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.

Advertisements

Question Time With – Dimbleby And Capper.

Dimbleby And Capper - Laura Bettinson-Interview - THE VPME

Let You  Go’ By Dimbleby And Capper.

‘Raise It Right’ By Dimbleby And Capper.

Laura Bettinson’s first foray into music was very much a piano based affair. But when it came to gigging around London’s numerous venues, she quickly realised that despite the popular myth, a large proportion of the capital’s pubs and clubs do not actually house  old joannas.’ Not even for the purpose of enabling  pearly kings and queens to congregate and roar spirited renditions of ‘Roll Out The Barrel’ with the sort of florid faced gusto that would induce nostalgic tears to tumble forth from Richard Curtis’ rose tinted eyes.  Furthermore Laura also discovered that hauling bulky musical equipment (such as a stage piano) on to the London tube was no easy matter. She needed a re-think and eventually decided to form her own musical haulage company, ‘Dimbleby and Capper’ in order to transport her equipment around venues and….erm, ok, ok  some of the above may not quite be one hundred percent accurate. However Laura did re-think her situation and discovered that working with electronic paraphernalia, not only presented a compact solution to her equipmental logistical conundrum, but that it also pushed her song writing into different and arguably more exciting experimental territory.

After opting to release her songs under the rather random pseudonym of Dimbleby and Capper  she has enjoyed considerable critical praise and underground success. Her music is an eclectic mixture of tribal beats, quirky electro samples, bleeps and a fusion of sound that at times seem to be pulling in different directions but is held together by the musical glue that is Bettinson’s remarkable voice, one which combines the edginess of female new wave singers with a more traditional (dark) pop sensibility. She’s also managed to create a sound that is accessible yet experimental and at the same time has seen the Dimbleby and  Capper ‘concept’   morph into something of a creative collective, not only encompassing music but also fashion, design, art, D.I.Y. warehouse parties and a dance troupe!  It would seem that Bettinson is positively bursting with creative ideas and energy. After the underground success of her self released debut EP ‘Slick Maturity’ in 2009 she played The Great Escape, Latitude and Glastonbury festivals and gained something of a name for herself as a producer and re-mixer.  Dimblebly and Capper have just released a debut single ‘Let You Go’ on London Indie imprint Tape, it’s an uplifting slice of  edgy, dark, electronic pop which highlights her innovative style of song writing and should help see her expand her ever growing list of admirers.

We had a chat with her, and got that awkward first question out of the way…..

_______________________________________________________________________________________

VP: Hi there, ok – so, I know you get get asked this a lot, so let’s get it out of the way and have the definitive answer….. but of all the names you could have come up with, why did you choose Dimbleby And Capper. Unless of course those happen to be your real name/s

D &C : Names of my ex-boyfriends. David and Warwick. What fellas.

VP: How did you first become involved in music and production, I guess it’s fair to say you’re a pretty technically astute person?

D &C : I first started to play around with electronics after moving to London to study and quickly finding out you can’t carry a stage piano around on the tube. I needed a way of fitting my sound into a suitcase, which was when I invested in a loopstation and some basic recording equipment and never looked back.

VP: How easy (or otherwise) is it to self release music these days, as you did with your debut in Ep ‘Slick Maturity’ . What are the advantages for an artist of being on a label these days?

D &C : I think it’s brilliant the way it is so easy to self-release music these days! But in order to do it successfully you usually need enough funds saved up to spend on a good PR team and Radio team- without those guys on side it’s easy for self-releases to go by unnoticed. For me being on a label means the load is shared. For me it’s not so much about the kudos of a label but more important to find people who you trust and can work well with knowing that they’re putting as much energy into promoting your music as you are. No matter on what level, major label or indie, if you find those people it all gets a lot easier.

VP: Your new single has just been released ‘Let  You Go’ . What’s the song about? When you first write a song, do you kind of have it fully formed in your head, or when you get in the studio do you think…actually if I add this and take that out ….how does it work for you ?

D &C : I write, record and produce all my music from a home-studio so there is no pressure on me to work on cue, I can work all night or not at all if I don’t fancy it, the songs usually evolve from a beat and mumbled top line. ‘Let You Go’ is a song inspired by my schizophrenic, now hospitalised neighbour. It’s about wrestling with the shadow of a former lover, something you can feel but can’t touch. In the verses I tried to capture that sensation of feeling something is near you but it being obscured by something, drifting in and out of focus.

VP:  Do you design all your own costumes and tell us a little about the DIY parties your involved in ?

D &C : Yes, the costumes are all made from bits and bobs either I or friends have made for me. That creativity comes out of big ambition, coupled with a lack of funding.  You make do, you find a way to make things work, you know what you’re aiming at but know that money is not a currency you can trade with. You find ways of realising the ideas in your head, come at it from a different angle- this usually means adopting this D.I.Y attitude, finding like-minded individuals that can help you.

