Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Wild Palms




FREE MP3:Over....Time

It’s rare these days to encounter anyone who dares to hold steadfast opinions; those who will assert themselves without fear of condemnation have become a dieing breed amongst the so called creative community. Lou from Wild palms can be counted amongst this dwindling number. Although his band may seem at first an over-hyped re-hashing of the gloomy, gothic, post punk of the 80’s, they are in fact far more than a Bauhaus tribute band. Labelled as Converse music’s one to watch, Levi’s one to watch and suitably revered by the NME, a media sceptic may dismiss them as PR whores, unlikely to have any real substance. But a listen to their latest single ‘Over Time’ will remedy any such blasphemy.

I read that, like me, you are a fan of Alexander Von Humboldt, whose footsteps I retraced along the Orinoco River. Is this fascination with the wild and mysterious something that translates into your music?


Lou: Well you're a very lucky man, and I am an envious one. Wilderness, un-chartered territory and exploration have always been things that I have had a deep interest in, but not literally as geographical exploration. Lyrically much of what I write is based around these kinds of ideas: finding and inhabiting new and unknown spaces, both literally and metaphorically. I guess its escapism but in my eyes its attainable escapism, dreams and desires that are mysterious but within reach. I mean 'Deep Dive' is the shining beacon of exactly that. it's not about being in a jungle it's about working hard, and overcoming obstacles that are sent to try us in search of something original and unique, and yours alone; so, yes, in that sense its exactly what we're trying to do as a band in a work ethic way but also sonically.


You recently played in Dubai; did you perform to the idle rich sons and daughters of expats or in the lavish harem of an Arabian oil baron?

Lou: Dubai is weird, opulent and very hot. Not somewhere I’d particularly want to go back to; it's only been developing since 1971 and therefore is devoid of any arts culture, it’s completely about commerce. Saying that, we had a good time and were treated very well. We were out there for four days but only played one gig, at a place they called the 'Irish village' at midnight in 40 degree heat and then we were taken directly to some club in a hummer. As I said: very weird.


As well as Dubai, I hear you will also be spreading yourselves across Europe and over to Japan. What part of the world would you most like to see?


We’ve just come back from a tour of Italy, it's an absolutely beautiful country and we can't wait to go back next year when we go on the European tour. Japan has always been a place I’ve wanted to go, I’m a big fan of Japanese literature and haiku poetry which is quite pictorial and so I have a picture built up in my mind of what it will be like, which I want to put up against the real thing. I also really want to go to Iceland at some point, I think I’d really appreciate the amount of space that you have there and also that essentially you could be living in either total darkness or light all every day depending on what time of year it is: it would be interesting to see what effects that has on a person.

Do you consciously attempt to emulate the post punk sound of the 80s?

post punk has had such far-reaching effects on popular music since its conception that its hard to pin-point when it finished, because in all honesty all that moniker means is 'after punk' so in that sense we have been influenced by post punk but there has been no conscious attempt to emulate it. Like I said 'post punk' has evolved and developed to infiltrate a lot of music and there has been no cut off point. I mean listen to a lot Sigur Ros and I can hear post punk elements in that but you’d never categorise it as post punk. Our influences are quite fragmented because of the people we are, in that bag would be Captain Beefheart, Can, TV on the Radio, Bjork, Timbaland, Liquid Liquid, Billy Childish, Nick Cave, Stockhausen, Sonic Youth, New Order, Battles, Pan Sonic, Neu!, DNA, ESG, Jimmy Hendrix, Velocet, Radiohead etc ….


Please tell me about each of your interests outside music, what odd hobbies, pursuits and peculiarities take up your time?


Personally, I read and write a lot as well as doing carpentry to earn some money. Darrell (guitar) is the painter within the group. Gareth (bass) never stops watching programmes about nature or modern history also I think he's probably a comedian at heart but a solemn-faced one at that: he's got an acerbic, quick wit and can shoot you down with a couple of words. James (drummer) is a music man through and through; he never stops studying it, picking it apart. None of the rest of us really know what's going on in the music world today but he keeps us updated with his knowledge.

Who do you resent most and adore most in the world at this time?

1) Style over substance, definitely in regard to the music industry.
2) I resent that lack of responsibility that people seem to take for their actions, it seems likes everyone just does what they want with scant regard for the consequences. People just kind of float around doing what the fuck they want, me included sometimes. we're are all capable of acting like that and for that reason I have a lot of respect for people who don't get sucked into that and realise the weight of actions and decisions.

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 39, December 2009


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Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Grave With No Name




FREE MP3: Open Water

The cream of the UK lo-fi crop; A Grave with no name, nurtured by the consistently awesome No pain in pop label, have blossomed into a maturity that surpasses their humble origins as mere example of passing musical trend. Their new album ‘Mountain Debris’ is a demonstration of their staying power, the kind of album one plays to arouse a state of emotional and spiritual contemplation. It’s hardly accessible and certainly not as disposable as much of the content associated with the lo-fi riff raff on both sides of the Atlantic. Singer and guitarist Alex Shields, approaches Christmas with a sense of optimism and accomplishment, defending his self confessed egoism as Yule see in the following interview.

How do you feel about Mountain Debris, what do you think people will
make of it?

Alex Shields:I have a cool relationship with the record - it's a pretty accurate
representation of me as a person, so I both like and am frustrated by it in equal measure - at the same time, I am going to ensure the next LP is even better; I want it to be a total masterpiece.

'Mountain Debris' is kind of all-over-the-place, but that makes perfect
sense to me. Some people really seem to get the record, others really
don't - I read one review of it that said it was "conceptual art" as
opposed to music, when actually I intended the opposite - it's supposed
to be pure music.


What drives you as a band?

Nothing really. I just make music when I feel like it, and it will
probably reflect my mind-state at the time of recording. I'm not gonna
say something for the sake of it, like some post-punk bank trying to
sound intellectual, quoting modernist architecture or some bullshit as
their primary influence. That's exactly why I hate post-punk so much.

How do you see yourselves in relation to the increasingly popular lo-fi
music scene in the USA?

Well, I don't really want to be associated with any bands who record
their music badly in order to be part of some scene - what's more, I
really can't stand garage rock, it's mindless, meaningless and boring,
so I don't feel a whole lot in common with them at all. Believe me, if I
had some more money I would make the most hi-fi sounding record you've
ever heard.


If you could change any law what would it be?

None of them seem to intrude on my life too much, and people seem to
find ways to get around the ones that do - I guess growing up as a young
kid, it kind of bummed me out that I couldn't rent some horror movies
because I wasn't old enough, but that's about it.


