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Eyeplug journeys to the outer reaches of cult sounds to bring you dispatches from the heliosheath of popular culture – Everything from abstract easy listening to avant-garde sitar, and all points in-between.

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Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Exotica Tags:
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Jimi Tenor talks to Eyeplug

Jimi Tenor 

Born 1965 in Lahti, is a Finnish musician. His artist name is a combination of the first name of his youth idol Jimmy Osmond and the tenor saxophone. His band Jimi Tenor & His Shamans released its first album in 1988, whilst Tenor’s first solo album appeared in 1994. “Take Me Baby” became his first hit in 1994. He has released albums on Sähkö Recordings, Warp Records and Kitty-Yo record labels. Tenor has performed several times with the avant-garde big band Flat Earth Society. In 2009, he contributed a cover of an Elektroids song to the Warp20 (Recreated) compilation album, as well as having his song “Paint the Stars” covered by Hudson Mohawke. Eyeplug caught up with him recently for a friendly chat.

01 You were born in Finland in the 1960s, what was your childhood like there?

I lived in a small town called Lahti. I was a very shy child, but I was very active. I played piano and flute at the local conservatory. I was also very interested in theory of music. But I was also into sports and was playing all kinds of sports. Street hockey was a big thing for us.

02 At what stage did you veer towards music as a career direction?

That was quite early. I transferred to a music school and we had a good choir there. There were regular performances with the choir and I always enjoyed performing. Then later when I was 14 I started to play in various bands and that was kind of it. I really loved everything that had to do with bands. The music, hanging out. That’s what I wanted to do.

03 What were your early musical inspirations?

Finland in those days was a special place. The radio was really old school and wouldn’t play much the kind of music that I was interested in. But I remember from early childhood big radio hits like Sergio Mendez’ “Mas Que Nada”, some Beatles hits, Harry Belafonte. But at home we would listed to The Rolling Stones, Iggy and the Stooges. OK these are things that people know internationally, but what I would really hear everywhere in Finland was Finnish music. Mostly it wasn’t anything I was interested in until Punk Rock happened. Finnish Punk Rock was quite brutal, very lo-fi. I loved that.

04 How did you develop as an Artist and a Creative outlook?

I have always been interested in repetition. I don’t have a “golden ear” or perfect pitch so sometimes it’s a bit hard for me to hear very complicated chords. Maybe that’s why I naturally have been drawn into repetition and music that doesn’t have too many changes. I saw a TV series about minimal music and that was important. I got into the idea of shamanism, on order to try to get to another mental state via repetitious music. I formed a band called the Shamans. To be honest we weren’t anywhere near repetitious enough to get to another level! Later on I found an article about Futurism and Luigi Russolo. I wanted to make my own noise machines and make music, without keys or chords.

05 How did you find the dynamic of forming bands and working with others?

I like playing in bands and hanging out, but I don’t like to organize rehearsals, equipment, transport. Also calling people and making sure everybody is going to come to rehearsal space is a drag. So at some point I got into drum machines and found electronic music. It was interesting technically, but also socially. I enjoy being alone and with drum machines I could do cool stuff. I noticed that with a machine making repetitious music is much easier. In fact it’s really hard to make any changes. The old drum machines were not so sophisticated when it came to changing patterns, so you needed to work to get things out of them. And that’s exactly what I liked. I enjoy the struggle.

06 What challenges have you encountered and how have things changed over the years?

One of the biggest challenges was to get out of Finland. Finland was mentally far away and I wanted to do stuff. So we started to play in Berlin in mid-80’s and got some ideas how things are done. But one of the biggest challenges has always been the language. I like music with vocals and I like to sing a little bit. I tried to find an angle where I could sing in English and make some kind of sense. Make simple lyrics. Of course I could sing in Finnish, but the way the world is it’s hard to to get gigs outside Finland if you sing in that language. Like Japanese people also most Finnish people listen to English language music as instrumental music. What I mean for us the language is mostly sounds, different syllables. The lyrical content doesn’t mean much to us, the main thing is the sound and the feeling. Maybe I’m simplifying a bit, but that’s more or less the case. Of course these days I do understand quite a bit, but still if I go to sing English language songs in karaoke, I will definitely need the lyrics underneath.

OK now the world is very different from 80’s. It’s easy to get contacts wherever in the world. I think the new challenge is to try to keep a certain amount of mystery about oneself. If you expose all your secrets in social media, you become a local guy so to speak. And you can’t be a messiah in your own country. Your place in the social media is your new country in a way.

I guess one challenge is to make enough money to survive. For me things have been quite similar always. You play gigs and sell records after the shows. That is still very much valid. Sure, some big names made plenty of money in the 70s, 80s , 90s from record sales. I never really experienced that lifestyle. Maybe briefly in the 90s but that money went into all kinds of nonsense like video clips.

07 What types themes do you embrace within your compositions?

Lyrically I try to use plenty of metaphors. But the basic themes are always pretty much the same: Love and our place in the universe. That’s about it for me. I do a lot of pseudo scientific lyrics, titles like “Selfish Gene” and “Black Hole”, but they are love and sex in the end. Having said all this about lyrics I have to point out that most of my music is instrumental. 90%. I think it’s easier to talk about lyrics than music. I would really love to do long interviews about theory of music and what I try to go for in terms of composition, but I find it hard to explain anything in short interviews. But when I start writing a new piece, I try to go for something fresh. Not always start with piano, or drum machine. I one always starts with piano, like many do, then you end up having music that is good for piano. For example when I write music for afrobeat band, I would try to get a rhythm going that is natural for that specific band. I think about the players and what they can do. In this sense I agree with John Cage: you need to know the musicians you’re writing for. You need to know the band, and then when I do horn lines, I play them with horns on the demo. I don’t play them with keyboard because keyboard is not a horn. I don’t want to play keyboard lines with my saxophone! Even when I do big band music, I try to play the parts myself. Get into the feeling how playable a part is and how musical it is.

08 How do you technically prepare for the studio side of your work?

That depends. When I’m in my own studio I use drum machines, sequencer, a couple of synths, flute and sax. That’s my normal thing, but I use a lot of percussion, DIY instruments. I try to have a mike always ready to go right next to my chair. I work really fast. I get an idea and I will play it with my flute or sax. I don’t know it’s it’s a technical aspect, but I try to get something down right after my first morning coffee. If I have hard time figuring out a melody I would wait until next morning and try to do it after one cup of coffee. It usually works out. I’m talking about rough ideas here. But I don’t necessarily make a difference between demos and final recordings. I would say about 40% of my releases were originally recorded as demos. You never know when the right feeling is there. So I record everything with a good mike and good sound. My studio is a horrible mess, but I’m very strict about the signal that goes to the recording device. Everything high quality and no extra nonsense in the signal path. No buzz, hum, or noise. Unless it’s required of course. When I record horns I try to get a little bit of feeling of the room where it was recorded at. I don’t enjoy really dry saxophone or vocals sound. I want there to be a bit of life in the recording.

09 How do you find playing live these days, what stands out and why?

I enjoy it very much. Those are the moments I feel alive. I haven’t noticed any big changes of how I feel on stage. Maybe a bit more relaxed these days. I ‘ve noticed that I’m more comfortable playing saxophone these days. Experience helps. Flute playing is the most natural thing for me and I feel wonderful when I play solos. It just flows.

10 What is your typical productive or creative day like, what shape does it take? What would make it a succesful day?

Like I said it starts with coffee and then I have immediately a writing session for about one hour, sometimes more if I have a deadline. I start really early, you know 8am or 9am. Most of my ideas are gone by 11 o’clock and then I start doing the arrangements and the less intuitive things. Then I go to get some food and afternoons I run errands, take my kids to hobbies. In the evenings I tend to do more music. Might get more ideas, but that happens seldom. When we go to studio with a band then of course those days are full on creative rush. We don’t go to studio that often and the time there is always very restricted. So once you’re in there you have to go for it! But those days are special. Normally I do my music in a disciplined way. Everyday, but not too much. I don’t want to ruin the fun side of it.

11 How do you feel the wider Music Industry relates to artists such as yourself? Do you have strong thoughts on how it works today?

I don’t exists for them. I don’t think I have any role in the mainstream music industry. And I guess that’s fine. They can keep their “idols” TV-shows and all that. I don’t want to have anything to do with Live Nation and that kind of bullying music business. Having said that, it’s kind of hard to avoid Live Nation. They’re everywhere. I’m happy that there is an underground scene and I belong there. I don’t need to talk to A&R people, I don’t need to do show-case gigs.

I like the idea of digital releases, but I’ve noticed people don’t take releases seriously if they have only been released in digital format. That might change quite soon. LPs are back and that’s fun but I don’t care about the formats that much, as long as I hear the music I’m fine.

12 Being from Finland, yet living and working in various other Cities and places, do you retain a spirit or deep flavour of your homeland, how does that manifest itself?

I don’t try to sound Finnish on purpose, but I think my music still sounds Finnish. That’s fine with me because that’s who I am and I’m thankful that I have that special flavor. I have worked and I still work from people around the world. It’s easy to get lost in the multitudes of sounds and styles that I’m exposed to. I want to embrace different cultures but same time I want to be myself.

