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2 metal reviews from my bud Dave Yarwood

Sorry about uploading these nearly 5 months after receiving them Dave, but I did it, finally. They are very good. Well done.

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Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition

Exhibit B is the eagerly awaited new album from original heavy metal thrashers Exodus. Exodus were one of the first groups to reform following the metal renaissance of the last 10 years.  Megadeth  may tinker with their sound,  whilst Anthrax continue to change singers and  Slayer fail to rediscover the popularity of old  (not to mention Metallica’s struggle to escape their own franchise), the releases of ‘Tempo of the Damned’, ‘Shovel Headed Kill Machine’, and ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’ have established Exodus as probably the most consistent and revered heavy metal force of today. Exhibit B is also the first album for some time for which Exodus have had a completely unchanged line up from album to album (barring the re-release of ‘Bonded By Blood’), and so anticipation for this release could not have been higher.

The weight of expectation is evident as all the songs demonstrate excellent technical ability, expansive themes and lyrics, and overall heaviness. So why oh why am I struggling to find anything truly memorable or a riff that sticks with me?  Songs such as ‘Scar Spangled Banner’, ‘Deathamphetamine’ and ‘Children of a Worthless God’ have characterised previous releases through an inescapable catchiness that made the listener intent on simultaneous mayhem and destruction. For all its efforts and power, this album just seems to lack a track that fully stands out above the rest. Don’t get me wrong, Exodus have created a stunning album, full of individual brilliance but incredibly it is NOT greater than the sum of its parts!

Dukes’ fantastic effect on the band since joining has been undeniable, and both his and Holt’s lyrics are some of their most impressive yet. Though it may be an act of metal heresy to say it, the songs are just too long . While ‘The Sun is My Destroyer’ does take Exodus into some slower, more ominous territory, it is a classic of example of a song that could have made much more of a punch if it had been 3 minutes shorter – like many of those here. Based on recent form I didn’t think it was possible that you could have too much Exosud, but this time Exodus don’t quite come with their A game.

Perhaps final track ‘Good Riddance’ could be that single-worthy song we have been waiting for? It certainly has their trademarked car-crashing, moshability factor but it comes just too late in the day – at a point where the listener is ultimately disinterested and frankly exhausted from almost an hour of aural assault and battery.

This is probably an album that deserves a 7 out of 10 rating but feels like a 6 out of 10 because you’re still waiting for the damn thing to happen. You will want to replay it but only after you’ve revisited all their recent albums again first. If you’re looking for a way into Exodus – try their live DVD release ‘Shovel Headed Tour Machine’ instead.

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Triptykon – Eparisera Daimones

To the unprepared metal fan Triptykon would appear to be the side project of Celtic Frost frontman, Tom Gabriel Warrior – that is until you open the excellent presentation booklet for ‘Eparistera Daimones’ and reveal the retributions and accusations that lie within: Celtic Frost are no more and Warrior lays the blame firmly at the feet of his former partners.  This departure has created a chimera of an album in Eparistera Daimones – 50% written for Celtic Frost and 50% written against and in spite of them! One must think his new band members have a high degree of tolerance; Warrior insists Celtic Frost is dead and yet his liner notes mention the group in every song!

So does Triptykon’s music distinguish itself sufficiently against Warrior’s former project? The answer: yes – but its not as simple as that. The album could really be called ‘Monotheist II’ – but in this case it sounds a project fully realised. Opening track ‘Goetia’ is an 11 minute masterpiece that sounds like a realised album in its own right. You feel there is a real threat that they have dropped their payload too early, yet ‘Abyss Within My Soul’ thankfully ensures that no momentum is lost. For the majority, the guitar sound retains the droning, cathartic doom noise from ‘Monotheist’ but the tempo changes are much more satisfying,  giving the rapid parts greater emphasis –  ‘A Thousand Lies’ especially.  The piano in ‘Myopic Empire’ and the female vocals of Simone Vollenweider in ‘My Pain’ could easily pose a risk to a project such as this –and Warrior is at pains to point out their prior rejection by Celtic Frost- but these elements only enhance the haunting, brink-of-the-abyss atmosphere.

