After a Spring full of albums being delayed due to the
In London, Fran Lobo has impressed with her debut EP
ongoing pandemic, a summer album from Fontaines D.C.
‘Brave’. The artist, producer and DJ talks us through
may have come as a surprise to many. After spending
why she is most creative when doing everything at once.
some lockdown time in Skerries, County Dublin and a
Staying in the capital, LL Burns, Muck Spreader and
stint with the band in the city, frontman, Grian Chatten
Ethan P. Flynn have dropped notable releases in recent
is relaxed, reappraised and “generally happy”. Following
months, with the latter signing to Young Turks. We catch
a jog around London, we discuss the effect of a seaside
up with all three inside. Washington D.C.’s Sneaks is
town, a new found consciousness and how creativity is at
gearing up to release her new album ‘Happy Birthday’
the heart of everything Fontaines D.C.
which has swiftly become a favourite of ours. We review it and give you an insight into what you can expect. Dublin’s
Joining the Dublin band inside are Canadian mixed media
Silverbacks have released an album too. Their debut,
collective, Crack Cloud. It’s our third time speaking with
‘Fad’ has earned high praise and we chat to them about
the band, but the first since the release of their debut
the record, sticking it out and communicating via song.
album ‘Pain Olympics’. We call frontman Zach Choy to
Glasgow is thriving. With a DIY community pushing the
chat about finding comfort in Post-Punk and how art can
boundaries as they bid to improve the city they love, it’s
unify and help find solidarity. Working Men’s Club have
fertile ground for alternative music. Two examples of that
had a chaotic twelve months - enduring line up changes
are inside as we chat to Queer Pop x Post-Punk purveyors
and album delays. On the phone, Syd Minsky-Sargeant
Walt Disco and newcomers Medicine Cabinet. Rounding
tells us about writing for himself, the soul in northern
off the issue, we take a rare trip to Coventry to speak with
music and how free speech is being held back.
Souki plus meet illustrator Naomi Anderson-Subryan and artist Karen Lederer who’s designed the latest t-shirt in our Artist Series.
3 Medicine Cabinet Ignite
30 Walt Disco Young Hard and Handsome
7 Karen Lederer Artist Series
33 LL Burns Get Me Back in the Game
9 Fontaines D.C. A Hero’s Death
38 Crack Cloud Pain Olympics
16 Fran Lobo Brave
42 Muck Spreader Rodeo Mistakes
20 Sneaks Happy Birthday
43 Ethan P. Flynn B-Sides & Rarities
21 Silverbacks Fad
47 Working Men’s Club White Rooms and People
25 Naomi Anderson-Subryan Illustrator Interview
51 Souki Miura
Medicine Cabinet Any form of creative offering in scenes of instant
C: I’m really into bands doing very dry, inane shit- but in
gratification is child’s play in the grand old circuit of
the process of not trying to sound super metaphorical…
life. When tangible releases take little more than oneself
they end up creating a character. I feel like it’s much more
to promote, artistic rebellion lies between the license of
accepted in Hip-Hop, which is probably what I like about
show, but don’t tell just yet.
it. It’s another element of music that people miss out on. We like to have a personal connection through our music-
Be it instrumental change-overs, lyrical lip bites or guitar
through seemingly mundane means.
effects designed to be appreciated alone, Glasgow’s Medicine Cabinet have ownership of their monochromatic
A: In ordinary social life, I’m happy to share anything
mundanities and authorship of exceptionally caricatured
about myself. But I found it really difficult to write
vulnerable lyrics for ages. That became part of the reason why we used creative analogies- it helped me distract from
You don’t always need an additional Google Drive to
the fact I was writing about things at my core. “You’re
illustrate to the world you’re a fine-artist but evidently
like a house without a buyer”- looks funny when written
something has gone right here and the tools for inter-
down but it’s lonely.
connected intuition remain to be spoken for. A band of companionship above all else, to learn on the job is a
There’s song’s within the last six months where I’ve been
luxury befitted to those who can wait and the few who do.
able to write more explicitly… and I’m so fucking excited
And in the space of a mere year, Medicine Cabinet have
to share these experiences with people.
befriended time and used her progressive intentions to People seem to obsess over you having no music to
their ultimate success.
show for yourselves but that’s crap because you do, Welcome to a new era of underground influence. Whatever
it’s just currently a live experience. You’re still a
is next to come, will come. There’s no better moment than
now to wait a little longer. C: There’s a band called Ought who decided they’re a live Anna: My flatmate has loads of bananas he needs to use
band, and the recordings are a document of how the songs
up, I’ve been thinking about all the elaborate ways I can
sound then. I think that’s a good way of thinking about
turn them into things.
Cal: Instruments? You can hook them up to plants- it’s a contact thing. A Phone? Pineapples are telekinetic, that’s why they bite back… A: I want to write a song about pineapples biting back; this is what I love doing. We’ve got a song about an estate agent falling in love, but it’s not really…
Words by Al Mills, illustration by Antoine Cossé
A: Something we like to rinse is that as things change and
Same goes for pop music. When you think about music
artist’s evolve, you kinda don’t have to stick to one genre.
that way, the first genres that come to mind are maybe
We got comfortable by being a punk band, and I’m still
experimental, techno or jazz but pop music is satisfying.
influenced by Riot Grrrl, but because we haven’t released Kids listening to pirate radio under their duvet
music yet we’re still playing with things.
pretending to be asleep. It’s pop, but the event is rock C: I know its cliché, but it was nice we were asserted as a
n roll! How do you balance discovery, with things you
punk band. We had license to be rubbish and go through
phases. I’d never played bass before MC, for most of us it’s our first band.
A: I’ve got a new connection with albums now. It’s like leaning into a set where you’re committed for a period of
A: It takes up our minds pretty much all the time.
time rather than a bite of a feeling. I feel like we’re the first generation that’s had to contend with this dilemma.
There’s humanity in the unknown, switching thing’s up
It’s lovely to have a sense of ceremony with an album, but
because growth happens.
I don’t think we should feel bad for listening to singles either…
A: I study Sociology and Psychology of Music and something we looked at was ‘ways of listening’- what a
C: Listening to a playlist is like listening to the radio but
performance is and what it’s for. It’s still a new thing that
radio isn’t really thought about in that way.
music’s in our homes, and we can engage with it privately without seeing the faces of those playing.
A: I love radio. I grew up with just my mum and the house would be really quiet so we’d have a radio in every room,
C: Even the way the music industry operates is quite
always on, tuned in to the same station…
new…for the longest time music was a social activity and we really enjoy that. I guess that goes back to the way
C: If I was in the house alone when I was younger I had
scenes work too. I think people who enjoy music have
this weird idea there were ghosts but they wouldn’t haunt
the same logic as people who enjoy like Jackson Pollock
me if I sang to them? So I would just start belting out
paintings or something like that. It’s nonsensical, purely
Queen or something- if I perform for the spooky ghouls
sensory and moves you in a different way.
everything will eventually be fine.
Is there longevity in music when every success is
A: Music can awaken life. I think that’s why we turn to
overshadowed by the next ‘big-step’?
listening to art- all we really want is a place to explore.
C: That constant striving towards the next level above. it directly parallels the way making art works. A: It’s easier to see what your immediate next step is but I bloody love that about music. If I was in a job where I reached the end goal I wouldn’t love it anymore - the capacity for advancing is infinite and it’ll never disappoint you if you can think of something new.
Some of the objects featured in my paintings are things I own, while others are things I would like to own but likely never will, like the Picasso Ceramics. Trained as a printmaker, I’ve always admired packaging and reproduced objects. With many of these choices, I poke fun at a hipster consumer culture with which I The So Young Artist Series is an ongoing project in which
am hopelessly complicit. I am also fascinated by the
we collaborate with some of our favourite artists and
dissemination of art historical images and how replications
designers on one-off items of clothing. In our sixth edition
of them change our relationship to the originals.
we’ve collaborated with artist, Karen Lederer. Karen’s work has featured in the print edition of So Young several
Many of the objects also reference my New York City
times and we’ve been following her work in awe ever
upbringing like Museum of Modern Art mugs and the
Zabar’s paper bag. The objects are selected for the works because they form a dialogue with one another. The table
Our collaboration t-shirt uses 3 pieces, “On the front of
top provides a stage where the objects can interact and tell
the t-shirt is my painting, “Owl”. It depicts a Picasso
ceramic bowl filled with fruit. The painting celebrates the artwork but also deflates its importance by turning it into
How do you want people to feel when they see your
a utilitarian object. A number of years ago, I discovered a
small catalogue of Picasso’s ceramics in a used bookstore and it began my love affair with his work. As a feminist,
I love color, and I want the viewer to feel joy from
I feel complicated about my admiration of this Modernist
interacting with the color in my work. I also want the
patriarch. On the back of the shirt are two monoprints.
viewer to feel a sense of connection through the objects
While I make paintings alone in a studio, I make my prints
that I depict. A person’s background often determines how
in a bustling community printshop surrounded by people.
he or she reads the references. An Upper Westsider of
The prints tend to be looser and more intuitive than my
Manhattan notices the Zabar’s bag immediately. Another
person might drink the same brand of seltzer. The products help to pull the viewer in, and then he or she can go
How do you go about starting a piece of work?
deeper into the painting.
