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(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #112: Callum Norton of Broken Hands

 
By on Tuesday, 3rd May 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016 is here! I am now in Toronto, soaking up the sights but avoiding the CN Tower (I’m mostly afraid of heights) and waiting for some of my UK brethren to get here so we can share a plate of poutine. We’re wrapping up our CMW 2016 preview posts and before we get stuck in on the event proper, I’ve got another set of answers to our TGTF Quickfire Questions for you. This time, our kind interviewee is Callum Norton, drummer for Canterbury rockers Broken Hands, who released their debut last autumn. Last week, ahead of their appearances this week in Canada, I posted this live video from their recent BBC Introducing session at Maida Vale for Steve Lamacq at BBC 6 Music. Callum’s brother Dale answered the SXSW 2014 version of the Quickfire Questions 2 years ago, so it’s nice to keep in all the family for this set that are of course CMW 2016 flavoured.

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Energetic space rock.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
RUSH!!!

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
Never been before, CN Tower…a revolving restaurant in the sky! And obviously playing to people we’ve never met!!

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Eagles of Death Metal, for sure.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
SGGE Manual. [I’ve asked around and am still not sure what this is. I’m going to guess it’s something percussion related? – Ed.]

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
We’ve got a couple of festivals coming up in the UK, Isle of Wight and Lodestar Festival. Then lots of writing and some European support dates with Deaf Havana.

We’re now moving on over to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
‘The Okey Cokey’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Happy Birthday’ (‘cos I knew what it meant!)

What song makes you laugh?
Tommy Cooper – ‘Don’t Jump Off the Roof Dad’.

What song makes you cry?
Simon and Garfunkel – ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Lou Reed – ‘Vicious’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Anything by Ellie Goulding.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
Elton John and George Michael – ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Jim James.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Carpet laying.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘ABBA Gold’.

Cheers Callum, we appreciate you answering these! Thanks too to Matt for chasing these up for us.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #111: Aled Rees of Cut Ribbons

 
By on Monday, 2nd May 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

We are now at the actual week of Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016. I know, exciting! And we’re rounding things off in our preview of the festivities with the last few CMW 2016-flavoured Quickfire Questions answered by actual artists scheduled to showcase at the festival. Cut Ribbons released one of my favourite albums of 2015, ‘We Want to Watch Something We Loved Burn’, last summer. We are lucky today to have Aled Rees, guitarist and singer/songwriter of the Welsh band, answering our TGTF questions for us. Which beloved author who favoured a drink (or three) in his time does Aled name as his favourite writer? You’ll have to read on to find out…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Pop with teeth.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
Arcade Fire.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
It’s our first time, we are really excited. We’re looking forward to checking out the sites, going up the CN Tower, all the touristy things really. We are going to have to take a trip outside the city to Niagara Falls too.

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
We’ll catch the bigger names like Eagles of Death Metal and Tegan and Sara for sure. There’s a cool new British band called The Orielles playing, we’ll probably go catch those guys, and we’ll definitely go catch our homeboys and girl HMS Morris! Other than that, just really excited to wander around Toronto discovering new bands and eating lots of poutine!

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Lluan. We are saving the price of a plane ticket by packing our singer in our hand luggage.

You are receiving funding from Arts Council Wales to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with Arts Council Wales and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
They have been incredibly supportive over the last couple of years. It’s organisations like the Arts Council that makes things like this possible.

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
Lots of writing. We are hoping to get the new album finished and get a few of the tracks recorded before the summer festivals begin. There is a lot more acoustic guitar on this new one but that doesn’t mean that they are stripped back and bare, quite the opposite actually.

We’re switching over to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
It’s probably just aimlessly strumming the open strings of my dad’s old Shaftesbury guitar when I was about 3. I must have driven my parents mad. I still have that guitar too.

What was your favourite song as a child?
I can’t really remember but it was probably something folky like Simon and Garfunkel, Tom Paxton or Ralph Mctell.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Word Up’ by Cameo. Whenever I hear that song the thought of that red codpiece always makes me laugh. It reminds me of a back to front baboon.

