MEDOLLIC PRESS - REVIEWS & INTERVIEWS
Medollic: Separating the dream from the machine
Review by Derry Wootton (PlasticHassle UK) April 2011
Aldous Huxley, in his classic work The Doors of Perception, wrote: The sum of evil, Pascal remarked, would be much diminished if men could only learn to sit quietly in their rooms.
I'm reminded of this whenever I find myself unfortunate enough to be listening to Radio 1 and its generally execrable playlist. I do concede that it is refreshingly modern in its refusal to adhere to jaded music orthodoxy such as phrasing and singing in tune, but really, to call it "spectacularly bad" would be a compliment. If these artists had stayed in their rooms then the planet would be an altogether more pacific place to live.
There is, happily, an antidote to this trash, and it's made by a band from the other side of the planet. Their debut album is full of original and mesmerising songs and is responsible for multiple eargasms! The world should get ready to be enchanted by the sublime Medollic.
Medollic is a trio from Australia and features the talents of James North, Lix Bacskay and Steve Pope. Lix is originally from the Land of the Long White Cloud (a.k.a. New Zealand), and in 2007 she moved to Brisbane where she, James and Steve began writing, arranging and recording what would become their critically acclaimed debut album Dollhouse.
Everything about this record is pure quality. The songs, the instrumentation, the vocals (Lix has a voice that will melt your cares away!), the lyrics, the melodies, the production... all are exquisite. It's rare for any album, let alone a debut, to be this good. The ten tracks will burrow deep into your brain, leaving you feeling all warm and fuzzy. I adore all the songs, but if I had to choose my personal favourite it would be the majestic King of Queens - a genuine masterpiece in an audio gallery filled with pure delights.
The album was mastered at Independent Mastering in Nashville. On first play it may sound quieter than a lot of modern recordings. There are bands who want their CD to sound as loud as possible to the initial listen, but this comes at a price. The genuinely loud parts will then have to be heavily compressed, and will sound squashed and lacking in punch and space. Not so with Dollhouse - it was mastered at an overall lower volume, which allows more drums, more guitars, more bass, more vocals to expand within the same space. You will immediately appreciate the difference - this album sounds immense.
Dollhouse is an astonishing achievement, and one that deserves to be heard by a global audience. A massive 'album of the year' contender, the bar has definitely been raised. Check out the band's official website at medollic.com or visit them on Twitter and say "hi"!
Medollic – Sonicbids' Indie Pick of the Week
Interview by Marya McLaughlin (Sonicbids.com) Dec 2010
Intelligent and innately listenable, Medollic have been gaining a loyal following worldwide since their first shows in 2007. Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, the trio of Lix Bacskay (vocals, guitar, backing vocals), James North (percussion, keys, guitar, bass, backing vocals) and Steve Pope (drums, backing vocals) bonded over their tech savvy interests and love of intricate arrangements. With amazing performances at this year’s City Showcase NZ, a brand new album and a soon-to-be-announced 2011 tour, the band is poised to be the next big thing. We were able to chat with the group about their musical backgrounds, the social media promised land, and where they’re most excited to tour next.
When/How did you first start playing music?
Lix: At age 6 when my mother asked me if I wanted to have piano lessons, as she tells it, I replied “Don’t be silly, I already know how to play the piano!” I remember the feeling of utter dismay and frustration when I actually sat down in front of a piano and it wouldn’t bend to my will quite the way I had intended. It was quite a number of years later that I forgave the audacious piano; picked up a guitar of my own volition and I formed a magical and inseparable relationship.
James: I started the piano at about 5. My mum and her family were into the piano and I thought that only girls played it. It turns out I was very, very wron
Steve: I first started playing music in high school due to my friends starting a band and randomly selecting me as the drummer. I wanted to be part of the action and I thought it would be fun so I gave it a go.
What’s the best gig you ever played?
Lix: My favorite Medollic gig seems to always be the most recent one! We have such fantastic fans wherever we seem to travel that get so into what we’re doing that they’re just a blast to perform for! The buzz from that last show always sustains me until the excitement for the next one takes over. We just had a fantastic time over in New Zealand meeting our fans and playing some really fun shows.
