Björk

Björk in London this September

This September in London is about one thing only: Björk. Riding high off the success of her critically-acclaimed album ‘Vulnicura’ she is set to play a number of London shows, as well as hold her own exhibition – ‘Björk : Digital’ – at London’s Somerset House.

For years Björk’s music and visual genius has proved to be both pioneering and iconic in equal measure, and now, the British capital is set to feast on her creative fruits in a variety of mediums. Following the high demand, and subsequent selling out, of her Royal Albert Hall performance on 21st September, an additional show has been announced at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo on the 24th, with tickets going on sale on Wednesday 17th August. These will be the artist’s first performances in London since the release of her latest album.

Meanwhile, the exhibition at Somerset House is due to feature a number of her digital works, such as virtual reality videos, interactive apps and archive music videos that were created in unison with some of the most spectacular talents from the worlds of visual artistry and programming. Booking is strongly advised.

‘Björk : Digital’ will be on from 1st September – 23rd October 2016. Click HERE for tickets.

Bjork.com

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Anteros

Anteros: Sunny Side Up

With summer – supposedly – around the corner, a new soundtrack is most definitely required. Luckily, Anteros are here and more than capable of filling any musical void. This female-fronted, upbeat four-piece are a shiny slice of Brit Pop 2.0, and set for mighty big things. Seamlessly straddling a line between the feisty familiarity of Garbage, The Cardigans and The Cure, and the kick and speed of modern riffs – their sound is as infectious as it is intelligent. As they prepare to open the Other stage at Glastonbury Festival next weekend, we caught up with Laura, Josh, Harry and Charles to discuss ’90s nostalgia, style and eggs…

You’ve said that your name – Anteros – was inspired by the namesake statue in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. Do you define your sound as a particularly British one?
We’d like to think there’s elements of British sound. But with Laura being half Spanish (she grew up in Spain) and Charles being French, it was never going to be purely British.

Bands such as The Cure, The Cardigans and Blur have been mentioned as favourites of yours before – what is it about those artists that you love and draw from?
We love the balance of happy and sad in The Cure’s songs. When it comes to Blur, we love their intensity, attitude and honesty. We find The Cardigans’ ’90s aesthetic is spot on, especially for a female-fronted band.

Your sound has a distinctly ’90s feel – was that a conscious decision? As that’s obviously a key trend in both music and fashion right now?
It was never intentional! Being children of the ’90s, I guess it’s just been a big part of who we are.

Is style an important part of your band image?
Laura: It’s a necessary consideration for anyone (last we checked on stage nudity is still frowned upon). In terms of video, I’m often more flamboyant – but I still like to juxtapose stylised shots with more honest, natural tints. In terms of the live show – we focus our performance towards the delivery – and that leaves me no time to worry about tripping over cables in 10-inch heels… So I avoid them and go for whatever allows me to perform freely.

How would you describe what you wear to perform? Does it differ to every day life?
Laura: Definitely not for the guys (as much as they’d like to wear PJs on stage). I’m still finding my feet and I’m having fun experimenting with different outfits. Each gig/venue kind of inspires different outfits, so essentially it comes down to just dressing for the occasion. The one thing I always stand by is a big jacket, as it is important to feel strong and comfortable before we go on stage. I want the focus to be on music and lyrics…not on my stage outfits.

Would you say you look to the past, present or future for the majority of your references?
We love listening to – as well as supporting – new music. This said, the majority of our references come from the past. We imagine what they would sound like if they were to be released in this day and age. We aim to be a part of the sound of the future – not copycats of the present.

What was the first album you ever bought?
Josh: ‘OK Computer’ – Radiohead
Laura: ‘Spice’ – Spice Girls
Harry: ‘Stadium Arcadium’ – Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Charles: ‘Meteora’ – Linkin Park

When did you decide that making music was going to be your proper job?
Josh: At around 18, when everything else that I ever tried made me feel flat and uninspired.
Laura: I’d been longing for it since before I can even remember, but I don’t think it was until we signed our publishing deal that it felt like a reality.
Charles: I decided when I was about 15 or 16. I’d just seen MJ’s ‘This Is It’, and I’d made it to the final round of an international guitar contest.
Harry: I can’t remember ever wanting to do anything else, but when I started studying it full time when I was 16 I began to learn that it was a possibility and how I would go about it

Are there any aspects of working in the music industry that surprised you? Good or bad?
If you operate with a sense of expectancy, you always get burnt at some point. Music is very demanding of time, energy and emotion. It requires pretty much every bit of yourself that you have or are willing to offer. There are so many different stages to it. If you make music, it’s gotta be because of how it makes you feel – and these days, you’ve got to be willing to get involved in every step of the process.

Laura, which other front women do you admire?
There are so many I admire, past & present. From Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith and Janis Joplin – to Alison Mosshart, Kim Gordon, Annie Lennox & Gwen Stefani – to Ellie Roswell and Hannah Reid. The list is endless.

Is there ever any differential treatment between Laura and the rest of the band? Pressure to be sexy for example?
Laura: Not more than other bands. I like to think we’re at a point where sexiness is not demanded of you just because you’re a woman. Yeah, I’m a girl, and yeah – I’m a front woman. But I get the same treatment – we all share rooms on tour, everyone helps, and nobody feels like anyone is treated any differently. Everyone has the same level of respect and trust with each other, regardless of gender. In our videos, any “sexiness” is not a statement of eroticism – but one of expectations, society, and freedom of expression.

You recently changed labels – was there a particular reason for that?
Labels have given us the means to distribute our music to a broader audience, and Regal were happy to release our first EP. It’s still early days, so single deals seem like the way forward until it’s time to think about an album.

Your video for ‘Breakfast’ is a wonderfully kitsch experience – how was the process of making it?
I sent an inspiration image of this girl laying on the kitchen floor (she was covered in eggs), and it all kind of spiralled from there. We were so lucky to find an awesome team in Fainche McCardle and directors James & James – who helped make the vision a reality.

What’s your favourite music video of all time?
Josh: ‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay
Laura: ‘Coffee & TV’ – Blur
Harry: ‘Lonely Boy’ – Black Keys
Charles: ‘Rock My World’ – MJ

What should fans expect from your performances this summer?
Full of energy – we just want to give the crowd a good time.

When can we expect an album?
Expect another single before we start discussing an album.

For further info on releases, tour dates and the band themselves visit Anterosofficial.com

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Becky Tong

Becky Tong: Decks On Fire

Becky Tong has never struggled to fire up up a crowd. Her mixes are instantly energising, with lively sets that seem made for the summer. No stranger to music – her father is DJ Pete Tong – Becky has been working her magic on the London scene for years. Ahead of her set at Moët & Chandon’s Now or Neverland party, we caught up with her to get the inside scoop on summer jams and co-founding Juicebox.

When did you first get into music?
I remember hearing Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’ and thinking: “what is this song about? Why did she write this?” The curiosity about artists and their journeys went from there. I knew I wanted to be around great music.

What are your favourite tracks right now?
I love this new band called Whitney, their album is fantastic.

How does music influence your style, and vice versa?
Artists like Kurt Cobain and Mick Jagger have definitely influenced my style. Sometimes I look back at pictures and want to copy exact looks they wore.

You co-founded juicebox – can you talk about how this happened? What have you most enjoyed so far?
Juicebox started as a blog where me and Adam [Callan] would post music we were feeling, then we decided to start a club night for all our friends to come and see the new bands we were excited about, and it turned into a regular thing. We’ve stopped the regular nights to focus on the artists we’re managing and growing the label. It’s hard to pin point a favourite moment as the whole journey has been great, but I guess the best feeling has been being able to leave out paid jobs to focus on growing the company on our own!

What projects and gigs have you got coming up this summer which you’re most excited about?
I’m excited about playing for Moët on June 11th for the Now or Neverland party. Also playing for shoe brand Golden Goose. Then Bestival at the end of the summer!

Your career takes you to lots of coveted events – besides great music, what do you think makes an amazing party?
I think it’s all about the people – I have to have my friends around, and a bottle of champagne!

What has been the most unexpected hit in terms of songs you’ve mixed whilst playing live?
Jump Around – Cypress Hill. No matter how glam the party is, this song always works!

