Sascha Osborn Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

Sascha Osborn Interview (3)

We sat down with singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn, discussing everything from living life’s mystery, thriving on people and their stories to her hopes in making everyones eyes shiny with her music!

Overthinking comes naturally to many of us. But allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and wear our emotions, might not come as easy. And I suppose in that, you’re the fortunate ones if you don’t, since you prevent your emotions from taking control before your head can rationalise your actions.

We all have different ways of articulating inner expression and singer-songwriter Sascha Osborn hit home with her song: When Love Finds You. 

“…Sometimes it’s hard to say how you really feel; scared in case you get it wrong; you’ve got let fear go; who said you’ve got a choice, because it don’t work that way; love is gonna find you and turn your frown upside down.”

Sascha writes tender, reflective songs that dance between jazz and folk, and it wasn’t long since discovering her timeless music that we found ourselves sharing conversation, over chamomile tea at the homely hub – The Poetry Cafe.

“Sometimes I feel something but don’t know the reasons for the emotion and writing songs can help me articulate and express what I feel, what I want to say narratively and harmonically.  From the splurges, those that resonate strongly, I will then follow the idea, develop it and all being well create a soundscape to describe it. 

When I hear some music, I am so moved that giddy excitement fills my belly, or I will start to well up. I love the emotions music evokes, it can simply be a heartfelt performance, a beautiful tone, a melody, rich chords, syncopated rhythms or the beauty of words, so many things that resonate. I love doodling and creating, it is soothing, energising and fulfilling. I find it magical every time when something is created from nothing.”

In-between conversation and sipping tea, the man sharing our table gets up, before saying a heartfelt goodbye to Sascha, scribbling away in a book, I later learn, is an open poetry book. Just in that moment, I notice how easy it is for Sascha to leave an impression on the people around her.

“Being mindful and present with my thoughts, feelings, observing, drawing on all my senses is important to me, it fuels my creativity and engages me with my surroundings. Living life’s mystery, I like to connect and share in our human commonality and embrace the world around me.”

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While it’s innately human to drift into our own worlds, loose ourselves to our imagination, narrate and tell stories through any shape or form, our electronic devices are something entirely estranged that we have become so accustomed to, and adapted to similarly loose ourselves to.

“Mobile devices are hugely informative and have many benefits, they also offer a deluge of distractions. It can be so easy to get lost in the virtual world and lose connection with the physical world, people around you, and in turn, the art of conversation can diminish.

I saw a series of photographs created by an American photographer Eric Pickersgill, called ‘Removed’ where he had photoshopped out the devices which I found really poignant. His portrayal really illustrated our addiction to modern technology, online connectivity, social media etc and isolation from our surroundings.”

Sometimes it’s a struggle to articulate, and still we don’t realise what we otherwise take for granted, until it’s completely inaccessible. I learn that for Sascha it was through loosing her voice when a cyst developed on one of her vocal folds in 2012, that she was forced into a six-month lapse from singing. During this time she found her ‘inner voice’.  

“It was a challenging time and I became a bit of a hermit, but I listened to mountains of music and started focusing on writing songs on the guitar, singing the melodies in my head. Having something taken away from me, made me realise how important it was to me to musically communicate, find and express my voice. 

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3 months of speech therapy didn’t resolve the issue and so I had surgery in January 2013 and after one week of complete voice rest, I started gradually speaking again 5 minutes every hour to start. Then after further speech therapy I was referred to a fantastic vocal coach, who I still see, and by Easter I was singing again. 

During this time, I had also started studying jazz harmony and engaged further in songwriting which helped build my confidence and enabled me to connect my love of jazz harmony, soulful melody and descriptive lyric to create my voice.”

There’s plenty of musicians who’s hometown hasn’t always been London and finding their own feet and keeping their idiosyncrasy, is what intrigues and inspires me the most. Creating music that is true to themselves and not written to fit a particular scene/trend for the sake of art. 

Moving from Leicester to Sheffield in Sascha’s early twenties was where she experienced people “playing folk music together typically in a pub where there was no divide between the musicians and the audience. Everyone sat together informally often with a pint or two, sang along as they wished, and enjoyed simple good music.”

