THE MOUSE OUTFIT BETHNAL GREEN WORKING MENS CLUB // 4TH FEB 2016 DAMA DAMA LAUNCH PARTY + MARIBOU STATE B2B PEDESTRIAN BERMONDSEY SOCIAL CLUB // 5TH FEB 2016 MNDSGN + IVAN AVE BIRTHDAYS // 5TH FEB 2016 THE LONDON FUNK AND SOUL CLUB FEAT: NICOLE WILLIS + JAZZIE B + DJ FORMAT + MR THING ELECTRIC BALLROOM // 5TH FEB 2016 STANTON SESSIONS PRESENTS: STANTON WARRIORS + CAUSE & AFFECT + TAIKI NULIGHT + MAFIA KISS SHAPES // 6TH FEB 2016 TERAKAFT RICH MIX // 18TH FEB 2016 RYLEY WALKER + DANNY THOMPSON LONDON BUSH HALL // 20TH FEB 2016 GOGO PENGUIN VILLAGE UNDERGROUND // 25TH FEB 2016 RYLEY WALKER + DANNY THOMPSON LONDON BUSH HALL // 29TH FEB 2016 DREAM KOALA BIRTHDAYS // 4TH MAR 2016 LUKE VIBERT + U-ZIQ + CEEPHAX ACID CREW + MORE VILLAGE UNDERGROUND // 4TH MAR 2016 BURAKA SOM SISTEMA ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 5TH MAR 2016 SUBMOTION ORCHESTRA O2 SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE // 11TH MAR 2016 BONOBO PRESENTS… OUTLIER TOBACCO DOCK // 12TH MAR 2016 LEE SCRATCH PERRY SUPER APE TOUR + MAD PROFESSOR / TROJAN SOUNDSYSTEM / CHANNEL 1 / PLUS MORE! ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 12TH MAR 2016 THE CORREPONDENTS VILLAGE UNDERGROUND // 12TH MAR 2016 DJ MARKY ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 2ND APR 2016
ULRICH SCHNAUSS + NAT URAZMETOVA RICH MIX // 18TH MAR 2016 DJ KRUSH ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 19TH MAR 2016 ESKA – VERY SPECIAL NEW SHOW KOKO // 31ST MAR 2016 BEARDYMAN ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 2ND APR 2016 AKUA NARU RICH MIX // 7TH APR 2016 RONI SIZE VILLAGE UNDERGROUND // 8TH APR 2016 JULIA BIEL RICH MIX // 15TH APR 2016 LEFTO SHAPES // 22ND APR 2016 MARIBOU STATE (LIVE) SHAPES 23RD APR 2016 LEVELZ SHAPES // 27TH APR 2016 DIZRAELI SEBRIGHT ARMS // 28TH APR 2016 GOGO PENGUIN KOKO // 5TH MAY 2016 THE SOUNDCRASH FUNK & SOUL WEEKENDER CAMBER SANDS // 20TH MAY 2016 ONRA ISLINGTON ASSEMBLEY HALL // 22ND APR 2016 VENTITAN SNARES SHAPES // 30TH APR 2016 MATTHEW HALSALL & THE GONDWANA ORCHESTRA ST JOHN’S AT HACKNEY CHURCH // 20TH MAY 2016 OWINY SIGOMA RICH MIX // 22ND MAY 2016 CLAP! CLAP! SHAPES // 22ND MAY 2016 SONS OF KEMET VILLAGE UNDERGROUND // 25TH MAY 2016 HOT 8 BRASS BAND ELECTRIC BRIXTON // 26TH MAY 2016
SOUNDCRASH SHOWS 2016 | SOUNDCRASHMUSIC.COM
5 DAYS & NIGHTS, OVER 100 DJS, POOL, BOAT AND AFTER PARTIES ALL ON ZRCE BEACH, CROATIA.
SUNDAY 26TH JUNE - THURSDAY 30TH JUNE 2016
JAMIE XX / SKEPTA ANDY C / JAMIE JONES MK / GORGON CITY DJ SET / DJ EZ / HANNAH WANTS / STORMZY ADAM BEYER / DUSKY / HOT SINCE 82 JULIO BASHMORE / STEVE LAWLER
VERY SPECIAL GUESTS:
JACKMASTER, EATS EVERYTHING, SKREAM und SETH TROXLER IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:
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PLUS MANY MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED! VISIT WWW.HIDEOUTFESTIVAL.COM FOR TICKETS, INFO, ACCOMMODATION AND MORE.
“The brand new Adriatic adventure brought to you by Team Love and The Garden Family”
AXEL BOMAN / BEN UFO / BICEP / CRAIG RICHARDS / DIXON / EATS EVERYTHING GERD JANSON / HORSE MEAT DISCO / HUNEE / JACKMASTER / JOB JOBSE JOY ORBISON / MIDLAND / MOTOR CITY DRUM ENSEMBLE / PROSUMER / ROMAN FLUGEL ADAM SHELTON / ALEX FROM TOKYO / APIENTO / BAD PASSION / BRADLEY ZERO / BEGIN CHRISTOPHE / CHUGGY / CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM / DAMIANO VON ERCKERT / DAN BEAUMONT DARSHAN JESRANI - METRO AREA / DAVE HARVEY / DISCODROMO / ERIC DUNCAN / ESS O ESS FANTASTIC MAN / FELIX DICKINSON / FORT ROMEAU / FRANCIS INFERNO ORCHESTRA GATTO FRITTO / GIDEÖN BLOCK 9 / HARRI & DOMENIC / HODGE / ILIJA RUDMAN / JENNIFER CARDINI / JEX OPOLIS / JONNY NASH / JONNY ROCK / JOZIF / JUSTIN VANDERVOLGEN KHRUANGBIN / LAKUTI / LAST WALTZ / LEXX / LORD OF THE ISLES / LUKAS / LUKE SOLOMON MAN POWER / MARK SEVEN / MAXXI SOUNDSYSTEM / MEDLAR MOONBOOTS / MOSCOMAN MOUNT LIBERATION UNLIMITED / MUDD / PARAMIDA / PBR STREETGANG / PEAK & SWIFT PENDER STREET STEPPERS / PHIL MISON / RED AXES / RON & NEIL / RUF DUG / SHMLSS / SOLAR SUBB-AN / SUZANNE KRAFT / TAMA SUMO / TELEPHONES / TIAGO / TORNADO WALLACE TRISTAN DA CUNHA / WAIFS & STRAYS / WOLF MUSIC / YOUNG MARCO ALI TILLET / ANTHONY MANSFIELD / BANOFFEE PIES / BELFAST MUSIC CLUB DJS / BEN PRICE / BOBBY BEIGE / CEDRIC MAISON CHRIS FARRELL / CRAIG CHRISTON / CUT N SHUT DISCO / DAN WILD / DEA BRANDANA / DEANO FERRINO / DIRTYTALK DJS / GALEN HARAHONEY / HOUSE OF DISCO DJS / JAKE MANDERS / JAMES HOLROYD / JENNY JEN / JOE LYE / JUKES OF HAZARD / KATIE BARBER KRYWALD & FARRER / M3 / MELTING POT DJS / MILES SIMPSON / MYLES MEARS / NICK BENNETT / NO FAKIN / ORKUN BOZDEMIR PADDY FREEFORM / PARDON MY FRENCH / PARK RANGER / PETER LEUNG / PHIL COOPER / SEBASTIAN SPRING / SHINY OBJECTS SHAPES DJS / STEVIE WONDERLAND DJS / TAYO / THAT INKFOLK LOT / TOM RIO / TOSH OHTA / WAYNE HOLLAND / WILD SIRENDA
29TH JUNE - 6TH JULY 2016 THE GARDEN, TISNO, CROATIA LOVEINTERNATIONALFESTIVAL.COM
THE AMAZONS + OTHERKIN
STE V IE PAR K E R
YO NAK A
P L U S G U ES T S
M O ND AY 1 F E B R U A RY
M O NDAY 1 FE BRUA RY
TUE SDAY 2 FE BRUA RY
T H U RSD AY 4 FEB RU ARY
LON DON THE GARAG E
LONDO N THE LEXINGTO N
LONDO N THE LEXINGTON
K I D W A V E FLESH + MOZES AND THE FIRSTBORN
PLUS GUE STS
PLUS GUE STS
P L U S G U ES T S
F R ID AY 5 F E B R U A RY
S UNDAY 7 FE BRUA RY
WE DNE SDAY 10 FE BRUARY
LON DON MOT H CLUB
LONDO N OSLO
LONDO N THE BLACK HEART
T H U RSD AY 11 FEB RU ARY
LONDON DI NGWALLS
PRESENT ‘NIGHT THOUGHTS’ LIV E SET ONE: NIGHT THOUGHTS INC. FEATURE FILM SET TWO: HITS & TREATS
PLUS GUE STS
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F R ID AY 12 F E B R U A RY
M ONDAY 15 FE BRUA RY
MO NDAY 15 FE BRUARY
T U ESD AY 16 FEB RU ARY
LONDON O 2 FORUM
LONDO N 100 CLUB
LO NDO N BARFLY
LONDON 100 CLUB
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I N H EAV EN + T H E V RY L L S O C I ET Y
TUESDAY 16 FEBRUARY
THURSDAY 18 FEBRUARY
WEDNESDAY 24 FEBRUARY
THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY
THURSDAY 25 FEBRUARY
LO NDO N THE DO ME
LONDON LONDON ELECTRIC BRIXTON ELECTRIC BALLROOM
NME.COM/TICKETS | GIGSANDTOURS.COM | TICKETMASTER.CO.UK A METROPOLIS MUSIC PRESENTATION Tickets include a 50p donation to Teenage Cancer Trust (registered charity 1062559 in England and Wales, SC039757 in Scotland) except 12 February
Highlights Exhibitions Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2015 25 Nov 2015 – 24 Jan 2016 Lower & Upper Galleries
Radical Disco Architecture and Nightlife in Italy, 1965–1975 8 Dec 2015 – 10 Jan 2016 ICA Fox Reading Room
Art into Society – Society into Art 19 Jan 2016 – 6 Mar 2016 ICA Fox Reading Room
Events Artists’ Film Club: Armin Linke Wed 6 Jan, 6.45pm
Linke’s Alpi (2011) is the result of seven years of research on contemporary perceptions of the landscape of the Alps, juxtaposing places and situations across all eight bordering nations.
Gallery Tours: Radical Disco led by Gilly Booth Thu 7 Jan, 6pm BNC 2015 led by Rosalind Davis Thu 14 Jan, 6.30pm Culture Now: Zach Blas Fri 8 Jan, 1pm
In conversation with Seb Franklin, artist and writer Zach Blas discussing his current research project Contra-Internet.
Decommissioned series: Lisa Le Feuvre Wed 13 Jan, 2pm
What if positions of indifference are deemed resistant rather than lazy? In this lecture, Lisa Le Feuvre is guided by Herman Melville’s short story of 1853, Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street.
Sophie Berrebi Wed 20 Jan, 2pm Başak Ertür Wed 27 Jan, 2pm JODI, What is Your Value? Wed 27 Jan, 6.30pm
Art duo JODI give a presentation in response to the question: Artists, what is your value? Institute of Contemporary Arts The Mall London SW1Y 5AH 020 7930 3647, www.ica.org.uk
London Short Film Festival 2016 8 Jan – 17 Jan 2016
The London Short Film Festival returns for the 13th year to champion new and original voices in cinema, showcasing new British short film, specificially documentary, experimental and animation work.
Members’ Screening: The Great Beauty Sun 31 Jan, 12pm Gilles Peterson presents: Havana Club Rumba Sessions: La Clave 2 Feb – 4 Feb 2016
Insight into rumba’s continued significance in Cuba, where a carefully-preserved past sits side-by-side with innovation.
The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 5 Feb – 11 Feb 2016
An exciting collection of films looking at how Japanese filmmakers have been observing and capturing people’s lives.
The ICA is a registered charity no. 236848
Contents Features 20
SAVAGES The incandescent post-punk revivalists have channeled a renewed passion for life and death into their forthcoming album. Jazz Monroe speaks to the band about their metamorphosis
AWFUL RECORDS From the dark shadows of Atlanta’s music scene, Awful Records cautiously shuffle towards the limelight. Meeting Abra, KeithCharles Spacebar and their appointed leader Father, Davy Reed peers into the label’s murky world
PRINS THOMAS After carving the sound of Norwegian electronic music, the DJ and producer attempts to shake the confines of ‘cosmic disco’. Rob McCallum rummages through a record collection with the disco prins
BILL KOULIGAS Berlin-based record label PAN is revered not just for its exploratory musical curation but for its sharply focused aesthetic. Art director Bill Kouligas speaks to Steven Dawes about the label’s futuristic vision.
