Hailing from Brittany, Soon, She Said make "beautiful noise". You've guessed, it's all about Shoegaze and Dream Pop noise for this lot. The band have just released their début LP and so our second favorite(!) French writer Corentin caught up with the band. If you're an in-depth Shoegazer then this interview is one for you. Soon, She Said...
Reading around, you seem to be huge fans of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and other Sarah Records artists to name a few. But there's an affiliation to more contemporary bands in the likes of Nothing and Whirr... // Whirr and Nothing are more obvious references since we were listening to them constantly when Soon, She Said started. We can't deny the Slowdive reference. Especially on a song like Blue. The Cocteau Twins reference was not an obvious starting point for us, neither was the Sarah Records one. But it's flattering. There are bands very few people know but that influenced us: Sway and their amazing EPThe Millia Pink And Green which was released in 2003. It's absolutely beautiful.
This first effort is called The First Casuality of Love Is Innocence. Isn't it a reference to teenage crushes and the learning process of love and relationships? // The title is definitely a nod at losing people and getting over with it. There is of course the Shoegaze recurrent themes of innocent love songs. The songs deals with how people meet, love each other, hate each other, break up and get better after. These kind of things start when you're a teenager but they can and do happen when you are older. But I keep being fascinated with relationships and how it can affect us.
"People tend to think that you buy a bunch of cool guitars, the right reverb, the right fuzz and go"!
There's sometimes a criticism about Dream Pop and Shoegazing that it lacks variety and buries itself in a certain cliché of its music. Yet, one of the major strengths of your album is that you find a way to have an alternation between nonchalant tunes and ones with a brisker pace... // You may be right for the cliché about shoegazing. People tend to think that you buy a bunch of cool guitars, the right reverb, the right fuzz and go! Some people do it brilliantly, even in the more recent shoegaze scene. But sometimes you end up with noise and no songs. We tend to still hesitate between heavier and poppier sounds. As we were making the album, the heavier tunes came first and later, the lighter, poppier tunes were written. It may be the reason why even if you clearly hear the references, we tried to do it “with a twist”.
With the resurgence of the Shoegazing movement it seems like the scene is growing in significance. What's your position on it? Pure revivalism or a way for bands to contribute to the building of the house? // You can't deny there's been a solid revivalism for the last 5 years. It started with MBV but they have always been idolized. I'm very happy for Slowdive because everyone picked on them in the 90's and now people are waiting for their new album. Still, I believe that people have always been making great Shoegaze albums ever since the movement appeared in the 1990's. There's certainly nostalgia for people in their late 30's and 40's, but younger people listen to the genre and some of them decide to form a band. For me that's what music is all about. You listen to a record that blows your mind and you want to grab a guitar and write music...
"A lot of Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands make beautiful noise. This constant border between dissonant sounds, swelling effects and simple, naive melodies"
You describe your music as "Beautiful Noise". Explain this to Third Outing readers? // Well the various effects that we use make our music sound noisy, blurry, ghostly. Still we hope that you can find some beauty in these sounds colliding. You're absolutely right about the reference to this Shoegaze documentary which came out a couple of years ago. The title of this documentary sums it up perfectly: a lot of Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands make beautiful noise. This constant border between dissonant sounds, swelling effects and simple, naive melodies.
You have been working with the French record label Monopsone for this LP? How come and how did it go?Someone came to a show we played a year ago in our hometown. They liked the songs and contacted us to see if we were looking for a label. I said of course, but I was not expecting much. A month later we got contacted by the Monopsone crew and we agreed to release an album with them. The people are really passionate and cool guys.
Let's talk quickly about the Nothing collective who are producing some of the more exciting Shoegazing acts, is something likely to happen with them? // We are “part” of the collective. Yann, the guy behind Nothing is busy with his own stuff at the moment. We played at the first edition of the festival in Rennes in 2016 and we also played with The Same Old Band and Soft Blonde in Paris last November. I'm sure there will be some cool news very soon and a new compilation.
Figmennt have finally released their highly anticipated début EP nearly two years after their arrival on the scene. Doing their best to keep the spirit of 80's shoegaze alive, with their sharp ear for synth pop and indie music aside we ask; whatever happened to Figmennt?
Two years ago at Third Outing HQ we were saying; "Figmennt, this band is going to be huge"..."Figmennt, let's set up a label and release these guys first". Then suddenly, radio silence. Nothing was to be heard after their promising debut release She. Figmennt disappeared. The Northern revolution was well and truly finito. So, then imagine our surprise to hear the release of a new Figmennt EP after an almost two year hiatus? We were bewildered. This is how it goes...
Loads of reverb? Check. A light wash of feedback? Check. Fuzztone guitars? Check. Plip-plop bass, drums like a child bashing a tin of sweets with a stick and production that sounds like it comes from a five grand studio a day? Check, check, check. Here's the deal with Figmennt. You can't really pigeonhole them. Are they C86 revisited or shoegazing with a pop sensibility? Quite possibly both. The band's music is altogether lighter and brighter than their shoeagaze classmates. But it's clearly poppier and still very predictable.
Figmennt have taken their time to make this record. They've binned previous attempts and created new ideas based on their developing relationships and live performances. But for a record which has taken so long to release, the sound is still very 1990's rather than 2017. You ask yourself if this release could really add anything to the current British alternative music scene? We're only half questioning. Figmennt aren't the kind of band who follow trend.
As a whole the EP stands its ground. The wall of noise is well balanced with subtle sounds, and there's a decent effort on the vocals which don't overly overpower the music. But there's work left to do. Take our recent interview with Ulrika Spacek who combine melody with noise perfectly. Figmennt haven't reached this level yet. But then despite the years down the line, let's remember this is only the follow up. And we should all embrace, and brace. Figmennt are back! So, with more than two years under our belts since we last conversed, we got back in touch with the Northern boys from Figmennt to find out about all new things from the EP release to their musical ambitions...
You were one of the first bands to feature on Third Outing two years ago. How has Figmennt evolved in that time? Our sound has changed quite a bit, we’ve ditched some old songs from our set that we feel didn’t really show our sound. We’ve been gigging a lot and we’ve all grown up a bit really. All of our music tastes have changed slightly as well and that probably has a big impact on our song writing. One of the biggest things that has evolved since we first started the band is how close we are now, our first band practice was only about the third time we’d met each other.
Being where you are as a band, do you feel pressure to musically innovate? Definitely, but we suppose that’s what every band wants to do; create a noise that no one has heard before.We have similar music tastes but we also all listen to very different music, so when we write we gather influence from different genres and then combine them. By no means do we think that what we are playing is something never heard before, but we like to think that our sound stands out from the rest of the music you might hear at the moment.
The last time we spoke you said "the EP is coming within' the next months; expect ambient drones and fuzzy guitar". That was two years ago...We’d recorded a few more tracks around the time we recorded She, then we started gigging and writing more and our sound just changed, we didn’t love the music we’d first wrote as much as we thought we did and we started dropping them from our set as we wrote new songs. We felt as though they weren’t good enough to release. We wanted to play songs that created a more intense atmosphere when we were playing them live and get the crowd moving. Today and Fold are the only two tracks on our EP that were written around the time we released She.
"We want more people to listen to our music across the country"
What were your emotions like once the album was finally online? It was a huge relief, we stressed over it a lot and lost a bit of motivation. We’re very pleased about the reception. It’s inspired us to get into the studio again and we’re planning to release more tracks in the summer that we’re very excited for people to hear.
So then what's the new ambition for Figmennt? We want more people to listen to our music across the country, so that we can start thinking about doing a tour and hopefully a few festivals; we’d love to travel with our music. We’ve played a lot around Teesside and really enjoy it, but the furthest we've traveled for a gig is Leeds or Newcastle so we’d really love to broaden our audience.
Flitting between sugar-rush pop-punk, faintly pre-Beatles 50's rock'n'roll and hints of the boomy drama 60's garage, there's a few moment where The Band Ice Cream really have hit the spot. One of the weirdest, but greatest, to make a blast on Third Outing
Really, one of the weirdest. And yet some of their songs are, surprisingly, so melodic and so sweet. The goofy San Francisco-based group The Band Ice Cream have just released their latest record Classically Trained. On first listen you think, "wow, that's all oddly professional", which somewhat deflates the allure of the whole gig being some kind of "wild-abandon-whatever" thing.
What the band do manage to do with the record is infuse their profane three-chord rackets with abundance. Really, so much more personality and imagination than most of the other punksters out there. Take Jerk It Off, Get Rich and Thoughts We Had, The Band Ice Cream clearly are a melting-pot pop band, toying with the genres and the textures. It's a good sound which matches a very good image.
So yes, their music can be characterized by their unpretentious simplicity and the boldness of their attack, and although any in depth analysis of a band like this seems kind of wasted, they do what they do, you probably should just listen to The Band Ice Cream and enjoy. Because after all, it's only music. Here's a weird interview with the band...
The Band Ice Cream in one sentence? Terrible human beings playing terrible music.
What does Classically Trained mean to you? Obedience and discipline towards your lover.
Three songs which have influenced the record? Burndt Jamb by Weezer since it's so beautiful but also gets thick // Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson since it's melodically captivating // It Hurts To Be Alone by The Wailing Wailers because we try to sing like that guy (not Bob Marley) everyday in the van.
Is there a story which epitomises the band's spirit? Let's hold hands and dance and pray. Our prayers are all we have in the aftermath. The van will leave without you and drive itself across the globe. See you on the moon. Meet you back in San Francisco.
What was the most fun part of creating this new record? Yelling "jerk it off" on blast in a tiny recording dungeon in the middle of the tenderloin at 2am.
We think Get Rich is the best track...Get Rich was originally a poem I wrote called Artist Complex. It just sometimes sucks how if you're trying, or do, see yourself as a so called artist you feel some kind of pressure to take the ingredients of your life, sometimes really fucked up shit, and try to make a fucking pie out of it through song or paint or whatever the outlet may be. It's just a song pointing out that pressure and how people who think of themselves in this light almost start to welcome misery.
Ulrika Spacek are about to release their latest record Modern English Decoration via Tough Love, and the new album by the boys from Reading must be described as the prolonged continuation of their impressive début The Album Paranoia. Let's investigate.
Sometimes, it can be hard to feel optimistic about rowdy, new, guitar music. So much sounds grubby and calculated, grabbing at the receding coat-tails of past fads. And then you come across a band like Ulrika Spacek. Everything’s in the red, the guitars sound as if they've wondered what it would sound like if you layered 60's garage rock, a bit of Deerhunter, a spot of shoegaze, some Nirvana, Neil Young's high vocals and the odd fuzzy amp on top of each other.
Yes, Ulrika Spacek manage to combine melody with noise.
Their latest record Modern English Decoration, as a whole, is an unpredictable fulfilment of an unforeseen whim. It's also the continuation of The Album Paranoia, carefully balancing between soaring melodies, heavy repetitive riffs, sprawling sounds and quiet ballads. Indeed, the transition between Everything All The Time and Modern English Decoration showcases the band's wide range of sounds, from the heavy to the soft and intimate. It's like a new and creative take on psych-rock. It captures the essence of a band which simply make the music that they want. And that's clearly not as easy at it sounds.
