Totally Wired – The Whip Interview/Album Review

The Whip - Wired Together - Interview VPME - 2011

‘Riot’ By The Whip.

Manchester has long been a fertile breeding ground for electronic music, be it the nihilistic, heart wrenching poetry of Joy Division, set against the backdrop of a bleak, grey  post-industrial Manchester through to the pill popping hedonistic indie dance crossover championed by the likes of New Order and ACR .

Such a legacy could prove to be something of a burden to lesser bands than The Whip, who also hail from greater Manchester, a fact some critics have used in an attempt to pigeon hole and define them. However The Whip could care less about narrow-minded assumptions and ill fitting labels and instead approach their music with the kind of infectious alacrity that is difficult to resist. In truth they produce a fusion of intoxicating indie, dance and electronica that owes as much to Daft Punk and Cabaret Voltaire as it does to New Order or the Hacienda sound.

Their debut album, 2008’s ‘X Marks Destination,’ received high praise from many quarters and the band hit the festival circuit gathering rave reviews from punters and critics alike. Three years on and the Whip return with a new album entitled ‘Wired Together’ which picks up where their debut album left off.  They continue to mix pounding rhythms, surging dance floor beats and sleazy electro keyboards but on this occasion their music has noticeably less of the driving indie guitar riffs as the band and producer Jagz Kooner (Primal Scream, Massive Attack, Ladytron, Kasabian)  pursue an electronic centric agenda. This time around The Whip’s songs embrace a more celebratory tone whilst still remaining true to their original ethos.  And of course there is still a sinister underbelly prevalent in many of their tunes, the dystopian floor filler and strangely prescient ‘Riot’ is a full of edgy futuristic paranoia and pent up energy, ‘Keep Or Delete’ resolutely stomps about the dance floor like an army of marauding and ever so slightly horny Cyberman. ‘Metal Law’ captures the essence of Cabaret Voltaire circa their ‘Groovy Laid Back And Nasty’ phase to a tee, whilst blissed out album closer ‘Slow Down’ encapsulates the post rave euphoria come down perfectly. ‘Wired Together’ is indeed a bold step forward, both lyrically and sonically producing a more polished expansive sound but one  that still retains the spirit of the band’s debut. Danceable, credible and hugely enjoyable they once again manage to whip up a storm.

8/10

And we sat down for tea and biscuits with The Whip’s front man Bruce Carter to talk about the album and ascertain exactly what the band had been up to these past three years 😉

***************************
VP: Hello, it’s been a few years since your much praised debut,  and you’re about to release the follow up, ‘Wired Together’ . You’ve obviously been busy gigging and going down a storm on the festival circuit and travelling the world but did you plan to have such a gap between releases.

BRUCE: It used to be a pet hate of mine to see bands take ages between albums. I could just picture them sat about watching Jeremy Kyle and DVD’s all day when they could be releasing new music but now I can sympathize! We’ve been non stop since the first album came out at different times over the world which we toured relentlessly. We would get back from 5 weeks in America and then go around Europe for month before a Japanese trip. It’s all amazing fun and we recorded most of the demo’s for the new album on the road. On the bus, in dressing rooms or hotel rooms on days off. We had to draw the line and stop touring to get on with the new record, we tried out lots of different producers which took time and we worked on the demo’s back in Manchester in between.


We met Jagz Kooner who went on to produce the album at the start of last year and after working with him for a couple of days we knew he was the right guy for the job. He came up to manchester for a couple of months with us in a rehearsal room working on the demo’s, once we had the live bass, drums and guitar stuff worked out we moved down to London for most of last year. We recorded the live instruments with Mark Ralph at Club Ralph and then went to Jagz’s show box sizd studio and worked on synths and vocal for ages!!!  It’s taken a while as we wanted to see what would happen if we really pushed ourselves to make it as good as possible.


I guess that’s the shortest way of summing up what we’ve been up to!  I’m just so happy to have it finished and can’t wait to get it out and get on with the next one. We’ve got so many songs sat about that are ready to go.

VP: What would you say is the biggest difference between ‘X Marks Destination’  and ‘Wired Together’? Did you feel more pressure writing and recording this album?

