Thursday, 27 October 2011

Interview : Moda - Craig Duranti

Music Liberation has followed the development of Moda ever since they began way back in 2006. So with their 5th birthday coming this week we decided to interview one of their head honchos, Craig Duranti, to find out what the last 5 years have been like and discover what the guys have planned for this Friday's big celebration party at Tokyo Lincoln.

Music Liberation: Good afternoon Craig, for those not in know please tell us the ‘who and why’ about Moda?

Craig: "The 'who' are Jaymo, Andy George, Tom Staar, Toy Tigers and myself. My main role is the day to day running of the label. I guess the 'why' is that we spotted an opportunity do something new and exciting. In Lincoln there wasn’t a party like Moda and luckily there was a core of young, open minded people who embraced what we were trying to do immediately – Moda has always had a real family vibe!" 

ML: What have you got planned for the 5th year anniversary party on Friday?

C: "It’s going to be pretty special. Jack Beats, Alex Metric, The 2 Bears are all coming up to play alongside the whole Moda crew. It’ll be guaranteed good music and good times, with a few special birthday surprises!" 

ML: What have been some of the highlights over the past 5 years?

C: "Hmmm. Far too many to mention, but I guess Annie Mac’s first visit to The Cell was pretty special. It was 1 in 1 out by 11, and I had the task of entertaining the people who couldn’t get in the main room as it was completely rammed. Our first Engine Shed event was a proud moment too, Jay & Andy completely stepped up to the plate and delivered an amazing live Essential Mix. From a label point of view, getting Fenech-Soler on the Radio 1 playlist was a great achievement." 
ML: Upon the creation of Moda did you foresee how successful it would be?

C: "I guess we’ll all have different answers to the question. I’m just proud of everything we’ve achieved so far and extremely grateful to the boys for letting me come on board!" 

ML: What do you think has helped Moda become so established and respected?

C: "Passion, a lot of hard work and a refusal to compromise!" 

ML: As for the Moda club nights, we know you always like to get high profile DJ’s and artists on the bill, who have been some of your favourites over the years, and who are you still trying to get to play?

C: "It’s not about high profile, we always book people we want to see and I guess as the venues and parties have got bigger so is the calibre of talent we can book. Some of my favourites have been Switch, Toddla T, Crookers & Fake Blood. As for future bookings, we’re trying to get 5ive to reform for a one off show but alas no joy as yet!" 

ML: We know Moda also has a record label, Moda Music, what exciting releases have you got lined up for next 12 months?

C: "Yep, we’re just firming up our plan for next year actually. We’ve a nice stable of acts together and you should keep your eye out for Polarsets, Toy Tigers, Tom Staar, Old Soul amongst others. We want to continue to put out consistently quality EP’s without tying ourselves to one style of music." 

ML: Personally speaking, what excites you most about working for Moda?

C: "What excites me is that there is no limit to what we can achieve. Whether that is bigger, crazier parties or signing an act that goes onto sell a million albums. Anything is possible as long as we keep our work ethic up! Also, working with your mates is brilliant. It can be frustrating though when we’re in a team meeting and we all regress into childhood banter mode – Ben (Toy Tigers) has the attention span of a goldfish." 

ML: How do you see things progressing over the next 5 years?

C: "Live wise; there are some really exciting plans for 2012 that will have to remain under wraps for now! On the label we’d like to release an artist album and the next in our compilation series next year. After that, who knows! Music is ever evolving so we don’t look too far ahead." 

ML: How can people find out more about Moda and get in touch? 

C: "The website is www.thisismoda.com and the blog is updated regularly with info, mixes and other cool stuff. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter, and Andy’s mobile number is 07775 441***."

Many thanks to Craig for his time and his informative answers! If you're around the area of Lincoln tomorrow night then I recommend you join the Moda gang at the party!! || Tickets + Info || (Also check out the special birthday mixtape from the Moda Allstars)

* FREE DOWNLOAD * Basement Jaxx: My Turn (Moda's Birthday Rerub) by itsmodamusic

Monday, 24 October 2011

New Music : DZ Deathrays / Phrenik / The Coathangers

DZ Deathrays

Formerly known as DZ, the newly renamed DZ Deathrays are two gentleman from Brisbane in Australia. They make loud, obnoxious, unashamedly messy rock music that needs to be played loud and proud. They have just released a new EP titled 'Brutal Tapes' through I Oh You.

