SHARLEEN SPITERI // MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS
EDITORS // YOU ME AT SIX // COBRA STARSHIP // ERIK HASSLE
Also : CD REVIEWS // GIG REVIEWS // Movies // TV // COMPETITIONS
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Welcome to the first edition of the Banter in 2010 Happy Birthday to Us, yes itâ€™s the Banters 2nd Birthday. What started as a local project only 2 years ago, the magazine has grown so much in such a short space of time. This is down to the hard work and commitment to the young and talented team of (volunteer) writers we have on board here at the magazine. Anyway enough of singing our own praises letâ€™s get on to this edition. This edition is packed once again with some amazing interviews and features. We have had the pleasure of talking to Mika, Sharleen Spiteri and the Editors as well as catching up with some of the hottest up and coming artists like Marina and the Diamonds, Erik Hassle and Daisy Dares You. We also have all usual features including Ones to Watch, CD Reviews and Gig Reviews as well as a look at the latest Movies, TV and Theatre news, reviews and previews. Remember this magazine is all about you and we are always looking from more contributions from volunteers who may be interested in getting involved. If you think you would like to get involved with the magazine or have any feedback about it or have any suggestions of what you would like to see in future editions then drop us an e-mail at email@example.com
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THE BANTER |
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Issue 1 2010 ● www.thebanter.co.uk
6 INTERVIEW - Sharleen Spiteri
Clare Sinclair talks to Sharleen about her new album ‘The Movie Songbook’, her future plans and what’s coming for Texas.
8 One Creative Scotland
A look ahead to biannual creative event for musicians and artists
14 Interview - Editors
Lisa Boyle catches up with British Indie Rock Band, Editors
21 CD Reviews
We take a look at the best of the music world today
29 T in the Park
We take a look at the announcement of this years biggest festival event in Scotland
30 Interview - Mika
Pop superstar Mika talks about his music, Help for Haiti and his love for the gigs he’s played right here in Glasgow!
34 Look who is 20!
A Happy Birthday to the legendary King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
39 Gig Reviews
A round up of some the hottest gigs in Glasgow over the last few months.
A look at the upcoming movies to hit your screens over the upcoming weeks.
Anna Gault asks “Are Vampire losing their bite?”, we look at The Pacific and your chance to win The Mentalist on DVD
54 Interview - Stephen Moyer
Stephen Moyer aka Bill Compton talks about how True Blood.
58 Are you a Gleek?
Are you a fan of the musical marmite that is Glee.
14 THE BANTER |
ollowing the hit success of not only Texas but also her top three debut solo album Melody, Clare Sinclair talks to Sharleen Spiteri about the new album ‘The Movie Songbook’, her future plans and what’s coming for Texas. After a fantastic and steady 21 year recording career as part of Texas and latterly as a solo performer, Spiteri has branched out with this “kaleidoscopic musical journey from pop to country via disco, bossa-nova, folk, rockabilly, jazz and breath-taking balladry” which showcases many of her favourite movie soundtracks.
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What is “The Movie Soundtrack” and where did it come from? It’s an album full of film music. It basically started with me doing the 25th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever “If I Can’t Have You” the Saturday Night Fever theme tune and that was kind of where it stemmed from, it started from that and so I wanted to something with that and make a complete record. What’s your favourite track on the album? Oh God, a favourite? It’s really weird because they’re all favourite songs of mine – I picked all my favourite songs – I love it but it’s probably “Xanadu” and it’s amazing how people react to that one – it seems to put a big smile on people’s face
Interview and they’re like “oh god, I forgot that I love this song” How are you enjoying working solo? It was never an intentional separation, and I’m actually working on the next Texas record at the moment. Texas has always been something that I’ve always done as well and I always see the guys so I’m doing bits and pieces. It’s weird, I never ever feel alone or anything, I never feel on my own. So how will working solo change Texas, if at all? Has it influenced the work? I think all of us will be influenced by the fact that we’ve all had some time out, that we’ve all done separate projects – all done other things to do with music within different fields of the music we’re going to make. So that’s going to be really interesting as to what kind of record we’re going to make now. I think it’ll be good. You’ve been linked to doing some acting work in the past, namely being linked to Moulin Rouge and Three Blind Mice… I was never going to do Moulin Rouge but I was asked to do it; I was touring with Texas though so I couldn’t really do that. And doing Three Blind Mice was something that I had decided to do, and I went down that path so far and then the Twin Towers happened which changed basically so much. It took a long time for projects to get on the go again, and they lost a lot of money and so that got put on hold. Then there was a big actors strike in December, and then I fell pregnant. It was like I’d been to all the meetings, been doing all the parts and learning all the stuff and then couldn’t do it so it was kind of like I got a touch of the flame, but didn’t get burnt (laughs). Is it something you’re still interested in, or would want to go into? Well, since the very beginning I’ve always been offered lots of different parts in movies and acting projects and so maybe. There are bits and pieces which have come up and been interesting but whether it actually comes to fruition, we’ll see. On top of your other projects, you’re a patron of CLIC Sargent – what does that involve for you? We try to raise money for CLIC Sargent, that’s definitely what my role is, and we try to make people aware that CLIC Sargent need help to maintain the standards of living and care that can be given to the children and their families and really that’s what I do. What’s coming up in the future for you, and Texas? We’ve already started writing and working on the next record and that’s pretty much keeping me pretty busy right now! What interests you in the Scottish music scene at the moment? There are bits and pieces that are coming through. And it’s funny, because I always hear little bits that my godson is always playing – he’s mad about music and I always hear loads of different stuff when I go to the house. ‘The Movie Songbook’ is released on the 1st March.
One to Watch:
istening to the new single “Once”, you would be hard pressed to believe it’s the product of a former X-Factor contestant who you may have forgotten. But if the name Diana Vickers rings a bell then what you hear won’t really be a surprise. Since departing the X-Factor in the 2008 semi finals, she has appeared in the West End musical Little Voice at the behest of its creator Jim Cartwright. In addition to a starring role on the stage, Vickers worked on her debut album “Songs from the Tainted Cherry Tree” with popular producers including Guy Sigsworth (previously one half of Frou Frou with Imogen Heap) as well as contributions from Ellie Goulding and Devonté Hynes (who you may remember as Dev Metal of the short lived dance punk group Test Icicles). When signing with RCA Records last year, the label were interested in Diana’s ability to write lyrics and play more than one instrument, looking to create a record unique as herself. “Once” is apparently nothing like the song given to Vickers originally, now twice as fast and an all guns blazing first offering from the singer it’s the rock-pop song she knew it could be when dismantle and entirely reworked, adding her own flair. She made a name for herself as an individual among the other wannabes in front of an regular audience of ten million during her time in the competition but isn’t concerned about topping the charts straight away upon her return to the limelight. Vickers claims she doesn’t care whether “Once” reaches the first or thirty first spot. “I just want people to hear the songs” she says. Same Difference, Leon Jackson and others have all faded into relative obscurity but Diana Vickers has already avoided that trap. She was always different from the rest anyway.
THE BANTER |
aving been a successful biannual music event since its pilot in January 2008, One Creative Scotland is back this spring, but with a difference! The underground music event pioneered by Glasgow indie band Suspire aims to provide a platform for local artists, musicians and anyone else of a creative persuasion to share their talents with a wider audience. Attracting much attention and becoming an increasing success, 2010 is a special year for One Creative Scotland, introducing a third event to the formerly biannual line up which will be hosted by Creation Studios, a new multi-purpose studio in Trongate. The Cinnamons’ Lori Duncan (Popmorphic and The Cinnamons, who have performed at One Creative Scotland in the past) will be joining forces with Clare Kelly, drummer of Suspire and founder of the event, as artist liaison to organise this year’s One Creative Scotland events. Kelly says: “One Creative Scotland is an event to encourage creativeness, and celebrate the rich talent that Scotland has to offer. There are so many young and talented people in Glasgow, let alone Scotland, and they often don’t get the exhibition spaces or the venues they need to flourish. In the bringing together of many artists for one night of collaboration and idea sharing, One Creative Scotland aims to facilitate the forging of new links for all involved” The Tollhouse Studio will once more be hosting the first of the One Creative Scotland events, championed by BBC Scotland DJ Jim Gellatly, on Saturday March 27, and the event at Creation studios will take place on Friday 30 April. The nights will feature a fantastic line up of local musicians, including: | THE BANTER
Julia and the Doogans, Kochka, Sharon Martin, Laura Healy, Miaox Miaox, Daedalian, Haight Ashbury, Nacional Artwork from local creative artists will be on display in the foyer, where there will be live jazz from the Dave Dominey Quartet with guest Martin Ronald, and of course the usual Tchai Ovna tea in the jazz den! This years’ Tollhouse event will be opening earlier to introduce the new screen zone in Studio A, screening a host of indie films which will be curated by Francis Lopez (Scottish Screen; Sounds Film Festival). Of the newly introduced event at Creation Studios, Kelly is enthusiastic about how different the dynamic is from the Tollhouse: “The space at Creation is very different which will provide a somewhat new slant on the big (Tollhouse) gathering. Downstairs (at Creation), we plan to have a record sale, inviting some independent labels to sell from their roster. Artist Jeye T is also confirmed, having recently received backing from Alan McGhee” There are never two One Creative Scotland events the same, and they are never boring! There’s something for every musical taste, whether you’re into mellow acoustic sets or something a bit heavier. A cheap night of great music, art and tea (!) in fantastic, atmospheric venues such as The Tollhouse and Creation Studios, what more can you ask for? If you’re interested in finding out more about the event, the bands who’ll be playing or the studios involved, check out www.myspace.com/onecreativescotland www.myspace.com/attictollhouse www.myspace.com/creationstudiosltd louise anne geddes
Music Ones to Watch For:
WHITE BELT YELLOW TAG PG
If pedigree is anything to go by then ‘White Belt Yellow Tag’ should have it all sorted. Featuring former ‘Yourcodenameis:milo’ guitarist John Lockey , fellow founder Craig Piloin, and joined live by former ‘The Cooper Temple Clause’ drummer Tom Bellamy, these guys have been round the block and made some serious noise in doing so. New single ‘Always and Echoes’ hits the shops March 22nd as a precursor to debut album ‘Methods’ which follows a week later. The song is only two months old, but the band loved it so much that they decided it was the track to introduce them to a wider audience. It sounds quite a bit like Chris Martin singing on an Editors song, which isn’t a jibe. The guitars are layered and often soaring and chiming, and the vocal delivery does have an honest quality to it. WBYT hit the road in March, starting in Glasgow’s King Tut’s on the 16th, where they play the first of twelve shows supporting ‘The Automatic’. chris hay
Hailing from Northern Ireland, young upstarts General Fiasco are looking to 2010 to be their break out year. The three piece consists of Owen Strathern on vocals and bass, brother Enda on guitar, and Stephen ‘Leaky’ Leacock (don’t try and say that too fast) on drums. The last year saw the band complete their first UK headline tour, reach number two in the UK Indie Charts with ‘Something Sometime’ and make appearances at several of the major festivals. 2010 already promises much more though. Their debut album ‘Buildings’ is due out in March with a tour to coincide with its release, which will continue what has been a busy start to the year as they are currently touring Europe supporting Black Box Revelation. They’ve already become darlings of NME, who have previously mentioned them as one of their acts to watch out for, and have shared the stage with the likes of The Pigeon Detectives, The Enemy and Snow Patrol. Snow Patrol are such big fans that they have invited the band to join the line up for their Ward Park
spectacular in the summer, which should see them playing to tens of thousands. If you have not had the chance to check out General Fiasco before then look out their last single ‘We Are The Lonely’ which is a perfect example of their anthemic , up-tempo brand of indie. chris hay
TEENAGERS IN TOKYO
After signing to London based label Back Yard Recordings ‘Teenagers In Tokyo’ decided to relocate to try and push their act forward. The guy-girl group, with a ratio of 1:4, made the long move from their native Australia and is now starting to gather some momentum here in the UK. Debut single ‘Peter Pan’ is released on 7” vinyl and digital download in March and includes a B-side remix from the Horrors. There are several English dates penciled in for that month, but unfortunately no Scottish dates as of yet. They did play in Glasgow and Edinburgh at the end of last year, and with an album in the pipelines will no doubt be returning soon. The band (whose acronym I was about to use, but thought better of it) has played with heavyweights CSS and Gossip and will appeal to fans of both with the same type of intensity and flare to their dance inspiring take on the synth and guitar approach.here they play the first of twelve shows supporting ‘The Automatic’. chris hay
THE BANTER |
Interview by ROSEMARYY LOWNE
10 | THE BANTER
Interview He has worked with the crème de la crème of the urban music industry, Radio 1 have tipped him for success and his new single ‘Pass Out’ is set to storm the charts. And he’s still only 21. The Banter sneaked backstage to chat to Tinie Tempah before he stepped out to support Chipmunk at the ABC in Glasgow. Firstly Happy Valentine’s Day, have you had a good one? Yes, I spent most of my day on the motorway, so it’s been a brilliant Valentine’s Day. Are you looking forward to going out and performing for your Glasgow fans? Yeh, it’s the first time I’ve performed in Glasgow. I was here at the MOBO’s and obviously the reaction that they gave the UK artists was incredible so I just can’t wait to perform. 2009 has been an incredible year for you, could you sum up what it’s been like? At the start of 2009 I set up this blog called Milk& 2 Sugars. I shot a video for the track ‘ I’m hot’ and I used a MIA sample which really blew up. Then I did a track with Jay Sean in February/March called ‘I Still Love You’, then I did a track with Mr Hudson. He was doing a live lounge session with Zane Lowe and the track ‘Anyone But Him’ is Zane’s favourite track. They couldn’t get Kanye to do the session so I did it and yeh it got a really good reaction. I did the Wireless festival in London around July time which was what got all the record labels going a bit crazy. To be quite honest we could be here forever. It’s been a crazy, incredible year. It’s good that people have reacted in the way they have. Going back to when you were starting out, you say it was So Solid Crew’s ’21 Seconds’ that inspired you. Can you describe how you felt when you first heard that track? Aww man, my life changed. Do you remember those old Nokia 210 phones, well everyone’s ringtone was So Solid Crew ’21 Seconds’. It was like a phenomenon. Something which blew up so huge. So yeh all my cousins used to meet up and we used to MC all the time. It totally changed my life when I heard that track. You were very pro-active in writing and producing your own mix-tapes and your big break came when your track ‘Listen to the Vibe’ was used in a PSP game. Did that give you the confidence you needed to seriously pursue a career in music? Yeh sort of. Obviously I didn’t have any experience of mainstream music and what it entailed. All they promise me was a free PSP which I didn’t get by the way. Yeh they said right we’ll use your track and you’ll get to tour and you’ll get a PSP. But it was wicked as I got to tour with Dizzee Rascal and Sway and I was only 15 so it was amazing. We got to tour Europe which was great. It gave me confidence in the sense that my music was getting out there so yeh I guess it was quite a good stepping stone.
