Monday, 18 August 2014

Track Review: Delamere - Headstrong

Delamere return with a lovely little single titled "Headstrong". It's been a while since the Staffordshire based alternative rock / indie rock quartet released music, and "Headstrong" is a good indication of whats to come after a very interesting past repertoire of singles. They recently signed with Manchester label Scruff of the Neck Records, showing promise both as a live act, and as an act fulfilling goals by signing a record contract. Previously Delamere impressed me with with their sound quality from home recordings, and this studio recorded track only adds to that initial positive impression. 

Like with many of Delamere's songs, "Headstrong" induces a calming presence, with soft vocals and fluctuating instrumentation. They're mastering the atmosphere sound needed to make artists like Delamere standout on a stage full of similar recording artists. This song is something you can nod your head to, stomp your foot etc - it's a relaxing tune with very-impressive percussion, and reverb effects on the lead guitar. It's not unusual to replay Delamere songs after they're over, because there's always that feeling of sudden loss when they end without a fade out. Delamere are constantly improving, song after song, release after release - their record label knows it as well as I do that Delamere have a mass of potential ready to be tapped in to by an indie rock / alternative rock loving British audience.
~Eddie Gibson

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Interview: Pegboard Nerds

Electronic music has always been an exciting genre that always has something new floating around it. Monstercat is one of the main places I go to for new electronic music, and I have always been curious about them. Therefore, I asked to interview the Pegboard Nerds, one of MonsterCat's most successful acts. I ask questions that cover main points of their history together as a band and discover things that are pretty awesome about them. With Uncaged and also Global Gathering to be on their busy schedule, they managed to find time to answer my long list of questions.
~Matthew Clewley

MRD: How did the Pegboard Nerds form?

Well we have made music together for 10+ years. But specifically, we started Pegboard Nerds towards the end of 2011, with the intention of making our own music under our own name, shifting the focus away from doing what was basically remixes only. We’d talked about it for a long time, but there was always that “one more remix…” which made it take forever. We had to make the move however, because making music started to feel like boring routine, and a drag, and that is not really conducive to making big and exciting dance music! We really just wanted to try, and still try, to be the best we can be, on our own four feet. We never looked back! It’s a brave new world :)

The Uncaged Tour is just over the horizon, have you ever done a tour this big?

We’re super stoked!! The Bassline Kickin’ tour was pretty big for us, but this is the first time we are doing our own full headliner tour, which is both a little bit intimidating and very very exciting!

What has the music life for you guys been like since you've signed to Monstercat?

Busy :) We are not technically signed to Monstercat, it’s more on a track by track basis, but as you can see we have a really close and strong relationship. We feel like we’ve grown with Monstercat, which was already pretty big back then, but now has gotten so much bigger and is still growing. We’re always working on new tracks and look forward to each new song we can put out.

On Monstercat Wikia you've been known as the most popular artist on Monstercat, how do you feel when you hear things like that?

Actually we didn’t hear that until we read it here.. Wow, that is humbling and nice :) It also feels.. weird, in a positive way, if that makes sense. I mean we had no idea what would happen when we formed PBN.. And now.. This! Amazing. Monstercat is such a great community, very supportive and interactive and vocal about how they feel.

How much has video games or/and video game music had an effect on your music.

It’s probably ingrained in us from our childhoods, so it’s more of a subconscious thing a opposed to actually referencing games and music from them when we work. The thing about old school video game music is that they had a very limited toolset to work with, and practically no effects or fancy production tools, so the melodies HAD to be catchy and great. So some of the vibe and feel probably/hopefully finds its way into our melodies as well :)

What do you guys see as the perfect live set up when it comes to songs setlist and live equipment?

We think a set should be kind of like a journey, with highs and lows, contrasts, fast and slow. We usually cover a pretty wide range of genres and tempos in our sets. As for live equipment we are just doing straight up DJ-set as of now, but of course we dream of maybe doing something more live based and hopefully we will do in the future. It’s just that it’s so easy to travel with a couple of memory sticks and a headset!

What is your favorite song you have remixed so far?

Hmm good question. J. Viewz - Far too close was fun, but I guess the Alive remix was our favourite so far, as everything kinda came so nicely and instinctively together. But we try and make every remix our “favorite” at the time of producing it, because you gotta have that feeling when you make it. I translates into the production, gives it soul.

Do you plan on remixing anymore songs? If so, would you remix songs from genres that seem out of place to your genre?

