Tully On Tully: To Asia and beyond

Tully On Tully are making waves wherever they go, and they’re not afraid to get out and try their brand of indie-pop on new audiences. This has taken them from Australia to the Philippines, to Canada, New York, and back to Singapore, and all in a twelve-month window.

Hitting Singapore at the end of May for Music Matters, Tully On Tully treated audiences to shows at both Crazy Elephant and on the Fountain Stage at Clarke Quay. Apparently, opening for K-Pop Night Out (the festival’s Korean showcase) brought back memories from their 2013 visit to Singapore.

“We played a show at Home Club (last year) but we got to come see some K-Pop. I remember walking down a street and all of a sudden there was a huge crowd of people like just in front of me, and I realized that we were walking behind this huge K-Pop star,” says vocalist Natalie Foster, “We were just there being like, ‘What? What’s happening?’”.

“You hear about that kind of stuff happening to other people… but we never thought it’d happen to us”

The Internet has played a pretty significant role in the band’s story of going international, with their first foray into the wide world being their 2013 trip to Manila for Wanderland Festival almost exactly one year ago. There, they played alongside established acts including The Temper Trap and Nada Surf.

The story goes that the band received an email from Stephanie Uy [the 23-year-old President of Karpos Multimedia and brains behind the festival] who had heard of the band from her sister. Finding their videos online, she got in contact, and the rest, they say, is history. “It’s sick,” says sometime piano teacher and Tully On Tully keys player Pete Corrigan. “You hear about that kind of stuff happening to other people — being discovered on YouTube or something — but we never thought it’d happen to us”.

Turns out that the Wanderland opportunity was the beginning of an exciting journey for the band. “It was a huge stepping stone for us, to be able to play internationally,” Corrigan continues, telling us that “it was a huge learning curve as well, in terms of organisation and getting ourselves ready”. Before this opportunity, though Tully on Tully was well educated on hitting the Australian road, only guitarist Greg Rietwyk had travelled internationally for gigs.

“…when they go out, they don’t wanna go clubbing; they want to go and watch a band”

And it certainly wasn’t overnight success for the band. Formed in 2011, they’d spent two years playing in and around their hometown of Melbourne (Australia), independently releasing their debut EP ‘Weightless’ and supporting the likes of local artists Tigertown and Whitley.

They attribute their success, and the success of other Melbourne bands, to the vibrancy of the independent music scene in the city. “Honestly in Melbourne, I think it’s a lot to do with all the venues around town. Also, I suppose, just Melbournites in general – they just accept Melbourne as a place of supporting the independent music scene,” says Corrigan.

“There’s a whole subculture of people who really thrive on that; who, when they go out, they don’t wanna go clubbing; they want to go and watch a band”. Both Corrigan and Foster believe that the x-factor that other cities lack is the supportive community of artists, who are both the producers of, and the supporters of, the arts there.

“It’s good having another voice in there to kind of balance us out and also throw in ideas that we never would’ve considered by ourselves”

But that’s not to say that there aren’t positive factors to getting out of Australia; the enthusiasm of crowds in South East Asia is one of the draw cards for Tully On Tully. “It’s great, we love it,” Foster says. “It’s almost like everyone is so much more receptive here. Like they’re so open and wanting to hear new music and stuff, whereas in Australia they’re a little more reserved.”

Recently, Tully On Tully have been making the most of being in demand overseas. In the last month alone, they’ve played shows in Toronto for Canadian Music Week, New York and Singapore. “It’s been kind of a whirlwind month for us!” Corrigan says.

And there’s more to come. With a new EP on the way, things are only heating up for the band. Whilst ‘Weightless’ was engineered by Rietwyk, the band are now looking for a change. For the first time, they’ve worked with a producer, and with positive results.

“Sometimes I think when it was just us working together it was easier to get on each other’s nerves and disagree,” says Foster. “It’s good having another voice in there to kind of balance us out and also throw in ideas that we never would’ve considered by ourselves”.

Embracing the new seems to be working in Tully On Tully’s favour.

By Eleanor Turnbull

Courtney Barnett signs to Remote Control Records, announces new album

After 12 months of breakthrough success internationally, Melbourne singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett has signed with Australian label Remote Control Records for the release of her debut album later this year, as well as the re-release of her stunning EP, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas.

She will join Remote Control’s ever-growing Australian roster which includes King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Teeth & Tongue, Sunbeam Sound Machine, Dirty Three, Mick Turner, Midnight Juggernauts, Miami Horror, and many more.

[youtube width=”450″ height=”340″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6_G5PlEXdk[/youtube]

[spacer height=”10px”]Barnett’s killer year has seen her compared to an ‘early Bob Dylan’ (The Rolling Stone) and the Velvet Underground (New York Times), and she’s now traversing the UK and US on an impressive sold out tour, with slots at major international festivals including SasquatchPrimavera and Coachella.

The debut album will be released later this year on Barnett’s own imprint label, Milk! Records, backed by the team at Remote Control. More immediately, her The Double EP: A Sea Of Split Peas will be available in store on CD format in March with a limited edition vinyl to follow.

