Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Thanks for coming!

Just a quick post to thank you all very much for coming along to Indietracks this year! The weekend seemed to fly past at lightning speed, but we had an unbelievable time and hope you all did too.

Thanks so much to all the amazing bands, DJs, workshop organisers, caterers and merchandise tent volunteers who took part over the weekend. Big thanks also to Xcite Audio Services and Magnet Hire for doing the stages and sound, and especially to the Xcite staff and Camera Obscura for being so fantastic and moving everything indoors when thunder and lightning struck on the Saturday night!

As ever, thanks so much to the Midland Railway staff and our volunteers who worked so hard over the weekend. We hope you'll agree that the railway's friendly station and bar staff really make the weekend extra special, and their bugle player after the last disco was a particular highlight this year.

And of course, a huge thanks to YOU for coming and supporting Indietracks and the railway again this year!

We'll share our favourite photos and videos on this blog over the next week or so. Please send anything photos, videos or feedback on the festival over to indietracksfestival@gmail.com, and please also share videos or thoughts on the Indietracks Flickr pool and Anorak forum.

If you're missing the festival, it's stil possible to download our Indietracks 2013 compilation, which features 47 fantastic songs by artists who played this year. All proceeds from the compilation go to the railway charity.

If you'd like to stay up-to-date with future Indietracks news, please follow us on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to our e-newsletter by emailing indietracksmailinglist2@gmail.com

We hope you enjoyed the weekend, and see you all again soon!

(Photo: John Ford)

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Last minute reminders!

(Photo: missekawasaki

We hope you’re looking forward to the festival this weekend! Here's a quick checklist to help you plan for this year's Indietracks...

Getting In! 

When to arrive: The gates will open at 5pm on the Friday and at midday on Saturday and Sunday.

Online tickets: weekend tickets and day tickets (Saturday or Sunday) are still available online, and will remain on sale via the website over the weekend. Tickets are not sent out by post. You’ll receive a confirmation email which will contain a link to print your tickets at home. Online tickets are available from: www.indietracks.co.uk/tickets.html  

Tickets on the gate: weekend tickets and day tickets will also be available on the gates, including £18 tickets for the Friday evening only. These Friday tickets are not available online, please just come along on the day.

Getting to the site: There's advice on bus, rail, taxi and car-sharing options on our Indietracks travel page. Please remember that Nottingham rail station is closed over the weekend. If you’re coming by car, please park at Butterley station (postcode DE5 3QZ) and catch the train to the festival site (unless you’re camping, in which case you can walk to the festival site from the campsite). Equally, please ask any taxis to pick you up and drop you at Butterley Station.

Advance preparation! 

Schedule: the timeslots for the bands, DJs and workshops will be printed in the festival programme and are also listed on the Indietracks schedule page.

iPhone and Android apps: For iPhone and Android mobile phone users, there are exciting, free-to-download Indietracks apps with a guide to the festival. Please search for 'Indietracks 2013' on the app stores. One of them contains a virtual glockenspiel!

Indietracks 2013 compilation: If you’re planning your music for the journey to Indietracks, don’t forget to download this year’s compilation. There’s 47 fantastic tracks featuring bands playing at this year's festival. All proceeds go to the Midland Railway charity: Indietracks 2013 compilation

Weather: There could be a mixture of hopefully sunshine and possibly rain over the weekend. Please come prepared for sunshine on a rainy day or vice versa.

Cash: There isn’t a cash machine on site, so please stock up on money beforehand. There will be real ale, fine foods and inevitably tons of band merchandise and we wouldn’t want you to miss out!

Advance reading: we've interviewed lots and lots of this year's bands on our blog, as well as listing our 10 top tips for other things to do at Indietracks over the weekend.

Follow us on Twitter: we'll be tweeting during the festival @indietracksfest, so please follow us and please use the hashtag #Indietracks.

See you at the weekend!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Indietracks interview #30: Making Marks

Interview by The Smittens! 

In 2012, Making Marks arose from the ashes of Norwegian indie pop band My Little Pony, who released two full length albums, won awards in Spain toured several times all over Europe, and also visited the US and Canada, including an official showcase at SXSW 2011. Since April 2012 they have been Making Marks and have toured in Italy, the UK and Scandinavia, and also supported Allo Darlin’ in Germany and France. Their first single ”Ticket Machine/Like Spinning” was released on 7” vinyl by London based Fika Recordings in October 2012, and two more singles and a debut album are due to be released by autumn 2013.

Colin: We haven’t seen you since tour last month and we miss getting to hear your set every night – now that you have a new single and an album out so very soon, I was curious to know if you all are changing up your set with any new surprises?

Ola: The set we played in the US was quite short, so we cut a few songs from the set we played on our EU tour just a few weeks before. When we played in Sweden the other day, at the Cosy Den festival, we took those songs back into the set. We were cut off though, because the bands before us had taken too long. The joys of being a headliner! Anyway, we have some new songs lined up too, that we're going to record in London with Darren Hayman, in between gigs on our UK tour at the end of the month. The album's already done, but it's going to be a B-side for a 7" we have coming out on the brand new Norwegian label Snertingdal Records, and a song for a new compilation that I don't think has been announced yet. Exciting!

David: You write your songs in both your native Norwegian and English. Do you find it challenging to have to be charming in two languages? Also, in your travels in the US, which state was your favorite?

Ola: The main goal of our music is to be charming, yes, and it's definitely way easier to be charming in English. We have funny accents! In Norwegian we're not that charming, but then again maybe no one really is. Our favourite state was Vermont, no doubt. It was very pretty and Winooski where we played had a fish lift for fish that needed to get up the river, but were feeling tired. How nice is that? People there seemed very considerate.

Dana: Here's a simple one: I want to know what kind of underwear each of you are wearing today.  (I will go first just to take away the intimidation factor - I am wearing blue and grey striped boxer briefs from a store in America called 'The Gap').  Also, tell us one things about yourself that we wouldn't know just from looking at you.

Jørgen: Boring but comfortable; all baby blue boxer from a store in Norway called 'H&M'. I once played drums for Jeff Buckley's old drummer, Matt Johnsons solo project. -That's how cool I actually am.

Max: When we go on tour we have lots of traditions, like for instance naming the cutest boy and cutest girl after the show every night, and for the whole tour. We also often have contests, for instance who can eat the most eggs on tour (and others which will remain undisclosed). Including your time as My Little Pony, you guys have been around for a while, so what are your tour traditions? and what was most different about touring in the US vs. Europe?

Jørgen: I guess we've never been big on traditions. When we one time got served champagne before a gig in Germany we decided to make that a tradition, putting it on the rider. That champagne made us very happy and talkative and funny on stage, we hardly remembered to play our instruments. We never really got champagne very often after that so the whole ting sort of faded out, but whenever we get some form of bubbly alcoholic beverage we make sure to do a huge thing out of it. Italy is good for keeping that limp tradition up.

In Norway it's way more important to be technically good at playing than actually making good heartfelt music and clever melodies. This gradually switches the further south in Europe you get. Down in Italy and Spain indie is indie, not fucking Muse or Kings of Leon. The focus is totally on the music, the trueness and geuinity of making good melodies and just being in a band with your friends. The same goes for US.

That genre of music environment suits us perfect. It's no real spot for that in Norway.

A big difference between EU and US, though, is the technical state of things. We get to play bigger venues, better gear; both sound- and instrument wise, and there's actual backstages with catering and free drinks, showers and hotels. Not to be posh or anything but those material goods feel damn nice sometimes.

