31 January 2014

Fast Forward to 2014











 



From Top to Bottom, L to R

1. Meghan Farrell, portrait, photo. Abby Wright
2. Eye Love You Ring,  14k Yellow Gold and Black Onyx
3. Jaws Shark pendant, Sterling Silver
4.  Meghan Farrell, portrait, photo. Abby Wright
5.  Forever After ring rendering
6. Eye Love You Pendants
7. Meghan Farrell, portrait, photo. Abby Wright
8. Eye Love You Ring
9. Flight Bracelet in 18k yellow vermeil, and Beat Bracelet in 18k rose vermeil
10. Collection of rings, MF and Vintage Filigree Ring
11. Locked Lips Ring, 14K Yellow Gold
12. Meghan Farrell, portrait, photo. Abby Wright
13. Just Love sticker, found in NYC October 2013
14.  Meghan Farrell, portrait, photo. Abby Wright


26 December 2013

One on One: Flynn Wheeler of Taxes



Taxes' Back of the Car Collection has an epic, worldly composed sound with hints of beat and synth reminiscent of a song from an 80's soundtrack. When I stumbled upon the project several months back I was pretty taken aback-- for the overall composition and sound was unlike anything I had ever head before.

Australia born and bred composer Flynn Wheeler is the sole force behind Taxes, and officially released his EP back in October this year. I had a chance earlier this month to ask him about life, love, and his music- read more below!




MF

What instruments do you play?



Flynn Wheeler

I started on the piano, then moved onto clarinet and saxophone for about 10 years, but my main instrument is guitar.



MF

Your earliest memory with a musical instrument?



FW

Chipping the piano key with my tooth when I was about 3. Turns out mum was right about running in the house.



MF

How has your upbringing and where you have grown up impacted your music?



FW

My two oldest brothers played the clarinet and the saxophone respectively, and I kind of just wanted to do everything they did so I got into them as well. Also my Dad was a drummer and singer in a band which meant there were always instruments and stuff lying around to play with.



I grew up in Canberra, which is a fairly small city designed for public servants – there isn’t much to do there except play music or smoke pot. Music was the free option.



MF

Can you talk a little about your songwriting process?

Do you write the lyrics before or after you write the music?



FW

It really depends. I will always write the music before the vocals, but a lot of the lyrics are adapted from some stuff I’ve written down at some other time when I’ve been trying to sort my head out.



MF

What sorts of things do you draw inspiration from in your work?



FW

Musically I generally hear a song and want to write something that makes other people feel the way I felt listening to that. Not quite plagiarism, but certainly inspiration. Lyrically it is always personal experiences. I like to try and write so that the meaning is crystal clear but the subject is indecipherable. It is the only way I feel I can be truly honest, and that is all I ever want in lyrics.



MF

How did the "Back of the Car Collection" come to be? What would you say is the driving inspiration behind it?



FW

I have played in bands for a long time, and being a collaboration there has always been a compromise when it comes to authorship. These were the first songs I really allowed myself complete authorship to. I wanted to write the songs that I have always wanted to listen to but hadn’t heard yet. I went back to the music that destroyed me and made me feel. I have a playlist of those tracks, it’s about as hard to get onto that playlist as the moon.



MF

Three albums that impacted your life:



FW

DJ Shadow – Endtroducing

Blink 182 – Dude Ranch

The Strokes – Is This It




MF
Eight songs you couldn't live without?


FW

Too hard, I’m going to change it to 8 of my favourite rock/pop songs…

Maps – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Say It Aint So – Weezer
Vapour Trail – Ride

To Here Knows When – My Bloody Valentine

The Modern Age – The Stokes

King Of The Rodeo – Kings Of Leon

D’yer Mak’er – Led Zeppelin

Marquee Moon - Television



MF

If you could meet anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?



FW
The person I would love the most



MF

Film you could watch over and over again:



FW

I’m embarrassingly obsessed with Jurassic park and Harry Potter. As in the DVDs are wearing out...



MF

What do you recall to be the first song you ever wrote?



FW

A song called ‘Sporadic Feelings’ with my friend Dave for a band called Polarmoose. It turns out he ripped all the lyrics from songs by The Ataris.



MF

Artists you admire?



FW

Cormack McCarthy.



