the university observer culture magazine
little green cars
superhero film dominance
the original rude boys
letter from the editors Seasons Greetings! Winter is coming, but don’t worry, Otwo is here to keep your spirits up. Whether it’s the infectious Christmas cheer or that delightfully adorable John Lewis ad, Otwo has, for some reason, an uncharacteristic feeling of goodwill towards all its readers. There’s a Christmas gift for each and every one of you inside these pages, but you can’t return these to the shops for store credit. Your stocking fillers involve the best tips in the land from Foil, Arms and Hog on how to bump that fail up to scraping a pass, and Emily “Tins Ahoy” Longworth has a moan about The Pale. Games this issue sees Niall “Top Cat” Gosker talking to games composer Rich Vreeland about his work for Fez, while Eldritch and Boson X receive judgement in their definitive reviews. Our Fashion section presents the latest styles allowing you to ditch that tired-and-tested festive look for an alternative wardrobe. If that’s not enough, the next chapter of the everglorious #Winning and #Binning is awaiting your attention on page 21. Laura “Its Morphin’ Time” Bell is
at her investigative best in our Film section yet again as she assesses the ongoing deluge of superhero films and Pat Collins of Harvest Films talks about his award winning film Silence and how he got started in the industry. The Top 10 ridiculously long shots in films are briefly outlined for your pleasure and The Counselor, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Blue is the Warmest Colour are all reviewed. In the land of musical mysteries, Rebekah “Wub Wub” Rennick chats with the maestro herself, Annie Mac, while Otwo also catches up with Drenge and the Original Rude Boys. The latest albums from Jake Bugg, White Denim, Sky Ferreira and San Fermin are put under the spotlight. Don’t want to wait until Christmas Eve to open the big present? Good, because our centrefold is an interview with Adam O’Regan of Little Green Cars, who charts the band’s meteoric rise. What more could you want for Christmas?
What’s hot & What’s not What’s hot
What’s not hot
Pictiúr at IMMA
Pharell William’s 24-hour video
Pictiúr is an exhibition of children’s illustrations that’s been touring the country this winter. The exhibition features 21 of Ireland’s best children’s book illustrators, including Chris Judge, the lad who used to play bass for the Chalets in 2006. Since exam season leaves everybody feeling like they need to crawl into the foetal position until everything goes away, a gallery of art for kids makes for a happy medium. Go there!
Even at the worst of times, Pharell Williams is a slithering snake of a sexy mo’fo’, but somehow, inexplicably, his 24-hour music video is mindnumbingly poor. Despite the many celebrity cameos dancing to the tune of ‘Happy’, there’s still no way you can reconcile yourself with the idea of spending a day of your life on one music video, unless it was the Pure Shores video. That’s always worth 725 listens.
Hats on for Headstrong
A hat party promoting mental health for young people is possibly the best combination of sesh and charity that Otwo has seen in a while. Headstrong are hosting a night of sombrero-boasting, money-raising, cap-donning debauchery at Lillie’s Bordello on Grafton Street this Wednesday, 27th November, from 8pm onwards. You could win a John Rocha hat, or better yet, a healthy perception of mental health problems. Techno and Tins
Because essays just won’t write themselves, Otwo has resorted to a lot of session fuel recently in an effort to get everything done. But who could blame us, this city was built on techno and tins, and we’ll be damned if things’ll get done any other way. Sure, wasn’t France’s streak of victories during the Napoleonic Wars the sole result of mass exposure to techno and tins? I’m sure it was.
Jingle all the way, Jack & Steven
“I’ve got all my Christmas Shopping Done”
Possibly the worst line spoken in the history of man, this somehow gets said by at least one person you know every year. And that person deserves a slap across the face because they’ve caused a moment of unquantifiable panic even worse than that feeling when you get your arm stuck in something. If you are the person who says this, incidentally, we will find you, and we will kill you. The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special
Don’t get us wrong, we’re huge fans of Doctor Who here at Otwo. If we could go back in time and watch the Russel T. Davies era for the first time again, we would (that’s a time travel joke, see). Unfortunately, since Steven Moffat took over, the show has been on a steep decline. Spoiler alert: all that underlying darnkess that makes the Doctor so interesting was never there and he is the British Superman. Remember kids, “time travel stuff” is a perfect explanation for complicated plot holes.
Did you know that holly leaves are a natural aphrodisiac? Actually, they’re not, but I knew you’d try it. Enjoy a mouthful of spikes you sick puppy.
The highlight of your year has arrived. You won the raffle for those tickets into Newgrange on winter solstice day. Damn you lead a boring life.
Sorry, but Santa won’t be able to make it over to Glenomena this year, but don’t worry, he sent his friend Father Krampus. Do a Google image search and start screaming.
Although it will sounds like a in life panto, when someone shouts from afar, “He’s behind you”, take that advice very literally and run for your life.
With temperatures dropping across campus you’ll need to huddle together and share body warmth. Time to overcome your crippling fear of intimacy or put on enough weight to go into hibernation.
This Christmas Eve you shall be haunted by three ghosts, either that or the grim spectre of your impending exam repeats; whichever you find more terrifying.
Gemini While on the 12 pubs of Christmas, you will join a group of short, bearded men on a quest. Your reward will be this year’s biggest box office gross.
Cancer Your infatuation with Tom Hiddleston will go forever unrequited. It doesn’t matter how many goats you sacrifice to the Norse gods, you won’t be up all night to get Loki.
just try not to get killed this week, okay? Idiot.
Your plans to spread Dutch culture by dressing up as Zwarte Piet will backfire as everyone will just think you’re a racist.
You will be busted by Interpol for being complicit in a child slavery ring. No one will believe you when you try to blame it on the jolly fat man.
Attempting to visit the annual gift man who lives on the moon is the best reason to start a space program. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Your brief stint as host of the Late Late Toy Show will be cut short by an incident reminiscent of the chestburster scene in Alien. Just replace the Alien with a Furby.
index 2 Regulars
——————————————— Otwo brings you the all that is hot and all that not on a variety of hot and not hot matters, while Mystic Mittens is on paw to drag you into a festive mood.
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——————————————— Two thirds of this page is dedicated to enticing you into the magazine to read more, while the other third is used by Emily Longworth talk about the intense rivalry between those in the Pale and those outside it.
——————————————— With Superhero films on the top of the world, Laura Bell charts their origins. Award-winning Irish filmmaker Pat Collins stops by to discuss his short films and his future in the industry, and Top Ten explores the best single shot scenes in the history of films. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is picked apart in the review section, and it joined by The Counsellor and Blue is the Warmest Colour.
——————————————— With end of term exams ahead, Foil, Arms and Hog breakdown all the clever ways to cheat on your exams, and question whether its all worthwhile. @tila is also on hand as always to dole out advice to the UCD huns population.
——————————————— Adam O’Regan of Little Green Cars gives Steven Balbirnie the inside story on what it’s like to play at some of the world’s biggest festivals and how the band’s style has evolved since they started jamming together at 16-yearsold.
——————————————— The great Annie Mac talks to Rebekah Rennick about being a trendsetter in the dance scene, while Drenge and The Original Rudeboys also stopped by, talking about everything from Labour MP’s to Dolly Parton. Also, for her last column of 2013, Orla Gartland talks about finding a home away from home. In album reviews, the latest output from Jake Bugg, White Denim, Sky Ferreira and San Fermin get a going over.
Travel & Drink
——————————————— Fight the winter blues with a trip to Zambia or cosy up on your couch with a bottle of Sierra Nevada Torpedo. Both are guaranteed to give you a lovely warm feeling inside, just stay away from the hippos.
——————————————— Niall Gosker chats to games music mastermind Rich Vreeland about his approach to composition and working with Phil Fish. Reviews see Eva Griffin trapped inside the Large Hadron Collider in Boson X, as Karl Quigley delves into the Lovecraftian depths of Eldritch.
Taking a stand this issue, Emily Longworth decries the ambiguous hatred of the Pale
——————————————— This issue’s spread brings you all the advice you need to seal that alternative look this Christmas. In #Winning and #Binning, Emily Mullen is on hand again to ensure that you look your best while failing your exams.
——————————————— Culture Woulfe takes in the much discussed Eileen Gray exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Drew Struzan, the man behind most of the iconic film posters you’ve ever seen, talks to Ian Mulholland.
——————————————— There’s a mystery afoot this issue and the Fatal Fourway are committed to getting to the bottom of it once and for all. Just who is the best non-Sherlock detective?
Being a commuter belt inhabitant, I’m neither from the Pale nor the Wesht, nor any of the other places that make up this country. Frankly, I’ve only ever heard about the Pale and the Wesht, so I assume there’s a giant void where the teddy bear’s tummy and feet should be on the map of Ireland. Having hailed from the buzzing metropolis of North Kildare, I’ve been exposed to 22 years of ambiguous rivalry between the Dubs and everyone else, without ever having been given an explanation for why exactly either party is as useless as slander makes them out to be. Since every Irishman in the country has it on good authority that my lack of partiality to either side renders me a nomadic and cretinous Brit, I reckon I am by default the nation’s only objective ambassador on what the Pale/Non-Pale rivalry actually means, which is shite-all, to be fair. I think Dublin discrimination is rooted in the undeniable lack of anything in many of Ireland’s counties. Here I refer to the noncounties, like Roscommon, where chief pastimes include sitting on a stone wall, the pursuit of chipper, and throwing around softballs inherited from 90s breakfast cereal offers. This distinct lack of anything is exacerbated by the clear presence of something in all of the country’s actual counties like Kilkenny, or anywhere that features on Discover Ireland ads, which are swimming in culture, personality, and exotic imports like Subway, wi-fi and lava lamps, while Roscommoners are left sitting on the wall wondering what happened to the Cornflakes ball. So, if you’re in a non-county, what better way to salvage your county’s complete lack of a country than to join forces with all the real places and find solidarity in collective hatred of the Big Shmoke? It’s too easy to hate the Dubs, you could write them all off as arrogant city-slickers too obsessed with dirty GAA tactics and O’Briens sandwiches to even notice there’s something west of Dublin. They wouldn’t even hear you either, being preoccupied with their white-collar/blue-collar/any-collar pursuits to waste time with the rest of Ireland, where the faces they meet are inexplicably less symmetrical and there’s a pervading unidentifiable smell of something that they can only compare to expired O’Brien’s sandwiches. This is a small-scale amplification of the human impetus to hate anything other than your kin. It’s ungrounded, outdated and no craic. I hate neither Dublin nor the countryside, because I have no reason to. If we had our priorities right, we’d all be getting on fine, and harnessing the energy from this animosity to our much greater hatred of hippies, the guards, old people, The Man, vegetarians and the undeserving poor.
