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Category Archives: Music

Damian Costin – Agent

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Damian (Damo) Costin has already clocked up over 20 years in the music industry and he’s not even 40 … Having started out as the drummer of seminal Australian rock band Motor Ace in the late 90’s, he performed with bands like the Foo Fighters, Oasis and Blink 182; he also proudly points out that he once met Joe Strummer from The Clash!

After 7 years, 3 albums and countless tours both in Australia and overseas Motor Ace finished up and Damian immediately hit the ground running in the industry – on the business side of the fence this time.

Damian worked at Premier Artists – one of Australia’s largest agencies for booking and touring contemporary recording artists as an artist booker for a bunch of years – learning his craft on the job. Like most creative people I know – there is no better way to become great at what you do other than through experience and actually “doing”.

I’ve always personally been an advocate for just having belief in yourself and your abilities and putting in the hard yards. If you put in the work – the results will come. And just sometimes – and especially in creative pursuits – (and just like Damian points out below) – those results and successes are so close you can almost touch them…

Success is only one song, one artist, one movie, one show, one album, one collection, one script away from making all of that hard work worthwhile … I guess the hope that greatness is indeed tangible is the exact reason we all hang in there and continue to strive for what we believe in and are passionate about in our work.

Over the years, Damian has worked across media, music, commercial content, sponsorship and integration. He is not only highly motivated and a seeker of challenge, he has a natural talent for making the impossible possible through an approach that involves determination, great ideas, teamwork and project management know how.

Being in the music industry on the booking/management side of things not only requires great people skills, it also requires a degree of empathy mixed with creativity and the ability to realize commercial opportunities. Damo has all of these attributes in spades.

Damian is now a Director / Agent of 123 Agency (his own business), booking some of Australia’s most exciting acts including Stonefield, Kingswood, Owl Eyes, BONJAH, Ella Hooper, Calling All Cars, Way Of The Eagle, Stillwater Giants and Sun City.

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To check out the talent that 123Agency looks after in greater detail – visit some of the sites below…

Website: www.123agency.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/123AgencyGroup
Instagram: www.instagram.com/123agencygroup
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/123AgencyChannel
Twitter: www.twitter.com/123AgencyGroup
SoundCloud: www.soundcloud.com/123agency

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Q&A:

1) You have been in the music biz for quite some time now – starting out as a drummer in your own band – Motor Ace – back in the late 90’s, then working at Premier Artists as a booking agent and more recently setting up your own agency – also as a booking agent. Tell us a bit about your journey and learning’s to date and how you got to this point in your career.

The journey has been varied and an absolute roller coaster. I’ve been consumed by music since day one. It’s been the one thing that has been a constant. Sounds like a cliché buts it’s ultimately true. I’ve learnt to follow my instincts and be surrounded by like-minded people.

It’s a tough business and I’ve been lucky, but I also think I’ve worked hard to get to this point. Opening up the agency has been one of the hardest but ultimately most rewarding experiences ever. I’m also trying to tell myself to enjoy the process, which has been difficult at times.

2) The music industry has changed substantially in recent years with the advent of digital music downloads affecting traditional album sales and the industry as a whole. Do you feel this shift in how we purchase music has provided a greater opportunity for your end of the business re. Live touring, and how has your side of the industry had to change or adapt itself to stay relevant and connected with a younger consumer?

No one is quite sure if the opportunities are greater just yet. The industry is still in a massive state of flux and consumers have changed their behaviors in regards to how they want to listen or buy.

Streaming seems to be the way forward but it still has a very long way to go before artists really get return for their recorded music. Festivals are struggling and tickets are hard to sell for breaking acts but I think generally change is a good thing and the industry is definitely hurting across the board. The old model has certainly gone though, and signing long-term deals aren’t relevant.