New bite and revenge drips from Warrior’s every word – and you know he means it. More than once his bleak subject matters and metaphors seem to cross reference the dissolutions with his former band “I’ve conceived you, I’ve destroyed you, you were stillborn inside of me”. His vocal range has always been narrow but in recent years this has reduced even more, which could put some listeners off. There’s little change here and he still sounds like a decrepit zombie, but could there be more meaning to it? Perhaps he is answering those who would write him off following the demise of Celtic Frost by becoming the embodiment of the undead – risen again for sonic revenge?

Final track ‘The Prolonging’ is exactly that- too long, and to the album’s detriment. At over 20 minutes, it really isn’t needed and despite some catchy parts and a declarative 5 minute ride out with Warrior declaring “As you perish, I shall live” (guess who), the attention slips from an otherwise engaging album.

Eparistera Daimones’ harsh direction and sound means that it will never achieve the wider popularity of Celtic Frost efforts ‘To Mega Therion’ and ‘Into The Pandemonium’ – which its sublime cover art (Vlad Tepes by HR Giger) harks back to. For fans of extreme metal and doom however, it is a work indebteted to the final days of Celtic Frost and an exciting prospect should Triptykon choose to follow these dark pastures further.

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Don’t love the band, or even the genre. Just love the song

anonymous scriber mysteriously sends this to ftittaimu. it’s really rather good. feedback is a must here readers.
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When I first started music lessons at school aged 11, rather than let us smash the keys on the piano or twang the violin strings, our teacher had us open our notebooks and take dictation about the history of music – the emergence of orchestra, the ‘great’ composers, the meanings of ‘lento’ and ‘crescendo’. For most of us this was dull and dreary stuff and I quickly turned away from music as an academic subject. I can still remember the first thing he said though: “Music can simply be described as organised sound”. I still disagree with this. By that logic every time Gordon Brown presents a speech we would all be dancing a jig saying “this organised sound has such good bass”. Do we? No, we sit and scowl at the overweight dunce trying to conduct the nation, and that’s pretty much the face I had sitting in those music lessons. But the whole idea of “organised sound” got me thinking about how we write music.
My brother once said to me that there must surely come a time when music would be exhausted and any song you could create would already be in existence. I forgive him this rashness of thought because I suppose one could argue that in the simplest terms there are only seven notes, which indeed was his argument. I reminded him that there are only nine numbers, but infinite combinations thereafter and he nearly conceded. “But if someone writes the song 555 [using my numbers analogy against me], no one will write the song 5555 because it’s just exactly the same song but just a bit longer” he argued. “I’m afraid they already have, and will continue to do so” I despondently replied. I explained that it is not so much about the song as it is the writer and producer, who have control over exactly how that ‘5’ sounds and whether to make the song a free-flowing ‘555’ or quirky, jerky ‘55.5’. It is the organisation and composition of the few notes and the almost limitless array of sounds at mankind’s disposal that means music is a bottomless well of any type of song you can think of just waiting to be scooped out and splodged onto our plates. So why is it that so many of us become fans and followers of the those who merely ladle out this musical stew?
I don’t believe in a good or bad band, only a good or bad song. To me, all songs are written by anonymous and performed by unknown artist. I couldn’t care less about the image or agenda of the people who front them. However, there are those who take to bands like supporting a football team; goading and berating supporters of other bands as if music were a competition, and following blindly the direction of their team safe in the knowledge that their pack gained three vital points in the race for social acceptance. Therein lies the problem: as humans we are eager to categorize and define ourselves so that we feel part of a social group who believe in the same things as us. Instinct tells us it is safer to be part of the pack. The music industry has learnt this and plays to it.
Music, like all art, is a sensual expression of our inner selves and (usually) tries to communicate a message. It seems that this message is the hook that modern music followers cling to as their creed and the music industry uses to fish for profit. This message may be conveyed by the lyrics in each song, the type of music, the image of the band, or a combination of all three. If a band or artist labels themselves (and the pressure is always there to do so by the music industry) there is a silent, almost imperceptible rallying call to the public to join their way of thinking. Whether a band is telling you there is a God, or there isn’t a God, or a band is being an advert for Gap, or a band is showing you that wearing odd coloured socks is cool, or a band is showing you that you have to be thin and pretty to be a success, there are just too many extra factors to become emotionally attached to nowadays. So much so that people start to forget about the songs themselves and get fixated on the band. People become defensive – all of a sudden it becomes personal when others say they don’t like the latest release by your favourite band. And why not, as you have invested a lot of time, money and emotion in supporting them – not liking the new single is not liking you. Music has been cruelly puppeteered to be divisive to make money from an image you want to be part of.
That is why we should all be thankful that the internet now plays such a huge role in music. The emergence of the online market and such sites as Myspace and Youtube has given all artists a level playing field. Everyone now has the chance on an individual basis to release singles or albums without the financial backing of a record label. This means, amongst other things, that all the egos, wardrobes, and looks of our musicians are obsolete when deciding whether or not to like a song. It also means that there is far less media propaganda which promotes subordination and rivalry. The internet can be the catalyst for us to love songs again rather than bands or genres. We can finally stop pigeon-holing ourselves. Music can once again be an art rather than a fashion accessory.
“Don’t think we’re so mysterious. Don’t take us all too serious. Be original”
– Aqua, Cartoon Heroes.
Written by anonymous

