Interview with Cerulean
Elliott and Marilyn Baker aka Cerulean are steadily building a fanbase despite only releasing their second track last week. Their music can generally be described as atmospheric and spacey though the group admits they have difficulty defining their unique sound. The Ill Chill Pill recently interviewed the brother/sister duo.
Q1. So, how did you both get in to music?
Cerulean: We grew up with it. Our family has never seen music as just something, its everything. And the fact that we discovered how to sucessfully make sounds that people can appreciate is spectacular and still sort of sinking in.
Q2. Being a brother/sister group, do you ever have sibling rivalry? If so, does that change the music making process?
Cerulean: We have small bouts from time to time, but we’ve never been rivals. For the most part working with a sibling is like having the ultimate opportunity to be honest. At the end of the day dissagrements don’t matter because we’re blood.
Q3. I believe you’re working on a debut album. What type of sound will you be working on for the release?
Cerulean: We are. It’s a self-titled EP due very soon. With the release of Hearts Stop, you can see a little bit of a different side to what we’ve been working on for the EP. You can expect a variety sounds. Its not easily defined.
Q4. What would be the ultimate experience for you both as Cerulean? For example maybe a festival you’d want to play, an artist/producer you’d like to work with or worldwide noteriety?
As Cerulean, our goals are still forming. Indivudually:
M: Coachella, perhaps.
E: Ultimately I want to be able to sustain myself and eventually my family off of my creativity. Currently I just want to collaborate with as many musicians as possible.
Q5. What five artists are you listening to lately?
M: John Maus, Frankie Rose, Beach House, Crystal Stilts, Francoise Hardy
E: Purity Ring, Selva Oscura, Kill Paris, Frank Ocean, & MMOTHS
Interview with Pushing Hands
It’s not often that a new band comes along with a sound that blows me away.
I first heard about the group last year when they released their debut single, He’s Still Here. The quartet followed up a few months later with Frames, which continued to build on the minimalist, atmospheric mood of their first official release. The London-based group are recording new material and I had a quick chat with Andrew from Pushing Hands about their music.
Q1. Pushing Hands is a training technique in martial arts. Does the band have any connections to this?
A: Freddies mum does Tai Chi
Q2. Is the band working on any new songs at the moment?
A: Yeah, everybody has been really busy outside of the band, but you’ve actually caught us in the middle of recording a new demo, so hopefully there will be something for everyone to listen to in the near future.
Q3. Your sound has been compared to fellow Brits Bombay Bicycle Club. Are they an influence on your sound or are there other groups who have been more influential?
A: We’re fans of Bombay and appreciate the comparisons but we enjoy bands like Yo La Tengo and Pavement and I think we get more out of listening to bands of that era and a lot of electronic music too.
Q4: If you could work with any artist dead or alive, who would that be?
A: We would definitely like to play with Talking Heads. None of us ever had the chance to actually see them live, but watching what we can of their old performances on youtube and on videos like Stop Making Sense is inspirational stuff. The production values and the energy they put into their music is really reflected in the performance and they really expanded on the idea of the typical band setup, they weren’t afraid to experiment and it really paid off for them. Also Bob Marley.
Q5. What 5 artists are you listening to at the moment?
A: At the moment we are mostly listening tooooo…. Bob Marley, Pantera, Ride, Stars of the Lid and new Pushing Hands songs.
Interview with Set Sail
Set Sail are a band based out of Sydney who have an irrepressible upbeat sound to their music. The trio are known for their city busking shows and their combination of violin, guitar/uke and makeshift percussion at such performances. Set Sail are on the verge of releasing their debut mini-album on June 15th and have just premiered the lead single Charleston today. I had a quick chat with Josiah from the group.
Q1: I understand you’ve been busy gallivanting around Europe. What have you been doing over there?.
Josiah: Hey! We got back from Europe and the US last September actually, we had a mad time over there travelling around filming guerilla shows. Played in an old spy base, under the Eiffel Tower, on a plane, heaps of places. Super budget trip (we ate rice for a solid month haha) but great fun.
Q2: You are working on your debut album. Tell us a little about it.
Josiah: It ended up just being a mini-album, it’s got a much more developed and less radio-pop sound than the last one. We wanted to explore some more classic sounds and arrangements for some of the songs, definitely has some Beach Boys influences on some of the songs. The process has been hectic, we started demoing last December and have been working solid since then, we’re very excited to finally be releasing it!
Q3: Do you have any favourite songs on the new record?
Josiah: I quite like ‘Kids’
Q4: I’ve seen videos of you playing on the streets in Melbourne and Sydney and there seems like there’s a lot of positive energy at your shows. Do you prefer playing in venues or outdoors to unsuspecting crowds?
Josiah: That’s a tough question, the vibe is so different between them. I’d have to say I love doing both, it’s mad fun hanging out at the street shows but the energy of the shows at places like Oxford Art Factory or the HiFi in Melbourne is pretty incredible as well.
Q5: What 5 artists have you been listening to lately?
Josiah: Grimes, Balam Acab, Django Django, Broken Social Scene & Calvin Harris
Thanks again to Set Sail for the interview and keep an eye out for upcoming shows and their mini-album Hey! which will be released June 15th in Australia.
