Turning Heads with Augustus Welby
Azim Zain | Eugénie

Azim Zain | Eugénie

November 24, 2020

Episode 24 of Turning Heads is a two-parter, featuring interviews with Azim Zain (of Azim Zain and His Lovely Bones) and Eugénie.

Be Good, the debut album from Azim Zain and His Lovely Bones, came out in November 2020. It's dedicated to the Canberra music scene that transformed Azim's life after he relocated there for uni. 

Azim was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but completed high school in Adelaide before moving to Canberra. He fell in love with the local music scene and began writing and performing his own stuff in 2015. 

Be Good was completed in 2019, but visa changes meant Azim was forced to leave the country and return to Kuala Lumpur. He's still there, but this album is his love letter to the scene that birthed the Lovely Bones.

Eugénie is the project of New York based songwriter Eugénie Thompson. Her debut EP, Arrhythmia, came out in May 2020. It was made in collaboration with producer and jazz guitarist Lee Meadvin and dates back to when the pair were both studying at NYU. 

Eugénie moved to Melbourne after finishing college. She was born in Sydney, but had lived in New York since she was two years old. The return to Australia and the culture and lifestyle she witnessed in Melbourne had a major impact on her musical ambitions. She's since moved back to New York. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Gregor

Gregor

November 16, 2020

Episode 23 of Turning Heads features a chat with Melbourne musician Gregor whose third album, Destiny, is out now via Chapter Music. 

Gregor released his debut album, Thoughts & Faults, through Chapter in 2016. His second album, Silver Drop, followed in 2018. Destiny came out in November 2020 and it's a slightly a mellower affair than Silver Drop, but carries over many of that album's stylistic hallmarks.

There’s a good amount of experimental pop weirdness, some nice reverb-drenched guitar playing and a bit of tranquil new age ambience. There’s also a good balance of electronic instruments with more conventional rock and pop instrumentation and occasionally a touch of soft rock cheesiness. There’s a certain naïveté or purity of expression in Gregor’s voice, both in delivery and the content of his lyrics, which gives the recordings a strong sense of identity.

In the podcast, Gregor speaks about his early experiments with recording as a teenager and his immersion in Soundcloud beatmaking scenes. He also talks about his biggest childhood influences, the artists he's spent the most time listening to over the last couple of years, and explains what makes Destiny a "postmodern concept album." 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Emma Donovan (Emma Donovan & The PutBacks)

Emma Donovan (Emma Donovan & The PutBacks)

November 9, 2020

Episode 22 of Turning Heads features a chat with Emma Donovan, whose second album with the PutBacks, Crossover, is out now. 

Emma has been in the music biz for over two decades. As a kid she would occasionally sing with her family members’ band, The Donovans, then in 1999 she cofounded Stiff Gins with Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs. She appeared on the group’s Deadly-winning 2001 debut album, Origins, before leaving to pursue a solo career. 

Emma's solo work has reflected her love of country music, which was her primary focus before teaming up with Melbourne funk-soul collective The PutBacks in the early 2010s. She met the members of the PutBacks while touring as part of the Black Arm Band and she's also previously toured as a backing vocalist for Archie Roach. 

But none of this experience foretold for the overhaul in Emma's musical outlook and persuasion that came about when she started working with The PutBacks. The debut album from Emma Donovan & the PutBacks, 2014’s Dawn, displayed the influence of artists like Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Stax Records, Aretha Franklin and a lot of contemporary neo soul. 

We had to wait six years for a follow up, but it finally arrived in the form of Crossover in early November 2020. Crossover builds on the deep funk and soul of its predecessor, only this time it all feels more assured, more natural, and more potent. 

In the podcast, Emma talks about her love of Melbourne and her appreciation for the guys in the PutBacks. She also talks about the song 'Mob March', which pays tribute to the history of Indigenous protest and acknowledges the power of the contemporary protest movement. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

GL (Ella Thompson + Graeme Pogson)

GL (Ella Thompson + Graeme Pogson)

October 26, 2020

Episode 21 of Turning Heads features Melbourne musicians Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson of the cosmic electro funk-pop project GL. GL's second album, You Read My Mind, came out in September 2020 via the band's own label, Pool Records. 