Which artists are you excited about at the moment?
A disco/pop duo called Ekkah are amazing live.

Who features on your ultimate summer tracklist?
Chance the Rapper
Jorja Smith
SG Lewis
Fono

What’re you looking forward to at LC:M?
The after parties of course!

You’re DJ’ing at Moët’s June 11th Now or Neverland Party, which marks the first ever champagne spray – what part of your career to date would you mark as your Moët moment?
Being in Ibiza and celebrating my first ever DJ set over there!

Becky Tong is DJing at Moët & Chandon’s Now or Neverland party on 11th June, which marks the first ever champagne spray moment – when racing driver, Dan Gurney won the 24 hours of Le Mans race, popped a bottle of Moët & Chandon and momentously sprayed it in celebration, creating history. Tickets to ‘Now or Neverland’ are available to purchase from Moet.com and Event Brite 

Image by Eva K. Salvi

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CAT'S EYES

Into The Cat’s Eyes

Faris Badwan and Rachel Zeffira – AKA Cat’s Eyes – are offering up an antithesis to the homogenous, often fame-hungry, landscape of pop music right now. Over the last decade, the two artists have left an indelible mark on music in their own very different ways; Faris as frontman of British indie-rock band The Horrors, while Rachel was breaking down the often rigid barriers that stand between the dance floor and the operatic concert hall with her orchestral collaborations. It’s a creative bond that has so far culminated in their critically acclaimed, self-titled 2011 debut, as well as the lauded soundtrack for Peter Strickland’s film The Duke of Burgundy; both steeped in sophisticated orchestrations.

If there is a shared bond between the two artists, it’s their fascination with composition and belief that music has the capacity to evolve organically with time—time being something that is particularly thematic to the duo’s new album Treasure House. When asked about the band’s evolution, Rachel marks the contrasts: “Sound evolves—it has to! We take a futuristic turn in Treasure House. The lyrics seem to bridge a gap between the past, present and future, but this wasn’t intentional, you know. Faris and I didn’t, and don’t ever, sit down and deliberately create abstract, artistic subtexts – our collaboration is very organic, it’s very impulsive.”

Rachel, you and Faris approach music from two very different worlds, yet it seems like you have an easy time communicating. Has that always been the case? 
Yes. None of this was planned. There wasn’t ever a moment when Faris and I decided to “form a band”—in fact the whole thing was nothing more than an accident. We met through a neighbour years ago and started to write music together for fun. At the time Faris was heavily involved with The Horrors. I had no affiliation with pop music—and I liked it that way. I remember writing some stuff for Faris to use without me, you know I was telling him “try this with someone else it could be really good”. Then someone picked up a demo and passed it around and that was the first time we were heard outside of our sitting room in collaboration. Our creative partnership has always been a fluid one. In the early days we were actually ‘pen friends’ (pen-friends via email, of course). When Faris was touring with The Horrors, we would send ideas, lyrics, songs back and forth to each other which gives you a good idea of just how natural our relationship is and was. I think we have always had an easy time communicating.

Tell me about the song writing and recording process…
When we write a song we usually start with a simple melody or a word and it just grows from there. Faris has an extensive vinyl collection and that comes in handy. When we first started out, we’d listen to 1960s girlbands (like The Ronettes) in rotation. This would always be our starting point, then we’d move on to manipulate a given song, so much so that what by the time we had finished up our creation was no longer an imitation but a full circle evolution. Faris might digitise an entire piece or I may overlay orchestral sounds—all that mattered that by the end nothing is recognisable, everything is changed.

Was this a process you stuck to when creating your new album Treasure Island
Actually some of the songs on this album we’re written when we were producing our first album—making elements of this album over five years old! Every song went through a very different production process. Sometimes I will write a song alone and then Faris will come in and manipulate the sound. Other times we will come up with everything together, the chords, the melody, the lyrics—a linear musical process doesn’t really exist in this partnership.

The exploration of time seems to be integral in this album, was that intentional? 
We didn’t plan for it to be. We didn’t set out to make a lasting comment, impression or clear takeaway. When I was writing Everything Moves Towards The Sun I happened to be thinking about the past, present and future. It has a distinct mark of time around which the other songs rotate. The album trips towards the future, but recognises the past and how it has impacts both the present and future.

Which track from the new album are you most likely to listen to on rotation? 
No, no, no—I don’t listen to the album once it has been done! I can’t listen to my own music. If I was to recommend a song to you it would be Chameleon Queen. I think the track is an absolute balance between our DNAs and between our worlds.

What’s the best thing about being in a band? 
In this case it helps that we both have very different strengths. The things I care about, Faris doesn’t. I  might be more obsessed with…say a chord change, whilst Faris would be completely preoccupied by the voiceover. Musically we are totally different, but as cliched as it sounds, it just works.

Treasure House is out now on RAF via Kobalt.

Catseyes.tv

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Molly Burch

Molly Burch sings the blues

With a voice like pooling honey, and lyrics dripping with longing, Molly Burch is something very rare: a genuine talent. Tonight, she plays London as part of her extensive European tour, showcasing raw and heartbreaking material from her debut album, Please Be Mine.

Having been described as both “re-inventing rock and roll for 2017”, and “exquisite”, Twin caught up with the musician to find out how she makes a smokey, jazz sound so rooted in the past, feel so modern.

You’re about to make your London debut with a show here, have you visited before?
I have, yes! But just on vacation a couple of times. I’ve never played in London before. I’m very excited.

What kind of experience will you be bringing to the UK audiences?
I’ll be traveling with my guitarist Dailey Toliver and our set will be more stripped down than usual. We’ll be bringing an intimate, romantic set.

Do you have a favourite type of venue and city to perform in?
I am really looking forward to this tour in particular because of how intimate it is. I really love playing in listening rooms where the audience is attentive. That always feels so special. As far as cities, I loved playing in my home state Los Angeles on this past tour and I loved our Brooklyn show.

Your music is undeniably nostalgic in its tone, what is it about the greats that you love so much?
I grew up listening to older music. I was raised in a house that put a lot of emphasis on classic movies, both of my parents are in the movie business. We would watch a lot of movies growing up, lots of silent films and musicals. I started listening to jazz music in middle school. I think I was drawn to voices mostly. I was just starting to sing and I felt drawn to voices that I wanted to sound like. That just happened to be female artists with deep voices. When I grew up I went to college for Jazz Vocal Performance. When I started writing songs I was very much influenced by what I learned in school and what I grew up listening to.

How do you think your take on it translates to a modern audience without being ‘retro’ or a novelty?
I would hope that my music comes out as relatable and universal. I write what comes natural to me.

Your love for the likes of Patsy Cline and Nina Simone is clear to see, and can be felt with authenticity. But who inspires you among your contemporaries?
I am very inspired by Solange, Natalie Prass, Tim Darcy, and I just discovered Aldous Harding – I love her new album.

How key is the element of storytelling to what you do?
I think storytelling is important to any songwriter. I find that it is most key when I am performing live.

Are your songs written from personal experience, or to be more universally relatable?
They are a combination of both. I was going through a break up when I started writing my album and I also had just moved to Austin by myself. I was dealing with a lot of different changes. Some songs are based on that time such as ‘Please Be Mine’ and ‘I Love You Still.

How tough was it to commit to and work towards a career in music? What kind of sacrifices (if at all) have you had to make?
Hmm, I wouldn’t say I have sacrificed anything. There was a time recently when I had three part time jobs and I was spreading myself pretty thin. My days would be very tiring and it was hard to find time to be creative. But I feel it prepared me very well, especially now, since touring so much I feel I can handle juggling a lot at once.

Is image important to you in terms of your ‘brand’? If so, how would you describe it?
Yeah, I do believe that imagery is important. I love making music videos that showcase the songs off my album. I would describe my personal style as casual and feminine.

What kind of advice would you have for someone struggling to get their first record deal?
Do your best work and keep working! And have a thick skin.

Please Be Mine by Molly Burch is out now on Captured Tracks.

