Tales From The Dark Side – Santa Dog Interview

“Chemical” By Santa Dog

Bristol’s Santa Dog produce an accomplished, glistening sound with razor sharp guitar riffs and have in front person and lyricist, Rowena Dugdale a vocalist who conjures up the ghosts of Harriet Wheeler and Sonya Aurora Madan. It’s been said that Santa Dog sound a little like Britpop bands such as Echobelly and Sleeper crossed with the polished guitar jangle of the Smiths, whilst adding into the mix a liberal dash of the lyrical darkness of Throwing Muses tempered with the sweetness of The Sundays. I can concur with some of these comparisons to a degree, although Rowena certainly has a stronger and more tuneful voice than Kristen Hersh’s menacing growls and primal yelps, but I really can’t see the Sleeper connection(cue Elastica joke) After a good few listens of Santa Dog’s debut album “Kittyhawk” you`ll start to notice a darker side lurking just beneath the shimmering pop tunes . Dugdale’s lyrics are very much of the here and now, there are deft references to the paranoia of the modern world and how technology can enslave as much as it can liberate “computers die/and data lies /your iris pattern doesn’t match your eyes “- “Big Bang. ” Certainly some songs appear to contain oblique yet poetic Orwellian references that conjure up images of a society manipulated by the media and watched over by the state “I tune into the TV station /and get brainwashed with the rest of the nation/I’m so caught up with what I’m thinking/My minds full but my body’s aching” –“Belle De Jour.”

It’s an album that reveals more and more of its inner layers after repeated playing and Dugdale’s edgy lyrics and thematics make for an intense but hugely enjoyable experience. Tracks such as “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah ” “Big Bang” “Chemical” and “Belle De Jour” really should be on national radio on a regular basis instead of the usual misogynistic, booty obsessed self parodying cobblers that Hippty Hop has become. It defies logic that our national radio stations play this sort of guff, when we have intelligent, vibrant homegrown bands like Santa Dog just waiting to be discovered ….but I digress.

Rowena dropped by VP Towers to have a chat about weighty matters such as music/ technology/global warming and of course, has light entertainment in the UK ever recovered from the horrifying revelation that “Wee Jimmy Krankie” was actually not a cheeky Glaswegian school boy, but was in reality a grown woman of 60 !!! Forget the recent “Blue Peter Cat” scandals, this was the deception of a nation…….. It’s a twisted world…..

VP: How did the band get together?

Rowena (RD) : It’s been a jigsaw that has fitted together over time….me and Rob met over 10 years ago in Edinburgh, we met Martin in the pub a couple of years ago and bonded over discussing the finer merits of Prefab Sprout, and Steve (bass) is the newest addition, he joined this summer (luckily he likes the Sprout too).

VP: What have you released thus far Ms Rowena ?

RD : We self-released 3 EPs in 2005 and 2006, Delicate, Chemical, and Belle de Jour. Our first single – Big Bang (7″) was released July 2007 by SoundsXPerience and KittyHawk, the debut album was released June 2007 by Quince Records, in Japan.

VP : Any up coming live performances?

RD : We’re looking forward to supporting former VPME interviewees Canadian popsters Pony Up at Bristol’s Louisiana on 5th Nov. On 1st Dec we’re playing an afternoon event curated bySoundsXPerience @ ROTA – Notting Hill Arts club in London. New Years Eve we’re playing Bristol again – Klub Kute at The Cooler. We also have some Italian shows next year:
14 Feb at Lego, Cesena, Italy
15 Feb at Vibra, Modena, Italy
17 Feb at Mattatoio, Carpi, Italy

VP : How did you go about getting your excellent album “Kittyhawk” released ?

RD: Fortuitously, Japanese label Quince emailed us just as we were scratching our heads about what to release next, whether to do a single or another EP. Their backing gave us the confidence to launch into recording our debut album. They gave it full release in Japan, which was exciting for us, it’s available over here as import.

VP: What’s the Bristol music scene like at present ? Any bands you’d recommend?

RD: I’m a big fan of the Bristol scene, there’s a lot going on, but in true Bristol style a lot of it is under the radar. Countryside are one of our favourites, along with Safetyword, Babel, You and the Atom Bomb, Seagull Strange and the Wraiths.

VP: And the music scene in general at the moment? A clean bill of health or in need of major surgery?

RD : My eyes have been well and truly opened in the last couple of years to the way the industry works in terms of plugging/PR/hype. My previously innocent and naive belief that bands rose to the top purely through talent/deservedness has been well and and truly kicked into touch. It’s a grubby business and I can’t see that ever changing but there are some truly wonderful bands around at the moment and thanks to sites like myspace more people have access to them without needing to read about them in the press first.

