Members Music Magazine Issue 57 September 2015
Nineties’ nostalgia in 2015
out of africa Continental shift
róisín murphy Divine reinvention GEORGIA
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KRZYSZTOF A. EDELMAN, STEVE DOUBLE, LAURA COULSON
Hello and welcome. This issue we’re excited to mark the return of Róisín Murphy, one of our finest, funniest and most iconic songwriters. With an eclectic ear for melody - and an outlandish dress sense to match - she’s the master of contorted disco and quirky electro-pop. We learn her story and get the inside track on the making of her latest album Hairless Toys. Later, we explore the extra-long lifespans enjoyed by nineties electronic acts such as The Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Leftfield. With younger generations streaming their new and classic tracks in droves - and festival organisers clambering to put them on the top of their bills - many of British dance music’s originators are enjoying a healthy resurgence. In many ways, it’s down to a democratisation in access to music – a digital trend that’s also fuelling a surge in popularity for global – particularly African - music here in the UK. As a growing
Creativity and copyright
18 róisín murphy number of artists and bloggers switch on to the continent’s idiosyncratic rhythms, we chat to some of the movement’s leading crate-diggers, songwriters and tastemakers for our Awesome Africa feature.
22 joyful noise
The rise of African rhythm and rhyme
26 the beat goes on Nineties’ dance acts still on top 22
Elsewhere, we consider the legal fall-out of the recent Blurred Lines case and assess how the ruling could have repercussions across the creative community. As ever, you’ll also find essential business news and comment, including an important call to arms from UK Music for the new #LetitBeeb campaign. We also give you a snapshot of PRS for Music’s most exciting new members, and take a behind-the-scenes look into the making of one of 2014’s biggest hits in our most popular regular slot I Wrote That. Enjoy!
REGULARS 4 members and music
5 60 seconds 10 money and business 33 i wrote that 34 picture this 33
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16 blurred lines
cover: róisín murphy
CONTRIBUTORS Emma Anderson, Naomi Belshaw, Andy Ellis, Eileen Fitches, Andy Hind, Liam McMahon, John Simmons, Alex Sharman, Debbie Stones, Alice Thornton, James Way.
PRS for Music, 2 Pancras Square. London N1C 4AG T 020 7580 5544 E email@example.com W www.prsformusic.com The printing of M Magazine is managed on behalf of PRS for Music by Cyan Group Ltd, Twickenham. www.cyan-group.com Advertising 020 3225 5200 ISSN 0309-0019© PRS for Music 2015. All rights reserved. The views expressed in M are not necessarily those of PRS for Music, nor of the editorial team. PRS for Music accepts no responsibility for the views expressed by contributors to M, nor for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or illustrations, nor for errors in contributed articles or advertisements. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. M is printed on paper manufactured using chlorine-free pulps and the raw materials are from fully managed and sustainable forests.
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stefania passamonte As an international pianist and artist, Stefania Passamonte is rapidly making a name for herself in concert halls across the land.
malaika Any new, unsigned jazz singer-songwriter who can charm the ears of multi-instrumentalist and broadcaster Jamie Cullum is a talent worth paying some attention. And so it is with the fresh-faced Malaika. Alongside the Peter Edwards Trio and Mammal Hands, she was one of the recipients of backing from BBC Introducing and the PRS for Music Foundation to journey to Canada and perform at this year’s Montreal Jazz Festival. Jamie handpicked her from a multitude of hopefuls and a canny choice it proved to be, with Malaika winning over the event with her stunning voice and contemporary, smoky take on classic jazz styles. Originally hailing from Ireland, Malaika is a musician who has found her home in Leeds, a city where she’s felt free to combine her passion for soul and jazz with the rawer rhythm and blues inspired by her African and Irish roots.
She came to Yorkshire to study a BA in Popular Music and simultaneously immersed herself in the vibrant local music scene, refining her songwriting through live performances and finding a bunch of likeminded musicians for her band. The quartet’s rhythm and harmonies provide the perfect backdrop to Malaika’s vocals enabling her to create a deeper, more personal sound. They’ve also helped increase her presence via BBC radio plays and collaborations with Jake Bugg and Snow Patrol songwriter Ian Archer. 2015 certainly looks like being a pivotal year for Malaika. Support slots with Riot Jazz at London’s Unsigned Festival and the Best of Indigo Sessions have all whet appetites for her forthcoming debut EP. She’s also been announced as one of the winners of the Trinity Sessions in Leeds, another accolade underlining her musical talent. Those in the audience at the Montreal Jazz Festival will remember where they heard her first…
A performance graduate from Royal Academy of Music in London and École Normale Supérieure in Paris, she went on to set up the renowned London Piano Masters Academy as well as the classical record label Master Chords Records. Outside business, Stefania’s vibrant reinvigorations of Bach and Mozart have seen her nominated for numerous classical Grammys. When she’s not playing, she’s working as a member of the Classical Committee of the BPI for the UK’s Classic BRITs. Look out for a new album featuring original compositions from one of classical music’s busiest voices. stefaniapassamonte.com
Find out about more of our newest members
pesky! Glam rockers the Sweet once sang ‘All over the land, The kids are finally startin', To get the upper hand’ - 30 years later, Pesky! a seven piece indie rock band of 11 and 12 year olds, are doing their bit to make the seventies’ act’s prophecy a reality. ‘Right now I feel like exploding!’ said Pesky!’s debut single Keep Me which they did at the start of the summer with a precocious mix of shoegazing guitars and harmonies bursting all over BBC 6 Music, The Guardian and NME.
Hailing from Ulverton, Cumbria, a small market town on the edge of the Lake District, the gang met at Croftlands Junior School Guitar Club. With rehearsals fit in around scouts and dance club, and consisting of eating as many sweets as writing songs, they made their debut mini LP on an iPad over the course of one fateful weekend. Smells Like Tween Spirit was picked up by indie stalwarts Fierce Panda earlier in the year and set them off on what the label is dubbing a ‘tweenage rampage’. As long as that homework is done on time… facebook.com/wearepesky
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GEORGIA Multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter Georgia Barnes is Georgia, a fixture in the more exciting corners of London’s indie and electronic scenes over the past five years. Ditching a potential football career with Queens Park Rangers (QPR) in favour of beats, she learned her trade as a drummer for leftfield acts including Kwes, Hot Chip and Kate Tempest. Now she’s striking out on her own with a selftitled debut LP fizzing with electronic pop, bedroom ragga and spaced out dub. What were your first musical experiences? My dad was a musician and my mum just loved music. When I said I wanted to learn an instrument, I was really lucky that they were supportive. My earliest memory is being seven or eight and watching Top of the Pops. It was like a religion in our household and I’d pretend to be Jarvis Cocker while watching. How did you start making your own songs? My dad’s friend lent me his old Korg four-track and I started getting into production, the discipline of recording. It made me listen to records differently to work out how they’d made it more compressed or EQ’d. I saved up, bought Logic and started sitting in front of the computer to create my own sounds. You’ve worked with many different acts - how did you get in with them? I went to the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London to study ethnomusicology as I was interested in sounds from outside Western culture. At the same time I was playing drums, trying to get into the electronic and indie sound London was known for in 2008. One of my best friends was going out with an artist called Kwes at the time so I started playing drums with him. He was on the amazing Young Turks label and we played gigs with The xx and Micachu and the Shapes. I was able to meet all these artists, then eventually got to play with Kate Tempest last year. Once you get to know a few people, London’s scene is actually pretty small and incestuous. I was able to gather inspiration from people like Kate and Mica they’re mentors to me. I wanted to take these different sounds I was playing and come up with something true to me. I remember a Boiler Room session we played with Hype Williams, Sampha, SBTRKT, Kwes and Hudson Mohawke. I remember thinking, ‘this is the room I want to be in’.
What was the aim with your debut album, Georgia? I had a body of songs before I signed to Domino. When I released the Come In EP last year, Bee Ache exploded over night - Laurence from Domino heard it and loved it. I completed the record over two years - when I wasn’t touring I’d be working in my bedroom studio. I’m an avid music fan and listen to anything from Taylor Swift to the electronics of Andy Stott. The album is a window into me as a London artist - having a strong London identity has really made me musically. I like different, raw, city-based sounds so those styles were always going to feed into my music. It’s who I am. When did you realise you could sing? Since I was 12 or 13 I was learning Joni Mitchell songs and always singing. It’s hard for a female to have a unique voice now because there are so many. I was just trying to make sure the music was spacious enough for the vocal to come through. I wanted to use my vocals in a rhythmic way and mimic the music.
What did you learn from your football experiences? I played for QPR for two years as a kid but after 16 there aren’t any more youth programmes for girls. So I chose music, although I did learn a lot from football. You go all around the world and can’t speak the language but you kick a ball with people and it’s a means of communication. Teams are a bit like bands. You learn how to compromise, to collaborate, work towards a goal - there are a lot of similarities. What does the future have in store? The live show is going to become integral so there are lot of gigs. We’ve been on tour with Hot Chip and played a great show at Webster Hall in New York City. I played a headline show at [Brooklyn venue] Baby’s All Right which was mental, full of people that had travelled from all over the place. Alongside the live dates I’m always making music, so there are going to be some exciting collaborations ahead of a second album. Have you any advice for aspiring producers? Be patient and don’t rush. The most important thing is to take your time, hone your craft and build a good team around you. Georgia is published by Domino Publishing Company. georgiauk.com
Go online for the full interiew with Georgia
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three must-read interviews Browse all these and more at m-magazine.co.uk/interviews
Norman Jay ‘I’ve lived through everything’, says Good Times DJ and legendary selector Norman Jay MBE. He’s right – there are very few DJs who can lay claim to enjoying a career which has sustained itself through every incarnation of dance music. From Northern Soul all the way to the contemporary styles of dubstep and drum ‘n’ bass, Norman has thrived among it all. We spent some time with him to talk records, radio and what’s next for Good Times.
spotify: five tips for streaming success
Janine Rainforth Vocalist, clarinettist and songwriter Janine Rainforth is a founder member of cult postpunk outfit Maximum Joy. The band were born in the buoyant Bristolian DIY scene of the early eighties, alongside partners in crime The Pop Group and Mark Stewart. She chats to M online about her latest solo release Rumination of Us, performing live again and the lasting appeal of early eighties post-punk.
Cold Specks drummer Bryan Johnson is also an Artist Ambassador at Spotify UK. As an integral member of the company’s Artist Services Team, he’s the main contact for the artist and songwriter community, acting as their voice within Spotify and representing their interests to the rest of the business.
Brother & Bones When we filmed Brother & Bones performing their early song For All We Know back in 2012, the video became one of our most-viewed of the year. Fast forward to 2015, and the folkrock five piece have gone from strength to strength, with an army of loyal fans to prove it. Following a European headline tour, plus support slots with BRIT winners Bastille and Ben Howard, they recorded their debut LP at the fabled East West Studios in LA. We catch up with the committed DIY quintet to learn about the journey so far…
With an unrivalled knowledge of the platform, plus an artist’s understanding of the wider music business, we decided to pick his brains to glean his advice for songwriters and composers who use the service. His top five tips cover: growing your audience; increasing your streams; embracing the Play Button; making the most of the concert and merch tools; and, getting to know the Spotify for Artists service. Find the full article at m-magazine.co.uk/careers
shooting stars Composer, arranger and saxophonist John Altman will be a key part of this year’s BFI London Film Festival when his new live score to the restored Anthony Asquith film Shooting Stars (1928) receives its world premiere.
winning composer for the big screen. He has composed, orchestrated and conducted for many Hollywood productions including James Cameron’s Titanic. He also composed the tank chase sequence in the James Bond film GoldenEye.
