“WE’vE bEEN LISTENING TO a LOT Of HaLL & OaTES.” + BEST COAST, ARCADE FIRE, SPECTOR AND MORE!
free / issue 24 / november 2013
Ban d of the Year
FOALs 2013’S BIGGEST
Savages the national paramore fall out boy london grammar Bastille biffy clyro 1
What’s on the DIY team’s radar?
Victoria Sinden Deputy Editor good Apparently when you put Paramore on the cover of your magazine, it’s A Big Deal. evil Pretty sure the framed Paramore cover now hung precariously on our wall is going to fall on my head sometime soon.
2013 has been brilliant. And I know I’m writing this in November, so it’s not strictly over yet, but regardless - it has. From Foals to Fall Out Boy, Paramore to The National, Bastille to CHVRCHES, there’s been a bit of something for everyone to celebrate. This issue is packed with some of the bands that made our year, including 8 (EIGHT!) previous DIY cover acts. The DIY Readers’ Poll 2013 is open too, so you can have your say. Feel free to send bribes. Stephen Ackroyd
good Someone reads
evil Following his
my editor’s letter, then. (HELLO HAYLEY!)
recent Twitter rebirth, I’m actually starting to like James Blunt. A lot.
this month IN numbers
1 1417 5 1 2
People in the DIY Bunker who expected James Blake to win the Mercury Prize. Well done, James.
Miles flown to visit Foals in Copenhagen.
Hungover members of Foals who still wore their best threads for our cover shoot.
Articles written in Cosmo about the black lipstick Hayley Williams wore on our cover last month. Really.
Mile long queue for DIY night at SWN.
Louise Mason Art Director good I need two: Going to Copenhagen with Foals, and everything / everyone at SWN festival. evil I wish English homeless people were more like Danish homeless people. Jamie Milton Online Editor good Thinking about 2014: the bands, the festivals, the special gigs. evil Realising the year’s flashed by and there are a million records to catch up on. El Hunt Assistant Online Editor good Managed to go from a Warpaint show to a Halloween party. Wore my Batman outfit underneath a jacket. He’d approve. evil Hugh Hefner’s Robin Thicke costume. Double Ergh.
LISTENING post what’s on the diy stereo this month? I Break Horses Chiaroscuro (album)
Bella Union-signed moody electronica gets even darker, diving headfirst into a musical, pitch-black cave. Superfood Bubbles / Melting (Single)
Before the year’s out, Birmingham’s biggest 90s revivalists turn their attention to their brashest, most retroenhanced single to date. 3
6 war p aint 8 best coast 1 0 # S TA N D F O R S O M E T H I N G 16
C onnan M oc k asin
T he W y tches
2 6 R o y al B lood
2 8 foals
No smoke without fire
3 8 B astille
4 2 letli v e . Live and....
4 4 W a x ahatchee & S wearin ’
4 8 B iff y C l y ro
“It all still seems a bit hard to comprehend.”
5 0 F all O ut B o y Dear Pete....
5 4 p aramore
Ain’t it fun
5 6 S a v ages
“I’m not ready to shut up.”
6 0 L ondon G rammar
The voice of 2013 (no, not The Voice)
6 2 the N ational
Saying goodbye to sadness and inter-band bust-ups
albums 7 6 li v e
Editor Stephen Ackroyd Deputy Editor Victoria Sinden Reviews Editor Emma Swann News Editor Sarah Jamieson Art Director Louise Mason Head Of Marketing & Events Jack Clothier Online Editor Jamie Milton Assistant Online Editor El Hunt Contributors Anna Byrne, Carolina Faruolo, Christa Ktorides, Danny Wright, David Zammitt, Gareth Ware, Heather McDaid, Hugh Morris, Joe Greenwood, Joe Price, Laura Eley, Matthew Davies, Michael J Fax, Nat Davies, Nathan Standlee, Sam Cornforth, Sam Haughton, Sean Stanley, Shefali Srivastava, Tim Lee, Tom Baker, Tom Bevan, Tom Doyle, Tom Walters Photographers Abi Dainton, Adam Chard, Carolina Faruolo, Duncan Elliott, Kate Morely, Mike Massaro, Phil Smithies, Sinéad Grainger, Shiona Walker For DIY editorial email@example.com For DIY sales firstname.lastname@example.org tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 For DIY online sales email@example.com tel: +44 (0)20 76130555 DIY is published by Sonic Media Group. All material copyright (c). All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form, in whole or in part, without the express written permission of DIY. 25p where sold. Disclaimer: While every effort is made to ensure the information in this magazine is correct, changes can occur which affect the accuracy of copy, for which Sonic Media Group holds no responsibility. The opinions of the contributors do not necessarily bear a relation to those of DIY or its staff and we disclaim liability for those impressions. Distributed nationally.
warpainT In The Studio: Words: El Hunt.
“We’ve been listening to a lot of Hall & Oates.”
icture Warpaint half-buried under various guitars and synthesisers, chugging along in a peeling van through the South Californian desert, with ‘You Make My Dreams (Come True)’ blaring tinnily from its hi-fi system. It’s like a brilliant scene from the best 80s throwback band movie ever; and it’s not too far from the actual truth, either. “We’ve been listening to a lot of Hall & Oates,” laughs guitarist Theresa Wayman. “That’s what Jenny [Lee Lindberg] likes to put on in the van.” Warpaint have been holed up in Joshua Tree working on their self-titled album. Their location of choice was a beautiful wilderness surrounded by mountains, peppered with weird trees that look like giant dehydrated broccoli. “It’s a completely alien place,” she explains, “there’s not much growing out there except these Joshua Trees. It feels so surreal. It was March, and the weather was changing. The wind would catch on the house and howl all night. It felt like you had to be inside your little bubble and doing something important in order to be as important as the surroundings were.” The isolation led to a snowballing of ideas – “being out there every day, having our sole purpose being writing; it brought out all this creativity,” offers Theresa. “We would have an idea, ten ideas, another ten ideas. I think that process is more important than the actual recording.” In terms of the actual recording process, though, Warpaint could surely never go wrong with their choice. The legendary Flood came out to work with the band in Joshua Tree, when he eventually found a gap in his schedule. “[Writing] was a slow process,” explains Theresa, “we had time, because we wanted to work with Flood.” The wait, she adds, was more than worth it. “We had time to really flesh out the songs, and get inside them,” she says, “and, we were just so lucky, [Flood’s] just got a Midas touch, you know, the way he records things. He’s just a natural, it was really special.” Whilst their debut had a wonderful mugginess dripping from every texture, this second record doesn’t sound quite as close and dense as ‘The Fool’. “I think something we’ve experimented with is simplifying – sonically and structurally,” says Theresa. “I think for some bands - well, most bands - it would be an experiment to become more complicated or avant-garde in song structure, but for us, it was more of an
experiment to go in a different direction, and actually abide by some of the - quote unquote - rules of writing songs.” One other key change is that on this record, the band’s drummer Stella Mozgawa is a concrete presence. “It was important, writing with her,” agrees Theresa. “Stella joined right before [‘The Fool’]. We did write a couple of things with her, and she did put her own flavour on the songs that existed around her.” This time around, though, there’s personality oozing out of every drum-line, and a powerhouse percussiveness that, at times, borders on post-punk industrialism. The band have talked about their interest in electronic sound in the past, and that influence is clear to hear on the new material. “It’s funny,” ponders Theresa, “because when we started our band we used to play with synthesisers all the time, and somehow over the course of the years, having our band line-up change so often, we just kept wanting to simplify, so we just became guitar, vocals, drums, bass. To me, it’s nothing new, but I guess I’m realising now that this record will sound really different to the rest of the world. I think it’s important to broaden the spectrum of sonics, to
set guitar against something that sustains more or has a different timbre.” Theresa readily admits that she is something of a perfectionist - “I think I’m probably the hardest one to please, but if it makes me excited, hopefully it’ll make everyone else excited” - but one of her measures of perfection comes as a slight surprise. “‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’,” she says with enthusiasm, “everyone loves that song, right? You go, ‘Oooh, it’s amazing,’ it’s such a perfect song. You listen to a song like that, and it can come from anywhere, and you get inspired by it.” “When we first started out,” she adds, “I always thought we could deliver better, everything was just muddy and loud. Now, things are changing. I think we’ve grown up a lot. It’s a natural evolution.” Warpaint’s self-titled new album will be released on 20th January via Rough Trade. DIY
1. Intro 2. Keep It Healthy 3. Love Is To Die 4. Hi 5. Biggy 6. Teese 7. Disco// Very 8. Go In 9. Feeling Alright 10. CC 11. Drive 12. Son
WHO HavE I bEcOmE?
BEST COAST ARE BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN RECORDS WITH A NEW, MORE UPBEAT MINI-ALBUM. WORDS: DAVID ZAMMITT.
t’s easy to see where Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino’s music comes from. Her zest for music radiates as though she’s the band’s Vitamin D-drenched surf pop made flesh. “People ask me all the time, ‘What would you be doing if you weren’t in Best Coast?’ and I literally have no idea,” she laughs. “I feel like there’s not really a division between Best Coast and Bethany. This is my life. Everything I do, every decision I make, everything I say is, in a way, related to the band. This is almost my baby.”
Indeed, having recently flown the nest from Mexican Summer, the US imprint “TheRe’S that released Best Coast’s first two LPs, it feels as though any barriers that NoT ReALLy might have stood in the way of the A dIvISIoN band’s creativity have been lifted. “I just decided to do my own label and it’s been beTweeN beST really cool,” Beth says, bubbling with CoAST ANd enthusiasm for her new venture. “I get to do whatever I want and don’t have to beThANy. ThIS worry about some label person saying, IS my LIfe.” ‘No, this doesn’t work.’” She giggles as she tells the story of a runner on one of the band’s videos who approached her to warn that the label may not be happy that some of the actors were drinking on set. “I was like, ‘Well I am the label, they’re allowed to do that!’” The luxury of having that final say has had a tangible effect on Best Coast’s output, even helping to shape the format of ‘Fade Away’. At seven tracks, it stops deliberately and unashamedly short of a full album, and was born out of a basic desire to get their music heard. “We really wanted to put out new material but we weren’t ready to do another full length record. I had written a couple of songs that I was really excited about and I thought that we should do something with them.” The resultant collection is a fusion of the styles visited on the first two albums, as the lo-fi sunniness of ‘Crazy For You’ vies for attention against the sultry, subdued wistfulness that Cosentino discovered on ‘The Only Place’. “I’ve been saying it’s kind of a combination. If you put the two albums together, it’s a little half and half. I wanted to do something that was a little bit more upbeat, poppier and catchier.” She pauses and laughs. “It’s good to give your listener a little bit of a break from rocking too hard.” Best Coast unwind after a hard day at the office.
Best Coast’s new mini-album ‘Fade Away’ is out now via Jewel City. DIY
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, yOung gunS? “It was brilliant. It was so nice to reconnect with a select amount of our core audience. We saw people tonight, in the audience, that have been been with us for the past four years, since we were playing our EP. That just feels so amazing, that they’re still with us, and I’m so excited about the next chapter of our band. This was a really nice way to remember how good it’s been, but also to really remind ourselves how lucky we are, and how much we have to look forward to.”
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, canteRBuRy? “It was loud, and it was great fun! The whole thing was really cool, and it was good vibes from the start.”
tour 2013: bristol HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, aRmcHaIR cOmmIttee? “It was very warm, and there were lots of girls very close to the stage, which is not something we’re actually used to! And it was in Bristol, which is where we’re from, so that’s cool.”
Tour Arrives In Bristol & London
ockyards, Banksy, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. They’re all synonymous with one place: Bristol; and that’s exactly where the second round of the #STANDFORSOMETHING tour finds itself. This evening’s events unfold in the Louisiana; a wonderfully intimate room, it bears great promise for carnage. The crowd quickly fills the venue as Armchair Committee open proceedings; they’re an impressively noisy addition to the line-up. Next up, Canterbury emerge on stage with their lively brand of pop rock. The fourpiece prove to be well-honed as they dip into the different eras of their discography. They also premiere some new tracks, which bear a lot of promise for album number three. Closing the set up with the dreamy ‘Gloria’ before the anthemic ‘Friends? We’re More Like A Gang’, the crowd are left pumped and ready for what’s to come. By the time Young Guns are due on stage, there’s an element of hysteria in the air.
Whether it’s the heat, the alcohol or the fact that this is the band’s first headline show in goodness- knows-how-long, the packed-out room bursts with energy when the band start up. The crowd instantly have their hands in the air, voices raised high. Their hour-long set marks a celebration for the fivesome. Having spent the majority of 2013 – and a good chunk of 2012 too – in America, tonight is a return to arms, and it clearly feels like it’s been a long time coming. Finding themselves back in the tiny, sweaty confines where they cut their teeth, the boys truly come to life. They know every trick, and feel every nuance. Songs like ‘The Weight of the World’ and ‘Dearly Departed’ transform into entirely different beasts in this environment; they’re massive but meaningful: something this band has always done well. By the time the epic ‘Bones’ brings the set to a close, it marks the end of a show that feels like both a triumphant return, and the perfect ending of a chapter... DIY
next date: ---------
LOWeR tHan atLantIS
W/ The Minx + Gnarwolves + Natural Tendency
NOTTINGHAM SPANKY VAN DYKES --------Keep updated On dRmaRtenS.cOm & tHISISfaKedIy.cO.uk
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, spector? “It was great to be back playing Birthdays. It’s a place we played much earlier in our career and I only live around the corner, so it’s nice and local. It’s a pleasure to play when people are right in front of you, up close, and there’s not a big gap. It got very sweaty.”
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, jaws? “It was really good. We played really well, the performance was really good and we enjoyed ourselves. Hopefully, no one heard the guitar break… Rocking in the free world!”
tour 2013: london
HOW WAS IT FOR YOU, Gaoler’s Daughter? “It was really good. People seemed to love it. We love this venue as well; we’ve played it a few times before and it’s only around the corner from where we live, so we can walk home!”
t might be raining in Dalston, but there are no dampened spirits as the #STANDFORSOMETHING tour hits the capital. Squeezed into Birthdays - the perfect underground bunker to host tonight’s chaos - the evening begins with a performance by Strummerville’s Gaoler’s Daughter. Their moody post-punk-laced indie is amicable enough but it’s their last song that’s most remarkable. All of a sudden, there’s a steel drum centre stage and everything feels that little bit more sunshine-y. Next up, Birmingham’s Jaws are here to prove just how big their songs can sound. Blasting through the likes of ‘Stay In’, ‘Toucan Surf’ and ‘Gold’, they stand as dreamy, melodic tidbits that go down a treat with tonight’s captivated crowd.
As for this evening’s headliners, well, Spector were never going to do things by halves. Entering to the sounds of Kanye West’s ‘Bound 2’, their ambitious intentions are made clear from the get go, and, right on cue, the room explodes. Dressed to the nines, frontman Fred Macpherson quickly assumes the role of tonight’s ringleader and is immensely entertaining in doing so: take his excellent ‘Carpe DMs’ pun for one, or his witty quips about their backstage towel supply... Whether it’s a culmination of his sarcy-buthilarious commentary, or just the dizzying height that their brilliant pop songs reach, their set is a sheer joy to witness. Until next time... DIY
Glasgow #STANDFORSOMETHING headliners Dry The River have been invited on tour with Biffy Clyro, meaning the November 16th show will be rescheduled for early next year. For more details on the new date and refunds, check out thisisfakediy.co.uk.
Jaws try to invent the ‘leggy air guitar’ dance. It doesn’t catch on.
PULL NO PUNCHES I
t’s been a long time since Pulled Apart By Horses caused chaos in a tiny venue, and they’re about to give it another go with an intimate show at London’s Electrowerkz to debut new material. The band’s James Brown explains all about that future album of theirs.
We’ve got a little list of our favourite songs from the new batch and we’ve been rehearsing them quite relentlessly so we’re gonna smash them out. To see if people boo or lose their shit basically. I think we should get a load of foam thumbs made up and do it Gladiator style.
It’s been a while since we last saw you guys. How’s life not-on-the-road been treating you? It’s been pretty tough actually if I’m honest. We made a conscious decision to try and take a little bit more time off than usual to work on the third record and we’ve missed gigging so bad, like, really quite bad, but it really has been something we wanted to do.
What’s it going to be like to get back out on to the stage? Completely and utterly mint! It’s gonna be like the old days, and I don’t think there’s a better way to road test new material really. It’ll probably be more nerve-wracking than the Arena show. When you can see the whites of everyone’s eyes you always get a little bit nervy.
You’ve promised to unveil some new material at the Electrowerkz date... That’s kind of the whole point of this show. We’ll be playing some stuff off ‘Tough Love’ and the debut album but the set will be pretty noob heavy.
How’s the new album going? Swimmingly, in a word. Not to give too much away, but we have around 30 songs right now. We are slowly trying to focus on a few more club bangers and then after this London show, we’ll
head into a studio but I’m not allowed to say who with yet. We’ve been exploring with guitar sounds quite a bit and also stripping back songs and re-applying parts to them afterwards. I think it is certainly sounding like an evolution from ‘Tough Love’ and the final track on that ‘Everything Dipped in Gold’ feels to me like that kind of points its finger towards the next record for me. Its all very exciting, more so than ever for all of us. Other than the lucky few who’ll be at the gig, do you have any idea when we’ll be treated to a first taste? Or when we might see the whole thing? It’ll be some time next year, in the not too distant future, over the next 12 months. Pretty soon, but not really soon, but certainly in 2014… Hahahahaha. Pulled Apart By Horses play London’s Electrowerkz on 12th November.
