30
Aug

Thanks so much to Andy E for the great interview! Please check more of their music at their myspace. And for those interested, I still have some copies left of the Cloudberry single

++ Hi Andy, it’s been some time since we released the little “Flowers are Calling” single, what have you been doing since then?

Still a lot on the musical front – Graham (guitar) has been keeping his had in by turning out for a few live dates with the Gilbert Quick Orchestra, Bridgit (vocals, Violin and Keyboards) has been involved with an early music choir, and I’ve (bass and guitars) been keeping the Golden Pathway Label ticking over as well as promoting gigs for my all time musical hero Dave Kusworth. We’ve not doen anything as Joystreet although there are a few things which we hope to do not least to record some vocal tracks for a couple of songs which we never got round to completing, so I will keep you posted on that.

++ So let’s go back in time now, when did Number 4 Joystreet started and how did the band get together?

Me and Bridge had been playing in India Falls, which sort of faded out as other members of the band got involved in other projects – Simon went on to become part of the ‘Chesterfields’, and Matt formed ‘Thatcher on Acid’. I was doing some reviews for a local fanzine ‘Feeding the Fish’ when I cam across a band called Psycho Daisies which had this amazing guitar sound. The Daisies guitarist was Graham who also had a little band called Grim Noel who produced some lovely songs. Anyway we befriended Graham and set up another musical project called October Evening. We played a few gigs and produced some demos. Whilst recording was relatively easy we found it difficult to replicate things live and did loads of swapping around – I played guitar as well as bass and even keyboards on a few songs when Bridgit was playing violin and singing – Graham also took turns on the bass. So we recruited a few other including Judith – vocals, Sophie – Cello, Andy D – Keyboards, and Paul drums. This line up basically then become Number 4 Joystreet.

++ What does the name Number 4 Joystreet mean?

It’s the title of a series of Victorian children’s books – It was one of Graham’s suggestions as he had a copy of Number 4 as he liked the illustrations. You can still find these popping up on ebay from time to time – I have a couple of the series in my collection.

++ What’s the full discography of the band? There’s no place I could find this… I know there are at least 2 singles on Golden Pathway… are there any compilation appearances perhaps? What about unreleased tracks?

Regrettably the full official discography is short

* Watch The World – ( an early demo version without cello and violin) appeared on the Golden Pathway Sheeves of Gold compilation cassette album.
* Watch The World/ Flowers Are Calling/ Artic Chill – were released on the Golden Pathway vinyl EP.
* Stephanie/ Just a Shadow – were released on Golden Pathway.
* Flowers (early demo)/ Only The Tress on Cloudberry.

There is an album listed on Golden Pathway called ‘Devon Fire’ and whilst this actually exists it has never been formally released – mainly due to the fact that Graham lost the art work in a computer crash – I must sort this out and get it released soon.

There are a few unreleased tracks not least tracks which were planned to be the second single release – ‘Sometimes I could Kill You’ and ‘Desiree’. We went into a big studio to record Desiree and even recorded two vocal versions – at the time we weren’t happy with the results so we ended up with Stephanie which was recorded on a porta studio in a village hall and then mastered in a real studio. Listening again to these tracks I can’t think why we didn’t release them.

++ Talking of Golden Pathway, which is your own label, how did that start? What was the main purpose of it? Is it still going? Tell us a bit about the label

The Golden Pathway was started by Wilf local artist musician who has since sadly passed away, and Graham mainly as a label for their band Psycho Daisies. At that stage it was very short runs of casette albums – more designed for friends than anu commercial releases. There was never any plan as such behind the label that I was aware of. The advent of the joystreet single, along with Wednesday Page and Pop Parker really saw the label take off. I should also mention a nice guy called Steve Ball who largely financed the Pop Parker release. I think it is fair to say that being more business minded than the others I helped sort out the business and promotional aspects of the label, which with a distribution deal heped raise the profile. It is still going today and in recent years we have put out CD releases by The Morrisons, The Legendary Ten Seconds, Console, and Tim Chaplin. I am hoing to sort out a comilation of some of the newer bands including ‘National Pastime’ who are rather good. There is loads we could do but never enough time.

Most of the material released including vinyl is still available direct from our web site www.goldenpathway.co.uk

++ The design for the singles are beautiful though I have to say, a bit difficult for storage purposes, haven’t found a polybag for them yet! But, honestly, the care and design for them are striking. How did you went to through this path and not stick to the conventional 7″ packaging? Why do this amazing folder packaging printed both sides with photos and medieval imagery? Was any of you guys in art school perhaps?!

Yeah you spotted it Graham was the art school guy and is a very talented artist. Given the involvement of artists like Wilf and Graham it was somewhat inevitable that the label should seek to utilise their talents and produce an artistic edge to the releases. It was all about giving people something they’d value – a good record – EP releases rather than than singles, and a nice sleeve to look at. From the business angle I always liked the idea of the single sleeves standing out a few inches about the others in the rack. There was also a DIY element to it – doing the style we had meant we could put together the packages ourselves and we had many a happy hour using double sided sticky tape putting the packages together.

++ I can hear Strawberry Switchblade as an influence, am I right? What other bands were you listening and loving at the time?

Yeah we loved Strawberry Switchblade and still do – it has been quite a few years since we haven’t included a version of ‘Trees and Flowers’ in our live set. However, the Strawberrys were out much as the same time as us, and inevitably the fact that we both had two girl vocalists singing in harmony gave comparissons but these were largely coincidental. Also the use of drum machines was common for the bedroom musicians of the time. If you listen to some of the Strawberry’s demos (download from their website) you can almost imagine them sat in their bedroom in Scotland whilst we were doing the same thing in deepest Somerset.

Graham had a love for 60’s psychedlic stuff, Bridge early music, and me the Velevet underground. In india we used to play things like Sunday Morning and Femme Fatale live and with Joystreet we used to play Yardbirds tracks live like Evil Hearted You and Heartful of Soul which were fun. The medieval influence appeared in songs like ‘when to her loot’.

++ I think you have beautiful songs and the lyrics are quite amazing, who wrote them? How did the songs shape up? How was adding a cello or a violin to them? Was that a hard thing? These instruments weren’t that common in the scene then, right?

Thanks. The songwriting was pretty easy between us Graham was most prolific in terms of setting out a guitar line, athough I did a few, lyrics were mainly mine, with Graham doing a few in the later tracks. I often used to sit and quickly read a few of Graham’s victorian books which I interwove with what else was going on in life to produce interesting lines. Bridgit is brilliant at the melody bits – although always prone to leaving out a few critical words because they didn’t quite fit! Bridgit also did one or two of her own compositions. We all played a fair part in the arrangements.

The cello and violin were something we were keen to include and with Bridgit playing violin it made sense to utilise her talent. We weren’t to keen on the cello sound the keyboard produced so Sophie was drafted in to play the real thing. She was great and just got on and did the cello bits without any fuss, an excellent musician. I can’t think of any oter bands who had a similar line up to us. The main head ache was playing live as sound engineers rarely came across a violin let alone a cello in the type of ‘rock’ venues we were playing. However, we got hold of some clever stick on transducer type things which meant you could plug the strings straight into the PA without the fuss of mikes and feedback.

++ I’m wondering about two songs in particular: who is Desiree from “Desiree”? and, what about Christ appears? What is that all about?

Good question which I can’t answer Desiree is a song written by a band called the Left Bank which very few people have probably heard of let alone who know what the lyrics mean. ‘Christ appears on the factory floor’ is one of Graham’s so I will have to ask him about that when I see him next.