In the live touring sector, we need to be able to offer more to the consumer at the point of purchase to get them through the doors. We need to offer something else other than just a ticket. Punters still want great shows in great settings. The cream will always rise to the top and the artists who think outside the square and are innovative always make the most noise in this climate. It is possible for acts to have worldwide success quickly, but the trick is to sustain it. It will be interesting to see if Lorde can sustain a long career with her current success. I’m hoping she can…

We like to think we have acts in this domain and we are happy to work along side them to be able to do that. As we find our feet, we are doing more to enhance this end of our service by working with partners who think similarly.

3) Do you feel that being a musician yourself has given you a greater insight and understanding into being a better booking agent than someone not necessarily from a musical background? / What do you feel makes a great booking agent?

Yes definitely. It helps to be able to relate to how hard it can be as an artist and understand on that musical level; and there is an affinity there. I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by some great people and I’ve studied them to take away the best elements in terms of ‘agenting’. Great agents make careers, know how to create a vibe and will work tirelessly. It’s a key role in an artist’s career and I’m very proud to represent my acts and I will walk over hot coals for them. If we are on the same level, we can relate and have a partnership and do great things.

I’ve lost some acts along the way and it’s been for the best. Sometimes it’s a thankless role, but great artists know how we much we do, if they don’t, then we aren’t meant to be together! Great artists make great agents too btw!

4) What do you feel has been your biggest career achievement or highlight to date?

There’s been many…. Building 123 Agency for sure. To make it successful will hopefully be another as we move into our first 12 months of operation.

Representing all our acts and working hard to bring them as many opportunities as possible is another ongoing achievement.

Playing in Motor Ace and touring internationally, having a No. 1 record was just crazy in hindsight to achieve. I’m extremely proud of those records we made as well.

5) Who or what are your favorite bands or acts at the moment and what is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Arcade Fire, Ngaiire, Kingswood…. So many! How long have you got? I recently got to see Bruce Springsteen at Hanging Rock and that was simply incredible. Motor Ace once supported Foo Fighters at the Hi Fi in Melbourne and I got to sit on the back of the PA during the show. Words don’t come close… I had Calling All Cars on the ACDC Australian tour which was great as well, and getting to see ACDC at arms length was really something special.

6) As a creative person – who and what inspire or motivate you? / What are you creatively passionate about? / What do you love most about your work?

People around me inspire me. My partner, my colleagues and our artists, they are what motivates me. I love marketing and ideas – looking for innovation… Crazy but tangible objectives.

I love that we have no rules and we can be the masters of our own destinies. I love knowing that we are only one song, one artist or one second away from greatness. I do believe if you work hard enough you will get your just deserves. Success is motivating as well and I want that for everyone we work with.

7) Working at Premier Artists over the years, you would have met and dealt with some pretty interesting acts over the years. What has been the biggest / wackiest or more interesting tour or artist you have been involved with? / Is it at your end of the game that you deal with band riders? And if so – can you give us a sneak peak into some of the more interesting requests that you’ve had?!

The biggest tour was ACDC by far. It was the biggest/largest grossing tour in Australia ever, and was presented by Garry Van Egmond. To be part of that was incredible…
The scale is just enormous. To see so many fans singing those tunes from the top of the stadium was mental.

We’ve had some crazy rider requests from garden gnomes to the positioning of toilets being requested to be no more than 5 meters from the dressing rooms. I’m not going to name names…

8) What do you enjoy doing in your time off? Do you ever still get on the kit at all, and could you ever be tempted to join a band again?!

I love hanging out with my girl, my dog Eddie ‘Teddy’ Vedder, driving to the coast in my car and listening to loud music at festivals. I love hanging out with friends and family and enjoying our lives journeys. Dumplings and pizza and margaritas! Who doesn’t?

I’m not tempted to play ATM… But never say never. I’d like to record again sometime and make a great record with some great tunes. Maybe … One day!

9) If you could work on any creative project or with any band/act in the world – what would this look like or whom would it be with?