For my monoprints, I paint and draw onto plexiglass
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
mostly with water-soluble materials. I lay additional smaller plates over the painting and print the whole image
Most of my shows were put on hold because of
at once through the press. My paintings always begin
coronavirus. I’m participating in a group exhibition
with a drawing. I create stencils for sections of the image
in London at Cristea Roberts Gallery which I am very
and print those onto the surface. Then I work around
excited about. Normally I visit a print shop that gives me
the printed areas with painting and drawing materials.
access to printing presses. It is closed until further notice,
While the work appears collaged, it is actually all one,
so I’m planning to use this time to experiment and try new
techniques that don’t require a press. I’ve been getting really into colored pencils recently, so expect to see more
I love all the objects referenced in your work. Mugs,
drawings coming soon!
artwork etc. Are you a collector? And how do they make their way into a painting? Is it just by chance that they are in view or is there something about each one that’s selected because it works for the painting?
When Fontaines D.C. left the stage at London’s Brixton
The lockdown has been kind to Grian Chatten and it’s
Academy in February, you’d have forgiven them some
being used to start afresh and make new choices. Some of
time away. Years had been spent in the van touring the
which are felt before a word is exchanged via Zoom as the
songs that became ‘Dogrel’ and a further year, albeit
Fontaines D.C. frontman drops me a message to say he’d
now in a bus, was spent on the road following their
got lost during a run and is going to be late after taking
debut release. For a band of such a thoughtful nature
a turn at the wrong church. Now that ‘A Hero’s Death’
and an affinity with their home of Dublin, you can’t
is wrapped up, the band have been afforded some well
help but feel it would have taken its toll on their hearts
earned time off and a moment to reflect. As Grian cooled
and minds. Maybe it’s the demands of being in a band
from the cardio and before a few pints with producer
in 2020, or maybe it’s a new found energy, either way
whizz, Dan Carey, we discussed the power of the seaside
Fontaines D.C. returned in July with their second record,
town, reappraising our habits and when to hang up the
‘A Hero’s Death’. By no means a ‘Dogrel’ part two nor a
great departure, ‘A Hero’s Death’ serves as a darker, self assured and more personal affair compared to their debut.
Everyone’s running, is that something you’ve done
Without the years of trial by tour, It’s power is unknown
but it’s an album which the band clearly believe in. Few have braved an album release during the pandemic - not
Yeah before I went to college, ya know you go to college
least one which feels so important to both the band and
and you’re finally given the venue for the amount of drink
possibly the continuing rise of guitar music.
that you’ve always wanted to consume. Before that yeah, I was in very good shape then.
Words by Sam Ford, illustration by Josh Whettingsteel
I’ve felt quite grateful for lockdown in a way…
What will you take from the last two months into the next few years?
Yeah me too but it’s hard to admit it though isn’t it because so many people have died. It’s definitely a
I’ve got more energy and enthusiasm. I feel a little bit less
blessing in disguise for some people and it’s a lesson
pessimistic and I’ll probably take that into my writing
because there’s so much reappraising going on, everyone
over the next few years. I kind of feel like subconsciously
is reappraising. I know I am and I’m reappraising my
I’m looking around calmly and taking stuff in. There’s
relationship with alcohol in a positive way. Because I got
more of a cognitive element to what I pick and choose
into the habit personally of it’s kinda ‘just what you do’
what I want to write about now. Whereas on our first two
all the time and it never means anything and I never really
records I think it just had to be done, it was necessary and
enjoy it. It’s just a part of being awake. Whereas now,
I had to write myself into feeling better. Whereas now I’ve
there’s more of a reward system attached to it. I think a
been quite healthy, I’m generally happy and things are
lot of people are achieving that you know. It’s eerie how
going well in my life, for the first time I’m consciously
similar it is to economics. Like wealth exists because
able to think about what I wanna write about.
poverty exists, and no one can really win without someone else losing. It’s awful but you have to appreciate it when something good comes your way as well. Has there been a particular loss that you’ve felt from the lockdown… Yeah i’d say one of the things that I lost was the sort of romantic desperation that you find yourself in every now and then. There’s a sweet sadness or richness to the feeling of being constantly on the go, writing loads and drinking loads and not taking care of yourself. There is obviously a certain kind of romance that comes with that, well there is for me anyway. That kind of content that I give it is quite rich pasture for writing so I definitely have struggled to find inspiration a bit more. It’s coming back now though in a kind of healthy way, like it used to. I used to write because I was overwhelmed by the mundanity of the life that I was living and to correct a feeling you know what I mean? Now there’s no feeling to correct and there’s almost nothing. But I think being able to find inspiration in the mundane, as cliche as that sounds it’s just like positive mental health and being able to contextualise the world and your surroundings without the need for external stimuli you know.
Are you interested to see how that impacts how you
Whereas now you have a fanbase who haven’t been
write and what you write next…
able to see you live for a while or see the new songs in action and their first response will now be on record.
That’s a good way of looking at it because I’m actually
Does that affect how you feel in the build up to this
curious. I do like not having too much consciousness
record versus the first?
about what I pick. I’m just more aware of what I’m being drawn towards. For example I’ve been reading some
Yeah, I think in a way because life is moving so much
Dylan Thomas, it’s a play of his called ‘Under Milk Wood’
slower now i’m able to reinforce my sense of self worth
and his description of a seaside town in the first few pages
on a more consistent basis. That certainly helps with the
is unbelievably beautiful. It’s amazing. And because I’ve
pre release nerves. I obviously care what people think
spent so much time in Skerries again which is a seaside
to an extent and you know, I’m obviously sensitive like
town and where we shot our video for ‘I Don’t Belong’,
anyone else. You just have to learn to draw a line. This
I’ve really felt the influence of a small seaside town again.
record, honestly it’s given me loads. Even just the writing
Often things just sort of fall into your lap if you’re living
process gave me so much and it brought me back to life
in accordance with yourself. There’s a certain excitement
you know. I’ve gotten so much joy from it, I’m a fan of it
of a small town on the water where certain things might
you know what I mean? I shouldn’t think or care too much
happen and there’s a weird ‘No one can hear you scream’
what other people say about it but I suppose so far the
sort of feel about it as well. I’m loving that. I’m also
reviews and whatever have been pretty good.
getting more into Irish trad more than I ever was. Your first record was a collection of songs that many were familiar with from your live shows. You’d built a great reputation as a live band and sold out lots of shows, so for the release of ‘Dogrel’ you could kind of guess that people were going to be into the songs.
I think that as a band you have always come across as a group who are there to satisfy yourselves first. Not in an arrogant way but in a way where that’s enough for you. As things grow and you get success from particular songs or moments, I guess there’s a stage where you’re forced to be more aware of what’s around you. Do you think about the listener at all? When we are releasing, I can’t help thinking about the listener but when we are writing, no. If I feel the presence of the listener coming into my mind I just cut it off you know. I’m not writing for anyone else, I’m writing for myself you know? If I was to lose the relationship that I have with art and creativity by giving the power to someone else, I don’t know what i’d do. I’d have to find something else to give me that joy. It would kind of be like turning your relationship with your girlfriend public and making it a brand. As well as that, i’ve always had this saying which is “if it’s not for you then it’s not from you” and I think no one really gets touched by music that was engineered for them. People get touched by human empathy and human relations. I don’t think you can achieve that by designing something that fits a sort of demographic’s expectations, you achieve that by uncovering something that’s in yourself and someone else can relate to that. That’s the beauty of reading a book and it’s just covered in lines - Fitzgerald has this all the time, it’s just covered in lines where you’ve vaguely thought about everything in the book but it’s never reached that point of articulation. There’s a lot of connection and feeling based around seeing that someone else feels something too… Yeah exactly, and validation as well. Just less lonely. Like a banging tune...i dunno, conversation can often only get you so far in terms of relatability, it’s sort of seeing other peoples actions and seeing yourself, or your mother or your father’s face in someone else’s for a split second that creates connection. It’s much more interesting to write with that kind of thing in mind rather than the alternative which would be to look at our first album and go well we’ll do a bit of ‘Too Real’ on this and a bit of ‘Boys In The Better Land’ as that did well so let’s try and do that again, know what I mean? That’s just the death of creativity in a nutshell you know.
