Durand Jones and the Indications Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

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“We’re not the type of people to say “all artists have a duty to write political music.” We just write about the things that are important to us.”

We caught up with Indiana-based soul artists, Durand Jones and the Indications, to get to the heart of their music and it’s power to connect with such a diverse amount of people worldwide.

Premiering new songs of their latest album: ‘American Love Call’ the other week, at Dingwalls, Camden, their sentiments resonated with the crowds; the album itself is very much a love letter to life and an expression of how people are feeling right now – their deep lyrics feed the soul.

Elizabeth: Firstly, take us back to the start of the band and where you all met?

Durand: This project got together in the autumn of 2012. I was working with the IU Soul Review as a graduate assistant. Soul Review is a class students can audition for. The ones who get in learn about and play soul music. I taught the horn section, wrote horn charts, and arranged horns parts. I was asked to sing for the class as well since this year was short on guys. They knew I sang with bands back in Louisiana, and since it was my job I reluctantly said yes. The particular category of study this semester was Motown. I sang backgrounds on some Temptations stuff, and had a solo on a Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell duet— ‘For Your Precious Love.’ That’s how I met Blake Rhein who gave me Charles Bradley’s ‘No Time For Dreaming’ on CD one day after class. In that way he established a friendship with me and invited me to hang with him to sing on a tune he was writing. The tune became ‘Givin Up’. He then introduced me to Aaron Frazer. And we all began writing together. We started to hang and listen to records as well. They introduced me to a band that they played in called Charlie Patton’s War. They were a rowdy rock and roll band and the first time I played with these guys was in a basement to Otis Redding’s ‘Dock of the Bay’ at party in a basement. That was the start!

E: Durand, you mentioned you were from a small town, in what ways has coming from a small town impacted you?

I’m from a very rural part of Louisiana. A place called Hillaryville, Louisiana. Coming from a rural area I got to explore for miles in the woods, go fishing and swimming in the Mississippi River and learn a traditional style of singing that isn’t practiced much anymore in the Baptist church. Our parents forced us to be outside and wouldn’t let us back in until the sun was going down. That is how I discovered my love and need for nature. In the country things are still so all of your senses and emotions are heightened. Moving to Bloomington was a wake up call. I didn’t realise how poor I grew up until I moved up there, or how country I was. I recently moved back to Hillaryville after doing stints in Chicago and NYC and I must say it truly feels like a completely different world between Hillaryville and those places. I love the country life and it’s where I want to be for the rest of my life.

Aaron, when we met at your Dingwalls show, you mentioned you played in a punk band. How did you find the transition in going from punk to soul?

Haha, well more punk-blues than straight up “punk”. Before we met Durand, 3/4 of The Indications had been in our own rock n roll band called Charlie Patton’s War. We had a reputation for putting on super rowdy performances; Blake used to stand on top of my kick drum etc. We played a ton of shows over 3 years – mostly house shows and dive bars. But that meant that when we met Durand, the band was already tight. The soul and rock artists we enjoy are ones that celebrate passion and prize grittiness.

Durand Jones 2; Elizabeth Andrade

Durrand Jones and the Indications owning that stage at Dingwalls, Camden

And at what point did you all realise you guys had something special as Durand Jones and the Indications? – Do you guys still play in other bands?

Blake: Last year when we played the Troubadour in L.A., the whole room sang every word to  “Is It Any Wonder,” which was completely surreal. People we’re even singing along to “True Love,” which at that point only existed live demo on YouTube.

Aaron put out a really great 45 under the name The Flying Stars of Brooklyn. That band featured Eli “Paperboy” Reed and they are amazing live. They play a fundraising show once or twice a year, so if you’re in NY keep your eyes peeled.

You all have such amazing energy on stage. I remember the first time seeing you play (at the Lexington, London) and was blown away by your energy and humbleness. You guys put so much energy into each show. How do you consistently maintain this? 

Durand: A lot of it comes down to touring smartly. We don’t drink or smoke much and try to eat right. There’s so much music out there, and so many touring artists, that when people decide to pay attention to what you’re doing, you better return the favour and give them your all on wax on stage.

How do you find touring? How was last years 10 week tour – any crazy stories to share with us? 

Blake: I had a hard time with being on the road for long periods of time at first. I love having my own space to be creative, draw, and paint. That’s basically impossible on the road. But I’ve found my ways to stay happy and healthy on the road and I’ve really come to enjoy it.

One of my favourite stories was from Kansas City last year. After the gig, we all ended up at the same little jazz club down the street from the venue. Most of us were at a table in the back and there was a little quartet in the front playing standards. Out of nowhere comes a wild-as-hell trumpet solo, and sure enough it Kiinch, who was touring with us at the time. The crowd was way into it, but the house band, who were undoubtedly upstaged, were not.

At Dingwalls the other week, we really loved the bands matching shirts, reminds us of the soul bands. We were also admiring how there was a real diverse mix of people and ages. Soul music is what brought them there, you have really connected to people. Tell us more about the support coming through as of late?

Blake: Early on, we had a small coalition of fans who came from the record collecting community. That group along with the independent record stores clerks that were recommending the record were crucial in getting us off the ground. But the more we’ve toured around, we’re meeting all different types of music fans. We’ve met some fans who love live music more than anything and will come see us multiple times over the course of a week on tour. We’ve met fans who are totally new to collecting soul 45s who probably bought their first single at our merch table. One of the most rewarding group of fans we’ve connected with is the lowrider community throughout southern California. A lot of these folks have been listening to this style of music for 50 years. They’ve been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive about what we’re doing.

Durand Jones 3; Elizabeth Andrade

Framing the moment after their sold-out in-store gig and album launch at Rough Trade, East

Congratulations on the new album: ‘American Love Call’ – it feels like a love letter or expression of your feelings to America. Tell us more about the dynamics in writing and  sharing vocals.

Durand: Everyone writes and brings ideas to the table when it comes to the songwriting. Sharing the vocals is something that reminds us of all of the vocal groups that we have come to love. With the resurgence of this style of soul music, many bands call upon high power shouting soul singers but no one has embraced the musings of someone like Eddie Kendricks or Damon Harris, and Aaron has filled that void I believe. He gives us a unique and refreshing dynamic to the group. Although I’m not doing much soul shouting anymore, it’s a nice contrast between us two.

I’m loving the political commentary on your songs. It really connects to what people are going through. I heard what you said at Rough Trade East, that 78% of Americans are living from pay check to pay check. It kind of reminds us of Charles Bradley ‘World is Going Up in Flames’ and Aloe Blacc ‘I Need a Dollar. It feels like you are following on from them but doing it in your own way. 

Aaron: It’s a crazy statistic, but it’s true. We’re not the type of people to say “all artists have a duty to write political music.” We just write about the things that are important to us. And among those things is the idea of intersectionality. Racial identity is at the forefront of the political conversation, and that’s essential! But only focusing on that leaves out the things that unite us. And a big uniting force is class. We can acknowledge what makes us different while working together to improve conditions for poor people, regardless of their colour.

We spotted that you raffled one of your records for The Poor Peoples Campaign – can you tell us more about your involvement in this movement?

Aaron: I learned about the Poor People’s Campaign last year, and it verbalised so many things I’d been feeling. It’s a non-partisan movement created by Martin Luther King Jr. that revolves around uniting people across racial lines to address issues of economic, racial and environmental inequality. I’ve been trying to organise shows and fundraisers like this to raise money for the organisation because I believe this movement could be the source of hope and positivity so many people are searching for.

Follow Durand Jones and the Indications on: Twitter // Facebook  // Instagram

Words and photos: Elizabeth Andrade (@LizzyyEA)

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Ten Fé Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
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Ten Fé; Photo Credit; Abi Raymaker

Leo Duncan, who shares lead singer-songwriter duties with Ben Moorhouse of Ten Fé, spoke to us about the recording of their second album, the evolution of their sound, and positivity in the face of increasingly declining physical record sales.

It’s obvious when you speak to a musician that music goes beyond their occupation, or satisfying self indulgence of project ‘cool’. As Keith Richards once said: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” Discussing the bands origins almost feels an insult in the face of Ten Fé, who clearly have music in their “bones”.

