London

BLOOD ORANGE’S FREETOWN SOUND
August 23, 2016 11:26 am

 

Blood Orange is fucking awesome. Like his namesake citrus, Dev Hynes’ newest album Freetown Sound is a delicious mix of sweet and sour, oscillating between phat beats/enduring hooks and raw frustration/societal truth.

Dev Hynes began his musical career as a member of The Test Icicles, after moving to London from his home in Edinburgh, Scotland to attend art school. He released his first Blood Orange album, Coastal Grooves, in 2011 and has since worked as a songwriter for an increasingly impressive series of artists: Theophilus London, Florence + The Machine, Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, Foals, and Britney Spears, to name a few. His chillwave core has taken on 80’s and 90’s influences over time, and his message has become decidedly more political.

Sometimes refreshingly calm, sometimes painfully poignant, Freetown Sound has struck a keen balance between what people today want to hear and what they need to hear. It’s smooth, angry, sexy and frustrated, but never ambivalent or verbose. It’s cool and clear, crisp and modern, but also intense and passionate and vivid and timeless. It’s about racism. It’s about sexism. It’s about religion. It doesn’t mince words addressing these sensitive issues truly and directly, and it couldn’t possibly be more relevant to the modern zeitgeist. This is what we need to be talking about, and Blood Orange is doing it’s damnedest to get the conversation moving. All you have to do is go listen to the music.

Glad to see someone as awesome as he is addressing what really matters in the world today.

CATCHING UP WITH FUNERAL SUITS
May 23, 2016 11:04 am

While preparing a new album to be released later this year, Funeral Suits have gifted their fans with “Tree of Life,” a single exploring the seven deadly sins within the context of global financial issues.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS shared some nice email correspondence with singer and guitarist Brian James on the new video, Funeral Suits’ connections to Britpop, and Irish bands you should be checking out.

Have any of you ever worked in an office? Were your experiences as bad as the “Tree of Life” video would imply?

We have all worked jobs that we hated. Who hasn’t? You do what you must to get where you are going. Kurt Cobain was a janitor before Nirvana took off. Mik was working in an office when I met him, and I can neither confirm nor deny that he was definitely found asleep in different places at work many times. You should bring a pillow to work and curl up under your desk with a good book.

Funeral Suits have been a band for eight years. Do you have any advice for bands who are new to the music industry? Was there anything you were surprised by when first starting out?

When we started out we didn’t overthink things. We made music because it felt right. We played shows because it was an unbeatable rush. For musicians starting out I would say, persevere. Through everything. Being in the creative world can get rough but believe in yourself and the work will pay off in the end. And if it doesn’t work out you can always get a job in an office.

You’ve worked with Stephen Street, who is well known for producing four albums for Blur. Did you specifically choose him to work with? Do you feel a connection to Britpop? 

After a couple of years of writing and touring we realized we had a lot of songs. Up to that point it never really occurred to us to make a record, we were just taking things day by day. We made a list of producers and Stephen was on top. We sent a few emails, he rang me for a chat, a few weeks later I picked him up from the airport and we drove straight to the studio and started work. I wouldn’t say we have a special connection to Britpop. We were massive fans of Blur and lots of bands that Stephen produced, but we have such a massive range of musical influence that saying we felt a connection to one specific genre feels wrong. If the question is “Blur or Oasis?” There’s only one winner.

You spent last summer working on music in Berlin. Why Berlin? What kind of fun things did you find there while not working?

After a few years touring our first record we took a break to write a second. Our label introduced us to an amazing producer by the name of Jochen Schmalbach. His studio is in Berlin so we packed our bags and drove over to Germany. It was an amazing experience. Recording an album can be tough. You get pushed to the limit. It’s a test of your resolve. If I’m honest, we didn’t do a whole lot of exploring. Sundays were our day off and we would usually just sit in the park with a few beers and soak up the vibes, talk about what was happening in the studio and how the record was coming together. Very chill.

You also spent a lot of time working in London. Is there a big difference in opportunities for Funeral Suits in London versus your hometown of Dublin?

We left Dublin in 2012 and moved to the UK. Mik lived by the seaside in Brighton and the rest of us lived in London. Obviously London is a massive city so naturally there is going to be a lot more music happening there. That doesn’t mean there’s more quality though. In fact I would say it’s the complete opposite. You can definitely get lost in the haze of a big city. Greg and Dara still live in London, Mik lives in Stockholm and I just moved to Ibiza.

What are your favorite places in Dublin to see live music? 

We cut our teeth in Whelans. When we started out we used to play midnight shows there and they were some of the best nights we had on stage. Over the last five years the quality of venues in Dublin has really improved. The Workmans, The Grand Social, Button Factory, these are venues that I would definitely recommend.

Are there any bands local to Dublin you feel deserve more attention? 

There’s a lot of really great music in Dublin right now. Bands like Overhead the Albatross, Beach, New Valley Wolves, Otherkin, Wounds, Le Galaxie, Mmoths. They are all so different but they are doing great things and definitely going places.

It seems like many Irish people feel a connection to the TV show Father Ted. Is that true? Do you have a favorite episode?

Yes I would definitely say people from Ireland have great love for that show. Ireland was/is a deeply religious country. For centuries the church was the law. If you weren’t seen at mass you were either dead or hiding. So for a sitcom to play on Irish culture and the church in one fell swoop was really amazing, and probably badly needed. I can’t say I dislike any of the episodes, one that sticks out in my memory is where Ted and Dougal go to war with Pat Mustard, the gigolo milkman. I’m laughing even thinking about it.

Why is it that you have a Spanish-language Wikipedia page but not an English one?

I really have no idea! We seem to have a lot of Spanish speaking fans, so I guess one of them decided to write something. I don’t speak Spanish, it could say anything.

What do you have planned for the rest of 2016?

We are releasing this record after the summer, so we are pretty busy with that right now. It’s getting all of our attention. We are putting together a new live show too which is really cool. I guess we are just looking forward to that more than anything. We are always writing new stuff and looking at our next move.

TO ERR IS HUMAN; TO YAK, DIVINE
April 4, 2016 2:23 pm

Yak is a difficult band to describe faithfully. Their performances, and even conversations with the band, are kind of like watching the big bang happen—a tiny, tense mass of energy that begins to explode, and then grows exponentially. I still have glass in the treads of my shoes from their Wednesday show at Berlin NYC.

Earlier that night, ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with Oli Burslem (vocals/guitar), Leo Kurunis (bass), and Elliot Rawson (drums) to talk sense and nonsense.

yakk

Photo by Sasha Maese

You played last night at Saint Vitus, the metal bar.

