Alotta Presha
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Alotta Presha

Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE

Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia | INDIE
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Having already mixed it with some top acts, including Katchafire, King Cannons, Saritah, King Tide, and currently recording an eagerly awaited EP, Alotta Presha are a force not to be ignored.

Ignore all that because that's what the guys themselves have said. You, dear reader, need to hear the truth from a more objective source: us!
Frieda's Boss has shared the stage with Wollongong-based reggae ambassadors three times in the last month and can honestly say that Alotta Presha is a force of nature. Armed to the teeth with a dizzying array of horn section arrangements that go way beyond mere riffs, a swirling mass of dreadlocks of various hues and a rhythm section that assaults the senses from every direction at once and exuding an exhuberance that suggests something more than the invigorating power of rum (not Bundaberg which is... something else!) Alotta Presha are the real thing.
Not conformed wholly to the purists' ideal of reggae as roots, one drop or even old school ska, the Alotta posse (careful) playfully dart from sub-genre to sub-genre displaying uncanny synchronicity as a seemingly unexpected series of stops herald a detour down funk boulevard towards Dub street. Clever without saying it out loud. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDt_Pkv-1XU
But better examples lurk on their reverbnation site, access it via their facebook page if that's easier, where you'll find great, cross-genre mind-grinders such as "Sound proof " and "Without words".
In short, this eight man army are more than doing their bit to promote reggae in and around NSW, well worth a look next time they are playing near you. Bo!
Frieda
Ed. Frieda's Boss will once again share the stage with Alotta Presha and Addison Road on Saturday, 21 January at the Lansdowne Hotel for the first in a series of Reggae Sessions in 2012. - Frieda's Boss


2011 saw Alotta Presha firmly establish themselves as one of the region’s finest bands. With this year barely two months old, the guys have played Stacked and Rainbow Serpent festival, been named FBI Radio’s band of the week, and reaffirmed their status in the top echelon of Wollongong music. The band will be taking a brief hiatus from playing live over the coming months, and as Justin and Liam reveal in a candid interview with Radar, they will be using the time to work on their next EP.
In this interview, the guys reveal details about the new EP, talk about the rollercoaster ride of 2011, and outline plans for where they’re going in 2012.
2011 was a big year for Alotta Presha. What were your highlights of last year?

Justin: Definitely a highlight was our EP launch. It was a pretty drawn out process and we were all getting a bit over it; then out of a disheartened state we threw the biggest freaken party, poor old Heritage, it was bursting. It was pretty overwhelming, definitely a milestone, and the whole D.I.Y. approach we took really was satisfying in retrospect. There was playing our first gig down at the Murrah Hall in Bermagui. Our mate Sez who was living down there organised the whole thing, assuring us it would go down a treat, and man, it was a beautiful time. Oh speaking of the south coast connection, getting into Foreshore by the complete fluke. One of the organisers was at a party in Mogo we played at to celebrate the mosaic created on the toilet block at Broulee by the esteemed Broulee Women’s Boardriders Club.
I guess starting to play in different places, like Sydney which was daunting, and it going down well. It was reassuring to know we didn’t just have cracking gigs in Wollongong because between the eight of us we have heaps of mates. Oh and playing our first Golf Club gig, getting my first mid song “Do you know any covers?!” followed by the helpful suggestion “Play some Bob Marley!” A year of firsts.

Liam: I’m not sure if you’d call this a highlight, but something positive to take from 2011 would be the band coming together, becoming committed to this joint project. With 8 members it’s difficult to get on the same page. I think you just have to get to the point where everyone agrees that we’re onto something and it’s worth it, and until then you’re just dragging it along waiting for the kick. 2011 brought a definite kick. It’s no longer just the unemployed members of the band who are interested.

