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newdirection

New Direction: An Exploration of Music’s Greatest Image Makers

newdirection

It’s fair to say that the humble music video is amidst a highly anticipated and totally welcomed resurgence. After exploding during the late 1980s and early 1990s alongside the indoctrination of MTV as the cultural influencer and instigator we’ve come to recognise it as, music videos then became somewhat of an afterthought in the 2000s. A weird landscape filled with awkward product placement and clunky new media haphazardly thrown into the melting pot while artists, directors and producers alike busied themselves grappling with just what the www’s had in store for their industry. While major brands like MAC, Coke, Samsung and Pepsi, all benefited from this awkward coming of age period by jumping into bed with the Britney Spears’ and Fergie’s of the world, the true power and potential of ye’ old music video as an artistic pursuit seemed to have fallen down the back of the couch to gather dust. Admittedly, the early 2000s subjected us to our fair share of girls on film, less plot, narrative or character development. Cue music, start dancing, start filming has seemingly been the go to formula for music videos for the better part of the noughties.

Recently however, this has begun to change as we slowly dig ourselves out of the thong-laden, booty shakin’ void, one video clip at a time. From the narrative formula of Lady Gaga’s controversial Telephone epic, to the raise-your-left-hand-and-twist-at-the-wrist motion synonymous with Beyonce’s Single Ladies track now engrained in our cultural consciousness as a go-to saturday night move, the music video is steadily being restored to its former position atop not only the hyped-up MTV mountain but, with the top 5 most viewed videos on Youtube being music clips, it’s seemed to have conquered the internet as well. In recent weeks, news regarding Sia’s Chandelier clip has been plastered across Pitchfork, Sterogum, Vulture, and Rolling Stone to name a few and generates more than 26,900,000 Google results in less than a quarter of a second, making instant celebrity of both 11 year old dancer Maddie Ziegler and director Daniel Askill. Current reigning king of the music video world, Nabil Elderkin, debuted his offering for Little Dragons’ track Pretty Girls to a similar response less than two weeks ago. As a follow up to the band’s clip for Klap Klap, it’s clear directors and artists are once again harnessing the story and cinematic scope of music videos. Like Lana Del Rey’s Tropicano of 2013 directed by Anthony Mandler and Beyonces’, well Beyonce album, music videos are becoming a world unto their own, unshackled from the time limits of their audio instigators, winding their way through narrative constructs, and characters, coming in two part series and extended versions. Here we have a look at a few of the music video directors from the 80s to now responsible for crafting the medium.

Today’s Go To Guy: Nabil Elderkin 

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Having aligned himself with the Future R&B movement and directed clips for the likes of Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, James Blake, FKA Twigs and Bon Iver, if you know anything about the music video industry at the moment, it’s likely to be Elderkin’s name. From small beginnings as a surfing photographer that grew up in Port Macquarie before moving to Chicago, it was Elderkin’s desire to photograph a then-unknown rapper, Kanye West , that gave him his first break. Upon registering the domain name www.kanyewest.com on a whim, Roc-A-Fella records contacted Elderkin three weeks later to buy it back off him. Uninterested in money, Elderkin transferred the domain name in exchange for a photo shoot with the artist. These images went on to be the Kanye’s first publicity photos and the beginning of an on-going collaboration between the two that has since spawned Mercy, The Coldest winter and a coffee table book

The Diva’s Director: Jake Nava

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Before Beyonce surprised the world with her explosive visual album, Beyonce, there were few people in the world privy to its creation. This man, Jake Nava, was one of those chosen few. Having worked with Beyonce during her Destiny’s Child days and again when she was Crazy in Love, Nava directed three of the videos to feature on Beyonce, including Flawless, the bonus Grown Woman clip and the NSFW, comes-laden-with-parental-advisory-warnings, Partition. Nava is also the man we can thank for those hours spent in front of YouTube attempting to learn the Single Ladies choreography, a video that has since listed by The Times as the 3rd Most Influential Music Video of All Time and is an exemplary demonstration of what happens when perfect production meets perfect direction in the music industry (we all end up waving our hands in the air asking strange men to put a ring on it).

When he’s not busying himself with Yonce, Nava is the darling of the divas, having directed Mariah Carey’s Shake it off, Adele’s Someone Like You, Emeli Sande’s Heaven and made breakfast foods incredibly suggestive while  Kelis Milkshake brought all the boys to the yard.

In 2011 Nava placed 5th in Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Music Video Directors’ and has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, and, all time trump card, The Spice Girls

 

The MTV Mastermind: Spike Jonze

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Joining Propaganda Film’s in 1997, Spike Jonze has been credited with rendering the aesthetic of the hazy MTV generation at the height of its influence. A big call for a then fresh faced director with roots in the LA skateboard community? Perhaps, but let’s not forget, this is the same man that won 4 MTV Music Video Awards for his 1994 work on The Beastie Boys’ anthem, Sabotage, anticipated the entire Youtube obsession with flash mobs in his video for Fat Boy Slim’s Praise you, and convinced Christopher Walken to dance up and down escalators around the LA Marriott for the band’s follow up hit, Weapon of Choice, for which he won a 2001 MTV Video Music award as well as the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video. Sounds like MTV, right? 

It was also Jonze’s brilliant idea to cast children as hip-hop royalty in The Notoroius B.I.G’s Sky’s The Limit, and weird everyone out with his back to the future tactic of placing Weezer on stage at Happy Day’s institution Arnold’s for their Buddy Holly clip. Look closely and you’ll see The Fonz singing along. Weird. 