++ I found a video on Youtube for Just a Shadow where it says: “Just a Shadow was recorded in a small village hall in Somerset. The video shows old cine footage which the band and friends recorded, to use as a back drop at some of their early gigs.” So can you tell me about these gigs? Did you gig a lot? Any particular gigs you remember?

Bridge, Graham and me had been to London to see Virginia Astley play live. It was part of a series of gigs where the live act had their favourite film played before their set – so the audience got to see a good film and band on the same night. We liked the concept, but the practicalities of putting on a film at the venues we were playing at the time was a unrealistic. Thus, having come across an old cince camera Wilf, Graham and me set about producing an film of abstract shots – mainly out of focus. The bit of film used on the ‘Just a shadow’ you tube track clip is a rush job and hopefully we will do another version as there is a lot of more usable film footage not included. Anyway following from the theme of art and music we ran the cine film at a couple of gigs as a back drop including when we supported Roy Harper on one occasion. As we weren’t really a band who bounced around when we played it gave another dimension to the live outings.

We did quite a few gigs, but the one I remember best is when we played at the Fleece in Bristol UK. It’s a big venue and a lot of name bands were playing there, and there was quite a lot of interest in us with a good crowd turing out. Anyway about an hour before we were due to take the sage Paul our drummer called to say he wasn’t going to make it due to being stuck somehwre in northern England. Thankfully the Chesterfields drummer kindly drove his kit up to the venue and John Parish of ‘ PJ Harvey’ fame played drums for us. We had to do a short non drum set to start the evening a venue were getting concerned about the time. Suffice to say that John was brilliant and the gig well received.

Another gig which will stay with me is when we played a venue bwhich doubled as a small brewery in deepest Devon called the Beer Engine. There was a bit of an issue regarding our fee and the venue oferred to provide free real ale to help compensate. Graham, somewhat unusally, thought he’d make the most of this and ha probably tried a pint of each variety they had on offer before we played. I dont’t think a single song went the way it should have on on one song Graham lost his way entirely during the guitar brake I tried my best to follow where he was going on the bass but eventually gave up and left him to ramble on and eventually find his way back to the actual song.

++ What would you say was the biggest highlight of Number 4 Joystreet?

For me it was when the first single received a rave review in the likes of the NME. It was great to appear along side the likes of ‘real’ bands like Echo & The Bunnymen. It’s funny but I don’t think any of us had any real ambition to make it big so to speak and we were always very happy putting out stuff on a little indie label with a bit of an underground edge to it all. I suppose that this in part refelected the artists we liked at the time – I would have been much happier being a Nikki Suden type ’star’ than say Mick Jagger.

++ Are you still in touch with all the members? Do you still live in Somerset? Has it changed a lot?

With the exception of Sophie and drummer Paul we have all kept in touch – me and Bridgit have had to because we are married! I saw Graham at the recent Dave Kusworth gig I put on in Yeovil and Judith is living down the road in Dorset. We are in Cornwall and Graham in Leeds but family and friends bring us back to Somerset from time to time. What seems to have changed is the local music scene as there doen’t seem to be many bands coming through anymore or the support for local music for some reason. Yeovil in Somerset has a great venue called the Orange Box which should be the place to go.

++ There’s a lovely cover of The Flowers Are Calling by The Magic Whispers from Spain, have you heard it? Do you follow or like any contemporary indiepop band?

Yes that’s a really good version – it was great to hear one of our songs covered although they got some of the words wrong. I get to hear quite a bit of new music with the label still receiving emails from hopeful bands. Exeter UK has a good indie scene going on with the likes of National Pastime and Console. Also in deepest Cornwalll there are some good bands like I say Marvin (who may have just split up) and My Elvis Blackout who are excellent. I’d much rather see a band live than watch tem on TV, although myspsace throws up a few gems. I must however confess that you are mire likely to find me playing the latest release by Dave Kusworth than any new band – although in terms of mainstream stuff I thought that Pink’s ‘don’t leave me’ was a brilliant little song.

++ And now summer’s over, but I guess, there’s still time for for enjoying life? What other hobbies do you have aside from music? Any plans for the upcoming weekend?

Well I’m sure Graham will be doing yet more DIY on his house, Brdgit will be doing more music – singing playing the piano or even the church organ. As for me I’m managing an under 18’s football (soccer team) and our new season is just about to start.

++ Thanks so much Andy, anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks for keeping the interest in Indie going – keep up the good work.

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Listen

Number 4 Joystreet – The Flowers Are Calling

2
27
Aug

:: The Wishing Stones

author: Roque       category: interviews

Thanks so much to Bill Prince and John Niven for the great interview! Please check out more of their songs and get in touch with them on myspace!

++ Dave Sheppard wrote: “After flirtations within the narrow parameters of “indie pop” (and several line ups) Wishing Stones mainman Bill Prince was now fronting a blowzy-but-deft rock’n’roll quarter.” I’m wondering how many line up changes did The Wishing Stones had and how did the final line up came together? How did you all knew each other?

Bill: I’d been writing songs before the Loft split, and decided to try and put my own band together. I was introduced to a guitarist, Seth Hodder, by the late, great Phil Hall. We then recruited a bassist (Karen O’Keefe) and drummer (John Wills) and embarked on some dates organized by Sub Aqua Records founder Jeff Barrett. One of these took us to Scotland where we were supported by Celebrate Texas, featuring John Niven and Stewart Garden on guitars, Paolo Righetti on bass and Andy Kerr on drums. I seem to remember John joining the Wishing Stones on stand-in guitar after we parted company with Seth before the rest of his band joined him in London. Next, Karen left and John joined Loop, so Celebrate Texas effectively became the second incarnation of the Wishing Stones (with Paolo driving the tour van!)

++ What about the “narrow parameters of indie pop” phrase. Do you agree with him? I do see that The Wishing Stones got more rock-ish but I still feel there’s indiepop in them. Did you listen or followed any indiepop bands back then?

Bill: There was definitely a ruling aesthetic about the scene back then that banned long guitar solos and leather trousers. The Loft had done a lot to break that down, but we were still perceived as indie, albeit at the rockier end of the prevailing early-eighties American roots/psychedelia scenes. (True Indie having not really arrived at that point.) Pete Astor had described his songwriting as applying Nick Drake’s lyrics with Creedence’s rhythms, which seemed a very cool idea (even if RT’s Geoff Travis dismissed it as preposterous) so I extended the brief by attempting a fusion of Richard Hell And The Voidoids and The Band. The Loft had covered Hell’s “Time”, I moved the story on by covering “Going Going Gone”, a track from the album Dylan recorded with the Band (“Planet Waves”), also covered by Hell (See what I did there?). It was referential rather than reverential, which isn’t always the easiest distinction for others to appreciate. Anyway, that was the “sonic template” as Pat Collier at Greenhouse Studios taught us to say.

++ Why did you name the band The Wishing Stones?

Bill: I grew up on the coast in Devon, and along the sea wall were two-diamond shaped stones a footstep apart. A few in the town believed if you stepped simultaneously on both and made a wish, it would come true. I’ve no evidence of that being the case, but it seemed a nice set of words. I was made painfully aware of how closely it resembled the Weather Prophets only later…

++ You started as a band in 1986, in Glasgow. There were so many great pop bands then and I feel there was a healthy scene. What do you miss the most from those days? Do you feel Glasgow has changed much?