OB: It was greeeat.

LK: I liked it. It was a bit of a scuzzy rock venue.

Is this your first time in New York?

ER: We came over last year, we did CMJ. We did Mercury Lounge and Elvis Guesthouse. Elvis Guesthouse was cool, it felt like we were in a sauna.

You just came from SXSW, as well. How many shows did you do?

ER: Six, I think. Six in two days?

OB: I would say “half a baker’s dozen”.

Six? Seven? Six-and-a-half?

OB: You know what? Six-and-a-half, that’s good, because one of them wasn’t at a venue. Cause we did one on a balcony.

LK: Or, we did one song on one stage and then moved our gear to another stage and did a set. So I think it’s definitely half a gig on that one.

OB: Lots of people said it was going to be really hard or whatever, but it was such a great, carnal, atmosphere. And we don’t have much gear, keyboard went out the window…

Literally?

OB: Yeah, sure. It was clammy, it was sweaty. It was so good, it was hot. It was saucy.

Also, a concentrated area of people, I’m not a big fan of musicians to be honest with you, or people in the music business, so you think it was going to be a horrible time. But everyone behaved themselves.

Outside of the industry people, who probably don’t want to be there anyway, it’s people who love music.

OB: I don’t dislike them, but it’s a different vibe. If you get a load of industry people, it’s like “Ok, let’s check these guys out,” and you’ve got a lot of chin-stroking. When I started playing music, it was down at a pub on a Monday night. And that’s the kind of music I like playing. It’s just like people and low-grade budget entertainment. But I really enjoyed it, and Austin was great.

Did you see any bands there you liked?

OB: Thee Oh Sees I’ve wanted to check out for a long time. So that was good, and we wanted to go see stuff, but we hit a bar afterwards, and you meet some guys, locals. And we were just having a good time. So we probably could’ve seen Iggy and everyone we wanted to see, but I was talking to a guy, and he said he had a gun, so I was trying to get him to shoot. I said “Can you shoot me?” but he didn’t have the gun.

You just released your video for “Harbour The Feeling” as well. Was it your idea to do a music video?

OB: Everyone was on a hiatus, and I was the only one left in London. And we released some live videos, but we got bored of that. So we sat around at a pub with my mate who shot it, Ben [Crook], who’s a wicked guy, and we were there for like three hours. And we got to the part where we went “Oh, we could drive a car through a desert”. So we got all these things, and we got to the end and it was like, “We shouldn’t do a video”, it’s a waste of money, and we don’t have an idea, and no band members.

And then a few days later, we were like “Bucking yak! That’s hilarious.” And then we built the Yak [sign]. We got up at five in the morning, drove to south London to find the bulbs, and then I couldn’t find the thing, so I went to north London. I spent the whole day driving around, I was like “Wow, this is being in a band. Finding bulbs.” And then we spent a whole day wiring it up with our friend Levi who built all the pedals. And it took a day to do it all. But it was like the best feeling ever. We just plugged in and turned on, and it was like “Ahh.” This is what it feels like to be a functioning human being. Being in a band is like…sometimes it’s great, I’m not complaining, but you’re not directly helping anyone.

You are, though.

OB: You maybe are, it’s just like…

ER: He wants to be a nurse.

OB: I want to be a nurse, yeah. Just something that makes me feel good.

You go to a town, you get pissed, you feel guilty about it, you go to a museum, you relieve the guilt, you go to a bar. You go to the bar, you wake up feeling really bad, you go see the Statue of Liberty, you go to a museum, you feel better. That’s why in Amsterdam, that’s why the Van Gogh museum is always packed, full of like people eating mushrooms.

Is it a lot of tourists?

OB: It’s people with a lot of guilt inside them. They need to relieve it and then get back to the bar.

So art is something you do to relieve guilt?

OB: Yep. And being generous as well. I’m only being facetious. I don’t really believe that.

I’ve read two of you were selling curiosities before you were in the band [Oli gestures to himself and Leo]. Where were you finding that stuff?

[A/N: I realized after this interview that it was actually Oli and original bassist Andy Jones who were the curiosities dealers. So Oli and Leo could’ve been fucking with me.]

OB: That would be giving away trade secrets.

LK: We’re not really allowed to say.

Are you going through the garbage at weird, old mansions?

OB: Anywhere you feel, really.

LK: My mother does it for a living, and she has her own shop. You had your own shop as well, didn’t you?

OB: Not technically.

LK: You didn’t, did you?

ER: You don’t know who’s listening.

OB: Basically, I had loads of jobs, then I was lucky enough to get a van. So I started going to auctions and buying stuff, and then selling it. A glorified van man. But I enjoyed it, I like that.

LK: There’s a good buzz to it.

OB: It’s not even a money thing sometimes. It’s just like, I had a space and every week I’d change it into something else. And I liked that. It’s just like music. If you walk down the street, and you see people walking slightly different, it’s the same with this kind of stuff. You can dress it differently.

We went to a museum yesterday in Philadelphia.

The Mütter Museum?

OB: Yeah, and everyone’s body language was like this [he mimes someone looking guarded, hands folded over his chest]. Cause everyone was so uncomfortable. I was more interested in the people that were alive, to be honest, than the ones who were dead.

If you’re working in antiques, some of that stuff is probably really dirty.

LK: It’s a nice trade, it’s a good trade to be in, and how many people you meet in it as well. There’s some really funny characters, they’re so far out of society, some of them. Lots of funny people with lots of different histories.

OB: There could be a man and his wife, and they could be millionaires, but they’d also be homeless. It’s a big hustle. I like the sales that aren’t on the internet. Like someone would be deceased, and all of their belongings would be at an estate sale. So you’d be looking through loads of books and then you get a book and you go “Ah, hang on, that’s an interesting book to have”, and then I’d go to the auctioneer and ask which furniture the [deceased] guy had. And then I’d buy like books, and books, and books, and everything I was obsessed with if the guy seemed cool. So I’d just buy all of it, and I’d sit until four in the morning, just going through it all. Just going, “Oh wow, he was Jewish, he was a doctor, and he was into industrial furniture.” And in my head I was picturing this guy. I don’t know it sounds mental.

Do you prefer photo albums over other kinds of books?

OB: I’m pretty illiterate, so…well I’m not illiterate, but…I, uh, yeah.

You’re doing four dates with The Last Shadow Puppets in April. Were you freaking out when you got the gig? Are you big Arctic Monkeys fans?

ER: It’s just another gig, really.

