Thursday, November 27, 2014

#TBT INTERVIEW : Osher Günsberg

Osher Günsberg may seem a strange choice for a #TBT interview, but he’s been a keen observer and participant in the local music industry for the last twenty years. Many readers may know him as the host of Channel 10's ‘The Bachelor’, or of last night’s ARIA Awards, but he started off working the graveyard shift for Brisbane’s B105 before becoming an on-air host for Channel V and 'Australian Idol'.
Sadly our #TBT interviewer Brad was troubled by a dodgy internet connection so he couldn’t get as stuck into things as he usually does, but we hope you enjoy Osher's insight on his career and the issues plaguing today’s artists as much as we did.

Osher initially aimed to be a performer, following a school performance when he was ten. “I chased that my whole life,” he tells us. “When I got to high school, I tried to play in every band I could get into. Rock band, stage band, and orchestra... I even sang in barbershop quartets and choirs and everything!”

After school Osher started to pursue his dream by playing in bands, but he had also developed a promising career in radio. “If you start getting on radio, you can’t really tour," he admits. “I was starting to get older and I had a job in radio, so it got too hard to push the boundaries of it.”

That’s not to say that he wished he had given the rock star thing a go when he established himself later.

“Here’s the thing... I was good but I wasn’t great,” he concedes. “I saw that very clearly when I started doing 'Idol'. I would see hundreds of singers who were excellent. I associated myself with being excellent, but the thing that can take excellence to exceptional is thousands of more hours, which I didn’t have the guts to do.”

Instead Osher focused on radio, where he had gone from the graveyard shift to the slightly more competitive afternoon slot at Adelaide's SAFM.

“The trick with FM radio is that you basically have to wait for someone on the day shift to die before you get a job, because you could grow old on radio.” he tells us. “Back then you could get old on radio quite easily, Barry Bissell hosted 'Take 40 Australia' until he was 60!”

Cabin fever set in after just five weeks but then a golden opportunity presented itself.

“A friend of mine who was working at Foxtel got in touch with me and told me that Channel V was looking for new presenters,” Osher recalls. “At the same time, there was a show on ABC called 'Recovery' who were looking to rebrand and change presenters so I made a videotape on a super 8 camera and edited it on the VHS machine in the SAFM Boardroom. I sent it to both Channel V and ABC. Channel V called me back, invited me to go to Sydney for an interview and eight weeks later I was on TV.”

Osher, then known as Andrew G, got into the swing of live TV easily thanks to his years of radio experience.

“They're essentially the same thing," he explains. “You’ve got to keep it exciting and entertaining, not fuck off the artist, make sure you respect the artist and the fans who are listening in, make sure you know your shit and that you get entertaining content for people who don’t know the artist. There’s a lot to learn and I was grateful enough to learn that in radio. So that’s where I did my apprenticeship.”

Osher’s favourite interview subject is Dave Grohl, whose manners taught him an important skill.

“I was reminded to be humble by him,” Osher tells us. “He could’ve been like 'I’m the guy from Nirvana. I’m the king of the world’, but he was always just a dude who was happy to be there and stoked to be alive. I’ve tried to take on as much of that as I could."

Some interviewers would probably jump in here with some hard-hitting questions about artists Osher has pissed off throughout the years, but we wanted to discuss a more pressing subject. His 1980s heavy metal long hairstyle.

“I might have wanted to look rock and roll because I was playing in a funk metal band," he laughs. “I changed my look many times before I got into TV. I had a red beard; I had a green beard... there were lots of different colours.”

His look may have been rock, but Osher reckons he has an easy affinity with every kind of music.

“I can listen to a Public Enemy record as much as I can listen to a Carly Rae Jepsen song or Taylor Swift’s new CD,” he reveals. “I’m able to appreciate what it is that makes a song great.”

Osher even understands that making a good pop song is actually quite difficult.

“It’s easier to make a record that only suits skinny jeaned guys from Newtown who takes Sociology at UNSW,” he explains. “That’s because to write a pop song you’ve got to make those guys, their girlfriends, their little sisters, their mums and the bus driver like the same songs. That’s a difficult thing to do and that’s the true mastery of writing a pop song and the hooks that you’d have in your head all day. The bigger, the bolder and more hooky they are, the better I reckon!”