The jazz inflected piece was written for a twelve-strong ensemble and will be performed at the screening on 16 October 2015 at the Odeon Leicester Square.
His score for Shooting Stars was supported by PRS for Music Foundation, the UK’s largest funder of new music.
John is an accomplished jazz musician as well as a BAFTA and Emmy Award6_september 2015_m57
To find out more about the Foundation, its funding programmes and upcoming events, visit prsformusicfoundation.com.
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thunderbirds are go No disaster too big, no rescue too far - when duty calls, Thunderbirds Are Go! When ITV revived Gerry Anderson’s much-loved sixties’ TV series earlier this year, composer brothers Nick and Ben Foster leapt at the chance to score it. Both life-long fans of the original series – and the Barry Gray theme tune – they agreed to rescore the original and create bespoke music for each of the 26 new episodes. Alongside their own synths and electronic gear, the pair used a full orchestra, recorded live at the iconic Air Studios in North London, to bring the soundtrack to life. Like Barry before them, they employed plenty of brass and percussion, making good use of leitmotifs to signal onscreen characters, moods and machines. From their bombastic pitch, to the recording
and mixing, Ben and Nick have been determined to remain true to the original feel of the music, while ensuring the show can appeal to a new generation of viewers. Their integrity has paid off, with the arrangement of the original theme now available as a single and an album of the show’s music also in the pipeline. We were invited along to Air Studios for a behind-the-scenes peek at their creative process and to learn more about the making of the unique score. The award-winning composers shared their unique insight into their experiences of children’s TV and explained the peaks and pitfalls of working on such an iconic title. You can view our exclusive video over on M online now: m-magazine.co.uk/watch
SERA is a Welsh singer-songwriter from North Wales who was chosen to perform at the launch party for Sound Makeover, the first PRS for Music competition to provide hair salons with the chance to win £5,000 to overhaul their music offering. For as long as she can remember, SERA has been weaving together stories with an Americana rootsy twang, which has so far earned her comparisons to Amanda Palmer and Joni Mitchell. Singing both in English and her native Welsh tongue, she’s picked up accolades thick and fast over the course of a number of albums to date, plus gigs opening for the likes of Mumford & Sons. SERA holds a Masters Degree in Screenwriting and writes a music column in the North Wales Daily Post. Always keeping busy, she also organises music and arts events around Wales. Don’t miss her new EP, Straeon, which is out now. seraofficial.com
in conversation with craig armstrong Craig Armstrong OBE is Scottish composer whose music has found its way into all our homes via the films of Baz Luhrman and the records of Madonna, Massive Attack and U2. His awardwinning scores include Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and Ray, which earned him an Ivor, Golden Globe and Grammy respectively. Other scoring credits include Love Actually, Elisabeth: the Golden Age and The Incredible Hulk. On 7 October 2015, Craig appears at the latest Conversations with Screen Composers event,
presented by BAFTA and PRS for Music at the Royal Albert Hall. In the 90-minute session, Craig will discuss his composition process and focus on a selection of his most celebrated film scores in detail. The event is the latest in a successful series over recent years with the likes of Murray Gold, Dario Marianelli, David Arnold, Michael Price and Patrick Doyle. For info and upcoming event details, see bafta.org m57_september 2015_7
members & music
1. A good song should be like the words of a drunk who can no longer contain himself. 2. Or someone all alone who finally starts telling the truth, thinking no one is listening.
3. Think of song titles like bumper stickers (in a weird, sad world)… or the punch line of a really good joke; or a really bad one; or a really sad one. Or a really sick one. 4. Don’t try and be clever, but sometimes try and be stupid.
5. The people you’re singing to should get what you’re saying straight away but they should also get more and more out of what you are doing the more they listen. So, the chorus should make a connection straight away but the verses can wait a bit. 6. Make a list of five songs you love; find out everything about them; invade them; inhabit them; stalk them. Then steal from them. 7. Make the chorus like the best strapline to an ad you’ve never seen. 8. Songs are not poems set to music.
9. Never use chords with more than two letters in them.
10. Don’t learn to play your instrument too well before starting to write songs.
11. Become obsessed with a song; try and work it out; fail; write your own by mistake (see above, in relation to lack of musical literacy). 12. Collect titles like firewood, as if you lived in a tent in the middle of nowhere (fuel).
13. As Simon Frith says, songs are everyday language put to extra ordinary use. He also says: lyrics are not about words but words in performance. Both very true. 14. Write a song with only one chord. 15. Write a song with no chords.
16. Write a song on an instrument you can’t play.
creators corner The Loft, Weather Prophets, Wisdom of Harry, Ellis Island Sound: singer, songwriter and multiinstrumentalist Pete Astor has had a hand in some of British music’s most joyously wonky pop moments over the last four decades. With impeccable indie credentials, and a back catalogue spanning illustrious labels Creation, Matador, Heavenly, Peacefrog and now Fortuna
17. Look up; find the first four letters you see that are the same as a chord: make these the four chords in your song.
18. It’s often good not to write the words down but memorise what sounds and feels right.
Pop!, he’s unleashed some of the jingliest, jangliest kitchen-sink pop ever to grace the sixth form stereo. More recently, he’s found a home in songwriting research and education, and currently works as a music lecturer at the University of Westminster, London. Still a prolific writer, we asked him to pen his Rules of Songwriting. Here’s what he gave us:
19. Be the person that’s writing the song, whether it’s you or not. 20. Never let the truth get in the way of a good line. 21. As Hemmingway said, ‘write drunk: edit sober’.
22. Write a song from the point of view of someone that knows you really well and is (understandably) very pissed off with you.
23. Set yourself the task of writing a song a day; or seven songs a week; or seven songs a day. Don’t worry whether they are any good or not. You can think about that later.
24. Buy a book on songwriting, any book. You don’t have to read it. Just buying it is enough. 25. Imagine you’re another artist writing your song. So, what would Nick Cave write? Or Joni Mitchell? Or Larry David? 26. Try not writing songs for a while, maybe a day, maybe a year, depending on how desperate you are.
Keep Warm This Winter, with support from the PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund Older and vulnerable PRS members can benefit from our winter heating grant. We do our best to help elderly, sick or vulnerable PRS members who are worried about their heating bills. Should you find that your budget and any Government fuel payments do not cover your heating costs, please get in touch. Call us now to find out more
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You can help the Fund by making a donation, leaving a legacy or donating a share of your royalties. To offer your support, visit www.prsformusicfund.com
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Sarah Liversedge, Co-founder and Managing Director, BDi Music The song that makes me want to dance is… I just can’t choose between these two: Ready for the Weekend by Calvin Harris (I’m a sucker for his vocal!) and Superstylin’ by Groove Armada.
David McGinnis, Head of Mute Song The first record I ever bought was…
Listen to Paul’s selection
Paul Lambden is Director of Domino Publishing, a company he founded with Domino Records chief Laurence Bell 10 years ago. The company has offices in London, New York, LA and Paris, and looks after more than 50,000 songs. Paul’s roster covers several in-demand catalogues from the seventies and eighties, including works by Jesus & Mary Chain, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Stereolab, Spritualized, The Lemonheads and Arthur Russell. The publisher also represents new artist/writers from the UK and US such as Dev Hynes (Blood Orange), David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors) and Matt Sweeney (Jake Bugg). Recent additions to the family include Kate Tempest, Fat White Family, Parquet Courts, Planningtorock and Farao.
The first music i remember hearing was… Space Oddity by David Bowie and tunes from The Partridge Family, Donny Osmond and Pink Floyd. All from my big sister – she is a lot older than me and I although I wanted to hate what I saw as her music, I ended up loving most of it. Maybe not Donny. The first record i bought was… Chanson D’Amour by Manhattan Transfer but that was with my mum’s money so I don’t think that really counts. So it would have been Vienna by Ultravox and Fade to Grey by Visage. I bought them with my pocket money on the same day from International Stores in Aldershot. The last great record i listened to was… Shadow of the Sun by Moon Duo. Their motorik garage psych vibe gets me grooving every time. The song I wish I’d written is… Yesterday by Lennon and McCartney. Then I could own that beach in Malibu!
The song that makes me want to dance is… At the moment I would have to say it’s a toss-up between Antmusic by Adam & the Ants and The Chosen Few by The Dooleys. I played both at a party the other day and the place went nuts. The song that makes me cry is… Kate Bush The Kick Inside. The song that i know all the words to is… Most songs by Siouxsie & the Banshees and The Cure released before 1983! I studied the lyric sheets to their albums in great detail. They didn’t really make much sense to my teenage mind but the words sounded so interesting, mysterious and exciting. The song i want played at my funeral is… If anything were to be played it should be Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag by Pigbag, because it would go down well with my mates and my family. dominopublishingco.com
A seven-inch single called Theme from S.W.A.T. by The T.H.P. Orchestra in 1976. It’s a classic seventies funky disco instrumental. For a long time I was rather embarrassed that my first record was the theme to a television show, but now this track is a very cool addition to any DJ’s box of vinyl. People don’t believe me when a DJ plays and I tell them it was my first record!
@muteUK Janice Brock, Joint UK Head of A&R/Head of UK Production Management, Sony/ATV The song I know all the words to is… Growing up with a much older brother who was devoted to The Beatles, it’s pretty much every song Lennon and McCartney ever wrote. As a lifelong publisher, I hold in high esteem the value which a songwriter brings to every person’s life. Some songs are the first memories a child has, including mine.
Andrew Allday, Media Music Manager, Faber Music The last great record I listened to was… Doug Ashdown’s Winter in America, a heart-breaking Australian masterpiece from 1974. With its epic orchestral introduction and emotive lyrics, it was the last record I heard that really stopped me in my tracks. That and All Me, All You by GAPS, a slice of electronic folk genius.
@fabermusicmedia m57_september 2015_9
money & business digital revolution
Are concerned the industy will die unless songwriters are fairly rewarded.
This year, the organisations are launching a pan-European hub to offer Digital Service Providers (DSPs) a single port of call for online licences covering the repertoire they administer, plus works from other repertoires they represent.
it will evolve that way.’ In fact, this initiative could lead to a number of large copyright hubs across the world, built to handle online processing in the increasingly complex digital music space.
It’s been dubbed by industry insiders, commentators and the societies’ Chief Executives as the ‘biggest copyright project in history’ and the ‘most significant music business development of the past decade’.
Dr Harald Heker, Ashcroft’s counterpart at GEMA, agreed: ‘We have seen a number of initiatives failing in this area and are therefore proud of being able to demonstrate our will and ability to deliver such consolidation.