Was that difficult to avoid? Did that ever come into
We desperately needed to look inwards and that changed
our taste in music a lot. We didn’t listen to any punk rock on the bus for the whole year when on tour. We needed
Not really, I don’t think so. This is where it gets tricky
to rest our heads, we needed to nurture our introvert. The
because you might end up writing a song where you are
album and the ideas we’d shown each other in the band
confident that people who like the last record will like it
were all from that kind of place of “do you get this?”
but that almost turns you off it. I realised quite quickly
and “does this make you feel better?”. That’s where we
that that’s as detrimental to the song writing process, to
connected and we all needed that feeling. Now that we
be defined by what people expect in an inverse manner.
are releasing it and it’s quite an introspective album,
To consciously rebel against people’s expectations is to be
it’s quite personal as well. I don’t really feel nervous
defined by people’s expectations.
about it because I think I’ve done a really good job you know? I think I’ve been understood to a large degree by
Focusing on ‘A Hero’s Death’ and the production
the listeners and fans or whatever and I feel like I’ve put
process. You went and recorded it somewhere else
myself out there with my own sort of voice lyrically. I
think with that first record people sort of got it you know? So I feel really confident in building upon that now. I’ve
We recorded the whole thing twice. We did it with
always been strangely confident about one thing and that’s
someone else in LA. I wont say his name but he’s an
been my writing. I wouldn’t necessarily be as confident
absolutely incredible producer with a great track record
in any other aspect of my life but I feel I’ve kept my
and we were extremely lucky and excited to work with
writing in a chamber of confidence and I don’t let anyone
him. It just didn’t really work out the way we wanted it
touch that. I don’t think that we will be as prolific as this
to, you know? It wasn’t idiosyncratic enough. I remember
forever. I have a pretty good belief in our powers at the
there was a huge feeling of anxiety for me when releasing
moment and we are in a pretty good position. I don’t want
‘Dogrel’ because of how dry Dan Carey made the vocals,
to let that slip by without allowing myself to feel that. I
with no reverb and he had the vocals even louder initially.
don’t want to get carried away or get overconfident and I
There was such a separation and it scared me. And I think
don’t want to get proud. I’m just confident in my ability to
I was almost disappointed and I missed that fear and that
translate my heart to the page.
anxiety when we were recording in LA. It just sounded so sure of itself and perfect. I kind of realised that Dan Carey
Are you in a position now where you allow yourself to
understands the value in feeling uncomfortable in your
art. That’s why we recorded (‘Dogrel’) on tape you know where you had to do four tracks in a set and if you got
I don’t mean this as a cop out but the only thing I
to that fourth track and you made a mistake you’d have
care about when it comes to the band is how long our
to start the whole four again. That discomfort, I really
relationship with our creativity will last and remain
recognise the magic in that.
healthy. My only fear really is that we will run dry and keep flogging the horse. I’m afraid of making an album
On this new album it’s well noted that the songs feel
that none of us are really happy with but feel obliged to
more introspective. Does that come with confidence in
release ten years down the line. The worst possible thing
yourself as a writer or more out of doing it differently
for me would be to look at this as a career. If it ever feels
like we are writing our music or my lyrics for any reason other than because it makes us feel better, I think i’d just
It definitely came naturally. I mean I think the reason it
hang up the gloves and go back to working in a book shop.
became more introspective was out of a necessity. We were extroverts for two years on tour for a living. Our whole job was to do this all the time.
Karen Lederer, ‘Campari Plant’, Oil and Acrylic on Panel, 20 x 16 inches, 2019
Fran Lobo Fran Lobo is itching to get back out into the world.
Do you find that if you stopped you wouldn’t know
Following the release of her stunning debut EP ‘Brave’
what to do with yourself, like you feed off continuously
- the artist, producer and DJ has been getting used to a
world where she isn’t juggling everything at once - and simply focusing on the self. For an artist that takes
I think everything does feed off each other, and I suppose
creative nourishment from their experiences and working
I’ve had to compartmentalise when I’ve done lots of
with others in various ventures, lockdown has proved to
different things. I am just really missing having lots of
be a stumbling block - but one Lobo herself has taken in
different things to do. But then at the same time right now
her stride, moving across the capital and setting up a place
I am picking what things I should do or what things would
where her form of quiet and solace can still be immersed
be helpful - normally if anyone asks me to do anything or
jump on a track or sing or help do something, I just say yeah. Now I’ve had to start being a bit more conscious of
The exuberance that she evokes cannot be dimmed,
my time as well.
and that feeds the stark, evocative expression that beats heartily within her music. Her music breathes variety and
That must be quite an interesting development in
rawness - an artist bearing all in an attempt to understand
itself, trying to work out what’s good for both you and
why certain things are the way they are. ‘Brave’ carries
whoever it is you’re working with?
the weight of expectation in strength when you simply cannot clutch onto it any longer - and Lobo harnesses this
Yeah it’s weird, there were some things that I was put
into an empowering, affecting exploration of presumption
forward to do that I wasn’t sure about, I stopped thinking
and societal normalcy.
about it as something that could be beneficial to me. I’ve done a lot of live stream shows, it’s all been helpful, but
You seem to be quite a productive creative, working
I’ve definitely learnt over the last week or two to not keep
within production and DJing as well as writing,
saying yes to things cause then I just say yes to too much.
arranging and conducting for choirs - do you find that working within these various forms is beneficial to each one? Definitely, that’s why I like doing lots of different things - maybe you’ve helped me realise why I don’t feel that creative right now, because basically at home i’ve just been focusing on the release. But I really miss just singing in a group or doing a workshop with young people and chatting to them, helping them write music. All those things help the other thing, and it makes you feel inspired or stimulated, I’ve realised my life is quite stimulated most of the time, and it’s now suddenly a bit smaller.
Words by Ross Jones, illustration by Genie Espinosa
Talking of the live streams, how have you found that?
So anything I’ve written about has often just been about things that I feel or I want, or that I can’t say in real life
Once I started thinking of it as recording a video rather
necessarily, and there’s always a melancholy or a darker
than a live performance, the music worked quite well like
side, because that’s always what I’ve written about. But
that? It’s weird when there’s no audience cause you have
often what comes easiest is really natural emotion about
to imagine it - but I think I quite like it actually, as long as
the everyday and relationships, not just romantic ones,
with your family, yourself and the world.
Is it the first opportunity you’ve had to explore these
It’s a nice introduction to who you are as a musician
songs you have now in that setting?
and a person?
I’ve done these songs as a solo set-up before, but some
I also feel like maybe that’s just who I am as an artist, and
of them I haven’t yet so that was fun to work out. I also
that maybe I shouldn’t try to be this bigger thing cause
really enjoyed setting up the space as a video, so setting
what I’m doing is quite unique to how I feel about things.
up the lighting, where’s the camera going to go, what
I think it’s a political act itself for me to be existing as an
angle is the gear going to look best at, when I turn side
artist and saying my truth. There’re a lot of artists I’ve
on how can I be still connected to the camera - cause the
heard saying similar things, and I would love to be able
camera becomes the audience, so it’s a different way to
to change the world with really political lyrics - but it just
think about it. You can curate the space way more - it’s
doesn’t feel like me, at the moment anyway.
your base. Would you say you find it easier to completely exhibit Let’s talk about ‘Brave’ - I feel that at its centre is this
yourself within your creativity, or does it simply help
vital need to be able to express itself - it’s being allowed
you to open up more having already imbued how you
to be vulnerable in a society where it’s still scarily
feel within your work?
seen as weak to be unshielded. How much of yourself do you feel permeates the experience here, and where
I think my music is a sacred space where I can say exactly
does the balance of universal narrative and personal
how I feel, and a lot of time when I’m making a bit of
a mess and I’m experimenting, conscious thoughts will come out. I don’t know if creating that necessarily affects
I think it’s deeply personal, everything I write about is
me in everyday life, I think that doing work on myself and
from things that I’ve gone through, maybe in yearning
how I conduct myself as a human being is more helpful.
or searching for something? I think with this EP, a lot
I think my music is a separate thing, it’s my little space
of the songs are expressing showing that you are strong,
to be totally open and it’s an explorative space as well to
but then also challenging that outer layer - asking what’s
discover myself a bit more. I think I’m really lucky to
underneath. It’s a mix between trying to show strength but
have music as a space to have that freedom to talk about
also the honesty comes through as well of what you are
things that I didn’t know I needed to. It’s a total release in
really feeling underneath.
I think just being honest and talking about yourself is going to be universal anyway, because everyone experiences the same things. So I don’t really feel like you should be consciously thinking about whether this is going to be universally understood - because anything you feel, someone else is definitely going to have felt the same.
Opposite, Naomi Anderson-Subryan
Sneaks Sneaks doesn’t cater to her audience. Or these are the
Moochlan is branching out into more tricky experimental
vibes that I’m getting from her new album ‘Happy
territory but is clearly having a blast while doing it.
Birthday’ - due for release on 21 August via Merge
While some of my personal favourites of the album
Records. Her previous records while radiating a cool
are less musically abrasive, their lyrical content and
standoffishness, thanks largely to their razor sharp
atmosphere are sexually direct. In the past, Moochlan
minimalism, were still the tunes of the pouty indie
has opted for a lyrical vagueness that places the listener
darling. But ‘Happy Birthday’ focuses on Eva Moochlan’s
at a safe distance from the personal, but on ‘Sanity’ and
preoccupation with the primal energy of post-punk and the
‘Scorpio’ she discusses relationships openly. On the latter
experimentation of electronica, leading to a body of work
her sugar-sweet-sing-song expresses gratitude for her
that is her most confrontational, while also opting for a
intense and loyal Scorpio companion over smooth synth
bold and direct lyricism.
lines and a sizzling hip-hop beat (Moochlan’s answer to
Luring us into a false sense of security, the album opens
the love song perhaps). Meanwhile, ‘Sanity’ is charged
with the laidback disco fun of ‘Do You Want To Go Out
with erotic energy, its sharp trip-hop beat giving way
Tonight’ - an excellent opportunity to soundtrack the
to languid synths, while Moochlan’s talk of ‘[her] eyes
return to drinking with our mates in our favourite boozers.
dilating’ when she sees a certain someone and ‘the sound
The epitome of cool, the track does a lot with a little.
