While I watch Indietracks’ gigs on Youtube and I feel a terrible nostalgia when I see photos of my friends being washed by the English rain, I try to keep calm. So many summers in a row that I attended, that by skipping this one, my indiepop world feels very strange at the moment, like I’m missing a limb or something. There won’t be hundreds of photos to sort and post, there won’t be setlists to scan, or new records to listen. There won’t be extra pounds in my wallet to exchange at the bank. There won’t be any memories of warm beer or beans for breakfast. None of that. This is an odd summer.
Back in October 2013 I was interviewed by Mark Zonda for the Italian page Loft80 (here’s the Italian version). I want to share this interview here today. It’s summer, and it’s all so quiet that I kind of want to take a break on writing about indiepop news (there’s very little anyways). Hope you like it if you haven’t checked it out yet:
++ Hello Roque. You’re some kind of legend in the realm of indie-pop, but introduce yourself to all the other Italian readers of Loft80
Hey Mark! Thanks a lot. How are you doing? I’m not any legend at all. Indiepop is so tiny to have any legends. I’m just a big fan and a big supporter of the scene. Happy to answer any questions you have.
++ I’ve been to Gothenburg last year, and my greatest disappointment was not being able to find any Cloudberry Jam bottle. How did you decided to name your label after that delicacy
I’m going to be honest with you. I don’t like the taste of Cloudberry Jam much! I remember having it with pancakes in Stockholm and I had to go back to the lingonberry jam as I liked that much better. But just to keep the story straight I didn’t call it because of the jam, but just because of the berry. I thought the name was ace, Cloudberry. Most people don’t even know that sort of berry exists. Also, you know I’m a big fan of the band Cloudberry Jam, right? So, that had a lot to do with it. But the jam itself, nope.
++ So I was pretty safe from delusion not finding any in Sweden. Which are your favourite all time international dishes so far? Do you like cooking?
That’s a very difficult question. I’ll start by the end, I don’t like cooking. I don’t cook. I do love eating though. So, my favourite dish is called Ceviche. And it has to be Peruvian ceviche, because some other countries make it, but it’s not the same at all. That I could eat every single day and never get bored. I love many other dishes, like the Nepali momo, the Afghan manto, the Thai kua kling, the Yemeni fatah, the Malay sambal stingray, and so on. I could go on and on. I love food! And New York is great for that.
++ What did Cloudberry Records represent in the history of indie pop? Would it be appropriate to make comparisons to Sarah Records?
I can’t say what it represents. That would be very biased. I would prefer if you or any other fan tell what it represents. I do hope it represents something and that it has been inspiring in a form or another. I mean, it’s been almost 7 years running the label and there have been more than a hundred releases so, some sort of impact it must have had. Also many of the most beloved bands in indiepop in the last decade or so have had a connection with Cloudberry I think. So I would love to think it has a part in indiepop history. But as it’s a label that it is still alive it’s very hard to pinpoint what kind of place it has in such a history. So I leave that for you to answer 🙂
Comparison with Sarah? I don’t think that would be appropriate. No. Sure, fans will always compare this and that, and that’s cool. But every label is different. They have a different sound, a different perspective, different expectations, different people running them, and especially let’s say Cloudberry and Sarah, they’ve been around in different times. I don’t know how Cloudberry would have fared in the late 80s early 90s, or Sarah in the late noughties and early this decade. The times have changed so much that is hard to compare. I love Sarah records and they have been an inspiration in their aesthetics, so there might be some similarities, but I also love other labels like Heaven Records, Yay! or Fabulous Friends, to who I feel a bit closer to be honest.
++ Cloudberry have always been the main reference to tell what was good indie pop or not. I discovered (and collaborated) with a lot of artist thanks to your ability to find out new quality musicians and bedroom talents. Which was your favourite release so far?
I’m glad that I have helped in that way! I can’t say what’s my favourite release so far. I love them all. Though a special place in my heart have the Celestial 3″, the Twig 7″ and the Feverfew retrospective album, as they were the first I released in each of those formats.
++ Many years has passed when I first interviewed you. It was so cool meeting Kip from The Pains at Indietracks 2010, get to talk to him and telling me he read the interview we had on SleepWalKing Mag. You were telling me right from the start that The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Twig were the two main artists from your label that had the chance to make it. What happened ot Twig and which are your favourite nowadays?
