INTERVIEW: Christina Martin

INTERVIEW:

 

Christina Martin Duesenberg Guitars Caribou

 PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Munn (photomunn.com)

 

Christina Martin

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CANADIAN singer-songwriter Christina Martin returns with the…

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new single, Lungs Are Burning. She is about to embark on a ten-date U.K. tour – taking in the likes of Brighton, London and Manchester. Her latest single is the first track from her upcoming album and is an anthem for those who are lost and longing. It was compelled by the rising Fentanyl drug crisis in Canada. Martin explains how drug addiction has impacted on her family and what it is like living in rural Nova Scotia with her guitarist/producer husband, Dale Murray. Martin brings gravitas and emotion to her work so I ask who has inspired her and how her songs come together. Lungs Are Burning brings a heavy subject to the listeners but it is never delivered with anything other than compassion and dignity.

Starting out slogging in the Texas bar scene (in the early-’00s); Martin has been recording and touring relentlessly and dedicated herself to music. A celebrated artist on the festival scene – her music has been played on T.V. – I ask about the upcoming tour and which dates she is looking forward to; the artists that have inspired her and what the scene is like in Canada right now.

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Hi, Christina. How are you? How has your week been?

Great!

I seem to have recovered from a very long bout of the flu – and I’m busy touring and working on my new record.

This week, we were in Toronto rehearsing for band shows and I’ve had the chance to see many friends and family along the way.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a Canadian Roots/Rock singer and songwriter.

I play electric and acoustic rhythm guitar and I’m based in rural Nova Scotia.

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Lungs Are Burning is the new single. What can you tell us about it and the origins?

Lungs Are Burning was written with Dale Murray.

I had been reading about the Fentanyl overdose crisis in Canada and it really hit home – since I lost my brother to an opioid overdose in 2013. The song itself isn’t ‘about’ the crisis: the lyrics are a personal expression of reaching, of loss and longing for something to fill a big hole.

I didn’t expect a song to come out of it but I remember waking early one morning singing the melody and the words “Hearts are burning, hearts are yearning”. Then, later that morning, Dale suggested we change the first ‘hearts’ to ‘lungs’.

It has quite a direct and emotional sound. Was it hard writing and recording the song or did you manage to remain detached (to an extent) from the subject matter?

I’ve never detached from the subject matter.

I’m telling stories and sharing bits of myself so if I would detach from that – you’d have a soulless performance. When it comes to recording; you are working with people and asking them to give their best performance and they may be a bit more detached to the subject matter – but then, it’s my job to steer them to a more emotional performance.

So, it’s a combination of bringing skill, emotion and energy to a performance. It wasn’t hard writing the song: it came with ease, so you can create something emotional without being a basket-case in the process.

Does the song have any personal relevance? Have you experienced addiction or anyone you know been affected by it?

My brother overdosed on opioids in 2013. He was an addict at a young age and diagnosed bipolar in his thirties – and I believe early intervention and had we had the ‘tools’ to help – it would have changed the course of his life.

I know a lot of family and friends who need help for addiction or mental illness but can’t get the help when they need it – and end up suffering.

I have experienced bouts of depression and anxiety but not wanting to use medication for fear that I would become addicted. It was extremely difficult to get to see a mental health professional who I could talk to during crisis times – when I had the strength and could afford to go and see someone privately. I work daily to stay healthy but many people can’t access care when they need it and end up in crisis-mode (or worse).

Are there any more songs appearing in the future? An E.P. or album, perhaps?

I’m working on a new full-length album now – and it should be ready late-2017.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Orest Dorosh

On 24th June, you will start a mini-tour of the U.K. Is this your first time here or are you quite familiar with the British crowds?

I’ve been touring the U.K. since 2014, every year, and it’s been a bit of a learning-curve. We’ve had great shows in places like John Peel Centre in Stowmarket, The Met in Bury; Little Rabbit Barn in Ardleigh and many other great spots – and a lot of support from BBC radio. We’ve also had shows where it was difficult to get people out because my name isn’t widely known and I’m not considered trendy or hip.

It’s that way starting out in most new markets but, over time, you develop really appreciative music fans; some that come out to multiple shows on the same tour. I want to continue making connections with my new music in U.K.

I believe you just have to keep making music, be yourself, and over time your audience will develop (or it won’t). It’s nothing to worry about, though.

A friend told me once “There are no musical emergencies”.

Which dates are you most looking forward to during the tour?

I’m mostly looking forward to playing the band shows in London @ The Sound Lounge (special guests Gabrielle Papillon & Jules Talbot); Brighton @ the Latest Music Bar (special guest Dandelion Charm) and Little Rabbit Barn in Ardleigh (with Annie Keating Trio).

We have two Liverpool-based musicians: Justin Johnson on Drums and Callum Williams playing Bass at those tour dates.

Based in rural Nova Scotia; is it quite an inspiring place to create music or can it be quite distant at times?

Where we live in Nova Scotia is very peaceful and rural.

I can create music almost anywhere; as long as I have time alone and some writing tools. We also have our studio in our home which allows us more freedom to record at leisure and minimal distractions.

I’m so busy that I never really feel uninspired, however, I do struggle, like many full-time artists, with making time to create – instead of dealing with the ‘business’ side of music. That can be a drag.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Orest Dorosh

You live with your husband and musical partner Dale Murray. How influential is he to your music?

Dale Murray has been an integral force in shaping my studio and live sound and he’s been making records with me since 2007.

We have some similar tastes in music but we both bring different opinions to the rehearsal or studio. Musically and personally, our lives are very intertwined.

Sometimes we co-write – mostly music and not lyrics. I have strong ideas and I don’t think my records sound like other Canadian artists but, certainly, Dale brings equally strong ideas to the table – and those ideas can shape the direction of the song and influence how I end up singing my lyrics.

I would say his guitar-playing and tones are world-class and that really jives with my vision for the live performances and my records.

What is the scene like in Canada right now? Do you think many overlook Canadian music and assume it is not as strong as American and British sounds?

I’m not really familiar with the ‘scene’ here as we chose to move away from the city years ago to work and live in rural Nova Scotia. I don’t keep up with what other musicians are doing as I just don’t have the time trying to keep focused on my own work.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Munn (photomunn.com)

But, we have found there are great listening room venues and small theatres in many small towns and villages around Nova Scotia – like the Marigold Theatre in Truro; the Evergreen Theatre in Margaretsville. There is a plethora of great singer-songwriters from this part of the world and, although the music scene faces challenges with live music sales, people still appreciate going out to hear live music.

There’s great music everywhere and the Internet has made it possible for musicians around the world to make their music heard. I actually believe that Canadians are making their presence known outside of Canada – more so now than ever. I get the sense, when we are on the road touring in Europe, that music-lovers are really excited about the music coming from Canada.

Who were the artists that inspired you to take up music? Did you have quite a musical childhood?

When I was a kid, my father played all kinds of music and had a large vinyl collection.

I did study music and piano when I was very young but mostly focused on sports as a teenager. Growing up, I listened mostly to Rock and Pop.

As a teenager, I listened to what was popular on the radio but found artists like Annie Lennox, David Bowie; Tina Turner and Michael Jackson to be captivating.

I love Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen; Fleetwood Mac, Cyndi Lauper; Madonna and Roxette. So, mostly American and British Pop and Rock music. If the song and (usually) the singer caught my attention, I was hooked.