I but it feels like no time at Band Of all since Band of Skulls last Skulls bothered the charts with their boisterous rock’n’roll. Now Return they’re back, and they’ve got a new album to boot. With New definitely us,” assures Album: “Of “It’s frontman Russell Hayward, “but tried to push ourselves to course it’s we’ve make the most focused album yet. It’s an album with a lot of rock’n’ energy, but it’s still got soul. And of course, it’s rock’n’roll. roll” t may have been two years,
Cheatahs Plan Debut: “It’s how we want to be heard”
“We recorded it in Richmond over a month or so this summer with Nick Launay, who mixed our last record. So, we were excited to collaborate with a new producer and a different studio.”
Their third effort, ‘Himalayan’, also seems to have been fuelled, not necessarily by totally Band of Skulls’ new album new ideas, but some of their, er, ‘Himalayan’ will be released original thoughts. in spring 2014 via Electric Blues Recordings.
heatahs have released details apart”, the band found that they of their forthcoming debut were achieving some real eureka album, and it looks like they’ve moments. been cleaning up their act. “We were getting this really cool “As a record it’s much more guitar tone whilst recording cohesive sounding than the through these old vintage other stuff,” offers frontman amps,” Hewitt reminisces. “Then Nathan Hewitt. “I think there’s when we got back and we just a logical progression that you had this one amp. We dialled in can hear looking back on the this tone and it sounded real raw. EPs. It’s much more like how we We basically recorded all of the sound now, and how we want to guitars again just because we be heard.” found this really awesome tone.” Describing some of the songs they’d written as being “pulled
“Some of the inspiration came from remembering where we started as a band. Sometimes some of your first ideas are the purest, because we’ve always worked together, ideas you’ve forgotten about can suddenly reappear and we’re all like, “fuck we need to record this now.”
One of the most noticeable qualities of their previous works
- the ‘Coared’ and ‘SANS’ EPs was the lo-fi sheen the band left glimmering on the surface of every song. This time though, their production is set to be tighter. “It is better in production I suppose,” jokes Hewitt. “I’m pretty stoked about how it sounds – it’s not hi-fi, but it’s definitely clearer.” Cheatahs’ self-titled debut album will be released on 10th February via Wichita Recordings. 15
“For about six weeks, I slept on a park bench.” Connan Mock asin has had some ups and downs. Words: Sam Cornforth.
Boris Johnson’s slumber party takes an odd turn.
’d probably be working on one of the vineyards.” Connan Hosford, better known as Connan Mockasin, has just retired to his hotel room after dinner and is predicting just how differently his life would have panned out if he hadn’t had the breakthrough triumph, ‘Forever Dolphin Love’. Thankfully though, instead of being behind the success of one of New Zealand’s finest drops of wine, the native Kiwi has dazzled audiences with his moon glowing rock that is almost as endearing as the man himself.
“I liked the word ‘Caramel’, so I made all of the music based around that.” Mockasin is lethargic at the best of times, but today he is even more so with his dreamy voice explaining that he is “really tired” - something he will have to get accustomed to, as he’ll shortly break out of the refines of his cosy and syrupy bubble to travel in support of his upcoming release. Earlier this year was spent in a rather more relaxed fashion, with a month long stay in a Tokyo hotel room featuring lots of “sleepovers”, whilst he was bringing his colourful imagination to life in the shape of second album, ‘Caramel’. Hailing from the tiny beachside town, Te Awanga, Connan’s rise to the elite ranks of psychedelic eccentrics has been astonishing, and one he can thank Mum Mockasin for. “I made ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ because my Mum told to me make a record,” he explains in an appreciative tone. The process though, wasn’t something that Mockasin was altogether comfortable with. “I had never made a record before, I didn’t really know how, so I just made that record.” With long strands of blonde hair that look like they have sand lodged deep in their roots, you would be right to think that during this time, Connan was more used to beach dwelling and catching waves. In a typically laidback drawl, he says: “Kelly Slater is my favourite surfer”. Just like Slater is a master of the ocean, back then, Connan was yet to realise that he was the mastermind behind a starry-eyed and eerie debut album that had amazingly been captured in one take. The decisive step in his quest for
attention came in 2006, when he moved to the less exotic climes of London. “For about six weeks, I slept on a park bench,” he explains in a tone that somehow manages to make it sound like it wasn’t a big deal at all. “I thought it was going to be easy to find somewhere to live and get a job. I didn’t have any money – well I ran out of it very quickly – so it was hard.” Conjuring up the image of an outlandish looking New Zealander adopting one of London’s benches as his new bed may be a little amusing. But, without this crazy idea, rest assured, Connan would probably be harvesting grapes right now. After a few years of living in England, his album ‘Please Turn Me Into the Snat’ was released by Erol Alkan’s label Phantasy. A year later and it was re-released as ‘Forever Dolphin Love’, with The Horrors, Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead singing their praises to the new boy wonder of psych. True to his bizarre mind, ‘Caramel’ is a genre bending album glued sweetly together by its name. “I first picked the name because I liked the word ‘Caramel’, so I made all of the music based around that. Well, what I thought caramel would sound like, so this album is my taken on that word.” As peculiar as it may sound that he dreamed up an album based on a confectionary product, the results are wonderful; it’s a comforting, indulgent and lustful record that is extremely moreish. Despite playing down his successes in a modest and earnest way, Connan has an abundance of ambition. The whole routine of making music in an unusual fashion isn’t where he wants it to stop, as he talks of a desire to think up a quirkier method of performing his songs. “I am looking forward to playing it live. I might even make it into a play or something,” he says, even down the phone line we can detect a glimmer in his eye, “not just play the songs, maybe try and make it more of a show, but I have no idea at the moment.” Connan Mockasin is a warm, captivating and enchanting character. He would never admit it being the polite and grounded person that he is, but he is becoming a little bit of a genius, if ‘Caramel’ - the dot-to-dot of his weird and wonderful imagination – is anything to go by. Was it intentional that the album sounds so much like heavenly soul music? “Yeah, that is sort of what ‘Caramel’ is like,” he concludes, before purring: “All golden.” Not just an album then, but also a reflection of Connan’s charming personality. A potential vineyard in Te Awanga’s loss and the world’s gain. Connan Mockasin’s new album ‘Caramel’ is out now via Phantasy. DIY
LETTERS Dear DIY, After getting back from Bestival it feels like my world has turned upside down. I have no more festivals in my life until next summer. How do I pass the time? Could I recreate the experience in my back garden? Help. Beth, Southampton Have a bath, for God’s sake. Dear DIY, I’ve very much enjoyed the conversation between Kevin Devine and Jesse Lacey about the former’s new album ‘Bubblegum’ [on thisisfakediy.co.uk], but when will Jesse be making a brand new Brand New album?! We’ve waited long enough now! Edward, Derby Dear DIY, It’s so good that Icona Pop’s album is finally getting released - what a long wait! Hannah, Edinburgh *Grumbles something about the lack of ‘Manners’.* Dear DIY, Yucky Roulette (October 2013) has given me a great idea for next time my work colleagues try to steal my sweets… Tom, London Dear DIY, I’ve started doing my Christmas shopping
and I’m a bit bored of getting my mum the same old Michael Bublé album. What would you recommend? Mary J Blige’s ‘A Mary Christmas’ is tempting. Chris, Leeds Google ‘GWAR Sings Christmas Carols’ (but only once it’s actually December, otherwise you’re a doofus - Ed). Thank us later. Dear DIY, The story about Haim’s Dad playing football with Marcus Mumford (October 2013) was brilliant. Someone really needs to start a league for bands vs bands parents. Harry, London Dear DIY As if Radio 1 have blacklisted Green Day and Muse (DIY Weekly, 7th October). They’re two of the best rock bands on the planet, with huge fan bases and amazing songs. It’s no wonder nobody listens anymore. What do they want, Miley Cyrus on repeat until the end of the world? Elisa, Sunderland You’re being unfair, Elisa. Radio 1 plays a lot of good stuff. At the time of writing Lorde, Fall Out Boy, Disclosure and BANKS all currently
Dear DIY, I’d just like to say thank you very much for putting Peace’s Harry as your Indie Dreamboat (October 2013). He is a bit of a catch, don’t you think? I’m not so sure about his choice of trouser though. I’m more of a fan of his jackets… Sally, Peckham Stop objectifying Harry. Love him for his brilliant mind.
sit on the playlist, and their specialist shows provide a vital window for loads of brilliant bands both old and new. Honestly, if Green Day and Muse are being told to shape up or ship out, is that really a bad thing? The former’s last three records were by the numbers. Deciding if something should be played on merit can only be a good thing.
Come say hi at an upcoming DIY gig. This month, you’ll find us at:
01 - 27 Big Deal UK tour 06 Drenge, Face Bar, Reading 07 Chlöe Howl, Kingston, McClusky’s 09 Lower Than Atlantis, Spanky Van Dykes, Nottingham 16 Night Engine, Old Blue Last, Lion Visit thisisfakediy.co.uk for listings.
COMMENTS FROM THE SITE From: PRTLND “Arcade Fire really are the band of our generation.”
From: mynameisnotcolin “I’ve been to a number of live Chvrches gigs and I have to say, they never disappoint. The energy is contagious and I always leave feeling pretty euphoric.” From: Sophia “Argh fucking love Bastille.”
Lots of people wrote in about last issue’s Paramore cover. Here’s a taster of the many, many responses.
From: Jude Re: Four Tet’s ‘Beautiful Rewind’ “I love this album. I’m so sure Burial collaborated on that first track.” From Oli: Re: Four Tet “He is Burial - been highly publicised for quite a while now.” From Briesias: Re: TOY’s ‘Join The Dots’ “Witnessed this being played live by the band a couple of days ago. It is something else, so intense. The band is so powerful live.”
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m DIY, ARCH 462, KINGSLAND VIADUCT, 83 RIVINGTON STREET, LONDON, EC2A 3AY You can also email us on letters@ thisisfakediy.co.uk, but it’s harder to send cake that way.
SO PRETTY. - @smartierawwr Love hayley, taylor and josh!! \m/ - @febylamtiur Fan girling over @yelyahwilliams outfit! - @BUZZNET You guys RAWK!!!! - @therealjjboogie Is Paramore’s Hayley Williams the only girl to EVER look good in black lipstick? We think the answer is yes. @CosmoBeautyTeam This is @paramore, their future is NOW! - @paramorebrasil Teared up when I read #paramore’s #DIY article. They just seem like such cool people. - @samanthadshay That’s an AMAZING photo of @paramore from the DIY photoshoot. - @pmoreonline Ow ow! Love it. - @yelyahwilliams Find us on Twitter at @diymagazine.
NEu new music new bands
Despite most folk knowing sweet sod all about the elusive JUNGLE – they reside somewhere in London and have a knack for creating trippy neofunk tunes, but that’s just about all the information readily available; they don’t even appear in their own photo (the one across the page) - they’ve quickly become one of the most talked about new bands in Britain. But for a group to be pegged in with this kind of reputation, the two members of JUNGLE - speaking over Skype through mouthfuls of fudge - seem pretty damn relaxed, though they’re not giving away too much just yet. “I’m T, just T. And this is J,” they introduce themselves. “For us it’s not really about the names at this point in time, it’s just about the music. There’s no ego in it, it’s about friendship and having fun growing up around everyone you know and love. People like the music and they’ll write about it so we just need a name to sort of classify it. “There’s nothing to reveal really – it’s not like there’s going to be this one lead singer coming out onto the stage, dancing round a podium. Although that would be pretty cool.” Face-to-face encounters come in what the collective like to call “meet the JUNGLE shows.” At their recent Brighton date, fogged by a green mist, the seven members of JUNGLE gradually become visible - two female backing vocalists, a be-hatted bongo player lurking in the shadows and at the forefront, the elusive multi-instrumentalists T and J. One of them sports an Adidas top and gold chain, the other has a topknot. There’s enough smoke to choke the first four rows. Less concerned with looks, it’s clear the crowd are here for the music the JUNGLE experience.
Blitzing through a set which consists of their four releases to date, eerie ghost train-esque interludes, tambourine shaking and a handful of new songs, it’s evident that JUNGLE are more than worthy of the hype surrounding them. “It’s been a really interesting process. Obviously being in a studio and being on a stage are completely different environments and you’ve got to adapt to your different surroundings,” state the pair. “It’s about us enjoying it – we’re as much the audience as anybody else is.” JUNGLE’s sound skirts round the edges of The Child Of Lov-esque nu-soul, tweaking vocal hooks to the extent that they sound inhuman, replacing snares for bizarre samples. The whole thing projects unexpected bursts of wailing found-sound and then screws everything up into a warped bundle of disenchanted urban euphoria. It’s a sound that’s been created largely by trial and error. “The way we do it fundamentally is by having fun, having that feel in the studio is very important. A lot of the sounds are just things that happen in the room and things that feel right at the time. You’ll open a can of fizzy pop and it sounds cool so we’ll record it and use it and see what works. “A lot of the snares are made up by crisp crunches, or hitting a mug on the desk with a pen. The door’s also a good one we tried to bring the door frame on tour with us, but it’s too big.” When it comes to future plans, expected talk of touring, signing to a label and making money is all but abolished, as T simply states: “We just hope to stay friends – you have to keep it on that level. JUNGLE is made up of a group of people who are just having a good time. As soon as the fun goes, what’s the bloody point?” DIY
need to know: JUNGLE Label
Chess Club Records First heard
Arriving in the summer with ‘Apocalypse Now’-style debut ‘Platoon’ Last heard:
Showing a softer side in ‘Lucky I Got What I Want’ Non-music interests:
J - “I’d quite like to run a zoo or something.” T - “You could be a zoo coordinator. Then you could slip the music in and start trying to teach the monkeys to play stuff, you could have a little monkey orchestra.” J - “And an elephant playing the tuba – we could make a jungle orchestra.”
Single-letter names and four knockout songs - here’s everything Neu knows so far about the UK’s most talked-about new band. Words: Laura Eley
Welcome to the JUNGLE. (JUNGLE not pictured)
THE WYTCHES DISCUSS DEBUT ALBUM
Brighton trio are dipping their toes while working with producer Bill Ryder-Jones. Words: Carolina Faruolo, Photos: Emma Swann.
Drummer Gianni turned himself invisible just before the photo was taken. Honest.
Some groups spend years perfecting their sound to make it a representation of what they are. Others, like Brighton trio The Wytches, kick you in the teeth from their very first single. Imagine Jack White on the most riled-up day of his life, channeling all his frustration into tightly-wound guitar triumphs. That’s a close summation of how The Wytches sound these days. After a hectic year of support slots, touring with Drenge, METZ and Japandroids among others, and playing as many shows and festivals as they could, The Wytches aren’t exactly looking back. They’re not questioning themselves. Instead, they’re moving forwards, focusing on a collection of songs ready to go. Recordings for their debut album are taking place at the familiar ground of Toe Rag studios with Bill Ryder-Jones as producer. “We’ve given ourselves five days to do the whole thing,” reveal the band. “We’ve got all the songs recorded now we just need a couple more vocals, maybe another guitar and a bit of tambourine on them” says Kristian Bell. “It made sense [to work with Bill] ‘cause a lot of the chords we use relate to his work in The Coral, all the minor-y reverb-ery sounds, so we went up to Liverpool to see if the relationship worked and we had a few demos done with him there.” The relationship soon blossomed - they’re already called Ryder-Jones a “pal” and a “buddy”, but they’re also able to identify his role in the process: “We’ve never done an album, so we don’t really know the standards. All the songs are exactly what they were when they were written, Bill is just another pair of ears to come in and make sure it’s all as good as we want it to be and push us a bit further”. They’re confident enough to say that the songs making the album are a “document of our time together as a band.” The Wytches’ debut album will be released in spring 2014. DIY
WHAT’S WITH THE WYTCHES? DIY finds out the finer details of the band’s debut. Are you working with anyone other than Bill Ryder-Jones on the record? Kristian: There’s a dude called Luke Oldfield, who’s engineering. It’s a massive task ‘cause it’s all on tape so he’s like a wizard of reel to reel stuff. It’s all on an 8 track recorder - we’re quite limited of how much we can put on it but it’s definitely a true live sound so far. Did you write any of these songs while you were touring? KB: There’s a big chunk of the heavy ones which I wrote a little while ago, but then there’s four or five which are fairly recent which I thought fitted this sound we’re doing rather than what we’re gonna go on to in the future. A good portion of the album, it’s songs that we’ve been gigging for nearly a year but some of it’s progressed since then and I guess you can kind of tell the difference but still is all very cohesive, sounding like one record. It’s not just loads of different songs we’ve pasted. Has being on tour affected the way you write or see the songs? KB: I sing a little bit different but I think they stay really true to the sound when we first put it together. We’ve only been a band for nearly two years, so a lot of it we just wanted to get on record, even if we don’t wanna play them on a gig for the rest of our lives. We wanted to get some of them out there so they’re recorded and they’re on an album so you can have it and listen to it as a whole.
NEws in b r ie f
LET’S TALK ABOUT TEXAS
2014’s biggest new band festival, SXSW, has announced its first batch of acts. Set to feature in Texas next March: Kins, Josef Salvat, Casual Sex and Only Real.