So we decided to talk to one of the band's many Rhys - of course, two founding members are both called Rhys - to talk about the imagination of a band who can do it all, their spot KEN where they create and shape their songs, and the usual Third Outing topics we like to cover in our interviews! Here's the interview with Rhys from Ulrika Spacek...
"We are just big believers in the notion that the most magic in an idea is when it is first written"
Hello Rhys from Ulrika Spacek! We like that you don't seem to overthink your music. What triggers your imagination and how do you translate it into music and sounds? I think it's the sounds that triggers our imagination, really. We often collect little field recordings of guitar ideas, then in the process of making a song kind of put certain things together like a collage. We certainly try not to overthink and do believe that making decisions quickly and intuitively can be very beneficial. We don't "jam" in our records, most of the textures are quite considered.
You leave space for improvisation and experimentation, though. Was it challenging to choose what to use on the album or did it come more naturally? We are just big believers in the notion that the most magic in an idea is when it is first written. We tried to capture that feeling in our records. If someone is playing something for the first time and hits a wrong note, is it really a "wrong" note. Finding which parts of the record should be more free and which bits more regimented is a challenge, but something we go with via intuition.
Is genre something you think about when making music? No. We are definitely aware of the different genres that we have been labelled with, though. If we are an amalgamation of those then it feels like you are bringing something new to the table. When we talk about our favourites bands we never think about what genre they are, more that we love the little world they make.
Who are your role models for melodic songwriting, then? Neil Young taught me that singing in a higher register and sounding a bit whiney transfers more emotion than just singing in a comfortable register. Yo La Tengo take melodic song writing to another level on various parts of their records, too.
"At the moment we just want to make the best records we can make in the context of it being harder than ever to pay rent."
So can you tell us what KEN is? The shell of a victorian terrace house filled with boxes and things left by past tenants. You never know what you are going to find next. Up until recently, we had a cake in the cupboard with a sell by date of 1997, but strangely no mould! The living room had the floor ripped up and was turned into an art gallery until the guy got thrown out. We've since moved in with our music stuff and record from here.
If we give you a £100, a packet of cigarettes and a Stone Roses hat, how do you think the night would go?
We would definitely spend the money on a good time, smoke the cigarettes and the hat would probably end up somewhere in KEN.
Who would win in a master chef style cooking contest between Ulrike Meinhof and Sissy Spacek. And what would their signature dishes be? Ulrike would win! Hard boiled eggs, toast and spreewald pickles smuggled from the East. That is pretty much our diet at the moment actually.
©Photography by Noémie Le Calvez
Rennes is France's capital city of Indie Rock 'n' Roll, where local Indie outfit Born Idiot have just released their début record Afterschool. We sat down with front man Lucas to discover more from their love of Beach Fossils to having a drink with Mac Demarco...
Hello Lucas of Born Idiot, introduce the band for us? Born Idiot are an indie pop band from France. Most compositions go back to my folk-guitar boredom and chaotic moments, throw in with some jazz chords, pop melodies and an ingenuity omnipresent all over the album. Our four other band mates Tiago, Louis, Camille and Clément also bring a certain colour to each arrangement. Simply give it a listen.
Let's talk about Afterschool. Are we hearing Third's favourite Mac DeMarco there? It's always a difficult one to answer because influences are very fleeting in my opinion. I mean, you listen to a song that you really dig and then you forget it. But that very song will stay with you in a certain way and can possibly resurge as an influence when you will be composing in the future. Mac Demarco, as well as lots of Captured Tracks signatures, are clearly bands which inspire me. But I will say it again, when I create music, I rely only on instinct.
Would you call Afterschool a care free record? Or what feel were you going for? Totally, it’s just unbearable to see bands taking themselves too seriously, though we don't do everything carelessly. The whole theme around Afterschool is pretty simple. It depicts some nostalgia of our roaring teenage years and also that time inevitably runs away. Our main goal is to remain dumb and childish as long as possible, because it's certainly easier to live with!
It feels like you made a clear choice with the vocals. "Pure and upfront". Was that a natural choice? That's a good question. There's major development between our first singles and the album. I made the choice to fully assume my voice accepting its drawbacks and other qualities and also singing closer to the microphone. Not to mention pavoiding using loads of effects. We really committed to giving an authentic and live-recording aspect on the record, which kind of breaks away from normal recording methods nowadays.
"We're not doing this by egocentricity, but only
because we need some form of detachment.
That's what surely makes us an indie band"
Do you have a favorite track on the record? I'd go for Teenbox because it gathers all our spirits and influences on a 6 minute track. This tune moves from a melancholic waltz to something more binary, tougher, with touches of psychedelia. We really let ourselves go and we are rather proud of this one.
Rennes' current music scene is flying. There's Totorro, HER... How do you fit into this one? Rennes’ music scene is pretty rich, you're right. But we're not actually trying to identify with any movement or whatever. With Born Idiot we're hitting the road and we just don't care what's happening around. We're not doing this by egocentricity, but only because we need some form of detachment. That's what surely makes us an indie band, right? Besides the fact that our album was completely self-produced.
Which band or artist would you love to play with the most in the near future? Beach Fossils or Mild High Club. It could just be amazing. But there really are just too many bands we wish we could share the stage with.
Bare Pale's upcoming EP Be Where I Am is a dissonant and distorted piece of work, floating between My Bloody Valentine and bedroom Pop
A few years have gone by since the release of If It Is, but Matthew Rickelton has remained faithful to his ethos: churning lo-fi bedroom Pop style gems. He is a purveyors of a melodic, fuzzy and washed-out sounds. The opener You Owe Me buzzes lazily with youthful zest and confused dreams sounding like it was recorded from beneath a blanket. Your Name is a monolithic skewed guitar pop with ethereal vocals. Basically, Be Where I Am is the perfect balance in dynamic, thoughtfully constructed yet loose, mature yet lo-fi record. A brilliantly shoegaze influenced blast.
But why wait any longer? Here's the full EP right here, followed by a quick interview with the mastermind behind Bare Pale Matthew Rickelton...
Hi Matthew, what was your head space like while making this new record? Well these songs, along with a few others were regrettably in limbo for a few years. Stuck in between being recorded and being mixed/finished while I was involved in a few other musical projects as well as working, trying to be a good boyfriend, playing video games etc. I was pretty much ‘doing the finishing touches' for around two years. Pretty ridiculous I know. So I cant exactly say what my headspace was like. No doubt it would have been a mess though.
I know many people are still attached to If It Is, which dates back to 2012. How do you view your work from that era? Yeah sure I still enjoy listening to those songs and playing them live. I'm not completely sickened to my stomach while listening to them yet so I guess that’s a good thing. I kinda see If It Is being part of an anthology of records and EPs from all my favorite London-based contemporaries of that time like Fever Dream, Gum, Honeyslide, Sheen, Whistlejacket. Thinking about it makes me feel all nostalgic and soppy. I have a lot of fond memories from those times.
Best record which came out in 92'? Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement. I remember hearing it for the first time when I was probably like 17 and it blowing my naive little mind. Then after trying to write Pavement-y type songs in that tuning Malkmus used a lot on that record, which I sometimes still used to this day. Interesting Bare Pale fact of the day – that record actually came out the day I was born.
Later last year The Wytches released their highly anticipated second outing All Your Happy Life on Heavenly Recordings. As almost every review from around that time concurred, it was a more than successful, if not "unpolished", come-back for the Peterborough Alt-Rockers. Now embarking on their latest UK and European tour, Third caught up with drummer Gianni Honey to find out more about their live sound and gigs
But first, we can't miss this opportunity to give a quick nod to why we think The Wytches are such an enticing proposition, and why indeed it's a hunt to find other bands of their quality and ilk. The Wytches specialise in something we have long-time admired here at Third Outing; rawness. Look at The Cribs reference in our name, it's based on our own DNA. So when it's said that The Wytches latest release All Your Happy Life is "unpolished" or "rough around the edges", particularly in comparison to the much loved first release Annabel dream Reader, you cannot help but draw these natural comparisons to such music greats.
But the truth is, that to deliver this kind of sound is a very difficult task. As a film making friend of ours always reminds us, "it's difficult to make something look DIY". It takes skill, precision, and a passionate execution. It's exactly the same in music. The rawness as portrayed at times throughout All Your Happy Life is the very same magic that leaves many other bands with less talent asking. The others are trying to be DIY, The Wytches aren't.
As Gianni alludes to in our interview, The Wytches sound is a sparser affair than the packed out sounds many recording studios supply their artists. Sparse. It's a suitable word to describe their music. It almost begs a musically primitive notion that there isn't enough room on the record to "mess around", again as Gianni puts it. But we think it's much simpler than that.
Quite simply, The Wytches just aren't losing focus on what's important, and that's the unique, raw sound that only the four of them, together, can muster. Nothing is in the record without merit. Nothing is added that doesn't need to be. The Wytches aren't hunting for anything to fill the gaps, and that's also specifically the reason why it's a hunt to find other bands of their quality around. Don't say something in ten words when you can say it in two. That's the ethos. Here's what happened when Third spoke to The Wytches' drummer Gianni Honey...
Hello Gianni. Many people are still attached to Annabel Dream Reader. How do you view your work from the era before All Your Happy Life? A very simple time where writing and recording came really easy. We had a lot of fun and took a lot for granted. Ups and downs, highs and lows, blood and tears, the usual.
Your sound could almost universally be described as Lo-Fi or "raw". What do you think that means? I think the majority of people are used to really packed out recording methods where there's a lot going on, and then we do stuff and it's quite sparse. When we record onto tape there just isn't enough room to mess around. That's why we like it.
At this point in the game, is it important to you to create a sound that is new or different from what you have done in the past? We never try to overthink how we write music. We usually just put them into categories of "heavy" or "soft". That's about it. Mark's been nailing the solos lately though. Especially the keyboard solos.
"Our favourite venues are basically anything small and gritty. Where the toilets are overflowing with piss and you
can smoke in the dressing rooms"
You're on a UK and European Tour right now. For the fans, which track is the high-water mark at your gigs?Hmmm. Gravedweller and Ghost House go down good. Holy Tightrope has been in the set for years too. Hopefully will bring back some old ones for this Spring run of shows.
You just said Manchester was the best show of this run so far. Do you have a favourite venue in the UK? Joiners is up there. Lennons was quality too. Shame it shut. Sneaky Pete's was a laugh a few years back too, so small! Basically anything small and gritty. Where the toilets are overflowing with piss and you can smoke in the dressing rooms.
Finally, we caught you last time at Dot to Dot festival a few years back in Nottingham's Chameleon and the show was rauscous. What's the craziest show you've been involved with? Ah The Chameleon. Where the floor felt like it was gonna cave? There's been a few crazy ones over the years. We played Brixton Jamm a few weeks ago and it just went mental straight away and didn't really stop.
