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Video: Indians shares new video for “La Femme”

in New Music by

Copenhagen’er Indians aka Søren Løkke Juul has shared a new video for his track “La Femme” from his debut release Somewhere Else. Juul has being touring the States for the most part of 2013 after signing to American label 4AD in  late 2012, with several appearances at festivals in Denmark during the summer. This fall he’ll head back to the States along with a string of shows in the UK.

September
16th – Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC *
17th – Terminal West, Atlanta, GA *
18th – Iron City, Birmingham, AL *
20th – Metro, Chicago, IL *
22nd – The Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO *
24th – Neurolux, Boise, ID *
25th – Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA *
26th – Hawthorne Theatre, Portland, OR *
28th – The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA *
30th – The Glass House, Pomona, CA *

October
1st – El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA *
3rd – Pappy & Harriet’s, Pioneertown, CA
4th – The Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ *
16th – De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-On-Sea, United Kingdom &
17th – Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, United Kingdom &
19th – Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre, Newcastle, United Kingdom &
20th – Fruitmarket, Glasgow, United Kingdom &
21st – Ritz, Manchester, United Kingdom &
22nd – Town Hall, Leeds, United Kingdom &
24th – Komedia, Bath, United Kingdom &
25th – University Great Hall, Cardiff, United Kingdom &
26th – Junction, Cambridge, United Kingdom &
27th – UEA, Norwich, United Kingdom &
29th – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom &

* with Phosphorescent
& with Daughter

Watch the video below:

INTERVIEW: Scarlet Chives

in Blog/Uncategorized by

Scarlet Chives release their second album, ‘This is Protection’ on Monday. We sat down to talk to lead singer Maria Mortensen, about feeling cosy in a freaky way, a cabin in the Swedish woods, and naked people.

Here Today: So the new album ‘This is Protection’ is about to be released. Excited?

Scarlet Chives: Yes very much. It was very easy to make, but the finishing process has been very long. Now we’re just excited to find out if people like it.

HT: So where did the name of the album come from?

SC: Well the theme of the album is just about admitting that there has to be other people around you, or else nothing’s worth anything. So it’s very simple, but that’s why the album is called ‘This is Protection’, because other people are your protection.

HT: So where did the album start? Was it one particular song or event that triggered it?

SC: Well we’d been playing our old album for a very long time because it came out in Denmark, and then came out in Norway almost a year later. We started touring the old album again after it had been finished for almost two years, so we didn’t really have too much time to make new music. As soon as we got time to see each other again to just write music, people started doing sketches [of songs] for the band, and we just got together and made the album very fast because we had been so excited to make new songs for a very long time. It wasn’t like we wrote one song and it made sense to write songs just like it. We got together, sat down and wrote them.

HT: So I understood from your Facebook that it was written in the Swedish woods?

SC: Yes it was. As I told you, we had a handful of sketches, and all the boys sat down and did sketches by themselves, so they all had little sketches with them when we went to Sweden. We borrowed a cabin in the woods for one week, in Spring last year. I listened to the sketches through my headphones all the way in the car, writing text ideas. As soon as we got to Sweden we installed different studios in different rooms in the cabin and we just started finishing the songs together. This little vacation was all about trying a new sound, playing together, and finding out what we would like to do with the new record. But we didn’t really have to. We just worked with the songs. Separately, actually. All of the boys sat with their own sketches in their own little rooms, and I could go visit them making melodies for all of the sketches. In the evenings we got together and started recording ideas, and actually finishing the album that way. When we got home one week later we had ‘This is Protection’.

HT: So there wasn’t one person in charge? That’s interesting.

SC: No, everybody was bringing something. It was always a dream for us that we could make music that way, but it’s always harder than you think. We would always like to have a little democracy where everybody is just as important as the other. The only way to do that is just to accept that everybody’s bringing something. If you just sit back and listen, or shut up and play… We didn’t have to talk too much. We could just work with each other’s songs and be inspired by the ideas that somebody came with. And that was really cool. We’re all very different, we have different references, we can do different things… I don’t even play any instruments so I just like to respect the ideas of somebody who knows some techniques. That way you can focus on the things you do best. That was how we worked all week because we just wanted to be productive with getting a lot of ideas recorded that we could work on when we got home. So yes, it was very interesting, and we are very happy with the result.