of [her] whip ‘when she gets done with you’ feels like
The glittering synths and tinny drum loop are as simple
a sex positive anthem focusing on female control - an
and contained as Moochlan’s repetitive lyrics but the
excellent soundtrack for making eyes at that hottie from
combination is stirring, creating images of stilettos in the
across the bar.
rain and cocktails glistening with maraschino cherries. This sonic stylishness runs through the album, tying it
But Moochlan’s newfound confidence in expressing her
together, like the seamless stitching of a couture dress,
view of the world is not wholly left to the sexual. On
which the album could easily soundtrack the modelling
‘This World’ a vibey 808 and bouncy synth work are just
of. Even the more abrasive tracks on the album lend their
precursors to Moochlan discussing her right to create,
pulsating beats to the sharp cheekbones and high fashion
most pertinently in relation to her identity as a black
of runway shows.
woman. Similarly, on ‘You’ve Got A Lot of Issues’, a smooth club ready number, Moochlan hopes for a more
Speaking of which, selecting ‘Mars in Virgo’ - one of
the most difficult tracks on the album - as a lead single speaks volumes about Moochlan’s attitude towards the
Above all, ‘Happy Birthday’ is the expression of an artist
intention of ‘Happy Birthday’: it is her vision above
who refuses to compromise. The illusive golden period
and beyond commercial viability. The track leads the
that every artists longs for in their career, where they
listener into a trance like state with its dense electronic
are finally free to experiment in any way they choose,
soundscape which hurts the head a little - as if to say,
are confident enough in their own skin to express their
‘fuck you, here is my vision deal with it or go home’,
opinions, and possess such a strong artistic vision that fan
while the appearance of the laser synth shooting across
expectations and commercial viability become secondary,
the soundscape and dancing around Moochlan’s vocal
well Sneaks is already living it. And if you don’t like it,
line, demonstrates a childlike playfulness towards
well quite frankly, I don’t think she’d care all that much.
experimentation and songwriting.
Words by Eleanor Philpot, illustration by Kezia Gabriella
Silverbacks Daniel O’Kelly has just had his first post-lockdown
Gary: I think as a group we don’t take ourselves
haircut. It’s a surreal experience, the guitarist, singer and
particularly seriously. Dan’s lyrics are very observational
songwriter left pondering over how personal taking off
and quite telling of the times around. But at the same time,
someone else’s own facemask to cut their hair is, and
we don’t feel like we’re figures that need to be telling you
just how surprised he was at his reaction to the whole
what you need to think about stuff or telling you how it
situation. It’s these little things that have made the world
needs to happen. We’re saying this is what’s happening,
just that little bit more unusual - we’ve all been using
here’s how we take it. But it’s not us shouting we think
our elbows to touch traffic lights, doing a little dance to
it’s this way so we think you have to as well. As a group
avoid being anywhere near another member of the public,
we’ve got a quite a good sense of humour and we’re not
taking social distance walks up hills for pleasure (?!) -
afraid to laugh at ourselves, we take the music and what
it’s a weird world. But what’s most intriguing is our own
we’re doing very seriously, but as people we tend not to
response to having to deal with such adaptation - and how
take things very seriously.
we look in on ourselves and our behaviour to make any sort of sense of it.
D: I think as well a lot of the time, I find if we’re writing lyrics or music like Gary said, we’re not doing it to tell
With ‘Fad’, their debut record released during lockdown
people how they should think, we’re not even putting
in July no less, Silverbacks have found this canny little
messages in their head for them to think “oh yeah, I’ve
spot for themselves, somewhere they can attempt to make
never thought of it in that way”. If they do then great,
sense of the world even before this all kicked in, while
but really it’s just a tool for us to have fun and try and
looking at themselves and how they deal with such minute
understand the way we are. I don’t think there’s anything
experiences. That natural desire for comprehension has
more high-brow than that, I don’t think we were putting
blossomed into a meticulous and captivating album - one
this album on a pedestal and saying “this is your new
that embraces the band’s own dry sardonicism but also
ideology, all hail Silverbacks”.
revealing where their priorities in seriousness lie - and how they intelligently find the balance of both.
I think that’s the thing, it’s not got this one mindset - it’s trying to achieve different things and ideas that
I feel ‘Fad’ cleverly captures the overly accepting state
all come together to make this nice cohesive record,
of modern culture while also being self-aware of its
whether it’s intentional or not?
own flaws and inadequacies. Was it important for you to find a balance of sardonicism and self-critique?
G: I think from our point of view, nothing is really limited and off the table. We’ve got no problem doing a rocker
Daniel: I think in myself anyway, I’m pretty self-critical.
like ‘Just In The Band’ and then two or three songs later
I would constantly look at things I do and then try and
putting Killian’s guitar moderation in there, we’re not
re-examine why I did it, whether it’s good or bad - like
limiting ourselves. Ideally we want everything to sound
a post-mortem, I’m known for doing them. Even after a
like a Silverbacks song.
conversation with someone, I’d text them the next day and say “sorry if i said something in a certain way”, and they’d say “what? I haven’t been thinking about this at all”.
Words by Ross Jones, illustration by Bàrbara Alca
D: I think as well, part of that honesty is being honest with
What I also love about your songs is they are a bit
what we’re influenced by in terms of music. So with this
more coy than a lot of your contemporaries - do you
album people have pointed to all of the influences - I have
feel you’ve gained a better understanding of what you
my own litmus test to see whether I should finish reading
wanted to say from doing this?
the review or not. That’s part of it as well, there’s a lot of different influences and there’s not one where we’re going
D: Myself yeah, I feel like it’s helped me process ideas.
to go “that doesn’t really fit into Silverbacks”.
I don’t think I’m a very good communicator of things in my head, as in I don’t think I communicate them
Your unified musicianship really cleverly embodies
very intelligently. When I speak I don’t feel like I can
the subtleties of your narrative - while doing so much
communicate what I think are good ideas in my head
that it evokes the constantly juxtaposing nature of the
to my mouth, but I can write them and record them
society we’re trying to navigate. Would you say you
through a song. Then I think the more ambiguity you give
are able to express yourselves just as much within the
something, first of all you are less likely to leave yourself
instrumentation as in the themes of your lyricism?
open to criticism, because there’s loads of little doors you can escape through and say “actually I was talking about
D: Well I’d say probably more so in the music than the
this”, and I think it just makes things more interesting.
lyrics, just in myself when I’m listening to music - I very
Nothing is black and white, and I think from my own
rarely come out of a song and think those are great lyrics,
taste, my favourite films, books, music, all of them, it’s
I’ll firstly think that’s great music, it’s the music that
when there are a few characters in the story, not just one
makes me think a certain way. Lyrics generally are far
of them that you are rooting for.
more likely to turn me off a song than turn me onto one. Now that the record is out, what would you say you’ve
So most of the time, 80% to 90% it’s the music first.
personally taken from making it? G: I think because we have three guitarists as well, we have to think about the music a lot more, because we
G: For me, at the end of the day we’ve released something
don’t just want three guitars chunking in the background.
we’re proud of as a group of friends, it’s something we
If we’re going to use the three guitars we want them to
can stand over and say we did this together. I think that
be used properly, not just for the sake of having them.
we had that perseverance in us, you know we’re not
So i think it kind of puts a bit of discipline on it, because
spring chickens and releasing your debut album standard,
we don’t just want three guitars wall-of-sound on it at all
but I think the fact we stuck with it and we got it out,
times, we want them to play in and out of each other.
because there was plenty of points where we could’ve got completely disheartened and just had enough, and the fact
Peadar: We almost never play the same thing together at
we stuck through with it is what I like to take from it.
the same time. D: Yeah I think like Gary said, in its essence the key G: I think when Peadar, Killian and Dan are thinking
part of it that we can take away from it is we’ve made
about the guitar parts, it can sometimes make it a little
something that we are all happy and proud of - and it was
bit more intricate and complex, but we think the value of
done within a tight group of friends. The main thing to
having three guitars is to get nice values that interact with
take away from it is we haven’t killed each other.
one another, so it’s a big thing. Emma’s bass lines are quite intricate as well, it’s very rare anyone chugs along for the sake of it. Everything has a purpose and it’s very much an intricate thing.
Naomi Anderson-Subryan was inspired by her tutor’s
It took me failing out of drama school at 19 and nearly
open approach to illustration, resulting in her beautiful
4 years working in retail to finally go and do an art
portfolio of collage, 2D and 3D works. After nearly falling
foundation and that was the best decision I ever made!!
out of love with “Art” during her early education she was reinvigorated whilst being around other creatives, working
How do you go about starting a piece of work? Does it
in retail. Here at So Young we’re delighted Naomi has
start as a pencil drawing? What is your process?
found her path within the creative world. We caught up with Naomi to talk daily routines and the importance of
It varies a little depending on what I’m making. I often
have a clear idea in my head of a scene or a character or a scenario, and it’s a matter of trying to bring it to life or get
How did you get into making Art?
it down on paper.
I’ve always had this energy and need to make stuff! I think
I write notes and do a series of rough planning sketches!
I fell a little out of love with “art” in the latter years of
Usually if it’s a collage these are very quick sketches to
get an idea of composition and block out the shapes - most of the time they literally look like nothing at all but they make complete sense to me!
Meet Illustrator: Naomi Anderson-Subryan
In terms of my ceramics a lot of them start out as collages.