The band wear hearts, not pride, on their sleeves. The follow up to their ‘Hit The Light’ debut, ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’, that coincides it’s release (March 8 via Some Kinda Love) with a second American tour, certainly cements how they have really come into their own both personally, and musically.

Originally starting out as a busking duo, Duncan and Moorhouse naturally gravitated towards a five-piece to include childhood mates from Birmingham. And it’s on this second record that you will notice how they have really honed into their sound, doing away with the electronics stylistically, and recording the album mostly live as a five-piece band. Subsequently, the material is more raw and honest and was a reaction to the reception when touring their debut album. “Being honest as performers and the more we’ve cut down on, the backing track, the PA, the electronics, I feel the easier it’s got. And on this album, everyone is playing their instruments, we’ve harnessed raw energy – there’s a real magic passing from one another.”

The first album was not only recorded as a duo, with both Duncan and Moorhouse alternating instruments in the Berlin studio with Ewan Pearson (The Rapture, M83, Jagwar Ma) but had electronic leanings and 90s influence (Primal Scream, Happy Mondays). ‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ ramps up the Americana elements coming through on the last record; Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and The War On Drugs. “Our listening became more concentrated and particularly The War on Drugs – but also Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’, R.E.M’s ‘Automatic For The People’ – we kept it pretty tight, it wasn’t a conscious thing, it’s just what we were listening to at the time. Obviously our beloved Stones and Beatles too and a touch of The Lighting Seeds at the end.”

Lyrically speaking, poetry retains a large component and privilege as the listener, almost as though the material wasn’t meant for prying ears. “In terms of this album, the lyrics are deeper, there’s less word play and wit in the lyric. It’s more concentrated on being honest – on speaking and not wanting to shout, there’s a softness to the lyrics.”

People may be keen to associate them with their hard grafting roots; London buskers on the District Line at 5:30pm, but it’s coming through that is more significant. Music is expression, an art that Duncan says they are fortunate to have avoided the down trodden routes for, and having been a musician over in Dublin, Ireland for a year in his early twenties this was where he learnt how to hold an audience.

When Duncan shares with me his stories of working over in Dublin, there’s an underling and unflinching self confidence to his worth as a performer that I cannot help but admire. “I would play lots of pretty tough pubs along East Wall and on the Northside, where I lived saying, ‘Listen do you mind if I play for you tonight, I’ll play for free, if you give me drinks all evening?’ ‘Right, well, we’ll put you in front of the TV and the football is on at the moment, but if you can distract the people from the football then we’ll let you have the gig.” And I loved that, because you know, if you can make people turn their attention from the football onto you, then you know you are onto something.”

It wasn’t just learning how to hold an audience, but the Irish culture and attitude towards music in turn, took a hold on Duncan: “There’s a very interesting attitude to music in Ireland, you know, there’s a very inclusive attitude to performance – if someone has a guitar, they’re expected to play, and that’s just the given.”

Ireland’s very different, inclusive attitude towards music is the mentality that continues to drive the band forward and is taking them places. Inclusivity is pivotal to their music. “In London the attitude is a stark contrast – if you have a guitar then you have to perform – it’s not an intimate or inclusive thing, because there’s so many people striving to do the same thing, it’s a lot harder. I’ve always connected more to the Irish ways. It happens in Birmingham too – it’s not about networking or showing off, everyone can enjoy these songs, that’s my mission. It’s got very clear roots for me with Birmingham and Dublin.”

While their attitude towards music is rooted in Ireland, they have a greater kinship with American music stylistically. “America is such an important place for us musically. Kurt Vile, War on Drugs, Mac De Marco, Twin Peaks, Whitney is the music that inspires us – when we get up in the mornings, that’s what we put on. Not British bands, apart from Idles and solo acts – I’m excited by Westerman and King Krule, but in terms of bands, America is where it’s at right now”.

When questioning his thoughts on the British music industry, Duncan is positively optimistic about the future of not only the industry itself, but the band’s ambition to sustain a positive headspace. “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, it’s a struggle sometimes – but if you surround yourself with good people, its always positive. Not just between us as a band, but our management and label are our best mates and they’re always there to support us.”

“You really have to go for it as it’s so competitive right now, but at the same time, the quality of music isn’t dampening, people are making just as good of music as ever, and the people listening aren’t going deaf, shows are being attended and playing shows are as good as it’s ever been.”

Over the phone this afternoon, it seems only topical to bring into conversation todays closure of HMV. I question insofar how Spotify is helping bands, which Duncan enlightens me, helped fund Ten Fé’s last tour of America.  “Things are changing, yes, HMV shut down but when was the last time you bought something in there? (Very true). Lets work out the next way to ingest music – people don’t pay for music now, that’s just the reality – that’s had an enormous impact thing on music – the way to get around it is not to think about it too much. Make sure you’re singing songs you believe in and work with a team you believe and trust.”

There is no room to feel precious on the District Line, you have to hold your own, on a stage of your own making, there’s no gap between the audience and artist. So when it comes to their shows, that are growing in size, the last was in support of Adam Ant at Camden’s Roundhouse, it’s rewarding to see how deep their music is connecting with people.

Keen to learn of Ten Fe’s proudest moment to date, Duncan modestly responds. “I always try and avoid feeling proud, maybe its the Irish in me, but I’m always really happy when we finish a recording – finishing this album was the best feeling, it wasn’t easy to make either. When you play in a band, this might sound cheesy, I don’t care if it does – but if you have a connection when you’re playing with someone overtime you play, and we do, it feels wicked. There’s also a point where it feels amazing. We’ve all known each other for over 10 years and have a deep connection with one another so yeah it’s like being in a pub with your best mates and you’re drinking and you have this moment when you think “ahhh this is f***ing wicked” it only last five seconds when you’re in a pub at Christmas – or you’re at a gig and there’s a point where you just feel it. That’s why I know we’re on the right track – that’s all the Beatles had and that’s what the War On Drugs have, a chemistry on record.”

Chemistry is something you cannot forge, and just like music, you either have it “in the bones” or you don’t, and as more people are noticing, Ten Fé are gifted with both.

‘Future Perfect, Present Tense’ is released March 8 via Some Kinda Love Records

Follow Ten Fé on: Spotify // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

 

The False And The Fair Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

The False and the Fair press shot 1 2018 - photo credit Joanna O'Malley

We spoke to The False And The Fair who were in the heart of Hell Fire Studios recording their latest single: ‘The Space In-between’ lifted from their eponymous EP (released 16th Nov) ahead of what will be an epic headline show at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov).

The lads have a great way of volarising nature and romanticising the otherwise mundane band origins, inspiration and recording processes, and are proud to be belong to Dublin’s thriving music scene. For us, their record is an exquisite slow prog-rock burner with warm harmonies and transfixing layers of psychedelic guitar lines that just narrate the EP so well.

Rachael: I was gutted to narrowly miss you playing The Crow Bar when I was last over in Dublin – how did the night go, and generally speaking, how do you find the local music scene – where’s your favourite haunt to play?

Jacob: The crowbar gig was great. We stripped back all the songs, took away the drum kit and rearranged some of them to suit the more acoustic vibe we were going for. The crowd were really attentive and respectful too which is nice when you’re trying something new.

There are times when it can feel like parts of the songs, such as the harmonies, can get lost during gigs so it was nice to expose those a bit more and put the songs in a new context. I got to play a wooden box that Adam found in a warehouse so I enjoyed the challenge of playing the same songs in a different way on a different instrument.

The music scene here is booming. There are so many new bands being born every day and they’re all so different. No matter what type of music you play everyone just seems really supportive and encouraging. Having colleges such as BIMM Dublin and Newpark jazz has made people realise that they can actually have a career in this industry and it’s very encouraging to see you friends succeed at doing what they love.

Tommy: In terms of venues, we’ve had fun playing all over. Workmans, Sin E and the Grand Social are all great spots, as well as Whelan’s where we’re launching this new EP. The Harbour Bar in Bray also has a special place in our hearts. We’ve got roots in Bray as well as Dublin so it’s always nice to come back to that home crowd.