VP : Pop Idol, X factor, American Idol , Singing Taxi Drivers On Ice etc . It has been said that shows such as this have turned the country into a huge medieval village that enable us to stand around in the village square and laugh at the fools? What do you think of shows such as this?

RD : Putting aside the analysis – watching the auditions makes for great telly. It’s all about entertainment rather than music…. a ridiculous ego-driven pile of pomp. It spawned Girls Aloud though and they do great pop!

VP: Global warming , should we be worried , or should we just leave it in Bono’s god like hands ?

RD : Ha ha, don’t leave it to that gurning monkey, he’ll accidently drop it whilst adjusting his thinning locks in the mirror. Interesting that Al Gore’s video has been causing a stir amongst educationalists in schools over here. They may call it alarmist but sometimes you need to exaggerate the facts and go over the top to make a point. We should all be worried.

VP: Technology – has it made music more accesible or more disposable . whats your view on how the internet has influenced the whole muisc scene over the last 7-8 years

RD : More accessible I think. From a personal point of view, networking sites like Myspace have been amazing – we have been able to organise gigs so much more easily than before and thanks to worldwide blogs we sold more EPs abroad than over here. Transpose that to the whole scene in general and that’s a whole lot of bands grabbing the DIY ethic by the horns rather than waiting from a phonecall from The Man.(Who ? me ? ) As for disposability – blame the majors for their spit-em-out mentality. Why has longevity become a dirty word?

VP: Five words to desribe how you feel today

RD: Happy, craving, cold, autumnal, musical

VP : Twas a pleasure


On Myspace

Official Site

Kittyhawk -The album


UK stockists
direct from their website
Rough Trade
Norman Records


USA stockists
Darla Records


Japanese stockists
Quince Records
Tower Records


Big Bang – 7″ single



UK stockists
Sounds eXPerience
digital download


“Big Bang” By Santa Dog



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“All People Who See Us Love Us”-The Svengalis Interview

“Sting In The Tale ” By The Svengalis

Like most young chaps it would be right to assume that London based band the Svengalis like a good time. Their single “A Sting In The Tale” would indeed appear to confirm this view, it’s a gloriously fast paced romp through pop/punk/indie which is guaranteed to put a smile on the listeners face. Comparisons to bands such as The Libertines or The Arctic monkeys are quickly dispelled when you realise that this band have a sense of fun and are unlikely to disappear up there own bottoms. There is a fresh and raw edge to their sound, and a quick glance at their myspace page indeed appears to confirm the fear that they may be slightly bonkers , but also that they are having, what our American chums refer to as, “a Blast.” In my day having a blast meant a puff on a Capsten Full Strength, (unfiltered of course, I don’t much hold with this filtered nonsense, that’s for nancy boys and scardy cats) half a pint of mild, a game of dominoes, a chat about tarmac and possibly the sight of a dainty well turned ankle, but I digress . The Svengalis are another band whom deserve a wider audience , yet will they get it ? On the evidence of what we have heard thus far one would certainly hope so . The VPME is well known for its criticism of the lack lustre attitude of the music business and the total absence of imagination there within. The promotion of talentless meat puppets really gets on our dander , but now with myspace and the much hyped social networking phenomenon (do, doo, de doo do) bands with talent, energy and belief have the chance of gaining a wider audience. We believe this can only be good for music and we believe in The Svengalis and you should too …………..

Lets see what the young tykes have to say for themselves ….

VP: Ok what’s the story where did you all meet up?

Svengalis : There was a sign in the street, it said “Form band” – we were the closest 4 to it when it appeared, so here we are now. This is true. Ask Steve Lamacq, he was there.

VP: You’ve released the extremely catchy “Sting In The Tail” Through VILLAINS AND ROGUES How difficult is it for unsigned bands to get a record out these days?

Jim: I’d only do it if you’ve got time and cash, neither of which we had! Still, it’s fun and things turn out how you want them to if you do it yourself.

VP: Your Myspace page lists you as ” Indie / Soul / Punk” which in my book is a right good mix and no mistake guv. What sort of music inspires you?

Jonah: I like the Pipettes, but I’m still not sure if that’ s acceptable for a lad.
Mart: Violent Femmes, All the Factory Boys and Girls, Mucha, Modern Lovers – don’t think we sound like any of them though…
Jim: Barry White, Radiohead and Tatu.

