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Well it’s déjà vu again at the countdown for The Falls Festival at Erskine Falls, however I must say the rest of the festival went far beyond baseline standards. Sure, the usual festival difficulties were still lingering such as some alcohol choices being unavailable, entry and exit into the festival being disastrous and there was even talk about bouts of food poisoning amongst punters, but the stellar talent that was the line up for 2012 seems to overshadow these matters fairly easily. Boasting a decent dose of prominent international acts, home-grown favourites and a smorgasbord of genres, this year’s ‘The Falls’ will be one to remember (or at least for those who didn’t drink themselves to oblivion).

Day one consisted of setting up camp, dazing at the stunning scenery, mingling with the crew I’d be sharing three days of mayhem with and of course checking out the first round of acts. First off the ranks was Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes who are a sassy, nine-piece affair, complete with a trio of soulful backup singers and dancers, plenty of brass and one wickedly talented leading lady. Tales of untrustworthy ex-lovers come to the surface, but Clairy’s humorous storytelling makes for some serious musical and theatrical entertainment. After a lazy hour dabbling in the festival food cuisines, Missy Higgins truly proved she’s back in action with a few new tunes under her belt and a healthy head of newly-coloured blonde hair! During the set, we were graced with the presence of a rogue streaker, only to hear Missy turn her head in disgust and explain that she “doesn’t like seeing penis”. I guess some things aren’t changed as easily as the colour of our hair.

Rather chuffed at the standard of the first two acts, I was in hope that Beirut would up the ante once again. Indeed they did. Although not the most engaging group of musicians on stage and as a result the audience finding solace in sitting in the grass, ‘Postcards From Italy’ sounded brilliant and suited the mood to a tee. After the sun dawned and us three-day ticket holders started getting excited for the first night of Falls antics, DJ Yoda christened the stage with an incredible mix of tunes, audio snippets and vocal samples. It’s pop art in music and it was definitely a highlight for many. Although John Butler following such an upbeat act was an interesting move by organisers, the Australian god of roots music sure brought the goods. It was a raw, earthy set and boy was there a sweet, well-matched smell in the air.

Day two began with a perfectly sunny morning – just right for festival activities. For those who rose around midday, either the rockabilly-loving Lanie Lane or two-piece, indie Brisbane band and evident grammar Nazis, An Horse opened the day. Soon following was the brief comedic stylings of Josh Thomas who although is considered by many as a pesky, fair-haired blonde kid who fakes a Brit accent for no apparent reason, did make the crowd laugh a little more than a mere giggle. The muchly anticipated Grouplove served up a high energy set and pleased fans with crowd favourites ‘Colours’ and ‘Tongue-tied’ whilst dancing crazy-like and generally having a ball on stage. People soon were taken off shoulders when Metronomy delivered a relatively underwhelming set despite playing supposed hits ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘The Bay’. The most noteworthy thing of this set was the immense talent of the bassist and rather out-there attire of the female drummer, which was a bright gold, space-like, metallic jacket.

The day only ramped up from here with the much-loved The Jezabels gracing the stage and lead singer, Hayley Mary proving herself as a worthy front (wo)man. Their unique brand of what Wikipedia has accurately named as “intensindie” was received so well by the audience that one punter attempted to pull Hayley into the audience by her hair. A smooth recovery, a few tunes and a bask in the sun later, the brilliantly talented Fleet Foxes introduced the crowd to a new level of excellence at Falls. Lead singer Robin Pecknold’s vocals created shivers down the spines of many and mesmerized much of the crowd. I don’t doubt that the band now has at least a handful more fans after such a magical performance. Old-timer Tim Finn delivered the classic sing-a-longs before The Kooks showed the Falls Festival audience how it should be done. The well-loved songs such as ‘Seaside’, ‘She Moves In Her Own Way’ and ‘Sofa Song’ were scattered throughout the set along with just enough tracks from their most recent albums. Man of the moment, Luke Pritchard performed outstandingly and teased the crowd stupid while we slowly chanted “Naïve, Naïve, Naïve” in unison. Eventually the message got through and the final song was in fact ‘Naïve’, played identically to the record. It was the favourite act for many and for good reason. PNAU concluded my night of music with some dance tunes, but disappointingly, there were no people dressed up as strawberries to really own the stage.