The D.I.Y parties are a celebration of this attitude; everyone is encouraged to come in something they have made themselves, from the tiniest brooch to fully blown body suit.  It’s a great way for people to unlock a part of their personality they may not regularly tap into or a chance for people to showcase pieces they have been working on.

VP:  What sort of musical artists are you inspired by?

D &C: All sorts. I love 1950s doo-wop, the carefree nature of it all. I love the forlorn 1960s girl group ballads and Phil Spector’s production in general. I’m inspired by a lot of electronic artists, Bjork, The Knife, Laurie Anderson. Strangely enough one of the albums that sound-tracked my childhood was Paul Simon’s Graceland. A good melody or a ballsy female vocal always inspires me.

VP:  What are your plans for the rest of the year?

D &C : Plans are to play some shows over the summer and then release another single September time, we’ve got a couple more video shoots lined up and I’m hoping to finish work on a side-project I’ve been working on with a UK producer and couple of chaps from LA before the year is out. D&C album to come early 2012.

VP:  How do you listen to music these days? Ipod, on line, Cd, Radio ? What’s your preference?

D &C : Online. Never CD. Sometimes iPhone if I’m out and about. Radio (MLR, Metro Love Radio- you’ve gotta check it out, it’s THE ONE) if I’m driving.

VP:  One song you wish you’d written and why?

D &C : Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit. Why? It has an immediate imagery and a raw vocal, which always appeals to me. It’s one of those songs that moves you somewhere instantly and keeps you there for 2:31.

VP: If you could sum up your ethos in five words…

D &C : Get. On. With. It….Now.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Links

Facebook

Official Site

Twitter

Wallpaper/Large Image

Video

A Sense Of Wonder- Lisa Mitchell Interview

“Neopolitan Dreams” By Lisa Mitchell

Bookmark and Share

Add to Technorati Favorites

To quote Clint Eastwood “opinions are like assholes, everybody’s got one” and should you voice an opinion about certain bands or singers, you may find the online loony brigade beating a hasty path to your virtual door. Your inbox can on occasion, be overflowing with messages of “goodwill” from people whose eloquence is possibly less admirable than their passionate, dare I say frenzied, dedication to their cause.  Their demented ratings can range from the disturbing “I hope you get cancer” to the mildly amusing “OMG U R like, so stooped and retardeered…” to the bizarre “You must be, like, visually deaf or somethin’,  so I WILL TYPE SLOWLY”. You may therefore forgive me if I regard emails from companies telling me my “member may be an inadequate fit” lest I purchase “Raging Throbber” pills or the inevitable requests from deposed Nigerian dictators who respectfully wish to transfers monies from Burkina Faso forthwith, as manna from heaven.

Sorting through your email messages and separating the wheat from the chaff can be an onerous task, but amongst the badly written missives, the rantings of the socially inadequate and the ubiquitous “nob spam” there is still the reward of the occasional gem. It was in fact via the medium of email that I was alerted to Lisa Mitchell’s debut album “Wonder”. In no time at all I was enraptured and comparing 19 year old Ms Mitchell to the likes of Laura Marling and Emmy The Great, both writers of immense talent and who possess a lyrical maturity way beyond their years. “Wonder” may initially come across as a dreamy, languid, collection of songs full of  melody and suprisingly subtle , “impossible to stop humming”, hooks, but scratch the surface and the intelligent lyrics reveal underneath the almost almost fragile vocals, a fierce and often dark heart. Last years quirky debut single ‘Neapolitan Dreams’stems from a parting of two people,” explains Lisa “obviously me and someone else, but then it moves into a place of like, not having such a clear idea of where you’re headed. Then when the refrain comes in, the ‘ba-da ba-das’, it’s like saying ‘there’s so much going on, but hey, fuck it, we’re just gonna have fun’.” The single, which was featured on the recent Surf advert, received 1.5millon plays on Myspace and 500,000 plays on Youtube whilst selling over 15,000 copies in the UK alone; and all this before the track had even been played on the radio.

We spoke to the girl who, at sixteen turned her back on a crappy record deal in order to produce and write music on her own terms and produce something that reflected her views, feelings and values…the result being “Wonder” ……….looks like she made the right choice!

VP:  When did you first start to write songs, what was the motivation, had you always had a habit of writing down your thoughts?

LISA: I wrote my first song in our garden shed when I was eleven. It was called ‘Swallow,’ as in the bird. It went: ‘Say, “swallow” and I will fly to you. Say “hello,” and I’ll say “hello” too but say, “follow” and I will follow you.’ How cute was I? I think it started from having the urge to be heard and from wanting to share my thoughts. I like to write down my ideas so I remember them for a quieter time if I’m busy or with other people.

VP:  You tend to find that a lot of singer songwriters were exposed to music at an early stage in their upbringing…was this the case with you, are your family big music fans?

LISA: Dad’s music taste is instilled in me. He loves The Velvet Underground, Dylan, Cat Stevens, Neil Young and so on, so I love them too and they almost certainly influence my writing at times.

VP:  What sort of things inspire you to write, is it through personal experience, observation, or a mix of fact and fiction?

