Wednesday, 30 November 2011
The first comes from China's finest AM444, and is rather wonderful example of what Shanghai has to sonically offer.
Eye Know by AM444
The second is from Scottish boys Song of Return, and seems to be ticking all the boxes for potential big things come 2012. Whatch out for the Trajectory EP due December 5th.
Trajectory (Single Mix) by songofreturn
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
The first is from Barcelonan three piece Lasers, who construct music that is somewhat reminiscent of Animal Collective, be ready for their album Juno in December.
Solar System by Lasers
The second comes from Saskatchewan (one of the hardest band names of the year to spell), the track bellow is the Florida locals latest single, and we are warned to watch out for a debut album arriving sometime in early 2012.
Skinny Dipping by Saskatchewan
Monday, 28 November 2011
Bellow is an amazing mix tape put together by all the wonderful people over at Blessing Force. Does a rather lovely job oh highlighting quite how talented the city of my birth can be when it wants to. Listen to it, if you’re anything like me it could well make you day. Oh and it's a free download. Also be sure to check out the gigs above, Blessing Force have a pretty stella record of live shows.
Blessing Force - Stutters #1 by Blessing Force
Another couple of new tracks for you this Monday and there seems to be a accidental animal name theme going on.
The first track comes from The New Tigers, with super high levels of feedback and a mesmerizing rift, this is a rather wonderful record, although it does have a bit of a summertime vibe to it, I would say it fits in a bit better with the current gloom of winter.
The New Tigers : Pocketful Of Sand by Soliti
The track bellow is a rather nice calm lo-fi number from Caged Animals that acts perfectly as the soundtrack to my morning commute.
Girls On Medication by Caged Animals
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Sorry for the short break away from posting tracks over the Thanksgiving period, I was busy sunning myself in South Carolinas final rays of what seems like their never ending summer. Back up in the cold of DC now, with a couple of new tracks for you.
The first from Gabriel Bruce is a beautiful number, that accompanies the longer nights of winter fairly wonderfully.
OMR002 - Gabriel Bruce 'Sleep Paralysis' by Off Modern
And the second comes from Polka Wars, a band hailing from the increasingly exciting Indonesian music scene.
Coraline by polkawarsmusic
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Another two tracks today, and it continues the international theme we seem to have accidentally stumbled into. For no real definable reason it seems like a lot of the artists we have talked about over the last couple of weeks, and even months have been hailing from lands not native in the English tongue, not sure if this is due to an explosion of talent, or our ears here at Gruffs awakening to it.
The video above comes from the very exciting Indonesian duo Jirapah who actually formed the band in New York. Whilst the track bellow is from the Norwegian Bendik.
Bendik - Igjen by Bendikmusikk
Monday, 21 November 2011
I headed over to Subterranean A for the first time over the weekend, a venue which is DIY at its most base form. Run out of a basement, with a BYOB policy and all revenues going to the artists this is a venue a world away from the stuffy corporatetised locations that seem to dominate the DC music scene, and the city as a whole.
The first two acts of the night where admittedly a touch disappointing, but the headliners Balam Acab went a long way in making up for what the others had lacked, direction.
Big Boy by BALAM ACAB
With a sound that sits somewhere between SBTRKT and Burial, Balam Acab released their own brand of glitchy fall down electronica, every noise sounding as if it were recorded underwater, or in the rain. These guys are already blowing up a storm around the blogs, and it already seems fairly inevitable that they will continue making increasingly large splashed into the coming New Year.
Oh, Why by BALAM ACAB
Saturday, 19 November 2011
It was one of those dry, crisp, freezing nights in Bristol and standing on the deck of Thekla serenaded by church bells (I have no idea what church bells are doing at 8pm either...) set the tone nicely for a beautiful evening. Initially I wasn't convinced by Binary, the supporting band, but I was converted by their track '17', the perfect mix of a solid beat, slightly aggressive male vocals and of course some keyboard. Cults themselves are quite a spectacle to behold - you could almost draw a line between Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin and have some sort of gender-changing mirror reflection.
