The first time we wrote a song together as Mumford & Sons…we sat down in a room and I’d written some lyrics and some chords and we played them together and suddenly I realised the sound we were making was unique to the four of us.

It wasn’t scrapping together session musicians, because we’d all been playing with lots of different people and sessions, but actually the creativity that suddenly burst out of that room convinced us that we were a band.

It wasn’t one person with a bunch of session musicians but four guys who loved each other and wanted to play together.

—  Marcus Mumford on the formation of Mumford & Sons, via the Sydney Morning Herald.
Testing Patience: A response to SMH from an 'Asian Automaton'

By Anonymous

White Australia needs to stop scapegoating Asian students and educate themselves instead.

As a person of Asian descent living in Sydney, there is a certain level of everyday racism that you can learn to tolerate day-to-day. When you’re drowning in pervasive racism it’s best not to panic. Just slowly, and calmly, wade your way through the bullshit. The longer you do it, the stronger your muscles get, the easier it is to hold your water.

Reading the Sydney Morning Herald’s outburst of racist paranoia over the “Asianisation” of Sydney schools today, however, made me stop and realise how truly exhausted I am, and have been for a long time. Because, despite her never having met me before, the person that Anna Broinowski is scapegoating in this article is me. I went to coaching school to pass an exam when I was 9 years old to enter an ‘Opportunity Class.’ Then at 11, I took another exam and I was enrolled into a selective high school. And yes, it was full of “Asians.”

Keep reading

News Coverage in the Past 24 Hours

Within 24 hours, at least 3 news networks have picked up on the trends. And although not all of them have accurately interpreted why we’re doing what we’re doing, it’s still insane to see that our actions are being noticed. 

Keep at it fam, it’s only a matter of time. We are being heard, the world is watching us.

@decaheda @clarkesquad @rin-says



Fantasy Feast Fit For a King 

As a marketing ploy for the show’s Australian DVD release, Warner Bros asked King to devise a special menu, to be served at Gastro Park next month. (Sydney Morning Herald)


1) Fallen Eyeball. The first snack really sets the gory tone of the menu. Liquid mozzarella eyeballs, finished by a make-up artist, are coated with cocoa butter and served on the earth’s soil, made from black olives and bread, with a white balsamic vinegar dressing. 

Bleeding Stag - no Westeros celebration is complete without the slaughtering of an animal. Pierced with arrows, and designed to appear as though straight from the hunter. Delectable seared venison served with a dripping fake blood dressing, made from bonito, soy and ginger.

2) A soup of crushed skulls and raven feet! Crushed skulls crafted with a crusty garlic potato galette with raven feet fritters, made from black battered red piquillo pepper. All served with a Raven Broth made from quail and pigeon stock.

3) The King’s Feast arrives. A roasted chunk of wild pig served on Heart tree log, alongside roasted stone fruits of the Godswood forest.

4) Liquid gold poured over a dragon egg for dessert. Dragon eggs feature a sprayed chocolate shell with a liquid passionfruit and vanilla centre. Served on an edible earth of dark chocolate mud, white chocolate clay, gold nuggets, vanilla and buttermilk nitro rock and crumbed shortbread. All drizzled with a golden orange curd.

5) The cake of thorns

Gastro Park’s Game of Thrones menu, March 7 to April 7, $100 a head, minimum four people a booking, bookings essential, 8068 1017. Source.

MH370 Crowdsourcing

By now you must have heard about the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which disappeared four days ago. Search teams from over ten countries include over 32 aircraft and 40 vessels, with additional aid reportedly being sent in. China has adjusted ten satellites to help aid in the search and determine what exactly happened to the plane and the 239 people on board.

You can help too. Articles in the The Sydney Morning Herald and in ABC News explain how the search has turned to crowdsourcing for clues. You log onto the website, Tomnod, where they will provide you with satellite images which you can look at and try to identify any clues on the whereabouts of the plane.

There are families that are still waiting for closure after four days of the disappearance. There is a tremendous effort to find out what exactly happened, but it’s not yet enough, as literally nothing from the plane has been found. 

The satellite image search campaign can be found here.  

From online phenomenon to genuine star, Troye Sivan is aiming for pop perfection

April 8, 2016 - 12:15AM
Bernard Zuel
Senior music writer

With less than an hour until he goes on stage at the incongruous but nonetheless full Chicago House of Blues, for only the twenty-second  show he’s ever performed, here are two things Troye Sivan has learnt about himself in those 21 previous gigs: he is not alone in this; but he has the power.