James: I’d probably lean towards the first time the tunes we’d written in the studio were played on stage. We wrote and recorded the album prior to ever playing live – cool huh?
Steve: I think my favorite show was our first show where we got to bring the songs to life on stage for the first time. Seeing as the songs came together first in a recorded format it was great to perform them live and get the instant response from the audience.
You played at City Showcase NZ this year! What was your experience like?
Lix: It was such an honor to win the City Showcase NZ Sonicbids stipend. I’m a New Zealander so I always love going home, and our Kiwi fans are very special to us. The in-store performances we did were great fun. Just feeling the energy of the gathering crowd build as passersby were drawn in off the main street to listen. The organizers were fantastic people, and we made some great friends in some of the other acts, met a bunch of cool fans, and feel very privileged to have spent time with some industry greats there as well.
James: The folks at City Showcase were fantastic. It’s their first time out of the UK with the event and it went down really well in a small seaside town called Napier. We met a bunch of local fans that had come across us online and we were able to play for them and hang out, which was great. It was fun being part of the vibe in the city for those 4 or 5 days too.
How has social media effected the way you market/promote your music?
Lix: Social media has been the backbone of our music marketing campaign since Medollic’s conception. We’re facing an era of incredible opportunity in a developing global music scene with unparalleled artist control, but it’s no easy ride. Success via social media is the promised land for talented, business savvy and hardworking artists. It’s a huge time waster for those who go about it with less than 100% effort.
James: I think it’s the main focus of many bands and artists these days. It’s been integral to our promotion and marketing and has been successful for us. We work very hard on it though, so if bands are half-hearted about the way that they promote themselves then there’s no point using it. It’s cost effective and you can tailor it to your own needs, but it still has to be professionally done.
Steve: Social media is the main focus when it comes to promoting our music. It’s becoming increasingly difficult especially in Australia to get radio attention and support and without that it makes touring a very costly way to get your music out to people. Social media is one of the most cost effective ways to promote your band and get your music to people from all over the globe.
What’s your prediction for the next big advancement in how we find/listen to/share music?
Lix: Being a fairly nerdy trio, and involved with music as industry professionals as well as artists, it’s been fascinating to watch online trends in music accessibility and distribution change. FromMyspace to Facebook, Twitter to YouTube, ‘viral’ is the new black. I personally believe that audio-visual platforms like YouTube and synching through TV and film are the current formats with the greatest ignition potential for artists vying to be discovered. I’d predict that content rich platforms for music and video together will lead the way.
James: I think the main way we find music is still the same – through friends. It’ll always be like that whether it’s shared on the internet or with CDs or USB sticks full of mp3s. As far as taste-making and new music goes, I think radio is probably on the way out but it’ll be a slow decline.
Steve: I’m not that tech savvy, so no groundbreaking predictions from me. Obviously people are going to continue to find, listen to and share music online and I think that’s where the future of the music industry is. Artists, record companies and other mainstays in the industry are having to evolve fast to keep up.
What’s your next big gig coming up? When/Where?
Lix: I’m buzzing with excitement to get back to Japan! It’s one of my absolute favorite places, and those who have our album ‘Dollhouse’ will know the many Japanese lyrical references. We’re in the process of organizing our 2011 tour, so we can’t release any dates just yet, but our Japanese shows are definitely the gigs I’m most excited about at the moment. We’d of course love to make it up to London for City Showcase UK too!
James: I’m looking forward to returning to Japan and being able to spend some time there and present our music to our Japanese fans. It’s probably my favorite place on the planet and to be able to take Medollic back will be fantastic.
Medollic – Dollhouse
Review by Paige X Cho (Fasterlouder/MTV/Rolling Stone) Feb 2010
Brisbane trio Medollic’s first album Dollhouse reads like a book.
A Dollhouse is a curious cultural artefact – it is surprisingly telling of the surrounding world and the little girl who owns it. A daughter from a broken family may have a perfect nuclear family living in a house with a green lawn and white picket fence, or a girl with her head in the clouds may have the dollhouse of a celebrity. Dollhouses can reflect the deepest desires of the owner and unwittingly lay her soul bare, and Medollic’s Dollhouse is no different – delving into singer Lix Bacskay’s essence and spirit.