Colin: Okay, here’s another playing question relating to food – basically, I am curious as to whether you’d prefer to eat before or after the show. I know the Allman Brothers liked to play hungry, but I can’t remember which side of the satiation spectrum you all tend to fall on. I already know that nobody likes to play thirsty!

Jørgen: Definitely like to have had some food in advance, but no heavy stuff. Half of us are vegetarians and like to eat light, that makes it possible to both eat and play without being weighed down from slow digestion. Wouldn't like to play hungry but there's an important balance there. We've been touring for so long that we know exactly what and when to eat now. Post show you may bring on the heavy stuff, both food and drink wise.

Max: We've played in Sweden a bunch of times and always really really loved it. It reminds us of New England, but people dress way better and you hear Robyn everywhere you go. We've also played in Denmark & Finland a couple times each, but, unfortunately, never in Norway (a gig in Oslo last summer was cancelled at the last minute). We've heard that intra-Scandinavian rivalries can get pretty catty. What do you all *really* think about Sweden and the Swedes, and the Swedish pop phenomenon in general? And the Danes & Finns?

Jørgen: It's not as bad as it seem, or as we may make it appear. I don't know what the other countries has going against us, probably the same old stupid neighborly jokes that's been around for ever. As kids in Norway we grew up on Scandinavian, mostly Swedish, literature and undubbed movies and TV series. I listened to, and read, Swedish without even thinking that it was another language. Being in these other Scandinavian countries now and getting every conversation returned in English makes a hopeless case of being this "Scandinavian family". -so yeah, maybe a tiny bit aggregation there.

Any how, the Swedes sure make good pop music, and we've drawn alot of inspiration from them through the years. Don't think that works visa versa, though, they tend to talk alot during our shows. -We like them still.

The Danish and the Finns I really don't know much about, all we get of their music is the occasional dreaded Eurovision contribution. They seem like a nice laid back kind. Wish I had more dirt on them, I really don't.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Indietracks interview #29: Still Corners

By Stuart Huggett

Still Corners are a lush dreampop group formed in London by Texan expat Greg Hughes. With multi-instrumentalist Greg masterminding songwriting and production, the band released their French and 60s pop influenced debut EP ‘Remember Pepper?’ in 2007 and played the church stage at Indietracks the following year. Joined by new vocalist Tessa Murray, the group signed to Sub Pop and released their first full album ‘Creatures of an Hour’ in 2011, its spacious electronics and echoing guitar treatments demonstrating Greg’s increasing studio skills.

Still Corners’ second album ‘Strange Pleasures’ came out in May of this year, and the band have just finished supporting Chvrches on their breakthrough American tour. They return to Indietracks to headline the main stage on Sunday night, so we asked them a few questions.

How has the US tour with Chvrches been?
Tessa: The tour was amazing, we played sold out shows across North America and met lots of great people along the way.
Greg: We had a great time. Chvrches are a great band and lovely people too. Texas stood out on this tour, it was hot as hell and brimming with friendly, lively people.
Tessa: I particularly enjoyed the shows in Austin and Dallas.

How does being a largely English band on Sub Pop help your profile in the States?
Tessa: Sub Pop is such a major force in the US and it's amazing to be on their roster. We certainly feel strong links to the US and it's great touring over there and seeing friends and family along the way. Will we move over there? Never say never.

How has 'Strange Pleasures' been received internationally?
Tessa: There has a been a lot of love for the record around the world and maybe one day we'll get to go to Japan, which would be amazing.
Greg: We've been getting some lovely emails from fans around the world giving out some love. Maybe beyond the world too.

What do you remember about playing Indietracks in 2008?
Greg: That was the first festival we ever played. I remember that day being really hot and the church was like a green room, lots of sweat, great for rock and roll. We camped outside and had some brews. I saw naked people running around.

How does it feel to return to Indietracks as main stage headliners?
Greg: It's an honour to come back and play, there's loads of great bands on. Although I feel we're probably more of an indoor band, that doesn't stop us from getting up there and trying to make some noise. Our projections might be a little tricky so we're brainstorming some other ideas. 100-piece choir? Pyrotechnics? Slash walking on stage to trade solos?

I've seen 'Remember Pepper?' sell for silly money online, has a repress ever been considered?
Tessa: We've considered a repress of it, but at the moment it seems right to keep it special and limited.
Greg: But a 10 inch would be really cool.

What are your favourite recent musical discoveries?
Tessa: Pure Bathing Culture is a new band from Portland and their first couple of singles are divine. It would be great to tour with them some day.
Greg: Agreed, Pure Bathing Culture, amazing songs and band. I’d love to go on tour with Philip Glass, Yo La Tengo or Kate Bush. Also Mac Demarco and the new Dirty Beaches record is my favourite release of the year. It’s not exactly a musical discovery, but there’s a food discovery I made while in Portland, ¿Por Que No? restaurant. Great Mexican food.

How much of the studio work is done with the full band?
Greg: On the recordings it's just myself and Tessa, and we put in a lot of time together on the vocals and arrangements. Live we fill out to a four-piece with Leon (Dufficy) on guitar and Jack (Gooderham) on drums, two amazing musicians and people.

What other musical outlets do you have outside of Still Corners? Would Greg consider producing or mixing other bands?
Tessa: I always used to sing in choirs before I was in Still Corners but the band is pretty all-encompassing at the moment.
Greg: It's just the music for now.


Still Corners’ ‘Strange Pleasures’ is out now on Sub Pop.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Indietracks interview #28: The Brilliant Corners

Interview by Gareth Ware 

Having recently both featured on Cherry Red's 5CD 80s behemoth 'Scared To Get Happy', not to mention having played the attendant extravaganza of a live show and released a new 1983-1993 compilation 'Heart on Your Sleeve', The Brilliant Corners seem to be caught up in a maelstrom of activity once again. With this in mind, we caught up with Dave Woodward ahead of their imminent festival appearance to talk about what it means to him to be playing together as a group again, how the recent live shows have gone and how he feels the scene now compares to the one that existed then.

Have you been to Indietracks before? What aspect of the festival experience are you most looking forward to?
No I have never been, the setting sounds fantastic, Amelia told me it was a really good festival. Really looking forward to seeing some new bands.

How has it been for you to revisit your old material when creating the new compilation and playing it live again? Has it brought back happy memories?
It's brought back a lot of memories about relationships, people, places. Happy and sad. I think the compilation captures the essence of the band really well. The sleevenotes are excellent.(I wrote them!). I love playing live.

Likewise, how was it for you to play the Scared To Get Happy show recently alongside a lot of your contemporaries? Was it as special an evening for you as it seemed to be for the audience?
It really was a special moment. Gigs were you feel a real connection and warmth with an audience do not happen that often when its on that scale, usually big stage big gig = awful gig. I really felt that connection, it was touching to see so many happy faces in the audience. A few days later I am still feeling quite emotional about it. It was great to catch up with bands who I had not seen for a long long time and a few I had never seen back in the day.

Have you felt in any way that the intervening time has changed the band dynamic in any way, or is this something you've not even considered and are simply enjoying yourselves again?
We're just enjoying it.

James Dean Bradifeld once described The Bodines' 'Played' with words to the effect of 'C86 with an added layer of ambition'. On a personal level that was something I'd level at The Brilliant Corners' output, especially the later releases. Is this something you'd agree with?
If you mean we did not stick with in the remit of what people call a C86 sound you would be right. It had nothing to do with ambition, more that youthful thing of absorbing everything and wanting to try stuff out, not everything we tried out worked!. Also if you were to ever see my record collection you would be amazed by its diversity.

