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(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #121: Karen Elson

 
By on Wednesday, 8th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This set of replies comes from singer/songwriter Karen Elson, who will bring songs from her sophomore LP ‘Double Roses’ to Austin later this month. Having had the SXSW experience in the past, Elson sounds confident that this year’s festival will be a positive one. Take a listen to her current single ‘Call Your Name’ just below, then read through her Q&A.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/PSrFC4YbE8k[/youtube]

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Haunted, hunted and hungry.

(If you’ve been to SXSW before) What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
I came first with The Citizens Band cabaret years ago and then with my first record [2010’s ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, produced by Elson’s then-husband Jack White]. It’s always been fun and totally frantic at the same time.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Play music!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
My cats . . .just kidding, hmmmm, I basically pack a small pharmacy. No time to get sick. I have terrible allergies that make me miserable but also really affect my voice and general well-being. I have Chinese herbs, vitamins and all sorts of medicines for when my allergies are acting up.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Gin and Tonic and tequila soda with lime!

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My mother playing David Bowie on the turntable.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Stay’ by Shakespeare’s Sister.

What song always makes you laugh?
Anything by Dr. Hook.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/5Rk6tyBW9Uo[/youtube]

What song always makes you cry?
‘How Can I Tell You’ by Cat Stevens.

What song reminds you of a specific memory? (For example, the first time you fell in love, the first concert you ever attended, etc. It’s up to you if you want this to be nice or naughty!)
Too many to name one! ‘A Forest’ by The Cure, as my first crush was Robert Smith.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Idiot Wind’ by Bob Dylan.

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

Who is your favourite artist? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer, or an actor, visual artist, etc.)
Again TOO many to mention one! Sam Shepard, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Helena Bonham Carter, Neko Case!

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
God knows . . . probably a crazy cat lady.

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.)
‘Blood on the Tracks’ by Bob Dylan.

Thank you to Karen for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Chloe for her kind assistance.

 

SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #120: Joshua Smith of Chain of Flowers

 
By on Tuesday, 7th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. Today we’re bringing you answers from the mouth of vocalist Joshua Smith of Welsh post-punks Chain of Flowers, who released their debut album 2 years ago. Now it’s their turn to make a go of it in Austin, having already toured up and down the East and West Coasts of our country last summer. Read on for Joshua’s answers…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Dense, delicate, ethereal.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Surviving.

Of the bands who have already been announced (on the band announcement lists), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Kano, Ghetts and Modern English.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Dunkies. [Believe it or not, he’s not the first musician to tell me this… – Ed.]

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Holsten Pils, otherwise a gin + tonic..

What was your favourite album from 2016?
Travis Scott – ‘Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight’.

Will this be the first time you’ve played to American audiences? What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
No – we toured the East/West Coast last summer and loved it so much that we’re back. Just looking forward to playing as much as possible.

Now on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions:

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Nirvana – ‘Come as You Are’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
The Beatles – ‘I Am the Walrus’.

What song makes you laugh?
Green Jelly – ‘Three Little Pigs’. It’s so shit.

What song makes you cry?
Lou Reed – ‘Perfect Day’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHai0qfE4s[/youtube]

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.)
Sweet Female Attitude – ‘Flowers’.

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.)
H100s – ‘Panic Attack’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euHai0qfE4s[/youtube]

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
La Monte Young – ‘Well Tuned Piano’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Henry Miller.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Probably work in the chippy with Sharon Brekkie.

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.)
Ministry of Sound – ‘Anthems Trance’.

Cheers Joshua for answering our Quickfire Questions ahead of going out to Austin, and thanks to Max for helping facilitate this feature. Chain of Flowers are scheduled to perform Wednesday 15 March at 8:45 PM at Sidewinder inside, as well as Thursday afternoon, the 16th of March, at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #119: Mez Green of LIFE

 
By on Monday, 6th March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. We begin this week with the singer of a punk band sure to kick a few arses around Austin next week. Mez Green fronts LIFE from Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Describe your music / sound in three words.
Well, hung, energy.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Playing our first shows in the USA, hanging out, watching bands, knocking back suds, catching some rays and eating some weird shit. Finding a cowboy & girl. Touching a cacti spike.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I like the cut and sound of everything I’ve heard so far from IDLES and of course our buds Slaves.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
A handheld hoover for any stray crumbs in the motel bathtub.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Jameson’s whiskey on ice.

What was your favourite album of 2016, and why?
‘Human Performance’ by Parquet Courts – lyrically superior to any current band.