“It feels like with the audience it’s push and pull: it’s not like here I am, here I am, here I am, I hope that you love it,” he says, with barely a trace of his native South Africa detectable through a softened Australian accent.

“I’m starting to realise that it’s a constant conversation and that I have a whole lot more power than I thought I had. I found that if I have a show that is not going great I can turn it around or if I feel that the audience is not maybe responding how I want them to for a certain song, I can change my body position, open up more, look at someone’s face in the audience specifically, and change that.”

As if the thought has been bubbling away inside for days, maybe over those 21 previous shows spread out over the past year, but still feels odd being articulated, Sivan adds: “I learn a million little things every single night. The goal is just to keep getting better.”

And better he must be. When the 20-year-old pop singer played in Sydney and home town Perth earlier this year, it became clear  that while the songs and studio singing are pretty much right, and his connection with the audience – whether on YouTube where he first made his name three years ago (and now boasts some 4 million subscribers) or on stage – is most definitely there, his stage presentation lacked vocal power and a sense of how to build and pace a show.

With a full Australian tour announced, he’s well aware of it, too.

“I’m so far from perfect still, I’m figuring that out every single day,” he says, which can mean something as technical as particular mics for particular moments in the show or as practical as realising that when he gets nervous his instinct is to seek support away from the microphone and pull out his in-ear monitor, “literally the two worst things you can do in that situation”.

If perfection is his goal, Sivan isn’t meeting that today when his blue nail polish is healthier looking than he is. Very lean and delicately pretty at the best of times, Sivan doesn’t look built to sustain anything harder than a wan wave to the fans who had queued for most of the day in temperatures which hovered either side of 0 degrees.

And these aren’t the best of times, as the sniffles and cough suggest, especially for someone who was mortified when borderline laryngitis forced him to cancel what would have been his first Australian shows late in 2015.

So Sivan nervously laughs that he probably should get another shot of the orange juice with oregano oil and vitamin D and B-12 he’s just downed. Maybe he’ll schedule that rest in for tomorrow when the tour bus is on the road to Detroit. Or the day after, if time permits.

Ha! As if time is his friend. Not that Sivan, who turns 21 in June, is short of “friends”, as can be heard from downstairs where a highly primed audience is responding in full voice to Drake’s Hotline Bling between chanting Sivan’s name.

As with all the other hits being played pre-show, every word is known and every line shared. It’s a reminder that this is a fan base that is in some ways unique – in its devotion and fervour – and typical, in that for them Sivan is not in any way different to Drake or Sam Smith or Meghan Trainor.

That’s the territory Sivan inhabits now. His debut album, Blue Neighbourhood, went immediately to No. 1 on the iTunes chart on the day of release in December and debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard chart, his highest placing outside Australia. Sales are nearing half a million in the US alone.

The album was expected to be at least dotted with some radio hits – after all, he’d already had a top five song (in Britain,  the US, Ireland and New Zealand) with his first Australian No. 1, Wild – but its overall quality has earned it surprisingly good reviews for someone assumed to be yet another internet meteor with a short lifespan.

In turn, it has surprised Sivan that this critical response has meant as much as it has.

“I think I said to myself that I wasn’t going to read any reviews, then the Rolling Stone one came out in Australia and I was pretty stoked,” he says. “I think it’s like you write these songs and put so much into them, little things, like down to interesting word choices or every little melody or whatever, [but] you do it for yourself because it feels good, and that’s what I enjoyed doing, and you kind of wonder if anyone’s going to pick up on those things.”

As with his stage shows, you can listen to Sivan and marvel at the distance ahead and where he might yet go as a writer. Not that he knows exactly, claiming that up until now he’s eschewed a grand plan beyond each project.

“I am so flip-floppy about it. I want to be a pop star, write hits, but I never want to sacrifice anything to get that,” he says. “I love pop music, so chances are if I do put out a hit one day I’m going to be really, really proud of that hit because I’ll be like, this is an awesome pop song.”

The idea that it’s all on the fly looks a bit shaky, however, when he’s asked who he sees as contemporaries setting an example.

