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10 for 2012 Interview: Jordan Fish of Worship

 
By on Monday, 9th January 2012 at 4:00 pm
 

Finishing fourth on late last year’s 10 for 2012 poll, Worship (or rather their bassist Jordan Fish) tells us about their hometown (which is not actually Reading like we’ve been reading everywhere) and their appearance at last year’s Glasto.

Congratulations on finishing #4 in our 10 of 2012 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?
It’s a nice surprise, the last few months have been quite busy for us and it’s great to think someone is interested in what we’re doing.

You’re from Reading (or at least that’s what we’ve read). How do you think being from Reading has affected what Worship sounds like and how to approached entering the music industry? Do you look to your popularity as being something that will spotlight Reading’s music scene positively?
Tim (vocals) is the only one of us actually from Reading but we’re based in Newbury, which is 20 minutes down the road. Reading is the closest place with a music scene so we used to play there a lot and it’s the closest thing we have to a home crowd.

I’m not sure whether being from Reading affects our music but it certainly has some good promoters/bands and is getting some better venues too. Dave Maul (Monkey Suit Music), Jack Heppelwhite (Mr Blind-Pig) & Pete Wheeler (Wonderwheel) are all great Feading-based promoters putting on great nights and have been really supportive of us. Linda Serck from BBC Berkshire has also been great and put us forward for our Glastonbury Introducing slot in June.

Being from Reading, are you all regular Reading fest-goers? If yes, what changes have you seen the festival undergo over the years (positive and negative – explain)?
We’ve all been going on and off for years. I managed to get in this year and really enjoyed it. The festival itself hasn’t changed too much other than diversifying a little bit, which most of the main festivals seem to be doing. The BBC Introducing stage has been great at Reading and helped local bands get a step up and a bit of festival experience.

I wasn’t there but according to other people’s reports, you had an amazing set at Glasto this year on the Sunday, on the BBC Introducing stage. Tell us about that experience.
 (Watch the live video of their performance of ‘Collateral’ at Glasto below.)
We played on my birthday, so it was an unusual one. I hadn’t been to Glasto before so by the time we played (Sunday) I was totally exhausted. It certainly wasn’t our best performance of the festival season but it was quite early on and I think we did ok. We’re all really looking forward to playing more festivals this year.

Do you consider yourself more of an electronic band doing rock, or a rock band doing electronic?
We’re definitely a rock band doing electronic but I think that’s something we’re always trying to avoid. Our line-up with drums and guitar means that we are always going to sound like a band to some extent but I think when we end up recording the album we’ll be looking to subvert that where possible. We all listen to a lot of electronic music so it is a big influence, but there’s also a lot of other shared influences: Interpol, Mew, Radiohead, etc.

What bands have you been compared to that you feel honoured to be named in the same sentence with, and why? What band comparisons (and by whom) have been the most bizarre, and why?
We mostly get compared to Radiohead, who are obviously a big influence, however it’s something we try and keep our distance from. I think with our recent material we’ve been heading more in our own direction.

What was the most shocking thing that has happened to you all year, and why?
When we were writing in Wales earlier on in the year, Tim and Tom went on a walk to get some fresh air and see the surroundings. They ran into a shaky farmer with his hands in his trousers. I imagine that was quite shocking but they don’t like to talk about it…

What is the most unusual thing about your band that your fans would be surprised to learn?

Probably that we’re not particularly dark or moody people. When we first put music out we thought it was reasonably uplifting but most reviews said “haunting, eerie, dark”. I think we’d like to strike a balance between mournful and uplifting music.

What do you predict for yourselves in 2012?
We’ll definitely be putting out another single early next year, which we’re in the process of recording ourselves now. Then I think the plan is to try and continue writing and hopefully get into the studio and get the album started before festival season kicks in. After that I would hope we’ll be playing a lot of festivals; we’d like to do some European dates too.

