28
Jul

Time ago I wrote a piece about the band Tropical Fish Invasion on the blog. I really liked the few songs I have heard, and always wondered if their flexi that I own was missing a sleeve. There were many questions and this band remained very mysterious to me. Happily Cat got in touch and was very kind to answer all my questions about his band in the late 80s, early 90s. Here is the interview, hope you enjoy it!

++ Thanks so much Cat for getting in touch and being up for the interview! I know so little from the band, so let’s start! I had the idea the band hailed from Derby, but you are based now in Nottingham, right? Where was the band from?

The band was mainly based out of Derby but we did all move to Nottingham in 1991

++ When did the band start? Who were the members and how did you all know each other?

The original band (The Pink Sugar Cube Boogies) formed in 1985/1986. The driving force behind it was Matty Pearson – a larger than life character who once went to a ladies hairdressers in Heanor and asked for a ‘monk cut’ – which was literally having a bald patch shaved into the top of his head to look like a Benedictine Monk because he thought it would be a good look for a party we were attending that night. I was mightily impressed by this rather committed fashion gesture and soon became his disciple!

We were all students at South East Derbyshire College and met in the canteen, we started hanging out and playing music together. the original line up was Matty P, Paul Kleesmaa, Gary Kempley, Allan MacDonald and myself. The college ran a music course which at the time seemed rather boring to us, lots of jazz, rock and more traditional stuff. At the Christmas concert we were given a slot and dressed in 60’s beatnik paraphernalia, smoking jackets and cravats we played a couple of songs (quite badly I may add). This sorry affair led to the music course leader saying we were worse than the ‘Sexy Guns’. We assumed he was actually referring to the Sex Pistols!

++ Have you been involved in bands before?

This was my first official band but I’d always been drawn to performing from a young age. At the age of 5 my teacher used to make me stand up in front of the class and sing to everyone. I used to love it and never felt shy or embarrassed. I also sang in a couple of choirs at school but The Pink Sugar Cube Boogies opened up a new world to me and writing songs with my best friends was the best thing in the world.

++ Where does the band name come from? It’s such a good name!

After leaving college we decided to get serious with band and renamed it Mr Cinzano and Tropical Fish Invasion and moved to Nottingham (we eventually dropped the Mr Cinzano – I can’t remember why). The name was inspired by our love of Tropical fish, the beautiful colours and what they represented, freedom to move in beautiful waters in some of the finest locations of the world.  I guess it brought a bit of glamour and relief to intercity living at the peak of Thatcher’s reign over the UK. We eventually moved to Derby where we developed a really good following.

++ And I have to ask, even if it’s a bit silly, did any of you had pet fish?

I used to have a goldfish which I won at Heanor fair! It died and we flushed it down the toilet.

++ What sort of music were you listening at the time? Who would you say were influences for the Tropical Fish Invasion?

Our influences were wide: 60’s psychedelia, Frank Sinatra (Witchcraft) Dean Martin, James Brown, Sliced Tomatoes by Terry, Divine, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Hendrix, early B52s, Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, Nick Drake, Ella Fitzgerald

++ Were there any like-minded bands in your area that you were into?

There were some great bands that we were fortunate to play with, these include The Moonflowers (supported twice) and The Frauds (from Leicester)

++ There’s this flexi with the song “La Di Da”. Was it self-released? Did it have a proper picture sleeve?

Yes the flexi was self-released on our own ‘Octypurple’ label. We had 1000 singles pressed and I probably have a few hundred left in my garage somewhere. We never created a proper picture sleeve as we didn’t have enough money. I think I may have funded the whole thing myself!

++ I love this song, so I wonder if you could tell me the story behind it?

The song has a simple message about positivity and how to remain positive when things take a turn for the worse – just take a look around (take stock of everything and find the positives) . It’s also about love and friendship – you might have material wealth or nice things but what’s the point if you don’t have any friends or loved ones to hang out with.

++ The catalog number was OCTY 6-5000. Does that have any meaning?

The 6-5000 part comes from a song of ours called Aquamarinaland – this was our own sub-aquatic/tropical fish reworking of Glen Miller’s 1940 classic Pennsylvania 6-500. In 2001 Aquamarinaland made another but very different appearance on a collaboration with Nottingham outfit Schmoov! on their Album ‘While You Wait’. On this very chilled out track I sing of the regret of losing a loved one in a very tongue in cheek style

++ The other song I know from you is also great, “Ring a Ding”, that was on the “Seahorses” tape compilation. Do you remember how you ended in there?

Ring-a -ding is one of my favourites and was a homage to Frank Sinatra. I can’t remember how exactly we got onto that compilation but at the time there were many talented and dedicated people travelling to gigs, writing reviews and creating fanzines and putting compilations together.  We would have met at a gig, had a few drinks and passed on a tape to them.

++ You were telling me that you recorded many more songs. Do you remember how many demo tapes you released?

We probably recorded 4 demo cassettes and the flexi-single on Octypurple records. We also had a few videos but these have been lost unfortunately – or over recorded by our bass player who was the last person to have the video!

++ And from all your repertoire, which one was your favourite song?

My favourite changes all the time, at the moment it’s Ring-a-Ding.

++ What about gigs? Did you play live a lot? Any favourite or not too favourite gigs that you remember?

We used to play a lot – at least once a week at our peak. As an established band in Derby we got lots of support slots at the Dial, The Lord Nelson, The Old Bell and the famous Rock City in Nottingham. We played with Crazy Head (which wasn’t a well suited gig in terms of the music we played, and some of their fans looked bewildered at best and ready to kill us at worst!) We also supported 1000 Yard Stare, The Moonflowers, Five Thirty, Spacemen 3, and a few more that I’ve totally forgotten!!
My favourite gig was in the Dial back in December 1990 (I think!). The place was absolutely packed and everyone was in the zone so there was lots of dancing, sweating and the atmosphere was electric. I have some really fond memories of that night and it felt like we had ‘made it’.

 

++ During the late 80s, early 90s, there were a lot of guitar pop bands in the UK. Was wondering if you ever felt part of a scene there?

There was definitely the feeling of being part of a scene and we used to have people travelling from afar to see us and often crashing with us. This helped us build a network of fans and get to know other bands and travel up to Manchester or down to London to see them.

++ What about press? Did you get coverage? Radio? What about fanzines?

We got loads of coverage in the local press, Derby Evening Telegraph and the Nottingham Evening Post. We also appeared on local TV as part of a World Aids Day event and some local radio too. Our main exposure was through fanzines. I can’t remember all of them but I do have copies of:
Share The Modern World With Me
A Nice Piece of Parkin
Sperm Wail
Red Roses for Me

++ And then when and why did the band split? What did you guys do after?

I guess we split due to the usual and predictable differences there can happen within a band – getting on each others nerves, girlfriend trouble, changes in personal goals. From my point of view we had gone far enough and I felt a bit disillusioned – we’d been let down too many times by A&R people saying thay would come to our gigs that never did, even after all the trouble we’d gone to in terms of getting a bus load of people to come and see us in London etc. The house party scene was also taking off and it most of us got heavily involved in that so it seemed a good idea to have a break. I do wonder what might have happened if we had persevered a bit longer.

++ Are you all still in touch? Are you still making music today?

Not properly just through Facebook and through mutual friends. Amazing really because at the time we thought we would be friends for ever but people grow up and have our own families and there just isn’t enough time.
Yes I am still involved in music today.  After the band split I took a short break and started playing at parties and venues in Nottingham as a DJ. On the day of a gig, my headphones weren’t working so I went to the flat next door to borrow some from a good friend. He was rehearsing with a band for a jazz gig and the song they were playing was Witchcraft. I knew the words, I grew up with this song (and it felt a bit like fate I suppose). I sang along, it sounded great and ever since then I’ve been singing Jazz (mainly Rat Pack stuff) and Latin and have played at weddings, private parties, local bars, restaurants, film launches, festivals – we even played at Glastonbury Festival twice as part of Lost Vagueness collective. I would say gig wise I’ve played in more venues and locations than when with the Tropical Fish (including a friend’s wedding in New York).
My kids are also musical and I encourage them to play and sing. I song to them overnight and we often have ‘jam sessions’ which are a great way for the kids to express themselves and have fun. My daughter (now 7 years old) was selected to represent the UK in Monaco, France to play a composition she wrote when she was only 6! As you can imagine I am extremely proud of her achievements and that the musical tradition will continue through my kids.

++ Looking back, what would you say are your happiest memories, the highlight of being in the Tropical Fish Invasion?

My happiness memories of a time when only music mattered – whether it was writing songs, rehearsing, performing – the whole creative process. Having this process validated through positive audience reactions and getting approached by young ladies was also a very positive outcome!

++  Let’s wrap it here, but before we go, why don’t you tell us about Nottingham a bit. If one was to visit, what are the sights or the places one shouldn’t miss?

Notingham is a great city. It’s the home of Robin Hood, Paul Smith clothes and Raleigh bikes. There’s plenty to do here like drink in the oldest Inn in England, visit the Castle, come and see me sing at the Pelican Club!

++ Thanks again so much Cat! Anything else you’d like to add?

No –  I think that’s covered it all. Good to talk with you Roque and thanks for keeping the memory of the Tropical Fish alive!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Tropical Fish Invasion – La Di Da

25
Jul

This coming weekend there’s Indietracks. It’s the last week of July and a very big crowd of indiepop fans will gather together in Derbyshire. Last week posts earned me a tweet from PO!, from Ruth Miller, I was very happy, such a fan I am. She even said she’d love to come to NYC. I hope she does. That would be amazing really.

Who did come to NYC was Jessel this past weekend. I saw him for just a little, he was in a family trip really. But he was very kind to give me the Final Diners 7″. Such a great record that you can only wonder why the hell “Your Island” wasn’t included in the Sharon Signs to Cherry Red compilation. So unfair! The record I got is missing the sleeve though, so I ask everyone out there that if they have an extra sleeve of this record, please let me know!