I would give my left nut to play with Pearl Jam one day. Maybe play with Tom Petty or make a record and just be in a studio with Radiohead. Maybe produce a record for David Bowie… You can dream! I’d like to record in LA back in the 80′s when everything was big and over the top and witness the hedonism first hand!

10) What’s next for you? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

The future is bright and there is a lot on the agenda. To have the chance at creating something like 123 Agency and being able to drive it is mighty exciting. We have some announcements and partnerships we’ll be launching next year and we are excited to be bringing them into the spotlight. We’ve built our team and now we need to focus and start kicking into our plans into gear. We’ve got some world-class talent and we intend on bringing them to the world. We wanna be the best so we are working with the best! See you at the top for bubbles!

Fox Fagan – Musician

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Photo: Genie Sanchez

Fox Fagan is a talented Melbourne artist – now living and working in LA – pursuing (and living) the dream.

Fox is a damn good musician whose specialty (or first instrument) is bass, however like most supreme talents, he can play most instruments super well and does a pretty mean vocal as well.

Playing the Melbourne rock scene for much of his adult life with bands such as Electric Mary, Jon Stevens, Rob Mills as well as English performer – Sophie Ellis-Bextor; Fox moved to Los Angeles 5 years ago to take his music career to the next level and to work and write with some of the best muso’s in the world.

Since moving to LA, I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s been an easy path. It rarely is for most creative types. It takes years of hard work, networking, meet and greets, lots of broken promises, random opportunities and just dumb luck. (Talent is a given). But you’ve got to be in it to win it right?!

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Photo: A Horse With No Name Photography

Having known Fox for quite some time, it’s been exciting to see him land some pretty cool session work with some of the biggest names in the music industry and to start to make in-roads in to what is a bloody tough industry. It takes balls to take your talents to the world in the most competitive market of them all…

For the last few years he has also been on a world tour with Wilson Phillips. (For any youngsters out there that have never heard of them … the girls come from music royalty with their fathers having formed the legendary 60′s surf/rock band – The Beach Boys and The Mamas & The Papas respectively)

Wilson Phillips are multiple Grammy Award winning and chart topping artists in their own right however. They also famously appeared in a cameo in the hilarious 2011 film – Bridesmaids – performing ‘Hold On’, which I (along with many other chicks around the world I’m sure) have mimicked countless times since…

Fox also continues to gig and write with his own band – Teleskopes, as well as do his own solo work. I would urge you to keep an eye (and ear) out for his sounds.

http://www.facebook.com/teleskopes

http://www.soundcloud.com/foxfagan

Q&A:

1) You are a session musician for some of the biggest bands/acts in the world. Give us a bit of a background on how you got to do this sort of session work in LA / who you have worked with and what genres you are drawn to?

I just kinda turned up in LA really… only knowing one person. Went for an audition and got the gig. Immediately after I was offered to go and rehearse/audition with another band playing most of the spots in LA. Coincidently, two of the members from that band became my partners in Teleskopes.

That summer I ended up gigging at a lot of the popular clubs in LA as a bassist, and even managed to play The Roxy and The Viper in one night which seemed huge at the time.

For the next 3 years I played with various different artists in town and put out a solo EP on vinyl, in which I was lucky enough to record with the people who mixed and engineered songs from ‘In The Key Of Life’ by Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson’s – BAD. I was tripping.

One day after being turned down for a job at the counter of Whole Foods, an Aussie mate who’d been here playing for a while called me and said that we were gonna try out for Wilson Phillips, whom I immediately Googled and realized the amazing families I was about to be involved with.

Living here for 5 years has definitely evolved my taste buds – genre wise, and has taught me versatility in my writing, playing and production for which I am very grateful for.

I find that I’m drawn more towards roots with cerebral flavors, and seesaw between being completely bare-boned and doing the full wall of soundscaping that we create in Teleskopes.

Another cool guy I got to work with was Dave Stewart, playing bass for a beautifully voiced artist he was working with out of NYC called Jihae. It was just amazing to see him come in and understand in a split second the relationship between the artist and the audience you are about to play in front of, and know how to convey the message in the best possible way. His guitar was loud as fuck on stage, and it was awesome.