HT: So was the environment important? The Swedish woods…

SC: I don’t think we knew it at the time, but listening to the record I can really hear that it’s cosy in a very freaky way, just being on your own. Even though there were six of us, there were not a lot of people around. It was a very small village, maybe four houses, and of them was ours. In the other cabins there lived men and their dogs, by themselves, just wandering around the house and looking to see what these hippie Danes were doing. They could hear us recording music. It was a very nice experience, but also a bit freaky, and I think that’s also how the record sounds. It’s cosy in a very dark way.

HT: So it’s quite solitary then?

SC: Yes, very much.

HT: Is that one of the themes that comes out in the album?

SC: Yes, I think it is. When I got home and listened to it it kinda freaked me out, and I think that’s when I got the idea that it should be about other people, because I was far away from them. The sound of the record too, is very solitary. Even the very pretty songs, where the vocals are in front, there’s always something very spooky underneath.

HT: So would you say it’s a record to listen to on your own?

SC: Yes. I think it is. I never thought about it, but I think it is, because there are many fragments there, many different stories. I think I get many pictures from it. I think it would be a good idea to listen to it on your own at first, but there are also many easy songs on the record, and songs that you can even dance to.

HT: So it sounds like it was quite an easy process to put it together. Were there any challenges that you faced when you were writing the album?

SC: Yes, a lot. I think the biggest challenge with the album was that it felt like it made itself. We had been very hungry to write music for a very long time. We were six people at the time, and I don’t think it was quite stimulating enough for some of us. We never really got to play that much, because it sounded good before we thought it was finished. We had been looking forward to working together again, the boys had been looking forward to doing all of those nerdy things with all of their effects, recording a hundred different ideas, choosing the best of them. And we never got to that, because we felt it was finished before we felt done working with it. That was a big challenge because it doesn’t really feel fair telling people not to play. So of course we had some discussions about that.

HT: What are the changes from your debut album?

SC: Many. First of all because, like I told you, it was made in a very different way. With the first album we all got together writing songs, even from scratch. The new album is also more diverse as everyone had ideas. It was not like that with the first album. It’s also not as noisy, but I think it’s more dramatic, colder, in a way. And then of course, we have all developed and got new inspiration.

HT: So you’ve released two videos from the new album so far, for “The Timber Will Fall”, and “Some Days Stay”. They’re both quite… striking? Maybe a feminist edge?

SC: Yeah, I guess you could call them that! The first video we released, for “The Timber Will Fall” was made by director Aske Bang. I came up with some of the ideas, but it was his video. I’m not a feminist at all, but we definitely wanted somebody to make a video for us that would work with the boundaries of what is accepted when you make art today. Especially as now things are virtual, and boundaries are not as wide as we were once used to in Denmark. I think that censorship for grown ups was removed in the sixties or something, and then it’s of course very sad for artists today to feel locked to certain rules when they make art, if they want anyone to see it. The video was removed from Facebook and YouTube. That was not at all what we wanted. We didn’t really think it would happen. We didn’t know the rules. We just knew that you didn’t see it that often, now we know why. We hadn’t really looked that much into modern censorship but we wanted to move boundaries for what was acceptable and normal. It was on purpose that we made a controversial video, but it was not my intention to be feminist. I never really saw it that way, I actually saw it like the opposite, mocking women for using their sexuality to get power. We really liked the result though, we thought it was very beautiful. The only thing I talked to Aske about was that I wanted normal naked people. If you want to see normal naked people, and it’s not in porn, it might be in movies, or in an art installation, not trying to reach a wide audience. We just thought that you would like the thought of beautiful, naked, all natural, normal skin, somewhere where everyone’s got access.

HT: Compared with where I come from, England, being so free and liberal about your body seems like quite a Danish thing. Could the video and your art be considered a celebration of that Danish freedom?

SC: Very much. That’s pretty much all it is, actually. I think it takes many years for boundaries to move in what is accepted, and we should be very proud to be in a country where you can just make art and nobody gets insulted. People wouldn’t. They might think it’s interesting, maybe they don’t, but nobody dies from seeing naked people. We all know it’s beautiful.

HT: But then again, you show a much more realistic representation of the female body in your video, compared with, say, the video “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

SC: Exactly, and I think we live in a time when it is important to remind each other of what is beautiful. We were shocked when we released this video, to find that some people actually find it scary. They’re afraid of looking at naked women, looking all natural. That scares me, quite a bit.