BEATRICE BREAK OUT
It’s all ‘Working Out’ for Arthur Beatrice. They’ve announced details of their debut album - due out 3rd February 2014 - plus a handful of December dates; their first outside of London since putting on their own Open Assembly nights.
Mysterious London boy Ben Khan has shared his second single to date, ‘Eden’. The track shows him continuing to sport an excitable, Jai Paul-style approach. Listen now on thisisfakediy.co.uk.
IN NYC WE TRUST
Fired-up punks SKATERS have announced a debut album, titled ‘Manhattan’, because obviously these guys are completely crazy about NYC. Lead track ‘Deadbolt’ is streaming now on thisisfakediy.co.uk, complete with a nostalgic 90s-indebted lyric video.
MORE FROM MOKO
South Londoner Moko spent the best part of 2013’s summer playing on giant stages with Chase & Status. She’s returning with solo material, with the new ‘Black’ EP featuring a whole bunch of exciting trip-hop tracks, including the impressive ‘Honey Cocaine’.
Even Andrex is a fan
Aussie leather-sporters have penned a chart-topper in the making. Now it’s a case of going beyond the song that’s put them on the map. words: jamie milton. Photo: Phil Smithies.
Need To Know: Line-up:
Isabella Manfredi (vocals), Gideon Bensen (vocals), Jack Moffitt (lead guitar), Tom Champion (bass), Luke Davison (drums). What to watch:
Two Top Of The Pops referencing videos for ‘Is This How You Feel?’ and ‘Manic Baby’ take things back to the 80s. What to buy: The ‘Is This How You Feel?’ EP is out now via Universal. What to look out for: Isi claims an
album will be finished in “March” - expect a summer 2014 release.
hen a song takes off, there’s very little a band can do about it. They’ll sit and watch for a split-second - after that it’s out of their hands. Shows, showcases, deadlines - it can knock a perfectly wellintentioned group for six. Not The Preatures. They’re still firmly in love with the song that made them, even if it results in the odd off-the-mark comparison, the inevitable backlash. ‘Is This How You Feel?’ has gone big from the band’s home in Sydney and way, way beyond. Mid-summer and it soundtracked US roadtrips. Now the UK’s just as lovestruck. Drenched in nostalgia, it still manages to dry itself off and sound like the freshest thing on the planet. “When I hear that song, it’s not me. It doesn’t sound like me. It’s a different person.
That’s what I love about it,” recalls vocalist Isabella Manfredi. “Before [‘Is This How You Feel?’] we weren’t a pop group. It was letting go to our inner pop. It was a completely new band.” Before, The Preatures’ routine involved rooting towards a darker sound, less free of inhibition. They still call themselves a “new wave” act, dismissing Fleetwood Mac (and in turn Haim) comparisons; the kind that come round the corner every other second. But there’s a growing sense that this standalone song opened up a glorious can of worms. “I don’t know if I can speak for the others,” starts guitarist Jack Moffitt. “But I had this clear vision of what will happen next year and how the album will come out, how it will sound.” The rest are in agreement that since starting some three years back, their
sound’s “gone 180.” They’re still an “EP band”, Isabella insists. But there’s a growing sense that 2014’s theirs for the taking. Not that a single, brilliantly received track is going to their heads. “When people say good things they’re mostly wrong. When people say bad things they’re mostly right,” says Isi about the response to their music, self-damnation on all fires. They claim to have had “negative responses” when starting out in Sydney, with live showcases “not really doing anything for us back home.” Leaving Sydney for an entire planet in love with one special track, their next step will come in writing something as vital as recent follow-up ‘Manic Baby’. Bit-by-bit The Preatures are shaking off any unnecessary hint of a ‘one trick point’ tag, heading skywards in the process. DIY
Horrors-endorsed punks speeding by at a 1000 miles per hour.
News Team Assemble!
Secretive and sinister he might be, but Ben Khan could be a shoe-in for the charts in no time.
Since April, Telegram have been a band with barely anything on offer, bar some dug-up footage of a performance at a London vintage shop and a kind word from The Horrors. Still, it seemed like the buzz surrounding the band was exclusive only to the capital - playing gigs before releasing your first single and generating this amount of exposure is an approach unfamiliar in the digital age. Eventually, things took off. “We were inspired by urgency, excitement and the idea of actually getting off our arses and doing something worthwhile,” they explain. Single ‘Follow’ backs this up. Abundant with energy, it’s a careering and propelling debut, not shy of flirting with motorik, psych and glam-rock influences. Favourably compared to groups like Roxy Music and The Horrors, it’s worth asking if they’re comfortable with the associations: “Comparisons are OK, but I think maybe we’ll end up more like Slade. The Horrors, they combine image and musical substance to create something artful, danceable and worthwhile.” Whatever comes next for Telegram, it’ll likely come with whirlwind speed. (Sean Stanley) LISTEN: ‘Follow’ FOR FANS OF: Harley-Davidsons, leather memorabilia, vintage horror flicks.
Tired with pessimism, this Aussie is bringing forth a crucial sense of fun.
Delivering maddening, stadium-ready giants right under people’s noses.
In a year where hybridity has worked for big hitters like Daft Punk and rising stars JUNGLE, it’ll only be a matter of time before popular music invites Ben Khan out of the bedroom and into the charts. Two tracks in and it’s clear that if there’s a better pair of debut efforts around, they’re locked away in a tiger-guarded studio. (Sean Stanley)
Instilled with gleeful energy, Chela’s latest ‘Romanticise’ single (out via Kitsuné) is an unadulterated slice of alt-pop. Drawing inspiration from the dance-floor, few tracks come close to reaching this kind of cohesion of highly polished production. The charm of the track comes from the chorus, backed with a beat that won’t quit. (Sean Stanley)
Don’t be fooled by lulling, patterned strums that open Denver group Inner Oceans’ debut song ‘Ready Your Ghost’. Like the grizzly phantom referred to in the title, the song packs a bedevilled secret in the form of its monstrous chorus. We’re talking M83 levels of hugeness. Similar to walking alongside giants, debuts rarely get bigger than this. (Jamie Milton)
LISTEN ‘Eden’ FOR FANS OF Jai Paul, ‘Get Lucky’.
LISTEN ‘Romanticise’ FOR FANS OF Literal popageddon.
LISTEN ‘Ready Your Ghost’ FOR FANS OF Skydiving, other silly risky activities.
V e n o m o u s r o c k m av e r i c ks a r e watc h i n g t h e t h r o n e , o n e s t ep at a t i m e . Wo r d s : To m Wa lt e r s , P h oto : D u n c a n El l i ot t.
righton duo Royal Blood have made a huge mark this year - all with just two recordings. Drawing parallel lines by playing in bands and attending gigs when they were in their teenage years, bassist/vocalist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher finally combined early this year. They ended up swapping instruments and trades before settling on their current dynamic. “The only serious band I was in before this was called Hunting the Minotaur, in which I played bass - but all my parts were on the keyboards,” Kerr reminisces. “I’d never actually touched a bass in my life.” A handful of songs, a clutch of new ideas - Royal Blood also
sport a curious, grizzly looking crest. Their ‘band artwork’ features two female bodies sporting a tiger and deer’s heads. Kerr actually sees the art as an extension of what the band is all about. “We liked the idea of there being two different characters representing the band,” he divulges. “We always liked the idea of there being two sides to Royal Blood: a dark side and a light side. At the moment it’s just a bit of fun but I’m sure we’ll get more obsessed about it as time goes on.” Royal Blood’s sound is one of enormous proportions; ‘Out Of The Black’ is a startling rollercoaster ride through blues-tinged alternative rock that echoes bands as new as Drenge and established acts as big as Queens of the Stone Age. Right now, all signs only
seem to point to a “dark side”, so it’ll be interesting to see how Royal Blood tap into their “light side” in the future. Keeping things in narrow confines, they’re releasing their first 7” themselves. “Everything’s happening so naturally, why let anything get in the way of that?” Kerr explains on the band’s decision to create Black Mammoth Records. “We like the idea of keeping everything homegrown for now, and just watching things develop - it felt like a sensible thing to do. The tracks are doing much better than we anticipated, so I think we’re making the right call there.” Royal Blood’s debut single will be released on 11th November via Black Mammoth Records. DIY
FLIRTING WITH ROCK ROYALTY
Somehow, Royal Blood’s first experience of fame involved Arctic Monkeys’ Matt Helders asking if he could wear one of their t-shirts on stage at Glastonbury. “We got one of our mates to make us a t-shirt and someone handed it over to him. We still don’t have any merch!”
SOUNDs from my city
in Sounds From my city, Neu asks some of music’s creative talents to tell us all about the most exciting bands on their doorstep.
Not content with giving you a free magazine, we’ve put together a free mixtape full of our favourite new bands; download from thisisfakediy.co.uk/mixtape
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mysterious Swedish trio turn synth-pop into melancholy defined.
Boxed In All Your Love Is Gone
Previous Lily Allen collaborator gains a release on Moshi Moshi for this stormer of a first work.
Lorde producer Joe Little gives a helping hand to this super-sheened debut song.
Until The Ribbon Breaks Pressure (Ta-ku Remix)
Major label-signed Cardiff producer gets all normality skewed by Ta-ku.
Flesh UR GORGEOUS
Brash cover of a 90s classic puts FLESH in the foreground - Manchester’s next big new band?
Sundara Karma have bucked trends by being a musical triumph that their hometown of Reading can boast beyond its annual bandaggedon of a festival. They’ve toured alongside Swim Deep already, penning some enlivened guitar-pop giants of their own in the process. And they’re not even out of school. The fact that it seemed like a Thing to witness a band coming out of Reading felt quite ridiculous at the time, so we asked the schoolboys to recommend some more Neu-rated groups emerging of their modest surroundings.
Ear-splitting post-punks from Leeds leave no false impressions with their ferocious first track.
Afraid of the Dark
Members of Neon Indian and Ford & Lopatin combine for heady synth bliss.
Empty Pools Medium Wave
Bristol experimentalists channelling the 90s go gungho with a shape-shifting approach.
Prints Work This Out
90s channelling Prints point to early Radiohead and Velvet Underground with this grungy debut.
Childing of the Setting Sun
TA IL F E AT HE R a nd MAT T MA LT E S E If you were to combine these two acts together you would find joy, happiness, psychedelic trips, kindness, euphoria, general hygiene, excitement, sunshine, beautiful people, paradise, class, politeness, good football teams and of course good music… Perhaps Reading has some catching up to do...
Multi-national psych five piece leave London for a higher calling. Broods
As the darkness draws in, itâ€™s been a year of comebacks and breakthroughs, great albums and brilliant festivals. These are just some of the bands who have made 2013 brilliant.
smoke 2013 witnessed several groups taking a vital next step and seizing what was theirs for the taking. None more so than Foals. Their biggest, best album to date; selling out shows in seconds; becoming festival headliners. This is what makes them DIYâ€™s band of the year. words jamie milton. photos mike massaro
band year o f
t h e
bands of 2013: foals
After everything that’s happened over the last twelve months, what kind of band do Foals want to become? It’s not as if they’re at any sort of crossroads, where there’s a right and a wrong answer. All signs point ahead. But there’s still a difference between the group that fled an Oxford scene to make something more “fun” and the band that could, feasibly, be headlining every festival under the sun. “I can’t predict what kind of record we’ll make next. It might self-sabotage some potential to become bigger,” says frontman Yannis Philippakis from Copenhagen, midway through a world tour that’s coming face-toface with sold out audiences and nothing but. He makes the claim months on from the release of ‘Holy Fire’, a third album that went big - really big, at times - but did so by taking risks. It’s in the band’s DNA to do exactly that. What was once sharp, abrasive but inclusive rock opened its arms a whole lot more. It welcomed in countless new fans. Most importantly, it gave Foals a taste of something even greater - that next step. “There’s some stuff that happened this year that’s weird and that’s new,” Yannis admits, referring to sunset shows at Reading & Leeds, a headline slot at Latitude, the band’s highest charting album to date. There’s more to come. He senses it as much as everybody else does. “I would like to headline Reading,” he starts. But there’s a nagging sense in the back of his head, something pulling him back. “At the same time I’d like to think that this desire wouldn’t affect the creative process, like inwardly. “If we headline Reading that’d be a childhood dream. It’d be freaky. But I’m not gonna go sit and fucking like, pre-meditate something. I know better than that.”
he Foals of 2005 barely relates to the band out there today. Splitting The Edmund Fitzgerald - a project at the heart of an Oxford scene Yannis renders as being “masturbatory and earnest and worthy” - he wanted to “rebel.” This was achieved through songs that went
for the jugular, squeezing hook after hook into three minutes’ worth of pure, untamed energy. Not much has changed in this sense. If it was “music that didn’t collapse under the weight of its own expectation, the weight of its own pretension” back then, that’s still the case today. But something’s stirred. Yannis is a lyric-writer for starters. What began as a rhythmic, nonsensical yelp has since morphed into a voice with character, delivering words that carry a message. “There’s almost a responsibility to make the lyrics mean something to a 15 year old in Hull or some kid in Malaysia,” he sums up. “I feel safe when things are blurred. But I didn’t want to do that - I thought it was cowardly.” ‘Holy Fire’ goes big by defying everything Foals used to be. Ambiguity is chucked to one sorry side. Yannis sings about family, setbacks, genuine experiences, so that a listener “can take something from the song… Then, we we play live, the show becomes a communal feeling. It means everything to someone.” They’ve also changed by learning from their past mistakes. One of these was focusing on the damn things in the first place. Perfectionists trip over themselves, sometimes. When Foals strike gold today, they run with it head first, whereas before they’d be pondering, pacing round in circles. “We understood the problem that we’ve had before - a lot of them were our own problems,” explains Yannis. On ‘Antidotes’, the band infamously had a “fall-out” with producer Dave Sitek, when the TV On The Radio guitarist sent back some mixes of the debut that the then ‘buzz band’ weren’t into. Sitek’s since been quoted and credited several times over by Yannis as a big factor behind shaping the Foals standing here today. “It’s maybe been too easy with hindsight to lay it on someone else’s doorstep. We’re a difficult band to work with…
better than ever before.”
“We’re paranoid, there’s a perfectionist streak and we’re ambitious… We’re not content with something sounding alright.” During the recording of ‘Holy Fire’, it took producers Flood and Moulder to put these fretting so-and-sos in their place. The band wouldn’t be told when the mics were on, or when to go for the jugular. “[They] were the adults
Foals are perfectionists with everything, from music to knitwear.
bands of 2013: foals
haos runs riot when Foals play live. They didn’t exactly emerge sporting stony faces and feet rooted to the floor, but something’s transformed in the past few months. Their Glastonbury set came off like a crowning moment, where disorder on stage translated to the crowd like never before.
in the room. They knew how to work us.” Before, Foals were a group that’d pore over the tiny details. Not that this has done them any harm, except maybe to their own collective sanity. Today, they’re a big distance away from a group that Yannis renders “closedminded” and “neurotic.” “[Back then] I’d let the little Woody Allen in my brain run riot and try and micro-manage everything. Over time, I’ve learnt the advantages of having things unsaid and allowing chaos to enter the frame; to have the process guided by something that comes from the heart rather than the head.”
“We’re not content with something sounding alright.”
“When we play live now, I feel like we’re playing better than ever before,” says the frontman, all confidence. Live, a sense of instinct plays out. There’s no pre-formed plans, no structure, no “playing the same set every night.” If a Foals show gives into any kind of routine, it’s in the pre-gig build. “We all get pretty worked up before we play… We don’t do a sudoku, eat a granola and then go on stage. We get in a mental space that I think leads to the shows having that kind of intensity.” While each member will writhe around, stir and strut to their more assured sound, Yannis himself occasionally goes one step further. The stage becomes long gone. He’ll end up in the crowd, on a balcony, hanging off a chandelier if such an
act takes his fancy. He’s fearless. Nerves are a thing of the past, with one exception: “I get nervous if I’m on a high balcony and I’m realising at the time that I have a death wish. That’s when I get a bit weirded out.” Big bands come to the fore when they make the most of grand occasions. Think Biffy’s outstanding Reading headline set, think the added showmanship of a rejuvenated Arctic Monkeys. If this ridiculous 2013 could be remembered for anything in particular, it’d be the bands that saw something for the taking and grabbed it. Foals have gone that extra step. Yannis in particular comes across like a real frontman, a performer who could act the way he does in front of 100 or 10,000 people - it wouldn’t matter.
