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Interview: Chris Cain of We Are Scientists

By on Thursday, 21st July 2016 at 11:00 am

The ever hard-working duo of Chris Cain and Keith Murray, better known as We Are Scientists, are back at it again. Having just released their fifth studio album ‘Helter Seltzer’ in April, they’re hitting the road. Hard. With dates completed in the UK and American already, they’re embarking once again to the fair British shores for a few small festival dates before a much larger and focused album tour in October. One of the festival dates coming up is at LeeFest, based in Kent (the one from the advert on TV for UK readers), one of a small explosion of smaller festivals appearing over recent years. We managed to get a phone call with Chris (pictured left at top) during this hectic season, where he spoke to us about the difference between playing to smaller festivals than larger ones. Also discussed was the new, slick We Are Scientists look and the new album artwork that is, shall we say, for your own interpretation.

Chris Cain has one of those voice that kind of lends itself to being father-like but also an air of humour, which is just one of the reasons why a We Are Scientists show is one of the best investments you could make. As previously mentioned, they are returning to the UK for a run of those quaint, smaller festivals before embarking on a larger tour later in the year. On the subject of the differences between those behemoth festivals that shadow the festival season, compared to those smaller, metropolitan festivals that are sprouting up everywhere, Cain muses, “A smaller festival shares some characteristics with a club show, where you know you feel more of a connection with the audience. And ultimately, that’s our preferred type of show, where it’s a few hundred to maximum a couple of thousand.” Elaborating further, he offers, “once you get into [playing to] 20,000 people, which we’ve played a handful of times, it’s cool, it has its own thrill to have that many people doing anything in sync with each other, with the energy there, that’s the only good thing about larger festivals.”

We all know that atmosphere at festivals is the most important part. It’s why we attend them as music fans. There’s a certain feeling that can only be found when surrounded by several thousand of your fellow music fans, rather than a concentration of specific band fans. Cain says, “It’s that specific moment and that vibe. There’s so many other things that you lose when you play to that many people. And I also think as an audience member, there’s so much that kind of disappears, although that crazy energy of being in sync with many thousands of your fellow man is pretty cool. Luckily we have both in the world.”

The rise of smaller, city-based festivals has definitely increased the ability for bands to both tour while gaining new fans, as well as bringing an atmosphere otherwise reserved for large fields to towns that would normally go amiss. These smaller festivals are certainly more suited to We Are Scientists, as Cain mentioned. “City festivals are cool because you’re still playing in a club, but you have this sort communal spirit of a festival where a bunch of people are out for a couple of days to listen to music and that’s kind of the focus of everyone’s lives which gives a kind of a festive atmosphere than a single club show can provide.”

big We Are Scientists Helter Seltzer cover

‘Helter Seltzer’, the reason behind all these shows, features artwork that is particularly, we’ll go for inexplainable, even by Cain himself. “I’m not sure I can completely claim to understand the artwork, it was a very much a collaboration with our artist who is a weird New Zealand recluse who iIve never met face to face. He did our last record as well, he makes all of our merch designs and he re-did our Aeb site for this record. Very talented, a drawer as well as a builder of Web sites, but also very crazy, strange fella with highly peculiar tastes. So this album artwork was very much his reaction to the music.” The best advice we can give is to listen to the new record whilst staring intensely at the artwork. Without blinking. If you manage to make any sense of it, leave a comment here or send us a postcard.

Moving onto their current live show. If you haven’t seen We Are Scientists before, then you are greatly missing out. And this time around you’ll notice they’ve suited up, making the well-oiled machine that is We Are Scientists an even smoother watch. “It was kind of an arbitrary decision, we had a friend take some photos of us, because we needed press photos around the time we were announcing the new album and we decided to wear those outfits, just all black.” For some reason this look seriously suits the duo, ridiculously so. Cain continues, “then we really liked how the photos turned out and thought, ‘are we really going to pack five black outfits?’ So we decided we would. It kind of hasn’t been as much of a laundry nightmare as I thought it would.”

There is literally no reason to not catch We Are Scientists on tour this year and if they aren’t coming to your town, get some friends and travel. They’re worth it. Catch them at Kendal Calling this weekend in the North, followed by their appearance back in the South East in Kent for LeeFest Presents: The Neverland 2016.