Savages shot exclusively for Crack by Tom Johnson London: December 2015 Cover Styling: Charlotte James Ayse: Sweater by McQ Alexander McQueen Fay: T-Shirt and coat by McQ Alexander McQueen Jehnny: Jacket by McQueen Alexander McQueen
EDITORIAL Phone a friend
TURNING POINTS: DANIEL MILLER The man behind pioneering independent label Mute speaks to Tom Watson about signing Depeche Mode, the Britpop fallout, and what keeps him challenged
AESTHETIC: HINDS This Madrid four piece are like the girl gang you wish you were part of. We capture their infectious energy for this month’s Aesthetic
REVIEWS Crack's report on the latest album releases
DIGRESSIONS Baines’ World, Tall Order with Slayer, the Crossword and advice from Denzil Schniffermann 20 QUESTIONS: FREDDIE GIBBS Davy Reed gives Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs the 20 Questions treatment, covering regrettable tattoos, signature recipes, and The Wire character he named his dog after PERSPECTIVE: ALEX NIVEN In a column reflecting on the recent changes within both the NME and the Labour Party, Alex Niven recalls how progressive culture was co-opted by self-serving establishments, asking, how can it rebuild?
fabric Jan â€” Feb 2016
9th Jan | Room 01
Joris Voorn Terry Francis
Craig Richards DBridge Radioactive Man (live)
23rd Jan |
30th Jan |
| 16th Jan | Room 01
Craig Richards Steve Bug Ralph Lawson
Blueprint James Ruskin Samuel Kerridge Mark Broom Makaton (live)
Craig Richards Ricardo Villalobos Margaret Dygas
Terry Francis Peter Van Hoesen Cosmin TRG Matrixxman
Craig Richards Rhadoo Daze Maxim (live) Cezar
Parachute Records Marcel Fengler CW/A (live) Sigha Ayarcana
6th Feb | Room 01
Apollonia: Dan Ghenacia Dyed Soundorom Shonky Robin Ordell
13th Feb | Room 01
Terry Francis Kobosil (live) Shifted Answer Code Request B2B Kobosil
fabric 86: Eats Everything launch Eats Everything Green Velvet Craig Richards
Terry Francis Skudge (live) Daniel Avery October
Executive Editors Thomas Frost email@example.com Jake Applebee firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Davy Reed Marketing / Events Manager Luke Sutton email@example.com Deputy Editor Anna Tehabsim
CRACK WAS MADE USING SAVAGES Adore STORMZY Standard YUCK Rubber (Mogwai remix) J.G. WILKES Jaxon DISCODROMO A come Andromeda PAS DE DEUX Cardiocleptomanie UGK Diamonds & Wood KAMAIYAH How Does It Feel
Online Editor Billy Black Junior Online Editor Sammy Jones Editorial Assistant Duncan Harrison Creative Director Jake Applebee Art Direction & Design Alfie Allen Graphic Design Yasseen Faik Marketing / Events Assistant Lucy Harding
TARQUIN MANEK Sassafras Gesundheit
OMAR SOULEYMAN Heli Yuweli (Rezzett Rerezz) GRIMES World Princess part II ADVENTURES Promise WALL Cuban Cigars GOUGE AWAY Dies AGENT ORANGE Everything Turns Grey
Staff Writer Tom Watson
YOUTH OF TODAY No More
Art Editor Augustin Macellari Fashion Henry Gorse, Charlotte James, Jackson Bowley, Barbora Komarkova, Lauren Reynolds, Terri-Ann Aubrey Smith, Hair by Joe Words Josh Baines, Denzil Schnifferman, Jazz Monroe, Steven Dawes, Thomas Frost, Robert Bates, Gunseli Yalcinkaya, Adam Corner, Emma Robertson, Isis O’Regan, Alex Niven, Rob McCallum, Tim Wilson, Emma Robertson Photography Tom Johnson, Jack Johnstone, Cian Oba-Smith, Traianos Pakioufakis, Evgeniya Manerova Illustration Toby Leigh Advertising To enquire about advertising and to request a media pack: firstname.lastname@example.org CRACK is published by Crack Industries Ltd © All rights reserved. All material in Crack magazine may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of Crack Industries Ltd. Crack Magazine and its contributors cannot accept any liability for reader discontent arising from the editorial features. Crack Magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any article or material supplied for publication or to edit this material prior to publishing. Crack magazine cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to supplied materials. The opinions expressed or recommendations given in the magazine are the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the views of Crack Industries Ltd. We accept no liability for any misprints or mistakes and no responsibility can be taken for the contents of these pages.
Davy Reed, Editor
TRAUMPRINZ There Will Be XTC
Intern Steve Mallon
Film Editor Tim Oxley Smith
It’s good to kick off the year with a bit of team spirit. Generally, you’ll find a lot of solo artists featured in the pages of Crack. It’s no problem – we’re committed to covering club-orientated music, and a lot of the best musical innovations in recent years have been created alone with laptops. But there’s still something to be said for opening up a magazine and seeing a gang you’d love to be a part of. And while we were working on this issue, I was charmed by a sense of collective charisma a little more than usual. It started in London when I met with three members of the 17-deep Atlanta group Awful Records, whose squad photos were the first thing to draw me in around a year ago. During our conversations, they were eager to shout out their friends who couldn’t make the tour, and they swore loyalty to the group even though a few major label types have tried to tempt them away in different directions. It was cute. Also uniformly dressed in black were Savages. As four ferociously talented musicians, together they become one of the best live bands on the planet, and I’m sure anyone who’s caught them on a good night will agree. For this reason, we’ve been dying to have them on the cover for ages. Then there’s Hinds – the Madrid based four piece whose debut album, in my opinion, is one of the most infectiously fun garage rock albums in years. For this issue, we styled the band for our ‘Aesthetic’ fashion feature, and in terms of capturing their good vibe on camera, I think our team nailed it. It’s a new year, so fuck it. High five a friend, call a collaborator, share a sense of solidarity with someone who could have your back by letting them know you’ve got theirs. Caring’s not creepy. Last year, there was far too much “me”, so let’s make 2016 all about “we”.
BILL CALLAHAN Drover WIKI Livin' With My Moms ft. Nasty Nigel BATU Domino Theory LOUD-E Dance Your Pants Off I THE JONES GIRLS Dance Turned Into A Romance HALL AND OATES Maneater JUSTIN BIEBER No Sense ft. Travis Scott DIONIGI West Story BIRD OF PARADISE Brothel Drummer BORAI OHM Trax SHANTI CELESTE SSS MM/KM Watching Gischt
Issue 60 | crackmagazine.net
Respect Mary-Anne Hobbs Tom Peel Jamal Raouf Senaria Raouf Ludovica Ludinatrice Reggie Yates Steph Third 18 Linden Road
O ur g uid e t o w ha t 's g o ing o n in y o ur cit y
PURE BATHING CULTURE The Lexington 27 January
OMAR-S Phonox 22 January
TOVE ST YRKE Patterns, Brighton 4 February As we all know, the main purpose of TV talent shows is to churn out interchangeable, tactically inoffensive singers so that Tesco's have something to put in their CD racks in the run up to Christmas. Occasionally though, the judges accidentally let someone interesting through, which is what happened to Tove Styrke when she placed third in Swedish Idol in 2009. Her nonchalant, hook-laden electro-pop reminds us of Lykki Li and proves that Styrke is a solid gold songwriter who belongs in proper record stores that don’t have a frozen foods section. She also belongs in stellar venues like Patterns in Brighton where you should go and see her play if you know what’s good for you.
CTM Honey Dijon, Lena Willikens, Kassem Mosse Various Venues, Berlin 29 January – 7 February Prices Vary
MASSIVE AT TACK Brixton O2 Academy 3/4 February
HE AD HIGH Phonox 15 January
Berlin’s boldly ambitious event is back, having cast its net wide for this year’s programme. As ever, CTM is uniting diverse experimental performances under one theme – this year’s 'New Geographies' concept examines today’s rapidly collapsing borders between sound and space, explored through various one-off projects and commissions. Helped in part by the expert knowledge of guest co-curator Rabih Beaini, who has released exploratory techno both as Morphosis and through his Morphine label, the programme features heavily on artists and sound cultures from less familiar localities. Far-flung artists invited include legendary Lebanese singer Abdel Karim Shaar, Tokyo’s Keiji Haino and Java metal band Senyawa as well as artists from Tunisia, Macedonia, Ethiopia and Lithuania. They join artists working with hybrid styles for an enriching display of the possibilities of sound.
JOHN RUST Corsica Studios 8 January
TIEF PRESENTS DANCE MANIA Dance Tunnel 9 January From Daft Punk, to Night Slugs, to pretty much every footwork producer on earth – the influence of Chicago ghetto house runs deep. In homage, UK DJ/producer Mr. Beatnick will play a set of raw drum textures, vulgar vocal samples and tempos pushed beyond the 140bpm mark when he supports Parris Mitchell, a key figure in the revived Dance Mania label, at Dance Tunnel. While the music of Dance Mania is not for the faint-hearted, there’s definitely a wild night to be had here.
JOSEY REBELLE Phonox 8 January SÓNAR REYK JAVIK Hudson Mohawke, Oneohtrix Point Never, Rødhåd Reykjavik, Iceland 18 – 20 February Single day 85€ / Three Day pass 127€ More intimate than its Barcelona flagship event, Sónar Reykjavik will see an audience of around 3500 people gather across its five stages. In keeping with the brand’s dedication to cutting-edge electronic music, the lineup includes the likes of Holly Herndon, Koreless, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tri Angle producer WIFE and Kiasmos alongside more club-friendly acts such as Ben UFO, Rødhåd and The Black Madonna. Combine this music policy with the serene Icelandic setting and Sónar’s prestigious reputation for audiovisual production, and you’ve got the most cultivated music festival of 2016.
RICARDO VILL ALOBOS fabric 23 January CRITICAL / BANDULU Slimzee, Sam Binga, Om Unit fabric 22 January
FUTURE O2 Academy Brixton 8 January
ANGEL HA ZE The Laundry 16 January
Conceived back in 2002 by drum’n’bass visionary Kasra, London imprint Critical has been vital to the genre for well over a decade. Kahn and Neek’s Bristol-born Bandulu label began rumbling more recently, yet their formidable entrance has seen releases like Percy reach anthem status while their commitment to dubplates means their sets remain a strikingly singular experience. Both boundary-pushing labels join forces for a one-off night at fabric, where Critical regulars Mefjus, Emperor, Foreign Concept and Hyroglifics join the Bandulu line-up of Chimpo, Commodo and Bandulu’s own Hi5Ghost and Boofy alongside emcees Flowdan, Riko Dan, Elf Kid and Killa P. Ooft.
19 EL ANOR FRIEDBERGER The Moth Club 3 February
BLOOMBERG NEW CONTEMPOR ARIES ICA Runs until 24 January JULIA HOLTER Oval Space 15 February
MARCELLUS PIT TMAN Bussey Building 22 January
When we went to see Julia Holter recently we were bowled over by the lack of signature dreaminess instilled in her set. All the awesome airiness of Have You In My Wilderness (our fifth favourite album of 2015) gave way to a dramatic rawness that left us spellbound and the audience shouting for more. All of that, and she’s got some of the best stage chat around. Just magic.
JEREMIH KOKO 21 January Make no mistake and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – it’s been Jeremih season for a while now. After the release of the hotly anticipated Late Nights: The Album, RnB’s unsung merchant of the super-hooks is touching down in the EU for a string of dates that will set your 2016 off just right. The singles he’s blessed us with thus far have been club-facing heaters with airtight production and Jeremih’s caramel-smooth vocal at the centre. After several label pushbacks and promotional misfires, 2016 is looking like the year Jeremih will finally take the crown. Catch this part of the victory lap if you can.
KHAN & NEEK fabric 22 January
SOPHIE Village Underground 21 January BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER The Black Madonna, Joy Orbison, Novelist Butlins, Bognor Regis 15-17 January Prices Vary
ABBATH Kentish Town Forum 23 January
We don’t want to discourage health consciousness, but let’s be honest, for most people the whole ‘Dry January’ thing is a doomed concept. So if you’ve got any doubts about making it through the month, then you could always save that money you were going to squander on e-cigarettes or cucumber and turnip smoothies and get yourself along to this year’s Bugged Out Weekender. This year, the holiday camp rave’s line-up includes recent Crack cover star Novelist, Mumdance, The Black Madonna, Gerd Janson, Âme, Bicep, DJ Koze, Jackmaster, DJ EZ, Julio Bashmore and spoof garage collective People Just Do Nothing. You can always make up for it in the gym when you get back.
TRUST FUND MOTH Club 29 January
TOY Village Underground 26 January
DILLY DALLY The Lexington 28 January
DIET CIG Servant Jazz Quarters 13 January JUST JACK 10TH BIRTHDAY Motion, Bristol 6 February £25
CHE ATAHS XOYO 19 January
Over the past ten years they’ve been putting together some of the best house and disco line-ups in Bristol and now they’re ready to celebrate. As always, Just Jack are pulling out all the stops for their birthday event, but this year you’ll have to be there to see the extent of it – the line-up will be kept entirely under wraps until the event. Judging by the standard of previous line-ups, boasting the likes of Moodymann and Theo Parrish, you can be certain there’ll be some big names to keep you on your feet all night. To top off ten years of mischief, the event will run from 10pm-10am, and will take place at Just Jack’s spiritual home: the sprawling Motion warehouse complex. This will be way better than whatever you did for your tenth birthday.
God, these guys sound so much like Courtney Love fronting Weezer. If that sounds absolutely ideal to you, you’d be correct – it’s fantastic. This unapologetically 90s-indebted foursome have just released their debut LP, Sore, and it’s all rage, bile and relief, channeling a story of wilful change, recuperation, and ultimately, redemption. Miss this lot on tour and you’ll be missing a chance to get it all out before 2016 really kicks in.