In my early-20s living in Austin, TX, I was introduced to Americana music and singer-songwriters like Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffi; Townes Van Zandt – but also admired stellar bands like Wilco and The Jayhawks – and that’s when I started writing my own music.

I think I always dreamed of being a Rock singer who could tell a good story with heart, and over the years, I’ve tried to write more with my electric guitar.

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Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I can’t think of any, to be honest.

I haven’t had time to listen to any new music. I mostly put on old records by Tom Petty and David Bowie when I have time to listen to music.

If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

The Jayhawks Rainy Day Music

I can remember driving around Austin, TX – in my Volvo station wagon – when I was in my early-20s and really lovin’ this record.

It inspired me to make records.

Michael Jackson Off the Wall

This record made me want to dance and sing and become a Pop star.

When you really listen to the production, there are many magical musical arrangements going on but, still, an openness to the songs – and the funk just gets right to you.

What musician today has not been inspired by Michael at some point in their lives?!

David Bowie The Next Day

This album has gorgeous Rock ballads and wonderful vocal delivery by David – and late in his career.

It was the first album in many years I listened to in its entirety over and over again. My brother had passed away around the same time and I was on a six-month, eighty-show tour in Europe – and listened to this production during my daily jogs.

The production and vocal delivery really influenced my 2015 album, It’ll Be Alright.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Put your blinders on; focus on making great art and stick to your path with heart.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Get on the FloorMichael Jackson

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Follow Christina Martin

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Munn (photomunn.com)

Official:

http://www.christinamartin.net/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaMartinMusic/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/XtinaMartin

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/xtinamartinmusic/

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/christinamartinmusic

INTERVIEW: Glassmaps

INTERVIEW:

 

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Glassmaps

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IF you think you recognise the face of Glassmaps’ Joel Stein…

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PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Weiss

then that’s because you do! He is the lead guitarist from the much-loved Howling Bells and, following four terrific albums with the band, the British-based Australian launches his solo endeavour. Stein wanted to push his sonic and creative ambitions further and, because of this desire, has crafted some exquisite in Glassmaps. I ask him how it was transitioning from band-mode to solo work. He talks to me about the single, Summer Rain – the debut, in fact. I get a glimpse into its themes, sound and importance. Stein talks about his forthcoming album, Addicted, and what it was like at The Killer’ Mark Storrmer’s home studio.

The Glassmaps brand was launched on the hallmarks of freedom and self-expression. Stein lets me into his world and whether he has many gigs lined up; whether touring can provide a stable diet (for a musician) and whether he followed the General Election – and what he thinks of our current Prime Minister.

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Hi, Joel. How are you? How has your week been?

Hi.

I’m good and well, thanks.

My week has been good and could get gooder (sic.) as I may buy a Spanish rescue dog.

Damn, it’s been hot!

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

A bit about me, then…

I was born in Melbourne, Australia and moved to London some time ago with my band Howling Bells – where I co-write and play lead guitar.

I’m about to release my debut L.P. (titled), Strangely Addicted. It was recorded, mixed and produced by me in the back of my mate Mark Stoermer’s (bass player from The Killers) Las Vegas house – in a sound-proof room filled with glorious instruments.

Mark appears on some tracks singing B.Vs here and there – and he also played bass on Summer Rain. The awesome drums were played by Glenn Moule from Howling Bells.

Summer Rain is the debut single. What can you tell me about its origins and story? 

Summer Rain was written in an old attic: the riff came first on an old acoustic guitar and the lyrics fell into place.

The song is about the personal battle of those negative thoughts that can sometimes follow you around, yet, these thoughts make you who you are: a necessary evil.

It is Garage-Rock but cinematic. Are there any particular artists that you were compelled by – that inspired that sound? Who are the artists you grew up listening to?

Some of the artists I grew up listening to were a lot of old Blues artists: Miles Davies (Sketches of Spain); ’60s and ’70s Rock/Pop and loads of Ravi Shankar. His album Farewell, My Friend was on repeat for almost a year.

Summer Rain’s influence was all these things mixed in with an old attic and a confused lad.

Strangely Addicted is the forthcoming album. What can you tell me about the ideas expressed on the album and what is the importance of that album title?

The album and name (Strangely Addicted) reflect personal growth, challenges and life’s journeys.

It was written on the road (off the road) in America, Australia and Europe. The main sound/idea behind the album was to emanate a sense of freedom and self-expression organically, musically and lyrically.

Having played in another band for some time, this kind of creative freedom was rare and new for me. Unexplored territory.

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What is the idea behind the name ‘Glassmaps’? Does it have particular significance? 

Perhaps the name Glassmaps has more subliminal meaning than I’m aware of. Sometimes we do things and, years later, see more relevance.

I do know, consciously, I invented the name Glassmaps because I wanted an email address that didn’t exist.

For me, a blank canvas is always an inspiring way to start something new.

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Of course, many will recognise you from Howling Bells. Are you still playing with the band or committed to your solo work full-time?

At the moment, Howling Bells is on holiday.

My sister is also putting out an awesome solo album; so it’s a great time to concentrate solely on Glassmaps.

How would you say your own music differs from that you made with the band? Is it easier to write alone or more challenging? 

I’ve always found it easier to write alone as I get distracted very easily.

I feel that I’m at my best when in isolation. When I write with others I feel that my sense of truth, depth and clarity gets easily lost.

In terms of the musical differences between Glassmaps and Howling Bells; I feel that Glassmaps is an apple and Howling Bells is an orange. Two completely different worlds, but, still, fruit.

Do songs come together on the road or do you set time aside to create them? Give me an insight into the creative process.

The hardest thing about being a creative is finding the balance/time between creating/writing and work life. When I come home from work I write; when I wake up before work I hunt ideas with what I’ve written the night before. It’s a never-ending journey. I tend to get obsessive as well.

Sometimes, a song can just fall like rain from the heavens and, sometimes, it’s like trying to get water out of a stone.

Once I have an idea or a song I tend to write all the parts, drums; bass, keys and guitar – and whatever else I hear the song calls for.

So, to answer your question I write when I can, where I can – as long as I have an instrument near.

There’s a song in everything if you’re open enough to hear it.

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What was your reaction to the General Election result? Do you think it will be tougher for new musicians now?

I don’t dare to follow politics. I think it’s a broken system mainly run by lying narcissistic megalomaniacs. I don’t read or watch the news as I feel by the time the information has gotten to us it has been filtered, twisted and manipulated too many times to be truthful.

It angers me so fuc*ing much because no one knows who’s telling the truth. The fact of the matter is that it has always been tough for artists.

The very rare few that get through and actually make money off their art are the only ones we hear about – what about the other millions we don’t know about….?!

Is it harder for musicians to exist on a steady diet of gigs? How has the musical landscape changed in your opinion? 

What is a steady diet of gigs?

When you start out with anything new, it is nearly impossible to survive so you have a day/night job. Gigs don’t pay until you’re someone in-demand. You have to bring a home-packed dinner to survive.

The musical landscape…. when I see the word’s landscape and music put together; I think of spaghetti being thrown into a fan. I think it’s a total mess.

The amount of easily accessible information out there now is ludicrous. On the other hand, anyone can be heard and seen at any time. Is this a good thing?

Streaming is unavoidable. I feel a massive difference between now and pre-’90s is that the manager, band and record label made large amounts of money – whereas now, it’s record label and streaming co-operations. Where’s the band?!

Can we expect to see you performing around the country this year? 

Funny question after all my ranting.

