MUSIC: The Loyalties, Stratovarius, The Graveltones, The Temperance Movement, Heartless Bastards, Elle King, The Burning Of Rome, Vreid, Neaera, Shai Hulud, Compulsions, Tonight Alive, Fearless Vampire Killers, Combichrist, Mike Tramp, Divided We Fall, Bonded By Blood, Colors UK, Papa Shango CINEMA: The Silver Linings Playbook, Broken City, Female Trouble, Mario Bava, 5 Broken Cameras, Tabu, Elena LIVE: Tegan and Sara, The Soho Hobo, Liam O’Connor, Deftones, High On Fire, The Blackout, Your Demise, UK Subs, Black Light Burns, Louise Distras, Calexico, Vader
SPECIALS: London Anime Con, Midem 2013
THE NEXT BIG THINGS By Cristina Massei For our first issue of 2013, we decided to do something different: we went out on the hunt for the next big thing, and we found quite a few candidates; may they all succeed. Contrarily to what the demise of HMV will have you thinking, music is in very good health, you just need to learn to get over your ADHD and pay attention; no, not to the miserable wannabes on Cowell’s reality shows, but to whatever venues are still standing, especially if you’re lucky enough to live in London. So off we went, not trying to pick something to force on you, but on a mission to discover what many have already come to appreciate on the live circuit but the majority are still unaware of. We found artists selling out the likes of the Borderline or The Lexington without once appearing on Kerrang or NME. We found rock, soul, blues, colours and vibes that O2 can’t buy. Then we looked into movies, again taking a break from the blockbusters to explore a prolific underground scene, films you won’t find advertised on the Tube with posters replaced two weeks later by a dating agency ad. We even expanded our musical knowledge geographically, thanks to MIDEM and our first Anime Convention in London – where else. I think we did a pretty good job. Sure, we had to cut off reviews of the Kerrang! Tour and such, but I’m sure you’ll find plenty of Black Veil Brides elsewhere if you really feel the need… Here are some artists we look forward to hear and see more about over 2013 and beyond; hopefully their work will find a place in your collection and in your heart. All we ask is that you listen, and watch, with open ears and eyes, and most of all an open mind. Sooner or later, at least some of these lot will take over the world and reach you anyway; but why wasting time on yet more untalented pretty boys and recycled old farts? Get in now. You will thank us later. PS… There’s another reason why we’re paying extra attention to less known bands on this issue: we want you to know that we listen to everything that comes to us. However, not everything is good enough. Remember to always send a link to your music; we don’t really care where you went to school and how amazing YOU think your music is, we just want to hear it and make up our mind. If we like it, we will review and contact you to let you know at some point (we all have day jobs folks!) or maybe even for a chat. If you don’t hear from us, either we didn’t get a chance YET or we didn’t like it. ‘Did you like my EP/Is it going to be reviewed’ emails will only increase our workload, piss us off and earn you a nice space in our spam folder. Just so you know. All the artists featured on this front page (The Graveltones, The Temperance Movement, Elle King and Voodoo Vegas) are to release their DEBUT album in 2013. You will find out more about them and other fresh talent inside our magazine...
FREEDOM OF ART As the 2013 Oscar ceremony draws to an end, in between Ben Affleck’s stammering, Jennifer Lawrence’s tripping and Daniel Day-Lewis jokes, what will be truly remembered in time for his significance is Ang Lee’s victory in the Best Director category. Life of Pi is a magnificent movie, a work of art, the creation of a gifted mind that you may have not be able to witness, if it wasn’t for Taiwan, welcoming Lee’s family from mainland China in 1949. Hadn’t they abandoned their homeland following the Chinese Civil War, Lee’s talent may have never been discovered or even have a chance to develop, its legs cut short by censorship. Life of Pi enjoyed its biggest Box Office success in China, as the middle class enjoys new found financial comfort. However, what Chinese people saw was a tweaked version of the original – and I’d really like to watch it just to see what the hell there was to censor in there. Only 34 foreign films (thanks to the recent addition of 14 3D/Imax to the original 20) a year make it to the big screen in China, and they have to agree to being ‘adapted’ to the country’s medieval rules; Life of Pi was in fact the only one out of this year’s Oscars that made the cut. Today, Chinese people celebrate one of their descendants winning the highest recognition for his work, but they silently listen as he thanks Taiwan (I couldn’t have made it without you) knowing something is horribly wrong and there’s nothing they can do about it. On the other hand, in this issue we review a couple of classic Italian horrors finally released in their original cut, after getting the ‘commercial censorship’ treatment in the US. Yes, one of them was also banned at the time by the Fascist regime; something that we thought was in the past, only no one told the Chinese. Still, what is more disturbing is the idea that, even in a theoretically democratic world, artists have to sell their soul to the unmerciful censor known as Box Office. There are many forms of censorship, they’re everywhere and there’s no Taiwan and no escape; movie producers – just like record labels in the music business – often make more damage than any regime, in their quest to turn a work of ART into a commercially viable PRODUCT. At a lower end, but not a lower extent, all those judging a piece of art according to money made – or worst, giving exposure and positive critics according to money paid to them – are just as guilty. In 1975, Mario Bava walked out of his own film ‘Lisa and The Devil’ after being reluctantly convinced by producer Alfredo Leone to tweak it in order to turn it into a US blockbuster. He watched a unique piece of art being transformed into a bad clone of ‘The Exorcist’ and couldn’t handle it; ‘The House of Exorcism’, for which Bava wasn’t credited as director, was still a flop, this time not only with the Box Office but with any decent fan of the genre. We tend to feel sorry for those countries where freedom of expression is not granted, but trying to turn an artist into a cash cow by tweaking his work is the worst and most common form of censorship. If you don’t believe in an artist, don’t sign him; if you don’t appreciate his art, don’t give it exposure; if you ARE an artist, have some PRIDE and FAITH in your art and what it expresses. Walk off holding your freedom in your hand, even if that means you’ll have to keep your day job a bit longer, or even forever. To Ang Lee, we want to say a huge thank you for showing us that there’s no limit to what art can create; to his entire team, who believed in him with no reserve, Namaste.
Sonic Shocks Ltd www.sonicshocks.com firstname.lastname@example.org Editor in Chief &Creative Director Cristina Massei
Content Director Matt Dawson
Unsigned Editor Dan Balchin
Movie & TV Editor Matthew Tilt email@example.com Events & Nightlife Editor Nelly Loriaux firstname.lastname@example.org US Correspondent Denise Bales Britt email@example.com Burlesque Sophia Disgrace
It’s a little difficult not to feel slightly out of depth when you enter the London Anime Con. Becca, from Anime League who arranged this event, notes that this is a much more social event than the larger conventions and that’s obvious as soon as you walk in. The Rocket Complex forces their hand regarding where to place things and various events are squeezed into the same room; it doesn’t always work but there’s a delectably friendly atmosphere throughout. While gaining our bearings two acts flash across the stage, Gunji and ADAPTOR; blending togeth-
package in the form of Colors UK. By far the most entertaining band of the weekend they mix the best of rock, punk and J-pop with ease, combining catchy melodies with riffs that verge towards the more metallic spectrum. Even better, they’re fans. Their enthusiasm for the convention as a whole (which you can see in our interview with them) lifts spirits and encourages the crowd to explore what’s on offer. Next to the stage there’s a room packed with monitors, as crowds of competition hungry punters queue to batter their mates on Tekken or Super Smash Bros, alongside the range of retro gaming. Unfortunately we fail to really get involved, although our button bashing antics would have failed to get us far, but it’s just as nostalgic to watch. A damn sight easier to watch, then say, the films which, due to the small venue, are packed in next to the games. On the second day, while watching the overly sentimental medical thriller Pandemic, it’s hard to really immerse yourself when the high pitched Nintendo themes play out in the background. It’s refreshing to know that the Anime League are looking for larger venues, and no doubt their four day event in
Becca mentioned many things including the faint disappointment at not been able to afford American voice actors, but the low key guests let the people shine. There’s less a sense of starstruck and more the feeling of old friends. This is the reason Anime League can help people find hostels
Photographers (this issue) Cristina Massei Matt Higgs Nelly Loriaux Ashley Naismith Alessia Cifali Franzi Paizs Writers (this issue) Cristina Massei Matt Dawson Dan Balchin Matthew Tilt Sophia Disgrace Matt Higgs Nelly Loriaux Claudio Pucci Ashley Naismith Kristian Kotilainen Ben Twemlow The Reverend Eddi Alessia Cifali David Lees For general enquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising enquiries please contact email@example.com To stock Sonic Shocks please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
er into a formless background noise. Their perky electronic beats get some of the crowd moving but it all too quickly points to a problem we brought up with Becca; how do you please such a diverse crowd of people when it comes to the entertainment? She confesses it’s difficult but points to the range of genres on offer, which become appare n t when they’re a l l mixed into o n e compact
Leicester allows them more wiggle room regarding issues of this nature, but you do feel a little sorry for the people who were looking forward to sharing a few Japanese/Anime flicks with fellow cinephiles; especially when there’s a premiere of Death Game on offer. What is frankly incredible about this convention is found upstairs. You can listen to music, play games and watch films pretty much anywhere but the real community, the heart of this convention is found upstairs. With minimal traders, and no massive companies, there’s plenty of room for the card games. Pretty much every table top card game can be found up here, with groups battling it out with each other. A little further on there’s the talks, the talent shows, the improv. You don’t just stand and watch here. You perform. You show off the cosplay outfit you lovingly put together, or read that script you’ve slaving over, play the character you always wanted to be. Upstairs is pure escapism and it’s a joy to watch whether you truly get what’s going on or not.
over the weekend; why they can offer a 30 minute slot to the winner of the talent contest. You could go in a novice and come out an expert with the amount of insider jokes that get swapped; go in a loner and come out with a whole range of friends because of the way these guys have set this up. Sure there are downsides; the aforementioned spacing problems still arise occasionally over the weekend, and a truly awful set from 2hearts,1up could make the most leant person want to pull the plug, but the upsides, that sense of community is why people come back and if the mix isn’t always right downstairs it more than makes up for it upstairs. By Matthew Tilt - Photos Cristina Massei
‘TIL THE DEATH OF
TIN PAN ALLEY
An interview with The Loyalties’ Rich Jones Interview and photos By Cristina Massei
Rich Jones is a bit of an institution in the institution that is London’ Soho, despite being Canadian. Not only has he been playing with everyone from Amen to the Wildhearts and beyond, he’s also been listening, which is indeed a rare virtue. You can find him in the crowd at most gigs, rock bars, loving and breathing that toxic, wonderful thing that is rock’n’roll. ‘Til the Death of Rock’n’Roll’ is the new album from The Loyalties, the band founded circa 2006 by Rich and Tom Spencer when their Yoyo’s reincarnation - with Danny McCormack- folded in too early. We had a chat with the man himself about all things we love: Soho, rock’n’roll, new young artists and of course this new brilliant Loyalties’ record. Here’s what he had to say… The Loyalties were born on the ashes of a short lived Yoyo’s reunion; do you feel that first incarnation of the band left a legacy in your music to these days? Yeah, definitely. Tom was the principal songwriter in the Yoyo's and when I joined the band the second time around he and I started collaborating and figuring out how to write together. That set the foundation for us working and writing together in The Loyalties and so it's natural that there's elements of the Yoyo's sound in what we do. Obviously with The Yoyo's we were writing to suit an established sound whereas now we can stretch out a little more and bring in influences that myself and Rags have as well. I think that's a lot more evident on the new record. Your first album was called ‘So Much for Soho’ and featured tracks like ’The 12 Bar Blues’. What does Soho mean to you? It's kind of been my second home for the last 10 years, working and hanging out there and having a scene of friends who are musicians & artists that all congregate there. ‘So Much For Soho’ is about how that scene's days are numbered, unfortunately. Redevelopment is coming in and wiping out the last bits of character from Soho. As with anywhere there'll be new scenes that pop up but I think that Soho and Denmark Street/Tin Pan Alley in particular are unique areas and unfortunately I don't think we'll see anywhere like that again. It's genuinely a creative music hub and it's slowly disappearing. What’s your favourite venue in London, which one do you try to avoid and which do you miss the most out of those that are no longer there? I've got a lot of affection for the 12 Bar, although it's really a terrible place to play or see a gig, haha. But it's got a great vibe. If I'm playing I like everything from Brixton Academy to the Barfly. I can't say I particularly try to avoid any venues, I'm just happy to have so much choice. As for the ones I miss, the obvious one is the Astoria: great location, tons of history, just a fantastic place to see a show, upstairs or downstairs. I really miss that place and I'm still pissed
that the powers that be have no fucking sense of history and felt that a train station was more important to the people of London. That first album came out back in 2008, what took you so long? Ha! Good question. I guess it was a combination of things. We worked pretty hard touring and trying to support that first record but for one reason or another it seemed like it didn't really connect with a lot of people. So we unofficially stopped being a band for a while. This 2nd album came about when Tom and I found a rare space in our calendars and figured we didn't deserve any time off. It was a pretty massive project doing the album and the book and trying to co-ordinate the release. We recorded it in Oct 2011 and it took until Jan 2013 for it to come out. The label that did our first record was due to release it last year and then things fell apart due to a bunch of stuff that I probably can't go into here. So I finally just decided to get the damn thing out and do it ourselves. And here we are. ‘Til The Death of Rock’n’Roll’… So, what’s keeping rock’n’roll alive? Fucking nothing. It's a dead art form. It's niche. It's revivalist. It's not rebellion anymore, it's mainstream culture and it's in the windows of high street fashion stores. I still love it though so that's why we do it. We've got no grand illusions of ever being some giant world-beating band playing this stuff. It's just something that we love and we try to make records that we'd wanna listen to. Your first record, although greatly received by fans and critics, didn’t have the success it deserved; have you taken any particular steps to get this one further? Not particularly. We thought the book angle would be a good talking point but we're fully aware that there's no point in us doing headline shows outside of London or Berlin. Not to sound defeatist at all, it's just the reality of the situation. We'll do some tour supports for this album if we get offered but I don't really need to spend 8 hours in a van going to Glasgow to play to 6 people and lose a bunch of money, y'know? You mentioned a book being released, with the album being kind of a soundtrack to it; can you tell me a bit more about it? Tom's father was a novelist and it's something that Tom had always wanted to do. This idea kinda started as a short story concept of his and he fleshed it out into a full-length novel once we knew that we were gonna do this thing. The story is a murder mystery set on a tour bus going through America in the late 90's. Tom and I were label mates, touring America at the time and the characters in the book are loosely based on people that we both knew (and still do). So the album and the book are both companion pieces - all the chapters are song titles from the album - but they work equally well as standalone pieces. How would you describe this record to someone who has no clue who The Loyalties are and what they do? We're basically a rock & roll band with a bunch of punk influences. Or maybe a punk band with a bunch of rock & roll and country influences. I like the Dead Boys and The Hellacopters, Tom likes Johnny Cash and The Clash. We meet somewhere in the middle. Now, although the album is pretty awesome, we all know that rock’n’roll is even better played live… Any dates, full tours, Festival or other live appearances planned? We're playing the launch party of the Camden Rocks Festival on March 31st with Spycatcher and a bunch of other bands and we're playing a late album launch show at Wild At Heart in Berlin on April 18th (which also happens to be my birthday so all of you Germans should bring me gifts). We've got a couple of dates with Eureka Machines in early may (the 3rd in Rugby at The Vault and the 4th in London at the Borderline) and then… who knows? I've got another record to make in the summer and then I guess we'll see if anyone makes us any offers. What’s the current Loyalties line up? Along with myself and Tom Spencer it's El Jonez on guitar, Rich Rags on guitar and Simon Maxwell on drums. We've got 3 guitar players because guitars are awesome and we want a lot of them. You guys are always involved in several projects at the same time; what’s going on these days besides The Loyalties, and what’s top of the list? Tom plays in The Men They Couldn't Hang and I play with Ginger Wildheart. We're out on tour in March with The Darkness and Tom is out with Stiff Little Fingers I believe. Ginger is my main gig but that's gonna take a little break for a while so that Ginger can do some Wildhearts stuff this year. I'm making a solo record with a bunch of friends/special guests this summer so I'm hoping I'll be touring that once it's released and then I guess at some point we'll reconvene to do Ginger's birthday show in December. Rags plays and sings in Role Models and he keeps threatening to do a full-length with them, which I hope he does. They play great Replacements'y rock & roll. You used to do artwork as a ‘day job’, is that still the case and if so what have you been working on lately? Yep, I still do that. I do a lot of work for Michael Monroe and Von Hertzen Brothers through their management company. That's kind of a regular thing and then I freelance as well. I just did the artwork for Jon Poole's 2 records and the new Eureka Machines record, and I'm currently in the middle of doing all of the art for the Mutation
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double album that I did with Ginger. We're keeping it all in the family, haha. My work is online at http://www.turningrebellion.com if anyone wants to hire me (please hire me). haha While I write these questions the disgraceful results of the Brit Awards are out and One Direction are the International Winners in the sales department. Why? How did that happen? I honestly don't pay attention that that stuff at all. I don't think it concerns people like me, I just like listening to records. I couldn't give a rat’s ass who sold what and who gave them a pat on the back for it. If it wasn't for twitter I wouldn't have even known that the Brits were on. Although the death of the industry may have been a bit of a conspiracy, which do you feel is the main killer: illegal downloads or shit music? Is the industry dead? Seems like a lot of people are making a lot of money still. I think the game is changing but if anything it's just putting the power (and the money) back into the hands of the artists and anyone who's smart enough to keep up. Which band at the moment would better represent British music for you? Ha, I'm not one to say who should fly the flag. I love the last Gallows record (and they've got a Canadian in the band now, added bonus!), Moral Dilemma, Exit International, Baby Godzilla, Bleach Blood… there's a ton of good stuff out there. If it was up to me The Bronx would just fly the flag for music in general. I always see you at gigs around London, big and small; did any new band catch your attention lately? Besides the ones I just mentioned, I like Single Mothers who are touring with The Bronx right now. Intelligent punk with a hardcore edge and great lyrics.
Back to The Loyalties, what do you want to reach with this record to make you want to record a third one? Honestly, I'd just like to be able to do the occasional tour and have people actually come out to the shows! I guess a 3rd album will depend on the levels of apathy from us and the audience, haha. So expect it to be done around 2017. And finally… Explain ‘Pheromone Jones’! You'll have to ask Tom about that one, he wrote the lyrics. ha! Needless to say, we decided to get hold of Tom Spencer for a comment, and here’s his answer... ‘He doesn’t particularly like the song - wonder why? It is complimentary. Bloody true too. No point in going out on the pull with Jonesy the boy puts out some serious mojo. He doesn’t even try. He’s like the bleedin Pied Piper - they just follow him home!’ And if Tom says so...!
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An Interview with Timo Kotipelto by Matt Dawson
Despite flying in from New York the night before Timo is in jovial spirits; no surprise when Stratovarius are about to release what he feels is their best album in over a decade. Matt Dawson finds out how 20 years on he still flies the Finnish melodic metal flag high despite the odds... You joined the band in 1994 so in 2014 it will be twenty years since you joined… Yeah – some have told me! [laughs] How do you feel the band has evolved over that time? Well it’s been a long ride, of course the whole lineup has changed a couple of times during these years. When I joined was like, I wouldn’t call it a destiny, but at the time there wasn’t any other melodic metal band in Finland and I was searching for a band, then it just happened and suddenly I was in a band; we’ve had some very great moments with that line up and then when things got bigger we would release Episode and Visions. Of course in 2003-2008 there hasn’t been that many good years but now with a new line-up the last 3 albums have been a lot of fun and there’s new energy and creativity in the band so I think about it as a fresh start. How do you feel Finnish metal has progressed? It’s been getting better and better since when we started to tour Europe in 1995; there wasn’t really any aside from Amorphis and Sentenced, we were the first band that toured in South America and Japan. In the 80’s there was Hanoi Rocks, they were big in Japan and the UK but not so much in South America; In the late 90’s came Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and Children Of Bodom and now there’s so many good band from Finland touring everywhere. If you could give us a couple of new bands to check out – who would they be? There’s Wintersun… but there’s so many that even I can’t follow them all! What are your thoughts on the melodic metal genre? On Nemesis – it’s still a Stratovarius album but we are trying to make it a little more modern especially when it comes to the guitar sound and the keyboard. Now it looks good but then again I don’t know what the fans think – they’ll decide if the album’s good and how it’s going to be. So far we’ve been to Germany then Spain and France, it looks mostly that all of them dig the album but it
Photo courtesy of earMusic and Nauska hasn’t been like that for 12 years! It’s a new thing for me to be honest! So can we expect more of the ‘classic’ Stratovarius sound with a bit of a twist to it? I think it’s our best album in 12 years, of course all bands say that but personally I haven’t been this excited about an album for some time; we have a new drummer whose playing style is maybe a little bit more modern compared to Jorg [Michael] and it’s a more darker album, it’s not just happy power metal - there’s maybe one song that’s a ‘typical’ power metal song. The songs are melodic with catchy vocal lines but it’s more modern. I think it’s our best album since Infinite. As you mentioned you have a new drummer in Rolf Pilve – you had a worldwide drummer search, how did the idea come about and why did you decide to do it that way? When Jorg decided that he was going to leave the band 3 or 4 years ago he decided it would be good for the band and himself so we did the final farewell tour for him and a couple of shows in South America plus the 70,000 tons of Metal cruise ship that would finish his tenure with the band. Once that was over we came back to Finland for a couple of weeks and then we decided to put an ad on our homepage and Facebook page because we knew many drummer but you never know if there’s someone that plays so well that we haven’t heard of. I’m surprised we got so many YouTube videos from different drummers and so many good drummers everywhere, so it took a long time as we wanted to check all the videos out; finally we marked it down to four guys into the studio and for me it was clear that Rolf was the best drummer and what was very important was that he wasn’t nervous at all, very down to Earth guy but he knew all the songs and could play them so well. It’s also nice that he’s been a huge fan of the band, so it’s pretty cool that he joined the band that he listened to; we’ve done 7 gigs with him and he’s proved to be an excellent live drummer as well. It’s not only that he can play the album but he’s a very nice guy and we also wanted to search for a dude who is a nice person and not an asshole rock star, we don’t want to have that shit. So he’s settled into the band very well then.. When we did our first song I felt I had played with this guy before even though it was the first time I actually met him. I had heard about his abilities when a friend of mine told me about six years ago.
He’s much younger than me but he fits in very easily into the band. What are the plans when it comes to touring the UK and Europe? Europe looks good but UK doesn’t and I’d like to know why because I’d love to play over here; there was talk about playing one show in London but when we got the final dates from the booking agent it wasn’t there so I was like ‘What the fuck?’. I hope that we get to play a summer festival or another gig in the autumn but for now it looks like there’s going to be gigs everywhere else but not over there. I’m disappointed but hopefully we can fix it later. So if say Bloodstock made an offer? That’ll be great because we played there once before! Well Bloodstock organisers – you know what to do! Yes! [Laughs] In recent weeks we have seen places such as HMV have problems in administration when it comes to buying physical CD’s so I’d like to get your thoughts on the industry when it comes to things like social networking and things like Spotify? It has changed quite a lot of course in 20 years, let’s put it this way in the 80’s you were touring but you were able to sell albums so you didn’t make so much money from the touring – when I started with Stratovarius we weren’t big but we had a limited amount of money from record sales and we could live more on the tour – live through the music. Nowadays you have to make an album to be able to tour but album sales – at least for bands that are smaller – are low. If you’re lucky and you have a record label who believes in you and want to support the band you can maybe get the money for the recording budget but that’s it. It’s totally different as now bands don’t make money from record sales but they still have to make a living on the tour then you add the poor economic situation on top of that – it used to be where 1 band played in a week you now have 5. Show business is suffering the most from this. We are just lucky, I’m happy that we have some loyal fans who have supported us through the years and without that there wouldn’t be any new album, there wouldn’t be record labels signing us or anything. Our goal is – if everything goes well – that people buy the album and we can get some more money from the label for the next album so we can do another one, but that’s how it goes. So in say 5 years time we hope to see you recording and touring as usual.
Hopefully yeah! It’s been that every 2 years we’ve been releasing an album, it’s hard to say but I get the feeling the fans will like this one and hopefully in 2015 there will be a follow up. So outside of music what do you like to do? I’ve been doing over the last 3 years an acoustic project with Jani Liimatainen [former member of Sonata Arctica/member of Cain’s Offering] which is nice to do and a way to keep my voice in a good shape because I’ve been singing basically every week with 1-3 shows and we also created this weird – I say weird as I think it’s not commercial – album called Blackoustic but if it’s not music I like to do sports: weightlifting and some others. I do like reading and watching movies as well. Any movie in particular caught your eye recently? I went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it looked pretty nice and was well done but maybe I was expecting a little bit more, I wasn’t like Wow! But it was a pretty good movie. I saw it in the 48fps format and in 3D so it was nice to watch. OK, here’s your chance to say any message to your fans! I hope you like the new album and if you do come check us out live WHEN and IF we finally come to play over in the UK hopefully this year!
THE COMPULSIONS An interview with frontman Rob Carlyle by The Reverend Eddi (www.tbfmonline.com)
So tell our readers a short history of yourself and the band. In 2001, after nearly 10 years of trying to put a band together, I finally formed The Compulsions. Our early recordings got great airplay and amazing reviews, for example Classic Rock magazine called us “The Coolest Band In The World,” but for whatever reason, the live performances were a little lacking and we didn’t draw big enough crowds. So there were several line up changes until 2010 when I got back in touch with Frank Ferrer and Richard Fortus who’d gone off to play with Guns N’ Roses. I knew them from years before when we recorded Compulsions songs like “Down On The Tracks” and “Demon Love” but until then, we hadn’t actually played on stage together. Anyway, Richard recommended Sami Yaffa from Hanoi Rocks and New York Dolls on bass and with this line up, The Compulsions started getting a lot more attention. What was that moment for you when you “discovered” rock for the first time? What band or song? I remember loving The Monkees and watching reruns of their TV show when I was 3 or 4 years old. I loved “I’m A Believer,” “Last Train To Clarksville,” “Hey, Hey! We’re The Monkees,” all that stuff. But I soon discovered The Beatles in my dad’s record collection and that’s when I started really getting into rock ‘n’ roll. In 4th grade, I brought Sgt. Pepper’s, Magical Mystery, Abbey Road and The White Album to Show & Tell to go over the “Paul Is Dead” clues. I’m not saying I believed the “Paul Is Dead” clues but that’s how into it I was. Eventually, Pink Floyd became my favourite band for the next few years. I was also buying records by Hendrix, Zeppelin, The Stones, Aerosmith and everyone else on the radio. When I was about 13 or 14, I saw [Rolling Stones concert film] Let’s Spend The Night Together on HBO and when I saw Keith Richards and Ron Wood on stage, that’s when I wanted to learn how to play guitar. It just clicked. They made it look so cool and so fun and really physical. There was nothing delicate about the way they played. It was all slash and burn. What are your influences ? Everyone I just mentioned and all the other obvious classic rock ‘n’ roll stuff like Bob Dylan, AC/DC, Skynyrd, The Stooges, Motörhead but also more modern bands like Nine Inch Nails, Oasis, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Hives, Rob Zombie… I know they didn't start yesterday so they might not be exactly “modern” but you get the point. And of course all the legendary blues and country artists, everyone from Robert Johnson and Willie Dixon to Hank Williams and Waylon Jennings. What plans have you got for 2013? I get that sort of question all the time. I pretty much can’t leave the house without someone asking “So what’s up with the band? Any shows coming up?” It’s incredibly flattering to have so many people interested in The Compulsions but we unfortunately don’t have any concrete plans at the moment. That being said, I’m always writing so maybe we’ll make another Compulsions album soon. Some of the new song ideas I’m working on are “Hellbound Babies,” “House Of Rock” and “Whatabooty.” What sets The Compulsions apart from other bands? Passion. I don’t think any new bands out there give as much of a shit as I do. I hear a lot of motherfuckers just phoning it in. I don’t hear any genuine madness. Call me egotistical, call me whatever you want, I don’t care - but I think The Compulsions have been the best rock ‘n’ roll band on the planet for years - and there’s a lot of people out there who seem to agree with me. Check the reviews: “The New Gold Standard,” “By Far One Of The Greatest Underrated Rock Bands Of Our Generation,” “Heir Apparent To Guns N’ Roses Long Vacant Mainstream Hard Rock Throne” and there’s plenty more good press where that came from.
interview by Pietro Di Nardo
Arriving for the first time in Bristol are Tonight Alive. This is their fourth tour in the UK after the release of What Are You So Scared Of for the Australian band that, on this occasion, joined the ranks of a tour with Black Veil Brides, Chiodos and Fearless Vampire Killers. We took the opportunity to interview the band a year from the release of their debut album to ask guitarists Whakaio Taahi and Jake Hardy their thoughts 12 months later and how it feels to be on this particular tour. One year later the release of your album and after thousands miles of tour under your feet, are you still scared about something? Whakaio Taahi: I think that the concept of being afraid is to face your fears, to push yourself and to pursue your goals that you want to achieve. You could be scared to be out, I guess, if you went for what you want which I feel we’ve done when we came out with our CD. We were just in high school, we quit our jobs and we’ve put everything into our project, that could be frightening but we love what we do, we love this and we have major goals that we’re trying to achieve all the time. From 2008 to now your life has changed, especially in the last year and a half. Exhausting tours, a trip to the United States to record your first album, time on the road far from home. What keep the enthusiasm alive these days? Jake Hardy : I think it’s awesome when you see every night what you are able to get. just to meet everyone who comes to the show, all the mates you get to play with. I’ve travelled through the U.S.A., I get to see what the rest of the world is like and I get to try everything I wanted to.