Ain't No Sunshine [Feat. Joe Gil]
Opus Orange are an indie-surf-pop band based out of California. Fronted by music producer Paul Bessenbacher, the group make unmistakably catchy music that resonates with you after just a single listen. Their latest single is a contemporary rendition of Bill Withers‘ Ain’t No Sunshine that showcases Paul’s knack as a producer. The sustained keys and haunting backing vocals create a cloudy atmosphere while Joe Gil’s smooth vocals sprawl the cool bluesy mood that is also present in the original. Paul had a chat to us about his musical projects and shed some light on Ain’t No Sunshine.
Q1. Could you explain how the band came to be called Opus Orange?
PB: Frederic Chopin’s “fantasie impromptu”, Opus 66
Q2. Does living in California contribute to the beachy sound in much of your music or is it coincidence?
PB: Living in California must somehow contribute to the beachy sound, but yes, it is a coincidence. Since picking up a ukulele for backpacking in the woods (due to it’s light weight and small size), it became quickly apparent just how inherently “beachy” sounding it is, wherever it might be played (like at the top of mount whitney, miles away from any beach). Though the ukulele initially helped color the sonic palate for the early songs, its energy is still evident in its absence (like in Crystal Clear or That Is To Say).
Q3. Ain’t No Sunshine is a classic. Could you tell us about what it means to you?
PB: While we’re on the subject of California, it seems the sun is almost always shining here. This song captures the fact that it can still be clouded by someone’s absence. The lyrics help this resonate in their simplicity. when covering such a gem like Bill Withers’ classic, it’s essential to look at it from a different perspective than the original, while still giving it the reverence it deserves. Joe Gil’s voice is a great fit for this song, and we wanted the track to let it shine through.
Q4. Any plans to release a full length LP in the future?
PB: While a full-length LP would be an incredibly fun project, we’ve been excited about producing music in smaller singles and EP’s. Often longer projects can get bogged down with overthought (not really a word, but it should be) and overproduction. So to always keep creating and pushing our sound while still releasing cohesive projects, we have found it creatively liberating to keep the projects smaller. Our next four song EP (currently being mixed) is completely tracked to 2-inch analog tape. It will hopefully be released within the next few months. Also with producing other artists, like Joe Gil, Emy Reynolds, and Eleni Mandell, it’s really great to have a sort of tunnel vision to make a single song the best that it can be with that particular artist. That being said, we definitely hope to someday have the time to do a full-legnth release.
Q5. Who are 5 artists you’re listening to at the moment?
Thanks to Paul for the interview. You can listen to and buy music from Opus Orange via their Bandcamp website. Ain’t No Sunshine will be made available there in the very near future.
Interview with Jane Tyrrell
Jane Tyrrell first gained public attention when she featured on The Herd’s classic album The Sun Never Sets in 2004. After touring with the group, they invited her to join their collective. Now a prominent member, she also boasts one of the most distinctive voices in Australia at the moment. Expect to hear a lot more of her rich and soulful voice in the future as she is set to commence recording her debut solo album on independent label Elefant Traks.
Q1. You’re currently touring with The Herd. Do you have a most memorable or favourite performance that you have done with them?
Jane: Two favorites come to mind.
The Cannot Buy My Soul tribute concert to Indigenous Iconic songwriter, poet vocalist and musician Kev Carmody at the Sydney State Theatre with fellow artist’s Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, The Drones, Clare Bowditch, Dan Sultan, Last Kinnection and Dan Kelly….and many more. And performing with and touring in support of Brother Ali’s album Us throughout Germany.
Q2. I understand you’re working on your debut solo album. What can listeners expect to hear when it’s complete?
Jane: I will commence writing my solo album in July of this year with a core team of two incredibly talented and well known musicians (I cannot divulge just yet)
Im utterly overwhelmed, excited and humbled by their talent and contribution. I dont know what to expect I believe music has it’s own path (Im just an excitable vessel) I can say that it wont be a hip hop album. A bold hybrid I expect given the sum of all it’s parts.
Q3. There seems to be a sense of family at Elefant Traks with the collaborative nature of the musical projects. Is this the case or am I just imagining it?
Jane: Absolutely correct, the unique clique you sense from the Elefant Traks family is very special indeed. It stems from a deep respect for each other as individuals and our talents. Its like a giant Rubik’s cube, we are all connected through our love for art and for each others plight, inevitably what ever way you shuffle the family a different collaboration is possible and not like anything prior.
Q4. Politics is inseparable from much of The Herd’s music. Do you think this turns off some listeners and if so, does that matter to you?
Jane: Inevitably discussing any personal opinion be politics or simply an individual’s point of view through art is going to ruffle a few feathers. Imagine how bland life would be if we all agreed on everything. To me successful art is evocative art, art that evokes a feeling from the viewer or listener. I believe you can enjoy music on many levels whether you choose to examine the lyrical content of just enjoy the sonic landscape. We don’t make music to please a wide audience we make music because we are compelled to express ourselves in a passionate way. If we alienate a portion of the audience we are not bothered.
Q5. Who are 5 artists you are listening to at the moment?
Jane: Im listening to a lot of Lykke Li (kind of obsessed), Santogold, Frank Ocean, Bill Callahan, Feist.
A big thank you to Jane for the interview. You can check out her Facebook page for updates and more info about tours, music and everything between. The featured track is a duet with Jane taken from Horrorshow’s 2009 album Inside Story which is available for purchase through Elefant Traks.