THE SILLY ISSUE
A MUSICIAN OR MUSIC LOVER E IV T A N R E LT A N A D N U O F WHO HAS IC S U M IN L U F S S E C C U S E B WAY TO . S IE R T S U D IN E IV T A E R C E O R TH
Staff Founder / Editor Jennifer Le Roux Design Editor Simon Potter Lead Photographer
Deputy Editor Ruby Rebelle Illustrator Suzanne Greenwood Music Editor
CONTRIBUTORS Designers Simon Potter Jennifer Le Roux Suzanne Greenwood Kerri Sharp Writers Eris Eveiller, Hannah Mesquitta, H L Lowe, Jennifer Le Roux, Kier Kemp, Josh Humphrey, Ruby Rebelle, Steve Young, Zoe Cunningham, Ruby Rebelle
Photo: Scott Chalmers Subject: The Lounge Kittens Design: Jennifer Le Roux All rights reserved ÂŠ ALT-MU Magazine T: @altmumagazine F: altmumagazine www.altmu.co.uk
Alternative doesnâ€™t have to be so serious all the time, so we decided to lighten things up a bit with a silly issue. A theme in part inspired by our featured ALT-MUs, the Lounge Kittens. They have been busy touring the globe with Steel Panther but you can find out what makes them wink, point and tick on page 10. We also chatted with comedian / magician Luke Lamont and get inside the mind of musician / comedian, Grant Sharkey. And to add the silly string icing on this beautifully silly cake we have interviews with the tipsy duo, Terms of Unnervement and banjolele playing eye-ball wondering, Mr B, the gentleman ryhmer. One of my favourite deviations from our usual format is our very silly fashion spread. Turn the pages and make your way to p.28 if you want to see man buttocks. On that note, I will leave you to browse through and enjoy our silly issue.
jennifer le roux
Editor & Founder
FEATURES 10 Featured ALT-MUs, The Lounge Kittens Wow, these ladies know how to cover a song! 28 Fashion Spread: The Bondi Hipsters Get a load of those bum cheeks! 56 Feature Interview: Marika Rauscher Business savvy opera crossover soprano...
06 Mr B The Gentleman Ryhmer Find out what tickles his moustache 20 Terms of Unnervement The tipsy duo that will make you giggle 24 Musician/Comedian Grant Sharkey Find out what makes this guy rock 38 Comedian/Magician Luke Lamont Quick before he makes another escape
tents TOP TIPS
54 Session Playing Top Tips From columnist, Steve Young
18 Make-up Tips: Eris Eveiller Find out how to get the Lounge Kittens look
42 Get Digitally Savvy with Murky D&B Find out how they created the brand...
48 Music Photography: Hannah Mesquitta Her top pics from the top gigs…
34 Artist Feature: Kier from FVK Learn how they use social, comics & fiction
46 Music Fiction: P2 of Silly Supersitions Find out what happens next in this thriller... 52 The ‘Real’ Wedding Singer The musings of guitarist, Steve Young
I Say - Meet Mr B
There really is no-one else quite like Mr B, the gentleman rhymer, eye-spinning, banjolele loving musician who has re-acquainted hip-hop with the Queen’s English and coined it – chap-hop.
Music always came first for this gent and the comedy part? Well, he still isn’t sure where that came from as he is “deadly ruddy serious!”
When you work on a new song or act, what process do you go through? All sorts. Sometimes I’ll start with a name of a song, or a sentence I’ve heard that may have tickled me. Other times, it’s a beat or loop I’ve found and sometimes I’ll just make up a song on the spot on the old banjolele or the piano. There’s no fixed element. Apart from booze. Do the facial expressions come naturally? The facial expressions are usually from pain.
How many instruments do you play? Crikey…banjolele, piano, drums, bass, guitar, trombone, kazoo, Turkish Jura…it’s the effect of a misspent youth in bands and what have you. Have you ever pursued a more serious music career? I wouldn’t say ‘more serious’ necessarily, but I have been in numerous bands and done other music on my own. Some more successful than others.
Photography by Scott Chalmers
Stay away from record labels and the like. They tend to be a sure fire way of truncating one’s ‘career’.
ALT-MU Magazine focuses on sustainable careers in music or the creative arts.
they will be glad of it and they will tell others and you can all live happily ever after. Probably.
Would you say that a career as a musician / comedian / gentleman rhymer can be sustainable?
How long did it take you to build the business model and start to make money doing what you do?
Absolutely, as long as you stay away from record labels and the like. They tend to be a sure fire way of truncating one’s ‘career’. With the way things rate now if you’ve got something a little bit different and of sufficient quality people will find you and
It all happened rather organically and a little by accident. There was never a grand plan at the start. I originally intended to press a couple of hundred CDs of my first long player but realised that it would cost about the same for a thousand, so pressed that many.
To my surprise I sold out of them quite quickly. It has grown from there. Also, with the wonder of social media most of my gigs came to me as it were. If you’re easy to find you’re easy to book! I’ve been a lucky blighter I must say. What advice would you give to anyone else pursuing a similar pathway in their career? Try and create your own ‘market’ as it were. Do something different and stick with it. You never know eh? What was your favourite moment last year, both in your shows and your life? There were a few last year. Being backed by members of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, including Rick Wakeman and Neill Innes at a Viv Stanshall night, playing at the Royal Albert Hall, Mr.B’s first Acid Ragtime DJ set at Bestival….
I think the winner may have to be playing to an audience of just Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. That was odd. What are your plans for 2015 and do you have anything else you would like to add? Onward and upward and all that sort of thing. Spreading the joy of Acid Ragtime with some Mr.B The Gentleman Selector DJ shows. Then writing for the next Mr.B The Gentleman Rhymer long player. Ideas are bubbling away joyously already, so it should be a proper humdinger! Interview by Jennifer Le Roux Photography by Scott Chalmers
the w o l ele ol l f o j o n T l ba s of u f g i t n i u mbl him at bea a r ing nd play u can fi mer.com y yo B anrh r m e M tl gen . www
“If it’s all over in a couple of days then you know, it has been a fucking brilliant ride!”
Photography by Scott Chalmers
Our cover girls and ALT-MUs for this issue are the harmonious trio, The Lounge Kittens. If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching one of their music videos or seeing them live yet then we can say with utmost confidence that you are missing out! These glamourous ladies sing popular songs with an alt-lounge twist and got the attention of Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit at Sonisphere last year which landed them on the main stage and led to a spot on an arena tour with Steel Panther & Skindred. From your Humble beginnings to your ideal place, where are you at right now? Zan: Careering straight towards our ideal place. Jenny: A lot quicker than we thought we would do. Timia: Like the dream that we joked would happen! Wouldn’t it be funny if…blah blah and then it happened within a year. Shit! We’ve got the power to grant wishes! I never knew. Zan: Shit one of us is a genie, who is it? Quick get a lamp! Jenny: We should start rubbing each other more often… Zan: I am sure people would love that! Yes I think that might get you some attention! Timia: [Sings and does rubbing action] Welcome! Zan: Well I don’t think it could really be going better than it has...
We’ve only been doing this for just over a year and we managed to make it to Glastonbury, main stage Sonisphere and we are about to go on an arena tour with Steel Panther… That’s exciting! Zan: Yes well that is exactly how we feel.
