“Sheffield’s Loveliest Band?” Monkey Swallows The Universe Interview

“Little Polvier” By Monkey Swallows the Universe

Not all bands from Sheffield have a Simeon derived moniker, those that do however, are not all noisy little urchins , take Monkey Swallows the Universe for example with their acoustic indie pop. It’s intelligent, its well crafted and its all very lovely and rather moving with songs that cover the whole emotional gamut, love, jealousy, pirates,apathy, imaginary friends, and death ! Their bittersweet tunes have drawn comparisons with the likes of Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura and Mazzy Star. The more you listen to them the more you release what wonderful songs they write ,that this is music from the heart by real people and this is music that matters.

They have been described as as “something special” (Stylus Magazine), “big big news” (Rough Trade), “boss” (Richard Hawley)”Capable of haunting, tear-prickling acoustic beauty…more than worthy of any – and everyone’s respect and attention.” (Drowned In Sound)

Originally a two piece with founding members Nat Johnson and Kev Gori the band expanded in 2005 to feature Catherine Tully on violin, Andy George on cello & Rob Dean on drums.

In 2006 the band released their debut album ‘The Bright Carvings’, with “Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation” , their latest critically acclaimed album “The Casket Letters ” released on Loose records, is out now and to quote the guardian “If they don’t get some sort of mass media coverage and fellatio for this album it could be a good reason to set fire to your passport and move to Sweden.” I would have to concur in the strongest possible terms , its a wonderful album and really should be in any self respecting music fans collection . We had a little natter with this exceptional young band……

VP: How did the current line up come together ?

Nat: “We met Cate, Rob and Andy through the same bunch of friends that had forced me and Kev to play gigs in the first place!”

VP: MSTU ? Isn’t that the name of an episode from the old and reassuringly bonkers Japanese show “Monkey”? Are you fans ? Have you seen Albarn’s Operas based on the legend/TV Show ?

Nat:” Kev and I are fans – we were watching it when forming the band. We think Albarn owes us free tickets to his show”

VP: Your latest album “The Casket Letters” has just been released did you find recording it easier than the first album “The Bright Carvings”

Rob: “It was very similar actually, both were recorded in a bit of a hurry although the actual recording time was spread out a bit more this time. There’s a lot more instrumentation going on on this album, the first one was basically Nat & Kev’s guitars then little bits the rest of us have added (Cate, Andy and I had not been in the band for very long at that point), while the new record has a much more ‘full band’ sound. The recording was all quite straightforward though, no major disagreements!”

Andy: “It was recorded piece by piece a few songs at a time and then fitted painstakingly together at the end. The instrumentation was more comprehensive this time and therefore it was often more complex to record although we had more experience after the first album and Alan Smyth at 2fly had worked with us before and so knew what to expect. It’s always enjoyable playing around in the studio!”

VP: You have been called “”Sheffield’s loveliest band” and your sound has been called “ravishing” , how would you describe it ?

Andy: “Folky indie-pop.”
Cate: “Melodic and pretty but usually contemplative about dark things like death.”

VP: What or whom take your fancy from the current music scene?

Andy: “The Howling Bells and Au Revoir Simone.”
Rob: “David Thomas Broughton, Fanfarlo, Richard Hawley, The Arcade Fire, Muse, Joanna Newsome, The Decemberists, The Shins, Bright Eyes
Sheffield bands: Smokers Die Younger, Fury of the Headteachers, Champion Kickboxer.”

VP: If music is the food of love who would you say are the indigestion ?

Andy: “The Horrors. Little Man Tate.”
Cate: “James Blunt”

VP: Aren’t two of you qualified primary school teachers ? What do you teach , any plans for Jack Black “School of Rock ” type lessons?

Cate: “Yes, I’m a primary school teacher and although it’d be fun to do a Jack Black type lesson, there isn’t much chance during the school day as there is so much to cover already. Maybe one day though…”
Andy: “Yes – Primary so a bit of everything. I use our music in lessons sometimes but it’s pretty hard to teach the cello to 30 kids at the same time!”

VP: Reality TV ? a great way to spend a night in or the televisual equivalent of removing your brains via your ears with a knitting needle ?

Andy: “The latter”

VP: Txt spk ? RU4 or against ?

Cate: “Against, what’s the point of writing ‘woz’? It has the same number of letters as the proper spelling. Get it right. ”
Rob: “Absolutely against. You don’t even need it in texts anymore cos of predictive text.”
Andy: “4 but not in the classroom!”

VP: Highlights of your time together thus far ?

Andy: “Festivals”
Nat: “Yeah, definitely the festivals, though we’re sick of camping now!!”

VP: What have been your favourite films of the year ?