Foil, Arms & Hog —Chancers and Cheaters With exam apocalypse nearing, Foil Arms and Hog sit you down with a cup of your favourite hot beverage and explain the whole business of chancing your arm
“If you cheat in an exam, you are only fooling yourself.” A wise guidance counsellor in our school once said, to which the person sitting behind me whispered, almost menacingly “and my mom, and my dad, and my teachers.” Cheating in exams has been going on ritually since 1000BC, when young Persiusus son of Persiusnussynuss smuggled a slab of King Ramses’ tomb into his hieroglyphics test. He was caught of course… and I made that story up. Since then students have been cheating with aplomb, from bringing Volvic water bottles into junior cert geography exams in order to copy the volcano diagram, to brazenly bringing log tables into an English exam packed with Shakespeare quotes. The question is whether cheating actually pays off. In the time it took to fold up an entire economics module into an origami desk and chair, would you not just have opened the occasional newspaper? Instead of etching four chapters of Homer’s Odyssey onto the exterior of a Coke can, could you not just have learned the key quotes? Probably, but
The question is whether cheating actually pays off. In the time it took to fold up an entire economics module into an origami desk and chair, would you not just have opened the occasional newspaper
you’ve spent the previous two weeks smoking outside the library waiting to accost someone from your course and exclaim how “screwed” you were. You’ve procrastinated each day like a true pro, hung by the lake, had six coffees, 18 cigarettes, 64 toilet breaks and now you’re desperate. Even if the way you’re cheating seems fool-proof, the anxiety that you’ll be caught can be overwhelming. I know someone who wrote an entire Irish essay on his thigh for the Leaving Cert only to sweat most of it off from the stress. With most exams being marked on somewhat of a curve, it’s still important to get ahead of the pack,
even without cheating or gambling. You can do this, perfectly legally, by putting-off or distracting other candidates. Why not exclaim “Yes!” and fist pump when you first read the questions or loudly demand more paper even when not needed. If you’re feeling particularly competitive, arrive at the exam centre in a full suit of armour and cook a barbeque next to your desk. Or sit in front of your friend with an image of a naked couple emblazoned on the back of your t-shirt. A friend of mine used to piss me off by bringing in a full maths set into each exam, needless to say I spent a frantic ten minutes
scrambling through a second year Spanish paper trying to figure out where a compass was required. Cheat, gamble, or call in a bomb scare, whatever methods you use to pass these exams, one thing’s for sure, if you’re reading this, you probably should be studying. Good luck. If you would like more from Foil Arms and Hog we have a fancy website with upcoming gigs and things, just go to www.google.com and type in ‘Foil Arms and Hog’, we’re the first one. You can also check out our videos on the YouTube, and/ or join us on Facebook and Twitter @ foilarmsandhog
Howiye Hun, I’m ragin at the university over this dirtbird policy of filmin’ inside campus res. De university are a pack of law-straddlers and legal skivers, they wouldn’t know tenant’s rights even if it C’mere Hun, slapped them in the tits. Iv been in the poxy Joyce every day of the week, I But I’m tryin’ to get my fuckin image right for hasn’t seen the girlos since we were hooped me vlog, and I’m in bits over de R.A. ladz whippin at Strauss ball.. Iv exams up to me hole, u ok hun? out a camera when I’m just bein glam on webcam. and me fella’s after hoppin da boat to London, sayin he needs his space. He took Since my face is like, the main appeal of me blog, what’s the fuppin’ story wiv owning de rights to that shcalder Sharon from the Boots in Blanchardstown with him too. Dunno why, she’s less videos of my face? It takes away from me being mad fab when dere only plagiarising my look… craic than scabies. So here, I’m locked in d’library all day like a dope, Can I give them shit over it? but the rides abandoned me. Should I start lookin’ for Thracia xx talent on the fourth floor, or would it just be better to Story witcha hun? brick Sharon’s house and geh me man back? I know what ye mean, I had a class photo album of Story? Ferrero xx Instagram selfies me and me motts took at Belgica when we were stallin’ west on Europe. They were Ah look, actually stunnin too cos I’d just got my new leatherHere, that’s a fooking joke, don’t even try doin yer exams panel dungarees from the charity shop an’ all, but after without havin a reliable ride set up fer the month. It’d be a few weeks sum one told me that the diorty Frankish more worth your while to stab yourself in the eyes like. I lads were creepin thru my profile photos, so they could actually wouldn’t’ve gotten thru negotiatin’ de Treaty of find points of weakness in our armour and steal glam Margus if it wasn’t for this absolute lash I met hanging fashion tips, the bolloxes… round the high green just by the walls of Constantinople. But here, I just went ‘nd tweeted it after, ‘nd then Couldn’t hack the sesh offa study without some hotzer to every1 knew that me and the girlos were actually the keep ye distracted like. first to have those indie-lookin Aztec print collars. Just If yer man isn’t a complete shcald bag, deck that other hoor and fetch him back, cos you’ll only be wastin yer time start a shitstorm over it on yer vlog, accuse them of on the crooked, bogey faces to be found in the James Joyce. gatherin material for the wank bank and they should Been dealing with da huns problems since 445AD… Ur resident back off.. You’ll be siftin through duds for most of study week with agony aunt & Hunnic Emperor lol! Don’t mess wit my girlos or I’ll Love all mi huns! that craic. wreck u like I wrecked da city of Aquileia . xoxo. Tweet me! ‘Tila xoxo ‘Tila xoxo
Zambia—The Dos & Don’ts The attractions and pitfalls of a trip to Zambia are taken in by Shauna O’Brien
Beer of the
Sierra Nevada Torpedo
rent a car. The capital, Lusaka, is great but the real gems of Zambia lie outside the city. So rent a car and drive off into the magnificent and fiery sunset, taking in the sights and sounds of the natural world at your own pace. Livingstone is about four hours away, Kafue Park about two and a half, and the Kalahari Desert a further two hours from there.
swim in unknown bodies of water, or any body of water for that matter, unless it’s a pool in a hotel. While you may laugh at the idea of walking past a headstone with the inscription “Death by hippo”, in reality, it wouldn’t be so nice. Like many African countries, there are crocs and hippos hidden in waterways only too happy to take a munch off you.
take a trip to Victoria Falls, a popular tourist attraction with beautiful scenery and constant rainbows formed from the crashing waters. If you fancy a rush, try a bungee jump on the Zimbabwe border, or free-fall off the side of a gorge on a rope swing.
go to the big shopping centres that tend to use American dollars at tourist prices. Instead, check out local markets. The markets use the local currency, Kwacha, and sell beautiful wooden and stone carvings, and grass-woven tapestries at a bargain. Haggling is a must if you want a proper market experience.
avail of a safari as Zambia has all of the Big Five. There are jeep, kayak and walking safaris offered (with armed rangers). Kayaking and walking give unique opportunities to see wild animals up close in relative safety, and jeep tours can cover vast parks, giving you the best chance to see lion and leopard.
stop driving cat or an elephant doesn’t mean if you see a they can’t see you; and both person lying by the roadside. Even if pose a pretty big threat to a puny you feel like being a good samaritan, human. Zambia is home to troops if you get out of your car you may be of baboons as well; think about considered the culprit. Zambia is that scene in Tarzan. fractioned into different tribal areas go during the dry and some uphold the ‘eye for an eye’ season; what we would judicial system. Or, the person is consider their winter, June or not alone and this could result in July, being the best option. Not someone else taking your car for a spin. Call the police, don’t be a hero. only do you miss the worst of the mosquitos and tzetze flies, you visit the Cheshire Homes. also get the nice weather, better Run by charitable nuns chance to see the migratory herds, and locals, they offer the chance to and better game-viewing on the see non-commercial Africa. Avail whole because of the lack of grass. of local cuisine such as nshima under any paired with spiced fish or sausage circumand entertainment from traditional stance walk down Cairo Road in singing and dance. It’s a perfect time to kick back and have a gin and Lusaka. This strip is notorious for tonic or a local beer such as Baobab violent muggings. Also, motorists are a bit blind to traffic lights White, brewed with the fruit from and there are better and safer the baobab tree. places to travel to. The National walk Museum being one; there’s a through the witchcraft exhibit. national parks unguided. Just because you can’t see a big, scary
Sierra Nevada Brewing has made an impressive journey over the last 30 years. Originally founded in Chico, California in 1979 by home brewers Ken Grossman and Paul Camusi, the company has grown to the point where its signature pale ale is available on tap internationally. Of its growing range of craft beers, the most outstanding among Sierra Nevada’s regular lineup is the Torpedo Extra IPA. This Extra IPA has a strong but not overpowering hops flavour, which is due to the use of whole cone American hops and the brewery’s use of its invention, the ‘Hops Torpedo’, rather than sacks in the dry hopping process. With a golden colour and a smooth finish, this is deceptively drinkable for a 7.2% Extra IPA. Widely available in both a 350ml bottle and a 500ml can, serve chilled for the perfect way to unwind after a hectic day. Steven Balbirnie
Publisher Minor key Games Developer David Pittman Platforms PC, Mac and Linux
Developers Mu & Heyo Platforms Windows, Mac, Linux & iOS
Eldritch is the latest project resulting from the collaboration between Minor Key Games and developer David Pittman. Following the recent revival of roguelike games, the two have taken it upon themselves to combine the old school genre with the even older aspects of Lovecraftian horror. A roguelike game is one where the advent of a character death is a permanent and often an inevitability, however, in Eldritch it is difficult to gauge how much this increases the difficulty. The player takes control of a lost adventurer in a huge library, with the voxel environment that you are dropped into giving off an eerie feeling as you go about acquiring the three souls of The Old Gods in order to escape. In the pages of these books, the player must survive against all manner of terrible creatures. Death results in being booted back to the library, devoid of previous weapons and possessions. One such world is that of Dagon, the starter world. The smooth controls are easy to get to grips with and reminiscent of last year’s Dishonoured, with the ability to sprint, sneak, slide and peak out of cover while tackling all key components of each randomly generated level. Eldritch seems to take its lead from several games, including Bioshock 2, which Pittman also worked on. The player must utilise not only their wits, but also several weapons. Rocks, knives, and revolvers make up the bulk of potential weapons to slot into the two-space inventory.
Picture the scene; a massive particle accelerator forms the surroundings as a smartly-dressed professor is trapped inside and in search of the elusive, and titular, boson X. In order to acquire it, he must jump rapidly from Planck to Planck in an attempt to reach critical velocity with his own body. Yes, the fun kind of science. Mu & Heyo have carefully crafted this rotational runner with the intent of it being addictively frustrating. Boson X comprises of a series of six quests for particles in an infinitely expanding and accelerating zone. The decagonal tube is formed by an endless pattern of platforms. Sparse blue platforms allow the player to build up energy, while the looming threat of collapsing platforms and obstacles hinder movement. Reaching 100% energy is the target as the professor will discover a new particle, and consequently unlock the next level. Cat-like reactions, foresight, and an almost super-human precision are necessary to conquer this rotating puzzle. Reacting even a second too late results in the professor’s tragic obliteration as he descends into the abyss in an explosion of pixels. Terry Cavanagh’s Super Hexagon is an obvious influence on the game, as Boson X is its spiritual sequel in terms of gameplay. The layout, however, has been given a rather literal 3D twist, as platforms approach at varying angles with intensifying speed. It’s disorientating, albeit mesmerising.
