Thursday, 25 July 2013

The First International Synth Gurning Competition

We all know about 'Air Guitar' and 'Beatboxing', but, what about 'Synth Gurning'?

Synth Gurning is defined as the art of producing synth sounds or effects using just the voice whilst pulling a funny face.

In order to give this little known art form the respect it rightly deserves, is launching the Worlds first International Synth Gurning Competition.

Synth genius Vince Clarke shows how it's done below:

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

News - New Dustin Wong Album Due In September

Guitar guru Dustin Wong (former member of art-rock band Ponytail) returns on 16th September with his third solo release on Thrill Jockey Records called 'Mediation of Ecstatic Energy'. This is the final release in a guitar-loop trilogy that began with his 2010's release Infinite Love and continued with last year's Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads.

News - Black Pus Announce New European Dates

Brian Chippendale will be taking his hard-hitting solo project Black Pus to the UK shores and mainland Europe this September and October. Expect to hear tracks of his recent All My Relations album.  

Thrill Jockey Label mate Dan Friel will be supporting on all UK dates as well, bringing his unique blend of hyper-kinetic electronic pop to our ears. 

Below is the list for the final dates for the tour. 

Wed Sep 18th Amsterdam, The Netherlands - OCCII

Thu Sep 19th Tilburg, The Netherlands - Extase (Incubate Festival)

Fri Sep 20th Bristol, UK - Exchange  w/ support from Dan Friel 

Sat Sep 21st Birmingham, UK - Wagon & Horses w/ support from Dan Friel 

Sun Sep 22nd Leeds, UK - Brudenell Social Club  w/ support from Dan Friel 

Mon Sep 23rd London, UK - Tufnell Park Dome w/ support from Dan Friel 

Tue Sep 24th Antwerp, Belgium - Scheldapen - NEW!

Wed Sep 25th Hamburg, Germany - Hafenklang

Thu Sep 26th Gothenburg, Sweden - Koloni - NEW!

Fri Sep 27th Oslo, Norway - Revolver

Sat Sep 28th Stockholm, Sweden - Virkesvagen - NEW!

Sun Sep 29th Copenhagen, Denmark - Jazzhouse

Tue Oct 1st Berlin, Germany - Urban Spree

Wed Oct 2nd Prague, Czech Republic - Klub 007

Thu Oct 3rd Graz, Austria - Forum Stadtpark

Fri Oct 4th Milan, Italy - Leoncavallo - NEW!

Sat Oct 5th Verona, Italy - Interzona - NEW!

Sun Oct 6th Geneva, Switzerland - Ecurie - NEW!

Mon Oct 7th Lyon, France - Grrrnd Zero - NEW!

Tue Oct 8th Metz, France - Les Trinitaires - NEW!

Wed Oct 9th Paris, France - Espace B - NEW!

Thu Oct 10th Brussels, Belgium - Magasin 4 - NEW!

Black Pus All My Relations album review
Dan Friel Total Folklore album review

Music - Part 110 - Paul Mosley

Paul Mosley – A Chattering Of Birds (Folkwit Records)
Out Now

With fans ranging from Graham Coxon to Jools Holland, Paul Mosley has been quoted as a writer of “genius songs”.  Louder Than Wars Paul Scott-Bates finds out why.

When you’re faced with listening to an album of birdsongs, to say your passion is somewhat underwhelmed is a bit of an understatement.  But, wait a minute, this isn’t an album of  Johnny Morris and his musings, this is an album of rather impressive quality.

The bird songs in question are beautifully crafted by a man whom I have, for my sins, never previously heard of.  Paul Mosley writes lovely folk-pop songs of endearing quality and unparalleled charm.  Take the title track and opener with its wry “A chattering of birds, gets on my nerves”, blending Talk Talk with Colin Vearncombe’s Black, in an unusual and brave start to an album.  Slow paced but perfect.