Your origins of the band sound awfully romantic…atop the Wicklow Mountains at dawn, which feed seamlessly into the outdoors themes of this EP. I suppose coming from such a beautiful country it’s inevitable that you become consumed by it’s natural beauty – can you continue the story as romantically as possible please, haha…

T: I can try, although the songs on the EP might do a better job of it! There is something about being out in nature, isn’t there? You just feel so big and small and lost and hopeful and peaceful all at the same time, and it’s nice to have space to breathe and think. There’s something about the headspace of writing songs that I always connect with the outdoors, even though I’m usually inside when I write. I think looking out at something bigger than yourself is one of the major themes with this collection of songs, so hopefully some of that energy comes through. You’re not just yourself; you’re part of a living, breathing world and it’s too easy to get stuck inside your head sometimes. I hope people will be able to put this EP on and let their minds wander a bit.

You dropped a reference to Townes Van Zandt – I’d love for you to share with us more what this American artist means to you as a band?

T: Townes is the man. Listening to him up in the mountains that morning definitely helped spark the creative energy that ultimately led to this EP coming together. There’s such an aching beauty to his writing, a real rawness and a yearning quality that I find utterly breathtaking. A lot of it’s really sad actually, but whatever way his voice hit me that morning just made me appreciate what I’ve got and where I was at.

Psychedelia seems the compass of TFATF’s sound – are there many likeminded souls that you’ve collaborated with/do you find yourself part of a scene, inspiring, jamming and gigging together?

Adam: I think we’ve been really lucky with the people we’ve gotten to collaborate with over the years.  We’ve all been huge Vernon Jane fans since seeing their first show, so getting Emily-Jane O’Connor to lend her voice to Bald Apes made us all a bit giddy. Having been a part of the BIMM scene, we got a chance to mingle with tonnes of unbelievable musicians. Through the college we met Laura O’Sullivan and Claire Z, who provided vocals for the last half of The Space In Between and have really promising projects of their own.

Ultimately though, I think we’re still trying to find our place in the broader Dublin music scene. No one here wants to be pigeonholed, which is amazing because you end up getting some really incredible genre-bending acts like Wastefellow and Fehdah, but it can also be a bit of a pain when you’re trying to put a show together! Ultimately I think it becomes more about quality over genre at a certain point though.

Cormac: When I joined the band, there seemed to be an established sound that I felt was very organic yet unprotected. Knowing that we had mutual interests, I felt that as we progressed we would be comfortable exploring each of our individual personalities as musicians. I think it’s evident that we all like psychedelic music to one degree or another, but we aren’t psych rockers. We enjoy much more of the genre’s soft, playful nature but you’ll get the occasional freak-out. Collaborations are always fun, Emily’s vocal on ‘Bald Apes’ is amazing. That section would have suffered without her. We’re currently taking on a lot more as individuals when it comes to the recordings. Rather than feature a new musician, we might try out something new ourselves. We like to experiment with different instruments and effects because it’s a lot of fun.

Have you ever heard of TAU – only discovered the artist myself recently (Shaun Mulroney is the mastermind behind the project) and they’re actually heading over to Dublin next month, I could really see your soundscapes sitting well together! 🙂

A: I hadn’t, I can definitely see what you mean though! Myself and Cormac are big fans of a Swedish psychedelic band called Goat and there are a lot of similarities there. We might have to shoot him a message!

The False and the Fair Space EP artwork by Grace Ryan

‘The Space In Between’ EP artwork by Grace Ryan

The guitar work is exquisite, I have to say, it’s warm progressive rock that just seems to narrate the EP so well – how do you each approach songwriting?

A: Tommy will come into our rehearsal room with the bones of a song and we’ll all sit around feeling out the track and throwing melodies about until we find something we like and the vibe sits right. Once we all have an idea for our main parts, we’ll start arranging it and adding little flourishes and accents – we’re basically just kids with crayons and a colouring book at that stage.

J: We’ve all played together for so long that when we work on new material it all comes quite naturally. We know what we like and we know what to expect from each other from a musical standpoint. We’re at a stage where we can trust each other and nobody is afraid to try something to see if it works.

C: When writing guitar parts I usually try to hear what the music is telling me. I hear how the lads gravitate to it and I find a way to make my own emotional tie to the sound. That said, we’ve all had a hand in writing the main riffs on this EP. I tend to become very attached to the sounds that I develop in the early stages of an arrangement. If it works I usually don’t try to push it too much, but there’s always room to explore new ideas.

T: I spend a lot of time writing by myself so it’s always a joy to get together with the guys and play. The more they contribute creatively the better, as far as I’m concerned. We’ve had a lot of fun writing together in the same room recently, so I hope some of those songs take shape and find their way onto future projects.

You’ve included ‘Gone’ on this EP which you previously released as a single, this song must bear a particular weighting – what does this song mean to you? 

T: Gone Tomorrow’s one of those songs that’s been with us forever, must have been the second or third song we ever worked on as a group and it’s certainly the oldest song remaining in our set these days. I think we’ve all got a certain fondness for it and it helped define our sound early on, to some extent. We released it last year but it was out on its own, and since it was just one track we only did an online release for it. We decided we’d like to have it on this collection for the blessed souls who want to buy our CDs and listen to the tracks that way, and when we realised that it worked nicely leading directly on from our new song ‘Psychedelic Psmile’ we knew that was the perfect place for it.

Would it be fair to say that you’re recognised by your most popular track: Bald Apes, which is very different sound to where you’re at with this EP, two years on, would you agree, not least in reference to the vocals (screamed to gentle-vocal hooks)? Can you talk us through this journey?

A: I think Bald Apes has always felt like a bit of an outlier for us tonally. It was written around the same time as Gone Tomorrow and In The Shade of the Mountain, yet it has this totally different perspective and scope. We’ve always been open to experimentation and I think back then we were still very much crafting our collective voice. I’m really proud of what we came up with, considering we actually recorded it 2 years prior to releasing it. This last year has really helped me to understand our dynamic and the direction we’re going in together, but I think that our recent musical development has had a lot to do with the shedding of pretense, a new level of openness, and a mutual acceptance of our individual voices and talents.

T: For me, I just thought Apes was one of our strongest songs at the time. As Adam says, we didn’t necessarily know what direction things were going for us musically. We decided to just go for it with a tune we were all excited about, and that seemed to have a great impact and energy when we played it live. I also won’t rule out more shouting in the future.

Even the location you chose to record your EP was in the heart of the Dublin Mountains – Hellfire Studios, where some Dublin legends like Hozier and David Keenan have recorded – how was the experience?

A: We got really lucky actually, I was studying Music Production in Bray and it turned out one of my lecturers Ivan Jackman is heavily involved with the studio. We ended up recording In the Shade Of the Mountain, Gone Tomorrow and The Space In Between with his students as part of one of their assignments, then once we realised that we wanted to make this EP, we booked in another few days to lay down Another Life and Psychedelic Psmile. It’s not your typical stuffy studio and the distance from the city gives you an opportunity to really focus on what you’re doing. It’s amazing up there – totally secluded with this amazing view of the city and the sea! I think we all fell in love with the place. Besides, their gear is delish!

What elements of an era do you hear in your songs – whether they are conscious choices made or unconscious results?

J: As far as the drums are concerned I grew up listening to a lot of Nirvana, Tool and The Smashing Pumpkins. It may not come across in the songs too much but there are definitely elements of that mid-late 90’s angst in the drums. Another Life is the best example of that, I really let loose on that song.

T: In terms of a broad influence the most obvious reference is probably a late ‘60s, early ‘70s kind of vibe. The likes of Love, Pink Floyd and Neil Young would be touchstones for me, but we’ve got such varied musical interests within the group that I hope we’ve come up with something reasonably unique that stands on its own two legs. We recently put together a Spotify playlist featuring some of the tracks that influenced us on this EP and I’ve really enjoyed listening back over them and reflecting on where we’re coming from.

Check out their latest single: ‘The Space In-Between’, recorded live by Ivan Jackman at Hell Fire Studios:

Catch them live at Whelans tomorrow (18th Nov) €8.50 (Adv) €10

Follow The False and The Fair on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Exhauster Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Stay Out_Cover_Low

Emerging South London-based Artist, Exhauster

We can’t keep it to ourselves when we discover artists we love, and this week we’re delighted to share with you an emerging artist, Exhauster. We caught up with the mastermind behind the project, Elliot, to discuss his latest single: ‘Stay Out’, a glimpse into his musical background and his attraction to the disparate elements of music.