Interview: Foy Vance (Part 3)

By on Thursday, 7th July 2016 at 11:00 am

This is part 3 of TGTF’s interview with Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance about his new album ‘The Wild Swan’. If you need to catch up, parts 1 and 2 of the interview are right back here and here.

Along with the previously mentioned ‘Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution’ and ‘Casanova’, the slow-burning track ‘Burden’ also found its way onto ‘The Wild Swan’ after the fact. And like the current single from the album, ‘Coco’, ‘Burden’ was written for someone Vance knows. “A friend of mine was going through a bit of a tough time. He’s one of those guys that carries everybody else’s burden and sort of forgets about his own. And again, I never wrote that with an intention of using it for a record or anything. [But] it felt like it had a place on there.”

Writing and publishing personal songs about friends might seem a bit of a risky avocation, but Vance was unconcerned about any possible gossip surrounding his songs. “I always write about my friends,” he confessed. “I would say a good 70% of the songs I write are for my friends or people that I know and love the most. They’re mostly funny, you know, songs that I send to friends for birthdays or Christmas. But there’s a few songs on [the new] record that are specifically written for people.” He did caution, however, that the songs shouldn’t be taken as a literal commentary on any specific situation. “You know, some of it’s written, then it becomes something else. That’s the thing about songs, they’re entities in a sense, they kind of they go on and become something else in the hands of listeners.”

Vance continued, “You know, there was other songs, like I say, ‘Noam Chomsky’ and ‘Casanova’, that weren’t planned for the record but then they found a home, and there was a couple of others that were meant to be on the record that just didn’t feel like they belonged in the end of it. You can’t really overthink these things. If your plan is too rigid, I think you miss a trick, you know, ‘cos life’s not like that.”

‘Noam Chomsky’ became a pivot point in the conversation when I asked Vance if he was including the song in the set list for his current stripped-back supporting slots. “I haven’t been actually,” he admitted. “I like to do that when I’ve got the full band together. [Otherwise] it sort of misses the guitar player. He’s got that lovely little ’50s, slightly slapback, echo-y sound. He plays this little lick and it’s hard to play that song without that, really.”

Vance has just wrapped up his tour with Elton John in Europe as well as a last-minute supporting slot for James Bay. He has scheduled a slew of summer festival dates, including a recent appearance at Glastonbury and upcoming sets at T in the Park, Latitude and the Calgary Folk Fest in Canada. But he seemed most excited about another support slot he’ll be playing in North America later this year with pop singer/songwriter Josh Groban. I was somewhat surprised to hear about that combination of artists, but Vance was optimistic. “Surprises are good,” he said. “I think it’ll be a different audience, but the thing is, you can never underestimate an audience.”

To emphasise his point, Vance related a colourful tale from his earlier days of touring, around the time of his first album ‘Hope’. “I was at this festival in Middlesborough in England, and I had been paid to do a slot in a really cool venue. It was a funny one because people weren’t sure whether they were meant to like it or not, because they hadn’t heard it on the radio yet. Everyone was standing around sort of looking at each other, you know. And when I got offstage, the promoter of the venue was in a tizz and I said ‘What’s up, man?’ He said, ‘A band have pulled out and I need to fill a 35-minute slot, but it’s in a death metal venue.’ And I said, ‘I’ll do it if you like. I’m happy to go and give it a crack.’ And I went in, and I started with ‘Back in Black’ by AC/DC on my acoustic guitar and then I did ‘Black Hole Sun’ by Soundgarden. But then I spent the rest of the time doing my own set, which at that time was quite acoustic-y, singer/songwriter-y. And it was a great gig, one of the standout gigs [for me]. They were just absolutely open [to my songs]. So you can never underestimate an audience. I like playing to different audiences, whether it be Elton John’s audience or Ed Sheeran’s audience or James Bay’s audience or Josh Groban’s audience. You know, people are people are people.”

Following the Josh Groban tour, Vance will begin his own headline tour in Australia, where he will be accompanied by Kyle Lionhart. In late September, Vance will return to the U.S. for a run of headline dates beginning at the Valley Bar in Phoenix, Arizona, where I caught him live last summer. The American tour, with support from Trevor Sensor, will continue through October, ahead of Vance’s UK and Irish dates with Ryan McMullan in November and December.