Hummingbird could almost be Seasick Steve both in terms of vocals and the blues/rock/boogie feel of the song.  The fantastically dark The Beast oozes feeling and emotion and is simply stunning.  Said beast circling in the air signalling the end.

The highlight of the album could well come in the shape of Red Crow.  Sumptuous guitar playing and another brilliant lyric tipping a hat in the direction of Don McLean or Andy Fairweather Low.  You can’t help but fall in love with songs like this, they grip you and don’t let go.

There are also hints of Mark Cohen and Tom McRae which lends testament to the diversity of the album with a great brass accompaniment on Champion.  There are sweeping violins, double bass and harps itching to get out of some of the arrangements too.  It’s a very refreshing album by an artist you really should check out, sounding a little American in parts (don’t let that put you off) and performing songs that deserve to be appreciated by a mass audience.

Album closer, Hey! It’s The End f The World sees Paul reach incredibly high notes with an end to an album that you’ll want to listen to again and again.  And, any song with the line “Bring on the exploding dancing girls” immediately wins my approval.


Paul Mosley on Twitter

Published on Louder Than War 27/07/13 - here

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Music - Part 109 - Grumbling Fur

Grumbling Fur – Glynnaestra (Thrill Jockey)
22 July 2013

Sometimes some albums just shouldn’t work, and this is one of them.  Strangely though it does, with its avant-pop overtone and both acoustic and emulated instruments, it not only stretches the boundaries of pop as we know it, but, also gives the listener a very pleasurable trip too. 

It’s as though Grumbling Fur have never heard pop before and have been asked to make something that the whole World will enjoy, but to be as innovative and inventive as their creativity will allow.  The duo, Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker, have devised an archaic Goddess to watch over the record.  The sphinx like Glynnaestra must be very proud with the results.

Album opener, Ascatudaea, begins with the sounds of sound engineers in the studio before someone shouts “Action”.  Enter a wonderful gurgling bass synth and voices not dissimilar to Gregorian chanting with an album intro that sounds like it will explode at any second, but resists the urge.  With a beginning that sounds like a hybrid cross between Erasure and Depeche Mode, Protogenisis confirms that observation with its bouncy synths and a voice like an early 80s Dave Gahan.  Held quite far back in the mix it carries on repeating and repeating through a very hypnotic track.  When the voice breaks out mid-way through we’re left with pulsating synth effects driving the track onwards.  Ending with words being scrambled and played backwards, this is obviously the work of the Devil.

The sound of Grumbling Fur is an interesting twenty first century update of a classic 80s sound, creating a quite appealing aural pleasure.  The Ballad Of Roy Batty is glorious with its anthemic vocals and one of the several album highlights.  Almost chant like or religious sounding, its instant familiarity immediately hits the spot with its endless sweeping chorus which floats on and on.  The calming vocals “I’ve seen things you people would not believe”.

There’s the obligatory pointless track in Cream Pool which is one of several which then go on to end the album.  Let’s not be too hasty in our views of experimentation though, as it’s often saved us from trite music in the past, but, even with the absence of three or four tracks of this ilk on Glynnaestra, it would still be a monster album.  The title track is case in point – whereas it’s harmless enough, it really is little else.

Dancing Light is an absolute monster of a track and one of the best songs you’ll hear all Summer.  Hints of a Stone Roses melody with amazing soft vocal and superb backing track.  Beautiful.

Glynnaestra isn’t a perfect album and could quite easily have been trimmed down to nine or ten tracks from its thirteen, but despite that, what is good is absolutely brilliant.


Published on Louder Than War 19/07/13 - here

Friday, 19 July 2013

Music - Part 108 - Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney – One Zero (Metropolis Recordings/Cherry Red)
CD/Vinyl  Box Set
Out Now

There’s something always makes me wince when I hear that an artist has ‘re-interpreted their songs for an acoustic album’.  To me, it usually marks lack of idea and well, a bit of a cash-in or a stop-gap before a new album.  It would appear that the new Nitin Sawhney album may be one of the later with a new album, Dystopian Dream, due in 2014.

