Friday, 26 June 2009

Workshop Wigwam!

We're excited to announce that this year at Indietracks we will be having a new tent, the 'Workshop Wigwam'.

The tent will host various workshops and events, so as well as watching some tip-top bands over the weekend, you can write a song with The Smittens’ Colin Clary, get crafty with the Craft Guerrillas and The Bunty Collective, find out about making your own clothes with Eithne Farry, and win some serious prizes in the poptastic pop quiz! We are particularly excited about having our favourite jewellers Tatty Devine involved because in addition to running a workshop they have also designed special limited edition Indietracks jewellery for us!

This is what we have planned for the weekend…

- Bunting Making Party - The Bunty Collective
- The Only Way to Write a Song (and at least 10 other ways to do it) – Colin Clary of The Smittens
- Make Your Own Souvenir Jewellery - Tatty Devine
- Hey Ho Lets Sew - Eithne Farry
How not to run a record label – Sean Fortuna POP!

- Pop quiz - with quizmaster Bob Brown
- DIY fanzines! - Twee as F*ck
- 'Crafternoon' - a DIY Craft Event with hosts Craft Guerilla
- Buttons for Eyes - Faye Cooke and Leonna O'Neill

We've asked our workshop organisers a few questions so you festival goers can find out a lil bit more about them and we'll be posting these interviews on the blog over the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled! More details about the workshops and the people who are running them will also appear on the website in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Indietracks interview #15: Wake The President

Wake The President singer Erik Sandberg’s lyrics are inspired by the characters of Glasgow; to him the old men propping up bars or wandering the streets are the lifeblood of the city. The songs he sings, melancholic reminiscences of blonde girls from the past, tales of the deceit and debauchery of the West End, resonate with the slurred poetry of these men, philosophising over whisky water at the Ben Nevis. Bjorn, his quieter twin, provides the parchment upon which Erik's commentary is scrawled, his guitar-playing channelling the clang of C86, the fury of Josef K and the jangle of Johnny Marr. Wake the President have some high-profile supporters, including BBC Radio 2 DJs Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe. Both of the bands 2008 singles, ‘Remember Fun?’ and ‘You Can’t Change That Boy’, were voted single of the week on their show and soon after, they invited the band in for an on-air session. In-between all this, Wake the President have spent time on the dole, sold fruit (and chimpanzee meat, if you asked nicely enough) on Dalston market and whiled away many hours being bed-sit pop dreamers. The band’s debut album ‘You Can’t Change That Boy’ was released in March 2009.

Hi Erik, tell us a little bit about the band
We're all football fans, half of the band are Celtic fans and the other (good half) support Rangers.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
I'm currently involved in a musical called 'A Time and a Place', It's a comedy about a Glasgow band who strike it rich in Spain. It's the most inspiring piece I've had the pleasure of conducting.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
I played at a Municipal building in Glasgow recently, James Kirk even came along... It was our album launch, I was sober for a change.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Putting the album out in the States and going there to perform. There's a label in Portland called Magic Marker who we managed to con into taking us on. We've also got some deals in Japan, the Philippines and Australia.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?I'm good at playing with my hair. My general interests are time-wasting and avoiding 'the world of work' at any cost. I've not paid a gas or electricity bill in about 6 years, mainly due to the fact that I've been living in Glasgow gangsters' flats in the west-end.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Tim Buckley, Scott Walker, Felt, The Champagne Socialists, Peter Parker, Prefab Sprout, Apres Ski, Spiritualized, Je Suis Animal, The Sexual Objects, The Carrots, Depeche Mode.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
Not to get drunk.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
I enjoy bumping into Sean Pop! for a gin or two, and Stuart is just the champion. I think I'll pinch his bum when I see him this year. Sean - are you going to buy me a gin? It has to be Hendricks Gin, though. With a slice of cucumber.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
The Carrots, but I hear they're not playing any more. Zoey van Goey were my highlight last year, and Je Suis Animal – f**k me, they're the dog’s b*llocks.