So, you were at a gig in your hometown last night – how did that go? Zan: It was a new bar opening and it was just Rammed to capacity. Really mental crowd! Jenny: Yeah we had head bangers while we were singing Africa. The least head bangy song of all. Timia: It was something I never thought I’d see. Zan: Yeah, it is always weird when people start like little mosh pits or when we do jump around people try and jump but it’s lounge so you have to do like moon jumping. It’s ridiculous. You should do a video of how to master the ‘lounge jump’ Zan: The lounge jump is good. Timia: It’s a proper commitment. Zan: We can’t help it [American accent] people just wanna dance! Timia: [Broadway Voice and jazz hands] Godda dance! What were your motivations for starting The Lounge Kittens initially? Zan: We started doing this for us as a joke, for fun. We didn’t think like “let’s do this because it is really commercially viable and we are going to be pop stars or whatever”. We were just like, let’s do it, this is really fun, let’s sing in a pub. Timia: Like a few of our friends come and watch or we can play at someone’s party and that will be fun. Zan: I think that’s the charm and that is why people love coming to see us, because they can see that we are just three best mates dicking about on stage. Jenny: That is part of the fun of it. That is why people like us. It’s always a blast and it’s always fun to sing together and muck about. And I think that, people kinda feel at ease and it’s nice to see people have a good time and feeling like you are in on the joke.
Meet the Kittens
The ladies with the three Ss… They are silly They are sexy They are Sensational
y n n Je MULTITALENTED KITTEN Jenny plays 11 intruments & runs a choir in her spare time. So, she is the lady behind the harmonic arrangements.
Zan BUSINESS KITTEN Zan works for a music PR company and uses her talents to help manage the band & secure plenty of great gigs!
ia m i T CREATIVE KITTEN The lady behind the styling inc costume & make-up. Timia also works with Jenny on arrangements & supports Zan with social media & website updates.
Zan: Yeah, there is no fourth wall. It’s always a shared experience. Everyone is participating.
How have you managed to find a balance between earning the cash and running the band?
Timia: Yeah, that is really really important, no one has to feel like there is a break – they’re part of the show aswell. Many people believe in positive life affirmations. Do you think that your fun and positive energy has helped lead you to good things?
Zan: We are still working! We haven’t had a day off for a very long time! Timia: I don’t! I had to quit my job. Zan: But that is just as well because we have just given her loads more lounge kittens stuff to do, so Timia works full-time for Lounge Kittens. Timia: It was basically because I couldn’t do what I needed to do for Lounge Kittens and do my job. I would be home by about 6pm in the evening and then I would be doing arrangements, putting together outfits and doing the website stuff and it was just too much. And then we had to fit in rehearsal times. These girls were a lot more fortunate in that their jobs allowed them to still do a lot of their lounge kittens work alongside or in their spare time. There was just a lot more meshing that was happening. But I couldn’t even be on Facebook at work or check my emails. Zan: I work for a music promotion company so it ties in with what I do. So I can do it at the same time. Jenny: I am a choir leader, so I get to work in the evenings and have the day to work out all of this stuff. It just didn’t work for Timia with her position in the band. Which is unfortunate in one sense but also it is good because you can now just totally focus. Timia: I had maxed out all of my free time, I had no holiday and had been taking unpaid leave to allow for festivals. It even got to the point where we had to turn down going places and I was just like, it’s not worth it. I am just going to give it up!
These girls were a lot more fortunate in that their jobs allowed them to still do a lot of their lounge kittens work alongside or in their spare time. Zan: I guess. We are really positive in our outlook to things. We are nice to everybody and we really just enjoy people experiencing new stuff. Jenny: We don’t take anything for granted. Timia: If it’s all over in a couple of days then you know, it has been a fucking brilliant ride! And it’s already been more than we ever thought it was going to be. So we have already won in a sense. There was never a plan to go and achieve anything in particular. Every extra good thing that happens is just another bonus. Just another thing that is like, well “What a great surprise!”.
Do you think you are close to a point where you could all let go of your jobs or do you just not want to? Jenny: Well we love our jobs. Zan: I love my job and my employer is great. All of my colleagues were at the gig last night and they all come to various festivals with us as part of our crew. They’re really supportive, so they’re very happy
and I am very lucky at the moment that they will just work around the band’s schedule as much as they can. I mean even with working super super hard there is always times when we are not touring or not doing loads of shit you know.
It will be a while until we can afford to not work. I mean all of our money just goes straight back into Lounge Kittens. It is all going towards pushing the band forwards. Jenny: There is no recreational profit really. Zan: But we choose to do it that way. Timia: Yeah, exactly, that’s up to us! Zan: We are very lucky because the band is paying for itself. It isn’t a growing concern Timia: And we are very grateful for that… Zan: Not a lot of bands in their first year can say that. How do you keep up with all of the different sets and songs you need? Jenny: Well we have so many songs and Timia and I are always arranging them, much to Zan’s dismay of having to learn them all!
It is slightly easier when you have arranged it to remember it! Timia: But it is great fun, it is like let’s do this one and another one, and another one! Jenny: The last time we checked I think it was about 47 songs that we have done in a year. You know and there are all different types. Timia: yeah sometimes you want PG, or sometimes we do a rock only show so we might throw a couple of pop curve balls in there to spin people out. Jenny: And we play to our audiences, we really do. We make sure that we are not going to do anything that makes anyone uncomfortable or stuff that people are not going to recognise as well. Zan: I don’t know sometimes we do something just to make people uncomfortable, that’s part of the fun! We take requests as well and that’s one of my favourite things at the moment, is that people are starting to request songs for the show that they are coming to. And we will always try and incorporate it in the set. It probably won’t be 14
Every show that we have done on our girls on tour tour, has been completely different. Different audiences, different venues, different sizes… everything.
possible on the arena tour but any of our shows. As long as people send us a message saying can we have this or that, then we will work it in somehow! Timia: Because it is horrible when you go to a gig and you are expecting them to sing one particular song and you’re like “Ah, they didn’t fucking play it! They didn’t play my favourite one”. Zan: Yeah we don’t mind. Timia: Sometimes we are surprised by their favourites, We are like really? I always thought that one was kind of boring! That one was nothing special but people, you know, apparently it is someone’s favourite! That’s always really weird you know because they’re taste is really different to ours. Straight covers can be tricky and original is great but people like to know the songs. Would you say that your alt-lounge twist on popular songs could be the perfect combination?
Zan: Yeah it is kind of an easy sell because people like what is familiar to them. They know the songs but then they are surprised they are not bored by hearing the same old covers.
At the end of the day people just want to drink and sing along! Timia: What we do find as well is that we do a song that nobody knows that well but the arrangement is still really nice, it’s still pleasant to listen too. We recently also find out that we have helped get people into bands they hadn’t heard of because they looked up the original and they were like “oh my god, this is really good!” So, they have gone on to discover something new – so that’s really great! So, we are also helping out the artists that we cover which is wonderful. Because we are always fans of what we cover. Jenny: Absolutely.
