Monday, 29 March 2010
Rob Birch (Stereo MCs) talks Ether Festival
Holly Eells gets to catch up with the vocalist Rob Birch from the award winning Stereo MCs and see how he feels to be headlining such a diverse festival.
Stereo MCsEther Festival is a nine day event taking place from Friday 16 April - Sunday 25 April at the Southbank Centre. Offering art, technology and cross-arts experimentation and showing nothing but entertainment, highlights from this year’s event include: Lou Reed's Metal Machine Trio; Gil Scott-Heron; Chris Cunningham; The Herbaliser; and Tom Middleton. Stereo MCs + The Bays are also headlining this year’s festival.
Artrocker: How do you feel about headlining in your home town?
Rob Birch (Stereo MCs): Well it’s great to be playing a gig in London. We try not to think about it much as we might get a bit edgy, we try to think wherever we play we want to put in a max performance and not dwell on where it is or expect too much from a particular place. But it sounds nice and is something different to what we are used to doing and there’s some good music playing. It is always a pleasure to be playing at an event that has got quite a variety of acts going on and you would usually get an open minded audience, which is always a positive thing.
Artrocker: There are some amazing acts, who are you looking forward to checking out?
Rob Birch: Everything seems fairly interesting, never seen The Herbaliser before, we’ve also never seen The Bays and there are some decent DJs on as well so I am fairly excited just being down at the event.
Artrocker: There are many genres being jam-packed into the weekend line up, which ones interest you?
Rob Birch: To be honest I am so focussed on being in the studio and writing, I don’t know too much what’s going on! But it’s good to check out all the different acts as you can become quite bleak at times when you are DJing or in the studio. It’s good to see people you don’t know, check out live bands.
Artrocker: You are doing a special collaboration with The Bays, what can we expect?
Rob Birch: Well to be honest with you that’s very much a spontaneous sort of thing, if it happens it happens. It’s a night of live entertainment so we are not really planning anything in particular. Their whole attitude is you go on you, do something that you don’t know you are going to do. I figured not think about it too much too hard until you come to doing it, that’s what the excitement is all about; not knowing what you are going to do.
Artrocker : Will you be going back to the 90s with some of your classics or keeping it fresh?
Rob Birch: We play like any artists, you play exerts from all the music and records that you have made. Tracks from Supernatural, Connected, Deep Down and Dirty, Double Bubble, Paradise and maybe a couple of other new tracks.
Artrocker: Why should we come down to Ether Festival?
Rob Birch: If I was a punter, I guess I would be thinking “what am I doing tonight? There’s a festival south of the river and it’s pretty easy to get to. Decent DJs playing, a bunch of live music, which is down my street”. Tom Middleton, the music fairly heavy and I could be guaranteed I was looking for. It’s different; there isn’t one avenue or one sort of club music going on. It’s more of an event. It’s not just a party night.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Dimbleby and Capper has had its name out in the woodworm for quite some time now. Being tipped off by major names that matter in the industry she has been given a great head start. Being a solo project for the early 20 something laura Bettinson, I was intrigued to see what all the controversy was all about.
Playing at Gold Dust at Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, supporting Daisy Dares you, she had a strong intimate audience to try and persuade otherwise. Making an entrance with her entourage, dressing the boys up in masks and her centre stage, eyes were all over the place, trying to decide what to focus on next.
Introducing us to some of her tracks was impressive to say the least. With her contribution of deep electro pop, in tune lyrics and unsteady rhythm worked a treat.
Sounding a cross between Siouxsie Sue and the Banshees and Alison Goldfrapp she definitely has something going for her and the band.
Her tone is very addictive and she held me captivated throughout her whole performance. She left me wanting more.
Band of skulls are a three piece band who have been propelled into the spotlight thanks to global success of the Vampire movie 'New Moon'. Their single 'Friends' was leaked and subsequently included on official soundtrack of the film. However, based on their own merit they were personally asked by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to open on their U.K tour. We took it upon ourselves to catch up with the trio and discuss their increasing fame.
Hey Guys, How are you?
Emma: Very well thank you, hello.
Russell: Very good thanks.
Introduce yourself please.
Russell: Hi, I’m Russell and I play the guitar as well as singing.
Emma: And I’m Emma on the bass slash vocals.
Matt: Hi, I’m the drummer Matt.
The last year or so has been pretty much a rollercoaster ride for you, how are you dealing with it?
Emma: We’re not really dealing with it we’re just continuing.
