Eye to Eye #16 KELLEY STOLTZ

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Kelley Stoltz, Audiophile, Studio Wizard, Multi – Instrumentalist and Singer Songwriter, PG Tips drinker and Dude. His music has been likened to many of the greats, Brian Wilson, Leonard Cohen and The Velvet Underground..to name a few…

However, we at The ‘Eye hate to Label or Pigeon Hole and prefer for you, the Listener/Explorer to make your own decisions based on what you hear not on what you’ve been told….

Kelley kindly took the time to answer a few questions for us:

TLE: What/Who are you listening to at the moment?

KS: Nick Nicely, Zoot Sims, Conspiracy of Owls, Total Control, Caravan, the Homosexuals, ABC.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you’ve found yourself in?

KS: Drinking wine with Ian McCulloch at the Fillmore. Having tea with Will Sergeant at his house.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?

KS: We played a great gig with the Raconteurs in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2006. It was at a cool old theatre i’d seen several shows at as a young fella. So it was kind of a homecoming gig for me and we played really well – and my mom was backstage watching and next to her scattered in the shadows were Iggy & the Stooges. Quite surreal.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing?

KS: Using better microphones and getting better sounds.

TLE: What’s your favourite venue/festival to play?

KS: Venue wise I like the Fillmore in San Francisco & The Tote in Melbourne, Australia or any gig anywhere in Spain and of course, Liverpool.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

KS: Usually we get together the night before a local show or a tour. I like to improvise weird music with the band for a while so that we can get loose and have fun.

TLE: What the ultimate direction for you?

KS: North by Northwest.

 

TLE: How do you write your songs?

KS: Usually under the influence of PG Tips. I get up and shortly after some breakfast and lounging around, I grab a guitar or play piano and go through some chord changes until something cool comes along, something I can sing a melody to. Then I turn on the mic preamps, wind up the tape or turn on the computer and start recording. The song takes its form during the recording process. Hopefully by night time I’ve got a new song happening. Then I sit back with a glass of wine and listen to it about 20 times and decide if its good or not.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being a solo artist?

KS: Trying to decide what images to put on your t-shirts – a persons name never looks as cool as a bands name.

TLE: What do the next 12 months hold for you?

KS: I have a short tour opening for Jack White coming up and then I want to get back to work on my new LP that’s half finished, for my friend John Dwyers Castleface label.

TLE: What/who first turned you on to Music?

KS: My step-brother Chris. He was 10 years older and when he moved he left behind a real cool little record collection at my parents house. Lots of UK groups and 12″s… Bunnymen, the Stranglers, New Order, Bauhaus type of stuff. Perfect stuff for a teenager to dive into.

TLE: What’s your Ultimate Super Group line up (dead or alive)?

KS: Mick Fleetwood on drums, Paul McCartney on Bass, Pops Staples on guitar, Richard Lloyd on 2nd guitar, Pharaoh Sanders on Sax, David Bowie on piano and me singing!

TLE: Kelley Stoltz in 5 words?

KS: A grooving and melodic dude.

Kelley Stoltz’s new album Double Exposure is out on THIRD MAN RECORDS and available from all the usual outlets

KELLEYSTOLTZ.COM

Eye to Eye #15 ROBERT ROTIFER

RobROtRobert Rotifer. A man of many talents. Freelance Pop and Culture Correspondent, Painter, Radio broadcaster. Oh and a pretty fine songwriter. He has released 5 albums since 2001 on small labels and his latest ‘The Cavalry Never Showed up’ is out on Gare Du Nord Records

We wish more interviewees waxed as poetically as Robert did and to be honest whatever we could have written as an intro he pretty much covered in his answers. So without much further ado, we give you Mr Robert Rotifer.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

RR: A pre-release of the new Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks album. It’s brilliant. Sadly, people seem to be a bit blasé about his solo work while they got all excited about the Pavement reunion a few years ago. Credit to Malkmus for not letting that bother him at all. Speaking of skewed perceptions of an artist’s work, I’m just finishing the new Ray Davies book “Americana”, which made me listen to some of the later Kinks albums that I’d previously ignored. “Sleepwalker”, which was overshadowed by punk, is actually a great album.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you’ve found yourself in?

RR: I don’t know if you know this, but as well as making my own music, in the last 20-odd years I’ve made my living as a music journalist and radio DJ. I moved to this country in 1997 but continued to work for Austrian and German magazines and radio stations, so I’m leading a kind of double life. Over the years I’ve met so many musicians, which should be rock’n’roll but really wasn’t. When I’m with friends and we talk about music, I get on everybody’s nerves by constantly saying “Yes, I interviewed him once” whenever names like Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, John Cale, Kevin Ayers or Robert Wyatt are mentioned. On the upside my day job has made me less susceptible to hero worship. Saying that, Darren Hayman playing in my band meant a lot to me because I loved Hefner and Darren’s solo work, still do. Being on Edwyn Collins’ label AED and having him play at my record launch in London a couple of years ago was a huge honour. With AED you ended up in these situations like bumping into Roddy Frame at the office and him asking me how the record is doing, when I’d only interviewed him for my radio show a few years before. I can’t deny that was a big thrill for me. But often it’s the less famous people that are the most rewarding to meet. Sitting with Brian Godding from my psychedelic heroes The Blossom Toes on the floor of his council flat in London and rummaging through his archives might not be rock’n’roll, but it was a really special moment. Or talking to Bill Fay who seemed genuinely touched to learn that people loved his music for decades without his being aware of it. I’ll better stop the namedropping now, but I guess you can see what I mean about being a bore.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?