It's always a good sign at a gig if you can see Big Jeff's mop violently to-ing and fro-ing at the front at a gig in Bristol - Big Jeff is somewhat of a Bristol phenomenon (as I informed Madeline post-gig) and without a doubt he is at every gig worth going to in Bristol, big or small. The band definitely noticed his enthusiasm and were somewhat amazed and mesmerised by it.
My only tiny bone to pick with the gig was when they played 'Go Outside', perhaps it's just me but I feel like this track relies on a certain surrealism and seeing it performed live was almost too real for me, I'd almost rather put it on in my room and jump around like a lunatic. All in all it was a great gig and talking to Madeline afterwards she told us that they'd been touring for two years (two years!). Personally I was surprised by the crowd - many an androgynous cool kid interspersed with middle aged people really going for it - a little odd but fantastic that Cults can touch so many ages and types. Cults suit an intimate, slightly unreal environment and Thekla certainly offered that.
Cults - You Know What I Mean by cultscultscults
Friday, 18 November 2011
Another couple of tracks for your pleasure this Friday. The first is from Outfit, a English band hailing from Liverpool, and it's a rather wonderful dark pop record.
Every Night I Dress Up As You by OUTFIT
The second song is from fellow Brits, Mozart Parties. Aside from having a name that can’t help but bring to mind the seminal ‘Rock Me Amadeus’ they actually produce some rather charming tracks, that are perfectly suited for the ever more miserable winter months.
Wish My Thoughts Away by Mozart Parties
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Another couple of new tracks for you today. The video above comes from New Zealand’s finest Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and is not only a pleasure for your ears, but the video is a bit of a joy to watch as well. The track bellow comes from the Surrey born Vondelpark. Vondelpark are an artist I feel like we kind of missed the boat on a few months back, when he dropped a heap of videos onto YouTube. May be a bit late, but check out the incredible track bellow, remind me of an English Arrange.
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Double music day, above is the amazing video and track from Danish wonders The Echo Vampire and bellow is a rather lovely track from the Manchester based Inkship. Both are worth a listen. Oh and the Inkship track is also a free download, nice Wednesday treat.
Cassettes by inkships
In May 2010 they were the Guardian's band of the day, we featured Oh My God in the very very early days of Gruff Trade and on Thursday 17th November 2011, Cults will be playing at the famous boat-club Thekla in Bristol. The self-named debut album is uplifting and so retro and happy that I can't listen to it without dancing ridiculously around my room. Cults will be supported by Binary on Thursday, described as 'Dark and brooding' they're quite a contrast to Cults and it will be interesting to see where the two take the mood of the audience over the course of the evening.
Thekla is a fantastic venue and Cults are wonderful band so go go go!
You can still get tickets for £8.50 here
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
The last couple of years have seen such a incredible flood of talent gushing out of the continent, and it's shown no indication of ebbing yet. Gruff has been on a bit of hunt for acts from non-English speaking countries over the last week, and the boys above are a perfect example of what eastern Europe (well Russia) has to offer. Hope you enjoy.
Monday, 14 November 2011
This is a bit of an oldie, having first reared its head back in March of this year. These guys are pretty big back in their native Germany, and it's not particularly hard to see why. I just adore the surreal elements of their lyrics.
Friday, 11 November 2011
On the Saturday before Halloween a day that can only be described as a fucking disgusting snow storm, we managed to steal Roman, the man behind the most exciting group of the year Breton, away from the mixing studio to sit down with us in a small bar in Manhattans Lower East Side to run through his thoughts on a whole host of issues, from favourite childhood toys, Occupy Wall Street, and a bit about his music as well. Hope you enjoy, it’s a long one.
So first up what brings you to New York?
We are mastering the record, and it’s going to be our first album, so its kinda like at the same time as learning to write an album and do all the different stages we go back to London with a finished record,
So when will it be out?