Magical elements add further possible combinations to the game, with the left hand being used for spells that can be summoned using artefacts. These double as currency and spell fuel. There are several spells available; such as cloaking and hypnotism. The tight controls and the scramble for these resources, all while searching for an exit, make the game thoroughly enjoyable. The difficulty increases rapidly with the second world. Any unwary player will fall into the dozens of traps that litter the levels. There are weeping angel-styled enemies that any Whovian will find themselves staring at in unblinking terror while trying to navigate around. Seasoned roguelike players will be able to pass through the game in a single playthrough, given some luck, which is quite unusual for titles in the genre. Upon escaping the library, New Game plus is unlocked and this is where the true challenge lies. Enemies are faster and stronger and the Shoggoth, an unkillable iconic creature of Lovecraftian literature, appears more often. It could be argued that the game should have originally been this difficult, and consequently more in the style of the original roguelike fashion. Despite the few problems Eldritch possesses, it is definitely worth a purchase if you enjoy a ruthless game that often lives up to its roguelike heritage. Karl Quigley
After consecutively tackling levels, the player is likely to find their head rooted at an awkward tilt, with the sense that they’re becoming slightly cross-eyed. The psychedelic nature of the overall style is mirrored in the pulsating music, which succeeds in keeping up with the manic rhythm. The pace is often so staggeringly fast that the player will regularly be forced to take a leap of faith and send the professor jumping wildly in any random direction. The simplicity of the controls is a mechanical blessing given the staggering difficulty of the task at hand. Encountering failure after failure becomes increasingly frustrating, yet the tantalising prospect of beating each level is near impossible to resist. Added to this is the taunting number of a counter tallying up runs, acting as a glaring reminder of one’s inability to simply press buttons at the right time. The compelling challenge posed by Boson X has an effect akin to any game of the its variety. The player will ultimately dissolve into a mess of sweaty palms and a barrage of expletives, complemented by an assortment of manic facial expressions. After a few hours, they’ll watch as their last dregs of sanity float away into the abyss alongside the pixelated mess of that ill-fated professor. Eva Griffin
Beyond chiptune Chiptune maestro Disasterpeace talks to Niall Gosker about scoring the masterful soundtrack to indie hit Fez and what’s coming next
I tried to contemporise the notion of writing a retro game soundtrack by generally trying to bypass game music tropes
fez & Hyper Light Drifter
Rich Vreeland, or Disasterpeace as he’s more commonly known, is part of an ever-growing group of extremely talented composers working in the indie games scene. He’s best known for scoring the critically acclaimed 2012 puzzle platformer Fez, for which he won the admiration of both fans and peers alike, with a genre-breaking soundtrack that’s arguably one of the greatest of this, or any, console generation. Like many musicians, music was introduced to Vreeland from a young age. “My mother and step-father were involved in the music ministry at our church, and used to have band practices in the basement. I used to sneak down there and play the drums, which just happens to be a very indiscreet activity.” His passion for the medium led to him attending Berklee College of Music, after which he joined the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab; a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Singaporean government designed to explore potential new directions for video games. It was during this scheme that Vreeland scored his first formal soundtracks, although his initial venture had actually occurred years earlier when he was a teenager. “I posted some of my music on a fantasy wrestling forum when I was a teenager and the CEO of a mobile software company contacted me to write some general MIDI music for their games. It was such a fun experience that after that I knew I wanted to get more involved.” All of this experience was building towards Fez, a milestone that would not only be a career-defining moment for Vreeland, but also a hugely important release in the evolution
of video game music in general. Speaking of its genesis, Vreeland says, “It’s definitely inspired by old-school game music, and has a lot of the same timbres, but without the various limitations that go along with it. “I tried to contemporize the notion of writing a retro game soundtrack by generally trying to bypass game music tropes, and focus more on approaching the music as if it were part of a cinematic experience.” He certainly succeeded in this goal, with the score shattering barriers for chiptune, the result of a beautifully powerful weaving of the ambient and active. Fez was primarily designed and created by Phil Fish, a divisive figure known for his outspokenness. For Vreeland, the experience of working with Fish was very much a positive one. “We had a very symbiotic
relationship. We were in step from the beginning and generally things worked out very well. I put new material into the game regularly, so Phil and co. could hear it and give feedback, if any, but we were generally on the same wavelength. We were lucky.” Not so lucky was the follow up to Fez, which was cancelled earlier this year only several months after having been revealed. Vreeland was set to reprise his role as composer but Fish no longer wanted to work in an industry that was so openly hostile and antagonistic towards him. “It’s a shame,” comments Vreeland on not just the cancellation itself but also of the unfortunate circumstances in which the entire debacle occurred. When it comes to music, games of course aren’t Vreeland’s only interests, having already released
ing their bigger budget peers. The volume of genuinely great indie musical talent is staggering, with the likes of Vreeland, C418, Danny Baranowsky, Ben Prunty, and many more having made an indelible mark on the industry. “It’s easier to do what you want on a smaller team. Money and other common facets of business tend to be secondary to the artistic merit of what you are doing. This method generally results in more unusual, unfettered output. Larger projects may sound great and may be very polished, but can suffer from a tendency to play it safe.” Looking ahead, new projects are already on the horizon for Vreeland. He’ll take charge of musical duties on Kickstarter success Hyper Light Drifter, the 2D action RPG having greatly surpassed its modest $27,000 funding goal by over half a million dollars. “Alex [Preston] reached out to me a few days before the Kickstarter launched and expressed interest in having me on board. He apparently had me in mind all along, so I was excited to be part of something like that, where he specifically envisioned me, and also I was really impressed by the aesthetic and the tone of the project.” With Vreeland’s relatively recent rise to prominence as one of the premier composers in gaming, his next endeavour is set against new and extremely high expectations. Reassuringly though, given both his track record and the brief teaser of Hyper Light Drifter’s soundtrack already released, there’s little reason to doubt that lightning won’t strike twice.
a number of standalone albums. Doing so has brought more sharply into focus the differences between regular music composition and game music composition. “Games require you to think holistically and to think about music as a part of a greater whole, and how that comes into play,” he says. “The order in which the music is experienced can also be quite nonlinear and on that same note there are a lot of possibilities for creating unique interactions with music and sound that are foreign to the album format.” Mainstream game soundtracks have, for the most, imitated the orchestral styling of film. This approach has yielded some unforgettable music, yet there’s a fatigue and lack of inspiration beginning to set in. Thankfully, indie composers have To hear Disasterpeace’s music for picked up the slack, often outclassyourself, visit www.disasterpeace.com
Harvesting the spoils
Pat Collins of Harvest Films talks to Jack Walsh about his first feature, folklore and the follow up to What We Leave in Our Wake
Batman and Robin
The last 12 months have seen an exponential increase in interest in home-grown productions in Ireland. A slow burner that reached audiences and critics alike, the popularity of Silence, by Pat Collins, is a perfect example of this heightened awareness, as the movie went on to claim the Dublin Critics Circle ‘Michael Dwyer Discovery Award’ last year. Collins, born in Galway and currently residing in Cork, admits to a modest upbringing. Speaking about his early experiences of visual media, he highlights how opportunities to enjoy this medium were few and far between. “We didn’t have a car growing up, so going to the cinema was rare. I think I went to the cinema once before I was 14 or 15.” For a man known for his own brand of naturalistic cinematography, Collins confessed to knowing a certain feeling, a spark that started his path in the industry. “The first film that kind of knocked me out was David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. I had moved to Cork City by then and I was around 18 or 19. I came out bewildered, not knowing what I had just seen. Nothing in my life had prepared me for that film.” No director begins with the full and finely-tuned creative output;
Much of gallery work is onedimensional compared to cinema at its best. Sometimes you read about the artwork and it seems really interesting, but there is none of it in the work itself
work has to be done on outfield projects, before filling away and homing in on perfection. “I think the first short film I made was Pilgrim. It’s 13 minutes and is about the Croagh Patrick pilgrimage, which takes place on the last day of July each year. “Initially it was going to be a multiscreen installation, but I’m more comfortable working on one film, on one screen. Pilgrim begins in the middle of the night as the pilgrims begin to climb in the dark.” Collins believes that what his first works allowed him to achieve, merely by being able to do them, was incredibly important. He describes them as being “framed as half experimental and part documentary. They are not abstract in the sense of a lot of experimental work. But the three films that I’ve been involved in don’t have any dialogue or v/o [voice over], which makes a big change from my documentaries, where what is being said is very important.” Aa an Irishman working in Ireland, Collins’ works play up to a certain stereotype, one he is acutely aware of and finds frustrating. “I suppose a lot of my work revolves around Ireland and the notion of a sense of place. But I don’t want to be too self-conscious about any of that.”
Many filmmakers identify in the 1930s and 1940s; people themselves as belonging in some like Seamus Ennis and Seán Ó way to an elite club of intellectuals. hEochaidh who travelled from house There are the blue collar rather than to house and collected stories and the blue chip, however. Collins is songs and folklore.” most certainly of the former. Regarding what he wanted from “I don’t consider myself an artist. Silence, Collins’ aims were astute. I consider myself a filmmaker. But “I wanted it to be universal while I think filmmakers are making still being distinctly Irish. I wanted some of the most interesting artistic to make a film about someone work. Sometimes there are huge travelling around Ireland meeting limitations to what you can do in people, but it had to be set in a a gallery setting. People enter the contemporary context, so it evolved room and they seem immediately from being a folklore collector to distracted and are thinking of the being a sound recordist. exit. “Though our character Eoghan is “Much of gallery work is onetrying to get away from man-made dimensional compared to cinema at noise and away from people, he its best. Sometimes you read about always seems to meet someone; so the artwork and it seems really he’s still hearing stories. Sound interesting, but there is none of it in came later. Silence is as much about the work itself. Of course, having sound as silence.” said that, most of cinema is very For his next works, Collins, it limited in terms of its ambition seems, has returned to telling stories and completely unsatisfying. Even through documentaries, with his children know when the films are next project titled Living in a Coded terrible and when they are being Land. “It’s really a follow up to a taken for fools.” film I made in 2010 called What We In terms of initial inspiration for Leave in Our Wake. The film revolves his first feature, Silence, Collins around themes of emigration, sought more traditional sources. “A land, housing and the role of art book called The Hidden Ireland by in society.” Collins it seems is an Daniel Corkery. It had a big impact exemplification of the new generation on me imaginatively and I was of Irish filmmakers working today: always fascinated by the folklore self-aware, determined, and unafraid collectors who went around Ireland of blazing their own trail.
Marvel at your heroes With the superhero genre becoming the dominant blockbuster archetype, Laura Bell questions if this is entirely a positive thing
With summer 2012’s blockbuster The Avengers having been named the third highest grossing movie of all time and the same season’s The Dark Knight Rises falling not too many places behind, it seems that we can no longer hide from the comic-book worlds’ moralising, wise-cracking, caped crusaders. Once fodder purely for children’s TV and conventions, they’re now officially a license for big Hollywood studios to print money. Most superheroes have had a complex chronology. Superman was going on missions for JFK in 1963 until he was Christopher Reeve’s omnipotent alien, Tom Welling’s ‘farm boy’ in TV’s Smallville and most recently, Henry Cavill’s destroys-everything-he-touches Kal-El. Spiderman was a Saturday morning cartoon with staying power before Tobey Maguire took the role, drawing his inspiration for Spidey solely from photos of kicked puppies. Not to worry, however, because before Stan Lee could finish counting his money, Peter Parker was 17 again in a shameless, lifeless reboot starring Andrew Garfield. Despite all this, the most illustrious character progression perhaps belongs to the wildly popular Dark Knight. Before Batman was Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, or Christian Bale, he was popularised in the 1943 serial Batman, and then again in 1949’s Batman and Robin. It wasn’t until 1989 that then Hollywood wildcard Tim Burton pulled him out of obscurity and made him famous, ultimately securing his infamy by giving him a suit with nipples on it in 1995’s Batman Forever. To add insult to injury, 1997’s Batman & Robin saw George Clooney’s Bruce Wayne receive second billing to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze. It would take a master filmmaker to restore Batman his dignity, and it was almost a decade later before Christopher Nolan stepped up to the plate with his radically dark vision of a tormented hero in Batman Begins. It was followed to massive acclaim by The Dark Knight, which critic Roger Ebert declared to have “redefine[d] the possibilities of the comic-book movie.” The late Heath Ledger took the character of the Joker from Jack Nicholson’s terrifying-for-all-thewrong-reasons portrayal and turned him into one of the most ubiquitous and beloved villains of the last two decades. While the comic book hero will always be at war with villainy, it is
Batman and Robin
important that he mirror the reality of terror, wherein the face of evil is in a constant state of flux. The model of the hero is one that is dependent entirely on the audience’s perception that he or she is making a difference in the world in some way the public find relatable. A fireman who rescues a kitten from a tree is considered a paragon of morality; one who dives into a burning building to save a spider is not. Therefore, our friend with his pants on over his tights must pander to our morals and fight whatever good fight is fashionable. While in the past these protagonists fought grand regimes and struggled against fascist ideologies, we now must endure the paradox of our modern day super soldiers fighting megalomaniacal tycoons who have more in common with the studio executives behind the picture than with any real world evil doer. Sometimes they have to hit back at the little guy too, but he’s usually someone of the insane genius variety, and doesn’t really represent anything more realistic than a scientist who
Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man announcing that he has “privatised world peace” couldn’t possibly play into the capitalist agenda, right?
