“Deep Blue Something” The Charlotte Hatherley Interview

“Again” By Chalotte Hatherley

It’s a obviously a big decision for anybody to leave a successful group at the height of their fame, but it is said that music is the purest form of self expression and many artists feel the need to branch out away from their band mates and tread a different path. In the case of Charlotte Hatherley its certainly a decision that’s paid off. With two critically acclaimed albums behind her, an army of loyal fans, and her own record label she doesn’t appear to have broken stride since quitting as Ash’s guitarist in January 2006. She oozes pure rock n roll coolness, think Chrisse Hynde with supermodel looks, and your in the right ballpark, but with Charlotte it’s all about the music and the performance and she’s down to earth enough to write in her own myspace tour blogs about the dangers of eating curries before performing on stage ! Whilst Songs like “Kim Wilde” and “Bastardo” have earned her a cult following her latest album “The Deep Blue” will only enhance her reputation and new single “Again”, could well be her finest song to date, a tale of love regret and maybe the heart ruling the head? It’s a song which clearly demonstrates that Chazza has developed into a truly great songwriter, and “The Deep Blue” contains of collection of songs which any artist would be proud of.

We said “Guten Tag!” to Charlotte as her UK acoustic tour ended and her live dates in Germany where about to commence.

VP: Since leaving Ash you’ ve released two solo albums, received critical acclaim, gigged tirelessly and gathered a loyal army of fans. You must be delighted, how different does life as a solo artist differ from that of being a member of a band?

CH:I suppose it’s the difference between being a front-person and being a guitarist….i see myself mainly as a guitarist and playing in a band is just great fun, I never really have to worry about image or being sober. With Ash I would wear whatever felt comfortable and merrily get drunk on stage. Being a solo artist is a bit more serious and more thought goes into it. You have to present yourself in a much more assertive and convincing way, and I feel I have to always be on form. But I try to make the band I have with me as a solo artist feel like a band of friends, rather than just hired hands, so it’s still a lot of fun on the road.

VP ….And you’ve recently done an acoustic tour , what was the thinking behind this ? I’ve noticed quite a few bands recently whom seem keen to play more intimate gigs …

CH:Anyone can be a musician with a laptop and garage band, so the actual theatricality of a intimate stage show is becoming quite rare and I’ve been amazed by how much people prefer to see the acoustic shows, and really love to see up close the three of us playing quite intricate and delicate songs. Initially I was quite reluctant because I didn’t want it to be a boring ‘girls with acoustic guitars’ show, if I saw that advertised I would certainly be put off. I’ve made sure that it still remains interesting and exciting, despite being very stripped down.

VP: Songwriting ? would you consider your style observational, personal, poetically abstract ?? what’s the process , is it spontaneous or do you sit down and think “Ok I’m going to write two great songs today”

CH:I don’t think about my songwriting in any way, it happens and I record at home. Mostly it starts with a guitar riff, and usually the lyrics are the last thing that I write. Anything in between is a guess, it changes often. Some days there is a very definite drought, other days I can be very prolific. I am a dreadful procrastinater, I wish I could be more disciplined.

VP: Since of birth of what is referred to as ” rock n roll” what do you personally consider to be the most inspirational period/decade?

CH: I think music now is incredibly exciting and inspirational. Of course I am a huge fan of Bowie, Roxy Music, Kate Bush and Eno…so I guess the 70s really do it for me, but to experience this dramatic change in the music industry first hand, right now is very inspiring. So much is happening it’s hard to keep up. As everyone around loses their heads certain bands are seizing the moment and adapting to the climate and some seriously exciting times and music are ahead of us. It’s hard for me remain a completely independent artist as it’s virtually impossible to make any money from record sales, but I’m finding ways of surviving, and all these great and innovative new bands will too, so I am sure this era will be looked upon as very important in the future.

VP: What music are you listening to at the moment , and who are your all time musical heroes?

CH:I love the Battles album ‘Atlas’, it is incredible. I also love The Klaxons, and have been listening to a lot of classical music, Bernstein, Koechlin, Debussy and Morton Feldman. All time heroes would have to be Bowie and Kate Bush.

