MUSIC: OPEN MIC- JproD

 

JproD Artwork

 

We Invited Artists to submit their work for our open mic… Not wanting to step on the toes of the many open mic nights out there we decided to ‘host’ ours in the Ether…

First Up…Is JproD

“A bunch of trend stealers, a bunch of imitation, a bunch of lies. I want to bring back that rugged feel. Let’s make it cool to say what we really feel. Let’s leave being politically correct to the politicians. In 2014, let’s make it cool to be normal. I promise it is okay to be a black music artist and not wear Jordans. Which is exactly what I am, a music artist. Not a rapper, not an emcee, not a hip-hop artist. I am a music artist. I have never been conventional. I never felt it was possible to be something i’m not. More than comfortable in my own skin. Am I a genius? Not sure I care. All I care about is having genuine lyrics, attention grabbing hooks, creating my own sound. The reason I make music is to address every feeling I have. So that, if someone feels the same way, they now can articulate those feelings. Any subject matter found in my music is there because I actually do that, I have actually seen that, I have actually felt that. It is not because I care about what anyone thinks may or may not be cool. There are a group of real artists in the world who had their culture stolen from them, I am one of them. I was born to attempt to change the world through music. I know every “artist” tries to say that, but what’s the difference between me and them? I plan on proving it. I ain’t trying to start a revolution. Only trying to make the art of music sacred again. “You know it’s real when you are who you think you are”. I just want to be a legend for the right reasons. My dad’s opinion doesn’t matter to me, please don’t think yours will. Regal is the story. #TrifeLife is the way. I am JproD (Jeopardy). You are real. I recognize it. Bless up.”

SOUNDCLOUD

 

The Eyelet #20 ISAIAH RASHAD

RashadWords: Tom Morris Jones

When he signed to Top Dawg Entertainment in March last year, Isaiah Rashad saw himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Schoolboy Q along with being involved in one of the most exciting rap labels at the minute. And now, associating himself with the most technically talented crop of rappers around, he’s found the inspiration to create Cilvia Demo.

 

On this record Rashad shows us why he belongs to the TDE crop who are known for their ability to combine modern rap with vintage sounds and styles. Cilvia Demo, named after his beat up ‘95 Honda Civic, does just that. Rough and raw but uniquely individual and engaging, it’s that beat up old car but with a new car smell.

The inevitable comparison will be made to Kendrick Lamar, but with this record Rashad proves that he can flourish even with that expectation on his shoulders. Thinking about that comparison though, Cilvia Demo is as much a revelation as Lamar’s breakthrough Section.80. The difference being that this time Rashad is on an established label and there’s also a good kid, m.A.A.d city to look up to and take inspiration from. Named HipHopDX ‘Rising Star of the Year’ and ‘Most Likely to Blow Up in 2014’ by Complex, it would seem Isaiah Rashad is not just a flash in the pan.

Cilvia Demo is out now.

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The Eyelet #18 SUN KIL MOON

Words: Horatio Lombard.

 

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Well, Here we are….SUN KIL MOON an American Folk Rock act who emerged in 2002. SKM is the vehicle for Singing, Guitar playing Songwriter Mark Kozelec. Recording over the years with various line ups Kozelec has produced five albums under the Sun Kil Moon moniker and three solo records…. February 2014 brought the sixth SKM album entitled Benji.  This dude is undoubtedly one of the most underrated singer-songwriters of his generation.

Sun Kil Moon play the End Of The Road Festival August 29th 2014

SUN KIL MOON

Until such Time – The ‘Eye

 

 

 

 

The Eyelet #14 REIGNWOLF

Words: Tom Morris-Jones.

REignwolf

In this increasingly over-produced and auto-tuned music industry in which we find ourselves, the term ‘authentic’ has eroded into a somewhat meaningless buzzword. It is a word, however, that describes Jordan Cook, A.K.A Reignwolf, in its originally intended, pure meaning.

The no holds barred Blues Rock outfit’s music doesn’t ask for permission when it occupies your ears with its relentless guitar riffs and pounding drums. And with the band recently bagging themselves a support slot for Black Sabbath on their Canadian tour, Reignwolf are forcing people to take notice. If you’re into the fuzzy, distorted, raw sounding rock vibes of The Black Keys and The White Stripes then this is an act not to pass by.

The single, In The Dark, is out now.

 

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The Eyelet #13 KNOX HAMILTON

Words: Tom Morris-Jones

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If you ever find yourself listening to Knox Hamilton you’ll no doubt be hit with an uncontrollable impulse to dance like no one is watching. These Indie Pop/Rockers who hail from Little Rock, Arkansas, radiate energetic fun with bright high tempo drums matched with dazzling guitar motifs, emphatic choruses and luscious synths.

 This unsigned band has recently released their third EP, The Great Hall EP, and if you are fans of Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club and bands of that ilk then it will be one for you. The nature of their standout track, Work It Out, warrants the feeling that it would not be out of place being reverberated from a car on a beach, used on a global TV ad, or even being sung by thousands at a stadium tour; it’s that good. Check it out:



http://knoxhamilton.bandcamp.com/

https://en-gb.facebook.com/knoxhamiltonmusic

https://twitter.com/KnoxHamilton

https://soundcloud.com/knoxhamiltonband

Until Such Time – The ‘Eye

 

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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Until Such Time – The ‘Eye

The Eyelet #1 TREETOP

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So, this is the first of our new feature The Eyelet.

Each Wednesday we will have just signed, unsigned, lesser known music. Our aim is to the spread the word and get the sounds to a wider audience. This week we have Treetop a Singer/Songer from Liverpool. Treetop is the creation of Craig Lamb. Check it out below

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The Eyelet

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Tomorrow sees the debut of our new feature…

We get many emails etc from musicians, just signed, unsigned or just starting out asking for a shout, so we created The Eyelet.

If you know any musicians that you would like to see featured, or you’d like to get your own music out there get in touch via our Facebook page. We welcome music beyond Liverpool as well!! Keep ’em coming!

 

Until Such Time – the ‘Eye