Sunday, April 1, 2012

CMW: Direct Influence

If someone asked me to go to Australia, I would be eager to see kangaroos and learn how to surf. So what was Melbourne-based band Direct Influence most excited about for their visit to Canada? Poutine.
And they got to try it on the first day they got to Toronto -- and loved it. They had some time to explore the city before their gigs as a part of Canadian Music Week.
Direct Influence, made up of Dylan Smith, Marcus Ross, Shane Evans, Simon Rabl, and Mikey Chan (I only interviewed Dylan, Marcus, and Shane), is a group that describes their sound as “neo-roots -- a mix of hip hop, pop, electro, and reggae.” And coming from Melbourne, Australia’s music capital, they have been performing throughout the country at fantastic venues and in front of huge crowds. One of their biggest shows was Rhythm & Vines Festival, in New Zealand, where they shared the main stage with artists such as Justice and N.E.R.D.
Their favourite city to perform in though, is the famous Byron Bay. Known for its surfer town atmosphere and awesome music scene, it’s a popular spot for artists -- “and it’s full of hippies and backpackers.”

Q: So why did you guys choose to come be a part of Canadian Music Week this year?
Marcus: We’ve been playing for crowds in Australia for quite a while now and we’ve played to a lot of back packing crowds. We’ve done a lot of touring in backpacking areas and we seem to resonate really well with the international crowd. So we would love to get on the world stage and do the festival circuit all around the world because we ultimately are a festival band for people to drink and have an awesome time.
Dylan: Also, to experience Canada, we’ve always wanted to come to North America. Even though we’re very similar, there are still things that are very different between our countries. Toronto seems to be a bit like Melbourne as well, like the layout and public transportation.
Q: What sets you apart from other music groups?
Dylan: I suppose the fusion thing - there’s so much that we play in a show. There’s electronic, hip hop, reggae, all mashed together. It’s our unique sound that we created. And it’s a very energetic show, we always walk away from our show like “wow, that was intense” and we’re sweaty and hot and there was dancing, it’s awesome.
Marcus: Yeah, It’s that energy and the genre-mashing. We may not even necessarily look the part of the music we’re playing. But it’s not about looking the part. There are a lot of bands now that play a song and they look the part, so that’s probably what sets us apart.
Q: What’s up next for you?
Dylan: We’ve got a couple festivals back in Australia for April and we’re releasing our next single in May. And then June/July we’ll be doing a national tour to promote the singles and hopefully Europe near the end of the year. So it’s a big year for us.
Check out their latest single, Far East:

Their last album was released back in late 2010 and they’re hoping to get another one out near the end of this year.
If you want to hear more from Direct Influence, be sure to check out their website!
- Christina
Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28

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