non-fiction rock from Aotearoa New Zealand

Updates

Nakano Rock n Roll

We arrive just before 6am in Haneda airport, Tokyo, after a pretty sleepless trip but adrenaline has it’s own turbo-boosting effect and we’re both excited to be here. It’s nice to get here so early as it give’s us plenty of time to collect our selves and the gear, and to navigate the transport system.

Three trains and we are at Nakano station, a major transport conduit at the heart of the Nakano area, famous for manga animation and the Broadway. The Nakano Broadway is a massive complex of stores selling a million different plastic figurines from various characters of pop culture.

We walk from the train station to the backpackers where we are to camp for three days, ground central. It’s an easy 15 minute walk and a warm welcoming environment. We can check in at 11 but we’re able  leave our bags and go and find something to do for a couple of hours.

We go and look for something to eat for breakfast/lunch. We have read about a vegetarian restaurant in the Broadway so go exploring. Nakano Broadway is massive. We walk round and round, past a million Ultra-Man, Godzilla, Totoro replicas hustling amongst a mountain of other items. We find the cafe but it seems closed, the curtain covering the doorway is down but there are people inside, maybe we’re early. We do another lap and when we return the curtain is still drawn. Poking into the curtain to inquire if they are opening, we are surprised to be invited in to what we discover is a cooking class of vegetarian cuisine.

Korbino, it’s a tiny restaurant, seating maybe 10-12 maximum and the class is of local women who have come to learn to cook Vietnamese-styled vegetarian food. It’s a cooking lesson full of laughter, and we are certainly part of the amusement, but it is mutual , warm and friendly. One of the women does wonderfully to translate for all of us there. The restaurant has been here for more than 30 years, and it seems the owner of the restaurant fled Vietnam under difficult circumstances. It’s a sobering moment amongst all the humour. There are tears and then laughter. We are not allowed to pay. An extraordinary introduction to Nakano and a remarkable first taste into this city.

We grab a few hours sleep before meeting Kaori, who has been brilliant in organising our three shows. She is the bass player for local group Goofy 18. Together we head off to the first venue.

39141026_1792012877500727_3569666187220484096_nAja LiveBar, the first venue is about 1 kilometre down the road from the backpackers. It’s below the ground level, a tiny space, containing about 12 seats and a small corner seat with a lowered ceiling. It’s gonna be snug. We soundcheck and then go to get food from the 7Eleven down the road. These convenience stores are to be a significant feature of eating while in Tokyo. It super nice to see a couple of folk from Whanganui turn up and party with us.

It’s an evening of two-piece acts. Fudds are first, electric guitar and drums – a thoroughly solid and robust performance of driving guitar and rolling drums.

Goofy18 follow Fudds, this is Kaori’s group, and is a hefty drums/bass unit. Heavy affects on the bass envelop songs that are 1 big part dynamic punk, 1 part pop. Duel vocals with Motegi on the drum who smacks out the rhythms with force!

Next is 5W1H (pronounced Guo-W-Ichi-1) – swings with a harder Radiohead vibe, with less of the angst and more of the funk. It’s very cool with a definite nod to the manic side of local music.

Finally our turn, the first show in Tokyo. Getting changed is a challenge, the venues small, the bathroom smaller, imagine getting dressing in a single-door wardrobe. We do the deed and adrenaline sustains the day, we belt out our set and it’s warmly received with big enthusiasm.

 

 


Your on the Edge

Good friends of ours, Gold Medal Famous, have been in a bit of transition recently, with some moving cities, and an additional change in personal. The self-described Avant garde pop trio have always been enjoyably off the wall and very entertaining in both performance and approach to music making. Prolific is also something they are.

They have a new ep being released soon. However, in a pre-emptive warm-up exercise they encourage anyone interested to remix the first track from the new release.

We did our best to Rammsteinify this ear-worm, this infectiously hooky and hummable tune. And no matter what we threw at it, it remained sweet.

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Gold Medal Famous


Rebooting back to action

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It’s been a fair while since any update. Seems like we took a year off.

So feeling rested, reorientated and recuperated we hit the sticks again, with a bunch of new project.

First a number of shows coming up – Wellington, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. Plus we are in the early stages of planning for a much bigger tour at the end of the year.

We have a new look, some new stories and tunes to present to you.