When you were playing during C86's formative days, did you ever envisage the movement would develop, evolve and grow to the movement and community it is now? Or even still be going in some guise or another?
I never gave it a second thought. I think back then it was just great that there were a whole lot of people making music with that kind of punk ethos of DIY and energy, people producing fanzines, small venues with enthusiasts putting on the bands they loved. What I also liked was that knowingly or unknowingly it was challenging notions of what is 'rock music' one could make serious noise but also playful pop. Most rock bands could not stomach that idea. I think a community exists now because some of the politics of that time is still very attractive, particularly in the corporate times we now live in. On a personal level I have always felt like a bit of an outsider bit odd really and indie seemed to suite me. Oh I should not forget there were a lot of bloody good songs too.

On the back of the compilation and the live dates you're playing no the back of it, do you have any desire to write and release any new Brilliant Corners material? If not, what does 2013 hold out for you - anything exciting?
I am only able to do this because The Experimental Pop band are not doing anything this year and that Bob (BCs drummer) finally convinced me we should do some reunion gigs while we still had our health! I write and record all the time but no I'm not writing any material to be released as The Brilliant Corners. At the moment I am working on a collection of uplifting pop songs and I also have a collection of electronic songs. I have no idea if any of it will ever be released. Sure hope it will!

Is there anyone in particular you're especially looking forward to seeing over the weekend during your visit this year?
Alpaca Sports!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Meet our Sunday workshop organisers!

So a few days ago, we met our Saturday workshop organisers, and today it's time for the Sunday gang to introduce themselves...

Sunday 1pm: Tip Top Indiepop Pop Quiz
Organisers: Gordon and Katey
Cost: All your indie cred.

“Our pop quiz is the ultimate indiepop nerd challenge!”

“Gordon’s the singer and songwriter for ballboy and Katey DJs as part of Music for Girls. We’ll be compiling all the useless bits of indie trivia we've accumulated over the years for all your competitive quiz-based needs."

“We’ve been to Indietracks many times, it's our favourite time of the year.  Gordon always draws a cock in the picture round of the quiz and Katey always objects (but gets overruled). We’re looking forward to non-stop Scottish indiepop, and can recommend the blue cider!"

Sunday 2pm: PomPom Pets
Organiser: Kandy Diamond
Cost: Free

“So, you've come away to indietracks for the weekend, and you might be missing your moggie or left your bunny at home, so why not come and make a pompom pet to keep you company! The workshop will involve making pompoms then crafting them into small animals, suitable for all ages, and you will get to take your pet with you to keep you company after the workshop.”

“ I'm a knitter by day and an all round crafter by night. I run Knit and Destroy where I design and make knitted accessories, I also co-write bi-annual craft zine Sugar Paper - 20 things to make and do. I believe that crafting should be fun and can be for anyone and everyone! I’m looking forward to hanging out with my pals in a train museum/countryside/camping mega-fun setting.”

Sunday 3pm: How to create iconic indiepop album covers in Lego
Organisers: Christoph and potential assistants
Cost: free

“The workshop is about Lego album covers. We won't speak about the reasons to rebuild cover art work (these are obvious), we'll actually work rather than discuss. After a short introduction (finding the right cover to recreate, casting of models, backgrounds, postproduction), we will rebuild a couple of album covers in group work. Our goal is to build some Lego versions of album covers of bands playing Indietracks (and present it to them as a gift).”

“I'm 42 years old from nearby Cologne (Germany). I'm a frequent concert goer and editor of a German / French concert website. My alltime favourite bands are The Smiths, Lush, Joy Division, The Organ and Galaxie 500. I'm the uncle of two little childs (8 and 11 years old / favourite bands Allo Darlin' and Galaxie 500). Especially my little nephew loves Lego so I started doing Lego versions of some of my favourite album covers for them. 80 until now!”

“I heard a lot about Indietracks being an amazing festival with a very special atmosphere. I don't like going to festivals, but Indietracks sounds like that kind of fastival I'll love. And The Pastels!”

Sunday 4pm: Wet Felt Making
Organisers: Amy and Melanie
Cost: Free

“Come and try your hand at traditional wet felt making! We’ll be showing you how to make a piece of your own felt from scratch using just your hands, wool, soap and water! Create your own designs using our wide range of colour-dyed merino wool. Not only will you get the chance to leave the workshop with the cleanest festival hands ever; you’ll also get the chance to turn your piece into a lovely festival badge, necklace, hair bobble or a unique felted wristband – whatever you want to do. This is a very child friendly workshop! All materials will be provided and it’s completely free!”

“We’re from the woodland play and nature crafts project, Wild Apple. Amy set Wild Apple up earlier this year. It’s a small community project that runs play sessions in the local woods for kids, as well as a wide range of nature-craft workshops for children, adults and families. The ethos of the project is to share ways of having as much creative fun as possible with nature and out in nature without the need for loads of man-made stuff.”

“Amy is a freelance Forest Schools practitioner and runs nature-craft and play workshops for children and families mainly in Leeds, but sometimes in other places. She now divides her time between running the Wild Apple project and teaching kids to ride bikes. Melanie’s creativity mostly revolves around making zines (art, feminist, interview, social-and-political-history zines) and curating art events (http://remember-who-u-are.blogspot.co.uk) but she’s a sucker for getting her fingers involved with craft projects like these workshops.”

“Amy has been every year since 2008, and this will be Melanie’s 4th Indietracks. We get giddy coming to Indietracks to see bands we love, bands we’d never heard of (but now love), and are even more excited when our friends get invited to take the stage too. We’re very lucky to know some crazy-talented people and love when Indietracks supports, celebrates and fosters such a wide-ranging lineup.”

"Band-wise, Melanie’s looking forward to Cars Can Be Blue, Helen Love, The Lovely Eggs, The Middle Ones, The Ballet, Martha and Milky Wimpshake. Food-wise: The paneer and pea curry. Fun wise: Spending a weekend with good friends having big laughs. Amy’s looking forward to Helen Love, The French Defence, The Middle Ones, Martha, the steam train rides, the ale, the Chapel, being there all weekend with a wide selection of ridiculously ace people!"

Sunday 5pm: Make your own bow-tie!
Organisers: Craftwerk - Ben and Jennifer
Cost: Free - donations to cover material costs eg: glues, threads

“Make your own bow-ties and collars, using our selection of weird and wonderful fabrics, jewels, bit and bobs and really stand out at this years Indie Tracks with these exciting custom fashion accessories.”

“Craftwerk has been running informally since Halloween 2010 when we began holding creative workshops for young adults in Ben's lounge. We have branched out in the last year to village fetes working with children and held events in stores and have worked with a number of different groups. We specialise in messy, creative play using found and recycled materials to keep costs low and to help pass on the message of reduce, reuse, recycle.”

“Last year was awesome, I was lucky enough to play on stage with the wonderful Colour Me Wednesday which was terrifying and exciting! The response we got after was incredible and I loved it! Wonderful festival! Also I got to go on a steam train! :D. We’re really looking forward to The Tuts!! That's gonna be a riot! And all the delicious foods!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Indietracks interview #27: The Wave Pictures

Interview by Gareth Ware

Prolific, lyrically vivid and packing, in David Tattersall a truckload of awesome guitar solos to boot, The Wave Pictures are making their first venture to Ripley's fair climes since 2008, which coincided with the release of acclaimed second 'proper' album 'Instant Coffee Baby'. With much having changed since – including the record or two released in the meantime – David Tattersall kindly took the time to talk about their return and their imminent new double album.

