Tuff Love – Interview – 2016

One of the first names we put on our wish list for the Brightonsfinest Alternative Escape 2016 was Tuff Love. The three-piece, fronted by Suse and Julie, have long been on our radar after a string of fantastic EPs and their reputation for a thrilling live show. You are sure to love their lo-fi rock-pop and we could not be more excited to present them at One Church on Friday 20th. We put some questions to Suse from the band to find out more about Tuff Love.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Glasgow, Julie grew up in London.

Is there much of a music scene there?

Yeah – there's a good scene of decent musicians and artists who are supportive of each other (mostly) and loads of gigs/events on all the time, which is great if you're a music fan or a musician wanting to play gigs.

How do you think where you lived, or now live, has influenced your music and how?

I always wonder if I'd grown up somewhere else if I'd have met someone to make bands with sooner, like growing up in a more progressive city if there might have been more girls about to play with. I played with boys for ages, not that it really matters but I just wanted to find someone who was similar to me and to make music/play music with. I don't know why I think that's so important, but I do. I suppose it’s because the creative process can sometimes make you feel vulnerable, and if you’re sharing that process with someone who understands your life experiences that is good and it makes things nice instead of hard.

What kind of music were you brought up on?

I grew up listening to piano and classical’ish music my mum liked and the Beatles, then when I was a teenager guitar bands like Ash. I loved Abba from a very young age.

Can you remember the first album you owned?

Abba Gold

What was the first instrument you played, and when? Do you have a favourite instrument?

I started playing piano when I was 4 years old, picked up guitar around 10, then bass (when no-one else wanted to play the bass) when I was like 19, also the drums a few years ago. I like the drums and the piano. Drums are so exciting. Bass is cool, but it's pretty restrictive sometimes, not as expressive as I want it to be.

What drives you to write music?

Just wanting to make things, writing music makes me feel better when I feel bad. I used to record every musical idea I ever had on my parent’s computer until it ran out of hard drive space. My mum didn't understand what had happened… woops. I still do that these days, but have more hard drive space. 

How was Tuff Love formed?

Julie and I met at a party. I pestered her until she sat down in a room with me and played some music.

Is there a story behind the name?

I liked a band called The Unicorns when I was younger. They had a song called ‘Tuff Luff’. I liked the way that looked and how soft if sounded but how hard the meaning was.

How would you briefly describe your music and ethos?

Guitar-pop. Melancholy. Make stuff because you want to make it & be honest.

How do you approach the writing and recording process?

Hide away behind closed doors mostly. I sometimes write a song and take it to Julie, and vice versa, or we come up with something together in the same room. Then I'll either have a demo already recorded or I'll record a demo of the song and do demo drums on top, then maybe we use some of that record for the final recording. Iain drummed on a few of the newer songs. I find it quite hard to let go of the drum part and pass it on to somebody else, but he made it sound much more lively and exciting when he played. 

Do you prefer writing music or performing live?

Writing music, performing live can be fun though, but I don't think either of us are natural performers.

If you could give a musical award of the year, who would you give it to and why?

Chastity Belt, their songs are amazing. They're so fun and so seriously good. Good vibes good songs.

Who would be in your perfect supergroup and what you call it?

Annie from Chastity Belt, Kate from The Organ and Alex G. They'd be called… eh…. Chorgan G… or probably something else.

What would be your perfect line-up of any three acts for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?

The Organ, Alex G, The Beatles. I would quite like them to come do a session in my flat or something, I'd invite some people round and then we could all hang out and chat afterwards.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to Tuff Love?

I'm not sure really. There's a woman in Glasgow called WOLF who makes really expressive electronic music, with computer and viola. Her viola is so pure sounding, deep and.. I've run out of words to describe it. Check it out, it's great!

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Chastity Belt are very good, also Mitski.

Do you get to go to many gigs?

I don't get to many any more unfortunately.

What has been your happiest memory with music?

Jamming with my brother. He always wants to jam; he's a really talented musician.

What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?

I like drawing, recording other musicians and bands, making plans, and hanging out with my girlfriend.

Website: www.reallyTuffLove.com
Facebook: facebook.com/reallyTuffLove
Twitter: twitter.com/reallyTuffLove
Instagram: instagram.com/reallyTuffLove



Holly Macve – Interview – 2016

A rare voice, a rare talent. Holly Macve’s folk sound is incredibly delicate and arresting, producing songs that will live with you for the rest of your life. The first time I heard her music I was utterly spellbound – so was Simon Raymonde (Bella Union boss) who found her performing at an open mic night in a basement bar in Brighton. We are overly excited to have Holly perform in the acoustics of the One Church for our Alternative Escape Showcase, so we put some questions to her to find out more about her and her music.