Cate: “Blades of Glory”
Andy: “Hot Fuzz”

VP: Pick five of the most ridiculous words in the English language (eg. Johnny Borrell is a genius)

Andy: “Iraq is better off now”

 

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Click banner to buy the album

 

VIDEO

“Science” By Monkey Swallows The Universe

Monkey Swallows The Universe Wallpaper

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One To Watch ! “Caterpillar Girl”- The Lucy And The Caterpillar Interview

“Kings Cross” By Lucy And The Caterpillar

Lucy & The Caterpillar is one of the many new artists creating a buzz within Manchester’s music scene at the moment. She plays bittersweet indie-folk infused tunes and writes songs involving waiting at train stations, alcopops, red wine and stupid bags of crisps . However despite her love of a beer or five , I don’t think shes quite in the George Best category yet. Opinion seems divided , its seems people either get Lucy’s music or they don’t. There appears to be no shades of grey as yet . However listening to “Kings Cross” proves beyond doubt there is a huge potential , and although she doesn’t sound much like Kate Nash , she has a similar quirky yet descriptive world view.

She has already supported the likes of Scott Matthews, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Simple Kid, and played D’percussion at Manchester . The VPME had a word with Lucy, under an enormous lettuce leaf , ahead of her appearance at the Leeds festival this weekend (23rd August 2007) and tried to get this Caterpillar malarkey cleared up

VP: So who is Lucy and who the devil is the caterpillar?

LUCY :I am Lucy 🙂 and the caterpillar is different things, it depends on the day.. like right now, its my massive cardigan!!

VP: For people new to Lucy and The Caterpillar, what have you released and what’s next on the agenda?

LUCY : Well i have released 2 singles, “Red Red Wine “and “Kings Cross”. But nothing really is happening at the moment ,I think I’ll be releasing a new single soon but I’m not really in a rush.

VP: Who are your musical heroes

LUCY : Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell and Destiny’s Child ooh and the Beatles.. you gotta love the Beatles.

VP: Whats been the most nerve wracking experience as a performer so far

LUCY : Latitude Festival, I was a complete leaf,I just couldn’t stop shaking. I think its because the stage was huge! A lot bigger than me! I got through it ok though!

VP: Tony Wilson, Mr Manchester has sadly passed away , is his legacy still felt by the latest generation of Manchester bands /performers

LUCY : Aww its such a shame, without him, Manchester music isn’t the same really. I think a lot of songs will be written about him.

VP: Is your glass half full or half empty , are you a pessimist or an optimist ?

LUCY : My glass is half full 🙂 I look to the future and live for today.. is that cheesy? haha

VP: What was the first record you ever bought ?

LUCY : Hahahaha im honest, it was Billie Piper!! woo!!

VP: Social networking / Blogging etc is it hugely helpful in getting your music heard, or is this myspace malarkey just a load of old cobblers?

LUCY :I think its a load of cobblers really. People either listen you your music or they dont, having cool blogs and good pictures is pathetic. ( The VPME Excepted of course)

VP: Should we have to suffer a Spice Girls reunion ? wouldn’t it have been better, and more humane to the public ears to have a whip round if they needed the money ?

LUCY : I don’t think they are joining up again for the money, I think its more about.. proving they can still do it and they actually did something in their lives. You know what? I used to love the spice girls, I had a little club, all the girls in the neibourhood used to come to my house and I used to make up dance moves and they’d follow, ha!

VP: Are You religious , do you believe in the existence of Bono for example ?

LUCY : I’m not religious, I believe in living. 🙂 live for the future thats what i say. Believe in yourself

VP : Sum up the past year in five beautifully descriptive words

LUCY : haha golly,Stressful, emotional, wonderfully, lovely , pisssed!

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

VIDEO

“Red Red Wine” Live On Channel M-By Lucy And Caterpillar

Lucy And The Caterpillar Wallpaper

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“Ain’t Never Been Cool “- The Lucky Soul Interview

“One Kiss Don’t Make A Summer” By Lucky Soul

I don’t know about you but the summer seems to have passed me by this year, the rain, and the biblical flooding have had me dashing off to B&Q in a quest to acquire Ark building materials. However I have a theory, this year has nothing to do with global warming, oh no, I earnestly believe that this year those serotonin boosting rays of sunshine have somehow been vacuum packed into Lucky Souls debut album “The Great Unwanted”.

There is something unremittingly summery about Lucky Soul’s sound, it has a strange and disturbing effect on me, I am transported to a world where I imagine myself starring in a 1960’s “pop movie”, cruising along country lanes in a flat top Aston martin, picking up mini skirted beat girls whilst stopping off at various arty Warhol-esque parties. (Ahem!) There’s no denying Lucky Soul have a retro feel to their sound, classic ’60s influenced songs with shimmering female vocals, there’s a pipette of Phil Spector in the “Soul” cocktail plus a dash of St Etienne a squirt of Motown and a splash Dusty Springfield. And hark! Is that a warmer, cuddlier Dubstar mooching around in the background?

The female-fronted six piece from Greenwich, South East London certainly look the part, Ali the glamorous blonde bobbed lead singer backed by the five very dapper suited and booted chaps look a little like “Parallel Lines” era Blondie. The difference being these gents look much politer than Debbie’s dissolute bunch of ne’er do-wells. I can imagine these young fellows pointing out in true beat movie style to some dance hall ruffians “We don’t fight; that’s for squares”. But there’s nothing gimmicky about Lucky Soul they play tight finely crafted pop songs that, although influenced by a different era very much belong in the here and the now. It’s happy feel good music, and it’s the perfect antidote to the miserabilst and inane mumblings of the likes of self-declared “genius”, Johnny Borrell and his ilk. And did I mention they have great song titles too? ” One Kiss Doesn’t Make A Summer”, Lips are Unhappy” “Ain’t Never Been Cool ” and “Baby I’m Broke”, would all look rather splendid on T-shirts. Seriously though “The Great Unwanted” deserves to regarded as a classic, has there been a better debut album ? There is not one weak track, not one filler, every song could be a smash hit single, it really is the mark of a band that are truely deserving of the title “genius”

So If you missed out on the sun this year, worry not, just pop “The Great Unwanted ” on your musical appliance of choice and dance yourself dizzy, ok so it wont give you a tan, but it will certainly lift your spirits and you won’t have to worry about those pesky UV rays!

