Monday, 26 September 2011

THROWING UP Interview


Throwing Up are a band worth your attention, they are also a band worth emailing, if you want short and sweet answers to some burning questions of yours. Secret Admirer got to know them, through email, in a similar way to internet dating. But far less creepy.


Why did you choose to call your band Throwing Up?

No idea, it just happened, it's a pretty sick name for a band.

How and why was the band formed?

Ben’s wife asked us to help him get involved in more feminine activities since he was too much of a bro. Now he loves Corrie. And Hole. Ok, the Hole bit’s a lie.

How do you go about writing songs?

We get in a bad mood about something then sit in our bedrooms moaning until it becomes a song, we record demos like this on Garageband and send them to each other all the time. Sometimes we forget all about them for a month or so and then we'll be playing a show and the day before we're like ‘wasn't there a song that would be perfect for this show?’. So then we'll work it out in soundcheck and it becomes a Throwing Up song.

Does it help your band reach more people by being based in London?

I guess it must be easier than if you lived somewhere with no music scene, but then there's so many bands here, and so many shows going on every night, I think you get more support if you  live somewhere smaller. It's great when we play shows in the venues that we actually hang out in, then all our friends come down and it's super fun, that's probably more important to us than reaching a larger amount of people.

Do you feel like you are rebelling against anything with your music?

Not really. We make music for fun and as long as it’s fun we'll make music. 

What's the best gig you have played so far?

Supporting Off! and playing at Primavera and SXSW. Except we were totally out of our minds for the whole of SXSW, not so much a great gig but a great excuse to get wasted in Texas.

Do you have any weird fans yet?

We have some really sweet fans, I don't think there's anyone that weird though.

Do you think the Internet is good or bad for music?

This is such an impossible question, it's bad if non-commercial musicians can't make money from music anymore because then there will be less choice out there and less interesting new music, but it's great that smaller bands can get their music out to the world without having to get scouted so ultimately it's both good and bad.

Are there any other bands that you like playing gigs with?

We have to say Cerebral Ballzy because they're the cutest, watching them play puts me in hysterics, Black Lips are totally fun but as soon as Jared and Ben get together he'll disappear and lose his mind. Also the shows we played this weekend with Melvana and Death Grips were unhinged!

What are your plans in terms of releasing your music? And what can people already get their hands on?

We're putting out our next single "Mother Knows Best" on What's Your Rupture, then I think we might do an EP, we've got all these ballads that we want to record.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

NOWA HUTA Interview


Secret Admirer hooked up with Nowa Huta through social networking.
Secret Admirer got with the times.

Two things you can do whilst reading this interview:
1) Learn how to pronounce Nowa Huta.
2) Enjoy the visuals that Nowa Huta provided for this post.






















Why did you choose the name Nowa Huta?

We were there when we decided to make tunes. I would recommend everyone visit it once, (though after a day we desperately wanted to get out and for a while it seemed like we never would.) Anyway, it's grey and drab and full of tension and alleyways that you feel you could disappear down forever. It is also a historical anomaly, which has recently woken up to the fact. We've never felt like such obvious tourists. It is pronounced “NO-VUH HOOH-TAH”.

How would you describe your music?
It's essentially warped dance music revolving around longing and loss. The absent object. The failure to truly love. The trap of obsession. The way we map these feelings onto the shapes of the city landscape around us.

What made you want to make music?

Being obsessed with music ourselves. One of the real powers of sound to us is in its directness - its emotive qualities can be interpreted intuitively without any need for contextualization. I guess that potency combined with the desire to express something of ourselves is what draws us to making music. Also there's nothing else going on in our lives.


Do you think that adding a bit of mystique and not giving too much away about yourselves adds to the general vibe of your music or is it a more personal choice?

It’s a simple, personal choice for us - but it's not really a big deal. Anonymous bedroom producers are ten a penny right now, so hopefully this isn't the most interesting thing about NH. :)We don't want to push some kind of corny deliberately mysterious thing out there...but we're just not into using our faces to promote something at the moment. I guess we're keeping things hazy and side-stepping a clear or easily-graspable visual aesthetic for the time being just for the sake of our own sanities.


What inspires your sound?

We don't write about actual incidents in our lives or specific topics. As previously mentioned, this abstract emotional memory revolving around desire and loss is what we're driven to try and capture. It’s like shining a chink of light on something monolithic to reveal just a single element of its shape. Each fragment is a different tune. Hopefully, when so many fragments are put next to each other, people will be able to see something like the whole shape.


Do you think the internet is good or bad for music?
Both. Our experience of checking out new music is not rooted in waiting for and seeking out a tangible, physical object anymore, and that dissociation encourages us to treat music as more and more disposable I think... a lot of the mystery has been sucked out merely by music becoming as readily available as it is, and I think we're generally less reverent about it now because there's always another 10 new mixtapes to listen to or whatever.. But at the same time, there is so much great stuff around right now, and obviously the Internet is the most sophisticated tool to efficiently deliver all that new shit to you. Certainly we're very thankful for it and dependent on it in terms of how we listen to and make music... so the good and the not-so-good sides are a necessary trade-off I guess.

Where can people get hold of your music?


We got a few remixes being released and a few new tunes out on mixtapes soon.
Holler at us here:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nowa-Huta/147049029653 for links to that.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

WEIRD DREAMS Interview


Secret Admirer fell head over heels for Weird Dreams after reading about them in Loud And Quiet magazine. After hassling lead singer Doran through the medium of email, he found time to answer our burning questions whilst putting the final touches to his band's debut LP.


Where did the name Weird Dreams come from?

Doran : Weird Dreams came from the song 'Little Girl' off our first EP. I've always had very vivid dreams that have been good and bad, but they've always been a big part of my life. Weird Dreams has no negative connotations as a phrase and so we really liked it's ambiguity. That and it felt like it summed up the bands sound and lyrical content perfectly!