If there is one thing that to you most symbolises the nature of your
music, what is it?

I am going to sound like an egotist, which I probably am, but I'd have to
say myself - the whole record is either me writing about myself, or
trying to react against myself. I'm super-inward looking, and don't have
much time for anything occurring outside my own world-view.


What are your plans for next year?
Go to the cinema; hang out on my balcony; finish off the second record;
play some shows; hang out with friends; have take-out pizza every
Sunday.


Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 39, December 2009

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

We Fell To Earth



A hooded man sleeps on a sofa in an East London bar. It’s Richard File, one half of Anglo-American Kraut-hop hypnotists, We Fell to Earth. “Sorry” he says as he wipes his weary eyes, “I thought I could get some kip if I turned up early for the interview.” He is bald with no eyebrows, giving him the appearance of an Olympic swimmer and he speaks with an easy English manner. His band mate, Wendy Rae Fowler, is strikingly different, with her long black hair and thick southern states drawl.
“We come from polar opposites in a way,” Richard explains. “Wendy comes from the rock end of the spectrum whereas I’ve gone from djing and looping beats to learning to play guitar and singing. We challenge each other and we have to keep each other excited about the opposite end of the spectrum.”
Richard File is best known for his work with electronic break beat group UNKLE. He met Wendy, who has worked with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, at Rancho de la Luna studios in Joshua Tree California, home of the fabled desert sessions. The desolate desert landscape is said to have been an influence on the cosmic Teutonic synth sound of We Fell to Earth, although the pair are now based in East London.
“It’d be nice to go to the desert someday and do some writing,” Says Wendy, “but I found the idea of coming here really inspiring. There is so much going on in the music scene, it’s exciting.”
The gap between the entirely different world’s these two musicians have occupied is bridged by a mutual adoration of that most enchanting of genres, Kraut rock. Richard and Wendy feel the time is ripe for a kraut revival.
“I think a few people with really good taste in music have got hung up on the kraut thing recently and it has sent a wave through the artistic community,” considers Wendy. “Everyone’s picking up on it, thank God, because it’s really intelligent and inspiring. You can get onto a level of stillness from the repetitive sounds. It helps to quiet the mind. Like a nice break from the chaos of everything that’s been going on in the world.”
Richard regards the last Horrors album and the new Flaming Lips record as evidence of widespread kraut fever and hopes that this will encourage fans to discover the old Gods of kraut rock. “Bands like Faust, Neu!, Can and any others we can mention, they need as many props and as many mentions as they can get for the rest of time.”
Kraut rock influenced both rock and electronic music in equal measure and it seems fitting that two artists from each discipline should unite over its reinvention. We Fell to Earth’s sound has a less organic texture than their Germanic influences and has even been compared to the likes of Massive Attack and Portishead. Although, as Wendy points out, the trip hop comparisons are not entirely justified as WFTE don’t use samples.
Their self titled album, released this year, is likely to gain a lot of attention due to the use of its content on several American TV shows. The un-intrusive compositions are perfect for soundtracks and producers of shows like Gossip Girl, Numb3rs and CSI NY seem to agree. Richard is ambiguous as to what extent he considers promotional use of their work to be acceptable. “We don’t watch TV. We don’t need it. There’s a certain point where a line has to be drawn with TV programs and adverts.” Still, I’m sure he appreciated the publicity and the money; although that isn’t the reason he and Wendy started this project. So what offerings have the pair to contribute to the Bavarian banquet of kraut rock history? Like a meteorite falling to Earth, they intend to make an impact. “You wanna make a mark don’t ya?” He continues, “We want to communicate with people at a level which will inspire them to create something else and take it even further.”

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 38, November 2009

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Dealing with the Whores of London

International Union of Sex WorkersImage via Wikipedia



It’s the oldest game in the world and plenty of women are on it. From the drug addicted working women of London’s back streets to expensive West End escorts. Most disturbing of all are those unfortunates who have been ensnared by the people trafficking racket of the sex trade. It can be described as the very embodiment of capitalism yet it is regarded as a criminal activity, forcing its workers to operate behind closed doors. A spokesperson from the Poppy project, a North London organisation that provides accommodation and support for trafficked women, elaborates, “It has been said that we are never more than six feet away from a rat in London. Apparently, something similar applies to brothels.”

Despite the brothels themselves being discreet, the filthy underbelly of London’s sordid sex trade can hardly be said to be unseen. A number of popular magazines, newspapers and websites allow prostitutes to advertise their services. But this kind of advertising may disappear with the arrival of newly proposed government legislation.

The proposals being brought before parliament are part of government plans to increase criminalisation of the sex industry in the hope of deterring trafficking and targeting exploitation. The legislation is based on the research of a supposedly feminist organisation, The Poppy Project. However the legislation has divided the feminist community. Whilst some support the new legislation other groups, such as The International Union of Sex Workers, believe the new Bill will drive the industry further underground making it easier to hide trafficked women and get away with violence against prostitutes. In some circumstances the law will overrule a woman’s legal right to consent to sex.

Is feminism a battle for sexual equality, a counter balance to patriarchal hegemony and a defence of women’s human rights and freedom to choose? Or is feminism more conservative? Perhaps based on a fearful resentment of men, depicting them as cruel predators from whom weak and vulnerable women need to be protected.

The research carried out by the Poppy Project is of questionable intellectual value and yet it is on this research that the legislation has been based. The research already fits in with the government’s agenda but they have not consulted the actual workers of the sex industry on what measures should or should not be taken. People trafficking can take place with or without prostitution, the bodies of the cockle pickers of Morecambe bay are testament to this fact. But this year the government are seeking to criminalise the buying of sex from a person who has been trafficked – whether the trick knew it or not.

This ill-advised legislation may have disastrous consequences. The clampdown on newspaper advertising and phone box cards cuts off working women from their clientèle and makes it more likely that they will take to the streets or seek management. In either case they will be more vulnerable to exploitation.

Things will be much worse if the Olympic Games stimulate the sex trade in London. It was recently reported that prostitution boomed during a papal visit to Australia. The influx of lonely/horny tourists and labourers increases the demand for sex workers. But will they be supplied by people trafficking? Data from examinations of major sporting events, including the Athens Olympics and the World Cup in Germany, shows a relatively minor increase in cases of trafficking - 88 in Athens, 5 in Germany.

The abolitionist measures may create more problems than they solve, but the IUSW’s calls to relax the laws relating to prostitution could be seen as an invitation for people traffickers to step up to the mark. Whether or not a more relaxed approach would ultimately have more positive effects can only be proven by research, but many agree that the government should consult those who are involved in the industry and acquire reliable and impartial research before forcing through ill-conceived and questionable legislation.