“With writing, I look at people like Sia: that’s an amazing career path, that’s awesome. Or Drake as well, writing for other people in really cool ways,” Sivan says. “I think it’s a really cool thing when someone quietly does that as a side project, for it shows a lot of credibility to me, and passion to me. It makes complete sense to me as a creative person who, I guess, has taken on Troye Sivan as my artist project, but of course I’m going to want to stray from that.

"I want to try writing country songs, I want to write the poppiest pop. There is so much that I want to do that I couldn’t possibly do under my name."​

Reality bites for Troye

Having acted in several films, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and TV shows, made YouTube videos and now a full album, is there anything Troye Sivan would say no to?

"I don’t want to do reality shows,” he says, before clarifying. “I don’t want to star in a reality show; I would do The Voice and stuff. If I did do any sort of documentation I would be in complete control of a hopefully cool and tasteful film. Other than that, I’m really open to anything. I just love being creative and making stuff.

"I think a lot of my relaxed attitude to it comes from probably that I have done a couple of different things that aren’t related to each other. Whether it’s the acting thing or the YouTube thing or the music thing, I feel like at one particular time I was pursuing those things completely separately of each other and finding a lot of joy in all of them, so I’m sure one day I’ll want to dabble in graphic design, retouch photos for people or something.

"Whatever floats my boat at a particular time, if I get lucky enough to do it.”

Troye Sivan is at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, on August 3; UC Refectory, Canberra, on August 4; Riverstage, Brisbane, on August 6, University Great Hall, Wollongong, on August 7; Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, on August 9; AEC Theatre, Adelaide, on August 11; HBF Stadium, Perth, on August 13. Tickets go on pre-sale from April 14 and on regular sale from April 18.  

Bernard Zuel travelled to Chicago courtesy of EMI.

The 10 Beauty Commandments

Hey everyone!

Last week I was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald Life & Style section in their online article “The 10 Beauty Commandments” as their makeup “expert” The article contains a few of my makeup dos and don'ts which I hope will help a lot of you. Whilst I don’t believe there are any rules when it comes to makeup (much like art) there are definitely techniques and suggestions that will give you great results. Read the article over on the Sydney Morning Herald now!

George and Olivia Harrison. Photo courtesy of Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“‘He was contrary and liked to queer the pitch a bit,’ remembers Olivia. 'He was grumpy and not happy about the state of the humanity. He’d seen everything and he always said his nervous system had been battered by The Beatles experience and he didn’t have a lot [of] tolerance left for nonsense. He felt it was a distraction from his real goals in life.’
But then she says that 'people evolve and change [and] I think it’s fair to say he was a pretty wise man,’ describing how he was 'a very present person,’ who worked hard to find his peace.” - Sydney Morning Herald, 17 October 2011 [x]

Troye Sivan releases album Blue Neighbourhood and announces new shows

December 5, 2015
Bernard Zuel
Senior music writer
Sydney Morning Herald

Troye Sivan’s YouTube videos have attracted more than 200 million views.

Troye Sivan is no longer battling a severe case of laryngitis, but is still upset that illness forced him to cancel his first shows in Australia two weeks ago, only days before the release of his debut album of sensuous electronic rhythm and blues, Blue Neighbourhood.

These weren’t just going to be promotional shows, but introductions and confirmations. He has already announced another tour here: he will play the Enmore Theatre in January.

Despite having charted in the top 10 in Australia, the United States, Denmark and Germany, having won prizes at both the Nicklelodeon and YouTube Music awards and having been declared one of the most influential young artists in the world, Sivan’s performing experience is minimal and his live presence at home non-existent.

These weren’t just going to be promotional shows, but introductions and confirmations. He has already announced another tour here: he will play the Enmore Theatre in January.

Troye Sivan wants to conquer old forms as well as new media. Photo: Cybele Malinowski

Just as there was before the cancelled tour, there will be a ridiculous level of expectation ahead of this show.

Is he just another internet sensation or is he a genuine talent? Can he pull it off and justify the money EMI has invested in him on the basis of a few EPs and an online following that exceeds 3.5 million subscribers to his YouTube videos and more than 200 million views?

Sivan chose music as his primary creative outlet, even though he has appeared on stage and in several films, including Hugh Jackman’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and another in his birth country of South Africa.

One of the quirks of Sivan’s situation is that he was someone for whom neither live shows nor albums were automatically expected. Hewas a singer and songwriter making electronic pop from home, whose songs bypassed radio and, for that matter, television and magazines.