Thanks Erik – see you there!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Indietracks interview #14: Mighty Mighty

Mighty Mighty were formed in the early 80s by Mick Geoghegan and Hugh Harkin out of their shared love of soul music, Postcard Records, The Velvet Underground and Socialist Worker Party politics. By 1985 the band had settled with the line-up of Mick (guitar and lyrics), Hugh (vocals), Russell Burton (bass and backing vocals), David “H” Hennessy (drums) and Pete Geoghegan (Vox organ and guitar).The band recorded their first single (‘Everybody Knows The Monkey’/’You’re On My Mind’) for the princely sum of £40 and released it in 1986 on their own Girlie Records. This was followed by ‘Is There Anyone Out There’ (4 track 12”). Around the same time, they also featured on the NME's C86 compilation tape.

The band then signed to Chapter 22 Records, releasing a string of well-received singles and the album Sharks in 1988. Continuing interest in the band saw the reissue of Sharks in 2000, the release of a compilation of BBC session tracks in 2001, and two compilations of singles and unreleased tracks in 2000 and 2001.Today we’re joined by Russell and Mick from the band.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves
Russell: Older (clearly), but just as groovy if not groovier.
Mick: I'd much rather stay aloof and mysterious.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Russell: I keep coming back to Laura Nyro (New York Tendaberry) which I recently 'discovered', but best recent pop single I thought was 'The Promise' by Girls Aloud.
Mick: I'm listening to a lot of American songwriters, mainly country/folk - Jolie Holland, Handsome Family, Lucinda Williams, Ryan Adams, Joanna Newsom, Joan As Policewoman, Bonnie Prince Billy. Also love the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs. There isn't much new British music that I'm into. The likes of Bat For Lashes and Laura Marlow seem like second rate versions of the 'real thing' from the States. I'm looking forward to the second Victorian English Gentlemen's Club album and anything from Radiohead and the Arctic Monkeys.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
Russell: I suppose The Thekla in Bristol in 1985 (our first 'out-of-town' gig) was unusual - on a boat - but maybe on a lorry by the perimeter fence at Aldermaston at a CND rally beats that.

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
Russell: To play Indietracks of course!
Mick: Me too (really, really genuinely!) I'm going to New York on Friday! My first time to the States. For my daughter's 16th birthday last week I did her a compilation of songs about NY and/or by New Yorkers:

Yeah New York - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald
Native New Yorker - Odyssey
The Boy From New York City - The Ad Libs
Walk On The Wildside - Lou Reed
Dance Like A Monkey - New York Dolls
Rockaway Beach - The Ramones
Up On The Roof - Carole King
Harlem Shuffle - Bob And Marcia
In The Flesh - Blondie
Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful
Baby, I Love You - The Ronettes
Run Run Run - The Velvet Underground
Bring The Noise - Public Enemy
Last Night - The Strokes
Theme From New York, New York - Frank Sinatra

And we're going to the Notting Hill Carnival in August.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Russell: Hugh is Grade 8 on the Haitian Nose Flute.
Mick: Russell is Mr Memory - that's why he was tasked with the biog on our MySpace.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Russell: I've just done a 'mixtape' CD which I’ll still be listening to in July as follows:
Yvonne Elliman, Vicky Leandros, Todd Rundgren, Anne-Marie David, Jamiroqui, Shed Seven, Sterephonics, Julian Cope, David Bowie, Human League, Clifford T Ward, Don MacLean, Ronan Keating, Spice Girls, Elvis Presley, Glenn Tilbrook, Go-Betweens.
Mick: I'm pretty much alone in my household with my love of country and dub reggae, so it will be a compromise. We all like the Clash, 70s/80s disco and soul, the Smiths (my son insists they ripped us off), Echo and the Bunnymen, Dizzie Rascal.

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
Mick: We start rehearsing this week so who knows what we might come up with. I don't suppose it will be much of a surprise that we are balder and fatter than we used to be.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
Russell: It's something that our children can come and see (that's if they want to come) and if they don't like the music they can look at the trains!
Mick: My kids have never seen us play, so this is ideal for them.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
Mick: I'm just looking forward to seeing new bands and hopefully finding my next favourite band.