More recently, Spike Jonze collaborated with Arcade Fire for The Suburbs, and co-directed Flashing Lights with Kanye, proving that all you really need for a great video clip is some slow-mo and a semi-clad Playboy model with a serious walk on her. A similar tactic was obviously utilised for Kate Beckinsale and the Underworld series. Walk on.

The Believe the Hype: Hype Williams

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Harold ‘Hype’ Williams began directing music videos in 1991 with an unwavering desire to focus on what a song sounded like, and draw visual cues from there. Sounds simple enough, right? This crystalline, no bullshit approach to projecting the narrative of a song and the true nature of its singer onto the screen led him to be named Best Director of the Year at the 1996 Billboard Music Video Awards and gain the 1998 MTV Video Music Award in the Best Rap Video category for his work with Will Smith on Gettin’ Jiiggy Wit It. Hype Williams successfully did for hip hop music videos in the early 90s, what Timbaland and Aayilah did for the for the soundscape of the genre at the same time. Working with everyone from Brandy to Boyz II Men, 2pac to Nas, TLC to Aaliyah, and Missy Elliot to Ashanti, Williams also found time to collaborate some 20 times with Kanye West since 2005, shoot Mrs West’s Playboy cover of 2006 and capture Beyonce grindin’ on dat wood, for her lesson in the art of seduction, Drunk In Love. Hint, you need a beach. 

The Madonna Man: David Fincher

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Inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, arguably the world’s leading music video director of the 80s and 90s, David Fincher, set his sights on a career in directing as young as 8 years old. Before directing feature films such as Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and that infinitely forgettable blip otherwise known as Fight Club, the 1980s saw Fincher co-found Propaganda Films, a music video and film production company that, come 1990, was responsible for producing a third of all music videos made in the US at the height of MTV’s reign and now counts Nigel Dick, of Britney Spears’, Baby One More Time fame, and Spike Jonze, of well… Spike Jonze fame, among its alumni. 

Despite this clear and independent success, in a 2008 interview Madonna declared she was responsible for the trajectory of David Fincher’s career after the pair worked on her 1989 hit Express Yourself and pulled the iconic video for the 1990 Madonna classic, Vogue, together in less than a week. Fincher won back-to-back awards for his work with Madonna and after a relatively dormant period on the music video front during the early 2000s, came back swinging with Justin Timberlake’s Suit & Tie released on Valentines day earlier this year. With its deliberate use of black and white and an unapologetic Art-deco aesthetic, Digital Journal called it “Fincher’s music video masterpiece,” and earned him his third VMA. 

Fincher has also directed music videos for Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and more Paula Abdul than anyone should ever be subjected to.

The Honorable Mention: Nigel Dick

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This Dick gave the world Britney SpearsBaby One More Time. Nuff said.  

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In a dream world commercial radio would look like this…

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Commercial radio has always been whinged about. In fact, I’m yet to hear anyone who raves about Commercial radio. Despite the emergence of spotify, iPod inputs in cars and digital music in general, what radio plays continues to translate to sales. And while sales nowadays also put pressure on radio to play high-selling tracks, if radio takes a chance on something, it usually means the public does also.

This week the radio airplay charts are a grim sight. The only Australian act that features is Justice Crew and they’re followed by international artists Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz (Yeah, us either) and The Madden Brothers. The number one song, Nico & Vinz’s Am I Wrong was spun 898 times just this week. Compare those artists to any of the Best of 2014 lists doing the rounds and you’re likely to find no similarities.

It’s an age old question but why does radio seem so mundane? It comes down to the fact that it doesn’t like to take risks. Trend-wise it follows American radio playlists and, to some extent, British radio, meaning that it rarely gets to dictate what should be played in the way a station like the UK’s BBC Radio 1 can.

I spoke to the Music Editor at News Limited, Kathy McCabe last year who said, “Commercial radio in Australia is pretty much programmed mainly by what’s happening in America. A few British artists sneak through but it still tends to take its cue from whatever Ryan Seacrest is doing.” This hits the nail on the head. Australian radio is suffering from a lack of innovation as it is so far down the cultural food chain.

This may also be the reason that radio shies away from home-grown talent. 12 of the top 40 artists played on radio this week are Australian. While that may seem positive, this includes Iggy Azalea, Sia and Five Seconds of Summer who spend more time away from the country than in it at present. It’s also interesting to note, that all of them bar one (Sheppard) are signed to a major label.

McCabe told me “We still seem to have this bizarre cultural cringe in terms of the support of Australian music that should be far more fundamental particularly on the airwaves.” The cultural cringe is often what prevents Australian artists from reaching commercial radio. Iggy Azelea found it onto Australia radio but not until she was adopted in America with a record that has no Australian fingerprints on it, really.

It’s worthwhile to look at the fact that on the rare occasion a track that sounds less commercial crosses over it ends up doing pretty well. There’s a little song called Somebody That I Used To Know that shot Australian, Wally de Backer to the top of the charts in this country and then all around the world.

In 2007, Gotye won Best Male Artist at the ARIA Awards to a collective “who?” At the time his album had failed to make the top 20, while none of his singles had charted. Heart’s A Mess was the album’s first single, a song that has now featured on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

Somebody I Used To Know wasn’t a record made for commercial radio but was one that was swiftly adopted when its video went viral. Without that video, one could speculate that the record never would’ve made it to commercial radio.

