As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This installment features Scottish alt-rock quartet Catholic Action, comprising Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew Macpherson. All four band members contributed to the responses below, in what must have been a very lively conversation indeed. (If you need a bit of background info before diving into their answers, you can read through TGTF’s previous coverage of Catholic Action here.)
Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
All: Full English Breakfast
What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Ryan: Kicking a hole in Trump’s wall.
Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Chris: Are The Lemon Twigs playing? [Yes, they’re on the official SXSW schedule. – Ed.]
Jamie: I don’t know if Thee Oh Sees have been announced yet? [Nope, they’re not on the schedule. – Ed.]
Everyone: Slaves are playing, they got funding and everything didn’t they? [Yes. – Ed.]
Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Chris: A VHS Camera, I make videos for bands on mine.
If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Jamie and Ryan: Tinnies and Ginnies
Chris: I remember Lone Star was nice from last time.
What was your favourite album from 2016 and why?
Chris: I think ‘The Party’ by Andy Shauf (like his previous LP) is an underrated masterpiece.
Jamie: ‘Moon Shaped Pool’, [by Radiohead] because I’m a fanboy.
Ryan: Whitney, ‘Light Upon The Lake’. I think it’s a perfect modern country record.
Andrew: Cate Le Bon’s ‘Crab Day’ because it’s “bloody bonkers”.
What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Chris: I played SXSW before with Casual Sex in 2014. [Our archived coverage of Casual Sex, including their 2014 trip to Austin, is right back this way. – Ed.] It’s Catholic Action’s first time though in the USA and it’s Ryan’s first time in America. He says he is going to get a commemorative tattoo… I’d be inclined to believe him. He got a commemorative earring the first time we played The Great Escape in Brighton.
Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…
What song is your earliest musical memory?
Jamie: ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ by The Beatles.
Ryan: ‘Just a Gigolo’ by Louis Prima.
Chris: Probably The Pogues or The Lightning Seeds, I had cassettes.
Andrew: ‘Common People’, Pulp.
What was your favourite song as a child?
Jamie: ‘An LP’s Worth of Tunes’ by Todd Rundgren.
Ryan: ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited.
What song makes you laugh?
All: ‘Black Dog’ – Led Zeppelin. That harmony is ridiculous. It’s the most Led Zeppelin song.
What song makes you cry?
Ryan: ‘Changes’ by Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne. * l a u g h s *
What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Chris: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.
What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Ryan: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.
Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
All: ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean.
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jamie: Alasdair Gray.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Jamie: Pencil pushing at a bank.
Andrew: Probably be doing a PhD.
If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Andrew: ‘Jailbreak’, because I can’t get ‘Live and Dangerous’.
Chris: ‘Evening Star’, Fripp and Eno.
Ryan: The Smiths, ‘The Queen is Dead’.
Jamie: ‘Sound of Silver’ – LCD Soundsystem.
Many thanks to all four members of Catholic Action for their responses!
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 11:00 am
As you might have guessed, London wins the prize for sending to SXSW 2017 the largest number of artists of all cities in the UK. In this post, we introduce you to acts from London that don’t exactly fit in the ‘usual’ genres SXSW is famous for. Today, we’ve got for you artists who are experts in the field of jazz (yes, really), world music, plus singer/songwriters, because we couldn’t fit them into the London portion of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017 anywhere else. Except where noted, the summaries below were written by Steven Loftin. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.
