Melbourne’s Music Industry – An Interview with Kids In Control

“If we continue down this current path, the scene will be totally dead.”

In light of recent talk discussing Melbourne’s music industry, I decided to reach out to local Melbourne pop-punk band ‘Kids In Control’ and speak with lead singer Mike to discuss his view on the current state of the Melbourne music industry and get an insider’s look at the issues upcoming artists are facing within it.

How do you feel about the current state of the Melbourne music industry and the community within it? Would you change/alter anything about it?

Not too long ago, people went to shows, bands helped and supported other bands, people were excited for a new record to drop, there were a lot of different venues to play etc but lately that has all disappeared. People still like music obviously but just don’t want to spend the money and time checking out new bands. Within our current scene there seems to be a “boys club” style circle that stick to themselves rather than helping and supporting other artists. However, I think people are starting to get bored seeing these same bands all the time.  In answer to the question, if we continue down this current path, the scene will be totally dead.

What struggles/problems have you had to face to get to the point where you are now?

The lowest point for us is playing numerous shows to absolutely nobody except the other bands on the bill. It really gets you down when you put in so much time and effort and people just don’t show up.

What do you wish for the future of the industry?

1. Unless you’re a big name, there is no money to be made from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music etc. they are a great platform to get our music out there however, continuing to make music becomes harder and harder. Come to a show!…get your friends along too! Make it a night out! Bands need the good, fun, solid shows to keep going.

2. Bands and artists need to come together and help each other. There are too many “rock stars” that are in it for themselves only or the whole “boys club” kind of thing. We all have one goal so why not help each other to reach it?

3. We need more live venues!!! They are all closing for some reason.

We grew up having the best nights out seeing different bands at different venues. A lot of the time we had to pick and choose which to attend as there was just an influx of shows on.

We need to get back to those times!

How hard do you feel upcoming artists have to work to reach a level of success in this industry?

It’s always very hard in the music industry to get any success. Artists have it super hard as there are so many factors that have to line up. Your entire band needs to want the same thing, keeping your band together, rather than ending whenever things get tough. Then you need to be constantly coming out with new material, videos to keep people interested etc. like I said many factors that make it incredibly tough.

Where do you see yourself heading and where would you LIKE to be? What factors do you think could hold you back?

We are heading to the USA end of June to record some new stuff with some reputable people. We’d really like to focus on the USA market as there is still a good music scene happening. The only thing that’ll hold us back is all our blood, sweat and tears going unnoticed by anyone after this record.

Do you have any advice for up and coming artists in any areas of the Melbourne music scene?

Stick at it. It can be so easy to just give up when things turn south. Make sure everyone in the group is on the same page and you’re all the best of friends. Resolve arguments fairly. We normally operate with a “majority rules” kind of tactic on decisions that need to be made. Have as much fun as possible along the way.

Royal Blood – Melbourne Concert Review

In July of last year, English rock duo ‘Royal Blood’ announced they were coming back down to Australia in May of 2018 for their biggest tour here yet. The band stated that they were going to play massive venues in Melbourne and Sydney as an upgrade from their previous time down here and play their first ever shows in Brisbane and Perth. To make this tour, the band decided to bring down along with them Perth rock-band ‘Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ and Sydney rock duo ‘Polish Club’ as their opening acts.

Although never hearing their music, ‘Psychedelic Porn Crumpets’ caught my attention due to their insane name, however hearing them live, it kind of made sense. The band withhold a psychedelic rock style, with their single ‘Cornflake’ particularly catching my attention. Although the band didn’t entail a lot of stage presence as they didn’t speak to the audience much, their music is definitely something I would now listen to.

Following up from them, duo ‘Polish Club’ came to the stage. The moment these two boys stepped on stage, they seemed to have the audience’s attention as they were both very confident and engaging. This was seen when the drummer John threw his popcorn all over the audience and is evident through the consistent jokes he made. The band were a great support act getting the crowd ready and are a definite must-see purely for the banter they share on stage, as well as their great tunes such as their single, ‘Divided’.

As it hit 9:30, the drunk and sweaty guys surrounding us at the front of the barrier started getting rowdier, anticipating the Royal Blood boys to come on stage. The lights dimmed and the band walked out, causing yells from everyone in the audience. The band opened up with ‘Where Are You Now?’ from their latest album release ‘How Did We Get So Dark?’. The starting half of the concert was a mix of rocking out to their songs such as “Lights Out” and “You Can Be So Cruel” whilst also trying to stay alive in the pit.