I saw on Instagram that Botanic Garden #2, the Chinese indiepop fanzine, is ready. It is not available though to buy from their website yet. One of the blog posts of mine has been translated and included in it. I got #1 and it was really ace, well presented, and it didn’t matter me not understanding Chinese.

What I did buy already is a Japanese fanzine called “Everything Reminds Us of Something Fantastic”. It’s promoted as a Neo-Acoustic zine and was put together by Hiroyuki Miyata. It seems to be printed in full colour and includes the 24 most important indiepop people, I guess a review of 361 bands, 243 artists, 28 producers. It doesn’t say how many pages were included but only 100 copies were printed. There is more information and also instructions on how to order on this website. I’m very much looking forward to receiving this. Looks like something done with lots of love!

And last but not least, the marvelous London band The Fireworks have a new video out for the song “All the Time“. Very cool to see Emma, Matthew, Isabel and Shaun dressed up in Halloween style and acting! I especially love Matthew’s wig and costume haha. It’s really awesome. I should be getting the 10” that includes this cracking song soon. It’s available from Shelflife Records and it’s called “Black and Blue”. It’s a must have!

———————————————————-

Last week I had all the intentions to recommend Rex and Dino as you remember, but it needed to make sense. That’s why I started introducing you Empty Shell, the band that came before Rex and Dino. Today I’ll dig and try to find more about this Irish band!

From last week post, this paragraph is relevant:
In 1987 Dermot Lambert and Ellen Leahy would start a new band, Rex & Dino, but that is another story. Even later Lambert would form Blink, his longest running band (1991-2007) and release a bunch of records with a sound that reminds us of the Madchester era. These days he seems to be making music solo.

We do know that in 1989 they released the first 7″ on the Danceline Records label (catalog DLS 001). A favourite band of mine, The Would Be’s also released on this label. This 7″ by Rex and Dino included two songs, “Busy Sleeping” on the A side and “Trouble With You” on the B side. I have only heard the first song and it’s really ace. Hoping someone out there can help me with the B side! Also if someone has a spare of this record, let me know!

“Busy Sleeping” was produced in Ropewalk Studios in Dublin by Paul Murphy and Barry Grace, engineered by Catherine Considine and Louise McCormack. The B side was produced in Elektra Studios, Dublin, by Rex and Dino and engineered by Larry O’Toole.

Credits for this record include:
Dermot Lambert – vocals
Ellen Leahy – keyboards
Brian McLoughlin – bass
Dave Thomas – drums

Lambert and Leahy as we said were together in Empty Shell. Lambert and McLoughlin will later be part of Blink.

Discogs also lists a compilation appearance by the band. It was on a LP compilation titled “Snap Shots” released by Snap (catalog SN 901) in 1987 in Ireland. They contribute two songs, “The Cat Gets Out” that appears as A3, and “This Time, Next Time” that opens the B side. Other bands in this compilation are Missing Link, Ott, Brainchild, The Pink Hurts, A Splash of Red and The Soft Music Company. I’m not really familiar with any of them.

Then I land on the Irish Rock website. There we learn that the band was around from 1987 to 1989. Most importantly we learn that they released another 7″ prior to “Busy Sleeping”. “Someone There to Love” on the A side and “Same Way Too” on the B side came out in 1988 on the Solid label (ROK 715). This label had released Irish indiepop classics from Guernica and Cypress, Mine! among others. The producer for both songs was Emmett O’Reilly, they were engineered by Pat Dunne and Larry O’Toole and the sleeve was designed by Arthur Mathews. There’s some text on the back cover that I assume is part of the lyrics of one of the songs (?). It says “Wavy day on the Aegean Sea / on the Coast and all along the Beach”. It also seems that the band at this point was managed by Ankle Promotions from Dublin.

Then in 1989 they appear on a compilation released by Danceline called “Nationwide 3” (DLS 1004). On Irish Rock they say it’s an LP compilation but the sleeve looks like a tape really. Rex & Dino contribute two songs, “Bed of Nails” and “Fire”. One in each side.

In total then we have 8 songs released by the band. So far I’ve heard the one and I think is great. Did they record more songs? Why did they split? Where did they gig? So many questions arise.

I found some information about one of their managers, Aiden Lambert. He was brother of Dermot. Seems he passed away last year. You can read more about it here.

And this is where I stop digging. Not much more information online about this band. Definitely there’s a lot more about the band that Dermot Lambert would be involved later, Blink, but there’s a struggle finding stuff about Rex and Dino and Empty Shell. Perhaps some of you remember them and can shed some more light. Use that comments section!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Rex and Dino – Busy Sleeping

18
Jul

Yet another week with very little news for indiepop. I know that Indietracks is around the corner but I’m not going. There must be some new releases coming out (aside from the new Starry Eyed Cadet album that I’m so looking forward), but I don’t think I know about them. In the last week I ordered the new Helen Love and the C87 compilation. I have yet to listen to them. I’ve been listening to much older stuff, catching up with the piles of CDs that I have by my computer, finally about to finish listen the Lush and the Creation Records box sets. I’ve taken a while to do so.

Haven’t bought many vinyl records either in the past weeks. I think I got some stuff from France the last time, I ordered a couple of 12″s. Blammo! and something else. It’s been a while then! Maybe I should check out any cheap finds on Discogs or eBay. I haven’t been hunting records much lately.

I’ve been playing Pokémon Go since it came out though it servers suck. I’m a Pokémon fan as many of you might now and I’m having a good fun with this new game. I do see people go out in big groups to play together. I do it alone. I don’t enjoy much playing any games with random people unless they are competitive I guess. It’s odd when I walk by the park with my phone and people just ask me Pokémon related questions. I don’t really like that. Also I signed in with the Trainer Club account and as the servers are always down, Google people have had the advantage and now have all the gyms filled with powerful critters. Oh well…

I got some photos from the pressing plant for the new Stephen’s Shore 7″ and they look really ace. It’s only a couple of weeks for release date. I will get on writing and printing the inserts soon. I’m a little behind on that. Also I’ve received a semi-finished artwork for The Seashells 7″ and looks really classy. I can’t wait to start promoting their songs!

I guess all of you are looking forward to Indietracks. I’m only jealous of missing Po!. What a band. I love them. I wonder which songs will Ruth Miller play. Will she have a full band? I hope people record her gig and post the videos on Youtube. She is playing at the same time as my friends of Flowers and also while the movie of Indietracks is going to be screened. I know Flowers would understand if you go see this legend of indiepop. The movie you can catch on Sunday as it will be screened again then just after Red Sleeping Beauty (who I’m jealous of you seeing them, but I feel there are bigger chances for them to come to NYC than Po!).

While I was at that, checking the schedule and all that, I was looking at the discos and workshops. You know I never attended to any workshops in all of my visits to Indietracks. I wonder why. Must be that I prefer checking out bands or hanging with friends. I assume some of these workshops must be fun. I see this year they have quizzes, printing lessons, portraits, tea making, poetry, and more. Niall from Spook School is even doing life coaching for all of those who need that sort of thing. That could be fun.

The discos on the other hand don’t add much to the festival I think. Same old story, DJs that love going to an indiepop festival to play anything but indiepop. I hope this year is different though, it’s the 10th anniversary, so I hope they show some respect for a festival that, even with their mistakes and successes, has been carrying the indiepop flag with pride.

Well, that was more of a rambling than a proper post. As I said not many news in indiepopland as far as I know, but I’m hoping things start changing soon. Summers are usually slow, the heat slows us all, it’s ok. But things should be getting more exciting anyways in Cloudberry HQ with new releases in the coming months. And I know too that I have to get on writing a new fanzine. I’ve been putting that off for too long!

—————————————————————

I was planning to do a post about Rex & Dino, the band that came after Empty Shell, but I thought that to get the story straight I should start from the beginning.

I have doubts about when was that I heard first Empty Shell’s  “If Heavens Waiting”. It was either on the Shelflife blog or downloading from Soulseek one of those “future Leamington Spa folders” that some indiepop fanatics had with a bunch of not so known pop gems. Either way the song struck on me and so I wonder why I never tried finding out more about them.

They released only one record as far as I know and as far as I could find on the web. It was a 7″ released in 1986 on their own label also called Empty Shell (catalog SHELL001). The A side was the brilliant, romantic, and classy “If Heavens Waiting” compared by Ed from Shelflife to The Wild Swans and The Railway Children, while the B side was called “Theme”. As I don’t own this record (I wish I did of course), I have never head the B side. I wonder what it sounds like even if Ed from Shelflife says that it sounds like an 80s goth song.

The band hailed from Dublin and was formed by:
Dermot Lambert – vocals, guitar
Neil Tyrrell – bass
Ellen Leahy – vocals and keyboards
Richard O’Connor – drums

About gigs, I could only find one mentioned online, at the Roundstown Town Hall in Galway. I’m sure they played many more.

Another interesting fact is that Empty Shell recorded a Fanning Session in January of 1985 with Declan Farrell on vocals. Even the great Fanning Sessions blog hasn’t posted these tracks. They remain a mystery.

In 1987 Dermot Lambert and Ellen Leahy would start a new band, Rex & Dino, but that is another story. Even later Lambert would form Blink, his longest running band (1991-2007) and release a bunch of records with a sound that reminds us of the Madchester era. These days he seems to be making music solo.

Next week I’ll get onto the Rex & Dino story and releases, but for now let’s enjoy this cracking tune and try to find out all the answers to the many questions we have about Empty Shell. Was this the first band Lambert was on? Where else did they play gigs? Did they ever play in Great Britain? Did they record more songs? More releases? Any compilation appearances? What songs were recorded for the Fanning Sessions? And so on!

Do you remember them?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Emtpy Shell – If Heavens Waiting

11
Jul

No news this week in indiepop world. It has become very quiet. I was hoping to review something, recommend some records, or check out some new bands. I guess everyone is playing Pokémon Go at the moment and no one is caring about music. Hopefully next week there will be enough stuff to cover.

In the meantime I’m sharing an interview I did for the Chaotisch und Charmant blog back in 2011, around the same time as now, in July. I really liked answering the questions Felipe wrote for me and was especially surprised the interest from far away Brazil. I’m surprised how many things have changed since then, like for example when I say there were many good places to distribute music. Today they barely exist.  I still haven’t made that transition to the ipod though. Feeling proud about that.