I think it’s going to be out in late february, so there will be a lot out in between, like singles and videos. But it does feel like a long way away.
And what have you thought of the USA so far?
It’s been amazing, its kinda been really exciting as the whole point of this trip has been to finish this album, and we have also met some really interesting people, like the US label (Fat Cat). Before that they were just a name on an email, but they’re actually really fucking cool guys.
Have you had a chance to check occupy Wall Street? Any thought on it?
Yeah I did.I thought it was like you know, the whole nature of a big city and modern society, is that 99% of time the whole point of living in a big city is ignoring 99% of what’s going on because if you did really wander around going ‘fuck there are people dying, there’s global famine, and even though it’s horrible to say it there is like all this stuff going on and the general vibe has to be to ignore it because we live in a capitalist democracy a guy has to feed his family. So however much he may want to give all his money away and try and save the world we are all little pockets of people on their own and it’s amazing to see at least this one bit of protest, or any protest that says ‘come on at least think about it’ is obviously a good thing. It’s also amazing set against all the high-rises of the city, it seems like the one short thing in Manhattan are these tents, and they just look so fragile.
How did you end up with Fat Cat as your label?
We were really luck. Normally when a label says we like your stuff, we want to put out your record, you do this really old-fashioned thing where you play a showcase, and you get all these A&R cheesy wank kinda rock band stuff, and you’re all saying 'oh do you know who that guy is', and then everyone gets drunk and they see the bands, and these guys talk a load of shit… and then you leave. If you think about it it’s the worst way of working out if you want to work with a label. So we were like ‘look, come to ours in the middle of the day, no light nothing, no getting wasted. No promising to make you millions of pounds, think of all the girls and the drugs.’ We were like ‘look do you like the band?’ and Fat Cat seemed like the ones who got what we were doing. And now that we have met the US lot, I can’t believe that we ever thought about anyone else.
So what’s the history behind Breton, how long have you been making music under that name?
About a couple of years, but me and the drummer Adam were doing lots of stuff before. We used to make short films, but no one really gave a shit, like it’s really hard to get onto the film festival circuit, you have to wait for a festival to come around, then you submit, and have to wait to see if you get chosen, and if you get chosen, they only have one screening. But all my friends who were in bands could write an idea, play it on the Thursday and there would be thirty people to just sort of play a track to, at least a format for them to have an idea, and test it straight away. So we started trying to play the sound track to these films live, on a projector at these gigs. But it was hard to get a screen, it’s easy to get a gig booked at some shit hole in south London, where they don’t care what you do.
So what is your ambition, what would you rather be a musician, or is film where you see yourself?
I dunno, I mean we have been quite lucky as recently there’s been interest around the band, I don’t really separate them that much, and there’s still a time line when you’re making a film. You say your audience sees this and then that, and you introduce an idea, it’s pretty similar to music, they are getting closer and closer together now with technology. The actual mechanics of making music or making a movie, I mean people can do it all on a laptop now, the boundaries are getting more blurred. I also think the way people listen to music has changed a lot. I mean a lot of people now get their music through the web, places like soundcloud, and it’s on a screen so it’s just as easy to have some visuals running along with it.
Where would you say you draw you greatest influences from, where would you say the root of your sound is from?
The sort of music I bought was Portishead, and some kind of Bristol electronica, I know everyone says 'Oh yeah I listen to everything', I guess like old school hip hop and Wu-Tang Clan, and lots of random bands, Smiths , Cure, and Stones.
Is there like a mood or experience you’re trying to convey, is there a mood you want people to feel when they listen to your music?
The role of someone making music I think is just to create something and then not say to them this song means this, these lyrics mean that. I think it’s a really noble thing for any musician or artist to say I’m just trying to generate something, because people’s intelligence and their emotions are going to be infinitely more complex and personal. It’s such an arrogant thing to be like I wrote this song, and this bit means this, and I want you to feel this, when actually you should make things with enough layers and textures. My favorite songs in the world are actually the ones where I have completely misheard the lyrics and it has meant something really important to me, you get a personal connection to those things.
