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Quickfire Questions #50: Owlle

 
By on Thursday, 1st August 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Lovely Paris singer/songwriter Owlle recently stopped in London to play at Lovebox Festival and we thought it might be nice for her to answer the TGTF Quickfire Questions. If I recall, she’s the first non-Brit, non-American to answer them, though I have to say that her answers are so thoughtful, including the last one about what she would do if faced with the ultimate question at the Gate of Heaven. (Seriously, read on. BLESS.)

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Portishead – ‘Only You’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
“Every sha la la la” ‘Yesterday once more’ by the Carpenters, I was a big fan of them. Even if I didn’t understand any of the lyrics by then, guess I’d relate to them, the first verse says it all!

When I was young
I’d listen to the radio
waitin’ for my favorite songs
when they played I’d sing along
it made me smile

What song makes you laugh?
‘Aragon et Castille’ by Boby Lapointe. This French artist had a fantastic sense of humor. Vintage French humor!

What song makes you cry?
Antony and the Johnsons’ ‘Hope There’s Someone’. There is so much emotion in there…Antony’s an old soul.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Sébastien Tellier – ‘La Ritournelle’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Something energizing like Rihanna or Major Lazer!

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Adele – ‘Someone Like You’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
David Bowie’s lyrics are just fabulous. It’s perfection to me, I would love to reach that kind of perfection one day myself!

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Probably a videographer. I did study video at the Beaux Arts, I actually hope I’ll get to direct someday, for myself or others!

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Oh god …for it’s impossible to make a choice, I’ll make a totally egocentric one here so I’d take my debut album with me! I’ll play it to God and everyone around, eventually I’ll get to play a few gigs in heaven too. You get the idea. And for I have a pretty good memory, I’ll play everything else that I love in my mind…or start a cover band…in heaven.

Many thanks to Owlle for answering our questions and Victoria for sorting this out for us.

 

Quickfire Questions #49: J. Willgoose, Esq. of Public Service Broadcasting

 
By on Wednesday, 31st July 2013 at 11:00 am
 

We’ve been very curious about unique London act Public Service Broadcasting. So we took a gamble and wanted to see if one of the duo would be willing to answer our Quickfire Questions. We were in luck: the banjo, guitar and synthesiser playing J. Willgoose, Esq., humoured us and gave us some very erudite and verbose answers, which was quite surprising given that neither he nor drummer and percussionist Wrigglesworth actually speak at any time at their shows. So we feel quite honoured that J. Willgoose, Esq. let us in on his some of his most innermost thoughts. Well, about music, anyway. And as for his favourite writer, sigh, he chose one of my favourites! Read on, folks, this one is quite entertaining…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘The Riddle’ by Nik Kershaw. I still get excited when I hear the snare roll coming in.

What was your favourite song as a child?
See above, probably, or I used to love Foreigner (it’s all coming out now), particularly ‘Tooth and Nail’. Honourable mention to The KLF too for ‘3 AM Eternal’ in the slightly later years.

What song makes you laugh?
Lots of songs! The end of ‘Sugar Kane’ by Sonic Youth, just that one thumping bass note, makes me laugh. Battles make me laugh as their songs are just so ridiculous, and ridiculously tight. Too many to mention though. Oh and of course almost everything by Nick Cave, the best lyricist in the world in my opinion.

What song makes you cry?
Again, too many to mention! At the moment the song I can’t hear without getting a bit misty–eyed is ‘Songbird’ by Fleetwood Mac. A beautiful, beautiful song.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
I’m not sure I remember a specific one to be honest. I’m quite a committed non-romantic. I do remember what I listened to when it all ended though, which was Spiritualized’s ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’… definitely the best (i.e., most misery-inducing) break-up album I own.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
I don’t get angry very often – I tend to do the healthier thing and bottle it all up inside in a massive fret-knot. I find classical music very relaxing – currently working my way (very slowly) through Beethoven’s symphonies, although Tchaikovsky is probably my number one. Ever the populist.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Maybe ‘Never Going Back Again’ by Fleetwood Mac. Either that or something like ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’. One of those songs which you know is still going to be being played in about 200 years, if not longer.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
George Orwell, particularly some of the essays. Any aspiring writer should be forced to read ‘Politics and the English Language’, especially inveterate show-offs in the making.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Working with sound in some capacity, probably. Or falling back on Geography teaching. I’ve got the outfit after all.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
First of all, as a committed agnostic, I take exceptional umbrage to your assumptions that a) ‘God’ exists and b) I would get into ‘Heaven’ (never mind the question of what kind of Heaven only allows one CD – that doesn’t sound very heavenly to me). However, leaving aside my unnecessary prickliness, I think I’d have to go with a classical one for sheer depth and variety. You could listen to it a thousand times and still find something new, or a different nuance… I’ll go with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony anyway, and you can send this in to Pseuds’ Corner at your leisure.

