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Video of the Moment #434: The Airborne Toxic Event

By on Friday, 18th March 2011 at 6:00 pm

One of the first bands I ever covered as a blogger, the Airborne Toxic Event will be releasing their highly anticipated second album ‘All at Once’ in late April. The first single from the album, ‘Changing’, dropped in February (our review of the single here), and here’s the promo video for the song. It starts with self-deprecation – the first violin strains of their massive hit ‘Sometime After Midnight’ before getting the band to a bar, where they perform the tune in a relaxed atmosphere: in the company of appreciative fellow musicians. Nice one.


The Airborne Toxic Event goes out on the road in the UK on April. Read Braden’s interview with Mikel and Daren from the band at London Heaven here.


Interview: Mikel Jollett and Daren Taylor of the Airborne Toxic Event

By on Tuesday, 15th March 2011 at 12:00 pm

In the games room somewhere in London’s Heaven, the Airborne Toxic Event’s frontman Mikel Jollett and drummer Daren Taylor join me before their much anticipated live return to the UK.

“We woke up in Hamburg, flew over here and made it to the venue. We’ve got the show and then we’re back on a plane to Europe,” says Jollett, a half smile on his face. “I feel lucky to be doing this. We’re partway through a kind of six country residency at the moment, the travel’s been rough, but I do feel lucky to be here.” Indeed, three weeks into a 6-week residency tour, the band have certainly thrown themselves onto the road pre-album. Even without the release of ‘All at Once’ (out the 25th of April), they’ve noticed the fans knowing the words to new tracks. “Germany feels like the UK did 2 years ago. In Hamburg 2 nights ago, they knew the words to ‘Changing’. It was kind of strange,” Jollet tells me in a strange German accent. “Oh these buckets of rain,” sings Daren.

When a band like touring this much, it’s no surprise the crowds keep coming. From playing to 30 people to selling out Shepherds Bush in the space of 4 months or so, their first album launched them to cult heroes in the UK. Back home in Los Angeles, the same thing happened. Live album ‘All I Ever Wanted’ was recorded at the Walt Disney Hall to over 2,000 fans. “It was sort of stupid. We were asked to do this insane show, so we wanted to put together the biggest thing we could. It was literally us running around getting everything together. We didn’t have a production team or anything. Then this documentary team approached us so we got to have it all filmed,” Mikel recalls. “It was nice to have something like that to look back upon instead of just having the record out,” adds Daren. “Yeah, but it felt a bit silly to do it so early on as far as how many records we’ve had, but it was such a great night to have had.”

Where to go from here then? After playing with two symphony orchestras in the past, they want to be able to play with a full orchestra should anything huge be possible. It’s not the easiest thing to put together though. “It’s a bit like riding a 50 foot wave really. You’re being carried and there’s no way off so you just have to ride it out. It’s really cool to be able to do it though, especially when you notice something you hadn’t heard before,” says Daren. “Yeah, like when you’re playing something, and you’re like, oh wow, that’s a nice bit in the flutes, or something like that.” Possible locations? Madison Square, the Rose Bowl? “We could do it over here at the O2 or somewhere. I don’t know if the size of the venue is a good indication though, I want to see people get wrapped up in the songs and themes like we do.”

There’s definitely a progression through ‘All at Once’. Just like their eponymous debut, it has its themes and main ideas. Jollett’s writing style lends itself to short stories with an almost sonnet like style and after spending a year between writing and recording, they’re glad to be playing the songs to audiences. “It’s refreshing as shit,” states Daren. “To be able to play these new songs is pretty exciting.”

At this point, I should tell you something. The Airborne Toxic Event do not believe in genre, so if this bit gets confusing and list like, that’s why.

‘All at Once’ as a phrase, isn’t, as I originally thought, about how the band went from obscurity to huge shows in half a year. Thank God for that! This is not a record about the pains of the road or any of that junk that unravels a lot of promising bands on their second album. No, this album’s about scenarios that change your life. “You go through life thinking everything’s a kind of evolution, but I think it’s more based around all these major events in your life. You go into somewhere as one person, then something happens and you’re not the person you were five minutes before,” explains Mikel. “Everything changes really quickly and the tracks try to deal with that. When you write a record, you can cut deep or wide. We actually want to do both.”