Thanks Russell and Mick – look forward to seeing you at the festival!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Indietracks interview #13: Cola Jet Set

Formed in 2001 from the ashes of the cult Spanish combo Los Fresones Rebeldes, Cola Jet Set is an endearing band from Barcelona, driven by a bubblegum vs mod vs surf pop sound, mainly supported by sun-filled hispano-female voices. Their second album, ‘Guitarras y tambores’ shows more than ever their profound love of pop music in all its forms and incarnations: it's an album of guitars and tambourines, and is definitively how they themselves would define classic pop - direct and effective.

Tell us a little bit about yourselves
We are insignificant individuals which unite as crusaders for love and classic pop in our spare time.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
Fitness Forever, Cooper, Camera Obscura, La Casa Azul, The School, Tender Trap… You can tell we are so happy to play at Indietracks. We had a myspace look on all the artists playing and it’s like fishing in a fishbowl. I swear we mean it, we don’t say this to flatter anyone, Indietracks is a distillation of what we like. Besides, we regret The Timebox and Simon Dupree don’t exist anymore so they can’t play with us there, but you can’t have it all, can you?

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
A cavern in Tarragona which opened as a bar for Roman soldiers some 2000 years ago, really! And The Cavern in Liverpool, the closest we’ve been to The Beatles, and we try!

Do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year?
We are playing a week after Indietracks in London with Squire, Paul Bevoir and Invisible Lead Soup. I can’t think of a more exciting week this year so far.

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Some are breeding children, some are breeding dogs. There’s a music teacher, a lazy civil servant, a window dresser, a stage machinist and a money inspector. We get on together quite well, and that’s no mean feat.

What's going to be on your compilation tapes as you travel down to Indietracks?
Fitness Forever, some Northern Soul, Joe Bataan, Shangri Las...

Do you have any surprises planned for the Indietracks festival?
If our Cristina appears in time that would be a fair surprise.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
Your kind request, the artists playing there, and a need for country holidays where we are not recognised and stopped every minute.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing at the Indietracks festival, and why?
We’ll arrive on Saturday evening so anybody we can see playing then and on Sunday will be great. If we say Tender Trap, they’ll probably play before we arrive so we’d better not name anybody.

Thanks! And the band have kindly left a free MP3 for you to download: El sueƱo de mi vida

Monday, 15 June 2009

Indietracks interview #12: The Manhattan Love Suicides

The MLS are the perfect band for anyone who loves fuzzed up guitar assaults, feedback, hit and run 10 minute gigs, female vocals, melodic pop, and ear-splitting minimalist noise… The band formed in 2006 in Leeds and have several releases under their belts, including the 27 (twenty-seven!) track CD album ‘Burnt Out Landscapes’, which was released on Squirrel Records and Magic Marker Records in 2008. The band will be playing a special acoustic set on one of the trains at this year’s festival.

Today we’re joined by Darren from the MLS for a few questions:

Hi Darren, what music are you enjoying at the moment?

There's quite a few good bands out there right now. Usually, I listen to a lot of old stuff but recently I've found myself enjoying Crystal Stilts a lot. Adam and Rachel are really loving the bands Ponytail and Women right now. Not sure about Caroline, she listens to Leonard Cohen quite often.

Where have you played an unusual gig recently?
Not really an unusual place as such, but we just got back from SXSW where we played in the yard of a small art gallery in the middle of a residential neighbourhood. There was free beer from a keg and a dog walking around the stage while we were playing. Some guy rode past the place on his bike and then just came in and started dancing with everyone.

What's going to be on your mixtapes on your journey down to Indietracks?
All the usual. Jesus And Mary Chain, Shangri Las, Guided By Voices, Black Tambourine, some Flying Nun stuff like The Verlaines and The Clean, early Flaming Lips, Modern Lovers, Buzzcocks. And it'll be the same kind of thing all the way back home too.