For the love of rock’n’roll
By Cristina Massei It only took me one song – ‘I Want Your Love’ to be exact – to fall in love with The Graveltones and immediately corrupt the PR to get into their sold out gig at the Borderline: I’m still in shock, and in love, to this day, even more so after seeing what the Aussie duo is capable of on a stage. All you who haven’t heard about The Graveltones yet, take turns kicking each other’s asses while reading this chat with lead vocalist/guitarist Jimmy O, while I’m having another dose of their irresistible rock’n’roll… So explain to me how that happened: you come to London from Australia, meet Mikey and 3 days later you’re playing the 100 Club… That was it basically! I met Mikey, we had one rehearsal just the two of us and I had most of the songs already written; Mikey learned the songs and we recorded the first rehearsal so we could each take the recording home, and the second time we played them was on stage at the 100 Club! How did you get that gig? I booked it through a promoter in London that I knew from working in a few bands before I met Mikey and was still gigging around the circuit at that stage. Were you already making music in Australia or did it all start in London? Mikey and I have been in bands for the last 12/15 years; I’ve been in and out of bands since I was 12/13 years old and Mikey’s the same, he’s been a professional drummer for the past decade, in bands since 12/13 years old as well. So you guys came to London for the music? Yeah we did! We’re pretty much from a similar area in Australia believe it or not, it’s really weird because it’s just coincidence that we met here but never in Australia. I definitely came here for music and Mikey came here with his wife, obviously looking for drum work. I was in a few bands before I met Mikey and he was in the same boat, now it’s like Graveltones is our main thing. So it feels like this is the one? Yeah definitely – the thing with The Graveltones is that it’s a real band. We’ve been in so many bands in the past with all the toils and troubles of bands breaking up and whatnot over the last 15 years, but this one feels like we’ve done something right and people like it! What do you think the other bands missed that you found in Mikey and The Graveltones? I guess it’s all just a learning process. Playing with different people is a really important thing, and I think if I or Mikey hadn’t had played with as many people as we had then maybe it wouldn’t have worked so well. That’s one of the key things: if you always play with others you get to know how they work; but I guess we’ve got similar ambitions and similar interests in terms of what we want out of it and why we do it, we think very similar in terms of writing and the creative side of things and we’re both very driven in terms of getting in and playing all the time as much as we possibly can and trying to be as creative as we can, so in terms of me and Mikey it just clicked and something was just there. I can’t explain it, we just work really well together. Is it easier or more difficult with it being just the two of you all the times compared to a bigger band? I think there’s a lot of pros and cons that come with it. Writing is a lot easier, you can have too many cooks in a kitchen sometimes; having just two people because you’ve only got to please each other [laughs] and once somebody else gives the OK then it’s ready to get out there and play, but there’s also a lot of downfalls espe-
cially on the way up. When you are struggling musicians – which we still are – you’ve got to muster up enough money to pay for the recording studio and printing and all the other things people don’t think about when you’re in a band, but it makes it really hard when it’s just two of you, both working day jobs at the time and we had to do a lot to pull out the money to get into a studio and taking it seriously. I think that’s one of the downfalls but we never really thought about it; we thought of getting a bass player during the first six months, but it evolved into a lack of interest to get someone else and in the end we were like ‘well we don’t need one’! So you’re going to stick to being a duo? Yeah, for us it works, I’m not sure about other people but everything runs smoothly for us I think.If we were to add an extra member now – which I can’t see happening – it wouldn’t work the same. Back to the less glamorous side of being in a band , you mentioned day jobs to pay for the recording, is that still the case? Personally I feel lucky to say that I do music full time now and for me that’s a really big thing in my life to be able to say that, because I always wanted that but of course it’s one of those things – you need day jobs and you need to pay your rent like every musician out there you know? We’re not a signed band and we don’t have a massive bank balance rolling in to pay our bills, so of course we have to work from time to time, you have to do gigs to pay for different things, but at the start it can be a struggle and I think it is for every band out there especially somewhere like London where it can be very expensive to live in. I love London, I call it home now; it’s a beautiful city that opened its arms to me and us as a band. You guys met around the corner from here; do you still hang around this area? Yeah, from time to time. I was working in Denmark Street for a few years, in a guitar shop on one side of the street and Mikey was working in a drum shop on the other side so we were like competitors by day! It was funny because I walked over there one time and we sort of got talking and I introduced myself and we went out for a beer… I can’t remember where – probably a few different venues I imagine! (laughs) We just got along and then booked a rehearsal in The Enterprise – just behind the 12 Bar -then we played the 100 Club. But that’s how we met on Denmark Street, so if it wasn’t that we needed to work… we would never have met! What’s the worst job you’ve had – the one that you’d NEVER go back to? I’ve had loads of different jobs… I was steward in a casino and it was the graveyard shift, you would get there at 1am and finish at 9am so for eight hours you were washing dishes, and the people there… well, they weren’t my kind of people put it that way! I was saving up to come over here at the time so I just got a ticket before I changed my mind. I was working 3 jobs – a guitar shop, a pub then on the weekends the stewarding work. That must have prepared you well for London! When I first came to London actually I was there for 4 weeks, then caught a train out to the north of Wales and worked on a farm for 3 months before I came back downThat was a fantastic experience and really hard work as I sheared sheep and doing all these weird jobs I didn’t think I’d be doing! Must have felt healthy when compared to a big city. I came over here with a lot of ideas about what I wanted to do, I didn’t have a job at the time so I just thought ‘let’s see what working on a farm’s like’ and it was great: met some really interesting characters and nice people. I’d never sheared a sheep before and that’s harder than I
What do you miss? WT: Being on the road all the time or you have to get up every day at nine o clock and you have to go to work on Sunday, sometimes that’s a little bit difficult. Obviously we miss our family too, but we really enjoy our life, we’re very privileged to do this work. 14 tracks for 44 minutes of music, a participation illustrious as that of Mark Hoppus, an important producer as Mark Trombino on the album. Were there many changes to the album through them? WT: We pretty much had the songs done before we came to the studio, we wrote the album for a year, writing about 20-25 songs. When we got to L.A. we were a week early and we generated 3 songs in that early week. When we got to pre-production, they just helped with the changes of drumfills and drumpad just to give the songs a nice construction but there weren't many changes. Did you enjoy working with Mark Hoppus? WT: It was really surreal I think, we didn’t know him. We were trying to find someone to feature on the album, we were talking with each other when our producer spoke to us of him as he already worked with Mark for Blink 182. We went to his studio and he (Mark) sang all the song and it was awesome and he was alovely guy, very helpful, and he was awesome to us, I still can’t belive it. What do you think about this tour? WT: I think is amazing to play with this many people and expecially ‘cause we have never been in Bristol or Cardiff and stuff like that. It is just amazing, I think, expecially for us, we are really lucky to be a part of that. The crowd is awesome with us and we’re really grateful for that. JH: It’s awesome to be included in something so prestigious as this tour as well. It’s great to be part of it. Someone will compare you to Paramore and generally they put you in the Pop-punk scene. Are you annoyed of being associated with other groups or do you see that situation as a challenge to do your best ? WT: I think we are always trying to do what we want and what we’re loving. We’re not really trying to be anything or do anything except the music we’re creating.People are going to compare us with other bands but that’s human nature I think. Whatever, I mean, if that’s the worst thing they’re likely to say I think that’s really good.
ever imagined, but I was with good people up there that made it all better. You talked about being driven and doing anything you can to get to this point; how important is that to you? I guess different things work for different people, personally I’ve always been driven when it comes to my music, I take it really seriously as it’s what I want to do especially the writing aspect of it. I try and force myself to write all the time. I was listening to a Nick Cave interview where he said ‘rock bands have it easy because they only have to write 10-12 songs a year’, and in a lot of cases that’s what rock bands do – they write an album every year or two and that’s not a lot of songs to write in 700 days if you look at music as your job. I try and get up and force myself to be creative every day. Originally it started out as a hobby of course, and tried making folk songs while listening to Bob Dylan, but it inspired me to write more and more. Now more than ever is the most important time to be driven: when you’re starting to get somewhere and people start to take notice you’ve got to give them more and more and show them as the dream’s starting to come true that you’re not mucking around; you’ve got to throw yourself at it and hope that it sticks but have fun along the way. I wouldn’t be playing music if it wasn’t fun, yeah it’s a job and it’s important to be driven, focused and to take it seriously but at the end of the day have fun. So when you have all the songs ready and the time comes to pick them for an album how do you do that? Do you get someone else to listen? It’s really weird because I try and write a lot and Mikey and I write a lot together these days as well but we also write a lot of folk, country and bluegrass as we try and not just write one style of music. I’m always writing acoustic ballads and story songs that would never work in The Graveltones, but I do that because I love writing and if it comes out by picking up a guitar it doesn’t mean you have to write it for The Graveltones, it just goes into the box. We’ve written songs for others as well. What makes it to the stage and the music released is what happens when Mikey and I get in a room together – which in the first 2 years were not a lot, only 10 in total and I would write at home; a lot of our rehearsal is done live which is great, because a lot of the songs you see will change over a 6 month period. It can start out as one song but because we always play it live we’ll make something up on the spot so it turns into something else and it’ll evolve. These days I guess we’re starting to get into the studio more and recording a lot more; we just completed a couple of songs in the studio and an album due out. When’s that due out? At the moment we’re aiming for the end of April, we were in the studio at the end of January for a day or two and we’re waiting to hear the mixes of two songs that we did but we’re aiming to get back in there. We’ve got a few shows coming up – Manchester, London, a German tour at the end of February and then I think we’ll be doing a month in the studio to try and get a full album done, so – if all goes to plan – end of April/early May. So how would you describe the album to those who have never heard of you? It’s different because out of the songs we’ve played in the last 6 months a few will be on there, but there’s a lot of new stuff that we haven’t even played live yet; it’s really hard for a band like us to know if
it’s going to work, we plan to do some of them tonight and in Germany as well and to get the vibe and feeling of how the audience reacts to them. If they like them they’ll go on the album and if not then we’ll cull them. There’s at least 6/7 that are ready to go, 15 that are either nearly finished or just written so there’s a lot to choose from, but we only decided to do an album in the last fortnight so it’s early days and our management was like ‘you need to do one now’.It’s always been a dream for both of us to do a proper album and we’re excited because this is the band we want to do it with; there’s a lot of different songs, some that will you make you wonder if it is The Graveltones, so we’ll see what happens! From what we’ve heard your show is something to remember… That’s what they say! [laughs] We try to get up there and have a lot of fun but we built our name on a good live show; it’s fine to say you’re good on the recording side but to get out and entertain people is the most important thing. What do you feel when on stage? You get in the zone and play! Never really thought about it to be honest, whatever happens does and have fun! What would you like people to say after seeing your show? Just that they’ve enjoyed themselves and it’s something they haven’t seen before. Almost everyone that has reviewed us says you have to see them and that’s a really great thing, we weren’t set on giving that impression! Mikey’s a great drummer and showman when it comes to percussion and I don’t know what it is but we have fun and people like it, are entertained and want to see us again. You mentioned you and Mikey have the same ambitions: what do you want to get out of doing this? I guess we’ll keep going, there’s no particular place but we would love to tour the world but ideally the dream would be to have a loyal fan base that come to your shows and appreciate the music, even in countries that we had never been before such as Germany; they had discovered us online or through friends, it’s mind blowing when they come up and say that they’re a big fan, it’s a real appreciation for a musician that writes songs and goes out there night after night. Sure it’s good for friends and family to say you’re good but to have a fan say that from the other side of the world – people from France came to London – that’s a beautiful thing! Any final messages? Look forward to the album and come and see us plus we love you just the same as you love us!
Interview with Andy LaPlegua by Matt Dawson - Photo David Lees How was making a soundtrack specifically for Devil May Cry? I was pretty excited, it was a perfect fit! I’ve done scoring before for other things but it really was a natural fit because the character of the game is similar to the character behind Combichrist. Did you feel you had to change any of your regular process when it came to writing songs? The approach to it was really interesting because it was the complete opposite of what I would do normally in the studio because normally you have to come up with a concept or storyline or a feel for the pace of the song, here I had all the combat scenes and stuff from the game so I already had the pace set somewhat, the feel of it and if not the storyline at least what kind of vibe it should be to the song. When you have that in front of you, you have to kind of create that feeling that you wanted for the game rather than in your head, so that was completely different and unique way for me to work and it was great. Having worked on the game what do you think of it? I was blown away! [laughs] I was getting all the video footage for the game before it was even done and I loved how fluid it looked from the live actors’ video. I was never really a huge fan of the follow up games after the first one, I know a lot of people have been complaining on how it’s a reboot but I really think this game needed it because I think it lost what it had in the first game and they’ve made up for it by doing the reboot. I have to agree because I was a fan of the first game as well and then the sequel came out and twisted it on its head a bit too much. I feel they rushed it so much and I feel like it didn’t have the depth anymore. The biggest negative reaction to the reboot though is that someone tried to send a petition to the White House to get it taken off the shelves! [laughs] For what reason? They thought it was a betrayal of the series, it was right after the whole business with the response to the Death Star petition… Ok I get that. People always jump on something when they see it on the news; it’s absolutely tragic and happens way too often unfortunately people only react to those kinds of things because it’s a fraction of the problem. Talking about a tragic thing that happened such as the school shootings in communities around the world, in the US with firearms alone there’s like 32,000 related deaths a year. What people don’t realise is that only – and there shouldn’t be that many either – let’s say 60 are deaths that they show on the news, and that’s what they react to. The problem is not there and then they blame the 32,000 others on something else. I don’t like it when people bring the discussion on wrong terms, it’s definitely tragic and needs to be discussed but it’s being brought up on the wrong background. I take it you saw the Alex Jones/Piers Morgan ‘debate’ then? Yeah I saw a lot of these debates and I completely agree that stuff needs to be done - I live in the US and I just think that it needs to be done but it’s based on the wrong thing, I’m pro gun law but against the way they’re trying to push it because you need to make it harder to buy guns and not just check how many bullets can be in the chamber, it doesn’t matter about how many bullets because one’s enough to kill you, you have to make sure that people can’t get the gun in the first place. When it comes to critics there was that whole business by Ad-ver-sary criticising you and Nachtmahr – you spoke about this last time to us but do you feel there’s been possible further fallout since?
I’ve never had a fallout with anyone that’s criticised me because I honestly don’t care what they say, I know they’re wrong and have completely misunderstood me. Like you say with the White House petition with the game people blame the wrong things and I say you can’t blame anything on media it’s bullshit, the people that are fucked in the head is where you have to start. I don’t have problems with people criticising me, they can take it however they want I’m not going to change doing what I’m doing, Alice Cooper never changed – he’s not the character he is on stage obviously, he doesn’t decapitate himself and for any other shock rockers. As soon as you put a person’s face to it and not a monster’s face to it you are responsible as a person. I think it was really funny actually because I asked him [Jairus] whether I could use the video for my own show and they wouldn’t let me. They did what I did – they used something to promote themselves. They got attention out of it and – no offence to them – but that’s going to probably the biggest attention they’ve got since. Exactly! I think it was brilliant, good for them. Combichrist is about to reach a decade… Yeah. Wow! [laughs] How does it feel to reach a decade? I feel that even though it’s only been a fraction of my musical life it still feels like I’ve been doing it forever because it’s been so intense and I’ve been lucky enough to fans that understand when we changed directions and the progress of the band. I’ve never changed anything from the beginning to now for commercial reasons, it’s because I wanted to, if anything the 2nd album I did was more commercial due to it having more electro and dance music to it but I think we went harder. It’s been a really good road so far, every day is pretty unique and when you’re on the road you meet the same people when you’re travelling and make a lot of friends but at the same time there’s so many new factors. I feel really lucky to be able to do this for so long. How do you feel the industry has changed around you in a decade? It went from people not wanting to book us to them kissing our ass and us saying that we don’t want to work with them because they never believed in us in the first place. There’s several booking agents that we contacted that plain out said no we don’t believe in you and now they come back kissing our ass and we tell them to fuck off! There are other people that believed in me from the beginning that I will stick with even if better offers come through because this is NOT a business, it’s a way of life and an art form and if you take that away and the business remains then it’s no point in doing it anymore. Yeah because in some circles you have the whole ‘rise of dance music’ through certain artists like Skrillex – do you feel that’s an inaccurate representation in the media of what dance music could be? I do, it’s really annoying, one of the things is that here in Atlanta you could go through every single channel and there was no dance music – it was all American Rock and over the last two years there’s not one true rock station left, it’s all dance music and none of the good stuff – it’s always the shit that gets on the radio and the more the shit gets on the radio the more it poisons the good dance music too because you’re going to create this barrier where everybody goes ‘Fuck dance music’!. They’ll never get through and see the good stuff behind it, one of the reasons I did the DMC soundtrack is because I was sick of everybody like all the metal and rock bands doing dubstep shit into their music and I decided to do the opposite. So the KoRn album for example?
Exactly. It might be a good album but I’m sick of everyone jumping on this trend all the time – every time the music industry says jump everyone says how high, I think it’s pointless for music and don’t get me wrong I love dubstep like Noisia who I worked with on the Devil May Cry soundtrack are one of the best bands out there but even them will get a backhand on this because of the hype so when the hype goes away nobody’s going to want to work with them even though they’re really good. When it comes to touring what are your current plans? I’m working in the studio right now so I’m finishing a lot of work – an Icon Of Coil album and starting work on a new Combichrist album then we’ll do some shows in the summer with Icon Of Coil then we’ll probably get on the road with Combichrist around September. How is it going with the new Combichrist material? I got really inspired over the last half of the year while finishing the Devil May Cry game, I’m trying to stick with classic Combichrist a little but it’s impossible to not get some of the vibes I got from the DMC game because I felt I’ve finally found a way to interpret as it’s hard to make a live recording on an album and say this is how it’s done because of the feel and what you see and hear. Doing what I did on the No Redemption album – it’s natural for me to add what I did to the new material too but you always have to find balance because you don’t want to go too far. You mentioned a new Icon Of Coil album as well – how is that coming along? It’s going good, it’s a little tougher because it’s three people – one in Oslo, one in Edmonton and one in Atlanta and it’s tougher to compare to Combichrist where it’s just me in the studio and maybe someone else when I need them to record something. I’m happy with the material so far even if it’s slower than expected because of the time difference and schedule wise because everyone’s working on their own thing but I’m happy about standing behind it 100% and we’re doing what we did when we started Icon Of Coil which is basically mixing underground dance music with whatever we feel like mixing it with so obviously it has changed a bit because dance music has changed – it’s dirty, NOT dubstep and I’m really excited by it. To bring it back round to video games – what’s your thoughts on the gaming industry in general? Do you feel it’s more of an art form nowadays? Are there any particular games aside from Devil May Cry you particularly enjoy? I think video games have gotten so far right now it’s ridiculous that every time I buy a new game I get blown away like so hard because all the franchises push the
Interview by Ashley Naismith
An interview with
It was just over six years ago that you released your first demo, ‘Four Pints of Blood’… Yes. Since then you’ve had three critically acclaimed albums and an EP. Are you surprised with how far the band has come since that initial battle of the bands? Very, very surprised. I mean, from the start it was just for fun. The band was always for fun from the start. It was an excuse to go out and party, you know? It shocks me how far we’ve come. I mean, I’m here! I don’t know how! You’ve supported huge acts like Exodus, Gama Bomb and now Aborted and Vader. What’s the mood like in the tour bus? How are you guys getting along? They’re awesome! Both bands are really good, especially Vader. They’re really cool, they’re not stepping on any bands and they personally invited us and Aborted and all of the other openers that are on and off the tour because they actually listen to what’s new out there. They aren’t just in their own world, all sheltered, all on their own being high and mighty Vader. They’re real. They’re really cool. They actually watch our sets, they listen to our music and they will actually talk to us. A good atmosphere overall then? A very good atmosphere, yeah. You’ve been in the UK for a few days now. We’ve done Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester, now we’re in London. Maybe another one, I’m not sure. What have the other dates been like? How’s the crowd response been? In the UK? On the whole tour. Yeah, the whole tour’s been fantastic, man. Crowds have been pretty intense some days. Hopefully tonight will be insane. It’s supposed to be.
envelope so hard for the pleasure of the player, I’m a huge Gears Of War fan so definitely looking forward to the prequel and I play Halo a lot – I’ve been playing Halo 4 and I was blown away by the visuals, story and how they managed to put everything together, I can’t even imagine where it’s going to go in the future. It’s kind of that you need to take a step back to make it interesting again because it’s getting so intense – maybe Pong! [laughs]That’s more or less the games I’m playing the most – obviously now there’s Devil May Cry and Mass Effect – I never really got into it and now I can’t step away from it! It’ll be interesting to see what you think of the ending… Don’t say anything! [laughs] All I will say is there’s been as much debate on that as there has been for DMC! So you don’t agree with the idea that games have just become interactive movies? If you’re looking back – I remember having a Commodore 64 and loading up a game for half an hour on a cassette deck to play a little matchstick person jumping over things and I was entertained by it but you have to appreciate where it’s gone. People are just spoiled – if you were told back then what it would look like now you wouldn’t believe it but if you knew it was true you would be excited about it . People just get spoiled and that happens with everything – they complain their internet is too slow, they want it to go to space and back, give it some time! You complain in the airport and then what happens? You FLY! It’s like people are just being brats!
