Timothy van Sas
Timothy van Sas

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Interview - The Orwells

There’s a disturbing amount of business minded bands in the recording industry at the moment. Emerging groups seem less likely to talk about “drinking, drugs and women” than they are about their “the next step in their career.”

Since when was making music “a career” and not a calling? 

Maybe that’s why The Orwells sound so refreshing. Here are five teenagers from the suburbs of Chicago, most of whom still attend high school and couldn’t give a shit about the business side of things. They don’t have a website to sell merch; only a sparsely populated Facebook page and a few You Tube videos. Instead choosing to split their days trying to avoid getting arrested for underage drinking and smoking. 

In August, Autumn Tone put out their debut LP, Remember When, and its ‘drink now, regret it never’ garage rock ‘n roll is sure to excite fans of FIDLAR and the sadly defunct Girls.

[edit] radio caught up with guitarist, Dominic Corso, (via e-mail) to fill in a few of the blanks surrounding one of 2013s bands to follow:

ER: You’re a relatively unknown band here in the UK, can you give me a quick summary of what the band is about?

DC: We’re a rock ‘n roll band from the quiet suburbs of Chicago that keeps it real, raunchy, honest and loud. 

ER: You’ve received positive reviews to your first album, Remember When, is that flattering? Or don’t you really care what critics say?

DC: It always feels good to know that at least someone out there digs your music. If they’re a critic, that’s fine,  but in no way will they ever play a part in how or why we make our music. So no, we don’t really care what they say.

ER: Some of those reviews have compared you the Cloud Nothings and Black Lips, who Mario mentioned as writing the greatest song in the world. What other acts have influenced your sound?

DC: We all share some mutual influences, but we mostly all listen to different stuff. I dig a lot of shit like My Morning Jacket or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and some jazz and swing, some electronic shit like Caravan Palace. Baby Chuck has recently had a classic Dylan and Elvis stint. Mario is mostly into Waka Flocka, female singers like Iggy Azalea, Minaj and all that. Grant’s a Joy Division/Hives kinda guy. Henry, I don’t know even know, man, he’s all over the place.

ER:  You recently asked on your twitter feed, OK Computer or In Rainbows? Are you guys big Radiohead fans? And which of the records do you prefer?

DC: I prefer OK Computer, but Baby Chuck always argues In Rainbows. It’s a big fight we have occasionally, so I asked twitter. But yeah I’m the biggest Radiohead fan in the band, Baby Chuck a little less, and the rest of the band doesn’t really listen to them. 

ER:  You guys have a track called 'Mallrats (La La La),' is the title to that song a reference to the Kevin Smith movie? And what other popular culture or art do you guys draw influences from?

DC: Yeah that song was an homage to Kevin Smith and his films we grew up on. Other films that influence our music would be like Psycho, selected Hitchcock films, and pretty much everything Tarantino has ever done. 

The ORWELLS - Mallrats (La La La) from Eddie O'KEEFE on Vimeo.

ER: I understand that most of you guys finish school in January, are you looking forward to graduating?

DC: Totally. High school’s been a trip but I’m not gonna miss it. Just my homies. 

ER: What’ll be the first thing you do after you graduate?

DC: Tour tour tour tour tour write write write write release tour tour tour tour, repeat till death. 

ER: Over the past few years in the UK, we’ve seen thousands of independent record stores go out of business. I understand that 'Remember When' is named after a record store that's closed, how do you feel about the decay of independent record stores?

DC: It’s a damn shame. Isn’t vinyl making a comeback though?

ER: Do you have a memory that you won’t forget from hanging out in that store?

Saturday morning hangovers cured with Taco Bell, chainsmoking, and two-dollar 7 inches. 

ER: In an interview with Consequence of Sound you mentioned that you started work on a new album in November 2011, is the new record beginning to come together?

DC: It’s looking pretty damn good. We’ve got a solid set of songs so far, but we’re constantly writing and recording and figuring out what we’re excited about, what we’re scrapping and all that. It’s a process, and we’re far from done, but it’s coming together pretty nicely. 

ER: In the same interview you mentioned that the first record was something that you made for high school friends. Does writing for new record feel different now that you’re a proper “band” ?

