2 Minutes With... Mitta Norath by Ryan Williams




So this year has been massive for you Mitta with your work with Staunch, Eat Your Heart Out and Fingers Crossed. You’ve become Newcastle’s go-to heavy music guy. Are you stoked with how it’s all going?

Yeah I’m fucking stoked all the time, every day. The other band that should have been in that list was “Those Things” from Sydney. They’re a rock n’ roll punk band, like The Bronx. Party rock. I did a 10-inch for them last year, and then a 7-inch this year.

Another band I’ve recorded recently that I’m really happy with is a band called “Under Grey Skies” that were around a year or two ago. They’ve just finished up some songs up recently and are about the release those. Really heavy, full on shit.

It’s been cool this year because I’ve had so many different projects. Like “Those Things” are like a Fender Deluxe Telecaster sound, while the stuff I was working on last week was 7-strings tuned to drop A.

Heavy music is my passion obviously. I’ll always play that and always love it, but it’s good having a few different things on your plate to keep things interesting.

Another good thing about it is when you learn something from a certain genre, it’s going to cross over into others. A lot of metal production these days has heaps of pop elements in it. So that kind of massive sound metal sound, a lot of it is derived from pop techniques. For example the dude that mixes My Chemical Romance is traditionally a pop mixer who moved over into that heavy stuff so now you’ve got this super clean, massive Fall Out Boy kind of sound. So bands like Bring Me The Horizon are going for this type of production now.

It’s cool in the respect that I get to do everything, like this year I got to engineer two country pop albums for solo female artists. Lauren Wheatley from Newcastle and Innocent Eve, a female duo from Queensland. I got to mic all these instruments that I hadn’t even seen before, let alone played. Just getting to do new stuff all the time and not getting bored, because being bored sucks. Doing the same album over and over again sucks too.

So how is Lauren Wheatley Doing?

She’s doing really well! She’s getting a lot of airtime on CMC these days, which I find crazy to be honest. Also some people like fucking country music for some reason. [Laughs]

Should I put that in?

If you want to [Laughs] Her's is more of a country pop crossover.

There’s a lot of that floating around these days.

Dude it’s huge now, and it’s the mainstream. You know like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift and Morgan Evans. These are all like country artists, who are now considered pop.

Dude I have a really funny story actually, about a week or two ago I filmed Marsha Heins in Sydney. She was doing one of her shows on her tour and I went and filmed it for her DVD or some shit. It was really cool, and I totally didn’t expect it though. I was like Marsha Heins, Australian Idol, 70s, and now man, I just listen to her stuff all the time! I was just on YouTube and I had one of her ballads on, and it’s about being faithful, and being in love with people, and I seriously almost cried. It’s gotten to me. It’s that old 70s stuff that makes you feel good.


What was influencing you when you were a young lad?

How far back?

You can go back as far as you like.

Like out of the womb?

If you want.

I don’t know if I did the standard thing that everyone did, but my dad bought me up on Michael Jackson, Queen and things like that. Kind of classic rock and roll as well as crossover pop rock stuff. So a lot of that stuff is still my favourite. I went through that heavy stage that everyone goes through, Frenzal Rhomb, Blink 182 (Enema of the State), which led into Slipknot, which led into Death Metal, and then got heavier and heavier until the point when, you know, I listen to noise and shit now. To me that’s as heavy as it gets. But that’s debatable obviously.

I think like everyone I’ve had the standard evolution of taste, where it just changes from one thing to another. Because of my job and because of the nature of my surroundings I believe I have a pretty eclectic taste. I like a lot of different, weird things.

I think you’ve got to have your head fairly in the sand to not like a lot of things. When I was about 18-19 I used to be one of those dudes who hated anything not metal. “You listen to something that’s not breakdowns? What’s wrong with you?” So I was just one of those fuckwits. Then I hit 20-21 and realised that the only person I’m hurting with this shit is myself. There’s so much out there to enjoy, why am I worrying about what other people think. So I guess I let go of the ego in that respect, and now I just enjoy whatever, whenever. Fuck I liked that Carly-Rae-Jepsen when it came out, and that’s fucking embarrassing.