Vance paused the discussion of his upcoming tour schedule to sing McMullan’s praises for a moment. “He is absolutely great. Actually at the minute he’s getting songs together for a new album. I hear a lot of people, you know travelling as much as I do, and doing gigs, and I often enjoy what I hear, but it’s very rare these days that I get completely floored by someone. When I first saw him, I saw him in a terrible sort of set, it was like a conference room for Hoover salesmen, in an old kind of crappy hotel with a terrible PA. But the second he opened his mouth, I was just completely transcended. And it’s just so rare these days that I get that blown away by a vocalist who sings like his life depends on it. I couldn’t help but reach out and say ‘Listen, do you want to work together, do you want to come on tour?’

The second half of 2016 looks to be exciting but exhausting for Vance, with non-stop touring through the end of the year. “Yeah, it really is so busy,” he remarked. “You know, I get home for two days, and then I’m away, and then two days and then away. I’m pretty much gone until the 10th or the 11th of December. But listen, a man of my age and skill set, I’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.”

We look forward to seeing Vance “make hay” on the road later this year. In the meantime, our thanks to Robbie for coordinating this interview. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Foy Vance is back this way.


Interview: Foy Vance (Part 2)

By on Wednesday, 6th July 2016 at 11:00 am

This is part 2 of TGTF’s interview with Northern Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance about his new album ‘The Wild Swan’. If you missed part 1, you can find it right back here.

“We had plans when we went in,” said Vance of the Nashville studio sessions for ‘The Wild Swan’, “but they were constantly changing, and I think that’s the way a record should be made. You need to evolve, be [receptive] to what’s happening in the room, and not go in with a definitive plan. You can have ideas of what you think it’s going to sound like. I mean, unless you’re U2 and you can take a year and a half to make a record. Then you can make it sound exactly like you wanted it to sound in your head in the beginning.”

Vance singled out one song on ‘The Wild Swan’ as a turning point in the album’s recording process. “There’s one song in particular on that record called ‘Casanova’, which wasn’t even on the list of songs to record. We were recording another song called ‘Upbeat Feelgood’, and we played it live three or four times, and it became apparent that no one was feeling upbeat or feeling good. We were starting to get into our parts a bit too much, thinking about it too much. So I said, ‘Listen, keep the tape rolling, and we’re going to have a three or four minute departure here.’ And I started playing ‘Casanova’, which actually the bass player had never played before in his life, he didn’t even know what it was. But in that one take, you know, we got it. So that transformed that day, and it sort of transformed the record a little bit.”

As it turned out, the ‘Casanova’ departure indirectly resulted in the album’s first single. “There was another song that I had only half-written called ‘Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution’. I had one verse for that, and I thought I should finish that song off because [musically] it ties in with the ‘Casanova’ thing.” In spite of its seemingly cerebral title and subject matter, Vance described ‘Noam Chomsky is a Soft Revolution’ as “essentially a 12-bar rock ’n’ roll song. I think the only thing that makes it cerebral, or makes people think that it’s trying to be cerebral, is the mention of Noam Chomsky. I guess I like that juxtaposition.”

Elaborating on the inspiration for the single, Vance became a bit philosophical himself. “I love Noam Chomsky, I love listening to him. I remember reading these interviews with him, and he’s so articulate and brave. But there’s something about listening to him, ‘cos he has that soft [tone], he sounds like your granddad saying ‘Would you like a cup of tea, son?’ Yet he’s telling you these devastating sort of truths, you know, about how he sees the political structure, the corporations and terrorism and all kinds of stuff, but it’s all so softly spoken and gentle. He’s quite an anomaly. He puts me in mind of all those other people who I feel were revolutionaries in their own right, who saw the status quo, saw the way things were and thought ‘No, I’m not going to have it like that, I’m going to say it how it is and how I see it.’ Take any one of those people named in [the song], you know, there’s Willie Nelson or Muhammad Ali or Dostoevsky, all of these people spoke from their hearts. I guess that’s what that song’s about. And ‘Noam Chomsky’ is just a beautiful thing to say.”

The next single to be taken from ‘The Wild Swan’ is another one with a melodious name in its title, the sweet-tempered ballad ‘Coco’. The song was inspired by the young daughter of American actress Courteney Cox, who is romantically involved with Vance’s friend and Snow Patrol keyboard player Johnny McDaid. I suggested that it might be considered questionable for a man of Vance’s age to be writing songs about such a young child, and he bristled a bit, perhaps because his own daughter is near the same age as the eponymous Coco. “I guess being a daddy myself, you know, I’ve written lots of those songs. I’m a big fan of Paul Simon, who is the master of sweet and innocent. I love his writing, absolutely love his writing. That song about Coco, she’s just such a sort of enigmatic wee girl, you know, just full of the joys of spring and full of the mayhem you would imagine of a 12-year-old kid, or 11 she was at the time. I wrote that for her just messing around one day. We were on holiday and my daughter was with us, and they were hanging out, and I picked up the guitar and was just singing silly songs, and I started singing that to her. And then the second I got to the end of it, I thought, ‘That could actually be a song’, so I wrote it.”