You’ve kicked off 2012 with a bang as well; headlining Stacked Festival, playing Rainbow Serpent Festival and being named FBI Radio’s artist of the week. Gotta be happy with that, right?
Justin: Oh shit yeah, cannot stop the froth. Stacked was chocked with great bands, local and otherwise. I really hope it gathers steam because it was a wicked time, and great to check out some local acts that I hadn’t had the chance to before. Rainbow was amazing. You can safely say we headlined there. At the playground stage. At 12 o’clock. Being quite the festival whore in my fading youth playing at Rainbow, of all festivals was just a dream come true. Epic vibes, and we held our own down there too. We’re pretty excited at the prospect of more doors being opened to more mad adventures like that. FBi too, so stoked. Its feeling like we’re a real band. Definitely a cracking way to start a year. It’s spurred us on to put some hard yards in and try to get to most of this year while we’re on a roll.

You’re taking a bit of time off from the live circuit. Why so?
Justin: The usual write and record story, and also to kind of get on top of playing shows when we want to play them, as opposed to just taking everything that gets thrown our way. That’s not to sound arrogant, it’s so we can say, “This is record time lets put all our energy into it.” Then “This is gig time lets work out a corker set and put everything into that now.” Otherwise it all gets a bit stretched like last year. A band like us needs to manage our time because there’s so many of us with different commitments. Most of all we don’t want people to get bored of us.

So you’ll be working on your next EP in the time off. Where are you at in the process?
Justin: Yeah I think we’re pretty much ready to go, it’s essentially a catch up, we’re already playing new tracks that aren’t recorded and that are more indicative of where our sound is heading, so we want to get them down. Then move forward. We need a couple of sweet records to say “Ok cool, we’ve got something behind us, lets go smash up some shows and have a good time.” We haven’t started yet, we’ve only just kind of put it on the ‘next priority’ list.

What details can you give us on the EP?
Justin: I guess we’ll record ‘None The Less,’ ‘Phoenix,’ ‘Still Element,’ ‘No Problems.’ We’ll probably do it at studio 55 with Yani our drummer again. We’ll also likely get some outside ears involved too.

When can we expect the new EP to be released?
Justin: I reckon around May. But we’ll see. As long as we beat 8 months, unlike last time, otherwise people will get hurt.

What can we expect from the EP, in terms of sound? Anything new you want to try? Any other big plans or details you can tell us?
Justin: Shiza, I’m the wrong guy to ask, I can tell you to expect all the guitar parts not to be shit, because that’s what I’m focusing on. I guess we want to try and capture our live energy, because that’s kind of how we work, plus we want our recordings to stay pretty true to how our shows sound. That’s the hard balance I guess, the studio and mastering is a whole other world, we could just auto tune the shit out of it and try to make some pop hits fo’ the club. Or not. I think it’ll be fat, like your ears getting sensually penetrated by bass, I reckon some of the tracks will translate well into recordings. We’ll focus on the mastering more; give it the time it deserves.

Liam: I think the sound will be more mature. We’ve been playing together for a few years now and over that time our song writing process has changed. We seem to let our ideas ferment and grow. We’re more open minded to part with bits we personally may love but may not be working for the overall track. This is obvious in our most recent writing. There’ll be more space and less erratic change that arise from us becoming bored with a song. We’re happy to keep things simple. And that’s the essence of good groove music.
Recently we’ve not been shy to move away from reggae music, which has been like a security blanket, and delve into whatever’s spilling out naturally. This has been a big step in solidifying a sound that we can honestly call our own. We’re loving the heavy shit at the moment.

You’ve pretty much conquered Wollongong by now; will you be more firmly focused on Sydney, and beyond, for 2012?
Justin: Yeah definitely, more adventures. You put a fair bit on hold and put a lot of yourself in a band, so to be able to travel around, with 8 mates no less, and play shows, and maybe come back breaking even. That’s the dream. And of course we’ll plan some big shows for the Gong far enough apart so that they’re not boring.

Liam: Getting a secure place on the festival circuit is the big one. That’s where we see ourselves. And N.Z in 2012 would be pretty sweet.