This guy's name is Nate Wagner from the experimental pop outfit Lord Bendtner. And today, exclusively on Third Outing, the band are premiering their brand new video for the song Suture & Lattice, directed by Edinburgh filmmaker Jemina Ainesmaa.
Lord Bendtner's latest record is the strange, complex and tender kind of record you rarely come across these days. Because it's tainted by a darkness. More specifically, the sound of someone who is trying to escape the darkness, but is found lingering. You start wondering about the escapism, because throughout the record, the light is close by. So, so close. You ask yourself the question, "am I finally about to get out of this dark world"? You never quite see the end, yet it keeps you on tenterhooks. Above all, this record looks inward and tries to discover the endless possibilities of imagination and introspection. Where structure and the outline are not static, but constantly moving, changing, evolving. Expect deep personal implication, here's Third Outing's interview with Nate Wagner of Lord Bendtner...
"Jemina did a great job capturing the loneliness and confusion; she largely stripped the video of humanity, and it’s eerie to see what the world looks like without people"
Hello Nate of Lord Bendtner, tell us more about the new song and video for Suture & Lattice? The title refers to a surgical procedure I underwent a few years back – plastic mesh lattice and a hot glue suture. Lyrically, and visually in the music video, the song riffs off of the idea of breaking down and rebuilding evoked by the idea of surgery to tell a coming of age story between lovers. Director/editor Jemina Amunet did a great job capturing the loneliness and confusion of that particular process; she largely stripped the video of humanity, and it’s eerie to see what the world looks like without people. Roads, landscapes, sunsets, machines. Since the Lord Bendtner record predates the current four-piece setup, the music video was also a nice opportunity to feature my live band mates Adam (drums), Andrew (bass), and Tyler (guitar) even if it meant breaking with the concept.
How would you describe your music to someone who have never heard it before, then? Certainly, DIIV have carved out a neat little space for themselves in the dream pop and shoegaze revival, but I’ve always felt more of a kinship with some of their more experimental colleagues. Bands like Minks, Violens, and The Depreciation Guild all come to bear in the guitar work, electronic textures, and vocal stylings you hear on the record. I also draw extensively on the 90's mid-west emo tradition: bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, and The Appleseed Cast all left their mark on me.
How did the recording go for this record given all of the changes? This record is a particularly neat example of what the DIY process can look like, actually. I was living and working in Vienna, Austria, at the time and had no real thought of starting a new record. I couldn’t cut music out of my life so completely, however, so I picked up a cheap parlor guitar at a local music shop. Songs just started to happen, so I recorded them with my trusty little Zoom mic. Vocals, too. When I returned to the States, I worked with a good friend to mix and master the tracks. Helped to cover for some of the fidelity issues inherent in my recording setup, but it was entirely on my terms.
What an experience! Final question. Ray Davies recently became a Lord. What's your favourite Kinks track?
Oh, this is rather timely for me, actually. I’ve been obsessed with German rockers Die Goldenen Zitronen, and they do a superb cover of my favorite: People Take Pictures of Each Other. Only they’ve gone and translated the text into German. Schorsch Kamerun, their singer, truly does justice to the original, carrying over the weariness and frustration of the original into his own political context of 1990's Germany. There, the bourgeois superficiality Davies identifies in 1960's England has become something more akin to a passive, complacent attitude in the face of unchecked outbreaks of nationalist violence across Germany.
Kissing Is A Crime hail from Brooklyn and play electric guitars. But don't let that scare you, say the band. In true East Coast Rock 'n' Roll fashion their début eponymous LP successfully mixes a wide range of styles, and we're loving it!
Though the leap is audibly huge, Kissing Is A Crime's success to date isn't wholly the result of gilded production values and ambition. This band has been able to furnish first-class melodies from the very beginning. But now they've grown along with their resources. Most songs sounds like they have been re-outfitted with a creamier set of synths and guitars, in comparison to the early early days anyway. But there's more to it than texture and production value.
Let's not fall into the trap on describing what the band are, not here. Kissing Is A Crime isn't about scuzz, shoegaze, fuzz, or any pther branch of Indie Pop. But they are twee, and you might even say that their début record drives this point home very clearly. There's a lot with "mental illness, anxieties, and general unease in one's skin" going on here. So if anything, and in other words, you'll most likely dig this record as long as you're a fan of trebled, melancholic pop.
So yeah, we're all agreed they've got the sound figured out, but what ensures that this will be something that'll make it past the point where the Indie cycle of life goes on? E.G. avoid being forgotten. Sadly, only time will say. But at Third Outing, we think that if a few other twee-pop revivalists have arguably pulled off that very same trick, Kissing Is A Crime are definitely likely to appeal to listeners beyond the online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters. Success.
Kissing Is A Crime, you're back with a new record. Who are you and what does it mean to you?
We are from Brooklyn and we play electric guitars, but don't let that scare you. Honestly we're not sure. A lot went into making this, so we just hope it means something to someone else.
What was the most fun part of creating this new record? Some of the most fun was when we were getting closer to making this record, and we knew that songs or ideas we were working on would possibly be on it. It gave us a reason to finish ideas that were coalescing, as well as context for what they'd be laying upside against on an album. Walking down the street, singing vocal melodies and lyric ideas for Kids into the phone after a good practice with a light rain misting stands out. You start with this whisp of an idea and in moments you can hear it fully fleshed out and functional as a song. It then unfolds in this natural way, like it had been always living inside us all, we just had to invite it out.
What took so long to release it? It took so long to release because the record we wanted to make was an album in a more traditional way. Something that is released on vinyl, and promoted and toured behind. We didn't have a lineup capable of touring for most of the time we were a band. We wanted this to be a proper studio recording, so it took a while before it felt like spending the money to record a full album was the right thing to do.
What's your favourite track on the new record and why? You Make Me Shatter is a favorite song on the record. So much, we were hesitant about putting it on this record. Wasn't sure if we would be able to get it the way we wanted it. It's a favorite because it captures something we wanted to capture. A bit of writers block for a while...not being super excited by what was being written. The bulk of the song was written in about 20-25 minutes!
What three songs have, somehow, influenced this record and how?
Tori Amos Crucify // It's anthemic and deeply personal at the same time. It's a mission statement for Tori and her album. We strive for our album to achieve something similar. The album its from, Little Eathquakes, is an enormous influence and this song goes to a raw, vulnerable place and tries to tackle it without shame.
Beach Fossils Day Dream // It came out at the perfect time. It had this jangley pep to it, but was kind of raw and punk at the same time. It was inspiring and refreshing to hear someone do a really awesome take on jangle pop and new wave. It felt like it could have been at home on REM's Chronic Town EP, which was fine by us! They were the most exciting new band to come out of New York since Vivian Girls
Bobbie Gentry Mississippi Delta // Bobbie is an all time favorite artist and greatest musical hero. This song kicks off her debut album, which is also an all time favorite album. It influenced our opening track Nervous Conditions, as sort of a mission statement, opening moment, where the album just kicks right in, and says what we do and are going to do. Mississippi Delta reflects mostly on Bobbie's childhood growing up in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and its a recurring theme on her album. Our album deals a lot with mental illness, anxieties, and general unease in one's skin. Our opening track kind of encapsulates the rest of the themes to come.
© Photography by Hellena Burchard
There's hype right now around Parisian band Dead Sea. We couldn't miss them for two reasons in particular: they've just supported Slowdive at Le Trabendo and they've released their first video for the song 8.50. 3rd's parisian gigster François caught up with the band to talk about influences and the DIY way of making music. Voilà, on y va !
Hi Dead Sea. First off can you introduce the band for the Third Outing readers? We are Dead Sea, we live in Paris and we compose melancholic walls of sound.
You've just supported Slow Dive in Paris. How did you feel a few days before the gig? We were like half stressed and half excited [laughs]!
And you also released a new music video for your first single last month too! After listening a few times we've wondered; how does it feel to write melancholic music for people? We do music as we feel before thinking about what people will think when hearing it. But if one day, our music can somehow change someone’s life, as bands we love have done for us like My Bloody Valentine or Aphex Twin, I think it would be a great achievement.
We saw you in January 2017 during a Le Téléscope night. The audience were really into your songs, do you prefer playing on stage or recording in the studio? We love being on stage, and we do miss it when we’re not playing on a regular basis. But I guess if we really had to pick one, we would say that being in the home studio is probably the most exciting part for us. When we’re lucky enough to be able to spend a few days focused on trying to make music and then suddenly we’ve got something cool; it feels priceless. This is the moment when we all look at each other feeling like we have accomplished something.
"We rarely improvise live but sometimes when we really dig it
we play the songs for a little while longer"
What instruments do you use to create your own "wall of sound" then? We use a lot of synthesizers, drum machines, a bass guitar, a guitar with lots of effects pedals, and samplers. We rarely improvise live but sometimes when we really dig it we play the songs for a little while longer.
What does the term DIY mean to you? DIY obviously stands for ‘do-it-yourself’, but we are not 100% DIY as we mostly do everything on our own, but we also like to work with people we trust and whom we respect the work of. For example, we composed/recorded/mixed our songs at home but the final mix was made in Brooklyn and the mastering was done in London by two great engineers we had come to meet a couple of years ago. It’s the same regarding the video for 8.50. Caro conceptualized it and gave an artistic direction, but then we collaborated with a director and his team to shoot and edit the video. We are very involved with every aspect, but we also like the idea of teaming up with others.
DISCLAIMER! There are now six members of Manchester's new favourite Rock 'n' Roll band The G-O-D, who have recently shot to the top with news of a support slot at The Stone Roses' upcoming Wembley Summer showcase. But for a band who had previously been described as the "holy trinity of punk", the release of their debut EP Grafters OV Denton proves that for these former members of Dub Sex, The Fall and Ian Brown's solo entourage, good things really do come in threes...
My ears are on fire with the sound of pure Rock 'n' Roll with this lot. The G-O-D are Manchester's latest music hope who offer nothing but "new, passionate, real" music of its time. Consisting of former Dub Sex and Rude Club guitarist Chris Bridgett, former The Fall drummer Simon Wolstencroft, plus Riven Seamarks, Stuart Whitehead and "Laura and Dee" on keys, bass and vocals respectively, you could describe The G-O-D as somewhat of a Manchester super group. So, how is it that we say good things come in threes? Simple, let me explain. The G-O-D's debut EP Grafters OV Denton dares to offer only three tracks. Three top quality tracks. Here's our take on Manchester's The G-O-D.
Let's take the Grafters OV Denton record in reverse to make our point. When you listen to the final track There Goes My Baby, you're hit with a wall of sound. Alas, punk is alive! The sounds of former band The Fall are undeniable. But it's a great driving riff, with irresistible guitar licks and an unmistakable Rock 'n' Roll attitude. Just listen to the wise words of Chris Bridgett. "If you wake up in hell then you didn't play Rock 'n' Roll". That's all you really need to know.