01. Tell us a bit about yourself and your relation with music.

Music is a central part of my life. I can’t imagine a day without music. I carry my portable cd-player everywhere. I still haven’t made the transition to an ipod. I still buy CDs that’s why. And I still buy records. Lots. I love collecting records. Most of the stuff I have is indiepop, I like some other stuff too but I feel that my money better go to what I love the most. I’m based in Miami Beach, close to the beach. It’s usually sunny here and way too warm. Half the time I speak Spanish. Lately after work I like to get key lime sorbets on the way
home. It’s refreshing.

02. How, when and why did you decided to create Cloudberry Records? And why name it Cloudberry?

Cloudberry officially started on February 1st 2007. But of course I had started working on the label before, since December 2006. I had just put out a tape called C-06 to celebrate 20 years since C-86 and it went really welll. I did a very small run though, 75 copies. I should have done many more I think. Looking back at the bands that were included, it probably would be considered influential and a classic, no kidding. Anyhow, that was the spark that made me start Cloudberry. I learned a lot from that release and made contact with some great up and coming bands. Then, you know just like the cartoons, a lightbulb popped up over my head, and thought that for a small investment, for a small label, the idea of using 3″ CDs as a format for singles hadn’t been done in a successful way yet. Some labels had done it before, but I feel they didn’t explore all the possibilities, and that’s why at the moment I did it, many people felt this was something very new, and in some cases, revolutionary. But it was just a lot of research. I am a designer, and so, this was quite an exciting part, creating the package design, the look of the label, logo, etc. I feel in Cloudberry I have let loose many ideas I have had even though it seems there is a very straight line in the overall design of the label.
About the why?, well, it is true that I was involved with another label at the moment (Plastilina) but I had time, I had the drive, and the passion for indiepop. Also at that specific moment, I remember every band was setting up a Myspace, which made it easier to find bands. It was really an exciting time! But with so much quantity I felt a filter was needed. I thought Cloudberry could be a filter. There was so much music available all of a sudden, but where to start? My reasons for creating Cloudberry are many, but I think the most important ones are to work in a way that doesn’t follow any capitalist model and to help build a stronger indiepop community. To some extent, I humbly believe these things have been achieved.

03. What is the infrastructure of the label? Are you the only person running it? How much of your time it takes to do Cloudberry related stuff (like listening to bands, taking care of the making of the releases…)

Yes, it’s just me. Still a bedroom affair, even though the record boxes have started to pile on the living room! The setup is probably what you imagine, a computer, a scanner, printer, lots of blank CDs and DVDs, a cutter, scissors, glue, etc. I’m thinking “Cloudberry” 24/7 but the amount of work varies each day. I do have a regular job and that takes most of my day time. There’s always something to do concerning Cloudberry though, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much, but always something.

04. The variety of artists and music being released through the label is very diverse. How do you choose the artists? Can you say what is the ‘Cloudberry musical aesthetic (if there’s any)?

It’s a very personal label. At least that’s my intention. The only requirement then for me to choose an artist is to like them and feel they fit fine with the musical aesthetics. What is the musical aesthetics? Well definitely I like electric guitars to start. I avoid ukuleles and toy instruments usually. I like 80s sounds, classic indiepop. I like seeing some influence of that on the bands I release. I like fragility in the songs but at the same time I like a lot of edge. I think you can be both. In the best cases, the bands know what indiepop is and know it’s history. That makes it easier. I like bands to believe in indiepop and feel indiepop. I don’t like bands that happen to do indiepop by mistake. I think that’s where the aesthetics kick in, all these bands I’ve released are indiepop at heart. I agree with you when you say that the music is diverse within the releases, most people don’t seem to see that, blinded because the aesthetics are very similar between bands.

05. Inside Cloudberry’s website you have a blog where you interview bands from the past (which I think it’s an awesome idea). Everytime I read an interview, I can’t stop thinking about how do you get to find the people you interview… could you talk about how this interviews happen? In your opinion, what are the most underrated bands from them past 20 years?

Thanks. A lot of these people I find by googling their names! Some also get in touch with me after I’ve written a blog post asking for anyone in the band to get in touch. Other times by recommendations, and some other times I just interview friends to happen to be involved with music years ago. There’s not much to them, I do some research and then I email the band a bunch of questions. Sometimes they answer me, sometimes they dont. I’d say I have only published half of the interviews I’ve done. The rest are still unanswered. It’s a lot of fun for me to learn the story behind the band, especially if I own their records, it makes it more special. Most underrated bands from the past 20 years? Well, McCarthy should have been greater than The Beatles. Friends should have been greater than The Beach Boys. TCR from Spain should have been bigger than Julio Iglesias. And This Poison! should have at least been bigger than
N’Sync.

06. What do you plan for the future of the label?

Very soon I’ll have the Very Truly Yours 7″ out and a new fanzine. After that a Youngfuck 7″ is already confirmed. I have many other releases on the pipeline too. That’s the future, just more releases. I dream at some point to see some sort of small Cloudberry festival, that’d be sweet.

07. Give your insights on music distribution nowadays. Is it financially viable to run a record label nowadays?

Sure it is if you release some mainstream stuff :p But I guess you mean a small indiepop label? Then I’d say no. But it’s fun and worth it. I recommend it doing. If you break even consider yourself lucky. Music distribution is a bit better than some years ago, there are more stores carrying indiepop records. Funny thing is that I feel there are less people buying records. I don’t know about MP3s, I don’t do digital distribution. I think that’s wrong for a label to do, if anyone was going to sell MP3s, it should be the band. What involvement did a label had on making an MP3? Nothing! I feel that part of the music distribution process should be fixed.

08. A word of advice for people wanting to create their own label?

Be a boutique label. Don’t aim to be the next Cherry Red with all it’s sub-labels. Stick to a genre you love with passion. If you love “everything” don’t do it. You have to be passionate of something in particular, so you can focus. If not you’ll hit yourself with a wall all the time. A label’s job is to be a filter especially now that everyone can have access to any song anywhere at anytime. You don’t want to confuse people more. Oh! and have fun!

09. Show us a video you think it’s awesome.

The Wedding Present’s Brassneck video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWZkTEGPG8Y I’ll let the video speak for itself. The quality of the upload is not the best, but you get the idea.

10. Any band(s) you think the whole world should know?

Not really. I think that’d be bad for the bands. I don’t think nothing good comes when pleasing such a huge crowd, the whole world. You try too hard and it’s dishonest.

11. Anything else you feel like saying?

Muito obrigado Felipe, it’s nice to answer some interesting questions and not the same ones over and over every time I do an interview. It’s been a pleasure. 🙂

————————————————————

Like many I heard The Calloways for the first time thanks to the “A Sandwich and a Sweater” tape rip that used to be easy to find on indiepop channels on Soulseek. The song included in this 1996 fan-made tape was “Kalamazoo” and I thought at the time (and I still do today) that it was great, perfectly catchy. The only thing I know about this mysterious tape was that it was made by Keith D’Arcy, a long-time listee on Twee.net. Not sure how many copies were made, or if it was sold or was it just part of a tape exchange. I wasn’t around on the indiepop-list in the mid 90s!

I was lucky to find The Calloways 7″ soon as I started building my record collection. It must have been one of the first vinyl records I ever bought through eBay. I remember not paying much, and I can see it is still not an expensive record to get. So I recommend you to do that. The record included two songs, the aforementioned “Kalamazoo” on the A side and “Big Trees” on the B side.

Kalamazoo is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. Kalamazoo is located geographically in Western and Southern Michigan. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a total population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Originally known as Bronson (after founder Titus Bronson) in the township of Arcadia, the names of both the city and the township were changed to “Kalamazoo” in 1836 and 1837, respectively. The Kalamazoo name comes from a Potawatomi word, first found in a British report in 1772. However, the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the modern city of Kalamazoo, was located on the route between Detroit and Fort Saint-Joseph (nowadays Niles, Michigan). French-Canadian traders, missionaries, and military personnel were quite familiar with this area during the French era and thereafter. The name for the Kalamazoo River was then known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso. The name “Kikanamaso” was also recorded by Father Pierre Potier, a Jesuit missionary for the Huron-Wendats at the Assumption mission (south shore of Detroit), while en route to Fort Saint-Joseph during the fall of 1760. Legend has it that “Ki-ka-ma-sung,” meaning “boiling water,” referring to a footrace held each fall by local Native Americans, who had to run to the river and back before the pot boiled. Still another theory is that it means “the mirage or reflecting river.” Another legend is that the image of “boiling water” referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown. The name was also given to the river that flows almost all the way across the state. The name Kalamazoo, which sounds unusual to English-speaking ears, has become a metonym for exotic places, as in the phrase “from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo.” Today, T-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the phrase “Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo.”

The record came out in 1984 on the Wonderful World of Records label (catalog WW1) and the artwork was done by Jenny Lupton. The engineer for the record was Jimmy Anderson at Hart St. Studios, Edinburgh and the producer was Jo Callis. I think Jenny Lupton is now a renowned equestrian and sporting portrait artist, I found this website and there’s the coincidence that she hails from Scotland. I’m pretty sure the band came from Edinburgh as everything is hinting me so.

Now Jo Callis. That is a much more known name. John William “Jo” Callis (born 2 May 1951) is an English musician and songwriter who played guitar with the Edinburgh based punk rock band, The Rezillos (under the name Luke Warm), and post-punk band Boots For Dancing before joining The Human League. Callis was educated at the Edinburgh College of Art. The band played many gigs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, during which Callis wore space suits and other hi-tech costumes. He was a member of The Knutsford Dominators before forming The Rezillos in 1976. He wrote the Rezillos’ 1978 hit “Top of the Pops”. In late 1978, after the release of the band’s only album, The Rezillos split in two, with Callis forming Shake along with Simon Templar (born Simon Bloomfield) and Angel Paterson. Shake released two singles before splitting, with Callis later joining Boots for Dancing. Callis released a solo single, “Woah Yeah!”, in 1981 on the pop:Aural label,[2] and also joined The Human League, playing both keyboards and lead guitar and making contributions as a backing vocalist. Callis co-wrote many tracks and following his departure from the band in 1986, he has returned several times either to play keyboard, or to offer help with songwriting. He co-wrote the band’s 1990 hit Heart Like a Wheel together with former Rezillos band mate Eugene Reynolds. The track was produced by Martin Rushent. In 1985 he teamed up with Feargal Sharkey to write Sharkey’s “Loving You” which reached number 26 in the UK Singles Chart.