Yeah, I think everyone’s favourite albums are the ones that they associate with a feeling they had, regardless of what the musician meant
Yeah, that’s the most powerful thing in the world. It’s the most complex thing as well. If you go 'this is a love song and it’s about when I went to a petrol station and I broke up with my bird' there is absolutely no texture to it’s just that. My own humble hope when anyone listens to the album, because I put in shit loads of stuff that probably won’t even make sense to the guys in the band, but I think if you add enough layers, enough sound, and ideas, they start to fuse together and make something new in the mind of whoever is listening to it.
Breton labs, what exactly is it?
Because we were getting a little bit of attention from the music, through the blog and online networks, when you compare it to my photographer mates, the blog and internet presence for photography and pretty much everything else except for maybe fashion is kinda primitive compared to music. Indie music blogs catch onto things insanely quickly and have a massive readership. You can get quite a lot of exposure just from one dude telling another dude something, like someone puts a review on their blog and it’s an unbiased thing, unless they have a massive load of advertising they only put stuff up if they like, it’s not like they’re a journalist who has to fill columns. So I think we realized that we have these other friends who make films and are artists, and musicians and we liked the idea of using this momentum the band have got, and collaborating. For instance one of the videos we did was with a CGI artist called Stuart Sinclair, who is an absolute genius, but he just works and makes these animations and doesn’t show anyone. He doesn’t really have a format to do it. So we thought that if we put it in a video, it would just get a load of views, but it would also highlight him, and get him some exposure he deserves. It also means we get to work with a lot of people we like. It’s almost like they’re in the band for a while.
How are you finding the London scene at the moment?
Generally it’s really exciting everywhere at the moment, if you go to Paris or Berlin and you’ve got a cool idea, whether its music or journalistic, you can get it out so quickly there’s is a better chance of the good stuff getting through. It’s less about ‘this band had 2 million quid spend on PR so everyone hears about them.’ If there is a band that’s really cool and has something to say they will naturally reach an audience.
I understand what you mean. I love websites like soundcloud because I can find a band that can have under ten plays, and it can be some kid in his bedroom in hull, or somewhere where there may be no scene. He can record a song put it out and people can hear him.
Like journalism as well, everyone says ‘oh how people write music has changed so much in the last couple of decades’, but also how music is written about has changed so much as well; the fact that someone who is clued in can have access to all the newest most interesting music. Twenty years ago you were only in that position if you were really privileged, were A&R or ran a magazine or something. But now you can be that 11 year old kid in Hull making music, or you can be that kid writing a blog and still know what the coolest sounds in Barcelona are.
There is also a lot of cool stuff happening in London. There is this venue called the Boiler Room, it’s actually really nerdy. It’s electronic music, the good thing about it is its heavily producer based music. Like when the big drum and bass revolution happened, in the big clubs there were like 20,00 kids out of their minds, so even though the music was still cool, it was almost more of a vibe thing. Whereas with the boiler room, and I hadn’t been for ages, when my manager Chris told me to go, and I kinda though it would be all these kids going yeah, slightly hipster place. I went there and it was like 45 to 50 people, actually watching the dude, people weren’t really dancing and getting wasted they were really listening.
So do you think you benefit from being in London?