He cites nights in Oxford at a venue called The Wheatsheaf. There’d be shows that defined themselves on “a feral energy”. For Yannis, “it was a bug that bit me.” Considering this tale and the way he darts about giant venues he could be compared to rock music’s very own Spiderman… This daredevil split-personality hasn’t come out of nowhere. “It’s not because they’re big shows - I like to make each one a big spectacle…,” runs the thinking behind it. “I like the physical contact of that kind of thing. I enjoy frontmen like David Yow from the Jesus Lizard. I used to like this band called Oxes from Baltimore - they used to run around the venue with wireless guitars; they’d be playing outside. Those were the bands that I looked up to growing up.”
or all of 2013’s standout moments, Foals don’t entirely owe their big time to this latest album. Witness any of their colossal sets and a song like ‘Two Steps Twice’, from debut ‘Antidotes’, will arch over the others. ‘Inhaler’ might sound like the loudest thing played at any festival, but older triumphs play catch-up. Foals still sound like Foals. That might be the exact reason why things have taken such a gigantic turn this year. “We’d been told by someone [earlier this year] that no matter what we did, we’d still sound like ourselves,” says Phillipakis. “If the five of us make music together, no matter what we do it’ll sound like us.” Few groups can attest to that. Even though ‘Holy Fire’ is a scattered beast,
bands of 2013: foals
The shows that shaped Foals’ 2013. Latitude Festival
Foals’ first ever headline slot at a festival was a rare anxious moment. “I got a little bit nervous before Latitude. Not really nervous, more a weird energy.” That’d be nerves, Yannis. Glastonbury Festival
“[Glastonbury] never really clicked with me before, but the energy there was beautiful… I absolutely adored that show.” London’s Royal Albert Hall
“We were a band that came from playing house parties and booking our own tours in a red royal mail van and playing to nobody, to playing in this old school establishment, this beautiful classical venue. That was special.”
each of its songs in wildly varied territories, there’s no question about who’s behind it all. There has been the odd curve ball. They “liked the way that ‘Spanish Sahara’ freaked people out,” sending early ‘math-rock’ to one side with one softly-spoken second album centrepiece. ‘Holy Fire’ itself comes off like a record trying to avoid being pegged in. ‘Providence’ is a song on the loose, a chainsaw-wielding terror. Two songs later, closer ‘Moon’ boasts sleepy, muted guitars, seeing out the last of the ‘…Fire’’s embers with gorgeous ease. Foals could go acid jazz, house or hip-hop - they’d still sound like themselves. From Oxford to the present day’s world tours, they’re a group made up of the same people. The goals that brought all five together still stand. Settling differences and seeing their early ideas explode into fruition, there is one thing they’ve completely escaped: the hype tag. It’s difficult to think of a band - guitar-based or otherwise - who’ve faced the kind of attention that first swept up a post-’Hummer’ Foals. Skins soundtracks, Sitek, Sound Of… - it was all theirs for the taking, and just as much theirs to bugger up. “We weathered that storm”, agrees Yannis. “We’re lucky to have outlived it. It can take a lot of bands down.” Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of 2005’s heyday, few guitar heavyweights kept their status in the following years. Again, this survival routine Foals stick to comes from the sense that noone else out there - pretenders or otherwise -
sounds anything like them. “It feels like we’ve created our own space,” Yannis claims. And he’s right to think that. Behind the grander sound, the live ferocity is the same self-professed “difficult” group of people. Perhaps that’s what they always needed to be, to get this far. Today, Yannis still speaks up and out against all kinds of targets. Under the firing line: Careerist bands; an “insidious, obsequious mentality that’s infiltrated some aspects of guitar-based music”; “rich kids who just wanna be famous and cool and then the music comes third on the list of their priorities”; “backing tracks” and “fucking binary codes” some bands play to. “Algorithms. That’s not what made Jimi Hendrix a great live performer.” There’s still that bite in everything he says, a belief that his band are doing things the right way. As musicians and as people, there’s actually not a great deal that’s shifted in the Foals set-up. If that’s the secret to bigger things it’s a pretty difficult one to stick to, in practice. Somehow these guys have stuck to their cause. When faced with a million options, in the end it doesn’t really matter which one Foals take. A “big” band - in the conventional sense - isn’t what Yannis and co have ever aspired to become. When decisions come their way, they’ll do what they’ve always been used to doing: Be themselves and aim for anything they’ve yet to conquer. Foals’ album ‘Holy Fire’ is out now via Warner. DIY
bands of 2013
The band’s 2013 highlights, from the people who should know.
MARTIN Doherty: The American TV stuff was pretty surreal, when we played on the Fallon show. Then maybe just being in Japan; it’s kind of mind-blowing. I was so surprised that when we got to the shows, we walked up the ramp and on the stage there was just complete silence. I’m like, ‘Why can’t I hear… there’s no-one out there’. And then when we got out there, the place was full, and people were going nuts, and it was amazing. That happened more and more as we were out there. LAUREN Mayberry: We’ve
played little tiny club shows that have been packed out and great festival shows, support slots for people we really admire. We played at Lowlands festival in Holland, and that was pretty awesome. It was kinda weird for us to get there and there be thousands upon thousands of people in this tent, when I didn’t really 36
know if anyone in Holland had heard of us! I don’t ever want to stop being surprised. Or like, overwhelmed by the fact that people like to see us. I don’t want to get blasé, or take that shit for granted. IAIN cook: Playing with Depeche Mode in Europe. We got to play four of their stadium shows, and playing to fifty thousand people in Prague or wherever it was was like, ‘Oh my god, what are we doing here? We do not belong in these places!’ But it was a lot of fun. More recently, in Japan we played Summersonic festival. Just to be so far away from home in this sort of alien culture, and have people singing along to your songs, and people wearing your t-shirts. It’s like, ‘What the fuck? How did this happen?!’
CHVRCHES’ debut album ‘The Bones Of What You Believe’ is out now via Virgin.
Keyboardist Pete Mayhew answers our quickfire Q&A. Words: El Hunt.
Where are Palma Violets right now, this minute? We’ve all moseyed off to do our own thing. I don’t know what the others are up to. Probably something really naughty. Probably taking drugs. What’s your highlight of 2013? For me personally, I got to see The Breeders and meet them afterwards at a festival in Mexico, Corona Capital. That was really great. Five words to describe this year? Love, peace, equality, loud and… last one, moustache. If Palma Violets were a pick’n’mix selection, what would sweets you
each be? I’d probably be a liquorice curl, because I’m sort of dark and mysterious and not many people like me but some people love me. Will would be one of those boiled sweets, because he’s innocent and full of flavour. Sam would be a jelly bean, I have no idea why, he just is. Chili would be one of those Fox’s Glaciers because he’s really cool. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to Palma Violets this year? We’re not a very funny band. I got stuck up a tree once. I think it was somewhere near Salisbury. I climbed up and couldn’t get down. If you could ask for anything on your next gig rider, what would it be? Lana Del Rey covered in honey. What’s the best thing you’ve had
thrown on stage at you this year? Not much, really. I wish a pair of knickers would come my way at some point. I’ll probably get a pair of soiled boxers instead, but you know. What’s the most gourmet festival catering you’ve had this year? There was this one in Canada where they actually had oysters on ice, a smoothie bar and fresh pizza. It was really quite gourmet. Have Palma Violets been working on any new material? A little bit, trying out new things in between touring. We’ve got the Rattlesnake Rodeo tour coming up and we’ll be showcasing some of the new ones. That’s going to be November time. Palma Violets’ debut album ‘180’ is out now via Rough Trade.
“I thought we were going on the helter-skelter.”
Peace’s ‘In Love’ debut was always going to be chock-full of festival-ready anthems. That much was a given. But the momentum it took on was fairly unprecedented, topped off by some year-defining sets and December’s headline tour alongside fellow B-town darlings Superfood and fellow band of the year Drenge.
Do you feel like this album’s taken on a life of its own? Dominic Boyce: We didn’t really know what to expect. Harry Koisser: We play it a little harder than we do in the record. I think in a way it’s exactly how we knew it would.
In the back of your mind it’s always ‘well, it could just not connect with anyone’. Or, it could connect with everyone and Obama will tweet about it. Obama never sent a tweet - it must be in his drafts… When you think about it, it went exactly how we thought it would. Reading Festival felt like a defining moment. H: That was significant. When we were making the record, there were some songs which we could imagine at a festival. I pretty much imagined this in an NME tent, in the middle of the day. Overall nothing’s been uncomfortable. Has there been a single, surreal moment? H: It always seems surreal when you look back on it. D: But also not. It’s not in anyway normal - it just is. H: We’re never really prepared but we’re never really surprised. Peace’s debut album ‘In Love’ is out now via Columbia.
hinking back to supporting Two Door Cinema Club, it feels like about five years ago,” laughs Dan Smith. In actual fact, it was only in February that Bastille stepped out on to the stage at Brixton Academy for the first time. It certainly wasn’t going to be the last.
bands of 2013: bastille
Dan Smith and his three bandmates – Chris ‘Woody’ Wood, Kyle Simmons and Will Farquarson – have just taken to the same stage that, at the start of this year, seemed to terrify them. Since touring alongside Two Door and releasing their debut album ‘Bad Blood’, it took only eight months for the four-piece to return. This time, they packed it out for two nights in a row. The story of Bastille has been remarkable; when they climbed the UK Top 40 in October 2012 with ‘Flaws’, it was the first indication that something special might be afoot. Selling out two headline shows at Shepherd’s Bush Empire before their debut album had even landed, another piece was added to their fascinating puzzle. Then, their first full-length offering topped the Album Chart, going straight in at Number One.
Since then, they’ve taken in countless countries all over the world, broken the odd record and gone platinum. This October, they’ve returned to the homestead for a full tour of the UK. Their shows in South London however, were always going to be a triumph and it seems that, even the day after, Smith is still trying to get his head around them. “I did not imagine,” he begins, “after supporting Two Door Cinema Club, that we’d be coming back less than a year later to do our own shows. That was pretty surreal. It’s quite strange playing somewhere two nights in a row; by the second day it almost feels like a mini-routine.”
Understandably, that feeling wasn’t quite enough to put to rest those infamous nerves of his. “I was predictably very nervous, but, you know, I think we had fun. I had a lot more fun last night than on the first night. The second night was maybe not as… I was able to just kind of enjoy it last night. The crowd were wicked as well. It’s a very surreal thing to have happened.”
The two Brixton shows signal the halfway point in Bastille’s current outing, which also doubles as the first time that the band have been able to showcase new material. After almost a year solidly on the road, it’s a refreshing twist in the live show that the band are clearly making the most of. “This tour’s been really fun for us because we’re working in new songs and playing other songs from the album that we haven’t played before,” he confirms. “It’s just been nice to stir things up a bit, change the set around. We’ve got projections now too, so it’s nice to actually have them and 38 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Earlier this year, Bastille were supporting Two Door Cinema Club at London’s O2 Academy B r i x t o n . A Number One debut album later, and they’re headlining. Twice. Words: Sarah Jamieson.
bands of 2013: bastille
feel good about them. It just feels like we’ve stepped it up, in terms of it being a visual thing. But yeah, we’re having a lot of fun.” Even the new songs that make appearances within the set represent some previously unexplored territory. Whilst, with ‘Bad Blood’, Dan was eager to attempt to create songs without using guitar – a rather primary instrument, in the grand scheme of things – their latest endeavours have given them the freedom to try something new, for the band at least. “I think I’ve always been obsessed with trying to change things up a bit, from song to song, and try different things. In not wanting to use guitar on our first album… The thought of using it now is just quite fun,” he explains. “I’m so aware that every other band in the world uses a guitar, and it’s nothing to write home about, but for us, it’s quite new and exciting having a new instrument on board. “Within the bracket of what we do, I’m quite keen to push things either way - push things heavier, or push things more electronic - and just have fun with the new stuff. We’re such a new band that we’re in no way bored of the first album, but it makes the rest of the set feel more exciting for us.” Of the three new songs themselves, there’s an array of new styles presented. Whether it’s in in the funky electronics of ‘Campus’, or the dirty rock and roll riffs of ‘Blame’, it’s already clear to see that the band are eager to experiment with new sounds. It’s ‘The Draw’ (which, in his words, “goes quite heavy at the end”)
though, that’s really quite special. “It’s really fun to play that one live. We kind of... I dunno, I quite like the idea of slightly f**king with people’s expectations. I think a lot of people have maybe heard one or two of our songs and think we’re a certain kind of band. Maybe we are, but in our minds, we can release a mixtape that’s got hip hop on it, or end a song with a heavy, thrashy thing. We were quite excited about the prospect of drawing people in with one thing and then slightly blowing people’s heads off. “Originally the idea was, with
version to the original.” Is the new material a good indication of what’s to come next? “I don’t know!” he laughs. “Before we decided to do this re-release, my head was totally in the second album. There’s about ten songs on the go in various forms of completion. “I think, with our first album, it was nice to have the time. The way that it ended up was so different from how it started, sonically, that it was nice to have time for that. The songs that we’ve got so far on the album are so - in my mind, obviously I always think about stuff way more than other people do - so
Needless to say, these shows and the new songs debuted have already made their mark on fans. At Brixton, a good chunk of the crowd were already singing along to words that even Smith himself isn’t entirely sure of. “It’s all really, really weird. This is the first time that we’ve played new songs and they’ve already popped up on the internet. “It’s a weird thing - all the people at the front are singing along! I’m like, ‘What?! How’re you doing that?!’ People have sent me pictures with written-out lyrics to the new songs already. I don’t even know
“I don’t even know the lyrics yet! How do you write them down?!” ‘The Draw’, that I wanted to make myself write a really fast song. It was very different song. We thought it would be fun to do ‘Other People’s Heartaches’ versions of new songs; covers of our new songs, like we had done on the mixtapes. That’s how we came up with sort of electric guitar version, and it sort of evolved from that. Now, I much prefer that
broad. “There is a bit of guitar, but I like the idea of the guitar being quite heavy and dark, but along with bright songs as well. There’s one that sounds a bit like a Daft Punk song in my head! I always feel quite free to do whatever we feel like doing, and hopefully, make it work down the line.”
the lyrics yet! How do you write them down?!” Dan should probably get used to it, because by the looks of it, things are only going to get a lot crazier for Bastille. Bastille’s deluxe album ‘All This Bad Blood’ will be released on 25th November via EMI. DIY
THE Album ouT 21.10.12
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bands of 2013: letlive
Frontman Jason Butler explains how important the last twelve months have been. Words: Sarah Jamieson. Photo: phil smithies.
t’s been one hell of a year for infamously cathartic Californians letlive. Having returned to our shores in spring supporting some of their longtime heroes, it didn’t take long for the five-piece to release their perfectly chaotic album ‘The Blackest Beautiful’. Standing as a ferocious and unhinged look inside the beast that is this band, it also marks an undoubtedly important time in its life. 2013 really kicked off for letlive. when you returned to the UK in February to tour with Deftones. How did it feel to be invited to join them on the tour? That was the abounding theme; we, letlive. were playing with Deftones.I always said when we were doing the tour, it was inspirational, but it was more than that. It was like a milestone for us as a band. Whether that milestone be relatively early - we’ll see how long our career spans - but whatever it is, it’ll always remain significant. It was just so amazing: the fact that we were chosen by that band to be alongside them on a tour was incredible, and so humbling. Following the tour, you returned to the US to finish work on ‘The Blackest Beautiful’. What kind of place were you in during the build up to the album? Was there a pressure, knowing it had to follow up an album as important as ‘Fake History’? I guess we just didn’t look at it like a follow-up; it was a completely separate and new chapter for letlive. I suppose, the genesis was ‘Fake History’, absolutely, and I guess the nexus - the link - that connected ‘Fake History’ with ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ was everything we did touring-wise. Everything we had experienced live, and the visceral nature of that. ‘Fake History’ wasn’t really on the radar when we made it, and I think that really behooved us in the sense that we weren’t feeling those pressures. All we felt was that we were supposed to give people a record that they deserved, because people had supported us so heavily. They didn’t waver; people just stuck with letlive., even though it was a long time to be on a record cycle. People stuck with us, and grew and developed, so we just wanted to give them a record they deserved. In terms of reception, you garnered a lot of acclaim. As, in essence, a punk band, what’s it like to deal with something an intangible as critical praise? It is intangible. It’s not real! It’s real if a writer or a critic truly enjoys your album, but if they’re writing a piece that is prompted or swayed by politics, then that’s not real. There are so many acts out there that are being venerated by politics, but I don’t feel like that’s the case with a lot of these
How would you sum up what 2013 has meant to letlive.? A very indescribable ebb and flow. Me, personally, I’ve just become another person: someone that I feel I’ve always wanted to be. I’m not sure when I’ll culminate or when I’ll get there, but I’m trying really hard. Through letlive. I’ve been trying really hard and I’ve been able to drive that vessel in a direction that is benefitting me, emotionally and individually. Then the band and the idea of letlive. is becoming so tangible. It’s becoming so real now. It’s not even about me - fuck me, fuck the band, fuck all that. Everyone, you, and anyone that gives a shit about this interview, or tonight; that’s what letlive. is. It’s so out of my hands now, and I love it. I love the fact that I can believe in other people to honour and respect something that I thought I was the only one to ever believe in. I always thought I would be the only one who would ever get it like this, and now, we’ve got thousands of people who get it on that level. 2013 has been nothing short of monumental. It’s just crazy. It’s beautiful and I’ve realised the beauty of it because it was so fucking hard to begin with. I mean, I’m really thankful and by no means do we plan to slow down. There’s so much more hustling and grinding to do. I’m very eager to put myself back on the chopping block and see what happens.
writers. I’ve spoken to a lot of them, and I’ve met a lot of them. They’re very genuine when they speak to us about this. They participate. They’ve actively a part of this thing that is letlive. So, I dunno, it’s hard for us to see on that level for us, but it’s very easy to observe externally. Like you said, the idea is all tenuous. It could all fall through, it could all go away in a second. You’ve just come to the end of your first UK headline tour showcasing these songs. How was it to get back on the touring circuit? At the London show, you seemed really quite taken aback by the reaction. I was inundated. I was cascaded with emotions I have never felt before, in my life, ever. The multi-dimensionality of my emotional self was spinning out of control. It’s just inexplicable. I never thought to myself that this was going to happen, and it did, last night. Not to say that it was too grand - it’s not the end all - but it really did open my eyes to… not even how many, but how strongly people believe in what we’re doing. letlive.’s album ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ is out now via Epitaph. DIY
bands of 2013: Waxahatchee & swearin’
Waxahatchee and Swearin’
Rooted to the same scene for years, a Crutchfield-centric underground has taken liftoff in 2013. Its two standout bands: Waxahatchee and Swearin’. Words: Tom Walters. Photos: Emma Swann.
magine how cool it’d be to take best friends on tour. That’s exactly what Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield has been able to do with fellow Philadelphia-via-Brooklyn residents Swearin’, who are all currently on the road together after an extensive stint of running into each other back home in the US. While her musical background extends well over the last decade, 2013 has been the breakout year for Katie. Sitting down to talk with her in the wide-open spaces of London’s Scala, she’s just had to give a pep talk to her backing band, who are slightly nervy about playing a 1,145-capacity venue. “I said that you should never be nervous about a show like this!” an enthusiastic Katie says, perching casually on the edge of a windowsill. “This is great! It’s like your birthday party or something. When you play a show to a smaller crowd or one that’s sparsely attended, you have to work a little harder to get people to like you – they don’t know anything about you. They don’t have any attachment to your songs, and that’s scary. Tonight, people are here with us – they’re not against us.” Indeed, people are here tonight because of the way ‘Cerulean Salt’ has catapulted its way to the forefront. The reaction to the record has been gushing, and rightly so. It’s a beautiful album full of intricate, intimate moments with hints of raucous power pop to boot. “It’s not really like this in America,” Katie says on her newfound UK stardom. “It’s been sort of slowburning over there. Over here, it’s just completely the opposite - it went from no expectations, to like ‘whoa!’”
