the blog @ dagmarsieglinde.com

Friday, January 23, 2009, 04:04 PM ( 674 views ) - Musings - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
Britain's Metronomy is playing Chop Suey on Sunday, January 25th. I really like this kind of music. I like synthesizers, what can I say? A friend of mine pointed out to me the other day that disco etc. never really went away, and that is kind of true. But now the bonus is that nearly everything that's coming out now sounds like disco or synth music. Well, maybe not nearly everything - just enough to keep music interesting.

Here's a video for their catchy song, A Thing For Me.

PS: I guess I am starting to make show announcements on here. That's okay - it's part of covering music for sure.


Monday, January 12, 2009, 03:24 PM ( 1745 views ) - Musings - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
I don't usually post many show announcements on this blog but here's an exception because I love this Ashley chick at the Wig so freaking much:

In celebration of FIVE YEARS of The Wig
The Wig, Platform Booking & The Inlander present...
WIG BASH 2009

Friday, March 27
@ King Cobra - Seattle
SHIM
TRUCKASAURAS
THE WHORE MOANS[my emphasis]
CYRUS FELL DOWN

Saturday, March 28
@ The Blvd.
- Spokane
SHIM
CYRUS FELL DOWN
SEE ME RIVER
TRUCKASAURAS

with photos by BLUSH PHOTO
sponsored by:Seattlest, Sound on the Sound, MF Magazine, The Som Show,
Blush Photo and The Production Company

--
More details on their way.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009, 05:39 PM ( 4019 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
Mad Rad is one of Seattle's great wonders. They're lively and out for fun. Their songs and shows are parties unto themselves. P Smoov, performer/lyricist/beatmaker of Mad Rad talked with me in December 08 about the band's origins and foxy fan base - oh, and I found out he's also a talented visual artist. Read on.
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Q: You recently played in New York?

P Smoov: Yeah, we played the Knitting Factory, which is a legendary three story venue where a lot of amazing punk acts and pretty much every act that comes through there at some point or another. We played on the bottom floor – it was so chill [with] a really good turnout and kids know how to dance in New York City. It was so much fun.

Q: The tour reception was positive?

PS: Everyone was receiving us well and they all loved the tunes. It was just like, yo do you need a place to sleep, you can crash on our sofa. . . It was a very different scene and a different crowd from Seattle – or Portland even. But a cool scene.

Q: You guys dance around a lot in Mad Rad – how would you describe your dancing style?

PS: I personally think that I’m a horrible dancer. I think we just like our tunes and when we get onstage we can’t really help but to wild out. Buffalo [Madonna] is more of the dancing guy. He starts flipping out on the ground like a fish out of water.

Q: Yeah, he was pretty dirty after crawling around the floor of the Funhouse.

PS: That was nasty. I think Terry Radjaw is the best dancer out of all of us. Sometimes he just gets down and dances onstage for a couple of minutes without even doing any lyrics. It’s hilarious.

Q: What’s a typical Mad Rad show?

PS: A typical Mad Rad show starts about three hours before where we start drinking and smoking weed – just wilding out, practicing our lyrics. We get there and there’s a lot of scantily clad women with makeup on. I guess we just wild the hell out for as long as we’re onstage and try to do the best job as possible.

Q: The show at the Funhouse had a lot of pretty women there – that’s typical?

PS: I would say we definitely lucked out when it comes to our fan base. It’s largely female, which is great. [And] the girls bring the boys.


P Smoov @ the Funhouse, December 2008

Q: You played with 2 Live Crew at Nectar – what was that like?

PS: Oh, man – that was such an awesome night. It was such an honor to work with such legendary cats like that. We played with another band that we’re friends with, Champagne Champagne. It was cool – 2 Live Crew brought out a crowd that we probably never could have brought out ourselves. It was such a fun opportunity to perform in a setting with a band of that magnitude. That was the day before we left on tour so we left with such high spirits.

Q: How did the band get together?

PS: Buffalo and Radjaw were vibing out together before I met them. They were writing songs together and they didn’t have anyone making beats for them at the time. I saw Terry Radjaw doing a solo performance at Nectar and I approached him. Buffalo, at that time was just a backup dancer, he didn’t even have a mike. So they came through and we hit it off. All the tunes that we were making were some of my favorite tunes that I had made and their favorites tunes that they had been working on. We were just like, fuck it, let’s do this. Let’s go all out.

Q: That was this year?

PS: Our first show April 9th of 2008. We’ve been performing for less than a year.

Q: What’s Fresh Espresso?

PS: Fresh Espresso is my other band with the rapper Rik Rude. He’s a local legend – one of the illest mcs that Seattle has to offer. I’ve been working on Fresh Espresso for longer than I’ve been working on the Mad Rad shit. That album is coming out soon. I came to Seattle to start a studio, called the Robot Room, in Queen Anne. One of my main focuses is recording, engineering and mastering other bands. I’ve had a fucking great opportunity to work with a lot of different musicians.

Q: Where did you move here from?

PS: I moved here from Los Angeles. I was born in Michigan, moved to Orlando then to Los Angeles. I settled in the Northwest.

Q: You’re also an artist.

PS: Yeah, I do art under the name of Ten Hundred.

Q: The drawings and paintings are really, really good.

PS: Thank you. I have been going crazy for art lately ever since I got off tour. Being in that tour van . . . I’ve been painting nonstop. It’s such a relaxer for me.

Q: Do you ever think about having Mad Rad dancers?

PS: We’ve had impromptu dance competitions onstage, where we invite a couple of the ladies from the audience to compete with dance moves for a copy of our cd or for one of our t-shirts. These girls go all out – it’s such a show. It gives us a chance to catch our breath while they’re shaking their asses. Last night there was a row of ladies in front and I was just like, can you guys please just come onstage? And they flooded the stage. I don’t think we want people that we bring with us to dance onstage. We want the crowd to come up onstage.

Q: Who writes the lyrics?

PS: We all write the lyrics and write the hooks. It’s not ego-based. We just try to crack each other up and whatever makes us laugh the hardest is pretty much what we use in the songs. The beats . . . I do those and we also had a guy, Lou Pal, who contributed to the production of the record.

Q: I really loved the video for My Product – was that shot in South Seattle?

PS: Some of it was shot in Sodo and some of it was on Capitol Hill. That was directed by Dave Otte - from Brooklyn. He flew out and was kind enough to shoot a video for us. It was three days of so much fun. It was on a shoe string budget – I think we spent maybe 150 bucks for the whole video.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the song Electric Sheep. Who’s the science fiction fan/Blade Runner fan?

