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WAM Interviews: WAMFest Saturday Spectacular Artists

4 Nov

Featuring an epic selection of 80+ acts; Saturday Spectacular returns for 2016 to proving to be WA’s biggest and best, completely FREE celebreation of live, original, homegrwon music. Being held across 11 venues throughout Northbridge, starting from 4pm and continuing well into the night. WAM spoke to a number of  acts performing across the night including Pat Mclaughlin from Sugar Army, Nelson Mondlane from Pow! Negro… and Tobacco Rat about the their recent achievements, #WAMFest highlights, and recommendations of who to catch at #WAMFest, plus why Saturday 5 November is one to mark in the diary…

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sugar-army Sugar Army
 NAME: Pat McLaughlin
 ROLE: Singer
WHERE PLAYING: Saturday Spectacular, Block Party – Wilson Roe St. Car Park, 11.30pm

History in brief?
We played our first show in 2005 at Mojo’s. Since then we have released 3 albums and an EP, toured Australia lots, played at some    of the big Aus festivals and supported some cool bands we’re fans of. We’ve also played shows in Japan. I guess what we are most proud of is still being a band and writing music together after 11 years.

Highlight from the last year:
The biggest highlight from last year was definitely finishing our new record BEAST. It was 3 years in the making so it was a bit of a slog. It is however something that we’re really proud of. We also played a bunch of shows with Karnivool around WA. It was great as it gave us a chance to play some of our new songs live in front of a big audience for the first time.

Your recent album is a cracker, and by our ears deserves to be played far wider than we’ve heard it so far. How have you gone about your release strategy this time, and any challenges you’ve faced?
We released this album completely independently this time around which we have never done before. We felt that having complete control over how we do things was what was most important to us. There is definitely more leg work taking this approach and this can be tedious as you have to put a lot of work into the boring stuff, but we feel we need to steer the ship ourselves without any interference.

What’s the thing you’re happiest about with the album?
We experimented a lot on this album and came up with something that is new and fresh to us. We don’t feel like we have repeated ourselves and that is probably what we are most happy with. After being together for all this time we are still able to bring in ideas that get us excited collectively which is great.

Past highlights of WAMFest? (funny stories/moments/discoveries etc)
Sorry dude, we’ve played heaps of WAMIfests but I don’t really have anything interesting or funny…

3 acts you recommend catching at WAMFest’s Friday Showcases and/or Saturday Spectacular and WHY?

► Hideous Sun Demon
►Human Buoy
► Skullcave

3 WAMCon speakers you recommend catching and WHY?
Sorry dude, I’m not really sure… Just going to see as much as I can.

Advice to up-and-coming musicians: (quick piece of advice to help other acts)
Be persistent. Not much goes to plan.

What next?
We have a few shows throughout November which will be cool; the WAMfest Block Party, the RTR FM Courtyard Club and a show at the Urban Orchard with Regurgitator. Then we will probably start writing again sometime in the new year.


pow-negroPOW! Negro…
NAME: Nelson Mondlane
: Front man
WHERE PLAYING: Saturday Spectacular, Block Party – Wilson Roe St. Car Park, 7.30pm

History in brief?
I (Nelson) was asked to do an opening set for Hussle Hussle at Mojos with a DJ. However our now drummer Rhys said that this was the perfect opportunity to get a band together, even though we only had a week to find band members and create a set. Somehow we managed to do both those things, though the quality of the set is still up for debate. Pretty much the whole year has been something we’re all super proud of and amazed by, winning Big Splash, playing Fair bridge, Wave rock, supporting Remi, Sampa, Koi Child have all been ridiculously dope to us. To have done all this stuff in a year is constantly mind-boggling.

Highlight from the last year:
Being nominated for the WAMAwards is huge but I’d say Big Splash has been our biggest award so far. Our biggest supports have probably been Sampa, Remi or Koi but we have some even bigger gigs in the works before the end of the year which we are ecstatic about.

You’re up against some fine acts in your WAMAwards categories. Your pick for the biggest WAMAwards competition and why they deserve it?
Couldn’t even begin to pick, too many homies/ amazing musicians.