Despite what people outside his social circle might think, Vance had absolutely no reservations about including ‘Coco’ on ‘The Wild Swan’. “There was a guy, a critic here in the UK, who took it like it was a chat-up line, and I was thinking, ‘I don’t know where you come from, mate, but where I come from, that’s not the done thing.’ I know in an age of this media mayhem that we live amongst now, they’d like to portray all that kind of nonsense, but at the core, it’s an innocent song.”

‘Coco’, the latest single from Foy Vance’s album ‘The Wild Swan’, is due for release this Friday, the 8th of July, on Gingerbread Man Records. Vance recently performed ‘Coco’ in live session for The Telegraph, which you can view here. Tune in to TGTF tomorrow for the conclusion of this interview.


Interview: Foy Vance (Part 1)

By on Tuesday, 5th July 2016 at 11:00 am

Up to this point, 2016 has been a busy year for Foy Vance, and the Northern Irish singer/songwriter doesn’t show any signs of slowing his hectic pace as he swings into the year’s second half. Vance released a new album, ‘The Wild Swan’, back in May, after signing with his friend and colleague Ed Sheeran‘s Gingerbread Man Records. Following the album release and a sold out, one-off show at London’s Hoxton Hall on the 12th of May, Vance played a string of support dates in the UK for legendary pop superstar Elton John. We at TGTF caught up with Vance for a quick chat about ‘The Wild Swan’ during that run of dates, just before his pre-show soundcheck at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Vance was affable and relaxed on the afternoon of our interview, despite the impending soundcheck and the grand scale of the evening’s show. The novelty of the occasion might have worn off for Vance, as he spent the early part of this year touring with John in Australia. Still, he clearly relished the moment as he related that initial experience to me. “Do you know what, Carrie, embarrassingly, that is the first time I had ever heard Elton John live, when I was supporting him [in Australia]. He was an absolute revelation. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen him live, but if you get a chance to, make sure you don’t miss out, because he’s phenomenal. The thing that just hits me, and I think hits everyone that goes to see him, is just how many great songs he plays, just song after song, and you end up thinking, ‘Wow, he wrote that’. It’s a great show, very inspiring.”

It’s perhaps well-known by now that Vance’s connection with Elton John was formed via their mutual friendship with pop phenom Sheeran. “Ed had played him [John] some of my songs, and he liked them. And then I went to his house for dinner one night in L.A., me and Ed and Elton, and he said, ‘Why don’t you come on tour with me? And I said, ‘Let me check my diary.’”

Vance, of course, accepted the offer, and later gave John the ambiguous title of Executive Producer in the album credits for ‘The Wild Swan’. “He was a sounding board for me,” Vance explains. “That was a tip of that to him, for taking me on tour, being there when I was writing new stuff or [when] I’d pull out older songs that I was thinking about. It wasn’t even so much that he would lead the charge on that album. I always feel like the buck stops with me, no matter how many opinions I get. I always have to make the last decision. I think that’s the way it should be. If you’re making art, you need to be a bit of a fascist about it, you know. But it was great to have someone like him to bounce these songs off, and get feedback from someone that’s a wee bit of a musicologist. Because Elton listens to so much music, he’s got a lot to say about it.”

After the Australian tour, Vance travelled to America to record ‘The Wild Swan’ at Nashville’s Blackbird Studios, with acclaimed producer and sound engineer Jacquire King at the helm. King has worked with a number of well-known artists in recent memory, including James Bay and Kings of Leon, but Vance cited a different influence for the collaboration. “You know, the reason I wanted to work with Jacquire was not actually for the records that he’d be most known for, Kings of Leon or James Bay, it’s not those albums that really drew me to him, to be honest with you. It was a couple of records that he did with Tom Waits, one in particular called the ‘Mule Variations’. Not only is the album exquisite, you know, from a songwriting point of view, and from a performance point of view, musicianship and all that, but [I found] the sonic identity, the sonic quality of it so inspiring. So I’ve known of Jacquire for a long time because of that record, and when I went to meet him, we had a good chat about the kind of sound that I would want, more to those type records than the sort of newer stuff he’s doing. And he got it, you know, he got where I was coming from and I think he did a great job of capturing what we did.”