PS: I’m a science fiction fan. The electric sheep are from Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Buffalo Madonna, at the time, was reading a lot of Philip K. Dick. I put together this tune and that was its central focus – I thought it was such an ill tagline. For me it wasn’t tied directly to Blade Runner or Philip K. Dick – it was just such an ill concept.

Q: Do you have many pairs of sunglasses?

PS: I lose a pair of sunglasses at every show. I’ve pretty much stopped wearing glasses unless I can borrow them or steal them from my friends. Then they’ll get lost and they’re kind of mad at me. They just fly off my face or kids grab them off my face. Terry Radjaw has an ill sunglass collection though.

Q: What do you think when people say Mad Rad’s lyrics might be sexist? Is it just good publicity?

PS: There’s a lot of negative stuff floating around on the internet about our band. The way I see it is if you don’t have haters then you’re not doing your job right.

Q: I think that’s true. When I listen to you guys I don’t think of it as mean-spirited.

PS: There’s this one site called 206proof.com [with threads] talking about how we’re racist and sexist and just horrible people. It’s such a laugh looking at that stuff. They can’t even spell.
---

Check out the videos for Electric Sheep and Superdope
and I've also got more photos of them from the Funhouse here.

Mad Rad next plays Artifakt @ Lofi on January 16th plus a string of shows that month and February beginning with OBAMA RAMA!!on January 20th.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008, 02:58 AM ( 5272 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
I interviewed Al Doyle in 2007 - this originally appeared in Little Radio.
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Q: I saw you guys open up from someone earlier this year – I can’t
remember who it was.

Doyle: Stereolab.

Q: Yeah, that’s right. I came to see you guys.

Doyle: Oh wow. That would have been in March.

Q: Were they good to tour with?

Doyle: Yeah they were a friendly bunch of people, took an interest in what we were doing – which isn’t always the case with bands that you support. They borrowed a keyboard from us as well so they were indebted to us at an early stage, which was good. We did about six shows with them.

Q: Was that the first time you’d been to Seattle?

Doyle: Yeah, it was the first time I had been to the West Coast in fact. We came back to L.A. and San Francisco in August and this is our second time going fully down the West Coast.

Q: Is this your first headlining tour of the West Coast?

Doyle: Apart from those two dates in August. It’s good to be in Seattle. We didn’t have such great weather but I had a good time. We went to Pike Place Market – having a little walk around a few bars and restaurants.

Q: You’re a classically trained cellist – when did you start learning?

Doyle: Maybe six or seven. I’ve been doing music for a long time – different kinds. I ended up doing this kind of stuff. I also have a strong left hand. Worked well for the guitar, like I could pick up the guitar quite easily. I still play the cello, record with it now and again. It might be on the next album, hopefully, I don’t know. I enjoy playing it from time to time. I should play it more – I can still get a sound out of it and everything. Yeah, that’s my background.

Q: I was actually going to ask if you were going to have the cello on any of the CDs?

Doyle: I do some other music with Felix in the band and we’ve done some soundtracks for documentaries and stuff like that. We use the cello on that because it’s a quite pleasing sound and atmospheric. We have some other string players – like on the song Look After Me on The Warning there’s a violin on that. There’s a really good string quartet that we know in London called the Elysian Quartet that have supported us on a couple of shows. They do from Modern classical stuff to Beethoven and have things written for them by UK composers. So we can always draft them in if we need some strings, which is useful.

Q: What kind of documentaries have you worked on?

Doyle: It was a documentary about the Last Lighthouse Keepers in the UK. Basically all of the lighthouses were automated in 2002, I think. Up to that point there were about three people on every lighthouse and gradually they would stop working at a lighthouse that was about to be automated and keep running that. It was just a strange life that a lot of them led. Now there really aren’t any of them any more. They’re getting pretty old now and it was a chance to listen to some of their stories. It’s a really good documentary. Felix and I will also be working on another one next year with the BFI, which is the British Film Institute. We’re going to have access to their archive to choose a movie and rescore it or possibly score a silent movie. That won’t be towards the end of next year, but that’s going to be a really interesting project. We all do kind of bits and bobs on the side, apart from Hot Chip. It’s kind of good to have that breadth and have different projects that can give you a break from doing the album. That often can inform that process as well – you can also be a bit more experimental, like when we do remixes and things for other bands we can try out some things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of. It’s useful as a kind of study and just improving your technique, I suppose compositionally – like with technology.

Q: The cello’s kind of a sorrowful instrument, isn’t it?

Doyle: It can be. It’s equivalent to the tenor voice, I suppose. It’s got a very wide range so you can go right down to the bottom there but you can still actually go surprisingly high as well. It seems to be a very expressive instrument – all string instruments are but the cello seems to be a lot of people’s favorite. I’m lucky that I learned it, I suppose.

Q: You do a lot of the remixing?

Doyle: We all do. Joe and Alexis do some and sometimes I might work with Alexis or Felix and I work together mostly. And Owen sometimes as well. It generally ends up doing two teams of remixes, which means we can get a lot more done. Which is great. We enjoy it – the only thing that’s bad about it does take up a bit of time, and we don’t have that much time to do our own music. So when you’re at home and not touring you sort of like you might prefer to get on with your own stuff rather than do a remix. Up to now it’s just been paying the rent basically, they bring in a bit of money and we’ve needed it. Now it’s got to the stage where we can pick and choose a little bit more, we don’t have to take everything is thrown at us. We’re being a bit more choosy about who we’re remixing. Sometimes it can take a day or something but sometimes it can take 2-3 days. It just depends on what you’re working with or how creative you’re feeling.

Q: Are there songs out you’d really love to do?

Doyle: Anything with a really good vocal. A lot of stuff we do that’s what lets it down. Somebody who hasn’t got a voice that’s worth listening to, basically. We did remixes for a lot of UK guitar bands for a while and they were just these kind of shouty, very unsubtle singing basically. So we’d take like one syllable or one word and – cause obviously they like you to have a bit of vocal in it but we try to get away with as little as possible if it’s bad.

Q: You’re from Leeds?

Doyle: Yeah. Joe, Alexis and Owen are kind of Southwest London. Felix actually grew up near the British Museum in the center of London. I’ve been down in London for the last four-five years. I’m enjoying it, it’s good. Now we’re all actually living a bit closer together. Felix lives just up the road. Felix and I have a studio in the building I live in – so we can do Hot Chip stuff there. It’s lucky for me, I just roll out of bed and into the studio to do some work.

Q: Do you feel a little different from the rest of them?

Doyle: Yeah, though do sort of mention my different roots now and again. But it’s never really a big deal. I’ve had a lot of friends in London for a long time so I know the city pretty well. I like going back and seeing my family. When I go back North I get back more of my accent, but when I’m down in London I don’t have that strong of an accent. I’ve been accepted.