No government in any part of the world has ever been successful in eliminating prostitution. The most we can hope for is that the whores working London’s brothels are doing so by choice and that legislation is not enforced to criminalise them but to protect them from the real criminals.

Published: State of Play, 2009

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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Tonstartssbandht




Free MP3:Tonstartssbandht - Black Country

A week ago, I received a message from my ex girlfriend advising that I investigate another lo-fi psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn. What followed was a week of obsessive, repetitive listening that alienated both friends and family. I played them while I worked, I sang my own made up version of the indecipherable lyrics to the awesome ‘Black Country’ while in the shower and I even demanded that a bewildered young woman play their new album 'An When' during sex.

Some musicians may be disturbed to learn their music was inducing such behaviour. But Floridian brothers Edwin and Andy White feel such stories better represent their musical intentions than overused genre definitions. “What I’m interested in is the personal experiences individuals have with our songs and live shows,” says Andy, "Stuff like ‘every time I come see you guys play, I get so excited I have to pee.’ Or ‘your music harkens back to a pre-bicameral mind, when memories and ideas were ghosts and gods."

Their childhood in Orlando provides a wealth of shared personal experiences that the brothers draw on for inspiration, “we grew up listening to almost the exact same sounds for 20 years” Edwin reveals. But the brothers White don’t just share blood and musical tastes. They also have a fascination with the soundtracks and alien landscapes of science fiction cinema. Bladerunner is a favourite for both of them, largely due to Vangelis’ score, who Edwin maintains they are both big fans of. The visual elements have been equally inspiring, as Andy elaborates, “The visions of Tokyo in Akira are present in a lot of the work we do. I think Ed dreams as often as I do of living in an enormous ocean of contiguous human settlement and awe-inspiring infrastructure with a familiar and foreign culture, to give us that ungrounded, fresh high that contributes so much to creative visions.”

Some of these awe-inspiring landscapes may be less foreign to us than they are to Andy. He recalls semi-conscious visions of a trip to the UK he made in his youth as a member of The Orlando Deanery Boy Choir, “all those unreal, ornate houses of worship, ancient fortresses, crumbling cemeteries, and the wholly un-Floridian landscape have been a fantastic influence on every creative work I’ve ever realised.” Edwin attributes his brother’s membership of the choir to their ability to construct intensely stirring vocal harmonies on songs like Preston “great ass” imfat.

Tonstartssbandht recognise the need to balance the anthemic choruses, catchy melodies and vocal harmonies of conventional rock music with psychedelic elements to create a multi-textured and unpredictable aural landscape. Edwin knows that people appreciate this dynamic approach, “the audience has always been open to both sides, which is awesome. Thanks guys.”

www.myspace.com/Tonstartssbandht

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 37, October 2009

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Real Estate



FREE MP3: Real Estate - Suburban Beverage

Nothing ever happens in New Jersey, wrote author Henry Miller. A sprawling suburban tumour sprouting from New York’s rectum, it exists on the cusp of everything and yet it is nothing. From behind white picket fences the frustration of youth’s creativity burns eagerly with a passion to break free. These are the typical circumstances that force young people together and lay the foundations for musical innovation. With the exception of drummer, Etienne Dugay who lives in a hotel in Brooklyn, Real Estate are very much a product of this environment. Guitarist Martin Courtney and bassist Alex Bleeker have played in bands together since they were 13 years old. “A lot of the chemistry of our band comes from the fact we’ve known each other for a long time,” Martin explains.

The band cut their teeth playing at home grown shows which Martin describes as, “Not so much DIY as just playing in your parents’ living room with all your friends, having a good time.” They’ve been involved in music for a decade in some form or other. Martin is a former member of Titus Andronicus, Etienne is in Predator vision and guitarist Matt Mondanile’s side project, Ducktails, produces quality psychedelic pop to rival the warm fuzzy suburban drone of Real Estate.

It’s no secret that lo-fi production is somewhat in vogue on both sides of the pond at present, but what is it that attracts these Jersey boys to Stone Age recording techniques? “It sounds better,” Bleeker explains. “There’s a lot of digital music, and it’s like, where does it go? It’s not real. You can’t feel it the same way you do with tape.” Perhaps the analogue sound is the logical and most financially viable choice for the band, given their intimate approach to the recording process. “We record most of our stuff ourselves,” Martin reveals. “We work with our friends but we don’t go to studios, it’s all about home recording.”

The ‘Fake Blues ep’ was released in the UK, 20th July on half machine records. Real Estate hope it will be followed by a UK tour. These Grateful Dead obsessed stoners live for the road and Britain is their dream destination. “Why else would you play music except to spend your time on the road?” Etienne asks. He stresses his vision of changing the global perception of psychedelic rock. “We’re trying to make it so jam-band is no longer a dirty word.” May the power of Jerry Garcia guide them to us.

Published: The Stool Pigeon, Autumn 2009


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Offset 2009 - The Best Review of Them All

There are too many festivals. Most of them are too expensive and are full of idiots. Offset is at present a remarkable exception. It is affordable, has the finest selection of new and classic bands on offer and you can stroll around the beautiful Essex woodlands and fields without a single person offering you a free hug or shouting bollocks until their throat bleeds and fills their adolescent lungs with blood.

All weekend the heavy sun beat down steadily on swarms of beautiful young people, many of whom travelled only a few stops along the central line from East London to attend. As well as the Shoreditch socialites, a number of seasoned old punks and rockers attended, some even bringing young children with them, such is the relaxed and pleasant atmosphere of Offset.

The offstage antics are what truly make a festival memorable. Saturday bore witness to a bizarre kind of sports day involving drunken teenagers frolicking through the grass like beasts in heat. The comedy tent was dominated by a rotund ex jockey by the name of Bob Slayer, whose border line paedophilic brand of comedy involved lewd remarks being launched at a 14 year old girl wearing a sailor costume, while her Father looked on in dismay. Mr Slayer was rewarded for his comic exploits by being repeatedly punched in the bollocks by an attention seeking, stage invading young lady who was covered in sick.



Despite the compulsory shake down from the over zealous security each time you re-enter the festival, I, along with most other people, was able to accumulate enough intoxicants to see me through the weekend, and remain contentedly twisted throughout all the following performances.

Saturday


KASMS – Fiery haired singer Rachel boasted of her Essex roots as she shook her supple body vigorously to the eerie goth-punk rhythms. At one point she started to climb the rigging in an attempt to shake the audience from their complacency, but after climbing 3 feet, she gave up and got down again.



