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Interview: The Hummingbirds at Liverpool Sound City

By on Friday, 22nd June 2012 at 11:00 am

Interview by Larry Heath of
Reproduced by permission

Having the opportunity to catch them several times live at Liverpool Sound City, Larry managed to grab the members of Liverpool outfit The Hummingbirds (not to be confused with the 80s Sydney band of the same name) to talk about their shows, performing for the Queen, The Beatles, their music and much more…

Let’s talk about what you’ve been up to the last couple of days. You were saying you had never busked before and you busked for the Queen!

Yeah, so it’s a good start to busk for the Queen. We didn’t know it was busking until an hour before, we thought it was going to be a full stage with amps and lights and we got a call just saying it’s completely acoustic, just take your guitars and just play. We always talked about busking though, we thought it’d be a cool thing to do with harmonies and acoustic guitars, we’re good live, it’s not like we’re a studio band. We couldn’t cancel, we couldn’t cancel on the Queen so we just decided to do it, and we’ve been busking all weekend basically.

Well you played the opening party a month ago and at the industry party Wednesday night, so you definitely are sort of ambassadors, official or otherwise!

It’s a big festival, so it’s great that they actually picked us to do the opening party in London and the party in Liverpool. The roof-top show today was a one-off so that was brilliant.

Read the rest of Larry’s interview with the Liverpudlian band here:


Interview: Jimmy Lopez and Joe Lussa of The Audition at Slam Dunk South Festival

By on Monday, 11th June 2012 at 11:00 am

At a festival packed with American pop-punkers from top to bottom, I caught up with Jimmy Lopez and Joe Lussa from The Audition at this year’s Slam Dunk South for a quick talk about leaving Victory Records, their new EP and having legions of female fans.

You played Slam Dunk North yesterday, how was that for you?

Jimmy: Fun, man. It was awesome. It’s my first time here in the UK. Everything’s backwards like driving, but I like it.

Joe: He’s new, it’s his first time over here. But it’s our first time playing back in the UK for a few years, and it was awesome. The kids seem to be excited.

You’re playing alongside some pretty big bands in pop-punk, how does it feel to be a part of such a line-up?

Joe: It’s awesome. A lot of our friends are here so that’s cool – bands like Taking Back Sunday and Every Time I Die are bands we grew up listening to, so it’s cool to be playing the same festival as them.

You do festivals differently in America than the UK…

Joe: Well, these are definitely bigger than Warped Tour, I’d say.

Jimmy: Especially now.

Joe: As far as festivals go, we don’t do too many, but when you’re over here a lot of it is festivals, which is awesome because I enjoy festivals more than a regular tour. I like being around people and playing outside – it’s a lot of fun.

Do you prefer UK or US festivals?

Joe: UK. Always.

Your new EP ‘Chapter II’ came out in America a few months ago and it’s out in the UK on the 11th of June, can you tell us a bit about it?

Joe: We just tried to go back to the old style of the band, combining the sounds of the first two records together so we can give the fans what they know the band as. The other records were a lot more ‘poppy’ than the rock that we like to play.

This is an EP but you haven’t released a new album since 2010, are there plans for a new album?

Joe: There’s a lot of songs we have written that we didn’t put on the EP but we’ll probably end up writing instead and making it fresh instead.

How do the crowds like the new material?

Joe: The response has been good and it’s nice to be able to play those songs and have kids already know the words.

Jimmy: It was cool when they started singing along. I think that was probably the loudest crowd since I’ve played with them – even in America.

You left Victory Records 2 years ago, how has it been since you decided to go alone?

Joe: It’s nice, we don’t have to answer to anybody. It’s better because when things happen for the band we know it’s our hard work that’s paying off, it’s not the record label that’s getting these things for us. We have a great agent and manager so they help out a lot but it’s definitely nice to be a free agent and know that whatever songs we really like will be the ones that we release. No-one else can say “We’d like you to do something else” or “We’d like you to take a different route”, we can just release what we want to release.

Is it something you’d advocate? Would you encourage bands to go it alone?

