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Codeine ISSUE APRIL 2014

dark bells

+

FOREVER 27 + Cave Club Let’s Wrestle + Younghusband Syd Kemp + Pastel Colours


Here it is. Our much longed for FROCK & ROLL issue

ber Rhys Webb as well as a number of new bands that are

‘Codeine’. As the name Codeine (an opiate) suggests, this

all chosen because of one thing: Their psychedelic but

edition wants to take a look at the inspiring bond of music

contemporary shoegaze sound that allows “moving to-

and drugs - which have been linked for a long time, with

wards the future backwards, with the eyes set firmly on the

shifts in genres often running alongside trends of narcotic

past”. Many of these bands like Dark Bells, Temple Songs,

consumption. Some of the most extraordinary musicians and artists were haunted by severe drug addictions that were often the result of their reluctance to comply with public norms. Some of them simply could not

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be

satisfied,

even

Half Loon and Blossoms are part of the RIP Records label which made the decision about our label focus feature an easy one. Our editor in chief Kat is not only busy with getting our magazine ready but also started

after creating some of

the Petrichor Group

the most influential and

- a music manage-

inspirational

in

ment and PR com-

music history. The For-

pany that works be-

pieces

ever 27 Club members

hind up and coming

are a good example for

bands like the Pastel

musicians who found themselves in despair and apathy. Many of them developed a tremendous habit of using drugs that was leading to precipitous lifestyles resulting into early self-destruction. Apart from focus-

Colours, Syd Kemp and Charles Howl, who are also featured in this copy. We had great fun putting this edition together and working with all the talented and amazing people out there.

sing on young musicians from the ‘70s we take a closer look

Thanks to anyone who was contributing for making this

at the East London youth and music scene. As Cave Club

possible and special thanks to Christiane Matz, our illustra-

regulars we decided to spotlight one of London’s best kept

tion magician, for her hard work and support.

secrets - the psychedelic club night run by The Horrors mem-


+ publisher Jen Schleifer + founder & editor in chief Kat Ober + design & corporate Identity Christiane Matz www.christianematz.com + contributors Suzy Creamcheese, Sam Davies, Peter Hass, Christiane Matz, Maria Soromenho , Flyn Vibert + proofreading Nicholas Burman, Alex Sharman + special thanks to Sean from Fortuna Pop, Nat from Sonic Cathedral, Euan from Younghusband, Jolan from Temple Songs, Syd Kemp, Cave Club, Pete, Matt & Lucy from RIP Records CONTACT www.frock-and-roll.com 69 Dunlace Road E5 0NF London hello@frock-and-roll.com @frocknrollmag ADVERTISING advertising@frock-and-roll.com

All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part without the express written of FROCK&ROLL. While every effort is made to ensure the information is this magazine is correct, changes may occur which affect the accuracy of the copy, for which FROCK&ROLL holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do no necessarily bear a relation to those of FROCK&ROLL.

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+ mixtape sam davies + cave club, london’s underground psych club

+

Dark Bells & Maria Soromenho + FOREVER 27, The Famous 27 Club

+ let‘s wrestle codeine & marshmallows + soundcheck: younghusband


+ label focus: rip records

+ POP+PSYCHLE, temple songs

+ new sounds Blonde Bunny/ Blossoms Charles Howl/ Colours Courtly Love/ The Eskimo Chain Half Loon/ Pastel Colours Whistlejacket 5

+ visiting syd kemp


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Play list by Sam Davies Artificial Energy - The Byrds Green - The Alby Ten Thousand Words in a Cardboard Box - Twink The Dreamer Flies Back - Forever Amber Shooting At The Moon - Kevin Ayers Song For Wild - Mark Fry Caravan - Harumi Natural Harmony - The Byrds A Bit Of David Crosby Hearts To Cry - Frumious Bandersnatch

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Photos: Jen Schleifer

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The Horrors fourth album ‘Luminous’, which is set for re-

Horrors’ club night’ is not entirely accurate since it is Rhys

lease on the 4th of May, follow up to the moody, Simple

Webb who initiated Cave. Rhys, keen record collector and

Minds-esque pop of 2011’s ‘Skying’ suggests that they are

DJ on the Mod/Psych scene since his early teens, knows

further delving into the depths of elevating synth melodies

how to maintain the perfect balance between hits and

building on their previous krautrock influences. Yes, the

obscurities; therefore you can expect psychedelic-era Bea-

‘Strange House’ edge may be long gone but their cult club

tles and Stones as well as The Mirage or Les Fleur Des Lys.

night The Cave Club, held on every third Saturday of the

Unlike most ‘60s psych club nights in London Cave Club

month, is still going strong. Here you will hear the best selec-

does not aspire to be revivalist or retro although the sarto-

tion of ‘60s Psych and Garage, occasionally spiced up with

rial element of the ‘60s is certainly present; generally you

some ‘70s glam, post-punk and disco gems. Calling it ‘The

will not find too many ageing blokes with Paul Weller hair-


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cuts complaining about how kids of today are getting Mod

Voyeurs soon followed. So, whether you want to check out

wrong. Most of the crowd are twenty somethings simply

a cool new band before everyone else or discover great

interested in discovering great music and drawing on the

‘60s songs you (probably) haven’t heard anywhere else,

spirit of the late 1960s in order to create something new

Cave Club is the place to be.  After all, where else can you

and exciting - or, if you will, moving towards the

find a bunch of kids singing along to ‘Vacuum Cleaner’ by

future backwards with their eyes set firmly on the past. This

Tintern Abbey or ‘Guess I Was Dreaming’ by The Fairytale?

is certainly reflected in the choice of bands which are selected to perform at Cave Club. TOY played their debut gig here back in 2011, early performances of the likes of Temples, The Proper Ornaments and Charlie Boyer & The

Text: Peter Hass


“moving “moving towards towards future the the future backwards backwards with with their their eyes eyes set set firmly firmly on on the the past.” past.”

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Model: Teneil Throssell Clothing: Maria Soromenho Photography: Rita Batalha Make Up: Danika Chloe


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+ Maria Soromenho teamed up with Teneil Throssell, the cool voice and guitarist of London based psychedelic shoegaze band Dark Bells, to shoot the lookbook for her latest collection. The outcome of this music-fashion collaboration are some amazing punk-inspired pictures that give a raw and haunting portrayal of East London’s outstanding female lead singer whilst showcasing Marias’s impressive new fashion designs. Although the singer prefers her signature self-tailored vintage two-piece suits, she appreciates Maria’s designs and had a great day working with the young designer.


