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By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 31st January 2012 at 2:00 pm
Belfast’s Cashier No. 9 recently made an appearance at quite possibly the calendar year’s first emerging music festival, Eurosonic Noorderslag held in Groningen, the Netherlands. Their performance of ‘Goldstar’ was filmed and you can watch it in all its glory below.
The band will be appearing at Austin’s SXSW in March and I’ve got plans to catch them as many times as I can.
By Luke Morton
on Thursday, 19th January 2012 at 12:00 pm
I interviewed the Mexican post-rock maestros Austin TV shortly before their headline performance at Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, London. Read on about the inspiration for their costumes, comparing the Mexican and British music scenes and festivals, and more…
Austin TV aren’t that well known here in the UK, to people who haven’t heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Rata (bass): Just instrumental rock and an experimental instrumental rock band.
Oiram (guitar): Musically we’re from the punk-rock scene, each of us used to be in hardcore bands, that’s the way we met. We’ve been together for ten years now and we do instrumental rock because we wanted to do something different from what we were hearing. The instrumental you’re used to is so low, we try to do it as hard as we can, and as fast as we can. Our latest album has two ways: calm and slow, and fast and furious.
Rata: Sometimes we’re very serious with the messages we’re trying to say, sometimes we just want to have fun. We’re human beings.
Is punk the primary influence on your music?
Rata: Our influences were like punk-rock and hardcore mostly. Some of us now like different music from when the band was starting. We’re very happy that Refused are getting together for Coachella.
Why did you decide not to have a vocalist?
Rata: We just wanted to make sure we didn’t lock our songs in just one lyric. If I write a song about any moment in particular, like I’m drinking this beer, it’s going to be a song about drinking this beer.
Oiram: When the beer was finished we’d be lying about drinking a beer because there’s no more beer.
Rata: It’s like you have girlfriend and make a song about her, telling her ‘I love you blah blah blah’, then she breaks up with you and you stop loving her, you have to sing about her and you don’t love her. We didn’t want that to happen with our music, everyone can listen to our music and think or imagine whatever they want.
You wear masks and outfits on stage, how important is the visual element to your music?
Oiram: It’s like 50/50. It’s one of the most important things that we have. We have some people in the band who are designers and graphic designers, so we have been working hard with that. At first we tried to use ready-made costumes, that wasn’t so cool. We couldn’t find anything that was special, so we started using our own costumes. That way we started to do better things and the records are always the best we can do.
Where do you get inspiration from for your costumes?
Rata: It depends on the concept of the record. For our current album (‘Caballeros Del Albedrio’), we tried to not make them costumes but uniforms. We went to the woods to compose this record, we lived for 5 months in the woods, just the five of us. There were some moments where we had differences, but at the end of the day we wanted to spend time together because of the music. It was more important making music than anything. It was more important making music than to be selfish. We learned we don’t have to be at the same channel to be together and make music.
Oiram: We’re growing up together. Back in the day we used to listen to the same bands, the same music every day. Now we’re older, each one of us has taken a different road, but that’s the interesting thing. Years ago Chiosan (keyboardist) used to only listen to pop-rock, now she’s into Pink Floyd and psychedelic things, she’s going crazy on that. Xna Yer (drummer) is trying to experiment with beats. I don’t listen to these things, but that’s what makes this unique. He’s put a little electronic into this record and we’re really happy to be making that because we don’t want to sound electronic, from ten years ago, we want to sound like the newest thing and he’s the one to do it. We tried to mix everything and make a good cocktail, but first of all we have to be friends.
Rata: What we’re trying to say is that we’re like a union. You can get together with other people just to create things, it doesn’t matter if you’re different. That’s what the costumes mean – an army of people who’re trying to spread of word of ‘let go the selfishness and try to be together with other people’.
You’re from Mexico City and grew up with the Mexican music scene, how does Mexico compare to somewhere like the UK?
Oiram: Well, you’ve got Pink Floyd (laughs). We cannot compete with that, but we’ve got a growing scene right now. There used to be a good scene in the ’80s and that went on until the early ’00s. There were many bands like us who were trying to create new music, but there were no doors opening. There were no radio stations or magazines, but now there are more radio stations, magazines, bigger festivals with more people coming. Right now I believe, and I hope it’s not selfish of me, (but) in Mexico we have some of the best festivals in Latin America and people are really looking to it. We’re really happy to be a part of this and we believe we’re not the only ones.
Rata: I think what happens next is there’s going to be a world scene; the internet is changing everything. You don’t know what’s going to happen because we’re living the moment right now. The scene is going to change, it’s not going to be the Mexican scene, it’s going to be music. We’re very interested in different countries’ music.
You mentioned festivals. You’ve played a lot of Mexican festivals, have you got any plans for playing UK festivals?
Rata: We haven’t been booked, but we want to. It’s step by step. We’re hoping that people who come to the show tonight (Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, London, the 12th of January 2012) will talk about the show and spread the word. We’re very patient about it – in Spain they’ve released our album.
Oiram: We’re planting the seed. We plant the seed today and we’ll come back next year and add some water, and keep doing that. It’s what we’ve been doing in Mexico and South America and hope it works. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. We’re having a good time, we’re in a good place and it’s amazing.
Finally, if the Mayans are correct and the world is going to end this year, what is the last thing you’re going to do before the world ends?
Rata: I’ll probably do the most cheesy thing and spend time with my family. Call my friends and be like “Hey man, it’s been great to know you”. I’ll just be grateful because my life has been amazing. Just saying that I can pay for this beer because of music, it’s amazing. If I have to die tomorrow, I’m just happy to say that I’m happy.