What other plans for 2012? Anything else big coming up, or anything you’re hoping to do or accomplish?
Justin: Well we’ve just got Sean on board managing; he’s into us even more than we are and kicking some major goals straight off the bat. So already we’re thinking bigger than before. I guess big support slots, touring around, getting festivals, all that business. I just want to be able to play in any state and have the rocking shows and crew that we have here in Wollongong.
Speaking of next big things, our next Gong show is with The Herd at Wollongong Uni April the 5th. It’s another fundraiser for Rugby League Against Violence in PNG, which we were involved in late last year. Plug, plug, plug. I’m really stoked; I reckon I went to my first Herd show almost ten years ago. They’re Australian heroes to me, never compromising themselves or their art. It’s a blow out, should be good.

Liam: Pushing the sound through experimentation. Moving into something new, new direction, new tracks. Creating an epic Alotta Presha experience that is like no other. - Radar Illawarra


By the time I actually meet Justin McKinnon, guitarist from Wollongong’s eight-armed dub monster Alotta Presha it feels like we are already friends. After being connected by a mutual friend we have spent four days texting back and forth trying to find the time to meet in person and discuss the bands recently released EP and spate of touring along the east coast. I soon discover that friendship plays a big role in the existence of the band and it seems somewhat fitting that McKinnon has brought another friend of the band along for the interview.

Given the important role played by friendship, it has not taken the band long to develop a loyal local fan base; “Yeah, we’ve got the epic crew down here, every time we play it’s just like a big party with lots of mates, and there is eight of us so that’s definitely a bonus. I love playing here we’ve had some great times”

The band courageously bunkered down to self record and release their debut six song EP; “We recorded it at Yani our drummer’s house where we practice, so Yani and Jay did all the mixing and mastering”

“It was a drawn out process” adds Simon Tedder, saxophonist and part of the band’s three piece horn section who has also joined the conversation, with a smile.

“Yeah” McKinnon continues; “Because we had the luxury of doing it ourselves, we didn’t have the – ‘we’ve got to practice really hard because we’ve got to nail this in the studio’ pressure, so that made it a bit drawn out, but it was a learning curve for everyone too, it felt good in the end”



But the DIY ethic also extended to other aspects of the release, with the band and friends even taking charge of the screen printing and gluing of the covers for the release; “Yeah – we had a big workshop night, it was pretty fun, we got a big crew and it made it so damn rewarding”

“One of our friends did the artwork for us – a Dooligah, or ‘Dub Monster’ in our case” McKinnon adds; “It was originally a lino print which she’d carved and she was actually up the coast at Crescent (Head, on the mid north coast) on a safari, travelling in her kombi and while she’d already done the design she hadn’t refined it, and so she told us this story about how she was sitting on the headland at Crescent chipping away at it and then stamped it on a bit of paper and sent it down to us for the EP”

“And that’s another great thing we’ve got is a great network of friends who are really keen to contribute and help out – people are keen to contribute where they can, which is great because we can’t do everything”



While the EP has been a success and the band have begun considering a full length release, another recording is not their first priority; “I guess the next thing is to do an album, but we don’t want to rush into that. We’ve still got plenty of gigging to do, plenty of travelling” reasons McKinnon.

“While people in the gong might have heard our set a few times, we are keen to take it elsewhere where people haven’t heard it yet…We just want to play sweet gigs – sweet sweaty gigs and festivals” adds Tedder.

And with this in mind the band have started to stretch the limbs of the eight armed dub monster into other areas, making new friends along the way; “It’s more a string of shows, because we had just finished recording and that was a pretty lengthy process and so we just wanted to play shows for the rest of the year. We got a hook up to play in Sydney and that’s just opened a lot of new gigs for us so we didn’t want to bar any of them”

Tedder continues; “We have the product now to put out there and so we just want to get it to new ears, we feel like we’ve done the Wollongong thing…and we knocked back quite a few gigs while we were recording, so we were all really keen to get out there and start gigging”

“It’s tough though – there are so many good bands out there. We’ve had some really good gigs in rural areas where people don’t see bands that often, usually you get a great response. And then you got to Sydney and you have to compete with 1200 other bands that are playing that night”

“It’s so businessy too!” adds McKinnon shaking his head.