RR: I really can’t think of any single one, it all becomes a blur after a while, but the most surreal one must have been the time I was booked to play at a week-long guerilla festival in South-West Sardinia a few years ago. There was a lot of stoner rock on empty beaches and garage punk in actual garages complete with disoriented bats. The bands and the audience had travelled to the island from all over Europe for the occasion. To appease the local population, the organisers decided to put on a special gig as part of the annual festival in honour of Saint Anthony. So I ended up playing on a town square on a stage in front of a church. It was a warm evening in late spring, the procession of the statue of San Antonio had just passed by, and the scent of the flowers that the people had thrown at the wooden saint was heavy in the air. And there I was in front of hundreds of Sardinians, singing songs in English that they didn’t know or understand. It was absurd, daunting and magical all at the same time. The next day we went back to London and I supported Darren Hayman at the 100 Club. It was great as well, but it couldn’t have been more different.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

RR: It is song-centred guitar music with the lyrics playing an equal role to the sound. It often appears more straight-forward than it really is. My guitar playing mostly comes from that Wilko Johnson/early Pete Townshend idea of being the sole guitarist in a band, mixing chords, riffs and fills and going of on a tangent in the coda. But I also have a tendency towards jazz chords and waltz time, it’s never purely rock.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing?

RR: I started out in a complete hotchpotch of a band in mid-eighties Vienna, where the bass player wanted to do funk, I wanted to go in a punk and sixties direction, and the drummer was into metal. I then joined a mod-soul band, while also playing what we thought were psychedelic suites in a rehearsal room band that never made the stage. The drummer was always too stoned to remember the changes. Then I played solo for a while until I formed a guitar pop trio called the Electric Eels. This was the time before you could google band names to find out if someone else had got there before. We were fairly successful in Austria, but never liked the sound of our album. Trying to produce a second one, I ended up doing a four-song-double-seven-inch single produced by a Viennese group called Sofa Surfers. We combined cut-up beats and samples with my slightly unusual chord changes, which was quite a challenge pre-time-stretching and pre-pitch-correction. Moving to London in 1997, I realised that my English lyrics weren’t up to scratch, so I kept writing just for myself until I had found the right language. My first solo album “A Different Cup of Fish” in 2001 was a confused mishmash of styles. Part of that was actually recorded in Liverpool at LIPA, where a friend of mine, who studied to become a sound man, used my songs as his guinea pigs. Since then I’ve had bands with various line-ups, but Ian Button aka Papernut Cambridge has been my drummer and one of my best friends for a few years now, and Mike Stone from Television Personalities became the permanent bass player after Darren Hayman left because he simply had too many other commitments. I then discovered finger-picking on “Before the Water Wars” in 2006 after moving to Canterbury. That album was recorded almost completely live in the studio, which has since become my favoured way of working. Over the last few albums I’ve become gradually more confident as a songwriter. I’ve got into writing songs on the piano as well. I’m a hopeless player so this has made me less afraid of being simple rather than overcomplicating things.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

RR: Minimal. We don’t rehearse very often at all, maybe once before a run of gigs to try out something new. If you rehearse too much you end up not really making music onstage, you’re just playing it. I like to watch a band who surprise themselves with what they are doing, even if it might sometimes go wrong.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for you?

RR: There isn’t any. I can’t predict what I will want to do in a year’s time. Right now I’m working on a b-side with a disco beat and some bare-knuckled guitar on top.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

RR: Again, it varies. Sometimes I dream them or they just come out complete, like “November” on the new album. I wrote that while I was cycling home one night and had to find the chords on the guitar afterwards, the way you learn someone else’s song that already exists. Sometimes I have a phrase that I want to turn into a tune, like “I Just Couldn’t Eat as Much (As I’d Like to Throw up)”, or I play around on the guitar or the piano until something emerges, like “From Now On There’s Only Love” and “Wear and Tear”. And then at other times there will be something that I feel needs to be said and I’ll purpose-build a song around that idea, like “The New Fares” or “Last Century”.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you, or is it pure escapism?