Kudu Blue – Interview – 2016

One of my highlights of the first ever Together The People Festival was getting to see Kudu Blue perform. It had been a name that had been mentioned to me a surprising amount of times, yet I hadn’t been able to catch them live. Having seen them a few of times since, including a fantastic set supporting Hiatus Kaiyote, Brightonsfinest have wanted to find out more about their eclectic mix of modulating electronics and impressive soulful instrumentation. After their recent show at Patterns, I met up with the five-piece ahead of their début at The Great Escape for an interview which was full of laughter.

Where do you all come from?
[Creeda] We are all pretty much from Brighton, apart from Clem.

[Clementine] I’m from Birmingham.

How did you all originally meet?
[Creeda] It was fate really. Tom and I were baby friends.

[Tom] Owen and I literally go way back to Year 1 in Primary School. We then started making music together when we were 13/14.

[Dale] I met Creeda through one of my best mates from Primary school – and we hit it off. We played in a band together with Owen before Kudu.

[Clementine] I met them all along the way and we’ve become best buddies.

What kind of music were you brought up on?
[Creeda] My bother listened to a lot of Hip-Hop. My parents, a lot of rock.

[Clementine] For me it was a lot of Motown, soul and jazz from my parents. My dad was also a reggae DJ. When I was growing up, I was listening to a lot of garage.

[Tom] My dad grew me up on The Beatles big time. A lot of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin – typical dad rock.

[Dale] I grew up listening to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Radiohead and a lot of alternative rock. Also to stuff like Tracy Chapman.

What was the first album you ever owned?
[Clementine] New Found Glory – Sticks And Stones. I don’t have the album anymore, but I do listen to it occasionally.

[Creeda] My first tape was Ace Of Base, it had ‘Life Is A Flower’ on it.

Everyone hilariously starts to sing “All that she wants / Is another baby” (taken from ‘All That She Wants’ by Ace Of Base).

[Tom] I think mine was the Sum 41 album with ‘Fat Lip’ on All Killer, No Filler.

[Dale] Mine was Steps. Then it was the Smurfs doing different renditions of different pop songs. All played on a ladybug tape recorder with the sponge headphones.

When did you all start playing as Kudu Blue?
[Clementine] It was about a year-and-a-half ago.

[Creeda] In fact our first gig was a year ago, two weeks ago.

[Dale] That was supporting Bipolar Sunshine at The Haunt. We had just put ‘Bones’ out and ended up getting that gig, we didn’t expect it.

[Creeda] Owen’s keyboard stand collapsed onto Dales foot midway through the gig.

Can you remember your first jam?
[Clementine] Yes, it was terrible!

[Creeda] It really was awful.

[Dale] We had all been doing different things before, so going in this new direction took a bit of getting used to.

What is the story behind the name?
[Creeda] To be honest, there is no real meaning behind it.

[Tom] We needed to change our name, as there was already a local company with the name Early Bird (Promotions). We went about finding a new name and ended up with Kudu Blue – it took a while but it just came out and stuck.

[Clementine] We have had a few funny interpretations of it – like Kudoobal (spelt phonetically) said by an Aussie bloke at one of our gigs.

How would you briefly describe your music?
[Clementine] It’s an eclectic mix of all our passions.

What are you influences?
[Tom] I love playing reggae, that comes out in my bass playing – real dub sounds. Also Latin and World music are big influences.

[Clementine] Michael Jackson, he is the one for me.

[Dale] Jonny Greenwoods (Radiohead) guitar playing, I would love to be as good as him. I’m not but I do try. I don’t quite know how to put my guitar through a transistor radio, yet.

[Creeda] I feel like I am a product of Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Questlove (The Roots).

What drives you to write music?
[Clementine] Love man, ha ha.

[Tom] I would not know what to do if I didn’t write music!

[Creeda] It sounds cringey but it is my life.

[Dale] I think if we didn’t write music we would be miserable.

Are you thinking about your next release?
[Creeda] Hopefully in June. We are currently working on tracks, doing takes and working on the production, then we will be sending it off to be mastered in a month’s time. Nothing is set in stone but it will definitely be sometime in 2016.

What has been a musical eye-opener?
[Tom] It was the first time I heard J Dilla. Someone played me ‘Think Twice’ and I had never heard anything like it, the rhythms and the way the song changed. It wasn’t self-indulgent, it was just great. It really opened up that whole branch of music to me.

[Dale] Nirvana when I was 12 years old and a very angry teen. Hearing something where every word they sang was with such pure passion. Also the first time I listened to Kid A by Radiohead. Hearing how intelligent and forward-thinking it was totally summed up what many mainstream cultures didn’t know was going on.

[Clementine] I have always been so absorbed by all music that it is really hard to choose one specific moment.

[Creeda] Watching Radiohead play In Rainbows was a phenomenal experience.

If you could put together a supergroup, who would be in it?
Family Man Barrett (Bob Marley & The Wailers) on bass, Mark Colenburg (Robert Glasper Experiment) on drums, Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) not only as a guitarist but as an innovator in music, with Michael Jackson on vocals, and their name is Daayyymmm!

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
Bob Marley headlining to calm everyone down after Michael Jackson kicked things off in emphatic style. They would have to play Stonehenge.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to Kudu Blue?
[Creeda] It would be incredible to work with James Brown, but I think we would all get sacked.