Teen Sheikhs – Sounding punker than ever, the Brighton lads tore the tent to shreds with their awesome fun time tunes.





Male Bonding – The audience, already psyched up from Teen Sheikhs, went ballistic to this lo-fi bro-core trio. Much of the set was performed with half the audience cavorting about the stage, picking up instruments and moshing like they were 14.





Damo Suzuki – The legendary Damo was but a whirl of swinging raven locks as his band knocked out mesmerising psychedelic electro-rock.

Factory Floor – A band who have yet to perform a bad set, Factory Floor’s pounding rhythms and captivating electronic noise was made unbearably intense by the relentless onslaught of powerful strobe lighting.

The Slits – I think there was some confusion, Notting Hill Carnival was last weekend, who booked this mediocre white reggae band? The tacky dub was punctuated by awesome performances of classics such as ‘Typical Girls’ and ‘Shoplifting’. During the performance of the latter every man in the audience wished he was a girl so he could join the exclusively female stage invasion that Ari-Up instigated. Still, this was not enough to excuse Ari pouring water on her cunt and shouting “ARI PUM PUM, FRESH AND NEW!” between each song. Embarrassing.





Metronomy – I was hoping they would provide the party atmosphere they did last year. Alas, it was pretty boring; despite the novel entrance of three people playing one keyboard for the first song.

Sunday

Ulterior – Some people compare this band to Suicide. Those people are idiots. Pretty much a wank rock group with an Axl Rose look-alike on the mic.

S.C.U.M. – This band were big news last year. Singer Tom had a fine smoking jacket on. Besides this, their performance was less than captivating.

The Ruling Class – Decided to sound like the stone roses, and why not?

Hatcham Social – One of the highlights of the weekend. Everything admirable about pop music and the balance of the catchy and the experimental can be heard in the music of Hatcham Social.

The Horrors – Wisely focused on the excellent material from this year’s exceptional kraut rock influenced ‘Primary colours’. I had to leave while lanky singer Farris clumsily waltzed about his mic stand, the last train was about to leave.

Goodbye Offset.

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 36, September 2009

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Immigrants in London

London is a multi-cultural city. Its geography and history as a trading centre have made it inevitable that all types of people have found their way here. The commonwealth immigrants act of 1962, Britain’s membership in the EU, the acceptance of legal immigrants seeking asylum and the countless illegal immigrants have all contributed to the sometimes overwhelming migration of nationalities.

Here are some interviews with immigrants living in London today.


Victoria – Eastern Nigeria

How old were you when you came to England?

I was 18. My parents weren’t here. I came here to meet my husband who had been here for about a year.

What was your perception of England before you moved here?

Because the British brought us Christianity, I thought this nation would be full of things to do with God.

And did England fulfill your expectations?

Initially I was disappointed by what I found in churches. There weren’t many people there. As time went on I came to realise why the English did not go to church very much. They used to go to church and God blessed them, the English have gotten too comfortable with their blessings so they have forgotten where their blessings came from. They thought they came from their own power and their own minds so they have turned their backs on God because they think they no longer need him. They have everything materially, but do not realise, as we are finding out now, that you need God for your spiritual and emotional well being, your stability and family. You must raise your children to know right and wrong. People have become selfish and opinionated.

Do you think that the multitude of faiths in London make it hard for Londoners to know which God to worship?


God says if people want to find out the truth, they will. Some magazines and things on the internet that you are not supposed to look at, people still find those things and find out what they want to know. If people want to discover which the true faith is, they will. Christianity is not about what you do, it is about what God has already done. Many people can’t understand that, particularly men. They want to feel proud of what they can do. They want to grow a beard and wear something on their head or whatever. In heaven everybody is equal.


Do you think Londoners can learn from Nigerians about faith?


Many Nigerians are born again. There was a time when the Lord got me to pray for this nation. During that prayer, the Lord reminded me that although many Black people are with Christ in this country, the revival is going to come through the English. He said he is allowing us to relight the lamp of the Englishman which has been quenched. The Englishman will carry the beacon that will bring revival to the country.




Abu – Bangladesh

How old were you when you came to England?

I was about 4 months old. My grandparents migrated from Bangladesh for economic reasons in the 1940’s; they used to work on a ship. My parents brought me here to be with my grandparents. Many people were coming here at the time because of the state of affairs on the Indian subcontinent. Issues of poverty and so on. Many people came from the village in the 40’s and slowly more came in the years that followed. In 1971 after the war with Pakistan more people claimed asylum after experiencing abuse at the hands of troops.


Have you been back to Bangladesh?


When I was 14 I went back and spent a couple of months there. That’s about it. It’s a second home for us but we associate ourselves more with the UK than Bangladesh.

What do you think was attractive about Britain for your parents to want to raise you here?

They were seeking a better way of life in terms of economics and technological advancements. Recently things have been changing. There are many third and fourth generation Bengalis in the UK. When our grandparents came it was a non religious migration, it was for secular reasons. They kept their religion to themselves. Now the youth are learning more about Islam and we are using it to challenge the many problems of this society; drugs, alcohol abuse, rape, prostitution. All of these things. We live in the community and we see it and speak of an alternative. We speak of a solution. We believe Islam is the future for the UK and for Whitechapel.


How do British and Bengali Muslims differ?


In the Indian subcontinent you’ll find Islam is a way of life. Everyone is a born Muslim. Many people will live their whole life without having to study Islam. There is no conflict. Here we find it is different, we have Christians, Hindus, Atheists and religion becomes a conflict. A Muslim may have difficulties in the work place, he needs to pray five times a day, eat Halal food, he is not allowed to drink or go clubbing. We find that some Muslims are treated as second class citizens. This is bringing a change in the Muslim community. We believe we are here to stay but we could compare the current system to apartheid, with the new terrorism legislation that is being enforced.

Do you think any positive progress has been made in Britain with regards to Muslim relations?

Religion is a dirty word in Britain. In the bible it says leave Caesar to Caesar and God to God. In other words let Jesus stay in the church and Man will decide what happens on the streets. With Islam, it is a complete way of life. It has an economic system, a social system, a political system, a judicial system. The Sha’ria is a complete way of life. We as Muslims are not allowed to adhere to a judicial system dictated by man. There is a conflict between democracy and Islam.

Do you think your parents foresaw such conflict when they brought you here?

Nobody did. Not even the British government. If they knew there would be a challenge to their systems of democracy, socialism and capitalism in the form of Sha’ria they would not have allowed Muslim immigration into Britain on the scale it was allowed at that time. This is now a police state, with the stop and search laws, Muslim’s houses being raided, CCTV in all the local mosques, Muslims being spied on and being asked to join MI5 and spy on other Muslims. There is a war against Islam.