The VPME – got lucky and managed to grab a word or two with “the Soul’s” keyboard wiz Malcolm Young, (however we politely avoided asking him about his strange mutant toes)

VP: Your album “The Great Unwanted” is a fabulous summery album, was the finished item all that you’d hoped for and more?

MY:We’re all really proud of what we’ve done, but I think Andrew is such a perfectionist that he’s always thinking of ways that it could have been better. Our producer, George Shilling, really pushed us hard, and got us to perform better than we thought we could. It was a steep learning curve, and I’m really looking forward to going back and doing another album.

VP: Your bound to be compared to bands like St Etienne does it annoy you that people are always looking to label the latest bands “the new (insert name here)”

MY:Most people like familiarity, and they can’t get their heads around new things very easily, so it’s a handy label to stick on something. It’s the same with book publishing – everything’s the new Dan Brown or Harry Potter. If you liked X, you’ll love Y – it’s lazy marketing, but it doesn’t bother us. As long as they’re comparing us to good bands…

VP: It’s nice to see a band that take a pride in its appearance, was this a conscious decision or do you normally look so well heeled and dapper

MY: It was partly a nod to the old Motown revue tours, where they all looked so smart, partly an easy way to have a band uniform, and partly a reaction against the general trend of scruffiness. And for lazy marketing purposes, it’s always good to be remembered, whether it’s for the music or just “oh yes, Lucky Soul, they’re that band in the suits with the pretty blonde singer”. And it’s nice to make it feel more like a performance – you get changed and go onstage, and you feel like you’re making a bit of an effort. Too many bands just turn up and play a bunch of songs, and don’t care about putting on a show.

VP: What do you make of these scruffy loud, anemic Indie boys? Are there any bands within this genre that appeal to you?

MY: Toby and I used to be scruffy, loud, anemic Indie boys, and there’ll always be a place in my heart for a bit of a racket, but so many bands around now are just so formulaic that I can’t even remember their names. Again, it’s lazy marketing, A&R people seeing that a band did well, so they’ll churn out another band as similar as possible.

VP:Whose in charge? Come on be honest now, it’s Ali isn’t it?

MY:Maybe I shouldn’t answer this one, just in case I get into trouble.

VP :What do you make of this blogging malarkey? Some people believe that it’s dumbing down the Internet, others that it is free speech in its purest form. What say you?

MY: I think too much is made of the blog revolution. It’s great that people are able to put their thoughts out there, as long as they actually have something to say, but so much of it goes unread. Big business will always control the mainstream media, and most bloggers give up quite quickly unless they’re passionate about what they want to say. It’s a little like Speakers Corner in Hyde Park – the lack of quality control is what makes it interesting, but as with so many things, there’s just so much out there that you can’t be bothered to trawl through most of it.
We’ve had a lot of good press from bloggers, so personally it’s very flattering to know that someone in some far-flung corner of the world likes what you’re doing.

VP:Highlights Of 2007? When Where and Why?

MY:Personally, getting married, for obvious reasons.
With the band, just seeing the album out in the shops and reading positive reviews (in the press and from bloggers, and from people putting comments on Myspace) have been great – it’s really been a validation that what we’re doing is worthwhile.

VP:What’s your view on file sharing? Killing music or reaching millions of potential new fans

MY: From a financial point of view, it’s frustrating to think that people are just getting our album for free, but hopefully they’ll like what they hear and come and see us play. Besides, we’re all guilty of discovering new music and not being prepared to pay for it.
Home taping never killed music, and nor will file sharing. It just means it’s harder to make money from it…

VP:Simon Cowell’s smug face often fills me with an uncharacteristic urge to punch him very hard on his nose. Does anybody have that effect on you?

MY: The few times I’ve watched the X factor I’ve thought that he wasn’t that bad. He smashes the dreams of all the deluded people who go on there thinking that they’re going to be the next Mariah Carey. Even though you can hear him counting all the money in his high-waisted trouser pockets all the time he does it, I think he’s doing them a service by telling them to forget about being famous and get on with their lives.
There are plenty of people out there who rile me: Johnny Borrell, obviously. David Cameron. That little scouse kiddy from X factor. Madonna and Guy Ritchie. The Beckhams. Cristiano Ronaldo. Don’t get me started…

VP: Five words, which would best describe the Lucky Soul sound?

MY:Big, shiny, fragile, resilient, lovely.