[Dale] Aphex Twin or Flying Lotus would be interesting.

[Clementine] I would love to work with Boom Clap Bachelors.

What are your future plans?
[Clementine] To make good music that we are all proud of.

[Creeda] We are playing Secret Garden Party, The Great Escape and Noz Stock festivals.

Facebook: facebook.com/KuduBlueUK
Twitter: twitter.com/KuduBlue

Brian Eno – The Ship

Releasing his first solo album since the Grammy-nominated LUX in 2012, Brian Eno delivers The Ship. With over 40 years of musical exploration in his glittering career in music, beginning with Roxy Music from 1971-1973, and then going on to release seventeen solo studio albums along with ten ambient installation albums, it is incredible that Eno still has that drive to challenge what is possible with music. Born out of experiments with three dimensional recording techniques and formed in two interconnected parts, The Ship is up there with the finest of Eno releases and will be showcased around the world in multi-channelled three dimensional sound installations which are certain to be nothing short of spectacular.

Sound is descriptive of moments. Whether it is reminding you of a forgotten time, telling a tale of personal emotion, a poignant memory, a bird tweeting with the rise of the morning sun, or conjuring up images in one’s mind. For Eno, The Ship was originally conceived by his fascination with the First World War.

He says; “It (WW1) followed immediately after the sinking of the Titanic, which to me is its analogue. The Titanic was the Unsinkable Ship, the apex of human technical power, set to be Man's greatest triumph over nature. The First World War was the war of material, 'over by Christmas', set to be the triumph of will and steel over humanity. The catastrophic failure of each set the stage for a century of dramatic experiments with the relationships between humans and the worlds they make for themselves.

Throughout the four track LP (excluding the one cover), we see Eno narrate spoken words created by a text generator into which eyewitness accounts of the sinking Titanic, First World War soldier songs as well as random bits of cyber-bureaucracy were fed, then extracted and put into an order. In the eponymously titled opener, the words are secondary, as for all Eno’s vocoder tainted verse and distant murmurings which both float untethered to any rhythm, the only phrase that sinks in is the bleak “Wave. After. Wave. After. Wave. After….” which rolls out near the song’s end. ‘The Ship’ starts in a far brighter place with a glimmering and warm ambience, slightly shadowed by the chilling space which each sound is given. Electronic tones and occasional rousing string-synths ebb-and-flow like calm waves kissing a boat’s hull in a glistening low hung sun. With the song in no hurry, as in a lot of Eno’s ambient workings, we are given time to wade in and out of a meditative state, only to have consciousness revived by the building tension of unsettling bleeps, rings and rumbles.

With the first track being a little over 21 minutes, the remainder of the album is split into three parts. ‘Fickle Sun (i)’ a harrowing image of a dramatic dystopian landscape is evident from the start – the “vast dun Belgian fields where the First World War was agonisingly ground out, and the vast deep ocean where the Titanic sank” (as Eno noted in his press release). Nervousness and disquiet is clear. Deep foreboding bass notes and tangled electronic atmospherics set an uneasy and anxious scene – Eno harks; “The line is long /The line is grey / And humans turning back to clay / Right there beneath the fickle sun” before the song hits its crescendo of uncertain misery with cymbal crashes and violent guitar distortion, climaxing with an ominous bellowing horn and piercing whines. The remaining half of the 18-minute movement falls slowly back to the cold reality in a gloomy, sombre and dismal pace.

The poem in ‘Fickle Sun (ii) The Hour Is Thin’ is recited by actor Peter Serafinowicz in a bold, clear and upfront way, making every word hit hard and live long in the memory. This track, just three minutes long, sits as the centrepiece of the ‘Fickle Sun’ trilogy having only a simply piano pattern complementing it. The final track, ‘Fickle Sun (iii) I’m Set Free’, if far from what you might have expected on this album and from the master of ambient music. With pop melodies intact, Eno does an incredible cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘I’m Set Free’ that surprisingly rounds off the The Ship perfectly by beautifully relieving the listener of any subsequent tension.

Though recorded in three dimensions, the album still sounds phenomenal in stereo and will stand tall alongside the very best of his back catalogue. The Ship is extremely well balanced and feels utterly complete with each track complementing the last, demanding that you put aside the time and give your full attention to another triumph from Brian Eno.
Iain Lauder

Website: brian-eno.net


Brighton Music Conference – Brighton Dome – 14th – 15th April 2016

Brighton Music Conference (BMC) has well and truly cemented itself as one of the fundamental industry events for dance music and all that goes with it. With a musical history that boasts so strong, it is remarkable that the UK has only just established itself with one of the core annual industry events alongside the likes of the Amsterdam Dance Event, the Winter Music Conference and the International Music Summit.

