Saturday, 26 March 2011
Sorry for the length of time in between posts this last couple of weeks, I've been out of the country for the last few days and unable to get online. However Gruff Trade is very proud to return with:
The first of a series of interviews coming from Gruff Trade, we had the chance to catch up with the 'loud mouth' at the centre of Blessing Force: Pet Moon. Having dismantled his first project Youthmovies, the one time Foals member gave us a run through of his influences, opinions on the blossoming Oxford music scene, as well as cutting through the media hype and explaining what Blessing Force actually is
Where did you get the name Pet Moon from?
I wanted something without dogma, morals or baggage, something that I could make my own. I guess to make a world of my sense rather than taking a sense from the world. I own it, I can be whoever or whatever I want - making the name meaningful is the job of the music and that’s important to me.
Who/or what would you see as the greatest influence on your music?
Everything in someway. I’m inspired by people who beat their own path regardless of the nettles. Mostly I think I just have a need to leave evidence that I’ve done something with my time - “time is the fire in which we all burn”, some poet said that.
Are there any influences that would take people by surprise? a guilty pleasure?
Maybe there are, I don’t know; I don’t feel guilty about anything that I find pleasurable so it’s hard for me to quantify. Guilty pleasures are this weird crutch in the psyche of indie kids, as if they think irony is better (or leaves them less vulnerable to attack) than being genuine. I think you should like what you like and that’s that, all the rest is just posturing and second guessing peoples expectations. I find it really repellent when people talk about things being shit when the fact of the matter is that they just don’t like it, a lot of people are so egotistical that they can’t see the definition. It's that kind of snobbish discourse that puts a lot of people of less mainstream music.
How do you see your music as influencing your poetry, or visa versa?
It’s all part of the same impulse. Also a lot of what I’ve written to date has been informed by my time in youthmovies so there’s a topical correlation, I guess.
How would you compare your new material to that of your earlier band youthmovies?
I feel like it’s similar in that it shares a sensibility, to not stand still and to try not to replicate. It’s pretty different from youthmovies, it’s mostly electronic for one, but it has just as little concern for genre and all that bullshit.
You've developed some pretty interesting recording methods, including recording your voice underwater, what inspired you into doing this?
It’s the kind of thing that I’ve always wanted to do, but recording a full band in a studio on a small budget doesn’t give you loads of time to experiment. Being on my own and recording from home has freed me up. I didn’t want making electronic music to mean downloading sample banks and using factory sounds. I’m using the underwater stuff for kit and bass sounds.
You are seen as the architect of Blessing Force, how would you best describe it, what exactly does it mean?
I’m no architect, I’m a loud mouth, so I suppose that’s where that perception comes from. It’s funny, people have been quite cynical about it, I think there’s an assumption that it’s more than it is, or rather that we think it’s more than it is. Some of the press surrounding it’s inception made it seem pretty ostentatious - it is a platform to announce yourself, it’s certainly not one on which to congratulate yourself though. There’s still a massive distance for the bands involved to go; it’s not about being big, or getting big, or generating press (though that has been an unexpected, maybe premature, but not unwelcome side effect); it’s about finding a space amongst people you respect musically or artistically and using their drive, knowledge, support and resources to drive, teach, support and enable you. It’s an ever growing co-operative of bands and artists who to whatever extent see the benefit in self-industrialising and want to celebrate each others output. I’m not saying it’s totally altruistic or anything, it’s an ideal. The most positive aspects for me have been the type of shows it’s enabled us to do, we now have ties with art galleries and the like that would never have been possible without visual artists being involved, and vice versa there world is able to cross over into a more traditional gig set-up (like the BF1 event) where you they have access to a potentially non-art crowd who in all honesty the artists probably have more in common with, it’s really enriched being in a band for me.
Who do you see as the greatest talent emerging from Oxford at the moment?
The exciting thing about Oxford right now is that there’s no one greatest talent. It feels like a dilating scene, ambitious and varied, more and more light’s getting in. Chad Valley, Glass Animals and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs are all making brilliant electronic music; you’ve got some really beautiful song craft coming out of Jonquil, King of Cats, Rhosyn, Trophy Wife, Fixers and Ute; the ODC drumline workshops and collaborations have got me really excited, it was so satisfying watching four drummers at the warehouse show, and their spirit for collaboration exemplifies what’s ideal about Oxford at the moment, the community’s rich, resourceful and on the whole respectful. There are still so many bands I’m yet to see that I’m looking forward to. I caught acoustic sets from Richard Walters and Little Fish yesterday at Oxfork who were both really strong at what they do. If I were to pick one thing I’m personally really stoked about it’s ‘Solid Gold Dragons’ going live. Sam played brass and keys in my last band, his approach and ability is an inspiration. He’s one of the most likable and talented people I’ve met. I’ve listened to a lot of the recordings and they such a perfect representation of everything that’s good about him.