Now, we know more about the people around The Calloways, but what about the band itself? We really know very little. We know their last names as they are listed on the labels: Gould, Mckenzie, Buck and Farris. They appear alongside the silhouette of a rooster. But that’s it. I tried different combinations on google, with their last name and The Calloways but finding a good hit is impossible. Calloway seem to be a very common last name. There are even bands that have Calloways on their name. It’s definitely complicated.

What happened to this band? Did they record more songs? Are the members the ones portrayed on the artwork? What happened to the members after the band split? Were they Scottish for sure? I would love to know much more about this band. I love their song “Kalamazoo” a lot, I think it should have been a hit with it’s catchy “Mari, mari, marianne” chorus. Indiepop before indiepop existed as such. A perfect pop song.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
The Calloways – Kalamazoo

04
Jul

4th of July. Independence day. Not much going on here but last week wasn’t shabby at all. I went to two gigs and that’s more than the usual 0 gigs per week average that New York offers me normally. I know, you must be thinking, how come New York, the city that never sleeps, offer so little gig opportunities? Well, there are tons of bands, many venues (though day after day I see more closing down), and gigs of course. Thing is, indiepop is not really represented here. Aside from a handful of indiepop bands based in New York, namely My Favorite, Pale Lights, Gingerlys, there’s not much more. So we wait for bands to come from out of town, from abroad, but then, I don’t think promoters these days want to risk their investment by having some unknown indiepop band here. Capitalism.

But well, promoters weren’t going to cry over losing money by bringing The Stone Roses to play their one and only gig in the US at the Madison Square Garden, here in New York. It was last Thursday when I went for the first time to the Garden. I didn’t pay a lot for the tickets, I didn’t get the tickets to be close and standing by the stage. Instead I thought seating would be enough. I’ve never been to such a big gig. It was sold out. And I was kind of far from the stage, much higher definitely, on a row of only 4 seats. The nice thing was that it had it’s own entrance to a balcony. It was our private area. The band looked small from where we were, but it wasn’t that bad. They sounded great though and even played “Sally Cinnamon”, my favourite of theirs, which I never expected.

The odd thing for me about these sort of concerts is that people go with a friend or friends after their work, and while the band is playing they are talking about their weekend plans, their office colleagues and so on. It’s just so strange! And then, people are having dinner there too! Like eating a pizza and having a coke while being at a gig? That’s weird. I guess this is how most big concerts are, but for me, not used to them, this was an eye opener. I guess when people go see bands like Fleetwood Mac, or Bon Jovi, or whatever boring band that play one of these thousand people venues, the crowd just sits there comfortably, eats, talks, just like if they were at the movies. Definitely not for me.

In any case I enjoyed the experience. It was different, and I really had a good time singing along to many classics like “She Bangs the Drums”, “Elephant Stone”, “Waterfall” and so on. I would also say that there was such a big crowd of English or British ex-pats. Lots of Manchester City and United jerseys and a smell of pot that was unbearable. I guess I arrived a bit late, but the merch that the band brought wasn’t very nice, mostly hooded jumpers. Why not stick to the classic black t-shirt and logo formula that works so well?

And then on Saturday I went to see Fear of Men. They were giving away some song books, just photocopies with lyrics for their songs. I think they were intended for the first 250 people at the door. I don’t think that 250 actually were at the gig, there must have been around 100 or so. Anyhow I got 4 of those booklets, if anyone wants one. Again I wasn’t keen on the merch, I didn’t like their design for their t-shirts sadly, but did buy their last album on CD and a lathe cut transparent square, 7″ with the song “Luna” on it.

I know that many times the band has that hipster sound that puts me off. But when they go all out poppy, they can make a glorious racket. That’s when I enjoy them the most, when I think they are ace.

Also this week I got the “Sharon Signs to Cherry Red” compilation that looks very interesting. So far I’ve heard the first CD, out of two. And to be honest, the bands I didn’t know on it, are not as good as the ones I already knew. Which is a shame, because of course, you want the new ones to discover to be great, or even better. I hope though this changes on the second CD as there are many names that are unknown to me. The good thing about this sort of compilations is definitely that they always come with a booklet and a little story about each band. I think that is what is worth the most, the work put on that. I still think there are many bands that were left out of this compilation that are a bit better than many included, but then, who can please everyone. In any case, even though I really dislike Cherry Red’s business model and guts, this is a fine effort at introducing these bands to a larger public.

——————————————————–

Speaking of that compilation, here’s another song that could have fit nicely in one of the two CDs.

So it seems movie buffs might now that there was an American film called “Final Hour” directed by D. Ross Lederman. That I didn’t know. Then I don’t know if this is why this obscure band from England decided to name themselves like that.

There’s almost nothing about Final Hour online. They are as obscure as they can be. I only know one song by them, the one you’ll hear here called “Friends”. This song comes from a rare compilation, that I’ve been hunting with no luck so far. This compilation, titled “Thames Side Story” was released by the Local Scene label in 1985 (catalog LS-D001) and included a plethora of amazing indiepop from the likes of The Bridge, The Liquid Laundry, The Shirt, Rubarb Rubarb, among others.
It’s a shame that online I couldn’t find a good scan of the back cover where the members of the bands are listed. I could only figure out that on The Final Hour we have Bell doing vocals, Mark Willis playing guitar and Steve Lester on bass. The rest of the band I don’t know sadly.

Another interesting fact is that the record label was run by Gary Smith and Doug Wells and it is said that at the time they could be contacted in various pubs in the area. The cover design for this compilation is credited to a Paul Adams.

I can’t find anything else online. Perhaps I found a Steve Lester that with his band released an album called The Final Hour. There’s that coincidence, but doesn’t sound similar to the band from the 80s. What do you think? Aside from that, I read on an eBay listing, that the Final Hour usually had a male vocalist instead. I don’t know any other recordings by the band, but could that be the case?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Final Hour – Friends

27
Jun

About to start the second half of the year, June is almost over. Last week I was saying that there had been a lot of new indiepop videos released lately and definitely that is a healthy thing. So I want to introduce you to some of these new videos that I’ve been enjoying the past few weeks. But before that many of you might have seen the news that The Seashells, the legendary band from Umeå, Sweden, will be releasing a 7″ with us later this year. You can listen the A side, “Thoughtlessness” on the band’s Soundcloud, you are going to love it! I’ll have more news about this release as soon as the artwork for the single is completed, so keep an eye here, on the blog or our Facebook for that. Should be out hopefully by October or November.

I’ll start these recommendations by the latest video that has been released, and that’s Ay, Carmela’s “Crying in Public“. This song comes out from an EP titled “Working Weeks” that will be released on July 28th. The sound is a bit different to Carmela’s other band, Colour Me Wednesday, where she plays bass. The song is refreshing, it is classic guitar pop, simple, straight to the point, with punkish guitar and poppy vocals, but especially it is different to much of what the UK has been giving us the last few years, that folky/punkish stuff that Indietracks had been championing. For me that is important and it is already a victory.

Next up is a household name, a band that had released with us on Cloudberry: Lost Tapes. They have released a video for the song “Girls” that appears in their first album on Mushroom Pillow that is highly recommended. I remember this video started being recorded the first time the band was in NY a couple years back. It took quite a while but it has been worth the wait.

Perhaps the most exciting news was that Burning Hearts were back. They released a new song, a new video, called “Work of Art“. And guess what? It is a work of art. I’ve always been a sucker for all of their songs, and I’ve been lucky to have seen them play live. I love the imagery, the lyrics, Jessica’s vocals. I don’t know much about where or when this song will be released physically, but I hope it is soon. Top stuff.

Then another band that has a connection with Cloudberry, my friends Tiny Fireflies who I just saw once again at NYC Popfest. They have made a video for one of their best songs on their first album: “Ghost“. I suppose all of you reading me own a copy of their album, but if you haven’t you should grab one before they sell out. Gems like this song abound on it. Kristine and Lisle are two of the most talented musicians I know, and better people even. Now I look forward to their next album effort which they’ve told me they have started working on!

Expert Alterations is one of the few American bands I really like. On top of that they make indiepop the way I like it and not many does anymore. That one that ramshackles and feels like everything is breaking apart. Crashpop some call it. That one that owes a lot to the TVPs, to the McTells, to O Level and more. They’ve made a video for “Such a Stupid Fool” and it’s a lo-fi bike ride filled with Pa Pa Pas that is just infectious.

Barcelona’s Papa Topo are releasing a new album called “Ópalo Negro” this coming month. Their second promo video for this record is “Lágrimas de Cocodrilo” and it is a cracker. Very influenced by La Movida, very Berlanga, very Dinarama. A video full of Egyptian imagery, a saxophone and even a mummy! It looks like it was a lot of fun to make it. I can’t wait to have this album, hopefully Jigsaw Records carries it as Elefant prices are always a bit steep for us in this side of the Atlantic.

And actually today I got on the snail mail an EP from a very cool Japanese band that has really surprised me that I want to recommend to all of you. They are called With Me and they hail from Tokyo. They have just released this CD Ep called “Love Letter” and it includes 5 songs that you can have a quick sample here. The band is formed by Aota (vocals and guitar), Miki (guitar), Sakura (bass) and Fumi (drums). It’s top indiepop in the classic tradition of Japanese indiepop of course, that one that gets influenced by Momoko Yoshino’s bands for example. You can get this album from many stores including Disk Union, Stone Records, Sone Records, File-Under, Thistime, and more! They are also trying to make a 7″ version of this EP and have put together a crowdfunding project if you’d like to help. I’m really enjoying it and I hope to hear more from them in the near future.