What song makes you cry?
Sigur Rós – ‘Ára Bátur’ at Abbey Road. When this kids start singing I have to use the old, ‘I have something in my eye’ excuse. Anything by Elliott Smith. His songs are beyond beautiful.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Taylor Swift used to make me feel angry every time I listened to her but through listening to Ryan Adams covering ‘1989’, not so much now.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
There are just so many. I say out loud almost on a daily basis that I wish I had written some song or other. ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen was the most recent to date. That line, “It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift,” is just genius.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
It’s Hemingway. Not so keen on the decimation of the Serengeti or the bull fighting bit but I can fully support his “Write drunk; edit sober” maxim.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’ve always wanted to have a crack at writing a children’s book, so hopefully I would be doing that, but who knows? I could just as easily have become the ringmaster of a cat circus.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
If God said anything at all to me I would have to rethink a lot of things. Also, if I was going to heaven, you would have thought they would already have it.

Thanks Aled for your kind answering of our questions. See you all in Toronto!

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Video of the Moment #2072: White Lung

 
By on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

Talk about fortuitous timing. Or maybe just good advance planning? Vancouver punks White Lung will be participating in Canadian Music Week 2016 next week in Toronto, and they’ll be releasing their newest album ‘Paradise’ on Friday, the 6th of May, on Domino Records. ‘Paradise’ follows 2014’s ‘Deep Fantasy’, described by our John as full of “primeval-punky goodness”.

Today, we’ve got a cut for you from ‘Paradise’, called ‘Below’. It’s another example of their uncompromising attitude, though lead singer Mish Barber-Way describes it as “my Stevie-Nicks-meets-Celine Dion ballad”. Hrm, okay. The video, directed by Richard Bates, Jr., stars actress AnnaLynne McCord, who appeared alongside Barber-Way in the director’s most recent film Trash Fire, and others dressed as Marilyn Monroe lookalikes. Watch the video below. The band will be appearing at CMW next Friday the 6th of May, their album release day, at Velvet Underground at 1 AM. For more on White Lung on TGTF, go here.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #110: Jack Kaye of The Magic Gang

 
By on Thursday, 28th April 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

Not long to go now to Canadian Music Week (CMW) 2016, taking place in Toronto next week! We’re in the midst of our latest TGTF Quickfire Questions campaign, flavoured with what else but questions about artists coming on over to Canada for the event. Today, we’ve got Jack of The Magic Gang, an indie pop band originally from The New Forest who now call Brighton home, answering our list of queries. If you’re coming out to Toronto for CMW, you can catch The Magic Gang Wednesday the 4th of May at the 300 Club at 10 PM; Thursday the 5th of May at Handlebar at 1 AM; and and Friday the 6th of May again at the 300 Club at 11 PM. And now, I’m leaving you in the highly capable hands of Jack…

Describe your music in 3 words (We know, tricky…)
Very special pop.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
Vast.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
First time for all of us! Collectively, we’re pretty excited about eating pancakes and going to thrift stores as well as rocking out of course.

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Even though he’s from the UK, we really want to see Skepta. As far as bands we’ve never seen, we’re excited to hopefully catch The Black Lips.

You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
We have a few friends who have had some amazing opportunities like being able to go and play SXSW because of PRS funding. So it’s clear that they are a foundation who know and care about new music. For us it means we have the opportunity to open a door to a whole new audience who we wouldn’t be able to play in front of otherwise. It’s pretty exciting.

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
We’ll be finishing a new EP for the summer as well as playing some UK festivals. The Great Escape will be incredible, as it’s (Brighton) our hometown. Also super excited for Reading & Leeds.

Now, on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Probably hearing my dad rinse T. Rex hits in our house. ‘Children of the Revolution’ still gets stuck my head occasionally.

What was your favourite song as a child?
I went through the inevitable pop punk phase and ‘Perfect Day’ by the Offspring was a big one for me.

What song makes you laugh?
‘Vicar in a Tutu’ by the Smiths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fe1mSUCB9GA

What song makes you cry?
We had ‘Right Down the Line’ by Gerry Rafferty on in the van last night. That nearly did the trick.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Canada’s very own Travis Bretzer released a song called ‘Billy and I’ a few summers ago around the time I met my wife. I used to listen to it on repeat and I still love it.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
So many! The obvious one has to be ‘God Only Knows’ because its perfect. There’s so much in there, and it’s only around 3 minutes long.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Hands down, a guy named George Saunders. He’s an author from Syracuse in America. He writes short stories and every single one is incredibly funny and moving.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I’m not sure if I’d be successfully doing it, but I’d love to write and produce short films or documentaries.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Oasis – ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’