By Eleanor Turnbull

Vance Joy: “If I knew how to do it, I’d do it every day”

Vance Joy appears initially to be a bit of a myth emerging from Australia — much in the same vein of fellow rising stars Chet Faker and Flume; it takes a bit of digging around to find out what the deal actually is.

They embody that awkward crossover between ‘indie’ and the mainstream, whereby one brave soul has to throw caution to the wind to actually get their songs played on commercial radio, which, when they are successful… will be played the shit out of — and it’s all been worth it.

Over in Australia, James Keough’s (aka. Vance Joy, in case you missed it) single ‘Riptide’, from his debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing, entered public consciousness overnight, cropping up on commercial radio and TV advertisements. If you’ve been to Australia recently and you don’t know the song, you surely need to get out more.

When I spoke to Keough this week, he didn’t quite appreciate my ten-second analysis of his career. “I don’t think I’m an overnight success… my song has been really popular so I’ve got onto people’s radars very quickly because of that,” he says.

The assumption is easy to make. He’s gone swiftly from playing pub-gigs to festival-gigs, but he doesn’t seem daunted by this stark difference. “You kind of rise to the occasion in terms of more people [being] there; if there’s good energy, then you kind of just feed off it”.

But how can someone possibly have time to complete a law degree, play VFL (the semi-professional brother of AFL) and put together a pret-tee rad EP? Be not mistaken, he’s worked at it.

“It took me a few years to pump out a decent song… a song that I’d written completely myself.”

Over years. “I feel like it took me a while to hone my skills to a level where I was producing songs that I was happy with,” he tells us. “The first few songs that I wrote in high school were pretty average… I thought it was really easy, and that’s always a sign that you’re not any good.”

“It took me a few years to pump out a decent song in about 2009… a song that I’d written completely myself.”

Years and years, in fact. “I sat on ‘Riptide’ for a while — I had the first couple of lines in like, 2007, and I wasn’t really taking music seriously at all. And then it kind of resurfaced and I had the chorus in my head and started putting words to it… and it all finally linked together in 2012.”

Clearly, Melbourne’s indie-folk man-of-the-moment has had a big 18 months. In 2013, he was signed to US label Atlantic Records, who he describes as “really supportive of my creative needs”, with a unique ability to spread his music far and wide (bonus!).

He’s not fazed by the weight of influence held by the big labels, though. “I think if you have confidence in your abilities, you’re not going to allow anyone to tailor you or tell you what to be,” he says.

This is reflected in his attitude toward the release of his debut album. “There’s still a little bit to do, not heaps, but important bits, little things… It’ll be done when it’s done, and no sooner.” He laughs, and I get the impression that in terms of Keough’s music, the only timeframe that matters is his own, true to his word.

Last year also saw him tour with Bernard Fanning and the “deadest legends”, Big Scary. He says, “I grew up listening to Bernard Fanning – that’s a cliché thing to say – ‘I grew up to this shit, I grew up to this band’ – but I literally did listen to Powderfinger growing up”.

He also played to his biggest crowd to date last year, at Australia’s Spendour in the Grass Festival in July. “That was crazy, that was so good. In terms of a big moment, it felt like a big moment.”

“I think if you have confidence in your abilities, you’re not going to allow anyone to tailor you or tell you what to be.”

And now, another big moment. This weekend, Vance Joy hits the Little Red Dot for two days, in order to play Laneway Festival. As a Laneway virgin (and having never touched down in Singapore), Keough has a few things to look forward to, including a line-up he can get pumped for. “I’m excited for them, and about them. And all around them,” he tells us.

2014 is looking equally as exciting for the 25-year-old. Though he says he dreams of taking baths and burning incense to pass his time, the reality looks to be a bit further away. He’ll be touring, writing, touring, writing — and maybe he’ll find time to fit a good book in there one Sunday.

Today, he’s hot property; though the exact formula of the success of ‘Riptide’, God Loves You When You’re Dancing, and Vance Joy so far is a mystery to even the man himself. “If I knew how to do it, I’d do it every day.”

Here’s hoping he gets a clue soon, because we think it could turn out pretty well for everyone.

By Eleanor Turnbull

Vance Joy will perform at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore this year on 25 January 2014 at The Meadow, Gardens By the Bay.

New tunes from across the sea: Homes releases first single ‘Best Disguise’

You all surely know by now that we are suckers for Australian music — and in a landscape of great diversity, nowhere is this more evident than in its self-proclaimed ‘arts capital’, Melbourne.

Fin Bradley and Henry Badgery have been hitting city stages for a few years now with various accomplices, under various names and within various genres, though they seem to have found a staying project with Homes, an encapsulation of their shared appreciation of disco and soul, with the vintage sounds of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll thrown in.

The pair have just released their first single, ‘Best Disguise’, pitting traditional hooks and grooves picked straight from the crates of soul records against the ordered chaos of experimental electronic music, resulting in an innovative blend of old and new that features horns and a kazoo.

Homes launches ‘Best Disguise’ this Thursday, 28 November at The LuWow with special guests Meg Mac, Seven Year Itch, and Disrute.

By Eleanor Turnbull