Will this be the first time you’ve played to American audiences? What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
I’ve heard it’s a beautiful circus. I wanna cut loose.

Now, let’s get into our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘Give ‘Em Enough Rope’ – The Clash on tape as my dad drove us to school in a Nissan Bluebird with two scrap doors.

What was your favourite song as a child?
The theme tune to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the original cartoon). Or ‘Common People’ by Pulp.

What song always makes you laugh?
U2 in general. Awful.

What song always makes you cry?
‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Joy Division.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuuObGsB0No[/youtube]

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.)
‘Walkin’ After Midnight’ – Patsy Cline.

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.)
‘Bird on a Wire’ – Leonard Cohen.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boMZEe9v_SA[/youtube]

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ – Joy Division.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Leonard Cohen, Mark E. Smith, Bukowski, Easton-Ellis.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
We all work, we are real people!! I’m a frontline youth worker in the beautiful city of Hull.

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.)
It would be LIFE’s debut album (out this year) ‘coz I like the sound of my voice. It gets me high.

Many thanks to Mez for answering our questions. LIFE will perform at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 on Thursday the 16th of March, Javelina on Friday the 17th of March, as well as close out the British Music Embassy on Saturday the 18th of March at the BBC Music / Department of International Trade night at 1 AM.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #118: Meilyr Jones

 
By on Friday, 3rd March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. Today’s installment stars the artist with quite possibly the most difficult (and certainly one of the most unique) names to pronounce, Meilyr Jones. According to his Facebook, it’s “it’s ‘May’ like the month and ‘lyr’ like the word ‘lyric'”. He appears to be a massive fan of the Kinks, as you’ll see…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
tawel-mwyn-uchel [“Quiet to high”, thanks Google Translate – Ed.]

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Playing lots of gigs, and hoping to swim in the springs

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Just what we see from walking around, and being there.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Bongos.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Cold water.

Will this be the first time you’ve played to American audiences? What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
Yes, I’m excited, and open to it. I’ve idea what to expect.

Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ – Otis Redding.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTVjnBo96Ug[/youtube]

What was your favourite song as a child?
Frank Zappa – ‘Peaches En Regalia’.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Lola’ by The Kinks.

What song makes you cry?
‘Crying’. [I’ve no idea if he means Roy Orbison, Aerosmith, etc…so imagine for yourself. – Ed.]

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
The Kinks – ‘Waterloo Sunset’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyh__QQD2js[/youtube]

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Dante.

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.)
‘Forever Changes’ by Love.

Many thanks to Meilyr Jones for answering the SXSW 2017-flavoured Quickfire Questions, and thank you to Max for sorting this out for us here at TGTF. Jones will be appearing at the afternoon showcase at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 on Wednesday the 15th of March; 10 PM Thursday the 16th of March at Latitude 30 (BBC 6 Music / AIM showcase at the British Music Embassy); and at 8:45 PM Friday the 17th of March at the Hotel Vegas Annex.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #117: Casi

 
By on Thursday, 2nd March 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. In today’s feature, we’ll be bringing you the answers from Welsh pop singer/songwriter Casi. I previously saw her perform as part of the Gorwelion Horizons / Music Wales showcase at Patterns (known in another life as Audio) on the Marine Parade in Brighton at The Great Escape 2015. I’m delighted that she’ll get her chance to show off her vocal chops in front of the punters of SXSW. Perhaps not too surprisingly for a young strong woman in music representing her region of the world, other female solo artists have figured prominently in her musical history. Read on…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Listen, to, it!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Meeting the locals and meeting other artists.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I’d like to see Maggie Rogers. She seems cool.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
I’ve just started reading Welsh post-punk band Datblygu frontman D. R. Edwards’ autobiography. It’s not unusual, but I’d be surprised if anyone else had packed it in their suitcase for SXSW. [Their Web site is entirely in Welsh, FYI… – Ed.]

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Anything that has passion fruit in it. [I’m sorry my dear, we don’t have passion fruit Rekordelig ::sob:: – Ed.]

What was your favourite album from 2016 and why?
ANOHNIM – ‘Hopelessness’: goes without saying.

Will this be the first time you’ve played to American audiences? What have you heard about the festival? Are you excited / anxious / scared / etc. and why?
It will indeed. I’m really looking forward to it.

Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
I remember hearing ‘Myfanwy’ for the first time and being overwhelmed by its sadness and grandeur.