Having last played Indietracks way back in 2008, are you excited at returning and seeing how the festival has developed?
Yes I am, though I hope it hasn't changed too much. It has always had such a nice atmosphere.

How do you think you've developed as musicians, songwriters and performers in the time between visits?
I think we have improved tremendously!

What can you tell us about your new record, which comes out in the autumn? With it being a double, were there new challenges in making it compared to a standard, single-disc album?
We travelled around America for six weeks, crammed in a van with Allo Darlin', and I wrote lyrics in a notebook to pass the time on the long drives. When I got home to London, I was pretty jet lagged and confused; I didn't sleep properly for about a month. All I could do was write songs. It was a strange time in many ways, I felt like a ghost but the songs just poured out of me. I could just pick up the notebook, look at something I had written in it whilst travelling around, and make a song up instantaneously. It was very exciting. It was this strange and unusual time that necessitated doing a double album. I didn't decide to make a double and then set about writing it. I think I wrote about fifty songs in a week. It had to be a double! But, we cut it down to the best twenty tracks. Or what seemed the best at the time. The title came to me in a dream, and since nothing useful ever came to me in a dream before, I thought we should use it. The album will be called City Forgiveness.

Having done both EPs and now a double alongside the standard album format, which do you think offers the greatest writing challenge - the need to get a message across concisely on an EP or maintaining a sense of cohesion over a double?
There are no challenges really on the writing side. You just write songs and you put a small number of them on an EP and more on an album and twice as many again to make a double album! I like double albums a lot, as a music fan. Lubbock (on everything) by Terry Allen, Trout Mask Replica, Blonde on Blonde... there are some good double albums knocking around!

The question on everyone's lips will no doubt be: will it contain mentions of fruit? Can you please confirm or deny this fact?
I definitely got some food and drink in there somewhere. I had genuinely no idea that I wrote about fruit often until it was pointed out to me. It is funny because I did it lots of times without thinking about it, but now I am quite self-conscious of it. So there might be no fruit on the new album.

Speaking of lyrics, you've always had this way with vivid imagery reminiscent of Jonathan Richman et al - where does the inspiration for them come from?
I think that the truth is that after a while you just start to think in the form of song lyrics. You walk down the street and lines start to form in your mind that sound like song lines. It happens to me that way. Certain conditions are also strangely helpful to songwriting. I often write a song if I haven't slept well or if I am hungover: I do not know why!

When I was younger I would turn to writers to kick-start my brain. I took many many lines out of Raymond Chandler novels. I stole freely from Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller and Jim Thompson and Carson McCullers. I still do this occasionally, but it is pretty rare for me to use someone else's line these days. Generally the lyrics just pop into my mind and then it is a matter of editing.

So - I guess the answer is that, after a while, the songs just inspire themselves! They start writing themselves. I do it just for pleasure, and it comes quite easily to me now, which is not to say that I don't wish I was better at it. Often, I cringe with embarrassment at my own songs. But, as long as I enjoy myself, I will keep doing it.

What does the rest of 2013 hold for you and what are you most looking forward to?
I am most looking forward to working with Howard Hughes again - doing some writing and recording for another Lobster Boat album with him. That should be fun.

What are you most looking forward to seeing and/or doing at the festival? Is there anyone in particular you're particularly excited to see?
I am excited to see my parents. They should be coming along, since they live quite near to the festival. I hope so anyway. I have always enjoyed just being at the festival with them, and seeing friends play. It is such a nice relaxing festival; one of the only ones I enjoy being at.

If I am able to be there, I will watch the Pastels. I love their music. Do you know the recording of This Could Be The Night by Jad Fair and the Pastels? That's one of the best records I can think of.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Indietracks interview #26: Alpaca Sports

Interview by Antoni Amaya. 

In an attempt to escape the Swedish winter in 2011, Andreas Jonsson and Carl Jirestedt from Gothenburg started writing cute little pop songs to a project called Alpaca Sports. The first two songs ever recorded spread with an enormous speed thanks, and before they knew it the 300 copies of their debut single “Just for Fun” was sold out before the actual release date due to the high amount of pre orders. They've since released four infectious pop singles, a mini album in Japan, and played shows in France, Italy, England and Peru!

Hi there Andreas, how are you doing? At the end I'm interviewing you for the Indietracks blog! How do you feel about it? Are you excited about the concert? 

Hi Toni, I’m very well, thank you! I’m very happy to do this interview with you. We had a great time together at Madrid Popfest, it was so much fun to meet you and your friends! Indietracks is a pop dream coming true and we’re very excited about it of course! When I started this project I sent two songs to Amanda as inspiration, the songs were “Let’s get out of this country” by Camera Obscura and “Nothing to be done” by The Pastels. Now we have the privilege to play at the same festival as them and that means a lot to me personally.

We've seen you with some different formations for your shows. How many Alpacas will there be on stage this time?

Yes, we’ve had some different formations now during our short time as a band. When we play in Sweden we’re usually seven people on stage, the same people that record the songs in the studio. When we’ve played abroad it’s most of the times been me, Amanda and Carl playing and singing to backing tracks. But at NYC Popfest last month we were lucky to borrow local musicians from great bands like Crystal Stilts and Ladybug Transistor. That line-up turned out fantastic so we thought we’d give it a try at Indietracks as well!

I got in contact with Miguel Navarro from The Felt Tips and he helped us form a band including him, Thom and Kris from The Understudies. I’m a big fan of both bands and have especially been listening a lot to The Felt Tips. I’m sure Miguel’s way of playing the guitar will go perfect with Alpaca Sports songs. We’ll be six Alpacas in total on stage at Indietracks.

Fine, then I would like to ask you about the stories that your songs tell. Some of the songs seem that they have inside a kind of melancholy, a will of some kind lost youth or love, like “Just for fun” or “I'll never win” but others seem way more optimistic (“As long as I have you”) Are this stories invented or do they have some correspondence with your reality?

Maybe some parts aren’t supposed to be taken literally of course, but I would say that most of the lyrics are about my own or my friends'/family’s lives, dreams, fears etc. Lyrics often come naturally, subconsciously while singing/humming to the chords of the songs. The most important thing is that they mean something important for me personally and that usually means that they have to have some correspondence with my reality in one way or another. Vague answer? Haha.

Do you think that “your sound” has changed since your first songs to your last song released “Telephone”? Do you have a closed idea of what's the Alpaca Sports is or do you think that some day it could turn in something completely different, like a noise pop band, a funk/soul band, etc? What about a song in Swedish?

I wouldn’t say that the sound has changed. I guess it’s just natural that each songs lives its own life a bit with instruments and effects that make it as good as it can be. I don’t think we have a certain idea of how we want Alpaca Sports to sound like. But I find it very hard to believe that in the future we’ll end up making songs that sound very different from how they sound now. The music I listen to myself doesn’t sound very different from the songs we make and our songs are very much inspired by indiepop from the 80s and 90s. So it all comes naturally.

 Maybe we’ll try to write a song in Swedish after the album is recorded, and use it as a B-side or something. That would be a big challenge though! It will sound cheesy, haha.

Now, let me ask you which are your favorite bands of the moment? Do you listen more to nowadays music or are you more into Brighter, The Smiths and that stuff? What are your thoughts about the indiepop scene? And which shows are you willing to attend this Indietracks?