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

US Release

CLICK ON THE FLYER TO ORDER ‘THE GREAT UNWANTED’

VIDEO

“Add Your Light To Mine Baby” By Lucky Soul

“Lips Are Unhappy” By Lucky Soul

LUCKY SOUL WALLPAPER

 

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“Apostrophe NOW !” – The Hussy’s Interview

“We Expected” – The Hussy’s

The Hussy’s are a 6-piece band from Glasgow.

Their songs recall the quirkiness and the pop hooks of amongst others, the vastly underrated Supernaturals. It will therefore come as no surprise to learn that head Hussy James McColl indeed used to be The Supers singer and songwriter. The Hussy’s however are not a rehash of McColl’s former band with a female singer, they have a sound, which is all their own, but one that is not afraid to draw on many influences. You could hear a dash of Madness in one track, a touch of Kirsty MaColl, or even a nod to Polly Styrene in others! Trying to pin down a style is difficult as the Hussy’s’ don’t seem to sit still for too long, compare “Tiger” to “We Expected” or listen to the quirky “Rock Concert”, and in terms of style, they could be by different bands, were it not for Filli’s distinctive vocals giving it that “Hussy” factor.

The Hussy’s released their debut EP ‘Tiger’, in September 2005, and their second EP in March 2006; both on their own label Fat Cheerleader records. These EPs picked up airplay on various radio stations, including Janice Long at Radio 2, Steve Lamacq at Radio 6 Music and Jim Gellatly & Dominik Diamond at XFM. Long commented “Any A & R man worth his salt should sign this band now”

In May 2007 the band released the fabulous “We Expected” as a single in the UK. It reached number 22 in the Radio 1 Indie chart.The band have also released an album in Japan and have had their song “Rock Concert” used on a nationwide advert for very comfortable, stylish yet affordable, shoes in the USA. They will release their excellent new EP “Sunday Morning” later this year.

If you’re looking for dark brooding angst ridden music, then you’ll be disappointed, however, if summery, sing-a-long Indie pop, guaranteed to put a smile on your face, is your thing, then you may want to check out The Hussy’s. We decided to find out what the scamps had been up to and for the sake of all the grammar Nazi’s out there (Mark!) we dared to broach the subject of … that troublesome apostrophe!

VP: James is well known from his work in The Supernaturals and the Hussy’s are oft referred to as “James’ project”…How did it all come about?

The Hussy’s: Steph and James started the band. James had written some songs like “We Expected” and wanted to do a female fronted band like the Cardigans/Eurhythmics. Had auditioned loads of singers but none were any good? Caught Fili playing her acoustic guitar in a folk club and that was that really.

VP: What’s with the apostrophe in The Hussy’s? Or is this a deliberate attempt to piss off the grammar police for whom “Eats Shoots and Leaves” is their Bible

The Hussy’s: No, it is to distinguish ourselves from the clothing label. It was intentional. Every two weeks we get e-mail from someone saying “Do you realise this means belonging to and why have you done this and so on”. We send back e-mails with terrible spelling and punctuation to annoy them.

VP: Is Pop the new Indie?

The Hussy’s: The whole Indie music thing in the UK with 4 little guys with mod haircuts who like Oasis, The Jam, Libertines, Arctics and the Beatles is extremely tired but record companies/NME just keep it going on and on and on and on. We don’t like being called Indie because we do try and make our records as pop as possible.

VP: Where do the ideas for the songs come from?

The Hussy’s: Television, books, people we know, Myspace. Life in all its shades and colours.

VP: Female fronted bands often get the Blondie comparisons but whom would you say are and were your musical influences

The Hussy’s: Each band member has their own thing and you can hear that in the way they take the songs and change them to get their little thing in. Gordy the drummer is a Rush fanatic and likes the Police and you can hear that in the drums. Steph likes punk and the Beatles, Greg- Ben Folds, Ronnie- Phil Collins, James -The Move and Fili likes Avril Lavigne and Distillers and so on. When each member plays their part in the rehearsal room or studio it just sounds like the Hussy’s but you can hear everybody’s influences. Of course we like Blondie- who doesn’t?

VP: What’s the best gig and the worst gig you’ve played and why?

The Hussy’s: Best gig – probably to a half empty Fopp records (at closing time) in May. We were amazing and played out our skins for some weird reason.Worst gig- a gig in Baby Blue in Glasgow where the police stopped the gig just as we were about to go onstage. We sold 10 CDs though so it wasn’t that bad.

VP: What do you make of the current music scene? We seem to have genres every week, nu-rave, nu-gaze. Is it complete bollocks or will the influence of the Internet herald a new musical age and wrest the power away from the big labels, whom, it would appear haven’t really anticipated the change in the musical landscape?

The Hussy’s: For example it costs us £450 to do a gig in London (diesel/van/hire/hotels). We have to fund that from CD sales or our jobs. A signed band would get that paid for by a record company. It will cost us £7000 to make our next album- we have to get that together ourselves somehow. A record company would laugh at such a cheap record. They have e -teamers whose day job it is to go on forums and hype up say “Air Traffic”. You can’t compete with that and that’s why everyone wants to be signed to a big label- life is so much easier and you can quit your job and tell all your friends how cool you are. People don’t realise that bands like Camera Obscura and Pipettes, on very small labels, have achieved huge amounts.

VP: What’s going on in Scotland musically right now? Are you drowning in A& R men trying to discover the new “View”?