London has been Sascha’s home for the past 10 years and it’s her solid friendships that have made her experience as a musician an enduring one. It’s clear just how much Sascha thrives on people. When she arrived in the city, knowing no one, it was her local contemporary choir that enabled her to make friends and fuel her musical career.

“It is quite magical singing in harmony with others and with the resonance it is quite physical. The same director also set up a small gospel choir which I really enjoyed, lovely way to discover more music. It was one of the women in the contemporary choir who said ‘you like jazz’ who told me about a jazz summer school in France, she didn’t go in the end but I did. It was a brilliant intensive week of music, and I returned for a number of years, and from both these worlds, I have created many musical connections.”

Speaking to Sascha is like listening to her music; it’s warm and soothing, and feels like being hugged. There is so much life and energy as we begin to touch upon performance, and her favourite gig to date. Her album launch last year at St Pancras Old Church tops them all, even days afterwards there were ‘did that really just happen?!’ moments.

“It was very exciting to play such a legendary intimate venue and hear my songs resonate inside the church walls, as thousands have before and thousands more will. The audience was a beautiful crowd of around 70 people, friends, family and more, sat snug in rows on the dark wooden church chairs either side of the aisle, I could definitely feel the love. 

A good friend of mine Michael Russoff opened the evening sharing his stunning songs on piano. I had Andy Hamill on double/electric bass and harmonica, Justin Woodward on drums, percussion and vibes and Patrick Wood who produced the album on Wurlitzer and electric guitar. It was fabulous to play with such amazing musicians and people and create new live arrangements of the songs; we started with an extended version of ‘Looking Out And After’ and thereafter it was like a slow-motion dream.”

It seems fitting to tend on a note of poetic inspiration, and how the imagination can run free with “different combinations of words to create such evocative beautiful language.”

Agreeably there really is nothing like the physical book; it’s the complete experience  from the touch, to the smell of the pages. And yes, bookshops are seductive, Sascha rocks forward: “Bookshops can seduce me to explore and purchase, whether it’s Oxfam or Foyles, I just need to try not to have too many on the ‘to read’ pile rather than ‘have read!’

“When I was younger, I enjoyed discovering Keats and Rossetti and in recent times I have enjoyed Rupi Kaur’s poetry. My song ‘Could It Be You’ was in fact inspired by Frank O’Hara’s book: ’Lunch Poems’ a pocket-sized book of poems which I understand he wrote in his lunch hour. The lyrics to my song were written sat on a park bench one lunch time, overlooking the River Thames.

At the moment I feel a little like a painter with an endless supply of beautiful colours to paint with! I am taking the original guitar-based songs and calling them ‘experiments’ as I find that frees the song from anything, and simply let it follow the idea, naturally. As everything ought be. Without overthought…”

Follow Sascha Osborn on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Jeremy Tuplin Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized
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Jeremy Tuplin’s headline show at St Pancras Old Church 19/09/19 – Photography: Mathew Fleming

Worldwide action to protect our planet, our home, has never been so momentous. No doubt sparked by the broadcaster, conservationist and vice-president at Fauna & Flora International, Sir David Attenborough and the environmentalist activist, Greta Thunberg, and giving voice to this responsibility has never been easier, nor more powerful, you only have to follow the daily development of the worldwide Extinction Rebellion campaign.

Our planet is our concern, our responsibility and musicians have always been at the forefront, voicing passionate opinions and shaping our thinking about our human responsibilities. And singer-songwriter, Jeremy Tuplin is no exception to the rule.

Off the beaten track down the Hackney high street, in an eccentric tearoom, Palm Vaults, hanging baskets loom above our heads. Sitting in this perfect patch of pinkness, from pink velvet sofas, tables with vases of pink roses and pink satin curtains decorating the walls, I sit with Pink Mirror album creator, Mr Jeremy Tuplin, talking topical; everything from his passion for Earth to his concern for elusive human connection.

Just as we begin to talk about how it has become commonplace to share our lives through the phone, and therefore a privilege to spend time in company, holding an ‘actual conversation’, sitting beside us are two friends, who are ironically bereft of words for one another, and are instead posing for selfies.

For some of us though, thankfully, it’s far easier to loose yourself to the world around you, and I could see how I was, on the odd occasion, loosing Tuplin, to people watching. The cafe was beginning to swell with so many stories. And I realised that I was watching an inspired singer-songwriter, a natural observer of people, with a keen eye and ear to create and tell stories.