A show like tonight’s has been a long time coming for Katie. She’s been making music for as long as she can remember. Before Waxahatchee, her biggest success came in the form of P.S. Eliot, an indie rock band based in Birmingham, Alabama who produced pop punk-tinged indie rock that’s not too far derived from her current moniker’s most upbeat song ‘Coast To Coast’. When the band split, Katie insists that they all remained the closest of friends, with bassist Katherine Simonetti becoming an integral part of Waxahatchee’s live band. P.S. Eliot’s drummer on the other hand? She’s none other than Allison Crutchfield, Katie’s sister and frontwoman of Swearin’. “We all wanted to do our own thing,” Katie explains on the disbandment of P.S. Eliot. “Allison and I were moving to New York, whilst Katherine was staying… In the end, we just ended up doing everything we wanted to do as a band. I wrote all the songs, and I just knew I couldn’t write another record like this.” Katie and her sister moved to New York, where she got a dead-end job in a coffee shop to pass the time that she didn’t spend writing songs. After spending a year recording ‘American Weekend’, she decided to pack it all up, and began touring again with the songs from that album. “It was pretty organic,” she says on her decision to get back out on the road. “It wasn’t contrived in an ‘I’m going to blow this shit up now!’ way, you know? I just
wanted to focus on my music all the time, and I just wanted to make it work.” Friends and some punk rock community spirit proved to be integral to the development of ‘American Weekend’’s successor, ‘Cerulean Salt’. Keith Spencer and Kyle Gilbride – who both play in Swearin’ – helped Katie record her new album between them. She’d recorded ‘American Weekend’ herself, which led to its lo-fi, bedroom quality charm, but insists that she doesn’t know a thing about recording. “When I attempted to mic drums and things like that, it just didn’t translate and it didn’t service the songs,” she explains. “So the obvious answer to that was to get Kyle in the mix. We live together, and he records all of the Swearin’ stuff, so it was really easy and we just did it in our basement.” Having written and recorded songs for the better part of ten years, Katie admits that she tends to get a little self-conscious about what she’s writing about these days. That’s something she envies her sister not experiencing right now. “Allison hasn’t been writing songs as long as I have, she’s sort of relatively new,” she says. “She has a lot more out there to write about. I try to challenge myself more, to write about weird stuff y’know? I’ve written about heartbreak and relationships for so many years now. “I envy her a little bit because I think it’s a little easier for her. She’s got this whole world out there, and I have all these weird neuroses where I worry that I can’t write about something because I’ve already written about it, or I can’t
Family picture: Waxahatchee and Swearinâ€™ unite.
bands of 2013: Waxahatchee & swearin’
use a certain word any more. She doesn’t have that.” After chatting with Katie, Swearin’ drummer Jeff Bolt sits down on the same cosy windowsill. Swearin’ have also had a breakout 2013. While their debut, self-titled album possesses a sloppier, pop-punk sound, material from their new ‘Surfin’ Strange’ record has more of a subdued 90s indie rock feel to it. “I was talking to somebody about this the other day,” Bolt laughs. “I feel like there’s almost this residual feeling of us all playing in fast pop punk bands [on the first record]. This was an album that was recorded with four microphones in the basement of my house – well, the drums were anyway – and then the rest was done in Kyle’s mom’s art studio. On this second one, Kyle got more equipment. That’s why on some of the songs, the drums sound a lot bigger. We just ended up experimenting a lot more.” Bolt had played in a band that supported P.S. Eliot when they passed through his town and stayed in contact with Katie ever since. He and Kyle met through each other’s work, and bonded over beers at a Bad Banana show. When Allison was talking to Katie about forming Swearin’, she recommended Bolt as he’d just moved into town and was looking for a band to play in. He and Keith [Spencer] had never met each other when they turned up at their practice space together for the first time. “I already knew these guys were cool, so I was like, I suppose this Keith guy will be!” Bolt jokes. “Now we’re holding down the rhythm section of the band. On the new record, it’s definitely going to come across that we’re more comfortable together.”
Allison reaffirms the band’s improved collaboration and slight veer in the direction of sound. “It was different for everyone, but I think we all were into the idea of this record being a bit heavier,” she says, adding that working the new material into their live set has been a “pretty natural” process for them. “There are some songs on the record where the instrumentation is a little more varied than what we normally do live but we’ve been able to pull most of them off,” she says. In a community that’s so fast-paced; so fixated on producing music by any means necessary, is it a sure thing to expect Waxahatchee and Swearin’ to stick around after such successful years? Katie seems to think so, citing her control over the project as one of the main reasons. “It’s engineered to last a long time because it’s just me, there’s no strings attached,” she answers. “I just do my own thing and write records. With P.S. Eliot… when you have a lot of personalities to work around, it can have an expiration date sometimes. But when it’s just me, I’m confident I can do that for a long time!” As for Swearin’? “Yeah, I don’t see why not!” Bolt replies, the issue of different personalities clearly not fazing him or anyone in the band. “I think for all of us, the more we can do the band and the less that we can go to jobs is really cool. We don’t have to be big, we don’t have to be popular… I just fucking hate working a job. I hate all of that stuff.” Waxahatchee’s album ‘Cerulean Salt’ and Swearin’’s album ‘Surfing Strange’ are out now via Wichita. DIY
bands of 2013: biffy clyro
They graced the cover of DIYâ€™S FIRST 2013 issuE, and during the year reached new heights. It all still seems a bit hard to comprehend, SAYS bassist James Johnston. photos: sam bond
or Biffy Clyro, 2013 has been one of the biggest years of their career. Having released their mammoth double album ‘Opposites’ back in January, they set the bar high from the get-go and deservedly scored their first Number One. Since then, they’ve dominated arenas, garnered worldwide critical praise and (finally) headlined Reading & Leeds. Trent Reznor might’ve spent a few hours wondering who the hell they are, but no one else is in any doubt. At the start of 2013, you were gearing up to release ‘Opposites’. What was your headspace ahead of releasing something so ambitious? It’s quite a nerve-wracking place, mentally, just before an album comes out. You spend so long working on the songs, and you go into a little bubble in the studio, you kind of forget that people are going to listen to it. I know that sounds a little bit selfish, but in some ways, you’re so preoccupied by what you want the album to sound like, you block out all those emotions. When it comes around to releasing an album, it hits you like a wave. Suddenly, you get a little nervous about how people are going to receive it. We always believed that music fans are people who like music, so if we made a double album, people would’ve liked that as well. I think we were kind of proven right; it seemed to be well received and people are still discovering more about the album as we go on. I think we feel really proud of what we’ve achieved. You’d also been away for a while, what with recording out in Los Angeles. We had a little bit. We toured really hard on the last album
and it left us a little tired, a little burnt out. We had to reset and start again almost, in a way. I think that was a good thing in the long run; it was difficult at the time, but it’s been a bit of a rebirth. When ‘Opposites’ was released, it also marked your first Number One album. How did it feel to have achieved that, despite coming from a genre that usually gets dismissed from the mainstream? It still seems surprising! When we grew up, we went to watch bands play to 100, 150 people. A lot of our favourite bands only got the chance to make maybe one or two albums. Like you say, rock music has always been on the fringes; we always felt as though we weren’t part of the establishment, because we felt like we stood to one side a little bit. So, to come in through the back door, if you like, it’s kind of been subversive. It feels like we’ve just done our thing and people have just woken up to our band. It’s a really nice feeling. What followed was a pretty massive tour, including a show at The O2 in London. What’s it like taking on such huge stages, especially when there’s just the three of you up there? It’s a challenge! It’s a challenge. I think the nice thing about being a band for this long is that when we started our ambitions were very small. They’ve grown along with the band, I guess. When you get talking about doing a big show, it’s really exciting to think, ‘How are we gonna pull this off?’ It’s very different to when we first started up. We used to play with our hoods up and face the back of the stage, and be really awkward. The tour was only the start
of your live regime. After a few months of headline shows, you embarked upon a summer of festival appearances ending with you guys headlining Reading & Leeds. It was one of the biggest and most amazing experiences of our lives. It was a pinchyourself moment. We opened the festival in 2002. We had slowly built our way up through all of the different stages through the years, and I guess the festival in itself has been a bit of a barometer as to how the band has been doing. So, to finally get to headline… As you say, there had been a few doubters before we went out, but we just kind of ignored that. We had one of the best shows that we’ve ever had, and I think to be able do that under a reasonable amount of pressure is something that’s quite amazing. What was it like to watch it back on TV? It made us feel really nervous again! Watching it was like reliving the moment and [it made us] more nervous than we were during the actual performance. I think it took us about a week or so to come down. It must’ve been a bit hard to process, being on stage and just seeing a sea of people... It’s strange! I think it was one of the only times we were able to soak it all in properly. Just enjoy the occasion and feel the support from all those people, it made us feel great. To be a British band playing at a British festival, headlining, there’s not really that many British bands doing that at the moment, so it felt like we were kinda flying the flag for all those bands that have been part of our journey as well. It must be especially satisfying after coming to
the end of the hardships you faced before making this album. I think we feel proud of our relationships together, we feel proud of our history and we’re excited about the future. Having gone through those hard times, we’ve realised what difficulties life can have and how much you’ve just got to get on with it and enjoy it. To be enjoying it as much as we are is almost a little bit of a surprise in a way. It could be a very fracturous and difficult time, but it’s quite the opposite: we’re having the best time ever. As for the year in general, aside from Reading being an obvious highlight, were there any other moments that stand out? It’s hard to sum it up because you don’t wanna pick out specific shows, but we did the Radio 1 Big Weekend in Derry in May, and that was the first outdoor festival that we did of the summer. It felt like we had the crowd behind us in a really crazy way. We’ve been to Derry a few times, but to feel the love and have such a great show, it really just tied us through the summer really. Every time we came to a festival, we felt really confident and able to put on a really great show. We did some exciting things: we played at the Crown Prince of Norway’s 40th birthday party in the grounds of his palace. That was another one that was like, ‘Woah, what are we doing here? This is crazy’. We played at the Waldbühne in Berlin, which is a very famous venue. We played there supporting Muse, and just to be at these places with such history is maybe us becoming a little part of that history. Biffy Clyro’s album ‘Opposites’ is out now via Warner. DIY 49
bands of 2013: fall out boy
Dear Pete Jetlagged and with his
“brain purring like a semiwell-oiled zombie” seems to suit Pete Wentz. DIY ASKED Fall Out Boy’s co-frontman a few questions about the band’s year; unsurprisingly, he had a lot to say… Words: Sarah Jamieson. photos: mike Massaro
eturns, comebacks, reunions. 2013 has seen all kinds, but it was Fall Out Boy’s return to arms that felt really special. Despite having denied rumour after rumour that they’d be making a comeback after their four-year hiatus, finally the message seeped through the cracks and they admitted they were ready to return. Bringing a whole host of bombastic rock songs in tow with their fifth full-length effort ‘Save Rock And Roll’, they’ve spent the last twelve months truly making things count. Things got off to an interesting start this year. In January, the rumour mill suggested a possible reunion, before [guitarist] Joe quickly quashed the idea. Back then, where was your head at? I guess my head was kind of all over the place. I feel like, as an artist, you always want to create this thing that is just your idea, your perspective, and you only really get to do that once: the first time, because no one cares when you’re making that first album,
so there’s something pure about it. After that, if anyone takes notice or you achieve any kind of success there is always somebody in the studio with you, monitoring how many units a chorus will sell and what not. That’s a bit over dramatic but that can be what it feels like. It is hard to create something you love with someone constantly over your shoulder worrying about how it will be marketed and whether you will make deadline after deadline. So, this was that grand exception. This was that second chance to do that; to make a record that was just for us - the four of us - and we really didn’t want anything to spoil that. Yeah, so, I guess Joe got his hands a bit dirty by posting that but he did because we believed in this thing. Because we wanted to do it the way we imagined we would’ve loved to see our favourite bands reunite. At this point my head was in the game, I was thinking of nothing but completion, at all costs. When your plans were finally unveiled in February, and you announced your return,
how did that feel? Was Things really sped up it humbling, to see how for the band, what with many people were so the album release being excited? brought forward and the The night before it was small shows selling out so unveiled I couldn’t sleep. I quickly. was sick to my stomach. I I think the nature of Fall Out was sure we had made the Boy is hard for people to wrong decision. I wanted to understand, like we have curl up and go away, so to never explained it very well. that aspect it was exciting. For the most part, Patrick It felt like a lot of stress, like and I are like oil and water. this thing meant so much to If he says the sky is blue, I people. What if this was an see it as red. Then, the only axe to our legacy or - beyond time the four of us really our legacy - to this thing that agree is when we feel like it so many people believed is the four of us back-to-back in, and much more, were fighting the world. It’s in our we the hand that wielded nature to fight the process that axe? The last time whatever that process is. If around, the monster that is the shows were loud, they this thing got too big or too could’ve been louder… complicated. It doesn’t come If the songs were fast, we with a manual and I think could’ve played them faster. we kind of burned out a few In the end I think it’s these human circuits in our heads ambitions that either allow and hearts in the process us to move forward or serve last time. I certainly think as our own undoing. I think there was some fear that that we made it our goal in these could happen again, but most of all, [we were] How did it feel to play together humbled that anyone again? And what was it like to would take notice or care return to the more intimate again. That really gave us confines of venues like The the energy or adrenaline Underworld in London? to push through the “The only feeling I can use to rest of it. How were the following months?
describe us being onstage together again is normalcy. It is that moment of clarity. There’s a point where I should tell you that there’s a trick or that it’s better or worse, but it is the same magic or spirit or intangible-whateverword you want to use. The Underworld was hot as hell. I’m not sure they allow stage diving in hell, otherwise it was very similar and awesome.”
bands of 2013: fall out boy
months to make sure we humanised the process this time: to not forget what else we had in our lives beyond the band, whether it was wives, kids, dogs. We intentionally attempted to ground ourselves and be part of the world that is not just hotel rooms and airport lounges. You also reached a milestone of having ‘Take This To Your Grave’ turn ten years old. Was that a poignant moment? I don’t know. This is a hard one, I guess. I think the biggest thing for us was that we didn’t expect to even be a band for ten years, you know? We had been on such a trajectory that it seemed destined to burn out. We’ve always been a band that has tried to progress, not only with our albums but the medium itself. After we put out ‘TTTYG’, we came up with ‘Dance, Dance’, which we had a few friends tell us didn’t make much sense as a follow up. Then following ‘From Under The Cork Tree’, we wrote ‘Arms Race’ and were straight up told that if we released that as a single it would be the end of our career. You either run in the face of statements like that or are emboldened by them. I hope for the most part we chose the latter but if we ever ran I hope we did it with some style. It’s weird to think that ‘TTTYG’ is an album people talk about the way they do because we made it on such a whim. We had no money, we were basically bartering for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and the reason there are that many songs on the album is that they were literally all the songs we had written. So for us, I guess, we had our own kind of private celebration for the ten-year anniversary because it does mean something to us personally,
but we never want to be the bald middle-aged guy showing his friend videos of himself as a high school quarterback. It just seems like it would cheapen those memories. You played festivals all over Europe this summer? Man, it was mind-blowing. I mean, the first time we
to necessarily win them over but to at the least earn their respect. The thing that was the most humbling was how many people seemed like they wanted to hear us, who got in the pit or screamed the words. I don’t mean to be cheesy but that shit gave me chills. How does it feel to be
Do you have any stand out moments of 2013? “I’m not sure that I can narrow this down. There have been so many standout moments: the first time we saw the ‘My Songs’ video with 2 Chainz in it, having the Stanley Cup that The Blackhawks won (our hometown NHL team) show up at the show in Chicago. Hearing the song on the radio for the first time, that one time I think Eminem nodded at us when he was walking to stage, but maybe he didn’t nod, that’s just how he walks... It feels good to be back. We always kind of feel like the outsider at the party that is pop culture, like, ‘Uh, how’d this guy get in?’ It feels great; like an infiltration, but not like spies. More like a splinter under the skin. Good luck getting us out.”
