Thursday, 28 February 2008

There's rock and then there's Modern Legion.

There's rock and then there's Modern Legion: the new, young Australian rock band set to take the world by storm.

Formed in the summer of 2007 from the ashes of some notable local bands, the band - Steph Collis (vocals), Matt Wilkinson (guitar), Adrian Santospirito (guitar), Baz Brauer (bass, Dave Szental (drums) - have just come back from the States where they recorded their highly-anticipated debut album. The flagship release for the brand-new ManaSonic Music label, it was produced by Grammy-winning producer Scott Mathews (David Bowie, Beach Boys, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger) and features special guests ranging from Huey Lewis of '& the news' fame, Van Dyke Parks (Brian Wilson, Bruce Springsteen, Byrds, Silverchair & Randy Newman) to a California beauty queen.

Though none of Modern Legion is older than 23, all are veterans on the Australian rock circuit. Steph and Barry's Geelong band The Whiteroom, signed to Roadrunner at age 16, had a hit with the song "Enemies Closer" in 2006 and toured arenas with Nickelback; Matt Wilkinson and Adrian Santospirito's Geelong band The Jades made the acclaimed EP "New Wave Chocolate" that garnered extensive radio play in the UK aand Australia. Dave Szental drummed with a number of
Melbourne bands including Big Fat Kill. Between them they've toured with some of Australia's biggest names.

AlternativeInformant: How long have you been involved in the music industry?

The Modern Legion: We've all been in bands since we were around 13 years old, so around ten years, and the last 6 or so being semi professional... not just kids jamming in a garage :) Steph (vox) and Baz (bass) we're in an Australian band called the Whiteroom signed to roadrunner records & toured Australia extensively with the likes of Nickelback in oz's biggest venues & arenas.... and Adrian (keys) & myself (guitar/vox) were in 'The Jades' with a successful single/ep release here in oz & a tour of the UK under the belt. So there's a fair bit of experience in the group.

AlternativeInformant: How would you describe the sound of the group and the genre of music you produce?

The Modern Legion: Well... if I had to try and describe it, I’d say... imagine you were listening to Fleetwood Mac’s 'rumours' then you were kicked in the ear by an Atari & pummelled by his orchestra pals! But its indie rock with some kick 70's overtones, some great softer tunes with a nice mix of good old face melting rock n roll tracks.

AlternativeInformant: What differentiates you from other groups that produce the same or similar sounding music?

The Modern Legion: The male/female voice combo. I do a lot of singing with steph on nearly every tune, and the harmony work is very prominent. So straight away that gives us an edge. There aren’t a lot of bands out there with a female vocalist pulling the kind of sound we have. Plus we built our keyboard player out of matchsticks.... so that differentiates us a tad!

AlternativeInformant: Does your music have a message?

The Modern Legion: It’s not really preachy music or anything like that, it’s more personal. We write about ourselves and our experiences in life in a way that allows the listener to take from it whatever he or she wants to. We love wordplay, so we don’t have a lot of 'you' 'me' 'he' 'she' one dimensional lyrics... they are more objective allowing anybody reading them or listening to them to apply them to their own situation. Whatever it may be.

If you play the record in reverse it has a hidden message for building a keyboard player... but that's about it.

AlternativeInformant: What are the most enjoyable things about performing?

Matt: That minute or so just before you hit the stage & you can feel the rush hit you like a bus. Nothing beats belting out your tunes live and seeing how they effect the people right in front of you. Recording is great fun & and you can achieve so much... but being able to pull it off live & entertaining... that's where it's at.

Steph: It’s the atmosphere. The adrenaline you get on stage, the people you meet at the shows, the bands you become friends with on the road, the feeling you get when you see a member of the crowd reacting to your music. The best part is though, when you finish the last song and you get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. It’s a totally different world from writing and recording your songs, it’s a chance to give life to them.

Baz: Seeing all the hard work pay off, you practice your ass off and live very poor (financially) for a long time, just great to see the smiles on people’s faces when it all comes together.

Dave: I get to hit drums while drinking beer and looking at pretty girls. That's a combination of the 3 greatest things in the world. Plus from the drums I get to look at Matt's ass.