 

Scarlet Chives’ second album ‘This is Protection’ is released Monday 16th in Denmark, and Friday 20th in Sweden and Norway.

 

ARTICLE: Arctic Monkeys – The Road to ‘AM’

in Blog by

INTRODUCTION

In 2005, when the Arctic Monkeys were first thrown into the arms of the indie music world, a video of the band performing “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor” depicted the young band  looking awkward and boyish, but brilliant. Before the performance began, Alex Turner cleared his throat and drawled, in a thick Northern accent, “Weahr the ahrctic moonkees… Don’ buhleeve the ‘ype.” That proved impossible. The hype was real, and eight years on, it’s time for the band to release their fifth studio album, ‘AM’. After eleven years since their formation in 2002, the infant apes are all grown up, and ready to take over the world, one drunk text at a time. Here Today takes a look at their career up to this point, and why ‘AM’ makes them the greatest rock band of our generation.

THE CHANGING STAGE

Earlier this summer, Arctic Monkeys played the biggest gig of their career when they headlined Glastonbury Festival in the UK for the second time. However, every band has to start somewhere, and they didn’t start on the Pyramid Stage. On Friday the 13th June 2003, the band played their first ever gig at The Grapes, a small pub in their home town of Sheffield. What I would give to have a time machine and a ticket to Sheffield. Their set included “Ravey Ravey Ravey Club”, an unreleased track. But of course, there’s a grainy recording on YouTube:

As teenagers, Alex and ex-bassist Andy Nicholson found employment pulling pints at famous local venue, The Boardwalk, that had played an important role in launching up and coming bands from the area. When they returned to play a homecoming gig at the small venue, ex-bassist Andy pulled on a staff t-shirt and served behind the bar again. Alas, The Boardwalk went into administration in 2010.

In 2005, the band blew up and embarked on its first world tour. By the time they reached the UK leg, every concert was fully sold out, and £7 tickets were being flogged for £100 for two on eBay. Talk about demand.

At The Grapes in 2003, The band made a total of £27 in ticket sales. Less than ten years later, Turner is number 11 on the Heat Under 30s Rich List, and worth an estimated £9.8 million.

THE MYSPACE GENERATION

Shortly after the Grapes gig, the band started producing demo CDs at 2fly studios, to distribute for free at their small concerts. So began the band’s rise to first internet, then global fame. Whilst the boys didn’t know how to put music on the internet, had never heard of Myspace and got a mate to set up the website, fans were sharing the demo tracks online. It was a fan who came up with the title ‘Beneath the Boardwalk’ for the 17 track demo CD, and yes, that is referring to the same Boardwalk where Alex and Andy used to work. Just a year or so later, the band beat the British record for fastest selling debut album with ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ selling 363,735 over-the-counter copies in the first week. There was a time when Myspace was relevant.

 

COOL COLLABORATIONS

You’ve probably heard of The Last Shadow Puppets, Alex Turner’s incredibly cool side project band, which consists of himself, Miles Kane and James Ford. They’ve released only one album, ‘The Age of the Understatement’, but both Turner and Kane say they’ll record new material “when the time is right.” The Last Shadow Puppets may be on extended break, but Turner and Kane have continued to work together, and prove that mods and rockers can be friends after all. The “Milex” relationship has also been the cause of some slightly creepy tumblr blogs celebrating the bromance.

If Miles Kane wasn’t cool enough, Alex Turner and the Monkeys just happen to be good friends with Queens of The Stone Age legend Josh Homme. As well as co-producing the Monkeys’ third album, ‘Humbug’, Homme features on ‘AM’. Talking to Zane Lowe, Turner described the appearance as “very much a case of one of us returning a back scratch to the other,” referring to his own contribution to the latest QOTSA album, ‘…Like Clockwork’. “Just fun, it’s friends, extended family now,” is how Turner descibed the collaboration. ‘AM’ also features guest appearances by The Coral’s ex-guitarist Bill Ryder Jones and drummer Pete Thomas.

But it’s not just guitar brandishing musicians that Arctic Monkeys have worked with. In 2007, the band joined forces with British rap artist Dizzee Rascal, to create “Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend” and “Temptation”. The former was the Arctic Monkeys track, featured on the ‘Brianstorm’ EP, where Rascal rapped over a verse. The latter was Rascal’s interpretation, a full rap song with Turner’s dulcet tones sampled underneath. The two acts came together again during the Monkeys’ headliner set at Glastonbury in 2007.

