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Quickfire Questions #46: Vasco da Gama

 
By on Tuesday, 4th June 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Liverpool’s Vasco da Gama wowed early punters on the second day of Liverpool Sound City this year (read coverage and watch a live video of them here), so naturally we thought we’d be cheeky and ask them to answer our Quickfire Questions. They were only too kind to oblige. Read their answers below.

What song is your earliest musical memory?
David: ‘Opposites Attract’ by Paula Abdul. I was really into the music video where Paula seemed to be in the beginnings of a romantic relationship with an animated cat.

What was your favourite song as a child?
David: ‘Monster’ by the funk metal band Extreme. I used to play wrestling with my big brother when I was about 7 and that was my characters theme tune. I can’t remember the character’s name but he wore a dressing gown and sometimes face paint.

What song makes you laugh?
Lynny: The Brass Eye ‘Cake’ song. Chris Morris presents a ‘blip’ sound and persuades his guest that under the influence of a made up drug ‘cake’ the user hears a mash up grind core track due to their altered perception of time that drags on and on. It’s funny.

What song makes you cry?
John: ‘Lonely Does It’ by Forget Cassettes. Seek it out, listen to the lyrics and try to hold it together when the ‘oohs’ kick in.

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.)
Joe: ‘Marry Me John’ by St. Vincent. It was 2008 on a warm spring evening in the Glee comedy club in Birmingham.

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.)
John: I used to work in a venue where they had 14+ gigs, which is great for young bands to get gigging experience, except that every single one of them always covered ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles. Every single one. Usually quite badly. So while I still like the original, sadly it does now call to mind the wibbly basslines and fudged lyrics of all those well-meaning but horribly inept covers.

Which song (any song written in the last century) do you wish you’d written yourself?

John: There are loads, but the one that springs to mind is ‘Tomorrow Tomorrow’ by Elliott Smith as I’ve never been able to write anything that simple that was any good.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
John: Irvine Welsh. His stuff can be incredibly brutal but he’s also capable of beautiful and poetic prose. As far as lyrics go, I think James Mercer from The Shins balances obscure imagery and relatable sentiment really well.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
John: Well, if I wasn’t lucky enough to be making an absolute fortune from Vasco, I’d probably be working in, say, a bar, trying desperately to find enough time and money to keep doing music. Imagine that.

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.)
John: THAT’S TOO HARD. I’ll just say ‘Killec’ by Marvin’s Revolt as, despite being quite short, it’s got pretty much everything that’s good about guitar music.

Many thanks to the guys for answering our questions and Kim for sorting this out for us!

 

Liverpool Sound City 2013: Mary’s Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 15th May 2013 at 1:00 pm
 

Sound City 2013, day 2, began with me waking up to the strains of a Reverend and the Makers‘ YouTube playlist blaring out of John’s iPad. Mission accomplished from the previous night, I’d say. We headed into the convention portion of the festival and my first stop was a radio pluggers’ panel with heavyweights of the radio industry, including 6music’s Chris Hawkins, Radio2’s Janice Long, and 6music producer Julie Cullen. As a regular BBC Radio music listener, it was really interesting to hear the presenters and producers’ takes on why radio is still so strong in Britain.

Janice Long said, “people love the intimacy of radio…[the fact that] they’re being offered something”, and I agree. Getting to know your presenters, I find, is especially important on whether or not I trust or would listen to that person’s recommendations. While by no means do I enjoy every single band that Lammo has trotted out on his New Favourite Band weekly feature, or in the same respect Huw Stephens on his specialist show, there are so many bands I never would have of heard of if either hadn’t played them on their shows. It was also heartening to hear that the panelists all welcome hearing demos from bands, just asking that the CDRs be labelled clearly and properly with the band name and song title, or even better, be provided a Soundcloud downloadable link that can be shared and spread between colleagues, should the song take their fancy and they want to actually play it on radio. I also had a chat with Chris Hawkins and that feature on TGTF is forthcoming soon.

After having some food and drink at a very cool, nonalcoholic cafe called the Brink, it was time to split up again, and then I was off to see Vasco da Gama, named after the Portuguese explorer who circumnavigated around the tip of Africa, not to be confused with the strange typo on the programme of Vasco da Gamma, as if they had some Greek relations. They play a wonky, punky, art rock kind of style that is not all unlike their fellow DIY Liverpudlians Hot Club de Paris, who’ve gone quiet. Vasco benefitted from the delay of the start of Taiwanese band Echo, who were having trouble with their soundcheck just across the way at the Garage. Watch a bit of their performance below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6EiPIrDbfs[/youtube]