You’ve worked with the crème de le crème of the urban music scene. I know they’ve probably all been amazing but if you had to pick a favourite who would it be? Everyone who I’ve worked with has been incredible. I’ve been quite fussy with who’ve I’ve worked with. I would say Wylie is someone who’s helped me a lot. Chipmunk has been great and Mr Hudson was a pleasure to work with. So yeh there’s definitely more than one. They’ve all inspired me and I’ve learned something from all of them as well. Is it important for you to be a role model for the younger generation? I know you speak out against gun and knife crime? Yeh, I don’t really want to be a spokesperson or ambassador for it. I don’t want to be patronizing. I just want it to be like well I’m a young black man from London, chasing my dream and I can’t see why you can’t do the same. Yeh I think it’s important not to badger on about something as actions speak louder than words. You’re new single ‘Pass out’ is absolutely huge and it’s been played on Radio One constantly. How does that feel? It’s nice. It’s like a dream come true. What can fans expect from your new album which is coming out this summer? Expect the unexpected. With ‘Pass Out’ I was just doing my thing. I’m trying to push my boundaries and I’ve did that on every single track of the album. So there’s going to be 12 tracks of absolute genius, if you don’t mind me saying that. It’s going to be great. Worth the wait definitely. Will you be heading out to crack America soon. I know the New York Times already love you? Well the record label I’m signed to already work with Lilly Allen and Coldplay so I’d like to follow in their footsteps and hopefully continue the legacy of the label. What advice would you give any youngsters hoping to follow in your footsteps? The most important thing is to believe in yourself. Confidence is one of the most important things, to believe that you can actually do something. Also use the resources around you like the social network sites, Bebo, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you sign up to all of those. They’re free so make sure you use them to try to promote yourself. Take pride in what you’re doing so when it comes to your music take great care with it. Put 100% effort in to all your songs and also get educated and network because if you don’t talk to people how are you ever going to learn anything. So get yourself out there. What’s next for Tinie? I’ll be releasing the album and then I’d like to tour and come back to Glasgow. So yeh just continue what I’m going to do and start on the next album as soon as this one is done. THE BANTER | 11
Interview by Rosemary Lowne JOOLS Holland said he froze when he heard his voice, he’s already had his song played in the Eastenders Caf and Europe have fallen in love with him. The Banter talked to Jon Allen over some chilli before he took to the stage at King Tuts. Welcome to Glasgow, have you performed up here before? Yes I have. I think this is my third time performing at King Tuts. How do you usually find the Glasgow crowd? Yeh really nice, good. This was the first gig when people sang a song back to me. So that was very nice. How’s the tour been so far? Good, we were in Aberdeen last night. Like every tour, every place is different and everyone has a different night. It might have been a good one for Tim one night or a good one for me. So yeh we’ve really found our groove. I’m really enjoying playing the songs. Your music has been described as evocative of the folk rock scene of the late 60s, early 70s, would you agree with this? Yeh that’s what I’d like it to be. Fairly timeless. Those artists of the late 60s and 70s are the ones who’ve inspired me a lot. People like James Taylor, Bob Dylan, The Faces so yeh I’m into that definetely. Do a lot of people compare you to Rod Stewart? Yeh they do, especially in Scotland. I haven’t got the taste for spandex and leggy blondes yet but there’s always time. I don’t mind the comparison. I think he’s a great singer but he 12 | THE BANTER
obviously made some fashion mistakes and musical mistakes in the 80s but let’s face it, who didn’t. 2009 has been brilliant year for you, what has been your best experience of your career so far? This interview (jokes). Doing the Later with Jools Holland thing was great. The album actually coming out and being in shops like HMV was amazing. Doing various radio 2 type things, like the Bob Harris show. What was Jools Holland like in the flesh? He was great. I’ve got an increased respect for him. Watching the way that he makes the show and binds the show together. He makes it a bit more atmospheric. He breaks the ice as there’s a lot of fragile egos and nerves and he just goes in there and goes, right let’s just have a good time. He was very kind to me and told me that he shazamed my song when he heard it in the car. He really liked my voice and my plugger said to me, that’s great Jon as he’s never said that to any of the other acts before. You must’ve felt like you’d made it being on his show? Well the funny thing is that it is a great prestige to do the show but the number of people that watch the show is not huge. And especially with what I do, there’s not the massive budget behind it so every little victory is a great thing. I read that you traded your games console for an electric guitar and a fifteen watt guitar amp. It obviously paid off..... Yeh I traded in my Sega Mega drive for a guitar and discovered
Interview angst and distortion when I was a teenager then I discovered folk. Inspired by the Beatles. You set off from Devon and studied at the prestigious Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Would you say that’s where you came into your own as an artist? No I reckon I wasted a lot of money but I had some fun. It was ok, if I had more courage I would’ve just went to London and started doing it. But I was living in a small town in Devon and for me it was easier than the brave jump of going to London. Do you find it easy to write your own songs? It depends what day. If you’ve got inspiration it can be as easy as falling out of bed and writing but if the inspiration isn’t there then it’s not so easy. It’s like being an athlete, you know you’ve got to run round the track 100 times before you run the race. You can’t just expect to do an amazing run just doing it once so you’ve got to keep the juices flowing and creativity and hopefully you will create magic. What song are you most proud of so far? The song that most people know me for is ‘In Your Light’. People have said nice things about that song, you know that it’s a good song. So that’s the one that connects with people. It’s hard to answer that one. I think it’s better to answer in the context of other people’s opinions. Some people also dig ‘Going Home’. Your new single ‘When the Morning Comes’ is out now. What does the single mean to you? I actually recorded and wrote it with a girl called Amy Smith. We were together for a long time, about 7 years as we met at LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts). I was just messing about at home with the melody and people were saying you should do a song together as your voices work together. So I was like we should do this, we should finish this song and finally we did it and that’s the result. The single also includes the track ‘Sarah’ which you worked on with Mark Knopfler. What was that like? It was good. Someone said to me that the higher up you go, the less you have to prove and the less ego they have a lot of the time so he was very relaxed and I did some tour dates with him as well. He was great and really took me under his wing. I grew up listening to his music so it was nice to be in a studio situation with him to see how he works. It was nothing but a positive and good experience for me. I recently heard that your song ‘Down By The River’ was played in the Caf in Eastenders. That must’ve been surreal? I didn’t hear it. I suddenly got a deluge of emails saying you’re in Eastenders. So yeh that’s it. I’ve made the big time now. It doesn’t get any better. Your tour takes you up to April, what’s next for you? The idea is that I’m writing another album but we’re doing a lot of dates in Holland. So I’m not sure when they want me to do the writing bit. We’re number 74 in Holland at the moment with ‘In Your Light’ which is not amazing but it’s the best we’ve ever done.
one to watch for.... CLOCK OPERA P
With the name Clock Opera & considering that their only release so far is on vinyl, you may have preconceptions of this band being a little old fashioned & writing their music with a quill in front of a wall of cuckoo clocks. However, Clock Opera aka Londoner Guy Connelly is far from it. His style of music is ‘Chop Pop’ – cutting & chopping up pieces of sound, rearranging them and re-creating new songs. But by adding his impressive vocals, he is creating musical masterpieces. Imagine early Orbital with the vocals of Elbow’s Guy Garvey or Aqualung’s Matt Hales and we’re getting there. In this digital age & new decade, for a band to release something only on vinyl is a little unusual, but there is no need to dig out your grandparents old gramophone: Clock Opera can be found on myspace, look out for ‘White Noise’ and ‘Alouette’, as well as upcoming remixes for Marina & the Diamonds whom they recently supported in Glasgow’s Oran Mor. With a début album in the making, Clock Opera will have the A&R reaching for their pens.
THE BANTER | 13
s the band prepare for their 2010 UK tour, British Indie Rock band Editors have come beyond far since they formed together in 2002 after meeting at university and living together. Editors have so far released two platinum studio albums, selling over 2Million copies worldwide and despite their rise to fame, the band come across as being down to earth claiming “I only really think that we need to improve with each record and not focus on how successful we are perceived.” We spoke to Ed Lay, the band’s drummer on their UK tour and new album. The new album ‘In this light and on this evening’ has a different sound to it than previous albums ‘The Back Room’ and ‘The End Has a Start.’ He said “We had a few early demos that were decent songs, but they seemed too familiar to us. There were parts from all of us that were like slightly watered down versions of what had come before it, on the first two records. This was not making us feel inspired or satisfied with what we were producing, so we decided to alter the instruments we were writing on to help us achieve something outside of where we had made ourselves comfortable. “ The band has often been compared to bands Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen ferociously by the media. However ‘In this light and on this evening’ brings out the individuality of the Editors, producing a slightly darker, rawer sound than the previous albums by bringing in traditional synthesizers rather 14 | THE BANTER
than the band’s previous use of guitars. Ed commented “We have allowed ourselves further reaching influences on this record, rather than focusing on specific styles of music. Whether it is travel – we spend a vast amount of time on the road – or the places we live in, the environments we find ourselves in now three albums in, are seeping through onto the record.” ‘Papillion’ and ‘You don’t know love’ were the two songs chosen for single release from the new album, which will be much anticipated by fans visiting them on tour. “Papillon is about the most obvious single we have ever come up with; it had everybody’s head nodding immediately in the studio which is always a good sign. You don’t know love is a different paced song to any we had written before, one with two very distinct sections and a power that we found really interesting, so we thought other people might find it interesting too.” So what exactly does Papillon mean? “Musically, we threw every idea we could at it, it was a mad mess with so many different parts on the tune that made it pretty difficult to listen to, then we gradually took away the parts that we liked the least and found that the song made sense. The Papillon being referred to in the lyrics is Steve McQueen’s character in the film of the same name, I think Tom had watched it quite a lot as a child, and incorporated it here.”
After last year’s inaugural success the Hinterland festival is back again to give Glasgow an eclectic mix of international & homegrown talent from across the arts. Taking place on 3 April, this year’s line-up includes acts such as Mystery Jets, British Sea Power, Jeffrey Lewis, Hot Club de Paris and DJ sets from the likes of Friendly Fires and Joe Goddard of Hot Chip. Various venues across the city will play host to the action including; The Arches, Sub Club, Macsorleys Music Bar, The Admiral and Pivo Pivo & Rockers with more to be announced. For one day only Glasgow will play host to some of the finest up and coming Scottish bands and musicians whilst welcoming many new and exciting acts from the UK and International scenes. The Hinterland festival’s aim is to showcase a line up of eclectic acts from many musical genres such as indie, electro, rock, house and hip-hop. Events will kick-off for 5pm and will run up until 3am. A £10 early bird pass is now available online at www.thehinterlandfestival.com for those who are quick off the mark with this ticket giving you access to all venues and gigs in the festival programme.
The band so far seems to be enjoying touring and it seems visiting all the other beautiful cities is one thing that keeps them going. Ed says “It is important to enjoy the cities and towns that we play in. We are in a very privileged position and enjoying it all is key to making sure we don’t miss our homes too much. Well, it would be a real waste if we didn’t enjoy it. We really enjoy going abroad to play though, it feels pretty special to have a song played on the radio in a country other than our own.” The band are currently working on some songs left over from their album sessions last year and have plenty of fresh ideas that are sure to excite fans in the future. The twilight : New Moon saga film also featured one of the bands softer tracks ‘No sound but the wind’ so how did that come about? “No sound but the wind was actually written by Tom in response to reading a book called ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy. A producer for the Twilight Saga heard it and thought it would really suit the film, but asked if Tom would rewrite some of the lyrics, so it wasn’t so specifically about the Road. He was initially wary, but he actually enjoyed the challenge, so it made it to the soundtrack.” With all the touring, songwriting and new projects on the go, surely the band can squeeze in some partying to let their hair down? After all, they are a rock and roll band…. Ed says “I’m on the tour bus in my slippers, drinking mint tea.” lisa boyle
Scotland’s most family friendly music weekender has a main stage opening slot up for grabs. The Wickerman Festival is launching a competition today to find a soundtrack for a television advertising campaign. Festival Director Sid Ambrose explained “This is a brilliant opportunity for any un-signed act that can create an original piece of music.” He further added “Not only will their soundtrack be heard by an estimated 3 million people but they also win the chance to support some big name acts.” The competition has been inspired by the success of previously unknown performers such as Les Rythmes Digitales who found fame through the Citroen C4 dancing robot ad. Wickerman has a reputation for supporting emerging talent giving many of the UK’s future stars the experience of playing alongside famous faces and iconic names. Previous headliners have included The Zutons, The Human League, Gary Numan and KT Tunstall. This year’s festival takes place near Kirkcudbright on the 23rd and 24th July. For details on how to enter the competition log on to www. thewickermanfestival.co.uk maxwell lynas
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marina and the diamonds interview
wanted to be famous” is not a phrase often, openly uttered by musicians but for Marina and the Diamonds (aka Welsh/Greek Marina Diamandis) this was the incentive for the singer-songwriter to make her music. “I feel really ashamed about it now but I knew that I would be and could be famous”, she admits. “But at the time I didn’t really have any talent.” A few years later and the 24-year-old can be assured that she has some talent as she is about to release her debut album, The Family Jewels, and embark on a nationwide, headline tour. And despite her early desire to be famous she has achieved all of this by steering clear of the X-Factor fast lane to fame route. She began writing songs when she was twenty and has worked for the past four years, playing small venues and 28 festivals in the summer, to create a name for herself in the music industry. 2010 looks like the year in which she finally will, as the hype around her self-proclaimed “experimental pop” gained momentum in 2009 through her EP The Crown Jewels. Her sound is very much her own but when asked about her influences, the answer given is not the typical list of bands. “I am much more influenced by designers and by photography than I am by music,” she says. “I wasn’t really brought up around a lot of music. I value audio over image in my own personal projects but I really like making videos and the imagery side of things is very important to me.” Being half Greek and half Welsh Diamandis already has some diverse influences built into her genetic make-up. Both cultures are vastly different from one another, aside from their shared enjoyment of alcohol, but she has managed to incorporate them into both her music and her career. She explains: “I was very interested in Greek music as my 16 | THE BANTER
dad played a lot of it. They have really beautiful, dramatic, tragic melodies. So I picked that up and I think that did filter into my own work. And then from the Welsh side, thematically I was more influenced. I am technically going into an industry which is against everything that I stand for and Wales represents a part of life which I really like. It’s very simple which is how I want to live. I don’t want to end up on a celebrity treadmill.” Yet, with a studio album comes the influence of others as the label bring in more experienced writers to give a helping hand. However Diamandis feels she has been able to maintain her edge by sticking to her roots when it comes to her method of song writing.”Out of the thirteen tracks on the album, eight of them were written, sitting in my bedroom like a depressed person. I do like collaborating with others because it is a challenge for me because I get nervous but I do actually prefer writing on my own. I think melodically you get a purity when you are writing on your own. Usually the tracks I co-write become much more pop and more simplistic.” Whether the songs are written solo or not, Diamandis is gaining fans up and down the country with the solo-written Hollywood receiving a lot of radio airplay and many of the dates on her February/March 2010 tour are sold out. Despite London usually being the hub of new music and a mecca for musicians who are starting out, they are actually the dates Diamandis is least looking forward to. “The London shows are always really static and weird and no one moves. So I suddenly become really shy and they are horrible, I hate them!” she laughs. “But my favourite show is the one in Glasgow. They are just such a good audience and I really enjoy performing for them. Every time I’ve been I just want to go back. I’m just more
PHOTO BY DA
natural there and I have fun, London is hard work.” The stage name Diamandis has given herself has caused some confusion as to what to expect on stage at one of her gigs. She is a solo act but does not perform every track solo. “Three of the songs I play on my own, acoustically on a piano, and then one song I play with a band, and then the rest of the songs usually I perform on my own, with me as the front woman and then two keyboardists, one bassist and one drummer,” she explains. “It’s a manageable level right now but once we start playing bigger venues we might get another guitarist and some backing singers.” The pressure on a new act to succeed can be formidable and with the hype surrounding Marina and the Diamonds, she could be forgiven for feeling slightly nervous. However she is taking it all in her stride. “I don’t really see it [the hype]. I still feel like no one really knows who I am and they probably don’t. I’m feeling quite calm and focused as I lot of the background work I’ve done already. I’ve been gigging for a year and a half and it hasn’t been a very quick road to success so I feel everything is quite measured. I don’t know why I don’t feel any pressure. I think it’s because I made the record that I wanted to make and so you can’t really do much else.” While her debut album revolved around her early obsession to become famous and exploring why she had this obsession, Diamandis’s future plans are not quite so shallow but remain ambitious. “I hate that aspect of myself [wanting to be famous], it’s not a good thing, it’s more of a price to pay than a reward for being a singer or actor. But I want my music to travel to other countries like America. I really want to succeed there and I feel like I could have a good chance.”