Curiosity leads us to explore and come to new understandings and findings. It can also have a shadow side, as with most things, and can lead us to dark dangerous places, like Pandora’s Box. Which is the title one of Tuplin’s favourite songs off his latest album, he shares with me. As we contemplate whether curiosity is a blessing or curse, the deeper psyche is awakened.

“It’s a blessing and a curse I suppose. Part of the beauty of life and consciousness is its desire to continually explore and learn. And I guess that’s never-ending, or would there theoretically be a point where we reach the end of all learning, and everything would be known, and what then? What would omniscience entail? Godliness? It’s impossible to say what the percentage of overall knowledge we’ve come to at this point, but I imagine it’s incredibly small.  But sure, not all discoveries are going to be positive – like Dark Energy driving the space between solar systems and galaxies apart at an ever increasing rate, or, you know, aliens – that could go one way or the other, if they exist, (they do).”

When we return to Earth, we reach burning issues close to his heart. On his latest album: Pink Mirror, as if addressing the Earth herself, Tuplin personifies mother nature on track: ‘Gaia’ giving a shared conversation between Earth and humanity that conveys how temperate Earth is to our abuse: “Oh I am a goddess and you are a fool, dare to mistreat me mere mortal, you do not know what you do…you act like you own me but I’ll still be here long after time’s through with you.”

It seems only natural to give something back to mother nature, after all she has done so much for us, and testament to his devotion to Earth, Tuplin partnered with two environmental charities for his recent singles: Friends of The Earth for ‘Long Hot Summer’ and One Tree Planted for ‘Gaia’.

“Yeah, I mean, the abject failure of my campaign to get people to contribute to One Tree Planted, and thus plant a tree as a free aspect of downloading my latest single Gaia, has burnt my fingers a little bit. I don’t know if it says something about how people feel about my music or about how people feel about planting trees.”

Having seen Jeremy Tuplin and his band (Ultimate Power Assembly) live on several occasions now, most recently at the exquisite St Pancras Old Church, Tuplin and his sardonic wit never fails to touch his audience. There’s also a calm and considered warmth between band members which transmits onto us – which Tuplin adds might be down his band “exceeding any normal levels of relaxation applicable to any given situation.”

Pink Mirror’s ironic social commentary encourages you to reflect, and agree that we are indeed living in a strange, often disconnected age, which is becoming less human, thanks to our devices. Encouragingly though, a growing number of us are feeling the need to appreciate and connect more with our fellow human beings, and our beautiful Earth…the times, they are a changin’.

Pink Mirror in out now via Trapped Animal Records

Jeremy Tuplin: Website // Twitter // Facebook // Spotify

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Flood For The Famine Interview

Interviews, Uncategorized

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The creative mind has no doubt a natural gravitas to the cinematic quality of life; there is something altogether romantic that we cannot help but crave.

Inspired by timeless theatricality is singer-songwriter, Alex Lindner of Flood For The Famine, who, akin to Tom Waits, places himself in the dark corners of society for his art; writing and narrating stories from the underbelly of city nightlife. And it’s impossible not to be yielded by the vocally arresting quality of ‘Nine in the Morning’, and taken in by the layered depth of ‘Why We Fall’.

It was almost as though we had stepped back in time to the 20s at the Booking Office, St Pancras. Two dishes were placed in front of us, we glanced at one another, and back to the slightly apprehensive waiter. “Are these not for you?” “If they’re complementary?” jested Lindner.

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He’s the charismatic character you could picture he would be off stage, with that balance of burning childlike curiosity. Lindner took a Maths and Music degree at the University of Edinburgh, and occasionally tutors A Level and GCSE students in Maths, not music, he adds, as “teaching and hearing someone play the same scale over and over again pretty much sucks all the life that music holds for me”. Maths just comes easy, and always has done for him, and as opposing as I thought the subject pairing would be, Lindner explains that it’s “all just patterns, either on paper or in the air, music and maths work in perfect harmony.”

He grew up in Malvern via South Africa to classical music teacher parents who encouraged his chorister upbringing. And as we begin to talk over his influences, it’s the classic American novel and it’s noir characters inspiration that interestingly comes full circle; Waits is his greatest influence, who in turn was inspired by Ginsburg, and Lindner himself has written a great deal of poetry inspired by the Beat poets.