I think so; it’s like half and half really. The blog network means that you’re not fucked not coming from a major city. But coming from London is great, you can go to places like Boiler Room, and there are loads of venues around the city where you can hear some amazing music. But I think that particularly with my band it’s more about the fact that we are quite self-contained. We can live in a sort of bubble, in a good and a bad way. It means that for some people I know in bands, they work with people and tour with people who are quite similar and then there is like a bit of interest around a sound of a scene, people keep trying not to fit in but to try and identify with a particular sound, which is cool because it means there can be these big exciting vibes. But sometimes it means it can water down what you are doing. Just not like being too oppressed with trying to make this track to sound like that one, particularly with choosing tracks whilst making the album, there were lots of moments we could have easily chosen the same type and style of song and made an album of that, because you know albums are meant to have consistency, and you don’t want to confuse people. But i guess people might be way more open to different styles than maybe they were 15 years ago. There were a lot of decisions which we had to make, which we painstakingly arrived out, we didn’t want to throw everybody off but this is part of what the band does. Like there is a track with just a shit load of guitars in it and like people shouting and real live drum kits. And when you think people have heard this track which is really electronic, like Edward which is full of loads of samples, in the back of your mind you don’t want to throw everyone off by being like 'oh and here is an indie track', but the conclusion if that’s what the band does, even if it does throw off a few people it will be a more honest account of what we are into.
Also I guess in the same way the great bands are the ones who haven’t just stuck to one genre. There’s nothing worse than buying an album and the whole thing sounds like bad demos of the single they put out
Yeah like 11 attempts at the same song, it’s also kinda a nod to the fact, as depressing as some people find it, that the logistics of how you listen to an album have changed. At one time you would put a record on, not even knowing where the tracks begin and end, that was the format so an album was its own genre almost, you would listen to the whole thing as one stretch of music, where as now you make a playlist on your iPod, or click a track on soundcloud. People get really miserable about 'oh the death of the album' but it’s quite liberating because it means if your into one particular sound that we do you can just listen to track
So maybe a bit of a standard question, but what would your dream collaboration be, put out a single with one artist in history, from Mozart to Tupac?
Oh just one, can I do an album ?
Ha yeah sure
Ok so track one is Aphex Twin, and then track two this is like complete ridiculous fantasy right?
DJ Premier second track right, keep people guessing. And then third track, they can be dead right? Syd Barret, throw him in there, and then Bowie can guest on the fourth one, I would love to just work with any of those guys, or even just wonder past their studio. Eno is like amazing, so him track five. Flying Lotus track six. I would love to work with some vocalists, we put a singer on one of the tracks and it was kinda an afterthought from when the music was written, we were suddenly like: 'wont it be cool to get like a female vocal on this one track', as a sort of nod to 90s dance music, you can suddenly have a well sung female vocalist. The vocals on the record aren’t meant to be pitch perfect, so I kinda like the idea of a girl nailing a vocal in the middle of a song when no one is expecting it. It’s like all this glitchy, falling- apart electronica, and suddenly she sings really beautifully, so I would love to work with some vocalists.
Would you say you have a yearlong plan, where do you want to be this time next year?
This time next year we will have released the album and have toured it, and I can’t wait to write new music. I’ve just learnt so many things production-wise, and met so many artists who have really inspired me; I literally can’t wait to write. One of the ideas is that we are going to write ten tracks in three different cities, so go to Berlin and write three tracks, go to Paris and write three tracks, go to LA write three, go to places like Warsaw, and then like have one from each of these sessions on an album. Each one would be completely different, use sounds that we found in that area, and use people who are producers there. Or another idea was to trace all the elements of music that we like, so find original house producers and make one beat with them, and then go somewhere like Berlin and work with people like Kraftwerk, then Bristol and work with guys who worked with massive attack,. So you have those entire grass roots element. Kinda like the stones did, they found blues players from the thirties who were like the complete originators, and then took it and fused it with the most cutting edge music of that time, but before that we have Southby, and the some other shows here, and a short film we are working on, its a documentary but it’s difficult to explain.
Bit of an oddball question but what was your favorite childhood toy, Or board game?
I had a speak and spell, which was my sisters old toy, it would talk in a robotic voice, and it started to break so it just made this horrific satanic noise. I just remember playing on that for hours. I would love to find it now and make a track, sampling that satanic voice.
Finally the tour: what’s the plan?