A few more examples of songs that have crossed over into the mainstream include Flume’s Holdin’ On, The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy and Lana Del Rey’s Video Games. The three of them sounded completely foreign on commercial radio but with each play a revolution was started. Flume is now the most sought-after electronic artist in the country, the Black Keys have been upgraded to an arena-band and Lana Del Rey has just debuted atop the ARIA charts with her sophomore record, Ultraviolence.

Turns out being different ain’t such a bad thing.

It’s easy to whinge but hard to come up with any solutions to commercial radio’s problems. So, below are a few artists that would find a comfy home on commercial radio while keeping their innovative edge, independent status and creative control.

Meg Mac

22 year-old Megan McInerney has only released three tracks but already she’s carving a name for herself on Triple J, having already taken on the infamous Like A Version. Her tracks have a straight-forward simplicity to them with optimistic pop-hooks that would be delectable to commercial radio. If radio were to take a chance on a young Australian artists, my money would be on Mac.

An alternative to: Adele, Sara Bareilles

Most radio-ready track: Roll Up Your Sleeves

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/megmacmusic/meg-mac-roll-up-your-sleeves[/soundcloud]

Why she’s not on radio: She’s a self-made artist who is neither flashy nor self-gratuitous. Had she been a winner of The Voice, her tracks would be eaten up by radio.

Thomston

Let it be known that I have nothing against Lorde, but she didn’t exactly make it to the top from nowhere. At 13, she was signed to Universal Music Group which certainly helps with radio airplay. Segue from that to 18 year-old Kiwi artist, Thomston, who’s just released his debut EP Argonaut. His dark, pop tunes could be the perfect antidote to some of the over-thought music coming from male songwriters at the moment. It’s got the sort of electronic undertones that radio is devouring right now.

An alternative to: Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith

Most radio-ready track: Anaesthetic

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thomston/anaesthetic[/soundcloud]

Why he’s not on radio: Being a young, unsigned artists from New Zealand doesn’t really bode well for you on radio here.

M.O.

Girl bands have had a resurgence of late but if you look at the radio charts you wouldn’t know. There isn’t one to be seen in the top 40. M.O. are three girls from London making ‘90s throwback R&B. It’s full of great pop hook, bouncin’ beats and perfect harmonies. Think TLC with a hint of Destiny’s Child.

An alternative to: Little Mix, Neon Jungle

Most radio-ready track: Dance On My Own

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/momusicofficial[/soundcloud]

Why they’re not on radio: It’s beyond me. The ball is in Britain’s court. Once they catch on, Australia will follow.

LANY

This Nashville trio is slightly too enigmatic at this point to make it in the mainstream, but their songs suggest otherwise. With four tracks to their name so far, they’re showing a knack for velvety, synth-pop. It’s melodic enough to stick to radio and also has enough street cred to see it on Triple J’s playlists as well.
An alternative to: Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz

Most radio-ready track: ILYSB

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thisislany/ilysb[/soundcloud]

Why they’re not on radio: They’re far too mysterious right now. Radio doesn’t like that. It wants somebody who’s going to say “This is LANY and you’re listening to the hottest radio station on the planet”.

Liz

Liz is the First Lady of Diplo’s label Mad Decent and she’s producing damn fine, millennium RnB. She evokes nostalgia from the golden days of pop/RnB when Britney was queen and Xtina was the dirrrrtiest gal around. Touches of Ryan Hemsworth-esque electronica ensure that Liz sounds contemporary while having a throwback sound. It’s as if she was the sole survivor of the dreaded millennium bug.

An alternative to: Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj

Most radio-ready track: All Them Boys

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/maddecent/liz-all-them-boys-jeff068[/soundcloud]

Why she’s not on radio: She’s channeling an RnB sound that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. While the RnB revolution has flooded online blogs, Ariana Grande is perhaps the first artist to bring it to radio. Hold tight Liz-lovers.

 

Here’s the full list of what we would play if we got to take over the radio for a day:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/in-a-perfect-world-commercial[/soundcloud]

 

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Auto-Tune: A Short History

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As if we were touched by a musical angel overnight, the original vocals for Britney Spears’ demo track ‘Alien’, from her 2013 album Britney Jean, were leaked to the cyber world. Here we find her stripped naked (metaphorically I would hope), and left without the trusty safety blanket of Auto-Tune.

Let’s just say it was not her finest effort, and to celebrate this momentous occasion we have decided to take a short trip down memory lane and visit some our favourite moments in pitch correction music’s history.

Auto-Tune; This is your life….. 

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The Humble Beginnings

Cher ‘Believe’ (1998)

Cher’s late-nineties comeback to music and the worldwide gay community was marked with the release of her, warped, robotic vocal effect single ‘Believe’. At this time, no one had seriously considered the use of Antares’ Auto-Tune pitch correction software as a recording “special effect,” however Cher says that when she heard the sound she demanded it be left in the recording. Good life decision Cher. While this track was incredibly successful it was also polarising as it represented the ‘sound of the future,’ or, as some may call it, the “Cher effect.”