played festivals in Europe we had no idea what they were like, and we were unprepared. Things like them don’t exist in America, but to come back and get to play in front of so many people was insane. I felt like we were prepared to go out and earn fans at every single one of them, which hopefully we did, because from playing with Eminem to System Of A Down to Nine Inch Nails, we were obviously playing in front of a ton of people who were not our fans, not attempting
travelling the world again with the three guys that you spent so long with before the hiatus? I guess that’s the part where it’s a bit different. It’s kind of like hanging out with your brother again after you’ve both gone off to school, university or college or whatever. It’s like, you guys are the same but you have now experienced things as adults on your own paths. I think it’s been good for us. It has allowed us to understand each other’s perspectives a bit more. I
mean, I have a soon-to-be five year old who comes on tour with us a lot and he loves just walking around during soundcheck and seeing the world of guitars Joe has on the side of stage or talking about super heroes with Andy and Patrick. I think we all respect and appreciate the adult(ish) sides of each other, which is not to say that we aren’t still brothers that bicker from time to time. You also got to turn some generalisations on their head when you recorded with Ryan Adams and released it as ‘Pax Am Days. To us it didn’t feel that odd; these were kind of the bands we grew up listening to or, at least, the sound of those bands to some extent. It felt like a natural extension - if ‘SR&R’ was the alpha, ‘Pax AM Days’ is the omega to it. It is just another piece in the puzzle. However, like I mentioned the idea of humanising the process this time, doing something like this was a part of that. It was a two night exercise in noise for the sake of noise. I think if ‘SR&R’ was a wild dog that we tamed in order to make sure it could play nice with others, to some extent, this was that same dog: no muzzle and at its most primal. It felt good to cut loose and bite some people, metaphorically speaking. Ryan is a genius cut and dry. I wish I could figure out how his brain worked. It was like being on a roller coaster of ideas and mania, all he expected was that you put your hands in the air, scream and have the time of your life. Fall Out Boy’s album ‘Save Rock And Roll’ is out now via Decaydance. DIY
bands of 2013: paramore
Paramore If there’s been one album that’s turned heads in the rock world this year, it’s ‘Paramore’. Words: Sarah Jamieson. photo: Mike Massaro
aramore’s fourth full-length may have marked the band’s first musical offering since their rather messy member departure of 2010, but that feels to be entirely in the past now. This album signalled a whole new version of the band, and not just thanks to the obvious.
The Nashville trio’s new record took things to the next level. Not only did it score Number One slots on both sides of the Atlantic, but it opened up doors that even the band themselves believed to be locked. They even dared to dabble in pop; and not just the rock-tinged anthemic version of pop: we’re talking bubblegum and balloons, gloriously unafraid, chart-commandeering pop. And they do it brilliantly. That’s not all they pull off. Over the staggering seventeen tracks, they somehow transform with each song, like a perfectly styled chameleon. There’s gospel choirs and slap bass, there’s guitar lines fed through synthesisers. Heck, there are even interludes played on a ukelele. “We just couldn’t cut songs!” laughs Hayley Williams, on the subject of their rather lengthy tracklisting. “We just loved all the songs. I think we cut three songs... One that we just didn’t finish recording but it was a complete song, and two that we made b-sides.” “We’ve always made records and albums to be listened to all of the way through,” adds guitarist Taylor York. “We’ve always done that. But this was the first one that felt like we needed all seventeen of those tracks to make a complete picture. A complete work of art, that we wanted people to experience from beginning to end. We kind of had some push back on that ‘We’d love to have eleven songs on the record!’ - but we were just like, ‘Well, what songs do you want to cut?’” That’s another great thing about ‘Paramore’. For all its zig-zagging brilliance, there’s not one song that shouldn’t be on there. “Dude! That feels good that someone else has said that,” laughs Williams. “Because, man, we lived with the record too, for six months. Our label did because we did a big listening party, and that was the most satisfying night because we just got to let it out there. But still, even after three months went by of silence, I definitely questioned it a lot. ‘Is this song any good? Why did we do seventeen songs?! Are we crazy?!’ It was really nerve-wracking.” Paramore’s self-titled album is out now via Fueled By Ramen / Atlantic Records. DIY
bands of 2013: savages
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bands of 2013: savages
he world used to be silent. Now it has too many voices, and the noise is a constant distraction. They multiply, intensify; they will divert your attention to what’s convenient and forget to tell you about yourself.” These are the first words of the 36 line manifesto printed on the cover of Savages’ debut album. They’re taken from John Cassavetes’ 1977 film ‘Opening Night’ and here they form part of the most focused mission statement of 2013. “Silence yourself,” yells frontwoman Jehnny Beth, but this is not a record about silence, not really. It’s an album about focused impact. “Our aim [at the beginning] was the first gig that happened at The Shacklewell Arms for the Pop Noire night,” says Jehn. “It kind of shaped our sound because we wanted to make music that would create an impact, maybe a physical impact, very fast, hits very hard, but also very gentle. That was the angle we were taking. “In the end it becomes minimal, but I wouldn’t say I’m a minimalist writer. I enjoy writing so much that I even write outside of the lyrics, I write on the front cover of the record. I think I’m not ready to shut up.” Savages have just wrapped up their US tour, and Jehn is on the phone from an Italian restaurant where the band have stopped off for a muchneeded refuel. Amusingly, given the words that appear on the front of ‘Silence Yourself’, she apologises for the distraction of background noise. She’s knackered, but still reeling with enthusiasm from their
show last night at New York’s Terminal 5. “It went super well, it was great,” says Jehn. “We had the New York choreographer KK Apple and her troupe of dancers, and she performed for half an hour on a long version of our track ‘Dead Nature’. She did that on the floor amongst the people!” she laughs. “The reaction was incredible, the people were really curious, taking the time to absorb it – and trying to protect them as well, because there were a lot of people on the floor. It was kind of dangerous! Then when Duke Garwood got on stage he performed a wonderful set, I came on to sing a song with him, ‘Heavy Love’. Johnny Hostile [Jehn’s partner, and ‘Silence Yourself’s co-producer] was playing with him as well. We had a nice moshpit of young boys going crazy.” She laughs again. “A good party.” Incorporating spoken word pieces into their live shows, as well as dancers, cage constructions, and all sorts of other experiments, Savages take the boundaries of being a band, and break through the walls. “This is more than a band,” agrees Jehn, “it’s more like an art project. We like to involve the people we work with on another level, and we like to hear music being exploited in lots of ways. I think it’s a dream for any musician to do that, so we should feel free to do it.” “I think we just realised it was extremely exciting to have an idea and make it happen, and then we just went for it every time,” she adds. “It means a lot of work, and,” she laughs, “we lose more money, but it brings more pleasure and happiness. Whatever happens, we’re
having a good time and we’ve fulfilled what we’re wanting to do. Otherwise it’s… how do you say? It doesn’t inspire you if you’re just a band on tour doing promotion and selling your records” In being nominated for the Mercury Prize though, Savages have entered the realm of industry accolades, and inevitably it is tied up with the idea of promotion. It’s a topic Jehnny Beth has addressed on her personal blog, and she’s still in two minds about it. “The Mercury Prize…” she begins. “It’s great people think this album deserves more attention, especially the people who have been involved in the artistic creation of this thing. I just… I think it’s the right time to remind ourselves that it’s not what music is for.” Does she think it’s an important platform from which to spread the ‘do whatever the fuck you want’ mentality that she talks about in her blog post, though? “Oh, absolutely,” Jehn says. “I’m happy with the attention [the nomination] gets. I think it’s deserved - and also because we don’t do it for that.” Savages used to be resistant to the idea that they were, as a group of four women, a feminist band by implication. At first, says Jehnny Beth, frankly they were reluctant to talk about the subject at all. ‘Silence Yourself’ is partially about the experience of being a woman, but it’s largely a record about something far more universal; sex, desire, violence, freedom, power. If this is an album of empowerment, it’s an exciting, androgynous, powerhouse celebration of self-expression knowing no
barriers. “I think it’s a shame that when a woman speaks about women, that we’re automatically being handed the feminist flag,” observes Jehn. “I don’t want to carry any flags, I’m just doing my thing. I will just carry my own armour,” she cackles, “and do my own shit!” Although she reiterates that Savages was not started with a feminist agenda, Jehn seems happy to engage openly with the subject today. “More and more,” she says, “I feel that because we’ve seen with our own eyes the effect we had on young women after gigs – and how it makes them feel good, empowered – it made us realise we were doing something that we didn’t realise at first. To be honest, I’d say we’re learning on the way, we’re learning as we go along about these concepts. It’s starting to interest us.” Savages started out with just one recording, the ‘Husbands’ single, and for a long time the only way to see the band was live. Their album was entirely cultivated on the stage. “We didn’t really think about recording things then. We were doing hand-made silkscreen t-shirts before that, because we felt we have to give something to these people!” she laughs. “We didn’t want to rush into recording until we felt the music was ready, until we felt solid, and then we moved to recording live shows. That seemed to be the right way, to understand what kind of sound we had live, and to try and capture that energy.” ‘Silence Yourself’ is an incredibly live sounding album, and that initial process does seem to have captured the raw visceral energy of Savages on the
stage. “Mmmhmm,” agrees Jehn, “that was always the aim. There are definitely songs that were recorded live straight to finish, we didn’t change a note.” Small venues are a cause close to the band, and Jehnny Beth spoke out recently about the need to increase funding. “I arrived in London eight years ago,” she laughs, “and I played every shithole that existed in that town! Then I found a venue called The Luminaire, which was directed by Andy Inglis, who is now Savages’ tour manager. It felt like it was a home for people who cared about music. When
The Luminaire died, it felt like something we cared about was dying at the same time. I realised there was nowhere else that has that mentality in London. There’s a great music scene, great bands, great audiences, but the small venues are not…” she coughs tactfully, “well, they’re the worst in the world, they’re just the worst! That’s the reality, but we can do something.”
there was a massive pool of piss. That was when we were touring with [Jehn’s previous band] Johnny and Jehn, years ago, and we took a massive pen, and wrote ‘my ass is cleaner than that’ on the wall.” She is beside herself. “It was outrageous!”
were infamously called “terrifying” by Michael Gira of Swans, and elsewhere they’ve been depicted as closed off, and fiercely protective. Gira revised his opinion, calling them “terrific” instead. He’s quite right.
She composes herself and laughs again. “That gives you a lot of anger, I think. You can’t make that up.”
What’s the worst thing Savages have ever seen backstage? “Oh my god!” she exclaims. “Backstage there was a leak on the toilet. There was piss! Dripping into the backstage, and
This is sounding more like the Savages who wrote “so we’ll be cunts to the cunts / and nice to the people we love” in ‘Don’t Let The Fuckers Get You Down’. Indeed, the band
Anger towards puddles of urine aside, Jehnny Beth is focused, thoughtful, and intelligent. Savages have a vision that they will protect to the hilt, but really, they’re everything but angry. Savages’ debut album ‘Silence Yourself’ is out now via Matador Records / Pop Noire. DIY
“It was extremely exciting to have an idea and make it happen.”
bands of 2013: london grammar
Few new bands have resonated with as many as London Grammar have this year.
Words: Hugh Morris.
an Rothman, London Grammar guitarist, is in a van. Probably. A particularly noisy van. But that isn’t representative of his year. Unless that van is clattering down the superhighway to awesome musical success. Yeah, if there’s one thing hotter than metaphors this year, it’s London Grammar.
maintain our level of consistency and intensity had we not already had an album under our belt.”
On New Year’s Day 2013 London Grammar had not released a sausage – it was only two or three weeks prior they unleashed their first music on the world in the shape of ‘Hey Now’ on YouTube – yet now, twelve months down the line they have a number two album, a Top 20 single and sold out a UK tour.
“Our sound is listenable and accessible, which means it can reach a wide audience, but also sort of simple and spacious, which makes it kind of indie,” explains Dan on the music’s dual appeal. “And then you have Hannah’s voice, which is exceptional – she wouldn’t say that but I can. And her lyrics, they can speak to a wide audience.”
“I don’t really have a clue how it happened,” says Dan, over the noise. “I think it’s a combination of support from people like Radio 1 but also being prepared. We would have struggled to
And so, with an EP release in February and album ‘If You Wait’ following in September, London Grammar have cemented their position not just in indie circles, but also the charts.
So how does a trio, only a few years out of university, respond such a rise to prominence? “You can’t really prepare yourself for it. I think when you’re in the
“When you’re in the band you don’t realise that things are moving so quickly.” 60 thisisfakediy.co.uk
band you don’t realise that things are moving so quickly. It wasn’t until the album was released that we became aware of the change – that more and more people were beginning to find us and talk about us.” He uses gigs in New York, Glastonbury and October’s sold-out tour as markers for the band’s success: “It’s definitely the live shows that really pin point things for us and sum up just how far we’ve come.” But he asks for patience and says 2014 will be used to hone the band’s live appearances. “We’re really new to the whole live show thing which I think some people seem to forget. I think 2014 is going to be just as intense,” he says, as the van moves relentlessly on. London Grammar’s debut album ‘If You Wait’ is out now via Metal & Dust. DIY
bands of 2013: the national
2013 witnessed these New York ‘misery-guts’ saying goodbye to sadness and in-band bust-ups. Words: Jamie Milton. photo: Mike Massaro
he title of The National’s sixth album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is pretty ill-fitting. In actual fact, all the squabbles and stubborn stand-offs that’d define recording sessions for their previous records were done away with. Trouble buggered off, in layman’s terms. The studio relationship could’ve be described as… harmonious, which in The National stakes comes out as a massive achievement. In a year where they’ve gone from strength-to-strength, Scott Devendorf from the band also details escaping the tag of being a guy in a ‘miserable’ band and playing shows that tow a line between wild celebrations and emotional purges. Are you as concerned about expectations as you used to be? We’re pretty self-critical. We were feeling confident that we liked it. It’s hard to say how people are going to take it. As far as being concerned, there was a bit of a feeling of confidence. We’d done three records we were proud of. Record labels always gravitate towards bands doing the thing they do all over again. We like challenging ourselves. That’s our main goal. People seem to finally be understanding that you’re a band
with a funny side. We’ve never been miserable as people. Everyone has stuff that goes on in their lives and we’ve certainly all had that. We definitely identify with our songs. We’re always making music that speaks to us too. There might be a perception that all our songs are autobiographical but that’s not the case. People take them very literally - some of them are pretty direct, especially on this record. We don’t live daily in this dreary dark cloud. You’re also seemingly happy to document who you are as people - especially with the ‘Mistaken for Strangers’ film. A certain part of it is, ‘Alligator’ and ‘Boxer’ create this image of the band as paranoid depressives. It’s not really the case. We have these thoughts - dark or otherwise - like anyone else. These records have been written over 7, 8 years now. Our lives change and we grow older. All the records are a reaction to us living our lives. With the film, it’s an effort to tick the marks as you go along in life and keep track. When you play live, so many people in the crowd seem to have a big emotional experience. We have it too. It’s one of my favourite aspects of the band - playing shows
When releasing ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, were you more confident this time around? “There was no apprehension at all. We were more relaxed this time around. This was our sixth album and we’re always trying to do something a little bit different. This time I feel like we were in retro-mode. To me at least, the songs remind me of older stuff we’ve done, but with a twist. Matt really gravitated towards something new. We felt pretty good about how everything had turned out. We felt more involved all the way through this time. That being said, you never know what people were going to think.”
in front of people who love the music. How can you not enjoy that? It’s ultimate praise. I always like going to shows and having that visceral emotional response to music myself. It’s a great compliment to us. It’s taken many years for that to happen, though. It’s part of the appeal for us - it’s a slow build. Did the shows themselves feel more like celebrations this time around? They really did. At this point the shows are longer now. We’re playing two hour shows - it’s long but it’s very interesting to see people’s reactions. We’re never really sure when we’re recording how they’ll come out live. We’re never totally cognitive of how they translate. We try, but we always meddle with everything. When it comes to the record being done we have to get ourselves together. When we get out there and the show’s on the road, it’s one of the best feelings. The National’s album ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ is out now via 4AD. DIY
Misery, on the rocks: The National.
2013 readers poll
VOTE NOW Readers Poll is now open!
It’s almost the end of the year, so we want to know what you (yes, you!) think has been good, bad and a bit weird in 2013. From Kanye to all those people just holding Kanye back, fill in the form opposite, stick it in the post* and have your say.