2) You’ve had some pretty crazy experiences since living in LA. What has been the most rock n roll moment to date?

The most rock n roll experiences, I can’t really say…

But it feels like something is going on here where you’re just actually in it. You’re part of it. You’re creating what it is that’s actually happening and you just need to live your life and enjoy every moment of it.

3) What do you feel has been your biggest career achievement? / What’s the biggest show you’ve played so far?

We played a 20K seat arena in Manila with Wilson Phillips, but I don’t think it was as important to me as meeting and sharing the stage with Brian Wilson.

Then again, the club shows that Teleskopes are playing in LA are just as exciting. I can walk off stage at The Viper or Harvard & Stone and feel like it was the biggest show.

4) What do you feel are your biggest challenges as a musician or creative person?

There are many. I’ve definitely learnt how to be patient but also not to just sit back and hope everything will fall in to your lap. There’s a delicate balance of being open to receiving opportunity, remaining productive and also making sure you can keep your lights and phone on. Most of all, it’s creating something that you like, which isn’t always the case, but that doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t get the chance to enjoy it.

5) You also write and perform your own original music with your own band. How would you describe your personal sound and how this has grown over the years / what are you working on right now?

Teleskopes is definitely a main focus right now, we’ve been building it up live in LA and it’s starting to feel like people might have heard about us. Our sound literally came from us being a band and jamming in the room, then writing songs from there. It’s basically a wall of guitar loops and delays and really kinda noisy with disguised pop songs in there somewhere.

We posted some of our first recordings on facebook.

No official release yet but we’re working on some self produced recordings right now and will hopefully get them out early in 2014.

I’m always constantly writing by myself and with others too… I’ve taken to posting very early demos for people to listen to on my soundcloud page. www.soundcloud.com/foxfagan

6) As a creative person – who and what inspires you? / What are you creatively passionate about? / What do you love most about your work?

I’m constantly being inspired and re-inspired. It comes in waves and circles. I feel as though the inspiration is always there, it just depends on your openness and antenna to be able to channel it in some way.

Lately I’ve simply enjoyed putting on old Bill Withers records and just playing along with them. Still the most satisfying thing is to finish writing a song, the first draft is always the one I’m most excited about.

I love working as a musician, whether it be as a bass player, a singer, the writing the producing… It’s nice being able to wear a few hats for sure.

7) If your life were a soundtrack or song – what would this be?

Haha um… No Pussy Blues, Grinderman.

8) What do you enjoy doing in your time off?

I love going to shows and museums and art openings and events. Hiking on the mountains and swimming in the ocean.

I try to keep fit and relax with a book. I’ve been cooking a lot of roast dinners lately; I’ve pretty much mastered Yorkshire Pudding…

9) You are a true muso – playing many instruments as well as writing music. Is bass still your fave and if you could work on any creative project – what would this like or who would it be with?

The more I get into bass the more I’m loving it. It’s never gonna get old. But singing is a huge passion for me and very gratifying to do live on stage. I used to dread the singing part but it comes far more natural these days.

I would love to play bass for Gary Clarke Jr – that would just be a very cool gig.

Collaborations with Dan Auerbach, and Elvis Costello or Danger Mouse are some definite bucket listers. There’s really so many people that would be fantastic work with. But how about Dan Auerback, Gary Clarke Jr, Quest Love and me on bass. Yeah, that’d be dope!

10) What’s next for you? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

Continuing work on Teleskopes material. I have plans to make a video for a song I just wrote called The Grateful Song. I’m really hoping to put out some vinyl next year with Teleskopes and some of my own stuff. I’m totally open to whatever comes along.