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ackstage at the ABC for the Glasgow leg of the Bizarre Brrrap Pack Tour, Daisy Coburn doesn’t just stand out as the only girl on the tour. Nor does she only command attention for being the sole pop rock act on a show with rappers such as Chipmunk and Skeptah. Arriving only minutes before the interview, the sixteen year old also known as Daisy Dares You immediately sinks into the dressing room couch looking at such ease and her first words being “Happy Valentine’s Day!” as I entered, you would think she had been there all day. On the contrary, Daisy and her band have just made the five hour journey from Leeds that morning, passing the time with a DVD player. “We were watching The Secret Garden and Hot Rod” she said, before lamenting being unable to find the proper gas cartridge to do some cooking on the road. “I’ve been trying to cook, I bought a camping stove. We can’t find the right gas cartridge though and the ingredients are going out of date. I’m trying to make chilli.” This isn’t the Essex native’s first visit to Scotland, however. “I was in Gleneagles last year, I really liked it there. I’ve said to others about how nice the country is.” Her band, people she considers friends, have been together for about a year. Aicha Djidjelli has previously drummed for Craig David, Amy 18 | THE BANTER
Interview Studt and Rachel Stevens. “Don’t underestimate her, she plays like a boy” joked Daisy. On bass is Simon Fisenden, with Jamie Jones and Terry Miles on guitar and keyboards respectively. The music video for last year’s free download single, also called ‘Daisy Dares You’, was devised by the singer herself after rejecting the proposal by Sony. The result was a video produced in Daisy’s own back garden with her friends. The video for her new single, ‘Number One Enemy’ was also a collaborative effort. “We all sat down together with the director and pitched ideas.” “Do you like Chipmunk?” she asked, as we began to discuss the collaboration as the rapper appears on the single. The original demo for the track featured another rapper, J2K of Roll Deep fame. I asked about Chipmunk’s involvement in the single. “We bumped into each other and hung out for a couple of hours. We thought it was a good idea” she answered. On the subject of future collaborations, she said: “I haven’t done anything with anyone else yet but I’d always like to work with people that inspire me.” As we talked about inspirations, Daisy mentioned Alison Mosshart of The Kills before going on to make sure she didn’t repeat what she considered a mistake from previous interviews. “And Peter Hayes. And Karen O. And Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes). Oh, and Debbie Harry! It’s one of those questions where you always forget to mention someone that you wish you did later on. I get asked a lot and always forget to mention somebody” she laughs. Her website however implies any comparison to Avril Lavigne would be taboo. “Don’t read that! It was written about a year ago” quickly dismissing the blurb, suggesting - along with the changes she made to her first music video – that she’s certainly no record label’s puppet. She also expressed doubt over the accuracy of her profile on Wikipedia which, in this instance, was correct in stating the single in May will be ‘Rosie’. “It’s really fast. It’s the fastest we play live. Really upbeat with a few major-minor changes.” I looked forward to hearing it, but unfortunately time constraints for acts on the tour limit Daisy’s set list. “We have a five song set on this tour so we are alternating ‘Rosie’ and ‘Rush’ every night.” The next tour comes quickly though as the Get It Loud in Libraries tour takes place (in - you guessed it - libraries) throughout March. The video for ‘Number One Enemy’ has already reached the top spot on iTunes while the single is released on February 28th. Writing songs from the age of thirteen, Daisy comes from a musical family with her mother previously a backing vocalist for 80s act Curiousity Killed The Cat. After meeting her mother’s friend, producer Matthew Marston in late 2007, she began work on her album in the studio set up in his garden shed. “We wrote the record together.” Like single ‘Rosie’ – the album is due for release in May. While her name may not have been on the marquee outside the ABC or even on the tickets, the streets have been fly posted with advertising for DaisyDaresYou.com, and hundreds of small flags bearing her name were handed out before the gig. The set ended with ‘Number One Enemy’ sans Chipmunk. It was a set that really stood out among the grime artists on the bill. With the exception of the headliner, it’s probable Daisy’s tendency to stand out will guarantee she’s the artist people will remember. sean david
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The Swellers King Tuts, Glasgow
Sun 2nd May
Green Day SECC, Glasgow
Mon 21st June
Molotovs King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Tue 30th March
Scouting For Girls O2 Academy, Glasgow
Tue 4th May
King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Thur 8th April
Alphabeat O2 ABC, Glasgow
Fri 23rd April
The Features Bellahouston Park, Glasgow
Sat 12th June
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King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow
Wed 21st April
Paloma Faith O2 Academy, Glasgow
Wed 17th March
MotionCitySoundtrack Oran Mor, Glasgow
Tue 30th March
CD REVIEWS Laura marling I Speak Because I Can EMI Laura Marling’s fascinating new album “I speak because I can” hints a stronger, wiser and more mature Laura within the first few minutes of listening to. Opening track ‘Devil’s Spoke’ reveals the silky, beautiful voice she is known for but this time it is laced with a hint of aggression, adding a positive, raw sound to the new album. “I speak because I can” has been deemed her coming of age album and is slightly more sophisticated and fierce than debut album “Alas, I cannot swim.” The album is deeply rooted and revisited in England where Marling grew up, despite its American instrumentation. Merely 17 years old when she released her debut album, Marling’s song writing skills were applauded and she first became known as being part of the original line-up of indie-folk band Noah and the Whales. When Laura speaks of her new-found mature sound and image, she says “I think it was feeling the weight of womanhood, or the greatness of it, coming to terms with it is something that I thought was quite interesting,” she explains. She was inspired, she says, by “the changing role an idea of Women throughout history.” Definitely one of the most intense songs on the album, ‘Alpha Shallows’ speaks in poetic rhythms whilst Marling torturedly sings “the grey in the city is too much to bear” with her deliberately raw guitar riffs which seem to get louder as the song goes on. The song is slightly haunting and different from other tracks on the album. Marling describes ‘Alpha Shallows’ as “Kind of a codename, because this was kind of personal. And not that I don’t write personally, it’s just that I do it mostly at arm’s length. I think when I wrote it I was worried that perhaps it was almost a bit too pathetic. And so in my diary I
was referring to people as Alpha Shallows and stupid codenames and... God forbid anyone ever read my diary.” The final track on the album ‘I speak because I am’ is in part rooted in the story of Penelope, the wife of Odysseus. She says “the idea of her waiting for him to come home, and the very old-fashioned sense of man and woman, and monogamy, that’s quite amazing and truly fascinating. That is probably the most pretentious thing I can say about the album.” In ‘What he wrote, Marling takes inspiration from a series of wartime love letters and diary entries that she saw published in a newspaper. “The writing that they did, I love that, the way their passion is expressed. And you could feel in their letters, a longing to be with each other.” There was one diary passage in particular that stood out to Marling: “It was about letting him go, physically letting go, how you can’t let go, and about turning to stone. And I suppose it’s like what a break-up is — you just can’t let go of it, no matter how much you want to. And I thought it was such a beautiful thing, as a metaphor for forgiveness, and letting go of things that you need to, or confronting things that you need to.” It is clear Marling has an appealing sensitivity when it comes to music and has a mesmeric ability to enthrall you with her lyrics and unique sound. Her talent emerges through this album where she geniously conveys her sense of vulnerability which allows you to get closer to the emotions which seep through the tracks. Laura Marling will release her new album through Virgin Records on March 22nd 2010. Laura will start recording her third album this March with producer Ethan Johns, for release September this year lisa boyle
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corrine bailey rae The Sea virgin IF music is said to speak to your soul, then Corinne Bailey Rae’s new album ‘The Sea’ is a fine example of this. Returning to the music scene after the tragic loss of her husband in early 2008, Corinne’s soulful voice resonates with a poignant and new found depth. With lyrics like “And he comes to lay me down in a garden of tuberoses”, the first track off the album ‘Are You Here’ is charged with the kind of emotion that makes the hairs on your arm stand up. ‘Feels Like the First Time’ catches the attention with Corinne’s charismatic voice and catchy beats, a song that will certainly stay in your head. More uptempo songs such as ‘Paris Nights/ New York Mornings’ and ‘Paper Dolls’ express Corinne’s power and grace to a T. The last song on the album ‘The Sea’ is quite a sad song but it’s also refreshingly very honest. Corinne’s truly exquisite voice sings “The sea, the majestic sea, breaks everything, crushes everything, cleans everything, takes everything from me” and really strikes a chord. Recently interviewed by the Observer, Corinne said: There is something miraculous that pushes you along, makes you keep going, makes you carry on. It’s really about the mystery of that. In fact, the whole album is about that; it’s about loss but it’s also about hope, about keeping and trying to find that beauty.” rosemary lowne
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lemar The Hits epic In 2002, Lemar came third in the BBC’s ill-fated competitor to ITV’s Pop Idol, Fame Academy. If anyone had said that eight years later he would be worth £4 million, the proud holder of a Brit Award, and releasing a Greatest Hits album, chances are you would have been laughed out of the room. None the less, here we are, Lemar: The Hits, is now on the shelves. To be honest; I have never been a big fan of Lemar. I’ve always felt that he had a generic feel that was best suited to the loud speaker of a shopping centre. It seems that every one of his song’s had the same four beat time signature that never really changes or develops into anything special. Generally speaking a “greatest hits” album is good, as only the good songs will be included. Even bearing this is mind, I was surprised to find that I genuinely enjoyed listening to his Greatest Hit’s album. The album flows together nicely and creates an easy listening experience. This probably was not the intention with the greatest hits album of a young successful R&B star, but that doesn’t make it bad. If there was one problem, it is similarity. When I listened to the album, without shuffle or skipping tracks, it becomes genuinely difficult to tell when one song has ended and another begins. Overall, a pleasant surprise; but probably not one you would play while getting ready for a night out, as it doesn’t really get you into that party mindset. However, whether Lemar likes it or not, his Greatest Hits is probably the perfect album for a quiet night in, maybe enjoying a bottle of wine with some friends. That bloke from Fame Academy done good. simon cassidy
SHY CHILD LIQUID LOVE wall of sound House music has long now been the staple of European acts, who have encapsulated the catchy vocals and electro floor filling standard of the genre. Shy Child show that our friends across the pond can give it a good shot too, with their debut offering ‘Liquid Love’ making the trip over from NYC. It’s an accessible piece of light electro-house that dances towards the pop scale, with indie type chorus action and progressing yet balanced and layered tracks. There’s a massive daft punk influences, most notable on ‘ESP’ with its swirling synth work and gadgetry, and standout track ‘The beatles’ which has a vocal that will surely catch on in clubs and a chorus that kicks in unashamedly disco beats. ‘Liquid Love’ should be instantly recognizable for its Fleetwood Mac sample, and the Jenn Vix inspired ‘Criss Cross’ should be a pleaser with its 80’s influenced, delay infused, electro leanings. Shy Child unfortunately have had to cancel their UK tour set for next month due to a concussion suffered by one of the duo, but I’m sure Pete and Nate will be making it back over at some point as their tunes are just meant for nightclubs over here. chris hay
Music MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS
The Family Jewels eleven seven Imagine for a moment, if you will; imagine an electro-pop Frankenstein’s Monster of Regina Spektor, Kate Bush and Bjork. Fuel it on champagne, sit it down to bang at an electric keyboard and slap a big set of square shoulder pads on it and you will have a concise reflection of how Marina and the Diamonds sound. Marina Diamandis, as she is known when she has foregone the notion of her backing imaginary band, has produced something distinctly original if rather surreal. Her first album, The Family Jewels, fights its own split personality, tipping and equalising the balance between unadulterated pop pixie and the sensible pianist songstress. Thematically, the album covers a lot of ground and, as a result, the tone twists mercilessly across this thirteen track album. Continuing the growing trend of young writers to decry the modern world, Marina attacks the pressures placed on young women to look as beautiful as airbrushed photography and the difficulty of conformance. “Girls are not meant to look dirty/ never look a day past thirty”. These frequent lyrical outbursts, overpowering and snidely written as they are, are ultimately liberating. Hollywood, the album’s greatest success to date, expectedly plays with the failure of the American Dream. Aptly, it is probably one of the most mainstream songs on the album. Others are head-crushingly surreal. Mowgli’s Road is altogether more menacing, featuring a disturbingly jaunty harpsichord and sound effects and bird calls which can only be described as traumatising. Ultimately, Marina is a diamond: it’s refreshing to hear such a rapidly alternating album which embraces its own musical heritage whilst creating something new and unexpected. The break-neck velocity and surreal nature of these songs is ultimately to be relished. Once the listener has accepted and embraced this, the overbearing, raging Frankenstein’s Monster is soon calmed. scott purvis
hot chip One Life Stand emi music Hot Chip, comprising of Joe Goddard, Alexis Taylor, Felix Martin, Al Doyle and Owen Clarke, have yet again outdone themselves and have created an album full of summer anthems. This ambitious and soulful album contains some real gems within, in their usual catchy electronica way. The title track One Night Stand is an immediate crowd pleaser, set to be this year’s club stomper the second it is heard. Full of pulsing groove beats and meaningful lyrics, it is set for success. Their collaborations with experimental composers such as Emma Smith and Vince Sipprell shine through as none of the tracks within this album feel repetitive or done before. Hot Chip have proven, they are a mighty force to be reckoned with and not here for a One Night Stand. clare sinclair
PHOTOGRAPHY // dAREN BORZYNSKI
gorillaz plastic beach emi The brainchild of iconic Blur singer Damon Albarn and Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett, Gorillaz have returned . Five years on from the release of Demon Days, Murdoc Niccals and co. are back. The band have taken up residence, recording on a secret floating island deep in the South Pacific, a Plastic Beach HQ, made up of the detritus, debris and washed up remnants of humanity. This Plastic Beach is the furthest point from any landmass on Earth; the most deserted spot on the planet. The result is an album that is arguably even better than previous success Demon Days. The album has been described as Albarns “pop” album but this is not the cheesey pop as todays charts know it, here with have a new and diverse album featuring some amazing collaborations with artists such as Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, De La Soul, Bobby Womack and more. It has been a long wait for this latest installment from the wonderfully imaged “band” but its been well worth the wait. THE BANTER | 23
Music erik hassle Pieces island Pieces’ is the eagerly awaited debut album from the distinctive voiced Hassle, which has been three years in the making! This labour of love is a unique and original album I would seriously struggle to pigeonhole into one particular genre. Broadly speaking, I suppose ‘Pieces’ would be described as pop/electronica, but Hassle has a sound which is entirely his own. ‘Pieces’ is refreshingly different from the music I would usually listen to, and has managed to convince a skeptic such as myself so it’s certainly worth a listen! Tracks to listen out for include ‘Hurtful’, ‘Bump in the Road’ and ‘Don’t bring flowers’ (which has an extremely catchy wee riff! The only criticism is that a couple of the first tracks on the album sound very similar. Hassle isn’t going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but you may be pleasantly surprised! louise anne geddes
PHOTOGRAPHY // dAREN BORZYNSKI
atlantic Want is Colorado duo Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte’s second album and the deluxe part comes from remixes of original tracks including additional vocals. 3OH!3 have a large following in America but their first single Don’t Trust Her did receive some airplay in the UK and recent single Starstrukk featuring Katy Perry went to number 3 in the UK charts. Want was originally released in July 2008 but as 3OH!3 are about to embark on a European tour it has been subject to a re-release. Describing Want’s genre is aided by iTunes which defines it as “unclassifiable” and while this may sound pretentious it is totally accurate. The album’s sound is predominantly electro dance but at times seems to be a parody of over the top dance and hip hop. The lyrics and vocals are such that it does not sound like they are not being serious, that they cannot be serious. This is the impression given from the get go with tracks such as Punk B*tch, Choke Chain and I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby containing crude lyrics and angry, shouting vocals. Some may find them offensive and stupid but they are funny whilst being catchy and fun to listen to. First single Don’t Trust Me certainly features the trademark crude lyrics and angry vocals but it is more melodic and uses a more traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure with a great hook in its chorus. Yet as first 24 | THE BANTER
single’s go it nowhere near fully indicates what can be expected of 3OH!3’s album. Photo Finish highlights the fact that it is difficult to tell whether these two are good singers. The vocals are tampered with to the point where they no longer sound as if the belong to the duo. This method of auto tuning and tampering is used in almost all the songs but they are still enjoyable. There is one song, however, which stands out as sounding like it does not belong on this album. Still Around is a singular piano driven track which allows the vocals to shine. It does have an electronic drum beat running through but the piano and vocals dominate the track, which makes it a pleasant release from the constant pounding of the other tracks. The remix of Starstrukk featuring Katy Perry on vocals surpasses the original both musically and with Katy Perry’s additional vocals and verse. The song’s structure is changed slightly with the addition of Perry’s verse and the overall sound is amplified and makes for a more memorable track than its predecessor. However the remix of Don’t Trust Me with Kid Cudi rapping interspersed does not match the original. While it is not bad and Kid Cudi is a talented rapper, this version cuts out some of the more aggressive, over the top lyrics which made the original fun. anna gault
Music ellie goulding Lights POLYDOR group Its only the beginning for Ellie Goulding with her debut album ‘Lights’ being released March 1st but what a start this girl has had. With immense backing from anyone who is anyone and the spotlight firmly on her it isn’t hard to see why. Goulding is another ‘unique’ brit; we just keep churning them out and the world love them, scooping up a Brit award, topping the BBC Sound of 2010 and noted as a Q face of 2010 it looks like this girl has what it takes. Goulding’s sound is distinctive, classed as “folktronica” a mix of traditional acoustic cut with an electronic edge. It is refreshing to have a girl at 22 years old discover her own style and with the help of British electro-pop genius Frankmusik, it’s delivered in the release of debut album ‘Lights’. The Album is alive with infectious, danceable tunes and heartfelt lyrics. First single ‘Under the Sheets’ is a captivating example; an electro-soaked dance track with Goulding’s processed voice tugging at the heart-strings. Get used to it: it’s the sound of 2010. susan marshall the courteneers Falcon polydor group The Courteeners hit back with their second album ‘Falcon’ and there’s no mistaking the popular band with distinctive lead singer Liam Fray’s familiar Manchester voice. Opening song ‘The opener’ is both catchy and relatable with its merry rhythms and comedic lyrics. With lyrics such as ‘My heart is here, here to stay’ ensures you imagining rows of people chanting in the pub to such a song. Although the melodies on this album are light-hearted, the gritty and personal lyrics ensure the songs are heartfelt and dripped with macho emotion. Falcon breeds a softer sound to indie which is easy on the ears and will be a pleasant listen even to those who aren’t fans of the indie rock genre. ‘Cross my hope and hope to fly’ refers to the bands apparent wish to disappear, but this impressive album ensures they will be staying firmly on the ground for quite a while.