In 2014, the BMC became the UK’s first annual dance music conference to be run by the industry for the industry, providing a relaxed yet professional environment for both industry professionals and consumers to meet and network. Building off the successes of last year’s event, we were treated to the best in new tech, organisations, showcases, Q&A’s, talks that covered all areas in dance music, and of course a whole host of different networking parties.

BMCIt is easy to see why Brighton, of all places, was chosen as the host for an event that is so vital for a blossoming genre to move forward. As well as Brighton being a forward thinking place in itself, musicians such as Norman Cook, John Digweed and Cristian Vogel made Brighton a dance music stronghold in 90s. Now with a revitalised pulse of new acts and companies in the UK’s dance music industry, every spring Brighton entertains the genre’s glitterati and fans who converge on the Brighton Dome.

With so much happening over the two days, it’s hard to know where to start; the exhibition room in the Corn Exchange with masses of different equipment and businesses on show, the upstairs bar of the Dome where Native Instruments had workshops, or the four conference rooms (Dome Studio Theatre, Corn Exchange, Igloo Theatre, Dome Founders Room) holding interesting talks. On the Thursday I decided to immerse myself in all the insightful talks held by the industry figureheads about education, trends and issues within dance music, then delve into the fantastic array of different technologies and showcases on show.

No better place to start than with the first talk of the event, a subject that effects every aspect of music; Key Note – Save Our Clubs. At the tail end of last year, figures were released reporting that 50% of the UK’s nightclubs have closed since 2005 – a startling fact. Is it because young people are not going out anymore? Being a young person, I can safely say it isn’t. A panel of some of the world’s best club owners discussed that it is due to the UK’s old narrative on clubbing laws. Why not take note from the majority of Europe which have found a happy mediun, with the likes of Amsterdam, Paris and Zurich leading the way by introducing a “night-time mayor” (a role that bridges the gap between businesses, residents and the council).


Cate Le Bon – Crab Day

With 16th April being Record Store Day, featuring the release of the first vinyl compilation to come from BrightonsFinest, 15th April is very much Cate Le Bon’s Crab Day with the release of her fourth album. But what is Crab Day you wonder? Well, in Cate’s own words “It’s a coalition of inescapable feelings and fabricated nonsense, each propping the other up. Crab Day is an old holiday. Crab Day is a new holiday. Crab Day isn’t a holiday at all”. Makes sense? No? It doesn’t get easier, as there is a film of the same name that accompanies the album which is directed by Phil Collins (a different one of course). , filmed in Berlin, features kooky dance routines, a man dribbling, a pomegranate being squashed by a foot, a near naked man, Cate running into the wilderness, and so many other nonsenses which are put to Crab Day instrumentals. So what does that say for the album?

 Whereas her previous album (the fantastic Mug Museum) was more of a sombre affair, Crab Day feels more like a playful sunny day down the beach (or perhaps by the rocks if you are a crab). The title track and opener is direct and jaunty, with Cate singing, “Who am I to judge you on Crab Day” in her beautifully quaint and unique voice over her erratic guitar hooks which all slip into perfect place when the chorus comes around. Before you are scared away by Cate Le Bon’s impulsive sound that is far, far away from your typical humdrum pop, ‘Love Is Not Love’ introduces a sleepy-tempoed “ballad” which reminds you of her past works featuring a bluesy electric guitar and a saxophone. However, this is purely a juxtaposition for what is to come in the surreal ‘Wonderful’. The first single off the album takes an unpredictable trip into Cate’s wonderfully eccentric dreamland full of madcap instrumentation and bizarre imagery – “I want to be a motion picture film / Oh, yeah / I want to be a ten-pin bowl” – holding a slight feeling of passive aggressiveness which is felt throughout Crab Day.

‘Find Me’ has a sense of adventure and wonderment, like much of the album, almost as if it was made as the soundtrack to a kid’s programme – searching through a mystical forest, seeing peculiar sights and coming into contact with strange creatures. The confidently strange themes that come through in Cate’s music will always be likened to psychedelic trend setters the Velvet Underground, sharing the same nationality as John Cale and holding a voice that could be likened to Nico. However, her recent venture with White Fence frontman Tim Presley under their Drinks alias is more of a notable influence across the album, highlighted in the frenzied and unhinged feel in ‘We Might Revolve’.

Crab Day ends its surrealistic adventure with ‘What’s not Mine?’, the stand out track on the album. This has been less of an adventure that one might expect and as for all the nonsensical sentencing and experimental tunes, Crab Day has been absolutely assured of what it wants to be from its beginning. Cate’s abstract melodies and jerky rhythms continuously seems to find an emotional undertone, which pulls you into each song and has you intoxicated by her niche idiosyncratic sound. This isn’t new in Cate Le Bon’s work and I strongly recommend you check out her other releases if you like Crab Day. Even better, see her play live on her upcoming tour (Friday 27th May at Patterns, Brighton) where she will be performing her newest album in full “like a live stream” and performed with LA musical collective Banana.