And there are two new solo albums and one remastered album to be released on the bands own label skirted Records. The first is  beautiful new atmospheric and acoustic collection of five pieces of sound from DSLB, piped out from bellows over the green pasture of the Manawatu. The album is called TwoHandsTwice.

The second is Haters, Wreckers and other Friends by mr sterile. The most recent collect of random ramblings compiled into one particularly rock collection. Putting the uncomfortable in to the comfort zone.  UPDATE: And already these’s a nice wee preliminary review from the Organ Mag in London!

And finally is a new remastering and repackaging of the mr sterile solo album The General Pathetic. More lo-fi and chaotic the album spans the some of the solo sounds from 2005-2012.

Each album is to be assembly by hand, limited to 50 physical pieces only and to be released early April


It’s all quiet till it’s Not

No Beauty HereIt’s been all a bit hush on the quiet side lately, a lull after all the hootenanny last year with the album and what-have-you. There’s been a few lovely shows but not too much exertion further afield. We are working to remedy that! And of course the album, as well as all the previous releases, is available at the skirted Records Bandcamp page.

The big news I guess is that we’re in the throws of organising a tour again for Mid October. The itinerary planning is well underway for a northern hemisphere excursion. We plan to visit and play in China, Italy, UK, Czech Republic, Finland and Malaysia. We will away for about eight weeks in total. There will certainly be more information to come.

Also , very happy to announce our joining up with Metal Postcards, who will be handling distro from Portland, USA. They are carrying much of the back catalog, including DSLB and Ditzy Squall.

The Assembly also had a tune included on the Turnbull National Library mixtape, celebrating all things in the Creative Commons.

Finely, there’s been a couple of solo mr sterile tunes posted recently to soundcloud[our dumping site for odd ditties].

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Beating jet lag to a 5/4 beat

For your audio pleasure.

One of the most brilliant things about the Internet is the global access to media that would have either taken months to get your paws on twenty or so years ago, or would have been impossible to access.

One of these now achievable gems is Marina Organ’s weekly The Other Rock Show hosted on Resonance FM in London. This has been a regular source for interesting sounds, focusing specifically on rock music outside the 4/4 mainstream.

I had the esteemed pleasure to be a guest on the show less than 24 hours after the 29 hour haul from Aotearoa NZ to the UK. It was a race between eloquence and racing a brain towards jetlagdom, attempting to avoid the inevitable embarrassment that could ensue. Fortunately, it all turned out for the best.

Follow THIS LINK to the page for the audio. And I recommend checking in often to explore the new tunes spun over the airways.


Homeopathic Armageddon 2012

Sterile GothicWell, the world hasn’t ended, again. Better luck next time Apocalypse! However, there was a small suggestion that perhaps this time round it was more likely a homeopathic catastrophe,  that is that the more dilute and insipid the event, the greater the final cataclysm. The date of departure though, that’s another matter…

The year is ending however. And in some ways it has been a quiet one for us. A few shows earlier in the year, and a couple to close 2012. And though it may have seemed like a bit of a public void in the middle, I can vouch that we haven’t been slack. This year we journeyed from Invercargill to Auckland for a few shows, released a solo mr sterile album, and took our Transit exhibition to Dunedin and won an award at the finge festival. But essentially we have been spending a great deal of time working on new tunes, along with some close personal evaluation.

The Transit album/exhibition/project has been a success well beyond any initial intention. It has taken us to venues we wouldn’t have imagined, opened doors, conversations, and opportunities for experiences far exceeding the act of playing a simple tune or two. And along the way we collected some sterling reviews.

But it is time to move on, and for the most of this year we have been focusing on the ‘what next?’. Song writing basically, of which we now have a bunch of new songs in our repertoire, and a few more in the wings. It always takes a lot longer than personal impatience demands to finish these things. The research can take ages, then the banging and hammering required to transform ideas to music. It’s been a bit of a struggle at times, but a struggle of the good variety.

And a new transitional costume, beautifully photographed by Roger Grauwmeijer.

So far the plan is that by the end of 2013 we will have written, worked, and developed enough material for a new album.

So now it’s time to start planning for next year.