The Hussy’s: We have no contact with A & R men so wouldn’t know. Glasvegas, Johnny and the Debutantes are some of the good bands kicking around.

VP: Ever felt the urge to maybe cover “The Day Before Yesterday’s Man” or “Smile”

The Hussy’s: We did “Smile” once when Fili was being sick backstage and James had to sing all the songs. No one in the audience realised he used to be a singer and so well the crowd congratulated him afterwards for doing. Apart from that one time- no.

VP: You’ve released what I would say is your strongest single yet ” We Expected “ in May 2007 what’s next on the agenda?

The Hussy’s: We release our next EP through Weekender on September 24th called “Sunday Morning”. It has three other tracks “Jesus”, “Rock Steady” and “Sister Mary Jo”. It is classic Hussy’s and well worth buying.

Links

Myspace

Official Site

Click below to buy!

Japanese mini-album
Japanese mini-album
Release 01/08/07

Tiger Napoleon Necklace Ep
Tiger Ep Napoleon Ep *NEW* Necklace Ep
Sept ’05 April ’06 Sept ’07
Click here! SOLD OUT! Click here!

 

VIDEO

“Sunday Morning -Live On Channel M” By The Hussy’s

Hussy’s Wallpaper

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True Faith – The Paloma Faith Interview

“My Legs Are Weak” By Paloma Faith

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Paloma Faith? Who is she? Where did she spring up from ? What can I tell you about Ms Faith? There’s certainly an air of mystique surrounding this enigmatic young lady that’s for sure. What I can tell you in no uncertain terms is that whatever “IT” is, she most certainly possesses it.

She’s got the songs, the voice and the style and that “off the wall” uniqueness that all great artists have. She has been called the originator of the burlesque revival, people have described her as “Amy Winehouse but with extra odd-factor ”, or “Bjork meets Róisín Murphy whilst possessed by the ghost of Billie Holiday”and even “Portishead go to the theatre.” She has left people who have seen her live, open mouthed , “Amazing”, they cry “What the…. was that…?” they gasp… “Very very cool !”……….“Best live show EVER!!!!!” “A true aesthetic experience for the ears, eyes and the senses “

She says herself “I think I represent a sort of ‘child of our age’ in that I don’t commit to any one genre or style; the culmination of all of my influences pays homage to the past by bringing it right in to the present. The music industry is terrified of any powerful woman it hasn’t built from the ground up”

Her shows apparently also include illusionists, singing blindfold, fan dancing and “the unexpected”, so we at The “VPME” skipped merrily along the yellow brick road and tremulously peeped behind the curtain of mystery to find out more about the amazing Paloma Faith .

VP: What is your musical background, Are you self taught or classically trained?

Paloma: I don’t have a musical background as such… I actually have a theatre background. I trained in Contemporary Dance and then I went to do an MA in Time Based Arts, which included installation, performance art, theatre, and site specific performance and direction. I was just walking along life’s path looking for a medium that can communicate a universal language. A language accessible to all, and there she was-the goddess of music!

VP: What’s been the main inspiration for you “grabbing the bull by the horns” and going for it musically?

Paloma: The fact that every one listens to music. Not everyone comes to exhibitions or goes to the theatre, but music is EVERYWHERE and people can’t ignore it even if it is not to their taste. Now I love it so much, I cant think of doing anything else. I really thrive on it from the song writing right through to the performance. It’s really exhilarating.

VP: It must be said you have an amazing voice, wonderful songs and an extremely stylish, vampish image. Are you yet in a position to launch yourself upon an unsuspecting world, or are negotiations ongoing?

Paloma: Well, it’s a bit weird in the industry at the moment. People are scared to take risks because they are loosing so much money on record sales, so there are negotiations going on but I want full creative control and that is a whole other story. I have thought about doing it myself but I couldn’t possibly fund the standard I want to achieve myself. I don’t believe in doing things for the sake of it, I want to do the best I possibly can all the time so I guess I am just waiting to see if Time gives me a little helping hand soon!!!! I don’t want to miss my train!

VP: Live performances? Are they’re any on the horizon, and what could a newcomer to the Paloma Faith experience expect from your shows?

Paloma: Expect the unexpected!!! I never ever do the same show twice and I never really look the same either. I believe in reinvention on a daily basis. I loved that film ORLANDO… That’s what I am like!!! I find myself giving a lot to the audience too. If people aren’t in to the style of music I do, I can guarantee they will be pleasantly surprised by the live experience. I didn’t train all those years in performance for nothing! I always try to make it both sonic and visual. It’s always surprising to see what I might pull out the bag. Next gigs: 16th Aug Madame JoJo’s, 30th Aug Hoxton Bar, and 12th Sep Macbeth pub – but they are all listed on Myspace so keep checking!

VP: Is the current music scene providing a healthy well balanced and varied diet, or is it just offering no diversity at all, is it in fact the musical equivalent of the choice between the corporate stodge of Big Mac or Burger king?

Paloma: I think all the music that is coming out of Indie labels and Myspace warfare is fantastic, people are really pulling some stuff out the bag right now. The labels haven’t caught up yet, they are signing safe bets all the time, and spend too much time just trying to cover their backs. The biggest successes in history have always been born out of dedication and risks! You have to SET trends not follow them!