We never want people to think that we are taking the piss out of the artists we cover. If we do a song it is not because we don’t like it...
it is because we love it and we want to honour it in a different way. So there is always that risk that people are going to be offended by the covers that we do but we have been very lucky with the response from people and it is lovely. It’s that lovely moment when you are playing a new song and people are going: “I know this, I know this I know this!” And they’re singing along and they are “Ooh I know this one!” They really are the best moments. Do any of you have any creative skills that you practice in your spare time? Jenny: I do music. That is all I’m good for! Zan: Yeah but she is frighteningly good at music! She plays like 10 instruments and she’s got pitch perfect hearing. Jenny: Awwww Zan: You don’t need anything else love, you would be like a super ‘fucking’ hero! What instruments do you play then Jenny? Jenny: Eh, I play flute, piccolo, clarinet, spina alto, tenor, baritone, saxophone, piano, guitar, steel drums, steel pans – ooh there is 11 there! And I’ve done my grade one oboe and trombone. What is your favourite part of a Lounge Kittens gig? Zan: One of the moments I love the most is the spontaneous sing-along. You know there is always a bit – it happens in Africa. In certain songs, we call it the five gold ring thing, where people can’t help but join in. And you get like the scariest looking metaller and they’re just like: [sings loudly] “I want it that way!”
It’s the moment when they finally relax you know. We are all friends. They are never going to look as stupid as we are. Timia: Just let it go! Zan: They just let it out and it is this wonderful human experience. Jenny: It is okay to be silly!
giggles and face pulling. And the whole tour was totally inspiring we learnt so much from watching Panther work, as well as from their wonderful crew. They’re such brilliant musicians, it was amazing to watch them work together.
Aside from vocals etc, what roles do you all play in the band?
As for the naughtiest moments... what happens on tour stays on tour, you know that!!
Timia: Zan is like our manager, the mouth piece of the band. Zan: I don’t have very much musical talent so I am ‘business kitten’ . They’re the talent, I sing what I am told. Timia: And we just do what we are told! Zan: Timia is responsible for all of our looks and make-up. She is slowly but surely teaching us how to be girls. Zan: And Jenny is the musicial genius. She deals with the arrangements and make sure we are all in tune! POST STEEL PANTHER TOUR WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE GIRLS AGAIN... So ladies, what was it like being on tour with Steel Panther? It was hands down the best experience of our lives. We loved every minute of it - great shows, great people, great crew. We really couldn’t have asked for better! Plus, we made a whole load of bitchin’ new friends! If you could chose one memory from the tour and keep it forever what would it be? ALL OF THEM. Hopefully we’ll still be able to remember more than one thing from tour, no matter how senile we end up... You must have made some awesome friends backstage. What were the silliest, naughtiest and most inspiring moments? Every moment spent with Steel Panther was hysterically silly from the moment we set foot in Manchester it was non stop
What next for you? Any festivals lined up yet? We’re very excited to be playing Download Festival this year and to be back at Glastonbury with our Theatre & Circus family. We’re also back in Europe at Belgium’s Graspop Metal Meeting in June as well so we’ve got a few busy weeks ahead of us! After that, who knows? We should probably start working on our album...
We started doing this for us as a joke, for fun. We didn’t think like ‘let’s do this because it is really commercially viable and we are going to be pop stars or whatever’. We were just like, let’s do it, this is really fun, let’s sing in a pub.
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We wanted to take the opportunity to get into the made up minds of our featured ALT-MUs for this issue, The Lounge Kittens. So ALT-MU make-up columnist, Eris, met up with Timia of The Lounge Kittens to find out what strokes float her make-up boat. They also made a wicked video that you can check out on our YouTube/altmumag. Let’s get started… Photography by Scott Chalmers
For those uninitiated, these glamourous cabaret vixens look as though they escaped from the 1980s cartoon Jem via the Goodwood revival. They are also constantly seen to be having fun with their matching wiggle dresses, exuberant videos and dinosaur impressions at shows. All of which adds up to three ladies who are just really, really enjoying themselves. And who happen to be rocking it. Meet Timia – self-taught make-up goddess… On a cold winter’s day, where the air is suffused with dullness, Timia is the perfect visitor to bring some brightness. Her unmistakable hair, a bright mix of colours stands out even more against the dull grey sky. Full of energy after a trip to New York, she’s full of stories, tips and she brought her make up bag with her.
“Jen has the most amazing Eyes” she sighs, but least amount of Make-up, “I go for everything strong.” And Zan? “She’s got the Lips”. Eyebrows keep popping up as the one thing everyone should do “Nothing will ruin a pretty face like bad eyebrows”. Timia is excitedly discussing the wonders of the internet. The self-taught make up Guru for the group as she goes she’s full of the joys of the Drag make up tutorials on Youtube. Having used them to learn about shading and eyebrows, she’s eager to explain just how much fun she had practising and perfecting the Lounge Kittens look “They are amazing” “It’s all about the eyebrows” “you need a strong look on stage’”. Having never used a make-up artist for their Photoshoots and Videos, they’ve become pros at creating glamour in the most dingy backstage dressing rooms and on tour. I’m beginning to think that a challenge on Drag Race should be getting ready to perform on stage after spending a night sleeping in a tent and with no power, bad lighting and a looming call time.
Battling the heat of the spotlight… The heat of the stage is the enemy of glamour; Timia is strong on the concept of Primer, Blending and good brushes. And that’s before we look at the treasure trove of goodies inside the stage make up Bag... Veganary lip crème – “It just doesn’t budge”. GOSH pops up a lot, she’s big fan of the brand along and is not happy about the Primer (GOSH Prime & Set) they rely on being discontinued. No surprise, MAC eye shadow is a winner, ‘Club’ being the current favourite.
It’s all about the eyebrows! After spending all that time learning the wonders of the eyebrow, the strong eye and how to make the makeup say Pow in a comic strip style burst of energy, Timia then had to work out how to make it work for three different performers. Talking about perfecting the stage Make up gives an idea of just how many make up wipes have been used. The beauty school ‘safety’ rule about only one feature being strong is thrown out of the dressing room door and replaced with colour, shading and then some extra colour Interview by Eris Evelier
Termsof Unnervement Photography by Scott Chalmers
Clink your glasses with Joe & Arran. The tipsy geniuses behind the cabaret clown double act, who imitate and parody famous couples or double acts, Terms of Unnervement... How long have you been going & what originally inspired the creation of Terms of Unnervement? Joe: 3 years this year with Terms of
How does your contrast in height impact your choice of characters or scenarios in each act? Joe: We play with it. Often switching the
None. It was intended as a side project to play with different mediums.
Unnervement. It came about quite naturally, I wanted a side project that wasn’t music related and Arran wished to get back into performing, having not done it for 3 years.
expected taller/shorter character round for comic effect.
your life – where does this stem from?
of music or vocal clip will trigger the idea of using a certain set of characters!
bring any instruments into play with Terms of Unnervement down the line?
