Tequila Mockingbyrd are a hard working Melbourne rock band who are releasing their debut album Fight And Flight next month. They answered my questions. This is what they had to say.
1. What was the inspiration behind the album?
It’s a collection of songs we’ve worked on over the past three years based on our experiences… We’re an honest bunch so it’s a collection of songs about real lives. There’s songs about break ups, break downs as well as party anthems about letting loose on a Friday night. All normal human emotions given the mockingbyrd treatment. The title kind of sums up the whole package and where we feel we are at as a band. You have to work bloody hard to stand a chance of getting anywhere in life.
2. What was the songwriting process for the album like?
It was a very fun process. Usually a song starts as a text message sent around – a little sound bite or some lyrics. People send through their ideas and build on it until we get a chance to jam it out in a rehearsal room. It’s great fun seeing a few words come to life as a song!
3. Did you have the recording process for the album prepared before going into the studio or was it a case of see what happens in the studio?
We had done pre-production (at GM studios) so we had a fairly good idea of which songs would be making the cut, structures etc.
Working with Ricki Rae at lighthill studios on the final product was an awesome experience. Some songs got subtle tweaks here and there, others got complete make overs. We actually finished one song “this ain’t dead” in the studio which was cool – we’d been trying a few different things but nothing seemed to quite hit the nail on the head so it was great to get a bit of outside perspective on that one.
4. Was the recording process different to releases you have done in the past?
Our previous EP T-Byrds Are Go! was actually also recorded at Lighthill with Ricki’s brother Shane. It was a very similar experience – out in country Victoria, making a racket and watching kangaroos hop past the window. We love that place!
5. Are you happy how the album has been received so far?
Initial responses have been amazing so we’re super excited to finally get to share it with everyone. At the end of the day we have a blast doing what we do, but the fact that other people seem to dig it too is what makes it worthwhile.
6. What inspired you guys to organize gigs on a boat and are you happy how people have gotten on board that?
We’ve done three boat shows now… Funny story actually. We launched our first demo on the first boat party a few years ago. We’d only been a band for 3 months and we were worried no one would come to the launch so we thought “heck let’s do it on a boat, that’ll get people interested”. Lo and behold it was a sell out success and a heap of fun so it’s become a bit of an annual tradition for us! It’s got bigger every year as word has spread and we were joined by Dallas Frasca, The Bennies and Massive this year. Quite a line up for one boat! Surprised it didn’t sink.
7. What do you hope the album will do for you guys?
We hope it’ll help us take that next step. There are no short cuts in life. You have to do the hard yards to get anywhere. This is just the starting point in our minds. We’ve got a few exciting opportunities on the horizon so we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and hope the good stuff keeps happening.
8. How does it feel to be have been supporting Thirsty Merc?
It was an amazing experience joining such seasoned pros on the road for the last month. They’re awesome guys and have been great to us sharing their green rooms, riders and fans! We miss it already.
9. Are you happy how things have gone so far for you guys?
If you had said to us even a year ago that we’d get to share the stage with The Baby Animals, The Superjesus, Richie Ramone, got to play live on triple M, tour with Thirsty Merc and get to travel to the Middle East to play for the troops in the space of 12 months we wouldn’t have believed you in a million years. So yes we absolutely can’t complain!!
10. What does the rest of 2016 have in store for you guys?
We’ll be having an almighty knees up on May 20 at the Evelyn Hotel in Melbourne to celebrate the album launch, touring the album nationally June/July and then heading overseas later in the year! Maybe throw in a boat party for good measure…
I adore Heather I think she is a star and honoured she was on my last compilation CD. This is her latest video clip Easier For You. Cracker of song. Love her ep Slingshot.
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
CLOWNS & AXE GIRL
The Bennies are going on a full blown tour in June and July. Gonna be totally killer and if your a fan like I am you should totally go to one of their kick ass gigs. Gonna be excellent.