His drive to write music is a compelling one, and I cannot help but be intrigued by his writing process and the literary connotations and connections with life as a performance, just as he references in his title track of his Waiting To Happen EP: “…And it was just waiting to happen. Sometimes we’re just actors in a play. And they tell us what to think. And they tell us what to say. Just let it play…”

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He tells me: “I’m really interested in the forces that compel us to do what we do. We can fight with them, hide them, or learn to accept and embrace them. They’ll come out one way or another.”

And just as the Pre-Raphaelite painters observed the fallen women and their awakening, Alex looks to the fallen men who have hit rock bottom and are looking for their redemption and seeks out the excess “bringing out the neon of life, that is tragic, yet comic.”

There’s philosophical elements too, that we begin to tap into, and it’s not long before things go deep. It’s true how the pace of life we all lead has robbed so many of us the opportunity of seeing the beauty in not just the smallest of things, but everything. Less of us have the time to pause, think, and appreciate life. Suffice to say it is only through writing, especially poetry and music, that we are able to fully realise ourselves, and life itself. When you get there, you too, might find yourself taken in by the romance of it all.

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Flood For The Famine’s debut EP: ‘Waiting to Happen’ is out next month.

Follow Flood For The Famine on:  Spotify // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Flyte White Roses EP Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

Poetry is seeing the beauty in everything, no matter how painful; when we seek poetry in the everyday we not only learn so much about the world and ourselves but reach inner peace.

The best type of writing is considered, honest and from the heart. Faithful to these values is the London-based band Flyte, who’s music touched our hearts a few years ago. Whilst they tap into the timeless 60s singer-songwriter era they have an unmistakable signature sound with renowned harmonies.

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Will Taylor

Since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album: The Loved Ones, Flyte have been back in the studio with long term collaborator Burke Reid (Courtney Barnett, Julia Jacklin) and Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, The National) on mixing duties. Releasing ‘White Roses’ featuring The Staves last month, the band have been on the road playing a handful of festivals including British Summer Time, Larmer Tree and Deershed Festival. The band welcomed Jess Stavely Taylor of The Staves to play with them live this summer, marking an exciting new era for Flyte.

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Jon Supran

For many, emotions are more often than not repressed, and an unshared experience, that it’s only through ink to paper our cathartic reward is attained.

In fact, the best of writing; music, scripts, poetry and novels comes from a place of pathos, and Flyte, just like Hemingway and Waits, achieve an incredible weight of emotion from impeccable economy of words and imagery.

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Nick Hill

The melancholic theme on their ‘White Roses’ EP is tangible and serves as a tantalising preview of what we can expect from Flyte’s second album; a no doubt more confessional, evocative work of art.

‘White Roses’ is out now – released via Island Records (20/09/19)

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

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Arliston // Introducing // Two Times Single Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

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Arliston, an emerging band from East London caught our ears earlier this week and you too may have heard them over the airwaves as they’ve been receiving a lot of radio support – tune in this weekend to Huw Stephens BBC Radio 1 show where you can hear their new single: ‘Two Times’.

They have created a signature sound; blending lush textures, soulful vocals and expansive soundscapes after working closely with engineer and songwriter Chris Blakey (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Death in Vegas, Lloyd Williams).

To us, they are reminiscent of Hanging Valleys layered instrumentals twinned with a cross-between Bon Iver and Guy Garvey’s vocals.

Initially, the listener is greeted by sparse piano and muffled voices of fishermen. As their voices and worries cement and grow firm the first loop of the piano falls into place, followed by the thudding drumming and a chorus of synthesizers and vocals.

The constant piano loop sets up the off-kilter syncopation that the drums intertwine with, and bounce off of, as though some kind of mad fish darting upstream – suffusing the song with an unusual and compelling rhythmic intensity.

The song itself explores themes of fear, and how fear of failure can often be the only surefire way to guarantee it. In the bands words “the voices captured this real, palpable sense of every worry in the spectrum, from domestic worry to sheer survival…putting a song around it couldn’t have been easier, as frankly we’re all hand-wringing worriers in Arliston”.

