Blipper since: October 10, 2009
Dulin: Where in the world do you live?
Davrocks: Adelaide, Australia.
Dulin: How did you get started on Blip.fm?
Davrocks: A friend called me up and suggested we could use this as a way to supplement our regular Record Club gatherings which had been made much harder by people having children and venues where we could turn it up became scarcer and scarcer.
Dulin: Do you listen to local/regional music in your much? Favourite artists?
Davrocks: I have been trying very hard lately to listen to more Australian music. I realised that I had been neglecting my own backyard for quite a while, made easier by the Internet too, but now I am finding more and more good local stuff but it is still only a small percentage.
Some newer favourites are The Vasco Era, The Leafs, Super Wild Horses, the Straight Arrows and Velociraptor. When I was growing up in the '80s, Australian music was everywhere across commercial radio and television and we had a bit of a golden era. Bands like the Hoodoo Gurus, The Models, The Angels, Midnight Oil, The Church, The Saints, Mental As Anything, The Radiators, Australian Crawl and INXS were all a big part of growing up and loving music. They also formed a lot of my first ever live shows and album purchases. In the '90s I had friends in bands so I went and saw them play a lot but there was also a great bunch of indie bands like Magic Dirt, Powderfinger, You Am I, Jebediah, Crowded House and Regurgitator who toured regularly and kept up the quality.
Dulin: After Silverchair, what is the next greatest Australian music export of all time?
Davrocks: Well I think INXS did some really hard yards and hit it really big overseas. They were megastars in Australia for quite a while and then they released 'Kick' which went crazy all over the world. Back then bands worked their own backyard really hard and then went overseas with a huge body of work to back up a great album. Silverchair became big by copying the sound of Pearl Jam and then Helmet but I had no idea they were so big. I guess I should because I saw people buying 'Frogstomp' at a record store in Guadalajara in Mexico in 1999. They filled a void in grunge and were 'metal enough' to annoy parents without the stigma.
Crowded House were probably another great one. I like them without loving them but also concede that they might be a New Zealand band, it is debatable.
Dulin: What Australian band/artist(s) should the world know more about, besides Silverchair?
Davrocks: Why with Silverchair again? I never knew they were so big overseas. There are probably some really good New Zealand bands that we will claim at some point like we did with Split Enz and also Crowded House. We also claim their good actors like Russell Crowe and Sam Neill because we are the big brother and there is nothing they can do to stop us except beat us at rugby, which no one cares about except them.
There are a couple but most notably The Vasco Era. I discovered them last year and their brand of blues-heavy rock along with great lyrics make them a must hear for me. I will put in a disclaimer here because the next band I am about to mention contains friends of mine and they are a band out of Melbourne called Battlesnake. They will conquer the world. They have a heavy metal name but they are a three piece of organ, drums and bass and they play some outstanding music that I describe as "improv rock." Their live show is outrageous and they are currently mastering a new album that I have heard a bit of but had to promise not to upload and blip prior to release. It is being mastered by some gun guy from overseas, I think it is a bit 'secret squirrel' so I will not say anymore.
There is too much hip-hop here in Australia. I say that because I just don't get it and it dilutes the great rock history that this country has. Unless it has an awesome sample I don't really listen to it.
Dulin: How do you discover new music?
Davrocks: Before the Internet I used to go to my local indie record store and talk to Gavin who would point us in the right direction or just take a punt on something. They have closed down now and it is a bit sad but I hadn't bought a CD in years. We also used to have fairly regular Record Club gatherings varying from 2-10 people where we would play each other stuff (we take minutes and everything) we were listening to. This still goes on but less regularly than ever now that we have families and a lack of venues but I digress.
Then I began to scour blogs across the Internet, but now I only go into a few because there is too much information out there and I have a few that always treat me right. For the last couple of years I have taken my cues from the groups I am in on Last.fm, but more commonly other blippers whose music taste I trust. If I keep seeing the same stuff coming from more and more blippers it gets my interest up and I go in search of it.
Dulin: Whose tour bus would you want to break down in front of your home so you could host them for a week?
Davrocks: I once would have answered Guided By Voices but since reading a biography of the band I am not sure that my body could cope with their hard-living and general rock lifestyle. So now I would say Yo La Tengo because they are possibly the most underrated band of all time and have given me so much joy from their records over so many years and my wife likes them too. I also love a good cover and they have so many to play that they could entertain us for a week without playing their own tracks!
