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Live Video Preview: Mona on MTV Live

By on Wednesday, 2nd March 2011 at 2:00 pm

Header photo by Andrew Timms (MTV)

Thanks to our friends at MTV, we have an exclusive preview of tonight’s MTV Live programme. So who’s on, you might ask? Why none other than MTV Brand New for 2011 winner, as well as the #1 band for our 10 for 2011 poll, the fabulous Mona. Watch below as the band performed ‘Teenager’ for excited punters at London’s Koko on the 26th of January. (Our writer Braden covered this gig as well, and you can read more about it here.)

The video below is also available at

Watch the entire half-hour show MTV Live tonight (Wednesday 2nd March) as it premieres on MTV Music at 10 PM and on MTV Rocks on Saturday 26th March at 9 PM, with further repeats during the week.


Vote in MTV’s Brand New for 2011 Poll

By on Friday, 7th January 2011 at 5:30 pm

So the folks over at MTV are running a poll through the 31st of January 2011 to find their brightest musical star of 2011. Cast your vote below and you will also have the chance to enter a contest for a pair of tickets to the MTV London gigs on the 25th and 26th of January when some of the acts will be performing. The winners will also get a 2-night stay at the K West Hotel and Spa in London Town, which looks by all appearances to be an amazing place to lay your head after a night of brilliant performances by some of music’s best up-and-coming acts.

To see a comparison of TGTF’s 10 for 2011 acts as voted by you and the BBC Sound of 2011, go here. (And in case you have been living under a rock and were not listening to Radio1 this week, the BBC Sound of 2011 artists as announced by Zane Lowe are #5 – Clare Maguire, #4 – Jamie Woon, #3 – the Vaccines, #2 – James Blake, and #1 – Jessie J.)


10 for 2011 Interview: Trophy Wife

By on Wednesday, 22nd December 2010 at 2:00 pm

Trophy Wife is a trio from Oxford that has already turned heads on the strength of their debut single, ‘Microlite’, released on the always ahead of the curve indie label Moshi Moshi Records. I asked some questions, and they kindly answered. I inquire about the origin of ‘Trophy Wife’ the band name and they tell me about their unusually/wonderfully charitable plans for the Christmas holiday.

Tell us a little about yourselves – who plays what in the band? How long have you known each other? How did you guys get together as a band?

Jody: Sings and plays guitar and bass
Kit: Drums, Percussion, Sampler
Ben: Keyboards, Sampler, Lights

We have been making music together for about 7 years in various different forms. Us meeting each other was a case of mistaken identity; Jody pretended to be a female drummer so he could get into Kit’s post-rock band. Trophy Wife happened by accident really, we started recording dancey music late at night over a few drinks.Things grew and we set out to challenge ourselves and do something that was new to us..

At least in America, the term ‘trophy wife’ conjures up something usually not related to music, like the pretty wives of athletes. Who came up with your band name and what is the story behind it?

We’ve had the name for a while and it seemed to suit the sounds we started making. To us, it’s a name that is both glamorous and glitzy yet somehow inherently dark. In many ways this is also how we see our music; Kit had heaps of old manual photographs of these desolate, windswept English locations and we pasted the words ‘Trophy Wife’ in big pink letters onto them and we really liked the relationship between the two.

All your bios say you’re from Oxford. Is that accurate? (a lot of bands meet up after moving from somewhere else from uni, etc.) Are you still based in Oxford? How do you think Oxford contributed to your sound?
Indeed we are all from Oxford, we live there now. It has a lot of musicians for such a small city so it is very easy to start up a band here. Everyone knows each other and is aware of what is progressing musically around them. That atmosphere has certainly helped us although we’re not sure if our sound is directly linked to the city. It can feel a bit claustrophobic, it’s a universe all of its own but there’s always a lot of creative activity going on. We grew up in the surrounding suburban neighbourhoods where there’s not much else to do other than immerse yourself in your favourite music.

Continue reading 10 for 2011 Interview: Trophy Wife


10 for 2011 Interview: Daniel Land and the Modern Painters

By on Tuesday, 21st December 2010 at 2:00 pm

I sent some questions over to Daniel Land, the man at the helm of Daniel Land and the Modern Painters, the band you voted #9 on our 10 for 2011 poll. Have a read on how this band that makes ‘serious music’ can be quite silly collecting location names that sound funny, amongst other things…

Congratulations on finishing #9 in our 10 of 2011 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?