So a lot of things going in indiepop world at the moment, hopefully it continues like this for the time to come!


Riviera, pronounced, is an Italian word which means “coastline”, ultimately derived from Latin ripa, through Ligurian rivea. It came to be applied as a proper name to the coast of Liguria, in the form riviera ligure, then shortened to riviera. 

I heard Riviera for the first time on a Dublab Podcast where Peter Hahndorf from Twee.net was a guest. You can listen and download this session from October 2008 here. In it he introduced a bunch of bands from Asia mostly, like Monte Carlo, Carnival Park, The Oddfellows and more. The penultimate song he played was Riviera’s “Heaven Knows I Love You” and they weren’t from Asia, but Sweden. It was a nice surprise for me.

I don’t know much about this band that only released one CD EP in 1997. I don’t own the record yet. I don’t know how hard it is to find it. Maybe I’ll be lucky someday soon as I have only added it today to my Discogs wantlist.

The CD EPwas released on Trampolene Records (TRACDS513), mostly known for being home of The Cardigans. This label was also a subsidiary label for Stockholm Records that eventually was going to be sold in 2000 to Universal. Maybe then it was sort of mainstream their releases. I don’t know how well known Riviera was in Sweden. At least, some attention they might have gotten thanks to being in the same label as The Cardigans?

The CD was economically released in a card sleeve jacket. Three songs were included, “Heaven Knows I Love You”, “Same Old Story” and “Why Was I The Last To Know?”. The credits tell us that the record was written and produced by Claes Molander. Engineered and co-produced by Charlie Hillson. Mastered by Åsa Winzell at Polar Studios. The photography of the band on the cover and back cover by Peter Larsson.

On the sleeve it is said that “Heaven Knows I Love You” is taken from the forthcoming album “A Lover’s Work is Never Done”. Thing is, I believe this album was never released as I can’t find any information about it. Nevertheless a song by the same name was included in a Japanese compilation of Swedish bands called “Pop Hits the North”. This compilation was released by Polydor (POCP-7163) in 1996, a year before the CD EP. On this compilation we could see some very fine and well known bands like The Cardigans, Cloudberry Jam or Happydeadmen among others.

So 4 songs seem to be all their recorded output.

I could find a blog post on a Swedish page called “Tidskriften Pop Revisited” about them. From it I gather a couple of interesting facts, most especially about Claes Molander who seems to be the driving force behind Riviera. We know that he lived in London between 1973 and 1978 and he became inspired by Gary Glitter when he saw him on Top of the Pops. He would come back to Sweden and have a band there called The Varlets in the nineties.

The blog continues telling us some of Claes’ influences, from Tamla Motown to Phil Spector. There’s definitely that sort of sound. But sadly there’s no more info. Luckily through The Varlets I could find out that at least they released a cassette tape in 1994. Seems it was self-released and it included 5 songs (which I found them on Youtube): “Please Let Me Know“, “I’m In Love With You“, “Sooner or Later“, “You’re Being Fooled“, “Doctor Believe Me“.

The Varlets was formed by Benny Björk on bass and vocals, Kent Alfredsson on drums, Johan Elb on guitar, Claes Molander on vocals, guitar and percussion. The produced for this tape was Håkan Göstas and they even had a manager in Jacke Nummelin. Did they release anything else? I don’t know.

Another band I know Claes was involved with was Revelation. I believe it was after the demise of Riviera. They released a 7” on Dolores Recordings in 1999 and it included the song “That’s How Much You Mean to Me” and an instrumental version of the same song on the B side.

I wonder whatever happened to Claes during the 2000s, seems like he disappeared, or perhaps not? What other bands was he part of? What happened to the Riviera album? Did they play a lot live? Whereabout in Sweden were they based? Would be interesting to find answers to all of these questions and more!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Riviera – Heaven Knows I Love You

20
Jun

A few of you might have already seen on Facebook that I’m working on a Some Other Day retrospective compilation for the Cloudberry Cake Kitchen. I do have to ask you for some patience though! There are still a few more steps before it’s ready, and we have some records we are putting out in the next few months so, I think this compilation will be ready by the end of the year. Definitely.

Aside from that we have at least 3 7″s already in the pipeline. Cloudberry is very busy, and we hope you can keep supporting us the way you do. It’s the only way we can keep helping bands put out their magnificent sounds!

The last week I’ve seen so many new videos by indiepop bands. I don’t know exactly why. I want to do a review and recommend them to all of you but I know I have promised the final chapter of my NYC Popfest review. So I’ll try to keep in mind, remember, that idea for next week (hopefully there are even more new videos too). But today let’s see what I can remember from that Sunday almost a month ago where everyone was in awe for such historic, classic, legendary bands!

Sunday, as it has become a tradition for me, as long as Popfest is held at Littlefield, I go to Ghenet, an Ethiopian restaurant just a few blocks down on the main street. We met there with Alex as well, like last year, and we had our tibs and injera, spices and all. It was delicious. At Littlefield for some reason I always have Shiner Bock beers. It’s not exactly the best beer in the universe but it’s the only thing here in NYC that gives me nostalgia for the months I lived in Texas back in 2005.

On the way to Littlefield, crossed paths with Hampus, Alpaca Sports’ drummer, who lives quite close. He wasn’t going to Popfest but just came from rehearsing for another band in the city. I don’t know what got into me, that I surprised him, he wasn’t expecting me showing up like that and I gave him a big scare!

When we arrived Lake Ruth was playing. I liked what I had hear on the web, but I wasn’t captured totally by their live gig. It was nice though, and soothing. It was a good way to start the evening for me. I was already very tired because of the past days, legs hurt even. I’m becoming old! So after a while we went and sat down at the front room. There Kevin was making portraits of people, at the time he was doing Maz’s. I think he was charging a dollar per portrait. Maz didn’t come out that good, but the next one he did was dead on.

I met some people that evening, I met one of the Catholic Easter Colors boys that was very kind. Also I met a friend from the Soulseek days, from Ohio. Then more people at the small patio outside too were very friendly but I can’t remember their names now. Then it was very cool to talk for a while with Mary from Even as We Speak. I even took my fan photo with her. Getting older but I’m not changing!

We went for a walk. Mariana needed some coffee. The day was quite nice. But we were tired still. I don’t drink coffee, so I had to get myself together and get some strength from somewhere. Beer probably. When it was time for Secret Shine, I think the excitement started to grow on me.

I had seen Secret Shine a couple of times already. First time a long time ago in Berlin. They even invited me to the backstage and it was the first time they even met me! It was thanks to my friend Andi of course, the same who released their last 7″ that I actually have here on the distro on the website. Last time I saw them was at Indietracks. That was great as well. I remember buying a flexi from them last time there at the merch stall. They are always so great. Funny enough today I just lost an eBay bid for the “Ephemeral” 7″, one of the few Sarahs I’m missing. Oh well…

They opened with “Burning Star”s and of course closed their set with “Loveblind”. What an end was that! The guitars were just ringing! “Drift Away”, “Perfect Life”,” Into the Ether”, were a few of the songs they played. I got their setlist, written on a paper towel. Not the most glamorous setlist I’ve gotten, but I’ve gotten worse.

Next were Even as We Speak, Secret Shine’s labelmates. As I had said before this was the band I was looking forward the most. Because I love their songs, and also because of geography, chances are that this was going to be my one and only chance for me to see them. Sure I can travel to Australia, but for them to be playing a gig at the same time? Difficult! So, there I was all so giddy. And then the band came out dressed as marsupials, in the most surprising entrance to stage I’ve ever seen an indiepop band!

If I can remember correctly, Julian was dressed as a kangaroo, Mary as a koala, Matt as a platypus, but can’t remember what the rest were dressed as. I know there’s videos but the rest of the band look a bit far away and I can’t distinguish what animal they are. Maybe some of you can help me? Anyhow, why not start with “One Step Forward”?

Then the classics, “Blue Suburban Skies”, “Nothing Ever Happens”, and after a couple more songs, we got a beautiful rendition of The Go-Betweens “Right Here”. That was fantastic. The show was only getting better and better. Mary would invite two people from stage to learn some steps and sing along. Then she would ask the stage what song did we prefer, “Bizarre Love Triangle” or “Blue Eyes”? The crowd of course wanted the original song, not the cover song!

And to end the night, why not get Vernon and Cris to join the band to dance and sing and have fun on stage? Why not! That was fab! Definitely my favourite gig, and not just because of the music. I loved the communication between band and fans, how they prepared the gig with the costumes, and that they had even prepared a special cover song for the occasion. I think Popfest gigs have the potential to be special, because the fans know the songs and are fans of the bands, so when a band goes the extra mile it becomes at least for me, a gig to never forget, a legendary gig in my book. This was one for sure.

We had already secured a good spot on the front by now. And that was good. But we got so hungry. We decided to go as fast as possible to get some dinner and come back running for The Railway Children. The thing was, interesting for me, that The Railway Children had the most fans in all Popfest. Mostly older people that had been listening to them on college radio. As I didn’t grow up here I wasn’t aware of this. We grabbed some fast tacos, very mediocre to say the least, at Oaxaca, and then we arrived just when the band was playing “Every Beat of the Heart”. Lucky! That is perhaps my favourite song of theirs. I’m not a super fan as I said, but I like them, but because of that I decided to stay at the back and leave the super fans have the better places on the floor. This meant of course, no setlist for me.

The last band was The Chills. Oh dear. How exciting to see them again after seeing them in London a couple of years back. That time was amazing, with the great company of Jennifer, Miguel, Miguel #2, Christos and Matthew. Now it was time for New York, and what a gig it was. It was long, they played so many hits, a lot of songs from their last album (that I think is VERY good if you haven’t checked out).