Why is it so important? Because, since 2005, a European Commission recommendation has enabled rightsholders to grant permission for multinational online licensing and conventional national licensing to different societies. This has led to a disintegration of traditional copyright assignment practices – making it difficult for DSPs to clear rights and almost impossible for collecting societies to efficiently process royalties.
‘We expect, and explicitly welcome, the development of further hubs offering fully integrated services for both licensing and processing as we feel that competition will increase motivation to offer even better services at lower cost.’
As Robert Ashcroft, Chief Executive of PRS for Music, told M: ‘Unfortunately the collecting societies’ back offices, which were used to working on a national basis, were incapable of handling accurately that kind of processing.
The quality of industry ‘metadata’, including the rightsholder information embedded into each digital track, must improve, he said. PRS for Music has been working with record companies (which create the music files) and the DSPs (which offer them to consumers) to expand the breadth, depth and accuracy of the data. But it’s not just about improving the accuracy of the data held within the tracks. The way sound recordings are identified and then matched against musical works must be improved too.
The new hub, which is on course to begin paying out royalties for the first quarter of 2015 by the end of the year, is set to revolutionise current practices. It is built to handle granular, transactional processing involving hundreds of billions of online music usages, and pay out accurate royalties accordingly. The ambitious project has been five years in the pipeline, with European competition clearance only granted this summer. It has been estimated that 70 to 80 percent of European online processing would pass through the hub. Ashcroft believes it could be the start of something bigger for Europe, and possibly the rest of the world. As a longtime advocator of the ambitious Global Repertoire Database (GRD) - a concept which failed to get off the ground - he is acutely aware of the possibilities and pitfalls. ‘By 2017 we will have more societies’ data in our hub than was envisaged for the first stage of the original GRD,’ he explained. ‘So, in the end, the GRD will come into being organically over the years, as an additional benefit of the hub. I believe we need a consolidated database in Europe. I’m also seeing a growing need in Asia and America. I’m quite confident 10_september 2015_m57
Source: PRS for Music commissioned Censuswide survey, June 2015, which canvassed opinion from 2,004 people aged between 16-65 who listen to music.
A new initiative from PRS for Music, and collecting society partners GEMA (Germany) and STIM (Sweden), is set to change the face of online licensing and digital royalty payments across Europe.
‘So there were a number of years when the money got held up, where it was not possible to pay accurately and where there were significant over-claims – that is, multiple rightsholders or collecting societies claiming shares in the same works – which proved very difficult.’
the big numbers
Listen to music on a daily basis.
Believe music is such an important part of daily life it should be paid for.
However, Ashcroft has warned that although the hub represents a massive leap in the right direction, more work is needed to improve royalty processing accuracy.
‘When all of this metadata becomes more reliable we’ll be able to get accurate insight and be sure we know exactly who owns what, how much it’s been played and to whom we owe royalties,’ said Ashcroft. ‘It’s only when the tide goes out that you see the rocks on the beach. We’re now in a position where we can begin to identify and work on these things.There’s always the next step forward. The hub is an important one but it’s not the end.’ More societies are predicted to join the hub over the coming months, as faster payments and lower costs make ripples across the sector. This is certainly something Heker is keen to encourage. ‘We are open and willing – within the framework of what is possible – for further societies to become customers of the hub,’ he said. ‘There are some candidates in line, such as the Belgian society SABAM. There are also some societies which come to mind because of regional, linguistic, cultural or political proximity with the existing partners. However, there is no “wish list”.’ prsformusic.com/aboutus/press
Say songwriters are not being fairly rewarded for their work.
Would rather give up their mobile phone than music.
Discover new music through streaming services.
your next paydays Performing
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#letitbeeb James Murtagh-Hopkins, Director of Communications at UK Music, outlines the organisation’s crucial #LetItBeeb campaign to save BBC Music and asks for your help in reminding policymakers of its crucial role within our wider creative infrastructure.
PRS for Music has announced a new two year multiterritory licensing deal with music streaming service, Spotify. It continues the ongoing relationship between the pair and allows Spotify to carry on offering its users a large catalogue of music in the UK and Ireland.
As many of you may be aware, the UK Government recently published a public Green Paper for the forthcoming BBC Charter Review, marking the first step in a long consultation process that will eventually map out the future direction, funding and objectives for the corporation from 2017 to 2027. The direct threat to the BBC we know and love raised by this Charter Review is very real and, as an industry, we must show our collective support for BBC Music at this time. In response, UK Music and its members have come together collectively to launch #LetItBeeb, a public campaign to garner support for BBC Music. As the UK Music Chairman Andy Heath explains: ‘It would be a tragedy and a national scandal if a spending cut mentality were to diminish this service which has been the backbone of every British music listener’s lifetime experience.’ It is hard to imagine a BBC without music intertwined into the very core of its DNA. The symbiotic relationship between the two has deep roots going back to the first broadcasts of gramophonic recordings, which crackled across the airwaves the best part of a century ago. Times, formats, platforms and technology may have changed, but the BBC through its award-winning music programming, remains a hugely important and integral part of our complex music ecosystem. The BBC itself has made significant steps in recent years to make music a core activity of its broadcast services, alongside news and sport. Recent reports suggest that the role and scope of the BBC’s radio output is likely to come under particular scrutiny, which at worst could result in channels being streamlined or even merged/closed. This would inevitably lead to a significantly reduced music offering on the BBC that would damage the British music industry. Let’s not forget too that outlets for music on TV have already diminished greatly in recent years. Outside of radio, the BBC also plays a huge role within the professional and personal lives of many throughout our industry. It employs many of our songwriters, artists and composers to help bring its programmes to life – using music as a key narrative tool for iconic shows as diverse as Doctor Who, Match of the Day, Planet Earth and EastEnders. It supports many of the UK’s musicians, orchestras and performers, and also showcases the power of live music through its coverage of The Proms, Glastonbury, sessions, concerts and other live events. Through BBC Introducing it has also created a platform for grassroots local music to reach the masses, which for many artists provides a first step onto the ladder. Jake Bugg, Florence + the Machine, Catfish & the Bottlemen
and George Ezra are just a few of the acts to have received early support from the strand. It is vital that the BBC still gives its audience direct access to a unique diversity of music, songs and performances to match their inclination… whether that is pop, rock, jazz, blues, classical, grime or techno. The depth of programming currently offered by the likes of Lauren Laverne, Whispering Bob Harris, David Rodigan, Annie Mac, Mistajam, Desert Island Discs, Imagine or Later… with Jools Holland all provide important windows for our music to connect and resonate into the lives of a wider audience. We believe that by coming together centrally, the music industry can deliver a strong and effective argument. As UK Music Chief Executive Jo Dipple says: ‘Music services must be maintained. Without these services there would be far reaching cultural and economic implications for the UK. Any cuts to BBC Music services would negatively impact on the UK’s much celebrated soft power and as a world leader in music export.
The agreement covers a substantial amount of PRS for Music and Irish society IMRO members’ repertoire, plus repertoire represented by the indie music publishers’ collective IMPEL and that of over 100 PRS for Musicaffiliated societies around the globe. Ben McEwen, PRS for Music’s Head of Online, said: ‘We are excited to continue working with Spotify, a relationship that allows millions of users across the globe to enjoy our members’ repertoire. The prodigious growth of Spotify is helping to shape a strong future for dynamic, legitimate streaming services, and we support this thriving online market that recognises and remunerates the works of the creator.’ In related news, PRS for Music also inked a licensing deal with Amazon for its brand new Amazon Prime Music service, which launched in the UK in July. The agreement covers the use of repertoire PRS for Music represents for digital services in the UK and lasts for two years.
‘It is key that our united campaign reflects the diversity and unique depth in BBC Music coverage and reach, and that we recognise the importance of all its vital avenues that support the entire UK music ecosystem both culturally and commercially.’ So, the main goal of #LetItBeeb (named with the support and consent of Sir Paul McCartney) is to ensure the publication of the White Paper next year does not recommend changes to the distinct identities of the BBC’s music services that would reduce the breadth of their output. Artists, composers, talent, industry and music fans are already uniting behind this campaign and we need you to give this issue the voice it deserves, in order to remind policymakers and Government just how important this is before it is too late. You can help support the campaign by signing our Government petition online, adding your voice to the conversation, giving us a quote on what the BBC means to you and by helping to share our message out to your wider networks. For more information visit letitbeeb.co.uk or email email@example.com if you’d like to get directly involved.
The streaming service, which offers over a million songs, is available to all UK Amazon Prime customers paying the annual subscription fee of £79. PRS for Music said both these new deals are part of the organisation’s continued commitment to support and license streaming services to ensure its members are fairly remunerated for their works. This summer, the society launched ‘Streamfair’, a campaign to raise awareness about the need for legislative reform to ensure music creators are properly remunerated in the streaming market. For more info, see prsformusic.com/streamfair m57_september 2015_11
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digital/physical experience Chris Coco, broadcaster, producer, songwriter, musician and journalist, ponders the future of music and the creator’s place within it: So, we are trekking across fields at Glastonbury Festival, on our way to watch Jamie xx, talking about the future of the music business… Let’s start by agreeing that the streaming debate is done. The future is mostly streaming, with a tiny, but potentially lucrative, slice of physical product and a big chunk of what we could call ‘experience’ based stuff that means live shows, DJ shows, parties in pubs, artists cooking you lunch and anything else that we can come up with that people might want to pay for. If that’s the case, how can producers, labels, artists and musicians who are not in the pop machine deal with the new landscape? It’s going to be a tough, long march across those digital fields, isn’t it? Perhaps. But my view is pretty positive. Streaming is all about, to steal a brilliant phrase from Team Sky Cycling boss Dave Brailsford, ‘the aggregation of marginal gains’. That means complicated statements with tiny amounts of money on them that can still, over time, with enough tracks, add up to a significant income. Each track is like
a little child, going out into the digital world, making its own way and eventually, hopefully, making its own living. That means that it makes total sense to push all potential listeners to platforms that pay royalties, which, at the moment, is mostly Spotify and Apple Music. I have recently started properly engaging with a small but growing audience on Spotify, using playlists to do the same thing that my Melodica radio show does making links between genres and collecting music that is really great. At the moment I have three playlists on there. The Balearic one is the most popular, and that feeds back into a new compilation series with the same name, which is available digitally (so there are marginal gains to be had there), and physically on CD and vinyl, with real sales and potential profits to be had. Balearic is a distillation of all that I’m talking about it’s streaming, and that streaming leads, I hope, to the purchase of beautifully packaged items containing a selection of timeless tunes. It’s also a great night out in a pub, the back room of a club, or at a festival, where you will hear a load of tunes from that Spotify Balearic playlist. More gains and a few free beers to be had there too. All that - digital, physical and experience - is a great way to live with my obsession with listening to and sharing music.
Chris Coco has been working as a DJ since the acid house explosion of the late eighties. He has since edited DJ magazine, worked for BBC Radio 1 on the after-hours show The Blue Room and made artist albums for Warp and Distinctive Records. His music has appeared on compilations including Cafe Del Mar and featured in TV shows suchs as Sex and the City, Nip Tuck and House among others.