VP : Is it not true that you have chums in other hotly tipped bands too? Who besides your good selves would you say are “the bands most likely to” in the coming year or so?

Jonah: Del Nil
Jim: Blah Blah Blah?

VP: What’s next on the agenda for The Svengalis?

Mart: Couple of gigs supporting Cajun Dance Party and then some studio time to get some more tracks on demo.
Jim: Who knows? We don’t, it’s always an adventure on our musical rollercoaster…

VP : What do you make of this so called “social networking” malarkey?

Jonah: Ah, wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t get all those requests from crap bands all the time? Anyone else get the request from the guy who used to be in Shalamar? Us – Shalamar. NO connection.

Jim: To be fair, if we were organised we’d spam people with friend requests too. Hooray for our shambolicness!

VP : Jack Peñantes shoes? Are they nice?

Jonah: They’re pretty sexy, me and Saul bought some fake replicas in Chinatown, Malaysia, but they made our feet melt so the dream’s over.

VP : Many bands from London and the south find the north of England a frightening, intimidating place full of flat caps, whippets and men with large rough hands, do you share this fear? Or can’t you wait to get out on your Svengali love bus and spread the word through the medium of music?

Jim: Jonah’s on a personal mission to spread love wherever he finds it, he’s not bothered about whether they have rough hands or not.
Mart: We already played Sheffield – it was great. Life is conspiring against us playing Leeds – we’ve been booked twice but had to cancel both. One day maybe!

VP: Who’d be your ideal support band or indeed band to support ?

Jonah: The Pipettes
Saul: Mr Hudson and the Library

VP : In five words sum up what a night out with the Svengalis would entail

The Svengalis : Every crime known to man


On myspace

Official Site

We’re also on a sick compilation that you can buy here:

Want more free downloads from The Svengalis?
Try here.

Video Snippet

Live instore -that is all I know !


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“Signed Sealed And Delivered”-Envelopes Interview

“Party” By Envelopes

Swedish group Envelopes make a thrillingly raucous, off kilter noise. Part Pixies part Hives, part Talking Heads they take inspiration from their influences and put their own “stamp” on their sound. Their pop/punk guitars and shimmering keyboard riffs will have you pogoing with delight , whilst Henrik Orrlings vocals may well recall David Byrne at his most barkingly mad (which was of course when he was at his best.)

There’s very little chance of you listening to the Envelopes and remaining “stationery” , they really are a “first class” band . Whichever way you look at it, Envelopes have it licked! ( Note I resisted all temptation to make any puns regarding envelopes, office supplies or the postal service. I’m rather proud of my considerable restraint !) Henrick popped into VP Towers for a chat and some lingenberry juice….

VP: How did you all meet what’s the story ?

Henrik: They are all my friends from the begining. It was I that brought them together. None of them knew each other, but this band gradually aggregated and when it was time to have a drummer or a bass player I asked some old friends who I thought would be good. Filip and I share best friends.Audrey and I met at a party. At first if was a holiday project. Then it became more serious as a record company got involved.

VP: Talk us through what you have released thus far and what future plans you have in terms of touring, single and album releases etc

Henrik: We have released one album , “Demon” , some 7 inches from that one, one seperate single, “Freejazz”, and more 7 inches from what is gonna be the next album. That album is called “Here Comes The Wind” and its out in January. We don’t make too many plans ‘cos they just keep changing all the time. We might tour if the weather is fine. We will try to be more and more hi fi as the years pass.

VP: Who would you describe as your major musical influences?

Henrik: Pixies, Talking Heads, Belle and Sebastian, Bob Hund .

VP:What is it about Sweden that seems to enable you to consistently produce such great singers/bands?

Henrik: The same that enables us to produce excellent poker players??

VP: The Internet ? good bad or ugly?

Henrik: I couldn’t live without it, so what do you do ??..?

VP: Tell us about any bands within the current scene you admire

Henrik: Well, i think Late of the Pier is a really interesting band. Very funny song structures and a lot of ideas. I have always been a fan of the Smiths as well.

VP: In your opinions what are the five greatest albums ever ?

Henrik: Today I’ll say:
“Songs Of Love And Hate”: Leonard Cohen
“Chutes Too Narrow”: the Shins
“Low” : David Bowie
“Bob Hund”: Bund Hund
“Fear Of Music”: Talking Heads

VP: What’s the best and indeed the worst movie you have ever sat through?

Henrik: Best : The American Friend : Wim Wenders
Worst: Mortal Combat 3: By ????

VP: When you’re not Envelopes what do you do ?