Do you have any surprises lined up for the festival?
The fact we're playing an acoustic set on the train is enough of a surprise I think. Don't get the wrong idea though about us....we don't plan on switching off the fuzz pedals anytime soon.

Thanks Darren!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Arrange a liftshare to and from Indietracks!

Well, it's just over a month to go til the festival (eek!) and some of you are probably starting to think about how to get there and back. While Indietracks is well connected for public transport, with both Derby and Nottingham train stations close by and lots of buses (see the transport page on the website for details), there is another option!

For those of you who would rather travel on the open road, why not arrange a liftshare instead? Not only will you travel in style (er, probably), it's also more environmentally friendly to share, cheaper, and you could even make some new friends!

To help you with this, we now have our very own page set up over at Freewheelers, the website which makes it easy to see who from your area is driving to and from the festival. It's easy to use - just head over to the Indietracks page and enter your details, whether you are looking for passengers to fill your car, or just looking for a ride.

Happy travels!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Indietracks interview #11: BMX Bandits

Wow, what a week it's been! First, we were able to share with you the great news that Teenage Fanclub will be headlining the Sunday night on the outdoor (Elefant) stage at the festival. Then, last night BBC Radio 1's Huw Stephens played a few tracks from this year's Indietracks compilation on his show. The compilation is available now from Make Do And Mend Records, which was Huw's DIY label of the week this week!

And, if that's not enough, today we are joined for an interview by Duglas T. Stewart from Glaswegian 60s-influenced guitar pop legends BMX Bandits! The band have been making music from 1986 to the present day, and have shared members with other Bellshill bands, including Teenage Fanclub and The Soup Dragons. The band were formed by Duglas (songwriter and lead singer) out of the ashes of The Pretty Flowers, a group in which he played alongside Frances McKee (later of The Vaselines), Sean Dickson and Norman Blake. The group have had many line up changes throughout the years. Their songs mix melodic qualities and humour with, at times, raw and heartbreaking pathos. Stewart has written many of the group’s works solo including “Your Class”, “The Sailor’s Song” and “Doorways” but also has collaborated with many of the other members.

The group’s most celebrated song is perhaps the autobiographical “Serious Drugs”, recorded in 1991 but not released until 1993. The song featured in the movie This Year’s Love and was covered by American stadium power pop group Gigolo Aunts. Oasis did their first UK tour dates supporting the Bandits as a favour from Stewart to Creation label boss Alan McGee. BMX Bandits admirers include Kurt Cobain who was photographed wearing a BMX Bandits T shirt. Cobain claimed on a New York radio show that if he could be in any other band it would be BMX Bandits.

The band released their 15th album 'Bee Stings' in 2007, and will release a retrospective compilation later this year.

Hi Duglas, you're releasing a compilation this year with some new and old songs. Why did you feel now is the right time for a retrospective?
Well a few years ago there was a retrospective album of "the best of" the stuff we did while on Creation records but that is only 4 years out of 24 years of BMX Bandits history so I wanted to release something that covered the times before then and after. A lot of those early tracks are no longer available and it seems that there are some people who haven't got those recordings who want them. I wanted to put some other things on there that I love that we've done but weren't part of an album. The compilation is called The Rise and Fall of Bmx Bandits because it's the tracks that lead us from obscurity to being on Creation and Sony, but also the tracks after we left Creation and went back into obscurity. I think we're very lucky to be back in the fringes where we can do what we want to do, what we believe in and not having the pressure of a label asking "where are the hits?".

Tell us about the current line-up of BMX Bandits.
BMX Bandits has always been more like an extended family of musical family rather than the conventional of these four or five people are the group. There are people who play with the group regularly but it's not always exactly the same people doing the same thing. I like that, it keeps shows feeling fresh. A few years ago Rachel became the first lady Bandit and it also meant I don't feel so lonely now out on the front of the stage. I have a friend there with me.