The band are clearly proud of what they’ve made, but they’re reluctant to state what kind of record it is. “Well, it’s got a foot in a lot of places from folk to classical, as well as rock and roll and electronic. We’re just musicians who follow our instincts. Like, my iPod can go from Johnny Cash to the Knife, Bloc Party, Fleetwood Mac and Sleigh Bells,” says Mikel.  The band don’t really seem to adhere to the labels set about them. They don’t sit down and discuss how something should define their guitar sound or drum pattern. They use their diversity as a factor to arrange their music just to be as good as they can. “The idea that you have to stick to one genre is really dated. Even people who say that hate something will make an exception, because it’s fucking music! It’s rhythm and melody!” Jollett exclaims. They do agree on one thing though. “…but modern country is just shit in a bag.”

‘All at Once’, the second album from the Airborne Toxic Event, is out on the 25 April in the UK. Lead single ‘Changing’ is out now (review on TGTF here). The band goes on tour in the UK in April. Below is the ‘Bombastic’ video performance of ‘All for a Woman’, a track on the new album.



Live Review: The Airborne Toxic Event with Morning Parade and Sissy and the Blisters at London Heaven – 10th February 2011

By on Tuesday, 22nd February 2011 at 2:00 pm

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster for the Airborne Toxic Event over the last two years. They’ve risen from obscurity to playing huge theatres with symphony orchestras, selling out increasingly big concerts along the way. All of this, let’s not forget, was on the back of their debut album that seems so distant now. Their second album is now finished and they’ll be out promoting that then, but tonight, the HMV Next Big Thing festival has called them to London Heaven for one of the biggest shows of the fortnight. You can’t help but think that the name of the event doesn’t quite fit the act on stage, but without anything to promote, this is a real fans’ show.

First though, come two of the brightest sparks on the English music scene. First up are Essex’s Morning Parade. With their mix of mainstream rock influences from electronic through to punk, they light up the stage with the soaring Under the Stars and new single ‘A&E’. They don’t exactly rock the place to its core, but for an act that few assembled know, they do a good job. Which is kind of interesting, comparatively that is. Sissy and the Blisters do things loud, brash and tamely angry, if you can put the two words together. Their lead singer storms around the stage like a bonafide rock star and their music isn’t far from it either. Imagine if the Horrors all suddenly got angry and wrote it all down, and you’ve got something similar to the energy of Sissy and the Blisters. The crowd may not have known either of tonight’s support acts, but with such diversity between them, everyone’s bound to be listening to one of those acts after the night’s done.

The Airborne Toxic Event tonight have nothing to gain or lose. This is the nearest to the calm before the storm they’ll probably get for quite some time when second record ‘All at Once’ is released. Not that anyone’s told them that. They’re going for it as they would every night, with passion and commitment to the brilliant live sound they’re becoming renowned for. New tracks feature heavily, but they’re subsided with their power and the crowd’s dedication to enjoying every minute. ‘All I Ever Wanted’, which features on the band’s live album of the same name, appears to have already been learnt by fans, as is new single ‘Changing’, which brings a smile to the band’s faces.

“Speaking of…little Miss Catherine…” begins the song ‘Happiness is Overrated’, but is continued by frontman Mikel Jollett joking with, “who doesn’t know that thousands of people in London are singing about her right now” before engaging in a huge singalong of “Sorry, I really lost my head…”, really demonstrating the great connection the Airborne Toxic Event share with their fans. They’re hugely appreciative of the fans that gained them such a quick and loyal following, and it really shows. ‘Sometime Around Midnight’ is, as expected, the biggest track of the evening, as the emotions around the venue tonight really sweep me away as if everyone in the room can relate to such a personal track’s soul.

All that said, it’s not a melancholy affair at all. Everyone present’s enjoying themselves, and I can spot bobbing heads and mouthed lyrics all the way to the back bar throughout (I checked). The new tracks demoed tonight don’t show a step away from the sounds of their self-titled record, but they show a maturing in both musicianship and lyric writing. Everything abouttThe Airborne Toxic Event that their followers love is still there, and now it’s even more refined, without losing its edge. Gasoline is a huge way to close the set and night closer All At Once is a real benchmark for their future. Where 2011 will take this band, I’m not sure, but at the current rate, the sky’s the limit.


