Rebel Yell is the solo project of Grace Stevenson, a member of the Brisbane band 100%. It’s Stevenson’s creative outlet – she makes industrial music and deep, dark electronica. Inspired by other acts on the Australian circuit, such as Lucy Cliché, and the soundtrack from ’90s techno thriller Hackers, Stevenson uses a vintage synthesiser and a distortion pedal to make music that’s heavy and hypnotic; play it deep in the night at a house party. Part of the Rice is Nice family, Stevenson released her debut EP, Mother of Millions, last week.
Broadsheet: What do you enjoy about making industrial music? Grace Stevenson: I make music as Rebel Yell as a creative release for myself. Being a part of 100% helped me gain the confidence to perform, but Rebel Yell was an experiment to see what I was capable of devising by myself. I am my own harshest critic, so when I'm alone I tend to make harsh music.
BS: What does Rebel Yell allow you to get out of your system that playing in 100% doesn’t? GS: Anger, frustration, imperfections and being the boss.
BS: Early musical influences? GS: My brother has produced electronic music for quite a number of years and I've found that his changing tastes have often filtered down and influenced me. It’s only been in recent years that I have become more infatuated with early industrial and new wave. But to answer your question, Kylie Minogue.
BS: You say you blame the Hackers soundtrack for getting you into “dark tech” such as Underworld, Orbital The Prodigy etc. What can you tell us about that discovery GS: I stumbled upon a burnt CD in the bargain bin of an op shop simply titled "Dark Tech" on the eve of a Y2K-themed party a few years ago. It was filled with choice cuts from the Hackers soundtrack and it did not leave my car stereo for a month straight. The influence of this find cannot be overstated. It has been burned into my brain permanently, even though I cannot remember what’s on it. Was it all a dream?
BS: Is there a particular creative scene in Brisbane or Australia in general that you feel part of? GS: I moved back to Brisbane in 2012 and started meeting a lot of like-minded and creative people at friends’ shows. Attending the 2012 Sound Summit in Sydney opened my eyes to a lot of recent electronic music in Australia and abroad, like Flat Fix, Lucy Cliché and Container. I don't find myself necessarily fitting in on a lot of local line-ups unless I'm curating the bill, but I do get invited to play quite often. Brisbane has a tight-knit musical community that is always really receptive to new acts.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere? GS: Into The Groove-era Madonna. She knocks on my dressing room asking to hang out but I pretend I don't hear her.
Rebel Yell’s Mother Of Millions EP is out now.