The society has also introduced a quarterly newsletter for 100,000 customers, featuring member and business news plus tips on hosting music-related events and getting to grips with audio equipment.
followed by further celebrations at Caernarfon Castle with guest performances by Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Côr Glanaethwy and Welsh singer-songwriter and TV presenter, Elin Fflur.
It is also ramping up its popular Music Makeover and Sound Makeover customer competitions. Now in its fifth year, Music Makeover offers winning pubs up to £10,000 to improve the music offering in their business, while the newer Sound Makeover competition is aimed at hair salons, with a £5,000 prize up for grabs.
This year’s Music Makeover winners are Adam Dakin of the Maypole Inn, Derby and Edward Sproat of the Hickory Inn in Halberton, Devon. Events involving local songwriters will take place this autumn to celebrate the launch of the pubs’ new live music facilities.
In July, Paula Foskett of One.a Salon in Caernarfon, North Wales, was crowned this year’s Sound Makeover winner out of over 400 applicants. Foskett and her team unveiled their salon sound system makeover to the local community, alongside an intimate gig from Welsh singer-songwriter SERA. The salon launch was
Internally, PRS for Music has produced a toolkit for its 40 sales agents across the UK, which offers a customerfriendly approach to addressing any questions businesses may have about the organisation.
chriscoco.com / balearicrecs.com
making music work PRS for Music has announced an extensive licensing review to simplify, streamline and consolidate more than 40 of its public performance tariffs. The programme will involve a series of customer consultations, to help inform and shape a new set of tariffs that are simple to understand, operate and are fit for purpose. Rob Kirkham, PRS for Music’s Head of Business Development, said: ‘By reviewing public performance tariffs across a number of sectors, our aim is that customers can continue to utilise and enjoy PRS for Music’s repertoire in a simpler and more efficient way. ‘The consultations will provide opportunities to engage with our customers offering them open lines of communication with us, as we seek to ensure we continue to operate modern and appropriate licensing schemes.’ In related news, PRS for Music has launched an initiative for businesses to help drive customer engagement and understanding of the music licensing process. A brand new portal forms the centre of the campaign, offering businesses and organisations practical guides on making the most of music in the workplace, case studies, competitions and more.
prsformusic.com/customerportal m57_september 2015_13
SongLink The leading tipsheet for songwriters and music publishers, established in 1993 and still going strong. Every month we publish great leads detailing artists, labels, managers and producers worldwide who need songs or co-writers. Covers all styles of music including pop, rock, dance, R&B, country, MOR, jazz crossover, folk, blues etc. Leads sent by e-mail every month with interim updates. “Easily the best service of its type in the world” - Ed Chalfin, Magic Fire Music, New York City.
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Cuesheet Sister publication to SongLink which details upcoming Film & TV productions in need of music, songs, full scores, cues etc. Sent twice a month by e-mail, our listings include leads from some of the industry’s top music supervisors and commissioners based in the UK/Ireland and USA/Canada. Covers all types of productions including major & indie feature films, TV drama & documentaries, plus the occasional advert, video games, web tv, etc. Contact us for a free sample issue today. Special combo-discounts available if you subscribe to both services. Please note that unpub lished writers need subscription approval - send 2 sample works by MP3, web Links or CD.
Contact: David Stark, Editor/Publisher SongLink International / Cuesheet 23 Belsize Crescent, London NW3 5QY Tel: 020 7794 2540, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elii Geba Powerful enigmatic vocalist T: 07788 436 496 E: email@example.com www.eliigeba.com
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How does the single release affect the lifecycle of the song from a publisher’s point of view? It has really rejuvenated interest in the song and is generating additional revenues off the back of the advert - so it’s been a great use of music. Is this something you often look at doing in conjunction with a sync? Yes, the sync team are always trying to uncover gems in the catalogue because getting a placement can make a huge difference to our songwriters and artists. Kobaltmusic.com Lloyds Bank has created an advert to celebrate its 250th anniversary, opting to go back to its iconic black horse character for the shoot. The soundtrack is an acoustic version of Wings by Birdy, a song from her 2013 album Fire Within. Following the launch of the Lloyds campaign on 29 June, the new version of Wings has been released as a single. It’s since charted at number eight – its highest position to date. Here, Michelle Stoddart, Kobalt Music Publishing’s Senior Vice President of Global Creative synchronisation, talks us through the deal… Who was involved in the placement? We worked with Ed Bailie, music supervisor at Leland Music. The advertising agency was
think sync Hollywood films are offering ‘multiple hits on the same platform’ with increasing sync opportunities across each of their various elements, a BPI representative has said. Chris Tams, BPI’s Director of Independent Member Services and International, made the comments following the recent BPI and Music Publishers Association (MPA) sync mission to Los Angeles. ‘Five or 10 years ago these productions might have used their own composer for a film’, he explained. ‘But now they need music for the trailer, the TV serialisation, there might be opportunities for games. We find that different companies work on each component creating increasing opportunities for sync.’ ‘The guys doing the trailers are a different company to those doing the actual theatre production,’ he continued. ‘This means there are multiple hits on the same platform.’ The 11th annual trip, in conjunction with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), saw more than 40 representatives from labels, publishers as well as composers and songwriters make the trip across the pond to Los
adam&eveDDB and the creatives involved were Ben Priest, Ben Tollett and Richard Brim. I negotiated and cleared the song, working closely with Ed on the project. Why was an acoustic version of the track recorded? The acoustic version of Wings was recorded at Abbey Road in September 2013, shortly before the official release of the album Fire Within, which featured the single version of the song. The live performance was filmed in Abbey Road by the inhouse team and is up on Birdy’s YouTube channel. But it wasn’t released commercially at that time. How did the single release come about? The advert got confirmed, so Warner Atlantic arranged for the release of the acoustic version to coincide with the campaign launch.
Who? Kobalt Music Publishing and Warner Chappell. What? Wings by Birdy. Written by Ryan Tedder and Birdy (above) . Brand? Lloyds Bank. Where? Horse Story advert across television, online, cinema, events and in-store.
Angeles in July. Each year, the mission provides the opportunity to gain an exclusive insight into the way sync licensing works in the US, in what Tams described as a constantly ‘revolving and evolving’ market. ‘Those who were doing films five years ago are now doing movie trailers and reality TV. Reality TV didn’t even exist when we started the mission 11 years ago. Now it’s as - if not more important - than online advertising,’ he said. Verity Griffith, Head of Sync at Cooking Vinyl, has attended the mission three times before and said she had no hesitation in deciding to go again. ‘I have always found the calibre of panels and quality of networking events to be second to none. The biggest benefit is the incredible access to top notch supervisors and insights into their working lives to ensure they know our music and we are as easy for them to work with as possible.’ While musical fashions constantly shift and change, Tams said that the main characteristic in British acts American music supervisors want is usually the same. ‘They’re looking for new, fresh and innovative ideas or bands that are upcoming that they can help break,’ he explained. ‘This can be multi-genre - it’s not unusual for a TV or
film to have classical music followed by electronica, mainstream pop or metal. These guys are looking for good music as much as the cliché goes, but they tend to find that UK artists can deliver that every year.’ According to BPI’s estimated figures, the LA sync mission has generated £20-22m worth of business for participants since it has started. Further BPI statistics showed that income from music placed in British TV programmes, movies, adverts and video games rose by 6.4 percent in 2014, generating revenues of £20m for major and independent record labels. UKTI, in partnership with the Association of Independent Music (AIM) and BPI is planning its next trade mission to India in December. m57_september 2015_15
Recent high profile legal disputes exemplify the fine line between songwriting plagiarism and inspiration. Rhian Jones discovers how the rulings could affect the creative community, and offers practical advice on how music creators can best deal with similar situations.
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Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ smash hit Blurred Lines hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in 2013 after Marvin Gaye’s estate claimed the track copied parts of the late soul singer’s seventies song Got To Give It Up. The high-profile trial ended in March this year, and, in what was seen by many as a surprise ruling, the Gaye family walked away with the promise that they’d receive $7.3m (£4.74m) for copyright infringement. It’s not the first time songwriters have been sued for alleged plagiarism (there are documented cases of music copyright infringement dating back to 1845), and nor will it be the last, but the Blurred Lines example seems to have set a new definition for what can be considered copyright in musical works.
it’s covering a feel. Essentially, if you have enough things in that mix; beats, a sound, you’re using certain instruments and maybe the rhythm is the same, that’s enough [to make a case].’
The decision, made by an independent jury, ruled that Robin and Pharrell copied elements from Got To Give It Up, even though the notes, chords and lyrics were not identical. ‘I feel Blurred Lines has blurred the lines as to what is deemed as copyright and not,’ says Liv Lyons, Copyright Lawyer at Clintons. ‘It has now been broadened to such a degree that it’s not just covering motifs or lyrics,
In January, it emerged that Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes had been involved in negotiations surrounding their 2014 hit Stay With Me, the chorus of which Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty said had accidental melodic similarities to their 1989 track I Won’t Back Down. The two parties came to an amicable agreement and Jeff and Tom are now credited for the track and have been paid backdated royalties of 12.5 percent.
Other names to have been accused of taking a little more than inspiration from others include John Lennon, who was sued by Chuck Berry’s publishing company in 1973 and Michael Bolton, who was ordered to pay the Isley Brothers $5.4m in 1991 after a jury found his Love Is A Wonderful Thing lifted from their song of the same name. Elsewhere, Oasis have been sued by The New Seekers, Avril Lavigne by The Rubinoos, Coldplay by Joe Satriani and The Verve by two ex-Rolling Stones managers.
It’s clear from all these examples that the line between influence and infringement can easily become hazy. So, when you’re in the heat of the songwriting moment, how do you know if you’re on the right side of inspiration?
It can seem like a legal minefield out there for music-makers – many of whom worry that their creativity has been handicapped by the Blurred Lines ruling – but you can apply some simple sense checks that may help avert any awkwardness further down the line.
The fine print There are two tests to check for copyright infringement in musical works, according to UK law. A ‘substantiality’ test judges whether a substantial part of the work is being copied, and there’s no specific threshold in terms of amount of notes or seconds of the offending excerpt. ‘That test is not about quantity, but quality,’ Liv explains. ‘So it doesn’t have to be the whole song that’s being copied, it’s just that what has been copied is the “heart” of the original, enough so that it’s undeniably similar.’
‘Don’t copy melody and don’t copy lyrics,’ says Joe. ‘There is nothing wrong in using someone else’s melody or lyric as inspiration for what you’re doing and then continually adapting it through your own creative process until what you have at the end of that process is an entirely new creative work, that is unrecognisable as being derived from the original.’