13 Please tell us about your recent work?

Well, I did a single for Philophon calld ‘Tropical Eel, Order of Nothingness.’ That came out in March 2016. I released a big band album on Herakles Records called ‘Mysterium Magnum’ in Sept 2015. At the moments we’re working on an “Itetune” album. Itetune is a band that uses only DIY instruments. We actually finished the mixing last night and it’ll be out on Sähkö Recordings. We’re also working ona new album with Jimi Tenor & Kabukabu.

14 What plans have you got for 2016 and beyond?

2016 I will play gigs here and there. Jori Hulkkonen and I will perform our film “Nuntius” in Vilnius on June 17th. Nuntius is a special project. It’s a silent film that will not be released. It can only be seen when Jori and I perform it live. I mean we do the music live. Sometimes our actor Mr Normall also appears on stage as himself, so the project has a bit of theatre in the mix.

15 Can you tell us a short, funny story please?

I asked my North Korean friend “how’s it going”. He said “Can’t complain!”


Discography

Jimi Tenor and his Shamans
Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres; LP (1988, Euros)
Diktafon; CD/LP (1989, Poko Records)
Mekanoid; CD/LP (1990, Poko Records)
Fear of a Black Jesus; CD/LP (1992, Bad Vugum)

Solo
Sähkömies; Digital/CD/LP (1994, Sähkö Recordings)
Europa; Digital/CD/LP (1995, Sähkö Recordings)
Intervision; Digital/CD/LP (1997, Warp)
Venera; EP/CD, (1998, Warp)
Organism; Digital/CD/LP (1999 Warp/Sire Records)
Out Of Nowhere; Digital/CD/LP (2000, Warp)
Cosmic Relief; Digital/EP, (2001, Sähkö Recordings)
Utopian Dream; Digital/CD/LP (2001, Sähkö Recordings)
Higher Planes; Digital/CD/LP (2003, Kitty-Yo)
Beyond The Stars; Digital/CD/LP (2004, Kitty-Yo)
ReComposed by Jimi Tenor; Digital/CD/LP (2006, Deutsche Grammophon)
Live in Berlin; Digital (2007, Kitty-Yo)

With Abdissa Assefa
Itetune; LP (2011, Temmikongi)
With Kabu Kabu[edit]
Sunrise; EP/CD (2006, Sähkö Recordings)
Joystone; Digital/CD/LP (2007, Sähkö Recordings)
Mystery Spot; 7″ (2008, Sahco Records)
4th Dimension; Digital/CD/LP (2009, Sähkö Recordings)
Mystery of Aether; Digital/CD/LP (2012, Kindred Spirits)

With Tony Allen
Inspiration Information Volume 4; Digital/CD/LP (2009, Strut Records)

With Lary 7, Mia Teodoratus; Soft Focus
Soft Focus; Digital/LP (2013, Sähkö Recordings)

With Nicole Willis; Cola & Jimmu
Enigmatic; Digital/CD/LP (2013, Herakles Records)
I Give To You My Love And Devotion; Digital/CD/LP (2014, Herakles Records)

With Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators (As also Jimmy Tenor)
You Better Change/Raw Steaks; 7″ (2003, Sahco Records)
If This Ain’t Love (Don’t Know What Is)/Instrumental; 7″/Maxi/WL/CD (2005/2007, Timmion Records/Above The Clouds/Differ-Ant)
Keep Reachin’ Up; Digital/CD/LP/Cass (2005/2006/2007/2008, Timmion Records/Mit-Wit Records/P-Vine Records/Light In The Attic/Above The Clouds/Differ-Ant)
My Four Leaf Clover/Holdin’ On; 7″ (2006, Timmion Records)
Feeling Free/Instrumental; 7″ (2006/2007, Timmion Records/Above The Clouds)
Tell Me When/It’s All Because Of You; 7″ (2013, Timmion Records)
Tortured Soul; Digital/CD/LP (2013, Timmion Records/P-Vine Records)
Paint Me In A Corner/Where Are You Now; 7″ (2015, Timmion Records)
Happiness In Every Style; Digital/CD/LP (2015, Timmion Records)
One In A Million/Instrumental; Digital/7″ (2015, Timmion Records)
Let’s Communicate/Instrumental; 7″ (2015, Timmion Records)

With Nicole Willis featuring Tony Allen
All For You/Touching; 7″ (2015, Sahco Records)

With Myron & E with The Soul Investigators
Broadway; Digital/CD/LP (2013, Timmion Records)

With Willie West & The High Society Brothers
Lost Soul; Digital/CD/LP (2014, Timmion Records)

With The Soul Investigators
Vulture’s Prayer/Bad Viberations; 7″ (2015, Timmion Records)
Soul Groove; Digital/CD/LP (2015, Timmion Records)

With UMO Jazz Orchestra
Mysterium Magnum; Digital/CD/LP (2015, Herakles Records)

Website
jimitenor.com

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

April 22, 2016 By : Category : Articles Beats Dark Exotica Front page Interviews Jazz Music Pop 0 Comment

Count Indigo speaks to Eyeplug.net

Count Indigo is a versatile pop singer, performer lyricist and compere of surprising vocal and aesthetic range. His music encompasses smooth baritone soul grooves, dark falsetto dance rhythms and exhilarating orchestral arrangements. The uniqueness of his approach to music – making comes out of combining mature themes of joy and betrayal and with a beguiling soulful accessibility. A decade of acclaimed nightclub & festival performances all over Europe and honed an intimate, humorous showmanship personified in his album, Homme Fatale. We caught up with ‘The Count’ recently and he explained his new ‘Crowd Funded’ Queens Ransom Project in some (semi-secret) depth.

01. When did you first start in Music, what were you doing prior to this date?

​I started writing songs whilst still at college in the Eighties and had a couple of bands. Clay and The Magnificent and The Love Ambassadeux. (The band name’s spelling wasn’t my idea!)

02. What brought your Sound together and how did you decide on that moniker?

The sound, the aesthetic is down to how I wanted audiences to feel and behave rather than any overwhelming love of a particular genre. Lounge music, library music written for advertising or incidental music is all about a lack of ego and mood setting. It’s wonderful as a means of getting under the listeners skin. I got my nickname ‘The Count’ from wearing suits and vintage clothing even when brassic as a student. Whilst I adopted Indigo from Duke Eliington’s jazz blues ‘Mood Indigo’.

I started a nightclub (Indigo) playing rhythmic midcentury soundtracks and library music. It allowed people to chat, dance and enjoy really varied entertainment without pre judging the content.

03. What are the diverse influences that shape your current sound?

Its all about people. I’m really enjoying working with great musicians again after a lot of time in programming suites. The opportunity to collaborate with Kenny Clayton for instance gives me a direct link to the heyday of beautifully crafted pop practitioners like Matt Monro, Petula Clark and Shirley Bassey. How to craft and then really interpret a lyric. While a bass player like Dale Davis is fantastic for channelling that melodic funk tradition from James Jameson to Bootsy Collins.

04. At present you function in various formats and sizes, how does that function when touring and the onstage set-up?

Count Indigo Original
For my own original Count Indigo yachtpop sets like Queens Ransom I have a 5 piece band that glows in a soul/loungecore disco glory. I occasionally do a vocal PA without them.

Count Indigo Vintage
For a set that concentrates on covers and the wholly easy-loungecore tradition I ‘m well known for I work with The Brighton based 7-piece Jet Set International complete with sitar and go-go dancers.

Twickenham Toy Orchestra
Finally I have a rather joyous side project The Twickenham Toy Orchestra, which is a six-piece ensemble doing covers like Golden Years and The Ace of Spades but on kids instruments.

05. What can someone that has yet to see your live show expect to see and hear?

Twenty years of compering means I like to really engage an audience. A Count Indigo set is slick moving from bossa-novas to 70’s funk onto Daft ‘Punkesque’ disco over drive. A loungecore set cranks up the kitsch familiarity of huge ‘60s soundtracks and fabulous shifting melodies.

The Twickenham Toy Orchestra charms the socks of you with a cheeky joie-de-vivre. In the end everybody wants to get down to Word Up done on a melodica, kazoo and kids drum kit!

06. What types of people do you attract along to your Club events?

It’s very genuinely inter-generational. The new music attracts people in their twenties after some authentic grooves and provocative subject matter. ( There aren’t too many funk outs referencing kidnapping the Queen for example). The interpretative bands offer something a little more cosy and humorous with a funky go-go twist.

07. You have played many established festivals and historic venues, and even been on TV a good few times, what were the high and low points and stand-out memories?

The Count’s first live appearance on British T.V. was on the very first show of Chris Evans’ TFI Friday. A hilarious live session on French T.V. backed by Parisian band A.S. Dragon comes to mind. My face, when the presenter announces the arrival of ‘Cunt Indigo’ is quite a picture!!! Russian T.V. interviews are always pretty surreal experiences, involving fabulous parades of of utterly un-self conscious fashionistas. I loved presenting at The Vintage Festival at Goodwood in 2010 – what an ambitious and fully realised jamboree. Shame it didn’t endure really! Contact me here for bookings!

08. What Countries are most receptive to your current Sound?

Anywhere keen on sunshine and the metropolis. So Southern Europe and the American West Coast, New York, Paris and my traditional hunting grounds in Eastern Europe. I’m also hoping to thrill Latin America soon!

09. How do your songs develop? What is the usual process of writing new material?

I usually find a subject matter inspiring first and almost always start from a fully realised lyric and melody that I then flesh out with a writer or arranger.