Why did you form the band together?

Me and Craig (drums) bonded over The Beach Boys and David Lynch whilst working in a vintage clothes shop and we had a similar background of punk rock, metal and tattoos. It just felt right to start something. I wrote the first EP which we rehearsed as a two piece, recorded it to tape with Rory Atwell in one day and released it on Craig's Sleep All Day Records imprint Sleepy King Cassettes.We got Hugo in to play bass and then James on 2nd guitar 6 months later. As on writing the 2nd EP 'Hypnagogic Lullaby' I felt like there was a development that needed more melodic depth and scope.

Do you feel like you are rebelling against anything as a band?

No.


Where does the inspiration for your lyrics come from?

I think most of my lyrics tend to be a cathartic cataloging of events, a need to diarise and process things.


What has been the best live show you have played so far?
I think it's kind of like saying "what was the best day of your life?". There's been lots of great shows for us as a band, a few not so great, but the best ones have been for who we've supported rather than our actual show. Playing with Women for our 3rd show ever was unreal. Probably one of the best live bands I've ever seen, and we were all big fans so it was an honor. We also recently played with The Fresh & Onlys at The Lexington and they are such nice dudes! We're also big fans of theirs so it was just such a pleasure to play with a band as prolific, ernest and awesome as them!

What music have you released so far, and what are your plans for future releases?
In July 2010 we released a 4 track cassette EP on Sleepy King Cassettes. In November 2010 we were on a split 7" with Total Slacker which Marshall Teller records put out in March 2011. We released another 4 track EP on vinyl through Sleep All Day Records, and on cassette through Suplex Cassettes. We have the first 7" of our new album coming out on October 31st through Tough Love Records. Then Tough Love will also be releasing our album 'Choreography' in January 2012.

What do you want people to get from listening to your music?

That's something you can't think about. You just have to make it the way it needs to be for you, and then if people like it, hate it, have sex to it, or whatever, then it's out of your hands.

For someone who hasn't heard your music before, what can they expect?

Blue Velveteen Psych pop.

How has the internet helped you as a band?
The same way it has helped most people in the modern world!

What bands inspire you to make music?

This is a good question. I am strongly against bands who's sound is singularly derivative and I think the mystery of not quite being able to pinpoint what something is is really what makes you fall in love with something you're hearing for the first time. Inspiration, instead of influence is important to bare in mind as not all inspirations are musical. The main inspirations of the band are The Beach Boys and David Lynch. Both for their use of textures and Brian Wilson and David Lynch's strong senses of vision. Me and Craig also started the band while we were obsessed with a 60's girl group called The Tammy's. Unlike so many of the girl groups of the time, there's something unsettling about their delivery, like it's not quite right and they sound a bit demented! And it was that feeling of it not quite sitting right that I recognised and loved about David Lynch's work also. You know, kind of pushing reality and cultural displacement .I'm also a big fan of 60's / 70's soul like Syl Johnson, O.V. Wright, Barbara Mason, Shirley Walton etc. And you probably wouldn't listen to Weird Dreams and instantly recognise any of those artists, but soul inspires me so much to just write as purely as possible. I also love using little musical motifs and putting them in different genres. You know, a beat here, or style of singing or chord progression. It's not about trying to replicate what exactly what you love about someone elses music.



Stream their new single 'Holding Nails' below:
http://soundcloud.com/tough-love/weird-dreams-holding-nails-1

Pre-order the single here, quick! Before they sell out like hot cakes!

Friday, 9 September 2011

LEE FRANCIS (ZOLA) Interview

Secret Admirer tracked down Lee Francis, the lead singer of Zola, back when we interviewed him however, his band was called Archives. So this is a blast from the past, please forgive us gracious reader. But then again, nostalgia is IN these days. Even Lee finds himself singing about the past.


How was your band Archives born into the world?
We’re all on a music course at University of Northampton and it basically happened through that. We all knew each other, we wanted to start a band and then we decided to…at first we were in like a, a couple of us were in sort of a, more in like a hardcore band. It kinda didn’t really happen. And then we moved on to something.
So you’re post-hardcore now?
Well, kind of, kinda like 90s emo I guess.  With a bit of, sort of, I like to call it noise pop. Yeah
So there was a definite musical direction you wanted to go in with this band?
In a way, yeah. Vocally I’m quite influenced by bands like Cap’n Jazz. But also by, I quite like, I like The Smiths quite a lot. And I quite like, erm, a lot of post-rock like Sigur-Ros. They’re one of my favourite bands. There is a lot more influencing us than comes across I guess.
They are your biggest influences then, Cap’n Jazz and Sigur-Ros…
There is more. I like a lot of what’s called folk music, singer/songwriter. I’m a big fan of Laura Marling and Damien Rice. I guess that doesn’t really show in our music as such. But I guess the biggest influence for me is probably Cap’n Jazz. Yeah I guess so.
Are you creatively influenced by anything other than music?
I haven’t really, well I’ve read obviously. I’ve read books that I think are really good and sort of, maybe indirectly inspired my lyric writing. A lot of my writing is almost like stream of consciousness, which is, apparently, I haven’t actually read any of Jack Kerouac’s stuff but apparently it’s quite similar to that sort of beat poetry kinda thing. As far as I’m aware. As far as I’ve been told. I don’t know.
Rumours.
Rumours. I’ve intended to read like On The Road and some of that kinda stuff. Just to see what’s there. But erm lyric wise, stream of consciousness stuff I really like. Cap’n Jazz do it quite a lot. Mention them again there. I like listening to a lot of post-rock stuff because the lyrics are quite nostalgia based I guess. Like M83, have you heard of them?
I have heard of them, but not heard them.
I really like some of theirs. They are lyrically quite sparse. But I quite like that sometimes. Often, erm, in previous bands I’ve been a bit critical of myself and like over-filling the songs with vocals. Sometimes it’s better to…
Repeat stuff.
Yeah and maybe like leave gaps and leave empty space with just the sound.
That’s cool.
I like to like, dance. Like Friendly Fires, if you watch them live. A lot of the time he’s just dancing round. And I just really like that.
The girls love that.
I don’t know about that. Maybe the girls do but it’s good to like. It’s more of an expression. You can shout your head off but you can also just move. It’s another outlet I guess. And er, I quite like Friendly Fires. They’re alright.
Is there a definite goal for the band or a direction you are trying to head in?
Obviously I’d like to do this full time I guess. But it’s not really easy is it. The music industry and all that. In terms of that I’d like to keep it going. I’ve got another year at Uni, so I’d like to see where we go. Keep playing shows and see what comes up.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Oh I don’t know. The best venue though…we played at Casbah in Coventry. As a venue it’s really nice and it sounds really good. But when we played, it was one of those shows before club nights. So people weren’t really there to see a band and so they sort of like. Well there was a few people round the bar, standing at the sides. So we played there, there wasn’t many. A dozen I guess.
One of Lee’s fans interrupts the interview to say: “Ahhh Lee! I’m going now. I’m going to Lava.” Lee promises to go to Nandos with them the next day and the interview carries on.
What was I saying? The venue is really nice, the sound guy is really good and in terms of sound it was one of the best we’ve played. The sound here (referring to The Labour Club) I really like. It’s alright. I really like playing at the Student’s Union. Mainly because we know everyone. And it’s almost like a safe venue. You can try out new things, you can just go a bit mental.
It seems like you always have a good crowd.
I don’t know what the best gig, erm, we played the S.U like ten days ago-ish and that was really good. You were there. You were there. I just really like that gig you know. That was a fun gig.
Well thanks Lee, cheers.
No more questions? How about erm…
Anything else you want to say?
I like your trousers. You should er, grow your hair a bit more and you’d look a bit like Morrissey. Everyone likes that. Well, I like that. My hair has grown a bit long now. I think I’m being called. I am. Thank you!