Massive thanks to J. Willgoose, Esq. for his answers and Jonathan for sorting this one out for us.

 

Quickfire Questions #48: Andy McCluskey of OMD

 
By on Thursday, 11th July 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Something very exciting in the TGTF Quickfire Questions today. Electronic pioneers OMD start a new North American tour this very night in Toronto, and the DC contingent of TGTF are pretty stoked about them coming to Washington on Saturday night. (Especially me, as I got to see them with Martin on my holiday at Gateshead Sage in May.) Ahead of that, frontman and certainly one of my personal music heroes Andy McCluskey was kind enough to answer our Quickfire Questions and give us insight into the first single he ever bought, the euphoria that led to abject heartbreak in his first relationship and what his iPod reveals about him. (He even gave us a smiley face. Come on. Andy McCluskey of OMD gave TGTF a smiley face!) Read on…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
The theme tune to the TV show Andy Pandy from the watch with mother lunchtime series in teh UK when I was 3 years old.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Three Wheels on my Wagon by the New Christy Minstrels.

What song makes you laugh?
‘The Intro and the Outro’ by Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Very funny, very surreal and very silly!

What song makes you cry?
‘Without You’ by Nilsson. It was the first single that I ever bought and the song and his version remain the greatest sad song/performance/history combination of all time. This is possibly the single greatest record ever made…according to me! :-)

5. What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Bobby Goldsboro, ‘Summer the First Time’ was in the charts when I had my first-ever girlfreend called Janis. It lasted 3 weeks. From euphoria to tortured pain in 21 days!

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘Without You’ by Tom Evans and Pete Ham of the band Badfinger. They both commited suicide allegedly due to the royalty situation regarding this song. It seems to be the ultimate expression of hopelessness due to music business sharp practices.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Europe Endless’ by Kraftwerk. The simplest most perfect distillation of their concept and yet so melodic and romantic envoking visions of a Europe that I had yet to discover.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Tied for first place: Bryan Ferry and David Bowie. They have written the greatest numbers of songs that have moved and inspired me, and that I continue to listen to.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Either an archaeologist or an artist. These two subjects are still my primary fascinations.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why?
There is no God nor Heaven but I will play the game. Leonard Cohen’s ‘Greatest Hits’. It the one album that I have listened to the most in the last 10 years. My iPod tells me so.

Thanks very much to Andy for answering the questions for us and thank you also to Sarah for organising this.

 

Quickfire Questions #47: James Sinclair of Seasfire

 
By on Friday, 28th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

We recently gave away Seasfire‘s fab cover of Banks track ‘Warm Water’. So it was with great excitement that we’ve got James Sinclair, sticksman for the Bristol electronic group, to answer our TGTF Quickfire Questions. Should we be surprised that a famous American singer/songwriter figures prominently in his responses? Read on…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
The first thing that springs to mind is hearing ‘I Shot the Sheriff’, the Eric Clapton version.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Holiday by Madonna, I used to dance around the kitchen non-stop for hours with it on repeat. Every night. Without fail.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Education Pt. 2’ by The Metros, what was that about?

What song makes you cry?
‘Last Goodbye’ – Jeff Buckley. Such powerful lyrics and the sincerity with which he sings them is incredible.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
I was probably about 16 so I’d say ‘Sunday’ by Bloc Party.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Anything by One Direction or Nicky Minaj. That kind of generic crap always makes me angry. Or when I listen to band that aren’t around anymore that I loved – like Be Your Own Pet, Flashguns, Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong, Test Icicles, Cajun Dance Party – the list goes on. I suppose that upsets me a bit.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Probably something massive like ‘Gangnam Style’, so I could earn an absolute packet. But in truth I think one of MJ’s songs, maybe ‘Black or White’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I don’t really have a favourite songwriter, so it would have to be an author. It changes a lot depending on who I am reading, I do love Ian McEwan and I recently discovered Chuck Palahniuk through a friend.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I think journalism might have been an alternative, I probably would have ended up at Uni doing something fairly standard like History or English.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count. If that were the case, I’d bring ‘Physical Graffiti’!)
Haha! ‘Physical Graffiti’ is an epic choice. I’ve just been listening to a lot of Zeppelin today actually with a friend. We had the How the West Was Won live album on in the car. But if I had to choose one album it would undoubtedly be Jeff Buckley – ‘Grace’. I can’t live without it.

Cheers James for your answers and many thanks to Katie for sorting this feature out for us. ‘Oh..Lucifer’, their next single, is out on Monday (the 1st of July) on Little Fan Records; watch the video for the single here.

 

Quickfire Questions #46: Vasco da Gama

 
By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Liverpool’s Vasco da Gama wowed early punters on the second day of Liverpool Sound City this year (read coverage and watch a live video of them here), so naturally we thought we’d be cheeky and ask them to answer our Quickfire Questions. They were only too kind to oblige. Read their answers below.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
David: ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. I was really into the music video where Paula seemed to be in the beginnings of a romantic relationship with an animated cat.