That’s cool. I remember that interview too. It was fun.
What happened to Twig? Well, Henrik, the vocalist, lives in London now, and before he lived in New York for a year, while the rest of the band lives in Stockholm. So it became very hard for them to keep rehearsing and playing, and even recording. There is an album worth of songs written though and I hope at some point they get properly recorded as I know they are FANTASTIC. Hope that answers the question. Sometimes life gets in the way.
My favourite bands? Well, it’s usually the bands I have just released or will release in the near future. So lately I’ve been loving The Occasional Flickers, Boyish, Pale Spectres, Lost Tapes, Don’t Cry Shopgirl, and some more.
++ What’s your vision on independent music and trends nowadays?
I don’t follow much the rest of independent music, I’m mostly familiar with indiepop. So I can talk about that. I think it hasn’t changed much since last time we talked on the SleepWalking interview. I do think people got hurt with the raise of postage prices in the US and UK this year. So mailorders have become a bit more important. How I wish there was one in Italy for example. Indiepop festivals seem to still be pretty successful, and Im happy to know that Indietracks will still go for at least one more year. So I think it’s a healthy scene still.
Trends? Well, Spotify has become a major player it seems, especially in Europe. Sadly Spotify is no help really for bands or labels. So that’s kind of a bad trend haha. Platforms like Bandcamp and Soundcloud are much more fair. And I’m glad these are also used heavily. There are less and less blogs and pages that cover indiepop too. That’s a trend that is not that happy for all of us, on the other hand there are more and more indiepop Facebook groups where people are sharing their discoveries and any sort of questions. I’m not so sure what will happen next. Many thought digital would be reigning by now, but that hasn’t happened. I think music lovers still love their records.
++ Thank you so much Roque. It’s always a pleausure to talk to you. I hope to meet you at some festival sooner or later. And just one final tip: who shall I interview next?
Thanks to you. Yeah, come to NYC Popfest 2014 or Indietracks 2014. I plan going to those for sure. Who to interview next? Why not interview Firestation Records that have just released their 100 release celebrating 15 years of the label. They deserve the attention!
Very obscure band today. One that I can’t find anything at all online. Who could help me?!
Even the page Irish Rock asks for help on this one. Yes, the Bruce Wayne Experiment were Irish and were around in the late 80s. I don’t even know if the rest of their output is indiepop! Though the one song that I’ve heard, “Turn Back”, does sound like one of those classic non-hit songs from an indiepop album from the mid, late 80s. A song that you wouldn’t be surprised to hear on a retrospective compilation of any of the bands featured on the Leamington Spa series.
Where does this song “Turn Back” come from? It was on Youtube. The only song I know they actually released was called “Midnight” and appeared on a compilation called “Something New… Something Blue” released in 1990 by the label New Eclipse Records (NE 007-2). It seems it was released both on tape and vinyl LP.
Well, at least people that have sold this record on eBay has marked it as indiepop/C86. We all know they kind of lie a bit sometimes, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I haven’t heard all of the songs on the compilation (just one, and actually wasn’t indiepop).
On Irish Rock there’s a small blurb saying that all the bands in the release were unsigned at the time and that some of them aren’t all that new, that they had been playing for a few years. It also says that there’s pop and rock on the A side, while blues on the B side. Well, the Bruce Wayne Experience have the last song on the B side. Perhaps they were into blues after all?
The other bands that appeared on this compilation were Big Orange Peel, Local Contract, Dressed to Get Messed, The Quest, Red Hot Remembers, Dirty Tricks, Raw Novembre, Silverstreak, International Blues Band, Blue Ocean, Oliver Brothers Incorporated, Missing Digits and Mary Stokes Band.
Now, for those of you who are really clueless about everything and need to figure out who the hell Bruce Wayne is, well, he is not Superman, but he is Batman, alright?
Batman’s secret identity is Bruce Wayne, an American billionaire, playboy, philanthropist, and owner of the company Wayne Enterprises. Having witnessed the murder of his parents as a child, he swore revenge on criminals, an oath tempered with a sense of justice. Wayne trains himself both physically and intellectually and crafts a bat-inspired persona to fight crime.
Safe to assume they liked comic books?
That’s all. I just ended up liking this song. Thought it makes for a good Monday song.
If you know anything else about them, please let me know, I’m always curious.