I think the moment everyone got the chills (sorry for the bad pun), was when they played “Pink Frost”. What a moment that was. They also played songs like “Wet Blanket”, “Doledrums”, “I Love My Leather Jacket” and they closed their fabulous set with the incomparable “Heavenly Pop Hit”. Before the encore someone was about to take the setlist! And I’m all so shy asking if I can have it! That I tried so hard in London to get it, but it was impossible. He was very kind and told me that if he could take a photo, I could have it! Fantastic!! Then the band came back and the guitar player was, “oh! where’s my setlist, someone stole my setlist already!”. I kept quiet!! It was the first time I see a band ask for their setlist for the encore, don’t they already know what they are playing?

I found later the guy who gave me the setlist and gave him one CD as a gift. But he already had it! Amazing! He already knew about Cloudberry and all. So I gave him another, I hope he liked it!

A fanboy photo with Martin Philipps was next. Of course. A little chat were he told me that the plan is for The Chill come back next year for bigger concerts. Oh wow, I hope so! Then saying goodbye to everyone. To Vernon, to Cris. It was a bit of a bittersweet night. Great gigs, great fun, but always saying goodbye to friends that one doesn’t see as often as one would like.

———————————————————–

I got a message the other day on Facebook asking me about a band from Sheffield, from the 80s, called The Seaside. I was told that their one EP was brilliant, bloody brilliant, and that they recorded even more stuff. I was curious and I started to dig.

Sheffield has been a fantastic city when it comes to indiepop. A lot of great bands hail from there. Just lately of course I released The Suncharms compilation. They are from there. But who were these The Seaside whose only EP dates from 1991?

Their EP included two songs on the A side, “Idolise” and “Completely”. The first’s lyrics are credited to a Stan. The second to a Clix. On the B side we find “Wild C. Wilder”, lyrics by Clix and Rhinow. We don’t know the complete names sadly. I ordered the record this past week, but doubt they will shed more light on the names or any other details.

The record was composed by The Seaside, the engineer was Pete Stewart who had also worked with bands like Pulp, The Comsat Angels, Harbourkings, and even Take That. Mastered by Metalwork (MAX) and the producer was John Avery. It was recorded at Axis Studios in Sheffield.

The record came out on the Vlaw label (VLAW ONE). As you can imagine the label only released this one single. Safe to assume it was the band’s own label? Probably.

A blog called The Independent Music Review is the only other place where I found anything written about them. The reviewer says that the music sounds like flower power, like if it came from the 60s but it’s really from the early 90s. That this is a gem that never got past the mainstream baggy madchester that was reigning at the time. He mentions too that the band may have released a track on a single alongside March to the Grave, but it is only his speculation. Well, about this I have no clue. Maybe someone knows?

What I do know is that they contributed one song called “Begging Bowl” to a compilation on spinART Records in 1995. The compilation is called “LemonLime volume One… A Pop Compilation”, and it includes of course a lot of great bands like Holiday Flyer or Bomb Pops. I have a few compilations on spinART, sadly I’m missing this one. Should I track it down just for this song?

Then on Youtube our last hints. “Idolise” and “Wild C. Wilder” have been uploaded. On the “Idolise” upload I see that there used to be a The Seaside Facebook page at some point but it doesn’t exist anymore. A person remembers that one of the members used to work in Warp Records and another one lived in Greenhill.

Another fan mentions seeing them supporting The Dylans at the Borderline.

And that’s about it on the web about The Seaside. The name of the band doesn’t help much either for googling them. But maybe some of you remember them, and went to their gigs, or had some demo tapes or more recordings. I wonder what happened to them, if they had been in bands before or after, and where are they now?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
The Seaside – Idolise

15
Jun

Maybe you know but maybe you don’t. But now you can pre-order the debut 7″ by Stephen’s Shore on our website. It will be out on August 15th and it includes 4 songs, “Ocean Blue”, “If You”, “Turn Your Head” and “Let’s Go Home”. Artwork by Fabio Consoli. I’m very excited by this newish band from Stockholm, Sweden, and its jangly songs. I’m sure you all are going to like them!

I have more release news to announce in the next few weeks, so it is very exciting. I know summers usually are the time when people are traveling and having vacations, going to festivals or even disconnecting with the world, avoiding phones and internet and doing that hippie thing of reconnecting with nature. Nevertheless I really hope you can have a listen to all these new amazing sounds I have in store and feel the excitement for indiepop music once again! Indiepop is alive and kicking!

Last week I was just all about NYC Popfest. The first two nights. The beers, the songs, the bands, the gigs, the friends, everything was just so much fun! It’s a bit painful now, 4 or 5 weeks after to go back to happy times when now there’s nothing even close to it happening! How I wish I could go back in time once again to that weekend when so many good friends and such good music was making all us feel the joy of our small, minuscule indiepop scene.

Saturday was at Baby’s All Right for an early afternoon show. It was free and who can complain about that? It was packed naturally even though none of the bands are very well known in the US, or at least that’s the impression I have. I had a very quick Indian lunch a couple of blocks away as I was running very late sadly. At least I had to be there at 3pm to catch Los Bonsáis who I had seen before in Madrid Popfest but I utterly love their songs, so just couldn’t miss them. It was a bit stressful because of the train situation in Brooklyn, with several lines, like the F or the G, not stopping at their usual stops and so on. But we made it at 3pm, just on time when Los Bonsáis were playing their first song. Their was still some space in the front so we managed to get there. Vernon was already there, and we saw out friend José from Chicago who we had been missing the previous days.

As expected they were marvelous, Nel and Helena opened with “Nordeste” and ended their set with a cover of the Vaselines’ “Son of a Gun”, translated to Spanish as “Hijo del Señor”. They even had a couple of their friends get on stage to sing with them this last song. Before that they had played my favourite “Ultramarinos” and a Television Personalities cover, “Punks a Tiempo Parcial”.

The next band in my list to check out were Snow Fairies. It was quite a surprise for me to know that they were playing Popfest when they were first announced. I was a big fan of their songs back when I was a student and as it is the case with smaller bands, I never thought they would do a reunion gig at all. I know that after their demise they kept making music, especially as The Skywriters, but The Snow Fairies were in a different league I always thought. Actually yesterday I found myself listening to their album “Get Married” (I’m still missing their other album, help!) and I was enjoying it so much. No one makes music like this I thought. Back in the early 2000s there were many like-minded bands it seems. Today, none. It’s a shame.

Joanny was super surprised by The Snow Fairies. Other friends as well. They put a great show that one would have thought that they deserved to play a better slot other than headlining the afternoon show. But that’s how it is, who would have expected such a brilliant gig.

A walk through Williamsburg, now to the Knitting Factory. On the way a stop for pizza as the group was hungry. Not me. On the way we saw Remi walking by herself, of course she was to join us. Then at the pizza place Amanda would join us too. Big table, like the old times. After some coffee, and we met Sean on the line. Catching up a bit with Fortuna Pop’s leader. But it was getting closer to the moment of truth, a lineup of Cristina Quesada, Tiny Fireflies, Alpaca Sports, Mercury Girls, The Chesterfields and The Primitives was waiting for us!

There were garlands on the stage. We had been shopping earlier in the week and Andreas had found these in a stationary shop in Soho. Now it looked great. Even better Cristina’s dressed matched with the garlands almost. To open, “Pineapple Princess”. Of course. Andreas would eventually join her. “Just Like Honey” by JAMC was loved by everyone. I was very happy when she played Family’s classic “Viaje a los Sueños Polares”, but everyone just accepted defeat to sweetness with their rendition of Alpaca Sports’ “Just For Fun”, now an indiepop classic.

Tiny Fireflies and their return to NYC Popfest was next. Now adding a third member to the band. The sound was bigger, and Kristine was a superstar on stage! The songs from the album sounded gorgeously, and they also played songs from earlier on, even one from a Cloudberry release which they kindly dedicated to me <3 . It was kind of a short set, seven songs or so. “Brightest Star”, “Ghost”, “Farewell” and more illuminated the Knitting Factory with a sound that was refreshing, much different to the rest of the bands in the festival. But when it was over it wasn’t time for them to leave the stage. Oh no, they were going to join Alpaca Sports as part of the band.

Suddenly Alpaca Sports was a behemoth of a band! So many people, but so worth it!! I can’t remember now the bass player name, but we had Andreas, Amanda, Cristina, Lisle, Kristine and Hampus on stage too. Heck, I wanted to join them too! It was such a good gig really, they played the classics, “Just for Fun”, “I was Running” and “She’ll Come Back for Indian Summer”. They played some of the new ones, “I Love You”, “Need Me the Most”, too. It was also a return for Alpaca. A couple of years back they had played Popfest at Littlefield. It was a triumphant return, I could see people dancing and singing along the songs on the front. I was happy to see them once again and I start to wonder if they are becoming rapidly the band I’ve seen the most these past few years. Perhaps!

Burger time. And a small break. We got way too many fries so we took them to the gig. Joanny was happy to exchange pretzels for fries. Everyone happy. I couldn’t get to the front now sadly. The Chesterfields were about to go and halfway to the front will have to do. “Shame About the Rain” to start. “Oh Mr. Wilson” to warm up, until “Sweet Revenge” came on and I was all happy and singing every song. And suddenly I start to wonder when will they play “Ask Johnny Dee”. It wasnt happening! But hell, they played “Anywhere But Home” by The Caretaker Race. Wow! That was one of the best moments of the Popfest for me. I know Andy Strickland was playing now in The Chesterfields, so it kind of made sense. I do wonder though how many people in the crowd was aware of this fantastic band and amazing song. I hope many! In any case I was terribly happy. And then “Goodbye Goodbye”, I got even happier! Then they started asking which song to play or something else, I can’t remember. I just shouted “Johnny Dee”. But first was another classic, “Last Train to Yeovil”, and then finally, “Ask Johnny Dee”. The band would finish the gig with an indiepop anthem, “Completely & Utterly”. Afterwards I was happy to meet Simon Barber and that was ace too (and hopefully a Chesterfields interview in the blog soon!).