H

owever, on asking her if she is planning on

right as they may just have stepped straight out of a time

some more modelling the answer came

machine from the ‘70s with muted fringed leather jackets,

with a chuckle: “Modelling is not something I’m particularly pursuing as a career choice. I think bone structure is a major player in that

one.” Up-and-coming fashion designer Maria Soromenho from Portugal, who was organising the shooting with Teneil, lived and studied Stage Design in Lisbon and Paris before deciding to relocate to London in 2011. For her the connection between fashion, music and art is as important as the quality of her work. With new techniques in textile modification and by using unexpected materials, she hand-crafts exceptional one of a kind pieces that drip

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“My favourite suit is a red wine coloured one that I wear if I want to feel a little more snappy. It’s always my failsafe!”

with her distinctive rock and roll chic.

statement pendants and velvet shirts. ‘Steam punk’ how-

Frock & Roll spoke with Teneil, as one of the few female

ever could not really convince Teneil. Check it out - we are

psych-rock lead vocalists, about the connection between

sure you will have a laugh. “I was recently introduced to a

rock and roll and fashion and its importance to her. She

trend called steam punk. Wow.”

regards fashion as an empowering tool that can make you

As important fashion can be for one’s individuality, the

feel more comfortable to do things, like in her case

down sides of it are undeniable. Teneil commented on this

getting on stage in front of an audience. Not as much that

quoting an upsetting fact about the fashion industry:

she is avidly following fashion trends, but more in the way

“A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop

that it can be used to create your own identity. Teneil’s ‘70s

workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item

inspired look and her passion for velvet vintage suits is one

by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15%

of the singer’s signature features: “My favourite suit is a red

more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop.”

wine coloured one that I wear if I want to feel a little more

Although there seems to be a widespread belief that

snappy. It’s always my failsafe!”

sweatshops are a thing of the past nothing could be fur-

On being asked which band masters style and music Thros-

ther from the truth. Sweatshops and child labour are in fact

sell unhesitatingly paid tribute to her friends from Temples,

more active than ever before with the fast fashion industry

calling their sound sublime and commending their way of

driving Third World workers into starvation.

dress. The British band surely knows how to get their style

“The fact that global textile companies can still exploit chil-


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“I was recently introduced to a trend called steam punk. Wow.�


16 dren, immigrants and the poor is just nuts.” With music, not fashion being Throssell’s primary passion, Frock & Roll wanted to know more about Dark Bells. The band, including Teneil Throssell, Ash Moss and Geno Carrapetta on drums, combines both shoegaze and psychedelic influences, culminating in rich, swirling sonic layers not shying away from creating a huge scape. The formerly Sydneybased group released their debut single ‘Wildflower’ in May last year and are currently working on their debut album which is due to come out this autumn. The answer to the question where they take their cues from is simple: “We take our inspiration from all over really but our common interest is our love for ‘70s music.” Teneil is also riveted by a couple of ‘70s Zambian psych/fuzz bands and is fascinated by some early Indonesian psych groups. However, she also enjoys listening to smoother sounding groups such as Air, David Axelrod and Connan Mockasin. Hence, some of the records she could not live without are ‘Dancing


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Time’ from The Funkees , ‘Give Love To Your Children’ from Musi-o-Tunya and ‘Fever Ray’ by Fever Ray. With this broad taste in music Frock & Roll wanted to know if Throssell can still remember the first gig she went to. In detail she recalls going to Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ tour at Perth Entertainment Centre on April 23rd 1996, where Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters was drumming for Morissette. This was Teneil’s first real trip to the ‘big city’, wearing a denim overall and a white cut-off T-shirt underneath. It seems like she always had a sense for fashion: “Think I was going for ‘motor mechanic chic’ or ‘bad girl from Neighbours chic’. Can’t quite remember… or perhaps it’s been blocked out for situations like this, ha!”

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“The fact that global textile companies can still exploit children, immigrants and the poor is just nuts.” Throssell gave a surprisingly humble answer to the question how she has adjusted to the life as the lead singer by saying that she was never really thinking about it: “In our group all the instruments, voice included, are of the same importance. Which I guess is why I’ve never really felt like a front person per se.” Still there is a substantial expressive side of it which Teneil learnt to appreciate over the years, given that she has been living this role for quite a while now. What she enjoys most is to make other people happy with the sound of Dark Bells. This motivation is also reflected by the positive experience Teneil Throssell made with the East London scene: “The scene is great. It seems really supportive; there are a lot of different club nights and mini-festivals that create a great platform for new bands. There are also a lot of great new venues that have opened that allow for a more diverse scene which I think is really important.” For the upcoming singles the Dark Bells singer has teamed up with animator Rob Meech and visual artist Antonia Halse as the visual element in conjunction with the


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music is crucially important to Throssell who is obsessed with complementing sound with colour and moving images. The band is planning a tour in support of their debut album later this year and everyone who wants to make time pass more quickly for the debut album to be released has a chance to see Dark Bells live as they are confirmed for the Great Escape Festival, the Artrocker New Blood Festival and for Liverpool Psych Fest. Interview & Text: Jen Schleifer


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The 27 Club is the puzzling phenomenon of a high number

Flyn Vibert, a passionate East London based art photog-

of extraordinarily talented musicians dying at the age of 27.

rapher, was taking inspiration from this occurrence and

The notable persistence of this curiosity makes it seem like

grabbed his camera for FROCK & ROLL to come up with

more than mere coincidence, especially as many of these

some expressive shots of the most notable members of the

deaths occurred under mysterious circumstances. Some of

27 Club. This artist who finds his inspiration in almost any-

the most iconic members of this so-called ‘club’, including

thing - books, films, dreams, comics, music and mythology,

Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis

also lets us into his work and life and gives some insights in

Joplin and Kurt Cobain, were leading a precipitous lifestyle

his personal experiences with addiction.

that made them obvious candidates for self-destruction. The fact that all of them died at the same age - Brian Jones

Br i a n

J o n e s

† 3.07.1969

and Jim Morrison even on the same day only two years apart – has encouraged bizarre conspiracy theories that

Rolling Stone Brian Jones was an influential multi-instru-

stir the imagination. With lots of questions left unanswered

mentalist, clever and inspirational but also a manipula-

and most of the cases left unsolved the 27 Club remains an

tive and callous trouble maker. 1959 Jones’s 17-year-old

ever gripping mystery.

girlfriend became pregnant. He reportedly quit school in disgrace and left home to travel through Northern Europe and Scandinavia. Eventually, he ran short of money and moved to London where he started to hang out with Alexis


Korner and became member of the small rhythm and blues scene there. Soon he met Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and became the founder and original bandleader of the Rolling Stones. Jones developed a serious drug and ego problem: losing his girlfriend Anita Pallenberg to guitarist Keith Richards was not doing much to improve his situation. His role in the band steadily diminished and his self-destructive misanthropic tendencies began to solidify. Jones drowned in his swimming pool at his London mansion. To this day no one knows what exactly has led to his dead. The most theorised explanation is that Frank Thoroughgood, who was doing some repair work on site, accidently drowned the former Rolling Stone after an argument - a setting that was particularly dramatised in the movie ‘Stoned’. Brian Jones could be an abusive, unscrupulous man, but he still was a Rolling Stone. He did more than just

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living the image; instead, he became it. Fear and grief convulse us and consume us day by day And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.