10. What are your Heroes and Zeroes from music and beyond?

Heroes
Darius Milhaud via Burt Bacharach
Nelson Riddle
Scott Walker
Billy Strayhorn
Prince
Lee Hazelwood
Bruno Nicolai
David Whittaker
Danger Mouse
Willy Brandt

11. What is your current favourite music and influences? What do you think of the current music scene?

I’m not much influenced by contemporary music, but like listening to the acts listed below. I don’t think there really is a current music scene as such, as things have become so atomised and domesticated by the digital revolution.

First Aid Kit
Perfume Genius
Matthew E. White
Gregory Porter
Mikey Georgeson And The Civilised Scene
Death and Vanilla
Curtis Harding
Forever Pavot
Rumer

12. You have collaborated with various people, how did that come about and work out?

I’ve worked a lot with French producer and composer Bertrand Burgalat, founder of Tricatel Records. We were introduced by my manager of the time when he produced my second single Her Other Man. We also co-wrote Trinity together. Tricatel produced my album Homme Fatale but its lack of commercial success meant we went our separate ways, although we still gig together from time to time and have written regularly together over the years.

13. What shows/events have you got planned for the near future?

Best place to keep up to date with my dates is to visit my all new cool website here!

14. Are you involved with any other outside projects?

The key ones are the clubs Mrs Peels (mrspeels.club) and The Variety Discotheque.

Mrs Peels is very much a penthouse take on more obscure grooves of the Swinging ’60s. Featuring go -go dancers, body painting and live music. All in on the 4th floor cocktail lounge of a hitherto private club.

Variety Discotheque reignites light entertainment in a nightclub setting featuring the party sounds of DJ The Psychedelic Milkman against the Backdrop of house band The Twickenham Toy Orchestra and visiting performers featuring magic, comedy, sword swallowing and trad jazz spoons playing.

15. Tell us about your unique taste, style-sense and outlook?

I love to entertain and seduce an audience with performances that hark back to the wealth of post war showmen and women from Louis Jourdan to Sammy Davis to Grace Jones. I’m more a made to measure guy than bespoke. Given too many sartorial choices I’m prone to disappearing up my own fundament. I believe that the art of entertaining comes out of embracing and challenging your audience to adore melody and good timing.

16. Is there anyone that you would dream to work with on a mini-project?

I’d love to get Michel Legrand (who I interviewed once) to do arrangements on a fabulous sex and soul E.P. I’m planning away now as we speak!

17. Please feel free to plug any of your recordings that may be for sale?

I’ve recently become the sole vendor for my album Homme Fatale. Its never had distribution in the U.K. and its a neo-soul tendencies prefigure bands like Gnarls Barkley and Metronomy.

18. What does the future hold for you all?

I’ve recently completely rediscovered my creative mojo after being completely immersed in my loving role as a father. I want to make at least 2 E.P.s a year for the rest of my life and also develop a whole range of fun live formats and products that make people happier!

19. Tell us about the Queens Ransom project?

Queens Ransom is a crowd funded fantasy Yachtpop E.P celebrating my kidnapping of Elizabeth II on the eve of her becoming the longest reigning monarch in British history. Check it out here!

20. Can you tell us a joke please?

I once upon a time had a bad experience telling Bruno Brookes (who?!!! ) a joke once and swore to never tell one again! Sorry!

Web Links
Website: Countindigo.net
Twitter: twitter.com/countindigo
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Count-Indigo/
Pinterest: pinterest.com/brucemarcus3/​

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

March 27, 2015 By : Category : Articles Exotica Features Interviews Music Pop Soul Tags:, , ,
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The Trans-Siberian March Band – Interview

Formed in London in 2007, the band is a colourful explosion of flamboyant, high-energy performances and musical miscellany. As well as originals, the mix includes traditional Balkan, Klezmer, Turkish, Russian and Gypsy tunes, plus even a small hint of hip-hop.

TSMB is a fearsome blend of clarinets, brass, percussion, guitar and vocals. Highlights from its strange and wonderful history include shows at Glastonbury, the Royal Albert Hall, WOMAD, Kensington Palace, HMV Forum and The Roundhouse, as well as recording at Abbey Road and Air Studios. The band has taken the music all around the Balkans and as far afield as Georgia in the Caucuses and beyond!

Always open to adventure, the band’s recent projects have included a unique collaboration with DJ Yoda which proved a firm festival favourite, and curating an ongoing series of events as part of a residency at Shoreditch arts hub Rich Mix.

You got together around 2007, what were you all doing prior to this date?

Nick: Some of us had been in the London Gypsy Orchestra. The TSMB was formed out of the LGO brass section, plus our bandleader Issy and some others. There was a violinist and a mandolin player initially.

Issy: I had originally studied as a clarinettist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and originally had trained to play clarinet in a symphony orchestra. However over the course of college realised that although I loved classical music, I wanted to explore other musical styles too – I had spent some time in West Africa and Czech Republic and realised that I need to play more than just classical music. After leaving college I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to really do, but then discovered this style of music through the LGO and fell totally in love with it and haven’t looked back since!

Emily: I’m a relative newcomer, having joined in late 2011, and the band was a total change of scene from what I had been used to – jazz, and before that some classical whilst studying. I had just returned to the UK feeling slightly negative about pursuing music after teaching it abroad, and TSMB was exactly what I needed to revive and completely reinstate my enthusiasm for playing!

What brought you all together and how did you decide on that moniker?

Issy: Some of us would meet up before LGO rehearsals and jam different tunes. Then at one of the LGO gigs, we were short on the set length and the conductor asked if we wanted to play some of the tunes we had been working on, and TSMB was born! After that, we then got to play at a Balkan Beats night in the Buffalo Bar and Radio Gagarin night at the Notting Hill Arts Club and things just sort of grew from there onwards.

There was a bit of a joke at the time about how it would be awesome to have a gig as the in-house band on the Trans-Siberian Railway and one of our members has actually contacted them a few times to offer this service, though we have never heard back. However, the name stuck!

What are the diverse influences that shape your current sound?

Nick: We like a range of current and past Balkan sounds. I like everything from Klezmer from the 1920s to the soundtrack pop of Goran Bregovic, the somewhat traditional sounds of bands like Taraf de Haidouks and Fanfare Ciocarlia to modern electronic oompah from any of the countries, east of Berlin, doing it.

 Issy: When choosing songs, I also have been looking a lot at Turkish artists such as Selim Sesler, Tarkan, Sefarad and Candan Ercetin. I have also learnt a lot from other musicians I have played with in the past such as Çiğdem Aslan (She’koyokh) and Illana Cravitz (London Klezmer Quartet).

Emily: Our repertoire spans a pretty wide geographic area. It’s mostly arrangements of traditional tunes, but through our mish-mash of musical backgrounds and influences (not only Balkan and Klezmer but classical, jazz, South American, African, punk…) the band has come to develop its own distinctive sound. From this, some of the tunes have grown into rather personalised takes on the original style, as opposed to faithful reproductions!

Nick: Too add to what Emily says, there are so many of us, and our ages range from mid-20s to mid-70s, so we all bring something with us from our own experience and memories of music, and culture in general. One of our trumpet players, Pippa, saw Louis Armstrong play in the late 50s, for instance, and quite a few of have lived abroad, in Eastern Europe and Turkey, and you can’t help but pick up a bit here, a bit there, not all of it conscious, but it definitely emerges, helps us onto the same wavelength, I think.

At present you are a 13-piece band, how does that function when touring and the onstage set-up?

Nick: We’ve toured using just public transport – long train journeys through Austria, Hungary and Bosnia – and using local drivers and minibuses. It looks chaotic from the outside, I guess, but usually everybody and everything gets gathered up together! We are lucky enough to have several sound engineers in the band, who have been able to quickly sort out the various onstage set-ups – sometimes, in the Balkans, these have been products of enthusiasm rather than expertise, lethal in the wrong hands…

Issy: I think we have known each other for a while and have learnt to deal with difficult situations together. Also, even though we are numerous, we don’t actually need a lot of onstage equipment such as drumkits, and we are equally at home playing acoustically or plugged in.

Emily: We have a giant water bed big enough for 13 that we take with us on overnight trips. Not really, but we did once manage to get some people to believe that in the bar after a gig.

What can someone that has yet to see your live show expect to see and hear?

Nick: We put on a big show, I think, no matter where we play. We are kind of loud, and now have a large repertoire of songs. We dress up a bit, make up a bit, wear clothes from the Soviet Union, are into wigs and frocks. We feature horse-dancing competitions, singalongs and trumpet duels.

Issy: The live show is generally quite interactive – I can be quite merciless on the audience! I think though our main feature is fun – both for the performers and for the audience. There is definitely no standing around looking moody and staring at our shoes whilst onstage.

Emily: It’s very energetic stuff, and works best of all when the audience are willing to throw themselves into the spirit of things! Recently we have had a massive, high-speed, hokey-kokey-style circle-dance, people on each other’s backs pretending to be galloping horses, and Madonna singalongs in a Russian oompah style. I’d like to say it makes more sense when you’re there in the middle of it, but maybe it doesn’t. You’ll have to come and see and judge for yourself!

What types of people do you attract along to your events?

Nick: I’m not sure there’s a typical TSMB audience member. We’ve played for late-night crowds off their faces in clubs and at festivals, for shoppers innocently heading for Primark, for tourists and locals passing by in squares in Bosnia, for people in parks in Georgia, and for children and their parents in Regents Park, and none of them have thrown things at us.