Wednesday June 22nd – Club 54 – Launceston, TAS
Thursday June 23rd – Brisbane Hotel – Hobart, TAS
Friday June 24th – Max Watts – Melbourne, VIC
Saturday June 25th – Pelly Bar – Frankston, VIC
Sunday June 26th – Karova Lounge – Ballarat, VIC
Wednesday June 29th – Mynt – Werribee, VIC
Thursday June 30th – Barwon Club – Geelong, VIC
Friday July 1st – The Gov – Adelaide,, VIC
Saturday July 2nd – Village Green – Mulgrave, VIC
Sunday July 3rd – Music Man – Bendigo, VIC
Wednesday July 6th – Mairners – Batemans Bay, NSW
Thursday July 7th – The Basement – Canberra, ACT
Friday July 8th – University Of Wollongong – Wollongong, NSW
Saturday July 9th – Factory Theatre – Sydney, NSW
Sunday July 10th – Small Ballroom – Newcastle, NSW
Wednesday July 13th – Nimbin Bush Theatre – Nimbin, NSW
Thursday July 14th – Miami Tarven – Gold Coast, QLD
Friday July 15th – Spotted Cow – Toowoomba, QLD
Saturday July 16th – The Triffid – Brisbane, QLD
Sunday July 17th – Sol Bar – Maroocydore, QLD
Thursday July 21st – Flinders Social – Townsville, QLD #
Friday July 22nd – The Grand – Cairns, QLD #
Saturday July 23rd – Railway Club – Darwin, NT #
Thursday July 28th – Tambrey Tavern – Karratha, WA #
Friday July 29th – Rosemount – Perth, WA *
Saturday July 30th – Studio 146 – Albany, WA *
Sunday July 31st – Prince of Wales – Bunbury, WA *
TICKETS ON SALE WEDNESDAY APRIL 27TH 9AM FROM WWW.THEBENNIES.COM.AU
# The Bennies Only
* The Bennies & Axe Girl only
Photos by Patric Massou.
Michelle Page is one of those people who come into your life and you are the better for it. Nearly 10 years ago she found my MySpace page and I was like who this. Not every day I got an actor wanting to friend me on MySpace and I did and I saw something in her and I still do and always will. We since have become life long friends now and she is one of the genuine hardest working people I know. She is a phenomenal actor, she is incredibly beautiful and just a caring, kind person with a big heart. So this is why I always continue to support my friend and what she does. So this is why she my beauty of the week again on my site.
To the Aussie readers of the site. She is in episode 4 and 5 of the new season of Bosch will be on SBS. Starting the 4th of May. I can’t wait to see it, I know she will be incredible in it. If you have Amazon and in America and England you can see it already.
Fun With Hackley: Axe Murderer
When I first heard about this movie I was made as keen to find more about it. It’s a horror comedy and it is a lot of fun and I suggest you check it out when it becomes available to do so. So the film makers kindly answered my questions.
T.E. = T.E. (Tim) Sanders – Director/Producter
G.H. = Garrett Hargrove – Writer/Producer
T.H. = Trey Huguley – Actor (El Matador)/Producer
1. What was the inspiration behind the film?
T. E.: Garrett. Garrett was my inspiration behind the film. That guy is a walking museum of the Horror genre. We got together to do a 48h film fest, and he came up with this idea to make fun of some horror tropes with these two characters walking away from Hackley, but with one facing and looking backward toward Hackley while they all continue to walk, there-by forcing the rule that he can’t attack while being watched on a follow mission, and thus the world was born. A masked serial killer that has to follow rules. More inspiration came from our day jobs in the software industry (I’m a software engineer) and the office scenarios that such a job entails. Combine those, and BAM! You got Hackley’s world. He doesn’t engineer software, he engineer’s death and destruction, but it sucks like any office job because… rules. You have the bureaucracy. Showing how we all corral each other into these tight little lines (or cubes in this case) and prevent us from doing our best work was interesting to me. And of course, the shit can be funny too.