Vance deliberately took an unstructured and spontaneous approach to the actual recording of the album at King’s Blackbird Studios. “I guess I prefer an approach that’s a bit more like a collaboration with the space. As soon as you went into that room, it started to sound a certain way, so we started to play a certain way. You play to the space, and I played the songs that felt right.”

Head back to TGTF tomorrow for part 2 of my interview with Foy Vance about his new album ‘The Wild Swan’, including his thoughts on the next single from the album, ‘Coco’. In the interim, you can gain more insight on the making of the album in Vance’s new video ‘Finding the Wild Swan (Part 1)’ below.

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Interview: Danny Todd and James Smith of exmagician (Part 2)

By on Monday, 23rd May 2016 at 11:00 am

In Part 1 of my interview with Danny Todd and James Smith of exmagician, we discussed the pair’s new album ‘Scan the Blue’, which was released in March on Bella Union.

Following the late March release of their debut LP ‘Scan the Blue’, Belfast alt-rock duo exmagician have planned a full summer of live appearances to promote the album. They recently played at Festival SOS in Murcia, Spain as well as making a stop this past weekend at The Great Escape 2016 in Brighton. Following The Great Escape, exmagician headed to continental Europe to play in Amsterdam, supporting Australian surf rockers Hockey Dad. Looking ahead to the middle of summer, the band are scheduled to play at Sheffield’s Tramlines Festival and the exclusive Tunbridge Wells festival LeeFest Presents: The Neverland in July. “We really love playing festivals,” said band member James Smith. “Certainly my favourite type of gig is a really good festival. July is a lot of festivals, the sort of smaller, boutique festivals in England, which look really good fun. We’re looking forward to them.”

Between those festival appearances and a handful of upcoming UK and Irish headline dates that are still to be announced, Smith and bandmate Danny Todd are currently working on a complete remixing of ‘Scan the Blue’. The new versions of the songs will be pared back performances of the tracks on the album, similar to the ones they recently performed in this live studio session with Cerys Matthews on BBC 6 Music.

The next official single from the album proper will be ‘Bend With the Wind’, which our own editor Mary remarked upon as a standout track, and Todd revealed plans for a new video to accompany its release. “It’s an animated video by an Irish artist called Eat the Danger. That should be coming out in the next month, maybe, or so. So we’re really excited about that track.” Asked which other songs from the album the band are eager to share, Todd continued, “I think they’re all quite different in their own way, which is what we try to do. But we’ve just come off tour, and it’s been nice to play ‘Smile to the Gallery’, because we’ve only really started playing it in the last 3 weeks. So we’re doing that one and ‘Feet Don’t Fail’, James’ one. It’s really nice to play that.”

Songs from ‘Scan the Blue’ have been receiving radio play on the American side of the pond as well as in the UK. Seattle public radio station KEXP featured the album track ‘Job Done’ as its Song of the Day back on the 17th of February, before the full album was even released. In the same blog entry, KEXP also shared the official video for ‘Place Your Bets’, which you can view just below.

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Todd hinted that exmagician might be considering a run of tour dates in America to support the album, though he also remarked that the outcome of the American presidential election might preclude a visit to the United States. “If Trump’s president,” he said, “I don’t know if we’re going to come out.” Though I’ve spent some time pondering the state of the current American presidential contest myself, I hadn’t previously thought about how the election might affect tour plans for artists from abroad, and I wondered aloud about the possibility of bands boycotting America entirely, refusing to tour here. Smith sadly concurred with his bandmate on that point. “Yeah, that’s a possibility. I think a lot of people are very scared. But that’s one of the things, to get over there, because our album is out in the States, and we’d like to get over and support it and tour a bit over there.”

Keep your eye on exmagician’s official Web site and Facebook page for updates on live show announcements and festival appearances. (And if you’re in the United States, keep your fingers crossed for that American tour!) TGTF’s preview of LeeFest: The Neverland, which included a mention of exmagician, posted earlier this week; if you missed it, you can read it right back here. Our full collection of coverage on exmagician is back this way.

Special thanks to Jamie and Luke for kindly arranging this interview.


