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BOOTLEG Issue one May/June 2010


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Profile: Tess Parks Profile: Harry Leventon Story: Veronica Bianqui Story: Legs Eleven

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TABLE OF CONTENT

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Writer

Lisa Davidsson Weiertz

Sub-editor

Liv Fleischhacker

Photography

Lorenzo Levrini

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Hanna Sofia Andersson

MASTHEAD

Editor/art director/writer


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his is the first ever issue of Bootleg Magazine - a music collective of stories about new young musicans within the London music scene. We want to encourage and promote

young bands and musicians while providing you, the readers, with interesting stories that will give you an idea of who these talents are, what inspires them and why they got into music. Bootleg wants to give you the feeling of the black and white photo books that have been created to capture the lives of great musicians over time from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones to The Beatles and The Doors. The main difference is that Bootleg will feature great musicians who are still rather unknown and still has not reached that level of success, at least not yet. We hope you will find the stories inspiring and that your curiosity will lead you to look up these bands and musicians as their music will add even more depth to their stories that they share with you in our magazine. This issue features Canadian singer/songwriter Tess Parks, the Woking three-piece Legs Eleven, Californian singer/ songwriter Veronica Bianqui and London-based musician Harry Leventon. Enjoy your reading.

- Hanna Sofia Andersson, editor


old and heard ‘Supersonic’ by Oasis for the first time. She mentions Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana as bands that have formed who she is; “It was my dads influences, he exposed me to the best music and he loves music as much as I do, and it’s great because how many kids have something in common with their parents? ” While Tess is constantly searching for her own sound she says that her influences also come through her music. Oasis is understood to have had a great impact on Tess and she also points out Elliot Smith, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Cat Power, The White Stripes and The Beatles as big inspirations although the list goes on. Citing ‘Wonderwall’ as one of her favourite songs she explains; “if a band sparks your interest in music you have them to thank, and if it’s one song in particular it’s going to be your favourite song forever”. She claims that there are a few songs that she would put in that category such as ‘Alphabet town’ by Elliot Smith and ‘The End’ by the Doors. If there is one song she wish she could claim as her own it would possible be ‘It’s alright ma (I’m only bleeding)’, as it is one of her absolute favourite Dylan songs. Tess descri-

bes the songwriting process as being difficult at times when she is not inspired or if she’s bored, although she points out that if you try to just write a song it is not going to happen, but it just comes to you; ”like a gift you didn’t ask for. You just write down anything that’s in your head and most of the time it’s shit but at least it’s out there, and it’s on paper and that idea is out of your head and you have room for other ones”. Tess’s love for music is evident, as is her humbleness when asked what makes her music unique; “It’s not unique. The thing that makes it good and why people should give it a chance is because It’s not over-produced, I record it in my bedroom and these are just raw songs, a young girls feelings, I’m not lying to you or about how I feel”. It is inevitable to see that Tess is hopeful for the future and for music to play a big part of it; “I just hope I’ll be happy and in a good place mentally and have good people around me. Hopefully I’ve made some sort of impact and music that people like and hopefully people will know me for that”.

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Tess Parks has lived in London since September 2008, although she is born and raised in Toronto, Canada; “At the time it seemed like ‘oh I want to get out of here’ because when you’re young you are longing for a new place, you want to be somewhere else. And until you leave that place you don’t realise how good it was”. After both working and studying photography, she is now fully concentrating on her music. Tess describes her sound as low-fi, soulful, and raw; “it’s my own therapy and its nice that other people can listen to it too because I’m just writing down what I feel – getting it out so it’s not trapped inside me forever”. After playing both violin and piano at a very young age, she found a passion for guitar after seeing Oasis for the first time, a concert which she says changed her life and made her want to pursue music. Her first electric guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, was a Christmas present she went to pick up with her family in Rochester, New York at the age of fourteen. One of the first memories of getting into music was when she was four years

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By: Hanna Sofia Andersson Photography: Neemo Bawany