And finally, when are you next planning on heading out on tour/ are you playing any festivals this summer?
I’m aiming for tour and some releases in September/October. I’m mostly recording over the summer, and revising the live plan, getting extra feet. The only festival I’m playing this year is Truck, where I’m curating a Blessing Force stage. Otherwise I reckon it’ll just be house parties over the summer, I’m going to take my summer back - I don’t want to spend it in clubs. When summers done, my shit will be pinned and I’ll head out.
Check him out at HERE
Thursday, 24 March 2011
The Spring Offensive, are one (perhaps better known) part of what seems to a never ending stream of brilliant music flowing out of Oxford over the past couple of years. Whilst not part of the Blessing Force movement which has so successfully revitalised Oxfords music scene, The Spring Offensive look set to continue making ever increasing splashes over the coming months. Hope you enjoy.
I Found Myself Smiling by springoffensive
I Found Myself Smiling by springoffensive
Monday, 21 March 2011
Sur la planche is a wonderful number from the French Lo-Fi merchants, a lovely track to kick start your week with, even if it is a small departure from the usual mellow monday.
Hope you Enjoy
La Femme - Sur La Planche by Gruff Trade
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Making the blogasphere light up the past few months, Zoo Kid is one of the most sought after unsigned acts in the UK, and listening to the tracks he has already unleashed on to the world its not hard to understand why. We havent been so impressed by something so minimal in such a long time. Out Getting Ribs has stormed its may to the top of my favourite tracks of the near so far (even if it did first appear at the tail end of last year), go out and listen to any Zoo Kid you can find its all brilliant. Its impossible to understand how someone this young could be so talented.
Check out the brilliant video to Out Getting Ribs bellow and/or grab a track. Hope you enjoy.
Zoo Kid - Ocean Bed by Gruff Trade
Monday, 14 March 2011
Merry Monday. As summer draws ever nearer, with it's longer days, and promises of all the glorious weather we can only hope will arrive sooner than later, our attention turns from the gloom of Autumn and the Winter months and sets it's focus once more on the delights of spring, and the summer to follow.
On that rambling note, I present to you The Spring Standard (how very apt a name), and their glorious track Queen of the Lot. A track that seems both upbeat, yet fittingly mellow for a monday.
Grab a listen and a download bellow. Hope you enjoy.
Download it here - Right click and save.
Wednesday, 9 March 2011
The Naturals are a Bristol based band, the kind of cool kids that hang out at Thekla on a Monday... ironically. But really, they're brilliant, and so young its sickening and delighting simultaneously. Breaking a minor Gruff rule, this is a remix but when you hear it you will understand I had little choice in the matter. S.U.M is lovely; acoustic and calm in a progressive, structured kind of way. The track has an epiphany towards the end that suits the hopeful sunshine today.
They're at the Louisiana in Bristol on 24th March and they're definitely worth checking out. And if the bassist looks familiar, yes, he was Wolfie in Tracy Beaker.
Couldn't find a download for you, so for now you will have to make do with a stream.
Hope you enjoy.
Friday, 4 March 2011
Its a pretty random selection of tracks for you this month, it's what's been blasting through our radio for the last couple of weeks, and the bands we are hoping to hear more from over the coming moths. Its got a somewhat mellow feeling to it, but has a number of complete gems hidden away in there. Hope you enjoy.
- Grab it here -
Thursday, 3 March 2011
A touch late but the mixtape for March is on it's way and will be getting unleashed on the web later this evening or tomorrow, been caught up in a hectic mid-term storm at the moment so havent been able to get the track listing completely sorted yet. It will be worth the wait i assure you.
Until the moment of it's arrival I hope this Australian four piece will keep waiting on baited breath. Off their debute album Escapades released toward the tail end of last year this a nice short sharp track that is sure to get you in a pleasant summery mood.
Hungry Kids of Hungary - Wristwatch by Gruff Trade