief bands running through Wellington. His partner, Hannah Goldblatt also helped out as producer/clothes-designer ... and since she too has been welcoming of having of the floor of her spare room taken over by sleeping musicians, we we would like to take the double opportunity to thank them both!
So, without further ado, here is the video...
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Interestingly enough, if you play this song while watching the movie The Wizard of Oz backwards there are many amazing sync moments, a coincidence? I think not. This also works for Deathwish II, Gigli, Last Tango In Paris, The Little Mermaid, Home Alone II (Lost in New York), He's Just Not That Into You, Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones), 10,000 B.C., The Godfather part III, and Barack Obama's inauguration (part II)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Here is a bio for a band called Flow. This minor masterpiece combines touching personal details and an interesting present-tense approach, combined with imperative credibility-by-association details which may allow an unestablished act to break through into the pantheon of mainstream acceptability and radio play on the Edge, were it not for the crucial undermining detail – the setting – Pukekohe. A rural service town 50 km south of Auckland, it has a population of 24500. Wikipedia informs me: Up until 2007, the V8 Supercars raced at Pukekohe Park Raceway, it has since moved to Hamilton. Also: The Pukekohe long keeper onion is well known internationally.
Enough tantalising details about the Paris of the South Pacific. Here's Flow on Flow:
So we’re living in London and, the day before our first ever Flow gig, four bombs go off killing 56 people. That rattles the hell out of everyone.
We push on with the show though. And when 150 happy-to-be-alive punters join us, and the venue (The Luminaire in Kilburn) is named Time Out magazine’s ‘Live Venue of the Year’ not long after, doors open.
We play in the UK with betchadupa, Kate Nash (who later has a UK no.1 album), Nathan King and at a festival with Breaks Co-Op. We get flown out to perform on the Greek Island of Mykonos too. But after a while the Kiwis in the band want to head home. London is cold and busy and our mums live in Pukekohe. There are tears, tough-guy mate’s tears, as the Kiwi and British bits of the band part.
With new recruits on board back in New Zealand, we make our debut at the Pohutukawa Festival with Pluto and Goldenhorse in late 2006. Over 300 people are at our first Pukekohe gig a few months later. We go on to have Jason Kerrison, Jayson Norris, Luke Thompson and Jonny Love out to perform with us in Pukekohe, we support Jordan Luck at Mangawhai Tavern, we tour with Fuser and Faster She Said, and we appear on the telly (Nightline and The Verona Sessions) and the radio (where Caley gives Nathan King a hiding on Pop! Goes The Weasel).
The band’s musical roots broaden in NZ with Todd (vocals/guitar) running Acoustic Edge, which is perhaps the leading singer/songwriter night in South Auckland, and Caley (guitar) putting on shows, for the likes of Greg Johnson and Goldenhorse, through his company My New Favourite.
But Flow is where the real energy is driven. And with our first professional recordings in the bag, it’s time to see what the world makes of them.
So, it's all good for Flow down in Deep South Auckland, and it would be churlish and nasty to bitch, but this is definitely not an approach I can ape with the dreaded Lawrence Arabia bio. Perhaps I could dredge up the time I gave Andrew Fagan an ass-whuppin' on Pop! Goes The Weasel...?
Greg Johnson is a household name in his home country of New Zealand, where he has had multiple Gold and Platinum selling albums on the EMI/Capitol Label. When not touring he lives in Los Angeles where he writes, records and produces for himself and others.
A prolific and gifted songwriter with eight studio albums to date he has won numerous New Zealand music awards including the prestigious APRA (Australasian ASCAP) Silver Scroll for songwriting. Johnson moves with ease between the piano, trumpet and guitar and his concerts are heavily influenced by his early musical days as a nightclub singer and raconteur. Filling everything from Opera Houses and Theatres to intimate clubs when he tours down-under he also performs select smaller venues in the USA, Australia, Ireland and UK .
His music has been featured in a variety of Television and film including “The Hills”, “Highschool Reunion”, “Road Rules”, “Outrageous Fortune”, “Mysterious Ways”, “Beautiful People” and the Movies "Last Chance Harvey" (2009) starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, “50 Pills” (2007) and “Entry Level” (2008).
