Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Interview: Marty Friedman


I had the honor of speaking to one of the most accomplished guitarists to roam the earth. The former Cacophony and Megadeth member - the man is Marty Friedman, he holds his axe with pride and has just about the same amount of fame in Japan as the Queen does in Britain. I missed him with Gus G a while back, so I ask if he were to tour the UK. He gives us an insight of what he has been up to and answers questions that have been popping around my head for a while. 
~Matthew Clewley

Music Review Database: How much trouble did you go through to record Inferno, if there was any?

Marty Friedman: Are you kidding? This was the most troublesome album I ever made! Every step had drama, blood, sweat and tears. Basically a pain in the ass. But I knew to make a great album I had to get out of my comfort zone and really dig deep. 


How was songwriting with Jason Becker? Was this the first time you both wrote a song since your time with Cacophony?

Yes and it was wonderful to have our imprint together on the same song after quite some time. It was actually sort of similar to how we worked before, we would both have separate ideas and I would arrange and produce them.  


Would you ever reunite with the members of Cacophony? 

The four of us were together at Jason`s Not Dead Yet event in San Francisco. It was fantastic to hang again. 


The Marty Friedman Official Website (dated back to December 2013) says that Alexi Laiho, David Davidson and Rodrigo y Gabriela are influenced by your playing, how did you know this and how did you approach them to play on Inferno? 

My label compiled a list of people who said nice things about me in the media. I researched them and had the label contact the ones I liked best. 


Who was the main influence for you as a guitarist?
Elvis and Phil Spector. 


Your album has had a great effect as it has charted not only in Japan, but also the U.S, are you expected to perform live shows there? 

Yes, in both places. Hopefully another run in Europe as well. 


Where else are you going to tour? Would you ever tour the UK? 

I just played two UK shows in May, I will likely be back once again before Inferno touring ends.
 

Do you enjoy producing as much as you do performing? 

Almost, but not quite. 


How much has Japan and their great culture had an effect on you not only musically, but as a person?

I`m way more well mannered now! I think I`m healthier now than before as well. 


Did you ever anticipate you would reach celebrity status in Japan? 

No. It is a double edged sword, because I would rather be known for music rather than just because I can make interesting conversation sometimes. It`s all good because it gives me freedom to do anything I want musically, though. 


Is it true that Dave Mustaine originally didn't want you in Megadeth because you had multi coloured hair? If so, how did you take that rejection before you joined them? 

You`d have to ask him. I don`t know anything about that. 


It seems after the Megadeth album, Risk, you were not happy with the direction of Megadeth. Do you rate Risk as a bad point in your recording career? 

Not at all. Certainly not the highest point, but not bad by any means. At the time, we all believed in it, or else it would not have come out. 


Back to the hair question, how many colours did you have in your hair at that time?

I`ve never had more than two. 


You're a member of Sound Horizon, who do soundtracks to anime and video games, how many of their projects have you collaborated with? 

I`m not a member of SH, but I have played on tons of their singles and performed live with them a bunch. Couldn`t even count how many songs. 


And finally, even if you wouldn't consider reuniting with bands, do you think you can keep a sustainable solo career overseas? Considering you're already a big name in Japan.

I`m not interested in reuniting with old bands, I`m way more interested in being a part of a new band that is fresh and exciting, I would jump on it. My solo career is on its 12th album, and is at its peak so far so I won`t be halting that anytime soon, but I would certainly consider it if something amazing came along.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Take Me Back: Dario G - Carnaval De Paris


Year: 1998

Recorded and released for the 1998 World Cup in France, Dario G's "Carnaval De Paris" has surpassed World Cup songs expectations by being the most recognisable and football-tastic of affiliated tracks. Of course, the dance trio from Crewe are named after the infamous manager and director Dario Gradi MBE - a fitting honour for both Gradi and Dario G.


 "Carnaval De Paris" is the epitome of football songs. Although intended to represent France 98', this instrumental instead represents an entire generation of football fans at international and club level. The diverse instrument choices parallel the intent for a multicultural football tournament - an accordion suggesting France as the opener, a variety of percussion suggesting South American and African countries, folk guitars suggesting the lowland countries, a bash on a gong for Japan, steel drums for Jamaica, and bagpipes for Scotland. "Carnaval De Paris" is an iconic instrumental piece backed by a dance beat and an extremely memorable hook - one for football fans all over the world to enjoy.
~Eddie Gibson

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Take Me Back: Washed Out - Feel It All Around


Year: 2009

Washed Out's "Feel It All Around" is stuck to the chillwave movement of the late 00s and early 10s. Be it the cool evenings of Adult Swim's doobie moments, or the opening music to IFC's Portlandia - this saltwater song remains one of Ernest Greene's best. Influenced by hip-hop beats and the smoothest of synthesizer records, "Feel It All Around" takes listeners on a journey though Greene's early recordings, and shows where he was going with his follow-up music.