THE HAIRVOLUTION OF ARCTIC MONKEYS

It’s safe to say that with each new Arctic Monkeys album, comes a new style, especially for Alex Turner. As a teenager in Sheffield, he sported a polo T-shirt and Jeremy Clarkson jean combo, with some pretty flat snips on his head. Fast forward to 2009, and he’s sporting a rather different look. Luscious locks of shiny brown hair hang around his face like a mop, and a gorgeous Alexa Chung is tucked under his arm. Then 2012 saw the introduction of greaser Turner. This slick LA Alex wears Saint Laurent, a leather jacket to promo shoots, has Topman style guides in dedication to his Teddy boy look, and rolls his hair into a slick quiff. Talking to GQ, Turner said he adopted the look because “All the boys got shorter hair and I thought, ‘What can I do to one-up them?’ I am the singer after all, and you’ve gotta be a dick sometimes.”

Turner is a style chameleon, musically as well as in fashion. ‘Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not’ was a perfect, grubby, indie rock storybook of suburban teenage life, and with tracks like “Fluorescent Adolescent” on ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’, their follow up followed on a similar thread. However, as the title suggests, something about their second album already showed signs of a new musical style. ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ was loud, fast, austere and dangerous. The violent opening riff of “Brianstorm” sets the tone for the record: the really great, really well received record.

The view from Alex Turner’s 2009 ‘Humbug’ era eye covering mop of hair must have been pretty dark and confusing to have produced tracks like “Pretty Visitors”. Arctic Monkeys fans obviously think that none of the albums are bad, but this is often the one they don’t like as much. Personally, Humbug is one of my favourites because it’s confidently experimental, never a bad idea for a band that’s been around a while.

Whilst the first three albums got darker with each release, ‘Suck it and See’, also a reaction record, changed the other way. It was more accessible, “vintage”, but not addictive like the previous three. However, it was released just a few months before Turner announced to The Sun that he had “fucking forgotten how do that,” in reference to writing a smash hit. So you never know, maybe we’re in agreement about ‘Suck it…’

Now, in 2013, Turner is churning out different quotes about his song writing and recording process, albeit bizarre ones. To GQ: “The whole thing for me is like a chemical reaction. It’s like you put your different elements into all the test tubes, and you try and mix them together and get the right-colour smoke.”

Or there’s this one to NME: “Writing songs for me is like waiting for deliveries,” he explains. “You get a window: the washing machine’s got to be there between 11 and 5. You’ve got to wait for it. It [the song] is the washing machine, the idea! You’re like, ‘Right, we’re gonna do this record between now and then, and in the middle something is gonna arrive. A loosely metaphorical washing machine.” Turner’s dark patch where he forgot how to write a mammoth single is over. Finito. Gone. Need proof? Just sit back and listen to “Do I Wanna Know?”

AM

Ever since I find out that the name of this album would be ‘AM’, I’ve been totally stumped as to what it could stand for. Then Turner cleared it all up in an interview with Zane Lowe, where he admitted he’d stolen the idea from The Velvet Underground’s ‘VU’ record. Suddenly it all made sense. Here are nine more facts about ‘AM’:

Alex Turner describing ‘AM’: “It sounds like a Dr Dre beat, but we’ve given it an Ike Turner bowl cut and then we’ve sent it galloping across the desert on a Stratocaster.” (Rolling Stone)

On what happened in that LA studio: Matt Helders broke his hand because it “came into contact with something that was stronger than me.” (NME)

On ‘AM’, Arctic Monkeys make their drum machine debut with “I Wanna Be Yours”.

“Mad Sounds”, the seventh track on the album, was debuted at Hultsfred Festival in Sweden.

Josh Homme on the new record: “It’s a really cool, sexy after-midnight record… and it’s really good.” (NME)

Haim turned down the opportunity to be on “Do I Wanna Know?”, as they couldn’t fit it into their schedules. Bass player Este Haim said it was “maybe the worst day of my life,” to call and say no. (NME)

The record was finished in the nick of time. “We were on the phone, getting things finished like adding a tambourine to a chorus, when it should have been mastered. It was right down to the last minute.” Those dastardly tambourines. (XFM)

“Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” debuted at number 8 in the UK charts, making it the band’s first top 10 single since 2007, when they released “Fluorescent Adolescent”.