VP: Do you think there is a dearth of decent music shows on TV nowadays .In the past there were old established shows such as Ready Steady Go, Top Of The Pops., then more innovative shows such as The Old Grey Whistle Test , Revolver, The Tube and of course Cheggars Plays Pop ? Do you feel there’s still a niche in the market for a really great music show ( we Still have Jools Of Course)

CH: Jools Holland is hideous , although you occasionally get the odd interesting band and they really stand out as different and exciting. I guess YouTube has become a breeding ground for music videos and live performances. Touring is becoming so important for bands as people aren’t buying records anymore, so perhaps TV live performances are more important than ever as bands need people to go and see them…and lord knows there are so many fucking bands touring that you never know who to see. I bought the Battles album after seeing them on Jools Holland, and that stuff will never be played on the radio, so a whole programme full of bands like that would be really ace.

VP: When you look back at 2007 what do you think your highlights will be ?

CH: Releasing ‘The Deep Blue’ on my own label and getting through the year

VP: There seems to be quite a number of bands reforming recently. influential legends like The JAMC but also a clutch of what I can only term as “the less than leading lights of Brit pop brigade” . Even the Pistols are playing 50 quid a ticket shows. Are there any bands that you wish would reform and any you really wish hadn’t bothered?

CH: No, I don’t like any of the Britpop bands, except for The Bluetones. I don’t quite see the point in Britpop reformations, it wasn’t even that bloody long ago.

VP: There’s no denying you give off an aura of proper rock n roll cool, often people who are cool deny it, what do you think ? are you cool? .

CH:I’m from Chiswick, and that ain’t ever gonna be cool. (Denial = she’s cool! )

VP: That Bono fellows a funny wee man , clearly desperate for a Nobel peace prize or canonisation. But who do you consider to be real heroes of this confusing modern age in which we live …

CH: Alan McGee and all who follow his example in this VERY confusing modern age of the music business. He has a total belief in bands and music and is ready to change and adapt and dares to try new ways to make music available, whilst still protecting the bands that make it.

VP: Five words to describe your last five days

CH: Germanic bitterly cold electro salami

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

Again

 

OUT NOW

‘Siberia’

 

 

‘I Want You To Know’ (Single – Album Version)

 

 

‘I Want You To Know’ (Single – Acoustic Version)

 

 

‘The Deep Blue’ (Album)

 

This month’s Uncut magazine has reviewed ’The Deep Blue’….4 out of 5 stars y’all. Check it: Hatherley always looked like having more about her than being someone else’s rhythm guitarist. She fullfills that promise on her second solo set, flowering into a serious talent. Having just taken off the stabilisers by leaving Ash, it’s even braver, largely abandoning the bubblegum punk of her debut in favour of a magic-realist fantasy forest reminiscent of classic 4AD indie girls. The elegant “Roll Over” and the spectral “Dawn Treader” prove Hatherley is a far deeper beast than her rock chick stylings have so far suggested.

 

 

Video

“Bastardo” By Chalotte Hatherley

“Siberia” By Charlotte Hatherley

Wallpaper

 

They Were The Pipettes – The Pipettes Interview


Because It’s Not Love (But It’s Still A Feeling ) By The Pipettes

As mainstream “Indie” continues to drown in the self made quagmire that reflects the music industries apparent “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” mindset, (whereby they seek to tirelessly reproduce band after band that conforms to the skinny lads with guitars genre) people like Pipette Puppetmaster Monster Bobby  would say the more discerning music fan is finally beginning to wake up the fact that pop is actually the new Indie. Mind ,some may say thats bollocks however  The Pipettes appear to be band not afraid to reach back and reclaim all that was great about pop music, but also a band who claim they  put their own unique stamp on that sound, they suggest that they  write classic Motown Record-era Girl Group songs with a modern twist and suggest that people are missing that sense of fun that seems to be amiss in today’s monochrome world of pop. A world that is currently in the stranglehold of nihilistic young men whining about the futility of “being” and the eternal agony of having greasy hair and “combination skin”. Or not???

The Pipettes wish to put the  fun firmly back into pop and provide a well-needed slice of escapism. Oscar Wilde once said “Suffering is one very long moment”, if we were to update that maxim and apply it to the modern world we could say “Suffering is listening to Razorlight” so, is this the new pop or just a rehash of well worn soundbites and clever PR ??… We dispatched Mr. VP to have a little chat with Rosay Pipette prior to the release of their album in America to find out how things are in Team Pip…and seek answers to questions that other publications wouldn’t have the audacity to ask…

VP: This year has seen you concentrate on The U.S. ahead of the release of “WATP’s” (2/10/2007) You’re due to go back out there I believe (once the visa delays are sorted). What was the overall response from the U.S. crowds and indeed the media over there?