I guess I’m quite boring when it comes to music I like to listen to. I don’t want to sound pretentious now but for many years I’ve mostly listen to older bands from the 80s-90s. Bands like The Hit Parade, The Housemartins, The Smiths, Orange Juice, The Brilliant Corners, The Go-Betweens etc. I love listening to the same records over and over again. I guess it’s a kind of therapy in a strange way and I find it comforting and rewarding to listen and discover new things in melodies, bass lines etc.

But after starting up Alpaca Sports and playing shows and popfests in different countries, I’ve been very much more up to date with new music and I think the indiepop scene today sounds very healthy and alive. Many of the new bands I really like are also playing at Indietracks this year so I’d like to see as many shows as possible.

One of my favourite new bands are the Parisian band Pale Spectres, I’m very much looking forward to see them play on Saturday. Flowers, When Nalda became Punk and The Secret History are other examples of new bands I like which are playing at the festival.

The Brilliant Corners are without a doubt the band I’m looking forward to see the most. I saw some live videos of their reunion gig in London a couple of weeks back and it sounded lovely. I hope Amelia Fletcher
can join them on stage at Indietracks as well, that would be fun. But the line up of this Indietracks is fantastic and it’s an honour to be a part of it. Camera Obscura, The Pastels, The Wake, Helen Love, the list can go on forever.

A delicate one, perhaps. How do you feel about people saying that Alpaca Sport it's “twee pop”. Do you think that's right? Perhaps you don't care at all. Let us know. Do you feel that you “belong” to the indie pop scene, that the scene doesn't exist at all, that you don't belong to it? Is it a positive or negative thing to your eyes the existence and promotion of the scene?

I don’t have any problems with it and I don’t take it too serious when it comes to labelling music. People can call us whatever they want, if anyone asks I say we’re an indiepop band. But all kinds of music scenes and genres feel kind of hard to categorize nowadays and I’m sure there are many different ways to define indiepop depending on whom you’re asking. Some look at it more from the DIY point of view and some puts it more together with the sound of it and so on.

But I definitely think that some kind of indiepop scene exists and we are very proud to be a part of it. As long as it’s a healthy scene where bands, promoters, record labels, fans, blogs etc. works together to help each other out to spread the music I think it’s a great thing and a fantastic community.

After the delicate question comes the random one. If you could take a band you like to play live at Indietracks, which one would you choose? Any band, doesn't matter if the members are dead or alive, if they're active or not, etc.

It’s hard not to answer The Smiths here. That would be a dream come true since they were the band that got me into pop music in the first place. If The Smiths was a forbidden answer I would say The Brilliant Corners at this year’s Indietracks, playing the rhythm guitar and singing on “Why do you have to go out with him when you could go out with me”.

What comes next? A classic question that shouldn't be avoided. After releasing the smooth “Telephone” song, which are your plans for the future of the band? Anything you can reveal?

We are very happy to let you know that we’re premiering our new 7” single “He doesn’t even like you” at Indietracks! Beside the A-side it also includes a remix of the song “I was running”, made by Lisle from Tiny Fireflies, and the artwork is once again made by the wonderful illustrator Ray Kimura. We also have a brand new music video for the A-side, shot in New York during our stay there. Carl Jirestedt (co-writer of Alpaca Sports songs) is the director of this video.

Besides this new single we have some other fun projects going on, one of them is finishing the debut album that will be released this autumn, probably early October. We’re very excited about that! We’ll
also announce some incredible news about future gigs soon. I hope very soon, cause I don’t know how much longer I can keep it a secret!

And that's all, thanks for your time Andreas, I really appreciate it.

Thank you Toni, see you soon!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Indietracks interview #25: Monnone Alone

Interview by Gareth Ware

Making that transition from being a band member and co-songwriter to a solo artist can be a most daunting of tasks - even modern-day luminaries such as Richard Hawley can be found describing the whole experience as one fraught with difficulty and self-induced crises of confidence. Yet it's an arena that former Lucksmiths lynchpin Mark Monnone has appeared to have entered effortlessly via his Monnone Alone moniker and attendant warm and inviting debut record 'Together At Last'.

According to the list of previous performers this is the first time you will have performed at Indietracks. Have you been before as a spectator? On a personal level, what does it mean to you to be asked to play?

I have never been and have suffered in my silent envy every year. To be invited to play however, means my dream of making a nu-rave crossover has been temporarily shelved.

Describe the transition from co-songwriter in The Lucksmiths to being the sole songwriting force in Monnone Alone - do you think it's changed your creative processes in any way?

No, not really. Many of the songs in my set were actually written years ago and several were looked at for the last Lucksmiths album. The transition has really been with me now accepting these songs delivered via my ghastly bark rather than Tali's pleasant pipes. I'm pretty comfortable with how I write so haven't made any conscious effort to 'branch out', but by the same token, I'm now more likely to give a different style of song a chance that would never have made it beyond the embryo stage in The Lucksmiths. The aforementioned nu-rave stuff, for instance…

How did you feel when making this record and putting it out compared to The Lucksmiths' output - did it feel any different having an album emblazoned with your name across it, like a musical equivalent to Jack Brabham*?

I don't know much about Jack Brabham… is he like Jack Daniels? The Monnone Alone record was never originally intended to be a full album, so wasn't confined by the same urgency that Lucksmiths recordings always adhered to. I didn't have a release date planned or any tours booked so it had plenty of space to sprawl out and do its own thing. In a way it was more like a cheeky excuse to spend tour downtime working with Gary Olson and other friends whose music I admire. It wasn't until the final mixes were coming together that I actually really started to think about what it was going to be, and by that time the idea of releasing it as a Monnone Alone record had pretty much sunk in.

While it's safe to say that most Australian guitar-based pop groups at some point get likened to The Go-Betweens, speaking personally there seems to be the odd moment that musically at least could've sat on Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express. Is this something you'd agree with?  What would you say the main influences behind the new record?

Liberty Belle is certainly an old favorite, though it's been a long time since I've listened to it. But as I say, some of the songs on the album are pretty old so I'm sure the Go-Betweens influence is somewhere in there. More obvious to me are passing references to the TVPs, The Clean, The Verlaines, The Pastels, early-Died Pretty even…

How has it been to work with the likes of Kyle Forrester (Crystal Stilts) Amy Linton (The Aislers Set), Hamish Kilgour (The Clean) and Ryan McPhun (Ruby Suns)? What do you think they've brought to the record?

Well, with Hamish and Ryan it was just a matter of having some old friends hanging out in Gary's kitchen, so it seemed silly to not trick them into playing or singing something. Same as with Åke from Love is All… Just a buzz to have all these awesome people even listening to my songs, let alone playing something! With Linton and Kyle, those guys have played on my songs a lot when I've done shows in NY and also at the FPOP-15 party in London a couple of years ago. So I really feel comfortable playing with them. I've known Linton since The Lucksmiths first toured with The Aislers Set in the late-90s, so it feels really great to have finally recorded some music together. And Kyle is hilarious, just a freak, so I feel so lucky to have spent time in the studio with him. He always seems to know exactly what to play and when to play it.

What does the rest of 2013 hold for you, and what are you most looking forward to?

I'm currently on tour in Europe, so I'm having a hard time seeing beyond happy hour in Milan… But I'm hoping to play a lot more shows when I get back to Australia and keep writing new songs as well as drawing more, reading more, finding some nice new recipes, looking at a computer screen less… Actually, my label Lost And Lonesome is celebrating its 15th birthday this year so I am working on a big party in November during Melbourne Music Week that will feature stacks of great bands and art and snacks.

