By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 25th February 2015 at 11:00 am
Not long now before SXSW 2015! But just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event. Our fifth interviewee is Jessi Williams of Silverlake, Los Angeles band The Lonely Wild, who I introduced you all to in this Bands to Watch feature in January. The poor girl is above board about her motion sickness and has some excellent tips for bands making their virgin voyage to SXSW this year. Have a read…
What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
PLAYING!!! We have been so busy in the studio and gearing up to release the album, it feels like we haven’t played in forever!! I’m about to explode (ya’ll may want to stay a few steps back from the stage). [Duly noted. We’ll bring ponchos… – Ed.]
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?
I hope to get to see some shows, but I haven’t even begun to figure out which ones. We’ve hit the party at Willie Nelson’s ranch the last two years and always have an amazing time there. I’m also planning on swinging by the Laguintas party. They’ve been awesome supporters and we LOVE their beer.
Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
It’s SUPER rock’n’roll…. I get terrible motion sickness. I travel with every kind of ginger candy/food, motion sickness pill, sea bands and any remedy that I can find. (Suggestions welcome). I am really grateful that we don’t travel by boat. [I always keep mints in my purse. Oh, and carry my mp3 player everywhere so I can queue up a favourite song if needed – Ed.]
If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
I’m a whiskey gal. I’d love a Buffalo Trace or a Belle Meade. Thank you
What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Be realistic and manage your expectations. The first year can be loads of fun. Just be sure to give yourself enough time between shows to get where you need to go. Realize it’s going to be hard to park and most roads will be closed, so booking 5 shows in a day is probably a bad idea. Also, there are A LOT of shows going on… don’t be super disappointed if you have some that aren’t well attended. Give it everything you’ve got every time though. You never know who is watching. We’ve made lots of great contacts at SXSW.
Now on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions:
What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘My Boy’ by Neil Young. ‘Old Ways’ was released when I was 3. My parents must have just played it over and over. I remember riding in my dad’s GTO on the backroads of southern Indiana listening to this song.
What was your favourite song as a child?
When I was 6-7, I was completely obsessed with ‘Touch of Grey’ by the Grateful Dead. I loved watching the video (on MTV- imagine that!!) I just thought it was so clever when they turned into skeletons and the dog stole his leg. My mom bought me the cassette tape, which I still have actually.
What song makes you laugh?
‘Wooden Ships’ by Crosby, Stills and Nash. The lyrics: “‘Say, can I have some of your purple berries?’ ‘Yes, I’ve been eating them for 6 or 7 weeks now, haven’t got sick once. Probably keep us both alive’”: WTH? Haha. AND Bob Dylan, ‘Bear Mountain Picnic’…. “cops a-comin’, me a-runnin”.
What song makes you cry?
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, Every- Damn- Time. I used it to work up the tears I had to shed in our “Holiday” video released this past December. “What A Wonderful World” and “Imagine” are on that list too.
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.)
The Beatles, ‘I Saw her Standing There’. I was just 17 (get it?) and he was a college boy. We’d go stargazing in the corn field (that’s all I swear!) . We’d crank the Beatles, Beach Boys, Doors, Zombies…lots of British Invasion and Laurel Canyon folk stuff. That song in particular brings me back. It also sort of captures the whimsy and simplicity of being in love in high school.
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.)
Pearl Jam, ‘Spin the Black Circle’. ‘Vitalogy’ in general is just a GREAT album when you’re kind of ticked off and just want to let some aggression out.
Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Chasing White Light’ by The Lonely Wild. haha, but seriously, I think, lyrically, this is the best that Andrew (Carroll) has written to date and I’m so super jealous. Musically, too, it makes me feel all of the feelings.
If that sounds too self-promote-y, which I assure you is not my intention, I’d go with something by Neil Young, who is BY FAR my favorite songwriter. Maybe ‘Expecting to Fly’ or ‘Thrasher’ or ‘Powderfinger’ or ‘Mr. Soul’. I can’t possibly pick!!
Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
That’s so tough!!! I read most of his stuff years and years ago, but I will always adore Kurt Vonnegut.
If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I would have to be professionally sad. I kid.
I’d need to feel creative in some way and not stuck behind a desk. Woodworking or gardening maybe… So a landscaper?
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.)
What the hell kind of Heaven is that?! That God is a dick.
‘Dark Side of the Moon’. I’ve listened to a 1000 times or more since I was born and I’m still not sick of it, so I guess I could listen to it for, er, eternity.
Many thanks Jessi for answering these questions for us here at TGTF!
SXSW 2015 showcasing artists More Than Conquerors will take a brief spin around the UK before heading to Austin next month. The tour will start in London at the end of this week and wrap up in the band’s hometown of Belfast on the 11th of March. Tickets for the following shows are available now.
Check out the promo for ‘Red’, their first single in 2015 to be released on the band’s own label Oil Tape Records on the 2nd of March, in this previous Video of the Moment.