John: As Bill said, he didn’t really start the band in Glasgow, the Wishing Stones were a London band who later co-opted three Glasgow kids into the line up. Stewart, Andy and I all moved to Glasgow around 1984 and it was a great time to be a teenager into pop music – we saw the first gigs by Primal Scream, The Mary Chain. We saw The Loft at Splash One when Bill was playing bass for them. They were kind of like rock Gods to us at the time, they were so far ahead of what we were trying to do with our band: they had records out, they’d been on TV, they’d been in the NME. So, for me, getting to play with Bill was like being asked to join the Rolling fucking Stones. As you’ve probably gathered we inhabited a very small universe at that time. What do I miss most from those days? Being 19 years old. That was pretty good. Has Glasgow changed? In terms of it being a happening music city I’m sure it still is, but I’m not qualified to comment. I’m a very old man now.

++ Your first single, Beat Girl, is a fantastic slice of guitar pop. Maybe it’s my favourite Wishing Stones track, so I have to ask how did this song came to life! Was it based in a real life story maybe? Also how did you end up on Head Records?

Bill: Like everyone at that time, I was caught up in the Velvet Underground/Factory scene as representing one of the cooler periods in pop. And, like everyone else, I’d read the Edie biography. The title came from an Adam Faith film that was on TV one afternoon. I didn’t watch it, but I thought it was a good name for a song. I don’t remember writing it, but I do remember feeling it had that simple rolling chord structure of a VU/Loft song and liking it for that. Head was a label set up by Jeff Barrett while he was working for Creation Records. We and the Servants became its first acts.

++ After a second release on Head you moved on to Sub Aqua to release two great singles. Why did you change labels? Was this a good move? Care to tell me a bit more about Sub Aqua? I don’t really know much about the label.

Bill: I seem to remember there was an issue with the name – Jeff had taken it from the Monkees’ film but someone else had the rights to it. I can’t recall whom, but I do remember he wasn’t someone to tangle with so Jeff decided to go for the poppier, janglier sounding Sub Aqua – complete with leaping dolphin logo – and we were fine with that. Everything else, including the manufacture and distribution deal stayed the same.

++ How do you remember your last gig supporting Spacemen 3 in Leicester Square, London? How did that go? Which other gigs you remember vividly and why?

Bill: I don’t remember very much at all, I’m afraid. As with all bands in the throes of breaking up, there was a lot of emotion and anger flying around that no one was quite prepared to express or tackle head-on. We hadn’t split by then, but the air was bad… I have fonder memories of a show we played with thin White Rope at Dingwall’s. Stewart and John had been arrested the night before for urinating in public, and got out just in time to play the gig. We opened with an a capella “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” which had something of the Blues Brothers about it but made us laugh…

John: The Spacemen 3 gig was awful. The band themselves were fine, really nice guys, but their fans were kind of like Deadheads – you know, people so into the Grateful Dead they don’t listen to anything else. They just hated us and we were getting heckled through our entire set, so it was just a bad, bad night. I remember being in the van afterwards trying to get out of Leicester Square and we were arguing about whether to put De La Soul or Robbie Robertson on the tape player. Really fighting about it. It had reached that kind of point. But Bill’s right about Dingwall’s – that was probably the best show we ever did. I remember coming offstage just shaking because it had been so good. The place was packed out and the audience were going nuts and we played great and the sound was really good – just one of those nights when everything was in the pocket. ‘Superheaven’, as Debbie Harry called it.

++ When and why did you call it a day? Were any of you involved with bands after?

Bill: We completed an album in early ‘88, and then it sort of went downhill from there. Basically we imploded before we could release “Wildwood”. No musical differences that I was aware of, but some competing personal agendas. Andy joined a band back in Scotland called Spirea X. John has played since and I became a bedroom folkie. Still am.

John: I behaved terribly I’m afraid. I got involved in a relationship with Bill’s girlfriend at the time, so we had all that to deal with as well the fact that it was a strange time musically, late 88, 89. Major labels hadn’t yet cottoned onto signing indie bands, dance music was huge and we seemed to be stuck in this no man’s land. I think you can ride out tangled personal relationships, sleeping with each others partners and stuff, if you’re the Rolling Stones in 1969 – pots of cash and constantly touring and recording – but, being in the Wishing Stones in 1989, it was a lot harder to rise above it. That we were so poor was another thing. I remember being at the London marathon (just as a spectator!) in April 1989, right towards the end, and between three of us we didn’t have enough money to buy an ice cream. I thought, ‘mmm, this is a tough way of life here…’

++ What do The Wishing Stones dedicate their time nowadays?

Bill: I’m a journalist, John’s a writer, Stewart is still in the music business and Andy is a health professional.

++ The Wildwood album was released two years after you split. Why did this happen? How did it end up being released by Heavenly Records? Why wasn’t it released while you were still going on?

Bill: After the split happened, the album was shelved for obvious reasons, but later on, Jeff got a big deal for Heavenly records and asked if he could release the record. There seemed little point as John and I weren’t even speaking at the time, but there was no real reason to refuse either, so it came out in 1991 I seem to remember.

++ Talking about the album, what are your favourite songs on it and what do you remember from recording it? Any anecdotes you can share?

Bill: I can remember recording virtually all of it, at Greenhouse Studios off the City Road in London. We had a fair amount of time – 10-15 days in all I think – and we’d worked on the songs long and hard, until some of them expired under the weight of our own expectation unfortunately, particularly the longer ones. I’d been listening to a lot of Alex Chilton (solo and Big Star) which definitely influenced the sound. I’m particularly fond of “Big Black Sky” because it was the first tune we put down, and “Dying On The Vine” – my attempt to write and record the Beach Boys’ “Til I Die” (!) – is something I wish I’d had the time, money and talent to record again. Recording was relatively straightforward – in retrospect we probably didn’t push ourselves enough to alter for the record what we’d been playing live– but I remember mixing as a grind. It all got a bit lost, and after we’d finished I’d wished we’d gone for more ‘garage’ feel (I was listening to a lot of Replacements again by then). C’est la vie.

John: I’ll do a few ‘I remembers’. I remember recording ‘Long Road out of Town’ – we were a really tight band at that point and that song had such a great groove. Even Pat Collier (producer) was rocking away and he’d been in the game a long old time. I remember sitting at the mixing desk with Pat while Bill did the guitar solo out in the live room and thinking ‘Shit, this sounds fucking great!’ Because up until that point our experience of recording had been the usual indie band thing of not-enough-time-in-a-really-shit-studio. It was wonderful to be recording at Greenhouse, which was a pretty top flight facility in those days: The House of Love, The Wonderstuff and Primal Scream had all done their records there. I remember getting off the tube at Old Street in the mornings really excited and happy to be recording an album, you know, being 22 and doing exactly what you’d wanted to do since you were 13 or 14. Also, you’d get fed! They had catering! Shepherd’s pie and curries and things. Heaven. But, as Bill says, when it came to mixing it all got a bit lost. It was very hard to make the kind of record we wanted to make in the 1980s. Producers and engineers all thought Bon Jovi had the greatest drum sound in the world. Everything wound up with gated reverb all over it and loads of compression. If you brought in a Richard Hell record, or a Band record and said ‘can we make it sound like this?’ They’d look at you like you were deranged. It wasn’t until Oasis came along that people realized again that you all you needed to record a rock and roll band were some good amps and a few mikes in the room. If we had the chance again I think we’d make it a lot sparser, dirtier and looser.