OB: [Speaking in a robotic voice] It’s a great gig, and we’re really honored, and pleasured, and in such awe to be able to have the opportunity, and we’re really happy to do that.To be in front of all the people who have gone to see a great band as The Last Shadow Puppets.

Is there a band you dream about being able to tour with?

OB: Well, if it isn’t The Last Shadow Puppets, it would probably be the Arctic Monkeys.

Did you have a falling out with Alex [Turner]?

OB: I actually had a nice night with Alex, and he was a gentleman. He invited us around to his house, and he was a pleasure, he gave me a drink, and we had a good chat. And he’s a talented man. There’s not that many rock stars that can exist anymore, people come and they go, and there’s this level at the top, and he’s managed to secure himself there. And rightly so, I think. His lyrics are good, and he’s got money and he’s doing it and doing the rock star thing. And why not?

And I can’t wait to get out there and play some shows, and I hope we do them proud.

Your first album is coming out in May as well. Is there anything you’d like people to know before they listen to it?

OB: It’s probably the most important album of the last ten years, guitar-music wise, from England. It’s the most important album to come out of the suburbs of Wolverhampton for the last five years.

What other bands are from Wolverhampton?

OB: Slade, Babylon Zoo, Robert Plant, Killing Joke‘s bass player [Paul] Raven. There’s quite a lot. I feel quite proud of being from the Midlands. I mean, I was born in Wolverhampton, and have family from there, but I lived in the suburbs seven miles out. There’s something quite nice about being from there, I’m quite proud of it. But I don’t really belong anywhere, really. Like everyone else.

I’m from the suburbs of New York, but I couldn’t wait to get out. I found it suffocating.

OB: I think it’s just a part of growing up.

ER: When you’re growing up in New York City, you’re just thinking you want to get out of New York City. I’m the same, from New Zealand. Everyone’s like “Oh, New Zealand’s beautiful.” Yeah, fucking beautiful, but look at me. Look at me. Have you seen me play? Look at me. LOOK AT ME.

[Everyone laughs]

Sorry, I’m losing the plot here. [Pause] Imagine if I had no face.

That would be scary. Like that woman that got her face ripped off by a chimp.

yak

Photo by Sasha Maese

You’re all based in London now, right?

OB: It’s great. It’s great for modeling.

Do you model?

OB: Yeah, I can’t wait to do more. I know Elliot’s really keen on me doing it. You know what, what’s the point? What’s the fucking point?

Of modeling? Of anything?

OB: There’s no romance, we are shit, and it’s all a fucking joke. [He giggles]

You’re doing pretty well.

OB: It’s bullshit, and we won’t be long in this house. I cannot stand being in a band with him [gestures towards Leo] and him [gestures towards Elliot].

How long have you been on the road so far?

OB: Two weeks [they all laugh uproariously]. I just wanna get naked. Not physically. Mentally. You know what? I don’t even know why we are doing this. We’re not getting paid.

I’m not getting paid.

OB: And I don’t love it [they continue to laugh]. Nah, I do. I don’t know. I think I’m just tired.

A friend and I are going to be in London in July. What should we do while we’re there?

OB: Come visit us.

LK: We’re going to interview you.

I’m not that interesting.

LK: You are, Sasha. Everybody’s interesting. Everyone’s got something to say.

Actually, after this, I want to go talk to that other Sasha I met earlier. I don’t meet other Sashas too often.

ER: He’s a nice guy. I’ve known him from New Zealand for 15 years.

He’s from New Zealand too?

ER: Yeah, he’s a good dude.

Did you hear Flight of the Conchords are coming here? They’re doing two dates. The first one sold out as soon as the tickets went on sale.

ER: Americans love Flight of the Conchords. It was always on American TV, wasn’t it?

It was.

ER: They were a proper band, like a comedy band, for years before their TV show.

And Bret was in that ukulele orchestra, as well.

ER: They’re both really good musicians. They really cashed in on the TV thing.

Do you guys have any songs you look forward to performing the most?

OB: The idea of the set is pretty loose, so we kind of do a different version of a song every night. I look forward to playing them all, and sometimes we’ll do something we haven’t done before, and that’s the bits where it really gets me excited about wanting to do music.

LK: Making it changeable.

OB: That’s probably the reason why we do it.

You must need to work pretty closely to improvise like that.

OB: It’s quite a boring genre, rock and roll is not complicated. No one can really explain it, because it’s so simple.

What is your average number of chords used per song?

OB: More than three. I like it simple, but there’s a thing about guitar, bass, drums, and we’ve been on all the records. Disregarded all of them, disregarded the drum kit on the recording, just played the shells, disregarded the bass in one song and just did feedback, disregarded the guitar and just hit it. It’s about energy, I think. All these things we can flip so it’ll be a new song.

Does that go along with your feeling that art produces relief?

OB: I don’t think our band has anything to do with art. I think music is quite low-grade, it’s like beans.

You’d be amazed at what passes for art.

OB: I know, but when bands get into that territory, it makes me feel…I like the bands that are like, “Let’s get the denim on. Let’s get out there and play some gigs.” And it’s just entertainment. People go to the cinema, the casino, the pub, or they could see a band. And that’s the level we’re working at. I don’t think there will ever be a band again that will work like the Beatles, changing society. It’s like a carwash, cleans your car; a band should make you feel excited and on edge.

When you first got into playing music, was there a musician or band you really wanted to be like?

OB: Start at the top. And I thought when I was six, I would be like Elvis but bigger. And then I thought the Beatles. And then it just goes down and down, and you end up at the bottom. And then you work yourself back up. “I’m just gonna be a cool band in London.” I’m not even that cool. And then you drop. And you put Fun House by The Stooges on and you go “Well that’s just fucking good, isn’t it? Why don’t I just do that?”. I listened to that when I was 14 and then you go up. I don’t know where I’m at now.

I think it’s also hard to be creative in London because it’s such an expensive city to be in.

OB: I got there when I was 17, so that’s quite a long time ago. And I was doing loads of jobs, but it’s character building and I couldn’t write the songs I did then, now. I was just hungry to be in a band, I didn’t know why. But now, it feels like an expression of that struggle. And we’ve had a lot of help along the way from people in bands. We’ve had a lot of help, and this hasn’t just come about by us being a good band.

Is there anything you do to prepare for life on the road? Is touring hard for you?

ER: It’s fucking easy. Not easy, but we’ve all worked jobs that sucked.

LK: I’m sick of working jobs for people that I hate.

ER: But we’ve all had shit jobs.