Dulin: You're the captain of the Aussie Blip Olympic Team. What other Aussie blippers would you recruit for the team? What attributes do they bring?
Davrocks: Well my team consists of a great blend of youth and experience: @Ineluctable & @tiny_montgomery bring their amazing knowledge of the late 70's early 80's Australian music (ie when it was awesome). Tiny's great love of pre-indie rock (before it had a name and had bands like Husker Du, Mudhoney & Dinosaur Jr plying their trade) and @ineluctable's music knowledge in general would be great, especially his Beatles knowledge. My good friends @sleegalizer & @hezza are on the team because they have great music taste and they are the great friends of mine who introduced me to Blip. I'll bring @winggirl but only if she marries @paraboschi and qualifies him for our team because they are really up to date with stuff and, after having met them for beers on a sunny December afternoon, they are both fantastic people. I would also love to come to a Blip wedding!
Dulin: Your Blip Olympic Team faces England's Blip Olympic Team in a sudden death face-off. What song do you play that's going to best their pick?
Davrocks: I like the concept but I'd call it the Blipympics. I will play the best cover ever in the whole wide world - The Chairs - "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and I would trash talk @snapbadger because I know that song will just melt her will to compete.
Dulin: How does a live music experience relate to your music listening habits or buying behaviour, if at all?
Davrocks: It varies based on the performance. Prior to going to see a band I will generally play of fair bit of their stuff to unearth the gems that I really want them to play and it helps me get excited about seeing them. A live performance can make or break my love for a band. Occasionally I will forgive a band for a bad night (I'm talking to you Sebadoh) but generally not (this time I'm talking you Courtney Love). I have been known to rush straight out after seeing a band and buy their latest record or pick up a tour EP from the merch table if the live experience has been amazing, such as the killer set by The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy at the Big Day Out in 1993. It is also amazing to be able to share these experiences with people and that is my favourite part of the live experience: getting together afterward and reliving the great parts.
Dulin: Do you remember the first music you ever purchased? What was it? Format (record, tape, CD, mp3)? Why did you buy it?
Davrocks: The first music I ever purchased was on vinyl. My older brother and I used to pool our money and buy music but we couldn't agree on our first purchase so we went with a compilation 1983: Thru the roof. Anyone who grew up in Australia in the '80s will be lying to you if they say they never bought a compilation. With some pressing, most will admit to having one of the following either on vinyl or tape: '82: Out of the Blue, '84: Off the Floor, '81: In the sun, '85: music alive.
Our next few purchases were also on vinyl and we got INXS' The Swing (Still their best album), U2 The Unforgettable Fire, Midnight Oil Red Sails in the Sunset and The Radiators You Have The Right To Remain Silent (compulsory must-have EP for all Australian teenagers from 1983-1988 and a veritable right of passage to sing along with).
Dulin: How do your music selections played differ between Blip.fm vs. Last.fm, if at all? Do you use one site more than another? Why?
Davrocks: I only play music on Blip.fm. I use Last.fm to keep track of what I have been listening to on the different iPods we have at home (and mostly I remember to not scrobble the music from the Kids play list although The Wiggles are one of my most played groups on Last.fm and it still irks me). I am in a couple of groups in Last.fm where I get some great new and old music recommendations and share stuff with strangers around the world. Blip contains nearly every track I could ever need (and if it isn't there @sabriesc taught me how to upload stuff so I can play it and it is available for others - I am NOT the one doing the YouTube covers in case that is what you were wondering) and I love the interactive nature of it. I love that I can flick from old to new stuff so easily within Blip.fm and I often take inspiration from what others are blipping, especially when I see someone blip a track by a band that I haven't listened to in ages.
I also use the Last.fm private message and shoutbox to keep up with blippers I haven't seen for a while such as the mighty @Alturn8tive.
Dulin: If you could work with a band as a producer to re-do an album in their catalogue, what band would you work with and what album would you produce? How would you suggest changing the music?
Davrocks: As this is hypothetical question I will respond with my dream collaboration and say Elliott Smith because hypothetically he is still alive. I would re-do Roman Candle because the songs are brilliant but would only be made better by recording them with a full band in a proper studio. We could rock some of them up and keep the acoustic beauty of others, it would be great but I'd probably let him and Rob Schnapf do all the work and just go along for the ride. Elliott is probably my favourite artist of all time and is sadly missed despite his massive body of work left behind. I often wonder how good he would have become later in his life.