BRUCE:  I think because we took out time ironing out everything we didn’t feel the pressure while making the record. I was pushed to get the vocals as good as possible on this record, I remember to get the right vibe on a song called ‘Riot’ I was literally beaten up while I was singing the vocal takes. You can hear me taking a few blows for the team if you listen carefully. The main difference between the albums was that the 1st album changed very little from the demo’s as we were in the studio with Jim Abyss for about a month as opposed to a year with this one.

VP: You’ve put half the album on line giving people the chance to listen before it arrives in September, was part of the thinking behind this giving people the chance to hear them before you tour?

BRUCE: We’re just so eager to let people hear the new music that this seemed like the best way of doing it. It’s been nice to see a people singing along to the new bits at shows we’ve played recently.  We’ve played quite a few of the songs live for a while and the response has been wicked with people jumping around and going crazy at the right bits.

VP: You’ve also been involved in remixing other people’s songs, which have been the ones you’ve enjoyed?  And how does it work, do they approach you or vice versa ?

BRUCE: We love remixing peoples songs, mostly you get approached or sometimes you do a mutual remix swap with someone. I like the Black Ghosts remix that we did and we played it live for a couple of years, the crowd reaction was always wicked.

VP: I’ve also been checking out some of your mix tapes available on your site some tunes on there that might surprise people The Pointer Sisters to Earth Wind and Fire to Fleetwood Mac.  Do you think music fans generally these days are less genre-centric?  That there’s less indie (or indeed pop) snobbery prevalent?

BRUCE: That’s totally the case, it’s so much healthier to listen to a variety of music rather than just one strict genre and there is so much good music out there. We listen to lots of different stuff, it’s good to be open minded about everything in life. I love indie as much as the next person but there is so many different tasty nibbles at the musical buffet.

VP: What was the idea behind the art work for ‘Wired Together’  and who’s responsible for it?

BRUCE: I’d had a picture from the 70’s Italian horror film ‘Suspiria’ on my phone for ages. It’s a beautiful still of the ornamental peacock from near the end of the film, I guess the image spoke to me while we we’re working on the album demo’s. We put the image in the hands of a Manchester based artist, Enge and after some serious talking he developed it in to the beast we have on the sleeve. It’s amazing to look at really close up on the poster, the detail is bonkers, it goes on and on.

VP: As previously mentioned you’ve played around the world, what have been your most bizarre tour experiences?

BRUCE: It’s amazing to be able to visit some of the places we get to. Our first trip to Japan was pretty amazing as it was the first time that we had travelled so far to play music. At the time we didn’t have an album out and everyone knew who we we’re which is a bonkers feeling.
We do get up to some crazy partying stuff on tour and you meet people that you share really amazing nights with only to know that you’ll probably never get to see them again. We had an amazing night camping in Joshua Tree park on our last USA tour, I’ve never seen so many stars.

VP: If you had an unlimited budget what would you add to your live shows?

BRUCE: That is my favourite question in the world, we’d love to add visuals and all sorts of lasers at some stage. I love the feeling of playing music engulfed in smoke with strobes around my feet; it’s a wild feeling to see how far you can take yourself before you have an epileptic fit. In all seriousness if the lighting guy asks us what vibe to go for the one word we give is “epileptic”.

VP: Desert Island disc time,  if  you could take only one piece of music to your desert island, what would that be ?

BRUCE: I guess something with melody and vocals but nice electronic vibes too, KRAFTWERK MAN MACHINE covers a lot of bases for me!

VP:  Five words to sum up ‘Wired Together’

BRUCE : Heavy, Hypnotic, floaty magic disco.

Links

Official Site

Facebook

Twitter

Large Image

Video.

