2007

Blues Nights are Legendary

By Kelly O’Grady
09/11/2007

Since the Perth Blues Club was established in 1992 in the iconic Charles Hotel, its legendary Tuesday night blues sessions have drawn in some of the biggest and most well known blues musicians.

Located in North Perth, the Charles Hotel has hosted some of the biggest blues entertainers over the years and its list reads like a who’s who of local, national and international artists.

The reason for its continued success? Andrew Witt, treasurer of the Perth Blues Club, believes it’s a matter of old fans returning.

“The audience that grew up with that exposure have been indelibly stamped and now as their lives are stretching beyond the fifty year age group and the kids are going or gone, they are heading back to the pubs to rejoin the movement.

“Obviously some of this tradition is passed onto the next generation which breeds the new generation of blues musicians,” he said.

The Blues nights were initially developed by the Perth Blues Club to promote local, national and international blues acts, and provide an opportunity for blues enthusiasts to meet some of their idols.

Mr Witt said: “Perth has a long tradition of blues music stretching back to the early sixties and was massively popular through the late sixties, seventies and into the eighties until disco killed everything in its path.

“Luckily the blues tradition has survived with the musicians who started it and continue it till this day.”

Rick Steele and Jeff Harrison, the ‘founding fathers’ of the Perth Blues Club, came up with the idea of a blues club in 1989 and set out converting their plans into reality.

Instrumental in their reality was Alex Dixon. He helped persuade the Charles Hotel to become the venue for a blues club night to be held every Tuesday.

Initially held in Charlie’s Bar, a small pub at Charles Hotel, the blues nights were simply jamming sessions. Slowly, word about the event started to get around and attendance numbers for the Tuesday night blues sessions began to grow.

These initial jamming sessions, informal as they were, were the catalyst for many musical collaborations and partnerships that would subsequently make important contributions to the Perth blues scene.

It was not uncommon for a casual visitor to find themselves up on stage performing in front of a small crowd of 30 or so blues fans.

Blues fan Lynne Cummane witnessed blues icon Paul O’Brien make his debut at the Club.

“I remember this young guy playing with Gary Campbell for about 40 minutes and he was just like the big American blues artists.

“Paul was an exceptional artist and I probably went to all his gigs,” she said.

O’Brien made his debut at the blues nights by wowing the audience with an impromptu performance of his Stevie Ray-inspired style. O’Brien would later form the band Bearfootin’ with legendary blues singer Gary Campbell.

Another collaboration to emerge from the Charles Hotel was Indigo Duck, featuring blues singers John Chopping and Jess Harrison. The band was one of the most enduring and popular bands formed by Club members.

Indigo Duck released three albums and continues to perform today, playing gigs all over Australia.

By 1994 the popularity of the Perth Blues Club had grown and the blues nights were moved to the main room of the Charles Hotel. Newly elected Club President John Chopping abolished the jam sessions and introduced a formally produced show where musicians were booked and paid to perform.

The Club booked its first international act in February 1996 and lined up Charlie Musslewhite to play to a sell-out crowd. This was to be the first of many international artists performing at the Charles Hotel.

Bondi Cigars and Lucky Oceans are just a couple of the big stars who have played at the club.

Charles Hotel Manager Chris Angelkov recalls some of the best blues performers over the years. “We have also had Charlie Musselwhite, Little Charlie and the Nitecats, Johnnie Johnson, Mat Taylor, Chain and Dave Hole all play here,” he said.

The Perth Blues Club has a reputation for being the best in Australia and one of the best in the world.

Info and image courtesy of 3rd Degree

Sneaky party posse’s new single

By Danielle Hanrahan
02/11/2007

Shooting sneakily to the top of Australia’s dance music scene is Sydney-based outfit, Sneaky Sound System. Launching the group from clubs to the national and international stage was their debut platinum album Sneaky Sound System, which features their latest single Goodbye.

The Sneaky group have been busy since the release of their album in 2006, with tours nationally and internationally filling up the extra pages of their passports as well as becoming recognised as one of Australia’s leading musical acts.

An ode to the musical tastes of the 80s, the fourth single, Goodbye from the group’s highly popular debut album, has three mixes on it, Heat Remix, Goodwill Remix and the Extended Mix. The single differs from their previous work as the lead vocals are taken from MC Double D instead of Connie Mitchell.

According to MGM Distribution the single has already been added to the Hot 30 playlist and was the third most added track of the week it was delivered to radio. The party posse was nominated for six ARIA Awards, coming out of the Acer Arena with two wins – Best Dance Release and Breakthrough Artist in the album category for their self-titled debut.