LISA: The sorts of things that inspire me are beautiful days, terrible days, heart ache, confusion, nostalgia, other people’s songs, happiness, boredom.

VP:  Your debut album “Wonder” has just been released did you enjoy the recording process?

LISA:  My album came out a few weeks ago. It feels quite surreal! I’ve been working on it for some time now so the last few weeks it has felt like it surely must’ve been out for a while.

VP:  You were born in England and moved to Australia when you were three, would you ever consider making England your base (like fellow countrymen and woman Howling Bells) or is the weather a little too inclement here?

LISA: I love England! I’d definitely consider it for my home one day but right now I’ve got far too many places that I want to see to be setting up camp in one place. ‘Nomadic,‘ I believe they would call my living style.

VP:  Which female artists do you most admire and why?

LISA: I admire Regina Spektor’s ingenuity in her writing. Her original thought is delicious. Have you heard the song, ‘Laughing With,‘ on her latest album? What a concept. ‘No one laughs at God in a Hospital; no one laughs at God in a war.’ True, no? I like morbid thought like that. I think it has a safe place in songs – the sonic positivity takes the edge off it.

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

LISA: My highlight so far for this year was playing Glastonbury music festival near London a few months ago. It must be all down hill from then mustn’t it?! Oh no! I’ve already peaked! I signed to RCA records in London at the start of the year and they’ve been amazing to work with. I did a support for ‘Whitely’ an Australian boy which was a bit of a milestone as well!

VP:  How are you planning to spend the rest of 2009?

LISA: I’ll spend the year playing lots of shows (Australia and the UK!), talking to journalists, moving houses, wining and dining, driving my Kombi van to the beach, going to the Australian summer festivals and hopefully exploring new cities around the world.

VP:  Do you get nervous playing live? Do you have any strange pre-gig rituals?

LISA: Being nervous is so distracting! No, I don’t bother with that anymore. Pre-gig we muck around backstage and be silly or serious depending on the weather.

VP:  Five words to sum up your mood today. ….

LISA: Tired, sore tummy, calm, creative, curious.

Links

On Mypsace

Official site

Wallpapers


Videos

“Coin Laundry” By Lisa Mitchell

‘Welcome To The Afternoon’ EP Launch

Bookmark and Share

Add to Technorati Favorites

Life’s A Riot-Electric Blue Interview

“Teenagers In Love” By Electric blue

“Somebody’s Help” By Electric Blue

Where do you go when the music stops? If you take away the “snap” and the “crackle” what on earth do you do with the “pop?” I suppose one might suggest this was the dilemma facing Brighton pop group The Pipettes when the artist formerly known as “Riot Becki”- Rebecca Stephens, left the band, hot on the heels of Rose “Rosay” Dougall’s departure with not an original member in sight to shake a polka-dotted skirt at…but that was then and this is now … Thankfully both ex-Pipettes are still intent on staying within the sphere of music and Becki has recently unveiled a new musical project, a transatlantic collaboration with Randy Michael from Atlanta’s sharp suited beat boys The Booze . Their musical partnership, “Electric Blue” is named, either after a line in Bowie’s classic “Sound And Vision” or series of soft porn video “magazines” from the 80’s in which large haired pneumatic ladies indulged in erm.. “fun” with unfeasibly blessed, lantern jawed, orange hued chaps who all seemed to work in the ..service industry -chauffeurs, aerobics instructors, tennis coaches et al. You would not be wrong if you suggested that this video series wasn’t exactly “plot driven” …but thankfully the songs Becki and Randy have produced  certainly appear to be been “tune driven.”

So what do they sound like? Well if The Undertones had spent more time watching “Happy Days” instead of pretending to be punks, decided on becoming a female fronted band and replaced  their lead singer, who let’s face it was a dead ringer for Mr Punch, they may have produced a sound rather like Electric Blue-  “Beauty School Drop-Out” meets “Teenage Kicks.” (In retrospect, it’s hard to square the fact that a movement such as Punk could actually spawn Easter Island statue look-alike and CEO of British Music Rights, Fergal Sharkey, who appears intent on banning everyone who has ever downloaded a music file illegally, like, ever, from having internet access-But that’s a whole other story !)

Electric Blue has a retro punky power-pop edge, which ably straddles and takes reference from various genres, and which should have your feet tapping within seconds (or foot if you’re a certain former Beatles ex) –”Hooks,” big choruses and great melodies were always a large part of Becki and RM’s musical remit in the past and they once again employ these tools to great effect, yes there maybe a nod to the bands from which they have come from but let’s face it, could you really see them reinventing themselves as Slipknot? They certainly are not just replicating what they have done in the past, there’s freshness and a sense of fun here, a new lease of life if you will. Technically it sounds superb, I don’t normally do technical as I find reducing music, which I tend to react to on an emotional level to a series of chords or quavers or techno speak tends to detract from my joy, and this collaboration is definitely infused with an exuberant sense of fun. I therefore cranked up the Von Pip fun mobile and drove off to speak to Randy Michael and Becki to find out what they’d been up to…

VP: When you left the Pips, was it your intention to get straight back into music and was solo and collaborative work something you’d often thought about getting involved in, also after 2007 when you seemed to be on tour constantly was it difficult initially to adjust to some sort of normality ?