Having been involved in many previous projects, the South London-based artist (via the US and Yorkshire) now finds himself in his first foray into singing and arranging his own songs. “I have been in bands as a drummer and general tradesman for ages but I started writing material for myself over the last couple of years which got some nice reactions from friends, so decided to keep going with it. My initial plan was to surround myself with sublime voices to paper over any cracks and we just kept papering on sounds until it became Exhauster.”

Speaking of his latest single, he reveals how it changed direction entirely, organically, for the better. “It was originally supposed to be a pretty relaxed, motorik little ditty, but somewhere down the line it started to get really frenetic and I’m still not 100% sure how the ending happened. We were originally only going to use some subtle drum machines, but I played around with the track in the studio when we were recording something else and accidentally recorded the drum parts”. Elliot goes on to jest: “I like assembling music in a kinda patchwork way. Actually I can only assemble music in a patchwork way.”

Just as we begin to speak of influences it becomes apparent that the style of his musical legends match that of where he wants to be with Exhauster. The ways boundaries of electronic and organic elements are pushed together in “really beautiful ways. I also love music that is obviously tooled to make disparate elements fit. You’re going to get a lot of that with Exhauster. We’re ultimately trying for something ecstatic, even if it’s a little sad.”

When tasked with the question of influences, Elliot intelligently lists many obscure almost esoteric bands, so niche, we love it! “Recently I have had the latest Serengeti album on repeat, which was produced by Andrew Broder from Fog, who are one of my favourite bands. The Daniel Brandt album “Eternal Something” that was released last month is also amazing. I’ve been really enjoying the latest album from the Declining Winter too.”

Keen to know when we might expect an EP to drop, satisfyingly it’s all recorded and he will be sharing things regularly every few weeks over the coming months, plus live dates are coming soon. “We have the personnel and I’m remembering how to play drums and guitar in front of people again. I’m really looking forward to that.”

The EP was produced by the multi-talented Nick Trepka (Emmy The Great) who, as he beams has “known and loved since we were very young lads. He brings much needed musicianship and discipline to the process. He is also useful in that he knows when I’m being objectionably out of tune. We have a lot of fun”. Nick, also plays guitars, bass and keys and sings backing vocals alongside, he adds, “another producer and musician of note, Grace Banks, who everyone should check out.”

As we begin to wrap things up, Elliot speaks fondly of his current home town, South London, and it’s local music scene. “But I’m a bit of a hermit working on my own thing at the moment and I don’t really know what is happening around me. The Windmill is the local place where you are likely to see interesting music though. Listen to OD Davey, I think he’s somewhere around here and he’s great.”

Follow Exhauster on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

 

Carmody Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Carmody FB Profile; Create Often (copyright)

Carmody (photo credit: Create Often)

When we’re in conversation with musicians, instead of chasing that ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse, we go ‘beyond the surface’ allowing you and us, as readers, writers, fans and musicians alike, achieve a familiarity and reassurance that we’re all in this together! 

Sharing and opening up more will continue to create a more accepting world, and within the music industry particularly, progression in this direction hasn’t been more imminent. Getting to the root of everything universal, London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Carmody, discusses matters of mental health, feminism and the language of the heart.

Rachael: I think it’s really important, particularly as of late, where growing concerns of treatment within the music industry have been brought under spotlight – what are your thoughts on the support available to musicians? If you don’t mind sharing – what support, maybe a network or community initiative helps you creatively and socially. And financially, are there any trusts or bursaries that are worth knowing about for any musicians reading? 

Carmody: I think mental health awareness, particularly in the music industry, is really improving, Help Musicians UK have recently set up a 24/7 helpline just for artists. Personally, I find that when I speak to other artists in sessions about how I’ve been feeling, they are usually having similar experiences and it’s nice to speak openly about it. I also find that the women involved in the ‘Time of the Month’ Podcast are like a lifeline to me and, when we do manage to organise a meet up, it feels very therapeutic. 

Financially I’ve had funding support from The Arts Council when I supported Tom Misch on tour in 2016, PRS also have some incredible funding options available. Digital distributors, like AWAL and Believe Digital, will also support some record projects, so it’s worth contacting them too. 

How do you keep that momentum going during dark days, maybe you’re under pressure writing, recording even booking shows? We all experience moments of self-doubt – what gives you the fuel to bypass it all?

I don’t think I ever manage to bypass those feelings. The music industry is a really tough place and I sometimes question why I put myself through it, as it takes a type of strength I don’t always feel that I have. But, when I am feeling low, I often reach out to others, or do something else creative, my friend recently bought me a ‘vagina colouring book’ and I’m finding that really entertaining and calming at the moment. Failing all these, there is always Pinot. 

Do you find your style of delivery, because of it’s very raw, heart-on-the-sleeve material, that it connects and unites people? In particular, has any connection provided you the motivation to write a song?

I think all my songs are motivated by connections and relationships. They nearly always stems from something I’ve experienced. Songs are like diaries to songwriters, they catalogue our lives, I’m always motivated by what I’m currently living through. 

At the moment I’m in a place where I’m writing about my family a lot, but previously it’s been mainly about past lovers, in an attempt to get over them. 

Funnily enough, a few people have messaged me saying that they got married to ‘Skin’ or ‘The Ways of Your Love’, neither of these are love songs in my eyes, but I think it’s beautiful that they have found new meaning with others.

What drew me personally to your music, was not only your vocal talents, but the way you write about love – like Kate Bush and love experienced through a woman’s eyes – you touch on unrequited, lost and never quite made it love. You have a very intimate songwriting style – how do you judge what to release to the public? Are there any moments of vulnerability in the face of an audience and how best do you conquer these?

Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say, and it’s much appreciated. I’ve generally always been an open person and I think this comes across in my lyrics. I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything back, there’s a great Nayyirah Waheed quote, ‘the thing you are most afraid to write, write that’, I try to keep that as my mantra. 

When I’m performing my technique is to expose myself even more, telling anecdotes about each song, which I guess makes me more vulnerable, but it feels like it helps in a way.

Women’s perspective in music is really important to express, especially when the industry is so male dominated. It’s also unique to look to the male as a muse and objectify men for a change, tell us more…

Are we talking ‘Singing Your Love’ here? Ha! I guess that song came from a conversation I had with the ‘Are We Live’ guys in their podcast. I was speaking to Barney about how men are never objectified in songs and they’re never (to my knowledge) washing cars in videos. So I wanted to appreciate the male form, because some men are beautiful and they’re just not mused-over enough, but also flip things around and objectify them for a change. It was a fun exercise, one that I don’t think I managed for the whole song, but I’m proud of the first line.

Which female musicians do you admire, maybe ones you’re been lucky enough to collaborate with? And who would you like to work with in the future?

Laura Misch and Marie Dahlstrom have both been big inspirations to me, their dedication to their craft is incredible, they release beautiful music and we all support each other along the way, it feels like a good team. A dream collaboration would be with someone like Grimes, or possibly M.I.A, after seeing her incredible documentary.

What music are you currently listening to and who should we go check out?

Yes! I’m really loving Hayley Heynderickx, she has an incredible called ‘I Need to Start a Garden’. Also really into Big Thief’s record ‘Capacity’. I’ve also always been a big fan of Charlotte Day Wilson and a band called IDER. I’ve got a playlist of songs I love on my Spotify profile called ‘Carmody Loves’ (cheeky plug) if you do feel like checking anything else out, I’m proud of that playlist.

You often put pages of poetry up on your Instagram stories – what particular writers have inspired and encouraged you to take a leaf out of their book?

My three favourites are – Kim Addonizio, Mary Oliver and Leonard Cohen. They’ve inspired my work so much and constantly encourage me to push myself to the edges of my lyrical abilities. 

Have you considered publishing a book of poems one day – do you have any sideline projects we can look forward to?

Funnily enough I am working with my friend Alicia Mitchell, who was responsible for a great deal of the artwork on my previous records, to create a book of poems and songs for my next project, I think I’m going to call it ‘Flotsam’.

Currently enjoying your latest single: ‘Summer Rain’, which looks to the first stages of falling in love coinciding with a love of rain – which I discovered the other day is a pluviophile! 🙂 (love words, haha) – all I can picture right now is that Breakfast At Tiffany’s end scene… 

Thank you! LOVE that word. I am a word fiend too, I think we should be friends ha!