In 2003, Osher was offered the chance to co-host the inaugural Australian edition of the global 'Idol' franchise. The local series would go on to make stars of the likes of Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy. Osher reveals that he knew it would work straight away.

“We just seemed to hit upon this magical moment in Australian culture when we had the right show with the right cast and meaning at the right time," he tells us. “It was an incredibly lucky experience and all that hard work matched the desire of the nation at that point in time.”

This is when our chat took an interesting u-turn. We mentioned that we thought that lowering album sales may have been related to 'Idol' viewers being more interested in the journey than the outcome. But Osher disagrees.

“Music sales have changed so much in the last ten years that it would be unfair to talk about that in the context of 'Idol',” he countered politely. “Case in point... Aloe Black wrote an article for Wired Magazine about how ‘Wake Me Up!’, which he co-wrote, got 169 million plays on Spotify, for which he got pay $4,000. That is absolutely criminal in my opinion. If that were on radio or TV he would’ve been paid so much more."

This interview was conducted right around the time Taylor Swift took her music off Spotify due to its ‘experimental’ nature.

“Rightly so,” Osher agrees, when we bring it up. “I certainly hope that someone on Swiftie’s team can pull some sway there with Spotify because they really don’t pay what they should pay. It’s certainly not fair competition for radio stations, which would be able to compete with Spotify if they didn’t have to pay APRA and the RAAA as well."

We then proposed that at least streaming services weren't as bad as illegal downloading.

“If you are actively using something like Spotify, even if you’re paying, you’re not paying the artist what they’re worth," Osher maintains. “If you really love the artist, buy the record. That’s how I feel about it. You can ignore it all you want but that’s the absolute truth... that person is not getting paid. You may as well be stealing directly from them.”

That being said, Osher acknowledges that the industry can’t go backwards, but needs to find a new way forward. “I think it will be something that is direct to consumer," he offers. “That’s already happening with some artists, who are dealing directly with their fans. There may be no more record companies in the future.”

Because our chat was coming to an all too quick end, we wanted to find out how Osher manages the unpredictability of working in the entertainment field.

“Well... I try to keep disciplined,” he laughs. “The trick is to have seven things going at once, so that if something isn’t moving, you have six other things to focus on. But that’s the life of any freelancer or anyone who is outside of a corporate 9-5 structure. I have the same fears as anyone who has a job that relies on their own hustle."

For those wanting to make it as a performer in the music industry, Osher’s advice is simple; radio success does not equal financial success.

“If you’re Taylor Swift, you’re rich,” he chuckles. “If you’re an Australian artist, you’re in a Toyota Hiace touring. A lot. That’s the only way you can make money.”

Indeed, Osher says it is consistent hard work that has been the backbone to his career.

“I try to be as authentic as I possibly can but I also work very hard,” he concludes. “My goal is that whenever I am on set, I just try and be the most professional and prepared person I could possibly be. That’s what I try to do.”

Catch Osher's weekly podcast at or give him a follow on TWITTER.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 ARIA AWARDS : The Winners

Adelaide's Sia was the big winner in tonight's ARIA Awards, taking home four of the pointy gongs, including the coveted Best Female Artist, Best Pop Release and the night's biggest award, Album Of The Year.
Chet Faker, who was widely predicted to sweep the night, picked up two ARIAs; for Best Male Artist and Best Independent Release.
From there, it was all very evenly split across the field, with 5 Seconds Of Summer and One Direction picking up gongs in their respectively publicly voted categories, Iggy Azalea picking up Best Breakthrough Artist and Peking Duk bagging the award for the Best Dance Release.
But apart from Sia and in the public awards, mainstream pop was once again glaringly overlooked; Tina Arena missing out on Best Adult Contemporary Album (it went to Neil Finn and Paul Kelly), Jess Mauboy and Guy Sebastian missing out in their respective categories.
Molly Meldrum was deservedly inducted into the Hall Of Fame by long-time friends Marcia Hines and John Paul Young and gave a moving speech about his time in the industry and the need to support local music.
Held at Sydney's Star Events Centre and hosted by Osher Günsberg, the ARIAs tonight celebrated their 28th edition.
Winners (below) are in italics.