ART INTO SOCIET Y - SOCIET Y INTO ART ICA 19 January – 6 March £1 Day Membership In 1974, seven German artists took part in an exhibition at the ICA that sought to dissolve boundaries between artists, curators and audience, and to explore the strengthening relationship between art and politics in West Germany at the time. What followed was a living, breathing show that transformed over the course of its duration, with seminal artist Josef Beuys present in the gallery throughout, interacting with the audience and sketching out his ideas onto chalkboards scattered across the floor. On the walls were multi-media works by Klaus Staeck and K P Brehmer, along with searing political photojournalism from Michael Ruetz, among others. Fast forward to 2016 and the ICA is documenting this powerful show in an archival display. Don’t sleep on this one.
JIMMY WHISPERS Shacklewell Arms 1 February
SLUR Just so we’re clear from the offset, while we mean no disrespect to the multiple other bands called Slur out there, we’re mostly digging this profoundly pissed off three piece from the UK. Slur is made up of members of some of the country’s most hotly tipped punk bands including Detergents, No, Good Throb, Arms Race, Obstruct and The Flex and they peddle politically minded, antieverything punk that sends all gauges shooting into the red. The band have been playing gigs on the increasingly prominent UK hardcore circuit and turning heads wherever they choose to stomp and shout. They’re loud, fast and seriously aggy. Get with it.
O Control 1 Lärm / Siege sluruk.bandcamp.com
MAGIC ISL AND Canadian musician Emma Czerny used to call her mattress on the floor her ‘magic island’. Then she moved into a new building in Berlin beside a bar called Zauber Insel, which translates as the exact same phrase. Naturally it became the moniker for her dreamy bedroom pop project, which pairs glittery, saccharine melodies with dark sentiments and confessional lyrics. Intoxicated Sunset and Wasted Dawn – her first two EPs – delivered standout tracks like Baby Blu; an arrestingly personal and unshakably addictive reflection on confused love. More recently Czerny dropped Shepherd, the first single from her forthcoming debut LP Like Water. Dishing out earworm hooks with preternatural ease, Shepherd proves that Czerny knows how to make pop that’s as seductive as it is spirited and raw.
Khruangbin’s music is not wholly defined by place, but it has certainly played a huge part in their existence as a band. The Texan band, who captivate with languid, ambient guitar licks and down-tempo psychedelic wanderings, are currently operating with the Atlantic Ocean between them. With bassist Laura Lee living in London, and other members Mark Speer (guitar) and DJ (drums) based in Texas, Khruangbin’s success has arrived a time where logistics might be something of a headache. It seems Laura isn’t phased when quizzed on the subject. “We talk every day and we send each other ideas of songs and playlists. We don’t see each other all the time, so when we do see each other there is the excitement of playing together again. We feel a real freshness when we come together on stage because we don’t play all the time and I hope that comes through.” Their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You lifts surf rock tropes, along with elements of funk and soul, and melds them into expansive, blissed-out soundscapes. The music exhibits the kind of minimalism that can be found in krautrock, pivoting on a restrained tension which is held tight from the start and subtly loosened inch by inch as the tracks unfold. The spaciousness of the record is reflective of the surroundings in which it was recorded. “We’ve made and recorded everything in a barn where there is nothing,” Laura explains. “You can’t see any life other than cows for a long way. When you play in that kind of environment that’s what comes through. I think the spaciousness of the area where we are play has a huge effect on our work.” Much like its conception, Khruangbin’s hypnotic soul can lift you far away from the distractions of everyday life.
O White Gloves 1 Tame Impala / The Shadows : @khruangbin
Pennsylvania natives Joy Again operate with a smart but decidedly wide-eyed worldview. They are the kind of band whose lyrical observations and stylistic moves appear increasingly interesting the more you listen. Looking Out For You – their recent single on London imprint Lucky Number Music – embodies the band’s smart and complex sensibilities, packing them into breezy lo-fi frolicking. It looks like it might shape up to be a big year for the five-piece, and if they can hone a live show worthy of global expedition and start constructing a debut as left field and instantlycharming as their material so far, we could be looking at one of 2016’s best new exports.
O Looking Out For You 1 Mac DeMarco, Dilly Dally : facebook.com/ joyagaintheband
MOTHERS Born of a bout of restless creativity, Mothers was originally Kristine Leschper’s eye-wateringly personal solo venture, which journeyed to the pit of her startlingly self-aware subconscious and back again, enveloping all the thoughts she’s ever had on the minutiae of the universe on the way. This year, Mothers has blossomed. Now joined by multiinstrumentalist Matthew Anderegg, guitarist Drew Kirby and bassist Patrick Morales, a fleshed-out LP has quickly taken form: When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired. Gaping guitars leave room for urgent drumming and unfailingly visceral lyrics that simultaneously comfort and crush: “I hate my body”, Leschper sings on the beautiful mandolin-woven ballad Too Small For Eyes, “I love your taste”. A tonic for your wounds.
O Too Small For Eyes 1 Angel Olsen, American Football : nestingbehavior.com
O Shepherd 1 Kate Bush / Sean Nicholas Savage : soundcloud.com/ magicsparkle
O Track 1 File Next To : Website
Savages Love is the Answer The night before we meet, Savages singer Jehnny Beth, on stage at the Dome in North London, takes an unexpected step. During a furiously loud passage of early single Hit Me, she removes her shoes, approaches the stage’s edge, and then – after dangling a foot precariously over crowd members’ heads – continues walking. Suddenly fans pack tight together, reaching up to clasp her shins. Together, they bear her forward until she’s suspended mid-crowd, in silhouette. Then, instead of resuming vocals, Beth thrusts both fists skyward, like a triumphant gladiator. As the band thunders ahead, we watch her lips quiver, her fists tremble, her shadowy features flicker with ecstasy. She looks like a captive animal returned to the wild, electrified with power and lust.
Words: Jazz Monroe Photography: Tom Johnson Photography Assistant: Jackson Bowley Styling: Charlotte James Styling Assistants: Barbora Komarkova and Rita Sarpong Opposite Page Ayse: Sweater by McQ Alexander McQueen Fay: T-shirt and Coat by McQ Alexander McQueen Jehnny: Jacket by McQueen Alexander McQueen
The next evening, on the mezzanine of an East London studio strewn with Vice back issues, Beth and guitarist Gemma Thompson perch on tiny wooden chairs painted yellow and pink, like discards from a lifesize doll’s house. They’re here to discuss the new Savages album Adore Life, and they’ve dressed for the occasion – as they do for every occasion – in head-to-toe black. When I join them, Thompson is warming her
hands with a peppermint brew. Beth sips “ninja tea”, better known as boiled water. “For my voice,” she explains, smiling. When I last interviewed the pair, around the release of debut LP Silence Yourself, they had the Savages press routine down pat. Thompson, a former long-distance runner and aviation student, exuded a deliberate patience, filling her bandmate’s gaps with brief, measured summaries. Beth, who at one point recalled aspiring to become the Ziggy Stardust of French jazz, and later denounced modern indie as a “phoney institution”, blazed through screeds on social, sexual and psychological emancipation. Her eloquent fervour was as much part of Savages as their music. In the manifesto that accompanied Silence Yourself, the band demanded we take on our oppressors and eradicate their tools of distraction from our tiny, disappointing lives. So intoxicating was the rhetoric that nobody bothered to identify those oppressors, or wonder what exactly they’d distracted us from. For Savages, rallying our fury was imperative; how to use it, they’d consider at a later date. That date is 22 January, when the London four-piece will release Adore Life. To herald it, they’ve devised a new, somewhat less incendiary interview style. Asked, at various points, if the band has redirected its cause, suffered in the industry, or affected her own wellbeing, Beth issues gentle denials while peering out of honest, sprung-wide eyes, as if inviting me to climb in and search for the answer myself. Thompson, for her part, is now using casual PRisms like “natural progression” and “learning process”. Where the debut’s manifesto waxed philosophical (“Perhaps having deconstructed everything,” it read, “we should be thinking about putting everything back together”) its follow-up looks for practical solutions. That record dealt with concepts - empowerment, distraction, sexual submissiveness; on the follow-up, social
24 ills get personal remedies. How to conquer distraction, they propose, is a question of individual composure. Love, in many shades, is the answer. On Evil, about the French conservatives who fought same-sex marriage, love as liberal compassion is the answer; on I Need Something New, love via emancipatory fucking in corridors is the answer. On The Answer, the band’s allpistons-firing comeback single, “love is the answer” is repeated as a mantra, and that statement is at once pithier, more vulnerable and bolder than anything on the debut. If Adore Life distills Silence Yourself’s statement, it also refines Savages as a concept. The band, which existed in Thompson’s imagination long before it had a second member, is as much an idea as a body of work. Staying true to that vision, Thompson says, is crucial. “When I was first in London, there was this dark energy that was on the verge of being violent,” she remembers of mid oughts bands like Selfish Cunt, who helmed a cesspit of musical anarchy in the capital. “You needed these violent bursts that would push people into questioning what they were doing, and what was the point of things.” Adore Life began to crystallise in late 2013, when Beth, worn down by work and drink, had just scrapped part of a tour and subsequently quit booze. Around Christmas that year, she stumbled upon a passage of Jazz Cleopatra, the biography of precivil rights black cabaret dancer Josephine
Baker. It read, "She was a revelation of possibilities in human nature they hadn't suspected. The animal inside of every human being wasn't dark, tormented, savage. It was good natured, lively, sexy rather than sensual, above all, funny." The message, Beth understood, was that greatness could be born of affection. For a band of dark, tormented savages at low ebb, that idea might’ve threatened their very core. Instead, they returned with renewed intensity. In May, they released the single Fuckers, an instant, exuberant live staple; it now closes their sets, then slams the door shut. “We can fight until we’re dead/Don’t let them walk upon your head/ And we can drive away from town/Don’t let the fuckers get you down,” goes one verse, preceding a cathartic scree that suggests, whoever the titular fuckers are, or whatever they’re fucking, they’d be ill-advised to persist. Perhaps to prove a point, Savages’ next move would be the most brilliant, and least business-savvy, of their existence. Bo Ningen, the longhaired Japanese psych-rock band, were among the contemporary inspirations for Thompson to form Savages in 2011. On Words to the Blind, a 37-minute “battle” piece, they became collaborators. Performed eye-toeye on a U-shaped stage for the project’s two performances, the shows saw the bands erect shattering, competing sonic monoliths. Drums flailed, basslines panicked and guitars duelled, thudded, slammed, screeched, pirouetted, warbled and generally conspired to invoke hallucinatory visions of Jupiter being swallowed by the sun. During the intro, before the storm hits, Jehnny Beth whispers an eerily apposite monologue in French. In the speech, taken from the 1981 play Am Ziel by Austrian iconoclast Thomas Bernhard, a grandmother chastises a young playwright and his generation for skirting rebellious ideas. But
“We’re no for death, it happens it on”
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ot really prepared , but we all know s. It’s nice to take ” - Fay Milton
Top by McQ Alexander McQueen
80s, of industrial collapse, a collapse on the left,” he said. “What people are yearning for now is some kind of romantic visions of something beyond our present condition, and that would be good music.”
Jacket by McQ Alexander McQueen
her righteous stance, so scornful of our wilting political urgency, has a catch. “She’s nostalgic, as well, about her own past,” Beth explains. It’s an interesting point: is it rebellious, or just reactionary, to reject the here-and-now by reviving the revolutionary ideals of your recent ancestors? Speaking in 2013 to the New Statesman, cult filmmaker Adam Curtis made the greatest challenge to Savages’ indie-rock supremacy, in an interview concerning “static culture”. The BBC archivist, famed for documentaries like Century of the Self, which weaves culture-spanning subplots into spectacular narrative arcs, condemned the band not as dilettantes or poseurs – their live shows, he conceded, are “extremely powerful” – but, with their post-punk indebted sound, a symptom of a generation lacking utopian vision. Simon Reynolds, the venerable journalist, approvingly blogged the New Statesman piece, likening Curtis’ static culture theory to themes explored in his book Retromania. Authentically rebellious music, they argued, requires innovation: a new sonic vision representing a radical shift towards a better world. At an aesthetic level, Curtis’ gripe was that Savages lacked romance. “Post-punk was specifically anti-romantic at its time because it was very much of the mood of the early
But Adore Life, if you’ll allow yourself to submit to its visceral impact, is good music. Perhaps not the jolting, shock-ofthe-new overhaul Savages’ critics want, but something considered and volatile and affecting. “You create a thing because you need it,” says Beth. “On this record, it was a sense of warmth. A sense of communication, a sense of urgency, of wanting to feel alive. Very intensely. It’s a feeling you have when you’re grateful for what you have.” Though it’s never directly addressed, the spectre of death looms large on Adore Life. In Paris this year, while recording vocals for the record, the band would sometimes visit the nearby Père Lachaise Cemetery, home to Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde and Edith Piaf, among others. “I always feel really happy in a cemetery,” drummer Fay Milton tells me, sitting on the yellow seat next to bassist Ayse Hassan, after Thompson and Beth wander downstairs. “Because although you’re not really surrounded by death – what’s in the grave isn’t death, that’s just remains – you have all the headstones, which are like little biographies, and you can go and imagine what each life was. It’s a kind of a happy sadness.”