LK: We absolutely love this. I don’t care about sleepless nights, we’d still get up and do it and play.

ER: It’s not going to last forever. When the wheels fall off, they fall off, and we’ll go back to doing other jobs.

OB: The only thing we could do with our skillset would be coffin bearers. We could carry stuff, and we’re emotionally discharged. So we could be hauling out corpses.

LK: I bet you can’t name a good, simple, rock and roll band that’s not outstayed their welcome. It’s the careerists that get it wrong. My idea is that we go hit it hard as we can, and then retire and be happy people and not have anything to do with this. I don’t want to be famous or anything like that. And all the bands that we like, I think, have a good period of intensity. And that feeling, I think, bands miss it.

What if you get to the point where you are famous and you try to go somewhere and people are freaking out?

OB: It doesn’t happen. See this is a myth that everyone always talks about. The bands will never be like that again.

The 1975 has kind of turned into that.

OB: Yeah, but he has to look himself in the mirror every day. He’s gonna have depression. I hope he’s got a lot of money, because he’ll need a lot of counseling.

Do you guys have any last words before you perform tonight?

[Their tour manager walks over]

Tour Manager: Hey, sorry, it’s time.

ER: America’s been great, we’re really happy to be here, we want to come back.

LK: We love it, and we love you, and…

OB: It’s been brilliant. It’s…just music.

It’s everything.

OSCAR’S ALL RIGHT
March 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Fresh from performing six shows at SXSW, Oscar is continuing to charm America with Monday night’s appearance at Baby’s All Right.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down with the extremely well-dressed and exceedingly well-spoken musician, had a nice chat, and enjoyed 20 short minutes of relaxation before having to get up and continue being awesome.

oscar_albumOS: We’ve got some nice salsa music going on.

This is actually infinitely better than the music they usually play in this front area. You just came from SXSW. Did you fly in yesterday?

OS: Yeah, we left Austin at about 5:00 in the morning, and we got in to New York at about 2 in the afternoon.

That was me this morning.

OS: Did you just come from there?

Yeah.

OS: How do you feel?

How do you feel? Probably about the same.

OS: Yesterday was tough. I’m glad we didn’t play a show yesterday.

I don’t know how bands tour. How do you do it?

OS: With a lot of passion.

You did two official SXSW shows, did you do any others?

OS: We did one at the college dorm we were staying at on Pearl St., and then we did one for Culture Collide at Container Bar, which was really fun. We did one for Urban Outfitters, and we did one for Music for Listeners, which is a blog run by a radio station. We did six altogether.

Did you have any interesting experiences?

OS: There were a few people who knew the words for a lot of the songs, which is always really cool to see. At the last show we did, which was for Urban Outfitters, my pedalboard just stopped working, one of my guitar leads just died on me. It was really sad, but then I was like, “I can’t freak out, I’ve just got to keep playing.”, and eventually I just had to go straight in to the amp with the lead and it was ok.

I know the pedals are what make the guitar sound, you know, good.

OS: I know, otherwise it’s so dry.

What did you think of the weather in Austin? First it was oppressively hot, and then it was cold and nasty the rest of the week.

OS: It kind of reminded me of being home in London. Although London’s not ever that hot, the weather is so changeable. So it felt a bit more like home, but with more barbecued food and craziness.

You’re touring with Bloc Party in May and June throughout the U.S. That’s going to be fun, right? 

OS: It’ll be really fun. We did three shows with them in Europe, and they went really well. They’re great guys and girls, and I think it’s going to be great. It’s great playing for a big audience like that because it’s such a thrill.

And your album will be out by then as well. I have it now, because I know people…like your PR manager…who sent me your album.

OS: Hey, check you.

One thing that stood out to me about your SXSW profile is it makes a point of mentioning how you “studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s”. Other musicians from London I’ve spoken to sort of roll their eyes at Britpop because it’s not really cool there anymore, which is sad because I’m a big Pulp fan.

OS: Yeah, me too.

Is Britpop something that has influenced you at all?

OS: I think part of the background to my upbringing was all kicking off when I was a young ‘un. So it definitely would’ve soaked in somewhere and I listened equally to Oasis and to Blur as a kid. And then I got really into Britpop, and rediscovered it when I had more of an idea of what music was. Britpop was such a great moment for British culture and music, it was really exciting to see independently made music in the charts, I don’t think that would happen again. It was music made by people who had real character and a real message.

What led you to study sculpture?

OS: I went to like, 7 or 8 different schools. I ended up at a school which focused on art a lot, the arts really. So I was trained in a way to think about creation and education like that. And so I ended up applying for art school because it was the next logical step for me. I didn’t want to do music school because I was worried that it would kill the mystery and the romance of making music, and so I wanted to stay a little bit naïve. Which I think I did. So then I went to art school and I studied everything. It was a degree, so it was sculpture, drawing, painting. I tried it all out to see what was going on and what would work for me. I actually ended up doing lots of sound art; installation and sound sculpting if you had to give it a name. It just brought me straight back to music, which I had been studying and playing since I was six years old.

Is there anything you’d like people to know about your debut album before it’s released in May?

OS: I guess just to expect a variety of music that’s not all one style. It’s kind of like looking inside my head and seeing how many different things are going on, and how many different moods and cultures and genres there are going on inside my head.

Which song do you like performing the best?

OS: I love to perform “Sometimes”, because I get to jump around and be stupid. I also equally love to perform “Stay”, which was on the EP, because that one is the most emotional in the set.

Was it your idea to do a music video for “Sometimes”? So few musicians are doing music videos anymore.

OS: It kind of throws it back to the Britpop thing, because the 90’s promo was pretty fun and exciting. It really put the focus on something that wasn’t all about the audio. I think it’s nice to give someone something to look at as well as listen to. It wasn’t my idea to do the music video, but it was kind of a given since we had a single coming out.

[gestures to Oscar’s Yankees jacket]

Do you follow baseball?

OS: No. I do not, but I do love the iconography, and I like the fashion of it.

I also noticed you wear a lot of Mickey Mouse stuff. Is that something that has significance to you?

OS: I just like playing around with pop culture iconography. I think it’s like pop art; it’s fun, and it’s instant, it’s a good time. The first video game I played (which I wasn’t supposed to play, I wasn’t allowed video games growing up), but when my mom and dad split up, my dad had a Playstation, so I would secretly play that. And I played Steamboat Willie, so maybe there’s some deep connection there. There are some things you need to remember and hold dear.

What are your favorite places in London to listen to music?

