Guardian takes it all
June 19, 2022

Abbatars changing the future of music!?

How will digital technology shape the future of live music - that's the theme of the Guardian podcast about Abba Voyage, a digital Abba tour which debuted in London last month. The production cost £140m. The Guardian’s head rock and pop critic, Alexis Petridis, and the Guardian’s deputy music editor, Laura Snapes, were there. Was it history in the making?

An interesting point by Interpol's Sam Fogarino in The New Cue interview about live rehearsals: "When you’re in a room together, even if you’re really close, and the band has never come to fisticuffs over the years, we’ve had heated arguments, but nothing more, but still, you get with everybody’s daily mood, stuff that’s unrelated to the task at hand. There’s ego and desire and we’re all emotionally bound in this sexless three-way relationship, you know what I mean? It’s worse than a marriage, because it’s all the emotional shit but no sex at all! There’s no outlet in that way. Being separate, you were able to fully express yourself before sharing it with anybody. Then when we finally went to upstate New York to get together to play the material, it was extra special. We’d bypassed this whole usual laborious process".

“I take the month off of gigs and use Ramadan to focus on my spirituality, giving back, making time for family and close friends, revisiting the areas in my life that need improvement. Islam is all about being intentional with the way we live our lives" - Minneapolis-based DJ Yasmeenah told Mix Mag about how she spends this month-long period. Kan D Man says “It is a detox for me for the mind, body and soul. Sometimes in our industry, we are always rushing and on the go, especially being in London my whole life; I know how fast-paced life can be on a daily basis. It is a month I like to detox, switch off and reset everything”.

"This was a savage festival, a free-for-all, beyond chaotic. The survivors in the film, they gave a good picture of what happened that night, and they were all fortunate they didn’t die or get seriously injured" - film-maker Charlie Minn says to LA Times about his documentary 'Concert Crush', on the Astroworld disaster in November that left 10 concertgoers dead at the Travis Scott show. Minn reconstructs the night’s events from phone footage and interviews with survivors - "with 50,000 people there and everyone on their phone, imagine how much footage is still out there". However, High Snobiety points out Minn was previously accused of sensationalizing tragedy and exploiting trauma for profit.

An interesting angle on music-making by Paddy Considine from Riding The Low in The New Cue interview - "It’s purely my own self-expression. It’s completely unfiltered. It doesn't go through any other process. I'm not giving a performance and second guessing what I'm doing. I'm not having to run it past script supervisors, or financiers or anything like that. I'm not doing a performance and leaving it to the mercy of editors. It's the thing that I find is the truest form of expression that I have, really... I think only a few times when I've acted, and possibly directed, has it been purely from my soul, if you like".

LA teenage pop-punk band The Linda Lindas released their debut album 'Growing Up' this week, dealing with the issue from the title. “We hope it resonates with everyone and not just kids. You don’t stop growing up after you’re a kid!” - as guitarist Lucia de la Garza (15) told MTV. Her sister Mila (11), shares - “[The songs] are like parts of us. So if you listen to it, you kinda get to know us a little better, Consequence reports.

A phone, not a xylophone
April 03, 2022

Goldie: Smartphones scare me slighty

Goldie

​“I found myself reading about coronavirus and the effects of it on clubbing. I feel slightly blessed and overwhelmed wih what has happened because of it” - Goldie says in The Face interview. There's this other burning issue, smartphones - "‘Oh my God, what about my daughter’s kids? What about this new generation that have been pacified with telephones? Are they smart enough to jump over the telephone and go, ​‘There’s a new trend where you switch it off and go to a club!’ It scares me slightly.”

We prepare the faces to meet the audiences we meet
March 25, 2022

Aldous Harding: I feel like a song actor

Today, Aldous Harding released her new album 'Warm Chris', a strange collection of minimalist baroque folk songs. Recently, she talked to Pitchfork about it (The P tagged it best new music, gave it 8,2), and her personality: "For me, taking identity too seriously is really detrimental to my music. People say to me, 'Why don’t you use your real voice?'. But what people don’t understand is that I don’t know what my normal voice is anymore. In a lot of ways, I feel like the songs are like secrets that the muse is keeping from me. I have to listen, and then it tells me where the gaps in the universe are, and then I try to fill them with good intentions".