LIVE REVIEW: Joy Orbison, Andy Mac and Cosmic Boogie@ Archive club night, Leaf Tea Shop, Liverpool 19/3/10

Despite being a rather maudlin number, Roy Orbison offers some hope in his hit record ‘Only The Lonely’, singing of the possibility of ‘Maybe tomorrow/ A new romance’.

The perfume of impending romance hangs over Leaf, the venue for tonight’s gig. Billowing veils flutter as me and my mate walk in to check out what’s going on. Having visited Leaf during the day during its Tea Shop guise (and enjoyed a very tasty salad), I was unsure as to whether or not it would be able to transform into a club.

My doubts were immediately quashed. Green lasers danced about. Hand designed posters adorned the walls advertising both Archive and Joy Orbison. The lighting of the venue was also cool, understated, much like the man who would soon be headlining tonight’s proceedings.

Cosmic Boogie kicked things off with a soulful, funky set. It sounded like the kind of thing Diana Ross would get ready to before heading off to Studio 54 (and kissing MJ goodnight). I thought I recognised the bassline from Lucy Pearl’s ‘Don’t Mess With My Man’, but I could have been in a bit of a funk freakout. It seemed like this was Northern Soul Version 2.0, streamlined, bassy rhythms for 2010. It would also sound great on the terrace at Space.

Andy Mac then took to the decks with a higher tempo, housier vibe to get the crowd pumped for Joy. The crowd were starting to take their hands out of their pockets, off their iPhones and getting ready to get movin’. Cosmic Boogie took to the mike to amp it up a notch. I was secretly wanting David Rodigan to emerge from behind the curtain for a bit of MCing action. Maybe next time eh lads haha!

Joy came onstage and immediately studiously hovered over the Pioneer decks. The compact, tight set was a monochrome journey through a number of different genres. Bmore, dubstep, d’n’b, disco, house….. This man clearly has an extensive musical knowledge. Beat matching was faultless and he managed to work the crowd excellently, knowing when to throw in the bangers and when to let the steamed-up studos pop out for a cheeky fag. There were a couple of piano lines from the set that are still tickling me now and I remember going nuts to a good bit of vocoder. I also have a note in my phone saying he dropped what sounded like a Prince tune about cherries?! After googling, it seems it could have been Prince’s ‘Cherry, Cherry’, a song about a lover’s suicide. A rather melancholy reference for a joyful man if so. But I left Leaf with a big grin on my face. Joy makes you smile where Roy made you cry.

