I grew up in the UK, where the national home of non-commercial music is late nights on BBC Radio 1. Australia’s nearest equivalent radio station is Triple J, except Triple J is pretty much non-commercial all day long.
I stopped listening to radio when I stopped driving a car, which was more years ago than we need to talk about here. When I did try dipping my toe in again, I quickly learnt that mainstream radio is horrible here, maybe because the presenters are just so damn hyped up and excitable, plus of course it’s all just lowest common denominator pop music. And then there was Triple J, which just never seemed exciting enough. I seemed to catch some kind of slow, miserable song every time I tuned in and I always switched off within seconds.
I stuck with listening to my favourite regular podcasts, mixes and CDs that I’d picked up around the club scene. Eventually a long time passed without me listening to anything much except trance, hard dance and occasionally a bit of fairly mainstream house music.
For years and years, I had no idea what music the rest of the world was listening to.
That was until a few months ago, when I travelled to Tasmania. For those who need a map, Tasmania is the island state at the southernmost point of Australia. I hired a car to drive around this beautiful island for a week. One thing I was sure of before I started my road trip, I was here to escape from my life in Sydney and everything that came with it. My new adventure needed a new soundtrack.
I switched on the radio and started to hear music that suited my mood. A mood where I was very far away from city lights, driving down a country road into the unknown. After a couple of songs the presenter started speaking and I learnt that I was listening to Triple J. My week rolled on, driving through the ever-changing landscape of farmland, coastal towns, rainforest and everything in between, and never once did I think about changing the radio station.
Tasmania was even more amazing than everyone had told me it would be. I continued my travels around Australia. Somewhere along the way, I decided that Spotify might be my friend. I started paying for premium, followed artists I’d learnt about from Triple J and suddenly every day became a new adventure in music.
Yes, I’d been that far out of touch with other music, I’d not even been using Spotify.
Fast forward a couple of months and I found myself in the crowd at Groovin The Moo festival. I could cringe about my poor outfit choice for the occasion, I thought I was going to jump around getting sweaty then sit down in a field somewhere but I was in fact attending WA’s answer to Coachella. I could moan about how old I felt once I realised half the crowd were underage, instead, props to all the WA teens who look years older than you are.
But more important than all that, I got to catch some of my new favourite artists live and continue my voyage of discovery. I’ll be back next year for sure, this time with a bit more style and glitter.
For now, here’s five songs I fell in love with this year, thanks to Triple J. Remember, when I turned that car radio on just a few months ago, I had no idea if I was listening to brand new artists or to global superstars.
Stella Donnelly – Tricks.
Stella Donnelly’s album “Beware of the Dogs” was Triple J’s featured album in my first week of listening to the station. “Tricks” is the song that starts with someone going to dinner and breaking all the plates. Donnelly is unafraid to speak uncomfortable truths, delivering an album of sharply crafted lyrics to make the patriarchy squirm.
Billie Eilish – wish you were gay
How had I not heard of Billie Eilish? At the time of following her on Spotify, I discovered that this unique, sophisticated American artist was 17 years old and the 6th most streamed artist in the world! “wish you were gay” is a little more catchy and a lot less dark than many tracks on Eilish’s debut album “WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP WHERE DO WE GO?”, but of course you already knew that because I’m the only person on earth who hadn’t heard of her!
Dean Lewis – 7 Minutes.
“7 Minutes” is just a perfect song to sing inappropriately loud while driving. Dean Lewis is a bloke with a guitar from Sydney, singing nice songs, also up there on the streaming charts at 200th most streamed as of today, and especially popular in Australia. Again, you probably already knew that, although I reckon he’s chasing Ed Sheeran’s fan base rather than Billie Eilish’s.
Jack River – Ballroom
Jack River’s album “Sugar Mountain’ is smooth, timeless and will eternally have a place on my summer driving playlist. Jack River is female by the way, and a strong voice behind the scenes as a co-founder of the “Electric Lady” events, which feature all-female line ups, and as an advocate for equality across the music industry.