The second test is based on the presumption of copying, which, if two works are similar, determines if the defendant had access to the claimant’s works - which isn’t usually a problem in the digital age where everything is accessible via the click of a mouse. Liv continues: ‘Ultimately, similarity is the question that everyone comes to. There’s an argument to be had over what is sufficiently similar - it used to be limited to a motif, melody or lyric, but now it’s been extended to the feel and general sound of the tracks in question.’ It’s no secret that modern music of all genres is a blend of old and new influences, ideas, melodies and rhythms. Often, it can include samples of original works or feature lyrics lifted from other songs. Hip-hop is famed for its culture of reworking old songs while reggae, drum ‘n’ bass and folk are genres where the shell of the music stays largely unchanged from track to track. But regardless of genre, if a track is commercially successful, it’s likely to garner interest from other parties looking for their slice of the pie. So, in the wake of recent copyright infringements such as Stay With Me and Blurred Lines, what can songwriters and composers do to ensure they don’t find themselves accused of copying? Musicology & motifs The outcome of the Blurred Lines case (unless it’s changed on appeal) can now be used as a precedent to decide future rulings for copyright infringement disputes in the US (and, to some degree, in other countries including the UK), so songwriters and composers should be more wary than ever before, says Liv. But that’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s widely known that a common way of finding inspiration for compositions is to draw on what has gone before, and musicologist Joe Bennett observes that songwriters can be caught out by cryptomnesia. This psychological phenomenon occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognised as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. The secret is to catch anything that might be considered inadvertent copying before it leaves the studio, says Joe, ‘and then adapt, adapt and adapt until it’s not recognisable’. ‘There is something to be said for applying the old grey whistle test,’ he explains. ‘If you sing the melody of your work to someone who knows the prior work, and they identify it as the prior work, then that probably is something that would be evidence in an accusation of plagiarism.’
COPYRIGHT CHECKLIST Sorting samples Samples – excerpts from other tracks which you use in a new piece of music - must be cleared by each of the master recording and songwriter/composer rightsholders well before the new track is released. There can be a lot of expense in doing that, as the owner of the sample can ask exactly how much they want for it, so the bigger the artist, the higher the fee is likely to be. However, it’s bound to be cheaper (and far less hassle) than an expensive lawsuit later down the line. After you’ve gained permission, you can register your new piece of music, plus the samples you’ve used, with PRS for Music. You need to include all the details of the sampled work, including the royalty splits you’ve already decided with the original sample owners. Organising arrangements An arrangement is the re-configuration of a piece of music that alters aspects including harmony, rhythm and instrumentation. As an arranger, you should always check the copyright status and the source of your arrangements. Once you’re sure you’re not infringing any copyrights, you can register your new work with PRS for Music. Where there are other copyright holders, you should gain permission for your arrangement and agreeing royalty splits in advance. Clearing covers When doing a cover of a song, you’re the sound recording owner of that version and will only need an MCPS licence for any physical products you want to produce. These mechanical licences are affordable and enable artists to replicate a song without fear of being sued by the original composer. But, if in creating your cover version, you’ve in any way rearranged or adapted the original, you’ll need to seek permission from the music publisher or, if unpublished, the songwriter or composer involved.
Understanding counterclaims Each year, PRS for Music and MCPS manage around 24,000 counterclaims, which arise when a number of members register a claim in the same work and the amount they each claim for exceeds a combined 100 percent. Counterclaims are more likely to occur when there are many writers, a lack of clarity on shares, or confusion over ownership. Of those 24,000 affected works, around 15 percent end up in a dispute status, says PRS for Music’s Senior Copyright Policy Manager, James Way. Members are alerted when works they have a claim in have entered into a counterclaim, and are guided through various steps via an online system and asked to provide supporting documentation where required. If that process doesn't resolve the counterclaim, it’s then up to the writers and publishers to resolve the dispute - whether that be by getting lawyers involved, using a mediation service (a cheaper alternative where a third party is appointed by both sides to encourage and assist in a resolution) or amicably sorting out terms between themselves (the cheapest alternative!). PRS for Music isn’t the judge and jury over who legally owns a share in a musical work, but holds the relevant royalties in suspense until the dispute has been resolved. James’ advice to members when registering works is to source permission if using any element of somebody else’s work, whether that be a sample or making something sound similar, and make sure that the share splits are agreed upfront in any works written. Getting all of this confirmed in some form of writing is also a good idea. ‘That doesn’t guarantee that it won’t become a dispute, but it should help people because the more things that are agreed upfront, the better it is,’ James explains. ‘Always remember that when you are using a piece of music that belongs to someone else, you need permission to do that.’ For more detail visit prsformusic.com/creators/ memberresources/how_it_works M57_SEPTEMBER 2015_17
‘The starting point has always been the music - it’s kept me out of trouble, focused and made me connect with good people. It’s all down to music.’
After an eight-year hiatus, Róisín Murphy, one-time singer of Moloko and now acclaimed solo diva is back with new LP Hairless Toys, which sounds more magical and out there than ever. Jim Ottewill meets the queen of outsider pop… ‘Don’t listen to the middle man. There are a lot in the industry who have no vision, who try to drive it out of you. I was old enough and wise enough to not listen. But I had to have a certain amount of balls.’ Irish solo artist Róisín Murphy is dishing the dirt on the creative wrangling behind the birth of her latest album, Hairless Toys. ‘I was told I wasn’t making the right kind of record because I was older, it’d been years since my last,’ she admits. ‘I had to dig deep to find the self-belief to really push it out.’ Since her early days in pop pranksters Moloko, Róisín has always been loved for refusing to give an inch. She’s continually offered a refreshing blast of unhinged flamboyance - either by slipping effortlessly down a rabbit hole of musical styles or her wardrobe’s Escher-inspired couture. How has she managed to stay strange? ‘I always follow my heart,’ she says. ‘I started out by chance and I’ve always tried to keep that energy. It was the freak accident of meeting Mark in Sheffield that brought me here,’ she laughs. Mark Brydon was the other half of Moloko, a songwriting collaborator and lover who Róisín infamously sidled up to at a party with the chat up line - ‘Do you like my tight sweater? See how it fits my body?’ The proposal was the birth of their first song and subsequent affair. Since the group’s split, Róisín has continued to plough an idiosyncratic musical groove, releasing three solo LPs vibrating with off kilter aural experiments. This year’s Hairless Toys, written with producer Eddie Stevens, is her first LP in eight years and has been hailed as her best yet. She attributes its trippy mix of soul, synths and avant funk to not compromising. ‘I never say I’ve got to work with X, Y or Z,’ says Róisín. ‘I wait until the right situation for a record to arrive. That’s the reason there wasn’t one for so long. There just wasn’t a moment when I felt ready.’
Irish roots Such artistic control can be traced back to Ireland where Róisín was born. She grew up with a love for her mother’s collection of seven-inches and Ireland’s lyrical culture. Her father’s personal hygiene habits also left an impression. ‘He would get into the bath every other week and fill it to the brim. Then get in for two hours, drink a bottle of wine and sing at the top of his voice winding up the whole neighbourhood.’ Róisín ended up leaving Ireland and moving to Manchester following the collapse of her parent’s marriage. The city became a stomping ground where her passion for bands and clubs ignited. She remembers a live gig from Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s Sonic Youth as a turning point. ‘They changed everything,’ Róisín says. ‘The next day I went down to the Record and Tape Exchange, sold all my U2 records and bought Daydream Nation. I became a music obsessive from then on.’ Steel City While Manchester was where music took over her soul, it was across the Pennines in Sheffield where a switch inside her was flicked to creator. Its night time scene in the early nineties was more integrated than Manchester’s, with club sound systems belting out an eclectic mix of music, from hip-hop to R&B and bleep. She remembers the city’s smaller size and DIY ethos being a catalyst to musical friendships. ‘Sheffield was more educational with DJs showing you where the connections were between different musical styles. Clubbing was about following DJs like Winston Hazel and Parrot’, she explains. ‘The first people I got to know were the Warp guys. Through them I met loads of music people and went to some great parties. That’s how I met Mark Brydon.’
Mic to Monitor Tour 2015 Free seminars that deliver key insights into modern day recording, mixing and mastering techniques and dispelling popular myths surrounding these processes Hosted by UK Manufacturers Paisley University of West Scotland 20th Oct
Leeds Leeds Beckett University 15th Oct Liverpool LIPA - 27th Oct Manchester S.S.R. - 22nd Oct
in conjunction with:
Huddersfield Huddersfield University 1st Oct Birmingham Conservatoire 6th Oct London University of Westminster 8th Oct
Bristol University of the West of England - 13th Oct
Southampton Southampton Solent 29th Oct
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Moloko From their first encounter in 1994, the pair immediately became thick as thieves. ‘That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. We fell so much in love. Moloko was part of a need to stay together and share everything,’ remembers Róisín. Their coupling led to four great Moloko albums including 2000’s amazing Things to Make and Do and swansong Statues in 2003. Their outfit, named after the Russian word for milk, toked hard on dub, P-funk and the industrial tech of Cabaret Voltaire, blowing back a wild-eyed pop sound that was as fiendish as it was fabulous. Live outings saw Róisín stalking the stage as a seductive Cruella De Vil while Mark toiled in the band’s Liquid Liquid-shaped engine room, dreaming up increasingly irreverent sonics. Brilliant as they were, the group might never have got off the ground if it hadn’t been for one loud mouthed American record company exec. Róisín explains: ‘He heard this snippet of me singing and started playing it over and over. He’d say: “Listen to this shit. This shit sounds like Nina Simone!” We were really embarrassed but it eventually sunk in and we started to experiment.’ Despite these early fumbles, Moloko did achieve genuine pop success - the remix of Sing it Back by DJ Boris Dlugosch made it to number four in the singles chart. But it didn’t quite fit a band who never found their place. ‘It never felt like we were successful. Even Sing it Back was as awkward as shit because it wasn’t Mark’s production and we didn’t have any other songs like it.’ Going it alone Following the break-up of Moloko and her relationship, Róisín had to confront a crisis of songwriting confidence. ‘For the last few years in Moloko I was absolutely paranoid as shit that I couldn’t do it,’ she admits. It was thanks to producer Matthew Herbert that she was able to emerge from her musical closet. He managed to tease out her musicality and help rebuild her voice. ‘Matthew has this paternal energy. His methods are all about the innate beauty of any bloody sound at all. I wasn’t able to do any wrong. If I’d farted, he would have fucking thought it was great and made some sort of symphony out of it.’ The result was the fantastic Ruby Blue in 2005, an adventure fuelled by sass and Herbert’s odd sampling. The glossy major label pop of Overpowered followed, written with collaborators including Groove Armada’s Andy Cato and Seiji from Bugz in the Attic.
Mark Allan, Getty
‘I worked with so many different people, even on the one song,’ Róisín explains. ‘From the writing to the extra production, mixing and arrangements.’ The albums deserve equally to be seen as cult classics but they also marked significant steps in her songwriting development. ‘Both taught me how to knuckle down and face the blank page no matter what,’ she says. Hairless Toys And after Overpowered in 2007? The odd guest appearance aside, eight years of silence until last year’s Italian Mi Senti EP. Created with long-term collaborator Eddie Stevens, it was a welcome sign of life from a musician too long dormant and a typically eccentric return, featuring six slices of dark pop all sung in Italian. Born out of Róisín’s relationship with her new boyfriend and their child, it prompted her to clamber inside the studio again. The resulting sessions led to the creation of more than 30 songs, eight of which made it onto Hairless Toys. Why did she and Eddie hit if off so well?