During “I Only Lie When I Love You”, the pit became faster and harder causing the friend I was with to be pushed under the crowd. We decided that it would be a better idea to go further back so we could rock out without being punched in the face every 2 seconds and missed the entire of the song.

The band then followed on playing “Little Monster”, a single from their debut self-titled album, ‘Royal Blood’. Although the two didn’t speak much with the audience throughout the night, the band knew exactly how to get the crowd riled up and rock out in just the right way. Singer & bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher have a way of playing together that had the entire arena standing up and rocking out.

The boys finished up playing ‘Figure It Out’ before heading off stage to be called back on for the encore. The crowd cheered and chanted their names until the boys came back on before frontman Kerr spoke to the audience, explaining that a girl in the audience was backstage badly hurt and that the audience needed to try and rock out without hurting anyone too badly. After this, the two broke out into single ‘Ten Tonne Skeleton’ and finished on ‘Out Of The Black’ with an extended bass and drum solo to have “one final rock-out” before they finished up.

The night was an overwhelming experience in the best of ways. The boys in Royal Blood have a clear connection with their fans as the crowd had an immense love for their music. The lights and set-up throughout the show gave a very minimalistic vibe and the visuals worked well to support the sound and style of their music. Overall, the boys in Royal Blood have a clear connection with their fans and created an entertaining night, definitely being a worthwhile concert to see.

Imagine Dragons – Melbourne Concert Review

On January of this year, Imagine Dragons announced they were heading back down under to take their ‘Evolve’ world tour to Australia. As they had not been to Australia in 3 years, the wait for the return had been highly anticipated by fans all across the country.

When the 16th of May hit, it was time to see the Las Vegas pop-rock band return to the streets of Melbourne to once again play Margaret Court Arena. Standing at the barrier awaiting the start of the concert, the lights dimmed and a video projected on the stage taking the audience back to the beginning of time; creating anticipation and causing goosebumps amongst everyone in the audience. With the video playing and everyone screaming, the starting of the opening song to their latest album ‘Evolve’, ‘I Don’t Know Why’ began to play and the band walked out on stage standing in a row together. When the chorus broke out, lead singer Dan Reynolds walked down the small catwalk, immediately grabbing all of the audience’s attention.

The band led on to then playing hit single ‘It’s Time’ from their debut album ‘Night Visions’, which set the entire arena off into a clapping frenzy, bringing nostalgia from the first album. Following on from this, the band began playing an acoustic and slowed down version of their single ‘Believer’ from their third album, ‘Smoke & Mirrors’, getting the crowd to sing to build up into the hard-hitting original version.

Throughout the entire show Imagine Dragons incorporated various colours of confetti firing out of canons to add a real ‘bang’ to their performance. They also included large inflated balloons to bounce around during the happy single ‘On Top of The World’ which entertained the audience, causing excitement and amusement for the crowd getting to hit the balloons across the arena.

Reynolds also assured that the rest of the band get limelight as well, switching to the back of the stage to let guitarist Wayne Sermon break out into a guitar solo during ‘I’ll Make It Up To You’ and get well-deserved applause and attention.

Amidst singing, Reynolds took the time to use his platform he has been “blessed with” to discuss the importance of speaking up about mental health and getting therapy, and even talked about his own struggles he’s been through. This speech he gave left fans in the audience in tears as they headed into singing hit single ‘Demons’ which captivated and connected deeply with the crowd singing “don’t get too close, it’s dark inside.”

Surprisingly, the band didn’t do an encore. They played their entire 2-hour set from start to finish without walking off stage and ended on their biggest single yet, ‘Radioactive’, in which they incorporated a long drum-off between Reynolds and Platzman before putting their all into the final song with heavy smoke machines and colourful confetti.

Throughout the show, the band and especially Dan Reynolds emitted a love for the fans that were there to see them which was evident throughout the consistent thanking of their supporters and the genuine happiness on their faces. Reynolds constantly stopped to take a minute to smile, holding his hands over his face in which it looked as if he was overwhelmed by the love the fans in the audience were giving him. The band’s performance and Reynolds’ stage presence is something that upcoming singers dream of having. The band flow and work well together, creating a night that is hard to forget for anyone attending. Imagine Dragons are constantly growing and gaining fans and are without a doubt some of the best performers that are currently out there. The band are definitely a must-see for anyone who’s considering attending a future show.