We’re going Southby, and then coming back here to play some shows, and then when the album comes out we will do some headline tours, which we’ve deliberately never done, because till it’s really ready I don’t want to say come to 'our' show
There must be a worrying pressure headlining?
Yeah because if no one turns up to someone else’s show, its them not pulling in the crowd. Our live shows are becoming increasingly more elaborate. It’s kinda of an extension of what I was saying before, you can download our whole back catalogue of every track online in 10 seconds, so what can we offer someone? So someone sees the video to a track, so they know the track and the video, and so you go check a band out. If they just play the 10 mp3s you’ve got on your iPod and walk of the stage, you would feel ‘what the fuck was the point in that it’s a live show?’ the more that recorded music is everywhere and the value of recorded music is going down its more important to really try and blow people’s minds when we play live, so we made a short film for each of the tracks and we got a VJ who uses software to edit these films live. So there is an element for him being able to improvise, like you would if you were playing an instrument, seeing what works and what doesn’t. And then there is an element of human error and human timing, and things sometimes hitting bang on and sometimes not, people sometimes drawing their own conclusion of what the films mean and sometimes there being an obvious interpretation. So to get these shows right it costs ridiculous amounts of money, we can just plug in three amps, we have to get projectors and everything, so that’s why we avoided headlining until the album because we wanted to get it as perfect as we can.
So tour in the US first?
So Southby, and then play the us for two weeks, and then the UK in time for the album to come out.
The Croft in Stokes Croft, Bristol is an interesting place. Between the enormous Tutankhamun bust missing an eye (I'm fairly sure that was Nefertiti right?), the disco ball and the walls plastered with retro-looking art, I wasn't quite sure how to feel. Adding to this ambiguity of atmosphere was the fact that while those at the bar were in a bubble of house courtesy of Pardon My French DJs, every now and then an adjoining door would open and leather-jacket clad metal heads, often with black eye make-up streaming (deliberately I can only think) down their stark faces, and a blast of death metal violently exploded the relaxed film of house enclosing the bar. This distracted me to say the least. The Croft appears to have that bizarre power to play host to indie, house and ambient music at the same time as death metal. It was a bizarre experience and the difference between the two crowds when they both appeared at the bar was comical; hipsters juggling rolling tobacco and a nonchalant stance, metal heads looking surprised and a little afflicted to have left their noisy sanctuary to be confronted by so many rolled up chinos.
I have great admiration for those who take to the stage on their own, that is to say I have great admiration for their ability to expose themselves to a potentially unforgiving crowd in their most exposed form - solo. Motherhood set the mood for the evening, it was almost as if he was filling a room with light, cultivating a sense of crescendoing expectation for the evening ahead. You would never have guessed that it was his third gig, and after technical catastrophes at The Old Boot Factory in Oxford that week he told us he'd loved the great feeling at The Croft and the mood of the evening.
Lover by Motherhoodband
I wish I could be so complimentary about the next band, Coasts. There is nothing wrong with Coasts, but as one punter put it oh so eloquently 'Are they all the same person?' The fact that the band looked as if they had stumbled from the same indie mould reflected their music perfectly. They weren't bad, but they weren't inspirational. And I like to be inspired. Which is why I enjoyed Trophy Wife so much.
One of the highlights of their set was when the band introduced their new track by telling the crowd 'This song is about fucking'. It was such a brilliant way of introducing a track that it silenced that tiny voice in my head that went 'booooo I want a song I know'. Ingenious, hats off to Trophy Wife for eliminating that familiar voice that doesn't like change. By the time they played Microlite all inhibitions were gone and the crowd was thoroughly drawn in to the excitable freedom of the atmosphere.