Q: You’re all doing something on stage – no one’s lazy up there. How do you do it?

Doyle: We’re very busy. I personally don’t like to be just standing around. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not doing anything. A lot of the songs will have natural gaps in them and I’ll try to find something else to do. At the moment we’ve got some congas on stage so I’ll do some percussion. There’s always something to do because we’ve got quite a lot of instruments- more instruments than we can actually play at the same time. There’s four keyboards, two guitars – if someone’s playing a guitar then that means there’s an extra keyboard free – for instance on the first song on the album Careful, when we do that live I play both keyboards at the same time. Trying to multitask. It can probably be an error, maybe we should try to tone down the texture a bit in some cases, but it’s just too much fun. We can make these big sounds with these keyboards so that’s just what’s been happening. We have actually stripped it down a little bit because we’re playing with a live drummer now so that makes for a much fuller sound straightaway. We’ve had to pull a few things back and incorporate that more into the group. It’s starting to work really, really well. We don’t normally have a live drummer but we tour with Pat Mahoney from LCD Soundsystem. He’s done a few shows with us in the US and now he’s doing the whole tour with us.

Q: Putting things together and layering. How hard is it not to sound messy?

Doyle: Live we’ve just gotten a little bit better at playing. We’ve done so many shows. This year we did twenty-six festivals from May to August, a couple of tours in the middle of that. We’ve been on tour since September, so we did three weeks in Europe, three weeks in the UK and three weeks in the US as well. So pretty much three months on the road and hundreds of shows, so naturally you’ll get a lot tighter and the song structures are quite fluid. The instrumentation is quite fluid as well so there’s a lot of room to change and improve and figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s not something that is very consciously decided but it’s something that’s more like an evolution.

There’s quite a lot of communication going on onstage. It didn’t used to be like that. When we first started out, especially with the stage setup that we had, when we were all in a line, we were basically all locked into what they were doing. Like watching five guys doing individual concerts but they happened to be on the same stage at the same time. Whereas now we’ve got more of a curve going on and we can look at each other a bit more. There’s a bit more of a group feel to what we’re doing and we’re not concentrating so hard on getting our parts right because we play it everyday and we can look around and listen to some other people. Like a proper band.

In terms of recording, it’s building things up by layers, constantly listening and figuring out what’s too prominent and what can be tucked underneath. I know that Joe and Alexis wanted the album to be something you could listen to repeatedly and discover new things in the mix you might not have noticed on the first listening. Like there are little things that will reveal themselves as you listen more, which is quite good. I don’t think you’d get that in a normal live recording of a band. If you look at some of those songs on the computer there’s so many different tracks and different little bits coming in. It should be quite rewarding, hopefully, as a listening experience.

Q: How do you decide which sounds you’ll use. Like the xylophone, I am obsessed with xylophones.

Doyle: Oh really? It’s actually a glockenspiel that’s on the CD. But funnily enough we just played with Dennis Young, who’s the marimba player in Liquid Liquid, a seminal sort of experimental disco group – you know the White Lines by Grandmaster Flash, that’s a sample from one of their songs. You’d recognize a lot of their songs because they’re really heavily sampled for hip-hop. Young contacted us through myspace and said hey, you’re playing in New York, mind if I come and play with you? It was like, wow, this is unbelievable – he’s a real legend. He played about three songs with us on marimba. We’re a big fan of those kind of sounds although they can be overused sometimes – it’s difficult to not make them sound a bit twee. But sometimes it is just the right thing.

Whenever we’re choosing sounds it’s just whatever’s best for the song. People always go on about how we use cheap keyboards or casios. It’s not necessarily just because it’s cheap that we like it, it’s just that happens to be a sound that is nice and maybe we spend 1,500 pounds on another keyboard and use that as well. But there’s nothing to say that one’s better or worse just because how much they cost or where you got it from. It’s just a case of looking at things very objectively and deciding what would work best for the song and what sounds best. I’m sure that’s how most people go about doing this kind of music. Or I hope it is. People shouldn’t fetishize certain sounds as being the ultimate thing, like when the 303 kind of acid sounds used to be really popular, I mean it’s a really great sound and we have a 303 but it’s become this kind of thing above and beyond itself. I don’t think that’s very good when that
happens.

Q: How surprised are you by the response you’ve received in the States? I wasn’t the only one you came just to see you as openers.

Doyle: It was crazy – I think Stereolab were quite surprised as well. We’re constantly surprised by people coming to our gigs. Or how they know about us. Because the album is selling alright but it’s not flying off the shelves in the US by any means. There are a lot of people who are sharing music and there’s a lot of our tracks on blogs and stuff in the US and also there’s been quite a lot of good reviews and articles in local and national press for us. We deliberately came over (to the States) in August even though it was only going to be a very short trip – If we hadn’t played in the US as much I think people might have forgotten about us a little bit – so it was important to do that. It just sort of helped maintain the interest. I think the live shows are a big part of that. People seem to particularly enjoy some of the live versions of the songs that we do, and they’re very vocal about them. A lot of our fans seem to be very willing to talk about us and to convert other people, which is great. But otherwise I have no idea why they seem to being picked up on. I mean the songs are poppy and they’re easy to listen to. There’s nothing too difficult, we’re not trying to do anything that’s too way out. Obviously there’s some very experimental aspects to the music but we’re not deliberately trying to create any barriers. We want everything to be accessible and danceable. I think people pick up on that and hopefully get excited about that.

Q: Your nickname is Al-Doit?

Doyle: Not really, no. It was just in a press release.

Q: Do people call you that?

Doyle: No, no one calls me that. I think there was just a point where people were trying to put in nicknames. Originally I suppose what it came from was that I was the last person to join the band. It wasn’t really clear what my role was going to be. There used to be a live drummer and then Felix started playing drum machines and we didn’t have a drummer. Then maybe I was going to play drums, because I was a drummer as well, and then people were saying we need someone to play some synth as well and it became, I’ll do it – in every situation. I think that’s sort of where it came from.

Q: They were called Hot Chip when you joined?

Doyle: Yeah, Hot Chip as a music making entity has been going since, like 97 probably, when Alexis and Joe as a duo self-released some stuff in the UK. And then they had an ep out on a very small label called Victory Garden records in the South of England in 99 or something like that. The switch to a more electronic bass kind of poppy sound was only just before Coming on Strong, which was when they started to get the band together. Since we’ve become a band it’s obviously become a different entity. Hot Chip, as people know Hot Chip, has only been going for just over three years.

Q: What’s your favorite song to play live?