Shinedown – ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’ Album Review

American rock band Shinedown have been a personal favourite band of mine for years. The band withhold a specific sound of hard alternative-rock in which they have consistently been on the charts since 2005. On March 7th, the band dropped a new single ‘DEVIL’ with the announcement that their new concept album ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’ will be released. Of course, the build-up of this left me excited and anticipating this new release, as their previous album ‘Threat To Survival’ was released over 3 years ago in 2015.

The minute the clock struck 12am on release date May 4th, Spotify had notified me Shinedown released this album and I was ecstatic. I gave my first listen through trying to be as unbiased as I possibly could.

The album begins with THE ENTRANCE which is just 40 seconds. In this time, you hear the sounds of a knock on a door which then opens and footsteps walking, coming to a stop to sit down in a chair and exhale. ‘THE ENTRANCE’ then comes to an end, breaking right in to ‘DEVIL’, the band’s already released single. The follow up to this song is ‘BLACK SOUL’ which holds a catchy verse which then surprisingly breaks into a hard and heavy chorus. The rest of the album entails this same style of contrasting the catchy modern rock style and their past heavier sound, as seen in songs such as ‘DARKSIDE’, ‘EVOLVE’ and the album’s second single ‘THE HUMAN RADIO’.

I was intrigued as the entirety of the album’s songs and the album itself is capitalised, however, the 12th song ‘special’ is in all lowercase. After listening, I would assume that this is because this is more of an emotional song that is primarily Brent Smith’s vocals with piano. Although the song is very melodic, the lyrics entail a sort of negative message, singing “stop waiting on your 15 minutes of fame, ’cause you’re not special.” and “there are no happy endings.” I’d say that this song is a call-out to those who strive too hard for fame and believe they are above everyone else, as Smith talks about how “we’re all the same.”

The final song BRILLIANT is another emotion-filled song with beautiful soft melodies singing “it’s my day to be brilliant”, however then changing it up in the second verse cutting into fast guitar and faster vocals, breaking into a heavier sound with a harder kicking chorus. The song ends with another 40 second moment of getting out of the chair and footsteps walking out of the door. After this Smith is heard to say “till next time” as the final part of the album.

Smith described the album as a concept album which depicts an individual overcoming negativity and related problems to be reborn as a new person. He stated the album showcases this through walking into a symbolic room, as seen in ‘THE ENTRANCE’. In this room, the entirety of the album takes place. At the beginning of the record, there is a sort of intensity that holds an unknowing in the individual, seen through the lyrics “it might take forever, to put you back together” in ‘BLACK SOUL’ and “my friends all say I’m going crazy” in ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’. As the record progresses, the individual is heard to gain confidence back as seen through “my monsters are real, and they’re trained how to kill” in ‘MONSTERS’ and “we don’t have to answer to anyone” in ‘CREATURES’. Smith stated that this is because “they’re having to face emotions that they’ve never really faced before. In order to get out of the room and out of this chair and go back into the world, they have to train themselves mentally. They have to accept the fact that it’s not always going to be great. It’s not always going to be exactly the way you want it.” It is evident in ‘BRILLIANT’ where Smith sings “it’s my day to be brilliant” that the individual is able to go back to the real world and has successfully trained themselves mentally.

Disregarding the love I have for the band already, A’TTENTION ATTENTION’ is a great album with good tunes and an incredible concept theme discussing rebirth and strength in all of their songs. Shinedown were the type of band who seemed as though they would peak around the 2008 heavy rock era, yet they broke through that and 10 years later are still growing as a band. They are bringing on the style of modern rock whilst still staying distinguishable as Shinedown through their fast-paced hard guitar and Brent Smith’s strong vocals. This album feels as though they’ve combined the styles of all of their albums into one, creating ‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’ entailing the catchiness of their previous album ‘Threat To Survival’, and keeping the heavier sound from the albums before those such as ‘The Sound of Madness’.
‘ATTENTION ATTENTION’ feels like a step-up for this rock band and was definitely worth the wait, and I’m excited to see the music that Shinedown will bring in the future.

LANY – Melbourne Concert Review

American indie-pop band LANY made their way back to Australia for their third tour down in Melbourne on the 24th of March. The band had been long-awaited by fans all around Melbourne to return, however fans and the band themselves were anxious as they were playing a seated venue at Melbourne Recital Centre, which they were worried would create a less-intimate environment.

Despite this worry, the LANY boys opened up their set with fans screaming their names whilst the beginning to the short opening song of their self-titled debut album, ‘Dumb Stuff’, played through the speakers, being a perfect song to walk on stage to. The boys followed ‘Dumb Stuff’ up with ‘4EVER!’. This was a bold choice considering it’s one of the boys’ less known songs from their earliest EP ‘i loved you.’, however, frontman Paul Klein had the entire venue standing up and screaming along to every single word.