You’ve been on quite a few tours in the last six years. What would you say is the single best show you’ve ever played? Single best? I mean, when we opened the main stage at Bloodstock in 2010, that was awesome. That’s something I’ll never forget. But I mean, as far as shows… they all have their good parts. You did Barge to Hell as well. Yeah, that was great. So give me the rundown. What’s it like to walk out from the wings onto a stage like that? Amazing! It was unreal to see… just to go on a boat, a gigantic fucking boat. When you think of a boat, you think of limited space. This is a boat you could get lost in, you know. It’s like fucked up, the size of two malls. It was just crazy to see someone like Municipal Waste or Exodus or someone on the outdoor stage and then you turn around and there’s the ocean. It was just so cool, everyone on the boat was just having a good time. Party 24/7. It was an awesome experience. Sounds it! You’re promoting ‘The Aftermath’ tonight, but what can we expect from the set list? Mostly new stuff? We’ve got some old. I mean there’s so many songs to choose from these days for us. We wish we could play certain songs, we wish we didn’t have to play some songs. We can’t only play new songs, we have to play some old ones. I’d say there’s a handful of old ones and a majority of the new ones. I know the new album’s only been out for around a year, but do you have any plans for further writing? After this tour, we plan on going back and writing our next record. Hitting the studio sometime before the end of the year. So there isn’t going to be any London sneak preview of new stuff? Nah, I wish! What is a Bonded by Blood show? What makes it worth
Interview with Matt Fox by Matt Dawson When it comes to the most powerful hardcore carrying as well valuable message, Shai Hulud are one of the best out there; now, with Chad Gilbert back to the fold, they continue to go from strength to strength. Matt Fox talks about Chad's return, his favourite records and more. So for the first time in a long time we have Chad Gilbert doing vocals as well as producing the album. How did it feel working with him again? It's been quite some time since Chad provided the audible voice of Shai Hulud; I think the last time was in 1999 on our Bad Brains cover, "Fearless Vampire Killers," recorded for Century Media's "Never Give In: A Tribute To Bad Brains" CD. "Reach Beyond The Sun" marks Chad's 5th official release singing for us, in addition to our debut EP "A Profound Hatred Of Man", our first full length "Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion," a split EP with NYC's Indecision "The Fall Of Every Man," and the aforementioned Bad Brains tribute. Chad is the only Hulud singer to date to provide vocals for two full length albums. The last time I was in the studio with Chad he was a teenager. We've maintained a friendship for years but hadn't closely worked together creatively in over a decade, so though we know each other, and quite well, this outing was still somewhat unchartered territory. Having worked with Chad as a singer before, I was confident in his voice. That said, just before we started vocal tracking I must admit I was equally excited, curious, and nervous, maybe mostly the latter. As soon as he screamed his first words, however, it all felt comfortable and familiar. He sounded great - vibrant and fully amped. In my experience, generally working with any producer is always a bit of the old push and pull. Chad told me at the outset he wanted to dig into the creative aspect of each song. I mentally prepared myself to be less married to any ideas the band had already confirmed as done, and ready to commit to tape. I knew there would be some rearranging per Chad, and that we agreed to work with him in this capacity, I willingly obligated myself to be open to new ideas that might contradict or negate my own. As I've stated in interviews regarding this album, Chad and I were clearly pulling each other towards opposite sides of the creative spectrum. Through the push and pull, I can safely say there was a healthy amount of compromise on both sides. We truly met at a happy medium - of course, each of us would have been happy to have pulled the album a little more into our corner of what we thought worked best. I'm sure any of us who worked on the album could find specific bits we wished were done differently, but the end product speaks for itself. I think we can all be pleased with our work, and that the people who have heard it thus far are approving (from what we know), that both validates all the ideas any of us fought for or against. When was the moment recording the album where for you everything just fell into place? Ah, that mythical moment! I don't think while neck deep in any creative endeavour it's possible for me to feel that way. There are a great many small victories that happen along the way, but being as overly critical as I am, I can't recall ever
having worked on a project where I felt everything coalesced until long after it had been completed. After this album was fully mixed and mastered I listened to it a number of times, but still critically. I appreciated the album, thought it sounded great, and acknowledged it as a job well done, but it was still so fresh in my mind that the little blemishes we didn't get to fix disallowed me from feeling completely comfortable. Now, after many months having NOT listened to it, I feel mostly comfortable. If it were to ever have a chance of falling into place, it would be now - especially hearing that those who heard it have been moved by it. It's not as inane as just "approval," it's the validation of all the thoughts and ideas we had that gave us chills and stirred our own emotions, they translated. Other people felt what we hoped they would feel. It translated. That's the most incredible part. That's when things fall into place for me. You’ll be touring in April with other established names of the scene in Propagandhi and Comeback Kid: What is the best moment you’re looking forward to on this tour? I'm afraid I'll have to give you a stock answer here, but the good news is that it's 100% true. Speaking of Propagandhi, the band in general is a favorite of the Shai Hulud collective. I don't think we have ever had a member that didn't love Propagandhi - nor would we want to! I am genuinely looking forward to seeing the band for roughly two weeks straight, having my personal requests for my favorite songs indulged, and maybe even stealing the mic here and there (one can hope, right?). I have always seemed to miss their live shows, seeing them for the first time last year, if you can believe that. On this tour I'll be making up for years of lost time. Looking forward to seeing them nightly is understatement. Sharing a bus with them and talking about Thrash Metal merely a fringe benefit. How is it coming back to the UK on tour? Touring the UK is great, and even more so lately as the shows seem to be getting better and better for us; the crowds are younger than ever which is really awesome to see. I'm thrilled to return, especially after having to miss Hevy Fest last year. That one hurt. Outside of the shows, we also have tons of wonderful English friends whose company we're always excited to be in, as well as some true Hulud diehards that help make our trips there all the more wonderful. One of my favorite things about touring the UK is being "that guy" by proudly and shamelessly wearing a Snuff t-shirt. They're one of my favorites, and I love letting England know how much I love the band. While in England I also incessantly talk about Sabbat (UK), just ask anyone. I have always been, and will forever be, a fan boy. You’re also back to Australia, how do you feel about that? This will be our first Soundwave Festival, and our third trip Down Under. It goes without saying, being included on Soundwave is nothing short of incredible, and seemingly, this year's line up was handpicked specifically to make me drool. As I've stated in recent interviews, between Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, and even Sick Of It All, these are the bands that largely and literally forced me into playing the music I love and have played my entire life. To answer your question directly, it means a
coming out for? They’re really energetic, really fun. I mean, stage diving and moshpits and circle pits. We go in a different zone when we’re on stage of just pure intensity and we don’t stop. We don’t like to slow down, we just keep going. We don’t really like to do things that other bands do, so we just play our songs as fast and as heavy as we can. You’ve said in other interviews that you guys see yourselves as almost reviving the thrash scene. I guess you could say that. That was never really our intent, but we’re proud to be a part of it. Well, some people have described you as flag-bearers for the ‘New Wave of Thrash’. Breaking away from the legacy of the Big Four. Yeah, I guess you could say that. I was listening to the new album a few weeks back and the song that really struck me was ‘I Can’t Hear You’, track number one. Yeah, number one. Is that track a little hardcore influenced? Kinda. I mean, we don’t really have many hardcore influences. But when it comes to writing, we just go with what we like and what we feel is in the moment. Some songs might come out different but it’s not to say that if it sounds like something that that’s what we’re taking it from. I mean, we’re just trying to… when we originally wrote that song, it was meant to be at the end of the album. But it just felt like a better intro to start the record off with, something that’s real simple and easy. Like an easy song to start with and then the album gets a bit more technical. Your lyrical themes are about death and insanity. Do you think that bands should be grouped or judged by lyrical content, or is it just aesthetic? Unless the band is really strong with their lyrics, like that is what their main point is, the last thing we’re worried about is vocals and lyrics. No offence towards Mauro or anything like that, it’s just what matters to us is the
hell of a lot, and more than that, like a trip to hell and back, then from the moon to the star Carl Sagan is residing, ending at my favorite Indian Restaurant. It definitely means that much. And then some. You were one of the first bands metalcore bands. How do you feel the genre has progressed over time and which bands do you feel are a novice of the genre should look into? I'm not sure we ever really considered ourselves "Metalcore" as back then it was more a tongue and cheek term we joked with because we, and some of our favorite bands of that time, had a metallic influence. Though we loved and were rooted in Hardcore, we were a progression from the likes of the bands whose influence predated us: Bad Brains, JFA, Youth Of Today, 7 Seconds, Insted, Gorilla Biscuits, and countless others. We definitely referred to ourselves as "Metalcore," sometimes even a "Metalcorechestra(!)," nonetheless, as far as we were concerned we were born of and connected to Hardcore. As I recall, we never thought Metalcore was a "legitimate" genre back then, or a genre at all for that matter - like I mentioned, we were all Hardcore bands, even the most Metal of us. As this sound further progressed, it cannot be argued it became a genre, decide for yourself its legitimacy. Typically, if a band is introduced to me as "Metalcore," I'm not interested. A lot of the current scene that falls under that catagory is based on a lot of all the things we never appreciated - things our band, and the music we listened to our whole lives, was a distant and decided contrast to. I've said this before, paraphrasing myself here, a lot of Metalcore I've heard (and I'm referring more about bands I first heard more than 5 years ago) are jokey, performed with kitsch, as if to say Metal is funny, and that their music should not be taken seriously, rather, ironically; I definitely don't relate to that, and it comes off to me as a very cheap and altogether unappealing imitation of true Metal, probably my favorite genre of music. Lately, at the very least (and I do mean 'very least'), the actual music of Metalcore (it's difficult not to put the word in quotes, mind you) seems like it’s played more seriously, less of a joke (strictly musically speaking), even if it's still unappealing to me: the predictable musical trends, posed stage presence, and apparent fashion/glam sensibility - all the reasons why I ditched Motley Crue when I heard Metallica at 13. This, of course, isn't to say all modern bands that refer to themselves as Metalcore fit the picture I'm describing. Fair to say, however, there are a number of them. And that's fine, to each their own, more power to them - it's just clear that by the current definition, Shai Hulud is not a Metalcore band. If you want to talk about 90's Hardcore bands and albums that may have helped pioneer at least the term "Metalcore," then you're getting into some of our
music. We have a singer and he has to write lyrics, but it’s like “Hey man, just go wild and write what you want to write”. He wrote a lot of hidden meaning type songs that mean a lot to him and songs towards people that we fucking hate and government oppression type stuff, environmental corruption. Going way back, what made you decide to make music? What made you decide to make the leap from being a fan to putting your neck out on stage every night? I started playing drums when I was nine. Since then I never stopped. My brothers played the bass and the guitar and I just played with them. Like I said, we never knew we’d be going anywhere or doing anything like this. It’s just like we’ve always done music. The travelling and everything else just came with it. One last touring question. What’s the best tour story you have? Crazy, funny, drunken? [Laughs] I think it happened in London last time we were here, or two times ago. We went to the Crobar [Soho] where we always go and we usually leave about sun-up. We pretty much covered the entire front doorstep with puke and somehow got back to our friend’s house. I don’t know, that’s about it. [Laughs] What do you think the future has in store for Bonded? I mean, we don’t really plan on going anywhere big. We just like writing music and putting out records so that people can listen to the music that we write. When we get back, we’re going to write a record, a fourth record, and hopefully everyone will like it. And finally, is there anything else you’d like to add? Looking forward to see everyone on the road! Drinking beer and smoking weed!
favorites! Here are a few we love and recommend, in no particular order: Burn - Self-titled 7" Inside Out - No Spiritual Surrender Strongarm - Advent of A Miracle Deadguy - Fixation On A Coworker 108 - Holyname / Songs Of Separation / Threefold Misery Earth Crisis - Destroy The Machines / their entire catalog Merauder - Master Killer Snapcase - Progression Through Unlearning Integrity - Systems Overload The name of the band obviously comes from Dune – what other authors do you consider an essential read – sci-fi or otherwise? Contrary to popular belief I, myself, am not the biggest reader, sadly. Our bass player and drummer are far more qualified to answer than me, but since they are not here I'll chime in with a brief list of authors whose works I love and would deem essential, by my wholly ineligible standards. H.G. Wells Ray Bradbury Douglas Adams Neil Gaiman Edgar Allen Poe Richard Matheson Outside of Science Fiction, I read "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee for the first time a couple years ago (I know, I know) and I couldn't begin to recommend that book enough. Any messages to the fans? To anyone who's read this far, wow, you must really love Shai Hulud. And for that we are truly grateful. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to make any sort of impact. Everyone that sends us a kind word, or offers us any amount of support and encouragement is nothing short of a godsend to us. It keeps us pushing forward more than anything. We talk a lot about "A Profound Hatred" but don't let us fool you too much, at our cores we are full of love and respect. All our love and respect to you.
Interview by Matthew Tilt Photo Cristina Massei First off how does it feel to be at London Anime Con? Awesome! I’m really a big fan of Anime and these sorts of events so doing an hour long set here is really great. KenG: It’s a great event and it’s been great to be part of it. Have you ever done anything like this before? KenG: We played at the MCM and it was cool but this one’s closer. It’s a really good crowd, people are into the anime thing as well as the music. Have you had chance to do anything today like getting involved in the gaming or watch any of the films? Dan : I’ve been to a lot of the Anime League events before, they usually have a good game setup with games that you normally don’t get to play like Pokemon Stadium which I don’t have and I bought Final Fantasy piano collections sheet music so yeah had a nosey around. Are you all into gaming and anime? KenG: I used to be a long time ago, I used to play Space Invaders, Pacman and Final Fantasy but I may play more after today. The band started off in Japan originally… KenG: I formed the band in 1988 then took a 20 year break and moved to the UK then reformed in 2010. Dan: We met through mutual Japanese friends in Japanese bars and kept in touch though them. Before you moved it over here did the band have an initial fan base in Japan? Have they stayed with the move? KenG: It was tough because there was a big boom of bands around late 80’s/early 90’s and it was kind of boring then and I was thinking that it was time to move away so I did backpacking for 4 years, also Taish moved to the UK around 16 years ago. You’ve got a varied sound, have you found more influences since being in London? KenG: I’m personally a very 80’s boy, I love David Bowie, Duran Duran and The Cure. I used to love those UK bands back in the 80’s. Dan: We mix J Rock with that kind of sound with a little bit of 90’s creeping in [laughs]! What do you think about Bowie’s comeback? KenG: That’s a big thing for me and I can’t wait to buy his new album in March, I love the new single, it’s amazing. Dan: One of the tracks we did live today was a David Bowie type performance, we changed the way we structured it and built it up so yeah we like Bowie! It’s funny you mention The Cure as I was saying to Cristina that I could hear it in the guitar tones then obviously there was the punk influences, even a bit of metal in there. Do you write all together? KenG: At this moment we make demos then bring it to the band and work from that but we may start from jamming and things maybe soon. So who brings the different influences, you said you were very 80’s… We’ve been playing for six months now but since this incarnation.. Dan: Unfortunately due to visa issues a few Japanese guys have had to go back. KenG; Paul’s a fan of drum and bass so we’re looking towards doing more dance type stuff now. Dan: We go and write a bit of each track where everyone changes their parts a bit so we’ll see how it comes together. KenG: Colors is literally any kind of music put together, we have drum and bass, hard metal and Japanese rock/funk so we want to mix all that and play at any time. Dan: The genres and influences sort of merging but not like a Mr Bungle mashup – more subtle than that. I think that’s what I like about Japanese music – you get bands that throw everything out there unlike here where everything categorised in a box whereas there you can break out a bit more. You need some common ground and everyone needs to be into what you’re doing though. Where can people hear your music? KenG: We sold out of the first album but we’re working on the second album, you can find the first one on iTunes under Colors – shiki/ four seasons. Dan: It should be the only one to find aside from weather forecasts from Japan on Google – although they’re quite interesting to be fair!
progressive and softer elements so to say. I think this is one of the strongest sides to our band; although you can recognize the Vreid-sound you might be surprised the next second. We wanted to make this album more extreme – by that I mean making the extreme parts more extreme, the progressive parts more progressive and so on… Hopefully our fans, and others, will agree we’ve succeeded.
As the new album from Norway ‘black’n’rollers’ Vreid is ready to hit record stores worldwide, Matt Dawson finds out more about the band and the music from enthusiastic drummer Steingrim… Back in November you had quite the show in London entitled ‘The Last Supper’ – how do you feel that event went overall? It went very well! We wanted to do something special since this was the last show on the ”V” touring-cycle. We asked our best friends Vegard Bakken & former member Ese to join us on some songs, and both immediately said yes. We had an amazing evening with good friends in one of our favourite cities to visit and play – it could hardly be any better. How did it feel to be the first metal band to perform at the National Opera House in Oslo? It was an honour to be the first metal band to perform in this fantastic venue. For me personally this was the highlight of 2012. The National Opera House in Oslo is an amazing structure, and perhaps the most important cultural-investment in our country’s history. It is – although it’s somewhat new (4-5 years) - the most famous building in Norway, and one of Norway’s most visited places. Designed like an iceberg rising from the fjord. When we got the possibility to play there we were very excited, the two sold out shows made these evenings memorable for us. I guess this is one of the experiences we can look back upon when we’re 80 years old and visiting each other in wheelchairs!
For those that are using ‘Welcome Farewell’ as their first foray into the world of Vreid, what would be the ONE track you’d recommend? Sights of Old What albums OTHER than your own are you looking forward to in 2013? For me personally Kvelertak ”Meir” & Ghost ”Infestissumam”. Probably there are some other albums as well, I’m not all too informed. The new Audrey Horne album is another 2013 release, but it’s already out there (and highly recommended). Nowadays I’m listening to the fantastic debut from Swedish Year of the Goat ”Angels Necropolis” (the will support us in Oslo the 1st of March). An amazing album! What are your thoughts on the idea of Black ‘N’ Roll? I think the expression ”Black ‘N’ Roll” was introduced in a review after the release of ”Kraft” (or was it ”Pitch Black Brigade”?). Nevertheless, we liked the tag Black ‘N’ Roll, and felt it described our music quite well. The basis of our music will always be Rock ’n’ roll, classic metal, some old trash metal - inspired also by the (Norwegian) Black Metal that emerged in the early 90’s. I’ve never seen Vreid as a Black Metal band, and feel our music is more 70s & 80s inspired Extreme Metal – but that expression is not so cool… Any messages to the fans? We’re looking forward to the release and the upcoming shows all around Europe and hopefully in the US. The new stuff will be killer live, and we’re hungry as hell to get back on the stage. We’ve had more than 3 months break from playing now – a new record for us… So we will see you out there! And of course, SKÅL! (as always).
What were your feelings during the two years it took to put Welcome Farewell together? We’ve worked very long, and hard, and the general feeling during these years was that we were about to create the best Vreid album to this date. We have felt the songs grow on us, made small adjustments, pre-produced some songs again, listened over and over, worked on some more adjustments and so on... The process was not to different from the other albums, but we didn’t rush to any ‘conclusions’ (we never rushed things before, but...). We never felt the pressure of an upcoming release, but this time we were suppose to follow up a Grammy nominated album (”V”). This never affected us, we took our time – knowing we were going in the right direction. You will be touring Europe in April – which country would you say has the most energetic crowd? That’s not an easy question to answer. I think perhaps Croatia is among the best crowds. The crowd in Zagreb is always pretty wild. Spain is also very good, and we’ve always had good crowds in Switzerland and Austria as well. Not to let someone down, in general all crowds have been good for us, and we’re really thankful! That said, we’re looking forward to tour, the touring is something we appreciate and we feel excited about going back on the road again. Hell yeah! What were your inspirations musically when working on the new album? Our goal was, as always, to develop the Vreid-sound. In that sense our most important musical inspiration is ourselves. We always seek to incorporate new elements into our music, and have never been afraid of going from extreme metal to more
By Sophia Disgrace Papa Shango are a rather unique band, united in their love for the zany, loud and the downright surreal; so hell, what are you waiting for? Strip off those clothes, pop on a onesie (or similar) and allow Essex's (screw Towie!) best export to entertain you! Here’s frontman Rob and bassist Ryan putting the world to rights...well sort of! How would you define Papa Shango musically? Jools Holland has described us as being funk metal, but his nephews and nieces just think we are funny men with sponges. What are your main influences musically or otherwise? Papa Shango have no influence musically as all music has been done before and there is nothing new or interesting out there. Freddie Mercury is a personal influence and Larry Grayson. Your live shows are rather unique and very interactive; where do you get your ideas for the latter from? Not many bands these days go to such lengths to include the audience. We think It is incredibly rude to invite friends to “come and watch” your band and expect them
to enjoy your music. When people have paid money and left the comfort of their sofa to see Papa Shango, they are entertained and serenaded with love, sponges, dancers, and merry making. One of our favourite moments was when we played a wedding and everyone disappeared, it emptied. It turns out it was because the buffet opened, because we play wireless we could take the gig to the buffet and followed everyone out with our skeleton and gorilla holding the washing line and Nic fire breathing. The ideas mostly come from when I am having a bath. I have a whirlpool bath you know, you press a button and the water bubbles up. Very relaxing. Oh there is also a dial so you could have very strong bubbles or weaker ones. I am not rich, it’s my only luxury. I don’t actually have water. I can’t wait to try it one day. If you could add an honorary member to Papa Shango – dead or alive - who would it be and why? (Ryan)Lothar von Arnauld de la Perière. He was the most famous submarine captain of World War One. We would then tour the world in his submarine. As the frontman of the band you are particularly flamboyant-does this reflect your “normal” persona or are you totally different from Papa? The real me gets quite shy, sweaty, red and self conscious with public speaking. I couldn’t do the things that Papa does. Unbelievably, Papa got voted best frontman in Norwich in London’s Time Out magazine!
Are friends and family supportive of the band, or do some not “get” Papa’s zany, exuberant manifesto? I can only speak personally and say my wife is not supportive at all and never helps me get the stuff out of the loft and moans when I have a gig. My mum thinks we should be famous and the song “sniff the milk” is funny, my sister thinks all the sexual stuff is a little unnecessary. My daughter is 18 months, she can count to four, wave and say a few words oh and knows some of the words to ‘twinkle twinkle little star’. Do you have a favourite period in history/music/art wise and how does it compare with today? (Ryan)Funny you should mention this as the band are always arguing about this in the studio. We all adore French painting from the past. Ryan, Steve and Rob favour early 19th century Romanticism (Steve finds the orientalist images of Théodore Chassériau too sublime for words). Whereas Marc, Jennings and Hobbs are always championing the outdoor impressionist landscape work of the Barbizon School (Marc goes weak at the knees every time he gazes at the exquisite melancholy of Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau). Sometimes rehearsal can get quite heated!!! What are hopes for Papa Shango in 2013? Ideally, I hope someone wants to help us out and find us gigs and make us rich and famous, in reality I hope we get to play to an audience of more than 4.
Page 9 Interview & Photos Cristina Massei
Before hitting the Barfly stage, frontman Lawrence Case and bassist Ash Moulton find the time to talk to Sonic Shocks… So you’re just about to go on stage… Ash: I’m actually looking forward to it, I’ve had a really long journey, sound was really good on stage, it’s going to be a rockin’ set I think! Lawrence: We’ve got the early shift tonight so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like playing at theBarfly just even before 8pm – most people are still having their dinner but I’m sure it’ll be good. I’m sure people will hear us from afar and be like ‘what’s that? Let’s get our arses down to the Barfly.’ At least everyone’s rested and not too drunk! L: Sometimes being drunk helps it though [laughs] so it’ll be fine! So what is so great about your live show? A: I think the energy really especially with Lawrence being the frontman and getting people rallied for the cause as he is and we generally enjoy ourselves, that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, having a good time and giving it all you got. L: If you have a good time on stage, everyone else has a good time – you can’t look bored, you have show you’re having a good time just to entertain people, they’ve come to have a departure from their daily lives, have a good time and see some bands – they don’t want to feel melancholy, lots of energy and good vibes is what we’re all about! How would you describe a typical Voodoo Vegas fan? L: Our music goes out to all sort of different ages – you get kids liking it to people that are 60/70 years old! It goes across all genres really! You have supported so many different kinds of bands such as The Wildhearts and Uriah Heep... L: With our music we can go and play a show with the heaviest metal band and do our heavy songs then go and play with an indie band with a light set, our music’s classic rock but it appeals to a lot of different people I think. What are your main influences then?
L: My main influence is Aerosmith, musically Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, but also the idea of writing a song that people are going to get hooked into with a chorus that people will remember. A: Our guitarist Nick’s is Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Guns And Roses and thin Lizzy – he loves the classic guitarists. What was the last good album Aerosmith have done? L: I like their last album [Music From Another Dimension] but Nine Lives is the last really good one. So the new album The Rise Of Jimmy Silver is out soon – Who IS Jimmy Silver? L: Everyone’s got a Jimmy Silver inside of them – you want to go out on a Friday after working all week – that’s Jimmy Silver. Jimmy Silver’s the first song I wrote with Nick and the lyrics are about this guy that goes to work, hates his job but at the weekend it’s time to party, rock, all the cliché stuff… That’s who he is in my head and what we drawn up for the front cover. A lot of our other songs aren’t about rock clichés but that one song says ‘I raise my fist and sing to you, I’m a rocker-you can be one too!’ and that goes out to all those that don’t necessarily like rock but you can make them like Jimmy Silver. You’ve been working on this album with Pedro Ferreira, how was it working with him? A: Amazing, he knows all of what he’s talking about. When we first started working with him – we loved the songs we have, don’t get me wrong! – but he listens and he just KNOWS what makes it better, imagine you had a nice cake to begin with then you put some sprinkles of something that makes it completely amazing. L: He added a more mature sound to our songs, took away some choruses and added more bits. Was there any particular piece of work he’s done that made you want to work with him? L: Tokyo Dragons – Give Me The Fear– and I love the Darkness album. When we first started doing the band I’d always put Tokyo Dragons on and be like ‘I would love a Voodoo Vegas record to sound like that.’ We went through a ropey time with another manager and company so we all met up one night and were all ‘What shall we do now?’; so I went to the guys “Let’s email Pedro”, thinking he wouldn’t get back to us as he was probably busy doing other stuff all around the world. He emailed us back a day later, we went up to Hampstead and it went on from there, it was fantastic and for me being able to work with Pedro from listening to ‘Give Me The Fear’ all those years ago to now, it’s a dream come true for me. It’s great working with someone you
trust that much... L: I can’t believe it, to be honest from that idea in my head that we wanted to work with Pedro as that album was my dream sound for our band, it’s amazing that he wanted to do it! This album was financed by Pledge. I always felt that if I was an artist I’d feel under pressure knowing people have paid money for something that isn’t ready yet; do you feel that way with the fans trusting you and helping you to get that out there? L: I had a faith that with all the pledges we got that we were going to try and make the best album we’ve ever done and the best music we could ever do. I knew from the first day we recorded with Pedro. I was like ‘these people are going to love this’ and I just went along for the ride. And pledgers loved the result. A: It jumped up a severe notch when we began to record it. It became what we all loved, polished, edgy, everything we wanted L: We had played for a long time and had a live album out back in 2009 and we’d been selling that; people were asking when the studio album would be coming out, we’d never done one before and I thought how can we get people involved with the Pledge thing? I was concerned if we had enough people to support us then we hit the target, but when we did it in 24 hours I knew people had faith in us to go and do it. I don’t mean that to sound cocky, I just thought to myself that these people wanted this album we’d go and do it and try and make it the best we could. And I’m so happy with it, it’s what I wanted so I’m happy for it to go out and people enjoy it to be perfectly honest with you. Pledgers got it back in November and I think that the vibe we got from the people that got it early justifies my confidence in the recording process and the songs. Another thing I thought was that we’ve played these songs for a long time live, but we’d play support gigs to a cold audience who’d never seen us who at the start would be like ‘who are these guys?’; then by the end they’d be singing along, so I knew the songs were good and we just needed to record them the best possible way we could and we were lucky to get that with Pedro. In a pre-Pledge world what would you have done- release it yourself or find a label? A: I don’t know if we could have done it without Pledge, it’s a lot of money. We played all over the place and got money from that, but without that help I don’t think we could have done it for at least a year or two. L: We all put our own money in as well but no way
without Pledge, we owe it to the people that pledged forever. So now that it’s out for general release on 4th Match where can we find it? L: Everywhere! Itunes, Amazon… HMV too? Yes… if it’s still there! Maybe The Rise Of Jimmy Silver will save HMV with massive queues outside [laughs]! A: That’d be all right wouldn’t it! What would you do with HMV if you bought it? A: The trouble is with internet downloads and the price of them – what can you do? L: Coffee shop – everyone likes coffee and not physical CDs [laughs] A: It’s a shame though, like with Play.com not stocking themselves anymore because it’s too cheap. Downloads are a good idea but not as good as the physical copy – I gave my girlfriend an iTunes voucher recently and she was like ‘I don’t want a voucher – I want the actual CD!’ L: That’s why I wanted to make sure the artwork was good on the record as well and got Jim Boswell to draw it. The day we picked up the first batch of physicals to give to Pledgers was amazing! Just to have it in our hands is great! So what’s happening after the album release? L: We’re playing loads of shows all around the country, just been booked to play Cambridge Rock Festival, we want to get on more tours and Mary Jane will be on Classic Rock’s cover CD in March. Don’t stop working – the train doesn’t stop rolling! What’s the best thing that could happen to Voodoo Vegas in 2013? A: Making it big time! And a gig with Aerosmith? L; Oh I’d LOVE that, I think of it as little sections: go to Europe – done that; get into classic Rock - and we won song of the week on their site then one of the songs on their CD. I’d love to go out with The Answer or someone like that to grow our fan base even more. I want us to keep growing and hopefully the album will help us do that. Before we leave – this is your ‘ad space’! For all who haven’t pledge, why should we buy your album? L: It’s an album with all the things you love in a rock album and it supports some UK rock as well, so if you love rock go and buy it! …‘and save HMV’, as Lawrence jokes later from stage reminding his fans the release date…
song-writing matured a lot and we have never sounded so focused and concentrated before. We did a few experiments here and there, e.g. the guest vocals by Nathan Gray of Boysetsfire, but in the end it is simply another Neaera record. There will be no 180° turns in or with this band. We stay true to what we do well and also to what our fans like about us. I think we just focused on our strengths a bit more. What was the moment when recording the album that everything came together for you? I have to say that even before the mixing was done, our friend and producer Alexander Dietz (guitarist of Heaven Shall Burn) made such a great sound that we were confident about the record. From then on, it became better with every step. I have to say that our singer, who cancelled working in the studio to record his vocals in the rehearsal room this time, has totally overwhelmed me. This was one of the best ideas he ever had because I think he never sounded that awesome before. An nterview with Stefan Keller (guitar/lyrics) by Matt Dawson 2013 is the 10th year of the band’s existence. What has been the best moment of those 10 years and how do you feel the band has made an impact? Although it might sound a little bit nostalgic, but I think the first tour we did (Hell on Earth 2005) with As I Lay Dying and Heaven Shall Burn is still one of the greatest, most magical and most memorable experiences with the band. We have done other great tours and lots of fantastic festival shows at Wacken, Summer Breeze or With Full Force, but I think this tour was something like an awakening to a new and unprecedented world for us. The band has experienced what I call a “healthy” success: we have not become huge, but we have grown constantly. The success is enough to be proud on, but not too great to have a negative impact on us as persons or our development. Other than the ‘Ours Is the Storm’ track, what else can we expect on the new album? It surely is our most dynamic and versatile record so far. I think our
By Cristina Massei The first time I played the new album from The Burning Of Rome I was kind of confused, a bit like the first time I had cranberry sauce on turkey: are meat and jam really meant to go together? Do I like them? Next time I tried – both the music and the food – not only it made suddenly perfect sense, but made my ears/taste buds weep with pleasure. I even decided to have a look at the videos – The Burning of Rome videos, not some cooking lessons – and that was the icing on the cake. Now I really needed to have a chat with Adam and Aimee, and guess what? They were just in London for a quick visit… So this is your first time in London – is this your first time completely or just as a band? Adam: First time! Aimee: Never been here before! So how did you find it so far? Adam: It’s great, we’ve only been here for a day but it’s been amazing so far, we’ve been doing a lot of drinking which is good! [laughs] We’ve just been doing beers in pubs! Have you been to any more venues? Adam: Not yet but I want to check out some strippers! [laughs] You guys are from LA, how’s the music scene at the moment there? Adam: Amazing, it’s really good on the east side, there’s a pretty good counter cultural scene going on and there’s a lot of clubs like the Echo and Satellite with a lot of punk music, experimental stuff and weird music that’s amazing. I noticed recently you played at Canter’s Deli, I used to live round the corner from there! Aimee: Awesome! Adam: The Kibitz Room! We’ve played there a few times – it’s a great place! Let’s talk about the record – I listened to it the first time and I’ll be honest I thought ‘Woah, this is going to take me a while’. Then the second time I already knew the songs! It’s great how different it is but catchy at the same time, is this what you were looking for? Adam: I don’t think I had a premeditated notion I was going after when I first wrote the record, but it was kind of what naturally happened having such an eclectic interest in so many different genres. I’ve heard the album called ‘a small room with a ball that you throw really hard and ricochets everywhere’ and that’s my style – kind of like your magazine – if you were to flick through my record collection it goes from Ella Fitzgerald to Gorgoroth, Thelonious Monk to Mr Bungle. Do all these influences interact much with the music you create? Yeah I think so, it’s taking the best of everything I enjoy and trying to package it all together. I basically made an album that I’d want to listen to as the goal and I think we did it. [Turns to Aimee] What are your influences?