“Music For Pleasure” – Client Inteview

“6 In The Morning” By Client

Sexier than Goldfrapp, darker than Depeche Mode, more fun than The Human League? Yes, if you like throbbing electro pop perfection then you certainly need look no further than the splendour that is “Client” Members of group are known only as Client A and Client B and are often joined by occasional members who conveniently share similar names such as Client D,E,F,G etc .(is there hope for “J” from Five?) However the mainstays of the band are in reality Kate Holmes, formerly of Frazier Chorus and Technique and Dubstar vocalist Sarah Blackwood. Their take on electro glam synth pop has been a huge hit in Europe, whilst they have been quietly bubbling just under the radar in the UK for a while now. This years album “Heartland” is typically, hypnotically, brilliant, it flirts with the listener ,whilst drawing them into Client’s darkly erotic world, they promise to seduce and then state in no uncertain terms “you can look, but you can’t touch.” (bah!) and then of course there are “the uniforms!” For anyone with thing for airhostess, or maybe leather or quite possibly both, Client’s image will doubtless be a draw, indeed it would be no stretch of the imagination to suggest that they make Alison Goldfrapp seem about as sexy as Thora Hird wearing incontinence pants. But this regimented look fights in perfectly with the music and whilst their image is undoubtedly something which is visually provocative, and, without sounding like Benny Hill hiding in the bushes in a mac, rather naughtily pleasing, it is undoubtedly their music that really grabs the attention. Client are a relentless, hypnotic tour de force combing sweeping synths, guitars and glam rock beats fused with a fabulous pop sensibility. They have collaborated with a number of high profile musicians and directors, their video for “Pornography” was directed by French director Jamie Deliessche . It featured Carl Barât (formerly of The Libertines and now singer with The Dirty Pretty Things on vocals. “Down to the Underground” features Pete Doherty, also formerly of The Libertines, and when not being detained at Her Majesties pleasure, sometime front man of Babyshambles. “Overdrive” features Martin L. Gore of Depeche Mode and “Where’s the Rock and Roll Gone” features Tim Burgess of The Charlatans.
Lager fetishist Mr VP donned  his studded leather lederhosen and thigh length boots and had a chat with Sarah Client B to discover more about the band…

VP : How,where and when did you meet ? What prompted you to form Client?

Client B: We were introduced by a friend. Kate had just been offered 3 gigs supporting Depeche mode and her singer had run away!!! I stepped in.the 3 gigs turned into 15 and we formed Client and wrote the first album on the road with Depeche. At first we were just experimenting but our epiphany came at the leipzig gig where we decided to really go for Client!!

VP: If you were to verbally illustrate your music using media friendly sound bites what would they be ?

Client B: I think the song ‘Client’ sets out our manifesto…satisfaction guaranteed…innovate never imitate…we aim to please….at your service!!!!

VP: Your image is very impressive and rather striking, the uniforms? Was that something decided on at the outset ?

Client B : Absolutely yes! We wore them on the Depeche tour as we wanted to look like working girls not ‘popstars’…we didn’t want anyone to throw anything at us! It was also following the tradition set by electronic pioneers such as Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle.
We loved the Orwellian theme of letters not names became clients A and B and the image and music are now 50/50.it wouldn’t be Client without the uniforms!!

VP: Your latest album the marvelous “Heartland” was released this year, described as perfect electro new wave disco pop ! Who would you say your major musical influences are?

Client B : Our influences are: Kraftwerk,Throbbing Gristle,D.A.F. Joy Division, Caberet Voltaire, New Order and Bowie.

VP: You’re now on your own label in The Uk , has this made major difference to you as a band , is it harder or does it give you more freedom ?

Client B: Defiantly more freedom! It’s great to be completely in control!

VP: Will you look back on 2007 with affection? , what have been your highlights ?

Client B: Absolutely! It has been our busiest year for touring so far.I think the highlights were playing the festivals in the summer.we played to big really appreciative crowds and it was such a buzz!!!! Especially when we turned round wiggled our bums as the lights go out
and they all screamed. It made me feel very emotional!!!!

VP : Ok, so the band members are Client A And Client B , is there a Client C or D in place yet ?

Client B: Oh yes! It’s always going to be 3 girls on stage now and Robert Gorl sometimes too! He is client R !We also have another Client R and Client M and Client C too!! Client C is Charlotte Hatherley who played with Ash! (and former VPME interviewee)

VP: What’s your view on the music scene in the UK at the moment ? Any bands that grab your attention ?

Client B: We don’t spend enough time in the U.K. to hang around the various scenes but there seems to be a lot of post punk influenced bands around as well as the nu rave thing which is the progression from electroclash…all style no substance…and I wore day glo the first time round and it looked terrible then…..