http://zola.bandcamp.com/

Photography By Jack Parker

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

CROWS Interview




Ross Alec Sharp/Singer : He has a dinosaur eating a house tattooed on his thigh.
He also punched a zombie who scared him in a haunted house.
The haunted house was in Universal Studios Barcelona, and the poor zombie had to stay in character.
Sean Francis Mulholland/Guitarist : He can recall the headliners of Reading and Leeds Festival from the year 2000 to present.
Andrew James Dylag/Guitarist : Known to friends as Paddy because apparently he looks Irish.
The nickname even made it onto the registers at his school.
Daniel Hall/Bassist : Known as Selfish Dan, Danny Tourette and Shanty Dan.
He became known as Selfish Dan because he was really pissed at Reading and Leeds festival, when he saw an Oxfam lady and thought she was collecting rubbish.
So he threw a bag of rubbish at her and shouted “avvv that you slaaag!”.
Samuel Lloyd Toms/Drummer : The middle man…of the human centipede.
And his Grandad was born in a tree.

Why did you choose the name Crows?
D.H : That was us, that was before Sam and Paddy joined. I don’t know actually.
R.S : We were looking for a literal sounding name.
D.H : We didn’t want something like Blood Red Vagina Sunset or something.

The whole gang erupt into laughter.
S.T : Although, I do like that name.
P.D : That’s the name of the record.
R.S : The name was kind of tongue in cheek Gothic.
D.H : It was a sort of take the piss, Goth type thing. Because Northampton is…there is never any punk bands. There are just metal bands and bands who want to be like Bring Me The Horizon.
R.S : We thought that if we had a darker name, people might turn up. Then we found out that there’s like ten, fifteen different bands called Crows all over the world.
S.M : The funniest thing is that when we played Leicester, they put an ‘E’ in it. So…
D.H : So it was like The Smiths, someone’s last name, but Crowes.
P.D : When we tell people our band name, people at work especially, they are like ‘what’s your band called?’ and then you are like ‘Crows’ and they are like ‘what? C-Crows?’. And it’s like ‘Crows as in bwark! Flap flap, flap flap flap!’. They are like ‘what, crows as in, the bird?’ and you are like ‘yeah’ and they are like ‘that’s really weird!’.
D.H : Yeah, I’ve got that, like ‘it’s really weird’. What? Atomic Kitten is not weird, but Crows is?
R.S : Coldplay, Coldplay doesn’t even make any fucking sense.
D.H : Kaiser Chiefs! What does that mean?
S.T : Jesus Of Spazereth.
R.S : Kaiser Chiefs is a south African football team.
D.H : Even though they all come from Leeds and support Leeds. Is it Sheffield or Leeds? I can’t remember.
P.D : It’s Leeds.
S.T : That’s the longest answer for why you are called Crows.
D.H : I think that’s longer than our longest song.
R.S : It could have been anything.
D.H : I think it’s because me and Ross were talking about Alfred Hitchcock a lot. We couldn’t be called The Birds, so we were like: Crows. That’s why the EP has got the Alffred Hitchcock picture on the front.
P.D : It’s because we’ve all got hair like crow’s nests.
D.H : And beaks.
S.T : We regurgitate food. Ross feeds us all, foraged goods.
D.H : Daddy penguin! Or crow…
P.D : Daddy penguin! (Laughs)
D.H : Sean is Happy Feet.
P.D : Sean is a flamingo with them legs.
Why did you start the band?
S.M : It was either that or prison, so…
Crows once again burst into a session of loud laughter.
R.S : It was that or rehab.
D.H
: Two of us were in The Gutter Club. That was like, sort of like this, but punk-y.
S.M : Plus we wanted to do something different but then we found out that we weren’t talented enough. So we thought we’d…
R.S : Improve, improve on a formula. Add another guitarist and a drummer who could drum. And a bass player who could play.
S.T : You talking about me?
R.S : Yeah, a drummer who can drum.
S.T : I’ve never been told I can play before.
S.M : Ross started it, then he told me about it. It was like ‘Come over here! Let’s start a band!’ and I was like ‘ooh, that’s a good idea’.
R.S : What was it? New Years Eve 2009.
P.D : Is that when the band started? 2009?
R.S : At a dubstep night in the back of the Racehorse. I went travelling in February and I kept messaging Sean, like ‘don’t forget, when I get back, we’ll start a band’.
S.M : Then just before he came back, Dan saw me at the Roadmender and he was like ‘have you heard of this band that Ross is going to form?!’ and I was like ‘yeah’. Then he was like ‘you’re in it as well. Awww wicked!’.
D.H : I just joined myself.
S.M : We used to have Alex as our drummer, but he’s in Let It Die now.
D.H : He’s on the demo we have now.
S.M : Dan fancies him.
R.S : We used to play in bands when we were young and we thought ‘We’ll take over the world, it’ll be amazing!’. But then you just lose interest, your soul becomes black and your dreams are destroyed. So we are doing this band for fun.
How do you go about writing songs together?
P.D : Generally, Sean comes in with an idea. Or a few ideas: verse, chorus, whatever. Then we’ll write the bare bones of the song.
S.M : We should change our name to Bare Bones.
P.D : But bare as in ‘bear’, raaah! But yeah, we’ll keep playing it and playing it. If anybody else thinks of another part…we’re always expanding parts. If someone plays one little lick, one little riff different…like Sean will have a riff or Dan will have a riff. Neither of them work on their own, but when they are put together, it’s like the Megatron from Power Rangers. It comes together and fucking kicks arse.
D.H : Ross just writes lyrics and puts it to the song when we are finished. He doesn’t actually write to the song as we are going, to make it fit over the top. Which is quite weird I think.
R.S : I’ve got a hymn sheet.
D.H : Ross goes ‘I fancy, prostitution and death today…’
P.D : This one is about the devil in a dress!
S.T : Red vagina sunset.
R.S : There is no secret. It’s just riffs, riffs, riffs and screaming.
P.D : But we are not one of those bands where there is one person who writes everything. There are a lot of bands like that, where it’s one guy. Might as well be a studio band.