The group accepted their second ARIA award from comedian Dave Hughes beating Gotye, Hook’n’Sling and Kid Kenobi, poxyMusic and TV Rock. The electro-pop maestros swept the ARIA Awards nominations by having the most nominations including nods in the categories of Best Group and Album of the Year.

The vibrant party formed in 2001 when Black Angus and Double D, two guys with a love for the same music and creating mischief, decided to run a regular Sunday night event at a friend’s club and the foundations for the group were established.

In 2004, Black Angus and MC Double D decided to explore another side of their love for music and creative stylings by forming a record label, Whack Recordings. Enter recording engineer and producer, Peter Dolso where the group were able to start making their own music in a studio formed at Bondi Beach.

A chance meeting in Hyde Park with former Primary vocalist Connie Mitchell was the final ingredient in the explosive dance, electro pop that has made Sneaky Sound System widely popular in Australia and overseas.

The three-piece base most people are familiar with also include Peter Dolso on guitar, Jono Sloan playing the phat bass and lastly, Felix Bloxsom on the drums.

After extensively touring in the UK, Spain and New Zealand, Sneaky Sound System will be touring all across Australia to ensure we haven’t forgotten their name or their sound.

Info and Image courtesy of 3rd Degree

Strength of voice propels Durkin

By Stuart Horton
02/11/2007

It has been said Helen of Troy had a face that launched a thousand ships. For Rachelle Durkin it has been a case of possessing a voice of mythical proportions that has in turn launched a career to a thousand destinations.

Spirited, bright-toned, tremendous – evil? Just four words used to sum up a recent performance by the Australian soprano.

Ms. Durkin is regarded as one of the brightest jewels in Australian opera’s tiara and has received critical acclaim for her recitals. Wentworth Courier reviewer Ross Steele penned Ms. Durkin as “surely destined for international stardom”.

Ms Durkin performed a selection of bel canto (Italian for beautiful singing) favourites last night, accompanied by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Her path to a life on stage took off in 2001 when she won the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and joined the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindeman Young Artists Development Program.

Ms. Durkin has since soared to heights previously reached only by her falsetto. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras – of Three Tenors fame, Barry Humphries, Greg Norman and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani sits alongside travelling to destinations that were once just names printed in the pages of an atlas.

Bilbao, Spain; Salzburg, Austria; Hong Kong and Chicago, USA are just some of the far flung places Durkin’s voice has been heard. And she has quite a reputation.

The Australian newspaper described her recent performance in Handel’s Rinaldo thus: “The spirited, bright-toned Rachelle Durkin brought tremendous vivacity to her role as the evil sorceress Armida demonstrating accuracy, agility, and a strong upper register in her many florid coloratura showpieces.”

Info and Image courtesy of 3rd Degree

Missy Higgins: A new attitude

By Kelly Ogrady
19/10/2007

Discovered in 2001, Missy Higgins has experienced phenomenal success since her first song All for Believing won an unsigned artist competition sponsored by Australian radio station Triple J. At the time, Higgins was a Melbourne high-school student with the dream of making it big.

Six years on and Higgins performs sold-out live performances around the world. With a music style that shuns the typical pop star image, Higgins adopts a timeless approach towards her music career.

The 23 year old singer/songwriter started off singing with her older brother’s band when she was only 13. After winning Triple J Unearthed, Higgins chose to backpack around Europe before signing with a record label in 2003.

She toured with the likes of John Butler Trio, George, The Waifs and Pete Murray until she released the song Scar which went straight to the number one spot on the Australian charts. Her debut album The Sound of White also had the same success.

That same year Higgins toured the UK and US repeatedly, and performed over 200 gigs. In 2005 Higgins took home five ARIA awards including Album of the Year and found her fame hard to believe.

“The whole thing almost seemed like a blur,” said Higgins. “One minute I was just some opening act nobody had heard of and the next minute I was playing to 20,000 people in (Sydney’s) Centennial Park. It was pretty overwhelming.”

Higgins has just released her new album, On a Clear Night, which preserves the same recognisable style of her earlier work. For this album, Higgins teamed up with Mitchell Froom who helped Crowded House produce their first three albums.

The new album showcases Higgins’ more mature view of the world. Higgins’ website articulates this. “The album hopefully reflects where I’m at right now. I just feel a lot clearer about who I am and what I want to be doing with my music. Working with Mitchell was a big part of that process too,” explained Higgins.