It’ll probably happen, but it would have to be a really interesting song for us. Sure, that’s the most exciting! Which is why we are trying to avoid remixing a straight up electro track, or a dubstep tune, etc..

Have you guys ever been to the United Kingdom? Or if not, do you ever plan to?

We have played several shows there: Last year we played in Exeter, and we did Global Gathering, Reading & Leeds (missed Leeds due to really bad traffic unfortunately! :( ), Creamfields and Manchester (Haunted House with Knife Party). Also, this is written as we’re going back to play Global again this weekend so that should be fun, can’t wait for the artist lounge burgers!

What is the ultimate venue you would want to play?

We played some pretty sick venues/places already (EDC bass pod, Reading festival and Red Rocks) :) For maximum grandeur and flair probably something like mainstage EDC Vegas or Tomorrowland? For gritty, up close, intimate and downright sweaty raging, any small club with a crazy crowd!

What do you think about sampling in songs nowadays? Do you think artists like David Guetta do it too much?

It doesn’t matter.. We have a saying: “Whatever works”. If an artist samples and uses it in an interesting way, or uses little bits and bobs to create one shots (we do that a lot). Of course there are more exciting and less exciting ways of utilizing a sample, but at the end of the day it’s the end result that counts.

You said on Facebook your genre of music is "crazy shit". As much as I agree, would you be able to describe what crazy shit consists of?

Haha! It consists of whatever we feel like making on any given day, because it can be most anything, a lot of it never being released. Actually it’s amazing that anything makes it to release because (and this has been said by many before us, but it is so true) a track is never finished, it is abandoned because you have to (deadline/release). It’s kind of taken from you, and you have to let it go, haha. It’s also referring to how we almost cannot believe how insane the process of writing a track is.. It goes through so many stages. The pre deadline paranoia one is the worst. The best one is when a bunch of sounds suddenly goes from being a incohesive mess into actually being a concept, a TRACK. It’s such an elusive point during the production process, but it’s clearly felt every time. Fascinating!

You have stated you have too many influences to name, but what is your main influence?

Too many to name ? lol! But really, there is no main influence, it’s way more faceted than that..

You've had a few comments on one of your Facebook posts, but one caught my eye saying "Come on PBN. You guys have changed and it's terrible. Go back to your old roots when you made the most amazing music...." How do musicians like yourselves respond to this kind of comment?

Well first of all, things move incredibly fast in today’s world, but we can’t help but smile when people are referring to music we made 1-2 years ago as our “roots”.. We’ve barely begun defining our own roots!  Technically, and as far as Pegboard Nerds’ timeline as a whole is concerned, that is indeed our roots if you want to use that word… We’d rather say that our roots are the music that defined us 10 years ago, 15 years ago and made us want to make music ourselves. Stuff like The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Orbital, etc.  Anyway. We usually never actually respond to comments like that, but we read them (sometimes) and discuss them. We don’t want to water down our own music by doing a “Disconnected 2” or “Self Destruct 2” or a “Fire in the hole 2”. That’s why they are strong tracks and have their place in our history, because we made them and then moved on.. We don’t want to “rip off ourselves”, you know?

What songs and collaborations have you got coming up for the near future you would like to tease?

We have a raunchy trap-influenced track coming up, as well as collabs with Cash Cash and Destroid.

You have a great following and you have had things like necklaces being made based on Pegboard Nerds, how great does that make you feel?

We love it!! It’s unbelievable to see people go and do their own things with something we cooked up together in a basement outside of Copenhagen one rainy night. We have a big bag of necklaces, pearler beads, combos of both, and a kickass hero flag at home as tour souvenirs :)

What is the signature song of the Pegboard Nerds in your eyes?

Self Destruct (At the time of writing, lol)

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Interview: The Lounge Kittens

A month ago I went to Knebsworth Park for Sonisphere Festival to watch bands and get drunk. Whilst I was there a certain act caught my attention. I was ready to watch Limp Bizkit, until three ladies came on the stage with stunning dresses and great voices. Turns out they were called The Lounge Kittens, a great name for a great trio, so I thought I should interview them not only for my own curiosity, but just to give you, the reader, a taste of what they're like.
~Matthew Clewley

MRD: You cover famous rock songs in a girl group style, who is influential to this style of singing?