Becki: I hadn’t really been heavily involved in music prior to The Pipettes, so I wasn’t sure what would happen, I certainly didn’t have anything planned for after I left. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly I started writing, the ideas seemed to flow pretty easily and I couldn’t stop. Returning to a Monday to Friday job has been hugely influential and forced me to re-evaluate many things. Whether or not to be solo or in another band didn’t cross my mind, yet after writing for a few months I realised that I needed to bounce ideas off of somebody else. I’m my own worse enemy, I’m never happy, and I could easily disregard most of what I’ve written. I also didn’t want to fall into the trap of over self-indulgence especially as I mostly listen to upbeat, heavily melodic music and that was what I was interested in making! So it was important to find a person I clicked with; someone who understood where I was, who recognised the good from the bad – the ideas should flow organically – and that’s what I found in Randy.

VP: Randy, how did you and Becki, first meet up? Did you hit it off straight away?

RM: I met Becki under a tent at The Vfest in August of ’06 along with some of the other members of the pips. I wouldn’t say we hit it off right away; I was more interested in their drummer Joe. It was more like “hello, nice to meet you.”

VP: ……..and how did the idea to work together come about?

RM: I wanted to help out on her solo project, which led to me saying, why we don’t just start a power pop band.

Becki: Yeah, we had been chatting over the internet pretty much since we met a couple of years ago, but our conversations became more and more frequent and we joked about writing together. After I told Randy I was no longer in The Pipettes those jokes became less and less ridiculous until we were both questioning the possibility and saying to each other ‘Yeah, but why not?’, and then it just happened!

VP: Did you have an idea of the sound you wanted to produce at the outset or did it just kind of happen naturally?

RM: We wanted to do something pop, and around where I live, we all dig power pop like The Beat, The Nerves and The Boys. So musically, I wanted to take a shot at it. It’s just something I think that suits us both. Because we’d look silly singing death metal and we didn’t want to sound like the bands that we come from. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.

Becki: It wasn’t too hard. We sent so much music back and forth in order to describe what we liked, what we didn’t; which songs had awesome guitar licks, which drum sounds we liked etc etc. I think it was The Nerves ‘Hanging on the Telephone’ that cemented we were going to go down a power pop route, but it’s also a natural musical progression from both of our other bands.

VP: What about the logistics, given that one of you is based in Brighton whilst the others in Atlanta how did the writing, production and recording of the tracks work in practice?

Becki: Writing began with us swapping demos and lyrics. Randy would send some music; I’d sing over it and send it back. Or I’d send Randy a song I’d written and explain which bits needed changing, and then he’d return it fully formed. Everything happened so quickly that it was only a matter of time before reality hit and a ticket was booked for Atlanta. Having written so much over the internet is was great to finally get writing together whilst being in the same room. Two of our demos were actually written in one day, which is why we have so many more to record!

RM: Yeah, Becki and myself, we’d send these demos back and forth, she’s sing about 45 seconds of something and say “Finish that.” and then I’d do the same. Once we had something completed, I’d call Darren Dodd and Wesley Flowers, two of the Best musicians in the city of Atlanta and had them record drums and keys. Then I’d send the finished product back to Becki, and she’d do vocals for it. That way, we were already familiar with the tune, before she flew across the pond.

VP: So the name is from a series of soft porn video collections (so I’m told) who came up with that name? Any others on your short list of potential band names you’d care to share

RM: I think we were so tired of just calling names out to one another that , as soon as we thought of Electric Blue, I said “That sounds tough as f*ck, and it sounds like a power pop band from ’77, let’s use it.” I can’t remember anything else that we considered.

Becki: The name actually comes from Bowie. We knew we had to think of a name ASAP and started talking about what names we liked, what we wanted over breakfast one day. We got talking about colours, realised both of our favourite colour was blue, and just started singing ‘blue, blue electric blue . . . ‘ and there it was. The porn film reference is a happy coincidence.

VP: It was mentioned on MySpace that you have tons more songs written, any idea when these may see the light of day and any plans for any sort of official release in the future?

Becki: Hopefully there will be some 7 inches realised both sides of the pond, which will be fun, and another trip to Atlanta is planned. We’re both still writing, but I have a feeling there will be a few songs that will be recorded with us both in our respective countries. That’ll be jolly interesting!

VP: What sort of music are you both listening to at the moment?

Becki: Loads of stuff as usual. I’ve been on real eighties pop kick at the moment and can’t stop listening to Hall and Oates! Otherwise Born Ruffians, White Denim, Grizzly Bear, Life Without Buildings, The Records, Bob Dylan, The Chi-Lites, Derek Meins and the new Keane record for starters. As I’ve also started a monthly night down in Brighton, I’ve been pulling out the classics such as Charles and Eddie, Apache Indian, Human League, Candi Staton, Grandmaster Flash etc etc. I can’t stop!