Arran, we understand that fashion and makeup are a big part of
I’ve always been Joe, how has your very visual with talents as a musician communication helped in your and from having an entertainment career education background to date? in art and performance, When you create a My entertainment the logical combination new act, where do you career has entirely been to me is art that you start? based as a musician... wear. Arran: We start with so I’d say it was a fairly characters and constant assistance. How involved do you build it around that. get with the costume & Occasionally a piece And do you plan to make-up for your act? I make a lot of the costuming from scratch, however some pieces are adapted for
“We make a new act for each House of Burlesque show and it always feels magical” the performance. All of the visual choices are discussed and agreed between the two of us. We have very strong, stylistic opinions and I guess we are just lucky that there is a lot of overlap between our styles. Do you have any favourite venues or memories as Terms of Unnervement you can share with us? Arran: The Kings Theatre in Southsea, every single time. We make a new act for each of the house of
burlesque shows and it always feels magical. We are focusing on the ridiculous and silly this issue – why do you think us humanoids love to laugh at silly things and situations so much? Because if you don’t laugh you’ll cry. What are your plans for the rest of 2015? Joe: To carry on doing what we’re doing. We’re looking into a few new characters
to take on and expand our reach. We’ve got a few famous double ideas floating around but can’t make up our minds. Arran: I feel like taking a ride up the empire state building with a large primate... Joe: Me? I am feeling… Absolutely Fabulous. Our decision will be revealed on July 25th at the Kings Theatre! To find out more go to facebook.com/ termsofunnervement
Grant Sharkey Musician / Comedian Meet Grant Sharkey. He’s a funny guy on a journey to connect as honestly as possible with his audience through song. Philosophy and laughter is at the heart of his mission to release 40 albums over 20 years. A mission he intends to fufill with just his double bass and a smart car.
Grant took a little time out of his 100 gig a year schedule to chat to us here at ALT-MU… What came first, music or comedy? I grew up watching ‘Not The Nine O’Clock News’ with Kenny Everett and The Young Ones. All of which were connected to music, or the anarchic punk ethic. Then Frank Zappa and Primus came in, along with Bill Hicks who would yell ‘Play from the fucking heart!’ at me during a comedy routine. Live performance in itself is so absurd that it’s inherently funny - especially when bands pretend there are no other human beings in the room. I can’t do that. People are brilliant.
Did you ever just do one or the other or were they always intrinsically linked for you? I’ve been a musician and a comedian - I’ve toured around with both in the UK and the USA. But, as I said, performance is naturally funny to me. I just let my mind fizz around whilst playing. The world is always throwing funny things my way. Over the years have you experimented with any other creative talents? I’ve written a play and a book. Words and minds are my favourite things to play with.
Photography by Scott Chalmers
What has been your biggest audience or most invigorating live experience so far? I play festivals, living rooms, venues and bars. All of which are satisfying when the connection is there. My least favourite audiences are the ones who are disconnected from their reality so far that they can’t laugh at the situation we’re all in. Hipsters, basically. Tell us more about this 20 year mission? It’s completely DIY. No corporate funding, no outside interests. That’s so my music and subject matters can be as honest as possible. I can’t attack Murdoch and then expect The Sun to review me favourably, so I live only amongst the passionate people who support independent art. It’s beautiful but you’ll never get to see me on the TV. I release a song every 6 months on
May 1st and November 5th (protest days) - I’m currently writing album 5/40, which will come out a week before the General Election. Guess what that’s about! What would you need to achieve to get the overall sense that ‘you have made it’? I’m making it every time I get on stage. It’s a long journey, not a speedy mountain ascent. What do you think of local ladies The Lounge Kittens? Wonderful fun - knowing how hard they’re working and the positive vibes their getting is a pleasure to watch. If you couldn’t do music or comedy, what would you do? Besides becoming a jaded goodfor-nothing, I’d write books.
What are you plans for 2015? Finish my current tour whilst writing 5/40, record 5/40, release 5/40 on May 1st, tour 5/40, vote on May 7th, despair on May 8th, festivals and summer fun, write 6/40, record 6/40, release 6/40 on November 5th, tour 6/40 - I usually have December off because audiences are too drunk on capitalism and office affairs, then book the January house shoes for 2016 when everyone is drowning in self-loathing. It’s a quiet year, as usual. Is there anything else you would like to add? A holiday, just waiting to sell enough CDs and T-Shirts to afford one. If not, giving up my day job would do.
tâ€™s Follow Gran line mission on
Behind the Scenes with FVK In each issue of ALT-MU we ask an artist to be a journalist for a day and write a column on something that inspires them. In this issue we have Kier from Fearless Vampire Killers (FVK) as our resident columnist...
ello readers! Kier from Fearless Vampire Killers here. It’s lovely to be given the chance to do something like this. Something a little different. Something that many people don’t know about our band is that almost everything we currently do is inhouse helped along with the added care of a few carefully selected industry professionals!
Keeping the cogs going on our own label, Goremount Records… Owning our own label includes various tasks that are taken on by different members of the band. We all work almost constantly to not just maintain a normal band’s output, but also make sure that our fans can be submerged in something a little more extensive. Be it producing extra content for YouTube or writing novels for them to read and digest. My role in the band is to mainly oversee all this along with our manager Julie and keep those cogs ticking. In the modern music industry in order to survive it really is important to give more and to think outside of the box in order to keep your fans engaged and generate revenue in order to create what we all love... music.
I’ve asked each of the boys to talk a little about what they themselves contribute. Here goes…
Meet Drew – our very own Comic book curator…
For us, Fearless Vampire Killers has always been about more than just the music. Not that it’s neglected at all, PERISH THE THOUGHT! Like any band we want to write great songs, we want to make great records, we want to be great musicians. But, for us, we don’t want to limit the potential of our band – and the impact of the music itself – by ignoring other art-forms that can enhance what we do musically.
website, and now we are looking to expand our horizons with our own comic series I’ve adapted from one of Laurence’s short stories with artist Ryan Hogan. Writing comics is something we have little professional experience in so potentially is a big risk but that’s why I believe it’s important.
Our first delve into the digital infinite meant building our social network the ‘Obsidian Bond’.
We’ve already looked beyond the conventional horizons of a typical band’s aspirations but it’s important to push ourselves further, try new things and continue to add strings to our collective bow.
The original idea was that we wanted a place where we could share our extra content and projects exclusively with our audience. As we were designing it we thought about the fact that our fans are very creative and passionate and thought it would be incredible if they could also use our website to communicate and collaborate with like-minded people.
The crucial thing is that anything we create around our music shares the same passion. So long as we have the same passion for these “risks” as we do for making music, then they can only add to uniqueness of Fearless Vampire Killers. ‘Nuff said. Meet Barrone – the main man behind our social network, ‘The Obsidian Bond’…
So now we find ourselves dabbling in the business of comics. Laurence’s stories and Shane’s artwork have stood sideby-side with our music for so long – the next logical step seemed to be combining the two art-forms.
Comic book stories and characters have always resonated with me in much the same way as bands and the music they make has – luckily our love of conceptual story-telling and lofty aspirations allow me to combine my two loves. We’ve been lucky enough so far to release one series, The World of Erricus Vane, through the Aces Weekly online subscription
The internet has become a key toy for musicians. It has completely changed our industry so it’s important to know how to work with it to keep your work exciting and entertaining. Social networks are great places to share your extra material and interact with your audience and the big names have some amazing functionality for artists. However, if possible I think it’s also important to think past the tools that these sites offer and to have your own website where the limits are your creativity. You could create absolutely anything with your own website and release completely unique content.
We now have so many people talking and sharing their work on there. We’ve used it to release our new album track by track with stories and animations. We have acoustic covers and podcasts on there and we’ve also had every member on the guest lists for a headline show. We’re still exploring what we can do with it and have a lot of ideas that we are working on to enhance it further. We love sharing everything we make and we think it’s important for artists to have unique content.
There are a lot of tools available online to help you make whatever idea you have - free tools like Wordpress have so much functionality.
Meet Laurence - our resident concept writer…
We’ve always had an excess of creativity. Even in our previous bands ‘Remember When and Self-Titled’ the songs were set within loose concepts.