S.T : It’s pretty much a joint effort.
D.H : Sam has wrote a song, Shaun has wrote loads of songs, Paddy has wrote a song, I’ve got a couple of songs. So we all put stuff in.
R.S : I don’t think you’d be a band otherwise.
P.D : It’s not diplomatic, no, it has to be diplomatic. No one is a tyrannic-desspot, like ‘this is my song, this is the way it’s meant to be played.’
D.H : Apart from the one we call ‘Sam’s Song’. We still call it Sam’s song.
P.D : Even like, the middle section of that…
D.H : The bit I wrote.
P.D : What? The bit that goes ‘naNAnaNAnaNA’, the wicked bit that me and Shaun wrote. Oh yeah, ‘I wrote that bit!’. Fuck off Stalin. Fucking, Gaddafi has got nothing on you.
When Secret Admirer asked what other bands inspire the Crows sound, a long discussion as to who does and doesn’t ensued.
It emerges that bassist Daniel Hall’s mum was on talk show Kilroy, she featured on the episode “I Got Dumped For A Younger Model”.
Then a discussion as to who the best talk show host is sparks up.
Secret Admirer decides to go in with another question, about the music. Man.
Do you think there is a need for a band like yourselves, locally?
R.S : Erm…
D.W :
Yeah.
R.S : Alright then, ok.
D.W : Not in a big headed kind of way.
S.T : For sure.
D.W : It’s like tonight, we are playing with Blood Visions, and they aren’t particularly a metal band or a punk band. They are someone in between the indie/punk spectrum. And we can happily play with them or play with Pluto Gang. But at the same time we could go play The King Billy with a death metal band. We’re somewhere in the middle.
R.S : Paddy walked in and he was the first guitarist auditioning. And he was like ‘I want to be in a band that is hard enough for the boys, and soft enough for the girls’. And that has pretty much been our ethos.
S.T : It’s just party music really, isn’t it.
P.D : If you can get the boys head-banging and the girls swinging their hips about, then that tends to work really well. Not a fuckin’ epileptic hula hoop artist. You got these heavy bands, and it’s great. But you can only take so much of it.
R.S : On those bills, we are almost like an intermission.
D.W : When you play shows like that, you get the bands who are really like ‘we are metal!’ and look at you and go ‘poofs!’.
P.D : Hang on, I don’t think that they look at the rest of us and think that.
S.M : You get all the metal fans in the corner going ‘This ain’t metal’.
Do you feel like you are rebelling against purist music fans?
D.W : It’s more about fun than anything else.
R.S : We don’t take ourselves seriously. Don’t take us the wrong way though, we take what we do seriously. But we’ll never take ourselves seriously.
What’s the best gig you have ever played, so far?
D.W : The first gig we played here, which was our third show…that was really good because it was rammed and we didn’t know why people would come. Everyone just seemed to really like it. Up until that point we hadn’t really played to a crowd with more than ten people.
S.M : We played a gig in Kettering, and at first I was like ‘eugh! Kettering’ but then loads of this kids turned up and went mental.
D.W : It was the first time we had kids crowd surfing and stage diving.
R.S : I will always, always turn around and play to sixteen year old kids, because they go for it.
S.M : Kids are there to have fun, and we are there to have fun so it kinda works. Like a big hug.
P.D : There is nothing worse than playing a gig and there are people just looking at you. At least someone nod your head in time! Just tap your foot.
R.S : Shake your finger.
D.W : Or those people who stand there and watch your fret work.
P.D : And they go ‘awwh that’s not a so and so scale.’ Fuck off and do one. All that widdly guitar music, it’s not the be all or end all.
Are there any bands that you like playing shows with?
S.M : Well the two that are on tonight (Blood Visions, Das Pluto Gang)
S.T : Yeah, Blood Visions man.
D.W : We’ve been to see them all the time.
R.S : We like playing with The Atrocity Exhibit, they are a Northampton grind-core band.
D.W : They aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but what they do is awesome.
R.S : And 72% Morrissey.
D.W : The Computers blew me away when we played with them. We released that there is other people doing what we wanna do. And getting somewhere.
Have you got any plans in terms of recording or releasing your music?
P.D : We are finishing an EP off on Sunday. We’ve made the bed, we’ve put the mattress on…
R.S : The pillows are there.
P.D : Yeah, the pillows are there. We just need to put the duvet on and iron the sheets.
D.W : In English, we need to the vocals and a guitar solo.
S.M : Chocolate mints on the pillows.
Candles?
D.W : For some am-bee-once!
R.S : There is a sexy song on there.
S.M : I think they all are to be honest.
R.S : We recorded it a month ago, but stupid me. I listen to punk rock and do sports. So I tore my knee up. So I couldn’t actually stand up when we were recording. Otherwise the vocals would have been done.
D.W : But it’ll be free for a while on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
Are you going to self-release it?
R.S : Yep! Self-release it, stick it in a box and take it to gigs. And then if you don’t have the money, you can go online and download it for free. I’ll be honest, I think it’s going to remain free. I’d like it to be always free online. It’s cool though, we are going to have a black sleeve, like a record sleeve, a little sticker with the song titles and a couple of websites.
D.W : You can get CDRs that look like old 7”s. And they are really cool because on one side, it’s got the vinyl and the other side is just a burnable CD.
R.S : We’re going to try and make it a little bit more eye catching than just a CD with our name on it.
P.D : From Tesco!
R.S : Yeah, from Tesco with a picture of the band looking all hard.
S.M : We don’t have to try to do that anyway.
Thanks guys.
S.M : Shall we have a round of applause?
WOOH! YEAH!
http://crowsnh.bandcamp.com/