"Feel It All Around" doesn't just define an artist, it defines chillwave as a fully-formed genre taking electronic music to a level beyond trip-hop's 90s and hip-hop's 80s. It (specifically Washed Out's "Feel It All Around") combines these genres together with ambient music and dream pop. People talk about lucid dreams while listening to The XX or Slowdive, but it's "Feel It All Around" which actually brings to mind the cliches which are applied to music by every one of us, all the time - in a dream, walking on air, floating on clouds, sonic - "Feel It All Around" makes us all feel like we're the man of steel living in the 60s.
~Eddie Gibson

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Take Me Back: Atlas Sound - Walkabout


Every so often we'll embark on features to keep readers (and writers) entertained. This one's takes you back in time by reviewing and highlighting songs we love, be it back by just a year, or by 50 - we're here to take you there, and to review while we're at it.

Year: 2009 née 1965

"Walkabout" by Atlas Sound has always been a memorable song. The single taken from their second album Logos features a more than capable Noah Lennox of Animal Collective, more commonly referred to as Panda Bear, singing collaboratively with Bradford Cox. Individually, they're both giants of their own electronically rocking sound. 60s sampling together with hip-hop beats has always been iconic for the golden age artists such as Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys. Though its not the beat or vocals Cox / Lennox sample, it's the make-shift synth work and ambiance from The Dovers' "What Am I Going To Do". And there's more to "Walkabout" than its 60s sample - the theory and feel of "Walkabout" runs deep in the veins of The Dovers' original, replicated and reassessed in the 00s for Cox / Lennox to share their nostalgia: "Forget the things you've left behind, through looking back you may go blind." With lyrics matching the poetic child imagery of the music video, Cox and Lennox knowingly create a moment, a period - like the golden age both admire.


The Dovers' "What Am I Going To Do" was used as inspiration instrumentally and lyrically - "If you were seventeen, I'd still feel the same way. Well there's nothing in this world that will make me change my way." It may read like a lost love letter from 1944, but the meaning and nostalgic perception of "What Am I Going To Do" seemingly mirrors "Walkabout" lyrically, and musically given the sample Cox / Lennox used. When you put the lyrics of "Walkabout" with its messages and past inspiration, the outcome becomes a hit single out of the reach of RedOne's capabilities - nostalgic memory: "What did you want to see? What did you want to be when you grew up?
~Eddie Gibson

Interview: Psychostick


Psychostick are one of those bands you come across and question what they are doing and how they are doing it. You look into that, and then you're brought into this magical world of humour and hardcore. Everyone knows Beer and This Is Not A Song It's A Sandwich, and anyone with a sense of humour that doesn't reek of pomposity knows that it's great. Humourcore! They had the time to speak to me whilst they are busy on their tour, by they I mean by the wonderful John “The J” Key and he gave me great answers. Read on, I dare you, I mother fucking dare you.


Did Psychostick form around the same time as We Couldn't Think Of a Title? 

We were together about 2 years before "We Couldn't Think of a Title". We put out a couple of demos, hated them, vowed to do something of better quality, then put out "We Couldn't Think of a Title" which we were very happy with.


When did you have the idea of becoming a humorcore band?

Rob and I had always wanted an album that was funny and heavy, but it didn't exist. So we had to create it. 


You've had some minor line up changes, especially with bassists, do you expect this line up to stick? 

Matt has been with Psychostick longer than any other bassist has. He's great! Let's hope he doesn't get hit by a truck or spontaneously combust.   


How are you guys doing on your tour? You've got plenty of dates and places to conquer. 

We're kicking ass and taking names. Lots of names. We have people sign up for show alerts at our merch booth, and then they get emailed when we come back. See? SO LITERAL! We don't actually kick their asses, though. Unless they have it coming. 


You guys tour nationally, have you ever considering coming to the UK (*hint hint*) or anywhere else overseas? 

Absolutely. Playing the UK was actually a goal for the year, but building our recording studio took longer than anticipated, so it may wait a bit. But it's gonna happen at some point, I know we've had fans asking us to play there for YEARS! 


Are you guys are comedy fueled, what is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you on stage that has been unintentional? And how did you deal with it? 

We played a huge festival with thousands of people and had put "Beer" last. It's a short song, we had time to do it. It's two minutes long, and we had three minutes left. But the stage manager didn't know that, and told us we were done so we didn't get to play it. When we told everyone we were done, they thought we were joking, but when they realized we really were and hadn't played that song, they got angry. We spent the rest of the day explaining over and over why we didn't play Beer.

The embarrassing part? Making the same exact mistake AGAIN at another festival before realizing that Beer should be second to last instead of last in case a song has to be cut.


With the album, The Flesh Eating Roller Skate Joyride, why didn't Indorphine finish the other half of it, did it involve their split?

Whoa, I have no idea how you know about that, but really they just didn't have the time to do it. Flesh Eating was going to be a full length, but when they told us they couldn't do it, Christmas was approaching so we just released it as a short record. That's why it's so short. 


When do you expect to get your next album off and running? 