Flamingods – psychedelic world music
When Flamingods describe themselves as “exotic psychedelia”, they are definitely not wrong. Founded in 2009 by frontman Kamal Rasool in Bahrain, the band now reside in the UK, but have brought all that exotic Middle Eastern goodness with them. A unique take on western pop mixed with their grand and explosive live performances has gained them a reputation noticed by the likes of Dazed, i-D magazine and The Guardian and secured them slots at Glastonbury, Latitude, Fusion Festival in Germany and Milhoes de Festa in Portugal. With a total of six albums under their belt including their most recent in 2016 ‘Majesty’, they’ll have plenty of material to draw from when they appear in Austin. (Adam McCourt)
GoGo Penguin – jazz
Having signed to the legendary jazz label Blue Note records this year, GoGo Penguin are well on their way to success already. On their third album, the Mancunians’ mixture of jazz, acoustic and electronica is a fresh sound that ensures they don’t get lost within the indie mire. Their 2014 album ‘V2.0’ was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize, just in case you needed more of a nudge (and a reminder). (Steven Loftin)
Jacob Collier – world (? he defies description)
We can guarantee you’ve heard nothing quite like Jacob Collier, pictured at top. The youngster fuses more genres than the iTunes drop-down selector and is only 22. After gaining his momentum the way most new artists do, via YouTube, his ascension has been one for the ages. You should definitely check him out if only to see what composition he’s bringing to Texas. (Steven Loftin)
Jade Bird – folk / singer/songwriter
You can’t swing a cat around London without hitting a young, aspiring female singer/songwriter. Jade Bird, however, has already gotten plenty of attention, so you should take the time to get to know this new talent. She accompanied Tom Odell on his European tour this month, and she’s following this up in London with a BBC Introducing show at the Lexington on the 6th of April and already announced appearances at Live at Leeds and Bushstock. Of course, those of us who are lucky enough to get out to Austin get a first crack on this side of the Atlantic. Yes, be jealous. (Mary Chang)
Johnny Flynn – folk / singer/songwriter
Johnny Flynn (usually with his band The Sussex Wit in tow) is no stranger to America, having already come over a few times for tours including one with friend and sometimes collaborator Laura Marling back in 2015. He’ll be releasing his newest album ‘Sillion’ on Transgressive Records in late March after SXSW 2017, so this visit is really the perfect opportunity for Flynn to give his newest tunes a live airing. (Mary Chang)
For past coverage of Johnny Flynn on TGTF, go here.
L.A. Salami – blues / singer/songwriter
Since 2014, Lookman Adekunle Salami, aka L.A. Salami, has been garnering a fair amount of interest, and for good reason. Perfectly succinct acoustic and ethereal songs that feature nothing but his bare soul, Salami even has a savage side as shown in ‘I Wear This Because Life is War’. Deserving of much more attention, let’s hope SXSW brings Salami more spotlight action. (Steven Loftin)
Laucan – folk / singer/songwriter
Twenty-seven old Laurence Galpin used to be in a band. But by taking a chance in singing alone with his falsetto in his bedroom, he’s going by the name Laucan now. Rob da Bank must have approved of this move: Galpin is signed to his Sunday Best label, who have just released his single ‘Up Tomorrow’, the title track of an EP that will be unveiled in March. Atmospheric music with Galpin’s falsetto flitting across it is clealy no longer of the “folk music of increasing obscurity” he himself had feared: it’s ready for the masses next month in Austin. (Mary Chang)
Maleek Berry – Afropop and r&b
Maleek Berry (born Maleek Shoyebi) grew up in South London, listening to the biggest names in r&b and pop music. At the age of 14, Berry was introduced to music, mainly through his church, but it was only after gaining his degree in Computer Science, whilst learning piano by ear that he realised his calling was in music. Since then, he has contributed hugely to the Nigerian music scene, working with artists such as Wizkid, Naeto C and Wande Coal, with whom he established with a connection with whilst on a family holiday. (Adam McCourt)
Manu Delago Handmade – experimental / electronic
With pleasing and melodic experimentation, Manu Delago entrances with instrumentation that is far from your run of the mill guitar / bass / drums setup. Having discovered the ‘Hang’, an instrument that looks like two beat-up woks attached to each other, Delago formed one of his numerous projects, Manu Delago Handmade with the help of Isa Kurz and Chris Norz. Prolific and enlightening, Delago (with his crew) is a beauty amongst the beast. (Steven Loftin)
Martin Creed – folk / singer/songwriter
