Friday, November 28, 2014

The Horns

A diverse mix or indie and rock, Daniel J.C. and Roy Amar, The Horns are an exciting new Melbourne offering.

Metalhead, multi-instrumentalist Amar and Electro/Rock 'n' Roll vocalist Daniel, mightn't seem like the right fit, but give it a listen and you'll see why opposites attract. It definitely works.

The Horns started as a playful joke and an indie-loving girlfriend in need of a break from metal, but it's grown to be amazing in its own right.

With their debut single having just been released and their debut EP looking very strong, it's about time you became acquainted with The Horns, don't you think?

Mahalia: Play With Fire is your single, what's the process been like for you guys?
Daniel: It's been amazing and unlike anything we've done before. We started this project with the overall goal to really perfect the recorded songs before anything else, which is sort of backwards to how we've done it in the past. It's always been write some songs, play some shows, record said songs so by the time your product is out there, your first impression has kind of been lost and you can become jaded by the project before you've even released a thing. This way, above all else, we've really worked on the recorded material and I think it really shows in the music.

 M: So it sounds like The Horns became a thing in quite an unusual way. Can you tell us about this?
D: Yeah, absolutely. I guess it came out of a need to try something completely new. Roy loves his metal [music] and I'm into all things electronic so we have never actually written pop music before, which I think is our biggest asset. It's still all so new to us and super exciting. The whole thing, funnily enough, started out as a bit of a joke. Roy, who had only ever written hard rock and metal songs, thought it would be funny to write a happy pop tune for his girlfriend, so he did. Unfortunately she loved it and wanted more so he kept going it all kinda spiralled from there.

M: How would you describe the music that you're making now?
D: It's always incredibly hard to describe the music you make but I'd say, it's pop music with a bit more substance I guess. I've always been really inspired by the darker, more sombre sides of life too so there is more than a little melancholy hidden beneath the romanticism and happiness of the songs.

M: Where are you hoping to go with this new project?
D: Everywhere! Roy and I have been making music for most of our lives and it's kind of all we know so if we can find a big enough audience to us support that, nothing would make us happier.

M: You've got an EP coming out in 2015, can you give any hints about what we can expect?
D:  Big pop tunes with a lot of layers. It's also a perfect representation of everything that we are. We got one of the first songs we ever wrote on there and also have a track that we wrote on the fly in the studio, so I guess it captures where we were and the very beginning and where we are headed.

M: Who are you currently listening to?
D: We are launching our debut single, Play With Fire at The Railway Hotel, Brunswick, on the 5th of December so I'm essentially just listening to our own music and getting a few brand new tracks ready for the show. Although my girlfriend just bought me Nick Caves' second record, The Firstborn Is Dead, on vinyl so [I've] definitely been giving that a good listen.

M: How would you describe the dynamics in your duo?
D: It's actually pretty ridiculous. Roy and I are very close friends but we're opposites in every sense of the word and in absolutely every way. Somehow though, when it comes to creating music, we just click. We are kind of like the ethnic version of the odd couple but hey, it works!

Keep in touch: &

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ryan O'Neal // Sleeping At Last

I am going to be honest with you, I am NOT a Twilight fan - not really. I devoured the books (but honestly there isn't many that I don't) but the movies never captured me the way they did the masses. I am not a Twihard.

But the soundtrack, that I am willing to admit my love for.

Ryan O'Neal scored (pun not intended, but yep..) the gig of the highly anticipated and oh-so-important wedding scene. Not a bad job really.

And the very talented O'Neal has continued strongly since then, with a so many yet-to-be-announced projects. He was a pleasure, as is his music.

Mahalia: So it was a few years okay but can you tell me a little about how the chance to be on Twilight's soundtrack came about? How did that process work?
Ryan: I've always been a huge fan of the Twilight soundtracks, so about a year before Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 came out, I decided to take a chance and try to write a song for the film. I watched all of the previous Twilight films back to back...and read a bit of the Breaking dawn book to see how the story was going. So I began to write...after sitting down at the piano for a while, I came up with the first few chords of what became Turning Page  and to me, it felt like a wedding march. I leaned into that and wrote a love song.  I completed my song and recording and sent it over to my publishers and crossed my fingers that somehow it'd make it into the hands of the filmmakers. After several months of silence I had assumed it was a no go. And then I got a phone call from the [Twilight] music supervisor [saying] she had good news - that my song would not only appear in the iconic wedding scene, but that it would be reprised in the honeymoon scene as well. I was completely blown away! Life changing for me!