Adore Life, then: A modern fuck-you to death, fear, cowardice? The blueprint for an inverted punk orthodoxy, in which our mortality is harnessed, not spat upon? Beth, who dedicated early renditions of album highlight Adore to Charlie Hebdo, and, tragically, lost acquaintances of her own in the Bataclan terror attack, sees the concept of death in broader strokes. “Without invoking death, you can find moments in your life where you really need to change,” she reasons. “As you grow up, you jump into different selves. And there’s a metamorphosis, leading you to realise how important it is. That’s what adoring life is.”
“On th i s r a sense ecor o f of com war m u of urge nica n c y , of feel ali ve’ - Jeh T-shirt and Coat by McQ Alexander McQueen
“I find a lot of humour in death,” adds Hassan, whose morbid attraction of choice at Père Lachaise was the Wizard of Oz dog, Toto. “In Mexico we played Day of the Dead festival, and I really liked the fact you celebrate the memory and the life of someone. Make a loss that’s sad or tragic into something positive. In the UK, there’s a set way of mourning, and it tends to be quite dark and sad.” “Formulaic,” concurs Milton. “We’re not really prepared for death. We all know it happens, but we all pretend it’s not going to happen. It’s quite nice to take it on.”
rd, we c r e rmth. A ated s e nse ation, a sense wantin g t hnny B o eth “Adore Life is a statement of your own,” she concludes, with a quiet smile. “That, in itself, raises a question: ‘do you adore life?’ And that’s enough.” Adore Life is released 22 January via Matador
Awful Records: the steady rise of Atlanta’s DIY rap vampires
Photography: Cian Oba-Smith Words: Davy Reed
“They don’t have no bacon or no shit?” KeithCharles Spacebar squints at the room service menu. “What is all this shit?”
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We’re holed up in an East London hotel room on a dreary winter afternoon. Father – de facto leader of Awful Records – hospitably offers everyone a glass of red wine and instructs Keith to “just order the damn food.” Keith’s curled up in his bed alongside fellow Awful member Abra, both of whom are drying off after being soaked with cold rain during our impromptu photo shoot. Uniformly dressed in black, they bicker and joke around like tight friends – to the extent that it can be tricky to extract a straight-faced answer from them. But that’s all part of Awful’s appeal. The trio in front of me makes up less than a fifth of Awful Records. The collective also includes rappers, singers, producers and general multitaskers such as Slug Christ, RichPoSlim, Lord Narf, Playboi Carti, Alexandria, “rhythm and creep” experimentalist Gahm, Toronto artist (and sole non-Atlanta based member) Tommy Genesis and Ethereal, who Father describes as “the centre-piece to the web” and whose name generally seems to be held in high regard. Although iLoveMakonnen – ATL’s shroomed-out, hit-making sing-rap eccentric – isn’t a
member, he’s a frequent collaborator and a kindred spirit.
industry-tailored CMJ festival, 2014 was the year Awful truly broke through.
At the time of writing, there are 17 members of Awful Records. While separate recordings are inevitable and out-of-town studios are now available to them, the members are constantly featured on each other’s releases, and congregations still happen whenever possible. So what are the right conditions for a productive Awful recording session?
With such a prolific output, a degree of commitment was required if you were to follow the Awful story over the last couple of years. True to the anarchic nature of a DIY operation, the group’s Soundcloud page is a constant stream of full lengths, EPs, loose tracks and in-house remixes, with the member’s releases often clashing in the same week. “There’s no schedule,” Father shrugs. “It’s whenever you’re done. Like I heard you’re not supposed to drop anything in December because most publications are either off work or are still concentrated on their end of year lists. But I don’t give a fuck, it’s not for them, it’s for the fans.”
“Needs to be dark,” Keith says, his head popping back out from under the covers. “And hot.” “Druggy,” Abra laughs. “As long as we’re all together in one spot, and there’s a little less sunlight out and we’re drinking, or smoking, or...” Keith’s voice croaks a little. “Drinking.” Awful Records began with the feedback loop of inspiration between KeithCharles Spacebar, Father and Ethereal (who wasn’t counted as an actual Awful member until 2014) in 2011, and by the following year the group was official. But with the viral success of Father’s Makonnen-assisted anthem Look At Wrist and the crew’s buzzworthy appearance at New York’s
With this paradox of youthful chaos and self-autonomy, Awful Records have drawn many comparisons to Odd Future in their earlier era, and although I’m sure they’d probably wince a little at the suggestion, there’s maybe more to the reference than just lazy journalistic convenience. For one, there are certain elements of a signature Awful beat – lo-fi minimalism, spaced-out synths – that could be distantly related to some of Tyler and Leftbrain’s earlier productions. Then there’s also the encouragement of eccentricity and,
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“The relationships in Awful aren’t forced. We’re family, and we act like family”
for some members, the embrace of the taboo emotional palette of depression and suicidal thought. Having been the frontman of the extreme metal band An Isle Ate Her, it’s no wonder Awful’s self-proclaimed “based goth” Slug Christ feels the most comfortable in this darker territory. When I bring up Slug in conversation, Keith and Father fondly reminisce on seeing him perform at a Halloween party. “He crawled over the guitarist’s back, and he was still going off on the mic,” Father remembers. “And then he just collapsed in the corner of the room. He expelled demons, and then lay in a foetal position for a very long time. That was my introduction to him.” Like Slug, Abra became socially acquainted with the Awful Records members via Atlanta’s music scene before officially joining. Under the guidance of her highly religious parents, she’d previously steered away from secular music during her younger years. But with a desire to join in with the other kids around her by soaking up Atlanta’s rich music culture (as Christian missionaries, her parents had moved from New York to London before settling in Altanta when she was a child), she later found herself covering hip-hop songs with her guitar and casually uploading the recordings to YouTube. Following Father’s encouragement, Abra would eventually join Awful in 2014 as the group’s ‘Darkwave Duchess’, creating a distinctive style of melodic, icy synth-pop for her RnB-orientated vocals. With her self-deprecating, humorous social media
presence (“pull up to the club like what up i have social anxiety i want to go back home”) and her constant online interaction with her fans, she presents herself as a relatable, down to earth artist. “Ask me a question on Tumblr, and I’ll try and be honest I can. It builds a dynamic,” she says. “It’s really important for me to make people feel like they can do this stuff like this too, and produce stuff that they want to. Because I spent a lot of time having people tell me I couldn’t produce.” With last year’s Who’s Gonna Get Fucked First? being among the most popular Awful releases to date, Father remains in his leadership position. As its title and artwork promised, the LP’s lyrics portrayed dimly-lit, drug-fuelled sexual decadence with devious humour. With his voice rarely simmering above a relaxed drawl, Father’s hedonistic horndog persona has been the defining characteristic of his music. “I’ve always liked wilder shit,” he explains, looking surprisingly shy when the subject is raised. “[But] I have been learning to articulate myself – the same raunchiness, but more sensual and less in your face.” Although it would probably be missing the point to moralise Father’s unfiltered filth, Who’s Gonna... had a few lyrics which encouraged critics to discuss Awful’s perceived sex-positive attitude (“She ain’t got no panties on, on the dancefloor / I say she’s sexually liberated, you call her ass a hoe?!” RichPoSlim laments during his guest verse on BET Uncut). “I’m not really concentrated on giving out a positive message,” Father insists. “Somebody said to me on Tumblr one day like “Oh my god,
you talk about this, that and the other, and you know you’re such an influencer on kids – you shouldn’t be doing that. And I’m like ‘I didn’t put the shit to your lips and make you fucking smoke it.’ That’s a saying. Like, I’m not Uncle Ben tellin’...” Keith interjects – “‘I didn’t put the shit to your lips and make you fucking smoke it.’ That’s a saying?!” Father rolls his eyes, and everyone in the room laughs. Later that evening, Father, Abra and KeithCharles Spacebar play a show at London’s Village Underground as part of Clock Strikes 13 – an events series which primarily showcased leftfield and progressive areas of electronic dance music. Keith precedes a brief cluster of songs with a DJ set, with Playboi Carti’s minor viral hit Broke Boi sounding galvanised by the venue’s massive soundsystem. Abra, who has previously struggled with performance anxiety, throws herself into her songs. “This is for you guys at the back not fucking with me, I see you staring across the room,” she yells, before launching into her single Roses XOXO. Arriving onstage to the unmistakable bassline of Wrist, Father proceeds to command a turnt up, but refreshingly unaggressive crowd with his effortless charisma. The show is well-attended, but it seems far from sold out. But even if Awful Records aren’t pulling in huge numbers, the industry has definitely been watching. A fortnight later, Father tweets the news that Abra and Playboi Carti are “getting ready” to sign with major labels. As the members of Awful Records’ careers
begin to accelerate at different speeds, you’d imagine tension levels are beginning to mount among its members. But, speaking to Abra over the phone around a month later, she argues that it’s creative chemistry that brought the crew together rather than the hope of financial gain, and she describes a sense of loyalty that bounds them together. “There’s a lot of talented people in Atlanta and – like, there’s really no other way to say it – they just suck as people,” she explains. “We call them ‘Glo parasites’, they’ll never invest in anybody unless that person is already poppin’. Father could put [those people] on, but he won’t. The relationships in Awful aren’t forced. We’re family, and we act like family.” “Father has invested a lot into us and hasn’t asked for anything back, and I think we’re all under the impression that we owe him and we owe each other the same risk he’s taken on us,” she says, with a sense of determination in her voice. “We’ve all gone into this with pure intentions. We have a lot of integrity for our art. And I think that will take us very far.” soundcloud.com/awfulrecords
Disco Divergence: The Sonic Adventures of Prins Thomas
Words: Rob McCallum Photography: Jack Johnstone
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a bunch of DJs so you have to be more direct. You only end up giving people a little taste of what you’ve got.”
Prins Thomas has found happiness. But it isn’t where he's currently sat on the floor of his studio in downtown Oslo. He’s leafing through a stack of records amongst the 20,000 that he estimates owning. Something of a hub for electronic music in Norway, he shares the space with long-term collaborator Lindstrøm, Olsen label-head Todd Terje and Andre Brattan. Their four rooms are separated on the same floor, packed with a tonne of digital and analogue equipment as well as lots – and lots – of records. The DJ and producer, real name Thomas Moen Hermansen, has just flown in from Amsterdam where he played at Closure in the heart of the city. He’s taking a pit stop to pick up a few records before a show at Jaeger in his hometown. “Despite having all of these I do think there is such a thing as too many records,” he says. “And I’m way beyond that. “The funny thing is right now I’m actually a bit overwhelmed,” he explains as he gazes across the records in front of him. “I wouldn’t be able to find the time to listen all of these, even if I decided just to do that for the rest of my life. So in a way, records basically come here to die.” It’s impossible to write about Hermansen without mentioning the tag that has followed him for a decade – cosmic
disco. Few artists have stood at the fore of an electronic music scene they helped shape with such a singular vision as Hermansen. Since their eponymous album Prins Thomas & Lindstrøm in 2005, the pair, along with Terje, have been at the fore of the Norwegian sound that has come to embody electronic music in the country for so long. And through his Full Pupp imprint, Hermansen has released a series of artists at the centre of that scene. “Norwegian nightlife had a good run in the late nineties when there was a ton of clubs. But everybody was DJing and not spending time building something bigger,” he explains. “With the label I was trying to change that by putting out records so everybody was helping each other get better. It was about making the scene stronger.” The night before our conversation, Hermansen played an all-night set at a Full Pupp party in Amsterdam, whereas tonight finds him back-to-back with his long-term friend and label-mate, Øyvind Morken – who Hermansen describes as one of the best producers in Norway at present. “It’s more fun to play all-night and build something out of it instead of just playing killers for two hours,” he explains. “If I start when the doors open it means I can set the tone with some strange or ambient records. Most promoters book
What an all-night set offers Hermansen is clearly different to playing back-to-back. “I’m packing my bag a little differently for tonight, which is more about playing killer after killer,” he says. “I’ve had some really shit experiences playing records with someone that I don’t know, but Norwegian licencing laws means there is little time for a warm up, so we’ll have to go straight for the jugular.” Despite the fact that his current recording name only surfaced around 2003, 40-year-old Hermansen has been DJing since he was just 10 and, as a producer, collaboration has always been at the heart of his work. With Lindstrøm – whom he reportedly met after playing Wham’s Club Tropicana in Oslo where the Feedelity head was watching him during the 90s – Hermansen put out three albums between 2005 and 2009. The records around him in his studio are reflective of the scene the pair subsequently built along with Terje. Drawing from freeform jazz structures, dub, elements of krautrock, psychedelic rock and a myriad of other sounds, their sound tests the boundaries of electronic music. A continuation of this openminded ethos, last year Hermansen released his Paradise Goulash compilation, an eclectic homage to famous New York club Paradise Garage.
