The Music Painter Kilford, a London-based artist first came to our attention simply through promoting his work and events through Facebook. Claiming to see colours where he hears music and reading into his career achievements thus far, it became instantly clear that this individual is on a truly unique and gifted path of creativity. Whilst artists perform their music onstage, Kilford stands tall alongside them. With a blank canvas staring him in the face and paint pots surrounding its base, gloved fingers are his tool of choice and as soon as the first note is played, he bows his head and enters his personally inspired zone. Having the privilege of seeing his art in action first hand simply adds assurance in heaping praise on such an individual. Music and art have gone handin-hand through time and just when you think it couldn’t get any more hands-on (literally) or intimately unique, Kilford steps up and provides audiences with a completely new dimension of entertainment to blend with and display the live music being experienced. Each and every note, pitch and emotive change in the sound are collected in his mind. Audience reactions and the vibe of the room provide an additional air to his arsenal and both spark the dashes and resulting explosions of paint that hit the canvas like skillfully thought-out moves on a chess board, just with a slightly more colourful and vibrant edge. The result of this creative flurry and spontaneity can only be described as truly magnificent and beautiful artwork. Though it may not be to everybody’s taste, it’s safe enough to presume that fans of live music are also fans of creative art on a broader scale. To see and experience two impacting and astounding art-forms live onstage at the same time is an experience not to be taken for granted or forgotten any time soon. Whether it be at a grand festival or an intimate city venue, Kilford’s art has been experienced by such appreciative and positively responsive people, and that’s just taking into account the musicians themselves. With an impressive back catalogue of musicians already painted; Iggy Pop, Paul Weller and Black Eyed Peas to name but a few, we wanted to dig deeper into the mindset of this artist and find out exactly what it is that drives him in such a creatively unique and astounding way.
1: What are the earliest memories you have of being creatively inspired? When I was really young I started drawing cartoons and that developed into me wanting to be cartoonist, so I actually filled out an application form to work for Disney but they wouldn’t employ me because I was about 13, which is understandable. 2. What exactly was it that drove you towards such a creative and unique career? A feeling, a feeling that I had stuff in me that I needed to get out of me, then when I got the stuff out I realised I felt fabulous, so I got more out. There is nothing more beautiful than creating something new for the world, its a buzz, the best buzz ever, and I’m proper addicted to the buzz. 3. How did you first get involved with musicians/what were their responses like towards your particular form of art? I had a vision of painting on stage with thousands of people seeing the creation of a music painting. For the first few years I didn’t sleep much because I was working full time at the same time as calling every music management company, going to loads of gigs, staying up till 4am sending thousands of emails. Lots of people thought I was nuts because the idea was so new, but then I met The Feeling and they thought it was cool, then The Charlatans thought it was cool, then The Black Eyed Peas thought it was cool and 7 years on I’m standing on stage with Iggy at Sonisphere/ Knebworth painting a picture in front of 60,000 people. Musicians have always ‘got’ it, they view me as if I’m like a backing singer, an extension to the band, if you look at the I Blame Coco pictures you’ll see what I mean also the musicians always say they love seeing what their music looks like. 4. As your reputation has grown, have you felt the need to expand upon your work/challenge yourself further as a professional? Its not about ‘my’ reputation growing, its about One Love growing, yeah I started it to represent art and music coming together, yeah I paint on stage with bands, curate One Love each month and post out all the free art to people around the world but it would all be fuck all without fans. so they are the reason I want to expand and do things like a world painting tour (which I am planning right now), then I can get to meet them in Europe, Americas, Asia, Far East, Oz ….Jakarta, I’m fucking massive in Jakarta. 5. Which artist have you enjoyed painting alongside most & Why? Also where has been your favourite location to work? There hasn’t been one that I enjoy more than the other because I only paint music I love. But there are a couple of specials in there, I’ll be telling my grandkids one day about painting with Iggy at Knebworth/Sonisphere that was fucking special. I really loved painting I Blame Coco, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros were moving, of course Paul Weller was just amazing, Black Eyed Peas rocked too, Ras Kwame was a very different vibe and total quality. But its not about big famous names, I loved painting King Charles, Missing Andy were shit hot, Alexander Wolfe was incredible, Akala was great too. Favourite location, Sonisphere Knebworh, painting on a sunny day onstage with 60,000 people behind you… hard to top that. 6. How crucial is communication with fans for you? Its not about communication with fans, its about conversation with them and for me its my top priority. Without them I wouldn’t be doing all of this, without them One Love wouldn’t have spread across the world and without them I doubt very much I’d have the energy to keep One Love going. My fans energise me and I fucking love them for it, its not me that’s One Love, its we. 7. Do you aim for your art to impact fans of the musicians you paint, or do you purely focus on your own inspiration whilst working? Painting a live picture on stage with a band is very intimate experience for me and the band, it happens in a 4ft square space which for that moment is the centre of the world for me. Yeah there’s lots of people watching but from my perspective all that exists is a connection between me, the music and the canvas, I have total disregard what the final painting looks like because I paint the transformation of the colours I am seeing as the gig progresses. Some people will like it, some people will think it’s a bag of shit…that’s life. 8. What does the future hold for Kilford? All my art is free to download high res online and I have a personal target of 10 million downloads at the same time as growing One Love, my first world painting tour, painting at festivals in the summer, I’m working on a lot of fashion stuff at the moment too….but the immediate future, a skinny latte, cigarette followed by a new pair of sunglasses to celebrate spring coming. In addition to his live performances, Kilford curates a monthly installation entitled One Love which is held at The Social, London every third Monday of the month. Fans can also suggest songs for Kilford to personally sketch in his studio and display online once completed. Head over to themusicpainter.com for more details.
Brian Cannon got to develop that relationship to the point where you can trust on everything. I hate decision by committee, people who don’t have a clue what they’re talking about get involved and it doesn’t work. You build a relationship from trust.”
Most famous for his work with The Verve and Oasis spanning the 90’s, Brian Cannon recently invited us to hear him speak about his stillspanning career, having produced some of Britain’s most recognisable and appreciated album artwork. Two of his sleeve designs, Oasis’ Definitely Maybe and The Verve’s This Is Music were featured in Q’s “Hundred Best Record Covers Of All Time’ list. Several of the albums he designed also reached number one in the UK charts. Significantly Urban Hymns (Verve), 1977 (Ash) and two following Oasis records (What’s The Story) Morning Glory and Be Here Now. As a child growing up in Wigan, Brian’s was taught and encouraged to draw by his father, a coal miner. “It was regarded as being sissy to draw, but I was able to at school. At 13, punk rock and The Sex Pistols were all I needed. Then bang, during 1976/77 it all changed. I listened to punk, got into it and just thought wow. I’ve got to get involved somehow.” Graduating in 1988, Brian began working straight away after what he describes as a “lucky chance” meeting with DJ Greg Wilson. Ruthless Rap Assassins were his first musical project, taking ‘1984 New York’ inspiration and creating a superb street paint-style hip hop record sleeve. Using a soldering iron to burn the lettering, Brian layered the sleeve with painted collage and additional photography. Baring in mind this was prePhotoshop days, a lot of physical work went into the sleeve,
Using real objects, Brian created a collection of consistently superb record sleeves for the band that carried on through the years, each one creatively crafted and personally significant to his career and artistic development.
“The point of an album cover isn’t to sell records because some of the best albums have had the worst covers. I remember going to Manchester on the bus at weekends to buy records and I’d spend the whole journey back just ‘wowing’ at the sleeves. They give you something extra.” On their following record, Brian incorporated double exposure to shoot the scene. “Using lighter fuel on the records meant we had about eight seconds to shoot. I had free reign and in my best stuff all the people involved have trusted what I was doing. The last thing you need is someone sticking in. You should just let professionals get on with it. You wouldn’t tell a plumber how to do their job would you? I’ve had a good relationship with photographers and it’s certainly important. Reputation has allowed me to create images people couldn’t believe were real.” Aside from sleeves at this point, Brian was a keen flyer designer for the illegal parties and raves emerging as the 90’s came in to play. The Verve firmly stand out as Brian’s first big act to have worked with. This successful working relationship initially began at a Manchester party in 1989. “I got talking to this young, spotty faced student who must’ve only been seventeen at the time. Turns out it was Richard Ashcroft. I never actually saw him again for two years, but we actually bumped into each other by accident. Now everybody knows what people are doing at a petrol station at 2am trying to get a pint of milk. Anyway, at this point The Verve had just got signed and he still remembered me as a sleeve designer. He said he wanted me to do their artwork and that was that.” “I got in from the off with the band. Again, with any client you’ve
“For appropriate inspiration I’d listen to the album and the lyrics. I can’t believe people don’t do that. I’d totally immerse myself into it, read all the lyrics and question what is their point here? To try and represent that was the ultimate goal.” “We shot on a Merseyside beach and had about a hundred people surrounding. I’d set up the floodlights and lettering but the guy we used was nervous about getting naked in front of everyone. His fee was a bottle of vodka so I just told him to drink it. Luckily he did.” “This is one of my personal favourites at Snake Pass in Derbyshire. I had the neon sign made and out of shot was a generator powering it all. The waterfall was actually only 3ft high, but the effect was made by using a tiny tripod. Again I was totally inspired by absorbing the song.” “Back then you had no idea what we had in the camera. There was no laptop to check so we just had to keep shooting. It took all day because after each shot the cave was full of smoke. I don’t work on film now, fuck that. The exception is infrared shots, but it’s just quicker. It’s not easier to shoot, at the end of the day you still need a great shot. To see what you’ve done quicker and not having to fanny about makes the difference though.” “These were quadratic shots. Every image looks best on vinyl. I bought the Citroen estate and we shot it at Barry’s house in Doncaster.”