Greg has performed all over with the likes of The Wallflowers, The Corrs, Bic Runga, Natalie Merchant, Dave Dobbyn and Paul Kelly. In 2005 Greg and The Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra performed classical arrangements of his best known hits in front of 2000 fans at the Aotea Concert Hall in his hometown Auckland in 2008 Greg's Cocktail Club Shows sold out dates around NZ.
Greg's bio is the "Big Man" bio. It is almost impossible to write these about yourself unless you're a real cock/cocaine addict/deeply delusional/all of the above. As New Zealanders in our tiny, pseudo-related isolation are terminally in a glasshouse and thus cannot throw such potentially career crippling stones as label/libelling Greg Johnson a deeply delusional cocaine addict and cock, I will assume that this bio was written by his label/management. This makes the bio more acceptable, because they are obviously are very proud of him, and also have a 15-20% stake riding on people thinking he's doing better than he actually is.
Update! I've let this blog entry sit for almost two months, during which time I finished my bio, had my publicist Charlotte Ryan format it appropriately, and then sent it out to many so called influential people, who are currently having an influence on my career thanks to the information that was contained in the aforementioned bio.
Here's the finished product.
When James Milne, AKA Lawrence Arabia, left Auckland for London in November 2006, little did he realise- in fact not at all did he realise - that one hour later he would be adrift, alone in the Pacific Ocean, just south of the Kermadec Islands... This totally surprising occurrence happened due to a plane crash which has been made up to allow this extended metaphor to take place, tarting- or "zhoozhing-" up what would otherwise have been a tedious press release about Lawrence Arabia's new album "Chant Darling."
Chant Darling was recorded between November 2007 and January 2009, in Stockholm, London, Auckland, Wellington and Port Chalmers. It was produced by Lawrence Arabia, and features the musical contributions of James Dansey and Daniel Ward (The Sneaks), Matt Eccles (Betchadupa/Das Pop), Liam Finn, Luke Buda and Sam Scott (The Phoenix Foundation), Tom Watson (Cassette), Andy Watts (Hot Grits), John White (Mestar) and various other friends.
Anyway, plane goes down, Lawrence is adrift, you know the story, but get this - the only thing keeping him afloat is a single half-written song. These few couplets and melodies would scarcely stay buoyant for more than a few hours he surmised, so he began writing songs. Songwriting for survival!
The songs for the album were penned half and half between New Zealand and London, where Lawrence has been based for the past two years. The subject matter varies from the New Zealand space programme, naughty liaisons on Quay Street, laziness, drinking problems amongst the shy, to sexually frustrated hipsters, drug-induced death visions, lust for teacher and a theme-in-waiting for the National Government's soon to be announced war on drugs.
The next few months were, as I'm sure you can imagine, very very boring. With only snapper and his own swiftly deteriorating urine to keep him company, James, or Lawrence as he bewilderingly prefers to be known, began creating a fantasy world through songs. Drifting in and out of consciousness, eating the majestic, obliging snapper, and drinking wees, Lawrence wrote a whole album worth of songs to take his mind off the fact that he was to die alone in the Pacific like some hapless, under-equipped sailor without a locator beacon. An unromantic fate you will grant.
Lawrence Arabia is the pseudonym of James Milne, born 1981 in Christchurch, also singer-songwriter of The Reduction Agents and former member of the Brunettes and the Ruby Suns. James has produced music for television, film and theatre and his songs appeared in Taika Waititi's film "Eagle vs Shark." In the past year Lawrence has toured extensively around Europe and the UK with Feist and Okkervil River, appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, and been featured and reviewed in UK publications including the Sunday Times, NME, Uncut, Q, Independent, and Dazed and Confused.
So, when Lawrence Arabia's absurdly lanky frame popped up in Lake Pupuke via a volcanic tube, it was a surprise to everyone, including himself. However, a kindly Takapuna family, the Wilberforces, took him in...
Lawrence Arabia - Chant Darling out Monday March 9 on Honorary Bedouin Records