“Yeah” adds Tedder; “It’s not always a friendly experience gigging in Sydney”

But the band’s experiences in other areas could not be more different, with a small gig at a Boardriders party in Mogo on the South Coast opening the door to a spot on the bill of Canberra’s recent Foreshore Festival.

“Bermagui was clearly the stand out” says McKinnon,

“Yeah!” continues Tedder; reminiscing; “That was amazing! We played at this 100 year old hall, it was really historic, and there was a mad local crew and bonfires – it was a crankin’ party!”

“Yeah it was the most beautiful place, and everyone from the community was there” adds McKinnon “they’re always the best shows”

Regardless of where they play, it’s clear that Alotta Presha are having a good time doing what they do; “Oh yeah” says Tedder; “We have a ball on stage!”

“And that’s part of the big band thing too – there’s so many people to bounce off” McKinnon adds; “because for most bands if you play a small crowd it’s hard to get the energy going, but we can just turn to the side and get it from each other!”



And they’re also happy to pay back the favour, and this weekend sees them performing alongside True Vibenation, Sticky Fingers and Yardvark at a fundraiser they have helped organise for “Rugby League Against Violence” (RLAV) a non-government organisation recently established by – you guessed it – yet another friend of the band. The organisation seeks to use rugby league, the national sport of the football crazed Papua New Guinea, as a vehicle to help promote anti violence messages and change the nation’s appalling rates of sexual and domestic violence against women. The band then back up the following day with an appearance at the 11th anniversary of the Sandon Point Tent Embassy in Bulli.

You can start a friendship with Alotta Presha at “Sea Full of Beats” this Saturday 17th December alongside True Vibenation, Sticky Fingers,Yardvark and DJ’s at Splashes, Novotel Northbeach, entry via Blackett St. $10/$15 Supporters tickets available at the door, all proceeds go to RLAV - Helter Smelter


Discography

Alotta Presha EP - Alotta Presha
Tracks
1. Gallows
2. Without Words
3. Roadside Jungle
4. Formless
5. To Yield
6. Infinite Moment

Photos

Bio

Sixteen’armed grrroove beast ‘ALOTTA PRESHA’ is Wollongong’s very own dub/reggae juggernaut. Since forming in 2009, the band has evolved to develop a unique sound and is becoming renowned for its sweaty dance pits and big time party starting.

From their dub/reggae roots, the band keep expanding their sound more and furthermore, dynamically exploring a mix of styles and musical elements, to create a rhythmic fusion that is entirely their own. Driven by heavy basslines and rocksteady rhythms; the tracks convey powerful and poetic vocals that are lifted by blasting horns.

Alotta Presha continue to offer up the dangerous goods, be it locally or interstate and they are quickly becoming a highly sought after act. The band is also making its mark on the eminent Australian festival scene elating crowds at Rainbow Serpent, Foreshore Festival, Bondi LoveJam, Viva la Gong, and Wollombi Music Festival. Their groove-loaded performance has seen them playing alongside and supporting acts such as Katchafire, OKA, Gotye, Mount Mocha Kilimanjaro, Tijuana Cartel, Salt n Pepa, The Strides, King Cannons, Sticky Fingers and Kingtide.

The band just independently released their eagerly awaited EP with a launch that will surely become Wollongong folklore. Selling out an hour after doors opened, people piled over the fence until the poor old Heritage Hotel swelled far beyond capacity. The energy was amazing and on top of producing a lot of sweat and good times, one thousand four hundred dollars were raised for Oxfam’s East African Drought appeal.

With the grand support of all their friends, fans and loved ones, the crew will be following up their debut EP with more touring nationwide, as well as new music to be released later in the year. They have kicked off the new year NO.1 of Triple J‘s Unearthed Roots charts, while FBi Radio has dubbed them their unsigned artist of the week.

With the forecast predicting big heavy drops and a downpour of massive shows, ALOTTA PRESHA are a force not to be ignored.