“Positioning was a crucial part of my work. It’s all based on Italian Renaissance paintings. The beauty is all tailored and makes the complete package. We shot this at Richard’s flat in Wigan. It starts off with her watching tele and throughout she goes more and more berserk.” Did you experience much pressure from record companies? “It depended who I was working with, but bands like the Verve and Oasis I had free will.” “I got the gear for this from a prop works. I’ve always gained inspiration from where I’m at at the time and at this point I was bang into Reservoir Dogs. I went to midnight screenings in Salford on Saturday nights for six weeks. I was completely blown away by that film. I super imposed the shot later.” “This street was one of the few remaining in the country where the living room’s backs into each other. It was raining all day, fucking freezing.” Brian on location scouting - “ For weeks we must’ve driven up and down the coast line. Often with locations you just see it and bang, that’s it, it just takes patience. You should bare places you’ve already been in mind. Half the time I’d mentally noted somewhere previously. We ended up at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for this one. We climbed the fence in the morning, shot it and got out.” “I do work within moving image. I can’t work anything but I’m sure it’s a possibility it’ll become incorporated with record sleeves.” “This was an alleyway in Wigan. It’s actually me on the floor, covered in blood. I’ll always remember when we went to the pub for a pint after. Me covered in blood with a pistol in hand. Again, there’s no typography used. Just subtle placement. It’s a disaster when typography interferes, it’s a hierarchy of information and that’s all.” “This was a much darker record so I had to change tactics accordingly. I shot band in black and white in Manchester, got the picture and literally hand painted it. I transferred that into a large format transparency and had it projected onto a fifty foot-high wall. It wasn’t imposed, just a ‘bloody hell’ big projection. It could’ve been done in Photoshop, it would’ve looked the same, but I preferred to do it physically. It wouldn’t have included the pipe for a start. I did all this for me though. I trained in graphic design, typography came along but yeah I did it. It really doesn’t matter about the label you’re tagged with. Having this as an installation would be spectacular, anyone who wants to put it together with the money can.” “Great shots should be included, it’s as simple as that really. And you should always try new things but keep it simple. People asked what does this mean? What’s the mystery? There’s literally nothing about it, but it’s good to find interest.” “We went to New York and I just followed Richard around taking pictures. I wanted to use it but he said it would’ve made great solo sleeve instead. In hindsight I can see what he meant. You never get that real photographic feel without grain.” Inspiral Carpets were a pivotal band for Brian in terms of who he was able to be in contact with through them. “I was working at the time, this would’ve been ‘92-93. I’d seen the young Noel Gallagher hanging round with the band, but we didn’t speak, you know what it’s like when you’re kids. What actually broke the ice came after I’d taken my mother to Rome for her 60th. I bought some Supra Adidas trainers that you couldn’t get over here. The first thing Noel ever said to me was in a lift and I remember so vividly - “Alright, I put me hands up, where the fuck did you get them trainers?” From that we got talking about Oasis and the message was when, not if we get signed, we want you to do our records.” When discussing his time spent working alongside Oasis, Brian spoke with pride and passion. His relationship with the band was clearly crucial to the success and consistency of his work and he could only talk highly of the members who were so open to ideas and importantly trusting in Brian’s abilities and ideology. “We were coming up with the band logo the first time I ever met with the full band. We were at Sheffield uni and I’d taken a
load of books full of classics. We based it on the Adidas typeface in the end. Universe black it’s called. Franklin Gothic is actually my favourite. I was furious with Travis taking it for their own, I couldn’t believe it. I got ten grand for doing it though.” Definitely Maybe - “Everything was placed for this, we were actually in Bonehead’s house. The band were sitting and laying so I shot loads of film and used tracing sheets to build the composition. All the props were already there and believe it or not, the wine glasses were full of Ribena. My favourite bit is the mistake. You can see the reflection of the lamp stand in the bottom corner. Years on, I feel different every time I see it. It’s just the most amazing feeling. I’m just a bloke from Lancashire, but it never leaves me. It’s just absolutely wonderful.” Were you always working with the same photographers? - “Most the time but not exclusively. I spent a lot of time with Michael Spencer Jones and a few others. I did the Lucky Man single myself.” What’s the message of the sleeve? “It’s literally just regular guys hanging out in aspirational surroundings. It’s a beautiful house that a plasterer took on and built up.” Have you ever have a particular motif? “The Renaissance painter Van Eyck is astonishing.” “I never put anything in after the shot. The still on television was Noel’s favourite movie, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. We actually had that specific frame on. It’s my handwriting on the album too. I went through sheets of writing to get it right. There’s
so much care and attention, every single bit of detail. I thought about making own font, but I’m not that technically minded. We could always split the money.” “As a Beatles fan, I based this on when Ringo Starr came back to a drum kit covered in flowers. That was the starting point. The budgets we had back then were obscene. We had about ten grand so got the flowers flown in from holland. We had to dye white ones blue to go with the red and white. We spent two days just positioning. The smell was incredible. It’s easy to see a sleeve but so much work goes into it. Just positioning the equipment was bad enough, then we had scaffolding to handle and shots taken from above.” Don’t Look Back in Anger - “Again I immersed myself in the lyrics for this shot. This kind of installation just would not be possible anymore, unless you’re like U2 or Coldplay. You’ve got to have about 20,000 downloads before anything now, it’s just not financially viable. I shot this in wigan with friends and family in the crowd. I purposely use them, not due to money but due to it not being just a job for them. There’s genuine enthusiasm and I think it’s better working with them to be honest. There’s actually a repeated man as well, just to fill the empty hole.” Input from the band? “Because we were shooting film, it was a case of that’s it, bang! It was only ever me and Noel putting things together. We just made sure we understood each other and had trust basically. 1997 was bonkers and anarchy wherever Oasis went with cars crashing and women screaming. The point of this sleeve was for the crowd of people to not be looking at them. We were saying don’t worship the band.” Be Here Now - “It all got stupid by this point. Everyone was taking far too much cocaine. I’d gone from a sixty quid Citroen to a Rolls. It was scrap but still cost a grand to hire it. It couldn’t even move. this sleeve cost twenty five grand to produce. We had to find a hotel that would let us drain their pool for a start. We positioned the car with a massive crane and a scaffolding crew built cramps beneath it. I prayed overnight it wouldn’t collapse. The
following morning, the press got hold of the shot and speculated about everything. The truth is, it meant fuck all. The props used were just as random as could be. The date of its release is on there and the number plate is taken from a car in front of Abbey Road. That’s all.” What’s The Story Morning Glory - “This was shot on Berwick street. The chance of capturing it without vehicles was non existent. I was actually prepared for the first time to digitally remove stuff. It was actually shot in the dark with the street lights on so I had to get aperture and shutter speed involved. It’s not Liam or Noel either, but me and a bloke called Shaun. You can see Owen Morris in the background. That triangle in his hand was the master tape of album and he was out of his head bumbling around with the only copy. I just love the perspective. We tested shots in Charlottes St. in Shoreditch, but I was just looking for that ultimate perspective.” “Here the band are all sat watching blank tele’s. Ninety nine percent of the other shots you can tell, but this one just stood out. It’s a great shot. Noel’s even turning it over. This was taken in Western Super Mare as it was the closest place to Glastonbury where they were playing in 1995. For the colour effect I’d used 35mm film, medium format, and a cross processor. When something’s shot on film, it makes a real picture if you like on transparency. You process on slides and the chemicals react and cause the colour. That orange feel, you just can’t replicate digitally.” Some Might Say - “Noel gave me a handwritten sheet of the song because he wanted to illustrate all the words in one image. As you can see, it speaks for itself. She’s standing at the station, in need of education etc. you get the idea.. My dad actually made the wheelbarrow for the sink. Carla, the girl was a barmaid from my local. It didn’t work out but I got her involved anyway. Again, this was a black and white photograph, later hand painted. It was also their first number one
so it’s a special record that one.”
for example. You just go from there.”
Wonderwall - “This was on Primrose Hill. I was shooting Liam through the frame but out of unbelievable chance, mid-shoot, a black cab went past with Noel coming out, shouting what the fucking hell’s going on. The whole of London happened to be driving past that day, he’s like Darth Vader. Anyway he said fuck this off, it has to be a girl. We soon got one approved who worked for Creation records after testing polaroids. The shot’s based on a Belgian surrealist who I’m a big fan of.”
“Every creative job starts with a discussion and there comes a point where you’ve got to put your foot down if you think you’re right. I’m famous for it. I’ll tell you for why.. X, Y and Z. If I didn’t do that, I wouldn’t be so passionate about it.”