G Flip – Drink Too Much
“I wanna get into trouble, I wanna be out ‘til lunch…” Yep, me too, G. G Flip wrote this song about a time when she tried to deal with a break up by getting wrecked way too often, and many of us have absolutely been down that road at least once. G Flip is on a fast ride from Triple J Unearthed to the big time. Pulling a big early afternoon crowd at Groovin The Moo, she had fans singing back every word before she ran to the back of the stage to rock out on her beloved drums at every opportunity.
What does your choice of social media say about you?
You’re a regular person. You’ve got a well-rounded life with a partner, kids, career and an interesting hobby. Your other hobby is oversharing. Anyone who doesn’t care about the next episode in the school hair nits debacle can take solace in scrolling through photos from your recent extreme crocheting weekender.
Oh you were in your school debating society, weren’t you? You with your political insights and slightly pompous opinions? Thank heavens you’re limited to 280 characters every time you want to fart your thoughts out across the internet.
Literally all you can do with this app is post pictures of yourself looking pretty and then wait for your followers to confirm that yes, you look pretty today. There’s no room for discussion or opinion, just an endless cycle of beauty and validation. Your personal brand image dictates your every move. In real life you’re actually quite boring.
Originally used exclusively by those who enjoyed distributing unsolicited genital images, Snapchat’s main purpose now is to share your drunken exploits with everyone who wasn’t at the same pub as you last night. You’ve been embellishing your selfies with stars and cat ears for years, so when Instagram finally introduced all the same filters it was like the Kardashians were trying to keep up with the high street. You're a local girl with a big heart.
Vero launched in 2015. Everyone with a brand to promote joined the network. No-one else ever joined. Vero now supports emerging artists, of the grown up and sophisticated variety, across all creative disciplines. If you’re using Vero, you’re probably rich and talented.
A place for professional people to share their industry insights, thought leadership and work related news. And then there’s you. Reposting inspirational status essays written by a fitness brand influencer, who is actually now in jail for conning her followers into buying miracle healing tea products made entirely from dried up lettuce. You’re everyone’s earnest but embarrassing co-worker, and you always will be.
YouTube video creators can make real income from streaming, so if you’re posting videos and people who aren’t your mates are watching them, congrats! You’re not necessarily talented, but you have hit on a formula that makes people click, subscribe and share. If on the other hand you spend all day sharing your innermost thoughts in the YouTube comments section, you’re most definitely male, on the dole and have a questionable approach to personal hygiene.
You’re doing something in the entertainment business and just want to make very, very sure that you’ve got a presence in every searchable corner of the internet. Or else you’re the stalwart American reality TV and game show contestant Ken Scalir, who is the last known human to be using Myspace as his primary social media platform.
It’s dead. Presumably then so are you.
I’ve just got back to Sydney after a really lovely Christmas visit to the UK.
Really lovely apart from the freezing cold weather, my excessive mince pie consumption and, of course, the jetlag.
How rude of me as a house guest to be up and about at 5am then sneaking off for a nap mid-afternoon. But I have the perfect excuse for my inconvenient waking hours and inappropriately timed yawning. After spending an entire day and night on a plane, plus adjusting to the time difference, obviously, I must be jetlagged.
Truth is, my sleep patterns have very little to do with jetlag and almost everything to do with my own life choices. [Click link below to read more...]
“The biggest misconception is that dance music is a new thing, that it just kind of burst from the ether…”
What We Started makes its key point with this opening quote, where journalist Kerri Mason sets the scene for the history lesson that will follow in the next one and a half hours.
Filmmakers Bert Marcus and Cyrus Saidi have assembled an impressive cast of A-list DJs, led by Carl Cox, to talk us through defining moments from the past and share their thoughts on the present. Martin Garrix, at once both an accomplished professional and a wide eyed teen, represents the here and now.
Pete Tong, in addition to appearing on camera, also takes on duties behind the scenes as the film’s executive producer and music director. James Barton of UK superclub Cream and Insomniac mogul Pasquale Rotella are among the luminaries representing the rollercoaster business of dance music event promotion. [Click link below to read more...]