Mollyburchmusic.com

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Gordi

Gordi: Healing Time

Aged only 22,  Gordi (real name Sophie Payten) may be writing lyrics within an established lexical field of relationships and existential probing, but her production fuses traditional guitars with synth to give a bright new contribution to an established canon. Born in Canowindra in rural New South Wales, Australia, the singer has since made her mark on Sydney’s music scene. With a new EP out this month, we asked her to lend some insight into this exciting new chapter.

Were you always interested in music?
Music has always been a big part of my life, I learnt to play the piano from about age four and have always sung. My Mum is a piano teacher so there was always music in the house, and in my teenage years I started writing.

You’re also training as a doctor, are there any parallels between medicine and music? 
I’m currently in my 5th year of my medical studies, so still training! I think the biggest parallel is the connection you can make with another person. I guess they both heal people too. The thing about medicine that interests me is hearing someone’s whole story and then piecing together what the problem is – writing music is a bit like that.

How did your environment growing up inspire your sound?
I grew up on a farm and I think because it was so quiet and there was so much to explore it really inspires creativity. I like to explore space in the music I write and I think that comes from always appreciating the quiet.

You have a unique sound, and I wondered if you could talk a little about the music scene in Australia – do you think you’re working with or against the general sound at the moment? 
I think I’m working with it. The Australian music scene is really booming at the moment and there are so many great artists coming out of our country. I think there’s definitely been some strength in the electronic movement which has influenced the production on my tracks, but the alternative music culture in Australia which is supported by Triple J have always championed the songwriter and so that acoustic influence is definitely there.

What were the main musical influences of this record? 
We always started the recording process with really clear references in mind and they mostly came from Asgeir, The Tallest Man on Earth, Bon Iver and Volcano Choir, and Bonobo.

Do you find you write songs as a reaction to a feeling or to delve into a certain mood? 
Probably both. It’s about taking hold of an idea that might be a particular emotion or circumstance and exploring it to its depths.

How are you enjoying the process of touring so far? Any mis-haps or revelations?
There’s always mishaps! I do find it a bit stressful at times but overall I love it. Getting up on stage each night and performing is certainly the best part and each time I do it reminds me why I’m going through all the hours of transit with 100kg worth of bags and eating fast food for a month in the same three outfits.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2016?
I’ve been really look forward to this tour to the UK, US and Canada and after that I’ll be doing a run of headline shows in Australia in support of my EP. And soon I’ll be getting back in to the studio to make some more music which is always an exciting prospect.

‘Can We Work It Out’ is out now on Jagjaguwar

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AOSOON

Introducing A.O.S.O.O.N

The sun’s out and A.O.S.O.O.N  have a new song out to compliment your ice cream. A.O.S.O.O.N, which stands for ‘A Lot Of Something Out Of Nothing,’ already have an impressive array of followers which include Annie Mac and Huw Stephens. Last year their single ‘Under’ amassed 3.5 million streams and their latest single ‘High Grade’ promises to garner similar acclaim. We caught up with the band to chat independent labels and sounds of the city.

Can you talk about how A.O.S.O.O.N happened?
Well, it was just the pairing of two individuals who felt like outcasts, choosing to come together to make music as a means of self expression.

You release under your own label, why did you choose to work independently?
Yes we do. I think up until this point here for us it’s been about learning the most we can about the industry. By working independently you have to be completely hands on with everything around you. We’ve had to understand every step, every choice. And we see this as a good thing.

What are your main musical influences?
It can go from Gucci Mane to Nirvana in the same sitting! Lauryn Hill is a big influence.

How does the city inspire your sound? 
The city is everything to the sound, it’s the way the wind breezes and how you can relate that to the grind. London has a lot going on, there’s always so much to pick up on and it inspires us daily in a variety of ways.

At the moment the production is quite stripped back, will this always be part of your sound or would you like to explore bigger arrangements?
That’s a cool question. It’s about capturing the overall vibe every time. Treating each arrangement uniquely. So far it’s been about raw live instruments and allowing the space to talk instead of generic ideas, and if anything we think it challenges our listeners to open their ears which I think they appreciate. We wouldn’t wanna take that away from the music but yes, we’re willing to stretch ourselves with where the production could go in the future. It’s all about growth!

How do you find live performance vs studio?
Live is exciting, I mean there’s so much energy. You’re rocking out, the crowd’s loving it, you’re so caught up in the moment nothing really matters. Being in the studio varies, sometimes it can feel like forever and sometimes it’s like being on stage. It really depends but it’s definitely a more mental process.

Any screw ups or weird happenings on the road so far?
Haha nothing too crazy yet. Probably getting high and everyone losing room keys.

Who would be your dream collaborator?
That’s hard, there’s so many. Getting in the studio with Kanye would be crazy, cutting a record with Rick Rubin would be insane. Working with anyone who’s great at what they do and loves what you do and vice versa would be a great collaboration. It just has to make sense with where we’re at on our journey and feel great, that’s important for us.

‘High Grade’ definitely has a relaxed ’90s vibe. How did it come about?
We were jamming the chords one morning on the guitar Gmaj Amin Cmaj and it just came, it was pretty much instant. It felt like Bob Marley was jamming with us, it was a magical moment.

What are you looking forward to this summer?
The sun. It doesn’t come out too often in London. People looking saucy, putting out new music, shows. Watermelons.

Explore more of A.O.S.O.O.N’s music HERE.

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Mark Field

TIMANTI: Create Your Own Empire And They Will Come

With the launch of her own label – Templr – a season in Ibiza, the release of an EP, countless festivals and international DJ gigs, artist TIMANTI‘s 24/7 work ethic is clearly paying off. Having made a name for herself with her unashamedly raucous club nights both in the UK and further afield, this London-born young woman – first name Steffie – has been flagged as one to watch in the realms of both music and mogul status.

Forgoing a machine-like team choreographing her success, Steffie has taken the hands-on approach, by doing absolutely everything herself. Here’s how, and why:

When did you start going out to clubs? Did you ever envisage that you’d be hosting nights one day?
I actually started hosting parties before being old enough to go to clubs! I used to hire out spaces and throw mini raves (which usually fell on my birthday) and then moved into proper venues. The parties where crazy, all my mates that were part of the Cali days would agree. I remember I got a couple of my dancer friends to dance in cages! (Sorry girls…) We were all underage – not sure if I should be saying this – and this was before I could even DJ!

How long have you been working in the music industry for? How did you get started?
I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember, like Primary School days. I’ve played quite a few instruments too. I’ve found some really embarrassing raps I’d done on my Talk Boy (wonder if anyone remembers those) from the ’90s… I’ve always had a passion for music so can’t think exactly what sparked it, all I know is that it hasn’t come from anyone around me growing up, as there was no one musical in my family… It was just there somehow! I started the parties when I was 15 and got my first DJ gig at the age of 17 while I was at college doing Music Technology.

steffi

How would you describe your sound?
A question I always struggle to answer. I’m influenced by so many sounds, so I would just say have a listen and decide for yourself. I would say it’s the TIMANTI sound, and tag it Future World Sounds!

I’ve seen that in the past you’ve mentioned overcoming a prior illness – do you mind me asking what that was and how it’s affected your work since?
It was an attack on my nervous system which caused numbness and permanent tingling around the body. It mainly affected my hands and I couldn’t DJ for about eight weeks last summer. I’m still undergoing tests for diagnosis. It was probably the scariest time of my life so far, but now I see the attack as a blessing. I’ve had to completely change my diet, and pretty much almost eliminated my alcohol consumption. I have to listen to my body a lot more and haven’t got as much strength as I did, but am determined to heal myself this summer in Ibiza, so the doctors won’t ever reach a diagnosis!

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the launch of your own record label – Templr – this summer, when did you decide to do that? And why?
This goes back to your question about my sound, I couldn’t really find a home for my next EP ‘City Of Gods’ (to be honest I only sent it to two labels) so decided to release it myself. There is a story surrounding each of my releases/tracks, and for this release I wanted to dedicate it to my Dad and release it on his 60th Birthday, 15th July. He loves the track and is such an important figure in my life as well as my Mum.