(above) 5 Seconds Of Summer opening the show with a performance of 'She Looks So Perfect'.

Flume & Chet Faker - Drop The Game (Future Classic)
Nicky Night Time - Everybody Together (ONELOVE/Xelon)
Peking Duk feat. Nicole Millar – High (Vicious Bitch/Universal)
The Presets - No Fun (Modular/Universal)
RUFUS – Sundream (Sweat It Out/Sony Music Entertainment Australia)

Chet Faker - Built On Glass (Future Classic)
Vance Joy - Mess Is Mine (Liberation Music)
Dan Sultan - Blackbird (Liberation Music)
Sheppard - Bombs Away (Empire of Song/Chugg Music/MGM Distribution)
Violent Soho - Saramona Said (I Oh You/Illusive/UMA)

(above) Jessica Mauboy performs her latest single 'Can I Get A Moment?'

5 Seconds Of Summer - 5 Seconds Of Summer (EMI)
Hilltop Hoods - Walking Under Stars (Golden Era Records/Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
RUFUS – Sundream (Sweat It Out/Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Sheppard - Bombs Away (Empire of Song/Chugg Music)
Violent Soho - Saramona Said (I Oh You/Illusive/UMA)

The Audreys - 'Til My Tears Roll Away (ABC Music/UMA)
The Bamboos - Fever In The Road (Pacific Theatre/Inertia)
Harry Hookey – Misdiagnosed (Essence Group)
John Butler Trio - Flesh & Blood (Jarrah Records/MGM)
Russell Morris - Van Diemen's Land (Fanfare Records/EMI)

5 Seconds Of Summer - 5 Seconds Of Summer (Capitol/EMI)
Iggy Azalea - The New Classic (Virgin/Universal Music Australia)
Andy Bull - Sea Of Approval (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Chet Faker - Built On Glass (Future Classic)
The Kite String Tangle - Vessel EP (Warner Music Australia)

(above) Brisbane's Sheppard performs their smash single 'Geronimo'.

Adam Brand - My Side Of The Street (ABC Music/UMA)
Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Essence Group)
The McClymonts - Here's To You & I (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Emma Swift - Emma Swift (Laughing Outlaw/Inertia)
Keith Urban – Fuse (Capitol/EMI)

360 – Utopia (Forthwrite/EMI)
Iggy Azalea - The New Classic (Virgin/Universal Music Australia)
Hilltop Hoods - Walking Under Stars (Golden Era Records/(Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Illy – Cinematic (Warner Music Australia)
Thundamentals - So We Can Remember (Obese Records)

Ball Park Music – Puddinghead (Stop Start Music)
Jimmy Barnes - 30:30 Hindsight (Liberation Music)
Kingswood - Microscopic Wars (Dew Process)
Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone (EMI)
Dan Sultan - Blackbird (Liberation Music)

(above) Winners of Best Urban Album, Hilltop Hoods performs their top five hit 'Cosby Sweater'.

5 Seconds of Summer – She Looks So Perfect (EMI)
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy (Virgin/Universal Music Australia)
Havana Brown – Warrior (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Joel Fletcher feat. Savage – Swing (Hustle Recordings/Ministry of Sound)
Taylor Henderson – Borrow My Heart (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Justice Crew – Que Sera (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Nathaniel – You (DNA Songs/Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Guy Sebastian – Like A Drum (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Sheppard – Geronimo (Empire of Song/Chugg Music/MGM Distribution)
Sia – Chandelier (Inertia Recordings)

(above) Ian "Molly" Meldrum is inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame, flanked by Marcia Hines (left) and John Paul Young (right).