“When I did the mix I wanted to put a lot of interesting music on it,” he explains. “But I still had a listener in mind. I wanted it to be something that people can put on for a long-drive but then also play before they go to a party.” It features artists as diverse as Sun Araw, Actress, Kurt Vile, Pev and A SplitSecond, and demonstrates the influences that have lead to Hermansen being referred to musically as a ‘spaceman’ so many times in the past. “I really like putting music together that might feel out of place if you don’t mix it,” he explains. “Sneaking in older tracks with new stuff and blending it all together.” It’s this diverse interest in sound that best explains Hermansen’s new record, Principe Del Norte. On it he’s pretty much entirely packed away the drum machines, which strips back the disco and brings his cosmic element to the fore. It’s not until penultimate track G that a discernable kick drum is present, and this allows the generative side of Hermansen’s sound to breathe.
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“My plan was to do something that I hadn’t done as a full album before. I got a record by Joel Brindefalk called Doobedoo Dub’e’dope and it really reminded me of a John Peel Session by The Orb. I posted a recommendation on Instagram and Joakim, who runs Smalltown Supersound, got in touch to say I should make a record like it. So I gave it a shot.” The result is something like you might expect Brian Eno or Steve Reich to sound like had they grown up on a heady diet of The Orb and The KLF as opposed to Roxy Music and classical composition. “Everybody should be a fan of Brian Eno,” Hermansen laughs. “But if my music sounds like him it’s just a coincidence. I guess if you use a palette with repeating synths, arpeggios, reverb, echo and a big delay, then obviously it’s going to end up sounding like Eno.”
Many of the instruments on the album sound organic, with guitar loops exuding warmth whilst repeating and echoing into infinity. As they do, it sounds as if Principe Del Norte is beamed in from the outer reaches of space. “Repetition is my thing,” Hermansen explains. “And if you repeat it long enough then eventually it gets quite spacey I guess.”
“I can’t get rid of the cosmic disco thing; it’s like an evil spell. But I’m trying hard as hell”
The breadth of sound on the record is immense too. It starts with music that could slot neatly onto a Mark McGuire record and moves slowly through to the sublime slice of warm-up techno at its close. “I’m trying to find new ways of expressing ideas I have with music. And this is as spacey as I can get at the moment,” he says. “I’m stretching further and further so hopefully I’ll reach orbit someday.”
This constant desire to express new ideas is represented by the launch of his techno label Rett I Fletta last year, with Hermansen describing the music he pushes through the imprint as primitive. “It’s not necessarily what other people would describe as techno, but it’s my idea of what it is,” he explains. “Before everybody was walking in the same footsteps but now there is so much diversity here. It’s more vibrant than ever. So there are people that are half my age making really conceptual music. “No matter what I do it seems I can’t get rid of the cosmic disco thing though. It’s like an evil spell. But I’m trying hard as hell,” he laughs. “Really I’m just pleased that I can continue to make music, put it out around the world and that people still want to listen to it. For me that’s happiness.” Principe Del Norte is released 19 February via Smalltown Supersound
Produced exclusively for Crack by Roberto Rosolin. www.plusyes.com
: s t in o P g n r i e n l r l i u T iel M Dan
ch to u m too s ’ e need r e I h d t . An ute, t u M o ed" h b g t a i n e c l i W l " stalg self cha o n be my p e e to k
For over 35 years, Daniel Miller’s Mute Records has remained a pacesetter for independent labels. Preluding in 1978 as a humble means of distribution for his synth rattled solo project, The Normal, it wasn’t until Miller was introduced to Fad Gadget that the idea of Mute as a fully-fledged label was conceived. Since then, Miller has been the man behind some of the most important releases of the past three decades from the likes of Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Moby, Liars, and Arca to name a few. But has the business of label autonomy been an easy path to tread? With Mute’s uninterrupted prosperity and Miller’s impending DJ slot at Bloc, the label boss tells us exactly how he has remained immune from failure. 1960s: Guildford Art School, Ron Geesin and discovering tape manipulation I was obsessed by music but was and still am a terrible musician. I found it very hard to express my ideas through instruments. So Guildford Art School gave me room to experiment. It had a little sound studio with three stereo tape recorders where I learnt how to loop sound. One guest teacher was the poet Ron Geesin. He introduced me to the EMS Synthi A synthesiser. Despite the sounds being so primitive, it was really inspiring. At the time, I had heard of electronic music but was very underwhelmed by a lot of it. The
possibilities seemed endless but no one was exploring them. When I heard Switched-On Bach, I was disappointed by its misspent electronic scope. At the same time I was hearing acts like Amon Düül for the first time. They expressed such strange ideas. Later, I discovered Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk and beyond. It was so complex yet somehow sounded like people just making noise. It was very punk before punk. Very DIY. 1978: Meeting Frank Tovey and establishing Mute Records I never intended to start a label. I just wanted to put out my single, Warm Leatherette, from my solo project The Normal, purely to have the experience of releasing a record. I expected it would either be ignored or hated so I would just go back to figuring out what to do with the rest of my life. But people liked it. I wrote my address on the sleeve of the record and started receiving demos. But I still didn’t feel like I had an urge to start a label. Then I met Frank Tovey. We were introduced by Edwin Pouncey, a cartoonist for Sounds magazine. Frank was living in Edwin’s flat, recording Fad Gadget demos in his cupboard. We shared the same sense of humour, same vision and the same love for experimental music. Fad Gadget was really the starting point for Mute as a proper label as opposed to a space to release my own music.
1980s: Signing Depeche Mode Nothing really prepared us for Depeche Mode’s success. There were a lot of kneejerk reactions that had to be made when signing them. They supported Fad Gadget at the Bridge and were so young. Within a few months of signing they had their first hit single. The label then went from small distributions to international recognition. Thankfully, I was lucky enough meet people who would help me deal with the transition. When I first started working with Depeche, Mute was just myself and one other person. I didn’t know anything about the business of music other than how to press records. A year on and Depeche had released their first album. It was a worldwide hit and we had to quickly learn how to organise international deals and collaborate with publicists. It was all very new but somehow we pulled it off. Mid 90s to 2000s: Selling to EMI and the Britpop fallout Britpop wasn’t a great time for Mute because the movement was ubiquitous. New Labour was also on the rise and it all felt very compromised and watered down. Everything seemed incredibly boring. By 2002, we sold Mute to EMI. It wasn’t really a controversial move as we were fairly autonomous with the major’s workings. The problems with the deal were really their financial difficulties. They also had a
very different philosophy. Even though they respected the arrangements I had in terms of A&R sovereignty, it became difficult to release the records I wanted to release. Nothing worked with how the EMI machine worked. So in 2010 we took the label back; this time with a fully-fledged team. What remained was that feeling of independence. It’s part of our DNA. It’s something that EMI couldn’t offer but couldn’t take away either. Present day: DJing and the future of Mute Nostalgia is good but not in terms of running the label. With Mute, there’s too much to be nostalgic about. And I need to keep myself challenged. That’s a fundamental reason why I DJ techno. Electronic music has become universal but with techno, you have to be on form. Most of the audience are likely to be DJs themselves so there’s no room to hide. But I embrace that. I need to be challenged. That’s why I continue with Mute. Our artists have voices either literally or musically. They push boundaries. The world doesn’t need another independent label unless they’re doing something different. Mute offers that difference and keeps my mind as open as possible. Daniel Miller appears at Bloc, which takes place 11-13 March at Butlins Resort Minehead
NEW ALBUM OUT NOW DIY
Q MAGA ZINE E VENING STAN DA R D
S UNDAY TIMES
“ O N E O F B R I TA I N ’S B I G G E S T INDIE SUCCESS STORIES ” NME
The debut album by Nicolas Godin of AIR OUT NOW
NEW ALBUM OUT NOW INCLUDES LEAN ON (feat. MØ & DJ Snake) POWERFUL (feat. Ellie Goulding & Tarrus Riley) & 5 NEW TRACKS INCLUDING LIGHT IT UP Remix (feat. Nyla & Fuse ODG)
CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS
With PAN’s discography for inspiration, Bill Kouligas creates some of the underground’s most engrossing artwork Words: Steven Dawes Photography: Traianos Pakioufakis
Documenting emerging scenes and sounds as they take shape, the prolific record label PAN maps out parallel themes in conceptual art, underground dance, and experimental music. Since its inception, PAN has been held in high regard for the fearless music it releases and the community of producers it has helped forge. Just as essential is the way in which this music is presented. PAN releases often have a dreamlike or surreal quality to them, from the early success of Lee Gamble’s reinterpretation of jungle, Diversions 1994-1996, to more recently the futuristic darkness of M.E.S.H.’s Piteous Gate, or the quivering choral fragility of Visionist’s Safe. The label’s artwork expands on this feeling; the visual output contributes extra depth to unplaceable sounds. While PAN is celebrated for its diverse and wide-ranging musical output, it’s Bill Kouligas’s approach to artwork that ties everything together. Working as a graphic designer in London before moving to Berlin in 2008, Kouligas collaborated on the initial artistic direction with visual artist Kathryn Politis. PAN began with a sharply focused aesthetic, and together they constructed the backbone of its appearance – stark, graphic lines screen-printed on clear PVC sleeves, housing an inner sleeve baring photography or artwork. Playing with the component parts that make up a physical record release and reimagining them gave PAN a uniquely modular aesthetic. The concept of collage, that these components could be rearranged and reorganised through layering and (re)arrangement, and new and unique patterns constructed – in turn
reflecting the acutely experimental nature of PAN’s releases – helped to solidify the notion that the artwork binds the label’s output together. When we make contact with him after a few weeks of abandoned meetings – due to his many project commitments and a short US tour – Kouligas is keen from the outset to keep our discussion present in time and futuristic in scope. So while you could argue that a shift has been visible in the recent move away from the style he created with Politis, Kouligas states that the label has always been evolving; it’s an “ever changing platform of ideas” that has grown organically from the humble beginnings of PAN 1 – a release by his own musical project Family Battle Snake. And of course there are more practical reasons. As the label grew from a few hundred copies per release to “thousands and thousands”, it became impossible to screen-print the PVC sleeves by hand any longer. Initially, Kouligas had treated the releases as art editions – individual, unique and produced in small amounts. While the first 10 records featured found photography from “personal research and collections”, the label soon reached out to photographers, visual artists and often the musicians themselves. Many of the musicians came from visual art backgrounds, or continued to be active in those fields (Steven Warwick, aka Heatsick, creates, performs and exhibits visual work extensively alongside the wonked-out long-form Casio jams he produces for the label). Other collaborators who have worked alongside Kouligas include revered
“I’m trying to expand on the idea of what a designer does”
anti-art activist Henry Flynt, photographer (and Stereolab drummer) Joe Dilworth and designer Traianos Pakioufakis. As the approach on which the label made its name is a chapter now closed, the current style returns to more traditional full-colour card sleeves. The imagery for Visionist’s recent album Safe, photographed and digitally manipulated by Daniel Sannwald, uses the newer canvas to explore the Uncanny Valley, encasing Visionist’s face in a hyperreal amorphous barrier that creates a strong audio-visual link to the musical concepts. Taking a more graphic, though equally stark approach is visual artist Louis Reith’s artwork for Afrikan Science’s Circuitous. Mapping his signature abstractions and Kouligas’s cyrillic-referencing typography to a heady black and gold colour palette amplifies the afro-futuristic, inter/outernational sound of the album. Albeit exceptional and striking in their strange beauty and their weird distortions of the banal, these too are temporary. “Being a designer, I’m trying to expand on the idea of what a designer does and what
it means,” Kouligas explains. His restless and voracious desire to push forward, to remain at the vanguard and to keep everyone on their toes while releasing art and music designed to whip them from out from under, means that a deep dive into the depths of the web is the next logical step. The week our conversation takes place is when the first piece of that future puzzle is released. In late 2015, PAN revealed an audio-visual work by the composer and artist ADR, which comprised a limited edition SD card, live performance, and a playable video game-like environment hosted through the label’s new Deli Near platform. Created by Berlin-based artist and programmer Harm van den Dorpel, Kouligas describes Deli Near as “a publishing tool and online environment for artists to host work endlessly”. Based on a social network, the site provides artists that release on the label with “more longevity and creative freedom” than that currently offered by standard digital and physical release models. These models, where the process ends when the record is released into the public
sphere, seem to present boundaries to Kouligas that can be traversed. By providing a platform where artists’ work can “endlessly develop and evolve over time”, it begins to question what constitutes a release in and of itself. While records will continue to be a part of PAN’s future, they won’t be “the main focus”, rather becoming a “component to a greater work that will be placed online”. Essentially what this boils down to is the ability to offer PAN and its artists considerably more freedom regarding the creation and dissemination of artwork than the two sides of a record sleeve currently allow. “It was inevitable to try and create a ground for all these interests to be more well placed,” Kouligas says, “and to create links between all these things that we’re fascinated with on a daily basis.” It’s this free-flowing narrative that seems essential to PAN, especially in its present form, and an approach that Kouligas believes in strongly. “We give and take constantly,” he explains, “it’s an exchange of ideas. It’s very important to me.” There is an argument that a lot of extreme electronic music is alienating, and cathartic only for those involved in its creation, but Kouligas
wants to present it as exclusive and interactive, “to let people in and have them make their own narrative out of it.” It’s clear that Kouligas intends to do this music thing indefinitely - it’s what he knows, where he comes from, and where he wants to be. For now, the future seems to rest on the infinite possibilities offered by the Deli Near platform, and what that means for the artistic expression of the label and the artists that orbit within it. Artistically, the future of PAN is uncertain, even if the survival of the label isn’t. Explore the latest from PAN at delinear.info
b e l la u nion 2 01 5
I Love You, Honeybear
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure
Thank Your Lucky Stars
Mercur y Rev
Lanterns On The Lake
Perpetual Motion People
The Light In You
Emmy The Great
Life of Pause
Father John Misty
available at bellaunion.com
Photography: Henry Gorse Assistant Photographer: Jackson Bowley Stylist: Charlotte James Assistant Stylist: Barbora Komarkova Make Up: Lauren Reynolds using Mac Make up Assistant: Terri-Ann Aubrey Smith Hair: Hair by Joel using Bumble and Bumble Words: Isis O’Regan
Carlotta Jewellery: Kirsty Ward Jacket: Versace from NOTHING SPECIAL T-shirt from Urban Outfitters Jeans: Joyrich Ana Jewellery: Kirsty Ward Jacket from Rokit Top: Cooperative from Urban Outfitters
Ana Jumper: Moschino from NOTHING SPECIAL Trousers: Alexander McQueen from NOTHING SPECIAL
Ade Jacket: ZDDZ Top: Sadie Williams
Ade Jumper: ZDDZ Jeans: Vivienne Westwood from NOTHING SPECIAL
This is the giggling demand from Hinds as they pile into hair and make-up. The garage rock four piece are renowned for their energetic on-stage presence, and it soon becomes clear that these playful personas are no act, with excitement exuding from Ana, Carlotta, Amber and Ade as they spy the wardrobe selection for our shoot. With a casual style that often sees them wear oversized vintage clothes, the band’s look is an extension of their carefree charisma. That said, as four young women in a male-dominated scene, they have encountered a considerable amount of negative attitudes online. “Everyone is watching what we are doing, watching how short our skirts are,” says guitarist and vocalist Ana Garcia Perrote. “But then a dude can take his dick out and it can be the most punk thing ever and everyone will love it. But if you see a little bit of shoulder or a little bit of bra, people will say ‘of course they’re getting big.’”