Rosay: We’ve been to the states twice now, and both times we have been really very pleased with the reactions we have had. I don’t think any of us really expected to get as much attention as we did, and I think having support from sites like pitchfork from early on really helped. I think that because we had already been going for a couple of years before our first trip to the states meant that the band was a much more fully formed concept through experience etc which hopefully came across in our performances. I think we are a better band for the last tour we did out there as I suppose we felt we had so much to prove. It will be interesting to see how it goes this time around! We certainly witnessed some very good dancing!!

VP: I did hear a rumour that the whole album was to be re-recorded for the American release? True or False?

Rosay: False. We did remix it though.

VP: What’s been the best thing and the worst thing about long haul touring?

Rosay: The best thing is getting to travel to all of these amazing places and have people listen to your music and (hopefully) get a positive response. Its quite incredible when you get the feeling that you’ve communicated in some way despite cultural and often language barriers and differences and to see people dancing to songs we wrote in a little studio in Brighton… The worst thing is missing family and friends and some of the smells that develop on the bus…

VP: What are the plans for the rest of the year, will fans in the U.K. be able to get their grubby mitts on any new material before the year is over? Any more live shows in Blighty planned this year?

Rosay: Well there isn’t really any resting going on for the remainder of the year, we’re in the states for five weeks, then promoting the record in Japan and Australia, so it is unlikely we’ll get to do any shows in the UK before new year unfortunately, same goes for new material I’m afraid. Hopefully we’ll get the chance for some more writing; there are just not enough hours in the day!!! Next year we’ll be cracking down on that side of things so a little patience is required unfortunately!!

VP: Joe’s left to concentrate on his own band, and has been replaced by Jason. Although I’m sure you’re all very supportive of Joe Lean &TJJJ aren’t five skinny Indie lads much loved by theNME the sort of band you’ve spoken out against in the past? (Ooooooh controversy! I’ve gone all Paxman! )

Rosay: It is true that we have always felt fed up with the NME culture, and a lot of that had to do with the fact that none of these bands that they champion, really seem to care about song craft in any way… Joe is a very talented songwriter and I think that really comes through in Joe Lean and the Jing Jangs…. I think they feel just as bemused about the attention they have received from the NME, but It would be great if they could use that forum in a creative way, which is they’re intention. It goes without saying that they all need a good feed up though…

VP: You’ve complained in the past of sexism in the music industry. Does it annoy you that in some quarters you’re dismissed as a retro novelty band? Conversely a group of blokes who wear retro clothes, have a sense of fun, have their own dance moves and call themselves “Madness” are treated with respect?

Rosay: It is annoying but it is something that we try not to concentrate on too much. We just want to be the best band we can be, and in fact I find the novelty thing rather funny. We’ve always said we would love to have a one hit wonder, but I think people chose to take us on face value a lot of the time, and we couldn’t care less. We’ve been doing this for four years now, so we certainly don’t see ourselves as a novelty, and it does get boring to be constantly reminded of gender, and the fact that people forget there are four boys in the band….

VP: What have been your own individual highlights this year (apart from this interview obviously)

Rosay:
Going to Japan for the first time was incredible, driving through the Arizona desert, playing the main stage at Glasto, going to Austria and being serenaded by a chef and the promoter who sang us all these amazing Corinthian folk songs with lots of Corinthian brandy, meeting Bryan ferry was funny…

Becki:
Being able to travel to so many different places. Serbia especially, meeting Beastie Boys and CSS was incredible. Going to Japan and America were also highlights.

Gwenno :
Getting to tour a bit more, playing all the major festivals and getting to record those new songs, it was a very interesting experience and I’m very proud of the outcome.

VP: Your website http://thepipettes.co.uk/ has some interesting “characters” within its forum, they draw pictures of you, they Photoshop you, they write poems, musicals and stories about you. What the devil do you all make of it? Is it the sort of thing you excepted when you joined a band?