Which musicians would you consider an influence not only on recording this album but your career in general? I think that’s kinda hard to say. We are all big Hatebreed and The Acacia Strain fans. I have really become a big Gojira and Meshuggah nerd and Tobias and Sebastian are still true to their roots by listening to Converge and Nasum. Yet, I would say that you cannot hear any of these bands on our new record. Tobias and I still enjoy Wolves in the Throne Room and Ulver a lot and I think our adoration for thrash metal beats and riffing is also mutual, but I think that’s that really. How was it working at the Chemical Burn Studios? I gotta say working in the studio is becoming more and more professional every time. I am saying this also with some regrets. I must admit, I miss the old times a bit when no one had any idea how it was going to sound in the end and recording a record had something mythical and magical. I think with the experiences that got lost a little bit on the way. Yet, the good thing is that there are less fights and discussions. Everybody knows his part and role, his strengths and weaknesses. It is smoother. Working with Ali is always great because of his immense commitment and identifica-
Aimee: Well I joined the band when I was 17 and reacted the exact same way [that you did with the album] but I joined anyway because it was so different. It came really fast – I joined the band and ever since then it was kind of my life. The guys have influenced me ever since I joined so a lot of music I listen to is the same but I really enjoy P.J Harvey and Portishead a lot along with Fiona Apple – a lot of female artists, I’ve been listening to P.J A LOT lately. Is the song writing process a collaboration or is Adam the main one? Adam: I’ll usually write a song and I’ll make a demo of it to give to the band then we collectively interpret what those recordings are and maybe change it, but the initial concept comes from me. ‘With Us’ was recorded in EastWest Studios… Adam: EastWest was the main one, we recorded in a few different studios. I hear RHCP were next door and that kind of influenced the record? Yeah, when you take a break and you walk down the hall and you see Rick Rubin walking by you know that you’re in a setting where you need to be on your A game; it felt like we were really in the big leagues because we had all these celebrities walking around, hanging around getting coffee and Anthony Kledis is sitting next to you drinking tea asking you how your album’s going, so it better be going well! [laughs] Did you get any feedback from them? No because they stayed there for like two months, we were only there for a couple of weeks; but every now and then they would come in and give encouraging words, ask how it was going so it was definitely inspiring being around them and I got to pluck on Flea’s bass which is pretty cool. I got to play ‘Suck My Kiss’ on Flea’s bass! I’ve watched your videos – Norman Bates in particular. Who does them? Pat Fogarty is his name and he’s an amazing director who’s done a lot of videos for Black Veil Brides, some independent films and other productions. Over the years he’s been bugging us to do videos and then when the album came out we were like ‘let’s use Pat to make all the videos!’ It’s a match made in heaven and I want to keep making more with him. Do you feel video is important as a media for your band? Absolutely. It’s adding a new dynamic to the music – adding visuals to the sound make it a new experience for everyone. Are you a fan of horror movies yourself? Yeah! Probably a lot more when I was younger than I am nowadays but I like the classics like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Psycho obviously, all the Hitchcock stuff is great and The Twilight Zone too. What do you think of Rob Zombie as a director then? He’s great, I still haven’t seen that new Halloween he did though. [He turns to Aimee] Did you see it? Aimee: No, I wanted to see that one Iggy Pop was in. Adam: I really like ‘House Of 1000 Corpses’, I thought that was just every classic horror movie element put into one movie. What can we expect from your live show? Mayhem! [laughs] It’s a lot like the record, our shows try not to be re-
tion with us and what he does. I always think he has to change the name of his studio into Chemical Burn-Out Studio when we leave, haha. What led to the extension with Metal Blade? Various things. Our contract was fulfilled and we were looking for a deal which can pave the way for the band’s future. We offered the record to various record companies and Metal Blade were the ones who were most convinced and crazy about the record. They offered us a good deal and we accepted. They are a very professional, true and down to earth record company who are always honest and upright. As a band from north-west Germany we appreciate these features a lot. MB has signed great bands that are developing great and stay with MB for a very long time – like us! That’s a very precious and vital thing, isn’t it? What are the plans in regards for UK dates? I have to admit, UK hasn’t always been easy for us in the past. Also, the metal/hardcore scene in the UK differs a lot from our scene here in Germany. Yet, we have gathered a lot of people from the UK who ask us when we will show up in their country. There are no concrete plans at the moment, but the fact that the amount of people asking for us is on the rise has shown us that we should come by and make a few people happy. Any messages for the fans? We really hope you will enjoy our new record, which will be released on March 4th. Due to business negotiations it was put on hold for a while and we are very excited about your reactions to it. Sometime soon, we will come by to play some shows for you guys, alright? dundant and we try to give a different experience every time – sometimes we’ll dress up, sometimes we’ll have props or incorporate theatrics, make sets that we build for the stage. We’ve dressed up as nuns, we’ve had giant foam skulls that got thrown into the crowd. Aimee: They didn’t last very long! [laughs] Most things that we buy get destroyed within a month unfortunately! Adam: We dressed up as the solar system once! That fits well with the music! Aimee: if you open up the vinyl you’ll see Hubble photographs inside. So when can we hope to see this in the UK and Europe? Adam: As soon as we can! We want to do some showcase stuff, just the 2 of us; that’s kind of why we’re here, to lay the groundwork right now and get the rest of the band over here because we’ve been getting great feedback for the record so far and I think England gets the music, I’d love to share the live show so they can get the full experience. Where can we find ‘With Us’ in the UK? Adam: I think it’s being released in March 25th over here. And this will be Cd/Vinyl/Download? All of the above! We can also listen on Bandcamp and such right? Yep, as well as the videos online already too. If you had to say in a sentence why we should buy this record… Aimee: That’s always tricky! [laughs] Adam: This record is vital to the survival of humanity! There’s a message within all of these songs that we’re trying to put a banner – a call to arms to our fans to get together and do something really big with this music and this band. In essence that’s what it’s all about – uniting people and making good art. For an original band such as yourselves, what’s the most boring band out there? Adam: Fun. [laughs] Aimee: Anything that’s trying to be folk music – The Lumineers, trying to be Civil war all over again and make it cool – like it was cool before(!). Adam: Fun. won a Grammy – that made it lose credibility, whatever credibility it had left was shot out of a cannon but Sirah won a Grammy [Editor’s note: She collaborated with Skrillex on Bangarang] , we’ve played a few shows with her and she’s really talented so that made up for it. You played several support shows, which one did you enjoy the most? We actually played with a UK band that we really like called Los Campesinos and that was a great show. I think my favourite one was with Monotonix – they’re INSANE! They play for 2 hours. Aimee: They brought it out onto the streets and started climbing the street lights! Adam: They climbed onto our bus and they set up the drum kit on top of the bus! That was probably my favourite main support show. Aimee: That was the first show where we played with someone that was active if not more with the crowd than us. We had mostly played with bands that didn’t beforehand. Is there any festival in the UK you’d be interested in? Adam: Isn’t All Tomorrow’s Parties out here? I’d love to play that, I really want to play Camden as well. Playing a veryactive show, how do you make up for the small stages? Adam: I prefer them! Aimee: It’s a lot more intimate to interact with the crowd in a smaller space, we’re not used to being on super huge stages! Adam: It’s awkward when there’s a barricade between you and the crowd because you’re so separated, it’s almost like performing to a TV screen with a bunch of people on it. I mean you saw with the live videos – we crowd surf, they throw things… That’s not always a good thing really! [laughs] We discovered in Oakland what a beer helicopter was and then I made the mistake of telling people at another show about it and EVERYONE did it – the whole place was soaked! Quite a few people were pissed off, mostly those who were taking pictures and designated drivers! And finally, as I’m originally from Rome, I’ve got to ask: why The Burning Of Rome? It’s a reference to the fires of Nero and a book. Right when the band was conceived it was at the same time the USA was going to war with Iraq and I was looking at the parallels and it seemed appropriate. A final message to potential fans? Aimee: Give us a chance! Adam: Let us assimilate you into our cult [laughs]!
They no longer need any introduction after conquering the UK on the recent Kerrang! Tour. Can a band look cool, sound good and be fun all at the same time? Here’s proof. Drew Woolnough explains Fearless Vampire Killers to Cristina Massei in our latest interview. You’re just back from the Kerrang! Tour, how crucial do you feel that was to make new followers? Very crucial because even though we had our group of fans come out to see us specifically – some coming to see us for the very first time even – but most of the people in the audience were all new to FVK. That gives you a mission statement and you think ‘Ok, most of the people don’t know who the fudge we are – let’s show them what we’re all about!’ It was so satisfying coming out to the merch desk and having people come up and shake my hand and say that they hadn’t thought we’d be their cup of tea but we’d won them over, that’s what it’s all about. Your first headline tour has been announced, what are you preparing for it? The usual dose of onstage madness but hopefully we’ll have a few more tricks up our sleeves this time round. I can’t say for sure what’ll happen yet as we’ve got a couple of other things to sort out post-Kerrang! Tour before we get rehearsing and I don’t want to idly promise dancing elephants and drum kits made out of fire. I think that K! Tour taught us a lot about how to perform to a crowd and how the dynamics of a show work – it took us a few nights to learn how pace ourselves so we didn’t run out of breath after two songs! We’ll be taking all the lessons we’ve learned from watching Chiodos, Tonight Alive and BVB each night, seeing how professional and tight they were, and mashing it into our own style. For those who discovered you recently, you have an album already out in ‘Militia Of The Lost’, can you tell us a bit about it and the story of Grandomina? That is indeed correcto, we put ‘Militia...’ out May last year and it’s a collection of rocking-riffs and banging-tunes that you can just turn up to 11 and boogie-on-down to but they also tell the story of the five characters in the fictional city Grandomina. It’s basically the story of how the five Fearless Vampire Killer characters come together, the tragic tales of love and loss along the way and them all going up against the corrupt and evil core of Grandomina, embodied by the ever mysterious
Cardinal. The story is a metaphor we use to sing about the experiences we’ve gone through together – as well as some very individual, personal emotions – through a story that embodies the grandness and epic scale of the music we want to make. I like to think, as well, that on one hand people can totally disregard the high concept and just enjoy some rollickingrock music but if they want to dig deeper there’s this world waiting for the in the books and comics etc. In March you’re releasing a ‘prequel’ to that album in ‘The Five Before The Flames’ with a song for each character. How did that come up? We knew we wanted to put out something before the second album because we get bored very easily and we want to be a band that are consistently releasing new material and expanding what we have to offer as a band. The idea then came about of each member writing a song as a sort of experiment – as we’re all songwriters but on the previous album it had just been songs by me and Laurence – to see what we could push ourselves to do. Then it all came together when we decided to have each songs talk directly Photo Scott Chalmers about the characters themselves and how they came to be where they were at the start of ‘Milita of the Lost’. That really drove the whole idea and got us all excited about it. How much do these characters have in common with the real 5 guys behind Fearless Vampire Killers? A lot actually - I mean, Kier isn’t a pickpocket (except he does like stealing other people’s food and booze), Luke isn’t a fully-qualified train driver and I’m not a badass vigilante that goes around killing folks, but if you read into the story you can see a lot of similarities. Laurence is quite good at taking aspects of our mannerisms and our personality and putting them on the page – plus he basically made my character’s back story a Batman/Spider-Man hybrid which I couldn’t have been more excited about (being a huge comic fan)! Then in the songs the lyrics relate to the story but everything we write comes from a personal place and in turn informs the character. For instance I wrote the lyrics to ‘Bite Down On My Winchester’ about how I felt getting bullied in high school and the lust for revenge I felt and my character’s whole journey is tied up in that need for revenge. If you should describe each of you in one word, what would that be? Let me think... Laurence: Panda Kier: Fringe Luke: Naan Barrone: Insomniac Me: Woolicious On ‘The Five Before the Flames’ each one of you has been penning one of the songs; do you feel musically FVK is a fusion of these five tracks and their influences? I would say that is the case, more so now than it has ever been before. Even though each of these songs have been individually written we’ve probably all chipped in and collaborated more during the learning and arrangement process than we did on ‘Militia...’. We’re getting better at picking apart how we all fit together musically and through doing that also giving everyone a chance to get their musical personality across. Whether it’s Laurence’s hooktastic melodies, Kier’s bouncing charisma, my quirky riffery, Luke’s groovy noodling and Barrone’s insane ear for guitar parts that shouldn’t work but do! I found your merchandise particularly creative and a hit with the fans; how much did that contribute in the early stages to financially support
Matthew Tilt talks to the man who wrote THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was recently adapted by The Weinstein Co. and David O. Russell and turned into an Oscar winning movie starring Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence, awarded Best Actress at the 2013 ceremony. As a reader, I related heavily to Pat, and Tiffany to some extent. Was it difficult to write characters that had these stigmatised diagnoses while making it relatable to the reader? Thank you. Writing SILVER LININGS was emotionally draining, but ultimately cathartic. When I am working on a book that feels ‘publishable,’ the writing starts to feel effortless. It’s an illusion, because writing is always extremely difficult. But when I know what I want to write and become emotionally attached to the characters—or maybe when I have them figured out to the point where I’m merely channelling them—it stops feeling like drudgery and becomes quite exciting. Of course, you have to tap into the subconscious to do this, stop using all of the normal filters, and so releasing such a story into the world becomes an act of faith and maybe even bravery. Do you have any experiences with bi-polar disorder or did you write from research/ interviews? I have never been diagnosed bi-polar. But, like many novelists, I know the great highs and lows of life intimately. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for years. I didn’t know what the hell was going on with me when I was a teen. I hid my struggle in my twenties. And I started writing about all of this in my thirties, initially using the mask of fiction. My first ‘real’ job as a young college graduate placed me squarely in the men-
the band? Thank you very much, all of our merch is actually designed by Barrone who’s also done all of our posters and album covers – he’s a smart cookie that one! We still contribute financially literally pouring all of our money into the band to the point that now even when we’re starting recoup some of the money we’ve paid out we don’t take a cut, we just buy a load more merch or pay for studio time! In fact we all had to take out massive loans for the album that we’re only just getting paid off – luckily sharing a two bedroom flat between five saves some money! Who comes up with the ideas? We all come up with ideas for whatever we are doing – anyone of us will chip in with ideas about artwork, videos, song writing, performance etc. We’re lucky in that sense that none of us see a limit to what we want to do in the band, we all want to work hard at every aspect of being in a band. Generally speaking though - Laurence is the chief scribe of the concept, he and me have so far written most of the songs, Barrone is the artmeister, Kier comes up with the big ideas that form part of our overall band mission and Luke is an ideas machine pitching in gems to anyone that needs help and is great at coming up with cool stuff to do on stage (some of which you’ll have to wait until we’ve got some cash dollar to see!) How important is the visual element for FVK (make up, clothes etc) and how much do you feel you have in common with recent tour mates Black Veil Brides, who also adopt a similar look on stage? It’s very important not because we want to detract attention away from the music and message but because we’ve always admired people like David Bowie and early Manic Street Preachers where the image and artistry feed off of one another to make a bigger statement. We’ve never wanted to wander on stage dressed casually just because personally it wouldn’t feel like we were making an effort to put on a show. This gets a lot of attention and a lot of ‘STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE’ accusations thrown around and we’ve come to expect it. There’s a stigma attached to being a ‘make-up band’ that people look down upon and isolates you from most scenes – which in a way is good because you stand out from the crowd but it does make it more difficult to be taken seriously. I still find it funny when people insult us and accuse us of being overly concerned with our image when that assumption has (9 times out of 10) been based on how we look. Black Veil Brides have also had a similar experience with people dismissing them based on seeing maybe a photo of them before even bothering to check them out - and if you see them live you’ll see they can really wail. Live its fun to play with that negative preconception and see certain people come round to us as the get into the songs as we put our all into performing – of course some people would think we were shit make-up or not so we’ve come to learn you can’t win them all! Now that we got to know the characters properly, when is the next chapter of the story of Grandomina due, and can you give us any anticipation? Nothing’s confirmed yet but we’re writing at the moment and hoping to have a record out by the end of the year – but I don’t want to say anything for definite because I’ll look like a bellend if I promise one thing and we deliver something else! It’ll conceptually continue on from ‘Militia...’ and expand on that story and musically we want to really expand our style and refine it making the poptastic moments even better and the heavy chugs and weirder stuff even crazier. Me and Laurence are now writing together as a dynamic duo to try and fuse our styles a bit more and bring out the best in each other’s writing – either that or we’ll give each a lot of black eyes arguing! Plus after ‘Exposition’ everyone’s working on songs so we should have quite a varied collection of ditties by the end of it. Are we going to see you live again at any of the summer festivals? Fingers crossed – we’ve got some announcements coming soon but you’ll just have to wait and see folks. You can bet your ass we’ll be playing a lot more shows throughout the year though, that’s for darn sure. And finally, what would you like the fans to throw at you on stage? I got a bra once thrown at me that was decorated to look like to Pokeballs which I found hilarious (and wore as a hat for a song)! I’d like people to throw different super hero masks on stage so one night I could play a song as Deadpool then another The Flash and another Doctor Doom – that’d be awesome. Any famous last words?
tal health community. I worked with teens diagnosed with severe autism in the day and at night I ran behaviour therapy plans in a neural health facility, or what Pat calls ‘the bad place’ in the novel. I served many people who had suffered traumatic brain injury. I also counselled troubled teenagers for several years while teaching high school. Many of these young people were dealing with mental health issues. How much of a part did you play in the creating of the film? Would you change anything about the finished feature now? I was not involved with the adaptation until it came time to promote it. I travelled around the US promoting the film for The Weinstein Company and got to know many of the people involved, including David O. Russell. I wouldn’t change anything about David’s movie. It’s beloved by so many and has increased my readership. The book is how I wanted to tell the story and I stand by it. I’m glad that David didn’t film many of the scenes in my novel, because now my readers will be able to create these scenes in their minds, free of the movie’s influence. And that’s the fun of reading—creating your own personal movies. How does it feel to see your novel put into film and then nominated for eight categories at the Oscars? Surreal. Absolutely surreal. Almost like I am in a wonderful dream. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities that have and are coming my way. I feel a heavy sense of responsibility to use these opportunities and put more good stories into the world. I am also very interested in continuing the national and global mental health discussion SILVER LININGS has fostered. I believe that
stories can change the world. They always have and always will. And that is why we love film and novels so much. Are you working on anything at the moment that you could tell our readers about? I have a book out in the UK later this summer with Headline called FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK. It’s about a young man who takes a gun to school on his eighteenth birthday intent on killing his former best friend and himself—but first he has to say goodbye to the few people he considers true friends. And then in early 2014, Picador UK will publish THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW, which DreamWorks has optioned for film. More on that one next time. And I’ve just begun writing again, which I can’t talk about yet, but Picador UK has already purchased the untitled novel. Thanks! Thanks for telling UK readers about my work! Read our review of The Silver Linings Playbook on page 15 and find out more about Matthew Quick and his work on his website
Interview and photo Cristina Massei Interview and photo Cristina Massei Another sold out gig in London, another fantastic rock’n’roll band you won’t read about on UK mainstream publications. In the States, however, the Heartless Bastards have already conquered a large and dedicated following. ‘Arrow’ is their fourth album, a turning point for the band and hopefully the one who would bring them the same deserved popularity on this side of the pond. Let’s find out from front woman Erika what made ‘Arrow’ such a rich and intense record, while getting to know the many voices and inspirations of this modern Joan Jett. For a start, what an amazing name! How did it come out? (laughs) I used to bartend at this pub in my hometown and we used to play trivial games on a machine with a digital screen sit on the bar tab; one night one of the questions was ‘What’s Tom Petty’s backing band’ and ‘Tom Petty & The Heartless Bastards’ was one of the wrong answers and we just started laughing really hard! I thought it sounded catchy. I know it’s sort of a negative thing but I mean, take Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: Blackhearts doesn’t sound like anything positive but I always loved them and just sounds tough I think. Is it your first time in London with this album? Yes, third time in general. Last was 2009 or 2010. There have been some changes in your life after ‘The Mountain’ which seem to have reflected on ‘The Arrow’. How do you think what happened in your life influenced the album? I think this is the most solid album as far as the band sound. I had the same live band now for quite a while, the rhythm section since 2008 and we became a four piece in 2009. So we’ve been playing together for about five years and we tour a lot. Even when we recorded Arrow we went on tour for a month before entering the studio – we were in the studio two days later. So I really feel like we capture a live solid sound of the band; it’s like rock’n’roll live, rather than studio perfection; there’s some grit to it but I think it came together really solidly. I think when you listen to the record it sounds like a band who knows each other; you can have really talented studio musicians but I feel like you can sense when a band has that chemistry and plays together all the time. With previous album ‘The Mountain’ I toured with Dave and the band, but with ‘Arrow’ on the actual record so this is the first album where I have what I feel is the best band I had. We’ve played years together then come together and recorded it, and it’s the first time we had that captured on a recording. I find your music very hard to define as it seems to include a lot of different genres… Yes, I have a lot of influences! Do you think being based in musically rich city like Austin has a part in it? It does and it doesn’t. We started in Ohio and I have been in Austin for several years but I feel like most of my big influences on this album have been with me for a long time, like T-Rex, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, a lot of classic rock, and that’s been a part of me and what I write for a long time, but I think living in Austin and seeing so many different bands all the time is very inspiring. I did do a Spaghetti Western influenced song on this album after seeing a band from the West Coast called Spindrift, they came to Austin and all they play is Spaghetti Western music, and that’s not what I desired to do but I was very inspired by it and was like ‘well, I’d love to go in that direction to experiment’ and did that song. So I get inspired in that way, I hear something and I just have fun trying to go on that ground, but it’s all experimentation. It’s not even much specifically Austin bands as Austin as a centre
of music, like London where you get everybody coming through here and you just get inspired by what you see. You may see a band in London that is from Berlin or California and you’re inspired by it but you’re inspired in London. In that sense, yeah. You took time off for a road trip in between albums, is it something you’re likely to do again? I’ve been thinking about it, but we spent so much time on the road this past year that I really want to be home right now so I’m going to give it a really good go at trying to write while I’m home. But I did give it some thought! I discovered I have a friend that has a house in the Joshua Tree desert out in California and it’s empty most of the time and he said I’m welcome to use it, so if I end up having any trouble focusing or getting some writer’s block I’ll probably take him up on that. This album has been out a while now and this is your first and only UK date at the moment, do you have any more planned on this side of the pond? We have dates in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for this round. We’re going to play the End of The Road Festival (Dorset) in AugustSeptember so we’ll be playing a tour here as well around that time. Are you in talks for any of the other UK summer Festivals? We would love to, we have a new booking agent and he’s in the process of working on it, for now we have End of The Road confirmed. Are you going to take a break before the next album? When I’m home I usually just unwind and try to separate myself from what I do for a little bit, and I think it’s because as an artist I’ve always found art to be my escape, my release, what I enjoy and I always want it to be that, so I sort of step away from it. What’s your favourite thing to do when you feel the need to ‘step away’? Well, now that I live in Texas the desert is a 7 hours drive, so I drive out in the desert a lot. I have a friend whose family has a ranch out there and the house stays empty a lot, the ranchers drive in but they don’t leave there, so she’s kind enough to offer it to me and other friends and I like to go out there and step away. I go to the mountains and hike, come back a total nature person! (laughs) You do miss nature when you live in a big city like this… I’m a city person, I could probably never live out there. It’s a great place to step out for a while, but then I head back home. To those in the UK who still don’t know you, who would your music appeal to? My influences are broad, so I really think it depends on the song for some people, and some people are fans of it all, but we’re definitely rock’n’roll; we’ve got blues influence, we’ve got a little bit of country in there, I love R&B and soul. The only thing I’d say we’re not is we’re not that pop-oriented: I think we have catchy melodies but we’re not a pop music band so, if that’s what someone’s cup of tea is, it’s probably not us. But generally I’d say, what do you call it, roots music? Blues, country, R&B… I think the overall term for that is ‘roots’, any genre that is been around there for a while. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but I think there’s still enough to explore within real guitars and non computerized instruments and that we can do something different here with the organic elements. Last question, what would it be our ideal act to support on tour to break Europe and the UK? Probably Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers! Would you tell him the story about the name? (laughs) Totally! I’ll have to meet him one day!
As I’m waiting for the Heartless Bastards, a visibly young girl takes stage: imagine an early (well, not ET early) Drew Barrymore with her childish cheeky smile and a Courtney Love type of grit; add a backing band, a guitar and a banjo and finally one of the most beautiful voices I’ve heard for quite a while. Elle King gets my attention as soon as the first note fills the room. And it doesn’t end there: this lovely young lady has some pretty great tunes and a sense of humour to match. Still partially in shock after such an unexpected display of talent, as she finishes her set and packs away I stalk her outside in the smoking area with my dictaphone to find out more. Indeed this is one of the funniest and definitely the most genuine interview I ever had a chance to do, just like Elle’s show. Enjoy the chat, check her out and fall in love… Miss Elle King! I’m shocked I’ve never heard of you before! How long have you been playing? I’ve been playing forever, but I realized that I’m not good at anything else so this has been my ‘job’ for a couple of years and it’s the most fun that I could ever have in the world and I am so lucky that I get to do this and travel all over the world. Do you write your own songs? Yes, lately I’ve been co-writing which is a whole new world but everything is a learning experience and it’s fun. So I’m actually out here to co-write and my manager saw Heartless Bastards were playing a show and he knows they’re one of my favourite bands – Erika is one of my heroes – so he got me to play with them and I was ‘wow yes, I’ll play if I get to see the show for free!’ (laughs) Did you know Erika before? No, but we’re both from Ohio, which is a very smail world, and I met her once briefly as a total fan, went up to her after a show in Colorado saying ‘I love you, you’re amazing!’, then I met her tonight and she’s one of the sweetest people in the world. So you are from Ohio but the rest of your band tonight is from London; where are you based at the moment? I live in New York right now, I just came out here to co-write and ended up playing two shows! One song I found really entertaining was ‘Good To Be a Man’… It got played on BBC6 today! Which was such a cool thing, I got the text right before I went on tonight and was like ‘Awesome, I got played on the radio in London!’ which hadn’t happened yet so that was really huge for an American artist to come over, play a show and get played on the radio. I’m really happy, especially ‘cause my boys are English and I love London! So what’s happening after London? I’m here to co-write, then I’m going back to New York to finish the record, then SXSW then back finishing the record, and hopefully I’ll release it. Is your London band going to play with you again over there in the US? It’s really hard to get visas and bring them over to America, so I have really incredible American musicians I play with as well, I’m lucky that I have awesome boys on both sides of the water! This album you’re getting together, is it your first one? It’s my first album yes, I’m signed to RCA and this is the first record I’ve ever made. When did you sign? About a year and a half ago, I did a lot of touring last year, I did over two years touring including Hong Kong, now we’re taking a break from touring to write the record… aside from tonight because well, I could I say no to playing with the Heartless Bastards! If we want to find any of your music in the meanwhile, where shall we look? I’ve got songs on iTunes and you can also go on elleking.com, where you will find some free
downloads. When are you going back? On the 18th, I wish I could stay longer as London is one of my favourite cities in the world, I always enjoy myself over here. I’ve seen the sun here, now I’ve seen the snow, it’s cool I get to see all of it. What’s your favourite place to hang out in London? I really like the Lexington, tonight was great! Then there’s a place in Soho, the Blues Bar, and I played at the 12 Bar last year, that was really fun, I had a ridiculous night there. I had a lot of good nights, London is great fun! [right in this moment someone breaks a glass with a loud noise and we all start laughing] Back to my favourite song ‘Good To Be A Man’, I was wondering if it was inspired to any event or person in particular… Yes, I got my heart broken, and I was just laughing with my mum and my mum is the best person in the world and she was just making me laugh; we were just saying how guys get away with a lot of things and I started playing the banjo and just started writing that song, about things that make me mad, about things guys get away with… even if, you know, I think I get away with a lot more things than man do! But I just wrote that song and started playing it out and people really responded to it and now it’s on the radio in London! The next big thing on the agenda is SXSW, are you looking forward to that? I’m so excited, Austin is also one of my favourite places and I can’t wait to go back, my music kind of broke there almost two years ago and I’m really thankful for that time. I can’t wait to go, see all my friends and play for them! Anything else planned live wise? No, we’re going to focus on the record now, these two shows in London are just for fun ‘cause I love playing live and you can never play too many shows… Well, maybe you can play too many shows, but not for me! I love playing and will play everywhere I can. Do you have a release date for the album yet? Not yet, but will be within the next few months, in Europe as well, get ready!
by Sophia Disgrace Burlesque! Welcome to your one stop drop for all the news on the best burlesque nights, in the capital and beyond! My name is Sophia Disgrace and I’ve performed at numerous events in the U.K and abroad, from festivals to the most exclusive clubs. I tend perform in a neo burlesque style and o en incorparate other elements, such as fire play, into my routines. Burlesque - or ‘the art of tease’ as it’s also known, first rose to prominence in the 1950’s; in recent years it’s enjoyed something of a revival, with stars such as Dita Von Teese helping to popularise the scene once again.