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Films of Colour

 
By on Thursday, 22nd December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

Films in Colour, the band you TGTF readers voted to the top spot in our 10 for 2012 poll, answered some questions for us just as they were hunkering down for the holidays. They tell us how they feel being compared to Coldplay and Foals, how crossing the pond will be the furthest they’ve travelled other than Middlesbrough (!), and of course, we had to ask them about that David Bowie cover…

How did you come up with the name Films of Colour? Are films a big influence on you personally and/or professionally?
It’s from an Aldous Huxley essay called ‘Heaven and Hell’, which is in a kind of two-part series with ‘The Doors of Perception’. Some guy called Jim Morrison named his band after the latter. It’s basically one man’s experience with mescalin, in which he sees ‘delicate floating films of colour’, so it actually has nothing to do with movies! We just liked the image of many layers.

Who decided, “okay, we’re going to tackle a David Bowie song”? Did you have any reservations before attempting the cover? Now having done it, how do you feel about it? (Relief? Pride?)
We were approached back in 2009 by Bowie’s publishing team asking if we were up for covering one of his songs. Covering an artist as prolific as Bowie is fraught with danger, I think that’s why we picked a lesser known song and ‘Slow Burn’ stood out as a track that melodically we could relate to. I think relief definitely, the reception from the Bowie community was always very important and to be featured on David Bowie’s official Web site was an honour. I don’t think we won over 100% of the faithful, but the majority of feedback we got was very positive.

How did you hear about Tony Visconti’s take on your cover? (I’m a little confused…did you send him this track as a demo b/c you wanted to work with him for your producer on your future material?)
It’s that classic “it’s not what you know…” story again. Our manager used to work with Bowie and Tony, he sent Tony the track, he liked it. Next thing we know is that Tony is visiting from America to come to a rehearsal. Very surreal night in a tiny East London practice room ensues! He’s the genuine article, lovely guy, great stories, and we remain in contact.

What is like being signed to Fierce Panda? Where they one of the indie labels you felt would be a good fit for your band?
We were technically signed to Fierce Panda through their single label, Club Fandango. When they were up for doing our first single we were chuffed, as they are a really great label with a history. We cannot speak highly enough of Simon Williams, Martin and the Panda team. Would love to work with them again someday.

There’s a lot of good talk going around your appearance at SXSW in March. Are you excited to be going to the States?
Absolutely, not sure it has really sunk in yet to be honest. I think the furthest away we’ve been from home is Middlesbrough? We are sure going to make the most of it. The plan is to stop off in New York for a few days, do some busking, filming etc., before heading to Austin. And hopefully when we are at SXSW we’ll do a handful of shows to offset the handful of forms you have to fill out to enter the country!

Will this be your first time there / first time playing there? Are you going to try and woo American labels when you’re over?
It will be our first SXSW. Sure, we’d love to meet American labels, but I think our SXSW will be purely just drumming up a bit of interest in a new place. Giving away as many CDs as humanly possible in 4 days, etc. We’d rather just worry about playing a gig than who might be watching.

Reviewers often compare bands to other bands that have come before. Who have you been compared to? Which bands did you feel honoured to be compared to? Which comparisons struck you as particularly bizarre?
Did you know this is the hardest question that Films of Colour ever seem to get asked for some reason. We all like different stuff so for example, we’ve been compared to Coldplay before. Two out of four might feel honoured, the other two will find it bizarre. That might work the other way round if someone compares to Foals. I guess it’s just a case of what you want to hear. I think as a general rule in music everyone feels honoured to be compared to Radiohead, right? No one has said we sound like KISS, that would be particularly bizarre.

As an up and coming band, what misconception about your band do you want to dispel up front?
A lot of people get put off by the word ‘Coldplay’, but it’s a double-edged sword. We implore you to come and see us live and make up your own mind.

When can we expect your next release?
The next release is due around SXSW time (End of February/March 2012). Although we do tend to put up free downloads from time to time on our website: http://www.filmsofcolour.com or our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/filmsofcolour

What do you predict for yourselves in 2012?
More of the same! A few more singles, lots more gigs. New ways of getting music out there and meeting people. And at some point, the album. Hopefully we can justify our number one spot on the ‘There Goes the Fear 10 of 2012’!! Onwards and upwards.

