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SXSW 2016 Interview: David C Clements

 
By on Thursday, 31st March 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Apart from the array of amazing new Northern Irish artists I heard on Thursday afternoon’s Output Belfast showcase at SXSW 2016, I also had the opportunity to see a musician whose songs I’ve loved from afar for quite a long time, namely County Down singer/songwriter David C Clements. Clements’ set list on the St. Patrick’s Day afternoon showcase included a stunning rendition of his already time-honoured track ‘Hurricane’ that sent shivers up the back of my spine, but he also played a selection of newer songs from his recently released debut album ‘The Longest Day in History’, whose title is appropriately drawn from a lyric in the aforementioned ‘Hurricane’.

In the following interview that took place in the noisy alley outside the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30, I asked Clements about the challenges of fitting his newer songs onto the new LP alongside already established tracks such as ‘Hurricane’. He also talked a bit about his lengthy writing process for ‘The Longest Day in History’, as well as the deliberately thoughtful and considered recording of the album, which was split between full band sessions at Attica Audio in Donegal and more intimate sessions at co-producer Michael Keeney’s studio in Clements’ hometown of Bangor.

Though tour dates in support of the new album are yet to be announced, Clements did mention possible plans for some live shows in the UK and Ireland, and the potential for another trip to American shores if all goes well. On a rather selfish note, I’ll cross my fingers for that American trip to happen, if only for the possibility of hearing Clements play the Bruce Springsteen cover we chatted about near the end of the audio clip below.

David C Clements’ debut LP ‘The Longest Day in History’ is available now. Just below, you can watch the video documentary of Clements’ recording process for the album, titled ‘The Sound of the Forest Choir’ and filmed by babysweet.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/f2klA3TeTVA[/youtube]

Thanks again to Thomas for helping to arrange this interview. TGTF’s previous coverage of David C Clements is back this way.

 

(SXSW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2051: Nai Harvest

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Sheffield duo Nai Harvest and their self-described genre of slacker punk got an extra special boost in promotion early Saturday at SXSW 2016. They appeared first in an afternoon line-up at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 called Northern Powerhouse, which is exactly what it sounds like: a barrage of hard-rocking, loud and proud Northern acts, one after another.

While I myself questioned the wisdom of this on the last day of SXSW, when everyone’s already way past feeling rough – I mean, do you really want to get your brain bashed in again, and four times over, when you could be outside, enjoying possibly your last rays of sunshine for a while? – the crowd at Latitude were clearly up for it, chomping at the bit from the word go as soon as Nai Harvest took the stage. While the boys from Sheff admitted making a massive mistake in forgetting to pack the ever important Yorkshire Tea in their suitcases (lads, you could have *asked* me, I would have brought it to you!), whatever else they drank or ate gave them plenty of energy to get the job onstage. ‘Just Like You’ is their newest single out and available this week from Topshelf Records, and the video is, well, a little odd. Ben Thompson and Lew Currie are joined by Mancunian photography and visual artist Natalie Wardle, whose explanation to Stereogum about the promo is included below under the embed.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzKfca4-xsY[/youtube]

“This is a comical observation and short performance highlighting how we (the human race) start the year focusing on our obsession with body image, following the trend of ‘getting in shape’ and how we’re always trying to ‘better ourselves’ by making these crazy promises to ‘stop doing this…’ and ‘start doing that’…

However, things turn sour when people around us lose interest and we’re fighting a battle with ourselves to keep up the work out will power. Finally, we give up! Back to our old ways like everyone else, ‘just like you’. There’s always next year.

We shot this video in one take to illustrate that if we put our minds to something we can achieve it, but it’s never going to be perfect.”

 

SXSW 2016: more from the British Music Embassy, plus Roo Panes Wednesday afternoon (part 2) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Catch up on part 1 of our Wednesday afternoon coverage of SXSW 2016 here.

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming on this post. Carrie and I headed to FLOODfest early to catch Everything Everything, and I hung around to interview their guitarist Alex Robertshaw after they played there, also managing to catch a bit of next act Haelos, but Carrie had already left to see the start of at the British Music Embassy. I turned up later to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. Got all that? Good. Carrie’s contributions to this piece are marked below.

Switching gears from a seasoned pro in the business showing the youngsters how it’s done (Jane Weaver), the bill then turned to two much younger acts. Banners, aka Liverpool singer/songwriter Mike Nelson and band, was clearly the standout performance of the afternoon. The lanky Northerner brought swagger and energy into the British Music Embassy with his well-crafted pop melodies.