MF

The most important thing about music is:



FW

Truth



MF

 Your last "oh my god" moment



FW

When I realized I owned a cat



MF

 Every day I:



FW

Struggle



MF

 What do you wish to accomplish with your music?



FW

Truth



MF

If you weren't a musician you'd be a/an…



FW

 …paranormal investigator.



MF

 Your most recent memorable dream:



FW

Partying for two days straight



MF

 The most difficult lesson you have had to learn?



FW

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you have to lie or keep secrets.



MF

A piece of advice you have for artists:




FW

Create what is simultaneously good for you and your audience.



MF

Does music tell a story?



FW

When Springsteen sings it does.



MF

 Do you plan to tour?



FW

At the moment it is just me, I need to put together a band, but yes touring is absolutely on the cards. I am planning on doing a small tour around Germany in February 2014.



MF

Hidden talent:



FW

I can solve a Rubik’s Cube






MF

Favorite lyrics:



FW

L.A. Woman




MF

Where and when do you look for inspiration?



FW

Where – great art from great people. When – Whenever I need it/always.



MF

What do you think is the most important thing about songwriting?



FW

At the risk of sounding like an echo of myself, truth.


30 September 2013

One-on-One: Bat and Ball




Bat and Ball is like a dream: undeniably hypnotic, mysterious, and enchanting...  and upon a first listen of the band's first single when it was released a mere month ago, I was completely floored.  For such a young band, "We Prefer It In The Dark" is everything you want out of a song: set to a mindfully engaging beat, layered with a perfectly syncopated melody, and soulfully stirring vocals.   A recipe for perfection and that sounds like a lullaby of a love song, the song has been a keeper on pretty much all of my playlists ever since!

If it's one thing I'm convinced of, it's that this quintet is pretty much set to be the next big thing. And I'm completely in love.

British born and bred, the brother-sister fronted band (Abi and Chris Sinclair) have poured their hearts into their debut EP for a few months, which is set to be released on October 14th!! I of course couldn't help but jump on the opportunity to ask them a few questions about life, art, and their process and inspiration!


How did you start writing music?

ABI
When I was small, I used to sing constantly--making up my own little tunes and lyrics all the time! They were pretty bad!  So when I started to learn the guitar,  I remember I would just sing and try to put some chords underneath it. Writing songs quickly became something I truly loved doing.

MF
Where are you from? How has this impacted your music?

CHRIS
Abi and I are from Plymouth [England] but we moved to London for University. As a musician, London has a lot to offer-- however, it is just as overwhelming as it is stimulating! 

I think we still sincerely both draw a lot of inspiration from our youth in Plymouth: Being surrounded by sea and moorland... the sound of seagulls crying... the warships in the Dockyard blowing their foghorns... These things just stuck with us and  I would say, definitely influence our music today.

Moving to London brought us closer together musically-- and of course, we met the rest of the band there!

MF
What do you recall to be your earliest memory with a musical instrument?

ABI
Our Great Grandma was a piano teacher... I think Chris and I got some lessons from her when we were very young!  I got scolded a lot for banging the keys, which I of course thought was much more fun. I still can’t really play the piano now, but I love trying.


 

MF 
Can you talk a little about your songwriting process? Do you write the lyrics before or after you write the music?  

ABI
Our writing process is not something that is set and fixed-- it's always different! Sometimes we write together and other times, apart. But for the most part, the chords and melody usually come first... and then we to try fit the lyrics to the melody. On many occasions, Chris will write a verse, then will show it to me-- and I write the next one. We try to interpret and follow on from what is already there! But we never fully explain our songs to each other. 

MF 
Can you talk a little about everyone involved with your band, its development, etc? How did you all meet? How many band members do you have? 

CHRIS 
There are three additional members of the band: Harri, Jamie and Ed.  All of us met at Goldsmiths University, where we studied music together! Prior to meeting those three, Bat and Ball was really just an experiment. We had recorded one song-- just the two of us-- which was cool, but we really wanted to push our music forward! Bringing in the rest of the band was a natural development. We always wanted to be a live band and the others brought what we were doing to life. 

MF 
What sorts of things do you draw inspiration from in your work?

ABI
I take inspiration from my own everyday experiences, characters in books, my favorite artists, people watching, and my cat.




MF
What about any specific artists you admire?