‘The main thing is to capture energy all the time. That’s much more important than fixing mistakes.’ ‘He’s a lunatic, but probably the most professional person I’ve ever met in my life,’ says Róisín. ‘I’d never written with him before apart from years ago when we wrote some dirty songs under the moniker of Eggs-rated – they were so disgusting that we couldn’t play them to anyone without them being physically sick.’ Method in the madness Among the musical schizophrenia, Róisín describes herself as a ‘method head’. ‘I keep plenty of diaries,’ she says. ‘I’m not the most disciplined person in the world so most of them have four full pages and the rest are empty.’ ‘I also make these big scrap books with cutting out of newspapers and magazines to help me. The main thing is to capture energy all the time. That’s much more important than fixing mistakes.’ Hairless Toys has been well worth the wait, with an intoxicating array of musical styles on display. Like Grace Jones or David Byrne, Róisín is at her best when she’s voguing at the rainbow-filled junction where art and pop collide. The likes of Gone Fishing and Evil Eyes illustrate her ease at being a musical chameleon, concocting a template for how fierce pop can look and sound in 2015. With so many songs already recorded, a sibling to this latest record is promised plus a potential EP and glut of gigs where Róisín’s mix of dance, electronica and pop comes alive. She’s travelled a long way from those early days in Manchester and Sheffield. ‘The start has always been the music,’ she says. ‘Even if I’d never made any, I still owe everything to it - it’s kept me out of trouble, focused and made me connect with great people. It’s all down to music.’ m57_september 2015_21
Main image: Eno Williams
KRZYSZTOF A. EDELMAN
AFRICA As stereos and soundsystems across the UK ripple with the thrum of African drums, snaking melodies and brisk bass, Anita Awbi chats to the artists, labels and crate-diggers who are reshaping our tastes.
A defining moment of the 2015 festival season? It has to be Damon Albarn’s closing set at Roskilde, Denmark, where his Africa Express collective – including Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Nick Zinner, Seye Adelekan and Songhoy Blues – unleashed an epic jam that lasted until 4am. After five hours of riotous improv, Damon defied orders to stop and was carried off stage by a security guard as the crowd yelled for more. The spectacle embodies the revolutionary power of Africa Express, a musical lynchpin that’s been bridging geographical, generational and genre boundaries since 2006. It also exposes a growing appetite in Western Europe for African, and African-inspired, music. ‘Everyone wants something different, something new,’ says Eno Williams, flamboyant mouthpiece for the 16-legged party animal Ibibio Sound Machine. Her UK based outfit blends ‘just about every genre on the planet’ – a bold approach that’s seen them become one of the newest – and most successful - additions to Miles Cleret’s eclectic Soundway label. As songwriter and main vocalist, Eno uses her Nigerian mother’s Ibibio tongue, while the band around her swoop and soar across the continents. On paper, their aesthetic might sound complex or confused, but on stage, they’re a force to be reckoned with, as proven by recent barn-storming appearances at Glastonbury, Wilderness, Shambala and Citadel festivals. ‘Everyone’s tastes are becoming more eclectic and international. We want to hear something different from the norms we’re used to, and we’re all growing our musical palates,’ she explains. Like Eno and Damon before them, many other British musicians and labels are now turning East, drawn by the distinctive resonance of the region’s rhythm and rhyme. From Floating Points and James Holden’s Marhaba EP with Moroccan gnawa heavyweight Mahmoud Guinia, to a ‘Swahili trap’ remix of rising XL Recordings duo Ibeyi, it’s been a pivotal 12 months for African music in the UK. And there’s more to come. In October, JD Twitch’s Autonomous Africa record label, in conjunction with the Glasgow’s Green Door Studio, releases the much anticipated Youth Stand Up album. The set was masterminded by the studio’s Emily MacLaren and features collaborations between local acts such as Golden Teacher and Whilst with a Tafi cultural centre in Ghana. It’s an ambitious project which is forging strong creative links between the two countries and has created a permanent recording studio at the Ghanaian cultural centre. Meanwhile, last year’s big thing was William Onyeabor, a Nigerian electro-funk eccentric from the seventies, whose reissues through David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label struck a chord far deeper than was originally intended. And before that, Four Tet and Hot Chip were busy embracing sub-Sahara’s rich heritage through a bunch of re-edits, covers, collaborations and mixtapes. In fact, over the last 10 years, African music has built up a formidable head of steam, invigorated by the new ways we listen to and share music. Throw in a clutch of devoted musical missionaries and tastemakers - including DJ and label boss Gilles Peterson, Damon’s
Africa Express partner Ian Birrell and Awesome Tapes From Africa’s Brian Shimkovitz – and you’ve got a viable musical biome that’s become a breeding ground for global cross-collaboration. Shangaan style Instigator and Shangaan electro innovator Richard Mthetwa, aka Nozinja, has been one of the main touchpoints for South African sounds here in the UK. Over the last decade, he’s become synonymous with a frenetic new strain of electronic music that fuses old disco basslines with the Shangaan tribe’s breakneck drums and melodies. Explosive, ecstatic and celebratory, the genre has exploded from its Limpopo base to snare the ears and limbs of dancers, beat-makers and DJs around the globe. ‘I wanted to take it international because I thought people around the world were missing something good,’ Nozinja explains. ‘People had never seen such a spectacle – such amazing dancers and fast music. The world was missing out.’ Nozinja’s fast rise here in the UK typifies a new cultural openness which is spreading from our musical fringes into the fray. Following a niche 2010 release through Honest Jon’s, he’s collaborated with Tessela and Dan Snaith (Caribou, Daphni), and has performed sold-out shows in Britain’s biggest concert halls. He’s now the latest addition to Warp Records’ roster with a brand new solo record under his belt. Nozinja stands at the vanguard of new African electronics, which is, in turn, heralding a fresh chapter in the globalised story of dance music. But it’s not just DJs and techno heads who’re dancing to the beat of Africa’s nimble grooves. Radical regrowth However you relate to African music – be it through afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, the ‘Lion of Africa’ saxophonist Manu Dibango or even Paul Simon’s Graceland - one thing’s for sure: its heat can be felt in just about every steady groove, idiosyncratic syncopation and polyrhythm you’ve ever heard. It’s directly and indirectly influenced everything from funk, jazz and rock to hip-hop, bebop and even classical. As any musicologist will testify, the last century has seen a constant cycle of ideas from East to West, often bubbling below the surface before trickling slowly into the popular psyche. But this time round African music has burst its banks, spilling out from its ‘world music’ categorisation and its concert hall programming to flood the mainstream, the underground and beyond. ‘I think African music has always been around in the UK,’ Eno explains. ‘I remember listening to Angelique Kidjo, Manu Dibango, and Youssou N’Dour when I was growing up – all those people have been trying to bridge that gap between African and Western music for years. Only now it’s becoming mainstream because our tastes are more globalised.’ Miles Cleret (right), founder of the Soundway imprint, agrees. ‘For the last 100 years it’s always been back and forth; ideas, ideas, ideas. But these days it’s quicker than ever, and that’s why it seems
Music is a product of the world, everyone’s living in it. Spreading it makes it become bigger and better. m57_september 2015_23
Above: Flamingods Right: Petite Noir Opposite page: Floating Points and James Holden with Mahmoud Guinia and his band; Nozinja
more acute.’ It is precisely this rush of creativity that prompted him to build up Soundway from a reissues-only operation to include a roster of current recording artists. Miles believes that many of today’s musicians are rejecting straight replication of African styles in favour of creating their own crossbreeds. ‘Musicians would decide to play things exactly as they were in the seventies, for example, with the same mics, the same horn sets and the same arrangements,’ he says. ‘But now people are going beyond that. It’s really fresh and exciting, because there are no boundaries, and everyone is experimenting more. In London, and all the big cities across Britain and the world, people have so many different mixtures of cultures within them – it’s coming out in the music.’
TRAVYS OWEN, CAMILLE BLAKE
Noirwave PRS for Music Foundation-funded Congolese/Angolan artist Petite Noir (aka Yannick Ilunga) is a case in point. He epitomises the shape-shifting sound he calls ‘a new African aesthetic’. Now residing in Cape Town and signed to Domino Records, he’s worked with UK artist/producer Oli Bayston (Boxed In) and Leon Brichard (Ibibio Sound Machine) on his debut album La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful in a bid to capture the best of both musical flavours. Graduating from teenage metal bands, through African synthpop outfits and now his own solo endeavour, Yannick has developed a schizophrenic approach that blends early eighties new-wave with Cape Town’s post-millennial take on Chicago house. He says he’s driven by a need to examine the modern perception of Africa as a ‘dark continent’, largely unknown and culturally distant. He aims to challenge current thinking with a sound he dubs ‘noirwave’ – a form of music that has its roots in a growing global movement rather than a particular country and continent. ‘Music and travelling go together, they’re like family,’ he explains over the one-hour time difference that separates London and Cape Town. ‘Music is all about collaboration. That’s what keeps it going. It’s very backwards to think that people should stick to their own regions. Music is a product of the world, everyone’s living in it. It’s energy. Spreading it makes it become bigger and better.’
We’ll be continually surprised by music coming out of Africa: always have faith in Africa to excite us musically.
Navigating collaboration For Floating Points, aka British artist Sam Shepherd, a last minute trip to Marrakech in 2014 led to a similar musical awakening. He’s long been known for his inventive approach to music-making, where the lines between house, jazz and techno become fuzzy and warm. But collaborating with the late singer and guembri player Mahmoud Guinia, along with British producer James Holden, has flipped his perception of bass and beats for good. Working in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains over several days, Sam, James, Mahmoud and his band recorded more than five hours of music together. Sam saw how they constructed live polyrhythmic grooves that circled around a shared beat – expertly building the tension and release that makes music fly. ‘It’s the first time in my life that I’ve heard music and not been able to reduce it down to something academic,’ he explains. ‘I understand how the rhythms would look if I wrote them down on a piece of paper, but it doesn’t sound like that when they play it. There’s some other groove that I can’t put my finger on. ‘It was a big moment in my musical life to be that confused but to still love it! It’s a little unnerving because I thought I was losing my grip on music. It’s certainly changed a lot for me.’ Since then, Sam says he’s been working even harder on his own rhythms and now understands that groove is not something that’s academic, or can be learned. His latest venture, debut album Elaenia, is expected to show the fruits of this new thinking when it’s released in November. Reject the ghetto Africa Express has been tapping into the power of cross-continental collaboration since 2006. More recently, founders Damon Albarn and broadsheet journalist Ian Birrell have hosted sessions between members of Metronomy, Django Django and the Lobi Traoré Band, plus Kankou Kouyaté and Brian Eno, on both stage and wax. Theirs is a unique offer, built on the premise that collaboration can change the notion of African music as an ‘exotic import’. ‘A lot of music - “world music” as it’s so-called in this country - is quite ghettoised,’ Ian says. ‘We want to open things up and get people to share our love for the music. We also want to spread the idea of artistic collaboration, which, of course, is a two-way thing.’