Henrik: I’m moving to Berlin, Fredrik is working at the docks, Audrey is dubbing movies and computer games, Filip is looking for a job and Uffe is a carpenter.

VP: Sum up life in The Envelopes in five words beginning with “R”

Henrik; You should pick another letter!!!

On Myspace

Official Site

“Life On The Beach” By Envelopes


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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)

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…

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?

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…

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.

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!!)


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.



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

“Judy” By The Pipettes

“Dirty Mind” By The Pipettes


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VP:Highlights Of 2007? When Where and Why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On Myspace

Official Site

US Release



“Add Your Light To Mine Baby” By Lucky Soul

“Lips Are Unhappy” By Lucky Soul



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24 Hour Arty People? – The Bauer Interview


“Gone” By Bauer

Manchester based band Bauer have everything in their arsenal to be up there with the likes of Radiohead, Keane and Snow Patrol. They’ve got guitarist, Mikey, with poster boy looks whose playing style pisses on most of current NME “Stadium Indie Identikit Mob.” They have a lead singer in Greg, whose soaring vocals make many of his contemporaries sound like they gargle razor blades every morning, and of course they’ve got the songs that knock most other bands into the proverbial cocked hat.

Their sound is big and anthemic, but without being impersonal or cynical. It conjures up past Mancunian greats such as the Smiths, The Duratti Column, Magazine, Puressence and Joy Division/New Order but with a hint of the modern pop sensibilities of Keane and Ian Broudie. Listen to songs like “Connected” “Don’t You Move” or “Gone” and get swept away by glorious soundscape that is Bauer.

So What’s It All About ? We spoke to Bauer at a top secret location to find out more…

7th August 2007 16:53 pm (This interview takes place in real time)

16:54-VP: Ok so what’s the Bauer story, how did you all meet, what was the name change all about?

16:56 -Bauer: Ok Bauer, Bauer…we all saw each other one day in a canteen and just decided “I know, let’s form a band.” – yeah, we had a different name once upon a time. But a major record label made us change it. Yes, we’ve had our dealings with the devil.

16:58-VP: So Bauer isn’t named after CTU’s finest, Jack, from TV’s “24”
16:59- Bauer: No. Think more Jeans Team electro heaven.

17:00-VP: You’ve released a fantastic EP on Naz recordings and are now gearing up to release your official debut single. What’s the news? Will you be touring?

17:01-Bauer: We’ll be doing a couple of single launch nights in Manchester and London…as for touring. It seems that booking agents have been sleeping…WAKE UP!

17:02-VP: In your time you’ve played with some pretty big bands such as The Ordinary Boys, Snow Patrol, and Brendan Benson. What have been your highlights thus far?

17:03-Bauer: Putting on our own nights are always the most enjoyable for us – it’s great because we can pick the support bands and have a choice in what songs get played in-between acts. We like to have control!

17:04-VP: What do you think of the current music scene?

17:05-Bauer: Same as it always is. Lots of bands trying to sound like whatever the NME is writing about at the moment and not taking their own musical path.

17:06-VP: You’ve mentioned in your prodigious blogging that you feel you don’t quite fit into the current Manchester scene. Could you expand on that?

17:07-Bauer: We’ve never fitted in with the Manchester scene – pretty much because, although we’re roughly based in Manchester. We’re not really a Manchester band (whisper it) I was born in Denmark, Greg and Neil are very much Lancashire…with Lee being the only bona fide Manc…So many recent “next big thing” bands from the Manchester scene have split up because they haven’t got the stomach for it…you will find that we have always had the same game plan and we will stick to it.

17:09-VP: My space? Saviour of Indie music or the fruit of Lucifer’s own satanic gonads?

17:10-Bauer: 2004-2006 – Great
2007 onwards…Losing its way as the virus devils and advertising corporation take a hold.

17:11-VP: Which bands/artists have been the major influences on you all ?

17:12-Bauer: Melody – the songs of Brian Wilson & John Lennon.
In the middle – Synth heroes Depeche Mode + Classic pop.
Rhythm and down below – New Order, Electronic.

17:13-VP: And to the future, how far off is a debut album?

17:15-Bauer: We’re only thinking about the next 2 singles for the time being. The music industry is changing so fast, we’ve found that within the release of our E.P from last year and next single package, we’ve already put out enough songs to make up an album…ask Ash about their next album 😉

17:16-VP: Sum yourselves up in five words

17:17 -Bauer: Genius melodic synth pop heroes.


(thanks To CTU Field op. Elz Russell)


Official Site

Bauer On Myspace


“Connected ” By Bauer