With Fearless Vampire Killers, my intention was to create a fully formed universe that we could share with the world through our music. The idea of writing novels was only ever a pipe dream; especially after a few years of being worn down by London life, the chances of ever having enough fans to warrant releasing a novel seemed a thousand to one. In the beginning it was only a framework for our lyrics. But contrary to my miserly outlook, the fans gradually appeared, and they actually seemed interested in Grandomina and its stories. So now we are on our second physical novel, Militia of the Lost.
Grandomina - to put it briefly, is the last city on earth.
Once the thriving capital of the greatest empire the world has ever seen, it has long fallen from grace, and in the 2140s, the decade in which our first two album’s songs are set, it is a mire of drugs, sex and violence, ruled over by a twisted religious elite. It’s probably the perfect setting to write a bunch of gothic rock songs in.
We came out to The Circle of Life ended with Hakuna Matata and added the quote “Pumba! Not in front of the Kids”.
Meet Luke, the creative mind behind our Live Shows…
A lot of or ideas start out as us being idiots and thinking ‘that would be funny’ but more often than not it is only us who find it funny.
Instead just playing one song after the other we like our sets to flow almost seamlessly into one and other, which sometimes helps us come up with our set list as some of our songs are in the same key or tempo. We also like to incorporate music from Films or TV shows we’ve seen, our intro for our upcoming tour with In This Moment we use music from Cape Fear and Rosemary’s Baby. We have previously used Music from The Running Man to Garth Merenghi’s Dark Place and even the car chase music from the game L.A. Noire.
We like to theme our sets – at Download 2013 when we headlined the Redbull Stage, we had a Lion King themed set.
We like to give people something to look at as well as listen to even if it’s just us dancing around like dickheads (for the moment) we have got some big ideas for a stage show and once we get the budget Holy smokes watch out!
“Screw Flanders” To find out more about Fearless Vampire Killers check out their website at www. fearlessvampirekillers. co.uk Watch out for their interview in the next issue. You can also check out our FVK gig review online at altmu.co.uk
Photography by Scott Chalmers
Photography by Scott Chalmers
COMEDIAN / MAGICIAN / ESCAPE ARTIST / GUITARIST / WRITER /
Interview by Josh Humphrey Photography by Scott Chalmers
“Somememories of my earliest are of Jerry Lewis and Norman Wisdom films on tv
Meet Luke Lamont - A comedian, magician and escape artist who specialises in close up and cabaret magic and has a penchant for playing guitar, fire eating and script writing. When did you first pursue the art of magic? I got into Magic when about 8. My Dad showed a few tricks he learnt when he was a kid and it fascinated me. So my parents took me to a local holiday park where a Magician named Steve Meredith performed and he blew my mind. He did everything from fire breathing and eating to making a solid steel ball the size of my head float around the stage and through a hoop he also performed classic illusions and escapes created by Harry Houdini, Max Malini other famous names from magic’s past. I didn’t know that then obviously, I was 8, and sold on the whole thing as soon as I realised he got to play
with fire and no one told him off! We went back week after week to see him but not long after he left the holiday park and I haven’t been able to track him down since. I hadn’t learnt any more than what my dad had shown me but a short time later I met Simon Richards who owned a local Magic shop and was a performer and it’s thanks to him I became a Magician. He started to teach me the basics of Magic and also impressed the importance of not just being good at Magic but being entertaining too.“Nobody wants to watch a robot” He used to say. After learning from Simon I later auditioned to join The Magic Circle’s Youth Initiative “The Young Magicians Club” I was 12 then, started doing public performances and when I was 18 I turned Professional, now here I am. Comedy is a huge part of your magic act. Was that always the case or did it develop naturally? Ah thank you at least I know you found it funny by calling it comedy! Hhhm I would say 50/50 frankly. I was always a bit of a big mouth and some of my earliest memories are of seeing Jerry Lewis and Norman Wisdom films on tv and finding them hilarious and copying their pratfalls at school and other kids finding it
funny. They were always asking me to fall over...at least I think they found it funny, perhaps they realised you only had to ask me to fall over and I would...what a moron. Simon Richards always stressed how important it was to be more than just a Magician and I always liked Comedy so it all just came together. When did you decide this would be more than a hobby for you? Or was the plan to always become a magician? That was pretty much always the plan from the first time I saw a magician live and definitely by the time I started learning Magic as far as I was concerned that was it, I was going to do that. I told my careers advice officer that
was the last thing I wanted to do. Would you say that a career as a magician / comedian can be sustainable? Or do you need a sideline? I think it depends on a lot of factors but generally I would say yes, it’s sustainable, it can be boring at times because you aren’t just doing magic you are also sorting out advertising, insurance, risk assessments, you have to do a lot of travelling and a lot of groundwork, a lot of meeting with people. I think it helps if you are good with people or are at least good at pretending to be! You have to practice a lot too. But yeah I know loads of professional Magicians and comedians so it’s entirely possible.
I wanted to be a Magician and he laughed and We understand you’re a member of the told me I would magic circle. How did it feel once you were never get a job initiated? Is there any achievement which doing that and would surpass this for you? that I needed was great! It was to think about Itdifficult but gave me the opportunity to meet a career in a lot of the world’s top Magicians. I would something like to make a Magic for TV if I had the more practical Show opportunity. like brick Leading on from there, is there anything else laying, no you would consider greatest current offence to any your achievement? brick layers out Getting the there but that
opportunity to work with and get to know Paul Daniels was great, he is such a nice guy and love him or hate him he is a genius when it comes to magic. I have had Magic tricks I have created published in Magic Books, Won Magician of The Year 2014/2015 from The United Magic Collective. Do you have any other creative talents? Not as many as I would like! I play the guitar but only as a hobby but I also Act and write Comedy, Juggle and fire eat/breath. If you could give your younger self any advice about being a magician what advice would you give? Lots of thngs! Relax more and don’t take everything so seriously; learning to relax with an audience made so much difference to my performances I wish I could have learnt to chill about it sooner. Also I wish I had been more able to determine the difference between constructive criticism and people just hating on stuff for the sake
of it. Magic like all performance arts is full of bitchiness and politics, take no notice of it as it does people and Magic as an art no good... Oh and go out with less crazy girls..its not magic related but frankly I would still tell myself that! What’s next for Luke Lamont?
one man show “Honest Deceptions” I am also intending on Performing my new show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as doing my regular residencies down here on the Isle of Wight and running my cabaret/Electro swing night “The Wonder Lounge”
I am also in talks to take an Illusion show on tour and perhaps to cruise This year I am very busy,I ships. So if you any of am touring my new the readers see me in a
town near you come and say hello!
Find out more online at www. lukelamont. co.uk
Step in the world of Murky D&B, a Drum & Bass brand created in 2012 to help push the dirtier and heavier Jump Up sound of D&B.
Love it or hate Drum and Bass, you have to admit you can’t ignore it! Elsta, head honcho from Murky DnB, the south coast’s increasingly popular DnB brand, dropped in for a chat...
How did Murky D&B drum up?
who after the initial launch night, co runs the events side of Murky with myself. There is also Pompey legend DJ Zork, talented new DJ Kingsley and our MC lyrical host Ren Dola, although we’re looking to recruit another MC to expand the team.