J i m

Photography: Flyn Vibert, Brian Jones

M o r r i s o n † 3.07.1971

Jim Morrison, the lead singer of US group The Doors died

heart failure aggravated by heavy drinking or a heroin

just two years after Brian Jones, strangely enough on the

overdose. There are rumours that he died in the toilet of

very same day, the 3rd of July. He was found in a bathtub

the popular French club ‘Rock’n’ Roll Circus’ after shoot-

at his apartment in Paris by his long-time girlfriend Pamela.

ing a lethal dose of heroin and was then dragged back to

To this day it is not clear if the cause of his death was a

his apartment by two drug dealers who dumped his dead


body in the bath. In this setting, also a 24 year old Marianne Faithful, who had recently split up with Mick Jagger, was visiting the club that night and was sworn to secrecy not to talk about the events. Morrison is regarded as one of the most iconic and influential frontmen in rock history. He was literate, highly intelligent and one of music’s most controversial figures - a poet and visionary with aggressive,

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unpredictable manners who frequently sparked the crowd into riots and allegedly tried to set his girlfriend on fire. However, Morrison’s darkly poetic lyrics and eccentric stage presence make him to the untouchable Lizard King: “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything”.

Jim Morrison This is the end, beautiful friend This is the end, my only friend, the end

J i m i 23

H e n d r i x † 18.11.1970

In the early hours of Friday, September 18th 1970, Hendrix was drinking a fair amount of red wine and took some amphetamines and Vesparax sleeping pills - a mix that led to his untimely death. During his years on the road Hendrix was not only becoming a rock guitar legend but developed a habit of using drugs excessively. When he came to London in 1966, Jimi was admired by members of The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones for his extraordinary, innovative guitar-playing skills. He continually improved his experimental sound and elevated himself to the status of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music. After listening to Hendrix, Eric Clapton was apparently furiously puffing on a cigarette, saying: “You never told me he was that fucking good.” Hendrix however was as Jimi Hendrix


Bye-bye, baby, bye-bye.  So long, my honey, so long. Too bad you had to drift away ‘Cause I could use some company Right here on this road, on this road

Janis Joplin

I’m on today. 

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talented as he was reckless. On the night of the 17th September, he went to a party and back to a hotel room

Ja n i s

J o p l i n 

† 4.09.1970

of his German girlfriend. After taking a drug cocktail he vomited during the deep ensuing sleep and “drowned in

Janis Joplin, the queen of psychedelic soul, died in a LA

a massive amount of red wine” as the autopsy revealed.

hotel just 16 days after fellow musician and friend Jimmy Hendrix passed away. Inside room 105, she shot up her last fix of heroin and died of an overdose. Joplin grew up in

I’m the one that has to die when it’s time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.

a stuffy Texan town where she could eventually develop a group of guy friends who shared her interest in music and the Beat Generation. In the late 1960s she became known for her powerful, blues-inspired vocals and made her mark when touring as lead singer of the psychedelicacid rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. After tensions she decided to part ways with the group


and started her solo career with her own backing groups,

in his bloodstream as an autopsy later revealed. He left a

The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band. Janis

suicide note, asking his wife Courtney Love to “keep go-

Joplin loved drugs, Southern Comfort and sex and fought

ing” for the life of their baby daughter, basically apologiz-

against the unwritten rule of how women in the scene were

ing for not “feeling it” anymore. During high school, Cobain

expected to act. She thereby became rock and roll’s first

rarely found anyone who shared his interest in punk rock

lady. Joplin once busted a bottle of Southern Comfort over

but finally managed to convince Krist Novoselic to found

Jim Morrison’s head, knocking him out cold. He loved her

Nirvana. After signing with major label DGC Records with

violent attitude and was, after she showed no intention

their 1991 debut ‘Nevermind’ they started to become

getting together with him again, reportedly heartbroken.

commercially successful. When Nirvana’s smash hit single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ went on air, underground grunge bands became popular in a flash - against what many of

Kur t

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C o b a i n

them had originally intended. Cobain struggled to cope

† 8.04.1994

with the massive success of Nirvana and felt persecuted by

Kurt Cobain, lead singer and guitarist of multi-platinum

the media and misinterpreted by the public. During the last

grunge band Nirvana, was found dead at his Seattle

years of his life Cobain was fighting against illness, a further

home, leaving Nirvana fans worldwide devastated. His

deteriorating depression and heroin addiction. “I must be

shocking death has been a constant source of speculation

one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when

ever since his body was discovered. Cobain died of a shot-

they’re gone. I’m too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in

gun blast to the head, whilst having a lethal dose of heroin

order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child”

I’ll start this off without any words  I got so high that I scratched ‘till I bled  I love myself better than you  I know it’s wrong so what should I do?

Kurt Cobain


A l e x a n d e r

D a v i d

† 10.2.1975

David Alexander, the original bassist for the punk rock pioneers  The Stooges was a heavy drinker and died as a result of pneumonia and an inflamed pancreas - a disease which is common among alcoholics. He early decided to become a rocker, dropping out of high school at the beginning of his senior year and founding a rock band with the Ashton brothers. The trio met Iggy Pop in 1970 and started to play in the formation that is known today as the Stooges. Alexander was not an accomplished musician, but a fast learner and had a natural talent for song writing. The bassist contributed to the band’s first two albums with being the primary composer of the music for the legendary Stooges songs “We Will Fall”, “Little Doll”, “Dirt” and “1970”. 26

Because of his drinking habit and unpredictable behaviour, he was dismissed from band when he turned up too sozzled to play at the Goose Lake festival. Being kicked out of his band increased his frustration and apathy and the occasions where he drank himself into a stupor what heavily contributed to his early death.