Kim Churchill opened day three on the Grand Stage for those of us who appreciate the extra couple of hours of sleep. Tambourine on one foot, harmonica in mouth, fingers and hands rhythmically making love to his guitar, this guy knows how to jam. After being rather taken aback by the set I had just seen, I continued onto The Valley Stage for Triple J sweethearts, Alpine. A mellow, indie collection of tracks charmed the audience despite temperatures rising rapidly and many resorting to trying to find shade (emphasis on trying). However, this didn’t stop true fans of the band getting sweaty during the indie hit, ‘Villages’. Later on into the afternoon Arj Barker whipped out the harmonica for a hilarious musical number and warned onlookers that the world was actually ending that night and not the 12th December, 2012. Miles Kane was next up – a fellow I knew little about other than that he was touring with Arctic Monkeys. Pleasantly surprised, the British lad and supporting band rocked out hard with some screaming solos, intensely catchy melody lines and general good vibes. Seemed to me at this point that the British were making a decent impression on Falls 2012.

The Kiwi darling we have happily claimed as our own, Kimbra then owned the stage with some weird and wacky hand and bodily gestured but an incredible vocal spectacular. The only disappointment was that there was no unanticipated appearance by Gotye to perform the duo’s worldwide hit we all know too well ‘Somebody I Used To Know’ but her cover of Bobby Brown’s ‘Every Little Step’ was a crowd hit. Josh Pyke played much of his latest album and Young Blood by The Naked and Famous has been said to be the highlight of the entire festival. Then for the man who I think was born with music in his blood, Aloe Blacc who presented an unblemished show, spotlighting his ability to keep a crowd jiving. Many of his songs featured reggae influences, which his supporting band grooved to with gusto. After dollar coins had been thrown and dance-off winners had been crowned, the build up towards the New Year countdown began.

The Arctic Monkeys’ lead vocalist Alex Turner approached his mic with an Elvis-like prowl and a matching hairdo, then performed the lengthy set with ease. Although Turner didn’t necessarily bring the house down with his relatively withdrawn presence, the band itself kept beat impeccably – that is, until the countdown. That’s right, second year running, the countdown was missed. The band of the moment walked off stage two minutes before the crucial hour, only to return and explain they weren’t told they had to do a countdown. Well-done organisers. A half-assed countdown later, kisses were shared, hugs were thrown and the band went on with the show, following up the failed countdown with crowd-pleaser ‘Dancing Shoes’. First act into the New Year was the fiercely electronic duo, Crystal Castles who energised the crowd to no end with their bone-shattering bass and intense light show. This is when the party really felt underway.

So along with the good times, crazy dress ups, drunken antics, scorching heat and a few traipses through the world of weird and wacky at The Village, The Falls Festival’s display of top notch music, arts and entertainment served the entry into the New Year almost seamlessly and perhaps with a little more dignity and class than its competitor at Pyramid Rock. Let’s just hope that the past two years worth of countdown tragedy doesn’t make it to a third year running when leading us into 2013.

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A combination of Melbourne being a dynamic music hub and the slow disintegration of major record labels and their determination to take creative control into their own hands has led to many developing Melbourne-based artists and bands choosing to undertake their musical careers independently. However, it seems that even when artists choose to act as their own record labels, they will still, inevitably be dictated to by larger, music-related bodies and industry ideals. Carus Thompson is an independent blues and roots artist originally from Fremantle, Western Australia, currently residing in Melbourne and has experienced encounters with these external pressures first-hand. One of the main influencing bodies for local musicians is “national youth public radio network” (Eltham, 2003) Triple J who claim they “have a licence to support and ‘unearth’ new Australian contemporary music” (Eltham, 2003), however it seems the intention of this radio service has changed quite dramatically within the past five to seven years and this has consequently affected the careers of musicians such as Carus.

Carus Thompson is a “self confessed troubadour” (Unknown, 2010) who began playing music when he was twelve years old and began playing in front of audiences as soon as he was legally able to enter licensed premises at the age of eighteen. Since then, he has had over twenty years experience in independently touring, writing and recording and has developed a hugely dedicated following in Australia, Europe and North America. His music is quite a unique mixture of blues and roots, folk and reggae and is centred on simplistic guitar sections and the additions of double bass, fiddle, keyboards and other instruments when playing with his band ‘The True Believers’. Related artists within his genre include John Butler Trio, The Waifs and Paul Kelly. Carus’ lyrics are often sentimental and retell his own stories of heartbreak, longing, travel as well as more trivial happenings during his youth such as “selling pot to pay his rent” (Thompson, 2003). The diverse mixture of subject matter discussed in his lyrics means there is something for every fan to relate to.