What was your favourite song as a child?
David: ‘Monster’ by the funk metal band Extreme. I used to play wrestling with my big brother when I was about 7 and that was my characters theme tune. I can’t remember the character’s name but he wore a dressing gown and sometimes face paint.

What song makes you laugh?
Lynny: The Brass Eye ‘Cake’ song. Chris Morris presents a ‘blip’ sound and persuades his guest that under the influence of a made up drug ‘cake’ the user hears a mash up grind core track due to their altered perception of time that drags on and on. It’s funny.

What song makes you cry?
John: ‘Lonely Does It’ by Forget Cassettes. Seek it out, listen to the lyrics and try to hold it together when the ‘oohs’ kick in.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Joe: ‘Marry Me John’ by St. Vincent. It was 2008 on a warm spring evening in the Glee comedy club in Birmingham.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
John: I used to work in a venue where they had 14+ gigs, which is great for young bands to get gigging experience, except that every single one of them always covered ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles. Every single one. Usually quite badly. So while I still like the original, sadly it does now call to mind the wibbly basslines and fudged lyrics of all those well-meaning but horribly inept covers.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?

John: There are loads, but the one that springs to mind is ‘Tomorrow Tomorrow’ by Elliott Smith as I’ve never been able to write anything that simple that was any good.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
John: Irvine Welsh. His stuff can be incredibly brutal but he’s also capable of beautiful and poetic prose. As far as lyrics go, I think James Mercer from The Shins balances obscure imagery and relatable sentiment really well.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
John: Well, if I wasn’t lucky enough to be making an absolute fortune from Vasco, I’d probably be working in, say, a bar, trying desperately to find enough time and money to keep doing music. Imagine that.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
John: THAT’S TOO HARD. I’ll just say ‘Killec’ by Marvin’s Revolt as, despite being quite short, it’s got pretty much everything that’s good about guitar music.

Many thanks to the guys for answering our questions and Kim for sorting this out for us!

 

Quickfire Questions #45: J.P. Pitts of Surfer Blood

 
By on Tuesday, 14th May 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

J.P. Pitts, chief songwriter of Floridian band Surfer Blood, kindly answered our TGTF Quickfire Questions ahead of the release of their new album ‘Pythons’, out in June.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Barbara Ann’ by the Beach Boys. My best friend growing up had their greatest hits on cassette and we would listen to it the car with his mother on the way to and from school. [This is amazing. I had this cassette too! Wore it out as well - Ed.]

What was your favourite song as a child?
Probably ‘Semi-Charmed Life’ by Third Eye Blind. The ‘alternative’ radio station in the town where I grew up must’ve played that song day and night for half a decade. It was the first ever cassette single I bought, I think it was for sale at a gas station. I had no idea until years later that the song was actually about drugs.

What song makes you laugh?
A song called ‘Son of My Father’ by a band called Chicory Tip. I just love how goofy all of the synthesizer sounds are. The song was recorded in the early seventies when the synthesizer was a very new thing. Consequently the song is really spacey and meandering with all kinds of arbitrary chord/ key changes.

What song makes you cry?
‘Random Rules’ by the Silver Jews is a very sad song and its hard for me not to tear up every time I hear it. The slow pace and the heartbreaking lyrics are the perfect recipe for a good cry.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Pretty much any song off of My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ will bring me back to my first feelings of being in love. My first girlfriend and I used to lay in bed and listen to it a lot, the lyrics and melodies are nostalgic and the production is lush and full. To this day I can’t help but feel there is something salacious about the way that album sounds.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
“You Only Live Once” by the Strokes is a song I’ve always turned to when I’ve felt frustrated or disappointed. Something feels triumphant about the arc and melody of the song and Julian Cassablancas’ casual delivery gives you the sense that everything is going to be all right. Its a very life-affirming song and its never failed to cheer me up.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?
I’m not really sure how to answer that question. I guess I never really ask myself that.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
I’d say that Steven Malknus and Kurt Vonnegut are two writers I always tend to gravitate to. They both have a long list of works to their name, I’ve been a fan of both since I was a teenager and I still haven’t digested everything. I’d say they are two of the writers I enjoy the most and I dread the day when I’ve heard and read everything out there from those two.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure, there’s nothing else I’d rather do than what I’m doing now. I’ve always thought that I would enjoy teaching, I have a relatively patient disposition and I like introducing people to new things. I don’t know if I’d enjoy it the way I enjoy writing and recording music but I’m sure I’d find it gratifying.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
That’s an impossible decision; but I’d probably go with ‘Pet Sounds’.

Thanks to J.P. for answering our questions and Tasha for sorting this for us.

 
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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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