The record is full of heavy ear splitting riffs and brutal drums, coupled with yelpy shouty pop vocals. It's quite apt that these guys started their band at a house party, as you can imagine their thrashy style of rock would really set things off in that intimate setting. Comparisons could be drawn with the likes of the now defunct UK based Testicles, whilst their other EP 'Ruined My Life' is well worth hunting down. || DZ Deathrays
DZ Deathrays - 'Gebbie Street' by DZDEATHRAYS

Phrenik

Based out of San Diego comes Phrenik, a producer who makes bass damaging dubstep that will shake the very foundations of your home. With that in mind the name of his new EP, 'Damage Control', may not come as quite a surprise. Having grown up with drum and bass like so many other producers out there the transition to dubstep has been a relatively easy one for Phrenik to make. However unlike his more commercial piers Phrenik has gone for the glitchy heavy end of the spectrum, with the results being quite terrifying. You can grab his new EP , which is out through LU10 Records, on beatport now. || Phrenik

Damage Control [OUT NOW!!!] by Phrenik

The Coathangers

The Coathangers are four ladies from Atlanta who make noisey punk rock with dollops and dollops of energy. This Summer they released an album titled 'Larceny and Old Lace' through Suicide Squeeze, and October 24th see's them release the double A side 'Hurricane/Johnny' from that LP, through the new London based label, X-Ray Recordings. 'Hurricane' is a snarly, in your face, punk rock anthem, whilst 'Johnny' takes you off your guard with its thrash like moments coupled with odd piano bits and dainty then murderous vocals. Oh and check out the quite crazy video for 'Hurricane'.

Tip: Do not cross these girls! // The Coathangers || X-Ray Recordings
'Hurricane'/'Johnny' Flexidisc by WorkItMedia

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Interview : The Mash

I recently caught up Maxime Wathieu, singer/guitarist from Belgium three piece The Mash, to find out among other things whats going with his band at the moment, which new artists he recommends checking out, and the all important question - what's his favourite sandwich?

Music Liberation : Who are you and where are you from?

Maxime: We're The Mash, a pop-rock band from Li├Ęge, Belgium. We're victim of the so-classic band story "starting making music to escape from teenage boredom". After having played about 100 gigs since 2004 in every kind of stages (bars, clubs, festivals, massive support acts), and with every kind of line-up, we are now a power pop trio. Our best gig's souvenirs are supporting Girls, The Bishops, and Indochine (famous french band), where we played in front of a 10.000 people crowd!

ML : Describe your music in three words?

M: "Ice cream - sun - sunglasses." (ED: Technically that's four, but we'll let him off!)

ML: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

M: "The Mash love a lot of music. Classic bands (The Beatles, Beach Boys), power rock band (Foo Fighters, Weezer, Biffy Clyro, Switchfoot), noisy bands (Sonic Youth, Blood Brothers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs), stoner bands (Queens of the stone age, Millionaire), britpop bands (The Cribs, The Jam, The Coral, XTC), pure pop bands (Cardigans, New Radicals), indie bands (Pavement, Pixies), folk bands (Fleet Foxes, Simon and Garfunkel), west coast bands (Girls, Best Coast, Wavves), "Strokes like" bands (Strokes of course, Postelles, Enveloppes). Well, all music I'm listening to is an influence. Do you want me to send you my iTunes list? I'm joking.

My non-musical influences are everything that go through my eyes and my ears. I like raw writers like Charles Bukowski, and Jim Harrison. I also like movies with caricatured teenage characters: for example, I'm a big fan of Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World, Art School Confidential), Larry Clark (Ken Park, Wassup Rockers, Kids) and last but not least, Trainspotting! Watching all of them, you finally understand that these so called caricatured stories are so close to reality! I really like those dared critical looks.

I'd finish by quoting some photographers' influences: Ryan Mc Ginley, Bryan Sheffield, Jeremy Weiss, Larry Clark again..."

ML : What's on your agenda for the next 12 months?

M: "Find a job, get some vacation in Romania to celebrate my student life's end, and write new songs. More seriously, we will tour in late October with our folk band friends Lieutenant. It's a first real "on the road tour" for us, so we're very excited about it!

Our first album "Disconnected" will be released on 31th October, distributed by PIAS. I really hope it will be well greeted by press and music lovers.

At our gigs, people are quite often receptive, because our songs have a really direct side, due to our trio line-up. But on the album, we chose a more pop production, with more guitars and voices. I hope listeners will enjoy. Anyway, we like this contrast between our live performance, and our album recordings. It's totally assumed.

The main goal now is to play as many gigs as we can, especially in Belgian summer festivals. And maybe abroad in UK? It's a dream."

ML: Any new bands/artists you recommend us checking out?

M: "I just discovered (thanks to The Mash's bassist Guillaume) a French/Swedish band called Envelopes. They sound like The Strokes, but with a girl singing, and more wacky tunes.

I guess our drummer Axel would advice the band Switchfoot. He really likes those catchy American tunes!

And finally Guillaume just told me by phone, a band called Beast. Searching on the net, I found two bands called Beast. First is a South Korean Boys Band. Second is an indie canadian one. I guess (and I really hope...) he was talking about the second one!"