ABI
I have been obsessed with Ryan Adams for years; I swear I have everything he’s done, including the heavy metal stage! I love Patti Smith for her music, spoken word and poetry. PJ Harvey is also a huge favourite of mine- she refuses to define herself. She taught herself piano for an album and it’s all amazing. 

CHRIS
At the Drive In.

MF
How did the song "We Prefer It In The Dark" come to be? What was the driving inspiration behind it?

ABI 
"We Prefer It In The Dark" was one of the of the first songs that Chris and I wrote and recorded together-- and this was before meeting Jamie, Harri and Ed. It started as a simple song on the piano. We both wanted to make a song that was driven by the melody, but also step out creatively with a driving, fragmented beat. We recorded it during a daylong studio session in Plymouth PMC studios. It was like research really, but it was something that defined our sound.

MF
Why the name "Bat and Ball?"

CHRIS
That's a funny question--- We can’t really say! But it makes a lot of sense to us. We like alliteration. People still ask ‘who is Bat and who is Ball?’ 

MF
What was the driving inspiration behind the forthcoming EP We Prefer it in the Dark?

CHRIS
It’s about fear. It is unconfessional but secretly sometimes confessional. 


MF 
What are your future plans with the band? Touring? An Album?

ABI
We have our debut EP We Prefer it in the Dark being released next month on the 14th October and our launch gig at Madam Jojo’s on the 15th October. From there it’s more shows, more places and more songs. 

31 August 2013

One-On-One: Young Galaxy



Upon a single listen of the Canadian dream-pop band Young Galaxy's single, Pretty Boy, I was mesmerized. Futuristic and dreamy, a driving beat, and with a distinct flair of pop, it was as if the song was straight out of one of your favorite quality 80's teen flicks! (Awesome.)



The song, which appears as the first track on the Canadian band's second album, Ultramarine, is one of the many electro-gems that will have you feeling good, happily satiated, and get through any day with a flair! Needless to say, I am now hooked.

  When first found the track back in March, I reached out to the band to ask them a few questions about their life, musings, and of course, their incredible album! Here's what they had to say:


 MF
How and when did you start writing music? 

STEPHEN
As a way of combating big changes in her life, my Uncle, in 1998, gave a computer to my  Grandmother.  She just flat out rejected it's presence! So since I was [at that time] starting University, my Uncle then gave it to me instead... one of those weird plastic bubble iMacs. Anyway, I  remember purchasing the music making software Logic... and suddenly my life was transformed.  I went from making weird little acoustic 4-track recordings to these full fledged productions. It was an amazing feeling-- I felt like I was able to face the imaginary symphonies I had floating around in my head... I could program drums, synths, strings, bass... everything! Suddenly I found myself writing and recording fully formed songs. It only dawned on me recently that I have technology to thank for my music career.

MF
Where are you from? How has this impacted your music?

STEPHEN
 I'm from Nanaimo, British Columbia-- a little mill town on Vancouver Island, on the West coast of Canada. It made a huge impression on my music. Most of the people I grew up with listened to AC/DC and Metallica-- things like that. From an early age, I listened to a lot of weirder stuff, and I would say I was probably one of three people in town who knew what hip-hop was in 1987!

As a result, there was the sense of being on the edge of things, in both good and bad ways. I felt a little like a target for liking The Smiths and Public Enemy in the face of all these metalheads, but it also gave me a sense of singular identity and taught me about the universal power of music.

It rains a lot where I'm from, and there isn't much opportunity... so a band like The Smiths hit home so hard. It taught me that that connection is the only thing that matters with music.

My sense of ambition as a musician was galvanized by those formative listening years. I wanted to also make music that could mean so much to someone on the other side of the world-- the way The Smiths had for me. And on the other side of the coin, there was hip-hop, which was so punk rock in the early days.

The Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys didn't scare my parents, but Public Enemy sure did... This was all pre-internet, of course-- so all that isolation let me discover alien cultures and feel like they belonged to me. I feel sorry for kids growing up nowadays. I mean, how do you use pop culture to create an identity anymore when counter-culture is subsumed almost instantly by the internet and the mainstream?


MF
Interesting-- so in a world where counter-culture becomes mainstream so fast, what advice might he have for young artists?