Russell: Pretty much a combination of denial and just getting back on the treadmill everyday without thinking about it. (laughs). It’s an expression. It’s not that hard really. It’s very much like the Chumbawumba song. Lager drinks, treadmills and affiliations with political parties.
How did your track get involved in the ‘New Moon’ saga? Do you think it was the career boost you needed?
Russell: Someone sneakily leaked it out of the studio and by the time we found out it was already on the film. Career boost we needed? I guess so, definitely got a different kind of audience into our band.
What has been your stand out highlights?
Emma: Being able to play live pretty much every night of the week.
Russell: Holding an album that we are really proud of in our hands, being satisfied. And, hearing people sing-a-long to the songs that we wrote in our bedrooms.
You have just come off a UK tour and now you about to set off with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, that’s huge, how did that all come about?
Emma: I think they asked us.
Russell: The person who leads the band personally asked after us.
Emma: Which was a pleasant surprise.
Russell: Yeah it was nice…We’re a fan of their music and are really excited to up the ante, really bring out our rock a bit. Sometimes being a support band you have to be aware of who you’re working with, but yeah we are looking forward to it.
There is a single looming for release, and has been shown incredible support, but despite that, why should we go and buy it?
Emma: Buy it if you like it, if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.
Russell: That sounds like a song “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it” and were making 5 copies. “I Know What I Am” will cheer you up if you’re feeling miserable, it’ll give you a mood swing like a mood ring (laughs).
Two boys, 1 girl, any interlinked romance between you?
Russell: Me and Matt are inseparable (laughs). Emma gets her own room.
Three is an odd number does that cause problems?
Russell: No, it gets decisions made, majority decision.
Who influences your alternative style?
Russell: Each other I guess.
Russell: I mean, we all play each others music. We all hang out and all have different interests so probably each other…that and Isle Of Wight radio (laughs).
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
Emma: I spent three years of my life living on a boat.
Russell: I came 147th in a beautiful baby competition. Damn you genes.
Saturday, 20 March 2010
Phenomenal is one way to describe last night’s extravaganza. ‘The Graham Coxon Power Acoustic Ensemble’ – otherwise known as Graham Coxon and friends – was beyond breathtaking. This being his side project for quite some time, he was finally able to show us what he was all about. Packing out the Barbican Hall to the max it gave more of an intimate vibe, and having me on the edge of my seat throughout the performance was a rare treat as I bore easily.
Made up of the usual guitars and keys, the multi-talented Coxon brought the Dilruba and Arc to the show, which went down rather well, as you don’t get to see them everyday. He brought in special guests along the way, such as Robyn Hitchcock and Martin Carthy, each contributing their work of art to the set.
Compared to his alternate Brit pop career with one of the biggest household names to date, the pressure was on for this shy fellow as he was back to the solo realm of what he does best.
Starting off with a cheeky li’l grin, messing his hair and thanking the audience for their attendance, nerves were showing as things got rolling.
As each track took its place on stage, Coxon’s own creative works were blasted through the projector where the order took a birth to death procession. Going from a dark edge of mist to a bright happy summers’ day, it all added a new twist of genius.
On the third song, Graham began to play, then openly admitted he'd forgotten the rest and so asked the audience’s permission to start over. His humorous jokes continued throughout the show, making us love him even more. His admirers were from all ages, all seeming to be captivated with the work he has accomplished.
Leaving the gig speechless, I’d really suggest after tonight’s display, you take a listen of the critically acclaimed album The Spinning Top, else you are missing out on a glimpse of something quite spectacular.
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Introduce yourself please?
-I'm Yuki, playing guitar in the band.
What does Bon Ningen mean?
-Bo means stick, and Ningen means man.
How would you describe your music for us newcomers?
-heavy psychedelic cosmic chant
I believe you moved over here to study 3 years ago, why London?
-people speak english and it's the only foreign language i can manage to speak. I was thinking about New York too, but London has more own history and culture.
Were you formed as Bon Ningen in Japan or is this something that occurred over here?
-we all met here.
Your performances are pretty intense, what’s your favourite gig to date?
-every gig. seriously.
Your ideal audience?
-everyone who is bored of cool music.
Who are you fans of at the moment both here and Japan?
-we haven't got any fanbase in japan as no one knows us. but our fans here is ranged from old metal guys to east london fashionista. and some weirdos. even your grandparents.
You have taken the world by storm these last couple of months, would you take your success back over to Japan?
-hopefully. we want to go have shows there as a band from england even though we are all japanese.
What do you miss from home?
-food. convenience. weather.