When you think of indie rock, South Africa may not always be the first place you think of. That might change once you’ve gotten to know The Parlotones. The South African indie act are gearing for the release of their eighth studio album, titled China, on June 28th and have released the video for the track “Can You Feel It?”
The band are now 20 years into their existence and while they may not be household names around the globe yet, it hasn’t deterred their steadfast hard work especially in their home country. The Parlotones have claimed status as being the country’s biggest selling indie rock band and have shared the stage with some of rock’s most famous acts, including Coldplay, The Killers, and Snow Patrol. On their new album, frontman Kahn Morbee has said; “It’s kinda surreal because it feels as fresh and as exciting as when we first started“, which is always the better option than being old and jaded.
“Can You Feel It?” may not be as angular as some of indie rock’s most feverish tunes, but the song makes tracks towards those big stadium sounds- taking a more straight forward alternative rock approach to soaring choruses and catchy melodies. Perfect for when you need to feel good about music.
Check out the video below to get a taste of their new album. And for those who want to hear the growth of the band since their debut album Episoda (2003), we recommend checking out the opening cut “Big Fright” from their debut and then checking out the wistful “We Were Just Having Fun” from their 2015 album Antiques & Artefacts.
Western Australia punks The Decline talk “Brovine” video
“How else will they get their protein?”
Western Australia punks The Decline are currently prepping for the release of their new album Flash Gordon Ramsey Street, so naturally, they’re quite busy. The band have just announced a brand new Australian tour through October with Nerdlinger that will see the band hit all the major cities through Australia on a 12-date trek. But before the all of this madness, we spoke to guitarist and vocalist Ben Elliott about their animated music video for the Vegan-anthem “Brovine”, a song about sticking it to the meatheads and meatlovers of the world.
The track is just one of the great tunes on their brand new album- an album that is chock-filled with concise, up-tempo, no-frills skate punk that will entertain as much as it contemplates the lives of young punks in Australia and the world.
How did the idea for the video come together?
Elliott: I think the idea for the video came together pretty organically. The song definitely has some purposeful imagery and Fox worked really well with it and understood where the whole thing was coming from.
Did you guys have ideas to do a live-action video or was it always going to be animation?
Elliott: I don’t know about everybody else, but personally, I’ve always wanted to be animated. We really wanted to explore a few different ways of doing videos and we’re big Fox fans. We thought animation for this could go a number of different and exciting ways, so it just made sense to us.
The song is about standing up to abuse and the culture that surrounds it. How important was the message to the concept of the video and how did you want it portrayed?
Elliott: The song and the concept of the video really go hand in hand. A long time ago, I decided that I couldn’t continue being part of a system that (without good reason) views living beings as means to our own ends. You often get some ridiculous and irrational responses when you tell people you care about the rights of animals – these are often rooted in all sorts of notions that don’t make a lot of sense to me.
The video was done by Fox at X-Ray Studios- have you guys worked with him before? How did you guys end up with Fox?
Elliott: Fox has done a bunch of artwork for us and we’re big fans of his art. The idea of doing this video with him was a really exciting prospect.
What was the process of creating the video like- were you guys there for the storyboarding and how it would play out or was the idea presented to you as a completed concept?
Elliott: We had an idea of us as vigilante vegetable eaters being harassed by the “protein police”. What followed from that definitely related to the nonsensical ways people often respond to others not eating animals. Fox really helped this come to life and turned it in to something bigger.
Was “Brovine” the natural choice for the first single/video?
Elliott: It was the third choice! The first single/video we released from the album was “Verge Collection” and then we did “The More You Know”, which, although a 30-second song that may seem like a teaser, is actually a true representation of the sorts of musicians we are – easily distracted.
Patternist talks “I Don’t Feel Real” video and new album
“I’m like salaciously popping grapes into the mouth of this horrifying sex doll”
Indie pop artist Patternist is overcoming some of the apprehension that comes with being a performer the hard way: by going all out in his performances on stage, on record, and most recently, in music videos. Patternist is musician Gabe Mouer, who over the course of his relatively new career has crafted himself amongst the best in up and coming young artists. His spry synthesizer hued indie is evoking memories of noted artists like The Postal Service and Owl City, growing in stature and recognition over the course of his two recent EPs, 2015’s Youth Is Fading and the follow-up, 2016’s Give It Up.