Photography By Jack Parker

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

JASMINE BURNS Interview


This Northampton based singer/songwriter
owes it all to Avril Lavigne.

When did you first start getting into music?
Oh my god. It was ages ago, I…I’ve always been able to sing. I never really started playing guitar till I was about ten, eleven. Erm, when, when Avril Lavigne first came out. Don’t laugh!
She’s really cool and she was the main reason that I got into song writing. And erm, stop smiling! You’re putting me off! I was really inspired by her because I used to be a skater girl. And erm, I used to be like ‘Oh! I love Avril Lavigne!’ because everyone in my school absolutely adored her. So I wanted to be that girl. My mum and dad bought me my first acoustic which was like ten pounds from Argos. You gotta, you know…reppin’ the Argos acoustics. But erm, from there, my parents, when I was seven, paid for trumpet lessons for me, which I…which didn’t really take off for me, to be honest. So they were like ‘ok, we aren’t going to pay for guitar lessons for you because we spent so much money on trumpets’.
I went on my own initiative, bought myself a guitar book with chords and everything, sat down for maybe two hours a day doing chords and everything. Going over them…that’s just how it came about because…and also! I did GCSE music in secondary school, so that kinda helped me decide what I wanted to do as well. As I was playing guitar and singing before I went there. From there I met a woman called Eleanor McEvoy. She’s a well-known singer/song writer from Island. And she came and she showed us a few things. She said that I was really good and err, it was a…
Another boost.
Yeah. Exactly! Another boost for me to keep going. And it’s basically how I started off with music. It’s really my parents, who bought me that good old acoustic, you know!
So we have Avril Lavigne to thank really.
When I think about it, it’s really silly because everyone is like ‘eugh, Avril Lavigne’.
She’s still good, she’s still releasing hits!
She’s still got it.
And she still looks the same. She doesn’t age.
Yeah. Constantly, forever young.
How many instruments can you play?
Ok. I’m going to sound like a…I play guitar, piano, mandolin, kinda, a little bit of ukulele. And obviously I sing. Erm. I play bass as well, which I don’t play very well. I’ve never played it very well. I’ve tried to pick it up when I went to college. Erm. Because I was like ‘oh dad, I wanna buy a bass, I wanna buy a bass!’. So I spent like seventy pounds on Ebay buying this bass. I picked it up twice and my dad is still trying to sell it on Ebay now.
Hopefully someone will pick it up.
Yeah, exactly. It’s got a nice Beatles sticker on it as as well.
You do quite a lot of covers, what is your favourite song to cover?
This is really hard! Erm…
Are there a few favourites?
When I think of covers, I think of crowd pleasers. I mean, I have covers that I like to play when I’m on my own. And then I have them when I like to gig. I’ll tell you the one when I play on my own, or when I pick up my guitar. When I pick up my guitar I always play “Thinking Of You” by Katy Perry. It’s such a…I love the chord structure. And I love the lyrics. And the way she sings it as well. Erm. I try and imitate that, because she has got such a unique style of singing. I just love singing that, so that’s one that I always play when I pick up my guitar. My favourite cover to play? Erm. Just thinking…I don’t really have an all-time favourite but the one I lately like playing is “Pyro” by Kings Of Leon. I do an acoustic cover of that which is quite a crowd pleaser at the moment. And I’ve got quite a few fans that are like ‘do a recording of it!’. And then, and also “Hey Yah!” by Outkast. One that I do at gigs as well, probably erm, “No Sleep Tonight” by Amy MacDonald. Everybody loves that one, they are all just like ‘wooh!’. Erm. When I went to Turkey, I used to get up on karaoke and do that song every night for the two weeks I was on holiday. I was surprised they didn’t get bored of me. It was like ‘ok, let’s go again!’
Did they love it each night?         
Yeah, they were just like ‘this girl is so good!’. They used to call me Lily Allen as well because my hair was really long then and I had a block fringe. They were just like ‘it’s Lily Allen!’.
Maybe you could be a Lily Allen covers band one day.
That would be awesome. She’s very pretty, she’s very talented. But she gets a lot of stick for her bringing out her accent in her singing and her lyrics especially.
But it adds personality doesn’t it?
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. She’s got a great personality.