You’re all grown up.

I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a guilty pleasure. I think if you enjoy something you should be able to enjoy it.

How is Regresser going?

Regresser is going good. We’re on a bit of a break now because we’ve got an injury.

Well yeah, what’s going on with that?

Just dumb shit. Drunken tomfoolery. I just fractured a little bone in there, so it’s not a big deal. Everything should be back to normal in a week or two.

So yeah, we’ve had two releases this year, which makes it feel like we’ve been doing it for two or three years so far. We released an EP at the start of the year, and then we’ve released a single for fun. Now we’ve got a whole new release recorded which is ready to go, but we’re just one of those bands that re-does things again and again. When you hear a Regresser song, you’re really hearing the third recording of that. We’re sitting on this release for now until the right time. The dudes in the band are all eccentric and weird, which is what I like. They can be very strange in the decisions they make.

Right now we’re writing and trying for pre production for an album or a long EP or something like that.

How does all this work fit in with you in the producer’s role? How does that slot in with the creative process? Do you think you hold a certain power over the way the recordings come out?

With that band and most bands that I’m creatively involved in the writing process I’d say I’d end up taking a producer’s role most of the time. Because I’m a drummer I end up structuring a lot of things, and the other guys might bring in ideas and I’ll either contribute to that or help rearrange things. I’ll try and look at things not so much from inside the band’s perspective, but from outside the band’s perspective. So because the guys are more intensely involved in the writing of the music, I try and remain objective to what might be working and what might not be.



How do you feel about the music scene in Newcastle at the moment? Do you think this town a hub for heavy music?

I think Newcastle has always had a massive music community. The city has one of the highest bands per capita in the country, if not the world. It was number 1 for a bit in the early 2000’s, I’m not sure if it still is though. So for that reason I believe we have a very rich musical culture. We’re responsible for Silverchair and I don’t know who else.. Marsha Heins? [Laughs]

The Screaming Jets

Exactly. It’s all very work orientated. I’m a little bit jealous of the Sydney scene in that respect because of the diversity of ethnicities, incomes and backgrounds they’ve got down there. There is so much music down there. Having said that, because there are so many fish in that sea, people don’t seem to care as much. So you can be a fantastic band in Sydney and have nobody give a fuck, but be an average band in Newcastle and people really care. So that’s kind of cool.

I like how Newcastle is kind of niche-y. You’ve got to have a groove to get anywhere. I like that you can’t just form a regular-ass band that’s been done a hundred-thousand times and put it out and expect to get noticed, because people won’t care. I like how people are a bit selective and a bit elitist like that, because that breeds out the mediocrity. However at the same time, it does make it hard. You really need to be able to please a certain crowd to get noticed.

For example, noise music has it’s own culture in Newcastle because of bands like Safe Hands, Tired Minds & Coma Lies, there’s a bit of a noise scene. But if you’re in a gent band, it’s really hard these days in Newcastle to pull people. They’re all various forms of heavy music, but the scenes are all divided within. The problem is the guys that go to the metal shows, don’t go to the hardcore shows, and the guys that go to the hardcore shows never go to the noise shows. Instead of having this one big scene where everyone supports each other, it’s pretty divided out there. That hurts the scene. I think if everyone pulled together, did mixed bills and all that sort of shit, and not be bitchy, we’d be better for it.

There are a lot of young, aspiring bands out there, which I find to be really inspirational.

You get bands coming down from Singleton and the Hunter Valley to play down here.

Yeah! Staunch are from Muswellbrook and they’re killing it at the moment.

You’ve got Hombre Records on Hunter St as well, which seems like a good base for hardcore in town.