Issy: We generally have quite a mixed audience of all ages and nationalities. This has been quite noticeable at our monthly events at Rich Mix, where there have been people who come along every month to see us.

Emily: For a while there was a group of people dressed as Elvis that used to show up quite regularly.

Nick: Oh yes – the Elvi. (Presley, not Costello…) Where are they now, I often wonder… sometimes wonder…

You have played many big established festivals and historic venues, what were the high and low points and stand-out memories?

Nick: I loved playing on the bridge in Mostar in Bosnia on our first tour. It was a real highlight, the first of many. I also loved playing to big mad crowds one night in Glastonbury, while the next day’s gig by the side of some tent – it wasn’t even in a field – to some hippies, toddlers and a dog (and the dog didn’t even stay) was NOT the best experience. However, you play to whoever’s there. One of the many gigs we did during the London Olympics was so badly organised we played to about 5 people, but we still played our socks off, as did everybody on that bill I love regular nights like the Hootenanny in Brixton, where people go determined to have a good time, and you can really feel that.

Issy: Playing in Sarajevo was real privilege and it was incredible to play to a room full of people who sang along to every word and jumped to their feet at each new tune. Also playing at WOMAD was absolutely unbelievable. I think my least favourite gigs have been when we have played at corporate events – although those gigs are good for the bank balance and allow us to invest in new albums etc, they are somewhat hard work…

Emily: We’ve played to some of our biggest and most enthusiastic crowds at festivals, and I have to say I enjoy playing at our current ‘home turf’ Rich Mix as well. It’s also great to play at specific Balkan nights as you get to perform for people who already really love the music. My least favourite gigs are any that book us to march for long periods of time in the freezing cold and rain, which happens more frequently than I’d like as a downside of the implication of having ‘March Band’ in your name.

What Countries are most receptive to your current set?

Nick: We’ve played in the Balkans, and had no ‘coals to Newcastle’ moments. Imagine if a group from Sarajevo came here playing Morris Dancing music, we’d probably throw rocks at them. We get a good reception wherever we go. A kid in Gori (Stalin’s birthplace in Georgia) did ask us to play some Led Zepplin, which we weren’t able to do!

Issy: Also randomly according to our online sales, we get an awful lot of downloads in Japan!

How do your songs develop? What is the usual process of writing new material?

Nick: Music for the TSMB has to fit a certain brief: usually minor chords, a tune that will fit into the modes used in eastern music. I’m a bit crap at lyrics, and don’t care for them, much, but the ones I write are on-topic: sad tales from what I call the Soviet Onion.

Issy: It tends to be a mixture of traditional tunes which myself and other members transcribe and arrange for the band and then originals in a similar style written mostly by Nick, but also Emily and Sarah (our trombone player). We have also brought in tunes and jammed/arranged them as a group.

Emily: They often come in fully arranged (as it’s easiest to approach writing for a band of this size with a certain degree of organisation), but do also evolve. When we’ve played with new percussionists they’ve sometimes added their own spin to an ‘old favourite’ tune and we end up with a totally different and fresh feel underpinning it which the rest of us will follow and develop.

What are your Heroes and Zeroes from music and beyond?

Nick: I have a lot of respect for people who stick their necks out to do something that goes against the grain. So in pop I like early Roxy Music and 1970s Bowie, from punk I was a big fan of early Adam and the Ants and The Clash. I’m a big fan of people like Lee Perry and Toots Hibbert (the most unique voice in reggae). Joni Mitchell is brilliant, an innovator, and without the ego of the other people from that whole sixties thing, a lot of which I hated – I love sixties pop. I’m a big Shangri-Las fan, too. I’ve liked most of what Bosnian bandleader Goran Bregovic has done, though part of his drive to create new music in the Balkans seems to have involved not crediting a lot of the original musicians. Filip Koutev, who brought lots of Bulgarian music to the fore, was amazing. I love Balkan music pioneers the Three Mustaphas Three. And I still love bands from what now seems like long ago, like The Monochrome Set and The Band of Holy Joy, still innovating after all this time.

Issy: I am a huge fan of ska and reggae, so probably one of my all-time favourite bands is the Specials. I generally admire people who try and say and do something with their music or art form, such as Pete Seeger.

Emily: In a similar vein, I respect artists who are innovative and original (Björk, Miles Davis, Prince, The Beach Boys). Having said that I can also appreciate the craftsmanship, if not the artistic vision, behind a well-produced pop song.

What is your current favourite music and influences? What do you think of the current music scene?

Nick: Being well over the age of anybody I would have listened to when I was young, I sort of don’t offer a strong opinion. Ha ha, but here’s one anyway: A lot of it seems very bland, X-Factor-type stuff, young people’s music paradoxically determined by old farts. Middle-aged parents seem to like the same music as their teenage kids, and I don’t think that’s ever good for culture in general. However, I’m sure that’s not the whole picture! The current bands I know and like are Vampire Weekend and Bastille – there, that’s their cred gone… I also think Imogen Heap is doing some interesting work.

Issy: Malian musicians such as Amadou and Mariam are great and I really love the guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. I think there is a massive schism between how the music scene is represented in the mainstream media and what is actually happening. I would say it is a really exciting time to discover music: whatever you think of it, the Internet has given us the ability to access music from around the world and the live music scene in London particularly, is incredibly diverse – on any night of the week you could probably see any style of music you wanted. I mean the fact that we, as a bunch of English people in London, play Balkan music, and people actually come and see us is amazing, and I think testament to the vitality and inclusivity of the current music scene.

Emily: I agree that a narrow range of music is hugely over-represented in the mainstream media. I think Issy is completely right about the diversity of interesting music available, if you just scratch the surface. In booking bands to play during our residency at Rich Mix we have tried to represent this and offer something to people that is outside of their usual listening habits – prog rock, Bollywood, folk, a funk band with 5 trombones – nothing is off limits! In terms of my current favourite music, I like Beirut a lot – they also heavily incorporate the Balkan brass sound and other ‘world’ musics – we play a Turkish song called Şiki Şiki Baba in the style that they covered it in.

You have collaborated with DJ Yoda, how did that come about and work out?


Nick: Rob Kelly, our percussionist and soundmeister at the time, wrote him a fan e-mail, almost, suggested we do a collaboration, and so it happened. (I make it sound easy; it took a lot of hard work from our bandleader Issy.)

Issy: We thought we were playing a gig that DJ Yoda was headlining and I had been quite a fan of his for many years (went to quite few of his early gigs when first arrived in London as a student). Down the pub after rehearsal I was talking to Rob about how awesome it would be to play a track with him and Rob said why not? So the next day he sent him an e-mail and he got back to us! It transpired he wasn’t actually playing the event (was the promoters’ mistake) but had listened to our stuff and was up for a collaboration. So we met up, chatted about some ideas and then jammed some in our next rehearsal. The initial process comprised of trying stuff out, recording it, seeing what worked until we pieced together a set.

What shows/events have you got planned for the near future?

Nick: We’ve been booked to play at a brass band festival in Paris, in the Champs de Mars, underneath the Eiffel Tower, which will be brilliant. Our residency at Shoreditch Rich Mix continues till July (middle Wednesday in the teenths each month) and on July 15th we have the Band of Holy Joy headlining. We haven’t played the Hootenanny for a year or so, and being back there will be great.

Issy: Also got some upcoming gigs in London (Hootananny and Magic Garden) as well as some festivals (Wilderness and Boomtown so far confirmed).

Are you involved with any other outside projects?

Nick: I’m working on a bunch of tunes for an imaginary eighties girl band called the Angri-Las as part of one of my writing projects. I also play in a Clash covers band – not so much ‘dad rock’ as ‘walking stick punk’.

Issy: Just started recently rehearsing with a group called Klezmer and Cake.

Emily: I play in a Mariachi band, as well as in various bands’ brass sections as and when the opportunities come up!

Nick: Various members of the band are professional musicians, and work on a variety of projects – percussionist Chris gets around playing everything from a full kit to a triangle, and Sarah, one of our trombonists, is running away to join the circus for a while and playing in the band, putting up tents and, possibly, some tiger / clown management.

How does the Media generally respond to you?

Nick: We are generally ignored. Does that sound bitter? I’m not sure that we mind! We got a bit of mainstream press coverage when we worked with DJ Yoda, though some of it was on the lines of ‘Yoda’s got this brass band in tow’, and mentions of us ‘wiggling, tooting and parping along’, as if we we’d been slotted in as an afterthought.

Issy: A certain famous daily newspaper has on numerous occasions got its facts wrong which is quite amusing, once described us a “Bavarian oompah band” and another saying we are from Russia! However we have had some lovely reviews, particularly memorable was the review the Times did of our WOMAD show (“But better than both was the  Trans-Siberian March Band, a 13-piece Balkan brass ensemble of flamboyantly dressed Londoners, who played a hugely entertaining collaborative show with the hip-hop turntable virtuoso DJ Yoda. Lively and witty, they proved to be perfect festival crowd-pleasers.”) and also a great review form the Arts Desk when we supported Mahala Rai Banda.

Emily: I would say that the reviews we have had have been generally very positive (particularly of our festival shows), but that the vast majority of the time they do get our name wrong (‘Trans-Siberian MarchING Band’).

Nick: Yes, the ‘-ing’ thing. On the one hand it’s not that big a deal, but on the other it’s slightly annoying if we’re working with people who can’t even pay THAT much attention. There was even a teeshirt printed after one series of gigs we took part in, with our name spelt wrong.

