11 November 2011
“I‘ve been getting really deep into [19th century Serbian scientist Nikola] Tesla’s story, and how the big energy corporations in the US destroyed all of his work and basically killed his spirit, so that he wouldn’t want to create anything anymore, because he was trying to develop free energy. And it exists; I’m sure that what he theorised about could actually be done, but we’ll never know, because who profits from free energy, you know?”
It’s a cautionary tale, and one which every artist who goes against the grain will relate to. A good idea will eventually rise to the top of its own accord, though there is often the inherent danger that in doing so it will consume its host. Aloe Blacc is determined not to let this happen to him. Though his gloriously anachronistic album Good Things is only his second solo release, he speaks about it with a pragmatism and a world-weariness that belies his years. “In order to get anywhere in the US with music, you have to have money to get on the radio and to do significant promotion.” he explains. “So without that, because Stones Throw is such an indie label, there’s no funds. We just need the kind of backing like here in Australia, where we have the Sony power behind us.”
What becomes clear when talking to the Californian-born vocalist is that he has had to fight to realise his personal vision at every step, and continues to fight for it, though he has learned to pick his fights carefully.
At the last minute, a reshuffling of the album’s tracklisting was imposed, apparently against Blacc’s will, with the track Politician being inexplicably omitted. With such lyrics as “One day we’re gonna organise and do what we’ve got to do, but the revolution will not be televised when we flip the script on you,” the track was obviously contentious, but one wonders whether he felt as though he had been censored or artistically compromised. Clearly choosing his words diplomatically he begins, “Ah, you know, it was funny business with the label.” He continues, “Basically, I want everything I recorded to be on the album. But they didn’t want to release Loving You Is Killing Me because they thought it was too pop, and then they said something like ‘people wouldn’t understand what Politician is talking about.’ But now with the ‘Occupy’ protests, hopefully they might start to get the message.
“Most of the album is discussing the problems, and Politician is like the call to action. And then the next album will hopefully be the solutions.”
He quickly adds. “...well, not the solutions. My ideas of solutions.” The almost-universal critical acclaim the album has received is a vindication of Blacc’s steadfastness, and has paved the way for the next chapter in his meteoric ascent. Blacc excitedly talks about touring Europe “endlessly”, while assembling the framework of his next record and rubbing shoulders with his musical heroes.“I was lucky enough to perform in front of Paul McCartney. He was dancing, smiling along , nodding and giving me kudos. I was also able to perform some of my songs for Quincy Jones, who said he really liked what I was doing. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to work with someone like Bill Withers, Al Green or Stevie Wonder. I’m sure there are songs that they’ve written over the past few years that they haven’t been able to release, and I’d love to be the voice for them.”
17 May 2013
The President of the Wee Waa Show Society, Brett Dickinson tells us more about the annual agricultural event, which starts today.
17 May 2013
We chat to the founder and CEO of Kobalt Music Group about changing the game of music publishing and copyright administration.
16 May 2013
We chat to Paul Jackson – dmg Radio’s Group Program Director – about smoothfm's impressive first year.
09 May 2013
Thom Yorke's favourite festival OutsideIn is coming back on September 21, and the curators are planning to up the ante, which probably means that Bowie will be dropping in this year. We chat to Astral People's Leron Danilewitz to find out what to expect.
09 May 2013
We put Paul Higgins, Managing Director and A&R Director, Empire Records & Publishing, also playing in pop against the majors.
06 May 2013
MusicNSW invited 16 musicians to take part in the roundtable, selecting representatives of diverse scenes such as electronic, underground and improvised music.
03 May 2013
We chat to Colin Blake, the newly-appointed head of Rdio Australia, a joint venture with DMG Radio.
26 April 2013
Lars Brandle catches up with Dwayne Cross, Director of Paperchase Sports and Entertainment and Promoter of Supafest, to find out what went wrong.
18 April 2013
We caught up with Nick Adams, Director of One to One Marketing at Telstra, to chat about their new ticketing service.
17 April 2013
Nominations have just opened for this year’s National Indigenous Music Awards, which makes this the perfect time to chat to Music NT Manager Mark Smith.
16 April 2013
We heard reports of a new musical about the Rugby League State Of Origin, being penned by noted author Hugh Lunn. Naturally we had a few questions...
12 April 2013
Stephen Halpin from Cattleyard Promotions chats to TMN about Groovin' The Moo and his recent trip to SXSW.
12 April 2013
Feel Presents is behind the Dig It Up! national concert series, which starts April 18 at Brisbane’s Tivoli.
+ SHOW MORE
18 March 2013
One of the most important aspects of the policy is that some initiatives will allow the music industry to be more involved in funding and policy-making policies. We ask the industry for early reactions.
15 March 2013
We ask Jack Flanagan, co-owner of Weathermaker Music, all about their one-stop-shop setup.