One of the founding artists of the WE R Music label, along with Brennan Heart, Toneshifterz and Outbreak, Code Black is among the first names that springs to mind when talking about Euphoric Hardstyle.
When you consider that Corey Soljan launched his Code Black alias all the way back in 2011, it’s almost a surprise to learn that “Journey” is in fact the first Code Black studio album.
Many of the 19 tracks on “Journey” will be familiar to fans, either from Code Black’s DJ sets or from the “Chapters” EPs released over the last year. Long time friend and collaborator Toneshifterz features prominently, with guest appearances from Wasted Penguinz, Da Tweekaz, Adrenalize and more.
While predominantly Euphoric Hardstyle at heart, “Journey” also delivers a few surprises along the way.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the milestone tracks on “Journey”. [Click link below to read more...]
What happens when a filmmaker becomes best friends with an international touring DJ?
“Girl” is a documentary about female DJs, filmed mainly in the USA in the early 2000s.
“Girl” also tells a story about an outsider having her first experience of dance music culture. Kandeyce Jorden, director of “Girl”, was a complete newcomer to the scene when filming began, and this was not unusual in the USA at that time. Through spending time with Rebecca Sin, DJ Mea, DJ Colette, Lady D, DJ Rap, DJ Irene, and the film’s eventual leading lady Sandra Collins, Jorden finds herself on an unexpected personal journey. [Click link below to read more....]
***WARNING – SPOILERS***
In a determined effort to maximise the thrill of my cinema experience I’d deliberately stayed away from any media coverage of T2 Trainspotting, other than reading an interview with Robert Carlyle in which he made it clear that the actors were nervous when it finally came to making the sequel. The cast knew exactly what this film meant to people, themselves included; they had to get it right.
A really important point to note, I think, is that to really get T2 Trainspotting you need to have seen the first one. I suppose if you hadn’t seen the original, you could still follow the story to an extent but it would lack any kind of depth and would be just another film you’d whiled away a few hours by watching.
As the next step on from that, to fully indulge in the gritty sentimentality offered up by T2 Trainspotting you need to have some kind of relationship with the original, a relationship most likely formed by having seen the original at some defining point in your life and thereby having the film forever bookmarked alongside that particular point in your life story. [Click link below to read more....]
Just in case this page is looking a bit outdated - I am still here!
I'm working on a couple of exciting projects at the moment:
1) A novel (yes... really..!), obviously it will take a while for this to see the light of day but I think you'll like it when you eventually read it.
2) Contributing regular articles to a most excellent dance music website called Alive At Night - check out alive-at-night.com, follow Alive At Night on Facebook, @AANMedia on Twitter and Snapchat and @aliveatnightmedia on Instagram
I do a bit more cooking these days than I used to, but sometimes it still feels like an awful lot of bother.
I often cook vegetarian meals at home, often because meat is just so much more difficult. Meat is all slimy to cut up, it can be difficult to cook without making it too dry or too tough, but if you don’t cook it enough it’ll make you sick. There’s cross contamination concerns, best before dates and all those times I wish I’d separated the pile of chicken breasts before bunging them all in the freezer.
Recently however I thought I’d try a new recipe for chicken curry. Now it was a bit late in the evening, I was a bit tired, but really how hard could it be? [Click link below to read more....]
A while ago I wrote about some bad experiences with taxi drivers. It recently occurred to me that I also had a good experience story to tell, so this piece is to redress the balance.
One Friday afternoon, my boss suddenly decided I needed to go and visit a client in a suburb somewhere out west. Upon leaving the client site, I spotted a taxi on the other side of the road.
I waved, I didn’t think he’d seen me, I wasn’t sure if his light was on, then suddenly in the blink of an eye, there he was. I jumped in, gave my destination, sat back and looked around.
The passenger side dashboard and the centre console were covered in notices – messages in black ink printed on white paper, blue-tacked to every available surface. [Click link below to read more....]
Nicki Ranger is a freelance writer currently based in Perth, Western Australia.
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