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The Millennium

Daft Punk ‘One More Time’ (2000)

Who better to ring in the new millennium than French helmeted-duo Daft Punk, with their Auto-Tune anthem ‘One More Time’. After already using vocorder-distored vocals in their timeless hit ‘Around the World’ they turned to the blessed Auto-Tune with the addition of singer Ramanthony. Despite being met with some harsh criticism as to their use of technology, ‘One More Time’ peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in 2000, and is one of the duo’s few charting songs in the US, reaching 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 – likening the criticisms to those levelled in the early days of synthesisers in pop music. 

Synths, pfffft. Who uses them in the music industry now?

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The Serial Offender

Kanye West ‘808s and Heartbreak’ (2008)

Some artists do it with a song, others make an album of it. Kanye West is a serial Auto-Tuner. His 2008 album release, 808s and Heartbreak, has stylised voice manipulation plastered all over it. In classic Kanye style he used it without a reason or excuse, with tracks like ‘Heartless’ and ‘Love Lock down’ repping Auto-Tune like there is no tomorrow. Instead of leaning on the vocal manipulator as a crutch for some of his arguably shaky singing, Kanye harnesses technology as an instrument and if you hate it – he doesn’t care. He is Kanye West and he’s the best.

CLICK HERE to see Kanye’s latest Auto-Tuned rant at Wireless Festival!

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The Good 

Bon Iver ‘Woods’ (2008)

It may no means requires a high level of production for indie icon and Auto-Tune enthusiast Bon Iver to create a beautiful atmospheric song, rich crafty pitch shifting goodness. All Justin Vernon’s fine voice needs is to be run through a phase-vocoder and repeat the same paragraph of lyrics 11 times, before concluding with a final momentous built up tension. For indie noobs, this song is most commonly known as the  sample in Kanye “Serial Auto-Tuner” West’s track ‘Lost in the World.’

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The Bad

Rebecca Black ‘Friday’ (2011)

I am speechless. No words can be used to describe this piece of utter lyrical genius.

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The One You Have Been Waiting For

Britney Spears ‘Alien’ Demo (2013)

It’s Britney Bitch.

What was allegedly said to be a 2013 warm-up tape of the Las Vegas Starlet in Residence, this very raw demo leaves us all feeling that little bit better about our own karaoke voices.

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And of course…The Virals

One Direction ‘Story of My Life’ (2014)

For those who do not call themselves One Direction fans *cue crying, screaming girls, fainting and a like*, be prepared to instantly fall in love with the superstar heartthrobs. The concept is quite simple, Shred Videos. Videos which craftily remove the audio of some of the world’s biggest music acts and replace them with a ridiculous, yet convincing, auto-tuned version of their song. The end result is a hilariously butchered piece of viral brilliance. You’re welcome:

 

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6 Music Acts That Disappeared

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Sometimes, when an artist is at the peak of their career and you have decided they are your current favourite band, they up and disappear, without so much of a musical trace. Was it fame-related cold feet? Or simply time to move on? Read below for 6 music acts that were on the airwaves non-stop, before being sucked into the black hole, with some never to be heard from again.

Missing Persons: Fleet Foxes

You probably remember American indie folk band Fleet Foxes from their 2008 hit Mykonos or the 2011 Triple J-rotational, Lorelai.

With their second EP, Sun Giant, and first and second albums, Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues respectively, all receiving critical acclaim, their future looked bright but, alas, it seems as though their success was fleeting (pardon the pun).

In January 2012, drummer J Tillman announced that he had left the band. That didn’t stop speculations of a third album, with the remainder of Fleet Foxes stirring the pot by posting on their Facebook page in June 2013  an image of a laptop, microphone and guitar, titled “Step one”, followed by an image of a broken mandolin, titled “Step two”. The dream was crushed however with the deletion of both posts and lead singer, Robin Pecknold, declaring that the band was splitting for the time being and he was relocating to New York City to study.

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Missing Persons: Parachute Youth

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/parachuteyouth/sets/parachute-youth-main[/soundcloud]

Remember that Summer tune to end all Summer tunes in 2012? It seemed as though big things were in store for the Australian duo, described as “one of the hottest prospects in Aussie electronic music”, with appearances at Splendour in the Grass and Homebake and Can’t Get Better Than This amassing almost 6 million hits on YouTube.

It seems as though things didn’t get better than that for friends Johnny Castro and Mathew K Von, with the band splitting up promptly after the release of their January ‘14 track Runaway. Reliable sources have told me that Castro has now signed to Atlantic Records / Warner Music under the moniker of Yeah Boy, with an EP Can’t Get Enough coming out in May. And his other half? Through my finest detective work to date, I have discovered that on July 6th of this year, Von updated his Facebook profile picture. Thrilling stuff.

Meanwhile, fans of the now extinct band are holding on, still trying to figure out the vocal hook in Can’t Get Better Than This.

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Missing Persons: Kisschasy

Remember when Australian rock band Kisschasy told us that Opinions Won’t Keep You Warm At Night? 

Over their 10 year career, the band released two gold certified studio albums, two extended plays, a documentary DVD and compilation album, while also selling an excess of 90,000 records.

In 2009, Kisschasy took their new album, Seizures, on tour around Australia, coinciding with their Channel V Oz Artist of the Year win. They were then announced as part of the first lineup for the 2010 Big Day Out, also performing at Southbound, MS Fest, Pushover and 2010 Groovin’ The Moo. So where are they now? 

Their location is still unconfirmed but ever-reliable source, Wikipedia, has quoted:

“Despite not having released a fourth masterpiece in almost five years, Kisschasy are not dead and do occasionally tour. Many have speculated that rather than touring, the band needs to get their asses in the studio and crank out some new tunes.”