M: What've you been up to of late?
R: I've been working on the nest phase of my music series, Atlas - which is an ongoing series of new music inspired by the origins of the universe and the life inside it. I completed the first year of the project, 30 songs, and am about to begin year two! In addition to that, I started a new company called, Emphasis. It's a website where music fans [get] to hand-pick their favourite lyrics from their favourite bands and make a custom t-shirt. A dream come true for me, as it was an idea I had long ago - so to finally see it turned into a real thing has been so fun!

M: How would you describe your music to someone who hadn't heard it before?
R: I'd say it's generally quiet music...lots of acoustic and orchestral instruments. I love film scores, so there's a lot of that influence there and I love pop song structure, so that's in there too! It's a little bit folk as well.

M: If you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would you perform?
R: There are SO many places I have yet to play and see!! I'd love to play a show in Iceland. And Paris...
M: What does a day in your life look like at the moment?
R: I wake up, spend a little time with my wife, Cayt and new baby girl, Lily. Then I begin work, which is different every day! If I'm writing, it means sitting at my piano in my studio and working on lyrics or melodies for the new song I'm writing and recording. Other days it's music "business" planning out the months ahead with my manager, or preparing announcements, blog posts, etc. Or sorting out new merch. It's always a little different, but every day I try to write a little bit. That's my anchor.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
R: Continuing on with Atlas: Year Two (which will be about 24 new songs!), I'll be writing a film score for an upcoming documentary and I've got a whole bunch of other plans I can't announce yet! Can't wait!

Make a shirt: EMPHASIS 

O F F I C I A L S I T E :

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ella Hooper

You might know her from the newest version of ABC's Spicks & Specks but Ella Hooper isn't just any TV captain, she's a mega-talented 90's inspired pop songstress in her own right.

On the brink of launching her first solo album ( Hooper is originally from Killing Heidi fame), Ella is preparing herself for what's to come.

A new direction and a new record (although I promise she's a lot more fun than the album might hint at) Ella Hooper is a name you should get familiar with.

Mahalia: Well first off congrats on your upcoming album In Tongues, it sounds incredible! What has the process been like for you doing a solo album?
Ella: Going solo was a long and complicated decision for me to make, and the recording process of the album mirrors that. It's taken an age but I've learned so so much, and now I see that these lessons have been invaluable.
There's been way more work and responsibility - but the rewards are amazing. I feel much more connected to the entire album, artwork, mixing track selection and feels good.

M: Do you have a favourite song off the album?
E:  Ooh that's hard! I'm proud of them all for different reasons...but Everything Was A Sign is a big ass ballad that holds a special place in my heart and seems to kick everyone right in the soft bits every time, so probably that one.

M: I've been saving this question for someone super cool! How do you choose the titles of your songs? Is this a part of your song writing or does it happen later?
E: Good question! I LOVE naming songs.
It used to be an after thought but now I see it as a real art. I often start with the title and if it's strong it can inform and direct the whole song. Lots of great song writers I know say it's a really important part of writing.
Plus you want to feel cool intro-ing the song live.

M: If you could play a show tomorrow, where would it be and who would be in the audience?
E: I'd like to play a lush over-grown Roman ruin type amphitheatre, lit with fairy lights, incorporating a 360 wine bar, to people, fairies, nymphs and satyrs sitting on tiered seating and pillows on the ground. A bit of a Midsummer Nights Dream fantasy gig, because why not?!

M: Who are you currently listening to?
E: I've been obsessed with Harry Belafonte for a couple of years now, but also the new Laura Jean record, Australia, is great, and Jack Ladders' new album Playmates is incredible. Also Tyrannamen are rocking my socks. I like to mix it up.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'd call it sassy, spiky, heart felt, dark pop. 90s ethos with a 70s swagger. Apocapop.

M: How would you describe yourself?
E: I'm not as dark as my recent music. I think I'm actually pretty fun and funny, but I might be wrong about that last bit as most laughs I get are usually unintentional?!
But I don't mind.
I'm passionate. Enthusiastic. Hard working. If I like the job.