“I’ve still got so much to learn but I think I’ve moved on from most of the confusion and self doubt I felt when I was just starting out. I’d say that’s the main difference between the old songs and the new ones,” she said.

Higgins will tour Australia in November and December with her For One Night Only tour. You Am I front-man, Tim Rogers, will open proceedings on the tour. The tour will end an extraordinary year for Higgins whose latest album On A Clear Night went triple platinum and topped the charts.

Info and Image courtesy of 3rd Degree

The Flying Scotsman

By Silvana Sukoski
19/10/2007

If you’re out to find true Scottish culture, there’s no need to fly across the world. Perth’s Flying Scotsman will give you the chance to experience an English pub-style restaurant that provides a variety of drinks and dishes, especially UK beers.

The restaurant has a range of things to look forward to throughout the week. There are various DJ’s playing, the Sunday $10 Pizza and Pint special and Thursday night karaoke.

Regular karaoke participant David Washbourne said, “It’s a good atmosphere. It’s fun and you get to hang with your mates and have a laugh at one another, especially the ones who take it far too seriously.”

The Thursday night karaoke runs from 9pm until 1am. There are over 12,000 songs to choose from, with requests starting at 8.30pm. The restaurant usually attracts a younger crowd, with new music constantly being added to the song selection.

There is also a $50 bar voucher and a bottle for the winner, who is drawn by raffle, at the end of the night.

Guests can enjoy dinner and drinks while waiting for their turn to sing, with meals ranging from $16 to $35. After 8.30pm, beer jugs are only $7, so it is possible to have a lot of fun with not much cash.

Although it can be difficult to find parking in the area, the proximity to the city means public transport is quite frequent.

The Flying Scotsman is located at 639 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley and is open seven days a week.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Bands given a chance online

By Elizabeth Jones
05/10/2007

There’s no doubt that when people say there must be something in the water in Western Australia, they must be talking about the incredible level of musical talent we have here. Heralding from our state, bands such as Eskimo Joe, The John Butler Trio and The Waifs prove we have no problem producing musical talent.

But as any muso will tell you, it is a long road to success and a lot of hard work to make things happen. Perthbands.com is a site that originated in Perth to give exposure to upcoming bands yet to be heard around the country.

Revamped this year by Craig Harman, owner and head developer for entertainmentIT.com, Perthbands.com provides band reviews, gig guides and forums for “music from the most isolated city in the world”. The site is a chance for artists to send their music in for review and to be part of the live music community in Perth.

“Perth has a thriving and popular music scene and Perthbands.com hopefully adds another way for artists to get their music out there,” Harman said.

Harman suggested the response to the site had been great since he took it over, and with the return of people to the forums it is proof that people are using the site and accessing the music.

The site thrives on the strong member base that is created online and the contributors to the site who carry out the reviews. On average, Perthbands.com will receive three albums to review per week.

“We try and review about 80 per cent of what we receive but all our reviewers donate their time so it’s really up to them what and when it gets done,” said Harman.

The site has a gig review option which adds to the diversity of the services the site offers. The wide variety of features has attracted a diverse range of visitors to the site, from musicians, those in the music industry and people with a general interest in music.

Perthbands.com not only promotes the local music talent, it provides a forum for discussion. Perthbands.com is also a hub for the communication between aspiring artists and the industry hot shots. This is a place where music and reviews are given exposure and some much needed opportunities to break through into the music industry.

Via the website Perthbands.com artists, industry types and the general public can submit albums, contribute to forums and reviews.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Singing: Are you a natural?

By Silvana Sukoski
05/10/2007

Most of us believe we have what it takes to win Australian Idol even if the only singing we do is in the shower. But do we have to have a natural talent to be considered a good singer? Or can we train our voices so that we can become the next Whitney Houston?

Singing is a common talent and anyone can call themselves a singer. But, being a good singer requires something more.

Inge Southcott from the Australian National Association of Teachers of Singing (ANATS) said singing is something that can be taught and doesn’t necessarily have to be a talent people are born with.

Practice is the key to becoming a good singer. Allocating time to sing as often as possible, means one’s voice has the chance to develop over time. Things such as breathing and tone should be mastered before a singer performs.

“Anyone who can speak can sing, one uses the same thing, the larynx, to speak and to sing with. Singing is just speaking on different pitches,” Southcott said.