There is one last act for Transit. On Wednesday January 23 we are presenting at ICOT, the International Conference on Thinking[1.45 – 3pm]. Essentially we are going to “…provide insight into the creation of the collaborative work “Transit” as an example of what is possible when you rethink the paramaters of a familiar activity – the production of an album of music. In [our] unique style [we] will tell stories about Transit’s connection and continuing impact on a small community in south east Java, the creation of the 11 related art works by prominent contemporary NZ artists, the touring exhibition and the glitch music video project.” 

Next, we are playing at the Wine Cellar in Auckland February  2, CANCELLED. We are planning to play more in 2013, if you are interested in discussing with us the possibility of coming to play where you are, then please get in contact and we can negotiate from there. Discussions of touring further afield are back on the table too…but where?

Our glitch video project is also back on the boil. So all those that sent in contributions to the video, your work has not been forgotten, and hopefully we will be able to present something that may make you go OMG!

And finally, we plan to announce SOON the release of Chrissie’s DSLB solo album, a spectacular way to close the year.

Happy new year all.

xx


May Update

Photo by http://www.facebook.com/roger.grauwmeijer, Invercargill 2012A slight lack of interacting via this blog for a while, seems the start of the year was busy busy and finally now we find a spot to reflect, tidy up, and look at new work.

Firstly, a MASSIVE thanks to all who came to the Dunedin Fringe showing of TRANSIT. We had a most wonderful time, bit at the festival shows held at the Glue Gallery, and at the show at the Crown on the Friday night. We were pleased to hear that we were the recipients of the Best Visual Art Award for the 2012 Dunedin Fringe Festival, thanks.

Also big thanks to the Invercargill folk who came out and partied as well, good to be back in that southern city.

Some  pictures are posted at THIS LINK for the Crown show and at THIS LINK for the Invercargill show by the bloke at THIS LINK.

Goldie and PoochWe have played a couple of shows since Dunedin, one of them being the end of the wonderful venue FRED’s. But now we have no plans other than settling down to do some new song writing, and that’s going well, looking forward to inflicting these new tunes on you.

And finally, recently got to revisit Karl Sim, C. F. Goldie, during a recent trip to Auckland. Great to see the old bloke still kicking, he’s around 88 now. He’s a genuine kiwi legend, we did a song about him a few years back, check it out.


July update

Here we are in July, less than two weeks to go before we take off on tour to Southeast Asia. Nearly all dates are confirmed, with just one or two still to be finalized, there may be changes as we go but that’s how it happens. I will set up a tour diary once we are underway and then try to update as often as possible.It’s shaping up to be an interesting tour, with a combination of big shows, studio shows, and a couple of shows more in the art domain.

Southeast Asia poster by Joe KiddHere’s the dates, there’s bound to be tweaks along the way- expanded gig details are to the right of the screen:
15 Friday Malaysia, KL: venue:@ Rumah Api, Ampang HOW HIGH CAN A PUNK GET part2.
16 Saturday Malaysia, Tampin: venue: The Seventh Heaven This Is For The Heart Still Beating
17 Sunday Java, Surabaya
19 Tuesday Java, Blitar
20 Wednesday Java, Yogyakarta: venue TBC:
21 Thursday Java, Bandung: venue TBC:
22 Friday Java, Bekasi: venue: Dromotora studio, bulak kapa.
23 Saturday, Malaysia, KL: venue: MyEvo Clubhouse
24 Sunday Malaysia – Mentakab: venue Arjuna Studio Silent Night Gig
28 Thursday Singapore – venue: The Pigeonhole
29 Friday Singapore – venue: Playfreely experimental music night, improv
30 Saturday Malaysia, KL MapKL, Solaris Dutamas, KL

Mr sterile has been featured in this months edition of NZMusician, with a nicely edited interview from noise maker Campbell Kneale.

UrbAlt  Sampler Quattro coverA new downloadable compilation has been released by the USA Blog UrbAlt.
Go to THIS LINK to download the FREE album Sampler Quattro, an eclectic collection of international acts including yours truly.

Distro outlets are being established now with Nikt Nic Nie Wie in Poland, Onec Records in Plymouth,UK, and Tenzenmen Australia. We are continuing to locate other sources to carry the album, as well as looking for other outlets for Distro and review. Contact us if you are interested in discussing this with us some more.

The bands 10th birthday is starting to loom and we figure maybe we should do something for it, brainstorming commence.