So then all the more reason to call the middle track on the EP Just Looking a complete contrast. Forget The Charlatans' 90's name-sake, this is a real throw-back to the era of Brit Pop. There's an unbelievable essence of calm here, and portrays the more gentle side of The G-O-D. Listening to the chorus, again, you can't help but make comparison to previous music projects, this time the influence of The Stone Roses' front man Ian Brown. But this leads us on to our point that good things come in threes. Ready?
The first song on the Grafters OV Denton record is wherein the real magic lies. Drive Away The Rain is the ultimate culmination of every influence and band the members of The G-O-D have been involved with. This is truly the "music of its time" The G-O-D talk about. It's a sound which proves so modern and fresh. You could compare the energy and liveliness to Kasabian's treat and therefore it's the sound Third Outing want to see The G-O-D continue to produce; a sound which we think, will keep them at the forefront of the public's imagination long after the support slot with The Stone Roses at Wembley this summer is over.
There we have it, good things really do come in threes. And sixes, of course! To find out more about Manchester's latest super group, we spoke to Chris Bridgett and Simon Wolstencroft. Read on to see what they had to say below...
The G-O-D are only a few gigs old and you're already set to support The Stone Roses at Wembley this summer! What the heck? You've all been in successful bands in the past, how are you finding this reception?
Chris Bridgett: It’s incredible, a real honour to open for The Stone Roses at Wembley. Personally it’s special for many reasons. My band back then, Dub Sex, did a couple of shows with them in 1989 just before they went stratospheric. I remember watching them from up in the roof at the Queens Hall, Widnes, surrounded by the rigging and trusses. A few days later our band opened for them at the International2, Manchester. If you’d played that venue in my eyes you’d made it. A few years later in 1997 my then band Rude Club did the first two shows with John Squire’s Seahorses, so I’ve been lucky enough to share a stage with them back then and now, guess not many can say that?
Simon Wolstencroft: The reception has been fantastic since the announcement was made, playing Wembley Stadium it's the stuff dreams are made of isn't it? And to be supporting my old classmates Ian and John who were also my first bandmates, just makes it even more special for me. I've had loads of positive messages as you'd expect and can't wait to get back up on 'The Big Stage' again with The G-O-D.
You've previously been billed in the press as the "Holy Trinity of Punk", has that changed? I guess we've got to ask the question, are you going to live up to the expectation? CB: I wasn’t sure what that meant to be honest. The G-O-D are a punk band in attitude and ethos, our sound without doubt is influenced by that. We’re not a three piece anymore so I guess ultimately we can never live up to anything that calls us a “Trinity” // SW: "The Holy Trinity of Punk". I quite like that, though as Chris has already pointed out, we're no longer a trio. The G-O-D has evolved a lot since we came together, however we'll be serving up some punk, as well as a helping of funk.
"I’m not in the 'such and such are doing great we should sound more like them' camp, you do that you’ve already failed"
- Chris Bridgett
Dub Sex, Rude Club, The Fall, Ian Brown. Which of these experiences has the most influence on The G-O-D?
CB: I bring everything I do and have done to the table for The G-O-D it’s all there to see // SW: Chris and I have used all our experience with the above acts but we're looking forward not back and are still developing our sound.
On the Grafters OV Denton EP we think each song portrays a different style. Drive Away and Just Lookin are both proper tunes in their own right, but very contrasting. Which direction will the next release more likely go?
CB: I write songs first and foremost and don’t really think of directions. We’ve added keyboards and BVOX over the last couple of months, but the songs asked for that, I didn’t. I’m not in the “such and such are doing great we should sound more like them” camp, you do that you’ve already failed // SW: Now backing singers Laura and IAMDDB have joined the flock, expect Glam anthems tinged with Urban Soul.
Final few questions then. What do you think The G-O-D will be remembered for in the coming years? CB: Most kids don’t know who Elvis is, so we have no chance. I expect we’ll end up as failing memories our lives played out as half remembered shenanigans in a hand full of aged minds in a shitty care home somewhere near Stockport // SW: The Scissor Sisters of Punk.
The Chair In James' Lounge 2017 ©
Today at Third Outing we order our very first musical decree. Thou shalt not reference the name Mac DeMarco ever again. Just for comparisons sake, like. Yeah we get it, the guy is very influential. His dreamy, twanging, summer haze vibe has appealed to all those who listened over the last good few years. But it's time to move on, alright? Right!
So when you first give Dazy Crown a go, that's naturally where your head will go. DeMarco. Damn! he's won again! In fact, front-man Thomas Little even dares to decry the Third Outing DeMarco decree below. But truth is, there's a lot more going on for bands like the Norwich based guitar-pop quartet Dazy Crown than the words "Mac DeMarco" could ever stand for. With a little help from their new track Peanut Butter Dreaming, we're going to try and prove a point.
"I try to channel my inner DeMarco every time
I sit down to write a pop banger"
"Jazzy chords, steady rhythms and delicate, reverb-soaked vocals" is how Hazy Dog Records would have you talking about Thomas Little's latest efforts under the guise of Dazy Crown. We reviewed him last year for another project, Lejon Brames, and found his guitar twang wholly refreshing. It had a kind of antagonistic purpose between voice and rhythm which Mac DeMarco doesn't tend to pursue. On first reflection it seems that Dazy Crown successfully continue this good work too, but with a much greater psychedelic feel to it.
It's a relaxing affair, this one. But unlike DeMarco it doesn't feel so sun-blushed. It's an altogether more Lo-Fi approach befitting of British contemporaries such as The Vryll Society. You know, the kind of music that makes your legs feel lazy and your brain turn off. Perhaps that's what Peanut Butter Dreaming is really a metaphor for. That sad and introspective thought pattern which sometimes reoccurs. Or just getting lost...
One thing we are certain of, though, is that DeMarco doesn't hold the monopoly on this style. At least not anymore. There's more going on across the scene and of which Hazy Dog seems to be cherry-picking some of the best. Let's now pass on to front man Thomas Little and bassist Thomas Rees for dazy Crown's first Third Outing interview. And remember, thou shalt not reference the name Mac DeMarco ever again...
Hello Dazy Crown, introduce yourself in one sentence…
TL: A group of weird dudes from Norwich making wavy guitar music // TR: Sharp-suited synth pop act waiting to happen, might be waiting a while // TL: Definitely gonna be waiting a while...
What does the song Peanut Butter Dreaming mean to you?
TR: For me it's about that compromise between the extra effort you have to put in to spread crunchy peanut butter and the reward of it being far better than smooth // TL: For real, it represents the month I spent in Canada during the summer just gone, and how, mentally, I was totally not with it. I tried a bunch of weird things to try and get me back on track, and this tune is really just a recollection of them. I watched Bob Ross paint for like hours on end just to try and calm me down. It was weird, but now I’m one of his biggest fans. What a guy. Shame he’s gone. This one’s for you Bobby.
Thomas, you previously told us that the music you wanted to write "didn't quite fit in with the Dazy Crown vibe"...that you wanted to have the "complete creative freedom to write a song and not think twice about it".
TL: Maybe it’s just some idea I’ve built up in my head on what Dazy Crown actually is? I guess I just take it more seriously than I do with my other musical projects. With LeJon Brames, I kinda just threw all the tunes together, didn’t think much about mixing it properly, and sent it off in the world. With the Crown I feel like we’ve really got something cool going, so I try to tread lightly and only release the best of the best.
"I’ve been making up a bunch of random lyrics every time we play a show,
I think it’s time to write something better than the weird stuff that pops into my head while on stage and mid-song"
Forgetting the side projects then, what's coming up next for Dazy Crown then?
TL: We’re planning on releasing a new EP around May, but haven’t totally decided yet. I actually still need to write all of the lyrics. I’ve just been making up a bunch of random lyrics every time we play a show, so now that we’re actually laying these tracks down, I think it’s time to write something better than the weird stuff that pops into my head while on stage and mid-song. I should really stop doing that // TR: One day we might even have some merch if any of us can get our act together // TL: Oh hell yeah. We want some real funky merch. Like dog collars or something.
Is there a story which epitomises this band's spirit? It can be about the merch...!
TR: I once hatched a Zubat in Pokemon Go when we were prepping to go on tour last summer. It remains the proudest moment any of us have experienced whilst with the band, we strive to achieve something as groundbreaking with our music // TL: Yeah, he’s right. Definitely a highlight. We’ve even got it on video.
Give us three quick-fire songs which have somehow influenced the band?
TL: Mac DeMarco’s Cooking Up Something Good. The rhythms, the melodies, and the simplicity of the tune itself is something that I really respect in pop music. I try to channel my inner DeMarco every time I sit down to write a pop banger. Lyrically, I’d go with anything by Courtney Barnett or Frankie Cosmos. I just love the mundane and witty nature of their lyrics, it’s so good // TR: The ever-shifting and melodic basslines in LA Priest's Party Zute/Learning To Love are pretty much the gold standard of what I'd like to aim for in Dazy Crown. Especially live, I like to sometimes channel the sort of energy of Drenge's We Can Do What We Want and just hammer away at my bass, though such intensity has to be used sparingly lest I dilute its power, or get too sweaty.
©Photography by Julia Callis
There's hype right now around Detroit based band Bonny Doon. "Hazy pop gems with sharp lyrics"..."sweet new video"..."classic feeling guitar warmth". They're getting all the reviews. But the truth is, they don't give a fuck. It's all about the good tunes from Bonny Doon, and little more...
A band who are fairly confident with what and why they are, we don't need to give Bonny Doon the usual 7/10 schmoozing. We don't even need to make comment on their upcoming self-titled debut record; which is already reported to be one of the best sounds of the year. Bonny Doon are laid-back and happy with what they are doing, no more to it. What is interesting, is how they grew the knack for the good tunes.
When listening to their new record you can hear development from the band who were at one point considered "punk". We first came across Bonny Doon when we heard their self-titled debut EP, and like a scout who watches the young prospect grow to be MVP, it's comforting to see how those few tracks, rough around the edges with little thought gone into recording, have ultimately shaped where the band are now.
The promise was all there. In one track especially, Blood In The Bathtub. There's fewer riffs which have sounded so cool in the world of music. The new direction remind us much of that first track; maintaining originality but striving to develop the sound into something bigger. There's an unmistakably David Berman/Silver Jews edge to the Bonny Doon, in so much that they are American, strum up and down, riff heavy and sing (at times) rather slowly. I See You is an example, but that's your lot for comparison, really.
That's enough from us. Bonny Doon are better describing it in their own words, they know something is about to happen here. But with the release of the self-titled record on March 10th via Salinas Records, all we'll say is that we're looking forward to hearing more good tunes from the boys in Bonny Doon. Here's the Third Outing interview with band members Josh, Bill and Bobby...
Hello Josh, Bill and Bobby AKA Bonny Doon! Which one of you came up with the band name?
Josh: That would be Bill. He saw the name on a wine bottle and really liked the sound of it. We’re all from Detroit and are really tired of imagery associated with the national identity of the city. Borrowing the sand and surf of California seemed both honest, longing and amusingly absurd. The band is a sort of sacred construction to us, so we like the idea that it resides in a perpetually sunny place.