Funny enough a friend from work was also in the crowd. He had come for The Primitives! I thought that was a bit strange. I know a couple of co-workers like music, but they are more into indierock I’d say. But you can never stop getting surprised by what college radio did years before I went to uni. I think a lot of people learned a lot about some indiepop bands thanks to that (and this would definitely explain the crowd The Railway Children would bring the next day). Anyhow, The Primitives were on stage, and I was going to see them for the second time after Indietracks. Now this was a bit of a longer gig, almost 20 songs! And of course they played the ones everyone wanted, from “Thru the Flowers” to the mega hit “Crash”. I was just terribly happy with “Stop Killing Me”, “Buzz Buzz Buzz” or “Way Behind Me”. Who could complain?

And to top it all, it was time for dancing just after. Right now I can’t recall all the songs that were played. I remember one by Spearmint. I think The Smiths were played as well. I remember dancing though. But the songs seem blurry. It was Mondo Djs at this time, but they havent posted a list of what was played. In any case, it was late when we left Knitting Factory. Happy, exhausted, and with a huge smile in my face.

Seems I’ve written more than I expected! Seems the review of Sunday at Popfest will have to wait another week!

———————————————-

Chaperone: a person who accompanies and looks after another person or group of people.

So here’s this band with a very early 80s name called Daryl and the Chaperones whose one and only 7″ I’ve been trying to track down for some time. Years now. Maybe some of you could help me. Especially those who are fans of White Town.

I like White Town of course, especially their classic indiepop records, “Hair Like Alain Delon” is such a wonderful song. I got to see Jyoti play in New York and also in the UK. But I’ve never even talked to him! Anyhow, you must be asking what does White Town has to do with this Daryl and the Chaperones. Well well, it was 1982 and a very young Jyoti Mishra was in this band.

As far as I know two songs were released by this band, both on this 7″ released by Shark Records in 82 (catalog SHARK 1). The songs were “My Baby’s a Spy” and “B Movie”. One in each side. The artwork of the record is a bit strange, there’s circles, triangles and squares times four, what looks like a beach chair, and then a silhouette of a guy wearing shades and a hat. Also on the cover we can read Aris_Tographics, MaestroM Ltd Spacematic Print. I wonder why the name of the printer was on it?

The A side, “My Baby’s a Spy”, would also appear on a compilation called “Low Down Kids Companion, Volume 2”, released in 2003 (!!). It was limited to a 100 copies and I’m not very sure what sort of compilation this is as I’m not familiar with the bands on it. Names like The Agents, The Spies, The Wild Boys or The Escorts don’t ring a bell to me. Seems this was a DIY label that released some cool stuff, at least it looks very cool to me. The aesthetics are just like out of a fanzine from the 80s. The strange thing of course is that this was out in the past decade.

I have never had the chance to listen to the B side. Not yet. But the A side is a wonderful slice of guitar pop, proto-indiepop if you like to call it something. It’s a lost classic in my book! You’ll see now by yourselves.

The only other information I could find comes from the always reliable Tamworth Bands website.

The band was formed by:
James Woodward – drums and percussion
Ian Hewitt – guitar and vocals
Andy Redfern – bass guitar
Jyoti Mishra – keyboards

They had a slogan, “You are never alone with a chaperone”, and it seems the only member of the band with links to Tamworth area was the drummer, James. He was from Clifton Campville.

Clifton Campville is a village and civil parish in Staffordshire, England. It lies on the River Mease, about 10 miles (16 km) east of the City of Lichfield, 6 miles (10 km) west of Measham and 7 miles (11 km) north of Tamworth. The village lies very close to Stafforshire’s borders with Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. In 2001 the parish had a population of 764,[5] increasing to 912 at the 2011 census. There is a fine gothic church, dedicated to St Andrew,[6] and listed Grade I. The village pub, The Green Man, is also a historic building.

From this website we learn some more interesting facts:

  • The record was recorded and produced at Steve Adam’s Studio in Birchmoor.
  • The band was formed 12 months before the single was released (so 1981).
  • The band originally had a Daryl in the band, Daryl Ainsworth, and thus the name of the band.
  • They seem to have gigged in Birmingham, Burton, Derby and Leicester.

And that’s about it. Then of course we know that in 1990 Jyoti started releasing stuff under White Town. But that’s 8 years in between! What happened in the meantime? What other bands was he in? And what about the rest of his bandmates? What did they do afterwards? Were they involved in other bands? Are there more Daryl and the Chaperones recordings? Would like to know more! Do you remember them?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Daryl and the Chaperones – My Baby’s A Spy

06
Jun

Back from 9 days in Mexico and there’s so so so much to do! There was barely indiepop related things in this vacation, but got to eat great food, see the lucha libre, visit pre-columbian ruins and colonial churches, and even got sunburnt. It was a happy time in good company.

But as I promised I will review my experience at NYC Popfest, three weekends ago. It all started on Thursday at Le Poisson Rouge. I arrived late because of work so I only caught the last band, The Trashcan Sinatras.  I had already met many friends before Popfest even started. On Wednesday Alpaca Sports played at Cake Shop, and even though I missed them again because of work, we went for a legendary karaoke session.Tiny Fireflies’ Lisle and Kristine also joined as they become part of the Alpaca Sports team this year. From cheesy to cheesiest, the song choices were really funny and we had two great hours in the Lower East Side.  It was so much fun!

When I arrived to Le Poisson Rouge, Young Romance were playing their last songs. I wasn’t keen on them so I stayed outside the main room where the merch tables were set. It was great to meet again with Chris Jigsaw once again and with Jerv who I hadn’t seen for years. One after another I saw friends passing by and that was so great. I saw Joanny and Emmanuel who came all the way from France for Popfest, Alex and Scott who I haven’t seen in many years, and Vernon from Singapore who gave himself a New York Popfest trip as a birthday gift.

I found a small spot in the front row to the left to catch The Trash Can Sinatras. To the right was Frank Reader’s mum taking pictures. They started with “Easy Read” and went onto play many favourites like “Only Tongue Can Tell”, “Hayfever” or “I’ve Seen Everything”. They ended with “Weightlifting” and played “Obscurity Knocks” as their encore. The band was promoting their last album titled “Pendulum”, which for some reason I didn’t buy at Popfest but hope to get it soon.

Friday we met Vernon at Cafe Himalaya for lunch special Nepalese food. Two blocks down the afternoon show was happening at Cake Shop. We were mostly going there to see Silver Screen. I had met Cris Miller before in LA but have never seen him play. We arrived on time for the first band but we really didn’t pay much attention. We met Alex who was going to play guitar alongside Cris on this sort of two-man Silver Screen that was playing that day. They played a gorgeous gig on the strength of their songs. Cris was very kind to dedicate me the song “Little More Each Day” that first appeared on a Cloudberry 3″ in 2007!

I met Remi from Japan there too. I hadn’t seen her since Indietracks 2014. It was very cool that she was carrying all over Popfest a Cloudberry tote bag. Least I could do was help her get tickets for her and her friend for the next show later that night as it was sold out.

We all headed to Brooklyn afterwards, took the J train to Marcy Ave. and went for an early dinner at Bia, blocks away from Baby’s All Right. After some beers and some noodles or banh mis, it was time to go see Chorusgirl! But there was a surprise before I even saw them as Vernon introduced me to Mary from Even as We Speak. Wow! I won’t lie if I say that the band I wanted to see the most this Popfest was EAWS. But that Friday night the band I wanted to see and listen was Chorusgirl. So again moving forward to the front I enjoyed up close one of the albums I’ve enjoyed the most lately. How I wish I had discovered them earlier, would have loved to put a 7″ before they signed to Fortuna Pop, but oh well, can’t be up to date with every single band! Anyhow they played fan favourites “No Moon”, “Dream On” and “Oh, To be a Defector”. It was a bit of a short set, but it was powerful and exciting. I hope they become even more popular and come back to the US!

The only other band I liked that night was Spook School who once again proved to be one of the best indiepop bands around. What can I say? For the last three years they might be the favourite band of many of the Popfest goers. Niall always cracks me up with his jokes and their songs are a burst of pure pop and energy, hook after hook.

I wasn’t feeling that well at the end of the night but still headed to Trophy Bar as I had promised Joanny as he was DJing alongside Emmanuel the afterparty. Joanny, with his pretzels and always looking for the better deal when it comes to beers, and Emmanuel played a superb selection of indiepop. They even played a Les Calamités song as I had requested them a song by them. The Hit Parade, The Haywains, Pushy Parents, Another Sunny Day, Girls at Our Best, Barcelona and more!

Two days of Popfest and I was having so much fun. But two long days were ahead, Saturday and Sunday. A lot of great bands, more beers, merch to buy, and friends to meet were on the way. But that’s for next week post. Now is time for the obscure band of the week.

——————————————————-

Clondalkin is a town situated 10 km west of Dublin, Ireland, in the county of South Dublin. The name is also used in relation to the area’s religious parishes. Clondalkin is home to an eighth-century round tower that acts as a focal point for the area. Acknowledged as one of the oldest and best preserved in the country, it is 25.6 metres high and has its original conical cap.

Based in Clondalkin, The Cherry Brogues is a band I’ve been curious for a long time. I remember them on Myspace but these days the songs uploaded there don’t even stream. That must have been the first time I heard them, I’m talking of 2006 or 2007. And since them I’ve been trying to track their one and only record they released without any luck.

The Brogue (derived from the Old Irish bróg) is a style of low-heeled shoe or boot traditionally characterised by multiple-piece, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or “broguing”) and serration along the pieces’ visible edges. Modern brogues trace their roots to a rudimentary shoe originating in Ireland that was constructed using untanned hide with perforations, allowing water to drain when crossing wet terrain such as a bog. Brogues were traditionally considered to be outdoor or country footwear not otherwise appropriate for casual or business occasions, but brogues are now considered appropriate in most contexts. Brogues are most commonly found in one of four toe cap styles (full or “wingtip”, semi-, quarter and longwing) and four closure styles (Oxford, Derby, ghillie, and monk). Today, in addition to their typical form of sturdy leather shoes or boots, brogues may also take the form of business dress shoes, sneakers, high-heeled women’s shoes, or any other shoe form that utilises or evokes the multi-piece construction and perforated, serrated piece edges characteristic of brogues.