Missing Person: Daniel Merriweather

Many of you will remember Australian R&B recording artist Daniel Merriweather from his 2007 collaboration with Mark Ronson, for the cover of The Smiths‘ Stop Me.

After winning numerous awards, performing with the likes of Mark Ronson, Scribe, P-Money and Kanye West, and also appearing on David Letterman in 2010, it seemed that the Stop Me singer was unstoppable. But then he mysteriously disappeared, with his Soundcloud page not showing a trace until 2013, with the update of the news of collaborations with both The Bamboos and Wordlife.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/word-life/daniel-merriweather-x-wordlife[/soundcloud]

There have been no musical follow-ups since but a reliable source (AKA Twitter) has led me to believe that, unlike aforementioned Kisschasy, Merriweather has since gotten his ‘ass into the studio’ to ‘crank out some new tunes’.

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He’d better get to releasing soon because his fans are getting antsy. “#justsayin”

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Missing Persons: Black Kids

American indie rock band Black Kids had us jumping around on the dancefloor with their two hits Hurricane Jane and I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.  With their debut EP, Wizard of Ahhhs, receiving critical acclaim in 2007 and their album, Partie Traumatic, debuting at #5 on the UK Albums Chart in July 2008, the Kids’ futures looked bright. But, alas, they too fell into the black hole of musicians.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/songday/black-kids-im-not-gonna-teach[/soundcloud]

 

Was it perhaps the ‘new rules’ enforced on the music industry that caused such a sudden disappearance?

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Sources have confirmed that the cause of disappearance was something much less news-worthy, with the reason being that the Kids have simply grown up, focusing on other creative avenues and abiding by the laws of nature.

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Amidst procreating and not being dead, Black Kids started recording again in early 2013 with new songs Clocks and Wake Up, touring Brazil and the East Coast of the United States, and, according to their Facebook, are about to commence another tour in a month’s time.

Missing Persons: Operator Please

Operator Please, the first band to discuss such a deep topic as the act of Ping Pong, were formed way back in 2005 to enter their school’s Battle of the Bands. After winning the competition, the pop group went on to release the singles, Get What You Want, Leave It Alone, Just a Song About Ping Pong and their debut studio album, Yes Yes Vindictive. 

After winning an ARIA Award in 2007 for Breakthough Artist, the five-piece went on several national tours and played at a variety of festivals, including Splendour in the Grass, Stonefest and Big Day Out. In January 2011, Operator Please released their fifth and final single from their second album, Gloves, with the last appearance from the band being their tour with Sparkadia. 

The band never officially split, but friends close to the source have informed that they’ve been inactive since 2011, with the band members focusing on separate projects.

Keyboardist, Chris Holland, and drummer, Tim Commandeur, formed the duo group Colour Coding and released their debut Proof in March 2012, before suffering the same fate as their original band and declaring a hiatus in November 2013. Commandeur is now the drummer for Sydney electronic band, Panama. 

Lead singer, Amandah Wilkinson  is still performing, and looking remarkably different, under the moniker of Bossy Love. She released her debut EP, Me + You (not to be confused with Disclosure’s You & Me) in October 2013.

Which other music acts have disappeared without a trace? Tweet me at @bianca_interns and I’ll do some detective work for you. 

 

saturdaymix2

the interns’ Saturday Mix #2

saturdaymix2It’s that time again! That little bundle of joy that graces us every week, the weekend, has arrived once again. So you’ve already filled your music library with the myriad of tunes we gave you last week and you are in luck again; the second instalment of the interns’ Saturday Mix is here to be your musical wingman.

Slumber Session – David Douglas: Soundtrack to your weekend.

This week we enter the dream world of Dutch producer and video director, David Douglas. Every moment of this mix is utterly cinematic, providing the perfect backing soundtrack to your weekend. Hit 8 minutes and you are James Bond, ready to suave yourself around the town. Hit 16 minutes and you are cruising the streets as the sun sets and the wind is blowing in your hair. 30 minutes down, you are oozing sex, feeling Pulp Fiction-naughty. Have fun with this mix – play your favourite character for the night before the reality of Monday slaps you in the face.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/i-d-online-1/slumber-session-david-douglas[/soundcloud]

Discobelle Mix 044 – MSCL – Songs to ease you in

You had a big one last night, and now you have to back it up again. It’s ok, there are some ye olde faithfuls in here to ease you right back into party mode. Motez, Zeds Dead, Josh Butler & John Newman remixes are in the mix to set some solid foundations for another great night and to get your head-bopping. You can do it!

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/mscls/mscls-summer-jams-discobelle-mix-044[/soundcloud]

Chrome Sparks – Fader Mix: Music to impress your new friends

Meeting a new crowd? Being that guy who is the plus-one to a party, and knows no one? Ok, breathe, we have got your back. Whack this baby on the iPod dock after midnight and prepare to start poking the crowd of new friends away with a stick. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Saturday mix should be done. “Thoughtful, beautiful and groovy,” as Chrome Sparks puts it. You will thank us later.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fadermedia/fader-mix-chrome-sparks[/soundcloud]

SLAVA – Ciroc Mix4logo: R&B and Vodka. Enough said

Ciroc – sound familiar? It’s a vodka brand, and you should probably go drink some. Right now.  