Doyle: New songs, I suppose, is always going to be the obvious one. We’ve got new songs in the set – one is not really a new song for us because we’ve been playing it for about seven or eight months, but it’s not released yet. There’s one particular one which is quite pacy and fast and it’s a lot of fun – you’ll probably notice when we play a new song because we’re all a bit more animated. I enjoy playing "Over and Over" because the crowd reaction that is always amazing. We play it at the end and people always seem to really go for it in that song. We get to do our real, sort of rocking out Status Quo stuff on that song. We’ve also been enjoying playing a lot of new acoustic songs. We’ve been doing some radio sessions here in the US and Europe. For those sessions it’s just me, Joe and Alexis, just a guitar, one keyboard and some percussion – very stripped down versions of the songs.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008, 03:57 PM ( 1391 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
My interview with Richard Hawley first appeared in Little Radio.
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I first saw you on a show called London Live, and they had one of those cool lights that shoots all over – I can’t think of what they’re called.

Richard Hawley: A mirror ball?

Q: Yeah.

RH: Mirror balls are great. We don’t always have them but if we do have a mirror ball – no matter who you are, whether you’re a little old lady or a hard-core punk it affects every one the same. It’s a nice light - it seems to be a true light – it’s light reflecting off all shapes of glass.

Q: You don’t use your natural accent while singing – do you ever think about singing with your accent?

RH: I don’t deliberately do anything. It just comes out the way it is – I don’t think I’ve got a particularly American accent. The songs are based, a lot of them anyway – not all of them – in my hometown, with geographical places as points of reference. But I never wanted that to be exclusive to people so that it’s so colloquial that only people who live at the end of my road can relate to it. That would be a waste of time. I grew up listening to American music, so that when you open your mouth to sing that’s what comes out. I’ve learnt from birth.

Q: You toured in strip joints when you were 14 with your dad?

RH: Some of the gigs were in strip joints.

Q: Was that kind of a dream come true?

RH: It was a fucking nightmare. I was so young I really didn’t know what was going on. My uncle Chuck played piano for my dad in the 60s. It was the early 80s and basically they couldn’t get an adult to do the gig so the only person they could get was this snotty nosed 14 year-old kid who knew all the chops. It was a trade off of him having to deal with this kid with his first time out of the country let alone out of the city. We thought a foreign holiday was a weekend in Wales. He lied to my mother, he said we’re playing really nice venues and he’s going to be looked after. We played shit hole bars and strip joints and really dodgy places. I got escorted into the gig and then at the end of it escorted out. A lot of the dodgier bars we’d be playing all night – which for me, I had the energy of a lion then – I was enjoying it, it was great. I didn’t really know – when you’re young you deal with the reality that’s presented to you. At the end of the night they’d lock me in the van and I’d sit there bored and they’d go and get shit-faced. I saw some interesting things – it only lasted over a month because it was in the school holidays. I lived off Mars bars – in American speak I lived off candy bars and Grolsch beer. I was skinny as a stick anyway. I must have lost about a stone. My Mother was in tears. I think my Dad knew that I was ready for it, he thought that if he survives this then he’s going to make it through his life. Music is not an easy profession to chose. He prepared me for what may or may not happen in the future. Looking back, as a father now, I don’t think I could do that to my kids but I don’t resent the fact that he did that. I thank him for it now because I knew from when I was really young that all I wanted to do was play music. It was a way of saying, here you go.

Q: Are your kids into music?

RH: My daughter plays guitar, she’s really good and my son’s got a little drum kit. The baby’s too young. He just dances to rock and roll. He loves Little Richard the most, but he likes Johnny Cash as well. He also loves the Sonics – his favorite is Have Love Will Travel – do you know that one?

Q: No.

RH: You should know that. Are you from Seattle?

Q: I am.

RH: You should know your own history. You have a good pedigree here. We better be good tonight.

Q: You’re a spokesperson, along with Sean Bean, of Henderson’s Relish?

RH: It’s a local condiment.

Q: They had an official Richard Hawley sauce?

RH: They did bottles in tribute to the albums, which was amazing. Local beer companies made four different beers for the albums. My Dad said you’d cracked it now, they never did that for me. It was great.

Q: Your wife and you got an allotment?

RH: You’ve been doing a lot of reading. It’s kind of a backburner now – it’s utter chaos at home right now. I’m kind of glad I’m on tour. I’m not a hippie or anything – I fucking hate hippies – love and peace are not fashion accessories, it’s a state of mind. We live in a world where everything’s prepackaged – there’s loads of crappy food. We just liked the idea of growing stuff ourselves. My dad and grandfather were gardeners – I know how to dig a hole. I’ve dug quite a few in my time - of various kinds.

Q: The video for Serious, where you have a mannequin for a girlfriend is great.

RH: It just brings a smile to people’s face.

Q: Have you seen the documentary Love Me Love My Doll?

RH: Yeah – I saw that after and it freaked me out. I couldn’t believe there were people who actually did it. I thought it was just a product of me and Shane Meadows’ (Serious’ director) warped mind, that we kind of imagined . . . what if. Are you aware of Shane Meadows?

Q: I want to see This is England.

RH: You’ve got to see it. It’s awesome. It’s his life, in Nottingham but it’s that period of time when kids were really passionate about music and music culture. It is still important now but not like it was. When I was a kid people would fight in the street because you’re into different music. It was quite serious and it got quite heavy at times. It’s basically working class factions of the music. It was important to take that seriously.

Q: What group were in?

RH: None really. I was always into a bit of rockabilly a bit of a Teddy Boy. But I also liked a lot of music that the Mods liked.

[Hawley was really open and shared some photos with me of his family. I say this honestly – it’s a lovely family.]

It’s funny because looking at these photos stops me from feeling homesick. I never used to (get homesick) but being a father you really miss home. You get back and you’re kind of in bits and they just say ‘hi Dad’. Anyway so now you know I am telling the truth. I take telling the truth very seriously. If you’re a liar and you invent stuff, your life has no meaning. The truth, however ugly, cannot help but be beautiful. Sometimes things are not so easy to face up to. I can’t tell anyone how to live their life. For me, if you’re going to grow as a person you have to face yourself and the truth. It’s quite hard. You become less of a victim then, especially for women. You become less prey to advertising and how you should be. We are not what we wear, what we own or do – those are things that just pass the time. There’s something more fundamental about a human being other than those things. I’ve been searching for that my entire life.

Q: Do you feel like you’ve found it, or bits of it?

RH: Bits of it, but not all of it. That would spoil it. I think the journey’s possibly more interesting. This trip has been great. I’ve been to Chicago before and English bands don’t always go down too well in the Mid West. They loved it. I was really surprised. I understand in New York and LA they’ve got the Anglophiles who think American culture sucks and England is some kind of magical place, which it so isn’t. I really like to communicate musically with Americans – not just the East and West Coasts.