The world’s No.1 hard dance producer BK has joined forces with dance music’s force de jour Anne Savage to create the new studio masterpiece in the form of Pandemic, a 12 track long-player guaranteed to make your speakers bounce.To Celebrate the release of Pandemic The Banter has 2 copies of the CD to giveaway. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: Can you name one of the other DJs who performed with Anne Savage in The Tidy Girls Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: Pandemic along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes April 5th 2010.
delphic Acolyte polydor At the start of the year every publication imaginable had their list of ‘Ten To Watch’ for the year 2010, and in pretty much every crystal ball inspired list Delphic could be found. Whether it was a respectable music magazine or simply a gutter rag, the Manchester 3 piece found their name banded around everywhere, with 2010 said to be their year. No pressure there then. ‘Acolyte’ is the band’s attempt to move away from the oasis clones roaming their hometown and make music that is truly different. The idea of indie- dance crossovers is nothing new, with the ‘new rave’ movement led by Klaxons and Enter Shikari that has been going from strength to strength over the past few years. Delphic add their ‘dance’ aspects from a different nuance though, with the soaring and hectic trance like approach being replaced with a more euphoric, electronichouse laden basis. There are moments on the album that could easily be Ibiza summer anthems such as ‘Red Lights’ and album name provider ‘Acolyte’. These songs see the vocals become less prominent and driving, progressive synthesizers taking over with thoughts going towards established dance acts such as South Central or even Soulwax. The album does have plenty for the indie kids, with hook laden chorus’s aplenty, and enough ooh’s and aah’s to give any skinny jean wearer their fix. Tracks ‘Halcyon’ and ‘Submission’ will be good shouts for singles, and have the kind of accessibility that the radio stations will drool over. The band themselves state The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and Bjork as influences, but it’s easy to look not so far back to draw comparisons. Hot Chip fans will take pleasure in this album as it displays much of the gadgetry and geekery that they will appreciate, as will Sunshine Underground fans who will associate with the rousing vocals, and punchy delivery. Delphic once claimed that Klaxons are not a dance band, and while the music is very different, the vocals on certain tracks- such as ‘Doubt’ and ‘Clarion Call’- are akin to the ‘Golden Skan’ makers tone and delivery. The album does manage to mesh in all these different sensibilities and should please fans approaching it from all musical angles. The brilliant ‘Counterpoint’, a precursor to the album, stands out as the main track that will unite both indie and dance fans alike, with its long interludes, sing-a-long chorus and tense release of an ending. What the band do best is build up songs to a rapturous finish, and this will have festivals and indie club nights all over the country elated all summer. For this alone ‘Acolyte’ should see Delphic achieve some or even all of their projected success this year, and should keep the glow stick makers in business for a good while yet. chris hay
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cobra starship Hot Mess Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen Cobra Starship, Hot Mess marks their third album and first real impact on the charts with lead single Good Girls Go Bad receiving a massive amount of airplay in America and beginning to gain a similar amount in the UK. The album seems to be placing itself in the somewhat exhausted electronic pop genre but a few songs push out at the edges of this label. The first song Nice Guys Finish Last uses a jazz lounge influence with brass instruments, English accented conversational female vocals and clicking fingers over a guitar and synthiser base. Despite this unconventional mix, it is not particularly memorable and gives a false indication of what it is to come. With, Pete Wentz Is The Only Reason We’re Famous, the name gives the game away and makes it clear where this band spawned from (Pete Wentz’s Decaydance label) and the song sticks to a more traditional, electronic synth, guitar and catchy chorus formula. It is not until the aforementioned Good Girls Go Bad that the album produces a definitively good pop song. It was co-written with current American Idol judge and pop song writer extraordinaire Kara DioGuardi (other credits include Pink, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson) after all and features Gossip Girl actress Leighton Meester on vocals. Although her appearance may feel slightly contrived she does add to the track overall with her soft, low vocals complimenting lead singer Gabe Saporta’s. While the album is mainly comprised of substance free, electro pop songs, tracks such as You’re Not In On The Joke feature lyrics which are slightly more sneering and acid tongued. Co-written with Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, the track is 70% Fall Out Boy and 30% Cobra Starship with a section of screaming vocals which descend down into slow piano and soft vocals only to then blast back into the chorus. Move Like You Gonna Die is another Patrick Stump co-written song which uses fast, frantic guitars and a rapid delivery of the verse lyrics to provide a more engaging track. However like Nice Guys Finish Last and Good Girls Go Bad it also uses gaudy, shouting female vocals which are simply annoying. Although autotune sounds like it is being abused in some tracks, Gabe Saporta vocals flit easily between soft (Fold Your Hands Child) to loud and attitude-filled (Hot Mess) and provide an anchor for the tracks. And with five out of the eleven songs written solely by Cobra Starship and the other six being better than those five, it’s hard to get a real idea of the band’s talent. However all of the songs contribute in creating a lively and entertaining album which will no doubt move bodies on the dance floor. anna gault
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massive attack Heligoland virgin Massive Attack’s well-anticipated album features guest vocals from Damon Albarn, Hope Sandoval, Martina Topley-Bird, Guy Garvey and Tunde Adebimpe and lives up to their usual reputation for pushing the boundaries with their music. This album feels more magical, falling outside standard genres yet is calming and pleasing to the ear. Saturday Come Slow featuring Albarn on vocals is a summer park favourite, and screams of chilled and somewhat melancholy afternoons in the sunshine. Yet it is this melancholic feel which makes this album so compelling – there is something sad yet inspiring and hopeful within the music and the lyrics. Girl I Love You has this same feel, yet is edgier with a melody which stays in mind for days. Massive Attack have continued to prove just why they won Outstanding Contribution to British Music at the Ivor Novello awards, and long may they continue to do so.
SUGABABES sweet 7 universal/island The regeneration, revolution and renaissance of the sassy pop threesome the Sugababes continues with their latest studio album, Sweet 7. Steering evermore towards the heavy baselines and dirty dance floor beats of American R&B, the latest offering is a refreshing turn for the trio. As a group, the Sugababes have a reputation as something of a musical revolving door, quickly and quietly ushering new singers in the back door when their forbearers get tired of the group’s direction and move on to pursue altogether less lucrative pursuits such as Celebrity Big Brother. The result is an ever evolving flavour of the band’s bedrock style. Jade Ewen has settled beautifully into the band following her relative success at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest and she isn’t the only new flavour on the album. Sean Kingston, a man used to Beautiful Girls, helps out on the track Miss Everything whilst sessions with Ne-Yo, Red One and Beyonce writer Makeba have nicely influenced the album’s style: this is a heavy yet darkly satisfying change in direction for the band. Two of the album’s strongest hits, ‘Get Sexy’ and ‘About a Girl’, have already reached the top ten and the unreleased tune ‘Wear My Kiss’ is sure to follow them onto every dj’s essential playlist. This album smells of half past two in a smoky dancefloor: even the more restrained numbers are crying out for a loud and forceful club mix. Listening to this as I do, at half past three in the afternoon, I can feel my dancing feet crying out for a shot of the nightlife and the dry ice. Songs such as the 2003 number one, ‘Too Lost in You’, a hymn to the broken hearted which still strikes a chord all of these years later, could not exist in this album. It seems that the heart of the Sugababes has been dropped in that eternally revolving door.
Music motion city soundtrack
my dinosaur life columbia Motion City Soundtrack are a band that I have heard of but never really heard any songs by them except for one song Everything is Alright, which was a staple of Kerrang TV and the Cathouse’s “unders” nights in my youth. So My Dinosaur Life, the band’s fourth studio album, came as a nice surprise. My Dinosaur Life, which is produced by Blink 182’s Mark Hoppus, is filled with pop-punk sensibilities and pop-culture references, any album that name-checks Veronica Mars, the Kirsten Bell teen-noir mystery TV show is awesome as far as I go. Motion City Soundtrack tick all the boxes on the pop-punk checklist; songs about break-ups, killer hooks but go a little bit further with vocalist and guitarist Justin Pierre using this album to overcome his demons and firmly put his personal problems in his past with some very personal lyrics. This is seen on the first single from the album, Her Words Destroy My Planet, which features Pierre desperately trying to win back a former flame by mentioning all the things he has done to overcome his problems. While a deeply personal and sometimes dark and broody album (Delirium and Disappear) My Dinosaur Life still contains incredibly catch songs such as Pulp Fiction and radio-friendly pop-punk songs like Stand Too Close. My Dinosaur Life actually makes me regret never checking out Motion City Soundtrack before now but enough about regrets; the bottom line is that My Dinosaur Life is an extremely good album and one that will be going straight onto my iPod. maxwell lynas
COMPETITION TUK super-club brand Godskitchen kick starts the year with Pure Trance Classics, a must-have collection for fans and clubbers alike. To Celebrate the release of Godskitchen Pure Trance Classics The Banter has 3 copies of the CD to giveaway. For your chance to win just answer the following simple question. Q: IN WHICH DECADE DID THE ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC GENRE OF TRANCE FIRST DEVELOP? Send your answers by e-mail to email@example.com with the heading Competition: Godskitchen along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random!
vampire weekend Contra xl recordings The second album for any band has a reputation as being difficult – difficult, that is, for the record company trying to make money off a band’s hype and marketability. Vampire Weekend, however, have a different take on the difficult second album – Contra, released in January this year - with an album that makes no concessions for its listeners. And, because Vampire Weekend are signed to an indie label with smaller overheads than huge conglomerate labels like WMG and EMI, albums do not necessarily need to make as much of an impact on the charts to create a profit. The difficult second album is dead! Long live creative freedom! Contra is one of those albums that takes a long time to properly sink in, with sophisticated music and drum patterns – and even more sophisticated programming and production – playing counterpart to smart but complicated lyrics. The album as a whole is a dissertation on the band’s uncomfortable position between a back-of-the-brain need to rebel against the status quo – “the system” – and being an ingrained part of it. The core subject hinges around the final track “I Think UR A Contra”, where singer Ezra Koenig criticises the confused and contradictory lifestyle of his subject: “I think you’re a contra/ I think that you lied/ Don’t call me a contra/ ’Til you’ve tried/ You wanted good schools/ And friends with pools/ But you’re not a contra?/ You wanted rock and roll/ Complete control/ Well I don’t know.” The album continues this theme in a number of brilliant ways: on the song “Taxi Cab” there is the image of the girl with aristocratic pretentions wandering around an uptown grocery store while Koenig watches policemen in “pretend shock” from the window of his cab; and on “Holiday” the band criticise people’s reaction to war when only exposed to it in newspapers: “A vegetarian since the invasion/ She’d never seen the word bombs/ Blown up to 96 point Futura”. Of course, the heavy and impressionist lyrics leave a lot to interpretation; but perhaps the most enjoyable feature of Contra is the genre fusion Vampire Weekend are famous for. Baroque-style harpsichord and Classical piano cadenzas play over African beats and indie guitar. The album is synth-heavy, which can give certain parts of songs a plastic, throwaway feel juxtaposed with the traditions of World and Western classical music – in itself, adding to the album’s overall theme. However, with the album already peaking at Number 3 in the UK charts and Number 1 in the US, Canada and Ireland, the intentionally-difficult-to-listen-to second album strategy seems to have worked for Vampire Weekend.
Good luck, competition closes April 5th 2010.
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Music The features Some Kind Of Salvation proper Hailing from the musical hub that is Nashville, Tennessee you might expect something different from The Features than they produce. The band describes themselves as a psychedelic/new wave/ rock mesh, but that would be as misleading as their area code when explaining their music. As mixed messages as their own description gives the band, their album follows suit. The band has definite ska vibes, utilizing horn sections and wacky beats often during their fourth studio album ‘Some Kind Of Salvation’. Then they will bring out moments of pure pop, followed by far more indie offerings reminiscent of ‘The Kaiser Chiefs’. The album is good fun, and it’s clear that the band don’t take themselves too seriously as they bob around the spectrums and bring some really uplifting moments. In particular ‘The Temporary Blues’ stands out for this with its sun bursting through the clouds chorus, and ‘Off Track’ is sure to put a smile on your face. Because of the way the album is set up it might not be for everyone- the ska leanings put me off some tracks- but there is a lot going on in the album, and there were many moments that had me thinking of fun in the ilk of the ‘Polyphonic Spree’, which can’t be a bad thing. chris hay
angus and julia stone DOWN THE WAY Nettwerk Records Aussie sibling duo Angus and Julia Stone’s sophomore release is a heartfelt and stirring piece of work. Trading singing duties on successive tracks throughout the 13 track album allows both brother and sister to showcase the great character they have to their voices. Julia’s vocals are spine tingling with her delicate and almost reticent delivery that harks towards Martha Wainwright or Lisa Hannigan, who sang on Damien Rice’s debut. There’s a real feeling of sincerity to the tracks, as they skip between folk and pop sensibilities, bringing string and horn sections in to fill out and accentuate playful tales of love, loss and life. It’s an album that is easily listenable to from start to finish- a rare commodity these days-and I’m sure that everyone will have their own favourite moment as the pickings are so generous. The album opening should really catch listeners attention, setting the scene for what’s to come with the orchestral, soaring, Julia sang ‘Hold On’, followed by the Angus led ‘Black Crow’, with its bouncing bass and understated vocals. ‘On The Road’ and ‘I’m Not Yours’ deploy some touching harmonies and show the different approaches taken by each member. It’s fair to say that Julia does the more folk songs and Angus brings a pop/ indie side, more modern in his influences of whom Josh Rouse sticks out. The album works extremely well by melding the two sides of the coin that are brother and sister together, and throughout the album these approaches mesh to form wonderful moments. chris hay
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kassidy The Rubbergum E.P. mercury In High Fidelity, (John Cusack’s character) Rob Gordon utters the timeless ditty on making a mix tape: “You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch”. Kassidy seem to have gone the complete opposite way with The Rubbergum EP as opener ‘Night In A Box’ has a slight INXS vibe to it’s rhythm, and doesn’t really grab you by the scruff of the neck, which is a complete miss-sell of the band and this EP. ‘Stray Cat’ caught my attention with the appearance of a kazoo (which every band should use, Kudos to Kassidy), but it’s not really till track 3 that the EP gets going. And it really gets going. ‘Betrayal’ shows what all the long hair and beards are about, showcasing sun soaked acoustic guitars and effortless vocal harmonies, with a chorus that makes me think of what the Kooks could have been if they collectively grew a pair and had drawn their influences from 30 years back rather than 5 minutes ago. Kassidy clearly derive their influences from back in the 60’s and 70’s, as can be heard in the addition of a sitar, and of course the multiple member harmonies, and this is a good thing; it was all about pure songwriting back then, no gimmicks, no gadgetry, no sound of the moment to make your tunes, and Kassidy hark back to this stripped down approach. ‘The Traveler‘ steps up the tempo, and amps up the guitars, showing the band should have a good bit of kick to them live. Final track ‘Yeah’ is a multi vocal, foot tapper of a tune, with a soaring chorus that conjures images of travelling around in a camper van and wearing headbands and flares and pulling it off. It’s an accomplished debut, and it’s clear to see why Jim Gellatly listed them as 1 of his ’10 To Watch’ for 2010. Don’t get me wrong regarding my opening statement, it’s more a suggestion that while the first 2 tracks are decent, the back end of the EP is excellent and Kassidy have in fact ‘cooled it off’ at the start and then followed up with a bunch of ‘killer’ songs. chris hay
PHOTOGRAPHY // HAMISH BROWN
T IN THE PARK 2010 T
he first acts for T in the park 2010 have been announced and festival goers will not be disappointed. DF Concerts and Tennent’s have aimed high with the headliners and pulled out some epic acts to close proceedings. Friday will see Muse bring their stellar, super-massive stage show to Balado. The 3 piece will be hot off the back of their number 1 album ‘The Resistance’ which somehow saw them reach new levels of vision and scope. Constantly up for ‘Best Live Act’ gongs Muse should really be a treat to bring the first night to a close. Saturday sees a real coup with the most iconic figure of the past decade in rap, and maybe even all music, taking to the stage as Eminem plays his first European show in 5 years. Controversy and brilliance are never far from the man who has sold a staggering 75 million albums worldwide, and his set should have people talking for years to come. Closing on Sunday will be Kasabian fresh from their ‘Best Group’ triumph at this year’s Brit Awards. With true rock and roll presence and the music to back up the swagger, the ‘West Pauper Lunatic Asylum’ wild children will be showcasing their very special brand of electro-indie in what will be their first UK festival headline slot. The line-up has clearly pleased those involved with George Kyle of Tennent’s beaming: “Every year I’m as eager to hear about the line-up as our audience are and yet again, DF have pulled out all the stops and delivered a bill of heavyweights.” The superstar acts do not stop there. In what is a second amazing hip hop coup Jay Z will be headlining the NME stage. There is no bigger rap star in the world today and with 11 straight number 1 albums in the America there is sure to be a set full of non-stop classics. The Black Eyed Peas will be showing why they are 1 of the biggest bands in the world with their infectious brand of dance and hip hop inspired pop. Welsh rockers the Stereophonics and Dance legends The Prodigy both bring some heavyweight clout and the experience of previous headlining slots at the festival. T in The Park has always brought us the very best in Scottish acts. This year Biffy Clyro and Paolo Nutini will be returning after a year of great success which saw both have chart
