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Calvin Harris | Backstage
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• Off Yer Wall at the Trinity Ball, or, Advice to Gentlemen and Ladies of the College C--o- J----s The College at time of Trinity Week Will captivate just about all But nothing illsuits students quiet and meek Like the night of our annual Ball!
Ye chosen afforded a sought-after Room And privacy-bound with your prize Remember security (fun as a tomb) You’ll do well to escape from their eyes
Scholars and Fellows are greatly alarmed By the change that takes over the place. Entented for now, the ancient lawn’s harmed The Library’s shut in your face
Just one regulation will put you to flight And here’s what it says, nothing less: “Restrictions apply to guests on the night” Of the Ball. Yours Truly, E.S.
To Caesar and Dio we’ll give no more time The elements all can go hang For now it’s the time of the boistrous to shine And round off the year with a bang
What a shock! What a shame! It’s no wonder That now you’re desiring some ale But once more, I do fear you have blundered Hold fast and hear out the full tale
What a spirited type is the student Just one minor thing on his mind For romance can scare be an evening more meant Than a grand old event of this kind
Out in a ring are the bold D.M.P. Intent on preventing the sniff Of the licentious drink; concealment is key Should you wish to bypass a tiff
Take heed, all you gentlemen callers And those with a lady to win Not a matter what else may befall her A ticket will earn you a spin
As Trinity students are gentlemen all They’ll not be found wanting, I know On pocketed hipflask they’ll surely call And blissful through searches will go
Leave her out, and you’re like to regret it For though all may seem in its place Meet justice is swift once her anger is lit You’ll be left all alone in disgrace
And within, what a wonderous climate The stars are all come out to play Mind the crowds and ensure that you time it So you hear as much as you may
Ladies, though new to the College precincts May do well to take some advice If inviting a chap with a view to be linked Try not to be overly nice
Tread softly in search of your favourites For though underfoot are no dreams You may find the footing is less than the pits The cobbles are more than what seems
He knows he’s in favour, he’s answered the call Do conduct yourself with restraint Cameras are rolling, so keep on your shawl Prove later that you are no saint
One final warning, for those who still read There’s one special guest to avoid The Provost is present, to give us a lead You don’t want to meet him destroyed!
For those without guest, no matter, take heart The “jib”, now called “Fresher”, will serve To woo, just mix liquor and charm - equal parts And win yourself what you deserve
cover image: Martin McKenna Leg model: Ailbhe McNeela carbon -based lightstands: Frances Madden David Molloy
Contents Upfront Fashion Doing the ball sober Easy Singles Photography tips Food & drink May Balls Backstage The Script Calvin Harris Vitalic Ladyhawke Fight Like Apes The Glimmers Vicarious Bliss Rob da Bank Ebony Bones Dan le Sac Streetlife DJs Brodinkski
12 20 22 23 24 26 30 34 40 44 48 52 54 56 58 60 62 63
BallGuide|09 Editors Hugh McCafferty Martin McKenna Copy Editors Joey Facer Conor James McKinney Kasia Mychajlowycz Contributors Ailbhe McNeela Alan Henry Alex Dowdall Ana Kinsella Caroline Oâ€™Leary Catriona Gray Dan Kennedy David Norris Dominque English Kasia Mychajlowycz Keith Grehan Lisa McGarrigle Maeve Storey Orla McCallion Patrice Murphy Patrick Gray
Upfront Fashion���������������������������������������������������������12 Doing the Ball sober���������������������������20 Easy Singles�����������������������������������������������22 Photography tips�����������������������������������23 Food & drink���������������������������������������������24 May Balls ���������������������������������������������������26
Butterflies, wallflowers & fairies Senator David Norris reminisces about a time of teams of seamstresses, spit-roast pig, and the Charleston My memories of the Trinity Ball go back to the mid 1960s. Trinity was then a small university of about 3,000 staff and students. Unusually in Dublin there was a strong international flavour to the college in what was then still essentially a provincial capital. There was a ground base of Irish students mainly Protestant and largely penniless like myself, a clatter of Hurray Henrys from the UK rejected by Oxford and Cambridge for one reason or another who arrived complete with cravats, toney accents, sports cars and glamorous girlfriends as well as a few exotic blooms like the great black rugby player John Croker. Trinity Week was the highlight of the Dublin social season and the Trinity Ball its zenith. The Ball was the epitome of glamour. I remember two county “gels” whose boyfriends (officers in one of the Guards Regiments) flew in from Germany in a private plane. Being gay and in love with a basically heterosexual man I didn’t have a girlfriend, but I had plenty of female friends and on two occasions I escorted young women. Both were beauties, one was a dark haired Irish stunner who had just got engaged but told me she would love to go because she knew I was “safe”. I rather resented this and littered the dashboard of the BallGuide|09
car with contraband condoms in order to make her nervous. The other was an American heiress, one of the jet set, who wore an original creation by Balenciaga. And there was a third a lively and entertaining piece from one of the great land owning families who told me with unconscious irony what a pleasure it was to be with a real man because all the partners her parents suggested turned out to be fairies. In terms of sheer volume it was rather quieter than modern day revels. I danced in the dining hall to the strains of Strauss waltzes and did the Charleston in the Exam Hall to the music of Chris Barber’s jazz band. The food was eclectic and there was a bit of a scramble to get it – I remember suckling pigs being roasted on a spit in the now vanished Fellows Garden. Looking back now it was very much a period piece. Each reveller was provided with a dance card containing a little programme which told you where the various entertainments was located and also practical advice such as the information that ladies ball gowns could be repaired by a team of seamstresses who were in attendance in the Elizabethan Society Rooms in number 6. On a couple of occasions I engaged in a mild crashing of the ball. Having rooms in College this was comparatively easy. You just waited until the thing was in full swing and then emerged from
Botany Bay and mingled with the crowds. On one occasion I attended a rival attraction organised by Republican elements in concert with the Cumann Gaelic quite inappropriately attired in my uncle’s court suit with gold buttons and purple and yellow facings and a silk top hat. I delighted them by singing the National Anthem in Irish but they were less impressed by my encore which was God Save the Queen. Fortified by considerable quantities of cheap wine I tottered through a side door into college to be met by bouncers who asked me where I thought I was going and who I thought I was? I told them I was the Mongolian Ambassador and was a guest at the Trinity Ball and rather to my surprise I was admitted, perhaps because as a result of the alcohol my features had assumed a convincingly Mongoloid appearance. After the Ball was over the odd heart as well as the dawn was often breaking and the survivors made their way past bedraggled and tear stained butterflies to Bewleys in Grafton Street for a cholesterol rich breakfast. I was not so secretly envied by my friends for the beauty and sophistication of my female companions but they meant little to me. It wasn’t until ten years ago that I actually attended with a male heart throb, an old flame who was an Israeli discus and javelin champion. This time when in the sweaty confines of the Buttery disco he removed his shirt as we jived to a throbbing beat revealing his superb muscular development the envy was indeed justified and I knew at last the thrill of public romance. Nowadays I am gone a bit beyond that kind of thing but I send you all butterlies, wallflowers and fairies my blessings for a memorable night out.
A few words with Derek Birney, librarian and occasional Ball security Why the decision to do security? Like most of my decisions it was rooted in my perpetual skintness. Having said that, it’s usually good fun and a decent way to spend a Friday night in May. What’s the most amusing thing you’ve seen at the Ball? Erm, I’ve seen couples getting “acquainted” against the wall of the Museum Building... how the ring of people shouting comments didn’t interrupt them is beyond me. The video is probably on YouTube somewhere! What’s the most disturbing thing you’ve seen at the Ball? We see quite a lot of injuries, nearly all falls taken while drunk. High heels, cobblestones and twenty Vodka & Red Bulls don’t mix too well. It’s a pity to see people being evacuated by stretcher an hour into the ball because they fell and injured themselves. There are very occasional fights but in the main they’re a wellbehaved bunch. What’s the greatest length that anyone’s gone to in attempting to get booze into the Ball? I’d imagine the usual handbag vodka
trick, but some people stash booze before the ball and then can’t get to it because it’s out of bounds. One guy tried to bribe me to let him look in the bins in case there was drink hidden there. God loves a trier! Ever been involved in any physical scuffles with drunken revellers? Very seldom. My job is to stop people crashing the ball via the back of the Berkeley from Nassau St. We always catch these folks and they usually go quietly once they realise that the game is up. Sometimes they are completely out of it and can be less than co-operative but they have to be ejected to protect the other ball-goers. I’ve broken up a few fights but they’re not usually nasty, just arguments that get out of hand and usually between friends. Have things changed much since your time as a student at the Ball? I’ve been doing it for six years now and wouldn’t say it deviates much from year to year. I suppose the main difference is the increased cost of drink and food; people tend to arrive later and more bladdered as they tank up at home first.
Battle of the bands HEAT 1 (April 8th): The Octane Theory - www.myspace.com/theoctanetheory Redreck - www.myspace.com/redreck1 She’s The Fastest – www.myspace.com/shesthefastest Vinyl Mesh – www.myspace.com/vinylmesh The Draize Test – www.myspace.com/thedraizetest HEAT 2 (April 15th): Press Empire – www.myspace.com/pressempire Holy Matrimony - www.myspace.com/matrimonyforever The Dynamicks - www.myspace.com/thedynamicks Purr - www.myspace.com/purrmusic
Vitalic Newman “repetitio est mater studiorum,” repetition is the mother of learning; by that metric, students should be wellversed in this Francophone instrumental by the end of Vitalic’s set.
Streetlife DJs We Love the Disco Sound They certainly do and we love this track. Taking some wonderfully camp chants and throwing in dollops of strutting synth hooks, the Streetlife boys have created a disco monster.
Fight Like Apes Lend Me Your Face Before Fight Like Apes were playing SXSW and opening for The Prodigy, they made a name for themselves with little gems like this. Two minutes of mischievous, shouty brilliance.
HEAT 3 (April 22nd): State Between States - www.myspace.com/statebetweenstates Jabbas - www.myspace.com/jabbasjay Take the Money and Run - www.myspace.com/ttmr Noise Machine – www.myspace.com/noisemachinemusic
Ladyhawke Paris is Burning One of the first singles to be taken off her self-titled debut, “Paris is Burning” is breezy pop perfection with its defiant, mouthy verses and killer synth chorus. Should go down a treat.
Top ten tracks
Here’s a little something to get you in the mood for the big night. There’s no particular order, just lots and lots of quality tunes.
Ebony Bones Warrior
The Glimmers Brodinski Physical Pocket Piano (remix)
Ms. Bones lives up to the M.I.A. comparisons with this little stomper. Hand claps and cymbals punctuate until some nice synths take over the chorus. Should go down a treat.
a Guilty little pleasure, this. Irresistibly funky guitar samples and garage rock vocals somehow manage to outsex Olivia Newton John’s original stab at this, which is quite an achievement.
Calvin Harris Acceptable in the 80s
Dan le Sac vs Vicarious Bliss Rock That Shit (remix) Scroobius Pip andy Gardiner’s reworking of Thou Shalt Always Kill
Oh, Go on, Harris’s debut album may have met with some mixed reviews but you can’t really fault this track for pop kicks delivery. The first single to be lifted off the record, this one propelled the young Scot to stardom. Let’s just not mention “The Girls”...
Right, Fair enough, Scroobius Pip will not be appearing alongside Dan le Sac at the Ball, but this is a quality track nonetheless and proof of Dan’s skill at laying down some excellent beats.
A quality reworking of DJ Mehdi’s “Pocket Piano” by the smoking-hot French techno wizard. This man will have the dance tent in a frenzy on the eighth of May.