++ Last year you reformed for the Truck Festival and I hear you played a great show! How did the idea to reform for this even happen? Was it easy to start again? Was rehearsing with your mates the same as years ago? What was the best part of playing again

Bill: John and I had recently got back in touch and he reminded me it was the 20th anniversary since our split. We decided to do a weekend of rehearsal/jamming for old time’s sake, which we did, with a little help on keyboards from Sean from the Rockingbirds. That was great fun, and we casually discussed doing a gig. Stewart was involved with Truck so they kindly offered us a Saturday late afternoon set. The Wishing Stones had never played a festival so it seemed like the perfect thing to do, just for the record, so to speak. The whole weekend was great: John had been at Latitude the night before (Friday) reading from Kill Your Friends, so we all met up in Oxfordshire, enjoyed a couple of beers in the sun and played to a small but appreciative audience made up almost entirely of under30s, which slightly freaked us out! I also got to see Martin Simpson and the Lemonheads, and we all ended up back at the local Travel Tavern drinking Evan Dando’s rider. Good times.

++ Will there be any surprises from The Wishing Stones in the future? Maybe another gig? Or plans to reissue all the back catalogue?

Bill: We now stay in touch, Andy’s in Scotland so we can’t play but hopefully we’ll put something else together before not too long. There’s a song we never recorded that we re-learnt, rehearsed and played at Truck which I’d love to release one day.

++ If you were to ask for three wishes to a wishing stone, what would they be?

Bill: 1) Learn to play piano

2) Learn not to stress the little stuff and face up to the big stuff

3) Get my Byronic brown locks back

++Best thing of being a Wishing Stone?

++ Thanks again so much, anything else you’d like to add?

Bill: We got to play. And record.

John: Hey kid, you got to hear the band play.

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Listen
The Wishing Stones – Big Black Sky

4
24
Aug

:: Coriander – Let’s Cook!

author: Roque       category: rants

Cabbages. Did you know there’s a variety of cabbage called “Danish Ballhead”? Me neither. Yesterday I was going through the online encyclopaedia as my knowledge about this green leaf kugel was limited to the sauerkraut, to the red cabbage they serve you with the wiener schnitzel -which i love to mix with mashed potatoes- and, of course, cole slaw salad. And if I go a bit further away, do you remember the Cabbage Patch Kids and their arch-nemesis the Garbage Pail Kids? I remember at school trading cards of the latter were banned. The privileges of British education.

My first experience at ‘cooking’ was atrocious. I ended up with a breaded fish in flames! The fire alarm went crazy. Water started to sparkle from the ceiling. After that my cooking courage was reduced to only making pasta. Boil some water, throw the pasta in there, and after, vodka sauce -usually- from a jar. Suddenly, a pleasure of trying different pastas grew up on me, from the ordinary fettucini to the playful bucatinis, I had to try them all. Still it puzzles me how I didn’t grow up fat with that much starch!

Soon after, as I started working, my Italian cuisine days were over. Now it was all about eating out. Restaurants became my second home. Day after day, typical fast food joints to exclusive gourmet ethnic kitchens, trying to find something new and exciting to eat, a DIY epicure. I wonder why I haven’t been offered a food review column in the newspaper by now.

At my apartments, I never bothered to connect the gas supply to the kitchen, even though the service is quite cheap. But there has been some periods of time were food was cooked at my place. That’s when I was living with these impetuous cooking masters as flatmates: Rafael and Felix. Sadly we didn’t all live together at the same time because I could imagine fantastic banquets happening. It was at two different points of life where I shared apartments with them. But both Rafael and Felix would come after a long day at work, smelling to ‘kitchen’ mixed with Miami’s humidity, to keep on cooking. They wouldn’t stop. I remember Rafael calling me before getting out of work asking me, what do you want to eat later? Then he would show up at home with his pockets full of smuggled food -in a plastic bag- from the restaurant to prepare the best homemade food in Miami.

But I’ve had Chefs dreams even though I seem not suitable for any kitchen. One of my “dream releases” was to do a full retrospective of The Chefs one day. We were quite close to make it happen until I stopped hearing from Helen McCookerybook. She was excited, we were excited, I was giggling. She even sent me a couple of unreleased songs that are fantastic! We were going to also include the recordings by Skat. Don’t know what went wrong. Back in 2006 and 2007, she even wrote a couple of times on her blog about it:

– A Peruvian record company called Plastilina contacted me a while ago asking to bring out a Chefs compilation. I’m now back in touch with Carl and James (guitarists). Russ, the drummer, died a few years ago.

– Well, Plastilina have been in touch: the surviving Chefs will have to meet up and talk, I think. I’ve always wanted to go to South America- first, Venezuela (there was a girl at school from there) then my friend Marek Kohn went to Peru and I wanted to go there, then Argentina after I read about Hank Wangford going there,then Chile out of curiosity.

– Meanwhile, Plastilina have been in touch again, and I hope that somehow we can sort ot a Chefs release some time soon. But I think that’s a bit of a don’t-hold-your-breath situation.

Reading her lines again, she doesn’t sound that positive, right? But then, she did send me some ’secret tracks’. Hard to figure out. In any case, I believe this compilation has to be released someday! Perhaps Cherry Red wants to do it? That would be sweet because I love The Chefs but also maybe that’s what will give me a kick start to try to cook. Perhaps one day I’ll be at least half of a chef, or a fifth. I’d be happy being a fifth of a chef. At least be able to make some tasty cabbage rolls. I’m up for the challenge, I’ll bring an apron.

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Listen
The Chefs – 24 Hours

0
19
Aug

:: Lee Memorial

author: Roque       category: interviews

Thanks so much to Karl Smith for the interview! Please check more of their music at their myspace.

++ Hi Karl! How are you doing, we are enjoying summer up here, but how is winter in Perth? What’s your favourite season of the year?

I’m actually living in Melbourne these days. Been here for some time now but both Laura and myself spent our teenage years over there. Perth winter isn’t too bad really… pretty mild. But Melbourne has the most unpleasant weather out of all the cities here so I live for the summer time these days. We moved here because the music and arts scene is so much better than anywhere else even though the weather stinks – though Sydneysiders sometimes beg to differ!

++ Lee Memorial is quite a departure from what you were doing with Sodastream. Was it time to try something new? What was the overall feeling to have a full band?

I did want to do something new. I had had a full year off from playing music. I did a few solo shows here and there but I spent most of my time doing writing, which is what I was studying at the time. After a year though, I started to get quite restless and over that time I had written all the songs for the album, so I figured I would try and put a record together and see where it went.

I liked the idea of having more colours to work with and use some broader strokes. Things in Sodastream were always very subtle and considered. That was the way we worked and I’m proud of the records we made, but I needed to try something different.
It’s been great working with this group of people because they all have such different ideas and come from such vastly different backgrounds. I bring the songs to the gang and, though the occasional one stays relatively similar, they are always so much improved by the other voices and ideas.

++ How did the band come together? Who are Lee Memorial and how did you end up finding such great musicians?

I am lucky to be playing with these guys – they’re amazing. When I wrote the songs I was hoping to have everyone playing on a record but I wasn’t sure if they’d be up for starting an ongoing project. Thankfully when I asked them they all said yes and so it began. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a band thing or not, and whether that would suit the songs or not, but after our first rehearsal it was as though everyone had already played the songs. It gelled really quickly and we work quite intuitively rather than discussing things as we go. Everyone is in a ton of other bands so when we do get to rehearse we just dive in and see what happens. We’ve all been in bands for a long time and this one has a loose structure which suits where we are at. The songs are bit different each time we play and I like that: the idea that there’s no definitive version of a song, just a moment in time.

