Anna Denejkina

Category: The Music Network

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

Interview with Gary Numan

Gary Numan: The Pleasure Principle

Written for The Music Network 

Originally published on February 10, 2011

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Pioneer of electronic music, legend and rockstar, Gary Numan is returning to Australia this May in celebration of the 30th anniversary of his revolutionary record, The Pleasure Principle, originally released in 1979.

From synth pop and new wave, to industrial rock and dark wave, Numan’s music is timeless, and with over three decades of music behind him, his magnetism and humility is continuously palpable.

“I’ve said some really stupid things in interviews… and you suddenly realise that they can actually be as harmful as they can be helpful,” commented Numan on getting nervous during interviews; a mammoth thirty-two years into his career.

“When I was younger… I never got nervous about them at all,” he continued in a vivacious tone, “now I get worried that I’m going to say something stupid, and you’re going to hate me!”

Describing that it isn’t a situation of biting one’s own tongue, but “pausing for a couple of seconds before you say something silly”, Gary progressed to describing his 2009 Australian tour in a very enthused tenor.

“We had such a brilliant time actually… we all thought that it was one of the best tours that we’ve ever done, and when we were asked to come back again we all jumped at it.”

The forthcoming, five-stop tour will feature shows that not only highlight The Pleasure Principle in its entirety, but also feature new material. “I don’t really do these old albums very often,” said Numan, who is admittedly not a fan of nostalgia and revisiting old work. “The Pleasure Principle [tour] became a much, much bigger thing than I intended it to be,” he said. “For the 30th anniversary I was going to do one show in England and that was it, I didn’t want to tour.”

“The show is going to be in two halves,” he continued. “The first forty-five minutes is The Pleasure Principle, the second half of it we play mainly new stuff that’s coming on the next album, and more recent songs. It shows the relation from what I was doing in the early days and what I am doing now, and I think it puts the new stuff into a very good light, to see where it’s come from, and how different it is.”

From collaborations with Fear Factory to Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan has also worked with Brighton-based duo, South Central, commenting that working with other artists expands and pushes him outside of his own bubble.

“I am doing more collaborations now than I’ve ever done before, but you have to pick the right ones,” he said. “There is a tendency when somebody gets in the charts, people try to put you together, and I’m not interested in that, I’m not really interested in doing collaborations with the latest pop star,” asserted Numan. “I am quite choosy… I would much rather do it with people I really like, or if they have some kind of uniqueness about them… it often makes you do things you wouldn’t normally do, but I am quite careful.”

Mentioning another of his great loves, Numan described the compelling experience of major festivals. Playing last year’s massive Sonisphere Festival, he commented on the difficulty of pulling off a great performance to a large audience.

“I really love festivals, [but] they are hard to get though, they are a hard thing to get done unless your,” pausing for a short moment before reaching the right example, “Metallica, or absolutely massive! It’s a very powerful thing, from a career point-of-view, to get out there.”

Confessing his love for playing live, even more so than he did in the early stages of his career, this is perhaps the last chance that an Australian audience will have in experiencing the electro end of Gary Numan, as he stated that The Pleasure Principle will be the last of the nostalgia tours. “It just feels funny, singing songs that are thirty-years-old,” he stated. “I think if you do it a bit too much it will stop being fun and become a bit embarrassing. And I would hate that, so I won’t do it anymore after this.”

Interview with Chromeo’s P-Thugg

Chromeo: Getting the parties started

Written for The Music Network 

Originally published on December 22, 2010

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Releasing their third studio album Business Casual earlier this year, Montreal-based duo Chromeo is returning to the scorching Australian summer for a run of festivals and shows supporting N.E.R.D.

“We’ve done at least two or three New Year’s and summer festivals in Australia, we’re pretty excited” comments P-Thugg (real name Patrick Gemayel) on their forthcoming trip. “There’s lots of dancing, lots of sing-a-longs” he continues, before describing that for him the festival experience still holds its peculiarities in the response and attention gained from fans.

“Festivals are weird and fun at the same time.” He said. “When you’re there, the front row is full of your fans and as you look back it’s people who don’t know you and they either walk right past you or they stay and listen and that’s what’s really cool about [playing] a festival.”