Joe: It depends on what kind of band you are; if you’re a real pop singer, a record label is going to be your best bet. The bands and the connections they have to put you on the giant tours and you need that promotion. But I feel the internet is a very viable option now, you can do a lot of promotion for free yourself. If you spend enough time you can do really big things on the internet. So if you can do it and you’re willing to put the work in, it will pay off in the end.

There’s a lot of girls here wearing Audition t-shirts and there’s always loads of girls at your shows, what is it about your band that attracts women primarily?

Jimmy: This guy right here (laughs). That and the dancey type groove we have going on.

Joe: I think a lot of it has to do with how we are as people. People see that we just have fun when we play and when they see us off stage they see we’re just hanging out with everybody. We’re very approachable people having fun with everybody – drinking and partying. It attracts people to hang out with us because we want to hang out with everyone else as well.

Finally, if the world ends at the end of 2012, what’s the last thing you’re going to do?

Joe: I’m going to make a billion dollars then buy a spot on the spaceship to the next planet.

Jimmy: I’ll rob the richest man in the world. I’ll rob Jimmy.

Joe: He’ll go the illegal route. I’ll make my millions, then he’ll kill me for it.


Interview: Sam Carter and Tom Searle of Architects at Slam Dunk South Festival

By on Friday, 8th June 2012 at 11:00 am

At this year’s Slam Dunk South Festival I caught up with Sam Carter and Tom Searle from the Brighton bruisers Architects for a quick talk about guest vocalists, the departure of guitarist Tim Hillier-Brook and tripping on DMT.

You played Slam Dunk North yesterday, how was that for you?

Sam: We really enjoyed it. Really fun.

Tom: Like we’ve been saying to everyone – we get here at 10.30 in the morning to sound check, so it’s a long day of keeping your energy levels up before you go on stage for an hour. But the crowd was amazing and that’s what’s important.

How does it feel headlining the second stage?

Tom: It’s really nerve-wracking, I’d rather be lower down. I don’t like the pressure of watching all these bands getting great reactions all day, so you feel the need to justify your position on the bill. I’d rather go on with low expectations. I’m not complaining because it’s awesome, it’s just a bit nerve-wracking for me.

It’s justified, though, you have become much more popular over the past year. What do you think the catalyst was for that?

Tom: Just good songwriting (laughs). We’ve never really had any gimmicks, none of us are poster boys, we’re normal people – there’s nothing particularly flashy or fancy about us. We just write music and put out quite a lot of music, and I think that’s it. There isn’t really a trick for us.

I’ve spoken to bands recently who’ve said there’s a heavy resurgence occurring in music, would you that’s true?

Tom: I wouldn’t know in England because when we first started out touring there was a much bigger community of British bands. If there was a festival like this there would have been five or six heavy bands on it from England, but today there’s only two – us and While She Sleeps. The rest of the bill is American and Canadian, so I’m not sure to be honest. It comes and goes, though. In 2 years’ time there might be loads, then 2 years later there might be none.

Your new album ‘Daybreaker’ is out tomorrow [out now on Century Media], can you tell us a bit about it?

Sam:  There’s some tracks on it. There’s some heavy songs, melodic songs… We worked really hard on it and we put a lot of time into it. I just can’t wait for it to come out and be able to play a bunch of them live and tour the record.

Have you got a tour coming up to support it?

Sam: No. (laughs)

Tom: As of August we’re going to do all the touring everywhere in the world that will take us. But I understand the idea of going straight out on tour as soon as you release a record to support it, but it’s cool to give it a few months for people to listen to it, then we can go out and everyone knows all the songs. That’s more fun.

Your album also features Oli Sykes (Bring Me the Horizon) and Jon Green (Deez Nuts), how did you get those guys on board?

Sam: It features Drew from Stray from the Path as well. We toured with Jon in America and we just loved the dude so much he had to be on the record.

Tom: He has so much much enthusiasm about our band and is so supportive. And we all love the guy.