I'll be shakin' I'll be tremblin'

Alexander David

I'll be happy, I'll be weak And I'll love you, and I'll love you

R i c h e y

Ed w a r d s

And we'll fall to sleep

†1 . 0 2 . 1 9 9 5

We'll fall to sleep

Richey James Edwards of the Welsh band Manic Street

Six o'clock, dong, dong

Preachers disappeared at the age of 27 without a further

Real far, real far

trace. He was not a particularly talented musician but a

Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye

gifted lyricist and primarily responsible for the melancholic


and androgynous side of the Manic Street Preachers. Suffering from serious depressions, self-mutilation, anorexia and alcoholism he became spokesman for a ‘lost generation’. When a NME journalist alleged that the Manic Street Preacher’s image is a farce, Edwards wordlessly grabbed a razor blade and carved ‘4real’ into his left forearm to proof him wrong. Richey had an extreme personality; what makes it hard to decide if he actually committed suicide or just decided to disappear. Fact is that he left London’s Embassy Hotel at 7am in the morning on the 1st of February 1995 and that his car was found nearby the Severn Bridge,

Richey Edwards

a renowned suicide spot. Although fans and his family refused to accept the death for many years it is now widely believed that he took his life by jumping from the bridge. His body, however, has never been found. 27 Flyn, tell us about the way you work - How do you decide Shed some skin for the fear within Is starting to hurt me with everything

what pictures you want to work on and what is the idea behind it? I tend not to decide outright. There are magazines and

Freed from the memory

cuttings piled high in every corner of my room. I can’t throw

Escape from our history, history

anything away. Music, fashion, art, film, politics - every kind

And I just hope that you can

of image. When it comes to shooting I follow my gut, grab-

forgive us But everything must go

bing at whatever takes me in that moment. It’s about emotion, feeling, instinct. It’s always been

And if you need an explanation

subconscious like that. Back then it was a teenager locked

Then everything must go

in his bedroom with a copy of The Face, a pair of scissors and a torch. Now, it’s anything, anyone... stale red wine, cigarette ash, nail polish, burnt plastic, rose petals, motorbike parts, and paint stripper. There’s nowhere I won’t go.


Do you have a plan when creating your images or do

exhibitions I’ve hated and come away with a notebook full

you surprise yourself with the outcome?

of ideas. I always come back to a quote from new-wave

There’s no formula. There’s no one way of doing things.

director Jean-Luc Godard - “It’s not where you take things

I’m always searching, looking for something new to bring

from. It’s where you take them to.”

into my practice. If I didn’t surprise myself I’d probably be

What do you think about the Club 27 and their members?

bored. The only rule I have is that I don’t retouch - I never

Any personal experiences with drugs, suicide or other

manipulate my work digitally. It’s the physical touch which

weird stuff?

is so important to me.

It’s sad. What a waste, eh. Imagine if this world still had Kurt

Would you describe yourself more as an artist or

Cobain, Jim Morrision, and Jimi Hendrix making music or

a photographer and what was the one defining moment

whatever else they’d be doing by now. It would be a much

when you knew you wanted to do what you are

better place for it. My step-sister was an addict when I was

doing professionally?

a kid. I didn’t really get it - too young for it to mean much.

I’ve been stuck on this question for a long time now. I am a

But in a way I think it did imprint on me.

photographer, I studied that way - I know how to compose,

I’ve never been drawn to that world. If ever I’m down

light, frame, set a scene. But I work in a way which blurs the

or sad about something I just take pictures, it’s the best

line between art and photography. An old friend once told

fucking therapy there is.

me that the problem with my work is that it’s ‘between the table and the chair’. I’ve always liked that idea. The truth is I don’t know which one I am and I don’t really care. I just make images, whatever they are. I’ve never liked the idea of being a professional. It suggests an end point, but there are still so many questions left to answer. There wasn’t really one defining moment. Photography was just it for me. As natural as breathing - It was me. Where does your main influence and inspiration come from? I think it’s important to take in as much as possible. I go

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“I’ve even been to exhibitions I’ve hated and come away with a notebook full of ideas.”

to student shows, I watch 80’s sci-fi movies, I read poetry, I daydream on bus journeys, I listen to grunge and post-punk and get lost in Richard Dadd paintings. I’ve even been to

Interview & Text: Jen Schleifer


LET’S WRESTLE


Waking Waking up, up, my my head's head's in in my my hands, hands, my my baby's baby's gone gone far far away away to to Queensbridge Queensbridge Road Road Codeine Codeine and and Marshmallows Marshmallows have have an an aftertaste aftertaste of of sick sick and and blood blood and and loneliness loneliness II don't don't know know how how to to get get home. home. Phoning Phoning up, up, he's he's checking checking in, in, he he wants wants to to know know where where I've I've been been and and why why II don't don't ring ring Codeine Codeine and and Marshmallows Marshmallows have have an an aftertaste aftertaste of of sick sick and and blood blood and and loneliness loneliness II don't don't know know how how to to get get home. home. Codeine Codeine and and Marshmallows Marshmallows have have an an aftertaste aftertaste of of sick sick and and blood blood and and loneliness loneliness II don't don't know know how how to to get get home. home. She's She's my my winter winter and and she's she's laying laying in in pain pain I'm I'm sucking sucking on on a a spoon spoon cos cos her her name name is is pain pain Lord Lord give give me me water water to to clean clean up up my my place place Photograohy by Kat Ober

that's that's what what II was was born born into, into, born born into into disgrace disgrace and and all all II need need is is love love and and a a better better place place Codeine Codeine and and Marshmallows Marshmallows have have an an aftertaste aftertaste of of sick sick and and blood blood and and loneliness loneliness II don't don't know know how how to to get get home. home.

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Younghusband have just been confirmed as support for Bo Ningen’s UK tour this May. At end of last year Frock & Roll sneaked into their sound check for their debut album launch for ‘Dromes’ (on Sonic Cathedral) at The Lexington and gained some exclusive insight. Since then a couple of months have passed, so we were interested what the guys were up to now. Front man Euan Hinshelwood let us in on some details about gigging in Europe with TOY as well as the influences for the upcoming second album.


Photograohy by Kat Ober

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33 Can you remember the first gig you went to?

What is the funniest thing to happen to you at one

I used to sneak into a pub where I grew up, from the age

of your gigs?

of about 14 and watch local bands. I think the first ‘proper’

Joe’s ankle was bitten by a rat and Pete was stung by a

gig I saw was Echo and The Bunnymen.

bee at the end of his nose in the space of two songs.

Whose sound check would you like to sneak into?

What do you reckon the grimiest place you’ve ever

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

played is?

If you could choose an ideal gig line-up who would

Hull Adelphi I think, but it’s a great venue nonetheless. The

make it on the bill?

first time I played there the floors were covered in mud and

The Velvet Underground, Big Star & Buffalo Springfield

we had to transport stuff around in wheelbarrows.

Who’s the best band you’ve seen live?

You’ve just been on tour in Europe with TOY, how did you

Brian Wilson and his band at the Royal Festival Hall like

find this experience?

10 years ago when ‘Smile’ came out, I think.

Mind-bending, confusing, excellent.


How has your sound changed since you began gigging regularly? It’s loosened up I think. We’re just enjoying playing more; I mean, it feels a lot more energetic than it ever has done. I guess it comes with confidence. You’re also taking part in Krautrock Karaoke the nights hosted by Kenichi Iwasa, what made you take part here? Ken made me do it. He’s the only investment banker I know who likes Krautrock. And the only investment banker I know. We’ve met some great people through those nights. I just like getting wasted and playing the same note for 14 hours and not really giving a fuck. Have you started thinking about the follow up album to Dromes? Would you let us in the influences? We’re in the process of writing it now. Until we start playing the tracks live I’m not entirely sure where it’s going. We’ve been listening to a lot of Big Star, John Cale, ‘70s things. I think there will be a heavier emphasis on songs. What will 2014 hold for Younghusband? We’re touring with Bo Ningen in May, around the same time as ‘Dromes’ is having a deluxe reissue with five extra tracks. We have a few festivals but we’re concentrating on getting the second album written and hopefully recorded in the autumn.