Electroluxe Family’s “Rock That Shit” is an all-round meatier effort than the original, with dirtier bass, weirdass vocoder effects, more punishing breaks and more typically Ed Banger flourishes in general.
rinity Ball day comes right up there with Christmas and my birthday in the running for best day of the year. Better than Christmas, which you share with everyone, and your birthday, which lets face it, no-one is excited about as you; Trinity Ball day allows all of Trinity College to be abuzz with anticipation, yet there’s still all those people from home/UCD whose face you can rub it into. So start the getting-ready early – if you have a significant other, shove them gently out of bed and to the direction of the kitchen and fridge, (if you have amazing roommates, bribe them into it; if you hate your roommates, get yourself outta bed and only cook enough for one) in which they shall be surprised to find that you have had the foresight to buy (at least) bacon, bread and butter/tomato ketchup/brown sauce as well as tea and coffee… No better way to start lining the stomach than with an indulgent bacon sarnie for breakfast. Lining complete, Buck’s fizz (made with real pure orange juice and possibly not-so-real champagne, none of this M&S ready-bottled lark) is perfectly acceptable first thing in the morning on these special occasion days. Eh, perhaps I should interject at this stage to remind you that by Ball day, you should probably already have
Fairy Godmother Patrice Murphy guides you from rags to riches. Illustrations by Sinead Mercier your dress/accessories/hair style and definitely fake tan already done. Preparties and who to score may be left to chance on the night. So, if necessary, add that last coat of tan – St. Tropez for the D4s who all end up matching colours, Johnsons/Dove for those who’ve started preparations well in advance, my personal favourite has to be L’Oreal Sublime Bronze gel – and two coats will definitely do the trick. Beware that whilst Sunshimmer might be perfect for every other weekend, and is a good back up should you have a orange-tinged-disaster, for Trinity Ball it is worth splashing out on a great product that won’t rub off on your dress…if you’re apprehensive about using the hard stuff, get a practiced friend to do your back, start practicing now, and on no account should you have any reason whatsoever to not use a tanning mitt; take it from a woman with experience, black palms are not sexy. Tan drying, move on to your hair. You should already have planned which style you’re going for, and again, preparation is key. Unless your going for super-natural – and by that I mean really natural, not the ‘natural look’ which takes an hour to create – washing and drying your hair should take place the night before, because day-old hair is easier to tame into either gorgeous curls or sleekly straight styles, and will stay in an up-do better as well. In case of hair emergencies, having dry shampoo, hairspray, a GHD and many bobby pins will at least give you
options on how to salvage whatever disaster you’ve got yourself into… At this stage in the preparations, you should not have had enough Buck’s fizz to be anything more than cheerful – this is a marathon, not a sprint darling, and there is no need to be getting tipsy before you’ve done your makeup and gotten into your dress. Oh, and collected your ticket – don’t forget that. Also take the opportunity whilst you’re in town to remember what you’ve forgotten – earrings, nail varnish, pre-‘swal’, something for dinner. If you’re feeling good about the sun shining, ticked off ticket collection and have an hour or so to kill, grab a bunch of friends and head to the Pav to appreciate the atmosphere of Trinity Ball day and have a wee cider and black – once again, this is a social drink so no more than one, and spirits – no matter how hard you think you are – is not advised; bring a sensible friend if you often succumb to temptation, or view it this way – the sooner you’re home and dressed and ready, the sooner you can commence the pre-drinking. And with a marathon such as this and a night as long as Trinity Ball, you will need to have dinner before drinking, and whilst carbs are not only staple student diet and the best lining, they can have an undesirable bloating effect. So by all means, have a pizza, have chips, have some chicken fried rice – but have them early and for your dress’ sake, don’t wash them down with fizzy drinks. For all other undesirable bumps BallGuide|09
Upfront and lumps, Penny’s control pants are on par with M&S; but ensure you get the right type to fit your dress – low backs, cleavage-baring or Jessica-Rabbit-esque slits are not so classy when they are displaying beige lycra. The dress being the primary concern of this evening, (music, what music? Who?) it’s important that everything else works with it – so your tan should be an appropriate shade, and your hair can be too ‘done’ with a intricate dress, and messy curls too casual with a floral tea-dress. Accessories can make and break an outfit, so they should all tone in with each other and with the dress – its up to you to match blue shoes with a blue dress, or clash yellow shoes and handbag with a pink dress, but when the title of the event is ‘Trinity Ball’, I would tend to err on the side of classic, letting metallic shoes and bag contrast with the colour of the dress, and a plain wrap in either the dress’ or the accessories’ colour. For shoes and bags, the rules are simple and strict – don’t carry anything bigger than a large clutch (include camera, keys, mobile, money, ticket, mints, lip gloss and flats) and high heels are the way to go. Yes, those girls who wear heels all year round will break their neck on the cobbles, but Trinity Ball exempts you from the scorn of everyone, and heels are a must have from pre-party photos until at least 2am. Speaking of photos, the golden rule is to have one pre-make-up photo that all housemates unanimously decide BallGuide|09
to delete the next day, and take many many photos whilst still in your house, including a group shot, single closeups (profile pics!), standing up (show off long dresses) and the obligatory ‘look at my fabulous shoes’ shot. Before the photos however, comes the makeup; of which there is really two choices – natural or fabulous. Natural is a good choice because you can’t really go too wrong with this, it’s basically your day makeup with perhaps a little extra mascara, bronzer or blusher and a nice lip gloss, it works well
makeup. If you are going dramatic, go classic-dramatic with dark smokey eyes, or fresh, dewy, highlighted skin, or bright, glossy lips – and match your nails to your makeup – black/dark brown with smokey eyes, French tips for a pretty look or bright red with matching lipstick. If you are slightly neurotic like me, you might get great pleasure in carrying on the matching to your drinks at the pre-party; red nails look excellent with a glass of red wine or spirit and Coke, French tips are particularly classy with white wine or champagne and make a great contrast when drinking shots, whilst dark nails suit southern comfort and lime or spirit and lemonade. This might seem to be taking this whole idea to an extreme, but it fits in with my motto for looking fabulous at Trinity Ball – preparation is key, think of the big picture – a dress is only a dress, an outfit is a ‘look’. PS. If you listen to none of this advice I selflessly offer, listen to this; don’t be the girl spotted wearing Uggs.
when your dress/ hair/accessories are attention-seeking enough, and you’ll look beautiful rather than too made-up, both on the night (if you’re trying to score) and in photos. On the other hand, this is a fabulous occasion, and calls for fabulous everything – including
dresses By Ana Kinsella 14
The Trinity Ball isn’t like the other balls that fill college calenders. It’s a one-of-a-kind occasion that deserves a one-of-a-kind outfit, don’t you think? There’s something that marks it out and makes it different from the society and class balls earlier in the year. It’s Europe’s biggest private party, Ireland’s best at their worst if you will, and it’s one opportunity to dust off your gladrags and to get dressed up like no other night. The dress-code itself is black-tie, but nowadays that can be interpreted in a thousand different ways, and leaves you with a wide array of choices of what to wear to 2009’s Trinity Ball. If you have no idea of what to wear and where to start, it can be useful to look to the designer runways. The catwalks have been full of formal inspiration lately, as have the red carpets, with a particular trend for long Grecian styles, which are incredibly flattering on a variety of figures, seen on the runways of Alexander McQueen, Marchesa and Rodarte, as well as at the Oscars on celebs BallGuide|09
Upfront like Natalie Portman and Halle Berry. Elsewhere, we’ve seen high-octane sparkles from Dior, Balmain and Armani on red carpet stalwarts like Anne Hathaway and Penelope Cruz. While many of these brands are out of reach to us here in Dublin, in terms of stockists and pockets, the A-listers on the red carpets can provide us a great inspirational starting point when it comes to shopping for a black-tie dress. But let’s face it. Show-stopping dresses from Lanvin and Dior are all well and good in theory, but we’re students here, and by and large our budgets are more Topshop than Temperley. Not a problem, says I, for right now the high street contains a multitude of wallet-friendly dresses perfect for a ball. For starters, Zara has Grecian-inspired dresses in deep purples, teal or coral, perfect with gladiator sandals and delicate jewellery. Look to Topshop for a variety of body-con dresses in the style of Herve Leger. Grab one in a bright block colour for a super-trendy ball option. For an even edgier look, take a peek at Topshop’s Unique and Boutique sections for an alternative to long flowing ball gowns. But if it’s floor-length formalwear you’re after, and you’re on a student’s budget, a good idea is to opt for a high-street maxi dress. Look at the holiday sections of shops like Topshop, H&M or Marks and Spencer - just because the label says it’s a beach cover-up doesn’t mean it isn’t a glorious, cheap, ankle-length, ballappropriate dress. H&M are doing a great range of tropical print maxis, including BallGuide|09
one gorgeous red, orange and purple halterneck for 49.90 that I’ve my eye on. H&M are also the number-one store for cute jersey dresses, if you’re looking for something a bit more cheap and cheerful. The next tier of high-street shops - Reiss, Karen Millen, BT2, Coast - are stocking some dressier, and more expensive, options. Karen Millen, a perennial ball favourite, are doing some brilliant satin cap-sleeved dresses that look a little YSL for €250. BT2 is stocking a multitude of brands this season, with floor-length dresses from Miss Sixty as well as bargain minis from Lipsy. The pitfall of shopping the high street is that somebody else is guaranteed to turn up in the same dress as you. Last year, I snapped up a dusty pink frilly Lipsy dress from Topshop at the last minute, only to spot at least 5 other girls wearing the same one on the night. A solution to this is to go vintage. While Dublin has a unfortunately small number of vintage stores, there are a few which are worth scouring for your dream dress. The Harlequin and Jenny Vander’s, both near Castle Market, stock a range of vintage one-off dresses for the same price you’re going to pay on the high street. A vintage dress allows you to come closer to the look of a style icon like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe, especially with some classic accessories. Another alternative is to head to the charity shops, particularly on Camden St and Georges St, where Oxfam has a dedicated vintage section. Before you head to the charity shops, look to vintage style icons
for inspiration. The classic style of stars from the past, such as Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Grace Kelly, Jane Birkin or Clara Bow to name but a few, will make you think outside your own fashion parameters, and will help you open your eyes to charity shop finds that you wouldn’t normally think twice about.
No amount of fashion magazine do’s and don’ts should make you change the way you dress, but with an event like the Ball, it’s a good idea to stick to some basic guidelines, especially if this is your first Ball:
ɶɶ Wear something you’re comfortable in, as you’ll be wearing it from the early evening through until Saturday or even later, if your stamina allows it. This applies to dress, shoes and underwear. ɶɶ Bring an extra layer. The Ball goes on until the very wee small hours, and it may be May, but it still gets chilly in the early morning. Not all girls will be lucky enough to have a boy to borrow a jacket from, so pre-empt this by bringing a cardigan or shawl with you.
Don’t ɶɶ Wear heels. Just don’t. Spare yourself the agony of walking around on cobblestones all night and opt for some comfy cute flats or sandals. ɶɶ Go too casual. While you’re probably not going to get refused entry for wearing something too informal, you should really take the Ball as a rare opportunity to get dressed up to the nines. ɶɶ Spend too much money on your dress, or don’t wear something that can’t be washed. You could be sitting on the mud, the side of the road, the gutter, you could spill beer, ketchup, or vomit on yourself. ɶɶ Forget to take photos! How many occasions will you have to get so dressed up and to act so loutish?
f there is anything we have learned from James Bond, is that the goodies are always attractive and the baddies are generally ugly, but any and every man looks better in a tux. And yet, every man at Trinity Ball will face every girl’s worst nightmare – wearing the same thing as everybody else. How then can a man wear a tuxedo, look suave and look individual beside another man wearing a tux? Let’s begin with the basics, and the options. The classic tux includes black dress trousers, white dress shirt, black bowtie and black dinner jacket, black patent shoes, black socks, cufflinks, with optional waistcoat, braces or cummerbund. The waistcoat, the cummerbund, the braces and the cufflinks then, are where you can first add a little bit of originality – though I would leave the novelty cufflinks and cartoon waistcoats for Christmas/family parties, and suggest a coloured cummerbund (matching with your date’s dress is the
decisions By Patrice Murphy 16
epitome of gentlemanly) or braces for a cool Frank Sinatra vibe. Other traditional options include a white dinner jacket as opposed to the usual black tux, or a white dicky bow – and while we’re on the subject of white and black, yes, I suppose you could go for spats for a 1950s gangster look; but be wary it takes a manly man to pull off this look confidently, together with an understanding girlfriend. Traditionally, a majority of men at Trinity Ball do go for the black patent formal shoe, but at another formal I have seen a very trendy guy wear (brand-new or pristine) black converse with an otherwise traditional tux. Perhaps this wouldn’t meet the dress code for Trinity Ball or other formal occasions, but it definitely made this man stand out from the crowd. Other options might include a black shirt instead of the traditional white – and let’s be honest, black shirts are up there on the list of hottest things a man can wear – you will however be penalized if you team a black shirt with white/metallic/red; basically anything other than black waistcoat – it just screams chav trying too hard. On that note, jewelry of any description on men is luckily a trend that has not yet caught on at Trinity – let’s keep it that way, shall we? If you don’t fancy playing it cool, there’s always the choice to go very formal, and you can add an overcoat, tails, a top hat, a cane, gloves, hell, even a monocle to your traditional tux – or be just a little bit different and pick one as a conversation-starter. BallGuide|09
If there’s one thing guaranteed to get a girl talking to you, it’s asking her opinion on your clothes/ accessories. My own opinion is that there is really only two things you can’t deviate from at Trinity Ball, and that’s black trousers and black socks, and that one thing that will really make your outfit, something that guys generally don’t pay enough attention to, and that women always notice. Always. Your hair. Start thinking now, boys. If you go for that slightly long (anywhere from 1-2 and 1/2 inches) sexy-messy-spikey-unstyled look, in general, we approve. If you don’t go for this, you might want to consider it, it’s a winner. Decide now when you need to get it cut to have it right for the Ball, wash it the day of or the day before and on the day, a tiny bit of matte wax should be all that is required. Get a female friend to help – it’ll make a difference. Of course, you might be one of
those men who is suited to shorter hair, or indeed the longer, pony-tail style. With shorter shaved heads, your look is so low maintenance that there’s really nothing I can advise apart, perhaps, to consider growing it… and with longer hair, please ensure it’s well washed and conditioned, and if you need to straighten it, don’t be ashamed – it is already a girlie length, it may as well look good – just give it a bit of a ruffle so as not to be mistaken for a girl from the back. And if you are one of those guys who has bought into the incomprehensible trend of dying your hair blonde – I’m not even going to ask why, but I guarantee it looked better before; please return it to your original colour. It may surprise you guys to learn that apart from hair and the tux, women might actually pay attention to your face – and while there’s not quite enough time before Trinity Ball to invest in reconstructive surgery, there is at least plenty of time to make sure your face is strokeably soft. Check out any chemist where some of you will be shocked to find a number of ranges of men products, from Boots’ in-house brand, to Clinique for men, to L’Oreal for men (whose ‘turbo gel’ is much more manly than regular moisturizer). If you’re a product virgin, start with the basics of an exfoliating facewash and a moisturizer – making your skin clearer and smoother, and making shaving easier. If you are one of those confident metro-sexuals, you needn’t even go all the way towards make-up for men (yes, it is available!) because No7 for Men Gradual Tan will subtly make a great difference – an understated approach, perfect to set off a handsome tux.