The first post of my Alphabet Tour. Letter A is Austin TV…
A certain breed of band has been popping up at festivals and your favourite venues across the UK in the past year, performers who have shunned the conventions of a vocalist and convey their messages through the music alone. Known as post-rock, some of the biggest names include 65DaysOfStatic and And So I Watch You From Afar, but it’s not just British bands that are pushing the scene forward.
Austin TV are one of the hottest properties in Mexico and South America, who have been making a name for themselves at Coachella, SXSW, Manifest and many others on the other side of the world. Tonight though, they’re out of their comfort zone as they’re playing London for the first time in their 11-year career. Taking to the stage at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town after a fairly standard performance from Jonny Dog, it’s make or break time for the experimentalists.
Shrouded in complete darkness, the uniformed quintet walk on stage. Looking like Martian cub scouts, London welcomes Austin TV with open arms and a quizzical gaze. ‘Frontman’ Oiram says the odd outfits and masks are because it’s your soul and not your face that’s important – a statement that resonates with the 100-or-so crowd.
Opener ‘Despierta Wendy’ (literally translated as “Wake Up Wendy”) starts slow and toned down on acoustic guitars before elevating into something bigger that you can’t help but get wrapped up in. Austin TV don’t just create music, they create soundscapes. Huge guitar melodies counterbalanced with eerie synth effects build up and up throughout the night, sucking the entire crowd into the psyche of the band on stage as their thoughts and feelings are expressed through music alone.
Despite Austin TV having a minimal stature in the UK, there’s a definite Mexican contingent in the audience. The band appear genuinely gratified and warmed by their reception at their first-ever London show and step it up a gear by throwing themselves around the stage. The performance really comes to life, though, when Austin TV’s masks illuminate. The strobe lights kick in and the erratic dance moves come out to play as the masked musicians glow like floodlit aliens, thrashing on instruments.
Even though Austin TV have never played England’s capital before, you can’t tell from tonight’s performance. Never showing any signs of nerves, it’s like they’ve played the venue a hundred times and are planning on another hundred before the year is out. An hour and a half of experimentalism and instrumentals still leave the crowd begging for more as the night draws to a close. Hopefully word will spread after tonight’s outstanding show and the next time Mexico City’s finest progressive post-rockers cross the pond, it’ll be a full UK tour. They deserve it.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 10th January 2012 at 3:00 pm
Diagrams (known to his mum as Sam Genders) will be releasing his new album ‘Black Light’ next Monday (16 January) and he’s announced an album launch party for next Wednesday (18 January) at London Lexington, followed by a short tour of the UK in February.
Tickets are on sale now. Pre-order ‘Black Light’ here from Full Time Hobby.
Wednesday 18th January 20212 – London Lexington (album launch party)
Wednesday 14th March 2012 – Bristol Cooler
Thursday 15th March 2012 – Manchester Ruby Lounge
Friday 16th March 2012 – Liverpool Static Gallery
Saturday 17th March 2012 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Sunday 18th March 2012 – Glasgow King Tuts
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 19th December 2011 at 9:30 am
The Horrors have announced a tour in May of the UK and Ireland. These dates are in addition to previously announced dates in January and their support slot with Florence and the Machine on her arena dates in March (starred gigs). Tickets are on sale now.
Monday 16th January 2012 – Edinburgh Liquid Room
Tuesday 17th January 2012 – Liverpool Kazimier
Thursday 19th January 2012 – Oxford O2 Academy
Friday 20th January 2012 – Bristol Trinity Centre
Sunday 22nd January 2012 – Norwich Waterfront
Friday 2nd March 2012 – Dublin O2 Arena *
Sunday 4th March 2012 – Bournemouth International Centre *
Monday 5th March 2012 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena *
Tuesday 6th March 2012 – Nottingham Capital FM Arena*
Thursday 8th March 2012 – London Alexandra Palace *
Friday 9th March 2012 – London Alexandra Palace *
Monday 12th March 2012 – Glasgow SECC *
Tuesday 13th March 2012 – Birmingham LG Arena *
Thursday 15th March 2012 – Manchester Evening News Arena *
Friday 16th March 2012 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena *
Saturday 12th May 2012 – Dublin Academy
Sunday 13th May 2012 – Belfast Mandela Hall
Tuesday 15th May 2012 – Glasgow ABC
Wednesday 16th May 2012 – Sheffield Leadmill
Friday 18th May 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Saturday 19th May 2012 – Manchester Ritz
Sunday 20th May 2012 – Cardiff Solus
Tuesday 22th May 2012 – Portsmouth Pyramid
Wednesday 23rd May 2012 – Bristol Academy
Friday 25th May 2012 – London Brixton Academy
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 14th December 2011 at 9:00 am
Minneapolis’s Howler recently opened for the Vaccines on their 2011 winter tour and have been showing up as a band to watch in several media pundits’ 2012 lists. Good news to those who dig them: they will be touching down in Britain in late January and play a series of dates around the country. Their debut album ‘America Give Up’ (errr…?) will be released on the 16th of January on Rough Trade.
You can watch the new video for their song ‘Back of Your Neck’ below.
Monday 23rd January 2012 – Bristol Louisiana
Tuesday 24th January 2012 – Brighton Green Door
Wednesday 25th January 2012 – Southampton Joiners
Thursday 26th January 2012 – London XOYO (New to Q show)
Friday 27th January 2012 – Cardiff Buffalo Bar
Sunday 29th January 2012 – Liverpool Mojo
Monday 30th January 2012 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Tuesday 31st January 2012 – Nottingham Bodega
Wednesday 1st February 2012 – Newcastle Cluny
Friday 3rd February 2012 – Leeds Cockpit
Saturday 4th February 2012 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Sunday 5th February 2012 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Monday 6th February 2012 – London Lexington