Who – out of your contemporaries – are you really into right now?
I’m really digging what the guys and girls around me are doing, especially Esa! He’s sitting on an absolute bomb which I can’t wait to play out in Ibiza. Voicedrone – who’s working on a remix for me – is creating some stunning analogue masterpieces, and Ireen Amnes is blowing my mind during her live DJ sets! Barber, Taylor, D. Ramirez, Coco Cole, BOY, Amber Shells, all the crew coming out of Hackney Wick and Mainyard & Shapes are, in my opinion, cooking up the future of our dance floors.

Is your professional world a supportive one?
I’m very lucky, I’ve got such an amazing squad that I live and work with. There are way too many to name here, but I would consider many of the following names family: Big Ups all of the Nixwax gang (especially Alec, Rob & Ralph for signing my first ever Vinyl release), Taylor & Tom Starr who have been like musical big brothers to me from day one – without them I wouldn’t be where I am today! Hannah Wants and her team have been awesome too after winning the What Hannah Wants comp in 2014, and playing on tour with her last year. What she does for up and coming artists is mega! Loz and Youngr who I live with in Hackney are two of the best, supportive house mates I could have ever wished for and my adopted baby musical sis Lolé will be in my room for the summer while I’ve moved to the inspiring Sonic Vista Studios for the season with another amazing squad! Literally count my lucky stars everyday!

You’re in Ibiza right now for the season, what are you favourite things to do there?
I get so inspired just being here but love to hang out in the caves, sleep under the stars and meditate at Es Vedra. Nothing can beat spending time exploring the island with my friends and pretending to be pirates – haha… I made a tune once called ‘Pirates of Es Vedra’. The outdoor parties and beach parties are my favourite. I also really love Pikes!

You’re also playing your fair share of festivals this summer, why should people come and check you out over the competition?
I am actually playing quite early at most of them so I guess they’re going to be quite different! I approach each set as a journey and would recommend you stick around for the whole ride. At Secret Garden Party I’m playing 10am-midday, and planning on doing a meditation/transcendental type set; I’ve never done this before so should be quite interesting. I’ve also just been confirmed for Lost Village festival which I’m super excited about! I’ll be opening up the Abandoned Chapel on the Saturday with some special vibes.

Is there any one track that is guaranteed to get the crowd going at your club nights?
There are a few but the real head-turner for me at the moment seems to be my track ‘City of Gods’. It has this secret bass line that comes out of nowhere and people seem to lose their minds. I wrote this after seeing Gardens of God at Lost Village last year!

If you could only listen to one track for 24 hours, what would it be and why?
Kiasmos – ‘Looped’,  because I think I’ve already done it! Literally reminds me of summer and is such a beautiful track it’s impossible to get bored of.

How would you sum up the success of this year so far in once sentence?
I’m blown away to be honest, it’s all kind of happened because I decided to take risks and create it! I know it’s supposed to be one sentence but would like to extend this question with the hope of helping inspire others. I haven’t got a manager or a booking agent and don’t spend my whole life getting smashed at every party, in fact I’m always busy working so am rarely out. And when I’m not working I only spend time with people that care for me (this I think is fundamental as the industry is extremely tough). Don’t wait for the golden ticket, make your own… Create your own empire and they will come.

TIMANTI’s ‘Don’t U’ is out now on Love & Other; and her EP ‘City of Gods’ will be released on 15th July on Templr.

All images courtesy of Mark Field Photography

Steffietimanti.com

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whitney

Whitney’s Golden Days

Trundling round Europe in a white van, spending their time listening to The Band and Bob Dylan, drinking too much whiskey and beer: the antics of the six-man band Whitney have a something of a cinematic quality about them. On the icy Sunday that I meet them, they’ve just come over from a festival in Holland where they played to families and partied with the locals until the early hours. One small jaunt across the border and they’ve arrived in London, much to the delight of Hackney’s finest, who are queuing down the street to get into the small garage space which is already 100 degrees too hot from the expectant fans inside.

Maybe it’s just the home-made, half-drunk Tom Collins in hand, but as the band sound checks you can feel their magnetism entrance the crowd. By the time they’ve launched into their first song, the sense of joy from the stage and throughout the audience is palpable.

The band – made up of Max Kakacek, Julien Ehrlich, Josiah Marshall, Malcolm Brown, Will Miller and Print – are an exceptional live act. They literally move in rhythm, playing their separate instruments (trumpet, keyboard and a rhythm guitar alongside guitar, bass and drums) as though they’re all in sound together. It’s an unparalleled and unique chemistry. The lyrics are melancholy yet hopeful, expertly worked out by Julien, Max et al. Julien’s silky, pure vocals ride over melodies that swing from soft and searching to the downright groovy, led by ex-Smith Western’s Max on the guitar. Whitney are a band singing about crossroads and transience, about lost loves and moving forward and having a lot of fun together whilst they do it. “I’m searching for those golden days” Julien sings in one particularly enthralling track; judging by the reaction of the crowd, it feels like Whitney might finally have found them.

We caught up with lead duo Max and Julien to talk the bathrooms in Soho House, eyeballing audiences, Donald Trump and the new album.

How did Whitney happen?
M: Me and Julian lived together. After Smith Westerns ended we each worked on different weird projects that never came to fruition. Then one morning I bought this old cassette tape machine that sounded crazy and we were just testing out the machine and wrote two songs for it just kind of snowballed into something we wanted to make a whole album for.

J: We had never recorded my voice before. And this tape machine had a ton to do with it. It just made everything sound really good and appealing but dry, super dry. And that’s where the sound kind of blossomed.

M: The first song we recorded, if we ever release it, you’ll hear that the affect on Julian’s voice is so  intense and ridiculous and we were kind of going way way far to figure out a voice and then scaled it back.

J: During the demos I was more experimenting with my voice a bit more and we were experimenting with recording it, and right before we went out to LA to record the full length in LA I kind of hit my stride and figured out how to sing.

M: Once we had the unique voice or whatever we kind of built the band around it.

Was there a particular moment when it clicked?
J: I remember a moment that we decided that we were going to drop the other shit that we were working on. It was right after we finished the second song that we wrote. I think we took shots of molly water and were walking around Chicago because it was the first nice day and we were just listening to it out of our iPhones. We were insanely proud of it. We went onto someone’s roof and were still listening to it.

M: Did you almost pee on someone’s couch that night?

J: I think I peed on someone’s couch that night… And then we didn’t really follow up with any of the other stuff that we were doing.

Whitney 2

The band; photo by Sandy Kim

And how did you find the other members of the band?
M: They’re our best friends. They all basically left their apartments, which were five minutes away from ours, and everyone moved in together. It was like an open door thing, like a family.

Do you think Whitney only happened because of your experience with Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra?
J: I don’t know if it was because of other bands, but we were just in the right place in our lives to put all of our energies and songwriting talents into this weird project in the hopes that people would pick up on it, and so far it’s working.

M: I don’t think there’s anything specific I took from Smith Westerns but it’s just learning on a personal level how to arrange things.

Are you still using the tape machine?
M: No that thing broke like after we made that song. We did record the whole album on tape though.

You recorded your album in L.A with Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, what influence did he have on your sound and process?
J: We used basically all of his gear to record it, it’s obvious that he has gotten really good at getting the right sounds out of all the stuff he owns. He’s the type of guy that goes crazy if he’s not recording so we didn’t really have any downtime. Overall it was a great experience.

Do you write the songs together? How personal are they?
J: We really consult each other on mostly everything. Most of the time I concept where the lyrics should to but if I hit a road block we’ll just bounce them off each other. And it goes the same way with every instrument.

Why did you choose this particular sound?
J: Most of the songs are about transition in general. That’s where we were in our lives and it seemed like the sound suited the character at the time, but in no way is it going to define Whitney as a whole. We don’t want people to think that we’re going to come out with a sad record every time. We’ve been listening to a lot of Greenday today so…

How is it playing drums and singing vocals?
J: I’ve always done it, but for backing vocals. So it wasn’t hard to do four limbs and singing vocals.. It was more about learning how to assume the pressure of being a frontman, of learning how to talk in between songs and be more entertaining. But I’m past that roadblock now, I feel really comfortable. We toured with the idea of me standing up and playing guitar but then I looked like a fucking lame dude playing the guitar. I do not look good.