Many thanks to all the staff at Leaf. Everyone was extremely hospitable and I will certainly be back soon!

LIVE REVIEW: Overkill, Cripper, Savage Messiah and Suicidal Angels Wolverhampton 24/2/10

Another stellar contribution from metal man Dave Yarwood. Please send me any articles to do with music and I’ll post them. If they are good. <domonhiscomputer@hotmail.com>

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Not renowned for its hard rock and metal pedigree, in recent years Wolverhampton has become a essential point on the map for the UK metal scene. While it may lack a bona fide stadium / arena tour venue (not withstanding the proximity of Birmingham’s NEC), its Civic centre and Wulfrun Hall have become reliable stops for some of metal’s bigger players – including Anthrax and Fear Factory. It puts arguably ‘higher esteemed’ Northern cities like Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle to shame.

In saying that it was quite a shock upon our arrival at the Wulfrun Hall to find we had been relegated from the main hall (capacity maybe 2000) to the back bar (at a squeeze 200) presumably down to poor ticket sales. A band with the 25 year history and consistency of Overkill really do deserve better. Latest release ‘Ironbound’ is already one of the most important albums of 2010, perhaps its only recent release in mid February meant it had not yet disseminated to the metal fan on the street.

As opposed to last year’s ‘Killfest’ supported by thrash titans Exodus, this year’s mini-fest lacked real recognised support and also contributed to a reduction in numbers and probably sidelined younger modern metal fans. This lack of support may have contributed to my gig partner’s late arrival meaning that we sadly missed support band’s Cripper and Savage Messiah‘s performances – sorry guys. If you will have doors at 6pm, I’d be surprised if anyone but Wolverhampton’s unemployed and student population saw them anyway!

Chief support came from Greece’s ‘Suicidal Angels’ – thrash metal up-and-comers who can probably be summed up in the phrase “crap name, good band”. Bearing slightly more than a resemblance to pre ‘Roots’-era Sepultura, I was initially preparing a piracy report (eh?- Ed.) until I realised I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Singer Nick’s grunt and chants may have been a little monotone (and Max Cavalera-ish), however they carried enough enthusiasm to support the solid thrash riffing and thundering double kickdrums that punctuated the majority of their set. What little I have heard on their myspace page is a fair representation of their early 90’s thrash/death sound however despite the initial likeness to Sepultura in the timbre, the songs do have a highly listenable freshness and variation (without going too far) to suggest that we may see these guys again very soon on bigger stages. My compliments to bassist Angel, who we spoke to afterwards – a nice guy both humble and driven whilst also aware of the work that will be required to crack the next level.

And so to Overkill, a band gracing a stage nowhere near big enough for them, yet making it all the more special for those lucky enough to be there. Opener and lead track from Ironbound ‘The Green And Black’ is an 8 minute juggernaut perfectly weighted to start the party and leave you feeling immediately satisfied. Overkill have always been a thrash band and have deviated little from this. Their guitar sound has lost nothing through the years and whilst other bands of the classic 80’s metal era have attempted – and sometimes been forced – to reinvent themselves, Overkill’s current sound is just an updated version as relevant today as its ever been.

Grinning and seething every word, frontman Bobby ‘Blitz’ Ellsworth’s is surely one of the best frontmen in heavy metal. A veteran he may be, but he houses an energy and chiselled 0% fat physique that any mortal man would be proud of. In his New York drawl/screech he spits, “I may be old but I can still knock you down boy!”, at the mere hint of any bottle throwing. His enthusiasm was impossible to ignore as he whipped the crowd into chorus classics like ‘Rotten To The Core’, ‘Elimination’ and ‘In Union We Stand’. New cuts ‘Ironbound’ and ‘Bring Me The Night’ fitted in seamlessly to a set containing absolutely no filler. Blitz aside the rest of Overkill’s current line-up have never been known for their onstage antics and I sensed that tonight they did seem a little muted by the small surroundings. Bassist D.D. Verni, although spot on with his backing vocals, did have the odd vacant stare in his eyes that I’m not buying as a new “I place bass so I’m cool” image.