JR Reyne – Musician

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There is no denying that JR Reyne (Jaime Robbie) is one talented (and it cannot be denied… very good looking) young man. He comes from good stock after all. Reyne’s parents are rock singer James Reyne (Australian Crawl fame) and model/stylist – Kim Ellmer. (Further evidence of talented genes running deep is – Reyne’s grandmother – Mrs Reyne, co-incidentally happened to be a senior English teacher at my school whilst growing up. I have a strong memory of her being in the staff choir as the lead. She was an amazing singer with an operatic style voice)

Reyne started out early on in his career as a model, and with various theatre and television appearances, including a role on Neighbours in 2002 also under his belt, based on these stats alone you could probably assume that he was born to be in show business and to perform. However as most of us in creative fields know all too well, success comes from years of hard work and determination. So it’s great to see that this is exactly the path that Jaime has chosen to take in carving out his own niche on his own terms.

Jaime has been solidly performing and touring with various bands since he was 20. Most notably as founding frontman and founder of Rushcutter. The band was signed to Mercury Records/Universal and worked with legendary producer Niko Bolas – long time collaborator of Neil Young, Keith Richards and Warren Zevon. Rushcutter went on to release a critically acclaimed debut album titled – ‘Call High Water’ – which was recorded at Melbourne’s famed Sing Sing Studios.

JR has since released and toured solo efforts ‘Remember To Breathe’ throughout Australia & the US to glowing reviews and has played at festivals such as A Day on the Green, St Kilda Festival, Manifestivus, Hot BBQ, Queenscliff Music Festival, Australian Country Music Muster and Rock For Relief. He has also shared stages with Pat Benatar, The Bangles, Gotye, Brett Dennen, Paul Kelly, Cloud Control, The Waifs, Loon Lake, & Canyons to name a few.

This year kicked off with the release of ‘Surrounded By The City’ – produced at Kent Ave Studio, NYC which features Jon Graboff (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Willie Nelson) and Jeff Hill (Shooter Jennings, Rufus Wainwright, Joan As Police Woman), as well as contributing his version of The Rolling Stones classic ‘No Expectations’ to the 50th Anniversary Tribute (Halcyon Records).

Having recently relocated to Los Angeles, Reyne now spends his time jetting across the Pacific, having only recently returned home to perform at the Melbourne Spring Fashion Festival last month as Levi’s musical brand ambassador, as well as headlining DJ-sets at Melbourne hotspots such as Prince, The George and Seven Nightclub.

JR recently performed at the legendary Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice, California and launched his new single “My O My” at LA’s House Of Blues. JR Reyne will be returning to Australia next month to perform at the 2013 Melbourne Cup and will be returning to Australian shores once again this Summer for further shows to support his forthcoming release.

Look out for info on JR Reyne’s upcoming tour dates here and go support home grown talent who are really out there giving it a crack. Be rest assured that we will be seeing a lot more of JR Reyne in the years to come.

http://www.jrreyne.com

Q & A:

1) You come from a creative family. Do you think you were destined to follow in your Dad and Uncle’s foot steps by also becoming a muso? Did they ever try and talk you out of it?

I don’t think I was necessarily destined to do anything specific, however I was definitely destined to do whatever I wanted to do as I was lucky enough to be brought up in an environment which allowed me to do so. I have my mother to thank for that, as she and my god-mother were definitely my main influence for music – Sade, Van Morrison, Ry Cooder, Roxy Music. You name it, their music was always floating about the house growing up.

2) Do you think people have greater expectations of you as a consequence of your surname, or do you find you are judged on the merit of your own creative direction/sound?

I don’t know if people have greater expectations necessarily, but I am quite often compared to my father in Australia, which is totally natural. Here in the States though I’m definitely judged on the merit of my own stuff as there isn’t that association.

3) Did you study acting or music / or teach yourself? Who have been some of your greatest creative influences whilst growing up?

I did study growing up – guitar lessons, choir, played double-bass in the high school orchestra – but I also taught myself a lot from playing along to my favorite records as a kid. When the album Nevermind first came out, I definitely wanted to “be like Nirvana” – haha… and would actually draw little sketches wherever I could of how I’d want “my band to look like when I grew up”.