RM: I’m listening to loads of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Robert Johnson, The Boys, Thin Lizzy and Elvis Costello.

VP: You’ve also mentioned you’re working on a solo project, can you reveal any more details a
t this point?

Becki:
Yep. It’s called Into Cinders. There’s a MySpace page with a couple of demos on that I recorded before Randy and I started writing together, I’m hopefully recording a couple more in November, which I’ll add when I do. I think it will probably be a project that keeps expanding when I have time. I’m constantly writing and some stuff fits with Electric Blue and some doesn’t. I enjoy the freedom of having full musical control over my own songs, but I’m not sure it’s an alley I’d like to walk down permanently.

VP: What plans do The Booze have for the remainder of the year?

RM: We may release one more EP and close the curtain

VP: Five words each to sum up Electric Blue?

Becki: Blue, blue, electric blue. Hah!

RM: The Colour of My Room

Links

Electric Blue Myspace

The Booze Myspace

Into Cinders Myspace

Wallpaper

Bookmark and Share

BT Digital Music Awards 2008 -Thank you

In with a bullet! The VPME climbs this years digital music award chart! Click here for the results.


Not wanting to get all luvvy and Paltrow-esque, darlings, but I’d like to thank all the amazing bands who joined in plus big thanks to Mister Lion, Dogwood, Elz, Robb Dobbs, Laura and Ollie, Matt, Nick, Jason, Bethan E, Nicole, Rose, Alastair, Holly & Karen, Miki, Phil and Emma, Julia & Simon, JK, Neale, Marcella, Becki and not forgetting Dave (pronounced Ernst) and every one who joined in the reviews, and last but not least everyone who voted. Cheers, VP x

PS / Congratulations to the winner, not only have they provided a site worthy of winning, they have also dispelled the popular myth that Oasis fans can’t write 😉

Bookmark and Share

Stumble It!

All Dolled Up…Doll And The Kicks Interview

Doll And The Kicks (Brighton Source)

Original Photos By danbandalee

“If You Care” (Demo) By Doll And The Kicks

Am I a Sexist? This question has been bothering me since it was pointed out that I seem to interview more female fronted bands than male. When I was a young lad I had an implausibly huge poster of Debbie Harry on my bedroom wall, so I guess you could draw the conclusion that I was quite fond of attractive blonde ladies. Female friends have pointed out that her attractiveness was the only reason I had a poster on my wall, and that my objectification of Ms Harry was a disgrace and that I should be chemically castrated forthwith. “Cobblers!!” I retorted, I’ve always maintained that if Blondie hadn’t have been a great pop band, I certainly wouldn’t have blu-tacked a poster of Ms Harry (looking rather fine I must admit) on my wall, I justified this by saying that Samantha Fox also made pop records, and I of course didn’t have posters of her on my wall as her music was terminally sh*te, in one fell swoop I felt I had succinctly proved that it’s not just about having a pretty face. So there I was feeling rather smug and about to assume the moral high ground, when I was asked “If say, Thora Hird, had fronted a fantastic pop band, and had the voice of an angel would you have had a poster of her on your bedroom wall ? “ Erm, Well erm” I waffled , “it wouldn’t put me off the music, but I do have to sleep at night” I replied rather weakly , I then contrived to avoid the direct questions that followed but alas I came across as unctuous and as slippery as a byrlcreemed David Cameron greased with engine oil in a barrel of eels and olive oil, I had to concede rather grumpily that, no I wouldn’t have a poster of Thora on my wall, even if she did make the greatest pop records known to man, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t find her rather plain, homely features particularly alluring . So does this make me some sort of deviant sexist? I don’t think so, there’s nowt wrong with finding people attractive is there? It’s as much a part of life as breathing innit? What is attractive is a matter of personal preference anyway isn’t it? Pics of Thora may well drive some people wild with desire and have them indulging in a quick furtive trouser jostle over “Songs Of Praise” but rather like Peggy Mountor Joyce Grenfell she just didn’t make my aesthetic bell go dong . It’s fairly obvious that you can initially be drawn to a band without hearing a note, if they look the part, have a striking image (or even a manifesto?) But if the music craps your not gonna hang around too long to listen are you?