Now that you say that, it reminds me of a time about ten years ago where the scene was really massive in Newcastle. Mainly older dudes, the likes of The Dead Walk and Dropsaw. Now there are these waves of young people that are coming in like the dudes in Staunch who are eighteen-year-old kids. The scene is just full of young people now, which is what you need.

Having hardcore more in the mainstream because of bands like Parkway Drive, it’s made the idea of having a career in hardcore possible. It’s opened the music up to kids that wouldn’t normally be interested, which is awesome.

These DIY venues are really cool. I think it’s all come out of other venues shutting down left right and center. The Loft is gone. All that sort of shit. I think we’re really in a time of change too because of things like the Internet. You’ve got bands out there that are massive on the Internet that will only get fifty to one hundred payers. They’ve got twenty thousand hits on YouTube, but will only get fifty people through the door because everyone’s in their bedroom watching shit on Facebook. So being big in real life and on the Internet is two different things.

What should Newcastle Mirage readers go out and get right now local music wise?

It’s not super local but I’d definitely say check out Those Things, I have serious faith in that. I reckon it’s a wonderful CD. Endless Heights, Idols (Syd), Jurassic Penguin (Mel) & Totally Unicorn (Syd).  But if I had to choose just one... Hmm...



Do you have any advice for young kids coming out who want to write music and want to maybe open their own studio one day?

Just fucking practice. I know everyone says that, but what I mean is don’t go to Uni, don’t go to fucking JMC academy, don’t go to fucking the Con or whatever, just practice. Just buy your own shit, and sit at home and play with it.

Did you go to uni at all?

M: No. No SAE. No JMC. No fucking private college. No university. None of that shit. They charge so much money (which is cool, I know how much all that equipment costs) but you don’t need it. Just practice.

You think about all the famous producers out there, the Chris Lord-Alge’s the Rick Rubins, nobody’s going to ask what piece of paper they’ve got. They’re going to ask about what was the last CD they did. How does it sound. So that would be my biggest piece of advice.

To young bands, is to do it right and do it right from the start. Don’t go in with shitty attitudes, don’t go in expecting the world, and putting in no effort. Do it professionally. Spend money where you need to. Record a good CD. Have the right artwork. Get a good photo. Look professional, because people won’t take you seriously. Local bands...


Hang on I’ve got this.. Hold on… Umm.. There’s been so many releases lately.. Staunch have been doing really well. I think their music is fun, and they’re heaps good live. But if I had to put it on one..

This is becoming a loaded question.

It’s getting way too hard.

Your desert island Newcastle band. What is your desert island album by the way?

We’re off the Newcastle band thing now?

For the minute.

For my desert island album it would have to be a Dillenger CD. One of them. They’re my number one favorite, so it would be one of those.

But which one?

Fuck you. Probably the last one. One Of Us Is a Killer.

Newcastle Bands... Hmm... Safe Hands, Tired Minds, King Trio are doing well...

How is everything else at Tommirock going?

Good! I’d like to mention as well that I’d love to introduce some more engineers into the studio. Getting more people to come and hire out the studio space. I don’t care if you don’t want to record with me, I would just love for Tommirock to become a bigger part of the Newcastle music community. The space is useless when there’s not a band in there. It doesn’t sound any good when they’re nobody playing.

What’s next for the future?

More of the same. Bigger and better. I’ll probably be staying where I am for a while, but the client base is getting bigger all the time. As far as what I want to create, I want to engineer and produce really niche, artists and works. Likely always heavy music, but I want to take the left of center, weird, crazy stuff. I don’t want to make the same old shit.



If you're a Newcastle Based engineer and want some time in a studio space, get in contact with Mitta at to work out a deal! He's a lovely dude.

60 seconds with... Alex Watts by Kian West

I make singer-songwriter rock/pop music that is informed by my love of soul and vintage rhythm and blues. I like to play with the format to keep things interesting, so sometimes you’ll see me with a horn section, keys and back up vocalists, sometimes as a traditional rockn’roll quartet and sometimes completely solo. They’re all different experiences that come from the same place, it’s pop music.