How to tie a bo
ow ti e
Clutch bag essentials Ailbhe McNeela remembers those crucial items so you don’t have to Bobby Pins Fantastic for keeping your £70 Peter Mark up do together, or adding to the nest at the back of your head that mammy helped you with! This simple invention can hold dresses together and make you a new friend in the queue for the ladies. “Anyone got one of those brown clip yokes?” Yes! If the only thing you end with at the end of the night is one of these nifty gadgets, then fear not. It may come in handy when trying to pick the lock to your gaff at 5am...though I wouldn’t count on it. Brown Eyeshadow Lickity spit and you have some eye liner! And I'm not being funny this time. Simply wet the tip of your brush and dip into the eyeshadow. This will intensify the pigment and make your eyes dark and smokey, without the goth effect. You can also use this on your eyebrows to highlight your features and obviously as actual eyeshadow. One should never be without it!
Success! (Now stop poncing in front of the mirror and get to the Ball)
Baby Wipes Never leave the house without them, no matter what the occasion is. When the night starts to get messy you can almost guarantee that somebody will spill their drink on you, and good luck if it’s sugary! This will stain badly, but rubbing a wipe over it should remove most of it. They are handy for toilets in festivals or concerts. Finally, although they may dry up over night if you are taking
them individually, a spritz of water will rejuvenate them. Then you can take last night’s make up off with greater ease and begin your walk of shame will a little more dignity. Labello Before I go any further, I have to say do not substitute with Vaseline. It’s far too greasy for your princess paws to use on a night with a fancy dress. The stains never come out and your dry cleaner won’t thank you. Labello however is more waxy. Use to soften lips, to tame eyebrows by dabbing some on with your fingers and it’s actually a great base for your eye make up as it grips on to it.
Sober ball Upfront
ave you ever been sober in a pub when all your friends are drunk as skunks, or you get to a party late and it’s already reached fever pitch? Being sober at the ball is kinda like that-. Times a thousand. You try to convince yourself that you can have fun without being drunk, that you’ll just dance and have a great time anyways- and it works for a bit. But then the night drags on (it is an all night rave, after all) and the drunks and happy people start to grate on you. People are falling all over the place and stepping on your toes, your blitzed friends want to have really intense conversations about nothing at all, and strange people keep coming up to you and petting your dress, “because it’s just so shiny!” This is great craic when you’re in the same position; it’s a little unsettling otherwise. Events conspired to keep me sober at last year’s Ball. I just didn’t have the time to get my act together and get to a pre-party, and I also tend to lose steam after about 2 a.m. if I’m drunk, so I thought it might be better to abstain. As for the alternative – drugs, duh-let’s just say I decided against it. Though I was somewhat mislead by the term “ball” in my first year (I thought “ball” meant a classy evening), by my second time around, I had no excuses. I knew exactly what the Ball would be like, and I went sober anyways. And I’ll tell you, with my vision so clear and my mind so sharp, I ended up seeing some crazy shit. The best example of this is the couple I saw having sex next to the dance tent. Not so unusual, you might say. That is standard fare- but things got decidedly kinky when a random
guy walked up to the side of the tent, oblivious to the young loving couple, unzipped his pants, peed on them, then zipped up and walked away . What’s more shocking is that the couple didn’t really notice, or at least it wasn’t enough to kill the mood. More shocking still is that the group of people I was sitting with didn’t notice. They were too busy rolling around in the grass. Have you ever been sober in a pub when all your friends are drunk as skunks, or you get to a party late and it’s already reached fever pitch? Being sober at the ball is kinda like that- times a thousand. You try to convince yourself that you can have fun without being drunk, that you’ll just dance and have a great time anyways- and it works for a bit. But then the night drags on (it is an all night rave, after all) and the drunks and happy people start to grate on you. People are falling all over the place and stepping on your toes, your blitzed friends want to have really intense conversations about nothing at all, and strange people keep coming up to you and petting your dress, “because it’s just so shiny!” This is great craic when you’re in the same position; it’s a little unsettling otherwise. You’re also forced to see with alarming clarity the effects of drugs and drink on people’s appearance, like when they turn on the lights in the club and you’re confronted with all the sweaty people and run for the exit wondering what you look like. Except you’re consoled by the knowledge that you haven’t managed to chew your lips into a state, or get grass stains all over your expensive dress. A word to the ladies
Believe it or not, it is possible to go to the Ball and not get properly wrecked - Kasia Mychajlowicz gave to give it a go last year and lived to tell the tale from someone who wasn’t wearing beer goggles; ditch the heels. You can’t walk in them at the best of times. And the fake tan, while we’re at it (I’m just saying). On a more serious note, the reality at the Ball is that you will lose track of your friends, and probably your phone, wallet, and dignity. And it’s surprising how many of your fellow Trinity students you just don’t recognize (who are all those people? Must be from the Hamilton). So there’s always the possibility of running into some unsavoury types, and you don’t want to be too out of your mind to get out of their intact. This is certainly more of an issue with the women attending the Ball. When walking home from the Ball last year, I saw a guy and girl, obviously wearing their Ball gear, arguing by the entrance to an underground car park. The man was trying to coax the woman into the car park, pulling her arm, while she was trying to laugh it off. As I passed them and rounded the corner, I though better of it and turned around and came back. They were gone, not in the car park as far I can tell, and I hope they both just wandered on home on good terms, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. According to the minutes of a College committee at the beginning of this year, last year’s Ball was the first that lead to zero hospitalizations in ten years- a miracle considering what I saw, so good for us! But we still need BallGuide|09
to watch out for each other, and make sure that those who should just get in a cab and call it a day do, even if it means lending a hand to someone you don’t know very well. There are a few things to be said for staying sober at the Ball, other than looking on with smug horror at the debauchery. You’ll remember the night you spent a hundred euro on, you will probably last longer if you don’t drink, it is safer, and you can continue with your life the next day after a good liein. The only problem is, where’s the fun in that if all your friends are spending the day drinking in bed? This year, I don’t think I’ll go quite as composed as last year. I had a good time, dancing and talking to friends, but I think I let the idea of the “Ball” get to me again. I’ve been overthinking this, spending too much time getting ready with a nice dress and make-up instead of slapping something on and running into the night with friends, getting hyped up and treating it more like any other night, just bigger and crazier. I’ll just make sure to keep a tenner in a safe place to get home. Too much of the time people end up disappointed about the Ball because of the expectations of it being a “special” night in all the wrong ways; if you want one of those, go for a fancy meal with your friends or significant other and get dressed up for it, and that way someone will appreciate it. And if you don’t normally drink, don’t feel pressured to overdo it, as that leads to disappointment just as easily. Because at the end of the day, the Ball really is a rave, an ecstatic (pardon the pun) celebration of being young enough to stay up all night dancing, and recover in time for Monday’s 9 a.m. The weekend’s a write-off, take it and enjoy it, however it is you do that. Just wear some sensible shoes.
n the face of it, things could be perfect. The biggest private party in Europe, in (hopefully) beautiful May weather, with everyone you know dolled up in their finest evening wear and you, arm in arm with that special someone, taking in the 2009 Trinity Ball like whichever combination of prince and princess you prefer. Just don’t bet on it. The Ball may be many things, but it is definitely not the best venue for you to fulfil the idealised romantic daydreams that may come to mind while frequenting Blacktie. In fact, the chances of you and your partner surviving the night without some misunderstanding or argument are altogether pretty slim. First of all, this is no “Ball.” Other than the presence of tuxedos and heels, the Trinity Ball has more in common with a music festival than your average Debs, Prom or
Formal. With a multitude of stages playing many different acts all night long, its time to face the fact that you and your special friend do not have exactly the same taste in music. Do the sensible thing: split up, and go see what you want to see. Because the one thing worse than being the person resentful of any compromise is being the poor bastard stuck beside them, wondering exactly how and when this will come back to haunt them. And if you do split up, or have been at different pre-ball parties all night, make sure it stays that way. There is more chance of you getting it on with Ladyhawke than of you and your squeeze being in the same state by the time you rendezvous. Either you’ll take umbrage at this party pooper who simply doesn’t understand your need, barriers be damned, to simulate sex with that big gold ball outside the Berkeley, or, worse still, you’ll find yourself surprisingly sober after being faced with the prospect of getting a bleary-eyed
Patrick Gray wonders if it is wise to expect romance to survive the longest night of the year mess home safely. Who knows what you’ll have to say to get through to them, and if you do manage to burst their drunken bubble, what you say may cause one hell of a bust-up, depending on how it is translated through all that Dutch Gold. The real problem with the Ball is that it makes the perils of college relationships all too evident, simply by demonstrating how much fun you could be having as a carefree singleton. While you’re knee-deep in drama, your friends are bopping it out with that cutey you chatted up once, or are off committing acts of inspired stupidity that become great stories in years to come. Why should your abiding memory of the night be someone who, let’s face it, probably won’t be your date this time next year? So take a night off from your commitments, bid farewell to each other at front arch, and go have the time of your lives. And if it is possible to make it back to the same bed without having to carry the other occupant there, there’s no harm done: whoever gets in first can put the kettle on.
Photography tips By Martin McKenna
ast year in these pages I went through a few tips for would-be paps on the night of the Ball. Deliberately they focused (no pun intended) on compact cameras which honestly fit pretty handily in a tuxedo pocket or a clutch bag. However,
Second, arrange a time to meet him, since mobile phones are always rendered useless by reception and noise issues on the night. Trust me on this one. This, handily, gives you our third tip: set aside maybe quarter of an hour when you first arrive to the Ball for photos. This way you’ll be able to concentrate on getting great shots in the knowledge that you can party down later. So keep track of y our friends, hit the stage, and unzip your camera bag. An external, shoe-mount flash is a great tool at the Ball. You can just mount it on top of your camera for great results, but don’t use it for vertical, portrait shots: when the light source comes from the left of the lens axis instead of above it, you’ll get an unsightly shadow on the side of the nose. An accessory called the Orbis Ring Flash adapter is a fantastic, if pricey tool. It channels your on-camera shoe-mount flash light into a plastic ring around your lens, very closely mirroring the results of a standard ring flash. Ring flashes are often used by fashion photographers and give an instantly recognisable look. Standard ring flashes, though, are very heavy and require mains power, so the Orbis is a neat cheat. Another way to get creative with your flash is to “gel” it. Confusingly, a gel is simply a piece of coloured acetate. (You can buy packs online for not much money). Tape a green (or a couple of greens) across the face of your
since then, the number of SLR cameras sold has rocketed. This is due to them getting smaller, cheaper, and easier to use. If you don’t know what an SLR camera is, you’ve almost certainly seen one before: they’re the big black ones that pros lug around. Bringing an SLR and a couple of accessories Like we to the Ball is doable and can be quite rewarding said though, nowadays as long as you plan ahead they’re really very portable. Bringing an SLR and a couple of flash. Then at home, do a custom white balance accessories to the Ball is very doable and can be (your camera’s manual will explain that). This quite rewarding – as long as you plan ahead. will compensate for the green light by adding The first order of business will be how to get purple to your photos, so the parts illuminated rid of your camera. You’re going to have to arby the flash (that’ll be your friends) will be range to meet someone who’s living or staying neutral while the ambient light, unaffected by on campus on the night – and who is, further, the green flash, will turn out a euphoric purple. actually inside the Ball area, so Jimmy in Pearse Experiment with other colours and white balSt. is no use. ance settings before you head out. BallGuide|09
“Eating is cheating”.