Do you think image is a big part of being a musician?
It really is. Erm. About, when I was about thirteen I started getting into vintage clothing. It was kind of like, I loved being different from everybody else. I know like, I know this is a stereotypical story but I got kinda bullied when I was little for wearing glasses and what not. I kind of took that and like, it kind of gave me a buzz being different. So from then I started getting into vintage and incorporating that into my music style. Like I play a lot of folk, but then I dress up when I gig. So it’s kind of a bit different. So you’d expect someone who like plays folk to erm wear. I don’t know , I don’t know peoples stereotypes of that.
Cardigans?
Yeah, exactly, yeah. Someone who doesn’t really care much about their appearance. They care more about the music. Which I do, I really do but erm, I also love dressing up as well because… When I was in my band No Man’s Land, I dressed up for every single gig and it was nice because it brings people back. Because they are like ‘oh! This girl dresses up.’ You know. You wanna see what she is wearing next. And I kinda ran out of things to wear in my wardrobe. I started going to all these vintage shops, buying all these flamboyant dresses…and it would get to one gig where I would wear the same dress again. But people would still love it because it’s dressing up. And I don’t think people do that a lot now because I mean…I see like acts like Ellie Goulding in the charts where she like wears amazing clothes. And Lady Gaga for example. She’s awesome! When I was in No Man’s Land, I kinda modelled myself on Lady Gaga.
Cool.
Going all out, like over the top! Just craziness. It does, it really does, I mean like bands like Mumford & Sons. They incorporate their style into their music. Because they dress in waist coats, smart trousers. They got a certain folky look, yeah. Which I love. And I love bands like that. But for myself I like to dress up and look pretty. You know. Even though I’m sat playing an acoustic.
That’s nice of you.
Just thinking of the fans.
Who is your musical idol?
I’m going to have to say Dallas Green of City And Colour. I mean I’ve got tattoos you know, of him. He’s just…when I listen to him. Like, there is just something that goes on in my head where I just go into this different world. I’m just like ‘how can this guy be this good at music?’. You know, he’s a true inspiration to me. Songs like “Day Old Hate”, the lyrics speak to me in like, a way that no other song has really spoke to me before. Just because I can relate to the lyrics so well. And it’s just, his voice is flawless. And I’ve never seen him live but I’ve seen videos of him on Youtube and like I said, he is flawless live as well as his recordings. I just get such a buzz from listening to him. I’m just like, I wanna be as good as him. Because he is just fantastic and I cannot praise him enough for being such a wonderful musician. He’s just fantastic.
What inspires your song writing?
Mostly relationships really. Erm, I’ve never really…well it is a relationship song called “The Blue Rabbit And The Magical Dinosaur”. And people did say ‘meth is a wonderful drug’. (Laughs) So…but it’s not actually about that, I have a friend that lives in Australia. And the lyrics are “miles away, hours apart but still got each other’s heart.” She was a good friend of mine. And we used to call each other ‘the blue rabbit’ and ‘the magical dinosaur’. So when I like tell people that, they are like “oh, it’s innocent!”.  But yeah, mostly relationships, dodgy break-ups, stuff like that. You know, like Adele “Someone Like You”. Just with not, well, I can do emotion. I just can’t portray it as much as she can but mostly relationships. I really want to try and get into song writing about just going out and having a good time. Like, erm, like I love James Blunt’s new album. It’s really cool, like really laid back and fun and about having a good time. And like meeting someone, that sort of thing. I really want to get into doing that.
So you’ve dealt with the sad emotions, and now you want to…
Now I want to just go out and have fun. I think it’s because I’ve turned eighteen now so I can go out and have a drink.
You can drown your sorrows.
I can drown my sorrows in erm, in a Jager Bomb!
So, do you think you write those songs for yourself or to help other people to deal with it as well?
I must admit there is nothing better than listening to a song by someone who you have never met before and they can explain just how you are feeling. Which I absolutely love putting across in my music. One of my favourite songs that I have written at the moment is “Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst” which is about a relationship obviously. And everything I write in songs, normally I kinda add bits in songs that didn’t actually happen but you know, it’s just for like, the song writing. But “Hope For The Best, Expect The Worst” is one song where everything is just true. And when I listen to it, I still kinda get emotional about it. So when I play it, I get a little bit teary eyed and everything. Even though it’s an upbeat song. And I love songs like that as well, that are upbeat but have like really sad meaning to them as well. But yeah. Mostly about dodgy relationships. Which is good, in a way.
What are your plans this year in terms of gigging and recording? Have you got any EPs coming out or anything?