Rosay: Its certainly not the sort of thing I expected, I think we do have a pretty creative bunch of fans!!! I do find it all a little strange, and it’s quite hard to relate to, but its great that people care enough to do things like that… I do like the caption competition ….

VP: Do you all still reside in Brighton, or have you had to flee, pursued by lovestruck males who regularly serenade your balconies until late in the evening and whom constantly festoon your porches with red roses, fine wines, Belgium chocolates and love poems ……….Or Not ?

Rosay: Well we are split half and half between London and Brighton. I have just moved back to London but it was certainly not in response to any of the above!!!!

VP: Glastonbury? A lot of people have been whingeing about it being too corporate, middle class and Middle aged. Should we adopt a “Logan’s Run” type policy and ban anybody over from 30 from gigs, record stores etc. Should they simply be given a packet of mint imperials an ill-fitting cardigan and be left in the corner to mumble about the “good old days”. What did you think of Glasto this year?

Rosay: I think its great that there is such a broad mixture of people at Glastonbury and it would be terrible to make festivals exclusively for young people (reading is a case in point!!) perhaps the headliners recently have been pretty uninspiring on the whole… I enjoyed Glastonbury much more than last time (!!!!). The fact we got to play on a real stage was good enough for starters! It isn’t really a music festival; it’s more of a cultural event, which I think people forget. I think it’s a bit too big for me personally though….

VP: How far along are the new album/new songs? Will it be a completely different sound to what we’re used to, will we lose the do-wops, if so can you give anything away yet or will we have to learn the virtue of patience?

Rosay: As I said its not really been the priority this year. We have started writing again, whether those songs make it to the second record is yet to be seen, we really don’t know how its going to turn out yet, it will definitely not be another version if WATP, but we can’t really give anything away. We know that it will involve a broadening of the concept….

VP: How do you (Rosay) manage to ladder your tights all the time?

Rosay: I don’t know tights just don’t seem to like me very much, although I have to say that I have been preserving them much better of late, and have endeavoured to wear tights in one piece. I’m just a bit scruffy I’m afraid…

VP: You all seem to like a wide range of different musical styles, do you ever argue about music. Who would each of you recommend to look out for in the coming months?

Rosay:
We do argue about music all of the time, which I think is really healthy. I would hate it if we all had exactly the same taste and agreed about everything. One of the best things about being in this band is learning from each other. I’m really excited about the new PJ Harvey record…

Becki:
We do but my music taste has broadened so much since being in the band that it’s definitely a good thing. I’d recommend the new M.I.A. album.

Gwenno:
We argue about music all the time! That’s only healthy in a band like ours though I think. I’d recommend The Gentle Good and The Real Heat.

VP: What’s the weirdest request/Myspace message /piece of fan mail you’ve received since being Pipettes?

Rosay: Someone once asked where we got out tights from on our gmail. I naively replied only to discover the impetus for the question was because the bloke had a tights fetish, which made me feel quite sick….

VP: Finally sum up your year in five words beginning with the letter ” P “

Rosay: Playing Parties Proves Pleasingly Popular…HUZZAH!!! (I’m quite Proud of that, it’s a sentence!!)

Links

On Myspace

Official Site

We Are The Pipettes Fan Site

“We Are The Pipettes” U.S. Version 2/10/2007

“Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me” U.S. EP

The Pipettes North American EP – ‘Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me’ is available in stores or alternatively you can download the EP from iTunes.

“We Are The Pipettes” U.K./Europe

iTunes UK
The album is also available in the rest of Europe. Click below for order from the following territory.
Germany

Norway
Sweden

VIDEOS

“Because It’s Not Love (But It’s Still A Feeling)” By The Pipettes

“Judy” By The Pipettes

“Dirty Mind” By The Pipettes

Wallpapers

“Strange And Beautiful” – Strange Idols Interview

 

“She’s Gonna Let You Down Again” By Strange Idols


Lets cut to the chase, Strange Idols is a great band . Unlike other reviewers Im not going to wax lyrical about how their sound conjures up Aztec Camera jamming with New Order whilst they whistle “Crash” By The Primitives. I’m certainly not going to say their sound reminds me of pure cloudless azure skys and ice cream kisses. I defiantly won’t say they induce that sense of well being that can only be achieved by drinking your very first sip of ice cold “Bud” whilst simultaneously discovering your lottery numbers have come up trumps and Charlize Theron is asking if she could possibly get you another beer from the fridge and should she wear stockings and heels later ? No I will simply say that Strange Idols is a great band and their music makes me happy. But how do they do it ? What is their magical formula ? It is time to dig a little deeper and discover more about this extremely talented bunch….