Sam: We were listening to ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ as a demo that had the heavy bit at the end, and I went outside with Jon afterwards and said, “your voice would be sick on the end of that”, and the whole tour he kept saying, “you won’t let me do it, you won’t let me do it,” and then his part is just so heavy. And Oli, we’ve known him for years and I sang on [Bring Me the Horizon album] ‘Suicide Season’, and we were trying to find a record to get him on and this was the right one. Drew as well we’ve known for years, he’s one of my favourite vocalists so to get him on the record is amazing.

Tom: It’s cool to be able to collaborate with friends who you have mutual respect for.

Is there anyone you’d want to collaborate with?

Tom: We’ve had Andrew from Comeback Kid, Greg from Dillinger Escape Plan, then these guys on this record. But I don’t know, there isn’t anyone that I’m like “god, I’d love to have them on this record”. I’d say someone like Chino Moreno from Deftones, but all the people that have sung with us support our band and have an active interest in the music we write, so if we got someone who didn’t have a clue who we are it would miss the point.

Sam: One of my favourite singers at the minute is James from Deaf Havana. I think if we were going to get anyone else it would be him – he’s so talented. He’s like Jon, we all love him as a dude.

‘Daybreaker’ is the last record to feature Tim, how’s it been since his departure?

Tom: We haven’t done an awful lot since. We had a practice yesterday with Josh who’s filling in and he nailed it so that was easy. We’re just getting on with it, you know? It’s always difficult when someone leaves a band they’ve been in for so long, but it’s not the end of the world. We all live in the south coast round Brighton, but he left a while ago to live in London, so even when he was still in the band we didn’t see him much when we weren’t on tour. When we go home we all go our separate ways a lot of the time anyway, but he’s doing a new band and I understand it’s going quite well.

You released ‘Devil’s Island’ as a single last year and the video features footage from the London riots, what’s your opinion of the social situation a year on?

Tom: Obviously there’s no riots going on but that doesn’t mean the underlying causes aren’t still there. I think as long as we have any sort of capitalist system in any society there’s going to be inequality. The people at the bottom who have fallen off the cut who haven’t got lucky or haven’t been given the opportunities that other people might have received, I think it can come down to things like race, sadly. So the problems are still there they will probably not be addressed. Things aren’t great.

Did you hear we came second to last in Eurovision yesterday?

Tom: Does that mean we’re the second worst country at making shit music? So we’re the second best at making good music? I’d like to think that might work.

But would you guys ever enter Eurovision?

Sam: No.

Tom: Not even as a joke. I have zero interest in all of that.

Finally, have you heard the world is ending at the end of the year?

Tom: I’ve heard about it yeah, but they’ve found out that the Mayan calendar is wrong and it started at a different point, so the year 2012 isn’t this year 2012.

If the world did end, what would be the last thing you’d do?

Tom: Probably just get together with loved ones and have a drink or something.

Sam: Have a drink, probably have a few cigarettes – it’s not going to make any difference is it? If there’s any drugs around probably take a load of them as well.

Tom: I’d probably try to find some DMT. Just seriously, seriously trip on DMT.

Sam: Then when the world actually ends you’d be tripping so hard.

Tom: When you die, DMT is naturally released in your brain so it’s a double dose. That’s how I’d do it.

Sam: The world’s ended, but you’re still tripping out.

‘Daybreaker’ is out now on Century Media records.


Great Escape 2012 Video Interview: The Crookes at Brighton Komedia

By on Tuesday, 22nd May 2012 at 11:00 am

The Crookes were a last minute addition to this year’s Great Escape playing shortly after 12 noon at the Hope on the Saturday (12 May) as part of a showcase put on by the Orchard. I was able to corner the band shortly after their set for a candid chat in the coffee bar at Brighton Komedia to ask them about the inspiration for new single ‘American Girls’ (come now, being American and a girl, I had to ask!), their PledgeMusic campaign for upcoming sophomore album ‘Hold Fast’ and various other bits and bobs. Watch the interview below.