What’s the weirdest thing that happened on tour?
J: Our bass player drank our old guitarist’s piss, by accident. It was a really late night and we were hanging out in a cemetery and then our guitarist went and passed out in the van, and then peed in the half-full water jug. Then our bassist came in and busted off the top…

M: So many good thing’s going on! His name’s Josiah Marshall.

J: He routinely loses tour.

How are you finding the whole touring experience? What’re learning along the way?
J: I’m learning how to pace myself a little bit more.

M: I was pretty prepared for this tour, but I learned that Soho House as an institution is really nice! The showers.. Oh my god.

J: Just the most private bathrooms you could ever imagine, you can do whatever you want it in there.

Whitney 3

Max and Julien; photo by Dominique Goncalves

Alright! What’s the plan for the rest of 2016?
J: Just non-stop touring. Our goal is to sit down and write more songs, but we’ll probably just learn to do it on the road.

How do you find performing the same songs every night?
J: Whitney is a band that changes things every night. We’re always working to put variations on the songs that we wrote a year and a half ago.

M: And at this point, the faces in the audience are always new, so the reaction to songs is always different.

What’s the worst song you ever wrote?
J: I wrote a song about that sci-fi movie Event Horizon with our bass player

M: I was in a really bad band called ADHD when I was in eighth grade, and we had a song called Sexy Police Officer. We sang about George Bush a lot, I was really active.

What’re you going to do if Donald Trump gets in?
J: We have a thing where during shows I’ve made the crowd flip off Donald Trump and yell “Fuck Donald Trump.” Besides that, I don’t think Whitney wants to comment on political affairs…

Light Upon the Lake is released on Secretly Canadian, June 3rd 

Main image: by Sandy King

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PRINCESSFERARRI

Adam Green’s Papier-mâché Philosophy

Whenever I listen to Adam Green, I imagine him lounging in a martini glass, drinking a Dr Pepper and wearing a party hat. There seems to me no other way that Green could make the music that he does. His witty offbeat lyrics, which include cherished lines such as “everyone’s fucking my princess,” and ”Jessica Simpson, where has your love gone?” (amongst many, many more) twists and turns, rendering listeners bemused and delighted at the same time.

Green, who began in the cult indie group the Moldy Peaches, is the pied piper of the contemporary imagination. Whilst the band garnered mainstream adoration thanks to a flawless Juno soundtrack, Green was already hoarding accolades solo, producing gems such as Dance with Me, Friends of Mine, Emily and That Sounds Like a Pony. With a film already under his belt, it seems only fitting that Green has now turned his mind to a re-imagining of Aladdin, creating the soundtrack and movie, out this spring. Expect quirkiness aplenty and appearances from familiar faces which include Macaulay Culkin and Zoe Kravitz.

Ahead of the release, I caught up with Green to talk presidential castings, papier-mâché and getting pretty weird.

There seems to be quite a lot of edits and changes to this tale, why did you want to adapt the story of Aladdin as opposed to creating something new?
I wanted to try reinterpret the Aladdin myth and try to see it through modern eyes. In my version the lamp is a 3-D printer that prints out an analogue version of the internet. And the Princess is sort of like a Kardashian who’s on the Sultan’s Reality show. I really like when directors make their own versions of classic stories, for example Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, Pasolini’s Canterbury Tales, or Fellini’s Casanova. In this case the goal is to create something completely new, but you have some basic symbolic framework to anchor the plot a little bit.

X ralph

You have a lot of great people onboard. How did the film come about? 
It began with a Kickstarter campaign where I made enough to rent a warehouse. Then I got together a group of people to help me build all the props and sets out of cardboard and papier-mâché. I wanted the effect of the movie to be that the actors were inside a real life cartoon, so we built 30 rooms and 500 papier-mâché painted objects. The build took four months! I had an amazingly talented group that helped me, some had gone to film or art school, or had worked in the art department of independent films. It was important to me that I painted all the black lines though because I wanted everything to look like my drawings. It was pretty surreal being inside the warehouse once we got going. There’s a “Making Of Aladdin” short film I’m gonna put out.

If you could cast American politicians in the roles, who would play who? 
George Washington as Aladdin. Condaleeza Rice as the Princess. Ted Kennedy as the Sultan. Bill Clinton as the genie.

How did you get into film? 
I made a movie called The Wrong Ferarri that was shot entirely on my iPhone. I began shooting it over a summer tour and it turned into a whole lifestyle. I liked shooting on the iPhone because it was so fast and that frenzy helped actors feel free to improvise. Also because I was on tour I could shoot scenes in Venice, Stuttgart, Rome, France, Belgium all within a few weeks of each other and I wrote the script in the tourbus as we were rolling along. It was a lot of fun. But I think after that I started thinking in terms of movies. I see movies as a great way to combine my visual art, music, and writing into one alchemical medium. It would be hard to go back to not making movies now!

Z aladdin

The Wrong Ferrari is a self-described ketamine inspired surrealist gonzo feature. What were the influences behind Aladdin, from a creative point of view?
Aladdin is a reimagining a materialist fairy tale. It’s a movie about technology where everything is made out of paper, glue, and house-paint. The ethos is almost the exact opposite of Dogme 95 rules where filmmakers had to shoot in all pre-existing locations and not bring any props onto the scene.  It’s a comedy too, sort of a cross between Jodorowsky and South Park.

You co-wrote the soundtrack for Juno and you’re creating it for Aladdin as well. How does the process compare to making a stand-alone album, if at all? Do you feel more or less attached the music as an entity in itself?
I knew going into Aladdin that I wanted to make all the music in the film. I was writing a bunch of songs at the same time as I was writing the script. Sometimes I’d have a line and it was hard to tell if it would go into a song or into the script, so I’d put it in both. I recorded in LA and recruited some of my favourite people who live out there to be the players: Rodrigo Amarante, who people will know as the singer of Little Joy as well as his amazing solo-work, plays guitar and sings a little bit on the record. Stella Mozgawa, who is the drummer of Warpaint, slays the drums. And Josiah Steinbrick on bass, who I love to play with because he makes all my albums sound really Serge Gainsbourgy.

I think on one hand the Aladdin album is really the next solo-album I was going to make anyway. There’s lots of different moods which is important for a film soundtrack. But more than anything I was looking to make a groovy album that is fitting of a movie where everybody is wearing bellbottoms. I wanted a folk funk bubblegum psychedelic sound. I wanted it to be groovy.

Z jeep

The message of Aladdin is obviously deeply romantic, do you think there’s room for that kind of love in the arts more generally these days, or are people too jaded to engage?
Well I found love and I was a pretty jaded nihilistic motherfucker, so I think it’s possible for anyone.  Maybe people will find it easier to relate to an album that’s also a movie! I think sometimes it’s difficult to know where music belongs because people listen to playlists that have like a Madonna song and then a Kurt Cobain song right after it. I think it’s nice that the Aladdin album exists inside this fantasy movie world so it’s harder to take it out of context.

When will the film be coming out, and will we catch it in the UK?
I’m doing a UK tour that starts in early May, so I think that the movie will come out then. I’m planning a London Premiere at the Prince Charles Theatre. And also I’m planning to bring a projector around with me so I can screen the film each night before my band plays a concert. I also want to paint a backdrop and dress like Aladdin so it can be a bit of a traveling circus. Also I want to screen the movie at various indie movie theaters as I come through town.

The Internet: with or against it? 
If I was going to try and romanticise the internet, I’d say that maybe we will build something really great with it that is actually classic and timeless. Maybe people will see the internet like Ancient Rome someday, I dunno.

Last record you listened to?
The New Har Mar Superstar album, it rules!

Favorite David Bowie song?
I know it’s cooler to say something from the Berlin period, but probably “Life on Mars” or “Man who sold the world.” I love that scene in Christiane F. where he sings “Station to Station” and looks like Vampire James Dean.

Last film you watched?
I watched four movies on the flight home from Paris last week and I’ve combined them all in my head. In my mind it’s Woody Allen and Joaquin Phoenix co-directing a Noah Baumbauch movie where Johnny Depp plays a tired old gangster man who’s married to Lola Kirke, who murders Anne Hathaway for being mean to the cast of Entourage.