Is there anyone that you would dream to work with on a mini-project?

Nick: I think Imogen Heap would be perfect to work with; open to ideas and influences, and not afraid to be adventurous. I think we could do great things with almost any kind of act, but it’d have to be something we could contribute to, in the same way in which we worked with DJ Yoda – part of the main course, and not the watery side salad.

Issy: Quincy Jones or Nile Rodgers.

Emily: Open to suggestions. As well as mashing our tunes up with 90s hip hop, we have also been on stage with banjos and with Bollywood Brass Band, so I’m pretty confident we could make just about anything work. In fact we always enjoy as good challenge!

Please feel free to plug any of your recordings that may be for sale?

Our first CD The Tractor Makers’ Ball is a collection of originals and classic Balkan tunes, and is available as a CD or download. 

What does the future hold for you all?

Nick: We carefully plan all of our chaos: the ‘difficult second album’ has been recorded and will come out sometime this year; we have a load of gigs arranged up to the summer.

Can you tell us a joke please?

Emily: What cheese would you use to hide a small horse?

Nick and Issy: We don’t know. WHAT cheese would you use to hide a small horse?

Emily: Mascarpone! (# Total silence ensued for quite some time as did the sound of distant Church Bells)

Nick and Issy: Hmm, lucky we’re musicians, and not comedians…

Social Media and Web Links

transsiberianmarchband.com

twitter.com/transsibband

facebook.com/transsiberianmarchband

youtube.com/transsiberians

flickr.com/photos/

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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March 17, 2015 By : Category : Exotica Eyeplugs Folk Front page Interviews Post-punk Tags:, ,
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Showplug: Rayguns Look Real Enough@The Legion

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Showplugs

Rayguns Look Real Enough, the world’s greatest mash-up band. Comprised of two members Ray Gunn (Ryan Beange) and Luke Reel (Matt Blair). This unique double act gig across the country in the UK’s top Comedy and Cabaret venues and clubs. Recently shortlisted in the London Cabaret Awards and are preparing for their 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show – Hall Of Fame. “Insanely funny!” – This is Cabaret, “A huge hit!” – The Sun.

01. How did your band get together?

Ryan: Through the comedy circuit.

02. Where did your name come from?

Ryan: Sgt Al Powell in Die Hard
Matt: A wise man

03. Who were your major influences and inspirations?

Ryan: In the words of Matthew McConaughey – “Me in 10 years time”
Matt: Our music is not influenced by a 50 year old Matthew McConaughey

04. What drove you to make music together?

Ryan: The fear of a real job.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your shows?

Ryan: All the hits, some kickass guitar playing and a sparkly groin very close up in your face.
Matt: Also jokes.

06. Who writes your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Matt: We let other people write the songs. We just make them better.
Ryan: We just choose the best bits of the hits and make new songs with them. Because our music is mash-ups there aren’t always subject matters but we do have some themes like money.

07. How has your music evolved since you first began playing together?

Ryan: We use a wider selection of songs now, more complex harmonies and we try to look for comedy that we can bring out within the music.
Matt: Ryan definitely listens more metal since we started playing together.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as a band? How were you able to overcome this?

Ryan: The height of Luke Reels hair. It kept flopping over. We overcame it with silvikrin and a hairdryer.
Matt: It’s not a pre-show ritual I expected to have when I begun a music career.

09. Does the band play covers? If so, do you argue over the choice of songs? Who usually gets his own way?

Ryan: Ray Gunn will normally stamp his tiger feet and have a little diva fit when he doesn’t get his own way but normally it’s plain sailing.

10. What do you love and hate outside of music?

Ryan: Love: Palm trees, and fine wine. Hate: traffic jams and bad coffee
Matt: Love: Science-Fiction, Hate: Wasps

11. Who would you most like to record with?

Ryan: The Rolling Metallica Bowies.
Matt: Nice. I’d buy that album.

12. What should we be expecting from the band in the near future?

Ryan: A brand new Edinburgh show to blow your minds.
Matt: It’s called Hall of Fame and it will be at the Voodoo Rooms throughout August.

Rayguns Look Real Enough are playing @ the Royal British Legion in Swanage, Dorset on Sat the 29th of March

For more details & to purchase ticket go HERE!

Web links:

raygunslookrealenough.com
twitter.com/RealRaygun
facebook.com/pages/Rayguns-look-Real-Enough

Dave Showplug Taylor

Dave Showplug Taylor is owner of Showplug Promotions, a man who makes things happen, loves providing great affordable quality Events, Gigs, Shows, Comedy Plugs and great all around Entertainment. Works closely alongside Eyeplug Media and lives by the Sea with his Family. Loves the MC5 and Cold Beer.

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March 14, 2014 By : Category : Exotica Front page Humour Interviews Music Pop Showplug Tags:, , , , ,
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DozenQ – Neils Children

This entry is part 6 of 19 in the series DozenQ 4

Neils Children first formed in 1999 in the suburban home county of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. With early ties to the mod and 1960s scene in London, the group then went on to develop their sound and included post-punk, indie pop and noise rock influences. After a top 60 single, many European and Japanese tours, the group went on hiatus from 2010-2012. In 2012 the original lineup of John Linger, Brandon Jacobs and James Hair played a handful of intimate shows celebrating their early music. Shortly after the shows, and with James leaving to concentrate on other things, founding members Linger and Jacobs reconvened and started writing what would turn out to be 2013’s album ‘Dimly Lit’. Met with across the board critical acclaim, the album saw the band’s sound drastically reshaped; influence such as Broadcast and Sterolab made their mark on the band’s strong absorption of electronics and keyboards, whereas continental pop such as Serge Gainsbourg and various, faceless Italian soundtrack composers fed into making their new sound one of innovation and influence.

Recently returning to the studio, the new band lineup have recorded the new single ‘The Highs and Lows’, complete with a new, lysergic video featuring footage from the group’s recent French jaunt.

01 How did you first get started in music?

I first started playing guitar at 12, inspired to do so by a big love for The Jam and Nirvana. It wasn’t long after leaving school at 16 that I went to college to study music, which is where I met Brandon, our drummer and my best friend. We formed the band a few months into the course, and still have the same enthusiasm and energy for our music as we did then.

02 Where did your direction come from?

Initially we were very influenced by the more obscure end of the 1960s stuff; so lots of freakbeat and psych, garnered from various legendary compilations. When we started going to some of the more underground 1960s clubs, we started absorbing more and more of it, which applied with other influences throughout the years has developed into our sound.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Well, the influences change from year to year, but you could say that early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett are, and always have been, a huge element to the sound. Throughout the early 2000’s Gang of Four, PiL and a lot of underground post-punk were hugely influential. Those sounds are so much a part of what we do now, but we have been influenced by various other artists; Broadcast being a particularly strong influence alongside Gainsbourg and Silver Apples.

I think despise would be a strong word for me to use, now at least! But I don’t really understand or enjoy current pop music in general, there’s also a lot of dance music I don’t enjoy. The Travis/Coldplay end of the spectrum has always irked me too, as it’s middle of the road, and not in a good way.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

The most inspiring thing about it is how new the whole thing is… the new album was written and recorded within the space of a few months, we have a new lineup in the band, and we’re using new instruments and instrumentation… so the thing as a whole is inspiration enough.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

I think our shows are a lot more intense than our records, and I think it’s always been that way. We are a very good band at incorporating improvisation into our songs, which I think stems from the early Floyd influence. There’s always a lot of energy, as everyone is always putting in 100%.

06 How do you begin your song creation? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

Again, this is something that has changed over time. The songs were more personal at one point, but now are a little stream of consciousness which sounds a little pretentious but they are reigned in from being too nonsensical and abstract. Often themes will become apparent after the lyrics are written, which is always a nice surprise. Musically, again it has changed over the years. Often songs were written on a guitar in a pretty conventional way, but now more often than not they’re written on keyboards, which open up whole new possibilities. We’re more interested in textures and atmospheres than we were before, so we don’t try and cram too much in if the song is doing what we want in a sparse state.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

It’s evolved beyond all belief, especially for a band of our size without an income from music. I don’t think any of us sorta exist at any point without thinking about music. It’s that dedication that helps develops not only your sound, but your playing and writing. I love the fact that Punk influenced people to get up and play without really knowing how to, but if you’re going to have that mentality forever, then what’s the point?

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

The challenge that’s hardest is having day jobs and responsibilities and still trying to find the time and energy to do the band and the music justice. It’s easier if a label is funding it; giving you time to concentrate on music alone, but we don’t have that luxury at the moment. These things can be overcome, and they are, by hard work and dedication.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

We have done in the past, and more recently we recorded a Broadcast cover, to pay respect to the late Trish Keenan’s birthday, but I’m not sure covers are really something we’re considering at the moment. We have far too many originals to keep working on!

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

Making another Album hopefully! At the moment we have the space and equipment to record for little cost so, material permitting, I can’t see why we’d stop. I like the idea that Stereolab had; have a stream of constant high quality releases, instrumental E.P’s, tour E.P’s or whatever.

11 Who would you most like to record with?

I’d love to record with James Cargill from Broadcast, not only on a musical level, but his technical skills in the studio are apparent on loads of their stuff. Also, Tore Johannson, who produced the first three Cardigans albums. His engineering skills are unique and would work well with our sound.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

We’re currently recording our follow up to ‘Dimly Lit’… I’m hoping that by mid 2014 we should have that out. There’s a lot of good material floating around, lot’s of great concepts and ideas. It’s n exciting time!