The singer of Taiwan’s Echo certainly wins, hands down, the longest note held during this year’s Sound City. Check out the video below. When you’re an unknown band to the city you’re in, you’ve got to really bring it, and Echo’s singer jumped onto the barrier and into the sparse crowd and just let loose this amazing scream. Even if you don’t understand Chinese, there is no denying that the band sound great instrumentally and have a good command of melody, as you will see in the video. Now if they could just record one song in English language…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATPXDaDGH4E[/youtube]

Funnily enough, next John and I ended up at the same place, with John not even knowing I was in the same room. In a true example of regional representation, a selection of Norwich bands appeared at Sound Food and Drink, a cafe that oddly did not vacate its tables and move them in time for the evening’s performances. Bad form. Or maybe they just wanted to discourage people from cramming themselves in there. The premise of Wooden Arms was promising: a band made of mostly classical string instrument-playing members, singing in multi-part harmony. Unfortunately, live they translated to something far more boring than I would have guessed.

So I was off again and to the east to the East Village Arts Club, where the bouncer inconveniently directed me to the wrong place for Manchester’s NO CEREMONY///. Like fellow Mancunians WU LYF, NO CEREMONY/// have tried to maintain a mysterious vibe about themselves, with overly dark, goth-y videos that show no hint of what the band actually look like. So I just assumed the band must be two blokes with oodles of synthesisers. Not exactly. The band live is fronted by a bass-toting woman and while there are two men with synths in front of them, one of them does play guitar. As I did suspect, there isn’t a

It was a bit of a hike from where I was to the Black-E, with 3 nights being curated by local Liverpool-centric football, music and culture Web site the Anfield Wrap and featuring only Merseyside-based bands. But being an Liverpool FC fan, I knew I just had to be there at some point in the weekend. I was not disappointed with the Thespians, with a lead singer that looks eerily like Carl Barat. The band even wear black leather jackets and sound at times very Libertines-esque, including abruptly ending some of their songs in that sort of punky, ‘up yours’ kind of way. They explained that their album had already been put out in Japan and all physical copies had been snapped by the record-buying public over there. If that is truly the case, then we should all probably get on this bandwagon now before it turns into a steamroller.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtJLXDVYwKA[/youtube]

Then it was back west and into the centre of the clubbing life for the Chapman Family at Leaf Cafe. I have a couple friends who are massive fans of theirs, so colour me curious, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. They can be depressing topic-wise, but the sheer power of their live performance, not to mention the incredible magnetism of their frontman Kingsley Chapman, make their live set a sight to behold. A hipster couple who quickly took their places right in front of the stage threw their band tote bags under the stage and proceeded to mosh (is that the right word?) to every Chapman Family song, arms and legs flailing in every which way. At some point I was sure one of them would slip and fall but it didn’t happen, they were just so excited to be there.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3gqTtzL4cg[/youtube]

And then it was back to Wolstenholme Square, where I thought I had arrived just in time for Marple’s Dutch Uncles. Cripes. I am very careful about making sure I don’t have clashes in schedule, so I am positive they must have moved up the Duncles’ set by an hour because when I arrived, Unknown Mortal Orchestra was setting up. To say I was upset by the turn of events, especially after loving the new album ‘Out of Touch in the Wild’, is putting it mildly. I was on the verge of tears. But, when in Liverpool, you carry on. I didn’t feel like running to another venue, so I just hung tight at the Arts Academy for the one major band I definitely wanted to see there, Dutch Uncles’ mates Everything Everything.

When you’re thousands of miles away from home, I don’t care who you are, it is an important and touching moment when a band you have supported and followed for a long time acknowledges your presence. Everything Everything’s bassist Jeremy Pritchard, who has always been extremely kind and nice to me every time I have had the pleasure to meet him, only waved to me down in the pit, but it truly meant the world to me. Prior to this, I had only seen them live once, and in an acoustic setting for a charity show 2 days after my birthday in 2011, so I was raring to go to see them play with their full setup. While I still think new album ‘Arc’ is not as strong as ‘Man Alive’, there were plenty of punters willing to disagree with me at the Arts Academy. I thought it was quite strange that they didn’t play ‘MY KZ, UR BF’, but perhaps they are trying to wean themselves away from their past? Possibly. With singles like ‘Kemosabe’ and ‘Cough Cough’, they can afford to do that.

The TGTF crew ended up, rather accidentally, together at Screenadelica at the end of the night, and you can read John’s descriptions of Arcane Roots and Future of the Left in his day 2 roundup. While we were waiting between sets, Duologue, who I recognised from seeing them in a beer garden at this year’s SXSW, bounded out from backstage at the Arts Academy and into Screendelica, the venue directly in the back of it. This Twitter exchange ensued. And yes, Tim, I will touch your face the next time I’m in your proximity!

 
 
 

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