VP : Whats the story – How did you come into being?

Strange Idols : Strange Idols formed shortly after Davey, Julian and Laura all moved to London, independently, to go to art school. They immediately bonded over a shared love of music, in particular bands like Hefner, Blur, New Order, Pulp, Beach Boys and many Many others… They were aghast with the current climate of the London post-Libertines music scene and decided to do something to address – if not change – it. So they formed a band. Danny and Frederick joined shortly after and they started writing and gigging across the UK frequently.

VP : What singles have you released so far , and when can we expect an
album ?

Strange Idols : Singles released thus far have been , It’s No Fun! / Old Times on Shady Lane Records October 2006 and She’s Gonna Let You Down Again / Berlin on Modern Pop Records April 2007. A new single He’s Out Looking For Love will be released this November (2007)

VP: Are you planning a tour in light of the forthcoming single ?

Strange Idols : We will be expecting to play across the country around Oct / Nov to promote the new single. Check www.myspace/strangeidols for updates and if we will be playing near you! So far confirmed is Lund, Sweden 12th Oct, Shepherd Bush Empire 3rd Nov and two dates in Spain in January.

VP: Who would you say your musical influences are ?

Strange Idols :Many and varied. But I think the bands we betray our influences to the most are New Order, Aztec Camera, Blur… Certainly in terms of writing and arranging quintessential English pop songs.

VP: Who is strange and who is idle ?
Strange Idols : All of us can be strange in our affectations and idiosyncrasies from time to time. I don’t think the others will thank me for incriminating any of them personally by leaking secrets or stories! None of us are idle, we simply haven’t had time to be of late!

VP: Glastonbury ? Has it become too corporate or is it still THE festival to
be seen at and to play?

Strange Idols : There does seem to be an issue with Glastonbury being turned into a corporate, mainstream, no longer ‘festival for festival’s sake’. We played End of the Road festival last week which only, purposefully as a capacity for 5000 people, and the whole weekend was amazing. All the bands were great, the landscape and environment where beautiful without being peppered with mobile phone billboard sized adverts and what not and the whole thing just seemed so effortlessly lovely and efficient. I’m sure Glastonbury will continue to attract the volume of people it does, simple because they (the organisers) want to ‘think big’ and I guess the money to fund that has to come from somewhere, hence the corporate nature of the festival. We haven’t played there yet, but of course we wouldn’t turn it down, for the sake of politics!
ha.

VP: Manufactured bands what do you think of them? Spawn of Satan or jolly
good fun?

Strange Idols : Absolute crap most of it. It depends what you consider manufactured to mean? I think even bands with integrity and sincerity who do it off their own back tend to ‘manufacture’ themselves in some ways. Even if they’re not conscious of it. But things like Steps, S Club 7 – utter crap. But also it doesn’t kill anybody so isn’t worth getting too worked up over their existence. Just avoid it like you would a dog poo in the street.

VP: Simon Cowell public execution or knighthood for services to music ?

Strange Idols: Neither. Refer to above Q&A…( Bah I was just sharpening my axe…!)

VP: Pop and Politics should they be mixed ?

Strange Idols: Yes, they have been in the past very very well. Billy Bragg. Dylan. The Clash. Rage Against The Machine. Manic Street Preachers… Music is a vehicle for expressing what you think about something. A voice, as any art form of expression is. But if people really believe that a pop song will change the world under a political spectrum then that is laboring under a delusion of grandeur and is futile. But apathy is no better either.

VP: The Richard Dawkins Delusion – Is he a visionary or a prize plumb with a  God Complex ?

Strange Idols: I have no idea who he is?… ( you ain’t missing much )

VP: Five words that sum up your philosophy ?

Strange Idols: D.I.Y- hardgraft- sincerity- belief- fun!!

Links

On Myspace

Video

“It’s No Fun” By Strange Idols

Strange Idols Wallpaper

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

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

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us