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What, Why and Where?
RAPHAELLA What led you into music? My earliest memories were surrounded by music. We used to live with my grandparents for the first few years and my granddad had a huge love of music collecting vinyls from Peggy Lee to Ravel to French chanson playing them loudly through the house and is Artist studios. My dad also would blast Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, James Brown or Persian music in the car which formed my earliest memories of music ď Š Haha I just remember losing myself in the music and loving the way it made me feel pumping through my chest.
the violin which I started age 6, then a year later I started to learn the piano. I was first trained classically in both until I started to write my own music and found my true love was writing and performing. If so whatâ€™s your favourite and why?
Can you play any instruments?
Even though I love both and always use my background in violin for writing string parts within my music, my ultimate favourite is the piano. Itâ€™s the instrument I always start on when writing. Whenever I sit down to play, I feel completely at peace and can just lose myself. I love the way it can emote so much from just a single note.
Yes, my first instrument was
How would you best
describe your music? Alternative pop with Persian sprinkles. Do you feel your mix of English and Persian heritage has influenced your sound in any way? Definitely. I want to create a completely new genre and for me, I think that as an artist your music should be an expression of yourself, so without the mix it wouldn’t be true to me as a person. When I’m producing I love experimenting with traditional Persian instruments and effecting them up or sampling them. I also experiment with Persian vocal inflections and am incredibly inspired by the great Persian poets Rumi and Hafez within my lyrics, often quoting them. Where you raised here in England?
Yes, born in Somerset and raised in North London via Esfahan :D haha What influences your music most? Real life experiences, Rumi, Hafez and my favourite artists/producers- Michael Jackson, Nina Simone, Imogen Heap & Sohn. You signed to a Publishing Company “Phrased Differently” to write music for other artists. What made you want to write songs for other people? Phrased Differently signed me as a writer for both myself as an artist and to write and vocal produce for other artists. It’s something I’d never even thought about before entering the professional songwriting world, but it’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s a separate way to experiment and have fun in completely
different genres and a really great way to fund my artist career as well as gaining respect as a songwriter in my own right. Do you ever wish you had kept hold of a song? No because I believe that every song has its own life and journey which doesn’t always have to be with me, but there are a handful of songs I know that I would never give away which are truly close to my heart – so I always separate those.
career in your own hands and be in control of your identity when you start out. The music industry has completely changed and I think that if you can’t make it work on your own, no one can make it work for you no matter how much money is involved. Why set up your own label? I set up Koochulu because my artist project and songwriting commitments are a full time business!
Do you write all your own material?
In one word describe “Start A Fire”.
Yes, and I co-write and produce too.
You released your brand new E.P “Start A Fire” under your own label. What made you choose to do that?
Why did you choose to call it that?
Because I think as an artist it’s so important to take your
Because it’s an introduction to my new sound and I want to ‘start a fire’ with this new genre I’m beginning.
Where is your favourite place to write material? By my piano.
What can people expect from the full album? A totally new and interesting soundscape, mixing alternative UK pop with traditional Persian instruments with an electronic edge. Lyrically I want to use Rumi and Hafez as a huge inspiration – the way they word things and look at situations is so unique and individual, with every turn of phrase I’m inspired. Where would you like to see yourself this time next year? Hopefully taking my music to more and more people. Playing on some amazing stages both in the UK and around the world and making better and better music. Any last shout-outs? Download my Start A Fire EP and tweet me what your favourite track is! Thank You
What led you both into music? VJ: I grew up singing down the halls of my family home pretending I was Julie Andrews. Guitar classes were my idea. Gospel Choir was my mother's idea. Voice lessons were required for my University degree, and in my last day of University singing class I performed with a guitar and thought, "ah, this is what I want to do with my life." DC: I had the "Ghostbusters" soundtrack on cassette tape when I was a kid and I thought the saxophone sounded cool, but it seemed like blowing out air all the
time would be tiring...so I asked my mom if I could take guitar lessons instead. What instruments can you both play? VJ: I play the guitar, and can kind of fake it on the piano. My main instrument is my voice. DC: Double bass viol, guitar, ukelele... mostly things with strings. But I like to build my own instruments, and then teach myself how to play them. How would you best describe your music? VJ: Little Dove is the
culmination of all my life's experience and is the essence of my being. Which translates into balls to the wall trash-artrock. DC: ROCK, stripped down to it's bare essentials... Melodies and energy. What influences your music most? VJ: Probably the connection Dylan and I have when we play live, combined with the non-stop encouragement we've gotten in the last year from friends and fans alike to keep pushing forward with the band. DC: We have a certain chemistry that's hard to find... the songs seem to pour out of us. Whatever it is, Vanja makes me feel like I'm John Bonham in Led Zeppelin. I like that feeling. Do you write all your own material?