has been exposed to a massive dose of gamma radiation turning into a green rage monster with pants that always fit. Instead of, you know, dying. Of course, ideologies are still at play in the comic book movie, only now the struggle is to popularise that which is American and minimise those things we don’t like but can’t pass off as grand, Hitler-grade evil. Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man announcing that he has “privatised world peace” couldn’t possibly play into the capitalist agenda, right? The curious thing about the journey of your average comic book superhero is that he follows a timeline that’s almost as old as Western storytelling itself. Essentially, we are paying for the concept of the ‘monomyth’ to be explicated to us over and over again, except with better CGI and louder explosions every time. The concept of the ‘monomyth’, or “the hero with a thousand faces”, can be attributed to scholar Joseph Campbell, who asserts that every archetypal hero throughout written history has passed through, roughly,
17 of the same stages. Essentially, the hero begins as a normal guy who receives a call to adventure. He might soul search about accepting this summoning, but he ultimately will begin his journey to hero-dom, instantly facing many trials that will only grow in difficulty until we reach the part of the movie that was featured in trailers and set to some kind of epic-sounding classical soundtrack. Near the end of this greatest challenge, however, the hero will become completely self-actualised and gain some kind of ultimate moral perspective that will give him the push he needs to crush his inner demons and also, the ones that are currently ransacking Manhattan. At the end of this journey, or just after the last action sequence, the protagonist might try to return to his ordinary life but will find that he has been too changed by his actions. Cue the ghost of someone’s uncle showing up and preaching that “with great power, comes great responsibility.” And great ticket sales, of course.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Director Abdellatif Kechiche Starring Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux Release Date Out Now
Director Francis Lawrence Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson Release Date Out Now
(La Vie d’Adèle: Chapitres 1 & 2)
Having picked up the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Blue Is the Warmest Colour carries with it certain expectations. It is an experimental film that simply would never had been made in Hollywood, at least not in the same way as Kechiche made it. The film’s run-time (a minute shy of three hours) may discourage some people from going to see it, but the film flows so well that you won’t be tempted to glance at your watch. Both Exarchopoulos and Seydoux play their characters fantastically, which also helps to keep the audience engaged for the entirity of the movie. The film takes place in Lille and follows the story of a young school girl named Adèle (Exarchopoulos) who appears bored with the banality of high school. Adèle’s friends encourage her to go on a date with a classmate, Thomas, and although the relationship does not last very long, the conversations between the two give us an insight into Adèle as a person. On her way to her first date with Thomas, Adèle sees Emma (Seydoux) for the first time as they are both crossing the road. Adèle is mesmerised by Emma’s blue hair, only to be brought back to reality by the beeping of the horns of impatient drivers who are waiting for her to get off the road. For all the praise Blue Is the Warmest Colour has received, it has a slight problem with its reliance on clichés. For as much as it is billed as a comingof-age story about a young lesbian, there is
very little about Adèle’s struggle to accept her sexuality. In fact, Adèle’s relationships with men throughout the film would suggest that she is bisexual; a word which is not uttered once in the movie’s three hours. But for one confrontational, and slightly melodramatic, scene in which a friend of Adèle’s repeatedly calls her a “lesbo”, the film does very little to address the issue of homophobia. There are a few throwaway lines about Adèle not wanting to tell people she is going out with a girl and a slightly awkward dinner in which Adèle’s parents quiz Emma on her non-existent boyfriend, but the issue of sexual identity is mostly glossed over. There is, of course, one other thing that the film has gained infamy for: its sex scenes, the longest of which clocks in at an impressive seven minutes. Make no mistake; these are not the kind of sex scenes Irish moviegoers are used to, as there is very little left to the imagination. As far as the plot goes, the story moves along at a steady and even pace throughout, although it is often unclear how much time has passed between different parts and viewers may find this frustrating, as it is hard to contextualise some of the events in this way. In a nutshell An interesting and engaging story, led brilliantly by two very strong performances Kevin Beirne
It is rare for a sequel to outdo its predecessor, yet The Hunger Games: Catching Fire presents swathes of backstory in not only an incredibly entertaining way, but in a much more controlled and intelligent fashion. Picking up one year after the last Hunger Games, in which victors Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) defied odds and the tyrannical system by playing a gambit, the pair are forced on a victory tour of the dystopian Panem. The visuals are striking, with each of the devastated outer districts bearing a natural heart that is in stark contrast to the sterile, imperialist capital. The Hunger Games presented a totalitarian society on the brink, a world that sadly was only mentioned and alluded to. In Catching Fire, this world is expanded upon, with striking images of mass protests all bearing the symbol of Everdeen’s Mockingjay. Set pieces throughout the film are as visually entertaining as any battle in the arena could be. Everdeen’s protest against the system of the Games has become an identifying symbol, with Panem’s hierarchy deciding to dispose of Everdeen in a tactical manner to avoid martyrdom. Achieving this involves returning her to the Hunger Games, with an added twist; the people chosen must be chosen from existing winners. As the only female from her district to have won, she’s automatically chosen.
As this world expands, so do the insights into the post games mind of Everdeen. Lawrence as an actor deserves praise, and it’s her unassumingly tender performance, hidden by a quiet rage, that is the centre of the piece. The film opens and closes with shots of Lawrence’s altering states of mind, showcasing not only the 23-year-old’s prestige as a growing talent, but her maturity to be the centre act amid such an ensemble. The danger of the last Hunger Games were the “careers.” A system in which children are raised to fight in the Games is cast aside to allow the vast array of seasoned killers with track records in the competition to demonstrate their danger in intensive detail. Many of this year’s participants share the exhausted feelings of being praised as killers, yet each present his or her own quirks and intrigue. Credit to Sam Claflin, adding a confident yet unstable performance as a counter to the steely Everdeen. Catching Fire may seem forcefully formulaic in its approach, yet director Francis Lawrence is building an ever evolving world that has surpassed its predecessor. Gone are the shaky camera effects and low budget CGI, Catching Fire emerges a fully fleshed work, all the while building to the trilogy’s ultimate conclusion. In a nutshell The odds are ever in this franchise’s favour Jack Walsh
Top 10—long takes
Director Ridley Scott Starring Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz Release Date Out Now
Alfonso Cuarón’s masterful space drama has a ten-minute opening that tells us all we need to know in one epic shot. It establishes the eerie yet beautiful setting, the characters’ respective outlooks, and how a seemingly routine situation can quickly turn life threatening in space.
As the latest offering from director Ridley Scott and writer Cormac McCarthy, The Counsellor achieves the incredible feat of turning the considerable talent of its five A-listed leads into 117 minutes of strenuous eye rolling. Michael Fassbender stars here as the titular character; an unimpressive man with an undeservedly ominous nickname who gets himself involved in a one-time drug deal that goes entirely awry. Heavily foreshadowed by Javier Bardem’s visually coked-up drug lord and Brad Pitt’s modern cowboy middleman, Penelope Cruz also hangs on the side-lines as a sweet, religious Latina stereotype who just has to get caught up in this bad business like a decorative lamb sent to slaughter. Cameron Diaz, meanwhile, gives her first truly decent performance in years; luckily it’s immediately impugned by her participation in a prominent scene that features her intimate involvement with the windshield of a Ferrari. Despite the fact that this scene may seem crass and purposeless, it does serve the important purpose of illustrating just how deep the virgin/whore dichotomy runs between the female protagonists and just how much the production buys into it. This is further emphasised by the sheer amount of screen time that is squandered on drawn out conversations about women written by a person who has apparently learned most of what he knows about them from a combination of the dialogue from Debbie Does Dallas and the few movies out there that are filled with more faux-existential drivel than this one.
That said, the script features some rare moments of the nihilistic insight for which McCarthy is best known, but ultimately they are lost in endless philosophical waffle that’s worth one line in every ten. A firm editorial hand was most definitely required in the early stages of The Counsellor’s script in order to prevent the undeniably interesting premise of the film from wandering off into empty, stylish pomposity. And if it is anything, this film is stylish. The cinematography is starkly elegant, the sets are beautiful, and the soundtrack is super cool. Ridley Scott’s slick visuals, however, are weighed down by his attempt to reinvent good, old-fashioned Mexican cartel violence with high tech garroting devices and surgically precise trip wires, to almost preposterous effect. Indeed, it draws heavily on the success and atmospherics of Breaking Bad, even briefly featuring Dean Norris as a Chicago drug dealer. Ultimately, The Counsellor is an aesthetically pleasing, mildly thrilling attempt to pass off some vacant philosophical waffle and a few Shakespearean allusions as a work of meaning and moral depth, a goal at which it ostentatiously and narcissistically fails. In a nutshell In its constant attempt to draw the viewer’s attention to how profound it is, The Counsellor ironically reveals how little substance it possesses under its considerably stylish exterior Laura Bell
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The scale of war is well captured in an impressively staged and unbroken shot that follows James McAvoy as Robbie Turner wandering around the Dunkirk beach before the planned evacuation, observing the ensuing chaos.
Children of Men
This other long Cuarón shot takes place in a more claustrophobic setting. What starts off as an innocuous car ride soon turns to violent catastrophe, tragedy and eventually despair. Again the tension is made unbearable without the comfort of the edit in this devastating four-minute sequence.
It’s one thing to do a three minute extended take, it’s another to do one of a brutal 25-on-one fight scene in a tight corridor. Bonus points for the desperate use of the hammer.
Hitchcock’s tense small scale 1948 thriller about two college students who want to commit the perfect crime by killing their weaker friend only uses ten cuts in 80 minutes. So yeah, take your pick.
The Touch of Evil
We see a bomb placed in a car and an unsuspecting couple get in and drive, the camera then continues to run for over three-minutes and the tension mounts as the vehicle goes by various possible victims until it leaves the frame. Spoiler alert: it blows up.
A Clockwork Orange
In the lengthy first shot of Kubrick’s dystopian masterpiece, we are introduced to Alex DeLarge’s sinister profile. The camera then zooms out revealing his fellow droogs and the milk bar. Alex’s gaze, however, stays fixed on the audience and as a result so does ours on him.
In a seemingly never ending opening take, director Robert Allman satirically sums up the ins of outs of film making in Tinsel Town. The eight-minute sequence sees Tim Robbins having three separate meetings with screenwriters who have ludicrously high concept ideas as well as two characters discussing the merits of unbroken takes in movies.
The others on this list are examples of directors demonstrating flair, but here we have just two actors conversing in one uninterrupted 15 minute shot. See if you can keep your eyes off Michael Fassbender as he waxes lyrically without messing up a line.