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Steve Sparrow of Morning Parade

 
By on Tuesday, 20th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

Morning Parade rounded out the 10 for 2012 poll this year at #10. We asked the band some questions about all those tats and what exactly is going on in the ‘Us & Ourselves’ video. Read on…

It’s been a busy year for Morning Parade from start to finish. How has the step up in activity affected you as a unit?
It has indeed been a busy and very intense year for us, just how we like it to be honest. I think as a unit we’re probably stronger than ever, we’re always learning about ourselves, each other and about music all the time and its nice to share the journey with each other.

There seems to be a real dedication in the band, as the tattoos demonstrate. If you hadn’t been in this band, what would you all be doing and would you have gotten any tattoos?
The honest truth? I really have no idea. Phil and Chad already had tattoos, the Morning Parade ones got decided upon on a particularly drunken night out but I love that we all have them, we are a weird and wonderful family… I don’t think any other combination of people would work for Morning Parade. What would we do if we weren’t in MP? Well, Ben was studying at a drama school and the rest of us have always been in bands. I can’t speak for the others but if wasn’t in this ‘this’ band, I’d probably be in another band, I’d always write songs because I always have done, the same goes for all of the others; Morning Parade just gives us a platform to share them on.

You’ve spent a lot of time touring with the likes of the Wombats and the Kooks. What are your favourite memories of your time with the two groups?
We’ve had some incredible times this year and we’ve met a bunch of different bands. The Wombats have been really good to us and we’ve had a lot of very funny extra-curricular activities with them and their crew ranging from ‘borrowing’ the head of a 20-foot polystyrene man, stage invasions in Rome and best of all hungover paintball in Newcastle on the UK tour this autumn just gone – we had a lot of fun and played our first ever European tour with them, so we have very fond memories.

The Kooks’ tour was fantastic too, it was great to meet and get to know the guys. Luke’s passion and hunger was a huge inspiration to me, he was not how I expected him to be at all. We shared one strange night out in Hamburg, there was an open mic night happening and the guys just got up and played a mini set of their best known songs to an unsuspecting room of German punters. It was pretty surreal.

Your sold out show at Scala (review here) seemed a pretty big deal for both you and those present. Has there been a gig so far when you’ve felt a change in the crowds?
Yeah of course, it was a big deal. We really haven’t spent much time playing in the UK this year and we’ve not always had the support that you’d hope for in our position. The UK music scene is so very fickle, it’s nice to see that people don’t forget and that the songs are connecting with those who have discovered us already. I guess there is some sort of validation in that.

The Scala was definitely a special show for everyone involved, and for us, a great opportunity to play a longer set and some new material – we’ve done a lot of support shows this year!
I don’t know if there has been a particular show where we’ve felt a difference but we’re definitely noticing more people singing along, and more people wearing either our t-shirts or their own home made ones. We’re always surprised by the warmth of our fans and the gifts they bring to our shows.

What are your plans as far as hitting festivals in the next 12 months?
Wow, we’re mainly just thinking about tomorrow at the moment. Twelve months is too big a stretch of time for our minds to comprehend right now. With the album coming out in March I’m sure we’ll be at a whole bunch of festivals all across the UK, Europe and hopefully further afield too. We’d like to play as many shows as humanly possible next year. Indoors/Outdoors we don’t mind. We just like playing shows.

What’s the best thing a fan’s done for you?
This is a tough one, we have met a lot of very kind fans this year. We’ve had fans travel across the continent to come see us, some have been to every date on a tour which is quite overwhelming. There is one in particular who hand wrote a book for us. It was an inch thick and filled with interview quotes, lyrics, messages, it also had lots of photos and postcards of her city because we don’t really get a chance to see much of where we’re playing. A tremendous amount of care had gone into making it, we couldn’t believe it.

Will the album finally be launching this year? What can we expect from it?
Yes, thank the lord. I don’t think we could wait any longer. It is due for a spring release and it is finished, unless we write anything we feel *has* to be on there. This is a dangerous trap and the reason it’s taken us so long to get it out.