TESS PARKS

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man’ by Blur although the memory of his first album is not as clear; ”I guess it was a whole bunch of Britpop stuff around 1994-95. I remember when I bought ’What’s The Story Morning Glory’ by Oasis and ’The Great Escape’ by Blur. Pop and rock music of the 1960s is understood to be a big inspiration to Harry; ”I grew up listening to the Beatles and managed to get into the Kinks, the Who, and The Rolling Stones. I always liked the folkier stuff as well like Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, just a lot of 60s I guess”. When asked what song in history he wished he would have written, Harry thinks for a minute; “Its a hard question. It would probably have to be a Beatles song as it’s my favourite band, maybe ‘In My life’. Rubber Soul is one of my favourite albums”. Harry describes his songwriting process as therapeutic; “if I’m not doing anything in my life then I generally don’t have anything to write about. I need to be in a strong mood whether it’s sad or angry, to write a song. Sometimes I write songs which are not necessarily connected to my own life - sometimes it’s a story, other times it’s just how I feel”. Although he en-

joys performing on his own, as he gets into the songs more, Harry believes playing in a band is more fun at the end of the day; “you get to hang out with your mates and playing in a band is a different feeling. You don’t have to have control of everything, everyone is doing their own thing and adding it - it’s more spontaneous. I like bands where everyone is involved in some way I would like to find that band someday”. As far as the London music scene goes, Harry believes it seems a bit dead at the moment: “I think after the Libertines, who started this wave of fans, everyone has been trying to copy it. That has been happening around Camden for six years and its gotten pretty tired and a bit stale, no one is getting any younger. There just doesn’t seem to be the next big thing. This might just be the reason Harry left London for travelling in America for a while: “ I’m looking for something more creative – London doesn’t feel that creative to me at the moment”.

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Based in Primrose Hill, although travelling in America at the moment, Harry Leventon’s passion for music started at an early age; ”I took a couple of violin lessons when I was four, but I didn’t like it so I started playing the guitar around the age of five or six and got along with it a lot better”. Harry normally goes by the surname Adams, although he took on the name Leventon after feeling more connected with his mums involvement in theatre and music; ”Leventon is my mum’s maiden name and stage name, she’s an actress and sings too, so I though it would be nice to carry that on. She’d be happy for me to pursue any sort of entertainment career”. Having been part of bands for a few years, most recently the London based four-piece Younghearts, Harry is now concentrating on his own songwriting; ”My sound is something I’m working towards as I am just playing on my own, just me and my acoustic so I guess it comes across as a bit more folkier”. Harry remembers buying the single ’Charmless

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By: Hanna Sofia Andersson

HARRY LEVENTON

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Veronica bianqui

By: Lisa Davidsson Weiertz Photography: Hanna Sofia Andersson

As a restless traveler, Californian folk- singer/songwriter Veronica Bianqui is exploring the new, the odd and the authentic in both life and music. While studying ethnomusicology at Kings College in London, she is constantly searching for inspiration to her songwriting and for opportunities to share her music and stories.


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not want to be a singer, although I remember in fourth grade when I wanted to be a plant doctor!” she says and giggles. The first band that really made an impact on Veronica was TLC, and their song ‘Waterfalls’; “I just stopped in my steps, completely mesmerised when I heard that song. I fell in love with TLC at the age of six and soon after that I wrote my first song which was basically me changing the lyrics to one of their songs,” she says and sings the chorus of the song which she changed from TLC’s ‘I just want to touch myself ’ to ‘I just want to be myself ’ while laughing. Consequently Veronica formed her own band Soul & Diamonds in third grade but quickly moved on to a non-instrumental band named The Island Girls. By this time The Spice Girls had become the biggest musical influence in her life, knocking down TLC from the

eronica was raised in a creative environment with music as a natural element in life: “Both my parents were aspiring actors; my mom is from Los Angeles and my dad from Argentina. My mother always used to sing around the house, she used to be in blues band before she had my sister.” One of her earliest memories is sitting in the backseat of her mom’s car listening to Abbey Road: “Hearing the opening to that record; hearing ‘Come together’ and being so amazed by that sound, which I know now is clapping with delay, it’s such a familiar sound, it makes me feel safe”. Veronica’s mom’s love for music soon turned out to be infectious, imprinting Veronica with a life-long dream of becoming an artist; “Music is all I ever wanted to do, I literally cannot remember a moment when I did