THE HAIRSPRAY CORNER
This months velvet curtain reveals...
BETHNAL GREEN WORKING MEN’S CLUB Like seedy? Adore retro? Well whatdyaknow me too! So, with that in mind, if you’re London bound and looking for a unique venue to spend your hard earned wonga etc etc, you could do a lot worse than BGWMC!
London as ever is at the fore front of this movement, which is both alluring and inspiring for men and women alike.
Da’Club has been up and running since 1953 and hosts a wide selection of nights to suit even the most varied of tastes. From The Double R Club, which homages David Lynchian surrealism avec some suitably dark and twisted burlesque, to the B-movie Sunday Film Club, there’s more than enough goin’ down to justify putting in an appearance or two sometime very soon!
Here are my pick of all things burlesque this month...
Oh, and they’ve just been voted Top Cabaret Venue of 2013… So there.
The Royal Vauxhall Tavern - London Weekly, every Saturday 9pm - 1.00am The Royal Vauxhall Tavern knows how to put on a good ol’ queer friendly knees up and Duckie eptomises this ethos to perfection. Everyone and your granny is welcome to come on down and enjoy a wealth of fine entertainment. From drag queens to cabaret, burlesque and the odd DJ spinning the good stuff, I defy you to leave without a smile on your face and a spring in your step! Tickets £6.00 on the door
THE IVY PAIGE BURLESQUE SHOW
MUMU Experience - Maidstone, Kent Saturday 30th March A night of decadent splendour is guaranteed! Expect The Folly Mixtures, Grock the Magician, Madame MUMU and more… MUMU defines itself as 'A unique London style venue based in Kent'. Part supper club fine dining experience, part cabaret - with more than a sprinkle of burlesque, come on down and see what all the fuss is about - you won’t be disappointed! Hell there’s even a cocktail lounge and specialist wine bar, with all that AND an array of handpicked performers; what more could you possibly want? For bookings/further information please call 01622 669800
BURLESQUE WITH GYPSY CHARMS! FTH - Falkirk Thursday 4th April From 7pm
Get that booty a-grinding! Twizzle yer tassles! Back by popular demand, learn a 'lil burlesque with Miss Gypsy Charms! Remember guys and gals, it’s never too late to learn the art of the tease! For booking information please call 01324 506850
The well known lead singer of White Lion, Mike Tramp has relentlessly been releasing fine hard rock records over the past 30 years; in between White Lion I and II, Mike kept busy with Freak of Nature and his solo work, and more recently released two albums as ‘Mike Tramp & The Rock’n’Roll Circuz’. Claudio managed to have a chat with the man himself about the good old days and his more recent ventures, here it is…
by Claudio Pucci
Hi Mike, great talking to you! So what have you been up to lately? I’ve been writing and playing the music I love and want. White Lion, with their songs and videos, have been part of the history of the genre. How do you remember those days? A real dream come true for a kid who was born Copenhagen-Denmark, I got to live a rock'n'roll life and still is to the day I die. Music is my life! Are you still in touch with Vito Bratta? No I am not in touch with Vito. Over the past 25 years we have spoken very little. Vito Bratta was a great and amazing guitar player and it's very sad he has chosen to stay at home and not let his fans hear new music from him. After White Lion you went on to form Freak of Nature; can you tell us more about that period? What was the hardest part of being a rockstar in the 80s? The world of music was changing and so was I. There was There was nothing hard, I came from a life of nothing and no way that I could write another Broken Heart in 1992. got to work with music, live from music and get paid from With Freak of nature I fell back in love with rock'n'roll music, it was fantastic! and the great feeling of being in a band. It was a short time with Freak of nature, but the best in my life. How do you remember Los Angeles and New York in that period? About your solo career, do you have anything new on Vito and I wrote the songs inside our own world, we did not the way? get affected by the outside. The years we lived in New York I have made 7 solo albums, two live albums, one White - 83-87 - we were just like any other guy on the street, we Lion MKII album and now about to release my latest solo never lived like rock stars, it just wasn't who we were. And album "Cobblestone Street" April 8th. It’s an a acoustic when I moved to Los Angeles in '87 that didn't really change, album, it's what I call ‘back to my roots’ and it is what I I was never a big part of the LA scene. will continue doing. Live I play a lot of old White Lion and Freak of Nature, but it's all my own style of playing I’m a big fan of your live shows, where do you find so these classic songs for the fans and new fans. much energy? I was always under the impression that when you are on With the many reunions going on, do you see any stage, you entertain in as many ways as you can. That was chance for White Lion? also how rock'n'roll looked in the 80s. Now I stand with an It will never happen. acoustic guitar on stage and sing the songs from my heart and soul. What do you think about 80s movies like Rockstar, The Wrestler and more recently Rock of Ages? How do you like to spend your time when you’re not on I don't think the Wrestler has anything to do with the two the road? other movies. I love The Wrestler, but I don't like movies I try to spend as much time out in nature as possible and about rock'n'roll unless it is a real documentary. away from music. Can we expect a UK/European tour after the release? Any new band that caught your attention recently? April and forward check out www.miketramp.com I am sorry to say that I don't listen to any new music or buy it. I am totally stuck in the 60's and 70's classic rock. What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written? When the children cry What do you think about internet and social networking, are they a blessing or a curse for the music industry? Do you have a final message for your fans? It's like heaven or Hell, it's good and it's bad. I like the old I am grateful to all those who have grown with me and world better, but there is nothing I can do about the change still stand by me after all those years, I am not Mike so I use it where I can, but my art comes from my soul not Tramp from the Wait video anymore… technology. Where can you be contacted and where can we What music do you listen to when you’re on your own? find your stuff? Any great album from the past, it all depends of what time of www.miketramp.com the day or what kind of mood I am. I can go from Pavarotti http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Trampto AC/DC. Official You played with many great musicians, which musician or Famous last words! band impressed you the most? Keep on rocking in the free world! AC/DC
Page 14 Matthew Tilt presents
a chat with David Greenal and a review of Female Trouble
In between sourcing the weirdest, most extreme cinema seen north of the M25, David Greenal from Certificate X Cult Screenings took the time to talk to us about sinful dwarves, dominant companies and riotous, pink flamingos.
A lot of the films you show, thinking especially of Nekromantik here, have been banned in the past, or are presently banned; does this pose certain issues when it comes to acquiring or showing them? A lot of films have not been banned outright, they've just never been submitted to the BBFC since their initial release, The Sinful Dwarf for instance, which we showed last year, has been unavailable for almost forty years in this country but was only submitted to the BBFC for the first time last year. Pink Flamingos, which has only been available in a cut form in the UK since the Video Recordings Act came into force, was passed uncut by the BBFC a few years back but the distributor decided not release it after all, but is can be shown uncut. With Nekromantik, we discussed the screening with director Jorg Buttgereit some time ago, this process is essential if the film does not have a UK distributor. We are delighted that our screening on 26th March comes with the director's blessing. Certificate X help promote a lot of other film events in
CULT FEAST in association with Certificate X Cult Screenings presents
FEMALE TROUBLE Director: John Waters Starring: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce The Three Minute Theatre is a place you could walk straight past if you didn’t know it was there, hidden in the back corner of a small shopping complex in the Northern Corner, it’s the perfect place for Certificate X; small, dark and a little rough around the edges. You have to appreciate the work Certificate X put into these screenings before the film even begins, with related trailers sourced from years gone by and a bizarre short film that together sets the perfect, tongue-in-cheek, atmosphere for an early John Waters’ flick. We get a trailer for Divine Trash, a documentary about the LGBT icon, and star of tonight’s picture, Divine and his work with John Waters. Other trailers for Myra Breckinridge, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and Flesh Gordon have the audience giggling in their seats, preparing them for the introductory short: Dirty Baby does Fire Island. Doing pretty much what it says on the tin; a baby doll (in need of a clean) gets washed up on a beach and walks around Fire Island witnessing various acts that shock and amaze it. At 9 minutes it never risks overplaying the thin plot and the way it’s filmed; mixing a rather manic style of stop motion with barely lucid, homoerotic, drug fuelled imagery seemed to add expression to the unchanging doll’s face. Female Trouble, opening with a rather soulful tune from Divine, is pure trash and entirely better for it. Divine plays Dawn, a school girl who runs away, gets pregnant, turns to a life of crime and ends up executed. It’s a paper thin plot played in high camp; Divine and Waters have an amazing connection as actor/director and bring the best out of each the other. The OTT performances bring hilarious
the Manchester area, do you think these sort of special screenings have become more popular in the wake of modern “Michael Bay” films, or is it a continuation of a kind of Rocky Horror fandom? Manchester, like most major cities in the UK outside of London, doesn’t have an independent cinema or a cult film culture providing real film fans with what they want to see. The success of Certificate X, Optic, Kino and others is not a reaction to current film making or modern Hollywood but the dominance of the cinema chains who only show what the distributors tell them to. The gap is so large that there is plenty of room in Manchester for multiple independent, self-funded cinemas, and we will continue to encourage and support these. You accompany each feature with a series of thematically similar trailers and shorts. These must take a lot of sourcing; do you have your own collection that you take from? When setting up a program do you go after certain films or play it by ear regarding what’s available at the time? We just think about films which have enough cult appeal but not too popular in the commercial sense. We want to go for something which remains on the fringes of the mainstream but film fans will recognize and be excited about. Sourcing supplementary material can be hard, but always exciting and chal-
life to the script, as do the ridiculous sight gags such as Divine, in school, pulling out a foot long meatball sandwich. The spite and darkness that ran through Pink Flamingos is still present; as cringe worthy sex scenes, gross out visuals and bursts of violence attack the audience, but there’s also some meaning behind it all. Waters cleverly satirises various walks of life, playing off counter culture against the mainstream. His characters are disillusioned, believing themselves to be beautiful despite vile personalities and exaggerated ugliness, the LGBT scene is pulled apart with a series of OTT stereotypes showing the best and worst traits of any sub-culture and the long running gag involving Aunt Ida and her nephew Gaytor subverts the homophobic parental model by having her attempt to force homosexuality on him, taking tried and tested homophobic statements and reversing them to attack heterosexuality, tongue firmly in cheek. In many ways it’s a disgusting film; gratuitous cock shots, amoral and downright illegal activities and suggestions are flung around by every character, but there’s a real personality here. It’s one of the ul-
Issue 13/2013 lenging. Our own collections are always the first source of inspiration and we always have titles in mind for future screenings. It's not just about the feature films; the short films, trailers, advertisements, intermission, and music are all relevant to the complete programme. Recent years saw a surge of films that were heavily cut/banned outright (Human Centipede 2/A Serbian Film) did these films hold any interest to you personally, or as part of Certificate X? Are there any recent films that you feel would fit into your ethos? Not at the moment, everyone who wants to see these films uncut probably has. Our screenings are about the forgotten gems, those films which film fans have a memory of or have only heard of, or have never seen with an audience (this make a HUGE difference, anyone attending our riotous screening of Pink Flamingos will know what we mean). What film would you most like to do a screening of, or have you already shown it? Thundercrack! We have been in discussion with the sister of Curt McDowell, who owns the rights to all of her late brother's films, so we hope to screen an uncut remastered version of this hardcore/old dark house/polymorphous/horror/underground classic in the near future.
timate Midnight Movies, a genre film without any real genre, there was nothing, and still is nothing, like an early John Waters and under the guidance of Certificate X, in the surroundings of the Three Minute Theatre, Female Trouble is given new life, a new audience, and shines once again as a collection of counter culture icons doing what they did best. Fnd out more about Certificate X Cult Screenings on Facebook
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Director: Miguel Gomes
Starring: Nadezhda Markina, Andrey Smirnov
Starring: Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Henrique Espírito Santo
New Wave Films (Out Now)
New Wave Films (Out Now)
Andrey Zvyagintsev’s third film starts with a shot of a beautiful apartment at daybreak, lovingly shot through the branches of a tree. It’s a symbol of money and power, one that runs through the entire film as class struggles collide head on with painfully realistic family situations. Elena (Nadezhda Markina) is a retired nurse from a poor background who is married to Vladimir (Andrey Smirnov), a wealthy man whom was in Elena’s care when they met. Both appear to happy, if set in a routine, with a satisfying love life; however they both have children from past marriages whom the spouses dislike. Elena’s son Sergei is unemployed, expecting his rich father-in-law to provide for his ever-growing family whilst convincing his mother otherwise. Vladimir’s daughter, Katya, is a spoilt hedonist who only cares about herself, but admits this and regularly points out that her father shares many of these traits. These wayward spawns are the only thing that causes disgruntlement between the couple. Sergei places guilt on Elena because Vladimir will not pay for her grandson’s education, which would result in him being drafted, while Elena chastises Vladimir for funding Katya’s lifestyle. It’s a series of small arguments that, as in real life, quickly escalate; when Vladimir has a heart attack, brought on by a strenuous training/leering session at the gym, he explains to Elena that he is leaving everything to Katya, while she will receive substantial monthly payments, but no money will go to her grandson. What Elena decides to do is shocking, but it’s done in such a disquieting way. Zvyagintsev’s script never slips into melodrama, nor does he judge any of the characters. This is no working class rebellion against the rich or a judgement on those out of work; every character is shown to have their flaws, held together by a tireless central character. Nadezhda Markina’s performance is stunning; bottling up her disappointment in her son, containing her anger at her husband. It’s a slow, dramatic turn as Elena does everything in her power to support her family; many will argue it is too slow, but those who stay patient will be rewarded with a devastating portrayal of how monetary needs can disintegrate pretty much anything.
It’s a tale as old as time. A separated couple due to reunite only for it to be that little bit too late. It’s the stuff that gets handed in as projects in high school; a story told through the art of cinema at a time when people ducked because a black and white train was heading towards the screen. Instead of fighting against this, Miguel Gomes has created something that openly embraces its connection to silent cinema. The love story that dominates the second half of the film is told in flashback, using only Ventura’s (Henrique Espírito Santo) voice to guide us through, like the title cards that would guide cinephiles of times gone by. It is here that Tabu truly comes into its own. After a rather surreal opening that sets the stage for an underlining ‘crocodile as death’ metaphor, the middle meanders slightly. The story of Pilar (Teresa Madruga, perfectly portraying the troubled, put upon neighbour) attempting to make life more comfortable for her elderly neighbour never quite captures the same magic. There’s something about the sudden introduction of speech, which rudely interrupts the emotive piano score, which throws this film for six. The final, silent reels hardly tell the most original story, but it’s told in such a lavish way, carrying all the grandeur that silent films managed to hold up. Compared to that there’s little the centre piece can do but hope to string together the separate threads of film that sandwich it. There’s little to fault with the performances but the modern setting, and a rather unnecessary romantic subplot which desperately limps around in a circle before been forgotten, strips it of that gleam. This is undoubtedly an important film, lacking the headline grabbing nature of The Artist, it wallows in pastglory days of cinema without overplaying its hand and despite the less polished mid-section it rapidly rebuilds itself for the tragic end.
HOW I MISSED THE TWIST By Matthew Tilt I’d never really given much thought to how life experience can change your view on a film. I believed that films draw you into a separate world, regardless of parallels between our own lives. There are two, vastly different films, that proved me wrong; Claire Denis’ 35 Shots of Rum (2008) and Jaume ColletSerra’s Orphan (2009). I saw 35 Shots of Rum at the cinema housed at Staffordshire University. It was my first real experience with independent cinemas, though I had always loved the films outside of the mainstream consciousness, and I attended screenings as often as I could. 35 Shots of Rum was the first film we saw that we unanimously hated, the “intimate family study” was a disjointed, unemotional, boring picture. We didn’t even wait until we left the cinema to slate it, picking it apart in an ashamedly loud and arrogant way as the credits rolled. It’s then that something happened which I didn’t give any thought until recently. An elderly lady tapped me on the shoulder and said that I’d understand the film better if I had children. This seemed ridiculous at the time. I’d watched Kramer vs. Kramer and had been moved without divorce or children. I’d been moved by Brokeback Mountain without been a closeted cowboy. I’d even been thrilled by Total Recall without a three breasted hooker in my life. Film was a finished painting; I didn’t need to add elements of my life to complete it. Orphan is a film that shouldn’t have stirred anything in me. It’s a stupid horror film that relies on jumps, it’s not particularly scary or disturbing, it’s a bog standard horror which only deserves mention for some decent performances and, what I considered, a really good twist ending. The first time my girlfriend and I watched it Esther was just a run of the mill evil child. It was the last child of the corn. We didn’t see the twist coming; we never expected that Esther might a Russian woman who gets a kick out of splitting up and murdering the families who adopt her. When we watched it with my girlfriend’s mum, however, she got the twist 45 minutes in. she started talking about how children wouldn’t act like that; how Esther had to be a woman, albeit a woman with some serious issues. I was pretty shocked, I pride myself on watching a lot of films, been able to pick apart the stories but I’d been stumped. This is when I looked back at what the woman had told me after 35 Shots of Rum; maybe our lives do play more of a part in how we watch films than I initially thought. How would I know children don’t act like Esther? I don’t have any. I don’t see any on a regular basis. Sure I knew she wasn’t normal; that children don’t normally take out the people in their way like some Godfather-meets-Lord of the Flies dystopia but a damaged child…film had taught me that this was all too possible. It’s the sort of self-revelation that makes me want to revisit the films I had dismissed. Maybe in twenty years’ time I will hold 35 Shots of Rum up as a masterpiece and talk about how the parallels it had with my own life. Maybe films I love now will lose their shine as life experience strips away the realism of them. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll see the twist next time.
Directors: Emad Burnet, Guy Davidi New Wave Films (Out Now)
THE SILVER LININGS PLAY BOOK by Matthew Quick There are many things I haven’t put down in writing, about me, about my past. These are things I have no desire to go into during this review, and I doubt many of you are particularly bothered about ‘The Life and Times of Tilt’ or we’d be reviewing my Tumblr account. Needless to say I bring this up because Silver Linings Playbook meant a lot to me. Dealing with the aftermath of Pat People’s incarceration in a Mental Health Institution; told through from his perspective it follows his attempts to better himself so he can end ‘apart time’ which was forced on him by his wife Nikki. It’s simultaneously heart breaking and sweetly funny. Pat’s experiences with his family, especially dealing with his father’s unique way of dealing with disappointment, are something that we can all relate to. That desperate desire for acceptance is something we’ve all felt, be it from one person or a dozen, and it’s something Matthew Quick deals with sensitivity. His depiction of multiple mental ailments, and the seemingly simple things that can act as triggers, across several characters, shows a depth of research and experience that allows him to show both the good and bad times without ever dipping into sentimentality or poor taste. The character of Tiffany is beautifully written; bringing Pat crashing down to reality on more than one occasion, but offering a duality that sees her often become the most vulnerable character here. It is through her that we find out a lot about what Pat cannot remember, what his mother continually attempts to protect him from save risking another breakdown on his part. Supporting characters such as Pat’s therapist Cliff, his brother Jake and his friend from the ‘bad place’ Danny all offer slices of normality and humour that could only happen in real life. So often this feels like non-fiction rather than the stuff of imagination. Towards the end, when massive events start to come to light, we’re not so much surprised as readers but upset for those in the novel. Even Nikki who we hear from, feels like a full character, someone who made a decision for better or worse and now has to live with it. Matthew Quick clearly believes in happy endings, much like Pat, but deals them out much like life. The path to them is so often messy, upsetting and seemingly hopeless; the thing we want is so rarely the thing we get and the things we get so often turn out to be the things we need. Few books truly put this across, and even fewer do it with such warmth and originality. You don’t have to relate to any of the characters’ issues for this to be essential, you only have to want something seemingly out of reach to relate to the novel as a whole. Matthew Tilt
Director:Allen Hughes Writer: Brian Tucker
It’s hard to imagine what different cultures go through in times of stress. The differences between cultures are shown immediately as our narrator excitedly grips his first camera (the first of the titular five) to film his newly born son; it’s something we take for granted but the documentation of memories is treasured throughout this humbling film. What I’m trying to say is that Emad Burnet is no documentary maker; no BBC journalist sent out to capture what would unfold in his home town of Bil’in. He is an ordinary person fighting for what is his in extraordinary circumstance, using the camera as a document of evidence and as a shield. What he captures is the unlawful, frankly unbelievable, abuse of power that the Israeli government used to encroach on Palestinian farmland; taking away homes and income from the villagers across the West Bank. Each of the five cameras acts as a chapter throughout the ever growing conflict between villagers and soldiers, as things escalate from peaceful protests to advantageous uses of loopholes and finally a series of ever more alarming scenes of violence as Israeli soldiers and settlers turn their weapons on the unarmed protesters. It’s a film made braver by the fact that Emad went to Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi to help piece together the footage from the cameras. With the partnership between the two we get a surprisingly objective view of the situation; where Palestinian victories are shown next to their losses and Israeli soldiers are shown, more often than not, to be people doing their jobs. In a nation where censorship is rife this is a brutally honest rendition of events; made more poignant by the inclusion of family footage and Emad’s voiceover. So many directors are distant from the subject of their documentaries but Emad doesn’t have this luxury and over the 90 minutes we see his pain, emotionally and physical, as he tries to raise his family in a seemingly unwinnable situation. The film ends with a highball of sorts; as the Israeli wall is demolished but with the memory of a local hero’s death still stinging. It’s hard to imagine a happy ending as the villagers vow to continue fighting; but with the advantage of hindsight it’s warming to know that this film has done something to breach the consciousness of the viewing public. It’s a village’s struggle against the giant and a testament to the emotive power of film.
A smoking gun, dead body on the ground, camera pans to the killer: Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) which turns out to be a cop. A simple cop and robber story? By the look on his face, probably not. Ending up in front of a jury, he gets acquitted for murder, is kept out of jail thanks to New York's popular Mayor (Russell Crowe) intervention but loses his badge. 7 years later, Billy has remade himself as a private investigator. Times are tough, so when the mayor offers him $50.000 to investigate his wife's alleged extra-marital affair, it seems like an easy payday that will help him keep afloat. Needless to say that it is obviously not a simple cut and dry adultery investigation; the ramifications reaches a far bigger scandal that will give Billy a chance for redemption, but at a cost he hadn't bargained for when he took on the 'simple' job. Broken City is what I would classify as the atypical neo-noir crime thriller. It has all the elements required to keep the audience entertained: the attractive protagonist hard down on his luck and struggling with his moral conscience after his controversial shooting that lost him his job; the seemingly helpful mayor that turns out to be the bad guy; the classic sub-plot of the doomed relationship (which although not essential does serve as the platform for introducing the turning point in Billy's life); and then violence, political scandal, sex scene, car chase, revenge and the few witty lines (the added spice flavoured by so many screenwriters these days). If crime thriller is what makes you go to the cinema, then there's plenty to like: the progression of the plot and its somewhat unexpected twist will make you want to stay until the end. Mark Wahlberg describes the movie as 'a film that has elements of great movies I grew up loving, like 'Chinatown', really strong characters, plot points you didn't see coming'. And this is my only gripe with Broken City: although it is an enjoyable fast paced gritty thriller with a strong performance by its renowned cast, the plot points were only slightly unexpected. The safe, tried and tested stylistic approach of the movie makes it, unfortunately, too predictable FOR ME, bringing nothing new to the genre.
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones
Spaghetti Horror Bonanza:
By Cristina Massei
(THE MASK OF SATAN)
Blu Ray DeLuxe Out Now on Arrow Films Director: Mario Bava
Screenplay Ennio De Concini, Mario Serandrei) Stars: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi
Let’s face it: the only terrifying thing about modern horror cinema is its lack of ideas. At first, directors and producers tried to make up for poor plots with exaggerated special effects; then, as the audience started showing a nostalgia for vintage old fashioned chills, the Blair Witch Project tried to bring it back to basics with the now overexploited ‘amateur footage’ module. But that clearly wasn’t the answer, as horror lovers keep digging as far as the old monochromes for their dose of screen fright. For sure they’ll be grateful to Arrow Films for this double – or shall I say triple – treat in Blu Ray DeLuxe format. ‘Black Sunday’ is the American revised and cleaned up version of the original ‘The Mask of Satan’ (La Maschera del Demonio’) from Italian legendary director Mario Bava. On this release from Arrow you can find both versions, with the added bonus of original Italian audio on the uncut ‘The Mask of Satan’. That comes with English subtitles and you can also choose English audio, but the true horror connoisseurs will surely love the option. After getting the kids in bed, we started off with ‘Black Sunday’, but my advice is to wait until everyone slightly impressionable has left the room and go straight for ‘The Mask of Satan’. Both versions maintain what made this movie one of the scariest horrors ever – and initially banned in the UK: the initial scene with the spiky mask of the devil forced on the witch’ face. However, get ready for more blood and controversy with the original version and its raw undiluted images and dialogues. Barbara Steele finds stardom in the double role of witch Asa and princess Katia. As an actress, Barbara was depicted as a difficult and irrational; together with her spellbinding eyes, her persona comes across the screen to confer further depth to her troubled character. The gory particulars, many of which were cut in the US version, reveal an exquisite attention to detail and the original score, also lost in translation, is more disturbing than the generic one chosen for the general release. Basically, the ‘Black Sunday’ version is only good to see how dangerous it can be leaving a brilliant horror movie in
the hands of Americans really. Stick with ‘The Mask of Satan’. But let’s get to the special features: not only have we got the usual deleted scenes, trailers, commentaries and a rare interview with Barbara Steele, but (and here comes the third treat) we get a FULL VERSION of I Vampiri (‘The Vampires’, or ‘The Devil’s Commandment’ as it’s known in the US)! ‘I Vampiri’, initially directed by Riccardo Freda and finished by Bava, is the first sound era Italian horror film, a milestone for the genre. What you find here – thanks Satan – is the original version, full and uncut, so deeply horrifying that was banned in Italy in the 30s-40s by the fascist regime; and those guys knew enough about horrors not to be that easily scared… Death, love, hate and vanity all get together for this entertaining black and white classic, as a police inspector and a journalist investigate a peculiar series of killings, following their trail all the way to a creepy castle. So you have it, three movies for the price of one, crude and unrefined as horror should be. A sensational introduction to Mario Bava and Italian horror including the one film that started it all, a whole night of fear and entertainment in an unmissable piece for any collector of the genre.