++ The name Lee Memorial comes from a guesthouse in Kolkatta, India, right? What’s the story behind it? Do you think there’s any kind of influence of Indian music on your music? Or just perhaps you enjoy indian food as much as I do? If so, what are your favourite Iindian dishes?!

I lived in Bangladesh and India until I was thirteen and Lee Memorial was a ceepy old Victorian era guest house that we used to stay at on our way to boarding school. It was built in memory of the Lee family who died in a landslide around the turn of the century.
It really fed our imagination when as kids we would play on the rickety fire escapes and verandas. The place was straight out of a gothic novel and always felt haunted… When I was thinking about the new project the name kept popping into my head and so that’s what we eventually decided on.

I wouldn’t say there’s too much influence from Indian music, but definitely the food (can’t get enough of that) and some of their writers – like Arundahati Roy, Rohinton Mistry and the mighty Rabidranath Tagore.

++ You’ve put out this year your first album “The Lives of Lee Memorial”. For those who don’t have a clue on what to expect from this lush album, how would you describe it? would you recommend us your favourite songs from it?

It’s always hard to choose favourites, but I am proud of Joseph Skelling and Drifting as they go places lyrically where I haven’t been before. It’s more of a storytelling album than the kind of confessional songwriting that I focused on with Sodastream. But I was also very happy with the way Mayflower and Berlin turned out once everyone had put their slant on it -they became very different songs.

How would I describe it? That’s hard too! Maybe a collection of stories that are a little bit ragged and little bit noisy, but with a still mind and a quiet heart – if that makes any sense at all.

++ The album was released on the Dot Dash label, care to tell me a bit about them?

They’re a local label based here in Melbourne, run by a couple of fellas who have been doing their thing for a long time. They do a lot of overseas stuff but also have a great roster of local bands like St Helens, Ned Collette & Wirewalker and Jessica Says. They have been kicking around for ages but are still believers in good music and never push the bands to compromise. In this day and age where its harder and harder to scrape by in music they stand firm to their ideals, which is very rare and inspiring.

++ I’m visiting Berlin in less than two months, you sing about the streets of Berlin on “Berlin” (of course). Why dedicate a song to this city? Any good recommendations there?

To be honest I’ve never spent too much time in Berlin. I’ve only been their twice but there is a magic to the city that is quite intoxicating. The song is more from the perspective of a collection of strangers who see it as a way out of their own lives – the idea of a place as a new beginning, rather than a celebration of any specific city.

++ Private Joseph Skelling is a fictional character? This song has very obscure lyrics and a mellow melody, how did you end up writing “Killing is now my everyday”? How did this song shape up, from idea to a proper song?

This song came together very quickly and to be honest I don’t have a strong memory of writing it – all the best ones seem to arrive that way. At the time I was studying and was doing a lot of reading about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and what was going on there amongst the soldiers and the civilians. It got me thinking about the demands we place on the soldiers over there. We send these young people to these anarchic places with little or no experience of what life is like over there, and then we are outraged by what they do when they come unstuck. I’m by no means condoning the brutal acts that some of the soldiers have committed, I was merely trying to understand the succession of events that might lead someone down that path.

++ How do you see the Perth music scene today? I am a big fan of the Perth scene of the late 80s, like Summer Suns, Palisades, Charlotte’s Web, do you like any of that?

Yeah. I do. It’s a bit before my time but Kim from the Summer Suns put out my first record and we have done many gigs together over the years.

These days, to be honest, I don’t see a lot of it being over here in Melbourne. But there are a lot of great bands from the West. There is kind of two streams of bands that come out of there – the more successful but less interesting ones, and the ones that just do their own thing in the isolation. In my opinion the crazies are the ones to look out for. A few of my favourites are Kill Devil Hills, the Tucker B’s and The Leap Year.

++ Has Lee Memorial gigged a lot so far? Any particular gigs you have enjoyed the most and why?

We haven’t gigged a great deal as yet. With everyone being so busy it can be tough to get us all together but there have been a few highlights. We played a great show up in Sydney with the Red Sun Band and more recently a community Radio benefit with some of the best local bands around – and it is a very exciting time in Melbourne musically. Bands like Dick Diver, St Helens, Beaches and Jessica Says are really doing some interesting things. We’re heading home for the first time next month to play a festival out in the salt lakes about 400kms east of Perth. Really looking forward to that.

++ What can we expect in the future from Lee Memorial?

We’re looking at making another record soon. I have all the songs written, just need to spend a bit of time with the team nutting out the arrangements and then we’ll book some time and bash them out. The second one will be a lot louder I think and have a bit more of everyone on it. The last album was conceived when I was alone in my back shed just jamming away, where as this one will be a combination of all the ideas that have been bouncing around over the last six months or so.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Thanks for listening. Nice to know that some folks so far away are hearing the songs.

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Listen
Lee Memorial – Berlin

0
16
Aug

:: Taste This

author: Roque       category: recommended

At last a quiet Sunday. It’s sunny outside, the day looks great from my window, but today I’m staying in. I have lots of work to do, and there’s football to watch. But before I start with these very important tasks, and, while I’m waiting for lunch to arrive, I thought ripping some vinyl. It’s been a while since I got to recommend a very obscure band on the blog. While I’m waiting for my ham-pepperoni-chicken-onion pizza, to taste it, to have a bite, let me introduce you to Taste This.

I feel this is as obscure as it can get. If you search on google, shows up that Da Capo store in Netherlands used to carry it. And that’s all. On top of that, there’s barely any information on the sleeve. The front cover says the name of the band, the back cover has the track names. And that’s it. A side being “Sweet Refrain” and B side being “Right Mood”. On the 7″ labels there’s a bit more of information. It says Made in Australia.  So that’s a start. The label is called Formula, but finding information about it, seems impossible as well. Two other details, the producer of this single is Larry Ponting and the engineer is Tim Ryan. Do these names ring a bell to you?

There’s no information about band members or even when was this single released. By the sound of the band I’d say late 80s, as it reminds me a lot to bands like The Crystal Set or The Benedicts. But then that is a wild guess. Both songs are really nice pieces of jangle pop. I had a hard time choosing which song to share with you as both are quite distinctive. “Sweet Refrain” is a slower guitar pop song, much in the vein of Perth fabulous Stolen Picassos. “Right Mood” is much more upbeat on the other hand, like an epic version of These Future Kings. Don’t know how hard it is to track this record. I found it on ebay for 5 bucks a couple of months ago, so I’m guessing it wouldn’t be hard for you. Anyways, have a listen! And if you happen to know anything else about this very mysterious band, please give me a shout!

PS. We need that Australian obscure 80s pop compilation soon!

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Listen
Taste This – Right Mood

10
13
Aug

:: The Sound of Summer

author: Roque       category: rants

It’s been a week now since I saw the “(500) Days of Summer” movie. I don’t know if it was a good idea, and if it influenced at all the way I enjoyed it, to have a bottle of vodka and a bottle of diet coke at the last row of the kino. Bottles were empty after 10 or 15 minutes of the opening credits.

The movie has started. Zooey Deschanel is an easy crush. I can fall in love immediately. She is pretty. She is more than pretty. She sings The Smiths. I think that’s enough explanation to know this is going to hurt. Pretty girls make graves.