So, when the opportunity to make ceramics on my BA
I have a lot of ideas, I think of little ceramic characters
(Camberwell has a ceramic studio) came about it felt like
and objects all the time that I’d love to make and usually
a natural progression for me and my practice!
I’ll collage them first to get an idea of shape, colour and expression! I don’t usually plan these, I just see what
Does music influence your work at all?
happens - and then figure out how I can make them out of clay afterwards! I love seeing the transformation of
Most definitely! You know when you hear a song and you
something from a 2D image to a 3D object existing in the
can instantly imagine a scene from some imaginary movie
in your mind, that’s what Illustration is a bit like for me! I have a really clear image in my mind - almost like a movie
Tell us about a typical working day.
still - and I have to get it down or make it into a ceramic or something. Music is great at capturing a feeling and a
I’m super focused when I’m working on a specific project,
moment! I’m always fascinated by the way some songs
I’ll usually start at 10am and will be at my desk until
can evoke such strong feelings of nostalgia - sometimes
10pm or later - aided by numerous cups of tea. I usually
harking back to a time way before you were even born,
have my headphones in, Netflix or YouTube on my iPad,
and yet you get that strange feeling of longing and
and just get totally lost in whatever I’m making.
nostalgia. I think I try and capture an element of that in
I’m working from home mostly at the moment - I have a
my work - this idea of making work which feels familiar
ceramic studio that I can go to to make ceramics but with
lockdown I’ve not been there so frequently and have made from home mostly. The great thing about working at my
Finally, what can we expect to see from you in the near
studio is working alongside other creatives, I miss that
when working from home! More ceramic mantle dogs! I’ve been working on a How do you want people to feel when they see your
new series including a few new characters that should
be available to buy in the next few months! I love love making these and it has been so fun to explore some new
Someone commented on one of my images on Instagram
characters because I’m constantly having ideas for them!!
the other day that they felt my work was both intimate and comfortable - which I thought was really beautiful.
I’d also love to make some larger scale collages. I love playing with scale and that’s a huge part of my ceramic
Studying illustration, what caused your work to move
practice so I’d like to play around with that in my collage
into 3D ceramic sculpture?
When I saw how tutors at Camberwell talked about and approached illustration it was a light bulb moment for me - it felt like the possibilities were endless! Whatever direction my work might take, I felt it had a place in illustration. I remember thinking this is it, this is what I’ve been wanting to do this whole time. So making three-dimensional work was just always on the table for me and I made a lot of 3D work whilst studying! It was a huge part of illustration at Camberwell on foundation and I loved it so much!
Walt Disco Few are alone in saying that coming-of-age daydreams
We love and appreciate what every band is doing here but
creatively shaped their twenties ambitions. Inner-city
sometimes it’s more important to people who aren’t even
living with a new chosen family, a plethora of red lipstick
in a band... to see people they can aspire to be like.
and experimented self-expression. Cigarettes and Alcohol overlooking balconies facing smog and bright-light
Dave: There’s a lot of amazing things about Glasgow
prospects; they give placement to our sensibilities and
and Scottish people but there’s definitely more to be
romance to our worldview.
done in terms of spaces that are inclusive and accessible. Obviously, we don’t have the money to open a venue like
Call it shared tastes, androgynous mutuality or subverting
that now but it is something we can promote and hopefully
expectations through alternative composure, Walt Disco’s
post-adolescent dream of communal self-discovery, is one which has rapidly become reality. To be ‘Young Hard
Do you think having those liberal performative
and Handsome’ is a statement that recognises the glamour
influences, beside your own personal sub-cultural
in freedom- so much so that their Debut EP bears the
inspirations helps when documenting pressures within
same honour. Social-liberation may lie in the eye of the
today’s social climate?
beholder but when you’re side by side, revolution doesn’t seem too unrealistic.
J: When I was younger I loved indie-music and bands but they didn’t help inform me on who I was because
The Dazed documentary ‘The Outsiders’ follows the
they weren’t like me. There’s definitely bands all around
Glasgow music scene in the 80’s; depicting the city as
the world now doing this but I had to look back to find
a hub of art and effeminate energy which befits Walt
people I could aspire to be like, like Queen and Bowie;
Disco, but stylistically contrasts Glasgow’s Brutalist
but that doesn’t make sense, because we’re meant to be
architecture. Where do you think Walt Disco fit into
moving forward as a society with progression and gender
today’s Glasgow scene?
etc. I think music maybe got a bit comfortable and tried to push away the problems it has such as abusive power,
James: I don’t think a band is doing what we do in the
inequality and women not being respected. Equality all
sense of moulding Pop and Queer-Pop with New Romantic
needs to come at once, there can’t be one part of equality.
inspired Post-Punk and Glam, in Glasgow. In places like
You don’t stop when you’ve got a 50/50 gender split, then
London, there’s lots of bands like us but it’s nice doing it
you’ve got to look at all races and all genders represented
in a city that we love but also think could do better.
Words by Al Mills, illustration by Jiayue Li
Like traditional re-interpretation?
J: That video was based around being a genderless merperson wrestling who they want to be- on land or in the
J: Yeah. We fully know we’re still a very small band and
sea. It was conceptual and cold as fuck.
don’t have much influence at all but for the first part of your career just having one person who sees you and that
I’m interested in things that flow theatrically- I love
maybe making a difference to their life at that moment in
ballet. [The song] starts with “Once Upon A Time” and
time. If you work on that more it’ll grow. Walt Disco has
that’s on purpose. It was an added drama and Post-Punk
also had an influence on us, and made us better people.
does allow for drama along with our mixing it with Pop.
There’s a quote by Adam And The Ants where he says:
Has adding new members helped with the drama
“To be a Pop Star you need: sex, subversion, style and
/ pushed Walt Disco towards a stronger sense of
humour” which I think personally speaks as an ideal
for Walt Disco... J: It’s a fixed line-up now of people we like. Going back J: I think saying all these things but also retaining a sense
to theatrics, we have six people walking onto a stage and
of humour will probably make people listen to you a wee
for an audience that hasn’t seen us before, there’s intrigue
bit more without getting angry? When people are shouted
when we look the way we do.
at by an angry person that they don’t respect they react in a way that’s like “alright I already knew I didn’t like
Apparently, BBC Scotland had never had that many
you.” But if you do these things with humour and an
people in one session before…
understanding, you can maybe eventually get somewhere with someone. I wish I’d said that quote.
J: That was just for one bit of one song too!
‘Flamboyant’ is a word that’s often associated with
Do you feel you have a specific aesthetic to adhere to
Walt Disco, but would you consider yourselves
flamboyant people when what you’re writing is deeply personal too?
J: Yeah but we kinda expect that from ourselves. We like getting really dressed up and sometimes day-to-day life
J: Sometimes ‘flamboyancy’ and ‘campness’ is a way to
doesn’t allow you to do the things we want to do. It’s for
put up a barrier when you’re talking about really personal
us, but we’re glad anyone likes it.
things but, art and music does allow for more. Some days we’re chaotic as fuck and some days we’re very reserved and do very boring things; obviously in lockdown that’s been most of the time. Flamboyancy is always there, but sometimes we’ll know when to reel it in. I like it. It’s a nice word- rolls of the tongue well. Scottish choreographer Michael Clark, is renowned for his ‘post-punk-ballet’ commissioned by The Fall in the 80’s. Using costumes designed by performance artist / Taboo promoter Leigh Bowery, he merged punk with glamour; which reminds me of your video for ‘Hey Boy (You’re One Of Us)’.
LL Burns “I worry we come off as a bit sad”.
PM: We got sucked up into being a band but didn’t want to be, and that wasn’t the greatest feeling.
It’s true that there is a moody quality that runs through London duo LL Burns’ music, but it is also underpinned
There’s been a gap between these recent releases and
by a mysterious beauty that is difficult to ignore. Perhaps
your previous tracks, is this a sign that you’re looking
best known for their directorial work under the moniker
to focus more attention on the project now or will it
CC Wade, brothers Paraic and Michael Morrissey take
always be a case of when it feels right for you to release
the filmic expertise they have lent to music videos for the
likes of King Krule and Goat Girl and apply it to their music to create a luscious, cinematic feel.
MM: I feel like we needed the time away from it to be able to stop caring about it anymore. It becomes fun
Having recently dropped the singles ‘Get Me Back in the
again when you start making music without having any
Game’ and ‘Plasty’, the pair were eager to discuss how
expectation of it going anywhere. We’ve kind of got a bit
they rekindled their love for making music and preferring
more of an idea of what the project is now.
a relaxed approach to the creative process. PM: We also had no-one with a gun to our head, so we How did the LL Burns project come into existence?
didn’t have to worry ourselves trying to finish each track. Before, we’d just make something and experiment, but
MM: I suppose we were going through a little bit of an
we never had the wherewithal to finish it. Since doing
identity crisis coming off the back of trying to do music in
these two tracks, we’ve been going over the stuff we’ve
one project and trying to shed everything we’d done with
amassed over the last three or four years and are going to
that band. We put a few tracks out over the space of a year
gradually finish them and put them out.
or so, then let some other stuff get in the way, but then just decided that we might as well put it out if it exists.
What were some influences behind the two recent singles and what were you aiming to achieve with them?