Absolutely, Glassmaps will be playing the sold-out Hyde Park show with The Killers and Tears for Fears on July 8th. There will definitely be other shows to follow which I am excited to play.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

New for me?

I just discovered Margo Guryan.

The song, California Shake, pulled me in. Awesome tune.

If you had to select the three albums that mean the most; which would they be and why?

Ravi Shankar’s Farewell, My Friend

Because it’s real and beautiful.

Radiohead’s OK Computer

Because it’s otherworldly and (just) brilliant.

Miles DavisSketches of Spain.

Even though I de-mystified it by learning it on a trumpet (neighbors wanted to kill me); it still takes me far away. What an album.

What an album.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Packed lunches and a really good pair of boots.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Golden Brown by The Stranglers, please.

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Follow Glassmaps

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Official:

http://www.glassmaps.co.uk/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/GlassmapsMusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Glassmaps

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/_glassmaps/

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/glassmaps

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/glassmaps

INTERVIEW: Eat the Evidence

INTERVIEW:

 

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Eat the Evidence

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THERE are some bands you gravitate towards because of their…

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quality, reputation or kinship. All of that is true of Eat the Evidence but something else springs to mind: their cheeky buggers credentials. The boys, with some sly humour and rebellious jabs talk to me about their track, Tories Go to Waitrose. Being a die-hard Labour man; I was keen to see whether that was a dig at the Tories – out of touch with the real world and normal people – or there was another explanation. The guys talk about their album, Sex, Drugs & Wishy Washy Politics, and what we can expect from it. Being a band that takes shots at the bourgeois – irreverent observations and amphetamine Pop-laden slaps against the deluded – they give an honest, human and funny interview – one that paints a picture of life in the band and what makes them tick.

I get an insight into the bands/music that makes them tick; how they have similarities to artists like Sleaford Mods and The Streets; how ways they have developed since the earliest days and any advice they would offer young, hopeful musicians.

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Hi, guys, how are you? How has your week been?

Hey! We’re great!

Last Saturday, we launched our album with a big party and B.B.Q. in a warehouse in Tottenham.

All our favourite bands we’ve played with in the last few years got involved and all smashed it.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

Five long-time friends with one last-ditch effort to tour the world.

Tories Go to Waitrose is the new one. Not a fan of the party, then?

No, we’re not fans.

But the song isn’t an anti-Tory song. It’s really just an observation.  

If Eat the Evidence were elected to power; how would you change this country?

We would introduce a Frisbee tax and make sure each household has a maximum of two bouncy balls only.

In your music, one hears bits of The Specials and The Streets. Who are the artists you are all inspired by?

Nofx, Lightyear; They Might Be Giants, Ween and The Vandals.

You have emerged from The Broomcupoard in Southend-on-Sea. What is the music vibe like there? Is there quite a big and active scene for new bands?

We are actually from London.

We produced the album with Sam Duckwork, A.K.A. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. He’s a big figure in the growing scene.

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In a way, you are the natural accompaniment to Sleaford Mods. Are they are a duo you take inspiration from?

We’ll check them out. Thanks for the recommendation.

I believe your album is out very soon. What can you reveal about its themes and titles?

The clue is in the name: Sex, Drugs & Wishy Washy Politics. We wouldn’t call ourselves a comedy band but we try to be funny.

The live show is about making people dance and have fun. The recordings are about the lyrics and catchy riffs.

Eat the Evidence emerged in 2014. Since then, you have played a lot of shows and been building your music. Do you think you are more confident and accomplished than those early days? What are the biggest changes that have occurred in terms of sounds/lyrics?

We have definitely sped up our tune: the faster you play, the easier it is to get people dancing.

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Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Junior Bill (from Cardiff); The Great Malarkey and The Wonder Beers.

If you had to select the one album that means the most to you; which would it be and why?

Call of the Weasel Clan by Lightyear.

We’re super-excited to be supporting them in October at The Garage in London. We grew up going to their shows.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Play as many shows as you can when you get started.

Drink Tequila on stage.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Junior BillRespectable Man

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Follow Eat the Evidence

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Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/EatTheEvidenceBand/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/EatTheE

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/eattheevidence/

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/eat-the-evidence

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjViCJYlbIJyYSlEmLjKOFA

INTERVIEW: Moderate Rebels

INTERVIEW:

 

 

Moderate Rebels

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YOU could never accuse Moderate Rebels of being ordinary.

The guys have dropped their E.P., Proxy, and its sounds and textures are unlike anything you have heard. Recently, the band played a packed gig in a live room – to help promote the E.P. – and only managed to play one song in thirty minutes! Throw into the mix the fact they have no Facebook page and you have a group who are as enigmatic as they are extraordinary – let’s hope all the images and information comes out! I ask the band about E.P. lead track, Liberate, and its origins – and what the E.P. is all about. They tell me what it was like to record at a unique South Bermondsey recording space and the story of their band moniker.

They discuss their economic and distinct music – played on a few chords and sparse notes – and how it feels being picked up by tastemakers like BBC Radio 6 Music. I wonder if there are any gigs forthcoming and who are the artists they recommend we follow.

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Hi, guys. How are you? How have your weeks been?

Hello, we’re doing ok.

Our weeks have certainly been fast, recently.

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

Just listening to a song would be better than anything we could say here – feel free to make up your own mind.

What was the inspiration behind the contradictory and cautious band name, ‘Moderate Rebels’?

It was a phrase that was being constantly used and repeated; everywhere.

We wondered what it means – and that was a good enough reason.

Proxy is your new E.P. What can you reveal about its themes and inspirations?

Like everything we’ve done to date, it was made up as went along – just trying to say simple things in a simple way.

You recorded the E.P. in a South Bermondsey studio. Was it quite a cool space to record in and what was the vibe like there?

We found it conducive; though it was very dark inside and we couldn’t really see each other.

I think all but one of the tracks were completed on the first take – with just a couple of overdubs.

We also recorded some parts covertly at a music shop on Tottenham Court Road. It all came together very quickly.

Liberate, the lead single, seems like a fitting song in these turbulent times. How did that track come together and was it quite an easy decision to release it first?

We wanted to release the rest of God Sent Us (our first single). The version we released fades out – but it actually goes on for another nine or ten minutes.

Unfortunately, we lost the master-tape.

That panic inspired us, shall we say, and the result is Liberate.

I believe you played a half-hour gig recently where you played only one song! How does that happen and what was the reception like?! What was that London gig like?

We wanted it to be not like a gig.

We played God Sent Us and mostly improvised it – based on a vague plan of following our drummer, Joe. The time actually sped by, which surprised us. The crowd went with it.

People are open to new things, given the chance.

Already, your music has been picked up by huge radio stations and ‘6 Music’s finest ears. Knowing that, does it provide you with the impetus to keep pushing and playing?

I honestly think we would press on regardless, though it’s humbling to know people like what we do.

Listening to your music and it has that lo-fi, bare energy. Have you always recorded in this way and what is the reason behind that?

We record everything really loud. You’re not meant to do it like that.

Your songs are built around few chords and economic lyrics. Is it harder to write in this manner or is it quite freeing?

Typically it’s a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answer here.

It’s both easier and harder.

What does the future hold? An album down the pipeline, perhaps?

The album is being final mixed just now and it will be out later in 2017.

I know you have some big gigs coming up. Which are you most looking forward to and how are you feeling about the coming months?

We look forward to every show as we really don’t know what will happen – and that’s exciting.