Although Carus hasn’t had a substantial amount of mainstream radio airplay nor has he had a record label behind him to encourage larger numbers of fans through publicity, promotion and marketing, he still manages to fill the majority of his gigs, has sold over 30,000 records (Smith, 2011) and has a dedicated fan base throughout the world. It could be said that the reason for his independent success is a result of his image and his music appealing to a vast range of people.
For example, many males enjoy his music, perhaps because of his masculine, pub rock-influenced stage presence as well as the many females enjoying his music, perhaps of his heartfelt lyrics and handsome appearance. In addition to this, Carus’ encouragement for audience members to dance and be merry at his performances creates a sense of community, which may explain why many fans repeatedly come to his gigs. His larrikin personality and infallible confidence on stage are also aspects of his image, which may have attracted the huge numbers of fans he has had throughout the past decade.

The music industry model that Carus has adopted in his musical practice is that of an independent musician. Being an independent artist means having independence from major, commercial record labels and their subsidiaries and therefore having an autonomous, ‘Do-It-Yourself’ approach to recording, publishing and promoting. The majority of musicians are independent as it is a relatively rare occasion to be scouted and approached by a major record label. Carus believes being an independent artist means, “touring to get your music heard” (Williams, 2011) because it is “difficult to use the mainstream media of radio, print and television” (Williams, 2011) however other independent artists may place more of an emphasis on another part of the management process such as recording, promoting and publicity or distribution. In independent artists being able to control these aspects of their career, they are given more creative control over their music and image as a whole, as well as benefiting from a larger percentage of profits.

Although being signed to a record label means all these facets of creating, recording, producing and delivering an artist’s music is completed for them, there are some definitely negative impacts associated with being governed by one of these larger bodies. There are multiple types of record deals, which may be proposed when being initially approached by record labels. In particular, the most extreme of contract types is a ‘360’ or ‘equity’ deal (Byrne, 2004) which generally generates the most amount of income, however it is also the agreement which restricts the artist’s creative control to the highest extent. As David Byrne, an industry professional who has owned a label which became a subsidiary of Warner Music Group explains “as a general rule, as the cash comes in, creative control goes out”. In maintaining independence as a musician, the ability to develop your own image and music remains with the artist, however it seems that this is only true to a certain extent.

In being an independent artist, Carus and other artists who have made use of this industry model have an abundance of work to complete on a regular basis. However, a large part of this work is networking with other music industry officials in order to delegate small areas of work to other businesses. For example, in Australia, Carus is associated with Premier Artists who are booking agents and MGM Distribution who ensure their artists’ music can be purchased in the necessary avenues, both online and in physical form. Smaller businesses are also included in this process such as for printing posters, creating merchandise and attempting to service radio stations and press. Therefore the question must be posed – are independent musicians truly independent?

One of the main businesses which independent artists and bands rely on to make themselves recognised in a saturated industry is Triple J. The radio station was founded in 1975 and originally named ‘2JJ’ or ‘Double Jay’ (M E Skeel, 2010), had an early ambition to appeal to young audiences by playing music which was controversial in comparison to the music being played on other commercial stations. Censorship was a common restriction occurring on radio programs prior to 2JJ being founded with “any allusion to sex, drugs, immoral or illegal behaviour” (Nightingdale, 2010) being “bleeped or banned outright.” However 2JJ invited this controversy by playing restricted material and allowing local content to be played on their station. Since the initial development of this youth-orientated radio station and many years of success, criticism has erupted in relation to the station undermining its original purposes with one journalist suggesting that “JJJ has been turned into a mini-commercial station” (Zuel, 2003) due to centralised programming and “nurturing Triple J’s corporate identity rather than reflecting the community around it” (Eltham, 2003).

Carus is one of the many independent artists who have struggled as a result of the commercialization of Triple J due to the lack of other avenues for these artists to exploit and achieve the same exposure as Triple J offers. Although Carus sells records, promotes Australian music abroad, has attracted audiences through being featured on Triple J’s online charts and feature sections and has even been interviewed by Triple J presenters, his music still never reached rotation.
In asking Carus for his opinion of Triple J, he responded with a definitive comment stating “they’re ‘tastemakers’ who control and dictate what is successful in the market” (Williams, 2011) as well as assisting the commercial stations by filtering through the music which could potentially be successful in mainstream outlets. He further explains that he believes Triple J “should be more like a community radio station such as Triple R or PBS who play a broad cross section of music and provide a platform for hard working Australian musicians to get their music [heard]” (Williams, 2011). It could be determined that this was the original purpose of Triple J, however with the new focus on promoting bands who have already had a substantial amount of commercial success, independent acts such as Carus aren’t being put on rotation.