DC: Sure. But it’s not so much the realization of being an actual band that some people give a shit about, so much as the fact that we’re different people than when we wrote Remember When. We listen to different stuff, we’re at different parts of our lives, some good shit’s gone down and some bad, but we’re still the same even if you wanna call us 'proper' now or not. Yeah it’s different this time around, but we still and always will write the music we wanna write and when we get on stage we’re gonna play it the way we like to play it. 

ER: You guys are all still young, how do your parents feel about you leaving education so early?

You’d actually be surprised at how supportive our parents have been with the whole thing. If I’m in the same room as my mom and some strangers, she’ll proudly announce I’m in The Orwells like we’re some huge act everyone knows. It’s quite embarrassing, actually. 

ER: Now their is a little bit of buzz building about the band, how often do you guys like to vanity Google?

DC: If I said 'never,' I’d be a liar.

ER: You guys played a BrooklynVegan Day Party, is that a lifestyle choice that you’ve signed up to ? 

DC: Sorry, I have no idea what you mean. If you mean supporting BrooklynVegan, then hell yeah, they’re cool people. If you mean being a vegan, nah man, steak’s too juicy.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Interview - PEERS

A few weeks back, [edit] radio named Reading based indie rockers PEERS as our third Rising Talent to follow.

Last week we caught up with the Berkshire based quartet, about what they've been up to over the last couple of years,  what's it like being on the same management group as Alt-J and what fans can expect in 2013:

The first big break you guys had was to play the BBC introducing stage at 2010s Reading & Leeds Stage, what have you guys been up to since?

We were all pretty excited about playing Reading and Leeds and what would happen after, but realised the best option was to finish off our two years of college and sixth form. Use the time to develop without any pressure into the band we wanted to be, making music we were 100% happy with and playing the odd show in Reading. We didn’t want to rush into releasing anything and regretting it a couple of months down the line, it’s likely what you put on the internet stays there for a very long time.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Animal Collective @Manchester, Warehouse Project 8/11/12

The most essential material for any artist is a space in which they can work. Whether it be a blank sheet of paper, a roll of unused film or the silence of a room; all creation needs a fertile ground to prosper. For the Animal Collective, the dull concrete of the ‘Warehouse Project’ provides the perfect canvas.

The acclaimed quartet form Baltimore are in town touring their latest album, Centipede Hz, which has (by their standards) met a lukewarm critical reception. From the midst of a set of glowing teeth framing the stage, the group use an assorted collection of snyths, sequencers, drums, guitars and an epilepsy inducing light-show to paint the primary colours of their experimental pop onto the walls of the cavernous room. Indeed such amounts of equipment are rarely seen out of a recording studio and each member looks more like a scientist at work rather than a musician performing live. 

Busy opener ‘Rosie Oh’ sets the tone for the evening, groaning under the weight of the energetic sounds which make up it’s whole. Two songs pass by in a dizzying haze before genre bending summer single ‘Honeycomb’ is dropped. It’s warping bass and rhythms triggers a trance like state that carries over into the bouncy ‘Lion In A Coma’ and aggressive ‘Moonjock.’ 

Throughout, the foursome barely moving from their horseshoe shape stage set up. Normally this sort of performance, or lack thereof, is a turn off, but the complexity of music on offer requires concentration, timing and supreme skill and such musical virtuosity is all the entertainment that’s required. 

This juxtaposition of the bands energetic music against their lack of stage physicality results in an unresolved tension. Being slaves to pushing musical boundaries the band are tied to their workspace, effectively creating themselves a cage in which to perform. This tension carries over to the crowd, who in reverence for the artistry on show have remain reserved.

Animal Collective string this tension along until the finale of show, releasing the pressure which has built up in the very air with Beach Boy sounding ‘Brother Sport.’ Avery Tare and Deakin finally break free from their shackles, and dance center stage as if in signal everyone to join in. The release is shattering for mind and body. The anthemic ‘Peacebone’ follows, impossibly ratcheting up the sensory overload in layers of dense samples and cathartic release. Limbs convulse, breathing becomes shallow and sharp, as your eyes widen to a point of no return.

To draw such sensations and life out of the drab surround of the cold surround of warehouse is the province of truly great musicians. Something, least we not forget, Animal Collective have been for over a decade and will continue to be for as long as we’re lucky enough to have them.