What makes this album intriguing is the fact that it was recorded live, straight to vinyl.  Something which apparently hasn’t been done in the mainstream for thirty-five years.  What makes this such a great thing?  According to Sawhney, it enhances focus, commitment and concentration, and, listening to the album you really can’t argue with the man.  Tracks like openers Accept Yourself and Sunset are immaculate, perfectly performed , and contain the wonderful fusion of East meets West  that he is so clever at creating.  A whole generation of listeners possibly turned onto Indian music by his originality and daring.

Where the album goes slightly awry is with some of his tracks that do not have the inter-continental fusion.  With early albums Spirit Dance or Migration he was truly original and spellbinding, but, in later years he has opted for a more westernised, commercial feel which has, in many ways, lost some of the Sawhney charm.  Album closer, I Ask You, is case in point.  Featuring guest vocals by the undoubtedly talented Joss Stone, it is merely a pop song (and not a particularly great one) which is carried by her vocals.  It’s nice enough but doesn’t possess anything any different to a million other songs around at the moment.

There are other great highlights though, the vocal interplay and frenetic percussion on The Conference was always superb, but, it now lifted to another level on OneZero, and, the Indian/Blues mix on Dead Man makes for a brilliant track.

The album does contain excellent musicianship and is well worth a listen merely for that, but, if you want to hear Sawhney at his best, 1999’s Beyond Skin is probably the one most likely to help to get to know the man.



Published on Louder Than War 19/07/13 - here

Thursday, 18 July 2013

News - New Sidi Toure Album Due In September

On September 16th, Touré returns with Alafia, his third international release for Thrill Jockey and his most focused recording to date. Touré deals with the strife and political instability plaguing his home region using the effortlessly broad musical language he’s internalized since his youth. Regional styles, including takamba, holley, and abarbarba (the butcher’s dance), along with his longtime interest in international music, form the underpinning to Touré’s lyrical ode to his country. 

Backed by this band of young talented musicians, who have joined him on severals tours, he invited friends from the North to participate to this album: the singer Leïla Gobbi, the kolo player Berté Ibrahim, and the rising star guitarist (and Touré disciple) Baba Salah. Touré also opens his music to Malian traditions outside the Songhaï realm with the n'goni virtuoso Abdoulaye Koné aka Kandiafa and the legendary Fula flute player Cheick Diallo. 

Touré is set to tour Europe later this year.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

News - New Goldfrapp Album Due In September

After releasing the astonishingly good Felt Mountain album in 2000, Goldfrapp went on to release brilliant dance and glam inspired electronic albums in the form of Black Cherry and Supernature, establishing them as one of the UK's finest musical exports of the time.

They then went a little off the rails with the average Seventh Tree, and, the nearly average Head First albums.

It is therefore re-assuring that they appear to have gone back to their beginnings with the taster from the first album for three and a half years, Tales Of Us, scheduled for release on September 10.

The track Drew comes with an accompanying video that will be part of a feature-length movie due to hit theatres later this year.  Acting therefore as a dual teaser, the song features Alison Goldfrapp's trademark, breathy vocals and sees her wandering around with several nude ghosts.

News - Mountains re-release Mountains Mountains Mountains Album

Appealing to my simple, easily pleased mind, I absolutely love the artwork for the soon to be re-released Mountains Mountains Mountains album by Mountains.

The album was originally released in 2008 on the Catsup Plate label in a tiny edition of 500 copies that quickly sold out. Thrill Jockey Records is happy to re-issue the album in a limited edition of 1,000 copies with different artwork (an inverted colour scheme from the original) pressed on high quality virgin vinyl with a download coupon for the first time.
The first 300 copies will be pressed on white vinyl and is available from 19 August 2013.

