"Athens was key in taking this punk idea that anybody can play and showing that anybody can do it anywhere. I think that Athens is the place that makes it clear—mostly through the career of R.E.M. but not entirely—that you can make music that reaches an underground or even a mainstream national audience anywhere. And that these kinds of cultural transformations and bohemian cultures we think of as really only occurring in certain urban spaces can actually flourish anywhere" - author Grace Elizabeth Hale tells in Please Kill Me interview about her latest book 'Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture'.

Black is the first color
February 24, 2021

Adrian Younge: We all have invisible blackness

"America is a slavocracy: it is a nation founded on bigotry, and those principles continue today. People might think racism no longer exists because there is no longer a slave system, but they don’t realise the laws that enabled the slave system still put us in a position where we have to jump over insurmountable handicaps to just become equal” - composer Adrian Younge said to the Guardian, talking about his new album 'The American Negro', and a new podcast – 'Invisible Blackness'. There's an irony in the latter title - “I use the phrase of the show’s title to illustrate that we all have invisible blackness, this sense of ‘otherness’ inside us, because we are all descended from the first human being in Africa".

Writer Clover Hope released a new book 'The Motherlode: 100+ Women Who Made Hip-Hop' which spans decades, and took her 2,5 years to write. In a Music Journalism Insider interview she explaines how she "wanted to write about what each of the women brought to hip-hop as a culture and rap as a genre... For Queen Latifah, I wanted to talk about her achieving longevity through film. For Eve, I decided to write about her bringing high fashion to hip-hop. For Cardi B, I wanted to write about her wielding the power of social media to star-making effect". Why 100? - "I wanted people to see the number and think about magnitude and impact".

1980s pop singer Glenn Medeiros was often asked for sex by music industry figures in return for help with his careers - as he has told the Celebrity Catch Up podcast. Medeiros said he saw these offers "everywhere", and he refused them all, but other artists, as he said, would accept them: "I had friends who specifically said, 'I am going to be moving in with this person because this person is going to be helping me with my recording career. The person's attractive and I like them anyway, so it's OK"". Medeiros now runs a school in Hawaii.

"I think that it's a good thing that you can be destructive in music without fucking things up too much. Whereas if you're destructive in the kitchen, you're just going to make yourself sad, because it'll taste terrible" - Sam Pillay of Virginia Wing told the Quietus about their chaotic new album. TheQ says that tracks on 'private LIFE' often feel like "performers stumbling groggily on stage, elegantly shooting themselves in the foot, then somehow pirouetting off, perfectly choreographed, in unison... It's paradoxically both chaotic and comforting, mirroring the way everyday life carries on during crises, wrestling just a little bit of order away from entropy".

Come as you jam
February 13, 2021

Nirvana still have jam sessions

An amazing and heartwarming segment from the Howard Stern Show with the Foo Fighters this week when former Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Pat Smear reminisced about Nirvana. Stern asked Smear whether he still listens to old Nirvana stuff to which he responded he doesn't need to because - "every once in a while, me and Krist and Dave get together and we do play as if we're Nirvana, so I don't have to miss it - we do it". Grohl added they even recorded some stuff. Foo Fighters frontman also talked about how his 11-year-old daughter had asked him about Nirvana for the first time, and how they listened to it together also for the first time. She wanted to know whether Kurt Cobain was shy.

A fun interview with actor Jason Momoa in Guitar World about his love of music and playing, bass in particular. It all started on the of 'Aquaman' where he had instruments, so his son was playing drums and his daughter was playing guitar. It was his assistant's birthday, "and she really loves Tool, so I borrowed a bass from my buddy and we all played 'Sober' for her", Momoa says, adding - "right then, my passion for bass really exploded". He says he likes Metallica, Pantera, Rage Against The Machine, Primus, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, but there's also music outside the "hard" canon for him - "one of my gods in music is Tom Waits, but having said that, my goddess is probably Ani DiFranco. I was raised with Miles Davis and Janis Joplin, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor is one of my all-time favorites, too”.

Tom Moulton is one of the pioneers of remixes in disco music, the inventor of the breakdown section and the 12-inch single vinyl format, and in his 80s he decided it's time - to work. He is releasing mixes on his Bandcamp, five disco volumes since the pandemic began, made in his apartment while he avoids the coronavirus. All the music is new, drawn from his towers of authorised multitrack tapes. Guardian talked to the never-stopping producer...