There’s a very sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering quality to your music. What did you learn about yourself when writing this upcoming EP?

I guess the most important thing I learnt about myself was that I could write about more than love, although I realise these last two singles are about love, I’ve covered a lot of new ground, subjects that I never imagined I would be singing about. Such as dementia, depression and the way we struggle to talk to each other about death. It’s actually pretty dark, but was a very therapeutic lyrical challenge. 

Outside of music what hobbies help you to unwind? You’ve been part of a monthly podcast series (up on Soundcloud) – Time Of The Month, which I’ve been enjoying a lot recently – for those who don’t know, could you go into a little detail about the project? 

I enjoy writing poetry and go to a poetry course in London. I’ve also just started getting into photography, and I’m on the lookout for a dance class, after trying out some moves in my video for ‘Summer Rain’.  

The Time of the Month podcast is one of my favourite things I’ve been involved in to date. It started because we wanted to create a counter group to the ‘Are We Live?’ guys. Everytime we manage to record a podcast I leave feeling cleansed, but everyone is so busy at the moment it’s been tricky to find the time, but we’ll get there soon. 

Before you go, what gigs can we look forward to from you in the near future and when can we expect your EP?

I’m still hoping that the EP will emerge before the end of this year, it’s very nearly there. I have a gig on the 21st October at the Sebright Arms alongside some other very talented, female performers and it’s free, so come down if you fancy!

Follow Carmody on: Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

Interviews, Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin Profle ShotThere’s a lot to be said for good humour – and Somerset born singer-songwriter Jeremy Tuplin certainly hits the spot with a balance of poignant delivery on his latest single: ‘Long Hot Summer’.

Perhaps it’s the upbeat melody supporting his dark lyrics, but parallels can definitely be drawn with the legends, Belle and Sebastian.

Intrigued to learn more about the great initiative of partnering and sharing all proceeds of his latest single with the environmental charity; Friends of the Earth, we caught up with Jeremy to discover more.

Your new single hits on global warming, an issue that universally affects us, but in all reality, not enough of us are actively resolving – do you think many convince themselves almost into believing our damage to the planet is unrepairable and don’t consider beyond their lifetime? — What are your thoughts on the issue? 

I don’t see the downside in taking measures to be kind to the planet. No matter what school of thought you adopt on the issue – why take the risk in not being environmentally considerate? It doesn’t impinge on your freedoms as it’s a choice, but it will make you feel more connected to nature and therefore better about yourself. Seems ok to me. Plus Earth is by far the best planet out of all the planets we’ve come across. The idea of living on Mars might sound cool but the reality would be s**t. Kepler 452b could be ok, but that’s quite far away.

The charity you’re collaborating with: Friends of the Earth is a great initiative – how did this come about? — Do you work/volunteer with them or an Environmental charity? 

I think it’s a good thing to be a friend of Earth, and because the song touches on that in its own way I thought it would make me feel good about myself to donate some of the proceeds to that cause. All purchases of the track on Bandcamp will go to that.

Having a good sense of humour sure is an asset to life – your style of delivery, particularly on this track, has poignant humour — what books, films, plays or comedies do you enjoy? 

I like a lot of different stuff… a lot of absurdist humour of late, Toast Of London recently for example. Most things seem fairly absurd and ridiculous to me so I tend to be drawn to art that emphasises that. I’m reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath at the moment and I like her style.

Would it be fair to say that space and science fuel your musical inspiration – so you watched a lot of space documentaries during the production of your debut album: ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ — tell us more…

It’s fair to say that I went through a space phase when writing and recording that album. I guess with the new stuff I’m going through more of an Earth phase. I will definitely return to space at some point though, creatively speaking.

How has country and city life compared as a musician – do you ever find London is so saturated with music that it’s maybe difficult to gain enough support – how is the music scene back home in Somerset?

I’ve been living in London for coming up to 9 years I think, so my only experience of the music scene in Somerset was when I was just starting out at open mic nights and small folk clubs. Haven’t really played there since but I would like to – if any Somerset promoters want to book me then please get in touch. I play a lot of gigs in London though, there are loads of good venues and gig nights. Possibly true that people are more receptive and up for buying merch in other towns and on the continent, but London is still pretty great.

Jeremy Tuplin’s latest single, Long Hot Summer is out now and available on all platforms.

Join us at their next full band gig on 20th September at The Victoria, Dalston – a double headliner with Jemma Freeman & The Cosmic Something, full details here!

Jeremy TuplinWebsite // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Ten Fé // Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
Ten Fe; Press Shot; Abi Raymaker

Ten Fé; Photographer: Abi Raymaker

The thing with ‘new music’ is that there’s always ‘another’ band to discover (surprisingly) but like everything fresh, a new song begins with a wave of excitement, the thing is, you can often end up spiralling off from one artist to the next like a Radio DJ (forgetting a few along the way), it’s only the exceptional that stand testament to this, consistently nailing both that ‘excitement’ and ‘freshness’ with every listen – for us, over the past year now, Ten Fé have been that constant force. They play an unmissable homecoming show at Camden’s Dingwalls in less than a week (Thursday 23rd Nov).

Ahead of next weeks show we were keen to chat them on a personal level, discussing everything from living up to their namesake ‘to have faith’ (as it translates from Spanish), to conquering America this summer and capping off their manic year by recording their second album in depths of winter in (one hour of daylight) Norway next month. They stand true to themselves and are content from standing devoid from ‘coolness’ and ‘scenes’. These are romantics at heart, but in head, real, deep and inclusive – once you’re into Ten Fé, you’re in for good! 

We have an inkling that we’ve caught you at a very exciting time – not only have you just released a new song: ‘Single, No Return’ but ultimately, a teaser to your second album. To be honest, there is such an infectious buzz surrounding you at the minute, we’re literally counting the days until your London show next Thursday (23/11). Tell us more about recent events for you – what have you been up to as of late, festival-wise this summer, any touring stories to share from your experiences of Europe and America?

Yes, good times on Planet Fé at the moment. These last few months, and the whole of the last year really has been wicked. Things feel like they’ve been building and falling into place for a wee while now, so we’re just cracking on. The US tho – being able to go there and find people are into what we’re doing was a mad mad trip. We’re all hopeless romantics, so starting off the first US tour in Manhattan, and playing our way across the country and reaching the Golden Gate at sunset for the final show, was heavy.

You said in the past that you have a lot of strong American music in your veins, and that America remains a romantic place for you? Do you think there’s any fear we might loose you (hopefully not, please God) to the States one day?

Ha, well you can only go where you’re loved … so if they want us over there it’d be rude to say no! America is just mad fun really; and yeah, course, on a deeper level it’s a romantic place for us; all those artists and places that are so clear in your imagination when you’re sitting in a bedroom in Birmingham or London. But going there this year, it’s allowed us to see that there’s a reality behind that too. You get a tangible feeling that there’s an attitude towards music and playing live which is different to here – in some ways it feels a lot more solid, less ‘flavour of the month’ than it is England, or London in particular. That definitely chimes with us, and we want more of it!

Would everyone in Ten Fé associate London as home now or is there a closer bond to the north of England – Birmingham, where a few of you were born and reared?

Ah, if you’re not from London in the first place, it’s always hard to call it home. So, I’m not sure. We couldn’t have been born anywhere else as a band, we clearly ended up here cos we were hungry for something other than Brum, and we’ve got a lot of love for London. But there’s something pretty Midlands about us no doubt. No one in this band tries to sh*t higher than their own arse, which is a Brummie way of saying, everyone’s got their feet on the ground.

I have to ask – you mentioned you busked in Dublin via Twitter recently and I was intrigued – can you share with us details? What’s your thoughts on their approach to music over there? I love the city myself (Rachael) and go back and forth to family a lot. Have any of you any Irish relatives, possibly even involved in music back home?

Glad you asked 🙂 yeah I (Leo) have a lot of family over there – my dad’s from Dublin … I used to live in there myself for a time. It’s a deep, deep city. Especially the music side of things – like I was taking about with the US – there’s a tradition of music, performance, song which is just under the surface. It’s not necessarily a ‘folk music’ thing, but it just seems to be there – everyone has a song to sing, a poem to say. My family are no different to everyone else’s in that regard I guess – once the guitar comes out, everyone gets involved.