What’re you looking forward to in 2016?
2016 is gonna be all about going around the world with my band and showing everybody what we made. I’m excited to go to people’s towns and hang out with friends, have some beers and get pretty weird.

adamgreen.info

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Porches

In The Eye Of The Storm With Porches

“The storm was beautiful, but now there’s lots of it to slowly melt and just slush away” comes creator of Porches Aaron Maine’s melodic musings from out of my iPhone on a dismal London night. I’ve called to chat about Porches new album Pool, which has been three years in the making and marks a peak of Maine’s impressive output. Talking to the frontman, the sense of excitement about having an audience for the new record is palpable, which is understandable given that it’s been ready to go for months. And it’s been well worth the wait.

Sonically the album marks a new, more experimental direction for the band (which includes his partner Greta Kline aka Frankie Cosmos). Guitars are swapped for synths and drum machines to intoxicating effect. Indeed, speaking to Maine a couple of days after New York’s recent blizzard feels like apt timing. With a sound that’s both surprising and familiar, cosy and alienating; it’s wholly immersive and will whip up another storm in 2016.

You existed in a couple of guises and line-ups before Porches, what was it about this name and group that stuck? 
I guess Porches the name and project started a while ago, like five years ago, when I came back from a tour with my rock band. Back then everyone was living in different places and we weren’t practising, so I made a new batch of songs that felt really different. I don’t really remember why I called it Porches though. I’m not particularly fond of it anymore but…. it’s just a name. And it took a while to start playing those songs live and to figure out how to do it. It wasn’t until Cameron and Greta joined the band that it felt like the kind of line up and instrumentation was finally something special. Before that we were messing with backing tracks and different members.

What was the inspiration behind the album? 
I listened to more music, saw more things and experienced new things by living in the city. For me it was important to make something different, that made me feel different that made the audience feel different too. I was paying more attention to music that was being made currently and in drum machines and electronic music saw this cool, exciting potential for something new, and how far you could go with it. It feels really fresh still, even though its widely done to me it felt more exciting than guitar music.

Yeah, it feels like you’ve managed to create something surprising from what at first sounds familiar. I’m interested especially in the motif of water throughout the album, both lyrically and in the quality of the sound, was that a conscious thing or did that evolve naturally?
I was actively trying to make something that made you feel that way… Watery.

And when you’re writing, are you speaking from personal experience or as a character?
The songs are definitely personal. I know in this album the lyrics are pretty abstract, they’re not experiential or based on actual events in my life, but they are a collage of my mood, or whatever I was feeling like that day. Kind of like a set of emotions I put together to paint an emotional landscape.

They’re kind of like impressionist paintings?
Yeah and it was exciting to do that for the first time. I feel like I have always just clung to an experience and it was freeing to not have to experience something psychically to write about it. It taps into a different place. It’s not based on any specific instances so it’s just like a portrait of myself emotionally. Because of that I still feel in it (the album) and still like the songs and can get behind them.

So are you quite considered in your approach to making records? 
I definitely live in the song for a while, or at least I live in the recording for a long time. I kind of like that vibe of a recording that’s been loved and given the attention that it deserves.

I’m interested in the eye contact element of performance. Do you ever find it uncomfortable? What’s your performing technique?
I actually made a conscious decision to perform with my eyes open. I realised that I was always closing them or looking down. It’s funnier and more interesting to scan the audience, to look at everyone and how they were feeling.

Have you ever got up on stage and completely screwed up?
Um (long pause) I mean I’m sure… I don’t know! I’ve l tried smoking weed before performing and I just can’t. It’s fun and sounds very special but I’d be psyching myself out. We try to be really focussed and professional. That wasn’t always the case, but it’s been like that for a while now! I

What was the evolution into music, could you have been a banker?
Hah, no. I went into college to study painting but always knew and felt more passionate about the fact that I truly needed to make music. And it was just a matter of time before I realised that it could be a thing.

It’s easy to romanticise creativity in the city, but what’s it actually like being an artist in New York these days? 
There’s an insane amount of creative people but I don’t really know if New York embraces them, but at the same time that’s where people get their energy from. It’s something to, not rebel against, but to struggle with. It’s very not chill. You kind of have to be on your shit if you want to make it happen and want to stay around. I love that.

Pool is released 5th Feb 2016 on Domino

Main photo: Jessica Lehrman

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finale

AW16 Men And Their Music

For as long as one can remember, men’s fashion has been inextricably linked – and obviously inspired by – music. So it was particularly significant that the autumn winter 2016 menswear shows that recently took over the fashion capitals of the world fell in the shadow of David Bowie’s tragic death.

David Bowie was not just a music icon, he was a cultural revolution. And it is hard, nay almost impossible, to find a single designer who has not paid reference to his work at some point in their career. From the likes of Burberry to Alessandro Michele at Gucci – this season’s AW16 shows were full of acknowledgements for the late star. The former had little time to do anything other than react to the news, and so models were sent down the runway with glitter shadowing their eyes, and even ‘Bowie’ scrawled across exposed palms. While a few days later at Gucci, a simple cardigan was emblazoned with the singer’s name, which is no surprise as it was the Italian fashion house who sponsored the V&A’s 2012 retrospective of his life and style.

But David Bowie, at heart of all the glitter, hair, disguise and self-expression, was a lad from Brixton. A south London boy who knew how to wear a skinny-cut suit. And as such, it was Paul Smith who really knew how to show his creative thanks with his AW16 offering.

Featuring a melee of those aforementioned skinny suits, ankle boots which snuggly snaked their way up trouser cuffs, paisley motifs and bold stripes which adorned both outwear and cashmere knits – it was a riot of British street style from the late ’60s and early ’70s. See how it all played out – but more importantly listen to the soundtrack which so perfectly accompanied it – below.

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lapsley

Låpsley – The Perfect Comedown

After sweeping the net with her ethereal lo-fi offering ‘Station’ (which had Annie Mac gushing), Liverpool’s soulful stirring vocalist Holly Fletcher, aka Låpsley (it’s her middle name), is the 19-year-old still on everyone’s minds, radiating an inner warmth with her teary and introspective lyrics, achingly beautiful harmonies and haunting minimalism.

A multi-instrumentalist with a classical background, her non-traditional route into the industry as a bedroom producer (via Soundcloud), saw her tipped for big things, and later as a studio producer, her debut EP followed as XL’s latest signing, the label that brought us ground-breaking and innovative records from the likes of FKA Twigs and M.I.A.

Låpsley’s self-motivated vision and creative control continues the uprising of women in electronic music – a traditionally male-dominated genre – with the internet providing a platform and voice to be heard.

We caught up with the singer / songwriter to talk musical heroes, owning a loch one day, and why she’s already broken one of her new years resolutions.

Hello, so how are the New Years resolutions going – did you make any?
I am trying to be vegan for January. It was going well until I went to Italy and they force fed me Parmesan!

And what about NYE, do you remember anything past midnight?
I stopped drinking at midnight but somehow can’t remember anything between then and 8 in the morning so must have drunk my bodyweight in Prosecco.

Haha! So you probably missed London’s NYE music-a-thon fireworks on the TV then, I reckon David Bowie’s going to feature on that playlist quite heavily this year – who are your musical heroes?
Arthur Russell is a genius, his work is so honest. Joni Mitchell as a songwriter and of course Bowie as someone who was such a creative innovator and set an example for generations to come to not be afraid to go against the perceived norm.

What about the first record you bought, embarrassing or a good’un?
I think it was Kings Of Leon ‘Only By The Night’ – that’s a good’un to me, wouldn’t really listen to them now however as a 12 year old emotional wreck I clung onto the words.

I bet you made emotional mix tapes for yourself and your loves right?
Yes. I made loads. For boys that I fancied, for best friends, for parties, for promiscuous year 11 times, for everything really.

And what else did you listen to growing up?
My parents music. From my Dad it was Joy Division, The Smiths and Depeche Mode. From my Mum it was Fleetwood Mac, Bjork and Kate Bush.

Did you have pop poster crushes on your walls?
Mum wouldn’t let me put blu tac on the wall so I had lots of framed art of things like squirrels and other wildlife (British wildlife) ha!

And if you could choose a song that completely sums you up now, what would it be?
For January it’s that Internet sensation ‘Peel the Avocado (guacamole)’.