Confidence is something that can influence a singer’s performance. When a singer is not confident, it is evident in their performance. By not having the right training and vocal skills, a person’s voice can not reach its full potential.

Singing competition Australian Idol requires its contestants to have at least basic voice training. But a large portion of the contestants have almost never performed to an audience before. During the course of the show they are eventually taught how to use their voices. The final performance is almost always the best because at this point they have improved on their weaknesses.

A website has been developed as a personal studio for those who want to improve their singing skills. The website features programs for singers in the making to use to enhance their singing skills.

“People can improve their singing a great deal by having lessons and developing the muscles and musical understanding through practice,” Southcott said.

There are many avenues of assistance for those who want to become good singers. Organisations such as ANTAS are one of many that work together to build the quality of Australian singing voices.
Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Islam’s Biggest Rock Star

By Kate Smithers
07/09/2007

Sami Yusuf is trying to prove you can be anything through his Islam rock music.

Yusuf is using his passion to change the way Islam is perceived in the West and believes his music can bring both cultures together.

Wanting his fans to see him, rather than Osama bin Laden, as representing the Middle Eastern Culture, Yusuf writes songs about the identity of young Muslims.

“A lot of young guys are going through an identity crisis and I think that’s when people like me come in,” says the performer.

Yusuf was born in Tehran and moved to Britain at the age of three with his parents. He grew up in London and currently lives there with his wife.

Not a drinker of alcohol, Yusuf prays five times a day. He also praises his British upbringing with giving him the opportunity to be a devout Muslim and have a music career.

Yusuf released his first album Al-Muallim in 2003. This first release was aimed at Muslims in the West but found success in Arab countries. His second album, released in 2005, was called My Ummah, and combined the albums have sold over two million copies.

Amna Hansia from the Australian Islamic College was all eager to talk about Yusuf, saying, “He voices our opinions. We relate to the themes throughout his music, rather than mainstream music which is dominated by themes of sex and love.”

Yusuf has a third album on the way, set for release in 2008, with songs on Muslim identity and the negative effects of globalization.

The new album features a song that Yusuf has specifically written for The Kite Runner movie, based on the best selling novel.

Yusuf’s manager Wassim Malak of Awakening Records has described
Yusuf as a pioneer in the Islamic music industry and says he has the potential to become as popular as Christian music.

Mr Hansia says, “It is good alternative music for those who don’t listen to mainstream music.”

In recent weeks Yusuf has been in the United States touring in a production by the Charity Islamic Relief. He hopes both his art and religion will be the focus.

“What I am doing is bringing together, so many different influences and cultures. We can all live together and we can all share,” he said.

Yusuf’s music features classic synthesized Middle Eastern with the influences of Bruce Springsteen, George Michael and Elton John.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Music Copyright Changes; who’s cashing in now?

By Elizabeth Jones
31/08/2007

It’s often a catch 22 when you try to make music work harmoniously with the technology you blend it with. The CD was the greatest move in technology for music we have had in decades but with it came an unforeseen debate: A struggle between what we want to listen to, who owns it and what to play it on.

A common problem with the CD is that the technology that protects it from being copied and burnt (an illegal act, remember) is the main reason that some CD players can’t read CDs. So along with the technology, we are also expected to have the best player and equipment to play it on. Now with competition on the scene from online music stores, the industry is looking at how the appeal of the CD can be enhanced.

Universal’s Vivendi Music in America has made a controversial move of removing this protection, called digital rights management (DRM), for a trial period, from selected artists’ CDs in MP3 format.

This move has caused uproar among music distributors and the outlets because without the DRM protection, the music could be reproduced and ‘stolen’ from the CD. This would consequently drive down sales and brand image, which has many asking; what’s the point?

“The experiment will run from August to January and analyse such factors as consumer demand, price sensitivity and piracy in regards to the availability of open MP3s.” Universal was quoted in an article from Yahoo7 Music.

The trial marks a test point for the music industry to see where the demand lies in music consumption. If the sales remain the same or decline, then that could give a huge indicator showing that most people are downloading music.

This, you may think, is no big surprise with the majority of fans openly downloading music. The music sold without the protection will be in MP3 format, which would enable the users to put it straight onto their iPods and MP3 Players.

It may, after all, be a strategic move from Universal to make a dent in the popularity and wide use of the Apple iTunes store, an online domain where songs and albums can be purchased and downloaded onto the iPods. The iTunes store is the third largest music retailer in the US and has control over the iPod tunes range.