G.H.: And Tim… you’re my inspiration. *teardrop* You da real MVP.
2. How long did it take to write the script?
G. H.: The initial script was a pretty quick write. Like a couple of weeks. Then it went through rewrites all the way through pre-production and production. We were even adding scenes/shots our very last day of filming. I think that’s pretty common to get into something, find it doesn’t work or find something special and want to evolve the script to really bring that out.
3. How long was the shoot and what challenges did you face when making a low budget film?
G. H.: We did a very non-traditional shoot. Normally it’s like 26 out of 32 days or so where everyone comes in, commits to that project for that month and then the actors and crew are done. We didn’t have the funds for that, so we ended up shooting when we could on weekends over the course of a year (April 2014-April 2015). There was good and bad with that. Good was that it made scheduling easy. We treated every weekend shoot like a short film. I scheduled it so we would try to have actors get all of their scenes done in that weekend and we could be done with them. The bad thing was, we had to find times that would work for all of our key players who were around for everything (Director, DP, Allen Hackley, etc).
And oh lord, what challenges DON’T you face when making a movie for a budget that is below what Hollywood considers “Low Budget”? When you do low/no budget, the producers end up wearing a ton of hats. I, in addition to writing and producing, handle the budget, catering, some of the casting, most of the costumes, most of the locations, most of the props, etc. Tim, in addition to being producer and director has single handedly done nearly all of the post production, did a lot of casting, set decoration and construction and acted as primary irritant to our Emmy award winning DP, Larry McKee. Trey, award winning actor and Producer, directed the music video at the end, handled most of our marketing and social media, brought on a lot of the cast and allowed his wife to kill and be killed in the film.
I think the biggest thing you would see on screen with the budget is the gore. With this being a comedy, we felt the gore had to be either non-existent or over the top insane to work. Being no budget, we didn’t feel we had the money to do over the top gore right, so we went with the other way thinking it was funny how clean everything was in this horrific world.
And now I’ve droned on for way too long.
4. How was the cast chosen for the movie?
T. E.: We’ve all been doing the filmmaking thing for awhile, and are all plugged into the scene in both Austin and Houston enough that there was never any cricket sounds when the question was asked; “Who should we get to play so-and-so?” We had plenty of people to choose from. In some cases, I think Garrett even wrote with certain people in mind. For example; Owen Egerton for Asparagus, and Trey Huguley for El Matador. There’s probably more. But these are all people in the area and were somewhere in the circle peripherally, or right in the middle as was the case for Trey. As a director, I believe casting is one of the most important parts. Done right means I can just go hang out at the craft table more and sometimes even sneak in a nap.
5. What did you learn from making the movie?
T. E.: That making a feature film is fucking HARD. Can I say fucking? If not just replace it with astrix. But yeah, making a feature film is hard work, and I did all the post myself. All. The. Post. Which I do not recommend doing BTW. Get some post production money! I’ve done many, many short films and my hair kept its color. But a feature? I guess that’s one of the biggest lessons. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
G.H.: Debating whether or not to make the “Making a feature film is really fucking easy when Tim does all the work” joke or if he will punch me for making it.
T.H.: I learned that I needed a better editing system so that I could help T.E. with post so he doesn’t have to cuss as much.
6. Why do you think Horror Comedy are popular?
G. H.: Comedy has always been generally accepted. Its just life. We love laughing. It feels good. I think horror was always kind of viewed as the black sheep of the film world. I think especially back in the 80’s with the slasher genre, it was really looked down upon by film snobs. I think a lot more people liked them than would admit it publicly. And then I think the blockbuster success of Scream changed that and they became more accepted, mainstream, etc. Studios started throwing more money at them.
And I think combining people’s upfront love of laughing and their guilty pleasure of horror films really has hit a soft spot with viewers. Its also brought together the people who adore horror movies and the people who abhor them and laugh at their tropes.