Friday 27th February 2015 – London Garage
Sunday 1st March 2015 – Glasgow Nice and Sleazy’s
Wednesday 4th March 2015 – Leicester Soundhouse
Friday 6th March 2015 – Gosport Clarence Tavern
Saturday 7th March 2015 – Liverpool Blade Factory
Wednesday 11th March 2015 – Belfast Limelight 2
Irish indie pop quintet Walking on Cars will play a string of dates in Ireland and the UK around their mid-March trip to America for SXSW 2015. In addition to the following dates, Walking on Cars will open for singer/songwriter James Bay on the first part of his April tour of the UK and are scheduled to appear at The Great Escape in May. Tickets for the following dates are available now.
Wednesday 11th March 2015 – Dublin Olympia Theatre
Thursday 12th March 2015 – Galway Seapoint Ballroom
Friday 13th March 2015 – Limerick Big Top
Saturday 14th March 2015 – Cork Savoy Theatre
Thursday 26th March 2015 – Birmingham Academy 3
Friday 27th March 2015 – Norwich Open
Sunday 29th March 2015 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Monday 30th March 2015 – Glasgow King Tut’s
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 24th February 2015 at 6:00 pm
Hooray, Everything Everything are back! And they’re in suits! The funky, eclectic Manchester band have revealed a new single, ‘Distant Past’, and now the single has its own promo video, directed by frontman Jonathan Higgs. Have a listen to the frenetic rhythm and a watch of ‘Distant Past’ below.
The band’s third album ‘Get to Heaven’ will be released on the 15th of June on Sony. Everything Everything will be previewing the new album at two shows in April: London Oval Space on the 9th and Manchester Academy 2 on the 10th.
Los Angeles native and former Rooney lead guitarist Taylor Locke’s first solo album ‘Time Stands Still’ finds Locke somewhat at odds with his newly-appointed singer/songwriter status. After spending 10 years with Rooney and two more with his side project Taylor Locke and the Roughs, he is a bit uncomfortable working outside the context of a band, as he explains in the press release for ‘Time Stands Still’: “I think the term ‘singer/songwriter’ sadly evokes a white guy in a coffee shop strumming a fucking G-chord all day. I think this record sounds more like a band record…the band just takes occasional smoke breaks.”
True to Locke’s description, the album alternates between sparsely arranged acoustic ballads and the West Coast guitar rock sound of acts like Jackson Browne or Dawes. In fact, as I listened to ‘Time Stands Still’, I was strongly reminded of Dawes, particularly by the similarity between Locke’s singing voice and that of Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith. While not one of my favorite bands, Dawes do have their moments of brilliance, and so it is with Taylor Locke as well.
One of those brilliant moments is the opening track to ‘Time Stands Still’, ‘Burbank Woman’. It’s another one in a long and timeworn list of songs about the contradictions of the feminine mystique, but its lyrics manage to sidestep the usual clichés, as in the chorus: “she knew something that she didn’t say / deep in her heart there was a valley and no freeway to get there / never mind the miles of my persistence / she was gonna keep me at a distance”.
Unfortunately, those clichés catch up with Locke before the album progresses much further. Second track ‘The Game’ is an extended gambling metaphor, using stale poker jargon to describe a turbulent romance. Trite lyrics also plague the album’s first single ‘Running Away From Love’, whose bland musical arrangement and backing vocals would make qualify it as perfect material for the muzak in a department store.
But just when it seems like the album has taken a nosedive into the banal, Locke comes charging back with a groovy mix of guitar and synths behind the catchy chorus to ‘So Long’. Even better is the current single ‘Call Me Kuchu’, where Locke finds a rougher vocal tone to match the crunchy guitars and gritty lyrics. The call and response between voices in the chorus creates a haunting echo that lingers long after the song is over.
The second half of the album leans more heavily on Locke’s singer/songwriter abilities, and the lyrics to title track ‘Time Stands Still’ undoubtedly refer to his new venture: “it’s late in the game for fanning the flame / the wind is gonna blow out anyway / walk off the stage, turn a new page / call it what you will, time stands still”. Those words became even more meaningful recently, with the passing of the track’s co-writer Kim Fowley. Locke describes Fowley as the “Rock ‘n Roll Grandpa” who talked him into making a solo album in the first place: “The song reveals his sensitive, introspective side, that I count myself among the lucky few to have known.” With that possibly in mind, Locke allows his unadorned vocal line to take center stage over the vaguely gospel harmonies in the keyboards, which are delicately decorated by acoustic guitar and ringing percussion.
Taking a slightly different direction, ‘The Art of Moving On’ is once again purely in the singer/songwriter vein, but its cynical lyrics are contradicted by the forward momentum of the acoustic guitar melody. The finger-picked acoustic guitar rhythms and minor key harmonies in final track ‘No Dice’ are surprisingly reminiscent of Spanish art song, ending the album on a pleasantly unexpected note of newly piqued interest.
Ultimately, the singer/songwriter tracks on ‘Time Stands Still’ suffer slightly from Locke’s vocal delivery, which unfortunately isn’t one of the album’s strongest features. His singing works best in the bolder electric guitar arrangements, where the instrumental colour can take precedence over the vocals. Still, for an initial foray into solo performing, Taylor Locke has made a solid effort here, and one worth building upon.
Taylor Locke’s solo debut album ‘Time Stands Still’ is out now on Lojinx Records. Click here for a free download of its title track.