RR: Both. I guess the kind of escapism you choose says a lot about you. I don’t feel like a very Viennese person, for example, but there’s probably a reason why I always put a waltz or two on my records. I put a lot of my politics in my songs too, because music is a great way to channel my anger. And sometimes when I write a rock song like “Optimist out on the Open Sea” or “Aberdeen Marine Lab” it’s just excuse to enjoy the pure childish fun of being in a band.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being a solo artist/in a band?

RR: Not getting paid. Putting lots of money and effort in for far too little return. I say this without the hint of a moan and in the knowledge that, conversely, recording has become cheaper than it’s ever been, which also means that there are too many people releasing new records onto an ever shrinking market. I’m one of them, I’m part of that problem, no one has asked me to do this. And yet that’s how you got to hear my music, so it’s already justified by more than just my narcissism. But when people tell me how great a free gig has been and then can’t find a fiver to spend on a CD because they need to buy another beer for £4.50 (London trendy place prices), it can be disheartening. There are, however, much bigger injustices in the world. People having to stack shelves at Poundland just to keep their little bit of dole money. That thought quickly makes me shut up about the hardships of being in a band.

TLE: What do the next 12 months hold for you?

RR: We want to play gigs in other parts of the country rather than just the south-east, hopefully come up to Liverpool as well. And we’re going to go to Austria and Germany again. We will put out a single edit of “Black Bag” with a new b-side, and I’m already starting to write songs for the next album. I’m supposed to work on a tune for an interesting project of Darren Hayman’s, which is exciting, but I haven’t got round to doing that yet. On November 27 I’ll play in London at Servant Jazz Quarters as part of the backing band of rediscovered seventies songwriter John Howard, who has been making music again for ten years now and has just put out a fantastic new album called “Storeys”. This gig will be co-headlined by my friend Ralegh Long who will put out a new record on our Gare du Nord label in the spring. Now that I’ve mentioned the label, that will doubtless make up a big part of what I will do this year. “Cambridge Nutflake”, the debut by Papernut Cambridge is about to be released or maybe already out by the time this goes online. We’ve put together a label compilation called “Ebbsfleet International”, which is all exclusive tracks by John Howard, 30lbs of Bone, Darren Hayman, Picturebox, Arthur in Colour, Fairewell and ourselves and will get a commercial release at the end of the month. We’ll also keep putting on our own label revue nights. In the summer I will get involved in Popfest Vienna again, which I co-founded four years ago as a platform to showcase the local scene over there. It got bigger than we ever expected. Also I was working on a bilingual German/English album with Pete Astor earlier in the year until everything else got in the way, and I’d love to get that going again.

TLE: Who’s your favourite artist music or otherwise?

RR: I’ve already mentioned some of my musical influences, and apart from that I guess I’m very predictable: I’ve always loved Truffaut films. Last weekend I visited the collection of Flemish School paintings in the Royal Museum of Art in Brussels for a second time. If I could afford to, I’d go there every week. Apart from that, I’ve recently been blown away by Isherwood’s writing about pre-war Berlin. I really should have got into that much earlier in life, but I used to be quite a lazy reader.

TLE: Robert Rotifer in 5 words?

RR: Just can’t stop droning on.

TLE: What takes up most of your time/attention, music, painting, your radio work?

RR: At the moment it’s my journalism and translation work. I’ve just co-edited, translated and co-written a musical travel guide to Austria, that was a lot of work. So I’m out of those woods and I’m writing music again.

Check out the vid and the links below to delve a little deeper…

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Gare Du Nord

Until Such Time – The ‘Eye

Eye to Eye #12 JOHN LENNON McCULLAGH

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John Lennon McCullagh; is that his real name we hear you cry!? It is indeed. And it’s one you will be hearing a lot more of over the years to come. If we were his folks we’d have squeezed an Ian in there too and he would have had two iconic Liverpool musicians as his moniker.

That aside, he has signed to Alan McGee’s new label 359 and recorded his debut album which is scheduled for release October 14th.

To quote Courtney Love, “Who is this 15 year old kid doing Dylan better than Dylan?”

John kindly answered the following questions for us.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

JLM: Bit of everything really, really into this bloke from the 60’s called Val Stoecklein who only made one solo record called Grey Life, it’s genius one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Also massively into Van Morrison at the minute, and bit of Leonard Cohen all that sort of stuff.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in?

JLM: Being seated next to Ian Skelly from the Coral at the Liverpool Music Awards, supporting Richard Hawley in Sheffield…and of course signing to McGee’s new record label.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig of yours so far and why?

JLM: My favourite so far was supporting Richard Hawley at the Electric Palace, Bridport. It was an old theatre, and was full, it just had an amazing vibe in the air. To see Richard working up close and personal learnt me more than any maths text book could.

TLE: Has school taken a back seat!?

JLM: School has always taken a backseat in my life when it comes to music haha

TLE: What do your friends make of your new found fame?

JLM: Don’t get much time to see them now, I think their happy with it?

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

JLM: Myself, John Lennon McCullagh

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing?

JLM: I’d say its evolved quite a bit in terms of songwriting, singing and playing, and just in general in front of a crowd.