Coming from a punk scene have the goals for Bonny Doon evolved as the fan-base has grown?
Josh: Our goals haven't changed. I'm not interested in being a band in the conventional way. There are enough bands out there that play rock music, have four white dudes in them, tour the club circuits and are trying to make it. To me, that way of approaching a band misses key elements that allow for growth and longevity. We are very intentional in all aspects of the band, down to where we play and who we play with. Being the cool new band in town isn't our goal, it's to create a sustainable art project that will continue to inspire and nurture us as we grow in our lives as a band, as friends and people.
Where was your head at whilst writing and recording this new record?
Bill: Our previous release Classical Days and Jazzy Nights was made in a more spontaneous way and had a very DIY feel because we recorded it ourselves on a four track. This album was made more intentionally with everything pretty much laid out the way we wanted it. We tracked everything in a week and Bobby mixed it. It's the culmination of our band up to the point that it was recorded.
"We guide the band by the principle that feeling wins over logic,
and mistakes often find their way onto the final product as a result,
but I wouldn't want it any other way"
We're hearing everything from Bob Dylan, to Parquet Courts and Silver Jews. Who were the major influences and how have they impacted on you? Bill: It’s hard to say directly what our major influences were when making this record. I think Bobby and I definitely influenced each other a lot when writing this album. I think we take a lot from the music we listen to day to day like Neil Young and The Velvet Underground. We definitely were in a Kraut Rock phase around the time we recorded this, there a quite a few extended jams for some of these songs that didn’t make the final cut.
But the record also allows more space for lyrics and stories. Did you try to stick with a theme?
Bobby: We don’t think about themes, we don’t really aim for any specific topical realms. Our songs tend to look inward, and are mostly all about relationship to self, relationship to others, or relationship to place. But what songs aren’t I guess. I think Bill and I think and talk a lot more about voice, and how what we write feels to us to sing and hear.
There's got to be a story which eptomises the band's spirit, right? Josh: When we recorded the Classical Days and Jazzy Nights tape we did so at a friend’s property on Lake Michigan. In Northern Michigan in the winter, it snows - a lot - and that weekend turned out to be a blizzard. Both cars got stuck in the snow about half a mile from the house and we had to carry the gear in through a foot of snow. Nevertheless we set up in the middle of this place with the intention of just writing and refining some new material.
New-York based outfit Charly Bliss are gearing up before the release of their new record Guppy. Like the fish? Yes. Ben caught up with the band to talk about their music, exploration, influences and social issues...
Charly Bliss' pop syrup flows freely. It flows inbetween a few hardcore parts, punk drums and inventive guitar lines. The first single from their upcoming record, Glitter, is a fine piece of pop. Eva stomps, screams, and shouts her way through the song as though, if she didn't open her mouth, these words would still come bursting. Yet she delivers nearly as much of this tough talk in a sweet, essentially childish tone.
These peculiar shifts between ferocity and something approaching tenderness are creating a great contrast, much needed to shape Charly Bliss' sound and style. The obvious comparison with Speedy Ortiz is easy to make. But Charly Bliss ain't just copycats. No way. The band's effort to impose their own style, with Eva's vocals up front, is clearly a stand out. Musically, the band isn't groundbreaking. But they are clever. Charly Bliss create what they've called "Bubble Grunge" music. Question is, how would you describe it?
Hey Charly Bliss, how did you guys start out? Charly Bliss is Eva, Sam, Dan and Spencer. Sam and Eva are brother and sister, Dan met Eva in middle school doing the school plays, and then Dan introduced Eva to Spencer, his friend from summer camp, at a Tokyo Police Club concert in 2009! We've been a band for about five years!
We think the Charly Bliss sound has a lot of influences from the early 90s. But you call it "Bubble Grunge"...
We started referring to our genre as "bubble grunge" as a joke for our Facebook page, but I do think it's somewhat accurate for describing our sound. We definitely all grew up listening to a lot of music that came out of the 90's so it makes sense that it would influence our sound. Overall, I think we're all really inspired by pop music and catchy melodies. We love to play shows as much as possible, which I think influences the heavy and super huge sound of our recordings, because that is definitely the most fun music to play live!
What is it about this sound that inspired you or that you thought deserved greater exploration?
I think you can only make music that is exciting to you. If I tried to make EDM music it would be terrible, because that genre doesn't excite me or move me to participate. On some level, there's very little room for reinventing the wheel in any genre or artform, so the only way to make anything worthwhile is to constantly stay excited and interested in what you're doing. Pop music and melodies that stick in your head are fascinating to me, and rock music feels infinitely fun to play!
"I think the election results made me feel like all the gross dudes of the world had won, and something about a crappy drawing of a half-man in those McDonalds colors looked sort of similarly sinister to me".
Turd is inspired by Eva’s experience being catcalled on her way home from a guitar lesson. "To make me feel like I had some power in a situation where I felt totally powerless”. Do you see it as a catharsis for yourselves and your listeners, or do you think that music and the arts in general have a greater role to play?
I think both are true! Obviously it feels really powerful and awesome and cathartic to play that song, but I also think visibility is massively important and a huge agent for change. If you've never been made to feel unsafe in your day to day life, and no one else around you is speaking up about it, you probably aren't very sensitive to people who experience stuff like that constantly.
That's where totally condescending terms like "microagressions" come from, and why people will say really stupid stuff like "you're overreacting! He was trying to give you a compliment!" I have to hope that change can come from telling the truth about how shitty it feels on the receiving end of a turd-ly person's idiocy.
Turd was also released in reaction to Trump’s successful election bid. Is it possible that the album’s artwork and subject is, in fact, the president-elect? Sadly, no. I wish there was more significance to it. I've very limited abilities as an artist and that little missing torso person stems from a drawing I tried to do of my boyfriend! The election results made me feel like all the gross dudes of the world had won, and something about a crappy drawing of a half-man in those McDonalds colors looked sort of similarly sinister to me.
There's a certain enigma about Louis Antoniou. The guitar-wielding songwriter based out of London has the look of Johnny Cash, the attitude of Alex Turner, and the bite of Joe Strummer. With the release of his greatly anticipated debut single Bad Apple premiering here on Third Outing, is this also the beginning of a new British Indie era?
With the rumble of the drums and the scream of the electric guitar, Bad Apple does a fairly sound job of introducing itself. It's a Blues-man's tune at heart with a jagged call and response theme running throughout. But what we love about the record, we mean what we really love about this record, is its sincere originality.
There's nothing else like this in the mainstream world of Indie music at the moment. If we are being perfectly honest, we'd even say that this particular brand of guitar music has been out of date for a few years now. But Antoniou is putting it back on the map. It's a showcase of viscous vocals and expert guitar, and we challenge anybody to pull this kind of thing off with greater success than Antoniou in 2017.
"Johnny Cash was like the devil with an acoustic guitar; he had a heart full of love but he knew he was a bad apple"
Thankfully, then, it's not the only release on the horizon from Antoniou this year. With a second single called I Don't Want No More Woes already available to those in the loop, we can promise you that Bad Apple is no one hit wonder. In fact, IDWNMW could even be another step up. It's an altogether more meandering affair, with the coolest of bass soundtracks being merged to perfection with the ripping effect of Antoniou's electric guitar.
Which then begs the question. Has Louis Antoniou unlocked the secret to the next era of British Indie music? He's reproducing the look, style, and attitude of some of music's greatest sons. Now it's time to back it up with a full length release. Until then, here's the video premiere of Louis Antoniou's Bad Apple exclusively for Third Outing...
The new single Bad Apple. If you could compare it to a famous 'bad apple' from history who would it be and why? Good question that! How's Johnny Cash for an answer? He was like the devil with an acoustic guitar, he had a heart full of love but he knew he was a bad apple. Maybe Jack Keroauc too.
Louis, how do you describe your style? Because we can't! Both in music terms and in dress-sense...
I would say my music Indie Rock with a sinister gritty Blues vibe lurking in the shadows. I like to think my dress sense collaborates with my musical direction, it's probably perceived old fashioned by some, but I know it's provocative, alternative and vintage. It's all in your face and I feel that attitude is needed right now with these limbo times.
So, London. How has it shaped your music? Something must help form the Bad Apple sound...
London has opened my eyes to the bigger picture. I'm drawing in influences from all different places, I think it's probably added to my moody sound, it's a fast moving town with a lot to say. Great Britain is a dystopian land right now and it's affected London in different ways. I feel like it's given London this voice like "fuck off I don't want that", and it's made us united, like with the marches. I feel like this punk attitude has infected my music in a good way.
If the Blues didn't exist, how would your music be different? Obviously not trying to delve to deeply here into Blues' influence on the entire course of popular music! You get what we mean, though...
I would probably pursue my passion for spoken word. I'm writing a series of poems at the moment themed around the seven deadly sins, but bringing that concept into a modern light so I like to think I would solely concentrate on that passion.
Sometimes, just sometimes, a beat is all you need. It propels you through your day. Relaxes you by night. And, of course, gives you the best excuse to party. The music made by Casablancan Jazz-Hip-Hop Beat producer Saib. is altogether a little more extraordinary, though...
We always pose ourselves the same question when it comes to Hip Hop and Beat-Tape making. Does successful Hip Hop only exist when there is a perfect harmony between the beat and the lyric? It's something we recently asked American producer Birocratic, who remained adamant that beats don't need lyrics. Indeed, his own music went some way to convincing us of this. But then we came across Saib., whose Jazz infused style of Beat-Making took us to a different place altogether; Dreamland to be precise.
Dreamland is a seven track EP which we umbrella under the term "Jazz-Hip-Hop", though truthfully speaking, it's much more than this. Snow, the first track on the record, is exactly the kind of music Claude Debussy (impressionist pianist) would be making were he alive today. It's the perfect introduction to Dreamland, and one which sets the theme nicely.
"There's so many people with different cultural and financial backgrounds. The way all these cultures can co-exist at the same place gives you a different perspective about music and makes you more open-minded"
Saib. continues on this wave of piano driven Beat-Making with each theme proving more relaxing than the next. Special note must be taken of Come With Me. It's the most complete melody on the record, and one which we would even love to hear without a Hip Hop beat. It's Saib. talented angle to a genre which is so often exhausted. Enough template in Hip Hop, here's a different angle. A new dream.
Which takes us nicely in full circle to our original question. Do beats need lyrics? In all honesty, for us, surely it can only make a song more complete? After all, isn't that the ultimate art form in modern music? To create something where harmony and melody combine with instrument and voice?
Yes. But then that's the template. And, much like Debussy did in the early 20th century, and Saib. now over 100 years later, when it comes to music it's important to try something new, different, and most of all, to dream. Read the full Dreamland interview with Saib. below...
Saib., congratulations on Dreamland. This release focuses very much on the relationship between piano and beat making. Describe your style, and how it comes across in comparison to previous releases?