But Ian believes it takes a certain type of artist – one who has ‘a lot of bottle’ – to take part, often in front of thousands of people and involving musicians you may never have played with before. ‘I think musicians can get into a certain cycle,’ he says. ‘Especially if you’re successful, you may get stuck on the treadmill of producing albums and going on tour, playing the same songs every night. Many artists tell us that Africa Express completely throws their approach to music because they realise how loose they can be, and how they can improvise. And if they hit a bum note it’s not the end of the world.’ Global sound For London-Bahraini band Flamingods, it’s less about direct collaboration, and more about co-opting African sounds. Dubbed ‘ethnic pop’, they chuck tribal rhythms, eastern melodies and freak folk into a big pot, bringing it to the boil with gusto. Outlandish carnival vibes and indigenous African instruments ensure their sound is as flamboyant as their namesake. ‘Although some of us are classically trained, we’re interested in experimentation,’ explains Flamingods founder Kamal Rasool. ‘We don’t want to play instruments in the traditional way because people have done that already. We wouldn’t want to steal from anyone, but rather, take these instruments and ideas and try and make them our own.’ For some, this approach is way outside the accepted boundaries imposed by the ‘world music’ tag. But for others it’s a welcome break from the constraints of an outmoded genre. As Soundway’s Miles Cleret explains: ‘The old world music crowd bemoan the death of more traditional genres of African music. But I don’t think they’ll ever die - they’ll always live in people’s imaginations and on the radio. ‘I think, subliminally, they come back, and they’ll be reborn in different ways. Music never stops evolving. We’ll be continually surprised by music coming out of Africa: always have faith in Africa to excite us musically.’ Nozinja agrees: ‘African music is on top now. We’re raising our hands as musicians and telling the world, you can count on us. We will bring you quality music and show you something you’ve been missing all these years. Count on us, we are here.’
Want more? You’ll find an exclusive interview with afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen (above) over on M online now. He talks to us about his time with Fela Kuti in Africa 70 and the formation of his own unique drumming style. Also online, Green Door Studio’s Emily MacLaren chats about her involvement in Autonomous Africa’s forthcoming Youth Stand Up project and album, and British/Ghanaian afro-pop innovator Fuse ODG discusses his rise from the streets of South London to the world’s biggest stages. You’ll also find full interviews with everyone in this feature, plus a series of Africa-themed playlists to tickle your earbuds. m-magazine.co.uk
With The Proms, headline festival sets and the unstoppable rise of EDM, the careers of many of dance music’s originators have never been stronger. Jim Ottewill discovers why the electronic pulse from one of the maddest eras in pop history has refused to die… ‘It’s the closest thing to mass zombie-dom,’ was how BBC Radio 1 DJ Peter Powell once famously snarled about dance music’s early rumblings. That was back in the late eighties, when electronic music was unrecognisable to how it is now. At its height, acid house culture was part of a youth revolution wearing Joe Bloggs jeans, baggy t-shirts and marauding around the UK’s fields, bog-eyed, searching for a night time beat. The tabloids relished mauling a scene for supposedly leading the UK’s youth on a sex and drug-fuelled romp into the fires of hell.
Fast forward 25 years and you’ll find these previously illicit bleeps aren’t quite as naughty as they were once were. In fact, like many of the first wave of DJs and producers, they’re all grown up. Dance music is big business in 2015, with the International Music Summit’s 2015 Business Report estimating it to be worth $6.9bn (£4.4bn), up 12 percent year-on-year. The ever-increasing rise of EDM in the States means the likes of Calvin Harris coined £41.2m in the last 12 months to June alone.
as a foot soldier of rave, I was at the Albert Hall watching the establishment dance to our music. It’s mental.’ Strings of Life The Heritage Orchestra performed as part of the event, with conductor Jules Buckley exchanging glow sticks for a baton to help translate rave anthems into orchestral pieces. Since 2004, the ensemble have worked across a number of similar projects, staging a version of Goldie’s Timeless for James Lavelle’s Meltdown Festival in 2014, touring with Björk and performing with Anna Calvi. So why did they decide to set out to explore these non-classical worlds? ‘We just look out for music that we are into,’ says Chris Wheeler, the orchestra’s Creative Director. ‘And because we all grew up in the nineties it seems that we like a bit of drum ‘n’ bass.’ He thinks that the success of the Ibiza Prom was partly down to the versatility of the orchestra, their genuine love for the genre as well as tuning their production values to the needs for different amplification and electronic instruments.
While Calvin and The Chemical Brothers are topping festival bills across the world, dance music is so ingrained in the national psyche it’s even enjoyed an appearance at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. As Fatboy Slim’s album says, the music has ‘come a long way baby’.
Despite this, the evening was still a challenge. ‘We had over 50 tunes on the long list for the night and we whittled it down to the most effective. But overall, there are a lot of textures, decent melodies, and well thought out musical forms in dance music - so the ingredients are there to rework it.’
BBC Proms ‘It’s The Proms for fuck’s sake. It’s one of the most officious, established things I remember as a child,’ exclaims Paul Hartnoll disbelievingly when discussing the evening. As one half of Orbital, alongside his brother Phil, Paul helped bring electronic beats to the mainstream via iconic festival performances and tracks such as Chime and Satan. Now DJing and composing solo, Paul was at the Royal Albert Hall to witness Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra tear through some of dance music’s most defining moments, including Orbital’s own Belfast. ‘Before, The Proms just featured Land of Hope and Glory,’ continues Paul. ‘Now we’re listening to an orchestra run through Children by Robert Miles and Good Life by Inner City.’
Headliners If you’d been at this year’s Glastonbury Festival, you couldn’t help but notice the presence of many of the biggest British electronic acts as headliners. On the Sunday night, Fatboy Slim, The Chemical Brothers and Leftfield were keeping festival goers moving into the wee hours, showing that the dominance of dance stretches from the field to the concert hall and back again.
The Ibiza Prom was organised to celebrate 20 years since BBC Radio 1 first broadcast from the White Isle and marked what Paul described as a ‘flip flopping of musical cultures. As one of those right there from the beginning,
Rob Da Bank, BBC Radio DJ and Bestival co-founder/ programmer, believes its testament to their songwriting, plus their ability to tap into the sound’s zeitgeist, that’s helped them stay ahead. ‘If you look back at the birth of those big electronic
Exit Planet Dust, the futuristic first album by The Chemical Brothers, came out in the summer of 1995. Now 20 years old, it means that the pair are arguably a ‘heritage’ act, but their eighth album Born in the Echoes was recently released to ongoing, increasing acclaim. The duo are perhaps one of the first acts to sustain such a long and successful musical career with beats and bleeps.
‘Before, they played Land of Hope and Glory. Now we’re listening to them run through Children by Robert Miles and Good Life by Inner City.’
Main image: Paul Hartnoll
For interviews with Paul Hartnoll, Marc Archer, Chris Wheeler and Rob Da Bank visit m-magazine.co.uk
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‘If you look back at the birth of those big electronic acts, they set the benchmark for how to do it on record and live, so they’ve managed to keep at the top ever since.’
acts, they set the benchmark for how to do it on record and live, so they’ve managed to keep at the top ever since,’ explains. ‘All of these originals are also great personalities in different ways. Fatboy’s the showman, the Chems are cool and underground, Leftfield make incredible timeless music and Underworld nailed it with the Olympics.’ Kim Ann Foxman, a much in-demand house and disco DJ, behind Firehouse Records and a fixture at UK festivals including Wilderness and Lovebox agrees with Rob. ‘These artists made a huge impact and developed properly as live acts during a time when albums were still selling,’ she explains. ‘It wasn’t as oversaturated with music back then. At the same time, people were buying whole albums and growing up with these artists.’
Handing down the rave baton So how else have these acts, preoccupied with creating sonic futures, remained successful despite their ever increasing years? Well, while the artists have grown older, so have their original fan base, passing their passion for these sounds onto the next generation of dancers. Rob has his own children who he’s weaned on rave.
supping on a synthesiser of eternal youth. Infiltrate 202 first told you to watch your bass bins in 1992 - but 23 years later, his headline DJ set at Glastonbury’s fire-breathing Arcadia spider was one of the weekend’s highlights. ‘Many of the kids who were at the rave are now parents and have brought their kids up on a staple diet of old school acid house and rave,’ he says when discussing his success.
Above: The Chemical Brothers
‘So when the new generation of clubbers hears an influence in new music or that there’s a night that is dedicated to the sound of the late eighties and early nineties, they’re going to be into it purely from familiarity.’ Music consumption While this familiarity has pressed the buttons of new music lovers, changes in listening habits are also helping electronic acts sustain their careers. With one click, an entire back catalogue can be streamed or downloaded meaning that this once niche music is within the grasp of even the casual listener.
‘My kids know who Fatboy Slim is while the 18 to 24 year olds who populate much of Bestival love The Chemical Brothers as much as I did 20 years ago. Electronic music is very good at keeping artists young.’
Graham Massey is one of the founders of acid house pioneers 808 State, an outfit with hits, such as Pacific State and Cübik, which helped define the very ethos of rave. He believes conditions are perfect for the curious. ‘People getting into electronic music now have this massive ocean of music to investigate,’ he says. ’The big difference from before is that you can be mining a huge ocean of previous electronic music that still mixes together well with new sounds.’
Mark Archer, founding member of be-masked ravers Altern8, is another original acid house warrior whose career is seemingly
Mark agrees, also citing the power of the original songs: ‘The whole scene has been a massive influence on genres that have
since been conceived. This has always had the more enthusiastic music lover digging through the history of dance music to find out where things have come from.’
Clockwise from top left: Altern8, Rob Da Bank, Kim Ann Foxman, Ella Eyre at the 2015 Ibiza Prom.
Acid futures Despite dance culture’s nostalgic tendencies, the current success of the likes of Disclosure and Rudimental shows there’s a new breed of artists following in the wake of the originals. And with chart topping records and festival headline slots, they’re arguably heading deeper into new territories of success.
CHRIS CHRISTODOULOU, CHRISTELLE DE CASTRO
Graham Massey is still excited by the possibilities of the genre, despite it now being the mainstream. ‘It’s still interesting to me because of the notion that there are sounds that haven’t been heard yet,’ he states. ‘Sound is an endless possibility - there are still sounds to be invented, new combinations that can have a different emotional impact on people. The music-makers of the nineties generation did some amazing work in defining electronic music. Now we have a different generation that is also equally experimental in weird ways.’ While The Chemical Brothers and Leftfield are the ‘captains of industry’, Paul Hartnoll believes there are enough artists out there to continue pushing this tradition of innovation forwards. ‘People like Jon Hopkins, Nathan Fake and James Holden are doing really well,’ he says. ‘The amount of music stuff you hear on telly which sounds like Jon Hopkins is crazy. But the sound just keeps going. Just when you wonder whether it’s going to continue, it does with different people doing it. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next.’
Tim Fraser and Rita Campbell
The Songwriters Executive Committee at BASCA is currently in the middle of a huge drive to increase membership and to offer new and existing members much more ‘bang for their buck’. BASCA will always be at the vanguard of fighting on all fronts for writers’ and composers’ rights but while these battles rage BASCA has a parallel campaign to improve the support, discounts, events and gatherings for all of our members in all of our music genres. basca.org Tim Fraser (BASCA Director/Vice Chair of the Songwriters Exec) and Rita Campbell (Songwriters Exec) are working flat-out on several exciting projects that will enhance BASCA and attract new members into the fold. BASCA Scholarship Tim and Rita have been working alongside The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) to create the BASCA Scholarship. This scholarship will be a fully funded place on ACM’s 2-year songwriting degree course in its Music Industry Practice BA Hons programme. The scholarship will be part of ACM’s innovative incubator programmes that place talented students within a real-world music industry ecosystem (working with performers, producers and business executives). The songwriting course is a world-leading offering in music education that is fully validated.