LISA AND THE DEVIL
More Mario Bava again from Arrow Films, this time with Spaghetti Horror classic ‘Lisa and The Devil’ – aka ‘The House of Exorcism’. As usual, Arrow digs deep into the old Italian archives to bring you both versions: the original ‘Lisa and The Devil’ and his US version ‘The House of Exorcism’. In this case the Americans, rather than cutting off, have been adding to make the weird story more ‘commercially viable’. The result is quite different from ‘Lisa and The Devil’, and we would indeed recommend you to watch both and make up your own mind according to personal taste; we surely made up ours… Let’s start from the beginning with 1974’s ‘Lisa and The Devil’. Starring Telly ‘Kojak’ Savalas, Elke Sommer and Sylva Koscina, this bizarre flick is a perfect example of 70s Italian cinema: a hippy haze where horror and erotic are combined to turn on all types of excitement known to mankind at once. With a fuzzy plot and a score stolen from some low-key porn of that period, Lisa is kind of an Alice in very wrong Wonderland for over 18’s. Is that a negative? Not at all: in fact it keeps the viewer interested, puzzled, fairly terrified and even kind of horny at times, with little touches like Sylva Koscina’s dress
(THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM) Blu Ray DeLuxe Out Now on Arrow Films
Directors: Mario Bava, Alfredo Leone Writers: Mario Bava (screenplay), Alberto Cittini (segment) Stars: Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Alida Valli
weirdly hanging from the tip of her nipples for no apparent reason when she’s cornered by the mysterious killer. Needless to say, ‘different’ and ‘artistic’ rarely strike a chord with the box office, and box office flops rarely strike a chord with the US. So, in order to get the film released internationally, Bava reluctantly agreed with producer Alfredo Leone to add a parallel storyline exploiting the popularity of ‘The Exorcist’ at the time. New footage was shot with Elke Sommer and Robert Alda (casted as a priest) where Lisa was possessed a-la Linda Blair, with the new version re-christened ‘The House of Exorcism’. Not only a unique movie was turned into nothing but a blockbuster clone, but Leone’s decision to use profanity and strong sexual content (in contrast with Bava’s subtle, elegant erotism) resulted in the director finally leaving the set; his art had been cheapened and sacrificed on the dollars altar, and the result was not only a commercial flop but a failure with critics as well. Oh, and they changed the score of course for a bland generic forgettable one. Great added features as usual and choice of audio language on the original aside, you get two movies for the price of one and a chance to see two different ways to do horror: the rational money driven American way, and the artistic Italian way, a country that will never be financially rich but the world should thank for many of its masterpieces.
2nd February 2013 – Stoke Sugarmill By Matt Dawson
HEARTHROB LAUNCH PARTY Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, London – 6th February 2013 By Cristina Massei We attend the Heartthrob launch party at London’s Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes eager to see Canadian twin sensation Tegan and Sara live, but also to meet their dedicated fan base and have a listen to the album that marks their evolution from indie rock to a more synth pop based sound. Today’s show is a competition’ winners only event and there’s a tangible sense of excitement amongst the selected intimate crowd at the Lanes. The whole venue is ‘Heartthrob themed’ – including jars of colourful Heartthrob sweets – but the centre of attention is undoubtedly the tiny stage where the duo is about to perform. The short but sweet set starts with old crowd winner ‘Back In Your Head’ and nicely moulds into the 80s flavoured ‘I’m Not Your Hero’, a nice introduction to the Heartthrob sound that fans are already familiar with (it was played live during their recent tour with The Killers). Other showcased tracks from the new album are ‘I Was A Fool’, ‘Goodbye, Goodbye’, ‘How Come You Don’t Want Me’, ‘Drove Me Wild’ and single ‘Closer’, before digging once again in the back catalogue for the finale with ‘Walking With A Ghost’. Nestled between two antique gems ‘Heartthrob’ shines more than ever, feeling increasingly like a natural and welcome progress in Tegan and Sara’s music. It definitely gets the fans’ seal of approval, and the press is also nodding in agreement. To make an exclusive evening even more personal, nothing better than finding the time to meet and talk to those who have been following the girls up to this point: Tegan and Sara ‘meet & greet’ the crowd, sign autographs, take pictures and discuss the album, and both sides go home happy. The 7th album itch produced a result everyone seemed to enjoy tonight.
No messing around – for their FIRST gig local upstarts Harlot Church get on stage, play some good old fashioned Motorhead inspired rock and roll then leave as quickly as they arrive – some openers get stuck with the static crowd syndrome, tonight proves that sometimes there’s an exception to the rule. A double shot of French metal follows, with Jumping Jack first providing their whiskey infused rock with elements of sludge and stoner in-between, Eyehategod shirt worn by guitarist/vocalist Julian and all keeping the good spirits of the crowd alive with tracks like ‘Angel’s Motel’ and ‘Cows And Whisky’. Lizzard however, despite sounding decent, seem slightly out of place; their more progressive tinge is lost on the crowd as more gather to chat through their set. It would be nice to see them with a band more like Deftones in the future. High On Fire take to the stage with the near rapturous cheers expected, as Matt Pike – shirtless as standard – and the band make the Sugarmill come unglued while bikers stage dive to their hard rock madness; ‘Fertile Green’ , ‘Frost Hammer’ and the Iommi dedicated ‘Last’ make sure that the town that gave us Discharge goes home happy. Maybe just one day we’ll also get Sleep to play…
+ TV Smith Birmingham HMV The Library January 23rd 2013 By Matt Higgs Now in their tenth year The Blackout may not be the young welsh whippersnappers they once were, but still with all the energy of any contending young pups, tonight they prove just how well they can start a party. Opening the evening’s proceedings are Manc hybrids Sonic Boom Six, fresh from the release of their stunning self titled fifth album the five piece break from their intro into single Kids Of The Multiculture. Taking social commentary to the dance floor the band’s dual vocalists Laila ‘Lazer’ Khan and Paul ‘Barney’ Barnes waste no time whipping the young audience into a frenzy. The Pendulum sounding Virus continues the band’s infectious audio assault while managing to maintain their rare lyrical integrity. Latest single Keep On Believing sees the audience bounce in time before the band draw their set to a close with older fan favorite Piggy In The Middle. A hero’s welcome is afforded to The Blackout as they make their return to Birmingham in a sold out HMV Library, this noise only escalates as the band break into the more than apt Start The Party as frontman Gavin Butler fires a blast of confetti into the expectant faces of the front rows. It’s this opening track which best encapsulates The Blackout’s mentality of late, a mentality based on having fun, something that feels surprisingly refreshing on a dark and frozen midweek night. With an enviable back catalogue of hits that helped truly make them the best in town, The Blackout soon have the audience eating out of their hands. Higher and Higher sees the band’s dual frontman tear across the stage in a whirlwind of energy only matched by those in the crowd who continue to scream back every word. While plenty of bands try to crack a few jokes between songs usually to a muted response, The Blackout are one of the few whose witty welsh banter comes off as genuine and leaves the crowd laughing along as the guitars are tuned up for the next track. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things continues the evening’s sing along while The Devil Inside gives Sean the chance to really flex his raw vocals, before new single Running Scared is given a well received showcase. The band successfully manage to provide a selection of material that keeps both the new and older fan’s happy while maintaining the nights momentum. It is however on the older tracks ShutTheFuckUppercut and It’s High Tide Baby that the band really shine, the sublime combination of Sean and Gavin’s vocals mixing to create the choruses that earned the band their initial attention and which are still sang back with an endless vigor by the crowd. As High Tide is brought to an end a sea of balloons descends from the ceiling onto the audience below as the band start the opening to Let Me Go. Children Of The Night encourages the evenings biggest pits as guitarists James and Matthew Davies stomp across the stage narrowly avoiding Sean and Gavin who continue to dart around on their own trajectories. As the song is brought to a close and the band begin to leave the stage the chants for an encore begin before they have even had the chance to say any goodbyes. With such expectation anarchy would have be inevitable in the Library should the band have refused to return to the stage, but thankfully with the hard hitting I’m a Riot, You’re a Fucking Riot they make their return. Save Our Selves gives the audience one last chance to join in on singing some final woah’s before the evening is brought to its close in one final cloud of confetti. For The Blackout ten years haven’t passed by, they have partied by and this party is still just getting started.
i S m o ic Bo
SO36, Kreuzberg, Berlin, 7 February 2013 By Kristian Kotilainen - Photo Franzi Paizs Two legendary punk acts in one legendary venue. SO36 in the heart of Kreuzberg is more or less packed. The evening kicked off with an hour of energetic acoustic punk from the former The Adverts member TV Smith. A skinny old punk alone with his guitar might not sound that exciting but trust me it was. With amazing tunes like “Expensive Being Poor“, “Generation Y“, “My String Will Snap“ and the old classic “Gary Gilmore's Eyes“ - TV Smith gave us an inspiring and entertaining show. I loved it. He also impressed the Germans with speaking their language fluently and playing “Pushed Again“, a Die Toten Hosen cover. According to the UK Subs frontman Charlie Harper, “Berlin is the most fun city in the world“; starting off with “You Don't Belong“, they seemed to mean it. I find it interesting how bands like UK Subs that have been around for this long, still can have their passion intact. Just compare to ‘giants’ like Rolling Stones and such, how many of them have kept the fire burning? Not many. I assume it shows that the old punk mentality is strong and it's nice to see that it works in practice. UK Subs are a very dynamic band and Harper still has shitloads of energy. Maybe it has helped that there's some younger blood in the band? The audience was quite mixed with old and new punks and the punters were crowdsurfing like crazy, even though not many people were willing to catch their fall. Like I said, SO36 was pretty full but not many stood in the front catching the crowdsurfers and that was amusing to watch. We got to hear some good ones like “Emotional Blackmail“, a bluesy “18 Wheels“, and of course a great and heavy version of “Warhead“. Punk is far from dead if you ask me. UK Subs are currently on the road promoting their new album “XXIV“. Catch them if you can. Thank you TV Smith and UK Subs for keeping the spirit of punk alive!
LIVE! By Cristina Massei A perfect Soho night: not such a rare occurrence, as with all the area has to offer you’re bound to find your perfect night if you know where to look, whatever rocks your boat. Still tonight is a bit special, as Tim Arnold celebrates the many faces of his beloved neighbourhood at the exclusive Groucho Club. The son of one of the original Windmill girls (Polly Perkins, aka Dot’s sister Rose in Eastenders), Tim grew up breathing that unique Soho air where art replaces oxygen and uniqueness replaces normality. I know quite a few ‘Soho Hobos’, I guess I was myself one before the Astoria and its surroundings were replaced by a working site; these days I’m often put off by the route diversions required to get from Tottenham Court Road station to the Royal George. But I’m digressing. The point is, those times I challenge the roadworks and make my way in, I remember what was so special about Soho, and it’s something you’ll have to experience to understand (and do it quick, before they take the rest of it down). Helped by a skilled backing band, ‘The Soho Hobo’ Tim Arnold is here tonight to showcase some of the songs for his album, to be released as soon as a suitable label comes up with a satisfactory offer. His music has been described as ‘a mixture of Vintage London, Ian Dury nods, Tony Newley winks and just a touch of West End Swagger’, and it is indeed as rich and fun as it sounds. Two singles have already been released on iTunes and tasters are available on thesohohobo.com; we get to hear them both live tonight, ‘Manners of the Manor’ and ‘Soho Heroes’ – ‘more a list than a song’, with a Jud Charlton in great form doing the reading honours. Many of Tim’s heroes are the common people of Soho, and a special place in his list is reserved to its world famous tailors; ‘Ain’t Made To Measure’ is a tribute to them with the help of Eastenders’ Phil Daniels. Miss Giddy Heights offers the visuals for ‘The Windmill Girls’ with her cheeky burlesque performance and, for a final touch of Albert Square, girlfriend Jessie Wallace joins Tim in a duet for the romantic ‘Soho Sunset’, as the two gaze into each other’s eyes. At the end of the night, Tim seems to have found the support he needed to release the album. Swinging Soho did it again: another night, another bar, another crowd emanating that aroma of art and community. Musicians and actors, authors and painters, tailors and hairdressers, the list continues. Creators. Hidden behind the rubble, they’re all still there.
THE GROUCHO CLUB, Soho (London) 17th February 2013
+ Mordecai & Jayce Lewis Camden Underworld – 14th February 2013 By Alessia Cifali A couple of years ago a friend made me listen to a song without further instruction. The song was “Mesopotamia”, and it took me only a couple of seconds to fall in love with it. When I found out that the singer was actually Wes Borland from Limp Bizkit, I was positively surprised. Wes Borland is known as the eclectic painted man on stage next to Fred Durst, however he should be recognized for his dynamic taste in music as well. His side project Black Light Burns has a lot to teach to other bands on the scene right now. The Underworld is an intimate, steamy venue in Camden, London. Despite being Valentine’s Day, the venue is packed with people ready to sing along and crowd surf. Who cares about the law, right? There are two acts supporting Wes & Co. tonight, the first of which is London based hard rock band Mordecai. Their sound is slick and heavily influenced by melodic American Rock; definitely a good start for a ‘romantic’ night. Jayce Lewis follows. Hailing from South Wales, he’s accompanied by a touring band of friends. The tribal drumming and the electronic touch have been carefully mixed in his music, making it a surprisingly energetic and powerful performance. I can personally see some resemblance with a very young Trent Reznor - Nine Inch Nails golden era. The whole crowd is pumped up now. Soon after the end of Lewis set, Wes Borland appears on stage followed by Dennis Sanders to sound-check the back line and they just end up staying. The concert begins like this, on the sly. Fans have no time to realize what's happening; on the lyrics "You can't, you can't, you can't stop a bullet! I'm giving you my trigger but you better never to pull it!" the Underworld is ready to explode. The whole night is a blaze of songs from the 2 studio albums, "Cruel Melody" (2007), and the most recent "The Moment You Realize You're Going to Fall" (2012). There are also some exquisiteness from their compilation album "Cover Your Heart and the Anvil Pants Odyssey" (2008) such as "Lucretia my Reflection" by Sisters of Mercy and "So Alive" by Love and Rockets. There is time to joke around with fans, making the show a complete success. The humbleness of these four brilliant artists is contagious. If I had to describe Black Light Burns to someone who has never heard of them before, I would just let their music doing the trick. You can talk about how epic a band is for hours, but somtimes you can only appreciate them by experiencing their music first hand. Wes Borland has proven to critics that he is not just the eclectic painted man on stage. He has put together a band of skilled musicians and with a lot of passion they are creating quality and powerful music. Something this industry should learn from.
TS HEIGH Stoke Sugarmill - 15th February 2013 By Matt Dawson When your last show was documented as well as their last one was – look up the ‘Stoked’ videos - Your Demise have quite a reputation to live up to in this town, so let round 2 begin! FACT start proceedings off with a nice does of post-hardcore from Japan and, even though it takes some of the crowd time to warm up to it, their infectiousness shows that J-rock isn’t JUST limited to bands like Dir En Grey; if ever there is a chance for them to break out in the UK, this tour will do the job. Counterparts bring their brand of hardcore that starts to ramp up the excitement levels in the crowd. Brendan Murphy shows a true connection with his audience as he delivers a powerful vocal range and announces ‘Thank God’ with a powerful statement: ‘I don't need a God to be a good person, I know what my heart wants me to be’; another band giving strong indications of breaking out into a wider fanbase. Heights however manage to take the venue to a whole new level of madness, as the stage dives start and the circle pits kick into higher gear. Accompanied by Tom from local band Sworn To Oath on bass and backing vocals, Alex, Dean, Tom Green and Tom Hutton show how their upcoming album is bound to contribute to the UK hardcore scene high spirits. Finally we come to the leaders of the pack, the return of the band that caused one of the most manic shows in the history of The Sugarmill: Your Demise are back and take no prisoners from the start, with ‘Karma’ kicking things off and showcasing the greatness of their newest work; the set progresses with cuts from as far back as Ignorance Never Dies’ Burnt Tongues Ed McRae commands proceedings as only he can: stage dives abound, even the guy in the banana costume from the last show is back for more. As the night ends with most of the crowd on stage to ‘The Kids We Used To Be’, once again Your Demise show that there truly IS a Golden Age; enjoy the ride.
By Kristian Kotilainen - Photo Franzi Paizs I love to discover new talents and the brightest shining star at the moment is the English Louise Distras. Together with punk troubadour Wayne Lost Soul she's currently on the road under the name “Stand Strong Together Tour“. For both musicians the keyword is acoustic (-ish) punk. It feels so much more genuine & honest when the artist can't hide behind a wall of sound. At the same time the passion and the lyrics comes out so much stronger. Even though Wayne Lost Soul had a few technical difficulties as well as a bad hangover, he played a sweat-dripping and intense gig that gave us an insight into his anarchistic mind. We were probably not more than around 30 people in the venue but that didn't seem to bother Louise Distras when she took the stage to a big round of applauds. This young Brody look alike instantly filled the room with her powerful voice and charisma. She played the songs that can already be heard online “Shades Of Hate“, “Hold You Down“, and “Stand Strong Together“ (which on record features Jenny Woo). The rest of her material is just as potent and was performed with furious energy. It didn't take many songs before she had mascara running down her face. To those of you that didn't make their way to Kreuzberg and Wild At
Heart this evening – you missed out! This was one of the best and most intimate shows I've been to in a long time. It certainly gives so much more when the artist have time to interact with their audience. Humble, talented and down to earth musicians like this is what keeps the spirit of punk “true“. When Distras tried to wrap up her set people screamed out for more, and even though she doesn't have much material (yet) she still treated us to an encore. I'm looking forward to her debut album that is planned to be released early 2013. On her website you can make donations to help her finish the album. Like so many other artists she's realised that this way is the future of music. If you want anything done properly you might as well do it yourself. Louise Distras is gonna go far, mark my words. Be part of something exciting and give her your support. I'm curious to see what the future will bring. Be sure to catch her on tour you will not leave disappointed. http://www.louisedistras.co.uk/
LOUISE DISTRAS + Wayne Lost Soul
Wild At Heart, Kreuzberg, Berlin – 10th February 2013
LIVE! + The Dodos
O2 Academy, Bristol - 18th February 2013 By Pietro Di Nardo
+Letlive/Three Trapped Tigers
O2 Academy Birmingham - 19th February 2013 By John ‘Hank’ Layland – Photos Matt Higgs With the doors barely open outside, instrumental math rockers Three Trapped Tigers are already on station to get the evening underway. They seem a little nervous in front of such a large crowd, but guitarist Matt Calvert keeps things going nicely. His left hand pulling beefy power chords from his Telecaster, while the right diligently adjusts a mind boggling array of synthesisers and effects in time with the his bandmates ever shifting wall of noise. It’s difficult to pin them down to one particular genre, there are shades of 65daysofstatic, electronic demi-gods Aphex Twin and even the odd chiptune-esque squeak gets thrown in for good measure. It makes for some very interesting listening, but I can’t help but think they’re a band whose material you need to absorb in a quieter setting to fully appreciate the depth and different layers of their sound. The nights second support act, Letlive are an altogether more straightforward proposition. Bounding out to “Le Prologue” it’s obvious the Californian quartet mean business from the off. They ricochet off each other on stage like unstable elements brought together to form the perfect post-hardcore molecule, every track dripping with more sweat and attitude than the last. Lead singer Jason Butler has a reputation for being the most unpredictable part of the equation but he’s all smiles tonight thanks to an audience that are pouring just as much energy back towards the stage as he is into the microphone. The band stick almost entirely to music from their most recent release “Fake History”, only pausing occasionally to beam at each other and mouth words of disbelief as the front row pulls itself apart. There are tiny imperfections, a dropped beat here, a wayward scream from lack of breath there but that’s what
live music’s about and Letlive are the perfect example of a band that puts it all out there on the line when they play. By the time the double barrel blast of “Renegade 86’” and “Casino Columbus” draw their set to a close they’ve certainly shown that passion and a take no prisoners approach can always win a crowds heart over a pitch perfect performance any day. A lesson many more well established live acts could still stand to learn. With the bar now set and pints replenished it’s time for the main event, Deftones. They’re a band I grew up with and one that has in turn grown and evolved with its fans over the years, maturing but never losing the unnameable element that set them apart from their “nu-metal” stablemates. They haven’t graced Birmingham with their presence in some time but as soon as the ferocious chug of “Diamond Eyes” kicks in to start things off it’s obvious they haven’t forgotten how to deliver the goods in their absence. They plough into an artfully constructed setlist with aplomb, guitarist Stephen Carpenters down tuned malevolence and eerie melodies providing the perfect backdrop for Chino’s vocals, as well as his trademark dance moves. By the time drummer Abe Cunningham ushers them into “Rocket Skates” the crowd are not only off their feet at all times but thanks to Chino’s off beat brand of charisma oestrogen levels in the building have hit an all time high to boot. What follows is probably the perfect set for die-hard fans, a flawlessly executed collection of classic cuts from every album in the bands back catalogue come together to create something really rather special. It’s no small feat to be able to put tracks from 1995’s “Adrenaline” next to material from last years “Koi No Yokan”. With a subtle nip here and some excellent musicianship there though, it’s as if they were written to be together. There are only two real glaring omissions - “Back To School” is notable by its absence and more importantly so is bass player and founding member Chi Cheng, who’s still recovering from a serious car accident back in 2008. That’s not to say long standing replacement Sergio Vega’s playing isn’t up to par, far from it. He slots perfectly into the lineup and plays brilliantly but it’s a shame Chi can’t see his band mates playing as tightly as they are tonight. Especially when they dedicate “Dai the Flu” to him towards the end of the show. When the house lights go up and the chanting for an encore begins there’s one last surprise in store. A slab of old school Deftones in the form of “Engine No.9” and “7 Words” that gets everybody bouncing one last time. Not bad at all for two songs that will be old enough to buy themselves a drink this year, perhaps they should find their way into the setlist more often. They certainly provided the perfect finale to a brilliant night of live music.
LIAM O’CONNOR Ronnie Scott’s, Soho (London) – 13th February 2013
By Cristina Massei ‘The Fastest Fingers in the World’ isn’t just a record for the sake of it: the melodies Liam O’Connor can create on stage are the essence of music
itself. His technical skills could make any tough guitar virtuoso cry with envy, yet his sound is poignant with colour and passion and totally unpretentious, there to be enjoyed by fathers and sons alike, clapped and danced in a whirlwind of love and tradition. At iconic London venue Ronnie Scott’s, with his two young boys on percussions, that of Liam O’Connor is the warmest family portrait I had the pleasure to take in a very long time. Liam wouldn’t need an introduction in most of our planet: he toured with Michael Flatley and his Lord of The Dance for a start, and his own show touched the four corners of the world; from Chicago to Cairo and from Athens to Auckland, normal people and special guests made sure to capture his polyhedric performance. In the UK, however, many are still unaware of his talent, and time has come to put an end to such a loss for the British public. The reason behind our resistance to Liam O’Connor may be found possibly in a tendency to pigeonhole Irish music and relegate it to some particular pubs, framed in folkloristic dance moves and pints of Guinness. However, relegating O’Connor to such a limited niche would be like saying that Rodrigo & Gabriela is a flamenco act for Spanish bars, so open your ears and your mind to the eclectic combo of genres, sounds and colours that is Liam’s show. The audience at Ronnie Scott’s at first stares in admiration; as energy and good vibes fill the room, admiration turns into enthusiasm, and it’s not long before even the more distinct member of the press stands near his table, hinting a few dance moves and rhythmically nodding. O’Connor shows things you can do with an accordion we never thought possible, and his band perfectly frames his picture of talent and passion. Not for fans of: metal, prog, indie, pop, electro, house, country, thrash, punk, garage, *insert genre*. For fans of Music only.
A sunny day, finally, gives Calexico a proper welcome. After a great opening from The Dodos - a 30 minutes tight set with a strange blend of adrenaline and melancoly – the headliners get on stage. The band from Tucson, Arizona, hits Bristol right in the middle of an intense world tour, but they still manage to look not tired at all. Calexico are six on stage: Burns – sporting an American 50s hairstyle - in the center, Convertino front-left and around them four outstanding inspiring musicians, getting the fiesta going with a variety of instruments including xylophone, maracas, slide guitar, trumpets and accordion. The playlist is a romantic trip between acoustic sounds from the Latin American desert with its uncontaminated atmospheres, painted by mariachi trumpets, cadenced rates and jazz nuances. Their latest work seems to come alive and find its soul in the live performance, as a smiling Burns directs the band and Convertino argues rhythmically with the class and elegance of a groove that has few equals. It’s 90 minutes full of absolutely everything: from rock to ballads passing through Mexican sounds, of course. A journey into the wilderness, taking you to Latin America and across Mexico back to Europe: this and much more a Calexico show. Definitely a band not to be missed.
+ Aborted/Bonded by Blood/Adimiron Underworld, London – 8th February 2013
Review and photos by Ashley Naismith Polish death metal industry Vader have returned to London’s Underworld for the first time since supporting Gorgoroth in 2011. Oh, and they brought Aborted. Just sayin’. All of the tickets are gone and the queue is around the block. This will be one for the books. Italy’s Adimiron have the honour of warming the underground stage, and do so with fervour and zeal; however, the audience don’t share their enthusiasm. Californian Bonded by Blood are up next and bring their flag-bearing, all-American thrash to the eagerly awaiting fans. Frontman and vocalist Mauro Gonzales rallies the crowd, inciting a small but nevertheless intense moshpit to the dynamic blasts of ‘Immortal Life’; the atmosphere is charged, sweat is flying. The pit swells, empowered by Juan Juarez’s shredding in ‘The Aftermath’. These guys are real showmen, they’ve got their performance down and the audience love every second. The end of their set comes all too soon, and the crowd is left tired but eagerly anticipating what is to come. Belgian Aborted soon follow, and the fierceness of the crowd continues with them. Vocalist Sven “Scencho” de Caluwé commands the legions of followers to unleash hell, and they do, to ‘Fecal Forgery’ and ‘Coronary Reconstruction’. Guitarists Danny Tunker and Mendel Bij De Leij (sporting a classy Battlefield 3 t-shirt) bring the rabid fury in ‘The Holocaust Incarnate’ and ‘The Origin of Disease’, taking no prisoners and fanning the already uncontrollable blaze before them. Adrenaline fuelled fans force their way forward, clambering up onto stage and leaping head-first into the pit. A great show, ending with a mass crowd stage dive, but the best is yet to come. Vader are one of the biggest acts spawned by Poland, and are hailed as one of the driving forces of their death metal scene. It is only fitting that they play a set exclusively from 1997’s ‘Black to the Blind’ and 1994’s ‘Sothis’. Diving straight in with ‘Sothis’, vocalist Piotr Wiwczarek demands that the audience take all of their fire and adrenaline, and turn on each other. To the sound of ‘True Names’ and ‘Foetus God’, they obey; fan is pitted against fan, resulting in a vista of human carnage. Covers of ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Raining Blood’ are instant crowdpleasers and end the show on an absolute high. Easily one of the best gigs of the year and the Underworld was the perfect venue. Without doubt, this needs to happen again.