Many thanks to Jack for answering these, and thanks also to Mike for sorting this out for us.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Live Gig Video: Broken Hands play ‘Four’ for BBC Introducing at Maida Vale

 
By on Wednesday, 27th April 2016 at 4:00 pm
 

Tomorrow night, Broken Hands will be playing their biggest London show today, at Camden’s Dingwalls. The exciting times don’t stop there for the hard-rocking Canterbury band, who like TGTF will be heading out to Toronto next week for Canadian Music Week. They’ll be playing the following shows: Wednesday the 4th of May at the Garrison at 12 AM, Thursday the 5th of May at Drake Underground at 11 PM and later at 2 AM at Sneaky Dees; and Friday the 6th of May at Velvet Underground at 9 PM and later at Smiling Buddha at 1 AM. I’ve broken into a nervous sweat just thinking about all the shows! ::cough, wheeze::

For a taste of the band live, well, you’re in luck. Last week, the South East group were in session live for the BBC at Maida Vale for BBC Introducing, broadcast on Steve Lamacq’s 6 Music drivetime programme. A whole slew of videos were filmed, and this is just one of them, for ‘Four’. The track is one of many highlights from their debut album ‘Turbulence’, which was released back in October on SO Recordings. (Read my review of the LP here.) For the whole suite of videos from Maida Vale, go here, and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. For more on Broken Hands on TGTF, go here.

 

(CMW 2016 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #109: Throwing Shade

 
By on Wednesday, 27th April 2016 at 1:00 pm
 

Hard to believe but I’m just days away from my first Canadian Music Week (CMW) in just a few days, so leading up to the event, we’ll be previewing some of the acts I’m keen on seeing while I’m in Toronto. We’ll be asking some of these artists to answer a special list of Quickfire Questions tailored specifically to CMW 2016. Today, we’re being graced by the presence of DJ / producer / artiste extraordinaire Throwing Shade (real name Nabihah Iqbal), who showcased last month on our continent at SXSW 2016. Given her hard-working musical ethic at home, I was very curious to see what music inspired her as she grew up and what continues to inspire her. Read on…

Describe your music / sound in three words. (We know, tricky…)
Cosmic. Dreamy. Textured.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Canada’?
Drake.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Toronto? Have you been before?
Never been before, so just looking forward to exploring a completely new city

Of the bands who have already been announced (https://cmw.net/music/artists/), do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
Just wanna try and see as much new music as possible.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase for your time at CMW that we might find weird or unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Chocolate wafers.

You are receiving funding from PRS for Music Foundation to make the trip over to the pond to showcase at CMW. Tell us about how you got involved with PRS Foundation and what their funding means to your trip / your career.
PRS for Music Foundation have a strong reputation for supporting new music in the UK and a few people recommended to me that I should apply for funding with them. So I did… And I was lucky enough to receive it! Without their support, my trip to CMW wouldn’t have been possible.

After CMW, what’s up next for you? Writing and recording? TGE / summer festivals / etc.? Do tell!
I’m DJing in Prague straight after CMW. Then back to London where I’ve got quite a hectic schedule of DJ and live dates over the next few weeks. Need to make time for making music too though… So I’ll see how it goes.

Tell us about your time in Austin for SXSW 2016. What were the highlights and lowlights? What was your favourite moment?
SXSW was incredible! It was my first time there. Highlights would have to be my three performances, being part of the Ninja Tune party, meeting Moodyman, seeing SOPHIE play, and meeting lots of great people. Not many lowlights, except the fact that I spent way too much on Uber :-/

We’re going on to our usual list of Quickfire Questions now…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
Michael Jackson – ‘Smooth Criminal’.

What was your favourite song as a child?
Anything by Michael Jackson.

What song makes you laugh?
‘OAR 003-B’ by Oni Ayhun.

What song makes you cry?
Right now, ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’ by Prince.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9l6G2WI8gTo

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.)
Dunno… maybe something off Joanna Newsom’s first album ‘The Milk-Eyed Mender’.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
Joanna Newsom’s second album ‘Ys’.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘Isis’ by Bob Dylan.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Herman Hesse (but I have more than one).

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
Human rights barrister.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
‘My Favourite Things’ by John Coltrane.

Many thanks to Nabihah for her time in answering our questions.

 
 
 

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