Thomas – Lithuania


How old were you when you moved to London?

It was 10 years ago, I was 21. I had been working as a policeman back home; the place became too small for me. I wanted change. I wanted a career. I split up with my first love. I decided to change something. I was going to go to the States, but I couldn’t get a VISA so I came here for half a year to stay with friends, but to be honest I got stuck.

What kept you here?

I fell in love again, with an English girl. Now I work as a chef.

What difficulties did you face moving here?

I got home sick for the first couple of years but it wasn’t very difficult. Of course I was hungry before I learnt English; I wanted to meet new people in this multi-cultural open minded place. I encountered discrimination when I lived in Devon, only in rural places but not in London. Most of the hostility comes from non-English people and maybe some snobby English people who might call me a foreign bastard, but it doesn’t matter.

How does the reality of London differ from your preconceptions?

I find it very dirty compared to Lithuania. It’s more multi-cultural than I anticipated. The drug culture of Britain is very widely spread. Somebody who doesn’t know about heroin or crack may not understand that another world exists in every part of London. If you have never been with such people, you would have no idea. The media doesn’t even cover 10% of the reality. It’s horrific.




Marie Choy – New Zealand.


How old were you when you moved here? And what were your reasons for coming?

I was 27, I wanted a change from the small town I was living in, I felt like I wanted something different. It’s quite a normal thing for New Zealanders to travel. I didn’t come here with the intention to settle although I kind of had a vague idea that I probably wouldn’t go back to New Zealand. I came here initially for two years and really enjoyed it so I ended up staying.

How does the reality of London differ from your preconceptions?

I didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. I thought there would be a lot more of the clichéd English stereotypes. I thought it would be a lot cleaner. I guess the thing that surprised me most is just how many people from different countries there are living here and how they bring all their culture with them. I didn’t expect places like Whitechapel to exist. I expected it all to be more white I suppose.





Kevin – Born in America, raised in West Germany.


Why did you come here?

I’m 22, my parents sent me here when I was 16 to learn English because my dad is American and he wanted me to speak English. Back then, there wasn’t a big future in Germany. I wanted to work in fashion so I came here to pursue that.

How does the reality of London differ from your preconceptions?

I had a textbook image of the English in my head before I came here. I thought there were lots of castles everywhere and everyone spoke the Queen’s English. The typical stereotype wasn’t true.

Do you like it here?

I love it. When I first came over, some people asked me if I was a Nazi and if I liked Hitler and things like that. That freaked me out a bit, being only 16. London is also quite dirty. I do love the people and I like how international it is and I quite like the weather. I’m probably the first person who’s said that. There’s a buzz about the city, everyday it is different, you can do something every night. There’s a great vibe here in all these different parts, Camden, Shoreditch, East Dulwich, that’s what I like.




Olivia - Sweden

Why did you come here?

I came here when I was 20 because I was offered a job as an au pair, so I just took the chance and I went.


How does the reality of London differ from your preconceptions?

I didn’t really have any. At that point I thought all of Europe was the same. I found London was more like India than Sweden. It’s very different. I really like it though.

What do you like about it?


I really like that its multi cultural. There are so many people from all over the world. I love to travel and I like to meet people from all over the world, try food and experience culture from everywhere.

Do you ever miss Sweden?

Not really, I never miss Sweden that much. I am thinking of going back to study, as I have better opportunities for education there. I can study there for free.

Is there anything you don’t like about London?

I make hand crafts and jewellery. If I go to Spain it’s more relaxed, I can sell stuff on the streets, but I can’t do that here. I don’t like the whole surveillance state, the police and all the propaganda everywhere. Everybody being suspicious of everybody. Also the bureaucracy, all the weird forms you have to fill out about your ethnicity and stuff. It’s also quite hard to make money here, especially if you want to make it on a day to day basis.

Words and Photos: Tom Rowsell

Published: State of Play, 2009


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Monday, 17 August 2009

Fair Ohs



Free Download: Fair Ohs - Hospitals


Garage rock is a genre that seems to remain perpetually cool. But even cool genres get boring, unless something comes along that injects vitality into the sound. Fair Ohs are not that something because they don’t even want to be called garage rock. “We're definitely not a garage rock band,” guitarist/singer Eddy protests adamantly. “Though it’s an influence, along with the African, hardcore and noise stuff that we rip off.” The unwelcome garage rock tag is assigned in response to their punchy lo-fi pop sound. “If you play simple music on crappy equipment it just ends up sounding like garage rock right? simple music is always cool.” Eddy explains. It’s probably safe to say Fair Ohs won’t be releasing a prog album anytime soon, “All this super-complicated-look-at-me-I’m-a-musician-stuff is too much for me, I couldn't care less.” Adds bespectacled bassist, Matt Flag.

Despite their position on the value of simple music, Fair Ohs owe as much to the self indulgent, free style jazz of Pharaoh Sanders and the edgy post punk of Minutemen as they do to any simplistic garage rock group. The sound is the logical product of ex-teenage music geeks with one ear for melody and another for noise. Fair Ohs suck the dregs of twentieth century music through the straw of innovation and then rudely spit it all over the fast food restaurant of contemporary pop. For these three guys the discreet charm of musical history holds more allure than the slutty inevitability of its future. “I'll never get over the fact that I will never be able to experience the whole Minneapolis electro/ funk/soul thing when it was happening.” Drummer Joe complains nostalgically. “I'll never be able to dance to it in a club without some prick thinking it's funny and ironic.”

In fact, Fair Ohs are so keen on bygone eras that they still release material on cassette tape. Tapes which come in their own hand made, felt sleeping bags. “None of us understand using computers so I made the inserts and stickers using a photocopier, a typewriter and Letraset letters.” Matt confesses. “This is not a boast; it’s a sign of modern inadequacy.” Retro to the max.

Over the summer they’ve featured on three splits with other cool east London bands but their frenetic live show is what really makes them worth checking out. What can you expect from a Fair Ohs live show? Joe sums it up nicely. “Super, awesome, good times from three hotties who've listened to lots of Paul Simon and Black Flag.”

published: Dazed and Confused Vol II #77 September 2009

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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Eco Village at Kew Bridge




On June 6th 2009 a group of flea-ridden, tree hugging activists occupied an area of derelict land in Brentford, West London, near Kew gardens. The so called eco-village is little more than a fenced off area of weeds and rubbish, left untended for the past 20 years. The owners of the land, St. George, have issued the following statement. “We are aware that the site has recently been illegally occupied by a group of squatters. We are currently considering what action to take.”