Masterplan - “This was the last sleeve I did with The idea was a young Noel teaching the elders who behaving like school kids. My dad is probably the featured man in album sleeves, I think I used him seven times.”
“When you think about it, most people who buy music aren’t that into it, otherwise the charts wouldn’t be the state they are today. Imagery and music will go hand in hand until the cows come home, regardless of the size, it will never die. We’re talking about it now so it has to exist. I’ve spoken to kids in the past who are into the work I’ve done who haven’t bought anything.”
them. were most about
“One thing I object to in colleges is you have to be able to explain everything, when quite simply, no you don’t. Some things just look good or are good. Things communicate as well and some things are just kept unspoken. You know what it means, I know what it means, but I can’t articulate it.” Working with Brett Anderson was a slightly different experience for Brian - “This was actually Bonehead’s brother in shot. This was also another girl from home, again who didn’t come off. I’m not a sleaze ball, honestly. I really don’t know what this is all about, it all came from Brett’s head. It’s just a classic case of poor communication. Ultimately though, I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t like it. We just didn’t connect so much. It was pre-Oasis though, on the back of what i’d done previously.”
“In terms of current bands, there’s no one really other than Arctic Monkeys I’d want to work with. I still think they’re fucking ace.”
“Not having a budget diminishes quality. Companies just don’t have it anymore. I suppose I’m kind of the last of the mohicans in that respect. It’s become more about the band themselves, to work out what’s important or instead, anybody else who’s bang into it. We’ve got to keep it going at the end of the day. It’s human nature to like the physicality of a record.” “I’m currently working with lots of American bands. It’s such a big country so groups still manage to sell a decent amount of vinyl. There’s not so much money involved now, but manufacturing is still healthy and the appreciation is still there. It’s all overseas for me now mainly, but I work with a couple of lancashire bands that no one else has heard of too.”
“He wanted androgyny as a recurrent theme. If you’ve seen Spinal Tap? (smell the glove). I though you cannot be serious. We had a woman completely greased up, on all fours, on a leash, howling. Going through test shots it just got ridiculous and fortunately he found the light. It was a big album though, so I get it. I just love the story.”
“Most bands have shit logos anyway, it’s just laziness. There’s a lot about these days and it’s cheaper and easier to create than it’s ever been. The people who haven’t got it, it’s their fault.”
“You’ve got to be versatile, especially these days. You should transfer skills from one creative area to the other. There’s a thread running through everything; People who wear Converse are likely to listen to Oasis
At the end of the discussion, a former employe of Brian’s spoke out in praise: “He does things properly, it’s all about the big idea. that’s why his work’s been so well received and loved.”
“It all went downhill for Oasis when they stopped using my logo. it’s true!”
15 Song Feature
UnSung would like to proudly present the tracks that in the year 2010 haven’t been noticed enough and have so gained the status of “UnSung”. These tracks have been chosen for their quality and originality and are performed by some of the best bands from the last couple of years: Prepare yourself to be submerged by an ocean of bells and good vibrations.
Arcade Fire – “City With No Children” – The Suburbs Arcade Fire’s “City With No Children” from their third album The Suburbs, is possibly the closest thing to a Bruce Springsteen’s song. Win Butler’s vocal delivery, sung with a strenuous desire for life, like in Springsteens’ “Born To Run” and the female voice in the chorus resembles perfectly Springsteen’s wife’s voice. Butler was inspired by a photograph of an old school friend of him standing with his daughter sitting on his shoulders “at the mall around the corner from where we lived... I found myself trying to remember the town that we grew up in...”.
Beach House – “Better Times” – Teen Dream Beach House’s “Better Times”, is a superbly arranged ballad that blends perfectly in the dreamy atmosphere that runs through the album Teen Dream. Victoria Legrand’s voice is as deep as the ocean and sings about a painful and overemotional young love “How much can you play with fire/ before you turn into a liar...”. The melody is magical and kept to the bare minimum with piano and a looped tambourine. The backing vocal are superb sounding like the ones’ in Lou Reed’s “Street Hassle”. It’s in the song’s chorus though, that the real magic happens: The rhythm picks up speed and transforms itself in a romantic 60s soul record. Best Coast – “I Want To” – Crazy For You
Best Coast – “I Want To” – Crazy For You Possibly one of the staples of the album Crazy For You, “I Want To” is essentially a universal pop song about painful teen loss of love: The intro in fact, which is almost half of the song centres around Bethany Cosentino repeating “I want you so much” and “I miss you so much”, on a Ronnettesesque song with distorted guitar and then jumps from this half-time to a double-time in which Cosentino wishes to be able to go back to the time she met this boy: The torment of heart break and innocence is perfectly evoked in this three minute song.
Broken Bells – “Mongrel Heart” – Broken Bells The bass line in “Mongrel Heart”, track on Broken Bell’s homonymous debut album is an extremely catchy and poppy refrain that will get easily stuck in anyone’s mind. The song is pretty minimalistic: it could easily be compared to the compositions of Whitest Boy Alive with added organs and quirkiness that unease the urgency of the song. The backing vocals create an almost atmospheric and dreamy vibe, which is kept alive by an electronic beating heart that allows the track to be quite danceable without any sudden changes.
Foals – “Black Gold” – Total Life Forever “The future isn’t what it used to be” a current refrain in “Black Gold” sang by the shamanic YannisPhilippakis, is a nod to the concept of “The Singularity” created by futurist Raymond Kurzweil in which humans eventually become artificial intelligent digital beings. Alongside with the title track for Foals’ second album the song reflects an intellectual and researched theme. And similarly to “Total Life Forever” the whole song is carried by a relentless and heavy bass line, sprinkled by guitars that imitate Durutti Column’s solitary and often echoey guitars. The ending, made of crashing hi-hats and guitars, mellows down with the sound of strings.
Gorillaz – “Empire Ants” (featuring Little Dragon) – Plastic Beach Possibly one of the sweetest and most beautiful songs from Gorillaz third album Plastic Beach, “Empire Ants” is a slow paced tune which features tinkling piano sounds accompanied by strumming and harmonising guitars. The rhythm is denoted by a drum machine and Damon Albarn’s voice is mellow, as if he recorded the whole song under April showers. The peaceful song changes completely half way through: It explodes with colourful synths and keyboard into an exuberant and shimmering disco-pop tune, while the voice of Albarn is put aside to make way to the song bird voice of Little Dragon’s Yukumi Nagano.
Interpol – “Summer Well” – Interpol Possibly one of the tracks which could be defined as “classic” Interpol, “Summer Well” appears on Interpol’s synonymous fourth album. The song features Paul Banks’ lullaby chanting, depicting loss of love and broken heart and a quirky piano riff, that is repeated all through the song. The guitars, bass and drums are, as already cited, “classic” Interpol, because of their monotone and rhythmical sounding accompaniments: The hooks and rhythm section are as always a treat. This piano led song adds something new to Interpol’s repertoire, which maybe a few years ago might have been unimaginable, a certain tropical flair that the cold quartet from New York pulls off gorgeously.
LCD Soundsystem – “One Touch” – This Is Happening With an intro that closely resembles “The Robots” by Kraftwerk, “One Touch” by LCD Soundsystem’s final album This Is Happening is a gem of Euro-electronic music. The bass line is created by heavy and chunky keyboard sounds and the sparse electronic sounds evoke another Kraftwerk classic “Pocket Calculator”. The vocal delivery of James Murphy is a perfect cross-breed between Gary Numan’s “Cars” and David Bowie’s “Repetition”: cold and robotic, it’s like as Murphy has become an android in search of sexual gratification whilst repeating “One touch is never enough”.
M.I.A. – “Caps Lock” - Maya One of the bonus tracks on M.I.A. third album Maya, “Caps Lock” seems like the end of M.I.A.’s rage that has been spent all through the album: After she’s left empty handed and the anger has dissipated, the woman is left in a state of contemplation. The simplicity of the music over which M.I.A. sings and raps is incredibly basic but in a definitely positive way, as for once M.I.A.’s voice isn’t drowned by layers of sounds, and it can be possible to listen to her sing about themes normally hushed by the singer, which include love, domesticity and everyday worries.
MGMT – “Brian Eno” – Congratulations One of the most manic tracks on MGMT’s experimental second musical effort Congratulations, “Brian Eno”, is a psychedelic homage to one of the most innovative and creative minds that sprouted from the 70s. The song unexpectedly doesn’t lean towards ambient as a reminder of Eno’s style but is instead guided by a thundering bass line and distorted guitars with the frantic sounds of ghostly organs and echoey voices which creates an upbeat andsurfy groove. The song changes pace in the song sounding even jazzy, probably the only real reference to Eno’s musical experimentation and references the band escape from mainstream.
Sleigh Bells – “Straight A’s” – Treats Absolute and pure rawness is the word to describe Sleigh Bell’s “Straight A’s”, taken from their debut album Treats. This track is infused with noise as so as if it was the pill for rabies. The song is messy and just as noisy as Crystal Castles’ bootlegs Thrash Thrash Thrash. But because of how short it is, the song extinguishes and pulverises itself as fast as Willy the Coyote’s dynamite. The screaming voices that are almost completely covered by the distorted guitars sound like a group of little bully girls that have just tied up their substitute teacher and have started dancing around him.