This is a story of boy meets girl. The boy, Tom Hansen of Margate, New Jersey, grew up believing that he’d never truly be happy until the day he met the one. This belief stemmed from early exposure to sad British pop music and a total mis-reading of the movie ‘The Graduate’. The girl, Summer Finn of Shinnecock, Michigan, did not share this belief. Since the disintegration of her parent’s marriage she’d only love two things. The first was her long dark hair. The second was how easily she could cut it off and not feel a thing. Tom meets Summer on January 8th. He knows almost immediately she is who he has been searching for. This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.

What the narrator says reminds me to Nick Hornby’s lines on High-Fidelity:

“What came first – the music or the misery? Did I listen to music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to music? Do all those records turn you into a melancholy person? People worry about kids playing with guns, and teenager watching violent videos; we are scared that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands – literally thousands – of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss. The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and I don’t know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know that they’ve been listening to the sad songs longer than they’ve been living the unhappy lives.”

I feel I’m the main character now. And I’m at IKEA with the Zooey. My little sister comes and tells me: “Just because she’s likes the same bizarro crap you do doesn’t mean she’s your soul mate.” Crap. Thanks for the wake up call. I drop the cheap plastic smirnoff bottle. I imagine the whole movie theatre turning around and looking at me as if my cellphone was ringing. Now my little sister in the movie says: “You know, all my friends love you and think you’re great. It’s like they say, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. “ I look to the group of twelve year old girls that are my lil’ sister’s friends, I think of Dugly Stewart’s masterpiece “Your Class” and answer her: “Those aren’t fish. They’re guppies”.

Time to go the restroom. I hate these interruptions! I run fast, and I’m back to my seat. I’m at a park, sitting on a bench with Zooey/Summer. She is so pretty, did I say this before? She has the best dresses. Do you think Zooey thrifts? Maybe at “Beyond Retro”? or on the many stores at Brick Lane? She has found another guy, she will marry another guy. The movie is crap. I tell the girl next to me, “you know, this guy portraying me in the movie, he is not good enough. I would have never let Zooey go”. She says, “you have a distorted sense of reality”. The screen goes pitch black.

But summer never leaves Miami. This is the “Sound of Summer”.

The Candidates – The Sound of Summer

You saw the sunshine, you never felt the rain
You heard the laughter, you never even thought about the pain
I saw your crying, I heard you call my name
I only wanted to be with you again
Did you never realise that there was something close to magic in your eyes
DId it come as some surprise when you told me you were leaving
But now you’re gone where will I get the strength to carry on

You saw the sun, but you thought you saw the moon
You thought your time had come but it was way too soon
You had the world at your feet and it was oh so sweet
You heard the music, but that was just the sound of summer

One year older I’m sitting here alone
Those days of summer seem to cut me to the bone
Those sunshine kisses and promises we swore
Just tales of lies and stories of the ring you never wore
As you were rushing for your plane
You said we wouldn’t meet again

You saw the sun, but you thought you saw the moon
You thought your time had come but it was way too soon
You had the world at your feet and it was oh so sweet
You heard the music, but that was just the sound of summer

I’m looking for some space
I don’t think I could take seeing someone else in my place
Week after week, day after day
I’m still hearing you say

You saw the sun, but you thought you saw the moon
You thought your time had come but it was way too soon
You had the world at your feet and it was oh so sweet
You heard the music, but that was just the sound of summer

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Listen
The Candidates – The Sound of Summer

0
10
Aug

:: Mesmer and Reason

author: Roque       category: rants

1. So I got these lovely CD from Jon Clay, from Barny, including their only 3 recorded songs (”Undisputed Beauty Queen”, “Free Your Mind” and “Liquid Satisfaction”) and a live gig at the Water Rats (1998). All of it great stuff! I wonder why weren’t these songs properly released why I listen to them at work. I’m equipped with huge Behringer headphones, I’m concentrated designing the artwork for The Sound of Starke Adolf Vol.1 CD cover, I’m feeling that it has been so far a good evening. I even had a great hamburger. As usual, every now and then I check this obsessive website that is Last.fm. But what does Last.fm do to me? It ’scrobbles’ the Barny songs as Barney. Yes, just as Barney, the purple annoying dinosaur that my little cousins enjoy. On top of it all, a smiling Barney picture shows up, happily adorning my music chart, sandwiched between Hookline and Silverfish and The Close Lobsters.

2. On Saturday I’m around the art galleries in the Wynwood area in Miami. I’m more interested in complimentary drinks than art itself, shame on me. We’ve found this gallery that are giving away some pomegranate liqueur. I guess it could be considered a “chick drink”, but I really like it. It’s terribly sweet and tastes so good just as those pomegranates I used to pick up in the Peruvian Andes, taking all those seeds out for eating or for “seed wars” with my brother. Mind you, in Spanish pomegranate is “granada“, literally a grenade.

Drinking and drinking, refreshing the torrid tropical night. The Pama bottle continues to pour plastic cup after plastic cup while I round the four walls of the gallery. My friend Felix is still flirting with the bartender. Don’t know if it’s because she is cute or because he doesn’t want to tip her. Suddenly this lady approaches to me, I’d say late thirties, early forties. “Why does it say that on your t-shirt” she asks me with a puzzled and wrinkly face. I double-check what it says on my t-shirt. “Cats on Fire”, written in italics, below it a little owl -which later that night was the reason another lady would say “how cute, I love owls”- nothing weird on my t-shirt then.

“Well, it’s a band” I answered. “Do you find weird the name?” I ask her as she kept staring at me. She replied “Just that my cat died last week”. A small silence, I try to quickly think what I’m supposed to say, I feel for you? I’m sorry? My condolences? She doesn’t give me time to answer, “and I cremated him yesterday”.

Tough luck. Cat on Fire indeed.

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Listen
Cats on Fire – Crooked Paper Clip (demo)

0
08
Aug

:: Windy Miller

author: Roque       category: interviews

Thanks so much to Matt and Richard Bolton for the interview! Check more about Windy Miller at their facebook page and become a fan!

++ Windy Miller formed from the ashes of two bands, The Apple Moths and Love Truncheon. The Apple Moths are quite familiar to me, but Love Truncheon is not! Care to tell me a bit about this band? Were there any recordings?

Matt: I still don’t know who Love Truncheon were. Dan the drummer from Windy Miller originally played with them, whoever they were, and maybe Russ who came later to join on guitar. Richard will know more about this than me. Richard?

Richard: Love Truncheon were a rock band formed by russ and dan, both were massively into guns and roses and the likes so you can sort of imagine the feel of the band, lots of cocking and rocking and the likes, there were demo recordings which i believed have been lost or recorded over a few times with various practices, to be honest that’s probably a good thing.

++ So who were Windy Miller and how did the band came together?

Richard: Towards the back end of the Apple Moths the idea was put forward that it might be nice to get ourselves one of those proper drummer types, little did we know at this point what an impact that would have on the band, Eddie, who owned the drum machine we used didn’t seem very keen on the idea, nor did he welcome the addition of distortion on the guitar demo’s of the new stuff. Sadly the applemoths broke up and immediately reformed as Windy Miller, with all new songs and a new drummer, Dan, to boot who we picked up from local advertisements. We began to write a whole new set in Dan’s Mum and Dads house and quickly decided we might benefit from another guitarist, Dans friend Rusz was asked to try out and it worked first time, a new band and a new sound!