By Martin McKenna
ating is cheating”. Tosh. The combination of food and drink brings each to new heights and makes the variety available to the gourmand enormous. The annual Ball is as good an opportunity as any to indulge in some of the nicer things in life. And since you’re going to all the trouble of a tuxedo and whatnot, you might as well milk the Ball for all it’s got. Here, I’ll guide you all the way from pre-Ball libations to morning-after hair of the dog. Since the Ball itself is invariably pretty messy, let’s start before hand. You can have some of the most fun of the night before you enter Trinity. Let’s face it, everyone’s dressed up, your feet haven’t started bleeding yet and your make-up is still where you put it. What better occasion for a little luxury? Start with caviare. Caviare is the roe, or eggs, of the sturgeon fish. Don’t be confused with the roe of other fish, even if it’s called caviare. It’s easy to spot the difference: sturgeon is tens or hundreds of times more expen-
sive than roe from fish such as bleak, lumpfish and salmon. There are three kinds of sturgeon, and consequently caviare: beluga, sevruga and osetra. All are fantastically expensive and vary in flavour. Karen MacNeil, writing in the Wine Bible, chooses osetra “high-quality, subtly flavoured, very fresh” - with “a rather full-bodied Champagne” such as Krug or Louis Roederer. The flavour of caviare is one of an extraordinarily rich saltiness. The eggs are surprisingly moreish which is a delicious contrast to their cold, wet texture. It is an experience well worth taking if the opportunity arises. A wine bar called Oleysa’s on Exchequer St will provide you with 30g of sevruga (that’s half a Mars bar) from the Caspian Sea for €135 or 30g of beluga for €189, and no, those prices aren’t meant to have a decimal point in them anywhere. An aperitif is certainly a pre-Ball necessity as well. There are a couple of good options for cocktails in Dublin, but the savvy drinker has to exercise some intelligence in choosing what to drink when. A Sidecar is a nice hybrid that allegedly came about when a
customer (arriving on his motorcycle) wanted something to warm him up that would nonetheless suffice as an aperitif. The resourceful barman mixed brandy, Cointreau (that’s orange liquer) and lemon juice and the result is wonderful. Award-winning Venu on Anne’s Lane do probably the best cocktails in Dublin for about a tenner. The Mint Bar in the Westin Hotel also do really tasty cocktails, but they’re a couple of euro more and the decor down there in the basement isn’t quite as opulent as the drinks. If you’re starting earlier, Ukiyo on Exchequer Street run a Happy Hour from 5 till 8 with €5 cocktails (that’s half price). They’re a bit more populist than Venu and the Mint Bar, and God help you if the main barman isn’t there, but you can hit some decent value for money there nonetheless. Once you get mired in the Ball
Upfront itself, your options are tragically limited. Better to embrace the plastic pints than moan about the Coors. If you can tell the difference between two lagers at the Trinity Ball, you’re doing something wrong. Once the hunger pangs start looming, the siren call of the Abrakebabra truck may prove too much. Your correspondant admits a certain weakness for garlic cheese fries. I could tell you that Abrakebabra’s garlic sauce packs a satisfyingly garlicky punch, more so than Eddie Rockets’ insipid version, and that the mild sweetness of the melted cheese contrasts well with the sharpness of the sauce, but that would be ridiculous, because garlic cheese fries are a wretched concoction that I regret with the same certainty as my continuing purchase of them on nights out. Once you get home, it is only proper really to round off the evening with a digestif. Whisk(e)y is the easy option but nothing beats cognac. Golden, toasty, with the unmistakable almost soapy mouthfeel (the industry’s silly new word for texture) of a highalcohol content spirit (40%). Swallow it wrong and it’ll incinerate your throat; let it slip down and it’ll warm your insides like nothing else. You can pay as much as you like for cognac; so much so that Busta Rhymes and Diddy enjoined you to “Pass the Courvoisier” on the 2001 album “Genesis”. With apologies to Busta Rhymes, a better option is Cognac Park. Dominic Park is a Scotsman with a refreshingly direct sense of purpose. His cognacs are simply packaged and you definitely won’t see them appearing in a Busta Rhymes video. The mid-range XO is the best value for money at €70 in Celtic Whiskey on Dawson Street. Use your powers of reasoning to serve the cognac correctly; not in a balloon snifter, but a slender tapering Riesling glass. Park himself says, “The balloon glass naturally gives a large surface area to the drink with the result that you have too much alcohol coming off. Too much just deadens the nose and you can’t smell anything for a while. A shame when Cognac is more than anything a drink to be experienced on the nose. Swirling in a big glass exacerbates the phenomenon. It BallGuide|09
is also a very natural habit of balloon glass users to cup the bowl of the glass in a warm hand, again encouraging even more alcohol evaporation.” For all these suggestions, offered with the best of intentions, we nonetheless recommend readers recall what Jean BrillatSavarin, perhaps the most famous gourmand, wrote in “Physiologie du goût” in 1825: “Gourmandise orders with discernment, supervises with wisdom, savours with enthusiasm, judges with profundity. Gourmandise is the enemy of excess; every man who gives himself indigestion or gets drunk runs the risk of no longer being a true gourmand.” Lest readers fear they may have thus offended Brillat-Savarin at the Ball the previous night, and in the interests of completeness, we offer for your delectation a morningafter hair of the dog concoction from Nigella Lawson, the Prairie Oyster: Put an egg yolk in a martini glass. Mix together brandy, a few drops malt vinegar, a couple of dashes of tabasco, a few drops Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper and pour over the egg yolk. Down in one. You may even find the brandy pre-loaded in a glass
from the previous night if you followed our instructions • Below left: The traditional, if inadequate, balloon snifter. Below right: Dominic Park’s preferred Riesling glass. Above: Black gold, sturgeon caviare.
Across the pond They may be smarter, richer, better dressed and better smelling than us, but surely at least we can party better than the Oxbridge set? Right? Wrong, says Alex Dowdall
e often pride ourselves on hosting the biggest private party in the world, but does bigger always mean better? In my book yes, bigger IS always better, but not according to Time magazine, who consider the St. John’s College, Cambridge May Ball to be the 7th best party in the world. The Oxbridge balls tend to be small affairs, with most of the university colleges having their own separate balls. Sizes range from 900-1500 people. The emphasis is certainly different from the Trinity Ball. While we’re content to go down the traditional country wedding route, with a few bands playing in a manky marquee while we get steadily drunker and start dancing like that stupid looking uncle/aunt that we swore we’d never become, Oxford and Cambridge tend to be a bit classier. The standard of acts that they draw ranks similarly to our own (except for in 1967 when Christ’s College, Cambridge had The Who and Trinity Hall had Cream. Bastards…..) Last year Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge had Supergrass and British Sea Power, St. John’s had Dizzee Rascal while Trinity Hall not only stole our name but also one of our acts, Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip. But its not just about the bands. The regular indie croonsters compete with dance and jazz acts, while the magicians compete with the hypnotists, and everybody competes with the fireworks displaythat takes place at the beginning of the night.
If you’re lucky enough to attend one of these balls when organisers are feeling particularly ambitious and extravagant you can, for an extra fee, be flown to Paris for breakfast. Partial as I am to my annual post-ball wedge roll in Spar on Nassau Street, I think I could possibly settle for one in Paris this year. Each ball has its own theme, usually something that provides a lot of scope for showing off, and a lot of employment for out of work theatre set designers. Themes vary from the self-explanatory ‘Explorers of the World’ for this year’s St John’s College Ball, to the slightly vague and trippy ‘Fusion’ of Trinity Hall. Either way you’re likely to encounter fair BallGuide|09
ground rides, ferris wheels, Helter Skelters and a whole host of fantastical and exotic paraphernalia – from desert tents to buried treasure. You’ll also get lots of food, and booze. Once again, while we are content with the humble chip van and the pint of watereddown piss, the Oxbridge Colleges serve ostrich burgers, chicken fajitas and lots of champagne. And, if you’re feeling extra-opulent, you can opt for the three course dinner. Here’s a sample from Gonville and Caius College to tide you over while you decide whether you want ketchup or mustard on your hotdog: Char-grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad New England Clam Chowder — Porterhouse Blue Steak Texas Home Fried Potatoes Caramelized Baby Corn Roasted Peppers and Red Onions — Key Lime Pie Coffee and Fudge Hokey Pokey This all does, of course, come at a price. Prices usually start from €100 per ticket, with an extra €50-60 for all the food and booze that you’re going to consume. On top of this, if you’re lucky enough to go a year when the organisers are feeling extra ambitious and extravagant you can, for an extra fee, be flown to Paris for breakfast. Partial as I am to my annual post-ball wedge roll in Spar on Nassau Street, I could settle for one in Paris this year… The balls are also fully organised by students, and most of the profits that are made are donated to charities (not money grabbing concert promoters). But, alas, inevitably these affairs are bound to get rowdy. After the Corpus Christie College, Oxford Ball in 2004 a man was fined £10,000 for causing grievous bodily harm to a student. The man punched the student in the head 6 times before being restrained by other ball-goers. The court was told that the brawl followed a ‘heated philosophical debate’ that the pair had had. I, for one, feel that we can learn a lot from the example of the Oxbridge Balls, but hopefully not too much. If, this year, anyone sees somebody standing at one of the chip vans at 2 a.m., demanding an ostrich burger for his upcoming flight to Paris while incoherently ranting about Nietzsche, its probably me. I’ll have had too much to drink, so please hit me.
Trinity Publications invites applications for the
Publications Bursary 2009/10 The purpose of the Bursary, which comprises rooms on campus for the academic year 2009/10, is to recognise student contribution to Trinity Publications and Student Publishing in Trinity College. The receiver of the bursary will have made an outstanding contribution to the Publications Committee and Student Publishing in the past year.
To obtain a bursary application form email the Secretary, Luke, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm on Monday the 6th April 2009 Applicants will also have to attend an interview with the Bursary Selection Committee on Thursday the 9th April
Any fully registered student may apply for this award, which comprises rooms on campus for the academic year 2009/10 A copy of the Criteria for Bursary document can be obtained by contacting the Secretary, Luke, at email@example.com
The Script Calvin Harris Vitalic Ladyhawke Fight Like Apes The Glimmers Vicarious Bliss Rob Da Bank Ebony Bones Dan le Sac Streetlife DJs Brodinski
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The Script By Lisa McGarrigle
The Script | Backstage n their whirlwind dash to the top of the charts, The Script have accrued both adulation and contempt in seemingly equal measures. The Dublin trio, whose recent accolades have included two Meteor awards, a number one multiplatinum selling album, and even a nomination for the Choice Music Prize, are certainly experts at captivating their target market, even if they have managed to ruffle some muso feathers along the way. The Script’s frighteningly commercial blend of catchy pop melodies, R&B, and overly-sentimental lyrics has plucked at the heart strings of teenage girls the world over, the result of which
has been phenomenal chart success. Their apparent meteoric rise to fame however, is the by-product of years of struggle and hard work to establish a firm foothold in the music industry. Lead singer Danny O’Donoghue (25) and guitarist Mark Sheehan (27) met as teenagers and began writing songs together. Both had dropped out of school to dedicate more time to the pursuit of their musical aspirations, and it wasn’t long before they were spotted by U2 manager Paul McGuinness who instantly recognised their boyband potential. O’Donoghue and Sheehan, along with two other teenagers, joined the caste of Irish boybands before them and went on to form My Town. They were whisked off to the US to make a record, their boyhood dreams of stardom in tow. Alas, it was not to be. Their attempt
at heartfelt whinging and prancing around stage in matching attire was deemed “too pop” for the States. Considering that the US can be held responsible for the Backstreet Boys and ’N Sync, that’s really saying something. But this didn’t mark the end for the intrepid popsters. Making the best of a bad situation, O’Donoghue and Sheehan decided to stay on in the US where they were lucky enough to encounter a pre-N.E.R.D Pharrell Williams and gain some valuable studio experience in music production. When a close friend of theirs, drummer Glen Power, came over to LA for a holiday, an impromptu jam session set the wheels of The Script’s bandwagon in motion. And the rest, as they say, is history. Since the release of their debut single We Cry success for The Script has snowballed. Their radio-friendly tunes soared to the top of the charts
Backstage | The Script in both Ireland and the UK, and their eponymous debut album went multiplatinum. They are currently attempting to conquer the US, and with record label giant Sony behind them it looks as though victory is theirs for the taking. While The Script undeniably have a large and dedicated fanbase they have been equally successful at getting under the skin of muso’s and alt-rock fans, particularly this side of the Irish Sea. Indeed, the Irish have a reputation as a nation of begrudgers, but to say that the level of vitriol directed at The Script is just a petty backlash over their phenomenal chart success is somewhat farcical. To be absolutely fair The Script are the subject of ridicule because they appear to take themselves far too seriously. Comparing themselves to David Bowie for starters probably wasn’t the smartest move. Their website
describes the trio as “a whole new brand of Celtic Soul... whose music boasts the kind of artful twists sure to turn all preconceptions on their head”. In other words, they’re Irish but sound like they’re American. The description of lead singer Danny O’Donoghue as a “raven haired, handsome, sensitive keyboard player with the vocal flexibility and technical range of an American soul legend” really takes the biscuit. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more cringeworthy, Sheehan goes and spouts this little anecdote to a journalist: “I received a message from a guy the other day, an army man - he’d just been in Iraq. He wanted me to send him the lyrics to one of our songs. His wife had cheated on him with another dude, a drug dealer he said, and there was something in the song that he could relate to.” It’s at this point that O’Donoghue interrupts
with: “When you hear something like that, it gets you here,” he says sincerely while gesturing to his heart. “Right here.” It all really came off with the Choice Music Prize nomination. To think that Ireland’s answer to the Mercury Prize could shortlist a mainstream outfit as unapologetically cheesy as The Script was simply ludicrous. David Reid, who runs the Choice Music Awards along with Irish Times journalist Jim Carroll, staunchly defended their inclusion on the grounds that it was a well written and produced album and music genre was not criterion for consideration. Their R&B-influenced sound and boyish, non-threatening good looks make for a record company’s dream and regardless of their critics the trio look set to dominate the charts for a long time to come. Love them or hate them, The Script are here to stay.