Only a few days before embarking on their European tour in support of Business Casual, P-Thugg explained the different approach taken on this release as compared to their prior albums; 2004’s She’s In Control and their sophomore release Fancy Footwork.

“We tried to make this album more musical without being too serious or without taking ourselves too seriously. Just keeping the fun aspect of what we do and we tried to keep it a challenge, adding more musicality.”

A collaboration that began in high school, P-Thugg and his other, musical half, Dave 1 (real name David Macklovitch) bring forth and inspire different tastes and influences over their own music, and it is this mix that has made their band one that many have struggled in affixing to a particular genre.

“It’s even harder for us to place ourselves in a box,” explained P-Thugg of his personal opinion on their music. “The basic is funk – funk and ballads – and we try to complement it with our own take on ’80s music, ’80s funk… In a sense its’ a big mash.”

“It’s always been a trend since hip hop existed, to mix everything together. I mean, you had guys like Afrika Bambaataa in the earlier 80’s who had the same concepts; it’s just a different take on it. It renews itself every five or ten years and this is the new mix of hip hop. It’s how we choose to work.”

With regard to the creative approach of Chromeo, P-Thugg explained that each song is advanced differently and that his personal drive and influence behind composing is inspired greatly by music rather than day-to-day life and its sway.

“It’s never as literal as, “oh, something happened to me, I’m going to write about it”, it’s never that literal.” He continued. “It has to go with the spirit of what we do; it has to blend into a song. There are so many parameters to think about when you’re writing lyrics or a song… It starts with the music; it’s about picking out the hook, the vibe and the subjects of the music that we like.”

P-Thugg further explained that their retro aesthetic not only “goes with the music” but that their videos are there to, at times; take off the serious nature to their songs.

“We always try to give another direction to the songs with the video.” He said. “The last video we had was ‘Don’t Turn The Lights On’, and the song was a bit serious to us, maybe too much, so we decided to make it a quirky, weird video, just to make up for the serious side in the song.”

After a quick comment on the crucial effect that the internet has had on the success of Chromeo, which P-Thugg dubbed as their “own little world” where they “try to rule as kings”, he spoke of the musical evolution of the band.

“We try to make it a bit more interesting for us and for the fans. He said. “We don’t want it to be the same thing over and over again. So you do have to find a balance, it’s just a balance of how much musicality you want to get in and still keep it fun for everybody.”

Furthermore, P-Thugg underlined that to him, keeping stability and not taking oneself too seriously is an important factor, because, as he put it “that’s when you end up falling off”.

Interview with Ross Halfin

The Ultimate Metallica – Photographs by Ross Halfin

Written for The Music Network 

Originally published on November 10, 2010

halflin

“I always thought I would be a professional photographer… Being young and stupid I thought I was better than everyone else.” – A prologue from the now legendary rock photographer Ross Halfin, who is today on the eve of his debut Australian exhibition – The Ultimate Metallica.
“I think we’re a lot older and a little wiser,” commented Halfin on his Load/Reload hiatus with the band. “I quite enjoy shooting them now more than earlier on. It’s harder to get them to do anything, but once it happens it’s always constructive.”

An exhibition spanning a twenty-five year history, Ross Halfin has captured “every drop of sweat, every molecule of saliva, every out-of-place nose hair” as stated by Metallica’s Lars Ulrich in his foreword to Halfin’s new photographic book, incidentally launching during his Australian showing from November 10-20 in Paddington’s Blender Gallery.

“I wanted a book that every fan of Metallica would like and want to look at again and again,” said Halfin, who decided to let a friend pick each image that eventually made the cut for ‘The Ultimate Metallica’ book.

“I didn’t pick any of the pictures for the book.” He said. “I let a good friend of mine -Noriaki Watanabe – go through my whole file and pick what he thought people would like to see. He’s a Metallica fan and I thought it would be good to do it from a fans perspective rather than mine.”

Shooting Metallica from their chaotic beginnings to their current status as one of the most dominant metal bands in the world, Ross described his favourite photograph of the outfit as an image taken back stage at a festival in Lisbon. “What you don’t see is we were surrounded by about two hundred people.” He commented. “I like the fact that they focused on me and ignored the mayhem around them. A simple picture but one that works.”

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