March 2014 saw the first teaming of music & arts dynamo ;) SUGARYAMA, with Melbourne 'Heat-Beat' act NO ZU.
The 2 groups ventured to vibrant Mexico, to take part in Festival NRMAL. SUGARYAMA in a Guest Curatorial extreme, showcased a diverse selection of Australian acts; Whereas NO ZU brought their unique percussive antipodean boogie, to highly excitable Mexican crowds.
Now, in their home town, they unite once again.
Presenting a string of club-nights, consisting of their favourite Australian artists on the rise.
This event marks the first of a co-curated 2-part series of parties, across 2 Melbourne venues, across the following 2 months.
TRIPLE R Interview + Guest Selection
Nic Oogjes of NO ZU, & Pete Keen of SUGARYAMA, drop in to TRIPLE R's 'Breaking And Entering' for a chat, & to play some found tracks from their journey throughout Mexico, & North America.
Featured tracks by :: Shiro Shwarz / Fist of Facts / Hidden Fees
* Many thanks to Lauren Taylor & Simon Winkler
- 7th April 2014
ZU point of view - Daphnee Shum
Mexico City to Monterrey
Photography :: P. Keen
I arrived in Mexico City under inauspicious circumstances, strung out from a bladder infection and poisoned by tainted food. The first few days were spent in a jetlagged, feverish daze in a darkened hotel room. A common trait amongst chronically unwell young people is an oblivion-chasing desire to live each day to its furthest extent. So from the moment I regained enough strength to raise the first cerveza of the tour to my lips it was on. I was manically desperate to cram as much of Mexico as I could through my senses, eating all manner of unidentifiable street foods (pickled pig’s trotter taco anyone?), walking until lost on desolate streets with houses coated in peeling burnt orange paint, feeling removed from the downtown buildings with their blue and white tiled facades. The air sat thick with the smell of burning plastic as I walked mapless, familiar looking streets revealing themselves to be totally unfamiliar as they faded into view. I had left Melbourne feeling troubled, overworked and exhausted - I walked with intent, and with each step my sadness was gradually left behind. Being a country steeped contrastingly in a combination of Catholicism and mysticism, Mexico it seemed, was an appropriate setting for personal exorcisms of the heart.
Since I essentially have an unhealthy and vaguely masochistic love of performing under pressure, my soul soared and thrived as my body vied to keep down the final throes of sickness at the first NRMAL show. Coupled with high altitudes and the effects of harsh air on vocal cords, I was in self-flagellating heaven. As a band we generally don’t feel like we’ve gigged properly unless we’re nauseous, odorous, and deficient in electrolytes by the end of a show.
Some highlights from the festival:
– In a foodtruck coupling of East meets Mex, I discovered Mexican ingredients can really transform a banh mi
– In Mexico you can bring dogs and rifles to festivals (the latter is only applicable if you work in security though)
– A beautiful girl accidentally opening the door of my portaloo during Kelela’s set. There are many beautiful girls in Mexico so the probability of a beautiful girl seeing you pee is higher here
With Mexico City done (with requisite visits to lucha libre wrestling and Teotihuacan pyramids completed) Monterrey was next, where my cerveza intake was replaced with tequila and dancing on my own at Gomez Bar with lipstick (MAC Lady Danger) on my face while Nic and Andrew DJ’d Italodisco sung in Spanish. The crowd at NRMAL were in incredible high spirits despite the rain and mud – smiling wet faces and hands reaching out in the dark. It was an unforgettably uplifting show. After attempting not to drag too much festival mud back to the hotel we ended the night with a room service order of water x 6 (half of which ended up on my bed) and a plate of fries (left untouched), while Sugaryama Pete skillfully maneuvered a small crowd of new friends into a group photo, without actually needing to leave the bed where he’d situated himself comfortably…
ZU point of view - Nic Oogjes
Monterrey, Mexico City
Photography :: Nic Oogjes
..I can’t quite explain why a few thousand people, in the light rain, moving to an oddball-weird-percussive-dance-band from Australia, of whom they should never have heard of before – got into it so much and busted their bodies to the groove so hard.
The closest I have felt to an experience like this was playing Golden Plains – but this was debaucherous, no holds barred, wet, dark, completely wild and… well… in Mexico.
I guess we responded accordingly – Adrian T took our advice to just dance when in doubt, and dance he did – I have never seen him move like that. I played schronking trumpet to those at the very front (I may have gone into the crowd too… umm) and pulled one of many reaching hands, of which a petite girl was attached to, onto the stage. Hugged, and even danced some bad James Brown moves.
Andrew may have inspired this by belting out impassioned, funk-shrieks from behind the kit for the first time!
I climbed a speaker stack and took a photo of many hands giving a peace sign in response ( ..in NYC it was ‘the bird’.. ). I’m glad I did, otherwise it would have been easy to think that the whole thing was something that I had day-dreamed while walking the LAX cement with only a Starbucks on the horizon.
..It all just seemed too silly and utopian to talk about.
SUGARYAMA’s first collaborative project abroad sees Director Pete Keen undertake a guest curatorial role with Mexico’s Festival NRMAL early March 2014.
Festival NRMAL is critically acclaimed with past lineups including: Grimes, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Girls, Thee Oh Sees, Twin Shadow, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dan Deacon, Toro Y Moi, and many other great acts.
Festival NRMAL brings together some of the world’s most exciting independent art and music, creating a dreamscape event of monumental proportions.
Live from Polyester Records
Melbourne, Australia. 2013 polyesterrecords.com
Dijon Szechuan features local and international DJ's & Producers, exploring the lighter side of electronic music.
Each weekly session is recorded and released the following Saturday.
Available in store as a FREE downloadable mixtape, accompanied by a FREE limited edition artist print.
This release series consisted of a total of 4 weekly Mixtape / Art Prints, in an edition of 100 each. - [OUT OF STOCK]
SUGARYAMA, Australia’s newest international music and arts partnership program and the globetrotting ‘little sister’ of Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain Festival launched Friday November 1 with an official party at Boney, Melbourne.
NO ZU [Live] CHELA [Live] ANDEE FROST (The House deFrost) EDD FISHER (Tomorrowland / PBS) JAMIE BENNETT (Red Bull Music Academy) x JULIEN LOVE (DJ/ Producer) BRYCE LAWRENCE / LOUIS MCCOY / GLYN HILL (Out Of Focus)
SUGARYAMA is an umbrella for project-based works, placing select visual artists and musicians in cross-cultural artistic exchanges. This ongoing endeavour brings a unique Australian perspective to collaborations, showcasing our finest creatives to international eyes.
SUGARYAMA’s first project sees Keen undertake a guest curatorial role with Mexico’s Festival NRMAL in early 2014, where he will travel with a handpicked selection of Melbourne based artists and musicians.
Festival NRMAL is critically acclaimed with past lineups including : Grimes, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Girls, Thee Oh Sees, Twin Shadow, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Dan Deacon and Toro Y Moi and many other great acts. Festival Nrmal brings together some of the world’s most exciting independent art and music, creating a dreamscape event of monumental proportions.