OS: That’s a good question. I think on the bus and the train are really good places to listen to music. Often, if I’m halfway between finishing a track or making a demo, I’ll stop and go for a walk or go see a friend, and use that journey to passively listen to something, because it does change the context of everything and makes you realize, “Oh, maybe I should change the key of it, or it needs to be faster”. So I think transport is good, public transport. I also think listening to music in the park is really nice, because it’s sunny (it never is). And at home in my bedroom is probably my favorite place, because you can listen to it loud. And maybe dance around a bit. Or a lot.

Are there any venues or club nights you like? Where should I go when I’m in London?

OS: Village Underground is great. It’s quite a big one, it’s like 800-900 capacity, that’s really good. If you’re looking for a dive bar vibe, then somewhere like Moth Club or the 100 Club is pretty good. The Lexington is a nice one too, if you want to drink and they have really good gigs upstairs.

Do you have any last words before going onstage tonight?

OS: Blimey. I don’t think so.

Don’t trip when you go up the stairs to get onto the stage.

OS: Don’t do that, enjoy yourself, not that I have to tell myself that because it’s always so much fun.

WHO IS DUA LIPA?
March 4, 2016 6:15 pm

Dua Lipa is an Albanian-British model and dark-pop princess who is set to release her debut album early this year. While the mere 20 year old musician is still an industry baby, she possesses an exoticness that is mysteriously appealing to our diluted and mediocre American culture. It’s a pop sensibility mixed with the edginess of rebellious youth, and the confidence of a runway model. So who is Dua Lipa? And why is she so interesting?

As the story goes, Dua Lipa is the London born child of two Albanian immigrants, presumably escaping the traumatic events of the early 90’s civil war in the region. Surely this cultural heritage fuels some aspect of her artistic expression. The family returned to Kosovo in 2008 as the small eastern European country claimed it’s independence. However, two years later, at the age of 15, Dua Lipa returned to London, staying with friends to pursue her interests in music. She became a model at 16, an opportunity that not many young women are awarded in life. Perhaps it was a stroke of destiny.

These are the elements that make the otherwise generic sounding pop so interesting. There’s a fire in this artist that exceeds even the talent of her very professional production and songwriting team. She is a natural, a former theatre student and daughter of a rock n’ roll musician.

Dua Lipa recently released a handful of singles along with videos and has set out on tour in anticipation of the forthcoming debut album. Definitely look out for this rising star, and for you Americans out there – break out of your mold, expand your musical horizons and embrace the message of this aesthetically mature young artist. She could be the next Lana.

STILL CORNERS LIVES
February 1, 2016 12:10 am

When a band goes more than two years without releasing anything, their fans begin to worry. Or worse, forget. That’s why it was something of a Christmas miracle when Still Corners released the single “Horses at Night” at the end of 2015. It was their first release since their 2013 LP Strange Pleasures and well worth the wait. I’m pleased to announce that Still Corners is very much alive.

To commemorate the occasion, ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with writer/producer Greg Hughes and vocalist Tessa Murray.

You released a new single, “Horses at Night”, at the beginning of December. Is this in anticipation of a new album?

TM: We wanted to put something out before 2015 ended, we had just finished that song and thought yeah, let’s put this out. It’s not on our next record and was just a one-off really.

Will there be a tour in 2016? Any U.S. dates? How about SXSW?

TM: Yes we’re planning some SXSW shows and a new tour as we speak.

You toured with Chvrches in 2013. Are there any experiences on that tour that stood out to you?

GH: There were tons of people at the shows, lots of great cities. I remember driving through New Mexico, just seeing this massive expansive flat desert with mini-tornadoes everywhere, appearing then disappearing as we drove. We spent a lot of time in our van. Nothing like waking up on your friend’s armpit, just in time for sound-check. I just remember having my imagination rejuvenated more than anything else.

Tessa, you sang in choirs before moving to singing with Still Corners. What was it like to make that jump? Was there anything that surprised you about singing with a band?

TM: To suddenly be standing in front of a huge drum kit and guitar amps and synthesizers took some getting used to. I didn’t really have any idea what it would be like, but we hit our groove. The feeling you get after a performance is similar though, it’s a big high when you come off stage and know that the audience was into it.

What are your favorite venues in London? Are there any parties or club nights you’d recommend?

GH: Bush Hall is great. For larger shows the Barbican and Shepherd’s Bush. Any night at Cafe Oto.

Greg, what advice can you give for someone in the U.S. who is looking to move to London? What was it like for you when you first moved there? Scary? Fun?

GH: When I first arrived my mind was blown; I needed a new mind after that. My advice is to do it all. Ask around for a cheap room, rent is high. Bask in the glory that is the National Health Service and never worry again about convoluted over-priced healthcare. Drink pints often. Get rid of your car, you won’t need it.

Are there any foods from your native Texas that you wish they had in London? What have been your favorite foods in the U.K.?

GH: Proper Mexican food, but there isn’t proper Indian food in Austin. You can’t win.

Be on the Lookout for Still Corners in 2016.

A NIGHT OH WONDER AT THE BOWERY BALLROOM
12:05 am

The Beasts were out last Friday night to witness the brilliance of our indie friends from across the pond; Oh Wonder, the highly acclaimed and widely talked about indie synth-pop act out of London. Opening the night was Pop Etc., a well respected pop indie outfit themselves, having toured with the likes of Broken Bells, Grizzly Bear, The Kooks and more.

Pop Etc. drew a “sophisticated” crowd of college types and future grad school students, yet their set expressed a sound rooted in punk anthems that have been deconstructed and reassembled as synth based pop songs. The show marked the debut and release date of their new album Souvenir. A high point in the set was a perfectly tempered version of the Tears For Fears classic “Mad World.”

By the time Oh Wonder took the stage, the ballroom was filled to capacity with a slightly older and more culturally hip crowd. Despite the tightly packed conditions, Oh Wonder’s music brought a lightness and fluidity to the crowd. The first song set the tone for a heartfelt night, fueled by the distinct energy that only New York City nightlife can provide. The songs touched upon the delicate emotions of love and navigating this world as a young adult.

Oh Wonder, fronted by Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht, created an impressive buzz in the music world over the past year by releasing one single every month beginning September of 2015. These releases eventually accumulated into their debut self-titled album, which they have since performed on tour internationally. The unorthodox independent release granted them the recognition of millions of listeners on Soundcloud and a contract with major label subsidiary Caroline Records. Even the grand master of pop music himself, Rick Rubin, proclaimed to be a devoted fan.