Triple J’s most recent answer to this accusation has been to create a separate ‘Unearthed’ radio station which only hosts ‘Unearthed’ artists, however even this resolution has caused some argument. After almost two months of the station being on air, listeners are finding that pre-existing Triple J artists are being deployed back to “unearthed” status. It could therefore be proposed that the subsidiary station has been created to allow for more space for commercial music to be played on the main Triple J station. In addition to this, it has been reported in the ABC Radio’s annual report in 2002 that sixty per cent of music played on Triple J is from international bands and artists with all subsequent years’ reports reflecting a similar pattern. One article appropriately titled “Triple J loves Aussie music, but loves ratings more” suggests that programs such as ‘Home and Hosed’ and the new Unearthed station are merely excuses for Triple J to maintain their supposed reputation as supporters of Australian music and up and coming, new music, despite much of the music being played on the station being neither Australian or from up and coming bands or artists.

Carus’ admits one of his albums entitled ‘Creature of Habit’, which was less produced than his most recent album ‘Caravan’, but fuller in sound than live album ‘Acoustic at the Norfolk’, was his “final stab at cracking the Triple J market” (Author Unknown, 2011). However, despite the album being carefully crafted to comply with Triple J standards, his music still didn’t receive any airplay. Accepting that Triple J was no longer an option as a vehicle to have his music played, he developed an album that focused on the music and how it sounded rather than constructing songs to fit a genre. Carus’ latest album had a “bigger production, with a full string section on some songs” (Author Unknown, 2011) and aimed to attract a wider audience than just Triple J and as he admitted “bigger than Australian audiences” (Author Unknown, 2011). If Triple J continues to ignore these hardworking, dedicated Australian artists who, if given the chance would only assist in making the station a more dynamic business, other local artists will use the technology available to them to produce their music and target offshore audiences and avoid the path of hope supposedly offered by Triple J. It’s obvious, then, that Triple J’s emphasis should revert back to Australian, home-grown talent without the screening and selection process that appear to be in place otherwise local talent will follow Carus’ lead and create music with the intention of promoting this material to overseas audiences. This way Australian music will continue to be exposed and developed, as well as Australia eventually being recognised as a major competitor with UK and US music. After all, as Carus explains “music is a numbers game” (Author Unknown, 2011) and there are vastly more people in Europe than there are in Australia to sell music to.

Carus is a true icon of Australian music who has worked independently to achieve the success he has on a national and international level. Like many Australian artists, he sought the support of the media that purport to buoy up local artists but was by-passed. However, despite his independent success, it seems the extra push he relies on from larger businesses such as Triple J to reach the next level in his career is still unavailable to him. This is one of many case studies, which illustrates that Triple J is undermining its original intentions of acting as a youth broadcast, devoted to providing a platform to “unearth” original Australian bands and artists. Despite their attempts to reinforce their commitment to these artists through the new ‘Unearthed’ station, it seems Triple J are still too preoccupied with achieving larger percentages of market share and ratings to truly assist the artists who deserve radio play.

In talking about Carus’ stage show – he loves to create a sense of community through his act. He does this primarily by encouraging everyone to have a drink, have a good time and not to be afraid to dance, however this is something he also enjoys doing to get everyone to stop for a second and listen to the music. Occasionally he will play one of his old time favourite tracks which most people know the lyrics too. It can be quite special at times.

I particularly like his answer to why Australian folk/roots/blues music is getting such a good reception overseas.

http://www.theaureview.com/interviews/carus-thompson

After some searching, I found one of Carus’ press releases. As an independent artist, this is something he would have to do himself whereas an artist with a label would have these sorts of promotional tools completed for them:

Born in Fremantle, Western Australia, independent acoustic artist Carus
Thompson began writing songs aged 12. By the time he was old enough
to play in bars he was making a living playing the Perth pub circuit. Twenty
years on Carus now calls Melbourne home and after 4 albums, 3 EP’s and
countless tours through Europe and Australia he’s built a hard won reputation
as a gifted songwriter whose music gains more fans every time he plays.
In performance Thompson never holds back, delivering his songs with an
energy, intensity and passion that confirms that although acoustic guitar he
plays – he’s definitely no wilted navel-gazing “look at his shoes and softly hum
strummer!”