Words by Reuben Cross, illustration by Angelica Liv
ff as a bit sa
worry we com
PM: We tend to reference soundtracks a lot more than we do songs. The obvious one for me is Leonard Cohen though – sometimes when I’m trying to get a vocal take right, I’ll listen to him and ask myself why he’s able to do that so well. Nobody should be able to pull that off. MM: It’s kind of dangerous doing that though, because when you ask yourself that and it doesn’t come out as well, you’re resigning yourself to thinking what you’ve done is no good. Do you ever feel the way in which you approach your directorial and musical work ever overlap? PM: I guess I always notice and take a bit of pride in it when we do a music video, there’s always parts of the track that we have been able to recognise in the visual element. MM: Because we’re always tearing our hair out over the structure of a song, it kind of helps when you try to break down someone else’s song for visual reasons. You can use that experience to help you break down something by another artist in a more interesting way. Was it odd making a return to music having spent more time working on video projects over the last few years? MM: It was nicer because of how I said we’d come to terms with the idea of never doing music again. Now it isn’t heart-breaking for me like it was when I was 21, there’s no pressure and you can do it for fun again. It’s kind of the icing on the cake now rather than something that I’ll stress about. PM: I don’t go to sleep thinking about how it would be great to get back up on stage, it’s just another outlet. It’s almost just doing it for the sake of enjoying finishing a track and feeling like you’ve made something concise. What would a return to normal mean for the future of the project? MM: I think we’ll kind of cross that bridge when we come to it.
Karen Lederer, ‘Gemini’, Colored Pencil, Acrylic and Oil on Panel, 24 x 20 inches, 2018
Crack Cloud It is my opinion that Crack Cloud are currently the best
The album is completely unreal – could you talk
band in the world. Or at least their new album ‘Pain
me through some of the thematic and musical ideas
Olympics’ would suggest this. A shade under thirty
informing the work?
minutes in length, its eight songs see the group transcend the angular strand of post-punk characteristic of their
The way we approached this album from the very
earlier work, and make use of the full spectrum of genre
beginning was just about abandoning all genre limitations,
as the album metamorphoses from caustic art-punk to
and all cultural limitations other than just writing off our
ethereal bliss. Interestingly for a band so deliberate in
instincts. We wanted to follow this path of turning an
their movement and delivery of concept is the maturity
album into something that could be a bit more visual as
and subtlety on display. Rather than political sloganeering
storytellers – it’s our first effort in creating something on
or dogmatic absolutism, Crack Cloud present their
a linear scale, and the idea of creating an atmosphere, a
message with the onus on the listener as an individual to
world outside our own, is something we’ve always aspired
take what they may.
to do. That was kind of the mood we wanted the album to create, as well as documenting the years it took to make it.
With seven members forming the touring band within a wider collective of assorted friends and family, growing
Was that conceptual nature something very deliberate
together as a group outside mainstream society - there is
then? It wasn’t something you sort of stumbled into?
heavy emphasis on equality and inclusion, and offering a space and platform to those who may otherwise never find
Yeah, I think the concept was sort of a natural
one. Idealistic but not naïve, fiercely intelligent yet not
development, especially operating as a collective where
pretentious, principled but not domineering, Crack Cloud
you have so many different minds trying to celebrate the
are not trying to save the world in grandiose terms, but
intersectionality of all these different ideas that cross, and
rather pragmatically mobilise – both through their music
trying to find that equilibrium when you have so many
and their ethos, to make life better for those willing to
people contributing. Additionally, as someone who is
for all intents and purposes a non musician, I find when writing music it’s a lot easier to do it in a way that’s
We gave frontman Zach Choy a bell to talk the new album,
visual, dynamic, and based on story arcs as opposed to
emotional scar tissue becoming art, and the importance of
some kind of musical structure. It’s about prioritising a
context and community.
story, and the music helping and filling it out.
Words by Dan Pare, illustration by Lily Kong
In addition to being that ‘story’ you mention,
Yes and no! I think that some forms of suffering are
something that really struck was its genre-spanning
universal, and that we see different incarnations of
nature, incorporating everything from gangster rap
that same turmoil and anxiety across many different
to musical theatre. What inspired the need to try and
generations, but I do think there are some phenomena
work these elements in?
unique to our time, and that phenomena is steeped mainly in new frontiers of technology, the growing consequences
I think what you hear on the album is influence preceding
of social media highlighting personal identity in a way
what you hear on the first two EPs. I think post-punk as a
we haven’t seen before, trying to navigate that in a
genre is often brought up when Crack Cloud are brought
post-capitalist society will definitely be unique to our
up – and as someone who is kind of a non-musician, using
generation. But there’s a lot to be said about the idea of
art more as a medium for self-exploration and less than
history repeating itself, because there are certain problems
the following of trajectory of a traditional band, post-
that have always been around and probably always will be.
punk was an easy genre to find comfort within, because it’s so abstract and rhythm based. This album was really
In this age of individualism, how does it feel to be such
just a culmination of soaking it all in, getting better at
a pivotal figure within such a large and influential
articulating my thoughts. As a collective, every day we’re
listening to something different, so the album is two years of music that we’ve digested and output as this narrative.
It’s all friends and family, you know? What connects us is outside of the content you see on the internet. We all
Something that really struck me was reading about you
have histories and crossovers, conversations that happen
as ‘existing in the age of unlimited content’. What are
behind closed doors and not in magazines, that bring us
your thoughts on this unfettered, constant access to
all together and it’s amazing we have a platform to share
content? Is it positive? And now the pandoras box of
stories with, but the real bulk of Crack Cloud happens in
opportunity and anxiety is open, will it remain this way
our backyard, on the streets, and it’s just life!
forever? Reading through old press you guys have done, there I think that everyone has their own emotional scar tissue,
seems to be general flirtation with labelling you guys as
and I think that art is something from the dawn of time
a cult. Assuming not all cults are inherently malevolent,
that has allowed us to explore that scar tissue. That there’s
how does that comparison make you feel? You’re
so much content I think is a testament to the many many
almost militaristically tight when you play live, and
people finding solace in an activity that allows them
lean heavily into symbolism – it does suggest a certain
to explore and express themselves – I think it can be a
tool we use to understand each other better. I think there is probably something cynical in the oversaturation of content we can see, but I think it’s a blessing that we’re at a point in culture where despite all the terrible tribulations and general dissonance of our condition as humans, I think art is the one sliver of hope that we have in terms of unifying and finding solidarity in stories. It’s interesting to hear you talk about music and art as representative of someone’s ‘mental scar tissue’. Do you think that, listening to some of the sounds and acts emerging into the world, there is some form of new ‘scar tissue’ indicative of our time, that maybe you wouldn’t have heard thirty or forty years ago?
I guess what constitutes a cult is people who are perhaps
‘Pain Olympics’ is littered with references to pain, be it
on the fringes, unconventional or unorthodox in their
mental, physical, social – the whole works. I expected
beliefs and practises – and I can honestly say that we’re
it to be a fairly pessimistic listening experience, but it
inherently a group of people who’ve been on the fringes,
presents as actually something quite hopeful and life
and I think that’s a commonality we share, that some of
affirming. Is there an element of ‘it’s always darkest
us have suffered from certain types of discrimination, or
before the dawn’ in there?
faced the stigma that comes with addiction, it’s that kind of unifying factor that brings us together. I think ‘cult’ as
I think there’s a deliberate open-endedness to it. We
a word isn’t one I would use, but the reality is that this is
strive to achieve a dichotomy of experience with every
what community looks like – we’re used to pigeonholing
new track, where one contradicts the next. It creates that
communities as certain tribes, or people who all look or
black-and-white or up-and-down kind of turbulence, and
act the same, and although I talk about our commonalities,
I love that you were able to walk away from it with some
we all think differently, act differently, but all exist
optimism, that’s really important – I think art should
together, and I think that what makes us a community is
have that kind of effect. There is a level to melodrama
the inclusion involved, and the contextualisation of each
and a level of surrealism that we wanted to convey- there
might be a happy ending, even if it’s a façade, but we haven’t reached the end yet. Optimism, faith, hope – these
You’ve spoken previously about the band providing
concepts are all endless struggles, and if you don’t hold
some kind of ‘vehicle’ on a journey from addiction to
onto them you will lose them. Even in my own life, I need
recovery. As the band has developed and grown, do
a trajectory, something to believe in, and the moment you
you feel it still offers that same vehicle it did when you
compromise, when you feel there’s nothing to believe in,
were starting out? It’s quite a subversive idea, when
compared to the classic trope of musicians descending Something I really like about the new album is that you
into addiction the more successful they become.
focus on a very human side to things- digging into how I think that why that became a talking point was purely
stuff feels, the mood of things, rather than writing very
the responsibility of candidness and openness about where
specific songs about grand socio-political concepts or
we come from – looking back retrospectively, the band
whatever. Was this style of subtlety something that took
was a very personal endeavour – not insulated, but we’re
a while to develop?
doing this to better ourselves, so I feel a certain amount of regret about how it was sensationalised. I feel recovery
I think that as a person, my beliefs are pretty ambivalent
is a lifelong process, and the longevity of this project is
– in terms of how I feel about something today versus the
interlinked with that process. Also, when we work with
next day, and the idea that not everything can be treated by
people who often don’t have the same opportunities due to
the same clear-cut moral compass. That idea of subverting,
stigma [several members of the band are heavily involved
contextualising morality is something intrinsic to Crack
in outreach and addiction centres in Vancouver, where
Cloud, trying to represent both sides of the coin, exploring
the opioid crisis is particularly stark], I think that without
the grey areas of black-and-white.
conflating our work with the work that addiction centres do, we have taken a lot of inspiration from the way that community operates, in terms of having a certain amount of empathy and context, and working with people who may carry some sort of ‘unsavoury’ trait.