Despite the highly polished electric sound of the album, Oh Wonder’s live set translates really well acoustically and shows no doubt of true musicianship and aesthetic genius. Each song has been written, recorded and engineered by Anthony and Josephine themselves out of their London-based studio.

Their trans-continental tour picks back up in Europe, starting off in Paris on February 26th, along with plenty of North American shows beginning in May at Sasquatch! Music Festival. If you get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out on this rising act of genuine pop music, that is so full of wonder.

 

SAVAGES RETURN WITH THE SAME INTESITY IN ADORE LIFE
January 23, 2016 12:05 pm

London-based post-punk revivalists Savages return with their sophomore effort Adore Life, via Matador Records.  This record is a continuation of their harsh, relentlessly brooding assailment that brought the band to critical acclaim off the heels of their 2013 debut Silence Yourself.  Again we have Jehnny Beth’s agonizing howl, joined by Gemma Thompson’s ferociously swerving guitar, Ayse Hassan’s bombarding bass, and Fay Milton’s mechanized percussion. Their music conjures up the dark, icy-edge of late-70s art rock of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Public Image Ltd.  You get the picture.

Savages made quite the stir when they first came into the spotlight.  To some, their antics can be quite unsettling.  Silence Yourself was a political album, it was preceded by a manifesto on their website, which was also recited at the beginning the video for “Shut Up”, an aptly titled tune. At live shows directions were posted outside of hosting music venues, instructing attendees to politely turn off their mobile devices. In other words, please silence yourself.

Ok, not exactly your run of the mil request from an indie band in 2013.  But ok.  Fine, I’ll turn off my phone.

Their hopes were simple.  To turn their music into an immersive experience.  To alleviate you from the world’s modern ‘distractions’.  While most indie bands might jump at the opportunity for free exposure via social media, Savages sought to have their music be the absolute center-piece.  They want to be taken very, very seriously.  In a world where we seldom think twice before taking out our phones and unapologetically snapping pictures of our idols, perhaps their manifesto isn’t so absurd after all.

Savages is here to make music.  They’re no gimmick.

With Adore Life, Savages bring us an album about the most primordial human emotion of all: love.  But like their stance on music, politics and art, their discussion on the subject of love is deadly serious.  No holding hands in the park and sharing an ice cream cone, no. We’re talking about love as a societal-balancing scale.

Beth goes through all of love’s permutations.  In “The Answer“, love is a source of jealousy. Beth states, “If you don’t love me / you don’t love anybody” followed by the plea “sleep with me / and we’d still be friends / or I know / I’ll go insane.”  In “Adore”, love is temptation, “If only I’d hidden my lust / And starved a little bit more / Is it human to adore life?” In “Evil”, love is  a political instrument blockading us from true happiness: “only one way to raise a family / I squeeze your brain ’til you forget / why is it you’re afraid?” In “Sad Person”, love is a psychosis: “love is a disease / the strongest addiction I know / what happens in the brain / is the same as the rush of cocaine / the more you have / the more you crave.” In “T.I.Y.W.G.” we’re faced with irresistible physical passion: “this is what you get when you mess with love?” followed by “All you want is that feeling again…I saw a no become a yes”. Adore Life discusses love as a boundless, size-less, shapeless entity.

Savages are serious as a band as they are about the love, but you’ve considered these ramifications before.  Many times before. It’s simple: absorb and spread love throughout, and at the end of the day, Adore Life.

ADVENTURES ON TASTEBUDS
January 4, 2016 10:06 am

It takes a certain type of person to really explore what dating sites have to offer. I call those people masochists. However, there seem to be a lot of people who enjoy the unique abuse of online dating, as there are a never-ending stream of ways to be blown off by the opposite (or same) sex from your computer.

Tastebuds, a dating site launched in 2010, looks to pair singles by taking participants’ “liked” bands from Facebook, Spotify, and Last.fm, and matching users to those with similar tastes. If you’re into music, you’re probably already familiar with it.

I joined Tastebuds about 18 months ago, and promptly forgot about it. Aside from a once-monthly email with matches, I hadn’t had much contact with the site until logging on recently to find about 50 unread messages from other users. I was surprised, as my profile was barely filled out, and my face was only (partially) visible in one of my photos. Scanning through the messages, I realized 99% of them were a result of the “Message Bomb” feature, which allows users to send a single question to 8 of their randomly-selected matches. Who came up with this? No one likes “form” messages. Because these messages are being sent to a random selection of users, the people writing them seem to feel like the messages should be both funny and general; one Message Bomb sent to me asked, “Would you rather be hairy all over or completely bald?” (Hint: I’m already one of those.).

Some cursory Googling also revealed that newer members of Tastebuds are now required to buy a membership or pay a fee just to respond to messages. The prices for membership range from $10 for one month to $30 for six months, and include additional features like removing ads, and the ability to view profiles anonymously. I understand that the company needs to make money, but charging people to respond to messages isn’t the way to do it.

I don’t mean to shit on Tastebuds. I think finding people with similar taste in music is a great idea. You can even set your search parameters to find matches in areas you may be vacationing in, so you have someone to go to shows with. Unfortunately, I think the whole thing is bogged down by questionable user experience and member abuse of the aforementioned features. I’m still going to hang on to my (free) membership – maybe that guy who shares my love of both Hanson and Placebo will finally pop up.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO SPECTOR
December 7, 2015 2:40 pm

I want to see Spector again. I don’t care that I’ve just seen them, I want to see them again. Thursday’s performance at Mercury Lounge marked the end of a short, 4-date tour of the U.S. and Mexico, with the band testing the waters of their overseas following. And if the audience’s reaction on Thursday was anything to go by, Spector will be back soon.

Before the performance, ATYPICAL SOUNDS sat down on the floor of the venue with Fred Macpherson, Tom Shickle, Jed Cullen, Danny Blandy, and Yoann Intonti to discuss music, touring, pizza, and pretty much everything else in existence.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

FM: This feels like Alcoholics Anonymous.

If you’ve got anything you want to confess, I can turn the recorder off for a couple of seconds.

FM: Keep it on. I’m ready for a confession. It was 1998…It was a cold day in the autumn. It started like any other. If I’d known what I know now at the beginning of that day, I don’t think I’d ever have left the house.

We’ve all had those days.

FM: Yup.

I saw the video of you guys at Reading this summer, performing for thousands of people. Is it weird for you to go from something like that to playing a venue like Mercury Lounge (250 people)?