TIMIA: While a lot of our set is Rock and Metal, there is also some Pop, Dancehall, Hip hop and Dance in there too. We like to mix it up! I suppose some of the better known originators of the '3 girl close harmony' vocal style would be The Andrews Sisters, however, I guarantee that we swear infinitely more than they did.    

Where did the wonderful idea of your trio come from?

TIMIA: Jen had suggested to me that we start a duo together for fun, to do a few low key gigs. I suggested that the songs should be our favourite rude and explicit songs or tunes that people don't usually cover- particularly not in a loungey, swing style with vocals and piano. It all fell into place when we met Zan. 

How did you all meet and form The Lounge Kittens? 

Zan: Well Timia and Jen met at university and came up with the concept of TLK, then we all met through Jen’s work as a Rock Choir leader. Both Timia and I are part of the choir and we all became friends through that. One night on a drunken evening out the girls suggested I should become a Lounge Kitten too (although it was still just an idea at this point!). Of course I said yes…….and then we didn't do anything for about six months….until Jen booked us a couple of shows and we hastily put some arrangements together!

Who are your favourite cover bands, and did those too inspire you?

TIMIA: I've always loved covers that are done a completely different style. Me first and the Gimmie Gimmies got me into punk covers, and then of course there is the "Punk Goes..." series of compilations which always provides gems. It's always been about Richard Cheese though, he's something of an idol to me and I know the other girls are big fans too.  

You are a unique cover band may I add, have you heard other artists like Richard Cheese or Selo I Ludy who add a spin on a metal cover?

TIMIA: Without Richard Cheese there would be no Lounge Kittens. We make a point of never covering any song he has done. I mean, how many Lounge Covers of 'Killing In the Name of' does the world need? One will probably do it... 

Can it be challenging writing a metal cover song in your own style?

JEN: Surprisingly, I feel the metal songs are much easier to 'Kittenize' than the more poppy sounding songs, because we could never achieve the same musical result as the original, due to us harmonising 3 female voices with just a piano for backing. It's always going to sound different. But it's always so much fun to cover metal songs, because we can completely camp them up or make them really cheeky, a complete flip!!

I saw you sing an introduction for Limp Bizkit at Sonisphere, how did those guys come to contact you? Did they see or hear your cover?

Zan: Well, we tweeted Fred Durst with our video for our cover of ‘Rollin’ back in February and he picked it up, loved it and shared it through Limp Bizkit’s Facebook page, which is obviously the main reason it's had so many hits. He came to see our show at Sonisphere and afterwards asked us if we would come out and sing Rollin on stage with them during their set – so of course we said ‘yes’ and before we knew it we were on the main stage at Sonisphere in front of 40,000 people.

JEN: We had absolutely NO idea that it was going to happen. We found out literally 3 hours before the performance that we were going to be singing on the main stage, it totally reflects how much faith Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit had in us to do the job well and get the reaction intended. We were really touched! 

How did Glastonbury and Sonisphere contact you?

Zan: We contacted them. We emailed the people that book the bands and were lucky enough to have them reply that they wanted us to play. It’s as simple as that. We are absolutely over the moon to have been booked for some of the biggest festivals in the UK this year and we've had an absolute blast playing at them.

What kind of venues will you be playing around the UK?

Zan: We’re playing all kinds of venues when we head out on tour in September and October. Cabaret venues, rock venues and loads of bars and pubs. We love to play anywhere as long as people are having a great time and singing along.

How was your time in the beautiful land of France?

TIMIA: Idyllic. Working at this pace and intensity with your best friends is incredibly fun, but also exhausting. We gave ourselves some quality time off together, just the three of us to spend time being friends and finding ourselves again as Timia, Jen and Zan because that's who we are and who we were before we were The Lounge Kittens

Do you plan on releasing more videos of covers on your YouTube channel?

JEN: Oh absolutely we do! I don't think we realised how much fun making music videos could be. It gives us an opportunity to be really creative, fun and most importantly, SILLY! We all love being silly together, making faces, making fools of ourselves and the video allows us to show our fans who we really are and what we're about. We don't take ourselves seriously, and in turn, neither do our videos. 

Do you plan on giving us original material in the near future? 

Zan: People keep asking us this! At the moment, we really love what we do and don’t see it as a stepping stone to releasing our own original music in the future. But never say never. I’m fortunate enough to work with two very talented ladies so who’s to say we won’t start writing at some point. But for now, putting our own spin on our favourite songs is definitely enough – there are still SO many songs we want to cover!

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