A lovely interview by The New Cue with Kae Tempest who is releasing their new album 'The Line Is A Curve' in April. They talk about recording vocals in one take - "really what I want, to get the most amount of truth in the vocal and to get the best vocal is I want to do one full pass of the whole record, a live take. There’s something about the endurance of it that creates this feeling in the lyric that you can’t get if you do 150 takes at each verse"; about all the songs on the album being connected - "all of that stuff that happens as one track leads into another that gives you this sense of propulsion and forward motion and movement"; about how music for them is an outer-physical experience - "when I go to the music and I go to the poetry, I go with my soul, it’s not really about my physical experience in the world, it’s another place that I go to when I’m making music or when I’m on stage so it didn’t affect it like that I don’t think".

Music theorist Adam Neely analyses the latest copyright infringement lawsuit which claims that Dua Lipa plagiarized reggae band Artikal Sound System's song 'Life Your Life' for her hit 'Plagiarized'. Neely goes a step back into history only to find Outkast's 'Rosa Parks'.

Japanese digital pop-punk artist Haru Nemuri shared some interesting thoughts with Tune Glue. Here's one: "I really feel that music is vibration whenever I play shows than when I listen to music at home. It’s an experience where you feel the vibration through your body. It also changes how I take in rhythm, so even from my own responses, I think, oh, so it feels like this best for this kind of beat. The audience, people in Japan would ride the beat this way, but during my Europe tour, I learned people in Europe ride the beat another way. My approach to beats have really changed from looking at how people respond using their bodies".

Like exploding podium
February 21, 2022

Kurt Vile: Concerts are the new drug

It’s really good to be playing concerts again and seeing concerts again. Concerts are the new drug, seeing them around town. You don’t even need to get high anymore, it’s like, ‘wow, this feels almost unnatural and simultaneously so euphoric’. I saw Bob Dylan into Ween into Steve Gunn, I’ve seen a lot lately. I go out to all of them" - Kurt Vile told The New Cue about the "high" he gets from going to concerts. His new album (watch my moves) is out in April.

An interesting interview with the biggest new UK rapper Central Cee in The Face. ​Two of his thoughts: about online comments - “Like, I wake up every day, I step out on the roads and I never have any sort of altercation. There’s no animosity in my real life. So if there is any sort of negativity online, I just look at it from a level-headed point of view, like: ​‘What are they thinking?’. Most of them are creeps"; and about opportunity - “we’re in a growing state, though, we’re in the early stages to say the least. We’re in a good position because there’s a lot to do, and there’s certain people like me that [are] pushing down doors for people to do different things. For everyone”.

A nice little chat with producer David Holmes in The New Cue, about making movie music. When he got offered to do the music for 'Hunger' he thought the film didn't need any music, because all the music was in the silence. Director Steve McQueen told him "he wanted the music to be really emotional but non-musical. OK! I learnt so much from that one thing because it’s helped me in so many other projects, that you can hit that really raw emotion without being really emotional. That’s the power of the drone. Things like accordions where you just hold a chord, these harmonics come in. You put that against the right images and you don’t need anything else, and it’s actually way more powerful than a thirty-piece orchestra". Holmes also says he has "tremendous respect for anyone making a movie because there’s so many moving parts to think about. Directing a good film is so hard, it’s a bit like winning the Champions League".

Guardian shares a moving story about members of Iranian-Norwegian band Confess Nikan Khosravi and Arash Ilkhani who got arrested in 2015, and spent 18 months of incarceration awaiting trial. Their crime was writing anti-establishment metal music, for which they were charged with blasphemy and propaganda against the state. After paying am $80,000 bail, they waited for the trial and, following a guilty verdict that sentenced them to six years in prison, they sought asylum in Norway. Now they have an album out 'Revenge at All Costs' where they're "making the statement that you cannot do this to a human".