It’s an honour, it really is. We’d like to thank our parents, our music teachers, our first pets, God, etc, etc…hahaha. Seriously, thanks so much to the readers for voting for us, we never expected to be nominated as a ‘Band to Watch’ or anything like that. It’s great.

Tell us a little about yourselves – how long have you been together, how you guys got together as a band?

We are Daniel Land, Graeme Meikle, Oisin Scarlett, Andrew Galpin and Jason Magee. We’ve been together as a band for about 3 years, but we have been making music separately or in pairs for about twice as long as that. The band really came together in 2007 after witnessing an amazing DJ set by (German musician/producer) Ulrich Schnauss at the Big Chill. Hearing him playing all this amazing new music that was guitar-based but very ambient was really inspiring and gave us a bit of a kick up the backside to get a proper band together. I think we released our first EP only 6 weeks after that – it was all very exciting.

You call Manchester home…what advantages are there from being from such a venerated place for music? What disadvantages are there?
The funny thing about this band is that none of us are really from Manchester. We met at University here, but we’re all from different places around the England, Ireland and Scotland. Manchester’s a great place to live and work in, and one of the great advantages of the place is the thriving independent music scene here, which is really open to new ideas and experimentation. On the down side, I think one of the disadvantages is all the cultural baggage from the Factory and Madchester years, which seems like ancient history to most musicians living here now. It can be a bit irksome to be compared to that. The Factory and Madchester stuff is really respected still, but I think people are generally more concerned with what’s happening now.

Continue reading 10 for 2011 Interview: Daniel Land and the Modern Painters


10 for 2011 Interview: Brian Briggs of Stornoway (Part 2)

By on Monday, 20th December 2010 at 2:00 pm

In the second half of my interview with Stornoway frontman Brian Briggs, we talk about the BBC and he tells me about being petrified playing for Jools Holland and their very busy year, amongst other things.

You can read part 1 of this interview by clicking here.

Last month you guys played a show with Ellie Goulding as London Union Chapel, part of Little Noise Sessions for MENCAP.
That’s right.
How did you get involved with the charity? Did they contact you?
It is hosted by Radio1 DJ Jo Whiley, she had us along there last year and obviously enjoyed us enough to invite us back again. [smiles] Union Chapel is a beautiful place to play, yeah. And it’s nice to be able to do something like that for a good cause.

Speaking of Radio1 and the BBC, I found out about your band because Steve Lamacq has played your songs. What is your opinion of BBC Radio in general? I find that in America, the way that the radio industry is structured…we don’t have nationalised radio, everything is commercial and very profit driven and it’s not very nurturing towards bands. Did you find the BBC was very supportive of you when you first came out?
Well, I think the honest answer is, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the BBC. They were supportive of us from the very start. There are local BBC radio stations around the country, there is one in Oxford and the DJs there have been very supportive. And yeah, people like Huw Stephens plays new bands. A lot of the commercial stations, they only play a band once they’ve been mainstream for a year or more, or they have to be top 10 pop stars or whatever. But yeah, we feel incredibly grateful towards the BBC for what they’ve done (for us). The BBC network includes music tv shows. It was because of BBC Radio connections that we managed to end up getting on Later with Jools Holland. So yeah, there’s absolutely no doubt the BBC played a major part in getting us to where we are now.
What was it like playing Jools Holland? That was pretty early in the timeline of you guys just getting known?
Yeah, it was just over a year ago. It was definitely the scariest day of my life.
[laughs] You are not the first person to tell me that.
That was a kind of stellar line-up. I remember getting my photo taken with…I was kind of invited over as one of the lead singers to gather for a photo shoot. So I was on the end of the row with Sting, Norah Jones, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Jay-Z, and I honestly felt like someone had kind of pushed me into the photo. It was a surreal experience. I was trying desperately…when you play, you’re in this big round studio facing all the other bands. I was desperately trying to avoid any eye contact and just tried to focus on the performance.
I did notice that on a YouTube video of ‘Fuel Up’ from the show you were looking straight ahead! (You can watch the performance below.)
Actually, that’s generally my style for most gigs. I find it very, uh, distracting or off-putting if I catch someone’s eye, even if I don’t know who they are. Yeah, I never really thought of myself as a performer, really, and it’s something I’ve had to learn. And that (Jools Holland) was the scariest moment in our career. I don’t think it gets scarier or much bigger than that one, really.