Today, I am mostly listening to... Oliver Wilde

Oliver Wilde - A Brief Introduction To Unnatural Lightyears

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Music - Part 107 - Feral Five

Feral Five – Skin EP (Primitive Light Recordings)
Out Now

Feral Five might just have released the best single of 2013.  With Skin they have created a modern slice of electropunk disco for any discerning alternative music fan.  With more than a hint of Elastica’s Justine Frischmann, Kat Five oozes velvet tones that effortlessly connect with the deep pulsing synth and guitar to sumptuous effect. Drew Five adds a background of film music composition and throbbing basslines that make your throat pound.

Skin is already a modern day alternative classic brought to you here with five versions.  Enough chorus to embed itself into your mind, and enough post punk disco to be original and satisfyingly commercial.  It’s two and a half minutes go by far too quickly but there’s enough to leave a fix that will have you playing constantly.  Turn up loud and feel the power.

The Kissinger Space Dub is an absolute monster of a dub mix.  Swaggering along with all the cockiness of a Gallagher on weed, its post dub groove is simply wonderful.  Kat’s vocals echoing over an epic, loose rhythm which is unapologetically almost all instrumental with synth effects flying and whirring around in the background.

For those of us that remember The Woodentops and their 1986 classic Giant, the news that Rolo McGinty then has three mixes of the song should really fill your heart with long lost love.  His Sick Mix is very reminiscent of the collaborations with legendary producer Bob Sargeant but with a modern day twist.  Great loops and a percussion that romps along with an occasional echoed Kat.

The RM Deep Remix is more of an alternative version of the original.  Added percussion and a grittier, dirtier cut still retains the edge of the track.  A late night and early morning listening essential.

The EP ends with the Club Mix which again adds another genre.  Brought completely into the night scene with a faux House feel and echoes aplenty, more additional synth effects and a trip-hop undertone.  Adding another facet but not taking away from the track.

Expect big things from Feral Five, your new favourite band.



Published on Louder Than War 17/07/13 - here

Friday, 12 July 2013

Music - Part 106 - An Interview With Helen McCookerybook

Helen McCookerybook may not be a name that you instantly recognise, but, she has been the driving force behind several important UK bands from The Chefs to Helen And The Horns.   She is also a published and well-respected author of music related literature including The Lost Women Of Rock: Female Musicians Of The Punk Era, and, her musical teachings have inspired the musical community in the UK for over ten years.

Holding a doctorate at the University Of Westminster and being a lecturer at the University Of East London, she frequently holds musical workshops in collaboration with her partner Martin Stephenson and continues to release fine music via the Barbaraville label.

I recently caught up with the lady (in waiting and waiting and waiting) for what turned out to be a fascinating article and my 100th for Louder Than War.

Do I call you Helen or Doctor?
You call me Helen, unless you are trying to do a put-down when selling me some guitar strings in a music shop and say ‘Is it Mrs or Ms?’ in a snotty voice while looking at my bag of grocery shopping. Then it’s Doctor!

How’s life treating you at the moment?
Life is treating me well, after a bumpy time a few years ago. I feel like I’ve had a second chance at everything- music, love, you name it.

Who is Tracy Preston?
Tracy used to be in a band called The Smartees that I was in many years ago. It was a big group of people with lots of songwriters and a very uppy vibe. We wrote ‘Let’s Make Up’ together, which was later recorded by The Chefs.

You seem to have connections with many people.  The ones with the Monochrome Set and the Stray Cats intrigue me.
I met Lester Square through Mike Alway, A&R at Cherry Red, after The Chefs split up. The Monochrome Set had also split temporarily and I suppose Mike must have looked at a couple of people feeling sorry for themselves and suggested we collaborate. I was a huge fan of the Monochrome Set and was slightly in awe but sang some songs on to a cassette (remember them?) and posted them to Lester, who lived on a houseboat at the time. I didn’t hear back and resumed my post-band sulk until the Notting Hill Carnival, where I was sloping about and his then girlfriend came bouncing across the road and shouted ‘WE LOVE YOUR SONGS!’. So we started rehearsing with a guy called Mike Slocombe (who now runs the massive Brixton political website on drums and started looking for a trumpet player. I met Dave Jago, a trombone player) at a gig and he offered to play, along with a sax player he knew called Paul Davey. Because it’s expensive to get a drum-kit around town, I decided to rehearse with the horn players only while we learned the songs; the Monochrome Set offered us a gig at Kingston Polytechnic in that format and we went down a storm- so we kept it that way, and added a trumpet player. Helen and the Horns was born! I have worked with Lester on sound track projects too.
The Stray Cats- we ended up with their PR when The Chefs signed to Graduate Records. I got to see them a lot because of that- they were an amazing live band. And I have sat on Brian Setzer’s Harley Davidson.