Start here: The Script (album) RCA, 2008
The eponymously titled debut album from Dublin trio The Script became an overnight sensation upon its release in August 2008. Entering the Irish charts at number one, the album held onto the top spot for five weeks before going multiplatinum. Similar success was seen in the UK with the album staying in the top ten for eight consecutive weeks and being named as the twelfth bestselling album of 2008. Preludes to the album, the singles We Cry and The Man who Can’t Be Moved, succeeded in dominating the airwaves with big, radio-friendly choruses and catchy melodies that proved instant pop hits. While The Script’s official biography describes the band’s sound as “U2 meets Timbaland”, a more obvious comparison would be to American pop outfit Maroon 5. The R&B influenced sound stems from lead singer Danny O’Donoghue’s and guitarist Mark Sheehan’s apprenticeship in LA, where they learned their trade from some of today’s top R&B producers, including Pharrell Williams. The Script is almost entirely self-written and produced by the trio who pride themselves on their ability to tell stories through their songs. While the album may be interspersed with several cringe-inducing lyrics, it has succeeded in propelling the band to international stardom and a level of critical acclaim in the form of two Meteor Awards (best band and best album), and a nomination for Ireland’s coveted Choice Music Prize.
disco Calvin Harris By Dominique English
With an impressive music career behind him including collaborations with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Groove Armada, the only-twenty-something Calvin Harris truly belongs to the new, digital generation of musicians. But just who is this man who has been chosen as one of the main acts for our very own, notoriously entertaining ball night? Unravelling the enigma that is this Scottish funky-futuristic-electro-pop-disco artist, producer, singer and songwriter
Calvin Harris | Backstage who both manages to successfully music scene. After enjoying a stint full and, at a time overplayed, life in incorporate all of these terms in one as a minor celebrity amongst those clubs everywhere. It continues to be person and fully justifies them all, is in the know he attempted to move to a success, not simply in the electro certainly a bit of a mission. Like all London, which soon became unfeascene but spanning a whole range of good humoured artists though he sible given that he couldn’t find a job. tastes for its garish, slapstick quality. seems to take the whole music success After packing up and moving back Harris, while maintaining a successful thing as, well, “I’m just having a laugh”, home he juggled his music with his reputation as a successful pop artist really (in his own words). And who skills as “Marks & Spencer champion has a flare for the shamelessly tacky could blame him? shelf stacker two years running” while and ironically kitch. He prefers bright Born in the small and seemingly recording his first album, “I Created clashing colours to simple black and uneventful village of Dunfries in ScotDisco”, for release on MySpace. When white and is generally caught with land, Calvin Harris began recording asked about this, he simply explained, some manner of clothing that would music in his bedroom at the tender age “my mate’s band joined and I wanted hurt your eyes if it caught the sun. of just 15 to liven the place up. On the to have a With such a cheeky approach to music, advice of his older brother he took in appearance and life in general he an old Amiga (a type of comcaught the attention of a number of puter, for those of you not other artists and toured his first in the know) and began album by supporting Faithless experimenting to find “I Created Disco” and Groove Armada. the funkiest noises Columbia, 2007 To his bewilderment, he could. From Calvin Harris became this early start, caught up in a UK The only Album that Calvin Harris has released to date, “I Created it seems that media storm when Disco” is full of catchy numbers that are most of them familiar from finding fun and asked to collaborate dance floors everywhere over the past couple of years. The first Single playful tunes with Kylie Minogue, released was “Vegas” that sets a nice and upbeat mood while the two runhas been his which naturally he away successes, “Acceptable in the 80s” and “The Girls” are great to dance great ambifelt he could not to at any occasion. The album as a whole is great to listen to if you want a boost tion, though refuse. He co-wrote or to psych yourself up before a night out, but is still not so overwhelming to at the lowest and produced the stop you enjoying it in your own time as well. While I liked the more obvious possible price. two songs “In My singles (including the three mentioned), each song is as enjoyable individually, The rumour Arms” and Heart and even if you don’t like them at first you’ll find them sticking in your head goes that Beat Rock” on her whether you like it or not. Particularly the song “Merrymaking At My Place”, the last piece album “X” after being which was released as a single to less success was a fun and simple song of equipment spotted by her record with a simple theme: having fun with mates. Yet, the album is typically he bought was producer. When asked, electro in that it is fun to hear in small doses but could easily be a voice recorder he said that working overplayed, so best not to have it left on repeat. If you have several years ago for with her was “surreal, but access to YouTube then watching Calvin Harris videos is the reasonable price of fun” although he admitted a good way to introduce yourself if you aren’t too just 200 pounds, reduced to Mixmag in 2007 to “needfamiliar with his music. in sale of course, which has ing a few drinks before meeting since been his staple sound. By her”. He was credited as the producer keeping his equipment reasonably in a remixed version of The Mitchell sparse his music, while being upbeat race Brothers’ song “Michael Jackson” and poppy, deliberately avoids the with him to see who could get 1000 and is working on producing and cocake on cake effect that a lot of electro/ friends first” (which he also admitted writing songs for Sophie Ellis-Bextor. disco music can have. The effect is a as one of his most shameful competiIn 2008 Harris worked with the rapper sound that is fun to dance to, as intions ever), a race which his mate won. Dizzee Rascal on his song “Dance Wiv tended, but not so overpowering that Despite this comparative failure, he Me”, appearing on the video for the you couldn’t enjoy it in the comfort was soon spotted and became one of single and doing an acoustic set with of your own earphones – and perfect the MySpace success stories, along Dizzee for Glastonbury which, when when remixed by a good DJ. with the likes of The Arctic Monkeys. released digitally, went to number 1 in From this early start, Harris’ sound His first album was released on the UK charts. With such a string of developed fast and at the age of 21 he June 29th, 2007 and became a hit with collaborations behind his belt, Calvin had two singles out, “Brighter Days” two top ten singles in the UK charts, Harris’ fame seems to come both from and “Da Bongo”, neither reaching “The Girls” and “I Created Disco”, the his own music and his work with othparticular heights of fame but at least latter staying in the charts for a full fifers, choosing a Mark Ronson style of bringing him into the underground teen weeks and enjoying an extremely music producing by incorporating his
Backstage | Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris | Backstage
“It’s not music for stupid
people”, he says
Backstage | Calvin Harris own sounds into the live music of others. Because of this he will often perform with a band, because “it’s more interesting for the people watching rather than me behind some decks.” However, while being in the company of a number of celebrities and moving his way up through the music circles, Calvin Harris is seen by many as one of the most level headed pop musicians of the time. His attitude is down to earth and relaxed and his music there to enjoy, or as he tells us “my tunes aren’t supposed to invoke deep thought within people; they’re just supposed to get you dancing”, but still “it’s not music for stupid people”. When, largely to his surprise, “Acceptable In The 80s” came out as a major success he was “very happy, I would say almost ecstatic” and continued to promote his colourful brand of enjoyable music from behind the comfort of his trademark fly-eyed sunglasses; for instructions on how to make our own look up “Calvin Harris – Make Your Own Fly Eyes” on YouTube. As one of the most interesting acts of the moment, performing to sold out venues across the UK and Ireland, Calvin Harris is definitely a must-see. He is one of those popular success stories in the music world who continue to keep changing and remaking themselves, or as his album title sarcastically claims, “I Created Disco”. With another album due for release soon, it is highly likely that we will be hearing some of his newer songs, such as the catchy and stylistically quite different single “I’m Not Alone” which was performed in Sydney last New Year’s Eve. His act will certainly provide us with a good deal of fun times at this year’s ball. BallGuide|09
amenting from Front Square. Ranting in the Artâ€™s Block. Anger, annoyance and disappointment floating through the college air. A flurry of last minute ticket selling. An absence of numerous dejected students on the biggest night of the Trinity Year. Such were some of the events of the 9th of May 2008, the very day of the Trinity Ball when the flurry of circulating rumours were confirmed. Vitalic was not coming. No excuse, no reason. A hastily organised silent disco was scheduled in his spot and Trinity students and guests alike were left to deal with the absence of one of the yearâ€™s
Vitalic By Caroline Oâ€™Leary
Vitalic | Backstage
most anticipated headline acts. The cancellation of the acclaimed French DJ was a heavy blow to organisers and guests alike. In the past few years the Dance Tent has been established as the place to be at the Trinity Ball, filled to the brim with beautiful, happy dance heads, eschewing the much promoted headline acts to spend their night grooving along to the stream of DJs who spin their wares till the wee hours of the morning. Though traditionally every year the main excitement and anticipation is focused on the announcement of the headline acts, for many it is the later announcement of the Dance tent DJ’s that is as important, if not more, for gauging how good a night they will have. Case in point the excitement at Vitalic’s inclusion last year and Calvin Harris’s impending show. Yet fear not! Those that worship
at the alter of the turntable will have your day. Vitalic is back again this year and, fingers crossed, will finally treat the student of Trinity College to his unique blend of electro, techno and house tunes. Vitalic, or Pascal Arbez as he is known to his friends, has been a fixture on the European underground club circuit since the late 1990’s under the name Dima, releasing his first 12” in 1996 on his own record label Citizen Records. Born in 1976, Arbez played the trombone in his youth before an encounter with fellow French electronic music legends Daft Punk inspired him to turn his creativity to the synthesized melodies of dance music. The continuing influence of Daft Punk, as well as Giorgio Moroder, Air and others, is evident in much of his work. Yet the influence of Arbez’s classical training has remained, with elements of classical, rock, Italo-disco, and ‘70s
Backstage | Vitalic
electronic music running throughout many of his releases to date. On his website Arbez particularly stated that all the instruments used in debut album “OK Cowboy” are synthesized “the only thing he can’t fake is the emotion that galvanizes his music.” Arbez associated with such luminaries of the dance world as Michel Amato, aka The Hacker, and regularly frequented Laurent Garnier’s “techno temple” the Rex. At the suggestion of The Hacker in 2000, Arbez sent his new tracks to DJ Hell, head of Gigolo records in Munich. On the 2001 release of his first EP “Poney”, Arbez changed his moniker from Dima (and the less frequently used Hustler Pornstar) to Vitalic, indicating his shift in direction and style, challenging other acts at the time with his louder, fast, go, go, go beats. “Poney” became a huge success, with the three tracks regularly featuring on the playlists of Dj’s as diverse as Aphex Twin, Princess Superstar and 2 Many DJ’s. The track “La Rock 01” particularly became a summer club anthem, providing a theme song for the trans-European culture that wanted to get away from vanilla Indy-Rock and the far too squeaky clean studio beats on offer. The track was featured and remixed in a countless compilation albums and defied the usual curse of dance music by holding it’s own and remaining
popular today. Arbez spent the next few years engineering compilations and remixes including Basement Jaxx’s “Cish Cash” in 2004 and Daft Punk’s “Technologic”, the beloved of technology advertisers, in 2005. His next Vitalic work not heralded until 2004 with the release of“Fanfares” while “My Friend Dario”, considered Vitalic’s poppiest track yet, was released in 2005. The long awaited album “OK Cowboy” was released in late 2005 and collected many of his key singles and tracks including “Poney Part 1”, “Poney Part 2”, “La Rock 01” and “Trahison”. The title referred to Vitalic’s maverick stance and his bizarre preference to live in the country over the city. True to form, his next new works weren’t released until 2007, with mix album “The Sound of Citizen”, included tracks from artists on his Citizen Records roster, and “V Live” later in the year. So now all fingers are crossed and four-leaf clovers are taken out of storage. With a little luck there will be no freak natural disasters, no delayed planes or traffic jams, no impromptu bomb scares in front square. This year we WILL have the heavy, raw beats of Vitalic pounding all over campus, mixing his classic favorites to surprise, delight and thrill all. If not, he may want to think twice about trying it a third time…
Ladyhawke By Keith Grehan
interviewed Ladyhawke, AKA Pip Brown roughly 3 months ago, since then she has been gradually gaining recognition as one of the most influential musicians of the current day, her self titled debut has been counted among the cream of 2008, and a string of gigs booked throughout Europe including a great Dublin show in the Academy, have garnered great
Ladyhawke | Backstage reviews. Ladyhawke is also confirmed to play Oxygen in July as well as our own Trinity Ball. Unapologetically influenced by 80s disco pop, this New Zealand born darling of the British music press has certainly latched onto the current wave of synth pop revivalism but unlike her peers, has distanced herself from the clichés and faux fashion that seems to go hand in hand with it. This, musical irony, and her timid nature make Ladyhawke an instantly likeable character. The use of synth is understated and judicious, not thrown around as a gimmick, the record is reminiscent of The Pet Shop Boys and Blondie in many ways, Blondie is often referenced when Ladyhawke’s persona comes into discussion, for obvious reasons. “When I was younger I used to try and model my guitar playing on Chris Steine, then there’s the inevitable Blondie comparisons. I don’t think I sound much like Debbie Harris though!” Ladyhawke is undoubtedly an enigmatic figure, perhaps something to do with the fact that she comes across as painfully shy, yet this only serves to make her even more likeable. Ladyhawke’s self titled debut, released on Modular Records, quickly became one of the critics favourite albums of 2008, she was awed by the records reception “I really never expected this, I had a fairly small core group of fans that I hoped to build upon but I never thought that it would be this popular. I don’t really pay the press much attention so for a while I didn’t notice the hype that was building up!” She seems genuinely shocked at her rapid ascent to fame. “It’s amazing to see how its all happened so quickly, last year nobody knew who I was! Although the singles have been receiving more and more radio-play as of late I still feel quite underground,” she stated in her recent interview with TN2. Peering out from under a shock of blonde hair, softly spoken in her kiwi lilt and dressed in oversized men’s clothes she’s also become somewhat of a style icon, something she’s quick to refute. “I don’t really read the papers much and I never buy magazines but sometimes friends tell me bout this, I really think it’s quite funny, I’ve no idea why any-
one would view me in that light.” Following a successful tour throughout Europe, Australia and her native New Zealand Ladyhawke is sure to be one of the highlights of the Trinity Ball “I’ve had quite a good fan base in Australia since before I even released my debut, but the response I’ve received in Europe, especially in the UK, has been amazing, its really all taken off as of late. Although the highlight for me was returning home for a gig in Wellington, seeing everyone singing the words of my songs was amazing.” Speaking about her musical style
irony Ladyhawke make
an instantly likeable
and influences Ladyhawke is in no way ashamed of her largely pop influenced style, but with hooks this good why would she be? “I don’t think there’s anything particularly wrong with pop music, it can be cool, or at least there’s ways to make it cool. I wasn’t quite sure how my music would be received but I felt I had to stay loyal to my musical roots.’ After years of playing in Indie rock bands, Teenager being one of her earlier groups, Ladyhawke wanted to make the leap as a solo artist and breathe life into the songs she had penned over the years. Some, such as “Magic”, referencing a female artists response to groupies, can be easily chalked down to experience. Ladyhawke’s mandate is quite clear, to make the music she wants to and not to follow trends or toe the line. “I’d played in bands with guys for years where my ideas weren’t given a chance so its nice to finally be able to do my thing and make music the way I want to.” One of the driving forces behind
Ladyhawke is that she is completely in control of her music; she recorded all of the instruments on her album herself, although she does admit to drafting in fellow musicians for advice and inspiration. Even though she enjoys touring its clear that Ladyhawke would much rather be alone in the studio “I felt that many of my peers were stuck in their specific niche, not that there’s anything wrong with that, some people play to their strengths and do it well. I just didn’t want to do that anymore, I wanted to do something new.” Ladyhawke is getting plenty of attention from fellow musicians. Kylie Minouge has sung her praises in the worldwide music press and somewhat more impressively Courtney Love has spoken on many occasions about her desire to record with Ladyhawke and although she is quick to dismiss the idea, its certainly an impressive accolade, claiming “I’ve never actually spoken to Courtney, she just left messages on my Myspace. Maybe someday we’ll collaborate though! I mean I loved Hole and Nirvana, she’s one of my icons.” A far more realistic prospect however are the recording sessions that Ladyhawke collaborated with fellow artist Peaches at the end of last year. So far there’s no plans for a release yet fans have tracked down these sessions online and they’ve become massively popular “Peaches and I really have a cool chemistry together, we just seemed to click. Those sessions were very comical though, saying that I’d love to try making a proper go of it if she was interested.” Ladyhawke is without a doubt one of the most interesting artists on the scene today, fusing 80s disco beats with Americana styled pop sensibilities, students at the Ball will be hoping to hear some new material along with her recent hits “Back of the Van” and “Paris is Burning”. Ladyhawke has been characteristically coy about the direction her latest work is taking. “The new album will certainly be very different, I’ve a lot of new ideas I want to build upon but I’m not going to say exactly what as I don’t want to tie myself down to one thing.” Fans at the Ball will be hoping she lets some of these secrets slip on May 8th. BallGuide|09
Backstage | Ladyhawke
Start here: Ladyhawke Island, 2008
Pip’s Debut album is a cracking effort; singles released so far have included “Paris is Burning,” “My Delirium” and “Dusk ‘Til Dawn.” Critical reaction has been positive with The Guardian, The Observer and The Sunday Times all awarding the record four star ratings. Ladyhawke is certainly one to watch.