Matt: Windy Miller were the remaining members of The Apple Moths after Eddie departed. Dan joined on drums, I think Richard found him under a stone somewhere, or should I say rock? I don’t think I’d ever met him before he joined Windy Miller. He was very young and was into rock music, Guns n Roses etc. Drummers were thin on the ground where we lived, so it just wasn’t an option looking around for one that was into the kind of music we’d played previously with The Apple Moths. Needless to say, Dan joining hailed a completely new musical direction. Even more so when a friend of his Russ joined on second guitar, who was a complete metal head, with his widdly-widdly guitar solos, one of which can be heard on ‘Billy’. In retrospect, I really don’t know how I thought we’d benefit from getting rock musicians in the band.

++ The name Windy Miller comes from the TV show Camberwick Green, right? Care to tell me a bit about this show as Im not familiar at all with it? And why did you choose the name?

Richard: Camberwick Green was a children’s tv show over here in the UK, it was an animation type show, Windy Miller being exactly what it says on the tin, a Miller living in a windmill making bread for the locals, each character had its own little tune to go with it but Windy’s, well his was by far the best and so we used his fabulous persona as our new name.

Matt: No real reason, it just sounded good at the time. It was a great show, and a huge part of our formative years, there were three shows, Trumpton, Chigley, and of course Camberwick Green where Windy Miller was from, he had a great hat/hair thing going on.

++ What are other children TV shows you liked? Do you follow any TV shows nowadays?

Richard: This is a difficult one, we all grew up in slightly different times so the childrens tv shows were different, my personal favourites were chorlton and the wheelies, H.R Puffenstuff and Jamie and the magic torch, I’m sure Matty will like to add his own in at this point.

Matt: There were many, I look back on them with great fondness as I think most people who grew up at the time does. Chorlton and the Wheelies, Mr Benn, The Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Bagpuss, The Herb Garden etc. far too many to mention here, but they were so great, I loved them all to bits, the creators of these shows (usually Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate) showed such imagination, something that is sadly lacking in my opinion today with kids T.V. shows. Back in those days they were a lot more innocent, and dare I say it, twee

++ I heard rumours that there will be a Windy Miller song on a future Leamington Spa compilation? Is this true?

Richard: Yeah apparently! Matty and myself tried to rerecord win by miles to put that on the album but i think they plan to use the original recording which is ok by us, saves us having to change lyrics from “that i’m too young to be insecure” to “i’m too old to be insecure”?

Matt: Yes, I’m sending them on to Uwe at Firestation records, hopefully he’ll include one.

++ I only know the 4 songs that are up on the facebook page. Are there any more recordings? Were there any demo tapes released? Tracklists?

Richard: There were around 15 songs written by Windy Miller but only those 4 recorded in the studio although we do have a pretty decent recording of a practice session that we have converted to MP3, very nice to have to listen back to. Unfortunately we cannot remember all the track titles but a few of them are safely lodged in our memories, Starman Jones, Spicy red soup, and Slow/Fast being but 3 of them.

Matt: Well we had many more songs, but very little recorded. Apart from two songs which have been lost to the mists of time, that we recorded in a friends garage, funnily enough with Roger (mentioned on the Apple Moths Myspace) on Drums. We were essentially a band out for a good time, the music wasn’t that important, and for me, being in that band signalled a loss of innocence. I was approaching my twenties by now, and had left my indie pop roots well and truly behind me. All of what we do have recorded, was more or less immediately after The Apple Moths split up, I doubt indie popsters would approve of the stuff we used to do later on.

++ From the facebook songs, I’m quite curious about the names “Billy” and “Elephant”, what’s the story behind them?

Matt: Over to Richard, he was the songsmith.

Richard: Ha Ha, this has always been a problem for me, I tend to write lyrics about what is going on in my head at the time, unfortunately I’m a bit esoterically stubborn too, I like my lyrics to be misleading so not as a way of avoiding this question but merely to avoid misleading I’d like to say pass except to say that ‘Billy’ was probably a song about one of my closest friends growing up called Billy Whizz (obviously not his real name).

++ With such great tunes, how come there wasn’t any proper releases? Don’t tell me there was no label interest, that’s hard to believe!

Richard: Thanks for that! no I think it was more that Windy Miller didn’t last very long, it was over within a year if my memory serves me well. I think the blending of two totally different bands may have been a mistake, in hind sight. It was great while it lasted though.

Matt: We never really thought about it to be honest, the band was first and foremost a vehicle to socialising, which we were all heavily into at the time.

++ How do you remember the Bradford scene back then? Any favourite bands? What about venues for playing gigs? Did you gig a lot?

Richard: Now you’re talking, this is a total bone of contention with me, I will try to keep it brief. Bradford was at that time and for years before a city full of talent and venues to show off your talent, we could play a different venue every night for a month and still not play the same place twice, unfortunately this has all gone now and bands don’t get a showcase. I think we only ever managed to do 6 or 7 gigs in the year we were active but they were at the places we wanted to play, Duchess of York in Leeds being one of the best and unfortunately our last……

Matt: In my opinion, it was awful then and it’s awful now, it’s music scene is predominantly rock orientated, which is why The Apple Moths came to nothing, if The Apple Moths had lived somewhere like Bristol or Reading, where there was a thriving Indie Pop scene, maybe things would have been different. I often resent the fact we lived somewhere where the population at large were, and still are, unreceptive to Indie Pop. Sure we had friends in other bands that we used to gig with, but there was never a cohesive scene going on in Bradford. I mean you’ve only got to look at the bands from Bradford who were successful e.g. New Model Army and Terrorvision to see what other bands were aspiring to. Enough said.

++ What was the biggest highlight of Windy Miller as a band?

Richard: I think I just answered that but yeah the gig at the Duchess of York with It’s Amazing and Cactus Juice, fantastic gig, great turn out and a very weird ending…..

Matt: Most definitley playing at The Duchess of York in Leeds, we played a handful of gigs around West Yorkshire and we had good times playing, most of which I have no recollection of. I think a highlight, as well as a lowlight, was playing at The Duchess, it was an aspirational venue as so many great bands had played there, for example I saw The Close Lobsters and McCarthy there with Eddie from The Apple Moths, so it was a very special place for me. It was unfortunate that the band split up after playing there after Dan the drummer threw his drumsticks out into the audience after we’d played, in a very clichéd rock way, he was fond of drinking neat vodka while he was playing. Of course, one drumstick hit the sound man on the head, he took exception to this and pinned Dan against one of the bass bins, and proceeded to scream at him to get out of the venue and never come back.

++ How and when did the band call it a day? Were the Windy Miller band members involved with music after?

Richard: Ha ha, again it was that night at the duchess, as ive said, great gig great turn out but unfortunately Dan had slightly too much to drink, he was only 16 at the time and i think that coupled with the turn out and his addiction to all things ROCK he smashed his drums up at the ending and threw his drumsticks into the crowd not realising his own strength and unfortunately he both hit the sound man in his face and broke thousands of pounds worth of microphones!! we cannot stop laughing at this now when we talk about it but at the time it was catastrophic, Dan was kicked out of the pub, stranded ain Leeds and unfortunately left the band as a result. What a night!

Matt: What Richard just said. I went on to join a band called Cactus Juice, they were mostly into bands like The Stone Roses and The Senseless Things, so that gives some idea of what they sounded like. Sometime after, I relocated to Leeds to attend music college (which I never went to) I got into the Acid Jazz scene, and played bass in a band called Earthbound, funnily enough with Steve Hadcroft from The Apple Moths and Windy Miller, he’d also gone to Leeds to study animation. Richard returned to his punk roots, I’m not sure when, but he joined a band called Bullweek which I was later to also join on returning to Bradford.

++ Do you still live in Bradford? I don’t know much about the town, but what if I visited once as a tourist? where will be the places I should visit and why?