Surfer Blood – “Neighbour Riffs” – Astro Coast The short, instrumental track from Surfer’s Blood Astro Coast, “Neighbour Riffs”, shows how this young band knows how to create amazing guitar melodies. A two-minute cut like this song is perfectly fine without any vocals or melody; it is just pure, unrefined guitar rock. The guitars entwine together like in Television’s “Marquee Moon”, while the bass guitar unravels a jangled frenzy andhile the drums resemble that kind of heavy hitting sound that is so beloved by punk rock bands from the 90s. The guitars are strident and distorted and are the main feature of this song, which exudes youth and urgency that Surfer Blood so cleverly deliver.
These New Puritans – “Drum Courts – Where Corals Lie” – Hidden The song from These New Puritan’s masterpiece “Hidden” is an overtly pompous mix of war drums and whispered and muttered words. Elements of electronica and keyboard “oohs” and “aahs” are heard here and there throughout the track, but it’s the brass and string section in the song that injects the song of an epic and almost battle-like feeling. The song is based on Sir Edward Elgar’s “Where Corals Lie”, a musical piece inspired by the homonymous poem from Richard Garnett. The album seems to tell the story of some kind of war between good and evil, and this track represents the battlefield after the battle, with corpses and wounded soldiers.
Vampire Weekend – “California English” – Contra From the band’s second album Contra, Vampire Weekend were able to double their success and quality and didn’t fail into bringing new feet shuffling songs. One that is certainly worth to mention is “California English”, of which a “part 2” was subsequently released. The song has stapled all around the Vampire Weekend manifesto: Fast-paced drumming and jangly guitars that altogether create a sort of old train in motion feel. The innovation here is in Ezra Koenig’s voice, majestically high pitched and auto tuned à la Kanye West, but at least 100 times more effective and still as frantic and mad.
Yeasayer – “Love Me Girl” – Odd Blood Yeasayer critically successful album Odd Blood contained the heavy pop track “Love Me Girl”. The song opens with an incredibly long nostalgic 80s intro, with sounds that emulate the organ from “It’s a Sin” by Pet Shop Boys and the vocal loop from “Never Let Me Down Again” by Depeche Mode for instance. The song suddenly changes pace and strips down to a very basic hip hop beat. The voices harmonise together creating a sensual mermen’s chant. The song then again gets back into its trance-techno section to then finally conclude in its R’n’B persona one again, with added wild animals sounds.
Behind The Alb
GRAPHIC Designers have for years now been able to use the internet to their advantage in terms of being able to neatly display their catalogues of work and gain relatively efficient and straightforward self promotion. A surge still very much in its prime involves such creative people taking existing film and television artwork into their own hands and drafting their own versions out, often to better results than those officially used. In regards to this, itâ€™s time to pay credit to those who either specialise in or branch out into the business of concert promotion.
Jason Munn Based in Oakland, California. Jason, under the pseudonym â€˜The Small Stakesâ€™, has been making posters for the best part of a decade on behalf of independent musicians and local venues. His work has featured in exhibits and publications and a selection of his posters remain a part of the permanent collections at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Denver Art Museum.
DESIGNERS Sure, you’re going to see a band you love and probably regard buying an overpriced t shirt or simply keeping your ticket in as pristine condition as possible as a sufficient way to remember and pay tribute to the event forever-after. Here’s a thought though. Why not think bigger, better and by far more creatively and get hold of a piece of truly stunning and completely unique memorabilia. These posters not only bare beautiful tribute to the shows, but also incorporate a level of truly incredible aesthetic value, worthy of pride in place on anybody’s bedroom, heck, living room wall..
Drew Millward This Leeds-based artist has been drawing posters ‘the old fashioned way’ since 2004. He uses pencils and pens to express his love for the craft of illustration, paying vast attention to detail. H has exhibited globally and has a growing international client base.
Delicious Design League This now fully-developed design and illustration studio began in 2006 as the hobby of friends Jason Teegarden-Downs and Billy Baumann. Based in Chicago, the League boasts over ten years of experience in design and screenprinting. Aiming to be as insightful, crafted and impacting for each and every client has remained the fundamental process of each project no matter how large or small.
Ken Taylor Based in Melbourne, Ken primarily focuses his work within the music industry. Starting his craft for local bands, his name and reputation began to grow in 2001, turning his craft into a full time job in 2006. He is now represented by Drawing book and continues to work both locally and internationally. He has won the Desktop Create Award for Best Illustration on two occasions and was presented the role of Guest Speaker at the 2009 AGIDEAS design conference.
PETER SAVILLE // HISTORY OF MODERN // PHOTO by ANNA BLESSMANN // WORDS by MELANIE BATTOLLA
Designer Peter Saville’s career has encompassed graphics, creative direction and art and has spanned more than thirty years, creating signature branding for Mancunian Factory Records and working for the imagery of bands and brands through the past decades including the likes of Joy Division, New Order, Roxy Music, Yohji Yamamoto and lately, sports brand Umbro. For the latter, he designed England’s new football kit, creating what he’s named the “Modern Fabric of England”. Employed for the city of Manchester as a consultant and creative director in 2004, Saville has worked on what he wanted to be “a modern city for the 21st Century in the way it was the first modern city in the 19th Century”, coining the phrase “original modern” – supposing to capture the essence of the city's past and future and created the “M” logo used to brand high-class events like the Manchester International Festival. However, in the past weeks, news spread that the contract with the city ended in March, due to budget cuts.
Saville’s main occupation, in which he designs album cover art, has never stopped. His latest clients were British band OMD. Saville worked with Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark in the 1980s, creating for the band covers for their various 7 and 12 inch records and three of their albums including their homonymous debut, as well as their follow-ups albums “Architecture And Morality” and “Dazzle Ships”.
With their latest album “History Of Modern”, the first to be recorded after a 15-year-long hiatus the band said “we were conscious of what we were trying to do and we were conscious of the style we were going to utilize. We were going to try to go back to the kind of sounds... essentially the voice that we'd invented for ourselves in our first four albums. We also don't just want to be on some kind of nostalgia trip here. It has to be relevant and sound like now. So History of Modern was the appropriate title, and it seemed appropriate to go back to Peter. Essentially we were trying to do another modern album”. Saville is known to be notoriously slow in the completion of his work. “I told Peter the title ages ago and said, "I'm going to tell you this now, and you've got a year to work on it, so for once in your life, don't keep us waiting for the fucking thing", says lead singer and bass guitarist Andy McCluskey.“I loaded him up with what I thought I wanted to see from my own inspirations, which come from twentieth century Modernism and Constructivism imagery. But I said, ‘It can't look like that. It can't look like a Mondrian. It's got to take those Constructivist ideas, but it's got to be right for 2010, 2011’. Peter got it so he distilled out the simple geometry of twentieth century Modernism but he executed it with a computer graphic and vibrant modern covers. I think he did the appropriate sleeve for what we hoped would be the appropriate album”.
KELLI LEIGH // PHOTO by BENJAMIN DREWE // WORDS by MELANIE BATTOLLA
Kelli Leigh is a singer and songwriter who is possibly one of the best examples of how a great, talented artist hasn’t yet been recognised by the big heads in the music industry. As she says, “everything has a knock on effect!” and maybe, the fact that she’s touring now with Adele might have very positive repercussions on her already fully-scheduled career. Other collaborations include working with DJ Izzy B in the urban duo Butchered Beats and her all-female band High On Heels. Kelli will be touring the United States and Europe for the next three months and being the backing vocalist for one of the most successful British singers at the moment will guarantee her quite a big slice of visibility. The girl certainly deserves it. Her curriculum is never ending and her singing abilities are backed up by a thorough study of the art of singing and helped by a “genetic” passion for music. Kelli was always keen on making music her career even if she had to put it aside in order to pursue it: “Music runs strong in my family. I was encouraged from a young age to sing and write music. I then went to the Brit School from age fourteen and studied there until I was eighteen/nineteen doing GCSE and A-Level music, then a music business final BTEC course. So yes, music has been extremely central to my studies. Then I left and worked in an office job for half a year which enabled me to buy my Yamaha stage piano. I then decided to leave the office and started teaching and doing gigs”. Although Kelli is an incredibly positive and confident lady, there have “been days where you feel like your world is crashing around you and you just feel you can’t do it anymore. I put everything into my singing and music career – that’s what I studied, that’s what I know and that’s what inspires me, but unfortunately I chose one of the main careers where you succeed based on other people’s opinions on you and sometimes when you are just trying to do what you believe in, it can be exhausting and feels like you are constantly hitting a brick wall. However, life has a funny way when you hit those brick walls of giving you something new to focus on. Then you find your feet and go at it again until the next wall comes along... It’s a vicious cycle but you get those few steps closer each time which open new doors”. Her attitude has made her strong and focused because “before you ‘make it’ and have that hit record that sets you off for life, you still have to earn to pay your bills. I teach singing, gig, do session jobs, you name it... if it’s singing, I’ll do it! It’s not a guaranteed week in, week out pay cheque but saying that I’m my own boss, and the variety of my work, is what can make it exciting and keep you on your toes musically and vocally”.