The Beards - The Beard Album (Independent/MGM)
Ronny Chieng - The Ron Way (Century Entertainment)
Buddy Goode - It's A Buddy Goode Christmas (ABC Music/UMA)
Ja'mie - Learning To Be Me (ABC Music)
Franky Walnut - The Franky Walnut Reflective Drink Coaster (One Louder Recordings/Universal Music Australia)

The Amity Affliction - Let the Ocean Take Me (Roadrunner Records Inc)
DZ Deathrays - Black Rat (I Oh You/Illusive/UMA)
High Tension - Death Beat (Cooking Vinyl Australia)
Shihad – FVEY (Warner Music NZ)
Sleepmakeswaves - Love Of Cartography (Bird's Robe Records/MGM)

Charlie Ford for Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener (Milk! Records/Inertia)
Sia Furler and Daniel Askill for Sia – Chandelier (Inertia Recordings)
Dan Graetz for Violent Soho - Covered In Chrome (I Oh You/Illusive/UMA)
Christian J Henrich & Nicholas Rabone for Bluejuice - SOS (Dew Process)
Lawrence Lim for Jessica Mauboy - Never Be The Same (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Lawrence Lim for Justice Crew - Que Sera (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Toby Morris for Sheppard – Geronimo (Empire of Song/Chugg Music/MGM Distribution)
Toby & Pete for Chet Faker - Talk Is Cheap (Future Classic)
Renny Wijeyamohan for Busby Marou - My Second Mistake (Warner Music Australia)
Ben Young for John Butler Trio - Only One (Jarrah Records/MGM)

(above) Multiple ARIA winner Chet Faker performs a spectacular, stripped-back rendition of his smash single 'Talk Is Cheap'.

Tina Arena - Reset (EMI)
Neil Finn & Paul Kelly - Goin' Your Way (EMI)
Gossling - Harvest Of Gold (Dew Process)
Kate Miller-Heidke - O Vertigo! (Cooking Vinyl Australia)
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Live From KCRW (Kobalt Label Services)

(above) One Direction performs their single 'Steal My Girl', sending the young female contingent of the audience into a frenzy.

Chet Faker - Built On Glass (Future Classic)
Vance Joy - Mess Is Mine (Liberation Music)
Guy Sebastian - Come Home With Me (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Dan Sultan - Blackbird (Liberation Music)
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Gurrumul and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra: His Life And Music (ABC Music/UMA)

Adalita - All Day Venus (Liberation Music)
Iggy Azalea - The New Classic (Virgin/Universal Music Australia)
Kasey Chambers – Bittersweet (Essence Group)
Jessica Mauboy - Beautiful (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear (Inertia Recordings)

Jay Laga'aia - Christmas at Jay's Place (ABC Music/UMA)
Ali McGregor - Ali McGregor's Jazzamatazz (ABC Music/UMA)
Sam Moran - Play Along With Sam: We're Gonna Dance! (6 Degrees Records)
Alex Papps - Let's Put The Beat In Our Feet (ABC Music/UMA)
The Wiggles - Apples & Bananas (ABC Music/UMA)

Boy & Bear (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
John Butler Trio (Jarrah Records/MGM)
Melbourne SKA Orchestra (ABC Music/UMA)
The Preatures (Mercury Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
The Presets (Modular/Universal)
RUFUS (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Dan Sultan (Liberation Music)
Tame Impala (Universal Music Australia)
Keith Urban (EMI)
Violent Soho (I Oh You/Illusive/UMA)

5 Seconds Of Summer - 5 Seconds Of Summer (EMI)
Andy Bull - Sea Of Approval (Island Records Australia/Universal Music Australia)
Justice Crew - Que Sera (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Sheppard - Bombs Away (Empire of Song/Chugg Music/MGM Distribution)
Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear (Inertia Recordings)

(above) Dan Sultan performs his track 'Under Your Skin' from his 2014 album 'Blackbird'.