Dreamland is definitely one of my proudest pieces of work. I was heavily influenced by anime soundtracks and easy listening music while recording the EP. Compared to my previous releases, I feel Dreamland is calmer and more relaxing. My goal was to highlight the sample melodies by adding a small hint of texture to the drums and resonant snaps, to recreate that winter feeling we all get by the end of the year.
Do you create beats with a vocal melody in mind? Or does the beat have to create its own melody?
It varies from track to track. Sometimes I start with a drum loop, sometimes I'll start off with a sample or some guitar chords and work around it. Each time is different, I don't have a definite writing method.
It doesn't feel like there is too much Moroccan influence on the record. What's the state of Moroccan Hip Hop at the moment? Moroccan influence isn't apparent in my music, but it definitely has been a part in my musical process. Casablanca is a very diverse place. As far as the music scene goes, there isn't a place in town where Hip Hop Beats can be played without someone asking you to play some EDM. I'm planning to make some live sets in Casablanca so that people can get to know Hip Hop and Jazz beats, which might help in creating a Hip Hop scene here.
Matthew Oliver, AKA Goddam Nobody, is back with the new record Dead Beat (which Third Outing are premiering below). It's a release which has one aim; to push the boundaries. We sat down with Oliver to discover about his style and plans for the upcoming record...
There's definitely a Brian Jonestown Massacre vibe running through Dead Beat. Goddam Nobody are sure keeping up with the fuzzy Rock and Roll spirit. Their songs have infused long enough to soak all of the 90's Rock structures.
But enough on that. To the album itself, which starts off pretty good. In fact, the upbeat yet somber first track I Like The Sun is one of the best songs we've heard in a while. Dead Beat juxtaposes a simple, haunting guitar lead in the foreground, with catchy riffs in the back to great success. First, the riff slowly takes over until your head starts nodding. Then there's the lyrics and voice, haunting. The rhymes and the tempo add something catchy and groovy. Indeed, the strung-out ballad, and slow, unfurling of studio sounds carry his wasted messages to beatific, almost narcotic effect.
We wanted to know more about Oliver's dream for Goddam Nobody, so we caught up with him about the making of new EP Dead Beat, London's best pubs and of course what influences his music...enjoy!
Hi Matthew Oliver AKA Goddam Nobody. For the people who don't know you, who are you?
Just your average nobody with the big dream that artistic expression can still change this ever increasingly strange planet. In all seriousness, it is myself (Matthew Oliver) who writes the songs and playing on these recordings I am lucky to have great friends: Ben Woods, Daniel Morris (Guitar/vocals), Matt Cleave of The Red Cords on drums, and Dan E Brown on bass. I guess I stand for all the bedroom project enthusiasts out there and part time musicians alike.
How did you approach music with The EP Dead Beat ? There's a BJM feel on the new track Dead Beat...
I wrote all of the songs for this one in a few weeks last March. Dead Beat definitely has a touch of the BJM about it, they have been a big influence for sure. With that track in particular, I was going for that 90s stoner, grungy, Jason Pierce, anthem kinda vibe. I think when you write in a constrained period of time that usually helps to define the sound. The whole thing is, I'm trying to capture a snapshot and feeling of my experiences in the city thus far.
At this point, is it important to create a sound that is new or different from what you've done in the past?
Obviously I think it's cool to be pushing boundaries with whatever you can do musically, but something having a newer sound just for the sake of being different doesn't exactly appeal to me. I think I've just been trying to hone my own song writing abilities and really start to think about what is going to sound great recorded as well as it translating well in a live situation.
What was the most fun part of creating this EP?
Getting the chance to head back to Falmouth to record the drums and bass. Falmouth is always a lot of fun. It means escaping the city for a short while to hang with some of the best pals a guy could ask for.
I'm curious, how do you view your work before The EP Dead Beat?
My work prior to this EP have been a step by step learning curve in song writing, recording and production. Listening back through the first two EP's you can definitely see and hear musical naivety throughout (I mean seriously badly played, sung, recorded), but hopefully in an honest, charming kinda way.
It's a tradition at Third Outing. Tell us a story which epitomises Goddam Nobody's music and spirit?
Lauren Laverne once played my little bedroom recording of Cut And Paste To Waste all 4 minutes and 42 seconds of it on BBC Radio 6, followed by Rock and Roll by the Velvet Underground; that probably epitomises Goddam Nobody's spirit quite well.
Netherfriends and Blake Rules are Hip Hop artists who are NOT scared to deliver something different. Prolific beat makers, rappers and producers, nearly every month there is a new release by this dynamic duo. But does quantity affect quality? Here we are with one the duos more daring releases entitled Beatles Shit; a record made up exclusively of Beatles samples
Imagine making one of the most expensive records of all time? That's exactly what Netherfriends and Blake Rules have achieved with the release of Beatles Shit. We're certain if they paid for the rights, they'd be long out of pocket by now. But what an interesting idea though, to sample exclusively Beatles tracks on one album. Let alone that album being a Hip Hop record. Question is, does it work?
Quite simply. Yes. And sometimes, though not very often, no. Listening through Beatles Shit you excitedly skip through track after track waiting to listen to the new sampled versions of your Beatles favourites. They're all there, in some form or other. The second question is, do the samples work? By that we mean, do they sound good in their own right and do they also do the original justice?
Truth is, so much works on this record, it's scary. The first three tracks I Hate Your Boyfriend, King Of Logon Square, and Half Of What I Say Is Meaningless are just superb. Especially the last one. They work so naturally in looped samples, and credit to Blake Rules, the lyricism freshens up and enhances something that you've known for so long. The list goes on and on. Oregon Trails, Cat Girls, Girls, each an example of how something as well-known as a Beatles track can be re-born. The humour is great, the lyrics are well though-out, move over Childish Gambino.
But a word of caution. Not everything works. Some Beatles songs were just meant to be left alone, or at least, with such short loops they don't quite hit the mark. Girls Girls Girls, for example, is better left as Twist And Shout. Vegan Burgers is better as Hey Jude. Not enough has been added here. But this happens so rarely on the album, it can only be regarded as a success in our opinion. That's why we spoke to one half of the duo, Netherfriends, to find out his view on the release of Beatles Shit. Read the interview below...
Hi Shawn AKA Netherfriends. Out of all of your records, how did the idea for Beatles Shit come about?
Blake Rules and I used to live in Chicago and we came up with the idea of making the most expensive album every by sampling the Beatles. It took 2 years to make the album because we both moved to Texas at different times.
Converting perhaps the world's most famous group into a Hip Hop venture. Quite daring, isn't it?
Ringo is the og hip hop drummer so I don't think it's that daring!
For you then, which Beatles track works best in beat form on the record?
Blake cut up some loops and sent me the samples which made it real easy to make beats. Like Two of Us or Girl.
What's a live gig like with you? Have you been gigging together with Blake Rules?
I perform everything live using loop pedals, drum pad, and guitar. I don't use a laptop and I go crazy. Blake sometimes makes appearances. We've toured together before.
Finally, tell us a little about the 50 songs in 50 states project?
In 2010, I went to all 50 states in one year and recorded a song and performed a show in each state. You can check out the 50 song album on Spotify and everywhere else. I wanna do the project again in 2020.
Cotillon's upcoming record The Afternoons has been long anticipated, that's for sure. Inbetween, brainchild Jordan Corso has found inspiration travelling and relocating to New York. We caught with the sound maverick to talk about the new album and its very Japanese-inspired textures. But that's not all that inspired it, hey Corso? (さあ)
The first notes of Black Sea are enough to capture the mood of Cotillon's upcoming record. The Afternoons is a strange, complex and tender record. But it's tainted by a darkness. More specifically, the sound of someone who is trying to escape the darkness, but is found lingering. Throughout the record Corso's eyes are slowly opening, the air is becoming less oppressive and the scenery becomes more bearable.
"As far as music I don't even know how it happened, it just came out so naturally, as if it already existed in a part of my brain I don't use", shares the singer. The Afternoons is Corso's introspective composition, though at times still punctuated with his more signature punk and electronic rhythms. Once again, Cotillon have managed to reinvent themselves. The record feels like one emotional relief from the swings of addictions, the recoveries, and new sources of inspiration...
"That girl on the artwork is named Alex. I was really inspired by her ambition to get to know the world. She had a crazy amount of energy and just took on NYC relentlessly. I could never keep up with her.
Alex is involved in every song on this record"
No more does this fresh energy come across than on Promises 2. Corso's voice is almost completely buried, as if the vocals were played by a 90's Daft Punk but under water. On SFO there is a phenomenal strutting feedback stagnating in the void; a simple repetitive beat spiraling into orbit with feedback that must go somewhere, at a pressure that gives you the bends. This atmosphere goes on and on. Alex's Room concentrates on the 80's but with Indie Pop placed right up front. Fang is Pavement vs Sarah Records. There's so much going on, the point is, it's still a Cotillon we know but all fused together with a new edge.
Treat The Afternoons somewhat as a showcase for all of the sounds which Jordan is living and breathing everyday. This is a chance to explore Jordan the chaotic, Jordan the melancholic. But there is a new, gentle sense of optimism which Jordan has found. He's got a new inspiration, and with it a new edge.
Last time we spoke you were in a cabin at Big Bear Lake recording music. One year on, how are you feeling?
My life has changed so much, I've been around the world twice. Fallen in and out of love a few times. I'm an exhausted human.
San Francisco to New York, eh?
It's all hell, but I wake up everyday, drink some coffee, get into it.
The new record has been described as "moody music". What can we expect from it?
You can expect some drama, lots of genre crossing and songs that hopefully will go in directions one wouldn't expect them to. Honestly, I just went through a lot during this record. Huge emotional swings, addictions, and recoveries.
"I don't think I've ever been in love more in my life than the particular moment I wrote the lyrics to Black Sea, it was a wild time"
Apart from the swings, were there any specific influences during the recording?
Shane Butler and Al Carlson referenced a lot of ideas from past projects they worked on, as did I. For me hints of stuff I learned from JR and Girls. Shane is a pretty authentic artist that sounds like himself so there are definitely elements of Quilt that I can pick up in the songs such as bass lines, harmonies. Al has worked on a ton of stuff from like St. Vincent to Wild Nothing. He just came out of the Weyes Blood sessions right into mine so all of that energy was still in the room for sure.
Tell us a little about the first single Black Sea...
Black Sea was played out on a napkin after several drinks. I don't think I've ever been in love more in my life than the particular moment I wrote the lyrics to that song, it was a wild time. I was on an airplane after parting ways with someone and just kinda stared out the window at the ocean. It just came out so naturally, as if it already existed in a part of my brain I don't use.
We read about the "Japanese-inspired textures" on the new record. What about that?
Sure, I got weirdly obsessed with the production on Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined. I found some keyboards from a special time in music there. Casio, Yamaha, Roland, making acoustic guitars sound percussive, the bizarre Pokemon child-suicide conspiracy theory and all.
Photography by Fabien J. R. Raclet©
"It's music and the genre is L.A Salami"
L.A. Salami is an all rounder with his own unique style appealing to ears far and wide, from the punk prophets to the acoustic revelers. L.A. Salami is also a man of few words. And so, enigmatic is the term in which we choose to describe L.A. Salami. A man who first and foremost lets his music do the talking. Exactly how it should be...