It’s funny, it’s not as though your music can be pinned to a particular country, I wouldn’t necessary say your music is distinctly English, (or Irish as it stands) – is it something that you’re proud to say doesn’t shoehorn into a particular style, scene or modern wave?

Yep, I think you’re right. We don’t come from a scene or a sound that could be associated with a particular place; and we try to ignore the pressure to fit in to one. Because that’s an outside pressure – from press, peer pressure, or social media. As a band, you shouldn’t be worrying about what scene you fit into, or band you sound like. You should just be making music you like the sound of. And we do; so in that sense we’re proud of not fitting in. That’s where you’ve gotta have your faith, stick to your guns.

You recently supported the Music Venue Trust campaign, performing a set for them for part of their series of gigs at the Ultralounge, Selfridges – the cause felt something close to your heart, can you explain why?

There’s a lot of pressure these days to appear as the finished article when you’re starting out as a band. And I’d say we just think that’s not very helpful: you need time to develop playing live, and being a bit sh*t for a while, and find things out about how you want to sound. The more small venues close, the less bands are able to do that; and the more you get these one-off, stacked, industry ‘events’ / showcases – which aren’t good for the music. Just makes everything tense and spontaneity gets swept under the carpet.

But ultimately, we’re not into fighting the rising tide on a point of principle; if venues are getting shut down, so be it, that’s the way of the world and it’s up to bands to put on their own shows in venues they’ve found. As we did.

For those unfamiliar with your music and background, can you take us way back in the day, where playing bongo’s at a house party spiralled off into this brotherly bond and busking duo – how much have you overcome to get to where you are today?

Yes, it’s fair to say much ball-ache has flowed under the bridge since that fateful Night of the Bongo. I’m not sure ‘overcome’ would be the right word tho; we’re no martyrs – we love what we do. For a long time we were just having fun, busking around the place before we decided to do this band. Since then, the things that have taken time and effort are the things every band has to do – writing good songs, finding good people to play them with and the money to record them with; and finding the right people to manage you and work with you on your dream. Like I’m saying above, plenty of people think you can short-cut those things – us included – but you can’t, dammit.

Busking has been an important element to your band right from the start. Has performing in this way helped build confidence in both your delivery and style of playing? It takes a lot of guts to put yourself on a stage of your own making, would you say that this has encouraged you to pursue/realise the potential between you, Ben and Leo?

Busking is very intense. Certainly the way we do it: jumping on the trains, playing to everyone sardine-d in a rush hour, and running from the BTP, and all that (not the CARLING sponsored, sanitised buskers-corner nonsense, with amps, lighting rig, etc) – so yeah, it’s gonna have an effect on how we perform in general. You get a good sense on how to hold someone’s attention with a song, and how you have to be inclusive – and that is definitely something we have in our live shows. We hate the way some of these style bands act like they’re cooler than the audience.

Busking is brutal though, and we’ve definitely paid our dues on the District Line, not to miss it if we never did it again. We’d have formed the band with or without busking, it was always a way to make money first and foremost…pimp or die.

As a five piece now the live shows have taken on a new dimension – you seem to understand each other live really well, like you’ve always been together. How long have you known Johnny, Alex and Rob, and at what point did you decide to pool them into the band (willingly or under duress, haha)?

Well, if we’ve learnt anything its that you CANNOT form a band with an iron rod – believe us – we’ve tried! We’ve know everyone in the band a long long time – either directly or through other people. And when it’s your best mates you can’t bullsh*t them, or start twisting arms – think everyone can see is that the five of us together has something deep going on, and long may that continue.

When you think you have a decent song what’s the process you go through in deciding if it’s recording material? Who’s opinion do you value the most, as individuals, and collectively as a band?

We play everything we write to our managers, Russ and Clare (Some Kinda Love – give me some looove) are the best in the biz. They’re f**king amazing and we sound everything off them.

A sublime and timeless album hits that perfect chiaroscuro of light and dark, it’s all about the emotion created, how did you go about achieving this with ‘Hit The Light’ – would you say the choice of songs was consciously crafted to deliver this bittersweet pathos, tell us more?

Kind words indeed, thank you. I think that light and dark you’re talking about comes from the way Ben and I are as songwriters. We’re really quite different from each other; definitely not in the way that one of us is ‘light’, and the other is ‘dark’ … more that we compliment each other – so when he’s light, I’m darker, and vice verse – we naturally balance each other. That’s not a conscious thing at all though, and if we started to try and engineer that we’d be curtains.

The way both the band’s name and music captures a mood, a feeling, almost a guiding light for us listeners, ‘to have faith’ as it translates from Spanish – how do you keep this binding and driving faith as musicians?

Tough question! Not too sure, how does anyone keep their faith? By not questioning it I guess. Surrounding yourself by good people; “be nice, not cool” is another old Brummie aphorism that can’t really be argued with. A bowl of porridge every morning certainly helps.

Instead of attempting to categorise your music, because to be honest, who likes being put in a box, reminds me of that scene in The Mighty Boosh, (are you fans?) that conversation between Howard and Vince: “People are always trying to put people in boxes”. (Haha, miss that show big time!) Instead, let’s talk about what musicians you look up to in terms of their style of playing and songwriting?

Ha – yes – love that show! The Moon has provided much spiritual guidance over the years.

Around now, we’ve lot of time for War on Drugs; saw them at Ally pally a couple nights ago. F**king Amazing. Feels like he doesn’t give a sh*t about what people think – just does his own thing. Others, for the same reason: Kurt Vile, Kevin Morby, Khruangbin, Twin Peaks, Mac D, Delicate Steve, Courtney Barnett, Angel O, King Krule …

So your debut album was recorded in Berlin and you’re heading off to Norway for the second album – do you choose to purposely record abroad, (escapism from home and routine) or does it just happen to be where the best producers reside?

Yes we do purposefully escape. We’ve noticed that we’re not really into how things end up sounding when we’ve recorded them in London. We are buzzin to get over to Norway too – there’s an hour of daylight there in December, so we shouldn’t get too distracted by whats going on outside the studio. We’ve heard its £15 for a 1/2 a shandy over there too, so light relief may be at a premium. Can’t wait.

Do you feel at peace with who you are as people and artists, content and know exactly what you want to achieve at this stage in your careers, if so what do you think has helped this?

 Ooof, too big. Ask us when we come back from Norway.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and also, if you was to give any advice to musicians starting out, what would it be?

‘Stick to thy guns, lad’…and I’d say the same to any wide eyed and bushy tailed ones starting out.

Not long now until you headline Dingwalls, Camden, have you thought through the set-list and any covers that you might play – you recorded (and often encore with) a sublime cover of Born Slippy (Underworld) – is there another cover that you feel as passionate about sharing with your fans?

Ah, cheers – yeah we loved doing that Born Slippy 🙂 I reckon we’ll be up to a few tricks at Dingwalls, but which ones, I don’t know – we’ll be in the lap of the Gods by then.

And finally, any updates that you can give us on your (hotly anticipated) second album?

We’re rehearsing the new tunes every night in bunker below Oxford Circus. They’re sounding goood: deep and upbeat.

Ten Fé headline Dingwalls,  Camden Thursday 23rd November // Tickets are available here – we’ll see you there!

In the meanwhile enjoy their debut album, ‘Hit The Light’ here (released Feb 2017) and their latest single, below.

Ten Fé  // Website // Twitter // Facebook

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

FEHM Interview // Introducing

Interviews, Uncategorized

FEHM Press Shot

Leeds post-punk five-piece, FEHM have marked their return with an enthralling (very much echoing Joy Division and The Cure) double-sided A single: ‘Human Age / Last Breath’ this October, following last year’s debut EP, (via Art Is Hard Records), produced by Matt Peel at Nave Studios. The new material is a big step forward for the band, both in sound and arrangement; these are their first songs written as a five-piece. Ahead of their debut album (due 2018) we caught up with FEHM to gain an insight into their development as artists, the expansion of the band, their indirect politically themed songwriting and the real ‘community’ of their hometown’s music scene.


Last month’s new single: ‘Last Breath’ really heralded our attention, can you talk us through the inspiration behind the latest single? 