ML: If you could tour with any two artists, past or present, who would they be and why?

M: "Maybe the most important would be bands with funny, and friendly musicians. I'd say Wavves for that, because they seemed so cool while watching them in a interview...
And next, maybe a crap band, so we'd seem so great next to them. Randomly, hem... Here's one!!"

ML: If you had unlimited funds, what 3 things would you have on your tour rider?

M: "1. Maybe unlimited food, that's the only reason why we're doing gigs, man! Fat food in preference. Anyway, we'll eat anything that is backstage, even non-tasty stuff.
2. Fans!!! "Organizers must undertake to bring a minimum of 500 crazy fans in front of the stage".
3. Some Jacuzzis with champagne, so we can jump in directly after the show with our girlfriends."

ML: What’s more important for you, selling records or live shows?

M: "I'd say live shows, as record sells are really bad nowadays. Maybe for us Belgian bands, Cd's became a promotion object to attract people to our gigs. Furthermore we have spent more time on stage, rather than in the studio, and live shows are a direct contact between fans and band...

ML:  What's your perfect sandwich?

M: "Some hamburger with hot peppers. I miss that incredible "Red Hot Chili Chicken" that I ate in a German burger king. It was a limited edition so I won't eat it anymore. Life's so unfair!"

ML: How can we find out more about you?

"Simply by checking our Facebook page, myspace and blog. It's all about french speaking stuff, but I'll try to write some more in English I promise!"

Many thanks to Maxime for his time, and for his great answers! There will be a full review of 'Disconnected', the debut album from The Mash later on this month.

The Mash - Good Day To Die by Themashmusic

Monday, 17 October 2011

Album Review : Cuttooth - Elements

If you like your Hip Hop slightly left of centre (or more than slightly in this case), then you might want to check out Newcastle Upon Tyne's latest export, producer Cuttooth. (The other exports being Cheryl Cole, Ant & Dec, and Peter Beardsley, obviously). Having recently released his debut album 'Elements' through Psychonavigation Records, Cuttooth, aka Nick Cooke, saw the making of the album as a way to really make the sort of music he wanted to after making the decision to go solo.

Nick explains..."The idea behind the album was that I'd come off the back of doing the Forcefield Kids stuff, I then decided that other people are far too unreliable to work with so decided to make a solo record. I really loved 'Los Angeles' by Flying Lotus and though I'd been making weird hip-hop beats for years I never really felt part of that scene. Which is why when I heard that record and the records that I found through that I was like 'This is what I want to do'. Just concentrating on really pushing what I perceived that hip-hop beats could do, experimenting with some really loose rhythms and trying to fuck with people's perception of time and groove a little bit. It came out alright."

It certainly did come out alright, with the 16 track 33 minute record being an absolute aural pleasure to experience. It really needs to be heard in its entirety to be fully appreciated, however stand out tracks would be 'Infinite Hum', 'Sunshine', and 'Cold Moon' and 'This War' which both feature vocals from the excellent Bridie Jackson. Cuttooth has managed to create an album that is full of downtuned and experimental future hop hip beats, whilst still maintaining the clear essence and notion of the traditional blueprint of where it all came from. The record could be a soundscape for future utopian ideas such is its grandeur.

Those records where repeat plays are much recommended to further the listening experience are always a joy to discover, and 'Elements' is easily an album that does that. Grab it now through Psychonavigation Records // Cuttooth



Sunshine by cuttooth

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Information : Aloft Hotels - Turning Up The Spotlight

So last week I travelled to Brussels to join in the celebrations behind the opening of Aloft's 50th hotel, as well as the 1st year anniversary of the Aloft Brussels Schuman hotel itself. The hotel chain had organised a gig at the hotel, but not just any old gig, this was the first 'Turning Up The Spotlight' gig. It was a chance for 3 new and exciting Belgium bands to perform in front of a panel of experts, who would then chose a winner on the night who would go forward to play in London, at the opening of Aloft's newest hotel on 15th November. There was a plethora of media types from across Europe at the event, alongside a healthy number of locals, demonstrating the buzz that had been created for the competition. The hotel itself was very swish, catering for the technically savvy generation as well as providing the utmost of comfort for its guests.

The winner on the night turned out to be Fastlane Candies, an experimental pop group, who were mentored during the evening by Radio 1's Huw Stephens. The other bands were Epic Lane, led by enigmatic frontman Izzy Van Aelst and mentored by producers Jonathan Quarmby and Kevin Bacon, and The Mash, a fiery energetic threesome who were given guidance by Charlatans guitarist Mark Collins, and who will incidentally be interviewed by Music Liberation later this month.