Applications will be open to all those applying to ACM via UCAS for the course as well as to existing members of BASCA. All applicants will have to be members of BASCA but student/digital membership is an ultra-affordable gateway into the organisation. All applicants will be assessed by a panel of ACM professional tutors. The eight finalists will perform or elect to have their songs performed at a one-day event to be held at the iconic Metropolis Studios before a panel of six distinguished judges from BASCA and ACM. The winner and two runners-up will be chosen on the day. ACM’s Executive Chairman, Kainne Clements, says of the scholarship scheme: ‘We are delighted to announce the partnership between ACM and BASCA and be able to offer our most talented and promising students this chance. There is such an obvious synergy between BASCA’s work in supporting songwriters and composers and our talented songwriting students. The scholarship also fits perfectly with our belief that finance and circumstances should not be a barrier to any student fulfilling their potential. Our aim is to provide a truly industry-based, world-class education.’ The importance of the protection of songwriters’ music rights is regarded as paramount at ACM, and all of their students, as well as being automatically enrolled in BASCA, are directed to register with PRS for Music. Collaboration Tim Fraser and Rita Campbell are also bringing together their own personal projects outside
of BASCA, such as ‘The Insider’s Guide to the Music Industry’ (one-day seminars crammed with information for budding songwriters, at a very affordable price) as well as projects in Nashville and the Gulf states. This month, Rita recently held another of her hugely popular songwriting retreats at Monnow Valley Studios in stunning Monmouth, Wales. Rita says: ‘As a songwriter I have always believed collaboration is key – I love being on songwriting camps and co-writing with new people, so having the opportunity to organise and run yearly ones for BASCA is just brilliant. We’re now in our fourth year and every camp has delivered amazing songs from newly formed writing and production teams!’ Tim will also be starting a new series of SongShop all-day demo-listening and critique days. Both Tim and Rita are committed to delivering exciting products through BASCA to make the Academy the only place to be for creators across the musical genres. Tim says: ‘The possibilities are limitless with our association with ACM. The amazing facilities, the impressive roster of tutors and the dedicated staff all chime exactly with the BASCA ethic. ‘BASCA and ACM. That’s quite a double-act!’
i wrote that Joel Pott is an Ivor Novello Awardwinning songwriter, guitarist and former front man of stereoscopic guitar band Athlete. Along with his fellow band members he wrote numerous hits including Wires, Half Light and Superhuman Touch during the early 2000s. These days Joel spends most of his time producing and writing for other artists, including London Grammar, Gabrielle Aplin, Chlöe Howl and James Bay. He also co-wrote George Ezra’s Ivor Novello Award-nominated song Budapest. The top five hit shifted more than 500,000 copies to become one of the best-selling songs of 2014. Here, Joel tells the story behind it…
For the full interview with Joel visit
I met George Ezra through Alison Donald, the co-President at Columbia Records. She used to be my publisher and we always got on really well. She suggested I meet their new signing, who was a ‘brilliant lyricist’ with an ‘amazing voice’. So George and I went to the pub and hit it off. You know straight away when you meet someone like that. He had a big character and loads to say, so I immediately knew I wanted to work with him. We booked in two days to write together. On the first day we wrote Blame it on Me, which became his second single. It happened really quickly so, when you’re writing good songs and it feels easy, you carry on! After we had those initial sessions, George went travelling round Europe for a couple of months. We chatted before he went, and he said he’d make sure he wrote down observations and thoughts in his journal. When he came back we went up to a place in Wales to write for a week. On the first day I read through his journal and highlighted loads of phrases and snapshots of Europe and its characters. The place in Wales has a big log fire and we were sitting around drinking too much. It was about one in the morning and I told George I needed to go to bed. He said, ‘no, come on, another one. We can write just one more,’ and then he started playing the first verse of Budapest. I immediately thought, ‘Right, I’m not going to bed just yet!’ He ran through the first few lines again and stopped. As we were a bit drunk, I said to him, ‘what would Elvis do next?!’ And that’s how we came up with the chorus. We thought it sounded like what Elvis would’ve done! After that, everything came together really quickly – we wrote it all in an hour and a half. The idea seemed really obvious – it’s just about listing
stuff that you’d give up for someone. It was fantastical and silly, just like George’s character. We got a demo down there and then, and I think it’s cool. It’s been used as a B side because it’s such a nice live performance. It’s different with each artist I work with, but with George it was always all about writing songs, rather than recording. We decided we’d just have one mic in the room and record that sound. The process was really simple, it wasn’t about doing any production when we wrote – it was about the songs first and foremost. I think you can judge whether something is good or not from a room recording. I suppose it was quite an old school way of working, but I think it’s a great way to make a record. George just wrote songs and I was there as a sounding board. Then he went off and got great producer Cam Blackwood [Alabama3, Florence + the Machine, London Grammar] to realise that side of it. A while later we went to France to write some more. He’d just finished an EP with Did You Hear the Rain, Budapest and another couple of songs and he played it to me. I was in tears when I heard it. It sounded amazing. When I was in Athlete, I was there for the whole process. I wrote a song and then recorded it. To write a song with someone that they go off and record,
We got a bit drunk when we were writing, and I said to George, ‘what would Elvis do now?!’ and then just to hear it cold with no expectations was really amazing. I knew it was a good song, but there’s no way of predicting that kind of success. A song like that could’ve easily flown under the radar. Fortunately it didn’t! I’m really glad that loads of people love it. I feel fortunate that I’ve been part of writing songs that a lot of people seem to like. I’ve also been part of writing songs that have been B sides, which I really like. They’re just as valid. Budapest could’ve just been a B side but it’s just a really good song. Budapest Written by: Joel Pott and George Ezra Published by: Chrysalis Music and BMG Rights Management m57_september 2015_33
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Leopold Stokowski prunes Andrzej Panufnik’s apple tree, Twickenham, summer, 1968. British maestro Leopold Stokowski was one of the greatest conductors of the last century. His unique style shunned the baton in favour of his more expressive hand work, while the variety and quantity of his performances championed composers of all musical persuasions.
This picture was taken by Camilla Jessel Panufnik, wife of the late composer Sir Andrzej Panufnik, with whom Leopold had a close bond. Here, Camilla remembers the man who was both a world-class conductor and a pioneering record producer. Leopold Stokowski was famous for his magnificent recordings and his thrilling performances, notably his ‘Philadelphia sound’ those glorious tones he drew from his American orchestra. He was also renowned for his arrangements of Bach and his conducting in the Disney film Fantasia, which introduced whole generations to joyous classical music. He was a lifelong promoter of new music, frequently performing works by then lesserknown composers whom he felt deserved better recognition, including early Schoenberg, Rachmaninov and Ives, and was passionate about the compositions of my late husband, premiering several of his works from 1953 onwards. After we married and moved into my grandmother’s old house by the Thames, Stokowski often stayed with us to rest between his concerts and recordings. Well over 80, he was still a magnificent conductor. He insisted we kept his hiding place secret. He loved to
get away from the grandiose maestro lifestyle. All he wanted was peace, quiet and long conversations about music with Andrzej, and to revel in our rustic surroundings.
hoped it would be performed frequently, like Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and that it was ‘... one of the most original musical creations of the mid-20th century’.
He used to tick me off in maestro-ish style for not keeping our fruit trees in good trim. He would grab my secateurs and rush round our garden, clipping off dead twigs, even branches. ‘I hate dead wood!’ he said. (Remembering his rehearsals, I guess he was thinking of orchestral musicians whose sightreading was not up to scratch!)
He gave this Twickenham-based cantata a double world premiere with mighty performances in New York's protestant and catholic cathedrals. Aged 88, without fee, he recorded the cantata right through the night in London’s Westminster Cathedral, but chose in 1971 to give its British premiere where Alexander Pope lies buried in the small parish church of St. Mary's in Twickenham.
He enjoyed our domesticity also, sitting on the Welsh farmhouse pew in our kitchen while I attempted to cook gourmet meals. He would pod the peas, peel the spuds and give instructions of how he liked them to be cooked - precisely au point. He loved boating on the Thames with Andrzej. Together they explored the ancient buildings round Twickenham and paid their respects to our 18th century local resident, the great poet Alexander Pope. When Andrzej composed his cantata to Pope's great poem, The Universal Prayer, Stokowski was profoundly moved not only by its ecumenical invocation to the ‘Father of all! In every age, In every clime adored, By saint, by savage, and by sage, Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!...’ but he was bowled over by Andrzej's score. He once wrote that he
This surprising event was brilliantly caught for television by a then little-known stranger from nearby Richmond, Sir David Attenborough. Sadly TV film in those days was mostly ‘wiped’ for reuse so the documentary did not survive.
Sir Andrzej Panufnik was a revered composer, known for his highly original symphonic pieces. He worked with the era’s most prestigious conductors and orchestras, and introduced the young Evelyn Glennie to the public eye through his Concertino for Timpani, Percussion and Strings. Andrzej received a knighthood for services to British music in January 1991, the year of his death.
“I’m Smiling Because I Just Cashed Another Royalty Check” John Mazzei - TAXI Member
My music is played regularly
on the top daytime TV talk show as a direct result of my TAXI membership. I was a full-time gigging musician, playing covers to earn a living. I always thought that was the only way to make money with music. Sure, I’d heard of royalties, but I thought they were just for music industry insiders. I saw the ads for TAXI but was skeptical that they could help me get an inside track to the music business. I’d always composed in my home studio, and really didn’t think my music would ever be heard by anyone but family and friends.
The Leap of Faith
Road Rally – TAXI’s free, members-only convention. That gave me a huge jolt of inspiration and knowledge.
a result, I was invited to compose for the famous daytime TV talk show mentioned above. Needless to say, I said, “Yes!!”
I Didn’t Have To Be An Insider…
Since then I’ve also signed with a number of Film & TV Music Publishers and my music’s been placed on HBO’s True Blood. In just three years I’ve signed publishing deals for more than 100 pieces of my music and have an open door to submit to those publishers any time. All of this was a direct result of my TAXI membership.
My First Composing Gig
I can’t quit my day job just yet, but that day gets a little closer with each deal! Give TAXI a call. If you’re willing to work hard, learn from their feedback and have patience, you can hear your music on TV and cash royalty checks too.
I just needed to write consistently great, targeted music and learn more about the business side of the music industry. I also learned that the music business is made up of some pretty cool people. I went home from the convention with renewed energy, kept submitting to TAXI, and used their feedback to hone my skills. A couple of years later, I handed out my demo at the Road Rally. As
A few years and a corporate day gig later, I finally decided to give TAXI a try. Within a few months they started sending my music to some great companies. That encouraged me to attend my first
Quitting the Day Job…
Thanks to TAXI, I’m smiling all the way to the bank! Give them a call.
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