Dollhouse is the first album from the Brisbane-based band, and from the very first track Black Begins you can hear the beauty in Bacskay’s voice. Dollhouse takes a garden path approach to the trio’s catalogue of vocal-driven songs, with tracks like the incredibly hypnotic Human and the appeasing folk pop of Fable. The definite highlight of the album is the title track Dollhouse, with its catchy hooks and slightly eighties pop-rock sound going on. It’s definitely the heaviest track on the release – leading with electric guitars and smashing drums in the Medollic sea of folk rock songs. Another memorable song on the album is Kabuki, with its uber-catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head for hours.
With album peaks like Dollhouse and Kabuki, there are parts where the rest of the album lulls slightly. That’s not to say that the rest of the album is bland. While at times a little on the understated side, Dollhouse is a delicate piece of work. This isn’t your typical over-the-top rock album, with generic hooks, stock melodies, obnoxious drums or exaggerated vocals – quite the opposite, in fact. Despite the band marketing themselves as alternative rock, or as producer James North calls it “femininity in a rock box”, there’s a definite country vibe to Medollic. With singer and co-songwriter Bacskay growing up in rural New Zealand, and Dollhouse being mastered by Eric Conn (who has worked with Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks), it’s unsurprising that such influences do bleed over subtly but fortunately without turning the album into anything close to a country release.
Elusive melodies and sweet vocals means that Dollhouse is more like a book than a magazine – an album that must be listened as a whole rather than a manufactured vehicle for commercial hit singles, and the listener will fall more in love with Dollhouse as Bacskay and company hypnotise you with their melodies.
Step Into The Dollhouse With Medollic
Review by NimrodStreet.com, FL, USA March 2010
Today I am in pure bliss! Slept in on a great looking Saturday and sat outside drinking my homemade Verona coffee from Starbucks jamming out to a great new band I recently had the pleasure to meet named Medollic. Making you jealous yet? Well you will be once you get to know Medollic as I have gotten to know them.
A couple of days ago I was fortunate to notice a band was following me on Twitter and I was intrigued enough to visit their website medollic.com. My life has not been the same since! From the first strums on "Black Begins" I was hooked. It was as if my whole life I had been in a deep slumber and the power of Medollic finally woke me up. In midst the rush I experienced I was inclined to let them know how I was instantly addicted to their vibe. Little did I know, I would get a response and start going down a rabbit hole that would take me on an adventure that in honor of Tim Burton I will call , Nimrod God in Medollicland. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, Medollic front-woman Lix Bacskay along with bandmate and producer James North privileged me with a pre-release copy of Medollic's upcoming debut album "Dollhouse".
After first listen to their clean-cut sound, there was no doubt that Medollic, a band from Australia/New Zealand had mastered the equation that most musicians nowadays miss entirely. With strong vocals from Bacskay, along with North's extensive experience as a producer, and Steve Pope on drums the result is a blend of music that is both simple yet powerful, artistic yet edgy. "Dollhouse" being a carefully crafted album that artfully borders between Rock, Folk and Pop, "Medollic is one of those rare equations that’s as much about chemistry as it is mathematics." While comparing Medollic to any other better known bands would be injustice to the amazing work this band has produced, new Medollic fans will find an odd sense of familiarity. Think of their music as an old friend you never knew you had but once reunited you never want to let go. Personally I attribute this to the fact that Medollic is, to quote James, "the story of a bunch of experienced people who are great friends getting together to make a kick arse album". Well said!
IndieMediaMag.com Exclusive Interview with Medollic
Interview by Aldo Singer (Indie Media Mag, NYC) March 2010
It’s hard to find a female-led band that can give it to you rough like Courtney Love and Hole, or sing your ears off like Amy Lee from Evanescence, or even provide some pop like Gwen Stefani and No Doubt but chances are you haven’t stumbled across Medollic yet. I recently had the chance to catch up with the Australia based band to ask a few questions about their journey, how it started and where it’s taking them…
IMM: How’d your band come together?