This Russian-born New York club weirdo Slava, has created a mix which can only be described as “tracks which have been triple-distilled into a cool sound.” Once again, vodka – I feel there is a trend happening here. This mix is all about the chilled-out vibes, and the mutation of club styles  – the majority of which should be consumed in the home or the bedroom.With R&B favourites Aaliyah and Cassie and the fierce DJ Leo, Rizzla and False Witness, this will leave you drunk and suitably undressed.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/logomagazine/slava-ciroc-mix4logo[/soundcloud]

Kyphosis – Afterlife DnB- Lose your mind

Festival season in Europe has arrived and it is time to re-educate yourself on EDM. Or not – who cares, you are too drunk in the night to actually care what is blasting out of the speakers. Plus, you don’t want to miss the drop and pull the wrong dance move, or even pull a hamstring with your ill-timed rave movements. Young Sydney-based artist Kyphosis is here to give you a master-class on 3am underground club vibes. This epic education on Drum and Bass which will leave you pumping into the early hours of the morning.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/afterlife-drum/kyphosis-at-afterlife-dnb-sydney-28th-june-2014[/soundcloud]

whogivesaship2

Who Gives a Ship?

WHOGIVESASHIP

 

Who really does give a ship? Well, apparently everyone does. What was somewhat of a novelty in 2013, the floating dance music festival has become a hot trend in the electronic music community and buoy are we excited!

Imagine this…lying on a cruise ship off the coast of the Bahamas, cocktail in hand, beach ball flying into your face and your favourite artist cutting the latest tunes on a stage made out of a wooden shipwreck….on a private island. It sounds like heaven, and it is! But before you all rush to go find your floaties and spankiest budgie smugglers – with the great influx of new ships setting sail this year and in 2015 across the Caribbean and even Australia – it is vital to choose the right cruise for you, or you may risk missing the boat altogether!

You could weigh up all your options; cost-to-benefit ratios; the whole “getting time off work” thing; who’s going, and all of the monotonous kind of things which anchor you down everyday. Orrrrrr the only true way to decide which live-changing cruise is for you, is to look at their promotional videos – a full-on glorified version of what to expect while aboard this floating rave dungeons.

Here are some of the hottest new floating music festivals paddling around:

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Holy Ship! (Ye olde faithful voyage)

January 2-6 and February 18-21 2015

Every year, Destructo‘s Hard Events boast the hottest event on the open seas, with babes, booze, beaches and beats of Titanic proportions. Ask for something new each year, and they shall deliver. The Mecca of all the festival ships, Holy Ship! is at it again, but this time they are on for two separate sailings in early 2015. That’s right, #twoweekends ladies and gentlemen, get excited. We’ve all seen the after movie – and probably cried over a bowl of ice-cream, wishing you were there…or maybe that was just me. Watching Zedd hanging out with his fans, Laidback Luke run a yoga class, and Dillon Francis playing poker and being classic Dillon Francis, it all looks incredible. The catch is, this school of fish is very a exclusive bunch. A little somethin’ somethin’ they don’t sign-post on the promotional video, if you managed to tear your eyes away from the boobies, is that the first run of tickets go straight to those have sailed before. My advice, stay on the boat and never leave it.

Where: Miami, Bahamas

LineupKnife Party, Pretty Lights, Flume and Boys Noize. for Weekend 1. Meanwhile, Weekend 2 boasts Skrillex, Fatboy Slim, Baauer and DJ Snake at the top of the bill. Also added, Adelaide producer Motez!

Verdict: “You can’t ship with us” – if you have decided you wanted to go on Holy Ship! now, its already too late, its sold out.

Major-Lazer

Mad Decent (theinterns Pick)

November 12-16 2014

Video: OK, so the video wasn’t very informative. Funny, but not informative.

Just imagine picking up the best music and artists from the 2014 Holy Ship! boat and dropping them all onto another cruise. That’s exactly what you get with the Mad Decent Boat Party. Mad Decent are the bona fide experts at throwing the most epic, sweaty, dirty, sexy, mind-blowing block parties, and just adding a splash of water will not change this. Diplo is your party king, and Dillon Francis is the mighty Jester. Prepare to bow down in awe of their music and their Jamaican anthemic sound. Expect a lot of amazing guest performers and to lose your shirt instantaneously.

Where: Who actually cares!?  The Bahamas, somewhere awesome.

Line-up: Diplo, Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, Flosstradamus, DJ Snake, Kill the noise, Netsky, Wave Racer, Cashmere Cat, Benni Benassi, Nina Las Vegas…..

Verdict: “Prepared to get shipfaced”. This will be the ride of your life.

Untitled

All Gone To Sea – Pete Tong (Verdict’s still out)

6-10th November 2014

The original, the don, the master, the boss…he is Pete Tong. He is the father of electronic dance music and the mentor to some of the biggest names in music we know today. Hats off to the guy, he has a lot of great friends in high places.

Does it look like the hottest party going around? No. Does it look like maybe some of the DJs look a little past their use-by dates? Maybe. However, the line-up does look awfully seductive and do not let age fool you – this guy knows what he is doing.

Where: Miami FL, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos

Line-up: Calvin Harris, Steve Angello, Pete Tong, Nervo, Above & Beyond, R3HAB, Anna Lanoe, Chris Lake, Botnek…and so on.