PHOTOGRAPHY // ANDREW ZAEH
topping albums. As will perennial chart topper Calvin Harris, who might even bring his pineapple for a dance. There will also be the chance to see some of the stars of the future, a highlight for George Kyle: “We’re proud that the T Break Stage is back in 2010, Tennent’s have been supporting new music through this initiative since 1996 and we’ll be showcasing more of Scotland’s best unsigned talent at T in the Park.” All of this is before even mentioning chart toppers, Brit Award winners, million sellers, musical icons, the hottest new acts around and dance legends. The rest of the acts announced so far include: Faithless * Florence & The Machine * Dizzee Rascal * Vampire Weekend * 30 Seconds To Mars * David Guetta * Mumford and Sons * John Mayer * The View * Goldfrapp * Hot Chip * The Cribs * The Courteeners * Wolfmother * The Proclaimers * Plastikman * Skunk Anansie * Newton Faulkner * The Coral * Empire of The Sun * La Roux * Rise Against * Gossip * Ellie Goulding * The Temper Trap * The Stranglers * Broken Social Scene * Carl Cox * Dirty Projectors * Slam * Erol Alkan * Four Tet * Mayer Hawthorne & The County * Fake Blood * Two Door Cinema Club * Black Mountain Event Organiser Geoff Ellis has clearly been a busy man in putting together such a big name line up, but feels it is all worth it, stating “Shaping the bill for Scotland’s finest and favourite festival is an absolute honour and I can’t wait for July 8th when the campsite gates open for the Thursday night campers and the party begins in true T in the Park style. I’m delighted with our artist announcements and hope the T in the Park audience has another great weekend to remember!” The lineup is already packing a great bit of ‘A’ list musical punch, but the head of DF concerts says much more can be expected in the coming months. “Our line-up is already undeniably strong and diverse this year and we’ve still got lots more up our sleeves to announce.” Keep up to date with these announcements at www.tinthepark.com. chris hay
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a r Mik ersta s heâ€™s p u s op gig s to p r the es talk his love fo d d e ne G aiti and w! e-An Louis Help for H in Glasgo , e r ic s e u h t m d righ playe
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y by daren
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ove him or hate him, you can’t deny that Mika has given the music industry a good shake-up since his arrival on the pop scene. In 2007, it was almost impossible to go anywhere without hearing the infectious ‘Grace Kelly’ (for those of you who don’t know, that’s the one with the high bit no other human being other than Mika can sing!), and the success of the subsequent album ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’, which went double platinum in the UK, firmly cemented Mika’s position as a global phenomenon. Not bad for someone who was playing in pubs to an audience of 15 people (or less) just a few years earlier. Sounds like a surreal experience to me, but Mika assures me that he’s kept his feet firmly on the ground throughout his rapid rise to fame: “It was very real, simply because I was touring. I was performing in pubs and bars like Nice n Sleazy’s in Glasgow before, and I never really stopped to tell you the truth. I was always on the road, and when you’re on the road, you’re only as good as your worst show. It gave it a very real feeling”
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I have to admit I felt a bit nervous picking up the phone to chat to such a huge star, but there was no need, because Mika was a perfect gentleman! I have to say I was slightly disappointed, because I’ve yet to interview a stroppy celebrity (like we’re led to believe they all are!) and was expecting something much different from the down to earth guy he turned out to be! Chatting about ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’, and his new album ‘The Boy who knew too much’, it’s clear that making music is just as much of a creative process for Mika as his artwork, which much of ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’ is based on. Tracks such as Grace Kelly, Lollipop and Billy Brown all tell stories from artwork. It is a classic pop album in my opinion which is lighthearted and fun. On the other hand, ‘The Boy who knew too much’ is based mainly autobiographical, as Mika draws on his own life for inspiration. “It is based on personal experiences. It’s darker, it’s consciously less commercial. It’s like part two, finishing off what I had started with the 1st album in order to propel myself forward creatively” With two albums of completely different dynamics, surely he must have one he prefers? When I ask this, Mika counters the question with one of his own: Which one do I prefer? I admit I’m a fan of both albums, but that for me ‘Life in Cartoon Motion’ has the edge, because it is lighthearted, and offers an escape from the real world. He chuckles: “Exactly. But it needed something to balance it, in my head anyway from the first to the second. They can almost be seen like a pair, and I suppose my preference is somewhere in the middle because they go together in my head. ‘The Boy who knew too much’ is exactly what I had in my head, in order to balance out the first album. Mika has a sound all of his own, and with two albums which are so completely different from one another, it’s difficult to compare him to any other artist. But like every musician, there have to be influences, and he’s enthusiastic not only about musical influences, but cultural ones as well. “I guess someone like Harry Nelson or David Bowie, right through to the classic songwriting of people like ABBA and the total uniqueness of someone like Prince. So a bit everywhere really! I grew up in France and Britain, I was born in Lebanon so I’m very much a mutt and that shows itself, not only in what I was exposed to musically growing up, but in the way I make music myself.” It’s impossible to sum up his music in one word, something he claims he could ‘never’ do. “I just always say that I make pop music, because it’s populist music that’s melody driven, right? I think there’s an element of what I do that has to be genre less, and it’s important to me not to be too pigeonholed into a particular genre” Regardless of how he defines himself, it’s clear from his international success that his fans love the unique sound that sets Mika apart from thousands of other pop acts, and he tells me of his surprise at discovering how wide his fan base really is. “I just finished my Asian and American tour before
Interview Christmas. I had absolutely no idea that I had such a fan base in those parts of the world; it was kind of a shocker! Because my show is all about leaving reality behind for 2 hours and getting lost in this kind of world that we create, it’s almost like you’re taking some crazy substance that you’ve stolen from your grandmother’s cupboard (do not try this at home folks!) and jumped into the pages of my artwork. No matter where we are in the world, the crowd has a similar kind of unabashed, unashamed defenceless quality to it. It’s really a good feeling” Down to earth and modest! But he maintains that despite his success, some of his favourite shows were from before his career really took off. “Some of the best venues I’ve ever done were the earliest ones. Nice n Sleazy’s in Glasgow I always mention because it was incredible, and the Barrowlands was great”. Mika has also used his popularity and influence to help out those affected by the earthquake in Haiti.
“Some of the best venues I’ve ever done were the earliest ones. Nice n Sleazy’s in Glasgow I always mention because it was incredible, and the Barrowlands was great”. Talking about his part in the recording of the Help for Haiti single ‘Everybody Hurts’ (a cover of the REM song), Mika clearly holds the people of Haiti close to his heart. “I grew up with some friends from Haiti when I was living in France as a boy and I’m very fond of it as a country. Right now, I’m actually sitting in front of 3 paintings on my living room wall, which are all from Haiti. I think it’s really sad, devastating, not just what’s happened with this horrific incident but the bad luck they’ve had over the past year and a half. Haiti is one of the unluckiest countries in the world right now and they need as much money as they can possibly get to even have a chance” The charity single, which made number one in the charts, raising much needed money for Haiti was organized by Simon Cowell, and Simon Fuller, for whom Mika has nothing but praise. “‘It was an honour to be asked, and I think it’s quite a testament to Simon Cowell and Simon Fuller that they were able to pull something like this together, with so many singers at such short notice. We were all asked in to do 45 minute segments and we didn’t know what we were going to sing. We each got 2 lines and then we had to do backing vocals, stuff like that and
I played some piano on it as well. And that was it! Then the next person came in. I was one of the first that morning; I came back from France for it. James Morrison was after me and after that was Susan Boyle” My time with Mika is almost up, but I’m desperate to find out how he feels about the major record labels who shunned him in the early days, before he was signed by Casablanca Records. Would he not just love to rub it in their faces? “I guess I don’t have to say anything to them, I just have to run away from that period of my life. Aren’t we always running way from different periods of our lives, rewriting them in the way that we want them to be? At least that’s what I do as an artist. I’m always kinda trying to rewrite a different version of my life, and try and establish that as reality!” The Help for Haiti single ‘Everybody Hurts’ featuring Mika is available now to buy and download, and all money will go towards supporting those who have been affected by the Haiti earthquake. THE BANTER | 33
Look who’s 20: G lasgow’s world famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut has hit the spritely age of 20 this year, and while it is now out of its teens it’s showing no signs of slowing down. This month has been a real celebration of the venue with a series of special anniversary shows put on throughout. Paolo Nutini returned as a multi-million selling, chart topping success story after having graced the venue as a raw 16 year old. As did the legendary Manic Street Preachers who recreated their maiden Tut’s performance as a thank you to the first place to have treated and fed them well on the road as a young band. Codeine Velvet Club, Twin Atlantic and Enter Shikari were just a few of the other acclaimed acts to play sold out slots during the extended festivities, as King Tut’s kept to their ethos of modern and current music. With a capacity of 300, and acts which usually play arenas, tickets were like gold dust for all the anniversary events, but this was part of the excitement surrounding these occasions and what helped make them special. It’s always been a place where you can catch up and coming musicians in close quarters, with a very connected feel between performer and crowd. The venue’s reputation is worldwide now, but it can be seen no better than here in Glasgow itself where it is an institution. While you do see artists of the caliber mentioned above gracing the stage, King Tut’s is still heavily involved in Scottish grass roots music, as embodied in their monthly ‘Your Sound’ Sundays which showcase the best demos from unsigned bands, and the King Tut’s Recordings label which helps upcoming acts make releases into the mainstream. It’s a rite 34 | THE BANTER
of passage for young bands to get a slot, and is seen as a level above others for both established local and touring bands to add to their schedules. With the history behind the place it’s no wonder that they look upon Glasgow’s best small venue with such fervor. You only have to look below your own feet to see whose famous footsteps you are following in as you climb the stairs to the stage area. Each tread bears famous acts to have visited St Vincent Street and the list will blow revelers minds as they catch names such as The Verve, The Strokes, Beck, Radiohead, Pulp, Coldplay and of course Oasis who were so famously discovered there by Alan Mcgee and signed to Creation Records. Though the month of birthday merriment might be drawing to a close, King Tut’s still has plenty on offer throughout the year, with its gig listings being full of hidden gems, up and coming performers, acts at the cusp of success, and just downright star names that decide to come back to one of their favourite venues (as The View did last year). If you’re not going for a gig and a sweat upstairs then there’s always plenty going on in the lower level, with a pool table, the best jukebox in town (where else can you pay 50p to hear the Unwinding Hours?), jazz bands, guitar hero, bar nosh, and if you fancy, a pint of King Tut’s own beer. Twenty years is a long time for a venue to stay open never mind be at the forefront of a city’s thriving music scene, so much credit has to go to the people behind the scenes who have helped keep the place current and important. Happy Birthday King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.
by louise anne geddes PHOTOGRAPHY // dAREN BORZYNSKI
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rik Hassle is probably best known for his distinctive hair, which you can’t exactly miss! But the 20 year old singer/songwriter has taken his time to create a musical style all of his own and his upcoming album ‘Pieces’ is described as a 3 year window of life, frozen in song’. A work in progress since the age of 17, the album promises to be a success for the young artist who has ‘always been very close to emotion’ “Pieces is an album I have spent a long time working on and the background story is that I grew up with a lot of old American Soul and Rock and Roll CDs and LPs and I was fascinated by that way of expressing yourself when you are singing. When we wrote the album we really wanted to keep that soulfulness , when we started we had straightforward pop songs, so we tried to do that but as well as writing pop songs we thought it was really important to keep the soulfulness and what shaped my sound as a vocalist. We have been writing the album over a long period, so the last song we wrote for the album I think we wrote a little bit more than a year ago. I don’t know if it would sound different if we started to write it now, it probably would, but I think it’s kind of interesting that the album is about me and my friends and the way we discussed life and our friendship at that time and things that we wanted to discuss, analyse and write about. It feels a little kind of timeless as that’s how we felt at that time” As well as honing his own musical style, Hassle has also covered the music of other artists for Radio 1’s Live Lounge, including that of Rihanna. Covering a Robyn track (Be Mine) with Ellie Goulding led to a lasting friendship. “Me and Ellie were going to do the support tour with Little Boots and I think a week or something before the tour we started to email each other. We the decided that shouldn’t we record a duet, very non pretentious, just go to the studio, play the guitar and record straight in. We did that and just did it for fun really and I think Ellie is really, really talented” As new artists sharing similar experiences, Hassle’s friendships with artists such as Ellie and Marina and the Diamonds are important. “I love Marina and Ellie and we just kind of clicked and became friend immediately and we just started to see each other every once and a while and we like each others stuff.” With the forthcoming release of ‘Pieces, life has certainly changed for Hassle, who grew up in a remote isolated village in Sweden. Now living in London, does he miss his home? “You know it’s funny because you are kind of used to how countries work, when I first moved over here there was small, petty things like how the sandwiches are buttered and milk tastes different here compared to Sweden. It was hard to get used to that but as soon as I realised I was going to live and work here, you kind of forget and start to fit in how this country works so right now I am not thinking about Sweden that much although I am going back this weekend to do 2 gigs which is going to be real fun” Looking forward to his upcoming tour with Mika, Hassle is enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring his music to a wider audience. “I am really excited about that, we are actually in the middle of rehearsing for that right now and it feels great. Mika has a great fan base they are very dedicated I love his fans, I have supported him once before, last summer at the I Tunes Festival and he’s a really nice, smart guy. I’m really excited about it and also it’s going to be mainly Academy’s which is bigger than what we have played before over here in the UK, so I am really excited. I am going to try and get out there as much as possible, so it’s definitely possible that there will be a solo tour too as well.” So what about the famous hair! Do questions about the trademark curls not really annoy him? “No it’s cool! I’m kind of flattered that people actually ask “Is it ok to ask about your hair” because I really don’t mind it!” To find about more about Erik Hassle, or to download ‘Pieces’, check out www. erikhassle.com THE BANTER | 37
interview by chris hay
ursting onto the scene Scottish throw-backs Kassidy look to be set for a big year with their infectious 70’s inspired acoustic indie. The Rubbergum EP has just been released and the band is now on their first headline tour in support of it. Lewis from the Kassidy took a few minutes to talk to the Banter Mag prior to their sold out show at Glasgow’s Classic Grand recently. How did your four guitar set up come about? When we started the band we aimed to do it with drums, bass, guitar and organ, so we had a few songs like that and we thought to tighten up and practice we’d do it on the acoustic guitars. It worked a treat and we’ve never thought to go back. You’ve just recently signed to Vertigo Records, what has changed for the band since? Everything now is to do with the band. It’s an adventure that we didn’t expect to be on and there’s no real way off it, but we don’t want to get off, and we’re thoroughly enjoying it. The 60’s and 70’s have been mentioned a lot, but where do you look for inspiration? We took the image from then, and live set up from Crosby Stills Nash and Young with the four guitars. A little bit of the comparisons are to do with the harmonies. Everyone in the band has different tastes in music and it shows in their guitar playing- Barrie is a big blues man, I like punk, Hamish is into his Californian type music, Chris is a rock kinda guy- so everyone just throws genres together. 38 | THE BANTER
You’ve been in a lot of ‘ones to watch’ lists at the start of 2010, any pressure there? I can only hope that they’re correct. It’s nice to hear, but we’re just focusing on ourselves and don’t really pay too much attention cause you don’t want it to affect your performance. It happens to loads of Glasgow bands, they just assume that they don’t have to try any harder. It’s happened to friends of mine, they know they’ve went wrong and should have stuck in a bit more, so we’re just trying to keep ourselves to ourselves. The Rubbergum EP is out now, what are the album plans? It’s out maybe August or September. It’s Kassidy, so it’s raw, but also polished a wee bit. It’s like a diamond in the rough. It’s produced by Jim Abiss (of Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys, Editors fame) how did that come about? The label thought it would be great if we got Jim Abiss aboard and none of us really knew who he was until we did our homework and found out and thought that would be amazing, so we sent him our CD and he liked it. We got along amazingly, as soon as we got into the studio he got into our personalities and we got into his and he’s a member of Kassidy now in our eyes. What are the plans for the rest of the year? I think there’s a lot of touring to come. There’s some singles coming out in the summertime I’d imagine, there will be work for that and doing the artwork. There’s loads of wee bits and bobs that when they amount it’s quite a bit of work, but we’re looking forward to it. Its gona be a busy year.
Music MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS ORAN MOR, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
The small but completely packed Oran Mor venue exploded as Marina walked on to the stage dressed in a bright yellow coat and Mickey Mouse Dungarees. The set consisted of tracks from the debut album, The Family Jewels, including I Am Not a Robot, Seventeen and Obsessions.
Already tipped to be the “Florence” of this year, but going on this performance and the already loyal fan base Marina is not just going to be a tip for this years top acts but a real gem.