VP: What’s the weirdest fan request/Message you’ve ever had ?

Client B : It’s unprintable!!!!

VP: Use five words to sum up Client’s time together

Client B: Exciting…frustrating…airports….adventures…..wonderful…..I love it!!!!

(Additional thanks to Dave Cromwell)

Links

On Myspace

Client Website:
client-online.net

German Client Website:
client-online.de
Loser Friendly Records

CLIENT Shop their latest CDs, T-Shirts, posters etc

BUY CLIENT RECORDS

Client - Client
Client - City

The CLIENT VIDEO PODCAST on iTunes

Join the free Client Podcast on iTunes
Subscribe to it to get the latest episode direct on iTunes!

Video

“Pornography” by Client

“It’s Not Over” By Client

Wallpapers


“Hardcore Uproar” The You/Me Interview

“To Live” By You/Me

You/Me are a downbeat two piece girl boy electronic from Eskilstuna, Sweden. They first came to the attention of the VPME in spring via the influential Swedish music blog Swedes Please. The combination of Anna Berglund’s seductive vocals and Ander Nyberg’s synth wizardry creates a sombre and epic soundscape resulting in an incredibly intimate experience for the listener.
Influential Scandinavian music website It’s A Trap described them as being the surprise hit of the Emmaboda festival and for “record labels to start queuing” in order to sign them. To date the band have put out one self-released EP entitled Flow My Tears.

VP: How did you meet ?

You/Me :We met at school in 2003, we both attended the music program, and played together in another band at first, but then decided to form a band that suited our wishes in music better.

VP : What is the population of Eskilstuna and how has it influenced your music and the people you are today ?

You/Me : Recently we have both moved to Stockholm but Anna grew up in Eskilstuna (90.000 inhabitants) and Anders grew up not very far away in a smaller town.
Anna: Eskilstuna is a pretty shitty town, and as a normal reaction to that, you feel like you want to escape, (like most youths who lives in a shitty town) music became my way out.
Anders: in Eskilstuna, 90% of the local bands played Hardcore and I wanted to make music that is as far away from HC as possible.

VP: The lyrics in your songs are incredibly intimate, which is unusual for synth based music as the genre normally features throwaway or meaningless words. Are the lyrics all influenced by your own personal experience?

Anna: YES. I don’t sit down, thinking about what lyrics to write, the words often comes to me at different places, like the supermarket or when I’m walking to buy cigarettes, so I guess they are taken from my own perspective on life, my experiences and my subconscious. and of course I get inspired bye all kinds of stuff, like samurai-movies or old relationships.

VP: Since playing the Emmaboda festival a number of UK tastemakers have been quick to sing the praises of You/Me. Notably Monster Bobby (of The Pipettes), Ricky Haley (of Liars Club fame and whose Alt Delete label put out the first New Young Pony Club single) and former VPME interviewees Tack!Tack!Tack! (who were instrumental in bringing Those Dancing Days to the wider attention of the Swedish music industry.)
With this in mind can we expect to see you in the UK anytime soon?

Anders: yeah, we have been thinking about it, and recently we have been in contact with Nick Levine (T!T!T!) but we have no Idea what the future holds, so maybe yes maybe no, we’ll see. but hopefully.

VP: I see you are playing Italy later in the month. How did that come about?

Anna: It’s a contact that we made at the Emmaboda Festival this year and we are really exited about it.

VP : “Through Four Kinds” is by far the most upbeat track on the Flow My Tears EP. Its tone is totally different to the rest of the material. Does this hint at a possible future direction for the band?

Anna: “Through Four Kinds” is one of the first songs we made, but I don’t really agree with that its so different from the other ones, when we write our music we don’t plan to make a “uptempo song” or a slow one, it just happens by itself, as the song gets made. but sure there will be songs you can dance to or listen to when you drive around in your car.

VP : Do you have any other releases planned in the near future?

Anders:
Yeah! We are working on some new material, but we are still looking for a label. soon we will have material for an album, and as soon as we find someone who wants to release it, we will.

VP : Sum up yourselves only using five words?