T.J. Osborne, the singer of the Brothers Osborne, came out as gay in Time Magazine interview, which makes him the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label. “People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that. But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!'" - he told Time.

"Fundamentally WhoSampled is a music discovery service... The idea being that, if you came to the site and you’re a fan of say, Michael Jackson, for example, you’re only a few steps away from discovering Quincy Jones and then hip-hop records that sampled Quincy Jones" - WhoSampled's Chris Read says in Berklee Online interview. WhoSampled is the leading destination for sample-based music, covers, and remixes, housing the world’s most comprehensive database of music with more than 730,000 samples spanning more than 1,000 years.

"There’s this papering over the real ways in that things like bias and the social crises of our time actually exist in the real world, in this incredibly complex moral universe that’s driven by implicit and unacknowledged forms of hate and misunderstanding. To my mind, satirical and politicised music should be geared towards understanding these things in more complex and nuanced moral terms, economic terms and societal terms” -  Alastair Shuttleworth, the frontman of the UK post-punk band LICE says in the Quietus interview. Band's guitarist Silas Dilkes also believes that all the sounds the band makes should be made by one of the members - “I think there is virtue in going through the process of understanding how to harness sounds we were interested in and recreate them through a simple tool like a guitar. It gives you a better understanding I think of why you might want to make that sound in the first place". LICE's debut album 'WASTELAND: What Ails Our People Is Clear' is out now.

“Although joking about does play into the thing we are comfortable with musically we don’t intentionally make things funny... Unlike film, you can get away with being funny by accident in music” - Black Country, New Road tell the Quietus about the "funny" parts in their music. tQ describes them as "a gang of affable, witty, fun loving people" with a special bond between them - "we also don’t really care about how we look to the audience; the big connection for us is between ourselves". Their hyped-up debut album 'For the First Time' comes out this week on Ninja Tune.

The electronic art-pop duo The KLF are a subject of a new documentary 'Welcome To The Dark Ages', which shows them in the midst of their current project - 'The People’s Pyramid’, a monument built out of 34,952 bricks forged from the ashes of the dead. Filmmaker Paul Duane made a documentary about the project, and shared his thoughts about it with the Quietus: "It struck me as the most remarkable thing an ageing pop group could do. A lot of the things Bill and Jimmy do are incredibly funny. The idea of monetising their ageing fanbase by selling them a memorial of their own deaths is kind of hilarious. Their fans are all in their 50s now, so you’re thinking about death and the disposal of your remains. So building a pyramid and selling them a brick for £99 each that they will be memorialised in in the people’s pyramid, on one level is a hilarious ploy on an ageing fanbase". The KLF are no strangers to excess - they became the top-selling singles act in the world ('America: What Time Is Love', 'Justified & Ancient') and then left the music business, burned £1 million of their own money and signed a contract agreeing to a 23-year silence.

You give drugs a bad name
January 25, 2021

Jon Bon Jovi: I didn’t have the capacity to handle drugs

A great interview in the Guardian with Jon Bon Jovi after his band performed at the American president's inauguration. "Bon Jovi at 58 looks like a man who spent his youth on yoga retreats as opposed to hanging out with Aerosmith. But how did he resist when he was so young?" the G's journalist asked - "To be honest with you, I didn’t have the capacity to handle drugs. I didn’t find joy in it, and I didn’t need to bury myself emotionally, so what was the purpose?". He's married to his high-school sweetheart, and still lives in New Jersey - “I got the house in Malibu, saw the guys who are looking over your shoulder to see if they should go talk to someone else. That whole lifestyle was so vapid to me. I couldn’t wait to get away from it”. So, a regular Jon...

79 minutes and wasted is none
January 22, 2021

Rick Rubin: I always liked weird things

"I always liked things that most people didn't like" - Rick Rubin says in an interesting Stitcher podcast about his choice of artists he produced, and his creative process - "I've always been voraciously interesting in counter-culture. I'm just interested!". He says also how he guards his passion: "I try to be as true to my interests as possible. I don't listen to music to find out what's going on, I listen to music because I like music". Rubin also says how the creative moment isn't rational: "The magic doesn't happen in the head, the magic happens in the heart. The actual magic is not intellectual, it's faster than the intellect, it's much more primal, it's much more immediate, it's not to be figured out".