Now my latest interviewees have an attractive blonde lead singer, which is nice, but they also appear to be the real deal and have some cracking good tunes. The singer in question is known simply as Doll , and she looks like she wouldn’t tolerate any monkey business anyway, I’m sure she’d introduce your testicles to your Adams apple in double quick time with a swift kick should you step out of line. She is what I suppose some may term as sassy, but I don’t like that term, its far too American for me, I’ve never heard anybody I know use the word sassy in general conversation…..In America everything’s sassy . “Gee Bud this coffee sure is sassy” “Yo, Thad! My legs sure are feeling super extra sassy today.” Hey Velma, I have a real sassy lil map of a weird place they call…Europe…you heard of it ? ” Then again I suppose for a nation who routinely say “Yowsa Yowsa” and “Hubba Hubba Hubba” (what does that even mean) sassy is not their worst linguistic crime. Don’t get me wrong, I like America and Americans, I just haven’t a clue what they are on about… and American English has deflowered the English language like a group of superbad sports jock dudes at a cheer leaders summer camp…..I can remember the good olde days when the final episode of a TV series was called , well, “the final episode” now we have “Season Finales!!” The trailers for these are given the sort of reverence that was previously reserved for the Gettysburg Address “Three men, each with dream, each with a date with destiny as they dare to reach for the stars and undertake the ultimate roadtrip, and travel a road which will change them for ever … a treacherous journey  of self discovery which is embarked upon in… …an old tin bath …Don’t miss the “Last of the Summer Wine Season (104) Finale..  remember …Sky SuperPlus Digital HD Channel “Shite“is now THE ONLY place you can see “TLOTSW season finale” …but I digress. Doll and The Kicks disco tinted indie rock is gaining them a growing number of admirers, and their name is now being discussed with reverence  way beyond their Brighton base. They played Glasto last year and this year have consolidated their burgeoning reputation with a crowd pleasing set at Brighton’s Great Escape festival. Catchy searing guitar riffs, and thundering percussion are all underpinned by Dolls vocals, which can recall anything from a reflective Siouxsie Sioux to Gwen Stefani in a bit of a strop. Throw in a bit of Lena Lovich and Kate Bush add a small splash of Wendy James for “sassiness” (there I’ve said it, happy now?) and you have an intriguing musical cocktail. This band seem to have just the right balance of pop acumen and indie cool to appeal to all tastes and styles and it would appear the buzz that has recently surrounded them is gaining momentum and is transforming from polite appreciation to a healthy roar of approval.

Oh and extra kudos to Oliver who definitely has the biggest hair in pop this side of Leo Sayer. I had a chat with Doll and even got to call her Dolly once (which I think I got away with). I also tried to keep my inner Bernard Manning in check (I think everybody has had a little bit of Bernard inside them at some point …which actually is quite of horrible thought)

VP: Hello Dolly , In traditional fashion, shall we start by asking how you all met and how the band became the fully formed, well oiled beast that it now is?

DOLL : Basically Oliver and I met in class at College, I had made a cd of five of my songs and played them to anyone who would listen trying to entice possible band members. Oli was the first to sign up! Matt was a friend of our old bass players girlfriend (Oli was originally on Guitar when we were a five piece) and joined as replacement to Dan Logan (now playing with the kooks) who dumped us unceremoniously to join Cat the Dog! Chris was introduced to us by another friend and although he was also at the same college as Oli and I we didn’t know him.

VP: How did the name come about?

DOLL: I was a really big fan of The Foo Fighters when I was little in fact it was the first gig I ever attended at The Royal Court in Liverpool when I was 12 or 13 and Doll was the first track on The Colour and The Shape which i used to play repeatedly. Also when i was 7 and asked at school what i wanted to be when i grew up i said Madonna, i think it was because i liked that she only had one name, Doll follows suit. The Kicks is because the boys used to be in a can can troupe called “When the Wind Blows”.

VP: What are your plans for the remainder of 2008?

DOLL: We are in talks with a number of booking agents at the moment so thats the first thing. Plenty more song writing, we are always writing new stuff sometimes we have so many new songs we wonder how we will ever choose 12 for our first album! And just building a bigger fan base, we know that is the most important thing to us at the moment. We may also do a one off single release near to the end of the year.

VP: What have been your highlights as a band thus far?

DOLL: Being told that we were going to play on The BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury was a better day than actually being there because the weather was so atrocious and people at the festival looked like they were just trying their best to be happy! Although it was still obviously amazing and we did meet Peaches Geldof so it wasn’t all bad. (I know it’s hard to tell on written word but that was sarcasm).
The Great Escape a few weeks ago as well. We had an australian band The Boat People and a legendary promoter(who also happens to be a hugely entertaining man) Joel Ransom staying at our house so it all got a bit messy. Plus at our official gig at The Arc there were people queing up to get in and although we were playing first I figured everywhere would be full for the festival. It was a big eye opener when most people left right after we played! 😀

VP: Brighton (a bit like Liverpool , where I’m from) has a reputation for “fancying itself a bit” Would you say this is a bit unfair, and what’s the local scene like at the moment?

DOLL: Ha Ha! I am also a Liverpudlian, born and bred. Does that mean as I have lived in both places I fancy myself a bit? It probably does. I reckon I probably do. I do think though that in any city with fashion focus there are always going to be a lot of pretentious w*nkers who deem themselves too important to talk to anyone who doesn’t spray their jeans on and know the entire back catalogue of Sonic Youth. What they don’t understand is that you can still look like you just stepped off the pages of POP magazine, love sonic youth and not be an absolute c*nt.

