Posts Tagged ‘Rock’
Originally published in the Irish Sun on August 3.
“We’ve been going almost 20 years now. Somebody told me that recently and I was quite shocked,” says Feeder frontman Grant Nicholas ahead of the Welsh rockers’ twin dates in Dublin and Cork this weekend.
“People talk about the whole grunge scene, but we were doing that even what that whole scene started, but we were just on the wrong side of the water. That exploded into such a big thing. That kind of sound – which for me is a mixture of punk rock, 70s rock and pop music – is what I hear when I hear that ‘90s music and our own band as well.
“That’s the kind of music that I like and that influenced the band and myself when we were growing up. I think we have moved on, tried different things and tried to make each record different in its own way. I think where we’re at now feels comfortable, and I don’t mean that in a lazy way. It just feels like the sort of music we should be making after the history we’ve had.”
Originally published in the Irish Sun on July 20.
Next weekend sees the return of Knockanstockan to the lakes of Blessington, with a line-up of over 150 acts making it the biggest event in the DIY music festival’s six year history.
For guitarist Tim Cullen of Dublin blues rockers the Hot Sprockets, it’s more than just another weekend in the park – it’s a festival his band helped to set up in 2007 and they’ve been a perennial fixture at the lakes ever since.
“To start off we had this thing called Primal Jelly Social Club – like an open mic night. We got our first gigs through them, just doing it every Wednesday, and then Peter [Keogh] then decided to run a festival for the bands to get away and get to know each other.
“The first one was really tiny – there weren’t many punters there so it mainly just consisted of the bands. I don’t know how many bands played that weekend but everyone got to know each other in this tiny field. Loads of bands went up and helped out for that one and helped cleaning up.
“The second year, all the bands wanted to continue it on and helped with the setup and we’ve just been doing it that way ever since.”
I interviewed the Temper Trap a couple of weeks back following their performance at the Phoenix Park in support of Snow Patrol and Florence + The Machine. Originally printed in the Irish Sun on July 13.
“If you look over your shoulder, Joseph’s writing the new album on his laptop there,” says Temper Trap drummer Toby Dundas, demonstrating just how much life has changed for the Aussie rockers since they topped charts worldwide with Sweet Disposition just two years ago.
“Last time we didn’t write on the road at all, so it was pretty much a fresh slate when we wrapped it up and said, ‘alright, we’ll write the new album.’
“This time we’ll have a lot more material so we might be able to kick it around even closer, but live is our natural state. That’s what we really like doing, so you gotta get the recording done so you can keep that up.”
The Melbourne group – now a five-piece since the induction of live keyboardist Joseph Greer – took the risk of moving to London in 2008 prior to the release of their debut album, Conditions, setting up home in Hackney. They were in the middle of writing the follow-up when last summer’s riots erupted in the borough.
I spoke to Jason Spaceman ahead of Spiritualized’s appearance at Body & Soul this weekend.
Originally printed in the Irish Sun on Friday, June 15 2012.
Jason Pierce – a.k.a. Jason Spaceman – overcame a near-fatal liver disease to release the darkly comic Songs in A&E in 2008, and with follow-up Sweet Heart Sweet Light the face behind Spiritualized has set his sights on disproving the notion that rock n’ roll is a dead art form.
“I’m absolutely in love with rock n’ roll – it’s very much part of my life and part of what makes me who am I, and I don’t want to see it die this kind of painful death,” speaks Pierce from the London home where he wrote the band’s seventh album.
“People think it’s all over. The record is infused with this kind of melancholy as well – that there’s more to come, yet there’s a kind of sadness that some of the great things have already gone.
Strangely, it was the re-release and revival tour of Spiritualized’s classic 1997 album, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space, in 2009 that convinced Pierce of the need to reinvigorate both the band and rock n’ roll in general, to arrest its decline into a backward-looking nostalgia trip.
“I was horrified at the state of this great music that I love, that it seemed to be folding back on itself, that everybody seems to be looking backwards and saying, ‘these were the great moments, ten years ago; fifteen years ago, here’s another one.’
“And I was even more horrified that I seemed to be joining in with everybody by performing Ladies and Gentlemen. So the influence was really twofold. One was the only way to push this music into the future was to make new great records, not to keep turning and looking backwards.