PHOTOGRAPHY // dAREN BORZYNSKI
DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB King Tuts, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Due to some sort of family gathering during the final support band King Tuts, which had been rammed, is fairly quiet by the time Detroit Social Club take to the stage. The mackem indie-rockers, though looking around a bit surprised after said ‘day out’ had departed for home, soon filled the gaps with the brooding, intense ‘Kiss The Sun’. The lead single from their forthcoming EP of the same name is a sterling showcase of what this six piece is all about, as it builds to a shattering crescendo. Lead singer David Burn is an infectious character, instantly engaging to the crowd and happy to have a bit of banter between tracks, quickly changing his explanation of a song from being about missing his daughter when on tour to ‘getting off drugs’ to be more rock n roll. His declaration of loving playing Glasgow certainly didn’t go amiss, and it came across sincere with an involved performance. What the band does best is deliver brash, succinct chorus driven anthems as ‘Prophecy’ reaffirmed near the end of their set; there’s no fooling around, just straight to the point and in your face. This followed favourites ‘Silver’ and ‘Rivers and Rainbows’ which demonstrate a more offbeat approach with ‘Silver’ having a real Beck feel to it, with bongo drums and harmonica prominent to break the evenings proceedings up nicely. The band use chanting backing vocals to great effect throughout their set and this can be seen no better than on closer ‘Sunshine People’. This may well be the crowd sing along that takes over from the Fratellis ‘Chelsea Dagger’, but this song has so much more to offer than the novelty value of that (now very annoying) ditty. It’s more likely to have you doing your best indie two step than just jumping around like a loony. This is the track that drew the biggest response from the King Tuts crowd and has clearly become Detroit Social Clubs signature track. That ‘Sunshine People’ looked destined to finish but kicked back in a few times was only a good thing, extending what was a killer close to a band with real promise. chris hay THE BANTER | 39
THRICE O2 GARAGE, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
Thrice have not been in Scotland for several years now despite two album releases since that time. Yet that fact did not deter fans from turning out to support this band. The band line-up had been given an unavoidable shake-up as lead guitarist Teppei Teranishi was replaced by Nate Patterson due to a family emergency. But the fans welcomed Patterson with open arms and he reciprocated by playing with everything he had. With a back catalogue of seven albums, the band had a lot to choose from when it came to the set and a lot of fans to please who would all have their personal favourites. Kicking off with Of Dust and Nations from fourth album Vheissu, the song gives a slow and atmospheric start before crashing into erratic guitars and strong vocals from guitarist/singer Dustin Krensue. Next came Silhouette from third album The Artist in the Ambulance, a dark and pounding track which gives for head banging a plenty from the crowd. Several tracks from that album were played, including an acoustic Krensue solo rendition of Stare at the Sun. The gig became especially exciting when Vheissu track, The Earth Will Shake called for some audience participation as they stamped out the beat as Krensue sang and stamped also. Brothers Ed (bass) and Riley Breckenridge (drums) were fun to watch as they frequently turned and played to one another. Patterson managed to keep up with the band’s momentum and did Teranishi’s riffs proud and genuinely seemed thrilled to be there. While Krensue was the most serious member, he anchored the gig was his powerful vocals which can switch from soft and haunting to loud and furious at a moment’s notice. This was highlighted in fan favourite and one of Thrice’s first singles, Deadbolt. The song is fast and raging and led to little mosh pits forming on the Garage’s small floor space. Tracks from new album Beggars such as All the World Is Mad displayed how much of a transition the band has made since the days of Deadbolt as they are far more atmospheric and slow to build compared to the frantic pace of earlier tunes. But this is not to slate these tracks as they worked extremely well live and rounded out the set. ANNA GAULT
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TWIN ATLANTIC O2 ABC Glasgow gig review
“I’m sorry if I’m not moving about like usual, but I’m so nervous” says Sam McTrusty half way through tonight’s set. It’s no real surprise that they nerves had set in. Despite having played here many a time as a support band, it’s a totally different ball game to find your name in lights outside with ‘sold out’ in giant red writing. ‘You’re Turning into John Wayne’ is the perfect opener, as soon as the first few chords are played the venue erupts and all you can see is heads jumping up and down. It’s hard not to be excited about Twin at the moment, there’s the same sort of feeling among music fans in the city as there was when Biffy Clyro started making waves in the music scene. The bands latest release ‘Vivarium’ gets a full play during tonight’s gig while unreleased tracks like ‘Crash Land’ even prompt a mass sing along, as well as a few phones aka the new age lighters make an appearance. By this point Barry McKenna has his cello out and the whole atmosphere changes from screaming girls to people just standing in awe at how great this band are. ‘Caribbean War Syndrome’ is arguably one of their best tracks and makes the perfect encore. By now, everyone knows the end of the set is in sight. But it would hardly be a twin gig without ‘Audience and Audio’ blaring through the room at full volume while everyone participates in some end of gig dancing, while Sam screams “And is there anybody out there?” along with the other 1250 people in the room. I think he might have just got his answer.
Music PARAMORE SECCC, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
I first heard of Paramore around the release of their first album; although I wasn’t just attracted by their music at first, I became a fan but if you told me then I’d see them sell out the SECC and become one of the biggest pop-punk/emo bands in the world I would have lol’d To be honest my first reaction upon hearing Paramore was playing the SECC was shock and laughter then I heard they had sold it out I just assumed it was one of the smaller halls in the cavernous SECC but nope it was Hall 4, i.e. the big one. It wasn’t until I got to the venue that I understood how big Paramore had become; the foyer in the SECC was just manic, crawling with hormonal screaming teens. I have seen some big bands in the SECC – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Muse but Paramore was just as busy if not more. Paramore had a hard act to follow tonight, as You Me at Six whipped the crowd up into the frenzy receiving one of the biggest reactions I have heard for a support band but as soon as Paramore hit the stage with Ignorance and I Caught Myself it was more or less You Me at Who, for the crowd who descended into madness and fits of screaming. Paramore followed their openers with That’s What You Get, Looking Up and Emergency with Hayley Williams putting forward her case for Best Frontwoman, as she commanded the SECC’s massive stage. Hit single and Rock Band favourite CrushCrushCrush is up next and it sounded phenomenal tonight, CrushCrushCrush is quickly followed up by Turn It Off and The Only Exception. Paramore decided to mix up it the new material from Brand New Eyes with Pressure their debut single and Pressure ends with guitarists Josh and Jeremy doing some cool acrobatic flips. It is back to the Brand New Eyes material with Careful and Where the Lines Overlap as the Glasgow crowd eat it up. I have to admit I was bemused by Paramore’s success, I didn’t really understand how they had became so popular, the only reason I could think of was because they have an amazingly hot singer but I knew that couldn’t be the sole reason. So it wasn’t until they played Decode, the song from that silly vampire film Twilight, and the deafening scream it receive and it all clicked; Paramore are the Twilight band. After Decode, Paramore take a short break, I hate the “E” word before returning with a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Misguided Ghosts, as the SECC is illuminated by mobile phone light, Hayley Williams proves she has the vocal prowess to go with her amazing looks. Paramore deliver a knockout one-two to finish off the SECC tonight with hit single Misery Business and Brick by Boring Brick, which has a perfect “ba-ba-ba” sing-along in which to end the night on.
JON ALLEN KING TUTS, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
HEAVY rain and the fact that it was a Monday night didn’t dampen the atmosphere at King Tuts as the crowd, an eclectic mix of young and old, welcomed Jon Allen on the stage as if he were an old friend. Kicking off the show “with a few mellow tracks” such as ‘Going Home’ and ‘New Years Eve’, the crowd stood mesmerized listening to his husky vocal chords and intimate lyrics. A relaxed Jon, clad in a trendy charity shop jacket, jeans and snazzy shoes, chatted at ease to the crowd in between songs which added to the intimate feel of the gig. Launching into ‘Lay Your Burden Down’ you could almost feel the goosebumps popping up around the venue as lyrics like “now the night feels like forever and soon the sun will come around, make your heart a little lighter, darling lay your burden down”, made it feel very personal indeed. ‘When the Morning Comes’ also struck an emotional chord with the audience as Jon sang “Don’t waste your tears on the sadness, they’re only clouds in your eyes”. Clearly delighted to see the audience sing along with him on ‘In Your Light’ and ‘Down by the River’, Jon smiled happily while playing his guitar as if it was the love of his life. Finishing on a high, ‘Dead Mans Suit’ a cheeky wee track got the couples in the crowd boogying away and was the perfect end to a perfect night of really great folk music.
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Music COBRA STARSHIP O2 ABC, Glasgow GIG REVIEW
CHIPMUNK O2 ABC, GLASGOW GIG REVIEW
HOARDES of screaming girls packed out the ABC as the crème de la crème of the British urban music scene landed in Glasgow. Getting the crowd going before headliner Chipmunk took to the stage, grime star Skepta certainly raised the temperature with his smart lyrics, thumping bass and super cool attitude. With a slightly more rockier edge Daisy Dares You took the crowd pleasantly by surprise belting out some catchy poppy rock songs. Drawing closer to the main act, Tinie Tempah had the audience eating out the palms of his hand. A British Pharrell in many ways, Tinie used his charisma and lyrical genius to his advantage, sending the crowd into a complete frenzy. This frenzy continued as Chipmunk leaped onto the stage against a backdrop of cartoon chipmunks and blazing lights. Launching into ‘Diamond Rings’, the whole place went wild and Chipmunk’s smile said it all. Hardcore fans relished singing along to some of his less earlier tracks and hysteria set in when he bent down to hand out roses to girls in the audience. The 19-year-old star who has the confidence of a 30-year-old, built up a good rapport with the crowd, getting them to do the Chipmuck sign (holding your thumb and finger up, fans will know the sign). By the time he performed his most famous song ‘Oopsy Daisy’ I didn’t believe a crowd could go any madder. I was wrong. The whole place was jumping in unison.
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I tend not to mention support bands in my reviews, as I usually miss them or don’t pay much attention to them (I know it is shocking) but Family Force Five made me pay attention. Why? Well they had matching outfits for one and the best stage prop I have ever seen: A WWE Championship belt, which adorned the waist of lead singer, Solomon Olds a.k.a Soul Glow Activatur. Family Force Five aren’t just matching outfits and WWE merchandise though – they also dance ridiculously and their songs are pretty catchy too. Family Force Five mash around 67 (this may be a slight exaggeration) musical styles and genres together to create their sound, one genre of music they incorporate is the shudder-inducing genre of “Christian Rock”. Fortunately for us all, Family Force Five have no God-bothering lyrics on show tonight, as there is nothing worse than being preached to at a rock concert. Family Force Five probably aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but the crowd in the ABC tonight seem to lap them up and if nothing else they will make you wonder if you are watching the greatest thing ever or the strangest thing ever. So far in my so-called journalism career, I have never had to give a bad review but when Cobra Starship hit the stage, tonight seems like it could be the night for my first bad review. Cobra Starship’s open song This City is at War sounds awful. Luckily, I am not the only one that thinks this lead singer Gabe Saporta isn’t happy with the sound and these sound problems plague the first few songs, which are the aforementioned The City is at War, Pete Wentz is The Only Reason We’re Famous and Nice Guys Finish Last. Gabe is not a happy camper, and starts throwing his microphone and its stand around as it keeps cutting out causing the band to stop playing until it is fixed as Gabe says he “wants to do it right”. With the technical issues sorted the band hit their stride with My Moves Are White (White Hot That is) and Wet Hot American Summer. The Church of Hot Addiction is the first standout track of the night and it sets the ABC into motion. While Gabe may have came across as a bit of a Diva early, he seems to have calmed down and is now being a compelling front man, with his cool dancing and his star jumps plus he has got on a Misfits’ t-shirt which is just plain cool. Send my Love to the Dancefloor, I’ll See You in Hell (Hey Mister DJ) and Smile for the Paparazzi follow and the latter is a crowd favourite. Up next is the band’s first ever song and the theme tune for the “greatest” movie ever Snakes on a Plane. The song, aptly titled Snakes on a Plane, has a rap by Travis McCoy from Gym Class Heroes in it and obviously Travis isn’t here tonight so Gabe gets a volunteer from the crowd to do it and boy does this guy nail it. Hot Mess and Guilty Pleasure, another highlight, follow before the band participates in one of the most infuriating traditions; the encore. After some cheering and ego stroking the band inevitably reappears to play The Scene is Dead; Long Live the Scene and arguably their biggest hit Good Girls Gone Bad, which makes the ABC erupt. Cobra Starship tonight overcame technical problems and diva tantrums to put on a great show and prove why they are the ultimate good-time party band.
Music JAMIE T BARROWLANDS, Glasgow gig review
Jamie Treayes’ was tipped to be one of the stars of last year’s British music scene, however a bout of laryngitis meant the singer/songwriter failed to showcase any of the songs from his long awaited second album Kings & Queens. Fast forward four months, and the man known as Jamie T was back in Glasgow to play a rescheduled gig from his cancelled October tour. An expectant crowd at the Barrowlands gave the 24 year old Londoner a rousing welcome when he entered the stage, despite the delay. They may have thought they were going to see a different artist when the set opened with acoustic solo song St Christopher, a number which is much slower than the cheeky cockney indie beats that made the singer famous. However normal chaotic proceedings resumed with Treayes, backed up by newly recruited band The Pacemakers, belting out stomping numbers such as Chaka Demus and The Man Machine. There was even an apology for the cancellation of the original date, and the crowd responded with chants and dancing so hard the old dance floor shook. Unfortunately the new filled out sound provided by the backing band did at times drown out the clever hip hop style lyrics, and the chaotic atmosphere of the crowd often creeped onto the stage. Encore track Sticks and Stones descended into a rabble as various hangers on entered the stage and shouted along. Treayes seems to be almost trying too hard to replicate punk madness and this results in the meaning of several of his songs being lost. The newer tracks from second album Kings & Queens were well received but arguably fail to match the catchiness of those from Panic Prevention in a live setting. Nevertheless, there is a uniqueness to Treayes’ style and the set was fresh and lively. The crowd lapped up all that was on offer: with beer, shoes and even a crutch being thrown in the air by the young, energetic audience. The biggest cheers of the night were reserved for classic hits Sheila and If You Got the Money. Jamie T ended the whirlwind 80 minute gig on top of one of the speakers, as the crowd saluted his return to form. gareth jones
JOHN MAYER O2 Academy, Glasgow gig review
John Mayer hit Glasgow in January with what can only be described as an astonishing gig. As always the Scottish fans, although there were many foreigners filled the room with their energy and even surprised Mayer himself. As Mayer began a call and answer routine the crowd soared with enthusiasm. Later the crowd began the routine once again which resulted in Mayer making a song with the Scots. He joked “I’ll turn on the telly to watch some British football and I’ll hear a familiar chant and realise that its mine!” Introducing his song “Perfectly Lonely” Mayer celebrated being single calling out to the spectators to celebrate the single life too. Although John Mayer is best known in Britain for his relationship with the renowned Jennifer Aniston, it can safely be said he has left his mark on Glasgow. Mayer astonished the audience with his talent on both acoustic and electric guitar hitting every note perfectly, filling the room with awe. The room was packed to the seams, everyone full if excitement and anticipation and Mayer delivered. His soothing voice, fun personality and his astounding guitar skills won the hearts of the audience. NICOLA MCCOLL
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COBRA STARSHIP INTERVIEW Just hours before Cobra Starship hit the stage of Glasgow ABC, The Banter sit down with Cobra’s bass player, Alex Suarez for a little question and answer session..
ou’re now coming towards the end of your UK tour, how has it gone? It’s been awesome, I wish it was a little longer, we’ve done like 3 weeks in the UK before, this time the 3 weeks has been spread out through Europe. Outside of the UK our first show was in Ireland, which was awesome we’ve never been there before then we played Manchester, and then we are doing London and this show here in Glasgow. So we are hitting the prime cities.
As you said, you’ve been to the UK a few times; do you get to see much of the country? Nope, unfortunately it really is just the tour bus and the venue. We’ve been to London a million times and we know it pretty well but I’ve always want to see a little more of this place; I like it here a lot.
Hot Mess, your third album, has been really successful hitting number 4 in the US charts and got really positive views. When you were recording did you feel you had a hit on your hands? No, we had no idea; we just wanted to make a quality record. We had started to rush the writing process but then we took a step back and a time out and try to write some more quality tracks instead of trying to rush the album out and get it out fast. We didn’t know what to expect [from the album], everyone was rushing us to make the record but we decided we didn’t need to rush so we got away from everyone and went to the mountains and got a house and finished writing there. The album almost took a year, from start to finish, which is the longest we’ve ever taken. Usually we write a record and recorded within a year of the last release. 44 | THE BANTER
Interview One of the main successes from the album, is the single Good Girls Gone Bad, did that single help make the public aware of Cobra Starship? Absolutely, for the longest time back home no one really knew us, we did have a really strong solid fanbase which let us play big venue, 1500-2000 seaters, the kids knew us but no one else really did. I would go out and people would ask “what do you do?” and I would be like “I am in a band, Cobra Starship” and then it would be “Corporate what?” but now it is “we sing that song Good Girls Gone Bad” and then it is “oh I love that song.”
Where you apprehensive working with Leighton Meester [co-vocalist on Good Girls Gone Bad] because she is most associated with Gossip Girl and acting? Were there concerns people would just see it as a gimmick? Yea but we are kind of a gimmick anyway; I don’t necessarily think we’d do a song with Carrot Top (a much maligned American comic) but as long as it is somebody cool.