If Universal can supply consumers with music that is already in a MP3 format, it doesn’t require them to commit to an online store (requiring credit card details) and is up to date and affordable, then it may regain its former share of music sales.

This may also enable the company to keep up with the times and give consumers what they want while not compromising quality and having to upgrade devices. It may also be a way to try and curb online music piracy, the correct term for downloading songs from ‘file sharing’ programs such as Limewire and UTorrent.

It also raises the question: to what extent will the artists be affected? With many justifying their use of downloading programs, by suggesting that the artists already have enough money, will this bring about some change of attitude for them?

Also coming into the debate is the musician’s angle that before they have reached a fortune; it is robbed from under them through programs like Limewire. Universal’s bold move to change the DRM and music protection from their selection of CDs spells a new direction in the music rights war.

It’s no longer the debate between stealing songs and owning music that you paid nothing for, it is now shifting into the race for the most innovative and up to date way to sell music and products.

It seems that either way, the artist is getting the short end of the deal – where they still work to produce music and yet on some level are not granted the right to have it protected.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

92.1 turns 30

By Bruno De Paiva Bruno
24/08/2007

Perth’s oldest FM radio station celebrated its 30th birthday in impressive style with its annual Radiothon fundraiser last week.

RTRFM 92.1 kicked off the annual week long event on Friday, August 10, but the festivities got into full gear the following night with an opening party at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) in Northbridge.

Radiothon ended with a closing party at the Bakery Artrage Complex the following Saturday, with live performances from Perth bands such as Mile End, Astral Travel and The Belle Ends.

The birthday milestone of the independent radio station, coupled with the success of this year’s Radiothon, has all but ensured a secure future for the fundraiser.

RTRFM General Manager Dave Houchin said Radiothon remained and would continue to remain a major feature in covering its $15,000 a week budget.

“Radiothon is still absolutely essential to RTRFM’s existence,” Houchin said.

“Radiothon is by far our largest fundraiser for the year and represents close to a quarter of our annual budget.

“It is particularly important for RTRFM as our means of generating income is quite limited as an independent not-for-profit charity.”

Radiothon has become as important as ever, especially since RTRFM laid the groundwork for its future plans, which include digital radio (to come into effect in 2009), studio and transmission upgrades as well as a new, more interactive website for the station.

These initiatives have emphasised the need for Radiothon to continue the success it has had in the past. This year’s Radiothon has given a lot of hope to the radio station and its most loyal supporters.

“The support at the opening party was fantastic,” Houchin said.

“I think there is still a lot of room for growth. Only a small percentage of our listeners actually subscribe, though we do all we can to convince all of them!”

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Australia’s Growing Hall of Fame

By Angela Bristow
25/05/2007

The Hoodoo Gurus, Marcia Hines and Frank Ifield are set to be inducted in the historical Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame.

They will join the likes of legendary rock group AC/DC and Olivia Newton John of ‘Grease’ fame as some of Australia’s finest musicians inducted since 1988.

The 3rd Degree takes a look back at the roots of the Aria Hall of Fame inductees and the possible future candidates.

Prior to 2005, inductees were only recognised during the ARIA awards and due to time constraints only two artists could be acknowledged.

On Wednesday July 18, three of Australia’s most celebrated artists will be welcomed into the Hall of Fame, now an annual stand-alone event in its third year.

This year, Marcia Hines, Australia’s first lady of rhythm and blues will be honoured.

Born in Boston in 1953, Hines began her musical career at the tender age of nine at a local Boston church festival. In 1970, the young aspiring singer moved to Australia and began a much celebrated role on the Australian production of Hair.

After the birth of her daughter, Deni, Hines toured with the Daly-Wilson Big Band which included supporting jazz royalty, B.B King. Four years later, the singer signed with Wizard records and released her debut album, Marcia Shines, which sold over 500,000 copies.

Her indestructible career continued and her latest release, the 2006 Discotheque has re-established her back into the Top 10 National ARIA charts.

Perth’s own Hoodoo Gurus began their journey 25 years ago with the three original band members; Dave Faulkner, Roddy Radalj and James Baker.

The line up changed throughout the two and a half decades but their success in both Australia and the U.S over resonated in the hearts of their fans.

The Hoodoo Gurus were considered a synthesis of The Ramones, Suicide and Nancy Sinatra but their sound was so original they sold out a number of international tours.

In 2004, the National Rugby League (NRL) revamped The Hoodoo Gurus’ What’s My Scene (That’s My Team) to become the anthem for the league for the past five years.