Q: Do you think they were tuned into the rockabilly?|

RH: Possibly, but everything went down well, even the colloquial stuff, like Cole’s Corner. Cole’s Corner is just a play - the actual subject of the song is about loneliness going out on a weekend. I think it’s just something fundamental that has no geography to it – but it has a very specific geography. As a writer, as a singer, as a drunk, it’s given me a whole new perspective on the songs – the songs have taken on a whole new life.

Q: What do you like to drink?

RH: Guinness. I could drink that forever. Doesn’t touch the sides.

Q: But not mixed with anything, like Coke?

RH: What, you mean cocaine?

Q: No, soda.

RH: Hideous. Jesus Christ you must be American. Fucking hell – Guinness with soda. Guiness straight. I gave up drinking spirits a long time ago. Occasionally I will have a vodka, cause that is a demon for me. If you have a pint there’s a quantity to it. Red wine’s my nemesis. I love it.

Q: Does it make you crazy?

RH: I don’t get crazy anymore. I used to.

Q: What about Pulp. Did they get you out of a crazy phase in your life?

RH: I was crazy from being a young lad. Doing drugs and drinking was something I did anyway. It was on the estate where I was growing up – everyone did mushrooms. All the kids smoked weed – homegrown weed. The thing was then you didn’t have heroin, coke and crack. You might get a bit of speed. My perspective is I’m a 40 year-old man and I’ll never do drugs again. The only regret I have, well I’ve got loads – every human being has regrets, is – I’m with Bob Dylan, never look back. If you look back you’ll never be able to change things. I think there are things you can do in your future that can apologize for your past. I wouldn’t say that I’ve done anything really bad, although a couple of things just flashed through my mind – I’m just a travelling musician, and I was trying to have as good time as possible. Sometimes you have too much of a good time. But to get back to your original question ‘Pulp saved me’ – they reset, kind of re-calibrated the guiding system. They weren’t saints, they were all out of their minds in their own ways. That had all finished by the time I started working with them.

Q: What are the songs you’re having fun doing on this tour?

RH: I’m enjoying the new record. We toured it loads in Britain and Europe. Playing it to an American audience – our country and yours speak the same language but in actual fact we don’t. Our humors totally different, some people get it some people don’t. British people are closer to Europeans in their mentality actually. Very subtle things. But it’s been a pleasure to see the reactions from the Americans and not just people who are into British music. It’s people who are mid westerners – lots of check shirts and baseball caps, guys who just dropped in off work. I like that. I’m a steelworker’s son. My entire outlook on life is from the perspective a steelworker – a steel worker’s son should I say. I never worked in the steelworks – that would be a lie. But that kind of working class outlook – just checking it out. A lot of them didn’t even know that we played. We’ve had a lot of support from the people who booked us. Tom, the guy who ran the bar in Minneapolis, he was an angel – amazing. He worked for hard for what he does.

Q: Is this the first time you’ve been in Seattle?

RH: No, we played here a couple of years ago. Next door to where we played [turns out it was the Tractor Tavern] was this record store that had over a million records and a gramophone where you could sit down on a sofa and listen to records. It was great.


Q: I wonder if it’s still there. It might be gone.

RH: Well that’s sad. One of the things I do is shopping, hunting for records. People can distract me easily from getting a pint by saying there’s this great record store . . . The bastards only told me that this place existed twenty minutes before we were going onstage. This guy opened the shop for me and I blew like 400 bucks. Dean, our drummer, and I went to the Army Surplus store and got these satchels we can put all our vinyl in to take home.

Q: You recently made a horror movie, Flick?

RH: I am a horror movie. It’s kind of like a rockabilly spoof horror film. It was good fun.

Q: Did you get to be a killer?

RH: Oh no. I got to play a pirate DJ – he was called Bobby Blade and he was on a barge on the river in London. Originally when they asked me to do it this film was a really tiny budget film. I first got asked to do the soundtrack to it. Why don’t we meet up and go through the script because they wanted pieces of music for the characters. We got to the bit where there’s this Bobby Blade – it was like a late 30s guy with glasses and a quiff and I said – who’s playing that? And they said, actually you if you want to do it. I said I’d do it for a laugh because it was a really small part and I thought, I can probably do this. And then it all changed because a lot of money came in. So all my scenes were with Faye Dunaway – I was really nervous. It’s like diving in the deep end with lead boots on. But it was good and Faye was really gracious. I told her I’d never acted before and she said that I was a con man, that I was winding her up. There were also a couple of English actors I really respect like Mark Benton in it who was amazing. Liz Smith was in it as well who’s a classic English actress. The only hard thing about it was that I had to get really violent with Faye. I was brought up to respect women in general, very much, and having never acted before and getting your head into this space where you have to be aggressive towards a woman was something that didn’t sit right with me at all.

Q: Are you going to meet with Shane Meadows again?

RH: We’ve talked about it. There’s quite a few projects we’re gonna do. I kind of introduced him to my life and I took him in a few bars that I go in where there are regular music sessions – no rehearsals, musicans just play. It happens every night in this bar in Sheffield. He freaked. I’ve taken loads of musicians there, Jools Holland, Nancy Sinatra – I took her in there for a pint. It’s a beautiful place. We’re maybe going to make a film about that.

Q: Nancy Sinatra seems interesting.

RH: She’s great - she’s really down to earth. Whenever you work with someone you’re a fan of you always pray that they’re going to be okay. If ever anybody on the planet was going to be difficult it might have been a little difficult you might have thought it would be the daughter of Frank Sinatra, but she was the exact opposite. She was just like my big sister, we got on great. We still email and speak to each other – she’s a very special person in my life. If anybody can be that humble and gone through what she’s gone through and be who she is and still be straight in her head . . . there are people who are shopkeepers who are nuts. She’s a beautiful person. When we did the recording it was late in the year – September or something like that – I got home and then it came to Christmas time. This huge package turned up at our house – and I mean it was fucking huge – a big cardboard package. We couldn’t get it in the door. Me and my wife had to open it in the corridor. When we got it all out it was all these hat boxes that went from big to small and when you assembled them all it made a snowman for the kids. She’d made it herself – she didn’t order it from the store – it was paper mache and crepe paper. We still put it up. The kids put the tree up today, which made me really homesick. They’ve got Nancy’s snowman. Nancy had filled it with sweets. I didn’t know whether to thank her or send her the fucking Dentist’s bill. No, it was a really generous and kind gift. That displays what she’s like.
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Click here for photos I took at his show.