Muck Spreader, the fully improvised, dangerously prolific
Having been in bands before, rehearsing the same set of
sleaze merchants, are making 2020 their own. New EP
songs over and over again is something we hate – so we
‘Rodeo Mistakes’, Released September 4th through Brace
decided to move down the improvised route. We’re all also
Yourself Records is a sludgy journey into the abyss of
from different parts of town, so it would be a nightmare
sonic abandon, as jazzy musings underscore constant,
to meet up and rehearse, we just try and keep it as free
acerbic spoken word. It all sounds a bit like Morphine
flowing as possible. The thing about being an improvised
fronted by a young Baxter Dury, blending keen musical
setup is you’ve got to be so open, so close to each other
sensibility with an unaffected streetwise grit to create a
for the music to work – if someone’s nervous before a gig,
sound that varies from the saturnine (on album highlight
or if you’ve had an argument on the drive over, it comes
‘Paraphenaliac’) to the schizophrenic (on EP closer,
across in the sound, so we’re really susceptible to our
‘Draw Knife’ – a stream of consciousness exploration
verging on word association insanity). Whatever mood Muck Spreader seem to be in, however, they’re different,
I heard you recruited one of your members online
exciting, and brave enough to take a risk. Ones to watch
through one of your videos – a small detail, but one I
for the future, certainly, but only if you don’t lose sight of
feel lends itself well to what Muck Spreader seem to
represent. Could you take us through that tale?
The new EP’s a really interesting one. Can you talk me
Vince, our trumpet player, came to see us at the
through some of the themes and ideas behind it?
Shacklewell Arms, and followed the band and commented on something the next day. I looked through his profile the
As a body of work, we were in the studio for two days,
next day and it said he was a trumpet player, so I reached
and just recorded the mindsets and spaces we inhabited
out and told him we’d just lost half our line-up, and would
over those two days in the studio. I kind of felt the EP
he like to come along and play? And it was historically
was flexing the muscles of what we’re capable of as a
our worst gig, at a theatre in Dalston – we added some
band – not being tied down to any particular genre, really
random drunk guy off the street, and this guy dressed in
focussing on being as flexible and diverse as possible.
feathers from New York who said he was a pimp to the line-up – they were alright for a bit, but by the end I had
You’re a completely improvised band – how does that
to wrestle them off the stage.
impact your writing and recording process? And was the decision to eschew more traditional band setups a
The video for ‘Carnal Tongues’ is amazing, and really
seems to ‘click’ with the track. As a band so concerned with providing ‘sonic ecstasy’, how important is the
Yeah, everything’s completely improvised. It’s completely
visual aspect to your music? I see that there’s mention
conscious, there are rules and stuff. I was doing poetry and
of a short film being released in tandem with the EP
stuff on my own, picking people out of the crowd to come up and play with me, just growing the line-up like that.
For me, I think the two go hand in hand. The way that we
Everyone has to come in and be democratic with creating
work is all improvised, so much of it is about capturing
music – obviously sometimes someone will have to take
a mood – I think if you can capture that through video,
the lead, but because everything is improvised, every
it really helps to understand the song. If the band ever
gig will sound different, every recording session will be
had more of a budget, we’d love to set design and stuff,
different. If we were in a studio together all the time, we
because that is something really important to us. We’ve
could make seven albums a week. Everyone just knows
tried to do everything as DIY as possible.
that this is the way that it is, and have given themselves completely over to it – there’s no such thing as a mistake in the band, a mistake is a new space for opportunity.
Words by Dan Pare, illustration by REN
Ethan P. Flynn For many the idea of engaging in classic songwriting as a
I wanted to learn how to really master mixing and I ended
modern artist is tied up in pastiche, paying homage to the
up learning more about mid century electronic music
heights of 60s and 70s heroes by relying on mimicry and
pioneers which was really good but I ended up leaving
recognisable tropes. But since the release of his debut,
after a year. Back at home my friends were mainly band
‘B Sides & Rarities Vol 1’ last year, Ethan P. Flynn has
guys but at Guildhall I met all sorts of musicians, people
proved that classic songwriting still has a place in the
who made dance music or played jazz and devoted their
modern musical landscape, where the sensitive storytelling
life to it.
and delicate vocals typical of the genre can be updated via hip-hop production and the swirling synths of electronica.
Taylor [Skye, Jockstrap] was on the electronic music
With his debut due for re-release - including a handful
course with me and he’s like a legend and then there was
of new tracks - we caught up with the London based
Georgia [Ellery, Jockstrap] and Lewis [Evans, Black
musician over Zoom to talk perfectionism and artistic
Country New Road] who were in the same flat, they lived
like a few floors above me, we were kinda chilling all the time. We all kinda worked together on my tracks for a bit,
So Ethan your debut album contains songs you’d
but they were all doing different stuff too and I was just
written over a period of three years...
chilling making stuff. I guess there are a couple of tracks from that period that ended up on B Sides...Volume 1.
I don’t really think of it as an album, it’s more like a compilation. By the time I’d called it ‘B Sides & Rarities
Did it give you a new found creative confidence being
Vol 1.’ I felt like I was a really old man - I know I’m
in that environment?
not this wise person but I felt like this wise-old-manmusician- and I thought that it would be really funny to
Nah, I think I’d always have confidence in myself. I
make this record as if it was a retrospective of my career
guess it gave me more of a social confidence in the sense
as an old man. I’ve always felt like if I was gonna make an
that I could just go and meet people and become friends
album it would be more cohesive and feel more important.
with them. At the same time I met these guys called TTY who were always around the Young Turks office and they
You have the likes of Georgia Ellery from Jockstrap
were making amazing hip-hop... I don’t even know how
playing on some tracks, I read that you guys became
to describe the music they make really but I was blown
friends while studying at Guildhall School of Music
away by it. Everyone I met at Guildhall was everyone that
and Drama. Did you hope that conservatoire training
I expected to meet in that I always thought I was going to
would push you as a musician and introduce you to
go and study at this place and meet some amazing people,
but [in particular] the guys from TTY were like some of the best musicians I have ever met.
It was more like I wanted to move to London, and I didn’t know anyone in London. But I think that I wanted to learn [too]. I’ve always been really interested in doing everything myself, which I’ve kinda learnt isn’t really the right approach.
Words by Eleanor Philpot, illustration by Cameron JL West
I read that you write a new album every month, which
Have you always been an introspective songwriter?
is a crazy turnover of work. What stops you from releasing all those songs? Would you say you’re a
I’m the kind of guy that thinks about things way too
perfectionist or just have high standards?
much and you probably hear that in my music, and it’s also good if you don’t hear that in my music because
I love imperfection but I want to have the right kind of
I’m trying to come across as chill. But yeah I’d be worse
imperfections. Like I could never sing perfectly myself,
off without songwriting. I don’t think I approach music
I’m not that kind of singer and my timing as a musician,
to do anything, I just make music. If I write something
like my internal clock, isn’t very good - technically I’m
and I feel like ‘that’s not honest then I’ll take it out. I’m
kinda shit. I’m not someone that has the aptitude to be
naturally introspective but I try to match that with looking
a musician, it’s just something that I loved the idea of
so I just did it. So there are always going to be these imperfections but it’s like when you hear something and it
What do you mean when something isn’t honest?
feels right, that’s what I want. If I was to write something and I felt like it shouldn’t be Your music definitely has that comforting yet
coming from me or wasn’t true then I’ll be like let’s get
idiosyncratic style of classic 60s/70s songwriters...
rid of this. Like you’ll hear a band that you don’t like and you’ll think okay yeah this is not honest. That isn’t
I hadn’t really listened to them before but more recently
the exact thought process but that is a big thing, because
I’ve gone through all those classic discographies, like
people like people to have integrity.
Dylan and Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. At the time [of writing these songs] I was listening to like rap records,
So being true to yourself?
indie music and post-rock, just stuff that I thought was cool. I was trying to listen to music that I thought was
But what is being true to yourself? Because you don’t
relevant to me as a teenager at the time. But then because
have to present a story that has actually happened to you...
all those artists [I was listening to as a teenager] were
it’s about not doing stuff just cause it will get you to a
inspired by 60s/70s songwriters I became inadvertently
certain place [in your career].
inspired by them also. Are there any standout songs from that period that you find particularly inspiring? ‘America’ by Simon and Garfunkel. I just hear it and there’s so much shit going on, like I don’t even understand it. And there’s a bit where it’s like ‘his bowtie is really a camera’ and I’m like ‘shit, it really is, it really is a camera.’ And there’s this weird thing in the song where it sounds like there’s a dude playing the fiddle like 100 metres away, I don’t know if it’s a guitar or like a synth or whatever, but it’s something crazy sounding. It’s almost like it’s in a different key or something but it just fits so perfect and fades in and fades out at like weird sections of the song, it doesn’t fit in with the structure. There’s loads of songs on that album that are like amazing songwriting but also innovative production.