At present St George are unable to use the land, as the council have denied their application to build a block of flats on the site. St George and the local police seem to be turning the blind eye to the squatter community, which claims to provide aid for the homeless and others who have been let down by society. The activists forbid the consumption of drugs or alcohol on site, this policy has come under fire as a homeless man seeking shelter on the site allegedly commit suicide after he was refused entry for being intoxicated.





Despite problems like this, and the occasional verbal abuse hurled from Kew Bridge by locals who resent the long haired crusties, the site has brought out the best in the community. Locals have been donating seeds, plants, tents and compost and are being encouraged to use the grounds for horticulture, public meetings and film screenings.

The illegal occupation of this land is politically motivated. Soap dodging hippies from across the nation pitched tents at eco village in an attempt to highlight the lack of affordable housing and misuse of urban land. Squatter, Charlotte Summers made this statement on the eco-village facebook group, “In my eyes, the eco village provides a platform for protest against property laws which serve the rich and are taught as natural laws, but are historically arbitrary.” The residents of the Eco village claim to be linked to a 350-year-old group of agrarian communists known as The Diggers, who campaigned for property reform following the English Civil War.

The eco-village serves as a media magnet to draw publicity to issues such as environmentalism, common land reform and anti-capitalism. These movements have gained momentum as a result of police brutality at the G20 and the killing of Ian Tomlinson. Many are starting to question the institutions of authority and the legislation that governs our lives, and are looking for alternative solutions. The eco village is open to visitors, but anyone wishing to stay there must be willing to work the land and contribute to the community.


Published: State of Play, 2009




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Monday, 10 August 2009

4 Step Counter Gentrification Technique


Like a plague of locusts, the idle rich descend on East London. Gradually the greasy spoon cafés, illegal street vendors, charity shops and pre-pubescent drug dealers all fade away. The cultural curiosities that draw creative middle class youths to traditionally working class urban districts are eventually replaced by the standard high street familiarities that can be found in any town centre in the world. The intrepid art-fags who first penetrate these virgin slums are followed by wave after wave of vacuous cultural leeches, hungry for a drop of anything resembling authenticity. But their arrival drives up property prices, pushes out the communities that give the district character and finally attracts corporate conglomerates, eager to capitalise on the disposable incomes of the floppy haired dandies who parade about those once decrepit streets.

The nostalgic lamentations of native residents in areas such as Williamsburg in Brooklyn or Shoreditch in East London can hardly be heard over the relentless din of progressive indie rock music. With tears in their eyes they reminisce about an idyllic past, where the bare footed, junkie sons and daughters of violent alcoholics would save up a week’s wages for a jar of eels and a fix. They watch as their memories are trampled beneath the march of a thousand plimsolls and wonder if any of these bearded, bohemian barbarians realises the damage they’re doing. If they did they might consider adopting the counter-gentrification technique, a consumer method that relieves middle class guilt and aids the preservation of indigenous urban cultures. The counter-gentrification technique can be properly executed by following these 4 simple steps:-

1. Adopt Mock-native dialect.

If you live in East London, make an effort to watch East Enders and films with Bob Hoskins in. Learn to mimic the regional dialect and you will find the natives more receptive to your ideas and grateful that you have made an effort to understand their primitive ways.




2. Refuse responsibility.


Ignore the fact that you are part of the problem and dump your guilt on others. With your newly acquired native accent, ruthlessly criticise your fellow bearded wankers and maintain that it is they who are responsible for the decline of the local community.



3. Buy local.

Buy from local establishments. Eat Bagels not sushi. Go to the market not the supermarket and the local pub not some trendy wine bar. If you continue to put your money into the local economy then these traders will eventually become successful enough to get the fuck out. Then they won’t care how much you mess up their grotty little ghetto.



4. Pretend to give a shit

Lament the closure of local establishments. Engage in patronising conversation with natives in which you sympathise with their harkening back to the old days before all the immigrants and hippies ruined England. This is the final stage to relieving guilt and doing your bit to undo the destruction caused by your decadent youth culture.


Published: State of Play, 2009

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Dinowalrus




FREE MP3: DINOWALRUS - Electric car, Gas guitar

The over stimulated hipsters of Brooklyn are inclined towards staring at their shoes disinterestedly at live shows. It takes something akin to a musical sledgehammer to snap them out of their self conscious nonchalance. “I like to think that when we play, the music rips the audience out of some complacent mind set and makes them feel alive!” Pete, lead guitarist and singer of Brooklyn’s Dinowalrus , glows with enthusiasm as he speaks. Things should have taken off for the band by now, who supported the legendary Silver Apples at the end of last year and released their first 7’ in February. Alas their unpredictable electro-psych rock has gained far less attention than it deserves.

“I feel like our band has had a tougher time than some,” Pete says sadly, flicking his eyes nervously up the dark Brooklyn streets to look for cops before taking another swig of beer. “I have nothing else going on now that I’ve been unemployed for 6 months. It’s like a permanent vacation and I’m taking advantage of it.” It’s hard not to sympathise with the experimental trio, whose blend of electronica and good old fashioned psychedelic rock is balanced to perfection but has failed to deliver them from the welfare office. “We still like certain sounds from the seventies like the Ron Ashton solo, you know like funhouse shit?” Pete goes on, “We’re not gonna get rid of that just for the sake of futurism in our music.”

Their organic approach to making music is based simply on jamming, doing whatever they feel like. This inevitably leads to a barrage of distortion, pedal effects, screams and moans, haunting synth, pounding drum machine beats and even the frenzied strangling of a clarinet. But how long can the band survive living on the margins of financial stability? Regardless of the somewhat self inflicted poverty, Pete maintains that Dinowalrus will not compromise their creative vision in an effort to gain popularity, “Are we gonna be an art project that happens to be a band or are we going to buy into the traditional trappings of being a band?” He asks himself, “We’re certainly not trying to be the next Jonas Brothers that’s for sure. Whether we’re trying to be the next MGMT is debatable, but we do have certain aspirations beyond being a noise band playing for 5 people in a weird loft.” Pete goes as far as to say that he does consider what he would like to experience if he were amongst the audience. “What’s that then?” I ask,
“I wanna have my mind blown.” Their debut album will be released on Kanine in October, expect it to blow your mind.


Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 36, September 2009

Friday, 19 June 2009

The streets are being taken back! - Capture The Flag III

CAPTURE THE FLAG!