FERRY GOUW // PHOTO by ALEX SAINSBURY // WORDS by MELANIE BATTOLLA
Ferry Gouw is a multi-talented artist who has put his fingers in more than one pie, since he moved from Indonesia to London fourteen years ago because he “was obsessed by football and Oasis”. With an illustrative style that compared to the comic books Ferry read as a kid he made his way through Central St. Martins getting a degree in Art & Design and then did a master in Filmmaking at the London Film School.
After his studies, Ferry began his career through word of mouth, without focusing on one central artistic opening: “Everything I’ve done so far has always been because I’ve bumped into friends, or friends of friends, who just happened to be doing something interesting. It’s never through me pursuing anything, which is how I most like it”. It is in fact difficult to categorise Ferry, which with his multiple interests and talents can’t be define by words like “director”, “illustrator”, “designer”, “filmmaker” or “artist”. The link between music and career is one that’s been possibly the origin of Ferry’s work, as being himself in a band, The Semifinalists “because I was involved in the scene, it was a natural progression to start designing flyers and record covers, and shooting videos for friend’s bands. Tom Vek (with whom he used to go to Central St. Martins with) was the first person to ask me to do a video, and slowly people started trusting me to do their record covers. Friends of mine work at XL and I was just hanging out there at the same time as Diplo. He had this project coming up called Major Lazer, asked if I wanted to submit some drawings and I got it! I’ve been working with them ever since. We seem to have a real understanding of each other’s way of working and they trust me”. It is in fact with Major Lazer that Gouw has had possibly the most success, and many doors from then on have opened: The video “Hold The Line” got a lot of critical acclaim and was nominated for Breakthrough Video at the MTV Video Awards. Since then he has work with an array of different artists, either creating artwork or
filming videos: Late Of The Pier, Mystery Jets, Sleigh Bells, Vampire Weekend, The xx, Simian Mobile Disco and Bloc Party are just some of the bands he’s worked with. After The Semifinalists Ferry went to create the band Celestial Bodies who released their debut last year on Home.Under.Ground Records. Since then he’s been trying to work more on the band and says “I hate touring lifestyle, so I decide not to pursue it for a profession, but I love sitting down making music”. Gouw’s latest projects involve him working with Tiger Beer’s campaign “Know The Not Known”, where new young artists like Ferry will get a chance to have a platform on which they can be discovered. Hidden amongst other elements of the artwork in the advertising, Ferry will appear as a chameleon on full-page adverts on magazines like Dazed & Confused and Empire.
VANGUARD // WORDS by CARMEL RAWLINS
producing together when they were 17 years old sampling old funk and 80s soft rock tracks using their different musical influences to create a different sound to regular french house. They met through mutual friends who wanted to start a post-hardcore band when they were 16, James played guitar and Tom sang, sharing similar ideas and music preferences, they began producing the French House style because of it's funkiness and catchy vocals. Their influences come from a range of musical styles and cultures, stating that their favourite artists are Daft Punk, SebastiAn and Mr Oizo, however Justice's 'Cross' was the album that made the duo really want to produce in a French House style but bringing their modern
introducing Welsh House, touching the likes of Electro, Breakage and soft Drum and Base. The
everything that they stand for, and with their ground breaking success, that probably won't be a problem. James has played guitar since he was 12 and Tom played piano since he was 9. Together they played in a band so have since combined as a duo to bring their many ideas and talents to create a number of fantastic original tracks, first of many being 'Loving Someone Else' - due for release on Kris Menace's label, Work It Baby.
URBAN NERDS // WORDS BY CARMEL RAWLINS
Urban Nerds, bass heavy London party starters are renowned for promoting warehouse raves, house parties and underground club nights. The trend setters provide a new home to underground genres spanning grime, dubstep, hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, reggae, electro and beyond. Starting out as a group of pals pushing the music they loved to a great party crowd sharing enthusiasm for a mash-up of genres to being full time promoters, as the raves have grown from humble Brick Lane beginnings into sell-out warehouse events, festivals and the rest, Nerds are four years deep, with a fast growing fanbase, getting more popular as the parties grow bigger. Back in 2007 when grime and dubstep began to gain the widespread recognition they deserve, the urban trio were simply providing a platform for these underground sounds and placing them next to established party starters like drum & bass, garage, electro, hip-hop and reggae. Finally gaining the recognition they deserve, they've organised plenty of crazy live shows from the likes of Foreign Beggars, Katy B, Skinnyman and Taskforce, as-well as hosting their own Carnival Special club night at Bricklane's most vibrant venue 93 Feet East. The Nerds claim that the most important thing to them is pushing the biggest line-ups possible whilst making the parties accessible to everyone, keeping the same vibe and musical ethos as they originally did when they started out.
Their biggest break was being asked to host a room at Fabric for the first time back in 2008. As Londoners, Fabric’s always been a huge contender in accommodating legendary dance fueled events. Their line-ups have always been illustrious and to be asked to get involved with Fabriclive less than two years since Nerds had kicked off was a great success. 2011 is a huge year for the creative threesome, hitting a few festivals for the first time, including Hideout, Outlook and also London-based Camden Crawl. Not to mention the party starter's favourite festival, full of alpine forests, arctic discos and glacial ice camps, combined with one of the biggest festival line-ups of the year, no one throws a better party than Snowbombing Fest in Austria does. It certainly is a bright future for talented lads, they plan some massive events that are the talk of London town, as-well as other vibrant cities that are stong contendors of the today's music scene. Promoting chaotic club nights and one off warehouse festivities with the likes of Ms Dynamite, DJ EZ, Roska, Doorly, MJ Cole, Redlight, N-Type, Netsky, Mumdance, P Money. As-well as celebrating their forth birthday in true urban style, they're also stepping up the Urban Nerds clothing label and will be re-launching that side of the brand in May with an all new spring / summer t-shirt line and a slick new web store. Passionate and committed to delivering some of the hottest events in dance music, Nerds confess that the highlights of their job is making a living by surrounding themselves with the sounds, artists, producers and DJs that they worship. 'There’s also no better feeling than standing behind the booth at the end of a massive warehouse night and looking out on over 1,000 ravers going mad, the culmination of months of planning and hard work that makes all the stress more than worth it,' grins James Benneson. Explaining that the only downfall is the immense work load. Despite appearances and jibes from jealous acquaintances, there’s more to the promotion game than booking a line-up, getting a flyer out and waiting for everyone to turn up, huge events take months of planning, meetings and non-stop chasing. Watch out for some of Nerd's very special mixes which will be created in the run up to the night dropping soon and there'll be several special guest appearances on the night.
SUPERSTAR DJ, HERE WE GO // WORDS by CARMEL RAWLINS
Dance music is bigger, badder and basier than ever right now and what better way to celebrate it than showcasing some of the largest names that are taking over today's music scene. Dubstep seems to be the most talked about genre of dance music at the moment, influencing many artists and musicians to adapt their style to wonkier baselines and heavier beats. Genres such as Jungle, Hiphop, Drum and Bass, Garage, Grime, Bassline, Reggae, Minimal and Funky are all progressing their styles and collaborating fresh sounds to create a whole new genre of music. However, some argue that DJs and record producers don't get an equal recognition that musicians do, implying that it doesn't take talent to create mixtapes and produce beats in comparison to writing lyrics and playing instruments. Nevertheless, in their defence, DJs and producers are just as strong contenders of the music industry as lead singers or bassists are, putting in just as much work, if not even more input behind the scenes that isn't credited by fans and others that aren't educated on this matter. The responsibilities of being a DJ are just as daunting as performing vocally on stage infront of a large audience, exclaims Tom Morgan, half of French House duo Vanguard.
Clean shaven beat boxing pro and UK Beatbox 2006/2007 Champion, formerly known as Darren Foreman continues to wow Brighton with his incredibly talented skill
'It's certainly incredible working alongside such great artists', states the silly talented DMC and record breaking turntablist JFB, who tours with Beardyman In recent years the art of turntablism has spun off in myriad new directions, with techniques such as video scratching and instant sample creation representing a dramatic sea-change for the discipline. Few artists have been further to the fore of these fresh developments than Brighton's JFB, a scratch DJ and party starter extraordinaire who won the UK DMC Championship in 2007. Besides djs creating a buzz, bringing good vibes and entertaining wild party-goers, (not to mention playing incredible music), alot of them have more input than meets the eye. Introducing bass heavy London party starters Urban Nerds, renowned for promoting and hosting anything from warehouse raves to house parties to underground club nights. The trend setters are modest, exclaiming that they've only recently thought of themselves as well established, full time promoters as the raves have grown from humble Brick Lane beginnings into sell-out warehouse events, festivals and the rest, constantly organising other great artists, promoting events and djing. 'Itâ€™s great to be known as established promoters now but the pressure is always on to make sure that recognition is there for the right reasons,' grins James, The most important thing to them is pushing the biggest line-ups possible whilst making the parties accessible to everyone, keeping the same vibe and musical ethos created when they first began. Music is just as controversial as art nowadays, new genres are being pushed into the limelight and it seems that the unpredictability of it all just doesn't shock the nation anymore. 'Music like art is anything bands and Djs can get away with and if it's popular, will influence a great deal, including musicians and producers, adapting new styles, influencing new trends,' expresses Unitz, formerly known as Dan Harden, who is on Caspa's label 'Dub Police'.