Well, I actually released an EP called “The Forget Me Not Acoustic Sessions”. That’s out, I mean it’s in production at the moment to be like on CD or anything but erm…I’m going to be releasing it as MP3s as well. It’s already on Spotify.
Keeping up with the future.
Exactly, you’ve gotta keep up with Spotify. I absolutely adore that website. And also, I have lots of singles on Itunes as well. But yeah, that’s my newest one “The Forget Me Not Acoustic Sessions”.
Have you got any gigs coming up?
I’m doing a festival in August, that’s in Daventry near where I live. It’s a really cool, laid back, folk festival. I’m thinking…I’ve just been asked to do a gig, yes! Erm, I got asked to do a gig on the 6th August. Which is going to be at The Fishmarket. I love that place. It’s just all about women, all women who have guitars and they sing. And who are awesome. Also, the 20th August, I’m going to be doing a charity event in Daventry. Because I’m doing a sponsored run and erm, I actually got suggested to play there because they’re going to be having a massive booze up at the end. At the pub. (Laughs) And they were like ‘we just need someone to entertain us’, so one of my friends suggested me because she works there.
Connections.
Exactly! It’s all about connections in this industry! Erm, she was like ‘Jasmine, pick her’. And she like messaged me and she said ‘are you free to do this?’ and I was like ‘yeah of course! Always!’.
For someone who hasn’t heard your music before, what can they expect from it?
My friend James told me I’m like a mixture of The Smiths, mixed with Laura Marling as well as The Cranberries. But in acoustic. If that makes sense.
Cool. Hopefully that makes sense.
It probably doesn’t but I don’t mind.
What do you want people to get from your music?
I want people to, enjoy…well obviously enjoy my music. I want people to kinda listen to it and kinda get to know me as a person through the music. Because it’s all true, it’s all written by me, it’s all original. And I don’t really know what else to say really because when people like listen to my music they are like ‘oh that’s really great’. They really love it but they never really say ‘oh yeah I can relate to that in so many ways’. Which a lot of my friends have but a lot of people I’ve met at gigs, I think they are kind of just a bit shy to say anything. Which is good. I just, I don’t mind. I just want you to enjoy my music and maybe, you know. Give me a little bit of feedback if you want to?
Do you think it’s easier to get to know you through your music or through you in person?
I’d probably say my music. Erm, well I’m not, well…I can be when I want to be. But I’m not a very open person. I am in some ways, but in other ways like emotions and stuff, I kinda hide everything inside. I also do photography as well, and I kind of express that…on my Flickr, I post a photo that kind of shows what I’m feeling and then post a massive paragraph underneath. About how I’m feeling, but yeah I think it’s better to get to know me through my music because I have such a big back catalogue of songs that every one is related to one part of my life when I’ve felt some emotion or another. But obviously if you want to see me in person, you gotta come meet me in person!
So you never have to release an autobiography or anything, you can just release the volumes of your music.
This is my music! That would be pretty cool though, releasing an autobiography. I’d be like really cocky like ‘oh yeah I’ve done this, and this and this’. When actually I haven’t done that much. One day, I mean with music at the moment, it’s just a hobby that I’m trying to pursue. As my parents want me to get a full time job. Which is understandable, you know, I understand that.
You’ve got to come back down to earth Jasmine.
(Laughs) I’ve got my head up in the clouds, thinking that I’m going to be this massive star. But erm, lately I’ve been uploading my tracks to the radio show BBC Introducing.
Have they played you on the show yet?
They haven’t played me on the show yet. Because all my tracks are M4A…M4A tracks and I need to convert them to MP3 and get in touch with Natasha. I’ve been played on there before. I’ve been played twice, they were kinda like live lounge kinda things. Where they recorded it in the studio, which was really fun. Quite cool.
Was it scary?
Yeah, it was quite scary because I messed up one of my songs but like no one noticed. It was just me. That’s why I love playing my original songs because it’s just me. It could be wrong, it could be right. No one knows! But yeah, I really need to get onto that.
Do you have any final words?
Just, I’ve really enjoyed this. This has been my first proper interview. Just wanna say, add me on my Facebook page, just like it. Also, erm, check out my songs on Spotify. Erm, message me on my Facebook page if you’d like to buy my EP. Erm, and just thank you to all the people who have been followed me recently. Moving to Northampton, it has been a bit, just…
A roller coaster ride?
A roller coaster ride! It has been like that because erm, when I moved here, I started college literally the day after when I moved here. It’s all I’ve ever known. Now I’ve finished college, it’s like eugh, real world. And just erm, people who constantly comment on my music saying it’s brilliant, gives me that extra push to keep doing it. So I really appreciate it. Appreciate it, thank you.
High five!
High five, wooh!


