Anna Denejkina

Month: February, 2012

Alex Metric – My Heart is in the Studio, Interview

Alex Metric – My Heart is in the Studio

Written for Future Entertainment

Originally published on February 14, 2012

Envisage the aptitude of an artist who is in unremitting demand by other musicians to remix their work. Merge this with his background as a musician, producer, remixer, band member, DJ and above all, solo artist. Take the plethora of his undertaken projects, including work on Depeche Mode, Beastie Boys and Phoenix, and now understand the fertility of Alex Metric.

Through the above, and his countless, unmentioned works, it is a difficulty to suppose that Alex Metric only reached prominence in 2008, as he has rapidly managed to create an undoubtedly inspiring resume, and one that whets the appetites of anyone who yearns for his position.

Metric’s Australian visits have been very, very few, and to be precise, just one in particular. A club tour many years ago, that Alex himself cannot distinctly remember. Nonetheless, 2012 will see him live at the rapidly approaching Future Music Festival, on the back of his most recent release, a compilation of his remix and production work, entitled ‘Open Your Eyes’, which has mistakenly been dubbed as his inaugural full-length record, a misconception which Alex was quick to put to rest.

“That’s not really a full length album,” he began to explain; “it’s kind of a collection of remixes and some original stuff up to date… my debut album is yet to come.”

His forthcoming opus does hold a precursor which found itself scrapped due to the length of time Metric took to create it, and owing to this time, the record found itself too dissimilar from his concepts with its inception, to the final product delivered. For Alex, who admittedly finds a huge importance in only releasing music that represents him in that moment, he found this erasure “quite [a] liberating thing to do and a quite scary thing to do at the same time.”

“I just feel like if you take a long time over a record, you when you started and you when you’ve finished are two completely different things,” he continued. “I felt like the record I’d just finished didn’t really represent [me], I didn’t feel like I could then take that forward for another two years touring and promoting it. I just felt like it wasn’t what I wanted to say at that point in time… whether it’s a single or remix, or an album, I’m really particular about what I do, and making sure that what I put out there represents me at that time, and so I can be one-hundred-percent proud of every bit of the music I put out.”

Describing that he is moving into a “different territory” with the new record, but asserting that the music is still distinctly Metric, thrown in with experimentation of sound and beats, Alex portrayed the record’s niche as eclectic, rather than detailing something which may not come to realization at its completion.

Currently six tracks into the new album, a number which unexpectedly surprised Metric himself – due to the swift nature of his present writing process; “not thinking about it, just doing it,” – a number of singles are due for release this year as a taster for the album, which will additionally feature “a collaboration with one of my all time heroes, producer heroes,” he exclaimed.

As can be guessed, this collaboration, or the possible others which will feature on the imminent record, was not revealed, but according to Metric, the name would be easily worked out as “there are very few people that I revere and hold up as one of my main influences in making electronic music, so I’m sure people can put two-and-two together.” Perhaps not too easily, as Steve Angello is not that man.

“… it’s somebody who has inspired me massively from when I was a teenager growing up; first listening to electronic music, so obviously Steve’s a fantastic producer, but this is somebody that’s kind of really been there as a prominent, driving creative force with what I do, for many years.”

Alex’s extensive remix catalogue highlights the prominent names of the Bloc Party, Ladyhawke and the Gorillaz – to blatantly name a minute few – and yet, it has been well publicized, rarely has Metric asked to remix a band, having approached only two artists himself: Phoenix and Nikki and the Dove. The others, they have all come to him, and from this, the majority are turned away with a predominant reason of Alex’s lack of connection with their music.

“I kind of turn down probably three-times more mixes than I do, just because I want the ones I actually really care about and have a connection with.”

“I turned down one of my favourite bands recently,” he commented with regard to one of his beloved, TV On The Radio, “and I’d said that I could do the remix, and I actually got in on the computer, got it going, and just couldn’t find anything that really got me, and that I was proud of. So I had to go back and say that it wasn’t something I could do, which is a shame.”

“Sometimes that happens,” Alex continued. “Sometimes I [would] rather go back and not turn out something disappointing for one of my favourite bands, than turn out something that’s kind of average and that doesn’t really please anyone.

“So it’s good to be critical and it’s good to be strict on these things.”

Most recently having worked on Mike Snow and Snow Patrol remixes, Alex mused that these will be the last remix projects he undertakes for some time, albeit humorously adding that every time he mentions the ending of this process, “people like Mike Snow and Snow Patrol come along and I can’t really say no, and I love the records!”