4) How would you describe your particular musical/creative style, and do you feel it has changed over the years as you’ve grown as an artist?

My musical taste is so varied and I think, and I hope that comes through when I play and record. I guess my music has changed over the years. As a teenager I played in garage bands, and was also djing at clubs around town, before really getting stuck into songwriters like John Prine and Gram Parsons, and also players like Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside who took me off in a different direction. My old band Rushcutter however were definitely trying to marry a Tom Petty feel in writing and performance with Australiana references, so I guess it just all depends on what you’re feeling at that stage in your life. At the end of the day, good music is good music, and genre is pretty irrelevant.

5) What is the best and worst career advice you’ve ever received?

Where do I start… the best advice I’ve probably received was to go and play and write as much as possible, as there really is only one way to get good, and that’s to just keep doing what you love and to always keep on top and practiced, as you are always, always learning. The worst advice I’ve ever been given was definitely from labels telling us you to alter what you naturally feel is right, to fit more into a current market. Never a good idea, and people can smell fake a mile away.

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6) You are currently living in LA. What prompted the move to the States and how are you finding the career move? Have you found yourself living amongst other Aussie ex pats?

I’ve wanted to come to the States for as long as I can remember, so when the opportunity came to come over to the US for work (back in ’08 with then band ‘Rushcutter’), I fell in love. Growing up in Australia, the US feels so exotic on one hand, but also extremely familiar, so it does feel like home away from home. LA’s also great, as although it’s far, it’s still only a single flight back to Oz, so I’m able to fly back to do shows, and whatnot when I can. Aussies here do tend to congregate towards each other here naturally, and strangely enough, some of my closest Australian friends I befriended whilst here in the States.

7) What do you love most about your work? / What are the biggest challenges for you as a musician?

The thing I love the most about my work is that I never really know exactly where tomorrow it’s going to take me. I never know what tomorrow will bring. Conversely, the biggest challenge is that I never really know where exactly tomorrow it’s going to take me – haha.

8) What are some of your favorite hang outs in LA for good food / coffee / music / fashion ?

Tough one…Old Style Guitar Shop, H.O.W.L., Black Cat, Nick Fouquet Hat Co., The Echo, Kapital, Deus, Gjelina, The Satellite, Aust., Chucks Vintage, Wacko Soap Plant, Figaro, 4100 Bar & Stories.

9) What do you do for kicks and leisure when you’re not writing or performing?

Hmmm, pretty much just waste the days trolling through Instagram.

10) As a creative person – who and what inspires you or are you passionate about?

Anything can be inspiring really… big and little bits and bobs along the ways. The smallest occurrences and things you hear can sometimes make for the best tunes.

11) What’s your all time favorite song? and fave band/s? What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

I’d have to say Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye is the perfect pop song… perfect production and I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember… The Race Is On by George Jones too. My favorite band’s probably the Police and the best gig I’ve ever been to was Prince in Melbourne around 3-4 years ago.

12) What next – any other interesting projects you’d like to plug/mention?

I’m currently working on a collaborative project here in LA with an ace producer from Ohio, Clay Schmitt. I’ve also got a new record coming out over Summer in Australia, which we’ll be launching and touring in Oz first.
I’ve got solo shows coming up at House of Blues and Aust. here in LA, as well as a performance for Spring Racing Carnival back in Melbourne, plus DJ sets in Australia including a set with my buds Generik and the Bad Cats which’ll be ace.

N’FA Jones – Singer / Songwriter / Producer

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Photo: Michelle Grace Hunder

I met N’FA way back when he was a model and have a memory of him even back then having a bit more substance and originality to him than first met the eye. At that time he was also still a competitive athlete. He was a sprinter/hurdler and competed for Australia across a few key events. A few years later N’FA hit the Australian music scene with a bang in the 2000’s as part of the ground breaking Melbourne outfit 1200 Techniques. The band actually formed in 1997 with their first album, Choose One (2002), becoming a crossover success debuting at #20 in the Australian music charts and leading to an ARIA award nomination for “breakthrough artist”. The band went on to to win “best debut artist” and “best hip-hop act” awards at the Dance Music Awards. The album included the hit single “Karma,” which also charted in the Australian Top 40 and won ARIA awards for “best independent release” and “best video”.