STEPHEN
Being a musician is a process-- so don't believe anyone who tells you that you need to have an 'angle' all figured out before you put yourself out there to get signed or recognized. It takes time for most people to understand themselves as artists, so if you are compelled to keep creating-- regardless of accolades or money-- stick with it, because you're most likely on to something. Trust your gut: be willing to say NO to everything. If you don't, you'll regret it later. Imagine a career that reflects your values and is conducted with dignity, and adhere to it. The music industry likes to make artists feel like they should be grateful just to be there. YOU are the reason they exist, so don't let them force you to pander to an audience. Also, professional jealousy is a great motivator. Don't feel bad if you envy someone else's career. Work hard to make one in your own image, and make it better than theirs. They had to start somewhere too.

 MF
So what you think is music's (or even art in general) ultimate goal? What role do you think it serves in the world at this point in time?

STEPHEN
It really depends on who's making it I think. A lot of art is just made to make money, and I suppose that's been true for a very long time. However, I primarily view it as a form of communication, a way of baring yourself to the world in impressionistic terms. Personally, music was my best friend throughout my angst-ridden teen years-- I saw my favourite bands as guides in life at a time when I didn't want to listen to my parents and didn't relate to my peers. Morrissey was my best friend in high-school, I'm not even exaggerating. I felt like he was articulating my internal life in his songs, and from then on I knew just how important music could be. Indie music and hip-hop gave me an identity at a very fragile stage of my life, and in a roundabout way introduced me to a counter-cultural perspective that I still adhere to. I still make music based on that feeling I had when I was 16 and in need of rescue. There's nothing better than hearing how your own songs are doing the same thing for people that your favourite music did for you.

MF
Can you talk a little about your songwriting process? Do you write the lyrics before or after you write the music?

CATHERINE
Usually music first - Stephen comes up with most of the music in demo or sketch form, and then we riff on the skeleton of what is there. On Ultramarine, we decided to change our approach a bit and tried to avoid lyrics that tried to say everything we meant. We did some automatic writing, where one of us would mumble into the mic and the other would interpret the sounds as words. We loved that approach, the results were both unexpected and beautiful to us. 

MF
How did the song "Pretty Boy" come to be? Was there any driving inspiration behind it?

CATHERINE
 It is based on Patti Smith's autobiography, Just Kids. Stephen and I both finished that book and stayed under it's spell for a long time - it's both a simple, beautiful love story and an unapologetic, unflinching account of the artistic temperament. Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were misfits who felt they had a calling, and lived through incredible destitution and rejection to pursue their dreams. It really resonated for us - we related to their frame of minds, their struggle, and the fact that they traveled to a strange place to become artists. They were seekers. The spirit of that book resonates throughout Ultramarine.


MF
Three albums that impacted your life:

BOTH
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush The Show
The Stone Roses debut
Studio - Yearbook One compilation



MF
Style/Fashion inspiration? Designers?

CATHERINE
We love the more Scandinavian structured look - in our down time we both like anoraks, classic, worn jeans and hi-end trainers. Creatively, I look to people like Karin Dreijer-Andersson, Planningtorock and Tilda Swinton - who aren't afraid to be both daring and act their age with their style choices. They are like living installation pieces when they want to be, without being kitschy. 
I had a designer from Berlin do a few pieces for stage for me, Andreea Vrajitoru who has a label called Adddress. She's amazing. I admire designers like Christopher Kane, Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood too.

STEPHEN
I'm all about my Whyred green anorak, oversize t-shirts or sweaters, worn A.P.C. jeans altered to have relaxed fit up top, tight taper at the bottom, Common Projects, Nike Flyknits or Chukka Vans on my feet. 

MF
Favorite spots?

STEPHEN
The Crow And Gate Pub, Nanaimo, B.C. Canada 
Sproat Lake, B.C. Canada
Cafe De Dokter, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Gothenburg, Sweden
Montreal, Canada
Iceland
NYC
The Ocean, ANYWHERE

Eight songs you couldn't live without?

BOTH
Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah
Talking Heads - This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)
Portishead - Chase The Tear
The Knife - The Height Of Summer
The Stone Roses - Fool's Gold
The Smiths - This Charming Man
David Bowie - Heroes
Rufus Wainwright - Poses

MF
Your life philosophy?

CATHERINE
 If you're chasing it, it's running away.