Trophy Wife - Canopy Shade (Produced by Plaid and Trophy Wife) by trophywifeband
After the set I spoke briefly with Andrew from Pocket House who plays live with Trophy Wife and asked him where himself and Pocket House were off to next. At the moment Andrew is doing a lot of production and some mixing for Trophy Wife and possibly for Foals at their studios in Oxford in the near future and in January Pocket House's debut EP will be out (put that one in your diary, we'll keep you up to date). The gig was Trophy Wife's second night in their ten day tour, next they are off to Leeds, London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Liverpool, carving somewhat of a zigzag across the country. Zigzag or no, I highly suggest that those of you able to catch a night of the tour do so, the band are as intriguing as their choice of stage prop - a 50s style bright red telephone lit from below by a miniature pixar-style lamp.
Trophy Wife's upcoming dates:
Fri 11th Nov ' Constellations Festival, Leeds
Sat 12th Nov ' The Nest, London
Mon 14th Nov ' Deaf Institute, Manchester
Tue 15th Nov ' Electric Circus, Edinburgh
Wed 16th Nov ' Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Here, and whilst you’re at it you may want to check out the interview we did with Drew and Britt from the band a month or so back.
09 Skydiving from Swingsets by is and of the
Second is to point you in the direction of the new FREE single from one of our favorite artists of the year Arrange, head over to his bandcamp page HERE and grab yourself a copy, and whilst your at it you can nab a free copy of his entire back catalogue. Bargain if there ever was one.
09 Skydiving from Swingsets by is and of the
Second is to point you in the direction of the new FREE single from one of our favorite artists of the year Arrange, head over to his bandcamp page HERE and grab yourself a copy, and whilst your at it you can nab a free copy of his entire back catalogue. Bargain if there ever was one.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Friday, 4 November 2011
When people think of the great music cities of the UK, Manchester, London, Bristol and Brighton are normally the first names that roll of the tongue, and for many Oxford is deemed a non-entity. It is simply over looked, but when you actually consider the talent flooding out from the dreaming spires, you quickly realise that it deserves a spot right at the top of any such list. Anyone Can Play Guitar is a new film which aims to highlight the talent hailing from the fair city, and explain that even though it may often be over looked, it does deliver a stunning flock of talent. It’s release could not come at a better time with the current generation of musicians from the city setting the blogasphere alight (think Trophy Wife, Chad Valley, Fixers, Pet Moon, Wild Swim to name but just a few), as well as Foals releasing arguably one the best albums of the decade, and Radiohead still creating some of the world’s finest music, and that is without even mentioning one hundredth of what this city has to sonically offer. We were lucky enough to have a brief word with the man behind the camera to discuss the film, and the city at its centre.
First and foremost what inspired you to make a film about the Oxford music scene?
I guess the Oxford Music Scene did. It's pretty inspirational. I've been around it since I was a teenager and there was a damn good story to be told. I was also getting frustrated the no music documentaries seemed to tell the truth about what happens to 99% of bands. They only ever focus on success, there's a lot more interesting stuff on the other side of that coin.
How long has the film been in the making for?
About 4 and a half years. Ages.
What do you think it is about such a small city like Oxford that has meant it has produced such a disproportionate number of brilliant bands?
It's nothing to do with the city or the geography or the university, it's really to do with people, in the late 80's/early 90's a bunch of people who loved music built a support structure for local bands which has held to this day.
How willing was the oxford talent to open up and talk to you for the film?
Very willing, everyone was into it and pretty much agreed that it was about time the Oxford scene got it's due.
If you had to pick your one personal favorite oxford act, who would it be?
Dive Dive. Most people know them now as Frank Turner's backing band, but you should check out what they do when they're not with him. Incredible band.
What do you think of the current generation of musician hailing from the city, is there any acts in particular who have caught your eye?
Well, it's still a really healthy scene. My current faves are Borderville, Family Machine, Little Fish and Alphabet Backwards.