Cate adds, “Banana, which comprises of Josiah Steinbrick (a producer), Josh Klinghoffer (current guitarist for Red Hot Chili Peppers), Stella Mozgawa (drummer in Warpaint), Stephen Black (Sweet Babbo), H. Hawkline and myself, will open the evening with a set of equally composed and improvised adventures through tuned repetition, polyrhythm and Eastern themes, near and far, for movement and dance followed by half-time orange segments, costume changes and a reshuffling of the cabinet for a very special performance of Crab Day.”

Iain Lauder

Kiran Leonard – Interview 2016

The word ‘genius’ has now been mentioned quite frequently whenever Kiran Leonard has come up in conversation. Not just does he have two years left studying at Oxford University, he has also got nineteen releases to his name already – but at only 20-years-old Kiran has an even brighter future yet. The joy of working at a music magazine is that new music isn’t far from any convocation and in late 2015 one of the Brightonsfinest writers played me ‘Pink Fruit’, the first single of Kiran’s second LP Grapefruit. The 16-minute epic defies explanation and is nothing short of a master masterpiece (certainly in my eyes). Having now seen him live and listened to Grapefruit which is out today, copious amounts of times, Kiran sure lives up to the talk. I, absolutely, had to find out more about Kiran Leonard.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a parish called Saddleworth, which is about 30 minutes north east of Manchester just before Greater Manchester becomes West Yorkshire. It is kind of in the middle of nowhere and has afforded me the ability of not having any neighbours that gripe about noise, which has made doing home recording a lot easier.

What kind of music were you brought up on?

My dad was a folk musician in the 70s and likes a lot of country & western music; like Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, as well as 50s rock’n’roll, bluegrass and of course English and Irish folk. He also likes The Pixies, Nirvana and other bands like that too. My mum actually met Black Francis (The Pixies) at a party once – apparently he was really rude and then ate all the brownies at the party.

What was the first instrument you learnt to play?

I started on a mandolin. I am my dad’s fourth son, and it is something all my elder siblings and my younger sister went through as well. The idea being, what’s the point of buying a three-quarter size guitar if you will through it away in three years time. I was five when I started playing stuff on it and was eight/nine years old when I first picked up a guitar.

What was the first album you owned?

It was the first Bat For Lashes album, Fear And Gold, which was a really great record. I can remember buying Moby’s Play as well around the same time too. I don’t think I have either of those CD’s anymore.

Did you take advantage of Manchester’s great music scene when you were growing up?

When you were younger, it was hard to find an all-ages gig in Manchester. It is really annoying actually – I got a message from someone asking when I would be next playing an all-ages gig in Birmingham as he wouldn’t be let in to my show. I don’t understand why 18+ exist at concerts – the problem is easily solvable if you give under 18s a different coloured wristband. The people who need to go to gigs most are 15 to 18-year-olds! Anyway, back to the question… when I was that age and going to a gig, it was with my dad. One of the first gigs I went to see in Manchester was The Books at The Deaf Institute and Godspeed! You Black Empire back when they first reformed.

What was the story behind the album name Grapefruit?

Sorry for the boring story, but I just liked the word. The French word for grapefruit is ‘pamplemousse’ and I think that is really funny.

There are so many different influences coming out in both Bowler Hat Soup and your new record Grapefruit. What were you listening to at the time?

I wrote and recorded Grapefruit almost simultaneously with Bowler Hat Soup, so it was about a year and a half block of time which was mostly when I was at college. The bands I was listening to then was the Death Grips, Swans, At The Drive-In, Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof and Stars Of The Lid. They were my cornerstones. I don’t tend to go through fazes of listening to one thing. There is a lot of fun and potential in trying to draw strands of different influences in to one thing, however disparate they initially seem.

When creating Grapefruit, did you meticulously think of each track's subject before you started writing it or would you jam a song out until its subject would come naturally?

I wish I had thought about it more, as I feel like that is one of the biggest weaknesses of the record, that is quite incoherent. There are some songs that are quite dedicated to what they are trying to express. In ‘Secret Police’, ‘Pink Fruit’, ‘Don’t Make Friends With Good People’ and ‘Half-Ruined Already’, the lyrics are a bit more important. Songs like ‘Öndör Gongor’ and ‘Exeter Services’ are more all-over the place really, however, those tracks are about 5-years-old.

As you play the majority of the instruments on your albums by yourself, it must have been a mighty task for your band to learn your complicated compositions when you first got them together with the idea of performing Grapefruit live. Did you have to score some of the parts?

That’s what the band tell me, that it is quite complicated. It’s very difficult to tell though when you are writing it, as to me it all has a logic. We don’t learn new material at a very fast pace and I only had to score some of the drums, but the people I play with are very, very, very good and I have also played with them since late 2013. This tour is all material from Grapefruit apart from maybe a couple of songs – there are probably only about seven songs in the set as the songs are so long, three/four songs now exceed 10 minutes.

What has been a musical eye-opener?