A similar contest will be taking place at the Aloft Abu Dhabi hotel, whereby another winner will be chosen to perform alongside Fastlane Candies at the London event. For your chance to win a VIP trip to the Abu Dhabi event, whereby you'll not only be flown to Abu Dhabi and looked after, but will also get to be on the panel of judges for the competition. Whilst runners up will win an exclusive Aloft Fatboy beanbag (yeaaahh!).

To enter simply watch the highlights video from the Brussels event and then answer two easy questions about it. You have until Thursday 27th October to get involved!

Fastlane Candies - Wound Me by JauneOrange

Friday, 7 October 2011

EP Review : James & Evander - Constellating +2

Recently released through Velvet Blue Music is ‘Constellating +2’, the latest EP from James & Evander, an electronic duo based out in Oakland, America. Having extensively toured the west coast this summer, James & Evander (aka Adam Myatt & Glenn Jackson) are looking to get that sort of break across this side of the ocean in the forthcoming months. We decided to check their new record out to see what chances they have, as well as try to work out what that ‘+2’ is all about.

The 5-track album begins with ‘Constellating’, a track which sets the tone and nature of this electro pop group perfectly. From the outset there are plenty of mellow spacey synths and keys, over which soft vocals are sung, before the track really gets into gear with the introduction of some groove laden drums. Sounding like a cross between Delphic, Friendly Fires and Fenech Soler, James & Evander demonstrate they have a real ear for a ‘catchy hook’, as they expertly use repetition of vocals, keys, beats, guitars, anything they put their mind to really, to grab the listener into their spell. ‘Slap Bracelets’ carries on in a similar vein, with a slow building start to the track before things are ramped up in emphatic style and you can’t help but get swayed along again. Changing tack slightly is ‘Really Real’, where a drone like bass line is covered with a glorious array of bleeps, synths, and other electronic effects. The vocals are gone this time, which actually allows the music to really stand out so you can fully appreciate the futuristic spacey sound they create.

Then comes a possible explanation for the ‘+2’, as the final two tracks of the EP are remixes. There is one for ‘Constellating’ with the Anders remix, and then ‘Slap Bracelets’ is reworked by Shortcircles. Whilst both these remix tracks fall short when compared to the originals, they do demonstrate how the music James & Evander make opens itself up for other interpretations. Of course the ‘+2’ could refer to the two guys in the group, or indeed something else entirely unrelated to the number 2, I guess we’ll need to speak to them direct to find out!

Without doubt this EP shows great promise for James & Evander to be successful over in the UK, much in the same way as someone such as Caribou has done with his own brand of mellow electronic pop music. It will certainly be interesting to see how the duo develop and discover what they can produce on a full length album, which is incidentally pencilled in to be released next year.

The ‘Constellating +2’ EP is available now through Velvet Blue Music. // James & Evander / Listen on Bandcamp

James & Evander - Constellating by INDIGENOUSPromotions

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

EP Review : LightGuides - Samba Samba Samba

LightGuides could quite feasibly be yours and everyone's favourite new band if their debut EP 'Samba Samba Samba' falls into the right hands and gets played to the right ears. Having recently become the latest signing to the ever impressive Alcopop! Records, this three-piece from Glasgow have already achieved national press in RockSound and Big Cheese, and this Summer played a 12 date tour with new label buddies Jumping Ships. If you can get passed the almost redundant comparisons with Biffy Clyro, yeah they are Scottish rockers too, then you might well be pleasantly surprised with this confident and enterprising debut EP.

It's a record that demands your attention from the off, with 'Warhorse' shining in it's melodic greatness, beefed up with odd time signatures and those pesky angular guitars we'd almost forgotten about. It finishes in emphatic style leaving you wondering quite where the album can go next. Fortunately 'The Arts Factory' arrives with yet more of the same. The tempo is slightly slower which only goes to shine the spotlight on Mark Cowan's infectious vocals, with his Scottish accent somehow adding a sense of meaning and believability to LightGuides music, something which is often lacking in other emo bands (yeah, emo) from other parts of the world. 'Old Buckets Seats' is playful and made straight for radio, whereas 'Bachelor Death Party' ticks many boxes including a possible cheeky mid set mosh (yeah, mosh). 'W.H.Y.L' closes this 7-track EP in quite brilliant style, starting off slow, thoughtful, and retrospective, before finishing with a bang, full of optimism and hope (there's even pinch harmonics!).

'Samba Samba Samba' is a record that will put a smile on your face when you're feeling down, get you in the mood to go out and party, or even for those times when you need to reflect. It's an all encompassing album from a band who clearly have the talents and the mindset to reach as many heads and hearts as they please. With a 2nd EP to follow before the sure to be eagerly awaited full length album, be sure to keep both ears and eyes on this band in the future.

Samba Samba Samba is out now through Alcopop! Records. || Stream it here. || LightGuides // Alcopop! Records

Old Bucket Seats - LightGuides by alcopop