VP: You played “The Great Escape” in Brighton recently how did it go? Any other bands make a big splash?

DOLL: Ohhhh i think i already mentioned this a little. Crystals Castles were great live. She dances like a mad person. I heart her. Also Joel recommended Mumford and Sons who i have to say are amazing. I think they are like English hillbiliies with a postgrad.

VP: What sort of music are you all influenced by?

DOLL: Oh dear we could be here a while. Um i have to say everything. Each of us has our background in something different. Olivier – SKA, Matt – Metal and old Rock, Chris – progressive post hardcore (yes that’s right) and me – Girly Grunge. But we collectively LOVE all music made in the eighties. We also unashamedly take influences from a lot of pop music. I’m going to see Girls Aloud on Friday, Biology is a work of genius.

VP: The music bizz is changing, it seems on a weekly basis, and do you think the industry is finding it hard to keep up?

DOLL: Yes definitely. It seems like everyone is panicking and no one in the industry knows what to do. Everyone trying different ways to make it work like private investments and the 360 degree model. No one really makes enough from music sales anymore, it’s all in live shows, product placement, merchandise and other such like. That’s why we are in no hurry to sign a contract with a record label unless it’s the perfect deal for us because these days you kind of don’t need one. What you need is finance and an amazing PR machine and there are certainly other avenues that can provide that.

VP: Tell us a joke?

DOLL : A blonde is overweight so her doctor put her on a diet.

“I want you to eat regularly for two days,” he tells her. “Then skip a day and repeat the procedure for two weeks. The next time I see you, you’ll have lost at least five pounds.”

When the blonde returns, she’s lost nearly four stone. “Why that’s amazing,” the doctor says. “Did you follow my instructions?”

The blonde nods. “I’ll tell you though, I thought I was going to drop dead that third day.”
“From hunger you mean?” Asks the doctor.
“No,” replies the blonde, “from skipping.”

Links

On Myspace

Doll And The Kicks CD is now available for you to purchase and savour via the miracle that is paypal! Only £3.50 including postage.
Tracklisting:
Always Been Her

In The Radio

Everything to Lose
BUY IT HERE


AND SIGN UP TO THEIR FACEBOOK GROUP HERE

VIDEOS

“Money” By Doll & The Kicks

“Heaven Help” By Doll & The Kicks

“Disco Queen” By Doll & The Kicks (Glasto 07)

“Roll Up The Red Carpet” By Doll & The Kicks

Wallpapers

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Double Trouble.. Hella Cholla Interview

“You’re the Kind Of Guy” By Hella Cholla

The male and the female? A harmonious blend of the ying and the yang, or polar opposites, from different planets, diametrically opposed in every way? Or is it all a myth in order to sell books about woman being from Venus and men being obsessed with Uranus? Are we really that dissimilar? Where do we differ? Or is the real truth that men are just annoying t*ts? Let’s look at the evidence. When I first co-habited I was shocked to find that upon putting my shirts into the laundry basket they had not magically transported themselves into my wardrobe, washed and freshly pressed a day or two later. This confused me, I panicked, “Arrrgh! What do I wear for work? I’ll have to take the day off and buy new ones!”… When I broached the subject…I was told in no uncertain terms, “I’m not your bloody slave, do your own washing and ironing!!” Was she serious?? How could I possibly do that? I had the next level of “Tomb Raider” to complete, and a rather pressing appointment with the couch from which I’d been looking forward to watching “The Great Escape “on TV again, I had memorised over 80% of the dialogue and intended to spend the afternoon committing the remaining 20% to memory. Alas I was unceremoniously frogmarched by my ear into the kitchen and after being formally introduced to something called “the washing machine” was given a reality check with regard to laundry and household tasks in general.