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because he would just growl. ‘I’m down’ would be a fun song to do or maybe ‘A day in the life’, and I could sing John’s part, I would probably butcher that one though…I’ll just sing whatever song Paul wants me to sing!” Describing her own sound, she says; “Usually I say that it is kind of folk-y, blues-y and soul-inspired but I am currently at a transition point where I do not want just acoustic music, I never intended that, it was more out of laziness that I did not feel like plugging in my electric guitar. I am trying new techniques now, different tunings and that kind of stuff ”. It is not only her sound that is undergoing a transformation, but also the song-writing itself; “I usually have an unconscious approach to writing songs; like a stream of consciousness which end up as weird, random and disjointed songs. I have always been obsessed with the idea of just doing really weird stuff randomly. I am becoming more sophisticated in my song writing now though, actually going back and revising songs instead of just moving on straight away”. The lyrics are often quite autobiographical, “But with a twist”, she adds. “I may write a song inspired by one person but really that song is not about that one person, the person becomes a concept in the song; filtered through other people”. Sadness and loneliness are reoccurring subjects in her songs; “That is what my subject matters tend to revolve around, but I want to change that. I do not want to be depressing. I think that just comes from, you know, how people get addicted to emotions? I think that sometimes I get addicted to that feeling of ‘oh, pity me!’ It helps to bring out the creative side of me and I think that I need that, but that is not true”. Staying true to her Californian roots, she also considers the sun as a big inspiration to her songs; “The sun is in so many of my songs, probably because I am a Leo. The interaction, the blurring of boundaries between the world within and the world without is important. I have a song, ‘Inner landscapes’, which I guess goes back to the French Symbolists and how they would depict landscapes which were actually symbolic of the

throne; “I knew that they wrote their own songs, so I wanted to be like them. Maybe my love for England started there?” It was first when she started doing Musical Theatre in middle school that she encountered and fell in love with music from the 1960’s; “I was in a 60´s show at school which exposed me to the music from that era. I went on long bus rides everyday to be in Music School and that was when I started to get serious about writing my own music and bought my own 8-track recorder”. She suddenly gets distracted by a promo-poster for her all-time favourite album ‘Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ that she has taped up in her student-hall room in London Bridge, and bursts out giggling; “How high do The Beatles look in that poster by the way? Look at Ringo, he is stoned!” It soon becomes evident that The Beatles have a very special place in Veronica’s heart, a love affair that started when she was fourteen years old, and saw a Beatles tribute band performing; “I became an obsessive Beatles fan overnight. When people ask me if I believe in God I always say; ‘Yeah, I believe in multiple Gods, they are called John, Paul, George and Ringo,” she says laughing. The Fab Four were soon to be followed by other bands such as The Doors, Bob Dylan and The Vines. The first real rock concert she went to was with The Vines, a day she fondly remembers as the best day in her life; “I waited by the backstage door and handed the singer a mixed CD with his favourite songs on it, I even hand drew the cover myself!” This was to be the first of many encounters with musical and literary heroes for Veronica who have met the beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, John Densmore and Robby Krieger of The Doors as well as celebrating her 21st birthday in Jim Morrison’s old house in Laurel Canyon. The highlight so far though, she states, was when she met Paul McCartney. She handed the ex-Beatle a CD of her recordings, whom in turn held it up to his ear exclaiming; “I can hear it already, it’s great, it’s brilliant - I love it!” Paul McCartney is also the artist that would be Veronica’s dream to do a duet with; “He would probably be easier to sing harmonies with than Dylan,

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”I believe in multiple gods, they’re called; Ringo, George, Paul and John.”


V a fan-base and then I will start thinking about that kind of stuff. During my Spice Girls-phase I wanted to be signed to Virgin though, because they were all signed to Virgin!” she laughs. Veronica describes herself as an avid reader and poetry as an influence in her writing; “I want to start reading Blake and Rimbaud, but the problem is that I don’t know where to stop, it’s the same in museums; I don’t know how much time I should spend on a work of art”. Veronica sometimes becomes fixated with a certain song or performance, stating a video she found of Dylan on Youtube as a recent obsession; “There is this video of Bob Dylan playing ‘Tangled up in blue’, there was just something about it that made me watch it like fifty times a day for two weeks, it is sort of like a moment of epiphany or maybe ecstasy”, she says and adds in an accentuated American accent reminding of Dylan’s; “It blows your mind, man.” She has had her Myspace-site since the summer of 2006, but is hesitant regarding the power of spreading music through internet; “In a way it’s good, because

small guitar which is perfectly proportioned to her own small frame, and continues; “She is also one of the reasons that I want to move away from folk, even though what I play is not really folk. She is just so good at it; I want to do something different”. She also states Mumford and Sons and Grizzly Bear as contemporary favourites. “I really like M.I.A as well, I think that is something I want to start going towards; a mixture between Laura Marling and M.I.A, electronic folk”. She compares her relationship with her hometown to that of a marriage; “When you start to spend a lot of time with someone and they start nagging you, and you start getting annoyed at all the little things – that is how Los Angeles is to me. I need space, so that is why I’m here”. A lifelong fascination as well as a sense of belonging with everything English brought her to these shores, although she is moving back home to America at the end of summer where she plans to focus all her attention on her music – doing what she loves the most.