Of all the myriad of bands and activities over the weekend, is there anyone/thing you're especially excited about seeing/doing?

My friend Amanda is a train buff so she's trying to hook me up with some special train-based activities.

(*Author's note - Jack Brabham = Australia's first Formula 1 world champion, and the only one to have done so in a car bearing his own name)

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Indietracks interview #24: The McTells

Interview by Andy (A Fog Of Ideas)
The McTells are Paul, Mark, Stuart and Bill.  The Sound of Young Hertford, The McTells cut an urgent twanging/jangling dash through mid- to late- Eighties indiepop (which possibly nobody called it then) forging links with bands such as Beat Happening, The Pastels, Heavenly, The Cannanes, The Bartlebees, Small Factory and The Nation of Ulysses (amongst others) via the International Pop Underground.

I’m Andy from ‘A Fog of Ideas’ blog/zine/industries and, in early-June, I emailed the band a list of questions and gushing over-excited invective which they duly printed off, took down the pub and answered collectively (the questions, that is, the gushing over-excited invective they wisely gave a swerve).  Paul then attempted to make sense of what they all wrote and emailed the results back to me.

This is that.

Fog:  Who are The McTells and what are you about?

The McTells: We were once like-minded souls, and now we are again. Nothing has changed. When we played last year it was the same as normal. We’ve been unaffected by time and success.

Fog:  You've all played in various bands in addition to The McTells are you able to name them (this isn't a quiz question, I just want the world to know about your many illustrious works)?

The McTells: Yes, we’ve all been in lots of bands:
Stu: McKenzie Break; Gilroy;, Valies; One Blows The Other Sucks; Astronauts; ATV; Elliot Mess; Hectors House; Scarlet Sunshine.

Mark: TVPS; Elusive Diplomats; Jerry and the Chairs; Moscovite 5; C F Kites; Emil; Sportique; Sindy Arthur; Violins; Fenestration; Cee Bee Beaumont; Morton Knights; Budget Girls; Buried By Nuns.

Paul: Mctells; Rig Veeda; The Twins; Gilroy; Elliot Mess.

Bill: Hectors House; Elliot Mess; Scarlet Sunshine; The Valets; The Big Paintings; Dear Arriadne; Question Time Band; The Beatpack; Blood Sausage; Cee Bee Beaumont; The Budget Girls; The Count Backwards; The Square Mile Group; Gilroy; Garden City Projects group; Rob Sekula's Easter Sun; Bob Biggs plus odds and sods drumming and strumming for various hare-brained ideas.

Fog:  Bi-Joopiter, Paul's label, began as a tape only label with the occasional flexi disc too- The McTells’s first two tapes were recently lovingly reissued by Captured Tracks... in respect of the current vogue for cassette releases, is it an affectation or a sign of today's independents 'taking back the means of production'/'keeping it real'/'digging on a much maligned format'?

The McTells: We liked the sound of the cassette, its compression, and still do compared to some digital forms of recording. Some of us have never stopped using cassettes (especially as there are boxes and boxes of old stuff and compilations that still get played on Walkmans and in the car). Mark is planning to do some new tapes when he gets the chance.

Fog:  How would you describe The McTells sound?  Variously I've seen The McTells described as 'scurrying little creatures bringing light to the deepest shadows.', 'Rumbledethump Falling Down The Stairs While Playing Your Instruments Arched Back Heads Down Beat Pop Music from the home counties via graveyards and kitchen tables' and 'scratchy, fragile, poignant, personal music' (at least two of those courtesy of Everett True)...

The McTells: Yes, it is what comes out… we don’t really plan it. These quotes from Everett and others do describe our essence. We are little scurrying creatures, and we often fall over when playing our instruments. We are flattered that someone has bothered to write about us in this way.

Fog: Are there plans for any further reissues of The McTells back catalogue (ideally everything)? Might the Bi-Joopiter (Paul and Gillian Elam's label that kicked off with tape only releases in 1982) back catalogue one day appear in some form, perhaps online or are these things best left as, dare I say it, historical artefacts?

The McTells: Yes, it is coming when we get the time. It takes time to digitalise things and then to decide where to host it etc. Actually, if you search the internet you can find some of our tracks already out there.

Fog: If The McTells were biscuits what biscuits would you be, either as a band or as individuals (seriously v'kids love this type of question, I've assumed, perhaps mistakenly)?

The McTells: Well, Paul is the revolutionary, so a Garibaldi is perfect; Bill is a bourbon, nice and sweet; Stu is a roly, poly Oreo; and Mark is a fashionable Biscotti.

Fog: What are your personal favourite, perhaps definitive, McTells memories?

The McTells: The pump up bed in Clevedon, which went pop. Supporting Happy Mondays in the Black Horse; Berlin, when it was snowing and the 3 hour trip to get to a bed after we played; first gig with the Bartlebees in Munich. Playing Ravensburg on the Danube. Playing a kind of terrible Buddy Holly cover in a local pub and being told to stop by the landlord as we were in danger of causing glass breakage. Breakfast of Weiss beer and red wine. Sitting in Stu’s room drinking tea after we had played a gig. Playing with Beat Happening and a Japanese band called Frederick. Lots of memories, all a little jumbled now.

Fog: Paul, I've spotted you at Indietracks in previous years, I don't believe the rest of the band have been (and I'd have been on the lookout with my binoculars, you can be sure)... how have you described it to them? Looking forward to it?

The McTells: I’ve only been there once, so your binoculars might need cleaning. We have been there every year though... in spirit. 
Check the ‘So Tough, So Cute’ and ‘Kill Your Pet Puppy blogs’ (plus ‘A Fog of Ideas’) for more on The McTells/Bi-Joopiter.
The McTells reissued first two cassettes are available from Captured Tracks.

Photos from Sir Mark Flunder’s 50th Birthday celebrations by Mr Michael Baxter, from Kill Your Pet Puppy blog.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Meet our Saturday workshop organisers!

(Bunting workshop. Photo: Fabric Nation

Okay, before we kick off, and entirely unrelated to workshops, we've had a couple of stage and steward volunteers drop out and are looking for a couple more. So if you'd like free entry and free camping in return for a few shifts, please read the following: Indietracks volunteers 2013.

Okay, now, we’ve met a lot of the bands on the blog already, and today we’re giving Saturday’s art and craft workshop organisers chance to introduce themselves. Over to you guys...

Saturday 2pm: Rock and Roll Sock Puppets!
Organisers: Bex and George
Cost: £3.50

“What could be more Indietracks than making your very own Rock and Roll SOCK PUPPET!? Channel the punk spirit of Helen Love or the joyful duo of The Lovely Eggs, get creative and let your inner indie kid run free with this fun, hands on workshop. A little rock and roll sock puppet to keep, by your side to dance the festival away!"

“ Bex is a drama and arts facilitator in London who works with children and young people doing cool creative education stuff. She loves Indietracks, 70's clothes, Morrissey, green eye shadow, cats, drawing, making collages and dancing. She does not like parsnips. George teaches art and runs workshops with kids and adults with learning disabilities. She likes: wool, making things, jumble sales, eating cheese, going to the park and being geeky about local history. She does not like rice pudding.

“We’re Indietracks regulars and this will be our third time running a workshop here together! And Bex's fourth running arts workshops! We’re looking forward to the incredible line up this year!, Helen Love, Lovely Eggs, Bis, The Wave Pictures, Milky Wimpshake and MORE! And of course making awesome rock and rock sock puppets with you!"