Fight Like Apes | Backstage
Go ap e s 48
Backstage | Fight Like Apes
t i Fight Like Apes By Keith Grehan BallGuide|09
Fight Like Apes | Backstage o no one’s surprise Dublin band Fight Like Apes have been announced for the Trinity Ball, returning to our shores following a particularly successful UK tour. Trinity students will be eager to catch a glimpse of these local heroes who released their debut album “Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion” on Model Citizen Records in September. Following their most successful gig to date at the Academy to promote the album’s release the band played a string of dates around the UK, including the Barfly venues throughout the country, and held support slots with the likes of The Prodigy, Ting Tings and We Are Scientists, steadily building up a UK fan base. Formed in Dublin in 2006, the band consists of May Kay on vocals and synth, Tom on bass, Adrian on drums and Pockets (so named because of his habit of pocketing people’s lighters) on synth. It’s evident that the band have remained modest and firmly rooted to the local music scene despite their recent success both at home and abroad, “None of us have actually been to any UK festivals before so now we’ve done T in The Park, Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, we’ve been crossing them off but we still can’t even believe we got free tickets, it’s been a summer of running past security guards really quickly before they realise that we don’t belong there,” stated the electric front-woman May Kay in a recent interview. Fight like Apes began making waves in the Dublin music scene following the release of their first EP entitled “How Am I Supposed To Kill You If You Have All The Guns?’ which was released in 2007 to critical acclaim. Three of its tracks went on to make the cut on the recently released album. With musical stylings lying somewhere between electo and punk but with pop sensibilities, the band are fawned upon by fans and critics alike, and have a wide range of musical influences including Spoon, Built to Spill, My Bloody Valentine, Chapterhouse, Sonic Youth, Roxy Music, and Talking
Heads - probably best described as the kitchen sink approach then. Fight Like Apes have thrived over the last 18 months or so on word of mouth, however with release of “Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion” they are starting to have a more commercial appeal, picking up three nominations at the recent Meteor Ireland Music Awards. With increased radio play following the release of the “Something Global” EP in early 2008, the band continued with their hectic touring schedule, mainly concentrated in our fair capital, steadily building up a committed fan
see To Pockets
crowdsurfing is no surprise base eager to appreciate homegrown talent. Another breakthrough moment for the band was electro punk single “Jake Summers” reaching number 14 in the UK indie chart, without doubt capitalising on the electro revival gripping the country. Such rapid success with only a handful of singles and limited edition EPs released should leave the band open to attack from all sides from the music press, now that the new kids on the block tag has diminished slightly,
and although this has held true for certain Irish music publications, the same cannot be said for most critics who have remained steadfast supporters and there can be no doubt that the loyalty of the band’s committed fans has never wavered. “There’s definitely been a backlash at home but I think you get that anywhere, but then we’ve got our hardcore fans who are just so supportive and excited by everything we’re doing, we released our album at home on 26 September and we went home for one night to release it and played in Dublin and the crowd… I don’t think I could hear myself sing a word all night. The crowd were just making so much noise and screaming every word from start to finish and that just really restores your faith in what you’re doing.” It’s this confidence, engrained deep within the band, which provides the energy for their bristling live shows. With songs such as “Digifucker” and hit single “Jake Summers” in their arsenal the crowd’s response is never less than ecstatic. With a reputation for raucous live shows Trinity students are holding their breath to see what events will unfold at the Ball. Fight Like Apes are infamous for their raw energy on stage and use of anything they can get their hands on, from pots and pans to ceramic toilets; injuries on stage and damaged equipment are par for the course but this only adds to their appeal. To see Pockets abandoning his keyboard in favour of fighting with May Kay or jumping into the adoring crowd is of no surprise to hardened fans. On the topic of how they approach their live shows, May Kay says “more and more people are getting hurt by us now. I think people notice that the gigs are an event, it’s not just a set of twelve songs kind-of-thing. That’s the only real concrete decision we’ve ever made as a band - we do not want to play a set list on stage, we want to actually make it a performance, and put on a big show. It was always meant to be an entertainment thing, never just a list of songs.” Should prove to be a highlight of the Ball in one way or another then. Photos: Neil Dorgan BallGuide|09
Backstage | Fight Like Apes
Something Global Model Citizen Records, 2008
As the first track on Fight Like Apes and the Mystery of the Golden Medallion is a chaotic statement of intention. MayKay sounds like Karen O when the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were exciting and the rest of the band are more than able tear through the song’s four minutes with the formidable frontwoman. The single contains a cover of Mclusky’s classic “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues.”
The Glimmers By Maeve Storey
Backstage | The Glimmers
icture the scene right and leaves the audience always rock group turned dance music gods on 8 May: it’s dark, wondering what record they’re going that are Soulwax. When house and it’s sweaty, it’s unto play next. But even the most knowltechno ruled Belgian clubs, it was comfortably damp, edgeable music buff couldn’t predict The Glimmers that wanted to spice arms are in the air, The Glimmers next spin, as Becha things up a bit by playing an eclectic limbs are flying left himself admits, “We like to change and mix of music, heavy in disco, that and right and is that play for different crowds. We really went against the monotonous beats of a glow stick you see in the distance? don’t know what we are going to do standard dance music and attracted The Dance Tent at the fiftieth Trinity beforehand, we just arrive with our audiences that had never before Ball is in full swing, teeming with life recordings and we see who else is play- been interested in “dance” but who and flashing strobe lights, packed to ing and what the vibe is like and we’ll revelled in The Glimmers kick-ass capacity and you’re in the thick of it. create our set so that it fits in there. It’s “anything goes” attitude to music. As The beats are raining down on you – the audience who decides how far we their online biography aptly and rather it’s techno, it’s electro, it’s smugly puts it: “Back heavy bass and just when in 1987, Mo & Benoelie you think the furious energy were DJing for Ghent’s of your dancing is getting youth every weekend, the better of you, you hear playing all sorts of music Fabriclive.31 a sweet sound – it’s fun, which was loved in those Fabric, 2006 it’s light, it’s funky, it’s days. Back then they disco baby! The Glimmers already reasoned that If you want a taste of the musical genius that is The have come on stage, filling they should never shut Glimmers and Trinity Ball is just too damn far away then the tent with a refreshing themselves off from any their Fabric Live album is the epitome of what they’re all energy that can only come style of music, that every about and perhaps is a glimpse of what we might hear from two DJs that are about blend, every genre, every on the night, although I wouldn’t count on it. The album, to have a lot of fun and rock movement was theirs for like others in the often ground-breaking Fabric Live your socks off while they do the taking.” The result series, show The Glimmers fantastic inability to stick to it. It’s time to DANCE! was a deep, metronomic, the rules as they take artistic freedom to a whole new The Glimmers are, acgroove-laden experience, level. The album includes old school disco tracks that cording to one reviewer which became known as have long been forgotten, buried and declared dead by “dance music’s best kept the Belgian New Beat. the music industry but which have been given new life secret.” The duo were once New it may no longer by this Belgian duo, as they synchronise and blend them called The Glimmer Twins be, but The Glimmers with today’s most cutting edge underground beats. Like until, in true grumpy old unique beat is still atmagic, sounds from twenty and thirty years ago abound, men style, ageing rock tracting fans from across sounding innovative, fresh, new and funky as the pair gods Mick Jagger and Keith the globe especially with take you on a relentlessly up-tempo journey through Richards, who often went a new album called The music history stopping off for a taste of the likes of Roxy by that name in the early Glimmers Present Disco Music, Freez, Urban Jungle, Black Slate and even somedays of The Rolling Stones, Drunkards, which was how managing to make a seamless musical progression threatened them with legal released on their own into Freddy Mercury and LCD Soundsystem with the action. They may have a new label this year. greatest ease. Their encyclopaedic knowledge of disco name, but they retain the Their enthusiasm for oddities and classics, originals and remixes is defined in same great sound and the music and exuberance their own artistic mantra: “The future is present in the two DJs, Mo Becha and Dawhen playing live are past. The past presents the future.” vid Fouquaert (also called going to make this one Benoelie), have taken the of the most exciting and stage all across the globe, miles from can go.” energetic gigs at the Trinity Ball. If you their home town of Ghent, impressing The Glimmers, however, are no want to dance at this years Ball, (really audiences with their dizzying blend of spring-chickens; they’ve been DJing dance – not just stand still moving ocdisco, punk, funk, electro and house. It for over twenty years now and have a casionally to the beat like many of you is their ability to mix things up, to play lengthy discography including mixes, who take up space in the Dance Tent the most obscure disco tracks with compilations, albums of their own much to the annoyance who those of well known classics and add in touches tunes and even a Fabric Live release. us who need about a metre’s space in from genres of music that have never According to their press blurbs they all directions to get our over zealous been played together before, that practically started the über-trendy groove on), go and see this band. It’s makes them so special. The anarmusic scene that exists in their home time to get your neon sun-glasses on, chic nature of their gigs, makes each town of Ghent, that has born such cover yourself with glitter, and dust off performance a work of art in its own superstar DJs as the legendary former your favourite dancing shoes.