The songs that were on their Myspace don’t appear on the record and it would be interesting to know where they come from. Perhaps from demo tapes or rehearsals. The song names were “Undercurrent”, “Just Like Saturday”, “Only Better”, “210”, “What the Boy Say” and “Temptation”.

The band was active between 1991 and 1994 and was formed by Ray Gilligan, Ray Murray, Joe Rodgers, Des Connaughton and Phil Healy. From the Irish Rock website we know that Ray Gilligan went to play on The Josephs (perhaps a band to cover on another post?).

The one and only 7″ they released came out on C.G.B.G. Records (catalog CBGBS 8) in 1992. The songs included were “She Makes Me Nervous” as the A side and “Here Comes the New Kid” on the B side. They also had another song released in 1993 on a compilation called “Break Records Present… 100% Irish ’93”. On this CD they contributed the song “Look Back in Anger” and was released by Break Records.

The only other important information we could find about them was that they recorded a Fanning Session. The great Fanning Sessions blog has written a bit about the band and have asked for help without any luck in 2012. They shared the song “Numbers in Your Heart” which happens to be the third track from five from the session the band recorded in 1992. They (and now I), are looking for the other 4 songs.

Youtube also gives as a couple of clues. Someone has uploaded a song called “Options 1,2,3” and because of the intro I dare to say this might come from the Fanning Sessions though of course I can’t confirm it. Then there’s a reworked recording of the song “Two-Ten” (also written 210) by Joe Rodgers uploaded as well. This one dates from 2011.

And it was in 2011 that the band actually reformed for a reunion gig at the Grand Social in Dublin.

The band also have a Facebook page were there are a lot of photos and goodies. Time to do some archaeology on old posts there and find more about the band.

I learn the names of other songs by the band like “Weekend Teen”, “Buckle at the Knees”, “Buttercup”, “Only Better”, “It’s Over”, “Another Leo”, “No Reaction (The Penny Song”), “Trusting Emma”, “Stormin’ the Gulf” and “Social Butter”.

I also read that they went into the recording studio in 2009. Don’t know if these recordings ever saw the light of day. They also mention having played a gig at a venue called Fox and the Phaesant back in the early 90s. Other gigs happened at the Rock Garden, Whelans, Route 66, Round Towers, Tivoli and the Tower Road Clondalkin. But their first gig was at the Red Cow on New Years Eve 1991. They were the 2nd band after Big Sky while the Headliners were Jamie Cotton.

Thanks to this Facebook page I could find a recording of “Buttercup” on Youtube. And from there I could find a live recording of the song “Stormin the Gulf” being played at the Baggot Inn in 1992.

That’s all I could find about them. But I’m sure many remember them. Was wondering if anyone have a spare of the 7″? Or the other Fanning Session songs? Or what about all those songs that seem to have been recorded? Would be great to know what happened to the members afterwards, or if they had played in other bands before or at the same time. If they are playing any other reunion gigs? What do you remember about them?

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
The Cherry Brogues – Numbers in Your Heart

27
May

Thanks so much to Patrik Jäder for the interview! The Mary-Go-Round hailed from Luleå, in the north of Sweden. They released just one 7″ on A West Side Fabrication in 1990 and appeared in a handful of compilations. For me they are one of the best bands ever to come from Sweden just on the strength of the few songs that were released. I love them! The perfect mix of jangly guitars and girl/boy vocals. I was very happy to finally get in touch with one of the members of the band and here are his answers to many of the questions I’ve always wondered about!

++ Hi Patrik! Thanks so much for getting back to me and for being up for this interview. The Mary-Go-Round 7″ is one of my most precious records in my collection.  Love it! I think it’s one of the best ever to come out from Sweden, if not the world of indiepop! It’s really an honour. So let’s talk about music! When was the last time you picked up your bass?

I picked up my bass today. I’m working at a school and we have a band here with the teachers. We’re playing music for and with kids (6-10 years old).

++ And what are your first music memories? Were you always into playing bass? How was growing up in Luleå?

My first music memories are at home with my parents. My dad listened to a lot of jazz music and used to play saxophone at home. My first vinyl record was “Love Gun” by Kiss. I was playing guitar at first, but changed to bass when me and some friends started a band called Pornografi (after the album Pornography with The Cure).

Growing up in Luleå was fun and there were a lot of friends who started bands. I joined my first band when I was thirteen, it was a punk band.

++ Was Mary-Go-Round your first band or you had already been playing with other bands before?

Mary-Go-Round wasn’t my first band, I played in Joon Erektion, Pornografi and Action Comics before I joined MGR.

++ Who were Mary-Go-Round and how did you all meet?

MGR was formed in Luleå by a couple of friends who loved pop music. I wasn’t with them from the start, I joined later when the bass player traveled to Thailand. They needed a bass player and I took the job.

++ Tell me a bit more about Luleå, like did any good bands go play there? Or were there any other good bands in town? What were the places you’d usually hang out at? Or the venues were you went and check bands out? Has it changed a lot?

When we played with MGR there weren’t any bands who played the music we liked or played in Luleå. The music scene was kind of boring at that time. But that’s changed a lot. Now we have a big “Culture House” where at lot of big bands/artists  play (Billy Bragg, Lloyd Cole, Soundtrack of Our Lives). There’s also a great punk scene in town where a lot of bands are playing.

++ Where does the name of the band come from?

The name MGR came from Merry-Go-Round. But that name was picked, so they changed it to Mary-Go-Round when they started the band.

++ Was it always the first option to make music in English? Who were your influences at the time?

They were singing in English when I joined the band and we never spoke about changing it. We were influenced by The Smiths, The Go-Betweens, Prefab Sprout, Beach Boys, Beatles, Field Mice, The Chills, June Brides, Close Lobsters, Robyn Hitchcock. There was a scene in England called “Anorak Pop” which we liked.

++ You were telling me that you recorded two demos before the EP. Do you remember anything about them? Like what songs were in them? What year were they released? How many copies were made?

The two demos we did were recorded on a four track recorder at our rehearsal place in Luleå. I don’t remember all the songs on them, but there were “Caught you Crying” and “Our She Been”. I don’t remember when we recorded them. We didn’t make a lot of copies and we sent them to some record companies to get a record deal.

++ Your EP was recorded at Basic Music, how was the experience working there with Johan Nilsson?

Johan Nilsson was a great guy and we recorded the EP at his house in Skellefteå. He had a studio in the house and we spent two days there.

++ I guess for me the biggest mystery of the Mary-Go-Round EP is the cover. I always wondered who is the woman on the motorcycle, is she someone you knew?

The woman on the cover is my mother. We wanted a cover which showed how we sounded, so that picture was great to have for the cover. But my mother was embarrassed.

++ Three songs were included in the EP, “Fill My Head”, “Fish Bowl” and “Noble Art”. Any chance that you could tell me the story behind each of the songs, in a line or two?

I don’t really remember the story behind the songs on the record, but Nils Johansson (the guitar player) wrote them. Noble Art was kind of tricky to get well in the studio.

++ The EP was released by A West Side Fabrication in 1990. How did you end up signing with them for this release? And how was your experience with them?

We met Jocke Wallström in Luleå when we played there with two bands from Skellefteå. Jocke liked us and wanted to put out a record with us on A West Side Fabrication. Jocke was great and we could record what we wanted.

++ And how come there was no other release by the Mary-Go-Round afterwards?

We split because there were other things in life that were more important (education, work, moving to another town).

++ There were some appearances in compilations though, I guess the most well known one is your contribution of the song “Into the Morgue” to the tape “Grimsby Fishmarket 4 – Norrköping 0”. Do you remember how did you end up in it?

Nils was listening to a lot of great pop bands and got to know Markus who had a fanzine called The Grimsby Fishmarket. He wanted a song for the tape and it was “Into the Morgue”.

++ On Discogs, there are a couple of songs listed that I’ve never heard that appeared on compilations. There was “Mary-Go-Round” that appeared on “A Major Statement” LP compilation in 1988 and “A Simple Sensation” that appeared on the tape “Second Half” in 1994. One is perhaps from your very early days and the other one from the very last days, is that right?

I wasn’t in the band when “A Major Statement” was recorded. I joined later. And I don’t remember the song A Simple Sensation.

++ I noticed that you liked collaborating with fanzines. How was the fanzine culture back in the late 80s, early 90s in Sweden? Were you into that?

The fanzine culture was kind of small, but there was Sound Affects and Base One. We had our demos reviewed in both.

++ And how was the attention of the media towards your band? Was there any interest from press or radio at all?

The media attention was very small. I think we did two interviews – one for a local radio station and one for the fanzine Sound Affects.

++ What about gigs? Did you play many? 

I don’t remember exactly how many gigs we did, but there could have been about twenty.

++ If you were to think of the biggest highlight for the Mary-Go-Round, what would that be?

The biggest highlight was when we got a record deal.

++ And then when and why did you split? What did you guys do after?

I quit playing when we split and didn’t play bass for about ten years. But I started playing again in 2000 with Mattias Alkberg (the singer from The Bear Quartet). We started as a trio, but then Nils joined us. We recorded an album called Tunaskolan in 2004. I have contact with Nils, but not with the others. I’m not playing in a band now except the teacher band.

++ These days, are you still in touch? Have there ever been talks about a reunion at all?

We haven’t talked about a reunion. I’m pretty sure that we won’t do that.

++ Aside from music, what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing?

I’m much into sports. A great fan of football/soccer.

++ I always like asking these sort of questions, I’ve been to Sweden and love your country, but never been up north to Luleå, was wondering if you were to give some tips for the tourist in me? What are the sights you can’t miss?

If you come to Luleå, you must visit Kyrkbyn (The Church Village).

++ And what is the traditional food and drink from your city? And what’s your football team?

The traditional food here are a thing called Palt. My favourite football team are Tottenham Hotspurs. I’m a big fan of them.

++ Thanks a lot for the interview, it’s been an honour as I said, anything else you’d like to add?

Hope you enjoy the answers. It’s great to hear that you like what we did!

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Listen
Mary-Go-Round – Fish Bowl