Interview & Text: Kat Ober

34


LABEL LABEL FOCUS FOCUS Illustration by Christiane Matz

35


“I don’t see us as anything unique-just a passionate la-

vals pop up all over the place. So it is actually not surpris-

bel with good acts.”, this is what Record In Peace label

ing when Heywoode explains that both Temples and The

boss Pete Heywoode humbly answered to one of Frock &

Wytches popped up in RIP Records’ radar prior to their

Roll’s questions when asked what sets RIP Records apart

releases with Hate Hate Hate Records and Heavenly - other

from other independent labels. However, with Frock&Roll

than those two, Pete’s been fortunate enough to secure

favourites like Dark Bells, Temple Songs and recent up and

every other band he has set his eyes, ears and heart on for

coming Blossoms and Half Loon signed up, we don’t quite

Record In Peace.

agree with him. It seems hard to believe that the first release only dates back to a little bit over than a year ago. The now defunct Black Manila released ‘Shake That Thing’, recorded by Liam Watson at Toe-Rag Studios, on April 1st 2013 via the then newly founded RIP Records. Thanks to a makeshift ethos and necessity, the label was born because a new London based rival who was set to release a Black Manila 7’’left them high and dry. Or as Pete, their then manager, recalls it “I can’t remember their name (editor’s note: the label’s) now. Anyway, they pulled out which really pissed me off. We’d decided we wanted to release it on vinyl so I just thought fuck it – I’ll start a label, do it myself and probably actually do a better job than them anyway.” Rest in Peace Records was born. The name was decided over a couple of drinks with a little help of a friend called Rich - Rich & Pete sort of morphed into Rest In Peace, when Rich left the name was changed to Record In Peace, which is definitely one of the better wordplays we have come across recently. Arm in arm with acts from longer established labels like Heavenly (Temples & The Wytches) and Sonic Cathedral (Younghusband), RIP Records is paving the way for the psychedelic movement that recently has seen Psyk Festi-

“I just “I thought fuck fuck itit thought I’ll start start a a label, label, I’ll do it it mYself mYself do and probably probably and actually actually do a a better better job job do than them them than anyway.” anyway.” 36


37

This might very well be RIP Records’ very own secret to

about financial restraints getting into the way of things but

success, when asked what would be a piece of advice to

2014 is looking bright for RIP Records, with successful single

give to people who are thinking of starting their own la-

releases of ‘Reverie’ by Half Loon and ‘Point Of Origin’ by

bels, the answer sounds simple: “Find something you like

Temple Songs already out and third single of the year, ‘In

and just do it.” Obstacles like lack of funding can be easily

Head’, by Dark Bells, just around the corner set to be re-

be beaten with some fundraising -“Just make it happen!”

leased on April 24th. Followed up by latest signing Blossoms’

Without any excuses but instead roll up your sleeves and go

debut EP in mid-May, a singer-songwriter project penned

about it with a can-do attitude.

for late June and something to look forward to by Tange-

This passion can also be found in the amount of emphasis

rines , who if we believe Pete are “one of the most exciting

and effort RIP Records puts into making physical releases

bands in years.”

as opposed to purely digitally releasing everything. It is not

RIP Records is hoping to grow to a point where it is pos-

only the bands who want to hold the actual product of

sible for them to release long players. But do not expect

their creativity in their hands but the label head himself is

the Dark Bells debut album anytime soon, instead do not

very keen on working with physical releases.

be surprised about a Malian band being added to the RIP

Obviously we try to find out a little bit more about Record

Records roster soon (don’t say we didn’t warn you). If it’s

In Peace’s future projects, Heywoode unsurprisingly keeps

not world music albums that make it on the RIP Records’ roster it might be one of Temple Song’s Jolan Lewis’ other projects that cover a wide range of genres. RIP Records are not about jumping on the Psychedelic bandwagon. Instead, they are working with friends and bands they believe in. “If it seems like we have a style at the moment, then it definitelely wasn’t pre-determined. I just like good tunes and no bull shit!”

After all, paisley might soon fade and roll-necks might rather schtum about those. He lets us in on some news how-

start to go baggy, but a label that puts as much heart and

ever - there will be a handful of new acts unleashed and

passion into bands like Record In Peace makes sure

- ‘drumroll please!’ – some albums set for release by the

that quality remains for a long time coming and is worth

end of the year. There is even some talk about a subsidiary

being cherished.

called Youthless Records.“It bums me out,” Pete says

Interview & Text: Kat Ober


D

espite being label mates with heavily psych influenced bands such as Dark Bells or Half Loon, or lining up to play Liverpool

Psych Fest, Temple Songs do not shy away from calling them-

selves “A Pop Group from Manchester”; the band’s mastermind Jolan Lewis is more likely to frown upon the latest psychedelic movement than on pop. So how do Temple Songs manage this balancing act, tip-toeing on the fine line between genres and pigeon-holing without being swallowed into the vortex of the music industry? Jolan gave us answers to that as well as why it might be about time to consider moving to Manchester and why it is not the best idea to turn up to one of their gigs wearing a Led Zep tee.

Interview & Text: Kat Ober

40


Photograohy by Kat Ober

41

“A LOT OF THE KIDS WHO A FEW YEARS EARLIER HAD BEEN WEARING KASABIAN T-SHIRTS WERE NOW WEARING PAISLEY SHIRTS AND BOWL-CUTS.”


How was the project established?

How do you create the connection between contempo-

I recorded an EP and album on my own and put them up

rary music and retro sounds?

online. I’ve always done stuff like this because I always

I never made a conscious decision to make music like that,

hated the idea of performing live. These releases did rea-

it just never occurred to me to do it any other way. I’m in-

sonably well and the Manchester scene was really doing

terested in different aspects of different kinds of music, and

something, so I decided to put a group together to per-

I’m interested in the concept of music itself. I read recently

form the songs live.

that someone smart once said that nostalgia is ‘mental

How did Temple Songs develop with the addition of three

and moral masturbation’, which I suppose is just a more

new members?

eloquent way of saying ‘what’s the point in rehashing the

After forming the group I realised that I had very little inter-

past?’. At the same time, there isn’t very much contempo-

est in translating the pre-existing music to a live four-piece

rary music that does anything for me, at least from what

arrangement so I ended up writing more music instead. This

I’ve been shown. I don’t have a choice!

was slightly incidental, as the idea had always been that I didn’t want to limit myself to certain genres anymore, I wanted to feel free to change musical style at any time. 42

Forming a group with the traditional ‘rock band’ line-up meant that I returned to the kind of music I was listening to as a teenager, so it felt natural to start out as a garage group.