Photography By Jack Parker

Sunday, 4 September 2011

JAMES ACASTER Interview


He did really weird stuff as a kid
in the name of trying to be funny.

Some would say he still does.



This is just a level check at the beginning.
Ok. Sorry.
It’s ok.
Do you think you have always had the ability to make people laugh?
No. No, I was not funny as a child. And had to…well that’s not true. I was kinda fun…I was obsessed with making people…with wanting to be funny. And I was obsessed with the funny grown-ups that I knew. And I would always try and be funny and then not make people laugh when I tried to be funny. Because I didn’t understand, what made people…I didn’t understand humour at all. I would make people laugh when I wasn’t trying to be funny. And erm, wouldn’t be able to figure out why. And so just spent my whole life trying to figure out how to be funny until…I think I learnt how to be funny in secondary school, when you learn how to do all your socialising and stuff. And I think I learnt it in secondary school, I learnt how to be the funny one in the group. But, err, yeah. I have definitely not always had the ability to make people laugh. I always tried to make people laugh.
Like a training process?
Yeah, so in primary school I was the annoying kid who would jump out and say something that doesn’t make sense. And do like err, a err, an impression of a cartoon cat or a Looney Tunes character. And think that was enough to be funny, or you know…I did, I was really…I did really weird stuff as a kid in the name of trying to be funny. Erm, and didn’t understand at all why it wasn’t funny.
Can you remember how your first stand up gig went?
It went very well, yeah. If it hadn’t gone very well, I probably wouldn’t have done it again. Because my first bad ones, were excruciatingly bad and I took it personally. And I think if that had been my only experience of stand-up then I never would have gone back to it. Because it really, it just…words can’t describe.
Where was it?
It was in Kettering, my first one was in Kettering and my first bad one was in Kettering as well. But erm, my first one was in Kettering and it was like a nice, friendly crowd and they knew it was my first gig and they all really got behind me and I was more confident than I thought I was going to be. And I found it easier than I thought. I really enjoyed it and got like, the taste for it. And err, I think my third gig or maybe my fourth gig was my first bad one. And it was just silence through the whole thing. And err, it…you just feel…I can’t describe how bad it feels the first time you have a bad one. You just, you feel like you, yourself, are…an idiot. And that you don’t have a clue what you are doing. It’s not like, in a band. I used to be in bands where if no one liked us then we’d go away and go: ‘they just didn’t get it, doesn’t matter, they are not ready for this’. But when you are a comic and no one is laughing…that’s pretty unanimous that I wasn’t funny and I definitely made everyone in that room feel awkward. And erm, especially at the beginning when you don’t understand what you are doing. So like I didn’t fully understand what I was trying to do anyway, so when it goes badly, I was like: ‘I don’t understand why it went badly and I don’t even understand why that was meant to be funny because no one even laughed’. You do go ‘why is this funny again? I haven’t got a clue.’ And so, it feels horrendous. And yeah, if my first one had gone that bad, I would have just thought: ‘right, there is no way I can do this’. But because it went well, you get the bug of it and you wanna go back and do it. Even if you have had a really bad gig. Which is err, a fairly interesting attribute of comedians; that they can have an absolutely humiliating experience and try and get back on stage the next day. Which is, you know, probably unhealthy.
Where does the inspiration for your material come from?
You kind of take it from everywhere, it’s like anything people create, you just err, try and make things that you are interested in, relevant to what you’re doing. Try and make it the subject matter so that you’re not bored when you are doing. Like when you are painting a picture, you don’t want to get half way through painting and go: ‘awwh! I don’t give a fuck about rabbits! I don’t know why I’m painting this!’. So when I’m going to go on stage every night, I want  it to be something I’m interested in or you know…yeah just stuff that there’s something in it that makes me want to talk about it. And I can have routines that work really well but I’ll get rid of them because I’m not interested in the subject matter anymore. I just don’t want to go onstage and just not feel like I’m there and just…which you know, probably career wise, isn’t the smartest thing to do. But like err, I just can’t…
Maybe you need someone there, telling you what to say.
Yeah, yeah! We probably need a responsible adult around. I’m getting by on this, so while I’m getting away with this…I’m doing it.
Do you have any plans to release a live DVD?
(Laughs) No. Err, because err, no way do I have the distribution or the audience for that. So, err…no. I might, record the show I’m taking to Edinburgh this year at some point. But it wouldn’t be to release as a DVD, it would be for my own…
A YouTube channel?
It wouldn’t be for YouTube, no no. I would kind of just have it for myself and I’ll give it to anyone who wants it. Erm, but erm, I don’t think there is a…no way could I release a DVD without a huge loss of money.
After being in The Wow! Scenario, your band, do you ever miss being musical?
Yeah, yeah. But I miss everything that I’ve ever done. So like, I’m nostalgic and I idealise everything and miss it. Yeah, there is some times that I won’t miss it as much as I used to. I used to really…when I didn’t know what I was doing with comedy, I used to really miss being in a band and I used to really resent Graham and err, you know. (Laughs)
Did he split it up then?
Well he didn’t…well…yeah. He wanted to do other things. It’s completely understandable. He wanted to go travelling and stuff. And he was worried the band wasn’t going to work. Erm, so I secretly took it out on him for a while. I never actually took it out on him because I knew it was unreasonable. Yeah, you miss stuff like that and erm, but you know. I miss working in a school sometimes. And erm, I miss being on holiday in certain places. Really, with the band, we recorded it all at the end and we made an album. Again, it was just for ourselves. Like if I did a DVD now. Like, it’s just for ourselves and so you’ve got that there so there is no kinda like thinking ‘aww I never did anything with that. And feeling like it was unfinished, but we did finish it. And so erm, yeah I don’t miss it that much now but if someone said: ‘you can be in that band again or you can carry on doing this’ then I would carry on doing this. But erm, I’m really glad I did the band.
It’s a good album.
Thank you very much, you know, hope you are enjoying it.
What’s the best heckle you have ever received?
Erm. Erm. “I could read a poem if you like.” That was good, a lady put her hand up and said: “I can read a poem if you like” because it was going very badly.


Instead of your routine?
Yeah, the gig was going awfully and she was trying to be nice so she offered to read a poem instead of carrying on the way it was. And I let her do it, she got up and read a poem. That’s how the gig ended. So err, that’s my favourite one because it was friendly and nice. I don’t like the ones that are just mean and haven’t had any thought put into them.
What about the worst one?
Worst one, I don’t know. You get the worst ones that are just, people just shout: ‘awwh, I’m funnier than you!’. Something like that, and they are the ones that are the worst ones because it’s just so boring shouting that out. And err, it’s so easy to deal with. You just go: ‘ok, go on then, be funnier than me’ and they don’t and then they get really angry.
A viscous cycle.
Yeah, well you know I think if you are heckling aggressively at a comedy gig it’s because you don’t understand the comedy. And it’s made you get angry. Erm, and I think if you are the kind of person who gets angry when you don’t understand something, erm, then you are probably not the brightest. Or you know, the most secure of people. And when they heckle, there is really nothing you can say back that is going to calm them down. They are angry because they didn’t find something funny and that means they probably got bigger problems. They are the worst ones who shout stuff like that.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I got Edinburgh now, Edinburgh festival. So I’m doing a solo show there and then im going to do another leg of the Milton Jones tour and I’ve done a couple of telly things. That will be out on E4 in September, October. I was on Chris Anderson’s new programme ‘Show And Tell’.
Are you on a panel on that?
Yeah, well it’s not like a panel show like 8 Out Of 10 Cats. But we all sit on a sofa and we err, just chat and have nice conversations. And we have all brought along something to talk about. You get up and you talk about it for a bit. So they are filmed and another thing in August, coming out September, October time. I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s a bunch of comics sitting around a table, so you know. I like the things that are not competitive and they are nice and relaxed and friendly.
So one on a sofa and one on a table?
Yeah yeah, so you can just chat to people and not compete to be the funniest. I think there is enough of that. There is enough comedians doing that. I don’t really have any interest in that.
That’s cool, thank you!
Cool man.


Photography By Jack Parker