There are several examples. The last really major one was when I first heard Bill Orcutt’s debut solo record, A New Way To Pay Old Debts. I had never ever or since heard guitar playing like it. It’s amazing and he is magnificent. I would like to think that you can hear the way he plays the guitar when I play, but I don’t think I am anywhere near nailing that yet. Other big eye-openers were the first time I heard The Mars Volta when I was about ten, the first time hearing or reading anything by John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, also when I first heard The Topography of the Lungs by Derik Bailey, Evan Parker and Han Bennink. I have always been interested in making myself aware of these supposed absolute outer limits of free improvisation.

Who would be in your ultimate supergroup?

On drums it would be Greg Saunier from Deerhoof, he is probably the best drummer I have ever seen. Then Bill Orcutt on guitar and Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone) on bass.

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be? 

I would have The Jimi Hendrix Experience playing with the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir (from Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares) in a cave.

What are your future plans?

It is to study and eat well, and also to go on tour which starts on 24th March till 25th August.

Facebook: facebook.com/digitalsustain





Blick Bassy – Interview – 2016

Before he supports Songhoy Blues at The Great Escape Festival, we are overly excited to have Blick Bassy performing at our Alternative Escape Showcase earlier in the day. Consisting of a cellist, a trombonist and Blick, who plays banjo as well as singing in his native tongue. The dreamy West African Blues-Folk sound is stunning and on his most recent album Akö he pays homage to the American Delta Blues musician Skip James. Ahead of his time in Brighton, we put some questions to Blick to find out more about him.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Cameroon, between Yaoundé and Mintaba.

Is there much of a music scene there?

Before, we used to perform in school orchestra, not any more nowadays. Most of the musicians from my generation came from the school orchestra battles in Yaoundé.

What kind of music were you brought up on?

Music from Cameroon first and some music from Brazil, but also old American soul music.

Can you remember the first album you bought?

Yes, it was a cassette by Eboa Lotin, a wonderful song-writer from Cameroon.

What was the first instrument you played?

Guitar was my first instrument. My uncle had an old guitar, I would watch him play and then, when he went out, I would try to play like him. I think I was 10 years old.

What drives you to write music?

I think music just came to me. It started with singing very early on with my mother and family when I was 6 years old. But later, after my secondary school, music hit my heart and my mind. It decided for me, to make me a musician.

Has your style of music stayed the same?

I’m just trying to grow in my art – trying to become better. Every new album is a project for me and is different from the last.

How would you briefly describe your music?

Afro contemporary music.

What are your bands main influences?

I’m listening to a lot of music: from the UK because of great song-writers, from Africa, from Spain, from the US, from France – I’m just trying to make something at the end with what all those types of music are giving to my soul.

What inspires your lyrics?

Every life scene could be a movie. I’m watching people in the street, seeing what and how their lives are treating them – from their struggles to happiness.

How do you approach the writing process?

First comes the melody – it could be anywhere, in the metro or while drinking – then I record the melody idea and start with lyrics. The “melody” doesn’t care about the place; they just come wherever I am.

Do you prefer writing music or performing live?

Life is the most beautiful gift, because you’re sharing energy/love with people you don’t even know. I love performing live.

Is there another release coming soon?

Not yet but next year yes – I can’t wait!

What has been a musical eye-opener and how has it affected you?

I think travelling is really important for every human being. That’s what really changed my thinking, going to South America, to China, Europe. Meeting lots of different people can really change your life – this is what happened to me. Outlooks are changing on our way of life – everything is changing around us, people are changing and this is what changes music as well.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring?

Eboa Lotin would bring melody, Marvin Gaye would bring emotions, Jeff Buckley would bring feeling, and Camarón de la Isla would bring strength.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Jeff Blake, Alani, Alabama Shakes, Francis Bebey.

Do you get to go to many gigs?

Yes: Prince was incredible.

What makes you happiest when you are not playing music?

Reading, sport (martial arts, MMS) and enjoying time with my family.

What are your future plans till the end of the year and after?

I just released a novel on immigration called Le Moabi Cinema. I’ll be touring and promoting my novel in the coming days. I’ll then start composing in October for the next album.

Website: http://www.blickbassy.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blickbassy
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blickbassy

Abattoir Blues – Interview – 2016

The Brighton five-piece have long been on our musical radar, giving us many a mad night in and around Brighton’s venues. Live they are a force to be reckoned with, bringing a performance which is absorbing, enthralling and will leave you in a sweaty stupor. On record their music is bold and direct, being dark, emotive and grungy. Wherever you hear them, their music is sure to take over your conscious. I caught up with Harry (vocals), Scott (drums) and George (guitar) from Abattoir Blues in the wake of their Nai Harvest tour to find out more about what makes their sound, as well as have a chat with a passing Paeris (from The Magic Gang) who joined in on the conversation.

What kind of music were you all brought up on?
[HARRY] My earliest memories of my parents playing music was Neil Young and Lenard Cohen. My dad was really into The Stone Roses also.
[SCOTT] My mum loves reggae.
[HARRY] That’s why Scott has such a great beat.
[SCOTT] It is literally the only thing she ever plays at home.
[GEORGE] My dad used to play a lot of Lou Reed. Both my parents are really into David Bowie. My mum also got me into Talking Heads. I had older sisters when I was growing up, so when I was 14 I got into stuff like Brand New, Hundred Reasons and more emo kind of stuff.