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a r c a de f ire / b lood or a nge / C a te L e Bon / Conn a n Mo c k a sin / Cut Co p y / I nto I t . O v er I t . / Kir a n L eon a rd / Kurt Vile / L os C a m p esinos ! / M . I . A / Met a lli c a / 66 thisisfakediy.co.uk
Arcade Fire Reflektor (Sonovox)
Arcade Fire’s past, present and future isn’t exactly riddled with mystery. They formed a band out in Montréal, barely any of them knowing how to play the drums. Then they got bigger, better, bigger again. They made second homes in Haiti and then New York. Their records became more conceptual, their reputation skyrocketing in the process. With fourth album ‘Reflektor’, their past is documented in vivid detail, delivered with such urgency and bombast it’s difficult to look ahead. But look ahead they do, arriving with their fullest and most ambitious record to date. ‘Reflektor’ runs whole hog, linking Jonathan Ross spokenword intros (seriously) with an old-school garage vibe - think Deerhunter’s ‘Halcyon Days’ performed
with ten times the cast. It comes to a sudden halt with ‘Joan Of Arc’, which links up a James Murphy beat with roaring guitars and an - unfortunately rare - appearance from Régine Chassagne. If this is punk, it’s being approached from the view of a TARDIS spiralling out of the sky; ‘Joan of Arc’ basically mimics one in its crazed climax. For all its dense, frenzied beginnings, there’s still room for a single or two. The title-track performs the miraculous by making a seven-minute triumph come off like a three-minute pop song. ‘The Reflektors’ - Arcade Fire’s resurrection, of sorts - appear in the record’s closing half. With disco, they tear original fragments from the seams. ‘Afterlife’ is simple and triumphant, using 80s staples and flipping them inside out. It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that the entire record was built around ‘Afterlife’. This is the new, rejuvenated Arcade Fire; past thrown to one side, only eyes ahead. Here’s to the future. (Jamie Milton)
The best of ‘Reflektor’ Afterlife
Swaying from sounding like a heart monitor to Arcade Fire at their most energised (ever), this is a relatively short and sweet conclusion to the band’s journey. ‘Reflektor’’s been big, dense, often overbearing, but if a song like this can still stand out after 70-odd minutes of unrelenting noise, there’s got to be something very special going on.
Joan of Arc
If Walter White made punk, this’d be the result. Glistening blue, it’s Arcade Fire hitting the endpoint of their brief spell in sweaty venues. The guitars roar, Régine makes a much-needed impression and James Murphy’s production is drenched all over the track. By the end it sounds like a Tardis spiralling into space.
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
This could quite literally be the sound of Arcade Fire being sent up to the heavens. Following a synth line that lends from Chromatics, ‘It’s Never Over’ comes close to mimicking ‘Sprawl II’ from the band’s last record. Régine takes lead, leading glasslike guitars and tap-tap percussion towards womps. Actual womps.
Midl a k e / Morrisse y / oh l a nd / Pi c k A Pi p er / sh y girls / S we a rin ’ / torres / white deni m / widows p e a k / wooden shji p s / y oung k ni v es 67 67
blood orange Cupid Deluxe (Domino)
Dev’s next grand transformation hits the bullseye. If Zoolander was an actual thing, all its characters would be playing Blood Orange’s ‘Cupid Deluxe’ to death. Its sound - and its makers - are so hot right now. But Dev Hynes’ latest record is more than just something for ‘kids who can’t listen to music good’. He’s a chameleon, capable of picking up on movements and ideas light years ahead of most musicians who forcibly glue their ear to the ground in order to stay ahead of the pack. With first band Test Icicles, he ended up being the most punk thing around. MySpace? Dev saw it coming. He even made folk jumpers and breezy acoustic songs a big ambitious thing. ‘Cupid Deluxe’ is Hynes’ next grand transformation. Cupid shoots his heartdecorated arrow straight for the bullseye. Its intentions are honest, its end goal clear as day. Doing it with a little help from his friends, he’s easily landed on his best album yet, out of any guise taken on in the last ten years. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Chamakay’, ‘No Right Thing’
young knives Sick Octave (Gadzook)
A tricky puzzle. “A completely undiluted Young Knives record,” the Leicestershire trio promised to the fans who helped fund ‘Sick Octave’. And a completely undiluted experience it is. They run riot like inmates taking over the asylum with highly idiosyncratic results. The Talking Headsish ‘All Tied Up’ in contrast is a crash, bang, wallop of proggy strangeness; less a song than an experiment in sonic textures, while ‘Marble Maze’ sounds the closest to the straightforward postmodern guitar racket they first started out with, with no SFX adorning Dartnall’s stabby, portentous tones. There’s no obvious moments to make you sit up and take notice: it’s not indie, it’s not electro and it’s not pop. But it is, most definitely, a Young Knives record. (Shefali Srivastava) Listen: ‘White Sands‘
into it. over it.
Intersections (Big Scary Monsters)
for now, get into it. You’re in your late teens or twenties. You grew up listening to Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab For Cutie. You graduated at some point onto American Football or at least something a Kinsella brother played on. If you wear glasses the rims are thick (ish). Your jeans are fairly skinny. You’ll love Into it. Over It. There’ll be times when you get a sense that you’ve heard something very similar to ‘Intersections’ before. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The hardships of getting hurt. Your shitty flat. The constant struggle for money. A perpetual desire to measure your successes and failure against your friends. ‘Intersections’ is the perfect album to accompany all that stuff and much, much more. So settle down, pop it on your record player and let its beauty wash over you. (Tom Doyle) LISTEN: ‘Spatial Exploration’
White Denim Corsicana Lemonade (Downtown)
They transcend their influences.
q&A DIY’s Joe Greenwood takes a visit to James Petralli’s lemonade stand.
When writing Nick Cave goes into an office and writes from 9 to 5, basically treating it like a full time job. What’s your process like? I’d love to be able to do it how he does, but I just can’t. Not because I wouldn’t want to, that sounds perfect, but because my wife and I recently had a kid so the writing time I have to myself
White Denim’s journey has seen them travel from sleazy, sloppy garage rock basements through to the marbled bathrooms of 70s Americana. ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ is another chance to play spot the influence – there’s boogie rock, soft rock ballads and nods towards blues and country, there’s even Thin Lizzy glam rock. But all this crate digging investigation ultimately proves fruitless as White Denim transcend all these influences to create something that is simply them. Looking at it from afar, ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ can be seen simply as an impeccably crafted 70s album, but that underestimates the way White Denim can take the familiar and make it feel new, charge it up and make it something special. It’s time to go back to the future. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Come Back’
hasn’t been quite as available. I tend to write for a couple hours at home, but most of the heavy lifting is done in the studio. Ideally I work in there for about 5 hours at a time, and what I went in with as an idea has completely gone and something new and, to me, has come out better. Is there anything else that inspires your prolific output? Is it mostly just a desire to be in the studio as much as possible? The studio part of it is a big thing for me, because that’s the time when
I’m happiest. There’s no point just hoarding this stuff, we really just love putting it out there and getting feedback on it as soon as possible. We like to keep it fresh for the fans as well as us. Also it just allows us to keep our head above the noise. So many bands, particularly after doing their first album, can get left behind if they don’t produce something right away. But if you’re constantly producing you don’t have to worry about that. And also when you get new fans it gives them a nice back catalogue to dip into. DIY
Confessional singersongwriters aren’t exactly thin on the ground, so Torres comes ready burdened with both a bunch of easy comparators and an increased need to be distinctive. But the fact is, her self-titled, self-released debut does. It’s simple, unfussy stuff and, particularly across the first half, mostly sticks to stark minimalism. With a worldweariness which belies her age, but delivered with an authenticity which stops that from ever being a problem, ‘Torres’ is a promising, impassioned debut. There’s also the beguiling hint that its maker could go on to do even greater things. (Tim Lee) LISTEN: ‘Honey’
It’s A Big World Out There (And I Am Scared) (Matador)
less an afterthought, more a natural coda. Recorded in the same sessions as fifth studio album, ‘Wakin On A Pretty Daze’, ‘it’s a big world out there (and i am scared)’ complements and supports the main album – alternative versions of ‘Wakin...’ tracks sit alongside new material. What is particularly impressive about this EP is its diversity, without diversion. Whist never sounding unlike Kurt Vile and the Violators, he
tracks genres as varied as 60s folk, 90s Britpop and synth-infused indie rock. None of it sounds disjointed, but each song offers something truly unique from the last. Beneath the relaxed, foot-tapping, nonchalant exterior is an excellent musician and wordsmith, whose casual demeanour only makes his creative output more thrilling. There is something deeply satisfying about the music he makes – it defies explanation, but it gives you that feeling that makes you scrunch up your face, shake your head about and nod a lot.Listen to this EP. Listen to the whole of the Deluxe Daze album extension. Actually, just listen to anything by Kurt Vile. (Anna Byrne) LISTEN: ‘Feel My Pain’
Wish Bone (Federal Prism)
“Having three kids and still remain a virgin”, sings Nanna Øland “Oh Land” Fabricius on ‘Renaissance Girls’. The 2013 answer to 90s feminist rant ‘Bitch’ is possibly the best display of the Dane’s lyrical wit, and it’s this – as well as the kitchen sink-shaped stamp of producer Dave Sitek – that dominate her third fulllength. At once smart, slick, sassy and sensual, Oh Land is just what a 21st Century pop star should be. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘My Boxer’
No Blues (Heart Swells/Turnstile/Wichita)
Soul-baring with a knowing wink.
Pick A Piper Pick A Piper
Bowler Hat Soup
(Hand of Glory)
With all the various guest vocals appearing, ‘Pick A Piper’’s multinarrative structure is a little problematic. Sure, Disclosure used many collaborators on ‘Settle’, but the linkage with their music was consistent. ‘Pick A Piper’ needed a singular voice to carry the album’s cohesion – one that marries the organic and synthetic, one that it does not have. Its enjoyment ultimately rests on whether you can get past the influences that it’s based upon or keep up with the story. (Sean Stanley) LISTEN: ‘Lucid In Fjords’
A towering beacon of youthful ambition, ‘Bowler Hat Soup’ sees precocious teenager Kiran Leonard bombard the listener with an armoury of assured, confident and well-crafted alt-pop gems. From the early Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on a sugar rush of ‘Dear Lincoln’ to the haunting, beautific closer ‘A Purpose’ it, over the course of its consistent and impressive 52 minutes, shows the 18-yearold as one to watch, not to mention one of the country’s great hidden upcoming talents. (Gareth Ware) LISTEN: ‘Dear Lincoln’
It’s pretty much a scientific fact that the best bands mix emotional resonance with a sense of humour. It’s one of the reasons why The Smiths were so great, and is why Los Campesinos! are a rare band to cherish. And this mix of humour and melancholy is never more felt than on centrepiece ‘Glue Me’. This isn’t, then, the joyful, burdenfree record the title hints at. The production might be a little slicker but the ingredients for making their sound have remained pretty much the same. ‘No Blues’ is a record of some scope - gripped with thoughts of death and yet somehow the very sound of being alive. (Danny Wright) LISTEN: ‘Avocado, Baby‘
the last record I bought: Gareth Campesinos!
tim hecker Virgins
“A wholly immersive record to cocoon yourself within, as the frost slides by on the morning commute.”
Cate Le Bon
Mug Museum (Turnstile/The Elite Meat Supply)
Melancholy through a psych filter.
Timeshare (ASL Records)
The Swamps (Captured
Dan Vidmar’s a charmer, but he applies his loved-up intentions in unconventional, often funny methods. ‘Timeshare’s production is pretty simple and Vidmar’s introspective lyrics prove that he’s a true wallflower, especially on ‘Voyeur’s Gaze’ and ‘Second Heartbeat’. While he’ll no doubt find himself lumped with other ethereal R&B artists, he stands apart from the pack through his honesty. Unapologetically sultry. (Sean Stanley) LISTEN: ‘Still Not Falling’
At some point between making last year’s ‘CYRK’ double-bill and recording ‘Mug Museum’, Cate Le Bon upped sticks and relocated to Los Angeles. And while it’s all too easy to ‘find’ shifts in sound thanks to sunnier climes, the fact most of this record was written at her old home and recorded near her new does shine through. Cate’s distinctive vocals remain, of course, along with her subtle melancholy and a sense of wistfulness, but as bass lines drive and guitars swirl, it’s evident it’s all through a deliciously warm 70s psych filter. (Emma Swann) LISTEN: ‘Duke‘, ‘Wild’
Acting as a bridge between albums, Widowspeak’s ‘The Swamps’ slides deeper into the backcountry warmth found on last year’s ‘Almanac’. Unfortunately, the murky imagery conjured by their rolling sound doesn’t always translate. The moody consistence is broken a few times, in particular by the unnecessarily cheery ‘Brass Bed’. They’ve got the effortlessly cool-not-cool style down to a tee, but the songwriting just can’t quite keep up. (Joe Price) LISTEN: ‘Calico’
connan mockasin Caramel (Phantasy)
literally anything goes. Connan Mockasin’s ‘Caramel’ is up in the clouds, bobbing gently on a undercurrent of ebbing turbulence, with misty melodies lighter than air. ‘Why Are You Crying’ is filled with gasps of condensation on cold glass. ‘It’s Your Body’, its five-part drawn-out oozing middle, evolves from musical jetlag, through oddball underwater lift jazz, and then pentatonic synths cloaked in a layer of scuzz and abrasive jet engines. Most importantly, though, ‘Caramel’ has a tenderness at its core that is really quite arresting. ‘Forever Dolphin Love’ was a burst vivid colour, but it was trapped behind glass in an aquarium, with one degree of separation. This time, there’s an intimacy to what Mockasin sings, and largely it works out beautifully. (El Hunt) LISTEN: ‘Do I Make You Feel Shy?’
Wooden Shjips Back To Land (Thrill Jockey)
Wooden Shjips’ ‘Back To Land’ doesn’t do enough to grab attention. It’s completely listenable, but all too often lacks definition and most importantly purpose. It represents a very human, dream-like psychedelia being pushed to breaking point through mass-production level repetition. While one desert-road drive is an iconic dash for freedom through a limitless expanse another is a featureless, barren, energy-sapping trip through an unwelcoming landscape. Undoubtedly there’s riches to be found here but the treasure map is harder to follow than ever. (Matthew Davies) LISTEN: ‘Ruins’
hypnosis. It’s a cocktail of Haçienda, modern house and the kind of imagery the CIA might use if America’s ultimate strategy was to achieve ‘good vibes for all’. What was once an explorative dance sway has now become a sonic assault of rhythmic pianos and Dan Whitford’s vibrant vocals. It’s a ‘take it or leave it’ kind of record, but invest in Cut Copy’s deranged aims and it’ll feel like being part of a free-spirited cult. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘We Are Explorers’
M.I.A Matangi (Virgin EMI) A welcome return to politically charged form. M’I’A’s Matangi’ is a bizarre, abrasive offering powered forward by strange beats and even stranger lyrics - the highlight being “click click click get off my dick” on the wonderfully terrifying ‘Bring The Noize’. There’s a nod to the Super Bowl debacle on ‘Boom Skit’, and elsewhere she’s scathing about the banking system, popular acronyms and, erm, Drake. Still, she seems to have decided that the best way to get these things off her chest is via the medium of infectious limb-jerking beat-foolery. It’s a good call. (El Hunt) Listen: ‘Bad Girls’, ‘Bring The Noize’
(Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘We Are Explorers’
Antiphon (Bella Union)
It used to be that losing a frontman meant losing a band. But as singer Tim Smith flew Midlake’s coop, guitarist Eric Pulido stepped up. With a voice that’s in the Jason Lytle/ James Mercer melodic mould, he leads the band into the weirdy beardy realm of psych-folk. The band’s previous records flirted with all this woodwind and singing-about-the-trees stuff, but on ‘Antiphon’ they properly embrace it. Midlake are probably eee at their most gentle ever on ‘Antiphon’. Even the Free Your Mind driving rhythm section of (Modular) ‘The Old and the Young’ Tired, uptight and unable sounds like it’s out for to stop thinking about an early-evening stroll. work? Is a warm blanket At times it gets a little preferable to a tequila too gentle, the warm shot? That’s ok. This is soup of instruments and perfectly normal. But if it Pulido’s soothing voice feels like a rut to be stuck blending together into a in, Cut Copy are here to indistinguishable slush, help. The Melbourne but when it holds together dance enthusiasts have it’s a pleasant trip. (Tom stepped things up a notch. Baker) LISTEN: ‘Vale’ ‘Free Your Mind’ is audio
Swearin’ Surfing Strange (Wichita)
it’s a knockout blow. Swearin’’s gut-punch of an approach might give nods to countless bands and ages, but there aren’t many sporting Allison Crutchfield and co’s eventual knockout blow. When they’re done dishing out curses, they’ll throw out another harsh blow for good luck. It’s this that takes ‘Surfing Strange’ past contemporaries; beyond the band’s recent self titled-debut, even. When Swearin’ go gritty (‘Unwanted Place’), they don’t do so with a half measure. When they attempt to spill out the odd emotion or two (‘Loretta’s Flowers’), they end up projecting soul, guts - the whole shebang. It’s all tied together by this ‘Strange’ tag. Be it unhinged escapism or some old fashioned melodrama, there’s a goofiness to Swearin’’s impressive strut that ends up becoming endearing, leaves them standing out in a cluttered crowd. Weirdos rarely come off this clear-headed. ‘Surfing Strange’ has Swearin’ gliding over waves at record height. (Jamie Milton) LISTEN: ‘Glare of the Sun’
MAD SOUNDS Allison Crutchfield lets us in on the soundtrack of ‘Surfing Strange’.
Football Manager 2014 Os Mutantes Os Mutantes.
“I was driving around Philly one day listening to the local radio station and a song from this record came on. I was immediately in love with it.”
Television Marquee Moon
“I totally missed the boat on Television as a youngster getting into quintessential punk bands but I listened to this so much when we were making ‘Surfing Strange’. It’s a classic.”