Happy being
January 21, 2021

Arlo Parks: Find enjoyment where you can

“I know sometimes there’s chaos and you’re running around kind of stressed out, but I’m just reveling in the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing” - CoS' Artist of the Month Arlo Parks says in an extensive interview. London singer (20) is about to release her debut album 'Collapsed in Sunbeams', which took a while to make - "Build things slowly, and don’t expect to immediately feel better or be better. And in the meantime, find enjoyment where you can as well".

"When I was young and did a set at a jazz club called the Tin Palace, there was a bass player named Richard Davis who saw me singing, and he told me, 'You have to talk to your audience, people like to be talked to'. And I think he's right" - Suzanne Vega explained to AllMusic her latest live release, 'An Evening of New York Songs and Stories', which brings together 15 songs with Vega explaining the stories behind many of the songs. "Imagine a setlist full of songs like 'Cracking' and 'Luka' and 'Gypsy' with no stories and no explanations, it would feel really weird. The shows that I've done where I don't speak, it quickly has a weird atmosphere" - Vega explains, adding - "I had so much weirdness that I thought, if I wanted applause at the end of the show, you've got to talk to your audience".

Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and alter-rock singer interview each other for Interview Magazine about favorite music, movie characters, their beginnings, identity, silence etc. For starters, they define rock'n'roll: "an attitude more than a particular instrument. Rock and roll will constantly be re-contextualized" - Grandson; "There’s something that taps into the reptilian brain, and our human DNA of a combination of rhyme and reason, and aggression and power and the communal gathering of the tribe that is the rock and roll show that’s unlike anything else" - Morello.

“The heaviness comes from our ancestors. I am Black and Indigenous. There’s been so much that has happened to us, and I feel this. I don’t feel like I could not make heavy music” - guitarist and saxophonist Takiaya Reed says about her band Divide And Dissolve. She is of Māori descent, and Sylvie Nehill, the other half of the duo, Cherokee. Together they play really intense instrumental ambient metal which aims to "destroy white supremacy”. Their newest album 'Gas Lit' is published by Portishead's Geoff Barrow who said “It totally freaked me out with its beauty and extreme heaviness”. The Quietus speaks to the ladies, and reviews the album - "a powerful, impressively unconventional, predominantly instrumental suite, linking sludge and doom metal with a desolate reading of jazz".

“There are people who are alive, but live like they’re dead. They don’t strive to go further. But I know life is really short because I’ve seen people die just like that, in the street. So this question speaks to me: how can we be absent from our own lives?” - Belgian rapper Damso says in the Guardian interview about his musical goals. Although mellow sonically, his lyrics touch on serious subjects as well, such as suicide, and paedophilia. Generally, he aims high as well - "The questions that I ask myself about death aren’t about dying, they’re about death in this life".

"An essential read" - Music Journalism Insider says about the new book 'Ten Cities: Clubbing in Nairobi, Cairo, Kyiv, Johannesburg, Berlin, Naples, Luanda, Lagos, Bristol, Lisbon, 1960–Present', a big international project about club music in these ten African and European cities. The authors say that "through 21 essays, playlists and photo sequences the book shows the pursuits and practices that assembling around and communing over music generated in the time before COVID-19. It is a retrospective testimony to the spirit of creative communities, a rhythm-analysis mediated by sound and night".

The reality show
December 24, 2020

Ben Lee's quarantine podcast: What am I about?

Australian indie-pop musician Ben Lee went into 14-day quarantine in a Sydney military hotel when he returned from Los Angeles, and he used that time to make a 30-minute podcast a day (find them all here). Rather than talk about his music, he discussed himself, as well as some general themes like conspiracy theories, blockchain, death, gurus, marketing etc. What he tried to do, as he's told the Guardian, is to answer questions like "What am I about? Why have I been attracted to all these things? What are the common threads?”.