FM: It’s good, I think. It’s weird, but it feels kind of natural as well in a way, because throughout our career we’ve had bigger shows and smaller shows, or have been on tour with people who are really big, playing arenas and then going and playing in Scotland to about 100 people or something, so we’re kind of used to the crowd sizes fluctuating and when you come off the back of big shows like Reading and Leeds in the summer, I think it’s really important and humanizing to keep playing to all sizes of gigs because there’s always going to be new places where no one’s heard of you, and it reminds you that any kind of implied “food chain” in the music industry is all kind of bullshit anyway, and really all that matters is the interaction between your songs and the people who are there.

Sometimes at a festival, it might be thousands, but if there’s 10 people in a room, the transaction (I don’t mean financially), musically, spiritually, whatever, it’s still the exact same thing as when there’s loads of people. So I think that bands who kind of get annoyed or think it’s a step down, I think they’ve got the wrong end of the stick of how music works. I always like when a band like Mumford and Sons play to 25,000 people and then go and play at a local country jam around the corner, I think it’s good when you keep that spirit.

The other day, when we played in Mexico, on the last night I ended up in this bar where there was a covers band [the rest of the band is laughing] playing all night and these two [gestures to Tom and Danny] thought it would be a good idea to join on a cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, on instruments that neither of them play, and Googling the chords…

TS: Googling the chords to “Sweet Child O’ Mine”, looking at the keyboardist, being like, “What are the chords?” and he was going, “Look at my fingers.” and I was like, “I don’t know what that is.”

FM: He was fuming.

TS: I was just onstage, in front of about 300 people, just going “Nope, don’t know it.”

FM: They’re the sort of musicians who you’d shout any song and they could play it. And they’re like the karaoke machine.

JC: Although I thought the video/audio back would be awful, it sounded quite good, I thought.

FM: All three of them were onstage. Sorry, that’s a very long answer to a very short question.

That’s ok, it’s something I’ve often wondered about because, particularly at this [small] venue, we get so many bands from the U.K. (who are very popular in the U.K.) who come here, and I feel spoiled, but I sometimes wonder if the smaller audiences bother them.

FM: I think it’s a rite of passage as well, the U.K. is such a small place with such a big music industry, that I think it’s good for bands of whatever size in the U.K. to come and play to not many people in America, especially the first few times, and it’s such a rarity that anyone breaks America; Arctic Monkeys, look how long it took them, or Oasis never really completely…

Well, they need to come back. They’d have an audience if they came back.

FM: That’s true. Now I think it’s going to get to the point where they could see that they’ll have to do it.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Blur was here earlier this year, Pulp was here in 2013.

FM: They were probably playing to the biggest crowds they’d ever played to. Hopefully, we’ll have a whole career of medium-sized gigs before we disappear and then get back together to ensure we can play venues of that size.

And by then, you’ll be Jarvis Cocker.

FM: With any luck, yeah.

How was your show last night at Saint Vitus?

FM: It was funny playing at a real rock bar. There’s a bar in London called Crobar that it really reminded me of. It was fun actually, again it was kind of a good in-at-the-deep-end experience. I’m glad we had that one before tonight, cause I think we learned a few things from it.

Like what?

FM: Just about when playing to an audience that’s basically almost completely new, what songs to play and what set list to have. Like, we’ve been changing our set list a lot on our last tour, and it’s funny how big an impact it has both on you and your confidence and the audience, and it’s kind of something that sometimes feels quite mystical, like a lock to an ancient safe. Cause when you get the right one…I’m sure we read too much into it, but it’s one of the many stars that need to align and when it does, it does. And it can be quite nerve-racking, playing to people who don’t really know who you are and I think tonight will feel a bit more relaxed and less like “Ahhhhh”.

There can be some freedom in that, as well. It’s like “I’m never going to see these people again, I can do whatever I want.”

FM: It was quite raucous, I think it unlocked a certain energy in us, it was a bit like Dragon Ball Z, like Super Saiyan.

You have a new album now as well, so that’s going to change what you can play.

FB: Yeah, an album that we like more, and brings a variation of pace and music and style and color.

Are these performances possibly in preparation for a larger tour of the U.S.?

FM: I still think at this point if we went on tour in the U.S., really no one would come. It’s one thing playing small shows in New York, I think if we turned up in Wisconsin we’d have a crowd smaller than the band. There’s hilarious stories of bands we know from the U.K. who toured the whole of the U.S. on a sleeper bus and played to 3 people a night and spent thousands of pounds doing it, cause it’s like “the dream”.

To go to Wisconsin?

FM: I think the thing is, when people see the rest of America, with all respect…

We don’t talk about that.

FM: They kind of realize everything they’ve seen on TV and films is kind of set in 2 or 3 places, and the rest is like this weird 3rd world country made of service stations and churches.

And wheat.

FM: I’m not going to judge the people of America, but I think it’s such a big place and the U.K. feels big to us. Scotland seems far away from London, and for us that’s a long drive. And all of that would fit in a third of Texas which is 1/50 of the whole country, but then you only have a population 5 times the size, which means you’ve got this land mass that’s basically a different planet, but only with 5 people per one of ours which basically makes it feel, outside of cities, like an empty post-apocalyptic wasteland.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Have you had any New York City adventures while you’ve been here? Have you tried the pizza?

FM: The funny thing about the pizza is that all the Italian words that we have that reference different meats are all slightly different here, so prosciutto in England is like the finest, wafer-thin cut of ham, but then if you order it on a pizza here it’s like these cubes of like pink plastic.

JC: Ordering eggs is quite hard as well. I don’t know what over easy…

FM: Sunny side up, there’s a clue there. But then like, easy, over, under, hard over, it sounds like a cricket score or something. But the food is amazing here. Even the shit foods are better than our food.

I’ve never tried the pizza in London.

FM: There’s a restaurant called Pizza Express, which brought pizza to London in about 1965, before that there had never been pizza.

JC: Wait, there hadn’t been pizza anywhere…

FM: Nope. It had been cooked at home, but we don’t have the Italian community in the same way you would here, like over 100 years old, so pizza came late but this first pizza restaurant is still the biggest. The food is getting better in London, but what’s good about the food here is there’s always some element of surprise, like you’ll order something that you’ll find has no need for a gherkin and there will just be a massive gherkin on top, like a whole one.

JC: There’s a lot of mixing sweet and savory foods like maple syrup on bacon, cream cheese with jam.

FM: It’s surprising that New Yorkers aren’t as fat as in other states, but the food here, it’s like you eat here for 3 days and you feel like every meal is your last meal on death row. And you have gyms with ominous names like Muscle Gym, and Crunch Gym that are aspirational in terms of making people, even the kind of nerdy-looking people here are quite ripped. Which is cool, I guess.