In Scorsese’s gangster epic, he gives us an economical 184-second shot in which he highlights the glamour of organised crime. The camera follows mobster Henry Hill and his future wife Karen as they enter the Copacabana nightclub through a side entrance, go into the kitchen and are given their own table in front of the stage thus demonstrating how the world unfolds in front of our protagonist. Mark Conroy
“Growing up, we always felt a bit like outsiders”
Adam O’Regan of Little Green Cars takes some time out to talk to Steven Balbirnie about finding a musical identity, working with producer Markus Dravs, and the day that went from being a nightmare to the highlight of their tour Photo Julien LachaussÇe
It’s a real gratification, amazingly fulfilling and amazingly heartening to be embraced like that in your home town, where you’re from. It meant everything
It’s hard to believe that Little Green Cars have been playing together for five years at this stage. Having originally met as teenagers, Adam O’Regan, Stevie Appleby, Faye O’Rourke, Donagh Seaver O’Leary and Dylan Lynch have been growing in confidence and prowess ever since. 2013 marks the biggest year for the band thus far, with the release of their debut album, Absolute Zero, and a US and European tour which has seen them play to audiences at massive festivals such as Coachella, South by Southwest and FIB. On the way to work on their follow-up album, guitarist Adam O’Regan takes a moment to discuss the band’s progress to date. The band’s members originally met each other while still in school, as O’Regan explains, “We all
became friends over a common period, as they strove to find their interest in film and art and music musical identity. “We were trying and things like that, started sharing lots of different sounds together. ideas that we had for various things You can imagine we were these and then it wasn’t until six months sixteen, 17-year-olds in a rehearsal after spending a lot of time together room and we went through so many that we decided why don’t we join different sounds, we were very very forces and be a band.” experimental young people. The name, Little Green Cars also “You know the band went through came out of a deliberate desire for lots of different incarnations,” ambiguity. “We kind of wanted a recalls O’Regan. “We went through name that didn’t really give anything a math rock phase, and we went away about the sound of the band, but through a punk rock phase, and we we wanted a name that had some kind went through a jazz phase, as all of provocative element to it so we were young bands do, I think.” kind of playing with words and colours Having dabbled in such an and things like that and we just had a eclectic collection of musical styles, brainstorming session and eventually it is no wonder that O’Regan can’t we came across Little Green Cars and settle on a single main influence on we just liked the way it sounded, and it the band’s artistic approach. “One of stuck,” says O’Regan. my favourite English teachers used Such ambiguity was a perfect to say to me that ‘nothing is original, match for the band’s formative only manipulated’, and I certainly
think that everything nowadays comes from something else that’s been before in some sort of way,” O’Regan concedes, before adding that “we certainly don’t strive to sound like anybody or anything but you can’t help things that influence you.” One guiding influence however has come in the form of the band’s manager, Daniel Ryan of The Thrills. With his own band currently on hiatus, he has been managing Little Green Cars throughout their impressive ascent. O’Regan acknowledges that Ryan has played an important role in the band’s development. “He’s kind of like the sixth member of the band, in a way, because when he met us we were quite young. I think we were sixteen and I guess he saw something in us early on. He’s
always kind of had an input and he’s helped us kind of clarify ideas when we couldn’t necessarily articulate them ourselves.” The band’s rise has been exemplified by the massively positive response to their debut album Absolute Zero, which went straight to number one in the Irish charts. “There aren’t really many words that can describe what that felt like. It’s a real gratification, amazingly fulfilling and amazingly heartening to be embraced like that in your home town, where you’re from. It meant everything,” says O’Regan. The album’s intriguing title has a deep meaning and particular resonance for the band. “The title came from a Charles Bukowski poem called ‘Absolute Zero’, which basically is this backwards valuing system of people. “He kind of felt that on a scale of one to ten, ten being completely ugly and zero being absolutely beautiful, and the idea was that somebody who is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous has had it easy and has nothing to say for themselves as opposed to someone who is ugly and has had to work a bit harder and has therefore developed a bit more character and substance,” explains O’Regan. “We always kind of were the misfits, you might say, in school and growing up, we always felt a bit like outsiders and I don’t know when we came across that it just kind of felt right,” O’Regan continues. “Also I like the double meaning of words like ‘Absolute Zero’ where it’s like a starting point.” Absolute Zero was produced by the highly acclaimed producer, Markus Dravs, whose previous producer credits include Bjork’s Homogenic and The Suburbs by Arcade Fire. So what was it like to work with an industry giant with so many plaudits to his name? “He came in and from the get go said that he wanted to make the
anti-production album. We were rehearsing in this derelict concrete building at the time and he came in and heard us when we first met him and pretty much said, ‘I just want to make the record sound just like it is here in this room in this building.’ “And so when we went into the studio with him we were all on the same page, it was a very natural process finding the right kind of mood for each song, but there wasn’t really any pulling or pushing of the songs, they were there when we went in and he kind of just helped us find the right temperature for each one.” To promote their debut album, Little Green Cars have been touring extensively, with a variety of dates in America and Europe. Playing abroad was a new experience for the band and one that O’Regan explains they were apprehensive about. “We played in Brussels and Rotterdam and Paris, and had absolutely no idea what to expect in any of these places.” However, these doubts were swiftly proven to be ill-founded. “We played in Rotterdam on the first night of the tour, we walked out and the whole place was packed. It’s just crazy; I still can’t really get my head around it. I don’t know what to say.” The highlight of their time spent touring this year was their set at Lollapalooza in Chicago, which is somewhat ironic considering how disastrous it initially looked as though it was going to go. “It started out as a complete nightmare of a day. We woke up and our singer, Faye, had completely lost her voice. She couldn’t speak, so we were all in a complete state of panic as you can imagine,” O’Regan recounts. “She went down ahead of us to the festival early in the morning and saw the on-site doctor there. And he basically diagnosed her with extreme laryngitis, gave her a steroid injection and said, ‘I advise that you don’t play the show, if you do you
Photo Eric Swalens
stand the risk of losing your voice for the rest of the tour.’ And we just didn’t want to cancel so we moved the set around a bit and pulled out a lot of the stuff where she sings the lead and we went out and did it anyway.” The response to this commitment to perform for their fans no matter what obstacles were thrown in their path was even more supportive than Little Green Cars could have predicted. “We told the audience that Faye lost her voice, that we were going to give it our best; and they really just got behind us. “The warmth from the audience was really encouraging, and as the set went on I guess the steroids started to kick in because Faye turned to me and she said ‘I think I can sing a song’.” And the song that was chosen was a perfect fit for that exact moment. “So then we did ‘My Love Took Me Down to the River To Silence Me’ towards the end of the set and the crowd just completely erupted. And then Faye started singing and it
I can’t believe that it’s taken us this long to do an Irish tour, really. I don’t think we’ve ever looked forward to a series of shows more than this
was just, it was actually quite an emotional moment.” After spending such an extensive time touring abroad the band have finally returned to Ireland for a series of upcoming shows, which include gigs at Vicar Street on the 7th and 8th of December. “I can’t believe that it’s taken us this long to do an Irish tour really. I don’t think we’ve ever looked forward to a series of shows more than this, it’s just going to be amazing to play to our people as it were,” muses O’Regan. Their current sojourn in Ireland has also allowed the band to begin work on material for a second album; “it’s been great to be home now for a couple of weeks and get into a room together and flesh out the ideas properly. We’re kind of just starting that process now, but it feels like we’re all on the same kind of page and we’re very excited about the direction the songs are taking so I feel very positive about it.” When asked about what direction this new venture will take, O’Regan replies that “the first album was written over the course of three years and I think that album we feel is just a documentation of those three years of our lives growing up and I think that this next album will be the same sort of idea.” While he asserts that the new album will represent a sense of continuity, it will also represent a fresh step in the band’s ongoing development. “We draw from our own experiences when we write, but sonically I think it’s definitely a maturer step.” With such an infectious sense of enthusiasm emanting from O’Regan, one can only hope that this optimism and momentum behind their music that was built from this tour will be reflected in their new material and help secure the band’s reputation in Ireland and on the European continent. Little Green Cars have sold out the majority of the tickets for their Irish Tour with only a limited number of tickets for the Limerick show available at ticketmaster.ie
Mac attack Wesley College alumna, Annie Mac, chats to Rebekah Rennick about breaking the male DJ scene, genre mixing and that six hour set
If you were to ask someone were they familiar with Annie MacManus, they’d more than likely look at you with a quizzical stare. Although, if you cut that name short you’ve suddenly turned the conversation into one revolving around the muchloved, curly mopped DJ aficionado Annie Mac. A Dublin native and former Wesley College pupil, Annie Mac has more than proven herself as a tenacious and powerful force in the British and Irish dance scene. Oozing a quiet confidence that is both magnetic and enticing, Mac has been making waves in the oceanic stratosphere of house, drum & bass, and everything in between since the very beginning. Her university days were spent in Belfast studying English Literature, however, it wasn’t long before her presence was being felt on the student radio airwaves. “I got a job at a club called Shine that happened to take place in the Students’ Union. It was actually my English lecturer that hired me as he helped run the club. It was mainly techno and house with amazing DJs [such as] Andrew Weatherall and Laurent Garnier. That’s where I decided I wanted to be a DJ.” In the presence of such veteran disc jockeys, Annie’s then undiscovered intuition for music and remixing was being ignited. From Belfast to London it wasn’t long before she began sculpting what would become her own reigning career. Working as a radio plugger, a broadcasting assistant and a presenter for student radio network SBN, Annie’s penchant for creating mix-tapes grew ferociously. Surprisingly it was not the clubbing environment that sparked this inclination at first. “I don’t remember discovering that much new music when I was out. However, I had a bit of an epiphany moment at Temple Of Sound before I went to college. Most new music I discovered was from my friends.” With a large proportion of bestknown British based DJs being both male and hailing from Britain, the arrival of Annie Mac brought a new lease of life to an industry that was, and to a degree still is, at risk of going stale. This crystal-eyed, huskyvoiced Dubliner stood alone for quite some time in a field over-run with testosterone. To see a female silhouette between the headphones of a mixing table and creating some of the most infectious remixes to date has been an exhilarating breath of fresh air.