Reportage by Nelly Loriaux, Atle Bakken and Valery Dulait Photos Nelly Loriaux - Building exterior by Bukaljo/Image & Co MIDEM 2013 opened its door, for the 47th time, for its annual business event dedicated to the music industry. Considered the biggest music conference in the world, it was business as usual. Attendance was, however, down 7% from 2012, reflecting the uncertain economical times in some parts of the world. Regardless of the drop in attendees level, MIDEM still represents THE place where ‘’music makers, cutting edge technologies, brands and talents come together to enrich the passionate relationship between people and music, transform audience engagement and form new business’’, an essential hub for buyers and sellers to do business with the music industry’s delegates on a global scale. This year key sectors focused on the Music (the core of the music industry), Tech (start-ups and apps developers), Brands and Artists. Through technology and reinvention, the music industry has seen slightly higher sales for 2012. More artists were attending the event, eager to renew contacts or find new ones. Whereas the ‘older’ generation seemed troubled by the enormous impact of technology represented at the conference, the younger folks embraced it with open arms, aware of what all those new opportunities could bring them. So while the tempo of business deals and decision makings may have slowed down, the importance of the seminar updates was crucial for most attendants this year. One increasing trend seemed to be the big brands’ battle to engage in the music world with famous name, such as Hard Rock Cafe, Red Bull or Yamaha, fighting hard to gain a foothold in the market by creating their own labels. ‘’There has never been a better time for brands to go into business. Statistics show that when big brand merge with great music, their brand sales increase. With no publishing, up to 100% royalties, no sharing of touring expenses, it’s a win-win situation for the artists and everyone.’’ says Martin F.Frascogna. However, before you start rushing your demo CD their way, bear in mind that your music may not necessarily fit the profile of the brand (i.e.: Signing for Red bull might not work for a polka band, then again, it could ‘give it some wings’) Incubus manager Steve Rennie gave some insights on how to build a successful music career, detailing each element that will help you strive in this seemingly cut throat world. Five key points in his presentation which artists should do well to remember: Great products, Distribution, Marketing and Promotion, Management and Money to make it happen. As the man said ‘’Dream it. Do it. But you have to decide if it’s a hobby or a career. Then think internationally! Hook up to the big Hubs!’’. The IMS people from Ibiza and Washington DC, Ben Turner and Kurosh Nasseri, were also on hand to unveil a trade body for the electronic music. The EDM genre has gained worldwide popularity but has, so far, lacked the recognition it deserved; this new venture will at long last redress this shortfall and give the chance of a proper representation to the global electronic music world .Niles Rodgers will be the first ambassador to communicate with the Grammies, Brit Awards, iTunes, publishers and so on, helping artists to develop their careers. "I am honoured to be invited to be an Ambassador of the newly-formed Association for Electronic Music. Dance music is life-changing and life-enhancing; it’s a way of life for millions around the world. I am delighted to see the industry pulling together to represent its interests. Change comes from within, as I've seen with my work on the Grammys. And I feel this group of people have already proven their visions and durability. Now it’s their time to be embraced on an equal footing by the wider music industry. I am delighted to help them try to achieve this." Many digital music services were showcasing what their platform could do for the up and coming artists. Amongst all those was JAMENDO, the world’s largest digital service for free music; its entire catalogue, licensed under Creative Commons, allows artists to publish their music and preserve their rights whilst providing the users the freedom to download the music for free and get a remuneration in case of commercial use through music licenses sold to professionals. This is an innovative concept by all account but whether this kind of platform will create a real advantage for artists in the long term and not just fat bonuses for the business stock holders, still remains to be seen…… The music industry as a whole seemed to have finally realised that people are engaging their love of music in new ways, and the way forward is to invest in an innovative approach in order to attract its paying customers. Gone are the days when people would primarily go to their local music stores to buy that cherished album they had been waiting for all year, more and more interactions are done online or directly through the artists themselves. So even if the conference may have lost a bit of its sparks (Even MIDEM itself showed some sign of a downturn; After 45 years of splendour and champagne last year was missing an opening party altogether whilst this year it was wine and beer, but you had to buy your own cup), it is still a worthwhile international b2b event to put in your calendar; MIDEM retains, for now, the crown as the perfect vessel for labels, publishers, established artists and emerging bands to meet, discuss and share ideas on how to embrace those new challenges . Once all the wheeling and dealing was done for the day, it was time for the live music to take centre stage. For the second year running Midem’s participants and the general public were treated to 3 nights of live performances, 100 showcases mixing acclaimed headliners as well as emerging artists. With so many bands on offer, it was tough deciding which performances to attend, but here are the few bands we managed to see.
MIDEM FESTIVAL As part of the Midem tradeshow, the festival took place on the esplanade of the Palais Des Festival in a Circus-like trendy wooden venue referred as ‘Magic Mirrors’. 3 nights, 10 concerts, delivered in front of International music professionals and everyday fans.
surprising the media with the speed of their growing popularity. They have played at AND sold out many festivals (Budokan in particular) and won best album of the year at the Japan Records awards in 2012. Having one of their single, ‘Starlight Parade’, chosen for the NHK radio network campaign, has certainly helped them to amass even more followers. They have so far established themselves in the Asian market and now feel it is time to bring their Pop/Electronica sound to a wider audience. Packing up the venue tonight, they have started their voyage to conquer the world, Fukase’s robotic voice adding everyone in the audience to his collective: ‘Resistance is futile’ Later on in the evening the ‘Canadian Blast’ showcase gave us a chance to meet one of the best Christian artist coming out of Canada. Manafest ( AKA Chris Greenwood), whose rock anthem ‘Impossible’ featuring Trevor McNevan has already become a global hit, brought his gritty Rock-infused Hip-Hop rhymes to the Morrison’s Irish pub. An explosive 30mns set, with songs from both ‘The Chase’ and ‘Fighter’ albums, ripping up everyone‘s face with his fusion of rock and rap style. OTHER ‘SHOWCASES’
Taking the headline slot for the first night on Saturday was none other than Madness. The British Ska sensation, starting their set with the familiar ‘One Step Beyond’, thrilled us all with some old yesteryear hits as well as new ones from their 10th album ‘ Oui, Oui, Si, Si, Ja, Ja, Da, Da’. It may be 30 years since they were last here at the Palais promoting their ‘Take It Or Leave It’ documentary, but they haven’t been forgotten. Their loyal fans welcomed them back like the prodigal son, ignoring the hype from next door NRJ awards, for the chance to jive and sing along the ’quintessentially British’ songs. Sunday was the proud moment for Birdy Hunt, winner of the ’pitch your song for Midem’ competition, to showcase their infectious Indie-Pop/Rock tunes and the official MIDEM song ‘ Your Friend’, a happy-go-lucky little number not far off from Two Door Cinema Club’s ‘This Is Your Life’ made famous through the Debenhams advert. A splendid performance that will help them to further put their mark on the French pop-rock scene.
Archive was at the rendez vous to close the Midem festival on Monday showcasing their latest album ‘With Us Until You’re Dead’. The London-Paris-Brighton based ‘collective’ mesmerised their devoted audience (France is by far the place where they have the most success) with their part orchestral, part electronic, part soulful and part progressive very much avant-garde songs. A few previous hits surfaced in their set, including my all time favourite, the bittersweet emotionally charged ‘Fuck You’. MIDEM OFF In parallel with the MIDEM Festival, smaller free concerts occurred throughout Cannes’ trendy bars, each night and venue the vessel for some Midem’s participants’ music ‘venture’. Saturday kicked off at the B.pub with the ‘Jamendo Night’, an evening of live concerts introducing us to some of the artist who have decided to trust the number 1 platform to share their music for free. WE ARE FM, an alternative electro-rock band from Amsterdam, gave it its best, skilfully rocking the crowd with their electronic tunes and beats. Their first album ‘Season One’ has received commendable success through its licensing with Jamendo, gathering over 100.000 downloads and tonight’s enthusiastic response has definitely brought a few more fans that will rush home to download the songs themselves. If you come to think of it, why don’t you do the same and find out for yourself, after all you can listen to it for free and it may well be your cup of tea. Sunday was Live Nation turn to take over the B.Pub with a night of electro/rock/pop new talents from France and Japan. One band I was particularly keen to ‘get acquainted’ with was the Live Nation Japan protégé SEKAI NO OWARI (End of the World). Coming out of nowhere, the 4 childhood friends (‘Peace’, ‘1’, ‘Saori’ and DJ LOVE’) have made a huge impact in the Japanese music industry,
-Malaysia made a first time appearance at Midem, bringing more than 15 labels at its pavilion. It hosted a very high profile music event called “Malaysian Supernova” featuring eight very talented artists including alt rockers Hujan, pop-punk outfit Bunkface, electro DJs duo Goldfish & Blink, pop singer Jaclyn Victor, electro pop diva Ze!, reggae performer Sasi The Don and R&B acts Nadhira and Amanda Imani. All the artists ,primarily chosen for their English-language repertoire and the diversity of genres they work in, received a warm reception from the respectably sized crowd with Amanda Imani, debuting her fresh compositions ‘Salem’, ‘Black Widow’, ‘City Of Angel’ and her latest single ‘Like A Boss’, ostensibly drawing the most attention with her contemporary pop/RnB/ soulful songs. -Music Finland’s stand provided me with the most amazing discovery. This ‘new’ organization, here to promote the success and awareness of the Finnish music industry, represented a wide spectrum of Folk, Jazz, Indie, Classical, Metal and Rap companies. What was so unusual you may wonder? The artist it brought along for its Welcome snacks and drinks’ invitation at the Nordic pavilion.
SIGNMARK (AKA Marko Vuoriheimo), born deaf into a world where music is predominantly for the hearing, was ‘on hand’ to showcase some of his material to the astounded audience and teach a few rappin’ sign language moves to Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb on ‘Against The Wall’ . Having released the world’s first sign language hip-hop DVD in 2006, he was asked to join the national Eurovision Song contest where he came second. His growing success got him a record deal with Warner Music, becoming the first world’s deaf artist to be signed to an international major label. With hip-hop artist Brandon (his voice for the hearing audience) supporting his albums, videos and live shows, Marko is keen to change people’s perception towards the Deaf, demonstrating to us all that music is more than what you can hear. -Russia’s corner was my coup de foudre during the three days spent in Cannes. When thinking about Russia, the first thing that will probably spring to your mind (and mine for the matter) is either classical ballet or Kalinka-Malinka. So imagine my surprise when the rather extravagant Cleopatra costume that caught my eyes whilst strolling past the ‘Evdokimov Show Theatre’ stand turned out to be used in a rather more un-stereotypical Russian show. Anatoliy Evdokimov, the man behind this rather ‘unorthodox’ Russian routine, was here to present his cutting-edge cabaret-like show to the bemused Midem delegates. Anatoly doesn’t regard himself as a ‘Drag queen’ but more as cross gender artist performing a very expensive travesty recital, a costumed production covering a cross-culture and cross-eras from Egyptian gods to Lady Gaga “I'm an artist who does 50 images in a show. I am a theatrical person. It's a theatrical show. Rome, Cleopatra, Whitney, Diana Ross, Shirley Bassey - it's more interesting than just being a beautiful diva’’. What started as a bit of fun, entertaining the clientele at the bar he was moonlighting at as a law student, has now become a mega-show performed in big concerts all over Russia and at corporate events or parties for the rich and famous. The prohibitive cost of bringing the show to a ‘wider’ audience has so far restrained this amazing performance to a more exclusive well-off clientele, but I do hope Midem will bring them ample opportunity to expand further in Europe. My first time at Midem was a blast, the only downside being the sheer amount of bands’ clashing schedules and my only wish being able to become a ‘Chronic Argonaut’ and travel back in time in H.G.Wells’ Time Machine to catch all the artists I missed.
BON JOVI Because We Can
JOHNNY MARR The Messenger
Universal – 26th March
Southern Lord – Out Now
I don’t normally review music sent with a ‘5 streams only’ systems, partly for the lack of trust and respect for our work this implies, but mainly because I can’t review an album in 5 listens. Well, most times… There are exceptions, and a new Bon Jovi album is one of them. After all, what can you possibly say in ‘What About Now’ that hasn’t already been told about the previous 11 releases by our New Jersey hero? Five plays will do. I was – and to some extent still am – a Bon Jovi fan. I remember leaving the local record store with 3 vinyls I still treasure, back when I discovered hair metal in 1986: Motley Crue ‘Theatre of Pain’, Poison ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In’ and Bon Jovi ‘Slippery When Wet’. I remember queuing from 9am to get a front spot at the New Jersey tour (and I still have the t-shirt to prove it). Then hair metal, Bon Jovi and I all grew old; Bon Jovi and I, differently from hair metal, did it gracefully and survived to these days. After ‘New Jersey’, Bon Jovi kept selling out arenas and recording new albums. Both his shows and records have been successful on the same principle: you know what you’re getting. No clumsy efforts to keep up with times, and why should he, when his music is timeless and appealing to such a broad audience. The effort is put instead into offering a product and a show never below expectations, and many should learn a lesson in professionalism from Bon Jovi. ‘What About Now’ breaks into the speakers with up-tempo ‘Because We Can’ followed by ballad ‘I’m With You’; then up-tempo again, ballad again, and there it is, another Bon Jovi album, with its all-American flavour and the guarantee of more sold out arenas singing along with their favourite cowboy. Shall I pick one for the next greatest hits, I would have to go for ‘That’s What The Water Made Me’ or ‘What’s Left of Me’. Bon Jovi’s consolidated fan base, once again, won’t be disappointed, neither will be the rest of the world: no nasty surprises, it’s just another Bon Jovi album. Cristina Massei
That this is only Baptists debut full length is something to marvel. From the opening discordant beats of Betterment they hit you with 11 incredibly focused tracks of volatile hardcore. Drowning elements of D-beat, punk and grind in a heavy wave of distortion, each blends into the next, managing to hold down a foul atmosphere around the listener where most bands flounder. Sure it’s not the most original style. It carries all the calling cards of a normal hardcore album, but the passion behind it all lifts it. When they slow down for the beatdown two thirds of the way through Bullets it’s reminiscent of When Eagles Become Vultures because they don’t just drag it out they stop it all together and the subsequent pummelling is akin to been hit by a steam roller. Vocally it’s a throat shredder of a performance that leaves little room for interpretation; when mixed with the crushing drumming, the swamp like guitar lines and the pinch harmonics it’s a racket that threatens your ear drums’ safety. When the pace does slow down it’s a sludgy affair, dripping with emotion as these guys bare everything. Soiled Roots is the track that dominates. The longest on the album by a stretch and the one where they minimise the approach to maximum affect. Letting the clean guitar lines and drums build behind the vocals; building back up to full power. It’s like a breather, but nowhere near as comfortable, as you take in the pissed off, disillusioned lyrics before they kick back in to finish the album as it started. Bands like this come along a lot. The art of sounding on the brink of collapse has been mastered and done over and over. Baptists, like The Secret before them, are one of the few that do it with real feeling. If this is a flash in the pan you’ll know they’ve given it their all after a listen to this. Matthew Tilt
Warner Bros – Out Now Regardless of what you think of The Smiths, Johnny Marr's work in the 80s left an indelible footprint on guitar music in the UK. Having gained popularity worldwide with a collection of critically acclaimed albums, Marr left The Smiths and suddenly the band that was being touted as "the most important rock band of all time" by the NME was no more because Marr was, literally, irreplaceable. After nearly two decades of playing in various bands (Modest Mouse, The Pretenders) and being a gun-for-hire performing session work where needed, Johnny Marr has finally recorded a solo album. And it's pretty much what you'd expect it to sound like... and yet, somehow, not. First of all, there's the guitar sound. Johnny Marr has a distinctive, jangly style which has been a heavy influence on a number of bands that followed his early work. This style is here, in abundance. That heavy influence, though, has a weird result here. Songs like the title track sound very much in the vein of something that The Inspiral Carpets or The Stone Roses, and you find yourself wondering if Marr was the reason they sounded the way they did or if he's been influenced by the bands that followed in his footsteps. New Town Velocity, meanwhile, is a throwback to Marr's time in Electronic. What I wasn't really expecting, however, was the vague tinge of Americana that keeps straying into earshot. A recent interview with The Rolling Stone had Marr saying that he had returned to Manchester to record "The Messenger" because, after years of playing in America and writing with other people's voices in his mind, he wanted to go home and write with (and for) his own voice. And yet, despite that, he sings with an American accent. That doesn't mean that he sounds awful, I hasten to add, just that I found it... odd. Other stand out tracks? Well, "Generate! Generate!" is a stomping little number that verges on pop punk (no, really) while "Say Demesne" is a smokey, moody song that gradually gets more and more bombastic and, I hate to say it, would actually make a pretty good Bond theme. Previous single, "Upstarts" is a jerky, staccato track, "Sun & Moon" reminds me of the Artic Monkeys (not necessarily a good thing...) while "The Crack Up" is a bouncy slice of Britpop Pie. Basically, there's something here for everyone. Even those of us who never actually liked The Smiths in the first place.... Ben Twemlow
FROM THE BOGS OF AUGHISKA Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood Human Jigsaw Records – 18th March
Ask someone to think of Ireland and a lot of images will go through their head. Much like with my own native Scotland a lot of those images will be stereotypes and tourist tat: the Emerald Isle, Guinness, rolling green hills, St Patrick's day, four-leaf clovers. Probably a lot of Father Ted quotes, too. This is not the Ireland Conchúir O'Drona knows. Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood, the second album from his dark ambient project From The Bogs of Aughiska, channels influences from the darker side of the landscape, history and mythology of this Celtic land. This subversion is made clear with first track Aughiska Mor, which opens with birdsong and running water, sounds usually associated with peace and serenity but overlaid with discordant notes, turning what should be relaxing into something unpleasant and disturbing. An Seanchai is mostly a spoken word piece as story teller Eddie Lenihen talks of malevolent, murderous fairies and the supernatural, his words given more weight by the swelling drone in the background. Hell Complex was a departure, for me, and initially brought to mind more the synth soundtrack to a dystopian 80's sci-fi movie, at least until the vocals of Maurice de Jong from Gnaw Their Tongues turned it into something more chaotic. I Rise in Bealtaine, Turn to Ash in Samhain is softer, more mournful and backed with eerie subterranean echoes, leading into Inish Cathaigh, another spoken word piece. I don't know the source but it's suitably atmospheric, a lost and broken man decrying God, accompanied by the distant whale-like moans of some vast leviathan. Title track Roots of the Earth Within My Blood pulls you from this melancholy with a series of languid but jarring chords followed by a sudden jump into a violent metal drumbeat and throat-ripping vocals. The album ends with Conversatio Morum, six minutes of chanting monks overlaid with a distortion effect that almost sounds like the wind blasting against ancient stone. A lot of dark ambient makes for good, eerie background music but From The Bogs... refuse to be left in the background. These are bleak, angry and often violent soundscapes that grab hold of your nerves and twist as hard as they can. Roots Of This Earth Within My Blood paints a picture of dark brooding landscapes and merciless winds, of baleful supernatural entities stalking desolate wastes. It's not always a pleasant listen but it does evokes a kind of grim darkness in a way few other bands can. David Lees
Indie Recordings – Out Now First conceived as a one man project by Andreas Tylden (One Head, One Tail), in the past five years Altaar have been evolving by adding members – Sten Ole Toft (Faux Pas/ Ryfylke, Espen Hangard (KILLL/NoplaceToHide), Kenneth Lamond (JR Ewing) and Didrik Telle (Obliteration). The final result is a combination of doom, ambient and psychedelica. Through two tracks over the 10 minutes mark, Altaar figure out the best way sometimes to draw in a listener is to build up the intensity: the slow intro to ‘Tidi Kjem Aldri Att’ consists of a sparse use of instrumentation and yet, by the time the riff fades out 17 minutes in, things begin to get more sinister, as a distorted synth sound is only accompanied by the single beat of a drum. A sheer sense of terror begins to envelop and then… silence. Like any good tension in a movie, the true scare comes to what you don’t expect it and as, the next track begins, it twists itself into a more ambient atmosphere; after a long enough wait, the listener now hear distorted guitar and a drum fill. ‘Dei Absolutte Krav Og Den Absolutte Nåde’ is the closest you get to ‘convention’ on this record, but it doesn’t sully the experience: the crescendo hits and a feeling of satisfaction crosses over. This is doom at its finest – time for you to leap into Altaar’s world. Matt Dawson
As a child of the late 80s, I hate comparing bands to Guns’n’Roses: I feel like a nostalgic old fart blindly waiting for the return of the Messiah and ignoring all that wonderful new blood out there. But the truth is, not only WERE they good, they were also playing that kind of rock that is timeless and ageless… when done properly. So, in this particular occasion, hope you can forgive me for the obvious comparison, as I will happily forgive Voodoo Vegas for having killed all Axl Rose’s hope of resurrection in just one album. As Jimmy Silver rises and gets ready to go paint the town red, Voodoo Vegas also prepare to emerge in the UK rock scene as the new hard rock act to watch. Catchy, infectious and designed to headbang your heart out, the songs on this album draw influences as well from Skid Row and Hanoi Rocks and steer clear from the fancier hair metal cousins (i.e. Poison and similar); the result is a set of tracks bound to appeal to most hard rock fans, but with enough character to be recognized, stick in many heads and stand the test of time. The outstanding tracks are finally brought to life by Lawrence’ gritty vocals, supported by an incendiary combination of musical talent and the production of a seasoned pro like Pedro Ferreira (The Darkness, Therapy?, Enter Shikari, Tokyo Dragons and more). I can’t for the love of God pick a favourite; right now I’m listening to ‘Ferry Song’ and can barely keep still enough to type this. Here lies W. Axl Rose, born William Bruce Rose Jr, raised as William Bruce Bailey. May he Rest In Peace. Cristina Massei
UDR Records - Out Now
7Stones Records – Out Now Crafted with the same care as classic progressive concept albums such as The Wall, War Of The Worlds and others, Kompendium is the brainchild of Rob Reed – known for his work with Magenta – who brought together an assorted mixture of legendary musicians from the scene; think Steve Hackett, Gavin Harrison, Nick Barrett, Francis Dunnery and Steve Balsamo to name a few. As expected with talent of this calibre, the music within is of the highest standard. The mix of Balsamo’s operatic vocals and the various instrumentations mix together beautifully; something that, given the concept of the album itself (a story about grief and an unexpected reunion) is a nice surprise. Another key description when it comes to Beneath The Waves is power: the true nature of the English Chamber Choir, Synergy Vocals and London Session Orchestra really shine, as a welcome addition to the biggest moments on the album – ‘Mercy Of the Sea’ and ‘Il Tempo E Giunto’ (where Rhys Meirion take centre stage). What Kompendium have created with Beneath The Waves is a concept album that isn’t too taxing; one that can be enjoyed not just by any fan of progressive rock but, due to the diverse nature of musicians on display, fans of music itself. An album that shows the true nature of prog.
Cargo Records – 4th March
KOMPENDIUM Beneath The Waves
ALTAAR Self Titled
VOODOO VEGAS The Rise of Jimmy Silver
VREID Welcome Farewell
FIGHTS AND FIRES We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow
It’s amazing how bands that have always been classed as ‘true black metal’ are starting to fight against the perception – mostly to laugh at the elitist reactions if anything else, but when bands like Vreid put out quality of this nature well, elitists be damned! The band have used the description of ‘Black ‘N’ Roll’ (which started on Darkthrone’s Total Death – Black Victory Of Death according to Fenriz) to describe their output and some of the traditional methods still remain in places (screaming vocals, guitar tone and more), but tracks like ‘The Devil’s Hand’ combine the forces of thrash and death in a good way. Vreid manage to cross the line; going back to the darker tones of the past allows them to expand more on the mixture they’ve created within themselves. Songs like ‘The Reap’ are a gateway to new fans, while others keep a traditional sound for those that prefer it. If you like your black metal mixed with a bit of rock, Welcome Farewell will sit nicely with your copies of recent Darkthrone.
Fights And Fires’ brand of energetic punk mixed with rock and roll returns, as the West Midlands boys prove why they should be in your punk collection alongside bands like Gallows and Cancer Bats. Whereas others try and replicate the full venom found on recent albums such as Grey Britain, the balance between having fun and serious business is executed well here; Phillip Cox’s shouting ‘Let’s hear a voice, ugly and pissed off ’ (‘You don’t Always Reap What You Sow’) are made accessible by the near pogoing guitar tone by Ryan Price (the intro for ‘Rats And Vultures’). Fights And Fires also manage to tackle subjects such as alcoholism and domestic violence (‘Rats And Vultures’) and depression (‘Chase The Blues’) with respect, and call for others to do the same evoking the true spirit of punk. If you’ve not heard Fights And Fires before We Could All Be Dead Tomorrow’s a damn good place to start, whether you want to mosh or just rock out. After all, like a sample used says, ‘Rock And Roll music is an art form’. Matt Dawson
Indie Recordings – Out Now
Blackstar Foundation – 4th March
It would seem churlish and disrespectful to attack Saxon over the same minor niggles that I have with other bands. In fact these guys have made a whole career out of some of the issues I take up with other bands; like the fact that Biff ’s lyrics are more likely to incite snorts rather than emotion. The truth is that this is a good album. It’s like that ridiculous action film you pick up from the bargain bin, you know what you’re going to get and you enjoy every brainless second of it. You know what to expect here; Biff ’s vocals are still impressive, soaring high above a fair few of his peers, and musically it switches nicely between straight up, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. It’ll have you nodding your head within a couple of minutes and then you won’t stop, unless you were daft enough to buy the deluxe edition. See I’ve always had this niggle. If the B-sides, acoustic versions and remixes were good enough they’d drop them on the end of the album. I don’t know how we got to the point where we charge more for crap but the second disc here is just dull. Biff ’s voice is good, but the lyrics too hackneyed for him to pull off an acoustic track, the orchestral track is them trying a little too hard and why would you need re-recorded versions of old songs? Seriously? It’s hardly a glowing recommendation I know, but if you like Saxon you will like Sacrifice, and after a comeback like they managed to pull off, just holding on to that level quality is impressive enough. Just don’t buy into that second CD crap, it isn’t worth, honestly. Matthew Tilt
TRIGGERFINGER All This Dancin’ Around Dramatico - 15th April
Fans of QOTSA and stoner lovers in general, there’s something good for you hitting the UK with a force rarely seen before. Already released in their homeland Belgium, Triggerfinger’s latest album ‘All This Dancin’ Around’ is about to be officially unleashed on our shores, accompanied by a string of headlining dates early March. Heavy-bluesy with more than a hint of Zeppelin and made subtly introspective by Ruben Block’s velvety, sinuous vocals, Triggerfinger will go down well with followers of the genre but are likely to impress most rock types. If you were lost for words at that sold out Hammersmith Apollo watching Them Crooked Vultures bring the house down, ‘All This Dancin’ Around’ is the next album for your collection. I won’t deny that it may get at times too ‘introspective’ with tracks like ‘Without A Sound‘ or ‘All Night Long’ (not the best choice with your morning coffee) and following ‘Feed Me’ (warning: contains traces of modern Marilyn Manson); but then it’s back to Mr Mario Goossens and his drumming skills tearing your speakers off again, with heavier ‘Cherry’ and ‘Tuxedo’, before hitting the blues chord hard with ‘It Hasn’t Gone Away’. A positive album, yet one of those you will listen to knowing that some music just has to be captured live; get your copy and tickets at once to avoid disappointment. Cristina Massei
ORIANTHI Heaven In This Hell
Spinefarm/Robo Records – 11th March A beautiful young woman with a warm, vibrant voice and monstrous guitar skills, appreciated and used by many in the world of rock and pop: from Michael Jackson to Alice Cooper, Orianthi has an impressive CV before even touching 30. With her third full length ‘Heaven in This Hell’ she steers clear of the two main clichés you could expect her to fall into, creating a record that is neither an elitist showcase of her guitar virtue, nor a collection of forgettable girlie pop songs. ‘Heaven in This Hell’ features 11 radio friendly hard rock pieces that are bound to please large crowds from stage but can also conquer from the privacy of a good pair of headphones; it’s the kind that could do well on any American movie score, the album you would take with you for a long road trip and play on the freeway with the car top down. The unpretentiousness and bare simplicity of the tracks, however, doesn’t prevent Orianthi’s skills from shining through, in a well assorted mixture of bluesy tunes (my personal favourite ‘Filthy Blues’), powerful ballads (‘If You Think You Know Me’ or the beautiful, jazz-tinged ‘How Do You Sleep’) and hard rock numbers (‘Fire’). A touch of country atmosphere (‘Rock’) and a few riffs betray the influence of Nashville, where the album was recorded. Produced by Dave Stewart, ‘Heaven in This Hell’ is likely to be the album delivering Orianthi’s extraordinary talent to the masses. One of the top young guitarists out there, a gifted singer, with this record Orianthi graduates as well in song writing, as rock delivers to the world one of its most ambitious promises. Cristina Massei
SOUND CITY Reel by Reel
RCA Records – 3rd March Dave Grohl just doesn’t stop does he? This massively ambitious project, the companion piece to his directorial debut Sound City, brings together his peers, friends and idols in a bid to create something that does justice to the now defunct Sound City Studios. Now regardless of the quality, the fact that he pulled this off would be tribute enough but somehow he hits the mark a good 90% of the time; the jammy bastard. Cut Me Some Slack; the collaboration between the surviving members of Nirvana and Paul McCartney still stands out here, despite extensive radio play. It’s dirty, grungy feel is given a boost by McCartney’s best vocal performance in years, and his deft touch with the lyrics. You Can’t Fix This is another highlight, pulling in the moody throat of Stevie Nicks for a slow, eighties pop influenced track. There aren’t any bad tracks here; just ones that fail to grab you in the same way. Corey Taylor puts in a valiant effort on From Can to Can’t but it never fully gets off the ground, while A Trick With No Sleeve is marred by its position between the beautiful Centipede and Cut Me Some Slack. It does seem harsh to criticise though, when bands who have worked with each other for years can knock out a dud and Dave has pulled this together with different members, talents and egos filling the room each time. It’s well worth the money, the film is well worth seeing and people need to know what is happening to these analogue studios. Without them the people here would never have got off the ground.
