Wednesday, 29 June 2011
With an account of our summer plans put to rest, we are delighted to introduce you to the amazing Born Blonde, Hope you enjoy.
Solar by bornblonde
Friday, 24 June 2011
Truck Festival, which started in 1998, has now grown to become one the UK 's most reputed and documented small festivals. Is there any particular aspect of the weekend that you can attribute this to?
- the passion for the music of all involved, and the family feel of the event. You feel like you're coming to a large family party, or a village fete with amazing bands. Steventon is a very welcoming village and there are always a great many of our family members and villagers involved with the event, whether working on the gate or playing on stage...
This year's line up contains debatably the most celebrated set of artists to appear at Truck, who are you most excited about seeing playing the festival?
- I'm looking forward to singing along to 'Helpless' with the Duke & the King, if they do it. Or bouncing up and down to The Go! Team, if I've had a cider. I could go on..
The festival has, despite bringing in a number of big acts from elsewhere, always had a big focus on giving local bands a chance to play. How important is this to the spirit of Truck and indeed, the musical quality?
- we're lucky in that there are so many quality bands in Oxford, though Truck is now one of the things that draws musical types to the city. Radiohead really put it on the map, and Oxford's small enough that you can get to know everyone. In terms of the spirit, you get the feeling that you're on the national stage, and showing off what the local area can do: we can cut it with London and Manchester!
Which local, upcoming bands do you see as the future of Oxfordshire's music scene?
- I have no idea. It's just whoever can keep going and keep the flame alive. The Blessing Force scene has gathered a lot of deserved attention, then here are artists like Richard Walters and Charly Coombes who played at Truck 98 and are only now getting the attention they deserve, and every month a new great band to keep up with.
Recently the Truck Record Store has opened on the Cowley Road despite the well documented plights of independent music retailers around the UK. Do you believe the shop can be a success?
- it's already holding its own. It has a great selection that you won't find in the high street or in a supermarket, including many of the artists playing the festival. The staff are passionate about music and will recommend you something new. We've been selling lots of vinyl and there are some great new releases and classic reissues out at the moment.
Finally, where do you picture Truck Festival in 5 years time?
Thursday, 9 June 2011
Whilst out at Dot-To-Dot festival in Manchester, Gruff Trade was lucky enough to catch up with all three members one of our favorite up and coming acts of the last couple of years, Trophy Wife. Despite some slightly offputting roadie flatulence we managed to get some decent stuff from the band themselves.
So how have you found the first two legs of Dot to Dot?
We had a amazing time playing at Thekla in Bristol, it's a club on a boat so it's pretty cool playing underwater. The crowd were amazing, same as last night (in Nottingham), we made loads of new friends with some other artists and the staff at Dot to Dot. We think we played better in Bristol but the crowds were amazing at both.
How do think the crowds have compared to your regular gig crowds?
We've been looking forward all year to playing festival rather than normal gigs and this is first small festival we've ever really played. The crowds feel a bit more lively, bit more ravey in some sense, better atmosphere. People tend to be more open to seeing new bands at a festival. Because so many bands are on before people seem really in the mood by the time you come on, especially because our set's so lively, it's nice having more than on warm up act.
Which bands you see as most shaping your sound?
Lots of dance stuff when we started writing, New Order, just a lot of electronic music. Dance music was just what we were listening to when we made out songs. When we started the band we were living in a house with the Foals boys, Yannis and Jimmy have this really great collective record collection and, even though it's massive, only about three records seems to get played. Some African soul records, Studio Chic, the same records would just go round and round, that was just before our band started.
How do you go about the song writing process, do you write as collective?
It's very much a three way process, we all have a role. Sit in a bedroom recording and writing at the same time.
How did the band form?
We were all playing in Jonquil (they're still going), they've just downsized a bit. We've been playing music together for about six or seven years. So when this new sound came out from a couple of the songs we'd put together it made sense for it to be the three of us again, I can't actually imagine making music with anyone else really. The whole thing's very romantic.
Where did the name Trophy Wife come from?
We had these photographs that I took when I was about 16, really bleak Northern seadside towns and pasted the words trophy wife in pink and it just seemed to fit with the music in some way. This sort of shiny, glitziness, to everything that seems to have a darkness beneath it. The whole concept of a trophy wife seems to embody that notion as well so we thought it tied in with the music.
In terms of forthcoming releases, what's next and when can we expect an album?
We're not sure about an album just yet, we've been recording an EP, not sure when it's coming out though. We're going about it in quite an interesting way. We're opening our sounds out to some different areas. Sonically we're trying to push ourselves a bit more.
Trophy Wife - White Horses by trophywifeband
This year was arguably the finest line-up to date and boasted a great variety of performers, some established whilst others more exciting upcoming acts.
The highlight of the day for us came when we caught Trophy Wife at the incredibly intimate Club Academy, a venue we feel they should outgrow by the end of the year. Gruff were also lucky enough to catch up with them before they went on stage, an interview that will follow this post.
Fellow Oxfordians Fixers were also out on form over the weekend, playing a storming set on the Academy 3 stage. The band are far more exciting than just 'Amsterdam', the track they are often exclusively associated with, and a rousing 'Crystals' really conveyed the band's strength in depth. After this we just managed to catch the majority of Darwin Deez set and, despite being great fun as always largely due to the (gimmicky?) routine dances, we were left feeling underwhelmed by performance, solidified even more when we saw them at Parklife two weeks later and were met with the exact same set. Maybe a band whose style outshines and the substance of their music.
The upcoming Ed Sheeran put on a brilliant show, a world away from his recorded material, highlighting that the most exciting aspect to him might not be simply his recorded material but more the way he approaches his songs live, allowing you to really appreciate how much of an incredibly talented musician he is, using only a acoustic guitar and his voice, and looping them he manages to create the impression of having an entire band supporting him. The highlight of his set for us was his fantastic cover of Jamie Woon's version of 'Wayfaring Stranger'.
Cults were brilliant as ever, and much like Trophy Wife, it is becoming increasingly apparent that they will soon be filling much larger venues than those they packed out over the weekend. 'You Know What I Mean' sounded even better live than on record and will surely become one of the festival tunes of the summer. Also might be worth mentioning that lead singer Madeline Follin is well on her way her to Mossheart/Pearl indie hearthrob status...
So all in all a great day and we hope Dot to Dot continues to grow, if it carries on the standard it set this weekend this shouldn't much of an ask.
ps. thanks so much to Victor Frankovski for letting us use his photos from the day.