 

How do you go about physically recording the music? I’ll usually record Andy’s drum parts first (although occa-

Where does the psychedelic influence come from?

sionally, if the song calls for a less-than-professional drum

It’s a long story, but when the short version is that when I

performance, I’ll play it myself). Then I overdub the rest of

was about 14, I was completely obsessed with psychedelic

the instruments myself. I record to an 8-track Fostex ma-

music. I listened to and compulsively researched every

chine and then mix down to a TEAC A3340S. I like having to

scrap until I got bored of it when I was about 19. I remem-

make the most out of what little equipment I have, but I’ve

ber a few years ago being out, and noticing that a lot of

considered recording to a computer, which I understand a

the kids who a few years earlier had been wearing Kasa-

lot of people tend to do in my position. It just feels a little too

bian t-shirts were now wearing paisley shirts and bowl-cuts,

easy, or maybe boring.

and I figured that there was probably some kind of pseudo-

psychedelic revival on the way. I had no interest in being


43


a part of it, and still don’t, but I guess the psychedelic influ-

of modern music? Ty Segall has some good stuff, Parquet

ence is hard to wash out of your clothes. That’s probably

Courts are great. The Flaming Lips were pretty much the

why the psychedelic elements are a little more absorbed in

only contemporary group we all listened to when we first

our music, rather than being slathered over the top of indie

met. I’m more interested in people like Connan Mockasin

and lad-rock, which it seems to me is what a lot of people

and Mac DeMarco though I think.

are interested in at the moment.   Pop is often frowned upon, how come you class yourself a pop band? Pop is often frowned upon, how come you class yourself a pop band? I don’t mean pop in the way that I guess most people immediately think of, because I generally frown upon that too. I mean it as a short-hand for almost all music which uses all those old-fashioned things like melody and rhythm. I only say that so that when we make a garage record and then follow it up with an album of country ballads then no one can complain. What is the appeal of pop music? I like pop music and I like whatever the opposite of pop

“THE “THE BEATLES BEATLES ARE ARE A A GREAT GREAT EXAMPLE EXAMPLE OF OF COMBINING COMBINING PURE PURE POP POP WITH WITH WHATEVER WHATEVER THE THE OPPOSITE OPPOSITE OF OF POP POP IS.” IS.”

music is. I am interested in both equally, because I’ve al-

What other bands and artists have influenced Temple

ways respected the idea of song-writers showing up at the

Songs?

Brill building and doing a 9-5 shift, completely understand-

Our parents’ record collections meant that we were con-

ing their craft and treating it like any carpenter or builder

fronted with Captain Beefheart, CAN, Velvet Underground,

would do, knowing how to build the sections and how to

Robert Wyatt and The Cramps from a young age. I guess

stick them together. But I am just as fascinated by the free-

we’ve just continued on down that path, a lot of Red Kray-

dom of stuff like AMM, La Monte Young, Derek Bailey, The

ola, outsider music and private press LPs. We’re geeks I sup-

Godz, etc. It always just seemed natural to me that com-

pose. I was 17 before I listened to The Beatles, but I immedi-

bining these two opposites was an interesting thing to do.

ately became immersed and pretty much refused to listen

Do you take a lot of influences from the American psy-

to anything else for the next 4 years. They’re a great exam-

chedelic and grunge scene? 

ple of combining pure pop with whatever the opposite of

As much as anything else I suppose. Do you mean in terms

pop is, I was always fascinated by their esoteric side. It’s

44


probably easier to talk about what we actively hate, which

of changing, or diluting their ideas in order to sell records,

would be stuff like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I fucking

because like I said, everyone else would just call bullshit on

hate that stuff.

it and you wouldn’t be taken seriously anymore. There’s a

How do you feel you relate to Manchester’s music scene?

label here called OJ Records, they’re kind of like that guy

We’ve all read a lot of articles which try to give a name to

who went round recording all those blues singers; they’ve

the Manchester scene, and they’re almost always ridicu-

started putting out vinyl anthologies of the scene, and I

lous. This is because these groups aren’t connected mu-

think that these records are gonna be considered impor-

sically, it’s something else... like, that old thing, everyone

tant someday, at least to someone. Somebody needs to

is heading to the same place, but they’re taking different

start bringing a camera out with them, cause in about 30

routes. Sex Hands, Bernard + Edith, Fruit Tones, Aldous RH,

years they’re gonna be making big fat coffee table books

Money, Irma Vep etc have little in common in terms of gen-

about these grotty little venues. 

re or anything like that, but as people, they’re all deeply obsessive over music, and being from Manchester, can’t be arsed with bullshit and find it ridiculous. It’s very difficult to explain, but there’s just something which means that all 45

pretension is laughed away at the door and you’re left with people being honest. If any mystery or eccentricity is left, you know it’s genuine. You end up surrounded by mostly normal, usually friendly people, who just so happen to be making really great music. In what direction do you hope that the music scene in Manchester will develop? It’s hard to say. You know how when Nirvana got big, and labels started signing every shitty band from Seattle? Something like that I guess. If one of the bands breaks then hopefully everyone’s going to be in a better position to release their music properly. I love the fact that it’s a DIY scene, because that allows you a certain amount of freedom, but there’s too much great music for it to just stay here. I don’t think many of these groups would be in any danger


46

“THERE'S JUST SOMETHING WHICH MEANS THAT ALL PRETENSION IS LAUGHED AWAY AT THE DOOR AND YOU'RE LEFT WITH PEOPLE BEING HONEST.”


BLONDE BUNNY

Blonde Bunny are a prog-rock band formed by four

boys from Oundle in Northamptonshire. They sound unlike any other band out there at the moment, bravely mixing shoegaze, psychedelia and jazz. The fusion of the lead singer’s unique falsetto vocals with catchy riffs, stomping bass lines and whirling guitar riffs with just enough experimental vibes thrown in for good measure does the trick. This is not an easy sound to get right, yet Blonde Bunny handle it 47

perfectly and leave enough sonic space to wallow in. Having supported their friends The Wytches on a string of live dates the four-piece are not your typical retro psychedelic or progressive rock band, with only the odd track running at less than five minutes. Still, as unlikely as it may sound, Blonde Bunny manage to craft progressive rock pop singles; maybe not grabbing the listener by the scruff of the neck immediately but give it half a track and you will find yourself absorbed in the musical creativity of Blonde Bunny. www.facebook.com/blondebunnyband soundcloud.com/blondebunny