Oh that song! Dr. Jean should officially be on the NHS as an anti-depressant. So tell me more about Låpsley – what’s the story behind that name?
It’s my middle name so no exciting story there. It’s Scottish, it actually means keeper of the loch, hopefully one day I’ll own a loch #buymyalbumpayformyloch (#bmapfml)

Nice hashtag! And you went from bedroom producer, gaining fans like DJ Annie Mac, to being signed to a label really quickly – are you still in control of your overall soundscape, so it’s still a personal and natural growth?
Yes I’m totally in control of my own sound but also take advice and am open to help developing my sound.

You’re experimenting more with new genres too, how would you describe your sound?
Experimental [laughs]

Ha! And how are you evolving, do you know where you’re going to, as Diana Ross once sang?
I think with every new song I finish I learn something new. Fuck knows where I’m going though.

And what about your impact on the electro music genre, it’s still very much a male dominated scene – how do you bring a female perspective to it?
Hopefully lyrically women will be able to relate to my lyrics because men are heartless bastards (fuck my ex, #fme)

Well that told him. So from where you’re sitting, apart from the heartless ex, what does it mean to be a woman in 2016?
It’s sick, Tom Ford has a new make up range that just came out, what could be better? Still pissed that tampons are classed as a luxury item by the government though.

The ‘Understudy’ EP is out now. Låpsley’s debut album will follow later this year.

musiclapsley.com

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Frances | Jenna Foxton | Communion

Meet Frances: heiress to the vocal powerhouse throne

She’s got a voice and she knows how to use it.

That’s 21-year-old newcomer Frances, the British vocal-powerhouse who could sing you out of the room in karaoke (watch out Adele), and who could also give Florence Welch a run for her money in the wonderfully wild red mane stakes.

Hailing from Newbury, she’s got a set of lungs that sound like they’ve been soaked in 90% proof emotion, serving up a high intensity of feelings to comfort you, before hitting you round the head with a massive chorus that stirs you. She’s already supported Sam Smith live, performed for Radio 1’s Live Lounge and sold out her first three UK London tour dates.

The new soulstress on the block you should know about, we caught up with Frances to talk love and fears, nostalgic moments and the best woah-oh-oh ever.

What’s your earliest memory of music?
Dancing around the house with my mum to ‘Poetry In Motion’ by Jonny Tillotson.

And when did you start performing?
I had my first performance when I was three, but I’m not sure if that counts. I’ve always performed in some way since I was a toddler – it just felt so natural.

I first heard of you when I came across the track ‘Fire May Save You’ (the Cesare Remix), and I remember sharing it on my Twitter account as I loved it, and you messaged me back to thank me. Are you officially the nicest person in pop?
Haha! I appreciate so much any support for my music, so I think it’s so important and only polite to say thank you!

But what about when you become too famous to even peel your own banana, what will your tour rider consist of?
Haha! Everyone should peel their own bananas, its part of the experience! Hmmm. Sparkling water, cereal bars for a quick energy boost in case I’m lagging, and some speakers for the tour tunes. That would do me fine.

Well as you’re so nice, I really want you to record a mellow stripped back piano version of Whitney’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and totally belt it out – can you do that especially for me on the next EP please?
That’s an amazing idea… I’m going to say YES!

Awesome, I’ll wait for it! And talking of vocal belters, you supported Sam Smith this past Summer for a live show – that must have been a pretty intense experience?
It was an amazing experience – he’s such a star and the nicest guy on the planet. I loved every minute.

Were you and Sam trying to outdo each other back stage with who could sing the highest note?
I’m pretty sure he’d win if we did!

What about other performers you admire…you might spontaneously combust if you found out you were sharing a stage with who?
Carole King. That would just be insane.

Wow, what a duo, you two would be musical ear porn! How would you describe your own sound?
Well it’s all about the song for me. So I want to sing songs that people can relate to and share with their loved ones. And in doing that I hope that my voice sings those songs in a way that people endear to, and feel they want to carry on listening.

And how have you evolved and grown with each release?
I think I’ve grown as a producer. So I’m finding new ways of delivering my songs and how I can use some different sounds on top of the piano and my voice to enforce meaning in the songs, lyrically and musically. But I’m also maintaining that actually keeping things simple is still a great approach for me for some songs, as nothing gets in the way then.

What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learnt so far on your musical journey?
I’ve had to learn that other people do really care about my music and career. It can be hard to believe at first but once you work with the right people you learn that people have got your back!

You’re among the Next Gen of female singer / songwriters to make their mark on the industry – what other female performers keep you on your toes, for a bit of healthy competition and sisterly respect?
I’ve got so much respect for so many female performers. A few that stand out though are Aurora, I think she’s incredible, so haunting and beautiful. Rukhsana Merrise is amazing too, I love her song ‘So They Say’. And then there’s of course Alessia Cara, Adele, Florence, Maria Mena and more.. I could go on forever!

What about if we looked through your record collection, would we find any embarrassing moments?
I still have my Vengaboys CDs.. loved them. And I’ve probably still got my Aqua – Barbie Girl CD too, haha!

Ha! Well my Bucks Fizz Greatest Hits beats your Barbie Girl. What else makes you nostalgic?
My childhood. It was so fun, I had (and still have) a wild imagination and just lived in a world of my own most of the time.

Is that why you’re quite emotively explorative in your lyrics, you’re very deep and reflective for someone so young?
I’m very sensitive to emotion, both my own and others. I tend to over-think and analyse everything so that means I think about things at quite a deep level.. which can be good and bad I think!

Do you think it’s easier to love or be loved?
I always say you have to love yourself before you can love another.. but I also think you need to know that you’re loveable.. so that’s a tricky one! I guess they both become easier  if you have value for and love yourself.

Good answer. And are you fatalistic?
In some ways I am.. but then I also believe you can create your own luck and opportunities. But ultimately we’re all destined to do something, whatever that may be. We all have our own piece of the puzzle.

What’s your greatest fear?
Disappointing someone I love.

But you’re not ashamed to admit that you love…?
I don’t think we should be ashamed to love anything, but I guess my love for Christmas films is quite intense.

And where is your happy place?
Snuggled up with my dogs watching a great film. That’s just the best!

And when not snuggled up indoors, what’s your go-to feel good song before a night out?
‘September’ by Earth, Wind and Fire.

What about the best woah-oh-oh you’ve ever heard in a song?
It’s got to be ‘Single Ladies’ by Beyonce! Or for a more emotional ballad-y one, it would have to be the ‘Oh’ section in ‘Viva La Vida’ by Coldplay.

Ok, so you’re off to karaoke – which three singers would you take with you and what’s the song you’re going to sing?
I’d bring Sam Smith, George Ezra and JoJo and we’d sing ‘Lose My Breath’ by Destiny’s Child.

Ooh nice! So what’s coming next for you and what can we expect from your debut album?
I can’t wait to do my album. It’ll be here next year sometime. It will be in a similar vein to my EPs, but a bit more accomplished I hope, I want to show I’ve grown and developed as a songwriter and for people to really connect and relate to the music.

So taking inspiration from the title of your latest release ‘Let It Out’ – how can we all really let it out today Frances?
Dance in a shop. If a great song comes on it deserves to be danced to. You’ll brighten up your own day and someone else’s!

The ‘Let It Out’ EP is out now and you can see Frances live on her UK tour which kicks off in 2016. For more information head to francesmusic.com

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adidas Originals by Kanye West

“This is a challenge to where fashion is currently—a new feminine ideal,” says Kanye West, as his first adidas Originals collection – Yeezy Season 1 – launches around the world on 29th October.

Comprised of both voluminous and second-skin like proportions – the former generally on top, and the latter below – West reiterates the practicality he had in mind with these pieces, describing the easily interchangeable capsule collection as “solutions-based” and akin to Lego. Ultimately, he has, quite literally, aimed to create a series of uniform building blocks, from which his customers can construct a daily identity. “I don’t want the clothes to be the life,” he stresses. “I want the clothes to help the life.”