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Great Escape 2012 Video Interview: Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss of Husky at Brighton Jubilee Library

By on Monday, 21st May 2012 at 11:00 am

We’re sure you’ll be hearing more about Melbourne band Husky a lot in the coming months and years, and it was my good luck that I was able to chat with frontman Husky Gawenda and keyboardist Gideon Preiss. We did the interview in the lobby of the Jubilee Library right off Jubilee Square, just steps from where the band had performed as part of the Sounds of Australia afternoon showcase on Thursday 10 May. Many thanks to the library for letting us film this!

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Camden Crawl 2012 Interview: Danny Fury and Sam Ray from Antlered Man

By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 11:00 am

After the release of their debut album and successful European tour, London proto-rockers Antlered Man are gearing up for festival season with a performance at this year’s Camden Crawl. I caught up with Danny Fury (guitar) and Sam Ray (bass) for a chat about Camden, UK music and masturbation.

The last time TGTF saw you guys was supporting Lower Than Atlantis
Danny: Yeah, that gig was tough for me. As soon as we got to sound-check, the sound guy wanted a bit of vocals from me, and I went ‘[croaky cough]‘ and my voice just wasn’t there. And I said ‘I can’t sing’ but everyone was like ‘Oh go on, sing you cunt!’. But there was no singing voice there, if I did it would have been like a William Shatner vocal. Spoken word alternative rock.
Sam: Shatner being the word.
Danny: Shat. It was a horrible gig for me, but everyone said it was all right.

What have you been up to since then?
Danny: We did an EP – that was some guy’s bright idea, because apparently people don’t do albums any more(!) [laughs]. It’s like fucking is going out of style. And that didn’t really work out, but on the back of that we got a tour with And So I Watch You From Afar around Germany. All round Europe, actually, and it was unbelievable. We forged a really good bond with those guys and they gave us a lot of advice. We became to realise there’s a lot more outside in the alternative/underground – there is a subculture. We were always pompous enough, but you could afford us that because we locked ourselves away when we first wrote the album, and the only bands we knew were shit ones. Then when we came out we met bands like Exit International, Palehorse, And So I Watch You From Afar, all these cool bands it was like, “Sweet, we’re a part of something”.
Sam: We’ve got quite a bit of touring in the next few months. We’ll be back over in Europe in July, we’ve got a couple of festivals. A few festivals in England around June. But it’s quite sparse so we’ve got a lot of time to do the album, which is good because during festival season you’ve got one gig then a week off, then another gig, so we’ve got time to get some new tracks down.
Danny: The German thing is really exciting, in fact all round Europe. In Poland, we came out of the backstage area onto the stage, and there were three kids moshing at the front to no music. I knew it was going to be good [laughs]. We got offered so much cool stuff from that. To tour Europe is unbelievable because in this country it can be a little bit unforgiving for bands – there aren’t even places to park outside the venues, let alone a rider so you can smash up a fridge up in the backstage area if someone ‘dissed your chorus’.

What do festivals like Camden Crawl say about UK music?
Sam: I think these type of festivals are becoming more popular, rather than the standard music festival thing where people play in a massive field. It’s become more of a thing for journalists and bands to come down to and check out other bands. There’s a massive musical scene happening in one weekend and it gives you the opportunity to go find other bands.
Danny: It gives people the opportunity to see their favourite band, or bands that they’re checking out. I checked out Hawk Eyes like 6 months ago and they were unbelievable. Everyone wants the opportunity to not see those guys in a fucking sterile, big place, they want to go to a little club and see it. I’ve looked at the photos of Camden Crawl from the past 2 years, and I thought there was no fucking way I wanted to go there. I’m just a bit agoraphobic and I don’t really like too many people round me. Ordinarily this place on a Friday or Saturday is fucking nightmare.
Sam: We were going to drive down here but there’s no chance we were going to get anywhere to park and we would probably have been stuck in traffic for hours.
Danny: I’m not sure what it says about the music scene. The scene around Camden has always been thriving, but without wanting to be bitchy, not a lot of it is very good. But there’s the odd gem out there and I think they’ve got a really good line-up this year. I think there is a heavy resurgence that’s definitely occurring with Pulled Apart By Horses, Hawk Eyes, Exit International, all these guys are on the up, and there seems to be a place for it.