A bigger show – to more people – means bigger unknowns, and therefore, should be bigger excitement.

We only do this for the buzz – it’s not work.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Loads.

Mellow Gang, Hobby Club; The Happiness Project and Ochanomizu.

If you each had to select the one album that means the most; which would it be and why?

Geez, where do you start with this one?!

That’s just impossible to answer, sorry.

What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Don’t listen to anyone’s advice.

That’s not the way to do whatever it is that you really want to do.

Finally, and for being good sports, you can each name any song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

SuicideFrankie Teardrop

Kanye WestFamous

Everything EverythingCan’t Do

Chief KeefI Don’t Like (Dirty)

Gladys KnightNo One Could Love You More

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Follow Moderate Rebels

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Twitter:

https://twitter.com/ModRebels

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/modrebs

FEATURE: The Jeff Buckley Documentary: It Can’t Have the Word ‘Grace’ in It!

FEATURE:

  

The Jeff Buckley Documentary:

 

 PHOTO CREDIT: Mikio Ariga

 

It Can’t Have the Word ‘Grace’ in It!

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OVER the next few weeks…

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I am keen to publish a few features that look at various corners of the music industry. Björk’s Debut was released on 5th July, 1993 so, given the fact it is almost twenty-four-years-old; a timely reminder of how influential that album is – and how inspiring Björk is as an artist. That is something I want to enforce: not only is her music unlike anything else but she has changed so many things in the industry. She strikes against sexism and shows how incredible female-made music can be. In a lot of ways, she is the most inspiring musician we have and someone, one hopes, will continue to make music for many years to come. In addition, I will look at Urban artists and, given the fact the country is going through more change (of the bad kind) and tragedy than any time this generation – why they are not more vocal and mobilised. They might be but it seems the most effective and compelling artists, in these situations at least, are those in Grime and Hip-Hop/Rap. Also, I will look at albums that, when released, get negative or lukewarm press but receive huge accolades down the track. This applies to classic albums for the most part but true of some modern records. It is interesting whether time and the state of contemporary music influence critics and their opinions. I will continue to delve into those unpolished corners of the industry and update you accordingly.

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The point of this piece was to introduce an idea that seems rather obvious: making a documentary about Jeff Buckley. He died in 1997 but, in the short time he was with us, inspired more artists than I can name. It is not only male artists who I can detect a connection to Buckley – many female artists, bands and unexpected sources have come out to show their appreciation and connection to the great man. I have put the header as it is because, invariably, anything associated with Buckley will have ‘grace’ in the title. I want to avoid that simply down to the fact it is obvious and overdone. It does not matter what the title is – although a bit of a nag at the minute! – but getting something out there is paramount. Many might say there have been enough Buckley features and it is not exactly apropos at the moment. The second point is true but, considering Buckley died twenty years ago – it seems like it is worth re-examining the vaults. A lot of the Jeff Buckley films/documentaries have been U.S.-made and covered particular ground. What I want to do is include a lot of modern musicians and people who have been compelled by his music. There has been new music – uncovered from the vaults – since the last documentary so there is enough material to put in there. Some lesser-heard performances and tracks warrant new breath and there are many who want to pay tribute to Buckley. In terms of the time period, it will spend less time focusing on the early life and more around 1992 – 1997 – Buckley moving from an unknown (but hugely talented) act to someone known the world around. A lot of fans are unaware of how Buckley first came to public attention and the sort of gigs he was performing. I want to get into those café/small performances and, if possible, find people there at the time. I am a big fan of Buckley’s gigs at the New York coffee-house, Sin-é. That spot bore witness to some of his most ethereal and people-moving gigs ever.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mikio Ariga

There are some fantastic Buckley clips on YouTube and plenty of songs many people would not have heard of. What I want to do is unearth those and provide my own take on why he was so incredible and why his legacy should not be ignored. There are some who say Buckley was over-hyped and didn’t achieve much. The fact he was one man and lived (in the public consciousness) for a few years does not detract from the amount he achieved and how influential he is. You only need turn on any radio station and, within a few songs, hear someone with flecks of Buckley in their voice. It may only need to be a whisper but it will be there, I can assure you! There is no denying the power and mystique of Jeff Buckley’s music. Listen to any of his performances – whether on-record or live – and you can see the effect it has on people. THAT is something I want to capture and highlight. I am a big fan of all the other Buckley documentaries and think they do him proud. Of course, if he were still alive today, you know he would hate all of them! Buckley hated the celebrity aspect of the game and want his music to remain pure and in his own hands – releasing rare material and imperfect cuts would have angered him. What I want to do, in a nutshell, is start from those early performance days and chart backwards – the artists and songs that influenced him and how his songwriting started out. From there, it will be into the New York gig scene and those pre-label days. I am fascinated by those intimate gigs and what Buckley was achieving before he recorded his debut. Naturally, a large chunk must be dedicated to Grace and promotion around that. Looking at the gigs and events around 1994/’95 is important.

PHOTO CREDIT: Mikio Ariga

Right now, I am torn whether the documentary should be audio or filmed. In terms of gig material, it is more vivid and impressive seeing the man in the flesh but so much of Buckley’s quality and archive is sound-based. I guess costs are important to consider – it will be less expensive doing it as a radio broadcast than filming – but there are people who want to have their say on camera; gig footage of Buckley that illustrates the emotion and physicality he put into his performances. The main thing is to convey my impressions and give my take on things. I feel a lot of Buckley documentaries spend too much time on the facts and conversations with people who knew him. There is a new generation coming through that want to express their experiences with his music and how it has impacted them. For me, there is an influence that has spread to journalists and D.J.s. It is not only musicians who feel the effect of Jeff Buckley. As a writer and music-lover, he has transformed my life and made me more daring and bold. I look for artists who have the same sort of fearlessness and innovation as him. Some of Jeff Buckley’s best performances have hit me so hard and remain with me still. His voice, at the time, was beyond compare and it remains unique even now. No singer has come close to matching the range, beauty and potency of Buckley’s voice (I don’t think anyone ever will). I am determined to carry Buckley’s music with me and let it reach as many as people as possible. I know more and more people are turning on to him but I feel there is that feeling his legacy is undeserved – maybe they are judging him on a song like Hallelujah and unaware of the sheer depth and range of his career. Let’s get it going and show just how important and influential Jeff Buckley is to music. I am passionate about it but am still confused as to…

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WHAT will it be called?!

INTERVIEW: Sam Clark

INTERVIEW:

 

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Sam Clark

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WE here in Britain might recognise Sam Clark

from a T.V. series like Neighbours. Appearing in over eight-hundred-and-fifty episodes of the Australian drama, it is understandable, I guess. Clark has also featured in the five-time Emmy-winning production, Grease: Live – and various other projects for that matter. His talents extend to music and Clark has achieved top-forty success as a Pop singer – his debut single, Broken, was a triumph and announced him to the music world.

The new single, Out of Reach, was co-written with Grammy award-winning Bill Grainer (Jennifer Hudson) and sparked a connection between the two – the duo is dubbed ‘The Long Losts’. Out of Reach is an instant Pop smash with an interesting birth.

I talk to Clark about his new single and how he got that melodic-energetic arrangement down. He observes the differences between the Australian music scene and that in L.A. – where he is based at the moment. I ask whether he is recognised there because of his work on Neighbours or whether he can enjoy some anonymity. He looks ahead and reveals whether there will be new material; if we can catch him on tour soon and the albums/new artists he is inspired by.