VJ: With Little Dove, we write it ourselves. I either come to Dylan with an idea in mind or we'll be practicing and a song idea will pull itself out of thin air. That's always cool trick. You are releasing this without label backing. Why is that? This record came together in a way that was quite a magical experience - really unadulterated and pure. I feel its our duty to share that with as many people we can. It's also our way of saying thank you to our producer and engineer, Fernando Perdomo. Our record happened because of him and for that, we are eternally grateful. What is the proâ€™s of doing that? VJ: Doing things in-house. Low overhead. Being true to ourselves. No debts owed to
any record labels. That feeling of being wonderfully free!
Where is your favourite place to write material?
Another benefit is having flexibility over time with other music projects and time with family. When Dylan's wife starts having babies down the road, he gets paternity leave for sure.
VJ: In Dylan's living room in his cozy home in Hollywood. Although I'd really REALLY like to write a record down in Muscle Shoals Alabama, and I'm hoping to spend a few days near Hampstead Heath in the future. It looks very peaceful and inspiring there.
Of course there must also be some cons? What is that? VJ: Well - my bum is sore for two reasons - one from music industry people blowing smoke up my arse, and the other is because I spend hours sitting, clicking away on the computer. There's a lot of hogwash to sift through time spent researching and handling the business side, being pent up alone, which is the polar opposite of where most musicians would rather be, on stage in front of a crowd. Also when you're knee deep in career stuff, its a bit of a challenge trying to have a normal dating life.
What can people expect from the full album? VJ: It's an actual album, meant to be enjoyed from start to finish in its entirety. Hooks from start to finish I'm proud of every song on it. Also - no tricks! With the exception of a couple overdubs on "Sink Ships" everything is played exactly how we play the songs live. DC: Yeah, what you hear is what you get.. I recommend you turn up the volume and stand up... your body will
know what to do next. And if you like the album, you'll love the live show. Where would you like to see yourself this time next year? VJ: Touring the festival circuit like crazy in the UK and Europe. Maybe on the cover of a music magazine or two. DC: Can we go to Japan? Brazil would be nice as well.
----------------------------------------To buy Little Doves new album click here -----------------------------------------
To watch their brilliant video click here ----------------------------------------LIKE
Hannah Dorman Congratulations on your brand new E.P and welcome to your first feature in Image 34. So Hannah what led you into music? As clichéed as it might sound, I can’t remember when I first wanted to do music, it’s always been the one thing I’ve focused on since I was tiny. Although back then I wanted to be a ‘popstar’ and watched Top Of The Pops certain I would be on the telly one day. I’m very one track minded and for me, there’s never been another path. Can you play any instruments? I’ve been playing guitar on and off for over 10 years, starting with lessons at the age of 9 but I wasn’t so keen. I picked it up again at the age of 14 to start writing.