I adored Voxpop Puella.  What was the influence behind the album?
I hadn’t written any songs for years and I had forgotten how to play guitar (or so I thought). I used to go to the University studios and doodle about with programming in my lunch breaks; I ended up writing quite a lot of instrumentals. Then one day I was in a shop and I heard a track that I really liked and they couldn’t tell me what it was. I felt inspired and decided to try to make a similar piece of music; at the same time I’d just hit 40 and felt that it was a significant age to look back from and look forward from- I felt like the picture of that Roman god Janus with a face looking to the past and one to the future. And I thought about the fact that nobody ever really addresses the idea of ageing in pop music. So I started to write lyrics- and then tried to make all the music sound a bit ‘big band pop’ because that’s what the mystery record sounded like; and honestly, lots of the sounds on the sound module were awful but things like the Double Bass and French Horn were great! It was really enjoyable doing the arrangements but so much fun that I over-arranged a song and had to dump it because I couldn’t work out what to take off it. I thought of the seven ages of woman, from birth to death, and after a while I decided to contact a few of the film-makers that I’d done music for in the past plus some female friends ( Joan Ashworth, Akiko Hada, Gail Pearce, Rachel Davies, Charlotte Worthington, Gina Birch and Jane Prophet) and I asked them to make short films about the seven ages- they all said yes, which was amazing, and I ended up taking it on the road and touring with Gina Birch, who also had a film project on the go, supported by an Arts Council grant!
All that from doodling in the studios with an idea about the past and the future.

Tell me about Claudine?
Claudine was the energy behind the Stray Cats’ press success. She and her colleagues Chris Carr and Gaylene Martin looked after most of the unusual artists in the 1980s- The Associates, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Birthday Party, Depeche Mode (‘depressed mood’ as she called them), Misty in Roots, Hugh Masakela... She is a very kind woman and expert at band psychology. She would collect the poorer artists together and cook us dinner or buy us breakfast and when I became ill after the Chefs split up she gave me a kitten so I’d have to look after something and therefore look after myself. She is utterly French and made us all roar with laughter once; ‘Elene, can you tell zat I am Frenshe from ze way zat I speak?’. They were all great people to be around, magical, and Claudine was very upfront about the way the music industry worked. She managed Helen and the Horns for a while too.

I’m coming round for a meal, what are we having?
Whatever you cook for me, thank you!

When you were an art student and squatting in Brighton, where did you see your future?
Well, as far as I was concerned, the punk idea ‘No Future’ applied. I lived life to the max as did everyone else I knew. There were no jobs, the art world seemed concerned completely with ripping people off and all the punks were scrambling about with no plan- or so I thought! Quite a few people had seen it as an opportunity to become successful financially; others joined the army and some left the country. It is almost impossible to describe the general public depression that hit the country in the late 1970s. Even though we are in a recession these days, at least there is some colour in people’s lives. There was a huge level of bile and spite from the older generation who had been through the war and who seemed convinced we were just being lazy. But if there are no jobs there are no jobs! I think there is a move by some newspapers to make out that people on the dole are lazy these days but enough of my generation are around to dispel that myth.
Looking back on it, it was a blessing in disguise not to have been able to start a career at that age. I was a complete misfit and so were all of my friends. That’s what punk was about, not lots of uniformly black-clad teenagers with spiky hair.