TLE: Who are you influences and what’s the last record you bought?

JLM: My influences include many people, mainly; Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Marc Bolan & T.REX, Frank Sinatra…the last record I bought was Leonard Cohens first album “Songs of Leonard Cohen”

TLE: How do you write your songs?

JLM: I don’t know really, they just come to you at any minute, when you’re least expecting it.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you, or is it pure escapism?

JLM: Most of my songs are written about day to day life and things i see, but some are just escaping the normal surroundings and going somewhere else.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being a solo artist?

JLM: The band will come eventually, at the minute I really love being on my own, because when you’re playing live, you control the show, you can change the songs, or change anything.

TLE: How did Alan Mcgee come to hear about you?

JLM: Al seen me doing a gig in Rotherham, at the time I only did Dylan songs cos i didn’t have any of my own, and he was really into it, so he invited me to a Liverpool gig he was djing and it’s all gone from there.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

JLM: Stay true to you’re roots and don’t forget where you come from.

 

Delve a little deeper using the link below…

JLM

 

Until Such Time… The ‘Eye.

 

Eye to Eye #11 CHRIS GRANT

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We’ve been away for a few weeks and what better way to return than with an interview with fellow Liverpudlian Chris Grant. Chris is signed to Alan McGee’s new label 359. 359; in case you didn’t know (and if you didn’t you must’ve been living under a rock for the last few months) are hosting a new night in Liverpool’s District. District is the former Picket… located in the Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool? Still with us? Good….

We are not here to review or try to convince you how good an artist is, we just want to present you with a few words from them and point you in the direction of their songs, vids, gigs etc. Ultimately, the Liverpool Eye is about spreading the word, because if it catches our Eye we believe its worth a shout…

Chris kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

CG: Courtney Kardashian’s voice. It’s not a song, I’ve just got that show on the TV. I find every one of them sisters extremely attractive so it’s just on basically.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in?

CG: I was in bed hungover once. Got woken up by a phone call. Some weird American guy started talking to me about my songs telling me that he had heard about me. I was like…“Fuck off, who are you, how did you get my number, I’m in bed piss off kind of attitude? Not interested “. I Don’t even remember what else he or I said. He said who he was, didn’t know him. Went back asleep. Woke up. Got on with my day…. Anyway Mcgee phones me later that day, “Did Seymour Stein ring you?, he likes your stuff I gave him your number”. Turns out it was quite possibly the biggest name in music. This guy signed Madonna…. Is President of Warners US and runs Sire Records. Probably sold about 200 million albums, good albums too, important albums. Huge, huge figure in this game. That’s when I actually started a revolution from my bed. It can be done. That was Rock N Roll. People chase this guy. He chased me. I knew I was doing something right. He forgave the snotty attitude. He loves my album ‘It’s Not About War’. Now I know who he is. I’m pleased. The brains I had went to my head in the end.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig of yours so far and why?

CG: I played on a huge stage in Liverpool a couple of years ago to thousands. It was a big festival. The gig was ok. Sound was awful as it always is on big outdoor stages. We played great but that’s not why I care. My Grandad was 80 odd and he made it to watch us before getting ill. He watched me and my brother own it on a massive scale to a lot of people. I know he was proud. There was a huge Liverbird behind us 20 feet tall. He loved seeing us up there. He passed away last year. I love that he seen that. He could never get to club nights at his age and stuff. This worked for him, It was sunny, It was outdoor, It was daytime. He watched us achieve something. I love that gig for that reason. He loved it. It’s that simple. I know he loved it. Words couldn’t describe how proud he was of us both. It’s great to know that now he’s not around. He knew we was on our way. A man can take a lot from knowing that about a man he loved. I would have hated it if he didn’t see us start to make a wave. He did. I’m lucky in that sense.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

CG: Honest.

TLE: What do you make of the Liverpool Scene at the moment?

CG: I don’t. I’m a song man not a scene man. Scenes don’t have songs. I’ve ignored scenes since the start. It’s working for me. If you have any sense follow suit. Do your own thing always.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing?

CG: Greatly.

TLE: Who are your influences and what was the last music you bought?

CG: Bob Dylan and Neil Young got every move right so it stops there for me. Last record I bought was by Miguel called Adorn. Not all pop music is shite. This dude sounds like Marvin Gaye and the tune is contemporary cool with the right amount of musicianship. The rest of his album is weak bar one. If he lets me write him a song or sings one of mine he could be better. His voice is great. I respect it. The likes of Olly fucking Murs are put to bed by this guy. Pop music can be great. It’s rare but it could be great. This Adorn tune totally swoops Marvin but why wouldn’t you. He nailed it. Stop trying to be Robbie Williams; Olly Murs!! He doesn’t even know who he is or who he’s being himself so you trying to be him… is just awful. This Miguel gets it, we need to go back to the roots of it. Pop music that is. He is like Prince on stage with a voice like Marvin Gaye. That’s good pop music. He is a pop star. A good one…

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

CG: A laugh.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for your good self?