What music are you enjoying at the moment?
A lot of my favourite current music comes from Japan. I particularly love Tenniscoats, Nikaidoh Kazumi and a group called Eddie Marcon. I also listen to lots Brazilian, Italian and French pop from the late 60s and early 70s. I'm a big fan of a lot of songs originally written for children, stuff from early Disney things, Schoolhouse Rock educational songs, the Muppets and Sesame Street.
I love Cineplexx from Spain and a singer from Korea called YeonGene. I'm very happy because I've been lucky enough to work with some of these people.

What's the most unusual place you've played a gig in the past?
In 1995 we played in Barlinie Prison in Glasgow to some of the prisoners. The week before that we played in a Cathedral with the cathedral choir and organist and the week after we played to a conference of Japanese business men in Glasgow. Those three concerts were pretty surreal. The cathedral one was brilliant, the other two were less brilliant but still fun.

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
We learned about it from Luis at Elefant Records and the type of location and bands playing seemed to be very appropriate to us. I don't like these big corporate festivals where it seems at least 75% of the people don't care about music and are just there to say they were there and to get wasted.

Do you have any surprises planned for the festival?
Yes, but they wouldn't be surprises if I told you now.

Thanks Duglas! And here's an MP3 he's kindly made available for you to download: Do You Really Love Me

Monday, 8 June 2009

Teenage Fanclub announced as Sunday headliner!

Scottish power-popsters Teenage Fanclub have been confirmed as the Sunday headline band for this year’s Indietracks Festival. The much-loved band, known for their chiming Byrds-esque guitars and West Coast harmony vocals, will play the Outdoor (Elefant) Stage at Indietracks.

More than 50 bands are playing this year’s Indietracks Festival, including Camera Obscura, Rose Elinor Dougall, Emmy the Great and Au Revoir Simone. Other bands playing include BMX Bandits, Lucky Soul, Frank and Walters, Help Stamp Out Loneliness, Butcher Boy and Manhattan Love Suicides.

Teenage Fanclub, hailing from Belshill near Glasgow, formed in 1989. They are most renowned for their critically and commercially successful albums Bandwagonesque, Songs from Northern Britain and Grand Prix, and are currently working on their ninth studio album.

This year, Indietracks is teaming up with legendary Elefant Records as part of the indiepop label’s 20th anniversary celebrations. The Madrid-based label, which was launched by Luis Calvo in 1989, has picked a number of bands to play on a special Elefant stage over the course of the weekend.

This is the third ever Indietracks festival, which is being held at the Midland Railway in Ripley, in the heart of the Derbyshire countryside. The site houses a whole range of lovingly restored steam diesels and locomotives. Festival goers are allowed to have unlimited rides on the steam railway over the weekend and full access to other railway attractions including a farm and museum.

Weekend tickets cost £55, day tickets cost £30 and both are available to buy from Ticketweb or by calling the railway direct on 01773 747 674.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Pictures of Indietracks

Last week we had a fairly specific press request for photos of the festival, and it sent us scurrying off to Flickr to see what was around on the internet. There's now over three and a half thousand Indietracks photos on Flickr, so there were stacks to choose from. We really enjoyed wading through them and thought we'd just post up a random few for you today.

In other news, we're planning to announce a Sunday night Indietracks headliner this coming Monday, and we're very, very excited about it. Please pop back on Monday to find out!

( Station platform. Photo: _light_o_)

(A steam train! Photo: acb)

(The Church Stage. Photo: Jonny Tansey)

(Last year's outdoor stage: Photo: Bob Stuart (Underexposed)

(A llama on the farm. Photo: Alice Hubley)
(The indoor stage. Photo: Trev McCabe)

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Indietracks interview #10: The Lovely Eggs

This week brings the publication of the final issue of the Plan B magazine. They’ve been fantastically supportive of our festival over the last couple of years, and really understood what we we’re trying to do, so we’re very sorry to see them go and wish everyone there all the best. The final issue even includes an Indietracks-related interview with our Saturday headliners Camera Obscura on the festival previews page!