ARTICLE: Who will headline Roskilde Festival 2014?

in Blog by

Its almost like talking about Christmas on December 26th but still people are starting to speculate to who will be headlining Roskilde Festival 2014 which is set to take place between 28th June to 6th July. Although its early in the day certain patterns emerge with festivals and heres our list as to who we think is likely to grace the hallowed Orange Stage in 2014.

Arcade Fire

Why?: Three flawless albums and another just around the corner with the release of their forth studio album Reflektor on October 29th. They’re set to go on a worldwide tour in support of Reflektor starting off down under at Big Day Out Festival, come summer they’ll hit the shores of Europe expecting to play some of the largest festivals this fine continent has to offer, what other festival is bigger in Scandinavia than Roskilde Festival?

Last played the festival: 2007 (The year of the flood)

Likelihood of them appearing: Highly

Trentemøller

Why?: Roskilde always try give a diverse mixture of Danish and International headliners and across the rest of the bill for that matter. Hes about to release new album Lost September 23rd. Trentemøller has already announced shows across Europe and North America with his popularity only growing since his last headline show of Roskilde in 2009.

Last played the festival: 2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Almost certain

Rage Against The Machine

Why?: Roskilde’s organisers are friendly people and each year they ask who the public want to see play their festival, each year RATM top that list (or somewhere close), we appreciate that they’re a tough band to book since they only play shows when it suits them. Next July will mark 3 years since they last played live together, however, theres every chance 2014 could be that year with them strongly rumoured to play LA Rising in August, Roskilde and a string of other festival dates in the summer of 2014 could be a nice warm up.

Last played the festival: 1996

Likelihood of them appearing: Slim, but theres every hope

Daft Punk

Why?: After dropping Random Access Memory this year we all expected them to play at least a few festival slots with strong rumours of them appearing at Primavera Sound, Glastonbury and even Roskilde. This unfortunately never happened. And while appearances from them have been minimal this year they made a short appearance at the MTV VMA’s last week and this could work as a snowball effect to have them announce concerts and festivals “around the world” next year.

Last played the festival: 1997

Likelihood of them appearing: Doubtful

Jay-Z or Kanye West (or both together)

Why?: The always active Brooklyn/Chicago rappers both have recently released their own albums Magna Carta Holy Grail/Yeezus (respectively) this year, common trend with these two is that they hit the European circuit a year or so after dropping an album. However both have just had their first children, this could deter them, however they’re entrepreneurs and know the value of touring.

Last played the festival: 2008/2009

Likelihood of them appearing: Fairly good

Eminem

Why?: He just played Reading/Leeds festivals last weekend and he’s about to release Marshall Mathers LP 2, I’m sure he’ll want to play a handful of European shows in support of the album. He’s isn’t as relevant as he was back in 1999 and sure he’s cleaned up his act, but he’s still got a back catalogue of hits worthy of any festival.

Last played the festival: Never

Likelihood of them appearing: Miracles can happen

Mew

Why?: They’re about to release their forth album and again another Danish band worthy of being a headliner. Although what goes against them is that they played Orange stage back in 2012, that wasn’t so long ago but they surely can’t miss out on booking them again.

Last played the festival: 2012

Likelihood of them appearing: Likely….but…..

Blur

Why?: With rumours of new material and them playing most other large festivals across Europe in recent years, 2014 could be the year they make it back to Roskilde Festival, after all Damon Albarn has a long lasting relationship with the festival having played recently with Gorillaz and three times previously with Blur. They performed at SmukFest in 2012 and this year could finally be the year they roll out the hits once more to a 60,000 strong crowd rejoicing to epic sing-a-longs to one of Brit pops finest bands.

Last played the festival: 2003

Likelihood of them appearing: Good chance

Vampire Weekend

Why?: Its sometimes hard to constitute who a headliner is at Roskilde, although they most likely won’t be billed as a headliner theres a good chance if they book Vampire Weekend they’ll make an appearance on the Orange Stage in a similar slot to what The National played at this years festival. The band released their third album Modern Vampires Of The City earlier this year to critical acclaim, their first two albums secured them headlining spots at several high profile festivals across the globe and have now proved themselves worthy headliners. What better music to hear on a Saturday evening as the sun is setting over the Orange Stage than Vampire Weekend?