Adrian: The excitement and buzz you get from playing a killer show in front an audience that appreciates it. The energy that you and the crowd both create together is a feeling that only a musician will ever understand. It certainly is a priceless moment.

AlternativeInformant: How did the name Rebel come about and how did it change to The Modern Legion?

The Modern Legion: Rebel was the name we started out with, we took it from the
Bowie tune rebel rebel, but as it turned out there was not a lot of people putting two & two together and getting the reference. There is also a large chain of sports stores called 'rebel' so to avoid any future troubles we decided to change the name. The Modern Legion came about after I was watching a doco' on the French foreign legion... I was really digging it & just remember thinking that a word play on that would be kind of cool. And so I came up with 'The Modern Legion' it also opens itself up to a lot more artistically & everyone seemed to love it, so it stuck.

AlternativeInformant: Are there any artists or groups that influence your music?

The Modern Legion: So many. We are all big Beatle fans & have been, as most people' since we were all kids. I think this is where our strong use of harmony was derived from. Also bands like Muse, Fleetwood Mac, Nick Drake, The Durocs, Sleepy Jackson, Van Halen, George Harrison & Huey Lewis & the news.... which was crazy because we actually were lucky enough to have Huey Lewis come in to the studio while we were recording the album in San Francisco & do a little bit of vocal work for our record. Being a big fan it was great to meet him, he was terrific guy & funny as hell! Other bands like Silverchair here in
Australia were a band we always admired & influenced us greatly. So the range is vast, but all contributed greatly to Steph & my writing.

AlternativeInformant: What have been your favourite tracks to make and why?

Matt: My favourite tracks to work on were tunes called 'In Fashion' & 'Into the Sun'. In Fashion because it was the first time I’d been able to use/hear live strings & brass in the studio... and arranging string lines with our producer Scott Mathews was an amazing experience & the end result speaks for itself. 'Into the Sun' was also mind blowing in that we got to work with none other than Mr Van Dyke Parks. (beach boys, the byrds, silverchair) He arranged an amazing accordion part over this, one of our softer songs & was amazing to work with... his parts along with a guest appearance on the Uke by renound rock journalist Sylvie Simmons (mojo, rolling stone fame) helped to make the song sound as beautiful as it does.

Steph: Their weren’t any specific tracks that were more enjoyable to record, but there were parts that we all had fun doing. Like the tracks when we were all in the room clapping, or yelling, or hitting biscuit tins. I’m sure if you soloed these tracks and turned them up you could hear us laughing.

Baz: I had a great time recording 'into the sun', my first time playing an upright double bass, and all the songs on the album that I used a 1963 hoffner bass on. Also 'its now' was a great experience because of the pace and intensity of the song. Had to have our weeties that morning!!

Dave: Fading Away. This song has great groove and a soulful vibe.

Adrian: My favourite track to work on would defiantly have to be December Morning as I got the chance to play a Steinway grand piano which made me warm and fuzzy inside.

AlternativeInformant: Finally, what does the future hold for The Modern Legion?

The Modern Legion: 2008 holds our debut album release and extensive touring of the US, UK & of course Australia. So keep an eye on our myspace for tour dates. ( ) We are all so excited about the record & can't wait to start showcasing it around the globe.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Agillaz Lurk: Producing Irie beats!

Agillaz has been putting it down for a while. He started getting into music in the middle of the 90`s but 2001-2002 building his own studio to make music and have since then developed his mastering skills in beats.
His music is known for always touching the listeners with feelin, different sounds and special vibe. Born and raised in a small town called Uddevalla (Db),but moved to Gothenburg in September 2003. His parents are from
Sweden & Spain which has become a great inspiration for his development in music. He is very versatile when it comes to composing music. After meeting a lot of artists and producers he has come a long way with his music. Selling beats over the internet to artists across the world,one beat ending up on Divine Allah´s Album Ghetto Rhymin (Embracing Eternity.)

In June 2007 he signed to Asphalt Records a one year deal. Hard work make his production sound special & unique.

AlternativeInformant: How long have you been involved in the music industry?