CG: Left.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

CG: Magick.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you or is it pure escapism?

CG: Reflects my being totally and let’s other escape. The way it should be.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being a solo artist?

CG: There is nothing hard about it. At all.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

CG: Never fake it.

TLE: How did Alan Mcgee come to hear about you?

CG: I sent him a message in 2006 on MySpace saying “Sign us now while you have got the chance”. Exactly that. Nothing more nothing less. Now I get it that every idiot in a band will now do this but I must add. He only got back because I was fucking good. So you now have to be at least as good as me to get heard. Just like I had to be at least as good as Noel to get heard and obviously I’m much better than him…and much better now. So good luck with that. I mean it too. I really do. Oh and you have to be a handsome bastard. Forget that bit. The libertines got a pass on that one.

Chris and his fellow 359 label mates play @ District tonight…if you’re lucky you may still get a ticket…

Check out Chris’s links below to delve a little deeper…

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Debut single ‘It’s You’ download link

District

Eye to Eye #10 DEATHROWRADIO

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We only came across these guys recently on 6 music and to be honest we are quite ashamed of the fact. Obviously we are not slagging off 6 music but the fact we have only just discovered DRR leaves us feeling somewhat lacking when we pride ourselves on our musical knowledge… That said its a delight to discover a band that have been recording for 10 years or so and you can dive headlong into their back catalogue…
DEATHROWRADIO used to go out under d_rradio and their sound differs to that which they are putting out at the moment… We will let you have a delve and discover the difference…

deathrowradio is Chris Tate and Paul Christian Patterson and they kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Paul: From Monument To Masses, Human Don’t Be Angry, Mogwai – ‘Les Revenants’.

Chris: Laura Nyro, Paul Pena, WAR.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?

Paul: Playing at the Paradiso, Amsterdam in early 2007.

Chris:don’t know how Rock and Roll this is, but it was a huge thrill when John Peel first played us on the radio and then invited us to play a Peel session. Sadly he died before we could record it, which was inconsiderate of him.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far?

Paul: Truck festival nine, in summer 2006.

Chris: For me it was probably the gig Paul mentioned in the last question, at the Paradiso. That’s where we met Lianne Hall, and that was powerful in so many ways.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Paul: Forever changing and hopefully progressing.

Chris: To be honest, we usually try not to describe it.

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Paul: We met around 1995, possibly at Chris’ birthday party. Or maybe it was shortly before that, in one of the houses we shared with friends.

Chris: We had quite a large group of mutual friends, all pretty much living between two houses. There were lots of parties, lots of music and not much sleep.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?

Paul: Our music evolves as we do, we just try to keep improving and keep doing the best we can.

Chris: Our plan was always to evolve and change our sound, to change direction entirely every so often. We like to throw it all on it’s head, just because we can. We always loved it when artists change the style of their music, but the music maintains a recognisable certain something.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Paul: Good fun!

Chris: Definitely good fun, although these days they’re also pretty focused. We try to make the most of it because we know how hard it is not having a space in which to rehearse. But it’s great fun, constructive fun.

TLE: What is the ultimate direction for the band?

Chris: Forwards.

Paul: To continue making music and hopefully making people feel good.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Chris: It depends on the style, it’s nearly always different for each album. Every time we change style, we learn or invent a set of entirely new skills and take a new approach.

Paul: We start with a basic musical idea; a riff, a melody or a chord sequence, and then allow the songs to take shape around that.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Chris: We try to always remember the beautiful feeling of hearing music which really moves us, and we try to put some of that into what we do. So our music hopefully reflects our love of the escapism that beautiful music can provide, and the way music can soundtrack certain times. That was always a big part of our plan, and that’s partly why we’re called deathrowradio.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Chris: Lack of funds, without a doubt. I’m concerned that young people in this country with original, vibrant ideas won’t be able to fully realise them in the future, if things keep going the way they are. If creative people aren’t lucky enough to have money and their artistic ideas don’t fit with what MPs consider to be commercially viable, they won’t be nurtured the way they should be, especially if those ideas are even slightly far out. True art has nothing to do with making money, but the UK government think art should only be made with financial profit in mind, and they’re taking steps to make that the norm. Having said that, the best art often comes from having something to kick against, so something very culturally exciting could be just around the corner. I hope so.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

Chris: Never kill anybody.

Check their links below and immerse yourselves in their sonic hocus pocus….

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TWITTER

MYSPACE

 

 

 

Eye to Eye #9 JOE SYMES & THE LOVING KIND

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JS&TLK as we shall refer to them from here on in(to save our poor fingers!) are a five piece who play 60’s infused ‘acoustic rock’. While they wear their sixties heart firmly on their sleeve they are by no means a Beatles tribute act… From our own fair city they have been together for a year or so and are about to release their debut album. The launch is at the Zanzibar Saturday 20th July, so get down and show your support!