The group went on a hiatus in 2005 and have since been described as “an important part” of the mainstream recognition of hip-hop in Australia, whilst drawing influences from other genres including rock, funk, soul, electro, drum and bass, electro jazz and breakbeat.

Since this initial success N’FA has re-invented himself as a solo artist – N’fa Jones – No Fixed Abode – and has gone onto to have a successful music career in his own right.

Over the years since, N’FA has played at premier music festivals such as Splendour in the Grass, Homebake, Good Vibrations, Falls and Pymarid Rock, not to mention touring with international and national kings such as De La Soul, Roots Manuva, Souls Of Mischief, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Arrested Development, Butterfingers, Blue King Brown, guesting with Katalyst, Resin Dogs, Foreign Heights, and Breaks DJ’s Nick Thayer, Bass Kleph, Daedelus and Son Of Kick to name a few.

After spending a few years working as a musician in the UK and touring various European countries – N’FA has returned to Australia and continues to write and collaborate with other killer homegrown acts such as Drapht – featuring on the 2011 hit – “Bali Party” from their ‘Life of Riley’ Album which won the ARIA award that same year for ‘best urban album”.

In 2012, N’FA also featured with Drapht on their ‘Tasty’ EP with this great track titled “1990’s” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAAtTKga5G8

Most recently – N’FA has again been working with Drapht and his label ‘The Ayems’ and will be releasing this new collaborative album in early 2014 – titled ‘Black + White Noise’.
This LP is a diverse and dynamic scope of music, journeying through the dark and light soundscapes of Hip Hop, future beats, soul and roots. The first single “Life’s A Game” has just been released.

To see N’FA live – check out his upcoming tour dates here:

N’FA JONES TOUR DATES

October 18 – The Manor, Leederville WA
October 19 – Electric Vines Party, Swan Valley WA
October 20 – The Get Down – DJ Set, Perth WA
November 9 – Rocket Bar, Adelaide SA
November 20 – Sosueme, Beach Rd Hotel, Sydney NSW
November 22 – Laruche, Valley Fiesta, Brisbane QLD
November 23 – Revolver, Melbourne VIC

http://nfajones.com

Q & A:

1) You’ve had a colorful and full life and have had success across sport, modeling, acting as well as music. Which has been your biggest love to date out of all of these disciplines/creative options and what has been your biggest success or career achievement so far?

Well, It’s all had it’s highs and lows… I never really made an effort or cared for modeling or acting… That stuff just happened by accident really, although I have some great memories… I was always focused on sport and music as a kid… more for the love than the practical outcomes. Perhaps with a more practical focus I might have achieved more still. With my athletics, I’d say running 4th at the Olympic trials and medaling at 2 National champs, and representing Australia in the 110m hurdles was pretty awesome. Training with amazing people and world record holders was amazing as a young man. With music, every song is an achievement… Every gig when the people show their love, and every time a fan/new friend tells me how my music has had an effect on them, to the energy of rocking a huge festival crowd – for me is an amazing natural high that is difficult to explain, but am grateful for.

2) You had great success with the band 1200 Techniques in the early 2000’s and more recently have been keeping busy on numerous collaborations working with other amazing talents. Do you have a preference with how you choose to work musically these days? Ie. Solo/as part of a band/collab? How have your collabs come about and who have been some of your greatest creative influences over the years?

No preference really. I find that as long as I’m connecting with the music, then the writing process is fast and easy. I really don’t like to force a song, or it never feels honest and real. I’ve done collabs over the internet, and in the studio with artists. Both work well if I’m vibing.