Ethan P. Flynn
Working Men’s Club The subtle transformation of Working Men’s Club over the
You’re somebody who is very vocal about your
past year has been a fascinating one. What first glistened
opinions, you don’t hold anything back. Do you
like starburst rays out of the Calder Valley has now
feel that our generation is quite watered down in
morphed and mutated into something dark and industrial,
augmented by the band’s unfiltered frontman, Syd Minsky-Sargeant. Pulled together by a tighter, older and
I dunno, there’s a lot of people who have very valid
more trusted team of individuals that make up the better
opinions. I think it’s just how people vocalise them. I
bulk of the Sheffield music scene, it’s no surprise that
think social media has crippled viewpoints that can be
Syd’s venture into more experimental, electronic music is
interpreted in so many different ways. There’s no tone to
expounded by one of the few British outposts that came
a tweet. Everything can be misread and that’s what I hate
to define it. It’s also no surprise that it’s helped foster
about it. I feel for our generation but I also feel for society
an exceptionally exciting debut album set for release on
because our use of free speech is being held back by the
Heavenly Recordings in October.
powers of the Internet. It can be used in really brilliant ways, but I think it can also be abused.
The eponymously titled ‘Working Men’s Club’ is music stripped back to the bone with no interest in inane
There’s always one person out there who will find
formalities. Instead, it goes straight in for the jugular
offence with something...
where fragments of brutalised guitar crash down around motorik pulses. Anchored by a puritanical respect of
Yeah. With anything. I kind of think it really weakens
dance music, it serves as a vivid snapshot of a young man
what people do and say. You don’t know somebody just
encumbered by a world of musical discovery.
cause you’ve seen them on social media. You don’t know whether they’re a knob or a really nice person. One thing
Hi Syd. How have things been for you the past few
that you say doesn’t really sum you up, but now the way
society works, it seems like it does. It’s depressing.
Erm, I don’t know, as good as anyone I guess. It’s a bit
It does seem to wash away any form of personality...
shit at first but I guess you quickly realise we are all in the same situation. I don’t think there’s much self pity. You
The narrative seems to have changed in the past twenty
gotta just make the most of it. It’s a bit depressing cause
years of what music is. I think there’s been a real lack of
you realise the whole music industry has stalled but then
northern bands getting attention. I think there’s a lot more
you can just discover things of your own accord. It’s kind
soul in northern music. I like what’s going on down south
of what I like to do anyway. There’s no social stigma there
but the way northern bands have to work to get any real
pulling you in to read about a new band in London. It’s
form of attention, not even cause they really want it but
depressing to see small venues struggling to function and
because of their passion…I don’t think…I don’t know it’s
you just can’t do socially distanced gigs… you can’t. A
just a lot easier when you get to London aint it? There’s
gig for me is about being around lots of people in a close
people in every corner of every room. It’s made me a very
cynical person. It’s just very fake. It’s really fucking fake.
Words by Harley Cassidy, illustration by Josh Whettingsteel
I don’t give a shit to be honest with you but our main
It was very positive and supportive. Obviously along
source of promotion and also a theme on our record,
the way there was a few ups and downs, like the line up
is about defecating on the BBC. It’s like… fuck them.
change and that was a quick, horrible process but after the
And also… thanks to them. But nah, not thanks to them
tour in September and October I sort of just sat down and
because it’s a very corrupt system and the amount of
thought, right, I’m gonna write a really good record now
exploitation they’ve done in all realms for the past 50
for myself and I don’t even care if other people don’t like
years is disgusting. I don’t think anyone else is fucking
it. I don’t even know if it is a good record but I was happy
saying that. It’s not about ego, it’s just about going ‘fuck
with it then and I’m happy with it now to have written
it’. Fuck these people. Otherwise what’s the point? You
those songs and I can leave them on a shelf and not have
might as well say something.
to listen to them again but if I was to pick them back up I’d be happy with that record I made. That’s all I ever
It’s funny cause the last time I spoke to you, so much
wanted to do anyway.
has changed since then, not just musically but you as a person, the band, the sound, there’s been quite a shift.
I’m kind of realising now it’s nice not touring so much
Was there anything that was a turning point for you?
and just being in the studio and making lots of records and still not falling into that trap of spending eight years
I think realising how brutal the music industry is and
making a record. There’s less people to annoy you when
really not caring about trying to please people any more. I
you’re in the studio compared to when you’re on tour. It’s
was very young. It’s not really a personal thing… it’s sort
a really fucking enjoyable experience playing live though
of embracing a weird situation as a 16 year old. You’re
and I do miss it.
still growing up and then you’re thrust into this light of people at record labels and being interviewed and giving
I think bands naturally have such a love/hate
opinions that try and summarise what your personality is.
relationship with touring cause there’s such an
People trying to tell you who you are, do you know what
intensity to it. Most bands will leave with a comedown
I mean? It’s really scary actually. You don’t know who
because you’re on this high all the time and it’s
you’re making music for - it goes from being this selfish
exhausting both mentally and physically and then
art to please yourself and cause you love it, to being this
suddenly coming back home to your bedroom must be
thing where you’re doing it to make money for someone
such a weird, instant transition...
else. That’s what I find so disgusting about it; your art being manufactured to just sell.
Yeah, it’s horrible. That’s why I was happy at the start of lockdown ‘cause I just needed some time to get over a
Do you like making music that people can dance to?
year of relentless touring. It has a big impact on mental health and it’s not talked about. It’s funny, all this talk of
Yeah, there’s a certain freedom in dance music that is
bands being drug addicts and alcoholics but you get paid
different to other forms of music and it’s a lot more pure.
in beer, you don’t really get paid any money and you can’t
It doesn’t need to be this over complicated thing where
even really afford to eat so you might as well take some
you’re tracking lots of different instruments and stuff, it’s
drugs and then it’s portrayed in this way that we’re all
just usually about a bass line and a good beat. When you
fucked or mentally deluded and messed up human beings
realise that’s the formula then you can really focus on
but it’s only because people have encouraged that. As fun
just getting those things right instead of bogging yourself
as it is, it’s just fucking depressing.
down and writing a million parts. What kind of feedback were you getting from Heavenly during the making of the album?
Working Men’s Club
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Souki Forming in 2019, Souki are a five-piece band from
It’s really cool, we never would’ve expected it. They
Coventry. Last year they booked a headline slot at
approached us out of the blue really - before we even had
Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge before they’d even
anything out. We were organising the ‘Souki-fest’ that
written a song and what was to come was a two month
we put on last year and I think they were associated with
flurry of song writing culminating in a 45 minute set and
some of the bands that we were booking, so they DM’d
near sold out show. We caught up with Joe from the band
us and asked us what we were working on. They then
just as lockdown easing comes into full force and there is
messaged us on the weekend we were going into the studio
an inkling of normality back on the horizon..
- which was really nice - so we had stuff to talk about with them which was lucky. They’ve been amazing with what
Your first single ‘Miura’ was a two headed coin in
they’ve done for us even at this early stage. They got the
terms of subject matter - what inspired you to mix the
single through to Steve Lamacq which again was amazing
yet unexpected and they’ve just been sound to work with.
I think the narratives (a poem written about a man’s
Coming from Coventry - a city that is well known for
obsession with the end of his work and Miles Davies’ well
its musical history with two-tone and more recently
documented 1972 car crash in his Lambourghini Miura)
with indie - do you feel proud of it and do you think
sat together very well. I was reading a bunch of stuff by
there is much more to come from it’s musical fountain?
T.S Elliot from his collected prose, but The Hollow Men really stood out for me. I feel as though even though
Yeah for sure, although I do believe Cov is going through
they were written in two completely different times and
a dry patch at the moment. My dad was telling me that
separately hold two different contexts, they complement
back in the day there would be bands around all the time
each other so well and even finish each other’s story in a
playing all sorts of venues and pubs and it was great, but
now there’s only one real venue that the city has. So in response to that we’re looking at shows and promoters in
As a band you seem to have a plethora of different
Birmingham and trying to bring them to Coventry so they
sounds within your songs - ‘Miura’ especially. What
can build more of a scene here.
are your main inspirations? Who else in the city should we be looking out for? We listen to a lot of different stuff collectively as a band and in the studio we were just very lucky to bring that
Damo Suzuki and Resurrection Men are up there 100%.
together. Having a whole weekend free there just roaming
They’re some of the best and most interesting things
and creating a vast collage of sounds was very freeing - it
we’ve seen in the past five years. There’s also our friends
was great. As a band we listen to all sorts - most of us
Myles Newman and Village Bully who play in each
keep up with new stuff, though I am quite bad at that.
other’s bands live, and our mates Talyn and Thom who are making this sorta weird electronic / rap / micro house
How was it working with London label, Permanent
music currently as Diet Heroin. I just did a remix for their
next ep together which was really fun.
Words by Matt Bisgrove, illustration by Sebastian Schwamm
Editors Sam Ford
Writers Sam Ford Al Mills
Josh Whettingsteel Ross Jones
Eleanor Philpot Reuben Cross Dan Pare
Antoine CossĂŠ Karen Lederer
Naomi Anderson-Subryan Kezia Gabriella BĂ rbara Alca Jiayue Li
Angelica Liv Lily Kong REN
Cameron JL West
Photos for Collage
Ex Why Zed
Maxwell Granger April Arabella Oli Erskine
Cameron JL West