BLOSSOMS In the last few months Blossoms have been making waves in their hometown of Manchester after leaking the fantastic ‘You Pulled A Gun On Me’. This has been followed up by support for Twisted Wheel and tours in Belgium and France. All this activity has gained the attention of The Rifles who personally asked Blossoms to support them on selected tour dates throughout April and May. With the entire band under 22, Blossoms is a young band, yet have already crafted a sound well beyond their years. Creating and playing music as if they are possessed, they smash out the melodies reminiscent of classic psych outfits such as The Zombies, The Doors and 13th Floor Elevators. During their song writing process, they go into the studio and develop their trade-


mark sound, adding a more progressive twist; reminiscent of The Coral, Mac Demarco and Smith Westerns. This concoction of sound and skilful song writing is sure to see Blossoms blossom into one of the hottest prospects in British guitar music for 2014. www.facebook.com/ blossomsband

CHARLES HOWL 2013 saw Charles Howl release the storming single ‘Surf Trem’ via Lo Recordings and an impressive self-titled EP via Stockholm/London label PNKSLM. Charles Howl is the brainchild of their singer and song writer Charles himself, who originally started out with an acoustic project, previously recording under the moniker Jerry Tropicano. He congregated a band equipped with a new title and the act has since developed into a live outfit performing a solid dose of rock with psychedelic undertones. Recent tracks promise Charles Howl shunning away from simple distortion and instead refining and sharpening his song-writing while upping the pop. Building on his lyrics the Londoner crafts his own unique vision of perfectly catchy melodies with an angel complex, similar in some ways to a grungier Kurt Vile and very reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees. Unlike other bands from the same genre however Charles Howl’s vocals manage to stand out even though they might be soaked in reverb. The band’s knack for harmonies, chiming guitars and throbbing bass lines backed up by driving drum beats and exceptional song-writing make them ones to watch out for. www.facebook.com/charleshowlmusic soundcloud.com/charleshowl

48


COLOURS Sydney born and now London based musician Tom Crandles might try to stay in the shadows with his latest project Colours, but true to the name his music is too illuminated to provide any secrecy. After countless incarnations, Colours has manifested itself from industrial shoegaze into a mould of its own - driving grooves pulsating beneath luscious synthesizers and jarring guitars that send you into a lucid dream. Just as in previous outfits Tom convinces with beautifully crafted and elaborated melodies and sound sequences of the ilk of a happier krautrock and prog heavy TOY or The Horrors, this time also flirting with a more industrial noise element. Colours maintain the perfect balance between smooth and loud, and with influences being picked from all over the musical spectrum, cannot 49

be pigeonholed into one single genre. Touching on shoegaze, psychedelic, industrial, krautrock noise as well as

COURTLY LOVE

chillwave vibes Tom Crandles offers a genre-blurring debut

Courtly Love are named after the medieval concept of

that will certainly stick in people’s heads. Independent la-

chivalry, the secret expressions of love between members

bel Father/Daughter Records releases the double A-side

of the nobility and there is something almost voyeuristic

‘You Can’t See Me/My Memory Is A Maze’ as its first inter-

and illicit about their sound which is laced with excitement

national signing on the 8th of April.

and danger. Glamorous but a little bit dark Courtly Love are

www.facebook.com/colourssound soundcloud.com/colourssound

merging bluesy tones with psychedelic hazes; a brand-new quintet from East London and one of those rare musical collectives who appear to have arrived fully formed and armed with clutch of quite wonderful tunes. They produce a gorgeous smouldering psych blues fusion, mixing the dark gutter glamour of the Velvets & Nico with the cinematic doomed grandeur of Serge Gainsbourg. Their single, ‘Mirage’, carried by its slow pace, creates a sooth-


ing atmosphere, whilst the guitar melody creates a glistening, infectious sound that falls just shy of four-minutes of bliss. The switch between male/female vocals elevate the track, peaking when the chorus kicks in and the harmonies soar. Courtly Love’s effortless cool is admirable, whisking the listener far away from dreary London. www.facebook.com/courtlylovemusic soundcloud.com/courtlylove

Eskimo Chain London based Eskimo Chain are specialised in what they casually call ‘frustrated punk infused psychedelia’. There is definitely a punk influence traceable that roots back to the time when the four-piece started the band at the tender age of 16. With their music taste constantly expanding they gained massive experience and are currently taking

50

their cues from Syd Barrett to The Fall, from Television to My Bloody Valentine. Their sound is an energetic grapple

with a tight but unpredictable performance with bounds of

between sonic drone, melodic tunes and punk sensibility.

energy making for a massive live sound.

They have not travelled too far from their beginnings, but

www.facebook.com/pages/The-Eskimo-Chain/124133937690182

now they are equally able to indulge in psych ‘60s pop

soundcloud.com/theeskimochain

tunes, whilst not being afraid of emerging into an effectladen wall of sound. A heavy rhythm section is

HALF LOON

accentuated by the euphoric lead guitar and stirring key

London’s pedigree in woozy psychedelia is written large

melodies that evoke that exuberant energy associated

across the annals of history and Half Loon are ready to add

with the best ‘60s psychedelia has to offer.

their own chapter to those illustrious tomes. With nods to

Their full intensity can hardly be realised until seen live. Play-

the likes of more traditional sounds like the early Pink Floyd

ing together since their formative years the band comes up

when Syd Barrett was still fronting them, but also to the contemporary such as Connan Mockasin or Tame Impala, Half Loon‘s first set of singles ‘Reverie’ and ‘Swearword’ show


that the band have a knack for mellow psychedelic melodies. Although only together for less than a year Half Loon’s frontman Daniel Pickard has a clear vision with his songwriting interweaving swirling organs with psychedelic guitar riffs making the released tracks stand out from all the other bands trying to jump on the psych revival band wagon. Instead, Half Loon manage to revitalize psychedelia with a stronger groove that knocks any notions of a ‘60s recreation to one side and marks them out as a more modern proposition carving their own niche in a crowded world. Now under the wing of RIP Records the band is set to play Liverpool Psych Festival this summer and will certainly provide us with more trippy paisley-patterned sounds. www.facebook.com/HalfLoon soundcloud.com/HalfLoon

51

PASTEL COLOURS Pastel Colours are a five piece band from the shores of Falmouth. The band records their music at home a là Jack Nitzsche on a DIY budget or Joe Meek who famously recorded vocals in his bathroom on Holloway Road. There is a heavy influence of bands like The Byrds, a number of cuts from ‘Nuggets’ compilations such as The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Group or Soft Machine as well as of Ty Segall’s more contemporary sound. A closer listen even reveals elements of The Stone Roses and The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Debut track ‘Hands Like Silk’ opens with beautiful oscillation until the drenched guitar kicks in. The track makes up a perfect introduction to this neo-psychedelic band. ‘She Can’t Decide’ is their second track and is being offered as a free download via the independent Exeter label Art Is Hard Records. It forms part of their Pizza Club where the physical release actually comes in the shape of an actual pizza - the topping being picked by the


band. ‘She Can’t Decide’ shows a heavier and more garage influenced side of Pastel Colours’ sound with crashing rhythms and jangled riffs. www.facebook.com/pastelcoloursband soundcloud.com/pastelcoloursband