Being great isn't so great all the time
December 19, 2020

Fiona Apple: Being so validated messes with your idea of yourself

'Fetch the Bolt Cutters' is one of the most critically acclaimed albums this year, but it wasn't so assuring for Fiona Apple when she was making it, as she's told the Guardian: "I started everything over once and then over again feeling like it wasn’t going in the right direction. There were times when I felt, I love all the work that we’ve been doing and I don’t regret any of the time that we spent, but maybe I just don’t wanna deal with this. Maybe I’m in a good place to call it quits and go live a different kind of life. But then it started feeling right. I didn’t have any idea that it was gonna be loved so much". While making it she said she had provided herself with "the right environment and getting to a place where – it sounds strange to say – I could believe myself as I was performing". Being so validated like herself with this album isn't that great either: "I’m happy that I feel respected in a way that I wasn’t before but it also messes with your idea of yourself... I don’t know how we get out of letting other people tell us who we are".

"I’m glad to end these terrible, difficult times [knowing] that people have genuinely had joy-filled experiences with our music. I got so many calls and videos from homies that were at protest sites where people would take breaks, give each other water, and you would hear 'Oh La La', 'Walking in the Snow' or 'A Few Words to the Firing Squad' in the street. It brought me joy to know that we were there at the times we were needed" - Killer Mike told Spin, after being chosen as the publication's Artist of the Year. His partner in jewelry admits, however, they aren't that serious a band - "we’re the anti-heroes. We’re stumbling around, and we’re crashing cars, slapping babies and getting stoned as fuck and saying the wrong thing. I’d like to think that at the end of the day, those types of heroes are obtainable for people".

The days of the traditional stage set-up are numbered, "at least in theatres and concert halls the size that I would normally play" - David Byrne says Mark Beaumont in an NME interview about the future of shows. He elaborates: "The fact that we can get the music digitally [means] a performance has to be really of value. It has to be really something special, because that’s where the performers are getting their money and that’s what the audience is paying for. They’re not paying very much for streaming music, but they are paying quite a bit to go and see a performance, so the performance has to give them value for money… It has to be really something to see”. Byrne also talks about social media and technology.

It’s been a wild 10 years for Reznor and Ross, one that began with a deafening bang with 'The Social Network', high-pointing this year with David Fincher’s 'Mank' played only on 1940s instruments, and with the score for Pixar’s latest feature film 'Soul'. The Consequence of Sound named them Composers of the Year and made an extensive interview with the pair.

When she found out she was nominated for Grammy in the best new artist category, Phoebe Bridgers jokingly tweeted that she and Megan Thee Stallion could get swords and fight for the trophy. Actually, as Bridgers told BBC, there's one person who should get the award - "Like, we are not battling. Not that I want to jinx myself here but Megan Thee Stallion is the best new artist, by far". Her song 'Kyoto' is also up for best rock performance, and all the nominees in that category are female for the first time, but - "I don't think it's virtue signalling because I can't think of a male rock album this year that really shook me up". She also told BBC how the making of her last video 'Motion Sickness' with Phoebe Wallace-Bridge changed how she saw fame - "Like, hanging out with the guy who taught me how to drive the tractor was just a blast. It changed my perspective on fame being a curse".

British actor and MC Riz Ahmed is critically lauded for his portrayal of a drummer who goes deaf in movie 'Sound of Metal', but the role also broadened himself. "When I started talking about things in my life or even in [the character] Ruben's life that were emotional, I found myself really physically getting emotional, tearing up at times in a way that I would not have if I was just verbally communicating", Ahmed said, adding - "in some ways, a fuller kind of communication — a more embodied kind of communication — is possible within deaf culture and signing culture".

British bird-enthusiast and producer Cosmo Sheldrake recorded his latest album 'Wake Up Call' with pieces composed entirely from recordings of endangered British birds. Created over a nine year period, the aim of the album is to make people conscious of bird sounds and the loss of wildlife from our lives. Guardian talked to the lovely eccentric: “Once you can identify them as species or individuals, it just turns into this completely insane conversation across huge amounts of time and space. You have these themes essentially rippling through the woods. Everything that happens in a woodland is like a stone dropping into a pond. It sends out these ripples as those birds respond and then respond to those responses … there are so many layers and levels to it".

Snoop Dogg, who had an album named 'Doggystyle' which began with a sketch about bathtub coitus, thinks that Cardi B's 'WAP' is too sexy, as he said in an interview on the newsmag program Central Ave. Snoop, who also once rapped, “she will get G’d if she don’t suck dick,” added of their vaginas, “that’s like your pride and possession. That’s your jewel of your crown". Where did the change come from? -  "I’ma older man”.

1 2 3 11