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“When you start to spend a lot of time with someone and they start nagging you, and you start getting annoyed at all the little things – that is how Los Angeles is to me. I need space, so that is why I’m here”.

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it’s easier to get exposure but it also makes it harder because everyone is trying to do it. I just read in NME: ‘Are there still musical tribes?’ I wish there was, but not really anymore. Musical communities have become digital now”. Although she is mainly inspired by artists from other eras, there is one singer she admires a great deal; “I think Laura Marling is brilliant,” she says strumming her

characters inner psyche. If you are feeling one way, suddenly the world takes on that colour”. When asked about her goals and ambitions as an artist, she says; “I just want to be able to make music as long as I want and make a living out of it and be happy. I don’t think in terms of record deals anymore, I just want to maintain integrity, I don’t think record deals are quite the goal anymore. I want to organically grow

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V legs eleven

by: Lisa Davidsson Weiertz photography: Lorenzo Levrini

Brothers Matt and Danny Arthur, together with childhood friend Tom Heel make up the Woking three-piece Legs Eleven; an up-beat, indie-rock band with aspirations to share and write intelligent songs and combined with their unique sound, establish themself in the competitive music scene of London.


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and dance venues. I think we were perceived as a bit strange because we were into The Beatles and stuff which made us sort of outcasts”. Danny, who currently works in a pub, adds; “Tom used to be a bit of a rude boy, but then I showed him a DVD with Oasis, he was amazed and started learning drums, he just picks everything up really quickly so we started playing together in school once or twice a week. Then Matt came home from university and played his solo stuff for us which we started jamming to and that’s how we got together”. British bands such as The Kinks and The Who are also major influences on the band’s sound; “We just like good British rock’n’roll, there is not a lot of that around right now, so that’s what we’re trying to do I think. A lot of the bands nowadays don’t really bother with lyrics, we want to bring some intelligence to it, I mean Oasis is not intelligent at all”, says Matt who is currently finishing his last year studying Philosophy

egs Eleven is a three-piece band based in London consisting of Matt Arthur, 22, on vocals and guitar, his brother Danny Arthur, 20, on bass and Tom Heel, 20, on drums. They formed in 2007 and started off doing cover songs of artists such as The Rolling Stones, Oasis and Bob Dylan in pubs around their hometown Woking. The band cites Paul Weller and The Jam, who originates from Woking and whom they also used to cover, as a huge influence on their sound. They quickly gained a lot of practice and experience of performing live regularly while being lucky enough to get paid for their first-ever gigs, Matt says; “There were not any bands in Woking doing what we were doing, there were more emo, metal and screaming going on. We started playing just as this whole emo-scene came about. There is not much of a music scene there, mainly hip-hop

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V “A lot of the bands nowadays don’t really bother with lyrics, we want to add some intelligence to it”

- Matt

at UCL. He adds; “We try to write about something; relationships I suppose, the government, or as in our song ‘Threadneedle Street’ which is about the expenses, banks and all that. Not just the obvious things, we want to get across a feeling rather than an actual message. Song writing-wise we are inspired by Bob Dylan, obviously, Ray Davies is a massive influence as well, Thom Yorke and The Smiths might even be too obvious to mention. But our sound is changing at the moment, it has been constantly changing since we started I think”. Tom describes their sound as ‘indie-dance music’ and fills in: “We have a pretty big, full sound for a three-piece”. Matt agrees; “You don’t see many three-pieces anymore or guitar solos, a classic-rock kind of sound. I’m not as pretentious as to think that we are doing something amazingly unique and important to the world, because that’s the hardest bit – everything has been done before, but I do think that we stand out

from a lot of bands, at least on the unsigned circuit”, which the rest of the band agrees with. The band has twelve finished songs to date, but Matt points out; “New songs come along and we just forget about the old ones basically, when you play live you play sets for maximum half an hour”. Danny says; “We played the same seven songs for about a year I think.” Tom says of the song making process; “It’s never forced either; it’s never a chore to write a song”. Danny says; “If you’ve got good lyrics and a good sound, you can connect with a lot of people”. Matt adds; “I don’t think that there is that many indie-or pop-bands that really bother with the lyrics today, you know. There’s not that many people that sits down and listens to it either”. When asked about what it is like to be in a band with a sibling, Danny answers; “There aren’t any disadvantages really, we never argue. He’s an angel, there’s