If so what’s your favourite and why? Everyone forgets that vocals are actually an instrument. I love singing and have worked so hard to get my voice to where it is now and really enjoy playing live, - me and my band have such a good time on stage! How would you best describe your music? I’m British Country Rock, I often compare myself to a rockier KT Tunstall as she’s one of my biggest influences. Vocally we have some similar traits but my boys rock it up a bit more live! What influences your music most? I tend to write when I’m
unhappy or angry, it brings out the most raw emotions and vents my emotions in a healthy way. I love to write all of my feelings down in a book and make them into songs, I believe there’s more power in my live performance because my songs are so personal to me. Do you write all your own material? Yes, I write all my songs on my acoustic guitar and I then take the songs to my band and we work out an arrangement together, mainly jamming until I hear something that suits the songs best. Sometimes I have a clear vision of what I want for a song, but sometimes it takes longer to achieve the right sound. Where is your favourite place to write material? I like to be alone, away from distractions, so mainly in my room.
What is your favourite song off the album? Probably the title track, Do You Wanna Play? But saying that, I nearly cried when listening back to ‘Here We Are Again’ for the first time. All the songs have different meanings and remind me of different situations I’ve been in. But I’ve listened to ‘Do You Wanna Play?’ so many times (due to us shooting the video for that track, watching multiple edits and so on) it’s still one of my favourites to play live.
Why did you choose to call the EP “Do You Wanna Play?”? I thought I’d put the first track as the title track, it’s a play on words I guess, a lot of people thought it was provocative, but the song’s more about mind games I guess! (I’m pretty secretive with my song topics ;) )
How do you feel your fans will react to the E.P? I was so nervous about putting it out because part of the EP is fan-funded through Kickstarter. The fans put £580 towards the recording so I really wanted to create something they loved just as much as I do. So far, it looks like they do! Where would you like to see yourself this time next year? There are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline at the moment so I’m really looking forward to what’s to come. I’m always looking to progress and have my sites set high, so I’m aiming for bigger and better on radio, shows, festivals, recording and so on. Any last shout-outs? I’d like to thank Matt O’Grady for producing the EP and working with me on it to get such a great sound. And my band on the record, who are
Mike Chapman (bass), Steven Price (drums) and Thomas Nelson (lead guitar). ------------------------------------Click here to watch Hannah's brand new video ------------------------------------Click here to buy Hannahs brand new E.P Do You Wanna Play?
Welcome Sue Cross to Image 34 for your first interview. So what led you to writing?
It was by chance that I started to write. I joined an organization called the University of the Third Age, which offers courses for people who have retired, and I had decided that I would like to take up painting again. However, when I arrived at the desk, I was told that the class was full. I looked around the hall to see what else was on offer. I decided that bird watching and mah-jong was not for me. When my eyes spotted information about a writing group, I thought that this might be interesting. The woman running the course told me that there was one place left and it was for me! This was the
beginning of my journey.
In your past you worked for a skin care company. Why did you decide to leave? I started the skin care company, Susan Molyneux (Monu), from scratch. At the time I was also when running my own beauty salon. After working very hard, I decided to sell up and lead a quieter life. I missed it at first, but eventually adjusted and am happy that writing has filled the void that running my own business left. What type of material do you write? Mainly womenâ€™s fiction. But I have also written a childrenâ€™s book and a compilation of
Flash Fiction (short stories) that I am yet to have published. Where do you feel most inspired when writing? I like to spend time in Spain and find that the atmosphere there, the colours, the light, the vibrancy of the people and the zest for life, inspire me. Do you have any odd quirks that you like to do when writing?
Not really. I just get on with it! It is a discipline and I have to tell myself to keep off social media or I never get anything done. I do get completely lost in my story lines and characters when writing novels and find that this consumes my thoughts. Itâ€™s as if the characters tell me what to write and, as a result, I sometimes change the plot halfway through.
What would your best advice be to any young writer wanting to start out? Join a writing group if possible. The encouragement is great and it is a pleasure to be with like-minded people. Then, just do it. Writers write! I also recommend going on an Arvon Writing Course, which I found to be a great inspiration. Self-doubt is a writer’s biggest enemy, so believe in yourself. What do you prefer digital or physical copies of books? I prefer physical books.