Agillaz: I’ve been signed to my label for like 9 months now.

AlternativeInformant: What genre would you describe your music as?

Agillaz: I don’t like to put my music in a category, but it sounds like hip hop reggae.

AlternativeInformant: Are there any artists or producers that influence your music?

Agillaz: Tupac Shakur, Bob Marley are more than influences to me. I love J Dilla, Dr.Dre, but I get influences from people like Malcolm X, Martin Luther king and of course Jah!

AlternativeInformant: Are there any artists or producers that you would like to work with in the future?

Agillaz: I would love to work with the Marley Brothers, Dead Prez, Outlawz revolutionary people.

AlternativeInformant: What artists have you worked with so far?

Agillaz: I’ve worked with : Divine Allah, RAW, African Souljah, Keiran Anthony, Napz Meka, Yani**a, Jah Defender, to name a few but I got some big names comin’ this year, so just wait and you will see jah knows.

AlternativeInformant: How did you start creating beats?

Agillaz: I was just playing around & I used to rap back then so I needed beats and to get 'em was to create 'em myself..and one that way it is.

AlternativeInformant: How do you get inspiration for making and producing beats?

Agillaz: It’s Jah work, I love doin’ music so it’s all come natural. Give Thanks.

AlternativeInformant: Do you think producing beats has becoming easier in recent years and if so why?

Agillaz: Hmm, not easier but people can just do a beat in their computer today, but it’s all about what’s from your heart & soul so it takes a lot more than that to come up with some real good music.

AlternativeInformant: The beats you produce are quite complex on average how long does it take for you to make a beat?

Agillaz: It’s different all times, I can get an idea in 10 minutes but the beat ain’t done until it’s mixed arranged etc so a couple of more hours.

AlternativeInformant: What has been your favourite beat to produce?

Agillaz: Hard to say, but I got my favorites "The March The Welcome" "Im Not A Slave" & "Get That Guap."

AlternativeInformant: How did your name come about?

Agillaz: I got it from my real name Adam Gil Lazaro, I wanted a name that’s was just me.

AlternativeInformant: What does the future hold for Agillaz Lurk?

Agillaz: The future is lookin’ good, I’m workin’ on an album where I will produce all songs & I got some great artists so it’s something to look forward to. Jah Guide!

Give Thanks for the interview,

Jah Love!

Monday, 18 February 2008

Oojami: Fusion at its best!

Over the last 6 years Oojami has produced 3 albums (internationally released on Miles Copland's (ex-manager of Sting and the Police) label), played hundreds of gigs in over 15 countries, including a tour of the US/Canada, and featured on more than 30 compilations around the world.

In its live incarnation Oojami combines belly dancers with mesmerising Sufi dancing, providing a vivid musical experience for the eyes. Therefore it is no wonder that the band is building up a strong fan base of open-minded music fans eager to appreciate new and exciting global sounds.

AlternativeInformant: How long have you been involved with music?

Oojami: 15 years

AlternativeInformant: How would you describe you genre of music?

Oojami: Global Roots!

AlternativeInformant: What do you think differentiates about you and other groups who are in the same genre of music as you?

Oojami: We always aim to be a more song based band than a project based i.e. Bhangra, Sufi beats, Balkan beats, Belly Dancing Beats etc. Songs stay but project goes out with fashion and bands disappear after lots of hype created around them!

AlternativeInformant: What do you find the most enjoyable thing about performing?

Oojami: To connect to the other people emotionally and share your ideas musically and philosophically. Make sure that you are not alone and isolated in the society! Put a smiles on other people's face. Make an enjoyable leaving, meeting with other people, seeing other places and having a fun!

AlternativeInformant: Does your music have a message?

Oojami: Yes, it is a conscious partying! We aim to turn some ethnic sounds to protest music. Like Bob Marley did with Reggae. He turned the beach music to an international protest music.

AlternativeInformant: How do you feel about the music industry as a whole at this moment?