STRATOVARIUS Nemesis earMUSIC – Out Now
It’s fair to say that Stratovarius have been through the war so to speak: five years ago could have been the end of it all, as Timo Tolkki gave his intention to completely disband the project. Luckily cooler heads prevailed and we now get Nemesis, an album that vocalist Timo Kotipelto calls their best album in 12 years (as you will know if you’ve read the interview on page 4!). While on ‘Nemesis’ you get the melodic metal (‘Fantasy’, ‘Dragons’), songs about triumph (‘Unbreakable’ and ‘Stand My Ground’) and no reliance on orchestral symphonies, there are moments where we see them go slightly more on the commercial side. Jens Johansson’s keyboards are very prominent throughout; sadly at points it does become distracting, to the point of a weird near-dubstep moment on ‘Halcyon Days’. Nevertheless, we get a strong vocal performance from Timo, good solos by Matais Kupiainen and a good debut for Rolf Pivre. While Nemesis isn’t exactly on the ‘heavy’ side, it is enough to satisfy the fans of melodic/power metal and is Stratovarius’ strongest in some time. Matt Dawson
IRON MAIDEN Maiden England EMI – 25th March
Birmingham NEC November 27/28th 1988 – riding on the wave of one of their greatest albums ‘Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son’, Iron Maiden put on a show that is remembered by many to this day. Now, as we reach 25 years of this landmark album, the band have decided to reissue that epic concert in anticipation of the UK and European leg of the Maiden England tour, including a performance at the Download Festival. For those that haven’t heard this before – aside from the obvious WHY NOT? – this is a perfect time to do so. ‘Seven deadly sins, seven ways to win, seven holy paths to hell and your trip begins…’ Bruce Dickinson proclaims as ‘Moonchild’ begins, and the crowd roars in approval knowing exactly what they’re going to get: a goddamn Maiden show, Steve Harris playing the bass as only he can, the galloping riffs that Maiden are known for so well through Adrian Smith and Dave Murray, and of course Bruce’s banter with the crowd. Old Maiden fans will pick the DVD up for the new documentary [sadly we have not seen it at the time of going to press] but the novices need to count this, in whatever form they choose, as an essential purchase and get ready for June when the four words shall be said once more… ‘Scream for me Donington!’ Matt Dawson
JERUSALEM IN MY HEART Mo7it Al-Mo7it Constellations Records - 18th March GINGER WILDHEART Mutation: The Frankenstein Effect and Error 500
Out now via Pledge Music.com – commercial release TBC With the acclaimed 555% and his more poppunk Hey Hello! Project behind him, Ginger Wildheart goes into more extreme waters with the Mutation project, one that began 2 and a half years ago. It starts with The Frankenstein Effect – an album that, out of the two, could be seen by many as the ‘accessible’ one, due to tracks such as ‘Rats’ and ‘Friday Night Drugs’ still having the hooks to urge people in comfortably. The latter half however starts showing more of a dark side with ‘Gruntwhore’, as Scott Lee Andrews from Exit International, Tom Spencer from The Yo-Yos along with Rich Jones and the legend that is Paul Catten allow the madness of Mutation to take hold. As this album ends with turning Carrion Blue’s catchy chorus, the full garden of delights hasn’t even BEGUN to be opened. ‘ENTER Error 500’ –a more genre defying type album . With most tracks being a 3 guitar, 2 bass led attack, they don’t remain in one particular world: something akin to thrash can suddenly turn into Cardiacs crossed with Carcass VERY quickly. Highlights include the two tracks containing a true musical legend in Mark E Smith, in which you can hear the band’s delight at working with him – cue people saying given The Fall’s history that CAN’T be right -, the pure Cardiacs flashback that is ‘Sun Of White Leg’ and the manic closer ‘Benzo Fury’. It’s brilliant to know that in 2013 we can get two albums containing members of Hawk Eyes, Oaf, Pulled Apart By Horses and Bleach Blood alongside legends such as Shane Embury, Mark E Smith, Merzbow, Paul Catten and of course Ginger himself – pure music by true musicians. Pledge now or wait for the commercial release – either way GET THESE ALBUMS. Matt Dawson
ANCIENT VVISDOM Deathlike
Prosthetic Records – Out Now There’s something about Ancient VVisdom that brings true the old adage of ‘the Devil has all the best tunes’; occult rock can be a very dividing genre after all, there’s only so many times you can hear the whole ‘Hail Satan’ deal before it all runs together. Ancient VVisdom on the other hand have been one of those bands that caught the metal world by surprise with their debut A Godlike Inferno back in 2011, managing to fuse an acoustic and electric mix plus unusual percussion to create music that would send chills down the spines of any Westboro members. Now with Deathlike we have a slight expansion in sound; there’s still that everlasting feeling of pure darkness thanks to Nathan Opposition’s vocals, with the listener feeling every note of despair that occurs, but there’s less rituals towards the Dark Lord this time around. On this album things get slightly more introspective as songs such as ‘Waiting To Die’ show the fight in someone’s mind when they feel that they have nothing left, while ‘Last Man On Earth’ with its blues gallop influence twists the concept given in books such as The Omega Man to their own needs. Once again, Ancient VVisdom prove how occult rock can be done – Satan doesn’t ALWAYS have to be the darkness that brings creativity. Matt Dawson
JOLLY The Audio Guide to Happiness Part II InsideOut – 4th March
During the build up to this second instalment of Jolly’s The Audio Guide To Happiness something that would make anyone unhappy occurred: Hurricane Sandy had left devastation in its wake as Louis Abramson’s home - also a practice space and recording studio for the band - was damaged, leading to Jolly asking loyal fans to help them raise money for new equipment. After all that we get the second volume (for those not in the know Volume 1 of The Audio Guide of Happiness was released in 2011), a collaboration between them and a professor who conducted studies on 5,000 students at a nearby university to see what type of musical tone would evoke feelings of happiness upon listening to it. Think a more in-depth idea of recent viral videos of how songs such as Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters sound in the more upbeat major scale; as we begin with a voice telling us to ‘free our mind’ and to ‘transcend the subjective’, the album seems more of a self-help guide than anything else. Yet when the music kicks in it’s reminiscent of Devin Townsend’s Accelerated Evolution album, and Anadale displays his unique take on vocals, showcasing the power of classic rock with the right flourishes for the progressive nature of the tracks within. Will ‘The Audio Guide To Happiness Part II’ make you feel that little bit more warm inside? For sure the mixture of relaxation and action on tracks like ‘Aqualand and The 7 Suns’ will leave any prog fan with a smile on their face. Matt Dawson
Even when this album is at its harshest there’s something truly beautiful about it. A solo project from Radwan Ghazi Moumneh, a fixture of the Montreal music scene, Jerusalem in my Heart sees him go back to his Arabic roots, combining traditional instrumentation and vocal patterns with electronic, almost drone like, backgrounds. What’s most surprising about this is how accessible it is. While not for everyone, those who give it a chance will find something new on every listen. Subtle changes in tone create something that becomes almost visual in its clarity. That Radwan uses lights and projections to expand this isn’t surprising, the music almost calls out for it. This is, in the very best way, a soundtrack. Koll Lil-Mali7ati Fi Al-Khimar Al-Aswadi introduces the album, building tension before slipping away in an almost mournful, funeral strand. It then flashes back. Disjointed chords gradually come together while birds chirp in the background. A first meeting. More than the opening you get a feel of culture, of landscapes, this is the album blossoming. Yudaghdegh El-ra3ey Walal-Ghanam speeds it. A fast electronic beat echoes behind the haunting vocals. The camera swoops down around corners, the drama in front of us building. The haunting vocals continue through deathly quiet, only psychedelic swoons and distortions interrupts. Our character is out of body, the camera flying high with nausea inducing angles before crashing back down in a wave of scuzzy, feedback. Clarity returning. Flashing back to that first meeting. The chords, the birds chirping, but this time we head further into the towns, the markets. The pace quickens. I swear you can almost hear the hustle and bustle. Just from the sounds you know there’s something magical. There’s something enchantingly awkward about it, like any first meeting. Any first experience of a cultural hub. Rapidly approaching the end the scene is built in Ko7l El-3ein, 3emian El-3ein. That clean line of melody cutting through waves of modification and distortion. Lifting and falling, speeding up before again hitting more mournful notes. The clean lines are still there, adding hope to the situation but like any great soundtrack, any great film, those moments of clarity are deftly mixed into the darkness. Matthew Tilt
HARDCORE SUPERSTAR C’mon Take On Me Nuclear Blast – 1st March
Back with the 9th full length of their prolific career, Hardcore Superstar persevere in delivering excellent Street Metal to the masses. The ‘bastard son of Thrash and Sleaze Metal’, Street should be bigger as a sub-genre than it actually is; not many bands, however, have the balls and ability to put together two metal branches only usually united by the reciprocal hate between their respective fan bases. With such little competition and longstanding brilliance, Hardcore Superstar are firmly holding the Street crown on their heads. Like most bands, HCSS had their highs and lows. After the success of sophomore ‘Bad Sneakers and a Pina Colada’, ‘Thank You’ and ‘No Regrets’ struggled to keep up the hype, later regained with their self-titled album featuring acclaimed single ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’. HCSS have been keeping a steady fan base since through intense touring and 3 more albums, last one in 2010, followed by their first greatest hits in 2011. Then silence, aside from their explosive shows. Almost like the end of a chapter. Regrouped and rejuvenated, Hardcore Superstar are back with ‘C’mon Take On Me’, a decisive return to form that, for quality and variety, brings them back to the level of ‘Bad Sneakers’ and beyond. ‘Stranger Of Mine’ - the ballad Guns’n’Roses forgot to write follows angry, thrashy ‘Are You Gonna Cry Now’ like it’s the most normal thing on a record, then ‘Won’t Take The Blame’ is back to classic HCSS with a modern touch. There’s even a hint of Skid Row towards the end in ‘Long Time No See’, but most of all there’s a whole album, a whole 12 songs requesting to be explored. No fillers, no repetitions. You know as the mellow intro breaks into the irresistible title track that this one is going to be good, and you won’t be disappointed. Time to get that Pina Colada out of the fridge and make a toast: welcome back boys. Well done. Cristina Massei
By Dan Balchin Here you’ll find some full length reviews, alongside more succinct summaries of the latest in Unsigned and New music. All of these artists deserve your time and attention, so look them up and maybe you’ll find something special. 1. DIVIDED WE FALL
It’s been a little while since I’ve heard a decent female fronted metal group and I have to say the moment I heard Divided We Fall, I knew they would be at the number one spot. The musicianship is nothing short of fantastic and the vocal work is stunning, with quality lyrics to match. A band who deserve to be recognised in the international community. Visit them here - https://www. facebook.com/Dividedwefallmusic For fans of: Evanescence, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil 2. AMBASSADORS OF MOROCCO Loosen Up
swept away by his music. Genuinely enjoyable listen and he’s made a strong start to his career with this EP. Visit them here http:// d ar renc ampb el l.b andc amp.com/ For fans of: Acoustic, Pop, Kooks, Razorlight 4. THE GODDAMN ELECTRIC
Foot-tapping, effortlessly pleasing rock, The Goddamn Electric are a fun loving lot. With a joint passion for music, drink and women, they’re clearly in it for the right reasons. The riffs are catchy, the vocals are pretty decent and I genuinely enjoyed listening to what this group had to offer. The Goddamn Electric are ‘that’ band you walk past at a festival and end up stopping to watch and listen. Visit them here - https://www. facebook.com/thegoddamnelectric For fans of: Faith no more, Blind Melon
7. VUKOVI Sweet Swears [EP]
Vukovi are a strangely captivating lot, with quirky arrangements and vocals which merge the likes of Lacey Sturm from Flyleaf and Bjork together. This band are definitely giving it their all in a valiant bid to stand out from the crowd and I must admit, they got my attention. If somebody like Jools Holland picked
them up, they’d fly high, but until they get that break they need, I feel they’ll be left unfairly on the sidelines. Visit them here - http://www. facebook.com/vukoviband For fans of: Experimental indie-pop 8. COILGUNS Plug in citizens [Single]
5. KING AND COUNTRY Not Alone [Single]
How would Divided We Fall introduce themselves to new fans? Divided We Fall are a 5 piece female fronted symphonic metal band based in Staffordshire. We currently have a 3 track EP released which you can download from our Soundcloud for free. How did you all get started in the music industry and how did the band first come together? It all started whilst at university. We recorded some covers of Nightwish and Within Temptation for a university project. This led to 3 of us writing our own songs and recording them. After receiving positive feedback from our EP we then went on to find a drummer and bassist to complete the band. You have a unique sound and one which feels like a blend of genres. Who are the influences that you cite? As a band we all listen to a wide range of music which influences the music that we write. Some of our biggest influences include: Nightwish, Within Temptation, Children Of Bodom and As I Lay Dying.
Ambassadors of Morocco have a really enjoyable sound. With their relaxed, down-by-the-river, summer sound and uplifting melodies, I can see this band rising fast through the ranks. If they had been around 5 years ago, they would probably have been right on the money. With airplay on national radio, I guarantee they will be the name on people’s lips before the year is up. Visit them here - http://www.facebook. com/pages/Ambassadors-of-Morocco For fans of: The Kooks, Razorlight 3. DARREN CAMPBELL Days to come [EP]
What you get with King And Country is your typical, radio-friendly, alternative rock. Sure, nothing really new here, but there is one difference. This band recognise the path of their influential counterparts- Lower Than Atlantis and have simply adapted their sound to give them a relevant space in the market. Smart thinking and adequate music for this rising group. Visit them here - https://www. facebook.com/kingandcountryband For fans of: Lower Than Atlantis, Story of the year
Now here are a pretty ballsy band with a lot of potential in the screamo, ‘let’s get sweaty and go mental’ market. You get straight up, burst of intense power and angst. Quite honestly, what you see is what you get and I’ve you dig this music then they’ll be the discovery of 2013. Definitely one for playing when those neighbours you hate so much are BBQ’ing outside. Visit them here https:// w w w. f a c e b o o k . c o m / c o i l g u n s For fans of: The Ocean Collective, Hardcore Metal 9. EXVOTOS Oh, believe – All believe
Tell us more about your releases to date. What has the feedback been like from critics, fans and family? So far we have released a 3 track EP which has received fantastic feedback. We have also had a great review from Ravenheart Music who went on to say “ There are 3 rather cool tracks here of melodic symphonic metal, that should strictly speaking propel this band to bigger things.” Whilst we were very pleased with this review, we were even more pleased when a guy at work told us “ It’s no worse than other stuff I’ve heard!” How do you approach song-writing, both lyrically and musically? Who’s in charge? When we wrote our EP the song writing was done by Lee our keyboardist and Matt our guitarist, whilst all Lyrics were written by our vocalist Philippa. Now as a full band, ideas start the same way but songs come together and are finished with our drummer Tom and bassist Dave as a full band. How long do you spend in the studio recording and mixing your releases? At the time of recording our EP we were more of a project than a band. We recorded and mixed the EP ourselves in our spare time. When we go on to record our album we still plan to record and mix ourselves, but it will be of higher priority to finish.
6. WAKE UP CALL Just wanna dance [Single]
Which member of the band takes the longest to lay down their parts? We have discussed this as a band and have come to the conclusion it will probably be
our drummer Tom as he is a perfectionist. How do you feel you’ve progressed as a band, since the early days? Even though we are a fairly new band, we can already feel progression when writing our new material. With our EP we were still in the process of finding our sound, but now we know where we want to go with our music. Does your band have a motto or philosophy? Why create music? For us, it’s about having fun. As long as people want to hear it, we’ll keep making it! What are your plans for 2013 - music, videos, tours? We are in the process of writing new songs and hope to record our first album this year. While with the recording we wont have time to tour, we still plan on playing as many gigs as we can to get our name out there. What is it like on the unsigned circuit? And what is the scene like in your hometown? Stafford itself is quiet these days due to its lack of venues, but we’re not far from places such as Birmingham and Wolverhampton where the metal scene is big. What is your favourite or most funny, wildest moment or story as a band? We’re still too new, ask us again in a year! In your opinion, how is your band different from all the other bands out there? Although we put ourselves in the genre of symphonic metal, we believe our sound is different from existing bands. We have a modern and fresh sound which we believe people interested in this genre will love. Are you big on the social networking scene and where can fans find out more about you? Yes all of our promotion is done through the internet. We update our Facebook page regularly, our EP is available to listen/ download for free. We also have a youtube channel where we post acoustic covers of our favourite songs. www.facebook.com/dividedwefallmusic www.soundcloud.com/dividedwefallmusic www.youtube.com/dividedwefallvideos Do you have any parting words for the followers of Sonic Shocks? Please check out our EP, we welcome all feedback. Like us on Facebook to hear all news regarding album updates and future gigs. If anyone wants to book us for gigs or just have a chat, email us at email@example.com
With the summer soon approaching, although it doesn’t feel that way, it’s time to fine some light-hearted, cheerful tunes and they come courtesy of Darren Campbell. With his ‘Kooks style vocal and pleasant strumming of the guitar, you can’t help but feel
Normally I wouldn’t rank a band like this so high up the top ten list, because they are pretty cringy to listen to. They’ve got that terrible effect-laden vocal running throughout it and the music feels far too mixed and overproduced. However, what you have here are a band sticking to what they know best and creating some catchy pop-rock. A decent solo in this song just about saved it from being distinctly average. Visit him here - http://www. f a c e b o o k . c om / Wa ke Up C a l l ro c k For fans of: Bowling for soup, Sum 41, Fountains of Wayne
Billed as an eclectic-pop band, I feel Exvotos are stuck somewhere between the realms of prog and pop with questionable results. Sure, their music isn’t offensive, nor is it a difficult listen, but it would be more suited as background music in shopping centre lifts than on the global stage. Disappointingly dull. Visit them here - http://www. thepathlesstraveledrecords. c o m / b e l i e v e . h t m For fans of: Prog, Lift music, Sleeping10.
This is by far one of the most confusing sounding bands I’ve heard in a long time. Tinny, limp pop sounding guitars and drums, a frankly painful synth effect which does not seem to want to stop and a terrible attempt at vocals. Take Mcfly and make them worse, take the synth track from any 80’s pop track, throw in wailing squeals and screams and then churn out music under the name The Tax. Horrible music. Visit him here - http://www. facebook.com/thetaxband For fans of: Music with no future
Interview and photos by Cristina Massei A fully packed Borderline awaits young and hopefuls The Temperance Movement tonight. Their first album is not even written, but it’s on their live shows that the band built an expanding fan base and an even more contagious hype. The press is all here to see what the fuss is all about and, preceded by their own growing reputation, TTM are ready to deliver another outstanding performance to yet another sold out audience. But let’s take a step back to this afternoon and let’s meet the next British rock’n’roll heroes: lead singer Phil Campbell and guitarist Luke Potashnick talk to Sonic Shocks. Are you looking forward to the show? Luke: It’s been about 2 months since we played our last gig, we’ve been desperate to play again and playing a sold out show at the Borderline for a room packed full of people is amazing! Phil: It was lovely how it happened: we sold 100 tickets one minute and then in a few days it was sold out, and the Borderline means a lot to us all: it’s one of the last remaining really great rock venues in London. It’s quite upsetting not seeing the Astoria out there anymore… Every time I walk past it I think of all the great gigs I’ve been to there and I’ve been lucky to have played there a couple of times, it’s a real shame but I guess it’s great that The Borderline’s still standing. Plenty of press tonight, you’re getting a lot of attention lately, critics have been talking about you... Luke: Have they? [laughs] Classic Rock called you a ‘band to look out for in 2013’, Planet Rock have given you a runner up spot for best new band – so what’s the nicest thing you think the press has said so far that you think reflects the band? Luke: My favourite one was from Classic Rock, saying we’re a rock and roll band and not just a rock band; it’s very important because ‘just a rock band’ can conjure up different images that I don’t think are synonymous with The Temperance Movement, but Rock And Roll – I think that’s it. There’s a lot of different elements and influences in our music and I think rock’n’roll sums it up better than just rock, so that made me happy. Tell me a bit more about these influences. Phil: We share influences, and I think it’s why we’re all together and that’s how bands work. We’ve all listened to a lot of different music but I got really into The Band, it was about 5 or 6 years ago; I saw The Last Waltz and it seemed like in my group of people everyone was talking about this film and this band looked really cool. The way the film was made - with a group that had a lot of experience together personally on the road - was very attractive, and they were the coolest group I had ever seen. When watching the film I was thinking how I’d love to be in a group like that, and to be able to tell great stories and write great songs. I remember somebody telling me about how The Band wrote songs about everything - politics, America, love and relationships and American history - with a variety of sounds, and they said that all of those sounds together WAS Rock and Roll and that’s what they were. Then I saw Luke for the first time at the Troubadour in Earls Court playing with another group and he just looked like Robbie Robertson [Luke laughs] and I thought I wanted to be in a band with him; we went to get something to eat he said ‘I’d love to get a band together that’s like those guys , maybe bring it up to date like Black Crowes’ and we talked about it. This was about 5 years ago and I was in London at the time; I originally come from Glasgow and I had to move back shortly after we met, but about 18 months ago it was the right time to do it. Luke said he and Paul had started a band and asked if I would I like to be the singer. Are you back in Glasgow or live in London? I live in Glasgow still. How do you guys work around the long distance issue? Luke: It’s not a problem, with writing songs I think the distance between us was great and we were sending ideas up and down – one would send it to Glasgow then it would come back with ideas from Phil, then we develop it further and whenever we could we’d get Phil down via the night bus in Glasgow and at the time we’d just spend days in my living room getting these songs together for 6- 8 months. We put a lot of time into it because we wanted the band to be about the songs as opposed to just the sound of it. The sound comes through what every member individually brings to the table, but we wanted it to be about the songs. The distance however is not a problem – we tour all over the place and when you get home it’s nice to have a bit of distance. Everybody in the group has their experience of travelling and working and the distance was not going to be an issue. Phil, how was it working with other people compared to your past solo experience? It was completely life changing in terms of music and creativity. Sharing with people what I had always done on my own was liberating and it enabled me to get in touch with the best of myself I think. Sharing a lyric then changing it, listening to the way it was written and guitar chords, trying to hear what somebody else hears not just what you hear is great. I now advise people to collaborate because you’ll get the best out of yourself. Luke: It’s a difficult thing to collaborate especially with music or something artistic. I think this band is no exception, everyone has their own views and pretty strong opinions plus everyone has done and accomplished a lot on their own, but The Temperance Movement is five guys saying ‘I’ve done a lot of that and now I want to be in a band and share the load, bounce ideas off people and get to a different place that I couldn’t without them’, so there’s a real sense
of giving whether it’s the playing or the song writing and we’re all great mates. Do you see each other outside of the band then? Luke: Absolutely. We’re all excited at how things are going and getting to tour and play shows around the world is very exciting. Is there any particular message you try to get across with your songs? Phil: I think we deal a lot with the process of growing up, as we all have lived our life for music and have given our lives to that maybe at the expense of other things; but I think we realised that the other things are what life is really about, so there are maybe hints of that and at least for me that’s a release. I will scream and shout and it makes me feel better, but it was never like ‘we’re going to have a band that’s going to be like this’, regimented with a mission. It HAS become that The Temperance Movement is bigger than all of us, the friendship between us is as strong as the songs and music. You met up about 5 years ago – looking back have they gone really fast? Luke: They have and I think that’s because there’s been so much positivity and we get to do what we want to do. As Phil said there’s no mission statement really. We had a rough idea of what we were trying to do, we started doing it and it was good and we’re really proud of it. We’re trying to fill the shoes of what this has become now, I think it’s gone quickly but only because things have been positive and we’ve been working so hard at it. Phil: Maybe we had to work even a bit harder due to the distance, but I think it’s all the better for it, with all things in life - if it’s good you’ve got to work hard for it. The positivity really comes across here, do you feel you can say the same when playing live? I think it’s VERY important to be positive in Rock’n’Roll as it can be negative, riotous, visceral and hateful; we’re not about that and it’s really about where you come from. The gig tonight, we just want people to have a good time and enjoy seeing a live band for the sake of the times we’ve seen bands ourselves. Nicest thing a fan has ever said to you? Phil: It’s weird now with Facebook because you get such a direct connection and I think that’s help our positivity, so many great comments and it’s hard to pick any out! Luke: I’ve had people who said songs that I sung have helped them through illnesses and bad relationships and it keeps you level because it can be all so ego driven – music has always helped me and it’s nice to hear that the music you made helped somebody else.
That’s the thing I like – you can talk about breakups and get someone to jump out a window or make them feel better, there’s two ways to talk about it. Phil: There’s only so much Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen you can listen to! My general positivity drives me on and we all think driving ourselves is the point of life, so naturally it’s in the music. Did you ever get a negative moment, start writing then just stopped and left it there? There’s been times when I’ve wrote lyrics and wanted to leave the room, but the fact that I didn’t lead us to write another. I think even if we get everything we want – touring the US and Japan - we’re all in it together and there’s going to be issues and tears, but as long as I get a smile back on stage from Paul and the others it’ll be okay. You guys played the Royal Albert Hall too… Phil: We were honoured to play in a line up of legends, members of Deep Purple and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, plus it holds a special place in all our hearts due to the incredible gigs played there that we witnessed or has been documented on the BBC and it was for a great cause, it was one of the highlights so far. Who did you call first to say ‘Hey, I’m playing Royal Albert Hall? Luke: My wife! That was the first gig we got out of a pub that let us hear The Temperance Movement in a big room that felt big enough to handle us and that was a challenge. Tearing the walls down at the back of a pub is great, but to get a sense of it coming back to you it was massively exciting! Anyone in particular you felt star struck by? Luke: I had a really nice brief conversation with Brian May and I’ve listened to Queen all my life, they give me a lot of positive energy, Freddie’s one of the best singers I’ve ever seen in my life but Brian was a massive part of it and is a lovely guy. He’s there playing a solo bit on an acoustic guitar and just being himself, we played the gig and afterwards I saw him there; I thanked him then he said ‘Your band is awesome, you really rock!’ . It was weird and lovely and I was a bit star struck with all of the people there. So you’ve got an EP already out, when is the album due? Phil: The album is almost finished mixing, the biggest problem we had was we recorded a LOT of songs in 4 days and we intentionally left it for a month or two to clear our head before we decided which were going onto the album. We had a lot to choose from and in the end we were as decisive as we can be; there’s just a couple of tweaks needed and we’re talking to 2 to 3 record companies about releasing it in order to get it to as many people as possible. No date yet but we hope for this half of the year, once we find the right home. Where do you want to see the band going this year? Phil: We were lucky to support some friends at Shepherd’s Bush - another great long lasting London venue - in December. Was Little Angels and Skin who are amazing at what they do, and at the end of the night we thought that we could by December 2013 play the venue in our own right – high standards but that’s what we’ve always done. What else can we expect from The Temperance Movement in 2013? Phil: Expect positivity and guys losing it up there [laughs]