M: What are you hoping for In Tongues?
E:  Simply to start on the road to redefining myself as an artist (no biggie!) and to perhaps reach new listeners who might like this new stuff. I'd love to be able to grow people's understanding of me, musically. But it's hard. There's a lot of water under the bridge.

M: Do you have any hidden talents? Care to reveal one to us?
E: I'm very flexible? I have double jointed thumbs. Also, I was into 'twerking' way before it was cool, and then heinously uncool, as I used to study belly dancing and shaking your ass (and other bits) is a part of that discipline.

Visit Ella's Facebook ::

+ buy In Tongues! or

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Timothy Nelson & The Infidels

 I have rewritten this intro so many times, but really what can I say about the crazily talented Timothy Nelson & The Infidels.

Not one for playing by the rules, the band's music is loosely described as pop, and at best a kaleidoscope of cool.

It mightn't fit into a genre, but TM&TI have already found themselves a permanent position on my summer playlist.

Mahalia: So first up, can you tell me a bit about where the name Timothy Nelson & The Infidels came from?
Timothy: My parents are responsible for the first half, so you'd have to take that up with them. I took Infidels from a Bob Dylan album 'cause I liked the sound of it. The Infidelity aspect of the name fits in a way because we all play in about [a] million other bands.

M: Do you have a favourite song from your new album Terror Terror, Hide It Hide It?
T: My favourite at the moment is Do U Need It, the chords are a bit jazzy and it turns into a bit of a space jam towards the end. I realize I just made it sound terrible...go listen for yourself. I dig it.

M: You guys don't stick to just one genre, has there one that you've really enjoyed?
T: I don't really care for genres, it the songs are good then I'm into it. The same goes for writing and it does for what I listen to. I see us as a pop band because we basically make pop songs, but we don't have a specific set of rules as to how we arrange them.

M: Where are you hoping to go genre-wise next?T: I just want to write the best songs I can and the way they come out in the studio will be forever influenced by whatever trip I, and the band, are on. A bastardized version of my favourite records and theirs.

M: How does your writing process work? Especially considering that you aren't confined to a single genre?
T: Some songs just fall out of the sky, others take years. It can start anywhere really, be it a lyric or a some chords or just a short melody. The process of writing songs I find is so messy it's crazy to even call it a process.

M: What's coming up for the band in 2015?
T: We're going to keep playing shows far [and] wide, and always working on new material.

M: Do you guys believe in New Year's resolutions? If so are you planning any for Timothy Nelson & The Infidels?
T: I think the general consensus is to get less fit, take up smoking and spend more money when possible.

M: What's your personal favourite style of music to listen to?
T: Hits.

M: Current favourite song?
T: Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

S a y H e l l o ! or

Friday, November 14, 2014

Better than Perfect by Simone Elkeles

Title: Better than Perfect
Author: Simone Elkeles
Source: Bloomsbury Publishing for review
Buy it here: The Book Depository

Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!

Derek has a perfect body, the sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. 

As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild? 

I'm going to be honest: I thought I wasn't going to like this book. But man, am I glad I stuck with it! I suppose even if it had been awful it only took me a day to read, so I wouldn't have been with it for long! Actually though, I really enjoyed Better than Perfect. It was cute and had just the right amount of romance-verse-other-plot-lines to be interesting, and obviously kept me reading till the very end.

The use of alternating perspectives between the two main characters (Derek and Ashtyn) was really effective here; although I have read many books where this type of writing falls flat and is just confusing. I felt that it added so much to this book. I definitely wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if it was from a solo point of view.

Having said that, I did get frustrated with Derek a fair few times throughout this book. He changed his mind so often that it made my head spin, but he grew on me throughout the book. By the end he had almost completely redeemed himself!

Ashtyn was a rock. She was one cool girl and I think so many teenagers could learn from her. I really admired her for working so hard for the things she wanted and for never backing down from a challenge. All these obstacles kept being thrown her way but she was never bitter and she ended up on top. I read a thing somewhere that talked about people who were just themselves and didn't really worry too much about fitting in to the 'right' group; Ashtyn was the embodiment of this. I really admire her.