Saturday 3pm: Nosing with Norris
Organisers: Gareth and Jeanie
Cost: Free

“Nosey Norris Cole and his mad muse Mary have taken a day off from the Kabin and hopped in the camper van to visit the Midland Railway Museum. The Weatherfield Gazette made no mention of Indietracks, so they have found themselves lost in a sea of muddy revellers, and are less than happy! With his withering looks and pithy put downs, Norris spends the day making clear exactly what he thinks of the festival goers, much to the amusement of his lovelorn companion.”

“We've hidden 20 Norris faces and putdowns around the Indietracks site. Your mission is to spot as many as you can! Let us know where you saw Norris and what he said, for a chance to win fabulous prizes!”

“We’re artists and filmmakers who have done a number of workshops in the past, both at Indietracks and elsewhere. We love Indietracks, and look forward to discovering a new favourite band each year! Jeanie had a celebrity moment at last year's festival when she discovered that Just Joan's David had a sticker of her record store documentary 'SOUND IT OUT' on his wallet!”

Saturday 4pm: Bags of Fun! 

Organisers: Helen and Mij (with help from Kate, Ellie and Rhona – our daughters!)
Cost: £3

“The workshop is a chance to create your own canvas bag – choose a fab design based on your fave band, logo, flower – whatever floats your boat! We’ll supply the bags, fabric pens and sticky bits – you bring the imagination!  Suitable for indie kids of all ages.”

“We’re keen amateurs – crafty genes just seem to kick in when you’ve got kids, and having made countless bags with them before, and seen the array of fab designs being carried around at the last couple of Indietracks, we thought we’d give people a chance to get creative and bag some designs which are just about them!”

 “We’re both working mums, who met at University, and use Indietracks as a chance to get together with our families and have generally, just have the best of times. This will be our fourth year here and it is something the whole family looks forward to – it’s such a great festival, really well run, with an inspired choice of bands - and the sun always shines on Friday nights as we walk down to get our first taste of the festival. Always. It’s the law. Even last year when we drove through floods to get there.”

“Our fave Indietracks memories include bumping into Emma from Standard Fare in the merch tent last year and asking if we could get a photo with her – she insisted on getting the rest of the band too and posing with our kids –who were all wearing Standard Fare t-shirts.  Gopal’s Curry Shack is always a highlight too, as is taking in a band in the church. Once seen, never forgotten! Gin and tonics outside our tents, having spent a full and fabulous day at the festival, are a given. This year, particularly looking forward to the Pastels and The Lovely Eggs, but one of the wonderful things about the festival is we always come away loving at least 10 new bands we’d never heard before. Have so many great memories of bands we’ve seen it would be cruel to pick just a few.”

Saturday 5pm: Three Cheers for Indietracks

Organisers: Seleena and Holly
Cost: Free

“Come and learn to cheer! we will show you some awesome moves, get you to rhyme and shout and shake your booty and pom poms. You don't need any previous cheerleading skills, just enthusiasm! Working together we will create a cheer for Indietracks with some hot moves to go along. Scream and shout, let it all out!”

“The Radical Cheerleaders of the North formed way back in 2002. Inspired heavily by the radical Cheerleading movement in the US, we were the first ones to appear in the UK. Wanting to hit the stage but having no musical talent, we grabbed some pom poms and began to cheer! We opened Ladyfests, supported some of our favourite bands, got cheered ourselves (and also got booed off stage) But above all we had fun. Now we're back and we want others to cheer too!”

"One half of us has been to Indietracks before, and the thrill of eating snacks on the mini train never goes away! We’re looking forward to pretending it's 9t6 watching Bis, trains, eating, cheering HELEN LOVE!"

Sounds ace! We'll introduce you all to our Sunday workshop organisers in the next week... 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Indietracks interview #23: EXPENSIVE

Interview by John Stanley 

EXPENSIVE play loud electronic dream pop. They formed in June 2012 and include members of Arctic Circle, Child Mole and The Middle Ones. Inspirations include riot grrl, bangra, r'n'b and happy hardcore. They plan to release their first album in 2013. John Stanley asked them a few questions ahead of their Indietracks appearance.

What have you got in your pockets?
Matthew: Holes
Pete: Dust
Grace: No pockets today, but they usually have bits of old tissue because I have hayfever/classy lady.

There's a rumour there's going to be a hot tub at Indietracks this year? Are you getting in?
Grace: Nope.
Matthew: no we'll be swimming in whatever's the closest river.
Pete: Yeah I think we'll get in. Probably a good idea to get in the tub. Get my gross nude body in a steaming hot Indie Tub And Slime Around A Bit

Mumford & Sons offer you £2000 to support them. You have to have your picture taken with them too. Will you do it?
Grace: I would love to refuse them. Shame they'll never know who we are.
Pete: 2000 quid is shitloads so yeah?
Matthew: Yes, we could use the money, they probably look ok

Do nuns have hair?
Matthew: yes
Pete: We all live in an impermeable bubble of solipsism and connection between sentient beings is impossible
Grace: If a nun takes off her wimple in the middle of the forest and no one is around to see does she still have hair or something funny I don't know, what.

What's your personal best in the javelin?
Grace: Stop this now.
Pete: Cant remember but probably a pretty hefty distance due to Arm Muscles
Matthew: No inclination so far

What shape would you shave a poodle into?
Grace: A mermaid
Pete: St George's flag
Matthew: I'm against exploiting animals for art or entertainment

The Aztecs invented the camera. True or False?
Grace: Hey that sounds nice, yes.
Pete: True, also invented schadenfreude
Matthew: False, but then again Aztec West* is the 'A to Z of technology' so they say?

What's your favourite track off (Michael Jackson's) Thriller?
Matthew: Eat It
Pete: My Humps?
Grace: Never heard the album. So Thriller then?

Tell us a knock knock joke.
Matthew: knock knock, what do you call a fish with no eyes? fsh
Pete: nok nok, kiss my arm pits
Grace: http://youtu.be/3F_pUiRdQ8Q / badkidsjokes.tumblr.com

Is there anything else you would like to say?
Matthew: no thats ok thanks
Pete: I have never met, associated with or contacted (in person, electronically, by phone, or mail) Edward Snowden or any members of his family or friends. Indeed I had not heard of him until recent reports in the international press. I love America and do not have any evil intent towards its citizens.
Grace: We're excited to play for all you babes!

*a weird suburb/business district of Bristol, where the band live

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Indietracks interview #22: Tunabunny

Interview by John Stanley. 

Sitting on a carpet covered in paint and the sprawled out works of Julio Cortazar, Tunabunny has fallen down the rabbit hole and is begging you to follow, even as they doubt your own existence. Pop/rock music in the 21st century is a played-out corpse picked over by overprivileged boys and girls hoping to manufacture a personality for themselves out of something that other people think is cool. That is why Tunabunny thinks of pop/rock as something that should be destroyed, or at the very least subverted, but would probably be better for everyone involved if it simply ceased to exist. The members of Tunabunny are interested in revolution, which, contrary to popular thought, ceased to exist in the pop/rock world a long time ago, even as a latent impulse. As such, Tunabunny wonders just what it is doing here, and what exactly it hopes to accomplish.

Saw you guys play with Shrag in London and you did an extended free jazz bit at the end. Can we expect the same this time around?
We won't be playing with Shrag this time around. They've broken up.

There's a rumour there's going to be a hot tub at Indietracks this year? Are you getting in?
Depends on the weather.