 Weblinks

www.facebook.com/neilschildren
www.neilschildren.bandcamp.com
www.twitter.com/neilschildren
www.soundcloud.com/neilschildren

New single is available here:

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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November 18, 2013 By : Category : DozenQ Exotica Front page Indie Interviews Post-punk Tags:, , ,
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Cherry Red Album Reviews – June 2013 by Scenester

Serge Gainsbourg

sergeg

Intoxicated ManSerge Gainsbourg (El Double) CD ACMEMD2 46CD

Those generous folk at El Records and Cherry Red have got together to put out this excellent, highly affordable double CD of the early, pre-Jane Birkin years of Serge Gainsbourg’s work. If you’re already familiar with the louche Gallic troubadour, it’s a very neat, comprehensive package that would otherwise take much time, expense and aggravation to compile. If your only exposure to Serge’s work is the ever-so-naughty ‘Je t’aime’ which topped music charts all over the place in the late 60’s, you would do well to immerse yourself in this collection.  Four LPs, an EP, live tracks and covers by such luminaries as former muse Juliette Greco and bilingual British chanteuse Petula Clark all make this CD a pleasure, if sometimes a dark one.

Coming from a country that preferred Jazz to Rock and Roll, and staunchly held on to its ‘Chanson’ tradition in the face of the US/UK pop onslaught of the 50’s and 60’s, Serge was a misfit throughout his career, and his life. Starting out in the smoky Left Bank Jazz clubs, singing his tales of existential angst and forbidden love to an older audience of intellectuals does not seem the background of the pop behemoth he would later become. Pre- ‘Je t’aime’, Serge’s best known song was arguably the urgent, melancholy train ride of ‘Le Poinconneur des Lilas’ (the ticket-puncher), the opening track on ‘Du Chant A La Une!’(1958). Basically a showcase of Serge’s clubland versatility, standouts number Charleston Des Demenageurs De Piano’ (Piano-movers Charleston) looking back to the lively 20’s, musically at least, and the feline creep of ‘Du Jazz Dans Le Ravin’.

‘Serge Gainsbourg No 2’ (1959) opens with another classic of its type, ‘Le Claqueur De Doigts’ (finger-snapper), Serge muttering ’Juke-Box, Juke-Box’ to the ‘claques’, a sign that he wisely had one eye on the emerging coffee-bar culture of the young, even when hanging out on the Left Bank. As varied as ‘Du Chant A La Une!’, in amongst the infectious dance rhythm of ‘Mambo Miam Miam’ and the flippant kiss-off of ‘Adieu Creature’, ‘Jeunes Femmes et Vieux Messieurs’ (Young Women and Older Men)  appears, disguised in a jolly country-tinged tune. This subject would re-appear throughout Serge’s long career.

The ‘Romantique 60’ EP (1960) includes the irritatingly catchy ‘Cha Cha Cha Du Loup’ and the Joe Meek-like production of the declamatory ‘Judith’, complete with heavenly choir. The disc closes with ‘L’Etonnant Serge Gainsbourg’  (The Astonishing…) LP. The classic lament, ‘La Chanson De Prevert’ opens, and the LP has more US –style crooning, with ‘Le Rock de Nerval’ and ‘Le Sonnet D’Anvers’, and ‘Viva Villa’s cheerful flutes belying a song of human pursuit and bounty.

Disk 2 opens with ‘Serge Gainsbourg No 4’, a cooler affair with some wistful Jazz (Black Trombone) to accompany a tale of love and detachment, and Hammond fetishists will have a ball with title track ‘Intoxicated Man’ and ‘Requiem Pour un Twisteur’s stylings. Those of us who wish we had a time machine have no need to fantasise, as we are also offered a live recording of Serge at ‘Theatre Des 3 Baudets’, (1958) sweet melodies accompanying scandalous tales of mad love, the disappointments of serial seduction and the matter of fact treatment of polysexual trysts. This isn’t the Hogmanay Show.

A taste of Serge’s varied film soundtrack work is collected here, including ‘L’Eau A La Bouche’(Water in the Mouth) and ‘Les Loups Dans La Bergerie’ (Wolves in the Sheep-Fold) and ‘Week-end En Mer’ (…by the sea). Proving that Serge had as much a feel for mood music as he had for deft lyrics, they may leave you with a desire to track down the films for the music alone. Juliette Greco’s brandy and granite voice works particularly well on the affecting ‘Valse de L’au-revoir (Goodbye Waltz)

Covers of Serge’s work make up the rest of this CD, including terrific close harmony and timekeeping by Les Frères Jacques on ‘Le Poinconneur Des Lilas’ more sepulchral tales interpreted by Juliette Greco, and Petula Clark’s handling of an affectionate romp ‘Vilaine Fille, Mauvais Garcon’(Naughty Girl, Bad Boy).

Something of a marathon at 66 tracks, this disc is well worth the time investment whether you’re a confirmed Gainsbourgian or just plain curious.
What language barrier? Buy HERE!

The Winkies

winkies

The Winkies (Lemon Records) CDLEM 215

Turning up just in time for the UK’s Pub Rock scene of the mid 70’s, treading the same boards as bands like Brinsley Schwarz and Dr Feelgood, The Winkies are barely a footnote in the history of rock. Originally released by Chrysalis, this reissued LP inadvertently goes some way to explaining why.

Pub Rock, some would argue, was the true ancestor of Punk, it’s hard, uncompromising attitude to the live, ballsy experience of rock and roll music would see off many of the old fashioned plodders who played it safe with one limb in rock and others in folk, blues or country.

Much of ‘The Winkies’ has the feel of an LP released in 1970, rather than the 1975 it copyright mark attests. A strong driving rock opener (‘Trust in Dick’) is followed by some of the stodgiest blues-rock (‘Long Song Comin’), weakest folksy strumming (‘Mailman’) and weediest crooning (‘Put Out the Light’) I’ve ever heard. Only when we get to ‘Davey’s Blowtorch’ do we hear any of the promise shown by ‘Trust in Dick’. ‘North To Alaska’ and ‘Red Dog’ would have sounded hokey even in 1970, but somehow were included in an LP that Chrysalis felt could do battle with the likes of Bad Company.

Even Guy Stevens’ production can’t save it, and their later semi-fame as backing band for Brian Eno’s only tour is a curiosity best left to collectors of such fare.
Buy HERE!

Scenester

Scenester lives in London and Brighton, as time allows. Enjoys music, film, television, books, design and anything else which won’t leave well alone. Old enough to know better.

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June 16, 2015 By : Category : Exotica Front page Music Reviews Rock Tags:, , , , ,
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DozenQ – Franka de Mille

This entry is part 18 of 20 in the series DozenQ 2

Franka De Mille is a London singer, songwriter. Her debut album ‘Bridge The Roads’ has already received critical acclaim and extensive airplay all over the world. Emotionally raw, truly original and with sophisticated arrangements Franka De Mille’s music has an elegant blend of Americana, Chamber music and Alternative folk.

01 How did you get started in music?

I have written songs since I was a kid. Music was a means of escape and a way to be heard at home. I sang all the time and melodies and themes always came naturally to me. My parents were both ardent music lovers, especially my father who had a vast and eclectic record collection, ranging from classical music to rock, pop and world music (in particular South American and Irish music. I was surrounded by music and was sent to singing lessons, choir practice and the obligatory recorder lessons. My appreciation of classical music also came from many years of ballet lessons and then jazz dance lessons made me understand jazz music a little deeper. When you dance you are in symbiosis with the music and you listen very closely. It really develops your ear.

A beautiful animation that was made about me retraces some of my musical steps. It was made in support of the BPI’s (British Phonographic Industry’s) campaign against music piracy ‘Why music matters’. Here is the link on youtube

02 Where did your direction come from?

I always liked artists with substance, those with something to say, emotionally or politically; honest music that comes from the heart. I also tend to get inspired by melodic music with lush, elegant, varied arrangements with as many instruments as possible. I like to be challenged and provoked more than entertained.

03 Who were your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

I have such broad musical influences from Elvis to Mariachi music, classical music to The Clash, world music to jazz. The artists that I would single out as inspirations, rather than influences, are Patti Smith, Rickie Lee Jones, Joe Jackson, Kate Bush, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Tom Waits, Pink Floyd, Supertramp
(I don’t care if it’s not cool;-), Tom Petty, Bach, Chopin, Mozart, Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Prokofiev (and many classical composers), Rene Aubry, J.J Cale, Led Zeppelin and so many more… the list is huge.

I don’t really despise any artists as such and agree with a friend of mine who has a saying: “Hate ain’t great, so if it is all you’ve got, shut the f*** up!” Any music that promotes hatred against anyone because of their gender, race or sexuality goes against all that I stand for.

04 What inspires you to make your current type of songs and sound?

Sorrow. Regrets. Remorse. People. The need for redemption or to find inner peace. I am bound by an artistic temperament; music is my favourite form of expression and the most accurate, if I don’t create, I get a bit unbalanced and sometimes gloomy.

05 What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows then & possibly even now?

I have a 6 piece band so, firstly a very big sound. The personal narrative in my songs makes my performances more conspirational. I draw the audience into my darkness and drive them back into the light again. So you can expect a lot of intensity and a highly emotional ride. I like to have a poignant complicity with
the audience.