Read More

60 seconds with MATT MELER by Kian West


60 Seconds with MATT MELER

Interview by KIAN WEST

MM_WEBMatt, We caught up with you 12 months ago, would you say there have been any major changes in the music you are creating? For those that didn’t catch the last article, How would you describe the music that you make?     A bit of stuff has changed  after travelling to the States and Europe last year. All good changes though that just make me strive towards my musical goals. The music I make has stemmed from so many influences, and I'm still very wet behind the ears when it comes to production and writing. It's usually House driven with hints of Disco in there, but I find it can really vary though, like there are a bunch of things I'm doing at the moment that are very deep and dance-floor driven that you'd expect to hear after 3am in a club, I just go with what comes out.

What are you working on at the moment?   Fair-bit going on, got some cool collabs finishing up that I can't wait to be out. I've learnt a lot by working with other producers, musicians & vocalists, by the varied approach they take to writing and how they develop a record. It helps you break your usual patterns and makes you think out of your box. There are also a bunch of originals in the pipeline; one of which should be out by the time this goes to print ….. I hope. I'm super excited about it.

Where can people catch you playing in Newcastle?      On a weekly basis I'll usually be at Merewether Surfhouse, The Landing or The Delany, which are all pretty different musically which is always fun and keeps me on my toes. I'm also at 'District' a couple of times a month getting rude playing burners on a big sound-system … Haha … Which has been awesome.

When is the next release?     This is the one I'm excited about, It's on a UK Label called 'Guess Recordings', home to 'Spiritchaser' (Check them out). The record is 'I Can't Believe It' Featuring an amazing vocalist from Sydney 'Erin Marshall'. It's on the deeper and more moody edge, pretty stripped back with a stunning vocal by Erin. There is a great remix package with it too and film-clip to match. Should see it out mid-year, perhaps a touch earlier.

We asked you previously who your biggest influence is, but is there anyone new to the scene that is currently inspiring you? Does this affect your music? I've been diggin' heaps of new stuff actually, big fan of Chela, Motez & James Blake at the moment. Also, Tensnake who is not new but does have a new album out 'Glow' is dope too. It definitely affects my music, possibly because I listen to so much stuff, like today I listened to a Crazy P record when I woke up, some Steely Dan at lunch and when I was in the car I had the ABC on playing Classical, so random sometimes, but it's what I was in the mood for at the time. I think it helps me get out of one mindset and draw influence from various genres.

1965649_516004721838725_3665806445957577309_oWho do you really want to work with?    Hmmm, there's a few. One of them is totally cliché: Nile Rodgers. The guy is a total genius. Vocally I'd love to work with Danielle Moore from Crazy P or MNEK. Lastly MK (Marc Kinchen).

This wasn’t a question you asked me but I'd like to mention a small tribute to one, of if not my biggest influences that got me into dj'ing and House music; Frankie Knuckles 'The Godfather Of House', who passed away on the 31st March. Rest In Peace.

60 seconds with - ERYN WITHAWHY by Kian West


  Eryn graciously featured on 1/2 limited edition covers for the January issue of NM and we were so incredibly stoked to catch up with her and take a moment to highlight someone that is such an inspiration to so many others and a personal favorite of us here at Mirage. If you don't already know Eryn Withawhy, this article will be a special treat. It is people like Eryn that make our amazing city the incredible place it is. YOU MIGHT KNOW ERYN AS THE ENERGETIC FACE OF THE STEEL CITY COLLECTIVE, BUT ERYN IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE DIRECTOR OF AN ART COLLECTIVE AND GALLERY OWNER. SHE IS A HIGHLY CREATIVE INDIVIDUAL, EXTREMELY MOTIVATED TO DO GREAT FOR THE COMMUNITY SHE LIVES IN AND LEAVE AN IMPACT ON THE SOULS SHE CONNECTS WITH. IT IS BECAUSE OF THIS WE FELT IT NECESSARY TO INTERVIEW ONE OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTORS OF NEWCASTLE MIRAGE.ISSUE_8_COV1