You started out your musical career as bassist in Joby & The Hooligans.  Why the switch to guitar?
Illness after The Chefs split up. I played bass in The Chefs. But I had a couple of months in bed and a friend had given me a Spanish guitar, so I started writing songs on that, just by picking out chords that sounded nice. There was a guy in the house who showed me a couple of other chords, and I had time to practice.

There’s quite a shift in style from The Smartees to Skat.  Is music the food of love?
Either that or food is the music of love; I can never quite work that one out!

Your musical teachings and workshops have become very popular.  What drives you to do this sort of thing?
Well, I started teaching because I had children and realised you need a regular income for that! But I have always done songwriting workshops because when I started playing in Joby and the Hooligans, the Poison Girls’ guitarist Vi Subversa acted as a sort of mentor for loads of the bands in Brighton, whether she agreed with their politics, liked their music or not. I realised that part of being a musician or artist is encouraging other people to get the same pleasure out of it as you- it’s actually politically empowering to create music rather than just buying it. And the pleasure that I get when people feel proud of a song that they have written is amazing.

Your home seems to be out in the wilderness – any aspirations for the farm life?
Yes. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live out in the wilds and have a rehearsal studio in a barn that turns into a Sunday afternoon venue with tea and cakes, and passing bands come in and play? Not big animals though- cows are horrible (they dribble and poo all the time), sheep are silly. Perhaps some bantams- I like them because they are coloured and look like little joke hens. And peas.

Tell me about your old Jedson and Hofner Basses.
Ah the Jedson- my first bass! Cream with a white scratch plate. Someone told me that they have it in Brighton but I haven’t met them to pick it up yet! I used to write the set list on masking tape and tape it along the top of the guitar. It used to thud rather than boom like most basses do. I bought the Hofner after someone spotted it in a shop in Worthing. I starved myself for 2 weeks to buy it. It got nicked by Hells Angels after a contretemps at Sussex University and I went and stood outside their pub for weeks afterwards willing them to give it back. Then my brother was walking past the police station in Brighton and he saw a woman walking in with it to hand it in! It had been dumped in the park where she was sunbathing. He rushed to the pub with it and I could not believe my eyes- I never thought I would see it again! I have now given it to Martin as he was such a Chefs fan.

How disappointing was it that The Chefs’ album for Graduate never materialised? 
I didn’t mind. I was ill and couldn’t really sing. There is a version of it but it’s very drum-heavy as the drummer got into tribal drums after hearing Adam and the Ants. I did love Adam and the Ants’ sound but I didn’t want to BE them. I think that might be why The Chefs split up; I’d always thought we thrived on being original but the others seemed to want to fit into pop fashion.

Tell me of your time with RCA.
Hmmm... We were signed by a trumpet-playing A&R who promptly left to work for the Eurythmics; our next A&R was a nice guy but he was a drummer (and we had no drums in Helen and the Horns). The plugger was amazing and got us plays on Terry Wogan at the same time as John Peel was playing us; but she left too and went to another label (she bought me a roomful of flowers as an apology, bless). Then RCA wouldn’t support our live gigs (I think we were a good live band) and when they started hoovering up other bands at our level and our lawyer also started working for the Eurythmics, I realised that a path was being cleared for the launch of a major band and we were going to be left on the shelf. So I went in and asked for a release from the contract.
The band had saved the session fees that I had paid them over the years and they got together and suggested that we should record an album on our own label, which we did, distributed by The Cartel. It was a good solution. I like independence; I am not a corporate person.

Last year you performed in Hyde on the same bill as Viv Albertine, Pauline Murray and Gina Birch.  How was that?
They are amazing. We had done a gig the year before that also included Pauline Murray from Penetration, but she couldn’t do the Hyde gig unfortunately. I don’t think any of us could have imagined getting to this point of being solo guitarist/performers at this time in our lives. We have such different styles and different songs, all pulled from that simple instrument, the guitar. It’s such a pleasure to watch Viv and Gina play; they are very good guitarists, each with a unique style and relationship with their guitar.