Verdict: “Sink or swim? Pete Tong it’s hard to go wrong”

download

Your Paradise (Aussie Underdog)

Novemebr 19-22 2014

Short teaser video, but packs a punch. It is a-boat time that the Aussie talent stepped up to the plate and hosted their own tropic music festival. Fiji is an epic location and while it may not be a cruise liner in the Caribbean, it is close and affordable. Plus, for those who can’t handle the motion of the ocean, this may be exactly the tropical adventure for you!

Where: Fiji, private tropical island

Line-up: Alison Wonderland, Peking Duck, Jack Beats, Touch Sensitive, LDRU, Golden Features, Safia… and a whole list more of Aussie talent.

Verdict: “Got us, hook, line and sinker!”

36eee_1729048

 Floating Groove Festival (Participation Award)

October 2-5 2014

This little gem just popped up on the radar as one of the floating ships to hop aboard. Well if the awesome graphics of the promo video haven’t already sold you then I don’t know what will!

It tells us it’s “the world’s largest floating dance music festival.” Well that is impressive for a start. As one of the first ships to leave port this year, I am sure it will go out with a splash, however it just doesn’t dazzle us as much as the others. It’s a tough market, this whole ‘music festival paradise’ thing.

Where: Catalina Island & Mexico (Departing from Los Angeles)

Line-up: Erick Morillo, Morgan Page, Hard Rock Sofa, Project 46, Hook N Sling, Borgeous, Monday Night Social, Control, Traxsource, A.W.O.L. and Rollingtuff……..?????? No idea who any of these are? My thoughts exactly.

Verdict: “I am not shore this is a good idea.” 

 

TTJult

Throwaway Thursdays

TTJult

There was once a time when the only way to get free music was to enter a record store, find your desired CD, remove the security tag and quietly slip it into your bag. Thankfully, Napster fixed that and now artists are even providing a legal way to download free music. Each week a plethora of free music passes our inbox and SoundCloud stream, so we’ve decided to start placing it in a tidy playlist for you.

This week there’s new tunes from Vic Mensa, xxyyxx and a Fancy remix from Motez up for free download meaning you can put your $2.19 to better use. There’s also free mixes from Chrome Sparks (who features in our Top 20 Songs of 2014) and Ara Koufax, previously known as Naysayer and Gilsun. So, get clicking. Most of these are so free you can’t even find them on Spotify.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/throwaway-thursdays-3-july[/soundcloud]

future

The New Future of Future R&B

future

The Nineties gave us many things. Scrunchies, light-up sneakers, Sister Act 1 and 2 and the weird assurance that high waisted, terry towelling shorts were always appropriate attire. A Golden Age for all things Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin, it was also an explosive era for R&B with artists like D’Angelo responsible for crafting out the genre as we now know it. Undeniably, that R&B sound so synonymous with the glimmering decade, has outlived many of the artists producing it. It’s since become somewhat of an amorphous, chameleon genre, snaking its way through hip-hop, rap and new soul, as per the patron saint of all we do here at the interns, Solange.

Future R&B is the genre’s most recent and progressive survival tactic. It takes that sonic perfection Timbaland and Aaliyah were once working towards and pushes it further. It’s a movement heavily influenced by the underground with producers like James Blake, Kaytranada, Cashmere Cat, Bondax, Ryan Hemsworth and Jamie XX, all considered integral to reinvigorating the classic, gossamer sounds of Mariah, Janet, Lauryn and Brandy. With access to warm gooey synths, glitchy stilted samples and banging drums, producers have been integral to its arrival come survival on the club scene. While it was initially a genre dominated by male artists nudging open the doors to the new-world possibilities of R&B such as The Weeknd, Drake, Frank Ocean and Miguel, since 2012 ensuring the survival of R&B has been a charge placed firmly in hands of emerging female artists such as Tink, Tinashe, FKA Twigs and Kelela. Now less amorphous than defiantly all-encompassing, it’s a genre open to sparse, minimal beats, dark industrial instrumentals, spoken word, rap, and of course, a whole lot of the electronic synth we know and love. It’s fair to say the honey-drippin’ R&B of the early nighties just got a whole more abrasive and a whole lot more modern.  

Read below to solve your perfect future R&B equation and click here for some serious Future R&B sounds.

Tink

1

Chicago + Lauryn Hill + How to Dress Well = Tink

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tink_g/treat-me-like-somebody[/soundcloud]

At not even 20 years old, this Chicago-based rapper, come certified songstress has been working for everything and then some, steadily carving out a name for herself over the last two years. Eluding easy categorisation, Tink’s honey-flavored narratives oscillate from emotionally-charged R&B vocals lamenting a lover’s infidelity turned unexpected pregnancy (sound like Usher anyone?), to flat out drill raps and get-low hip hop traps. Like 2013’s brash announcement of arrival, Fingers Up, Tink is constantly challenging the gender expectations of Chicago’s male dominated hip-hop scene and is  a unique hook in a city where sky rocketing crime rates and explicit drill music usually hold the limelight. Although Tink’s production choices lack predictability, she moves seamlessly between genres with a matured self assurance, telling of an artist going after what she wants. Having made the decision to remain unassigned Tink has worked with the likes of Chicago locals Lil Durk and Sasha Go Hard, Jeremih, Tom Krell from How to Dress Well and New York’s Future Brown, in addition to releasing four killer mixtapes of her own, from 2013‘s Boss Up to this year’s Winter Garden 2 which attracted a 7.6 from Pitchfork (take that Lana Del Ray).