Mac admits that she was aware of the stigma surrounding the notion of women as disc jockeys, but didn’t feel she needed to make a conscious effort to fight it. “I mean, of course I was aware, it’s impossible not to realise you are the only girl in these situations, but I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and I never felt uncomfortable being the only girl.” From her beginnings on SBN, Mac has become a steadfast local on BBC Radio 1. She has to delve through a significant amount of music to put together her sets; a part of her job that demands a lot of time to be set aside. “I spend a couple of days in the week just listening through stuff and figuring out the order and the flow of the music. Then on Thursday or Friday I spend a few hours mixing some of the music on my computer.” Similarly, Mac’s interest in music has spilled into the creation of the
I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy and I never felt uncomfortable being the only girl
Annie Mac Presents compilation CD, which showcases some of her most loved acts of the year. Last year saw the release of her fourth edition, which represents one of the best aggregations of tunes that would propel any quiet party into an outrageous, mammoth rave. “I’ve always been about music as a mood rather than putting it in boxes. From the very start of me playing music on the radio I always liked mixing it up.” Although radio has become her home, Mac has dabbled in television, yet the studio remains the medium she is most comfortable in. “TV is ok, it’s just very preconceived. There’s also so many things that affect TV, an airplane going past, the sun going in. Radio you are locked away in a cosy studio and there’s rarely any factors that affect output.” With a significant number of live gigs under her belt, not to mention her six-hour appearance at Channel
4’s New Years Eve Party in 2012, her catabolic crashing sets are rarely matched by anyone else in the industry. “It was an absolutely terrifying prospect. I had DJ’d on Channel 4 House Party before and absolutely loved it, but this felt more significant. You always feed off your audience though, that’s half the fun.” A big believer in mixing up genres and not one to shy away from delving into unknown territory, Mac is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t be deceived by those curls and cheeky smile, behind those headphones lies a formidable presence. “Take advantage of the uni radio,” she advises any aspiring DJs out there. “Use it to make a great demo and send it out to your contacts, it might just help you out with the next step.” Noted. Annie Mac plays The Academy on November 30th alongside Cyril Hahn & Duke Dumont
It’s a bloodsport
Having freshly emerged from the UK grunge scene, Drenge drummer Rory Loveless talks to Sarah O’Shea about S-Club 7 and how it feels to be saluted in a resignation letter
It’s a bit like the S in S Club 7. The S stands for whatever you like. It’s a bit of a murky one
Derbyshire brothers Rory and Eoin Loveless, of subversive blues rock band Drenge, are quickly making a name for themselves in music circles. Their debut album, the self-titled Drenge, is bubbling with impromptu song titles and lyrics; the collective encapsulation of songs perfectly categorising their crisp, yet contemporary avant-garde sound. Materialising out of gritty guitar riffs and tenacious vocals, this pair have certainly arrived on the scene and are demanding attention. The duo, who were just one year apart in school, first delved into what would inevitably be their future career path of music at a tender age, as drummer Rory Loveless explains, “We were forced into piano lessons,
I think, at age four and five, which was pretty young. We didn’t like it. Then we moved onto guitar and drums about ten years later, then eventually started doing this kind of thing about three years ago.” Referring to the Danish origins of the band name, which means “boys” in English, Loveless draws an unusual comparison. “It’s a bit like the S in S Club 7,” he says. “The S stands for whatever you like. It’s a bit of a murky one, there are a few reasons why we chose the name Drenge. We started watching a load of Danish films and we got a bit into Danish culture. We wanted to emulate a bit of that. It’s an amalgamation of various things as such.” Having recently been compared
to The Black Keys and The White Stripes, Loveless talks of his contemporaries with a mixed sense of respect, with it apparent that brothers are the biggest fans of the latter. “To be compared to bands like that, really established bands, that make some good music is really flattering. The White Stripes have been a huge influence for us, especially when we were fourteen and fifteen and just playing instruments. The Black Keys’ early stuff was alright. I’m not too much of a fan of them as their career has gone on, but to be compared to them is still an honour.” After years of making music together, Loveless willingly admits that each man’s ability greatly evolved since first beginning as
a twosome. “Yes, we definitely dropped a few tunes that we first started playing when we started the band… This album is an amalgamation of songs that we’ve had from the start. “Some of the songs on there are three-years-old and probably don’t represent us very well anymore. It’d be nice to have time off and write some new stuff. I definitely feel, though, that we’ve moved on. We’re listening to new stuff and hopefully we get time to showcase that stuff soon.” The duo’s fame has brought them some unwanted and unexpected attention. In his resignation letter to Ed Miliband in July of this year, British Labour MP Tom Watson proclaimed, “So, be that great Labour leader that you can be, but try to have a real life too. And if you want to see an awesome band, I recommend Drenge.” This is no doubt a common issue that arises during every interview Loveless conducts. Although he admits that this was unusual occurrence, Loveless is quick and abrupt with his answer, as he concludes, “Quite surreal. We were just about to go onstage at this festival Rockilde in Denmark and then that happened. It was an odd one.” In keeping with the collective lowkey UK and international grunge scene, Loveless offered other names
in the industry one should keep a look out for in the near future, which hopefully are as appreciated by left wing politicians as much as Drenge are. “We played with a band called Bird Skulls in Exeter who were really cool. There’s a load of other bands that they’re connected to in this kind of DIY scene.” Drenge’s ferocious, hard-edged sound is one that awakens the very inards of your ears, reverberating throughout. These may seem like very serious descriptive words to use, however, they openly admit that they are first and foremost looking to have fun, dubbing their music as “morbidly serious.” This coinage is mirrored in song titles such as ‘Bloodsports’, but contradicted by the message of ‘Fuck About’. “There’s a couple of serious moments on the album. A song like ‘Fuck About’, that’s not a serious one. It says it all in the title. That’s an easy one to pick out. There wasn’t much of a statement to be made.” Quietly swelling in the oceanic density of the musical world, Drenge are undoubtedly going to be the band to watch. Having loved Tower Records whilst in Dublin and proclaiming, “I’ll definitely be going back there,” it is advised to begin camping out on Wicklow Street to catch Loveless in person while you can.
The three members of The Original Rudeboys chat to Sean Hayes about YouTube beginnings, solid gold iPhones and Dolly Parton
Dublin natives Sean Arkins, Robert Burch and Sean Walsh, collectively known as The Original Rudeboys, are under no illusions that they have risen from humble beginnings to making quite a name for themselves in Ireland and Great Britain. From posting homemade videos on YouTube to opening for The Script, the trio have created their own success through a lot of hard work, with some deserved luck along the way. Playing the Introducing Stage at Reading in August 2011, they met producer Jake Gosling. “The guy was actually in the crowd, heard us, liked us, produced our first album and now is helping us finish our second album,” says Burch. Talking about their rapid success, Burch says, “The performances, really were the ones in the Olympia that really hit me as being ‘We can go somewhere from this.’“ The band members collectively agree that they are grateful for all their success, but are still holding out for more, as Arkins attests they won’t stop “until we’re sitting on top of a big mountain in a villa with bevies of women.” Burch cuts across, “That’s the pinnacle point, so when you’ve got a solid gold iPhone & a villa on top of a mountain.”
There’s a guitar riff in a Dolly Parton song, and it’s the best guitar solo I’ve ever heard in my life
The trio, however, are not keen to forget about their roots, even with Walsh already having some strange fan experiences. “These girls once knocked at my house door, I was living with my Ma at the time. I turned up at the door just in my jocks, thinking it was my auntie or someone. I open the door, in my jocks and I had to go get my Ma to go say I wasn’t in, after me answering the door almost in the nip.” Talking about growing up in inner city Dublin, Burch explains, “We always set out to write about where we came from, not to glamorise it, but in a way to give it a reality. As fact, this is what we’re about.” There is nothing conventional about The Original Rudeboys it seems. They can be quite profound and also take their fans by surprise. Arkins offers a slightly unexpected answer in terms of his childhood influences, crediting country western music as his first musical experience. “There’s a guitar riff in a Dolly Parton song, and it’s the best guitar solo I’ve ever heard in my life.” Adding to this, Burch jokes, “I like to think of myself as the Irish Dolly Parton” YouTube and the use of the internet as a means of connecting
with fans has been at the core of the band’s success since the beginning. Arkins gags that Burch would be “dying a slow death on the hip-hop scene” had the group not posted their videos on YouTube. “It was just the reaction we got from that online. That’s when we started thinking, ‘Okay, there’s something here, let’s take it seriously,’“ says Burch. But he does admit that it’s “a bit of a pain” not being able to share everything with the fans straight away. “We really want to just tell everyone about our new stuff.”
Keeping fans up to date is clearly important to the band as they reveal their busy schedule to Otwo. “We’re going back to London for the last two weeks in November, to finish off the album,” says Walsh. “We’ll be there when our latest single ‘Never Gonna Walk Away’ is going to be released, so obviously we’ll be pushing that and hope people will support it as much as the first.” With such productivity, these Irish Dolly Partons are showing the best way to make a living.
San Fermin San Fermin
Sky Ferreira Night Time, My Time
With her debut LP, Night Time, My Time, Sky Ferreira sets out to score the 80s teen movie of her dreams. After lingering for some time and presenting two EPs over two years, her full-length record lounged in development hell as recording seemed to stall. This free time allowed Ferreira space to establish herself as a person of interest in the fashion world, churning out more music videos with famed photographers than tracks with producers. Night Time, My Time arrives as a humble 45 minutes of frothy, grunge influenced synth pop, beginning with feel good anthem ‘Boys’ and concluding with the gloomy anticlimax of the records’ titular track. Up-tempo numbers like ‘I Will’ and ‘Heavy Metal Heart’ punctuate this collection of angsty, mellow fillers. Lead track ‘You’re Not the One’ is leagues ahead of the rest of the record. The track is easily the only effort here that can level with Ferreira’s earlier offerings, particularly last year’s standout single ‘Everything is Embarrassing.’ Nevertheless, fans of her fine-tuned aesthetic and sultry, cool vocals will most likely be pleased with the saccharine and disorganised nature of songs like ‘Kristine’ and ‘I Blame Myself’; the latter appropriately foreshadowing Ferreira’s arrest for possession the week of the album’s release. New listeners may be best advised to take this LP track by track. In A Nutshell The devil is in the details for Night Time, My Time. While it is at times an underwhelming debut, Ferreira consistently proves that you can’t keep good pop down Laura Bell
Veiled under the moniker of San Fermin, Yale graduate Ellis Ludwig-Leone decided to follow up his degree with the grand score of his debut, San Fermin. Collaborating with 20 other musicians, the result is a sweeping orchestral movement. Commencing with the embellished baroque of ‘Renaissance!’, what follows is a coherent flow of interlaced pieces. Transitions between songs are seamless, aided by delicate interludes. The silvery harmonies of sopranos dance through ‘Lament for V.G.’, while the slurred cacophony of ‘At Night, True Love’ blends into the recurring harsh dissonance of ‘The Count’. Clocking in at almost an hour long, San Fermin is bursting with complexity. A mixture of chamber indie-pop and a symphonious swell as the overall sound is densely layered. Some tracks showcase the raw baritone of Allen Tate with cadences that are eerily reminiscent of The National’s Matt Berninger. Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, the duo otherwise known as Lucius, take the reins on brighter moments, injecting the album with a sweet hit of pop. The alternating lead vocalists allow a melodic conversation to play out, as a fragmented narrative of love and anxiety weaves through this vaguely conceptual album. Given the lack of a satisfying end to the ‘plot’, the listener’s appetite is left sated, but unsatisfied. Ludwig-Leone has crafted his own brand of lyricism that is both steeped in maturity and atypical of a naïve, love-stricken youth. This is given apt expression through his ardent and emotionally driven compositions.
Texas experimental rock quartet White Denim’s last two outings, Last Day of Summer and D, felt spur of the moment with unusual song structures and ramped genre hopping. In Corsicana Lemonade, however, there is a clear turn to streamlined radio hits. Think The Allman Brothers with some White Stripes fuzz splashed all over it. ‘At Night in Dreams’ is a strong opener, guitar-driven with plenty of distorted grit that immediately snatches your attention. Title track ‘Corsicana Lemonade’ draws heavily from the band’s Texan roots, with a country hoedown rhythm and twang to the guitars. But true to their unusual style, the vocals are Alex Turnerinspired falsetto completely subverting expectations. The trip that is ‘Limited by Stature’ conjures up images of strawberry fields, bizarre fractals and a sense of free-love and paranoia. A wa-wa laden guitar mixed with a funky bass and drumbeat dominate this track, which is easily one of best descriptions of the band’s sound. Yet, the album doesn’t quite keep the momentum going. Apart from ‘Pretty Green’, one of the more classic rock tracks, the second half of the album fails to deliver. While the songs are pleasing, they just don’t capture the energy of the first half. Closer to this idea is ’A Place to Start’, which has a smooth jazz feel but would be more suited in an ad for Herbal Essences than here.