“But hopefully for a bit, it will be the end of remixing,” he began, “and I [can] just crack on with some new stuff and who knows, you know if something that excites me comes in, I’ll do it, as long as I’m excited with it’s vibe, then I’ll do it over.”

Overtly holding a love for performing, Metric candidly admitted that his “heart is in the studio,” whilst speaking of the partiality for performance or writing. However, commenting on his forthcoming Australian tour, Alex described his view of the six-feet-down-under audience as “pretty clued up,” and as his latest two releases have done quite well on our shores, it is in perfect timing for his visit.

“They seem to really love what I do and get what I do… I don’t think that I’ll have to feel like I have to do anything other than just play what I want, and play the music I love,” he expressed.

Original Article:

www.futureentertainment.com.au/music/interviews/1370-alex-metric-my-heart-is-in-the-studio

Juan MacLean – A Heavy Price To Pay, Interview

Juan MacLean – A Heavy Price to Pay

Written for Future Entertainment

Originally published on February 14, 2012

From the foundation of Six Finger Satellite’s post-hardcore sound, he fell into a natural progression within electronica. Today, whilst holding over a decade of music behind his name, The Juan MacLean is only weeks from returning to Australia for yet another, innumerable run of shows on his perpetually demanding schedule.

The man responsible for the massive ‘Less Than Human’, ‘Visitations’ and one of DFA’s strongest releases, ‘The Future Will Come’, has roused the appetites of fans who have been waiting for his return for over three years. And as the anticipation rises and the touring is in an uninterrupted advance, the life style is taking its toll, leaving a shadow of destruction on personal and romantic relationships, and a feeling of apprehension for returning home.

“I think that’s just the trade-off [for] living this kind of life,” began John. “I’ve played somewhere around two-hundred shows last year; most of my life [is] on the road – which is amazing, it’s a pretty magical life… – but I still say that it is a pretty heavy price that you pay in terms of your personal life, just because you’re gone so much.”

Seen a cult figure amid fans of DFA’s work, Juan MacLean’s (real name: John MacLean) distinct musical sound is infused with lyrical content surrounded by the subject matter of this trade-off, and as he described, “it has been a big theme all along,” specifically within his latest work with Nancy Whang (LCD Soundsystem).

“For my last album, when we were writing lyrics, I feel like that was pretty much the central theme of the entire album, our experiences of living that way – spending pretty much our [whole] adult lives playing, and being touring musicians, and the fall-out of that,” he commented.

“It’s just such a different experience out there on the road, and [when] you come home, personally, I get very antsy. I don’t really want to be home very much.”

For John, the emotional conflict of living on the road has not turned toward a ‘sex, drugs and rock n’ roll’ platitude, and “I think that’s allowed me to have that kind of a schedule.”

“I think if you’re really getting messed up on drugs or drinking every night, and waking up just ruined every morning – then it’s pretty much impossible…” he explained, before reminiscing on a time when the DFA collective found dusty Polaroid shots taken before their real, ten-year touring and DJing cycle began, highlighting the before-and-after of their lifestyles.

“The affects of that were pretty astonishing,” he laughed. “I think it ages you exponentially.”

MacLean’s latest studio effort, ‘Everybody Get Close’ (2011) was an overtly emotive record, despite John’s admitted lack of deliberation for the balance of emotional tone within his music. But it is his attraction to melancholia that answers the above: an attraction that began with his musical roots and the influences of New Order and Joy Division, and a personal endeavor of combining the dark and the light within a progression of a single song.

“I think it has a lot to do with music I got really into when I was young,” explained John. “As a teenager, one of the biggest influences on me was New Order, and I was a big Joy Division fan before that, when I was a kid.

“I think being into that type of music really set the attraction for music that seems to be both uplifting and sad at the same time. It’s a tone that I’ve always tried to recreate as much as possible in my music, and I think it’s a very difficult thing to do.

“It’s easy to make overtly happy and upbeat music, or go in the other direction and make very dark music. But to somehow combine those element over the course of a single song, I think is a really difficult thing to do and something I’ve always aspired to do, and have been attracted to in other people’s music.”

John’s forthcoming turn on the Future Music Festival tour will be a reunion for the DFA Records collective, and this gathering is not only appreciated by the fans of the label, “I’ve looked forward to it for months!” he said. Undeniably, the musicians gracing the DFA stage have become a family that seldom sees each other, and unlike the customary traditions of family-ties coming loose, this is, once more, a touring ramification.

“The most exciting thing for me is having everyone in our DFA family together, on the same stage, playing the same festival,” John exclaimed. “All of us are on the road so much, a lot of the time we don’t get to see each other any-more – unless we cross paths somewhere else out in the world whilst we’re on tour. So to get everyone together on the same stage, and have a unified aesthetic going on that we’re in charge of, is really fun.”