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Hi, Sam. How are you? How has your week been?

My week has been super-exciting!

I’ve released music for the first time in like five or six years: doesn’t get much better than that!

For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m an Australian singer-songwriter/actor – best known for my work on the T.V. show Neighbours and five-time Emmy-winning FOX/Paramount production, Grease: Live.

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Talk to me about Out of Reach and how that came together?

I was on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills when I came up with the first two lines of lyric (“I wanna touch you like I’ll never see/I wanna listen like I’ll never speak”). Being overstimulated by the excess of this high-end shopping destination, I paused for a moment; closed my eyes and these lines just came to me.

I was single when I wrote this song and had been writing more melancholy/introspective love songs. I wanted to write a more hopeful song: something I’d want to sing to the love of my life.

The next time Bill and I caught up for a session he had a chord progression/riff he’d come up with and I knew it would match perfectly with these lyrics.

I translated his piano riff to my guitar and the rest of the song just flowed out of us. The song was finished in a few hours and really helped cement our creative partnership.

You wrote the song with Bill Grainer. What was it like working with him given the fact he has written for the likes of Jennifer Hudson?

Working with Bill has been an absolute joy from day one.

He believes in the craft the way I do and has become like a brother to me. Every time we get together to write he makes me a better songwriter.

It seems like there was an instant connection between you two. Is it true you are a writing duo now?

Yeah.

You know, when you meet someone and it feels like you’ve known them forever?! That’s what our friendship and songwriting partnership has felt like since day one.

We quickly became a team and are known as ‘The Long Losts’.

Can we expect an E.P. or album later this year?

I’m hoping so.

Acting often gets in the way of releasing new music but I have over an album-worth of songs ready. I just need to find the right team and time to produce them.

I’m also considering releasing an acoustic E.P. in the meantime.

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t recognised by fans of the show and what compelled the move from acting to music?

I still get recognised sometimes if I’m in Australia or the U.K. but living in L.A. has really given me my anonymity back.

I’ve always been interested in both music and acting and I was planning to pursue a career in music prior to working on Neighbours. I haven’t moved from one to the other: I’ve really (just) had to keep adjusting the balance of the two.

Music has been put on hold a few times, but right now, it’s full-steam-ahead with both careers.

Do you still manage to combine acting with music? Are there shared skills and disciplines that help strengthen your work would you say or are they very different industries in that sense?

I’ve been lucky enough to write and perform songs for multiple film and T.V. projects I’ve worked on – and hope to continue on this path.

It’s certainly hard work pursuing two careers that need full-time attention – but I find both to be incredibly rewarding.

I find them to be very different, but equally competitive, industries.

Now based in L.A.; how does the music scene differ compared with Australia? Any plans on returning home any time soon?

The L.A. music scene is saturated with incredibly talented people and every week there are well-known musicians performing.

This can make it more difficult to build and maintain a loyal fan base but it also pushes you to be a better performer.

I’d love to come back to Australia to play some shows. It’s been far too long.

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Your music has reached the top spot on the ARIA physical singles sales chart. Is that your proudest moment so far or is there another memory that stands out?

I’ve been lucky enough to secure the number-one spot twice on this chart through playing ten-plus shows a week.

It was hard work and incredibly rewarding but my proudest career moment so far was performing in Grease: Live.

Are you influenced more by newer artists or those classic musicians? What does your record collection consist?

Oh man, all of the above.

Right now, I’m loving getting stuck into some classics from the’60s – but I also love a bunch of new music.

While I do have days of music on my iTunes; I mainly use Spotify these days to find new music/revisit old favourites.

How far ahead are you looking? Is there new music forming and plans at all?

There’s always new music being written and plans being made to release what’s already finished.

I could be cast in a show tomorrow and have to move to a new country within a few days or weeks – for weeks, months and even years. So, looking ahead is generally pretty tough.

Right now, I’m enjoying having new music out and taking it day by day.

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Can we see you on tour this year? Any ambitions to come to U.K.?

I’m performing around California right now and am in talks to come back to the U.K.

I love it there and would be stoked to come back for another tour.

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

This changes every few weeks, but right now, I’m loving HAIM, Young the Giant and Cold War Kids.

If you had to select the three albums that have meant the most to you; which would they be and why?

Tough question.

Red Hot Chili PeppersCalifornication

I was just starting to develop my own taste in music about this time and it was one of the first albums I’d ever bought.

Incubus Make Yourself

I went through a phase where I listened to Incubus daily and this album was one of my favourites.

Van MorrisonThe Best of Van Morrison

My parents used to play this album when I was growing up and I love the real/raw recordings on this album.

 What advice would you give to any new artists starting out right now?

Expect nothing and be prepared to give everything – but stay true to yourself.

Oh, and get a good lawyer. Haha.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).

Since I can’t get it out of my head right now: HAIMWant You Back

Thanks so much!

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Follow Sam Clark

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PHOTO CREDIT: @chrisjonphotography

Official:

http://www.samclarkofficial.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/SamClarkOfficial/

Twitter:

@SamClarkmusic

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX5eOdhXdvtmEDwZKS15MIA

TRACK REVIEW: Reverieme – Ten Feet Tall

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Reverieme

 

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Ten Feet Tall

 

 

9.4/10

 

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Ten Feet Tall is available at:

https://reverieme.bandcamp.com/album/ten-feet-tall

GENRES:

Indie-Folk; Pop

ORIGIN:

Airdrie/Glasgow, U.K.

RELEASE DATE:

7th April, 2017

 

The album, Straw Woman, is available at:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/reverieme-new-album

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FINALLY, I get to go back up to Scotland and…

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look at an artist who has had a successful and fruitful career thus far. I shall look at Reverieme – that name is not going to be easy to remember/type – but, before then, I wanted to look at music that is darker and more insular; literature and voracious readers and how that benefits music; the Glasgow music scene and artists who change names/develop through a career – a bit about the teaching profession (and how it connects to music) and artists to look out for this year. Although Reverieme is based out of Airdrie; most of her gigs (larger ones at least) are in Glasgow and she has a definite bond to the city. The thing that fascinates me about Reverieme is the way she creates dark and shadowy music but manages to keep it light – enough so it is not foreboding and too unforgiving. There are a lot of wonderful artists who play this kind of style but Reverieme creates music that hits you in the gut and swims in the mind. It is interesting discovering different styles of music and why they resonate the way they do. Obviously, something that is airier and uplifting will provoke a sense of happiness and ease. Music that is a bit more intense and hard-hitting will get the listener reflecting and unveil different emotions. Both, in varying degrees, are successful and popular but I wonder, emotionally and psychologically, why people plump for the music they do. I guess, when we listen to songs, we are looking to get something out of it – whether it is a sense of relief or escapism; it is different for everyone. From my perspective, I look to get some sort of nourishment out of the sounds. At the moment, I am listening to a lot of upbeat and summery songs – heightening the sense of warmth and provoking energy and movement. When I am in a more contemplative mood; I will listen to something a little darker and insular. In terms of Reverieme’s music; I find a lot of hope and optimism in it but, in terms of sounds and words, there is a heavier element. Even in hot weather, there is a definite lust towards music of this sort. I am fascinated why certain music brings out different reactions and whether there is a link between psychology and popularity. When listening to Reverieme; I find something evocative, scenic and memorable.