He did this with an international fan base that communicated with him directly by social media – a fan base that was more likely to access his music via new, often free, channels rather than the old-fashioned structures of record label, distributor, airplay and counting the royalties.

If anyone was to believe in the new mantra that albums are irrelevant, that labels are unnecessary and that making connections with old media is passe, it is Sivan.

“I wanted to do an album for a couple of reasons,” he says. “First, I want to give people something a bit more long form that could give them a round perspective on what I do. You can communicate a lot in six tracks or four tracks, which is what I had done before, but there is a lot of substance and a lot of credibility in pulling together something like16 tracks or 12 tracks.

"I wanted to do that for myself to prove to myself that I could do it, and I guess for everyone else … as someone who is still definitely trying to figure it all out, who was really, really new to songwriting and really, really new to making music professionally with all these resources and producers at myfingertips.”

While the album may reveal “different sides to my sound and all sides of me”, it is actually consistent. That’s not to say all the songs are based on the same emotion but that they present a believable range rather than the carefully controlled focus that is standard for major pop acts whose albums, like Sivan’s, are made with multiple co-writers and producers.

Keeping yourself central in those environments is not at all easy because it’s the product and end result that matters, not the individual.

“It was really difficult at first. I think maybe the way that I got into songwriting, at least professionally was being thrown into a bunch of songwriting sessions with strangers,” Sivan says. “I speak a lot about how terrible a lot of the songs were, and it’s true. I think out of 10, I was happy with one song. But then, throughout the process I met people who I connected with, and understood me and so we kept my voice and kept things genuine.”

Sivan is open about his need to prove himself. Public disclosure and public openness are part of who he is and have been since he began posting video performances to his YouTube channel as a 12-year-old and later addressing his sexuality in the same forum.

Too much information too easily? Those who grew up before social media may wonder whether this is something someone of Sivan’s age would even consider.

“I never really gave it much thought up front. It didn’t really feel that different having a Facebook profile or anything like that,” he says. “I didn’t really expect that my friends were going to find my YouTube channel. My friends always had Facebook and then they got Instagram, but they never really latched on to Twitter or YouTube, whereas I did. I used to spend a lot of time on my laptop in this world I thought no one would ever find me in.

"I started making videos and tweeting, and it was not really about my friends, because it was strangers. And then it started to build more and more, and eventually my world crossed over and everyone at school knew about my YouTube channel.

"When I first started posting, I really, really don’t think that anyone could have expected even one-tenth of what happened to happen. It was in that safety that I did what I did.”

That was then. Now there is no mistaking what is happening around him and with his every utterance or move. A lot of people check in with him daily. Does he feel an obligation to be as open as possible with them?

“Not necessarily to be as open as possible,” he says. “I do feel a responsibility to post, to keep everybody up to date. They care enough to check in, so I guess I should care enough to keep them posted, but I’ve realised how much I appreciate privacy and keeping some things to myself. I don’t feel the need to share everything. I do feel the need to share a lot.”

And what does he keep to himself?

“My family. All our conversations are on the phone or in real life.”

Real life? Albums? Maybe not such quaint concepts after all.

Blue Neighbourhood is out now. Troye Sivan plays the Enmore Theatre on January 13.

Angelina Jolie warns Islamic State using rape on unprecedented scale

“London - Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie warned on Tuesday that Islamic State was using rape as a weapon of war on a scale never seen before and called for greater action against those responsible.

Jolie, a special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and active campaigner against the use of sexual violence in conflict, said Islamic State was using rape as a “policy” and urged a “very strong response”.

Thousands of women and girls have been abducted, raped and sold into sexual slavery by Islamic State since the militant group declared a caliphate across swathes of Syria and Iraq last summer, according to the United Nations and rights groups.

“The most aggressive terrorist group in the world today …(is) using (rape) as a centrepoint of their terror and their way of destroying communities and families,” she told a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday.

Oscar-winning Jolie, who joined forces with former British foreign secretary William Hague in 2012 to launch an initiative to prevent sexual violence in conflict, spoke about girls she had met in war zones who had been raped.

This included a 13-year-old Iraqi girl whom she said was raped repeatedly along with her friends and sold for 26 pounds sterling($40).

As part of their campaign against sex crimes in war, Jolie and Hague in 2013 launched a declaration pledging to pursue those responsible and provide justice and safety for victims that has been signed by more than 150 nations.”

- Sydney Morning Herald, September 9 2015