The record encapsulates everything about us. We wanted to make sure the record was a true representation of where we are, where we’ve been and hopefully an indication of where we might go – as we’re growing our ideas and perceptions are changing. The record has a real mixture of dynamics and textures, we were keen to show all sides of ourselves so there might be a couple of surprises on there. You’ll have to wait and see.

Lastly, what on earth is going on in the ‘Us & Ourselves’ video?
Haha, I’m glad you get that from it… I find life confusing, and the concept behind the song still confuses me. In fact everything confuses me, can you help me? What was the question?

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Willy Moon

 
By on Monday, 19th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

In our q&a with 10 for 2012 act #6 Willy Moon, we find out what he thought of the prospect of becoming the next Michael Buble, among other interesting tidbits…

What inspired your 1950s-inspired image?
I think a guy like me looks best in a suit. If you look good then you feel good, and if you feel good then you look good…make sense?

Your video for ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ shows some really slick dance moves. Where did you learn to dance like that?
I didn’t learn, otherwise I probably would have done it differently…just doing my thing, man. I make up my own moves, It’s better that way.

Is it true you’ve not played live yet?
Yes – as I write, produce and play all of my own material I have had to work a little differently. I didn’t want to go out there with a wall of playback, nor a band that didn’t complement the sound of my records. I’m putting a group together at the moment, and looking to start playing early 2012. I can’t wait…

Your sound is a powerful blend of old and new. Who are you inspired by from both eras?
Cab Calloway, James Brown, Kanye West, Bo Diddley, Nas, Curtis Mayfield, Eartha Kitt, Screaming Jay Hawkins and the list goes on…

I hear you moved from New Zealand to London to kick-start your musical career, and this strategy seems to be working. What was the reason behind the move?
Making it in a small town is playing to 100 people, I guess I was aiming for a different kind of success..

There are a number of good antipodean acts around right now, so the region is generating its fair share of talent, although they do seem to be more dub-styled rather than rock ‘n’ roll? What artists have you been compared to and been honoured to be compared to and why? What artists have been lumped in with that you have found entirely bizarre?
Somebody said Bo Diddley remixed by Swizz Beatz, another tune apparently recalls Beyonce by Screaming Jay Hawkins…an A&R man once told me that if I played my cards right I could be the next Michael Buble, which I thought was pretty fucking hilarious.

What is something unusual about you that you think your fans would be surprised about?
I’m actually a black albino from outer space.

What do you predict for yourself in 2012?
Hard work. And haircuts once a week.

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Piers Sherwood-Roberts of Strangers

 
By on Friday, 16th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

The man behind the keyboards of 10 for 2012 act runner-up Strangers, Piers Sherwood-Roberts, answers some of my questions on navigating the tricky waters of media lumping them in with Elton John, how opening for the Duke Spirit was a defining moment for them this year, and much more. Read on…

Congratulations on finishing #2 (runner up) in our 10 of 2012 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?
Yeah, we feel great, thank you to everyone who voted for us!

Do you consider yourself more of an electronic band doing rock, or a rock band doing electronic?
I don’t think we feel like either. Rock isn’t something we’ve ever associated ourselves with. We feel more like an electronic band doing dark pop or a dark pop band doing electronic. Saying that, we could be wrong!

All three of your EPs (‘EP1’, ‘EP2’ and ‘EP3’) are available for streaming on Soundcloud. How important was it to you as a band to have your material “listen before you buy”? How do you think this fits into how music is going / the current climate in the music industry?
I think it’s quite important these days to let people hear what’s going on. I think people rarely buy music that they haven’t heard at least once before. We live in such a consumerist world, people want things now and they want to know what they are getting.

It’s getting harder for bands just to turn up and get a big record deal and be thrown onto the radio, so I think bands are exploring different ways to get exposure. SoundCloud is a great tool for getting our music out there and it’s simple to use too. We love it.

Do you have a favourite EP out of the three? If so, which one and why?
I think ‘EP3’. It kind of sums up where we are at the moment and where we are taking the sound. It’s got a bit of everything we like in it: epic ballads, upbeat pop tunes and simple melody driven songs.