The aesthetic mentioned by MacLean is a concept of taking the New York City life into Australia, giving James Murphy, Pat Mahoney and Juan MacLean, along with a slew of others gracing the stage, free rein in curating their Nightlife Exchange Program.

Ironically, however, for John “the fact is that night-life in New York kind of sucks at this point.” And in frankness, he continued. “Most of the nights that everyone is DJing are happening in new, boutique hotels that have clubs in them,” he emphasized with a tone of disdain and condescension for this trend. “Just New York, in terms of DJ culture has not been very good for a long time.”

The questions of loss of authenticity within the city that never sleeps are met with an explanation that is explicitly reminiscent to that of our own music industry irritations: ones that will be effortlessly understood and are frequently felt by musicians yearning for a space to perform.

“The problem is there are lots of amazing DJs and producers in New York, as much as there ever have been, and I think a lot of it has to do with zoning laws in the city,” he began.

“It’s just very difficult to open a club… and maintain a proper club. You essentially have to pay for a license to allow people to dance, and if you don’t have this license they will shut you simply by coming in and seeing people dance to music… so that’s really killed of a lot of night life in New York.”

Currently writing his new album with Nancy Whang, John clarified that the record is tentatively scheduled for a release at the conclusion of this year, or the beginning of 2013.

Original Article:

www.futureentertainment.com.au/music/interviews/1368–juan-maclean-a-heavy-price-to-pay

Interview with Ben Gordon of Parkway Drive

 Written for Australian Hysteria Magazine, On-line

Originally published February 2012

“I still can’t really take it in… I still feel like I’m just watching someone else do it all, like it’s just a dream.” Ten years; three albums, and these are the words from drummer Ben Gordon, coming as the epitome of the grounded nature of Parkway Drive in the face of their global success.

Metalcore has become a largely dominant sub-genre within the current metal scene, and yet, only one Australian band has managed to take the lead of this niche – despite countless others trying to break through the critics and the fans, and ultimately taking the proverbial crown from Parkway Drive.

If hardcore used to be the sound of Sydney and Melbourne, it is now overtly the sound devoted to the Australian coast, coming synchronically with the surfing and skating culture of its youth. Surf videos led to punk, and punk ultimately pushed to hardcore, which is “a pretty stereotypical thing to say for this band, but that’s how we were driven to this music, to punk music,” Ben explained. However, the position of Parkway Drive poses the question of why they are the overriding force in taking Australian hardcore to the world, despite myriad others trying and, for many, facing the reality of stalemate.

“Well, that’s the golden questions… I’ve been expecting another band to burst out of the scene and blow us away in the past six years…. But no one has really taken [our] thrown yet!” he laughed.

Following a grueling touring schedule in 2011, Parkway Drive is seldom resting as they return toAustraliafor a trek under the moniker of the Sick Summer tour. Their decision to turn from major cities in favor of regionalAustraliahas been two tours in the making, now giving the quintet the chance to revisit the kids that rarely get an opportunity for concerts, and to rediscover their country.

“I find that regional Australia, as well as the places we go overseas – we play places where no other bands go – they are generally some of the best shows because the kids are starved for music…” explained Ben.

Currently in the process of working on the follow-up to 2009’s ‘Parkway Drive: The DVD’, Ben emphasized that the forthcoming tour dates would not be featured due to timing, and with a tentative pause – fans, take note – adding that the may, after all find their way onto the screen.

Parkway Drives’ inaugural documentary film highlighted the history of the band, with the forthcoming release focused on their previous world tour, including a stint at Sonisphere Festival, a festival that Ben expressed was the biggest and “the most memorable show we’ve ever played,” – despite the roughly fifteen they have formerly covered throughout Europe – and guitarist Luke Kilpatrick’s well publicized performances whilst wheel-chair bound.

“It was great for us, because we just got to laugh at him,” exclaimed Ben. “He broke his ankle the day before we were meant to leave for this big world tour, and there was no time to do anything else but for him just to come.

“He could have either stood up on the stage and not moved [sic], or he could have sat in a wheel chair, and rolled around being funny, so that’s what he did!”

A tentative title for the release is in the works, albeit, overt reasons are in the way of Ben unveiling its name, giving detail to the content instead, once again underlining that Parkway Drive ventures into places which others choose to steer from.

“We played Europe, Russia, Ireland and Spain; then we went to Central America and South America, Asia and then India. And amongst all that there were some interesting, crazy events that happened,” he began. “The things we saw, the places we played, such as India, Guatemala, Panama, bands just simply don’t really go [there]. We thought it would be really interesting to show people what it was like in those countries; to play there,” something which Ben admits the band didn’t know themselves, “but we knew it was going to be interesting.”