Why do you prefer this type? I like to have books throughout the house and I’m always reading at least one. You can’t beat the smell and feel of a book. However, I do use my Kindle when travelling, as it’s so light. What has been the favourite piece that you have ever written?
I loved writing Making Scents, the sequel to Tea at Sam’s. It’s about the beauty industry and brought back so many memories, some funny and some horrendous. I also enjoy blogging and have written a travel blog about a trip to New Zealand that you can read on my website www.suecross.com You have travelled many parts of the world. Has this inspired any of your writing? Absolutely! Tea at Sam’s features some of the places where I’ve lived – Hong Kong, Mauritius, Australia and Spain. Where was your favourite place to visit? I love Spain and I feature it in both of my novels. Although the coast of Spain is popular with tourists, I am particularly fond of inland Spain with its stunning scenery and pretty white Andalucían villages. The architecture of Seville,
Granada, Toledo and Jerez is wonderful. An imaginary farmhouse, Casa Bonita, near Ronda, is featured in both my novels. Where haven’t you travelled to that you would like to? I would like to visit Venice. Maybe this will inspire me to write another novel! When can your fans expect you to put your pen back to the paper? I’m still writing and hope to finish my memoir soon. Any last shout-outs? Thanks to all those have read my books. You are the driving force behind me. ---------------------------------------Click here to buy one of the brilliant Sue Cross books ----------------------------------------
Antioxidants – What, Why and Where? So we’ve all heard about ensuring we have a plentiful supply of antioxidants in our diet. But what exactly are they? Why do we need them? And where can we find them? What are Antioxidants? Without delving into all sorts of scientific explanations here, antioxidants are essentially incredible superhero’s and they fight evil pathogens inside our bodies called free radicals. Lost me? Let’s start with Free Radicals. Free Radicals are unstable electrons in our bodies as a result of an oxidation
reaction. Oxidation reactions may lead to further cellular damage of our bodies and in extreme cases, can develop into some cancers. Some Free Radicals can be perfectly normal such as those developed in the metabolism. However, in today’s society increasing exposure to radiation, pollution, cigarette smoke and herbicides, can also lead to unstable electrons. The only way to stabalise the unstable electrons (Free Radicals) are by introducing them to an Antioxidant. Why we need them? You will have undoubtedly heard of the wonders of Vitamin C and E, these are forms of Antioxidants. The more we have circulating our body, armed and ready to mop
up nasty free radicals, the less likely we are to fall ill and age. The process of ageing is believed to drastically speed up as a direct result of over exposure to Free Radicals. Studies have also linked Antioxidants to the protection against cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. The secrets behind a healthy and happy body, is really just common sense, a lifestyle packed with exercise and nutrition. Eat a balanced diet consisting of at least 5 portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit a day, lower your intake of red meat and increase your consumption of lean meats and fish. Nuts and seeds are a powerful source of Antioxidant fighters and you mustnâ€™t forget to stay hydrated and keep flushing nasty pathogens out of your system. Where can I get them? If your diet is right then you are already getting tons of
vitamins and nutrients to support your body. But if you live in a crowded city like London or if you are regularly exposed to pathogens such as, cigarettes smoke, then a healthy boost never goes a miss. Stock up on the following foods: Berries Broccoli Garlic Tomatoes Almonds Walnuts Kale Spinach Wholegrain Avocado I am also a huge fan of the superhero of all green teas â€“ Matcha, see my previous blog post here for more details. In a nutshell, half a tspn of Matcha a day provides you with: 70 x the antioxidants of Orange Juice Raises energy for 4-6 hours Boosts the metabolism Aids Concentration 1 serving = 15 cups of regular
green tea Buy your Matcha from Teapigs here. If you have any further enquiries please feel free to contact me. Rx ----------------------------T: 07970 733 902 ----------------------------E: info@Rhitrition.com
----------------------------W: www.Rhitrition.com --------------------------------