What was the first music you owned?
[GEORGE] The first single I brought was Without Me by Eminem. I think the first album I got was a Blink-182 rarities album, which is actually a really crap album but it was still a big deal for me at the time.
[SCOTT] My first album was Elephunk by Black Eyed Peas and it was brilliant.
[HARRY] My first single was Natasha Bedingfield’s These Words. My first album was equally awful –Ultimate R&B 2004. We actually found it just before we last went on tour and to be fair it has got some absolute bangers on it.

How did you all meet?
[HARRY] Me and George met through our mate Jack, who was our old guitarist and now plays in Bridskulls. Then we met Scott just through other bands. We had been told Scott was a really good drummer and then when our old drummer left, I spoke to Scott after one of his shows.
[SCOTT] Pretty much exactly a year ago. I originally thought I was joining Birdskulls…
[HARRY] …but we got there first. Since Sam and Scott joined, we have all gelled really well.

Must be great to be a part of this young emerging Brighton scene with the likes of The Magic Gang, Birdskulls, Sulky Boy, Our Girl, Posture, Manuka Honeys, …, under the Echochamp collective?
[HARRY] Yeah, it’s really exciting and spurs us all on. We live with The Magic Gang and Sulky Boy, and we all encourage each other to do new stuff.
[GEORGE] We feel pretty lucky to have fallen into this group of really talented bands. Kris from The Magic Gang also records a lot of our stuff.
[SCOTT] I was looking at this all from the outside before I joined the band, and you could really see that something was happening with these bands.

What is the story behind the band’s name?
[HARRY] It is from a Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. I absolute love Nick Cave's music, but I am a bit worried he may want to sue us for using it. When we first started the band we couldn’t come up with a name for ages, so me and the first drummer (Dylan) went through our albums and it was one of the first ones that came up.

How would you describe your music?
[GEORGE] I guess it’s kind of 80s post-punk with an emo tinge to it. We all like pop music’s structure, that is something we actively pursue. Someone said to me the other day that watching Abattoir Blues is like watching five people playing from five different bands, as in different musical backgrounds.

What are your main influences?
[GEORGE] Everyone comes from their own musical heritages.
[SCOTT] Sam and I both love Jeff Buckley’s Grace. Our most neutral musical love is probably The Stone Roses.
[GEORGE] For me, I take a lot of influence from the guitar playing on The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New.

What inspires your lyrics?
[HARRY] It’s observational. I’m quite into politics and take a lot of influence from that. There are also songs about work and more boring things too. The most recent song I have written is about the migrant crisis. My writing is about all sorts of stuff.

Do you prefer playing live or writing songs?
[HARRY] Both. You get a different buzz from each. For me the best feeling I have ever felt whilst being in the band is the feeling where you have a new song and everyone is smiling and looking around at each other realising that we have got something good here.

Are you planning to release anything new soon?
[GEORGE] It has been a while.
[HARRY] We have been really lucky in releasing only one song and still having all this good stuff happen for us. It has made us even more excited to get this new music out. We have been flourishing in our writing of late.
[GEORGE] We all think this new material is much better than our old stuff too, and it’s the same for the people who have heard it.
[HARRY] We’ll be recording soon, so hopefully we will be releasing something in the next few months. The ball is rolling.

What has been a musical eye-opener?
[HARRY] It was when I was younger and my mum first showed me Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie. That was the first time I thought, “wow, music is sick!” and that it goes further than the Now compilations.
[SCOTT] Mine was when I saw this hardcore band which I think was called Ice Berg. I had never seen anyone express themselves onstage like them, in their music but also between songs. He was saying things against racism, it turned out there was a load of racist skin-heads in the audience and they then tried to fight everyone. It was seeing how it can have that kind of effect.
[GEORGE] For six/seven years, Radiohead were my favourite band and I was obsessed with them. Seeing them headline Reading in 2009 was one of my most emotional moments in music. Even before that, it was the first time I heard Kid A and realising how amazing it was. Also seeing an act like Alex G live – as I’m not musically trained, he just makes his own style and it made me realise that you really can play music however you want.

What would be your perfect line-up for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
The gig would be in the bowl of the skate park at The Level, like in the Sum 41 ‘Fat Lip’. Slowdive would be first support, then Bad Brains, with My Bloody Valentine headlining. Showgaze is the bread and hardcore punk is the filling.

If you could have written a song or album, what would it be?
[HARRY] I would have liked to have written the blue album or Pinkerton by Weezer. Liquid Swords by GZA was a pretty big album.
[GEORGE] Maybe Songs Of Leonard Cohen, that is one of my favourite albums. The song ‘One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong’ has to be one of the best songs ever made.