V ting gigs, but it will be increasingly important just for getting people into one place and spreading the message really quickly to lots of people but at the moment we mainly use it for gigs”. Matt adds; “Eventually we’re going to set up a website; you need to offer people downloads, blogs and stuff, the major record labels are all fucked at the moment, it’s a different system now; they don’t look for potential because they can’t take risks. I think that all you need is to be different and dedicate all your time to it”, he continues, “You have to do all the stuff yourself; record your own EPs and albums, book your own tour and just work really hard at it, luck is important as well”. When it comes to the band’s image Tom says; “I don’t think it matters really, I think we have it naturally anyway, the music that we listen to and the people that we like – it just comes naturally really.” Matt responds; “I do think it’s important, sadly enough it does make a difference. We don’t really

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something there you can’t describe, a musical bond we have. No matter how much practice a bassist and a guitarist have to play together it will never be so tight and come so naturally as it does with me and Matt, you know it’s kind of an unexplained connection that we got”. Although not related by blood, Tom could easily be mistaken for the lost brother and agrees that the musical connection and natural chemistry extends to all members of Legs Eleven, Matt fills in; “Yeah, obviously that was going to happen. We grew up together listening to the same stuff, but as Tom was saying we’re musical brothers, all three of us really. We all have a common idea of where it’s going. We’ve hardly ever fought, we just get on really well, we’re opposite kind of people, not particularly competitive”. When asked about the importance of the Internet and its importance in spreading their music, Danny says; “It’s important for getting people to the gigs and get-

”The major record labels are all fucked at the moment, it’s a different system now; they don’t look for potential because they can’t take risks. I think that all you need is to be different and dedicate all your time to it”. - Matt

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-Matt

their craft after starting rehearsals in a new and cheaper studio. Matt says; “We’ve been doing it kind of halfheartedly because we’ve been so busy but now we’re going to spend as much time as possible writing new stuff, rehearsing and get really tight together again as well as hopefully do a little UK-tour at end of summer and festivals of course”. They have been playing approximately two gigs a month for the last 2½ years and a gig in Oxford which they played with The Noisettes has been the band’s favourite one so far though they also count getting an encore at their first Peter Doherty as a highlight. Tom; “When you come up to London, you don’t know what to do – what route to take, it’s a completely different world, you don’t know whether you should do loads of gigs or few of them,” Matt fills in; “It’s sort of a Catch 22 situation, because promoters need to get people through the door but its hard to build a fan base, it’s not very easy”. When asked about the current state of the music scene in London at the moment, Matt says; “We’re still not within the scene enough too say but there’s too much out there that is more about coolness over fucking good songs”. Being in a band turned out to be quite different from what the boys first imagined; “There’s a lot of hard

we love it, don’t we, boys?” which is answered with agreeing nods from Danny and Tom. Danny; “We didn’t anticipate how hard it was going to be and we did not have enough hours in the week to do what we wanted to do which was stressful but when the boys are finished with education we have no excuse but to do this, so we can finally do everything we want to do and then we will start seeing some really good results, or that’s the plan. We are still really young, for what we are and how long we have been doing it we have done pretty well. Every five years there’s bound to be a good new band, Arctic Monkey’s been five years hasn’t it?” A highly acclaimed and well-received album that will stand the test of time is a goal for the band that they hope to aspire within the next five years. Matt says; “I really think that if we work as hard as we say we are going to work and put all our effort into it I think we’re capable of getting there, and have done an album at least – an album and a tour. In the end it’s all about creating something that you’re proud of ”.

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“You play loads of shit gigs to nobody and basically paying for playing to nobody, but you have to do it, it’s a process really. It’s expensive but we love it, don’t we, boys?

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work involved, much harder than you’d expect it to be like,” Matt says and Tom continues; “When we played pub gigs in Woking we thought we would be famous within a year. There is ups and downs to it really”, to which Matt adds; “You play loads of shit gigs to nobody and basically paying for playing to nobody, but you have to do it, it’s a process really. It’s expensive but

think about it, you don’t want to be trying to hard, we don’t do any dress ups. Me and Danny look the same and Tom looks like he’s not out of place, it looks like we are in a band together and I think that’s important”. Legs Eleven have not been able to focus entirely on their music the last few years due to studies and work but are now determined to put all their energy into

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Thanks to: Harry Leventon Veronica Bianqui Tom Heel Matt Arthur Danny Arthur Tess Parks Lisa Davidson Weiertz Liv Fleishhacker Lorenzo Levrini Natalie Mckane


Published by: Venetian Vixens Ltd 20 Venetian Road SE5 9RR London Bootlegmag@gmail.com


Bootleg Magazine issue one