Darren: It was the first song we created as a 5 piece so as we essentially merged two bands, to get us started we had 2 half written songs from me and Paul. Musically, it’s got quite a driven pace so we made the changes fairly smooth without any sudden movements, giving the progression a ghostly yet warm and familiar sound to tie in with theme behind the lyrics. The guitar riffs really bring this home, adding a pleasant hook that’s got an air of melancholy.

Paul: The lyrics behind the song are based on an ongoing experience I have from working within a hospital, it’s about seeing patients unable to escape the torment they’re in. They’re looking for a release to end their suffering but once you let go, it’s the end, is it worth fighting to stay or is it worth letting go? 

You spoke of your last EP as a “reflection of the monotony of everyday life and peoples’ struggle to achieve what they really want.” How do you feel you might describe the themes in your upcoming debut album?

D: We’ve been concentrating on expanding our sound to write the album and developing ways of introducing new ideas and concepts. The chord progressions and melodies are designed to invoke certain feelings and different atmospheres. We’re not sure yet if the album will tell a story or have a running theme, but we definitely want it to be a well thought out journey brought together by atmospheric soundscapes, rather than just a collection of songs, one after another.

P: I tend to write the lyrics last, we concentrate on creating melodies and progressions first, we aim to finish the music before any words are written. We create the vocal melodies within the process but the lyrics come after so as opposed to the themes it could effectively be about anything. I write about what I’m feeling at the time generally.

So many musicians incorporate politics into their music and use their platform to bring these ideas into public discourse, is this something you feel passionate about?

D: I wouldn’t say it’s a major priority of ours, but you can’t really write music about the misery and hardships of life without incorporating politics at some point. I think there’s two approaches you can take on the subject, the direct approach and the indirect approach, and it’s about finding a balance that enables you to express yourself creatively and poetically, without the subject becoming overwhelming.

P: Human Age, the song that will be released next is political in a sense but indirectly I guess.

‘It’s the human age, we decline as we progress
It’s all too late, the unproductive success,
Will we break, before it all mends
Or will we take, until it all ends’

The whole song is how I feel at the moment with current affairs and what’s been happening around the world; Brexit, Donald Trump etc. To me, these are people in the masses taking not just steps back, but leaping backwards. I remember genuinely waking up after Brexit and feeling so upset, so dissapointed that the majority of our country would rather be segregated than joined together. Music is about building bridges not making borders.

How has the transition been for FEHM in going from a trio to a five-piece band?

D: It wasn’t without its ups and downs but, surprisingly smooth actually. The three original members had all been practicing together for years, so two extra people jumping in between felt a little clumsy at first. We all have common interests in the style of music we create and had spoken about collaborating in the past, so it’s wasn’t long before everyone was bouncing off each other and we all got settled in.

P: I’ll just say I’ve been asking Ben & Darren to join the band for years before it actually happened…….

What’s the current music scene like in your hometown, Leeds? 

D: There is a good sense of community in Leeds’ music scene. There’s lots of collectives, practice spaces and venues that encourage musicians to work together and it helps maintain a diverse society. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a hardcore band, psych, noise, synthwave or post punk, whatever. Everyone knows each other somehow and we all have the same primary goal of making music.

Have you ever felt any pressure to shoehorn into a particular scene and play a certain circuit of venues?

D: We pretty much just take it as it comes. We try not to be too picky, but at the same time, we’re not gonna play a show that isn’t right for us. I think we’ve found our footing and because we know what we want, it takes away the pressure of being pigeonholed.

So you’re currently writing and recording your debut album. How’s the project going and are you any closer to deciding on a release date?

D: We’re really enjoying writing and exploring new ideas at the moment. We’ve got our foundations and objectives outlined and it’s great watching our ideas get carried away.
The songs are beginning to stack up as we progress and we’re really excited to get it ready for the studio sessions at the nave next year.

P: To be honest, we’re not close to even considering a release date as we don’t even have the album fully written yet but the overall process is going good, we have a bunch of songs, some closer to completion, some in the early steps. We’re forever writing new music and ideas too. We’ll just see where we’re at in a few months. 

And finally, what is the greatest thing about being in FEHM, that makes you think to yourselves, ‘I really couldn’t do anything other than this’? 

D: This project has pushed our musical abilities to new levels and I couldn’t imagine making music with anyone else.

Upcoming live dates:

28 Oct – LEEDS – Wharfchambers (single launch show)

05 Nov – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club (w/ Autobahn)

10 Nov – MANCHESTER – Off The Record

19 Nov – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club (w/ Protomartyr)

22 Nov – GLASGOW – Broadcast (w/ Autobahn)

Listen to FEHM‘s next single ‘Human Age’ (released 28th October) a tale of confusion in the modern era:

FEHM: Twitter // Facebook // Soundcloud

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Nocturnes Interview // Introducing

Interviews, Uncategorized

Nocturnes Band Pic

We have been following this mystical, ambient Irish band, Nocturnes, since Dublin’s Hard Working Class Heroes Festival last year, only we discovered (sadly too late) that they were playing a different venue altogether! Considered “our favourite Irish record of the year” by RTÉ Culture, for us, their recent album has been on repeat since HWCH and the intrigue of their back catalogue of songs and the magic behind them, recently got the better of us, so we caught up for chat. Get to know the band ahead of their headlining slot at the Workman’s, Dublin (Nov 16th) where we discuss their coinage of a new musical genre: Electronic Chamber Music, the magic of songwriting and the ethereal, otherworldliness of Ireland.

The first thing that struck me was that were born in Sligo, Pearse, where we tend to connect the legend that is W.B Yeats to (even though he was born in Dublin) – how much would you say his legacy is firmly ingrained in the people and the place? 

Sligo has a pride about Yeats and his poetry. But I think that it’s a loose sort of a feeling. Maybe his poems come to mind for Sligonians when they’re in a particular place.

‘I went out to the hazel wood, Because a fire was in my head’. That kind of thing.

There’s the Yeats Building in the town, a statue, paintings and quotations and the annual festival. In that way Yeats is ingrained in present day Sligo.

At any points (if any) has Yeats ever had an influence upon your life and work? 

I read lots of Yeats at college. I like going out to Lisadell House and imagining a young Yeats swaning about. But in truth he hasn’t really inspired my writing. Maybe the idea of Yeats has; all that ghostliness and otherworldliness.

Maybe the idea of Yeats as this eloquent ethereal character has inspired me. Not the reality of Yeats. Which is quite a Yeatsian idea in itself. 

Ireland is connected to so many literary and musical ‘greats’ so much inspiration can be drawn from the historic, poetic and wildly romantic land alone. But I was reading that it was during your time spent in France and Montreal that you became ‘hooked on songwriting’ – what drew you towards this aspect of writing?

Essentially singing a melody is what got me ‘hooked on songwriting’. It’s quite simple really and not an intellectual thing at all. I love to sing. I love putting shape on thoughts and words. Too often in my life I say the wrong thing or say things in the wrong way. I think lots of us are like that. With a lyric you get a little while to frame things in the way you want. 

You can lean on melody and harmony, draw connections between things. It’s a lovely art form, songwriting. There’s a sort of magic in it.

Though my songs are generally inspired by a specific feeling or sometimes a specific event, that’s often only the catalyst. They end up somewhere else. I used to think that was vague or pointless. But a song’s not a thing you measure. It’s just a song. An insubstantial thing. But it can be very meaningful.

You spent a great deal of time away from home, living and working within various bands and as a solo artist in France, Canada, Norway and England – what is the project you are most proud of and why?

Maybe Idiot Songs, my collaboration with Justin Grounds. I think that was a great record; artful, rich, poetic, lots of compelling use of instrumentation, it had depth. It was contemporary and as good as anything released in 2013. But I am proud of all the records I’ve released. 

I’m really keen to know more about is this concept album – Idiot Songs – inspired by/based on the Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s: The Idiot – can you describe the process, it’s outcome and resulting new musical genre you coined: electronic chamber music?