Unitz is a strong contender in the dubstep scene, making music with wobbly baselines and grimey drops, he DJs anything from Jungle to Reggae to Experimental. Firstly getting well known from creating a tune called The Drop, Rusko was a huge fan and decided to take things further. It's a hectic year for Surrey born Unitz, he's playing in Belgium next month and touring Canada straight after as-well as DJing at Bristolian festival Nass. James Thomas, the other half of electro duo Vanguard believes that DJs generally don't get the same recognition as band members do. 'Unless you're a superstar producer you're not going to get recognised as often as bands would, not just visually by fans, in the aspect of getting the praise and encouragement that posey front men get from instrumental bands.
That said, James gets recognised every so often due to his bleach blonde hair colour. At the moment though electronic music is taken as seriously, if not more seriously than live bands. Looking at the charts and the most successful artists around at the moment, their music is either entirely electronic with vocals layered on top or at least influenced by the scene. Jean- Marc who scratches alongside Ed Solo and other hidden gems in Brighton, agrees with Vanguard, stating that well known Djs get the same recognition, however scratchers and mixers usually aren’t in the spotlight. ‘Not many people seem interested in scratch djs in comparison to big bands at the moment, unless one of the scratch djs is in a successful band’. It definitely takes skill to mix songs with different and producers do it so flawlessly. The constant release taking over the world. Take Chris Cox, he got noticed made megamixes and remixes for some of the biggest names
beats into one session, many DJs of mixtapes and collaborations is for his mixing abilities and has in the music industry.
Even if someone doesn't play an instrument or write their own vocals, the structure of it is the same as if they did. Demonstrating beat, melody, effects, vocals, bass/treble, sometimes showcasing backing instrumental like guitars and pianos, this clearly exhibits that the process of creating material can be completely different but still have the same outcome, be it that it's DJs or drummers producing music. Allegedly, DJs and producers are just as talented as professional musicians. Many people label DJs as ignorance to talent in the industry, however there are DJs who play musical instruments in the process of their music producing and some of them are multi-instrumentalist too, including the likes of Moby, Mark Ronson. What most people would consider a musician would be someone who plays an instrument, or sings, and/or composing their own music. DJ's have talent, putting together beats. A lot of people are stuck on the old fashion way of creating music, guitar, pianist, orchestrated music etc etc. DJs are like the new style of musicianship of the future and therefore people degrade it because of technology playing a huge roll of how their music is being created, instead of by scratch. DJs are really passionate on creating their music just as musicians are, they are basically orchestrating how sounds are being put together and viola. Guess you can call them composers? Recently, the line between producers and DJs have been blurred. A lot of DJs in dance music are starting to produce, and producers in dance are movitated to become DJs. Also, more DJs are starting to perform in clubs instead of DJ in clubs, using tools such as pad controllers, samplers, Ableton Live, and software plug-ins. Deadmau5 is a pioneer in performance vs. DJ'ing; his setup for his live shows aren't like anything DJs use. Recently he got in trouble for a story published in an Irish publication calling DJs all sorts of bad things, which threw gasoline on the fire that is this conversation.
The curse of the second-hand ticket. Where do you buy your tickets from, a tout, maybe eBay or an official site? Could you be one of many who are getting caught up in something that is potentially harming the music industry as we know it? You can’t even say you are saving money as eBay buyers and touts pay a small price for a ticket and double sometimes even triple the price before selling it on. Thus the artist you thought you are paying isn’t getting all the money of the ticket profit. Even unsigned bands are getting touts outside the venues now making a £5 ticket £40 and I’ve seen people pay it. Festivals are the worst with ‘Reading and Leeds’ tickets going on sale at 9am most of us aren’t around to get them, then by the time we can it’s too late; they are sold out and up on websites at a ridiculous price. Photo ID and a maximum buy should be bought in not just to save the industry but so we can see those oh so important bands. The internet seems to be the devil here as it is becoming ever easier not just to resell tickets but to forge them as well; you might not even be paying for a real ticket. The iTunes festival which takes place at Camden Roundhouse once a year have the right attitude. Although all the tickets are free to win, to stop people making money from them, you have to take photo ID with you. Slightly annoying on your part but so much better for the artist you are supporting.
instead will put genuine resales through to other fans. Think via the bands website or over social networking sites like the ever growing Twitter. On her website Sharon wrote, “Ticket touting generates millions of pounds a year in the UK - all of which comes out of the pockets of fans, none of which goes to supporting grassroots sport or the creative industries, and a little of which will be taxed like normal income or business profit, in some cases, touts can earn more than the artists.” Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn is also onboard stating that “I am enormously pleased with the tabling of this Bill. It is something I have campaigned for and recommended on a number of occasions during the last five years and couldn’t be happier therefore that Mrs Hodgson has taken the bull by the horns and is seeking to steer it through Parliament.” The waiting came is due to start and promoters and fans everywhere are keeping their fingers crossed that the Bill goes through. We all ready have problems with illegal downloads, just look at how many music stores are having to close down. Do we really want ticketing to go the same way. Heres hoping that Parliament are music fans and will come on our side. Our part is to just make sure we get our tickets from legit sellers and even if it means sneaking out of work or turning up late to class get them as soon as they go on sale.
With such sites as Ticketmaster CEO mentioning that “secondary ticketing should be made illegal,” we see that it is starting to take it’s tole. Irving Azoff had this to say, “I don’t believe there should be a secondary market at all, i believe that scalping and resale should be illegal.” The man is right, although ticketmaster take a profit from ticket sales at least the band/singer are getting something, when you a buy a ticket second hand it isn’t helping anyone but the person selling it. Look at all the tickets you bought and the ticket price, is that how much you paid? If not you are being scammed. Fear not, as the issue of secondary ticketing is getting discussed in the Houses of Parliament, a Private Member’s Bill looking to crack down on touts is getting it’s second reason. By the festivals next summer we should be safe and know that are tickets are real and at a reasonable price. The idea behind the bill which is named “Sharon Hodgson’s Sale of Ticekts Bill,” aims to prevent touts from reselling and
Paul Harries Occupation: Photographer (Currently with Kerrang! magazine) Most Famous Work: Green Day, Foo Fighters, The Prodigy, Slash and many more. As music is becoming a more and more image driven religion photographers are becoming more own and need recognition. How many posters do you have up on your wall and do you even know who took them? They don’t just come out of thin air, every picture in every magazine, in every music store has been done for a reason. Paul Harries is one such person that has helped create the world of the rock industry. Rockers used to be just ugly ‘radio faces’ but now we see them in a whole new light and want to be them. As part of the Six Shooters, Paul is not just a photographer but part of a growing culture that gives to charity. Selling images for the Teenage Cancer Trust he is one hell of a man. The images were viewed via Proud galleries for a period of time, even though the exhibition is now over the work can still be viewed on the web. It makes you stand up and notice why Harries has be noticed and why his work should be celebrated. It hasn’t all been the glory days of a freelance photographer and living the started work life out as a clerk at the Bank of England but got shown to the nights shooting bands at various gigs. The building up of his portfolio lead wants to be in life and Kerrang! magazine couldn’t be happier to have him on
rock ‘n’ roll life style. He light as he would spend the him to where he is now; where he board.
Thinking back on the weirdest shoot to date Paul mentions that it was with actress Juliette Lewis “it was in an underwear shop near the Kerrang! office. There was a big fibre-glass horse in there and she climbed on top of it and started writhing around. So I’m shooting away as Mallory Knox from Natural Born Killers calls me a motherfucker sitting astride a bright orange horse. I thought to myself: I quite like this job.” Admittedly after shooting bands just standing still in a photo studio this is odd. As well as doing still shoots, Paul has done a view album covers in his work life including that of Arch Enemy. On top of that this man needs credit for his live shoots. Normally you can only get excited for a gig if you have been there and had memories but Paul has a knack of making each image feel as though you were there in person. One shoot stands out in particular for this camera man and that is with the legendary Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. “Bruce asked me to look out for any planes during the shoot, that was a bit disconcerting because he was flying a Cessna aircraft at the time,” states Paul, we’d be worried as well.