In A Nutshell From boisterous crescendos to honeyed lullabies, San Fermin is a debut that flourishes in its ambition
In A Nutshell White Denim’s soaring radiofriendly new sound just doesn’t have the legs to quite carry through the whole album
In A Nutshell Flippant at times, but all in all a promising collection of tunes from a young musician exploring his influences
Aaron JS Murphy
White Denim Corsicana Lemonade
It’s quite difficult to refer to the 19-year-old Jake Bugg without comparing him to pop heartthrob Paolo Nutini. Each artist has released two good albums at a young age, with the first works being superior to its successor. That is not to say Jake Bugg has landed into the slavishly referenced pitfall of “second album syndrome.” Shangri La takes off true to Bugg’s beginnings. ‘Beast and We All Feed It’ is a foot stomping, street smart, country/rock ’n’ roll tune, followed by three more tenatious country/rock numbers. This results in a sonic dynamo akin to throwing Johnny Cash, early Arctic Monkeys and Oasis material into a blender. Luckily, this does not come out as the processed mess one might expect, as Bugg’s unique style and vocal range radiates throughout. As the album progresses, it begins to lose the focus on the world that his first album, Jake Bugg, had in abundance. The later songs such as ‘Kitchen Table’ seems to be Bugg daydreaming and instead of sounding arty, as it would on a Steely Dan album, it comes off as unfocused and distracted. This is not to say there aren’t a few stand alone greats there either. ‘Me And You’ and ‘Messed Up Kids’ are reminiscent of the Allman Brothers Band in their style, but are very clearly Bugg’s own interpretation and are wonderful pieces of work.
Living out of suitcases Thinking about life on the road as a musician, Orla Gartland writes about missing the luxuries at home and looking for that place to call her own in London
Radar— Me and My Dog Luke Healy of Me and My Dog talks to Orla McEvoy about the coastal anthems and their rather unusual name
I come home to Dublin and need a few days to remind myself that I have my own bed and there’s a dishwasher and a couch I can sprawl across
Having your own space is underrated. So, for the last five months or so I’ve been, well, all over the place really. I find myself traveling primarily between Dublin, London and Bristol. I’ve been lucky enough to tour and play in cities all over the UK and Ireland, with some European pit stops thrown in for good measure. I guess the lifestyle of someone making the transition from Leaving Cert student to full-time musician involves a lot of boarding passes, train tickets and a highly refined skill for packing your entire life into hand luggage. I love it though, I really do. When I first set out on my travels in June, I spoke to a friend about how I planned to sofa surf and stay with friends for the summer months. What she said always stuck with me; she said that traveling around like that must make someone feel very “free.” She was right, at first it did. A couple of months down the line, however, and I’ve begun to see the cracks in such a lifestyle. Living out of a suitcase isn’t ideal for someone
who likes their shirts crease-free. But more importantly, as someone who likes to really think, I find it pretty difficult to be so unsettled. I’m struggling to gather my thoughts, I feel like I’m losing some along the way, leaving them scattered across the map. I come home to Dublin and need a few days to remind myself that I have my own bed and there’s a dishwasher and a couch I can sprawl across; simple luxuries I’ll never again take for granted. A family household seems like a well-oiled, smooth-running machine; the loo roll constantly and silently restocked, always enough milk in the fridge. Effortless. Now don’t get me wrong, I love music. I feel sickeningly lucky to get a real shot at it and I wouldn’t trade that in for anything. I’m forever indebted to my friends. They have let me inhabit their spare bed/sofa/floor over the last few months, but I guess there comes a time where you feel like you’ve outstayed your welcome, and you best be on your way. However, days off are no fun when you have to
spend them sat in Costa. So, it was time to make plans. January 2014, a move to London. I’ve spent the last few days reluctantly trawling through online resources to find a room to call my own, to find like-minded flatmates that might tolerate a ginger. It’s early days yet, but the search is proving difficult. Let’s scroll through the ads. “Looking for pretty faced, fun-lovin’ female for room share with mature gent.” No. Another tenant advertises a South London flat as “spacious, a 5 minute walk from KFC.” The mind flickers back to a classic episode of Friends where Joey searches for a “non-smoker, non-ugly” roommate. What am I getting myself in for? I will conquer. I will stick to my guns and continue my search, avoiding ads from creepy old men and those who choose words like “crazy party animal” to describe themselves, for at the end of it all lies somewhere to call my own. Nothing fancy, just a cosy little Orla space. A room I can deck out in fairy lights and Harry Potter bedclothes, the literal dream.
Every dog has its day, and maybe this band’s day is just over the horizon. Me and My Dog, founded by Luke Healy, Josh Noone, Tim O’Reilly and Austen Smith in Westport during the summer of 2013, may be just another band that falls into the Irish indie scene, but have their own unique vibe that tries to warm the hearts of listeners. Lead vocalist Healy explains that the band “attempt to create the kind of good vibes and fuzzy pop to soundtrack long drives along coastal roads in search of glorious action packed summer days that invariably just end in cans by the canal.” Studying music in college, Healy was required to submit musical assignments that included writing and recording demos. Smith, who just finished a music technology course, helped him to record these demos. From the band’s point of view, it was only a matter of time before Me and My Dog materialised fully. Individually the band all hail from music-savvy families, with both O’Reilly and Smith’s fathers being “dynamite fiddle players,” according to Healy. As well as this, the band brings together a nice blend of musical influences that are reflected in their music. “Growing up, I listened to loads of pop-punk stuff; lots of bands like Weezer and Pavement. Tim’s an enormous Bob Dylan fan, Josh hasn’t left his room since Lou Reed died and Austen’s mad into bluesy rock stuff; he fancies Jack White.” Healy continues, “Josh is in 4th year NCAD doing ceramics, which has brought a level of artistic wizardry to the band through his vast technical know-how and guitar skills.” The four had actually been playing music together long before the project ever began officially. “Mostly stuff like small town pub gigs and 18th birthdays consisting of three hour sets of just the worst covers imaginable.” During this time they played under a number of guises including Neck Piss and Indigo Plateau, before settling on Me and My Dog. Healy picked this odd name to avoid being seen as “Luke Healy, another singer/songwriter type” despite the fact a pet dog is something he’s never had, “which is dreadfully sad.” Aside from the confusing origins of the band name, Healy and Me and My Dog have a lot to look forward to with regards to their prospects. The band are going to be releasing a split cassette with Popical Island and Galway band, Oh Boland, in April. Healy says that this came about “through a fair amount of luck,” but it is apparent that the singer rebukes with a hint of modesty. With a sense of grounding that can go a long way in the music industry these days and a special ability to touch the hearts of their fans with warm melodies, Me and My Dog are the fresh and infectious addition to Irish music. So, if you like “poppy chord progression and a dorky little riffs” and find yourself taking long coastal drive, Me and My Dog are the band for you. Me and My Dog are playing Sweeney’s Bar, Dame Street on Tuesday 26th of November at 8.30pm and you can find more about the band at facebook.com/MeAndMyDogg
Studying Sociology & Economics Wearing: Shirt – Vintage shop, Shoes – Nike, trousers – Penneys, Knitted Jumper – River Island, bag – bought at a reggae festival in California. Style Inspiration: London street style. Biggest bargain: An oversized shirt from Fresh Temple Bar for €15. Most expensive purchase: Barber jacket €200.
1 Stefano Forti Studying: Computer Science Wearing: Shoes – Clarks, Trousers – Sisley Jumper – Decathlon, Scarf – Penneys, Hat – Penneys Fashion Influences: Armani
2 Amy Garland Studying: International Languages Wearing: Shoes – Office, Bag – French Market Jeans – Bershka, Cardigan – Urban Outfitters Jumper – Penneys, Shirt – H&M Fashion Influence: Comfort
3 Wendy Wan Studying: Commerce Wearing: Shoes – 5plus, Shirt – COS, Cardigan – COS Belt – 5plus, Necklace – Hello Kitty, Bag – Piero Goria Fashion Influence: Comfort
4 Lou Matas Studying: Law Wearing: Jeans – Bershka, Jackets – Canadian Goose Bag – Accessorize, scarf – Iledere, Hat – Baths, Shoes – Vans Fashion Influence: Forever 21
5 Louisa Hallowed Studying: Law Wearing: Shoes – Doc Martens, Coat – Mango Jumper – Penneys, Trousers – H&M Fashion Influences: Topshop
A festive alternative Christine Beaded Bag – Penneys – €15.00 Heels – Penneys – €22.00 Midi Skirt – Asos – €33.00 Top – Shutterbug – €39.00 Bracelet – Penneys – €6.00 Vintage Belt – Shotsy – €30.00 Sinead Skirt – River Island – €33.00 Top – Penneys – €5.00 Harness – River Island – €45.00 Clutch – Penneys – €9.00 Wedges – River Island – €75.00
Sinead Bag – River Island – €25.00 Wedges – River Island – €75.00 Earrings – River Island – €13.00 Jumpsuit – Dublin Vintage Factory – €22.00 Necklace – Dublin Vintage Factory – €25.00 Belt – Shotsy – €40.00
With Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations around the corner, there is that burning desire to stock up on that overpriced American Apparel LBD. This token addition that at least one other girl in nightclub is going to be wearing should be warning enough for you
to see that it’s time to try another option. This season has some exciting alternatives to offer. Wide-legged jumpsuits, unstructured silhouettes and avant-garde (body) jewellery will certainly ensure that you’re not caught wearing the same generic look during that tense midnight countdown. The 70s-inspired flared jumpsuit is certainly taking runways by storm this season, as seen on DVF catwalks as well as front lining Topshop Boutique shows. The jumpsuit offers the convenience of being a one-piece, ready-made outfit in itself, whilst being really easy to wear. Unless you’ve been living the life of a hermit crab these past few years, then you’ll undoubtedly know that the Christmas party season isn’t fulfilled unless that one sequined piece of clothing makes an appearance out of your wardrobe, even if it is solely in the name of festivity. Fear not, sequins don’t always look tacky and distasteful. For all you vintage-hoarders out there, you’ll already know that Shutterbug vintage offer a beautifully eclectic array of unique one-off pieces, such
as this art-deco inspired sequinned piece featured in the shoot. By taking centre stage of any outfit through its bespoke and aesthetic design along with magnificent colours, any sequinned beauty like this can easily be paired with a simple neutral-coloured pair of tailored shorts, fitted trouser or a simple midi skirt, as shown here from ASOS. The sheer paneling of the skirt offers a lustful edge to an otherwise modest outfit, making it perfect for Christmas work parties this season. The fitted nature of this skirt contrasted with the loose and unstructured fit of the sequinned top encompasses a sublimely unconventional look that is suited to those looking for a slightly more subversive get-up this party season. Surely, an outfit isn’t complete without some subtle (or maybe outlandish) accessorising, right? Maybe you only want the bare necessity of a clutch bag during a festive night out, or maybe it’s something more eye-catching; like this gold River Island body harness to hone all the attention. Either way, neither option means you have to break the bank. This feathered clutch bag from Penneys
Fionnula Head Scarf – Lush – €5 Gold Tone Heart Stud Hoop Earrings – River Island – €10.00 Gold Watch – River Island – €33.00 Arrow Midi-Ring – Topshop – €6.50 Midi Gold Rings – Topshop – €6.50 Gold Chain – Rhinestones – €45.00 The Winter Pudge
The end of Movember can only mean one thing, very well-established moustaches Mmmmmm, very wellestablished facial hair. #noapachepizzafacefuzztnx
Substituting hot chocolate for alcohol these past few weeks has made your liver feel a little less hurt, but the extra layer of padding hasn’t made you feel any better. The coat inside your body does wonders for keeping you warm, it doesn’t look the best in a bodycon #unfortch
Not happening in this weather, kant barely kope with getting changed let alone waiting around for ten minutes for the gunk to dry #paleandveryuninteresting
Hanging around this end of the style barometer for another while at least, very good for disguising winter pudge too. #winwin #FU2for€1squaresbars Wooly Hats