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The songs are personal and urgent but have a great sense of theatre and drama. It is, in a sense, a play/drama and something that appeals to my sense of curiosity. There are a lot of great female artists who write music both theatrical and moody. It is hard to distill Reverieme’s music into simple words but it reminds me of a Nordic drama. It is beautiful and picturesque with heavier tones and anxiety but has relief and light. It is a complicating blend but really gets into the mind. One never gets the sense of unease and heaviness when listening to the music. Instead, there is a bold woman letting the listener into her world. It is revealing and unsettled at times but there is ample beauty and intrigue awaiting. Björk is an artist who fits perfectly into this dynamic. Her music can be quite dark and insular but she is capable of immense beauty and passion. I find comparable strands between her and Reverieme. Maybe it is the musical upbringing – or a personal choice – but I am fascinating discovering why artists take the road they do. From the outset, they’d have an idea of the sound they want to create and how they want their music to come across. I think there is a link between how music connects psychologically and its popularity. A lot of mainstream music tends to be spirited, exerting and accessible. It creates an instant effect and is designed to stick in the brain and create a hook. Yes, there are artists who write music that has sombreness and reflectiveness but most (in the mainstream) go for energy and vibrancy. Away from that, more and more artists are writing songs that differ completely. Whether the likes of Reverieme feel being personal with the listener is more important – than going for commercial gain – I am not sure. From my standpoint, I go for music that speaks to me in a deeper way. Reverieme is someone I feel bonded to for a number of different reasons.

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Reverieme’s Louise Connell is a passionate reader who digests books – not literally, obviously – and this adds to the sense of grandeur and story. I am not sure which genres Connell favours but one can hear various elements and styles in her lyrics. It is no coincidence the finest songwriters, in my view, are avid readers and immerse themselves in literature. I am not suggesting writers who do not read a lot create poor music but there is something to be said for those who come from a literary angle. When reviewing Billie Marten’s debut album, Writing of Blues and Yellows, last year; I was struck by how one so young could create stories packed with intelligence, maturity and atmosphere. Studying her more, I discovered her love for books and how she loves to read. There is that correlation between her bookworm attitude and the incredible lyrics. The same is true of Reverieme, whose incredible lyrics, one feels, come from the inspiration of the written page. I do not read much as I should – tend to write non-stop – and am desperate to get back into things. Literature, in terms of songwriting, is an invaluable source and something we should all learn from. There are too many who restrict themselves to relationships and love songs. Hearing an interview (Radiohead’s) Thom Yorke did with BBC Radio 6 Music recently; he often got pressure when trying to address things like environmentalism and society in songs – rather than another lovey-dovey song.  Artists are often expected to write a certain type of song so it fits into the market and gains popularity. There is a bit of a zero-sum logic applied to that sentiment. Love songs are only popular because that is what is out there. If an artist strays away from that, they are not going to be ignored and fail. It makes no sense being rigid because it is causing a lot of restriction – many artists afraid to experiment too much. I don’t know but it seems there is needless rigidity and nerves about pushing boundaries.

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Reverieme is an artist who, of course, talks about love when necessary but is not beholden to it. Certainty, she is not someone you’ll see rattling off tropes and pedestrian lyrics. It is her curiosity and inquisitive mind that feeds into her music. Dig into classic novels and there are impassioned love stories, historical brilliance and exotic tales that compel the imagination and motivate the fingers. Modern crime novels and prize-winning works can be extrapolated by a songwriter. Imagine the possibilities one can create if they step away from romance/relations and broaden their horizons. One need not divorce themselves from personal problems: sprinkling in literary detachment and fantasy can lend a song a sense of mystery and mystique. That is a great reason to get into literature: it can spark songwriting and lead to some brilliant moments. Reverieme has that knowledge and love of literature that opens her mind and teases the imagination. I hope more artists draw influence from sources like literature and engross themselves in something wonderful. They need not consecrate their existence to novels but spend, maybe, a couple of hours here and there exploring some terrific old and new works. It provides a chance to reflect and unwind but, hopefully, gives them food for thought. I’ll leave this aside to the side but, before moving on, want to recommend Reverieme’s music to anyone who wants to discover hugely nuanced music. I use the word (‘nuance’) to a lot of my reviews but it is a commodity that is rarer than you think. Listening to a track like Ten Feet Tall and its effects and true beauty unveil after a few listens. It is a song that has been gathering huge kudos and indicates there may be more music coming this year. I will look at that more later but am fascinated by Reverieme’s dedication to literature. It is encouraging to see and, as stated, inspire other artists to get more involved in that side of things.

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It is time to move on to Glasgow and a city that continues to produce music like nowhere else. Current bands like CHVRCHES, Baby Strange and Honeyblood hail from Glasgow and show what strength and variety there is available. Not only can they serve up fantastic Rock and compelling Electronica: there is so much for all types of music-lover. It has been a couple of years since the taste-makers have compiled a list of Glasgow’s best acts. A couple of years back, a great rundown – was provided. WHITE are fronted by a Hearts fan – might get the backs up because of the rivalry with Edinburgh – but the band provide groove and Disco bangers that update for the twenty-first-century with ease. They are worth keeping your eyes out for and join contemporaries such as Casual Sex and Catholic Action. Both have a craft and knowledge of great Pop hooks and create songs that lodge in the brain. Each has an eye-catching name but both have their own identity. I know both groups are making plans for later in the year and are festival headliners of the future.  Tijuana Bibles have been compared with Queens of the Stone Age but are more Swap-Rock and Bluesy than that. They pump up the volume and have delighted gig-goers for a long time now – expect them to big. The Van T’s are a Femme-Pop duo has transcended from acoustic sounds to something more Grunge-tinged and aggressive. Compared to the likes of Honeyblood; expect The Van T’s to enthrall the Scottish festival scene. Jim Valentine have the hair styles and leathers that would suggest a Rockabilly band of old but have a modern, Indie-Rock aesthetic. 1960s’ Bubble-Gum-Pop and Surf-Rock can be detected in The New Picadillys’ music. Exceptional harmonies and sun-drenched tracks have seen them hotly-tipped as one of the most promising Glaswegian bands around. Similarly different and quirky are Capone and the Bullets. They have elements of Ska and Punk but have that Special-like quality.

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That is a list of the artists from Glasgow worth perusing but there are many more-recent ones that are making strides. Reveremie sits nicely among the best from Glasgow and showcases the city’s innovative and enduring musical sensibility. There is little consideration for throwaway sounds and something ordinary: instead, a really rich and superbly crafted set of songs that deserves a wider audience. In terms of her touring ambitions; there are venues around Glasgow that would be perfect. O2 Academy is a popular destination before bands/artists head to the arenas/festivals. Glad Café boasts an electric line-up and is famed for its intimate gigs on the Southside. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut barely needs any introduction but, since its 1990 opening, it has drawn in the likes of Oasis (where Alan McGee discovered them). It is one of the busiest and most reputable venues in the world and, debatably, the jewel in the Glasgow music crown. The Arches has come a long way since its rat-crawling days by Central Station and is regarded as one of the finest multi-arts spaces in Europe. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, in spite of its name, has risen from its dive-bar origins and become a diverse and for-all-the-people space – entertaining punters until the wee hours. Òran Mór has a glowing ring placed atop its steeple: a sort of guiding device for eager patrons. Down in the West End, its license allows drinking and revelry until two/three in the morning. Similarly, The Barrowlands Ballroom has a sprung dancefloor and, along with King Tut’s’, is one of the most iconic spaces in the city. That is merely a nod to the huge live scene in Glasgow and proof it is one of the most extraordinary areas of music in the world. Reverieme has played around Glasgow but dreams of those bigger venues, one imagines. She is not far off that and should be gracing Glasgow’s finest spaces very soon.