Graeme and Ella's musical collaboration dates back over a decade. They both grew up in the Warrandyte/Eltham area and started working together when Ella was still in high school. They later both joined Melbourne funk icons The Bamboos – Graeme on drums and Ella as co-lead vocalist – appearing on a few of the group's most successful albums before splitting off to form GL in 2014.
 
Graeme is also a member of Kylie Aulidst's band and played a major role in the creation of her new album, This is What Happiness Looks Like. Ella has co-fronted Dorsal Fins and in 2015 released her debut solo album, Janus, following up with the 2018 EP, Hysteria.
 
GL released their debut LP, Touch, in 2016, which led to a sold out national tour and slots at Meredith, Splendour In The Grass and Laneway Festival. This rapid rise meant that GL started to become a bit of a stressful venture, which was the exact the opposite of what they'd hoped for when launching the project.
 
But having taken time to free themselves of other people's expectations, Graeme and Ella return in glistening, pop-tastic form on You Read My Mind. It's an upbeat, extroverted release with squelchy synths, deep funk and disco grooves and a heckload of pop melody.
 
In the podcast, Ella and Graeme talk about their decision to release the album through their own label and how much they value the increased autonomy. They also discuss the sorts of reactions they hope to elicit with their songs and how working on GL songs enables them to put aside their own bad moods and frustrations about the state of the world. 

 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

On Diamond (Lisa Salvo)

On Diamond (Lisa Salvo)

October 19, 2020

Episode 20 of Turning Heads features a conversation with Lisa Salvo from the Melbourne band On Diamond. The conversation primarily revolves around On Diamond’s latest single ‘Candle’, which came out in September 2020. 

‘Candle’ is the first new music from On Diamond since their debut, self-titled album, which came out in early 2019. The track is rooted in a repeating bass groove and grows from a restrained beginning to become somewhat cacophonous. This is a common thread through On Diamond’s catalogue, which stretches back to the 2016 single ‘Long Road’. 

Lisa had previously performed as a solo artist, releasing the album I Could Have Been A Castle in 2014. She’d previously worked with the On Diamond guitarists Scott McConnachie and Hannah Cameron, either in her solo project or in her capacity as a member of Grand Salvo’s live band. On Diamond is a five-piece featuring Lisa, Scott and Hannah along with drummer Maria Moles and bass player Jules Pascoe. 

In the podcast, Lisa explains the significant role improvisation plays in building and evolving On Diamond songs and that improvisation remains a feature of their live shows. She also talked about how, although some difficult life experiences gave rise to the lyrics of ‘Candle’, the song is intended to offer a hand to anyone who's struggling through trauma. It also brings attention to the way in which truth has become something of an endangered species in contemporary political discourse.

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Blake Scott (The Peep Tempel)

Blake Scott (The Peep Tempel)

October 11, 2020

Blake Scott joins for episode 19 of Turning Heads. Blake's debut solo album, Niscitam, is out now.

Blake was the guitarist and vocalist of Melbourne pub-punk weirdos The Peep Tempel for much of the 2010s. During this time, the band released three excellent albums – The Peep Tempel, Tales and Joy – before going on hiatus in late 2017. 

Blake's songwriting got stranger and more immersive with each Peep Tempel album, and he continues this trajectory on Niscitam. He teamed up with producer John Lee, drummer Jacey Ashton and bass player Nick Finch to record the album. It's not a rock album per se – there are moments that threaten to tear through your speakers, but it's also distinguished by sections of stripped-back restraint, a lot of Factory Records-esque bass lines, extended passages of spoken word and some more straight ahead pop hooks. 

We spoke about Blake's decision to launch a solo project, the important roles played by Jacey, John and Nick, how he develops his idiosyncratic vocal delivery, what he learnt from a long stint of sobriety and how it feels to be a new father. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded. 

Komang (Rosie Clynes)

Komang (Rosie Clynes)

October 5, 2020

Turning Heads episode 18 features a conversation with Melbourne musician Rosie Clynes aka Komang. Rosie launched the Komang project in early 2020 and released her first single, 'Dewi', in late August.

It's a great pop song featuring soulful electronic production and a strong dance beat. It also contains layered lyrical meaning and a strong melodic core. It's the first taste of Komang's "Mythologies" EP, which is due in the early months of 2021.