Talent is not just the sound You would be in denial if you thought music was just about the music.Talent is in the cloth and it needs undressing. Every image you see of a musician is purposely done; now-a-days it is far more of an image situation than ever before, what you wear on tour, on video shoots and even on the so important album cover, the clothes you wear will get you judged. Fashion designers and stylists all need credit for making the stars we know today. Even those iconic Beatles images were styled, you’d be a fool to believe otherwise. Music and fashion are joining forces like they never have before. It’s as though musicians have taken a step back in time and find themselves getting told what to wear once again, they do make certain decisions but if it won’t sell you don’t wear it. In the world we have today, sex sells and that’s all there is to it. More and more people keep talking about who is wearing what and seeing as most celebs are the music stars we have to pay attention. The radio no longer classes as a look and those that have a face for radio are under pressure to look good. Welcome to the fashion world of the music industry. The Brit award coverage was about the winners, performances and what everyone wore on the red carpet. Take Lady Gaga for instance, does her music really get spoken about that much, No. It’s all about that ‘meat dress’ and what design she has on her back. No surprise really seeing as we are an image driven culture. Who is Lady Gaga’s favourite designer you say, well the master behind the ‘freak woman’ is Rachel Barrett a Scottish fashion design graduate. “Rachel is my favourite new designer. Her innovation with latex, silhouette and minimalism is refreshing, inspirational and promising for the future of fashion,” states Gaga. Not just the future of fashion it seems but the future of more and more music stylists. It’s like artists don’t dress themselves anymore. What started out as a hard life trying to work as a freelance designer after graduating in 2009, Rachel never thought that Gaga would be her saviour. She had to create a bespoke collection for Gaga’s Monster’s Ball tour as well as for Jared Leto, 30 seconds to mars “a childhood fantasy come to life,” is how she described the experience. The 24 year old may be unknown but music is taking and making her massive. She isn’t the only one from the fashion pack turning her interest to music design; designer Mark Fast has been busy and got a look in. With known artists such as new Brit star Jessie J, Eliza Dolittle and megastar Kylie. “I was thrilled to dress such an intelligent, inspiring, beautiful creature as Kylie, her music brings excitement and uplifting joy to pop culture,” is how Fast feels. He changed a design from his spring/summer 2011 collection because she wanted it a certain way; and she got it; music stars are controlling the designers and are loving every second. It is finally getting what it has always wanted. The Canadian never thought he would become a music designer, his main love is knitwear and upon coming to London and seeing what we have to offer made him a designer. It took singers in his designs to make him known in the music industry and now if you wear his design to The Brits, you’ve made it. Obviously designers make the clothes but who told Eliza to wear her Mark Fast dress back to front, it wasn’t him or else he would have designed it that way. No it all comes down to stylists. You don’t want to lose out on a record deal due to a single flopping because the video wasn’t right. Ever since there has been a ‘celeb’ following, the media has taken over and now everything is about what you put on your back. If you want to make it in music then first you need a talent yes, but as shows like ‘X-Factor’ prove it isn’t just that, take Jedward, no talent what so ever but yet consumers like them, they
are known for their hair. Mr Hudson, Mark Ronson, Rihanna, 30 seconds to mars, Laura Marling: all artists that are styled. Aradia Crockett is one of those people, as a fashion stylist she has many clients. Her most famous work is the Band shoots she does for the Guardian. She has styled many people like that of Laura Marling. Her work makes the singer stand out as well as showing off her personality. Although, it has to be said Aradia never started out as a stylist. She started her work life in PR and gradually found herself styling people on the whim, gaining contacts as she went along to land her the job she has today. Mainly known for her work in fashion it won’t be long before more and more artists will be looking in her direction to make the album cover look just right. Karen Binns is another amazing lady that joins Crockett in an ever growing team of music stylists. The New Yorker has spent the last 20 years styling music and fashion icons alike. In the last 12 years alone she is responsible for singer Tori Amos as well as adding to her collection this year Estelle, Mr Hudson and Kayne West. Massive names that you see all over the media, every image you see of them as been made to look that way by Karen; a true music stylist. She came to be when she met singer Tori through a photographer Cindy Palmano. “Greatest Triumph - my work with Tori...she knows I’ll deliver what she wants,” Karen also describes the singer as “raw but glamourous” clear then that she likes to make people look an exact of their personality. Going on to say “She looked like a teenage bag lady... Honey, I can give you a Galliano dress and tell you you’re fabulous, but keep it real. Reality always sells.” The woman knows what she’s talking about. A massive fan of music herself she is the wanted stylist on everyone’s mouth. Do you have to have a passion for music to style it? Well no, but it sure does help as stylist Ella Pearce Heath knows. She studied the cello and composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Her most famous client that started her in a life of style is all female classical pop group Escala for television programme Britain’s Got Talent. Designing bands merchandise as well she is a lady of many talents. She has also worked with other such stars like Noush Skaugen live shots. These are the people that you need to know to make it big, to sell that album , to produce a tour and although we may not like to admit it, it is happening and we need it to happen. They are behind the scenes but are coming forward and we are getting more aware of how they are helping the artists. It will never go back to being just about the music so now it is time to embrace and learn a tad about fashion from our girlfriends.
JAMIE HEWLETT // ART by JAMIE HEWLETT // WORDS by KELLY JONES Perhaps even now the idea of a ‘animated band’ sounds absurd, and, to some, even juvenile. Whilst the idea of an animated band has been around since the Archies, it was Jamie Hewlett’s groundbreaking work with Gorillaz that twisted and skewed perceptions of what a band could be and pushed the boundaries of the artist versus the media counterpart. In order to allow a deeper focus to be placed on the sound rather than allowing a fascination with the musicians, Hewlett designed what arguable became one of the most memorable and iconic colloborations between music and graphics ever. Hewlett first rose to cult fame in the late eighties, when he colloborated with writer Alan Martin to create Tank Girl in ‘Deadline’ magazine, an anarchic and often surreal comic strip. Hewlett’s style was honed here, and he developed a recognisable unique style and flair. Hewlett took his inspiration from punk visual art and the Japanese anime style of Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa which went on to have a massive influence on his work for Gorillaz.
After his work on Tank Girl, Jamie crossed paths with musician Damon Albarn, famous for his work with Blur. The two met through a mutual connection, Jane, Jamie’s girlfriend at the time. “Me and Damon absolutely hated each other at first,” Hewlett told The Guardian. The pair, both splitting up with their respective girlfriends around the same time, moved into a flat together. “We’d spend hours watching MTV and wondering why everything on it was so terrible. I think Damon was tired of being the frontman for Blur, and I was just aghast at how boring most pop groups are when they’re interviewed. Look at them, on television, all sat on the couch with nothing to say. So we said, ‘let’s make up a fake band’.” Thus the formula and idea for Gorillaz was created. Hewlett was placed directly in charge of art, their music videos, promo work and art at live shows, whilst Albarn remained the only constant musician. Whilst his work was predominantly for Gorillaz, in 2000 Hewlett designed the front cover of Mindless Self Indulgence’s album ‘Frankenstein Girls Will Seem Strangely Sexy’. In this Hewlett used his now recognisable and familiar style. Not long later, in 2001, Gorillaz was elected into the Guinness Book of World Records for the Most Successful Virtual Band. It was Gorillaz and their particular style that popularised the term ‘Virtual Band’. Gorillaz has developed into a large community of everchanging musicians who throw their talent behind Hewlett’s artwork to create it’s current incarnation. In 2007 his work then spread to Monkey: Journey to the West, a stage adaptation of a 16th Century Chinese novel by Wu Cheng’en. Working once again with Albarn, Hewlett was in charge of the artwork, animations and costumes, taking the show which ran from 2007 ‘til 2009 across the country, with initial talks about a residency in China. Using the monkey character from the show Hewlett and Albarn also created the introducing animated section of Beijing 2008 Olympics. However, more recently in 2009 Hewlett had an exhibition of work on sale in aid of Oxfam after visiting Bangladesh. It’s impossible not to see how influential Hewlett’s work has become, and how it’s expanded through different mediums like Monkey: Journey to the West. His art has become solidified in music history through Gorillaz’ success and, having run a competition through the Gorillaz website to create a character in the Gorillaz story, the kind of influence his work has had on a younger generation of artists is extremely apparent.