Sunday, December 21, 2008, 01:52 AM ( 1002 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
This interview with Sharin Foo originally appeared on Little Radio in 2007 ahead of the Raveonettes' Electric Duo Tour.
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Q: What’s happening with the Electric Duo Tour?

SF: Actually today we were going to Canada but Sune’s had his passport stolen. I don’t think we’re going to be able to go to Canada, which is really disappointing to me. Then we’re going to do our West Coast part of the tour in June, which we’re really excited about. We did our East Coast tour already and it was so much fun for us to do it this way – just the two of us, a stripped down version, to play the songs in a very minimal way.

Q: I’ve been hearing good things about the show. So Sune’s passport just disappeared?

SF: It’s vanished.

Q: That’s horrible.

SF: It is horrible. It’s very strict getting into Canada, it’s always difficult, so there’s just no way. There’s US visas and Canadian visas so we’ve been back and forth with the traffic control group and embassies. This is just a classic obstacle which happens occasionally. I was so looking forward to going to Canada and I haven’t seen Sune for a while because I’m living in Los Angeles and he’s living in New York.

Q: Have you been able to go back to Denmark at all recently?

SF: It’s been a while since I was in Denmark. I think the last time I was there was when we did a show in January. That was the last time we played with a full band with AC (Anders Christensen, bass) and Jakob (Høyer, drums). I miss Denmark. I miss my family and my friends. We’ve just confirmed a show in August – I’ll be in Denmark in the late summer.

Q: I think it was probably a couple of years ago now when you played for the Danish royalty?

S: We played for the Crown Prince when he was getting married to the Tasmanian Princess. We played a big party at the Royal Theatre and it was the first time that they had rock and roll – they have classical music there . . . ballet. It was the first time that they had really noisy, really loud rock music. It was fun – we enjoyed it.

Q: How have the Raveonettes changed? Last time I saw you here was when you opened for Depeche Mode.

SF: That was a great tour. It feels like a deconstruction time, a rebuilding. There are a lot of unknown factors. We don’t know the release time for the next album. We’re embracing it and focussing on making a really good album and connecting with the people who really enjoy our music. It’s exciting times because it’s really basic. We’re going back to the original reasons we started this band, with just me and Sune, which is really the core of the band. Then we’re building it from there. That’s really what this tour is about too, just to be the core of this band, going back to what was the original foundation.

Q: I’ve been listening to the new demos up on your myspace page and they sound great. Are you going to focus more on the new things or a mixture?

SF: We’re definitely going to play some new stuff. Actually we’re going to play a lot of rare songs, b-sides, songs we haven’t really played before live, like Sex Don’t Sell and Experiment in Black. We’re doing a couple of cover songs. On the previous tour we did some Gun Club. We haven’t really made up our minds on how we’re going to do this next tour. We might even bring some other person to play some drums or we could play with tracks as well. We just have to be creative about it.

Q: You’re going to love the Triple Door in Seattle.

SF: We’re trying to play some small intimate venues.

Q: It’s a jazz club. It’s really cool.

SF: Oh wow, that’s exciting. We’re bringing some good bands too. We have Midnight Movies for main support and then for weekends we’re bringing the Meek and also the Pity Party. Bands that we really love.

Q: Any music you’re studying right now? I know you have a background in studying some unusual music.

SF: You know, yesterday I was practicing playing drums because that’s my new thing when we go on tour. We both play upright drums. It’s really fun to play drums. I’m practicing but I don’t have a drum kit so I’ve been practicing on these pillows at home. That’s the extent of my studying at this point.

Q: That’s organic.

SF: Yes. And I’m taking guitar lessons because I feel like it’s time I really learned how to play the guitar for real, not just faking it all the way through.

Q: Did it embarrass you when Blender had you on the list of the hottest women in rock?

SF: It’s a surreal concept. I was looking at the fellow hottest girls in rock trying to see if I was in good company or bad company. Everyone from PJ Harvey to Christina Aguilera.

Q: It was an interesting group, you were in good company. I have a strange fashion question for you. You always have the perfect eye-makeup. What do you use?

SF: Thank you, a compliment. A liner, black kohl liner on the inside of the eyes always make the eyes pop when you’re on stage. I like the black smoky eyes and lots of mascara.

Q: Is there a particular brand you use?

SF: I use MAC a lot. They have good eye shadow colors. I use different mascaras – Chanel, Shu Uemura. I’m getting into playing with colors too – like really strong blues and purples.

Q: Yeah I saw some pictures from the East Coast tour and the colors looked very pretty.

SF: I’m kind of lucky because when we do shoots there are always makeup artists and they have good tips. I like it - it’s very soothing when someone is paying attention to you, doing your hair or makeup. I just learn from these people – they’re professionals you know.

Q: What’s your experience like with videos and photos? I love the photos you’ve done with Søren Solkær Starbird.

SF: We’ve been working with him even before we left Denmark. He’s from the same small town that Sune’s from, in the southern part of Denmark. We’ve always enjoyed working with him also because he’s a good friend. It’s always nice to hang around with friends and be creative, even though photo shoots are not always necessarily creative. But they can be fun. Video shoots are fun. When we did Attack of the Ghost Riders that was a very low key, do it yourself kind of video. It was another creative outlet for us. It’s tough because you have to work for like eighteen hours a day. I like the work with imagery.

Q: The Raveonettes’ videos and photos are works of art too – I am always impressed by them. So what’s been your last substantial vintage clothing purchase?

SF: It wasn’t actually clothes, it was an office desk. The last clothes purchase – I bought this really beautiful vintage dress that I really love. Like a piece of art from the seventies. It has kind of a Russian feel to it. Subtle but beautiful. It’s from a great store in New York called Family Jewels.

Q: Have you ever gotten anything back from those jerks who took your gear in Brooklyn a couple of years ago?

SF: No, nothing was retrieved. We lost everything. After struggling with the insurance company for a year we got some many back and we were able to repurchase some stuff. It was a positive thing in retrospect – what came out of it was that when you lose everything you’re forced to be creative about your sound and building it up again. Sune and I started rethinking about what do we really want, what kind of sound, what kind of pedals. . . That was the positive part of a really negative experience. But, no, we never found anything. Maybe one day. I heard that Sonic Youth got a bunch of stuff back six or seven years after they had everything stolen.


Sunday, December 14, 2008, 05:30 PM ( 22223 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
Hardy Morris, singer/guitarist/songwriter of Dead Confederate, talked with me before the band played a recent show at Chop Suey in Seattle. Dead Confederate comes from Athens, Georgia and released their first full length cd, Wrecking Ball just this year. It's a sublime cd indeed and Morris' voice is a thundering and hot living thing. Their live set was also a miracle of rock - one you'd be so lucky to experience. I wanted to know other things too but the band's breakthrough song, the Rat, compelled me to ask Morris about run-ins with actual rats.
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Q: You had a band in high school - was that fun?