7. How important is having the right promotion material for the film like artwork and so on?
T. H.: It’s vital. Before anyone ever sees the film, they’ll see the poster, trailer, facebook page or twitter account so you have to do it right. In the 2 seconds that someone initially glances at anything that is promoting your film, they will make a subconscious decision whether or not their “journey” with the film will go any further. If it looks like crap or doesn’t stand out that journey ends there. The market is saturated with other great films from awesome filmmakers from all over the world trying to scream about their projects from the rooftop, so how you promote and first impressions mean everything.
8. Are you happy how the film has been received?
T. E.: We’re just getting started, so not many people have seen it yet. And it is a niche film which requires a certain sensibility from the audience. I’ve found that my geek compadres, and horror fans etc., get it and laugh at all the spots where you’d expect it. Showing it to my 86 year old aunt? That didn’t turn out so well. I still have a bruise from the skillet she threw at me.
9. What is next for yourself?
G. H.: I am totally all in on Hackley. Want to explore this world and the different divisions in the company Hackley works for or even other companies. I have already started writing the sequel in the hopes somebody likes our film enough to want to see more and start a franchise. When we go to pitch distributors, we are going to come with pitches for a sequel, a prequel, a web series and a TV series, so we could expand this world in any way they want to go. There are so many ideas we didn’t have room for in this first one and can’t wait to explore in further content.
T.H.: Really I’d echo what Garrett said. On top of that I think I must be a masochist or something because I am going to take a weekend detour in the coming months to take part in the 48 Hour Film Project, which is a lot of fun but pretty tiring and stressful. But, hey, It’s what started Hackley 5 years ago, so who knows what it might spawn.
10. How did the score come about for the film? How did you get it to work with the movie?
T. E.: I’m a multi-instrumentalist musician and have done soundtrack stuff before so that was one of the easier things to do. It took awhile because it was the longest thing I’ve done, but I love how it turned out. I especially liked how Asparagus’ ironic surf theme turned out. And Hackley’s piano music. Getting those things to work just takes a lot of passes until you find something that clicks. Hackley’s piano music had been bouncing around in my head for awhile because we’d been working on this thing for awhile, and we all knew his music had to be somehow reminiscent of the old horror piano pieces. And, of course, there’s Trey and Chuck, which Trey will talk about. They did an excellent job on many of the songs; like the music video at the end, which is another reason the soundtrack stuff went so smoothly for me in post.
T.H.: In addition to the score that T.E. did so incredibly on – I’d add that we were fortunate enough to get to work with Chuck Vail at New Folder Studios to record the Fun with Hackley Rap song. Some of the other songs used in the film were also previously recorded “Bleached Whites” rap songs that were recorded at Chuck’s studio and that we had the rights to because…well…they’re my songs.
G.H.: Yup! Trey’s song “Addicted to Bacon that was featured in the film was also shown on the History Channel at one point! It is brilliant:
11. How do you think social media has played a part in getting the film out there?
G. H.: Its vital. We’re certainly not the best at it, but the wider you can cast your net on social media, the better chance you have of finding your core audience and having your audience find you. Especially with our film, a small niche horror comedy. We realized from the start that a lot of non-horror fans might not get it. We were hoping to make a movie that would appeal to both horror fans and non-horror fans, but we think horror fans will really love the inside jokes of the slasher genre and if we can get our film or trailer in front of their eyes and they can share it with the groups of people they hang out with who also have similar tastes, then we’ve done what we set out to do and we could not do that without social media.
12. How do you feel about this proposed Screening Room service where you will be able to watch the latest blockbuster at home without leaving the house to see it at the cinema?