How soon is now. now?!
January 18, 2022

Johnny Marr: Time means nothing now

Guitarist and former Smiths axeman Johnny Marr talked to The New Cue about how he managed to stay sane over the last couple of years: "I've been into meditation for years so I suspect that it's doing me some good. It’s become a habit and I'd miss it if I didn't do it. I imagine things would be a little bit more wobbly without it, or a little stranger. To be serious for a minute, that's kind of what creativity is for. And work, in whatever field it is. I’m extremely lucky because I’ve had a creative outlet since I was a kid, but you don't have to be an artist to lean into some of those things that make life more pleasurable".

London rapper Central Cee is the first musician shortlisted on BBC's Sound of 2022. He's been doing music for 10 years, but he's been in the limelight for the last year. He talked to BBC about his perseverance: "Within those 10 years there's obviously been bumps in the road and whatever but I was determined for the most part". His plan for 2022 is to - "stay alive and get richer!".

Michelle Zauner, singer-songwriter better known as Japanese Breakfast, talks to Consequence about her past year which saw her release a best-selling memoir and an acclaimed album. She also talks about how loneliness helps her prevent burnout: “On tour, I don’t socialize as much as other people might. Touring is sort of like throwing a party every night — imagine hosting a party six nights a week in a row for six weeks! And every moment leading up to that party, you want to save up all your charisma and charm. A big part of avoiding burnout for me is being OK with taking alone time in-between moments that I have to be ‘on’.”

"I don’t take myself too seriously, these days, I’m just trying to have a good time because if these past twenty-four months have taught me anything, it’s how short life is” - Little Simz tells in in The Line Of Best Fit interview about her future plans. She also reflects on her latest album 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert', Best Fit's album of the year: “Introversion is my superpower, it’s something that protects me and shields me. I am this way inclined but in the same breath, I’m not unconfident in myself – I’m very confident. I just know that I haven’t got to necessarily be the loudest person in the room”.

“I just want to represent my sisters because we’ve been so underrepresented, especially in hip-hop ... If somebody who can come from ice addiction, jail, motherhood and poverty [can do it, then they] can do it too” - Australian rapper Barkaa says in a Guardian interview. She has dedicated her forthcoming EP 'Blak Matriarchy' - “to the powerful Blak women I am blessed to witness and know in my life”, adding “women are the backbone of this country. It’s where I draw my strength – from my mother and my aunties and my daughter and my sisters – and [my music] is just paying homage to them".

"I’ve seen women headlining heavy music festivals. Media coverage is better. There’s more visibility and influence." - Emma Ruth Rundle says in a Consequence interview about women in heavy music. "You have really incredible artists who have crashed down these walls. I was just featured in a guitar magazine, and Ani DiFranco was on the cover, and that magazine when I was a kid would have been full of half-dressed women. There was a huge shift in the past few years. Watching artists like Chelsea Wolfe pushing the boundaries of what heavy music is and owning it, I feel a respect and sense of place that I didn’t feel when I was in my 20s".

Party and drugs connoisseur Michelle Lhooq talked to Jon Hopkins - who produced his last album 'Music For Psychedelic Therapy' while on drugs in a cave in Ecuador - about how do you make music on ketamine, how do you translate music from plants, why DMT elves love synths, why we might be on the precipice of a new genre of music. He talks to Lhooq about his creative process - "In order to write this record, I would go into the psychedelic space every few weeks to experience it, usually through ketamine... There's a lot of weird stuff that happens when you enter into the zone—you switch from thinking you're the creator to realizing you’re a channel".