WHISTLEJACKET Whistlejacket’s lo-fi riptide is raging against the shores of neo-psychedelia. The London based five-piece successfully made their mark on the local live music circuit making them likely to be part of its upper echelon, not alone by heading a residency at the Macbeth but also supporting the likes of Splashh, The Orwells, The Wytches and Night Beats. The past few months have shown that they are not only hypnotising their audience with their immersive sound but they were also hotly touted by The Horrors’ Faris Badwan. Whistlejacket combine shoegaze drones and spellbinding loud riffs with dreamy vocals and have recently been confirmed for Liverpool Psych Fest. Their debut single 'March Hare' featured on The Reverb Conspiracy Compilation LP which is curated by Fuzz Club Records and The Reverberation Appreciation Society. 2014 is definitely going to be a big year for this enthralling and mesmerising Sabbath-worthy psych rock band. www.facebook.com/whistlejack.it soundcloud.com/whistlejacket

Text: Kat Ober & Jen Schleifer

52


Visiting S Y D KE M P 53

For our first instalment of ‘Visiting…’ Frock & Roll paid a

decided London was the place for him to try and make

visit to Syd Kemp’s Friends Studios at Netil House in Hack-

a living with his music whilst experiencing one of the most

ney. In order to get to know the man behind the desk we

exciting cities in the world. For two months he lived in vari-

had Australian photographer Suzy Creamcheese taking

ous dosshouses in the capital only equipped with a bag of

some photos of Syd in his natural habitat.

clothes and his instruments in tow without any money or

Syd Kemp originally grew up in the French Alps but moved

knowing the locals.

to Paris and Lyon for his studies. In the house he grew up in, writers and painters were more important than musicians but he was lucky enough to have parents who followed his newly found excitement toward music and bought him his first bass, and offering constant encouragement. He says since then he has been playing and listening to music every day with both amazement and equanimity:

“LONDON ALWAYS REMINDS ME THAT LIFE BEGINS OUT OF YOUR COMFORTABLE ZONE, AND I GUESS THAT’S WHAT MOST OF FOREIGNERS ARE LOOKING FOR WHEN COMING TO LONDON.”

“I NOW CAN SAY OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC TRANSLATES EVERY MOMENT OF MY LIFE, AND MY LIFE TRANSLATES INTO MY MUSIC. “

His first years as a producer he spent behind the desk trying

It’s a full circle that brings into my life more sharing and

ing how to hear music properly and made him try new

love than anything else”. However Syd felt like there was

things constantly, regardless of his previous standards.

not enough space for musical development in France and

“Starting my own studio was more of a necessity rather

to sound like some of his early influences that range from Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, The Soft Machine to King Crimson. Although convinced it was a failure at the time, Syd now sees the positives and admits that it had helped him learn-


54

than a will; as in using a camera without film, writing songs

to time, even to say hello and remember the good times

without recording them doesen’t make sense in the way I

we had while recording or mixing. It’s delightful when you

perceive my work.”, he says. Since he needs to listen back

realise a space like this is related to good memories with

to his tracks just like other people flick through their holiday

so many different people”. Kemp tries to avoid things he

memories in a photo album, it felt only

disliked when he was working in a recording studio, Friends

natural for him to acquire equipment and skills to record

is a homely place where the bands are supposed to feel at

music. Kemp started his first studio at only 18 years old in an

home and are free to come back to record an idea they

old barn and with his friends, Sound & Vision, at Netil House

had ages after the recording sessions at no extra cost.

he tries to recreate this environment. Friends Studios is a

He adds that “bigger studios have so many expenses they

cosy room where “everyone likes to come back from time

need to have as many bands as possible in a week and


Photography: Suzy Chreamcheese

55


“I DON’T WANT PEOPLE TO PAY ME FOR MY TIME, BUT FOR A FINISHED PRODUCT THAT THEY WILL LIKE”.

Friends studios. It really sounds great and I really wish they would get the exposure they deserve!” Apart from working at the studio, however, he is also involved in numerous other projects, his band Neils Children are currently working

forget about them as soon as another one come in. This is

on a new album, alongside the release of an instrumen-

not the case at Friends, I try to take care for the bands as if

tal mini album by the end of April. He helps Kenichi Iwasa

they were mine.”

with the Krautrock Karaoke nights at the George Tavern,

What originally started off as a bedroom project, soon

plays on stage alongside Sterling Roswell from Spacemen

needed to progress when Syd signed a publishing deal

3 and was just asked to join Steve Beresford, who worked

that required him to record ‘real’ drums. At the time he was

with Derek Bailey, Brian Eno, Philip Glass and John Zorn on

working in a recording studio as an assistant and session mu-

free improvisation nights he organises with the Spanish artist

sician for eight months and felt like he was ready to be his

Blanca Regina. Recently he also worked on a soundscape

own boss and have his own space. He quit his job, rented a

for Fred Perry and an experimental movie by Pierre Bouvier-

space big enough to have a drum kit and started to record

Patron, which was screened in Madrid a month ago.

material for the publishing company. Then he teamed-up

What takes up most of his time at the moment, however, is

with his long-time friend Pierre Bouvier-Patron who does ex-

the work on his first four-track EP, provisionally called ‘The

perimental movies and music videos to propose a pack-

Horror’, set to be released via Structurally Sound in June.

age ‘music and video’ to bands - hence the name ‘sound

It will not be released physically but the download codes

& vision’: “We chose to name the studio “Friends” after the

will be accompanied by a handmade screen-printed A3

sitcom, because Pierre and I spent an entire year watch-

poster of the artwork, for which he is working closely with

ing it from start to finish almost every day when we lived

the Parisian architect Camille Marchal. “The beautiful de-

together. Also, we chose it ‘cause we are friends. Innit?”

sign fits the mood of the music and the shape of your

So far this year saw Syd recording Half Loon, who came

letterbox. She’s really nailing it! I’m very looking forward to

to record four tracks at Friends only two months after he

it…It’s all very exciting.”

opened the space, “We worked very hard together to find

And if this solo project goes well, maybe his dream of work-

the right sound for them as they were a fairly new band and

ing with director Robert Wilson or joining his dream line-up

added arrangements night after night. They got signed not

with Vincent Gallo, Bradford Cox, Kevin Parker on drums

so long ago on the RIP label and they asked me to produce

and himself on bass, might be within reach.

their next single. We recorded the songs at RIP studios with the great Tuck Nelson and worked on the arrangements at

Interview & text: Kat Ober

56


Codeine ISSUE APRIL 2014


FROCK&ROLL + CODEINE