Banners British Music Embassy Wednesday SXSW 2016Single ‘Start a Riot’ caused hearts to swell with its gentle yet powerful message, while the driving tribal beats of and the singalong qualities of ‘Shine a Light’ were reminiscent of Bastille’s successful maiden SXSW appearance at the very same venue 3 years before. Both songs appear on Banners’ self-titled EP released in January, an admirable musical appetizer of pop hits ahead of his debut album that he told me in a chat after his performance will hopefully see the light of day this summer. Fingers crossed!

Blaenavon are an indie rock trio with ties to the town of Liss in Hampshire. Yet confusingly, their band name is identical to a Welsh town and World Heritage Site in southeastern Wales. While we didn’t get a chance to ask the Transgressive signees about this disconnect while they were in Austin, the “three boys with a story” have that air of mystery and intrigue mixed with darkness, which explains NME drawing comparisons between them and Wild Beasts and WU LYF. By 5 in the afternoon after my two interviews outside, the venue was packed out and I could not get back in. However, two girls stood at the doorway, singing along to every word to songs I assume appeared on the band’s 2013 ‘Koso’ EP, now imprinted forever in these girls’ brains.

Of what I did hear, I was sufficiently impressed with singer Ben Gregory’s guitar chops live, which I found an interesting contrast to his playing of an acoustic guitar as the band filmed ‘Dragon’ recently for Burberry Acoustic. One wonders if Gregory ever considered going in a direction more like their fellow Transgressive act and folk singer Johnny Flynn, as the deep timbre of their voices are similar. Food for thought.

Carrie: While Mary was busy at the British Music Embassy, I headed south across the Colorado River to the Hyatt Regency Austin to interview folk singer/songwriter Roo Panes. The rather dashing Mr. Panes and I had a nice chat on the hotel patio, which you can listen to right back here, even witnessing a riverboat show passing us by in the course of the conversation. We then headed inside to the lobby, where he played a charming solo acoustic showcase to a mellow but very attentive audience. I was glad to hear him mix in a few of his older songs with the ones I already knew from his recent album ‘Paperweights’, even including an off-the-cuff performance of a track from his 2012 EP ‘Once’ called ‘I’ll Move Mountains.’

Roo Panes at the Hyatt Regency Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Our busy Wednesday afternoon was punctuated by only a brief stop for dinner ahead of an equally action-packed Wednesday night schedule. Stay tuned to TGTF for more of our SXSW 2016 coverage in the coming days.

 

SXSW 2016: early bits of FLOODfest and the British Music Embassy Wednesday afternoon (part 1) – 16th March 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

Wednesday at SXSW 2016 was an unusual day for us in Austin, so let me (Mary) explain the reason for the tag-teaming of Wednesday afternoon’s coverage. With First Lady Michelle Obama throwing Music conference panel schedules off at the convention center and not knowing when the panels I had penciled in for the afternoon would actually start, I cut my losses and met Carrie for the start of the afternoon at FLOODfest at Cedar Street Courtyard. I hung around to interview Alex Robertshaw of Everything Everything after they played there and also managed to catch a bit of the next act, but Carrie had already left to see The People The Poet at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 for the first time, as she’d missed them last year. Interview done and dusted, I turned up to rejoin Carrie and cover the rest of the British Music Embassy showcase, as well as wait for some additional interviews, and she went off to meet Roo Panes south of the river for an interview of her own. ::heavy breaths, cough, wheeze:: Our individual contributions to this piece are marked below.

Everything Everything FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayCarrie: Mary and I missed opening act Deap Vally but we arrived at FLOODfest in plenty of time to see a band we were both interested in, Manchester’s Everything Everything. Having never seen the band play live myself, I wasn’t sure what to expect from their performance. They turned out to be a great choice for our first band of the day, upbeat and energetic despite the pesky technical issues that would plague them for the rest of the week. The Austin heat didn’t deter the Mancunian art-rockers from wearing their flambuoyant matching jackets, but the bright Texas sun did force them to perform in what might be called “accidentally stylish” sunglasses through most of the set. They leaned hard on their current album ‘Get to Heaven’, sandwiching old favourites ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Don’t Try’ in between the newer numbers.

Mary: If seeing Everything Everything in the blinding sun and blistering heat felt incongruous, can you imagine how out of place Hælos‘ performance must have looked? The act signed to Matador Records have a little bit of everything in their sound: a little pop, a little soul, a little trip-hop, a little experimental. This kind of music demands a darkened club atmosphere. Comparisons to the xx because they utilise harmonising male and female vocals well further bolster this argument for a shadowy, mysterious stage setup.

Haelos FLOODfest Cedar Street Courtyard WednesdayLucky for them, they didn’t suffer from the same technical issues as Everything Everything did, which probably explains why they looked completely poised and on their game when their set began. On paper, this is the kind of band I should like, so I guess you should blame the oppressive heat beating down from above that I really had trouble getting into the mood for their music. Expect a better review of them very soon, as I had an opportunity to see them again at the nighttime (the right time!) Friday Clash Magazine / PPL showcase at the British Music Embassy, where they were truly in their element.