Was Papa really a rolling pin?
Sure was, and Mama is a measuring jug.

Damaged Goods versus Barbaraville.  Discuss. 
Damaged Goods were very patient during the hiccups of releasing Records and Tea; the Best of the Chefs; it took a few years to come together. It’s got the BBC sessions we did plus all of the Attrix material and some unreleased tracks. They are going to release the Helen and the Horns Peel sessions later this year too. I am delighted to be on the same label as Billy Childish!
Barbaraville is for now and the future; Martin released ‘Poetry and Rhyme’ and also ‘Take One’ (which he produced) on Barbaraville and will I hope release my next CD which looks as though it will be skiffle based. And maybe a bit of ska. Skadiffle!

You have a support role coming up soon for The Nightingales soon.  How did that come about?
Last year I did a gig at a venue called the Green Door Store with I Ludicrous and the Flaming Stars promoted by Spinningchilli who put on bands who did Peel sessions.  I loved it- the other bands were great and they are promoters with a vision (the best sort). I am a massive Nightingales fan and when they asked me to do this one (it’s on 4th August at the Prince Albert)  I wrote back to say yes almost before I’d read their email.

In your book The Lost Women Of Rock, you interviewed John Peel.  Was he the lovely chap that everyone says he was?
That afternoon he did what must have been one of the hardest things ever for him to do. I got lost on the way to his house and arrived an hour late, in the middle of a Liverpool game. He actually did the interview during the game, only popping in to check out the TV screen every time the crowd roared. Now that is a very gentlemanly thing to do.

 Who’s the better songwriter – you or Martin?
Martin, of course. He has a direct line in to people’s feelings that completely bypasses any barriers they might have. Not only that, but I have never seen another musician groove as much as he does. And you should hear his new material!

You played Union Chapel a year or so ago, what was that like
I loved it! Again, five years ago if you had told me that I would be playing there, like so many things I’m doing now, I would not have believed you. Our tour manager made friends with an orange pigeon (yes, orange) who liked Doritos (maybe that’s why it was orange). I got the Horns together for the gig and we had a blast (quite literally). The place was full and there was a great atmosphere: Daintees fans are the best! The Daintees played a really good gig that night and afterwards we did a walkabout through the Chapel playing Salutation Road, Horns and Daintees together.

How was Glastonbury?
I think there were around 5000 people in that tent. Never having gone to a proper festival, I had imagined the acoustic tent as being a little white canvas marquee rather like the ones in Miss Marple where they judge jam making competitions. I was completely unprepared for the sheer scale of the whole festival and especially the size of ‘the tent’! The whole operation was very slick: unload van at one entrance, up the gantry, everything ready as preceding act finishes, on to stage, set up, play for allotted time, exit other side, down gantry and out the other door into the waiting van. Their set was short and punchy and they chose songs with a lot of impact. Martin invited me up to sing The Airship Song, an old Charlie Poole number. Glastonbury was a total success for the band and I hope they get invited back next year.
Backstage, Bill Wyman was floating around and I took his picture with Martin.
We then went to see Tom Tom Club- I interviewed Tina Weymouth last year and it was great to see the band strutting their stuff at Glastonbury.

Where does the future lie for Helen McCookerybook?

I have been setting up a little studio in my kitchen (of course) and plan to do a lot more writing and recording. I have a Stageit show on July 14th from my kitchen (that’s a live broadcast at 5.45 p.m.) and more gigs with Martin and solo over the next few months which will be announced on my Blog. I am also running a songwriting course at The Premises studio in late July with Ed Harcourt as a guest songwriter, and one with Martin in October. I’d like to co-write with some other artists. After that? Well, I’d like to play in San Francisco, New York, Paris and Japan, and carry on writing and releasing songs until the ideas run out!


Published on Louder Than War 11/07/13 - here