Carlotta T-shirt: MISBHV Top: ZDDZ
“We want rock ‘n’ roll in our hair!”
Amber Jumper: James Long Carlotta Jumper: James Long Ana Jacket: Hide Top: Pleats Please Issey Miyake
Amber Jumper: ZDDZ
Page 49 Ana Jumper: Moschino from NOTHING SPECIAL Trousers: Alexander McQueen from NOTHING SPECIAL Ade Jumper: ZDDZ Amber Jumper: ZDDZ Trousers: Life's a Beach
During our time in London with the band, we notice that the underlying supportive girl gang mentality that makes Hinds so magnetic is represented via an unlikely token – their lipstick. Lead vocalist and guitarist Carlotta Cosials can’t wait to talk about about the variety of MAC they wear from matte to shimmer, and each member has their own signature red lipstick. Though they share clothing like family, lipstick is never swapped. As the girls muck about on set dressed in a combination of James Long, zddz, Liam Hodges, American Apparel and various pieces from Urban Outfitters, they tell me that they’re often sartorially influenced by bands they see and hang out with (including their good friends, The Parrots) – but despite their love for clothes, they want to place the band’s focus squarely on the music. “I think it defines us, not being radical in what we wear,” Cosials explains. “It’s important because it’s not important.” Powered by optimism, glorious chaos and above all, female friendship, the band have decided on a simple ethos to counter the slurs and whispers – and it begins with a loud “fuck them!” Leave Me Alone is released 8 January via Mom + Pop
Carlotta Jumper: James Long Ana Jacket: Hide Top: Pleats Please Issey Miyake
Top to bottom - Jacket by MISBH - Jacket by Liam HodgesÂ - Trousers by ZDDZ
Jumper from Rokit and Jeans by Joyrich
01—16 MOTH Club Valette St London E8 mothclub.co.uk
Tuesday 26 January
THE DRINK Thursday 28 January
Saturday 16 January
Friday 29 January
Thursday 4 February
Wednesday 3 February
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER Thursday 4 February
Friday 5 February
TOGETHER PANGEA Monday 8 February
MOLLY NILSSON Thursday 3 March
Tuesday 8 March
Friday 5 February
DEAD COAST Saturday 6 February
COBALT CRANES Sunday 7 February
THROW DOWN BONES Thursday 18 February
LONG TEETH Friday 19 February
HEATERS Wednesday 16 March
The Waiting Room
Thursday 7—Saturday 9 January
REPEATER FESTIVAL Saturday 16 January
Friday 22 January
Saturday 23 January
Friday 22 January
GHOST CULTURE (DJS) Saturday 23 January
DIGITAL TSUNAMI Thursday 28 January
LEWIS DEL MAR Saturday 30 January
BABA STILTZ Tuesday 9 February
AVANTE BLACK Thursday 18 February
The Lock Tavern 35 Chalk Farm Rd London NW1 lock-tavern.com Friday 8 January
71 Shacklewell Lane London E8 shacklewellarms.com
WHISTLEJACKET Thursday 21 January
175 Stoke Newington High St London N16 waitingroomn16.com Friday 8 January
EARLY Tuesday 12 January
DOMINIC SQUIRE Saturday 16 January
AVALON EMERSON Thursday 21 January
TALL JUAN Friday 29 January
HORSEFIGHT Thursday 4 February
SCREAMING PEACHES Thursday 11—Sunday 14 February
VALENTINES WEEKENDER Wednesday 16 March
BAZOOKA Thursday 24—Sunday 27 March
THE LOCK TAVERN FESTIVAL
MONDAY 8TH FEBRUARY
100 CLUB 100 Oxford Street, London, W1D 1LL
MORE INFO AND ADVANCE TICKETS WWW.BIRDONTHEWIRE.NET
ARNE JACOBSON TYPOGRAPHIC PENCILS utilitydesign.co.uk £9 These pencils come in packs of five and have the alphabet featured on them in a typeface that was hand drawn in 1937 by world renowned architect Arne Jacobson. If any of your mates don’t immediately recognise that then they definitely don’t deserve an invite to your house to watch that documentary about Helvetica.
CRAZY STRIPE WALLET Comme Des Garçons doverstreetmarket.com £92 This CDG wallet reminds us of Barratts Fruit Salad sweets in look and feel – and its purchase might produce the same heady sugar rush.
THE WARM AND DRY SET C+C crackandcider.com £60
SELF PUBLISH, BE HAPPY shop.selfpublishbehappy.com £19.95 While Bob Marley told us not to worry and be happy, author, photographer and lecturer Bruno Ceschel offers a more specific mantra. Aimed at photographers who want to produce photobooks of their work, this book is a DIY manual offering examples of selfpublishing successes. Everyone knows you need to spend money to make money, and £19.95 is a small price to pay if you’re serious about self-publishing.
If you’d like to siphon off some of your cash to a really good cause now that all the devilry of the festive season is over, causes don’t get much more worthy than this. Two Londoners, Scarlett and Charley, have set up a simple way for you to get essential items over to the rough sleepers of London – buy one of their sets of essential items online, and they’ll distribute them. This pack includes some of the most useful products for our homeless neighbours this winter: a waterproof jacket, fleece, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, backpack and an umbrella (to block out rain and street lights). Check out the rest of their carefully chosen selections in their online shop.
MEN’S BALACLAVA NIKELAB ACG store.nike.com £45 RIOT Lilith Ai x Georgia May Jagger lilithai.bandcamp.com Filled with bolstering messages like “My pussy, my choice. My body, my voice”, and “I don’t need permission to feel glorious”, comic-turnedzine-turned-notebook Riot is a bold addition to the self-publishing zeitgeist. London-based musician and visual artist Lilith Ai created this riot grrrl-inspired fanzine in collaboration with model Georgia May Jagger, and released it to accompany the EP of the same name. Packed with illustrations and photography from both Ai and Jagger, Riot is a charming ode to the power of sisterhood.
NikeLab ACG cap off the Winter collection with this balaclava aimed at all you inner-city ninjas (you know who you are). Dry, warm and with perfectly proportioned eyelets to make sure that vision and ventilation are not compromised when you’re traversing the metropolis.
07 TARQUIN MANEK Tarquin Magnet Blackest Ever Black
"Please don’t think we’ve turned into depressive people or something,” ask Hinds in the Facebook post that introduces their debut album, Leave Me Alone. “We’ve always been humans, it’s just we’re now showing it to you.” Hinds have never had to offer a disclaimer about their disposition before now. The Madrid four-piece's usual scene, judging by the videos for Chili Town and Davey Crockett, is enjoying a pint of cheap wine, eating crisps, and smoking fags down at the skatepark with their girl gang – and judging by the support they’ve garnered from the international press, their wonderfully chaotic, unpretentious approach to garage rock has been gratefully received. "We know we aren’t big musicians,” vocalist and guitarist Carlotta Cosials told The Line of Best Fit recently, but it really doesn’t matter – it’s this ramshackle flush of energy and effortless chemistry (felt in the loose surf guitar riffs, off the cuff harmonisation and woozy percussion) that makes Leave Me Alone’s eleven modern day love songs sound so fresh despite their obvious 60s garage rock influences. Personality drips from every facet of the “twelve faces of love” the band say they’ve portrayed on the album, and while there are songs to stir hearts amongst the party-rustlers we’re used to, that’s not to say the band have become “depressive”. It’s an album of refreshing, rousing romance and an encouraging reflection of a more confident, well-rounded Hinds as they keep on partying into 2016.
Ty Dolla $ign is a hugely successful songwriter, a dextrous multi-instrumentalist and an incredible singer. Born in the mid-80s, the LA artist is just about old enough to be inspired by the golden era of West Coast gangsta rap first hand. And due to the educational influence of his father – a funk session musician – Ty’s sound transverses genres from different eras, including the current form of radio-dominating, hyphy-inspired club rap that his longterm ally DJ Mustard has perfected. On paper, Ty Dolla $ign is a very appealing prospect. Less widely appealing is his on-record persona. Throughout his career, Ty has been obsessed with the role of the irresistible womaniser, coating the questionable sentiment of his lyrics with an enticing, buttery croon. If you’re up for the ride, he often seems to be saying, there’s fun to be had. But if you’re expecting more, it’s best to just walk away before you get hurt. And although he spends a large bulk of Free TC’s run-time reiterating his disinterest in romantic commitment, this LP – Ty’s debut retail album – is sonically ambitious, with an indulgent amount of instantly gratifying hooks spread thickly across a selection of luxuriously produced beats. Sure, there’s some filler in the latter half of the tracklist – Bring It Out Of Me repeats the trick of earlier club single Saved with less effect, and Only Right serves little purpose other than to dutifully allow his old friend YG to chip in with a guest verse. But there’s a soulfulness to Free TC which reaches its peak during Miracle / Wherever – a choir-assisted double track which forms the album’s centerpiece. While a lo-fi prison recording of a verse from his incarcerated brother TC makes for a tender moment, it’s not long until Ty’s dirty mind gets the better of him in the second half. “You remind me of Aaliyah,” he sings. It’s certainly an impressive performance, but the comeon itself should probably be met with a raised eyebrow.
Originating from Australia but currently stationed in Berlin, recent years have seen Tarquin Manek rifle through DIY junkyard marginalia (Fingers Pty Ltd’s compelling scrawl Broken Fingers), dire swampland dub (Tarcar’s Mince Glace) and frayed dead-end somnolence as a member of F ingers. With Hide Before Dinner, the first release under the F ingers guise, Manek and his conspirators assuaged those previous instincts for dishevelment and density and turned them into bewitching, heavily blurred nocturnes. As opposed to those collaborative efforts, Tarquin Magnet is Manek's most significant solo release yet, revealing individual indulgencies which centre on an open-ended suite of strident clarinet soloing and claustrophobic wormhole FX. In some ways, he remains true to the notions which inform his work with Blackest Ever Black label cohorts and Melbourne associates Carna Del Forno and Sam Karnel. But in place of the soused silhouettes of those collaborations, the focus here is purely on Manek’s free moving instrumentation. At times the effect is staggering, the music mimicking a delirious kind of fatal tailspin on Sassafras Gesundheit, whilst remaining furtive and ominous on Blackest Frypan, which bookends the record with tainted kosmische disorientation punctuated by sampled yells. At times it sounds like a capsized form of jazz, its usual class and formalism substituted for ruin. At others it proves more meandering than alluring with the inconsequential tape defects of Perfect Scorn losing their way in a wasted maze of clanging contortions. It’s not an affair which matches the heady dereliction of F ingers, but there’s an indisputable potency to the atmospheres conjured which suggests the notion of something special being carved out by Manek and his collaborators. Ultimately, Tarquin Magnet is a mini odyssey of eerie underworlds and mistreated electronics, and another auspicious notch in BEB’s canon.