You/me :
minimal, frank ,moving, new, forgiving

Links

On Myspace

You/Me Wallpaper

“Say Hello,Wave GoodBye” The Au Revoir Simone Interview

 

“Dark Halls” by Au Revoir Simone

Au Revoir Simone( Erika Forster, Annie Hart, and Heather D’Angelo) demonstrate just how layered synth music (triple keyboard action!) should work, how it can sound warm, human and emotive. True there is a glacial beauty about their sound but at no point does it ever sound cold, or detached. In the past bands who have employed drum machines and synths as their primary source of instrumentation have been accused of sounding clinical or robotic. Au Revoir Simone could never have this criticism leveled at them. Beneath the electronic frosting they have a passionately beating heart, and their songs celebrate the spirituality of nature, reflect a sense of wonder at the joy of being, and are expertly combined with sweeping synths and wistful, dreamy vocals.

These songs conjure up setting suns, mountain lakes and shimmering star fretted skies. This is music that truly transports the listener to a different place, whether its the halcyon days of those endless sun filled school holidays of yore or the warming glow of Christmas lights through a frosted window on Christmas Eve. There is without doubt a TS Eliot type quality to the feel of the music. ”In a sense “the music sounds visual” (listen to the music, close your eyes, and you`ll get what i mean) You can certainly understand why somebody like David Lynch is apparently such a fan.

But its not all hypnotic, ethereal beauty and celestial voices, they can lay down some seriously danceable pop tunes too. Their latest album “The Bird Of Music “ showcases this diversity and proves that they really are the aural equivalent of the “Aurora Borealis”.

The VPME was lucky enough to be able to grab a few minutes with 1/3rd of the band and say “Bonjour Annie”

VP: How did the three of you meet?

Annie: Erika played in my boyfriend’s band, Dirty On Purpose, and one day we were taking a train home together from a weekend in New England with friends and really hit it off. We wanted to make an all keyboard band for no particular reason other than we really like keyboards. Heather came to practice soon after hearing about the idea and our band was born.

VP: Where did the name ” Au Revoir Simone” come from, what particularly
appealed to you all about it?

Annie: It comes from Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, which is one of those films that you’ve watched so much it starts forming your personality. It sounds romantic and alludes to following one’s dreams and hopes, but is also essentially dorky.

VP: Your currently touring at the moment. What are the best things and the worst things about touring? Do you have a tour rider that would put Aerosmith to shame?

Annie: The best thing about touring is getting to play every night, which we adore, especially meeting our sweet fans. The worst part is not getting much sleep, which I desperately crave. As for our rider, we’ve got an anti-oxidant-packed bunch of fruit, vegetables, dark chocolate, tea, and red wine, along with a wish for world peace. I don’t
know what Aerosmith likes to eat or hope for. (That’s probably for the best )

VP: What sort of things inspires you to write your songs. What’s the
process?

Annie: Solo motion and movement usually gets my brain moving, like on a bike ride or a long walk. I usually get into a state where I start singing aloud to myself and some things are good enough to bring to practice and some I just forget.

VP: The current music scene? Awash with originality or the same old same old?

Annie: I think the music scene has always been creative and awash with originality and I am grateful to be part of it.

VP: I’ve read that David Lynch is your best friend. What’s all that
about then?

Annie: David is a really great person and a vocal fan of our band, which we find completely flattering and a complete honour.

VP: Over here in the UK, we feel rather embarrassed that Simon Cowell is behind the global conspiracy to stop musical creativity, and to control every aspect of Pop. What do you make of this “American Idol/Pop Idol “nonsense?

Annie: I’ve never heard of this global conspiracy to stop musical creativity. But people should feel free to be themselves and listen to their hearts instead of a T.V. show. If a judge on T.V. is making you stop being creative, you should probably stop watching so much T.V. and spend more time playing music. It’s way more fun.

VP: August and September appear to be taken up with touring NorthAmerica/Canada, what’s the plan after that?

Annie: We’re going to be opening up for AIR in Europe in November. We are quite excited about that.

VP: Sum up yourselves using only five words?

Annie: Nerdy-fun-keyboard-loving-woman

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

 

Buy Au Revoir Simone’s music from iTunes or emusic:

Buy their cds and t-shirts Here : aurevoirsimone.com/shop

VIDEO

“Sad Song” By Au Revoir Simone

Au Revoir Simone Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us