Better than Perfect was such a surprise for me. It does cover some themes that probably aren't suitable for young readers. Aside from this I would recommend it to anyone really that just wanted a light book; this one doesn't require too much on the readers' part. Oh and obviously they've got to like romance. It was a cute book and I'm kicking myself for judging it in the beginning.

PS - This book smelt incredible. Kudos to Bloomsbury!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Greenlife Online

Alpha Beige WeWood Watch
When I received a package in the mail from Greenlife Online, it was basically like Christmas had come early. And I wasn't disappointed when I opened it!

From the word go it's obvious how important the environment is to this company.
"All [the] products I sell have to have a clear eco-friendly or sustainable aspect to them. I also try and source products from companies that do extra to help the environment," says owner Matthew Devitt.
Hayburn Mahogany Proof Sunglasses
I took both the watch and sunglasses with me to lots of different places, mainly because I knew they were so unique. Both the watch and sunglasses were a big hit with everyone who saw them. And they might look fragile when you see them, but they're definitely sturdy enough to be passed around.

The entire package weighed less than half a kilogram. I was surprised at just how light a wooden watch and glasses could be!

The watch - shown in Alpha Beige - was super chunky; in fact I think it's the biggest in the Italian designed range. Even so, it was incredibley light and comfortable to wear. Unfortunately the sample was too big for my wrist so I couldn't wear it all day, but it appears that some links could be removed to adjust the size. And bonus points to WeWood Watches for planting a tree for each watch sold!!

I'm a glasses wearer almost always, and unlike most people I really like this! So for me to happily replace them with sunglasses is kind of unusual. But that's how much I loved "Hayburn" in Mahogany sunnies. 

They were super light on my face, but not fragile at all. I never felt worried about the glasses breaking or falling off as they fit perfectly on my face.

And as well as being a great fashion asset they actually work at protecting your eyes from the sun! Which is a total underrated feature on most sunglasses I've ever owned..
I seriously loved both of these products and have been recommending them to anyone that will listen! I'm really sad to be sending them back. But I can't wait to see someone else love them as much as I did.

So aside from the products what sets Greenlife Online apart? "I think I don't just talk the talk, but also walk the walk." I agree with Matthew's statement wholeheartedly!

BIG thanks to for loaning me their products to have a play with!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Killing Richard Dawson by Robin Baker

Title: Killing Richard Dawson
Author: Robin Baker
Source: Pantera Press for review
Buy it here:  Amazon, iTunes, or any good bookstore!

"The phone rings. It's Jesus. I listen to him speak and then hang up..."

In this darkly comic, slow-burn thriller, reality is blurred...nothing can be taken for granted.

A gripping and poignant black comedy about love, friendship, booze, morality, death...and a generation's causal dissatisfaction with modern life. Sometimes, redemption lies in the darkest of places.

"You don't need to die to destroy yourself."

I loved this book from the first page. Actually before that. The author's bio in the back intrigued me so much that this had to be my first review book. Call me crazy maybe, but at least I didn't judge by the cover!

I loved the style of this book, you really felt like the story was happening around - and to - you. Which is always a huge positive for me. I felt that the author had done a great job of making realistic characters who actually act the supposed age! A huge turn-off for me when reading is if a character is too forced or just seems out of place, and this definitely didn't happen!

It's really hard to say too much about the protagonist without giving away a MAJOR plot point. I loved him and hated him in equal parts. For everything good he did, his lust for the character Jade annoyed me. I wasn't in support of that at all! Although Jade too wasn't off the hook in my eyes, I got really angry at the way she handled the events in the book; but even they were probably quite realistic reactions for many people. They certainly made for an interesting read.

The dynamics within the friendship group were a major point in the plot and the more strained they got, the better the book was to read! Everyone had their own part to play in the story and I still am wondering what happened to the few characters I felt didn't get a tidy ending.

Towards the middle of this book I nearly stopped ready, as it touches on some pretty hard subjects. As the title would suggest, murder, as well as drugs, eating disorders and some mild violence. I wouldn't recommend this book to a young reader or anyone who might find these topics too confronting.