Naturally, Parkway Drive took time off to explore and adventure throughout the aforementioned territories, and above all, discovered the overpowering reception from their fans in India.

“It was amazing, overwhelmingly amazing,” expressed Ben. “A lot of the time the shows are quite small – under or around five-hundred people – so being an Australia band playing somewhere like India or the Philippines, even to get five-hundred people to come out totally psyched-[up] the band. It’s amazing, and it’s good to see how they live and their different cultures.”

The amount of work undertaken by Parkway Drive rarely sees itself on pause, and due to this, the band is set to record the follow-up to their highly acclaimed, third studio effort ‘Deep Blue’, around May and June of this year.

“We’ve actually written about ten songs. So we’re quite close,” explained Ben. “We’ve been working on it ever since ‘Deep Blue’ came out, that’s how we write. We take a fairly long time to write, so we do one song every few months. That way you have time to reflect, and listen to it.”

Their writing isn’t directly influenced by fans, and definitely not written with what others may want to hear in mind, as Ben clarified. And despite the eclectic, personal tastes of each member, the diplomacy within the unit leaves enough space for each individual to take care of their own part in the music.

“The process of writing has been a lot smoother this time,” commented Ben on the recent change for the band, as they have adopted a digital approach with Pro Tools and an electric drum kit, for the purposes of writing. “It makes such a big difference… we can practice for longer periods at a time and every practice we have [we] can record [it].”

As for the sound of the album, Ben commented on the varied dynamics of the record, explaining that in his view the new work is the heaviest music that Parkway Drive has ever written. “I think it’s going to be our best album,” he concluded.

Original Article: www.australianhysteria.com.au/parkway_drive.ews

Parkway Drive: www.facebook.com/parkwaydrive

Interview with Matt Heywood and Oliver Fogwell of Our Last Enemy

Written for Australian Hysteria Magazine

Originally published in Issue 7, 2011/12

Our Last Enemy – heavy, industrial, loved and hated, but undoubtedly, these are the sweet-hearts of the Sydney metal scene. Since the 2010 release of their debut, studio-effort, ‘Fallen Empires’, time has proven that this quintet is rather blatantly kicking arse all over Australia…

Full Article:

Interview with Daniel Darling of Kill City Creeps

Written for Australian Hysteria Magazine

Originally published in Issue 7, 2011/12

“It’s the sound of driving through the city, loaded.” From the mouth of Daniel Darling – guitarist and vocalist of Sydney-based rock n’ rollers, Kill City Creeps – comes one of the more hilarious explanations as to the sound of the outfit. But for a band that came together during a revelry – and one that I can safely assume did not hold back on drinks, and everything else that cannot be named – it is no surprise that their fuzz and organ, much like their moniker, sums up their like and likeness to the filthy side of any city.

“As a band, we still are individuals but we have the same mindset, and whether that is a product of the city – I can’t really say,” commented Daniel on their home town of Sydvegas, from which the band spawned at the conclusion of 2010, making the troupe a relative infant in the current scene…

Full Article:

Professor Green, Update

Originally written for Future Entertainment, my interview with Professor Green was picked up by Brisvegas’ Scene Magazine (Feb. ’12) The article ran as the cover story… so, huzzah!

Full article: https://annadenejkina.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/interview-with-professor-green/

www.scenemagazine.com.au

www.futureentertainment.com.au

Going Down Memory Lane

While updating my portfolio, I came across my first (print media) published articles – very, very brief articles – and the earliest for The Music Network, whose former editor-in-chief, Nicole Fossati, was the first to take me under her proverbial wing within print media.

The following magazine clippings  were written as my trial for Nicole, and published in the magazine’s let’s-celebrate-metal-as-an-important-genre issue. I was given free rein in choosing the bands that I wanted to write about for the heavier ‘Breaking Point’ of The Music Network, and thus I went to the artists that I loved within the Australian underground.

I am still unsure if these bands know that they’ve appeared, ever so slightly, on the pages of The Music Network, albeit it can be guessed with some certainty that for the likes of The Amenta, Mournful Congregation and Dead Letter Opener, this appearance may have been their last…they’re just too br00tal.

(Note that somehow Lamb of God = Lamb of Goat.)

Sydonia: www.sydonia.com.au

The Amenta: www.theamenta.com

sleepmakeswaves: sleepmakeswaves.com

Mournful Congregation: www.mournfulcongregation.com

Dead Letter Opener: www.deadletteropener.com

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