Good question. Well, Justin and I had done some shows together and we always ended up talking about different novels or thinkers we both loved. He recommended reading ‘Idiot Songs’. So, I did and then I wrote the first song for it, ‘Nastasya’s Tears’. It’s such a good book. About an innocent and awkward character called Prince Myshkin. He’s the kind of character who points out the simple truths in society, the kind of person people fear in a strange way. Me and Justin loved this and just kept writing songs about different situations from ‘The Idiot’. The process was really cool. We were using Dropbox to exchange files. It’s an excellent way to collaborate. You get to hone in on your own little approach without being influenced by someone else in the room. We just passed files back and forth. We did some studio recording. Justin is a very fine violin player and is interested in chamber music and as we had some electronic beats in there we called it ‘electronic chamber songs’. 

How have you evolved into the band you are in today, Nocturnes, and how different is today’s live set-up?

Different from Idiot Songs? Hmm. Well Idiot Songs is a pretty visceral experience. But I hope Nocturnes is moving too. I really enjoy playing live. Music is transient. The song comes and then it disappears. It’s gone and the moment can never be recaptured. I love that. In Nocturnes I have some musicians I love playing with me who get what I want to create. Or maybe who want to create the same thing as me, would be a less egotistical way of saying that. I’m lucky to have lots of incredible collaborators: Justin, Billy Donohue, Christophe Capewell, Enda Roche, Sweeney Lee, Christian Volkmann. The live set up can vary but at its core its myself, Enda and Billy. 

You have talked about Nocturnes’ latest album drawing a lot upon childhood through to parenthood experiences – can you tell us more about this collection? 

I wrote a lot of it after the birth of my daughter. I guess that’s a wide open time, a time of growth. Many, many emotions. So, some of the tracks deal a little in that. Like ‘Whale Song’ is about parenting in some way but it’s also about wanting to be strong for someone else, to be noble. And it’s about this strange little life cycle we have. 

Your brother, Kevin McGloughlin who’s a Videographer/Filmmaker on the rise in Ireland has worked with you on several videos now – how was this process, perhaps you can talk about this latest release: ‘Humans’? 

Kevin is a wonderful filmmaker. The attention he pays to his work is so impressive. He is the real deal, as artists go. He’s true to his vision. Not too many people have that. So it’s cool when we work together. The process is interesting. I sometimes have a few ideas and Kevin warps them. Often too he’ll already have an idea he wants to work on regardless of the song. 

The latest release ‘Humans’ was quite straight forward. It was just a live take of a song we were rehearsing. Looks great and gives a little bit of the character of Nocturnes. Kevin and another of my brothers, Eoin shot it. 

How are your live shows going? You have a headline show at The Workmans next month which is pretty exciting! Would you say the live show is a really important factor in giving the band its identity? 

Ha! I think we are really good live. And I love playing live. It takes a good while to get the hang of a live show. It’s a funny thing. 

I would say that the live show helps to give us our identity, yeah. One of my friends says when you see us we look like we should be in a band together which I find quite funny. Hairy weirdos. 

And lastly, what Irish music are you enjoying at the moment – have you seen any good gigs recently, any artists that we ought to check out? 

I like lots of Irish acts. We did a show at Nighthawks recently with Little Green Cars and they were just phenomenal. Their third album is going to be great. I like the new Fionn Regan record. I actually think our opening acts in The Workman’s are going to do great stuff over the next few years. Arch Motors and Aural Air are quite new to the scene but both have something special. 

Nocturnes play The Workman’s Club, Dublin on November 16th with support from Aural Air and Arch Motors.

Nocturnes: Spotify // Website // Twitter // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Riley Pearce Interview // Introducing

Interviews, Uncategorized
Riley Pearce; Tashi Hall copyright

Hotly tipped talent, Riley Pearce

We caught up with a very special and unassuming alt-folk singer-songwriter, Riley Pearce, who’s on the rise, not least in his Australian homeland, but across the waters over here in Europe. It becomes evident that Pearce measures his true success through the people he is able to reach and their connection to his music as we discuss how significant busking is alongside maintaining a digital presence to both gain new followers of his music and push him on creatively.

Ahead of the release of his new EP, Pearce is touring his home country for the month of October before heading to the studio to finalise his record and launch into a full European and UK tour, Spring 2018.

So Riley, would you mind introducing us to your music – we read that you was once studying for a business degree, at what point did you feel the musical path was for you? 

Suppose that would be a good way to start things hey, my music is a bit of a collection of reflective alt-folk songs, or as my mum says “too many sad songs for my liking”. Yeah, that is true… I did a commerce degree out of school and just started getting more and more involved and interested in my music by the end of it all.

How is the music scene over in Perth, where you’re currently based? There’s a bit of an epidemic with so many small venues closing down over here in the UK. These venues are momentous to bands starting out. Would you say there’s a decent enough gig circuit in Perth? 

Perth is a great place besides the fact it’s so far away from everything. But even that has its positives sometimes. The scene here is like a massive family, everyone’s super supportive and the bands that break it are always so deserving because they’ve honed their craft here for so long. I know the East Coast has had a lot of that venue closing down nonsense. We’ve had a few but also a few new ones pop up. 

What outlet would you say gains you the biggest amount of interest when it comes to sharing your music/gaining a following – busking, gigs, social media, streaming services?

I always love busking… It’s such a terrific way to interact with people and try new things. I suppose it’s a combination of it all. I got lucky early on with some Spotify playlist love but I think nowadays its important to have somewhat of a presence everywhere…. As annoying as that is to maintain. 

So many bands start out busking and a few stay true to themselves, even when signed, keeping it real by continuing to perform in this way. How has this helped you and do you know of any local musicians that have gained success from putting their music out there in this way?

Yeh I started out busking at farmers markets on the weekend during high school, or the local fairs that came around each summer. I don’t do it as regularly as I’d like nowadays but still a couple of times a year. Melbourne’s busking scene is amazing, Perth has a bit of a stricter licensing system and there’s not as many places to play. Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana are two of the big busking success stories out of there.

Tell us more about your latest single: ‘Misplaced’ – it certainly hooked us from first listen, hinting to bigger things, can we expect a debut album to soon follow?

Yeh, ‘Misplaced’ I wrote early on in a new relationship. I was unsure if anything was going to come from it because there we were such different people. I’m looking to have an EP out midway through next year.

What’s been the biggest inspiration to your musical style, I can definitely hear nuances of Bon Iver on ‘Misplaced’ and a little bit of Daughter on ‘Brave’… and Ben Howard definitely coming through your style of guitar playing.

I think there’s probably too many to list. I used to listen to The Fray on repeat when I was a kid because I loved his voice. The Jezabels are probably my favourite Australian band of all time and their influence probably comes through at times. Ben Howard and Bon Iver too (good pick) are also two of my faves. 

Where do you feel most inspired to write and record your music?

I don’t know if I have one particular place. I love a good balcony/porch songwriting session. At the moment it’s mostly in my garage or on my bed that I end up writing and recording. Being on the road and seeing new things always helps to get them ideas flowing.

What do you like to do outside of music?

I love my food…. My girlfriend runs a small little bagel stall at markets some weekends so you might find me chowing one down. Love a bit of basketball and footy too, so that often takes up a bit of my time. 

Have you travelled much both within and outside of Australia? If so, what places, situations, people, if any experiences, have fed into your writing? 

I was born in Melbourne, then lived in Holland for a few years when I was little. Moved to Perth when I was 8 and have lived there since. I did a semester studying in Montana and definitely caught the travel bug since. Being in new places and seeing the world with fresh eyes is hugely impactful on my writing. 

Have you been to/played/do you have any plans to tour Europe and the UK? 

I was lucky enough to head to London earlier this year and played two shows there. Things went really well so I’ll be back there in April next year for an extended period and will hopefully play some shows around Europe too. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a new EP which I aim to put out next year, I’m also prepping my live set for tours around Australia in October.

And finally, do you have any new music recommendations from Australia that we ought to check out?

Was hoping you’d ask this…. Australia has so many great artists. 

  • Alexander Biggs
  • Neighbourhood Youth  
  • Gordi
  • Didirri

For you lucky Australian’s, be sure to catch Riley Pearce on tour next month, details/tickets here

Riley Pearce Oct Tour 17 Poster 123 Agency.jpg

For the rest of us, hold tight, kick back to Riley’s music and keep tabs on his European/UK Spring 2018 tour dates here!

Riley Pearce: Website // Twitter // Facebook

 

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)