Rosie conceived the song while based in Jakarta, working as an actor. Living and working in Indonesia had a big impact on Rosie's ambitions for her life and art, something we speak about in the podcast.

We also talk about the themes explored in 'Dewi', the significance of representation in the arts for marginalised identities, and whether humans are all they're cracked up to be. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.  

Kuya James

Kuya James

September 28, 2020

Turning Heads episode 17 features musician and producer James Mangohig, who just released his debut album under the Kuya James alias, Isa

James is based in Darwin and has been involved in music for 20+ years. He was a member of the hip hop collective Culture Connect before joining TZU as a touring bass player. He then formed the duo Sietta with Caiti Baker, releasing their debut album The Seventh Passenger in 2011. 

In recent years, James has collaborated with TZU's Joelistics (aka Joel Ma) on the touring show, In Between Two, which explored what it means to grow up Asian in Australia. James' Filipino identity also strongly informs his work as Kuya James. 

The record features significant contributions from Serina Pech, another Darwin-based Filipino-Australian, as well as Emily Wurramara, Caiti Baker, Emcille, Stevie Jean, Tasman Keith and Don Murrungun. 

Our conversation covers James' career history, his major inspirations, his desire to inject Asian influences into the Kuya James productions and his relationship with Serina Pech. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.  

The Bats (Robert Scott)

The Bats (Robert Scott)

September 21, 2020

Turning Heads episode 16 features Robert Scott from exemplary NZ guitar pop outfit The Bats. The Bats formed in Christchurch in 1982, but are more closely allied with Dunedin, a smaller city on the southeastern tip of Te Waipounamu. It was there in 1980 that Scott joined brothers David and Hamish Kilgour in The Clean. He played bass and performed occasional lead vocals on a number of EPs and singles from The Clean in the early-’80s, which have come to be regarded as indie rock classics.

After moving to Christchurch, he was keen to establish an outlet for his songwriting. So, having struck up a friendship with guitarist Kaye Woodward, he set about forming The Bats. Bass player Paul Kean (Toy Love) and drummer Malcolm Grant (Bilders) completed the lineup, who played their first show in Dunedin on NYE 1982. 

After a couple of EPs, The Bats’ debut album, Daddy’s Highway, came out in 1987. In November 2020 they’ll release their tenth studio album, Foothills, with the lineup of Scott, Woodward, Kean and Grant still intact. 

Over the years, The Bats have become one of the most influential guitar bands of their generation, turning on the likes of Yo La Tengo, Dick Diver, Real Estate, Twerps and stacks more. Scott has also made albums with The Magick Heads, as a solo artist, and intermittently returns to tour or record with The Clean. 

We speak about Scott's career, his influences, the making of Foothills, what's kept The Bats original lineup together and his recollections of the Dunedin scene in the 1980s. 

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

Lim Orion

Lim Orion

September 13, 2020

Turning Heads episode 15 features London musician Lim Orion. Lim Orion is the new solo project for Cara Sebastian, who’s also the guitarist and vocalist of London rock band Shade Ray (fka Marine). 

Cara’s been releasing singles as Lim Orion for the last 18 months, drip feeding music from her upcoming debut album, Cosmic Salt. We’ve heard ‘Hot Flower’, ‘Mirror Mirror’, ‘Stones’, and the latest single, ‘Gold Plated’. 

It’s a contrast in sound to Shade Ray, which is a dynamic rock band. Lim's music retains the band’s penchant for creating atmosphere and space, but removes the robust rhythm section and tendency toward noisy climaxes. Instead, Lim Orion has more of an ambient slant, at times recalling Brian Eno’s work with Daniel Lanois – it’s very textural, intimate and has an organic looseness.

Some of her other influences include Cat Power and Liz Phair, as well as Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks, which we speak about in the podcast. We also talk about Lim’s commercial aims (or the absence thereof), how the new project differs from Shade Ray, being jealous of the work of your peers and how easily music can alter your mood.

Check out "Lim Pickinz Vol. 1" on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7IUsCAVWz6UlGg6rgGZvLo?si=92vjS8zKRnCrCHfmez1SpA

Turning heads is recorded on the stolen land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation; the traditional custodians of the land. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and acknowledge that sovereignty has never been ceded.

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