Also a handy tool for camouflaging, this time it’s greasy hair #ImreallycleanIswear will set you back less than a Long Island Ice Tea and this body harness will surely fulfill its cost-per-wear ideals as it is an endlessly versatile accessory. This piece can easily be layered over bodycon dresses, slinky playsuits, cropped jumpers and even over fitted blazers for something a little more unexpected. Sequins and shiny gold body jewellery are the essential additions for this festive period. Don’t be afraid to try something alternative and ditch the safe look to ensure you’re looking more vogue than vixen this festive Christmas season. Sarah O’Shea
Christine Top – River Island – €60.00 Trousers – River Island – €45.00 Heels – River Island – €45.00 Gold Earrings – Aldo – €9.00 Feather Bag – Penneys – €9.00 Christmas Shopping
Cold outside, coat on. Warm in shop, coat off. Oh another shop, cold, coat on. Warm, so warm in shop, jumper off coat off. Tepid, coat on. Sweating, coat off. #Ssrly? Models Sinead Quigley & Christine Mangan MUA Alex Valentine & Ciara Hyland ‘’Make Up by Ciara’’ Chief Stylist Christin McWeeney Photographer James Healy
Earphones in the Library
Cropped jeans and socks
Take off your massive stupid barrels around your ears, your Mam keeps ringing you. #justgohomeandwatchDowntonAbbey
No, no no, no, no, no! This doesn’t work. #frostyankles Emily Mullen
Culture Woulfe—Irish Museum of Modern Art—
Eileen Gray: Architect Designer Painter Reflecting on her recent visit to the Eileen Gray: Architect Designer Painter, Laura Woulfe gives the most talked about exhibit of the year her stamp of approval
Eileen Gray was one of Ireland’s most successful and influential designers. Gray, who was reared in Wicklow, defied the traditional path for Irish women in the early 20th century, one primarily based on finding a suitable husband, instead moving to Paris to open her own furniture shop; the Galerie Jean Desert. She later became closely acquainted with prominent architectural modernists like Jean Badovici and Le Corbusier. While all of this information features in the exhibition, the main
focus is primarily on Gray’s role as an architect, a designer and a painter. One of the rooms is completely designated to show Gray’s use of lacquer in her furniture and the way that she mastered the lacquer technique in a completely unrivalled manner. The exhibition focuses on this early aspect of her work in order to emphasise Gray as the patient and diligent designer that she was, as a documentary shows the complexities of lacquer design and the painstaking process it requires. Also housed at the exhibition are models of the famous Villa E1027, which Gray collaborated on with Badovici, as well as her last home, Villa Lou Perou near Saint-Tropez. The exhibition shows plans and drawings connected with both of these villas as well as the furniture created by Gray for the interiors. Gray’s homes, both in their architectural and interior design, became her most praised works and her iconic furniture, such as the Adjustable Table and the Bibendum Chair, are exhibited next to images and videos of the furniture in situ in Gray’s home. The layout of the exhibition has been designed chronologically which, considering Gray’s development from modest furniture designer to
acknowledged architect, is particularly effective. This said, the positioning of the rooms alongside Corridors 1, 2 & 3 are somewhat unclear and after walking through rooms 1, 2, 3 & 4 as suggested, one must backtrack to view the works exhibited in Corridor 1, which disturbs the flow of the exhibition somewhat, conflicting with the open plan and uncluttered architecture of Gray herself. Overall however, the exhibition is fascinating and houses a particularly commendable collection that certainly does the wonderful Ms Gray justice. One of the most interesting touches to the exhibition is arguably the sheer amount of 20th century review articles of the designer. All with conflicting opinions, some are in awe and others sceptical of this powerful Irish woman’s artistic abilities. The reviews allow the visitor a chance to gauge the artist’s work in the moment rather than purely historically, and upon reflection, it would definitely be a welcome addition to most exhibitions set up to showcase the life work of any artist. Eileen Gray: Architect Designer Painter in the Irish Museum of Modern Art has an admission fee of €5 but is free for students, and closes 19th January
The poster boy Drew Struzan speaks to Ian Mulholland about his artistic passions and his seminal film posters
Although his name is not on the tip of everyone’s tongue, Drew Struzan is an artist that most people are unknowingly aware of. Recognisable for his iconic posters for films such as Star Wars and Pan’s Labyrinth, Struzan is primarily driven by his passions for art rather than cinema. “For me, art is a visual experience and it is basically an emotional connection. Art can, in its power, touch a person’s heart, inspiring him, motivating, impelling, opening up… it can be very, very powerful,” Struzan explains. While visual art does represent a more powerful experience for Struzan, when talking about what motivated him to create film posters rather than focusing solely on fine art, Struzan replies candidly, “The shortest path to a bite of food was to do something commercial.” This short-term approach to
getting food on his plate ended up as four decades in the film industry, which have certainly proved to be fulfilling. “I’ve always loved art and I never questioned or thought of doing anything but art. So, did I enjoy painting and illustrating? Of course I did. “I always loved it and, as far as getting into the movie industry, somebody doesn’t trust you with their money to make something unless you’ve done it for somebody else previously and proved that you could do it and were worthy of their faith in you.”
Struzan, however, didn’t happen Wars. His poster is reportedly one of across this career in film, as he points George Lucas’ favourites and Struzan out that his break into film posters has worked on many of his films since. came about through the impressive “I’ve worked with George Lucas album cover work he’d been doing, since 1977 and we get along famously. notably the cover for Alice Cooper’s In fact our personality is extremely Welcome to my Nightmare. “Somebody similar, and he’s invented a new in the movie industry saw the language for the world in what he did.” portraiture and the work and said ‘boy, That personality shines through this guy could make a good movie in much of Struzan’s work. “I always poster artist.’” try to make any picture a positive Struzan’s first iconic poster came statement rather than a negative one. about in this way in 1977 when There’s so much dark-motivated art Charles White III, impressed with his out there today; death and murder and portraiture, invited him to collaborate horrible stuff. Mine always wants to on the poster for the release of Star sing of peace and kindness and beauty
and the power that’s in it is the power of love, rather than the power of death.” Even though his artwork doesn’t gain him recognition with adoring fans and is more instantly recognisable as part of the Star Wars brand, Struzan doesn’t crave the attention. “In the end you really want other people to be moved. People don’t know who I am, particularly, but they love the work!” Struzan’s iconic works continue to adorn the walls of countless generations and his attitude to the pleasure of providing art for the sake of art is certainly refreshing in an industry built around fame.
Fatal Fourway Best Non Sherlock Holmes TV detective
Need a mystery solved? Can’t afford Sherlock Holmes even though he’s in the public domain? Thankfully, the Fatal Fourway are on hand to give you some alternatives...
Adam West’s Batman Jack Walsh
Jessica Fletcher – Murder She Wrote Will Smith – I, Robot Laura Bell
The Scooby-Doo Gang Steven Balbirnie
Shark repellent Bat-spray. Four words in the English language that alone mean nothing. When combined and when drooled out of the mouth of the world’s greatest detective, they become the ultimate detective weapon. With Adam West as Batman, you are kept on the edge of your seat, while also left wondering if he is actually taking this seriously? Look into that man’s eyes; you never know what he’s going to do next. In terms of pure excitement factor, no detective hits harder than TV’s Batman. His punches cause physical descriptions to pop out of nowhere: Ka-Example! Compared to the competition on this page of anti-Sherlock detectives, he is bat-head, bat-shoulders, bat-knees, and bat-toes above the rest. Will Smith was cool in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but seeing him in I, Robot would have made Isaac Asimov repeatedly turn in his grave. Also, Adam West doesn’t need any robotic enhancements to improve his physique *taps chest* ‘Pure West.’ Jessica Fletcher may have been a solid choice, but did she have a fourteen-year-old in multi-coloured spandex follow her around? Holy inferiority Batman! Those meddling kids may have been hip, but I don’t remember them ever actually solving a mystery that couldn’t be solved in the opening scene. Those kids may have some slick moves, but nobody beats the Batman.
As much as I’d like to say that I didn’t pick Jessica Fletcher from Murder She Wrote as my candidate for this round of everybody’s favourite pop-cultural, faux-sexual newspaper column, I did in fact just pick her, because I have no taste. But who needs taste when you live in Cabot Cove, anyway? It’s the town that both fashion and logic forgot. In 14 years of the compelling mystery series, Cabot Cove raked up the highest murder rate per head of population in both real and fictional realms. At 1,490 murders per million, about 60% more murders take place in Cabot Cove under the watch of Jessica Fletcher than in Honduras, the actual murder capitol of the world. And in those 14 years, not a single stylish garment was worn. This is an incredible feat for any fictional detective, most of whom wouldn’t have to deal with the bi-monthly deaths of all their old friends, or at the very least, not without a swanky trenchcoat to sleuth around and/or grieve in. But not ol’ J. Fletch, dat bitch on the level, championing a solid philosophy of friends before trends, she ain’t nobody’s fool. Tune in to any channel on any day around noon for more.
If my choice of the Will Smith character in I, Robot, as the greatest detective of all time seems somewhat random, I advise you to google the terms “Will Smith shirtless.” The search results should clear up any confusion. And while you can trust that I indeed know that I’ve already won this argument, I’m going to carry on, driving my point home. It’s a Socratic method. Will Smith, or as he is adorably called here, Del Spooner, is a dangerously driving, robot-mistrusting angel on earth who is simply out to solve crime using, of course, his ultra cool robotic arm and irrepressible crime fighting instincts. Faced with a world of adversity and the possible loss of life and/or mechanised limb, Spooner stays cool. His name may imply cuddles, but his will is strong. If you’ve been thus far denied the sensually profound I, Robot experience, I have good news. If you simply leave your television tuned to Film4 for a week, you will mostly likely be given the opportunity to view this fine piece of cinematic art a minimum of 21 times, which is just about enough artificial intelligence to make Descartes roll right out of his robot-hating grave. In conclusion, I present you with the immortal words of this true noir hero. “This relationship just can’t work. I mean, you’re a cat, I’m black, and I’m not gonna be hurt again.”
Need a mystery solved? Why get only one detective when you can have the world’s most elite detective team on the case? Since 1969, Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Norville ‘Shaggy’ Rogers and Scooby-Doo have been at the cutting edge of their profession; while also spectacularly defying the aging process. With a dapper sense of fashion and a sweet van, these intrepid, perpetual teenagers have taken it on themselves to solve every supernatural crime they can find. A niche detective market perhaps, but they’re the best at what they do. Now maybe a lot of their detective work does seem to just boil down to profiling suspects, but even if all those creepy old men weren’t necessarily the perpetrators, aren’t we all safer thanks to the ScoobyDoo gang keeping them off our streets? Of course we are. The gang’s 100% record speaks for itself. Whether it’s a ghost clown or a wolf man, the gang always catches the criminal. Considering they’re a bunch of semi-stoned hippies and a talking Great Dane, they’re putting the police force to shame. If you think about it, they would’ve gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.
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photo of the week Why I haven't emigrated: to see Bono exposed as a revenueevading rat in the grass on most Dublin streets. A nearby James Murphy emanates sobering disapproval, restoring our faith in everything good and pure