Come join us at their headlining Colours, Hoxton show on Mon 23 Sept

Follow Arliston on Spotify // Facebook // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Carmody: ‘Catching Blue’ EP Preview

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

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We have been following Carmody for a little while now and ran a really engaging feature with her recently. We talked everything topical, from mental health, feminism, full-circling back to songwriting and poetry and confession that (like myself) she too is a word fiend! 🙂

Carmody’s songs are motivated by connections and relationships – they nearly always stem from personal experience, and I was personally taken in, not least her stunning vocals, and 70s dreamy folk quality, but the way Carmody writes about love – akin to Kate Bush; love is narrated through a woman’s eye’s, her songwriting is sensual, distinctly unafraid and empowering. And you cannot help but be motivated by the mantra she writes by; a Nayyirah Waheed quote: “the thing you are most afraid to write, write that.”

When writing this new material, she learnt one of the most important things about herself. “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.”

The first new single: ‘Dreamweaver’ is, in Carmody’s words, about the life of a  songwriter. “Spending countless hours weaving stories from a multitude of sources and putting every piece of feeling we can into them in the hope they might bloom. When we send songs out into the world, it sometimes hard to know where they came from, I think some writers believe they’re channelling deities, others (like myself) can only really write about things they’ve personally experienced. But I guess there’s always a hope that they will resonate in someway, but you never really know what journey or life the song will take after it’s been written.

When I went to Nashville last year I met so many songwriters all with their own stories, creating out of conversations, making art from their days and listening very intently to each other in the hope of finding their next song. It was an interesting place to write in and when I met Kevin Dailey (who I wrote the track with) ‘Dreamweaver’ felt like a song that had always been swimming around in my lungs, but for years I hadn’t known how to let it out. I remember after I wrote it I text my friend in London and said ‘this feels like the song I’ve been thinking about and trying to write my whole songwriting life’. And that is the wonderful sorcery of songs, you never quite know when they’re going to appear.”

The second and latest single, ‘Being Without You’ that will also be on the much anticipated EP: Catching Blue, marks a new musical territory for Carmody.

“I read that grief is what love becomes when someone dies,” says Carmody. “It really got me thinking about death — how words feel completely inadequate when you try to comfort someone and how after a while, there is an idea that you should move on. In my music people are often saying to me to write something happier; and although I have done, I’m just more comfortable writing in my ‘blue’ territory. This song is kind of my resistance.”

Catching Blue’ is released early September!

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

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Plastic Mermaids // Album Review // Suddenly Everyone Explodes

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
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‘Suddenly Everyone Explodes’
Released 24th May 2019
Sunday Best Recordings

‘Suddenly Everyone Explodes’ completely caught me off guard – never, has the term genre-bending, been more aptly alined.

This debut album from the Isle of Wight based five-piece is sure to bring many a new ear to the party. To be frank, we are at odds as to how their (three) EPs missed our radar.

Unhinged and enamoured from start to journeys end, your thirst for outlandish, left field pop will be quenched.

Plastic Mermaids combine space-rock, orchestral-pop, psychedelia and spoken word with aplomb.

Framing the dichotomy between awe and fear of our modern/digital age through the euphony of spacey electronics, operatic strings, choir choruses and socially conscious lyrics.

Unquestionably ‘Yoyo’ is the highlight track because of it’s poetry; pensive lines and overlapping metaphors challenge perceptions of life and death. Perhaps the poignancy is enhanced by the fact it’s vocally very different from the rest of the album, and is mostly spoken word, accompanied by rising choir choruses.

But seriously, who would of considered drawing on the perspective of a personified yoyo, never mind one who challenges cosmic mysteries? Songwriting stardust right there.

The eponymous yoyo cannot not be ignored – we must “free ourselves and just let go of everything…(and live a little) let’s smash into the floor and explode like a Jackson Pollock…I wish we could do this everyday, but it seems, at least for now, that death is a one way journey.” And suddenly, everyone explodes!

Suddenly Everyone Explodes is out 24 May 2019 via Sunday Best Recordings

Follow Plastic Mermaids on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

Jeremy Tuplin // The Slaughtered Lamb // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin and his band (The Ultimate Power Assembly) took to the stage in what was an overcrowded and intimate affair in the candle-lit basement of the iconic folk circuit venue, The Slaughtered Lamb.

Opening with the more autobiographical ‘Can We Be Strangers’, the set-list continued with all the songs from his latest album, Pink Mirror, alongside older classics such as ‘O Youth’ and ‘Albert Einstein Song’.