The band is still playing to sell-out crowds at Homebake, The Big Day Out and was considered a highlight at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas.

Country crooner Frank Ifield has been in the music industry since he was 15. Within four years of been signed Ifield had 44 records issued in Australia and became the number one recording star in Australia and New Zealand before he was 19.

Born in England to Australian parents, the singer/songwriter dropped out of school to pursue his music career after having been contracted to the Ted Quigg Show. In the early 1960’s The Beatles was the support act to Ifield, an extraordinary feat by today’s standards.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Australian musician was the first to have three consecutive number one records in the U.K Singles Chart. However, in the late 1980’s Ifield suffered two collapsed lungs and was told he may never sing again

He completed the unfinished album, The Fire Still Burns, and never sang professionally again.

In 2003, the singer celebrated 50 years in the industry and was inducted into the Country Music Roll of Renown; Australian Country Music’s highest honour.

The criterion to be inducted into the ARIA hall of fame hasn’t changed since the first awards in 1987. To be considered, the artists’ careers, “must have commenced, and ideally achieved significant prominence, at least 20 years prior to the year of proposed induction.” And the nominees work to “have had a cultural impact within Australia and/or recognition within the world marketplace.”

So who should we expect in the next two decades? Perhaps breast cancer survivor and hot-pant wearing Kylie Minogue, rockers Silverchair and Eskimo Joe, solo artists Missy Higgins and Alex Lloyd and an appearance from indie musicians the John Butler Trio.

The 3rd ARIA Hall of Fame will be on Wednesday, July 18 at the Melbourne Plaza Ballroom, Regent Theatre. More inductees may be announced closer to the date.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Are iPods a Problem?

By Sinead Shortt
11/05/2007

When technology grows like it has done in recent years something has to fall onto the backburner. These days music technology such as iPods and MP3s have replaced the buying and selling of CDs.

So how do companies, especially Western Australian companies that don’t have the ‘big names’ and the funds to compete survive?

With technology constantly growing, the demand for people to be buying CDs is slowly receding and small companies that rely on these funds have to deal with that. As well as CD stores, small record labels are also suffering.

John Butler, a well known Western Australian artist, has recently started the JB Seed Grant Program, a private fund that provides art grants for artists. Since it started in 2005 the program has received more than 700 applications and, through the Australian Business Arts Foundation of Australia, has proudly supported 66 projects throughout Australia.

Log on to any ‘profile’ site and music will flood the page, but who pays for this music? Instead of buying or even downloading the CD, all people have to do is go to a site such as MySpace and there is music from all around the world at their fingertips: for free.

Many computers made in the last few years have burning capacities built in – allowing music lovers to download music from their friends MP3 players or burn already existing CDs.

The black market for things like this is growing and it is the artists and the stores that sell the real CDs that are suffering.

In Perth alone, smaller stores such as 78 Records already have to compete with national stores such as Trax, Sanity and JB Hifi.

78 Records employee James said: “Last year was a really good year for us, but Ipods … are a problem.”

78 Records has been around since 1971 and is a Western Australian operation. It specialises in special orders for customers trying to find those CDs or even vinyls that they can’t find in mainstream music stores.

They also support both Australian and International artists and regularly sell tickets to these gigs.

For more information on 78 Records visit their website

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Perth’s nightlife – Not just for teenagers

By Peta Eddy

27/04/2007

Pubs and clubs around Perth offer a huge range of music to appeal to different tastes, but do they appeal to the babyboomers and Gen Xers who are still out and about? Are these people avoiding pubs and clubs or have they found that one spot they can go to and appreciate the music on offer?

In Perth there are places with rock music, dance music, R&B and there are also different styles with live bands or DJ’s providing the musical entertainment.

Adam, 35, enjoys a night out every so often and hates the dance music that is so often played in nightclubs, but he also has a gripe with pubs as in his words they “play the same shit all the time”.

He prefers live bands but some bands “annoyingly” play the same music every week. He tends to mix up the locations he goes to, so he is not listening to the same type of music all the time.

Susan, 53, has a regular night out every fortnight and has become accustomed to the classic rock that is played. “It’s stuff I know and can sing along to, so I don’t mind hearing the same thing each time I go out. The dance type stuff is insufferable though. I avoid nightclubs full of young ones bopping to that.”

Pubs and clubs offer different themed nights for different music tastes. There are band nights, DJ nights, rock nights, dance music nights and Karaoke nights. Go to the Metropolis Fremantle to listen to ‘Band Retro’, or ‘Back to the old school HIP-E-Club’ at the Hip-E- Club or even an ‘Irish Acoustic Jam Session’ at the Kalamunda Hotel.