Due to the mini-festival arrangement the band were only allotted 90 minutes and despite being treated to a blood-curdling rendition of ‘Necroshine’ in the encore, an Overkill fan is always going to be left wanting a little more: For example there was nothing from previous album ‘Immortalis’, no ‘Powersurge’, no ‘Coma’, and no ‘Rip ‘N’ Tear’ but the real sad thing for owners of the new album was that we were limited to just 3 tracks off it. Third from last track ‘In Vain’ feels like it was made for the stage, and if we’re not going to see it on this tour then its a fair question to ask, “Well when?”.

Customary set closer “Fuck You” can always be relied on to bring the house down – and it did not fail. Rabid fans all screaming profanities with middle fingers in the air almost made me think we were in the main hall after all, and then… an all too soon goodbye. Far be it for me to argue, inherently contagious and great fun it is, but is “Fuck You” really the right song for Overkill to finish with after all these years? Though they may not care what I say: its rabble rousing, protest shoutability factor could be much better suited to a mid-gig momentum surger (not that it ever dipped) whilst they certainly have enough thrash classics to replace it with at the end.

All in all a belter of gig from a band that sound as essential now as they ever did. Though playing a glorified bar rather than a real stage, production and sound quality was outstanding and the band didn’t miss a beat. Like their Motorhead name origins suggest – Overkill – the only way to feel the noise is when it’s good and loud!

LIVE REVIEW: The a.P.A.t.T. Orchestra presents… John Cage’s Variations I + Music by Steve Reich Liverpool 20/2/10

This was one of those musical experiences you simply don’t forget. Something strange, something unique, something you want to tell your nearest and dearest about, and, after a few light ales, anyone who will listen.

To directly quote the Facebook event,  “the a.P.A.t.T. Orchestra return(ed) with another time and place-specific performance of music old and new. Featuring a 25-strong ensemble of undetermined instruments, the orchestra utilis(ed) the architecture of Liverpool’s historic Walker Art Gallery to present a programme of immersive music.”

Things I liked about this sentence:-

1)      undetermined instruments

2)      utilisation of architecture

3)      immersive music

The orchestra opened with Steve Reich’s Pendulum Music. Three microphones were suspended above three separate amps. After gentle encouragement, they swang back and forth. The resulting feedback noise began as a cacophony, but ended in a hypnotic rhythm. Old and young alike were enraptured by the distillation effect, as if out of chaos, a thing of beauty emerged. As it ended, people looked at each other, as if to say, well, firstly, ‘haha you look funny in those yellow earplugs’, and then secondly, ‘wow, that was amazing!’.

What followed was the highlight of the event for me, Richard Harding’s Meeting Points. Randomly assigned musical notes were given to the orchestra a couple of days before the performance, and with little time to rehearse, the orchestra were improvising. It felt like the piece was being created for the first time there and then, as violins collided with saxes and a strange iPod noisemachine produced musical oddity. The walk through the gallery past classical to modern art was significant. Part voyeur part Vincent Moon recording grainy phone footage, I loved the Russian Ark feeling to the performance. The 25 strong ensemble were Pied Pipers, leading the culturerats through the museum.

John Cage’s Variations I was next, a series of musical notes assigned by marked acetates. The notes, when they did appear, were sometimes pleasing to the ear, and other times not. I felt like I was feeling my way through my old house when I was a child, every now and again hearing an owl or a creaking door. The silence was also more pure when it did occur, although the capoiera next door did detract from this.

Steve Reich’s Clapping Rhythm ended the event, with the 25 piece orchestra producing a wonderful rhythm that made me want to go and get hold of that lovely dancer in Alma de Cuba and show her how a white boy from the Wirral can samba (N.B. badly).

An absolute treat of a Saturday afternoon, more of the same please a.P.A.t.T.!