JS&TLK are Joe Symes – Vocals/Guitar/Harmonica, Colin White – Drums/Percussion, Paul Hetherington – Guitar/Backing vocals, Dave Skilling – Keyboards/Backing vocals and Chris Giblin – Bass Guitar.

Joe kindly answered some questions for us:

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?
JOE: I’m listening to The Beatles White Album at the moment, a very wide range of music and styles on there for me, one of my favourite Beatles album’s, a lot of influence was drawn from that album for our debut album, The different styles of songs, presentation, the whole feel about the album, I’m also listening to a lot of Marvin Gaye at the moment.
TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?
JOE: We recently met SAM LEECH who was the founder of the Merseybeat scene in Liverpool in the 1960’s, he was best friends with The Beatles, he organised all their first gigs in and around the north west… He is still best friends with Paul McCartney to this day, Sam will be opening our debut album launch at The Zanzibar in Liverpool Sat 20th July, It was an honour to meet him, so many great stories he told us about the whole Merseybeat scene and The Beatles, he is a fan our band also.
TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?
JOE: I’ve enjoyed all the gigs we have played up to now, been very rewarding for the band. The best one for me was our 2nd gig when we headlined the main stage of the 02 Academy 1 in Liverpool Sept 6th 2012 for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds official aftershow party, the gig was sold out and it was such a great night. It was also great for the band to asked on the night to be the main support band for Steve Cradock ( Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller ) two months later at the same venue.
TLE: How do you describe your sound?
JOE: I would describe the band sound as very diverse in the sense that we don’t like to repeat what we have done previously.
We would like to do the gamut if we can, even down to the bands layout and promotion and new material the band are set to release this year and 2014. We are always looking for something new, new sounds, totally different ways of writing and approaching songs.
TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?
JOE: Myself and Colin our drummer go back a long way… Overall we have been together as a band for almost a year.
TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?
JOE: We have grown as a band and are very tight as a five piece band. We know ourselves on stage and can lock into any given situation. The songs themselves have grown also, songs that have started out as a 3 minute song can now go into a 5 minute song so when we play a song on stage we can jam it out in the middle section and give the audience something different from what they normally would hear; something which we will continue to do in a live setting.
JOE SYMES & The Loving Kind debut album launch will be at The Zanzibar in Liverpool Sat 20th July 2013
Until Such Time – the ‘Eye

Eye to Eye #8 MOKOOMBA

Mokoomba

This week we stray far from Liverpool and even beyond our shores to bring you Mokoomba. From Victoria Falls the Zimbabwean six piece are playing the Africa Oye festival in Sefton Park on Sunday June 23rd.

Mokoomba are, Mathias Muzaza: Lead Voice, Backing Voice & Percussion. Trustworth Samende: Electric, Nylon & Mute Guitars & Backing Voice. Abundance Mutori: Bass & Backing Voice. Donald Moyo: Keyboards. Miti Mugande: Percussion & Backing Voice. Ndaba Coster Moyo: Drums, Backing Voice & Beatbox.

They kindly answered a few questions for us.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Mokoomba: On tour, we have been listening to a lot of different kinds of music, especially learning more about the other bands that we meet at the festivals we play.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation the band have found themselves in?

Mokoomba: We have had quite a few “rock and roll” situations considering where we are coming from, peak of which was our performance live on the Later with Jools Holland show. The performance generated lots of excitement and interest in our band and music. Other amazing moments have been meeting legendary African musicians like Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita and Baaba Maal who continue to inspire us and many other young bands to aim for the stars. Lastly, working with Manou Gallo on our album Rising Tide is definitely on this list.

TLE: What’s been your favorite gig so far and why?

Mokoomba: We enjoy performing everywhere we go which makes consensus on this question hard to reach. But if we had to call it then the band’s favorite gig so far was our concert in May to close the Harare International Festival of the Arts. We had a special guest collaboration on stage with the great Baaba Maal from Senegal in front of our home audience and live on national television.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Mokoomba: Our sound is Afro fusion hugely inspired by the distinct Tonga traditional music styles and rhythms with influences from Afro-salsa, Congolese Rumba, Funk and Reggae to create a pan-African sound that many are saying bursts with raw energy.

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Mokoomba: We have known each other since we were very young boys growing up in the same neighborhood called Chinotimba in Victoria Falls. We went to the same schools and hung out playing music in our spare time.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Mokoomba: Mathias Muzaza who is our lead singer comes up with the base concepts for most of the songs and the whole band led by Trustworth Samende our lead guitarist work on the musicality and arrangement.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Mokoomba: Our music is a combination of influences. There is a strong spiritual foundation based on our commitment to our Tonga culture and our love of traditional rhythms and wisdom of our people. At the same time, we reflect on how tradition speaks to everyday life and issues in society today. In a way, we come from a life with many challenges but the joy we feel and the rhythms, which bring people to their feet, make dance a celebration of life as it is, with no need to “escape”.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Mokoomba: Our band is beginning to travel a lot more and the most challenging aspect is being away from friends and family for long periods of time. We do try to keep in touch with them via the social networks but we cannot say that it is enough.