Vicarious Bliss | Backstage
bliss V icarious Bliss is no stranger to Dublin, since his appearance at the Trinity Ball will be the third time that he’s played here since September. His two previous appearances at Transmission, in the Button Factory, drew crowds of people to hear his legendary DJ sets. Since he’s signed to the famous Ed Banger Records, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’s French, but Vicarious Bliss, aka Andy Gardiner, is actually from Manchester, although he’s pretty acclimatised to the French electro scene by now, having moved to Paris in the Nineties. Ironically enough, it was when he was back in London in 2003, that he met Pedro Winter, better known as Busy P, and soon after became part of the Ed Banger crew. Having released the “Theme from Vicarious Bliss” EP several years ago, Vicarious Bliss is currently working on finishing his own album, according to his MySpace profile. “Theme from Vicarious Bliss” marked the beginning of Vicarious Bliss’s breakthrough as a DJ of note, with Justice contributing a remix of the track. The EP draws on numerous influences, from punk to rock, and also incorporates elements of hip-hop and metal to produce a song that veers into a chorus that is a cheeky
take on a theme tune that could almost belong to a Nineties TV soap or cartoon. Due to the number of remixes, though, it’s quite hard to track down the original version of the song, although you can currently find it posted on YouTube. As well as this, Vicarious Bliss has remixed songs for the likes of Ladytron, N*E*R*D, Human League, Mystery Jets, Kid Loco, Cazals, Teenage Bad Girl and Sebastian Tellier, while his own productions have been remixed by Justice, Busy P, Dave Clarke, Lifelike Goes to Disco and Paul Woolford. France has long been the home of electro and house since the emergence of Daft Punk, and Paris is a base for a significant proportion of the most prominent artists and DJs in this genre. The tight knit group of musicians who are signed to the prestigious Ed Banger Records are a pretty elite bunch, including artists such as SebastiAn, Justice, Uffie, Mr Oizo and the aforementioned label founder, Pedro Winter. The current status of Paris as the hub of new wave electro and pop is partly thanks to Winter, who, as well as managing Daft Punk for twelve years, set up Ed Banger in 2002 as a division of Headbangers Entertainment. Speaking of Busy P in a recent interview, Vicarious Bliss said: “He’s one of the only people I know that actually
truly deserves the credit he receives. All of it. He’s just so interested in the real aspects of making and, obviously, selling music. He has a total respect/understanding for and of musicianship, showmanship, marketing, packaging and whatever else that generally fits together to get stuff out coherently. His attention to detail is amazing.” It’s not surprising then, that Ed Banger have represented some of the most memorable electro artists around, as can be seen from their compilation albums, which rival the Kitsuné Maison compilations for their exciting remixes and innovative sounds. The other major French label of note is Record Makers, which has an eclectic mix of notable artists, representing, amongst others, Sebastien BallGuide|09
Backstage | Vicarious Bliss Vicarious Bliss By Catriona Gray
Start here: “Theme From Vicarious Bliss” (EP) Ed Banger Records, 2003
Tellier and Kavinsky. Vicarious Bliss has also worked with another Record Makers group, I Love UFO’s, when he produced their debut album Wish, back in 2005. With his only working rule in the studio being “if you can’t hum it, bin it”, his DJ sets like his productions consist of no rules, mashed up, electro psychedelia, girly harmonies and plenty of dirty moog. Playlisted by the likes of Erol Alkan, 2 many DJs and Mark Moore, he DJs regularly at such highly regarded international clubs as Fabric London, Nitsa Barcelona, Glasgow Arches and Volar Hong Kong while running his own Soiree night in Paris. Working to a tightly packed schedule, Vicarious Bliss is here, there and everywhere, jetting between Europe and Asia to play sets. His partying habBallGuide|09
its are also legendary: during one of his Dublin visits, he played at the Button Factory, before taking over the decks at an impromptu rave in a house somewhere near South Circular Road. After playing there for most of the night, he didn’t let the impending daylight stop him, instead bringing a group of people back to the Arlington Hotel, where he attempted to persuade the two extremely suspicious receptionists to allow everyone back into his room for some early morning drinks. When this didn’t work, he then offered to pay for seven rooms, in order to allow everyone back into the hotel, but to no avail. The party therefore ended sometime around 7.30am on Dame Street, but still, Vicarious Bliss certainly knows how to keep a night going, so it’s well worth watching out for him at this year’s Trinity Ball – you never know what might happen.
Having only ever heard the Justice remix, encountering the original “Theme to Vicarious Bliss” came as quite a surprise, with its unexpected influences of both rock and punk, considerable use of guitars and the tongue-in-cheek theme tune rip-off during the chorus, which was reminiscent of a pseudoNineties TV soap or cartoon. Coming from such a creative DJ, it’s hardly surprising that this song has such a huge potential to be remixed and the EP includes three remixes of the song, one by Busy P on the A side, then versions by Justice and Lifelike Goes to Disco on the B side. The latter two remixes are the best known versions of the song, and sound far more familiar than the original. Although it’s the more laid back Justice remix that’s the most prevalent form of the song, the disco beat and drawling robotic vocals make the Lifelike Goes to Disco version eminently more danceable and definitely one for downloading. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Ed Banger artist’s upcoming debut album, “Enfin”, which although a release date has yet to be confirmed, should be well worth the wait.
Rob da Bank | Backstage
Mouse ideas Rob da Bank By Alan Henry
ell, it’s that time of the year again. Time to slip into some elegant garments, throw on your dancing shoes and anticipate becoming horrendously “tired and emotional”, all courtesy of the annual Trinity Ball, now in its fiftieth year. Unlike all other things middle-aged however the Ball has managed to preserve a distinct air of cool and continually attracts the hippest, big-name acts from every sphere of the music world. Chief among these big names from the world of dance is Robert “Rob da Bank” Gorham, one of Britain’s premiere DJs and festival organisers. The irreverently-monikered host of BBC Radio One’s “Leftfield Show” has a reputation for spinning everything from the folksy ditties of Bon Iver to the ambient electro of Groove Armada on his weekly Sunday night show. On top of this, his “Sunday best” record label is seen as a pioneer of the contemporary bar culture which envisions music as less of a backdrop to a rave and more of “a relaxed accompaniment to chitchat and a sleepy weekend
pint”. It has been successful in propelling underground acts such as Lemon Jelly and Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip to mainstream attention. Aside from being one of Britain’s top international DJs and a club favourite everywhere from New York to the Balearics, Rob is also the organiser of Britain’s top “eccentric, escapist festival”, the aptly titled Bestival, which takes place every September on the Isle of Wight. This year’s actionpacked line up includes MGMT, Massive attack, Kraftwerk, Fleet Foxes, 2 many DJs and The Klaxons to name but a few. Originally starting life as the “Sunday best” tent in Glastonbury, Bestival has grown by epic proportions in under five years. In its first year of 2004, seven thousand committed partygoers made the trip to the sun-drenched Isle. These days, more than forty thousand make the same
journey to enjoy the self-professed “final fling of summer”. Add to all this that Bestival has been awarded best medium sized festival for the last three years running and a picture soon starts to emerge. Rob da Bank knows how to throw a party. Far from the dizzying success of Bestival and his career as a radio D.J are Rob’s humble beginnings in the world of music journalism. Rewind to 1994 and the fortnight of work experience, which Rob secured at Muzik magazine, one of the top publications of the early 90’s UK rave craze. These two weeks soon transformed into a seven year stint at the magazine during which time he performed all manner of odd jobs from making the tea to editor of the clubbing section, all the while cutting his proverbial musical teeth. From there, Rob went on to host Radio One’s Blue Room with fellow DJ Chris
Rob has an eye for the next big thing. Black Kids, The Ting Tings and Florence and the Machine all found their way onto his show for a session a full year before achieving chart success BallGuide|09
Backstage | Rob da Bank Coco. The show became synonymous for its tendency towards quirky, chillout tunes and garnered a large and dedicated fan base as a result. Following the untimely death of radio legend John Peel in 2004, Rob held the fort and filled Peel’s Thursday night slot for 18 months. Like Peel, Rob’s taste for a diverse and eclectic mix of new music became the driving force behind the content of his radio shows. His present radio vehicles can both be found in the wee hours of Sunday night/Monday morning on Radio One. The first two hours of his four-hour slot are dedicated to all things leftfield, weird and wonderful and what Rob himself describes as “anything from brand new dubstep to folk to oddball electronica”. The latter two hours are given over to a show with the rather kitsch title of “Rob da Bank and Friends”, which features Rob chatting away to the likes of Lily Allen and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Amidst this friendly mix of banter and music, Rob injects some tracks from his “A-Z of Bestival” albums featuring top live performances from The Go Team!, Primal Scream, Chemical Brothers and a whole host of other artists. When he’s not spinning disks for others on the radio, he’s working on his own musical side project, “Lazyboy”, which he launched with the release of 2004 album “Penguin Rock”. On top of this, he is also among the illustrious few to release a club mix album, “Fabric 24”, from his set in the influential Fabric nightclub in London. This March he released “Sci-fi-lofi”, a compilation of the very finest shoegaze tracks from 1985 to 2009. With numerous musical endeavours and side projects on the go at once it’s no wonder Rob sees it all as “a mad drive the wrong way round a one-way system”. And it certainly doesn’t appear as if he’ll be taking a break anytime in the near future. Continuing on with his music festival organising ways, Rob unveiled the Camp Bestival Music Festival in July of last year, attracting 12,000 first time revellers and notching up a best new festival award. Camp Bestival ‘09 already looks promising with an eclectic range of performers BallGuide|09
already confirmed including Bon Iver, the critically acclaimed Sunshine Philosophy (Rob da Bank Mercury Rev and and Chris Coco mix) the Mercury prize Louisiana Recordings, 2007 nominated Laura Marling. SeemIt was under his usual alias of Future Loop Foundaingly not content tion that Mark Barrott released “Memories from a with organisFading Room” in 2007, an organic and highly personal ing successful album, which provides a unique insight into the festivals in mid soundscape of his youth through the use of speech and late summer, samples taken from his family recordings. Clever use Rob also turned of sparse synth and dreamlike vocals transport us to his ebullient the nostalgic past and provide us with poignant and hand to organisat times haunting electronic reflections on collective ing a festival for childhood experiences such as trips to the seaside the beginning and watching grandparents. “Sunshine Philosophy” of the summer sees Rob da Bank and Radio One co-host Chris Coco season and last rework this soft focus reminiscing into an ambiMay launched the ent and enveloping downtempo mix by employing one day Bandsequencer samples and melodic drum & bass to an acstand Festival companying acoustic guitar. It’s very rare to find elecin London and tronic music with such an obvious emotional heart Liverpool to simiyet the wistfulness for a bygone time engulfs this lar acclaim. So, short track largely because we are aware that these the question reare the recordings of genuine people, which haunt mains, what can the melody in a way which make the conventional, we expect from mechanical manner of electro vocals seem defunct. Rob da Bank’s The result is a track resonating with the irretrievable Trinity Ball peryet inerasable snapshots of a happy childhood and, at formance? Well, its heart, a sunshine philosophy. one thing that is certainly guaranteed is a commitment to playing the very best in new music. Indeed, it could be said that Rob has an eye for the next big thing. Black Kids, The Ting Tings and Florence and the Machine all found their way onto his show for a session a full year before achieving chart success.On top of this expect to hear plenty from Rob’s own personal repertoire as well as anyone of a number artists signed to the Sunday Best label. In his words you’re “as likely to stumble into stripped down motorway techno as you are woozy weird folk or a booty electro cover of an obscure David Bowie tune”.
Ebony Bones | Backstage
Ebony Bones By Dan Kennedy
pparently before she changed her surname to the more eye-catching “Bones,” Ebony Thomas was a successful actress on the now defunct Channel 5 soap opera Family Affairs. No, I’ve never heard of it either, but she must have been pretty good as she was nominated “Sexiest Female” by the prestigious British Soap Awards on three consecutive occasions. Not content with the adoration of students, housewives and the unemployed, a chance encounter in a pub with Rat Scabies, drummer of seminal British punk band The Damned convinced her to try her hand at music. Nothing unusual so far; soap stars often attempt to make the transition
from “acting” to “singing.” Don’t be fooled though, Ebony Bones is about a million miles away from the likes of Kylie Minogue or Martine McCutcheon. She’s been generating quite a lot of buzz lately, both for her music and rather bizarre fashion sense and has been featured in The Observer, NME and a large number of trendy music blogs. She’s also managed to earn the acclaim of such venerable pop music figures as Mark Ronson and Timbaland. She’s played at Glastonbury and the American hipper-than-thou festival SXSW. Not content with being Britain’s latest next-big-thing, she’s set her sights on America, getting off to an incredibly auspicious start when she preformed her first gig there at Barack Obama’s victory concert at McCarren Park Pool in New York.