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I will move on soon but want to look at artists who makes changes during their career and, oddly, teaching – and how that can positively impact on music. Reverieme has gone through alterations and iterations in her career so far. Founded in 2005, the moniker Reverie was used for five years – as was seen on her debut album, Melodies. She was joined by Andrew Lindsay on Guitar and Vocals; Florence MacDonald on Keys and Vocals; Dougie Frew on Drums and Jamie Hewitt on Bass and Guitar – for the liver performances. Jo Tucker joined in early-2012 – replacing MacDonald. They are minor shifts, one would argue, and not a big deal but it is interesting seeing changes to a musician/artist and why this occurs. I feel, with Reverieme, it was a chance to stamp a more distinctive name. As Connell attests; there is no real meaning behind that name but it could be seen as a fictitious household product. It has that brand potential and seems like a great advert waiting to happen! I am not sure whether there will be anything more regarding changes but she seems settled now. The live change-up has occurred and, as it stands, the musicians she perhaps with appear to be solid and right. It is always hard gauging whether an artist feels the need to evolve and make changes to their sound. One of the biggest changes to Reverieme is her music. From Melodies, one got a lot of terrific music and confidence. I have mentioned how the songs can be quite dark and insular but that is rather unfair. A lot of times, there is immense beauty and passion to be found. Flip forward to Straw Woman and there are definite shifts and improvements. Not that there needed to be big changes: what we hear now is a young artist pushing herself and exploring new ground. That strengthening is no surprise considering Reverieme performed at T in the Park, Wickerman and Edinburgh’s The Edge Festival in 2011. She has received radio play from BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music; supported Emmy the Great and Jakob Dylan (2012/’13) and won a huge amount of social media support.

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Louise Connell is an English teacher which, unsurprisingly, helps her as a songwriter. I know a few musicians who have been/are teachers but it is quite rare to see. In terms of discipline; it is interesting seeing that craft and teaching go into the music. Reverieme is a dedicated reader and passes that onto her students. Maybe there is no real big connection but a teacher has a different perspective on the world and comes at it from a different angle. I am curious whether any of the skills and disciplines learnt in the classroom is inspiring students to take up music themselves. Surely, they cannot help but be infused by their teacher’s passion and will respond to Connell’s work. She, in turn, will get a lot of inspiration from the students she teachers and everything she picks up along the way. Whilst the literature Connell consumes will infuse in her songs; the structure and reality of the classroom life will feed into the music. I am surprised there are not more teachers going into the music industry as, especially for an English teacher, there must be that curiosity to take things further. From my perspective, I got more involved with the written word as a result of the English teachers I had. Maybe it is something Connell’s students will pursue but I can understand how music and teaching link. Surely, the hours and intensity Connell puts into her job transfers to music. There is that seriousness and loyalty; that unwavering dedication and passion for what she does. One can detect that in the music which shows intense hard work but a sense of imagination and exploration. I am not sure whether Connell will be teaching in years to come but it I hope she does. Music is a time-consuming thing but, if balanced against a job that does not take too much of your time, it is a great balance.

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There are few that cannot deny the intoxication and potency of Ten Feet Tall’s introduction. Ironically, it heightens the listener and gives them a view over the city. There are percussive and keys; a concoction of sounds and jubilant blasts that create a sparkling, shining brew that creates heady aroma and impassioned sighs. In terms of sound, Reverieme is hard to compare with anyone but there is a hint of America. Those big artists like Tom Petty; maybe bits of the Americana bands and big Rock acts. It is a warm and lustrous sensation that creates a smile and gets right into the head. I have heard few introductions as immediate and assured as this. It is a wonderfully realised thing and a beautiful creation. When the heroine comes to the microphone, her crystalline and pure voice settles things down. There is immense sweetness and beauty in the vocal. It is stately and stoic but has plenty of flirtatious energy and wise currents. The subject, whether a niece or other relative, is growing up so fast and going about their way. Maybe it is the acceleration of maturity and growth that is quite daunting – seeing someone, once, so small maturing into adulthood is an emotional time. Reverieme does not want her (if going down the niece route) to be scared and go out alone. It is daunting departing the nest, as it were, so the heroine offers to weave, tapestry-like, vertebrates and chattels to the wings. One gets an image of a youngsters flanked by angel wings being adorned with colourful feathers and crustaceans. There, she can take to the air and have that family love and remembrance wherever she goes. Already, one hears that distinct lyrical style and how literature and the written word impact Reverieme’s work. I am struck by the vocal which has such a grace and tenderness to it. One cannot help but lay down and let the soft tones and sweet notes enter the ears and do their work. It is an arresting and calming thing but one imagines how much sadness is being kept back. Reverieme is a young woman with her life ahead and has no fear of failure and ageing.

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Ten Feet Tall looks at moving on and growing to an extent so it is possible there is some personal investigation – seeing how life is going and moving in the direction it should. Our subject is growing so fast and used to be so tiny. Ten Feet Tall has a Country vibe and sense of relaxation that means the lyrics are never too intense or upsetting. That said; there is a sense of the unknown as Reverieme is seeing that youngster grow and go into the world. They have known one another for a long time so these changes are met with mixed emotions. The voice reigns and floats as the heroine sees her loved on leave but, it is said, there is always a supportive shoulder. To me, it is a song that praises how the youngster has blossomed and found their own way but there is a fear. Our heroine might feel a bit lonely and insignificant – not undergoing such a quick transformation and evolution – but that is not to say she is insignificant and unimportant. It is always daunting seeing someone, once preserved as a child, develop into an adult – or near-enough, anyway. One can only imagine the contrast of pride and fear as they make their way into the open world. Reverieme’s voice, once sweet and still, grows into a bolder and emphatic thing. There are nerves and doubts but knowledge (the heroine) will be a success and do just fine. It is always hard having to accept these changes but Reverieme does so with dignity and aplomb. That sense of constant support and connection but must comforting for a youngster who still has a lot to learn. A lot of conflicting feelings but, as the song progresses, the need to let go (to an extent) and accept what is happening. From the heroine’s perspective (Reverieme); she is looking at herself and wondering if she is as tall and hopeful as her young relative/subject. It is easy to compare ourselves with someone so young and feel like we are not achieving as much. When you are a child – growing into adolescence and beyond – it is easier to see positive changes and feel like there is a sense of accomplishment. It is all relative but is daunting for an adult who feels they are meagre by comparison.

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This is not the case with Reverieme but she is someone who cannot help compare herself to others and see how her life is progressing. What I get from the song is a proud young woman who is watching, with teary eyes, as the youngster heads off. This evocativeness and departure is represented by wordless vocals and a sumptuous backing composition. Notes of Americana and Country blend to provoke sunshine and the horizon. I see our heroine watching from the window as her young relation looks back and takes steps down the road. It is a great picture and one, where those wings are attached, that compels vivid images and possibilities. Perhaps Reverieme is a big softy but Ten Feet Tall is a sentiment we can all relate to. The song is that documentation of moving on and growing and we all have some exposure to that. When you listen to the song first time around, it grabs you with its emotiveness and power but provides a lot more when you hear it again. That introduction is always wondrous and unexpected. Reverieme’s vocal takes on new light and shows new shades. It is a deep and layered instrument that is endlessly fascinating and revealing. Those lyrics, perhaps, take on new meanings and get you thinking about your own life. Maybe it is me but I was very reflective and self-examining when listening to the song. It can be about changing jobs and location and not only reserved to childhood concerns. Theoretically, one can apply the song to all manner of situations so, because of that, it has immense mobility and potential. It is the finest song from Reverieme’s career and a brilliant moment from Straw Woman. She is in a place where there is huge ambition and the need to dedicate her entire life to music. Given the reaction and response to Ten Feet Tall; that will give motivation to Reverieme and encourage her greatly. Let’s hope some new material is brewing but, whilst we wait, there is the terrific and exquisite Ten Feet Tall.

