Photo: Dillon Howl

She’s worked with heavy hitters including Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky and Flume — but now the Australian producer is doing for herself

This story was originally published in The Guardian.

Sunlight pours through the window of Laura Jane Lowther’s bedroom in Los Angeles, catching a gold record that hangs unassumingly in the corner. Recognising her input on 2015 hit Walk With Me from Australian duo Cosmo’s Midnight, the plaque seems like a lifetime ago for the Australian songwriter, producer and vocalist also known as Kučka (a moniker lifted from the Serbian slang for “bitch”).

In the time since that record came out, Lowther has become known as a prized collaborator who has featured on, written toplines for or been sampled by heavy…

Photos: Charlie Cummings for BRICK

Talking soul, faith and Billie Eilish with London’s multi-hyphenate music maverick

A condensed version of this interview was originally published in Brick №9

A bona fide son of a preacher man, North London drummer Femi Koleoso talks with such passion and poise that it often seems like he’s sermonising at his father’s Jubilee Church. If you’ve ever seen him onstage, you’ll know that’s not far from the truth; despite being the rhythmic spine of Ezra Collective, a quintet that piles jazz, hip-hop, afrobeat and Shanks & Bigfoot covers into a Nutribullet, the 25 year-old Koleoso devotes significant time to spreading gospel from behind his toms. …

An conversation about psychedelics, politics and policy

This piece was originally published in Buffalo №11 .

It seems psychedelic drugs are having a moment. Historically the stuff of successive subcultures, psychedelics have typically figured in the popular imagination through a surreal smorgasbord of signifiers; bell-bottoms, flower power, Day-Glo, field raves, hippies, tie-dyed trippers, Bez, nudists, Martin Sharp album covers, free love, Hendrix humping his white Stratocaster through the world’s longest national anthem.

The drugs’ long history of association with creatives living on the edge is hard to shake. Hunter S. Thompson’s mescaline-fuelled madness looms large over counter-culture, as does existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s much-chronicled, crab-infested bad trip…

The easiest shortcut to knowing my father, because you can’t, is Robin Williams. Picturing him gets you three-quarters of the way there; a brilliant, effervescent and erudite man with so much body hair it covers his knuckles, wrists, back and toes. An instant familiarity and ease with anyone from the woman begging on the corner to the guy running the country, a pitch-perfect ear for accents, smiling eyes diverting attention from the bilious clouds lingering behind them. Many think they have famous facsimiles, but Williams, in all his wild, hairy, hilarious glory, is it for my father. …

Dazzling musical moments of an otherwise terrible year.

Nobody had a good 2020, but if you want to know who had it really bad, talk to a working musician. Already squeezed to the limits by a combination of pernicious forces, artists had their primary revenue stream cut off at the knees this year. Unable to tour (and by extension, sell merch) it was an incredibly rough year to be someone who writes songs for a living.

And yet...

In the midst of a compounding catastrophe, our balladeers and troubadours, producers, players and vocalists managed to pull another rabbit out of a bag many considered empty. 2020 has been…

Genre implosion, teenage devotion.

You hear it first at a house party.

It’s that liquid dusk of adolescence, where cliques coalesce quickly. Binge drinkers on the balcony, smokers in the backyard. In the parents’ study, the early adopters are figuring out how to fashion a bong from a Gatorade bottle. And here in the bedroom, where the only functioning Hi-Fi system is, are the rockers.

You’re not sure if you’re a rocker yet. One foot in either camp, seeing what the girls gravitate towards. Always the crowd pleaser, trying on 50 Cent for size one minute, skipping over to Red Hot Chili Peppers the…

Our uncertain future of self-curation

I have a recurring nightmare in which all of my Spotify playlists have been deleted.

As someone who’s been fanatic about recorded music since he could request CD singles for his 9th birthday, this makes some semblance of sense. Music fans of my generation have witnessed more seismic changes to formats — in less time — than any before us. It took about twenty years for society to move from tapes to CDs, but only half of that for us to go through mp3 players, Napster, iPods, iTunes and streaming services.

Growing up, our family’s electronics drawer was filled with…

‘Blood makes you related. Loyalty makes you family.’

Sacred texts are really just stories we tell each other, codified through conversation over thousands of years, so there’s no reason to believe the same won’t happen with Fast & Furious.

In Judaism, the Old Testament is roughly diced up into five segments before we bow out and hand over the torch to Christianity. Fast & Furious realistically makes it to seven films before the wheels start to fall off, but even the early demise of the group’s metaphorical Jesus doesn’t stop them meting out biblical battles (F8 & The Furious

One thing I enjoy about being someone that works with musicians is that this is an industry could innovate its way out of a paper bag. It’s been at the forefront of digital disruption for decades, faced multiple threats to its entire existence and still managed to survive. The people that work in music are not only the most passionate, but also some of the brightest.

But here’s the thing: live and recorded music are different — and always will be. We’re currently in the midst of a new golden age of mechanical exploitation; the streaming boom, deep back catalogues…

Photo credit: Benedikt Frank for BRICK Magazine

Finding home with Africa’s ARIA-winning first lady of hip-hop

The vast multitudes of Sampa The Great sit cross-legged in a meeting room at Ninja Tune’s South London office, sipping lemon tea to preserve her voice. Formerly known as Sampa Tembo, this swarm of spirits has become many things to many people since leaving her native Botswana. Her identity, history and soul have been pinned down and scrubbed over so many times that it’s sometimes hard to know who wrote which words first.

It is these many Sampas that make Sampa The Great, a title she conferred upon them at the grand age of seven in her childhood Zambia. “I…

jonathan seidler.

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