All in all I really enjoyed this book! The ending left me so many questions, it was a bit like being hit in the chest actually. I enjoyed living in the world of Killing Richard Dawson for a few days. I hadn't read anything by Robin Baker before but I am going in search of his other book as soon as I can. I would recommend this to anybody who likes coming of age stories or crime/psych thrillers.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


BEATZ is a powerhouse of music, sass and coloured Doc Martens. Meet Elishia, Brooke and Tayla.

After an unsuccessful attempt onto 2014 X Factor Australia, these girls are even more determined to make it big. And they're doing it their way.

Proving that stereotypes are nothing, BEATZ have smashed the teenage airhead image out of the park and are proving that girl groups are here for a reason.

BEATZ are definitely dancing to their own drum.

Mahalia: How long did it take BEATZ to decide to try out for X Factor?
BEATZ: Soon after we got together it was a pretty quick decision. We have all watched and love the show and [so we] thought 'why not!'.

M: Your audition was my personal favourite! How long did you rehearse for it?
B: Thanks so much! There [were] so many elements to our audition piece as you saw, from the singing, harmonizing and dancing choreography. So all up it took us about one month to perfect.

M: What have you been up to since your time on national TV?
B: Since X Factor we have been working on creating exciting YouTube covers, keeping active with our fans and performing as often as possible.

M: Why do you want to pursue music as a group?
B: As a group our personal strengths come together and create something special. Being so close as friends off the stage also allows us to easily connect on stage, making our performances enjoyable for both us and the audience. Constantly being surrounded by determined people keeps us motivated and excited for the future together.

What's your dream for BEATZ? Where do you want to go with music?
B: We want to be writing our own music and touring the world with it. Hopefully [we will] get to collaborate with big names in America and inspire others like we have been inspired to follow our dreams and to not give up.

M: You're all still teenagers, how do you balance normal life and being musicians?
B: Actually recently Brooke and Elishia turned the big 20! So Tayla is actually the only teenager in the group. Each of our lives though are always pretty busy, so we make sure to plan our days so that we are getting the most out of everything.

M: What's the plan for 2015?
B: For 2015 we want to focus on writing our own music and then being able to tour with it overseas. We want to continue to inspire our fans and keep as active with them as possible, while expanding and sharing our music with as many people as possible.

B E A T Z are as lovely as they look! Find more here:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Banding with Buchanan

Alternative-indie is underrated. There I said. Finally.

Just have a listen to alt-indie group Buchanan and I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

After spending a year of collaborative song writing and acoustic gig playing in London and around Europe, frontman Josh Simons has brought Buchanan back to Australia with more music and a really exciting sound.

The new single Coming Down debuted at number 29 on the Music Week Pop Charts and has had air play throughout the United Kingdom and (just to mix it up) Ibiza. Because why not really?

So relax, you're going to want summer and a long afternoon for this one.

Mahalia: What was your inspiration for Coming Down?
Josh: The song came about when me and producer Simon Duffy were remixing a song for another producer. We started to pull all these really interesting sounds together and realised that it was probably wiser to onto them for ourselves than to give them away on a remix. The actual song poured out in about five minutes that same afternoon and remained virtually unchanged from that day forward!

M: Have you always wanted to pursue music?
J: I think I was nine when I first played piano in front of an audience and it was televised. That was probably when I got the itch to perform, and to be honest it has never really weakened since then. So yes - it was always music I suppose. I'm a bit clumsy so I'm not sure I could find employment in a normal workplace - I'd probably be considered a hazard!

M: What are your favourite and least favourite things about being a musician?
J: My favourite thing in the world is seeing people connect with something I've written. It's the ultimate compliment and it always makes me feel incredibly warm inside. The worst part about being a musician? My frustratingly light wallet!

M: Who do you show your music to first? Whose opinion is most valuable to you?
J: I usually show a non-musician friend first to get and honest outsiders opinion. That is always the most valuable opinion in the early stages for me; a litmus test of sorts to see if you're on the right path with a new track or new sound. Mum usually gets a sneak peek before the rest of the world as well!

M: Who would you love to collaborate with?
J: Mike Dean or deadmau5.

M: Do you have anything coming up in 2015 that we should keep an eye out for?
J: We have a new album, and probably several singles between now and then. So plenty of things! I imagine we'll spend the summer finishing the album and then make plans to tour it from there. If you're a fan of Buchanan there's definitely lots in the pipeline and plenty on the way.

Have a listen to Coming Down!