Continue reading 10 for 2011 Interview: Brian Briggs of Stornoway (Part 2)


10 for 2011 Interview: Brian Briggs of Stornoway (Part 1)

By on Friday, 17th December 2010 at 2:00 pm

I had the distinct pleasure to sit down with Brian Briggs, the lead singer, primary songwriter and acoustic guitarist for Oxford band Stornoway, before their band played their first-ever show in Washington the 5th of December. Despite the very chilly temperatures, Briggs mugged for the humourous photo to your right and we had a very nice chat. In part 1 of our interview, we talk about the origin of the band’s name and he tells me about Oxford and what it’s been like on their first official tour of North America.

So I’m sat here with Brian Briggs, singer/songwriter of Oxford band Stornoway. Welcome to Washington.
Thank you.

Congratulations on your band being #10 on our list of bands to watch in 2011. How do you feel?
Especially since you said it was a readers’ poll, that means a lot more than if it’s just one person’s opinion, that’s brilliant! I’d like to know who the other nine (bands) are…
Sure. You can look on our Web site over the next couple of days as we count them down. Actually, we just got to #6 today.
Okay, great.
Yeah, have a look at our Web site.
Will do.

Let’s start with your band’s name. The first time I heard it, I knew nothing about Stornoway, the place. So it sounded pretty mystical to me. And then I looked it up and found out it was a place in Scotland, in the Outer Hebrides.
That’s right.
How did you come to the name?
Well, pretty much by the same process that you just described. We were looking for somewhere that sounded a bit distant and remote and coastal. And it was a very long process, and quite a fun process that I think every band goes through trying to get the right band name. And we had a massive list, pages and pages, and the only thing that they had in common was that they were all slightly coastal or maritime-themed. So we were looking in books about knots and, I dunno, guides to natural history of the seashore. And we tried quite a few out and they all failed, and this (Stornoway) was the only one that stuck, and it was reinforced by the fact that if you see at the BBC weather forecast, Stornoway is up there…so we get this wonderful free promotion every time there’s a weather report.
You mentioned you wanted something coastal, maritime…tell me more about that.
Oxford is obviously like the furthest point from the sea in the UK. I am a very outdoorsy person, and all my happiest times have been at the sea, either working…I did a lot of conservation work, or on holiday. So I find it a source of inspiration, and a lot of the songs have a slight coastal theme to them, and that was the one thing I knew just had to feature in the band name.

On the internet, there’s a description about how you and Jon (Ouin, multi-instrumentalist) met at Oxford at Fresher’s Week. Fact or fiction?
That’s true, yeah yeah.
And Teenage Fanclub was involved?
That’s right, yeah. Jon had this massive hair and beard and he looked like one of the members of Teenage Fanclub. Our first conversation was about music and that band as well. But it didn’t take long for us to start playing music together in the college. They didn’t have a drum kit or anything but they have a couple of pianos and nice acoustics so we played in the college in whatever spaces were available, really.
Were all four of you at Oxford?
We were all in Oxford but not all at the university. It was just Jon and I at the university and we advertised for a bass (player) and a drummer once we decided to form a band. Oli (Steadman), our bassist, was the only person who replied to our advert, so obviously that meant we had to take him. And then it turns out that his brother (Rob) was a drummer, but it took a while before we took Rob along to audition because he was only 15 at the time and we thought it might create problems at gigs. But once he finally persuaded us to let him come and audition, we instantly knew he was the chosen one. We just all clicked together. [smiles]

I also read that at Oxford, you were studying ornithology, birds. (Watching the video below for ‘Watching Birds’ – the title now makes complete sense. And I enjoyed the ‘NOTORIOUS PHD’ label on the back of Brian Briggs’s robe. However, having met both Briggs and Oli Steadman, I don’t believe for one minute that they are fighters! )
That’s right.
So how did you get into that field? You mentioned wildlife…
Well, that’s what I expected to be doing as a career, really. I…yeah, the two greatest passions of mine are music and wildlife. Wildlife was the more likely career option but I guess I had this dream I might be able to play music. So yeah…I was studying ducks in southwest London, trying to work out how to protect them from waterskiiers…and yeah, at the end of my studies there (at Oxford) was when the band took off in a more significant way, so the hobby and the day job have swapped. So the birds take second place.
[laughs] But they’re still there (in your life)…
Yeah, they’re still there!
I totally understand where you’re coming from, because I trained as a biologist but my true love is music.
Oh right.
So I am a biochemistry journal editor by day…
Oh really? [amused]
…yeah, and then I go cover gigs at night. One day I hope to do this (music writing) for a living. So talking to you, it’s really great to see that you can do what you’ve dreamed of.
No, definitely. I definitely don’t take it for granted.

Continue reading 10 for 2011 Interview: Brian Briggs of Stornoway (Part 1)


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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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