The Airborne Toxic Event / April 2011 UK/Irish Tour

By on Wednesday, 16th February 2011 at 8:30 am

The Airborne Toxic Event will be playing a series of shows in the UK and Ireland, come April. They will be playing a series of five gigs in London as part of their ‘Origins’ tour (residencies in London, Los Angeles and New York City). A presale on their official Web site begins today (16 February) with a general sale beginning on Friday (18 February).

Monday 4th April 2011 – Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Tuesday 5th April 2011 – Manchester Academy 2
Wednesday 6th April 2011 – Glasgow QMU
Friday 8th April 2011 – Leeds Cockpit
Saturday 9th April 2011 – Dublin Academy
Sunday 10th April 2011 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Monday 18th April 2011 – London secret show (“open to season ticket holders only”; see their official Web site for more details)
Tuesday 19th April 2011 – London Dublin Castle
Wednesday 20th April 2011 – London Camden Barfly
Thursday 21st April 2011 – London King’s College
Friday 22nd April 2011 – London Koko


Single Review: The Airborne Toxic Event – Changing

By on Tuesday, 25th January 2011 at 12:00 pm

The Airborne Toxic Event have been touring seemingly continuously since the release of their self-titled album in 2008. One of the hard-working bands in the music business today, they are quick to note that they are from Los Feliz part of Los Angeles, far, far away from the bright lights of Hollywood that everyone assumes they are from, since so many bios on them say they are from LA. Somewhat similar to what Everything Everything did with the Man Alive Ensemble shows, they worked with their friends the Calder Quartet for a series of ‘acoustic’ shows, one of which took place in Washington that I feel honoured to have attended. They also put out a live CD/DVD (recorded at Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA) related to these shows, ‘All I Ever Wanted’, probably one of the most atmospheric live albums I’ve ever heard.

The band explains their forthcoming single, ‘Changing’, on their official Web site as follows: “The song was originally called ‘Something You Own’. It’s a song about conflict and resolution, resisting and accepting change. But let’s not spend too much time dancing about architecture… Better just to listen and let it become part of the day.” On first impression, it’s not as hard-hitting as songs like ‘Happiness is Overrated’ or ‘This is Nowhere’, which is interesting, considering the band describe their their new album, ‘All at Once’ (due out in Europe on 25th April), as “probably both quieter and louder than our first record. There wasn’t any particular decision to be either like or unlike our first record. In some ways, it is the former; in others, the latter. It’s called ‘All at Once’ because the songs deal with the idea of sudden change…It’s exhilarating. It’s terrifying. It can be monstrously disfiguring. It can be potentially redemptive.”

Despite being given a horrible rating for ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’ from a music review Web site that shall remain nameless (I’m sure you know which one it is), the band have always made music under their own terms. Which really translates into the band being able to make heartfelt, cutting, emotional music that I’ve seen with my own eyes that has meant so much to so many people. Myself included. While ‘Changing’ doesn’t sound all that huge in my book, I’m preparing to be wowed by ‘All at Once’.



‘Changing’ will be released on 1 February on Island; ‘All at Once’, the Airborne Toxic Event’s sophomore album will drop on 25 April.


The Airborne Toxic Event (Acoustic Shows) / October 2010 UK Tour

By on Friday, 10th September 2010 at 9:30 am

The fantastic Airborne Toxic Event with the Calder Quartet will be playing a quartet of shows in the UK on October. Three of them are already sold out but there are still tickets available for the last date at Cardiff’s Millennium Music Hall on the 4th of October.

Their live CD/DVD documentary, ‘All I Ever Wanted’, will be released in the UK on 4 October. For a feel of what the show will be like, read Mary’s review of the opening night of their American acoustic tour. The trailer for the documentary is included below.

Friday 1st October 2010 – Edinburgh Pleasance Theatre
Saturday 2nd October 2010 – Manchester Deaf Institute
Sunday 3rd October 2010 – London Union Chapel
Monday 4th October 2010 – Cardiff Millennium Music Hall



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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.

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