MAKING A MARK // WORDS by KELLY JONES
The peculiar thing about art is that once it has been constructed, filmed, photographed and somehow released into the world, there is a very real fear that said art will be bogged down without recognition of its original conception. It is lost within a sea of millions of other music videos and album art. So, in light of this, it’s not at all hard to see why many directors and artists enjoying leaving an impression and a mark on their work - literally. There is something deeply enigmatic about artists behind a secret nod of recognition. These can come in many forms, perhaps it’s even a little inside running joke for their fans to spot and appreciate. It’s a lot harder to spot certain signs unless you are a deeply invested fan within that work, and even then it may not even strike you. Some are hidden, and others are blatant, but as the digital era waves over the music industry and credit isn’t always placed where it’s due, the small things have become massively popular. Within music video directors, Marc Webb, who went on to record his first feature length with critically acclaimed movie ‘(500) Days of Summer’ has been known to include trademarks within his own work. His signature is a white lamb, which runs through several of his music videos. There’s no specific reason for Webb to place these lambs into his pieces, seemingly placed only to serve as proof and knowledge that they’re his work. A close up of the lamb is often shown, such as in the music video for ‘Sic Transit Gloria... Glory Fades’ by Brand New, where the white lamb is shown on a door. The appearance of this lamb interlinks with several of Webb’s Yellowcard videos. However, curiously enough, despite having recorded videos since the late 90s, Webb’s lamb hasn’t yet made a wide appearance. Female video director Sophie Muller has worked with many notable artists, including Hole and Weezer. In the same vein, but with a very different form of trademark, Sophie Muller has become known for her trademark of putting artists and bands in darkened and isolated rooms. Also within music videos, Foo Fighters have also been known to use muzak versions of their songs in their own videos, including an arrangement of ‘Everlong’ in ‘Learn To Fly’. Perhaps this is more notable as a decision by the band, as the videos have different directors. Also, electronic musician Aphex Twin has become notorious for injecting grinning images of his own face into everything to do with his music - artwork and music videos, and even literally into his music. He has placed his face onto the bodies of others in his videos for singles ‘Windowlicker’ and ‘Come To Daddy’. Several of his albums feature a photo of himself grinning. Perhaps more famously and icon, he placed a distorted looking version of his own face into his song ‘Equation’. It’s revealed when run through spectral analysis - a spectrogram - that shows how a song’s density varies with time. Other trademarks shown throughout the music industry include photography, where notable long time Verve and Oasis artist Brian Cannon is prone to using mirrors in his work, including Definitely, Maybe and The Verve EP cover, which was shot through a mirror. He is also known to use his father quite a bit within his photos, including the iconic cover for the 1995 Oasis single Some Might Say. It’s certain that, for whatever reason artists, musicians and directors are choosing to make their work stand out, whether intentionally or subconsciously using trademarks to imprint their style and name onto it. It’s certain to say they provide a clarity and consistency to their work - such as Aphex Twin’s - and allow a distinctive mark like Webb’s lamb. As the digital age engulfs music and begins to remove credits, perhaps more of these trademarks will surface in order to allow artists and contributors to mark their work without anyone even needing to lift the liner notes.
CHARLIE HUGALL // PHOTO by UNKNOWN // WORDS by KELLY JONES
We’re currently sat in the modern, sleek looking kitchen of the The Dairy Studios in Brixton, which have played host to the likes of the Wiley, Muse and La Roux. It was also where Charlie Hugall produced the Florence and the Machine songs that have recently put his name on everyone’s lips. There’s no denying that Hugall’s success has been born from his stunning work with award-winning Florence and the Machine and led him to be coined as the new ‘Stephen Street’ by the likes of the Guardian. He’s also worked with the likes of The Maccabees and has worked on sessions with Razorlight and the Kaiser Chiefs. It’s apparent that Hugall’s approach and honesty toward music and his work has led him up the path he’s currently treading. He’s laidback, casual and talkative, and it’s impossible to not feel a vivid electricity as he passionately talks about his career with the kind of zealous enthusiasm of a man genuinely dedicated to his work. Hugall’s interest in production started when he was fairly young. He explains that his initial introduction and aspiration to be involved in music stemmed from the presence of his brother’s band. “I was really jealous,” he explains, self-proclaiming to be a music lover but otherwise lacking in the area of actually playing the instruments. His brother’s band, and, ultimately, his jealousy was to become the catalyst for Hugall’s progression into the music world. “When they’d rehearse I’d record them, one microphone hanging from the ceiling sort of thing. That was when I was probably about eleven,” he says. At the age of fifteen Hugall purchased a second hand Mac, allowing him access to a new yet still fairly low budget means of producing. “I was just programming beats and stuff, as you do if you have something like that, it was awful,” he explains. However, his choices in education gave little indication of the career path Hugall was to eventually follow. “I did a degree in fine art, but I didn’t actually do any painting at all. I was meant to,” he adds, with a smile. His time was predominantly invested in music and production, and whilst he graduated from his degree in fine arts it was not a paintbrush Hugall was experimenting with. His sonic experiments included putting his friend’s Staffordshire Terrier into a cardboard box and recording the sound. His interest led him to scoring a job as tea boy at a studio, but he quickly found himself excelling within the studio environment. Clearly not one to take his good fortune lightly, Hugall admits he got a bit lucky. As the recording industry fell on hard times, he found himself able to spend more time in the studios when they were free over weekends. He began to bring in bands and artists he admired, and it was these incidents that began his transgression into allowing himself to feel like a producer. “I wasn’t afraid to really get involved and change it up because no one was paying for it. I didn’t have fear of ‘shit, I’ve got to do this right, this is someone else’s project, it’s someone else’s money’,” Hugall says, explaining how the freedom of being able to take in his artists and use the studio time had given him an advantage.
However, in becoming a producer, Hugall admits it’s become difficult to just listen to music without beginning to analyse it. “It doesn’t stop, you can’t ever just put on a record and be like ‘oh. that’s amazing, I love it’,” he expains, though names Radiohead’s In Rainbows as one of the few albums he can listen to for simple enjoyment. Hugall cites the Pixies 1988 release Surfer Rose as the first album he ever constructively analysed when he first heard it in 1995. “It was almost a decade old at the time but I remember thinking that’s such a kind of distinctive, cool approach to recording,” he says. In terms of his own methods, Hugall explains that he always intends to build a relationship with the bands and artists he works with. In doing so he says it becomes a lot easier for him to work constructively within the dynamic, but also allows the artists the freedom and security to question his decisions if necessary. “If you get to know the person, you get to know their music,” Hugall resolves. He adds that to understand where the music was born from - and to allow the artist to regress to that feeling when recording - evokes the best reactions. He also explains that he enjoys seeing bands live before he works with them and listens to all their material. “I like seeing people live, it’s massively important thing in getting to know an artist or band,” Hugall says, stating he enjoys knowing as much about his clients as he can. However, he continues to explain that there’s a great deal more to being a producer.
“There’s different degrees of production and it’s crucial to assess your role as producer pretty early on in a particular project,” he says, explaining that his involvement with developing songs varies according to the artist he’s working with. Bands like 2:54 required little creative input from Hugall, where as he works closely with American singer-songwriter Alex Winston to develop the songs. “I’d love to be able to play guitar or be really good at piano but at the same time it helps me, because I can sit in a room with ten brilliant musicians and be able to see the wood for the trees,” says Hugall, reflecting once again on his self-proclaimed relatively limited musical ability, stating that despite its annoyances it allows him to see the bigger picture earlier than anyone else. “I think my ear for music is way better than my abilities.” He also states he encourages artists to change it up when they’re in the studio. After recording a solid take, leaving an artist secure in the knowledge they have it right, Hugall pushes to record again without fear of mistakes. “It’s like ‘right now you’ve got one, you’ve done, now don’t think about it’, and nine times out of ten I use that, because it’s so much more interesting,” Hugall continues. His work has forayed into many different styles and genres, but he admits that sometimes he knows when he can’t do something right, and in his own words, ‘you’re not the right person for every job’. Despite this, Hugall explains he enjoys challenges, and has taken jobs despite his initial feelings regarding it. The young producer has stated that “seventy-five percent of producing is Psychology”, and when this point arises he is quick to add that it may even be as much as ninety percent. He explains that to be a producer
embodes a great deal of intuition and the ability to be receptive to the people around you. “You’ve got to know when to get people to work and when not to work people, know when to push people and know when to stop,” he says. He knows how to encourage an artist when they’re not performing to the best of their abilities, and affirms that although he’s always honest, you can’t be too critical in fear of damaging someone’s confidence. “I’ll never lie to an artist,” he explains, saying he has the kind of necessary patience required that allows him to give people the time to get it right. However, within this, when playing an idea to him, Hugall says he’s rather they did it badly “but understand it and do it honestly” than present a song to him when it’s false. For that reason he enjoys and will only predominantly work with musicians who write their own songs. When advising new producers and mixers, Charlie suggests to be yourself and learn from people around you. Mostly, don’t always apply the same techniques to songs, one of his own personal lessons. He states that he’s done this before with tracks that have worked well and tried to recreate it. “Subsequently, I’ve tried to do it again, and it’s never going to work,” he says. With a change in technology and lot more people producing their own songs, Charlie says it has given rise to the ‘bedroom producer’. “The definition of producer is quite loose,” he explains. “But it’s great, it’s absolutely wicked,” he smiles. When asked if there’s any artist he’d like to work with, Hugall takes a few seconds of hesitation before stating that it had to be Radiohead, though adds that working with bands he likes can often prove to be a bad decision. “I love them so much I don’t want to change anything,” Hugall laughs. On the subject of being given credit, he simply says that it’s important, and it’s good to get recognition for your work, however, no matter what his impact on songs may be, it’s essentially still belongs to the artist. “If I was the artist I’d be pissed off if it was like ‘featuring Charlie Hugall on production’ in massive letters on the cover,” he laughs. “I’d hate that to be honest.” However, he’s keen to point out there is a campaign Credit Where Credit Is Due that aims to ensure all digital releases have all the correct information about who’s made the album or track. “It’s definitely good to get a credit,” he adds. It’s obvious that Hugall enjoys his job immensely, and talks sincerely in the way only someone truly enamoured with their work can. “I love my job, I’d happily work forever on my least favourite genre,” he smiles, and then pauses. “Well, maybe not,” he adds, as an afterthought.
So many intricate details of music are either mistakenly credited to the artist or simply forgotten about, well UnSung plans to change that....
Published on Jun 5, 2011
So many intricate details of music are either mistakenly credited to the artist or simply forgotten about, well UnSung plans to change that....