One not to miss, Martin Creed has been creating and experimenting almost his whole life. Not content with being a prominent figure in the art world, he’s also a dab hand at music, even finding massive fans in Franz Ferdinand. You never know what he could bring to the table. (Steven Loftin)
Moelogo – Afropop and r&b
Since his debut single ‘Pangolo’ and his 2013 debut EP ‘Moe is My Name, Music is My Logo’, Moelogo has been making strides within the r&b and Afrobeat scene. Whilst collaborating with artists such as DRB LasGidi and Fuse ODG, Moelogo has gathered lots of interest from BBC 1xtra, Beat FM and Capital Xtra for his latest single ‘Do You Love Me?’ Coming off the back of his 2015 NEA award for Diaspora Artist of the Year, Moelogo was nominated for the 2016 MOBO Award for Best African Act, up against the likes of Wizkid, Davido, Yemi Alade, Patoranking. Not a bad track record at all. (Adam McCourt)
Moses Boyd Exodus – jazz
As smooth as silk, Moses Boyd creates dark atmospheric tracks that are lined with a plethora of inspirations from jazz, blues, funk and soul. The drummer is a force not to be reckoned with, carving his way through jam after jam, only taking centre stage when he needs to. Boyd perfectly encapsulates what it means to be a musician. (Steven Loftin)
Native Dancer – jazz / electronic
Jazz is making waves in a big way once again with Native Dancer. Not quite your atypical jazz band that you’d find in a smoky club. Instead, they’re covered in soul and experimentation, with modern flourishes that are interesting and fresh. They released ‘EP Vol. II’, which in case you hadn’t of guessed was the second installment after ‘EP Vol. I’. (Steven Loftin)
Robyn Hitchcock – folk / singer/songwriter
Managing to be described as the closest thing the UK has to Bob Dylan, Robin Hitchcock is one of the country’s most beloved singer/songwriters, as well as being a poet and author. Self-describing his songs as “paintings you can listen too”: no-one can sum it up better than that. You’d be silly to miss out on his blending of psychedelic sounds with folk. He’s even got a new album coming out in April, how handy is that? (Steven Loftin)
Sarathy Korwar – Indian jazz
Jazz with an Indian twist, something that you never knew you needed until now. Sarathy Korwar is not only good at what he does, but he’s been honoured by numerous Indian and Western bodies of music for his work. Truly genre-breaking stuff, Korwar is a unique mind and to see what he does next will be something special. (Steven Loftin)
Silvastone – Afropop
Originally starting out as a producer and songwriter, Silvastone has gone out as his own force, releasing his debut EP ‘Transitions’ in late 2014. With the follow up due in early 2017, the African-drenched dance music that 2014 brought us will in no doubt come back with a stronger and even more beat-filled songs. (Steven Loftin)
United Vibrations – jazz
More modern jazz comes in the form of United Vibrations, with a name as smooth as their sound. It’s jazz that remains intact, no falling apart at the seams as jazz is want to do, instead they’re fully constructed and fleshed out tracks that wouldn’t be out of place on the deeper side of a Foals album, just less math rock. (Steven Loftin)
Yussef Kamaal – jazz
London-based jazz fusion duo Yussef Kamaal – Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams – is essentially the brainchild of Kamaal Williams’ solo material that Yussef Dayes contributed to for a live set at Boiler Room. The duo bring the idea of jazz to a whole new means of consumption by taking the idea of jazz standards and improvisation to extremes. From their first set on at Boiler Room, the duo began performing live, where little more than a chord progression would be planned before taking the stage. The duo released their debut LP ‘Black Focus’ last November. (Adam McCourt)
Montreal husband and wife duo The Dears will be touring the England and Wales this weekend and into early next week, playing their first UK shows in 6 years. The four UK live dates are in support of the pair’s latest album release ‘Times Infinity Volume One’, out now on Dangerbird Records. The album is part of a two-volume series, the second half of which is titled ‘Times Infinity Volume Two’ and due for release later this year.
Frontman Murray Lightburn says of the 2-year long project, “Putting these two records together was like solving a puzzle: Volume One was about finding the edge pieces while Volume Two was about the middle pieces. It was very difficult to wrap one’s head around at first, but by the end of production, it just became easier and easier. It’s a metaphor for life, and our life’s story.”
You can watch The Dears’ brand new video for album track ‘To Hold and Have’ just below the tour date listing. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Friday 24th February 2017 – Cardiff Globe
Saturday 25th February 2017 – Bristol Fleece
Sunday 26th February 2017 – Leeds Brudenell
Tuesday 28th February 2017 – London Village Underground