Hardy Morris: Walker [Howle, guitarist] and I always played together, but I played with other folks as well. I met Brantley [Senn, bassist] in high school and he was playing with different folks. He and Jason [Scarboro], our drummer played together in a band in high school. It wasn’t until after that that we all wound up together.

Q: I was reading that you studied English.

HM: Yes, I was an English major.

Q: Yeah – what was your favorite stuff?

HM: I kind of went through different phases. I had a big poetry phase. I went through a big Brit novel phase as the classes came along. I got obsessed with Bleak House for a while. It’s nuts. And then some of the more modern classes – literature and media. It was several years ago so it was when the Internet was really crashing through and taking over. I enjoyed all parts of being an English major.

Q: I just saw the new Masterpiece Theater version of Bleak House – it was brilliant.

HM: Anything involving someone spontaneously combusting is interesting. They get in the room and he’s gone, but there’s all this gooey stuff.


Hardy Morris onstage at Chop Suey, 2008

Q: Do write all the lyrics for Dead Confederate?

HM: I write the lyrics for my songs and Brantley writes the lyrics for his songs. This album [Wrecking Ball] combined by happenstance 5 songs of mine and 5 of his. We recorded even more songs and we had other songs written.

Q: You recorded it at a set of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

HM: It was a studio in Austin. You know the band And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead? It was their old practice space. Back in the ‘70s it was a soundstage where they used to do voiceovers and overdubs for movies. They put out a lot of horror films and one of them was Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It definitely gave it an extra edge. There was a little concrete room, literally – the room we recorded in was concrete and painted black. I loved it. It was loud and everything sounded off the walls – which I think the album picks up on. It sounds pretty loud. And live.

Q: Are you into horror movies?

HM: I never got too into them. I always liked horror movies for the comedic value in them. I love Freddie Krueger and the Friday the 13th movies but as far as movies go I was always more into historical characters – the Wyatt Earp movies and Tombstone.

Q: I love that movie.

HM: Braveheart. Those movies were awesome. In this day and age, being an entertainer and you think about now being a musician or an actor or something . . . I just want people to hear my music. But part of what goes on is fame and what goes into being a musician or an actor. They do interviews and have publicity companies and people writing about them but people back then, like Jesse James or Billy the Kid, they were famous just for being themselves. There was no publicity company or US Magazine and everyone knew who they were. Their personalities were that big – it’s crazy. Could you imagine that now? You’d have to shoot a president to have that now. People may know my music – but that’s famous. That’s notoriety.

Q: Who came up with the spider symbol that's on the band's drum kit?

HM: Our friend Joel Wheat. He did the ep art, which was the spider, and the album art. The spider came from an idea he had based off Soviet propaganda art. He had a whole catalog of Soviet stuff he would use for some of our posters. We thought it was really cool. We have a collection of posters that look really cool – we need to bust some of them back out and do more of those. Once you’re on the road you have a stock poster for the whole tour, whereas when we were doing a lot more local and southeastern shows we had specific posters that looked cool. I wish we could do more of that but you can’t really do all that from a van. I’d like to get back into that.


Cover art for Dead Confederate's 2008 ep

Q: What places would you like to play?

HM: I like Seattle, it’s cool. This is our third time in the vicinity. This is our first club show in Seattle. We played at the [KEXP] Yule Benefit last year, which was just a total blessing - our first time in Seattle. Then we played Sasquatch Festival. It was cool.

Q: I was reading on the Dead Confederate blog about Conan O’Brien playing guitar.

HM: He’s good. When you’re backstage at Conan O’Brien you have your own dressing room with a television set up in there. You can watch whatever want or they also have a channel that’s the dress rehearsal. In the show they’ll do, like 5 jokes but they do 25 and then cut them. So you get to hear all the jokes. He [O’Brien] had this stratocaster strapped around his neck and he played that thing the entire time – his monologue and then he’d do interview stuff. I guess it was kind of like his stress reliever. Like that squishy ball or whatever - he had the guitar. He’s really into music. He knew the record and had us sign a vinyl copy for him.

Q: What about rats. Have you had any run-ins with rats?

HM: Actually yeah. We were in New York for CMJ last year – it was me and my brother and our booking agent. We were all out after we had played. We were all out drinking and people started to make their way back to the hotel. We decided to keep going, to go to another bar. I was really drunk and needed to go back to the hotel. So I stumbled to the place we were going next and I drank about half my drink and thought I’ve gotta go back, I’m wasted. We’d been to New York before a couple times so I thought I knew how to get back. Dawson’s like, take a cab and I was like, I’m not gonna take a cab – I know how to get back. I’m not wasting any money. So I started walking, and I cut over one street and I cut over another back street and there was a pile of trash and I’m on my cell phone trying to call the hotel to figure out where the hell I was. One rat ran between my legs and I said, shit! As soon as I said shit there were hundreds of them. I was having to run for my life. They’re all ahead of me and as soon as I saw a main road I took the first cab I saw.

Q: Were they big rats?

HM: They were big. Little cats – a bunch of kittens. Want another rat story? I didn’t actually see this – my friend did it. They had this rat in their house and they were trying to get it with these traps. It would always get the food off the trap. It was smart. One night they had been out to a bar and they got all drunk. When they got home a friend turned the light on in the kitchen and the rat’s just sitting there on the counter, looking at them . My buddy had a bow and arrow for deer hunting and the rat’s sitting there, frozen by the light. He got the bow and shot the rat – arrow all the way through it – stuck it to the wall. Killed it but then they’re like, fuck, there’s rat blood all over the counter and a dead rat stuck to their wall. [They cleaned it up] and there were these rat rags. Rat blood? You don’t want to fuck with rat blood.

Q: What’s the best thing about Athens?

HM: There’s a lot good about Athens. It’s got a killer music scene, super supportive, always something going on. Great bands – no two bands sound alike. Rare egos. There’s no competition there between the bands. There’s no traffic – you do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. There’s not a lot of jobs that pay a lot of money there – if you want to be a musician and a cook at a taco place, it’s great. If you want to try to be a banker, move to Atlanta. It’s got tons of musical history and it continues everyday.
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Dead Confederate will play several shows in Georgia and Florida through December 24th. You can also see more pix I took of their show at Chop Suey here.


Thursday, December 11, 2008, 08:34 PM ( 2738 views ) - CD Reviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
I adore Christmas music. One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Holy Night, it’s just so dramatic. I have always loved it. I listen to Christmas music at anytime of year - I always keep it on my ipod.