What have you got in your pockets?
Trojans. Some of them used.

Do nuns have hair?
Never met one, but I can't see the point of shaving your legs everyday if nobody's going to see it under all those robes.

What's your personal best in the javelin?
Eight confirmed kills.

What shape would you shave a poodle into?
A hairless poodle covered in cuts & blood.

The Aztecs invented the camera. True or False?
False. Also, the Orange did not invent the juice and the Prefab did not invent the sprout.

If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?
You're going to have to work a bit harder than that, I'm afraid.

Tell us a knock knock joke. 
Knock Knock
Who's there?
9/11 who?
You said you'd never forget.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
See you Saturday, Indietracks.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Indietracks interview #21: The Ballet

Interview by Claire Walker

Unashamedly “sissy” and explicitly queer, The Ballet marry the DIY queer ethos of the Hidden Cameras with the wry poeticism of The Magnetic Fields to create literate, infectious pop gems. As well as taking inspiration from Stephin Merritt’s body of work, songwriter Greg Goldberg draws from an array of pop artists and periods, from 60’s bubblegum to 80’s synthpop and 90’s indiepop, fusing these in sophisticated and novel ways which rewards repeat listening.

Formed in 2005 by Greg Goldberg and Craig Willse (who are both professors and met whilst at graduate school) with Marina Miranda (who they met at a party), The Ballet are still going strong after eight years of pop magic, retaining their original line-up. The band previously self-released two albums (Mattachine! (2006) and Bear Life! (2009)), before the release of I Blame Society (2013) on Fortuna POP!

For those who of not heard of The Ballet could you please introduce your roles within the band and your musical style?

There are currently three of us in the Ballet: Craig, Marina, and I -- the three founding members of the band. I write, arrange, and record all of the songs solo. Our first album Mattachine! was arranged and recorded in a way that more-or-less reflected our live set-up at the time -- i.e. with very few extraneous instruments or layers. In recording our subsequent two albums (Bear Life and the new album I Blame Society) I wanted a little more freedom to experiment sonically, so the live show has diverged from the recorded albums -- the songs need to be translated from layered recorded versions to our currently minimal live set-up. For the live show, I provide provisional arrangements to Craig and Marina and we try them out together and tweak them until they work. Craig plays keyboards, I sing and play guitar, and Marina plays bass, though she and I switch guitar duties occasionally. We're currently using a vintage drum machine as well. I would describe our style as relatively mellow and melody-driven, with a general bubblegum-ness that draws from melodic pop from the 50's onward. I often use a pretty limited compositional palette -- three or four chords for most songs -- with "interest" in the intersection of melody, production, and lyrics. In terms of production, I tend towards a layered, textured, saturated sound, though I feel the appeal of minimalism as well.

Music is a kind of culinary pleasure, and I enjoy songs that sound cohesive and reveal their layers over time. The first La Casa Azul EP is like that for me. In terms of lyrics, I favour a relatively straight forward approach, sometimes narrating an experience from the perspective of a character, sometimes working outside narrative to capture a feeling or affect. I like lyrics that are intelligible but supple enough to accommodate multiple interpretations. I don't write autobiographically, but the songs generally address queer themes and experiences, since that it what is both familiar and interesting to me.

What are your influences, both musically and non musically?

Stephin Merritt is a big influence, particularly the albums Wasps' Nests, Holiday, and Get Lost. There are plenty of bands I've loved -- They Might Be Giants, Stereolab, La Casa Azul, lots of the usual indie suspects -- but I tend to go more by song than by band. I'm a somewhat lazy and unfaithful listener, generally useless for band/genre history and trivia. I'm basically a hedonist who will take pop pleasures wherever I find them.

How do you feel coming to the UK and what are your plans whilst you are here?

We played in London and Glasgow in early 2009. We had an amazing time and are very excited to be returning, and especially excited for Indietracks. We really have no idea what to expect, and are pretty open to whatever the experience brings, including awkward conversation, drunken dancing, and general mischief. While I take music-making very seriously, we're a band without professional aspirations (and with other professional commitments), which I think makes it easier to enjoy the vicissitudes of touring. We'll be playing in Glasgow, Nottingham, London and some other shows as well while we're there.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Indietracks interview #20: When Nalda Became Punk

Interview by Mark Rose. 

When Nalda Became Punk started as the solo project of Elena Sestelo (Vigo, Spain). In 2006 she gathered some songs, and released “Tiny noises make tiny music” her first demo, though at the time the name of the project was just Nalda. After a long break, she came back to recording songs during summer of 2010 when she finished her second demo “Time to meet your family” which was her first release using the name of When Nalda became punk.

Later on, in 2011 Roberto Cibeira joined the band and the actual formation of When Nalda Became Punk began the recording of their first 7” single for Pebble Records released on August. During 2012 the band played several shows, including Madrid Popfest and recorded their debut album, “A farewell to youth”. As the previous single, it was produced and recorded by Eva Guilala and Ivan Juniper from the Spanish band Linda Guilala at their Kaiju Studios (Vigo, Spain) and was mixed and produced by Ian Catt (producer of Saint Etienne, the Field Mice, the School, Nosoträsh, the Proctors, etc). The album was released by Shelflife Records at the beginning of 2013. Mark caught up with Elena for this Indietracks interview...

If anyone going to Indietracks 2013 hasn't had chance to check you out yet, how would you describe your music?  It's not 'Punk' in a Sex Pistols sense is it?
I think the best way to describe our songs will be as indie pop lo fi, full of guitars, synths and drum machines. It's definitely not punk as in the Sex Pistols sense. I guess is more punk in a DIY sense, more like a Helen Love punk.

What track from your new album 'A Farewell to Youth' would you suggest people check out first? My favourite is 'Summer, You and Me'.
I agree with you, I think that song is perfect for showing the concept of the band, in fact that's the one we chose for being include in the Indietracks compilation. But I won't say that's my favourite, because my mind keeps changing about which song I like most...

Indietracks is a festival with a really great atmosphere.  How does playing festivals compare to club shows?
Club shows are alright, mainly for small bands like us, but we really love to play in festivals such as Indietracks or any Popfest because of the incredible atmosphere people create, they get truly involved into your music. It's quite emotional to play in front of such a friendly audience and get in touch with other bands or people, from a lot of different places that come together, from time to time, just to enjoy the same music as us. Also, Indietracks will a very special show for us, as it will be our first show with four people on stage! As our friends Antonio and Bruno, will be joining us there, playing keyboards and bass guitar respectively.

Who are you hoping to watch at Indietracks?
Lots of bands! I got stressed looking at the schedule, we are very excited about watching Helen Love, which is one of our favourite bands from all time. But there are a lot more that we want to watch such as Alpaca Sports, The Pastels, Big Wave, Martha, Finnmark!, Fear of Men, Brilliant Corners and a really long etc.

Will you be riding the train at all?
Of course! It's our first time at the festival and we will be enjoying it the three days, we want to participate in it as much as we can. We are looking forward to the shows, but also to the workshops, the DJs and everything that takes place at the festival.

Finally, Spain is sunny - England isn't, so will you cope if Indietracks gets a little wet & muddy?  I have a spare umbrella if you need one!
Well, we are from Galicia, at the north of Spain, and the weather there is similar to the English one, so we are used to the rain. Of course we prefer that there will be no rain but we won't really care if it gets a little colder or wet. Thanks for your umbrella anyway, we'll travel on a low cost so we won't be able to carry ours! Will be it big enough to cover all of us?