VP: Social networking, good bad or ugly? Have sites like Myspace given the artist more control?

Paloma: Yes they have!!! It’s quite a brave thing to do though because you leave yourself completely open to criticism as well as success. You can’t predict the outcome. I think it’s amazing though, people like me become known without having to rely on the music industry. I haven’t joined face book though.. I’m a bit scared of it!

VP: Fame Academy, X Factor, Pop Idol, Harmless fun or the fruit of Lucifer’s satanic gonads?

Paloma : SATAN SATAN SATAN!!! What the hell are they doing??? It’s so weird. Especially the first few rounds where they really make a mockery of the people who really believe they can sing. Some of those people have special needs or mental problems and they use them for ridicule, it’s almost like medieval times where they’d throw fruit at the fool. I dislike that immensely.

VP: Does anything you see on TV these days appeal?

Paloma: I watch TV once a month and its usually The Friday Night Project or Jools Holland. I’d like to be on one of those programmes… I am an actress too so I have appeared on TV a lot. I never see myself though!!

VP: If there was one performer past or present you could record with whom would it be?

Paloma: ANDRE 3000!!! Most definitely. I’d like to meet all the people he’s associated with too. He’s so innovative and never genre specific and that’s what I’d like to be..

VP: What was the last book you read, film you watched, CD you played

Paloma: I am a cinema fanatic! OBSESSED!
I saw La Vie En Rose about Edith Piaff, I loved the actress who played her but I wasn’t that keen on the direction, I thought it jumped about too much. The best film ever made was 2046 by Wong Kar Wai.
I am reading My Mother by George Bataille. It’s really fantastic. Very dark.
I listen to a lot of 40’s r n b when I listen to music…. and soul/blues.

VP: What been the best advice you’ve been given and the worst?

Paloma: My mum said:
“Nothing is ever the end of the world”. That’s the best. However hard life can seem, time washes over things, time never stands still, it just keeps moving and you have to go with it.
Do what you want whenever you want to“. Some drunken idiot said that. I don’t agree at all. Sometimes you have to think beyond the walls of your own mind and realise that your actions can affect others. You can’t always do what you want because it may upset people. It’s a really selfish way of living. You put in what you get out in life and if you disregard others, they will disregard you….

VP: There seems to be a jazz/burlesque/nostalgia type revival going on in recent years, why do you think this may be?

Paloma: Nostalgia makes people feel good. There are elements of hope in old things because they were born out of periods of struggle where hope was all people had. We can be so complacent now; everything is so disposable and impermanent. People are big hits one minute and hated the next… The thing about old music is that it transcends time. Timelessness is the essence of good art.

VP: Five words to sum you up?
Paloma : Transient, spontaneous, unpredictable, Loud, Silent.

She’s gonna be big, The “VPME” will keep the faith !

Links

On Myspace

Madame JoJo’s

Facebook

VIDEO

“Stone Cold Sober” By Paloma Faith

Footage Shot By Jenny Bettenson (Thanks! )

Edited By VP

Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust

Paloma Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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“Tear The Town Wide Open..” -The Hot Puppies Interview

“Somewhere” By The Hot Puppies

The Hot Puppies are from Wales . They sing bittersweet songs of love and regret, they share Pulp’s ability to give small town life a faded sense of glamour, and we at “VPME” love them. Yes, Jarvis may have long since moved on from vegan meals and pondering the world from his bedroom window, but the Hot Puppies are more than worthy contenders for succession to the crown of thoughtful, angst-ridden bed-sit poet laureates of Indie Pop.

They may not quite be in bed-sit land, possibly in private rented accommodation or maybe with a Registered Social Landlord, but they too, wryly try to make sense of life, love, loss and of course, girls who wear green eyeliner. Their songs would be as at home in a smoochy burlesque club as in a writhing moshpit, this is in no small part due to the sultry mesmerizing magnificence of front person, Bec Newman. Catch them live and watch Becky turn into a torch singing rock goddess, she immediately grabs the attention, and her stage presence, combined with the charm and charisma she exudes, usually has audiences eating out of the palm of her hand. To this heady mix add Luke Taylor’s wittily insightful observations and a band that genuinely appear to be totally into what they do, and surely it will not be too long before the Pups hit the dizzy heights before other, more, may I suggest, hyped bands 🙂

The band’s debut album, “Under The Crooked Moon”, was released by Fierce Panda in July 2006 and was a huge huge critical success. With new album “Blue Hands” to be released this year and a single ‘The King Of England’ out now, this could undoubtedly be The Puppies’ year. We had a chance to speak to the remarkable Bec Newman and find out the why, the what, the who and indeed the how.

VP: Can you tell us about the formation of the band, how did you meet, what were your ideas with regard to the type of music you wanted to play?

Bec: We met in the seaside town of Aberystwyth where Beth & I were at university and Luke, Bert and Ben were in a band already… they wanted a change of direction, and their singer & keyboardist left so they roped in the girlfriends! As for the music we wanted to play… it kind of changes as our tastes change, at the time of our ‘inception’ we were listening to David Bowie, Prince, Devo, and covered ‘Mongoloid’… I think we’ve around in a bit of a circle since we first began, because our new album, Blue Hands, has a lot of similar influences.