Use the links below to delve a little deeper.

Facebook

Mokoomba.com

Youtube

Special thanks to Poney Gross @ ZIG ZAG WORLD Management

Until Such Time -the ‘Eye.

Eye to Eye #7 HOWIE PAYNE

hp

So Friday is upon us once more. This week we have one of the most talented yet unknown singer songwriters (as far as the ‘mainstream’ is concerned) in the UK.  From his early days in various bands in Liverpool to playing with some of the most influential musicians of recent years Howie is not what you’d call a household name. Having said that he did have 5 top 40 hits with The Stands which he fronted until 2005. Since then Howie has released two albums, under his full name, Howard Elliot Payne, on his own label Move City Records. He has also written for and collaborated with other artists such as Ren Harvieu and Benjamin Francis Leftwich.

We think the latest tunes he is currently demoing are among his finest yet. He kindly answered a few questions for us.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Howie: Loaded by The Velvet Underground.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in? 

Howie: Hard to pin down this..there’s been a few good ones..Neil Young once took me, Noel and Liam Gallagher for dinner..that was pretty far out..long story.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?

Howie: There’s been a lot..The gigs I just did because I haven’t played for a couple of years so there was a bit of nerves, but people came and the vibe was wonderful…
Some of The Bandwagon shows really stand out too. When The Stands, The Zutons and The Coral were all on the same bill in The Zanzibar packed to the rafters with the sweat crawling down the walls..amazing.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Howie: It’s circular.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for your good self?

Howie: Forwards is the only direction.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you or is it pure escapism?

Howie: Sometimes everything, sometimes nothing, It changes line by line, song by song.

TLE: Your sound seems to have mellowed over time, are any of your new songs heavy or heavier than we’ve come to expect?

Howie: I don’t know, I have written a few heavy tunes lately though so it will most likely have it’s moments.

TLE:  How do you choose which songs you keep or give to other artists?

Howie: I don’t really..people get in touch and ask me if I have any songs that might be good for such and such or so and so..

Ren Harvieu covered a few of my songs but I didn’t write any them especially for her or anything like that, her producer just heard them and thought they’d be good songs for her.
I like that it that way, it’s cool, uncomplicated and it’s interesting to hear other people sing your songs.

If I’m collaborating with someone we’d usually start something from scratch or maybe use a really ruff idea off a phone or something.

Sometimes the other person might have an idea they’ve been working on and we’re both into it we’ll work on that.
In The Open that I wrote with Benjamin Francis Leftwich was like that, he already had the idea and and some of the melody so I mainly did the lyrics and a some arranging.

TLE: What do you consider to be your best work?

Howie: What I’m doing now.

To delve a little deeper check out the links below.

Facebook

Twitter

Soundcloud

Until Such Time – the ‘Eye

Eye to Eye #6 STEVE MASON (the Beta Band)

steve mason

King Biscuit Time, Black Affair, SteXiS and another band you may’ve heard of….the Beta Band? It’s not often you get artists like Steve Mason, who remain cult yet mainstream and who continue to make great music after being in such a seminal band. After being in The Beta Band it’s not about living up to what you’ve done, it’s about continuing the journey…

Steve kindly answered a few questions for us.

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Steve: New track by Petula Clark called Cut Copy Me and Vacuum Cleaner by Tintern Abbey.

TLE: What’s the most Rock and Roll situation you have found yourself in? 

Steve: Playing in Vegas in 1999 we sold 1 ticket, cancelled the gig and went on the razz for 2 days. Bumped into Ice-T in the lift and told him what we had done and why. His parting words were “stay stoopid man”. Bizarrely there are many many Beta Band rock n roll tales. We were nuts, just kept it quiet.

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig so far and why?

Steve: Probably the last time I played, which was Village Underground in London. It was a step up from the last time I played there in terms of capacity and I got a bottle thrown at me for laughing about Thatchers death. It’s nice to feel your moving forward!

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Steve: I don’t.

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Steve: I’ve known myself all my life. I get on famously…

TLE: Has your music evolved since you started playing?

Steve: Of course. If you don’t move forward you ain’t no kind of artist. That’s what its all about. Challenge and truth.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Steve: Weird question! They are usually hard work and stressful.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for your good self?

Steve: I don’t know. I make it up as I go along.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Steve: That’s an impossible question to answer.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you or is it pure escapism?

Steve: I really don’t know, I think that would be something to ask a 3rd person. I don’t think I could answer that. I have no perspective on it.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band/solo artist?