The film heads out on tour this month:
4th LONDON BFI SOUTHBANK (SOLD OUT)
9th HEREFORD COURTYARD
15th OXFORD PHOENIX PICTUREHOUSE
17th SHEFFIELD SHOWROOM WORKSTATION
18th NOTTINGHAM BROADWAY
22ND PRESTON CONTINENTAL
25th LEEDS HYDE PARK PICTURE HOUSE
26TH BRISTOL WATERSHED
29TH EDINBURGH CAMEO
Plus extra London date added:
1st Dec London Prince Charles Cinema
Thursday, 3 November 2011
A few weeks back, on 22nd October I wondered into Islands Festival at Start the Bus, a one day precursor to a big event that will take place next year. The wall opposite Start the Bus was a fascination of visual projections (courtesy of Lumen), setting the mood for all those entering STB, changing the frame of mind into something more open to the basic delights of good music, good drink and good feelings.
One act in particular caught my ear and his distinctive sound has been percolating through my brain for weeks. Martipants is a producer living in Bristol; Hook Norton born and Swansea raised. His second album 'Good Lads' is out now and if I can tempt you with the title track it's well worth the investment. The album has two parts, starting elegantly with 'January 9th' and moving into a darker, heavier second half.
Fire In The Hole by Martipants
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
Gruff where lucky enough to catch a couple of words with German super star in the making Clueso, an act that perfectly embodies the principle of music as a universal language, it really doesn’t matter a damn if you can’t understand a word he is singing, the tracks he is putting out are quite simply brilliant.
For those who haven't heard you before, how would you describe the music your making?
My music... I'd describe it as songwriting with a hint of my own personal groove. You see, it's like a big band, without the big band. Consider it dedicated-art-pop, or something. It's my own style. Simply Clueso Music.
Where do you draw the largest amount of your musical influence from?
Well that's a hard question. Actually, anyone who's interested in music would be able to say that you can't have one big influence. I definitely took a liking to the words of Arthur Rimbaud. He wrote some pretty crazy stuff. Bob Dylan also constantly influences my lyrics. Beck and Baudelaire are also up there.
But you can't forget about street music. Just walking down the street, there's so much going on out there, and all that definitely plays a huge part in my music.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
I love going in the sauna and drinking great espresso. In Germany it's really hard to find a great espresso, that's why I take my very own espresso machine with me when we go on tour.
Actually I'd admit I'm still on the search every day for the perfect “guilty pleasure.“ Everything else is not even worth mentioning.
What is your plan for the next 12 months, where do you see yourself standing this time next year?
I've got a tour coming up in the beginning of October. Otherwise I'll just be on the road and out and about until December. Next year, I'll try to scrounge up a bit more relaxation. It'll be a “creatively relaxed“ year, the motto will be: no pressure. No big tour, no big releases, no big venues. Just small cafés, festivals, and lots of fun.
But as you know, that's just the plan. And plans can and will always change.
Why do you choose to sing in German as opposed to buckle to convention, and sing in German?
German language is the language of poets, philosophers and thinkers. In German there are countless vivid expressions that you just simply can't translate into English. Take the word “mutterseelenallein“ for example. It means something like being lonely or lonesome, but you just can't feel the true meaning of that word in English. It's actually quite a pity. And that's why I sing in German.
Also, it is just so much more fun to juggle with words in my own language.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Damon Albarn, he represents pretty much everything that I try to reflect through my music. It would be a great combination of groove with songwriting. I think just jamming with him would even be awesome! But, I can't really imagine myself singing a duet with anyone.
Who is your favourite new emerging act coming out of Germany, and Berlin in particular?
I'd have to go with Max Prosa and Norman Sinn. One of them comes from Erfurt-that's where I'm from. The other one is from Berlin. But the one from Berlin is thinking of coming to Erfurt and the one from Erfurt is thinking of going to Berlin! Apparat is also emerging to put on a good act.
And finally do you have any plans for a coming tour?
Coming up in October is the second part of our “Clueso & Band - An und für sich Tour 2011“, with 10 more large-venue concerts throughout Germany. It'll rock, just as much as or even more than the first part last Spring!! Will we see you there?