Interview: Danny Todd and James Smith of exmagician (Part 1)

By on Friday, 20th May 2016 at 1:00 pm

Last week, Belfast alt-rock duo exmagician took time for a quick interview with TGTF ahead of their scheduled appearance at LeeFest Presents: The Neverland at the end of July. exmagician are still rather new on the UK music scene, at least in their current context, but bandmates Danny Todd and James Smith have some relevant past experience to draw upon in getting their new project started.

Todd and Smith were formerly members of one of Northern Ireland’s most buzzed-about bands, Cashier No. 9, who hit the #7 spot on our 10 for 2012 countdown back in December 2011. I happened to see Cashier No. 9 myself way back in 2010 at Northern Ireland’s Ward Park, where they played support for Snow Patrol, although it might be somewhat more accurate to say that Snow Patrol supported them. The ‘Chasing Cars’ hitmakers hosted a long list of bands for a one-day mini-festival in Bangor that year, including Cashier No. 9 and fellow Irish acts General Fiasco and Lisa Hannigan, providing an ideal venue in what would turn out to be the largest concert in Northern Irish history.

Cashier No. 9 have since dissolved as a band, with Smith and Todd citing both personal and artistic differences for the split. But the pair were “still feeling creative”, as Todd explained it, and so they decided to continue making music under a new name, with a slightly different sound to accompany the exmagician moniker. Smith describes exmagician’s work as “maybe a bit heavier, a bit darker, a bit more rough around the edges, not as shiny and sort of West Coast pop as Cashier was.”

Todd and Smith seem to have a congenial working relationship, each “chipping in” on the other’s songwriting and providing reciprocal editorial input as they worked on their debut album ‘Scan the Blue’, which was released back in March on Bella Union Records. They share the philosophy that “The song is king”, as Smith wrote in the liner notes for the album. He elaborated in our interview, “The song has to be amazing, in our own heads, before we start messing around with everything. So yeah, there’s a lot of work goes into that, before anything else happens.”

According to Smith, the pair took a very hands-on approach to recording and producing the new album as well. “We do a lot of the writing, and even a lot of the pre-production at home, in our own home studios, so a lot of it was prepared at home and brought into the studio to add to and to fix up. We knew we had enough skills of our own to kind of do it, maybe not do the whole thing on our own, which is why we got Rocky in. But it was a kind of effort to put things all on ourselves a bit more.”

Their co-producer on ‘Scan the Blue’ was Rocky O’Reilly, who has worked in the past with Northern Irish acts including And So I Watch You From Afar, General Fiasco, and Wonder Villains. Smith describes their relationship with O’Reilly as collaborative: “He knew that we had a lot of our own ideas and he would just be kind of the facilitator. That’s not to say that he didn’t have a lot of input. But he just kind of let us mess around a lot in the studio and try out all our own kind of silly ideas, and some of them worked and some of them didn’t. But he was the one who kind of made it all cohesive and brought it all together.”

exmagician have just finished touring the new album in the UK and are gearing up for performances on the summer festival circuit. They talked rather extensively in our interview about the challenges of playing the new songs live. “These songs were recorded first, and then we figured out how to play them live afterwards, which is always a bit of a struggle,” said Todd. “There’s so much going on in them, and we feel so attached to those recordings that we want to replicate them live as well. I think we do justice to it at the moment, which is great.”

Though he and Todd are the core members of exmagician, Smith clarified that “when we perform live, we’re still performing as a four-piece band. We have a bass player and a drummer. I think people get the misconception that we are just this kind of duo that plays, but no, we need a full band to kind of create the sound that we want and re-create the sound of the album, obviously.” Some of the songs on the album presented a difficult task in that regard, particularly title track ‘Scan the Blue’. Though it’s Smith’s professed favourite track, the band aren’t currently performing it on live set lists. “We’d probably need about 20 keyboard players to pull that off live,” Todd said. “We’ll probably do a version of it [eventually], but at the moment we just need to figure things out and make it sound good live before we play it, you know?”

As a sneak peek at Part 2 of our interview, have a listen below to exmagician’s remixed version of another track from ‘Scan the Blue’.

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Stay tuned to TGTF for Part 2 of our interview with exmagician, which will post next week. In the meantime, have a look back at our preview of LeeFest Presents: The Neverland right back here and catch up on our previous coverage of exmagician back this way.

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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.

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