Have you been to any gigs recently that have stood out?
[HARRY] We saw Broardbay last night which was incredible.
[SCOTT] Juan Walter was really good.
[GEORGE] Breathe Panel are amazing live. Also Whitney at the Green Door Store was brilliant.

What are you listening to at the moment?
[GEORGE] I’ve been listening to a band called Flouriest.
[HARRY] Kendrick Lamar’s new album Untitled Unmastered is amazing.
[SCOTT] I have been listening to a lot of Coneheads.

What are your future plans?
[HARRY] We are going on tour with Nia Harvest from 25th March and will be sharing a van with them which is going to be pretty fucked. In the middle of that we are playing the O2 Forum in London with Wolf Alice, which is crazy.
[GEORGE] Straight after the tour we want to be recording and then go back on tour over the summer.


Paeris from The Magic Gang came and sat down with us, so I asked him more about the Echochamp collective.

What is Echochamp and how did it all start?
[PAERIS] We are all friends and everyone was doing various musical project, all showing each other our songs before putting it out there for people to hear. It made sense to group it all together under one title, as it was something we used to referrer our music to anyway. When DIY and NME would review the bands they would always mention Echochamp, even before it was a thing. We all then thought why don’t we do something with it. It has only really been this year where we have pulled our finger out with releases and doing London residency as well where we put on bands from our, you could say, circle of people who are all our mates.
[HARRY] We are a label and a promoter which act under this collective. The other day Posture who we are doing a release for, got a play on Radio 1 which was a really nice feeling for all of us.
[GEORGE] We are all very productive too, so it is nice to have an outlet where we can put stuff out.

Where is the residency and when?
[PAERIS] We are doing it at The Old Blue Last in London every month which is locked on till the end of the year. Then if we can be a bit more efficient, we will bring it down to Brighton too.


Facebook: facebook.com/AbattoirBluesbrighton

Twitter: twitter.com/AbattoirBlues_


Echochamp Facebook: facebook.com/Echochamp

Echochamp Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/Echochamp


Underworld – Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future

Underworld are in an elite group of British super-musicians who ruled the 90s and 00s electronic world – including The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy, Orbital and Brighton’s own Fatboy Slim. They created a new scene and arguably paved a new way of life for the then youth, being an extremely important influence for the evolution of UK dance music to this day.

Underworld came to life when Karl Hyde and Rick Smith started their musical alliance in 1980 with a Kraftwerk/reggae inspired group in Cardiff. After a stint in the New Wave/Synthpop group Freur from 1982-1986, the band signed a new record deal as Underworld. After releasing two very surprising albums (considering what was to come) and gaining some success including a No.5 hit in Australia, the band re-formed in 1991 by bringing in DJ Darren Emerson to the Hyde/Smith partnership and making the transition from synthpop to progressive dance music complete. The following years ensured six critically acclaimed albums, including the incredible Second Toughest in the Infants which had the smash hit ‘Born Slippy .NUXX’ (featuring in the 1996 film Trainspotting), and also being chosen by Danny Boyle to direct the music for the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony. Having become a duo back in 2002, Hyde and Smith now release their first new studio album in six years with Barbara Barbara, we face a shinning future.

Anyone who has witnessed Underworld live, will know how much of an incredible and all-encompassing experience it is. Thankfully they have definitely kept that close to mind as the opening track, ‘I Exhale’, lures you into a bleak dystopian of a stomping industrial dance floor. The colossal beat-heavy track has a two-note bass synth relentlessly circling around Hyde’s typical muddled and distant spoken-word lyrics – Underworld fans won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately, ‘If Rah’ tends to wade into a generic format – I have heard similar things coming from my little brother's GCSE Music Tech classes, perhaps not with the same grace in production, but still, even with the help of High Contrast who co-produced the song, the track doesn’t show the inventiveness and experience that you would expect from these pioneers.

Thankfully, normality is restored and more with the positively ethereal ‘Low Burn’: “The first time / be bold / be beautiful / be free / totally… unlimited”, brings the ambiance and euphoria that we have come accustomed to in past Underworld masterpieces. Strings bellow before a propulsive beat kicks in to this sublimely constructed and tranquil track that elevates the listener, only to be brought back down to earth with the dark but beautiful ‘Santiago Cuatro’ (featuring, I assume, the Curato, a Puerto Rican guitar). You are lulled back from slumber with the tender sounds of ‘Motorhome’ – a warm welcome back full of glitchy beeps, whispering ohms and a clean uplifting vocal from Hyde. The album comes to its close with two decisively chilled songs, compared to some of their hard hitting techno of the past (they say it comes with age), ‘Ova Nova’ and ‘Nylon Strung’. The latter being one of the band's finer moments in recent memory.

After the most unlikely of entrances into the dance music world with popsters Freur, Underworld’s journey to being one of the world’s leading dance collectives continues, creating an album that holds its own against their fantastic back catalogue. However, the most exciting thing for me with the release of a new Underworld album is that live performances will follow, something all electronic fans needs to experience.
Iain Lauder