Original Article

The streets are being taken back! There is an organisation that aims to challenge the perception of urban spaces as being purely commercial arenas. They encourage large groups of strangers to get out and play. Capture the flag is a military style game that involves two teams each with a base and a flag to protect. Each team aims to capture their rival’s flag and take it back to their base. On Friday 5th June drinkers and owners of local Bengali restaurants looked on in bewilderment as dozens of flag waving bandana wearing gamers charged about the streets. The event lasted for several hours and increased in size as more locals joined in. Organisers Tom and Jack are involved in political protest and anti-capitalist activities but maintain that the event is just about fun. “We do have political convictions but we don’t really want to force them onto other people, we just want to use this game as a platform for introducing people to stuff they might not have heard of before.”

He tells me this while both of us are held prisoner in the Yellow team’s prison. No sooner has he finished his sentence when a valiant red team member explodes through the yellow defences and frees us all from the Gaol. I continue the interview several hours later after the whole thing is winding down. “It’s about looking at areas of the city in different ways, going off the beaten track, doing different things and reinterpreting the city.” Tom explains, his face glowing from physical exertion. “It’s not just a place for passive consumption, it can also be used as a playground. It can be used for fun.”

But how did they get the idea to get adults to play a children’s game with complete strangers on a Friday night? Tom reveals that he got the idea after an evening spent dodging the old bill. “It was scary but I thought this is really fun. It would be cool to recreate it somehow in the city.” After reading an anarchist journal called Rolling Thunder, and discovering a report on a capture the flag game in America, they were inspired. “We thought it was a pretty slick way of getting people out on the streets, playing. We get to make different flags for the two teams and they develop this pseudo-nationalistic fervour. It’s really weird how you change just before the game.”

By far the most unexpected and significant event of the evening was the participation of the young Bengali community, a number of whom joined the red team after witnessing the screaming packs of lunatics racing about their neighbourhood. “They were conspiring with one another in Bengali to free the prisoners from the yellow team’s jail.” Tom burbles enthusiastically. “We had no idea what was going on when they smuggled in a member of our team, in a group of kids, who weren’t even in the game. They walked past with their hoods up and the guy from the red team just sprang out and gave us a jail break!”


Elise the flag maker.

How did you find out about this game tonight?


My friends Tom and Jack set it up.

Did you have fun?

Yeah, it’s really good because you can discover part of London in a way that you wouldn’t usually. It’s probably the most fun you can have on a weekend!

More fun than getting drunk?

Yeah, because bring lots of people together. We just don’t play games anymore and it’s great that people can have fun in the street with lots of other people. You get to meet a lot of people as well just by coming and all doing the same thing. You develop solidarity with your team mates even though you have no idea who they are, you’ve never met them before, then you see them and you’re like, “what’s the deal? Where’s the flag?” You immediately connect because you’re both wearing the same headbands.

What was the best thing about tonight?

I really liked how the little kids joined in.


Dimitri Cunningham


How did you find out about tonight?

Through some friends of mine

Did you have a good night?

Yes very good.

What do you think of capture the flag?

It is very fun. Haha look at this. (The assembled members of both teams torment a passing car) It was amazing just running around the streets of London in groups of five or more pretending to be all military, it’s really funny. I was on the offensive all the time, a bit selfish of me but I’m exhausted now.

Did you capture the flag?

Nah, but I was part of a group that did.


Richard the ghost man

Did you have fun tonight?


Yeah, it was a laugh. We heard it was happening, we were running a bit late, we decided we wanted to join in as a separate team in no mans land. We painted our faces white, we had our own flag and we decided we couldn’t tag people but could only haunt them and convert them to our team.

What was the name of your team?


Ghost town.

What was the weirdest thing tonight?

The conversations we had with people. We were dabbing people with white face paint, even if they weren’t involved. People’s faces, when we started running at them, with our white faces, the sheer confusion in their eyes, thinking “Who is this third team? Where did they get their flag?”

Published: Last Hours, 19th June 2009

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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Ganglians





The unearthly rumbling of a didgeridoo demands your attention then gives way to the rhythmical soothing hiss of waves lapping the shore. The atmospheric acoustic intro of ‘Valiant Brave’ from Ganglians’ new album ‘Monster head room’, builds into a rousing ballad of jangling guitars and layers of wailing vocals that sound like whales and pixies shouting their sorrowful woes to the ocean. The echoes of saxophone and carefully constructed vocal harmonies provide a multi-textured unpredictable aspect to the psychedelic noise pop sound.

Ganglians of Sacramento, California are said to defy genre definition. Each song twists and turns in unexpected directions having a separate identity to the next. This year they have churned out a string of haunting lo-fi surf pop records. ‘Monster head room’, limited to only 500 copies on red vinyl, follows the recently released self titled 12" and the split 7" with their mates Eat Skull. “We wanted to make an honest pop album.” Explains bearded guitarist/vocalist Ryan Grubbs on the subject of the new record. “It’s acid-takers music, but without all the obvious droning psych trappings.” The record is packed with strange ‘60s style psychedelic pop tracks, drowned in reverb, conjuring an atmosphere that simultaneously brings to mind the care free headiness of youth in summer and the eerie otherness of an acid induced nightmare.

Grubbs is a self confessed space cadet, who dabbles with mind expanding substances such as ayuhuasca. “Monster Head Room was an attempt to replicate the angelic tones that drift just above our heads.” Grubbs explains, “I know what they sound like. I’ve been bathed in white light and have heard them.” The hairy hippy continues, going on to explain the unusual production techniques of the record. “It’s our version of a ‘60s studio album with no actual studio experience or knowledge of studio techniques.” He admits remorselessly. “We even dispersed little things that got recorded accidentally throughout the record, like Kyle’s stupid giddy laugh or the cat running around the house in heat. These idiosyncrasies form the foundations for many of the songs.” If you’re quick you can get a copy of the their self titled 12" or the newly released ‘Monster Head room’ from Woodsist



published: Dazed and Confused Vol II #76 August 2009

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Monday, 15 June 2009

TEETH!!!

TEETH!!!



In a dilapidated, North London studio, suffocated by almost complete darkness, Dalston based dance punk trio Teeth!!! are taking a break from recording their new 7” for Moshi Moshi records to munch Cheez-its and discuss the band.
“He’s gonna make us famous.” Boasts lead singer Veronica So, nodding toward Jacob Cooper of Californian label mates the Mae-Shi. Jacob is helping produce the new record. “I’m checking my facebook.” He responds disinterestedly while hunched over his laptop.

The band keep themselves busy with a frequent output of recorded material, this 7” isn’t the only project they’re working on. “We’ve done a split with Thee Fair Ohs, it hasn’t been released yet.” Veronica explains. “We’ve also done a split with Finally punk, Pens, the Vivian girls and Best Fwends on eat your hands records. All the songs are 30 seconds long and it will be released for free.”

