Sunday, October 23, 2005

more music musings

Here, belatedly, is an article about Tom Ellard, of the great Severed Heads band, talking about frogs and music. I actually have never heard the frog ring tone/song thing. I don't listen to mainstream music radio stations anymore, haven't for years. Perhaps I am a music snob, though I like my share of poppy trash as much as anyone. But nothing these days on the air seems both trashy yet whacked out or edgy enough to draw me back to the dial. I might sound like a BOF but I'm not saying music being made today is crappy, I buy plenty of new music. It just doesn't make it to the radio. As The Sports once sang "Who listens to the radio/ That's what I want to know?" Maybe radio in other countries is better than ours.

Anyway, a reprint from the Sydney Morning Herald 12 October (day before my birthday as it turned out).

Mainstream is for frogs, says ARIA winner

Author: Edmund Tadros
Publication: Sydney Morning Herald (11,Wed 12 Oct 2005)

It was a blue singing frog that finally convinced Tom Ellard that the popular music industry was "insane".

The amphibian in question is Crazy Frog - the cartoon star of the single Axel F, a mobile phone ring tone which was released as a single and topped the Australian charts in July.

"When a mobile phone single can be a number one single, that's when we've reached lunatic heaven," he said.

Ellard is the founding member of Severed Heads, which won the best original soundtrack/cast/show award for the soundtrack to The Illustrated Family Doctor at the ARIA Fine Arts Awards last night. "As a band person to be up against an animated frog, you think 'it's no contest man, give it to the frog'."

For the veteran electronic musician whose first album was released in 1979, a frog singing "a ring ding ding ding ding" again confirmed that Severed Heads would never fit into the mainstream.

"The machinery of the music industry is, in its own way, insane," he said. "It's these systematic personality types being put in front of you ... the singer-songwriter woman with unwashed hair or the black rapper with gold chains and 20 girlfriends. I'm not critical of these things, I'm fascinated by them."

However, Severed Heads won an ARIA for a soundtrack that featured canned music. Ellard said he was interested in the form when he was approached to do the soundtrack.

"The idea that music could influence people, that was my kick [at the time]," he said. The idea fit well with the Australian movie, which starred Samuel Johnson. It is about a man who "lives in productivity hell".

Ellard has long rejected mainstream music, even after the mid-'90s top 20 hit Dead Eyes Opened. He is the keyboardist and sometimes singer of the band, which records with various artists and then assembles the final product on computer.

He has been recording and distributing music since 1996, when it was mp2, not mp3, and opened one of the first online music stores in 1997.

Despite, or perhaps because, he is so forward-looking, Ellard is not hopeful about the future of music.

"The future of music is not good because of this whole notion of selling tracks one at a time," he said.

4 comments:

David Prater said...

hi jill,

the crazy frog ringtone actually beat coldplay to number 1 in the uk too, so it cant be all bad.

;-))
davey aka dcghctfx

Jill said...

and what's wrong with coldplay (apart from their general drab and boring wetness)? Go da frog!!

P.S. But still prefer Severed Heads. Call me oldfashioned.

David Prater said...

yes, agreed. "dead eyes opened" was the soundtrack to many a party in my student daze. cripes, don't i sound old.

Ann said...

I'm so distant from radio that I was surprised to hear my local PBS station had become talk radio. But one of my treasured holiday cds is A Froggie Christmas. And that's no joke.
Ann (my secret word: lbouos)