Lauri, 48, has regular nights out on the town and enjoys listening to classic rock: “There are places out there with crap thumpa thumpa music but it is possible to find a place to your own liking.”

So it is fair to say there is music to appeal to every individual’s tastes in Perth. There is no reason to avoid a night out because you are fussy when it comes to music. Just check out theguide.com.au and you are sure to find a pub or club somewhere offering your kind of musical entertainment.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Myspace Killed the Radio Star

By Amy Gardiner
20/04/2007

Myspace is the new road to mega-stardom for musicians. Bringing music to the masses without a record deal or even a tour, its success is leaving music bigwigs wondering about their futures.

Groups such as the Artic Monkeys, Lilly Allen and Fall Out Boy contribute a large part of their success to Myspace.

Myspace is successful from its simple formula that lets users build their own profile pages and link to the pages of their friends. It has tapped into three passions of young people: expressing themselves, interacting with friends and consuming popular culture. These profiles have music, videos, photos and other pieces that give an insight to the user.

Two years ago Lilly Allen uploaded her songs onto her personal profile. By May the following year they had been downloaded 1.3 million times, and she had 24,000 MySpace cyberfriends.

Her label rushed to release her first single ‘Smile’, which hit number one last July. While Allen claims she was signed to a label before her Myspace, she had no previous releases and hitting number one straight out of the starter’s gate is likely to be due to her online community of friends and fans.

Local muso Chris Fabbro from the band ‘Since I Met Violet’ has used the Myspace network to promote his work. With over 300 cyber fans from all over the country it makes the lack of record deal not such a big deal. His band profile has seen minor labels show interest in taking them further without even seeing a gig.

Music Managers may find themselves redundant if the trend of musicians micromanaging their careers through the Myspace world continues. With an online following the artist does not need to tour or do publicity plug but through adding 10 friends to their profile list exposes the artist with little to no cost.

Myspace is also getting on the live side of music by hosting secret shows. By adding the secret show profile as a friend you will find out where featured artist is having an exclusive gig. Local band Little Birdy capitalized this by having its first secret Myspace show in Perth recently.

While Myspace is not producing money for the music industry is it proving invaluable in exposure. No film clip and no CD is not meaning no fans. Myspace is making the road to rock stardom faster.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Millionaire Rock Stars? Maybe Not.

By Christina Ballico
06/04/2007

Next time you’re in a record store complaining about the cost of a CD, or illegally downloading songs to save yourself some cash, spare a thought for the musicians behind the music.

Trying to make it in the music industry is hard. People work for years in the hopes of getting their big break and some people see the elusive $1 million record deal as just that – their big break – as well as big cash. But this is not always so.

In an ABC Arts Online interview, triple j Assistant Music Director Kirileigh Lynch explains, “A million dollar deal looks good on paper but the reality is this thing called recouping. That basically means when the record company gives you a million dollars, you’re welcome to live on that million dollars and use that million dollars to record your album but, when the album starts selling you have to pay that advance back before you make a cent.”

So no big deal right? You have a million dollars to spend and paying it back will not be that hard with the promotion you can buy with that right? Wrong. Paying back that money is not easy.

According to Lynch, it takes an artist selling two and a half times platinum (175,000 units) to even begin to pay back that money.

Out of the 869 albums which were given a Gold (35,000 units) or Platinum (70,000 units) accreditation last year, only 15 Australian artists went at least at two and a half times Platinum – and most of those albums just scrapped past that mark.

The accreditation process raises another question because of how the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) gives the status – it is based on record company sales to the record stores, not the record stores to consumers.

Record stores send CDs back to record companies after some time. So someone other than just the record store has to be missing out on some money – and given the hierarchy of the music industry, chances are this is probably going to be the artists themselves.

Lynch said the money made from a record is split between the record store, the distribution company (which may or may not be the record company), the record company, the manager of the artist and lastly, the artist.

The record store will mark up the wholesale price to make their money. From the wholesale price, the distribution company will take a chunk of anywhere up to 30% according to Lynch.

The record company will then take their cut and the artist’s manager will take a percentage. Lastly the people who created this wonderful music who has just made all these people wads of cash will see some money.