! Sammy Jones
! Davy Reed
! Tim Wilson
FATIMA YAMAHA Imaginary Lines Magnetron Music Sleeper hits are rare these days. Music moves fast and popular tracks are rinsed until the hivemind moves onto the next piece of 21st century club ephemera. This makes the slow rise of Fatima Yamaha’s What’s a Girl To Do? all the more extraordinary. Released in 2004, the song had limited impact outside of Glasgow and Belfast. These scenes kept it alive, until it reached broader audiences when Hudson Mohawke included it in his 2009 Essential Mix. Throughout 2015, its popularity grew greater, with Dekmantel eventually rereleasing it in June. Prompted by the resurgence, Yamaha is back with this album of new material. Shot through with the same contemplative, occasionally otherworldly and melancholic aesthetic that so succeeded in What’s a Girl To Do?, Imaginary Lines reaches for those heights again, but doesn’t quite get there. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good album. Borderless II has a bass line bouncier than a pneumatic drill on flubber, pleasant Detroit pads and some of those ‘Ah’s you might recognise from cheap keyboards. Sazak Bay employs the same sound, but with greater nuance, the faux-naif vibe adding to the strange, hyaline beauty. Imaginary Lines and Sooty Shearwater are emotive, well-constructed songs too, but there’s nothing with the upbeat but ultimately melancholic appeal of Bron’s anthem. And there are a couple of duds. Love Invaders is perilously close to the smug ‘e-funk’ of Soul Clap, and Night Crossing feels like a box-ticking exercise as the token ‘experimental’ track on the album. Taken as a whole, though, Imaginary Lines doesn’t feel like a cynical cash-in on past talent. Instead, the album rounds out a career renaissance. This is a producer who made a track over a decade ago – a track that had a life of its own – and who still has something worth listening to. Here’s to the next 11 years. ! Robert Bates
HINDS Leave Me Alone Lucky Number JUNIOR BOYS Big Black Coat City Slang Junior Boys are a curiosity. When they get it right, their melancholy, camp, disco-in-a-flotation-tank aesthetic is emotive and powerful. But when it doesn’t quite work, their sound doesn’t feel too distant from coffee-table electronica. On Big Black Coat – their fifth album, and first material for nearly five years – Junior Boys are firing on all cylinders. The album splutters beautifully into life with the synth stabs of You Say That, but the early stand-out is the menacingly atmospheric C’Mon Baby, where the Boys’ soft-focus mutterings are the centrepiece of a seedy, dreamy melodrama. Sexy and apocalyptic? Mmmmm. The coffee-table aesthetic does haunt the album’s more subdued moments: whether you can get along with Baby Don’t Hurt Me depends on what your tolerance for 80s lounge-pop ballads is. But for the most part, Big Black Coat showcases Junior Boys at their best. Their gorgeous, icecool cover version of soul classic What You Won’t Do For Love is an inspired re-interpretation, and somehow transports the DNA of the original into an alien but accommodating electronic host. The title track – gently simmering electro-pop – is a sinister album closer and a good synopsis of their work in general: luxurious enough to soundtrack quiet reflection, but lean enough to blend into a club set. Good to have ‘em back.
! Adam Corner
T Y DOLL A $IGN Free TC Taylor Gang / Pu$haz Ink / Atlantic
06 TALBOT FADE November Versions Local Action
JEREMIH Late Nights: The Album Def Jam
“DIY as fuck,” said dub ambassador Kevin ‘The Bug’ Martin when asked to describe Miss Red’s Murder project. And it's this crudely unabridged appraisal that nutshells the working relationship between Martin and Miss Red – the Israeli MC who’s become a staple of The Bug’s greatest live shows. On the track Mi Lost from The Bug’s 2014 album Angels & Devils, Miss Red's patois provided an eerily enticing element to Martin's heavy riddim mangling. Here, the pair dismantle familiar components of dancehall and ragga and realign them in their own 'DIY as fuck' form. Murder's ballistic gush of acid ragga took a year to collate, but it contorts quicker than the glock of a pistol. With beats borrowed from Evian Christ, Mumdance and Andy Stott, Miss Red is permitted the audible room required for her to vocally brutalise bars. Staggered riddims braced with Martin’s signature bass inflections act as perfect undercurrents for the hiccupy delivery. Pace is paramount to Miss Red. She has this uncanny knack of recoiling around percussive offbeats. It takes a pitiless control of character to not vocally overplay or overindulge with the riddim constructions. And while the final product is something of a collaborative achievement aided by truly capable producers with dancehall affiliated identities, Miss Red remains the star of Murder throughout. A much-needed full length from one of the most charismatic performers on the underground live circuit.
There’s something telling about the fact that Jeremih taught himself to drum before he ever learned to sing. Over the course of Late Nights: The Album, the underrated Chicago artist’s voice almost fills in the spaces left by the minimal production. Sleek vocals dart in and out of the mix – but more often than not these sounds are over before they’ve started, like a sneeze being restrained – perfectly on beat and carefully woven into the skeletal production. This is the minimal breed of metrical, flickering RnB that Jeremih introduced us to on the Late Nights mixtape in 2012. Three years on and, following multiple delays, this full-length sequel is everything we dreamed of. The only downside of Late Nights: The Album is that Jeremih sounds 24 months late to his own party. Def Jam’s grave mishandling of his career left a two-year playing field wide open for contemporaries to bite his style. Even though this record proves who does it best, it doesn’t sound like an instant classic which it might have done fresh off the back of the mixtape. Even so, Oui and Drank are simply irresistible records – their less-is-more formula allows Jeremih’s sharp hooks to flourish and unfurl. Every time a high profile guest jumps on the track, they’re nearly always upstaged by the headline act. Jeremih really is master of his domain on this record, and nothing shows his skill quite like closer Paradise – a waltzing ode to mornings after. Aside from an unforgivably moronic guest verse from J Cole – a source of online mockery throughout 2015 – on the otherwise scintillating single Planez and the frustrating fact that the album’s postponed release date has left it sounding a little dated, Late Nights: The Album is the statement Jeremih always had in him. Well worth the wait.
! Tom Watson
! Duncan Harrison
MISS RED Murder Red Label
There’s a novel primitiveness to Black Body Radiation, October’s Skudge-released debut album. The Bristol based producer channels a raw physicality through his punk tangled techno, rounding up influences in industrial, EBM and coldwave and squeezing them into a propulsive darkness, exploring the physicality of electronic music through a fully realised vision. Opening track Ritual is a finger stubbing gorge of downcast synth stabs and serrated snare work. Its tone is unashamedly boisterous and prickly, like a sadistic Tangerine Dream dubplate re-edited in John Carpenter’s sound studio. And, in essence, this total disregard for 4/4 club compromising is a crucial step forward Julian Smith. As October, he has frequently veered left when the trend steers right. However, with the underground’s current reassessment of rave culture and realigning of electronic liberation, Black Body Radiation seems to act as a continuation of this discourse rather than retaliation against it. Tracks such as Blood Feud and Transient Bodies, while following fixed time signatures, beguile with sonic abstractions and textures. Across eight brutal slabs of tough industrial weirdness, October’s rage is strictly confined to composed bursts of analogous violence.
Franciscus Pontifex ‘debut album Wake Up! Per Dóminum nostrum Jesum minoris molimenti ea claustra esse, vixdum in gena cockeyed nuntium fabulas plerumque lingua. Mundi primum gelidis pontificis positus dimittere “prog rock ‘album quidem salse cuique aliquid dicere. Reapse Wake Up! – Cum tandem pervenit – non tam a prog rock album Sicut erat conamina mixturam Frankie scriptor contionibus et nonnulla lyrics set ad mundi musica numerosque pingere-bynumeri post rock et power ballads lapsae. Non prius, inquit Franciscus Pontifex “Iuvenis Asiae surge!” De Wake Up! Surgit! Go! Go! Deinceps! quod res adepto dignusum. Tarditatis perculsi sambucae deesset dimidiam marcam et quod supponitur esse a His adhortationibus incitatos centerpiece desinens sonans quasi vulgi conamen scribens nemo virorum illorum Mogwai carmina ubi Stuart hecum suscipit mic. Eam definite non accipit bravium optimo carmine nomen in album; sunt satis notae auditaque in eo ad faciendum sentis aculeum Catholic delicto vos Ive ‘etiam premeris fabula. Surgit! praeclarum testimonium quod testificatus est inter rationem straddles garishness percutiunt chordam deficit utraque re ante. Unum aliquem effectum quoddam album online praesentiam. Invenit quasi validitatem aut vafri inscitia significatori et servit parum utiliter supra ens a bene exsecutioni mandandam ipsum exercitium organizationis quod stat post album propositus uideri.
There’s no denying that Wiki has been more than just instrumental in Ratking’s success. When critics or fans laud the carefree grittiness of the NY rap crew, more often than not, they are complimenting the drawling but concentrated style of the group’s snaggletoothed pied piper. Always half a beat behind but half a thought ahead, his delivery and lyrical content has won over fans among hip hop traditionalists and new-school disciples. In short, Wiki is a genuine character. The sudden announcement of a solo Wiki tape was an exciting prospect – even if Lil Me isn’t the most adventurous statement of intent from a rapper we’re now familiar with, it’s just good to see the Ratking camp keeping busy. The guest spots from Micachu, Antwon and Skepta all triumph. Skepta's guest spot sees him at the best he’s sounded postShutdown – Wesley Snipes and CocaCola references all bouncing over the hazy instrumental. Ratking cohort Hak swoops in for Sunday School Dropout and shows that the pair’s dynamite chemistry is still intact – if anything, this could’ve been a brilliantly spiky comeback track for the trio but it fits right in on this tape. With 18 tracks, cohesion and concept take much more of a backseat on Lil Me. It’s a scrapbook of interesting beats, staggered flows and youthful lyricism. The fact that Wiki’s got 18 tracks worth of that to give away for free should in itself be enough to get us excited for what’s to come.
Talbot Fade debuted in 2013 with a self-titled, self-released album. Although it remained underground, it enjoyed relative success among those who knew of it. Later that year, he released November is So Alive for Better and for Worse, a mix of original material and edits which seemed to introspect so deeply into itself that Talbot (cough) faded from musical activity. Yet everything is better in the light of nostalgia. Talbot’s November Versions is a collection of new material and reworkings of music by the Daybreak collective that Talbot is affiliated with (Rimpleton, Boardgame, James Loon and Talbot’s own Yamaneko moniker). The album deals with ‘memories of places, people and things, and how the brain twists, fogs and sullies them through experience, time and intoxication’. November, for Talbot, is a time for reflection, and his November Versions do just that. From wistful piano intervals to its lethargic pace, the record is coated in a thick syrup of textures and field recordings that make the tracks feel ambiguous and blurred, like recalling a distant memory. Sonically, the record folds in on itself, each track slowly disintegrating in a Basinski-like fashion, and so giving the impression of distance and uncertainty. Visually, the tracks conjure images of childhood: Underworld resembles the distorted spinning music of a children’s jewellery box, while Tugging Boat mimics the bobbing of a boat on water. Somewhere between the fragmented beauty of Leyland Kirby’s work as The Caretaker and Infinity Frequencies’ Computer Series, Talbot’s music is uncomfortably introspective and, much like the former's, lingers on moments which feel conclusive or comforting, before veering into sharp etchings of static. At their respective cores, Kirby's and Talbot's songs share one key rule – time is malleable, and takes second place to memories and our mind’s distortion of them.
! Tom Watson
! Billy Black
! Duncan Harrison
! Gunseli Yalcinkaya
POPE FR ANCIS Wake Up! Believe Recordings
OCTOBER Black Body Radiation Skudge
WIKI Lil Me Letter Racer
UPCOMING LONDON SHOWS www.rockfeedbackconcerts.com
The Victoria Monday 11 Jan.
XOYO Tuesday 19 Jan.
[PIAS] NITES: TOY
Village Underground Thursday 21 Jan.
Village Underground Monday 25 Jan.
[PIAS] NITES: BLOC PART Y BLAENAVON Village Undeground Tuesday 25 Jan.
Lexington Thursday 04 Feb.
Hackney Empire Friday 12 Feb.
Village Underground Monday 15 Feb.
ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER
The Dome Thursday 18 Feb.
Village Underground Wednesday 24 Feb.
THE LANGUAGE BILL RYDER-JONES OF PLACE St John on Bethnal Green Thursday 25 Feb.
SCALA Thursday 03 Mar.
FATHER JOHN MIST Y
FATHER JOHN MIST Y
Roundhouse Wednesday 18 May.
Roundhouse Thursday 19 May.
FATHER JOHN MIST Y
Roundhouse Friday 20 May.
Roundhouse Saturday 21 May.
get tickets and full info at www.rockfe e dback.com
DILLY DALLY T THURS 7 JAN SOLD OU DALSTON VICTORIA
OKAY KAYA THURS 11 FEB ST PANCRAS OLD CHURCH
FROKEDAL THURS 25 FEB THE ISLINGTON
DIET CIG WED 13 JAN SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
RYANN THURS 11 FEB THE WAITING ROOM
GIRL BAND MON 29 FEB VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
THE DRINK TUES 26 JAN SHACKLEWELL ARMS
THE BLACK TAMBOURINES THURS 18 FEB SEBRIGHT ARMS
ONLY GIRL TUES 1 MARCH ELECTROWERKZ
COVES THURS 28 JAN SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
HINDS THURS 18 FEB KOKO
DILLY DALLY THURS 28 JAN THE LEXINGTON
MONEY MON 22 FEB VILLAGE UNDERGROUND
HABITATS THURS 3 MARCH HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN
BLITZEN TRAPPER MON 8 FEB THE LEXINGTON
MOTHERS WED 24 FEB SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS
ROYCE WOOD JUNIOR WED 10 FEB OSLO HACKNEY
ROSIE LOWE THURS 25 FEB OSLO HACKNEY
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THE FAT WHITE FAMILY WED 9 MARCH THE CORONET
KELLY LEE OWENS THURS 10 MARCH SERVANT JAZZ QUARTERS GET WELL SOON WED 13 APRIL THE LEXINGTON
This month, Crack's #clickbait analyst Josh Baines shares his trend forecast for 2016!