Dulin: Dream line-up for a concert?
Davrocks: As a man and compulsive list-writer here is my dream concert line-up consisting purely of bands I have missed playing live due to laziness, poverty, drunkenness, clashing festival schedules or the fact that they've never come to Australia (it is in playing order but not necessarily most to least, if that makes sense):
The Flaming Lips
The Stone Roses
The Wedding Present
Neutral Milk Hotel
Guided By Voices
Olivia Tremor Control
Dulin: What music knowledge/influences do you want to impart to your sons?
Davrocks: So far I have begun with music genres with the oldest one. He is 3, and he can pick the difference between rock and roll and electronica. He broke my heart when he told that he likes electronica more but really I want him to love whatever music he chooses to listen to, to love to dance to music and want to share it with people. I have great hopes for my youngest (18 months) as he is constantly dancing so I assume he has the music in his head and he goes crazy (in a good way) when I play stuff that really rocks. I would like them to one day tell me they really like the music we have at home but then to go off and find their own bands and music scene to enjoy with their friends. I want them to be excited about music.
I have made them a mix tape for the car that encompasses indie rock bands like the Shins and They Might Be Giants doing kids stuff, as well as the Wiggles and other kiddie stuff. They love it and it gives them a broad cross-section of music that they can call their 'own'. They also like to play music and we have heaps of instruments for them to play. I hope that they will play something unlike me who never had the aptitude or sense of rhythm to play anything.
Dulin: How does music, whether playing/listening on Blip.FM or elsewhere, affect your behaviour, reflect your mood, or express your personality from day to day?
Davrocks: I'm not sure it does. I am mostly in a good mood and I have a preference for rock music so you get a lot of that on the Davrocks station. Sometimes I don't feel very chatty but blip allows you to not be. If I am in bad mood I generally don't blip unless it is "Sheetkickers" by Guided By Voices. Music is pretty much a constant in my life so I'll listen to it no matter what mood I'm in, it is the volume that varies. Oh, and Joanna Newsom only gets played if I am already in a good mood, never play her stuff to cheer you up it doesn't work.
Dulin: Which member of U2 would you most want to spend a day with? What would you do and talk about?
Davrocks: Adam Clayton because he is the least rock-star but most "rock" of them all (Larry Mullen would make me feel inadequate because he is much prettier than me). We would drink beer, smoke cigarettes and talk shit about sport and music, just like I do with my friends now. I wouldn't expect him to be all deep and political like Bono, he is just in it for fun and because they can't kick him out now, can they?
Dulin: What three songs would you want played at your funeral?
Davrocks: I used to always want "All Hail the Black Market" by Archers of Loaf played at my funeral but that was when I was 20 so things have changed.
I would have these songs played at my funeral:
"Fight Test" by The Flaming Lips as the casket was coming in
"Last Call" by Elliott Smith instead of Psalm 23
"You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)" by Sunset Rubdown as people are leaving
Dulin: If you could blip one song that could reach everyone on the planet, what would you choose?
Davrocks: Neutral Milk Hotel - "Holland, 1945" because it ticks every box to be the greatest song ever. 1. You can dance to it. 2. You can sing along to it and it has a punchy chorus that rises above the verses. 3. It rocks out amazingly. 4. It has an amazing horn section and not just a saxophone. 5. It has a great opening line. 1,2…1,2,3,4 and if that doesn't convince you then I don't reckon you get it. Failing that I would blip "Sheetkickers" by Guided By Voices as this is my go-to bad day song and the song I blip to other people who are having a bad day. You get to shout the great last line "It's OK, I'm over you" and by the end of the big guitar solo at the end all of the problems of the world just wash away. Try it, it works.
Dulin: If you have a wife, girlfriend, partner, or significant other, do you have a special song that makes you think of them and a moment in your life? Tell us about the song, the moment, and person.
Davrocks: I am married and my wife and I have a couple of special songs. "Autumn Sweater" by Yo La Tengo was the song we first danced to as a married couple. We even did dance lessons and amazed all of our friends and family. For some people there it was the first time they had ever heard this amazing song so it should always bring back happy memories for them.