The boys began their set with their slightly softer, and less known songs from their earlier EP’s which created a build-up to their more fast-paced and funkier songs to dance to, such as ‘Good Girls’.

During ‘Made in Hollywood’, Klein used the seats to his advantage to walk down and through the crowd, causing a swarm of happy screams from fans in the seats further back who were able to witness him singing up closer than they had imagined.

A specifically memorable performance of the night was when the band played ‘Hericane’, a song off of their self-titled debut album, ‘LANY’. ‘Hericane’ was a captivatingly emotional experience, with the fans screaming the words “I love you still, I always will” as loud as they could with pure intent. Looking around at my friends I had made through this band and the people in the surrounding seats, there were tears in everyone’s eyes and it was one of the most surreal and extraordinary experiences.

LANY finished up their set with their biggest single to date, “ILYSB”, the single that broke them into mainstream media and music and recruited the vast majority of their fans. Ending on this note was a euphoric experience, having the entire audience screaming “I love you so bad” right at lead-singer Klein.

LANY perform with true and raw emotion and it’s evident to see the love they have for the music they create and for the fans who were there supporting their music.  Whilst the other band members Les Priest and Jake Goss were to the sides of the stage playing and feeling the music, Paul Klein had the entire venue captivated through his dance moves and interaction with fans. He had the audience at the tip of his fingertips which created such a home-like atmosphere where the crowd felt more like a family than an audience. Klein hardly had to ask the crowd to dance or sing certain words before they did so as if the audience knew exactly what he wanted without him needing to ask. The appreciation and love for the crowd on Klein’s face was clear as he kept stopping to thank the audience for being there, including later posting on his instagram that ‘Melbourne was beautiful’.

LANY in Melbourne on March 24thd was an outstanding experience and one that will forever be held in my heart, and LANY fans will be long awaiting the band’s return to Australia for another night of heart-felt music and dancing.

Nothing But Thieves – ‘Broken Machine’ Album Review

English rockers, Nothing But Thieves started their career off with the release of their self-titled, debut album ‘Nothing But Thieves’ in October of 2015. After their single ‘Itch’ was picked up by Radio 1, the band received an overwhelming amount of support and success including offers to be the support act for artists such as Gerard Way, Muse and Twenty One Pilots. Thriving on this success, in September of 2017, the band released their second album ‘Broken Machine’.

This alt-rock album, ‘Broken Machine’ opens with the hard-hitting, ’I Was Just A Kid’, bringing a twist onto current modern rock opening with a frenetic riff and entailing a melodious chorus. The opening of this eruptive song grabs the attention of all listeners, showcasing the lead singer Conor Mason’s spectacular vocal abilities.

Following up this song is one of the band’s biggest singles ‘Amsterdam’ which begins with an enchanting and slower vibe encapsulating twinkling synths and subtle drums until they crash into the attention grabbing, hard-hitting chorus. Mason’s screaming vocals in the bridge leaves listeners feeling a sense of anger and passion for the pain to which he’s describing through the lyrics “I hit my head up against the wall”.

Continuing on is one of the band’s biggest singles to date, ’Sorry’, a slower song that showcases Mason’s melodies exceptionally. These pained vocals blend into the lone guitar before transforming into an anthemic ending for listeners to sing passionately along to.

The rest of the album entails a mix of heavier and softer songs including the album’s title song ‘Broken Machine’, and stand out songs ‘Particles’ and ’Soda’. These songs are at first very uniquely-styled as compared to the rest of the album, as they begin with very subtle and faint instrumental, in which Mason’s harmonies over the top are exceptionally prolific against the rest of the band’s sound.

Nothing But Thieves’ debut self-titled album showcased the bands abilities to create a name for themselves, however progressing into ‘Broken Machine’, the band has clearly established a sense of style and sound in which they feel comfortable and confident in. Lead singer Mason and the band blend and work well together through the mix of harmonies and instrumentals, creating an atmospheric and euphonious feel for the album to transcend listeners away from reality. The album holds no ‘filler’ songs, as each song flows freely into each other whilst still withholding a separate entity from each other so that the listener can identify each song as its own. ‘Broken Machine’ flows together, holding the perfect balance of heavy to slower songs to showcase a story being told by the band of emotional pain and love, leaving listeners able to connect to the lyrics. It would be safe to say that Nothing But Thieves are pushing the boundaries of contemporary modern rock and adding their own authentic style to stand out as a band, and they’re succeeding in doing so.