Fall 2014! 


After your Sandwich album, do you guys emotional passion for food? 

Eating awesome food from everywhere is one of the best things about touring. Cajun food in Louisiana... lobster in Maine, pizza in New York. Local microbrews, too. 


Instrumentally you're solid, but Space Vampires vs Zombie Dinosaurs in 3D had different playing styles and parodies, how long do you take to write a song, or learn a song you're parodying? 

Parodies are way faster, the music is already written and you simply change the lyrics. Writing a song from scratch takes anywhere from two days to a full week. 


With the new material undergo, do you feel like this material is the strongest and most accomplished you've produced so far? 

Absolutely. Our goal with every album is to one-up ourselves, and I feel we are succeeding in this. 


After this album, do you ever wish to be signed to a big record label?  

Naw. We've always been about sticking with someone who lets us do what we want. Besides, the major labels are dropping like flies. 


And last of all, in a sentence, how would you describe Psychostick?  

Brutal LOLZ.


That sentence of power, wisdom, and courage proves that Psychostick are becoming veterans at what they do. All there is to do now for the rest of the world is to wait for the fall of 2014, then we will prepare our bodies.
~Matthew Clewley

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Track Review: Caribou - Can't Do Without You


Dan Smith's colourful music career only seems to gain momentum as the years and albums pass. His previous effort Swim under the moniker Caribou was a brilliant piece of electronica music for the car, bedroom, and the club. One listen to "Odessa" is enough to turn any on the fence electronic music fan to explore and experience the beat making geniuses that pop up from time to time releasing new music. Dan Smith belongs to a prolific group of electronic artists who are skilled across the board, specifically a steady ear and a knack for sampling - Derwin Schlecker and Kieran Hebden, take a bow.


"I can't do without you," the only lyrics to Caribou's "Can't Do Without You", except the closing moments. Of course, Smith's music speaks louder than words, and electronic music isn't one to be exposed for pop melodies and simplistic structures. Instead, Smith uses his more than capable percussion skills to build the base of his pre-release single, adding dubstep inspired synthesizers and soulful vocals as he pleases. "Can't Do Without You" is a typical Caribou track, exciting on the first listen, and all listens that follow.
~Eddie Gibson

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Discovery: White Sands - Years


London-based indie 'supergroup' White Sands debuted "Years" this week, the experimenting four-minute piece of electrifying noise rock / lo-fi. Comprised of guitarist / vocalist's John Webb (Male Bonding) and Sophy Hollington (Novella), the trio is completed by bassist Conan Roberts (Mazes). Like many of their individual recordings, White Sands seems to be a psychedelic / punk influenced recording, sort of a combination between Mazes sudden krautrock, Novella's lead guitar punches, and Male Bonding's distortion.


"Years" isn't a surprising sound at all, because fans of the above artists have grown to expect and love this sound as their alma mater.  Instead of preaching about the 80s experimental rock / punk /noise music scene, my wording is best placed at White Sands potential. As a trio of now experienced touring and smart musicians - Sophy with Novella's Spacemen 3 overdrive, Conan due to the ever expanding Italian Beach Babes record label, and John for Male Bonding's worldwide stature and proven ability. "Years", as expected, is a brilliant piece of music from the harsh percussion to the reverberated rhythm guitar, and audiences will no doubt want more.
~Eddie Gibson

Monday, 2 June 2014

Track Review: Meanwhile - Bigger City


Last time we reviewed a Meanwhile track, the artist was still an anonymous character living somewhere near the M3 motorway. Now we know Meanwhile is the pseudonym of Basingstoke resident Tom Andrews, and he's just released the follow-up to February's "Luvletta". Back then, Meanwhile didn't even have a name, with barely a scratch of Facebook likes or YouTube views to his... artist name - still, the anonymity and notable signing to Fiction Records made Meanwhile an artist to carefully watch.



We compared Meanwhile to tUnE-yArDs and TV on the Radio after listening to "Luvletta", and that comparison has only grown since hearing "Bigger City". Sure, the covering letter and non-transcribed music press have compared Meanwhile to Prince, which personally is a stretch of the PR imagination rather than a careful ear comparison. Prince is one of the few artists music journalists can't categorise through genre corners - Meanwhile is on a different level artistically. Andrews' seamlessly intelligent production is better than the 80s records repeatedly played on your local advertised pop station. His music almost seems flawless, but after "Bigger City", you notice Andrews' choice of percussion and synthesizers. It comes across limited when listening to "Bigger City" and "Luvletta" back to back, but this shouldn't hinder Andrews' future career as both these tracks, especially "Bigger City", can go a long way. Easily chart topping potential; and with Fiction already behind Andrews, the name Meanwhile will be going far. I'm personally looking for some variation in the structure and instrumentation on future releases, otherwise Meanwhile's debut could come across as flat, but I'm confident Meanwhile's debut will be the freshest piece of 80s inspired music to the post-Pharell loving  British Isles.
~Eddie Gibson