The strength of Thompson’s solo performance has seen him tour in both Oz
and Europe opening for the likes of Dave Mathews, Damien Rice, The John
Butler Trio, Jack Johnson, The Waifs, Seth Lakeman and Pete Murray. In
the UK his two national tours with good mate, contemporary folk star Seth
Lakeman is what has gained him the most attention, ensuring that he’s busted
out of the mainly ex-pat audience circuit that most other Australian artists can
never quite shake. These successful tours also secured a distribution deal
with Proper Records.

It is in solo acoustic mode that Carus Thompson returns to the Europe in
February and March as he launches his brand new album CREATURE OF
HABIT. Recorded in Melbourne, the album was once again mixed in Nashville
by the in-demand Brad Jones (Jones also mixed Carus’ last release THREE
BOXES). Whilst previous albums, mostly recorded with backing band The
True Believers, have always captured Carus’ essence on some level, this
solo record reveals a cohesive and faithful vision of the intensity and emotion
inherent in his performance and songs.

This really is Carus Thompson finally realised as the singer-songwriter he’s
always been.

Catch Carus was he tours the UK launching CREATURE OF HABIT.

http://www.carus.com.au / / http://www.myspace.com/carusthompson

Contact: management@carus.com.au

An interesting interview in BEAT Magazine with Carus which gives a good insight as to how music occupies his whole life, his experiences overseas and the importance of travel in relation to his music.

http://www.beat.com.au/music/2011/04/14/carus-thompson/carus-carus-true-believers-carus-thompson-road

Thanks to having met Carus earlier in the year, I managed to get him to answer some questions. They were relatively difficult questions to answer, particularly because they relied on him to give his opinion on Music Industry issues and businesses, however it was quite insightful. Here it is below:

1. How would you describe the musical culture you’re part of? Nationally and internationally…

In Australia it’s the “roots” scene. Overseas it’s the “Folk” or “Singer-songwriter” scene. I prefer the way it’s described overseas as I think it’s a better interpretation of what I do, but in the end it’s only names.

2. What does it mean to you to be an independent artist?
It means that you have to tour to get your music heard. It’s very hard to use the mainstream media of radio, print and TV etc. There are the lucky stories but for most of us it just means working your arse off and winning over your fan base one by one, in small gigs from cafes to bars, to house concerts… where ever. Though I do think you end up with a really loyal audience.

3. Have you had offers from labels to sign you? If so, what was it that made you turn these opportunities down?
I’ve never had offers. Labels seem to want to have something that is ready made and already has a PR spin working or a vibe happening. They don’t seem to want to build something.. or at least not with me. I would be very interested in a label as I know how hard it is to get the tracking you need as an independent artist. There’s a weight that comes with being signed to a major label. It opens doors and creates opportunities. As an independent artist you just have to get in line with the twenty other million independent artists.

4. Was it always an ambition from a young age to maintain your independence as a musician?

No not at all. It just worked out this way. I have not made a conscious decision to be independent. I just have never had the offers. Though I have made a conscious decision to not sit around waiting for a label to knock on my door. I made the decision to do it myself. If someone comes knocking I’d be keen. But I think those days are past… or if they do come knocking it’ll only be at the point when I don’t need them anyway.

5. I think you’re the hardest damn working Australian musician I know – however, even though you’ve done everything right by aligning yourself with other roots, acoustic and blues orientated musicians such as Xavier Rudd, Jack Johnson and John Butler Trio, as well as with industry professionals and have developed a massive following, in my opinion you still don’t have the same commercial hype that these artists do. Do you aspire to have the same “commercial hype” and is the only way this would be achieved be by signing a contract with a label?

This stuff only comes by signing to a label. In fact John Butler is signed to a major label overseas,, though he is independent in Australia. I’ve never had the machine behind me. It’s just been me, I’ve never had a manager or a big agency, what you see is what you get. If I’d had more help I’m sure I could have had a lot more success. But I’m past that point of worrying about that now. I think you can see exactly the difference between someone doing it small time off their own back like me and someone with the backing of a major label. Pete Murray and I both started at the same time. Pete has definitely written some great pop hits, though I’m sure that some of my songs could have been pretty successful given a chance. Pete’s had deserved success and worked his arse off too. But Sony can really give things a kick along!

6 The latest album in particular, ‘Caravan’ has a strong studio sound in comparison to previous releases – did you ever feel as if this was going against your musical roots, particularly considering Live at The Norfolk is still such a popular release?

Not at all. I don’t like Live albums myself, I can’t listen to Norfolk as it’s too much like a gig for me, though  people really love it. As a recording artist you want to make real “records” and to me that’s studio albums. But of course people will like what they like and a lot of my fans prefer my live stuff. But you can’t please everyone and you can only be true to what you feel. But the CLASSIC albums that have stood the test of time are all studio records. This is what making albums is albeit.