So what of the garments themselves? They are undoubtedly useful, bar perhaps the aforementioned body-suits, which although editorially striking, may be a little more tricksy to work into any typical circumstance that initially springs to mind. The inky, generously hooded shearling parkas are instantly desirable, as are the gnarled army surplus knits and cotton tanks in that perfect shade of smokey anthracite. But it’s the unisex, outsized sweaters, beautifully constructed yet rough around the edges, that you could really see yourself wearing forever.

West has been clever. He has put just enough of himself into this collaboration – hero pieces such as the camo separates and drop shouldered bomber jackets smack of recognition with “West: the brand” – to make it aspirational, yet left the collection canvas-like in it’s quality, so that customers can see themselves in it too, without having to try too hard.

The decision to have a mass release of the collaboration, as opposed to a staggered global drop seems an obvious one, especially when you consider the transient purposes West had in mind when designing. “I wanted something that felt like New York or Paris or Tokyo or Santa Barbara or Chicago—a worldliness and an ease.”

Rounding off the collection are a number of new footwear releases, the highly anticipated Yeezy Boosts 750 and 350 as well as the Yeezy 950 boots for men and platform snow boots for women. Roll on winter.

adidas Originals by Kanye West – Yeezy Season 1 is in stores now. Prices start from $130.

adidas.com/kanye

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Eliot Sumner: Firewood

As the daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, Twin favourite Eliot Sumner has some serious music credentials. Despite being just age 24 (she turns 25 at the end of the month), she has an uncanny knack of creating music that gives you the chills, and her latest track, Firewood, is no exception. It’s out now on iTunes, and her hotly anticipated album is promised later this year – although details are being kept very hush hush. If you’re lucky, you can catch her tonight, playing at the Kings Head Club. Check out her website for more details.

eliotsumnerofficialmusic.tumblr.com

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MS MR – How Does It Feel

Twin favourites, Lizzy Plapinger and Max Hershenow, known more commonly as MS MR, are soon to release their second LP How Does It Feel, the follow up to their 2013 debut Secondhand Rapture. 

So far the new songs, such as Wrong Victory and Painted, have showcased a new sound from the Brooklyn duo, and their latest to be released, the titled track off the album, features an anthem-like chorus that begs to be sung at the top of your lungs. Could this be a step away from the melancholic crooning that caught our attention, when Hurricane came out?

How Does It Feel will be released on July 17 on Columbia Records. Pre order it here and receive the first three songs released as an immediate download. 

msmrsounds.com

Kate Boy – Midnight Sun

Twin favourites, Kate Boy, have announced the release of their latest track, Midnight Sun. Following on from singles, Self Control and Higher, the new song was written and recorded by the trio in Stockholm last December, drawing inspiration from the endless days of sunlight during Swedish summers: “Midnight Sun is about summer days that never end and also a metaphor for meeting in the middle and accepting each other for who we are,” states the band themselves.

After spending time touring the likes of festivals such as SXSW Festival, Secret Garden Party and The Great Escape, they also played headline shows at Koko, XOYO and The Lexington in London last year. Now, however, the band are focusing on their debut album, One, set for release in November.

Midnight Sun is available to purchase here

Image credit: Eric Hart & Tatiana Leshkina

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Twin Meets Francesca Belmonte

Francesca Belmonte’s sound is sultry, distinctive and unique, blending RnB, soul, club and electronica with an avant-garde twist. Having worked in the industry for years with trip-hop icon Tricky, Belmonte perfected her talent and is now going out on her own. Her recently released debut, Anima, gives us insight into her world with sombre vocals that are broken up by beats, synths and electronica.

Twin caught up with the singer/songwriter to talk melancholia, favourite lyrics and how it all began.

So how did you end up in Music? 
As a teenager I had a few friends with bedroom studios who were always looking for singers. I started writing poems from a young age but this was the first time I’d laid down vocals and ideas properly and I loved it. We would play gigs around London for fun and I realised very quickly it was what I wanted to do. I started working with more producers, experimenting and developing ideas. Then in 2008 when I met Tricky and my life changed. Within a week of knowing him I was on a two month European tour and then a month or so after that we were touring America. He invited me to sing and write in the studio which we’ve been doing ever since; and six years later he produced my record. I am interested in other things and I’d like to go back to school one day but music has always been priortity.

Why did you decide to go it alone after working with Tricky for so long? 
Because I began to get too comfortable. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started with Trick. I knew I was good enough and that I deserved to be there but I was a novice with a lot to learn. The skills and lessons I’ve learned along the way both professionally and personally have been invaluable but six years is a long time and I began to get restless. It would have been very easy to just stay there, stay on his tour, in his studio. It’s an addictive cycle; make an album tour it and start all over again and being his singer this cycle was provided for me over and over again and all I had to do was show up. It’s been an enriching experience but I needed to feel scared again, I needed a new challenge.

What would you say is the most important lesson you learnt from working with Trick?
To leave your insecurities at the door. I learned this lesson the hard way and I’ll never forget it. Very early on we were writing on the tour bus in Estonia. It was a good vibe and he suggested I tried this particular idea over a piece of music we were listening to. I was apprehensive and said ‘No I don’t think thats going to work’. And the session just stopped, it was like I’d just murdered a member of his family or something, I completely killed the vibe and there was no coming back from it. That doubt I had was an insecurity that had no place in that creative environment and I totally got it. Later on he wrote me a poem to explain why he was so upset about it which is the opening verse of a song I wrote called I Could. He says often, even now ‘You have to try, you have nothing if you dont try.’

Tell us a little about the name of the album, Anima. What does it mean to you?
I came across the word while reading about Carl Jung and firstly it jumped out at me because it looked so beautiful written down and sounded so strong and elegant. Then the more I read into it, the more it resonated with me. It means soul in Italian and being half Neapolitan I liked that nod to my heritage. In Jungian psychology it is the female element of the male psyche which was fitting having been Trickys singer, the voice behind a man for such a long time. There is also an ancient meaning my guitarist told me about a few weeks ago which is the idea that everything is living and connected from a human being to a rock at the top of a mountain. To me the word Anima is about femininity, strength and the two existing harmoniously together. To be a woman is to know your power and to excercise it while retaining that feminine strength and vulnerability which can be challenging in the world we are living in today. There’s too much pressure put on women of all ages to be sexy and fuckable and not enough encouragement to develop ones skills and unique abilities.

Your music has melancholic undertones. What draws you to this style?
It’s not something I think about, it just comes out that way. The album is often quite uptempo and dancey, but you’re right there are strong sad elements even in those seemingly more upbeat tracks like Lying on the Moon. I like sad songs, always have done so perhaps its just a cultivation of listening to a style of music which ultimately influences your art.

How would you describe your sound? 
Alternative blues, experimental pop. Always a tough question.

You have said in previously interviews that you are very proud of your lyrics. Do you have a favourite line that resonates?
It’s hard to pick one favourite line. I want to write more songs like Your Sons, ‘Your sorrow, your sons a hero, but what for? I’m not sure. Your young ones get called and march on, but what for? I’m not sure’. I like the Brothers and Sisters lyrics too , ‘He’ll be waiting round the corner, he’ll be standing up straight, you may notice some affliction. Can you see him whats he wearing? Were his wings beneath the coat? Did he talk of revolution? Did he sing of every note?’ I want to write more songs like that, focusing on strong imagery and mysterious stories. I’m most proud of the Stole lyrics though, they poured out of me and it was like a purging.

Francesca Belmonte’s debut album Anima is out now on False Idols. Buy here

 

Photography by Joe Quigg

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Björk: Black Lake

Björk’s latest video for Black Lake, is a ten-minute-long film in which we find the Icelandic musician in a bleak landscape. It first debuted earlier this year, as the short was commissioned by New York City’s Museum of Modern Art for their Björk retrospective.

“I guess its time for Stonemilker and Black Lake to get out there into the world after a three month stint in a museum,” stated Björk. “We tried to make it in a way it was both at home there and also as a no nonsense music video (still my fav format) and I hope you don’t mind the wait.”

Created by award winning director Andrew Thomas Huang, along with choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir, cinematographer Lasse Frank, and art directors Thorgeir Odinsson and Iris van Herpen, the video carries themes of pain, perishing, and rebirth.

Black Lake is the latest taken from Björk’s ninth studio album Vulnicura, which you can purchase here.

bjork.com

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