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I will come back to the themes I addressed previous but, for a bit, where Reverieme will be headed. In interviews, she has intimated there are coming gigs and new songs forming. Maybe we will see a new album this year but it is likely there will be a few songs in the future. Ten Feet Tall is a cracking song that has been taking to heart by so many – that will give impetus and drive to Reverieme to keep producing and bringing music to the people. Reading interviews with her and one senses a fun and personable human. Always fun, willing to banter and full of wonderful quotes – this magic and energy goes into the songwriting. I would love to see more material from her but understand the need to tour and keep working on the road. Straw Woman has received positive reviews and a lot of love from the people. Some debate which styles work best on the album but it is always good creating debate. The record is, as Reverieme states, inoffensive and likeable so should court little controversy. Fans and reviewers have judged which tracks/genres sound best on the album and the moment that work best. Straw Woman was a year ago and the result of a Pledge campaign. That is something I didn’t explore earlier and will do. Reverieme seems like someone who wears her jewels to town and has money to burn: swaggering around town and splurging wherever she can. I jest, of course, but, like many musicians, finances are quite tight. It is not always viable financing an album and can require a little assistance. From the perspective of Straw Woman; it was a way of connecting with the album and being involved with its progression. I think it is great involving fans and bringing them into things. It has resulted in an album will huge backing and excitement from the fanbase. I hope Reverieme follows this route for a new album. It would not be a way of dodging spending money but allowing fans the opportunity to watch an album take shape – getting rewards at the end of it.

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I know Reverieme will be playing Solas Festival on Saturday; Bute Festival on 28th July and Stranraer Festival on 19th August. There are a lot of Scottish dates, which is great, and encouraging to see the local audiences get a taste of a wonderful new artist. Artists like Tom Petty and Peter Gabriel are idols of Reverieme so I hope, like those legends, she stretches her legs down our way and plays around the globe. To be honest, Reverieme’s Louise Connell is a bit of a dream. I hope, as an English teacher, she does not mark my review harshly – there are over 5,000 words, so be kind! – and I shall make as few grammatical/grammatic/grammar/grammarely mistakes as I can. Not only is she as pretty as a peach being held by a beauty queen whilst cruising through the Mediterranean – must be the heat that’s getting to me! – but her interviews show a keen intellect, funny human and lovely soul. All her answers are interesting, quirky and bring a smile. It would be lovely to meet Reverieme and get her butt down to London. I know there is a lot of love waiting for her – not that kind, cheeky! – and the fans would lap up her music. I understand the need to stick to Scotland and it is hard straying too far – considering she has a teaching career that she can’t walk away from. I hope, in a bit, she is able to transition into music full-time and dedicate herself more to the road. Us English would be eager to see her: many other nations around the world have that desire to see her up-close. What the next few months/years have waiting I am not sure but I’d like to think a lot more music and good times. So far, there has been a growth and development that comes from an artist determined to stick around.

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Perhaps it was unfair for me to spend so much time on Reverieme’s music as insular and dark. Those are words that have been used but, honestly, there are so many shades and emotions. Plenty of optimism, introspection and hopefulness come through. Connell is a woman who never wallows and sits in dark rooms plucking the wings from pigeons (she might, but I’d rather not pry!). Instead, she provides impactful music that hits you in the stomach. It is powerful and extraordinary. Kimya Dawson, Jenny Lewis and Amanda Palmer; Regina Spektor, Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire are influences/comparisons – all these acts provide music that gets into the bloodstream and hits you hard. That blend of power and purity runs through Ten Feet Tall. It is a fascinating song taken from a personal place. It looks at family and growing up; it provides a window into Reverieme’s mind – how she is growing and, still in her twenties, where she is heading and how her life might take shape – and how her future pans out. The heroine need not fear as she has the world at her feet and will be a big name in years to come. Her lyrics can tread into darker waters but, as she says herself, there is emphasis on soundscape and sonic textures – less reliance on the lyrics, in that sense. That might seem strange from an English teacher but the words one does hear are as impactful and instant as they come. You are affected by the music and the vocal; immersed in the song and following it all the way. I admire an artist who has a passion for music and lyrics and puts everything into it. Reverieme drinks in literature – I am sure she would were there a literary-themed cocktail menu (although To Kill a Mockingbird might not be that tasty when blended!) – and seems determined to discover as many great works as possible.

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There is a sense of this learning and curiosity going into the music. I have reviewed a lot of artists who are big readers and this connects with their music. I have mentioned Billie Marten who, at eighteen, is still in education and blending that with a music career. She is an obsessive reader and always happiest when tucked away with a great book. One feels Reverieme is the same – Connell detaching from the day’s labours to take in a great work of fiction. I am not suggesting, were Reverieme uninterested in literature, she would be any less an artist but her music would definitely be different. There would be something missing: a spark or sense of confidence; something that makes it what it is. Of course, the personality and passion Reverieme has is a big factor. All of this goes into the blender and creates something tantalising, flavoursome and enduring – much tastier than a To Kill a Mockingbird smoothie! Let’s hope there are many more years ahead for Reverieme because, what we have heard so far, resonates with people and has been lauded by some of the biggest stations in the U.K. It is encouraging seeing such determination from an artist who has been in the music game for a long time. The determination has not waned and, if anything, there is that desire to grow stronger and bigger. Whether that manifests itself in an album or more touring; there is no stopping the Reverieme juggernaut. Ten Feet Tall is proof there is a huge desire for more Reverieme music.

I shall leave things by returning to Glasgow. True, Louise Connell resides/was born in Airdrie but, given its proximity to Glasgow, she is more synonymous with the city and performs there regularly. I started by listening a few artists that are putting Glasgow music on the map but, to be fair, that is a bit harsh. Glasgow has given us Primal Scream, Mogwai and Simple Minds. It has provided Orange Juice, Belle and Sebastian – throw in Deacon Blue and Camera Obscura. There is a healthy crop emerging and plenty of great acts worth keeping your eyes peeled for. I shall not give you another list but suggest one spends more time looking at what Glasgow is offering the music world. It is a vibrant and bustling city that seems like a natural home for the best music around. There is something different from the likes of London and Manchester. Everyone that goes there gets stunned by the warmth of the people and the wonderful history of the city. Glasgow provides a huge music scene and plenty of wonderful memories. Reverieme has rocked a lot of venues around Glasgow but there are more she has yet to conquer. I shall let you go but recommend you all wrap your ears around Ten Feet Tall and give Straw Woman a good listen! It is a wonderful album from a performer and writer who has few equals. I am intrigued seeing where Reverieme heads next and what her next album will sound like. She grows in confidence and focus by the year so it is only a matter of time before she is a mainstream-worthy act. For now, discover a treasure that continues to shine and wants your time and love. Based on the evidence of Ten Feet Tall

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SHE fully deserves it.

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