Significantly, the placement of the opening, middle and closing tracks were punctuated by the social commentary on the modern world from new tracks such as ‘Love’s Penitentiary’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’, with ‘The Machine’ placed somewhere in the middle, before closing the night with one of my favourites: ’The Beast’ allowing Jeremy’s own vulnerabilities as a writer to come through structurally in balance to exposing human natures dark sides.

Tuplin’s crowd interactions were nothing short of sharp commentary in-between songs, framing his understated and dry humoured character, levelling that of his singer-songwriter personality. Sharply astute to the trajectory of his laconic lines upon his listeners; we followed his poignancy with equal measures of laughter, often double taking what we heard, re-considering our interpretations before digesting hidden irony.

We fed off his idiosyncrasies and were all here tonight in what Jeremy described to us as an “album awareness concert” for his second album: ‘Pink Mirror’ (officially released: 5 April). We watched on as band and solo performances were separated by the non-performing members covering themselves with white sheets, like little ghouls upon stools. Tuplin even donned a pair of rose-tinted shades for ‘Pink Mirror’, “these are meant to be pink, but you can’t really see that. Well worth 15 quid” he jested.

As the evening developed it was really intriguing how Jeremy engaged with his audience – it was not only the familiar warmth, “It’s great to see so many of you, loads of music people, my friends and family, and strangers too, soon to be friends, I hope” but that role he takes as a performer and writer. His deadpan baritone delivery and half rhyming poetry navigated its way to our hearts. Essentially identifying that we are all flawed human beings, and making light both lyrically and through stage props, offering his performance as a both a piece of art – a gift conjured from dreams – and a sharp depiction of reality.

It is songs like ‘Bad Lover’ where art imitates life; lyrics hint towards his role as a songwriter: “Here we go again yet another account. Whatever’s inside me I’m gonna twist around and spit it out.” Whether that be “..astronaut dreams intended for your escape..or detail all the pieces of my poor broken heart” Jeremy writes to address various issues, either escapist dreamlike stories or personal accounts of heartbreak, for our benefit, and agreeably “altering minds one lyric at a time.”

In reverse, life imitates art with the song: ‘The Machine’; in his day-to-day life as a writer something begs him to question and reflect upon his life and profession: “Then I think of everything I do, think feel or see, it barely contributes to the economy” and yet we do also “suffer these same internal dialogues”.

Whether life imitates art or his art imitates life itself, Jeremy, however consciously, has developed a voice of his own and narrates the chaos of life and the intimacy of desire, vanity and representations of love in a way that is both pensive and witty. He is without doubt one of the most subversive songwriters and performers of our generation.

Pink Mirror is out on 5 April 2019 via Trapped Animal Records & Cargo Records

Follow Jeremy Tuplin on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

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)

Bazooka Zero Hits LP Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
Bazooka; Credit Sarah

Athens-based psychedelic punk outfit, Bazooka

Bazooka shook us up last year with their turbulent psychedelic EP: ‘Zougla’ (‘Jungle’ released Nov 2017) – in case you missed it, here’s our review. Their chaotic and acidic punk 4-track EP has now given birth to this completely face-melting full-length record, Zero Hits.

Returning this January with their 3rd LP – and for the month that’s in it, it’s been the most well timed irreverent psych-punk record to lift those ominous clouds.

Their lead single: ‘Fylaki’ (‘Prison’) in the bands words: “..was born from the thought that we are seemingly free, yet we are locked up in our own mental cell. You know, we create our personal hell and we don’t even know it. And some of us even believe that it’s a place of love and happiness.”

The Athens based four-piece have irrepressible passion, and you cannot help but feed off their contagious energy. Singing entirely in their Greek mother tongue is of no barrier, sonically, you will appreciate just how ambitious and different their sound is; driving surf-rock crossed with new wave and laced with fuzzy guitar riffs. It would certainly find a fitting home on BBC Radio 6 Music – a refreshing spin for Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable we reckon!

Bazooka LP Artwork; George Chandrinos.jpeg

Bazooka LP artwork credit; George Chandrinos

Zero Hits (released via Inner Ear Records) is out now: Inner Ear RecordsiTunesBandCamp

Follow Bazooka on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)