3) How would you describe your particular musical/creative style, and do you feel it has changed over the years as you’ve developed as an artist/performer?

I’m not sure how to describe my style. I guess melodic introspective rhymes. I just flow, and the words and subject matter seems to arrive. I don’t think much has changed in my style. The development is probably more in my comfortability within myself, my style, and my vibe. My voice has definitely developed and got stronger over the years, and perhaps my performance isn’t quite as high energy, but the energy has shifted, and is stronger in a less erratic way.

4) You lived in the UK for a while. Do you feel this changed your musical/creative direction? Tell me a bit about this experience.

I learnt a lot more about the hustle and hard work in the UK. I wouldn’t say it altered my music direction, if anything it made me more aware of who I was and what I was about as far as content, style, and musical purpose. The more I travel the more I realize that I’m uniquely my own person, and that the only way to stand out is to be the only you there is. Whether people get it, see it, or understand it isn’t as relevant to me as what being my own artist is. (I think that kinda reads a bit wanky, but it’s definitely true) If you chase trying to be someone else, you’ll loose yourself.

5) What do you love most about your work? / What are the biggest challenges for you as a musician? / would you ever take your career to the States, or are you happy with pursuing the Australian vibe?

Yeah I’m happy with my work. Almost all of it from day dot until now. The only stuff I’m not happy with is anything I felt that I had to force. But it’s all a learning curve.

The hardest part is keeping the belief is oneself when nobody seems to be listening or caring about the music I care so much about, and working out how to be seen and heard amongst everything else. As far as the States, I would only work the scene abroad if someone out there believed in it and wanted to help make it happen. Otherwise, I don’t see myself getting on a plane anywhere and saying “Hi, I’m here, look at me”… That’s just not me… I’m definitely putting feelers out into the world now, and if there’s some love I’ll suss it out, but I’m not desperate for a result.

6) What type of training (if any) do you need to do (or do you personally do) as a rapper/vocalist? Who is your idol or someone that you feel is at the top of their game when it comes to your genre?

Just rap, sing, and if you can, then freestyle a lot. Mind you, I’ve never really practiced that much, but I think it all through in my head plenty. I think developing your tone is a major factor. Even if you can write well, if your voice is horrible to listen to nobody will listen, unless they relate to you on some other supernatural level.

The rapper’s at the top of their vocal game to me are KRS ONE & Black Thought. Their voices and overall skill levels are close to untouchable.

7) What do you do in your down time when you’re not writing, practicing or performing? What are you creatively passionate about?

I like to spend time with my family as often as I can. Creatively, it’s pretty much just music for me. Though, I do love to cook. When I have a minute, I like to cook for a bunch of friends.

8) If you could work on any creative project – what would that potentially look like?

It would probably be an Arts/Music Festival. More boutique and cool than big and crazy. I’d also make it a fundraiser and try to tie together everything that I love about art from visual to audio layers in-between into a weekend. I don’t think it would be in one spot. I’d make it happen across the city in different spaces and venues.

In fact, as I write this it’s inspiring me to make this happen… I might get onto this and see what I can make happen…

9) What’s your all time favorite song? and fave band/s? What is the best gig you’ve ever been to?

Song – Hmm… Perhaps “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I know, I know – but it’s just so beautiful and evoking.

Bands – wow this is hard.. Well, from the live shows I’ve seen – Burning Spear, The Roots, Rage Against The Machine, Little Dragon, Hiatus Kaiyote.

I haven’t actually seen Rage Against The Machine live, but they get a pass for being the most kick ass live band of our generation.

10) What’s next for you? Any other interesting projects on the horizon/collaborations or future goals you are yet to achieve?

I’m about to release my new album “Black + White Noise” on The Ayems label. I’ve just released a new single “Life’s A Game” and I’m about to do a lil’ tour and build toward the album release in early 2014. I’m also steady working on music and plans with my House Of Beige crew (Sensible J, Dutch, Remi and crew), DJing, Family vibing, and chillin when I can.