Avicii - True (PM:AM/Universal Music Australia)
Beyonce - Beyonce (Columbia)
Coldplay – Ghost Stories (Parlophone)
Jason Derulo - Tattoos (Warner Bros US)
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Interscope Geffen/Universal Music Australia)
Lorde – Pure Heroine (Universal Music NZ/Universal Music Australia)
One Direction – Midnight Memories (Syco Music)
Katy Perry - Prism (EMI)
Ed Sheeran – X (Atlantic UK)
Pharrell Williams – G I R L (Columbia)

(above) Paul Kelly and Neil Finn perform Paul's song 'Don't Stand So Close To The Window' and the Crowded House classic 'Four Seasons In One Day'.

Chet Faker - Built On Glass (Future Classic)
Jessica Mauboy - Beautiful (Sony Music Entertainment Australia)
Sheppard - Bombs Away (Empire of Song/Chugg Music/MGM Distribution)
Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear (Inertia Recordings)
Dan Sultan - Blackbird (Liberation Music)


We feel we owe an apology to the team at Liberation - and to Sydney-sider Josef Salvat himself - for not featuring his incredibly alluring debut Aussie EP in the days leading up to its release last Friday.
Though Josef might be only new to the Australian musical landscape, the team at Liberation tells us that he's been playing his trade for a while overseas and has already caught the attention of the likes of Sia, who's become a big fan.
If you're a little hesitant to part with your hard-earned on a relative unknown, be aware that highlight track 'Open Season' is currently available as a free download as iTunes' Single Of The Week. And it's quite the revelation.
It's an impressively chic slow-burning pop piece with extraordinary (at times echoed) vocals and a sumptuous soundtrack that we pretty much guarantee will have you headed straight to the 'In Your Prime' EP to drop a fiver.
Apologies for the delay, Mister Salvat, but consider us among your growing chorus of fans.

FIFTH HARMONY : Sledgehammer

Though they're not really a household name here in Australia - for now - US girl group Fifth Harmony, who were formed as part of the 2012 season of 'The X Factor' Stateside, did alright for themselves with their 'Better Together' EP, released towards the end of last year.
It hit the No.6 position on the Billboard 200 albums chart in its week of release, selling 28,000 copies.
Now the band (Ally Brooke, Camila, Dinah, Lauren and Normani) is marching on towards the release of their debut album 'Reflection', which is due on January 23 here in Australia.
The new single from it is 'Sledgehammer'. Co-penned by Ms 'All About That Bass' Meghan Trainor, the track is a thumping electro pop number with a driving bassline that sounds like it comes straight from the biggest pop minds of Europe rather than the United States. To that end, it feels like the kind of song that The Saturdays might have wanted to release in their efforts to crack the US market.
Despite the cover image (above) looking cheap and tacky, the studio-based clip feels a little more polished, mainly thanks to the lighting effects added in during the post-production phase. We like the song, we like the clip.


It was earlier this month when acclaimed Irish singer songwriter Sinead O'Connor announced sideshows in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth as part of her visit down under for the Port Fairy Folk Festival. But those in the Victorian capital who weren't thinking of going to the latter were seemingly missing out. Until now, that is.
Sinead has this morning confirmed a Melbourne show as part of the local leg of her 'I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss' tour - at the city's Hamer Hall on Wednesday March 04.
As with all dates, she'll be showcasing songs from her recently-released album 'I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss', but she'll also be dipping into her back catalogue to perform fan favourites, including her inimitable breakout smash 'Nothing Compares 2 U'.
Melbourne pre-sale tickets are on sale from tomorrow at 10am AEDT, with general public tickets to follow from 10am AEDT on Monday December 01.

February 28 : Perth (Concert Hall)
March 04 : Melbourne (Hamer Hall) NEW SHOW
March 11 : Brisbane (QPAC)
March 19 : Sydney (Opera House)


• Take That's new single 'These Days' has been officially serviced to Aussie media. The track is lifted from the band's upcoming LP 'III', which is the first for the newly slimline line-up of Gary Barlow, Mark Owen and Howard Donald. 'III' is due for release in Australia on Friday December 05.
• Also out and about this week are the new Beyoncé singles '7/11' and 'Ring Off', plus Tove Lo's 'Talking Bodies' and the new Tiga and Pusha T single 'Bugatti'. We'll bring you our weekly look at the new releases on our FACEBOOK page tomorrow.
• Billboard made the call back in the middle of October, but it's now been officially confirmed that Katy Perry will be the half-time entertainment at the 2015 Superbowl. She'll no doubt be rolling out her cavalcade of hits at the February 01 event, which will be held in Glendale, Arizona. Meanwhile, Katy will film her December 12 and 13 'Prismatic' concerts at Sydney's Allphones Arena for the forthcoming live DVD release.