It started as a group of talented and like-minded DJs who would perform together and help to promote one another and push Drum and Bass in Portsmouth (UK), over the past 2 and a half odd years it has grown to what it You spoke about having your is today (Label.Events, etc). own label, how’s that going? I always had it in the back of my head that I wanted to I founded and run a D&B eventually put on events so record label called Murky that we could fully progress Digital with Lloydizzle. It forward and push our sound started as a mainly a ‘Jump of Drum and Bass in the local Up’ label although we have area. now evolved into a much more professional label with How many members are a varied deeper and heavier there now? sound with many rollers signed. Although we do not There are a total of 6 team stray too far from our original members to the Murky aggressive nature. squad; Myself & Lloydizzle. We DJ as a duo and also run the Record label together, then you have Vinyl Richy
You can find our stuff online on the usual download sites that DJs and listeners purchase their music. What type of artists do you work with? We’ve got some amazing artists that we have involved with the label including tracks and remixes from the likes of; Filthy Habits, Nu Elementz, Zero, Version, Sativa Dub & Silent Type, Fena & Jeopardize, T<I, Bass Antics & More. With label support from huge pioneers and top name artists like; Hype, Marky, Ruffstuff, Kenny Ken, Grooverider, Logan D, Majistrate, Blackley & Many more, we must be doing something right! It’s great to hear you’re being supported professionally, do you think the support in general has helped make Murky what it is now? Friends and family have been a great support to me since the beginning of Murky, In Portsmouth we didn’t have a big D&B scene for a while and it wasn’t the type of sound we were really listening to anyway so we were almost trying to push a movement with Murky, local fans of the more jump up style of D&B heard about us and what we were doing and came together support us and as Murky grew so did the supporters. Plus people love to see people they know from their local areas do well (well some do…). How has your fan base grown since the beginning? We have a loyal crowd that come to all our events and travel to see us play about the country, we even have a group of girls who with their own money have gone and got female T-shirts printed
with our brand on it just to show support to us and the brand on our own events. As we have started to progress more into the scene we have found that there are other DJs / producers / Promoters etc that want to help us out and have helped give us opportunities to push even further. Although this is not the case for everyone and has only really resulted in their acknowledgment that we have really worked hard with Murky. Some people can be quite dismissive of D&B and its fans, this is your chance to set them straight. It’s such a wonderful genre of music, it’s so varied. If you listen to the charts you’ll hear D&B sampled in major artists tracks and even some of the major ‘Pop’ tracks being of a drum and bass structure. It’s a diverse genre with lots of different styles and sounds. There are people who say that they don’t like D&B but that’s just ignorant. you may not like hard neuro or aggressive jump up but you may like some soulful liquid or ragga stuff. It’s like saying you don’t like Rock, you may not like heavy metal but you shouldn’t dismiss it just on face value. And about the fans it’s a way of letting go and even being aggressive on the dancefloor if that’s what they want but in a nonviolent, controlled way. Half the people that moan have probably never set foot in a drum and bass event before, it’s all rather comical… If you could give advice to any up and coming D&B DJs or producers what would it be? Just to learn as much as you can about the scene, support the scene by buying music and not downloading it illegally (because if you get
caught sharing or leaking music you will become hated by the scene) and just to work as hard as you can on whatever you are doing whether you want to DJ/MC/ Promote/Produce etc. It can be a hard scene to get into so just aim to show people exactly how hard you are working and what you have to offer ant it will eventually start to pay off so don’t be inpatient! How do you guys promote yourselves?
Love it or loathe it, Facebook is a great promoting tool, it’s one of the easiest ways to keep up to date with what’s happening in the scene and to be able to distribute your stuff across to a large set of different demographics, it’s no longer a social network but a life network!
I still love going down the old fashioned route of going out and plastering everywhere with flyers, getting stickers made up and putting them about everywhere and getting flyers into the flyer packs at the ends of raves.
D&B’s roots came from pirate radio stations and it’s amazing to be able to follow that tradition. Lush FM has done an incredible job at pushing a movement and supporting the underground sound within Portsmouth.
We will be standing there handing out flyers at the end of raves but I believe the proofs there that it pays off!
This also includes House, garage, old skool, dubstep, reggae, Hip-Hop and all sorts of diverse sounds. The station has representatives and shows from all the established crews from all the individual scenes and doesn’t look like its going to stop there with regular events and also a new regular colab D&B event from us coming soon, there is always going to be something ‘Lush’ going on in Portsmouth. You can lock into lush on 87.9FM in Portsmouth or surrounding areas or you can lock on via www.lushfm.net or via the ‘tune in’ app. You can catch us every Sunday 4-6pm GMT.
Another great way to promote the brand when performing such as wearing our Murky T-shirts and playing tracks signed to the label during the sets, we represent Murky at gigs up and down the country, and nothing gets people involved in your brand better than them seeing what you have to offer first hand.
We’re also lucky enough to have a weekly slot at ‘Lush FM’, which is the only established pirate radio station in Portsmouth (UK).
What’s next for Murky? We plan to continue with our events, start pushing our new regular colab event with Lush FM, continue to grow and expand with the label and also to grow and expand as artists and push more into the production of our own music as some of us are majorly slacking, although it is hard finding time managing everything as well as maintaining a normal job, social life and family.
We also have some exciting new projects that we are keeping close to our chests at
the moment. If this is the first time you are becoming aware of Murky then I’m sure it won’t be the last you hear of us! You can follow Murky on Twitter @MurkeyDNB Interview by Ruby Rebelle
silly superstitions Music Fiction by H L Lowe ALT-MU returns with part two of our spooky tale. Sally is a freelance photographer when she’s not playing the harp in an orchestra, and she’s a down to Earth kind of girl. So she doesn’t believe in all the superstitious nonsense that seems to be rife in the theatre and manages to upset other members of the cast with her insensitive comments. But upsetting the cast is the least of her problems with the drama group’s Romeo, Randy Andy, in hot pursuit. It was the opening night of the play and Randy Andy was doing his best to ruin it for me just because I didn’t want to kiss him. Now he was suggesting that Sam and I should leave the drama group if we couldn’t take the theatre’s superstitions seriously. I watched him strut around like a peacock. The man was a pompous idiot and the most obnoxious man I’d had the misfortune to meet. I fumed silently . . . I wonder what everyone would think of your tradition of sexually harassing every young woman who joins the group . . . I thought . . . perhaps it’s time someone taught you a lesson. ‘There are a number of traditions that actors take seriously,’ Andy said. ‘One of them is never saying “good luck”, another is whistling back stage, and the worst thing is to mention the name of a certain Scottish play.’ ‘Oh, you mean “Macbeth”. There was a hushed silence in the room and Andy glared at me in horror. ‘Go
outside the building, turn around three times and then spit.’ ‘You’re not serious?’ I said, looking at the other shocked faces but Andy nodded solemnly and the others urged me to do as he said. So, feeling like an idiot, I left the room and made my way down to the stage door but when I opened the door I saw rain being swept down the street by gale force winds. I decided there was no way I was going outside. So I waited for a few minutes by the doorman’s office and peered through the little hatch into the dark and dusty room. On the high ceiling I could see a wooden beam and I shivered when I remembered the gruesome story of the doorman hanging from it in 1922 after he had axed to death the actor who had assaulted and raped his fiancée. The other day I had nervously peeped into the haunted second floor dressing room where the murder had taken place though sadly I didn’t hear any of the voices and screams. As I went back into the rest of the cast I ruffled my hair and pinched my cheeks to make them look suitably flushed . . . they wouldn’t know the difference . . . they would think I had performed their stupid ritual . . . honestly, the things one has to do for art. The excitement of the first performance was affecting everyone’s mood, including Randy Andy whose over-inflated ego had pumped up his testosterone to danger level. In the interval, I was on my way back from the ladies toilets on the second floor when he jumped me in the dark corridor and dragged me into the haunted dressing room. ‘Get off me, you idiot.’ I said, trying to fight him off.