As I listened, sometimes in stunned silence I slowly began to understand. (“Alas how sad is wisdom when it brings no profit to the man that is wise”)…. The experience was almost as harrowing as finding Santa didn’t exist, and I was saddened that there appeared to be no magical laundry elves. Still reeling with shock I was then schooled in the mystical art of “Doing the Washing.” Despite having some teething problems such as my initial objections to separating the whites from the darks (“Isn’t this some sort of Wash Day Apartheid?”) or pondering weighty questions such as, “is pastel blue a light or a dark in washing terminology? What does one do with beige? And what the Rose Dougall is a “delicate cycle” I managed my first wash! – Ironing proved to be more fun then expected and allowed me to visually enhance my favourite joke “: Q- What goes ring ring – ARRRRRRRGH!!?...A: – David Blunkett, answering his iron.” Regardless of such side splitting japery my heroic wrestling with a shirt and attempts at ironing the unruly item were dismissed as “painful to watch” We also drew the line at me carrying out complex cooking duties (eg/ Boiling an egg) as my partner said she would like to “have something edible for dinner and live to see Christmas.” In spite of my best efforts she still harbours deep, ill-judged suspicions that men intentionally carry out certain household tasks somewhat kak-handidly to avoid being asked to contribute again. I maintain that I do my best and that she’s just a bit of a fuss-pot, I mean, so what if I don’t vacuum under the couch, who’s to know.? She did say “I’ll know” – my response? “Well I won’t tell if you won’t.” I could also never understand the anguished shriek of “Whose left butter on the butter knife!!” I mean if she’d have discovered engine oil on it, or a small talking tree frog called Horstz I could see the problem. Then she explained the source of irritation (me), which was, maybe I could think about washing it after I’d used it …Ohhhhhh! (*Light bulb appears above head*) I now of course often think about it. But notwithstanding these differences, there have always been men and woman, boys and girls, lads and lasses who want to spend time together, go for a walk, possibly do a spot of courting or maybe have a bite to eat. Often those who have food allergies do not seek pleasure in the gastronomic experience, instead they simply “sing” Many great musical duos careers have been forged on the anvil of the food intolerance. There’s been Peters And Lee, (allergic to carrots) The Carpenters, (allergic to eating) Peaches And Herb, (amusingly named after their allergies) Renée And Renato( Roll mop herrings) The Eurhythmics, (Haggis, smoked meats and Spit Roasted Midge Ure) More recently we have had The White Stripes,( Paul Newman’s Cajun Marinade Sauce) and The Ting-Tings (Scouse/Hotpot). It appears to work rather well though, yes there maybe rows on the tour bus about tidiness and towels but it is a price worth paying surely. One such duo that had been brought to our attention is “Hella Cholla”, a talented musical duo consisting of Hannah (21) who is a singer/songwriter with a love of storytelling and anecdotal lyrics, and Will (22) an intelligent songwriter and guitarist with big hair who has apparently, an “aversion to simple rhymes”. Their brand of fast paced pop was right up our street and made us dance about with glee whilst doing the dishes badly, dropping wet towels on the floor and singularly failing to vacuum behind the couch.

VP: Where did you meet and what’s the name all about?

HC: We met at 6th form college in Cambridge. Hannah sang on a cover of ‘Destiny’ by Zero 7 for Will. The musical relationship that bloomed was something quite beautiful.Will met Jon, the percussionist, at music college in Leeds and various other people have been drafted in from various other places but they are too many to list. ‘Hella Cholla’ means ‘hell of a small-time gangster’. It can also be used as an adjective – ‘That mexican hotdog stand is Hella Cholla’.

VP: How would you describe your music ?

HC: Flamenco Indie pop with soulful vocals and percussion.

VP: What have you released so far and what are your plans in the coming months ?

HC: Our debut, ‘You’re The Kind of Guy’ was released on Jan 28th on download (iTunes etc) on Killer Disc Records. We will have another one out in the summer!

VP: Whats been the most exciting thing you’ve done since being in a band (apart form this interview)?

HC: Annie Mac chose us to feature on an online advent calendar at Christmas. Playing at the Cockpit in Leeds and the Water Rats in Kings cross with some wicked bands. And we got played on BBC radio just the other day!

VP: Who do you both admire musically ?

Will: Rodrigo y Gabriela, Slow Club, Timbaland, Bowie loads but my mind has gone blank

Hannah: Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Bjork, Imogen Heap, Daft Punk, Justice.

VP: Is there such a thing these days as “good TV?”

HC: If we’re talking in terms of health, then no. Watching TV is much like eating a filthy donner kebab, but for your brain and eyes. Every so often there will be a good program – like a well-cooked premium kebab with fresh salad – but this is rare. Nostalgia also tells us that TV used to be good. It’s not really true. It’s always been bad for you. Will really loves Chuck and Doctor Who though, the massive geek. Hannah likes a healthy balance of Blackadder, Have I Got NewsFor You, Sex and the City and Top Gear. We don’t practice what we preach.

VP: Do you Myspace or facebook and why ?

HC: We’re slags for both. Especially with that new Facebook instant messaging thing? Its like MSN rolled in as well. An amazing way to waste a day of work.

VP: What’was your last musical purchase ?

HC: Will bought Timbaland – Shock Value and Hannah bought the new Hot Chip album.

VP: Facial hair , should it be legalised ?

HC: We would say it should be legalised. However, only on men and only above the point where the face meets the neck. Not below. I won’t get drawn into any debate about any other kind of beard. A beard without a moustache is wrong. A moustache on its own is acceptable in some circles. Mostly cowboys. Sucking a moustache is morally reprehensible. If seen, this activity can be scarring for women and children.

VP: What are the five most pointless things in the world ?

Will: 1) QVC, 2) Most of the products on QVC, 3) Toenail growth 4) Whingeing 5) Earwigs, bloody earwigs. Smelly little buggers and they can give you a right nasty nip.

Hannah’s Online Poker Fake plants and flowers Ugly architecture Awkward small talk Tattoos, such as chinese symbols, that the owner doesn’t understand

Links On Myspace

BUY THE SINGLE OUT NOW ON Hella Cholla - You're the Kind of Guy - Single

Videos

“Apostrophe ” By Hella Cholla

Wallpaper