“…That was a lot of fun, we
talked to Katy (Perry) about doing it and she was cool with it and it was good fun and it got a lot of press we couldn’t believe it.” After the European tour you are heading to Japan then to Australia and New Zealand and with a newly announced North American tour it seems to be a nonstop exciting time for the band? Since the single and the album came out it was a crazy four month spread there, it got really hectic and it was hard but we got through it. We had a nice little break just there, we had a month at home and after this we’ve got ten days off. It is sweet because we are going to Europe and the UK and we are having a successful tour, we’ve been getting ticket counts ahead of the gig and we can’t believe the response and then we are fortunate enough to go to new countries and have people appreciate us.
You hear a lot of bands saying being on tour and on the road is boring, how do you deal with the monotony of touring? You get use to it, touring gets easier with experience, it is my job I get to play music for a living live in front of a ton of people that like our stuff and you get to go to cool cities and experience new things.
I would go out and people would ask “what do you do?” and I would be like “I am in a band, Cobra Starship” and then it would be “Corporate what?” but now it is “we sing that song Good Girls Gone Bad” and then it is “oh I love that song.” Will we be seeing Cobra Starship at any of the UK festivals this year? I hope so, we would love to come back and do Leeds and Reading festival again, we’ve done Slam Dunk and Give It a Name and those are really cool. We don’t know if we’ve got any plans to come back or not.
The band covered Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl on Fall Out Boy’s Welcome to the New Administration mix-tape; can we expect any new and unique covers from the bands? We don’t have any plans to do anything like that right now but if something really sweet comes up we might. That was a lot of fun, we talked to Katy about doing it and she was cool with it and it was good fun and it got a lot of press we couldn’t believe it.
Any surprise in store for Glasgow tonight? We are gonna play some new songs off Hot Mess, which I know isn’t out here but I feel everybody already has it and play some older songs.
What are the plans for after the gig? Do you get to go out or is it straight back to the bus? We get to go out a little bit but sometimes we have an early bus call depending on how far the drive is but we try to party at least a little bit. We are off tomorrow so we are going to be here tomorrow and we’re going be on a serious lookout for Belle and Sebastian, Ryland [Cobra’s guitarist] and I are massive Belle and Sebastian but it is funny because their music is nothing like Cobra’s.
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you me at six By MAXWELL LYNAS
Here at The Banter we don’t ask you, our readers, for a lot but today that has to change because I have to ask you to come with me on journey back in time, one Marty McFly and Doc Brown would even be hesitant to take. Today we must travel back to the distant time of December 2009, a time of financial uncertainty with the country in recession and where vampires ruled the world...well the entertainment world at least and one where a young band from Surrey named You Me at Six had yet to release their outstanding second album Hold Me Down. 46 | THE BANTER
Whether you have arrived at our destination in a TARDIS or a DeLorean DMC-12 it doesn’t matter, just as long as you’ve arrived at Glasgow’s Soulless Exhibition & Conference Centre... sorry I meant Scottish not Soulless (not). We’ve travelled to the SECC to speak to Josh Franceschi, lead singer of You Me at Six, and today he is a very busy man. His clothing company down but not out productions has just launched today, he is busy tweeting and texting away on his Blackberry, and there is also the matter of his band supporting a little known US band called Paramore at the sold-out SECC tonight. Hold Me Down is set for release a little over a month from now on January 11 2010 (remember it is December 2009) so how did Josh find the recording process of the so called “difficult” second album? “I started writing it when we were doing our headline tour last March. “By the time we got to the practice studios and the pre-production, a lot of it had already taken form so we just wrote what we wanted to write and went with it and hope that people like it. “The recording process was great, we moved out of our houses and moved to Reading for about 7 weeks and had these little bachelor pads in the centre of town and just had a really good time. “We’d go into the studio about 10 o’clock leave about 7 and then we’d go out to clubs, casinos or whatever and just had a laugh and that was really important to get the vibe going.
“The recording process was so relaxed compared to the last one, we had two and a half weeks for Take Off Your Colours and seven and a half for Hold Me Down it was a completely different scenario.” So you had more time and less pressure? “Yea it was cool cause living in Reading at the same time would mean I could just walk to the studio or one of the guys could pick me up or I could stay up at the flat on my own just writing, it was really cool. “I do a lot of writing on the toilet on my phone, before the last record I was just thinking of clever lyrics, I still want to do that and people to think its catchy but I wanted it to be more to the point.” Hold Me Down is just over a month away from being released so what is your hope for the album? “My hopes and our labels hopes are two different things; my hope is that people like it and I hope the You Me at Six fans that we have at the moment really get something out of it. “I think this record may allow some people that weren’t into You Me at Six before, start to like it, I hope anyway. “That is my hope for the record anyway that we continue what we’ve done so far and get more of a fan base. “I want people to be proud of the songs like we are.” Tonight You Me at Six support arguably one of the best bands of the moment in Paramore, how does supporting a band in a arena differ from headline your own show?
“The reason we took this tour, we’ve been offered big arena tours before, we did one with Fall Out Boy and then we kinda vowed not to do another support tour in the UK and try to build it up ourselves. “We actually had a headline tour scheduled for January but we got offered this tour, I was like we’ve been trying to get on Paramore tours for the last two years and for them to offer us main support on an arena tour is a statement for our band and people will look at that and think “wow, You Me at Six are the main support for Paramore” and it is a chance to play arenas again, when we played with Fall Out Boy we weren’t great as a band, our album had just came out and musically and as a live band we weren’t ready. “I think we are ready for that kind of pressure now, I am unbelievably happy to be doing this tour and I love, love Glasgow and I love playing shows here so I’m absolutely stoked. “I don’t know what it is about playing shows here, people lose their shit, they seriously do, it is just passion for music, which you get elsewhere but it is not really the same as it is in Scotland. “I got up this morning at ten to come in and shower and some kid was like “hey man” and I was like “what the fuck are you doing here? It is ten o’clock in the morning, go to school or something” but hey that is why I love them.” Josh and the boys are set to head out on a UK headline tour in March playing to some of their biggest crowds in the best venues the country has to offer. “We are really looking forward to playing Brixton Academy, when I was 15 I did this thing on my MySpace, a five year plan and wrote one day I wanted to play Brixton Academy. I’ve watched Kids in Glass Houses play Brixton, I’ve watched The Blackout play Brixton and I thought “fuck, this is never going to happen, we are never going to get it” and then after we did the Roundhouse people we like the next one we’ll put you in Brixton because that is the next step and I was thinking “yeh, whatever, never going to happen”. “We were on the AP tour and we got the routing through for the tour and I saw it and was like “even if no one comes I am playing Brixton Academy”. “That is one thing we are really proud of; we are going to film it and to be fair we are spending a lot of money on the show because we are not stupid and we know there is a shelf life to this and I personally would rather spend all our money making our band look the shit rather than make loads of money and put on a shit show.” Josh’s tour manager interrupts (for the third time) to tell Josh to wrap it up because he’s got a meet and greet to do but Josh just blows him off but I say it’s cool and that we are done because I think Josh would probably just stay and chat to make sure I’ve got enough and as he said “that I’ve not wasted my time”. What a guy eh? So readers it is now time to head back to the future, so hop aboard your TARDIS or a DeLorean DMC-12 and let’s leave this strange and wonderful time. Now that we are in the present, we know Hold Me Down debuted to several positive reviews and at an impressive number five in the album charts and single Underdog received airtime on Radio 1 and the band’s headline tour is nearly a sell-out with the date in Leeds being the only one with tickets available. So Josh, you not only get to play Brixton – you’ve sold it out THE BANTER | 47
CLASH OF THE TITANS
IN CINEMAS FROM MARCH 26TH
Clash of the Titans has been geared up to be this years big hit. Starring Sam Worthington (of Avatar fame) as Perseus, Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades and directed by Louis Leterrier, this special effects filled blockbuster may have all the ingredients to live up to its hype. Following Perseus, a son of the Gods but raised by mortals, he leads a crusade against Hades attempt to seize power from Zeus. Naturally along the way there will be as many unholy CGI creates beasties and battles as you can handle.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO 18 IN CINEMAS FROM MARCH 12TH
TWhen investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Niqvist) loses a libel case brought by a Swedish tycoon, his career reaches a low point as he faces a prison sentence. But then a call from rival industrialist Henrik Vanger (Peter Harber) offers him the opportunity to salvage his reputation and rescue his failing magazine. Under the cover of writing Venger’s autobiography, Blomkvist is offered the job of solving the mystery behind his great-niece’s disappearance from the family’s remote island home four decades earlier. When Blomkvist in turn hires brilliant computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to help him uncover the secret, her disturbing and wild behaviour brings about a turn of events. As the owner of the dragon tattoo, she holds the key to the unravelling the cold case in which each family member is a suspect... 48 | THE BANTER
EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES PG out now
From his working class roots, John Crowley (BRENDAN FRASER) had finally begun to taste success in corporate America. Supported by his beautiful wife Aileen (KERI RUSSELL) and their three children, John is on the fast track. But just as his career is taking off, Crowley walks away from it all when his two youngest children, Megan and Patrick, are diagnosed with a fatal disease. With Aileen by his side, harnessing all of his skill and determination, Crowley teams up with a brilliant, but unappreciated and unconventional scientist, Dr. Robert Stonehill (HARRISON FORD). Together they form a bio-tech company focused on developing a life-saving drug. One driven to prove himself and his theories, the other by a chance to save his children, this unlikely alliance eventually develops into mutual respect as they battle the medical and business establishments in a fight against the system - and time. But, at the last minute, when it appears that a solution has been found, the relationship between the two men faces a final test - the outcome of which will affect the fate of John’s children.
THE CRAZIES 15
AT CINEMAS NOW
Welcome to Ogden Marsh, Iowa, the friendliest place on earth. A picture perfect town where your neighbours are your friends and your friends are your neighbours. Until they want to kill you. A mysterious toxin in the water supply turns everyone exposed to it into mindless killers and the authorities leave the uninfected to their certain doom in this terrifying reinvention of the George A. Romero horror classic. Sheriff David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant); his pregnant wife, Judy; Becca and Dutten’s deputy, Russell, find themselves trapped in a once-idyllic town they can no longer recognise. On the run from infected neighbours, loved ones and friends, targeted by the ruthless military and terrified of getting sick, they are forced to band together in a nightmarish struggle for survival.
ALICE IN WONDERLAND PG
IN CINEMAS FROM MARCH 5TH
From Walt Disney Pictures and visionary director Tim Burton comes an epic 3D fantasy adventure Alice in Wonderland, a magical and imaginative twist on some of the most beloved stories of all time. Johnny Depp stars as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as 19-year-old Alice, who returns to the whimsical world she first encountered as a young girl, reuniting with her childhood friends: the White Rabbit, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, and of course, the Mad Hatter. Alice embarks on a fantastical journey to find
her true destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror. The all-star cast also includes Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Crispin Glover. The screenplay is by Linda Woolverton. Capturing the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s beloved “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (1865) and “Through the Looking-Glass” (1871) with stunning, avant-garde visuals and the most charismatic characters in literary history, Alice in Wonderland comes to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™ on March 5, 2010.
GREEN ZONE To celebrate the release of The Crazies we have goody bags to give away to 3 lucky readers. To win all you need to do is answer the following question. Who plays Shefiff Dutten in The Crazies? Send your answers by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading Competition: The Crazies along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes April 5th 2010.
15 IN CINEMAS FROM MAZRH 12TH
During the U.S. led occupation of Baghdad in 2003, Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Damon) and his team of Army inspectors were dispatched to find weapons of mass destruction believed to be stockpiled in the Iraqi desert. Rocketing from one booby–trapped and treacherous site to the next, the men search for deadly chemical agents but stumble instead upon an elaborate cover–up that inverts the purpose of their mission. Spun by operatives with intersecting agendas, Miller must hunt through covert and faulty intelligence hidden on foreign soil for answers that will either clear a rogue regime or escalate a war in an unstable region. And at this blistering time and in this combustible place, he will find the most elusive weapon of all is the truth. THE BANTER | 49
Actually... I haven’t seen this before!
ast time, I was slightly down on Hollywood. The year ahead looked as though it was going to be overrun with sequels and remakes. . 2010 now in full swing, it has become apparent that there is a proverbial smorgasbord of exciting new films ready to hit the screens. I may have been slightly harsh on old Tinsel Town. So far there have been three strong contenders for Academy Award nods in Up in the Air, The Road and Inviticus. After a five year hiatus, the Disney team have pushed aside the keyboards and cracked out the pencils bringing out The Princess and the Frog. While Disney are guilty of trotting out Toy Story into the cinema in again, 3D and releasing a third instalment in the trilogy this Summer, going back to basics could be just what the doctor ordered. Comedy is looking good too, Youth in Revolt (worth seeing for Michael Cera’s moustache alone) Being hailed as potentially as comedy of the year, and Valentines Day bringing the Rom-Com, it could be a good year to laugh. If guns and explosions are more your thing, never fear, The Expendables is on its way. Sure, technically this is a remake of a very unsuccessful 80’s film, but I think that can be excused purely on the basis of the cast. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Stratham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and even the Governor himself Arnold Schwarzenegger. If that’s not the line up for the greatest action film of all time, what is? The lack of Van Dam may be lamentable, but when the shooting is postponed because Sylvester Stallone suffers a broken neck from “Stone Cold”, surely its got to be worth a watch? Clash of the Titans, possibly the most anticipated, special effect and monster packed film of the year will finally debut in a couple of month’s time. As the only film to have received any real hype for some time before it’s release, it will be interesting 50 | THE BANTER
to see how Liam Niesen handles the role of Zeus. Personally, I may go and see it purely to hear the line “Unleash the Kracken”…a spine tingling line if ever there was one. Then there is Daybreakers, which has already provided a much darker less “sparkly” take on the recent Vampire trend than was seen last year. But never fear, The Twilight express isn’t slowing down, as the next episode in the saga, Eclipse, is due to be released in the summer. However, the film I am most excited about however, has still to catch the media’s attention. Later this year Johnny Depp becomes re-acquainted with an old friend in the adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary. If Depp can re-capture even a tenth of the quirky insanity that made Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas such a cult hit, then this could be the dark horse to keep your eye on. These are just a few of the films coming our way this year, in fact many of them are already in the cinema. However, the price of cinema tickets is surprisingly high (even with a cheeky student discount). There are also 53 films currently being shown across the nation. With so many movies to choose from, sadly, some of these films will be overlooked. In addition to this, the few that do succeed will likely be remakes or sequels. As I looked at in the last issue, why take a chance on something new when you have a time-tested formula to rely on? The solution? There probably isn’t one, the demand for cinema has never been greater and as a result the number of films being made is probably only going to increase. However, I could be wrong, this could be a positive. For the first time ever, we cannot moan “there’s nothing good in the cinema”. With so many films to choose from, could it be that we are about to enter a simply phenomenal year of cinema? Time will tell, but only one thing is for certain…I still don’t want to see the next Twilight… SIMON CASSIDY
UP (U) Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Disney’s UP is the 10th film to come from the Pixar stable and could well be their best to date. It’s a story of a young boy ‘Carl’ and girl ‘Ellie’ who both have a dream of going to a lost land in South America. But 70 years on, Ellie has passed away & Carl has almost forgotten their dream. The start of the film is quite moving, but this gives any of us who has lived a few years a strong connection to Carl. His big adventure then starts with some help from a 8 year old stowaway ‘Russell’ and together, they embark to a strange and colourful world.The Blu-ray presentation of this film is quite amazing, the colours are bright, flamboyant and the High-Definition picture is graphically exciting. The sound quality is stunning, the DTS-HD soundtrack is really pushing theatre-quality sound for the home to higher heights. With an abundance of extras, this uplifting film will appeal to all ages and is one not to be missed.
open graves (15) ICON HOME ENTERTAINMENT Mike and Erica are part of a young group of surfers who come into possession of an ancient board game made from the skin and bones of a witch executed during the Spanish Inquisition. Young American expatriate, Jason (Mike Vogel), spends his carefree days surfing the beaches of north western Spain. The surf community is international, exotic and beautiful, particularly the enigmatic and sexy Erica (Eliza Dushku), who Jason falls in love with. One evening, during a drunken party, the surfers become curious and suddenly decide to open up the board game and play “Mamba” for kicks. It’s all fun until they discover that ancient curses have terrifying consequences.As soon as they play the game, one by one, death begins to follow them in the most gruesome ways leaving them with a race against the clock for the pair to reverse the diabolical spell. Robert lee
twilight saga: New Moon (12)
E1 ENTERTAINMENT After Jasper attacks Bella, Edward and the Cullen’s decide to leave Forks for good. Spiralling into a deep depression Bella turns to childhood friend Jacob Black and a reckless lifestyle as a means to hold onto her true love. Little does she know that she is now in the middle of a centuries old feud that could be about to erupt. Bella’s life has become increasingly complicated and the return of a vengeful enemy makes matters all the worse. New Moon picks up where Twilight left off, but really amps up the action with increased tension, fear and hope as the legends of vampires and werewolves come to the fore. Bella is faced with the most difficult and important choices she has ever had to make and his little time to make them.e missed.
paranormal activity (15) ICON HOME ENTERTAINMENT After moving into a new apartment young couple Katie and Micah begin to grow wary of the late night disturbances that are far from ordinary. Katie finally admits that she believes she has been stalked by a demonic presence since her childhood, which Micah is reticent about initially. As the events become more strange and disturbing he decides to set up cameras all over the house in an attempt to catch footage of any such spirit, but their attempts at contact only anger the ghosts and lead to truly terrifying events. Shot on a shoestring budget, in the style of The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity has been one of the surprise hits of last year with its use of ‘actual footage’ creating one of the truly tense and terrifying films of recent times..