As a Duranie / New Romantic and a ’80s new wave fan, listening to your music feels very familiar to me, like a beloved jumper that comes out from a clothing trunk to be worn for warmth in winter. Do you draw inspiration from those late ’70s / ’80s eras? (Very sorry if this offends; I find your music reminds me a lot of the bands that I love from that era, so feel free to use this opportunity to explain where you’re coming from, if you feel the media’s portrayal of your music is totally wrong.)
Ha! No no, we take no offense. We’re glad. We are very open about our influences from that era. Depeche Mode, Human League, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, New Order are all big influences on us, Depeche Mode probably being the biggest.

What bands have you been compared to that you feel honoured to be named in the same sentence with, and why? (Like Hurts?) What band comparisons (and by whom) have been the most bizarre, and why?
Being compared to Hurts is obviously nice! A couple of blogs have said that ‘Promises’ sounds similar to Elton John and Kiki Dee’s ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’. Having the words Elton John coupled with us seems quite bizarre but also, we do feel honoured.

You’ve had the chance to play with a lot of different bands this year. Were there any gigs in particular that stick out in your mind as particularly memorable? (This can include good or bad memories…we want the dirt!)
Our first show supporting the Duke Spirit was definitely to most memorable. We didn’t really know what to expect. It was the first time any of us had used live visuals as part of a show and the first time Raife had played the drums standing up. The Duke Spirit loved the show and everything went smoothly. To say we were relieved would be pretty accurate.

What is your favourite instrument in your arsenal, and why?
The ‘stand up’ electric drum kit and lead synth. Without those we wouldn’t sound half as good live.

What item in your record collection do you think we would never guess you owned?
‘The Burt Bacharach Collection’: now there’s a man who knows how to write a cracking song.

What is the most unusual thing about your band that your fans would be surprised to learn
Approach us after a show and you’ll find out!

What do you predict for yourselves in 2012?
Oooo, that’s a tough one. We just want to continue getting bigger and better, picking up new fans wherever we can.

 

10 for 2012 Interview: Danny Todd of Cashier No. 9

 
By on Thursday, 15th December 2011 at 11:00 am
 

Up and coming Northern Irish rockers Cashier No. 9 made it to the #7 spot on our 10 for 2012 poll voted by you. Danny Todd, lead singer of the Belfast band, was kind enough to send over his answers to some burning questions we posed him and his band, such as what they expect to find in their dressing rooms on tour…

Congratulations on finishing #7 in our 10 of 2012 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?
We’re delighted. Thanks very much, faithful readers.

Has coming of age in a post-Troubles Belfast made it easier or harder to be a Norn Irish musician?
Nothing to do with the troubles has ever affected us being in bands one way or the other.

Do you think the MTV EMA Awards held in Belfast in early November will help the Northern Irish music scene, what do you think it will accomplish?
Anything that brings an international spotlight to our city is no doubt a good thing.

Do you think South by Southwest will open up the American market for you? How much more do you think you need before you come over to do a proper tour?

We hope so…we’ve never played in the States and the album’s not out there yet. There’s probably still a lot of work to do.

Do you think there is a Northern Irish “sound,” and if there is, are you a part of it or a counter to it?
Not really. We’re a part of anyone who’s trying to make something good.

Which has been your favorite festival to play?

Bestival.

What influences your music – other musical groups, books, politics?
Other music of many types. Books, yes. Politics, no.

This album seems to place you fairly squarely in the “pop” category, a place some bands loathe to be. Is that where you were aiming for, or do you have more work to do to complete your sound?
We’re happy to be labelled “pop”, but there’s a lot more to it too.

Whose idea was it to pair you up with famed Irish artist Jack Pakenham for the ‘Goldstar’ video? And is he actually dancing to ‘Goldstar’?
It was our idea, he was throwing shapes at one of our gigs and it all made sense. No, he’s not actually dancing to ‘Goldstar’. It’s ‘Black Betty’, one of his favourite tunes.

So now that you are an “award-winning band”, what bizarre things are you going to add to your rider?
Nettle-flavoured crisps.

What do you predict for yourselves in 2012?
If the world doesn’t end, maybe we’ll take it over.

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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