What is it then that endears us to L.A. Salami? Where does this enigmatic, almost indescribable aura come from? We think it's because there is no clear genre to attach the music of L.A. Salami to. Each song is an entity of its own, much like the different guises of L.A. Salami himself, some days poet, some days artist, some days song writer. There's isn't any specific agenda on Dancing With Bad Grammar.
It's a refreshing angle and attitude to song writing, and one which goes hand in hand with his seemingly horizontal, laid-back persona. We get the idea that he doesn't care what he's playing, after all it's all his music, his song, his thoughts and feelings, right? "Post-Modern Blues" is the closest term L.A. Salami has to describing it. But even that doesn't cut the mustard. It's like he's entered a creative writing course, where different elements of sound are being explored, and some to great effect too.
Don't get us wrong, nobody can master it all, nor should they want to. Dancing With Bad Grammar is a top and tail record which entices from the beginning, dips somewhat in the middle, and comes back strong at the end. It's just the way L.A. Salami's best (or more comfortable) tracks have been grouped together on the record.
There are two instances on the record, then, in which he must truly be regarded as a talent. First of all, as the man with edge. Going Mad As The Street Bins, I Wear This Because Life Is War, and The City Nowadays are all testament to this rougher side of L.A. Salami. He has a harsher picture to portray, and it's one which he paints best with a bit of edge. There's the Punk prophet.
Another strength exuding on the record begins from the stand-out track Day To Day (For 6 Days A Week) and ends with the final track Pete The Monkey; The Baptism Of Petter The Young. It's a five track run which epitomises what both we and L.A. Salami struggle to denote; the enigmatic, shrouded approach to his song writing. We think this is where his best ideas lie. There's a deep feeling delivered with a sincere quality. That's the one for the acoustic revelers. Four stars or more? Sure, but then everybody get's that nowadays, hey L.A. Salami? Continue reading to find out what happened when he spoke to Third Outing in interview...
Hi L. A. Salami. How would you describe the new record Dancing With Bad Grammar...there's punk, African American work songs, and acoustic guitar song writing? I wouldn't try to describe it - I'd just have them listen to it and make their own mind up. I've found myself having to try and describe my music a lot recently, and nothing really cuts the mustard in accuracy - I made up the term "Post-Modern Blues", but then you're just asked to describe what the description means. Then you find out your description offends blues music aficionados because they think I'm trying to make blues music, which I'm not. It's music and the genre is L.A Salami. That's the most accurate I can be describing it.
Our favourite track is Day To Day (for 6 days a week). Do you have a favourite or is that question impossible?
I think it might be, yes.
That's understandable. In what way has London shaped your sound then? It's shaped it in no more or less a way than living, and breathing, and being alive, and existing in a particular environment at a particular period of time that is subject to objective and/or subjective change at any given moment.
Pete Doherty recently lambasted an interviewer for labeling him a 'Rock & Roll star'. Describe yourself?
6 foot tall, dark skin with facial blemishes, thin, nappy hair, male, city dweller, artist, poet, on some days music maker.
Guitar at the age of 21, Burberry fashion campaigns and a Fred Perry gig. It's been unconventional, right?
I don't know what the conventions are, so I don't know whether or not i'm abiding by them.
How was the experience touring with Okkervil River? Did your music relate to their style somewhat?
It was real nice; they're a good bunch. Yeah, I think it related, especially audience-wise.
With the release of their 2016 record Ping Pong, Jacuzzi Boys present an album which could easily be portrayed as Lo-Fi nutters chasing summer highs. It's a record all about distorted grooves, dreamy nostalgia and pop melodies. It's raw and that's the way we like it...
If a band name ever suggested a no-worries approach to life, like breeziness in the face of stifling convention, then you would call yourself Jacuzzi Boys. It's a denotation in keeping with their cheerfully mangled sound; a gloopy, sunshine distilled art of Shoegazing. But this is a kind of grunge interlaced with a pop approach. In other words, Jacuzzi Boys feels confident in their own skins. Ping Pong all but proves this.
There’s an irresistible spontaneity to Ping Pong that makes it hard to dislike. For example, Can't Fight Forever has a delicious sense of laziness about it, as if it was written perfectly in one take, no hassle, no fuss. Boys Like Blood feels exactly the same. Though the delivery is weaker, it's another example of how good punk rock should be executed. It's fast. It's compelling. That's the Ping Pong mentality; "we couldn’t care less about what people think, and we're having way too much fun that way".
With the release of Ping Pong Jacuzzi Boys might not be reinventing the punk wheel. But it's a crisper, radio-friendlier effort, that feels like a change may be coming for the traditionally hell-raising genre. Jacuzzi Boys are on the front foot of the change, so that's why we spoke to their main man from Miami, Jacuzzi Boys' very own Danny Gonzalez...
"Not sure who even comes close to Iggy.
An endorsement from Joey "Coco" Diaz would be cool I guess"
- Danny Gonzalez
Hi Danny Gonzalez. You released the much anticipated Ping Pong last year, how's it been since the release?
It's been fun. We went on our first full blown North American tour in quite some time so that was cool, and we have some other tours coming up for 2017 as well.
We love the old tradition of putting the best track on the album at the very end. We think you've done that with Tip Of My Tongue/Edge Of My Brain. Do you agree? Well it's hard for me to say it's the best, but I think we're all really happy with the way it turned out. It came from a jam that happened spontaneously while recording, so it's kinda special in that way too. We basically recorded it right away. It all felt really fresh.
You've been doing this now for 8 years! We're massive fans of No Seasons and the rougher garage approach. How have things changed from the times of Glazin, Jacuzzi Boys, and now Ping Pong? Yeah, time has gone by pretty quickly, it's crazy. I don't think much has changed though. We've pretty much approached each record the same. We've spent more time on some and less on others, but we've just done whatever has felt natural to us at that particular moment. No real game plan.
You famously got an Iggy Pop endorsement a few years back which helped kick start things. At this stage, who would you now want an endorsement from to reach the next level? Iggy has been very nice to us and continues to support us whenever he can. He asked us to open the Post Pop Depression tour date here in Miami, and routinely plays our tunes on his BBC show. It's a bit surreal when you step back from it for a moment. But anyway, not sure who even comes close to Iggy. An endorsement from Joey "Coco" Diaz would be cool I guess.
Just do it. We all know the famous advertising phrase. But when it comes to the music industry, sometimes that's the only thing left to do. Take the leap, become the musician you've always wanted to be. "What do you do, sir"?..."Who me? I'm a musician"! Fred Thomas, he did it...
Changer is the soundtrack to life as it used to be for Fred Thomas. Every artist has their niche complaint. For some it's politics, others it's love and romantic troubles. For Fred Thomas, it's the mundanity of the underachieving life of man who isn't doing what he wants to do! Don't we all know that feeling? But few can portray it as beautifully as Fred Thomas. Changer doesn't only represent a change in lifestyle for Fred Thomas, it also marks a more differentiated style of his song writing.
There certainly is a lot of co-existing occuring on Changer. Across the 13 track record, Fred Thomas exhibits his usual comfort at the guitar, but also an additional confidence with the electronic aspect of his music. It has added a new twist to his song writing; so whereas his more classic Rock and Roll numbers such as 2008, Brickwall and Reactionary is a continuation of the great Fred Thomas style we know and love - Changer marks the significant development of his other sound. Electronic music has stolen the limelight on this record. The stand out performances of Echolocation and Mallwalkers is a testament to this. Here's what happened when Third Outing spoke to Fred Thomas, but if you want his advice? Just do it...
"I'm a songwriter at heart but I want to push my songs into a lot of different sonic territories. There's a lot of clashing sounds trying to fit in; orchestral string arrangements alongside electronic sounds and super noisy textures, all trying to co-exist"
Fred Thomas, with the release of Changer are you going to be the most Rock and Roll man of 2017?
Yeah, totally! This is why we scheduled it for release at the beginning of the year, so the bar would be set impossibly high right away.
Aim high, my friend. You said that the first release Brickwall is about comparing yourself to others. Does the theme run throughout the entire record? Mallwalkers, for example, has a Lee Ranaldo sense of rant about it.
There are always several themes running through the lyrics of a lot of my songs, sometimes contradicting each other and sometimes coming back together by the end. Brickwall is one of the more conflicted songs because it's written from the perspective of someone who's super drunk and thinking about their lives in that drunk way that changes gears quickly. Thinking about the person who dumped them, and all their friends who seem to be moving on with their lives and feeling both jealous and scornful at the same time.
Mallwalkers is a little more single-minded, just thinking of the emotional prison that being young can often feel like, working at a shitty job at the mall, hanging out with people you don't really connect with, trying to figure life out as it's happening and changing at a lightning fast pace. Lee Ranaldo and Sonic Youth are hugely influential on the record, for sure. I grew up listening to SY, so it's connected to the teenage years I sometimes tap into on the lyrics here.
"Quit your job, make your band or art or political platform or social cause or whatever the sole thing you put your energy into, because there's more ways to survive than we're often convinced there are"
How do you describe your music? Apart from SY we hear bands such as The Hold Steady/Mendoza Line...
I hear those comparisons a lot but I actually have never heard those bands outside of one or two Hold Steady songs that sounded nice. I took a lot of inspiration from emo bands I used to listen to that had more speaking in the lyrics. The Van Pelt, Constantine Sankathi, and the record Summary by BARR were all super powerful to me. I also feel like I'm a songwriter at heart but I want to push my songs into a lot of different sonic territories. This means there's a lot of clashing sounds trying to fit in the songs; orchestral string arrangements alongside electronic sounds and super noisy textures, all trying to co-exist.
"He gave notice at the writing job that had offered stability for years, got married and moved to Canada, all between multiple tours that ran the spectrum from sold out opening slots to sleeping in the car after empty gigs". What advice do you give to other artists, especially those starting out, about taking the leap of faith?
The answer to this question could be a whole book unto itself. But to be short, my advice would be absolutely do it. Quit your job, make your band or art or political platform or social cause or whatever the sole thing you put your energy into, because there's more ways to survive than we're often convinced there are. Eventually everything will shift and hopefully the things you experience while pursuing what you care most about will be the most valuable things you learn.
Atlanta-based DiCaprio are gearing up for the release of their first record I Went To The Mall Yesterday And I Got Sick out in February. Between eloquant wordplay and a raw-sounding music philosophy, DiCaprio have proved a knack for catchy punk tunes. Find out what happened when we caught up with the band after the Third Opinion.
It's only when you listen to I Went To The Mall Yesterday And I Got Sick that it hits you. Choruses are definitely the band's strength; pretty much every song features some sort of rallying cry after each verse. But this is where the magic happens; during these verses, guitarist-vocalist Kyle Swick wavers between full vigor and complete disinterest. He talks as much as he sings, bored and blasé. But this sort of vocal nonchalance is part of DiCaprio's style. In fact, the band rely heavily on it. It's their trademark. Just like London-based rockers YOWL, melody supports amazing vocal lines and makes for a stand out commentary.
