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Thom Morgan interviews Bombay Bicycle Club

 
By on Wednesday, 24th December 2008 at 2:33 am
 

Bombay Bicycle Club (side)Few bands can boast the achievements this London quartet can. Two brilliant EPs, opening the V festival and slots at Reading and Leeds along with a couple tours.. even fewer can match these milsetones in all their teenagehood. It is fair to say these North London indie kids have achieved a significant amount in a considerably short time period. I speak to Jack Steadham, lead vocalist for one of the most exciting bands on the indie scene.

You’ve been touring for a while now, and released two EPs, any pans for an album?

We have just recorded our album with Jim Abbiss, it sounds pretty good. Hopefully it will be out by April or so after a few singles.

The band have played on numerous tours and live shows, but what do you feel to be your best gig?

Reading 2007, it was the biggest crowd we’d ever played to, and was the most fin we’ve ever had. Leeds 2008 was good for me too, we got thrown off stage early because of time restrictions, but I went into the campsite with an acoustic finish off the set, and had a lot more fun than on stage.

How did your recent Levi tour go?

It was cool, we had Flashguns supporting us, who were acquaintances. We partied with them in our fresh Levi outfits.

You made your name as a live band, do you still maintain that aspect or has recorded material taken the lead?

Well after listening to the album you kind of think; “holy moly how are we going to play these sounds live?” but I think we’ll still be better live.

Who are your favourite up and coming act on the London scene?

We’re all completely clueless about that. I just got back from Norwich, who knows whats going on in London. In Norwich I brought an album called “Scientist Encounters Pac-Man,” and it’s very good.

And the band you’re currently in love with?

Beat Happening

(Me being me I had to stick in a totally random question which threw the entire interview off track, but ahh well..) :- Any stories about obsessive fans?

Not very interesting ones. We should enjoy them while we can though, we’re all going bald and soon the fans will have nothing to obsess about.

[youtube:http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=68YpIjvGqTE]

Evening/Morning

 

Interview: Adam Ficek

 
By on Monday, 24th November 2008 at 3:50 pm
 

Last week we mentioned a bit about Adam Ficek, the glue of Babyshambles on drums and his new solo project.

Over the weekend we had a quick chat with the singer songwriter behind some amazing tunes, including “Horses”, who bought us up to speed on things like his new blog, thoughts on the future of music online and his tips for the top in 2009.

For those not familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?

Indie-folk-pop

Why should we listen to you rather than every other new band out there?

Nobodies forcing you, if you’re a music fan and you enjoy listening to new music check it out.

Your blog is amazingly honest and gives a great viewpoint on the current state of the music biz at the moment. Did you start it as a personal endeavor first, or as a marketing one? Do you think music blogs play a more important role in the marketing of smaller bands than the majors?

The blog is a good way to let off a little steam and to keep people informed, not sure if a blog does actually help at all in the marketing of bands in general! So probably not.

How do you see the future of music online?

The same as now, lots of sharing and good exposure, I think the authorites will get more of a grip on the download thing though, also I think the future will see sites like myspace and facebook charging subscription fees.

On songwriting – how does it start for you? Lyrical concept? A riff? Turn of phrase? Or a drug fueled orgy that gives you a hazy idea for a great song?

Normally a harmonic concept, on the rare occasion it’s a series of words and phrases I want to get out.

What’s your favourite song (by an artist that’s not you…) so far this year?

Rod Thomas – Same old lines

Who do you tip for great things in 2009?

Tom Williams and the boat.

What’s one thing everyone should bring with them to one of your gigs?

Money to buy my album, to stop me having to buy back unsold stock from my distribution company. I have until late Jan to sell 1500 or I start buying back stock.

Finally, one thing most people won’t know about you?

I have 6 toes.

Adam Ficek’s new album Roses Kings Castles, is out now. Top photo is taken from aurélien’s flickr stream under the creative commons license.

 

Bands to Watch #32: Viva Stereo

 
By on Tuesday, 30th September 2008 at 8:43 pm
 

Quite honestly, I’m not sure how to categorise Viva Stereo. Their new album, “Roar Lion Roar” manages to mix old and new influences and sounds, and ultimately ends up being one of the best album that the mainstream (probably) won’t hear this year.

The four guys in Viva Stereo have been around for a while – this is the third and final album in the trilogy of self-released albums that started in 2004, and whilst they haven’t received a tonne of press they really should have done going by this collection and the number of stars of the Scottish music scene who have collaborated to create “Roar Lion Roar”.

When the album starts up with “Another Night Out” it sounds like “Play”-era Moby demo, with vocals buried deep down in the mix, thumping drums a gentle groove that just yearns to be played over the “incredibly drunk late night collage” of some (rather good) indie film.

“Knee High Boots” (the free MP3 below) sounds like Glasvegas a year or so down the line… anthemic, accessible, slightly My Bloody Valentine and yet still so gorgeous.

Interestingly, whilst researching this piece I came across a piece from last April on the amazing Song, by Toad about Viva Stereo’s live performance, and was intrigued to see them described as a “deranged party mayhem bunch”, which certainly makes me want to go and see them (if only because of the juxtaposition of this description next to many of the tracks of the album) – if only I wasn’t so far down south and about 200 miles from their nearest show!

Their album is anything but a paint-by-numbers affair, with a myriad of influences, a vibrant range of instruments and sounds and quite honestly, one of the best this year of the “bands to watch series” – download the MP3 (now unavailable), and then go and buy their album if you can. You won’t regret it.