Described as: A potential long lost member of TLC

You’ll like if: Scrubs aren’t your thing either.

Tinashe

5

LA + Christina Aguilera + Ryan Hemsworth = Tinashe

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/tinashenow/tinashe-vulnerable-feat-travi[/soundcloud]

Young gun Tinashe, cites James Blake, Little Dragon and Bon Iver among her major influences and grew up in a Californian household filled with Sade, The Jacksons, Whitney Houston, and Mariah Carey while learning how to sing by mimicking Christina Aguileria’s vocal runs. At first encounter, her voice is yet another light and airy treat, encased in a smooth, oozy post-production caramel, befitting of any young LA hopeful with a girl band history, and a couple of obligatory  TV appearances under her belt. Here however, is where you can check any further assumptions about the trajectory of this girl’s career at the door. Despite being signed to major label RCA Records, Tinshe’s last 3 projects have been almost entirely self-produced, free, downloadable mixtapes, either aided by social media’s infinite connections, or a crowd-sourced effort. With her first official RCA Records debut, Aquarius, a year in the making, she’s made over 100 tracks in the refining process. Dedicated and determined, Tinashe’s music emerges from a dichotomous desire to showcase  her languid, down tempo R&B vocals and the dark, grit of her lyrical content. As she says “I always like to play with stuff that’s more on the darker side of the spectrum… Because I consider myself to have quite a ‘sweet’, quote unquote, voice. It’s high, it’s soft, and so I want to contrast that, have some juxtaposition in the beat. I like there to be a lot of bass, a lot of grit, I like it to be really dark and heavy.” A girl who clearly knows what she’s doing, Tinashe is at the forefront of the future R&B sound and is constantly finding new ways to resurrect  that classic 90s sound through the electronic sound popular today. Tinashe has worked with the likes of Ryan Hemsworth, producer XXYXXA$AP Rocky, Future, Mike WiLL and Travi$ Scott.

Described as: Reminiscent of Cassie or Aaliyah

You’ll like if: You know what’s good for you.

FKA Twigs

FKAAA

London + Septum piercings + sex = FKA Twigs

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/talea_color/fka-twigs-two-weeks-2014[/soundcloud]

Unless you run scared at the thought of feeling a little tingle between your thighs, or are having an enduring dry spell, you’ve undoubtedly heard of, slash shuddered to, the sounds of Young Turks artist FKA Twigs. Carnal like no other, Twigs’ catalogue, EP1 and EP2, is filled with sparse, stripped-back, down right naked and staccato pulses that quiver below a perfected whisper of superhuman falsetto. Unlike the narrative turns and story telling of Tink, who similarly debuted in 2012, FKA deals with the deed less plot fillers and supplementary characters. Water Me, Papa Pacify and most recently Two Weeks, are straight up sex jams to rival the pinacle of all sex jams, R. Kelly classic Bump N’ Grind.

Described as: A contemporary Aaliyah, as remixed by the xx or the Weeknd,

You’ll like if: Sex. Just sex.

Kelela

7

Washington D.C. + Faith Evans + You have a subscription to Beyonce’s blog = Kelela

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/fadetomind/kelela-cherry-coffee-prod-jam[/soundcloud]

Kelela remembers hearing Aaliyah’s 1 in a Million for the first time, while driving down the streets of her home town and becoming instantly obsessed. Obsessed in a way, that from that moment forward, Aaliyah, Faith Evans, Mariah, all divas of the day, would infect, and take over her production. Mixing and melting within her to form a unique take on an already contemporary sound. With a desire to be deliberately off-putting, interrupt the space and baffle people in the best way possible, Kelela’s brand of Future R&B, is like an ice-cream melting with the promise of a brain freeze: In your face, and jarring but irresistible and totally undeniable. Having released her mixtape The Cut 4 Me, in September 2013, Kelela has  been signed to Solange’s label Saint Heron, worked with the likes of Night Slugs, Jam City, Tink and Girl Unit, and, keeping it in the family, has featured on Beyonce’s blog.

Described as: Brandy but weirder

You’ll like if: Kelela has said “If nobody likes the mixtape, I’ll be pretty comfortable with that, honestly, because I finally got out what I meant to say.” So maybe, you like if you don’t like to like? Like totally? 

Head to page 2 for a playlist featuring the future of RnB

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City Spotlight: Stockholm, Sweden

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City spotlight is a new bi-weekly feature where the interns go behind a particular city looking to uncover its musical trends and cool hangs.  This week we’re taking a trip to the pop kingdom of Stockholm, Sweden. 

It’s common knowledge that Sweden is a purveyor of all things perfect. Known for ABBA, meatballs and Ikea, predominantly, Sweden and in particular its capital city has become almost a metaphorical pleasantville. Behind the beautiful harbour and historic buildings, there’s a music scene that has gone from strength-to-strength in the passed decade. It’s trademark genre is undoubtedly pop with artists like Robyn, Fever Ray and Lykke Li all hailing from the country. What’s most impressive is that the Swedish mainstream is largely accepting of a more left-of-centre brand of pop. As such, Stockholm is playing host to a number of up and coming pop and electronic artists, with well-curated record labels and interesting venues with more to offer than most cities. Take a trip with us through Stockholm, as we take a look at the most exciting venues, artists and record labels in the city of Stockholm right now.

Click below to explore the various facets of Stockholm’s music scene. 

VENUES artists labels

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