What was your favourite song as a child?
The Streets‘ ‘Dry Your Eyes (Mate)’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjhHn-n4xro[/youtube]

What song makes you laugh?
Interesting question. U2’s ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’. My friend and I keep dramatically messaging each other with chunks of the song’s lyrics when we reach existential points within our lives.

What song makes you cry?
Des’ree – ‘Kissing You’.

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.)
Lianne La Havas – ‘Lost & Found’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou5uZjDNEko[/youtube]

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.)
Tecwyn Ifan – ‘Y Dref Wen’.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Bat For Lashes – ‘Laura’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UznHTBZIa8E[/youtube]

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Lana Del Rey is a great writer.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I feel I’d be a good teacher. Or an author.

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.)
Endaf Emlyn – ‘Salem’.

We thank the lovely Casi for indulging us with these answers and Max for sorting this out for us! Casi will be performing as part of the BBC Introducing / PRS for Music Foundation showcase at the British Music Embassy at Latitude 30 on Friday the 17th of March at 9 PM.

 

(SXSW 2017 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #116: Catholic Action

 
By on Thursday, 23rd February 2017 at 1:00 pm
 

As this year’s SXSW Music Festival rapidly approaches and our preview coverage kicks into high gear, we’re once again excited to bring you showcasing artists’ answers to a special SXSW 2017 flavoured set of Quickfire Questions. This installment features Scottish alt-rock quartet Catholic Action, comprising Chris McCrory, Ryan Clark, Jamie Dubber, and Andrew Macpherson. All four band members contributed to the responses below, in what must have been a very lively conversation indeed. (If you need a bit of background info before diving into their answers, you can read through TGTF’s previous coverage of Catholic Action here.)

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
All: Full English Breakfast

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
Ryan: Kicking a hole in Trump’s wall.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Chris: Are The Lemon Twigs playing? [Yes, they’re on the official SXSW schedule. – Ed.]
Jamie: I don’t know if Thee Oh Sees have been announced yet? [Nope, they’re not on the schedule. – Ed.]
Everyone: Slaves are playing, they got funding and everything didn’t they? [Yes. – Ed.]

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Chris: A VHS Camera, I make videos for bands on mine.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
Jamie and Ryan: Tinnies and Ginnies
Chris: I remember Lone Star was nice from last time.

What was your favourite album from 2016 and why?
Chris: I think ‘The Party’ by Andy Shauf (like his previous LP) is an underrated masterpiece.
Jamie: ‘Moon Shaped Pool’, [by Radiohead] because I’m a fanboy.
Ryan: Whitney, ‘Light Upon The Lake’. I think it’s a perfect modern country record.
Andrew: Cate Le Bon’s ‘Crab Day’ because it’s “bloody bonkers”.

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
Chris: I played SXSW before with Casual Sex in 2014. [Our archived coverage of Casual Sex, including their 2014 trip to Austin, is right back this way. – Ed.] It’s Catholic Action’s first time though in the USA and it’s Ryan’s first time in America. He says he is going to get a commemorative tattoo… I’d be inclined to believe him. He got a commemorative earring the first time we played The Great Escape in Brighton.

Now, onto our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Jamie: ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ by The Beatles.
Ryan: ‘Just a Gigolo’ by Louis Prima.
Chris: Probably The Pogues or The Lightning Seeds, I had cassettes.
Andrew: ‘Common People’, Pulp.

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

What was your favourite song as a child?
Jamie: ‘An LP’s Worth of Tunes’ by Todd Rundgren.
Ryan: ‘No Limits’ by 2 Unlimited.

What song makes you laugh?
All: ‘Black Dog’ – Led Zeppelin. That harmony is ridiculous. It’s the most Led Zeppelin song.

What song makes you cry?
Ryan: ‘Changes’ by Kelly Osbourne and Ozzy Osbourne. * l a u g h s *

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.)
Chris: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0dJqlvOSq4[/youtube]

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.)
Ryan: ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
All: ‘American Pie’ by Don McLean.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jamie: Alasdair Gray.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Jamie: Pencil pushing at a bank.
Andrew: Probably be doing a PhD.

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.)
Andrew: ‘Jailbreak’, because I can’t get ‘Live and Dangerous’.
Chris: ‘Evening Star’, Fripp and Eno.
Ryan: The Smiths, ‘The Queen is Dead’.
Jamie: ‘Sound of Silver’ – LCD Soundsystem.

Many thanks to all four members of Catholic Action for their responses!

 
 
 

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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 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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