An Interview with Bill Ryder-Jones

The Coral will always have a soft spot in my heart. Six local lads made good, their unique, psychedelic, jangly indie captured the nation’s attention with their self-titled debut LP in 2002. From there, the band went from strength to strength, playing dates with The Libertines and befriending Noel Gallagher. They have since released six albums to commercial and critical acclaim, and have a fan base that stretches across the globe. In January 2008, lead guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones left the band citing personal reasons.

The first two Coral albums soundtracked a great time in my life and it is their second album I play on my way to meet Bill at his Mum’s house in West Kirby, a small seaside town on the Wirral.

Bill leads me up to his room and sits down in the centre of the room, looking a little tense. I set up my various bits and pieces and warn him that I am not quite sure how the newly purchased Dictaphone works. Bill lets out a wry smile.

I try to break the ice by asking about his latest project, a collaboration with photographer Sophie Jarry, the Rock and Roll Animals photo exhibition staged at Camden’s Proud Galleries.

“I wrote two pieces of music for it, the rest is stuff I’ve written over the last couple of years”, Bill tells me.

A couple of photos of Bill appear in the exhibition, and Bill winces slightly when he tells me about seeing them hanging in the gallery.

“When we took the photos, I was in here (his old bedroom). I was having one of those times when you thought, I’m 26…. I don’t really have any of those photos in case something happens. It’s alright when you’re with the band, you gotta do it, but when you’re on your own, it’s not much fun.”

I ask Bill about another project he is working on, Paperhouse, with Mat Gregory, ex-guitarist and driving force of Liverpool band The Little Flames. I propose that his work with Mat represents the wilder, more psychedelic aspect to his music and that his solo work is more introspective and reflective.

Bill says he sort of agrees, but that he doesn’t really think about it. He is wary of the ‘singer-songwriter’ tag. “I’ve got a couple of songs up on my MySpace with lyrics, and I get a bit antsy. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I left The Coral to push my own tunes”.

I ask Bill what he’s listening to at the moment, and he tells me he is listening to lots of instrumental music, “stuff you can let your mind wander in. You know, nice combinations of sounds.”

This is certainly reflected in the music Bill has posted on his MySpace page. However, last year an anonymous blogger downloaded all of Bill’s tracks and presented them as an album, accompanied by photos of Bill playing his guitar.

“I’m my own worst enemy really. Every now and then I’ll write a song, stick it up on MySpace, and before I know it, it’ll have a couple of hundred hits, and I’ll panic, and put up an instrumental. You can tell though that most of them are demos, recorded on a whim.

“I love Leonard Cohen and I absolutely adore Nick Drake. But the thought of me trying to pull that off, it’s embarrassing to me. I’ve always just been a sounds man.”

I ask Bill about a recent composition he did for a short film. He says that this is what he really wants to get into. “The short’s great, it’s a local film. Lots of it was shot on Moel Famau, a North Wales mountain.” Bill’s Moel Famau, A Leave Taking and Nothing Ever Changes were used in the film.

I mention to Bill that I recently read an early Coral interview where Bill said they played “music from the soul”. I asked him if what he does now is more reflective of him individually.

“No, not at all really. Because when I was in The Coral, if I was into something, it would reflect in my guitar playing. I get a lot more of putting something of yours on top of something of somebody else. Well I do anyway. When you’re on your own it doesn’t really matter where it ends up. But we always knew in the band that the last thing you want to do is get in the way of the song. James was such a brilliant songwriter, still is.

I ask Bill about how he crafts his music. I suggest that his music reminds me very much of the local area. He agrees, saying “When I’m making music, it’s always with a place in mind. The sea is always something that inspires me. All my instrumental stuff, I’d like people to associate with British landscapes.

“You know, round here, Hoylake, West Kirby, Caldy Woods, Royden Park, I’d like to think they’re in the music there somewhere. I’d love it to be like when you listen to Nick Drake, and you go to Cambridge, and it makes a load of sense.”