After the jump: we chat to Viva Stereo about their release.

Viva Stereo’s latest release, Roar Lion Roar is out on 10th November from the below record shops:
Aberdeen: One Up Records / Glasgow: Mono Records, Avalanche Records / Edinburgh: Avalanche Records / Leicester: Rockaboom Records / London: Rough Trade Records / Manchester: Piccadilly Records

Continue reading Bands to Watch #32: Viva Stereo

 

Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Bloc Party

 
By on Thursday, 4th September 2008 at 8:55 pm
 

“We’d love it if more festivals were like this – all small and lively” commented Matt Tong of Bloc Party mid Saturday afternoon before their sensational headlining set at Hydro Connect 2008. It had been threatening to rain all afternoon, but thankfully it held off long enough for us to have a quick chat with Kele and Matt from the band.

Already pressed for time and running late, the lads didn’t stick around for long, but enough for us to get two quick questions in, which in hindsight weren’t exactly the most insightful we could have asked, but still. Kele was in a jokey mood – when we mentioned their set at Reading the previous weekend and asked if it was a homecoming for him and Russell (they met at Reading ’99) Kele gave us a heart-in-the-mouth moment as he goes “Oh, I never went to Reading… it was just a joke I told people to like us more!”, before conceding that he actually did meet Russell at Reading. Matt on the other hand commented that it was a homecoming of sorts for him – whilst he didn’t meet Kele and Russell at Reading ’99, he spent his summer shuffling paper around offices in Reading.

Having been exceptionally excited about their new album, Intimacy (reviewed here), we were hoping for a set heavy with the new songs. However, whilst we only got two new songs, their set didn’t fail to disappoint and they certainly silenced any critics who said that they weren’t ready to be headliners.

Playing 16 songs over 75 minutes, Kele seemed remarkably chatty compared to when I last saw them and other gigs I’ve seen on TV etc. From their opener Mercury’s chant of “My mercury’s in retrograde” to “Positive Tension”‘s yell of “so f***ing useless”, we knew that both crowd and band were happy to work as one, and made for a magical closing to Saturday.

Still enjoying the gorgeous settings, Kele thanked “our favourite elephant polo playing duke” for asking them to play personally. Hydro Connect marked the last time Daniel Lindegren would be standing in for bassist Gordon Moakes, and Kele took the opportunity to dedicate “So Here We Are” to him “as long as you don’t cock it up!” he joked.

“One Month Off” was the only other new song they played all evening, the disco stomp fitting right in with all their older work perfectly.

“Ah, I meant to say, did you like my kilt?” Kele asked the crowd in reference to his tartan red kilt. “The question is: what am I wearing underneath?! It let’s more air in, if you know what I mean!” he joked shortly before the first song of the encore, “Blue Light”. “Flux” heated things back up again as their green laser was cracked out, making the Scottish rain look beautiful for once as the laser hit the castle and trees.

Coming back one last time, they burst into “She’s hearing Voices” as Kele dives into the crowd chanting “Red pill, blue pill / Red pill, blue pill/ Milk of amnesia”, leaving the security unsure of quite what to do and ensuring they went down as one of the best headliners of the festival.

After the jump: setlist and bigger photos

Continue reading Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Bloc Party

 

Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Glasvegas

 
By on Tuesday, 2nd September 2008 at 10:04 pm
 

Glasvegas drew one of the biggest mid-afternoon crowds of the festival over on the Guitars and Other machines stage, as legions of fans came out in support of the NME darlings.

Earlier in the afternoon we were lucky enough to get a chat with their bassist, Paul Donoghue by a very fragrant portaloo, when he talked to us about their debut self-titled album, which is out next Monday (8th September). He’d received the first complete copy with artwork and case and everything just 2 hours prior to talking to us, and was clearly chuffed how things were coming together.

“It took almost 8 weeks for us to record the album in New York, though it only took me two days to record my parts”… asked what he did for the rest of the time, he mentioned his fondness for drinking and watching the football. “There were two football TV Channels in the hotel room.. one showing English football, the other Spanish… I was slowly learning Spanish from the commentary!” he joked. Caroline’s drums took 2 weeks to get right “which is all the more surprising when you consider I was the least experienced!” he smiled.

As for the rest of the lineup, Paul was hoping to catch Spiritualized over on the mainstage. We joked that we weren’t that impressed with Paolo Nutini playing before Bloc Party, to which Paul commented that he caught him playing acoustically earlier in the year, and thought he was “out of this world”, which certainly put us in our place! He joined just about everyone we’d spoken to in commenting that the setting was just gorgeous, and wishing he could have stayed longer.

After our chat we went to catch Glasvegas on the Guitars and Other Machines stage, and needless to say were blown away. By far one of the largest mid-afternoon crowds had gathered, and blasted through a short yet triumphant set. Geraldine, Flowers And Football Tops and Daddy’s Gone all prove that frontman James Allan has a genuine lyric-writing gift, but at times the feedback-drenched sound was just a bit too much My Bloody Valentine for my liking.

Closing with current single and Radio 1 favourite “Daddy’s Gone”, the chants of “He’s gone, he’s gone, he’s go-one, oooh-oh-oooooh-ohh” could be heard for much of the rest of the day and much of Sunday, easily one of the anthems of the festival. Watch out for them next year – once they’ve played their tour this month, there will be no stopping them. Scotland’s Oasis? No, they’ll be bigger than that.

After the jump: some big photos.

Continue reading Hydro Connect: Day 2 review: Glasvegas

 
 
 

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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 was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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