So Eryn, thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to speak, Tell us a little bit about yourself? Any time, Kian! To be honest, it’s weird to be on the other side of an interview. Well…according to my shiny new website (, I’m the girl who asks questions. I think that sums me up pretty perfectly. I’m constantly evolving, constantly learning and constantly pushing myself to know more and be more. I’m a freelance designer, illustrator, artist and creative events manager. Sometimes I write copy.

You have recently been working with the Special Olympics when they were in Newcastle, care to tell us a little about this experience? Newcastle is so lucky to have hosted such an amazing event! The people involved; the athletes, families, support staff, volunteers and event co-ordinators, were such positive, inspiring people! I was asked to orchestrate a large scale art performance as part of the Opening Ceremony. With only two weeks lead time, my plans of creating a 200-canvas strong illustrative mosaic were a little ambitious, but the resulting display was something I’m very proud of. In the end I painted approximately 70 1m x 1.5m canvases over three days. The individual pieces matched up to reveal a portrait of Jessica, a dancer who was chosen to be showcased as a hero in the ceremony. The first time I saw the whole piece was at the dress rehearsal - it was pretty surreal. They had a helicopter fly over to film it. Footage of the event unfolding and us spray painting in front of a stadium of people was streamed live on national TV. I’m so grateful to all the people who volunteered last minute to help at the rehearsal and the performance. I couldn’t have picked a better team to work with. Everyone who came along was positive, flexible, supportive, enthusiastic and just great. I owe them a great deal. Many thanks to Jane, Claudia, Lauren (and her lovely mother!), Bryan, Grant, Josh, Glenn, Nathan, Andy, Dane, Dru, Gale and Ethan as well as the fantastic staff and students from Swansea High School and Newcastle Waldorf School!! Special thanks to my wonderful mother who had no idea that she’d be called upon to assist when I was lacking volunteers! Thanks lady! ISSUE_8_ERYN 2What are some of the current projects you are working on? Where do I start? I’ve just finished the poster for an event I’m involved with on the 16th of January at South Newcastle Beach - it’s an all ages festival brought to Newcastle by a variety of community organisations including Headspace, Samaritans, Salvation Army Oasis Youth Network Hunter, Newcastle Community Youth Development Project, Newcastle Skate, Steel City Collective, Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre Inc and Medicare Local Hunter. There’s going to be live music, DJs, live art, games, skate clinics, prizes, giveaways and a free lunch! I’m also working on branding and promotional material for a huge night of entertainment in Sydney mid next year as well as some ongoing events in Melbourne kicking off in a few months. There’s also the various public art installations and walls I’m working on with Steel City Collective - including a series of murals in Hunter high schools, a backlog of commissioned artworks and a few other smaller boutique designs for local businesses and individuals. After the success of TravJamJar’s solo show at Shop Steel City, I’m looking forward to curating a group show as well as putting on a few more solo shows for some very talented local artists. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten about a bunch of things…

Where do you see yourself in five years? I don’t know where I see myself next week.

If you could work with any person, who would it be? There’s a few on my list. I’d love the chance to work for agencies BMF and DraftFCB, responsible for the Aldi - Prices You’ll Love Talking About and Honda Civic - Symphony In Motion campaigns respectively. They were two of my favourite multi-platform campaigns in 2013. Locally, I’m actually really excited about a collaboration with Alien Art tattoo artist Dan Arnold (@ridingwithdeath on instagram). He’s a good friend of mine and a brilliant artist. I cannot wait to work with him on the large scale works we have planned!

When you aren’t creating, what else do you enjoy doing with any spare time? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. You’re funny, Kian.ISSUE_8_ERYN 1