Medollic: Medollic formed from a chapter of fortuitous events. James is a music producer who runs his own studio in Brisbane, Australia. In 2006, while visiting Brisbane from New Zealand, Lix sought out a recording studio to record a demo she’d been working on. The studio she happened to choose belonged to James. After recording that first song the pair discussed working together on a professional release. When Lix moved from New Zealand to Brisbane in 2007, James introduced her to friend and professional drummer, Steve. The three found instant chemistry in the studio and began work on what was to become Medollic’s debut album.
IMM: Why the name Medollic?
Medollic: It was a name that found us, not the other way around. It fell out of Lix’s mouth one day when she was attempting, in haste, to say ‘melodic.’ It charmed us with its eloquent punch in the face, it was an instant brand, one of those words that feels familiar even if you’ve never heard it before.
IMM: Comparisons are inevitable in music, who do you think you’ll draw comparisons to?
Medollic: We really have no idea, it’ll be interesting to find out.
IMM: How can social media help a band?
Medollic: Social media is double edged samuri sword of a phenomenon. You’ve got to be smart about how you use it, and which platform you use for what, and when. If you look at our website medollic.com you’ll see right from the homepage users can participate with the band on whichever social or industry network they choose, from Twitter to Blip.fm, Myspace to iLike, Facebook to Reverbnation and more. We try to stay aware of the trends happening in each network and shift our emphasis to where our fans want us at any given time. For bands, social networks can be an invaluable tool if you do your research, or they can be an inefficient waste of time if you’re not watching where you put your feet.
IMM: What’s the biggest struggle an unsigned band faces?Medollic: Whether or not it wants to be ’signed,’ and what that in fact means in the current musical climate. We’re in an industry that is changing at a rapid rate, evolution is a necessity. As a band you need to know what that means for you and know what you want to get out of any potential professional relationship. Gone are the days where you can expect to just be swept up and looked after by a mighty all-knowing label. If you’re still hanging on to that dream you need to change the way you’re playing the game, you need to make things happen.
IMM: What kind of message are you trying to deliver with your album Dollhouse?
Medollic: The quality of the songwriting, arrangements and lyrical content were paramount on this record. We wanted Dollhouse to be an album that takes you somewhere. It’s an open ended story book, rife with imagery, artistic twists, catchy rock hooks, delicate moments and a few hidden layers that we hope will take the listener on the kind of journey our favourite records have taken each of us. Where exactly it takes you depends on you and your own experiences.
IMM: Why did Dollhouse become the name of the album?
Medollic: It’s a little multi-faceted. Traditionally, a Dollhouse facilitates imagination, its doors open on unique worlds and memories. The word ‘Dollhouse’ itself also plays on the ‘doll’ in Medollic, as a simple reference to authorship – this is our house, our place, our show! But on that same note it’s also a little tongue-in-cheek – we’re no ‘dolls,’ there’s no plastic here, take a listen beneath the surface.
IMM: Any tour plans in the works?
Medollic: We’re working on it. We aim to head to Japan for the first leg of the Dollhouse tour, and we’ll be announcing further developments on the touring front at www.medollic.com
IMM: What can we expect in the future from Medollic?
Medollic: Take our current creative formula, add a penchant for pleasing our global fanbase, a little inevitable evolution and a lot of rock’n'roll. IMM: Where can people purchase your album? Medollic: Limited edition pre-release copies of the Dollhouse album are available at www.medollic.com in signed CD format and as a digital download. The album will also be available on iTunes in the not too distant future, and announcements regarding an official release schedule for the album will be posted at www.medollic.com
Critical Listening - The Cycle Begins Again
Article by Dennis Zasnicoff (Audicaocritica.com, Brazil) Feb 2010
...I confess that I am obsessed with the quality of audio listening. The War of the volumes is not a current problem, it is only now evident because it has reached an unprecedented degree of offense to the listener. When listeners complained about Death Magnetic (Metallica), it was a sign that bands and labels may begin to rethink the sound of their records. A band called "Medollic" has shown that pop music can also be dynamic despite the bulk of the market. I had never heard of them, but it turned fan, the beautiful initiative. I hope it sets an example for many others. For comparison, the volume of this record (Dollhouse) is similar to Back in Black (AC / DC), possibly the second best selling album in history. It's about time we were concerned with the music, with the sound, not the illusions of the market. Are we starting over this phase? Hopefully.