Hallmark/A&M Records

Sheryl Crow has released a cd of Christmas tunes called Home for Christmas and she does an amazing version of O Holy Night, as well as 8 other standards and an original song, There is a Star That Shines Tonight. I’d describe a lot of the interpretation of these songs as bluesy and jazzy. Crow has a flexible voice that goes from the sweetness of The Christmas Song and White Christmas to the sexiness of Merry Christmas, Baby with ease. I also like the delicate I’ll Be Home for Christmas, in particular the gentle guitar solo. The songs just give really good vibes. I’m impressed by the original and beautiful There is a Star That Shines Tonight too. I’ll admit it could be easy to tend towards the schmaltzy with these tunes, but Crow maintains a classy and genuine approach. She even gives Elvis Presley a run for his money on her version of Blue Christmas. You can check out Presley's version here.

Click here for a clip of Crow performing There is a Star That Shines Tonight.


Thursday, December 4, 2008, 05:16 PM ( 1461 views ) - Interviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
Seattle's Blood Red Dancers sat down with me at the Comet before a recent show. The band, comprised of Aaron Poppick (lead singer, bass) Kevin R. Lord (drums & vocals) and Julian Thomas (keys& vocals), released an ep recently called Let Him Fight, I'll Be in the Breadline. It's one of the best releases of this year. I found these guys to be engaging offstage. Onstage they are still engaging but alarming in their intensity.
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Q: Who came up with the name Blood Red Dancers?

Aaaron Poppick: I did. I’d heard a story about Aborigines – I think it’s a custom for more than one tribe in Australia – when they’d kill their enemies they would bathe in their blood and do war dances.

Kevin R. Lord: At least that’s the rumor.

AP: Some of the tribes still perform the dance, but they don’t use blood anymore – they use rocks and shards.

KRL: It’s supposed to resemble blood.

AP: We just liked the imagery.

Q: I like it. . . are you all originally from Seattle?

AP: We’re all from California. Julian’s originally from England – I’ll let him tell that. We met in California and we moved up here at different times. We’ve all known each other since we were very young.

Q: Julian, where in England did you grow up?

Julian Thomas: Redditch, it’s near the Midlands. It’s famous for fishhooks.


Julian Thomas

Q: How did you learn to play music?

AP: Julian and I had been in a punk band since we were 14. Julian originally played guitar but then he started taking classical piano lessons when he was 15.

JT: 17.

AP: Kevin doesn’t know how to play the drums.

KRL: I have no idea how to play drums.

Q: You’re self-taught.

KRL: I just figured it out a year ago. I generally like hitting things with sticks.

AP: He’d never played drums and it just came naturally. We’ve been playing for 10 years and he knows how to keep up with us. I don’t know how it works.

KRL: I took one lesson a couple months ago with the drummer of Diminished Men. He’s amazing.


Kevin R. Lord

Q: Who writes the music and lyrics?

AP: I write the structure and then we all write the music. I mostly write all the lyrics and then I write a bass structure. Julian writes the meat of the music.

Q: Are you doing more recording?

AP: Hopefully in 2009. We’re writing this winter. I think we’re going to try to get back in the studio late spring/early summer.

Q: Good. . . what do you think has influenced you?

AP: War.

KRL: Not the band.

AP: You know when you watch the History Channel and you see all the tanks driving over the skulls and stuff?

KRL: We just think that’s kind of typical.

AP: Pharmaceutical commercials. Moral decay. The decline of society. Recently Kevin paid a guy $120 to move his mattress out of our apartment. You can’t just leave a mattress out on the road anymore – people look down on it. $120 dollars in some countries can feed a whole family.

KRL: I couldn’t even get rid of a nice comfortable bed.

AP: We just like dark, cynical imagery. Shit that makes people uncomfortable. We really like Swans, the band, their attitude.


Aaron Poppick

KRL: There’s enough dark imagery on the news every night to write songs for the rest of my life.

Q: How did you decide not to have a guitarist in the band?

JT: When we first started I was on guitar, keyboards and occasional singing. The songs I ended up liking the most were the ones with him [Poppick] singing, him [Lord] on drums and me on keyboards.

KRL: He’s a lot better as a pianist than he is as a guitarist. I mean, you’re a good guitarist, but he shines on piano.

Q: The ep stunned me. Do you feel like you’ve created something different from what other people are doing?

AP: We’re very much trying.

KRL: We want to mix our influences. If something sounds too much like a jazz song or too much like a blues song we’ll mix it up.

Q: The pix of you taken by Mary Henlin . . . those are great. Who’s the girl with the rabbit head?

KRL: His [Thomas’] girlfriend. We rented that hotel room and got so fucked up and she was sober. We stayed up all night and we look completely gone. We look like scumbag freaks, which is what we were going for. Mary’s good.
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You can see more photos I took of their show at the Comet here.

Blood Red Dancers next play the Bit Saloon in Ballard on February 21, 2009.



Friday, November 21, 2008, 05:21 PM ( 3128 views ) - CD Reviews - Posted by dagmarsieglinde
It’s about time there was a really awesome Hanukkah cd to gather traditional and new songs and, yes, I have to make a terrible dreidel pun – put a new spin on them. And who is the person to do this? None other than Erran Baron Cohen (brother of Sacha and composer of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan). Baron Cohen brings an eclectic and yet entirely suitable group of artists to his compilation, Songs in the Key of Hanukkah.



From Israeli artists Yasmin Levy, Idan Raichel and Avivit Caspi to New York’s Y-Love to Jules Brookes, not one of the performances falls short. Hanukkah oh Hanukkah starts the cd off with a bit of rap flavor from Y-Love – and he raps his part in Yiddish. Dreidel, one of my very favorites (who couldn’t love this song?) is again updated with a more, shall I say urban nuance to it. The Ladino song Ocho Kandalikas gets a jazzy treatment, including the sultry vocals of Yasmin Levy. Original song Spin It Up has some beautiful trumpet playing from Baron Cohen and it’s just all around fun. Jules Brookes appears again on Look To The Light, a positive and very happy piece that’s actually inspiring. Another favorite of mine is Relics of Love and Light, featuring a gorgeous combination of vocals from Levy, Raichel and Caspi.

The cd wraps up with My Hanukkah (Keep the Fire Alive) and Ma’oz Tzur. My Hanukkah is nearly all Y-Love with some nice backing vocals by Israeli/British singer Dana Kerstein. Y-Love exhorts us to defend the tradition and then I think this is done in the end with Dana Kerstein’s performance of Ma’oz Tzur. I’m perhaps biased because I am a big fan of holiday music and yet I think this cd has great crossover appeal.
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Watch the brilliant video for Dreidel here.


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