T. E.: I haven’t read up on Screening Room specifically lately so it may have changed since I first read about it. I think they’re on an interesting track, but when I got to the 50 dollars per movie part, I was like WTF? Did I read that right? I want to make a living with film as much as any filmmaker, but seems they’ve forgotten what a movie even IS. I’m not sure of their end goal, or what problem they’re trying to solve. To me, a problem they could solve with something like this is availability. Isn’t the guy pushing this the dude that did Napster? That’s where it’s at. We need a torrent back-end service with a Facebook like front-end with sharing and all that and just charge a monthly that’s enough to get some money down to the filmmakers (and give credits or something to those that share the most, and not follow the Spotify business model fiasco). What we end up with is a huge library where even the most obscure film would be easy to find. There would be less pirating if they would approach it this way, and more movies would have the opportunity to find their audience just by virtue of being easily obtainable. How many times have you heard about some film and thought; “Hey, I want to check that out.” so you go check Netflix… not there, Amazon Prime… not there, Hulu… not there, the other usual suspects…not there. We live in a world where we expect to get what we heard about immediately, and thus you end up with one of the main motivations for movie pirating — aside from those foreign street vendors or people who trade torrents like baseball cards. At the very LEAST it might cut down on those silly cam-shot pirated movies from the theater. Why would you watch that if you could easily have the real thing? I have a lot more to say about this subject because I’ve been thinking about this problem for a long time as both a filmmaker and a software geek, but don’t wanna bogart the interview so I’ll pass it on.
G.H.: Sweet. One more step until we become the blobby people at the end of WALL-E. So excited for us to not have to get up or think about anything and just have everything delivered to us without effort.
But, I think in most regards we live in a very exciting era. We have instant access to pretty much whatever entertainment we want. But on the flip side, since it takes no effort to acquire that entertainment we are also pretty flippant with it and quick to dismiss. You may be a little younger, Chris, so you may not remember, but when you had to go out, drive somewhere, hope they had the movie you wanted, you were going to f’ing watch it. And since you went out of your way to acquire it, you were damn sure hoping you were going to like it, automatically shifting your views about the films more positively. Now, people are so negative. It was easy to acquire, so it would be easy to dismiss. I do it, too. I’m not just pointing the finger at other people. I flip through Netflix. If I see something that looks interesting, I start watching it. I burned about 2 and a half calories to start to watch it. And if it hasn’t hooked me in 10 minutes, I am usually back burning another 2 calories finding something else to entertain my fat face.
And coming back to the original question. The technology is cool. I am all for film makers finding new avenues for revenue to to get their films out to the public, but dumbing down the acquisition process, I think will lead to a lesser appreciation for the craft of film making.
13. How important is to you to have physical copies of your films (EG DVD & Blu-Ray) and make them something worth having?
GH: I may not be the right person to ask because I’m still addicted to Blu-Rays and DVDs. I have a big digital collection of films (all purchased legally), but still buy big films on Blu-Ray. There’s just something about physically holding something in your hand that is very gratifying. And there’s something about the way I said that in which it could totally be misconstrued or taken out of context to embarrass me.
T.E. That’s what she said, G.
KILD TV I finally watched and thought it was a well thought out horrothat was different and put a unique spin on the genre. The acting was great and direction was solid. If you love good horror give this film a shot, it’s worth your while.
KILD TV is available at the following sites for rent. If your in America you should be fine to get from these places. But you can get the DVD or Blu-Ray from their official website.
Check out the website at www.KILDmovie.com
The Parx-e Show interviews Swedish musician Robert Parker who performs Synthesizer Electronic music of the 80’s retro variety. I discovered his music on YouTube and was totally hooked. He performed in Melbourne at Square Sounds Festival and he kindly chatted with me about it all.
So some time this year the site will have turned 15 years old. Can’t remember when but there were a lot of bad site designs until the one you see now. I am truly blessed that I’ve been able to do it for so long and I do it because I don’t know any thing else. Heck I’ve done more than 600 interviews.
I love to support people and I really do get a buzz out of it especially their responses to it all. I’ve been fortunate to be able to be friends with some of these amazing people I have interviewed and they continue to appreciate my support.