Fresh from signing with InVogue Records, Patternist recently went and shot the music video for the track “I Don’t Feel Real”, a personal song about overcoming a songwriter’s crisis of identity. We talked to Gabe about the video, how shooting the over-the-top scenes went, his recent signing to InVogue, and what we can expect from his upcoming new LP due in September.
I enjoyed the video- it looked like fun- was the shoot a long day?
Mouer: Thank you so much! I was initially worried I wasn’t gonna be able to do this concept justice, so I’m really relieved that the response has been positive overall. The shoot was actually surprisingly quick, we had blocked out nearly nine hours for filming and I think by the time we wrapped we were barely over 5? Something like that. That all comes down to the direction and support of Anneliese and Aaron, they were so fantastic about communicating what they wanted for each shot while at the same time fostering such a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, it really helped in pushing me out of my comfort zone.
Who are Aaron and Anneliese? They directed the video? How did you guys connect?
Mouer: We came across Aaron and Anneliese after checking out the work they did for the band Armors, who are friends of ours we had toured with previously. It’s rare to find genuinely funny and novel music videos, and after seeing just how much those videos oozed personality and humor, we were like “We have to work with these guys.” I’m thankful they were kind enough to acquiesce, haha. Aaron shoots and directs while Anneliese produces and oversees the art direction, but Anneliese also had a heavy hand in the direction as well. They’re a dynamic duo.
You’ve talked about being an introvert, and that the concept of the video was a little daunting at first- but after filming, having fun, and seeing the end result- has that changed your approach to videos? Will we see more wild videos in the future?
Mouer: That’s my sincere hope. I mean, it was terrifying to be sure, there were moments where people would walk by and stop and stare, sometimes with their kids, as I’m like salaciously popping grapes into the mouth of this horrifying sex doll. But it’s all in service of the art [laughs]. With the admittedly downer nature of the record, the goal is to contrast its more dismal thematic outlook with a lighthearted approach to our videos.
How different do you find making music videos like that to say performing live?
Mouer: Personally, I’ve always had fairly bad stage fright. I’ll feel initially sick to my stomach before going out, I worry about what people will think. But, if you want to be a songwriter and you’re, like me, too egotistical to let other people touch your material, you have to bury debilitating thoughts and just go for it. It’s the exact same process for this video. Can I act? Can I dance? Probably not but who gives a shit. They share the same mental priming, “Well, what the hell else am I gonna do?”
It’s a very personal song- and you’ve said that it’s about overcoming a songwriter identity crisis of sorts. How do you feel about the finished song?
Mouer: I’m the last person to ask about the finished product because my MO is to vacillate wildly between delusions of grandeur and utter self-loathing [laughs]. I don’t know that I can feign any sort of objectivity. I think the track is not so much about my identity crisis as much as it’s documenting a period of hopelessness (channelled into this story about a person who finds themselves committed after a breakdown) that just happened to coincide with my feeling aimless in my artistic pursuits. I think I’ve done about the best I could do at the time in communicating those feelings in a hopefully interesting and engaging way. Then again, I still have people ask me what the song is about so maybe not [laughs].
You’ve said the song was your first step towards narrative songwriting. Have you found this writing process to be more natural or is it still a work in progress?
Mouer: Oh it’s always a work in progress for sure! But it’s taken me longer than it should have to realize what kind of songwriter I want to be, what my perspective is. I worried less about how Patternist fits into the Indie Pop zeitgeist and focused on trying to make the kind of record I wanted to hear, whether or not it’s what the people want is still up for debate. Also, having a higher track count and run time to play with helped divorce me from having to write a series of singles and allowed me to play around more.
You recently signed to InVogue Records and are releasing your new LP in September. What can we expect from the new record? Have you adopted the same songwriting approach as you did to “I Don’t’ Feel Real” to the songs on the album?
Mouer: I’ve taken to describing the LP as “melodramatic guitar pop.” It’s a collection of short stories that explore various ways we isolate ourselves from the world around us, backdropped by a series of verb’d-out, emo inspired guitar riffs. It’s still a Patternist record, if such a thing can be said, but with more of a “rock band” approach mixed in with the usual bedroom pop sensibilities. From a lyrical standpoint as well as a melodic one, “I Don’t Feel Real” sets a precedent the rest of the record follows. Hopefully that adds up to something people can connect with.
The new Patternist album, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Here, is due out September 6th on InVogue Records.