Oojami: Music market is becoming less artist based and more project based from Girls/Boy bands to other fabricated middle class rock band etc. Same goes for the so called world music as well. Artist needs long term investment but everyone wants quick return, maximum profit with minimum investment. Cover bands, Compilations make money for record labels and venues but kills the artist and creativity. Fast food and fast music consumption! Format is more important then content to sell. In the past, 50% was show business other 50% was about writing good songs and creativity. Now days, 90% is show business and 10% is about creativity, being original and taking risk to create something new!

AlternativeInformant: There’s a lot of energy during one of your shows, any preparation needed beforehand?

Oojami: Having and keeping a regular band is a very expensive and time consuming business particularly when there is no more label support and income from record sells. At the ground level there is no artist support from organisations that they are supposed to support artists. They are all manipulated by organisations that exploit artists. All help goes to promoters and agencies rather then artists! To keep the energy we got is not easy all the time. We end up doing gigs that they are not musically necessary but keeps us going on economically even though the band get exosted and end up doing some below the average gigs to damage our reputation! I always aimed to work with nice people even they are musically not as good as others because I believe to have the energy on the stage and enjoy being on the stage with other band members is more important. 50% of the good performance is to do what happens at the back stage!

AlternativeInformant: Where are you all from originally?

Oojami: We are a truly global band. We got Turkish, Spanish, Bengali, Caribbean, Egyptian and English origin people in the band.

AlternativeInformant: How did the name Oojami come about?

Oojami: Made up in a way that people in the West thinks it is Turkish and people in Turkey thinks it is English! We want to create something that doesn’t have a meaning in a particular culture and looks good as a logo!

AlternativeInformant: What does the future hold for Oojami?

Oojami: We are writing a new album and aiming to breakout in to the main stream market without loosing our roots. We want to make an international hit with an edge and attitude without compromising our direction but take it to the next level with better songs then we have produced before. Upwards and forwards we don't feel like we have started yet!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Jah Jah Yute: Words are his power

Jah Jah Yute was born and raised in the parish of Hanover Jamaica in an area called Rock Springs. His fans say he has spiritual lyrics and sounds like Bob Marley and Admiral Tibit amd Gregory Issacs.

From Mo-Bay to Kingston, Jah Jah Yute and his Roots Rock Reggae style has shared the stage and been featured with such artist as Vibe Cartel George Nooks, Paul Elliott, Ken Booth and many more.

Words Power On Sound is Jah Jah Yute latest release.

AlternativeInformant: What would you describe your genre of music as?

Jah Jah Yute:
Roots Rock Reggae.

AlternativeInformant: How long have you been involved in the music industry?

Jah Jah Yute:
Since I was 9 years old. My father owned a night club which had a sound system call Sir King B.

AlternativeInformant: Are there any artists that influence you or your music?

Jah Jah Yute: Of course Bob Marley, also Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Admiral Tibit to name a few.

AlternativeInformant: What would you say your biggest influence is?

Jah Jah Yut
e: Jah God Almighty. And I believe in myself.

AlternativeInformant: What do you think differentiates your music from other artists in the same genre as you?

Jah Jah Yut
e: My style, my lyrics and my spiritual connection unifying the world with peace and love.

AlternativeInformant: Is there a mes
sage to your music?

Jah Jah Yute: Peace, Love and Unity.

AlternativeInformant: Do you think the music industry needs to change? If so why?

Jah Jah Yute
The music industry is evolving as we speak. The ability to digitally download music and to be able to market yourself on the internet, like on Myspace, has made the industry change. Where the change will take us I don't know, I am going to just kept making music.

AlternativeInformant: What do you find most enjoyable about creating music?

Jah Jah Yut
e: The spiritual connection with The Lord and the message he gives me to deliver to his people is so wonderful.

AlternativeInformant: How did your name, Jah Jah Yute come about?

Jah Jah Yute: People in my community called me Jah Yute because of the message in my music. When African Symbol heard the message of my music in his recording studio in Montego Bay, Jamaica, He called me Jah Jah Yute.

AlternativeInformant: Finally, what does the future hold for Jah Jah Yute?

Jah Jah Yute: To continue to deliver the message of The Almighty.

To Purchase digital downloads of Jah Jah Yute's music click on the picture below.

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