VP: Where does the name “The Hot Puppies” come from?

Bec: It comes from a poem, “College Boys: A Hymn of Hate” by Dorothy Parker…
“There are the Hot Puppies;
The High-Place Hitters.
They may be young as years go,
But they are old in night life.
You would never dream of the wicked things that go on
If they didn’t take pity
And clear it all up for you.
They have piled up a nasty record for themselves;
Try and hear it without blushing.
They tear the town wide open
Until nearly eleven o’clock at night,
They talk right back to policemen.
And when it comes to alcohol,
They imply that they can take it or let it alone—
Reading from left to right.
They concede that they are just about as scarlet as they come,
And they perform a mean laugh,
And say that terrible isn’t the word for them—
I heard different. ”

VP: Under The Crooked Moon” was certainly a musical highlight of 2006 and, without sounding as obsequious as Jonathan Ross plugging Ricky Gervais (again), the songs I’ve heard from the latest album “Blue Hands” are absolutely amazing. Did you do anything different in the writing/recording of the album?

Bec: Most of the songs on Crooked Moon had been written long before recording, and we recorded other various snippets over a 6 month period, so it isn’t really an album, but rather a summary of our career up until that point. With Blue Hands, we wrote all the songs from scratch with the intention of making an album proper, and recorded it in three weeks. We wanted 10 songs on the album, went into the studio with our 10 best songs and came out with an album we’re very pleased with! We also had a bigger budget so could afford a slightly bigger studio, and more time, and were lucky to record with Greg Haver.

VP: What have been your highlights of 2007?

Bec: Most of this year has been spent writing or recording, so I guess the highlight would have to be finishing our new album!

VP: On stage you exude great charisma and cut quite a dramatic figure, do you ever suffer from pre-gig nerves or is it more like.. Excitement?

Bec: Sometimes nerves can occur, but it’s more when you’re on tour and feeling run down… and you panic unreasonably about forgetting lyrics you’ve sung every night for the last two weeks! But they’re soon calmed by whisky or beer! There is always excitement about playing!

VP: Sexism in the Music Biz? Ever experienced it?

Bec: I often get told I shouldn’t carry something as it’s too heavy for me… don’t really mind that at all!

VP: What’s the weirdest fan/MySpace message you’ve ever been sent?

Bec: I was once sent a message from a boy, asking for my address, who was going to send a car to come and pick me up and take me to him… that was quite weird!

VP: Was it always your ambition to be a singer in a band?

Bec: I’ve been singing in bands since school, and never really thought about what I wanted to do when I grew up… I kind of just drift into whatever is happening at the time, and it seems to have always worked out fine!

VP: The NME? Up its own arse or still a relevant commentator on the current music scene?

Bec: I’m told that it used to be relevant; I don’t tend to read it! I don’t really have an opinion on it, as they never seem to feature any kind of music I’m interested in.

VP: The Spice Girls Reunion ? Girl Power or an obscene example of people trying to squeeze the last drops out of something that was complete horseshit in the first place?

Bec: I’m quite curious to see how that pans out. They’re all reuniting, aren’t they? Even Geri who left. And apparently they’ve had to share out the lyrics in their newer material so she has something to sing! Maybe some of them need the money….

VP: Is Simon Cowell a visionary or the Devil in high-waisted “slacks”? Do shows like The X Factor annoy you in the sense that it’s diverting record companies away from innovative music and force feeding the general public bland, soulless uninspiring “cabaret”, or alternatively is it all just a bit of harmless fun?

Bec: I’ve tried my damndest to avoid those kind of reality shows… only because I don’t think I couldn’t listen to one more person saying ‘it’s my dream, I’m going to give it 110 percent, if only you’ll give me the chance, I have the x factor’ and all that bull shit….

VP: I read with no uncertain amount of amusement that Timbaland is a huge Celine Dion fan and is to produce her latest album. Do you have any “musical crimes” in your record collection you’d like to share?

Bec: I guess to other people there would be ‘musical crimes’ in my collection, but it’s a matter of taste, isn’t it? I like my Technotronic single, and my copy of ‘Do The Bartman’.

VP: Complete the following sentence using just five words: “In one years time The Hot Puppies will be… “

Bec: “Older and hopefully not balding.”

Links

On myspace

Official Site

“KING OF ENGLAND”
LIMITED EDITION CD SINGLE

OVER MY DEAD BODY
RARITIES & UNRELEASED TRACKS 2003-2005

DEBUT ALBUM:
UNDER THE CROOKED MOON
(fierce panda)

THE GIRL WHO WAS TOO BEAUTIFUL
(fierce panda)

GREEN EYELINER
(purr)

VIDEOS

“Shoot ‘Em In The Head (Live)” By The Hot Puppies

“How Come You Don’t Hold Me Anymore ?” By The Hot Puppies

Thanks To Elz R for helping me make sense !