“Like, for example, you can picture punting down the Cam inspired River Man?”, I ask.

“Yeah you’re right, I’d like it to be like that,” Bill says. He continues, “You know Moel Famau, that was the only piece of conceptual music I have ever wrote. Purely because Moel Famau’s a mountain, I wanted to make a big dense piece of music. There’s a double bass, two cello parts and a viola. And there was meant to be one really high violin line. And I wanted to be like there was like this base of a mountain building up to something. I really like the recording of that one. The girls who played in it were great. My cousin, a lovely girl called Megan who plays viola for me, another girl called Abbey who played the cello and my friend Dean who played double bass. We didn’t have a lot of time to rehearse and classically trained musicians are gonna want to iron everything out, and it wasn’t easy for me to go “I really like it, it’s kind of frail but I like it.”

Are there are any film soundtracks he’s into at the moment?  “Yeah. I like a lot of Yann Tiersen’s music. I just think he’s the luckiest guy in the world. I love the way he has a couple of themes per album.

“I really like Jonny Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood. That is unreal. It’s quite hard to follow that music. Really authentic stuff.

“A lot of the obvious ones are the best. I’ve rediscovered Morricone recently. He’s the perfect example of someone who can not be easily categorised. You’ve got the stylised stuff, you know, like what he did for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and then you’ve got stuff like Once Upon a Time in America. He had to find a compromise between the obscure, orchestrated stuff and stuff that would appeal to a commercial audience. It’s easy to think you could do that by doing something simple, but what he does in that film is not simple at all. He just finds those melodies that stick. But past those, there’s also a lot going on.”

The light is starting to fade, dusk settles over West Kirby. I ask Bill about a fan-made video up on YouTube to accompany his song Someone That You Know. A delicate, haunting tune that includes the lyric, ‘Life’s one long cigarette to die from’.

I tell him I love that lyric. Bill laughs and says, “You see I hate that, it makes me cringe. I like that someone has enjoyed it, but that, that’s not really me. It’s true, but it’s not really what I wanna say…Haha, if Morrissey said it, I’d think it was cool.”

The time has flown by, and Bill has to pack his things to visit his girlfriend. Despite Bill being a man who lets his music do the talking, he has been very good company. Bill plays me some more Paperhouse material, and it is something he says may be performed on the festival circuit.  It’s swooping psychedelia at its very best. A reluctant man he may be, but Bill Ryder-Jones does not deserve to remain in the shadows for much longer.

To hear Bill’s music, visit

http://www.myspace.com/billryderjones

Rock and Roll Animals will be showing at Proud Galleries, Camden, until March 21st.

Interview with Nico Lupo

ftittaimu catches up with up and coming underground London DJ, journalist, promoter and all-round music aficionado Nico Lupo, whilst on holiday in Africa……

F: What track/album/night made you want to decide to be a DJ?

N: No specific track or night, it was more that I wanted to be involved

and admired the rave scene from about 10 to 11 years old. So I bought

decks from my slave labour ₤10 a day Saturday job in Brixton and it

went from there.

F: Do you find it hard to stay behind the decks when djing and not join

in with the crowd?

N: Yeah, sometimes when the vibe is next level it just feels natural to

rave away. I suppose there’s always a risk that if you get involved

in dancefloor aerobics the open decks might be hijacked by pirates.

F: Who is the most inspirational DJ for you?

N: DJ EZ. Back in the day his cutting, chopping and blending of 2step

off key and 4×4 beats was phenomenal. I can’t forget Erick Morillo as

well.

F: Do you think dance music will follow DJ’s, not places or scenes?

N: It’s all part of the music wheel really. Following a DJ can be a

positive thing. You can hear tracks that don’t fit into the style

you’re into as DJ’s and producers can have such a rich and random

musical background. Skream’s a perfect example. His sets can

incorporate his deeper beats, his rave style productions, odd disco

and different artists like The XX.