I’m off the sauce for January bruv. Thing is, it’s making my moods so unpredictable that last week I found myself shouting at a tree. Got any tips for for holding it down?
Ah, a classic case of condiment addiction. My first tip would be to change your diet away from things that require the moistness of sauce addition. Bernard Matthews Turkey drummers tend to a particular offender for me. But as far as tips for cold turkey, I’ve been clean of all vices for decades now. Apart from my daily Night Nurse binge, which I’m stuck with for life. It’s like crystal meth for entrepreneurs.
Steven, 36, Dartford #CONTENT WILL STILL BE KING Last month, I read a book by the ‘legendary’ hack Nick Kent and it made me realise that there was never a golden age of music writing. It was just blokes with smelly jackets like Kent hanging out with Iggy Pop and trying not to sneak a look at his willy at the urinal in some dive bar that probably had brown wallpaper. Those blokes would then return to their typewriters with a bag of amphetamine and some tepid anecdotes that'd be strung together with some very loose exposition and a lot of sexism. If the internet existed, they’d have been told that their writing was, in fact, a bit shit. So bring on branded content about grime MCs learning how to surf, or whatever. Content is our Woodstock. It’s our Chelsea Hotel. We live for content. We love content. We are content MUSIC WON'T BE Music had a good run. It released a few decent tunes. I liked some of it. The jig is up, though, as 2015 saw music become nothing more than a vehicle for poorly thought out thinking that was transmuted into clunky, laboured, needless, pointless written content. As such, I’ve decided that 2016 will be the first year in human history when no new music is created. We will live in a perfectly silent world and it will be like waltzing through heaven and on NYE we can all listen to a bit of Merzbow for a treat, or something wacky like that!
Denzil Schniffermann Love, life and business advice from Crack’s esteemed agony uncle
I’m a Deliveroo driver constantly taking my life in my own hands at the expense of lazy fuckers who order posh burgers off me every night. I’ve got a criminal record for a late council tax payment, so I’m forced to bike around with an oversized backpack that smells of grease. How do I pick myself up off the ground?
For Christ’s sake Paul, are you aware of the penalties of this kind of behaviour? My old business partner Clint Johnson once spent four nights in Warren Hill prison for failing to pay his late council tax bills. I’m a silent partner at Deliveroo, I’ll see if I can set you up with a managerial position.
Paul, 24, Romsey
[GENRE] WILL MAKE A COMEBACK! Man, remember [GENRE] the first time around? Back in [YEAR] when we all wore [ITEM OF CLOTHING] and drank [BEVERAGE] and snorted [NARCOTIC SUBSTANCE] whilst watching [SITCOM] we couldn't get enough of bands like [BAND] and [BAND]! They were hectic days, my dude! And they're back! [GENRE] is the new sound of now which means now is just [YEAR]: the Comeback but that's cool and we are super stoked that some of our favourite acts like [SOLO ARTIST] and [BAND] are back with some incredible new material! Let's party like [NAME OF NOW DEAD CELEBRITY] never died!
I bought Jeremy Corbyn’s hat. You like antiques, what do you think of that, pretty cool eh?
I only collect jewell encrusted asparagus tongs from the Renaissance era, not a loony lefty’s Lenin cap serviette especial. Stick to the airport music.
Brian, 67, Suffolk
I WILL STILL LOVE A BIT OF BANTER I always will. Always and forever
Problems? email email@example.com
Crossword Across 01. Brazil coco hazel chest wal etc (4) 05. Sleazebag Thicke’s been out stealin’ (5) 07. Country which straddles Europe and Asia (6) 09. Satan (festive anag.) (5) 10. A thorough defeat, usually in sport (8) 13. The arrival of a notable person or thing; commercial meets opening for air (6) 15. Pixies; Twelve Tw_____ are One Hundred and Forty (5) 16. 90s Texan noise rock/post-hardcore legends The ____ Lizard (5) Down 02. “Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque” sang 80s Geordie weirdos Prefab ____ (6) 03. Biscuits 4 cheeze (8) 04. Spielberg’s 1993 feelgood romp Schindler’s ____ (4) 06. The period of time now occurring (7) 08. The (16 Across) and ___ Chain, Scottish alt rock heroes who love mental sweets (4) 11. Some people apparently call Hollywood _____ Town (6) 12. Mathematics enthusiast whose surname starts with V but I can’t put the whole thing in here cause it’s too obvious, ok, it ends with ‘-man’ ok? (5) 14. Mark Lanegan’s grunge band The Screaming _____ (5) Solution to last month’s crossword: THEME: SPACE SHIT. ACROSS: 04. MOON, 06. RINGS, 08. CORONA 09. SATELLITE 11. COMET, 13. MARS DOWN: 01. BLACK-HOLE 02. SOLAR, 03. VENUS, 05. GRAVITY, 07. SPACE, 10. ASTRAL, 12. ORBIT, 14. STAR
eSSential new releaSeS from:
Ltd. 2x12” / CD / DL
12” / DL
‘South’ and ‘Bashful Creatures’ available on 2 x 12”
VEGA INTL. Night School
The Halocline EPs
Miss World EP
Deluxe CD / DL
Chamber Variations EP
Contains Re-Covered EP
12” / DL
Music In Exile
S t a r G a z e and deerhoof preSent
A Dream Outside
Ltd. 12” / CD / DL
Ltd. 12” / CD / DL
Ltd. 12” / CD / DL
Pelicans We EP
20 Questions: Freddie Gibbs
“I named my dog after Marlo from The Wire” Words: Davy Reed
The most common adjective you’ll see by Freddie Gibbs’ name is ‘unapologetic’. Whether he’s recalling grizzly street anecdotes, baiting haters, beefing with elder trap statesman or raising a middle finger to music industry execs; the Indiana rapper has given very few fucks over the course of his 12 year career. But despite the toughness of his alpha male persona, in interviews he usually comes across as quite a nice bloke. So following the recent release of his Shadow of a Doubt album, we thought we’d call Freddie up to get a little insight into the everyday world of Gangsta Gibbs.
What was your favourite cartoon when you were a kid? Tom and Jerry.
What’s your signature recipe? I can’t really cook that good. I got a recipe for crack, but I don’t think I can give it to you.
What was the last book you read? Sweet Jones: Pimp C’s Trill Life Story by Julia Beverly.
What’s the worst hotel you’ve ever stayed in? Back when I first started to tour, I had to put all my homies in the [budget motel chain] Knights Inn because we were broke.
Who are your favourite sports team? The Chicago Bulls. Who’s your favourite person to follow on Instagram? Amber Rose. Favourite character from The Wire? Marlo. I named my dog after him. Do you have a number one fan? That’s a good question. I know a couple of guys out there who really ride for me, but it’s kinda tough to think of a number one fan. What about your mum? My mom’s definitely not a Freddie Gibbs fan! If you could pick a surrogate grandparent, who would it be? Stevie Wonder, so he could pass me down some of that musical knowledge.
Do you have any nicknames? They call me ‘Kane’. Have you taken acid? Yeah, it’s not an everyday drug, but I liked it. If you were trying to seduce a potential lover, what music would you play? It depends on the girl. Might put on some slow jams, maybe throw on that new Jeremih CD. But, you know, if the bitch wanna twerk you could throw on some Future. Is there a piece of advice you could give yourself ten years ago? I’d tell myself to be more open to new things, because ten years ago I was quick to shut a lot of things down.
What’s your worst habit? Probably smoking a whole lotta Backwoods, I need to slow down on that. I smoke like three or four packs a day by myself, if I’m around my homies I smoke ten. Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met? Will Smith. What’s he like? From the couple minutes I was with him, he’s a nice guy. Real humble, real smart. You got to look up to a guy like Will Smith. Do you have any tattoos that you regret? I don’t regret them, they represent a time in my life. I just wish somebody else could have done a couple of them. What would you like written on your tombstone? “Born in this world of tears, but died laughing” What’s the first thing you’re going to do after this interview? Finish eating this chicken and cornbread I got right here. Shadow of a Doubt is out now via ESGN / Empire Distribution
Perspective: Counterculture and Socialist Strategy Alex Niven is a lecturer and writer based in Newcastle. With the Labour Party’s leftwing leader Jeremy Corbyn receiving widespread support in the UK, here Niven wonders if progressive music can and regain its countercultural potency. I spent a lot of time in the noughties writing blogposts about the sad decline of the NME in those years – its embrace of the Topshop lifestyle ethic, its love of landfill indie, its obsession with Doherty and Borrell. But even so, the magazine’s latest incarnation came as a shock. As I was handed a copy of the new, free edition in Newcastle city centre last autumn and realised that the entire front cover was now literally a mobile phone app advert, the content now indistinguishable from that of an in-store Topshop magazine, I thought: the bastards have finally won. If the NME’s evolution from countercultural Kabbalah to consumerist wrapping-paper is anything to go by, I felt, pop music is now pure product in a way that even the most hopeful capitalist ideologues wouldn’t have dared dream forty, thirty, even twenty years ago. But witnessing the final nail in the coffin of a once proud independent institution like the NME should also lead us to reflect on how these sorts of corporate takeovers happen, and to think more positively about how they might be prevented in future. Put crudely, the bastards might have won this particular battle, but they haven’t yet won the war.
The key lesson to draw from the slow death of the NME since the millennium is that it was far from inevitable. It happened because a specific group of people got into specific positions of power and made specific decisions based on a specific (and very narrow) view of what pop music is. Out went counterculture, in came whiterthan-white guitar pop and gossip about indie celebrities. People who accepted what the critic Mark Fisher has called ‘capitalist realism’—the belief that there is no alternative to Western capitalism and its cult of money and shallowness—were able to win the argument about how the NME should be run as an institution. But if another group of people had been able to organise in opposition to the capitalist realists at NME, they might just as easily have assumed power, halted its moral decline and even revived it as a mouthpiece for new forms of artistic and political radicalism. We are now entering a period in which strategic thinking about the control of cultural organisations – magazines, websites, political parties, publishers, venues – will become increasingly central to the survival of vital, oppositional art in the UK and throughout the world. For too long, people involved in the culture industry have wearily accepted that music will become increasingly regulated by market systems and practices, that the internet has eroded collective sensibilities and undermined musical community.
Yet as recent political developments show, when an alternative to capitalism emerges as a viable organisational force, it can turn the notion that success equals corporate compromise on its head very quickly. One of the reasons Jeremy Corbyn’s rise was so astronomical in 2015 was because the British Labour Party reached a point at which collusion with the market and with neo-conservative ideology had completely destroyed its ability to function properly as an institution. The Labour Party pre-Corbyn was dying because the people controlling it had simply stopped presenting plausible arguments for its existence. At moments like this, a window of opportunity opens for someone like Corbyn and his new army of radicalising Labour members to intervene and take control. What would the Corbyn narrative look like if transferred to pop music? There are obvious parallels between the decline of Labour postBlair and the decline of once-leftfield musical institutions like the NME post-Britpop. But unlike Labour under Corbyn, so much of the pop establishment—the remains of the countercultural infrastructure that persisted from the mid 60s to the millennium—seems beyond repair. Gig venues have been transformed into mobile-phone network outlets, music festivals into summer camps for the bourgeoisie, ‘indie’ record labels into dusty archives of past glories. But countercultural revival is still very much up for grabs. The landscape of musical
production is now so vast and so densely populated that it will daily throw up individual examples of creative rebellion and ingenuity, any one of which might provide the spark for a new musical movement. The great question facing the current generation is: how can we actually, practically help those movements to grow? How can we secure control over the sorts of institutions that will support individuals making original, innovative and oppositional music rather than merely puffing-up lifestyle chatter and corporate marketing? How can we build-up viable cultural organisations that will provide enfranchisement, payment and long-term stability for musicians, music writers and music fans? How can we wrest control from the capitalist realists in music in the same way that the Corbynistas have wrested control from the lingering Blairites in British politics? There’s an unfortunate tendency in pop music to celebrate the spontaneous, the anarchistic, the free-wheeling, acts of individual rebellion, fits and bursts of emotion. But as we look to reconstruct a musical culture that will do justice to the increasingly dynamic, polarising socio-political climate of the late 2010s, we need to shift emphasis away from rebellious lifestyle and onto the realisable dream of the powerful, well-structured alternative organisation. To paraphrase the late Tony Wilson, the Hacienda must be re-built. More of Alex Niven’s writing can be found at thefantastichope.blogspot.com
P L U G - A N D - P L AY C O N T R O L U S I N G EXPLORE THE REKORDBOX DJ P L U S PA C K A T R E K O R D B O X . C O M SAME FAMILI AR REKORDBOX, N E W P E R F O R M A N C E C A PA B I L I T I E S
PA D F X A N D S E Q U E N C E R HOT CUES, LOOPS, SLICER AND SAMPLER SLIP MODE AND BEAT JUMP D D J - R Z : A DVA N C E D F E A T U R E S I N C LU D I N G O S C S A M P L E R
Featuring Savages, Awful Records, Prins Thomas, Bill Kouligas, Hinds and more