Charli XCX True Romance
“I’m always so fascinated by young creative people who seemingly have total control over what they put out there. Charli XCX is so legit and she writes the catchiest pop, which I am a total sucker for.“
Reviewing a new edition of Football Manager isn’t the easiest of tasks. If you’re interested, you’re not just a player. This isn’t a game, it’s a second life. Football Manager is, effectively, the greatest football management game ever made. Its critics - and there aren’t many worth listening to - will claim it’s just a giant spreadsheet, but they’re wrong. No other game is capable of moments of sheer euphoria. This season the changes are possibly more interesting than usual. The main one - a reformed transfer system - does actually change how the game is played. Rather than submitting a bid and waiting for a reply, you can now negotiate live. The same is true for contracts. Coupled with more realistic transfer prices, and the opportunity to buy out a club’s expiring contract if you’ve reached a preagreement with a player, building that dream squad is more fun than ever. We’re all a bit of an ‘Arry at heart. (Stephen Ackroyd)
Geemarc CL7400 Wireless Headphones
Years of pressing our heads against speakers at gigs have taken their aural toll! Aimed at those with faltering lugs rather than the bassstarved audiophiles among us, these affordable wireless headphones are a lightweight joy on your bonce. While there is excellent bass response here too, there’s more emphasis on fine-tuning the experience to your own hearing – with an L/R balance control to even out your hearing problems and the digital sound accentuating dialogue in movies. Sadly, battery charge is a problem with only around 3 hours usage before recharging. Still, the CL7400s are easy to set up, and pairing multiple headsets to the wireless device means you can have a really involved silent disco all up in yo flat, son. An excellent choice. (Michael J Fax)
Metallica: Through The Never fists in the air, horns to the screen. The last time Metallica were on the big screen was the raw, exposing documentary, Some Kind of Monster. Metallica: Through The Never is a different beast all together, a celebration of the band’s 30 years together wrapped up in a hugely imaginative live show. Director Nimród Antal commands proceedings with a pleasingly imaginative eye, servicing the concert footage every bit as well as he does the narrative thread. Cameras sweep over mosh pits and over the stage, they dance in between the band members legs and they capture the power and sheer exhilaration of a heavy metal show. While unlikely to convert any non-fans of the band, it will more than satisfy the faithful. Pump your fists in the air, proudly thrust your horns to the screen and embrace your inner metal-god. (Christa Ktorides)
Q&A: lars ulrich
How important was creative control during the movie? Venturing into film is quite a huge financial risk, was it worth taking such a risk to be in control of what happens with the film? Compromise is not Metallica’s major strength and I think that the fans hopefully appreciate that if it’s got the word ‘Metallica’ written somewhere on or near it, that it comes from us. Creative experience is something that we don’t really share with others other than the people we purposefully let in; so to sit there and take money from a bunch of people to then have them being involved in editing and controlling the movie just seemed wrong. In Metallica we don’t look at things as cross-collateralizing, where you put everything against everything else, so it’s not like “How is the movie going to do?” as itself, it’s not an isolated entity. Nowadays in media it’s very much “What did it cost? How much did it make back? Was it a success or was it a failure?” It’s slightly more complicated than that and breaking it down to those absolutes doesn’t really interest me, it’s another chapter in Metallica’s existence and I’m sure that if we don’t make all the money back then we might in t-shirt sales seven years down the line. We’re not – much to the detriment of people around us – nickel and dime kind of guys, especially when it comes to creative endeavours. Where did the idea originate to have a narrative accompany the stage show? Did it come from one particular person? No, it definitely originated within the band. We felt that if we were going to do a movie of this scale then there should be something other than just us. So as we sat and talked around what that could be, we quickly felt that having a story in there would be really interesting because it just felt unique and weird and challenging. Also I guess to a degree we felt that the reason Some Kind of Monster ended up resonating with so many people was that there was a story in there; it wasn’t just four guys making a record. We realised if you could attach a dramatic element or art to some of the stuff then it could resonate differently with people, people can relate to it or find something in it in a different way. DIY
Morrissey Autobiography At best tiresome, at worst, seriously depressing. Oh, Moz. Moz Moz Moz. There can be few Penguin Classics as relentlessly moany as this. Sure, Manchester’s most famous son (well, who has a quiff) has built a career of lyrical ennui but by gum over the course of 450 pages it doesn’t half drag. From the bleak streets of the industrial working class north via the wrangling that destroyed the Smiths, to Morrissey’s complex romantic relationships with men later in his life, there’s a relentless sense of martyrdom that pervades and frankly plagues these pages. Detractors will just see it as another in a long line of woe-is-me anecdotes, but for fans there will be moments of rude awakening here. There is so much bile, so much misplaced bitterness and so much patronising pomposity on show that it is hard to see the man as much more that a Nietzschean genius, driven mad by the syphilis of his own ego. (Tom Doyle)
live swim deep / swn / chvrches / bastille / london grammar / mgmt
swim deep & wolf alice photos: emma swann
onight is a special night for Swim Deep, because they’re playing their local Town Hall. That’s in a whole other league to performing tap dance in the Town Hall’s annual variety show, because Swim Deep are headlining it. Austin’s Gran is here to witness the occasion, and long before doors, there’s a line of band baseball shirts queuing to secure front row. Majority of fans right at the front are locals, too. It’s an absolute B-Town fest. Wolf Alice might not be Brummies, but they certainly pull out all the stops for their support slot, treating an already filled room to ‘She’ and ‘Nosedive’, which both prompt frenetic crowd surfing. It all feels very uncivil considering the council building surroundings, security largely just tut and shake their heads, leaving the young ‘uns to it. ‘Blush’ sees Ellie Rowsell possess the whole room with soaring, fragile vocals, against a backdrop of endless reverb, and this doesn’t seem like a support
slot at all. Before long, Wolf Alice will be headlining themselves. Passing the baton to Swim Deep, the hall is turned into a swirling optical illusion by way of psychedelic lights, and quickly gets filled by the sound of screaming anticipation, too. Taking to stage via the Jurassic Park soundtrack (because why the hell not?), Swim Deep quickly dive into showcasing ‘Where The Heaven Are We’. ‘She Changes The Weather’s plunking intro is almost completely drowned out by the ecstatic crowd. ‘Honey’ is another highlight, in all its overwrought, slightly campy glory. It’s ‘The Sea’, though, that really takes the biscuit. Swim Deep have even taken the liberty of bringing a choir onstage. Yep, really, a proper choir. The headliners’ jubilant set ends with a Wolf Alice stage invasion, and the Town Hall has morphed into the party capital. Anyone who claims that kids just don’t love music like they used to obviously didn’t drop in on Birmingham’s civic building tonight. (El Hunt)
“If a drink’s blue, it’s good for you”
q&A Complete this sentence: if a drink’s blue, it’s… Austin (Williams, Swim Deep): Good for you! Joel (Amey, Wolf Alice): Brilliant. James (Balmont, Swim Deep): Here’s to Superfood!
Austin and Ellie’s attempt to cover Jason and Kylie goes down a storm.
What’s your number one rule on tour together? Theo (Ellis, Wolf Alice): When we go out after a show, we have to have one member of each band. Joel: Otherwise you just let the team down. James: It’s because we don’t trust each other, we always like to keep an eye on each other. Do you think it’ll be a painful process when you stop touring together? Joel: It’s going to be hard. James: Yeah, can we not talk about it? You can have one special guest with you on tour. Who do you pick? Theo: Gary Barlow.
pawws bo ningen
R A I N , C H I PPY L A N E A N D D R E N G E I N T H I E R P J S
Various venues, Cardiff photos: kate morely / adam chard
hursday night, and the first of this four-day live music extravaganza kicks in to life with Dutch Uncles, whose disorientating sound palette zorbs in to Cardiff’s Great Hall like a skittery drive around the ‘hood with a boy racer (just one who shops at Urban Outfitters). Everything Everything then emerge with tracks from 2013’s ‘Arc’, and their delightful future-pop has never sounded livelier. Jonathan Higgs’ falsetto vocals may suffer from the Marmite complex but they slide perfectly into the electro twitches of last year’s single ‘Cough Cough’. Then in a dimly lit function room at the Angel Hotel, Ghostpoet serves up his suitably dark urban meditations to an adoring crowd. “I ain’t wise, I’m just a blagger” announces opener ‘Garden Path’ and with hazy half-spoken delivery, his lyrics are looped, rapped and slurred. Friday’s highlight is (obviously) DIY’s takeover of Clwb Ifor Bach. Totem Terrors kick off downstairs - a brutally loud drum machine cementing together smart, intertwining vocals to create something unique and bitterly brilliant. Alex Dingley doesn’t break his genuinely frantic edginess for a second - it’s spontaneous and charming, with bomb proof song-writing. Heavy Petting Zoo cause a stir, storming and stamping with a massive energy. Moving upstairs, things get far less stampy and much more melodic with Pawws - pristine delicate perfect pop, complete with flute. Next, Wolf Alice take ownership of the crammed sweaty room, the angsty four piece smashing out loud confident folk grunge, veering from fragile and delicate one second to shouty and aggressive in the next. A queue around the block testifies to the warm place
that Bo Ningen occupy in Cardiff’s collective psyche, their set wheeling between movements of speeding riffs and girlish pop, with almost baggy Steppenwolf motifs thrown in to muscle out any sweetness, before dreamy Copenhagen noise voyagers Pinkunoizu then bring a spontaneity to proceedings. “Take a tip from us… Don’t play in your PJs,” says Drenge vocalist Eoin, drenched through with sweat in a pair of tartan pyjamas he customised in honour of the band’s bedtime slot. Recent single ‘Bloodsports’ sounds as visceral as a cockfight and provokes a good-natured stage invasion while the blistering punk of ‘Face Like A Skull’ starts like a military ceremony before degenerating into a pounding psychedelic wigout. There’s definitely more than a hint of David Byrne about Totem’s drummer and vocalist Toby Burroughs, whose kit is so extensive it needs scaffolding to hold up all the brass and skins, but there is also a sort of downhearted grunge element to the band’s set at Dempseys on Saturday too. Later at Clwb, the day’s highlight comes in the form of The Wytches. Nightmarish surf riffs swirl through ‘Digsaw’, with Kristian Bell’s screamed vocals tipping the sound system into full distortion. On the deranged waltz of ‘House of Mirrors’, doomy bass lines and butch riffs even give a nod to late era metal icons Pantera.
Telegram open upstairs at Clwb on Sunday, with their intelligent, uncluttered kraut with a dash of punchy distortion that later headliners Temples do equally well. The Embracing the catchy hooks of indie as well as the safer ends of psych is a winning combination that both bands seem to favour. Waxahatchee is then a fitting act to close the weekend. A raw, soulful vocalist, Katie Crutchfield shows off second album ‘Cerulean Salt’ with its pure and unfettered vocals that deliver a poetic lyricism. (Louise Mason/Nat Davies/Tom Bevan)
ho m etown glory f or the s y nth trio the board - the pummelling bass cranks up the intensity of ‘Science/Visions’ to great ABC, Glasgow heights, and brings a definite he fact that CHVRCHES edge to their live versions. have sold out two With Martin Doherty and consecutive evenings at Iain Cook on synths being Glasgow’s ABC is testament the energetic duo to counter to their meteoric growth in the last year or so. The cherry Lauren’s almost coy tottering around, the band strike a on top, of course, is debut album ‘The Bones of What You balance of being present, Believe’, the sonic masterpiece but not going beyond what feels natural. And it really that has wooed many an charms the audience; it feels attendee tonight. And, with honest, which is certainly geometrically-edged lights shining simply as a backdrop, the case as Lauren discusses breaking up with her high the trio journey through school boyfriend over antics the majority of the record, that occurred in the venue’s stunningly transitioning toilets, giggling in the their tracks to a live capacity aftermath. With a soaring with little alteration. ‘We finale of the dazzling ‘The Sink’ twinkles into life, its Mother We Share’, an hour of buoyant electronics echoing genuine enjoyment comes to around the room with the an end. CHVRCHES excel in heavier beats amplified, doing what suits them, and practically throbbing out of it’s an understated brilliance. the speakers. This is the only real change of dynamic across (Heather McDaid)
Photo: Sinead Grainger
da n ‘ n the g a ng m a k e a f l awless R eturn to b ri x ton . that Smith et al have in their arsenal: there’s a quiet beauty to ‘Overjoyed’ and ‘Get Home’ London that’s enough to make you ith these two Brixton shiver just that tiny bit. Then, Academy dates falling in there’s the new songs. Airing the middle of their UK routing, them for the first time this there’s a precision to Bastille’s tour, the band showcase show tonight that only comes three new tracks this evening. from ironing out setlist kinks There’s the funky electronics previously. Frontman Dan of ‘Campus’, the dirty rock Smith’s voice is flawless, his and roll riffs of ‘Blame’ and the projection captivating and brooding, building crescendo the songs sound tremendous of ‘The Draw’; all of which bear in such a room. ‘Bad Blood’ their own distinct personality. is a storming opener, whilst That’s the charm of this ‘Things We Lost In The band. Whether performing Fire’ sets the perfect pace. intricate piano ballads, or Elsewhere in the set, ‘Weight anthemic chart-poppers, it Of Living, Pt II’ shimmers feels as though there’s a real, beautifully with electronics living, beating heart within whilst ‘These Streets’ incites the songs. It’s that that makes bouncy joy within the adoring evenings like tonight so crowd. Clever pop hooks and special, yet knowingly, just the perfect singalongs at every start of much bigger things to corner aren’t the only things come. (Sarah Jamieson)
bastille O2 Academy Brixton,
Photo: shiona walker
c hills m ulti p ly a s h a nn a h reid ’ s v o c a ls ta k e hold.
Electric Brixton, London
his year has been a remarkable one for young trio London Grammar. Electric Brixton sees the trio’s return to the UK after a brief US tour, following the successful release of their debut album ‘If You Wait’. Opening with ‘Hey Now’, Hannah Reid’s impressive voice echoes across the room raising goosebumps that many didn’t even realise they had. Guitarist Dan Rothman and Dot Major on the piano and drums provide a canvas of lush ambience for Reid to imbue with her haunting tones. Flights of swallows projected upon screens behind them hypnotically dip and dance as her voice enraptures a stunned and relatively quiet audience. They continue with a whole number of tracks from ‘If You Wait’, including a breath-taking performance of ‘Wasting My Young Years’ and their excellent version of Kavinsky’s ‘Nightcall’ – although on occasion the rippling bass overwhelms the delicate touches of guitar and drum pads. However it’s Reid’s powerful vocals that are the lead instrument being showcased this evening – if you thought her voice gave you chills on the album, just wait until you hear it live. They occasionally break to engage the crowd in a bit of light banter, but there’s little if any movement on stage both during and between songs and the two boys remain very quiet indeed. That said, the band still command a presence and delight the crowd with a strong finish comprised of ‘Metal & Dust’ followed by an encore in which they play their cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ with aplomb. It seems London Grammar are having to find their legs very quickly after their explosion in popularity this year and although they may not be quite sure of themselves yet, their confidence and style will inevitably grow in time to match their extraordinary talent. (Sam Haughton)
Photo: Abi Dainton
ith a backdrop of glitchy psych visuals and garbled radio chatter, MGMT enter stage right with their stunning rendition of Faine Jade’s ‘Introspection’, one of the high points from this year’s self-titled album. But there’s an obvious problem from the off - it doesn’t sound at all stunning tonight. It sounds flat, thin and utterly lifeless. A tepid, underwhelming response from the crowd is a deserving reflection of what’s just been witnessed, and such a reaction seems to send the band into panic mode. Play the hits. They immediately and abruptly launch into ‘Time To Pretend’, which in comparison sounds powerful,
clear and frankly brilliant. It completely re-energises the crowd to the point of near-hysteria. This ‘new-song-followedby-old-hit’ pattern repeats itself several times during the course of the show, with ‘Plenty Of Girls In The Sea’ and ‘Mystery Disease’ sounding entirely soul-less and dull, only to be followed by confident, entertaining performances of old classics ‘Kids’ and ‘Electric Feel’. To put it simply, the crowd aren’t at all interested in hearing anything from ‘MGMT’ tonight, and quite honestly, the band don’t look as though they want to play anything from it either. It doesn’t exactly scream of confidence. MGMT appear to be stuck in precarious, unsettled territory, unsure of which way to turn. (Nathan Standlee)
the k ids a ren ’ t a lright a s M G M T G E T I N T R O S P E C T I V E Photo: Carolina Faruolo
I ndie D re a m b o a t of the M onth
Fred Macpherson SPECTOR Sharply dressed and, he says, growing his hair out, Spector’s frontman is next to step up to the back page of DIY and bedroom walls nationwide.
Dreamboat Credentials: “All I ever wanted to be was a heartthrob. Unfortunately my large nose, protruding bottom lip, general lack of cheekbones
and severe eyesight deficiency often stands in the way. But what I lack for in basic good looks, and human interaction, I make up for with blunt wit.” Favourite Fragrance: “My top two are Tom Ford Noir de Noir, and Tobacco Vanille, which I believe is French for vanilla tobacco, but don’t quote me on that. Only Harrison Koisser, who’s the current DIY heartthrob also uses the latter, so I’ve had to oust it from my collection and it’s been replaced by the official James Bond 007 fragrance.”
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