F: Websites like Hype Machine allow new remixes to be posted and instantly

shared. How do you keep ahead of the game and play stuff no-one else

is hearing?

N: Usually I tend to lurk in the dark depths of DJ boxes up and down the

country and pocket CD’s and vinyl while their backs are turned, before

they get a chance to play them.

F: Will dubstep cross over into pop in 2010 like the way Pendulum crossed

over with D&B? Take That by Wiley certainly shows it could happen…

N: There’s always a possibility. I do think there are varying levels it

could occur in correlation with positivity. Obviously Skream’s remix

of La Roux opened the masses eyes to the dubstep sound. As long as the

sound doesn’t dilute and the roots are never forgotten then that’s

cool. People will always try and jump on movements that are in thing.

If Robbie Williams croons over Rusko’s ‘Jehovah’ and every 8 year old

and piddly pop lover exclaims ‘I Love Dubstep’ then that’s straight up

too far. Whatever occurs my deepest respect will always be with the

original dubstep scene.

F: What do you think of the Miami scene that seems to be taking over

dance music recently?

N: All I know is that it’s always exciting when hubs of creativity

emerge. Miami for a while now has been the meeting place for the house

and techno scene pre Ibiza for WMC to break the tracks of the Ibiza

season.

F: Africa tends to be influencing many genres of music at the moment, do

you think the next port of call is Asian beats, or even Arctic ones (sarcastic wink)?

N: I think we’re at a time musically where it’s all about fusion music,

which is straight up positive. I guess it’s been going since the days

of traditional African music combining with blues of the Mississippi

Delta and rap and R&B vocals in acid house. I hope the next 10 years of underground music is as exciting as the last 10.

F: Ten years ago world music was not cool; do you think this has changed now?

N: Obviously I wasn’t that cool then! Gilles Peterson, Bobby Friction,

Nihal and the army of producers who reference world music in their

tracks have definitely now highlighted the ‘coolness’ to the masses.

F: Any music you would not feel happy about throwing into the mix?

N: If it has a captivating element to it and can be slowed or sped up and

sound in context in the mix I wouldn’t count it out. Quality music is

what it is, regardless of genre. On second thoughts I would probably

avoid Screamo-Gabba.

F: Diplo, Erol Alkan, Kissy Sell Out are DJs and brands. Are we about to

witness a rebirth of the superstar DJ?

N: All three have been instrumental in their respective scenes by pushing

decent underground music. As they’re big in the game they bring their

underground music to people who wouldn’t usually search it out and may

not usually hear it. So it sparks interest and spreads quality music.

Maxi Jazz from Faithless said ‘God is a DJ,’ so are the Superstar DJs

his prophets?

F: Tell us about GrooveTherapyPresents…?

N: Well GTP… is J.Ioannou’s and my vision of music, nights and a lot of

tomfoolery. We’ve put our Wanna Be VIP night on in a few places like

London, Birmingham, Cyprus and others. At the moment John’s living in

Barcelona so we might do some stuff over there for Sonar this year.

Check out the GrooveTherapyPresents MySpace-http://www.myspace.com/groovetherapypresents

F: What is your approach to productions? Will we see any Lupo remixes in

the future?

N: Pushing myself out of my comfort zone production wise and making what

I feel. I love varying drum patterns and percussion without

considering what genre it fits. I’m in Africa at the moment with my

digital recorder so it’s cool picking up random samples and animal

noises. I look forward to incorporating them into future tracks so

keep your ears peeled. I’ve got a remix of heavy producer, Murfy aka Devious N4ture in the pipeline and pushing the release of ‘Fidget Pigeon’ later this year. I’d like to work with a few bands as well, so I’m open to remix requests.

Nico Lupo’s Top 5 ‘Off the Head’ Chart:

CeCe Rogers- Someday

Kingdom- You

Chromeo- Night by Night (Skream mix)

Ferrer & Sydenham- Sandcastles

The XX- Night Time

Lupo’s MySpace- http://www.myspace.com/nicolupo