Given the Most Popular Live Act nomination, it appears that the best way to enjoy POW! Negro is by seeing you guys at a gig. What do you do to get prepped for the energy you all bring to the stage?
Well we only have one official song on the inter-web that we made during the formation of the band, so seeing us live is the best way to get a proper taste our combined flavaz. Pre-show we stretch, do some vocal warm ups, focus exercises and basically all the things that ‘real’ rock an rollers would say are sissy.

Past highlights of WAMFest?
For some strange reason this is the first year anyone form the band will have been to WAM Fest, so if we’re around next year hopefully we’ll have something juicy to divulge.

3 acts you recommend catching at WAMFest’s Friday Showcases and/or Saturday Spectacular and WHY?
►Hideous Sun Demon
►Leon Osborne

3 WAMCon speakers you recommend catching and WHY?
To many to choose from!

What next?
Our Single Launch at Mojos on the 25th November, a super sweet NYE gig at Rosemount with some Freo lords, possibly some festival lineups and a massive international artist support for PIAF. Also our debut EP will hopefully be out before the end of summer!


tobacco-ratTOBACCO RAT
ROLE: Producer/Composer
WHERE PLAYING: Saturday Spectacular, The Moon – 2/323 William St. Northbridge, 10.20pm

History in brief?
I launched the Tobacco Rat alias just under 2 years ago with a spot on RTRFM’s Distant Murmurs festival and have been slowly but continually building things since. The latest single called ‘Infra’ would be the thing I’m most proud of, and it has been getting lots of support that I wasn’t expecting but am thankful for!

Highlight from the last year: (achievement for your act eg biggest support, awards etc) Releasing my debut EP under Tobacco Rat and subsequently doing a small tour over east was pretty rad, winning WAM Song Of The Year in the Electronic Category for ‘Trenchtown 2020’, and then jumping on the Perth LISTEN OUT lineup off the back of ‘Infra’ were all big highlights!

You recently won a triple j Unearthed comp to play LISTEN OUT, and your act you play in the live format – KUCKA – was also a previous winner of a similar Unearthed comp. How important have these wins, and Unearthed in general, to your music career?
Oh man winning these kind of comps are such a big help to assist in pushing your band and name out there, the kind of promotion you just can’t buy, and also a big morale booster! Triple J Unearthed is a really great platform to get your music out there and also discover lots of great Aussie acts aswell!

It’s waaaaaay better than Deadmau5’s… tell us about the rat’s head you wear – how came about, some of the more interesting reactions etc!
Why thank you. The rat head came about after I put the word out on social media and a colleague from university by the name of Janet Carter answered the call. We made a full-face mold then experimented a little and built it from there! I had a few people tell me they were a little freaked out from the mask but just wait until I drop an upcoming music video!

Past highlights of WAMFest?
The Weapon is Sound rocking out with their dub/reggae/awesome sounds on a sunny Sunday in Freo is pretty hard to beat!

3 acts you recommend catching at WAMFest’s Friday Showcases and/or Saturday Spectacular and WHY?
►Time Pilot –  are an electronic duo making some serious waves with their productions and remixes, and I’m playing just after them on Saturday!
►Sugar Army – These guys know how to put on a live show!!
► Mathas – One of Australia’s most interesting and intelligent lyricists!

3 WAMCon speakers you recommend catching and WHY?
►John Chavez – A good booking agent is imperative to getting on the good lineups and John would have a wealth of knowledge.
►Esti Zilber – Sounds Australia are a vital support base for acts performing outside of Australia.
►Dom Alessio. – Dom is always at the forefront of discovering and presenting great new Aussie bands.

Advice to up-and-coming musicians:
Constantly keep working on your craft and pushing things in new and exciting directions, have a fair idea of what you want to do/where you want to be and focus on working towards that.

What next?
I have another track to put out before the years end, for an EP due early next year, a mix for The Deep End Collective which will also feature some new unreleased crazy Rat tracks. I am supporting Polographia at El Grotto on December 2nd and heading over east for the EMC in Sydney amongst other things. Next year will also see the birth of my first Tobacco Rat clip that I promise will be very dark (in lighting and nature) and also some exciting use of new technologies to push the Tobacco Rat brand!


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Government of Western Australia Department of Culture and The ArtsGovernment of Western Australia Department of Culture and The Arts

WAM is supported by the State Government through the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and Lottery West, and is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.