There’s nerdy people and then there’s like, male model types who wear glasses.

FM: What, do you think they’re diluting the brand? Like they’re taking away from the real nerds? When people started wearing glasses without any prescription, I find as someone who is disabled and has to wear glasses, I started to find that a bit kind of…

JC: It’s like me walking around with crutches.

FM: It’s like when Rick Ross sits in a wheelchair in a video. But no-prescription glasses is like using a wheelchair cause you can’t be bothered to stand up. In London, everyone’s on those hoverboard things.

Those were just made illegal here.

FM: Same as in London, you’re not allowed to take them on the streets anymore.

JC: Cause it’s a vehicle, you need a license for it.

FM: Yeah, but come on, let us have our fun.

TS: I liked looking at people when they went past me, and just thinking “You have so much confidence.”

FM: And there were people on their phones doing it and not looking up.

As you may know, I interviewed your friends Swim Deep last night. They want to know who your favorite member of Swim Deep is.

DB: Should we all tell the truth, or…

TS: Let’s all tell the truth.

JC: My favorite member of Swim Deep is someone I like to call Good Will. It’s the cool ghost of music.

FM: Mine’s Cav. I’d say that to their face, but only because I spend the most time with him and he always stays at my house when he’s in London. I do love them all, but he’s my favorite. I can’t speak for the band.

JC: Did they say who their favorite members of Spector were?

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Photos by Sasha Maese

I didn’t ask.

FM: Jed’s favorite is probably Zach.

JC: I like them all equally.

FM: Danny likes Higgy.

TS: Yoann likes Balmont and Ozzy

YI: They’re my best friends.

TS: Just put Cav.

YI: They come to France all the time.

FM: Do you like Swim Deep?

I like them a lot. I had seen them at this venue in 2013 and I had just had my wisdom teeth removed and I thought I was going to die.

DB: And you thought that was painful.

I have to ask. You guys opened for Suede a few years ago. How was that?

FM: Yeah, at one of their comeback shows. It was funny because it was our ex guitarist’s last show, so for us we were thinking more about how it was his last gig rather than Suede. I mean, I never listened to Suede much growing up, but when we got the gig, everyone was like “Wow, you’re supporting Suede!”

DB: We did another show in Romania where they were headlining, and then [singer Brett Anderson] came into the dressing room and you called him Brad.

FM: What’s his name?

DB: Brett.

FM: I made a joke onstage, and said “When we got offered this show, we weren’t sure about it, I guess we were easily Suede.”

TS: It was a great gag. It was 1,000 people going “ugh.”

FM: Brett Anderson came in to thank us for the gig, I said “Did you hear the joke?” and he just like, looked at the floor. So that was the only thing I was really interested in. But then I went to a baby shower this year and he was there, lo and behold, Brett in the corner, and I was like is one of us going to say something, or am I going to go up and be like, “Remember when we supported you, and then you came and said ‘thanks’ in that Romanian dressing room?” But I didn’t, and he just kind of looked at the floor and we were there for an hour, and then he left, so I can’t say we’re friends, but I’m glad we got the gig and actually looking back it was a good gig to get. I don’t know if we played it to the best of our capacity, but I think it was great fun. And their audience were actually pretty forgiving. And then I met a girl recently who said “I saw you supporting Suede.” and I was just thinking “Why did you buy tickets for Suede?”, but they’re a brilliant band.

There are actually some similarities between [the Suede song] “The Beautiful Ones” and “All The Sad Young Men”. When I put the “We’re all beautiful now/like they were beautiful then”, just in that lyric, that was kind of a nod to the Suede lyric, because their songs in the 90s were quite nostalgic and had this…I felt like he was…they had this kind of throwback between the 70s and the 90s in the lyrics and I think that was a kind of slight nod to that.

Brit pop is actually more popular here than you would think.

FM: Really. It’s a bit of an embarrassment, I think. Obviously, the bands are great but I think it would be the equivalent of like that “all-American sound”, like Lynyrd Skynyrd and stuff like that being popular and some of it is so self consciously British, especially when you have the points where people were posing in front of Union Jacks. I guess it was a different time, more exciting in the run up to Tony Blair getting elected, I guess there was more excitement about what it meant to be British than there is now, so maybe that’s what allowed for a style that could go hand in hand with flag waving, etc. Now, doing anything with a Union Jack, unless you’re Morrissey, I think would be a little bit…

It’s so good to dance to, though.

DB: Some of the songs from that are amazing.

FM: The bands are great, it’s just the culture. And Blur are amazing, and Oasis are amazing.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Feeling Gloomy party. It’s one that started in London and it’s here now as well, and you had written about that White Heat party for Noisey. Are there any club nights or clubs that are still going on in London that you think are particularly good, or that you would recommend?

FM: No, not really. Not for hearing guitar music anyway. In London, there’s not a culture for that. Half the clubs are closed down. White Heat still technically goes on on a Friday, but it’s not the same thing. There was a time about 10 years ago where there were so many good indie clubs and right now I guess just the culture moved, and the sound we’re all listening to, all the stuff. Clubs at the moment are electronic.

DB: There’s a lot of grime stuff, which is really good music and I think that’s good that it’s found its place in club culture in England, I think that’s really cool.

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Photos by Sasha Maese

Are there any London-based bands that might be less known that you like and would recommend?

FM: There’s a band called The Magic Gang, who have been on tour with Swim Deep. They’re actually from Brighton but I really like them. Spring King, who are based in Manchester, but they’re a really great new band who I’m sure will be here again soon.

DB: Bill Ryder-Jones, who’s not new, but he just released a new album that’s amazing. He was in The Coral and he’s great.

JC: There’s a band called The Rhythm Method.

FM: They’re a London band.

JC: They’re a really small London band who are really good.

How are you guys celebrating Christmas this year?

FM: The same as basically every Christmas we’ve ever had in London.

Eating Brussels sprouts and wearing a paper crown?

FM: 100%

JC: I really like the paper crown thing, I just, I love it.

FM: I have mine on from about 11am to about 11pm. I always come prepared with jokes that are better than the crackers.

JC: Sometimes the crown, you can feel it on your head until epiphany. It stays there for 12 nights.

TS: When it’s gone it’s still there, isn’t it?

JC: You take it off and it’s still there. You can wash your hair, dry it.

TS: It’s like if you’re going swimming and there’s a wave machine. When you go to sleep you can still feel like you’re in waves. If you take the paper crown off, it’s still there. It’s very odd.

Any last words before you go on tonight?

JC: ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?