06 How do you begin your songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

There is rarely a conscious thought of ‘I’m going to write a song’, each one comes in a moment of inspiration, a stream of consciousness and even if that moment only generates the germ of a song, it is enough for me to build on. It usually starts with the music and arrangements which I chew on, sometimes for many months, until the theme and lyrics pour in. In essence they are the actualization of what lays in my subconscious; issues that need to be addressed, events that have marked me, things that are knocking on the door and need to be let out.

07 How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

There is a natural progression with the improvement of songwriting and arranging skills. “Bridge The Roads” took 2 years in the making and I hadn’t made music for many years before that. I threw myself in at the deep end. I’ve had to learn other skills too, like sound engineering, mixing, producing etc…I have learnt a lot! The next album will be even better. I understand more about the process and I am much more confident and relaxed about writing and producing.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

The most challenging part of making a record has been managing all the people involved, keeping everyone happy, making sure not to offend their sensibilities while trying to achieve my vision. I had to do a lot of soul searching and seek the counsel of wiser older friends.

09 Do you play covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

I don’t usually play covers but did sneak Tom Petty’s ‘Won’t back down’, (one of my favourite songs), into my set at The Water Rats. It has great energy, great lyrics and is so enjoyable to sing! I also recorded a cover of an old Mexican song, in Spanish, La Martiniana which is on my Soundcloud page. Although I am not Spanish, Mexican or secret member of a Mariachi band, I wanted to do that song for a long time. I collaborated on it with guitarist Kevin Armstrong, who has worked with David Bowie, Morrissey, Iggy Pop and many others and Antonia Pagulatos on violin, who has worked with Lou Rhodes, Tom Jones, Damon Albarn to name a few.

I was a reluctant to do covers for a long time as I feel more comfortable singing my own material but I am warming to the idea. It’s quite fun. I am looking into doing more covers in the future.

10 Where did you envisage being in five years time?

I can’t see that far ahead but, in an ideal world, I’d be on a beach somewhere or composing music on a terrace looking out to sea, working on another album. My schedules are based around single and album releases. My musical future is changing all the time so… who knows?

11 Who would you most like to record with?

Dave Gilmour.

12 What should we be expecting from you in the near future?

A second album.

Web Links:
frankademille.com
facebook.com/Franka-De-Mille
twitter.com/fdmlle
myspace.com/frankademille
youtube.com/user/FrankaDeMille

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Exotica Folk Front page Interviews Music Tags:, ,
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The Bees chat to Eyeplug.net

Some nice older BEES footage in Ventnor IOW.

The Bees from Ventnor, Isle of Wight, UK, have so far released four albums: 2002’s Mercury Prize-nominated Sunshine Hit Me (which was acclaimed by critics for being recorded in frontman Paul Butler’s own garden shed), its 2004 major label follow-up Free the Bees (which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios), and 2007’s Octopus. Their fourth album, Every Step’s A Yes, was released on 11 October 2010.

The first two albums featured songs that have been used in British television advertisements, which are partially responsible for the band’s recognition: Sunshine Hit Me’s “A Minha Menina”, a cover of an Os Mutantes track, appeared in a Citroën car commercial and also an advert for Magners Irish Cider, whilst “Chicken Payback” and “Wash in the Rain”, both from Free the Bees, were incorporated in adverts for Sure Deodorant for Men and Sainsbury’s, respectively. The official video for “Chicken Payback” featured the band in an arcade-type dance game slot-machine in a Japanese video arcade. The lead character, apparently a rock and roll dance diva, dances so quickly that his shoes catch fire. The song was used in a 60-second flagship advert produced by Karmarama commissioned by Age UK to launch the charity’s 2011 “Thank You” campaign. It was performed by 81-year old Joy Graham[1] accompanied by a Jazz Orchestra and was directed by BAFTA winning director Becky Martin of Channel 4 sitcom “Peep Show”.

The Bees supported Oasis in 2005, and Madness in December 2007 during their Christmas tour, and supported Paul Weller in the UK on selected dates of his “Winter Arena Tour”. In 2010, The Bees performed a set for The Sun, covering “We Speak No Americano” and playing songs from their album, Every Step’s A Yes. Paul Butler appeared on stage at the Glastonbury Festival in 2010 with Devendra Banhart, after performing two sets of their own. In 2011, The Bees supported Fleet Foxes on their UK tour. One of the influences the Bees have cited is the mind-altering drink called ayahuasca. Butler came to drink this plant medicine with shamans in Peru after being introduced to it by Banhart. “The whole thing has brought a lot of joy into my life. I think this kind of cleansing helps with your natural rhythm. Everyone has a song within them or a rhythm that is individual and personal only to you … and this kind of activity unlocks that.”

01 How did The Bees get started at the very very beginning?

The Bees formed in 1999 in a garden shed after about 5 years of releasing under the name of Pnu Riff and The Exploding thumbs on the underground label Hoilistic Records. There was a major swing in our sound and song writing , we’d spent most of our teens making tripped out electronica, rare groove inspired and world music fused sounds. It was the warm up for The Bees.

02 Where does your direction and inspiration come from?

We are heavily inspired by alot of different genres and their techniques, also by performance in the studio. We’ve spent periods absorbing styles from across the world of music from different decades. Total absorption has been essential. Seeking out timeless music that hits the button is the quest.

03 Who ware your major influences and passions and who do you despise?

The first major inspiration for us was Aphex Twin. He inspired us to delve into making music for purely for fun. It then became James Brown, then Fela Kuti, then John Barrry, then the Beach Boys, then Jamaican Roots… These were all initially the back bone of what forms our influence, everything else has branched out from there. I don’t really like Rizzle Kicks.. ha ha!

04 What current projects are you involved with?

Paul produced Michael Kiwanuka’s album, that project is going well. There’s some other exciting projects in the pipeline.

05 What can someone who has never read or seen your work before expect and how may this change in the future?

We cover a broad range of music on our records. Its a melting pot sound. Its juice.

06 How do you begin your Songs? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with? Is there anything that you feel you would steer clear of?

The songs are born from the desire to make a timeless one. Thats always been my goal to create a song that will live on for ever more on the radio. I wouldn’t say we’ve got there yet. So we’re keep keeping on… I never want to follow a format and being creative is the best thing in the world to me. The environment is a massive inspiration for a song starter and then i love to work with metaphors, which always opens it up from there. I steer clear of being lame!

07 Does your personal world view tend to shape your work and if so how do you include this into your finished pieces?

Yes this happens. We’re doing it for ourselves firstly any way, thats the beauty of being creative. We’re not ego driven at all. The music is smothered in our views.

08 What has been your biggest challenge? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

Getting the notes and words in the right order! Its great when you don’t have to think about it. Thats the trick.

09 Do you feel the British Media in all its forms needs a shake up?

Shake it up! (Editor says: Well one tries old bean!)

10 Tell us about your work as the Bees Sound System?

The Bees Sound Selection is what we do when we go and play records. We try to cover what we love and what moves you.

11 I believe you have built a rather special Studio in Ventnor, Isle of Wight? Please tell us more? Can folks hire you/it?

Our studio is very important to us, we’ve always invested in it and have always produced ourselves in our own spaces, apart from Free The Bees which we did in Studio 2 at Abbey Road. Which was amazing!! Our studio is in the process of being moved at the current time. Its not for hire unless we’re not in there for a period – which is rare.

12 We are almost neighbours, can we come around for Tea one day with our Video camera and talk about great old records?

Yeah, we can sort that out no probs 🙂

13 Talk us through your records to date and what the new LP may sound like?

The new album is on track, we’ve held a number of sessions for it and its shaping up nicely. We’re trying to keep it quiet on what it sounds like, as it always changes and you never know how its going to really be. We want to surprise our selves this time too!

14 Who would you most like to work with and in what capacity? Any heroes and zeroes?

I’d like record with Aphex Twin.

15 How have you included much modern technology into your working methods and finished works?

We use a computer to record to , the 2″ tape machine was a ball ache to keep going.

16 Tell us about your passion for the Isle of Wight?

Nice place – its the world to us.

17 Does living so near the Sea shape your sound in anyway?

It helps alot.

18 What special instruments do you add into your often unique sounds and songs?

The sitar featured heavily on the last album… umm i just got a Pixiephone, which is lovely!

19 You have been taking it easy with the live shows this past year or so, any reason for this?

The dynamic of the group has changed a little, we’ve had babies and moved away and are working on other projects too. We will have much more of a live schedule when the next record is complete. (congrats with the new arrivals folks!)

20 What next for The Bees?

Good question!