Steve: These days it’s surviving on the money you make. It’s sometimes frustrating wanting to be able to do things you cannot. Everything is stretched to the max. Especially playing live. I would love to take out a bigger band and play loads of small towns and the cities you rarely get to go play in but promoters just wont take the risk. Fewer and fewer people are going out these days, mostly due again to money issues. Apart from that I don’t have too many problems. I’m very lucky, I don’t earn much, but nobody does. At least I don’t have to bow down to some profit squeezing machine everyday and be treated like a number to earn it.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

Steve: Never go back to a lit firework. Metaphorically or otherwise.

TLE: Do you ever tire of the Beta Band comparisons or do you just accept it as inevitable?

Steve: It’s inevitable that the guy that sang and wrote the songs in TBB will be compared to TBB. Standard. I don’t care at all. The British love to live in the past!

TLE: Do you have a space you go to write or are you more wherever whenever?

Steve: Wherever really, just get the phone out and sing into it. I used to carry a dictaphone before mobiles.

TLE: Is the guitar your weapon of choice for songwriting?

Steve: It depends really. Sometimes a song will start with a beat. Get the MPC fired up and put something together. It’s not an exact science, but mostly they will come from some kind of noodling or strumming yes.

To delve a little deeper click on the link below…

SteveMason

Until Such Time – the ‘Eye

Eye to Eye #5 THE DIRTY RIVERS

DirtyRivers

 

 

 

 

Around for about two years now The DIRTY RIVERS are reaching that point that feels like the calm before the storm. The Liverpool five piece are, Mike Ellis-Voice, Jay Roberts-Guitar, Lloyd Shearer-Bass, Ryan Ellis-Guitar, Ben Robinson-Drums. Their sound has been described thus: ‘A little bit of Oasis, a little bit Kasabian and a lot of BRMC’…..

Every now and then a band comes along that has the ingredients we reckon these are they.

Mike kindly answered a few questions for us…

TLE: What are you listening to at the moment?

Mike: The Verve, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine.

TLE: What’s the most ‘Rock and Roll’ situation the band have found themselves in?

Mike: I suppose if it’s a rock n roll moment, it would probably be when we were booked to play some terrible gig at Telford Uni for their leaving do or something. There was this rugby toff (stripy shirt and all) heckling us right at the front so I volleyed a full pint of lager in his face, he soon shut his trap. We were then advised to leave in case violence broke out, so we robbed all their ale and fucked off!

TLE: What’s been your favourite gig of the bands so far and why?

Mike: Our last London gig at the Queen of Hoxton, everything came together and we were just on fire. Liam Gallagher came down to see us but missed us but came back stage to meet us all, which was good of him.

TLE: How do you describe your sound?

Mike: Rock and Roll

TLE: How long have you known each other and how did you meet?

Mike: Me, Ben and Jay were in one band Lloyd and Ryan were in another, we liked what each other were about, so we joined forces.

TLE: How has your music evolved since you started playing together?

Mike: That’s a good question, when we first started we were happy with any songs that we wrote, they’d go in the set instantly because we weren’t great writers, we just knew how to make a noise and get a bit wild. Now we think about dynamics, really think about arrangements, we’re just getting better at what we do all the time. We just keep on taking it to the next level all the time.

TLE: What are your rehearsals generally like?

Mike: What ever the symptom is, we cure it. If we need more tunes we write one. If we need to improve a part of a tune we spend time addressing it. What ever is necessary.

TLE: What’s the ultimate direction for the band?

Mike: We cant really say to be honest, we can’t control that. What we can control is how good we are live, how good our songs are, how hard we work. If we continue to excel in those departments then we’ll see.

TLE: How do you write your songs?

Mike: There’s loads of different combinations here, it can be a jam, I can come in with a full tune or a part and we’ll finish it off together, Lloyd can come in with a part or we can develop a chord progression Ryan has made or Jay can turn up with an idea. So there’s loads of different ways we can write songs, that’s what makes us a band.

TLE: What do you think the music reflects about you as people, or is it pure escapism?

Mike: Another good question, I think these are tough and dark times and maybe that reflects in the music and lyrics. This isn’t 1967 in Haight-Ashbury, its 2013 in Liverpool where its dark and horrible, where you get one day of actual sunshine a year. The only things I look forward to are rehearsal the next gig and who Everton are playing that week. It’s got a bit of a pissed off vibe going on, which is always a good thing. It feels like we have something we want to prove to people, its got more pain to it.

TLE: What’s the hardest aspect of being in a band?

Mike: There’s nothing that’s really hard to be honest, we know what we’re doing, other bands might find things difficult I suppose, but we’re on the ball man.

TLE: What’s the one rule that must remain unbroken?

Mike: Between the months of November and March, always were two pairs of socks. Always.

Delve deeper using the links below…

Facebook You can download the band’s debut single ‘Black Heart/Filth’ for free from their page.

Twitter

Soundcloud Their new single ‘The Kid’ is released June 17th

TheDirtyRivers.com

Until Such Time – the ‘Eye