Last played the festival: 2010

Likelihood of them appearing: High

Wu-Tang Clan

Why?: The Staten Island rap collective played many high profile festivals worldwide this year including their set at Vangaard Festival in Copenhagen. That hyped set has left fans purring for more and will most likely be one of the top 5 bands the fans vote to headline the festival in 2014, after all it will mark 10 years since they last played Roskilde!

Last played the festival: 2004

Likelihood of them appearing: High!

LIVE REVIEW: MS MR, Rust, Copenhagen, 28.08.2013

in Live Reviews by

RUST is not a big venue. The concert tonight is sold out, and so the audience, many of whom are female, is crammed close. The crowd is very hip, but then again, so is the band. The Brooklyn pop duo have remixed MØ and have been remixed by CHVRCHES, were fallen for by the blogosphere, oh, and she has colourful hair. So far, so somewhat predictable.

However, as the concert begins, and singer Lizzie Plapinger releases the low, sultry tones of “Bones” upon the audience, I start to think there might be more to this band than comes across on their debut album, ‘Secondhand Rapture’.

Mid-way through the concert, Max Hershenow, Plapinger’s partner, producer and keyboard player, explains, “Lizzie and I started MS MR three years ago now, in my bedroom, or cupboard turned studio. I didn’t know I could produce and Lizzie didn’t know she could sing, so when we first started we thought it would be easier to do a cover.” The duo then performed Patrick Wolf’s “Time of My Life”, as they had done three years ago. Those comments come as a surprise upon hearing Plapinger’s voice, which has been on top form all night. It’s great on record, but a bit too girlie. Live, it’s more raw and real, underneath echoey vocal effects. They follow the Wolf cover with “Fantasy”, aptly chosen to co-ordinate with Plapinger declaring the Danes have “lived up to your stereotype” of being “so sexy!”

The most striking observation to make about the concert is how incredibly likeable the band are. Plapinger’s focused, but there’s an innocence and excitement that radiates from her onstage. By “Salty”, the third track of the night, she’s warmed up and confident, and has shaken off some of the awkward if charming nerves. Between songs, and sometimes during them, she cannot help but beam in disbelief. There are few seamless transitions; before “BTSK” for instance, Plapinger says “It’s really hot, I hope you’re well lubricated,” before screwing her face, giggling and adding “take that as you will.” But even the awkward stage banter and audience interaction is engaging. There’s something of the good girl trying to be rebellious as she climbs onto the drum set for “Head Is Not My Home” towards the end of the set. Of course, she’s been supported by Hershenow’s killer keyboard skills, which he’s on occasion employed to fill and complement the clunky gaps between songs. “We’ll all wait whilst you drink some water, Lizzie,” Max teases. It’s obvious that the chemistry between the two is at the heart of this band, from the dizzy sidelong looks to the samba dancing intervals.

Unsurprisingly, the final song is “Hurricane”. Plapinger’s voice is getting tired, she’s missing notes, and the focus is waning, but the enthusiasm and energy is infectious. As the curtain is drawn and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” fills RUST’s speakers, the audience continues to dance. The concert was not flawless, but it was the imperfections that made it great.

VIEW THE LIVE PHOTOS HERE

INTERVIEW: Julia Holter

in Blog/Uncategorized by

Here Today: You recently released your third album, ‘Loud City Song’. Where did this record begin?

Julia Holter: There was a song that I was going to put on ‘Ekstasis’ that didn’t really work, and I decided that it needed to have a whole new record behind it, and that was what ‘Loud City Song’ became. That song is now called “Maxim’s II” and I made this new record for it.

 

HT: So is “Maxim’s II” the centrepiece of the album?

JH: Not necessarily, but if people are looking for some sort of centrepiece conceptually, which I don’t think you have to, then I guess it could be, but I wanted to make a record that didn’t have to be about the concept, and could just be a record to listen to and experience, and make your own judgements about.

 

HT: Was it difficult to go from writing in your room by yourself to having an ensemble of musicians around you?

JH: No, it was really great. It was way better than doing it alone because I was able to get help doing the things that I don’t know how to do very well, like recording drums for instance. People who have years of experience doing that do it so well. It makes a huge different having players play the parts, instead of just me playing everything on keyboard.

Julia Holter live

HT: When I listened to the record I got a sense that it was about feelings of intimidation in the city. Was that intentional?

JH: Yes, it’s kind of like the individual feeling bombarded by society.