‘Come on, Babe,’ he said, breathlessly as he groped me with his hands. ‘It’s just a bit of fun on the last night – it’s traditional.’ He pushed me against a wall and put his hand over my mouth to shut me up, and that’s when I brought my knee up hard into his groin. He went down with a howl. ‘I’m not your babe – you lecherous vermin.’
phone. Eventually it was decided to put Sam, his understudy, on instead.
The play was perfect. Sam remembered all the lines and the kissing scene was a dream. In the interval everyone congratHe rolled on the floor in agony. ulated Sam, when they weren’t talking about the banging and ‘You stupid bitch, I’ll get you . . .’ howling coming from the haunted dressing room on the second But that was all I heard because floor. The noises were so scary I fled, slamming the door behind that the women used the men’s me and turning the key in the toilets on the ground floor to lock. I was shaking from head avoid walking past the door. to toe outside the door and it was several minutes before I We were all on a high when could even think straight. Andy the final curtain went down, has done his best to ruin the and we stayed behind to drink play for me . . . I thought, as I champagne and laugh about removed the key from the lock the mistakes that we hoped the and dropped it into my pocket . . audience hadn’t noticed. . now it’s time for payback. Sam and I were a bit tipsy when The dressing room was busy we said goodbye to the rest with everyone getting ready and of the cast and because we’d it wasn’t until the thirty-minute promised to lock up, we were call that Andy’s absence was the last to leave the theatre. noticed. It seemed that no one knew where he was. There were ‘Let’s break all their silly superseveral desperate attempts stitions,’ Sam said, laughing. to contact him but his mobile So we quoted lines from Maccould be heard buzzing in his beth and whistled every silly coat pocket, which was hanging tune we could think off. Even on the back of a chair, and there the friendly doorman at the was no reply from his home stage door was laughing as he
let us out. We got a taxi home and staggered through the front door, giggling like a couple of kids. It wasn’t until I threw my coat on the sofa and a key fell out of the pocket, that I remembered Andy. ‘Poor Andy,’ I said, giggling as we went upstairs. ‘Yes,’ Sam said, ‘I wonder what happened to him.’ ‘Still,’ I said, cuddling up to Sam in bed, ‘I expect that friendly doorman had a spare key.’ ‘What doorman? What key?’ Sam said, as he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug. ‘I think you’ve had too much champagne.’ The story will be continued with part three in Issue 7 out later this year. Please follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ altmumagazine or Twitter @ altmumagazine for updates.
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THE WEDDING SINGER It must be the timing of ALTMU but I always seem to be on a ship in the middle of nowhere when the call comes through to tell me my deadline is yesterday…
In my last article I talked about ‘doing your own thing’ and as this is mostly what I’ve been doing lately I thought I’d talk about that for a bit. It’s the first time I’ve ever released anything so here was my journey.
MY FIRST ALBUM… I released my EP – ‘Little Things’ on October 31 2014. There was once a time when this involved lots of deals, favours and extreme expense but I managed to avoid that. Firstly I decided to put out two versions – a regular EP (blue artwork) and a limited edition EP (red artwork & hidden track). Using my Website, Facebook & Twitter I posted a pre-sale PayPal Button on Aug 9th to allow people to pre-buy the 100 Ltd Edition, hand numbered, personalised & signed copies. Within 48 hrs
apart from the few I held back for myself and those involved I sold the rest. Co-incidentally Aug 9th was also the FIRST recording session for this project, so as I was laying down Drum and Bass tracks with Pete Hedley and Mike Kenna I was also watching my emails ‘dinging’ each time an EP had been sold. This may be considered very risky or even highly presumptuous but I knew I had a great band and very seasoned producer, Robin Datta, at the helm. For me, It was a massive inspiration because every note played, every decision we made had already been paid for and I knew the quality had to be great because there was someone out there who had put their hard earned cash into my pocket on the promise of a great record. The songs were written and I never did or ever will have control over people’s opinions on
So how do you actually release music without a label? You can’t just ring up iTunes and send them an MP3 that’s for sure. There are a couple of options but I opted for Tunecore. A company that boasts over 200,000+ artists. Has its own in-house publishing service, royalty collection service and many additional services on top. It’s an empire and to a completely unknown DIY artist like myself - it is perfect. They charge $19.99 to release an album/ EP to every major online distributor you can throw a dart at. You can choose any of these. You are in complete control. You upload your artwork, choose a release date and hit ‘GO’ When the release date approaches you are given your iTunes link and your record is REAL and OUT THERE. It’s a fantastic feeling it really is. iTunes in particular have a three week turn around as they do random spot checks on the quality of releases. Random fact – most iTunes releases rarely sell more than one copy. Which reminds me of the cold hard fact – having a release means ‘You’ like your music and not that other people should do. That’s where the live gigs and promotion come into play. Now the hard work begins……
THE ALBUM DESIGN & MATERIALS…
those so the quality was the one thing I did have control of.
DIY PRODUCTION PROCESS… The whole thing took three days - Day 1 – Drums, Bass & Acoustic Gtr. Day 2 - Vocals. Day 3 - Electric guitar. During these sessions we also had visits from a cello player - Alex Priest, a trumpet player - Karen Straw, and a keyboard player - Kenny Dickenson who recorded his parts in is own studio and sent them in. The whole thing was paid for by the initial sale of my Ltd Edition. AMAZING!! So I’m painting a very DIY picture here, which is kind of my point. Finally, mastering. I had never really given it much thought but Robin insisted I have the songs ‘properly’ mastered by a bona-fide mastering engineer (and not a pre made plug in) with a room full of outboard, vintage analogue equipment. This was the most expensive part of the puzzle but definitely worth every penny.
Oh – almost forgot, what about Mr Blue & Red Cover? Well I used a very straight forward and accessible company called the www. duplicationcentre.co.uk using drop down menus and uploading forms your physical EP is ready to rock and on it’s way to you in 24 hrs!!! My EP was a cardboard sleeve with plastic covering – approx £0.96p per CD. They look the BOLLOCKS!!! I feel super proud handing them out, so proud in fact that sometimes I forget to charge at all…ooops! The physical EPs are only available from my website because they are primarily intended for selling at gigs and sending off to people like ‘them’ . Gone are the days when people would come up to me after a gig and say ‘you should do your own stuff’. I may be a tiny blimp on the huge Music Bomb that is Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith but having my own product has fulfilled me in so many more ways than I thought possible. And note: FACEBOOK = £free, TWITTER = £free, PayPal Button = £free (small commission on sales), Tunecore = $19.99 for one year (100% royalty return) I think I’ll talk about my EP launch in the USA, various radio interviews and my Christmas single until the next edition…
Session Playing Tips BY ALT-MU COLUMNIST & PRO GUITARIST / VOCALIST, STEVE YOUNG
Who doesn't enjoy a good sesh? Getting together and making music is easier than ever these days. With all the newest technology making it quite easy for even the most luddite of technophobes. But there's more to it than that isn't there? Especially when business is involved. I mean how the hell can anybody get along with a band with all the distractions about now? Well, these little hints will make your next session a bit easier and help you book more in the future.