7. Have you ever felt obliged to conform to Australian and International music standards in terms of sound and overall appeal?

Not at all.. I just make the music I want to make.

8. In your eyes, what role does Triple J play in the Australian music market?

They control and dictate what is successful in the market. If something is flogged on Triple J then the commercial stations will pick it up and get behind it. Look at Mumford and Sons. So they see themselves as taste makers, but you play anything often enough and people will love it. I would prefer to see Triple J playing more variety and giving more artist exposure.

9. Are Triple J perhaps becoming too commercial for their original purposes of finding new, unsigned, raw Australian music? How has this changed from your early days as a musician?

Triple J create people. The make an act. Then that act goes on to get played on a commercial station, cross over in the mainstream and not need Triple J’s support anymore. What’s the point of that! Triple J are just sorting through the acts and making it easier for the commercial stations to pick whats going to be a hit. Triple J should be more like  a community radio station like Triple R or PBS – playing a broad cross section of music, and providing a platform for us hard woking Australian musicians to get our music out there. I pull people to shows all over the country, I have a loyal fan base around Australia, but do I get a look in at Triple J? They’re too busy playing the new Foo Fighters album, or Mumford and Songs. These bands don’t need Triple J’s help. they’re already there.

10. Is there still a pub rock scene in Australia? Is it still a vital arena for finding and developing new talent?

There is still a great live music scene in Australia, and its still a great place for talent to develop and build a crowd. It would also be a great place for labels to find talent but they don’t seem to place any importance of the ability of a band to put on a good show. The punters still know that it matters though. Hence I have a career!

Grow to Overthrow is one of my favourite tracks by Carus – this particular video was filmed at 12 Bar Club on a trip to London in 2009. It’s one of Carus’ more uptempo songs and incorporates what he likes to call “reggae skank”. A few things which makes this a true Carus performance:

– Vocal improvisation is one of Carus’ trademarks. He uses his voice not only to add another layer to the song, but also as another means of entertainment for the audience. Throughout the ‘Acoustic at the Norfolk’ album, you can hear him imitate a kookaburra and really experiment with his improvisational skills.

– Bringing a truly Australian performance to international stages. He looks like an Australian (fair hair, tanned skin, blue eyes etc), he sounds like an Australian with a very ‘occa’ accent and acts in a very free-spirited manner on stage which I believe reflects Australians’ easy going nature.

– Attractive to all audiences: even changes the lyrics from being ‘No way Mr John Howard’ in the Australian versions to ‘Do you have a Pound?’ which is one example of Carus adapting his music to a specific audience.

– Stage presence: he isn’t afraid to dance like a fool in front of hundreds of people. Usually during a good set he will play the guitar behind his head for an extended period of time, he will encourage everyone to get involved by dancing, clapping, calling and responding etc.

Songs from Martin St

Live at the Norfolk

Three Boxes

Long Nights are Gone

Creature of Habit

Caravan

Carus Thompson is a solo artist who plays a mixture of acoustic, roots and Australian reggae and is originally from Fremantle but currently lives in Rosebud, Victoria.He began playing music when he was only 12 years old and began gigging as soon he was legally able to at the age of 18. Since then, he has had over 20 years experience  in independently touring, writing and recording and has developed a hugely dedicated and large following in both Australia and in Europe and North America.

His music is quite a unique mixture of country, blues and roots, folk and pop. Carus’ lyrics are often sentimental and retell his own stories of heartbreak, longing, travel and more trivial happenings during his youth such as “selling pot to pay his rent”. I believe he has gathered such a dedicated following because his music although stays true to the traditional pub rock scene, it also has a softer, more serious side and because of Carus’ naturally entertaining and sometimes outgoing stage presence.

He has been a highly influential artist in my own life in terms of learning about the Australian music scene and in understanding how artists can still “make it” without having a mainstream, commercial following. In completing this assignment based around Carus’ musical experiences, I hope to explore the ideas of:

– Independent artists feeling the need to conform to industry standards in terms of sound and appeal, at a certain point during their career.

– Disappearance and redundancy of pub rock

– Challenges surrounding being an independent artist in Australia who doesn’t necessarily fit in with the rest of the upcoming musical artists in similar genres in Australia.

Fortunately, I met Carus several years ago and he is always happy to answer emails and questions. Therefore I plan on conducting a small interview with him and actively involving him with this assignment.