Her debut single, “We Know All About U” which she created in her bedroom, was BBC Radio 1’s Single of the Week. So was her next one, the rather unfortunately named “Don’t Fart on My Heart”, which she claims she wrote for her friends “as a joke.” Ebony’s sense of humour certainly veers towards the puerile, formerly describing herself on her MySpace as “Harry Potter with a vagina”. Not that she doesn’t have a serious political side, “We Know All About U” and several of the tracks on her upcoming album were apparently inspired by the novel 1984. As well as wooing the critics, Ebony was simultaneously building up a fan base through a series of anarchic carnevalesque live shows. A self-confessed admirer of David Bowie and George Clinton with a penchant for the theatric, Ebony feels BallGuide|09
Backstage | Ebony Bones
star Start here:
the look is an extension of the music and an essential part of the live experience. When asked how people respond to her hyperactive stage antics, Ebony replied: “It’s nice having audiences that allow us to have fun on stage, jump around like 5 year olds, and act like the autistic kids we are.” Ebony’s music draws from a long tradition of female-fronted punk rock outfits like X-ray Spex, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Slits (whom she supported last year), though admittedly more in their DIY spirit than their sound per se. Though aggressively courted by several major record labels, Ebony has decided to remain unsigned, in order to maintain absolute creative control. Her DIY sensibility even extends to her band’s outlandish outfits, including a dress she apparently made out of a set of curtains and a woolly jumper that looks like it was knitted by your granny while tripping on acid. Ebony designed not only her own outfits but BallGuide|09
those of her band. But while image is definitely important, Ebony is not simply all style and no substance. As far as she can be catagorised, Ebony is part of the recent trend of mixing indie rock with world music, popularised by acts like M.I.A and Vampire Weekend. Ebony Bones’s music is a wonderfully eclectic mix of tribal drumming, postpunk, house and funk. Sometimes Ebony sounds like the ringleader of some sort of psychedelic war march on its way through the jungle. Kind of like if Marlon Brando’s renegade army in Apocalypse Now had formed a dance-punk outfit. At other times she sounds (and certainly looks) as if Polly Styrene had commandeered the Carnaval Parade in Rio de Janiero. In any event, if her live shows are anything to go by Ebony Bones should be one of the more colourful and strange acts at this year’s Ball. Her brand of African-tinged dance-punk and psychedelic candyland outfits should go down quite well when the Ball rolls around.
We Know all about U An infectious little number that combines an simple, ominous bass line, milk bottle percussion, whistles and chants with the repetitive declaration “Nyah nyah nyah / We know all about you, yes we do,” sung in the teasing sing song voice girls used to use to pick on each other on the playground. It’s all brilliantly creepy, funky and paranoid. Warrior Strident anthem about leaving home which builds up from a set of syncopated handclaps into what sounds like some sort of primeval electro war march with snatches of the eighties New Romantic sound. This song is melodramatic in the best sense of the word. Don’t Fart on My Heart Apparently named purely because she needed something to rhyme with heart and written about “those stupid young boyfriends who never shut up about their exes.” The lyrics seem pretty meaningless to me, but with its catchy mix of afrobeat rhythms, dissonant two-chord guitar line and Ebony’s punchy M.I.A.-ish delivery, it gives a pretty good idea of her overall sound.
the Dan Dan le Sac | Backstage
rang Dan le Sac (or Dan Stephens, if you will) up last week for a wee chat ahead of his Trinity Ball appearance and found the diminutive DJ/producer not altogether in the best state of health. “I’ve been running up a temperature of about 104 today,” he sniffled over the crackly line, sounding slightly delirious from his illness, “so I may not be the most coherent.” I assured him that I wasn’t recording the conversation anyway and would, in all likelihood, be making up his quotes. And so the interview commenced. For those of you not entirely au fait with Dan on his own, you may be more familiar with him as one half of Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, whose single “Thou Shalt Always Kill” catapulted the duo into the limelight in 2007. Since then, they released their first album proper, “Angles”, in 2008 and played everywhere from Glastonbury and Reading to Coachella and Fuji Rock. Dan’s also recently collaborated with 20-year old electro upstart Kid A. I asked him whether he prefers working on his own as a DJ or collaborating with other artists. “Yeah, I don’t really know. I mean, if you ask me that question on different days, you’ll get different answers. It can be awful when you’ve poured your heart into making something, spent days working on it and then someone comes along and tears it apart. But, at the same time, that’s not always a bad thing, I think it makes you better at what you do in the end.” Ball-goers who may know Dan more for his collaborative work will probably be wondering what to expect from him on his own. “Well, essentially, they should expect the good bits from the records stretched out over an hour,” he told me, attempting a laugh that
ended up getting taken over by a particularly vicious coughing fit. On recovering, he continued: “I don’t know, the unexpected will happen. The plan is to play something that should get the party started.” Sounds like a rather good plan indeed. I wouldn’t doubt his ability to do just that, as even a brief listen to some of the mixes on his MySpace page indicate that he’s more than capable of dropping some quality tunes. I asked Dan about his reference on his blog to being “stuck sucking the corporate cock that is HMV” a few years ago. “Yeah, me and Pip worked there together about three years ago. I worked there for about seven years in total.” So, he was biding his time until the opportunity arose to leave behind his dull life in retail for an exciting career as an internationally acclaimed DJ, then. “Yeah, er, you could say ‘biding my time’ or you could say ‘wasting my time.’ There was no long term plan, really, and then I kind of stumbled into the thing with me and Pip.” Nice to know then, that there is hope for us all, even those of us stuck in the most mind-numbingly boring of jobs. To promote the release of “Angles” last year, Dan and Pip posted an X Factor spoof video of the duo performing a rendition of “It Ain’t No Fun” by Snoop Dogg, featuring Warren G., Nate Dogg and Kurupt (the judges’ reactions to lines like “you gave me all your pussy / and you even licked my balls” are priceless). I asked Dan what he made of the whole X Factor business. “It’ll keep going as long as people are willing to phone in and vote. But it’s been fairly obvious for a while now that a lot of the acts that have come out of it haven’t been too successful. I mean, early on Will Young managed to make a bit of a career for himself, but not too many since that have been able
to. It’s entertainment, I suppose, and as long as none of them start thinking that they’re worth anything as artists, then there isn’t too much harm in it.” This year, Dan’s set at the ball will be a part of the Rob da Bank & Friends tour, featuring Ebony Bones and Rob himself (rather infuriatingly, we won’t be getting Passion Pit, who join the other artists to headline the rest of the tour). Dan is on Rob’s Sunday Best record label. I asked him if the two are mates. “Well, we talk and stuff but we’re not best mates or anything. He’s a family man and doesn’t really have much time to go out and drink and stuff. The great thing about the label, though, is you get the opportunity to become friendly with the management and the people who are running it – it’s nice.” After the ball, he’s got a lot on his plate. “I’m playing lots of shows over the summer – on my own and with Pip – and then, when it’s time, me and Pip will probably go back into the studio. It’ll probably be some time around November or even next year.” Something to look forward to in 2010, then. For the time being, though, check out Dan’s MySpace page and get ready for what should be a sweet set.
Dan le Sac By Hugh McCafferty
Start here: “Waiting For the Beat to Kick In” Sunday Best, 2008 I asked Dan himself where the best place would be to start to get a feel for his sound. “Where should you start? Well, the beginning, I suppose. No, er, seriously, I think ‘Waiting For the Beat to Kick In’ is probably the best place.” Taken from Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip’s 2008 debut album, “Angles”, the track is a lengthy effort, clocking in at around the seven minute mark. It’s worth the effort, though, as it displays many of the twopiece’s strengths. Dan’s beats are understated and layered to maximum effect, perfectly complimenting Pip’s often erratic and bizarre stream-ofconsciousness poetry. His production puts Pip’s vocals to the fore, bringing things down when Pip is in a more relaxed mood and rising up to a frenzy of piano and processed sounds when Pip goes into full-on impassioned preacher mode. For Dan on his own, check out myspace.com/ danlesac for some of his mixes, which should reflect more accurately what he’ll sound like on the night. His blog (lesac. wordpress.com) is also worth checking out, as there you will find a number of his mixtapes.
Streetlife DJs | Backstage
Streetlife DJs By Hugh McCafferty
treetlife DJs are Stewart Rowell and Louis Gaston; the two have been working together since 1998 and between them have over 30 years of experience behind the decks. Despite (or, perhaps, because of) the amount of time they’ve spent in the industry, Streetlife DJs’ output sounds remarkably fresh; their sound mixes more conventional house flourishes with the kind of wickedly dirty bass and breaks that you’d expect from Ed Banger stalwarts like Justice and SebastiAn. Recently, they’ve won themselves a considerable amount of big-ups from such massively popular industry figures as Pete Tong and Sasha as well as publications like Mixmag. I spoke with Stewart a few weeks ago and asked him what it’s like to be referred to as the “UK’s very own 2 many DJs” (by DJMag). “Yeah, that phrase has been used quite a lot. I mean, we’re similar of course in ways, but there’s so many differences between us too. All we try to do is to take as varied an approach to music as we can and if people want to compare us to 2 many DJs then that’s not exactly a bad thing, but, no, we’re not really worried about people typecasting us or coming to expect something specific from us.” I asked him what he and Louis brought that was unique to the table. “We just want to do something that’s a little bit different. Back when we met, about 11 years ago, we were both getting bored with house music in general. I think a lot of very interesting things have happened in dance music recently, especially the kind of
stuff that’s coming out of France at the The Trinity Ball won’t be Stewart moment.” Based on his Fracophilic and Louis’s first appearance on these comments, it’s not too surprising that shores – they’ve played Oxegen two Streetlife DJs have released a numyears running and played Tuesday ber of cuts on the ever-dependable night’s Trashed a while ago – but Kitsuné (who have put out records by they’re certainly looking forward to everyone from Digitalism to Tom Vek to Hot Chip in the last number of years). Sticking with Kitsuné for a while, it seems the French “Keep It Street” (EP) label’s massive success Street Beats, 2008 has reflected the growing tendency for indie and dance Both tunes here, “Yo Jay” and music to overlap. Stewart “Bassline Kickin” are, essentially, exhad a few ideas himself as actly what you want to hear when you’ve to why this has come about. worked yourself up into a properly dis“I think you’ll find that’s graceful mess in the dance tent at some largely because of people like unspecified hour of the night. “Yo Jay” Soulwax and of course you hits you with some immensely satisfyhave earlier influences, like ing, fuzzy bass early on and doesn’t really Big Beat, y’know, Norman let up for another three minutes or so. Cook and all that. I think it’s The breakdown keeps you dangling until a natural progression, I mean you’re brought back higher than before both kinds of music are quite with a build-up that Digitalism would be anarchic.” The duo’s “Best immensely proud of. “Bassline Kickin” is of ‘08” countdown on their less in-your-face than its flip side counMySpace page unsurprisingly terpart, well certainly after the straightfeatures a number of tracks forward intro, anyway. The track builds that straddle the genres with up momentum slowly before taking a cuts from MGMT, M.I.A. somewhat unexpected turn into Justice and Santogold (or, pardon territory and then going slightly mental me, Santigold as she is now for a bit before bringing the house down known) featuring in the top with a punishing crescendo and finally ten. returning to its minimal roots. For the time being, the boys are concentrating on continuing to build up their fan base, but they’ve got a few returning, Stewart assures me. I suginteresting projects in the pipeline as gest giving them a suitably welcoming well. “We plan to get a band Streetlife reception as, if recent efforts like the Soundsystem together, y’know, with “Keep It Street” EP are anything to go live drums and bass and that kind of by, they’ve got what it takes to tear the stuff, so we’re working on that at modance tent (and everyone inside) to ment.” pieces.
Backstage | Brodinski
ith the usual array of big name dance acts that could get even the quietist science students waving a glow stick in the air slightly lacking this year, the Trinity Ball line-up left a little bit to be desired for those of us who subscribe to the DANCE-TENT-ONLY rule at the ball. However, the confirmation of Brodinski has made all the difference and is set to be one of the highlights of the night for sure. He might not be a big name yet, but judging by his success to date and the fact that he’s still only twenty-one he will be soon. Brodinski is the latest DJ to storm onto the
Start here: Fool For Love (remix) / Divina Gosa (remix) Brodinski’s remixes of Das Pop’s Fool For Love (it’s techno with some heart) and the spinetingling Divina Gosa by Radio Clit are essential listening. If you want to hear the man for yourself check out the podcasts on his über-hip music blog Smoke Mashine with its refreshing no bull-shit-just music-attitude.
French dance scene and surprisingly he’s not from Paris. Since Justice made their Parisian dance sound popular with main stream audiences, French DJs have flooded our iPods and electro has been the word of the day for most club-goers. But Brodinski is here to shake things up, remixing the crème de la crème of not just French but international dance artists. Adding in his own flavours, he’s created a refreshing blend of dance floor – worthy electro, dirty bass, furious techno and brought it all together with some rather breathtaking minimal beats. Brodinski or Brodi to his friends has been tearing up clubs across Europe playing in renowned French clubs like Social Club and La Rex, as well as at many famous UK club nights like WAX: ON and BUGGED OUT, that have hosted most of the big names in dance that have emerged in the last few years (see Erol Alkan, see Switch, see any of the array of awesome DJs on Ed Banger) and now he’s playing our very own Trinity Ball.
His MySpace page (after all, every aspiring DJ has one these days) reads like a who’s who of dance music, with a lengthy list of DJs bigging up this young artist in a jumbled mix of French and English. Soulwax, Tiga, DJ Chloe, Erol Alkan, A-Trak, Switch, James Zabielia, Autokratz and Laurent Garnier to name just a few, have been spinning his tracks and naming him as the one to watch in 2009. To quote Ed Banger favourite Busy P, “Brodi is showing us how to do classy techno.” His most popular remixes include his take on the equally French and equally gorgeous DJ Mehdi’s Pocket Piano, indie-kids the Klaxon’s It’s Not Over Yet, and Brazilian funk-pop Bonde do Role’s Office Boy (previously remixed by the likes of Justice and Diplo). To swot up on this soon to be superstar DJ and impress your friends before the big night, see http://smokemashine. blogspot.com or his MySpace page http://www.myspace.com/brodinskimusic.
Brodinski By Maeve Storey
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