Although the band play as far away as California and Veronica’s family live over the pond, they owe some of their style and inspiration to their base in East London. “We practice in a squat, for free. Dalston is nice because you can find that sort of thing,” Veronica enthuses, on the subject of her adopted home town.
“Totally,” adds keyboardist/songwriter Ximon Tayji. “And also the bands connected with the area have been really supportive.”

Despite their fondness for the trendy terraces of the East end, the band admit their favourite gigs have been out of town, including one at the Smell in Los Angeles.
“Those kids at the smell babes!” Ximon exclaims, delighted by the recollection. “They were waiting outside when we arrived and they were like, “Are you from Teeth!!!? AWESOME! YOU GUYS RULE!” The Hobgoblin in Brighton is another site of fond memories for the band. “It was a Sex Is Disgusting show. There were lots of fat old rockers there but they really liked us.” Veronica recalls while reaching for another handful of Cheez-its.

Teeth!!! are the kind of band that turn a room of disinterested half stoned hipsters into raving idiots, ready to dance until dawn. In short, a great party band, but their sound has taken a musical journey through more serious territory. “At first we wrote political songs, on sexuality and the war and stuff.” Ximon reveals. “We tried to do political disco but that didn’t work out.” Veronica admits remorsefully.
As a band they are more comfortable producing brighter and lighter music than their gothic contemporaries. “I couldn’t imagine being in a band that plays really boring slow wannabe goth music. I mean where’s the fun in that?” Raves Ximon on the subject of a London post-punk band he has developed a dislike for.
“It’s bullshit! Go and write some fun songs. I mean we don’t have the best equipment, our drum kit is fucked and Veronica obviously can’t sing but we have, like, the best time.” From hanging out with the band this afternoon, I am inclined to believe him.

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 34, July 2009

READ FULL INTERVIEW AT SURVIVE THE JIVE

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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Betty and the werewolves




So..David Cassidy. What’s the attraction?

His blue, blue eyes. Some people might think they’re a bit shifty, but Betty is spellbound by David…he’s a dreamboat with his own cult.

What is the best werewolf movie ever?

Wolf Blood. It was made in 1925 and written by a man called Cliff. In your face, Teen Wolf!

Who are your favourite people amongst your contemporary musicians?

We have lots of favourites - Je Suis Animal, Vivian Girls, Hot Silk Pockets, Comet Gain, Kasms, Screaming Tea Party, WetDog, Male Bonding

You get put on some unlikely bills. Do audiences always react well to your playful approach to live music?

We love playing to different crowds. We mostly play to Twee crowds, which is mega fun – they pogo like it’s 1994 and snog all the way through our set. We’ve also played with bands like Fucked Up and the Shitty Limits where the audience goes crazy, breaking into moshpits and invading the stage after the first song. Either way, one of us usually ends up falling over, snapping a string or losing a shoe. There doesn’t need to be an audience for that to happen…

What was the deal with that movie you appeared in, 1234? Was it fun?

Definitely! It was so surreal re-enacting a gig - we had to mime to our own backing track and Doug had to be smeared with fake sweat. Actually, Doug’s acting impressed everyone in the end - move over Danny DeVito!

You’ve had your own jewellery made by Tatty Devine, what is next, your own brand of cupcakes?

Good question! We’ve already had David Cassidy ginger bread men at our last single launch. We’ve also got special Betty pencils which tend to rival the record sales at out gigs…maybe we need to branch into ring tones? Or maybe Doug could design a clothing range?

How did it feel being on Channel 4 news as the backing track to the decline of the music industry?

That was really funny, we had no idea channel 4 news had recorded us until our phones started melting with messages from our friends who were at home watching the news on a Saturday night. Also, the audio clip they use doesn’t match up to the images. So Laura looks like she’s singing really out of tune, when actually it’s me! Mwa ha haaa…...oh….

What does 2009 have in store for betty and the werewolves?


Snapping strings, jumping related injuries, sweating, more sweating, Casio tone explosions, an album with damaged goods, bass/face collisions, some new songs and some new picnic dresses.

Can you tell me your favourite werewolf related songs please?

Dunno but I really like 'Shoplifting' by the Slits

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 33, June 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

MALE BONDING


It is a privilege to have obtained an interview from Dalston based trio Male Bonding. They have a nonchalant attitude toward the interview format, and perhaps the music press in general, “The internet is way more powerful and a million times more interesting and rewarding than a copy of artrocker magazine. It breaks down all of the barriers the "music industry" built over the years... for reals.” Guitarist and singer John Arthur Webb argues.
The band’s DIY approach to the music industry owes as much to punk as does their sound, a heady mix of post-hardcore, grunge and lo-fi noise pop. “We can’t operate in any other way,” explains Webb on the subject of their label. “It has to be about control, creativity and independence. There are of course a lot of amazing bands and independent labels that want to help, and be involved - and this all relates to how we try to run our label, PARADISE VENDORS INC.” The Record label has released a series of split EP’s featuring the likes of PENS and Graffiti Island. “PVI is, and always has been about us putting records out by our friend’s bands we love and want to support. One big label, who we have total love for, told us that if they had known that we were interested in working with other labels, then they would of put an offer in last year. It’s funny how people see us as a fiercely independent unit that won't work with any other labels - that's not the case.”
The next release from MB will be a GG Allin covers split on Italian beach babes records, along with PENS, Graffiti Island and Thee Pharaohs. “It’s going to be great.” Enthuses Webb, “GG fascinates me; he lived 100% through his music and you can see that and hear it. His voice changed so much. All those cigarettes and bottles of Jim beam. I think he was an intelligent person, but he consumed too much of his own shit - quite literally.”
The band are yet to record their contribution to the GG Allin split, partially because they’ve been too busy having the time of their lives in America. “In Austin, we were taxied around by finally punk for an evening that involved seeing Devo, then watching annihilation time, trash talk and the Vivian girls play on a bridge, a.m. tacos and climbing a mountain and watching the sun come up. That was one of the best days of my life.”
Whether Conan from Graffiti Island who runs Italian beach babes records is annoyed with the lack of a punctual contribution from MB is beyond me, but if it came down to it, which band would win in a fight? “There are collectively a lot of glasses involved so there wouldn't be any face punching allowed,” states Webb as he considers his chances. “Plus Pete is too beautiful to hit in the face. Bear hugs and spitting... the odd body shot. I guess they would probably win.”

Published: P.i.X magazine: issue # 33, June 2009

READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE

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