Richard: My advice, don’t ever come to Bradford. Bradford is famous for two things, the riot in 2001 and a massive hole in the centre of the town that used to be a shopping centre until they decided to rebuild but in true Bradford fashion, ran out of money shortly after the old buildings were demolished.

Matt: Bradford is an unremarkable industrial city, which rose to prominence in the 19th Century with it’s textile industry. I wouldn’t recommend Bradford itself, but Bradford is nestled in the hills of the Yorkshire Dales, which boasts some of the most beautiful countryside in the world, if you find rolling hills romantic, Bradford’s your place. Famous people from Bradford include The Bronte Sisters, so Haworth, where they lived and wrote, would be worth a visit, I know the Japanese are fond of their English literary figures, and Haworth is no stranger to bus-loads of Japanese tourists, why not join them, and experience the bleakness of the moors yourself someday The artist David Hockney is from Bradford, and also the playwright J.B. Priestly.

++ Anything else you’d like to add?

Richard: I’d just like to say that although i have a lot of negative things to say about Bradford I do believe in the talent here and I’m sure with help and insight we could return to the strongly artistic city we once were. I must think this as I do still play in bands, at the moment i sing and play guitar in a Pop/Rock band Idiot Box. Am I mad?

Matt: Thanks so much for showing an interest in Windy Miller and asking us to do this interview, it’s been fun it’s great to know that Indie Pop’s future is safe in the hands of dedicated record labels like yours, keep up the good work.

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Listen
Windy Miller – Win by Miles

0
06
Aug

:: Little Teddy Recordings

author: Roque       category: interviews

Thanks so much to Andy Freiberger for the interview! Check Little Teddy Recordings here!

++ Why did you decide to start the label? What year was that? Did you expect back then that the label was going to last this long and release so many records?

I was in a band – The Bartlebees – back then and a lot of musicians we knew were struggling to find a platform to release their creative evocations. So instead of sending out 200 demoes with no chance to get any feedback or even a deal we took that demo budget, borrowed a bit more, and started the label. That was Armin, the Barts drummer, and me back in 1991. Since I do appreciate a certain amount of independence and finding it hard to work for others I kept the ball rolling until another option would pop up. Well, it never did, so I simply kept the thing going, kept DJing and promoting bands alongside. I work as a sound engineer and graphic designer as well. So it all came together really nicely and along the way we released a 100+ records. Thumbs up and let’s hope for loads more…

++ Were there any labels or people that influenced yours?

Classic indie treats like Rough Trade, 53rd&3rd, Whaam!, Bi-Joopiter et al. The sort of labels that were built on the PunkRock and DIY ethic from the late 7Ts early 8Ts really. Well, I do prefer a label like K Records with an open minded approach towards music rather than a straight one-style label like Sarah. Running a label is a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well and I dig a diversity of sounds. So I guess I’d rather call those labels inspirational. The influences come from the artists we signed.

++ Why did you call the label Little Teddy? Were you a big fan of these children stories?

As far as I recall Armin came home with a book about the history of teddy bears he bought for his elder brothers birthday. Before handing it over we went thru it and we got stuck with the illustrations and background stories of one Mrs H. C. Craddock. It read: “Big Teddy and Little Teddy (UK 1916) were an inseparable pair who appeared in stories in the years between the two World Wars and were very popular with young readers. It was thought that Mrs Craddock based her books on the toys and teddy bears owned by her own daughter Margaret. Little Teddy has the distinction of being the only literary bear to have some of his limbs missing.” So we had that unique brand we were looking for. And I like the teddy as a symbol of childish naivety. Idealism, the source of any indie label, is naive in a way, but who wants to grow up anyway.

++ You’ve been home to many Television Personalities releases. What do you think of Dan Treacy? Have you met? Any anecdotes you can share? Favourite TVPs song?

Dan can be really sweet, but he can be a real cunt. He’s got his pros and cons and he’s got to live with them. A moody human being after all. He has a unique way to absorb artistic influences, make them his own and reassemble the bits to create something new. Similar to what David Bowie did in the 6Ts and 7Ts. Since we went on tour with the TVPs on a number of occasions I learned a thing or two about him, but his life is his own so if you wanna know about Dan ask himself. At the moment I really dig “You’ll Have To Scream Louder”, but fave songs change a lot. He wrote a sack of classics so I reckon he’ll be never ending fountain of favourites.

++ Are you fond of any of your releases in particular? Which one of your releases was the toughest to make it happen?

Just like good parents we love all our kids the same. One of the longest in the making was the Luna EP only to be beaten by the Go-Betweens Able Label reissues that I’ve been working on for a decade now. I’m still looking for a mint or near mint copy of “Lee Remick / Karen” to master from since my private copy and all other masters are rather crackly. The original master tapes have been destroyed in a fire some 30 years ago. A tough one, but I won’t give up. If you really want something to happen you need to fight for it and stay true to your school.

++ You have released many albums on their vinyl version while other labels have released the CD version. Why is that? Maybe because your love for vinyl is bigger than anything else? But isn’t this quite risky?

Why I prefer vinyl to CD? Cos CDs suck! No, honestly. It’s like the difference between intercourse and sex. It has something to do with devotion and love. You can’t copy an LP while dubbing a CD is easy. CDs are good to compile tunes, like we used to do with tapes in the past, to hand over to girls we liked. Is it risky to tell somebody you love him? Of course it is, but what is live without love. CDs will be gone anytime soon, but vinyl will stay. Even if it’s just for the collectors. As long as it feels right we’ll keep on keeping on.

++ What would you advice to someone who wants to start a label?

Think twice, do a lot of research, ask questions, ask more questions, think again, DO IT!

++ How come Armin left the label?

Cos he’s a lazy old sod!

++ Honestly, what’s the best band to come out from Munich? and Germany?

Munich has a very small rather superficial scene. It’s more about posing than about art and music. To be honest I don’t really know why I’m still here. Maybe I hope that I can finally do something about it. Most of the smart bands from Munich do not originate from this town or at least their musicians come from elsewhere. Just like the Barts. We were two austrians and a Armin is from Kiel, north of Hamburg. At the moment I work with two local outfits. Sickcity and Dudeman. Both bands feature band leaders from other parts of the world than even Europe. My fave german band in recent years is a combo from Hamburg that goes by the name of Superpunk. Carsten used to be in this fab five-piece called “Fünf Freunde”. A perfect blend of Pop, Beat, Punk and Soul. Smashing!

++ You also do a radio show, right? Care to tell me more about it?

I used to do that on a regular basis with no money involved for a private local network that would let me play my blend of tunes. Now I only do it on occasion.

++ What about Popclub? Still going strong? How come do you decide to make such a party in Munich?

Popclub is doing okay. We’ve seen better days, but that is a common problem in Munich and elsewhere. The part of town where the venue resides isn’t too hip right now, but time will tell.

++ Are there any releases already lined up? What can we expect in the future from Little Teddy?

I’m working on a number of things right now. We’ll see what I’ll be able to manage. As always a number of cool things are coming your way.

++ Munich is famous for Oktoberfest, so… which is your favourite beer Andy? And what’s the best traditional dish of your city?

I do like to support privately owned breweries so I go for Augustiner and Tegernseer Lager beers. Both are by far the best beer that money can buy round here. And they beat just about every lager I had in my life so far. The local food is all rather meaty. So nothing for seven days of the week, but I do appreciate a lovely Schweinsbraten with potato dumplings every now and then.

++ Favourite quote?

“I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious.” (Albert Einstein)

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