“Also, it was not to repeat myself, not to just do the same again. So in a weird way, Ladies and Gentlemen was a kind of ‘negative’ influence on the record, if you like. You could take any one of my tracks and put it on any one of the albums and it would fit, but it was important just to point the vehicle in a forward direction.”
That’s easier said than done, however, and Pierce is as reluctant as anybody to pinpoint exactly how anybody could expect to transform a style of music that enjoys such a long and rich history: “I think music evolves really, really slowly, and sometimes what people perceive as great leaps into the future are just big stylistic changes, you know?”
He continues: “It moves forward like any evolution – slowly – and in the areas that make the changes, there are things going wrong, or things not being fully realised or fully formed. So it’s really hard to tell at the moment of change, but I think a few albums down the line I might know exactly where it was leading to.”
The album’s lead single and opening track proper, ‘Hey Jane,’ is proof of just how tangled and wrapped up rock n’ roll is in its own illustrious past.
“I wanted to make a pop record. The Velvet Underground record that was a real influence was Loaded – it was that thing where it was all about melody. There is a reference on ‘Hey Jane’ to ‘Sweet Jane’. It’s weird because I’m trying to make a record that’s not looking back and referencing things from the past.”
Though essentially a rock n’ roll band, Spiritualized’s music has always encapsulated a wide variety of sounds from the shoegazing, Phil Spector-influenced wall of sound approach to more classic influences like gospel and blues. However, while the god-fearing vocabulary of that kind of music seeps through in his lyrics, Pierce insists he is in no way religious, despite his recent brush with death.
“I read something about Brian Wilson’s ‘God Only Knows,’ about how god is in the title but it has absolutely nothing to do with god or religion – it’s about how great it is to love somebody. I think that my language is like that.
“When I first got into the Velvet Underground, I read that Lou Reed had said that doo-wop is the sound of angels. I listened to doo-wop music for about two years straight, and I realised recently that a lot of the language comes from Dion and the Belmonts and that kind of stuff.
“The language is all full of stuff like “heaven sent me an angel” and “I ask the lord above,” but they’re essentially love songs.”
Spiritualized’s previous incarnation, Spacemen 3, famously titled a record Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to, but it was medication of an entirely different kind that fuelled the recording of Sweet Heart Sweet Light.
“I was diagnosed with liver disease and that put a real full stop on my lifestyle. I did treatment to get rid of it, and then made the record on those drugs, so it was kind of the best circumstances to make a record.
“I don’t really think about what I’m writing – I don’t think ‘this is the kind of record I’m going to make’ – I just write what seems relevant at the time. It’s just honest, you know? If somebody’s going to invest time and money in your music, you’ve got to be telling them the truth.”
In fact, Pierce insists that his illness has had little to no impact, positive or negative, on the way he looks at the world: “I was waiting for an epiphany. There are people who say they got ill and then they got better and suddenly their life changed. I was kind of waiting for it, because I was a certain person before I was ill, and disappointingly I was the same person when I came back!”
More than anything, he’s happy to be back on the road with new music in tow: “I love touring more than anything. I love playing live music – it’s way more interesting, and it doesn’t come with the weightiness of trying to capture something to record.
“I know music travels – that’s the idea – but sometimes it just fits. You’re in a certain part of the world and you play a certain piece of music and it makes complete sense, and that’s what touring is to me.”
Spiritualized play Body & Soul in Ballinlough Castle, Westmeath from June 22-24.
Originally published in the Irish Sun on Friday, June 1.
Urban legend has it that Richard Fearless was forced to drop his electronic project’s original name – Dead Elvis – following an objection from Presley’s estate. Here, the Death in Vegas mainman reveals it was a copyright claim from an identically-titled Dublin record label that led him to adopt the much more evocative title.
“Death in Vegas was a friend’s film about the last minutes of Elvis’ life. I had two days to change the name because there was a record label in Dublin called Dead Elvis,” he recounts. “It wasn’t so much Presley’s music as the kind of ‘obsession’ that interested me. I’ve always been quite obsessed by obsession. The whole obsessive thing about Elvis fans was what I was really into.”
It may be 9 months later than planned – the single was released in February/March – but the video for Yngve and the Innocent’s ‘Draw the Line’ has finally made its way onto a series of tubes.
Sligo’s finest model of German manufacturing, now exported to London, Yngve Wieland and his band will release their first (and his second, after 2008′s stunning Tell Men This) album next spring, once they’ve sorted out the business end of things.