The People the Poet at the British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Carrie: After Everything Everything’s set, I hurried to the British Music Embassy to catch The People The Poet on Mary’s recommendation. As usual, her suggestion that I’d like the Welsh rockers was right on target. Their full-bodied rock sound and Leon Stanford’s rough-around-the-edges lead vocals were just to my taste, and I couldn’t resist introducing myself to full-bearded guitarist Tyla Campbell after their set to tell him so. The People The Poet’s latest single ‘Club 27’ was due for its first play on BBC Radio 1 only hours after this performance, but technically, we heard it first!

Jane Weaver at British Music Embassy Wednesday at SXSW 2016

Following The People The Poet on the BME stage was electro-pop artist Jane Weaver, who we initially previewed in a Bands to Watch feature right back here. I knew I might not get to stay for Weaver’s entire set, as I was due to switch places with Mary at that point in the day, but after learning the history of Weaver’s career in the course of writing the aforementioned preview, I was intrigued, especially by her recent album release ‘The Silver Globe’. I was gratified to hear the hypnotic psych-pop of current single ‘I Need a Connection’ before I had to dash off across the river to the Hyatt Regency Austin, and Mary was lucky enough to get this interview with the magical Ms. Weaver later in the afternoon.

Keep an eye on TGTF for part 2 of our tag-team coverage of Wednesday afternoon’s activities, coming soon to a computer screen or mobile device near you!

 

SXSW 2016 Interview: Conchúr White of Silences

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

At the Thursday afternoon Output Belfast showcase, I was introduced to several new (or at least new-to-me) Northern Irish artists, including County Armagh singer/songwriter Conchúr White, who is frontman to five-piece band Silences. Silences were offered a last minute slot on the Output Belfast lineup after another band had to cancel their trip to Austin, and because the cost of travel to America is quite prohibitive, White opted to make the trip to SXSW 2016 without his bandmates.

It must be said that while White did seem a bit nervous standing alone on the stage at the British Music Embassy that day, his performance overall was quite effective, and I was positively impressed by both his songs and his singing voice. Silences’ new single ‘There’s A Wolf’ was among the most impressive tracks on White’s solo playlist, its atmospheric folk-rock losing none of the emotional impact of the studio version despite being stripped back to its acoustic bare bones. ‘There’s a Wolf’ has already received radio play from Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 and will feature on Silences’ upcoming EP ‘Luna’, which is due for release on the 15th of April via indie label Decisive Records.

When I stepped outside to chat with White about his rather impromptu experience in Austin, he seemed eager to take it all in, relishing the opportunity to play tourist as well as musician. I will eagerly look forward to the possibility of seeing Silences’ full band lineup at SXSW in the future, but if you’re on the opposite side of the Atlantic, you won’t have to wait that long. Silences will tour the UK and Ireland in support of ‘Luna’ starting on the 15th of April in Belfast. A full listing of the band’s upcoming shows can be found here on their official Web site.

 

SXSW 2016 Interview: Gwenno

 
By on Wednesday, 30th March 2016 at 11:00 am
 

Friday afternoon during SXSW 2016, a special showcase sponsored by Cerdd Cymru / Music Wales was put on at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30. It was a happy occurrence that the programming included a trio of Welsh female solo artists (Rozi Plain, Violet Skies and Gwenno), an all female band (Liverpool’s Stealing Sheep) and a female-fronted one (Fickle Friends). What was less delightful were some forcibly shortened sets during the afternoon that, while minor, seemed more than a coincidence and symptomatic of the struggles that women in music face.

Gwenno Saunders, formerly of the popular girl group The Pipettes, has decided to celebrate her Welshness by recording her music entirely in her native homeland’s tongue On her album ‘Y Dydd Olaf’, which was re-released by Heavenly Recordings last year, she tackled issues of patriarchalism, sexism and the fighting against the establishment, all set against a kraut / pop backdrop. The tunes are incredibly catchy and while only a small portion of the world’s population knows what Gwenno is singing about, she’s quick to explain the premise of her songs in concert, which she did wonderfully during her Friday afternoon performance in Austin.

She has a voice of an angel, she looks like she could be The One, she’s written and recorded a cracking album, and she recently had a baby, who she brought along to Austin with her. Gwenno seems to have it all…or does she? Have a listen to our chat just outside Latitude 30 below. For a feel of her live performance, I’ve also included a live video of Gwenno performing at a music festival last year as well.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDZSbElpBn4[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

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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