Unlike YOWL, DiCaprio are punk. There's no reliance on effects, everything is so simple. But still their sound remains so beautifully odd, angular and inverted. Return To Babylon, for example, sounds like someone is breaking through a window. This is when the band is at its best, balancing their dissonant and crunching world with rigid, brash structures.
The first track which truly stands out from the rest is Dark Water. Vocals are up front, guitar riffs are driving and the upbeat tempo is to die for. The chase is on here, and then suddenly you take note of the lyrics. There's some work that has gone into this...carefully chosen, meaningful and striking words of beauty.
The only remark we could make is this one: the record does have a monotony attached to it. Only a handful of tracks point towards a different style or "mood", meaning a certain lack of contrast between the big songs. However DiCaprio are able to mark changes. Ectoslavia, Dark Water, Small Bog and Hell Face all offer a truly original sound on the album; a sound which can be developed as the band progress with time. Here's what happened when we caught up with DiCaprio members Russell Rockwell, Kale Svvick and John Rae...
How did DiCaprio all start?
Russell Rockwell: John and Kale are roommates, and I met them upon the recommendation of a friend. We were all in a bit of limbo since our previous bands had recently broken up, and we were all looking to move beyond simplistic indie rock and punk, into something darker that reflected our recent personal struggles. The result was Dicaprio, and so far the results have been unintentionally cathartic.
You've all come from different bands, what inspires you when you create music?
Kale Svvick: I pull mostly from personal experiences and observations; when I’m riding my bike, or walking down some hallway, or staring at my computer screen, or when I’m at the bar at one in the morning and The Fall comes on and everything’s a bit blurry and people are talking to me but I don’t understand what they are saying. // RR: Dreams I can’t remember, sunny days, and sad movies with happy endings.
"Record Store Day, and major labels in general, have made it abundantly difficult for smaller independent artists and labels alike to get records done in any sort of timely manner"
What kind of atmosphere did you strive for when making the new record then?
RR: We practice a lot, at least by punk standards. Once a week, maybe more. Before we recorded we were running through each track ad infinitum, I think it made for a very relaxed recording environment, just because we all knew what each of us had to do for the record to turn out well. We record at Studilaroche in Atlanta and the engineer who runs it, Ben Price, usually works with experimental, psychedelic bands; he’s always willing to try weird things without putting any pressure on us. // John Rae: I like a lot of candles and flower petals. Maybe some incense. I want to feel like I’m being seduced by Seal.
So the new LP I Went To The Mall Yesterday And I Got Sick comes out one year after the recording. Why?
KS: It just takes that long, if not longer, for any small label to do a physical record these days. Record Store Day, and major labels in general, have made it abundantly difficult for smaller independent artists and labels alike to get records done in any sort of timely manner. We wish the record was out already, we’re just still waiting on them to be pressed.
"Bad Moon Rising really changed the way I thought about songwriting,
and about punk rock in general"
What's it like at one of your gigs?
RR: Though we occasionally play shows with touring bands who come through Atlanta, most of our shows are with local D.I.Y. bands. There’s a good punk scene in Atlanta right now, so there’s a pretty high chance that if you come to one of our shows you’ll see a better band than us.
Being a punk three-piece, let's play a game of threes. Three things people don't know about DiCaprio?
RR: We play pool more than we practice. // KS: We play Mario Kart more than we practice. // JR: Honestly we only spend about 5% of our time together playing music.
Three records which are underrated masterpieces?
RR: Rapture by Siouxsie and the Banshees. // KS: Denton After Sunset by Teenage Cool Kids. // JR: Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion. It's a pop monolith. Its got these crazy catchy, super dirty bass lines. It's absolutely infectious...way too many people totally dismiss Carly as this one hit wonder, when really she’s just now coming into her own.
"I actually don’t listen to Sonic Youth at all. But everyone talks about them all the time so I guess they must be pretty influential"
Parquet Courts, Sonic Youth and Silver Jews. Which one is the most influencial?
RR: Sonic Youth has been the most influential on me, both as a musician and an individual. I started out listening to their more traditional alternative rock albums like Dirty and Goo¸ but when I heard Evol it blew my mind! It’s such a heavy and intense record, yet still so intimate. // KS: I’ll second my friend Russell up there. Bad Moon Rising really changed the way I thought about songwriting, and about punk rock in general. // JR: I actually don’t listen to Sonic Youth at all. But everyone talks about them all the time so I guess they must be pretty influential.
Luka Brandi, aka Rocco Starr hails from Sao Paulo, in Brazil. His most recent record Lost Tropics is a fusion of weird sounds and genres. But what stands out is the highly political agenda and social potrayal of the country and its current state. As part of our series of music diaries Third Outing decided to speak to Luka about the ups and downs of being an artist in Brazil's mega-cities...
Hello Luka, AKA Rocco Starr, tell us a bit about the world of a musician in Brazil?
I live in Sao Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil and one of the world's big megalopolis. As you'd might expect from a place like this, the music scene is completely diverse and plural, with everything happening at the same time. You can get really good, edgy techno parties, alternative post-rock bands or the infamous funk carioca all on the same night!
Speaking from inside the indie rock sphere, some things do bother me. For instance, I have another band called Singapura, and we've been doing concerts and opening gigs for substancial acts here, but since we don't fit in the "Brazilian indie rockers" shoes, I realise people tend to take the whole thing with a pinch of salt. Maybe they're waiting for us to become more mature, I don't know. Speaking for myself, I don't even expect getting a label or a record deal with this album.
"Work shape and content. Push buttons,
test the limits and also say strong things"
You've said that the new record is inspired by the "gloomy atmosphere at contemporary Brazil"...
I've said that because it's exactly how I feel. When I reached out to Lucas Milano, my dear friend who made the cover art, I told him to "put me on the cover with a falling, fading city as a background and make the whole thing kind of gloomy". And he did it! This gloomy atmosphere is a reflection of the political and economical crisis that we are currently facing. Personally, I have never experienced a big crisis such as this in my lifetime. When my generation was born in the 1990's we lived under pretty good and stable times. Not the case now.
There have been riots and demonstrations on the streets of Brazil recently against the government. Are you influenced by the economical and social environment of the country?
I believe a country's economical health is one of those things that you don't really care about...until it hits you. So when things are bad, there's no way out of it. Riots and public demonstrations are a legit way of society expressing itself to the jackasses we put up there. So I support it. But I approached the album with a global view, too. It's not only in Brazil that we are experiencing some weird feelings about politics. We have the US election result that no one saw coming. The European Union at risk. The immigration crisis. Brexit. Also, you have great people dying, like Bowie and Prince. Doesn't it feel apocalyptic to you?
Can art be the best counter-power to all of this then?
I think it can, yes. Not only by saying things by the name, but also, sometimes, its own existence can be subversive. Artists are dysfunctional people. Usually socially-awkward and stuff. So being an artist is sort of subversive by itself, at least in the world we live in. But sometimes when you get really politically-charged art is really boring too. You have to work within the structure of art to make it worthwhile. Work shape and content. Push buttons, test the limits and also say strong things.
"It's scandal after scandal, and at the end of the day we're paying for them to screw the whole thing. The scenario is very depressing"
The Intro lyrics sing "where trees used to grow/but now, there's no hope". Is there hope for youth in Brazil?
I can't say for the youth, but for me, things are really hard. I'm in debt. The legislative branch is trying to pass a bill called "10 measures against corruption" that serves their own interests only. Congress and Senate are a joke. The president himself is a doubtful figure. It's scandal after scandal, and at the end of the day, we're paying for them to screw the whole thing. The scenario is very depressing.
What do you wish to achieve with this new record then?
The album is very personal. Some songs come across almost as psychoanalytic therapy, like Freak-o-matic Kidnapping, which is about having a panic attack and being late for a commitment. Other songs like Undateable Boy and Waiting For You speak about desire. Cold Coffee and We're On The Run (...) are about getting away from the craziness of the big city. But I don't really know what to expect from it. I guess I want to get as many people as possible to listen. It's not an easy album. It was poorly recorded on my 8-track. I'm not a great singer as well. But this is a part of the tone, and the album is very honest.
Thanks for sharing all of this with us, Luka. A final question. Do you get inspiration from Brazilian music?
Yes I do! I love Brazilian music! Even though some people can't relate the fact that I write rock/pop in English. I get a lot of inspiration from it, but it isn't a very noticeable influence at first. It also depends on the work. I am working with a friend and doing some good old Brazilian music, bossa-nova inspired. I am also working with another friend and recording some rap, in the great tradition of Sao Paulo. I believe great musicians must experiment different musical paths to develop their skills, in spite of the aparent contradiction.
Okey Dokey is the collaboration of former Sol Cat guitarist Johny Fisher and local artist/bassist Aaron Martin. The latter answered some questions for Third before the release of their upcoming record Love You, Mean It out on EXAG' Records. Here's the interview with Okey Dokey...
Okey Dokey, tell us yourself in one sentence...
From the hills and the holler, hello, we are Jon and Ron, said to be Okey Dokey.
What does Love You, Mean It mean to you?
Well, we never actually planned on a true theme for this album but after I started to get into the mode of the kind of music we wanted to hear it really became an album based on the subtle comedies of love and really just about how easy it is to poke fun at.
One song is about meeting someone and being more blown away by the fact that you have the same favorite show than any actual chemistry. Another is about daydreaming and missing that babe at the coffee shop. Another is about being more valuable as a lover than a professional. Oh, wow. I just realised that Love You, Mean It is a rom-com
What was the most fun part of creating this new record?
The whole process was a blast because we ended up recording it in basements and living-rooms next to fire places and glasses of whiskey all over the place. Deadly combo right there, but Johny is like a walking taco stand and is never more than five seconds away from a tortilla, so we have our own little studio fiestas about twice a week.
"Johny basically said that they thought that I was a cool dude and just sorta figured that I'd make a fine bassist"
3 songs which have somehow or other influenced the record?
I'm going to be a turd and raise my answer to albums that we are influenced by. Number one would be Nancy & Lee, the first of three (pretty sure on that) albums that Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra recorded together. If you listened to a single thing I just said about the record, this album will make a lot of sense to you. Number two is Ariel Pink's Pom Pom. We are absolute suckers for the sarcastic bastard artistes of the world and Ariel is top of the list. The last one that I HAVE to mention is Anderson Paak's Malibu. Very few things have ever been as cool as that album.
There must be a story which epitomises Okey Dokey's spirit, right?
I became a musician because, after starting to do artwork for Sol Cat, Johny basically said that they thought that I was a cool dude and just sorta figured that I'd make a fine bassist. I had never been a bassist but Johny insisted that I would have an easier time learning bass than they would finding someone more fit for the part. Touching, I know. So I did it, and then after that band dissolved I was approached again about upping the ante and becoming a dude who sings in front of a bunch of other dudes. I again said the two words that have opened many of my life's doors, "Fuck it!", and here we are.