"Perfect Day' by Lou Reed is another. My wife walked down the aisle to this song but it also reminds us both of meeting up in Europe when we had known each other for only a few weeks and were drinking copious amounts of beer at 7 AM in Prague. The barman at the hostel we stayed at was cleaning the beer lines and kept giving us free drinks (we were the only ones in the bar at the time) as he pulled the beer through and we got him to play this song about 4 times in a row (which included him singing it up on the bar and doing a cute little dance) before the manager put on some other trashy euro music.
"Details of the War" by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is an accidental addition to this list. As we were being married we could hear the music I had pre-programmed in our Reception venue (Yes, I got to partially DJ our wedding reception) over the celebrant talking. This is the song that we and about 4 others could hear playing loud and clear throughout the whole ceremony. To this day it makes us laugh a lot, especially given the song lyrics.
Dulin: If you were a commercial radio station DJ, then what song would you play first?
Davrocks: I'd have to choose between two and they are Lover! 'Tonight! She's Dead' because it is an amazing song and despite the fact that my wife really doesn't like garage rock she dances to it and sings along every time I play this. The other is Thee Oh Sees' 'I Was Denied' as it has become my default mix tape starter for the last year or so. I saw them play recently and this song was amazing, actually their whole set was but this was my highlight.
Dulin: If you were on a world tour as a Blip.FM DJ and ambassador, what three countries or cities would you visit first? What DJs would you like to meet?
Davrocks: This is the most unfair question that you ask Pete. I am going to base myself in countries so that we can arrange other DJs to visit so here goes (apologies to anyone who gets missed, you still rule):
I'm going to London and sleeping on the floor of @snapbdger's flat. Joining us there are @dolittle who doesn't have a house in Ireland to live in anymore, @pmpmnorton who I will fly over from Portugal and was one of my first ever listeners and the creator of the "get goer" to help me fire up in the mornings as he considers going to sleep, @pratinsky and his chimp, @spacespencer and @MarkMoregain who'll supply us with books. Together we will hire a bus and go in search of one of my most missed Blip DJs @MrDali (Simon, why did you leave? We do miss you).
After that Magical Mystery Tour I'll flick over to New York and pick up @craigz and @by_starla and any of the NY blippers who want to come along (@smilecin @epicrates @jennyleepenny are you in?). We will get a mobile home and tour around. I'd find @livtiludi, @jimkeh, @franimal, @zenchaotik & @sqwerl wherever they are. We'll visit @BlacknTan in North Carolina, @sarcasticoptimist and his pregnant wife in Boston (I think, go Celtics anyway), over to Colorado to drink beer with @Tsauro and maybe see @nastysurprise and @cuezaireekaa. I'd organise a stop off in Utah to see @jong and his many wives kids and @rageofutah. We would go to San Diego (lovely town) to hang with @indie_tunes. Somewhere we'll drop in to see if @VeryEmerald still has her Breakfast Club-era Ally Sheedy look. We'd go to Texas in search of @Alturn8tive and get him to start blipping again but I'd also visit @mycosmicrebellion and @stevhory wherever they are because I think Blip couples are so sweet. I'd also visit @modster and together we would get @okmusic to start blipping again (you hear that Jess?). I would stop in the Pacific North West and get all of my Canadian blippers to come down because Canada is too cold for this Australian. I'd arrange a massive party at @modster's house for @sabriesc, @newnewwave, @badtemperedzombie, @everythingispop, @deadcowaroma, @muffinlab, @andyrew, @indoorsoccershoe, @wayoutosphere @toxiferous and anyone I have forgotten and they can all crash in the basement, which is, apparently, a comfy place to sleep.
Then I would go down to Brazil just to give @eliott_is_dead a big hug because he just seems so grumpy all the time. I'd pretend to be his boss and get him off work early and we'd drink beer while waiting for @JimmyDanko to pop over from Argentina.
Dulin: Pick one song that encapsulates your personality, and explain why.
"Conduit For Sale" by Pavement. It is a bit sloppy but it never fails to entertain, leaves you with a smile on your face and, well, I'm trying, I'm trying, I'm trying…..
Pete Dulin is the co-publisher and editor of www.presentmagazine.com and writes freelance for magazines, websites, and newspapers. He can be found in the Blip Nation at http://blip.fm/slipperydistortion. He can be reached at Twitter.com/petedulin, http://www.facebook.com/pete.dulin and www.petedulin.com.