There are a lot of heavier bands playing this year…
Danny: I think that’s probably why it seemed like kryptonite to Superman with me for the last 2 years. It was just any old shit and we never really put ourselves forward for it. So when they floated the idea to us, we checked the listings and thought ‘fuck yeah, that looks good’.

What is it you love about Camden then?
Danny: I bitch and moan about the crowds round here, but if ever I am going for a drink I tend to do it round here. I like that there’s more of a laid-back vibe and they’re a little bit more tolerant round here. There’s the young people who come to the gigs who are enthusiastic about everything, and 90% of gigging – if you’re a London band – is done around here. It never used to be like that, about 5 years ago there used to be places in Islington but now it’s primarily here. It’s always good to bop around and sometimes be recognised.

Have you got a favourite venue in Camden?
Danny: The Barfly is cool, especially since they put the new PA in. Never played here [The Black Heart] before but I’ve heard good things about it. But I’d have to say, as far as sound and everything goes, it was always Koko. Then it started getting infiltrated by 15 year olds who are eating off their faces and freaking out, so I stopped going there. So I’d probably say the Barfly.
Sam: I like the size of the Barfly, as it’s good for an intimate crowd as well.
Danny: I would say Proud for the sound but there’s nowhere to park out there and we’ve got about four parking tickets from there and the bar staff just shrug their shoulders when you tell them.

The name of the festival is Camden Crawl, what would you crawl the length of Camden for?
Sam: Hair of the Dog at the moment, I think. It was our drummer’s birthday yesterday so we had quite a few beers.
Danny: We don’t drink before we go on, but we get hammered after. The talent to be able to play arsehole drunk – just to alleviate the hangovers – I would definitely crawl the length of Camden for.
Sam: We got drunk yesterday and tried to play the set but it wasn’t happening.
Danny: That speaks volumes for the intricacies of our parts… we went a bit prog.

You mentioned you’re playing a lot of festivals in Europe, have you got any UK festivals lined up?
Danny: The Great Escape, 2000 Trees… The Great Escape should be really fun.

TGTF’s Editor will be at The Great Escape…
Danny: I remember when we were over in Germany, staying in some fucking rural farmhouse surrounded by deer we read a really good review on There Goes The Fear of our EP. So thanks for that!

That wasn’t long after your Lower Than Atlantis gig TGTF reviewed…
Danny: I remember there being three morbidly obese kids sat outside there drinking from 2 o’clock in the afternoon. And they didn’t have any finesse to their drinking, they had a bottle of blue WKD, a bottle of Bailey’s, and about six cans of Stella. Then a mate would come along with a bottle of [Jamesons] and pour it down his throat and it got to the point where I knew they were going to get nicked, but it was a matter of when. In between playing and losing my voice, I was running outside to see the drama unfold. Then I finally saw the fat little cunt get nicked.
Sam: Hopefully they’ll read this and reassess their life.

Finally, have you heard the world is going to end at the end of the year?
Danny: No.

You missed the Mayan calendar saying the world’s going to end?
Danny: I love reading but it’s such a commitment. One book at a time. And I just don’t have time for the Mayan calendar. I’m too occupied with which badass is going to die next – MCA, man. The world can end as far as I’m concerned, as long as we finish the second album… then fire it into space, so one day we’ll get a demographic.

Well the question is, what’s the last thing you’re going to do before the world ends?
Sam: Record this album because I’d hate to think… wait, no-one would know, would they? Scrap that, it wouldn’t even matter.
Danny: I can’t think of anything quirky. For me it would be something really normal like logging onto violent anal porn and whacking off as much as possible. I’ve got nowhere to be. Might as well watch some poor girl gag for money. I’m not going to come across well, am I?

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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 idiots.

The blog is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington DC. She is joined by writers in the UK and America. It was started up by Phil Singer in Bristol, UK.

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