And, coincidentally, the last issue of Plan B also carries an album review of today’s blog interviewees, The Lovely Eggs! David and Holly played their first ever gig in New York City about two years ago and since then have played across the UK, USA and Europe, including on the steam train at Indietracks in 2007. Their song "I Like Birds but I Like Other Animals Too" received airplay on some top BBC radio shows, including Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq, Rob Da Bank and Marc Riley (who invited them down to record a live session).

Holly used to be in the all-girl indiepop band Angelica, who received massive acclaim for songs like "Teenage Girl Crush,", and who once recorded a session for John Peel. The Lovely Eggs’ debut CD album, If You Were Fruit, was released on Cherryade Records this week!

Hi, tell us a little bit about The Lovely Eggs
The Lovely Eggs are David and Holly. We started playing music together in Paris when we discovered a pigeon had laid two lovely eggs in an abandoned nest on Holly’s windowsill. When the eggs finally hatched, we travelled to live above a jewellery shop in Lancaster in the North West of England, where we formed The Lovely Eggs! We played our first ever gig in New York in 2006. David travels around with a unique drumcycle with handlebars on the front so he can drum and bike at the same time. He also plays the bicycle bell and squeaky horn and things like the glockenspiel, ukelele and slightly wonky recorders. Holly sings and plays the guitar. And sometimes she hits a drum with a wooden stick with wool tied around the end. David made it for her because he likes making things.Last year we released 2 vinyl EPs (one split called 'I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too' on Filthy Little Angels and one called 'Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs?' on Cherryade Records.) We played quite a few gigs and drunk too much cider and then recovered and wrote and recorded a new album called 'If You Were Fruit' which came out on Cherryade Records at the start of June, where we will get back on the wheel all over again and go on tour and drink too much cider and torture our brains and make our ribs ache with laughing! Incidentally, we are both addicted in an unhealthy way to Garstang Blue cheese.

Tell us about an unusual place you've played a gig in the past
The most unusual place we have ever played is in a scrap yard in Los Angeles. We got asked to play this gig at a place called the Death Shack. Naturally we said yes, yes yes! To cut a long story short, when we arrived at the place it was like this big party in a scrap yard! There was junk all over the place like Steptoe's yard and we had to stop ourselves shouting 'ragbone!' all the time. They had a barbeque and there was shrimp tacos and it was dark like in a David Lynch film and then David went missing for like nearly and hour and I (Holly) was having kittens about where he was. I was having a cold sweat and having visions of him being murdered by those American serial killers of theirs who so often frequent american scrap yards called The Death Shack! But eventually I found him in a man's gem rock museum which was hidden away from the scrapyard in disguise! The man gave David a volcano bubble which he smashed and there was all these sparkly crystals inside and we had a yatter about dinosaurs and things of yore. Yes that gig was quite unusual that one was!

Do any band members have any particular skills, hobbies or claims to fame you wish to share?
Well David once went out with a girl who used to be in the St Winifred’s School Choir who did Grandma We Love You! and Holly can make her tongue go in the shape of a shamrock for good luck!

What attracted you to play the Indietracks festival?
Well we played the very first Indietracks fest. We think it was one of our first gigs when we were just hatching. We remember seeing it advertised and really, really liking the cut of its jib and wanting to play so we emailed Stuart and asked to play at short notice and the man from Del Monte said yes! And we ended up playing a little set on one of the steam trains. It was ace. We saw so many good bands playing there and the ambience was fan dabby dosey! We love drinking Strongbow on trains so it suited us down to the ground. We camped it up on the campsite down the road and met some lovely people, including a fab couple called Helen and Steve who we bonded with over a love of the Mike Leigh film Nuts in May. In fact Helen makes all our stuff for The Lovely Eggs Post Office. Last year we were away in America when the festival was happening but we made sure we were around for it this year. We suppose we just love the smallness of it and the music of course and the trains and its obscureness. We wouldn't miss it for two dozen corn on the cobs with red sauce on top!

Thanks very much - see you at the festival!