Members

  • Paul Butler – lead vocals, guitar, piano, clarinet, mandolin, drums, various Percussion instruments
  • Aaron Fletcher – bass guitar, guitar, piano, drums, percussion, lyrics, vocals
  • Tom Gardner – drums, bass guitar
  • Tim Parkin – bass guitar, piano, rhodes, percussion, vocals
  • Warren Hampshire – hammond organ, celesta, acoustic guitar, percussion, jaw harp, vocals
  • Kris Birkin – guitar, vocals
  • John McMullan – guitar
  • Michael Clevett – drums, percussion, bass, Hammond, vocals
  • Darren Pink – mellotron

Discography

Studio albums

  • Sunshine Hit Me (25 March 2002; We Love You (UK) / Astralwerks (US)
  • Free The Bees (17 August 2004; Virgin (UK) / Astralwerks (US) – UK No. 26[5]
  • Octopus (26 March 2007; Virgin (UK)/Astralwerks (US) – UK No. 26
  • Every Step’s A Yes (11 October 2010; Fiction Records (UK) – UK No. 64

Re-release

  • Every Step’s A Yes – Deluxe Version (30 May 2011)(iTunes exclusive)

Compilation albums

  • The Bees Present: The Sound Selection (2008)

EPs

  • You Got to Leave EP: “You Got to Leave” / “Elain” / “Whistle Chop” / “Jackel Head” (March 2002)
  • “Listening Man EP”: Listening Man (Radio Edit) / Not Fade Away (Buddy Holly cover) / I Still Got Your Number / Listening Man (Album Version) (2007)

Singles

From Sunshine Hit Me

  • “No Trophy” (7″ only release, January 2001)
  • “Punchbag” (June 2001)
  • “A Minha Menina” (June 2002)

From Free The Bees

  • “Wash In The Rain” (April 2004) – UK No. 31
  • “Horsemen” (June 2004) – UK No. 41
  • “One Glass Of Water” (7″ and download-only release, October 2004)
  • “Chicken Payback” (April 2005) – UK No. 28

From Octopus

  • “Left Foot Stepdown” (download-only release, November 2006)
  • “Who Cares What The Question Is?” (March 2007) – UK No. 53
  • “Listening Man” (June 2007) – UK No. 91
  • “(This Is For The) Better Days (Ashley Beedle Remix) (Available as download through ‘www.thebees.info’, 2008)

From The Bees Present ‘The Sound Selection’

  • “Papa Echo” (UK download-only release, July 2008)/ (US Split 7″ with Mother Hips, 2008)

From Every Step’s A Yes

  • “Silver Line” (July 2010)
  • “I Really Need Love” (October 2010)
  • “Winter Rose” (December 2010)

Digital Only Release

  • “Go Where You Wanna Go” (February 2011)(As used in UK ‘Travelodge’ TV advert)

Collaborations

  • “Off The Lip” (Aspects and The Bees, August 2004)
  • “Bill Murray” (Gorillaz and The Bees, 2005)

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Articles Exotica Features Folk Front page Garage Indie Interviews Music Picks Tags:, ,
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DozenQ – Rob Johnson

This entry is part 13 of 20 in the series DozenQ

Rob Johnson is a guitarist  and musician from London, who has spent the last few years making instrumental film soundtrack (esque) instrumental albums. Heavily inspired by a wide array of influences, Rob was initially inspired to make a ‘Tubular Bells’ like record for the 21st century after his previous band ended and there was nowhere to house the new demos he had made for that project. He went on to make his debut album ‘Upon a Painted Ocean’ that was released to a little critical acclaim in 2009.
In 2012 he has returned with the follow up, the ambitious ‘Throw The Sun Into The Sea’ which comes in the form of a visual album, as Rob has gone further this time, pursuing another of his loves – film making. Consequently this album comes complete with 10 short films to accompany the music, dealing with themes of heartbreak juxtaposed with a (possible?) alien invasion… Your average instrumental album this is not.

01. What are your earliest memories of music?

I can’t remember anything specific, but I have vague memories of hearing music in my Dad’s car when he would take us places – things like Mike Oldfield and The Police that have remained massive influences on me to this day. Steeleye Span and Clannad not so much…

02. Do you come from a musical family at all?

My mum used to be a music teacher so she taught me some chords on the guitar when I was very young. My brothers and sister are all musical as well (drums, trumpet, flute, singing), so it definitely runs in the family.

03. Who are your major influences and inspirations and who do you despise?

Right now, Peter Gabriel is my biggest influence. Both in terms of music but also the variety of projects he has worked on and the quality he has maintained throughout his career. He is an artist I aspire to be like. In terms of biggest influences on my guitar playing style – it all comes from literally hours of playing along to my favourite albums and almost religiously studying the guitarists of those bands. People like John Frusciante, Tom Morello and Mike Einziger – those are my 3 biggest guitar influences.

I think the music you listen to when you’re growing up and the penny drops and you start actually discovering the music you like instead of what everyone else is listening to is massively important, and for me it changed who I was and everything I wanted to be.

So when I first heard Rage Against The Machine, or the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus, it kind of blew my mind you know. The first time I saw the Chili Peppers live, I was 16 and it literally changed my life. I saw John Fruscicante playing and literally thought – that is what I want to do. I still love all those bands very dearly and their music has helped me throughout all aspects of my life.

I despise… Maybe bands or artists who seemingly have not worked hard to get where they are, or manufactured bands producing music that is very obvious. A lot of what is played on the radio – whilst the majority is very good and you can understand why it is being played, sometimes you hear a song and it’s just like – ‘are you serious?!’ Those acts I’m not too fond of.

04. What drives you to make music in the way that you do today?

I am a creative person so to have this outlet is in many ways a joy. I have a way in which I can communicate my view of the world to the rest of the world. (Whether or not they choose to listen is another matter entirely… )

At the same time I do feel like I am pursuing something with the sound and ambition of the projects that has the potential to be unique and groundbreaking. I feel like I am finding new ways to make interesting sounds on the guitar and I think I have something to say that hasn’t been said before. If I didn’t I wouldn’t do it. And you have to have this kind of self belief because it is not easy, and without it I would not be able to pursue it, because it is madness. I just have a general feeling that this is what I am best at in my life and that I should pursue it no matter what. Time will tell whether or not this was a naive assumption.

05. What can someone who has never seen you live before expect from your live shows?

Fire. Danger. Dancing girls. Guitar theatrics and classic comedy. In that order.

06. What is your song crafting process? What types of themes and subjects do you deal with?

I am pretty much always writing, however 95% of this will be stuff that I never use, but what I am doing subconsciously is learning what sounds good where, what works and what doesn’t etc. Then every so often I’ll hit a few notes in an interesting or different way and then I’ll know instantly that that is an idea I need to pursue. So straightaway I’ll record it just into my iphone or whatever so it’s not lost in the ether. Then I will keep playing, crafting and chipping away until a song emerges. The process can be sometimes very quick or sometimes very slow. There is now rhyme or reason to it. It’s never the same but it is that constant search that keeps me going. It’s basically like a big jigsaw; working out what needs to go where, and sometimes when you can connect a new part you’ve just come up with to an idea you’ve had for years it’s the best thing ever. Like it was always meant to be or something. It’s basically like connecting the dots.

07. How did your music evolved since you first began playing?

It’s become more structured I suppose. I mean it always was, but at the start I think you follow a very rigid verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, chorus, chorus structure and nowawdays my songs are not at all like that. Some are very simple and come are very complicated structure wise. I think in general it has just evolved across the board – notes, chords, time signatures, musicality, ambition – as my understanding of the guitar and music in general has grown.

08. What has been your biggest challenge as an artist? Were you been able to overcome this? If so, how?

The biggest challenge I have as an artist (in my opinion) is that the music I make is instrumental. Therefore it is immediately harder for an audience to find, take on and appreciate because there are no words. However, I also feel that some of the most famous and well known music we all know is instrumental so from that respect it doesn’t bother me. But I do think that these challenges that come from being different and out there and not having words while they are at times overwhelming and daunting, they also give me enough ambition to try and overcome people’s pre conceived notions about instrumental music and what an instrumental album will be and sound like.

09. Do you play any covers? If you could pick any song, which would you like to cover most and why?

I don’t live, but I do in private and am always toying with the idea. I worked out a version of ‘Breakin a Sweat’ by Skrillex recently that I think worked pretty well… If I could pick any song I’d probably choose Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel. I think that’s just a genius genius song. I don’t think I could play it in public though as I don’t think anything could even come close to the original. Although the best cover I think I’ve ever heard is the Ryan Adams cover of Wonderwall – which you’d think would be an untouchable song to try and cover but he did a amazing job. Also Hurt by Johnny Cash. You listen to a song you’ve heard a million times and you know ever lyric and they make it sound brand new. Incredible.

10. Where did you envisage yourself being in five years time?

Hopefully scoring movies, with a couple more albums on my shelf.

11. Who would you most like to record with?

Red Hot Chili Peppers. I am inspired by their music and think they have an incredible work ethic. I’d love to jam with them – Josh Klinghoffer is basically living my dream right now.

12. What should we be expecting from you in the near future? Please feel free to plug your Album?

I’ve just released a new album called Throw The Sun Into The Sea, and it comes with a short film for every song. You can check it all out on this site www.throwthesun.com. If you like instrumental music, music in general or sunshine then you should go check it out. It might just be right up your street. I’ll be out and about playing gigs across London and further afield to promote it. So that is my focus for right now. I’m always working on new songs but I have just spent literally 9 months on Throw The Sun, so now I need a little creative break before I attempt my next project – but I have a few ideas in mind…

Links:
Website: www.robjohnsonmusic.com
Music: www.throwthesun.com
Rob Johnson on Facebook

admin

Boo Eyeplug acts as webmaster/designer for the Eyeplug site. Not the most social of creatures and with several personality issues, and rather exotic, eccentric tastes for obscure ‘cultish’ stuff which makes his ramblings seem even more sweetly abstract and often annoying.

More Posts - Website

June 5, 2015 By : Category : DozenQ Exotica Front page Interviews Tags:, , ,
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