1. Have G o o d g ea r I.e. a Guitar that doesn’t buzz! Cables that don’t crackle. NEW strings, make sure intonation has been professionally sorted at least once a year. You don’t want a great session to be let down by faulty kit. So don’t skimp on quality.
2. pack th e essentia ls yo u rself Tuner, Fuzz box, FX, fave drink and packed lunch. The studio may have stuff like this but never assume you’re going to get good quality. You could easily get a dud bit of kit that lets you down. Your own earplugs are a good idea too.
3. b e pro fesh i n yo u r sesh If you’re trying to be professional, act professional. Don’t use your break to have a screaming row about the pet dog with your partner. Keep your phone OFF during sessions, wait until after your session to return calls, emails etc. It’s basic politeness and it reflects well on you.
4. pla n yo u r j o u r n ey i n a dva n ce If it’s a new studio work out how you are going to get there and where to park. You can use Google Maps to see what the building actually looks like. It’s also a good tip to phone ahead to see if you need to book a parking space. Most importantly - NEVER BE LATE! Make sure you allow plenty of time for your journey. 20 mins early is better than 20 mins late.
5. kn ow yo u r cli ent Do some quiet research into their past. Avoid getting in touch them and asking directly. This will help with talking about styles and genres
or the task at hand - avoid asking them lots of questions - you are not interviewing them. It always looks better if you can slip into a style and genre easily without too much guidance.
6. d o n't b e over fr i en d ly They may be ask to add you on Facebook after a few gigs but not the first session. If you get invited to lunch or dinner don’t take the piss. No getting trashed or ordering something expensive off the menu. They will always be assessing you, producers can offer you work for years if you get on well so remember - be considerate!
7. b e co n fi d ent & yo u rself Seasoned producers can smell a poser a mile away. You are there for a reason and that is that only you can do what you do in that studio on that day so they need you. Remember that. Be calm, be sure and be concise - and be honest.
8. b e d iscr eet o n m o n ey matters Never discuss money in front of the engineer, or artist. Email your contact or the producer to discuss fees etc. It’s not polite, and you’re there to make music - money comes later.
9. ask po litely a b o ut cr ed it If you feel that you are contributing to the song writing rather than just the session, find a quiet polite moment to ask the producer if you will be credited for any parts you have written (if unsure ask the engineer as they will know the producer better) leaving it until after the fact is too late but also don’t be pushy about this... judge wisely and try not to be precious if the answer is ‘No’.
1 0. keep track o f yo u r so n gs Make sure you keep your own music on PPL and PRS. If you’re not a member, look them up and join up to protect your music rights. Studios and producers will not do this for you. If you have co-written make sure you are correctly registered with PRS. If you have performed any release that is used or sold you are also due receipts from MCPS and PPL. There you have it. There’s nothing worse than a session that’s let down by a bit of bad behaviour or a pushy guitarist claiming they ‘wrote half the song’. Keep your cool and make sure you remember why you’re there - to create the best music you can.
We couldn’t wait to chat with the gorgeous business savvy lady that is Marika Rauscher. Not only is she a global award winning Opera Crossover Soprano and Session Singer – Marika is also a Bespoke Entertainment Specialist. Want to know what that is? Then read on and breathe it all in…
I didn’t have the confidence to get away from my comfort zone of being behind an instrument. Singing is such an exposed artform.
Marika didn’t know she was going to be a singer. She was musical at school, where she was involved in nativity plays, often with a singing solo, but she went on to become a flautist – she mainly played piano and flute and just sung on the side. At university, where she was around other creatives and away from home, she switched over from flute to singing and started coming out of her shell. When she came back to London, she joined choirs, started getting solos and built her singing career
from there. Once she knew that singing was what she wanted to do things started falling into place… but making it happen was hard work. Finding her feet as a professional singer She was earning a living by temping in office jobs and she knew that she needed to get in amongst singers and build her singing resume, so she started auditioning for semi-pro operatic societies. When she found herself getting lead roles, she realised that there was an opportunity
for her as a singer. She knew she’d made it when she was cast as Anna Bolena (Anne Boleyn) in a Donizetti opera, her first major role. Marika claims to be “fascinated by Henry VIII” so it was an amazing role to experience, “A juicy massive role… and a hard sing”. And it only got better from there: “And how much fun to get beheaded at the end of an opera”. Has her career gone as expected from that point? “ “Not at all”, she says. Through the choirs that she was involved with, she started recording film soundtracks, which she thought would be a fantastic way to build her career, and she started to get jobs doing voiceovers and as a session singer. Battling it out through the recession with her new business As the music industry changed and the recession hit, it became clear that this was not the fantastic opportunity she had thought, and on the contrary it became an extremely hard way to earn a living. She was still having success with opera, but it was very hard work, competitive and, again, hard to earn a living from unless you hit the big time. So, Marika took the initiative herself. To financially support herself and grow as an artist she started her own business and advertised her singing services for corporate events and private parties. Far from being a corporate sell out, this new avenue ended up leading her to perform at the Royal Opera House and for royalty (HRH the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, since you ask).
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Marika realised early on that being a good business woman is as important as being able to sing, which gave her a headstart … but she didn’t realise how much work it would be – hours and hours of marketing and promoting. Mastering the ‘Twitter’sphere hooked in Theo Phaphitis One of the marketing techniques she learnt was how to take advantage of social media, especially Twitter, which led her to win Theo Phaphitis’ (him off of Dragon’s Den) Small Business Sunday competition. The idea is that small businesses tweet about their business at a set time on Sunday afternoon and he retweets his favourite six the following Monday. Marika heard about the competition from a friend and won on just her second tweet – the first musician to win and to date the only singer to have won. What caught the judges eye was Marika’s new business package of a “Singer for Dinner” where she sings for your loved one, relative or friend in the privacy of your own home.
Album release and being crazy busy! Last year, Marika released her debut album. It came about in a completely unexpected way. An opera company heard her sing, liked her voice and decided to start a record label so that they could write songs just for her to suit her voice – a complete unique opportunity to work on the album right from the start. Is having an album written to suit your voice like having bespoke tailored clothes? “Totally”. But Marika hasn’t had time to promote the album yet (she hopes to tour it in the second half of 2015 – watch this space!) because she’s started lecturing at a central London University on performance and presentation, she’s been approached to perform cabaret on cruise ships and she has expanded her skills to work as a conductor, and all this on top of regular appearances at Harrods and the Café Concerto chain, public speaking and teaching singing technique. So how does her life now compare to being an opera singer? “It’s exceeded all my expectations of what I thought I could achieve. Growing the business into a multi-faceted offering has been much more exciting than just taking part in opera performances. I’m always thinking… ‘What’s next?’”. Feature Interview by Zoe Cunningham
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Alternative doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, so we decided to lighten things up a bit with a silly issue. A theme in part inspire...
Published on Jun 7, 2015
Alternative doesn’t have to be so serious all the time, so we decided to lighten things up a bit with a silly issue. A theme in part inspire...