HT: Is the city an intimidating place to be then?

JH: For me it’s not, I love the city, but it was more abstract. The city was a way to physically place society.

HT: Like a metaphor?

JH: Yeah exactly. The record’s more a story than a political commentary. It’s sort of like a coming of age story. There are elements of contemporary celebrity culture, like on “Maxim’s II”. I think that’s a kind of a tangent, but I do think that’s a way to look at it. So it’s not specifically anything about society, it’s not like I made a record about the problems of society, it’s more just a coming of age story about an individual in society making different decisions, like running away from society or staying in it. You can interpret it any way you want. In Gigi’s case, she’s expected to become a courtesan by her family, and she doesn’t want to do that. It could be anything; in the record there are different hints about what it could be, like being chased by paparazzi, or you could be a celebrity that’s always being spied on.

 

HT: There are lots of different emotions, atmospheres and sounds on the record. Why did you choose to put them all on one album?

JH: I don’t think I thought much about it. I basically had a story, and I let myself go free with whatever music fit each song. I wasn’t thinking, “well this song is going to be jazzy, and this one will be a soaring, dream experience song.” I have an idea of what’s going on in the song, and the music emerges out of that. It was all in my demos. Everything you hear atmosphere-wise was present in my demos when I made them at home, in a much cruder form than they are now. So it just sort of comes out of you and you don’t have a way of explaining it. I get people asking me “why is it jazzy?” and I have no explanation. It was like that in the demos; it’s not as if I got jazz players and it suddenly became jazzy, it just was. It wasn’t a conscious decision or style.

 

HT: So the story is what really guides you when you’re writing the music?

JH: Yeah, a lot of times it is, whether it’s for the album, or even on ‘Ekstasis’, which doesn’t have a concept, it’s just a collection of different songs, united by certain general things, each song has something of a story or a situation between characters. I build off that and don’t think about the musical genres.

HT: Do you think you get a better song if it’s naturally crafted?

JH: I think it’s the only way I can write. I don’t think about, “is this the right way?” it’s just the only way for me. I mean, there are always exceptions. I can probably think of a some times when I listened to a piece of music and then wanted to work off some musical ideas. “Maxim’s I” for instance was more complicated. When I wrote it I already had “Maxim’s II” which was then just “Maxim’s”, and then one day I was playing the keyboard and I really liked some chords that I was playing. It just came to me that he lyrics for “Maxim’s” could work for those chords as well. So sometimes it does just start with the music and the music creates the story itself.

 

HT: And do you have a favourite song in particular from the album?

JH: I don’t have one favourite, it changes. Recently it’s been “Maxim’s I”. It’s a really tricky one, and it took a long time to make, to mix and produce because the interaction between the acoustic instruments and the electronic was really tricky to master. Not literally, but figuratively, to get them balanced.

 

HT: Do you always write your music in the same frame of mind?

JH: Generally I just have to be really clear headed. If I’m being very creative I like the mornings, but if I want to get some technical stuff done the nighttime is good because I get kind of obsessive. But I do write in front of the computer sometimes, and I get distracted. I shift back and forth and walk around outside. It’s not like I’m sitting there for hours and hours.  But I can’t be drunk when I write, whereas I like having one drink when I perform.

Julia Holter live

HT: So I hear you used to do tutoring part time.

JH: Yeah, it was a job and I worked in High Schools. So many high school students today are so hip, they’re into all different types of music. It was very inspiring to work with some of them on music, recording etc.

 

HT: Did they ever ask you for advice?

JH: Yeah definitely. It takes a long time to get their trust, but when my music first started to get attention, it was really inspiring to them. They actually respected me more after that, which was funny. I think I was more of a mentor than a teacher. A tutor is always in that awkward, in-between place. College applications or life questions, homework, I helped them with that. Or even showing them cool music to listen to, and writing music.

 

HT: Did they ever inspire your writing?

JH: Well I didn’t write songs about them, but like everything in my life, it comes through somehow, indirectly. You have emotions and interactions in life, and that’s the only way you can be a writer. To draw on those experiences.

 

Loud City Song is out now on Domino Records. (Photos by Tom Spray)

LIVE REVIEW: David Byrne & St. Vincent, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 22.08.13

in Live Reviews by

Before the show, the tranquil sound of birds chirping fill the hall while the audience find their seats. This is a seated concert, which makes up for the bad acoustics during The Smashing Pumpkins concert at the same venue last month. Moments before the band enter the stage, Byrne asks us ”not to experience the show with a gadget in front of your face.”
A somewhat didactic attitude, but nevertheless a very refreshing comment towards the iPhone addicts.