Michelle Page is one of those people, we are friends now and is grateful for the support. I like what she was doing. Continued to give her the support, we connected. She is a fantastic talent, an incredible actor and she just an alround genuine lovely person. The same with Heather Longstaffe, Ella Cannon, Melissa Johnston & Tori Tate and there are heaps more. I could name loads of people who appreciate my support. These people will always get my support no matter what.
I love discovering new talent, people whom I think are going places. Who would have thought when I landed Sean Rowe amazing debut album to review. Interviewing Beth Hart was a complete highlight. Last minute interview and I was so down to do it. Interviewing The Rocket Summer, Midtown and loads of other bands who are now doing good stuff.
Plus when you come across somebody and you look into what she is doing and your like wow I’ve gotta interview to this person Michelle Ellen Jones is one of those people. A extremely talented actor, she a ball room dancer/instructor, a pageant coach and she teach yoga. She was a pleasure to interview, a total sweetheart and truly grateful for the support. Plus she drop dead gorgeous. One of the most beautiful person I have ever interviewed period. I was excited to interview and she was just a dream interview. Easy to interview and great answers. I will continue to support her career, give her more love on the site, more interviews and more.
Melissa Johnston also fits into that category. Have interviewed her a number of times and is a dream to chat and interview.
Then you have a Swedish musician whom I interviewed for my video show Robert Parker who gives you a plug about what you are doing. He came to town to do a show.
I’ll be honest not everything goes to plan. Can’t always get the interviews you want. Some times the people want nothing to do with you and I get that and I’ll move on.
Who knows if I celebrate maybe I have a piss up somewhere? Maybe I’ll giveaway a whole bunch of stuff. That part is happening on my facebook page. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thanks for reading giving a shit. I’ll keep doing this until who knows when.
Parx-e Web Zine
Lexi Strate – Waves EP (Hands Up Records)
I love Pop music, there I said it. I used to be a total snob and really just listen to rock music. Some one said to me I didn’t think you would listen to this kind of music. So this is Lexis Strate latest release and it’s awesome. When I first heard Diamond Eyes I was hooked it as it is a catchy pop anthem that is good enough to grace any good radio station playlist. Out Of My Head has the same kind of vibe her vocals shine. Good solid beat it kind of has a soul r&b vibe with the way the vocals are sung. Tattoo has a laid back summer kind of vibe the use of the acoustic guitar and the beat just work well together. Miss Me is the ballad anthem on the EP that screams radio play. It’s a song that has a lot going for it and the (Hands Up! Remix) could easily be played on radio. So Simple is another big tune grabs you by the get go. Antidote is another big catchy pop tune has great vocals and production. Seriously I love good pop music and this is it. This talented Canadian artist is a star in the making and this is a solid indication of where she is heading. Love good pop music and this will be right up your alley.
Chelsea Lankes – Chelsea Lankes EP (B3SCI Records)
I love Chelsea Lankes and yes I have interviewed her and wow is the indication of her latest self titled EP and if any one is seriously gonna blow up and really blow big, big time and it’s Chelsea From the opening pop ballad anthem Home which is such amazing tune with big solid production and good solid vocals, Chelsea can sing and her voice shines here. Bullet is pop anthem that to me is the song that could make her huge. The production is first rate and the vocals shine and really go higher. Paralyzed is another big tune where you get to hear Chelsea vocals. It’s not as energetic as Bullet but it let’s her vocals the song writing shine. It’s almost a ballad but it’s just a good solid tune. Secret is like Bullet where the vocals and production are first rate and every thing about the song just work. This is a work of an artist who has gone from strength to strength. Her voice is something special, she can sing and the songs are just wow. There is magic being made here in these tunes. And you can see an artist who won’t be a secret any longer. I’m blown away by this. I don’t care I love good pop music and I have been playing this on repeat because it’s just that good. She gonna blow up huge big time and this EP that will do it for her.