The 70-minute documentary 'Malfunction: The Dressing Down of Janet Jackson', directed by Jodi Gomes, paints a portrait both of Jackson’s remarkable career prior to that moment, as well as the cultural forces which made one “wardrobe malfunction” into a lighting bolt of controversy. "I think one of the running themes of the whole entire film is body image and the use of body image and the actual control of one’s agency and control of one’s image" - director Jodi Gomes says to Consequence. She sees a big irony in it too: "Showing how she’s been subjected to body imaging from a very young age, and then all of a sudden, flash forward 34 years later to when she’s on the Super Bowl stage, and that very thing is used against her".

An interesting thought by Adele in Zane Lowe's Apple Music interview about her new album '30' coming out today: If everyone's making music for the TikTok, who’s making the music for my generation? Who’s making the music for my peers? I will do that job, gladly. I'd rather cater to people that are on my level in terms of the amount of time we've spent on Earth and all the things we've been through... The 30- and 40-year-olds that are all committing to themselves and doing therapy, that's my vibe”.

Sucidal tendencies
November 19, 2021

A sad list: The names of 21 rappers killed this year

Young Dolph

At least 21 American hip-hop artists have been murdered in 2021, or about one every other week.... If this were any other group of artists, it's hard to grasp how enormous a story it would be, hard to imagine the national sorrow and outrage. What if 21 pop singers had been murdered in the United States in 2021? Or 21 working rock guitarists? Or 21 film actors? - Matty Karas goes into the issue.

15 seconds doesn't even count on Spotify
November 09, 2021

Hit-songwriter Henry Allen: Nature is great

"One specific thing I’d like to change though is throwing money at viral moments which I think is proving to not work more than it does. I wish we could focus more on building long-term artists the traditional way but it’s a TikTok world that we live in right now" - Henry Allen, hit songwriter for The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Maroon 5, Justin Bieber and Major Lazer says in the Music Business Worldwide interview. When Covid-19 struck, he found the outsides: "Luckily, we moved to Nashville mid-Covid and to a place where we have two acres of forest and we can walk to this nature reserve where there’s deer, animals and a lake. Getting outside is important, and it sounds cliche, but nature is great".

Something warm for the winter
November 01, 2021

Elbow's Guy Garvey: Subtler music is easier to work on

Elbow's new record 'Flying Dream 1' features ten ruminative, lushly-orchestrated ballads with intimate and melancholic sound. Band's frontman Guy Garvey walked to The New Cue about it: "I think that’s probably the case with a lot of bands that do both, that do drama as well as subtle. I think subtler music is easier to work on and doesn’t require energy. In some ways, it’s like having a warm bath". Garvey also describes the process of writing that album: "When everyone in my house was asleep at the end of every day, the relief was, as you can imagine, just fucking tangible every single day. I’d go to the back door, spark up a fag, pour myself a large one and listen to what the lads had sent. It was a proper lifeline".

An interesting conversation with Patti Smith in the Guardian. She isn't really optimistic about the current times: “It’s a terrible epidemic in the 21st century, and it got magnified in the period that Trump was elected and it’s really gone viral. These are the most complex times, partly because of social media and misinformation. Everything becomes a political question. People wouldn’t even get vaccines or wear masks because it became a political stance … and then they get sick and really regret that they didn’t take the time or it didn’t open their mind to the situation. I don’t know what the answer is, except that we just have to fight for what is right”. Still, she loves being alive now: "I’ve lived so many lives, and they were all good. I can look back and see what I’ve gained, how I’ve evolved. Whether it was sorrowful times or turbulent times, they all formed me. So what’s my favourite period? Right now. I’m alive”.

“‘Hushed And Grim’ is a mood. It’s about grief, about guilt, about all those fun feelings. It’s awful seeing your friend suffer like that and knowing there’s nothing that you can do. If you know, you know” - Matodon drummer Brann Dailor talks about band’s latest album, which deals with death of their manager and close friend Nick John. Their previous albums were also inspired by death of close people. This one seems special: ​“Writing and recording this record was like grief counselling for me: started out feeling horrific, came out feeling fantastic” - bassist Troy Sanders says to Kerang!

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