THE BANTER | 51
VAMPIRES IN TURMOIL by Anna Gault They are everywhere. On your TV screen, in the films you watch, in your CD collection, on your clothes, in your DVD collection, even in your food. Vampires. They have haunted the nightmares and fantasies of the public since the 1800s but recently vampires and their lore have saturated public consciousness like never before. Many would agree that vampires first made their stamp on pop culture with Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula and Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the same character on the screen; however, it was the 90s which really saw them infiltrate imaginations across the world. The most prominent vampire film of the 90’s was an adaption of Anne Rice’s 1976 novel, Interview with the Vampire. The film introduced many to the idea of the “tortured vampire”. Previously vampires were thought of as blood-drinking monsters who wear capes and sport widow’s peak hairstyles; however in Interview with the Vampire’s protagonist, Louis, a variation of the vampire was 52 | THE BANTER
found. Louis knew he was a monster but he did not want to be and this dilemma has given literature, films and TV shows a more workable and enduring angle on the classic vampire. Modern vampires are now more likely to be found pouting about their internal struggles than feasting on a young maiden. But this type of vampire has proven to be far more appealing for young teenage girls and has led to the recent onslaught of vampire-themed everything. One of the first and longest-running vampire franchises to exploit the tortured vampire archetype was the TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His name was Angel and his dilemma stemmed from his gypsy curse induced human soul forcing him to feel remorse for all the people he had killed and preventing him from killing any more. With his dark, brooding good looks, this vampire was one with which many young women could safely fall in love with. While a major part of the show was focused on Buffy and Angel’s romantic relationship it managed to retain its bite
Television through intense storylines, monstrous vampire make-up, action packed fight sequences and quick-witted dialogue. Adding to this the vampire dynamic and it stood out as one of the best TV shows on television of the 90s/00s. The silver screen was treated to another tortured vampire character in the late 90s and early 00s. Blade was a critically acclaimed film with a half-vampire, half-human title character who despised what he was and his therapy was killing as many vampires as possible. This film was dark and at times gory (see burned vampire corpse attacking doctor) and Blade was a far less romanticised tortured character. Its subsequent sequels failed to stand up to the original but it is one of the best modern vampire films to feature a monstrous vampiric image. There have been many other vampire incarnations on TV and in film, too many to discuss, but as these incarnations break into 2010 they are far removed from the vampires of old. The connotations of vampire have changed from frightening monster to conflicted dreamboat. This recent shift seems to be mainly down to Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novel series and film adaptations and most recently TV series The Vampire Diaries both of which feature a centuries old vampire in a male teenager’s body who falls in love with a human. Despite the distinct lack of horror in both of these franchises, their popularity speaks for itself. The Vampire Diaries recent premiere on ITV2 received 874,000 viewers whereas the season 6 premiere of massive hit show; Lost racked up a similar amount of over 800,000. The show revolves around vampire brothers, Stefan (the good, pouting one) and Damon (the bad, smouldering one) who are both vying for the affections of innocent, doe-eyed Elena. It comes from the mind of Kevin Williamson who wrote Dawson’s Creek and on the opposite end of the scale, Scream. Despite the vampire theme, the result is decidedly more the romantic melodrama of Dawson’s Creek than witty horror of Scream. But it is early days so perhaps the show may have more of a dark side yet to come to light. Twilight’s popularity has hit Harry Potter heights and with two more films to come in the franchise, it looks as if diluted and in Twilight’s case even fangless, vampires are going to be around for a while. Yet, hope remains in TV show, True Blood, which has found its niche in blood soaked, frenzied sex and drugs drama. Although the plot again centres on a vampire-human romance, the action stems from graphic sex, violent bloodletting and vampire blood induced drug trips. The tortured vampire of this show is Bill Compton who willingly ingests synthetic blood to stave off his hunger pangs. However as he is nearer his forties than his teens and often partakes in explicit on-screen sex he is far removed from the safety of an Angel, Stefan or Edward. The show leans towards a violent yet erotic vampiric image which may be slightly twisted but far more seductive and interesting than the lovelorn vampires of late.
COMING SOON THE PACIFIC (SKY MOVIES) the pacific premieres on sky movies premiere/hd from monday 5th april om Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman, the men behind the epic and groundbreaking ‘Band of Brothers’, have teamed up again to deliver the most anticipated piece of television this year with The Pacific.
The ten part series follows members of the 1st Marine Division as World War II rages through the Pacific Theater. It relays the connected real life tales of John Basilone, Eugene Sledge and Robert Leckie, encompassing the war from its initial battle with the Japanese at Guadalcanal through to the dropping of the atomic bombs and the soldiers return home after V-J Day. With a rumoured budget of $200 million, and trailers that leave cinema bound competition looking like they have been shot on mobile phones, The Pacific is set to be an unrivaled visual masterpiece. Band of brothers was more than a cinematic spectacular, much more, and the Pacific plans to follow suit. With the main storylines taken from books by two of the main characters (Sledge and Leckie) and real life interviews with survivors, viewers can expect an authentic and truly touching depiction of what was a savage and brutal conflict. Unfortunately The Pacific will only be shown on Sky Movies upon its release, but for those without a dish a visit to a subscriber would be highly recommended. CHRIS HAY
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Stephen Moyer’s life changed forever in just two days Interview with True Bloods Stephen Moyer
“One minute I was sitting in London reading a fantastic script for True Blood and two days later I was in Los Angeles reading for the show’s creator, Alan Ball, and being told I’d got the part,” he recalls. “It was incredible. And yes it has changed my life completely.” For those that haven’t seen True Blood, the second season of the show recently premiered on FX, it is a sexy, romantic and gloriously Gothic world where vampires mix freely with humans and Moyer plays 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton who falls for waitress Sookie Stackhouse, played by Anna Paquin. PS to those who haven’t watched it, get a grip, what have you been doing with your life? WATCH IT NOW! “I love playing him,” says Moyer. “Bill is this tortured soul who is, in fact, trying to be a decent man and trying to hold on to morality – the morality of humans when in fact he’s immortal. “He’s a pariah in terms of the humans that he comes across because he’s a vampire and that means he’s hated and feared by most of them but also in the eyes of the other vampires he’s ‘mainstreaming’ – he’s mixing with humans – and they ostracise him too from his own community. “So he doesn’t have any group that totally accepts him and I was fascinated by that because it makes him the ultimate outsider. “It’s a fantastic role.” Moyer admits that filming the series does provide with some lighter moments. “Oh yeah,” he laughs. “When we first had to use the vampire teeth that was hilarious. “I’ve got three sets of teeth personally and they take some getting used to, I can tell you. 54 | THE BANTER
“There were times, especially early on when we were still getting used to them, when the guys playing vampires would sit around in between takes and we’d be talking about football and they’d say ‘OK, cameras rolling, everyone put your teeth in…’.” Moyer, 37, was born and raised in Brentwood in England and first started acting as a teenager. “There weren’t any actors in the family but my aunt and uncle were holiday camp entertainers and one of my earliest memories is of going to the Isle of Wight every summer and watching them perform. “My uncle Tony was my absolute idol and he used to do these fantastic impressions – I can remember him doing Elvis and they also did a little bit of magic. “I think a little bit of that stayed with me. And then I started doing plays at school and loved it.” Moyer joined the Chelmsford Young Generation theatre group and later, formed his own theatre group, The Reject Society, directing plays and appearing on stage and keeping the group going during his years studying at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After drama school, Moyer quickly established himself with roles on British television, appearing in popular series like Midsummer Murders, Peak Practice and Cold Feet. Before making True Blood, he starred in the Jon Avnet directed thriller, 88 Minutes with Al Pacino and the comedy, The Starter Wife, with Debra Messing. He also worked with Avnet on the World War II miniseries, Uprising, which also starred Donald Sutherland and Jon Voight. So how did Moyer make the jump from British TV to the big
Television bad world of American TV? “I’d actually got a job at Fox playing this character that was a bit like the new Jack Bauer (24). “It was an amazing gig, I’d put myself on tape and flown in to meet the people there and they’d loved it and it all seemed great and then the show didn’t happen and it was all a bit of a mess. “I came back to London and said to myself ‘I’m not doing that again’, it was just so upsetting and frustrating and that had happened to me before and I actually said to my manager ‘I’m not coming back’ but then my agent called and said ‘look, even though the Fox job didn’t happen, your casting tape from that audition has been doing the rounds and people are talking about it. “I’m getting scripts right, left and centre. “She said she wanted me to come back to the States again and I said there was no way. “Eventually she said, ‘look, I know you haven’t read any of the other scripts, but there’s one I really think you should read, please, just read this one..’ “I read it, the script was by Alan Ball for True Blood and it was absolutely fantastic. “I couldn’t believe it, it was amazing. “I put myself on tape for it and I went to see a casting director I know, Nina Gold, who’s been great to me, and she emailed it off. “Alan saw it that afternoon and called back and said that he wanted to meet me. “I flew that night and I was sitting in front of Alan 14 hours later with Anna reading the part of Bill. “The next morning I went to the HBO office and read it for some of the guys, who were there and that was it, I was cast. Two days!” Many viewers of the show will be able to you the on screen chemistry between Moyer and Anna Paquin is sizzling, sizzling so much that it carries off screen where the real-life couple are engaged. Moyer believes the on-screen chemistry between the pair is very important “Yes it is and she’s amazing. “From the very first moment I met her, the moment we sat together on the sofa doing a scene for Alan, I knew we’d get along brilliantly. I used to teach kids drama and I used to say ‘there’s no failure, it doesn’t exist. You can do whatever you want and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t matter because you’ll be able to use something from it’ and with Anna we both sat there and said ‘let’s play with this’. So on the first day we met each other we were walking around working the scenes together; “What if I do this? Or how about this?’ It’s an absolute dream to work with someone like that.” True Blood isn’t just about vampires, sex and blood, Moyer believes it deals with a lot of other themes. “Alan is such a brilliant writer and the story deals with many themes, you have this outsider, Bill, who comes into this small town and it’s like its own little world, it’s a microcosm of society. “It’s like a parallel world, it’s like our world but one where vampires exist and you have to buy into that straight away and you have to believe that it’s real. “When you have someone like Alan creating this world, you do and like I said, Bill is a pariah because he’s a vampire – he has this mask on in a sense and so he’s vilified and everybody’s resentment is poured onto that person and that’s the metaphor for the piece. “He represents addiction, sexuality, racism, whatever metaphor you want to bring to the table. “It’s fascinating.” Season two of True Blood is currently airing on FX on Fridays at 10pm. MAXWELL LYNAS
COMPETITION the mentalist season 1 (15) warner home video Follow independent consultant Patrick Jane, as he embarks on a series of crime solving quests, in the critically acclaimed US drama The Mentalist, available on Monday 8th March courtesy of Warner Home Video. Patrick Jane played by Golden Globe Award nominee Simon Baker, (Devil Wears Prada, The Guardian,) who works with the California Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has a remarkable track record for solving serious crimes by using his razor sharp skills of observation. Within the Bureau, Jane is notorious for his blatant lack of protocol and his semi-celebrity past as a former psychic medium, whose paranormal abilities he now admits he faked. Jane’s role in cracking a series of tough high-profile cases is greatly valued by his fellow agents. Throughout the series Jane uses his mentalist skills to crack a number of complex murder cases including a wealthy banker who is found murdered inside his locked safe house, a school girl who’s body mysteriously washes up on the beach and even a crime where his former psychiatrist is the prime subject.
COMPETITION - To ��������������������������������� celebrate the release of The Mentalist, Warner Home Video and The Banter have teamed up to offer 5 lucky readers the chance to win a Mentalist DVD Boxset. Q: In which popular Aussie soap did Simon Baker star in the nineties? Send your answers by e-mail to info@thebanter. co.uk with the heading Competition: The Mentalist along with telling us your name, age, address and e-mail address. Winners will then be chosen at random! Good luck, competition closes April 5th 2010.
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ince the inception of the National Theatre of Scotland, there has been a tremendous emphasis on Scottish theatre and a new generation of theatre-makers. In keeping with this mood, the NTS are presenting three world premiere pieces by Scotland’s leading writers for young people, including giving members of the audience a chance to be the star of a new play. The Tron Theatre is closing its doors to anyone over 21 years old – this is for the young and hip only. TFD, encompasses three shows: The Miracle Man by Douglas Maxwell is about finding a source of inspiration in life. Empty by Cathy Forde centres on an evening where new information brings a halt to the world as it is knows and Mr Write written, directed and performed by Rob Drummond is the play which is as yet unwritten. Maxwell and Forde’s plays are both directed by NTS Artistic Director and Executive Director Vicky Featherstone who has achieved successes with The Wolves in the Walls and Roam. These plays have an aura of youth about them, not only in the blogs partaken by the authors but also by the choice of theme. These are meant to reach out the young people, bring them back into the theatre in a society where Augmented Reality is almost better than reality. Maxwell who is arguably best known for Decky Does A Bronco even writes his blog which reads as though his mind is incredibly in tune with the teenage psyche, “I’m getting a great feeling about this production. It feels like Vicky is cracking something, inventing something new. It feels mental and cartoony, but also 56 | THE BANTER
emotional and real when it needs to be too.” He even goes on to explain how the acting and directing in the rehearsals are keeping him well entertained; “I laugh a lot (which is not the most dignified thing in the world – a playwright rolling in the aisles at his own gags – but it’s all so fresh” and it is his enthusiasm for the show which makes it so exciting. For Forde, this is a theatrical debut, being more firmly planted in teenage literature than playwriting, but as Maxwell, she is equally as excited about working with Featherstone and the NTS in her first commissioned play; “Starting the process of writing something completely different for a novelist like myself was exciting. And a massive leap in the dark. Producing a finished first draft of A PLAY was exciting”. Rob Drummond’s piece is far more in the unknown – he will take a volunteer from the audience, use their life as an inspiration and will perform the show live on stage every night. His job is far different from the others, he is working “on a structure for Mr Write – something to hang my volunteer’s story upon, each night” before he takes it to the stage, live before the audience. All in all, this is an excellent foray for the NTS into the theatre of youth and it’s a brilliant chance for under 21s to exclusively take over the Tron Theatre between the 9-13 March.
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ARE YOU A GLEEK? T
he natural instinct is to hide a guilty pleasure, so when I first realised that I loved a soundtrack from a hit musical TV show I wanted to put it in a drawer and only play it when I was alone. Then by complete surprise I found out that I was hiding Marmite. This CD is surrounded by controversy; the public either love it or hate it, there is no middle ground. First let me say that I don’t do musicals, it just isn’t my bag, I’d rather mow a football pitch with my teeth. I get irritated when for no reason people start to sing, expressing how they feel about their pet or what they had for breakfast. And to take these pointless songs and put them back to back on a CD, No Thank You. But, and this is a big But, Glee is different. Co-Creator and Nip/Tuck writer Ryan Murphy defines the show’s title “GLEE” as “malicious optimism”, which sums up the tone of the show perfectly. A prime time comedy featuring all singing and dancing social outcasts, scheming cheerleaders, idiot jocks and wannabe divas to name a few, it has also caused a massive buzz by the unique way it has sold its music on a weekly basis two tracks at a time on the back of every episode. The songs covered in the show are equally eclectic, with the cast performing songs by the likes of Amy Winehouse, Kanye West, Rhianna, Queen, Salt’n’Pepa, Heart and even tracks from “Cabaret” and “Wicked”. 58 | THE BANTER
A complete revolution in music sales, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, the Journey hit sung by the cast in the first episode, exploded onto iTunes and entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 2. Since then, with new tracks being released on a weekly basis on the back of each new episode, the Glee Cast have had a further 4 songs make it into the Top 40. The first soundtrack album released on Columbia Records, “Glee: The Music Volume 1” has also been a huge success debuting at No. 1 in the UK Album Chart in February. Songs from the show are being released in the UK to download immediately after each episode airs on E4. Fans of the show are called “Gleeks”, being a blend from “Glee” and “Geek”. Fox took advantage in the US by running a “Biggest Gleek” competition, measuring fans related activity on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace; they found that it’s fanbase outpaced the networks science-fiction shows. Glee is one of the most tweeted about TV shows with Gleeks recreating many of its musical number in tribute to the show and sharing them on YouTube. Based on this trend, show producers are including instrumental versions of some songs on the show’s future soundtracks. I don’t and won’t have a Gleek video online but Glee: The Music, Volume 1 has now taken place, proud and centre on my music self. SUSan marshall
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