Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ray Mann Trio - INTERVIEWS

Ray Mann: Multimedia Show
The Ray Mann Trio will be playing live to projections by the band's front man at a unique fringe show. Paul Andrew speaks to Mann.
Ray Mann's posters like this one always get a second look

For soulster Ray Mann the ideal concert experience goes something like this: " It’s  a show where things happen that let you know it really is live, it’s a moment that makes me feel, wow, even the guys on stage didn't know that was gonna happen', [and the crowd thinks] 'I'll bet that didn't happen at their last show, and it won't happen at the next. Yes, I had to be here, tonight, just to witness now.”
It’s this 'now' magic that Mann hopes will be present while performing at the Melbourne Fringe this year. The Ray Mann Trio defines their take on soul as minimalist; pared back, a little less traditional in feel.  Mann defines soul music as, “a place where blues meets gospel meets pop - music of the Lord and the devil all in one. And it's feel good too. Bonus”
“I was in high school when I first heard Al Green's Let's Stay Together'and thought, 'damn! '. When I truly started listening out for it, I discovered soul had always been around me, like those really obvious clues in a cheap mystery thriller: I Heard It through the Grapevine in a raisin toast ad; Stand By Me in the movie of the same name, My Girl in the movie... you get the idea. This music had everything I loved about music in it:  great songs, groove, rawness and vulnerability. I still love other kinds of music -at the moment, I'm listening a lot to Tame Impala and The xx- but it’s always a great soul tune that stops me in my tracks.”
“ I began playing my cricket bat when I was three. My parents tried to replace the bat with a ukulele, but I just ended up using the uke as a cricket bat. I got my first guitar at age ten - a big old classical guitar, and me with my tiny hands, it took a long while to form any decent chords. My real teacher was the radio - I’d learn vocal melodies and guitar chords by ear, and try to play Crowded House covers with only two chords, which, funnily enough, worked for more songs than you'd ever think! “
“As a five-year-old, the first cassette tape I was given and became completely obsessed with was Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. Since then, my listening habits jumped between indie rock to hip hop to jazz. Nowadays, one figure I admire more than ever is Sam Cooke, an artist and an entrepreneur. Here's a guy who is responsible for so many evergreen soul classics, songs recognised today by folks who aren't even into this genre of music.”
 Ray Mann Red Bennies- Season Finished
 Melbourne Fringe Festival
For more of Ray's Poster Art:

The Play About Nothing (TPAN)

"..Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love:
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;
Let every eye negotiate for itself
And trust no agent..."

So wrote Shakespeare about relationships in his comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Nothing in this sense is perhaps as a play on the words “note or noting”. Seinfeld is a TV show that became a cult because nothing very much happens in any particular episode and for Melbourne scribes fascinated by the idea of 'nothingness' Pippa Russell and Jessica Marsh it also describes those things seemingly of little importance, things which for someone else might mean something quite significant after all. Small tags on street walls or online social network status updates maybe?
“Back in 2009 while studying theatre arts at Swinburne University my class were producing a slice of true life play I dubbed 'the play about nothing'. I thought that sounded like a great title for a show,” explains Marsh.  Co writer Russell adds, “Yes, and it was such a great idea we decided to make our own slice of life show with that very name for Melbourne Fringe.”
“It’s an in your face, non-linear, improv style production, “ adds Marsh about the play's form and the conceptual aspirations behind this, their first theatre 'event'. “ It’s about delinquent teens and their late night antics.  We say Fuck a lot. It’s a realistic narrative about teenage vocabulary, slang and lifestyle. And it’s true; I’m quite inspired by the word Fuck, just as I’m inspired by young Australian writers and extraordinary theatre companies like 1927 and Phillip Genty”.

As for the improv nature of this work, Russell jests,  “I enjoy making audience members sweat, just a little," while Marsh admits that improvisation is something that sends nervous tingles up her spine, “Impro is something I have never felt comfortable with and thought the best way to tackle this discomfort was to deal with it head on and this has been the main motivation in creating this work,” she reveals.
Both Marsh and Russell are fond of experimental theatre and while studying decided to develop this story about teen friendship a little deeper. Russell reveals that audience members will be interacting with Luke and Marsh whose camaraderie is based around graffiti.
“Luke is a 16-year-old-boy from a middle class family who likes to impress others with rebellious actions. He’s not necessarily a bad person, " Marsh notes, “while Josh is an older teen from the wrong side of the tracks. His origins are unknown, but basically, he’s just a shit head.”
“This story takes place over the course of 12 hours,  it gets quite interesting”, laughs Russell, “it’s a graffiti crew, they tend to get caught up in other member’s sordid affairs. “
& All The Kings Men project
The Locker Room
Season Finished
Melbourne Fringe

The Tiger and Me & The Nymphs

The Nymphs- great posters, great harmonies!

If your idea of mixing it up this Fringe Festival includes blending indie pop with a euro folk feel and acoustic A Cappella female vocals with a saucy 1940’s swing mood, then seeing The Tiger and Me and The Nymphs perform back to back will have you in raptures. Interview by Paul Andrew
Today The Tiger and Me is a sextet, but began life as a duo when Jane Hendry and Ade Vincent recorded six electro folk songs in late 2007 which, originally intended as demos, were eventually released as an EP. 

“There has been a fair amount of experimentation with different styles from our humble electronica roots before arriving at our current sound," Vincent says. "From melodic trip-hop to folk duo, on through cabaret, gypsy and indie to wherever it is we are now. It has a lot to do with the instrumentation we settled on for the album. Instruments like the ukulele and the accordion along with the big sing-alongs give the album that European feel. But we'll keep evolving and experimenting as time goes on. “

“The recent Tiger album launch has been a great highlight. We played the Toff in Town and sold out early in the night. For Fringe, we have jangly guitar solos, frenzied violin, obscure accordion, delicate ukulele, fat bass, thumping drum solos and a host of sweet five part harmonies. We try to strike a balance live somewhere between the raucous shout outs and the delicate ballad. Lyrically we have a few different styles as the song writing is shared. Some of its nonsense, some introspective, some is madness, but there's a lot of the folk tradition of really telling a story. “

The Nymphs will provide a set of four-part harmonies drawing from war time crooners and big band vocal acts from yesteryear including The Andrews Sisters, The Chordettes and The Mills Brothers. And as Hendry’s nymph sisters croon, “it’s part nostalgia, part cabaret and a whole lot of nymph.”

According to The Nymphs member Clare Hendry choosing a band moniker was an on-the-spot decision.
“We were backstage before our first appearance with Melbourne band The Melodics. Suggestions came up quick and fast, including names like the Hairy Harlots and Naughty Nurses, slim pickings, and so The Nymphs emerged, and, it stuck. We like to think we’ve grown into that title.”
We are four singers who wanted to have a whole lot of fun with some killer harmonies too”, she muses, “having all grown up crooning and rhapsodizing to our various parents’ record collections, it really was inevitable, and there’s all the gorgeous vintage dress-up involved, what girl doesn’t want to do that, just got to watch out for getting ladders in those silk stockings!”

The Tiger and Me

Red Bennies- Season Finished
Melbourne Fringe

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