 

HOT PUPPIES WALLPAPERS

 

Some Candid Talking- Havana Guns Interview

“My Surfing Days Are Over” By Havana Guns

Life can be funny,… unlike Jenny Éclair. But there are many other things that play havoc with my quest for meaning in life, for example, how did George W Bush attain power, how did Tony Blair become a political Del-Boy and sell the “WMD Could Be Deployed In Just 40 Minutes” scenario to parliament? Why is David Beckham so revered? Did Dame Thora Hird ever throw aside her floral nylon nightie and indulge in rampant rumpo,… like……ever …………And did I imagine it, but was racist, homophobe Jim Davidson, once considered a suitable candidate to present family entertainment on Saturday nights, at teatime! Yes such questions are irksome but they hardy keep me awake in the wee small hours. However one question and one question alone often keeps the sandman at bay, and it is this, “Why aren’t Havana Guns one of the most popular bands in the U.K? ”

The “VPME’s” nemesis, the ludicrously named “NME” called them” Blondie for the Libertines generation”. The band themselves describe their sound as “Motorcycle Pop”, but what delights would a casual listener expect to uncover? Well, imagine the Jesus and Mary Chain complete with Peter Hooks thundering bass lines, or Blondie forming a supergroup with The Sundays,The Primitives,and The Pixies or picture if you will, The Supremes hanging out in Surf City, The Shop Assistants mud wrestling with the Go-Go’s,(steady) or Lush jamming with My Bloody Valentine. Yes if you can picture all this and its sounds your cup of tea then, hey, get yourself acquainted with Zoë Durante, Philippe Di Nero, Linda Hollywood, Greg Gallo, and Nenad “Killer” Santiago. AKA Havana Guns.

Life, as I have mentioned can indeed be funny, but also unfair, I submit, if there really was such a thing as “Pop Justice”then Havana Guns would have kicked Simon Cowell’s high waisted derrière all the way to Devils Island for his heinous crimes against music, sentencing him to the dreadful (and some would say a too harsh) fate of listening to his own monstrous pop creations for all eternity. At which point Havana Guns would then emerge as our musical saviours, they would re-educate a post-Cowell world, and demonstrate that music really does matter, it can be good and just and have meaning. And Havana Guns matter, and Havana Guns have meaning and they are good and just and we should embrace them

So what’s all this “motorcycle pop” stuff about?

VP: Where does the name come from?

Zoe (Vox): We were initially called “Hamburger Buns”. When we booked our first gig, the promoter got the name wrong and put “Havana Guns” on the poster. Since the poster was already sent to the printers, it was too late to change it, so we simply adapted the name.

VP: You have been described as “motorcycle pop” band? What exactly does that mean and how would you describe your sound?

Philippe: That was from a US reviewer. I guess he probably meant that we mix some dark noisy sides with a pop songs. I liked the sound of it, so I put it on our myspace page as a quote. Greg (Bass) actually went as far as buying a motorcycle this summer.

VP: My space, the bee’s knees or the dog’s bollocks?

Linda: We all used to be MySpace addicts, we are currently being weened off it with a dose of Facebook.

Philippe: Why are there so many error messages all the time? They got $580 millions from Murdoch; couldn’t they spend 0.1 % of this money in bug-fixing?

VP: What do you think of the current music scene

Philippe: I am not very impressed with the current UK scene. To me it feels a bit like in the late 90’s when the music scene was just awash with thousands of Britpop clones. Everyone says that UK music scene is great now because there are so many bands doing well. I’d rather have few great band leading the way, than hundreds of mediocre bands swamping the scene.

Linda: Kaiser Chiefs just scare me. Every single one of them looks like a weird scary ventriloquist dummy. Specially the little man with the hat.

Philippe: What’s the deal with NME solely hyping bands based on the amount of hair (Horrors) and amount of tattoos (Gallows). What happened to the days when “Indie” was all about new and creative music?

VP: In the past you’ve released limited edition 7”s, any plans for Cd releases or an album?

Zoe: We are doing an EP next, this will be also on iTunes etc. No plans for an album yet: We are thinking of just releasing a series of singles and EPs, a bit like The Smiths and other Indie bands did in the 80’s.

VP: The Spice Girls- “ Girl Power” Or “Pure Greed”?

Philippe: My favourite spices are: Pepper, Cinnamon, Oregano.

VP: What have been your highlights of the year thus far?

Linda: We did this gig at the Barfly and some friend of ours prepared pyrotechnic FX for our stage show. On the first chorus of the first song, he had these fireworks go off, and set the roof on fire. The gig was stopped, and we didn’t get paid!

VP: Your record label is called Cigarette Music, any views on The UK smoking ban?

Philippe: I think a spitting ban should come next.

VP: Sum yourselves up in five words

Havana Guns: Hundreds-making underrated under aged undertakers

Links

Official Site

On Myspace

I Want My Havana Guns

Singles

She Always Goes Down

  • Released: February 9, 2005
  • Format: 7″ Single
  • Label: Cigarette Music
  • B-side: “Sister Brother”
  • Writer: Philippe Di Nero
  • Video Director: Dan Knight
N.Y.C.S.

  • Released: March 26, 2007
  • Format: 7″ Single
  • Label: Cigarette Music
  • B-side: “I Want To Die”
  • Writers: Philippe Di Nero / Linda Hollywood

VIDEO

“She Always Goes Down” By Havana Guns

I love this band