The concert opens with ‘Who’ – also the opening track on David Byrne & St. Vincent’s critically acclaimed album ‘Love This Giant’. A beautiful song that not only tell us that the sound tonight is impeccable, but also showcases St. Vincent’s attributes in the duo’s work: her magnificent vocals and distorted guitar. Her tip-toe dancing back and forth on the stage adds to the charm of her appearance. An appearance that fuses perfectly with Byrne’s. He wears a microphone headset, which allows him to move around on stage. And move around he sure does! From metronome-like moving back-and-forth with his upper body to physical antics, reminiscent of a mime artist. It’s equally comical and elegantly, and a fun thing to behold.

As showcased on the album, the band consists of many brass players and they do an excellent job in highlighting the concert’s masterful showmanship. The musicians twist around in choreographic movements in symbiosis with Byrne and St. Vincent. And it only makes the atmosphere more vibrant and the audience love it. People loudly show their appreciation and some can’t constrain themselves and start a little dance gathering to the left of the stage.

The interaction between David Byrne and St. Vincent is mesmerizing; their voices blend into one cohesive force on ‘Like Humans Do’ and their moves reach another high when they start attacking a theremin during ‘Northern Lights’ and sending the instrument’s extra-terrestrial sounds into the ecstastic crowd, During their solo material the two protagonists show their relevance on today’s artrock scene. On ‘Strange Overtones’ Byrne plays a rhythm guitar so funky it would make Nile Rodgers envious and St. Vincent’s ‘Marrow’ directs all attention towards her intense presence and performance.

Tellingly one of the final songs is the Talking Heads classic ‘Burning Down the House’ which is exactly what happens. This is the moment where the entire hall erupts in standing ovation and everybody’s on their feet cheering. A great finale on this Thursday evening where David Byrne & St. Vincent conquered Copenhagen with a fantastic show, on the top of their form and musically superior!

VIEW THE LIVE PHOTOS HERE

LIVE REVIEW: Tame Impala | Store Vega, Copenhagen, 09.08.2013

in Live Reviews by

A sold out sign greets me at the door to Store Vega. The large hall is beautiful as always: a trip back in time to the fifties. Functionalism. Wooden panels. Concrete. I love it.

Time travel could be the theme of the night. Tame Impala spiraled out as a bedroom project of Perth, Australia back in the late 2000s with a psychedelic sixties sound that somehow seems to remind me of all the great music of that time without ever sounding like any of it. Their first album Innerspeaker got really good reviews and when the second, Lonerism, came out publications like Pitchfork and NME laid down flat in admiration.

So the question then goes: How does Tame Impala channel out those trippy tunes live? The backdrop: an oscillating green line that, when the band starts playing, evolves into a variation of colors and shapes that most likely would have caused great joy among the hippies back then and if not, then it at least makes me smile. The band goes through the first couple of songs without addressing the audience, and except for announcing the title of “Mind Mischief”, Tame Impala stays quiet between the songs until a good 20 minutes into the set when Kevin Parker suddenly exclaims “Hey, I am wearing new underpants today, everyone knows how good that feels!”. New as clean or new as just bought? An actual observation of the joys of personal hygiene or some meta-statement about the awkwardness of addressing a bunch a strangers from a stage?

Anyway, he seems playful and somewhere someone lit up a joint. Next to me a dude tries to crowd surf and fails. Something is happening. We are entering what to me is the peak of the concert. Songs like “Elephant” and “Half full” energetic early heavy feel leaves me bobbing my head and numbers on the liquid-crystal scale (the amount of smart-phones in the air) tells me that I am not the only one having a moment. Their sound is great. It is close to what you get on their albums, sometimes the vocals seem to float away in effects more than on the recordings, but apart from that they come through crisp.

The Lonerism opener “Be Above It” takes the set back to the more dreamy songs like “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and “Apocalypse Dreams”. After a good long 2 minutes of cheering an the announcement of a 50 dollars pay rise to the light/visuals technician Tame Impala ends the concert with “Nothing that Has Happened So Far Has Been Anything We Could Control”.

VIEW LIVE PHOTOS HERE

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