So let’s do the math.
A wholesale price of a CD is around $18 (which can be less if it’s being sold to big company that receives huge discounts) and if the distribution company is taking 30% of that, they make around $5.
If the record company takes say 10%, they make around $2 (Lynch says they make take as little as 5% though), and if the artist’s manager also takes 10% that’s another $2.
So from $18, that leaves about $9 for the artists.
But, if it’s a band, that needs to be split between each member and then they have to pay tax (yes, rock stars do have to pay tax).

If they sell 175,000 units and have four members, that’s $393,750 each.

Okay that’s nothing to be laughed at, but factor in tax and you’ll be closer to about $200,000.

Only release one album every three years and that’s around $65,000 per year – still a good wage, but the person who holds up the ‘stop’ sign on a construction site can make more money (not to say that’s not an important job).

Yes, bands do make money from other means such as touring but, touring itself can be really expensive – start factoring travelling and accommodation costs for all the crew along with their wages, the transport of equipment, lighting and sets along with the hiring of the venues and promotional costs – you’re starting to get a nice bill to pay.

Oh, and don’t forget about that nice advance the record company gave in the record deal to begin with – if the record company only took a small percentage of record sales, the artist could still owe the company several hundred thousand dollars.

So next time you are trying to save yourself some cash on music, think about this – when you go into Centrelink to collect the dole, you won’t get the same look as a famous rock star who has to try to explain that they’re broke because their record company took all their money and someone stole their music.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree

Room anyone?

By: Jamie Burnett
23/03/2007

Karnivool certainly have hit the ground running in 2007. Over two years since the release of their widely successful debut album ‘Themata’, the Perth five piece have yet to take their foot off the gas, as they continue to tour, write and pick up a few awards along the way. I sat down for a chat with Karnivool drummer Steve Judd to find out about life on the road, the new record and how hard it is to find a place to rent, even if you are in Karnivool.

“It’s so hard to find a place at the moment man,” says Steve Judd, drummer from Perth band Karnivool. “My mate and I went for one the other day but by the time we got there, the agent had already handed out fifty rental applications.” He takes the last drag of his cigarette and adds, “I mean, it’s hard to compete with families. They bring their babies to these things. How do you beat that?”

Despite being another casualty of Perth’s rental crisis, Judd has a lot to smile about. After the 2005 launch of Karnivool’s album Themata, the band has grown from strength to strength, selling out tours all over the country. They are also a recent addition to Come Together Festival line-up in Sydney, which features some of the biggest rock bands in the country including Grinspoon, The Butterfly Effect and Cog.

“It should be good man. Cog’s new record comes out in April or May so their new stuff will be interesting to hear,” says Judd. “And, I just found out the other day that Antistatic and Hope Here Gone (Perth bands) are doing it as well, so it should be good fun.”

The only pitfall for Judd is the sleep deprivation that goes with touring. “Lack of sleep is probably the worst thing,” he says. “But playing music all the time is killer man. That’s why you’re there. When you’re in a band you just want to keep doing it.”

And keep doing it he will. Karnivool have just landed an international record deal with US indie label Bieler Bros Records that will see Themata released globally. The album will be distributed in the States, Japan and Europe with April 10 scheduled as the release date and overseas touring dates starting in June or July.

While international touring is a priority, the band remains committed to their fans at home with plans for a follow up record soon. “At the moment we set up the minidisk, get in there and just jam. A couple of months ago we took four weeks off and sat in the studio and wrote for like ten hours a day. It’s going really well, but slowly, I guess because of the touring commitments.”

Judd hints at a possible date saying, “If we get it out early next year it’s three years since Themata came out. We don’t want to leave it much longer than that”.

Judd continues, talking about the musical direction of their latest work. “There’s a lot more ‘jammy’ stuff. Not having a drummer for the last record we weren’t doing a lot a jamming.”

Despite working on a new album, releasing their last one overseas and wanting to meet audience expectations, Judd feels that outside pressure isn’t something the band needs to worry about. “I just think the only pressure is from us. I mean obviously Themata has done well and we don’t want to have an inferior product to that. You want to seem like you’re stepping it up.”

Stepping it up seems to be a common theme for the band. At last months annual Western Australian Music Industry Awards Karnivool racked up five awards including Most Popular Act, Most Popular Hard Rock/Metal Act and Most Popular Live Act. Vocalist Ian Kenny took home Best Vocalist and guitarist Drew Goddard won Best Guitarist.

With everything falling into place for Karnivool it seems all Judd needs now is a baby – to take to those dreaded rental applications.

Info and Image Courtesy of 3rd Degree