• Ahead of tonight's ARIAs, where he's expected to collect a number of the top awards, Chet Faker has announced a new Fremantle show to his upcoming tour. The show will hit the Fremantle Arts Centre on Sunday February 22, with general public tickets on sale from 9am local time on Tuesday December 02. There's also been a venue upgrade for Chet's Canberra show. Originally at ANU, the February 11 show has now shifted to the larger Royal Theatre, with new tickets on sale now.
• After more than 3400 entries from 1949 songwriters in 17 different countries, the 50 finalists have been announced for the 2014 Vanda & Young Songwriting competition. A number of well-known names are featured, including auspOp favourite Andy Bull, Little May, former 'Australia Idol' songstress Hayley Warner, Lior, Meg Mac and Husky. Check out the full list of finalists and more details of the competition HERE.
• Seattle-based outfit Odesza has confirmed another show at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory. The band's original show has now completely sold out; the second will take place on January 22 and tickets are on sale now.

• The new version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' was always going to be a shoo-in for the No.1 spot on the British singles chart and it doesn't disappoint, premiering in the top spot ahead of the fab new Clean Bandit single 'Real Love'. Olly Murs battles hard to get a No.3 debut for his infectious new single 'Wrapped Up', with David Guetta debuting two spots lower with 'Dangerous'. Wretch 32 premiere in the No.8 spot with '6 Words'.
• As they did here in Australia over the weekend, the world's biggest boyband One Direction debut in the No.1 position with their latest album 'Four'. Last week's No.1 from Pink Floyd drops to the No.4 spot, while Bette Midler premieres at No.6 with 'It's The Girls'. Interestingly, the album's not planned for release in Australia until early in the new year. Could its release here be used to coincide with a tour announcement? We can but hope. David Bowie and Katherine Jenkins also see their latest releases debut in the top ten (at Nos.9 and 10 respectively).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The One Direction juggernaut rolls on uninterrupted, with the band just notching up their fourth Aussie No.1 album in a row with their latest, imaginatively titled 'Four'.
'Four' comprises a dozen new tunes, including lead single 'Steal My Girl', second single 'Night Changes' and other iTunes favourites including 'Fools Gold' and 'Girl Almighty'.
Of course, when it came to our One Direction competition, we also asked which of the boys was your favourite and it seems there's no real clear favourite... Harry was the least popular, with Zayn and Liam apparently the most popular.
To celebrate the release of 1D's new album 'Four' across the planet, the lovely team at Sony Music threw us a handful of copies to give away to you. But we're not holding onto them. Oh no. We're sending them out to five lucky winners, who are...;

Jason from Applecross in Western Australia, Caroline from Park Holme in South Australia, John from Pennant Hills in New South Wales, Marcus from Sydney in New South Wales and Jake from Murrarie in Queensland!

Congratulations to you all! A copy of 'Four' will be heading to you shortly, with big thanks to our friends at Sony Music Australia.


Laura and Andy from up and coming Melbourne pop duo Back Back Forward Punch have been incredibly generous with their tunes over the past couple of years, gifting many of them free of charge to their increasing band of followers.
And they're at it again with their latest; a double dose of funky pop beats in 'Big Time' and 'Up Late In The Jungle'. There's an abundance of disco influences on both tracks; 'Big Time' is a sublime, bright, breezy pop track that feels a little bit Goldfrapp, a little bit Donna Summer, but all Back Back Forward Punch. 'Up Late In The Jungle' ups the disco vibe with vocoders, beeps, blips and fat, funky beats.
Sensationally, both songs are available for free download on the band's FACEBOOK page just by giving them a little 'like'! Best you get onto that!