Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Summer Days, Drifting Away…

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

One of the best things about being home here in the UK has been dropping straight in to festival season, I really couldn’t have timed it better. So, as the weather turns and we head into spooky autumnal October, I thought I’d reflect on my best bits of summer.

My Top 3 of 2016:

Bluedot 22nd June-24th June, Jodrell Bank

Wow! Right, ummm. Bluedot was all about the science. SCIENCE! Being up at the site of the Lovell Telescope was mindblowing. The festival was basically perfect for me, with exactly the right balance of science, music and comedy. Plus a whole bunch of stands where actual IRL physicists were answering questions, at whom I just shouted SCIENCE through sheer exhilaration at being in their presence.

There was a beautiful, pop-up planetarium, fashioned out of wood triangles and tent, which was an exact mathematical dome, even though it was hand-built and portable. I also ate the best cheese toastie of my life. Bluedot was a field full of nerds, my favourite genre of people. The only negatives were there were only chemical toilets and the festival was very majority white men.

Highlights: Planetarium Show with history of Jodrell Bank, Large Hadron Collider demo, Pulsars & Explosions talks, 65 Days Of Static, Public Service Broadcasting, Gwenno, camping right next to a mini radio telescope.

Afropunk 24th September, Alexandra Palace

A poc, feminist, queer-friendly event, Afropunk was one of the best things I’ve ever been to. Re-entering the patriarchal, white supremacist world again after just a few hours in Ally Pally was strange and scary after that wonderful feeling of a world without those oppressive aggressive forces. I cannot imagine what it would have been like for all the black and brown people whose space it was. I’m super grateful that I was able to go to this event, a celebration of black music and culture. The set-up was perfect, with two main stages alternating acts and a second room full of stalls and another stage.

All the music was brilliant and all the fashion and dancing was amazing. As one Vice journalist recently wrote “Afropunk made Fashion Week look like trash”. There were no negatives at this event for me.

People often ask how they can be better allies, or what they can do to “help” oppressed groups. I have been guilty of asking this kind of question before. As a person with a great deal of white privilege and some gender privilege. The best answer I’ve ever heard is “just shut the fuck up and listen”.

Stop asking the question, stop interrupting, stop trying to help people who don’t need any help, stop inputting on conversations that are not yours, stop trying to prove how ‘good’ you are. This is not your space, this is someone else’s space. Show up, be counted, stand next to people and do not let hate happen in your presence. But mostly Shhhhhh. Listen. That’s all.

Highlights: Big Joanie, Skinny Girl Diet, Young Fathers, Lady Leshurr, Youth Man, Nova Twins, Laura Mvula.

Supernormal 5th August-8th August, Braziers Park

Set in the stunning grounds of an activist commune, this festival had visual and aural experiments everywhere. The sparse programming left a lot of time for thought and reflection, collaboration and creation. The night skies were stunning and I felt pretty honoured to be able to be there in the company of nature and such weird and wonderful artistic minds. The site was covered in beautiful hand-built structures made only days before the festival. The only negative at this one for me is that there is a lot of class privilege within the activist worlds and the artist worlds, so gathering those two worlds together, I didn’t find my own sense of belonging.

Highlights: SamSam Big Band, Melanie Clifford, Moonseer, Graham Dunning & Lina Lapelyte & Angarad Davies.

Duchovny Dad Dancing

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

Well, what a night! After hearing the fantastic news that Sadiq Khan is our new London Mayor, I hot-footed it down to Islington to meet a couple of friends from Manchester.

I was lucky enough to get the HOT TICKET of the pre-festival season to go to see David Duchovny perform at Union Chapel. It is, of course, a beautiful venue and always a pleasure to be there, the church surroundings and lighting design didn’t disappoint and his band are very talented musicians.

Duchovny seemed to love self-consciously performing as a rock star rather than singing the songs with meaning, which meant some of the lyrical content was lost. He wandered through the crowd on occasion, who played along and reached out to touch him. I mean, who wouldn’t want to touch David Duchovny?! Some people were even singing along, it was super cute.

I won’t mention the songwriting on his album Hell or Highwater or his singing but the in-between banter was great; he is clever, charming, self-deprecating and very funny.

The best part of all was his out-of-time weird chicken robot dancing. The whole thing felt like when someone has a really great band at their wedding but the bride’s dad gets up to ‘do a few numbers’ with them. It was such a joyous experience I giggled throughout.

He was having such a great time on stage that I just couldn’t hate it. No matter how hard I tried.

Films, Music, Films

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

I’ve spent my days so far wandering the streets again, going on long bus rides on my own, seeing all the old buildings I missed while I was away, and reconnecting with close friends.

My first week-and-a-half back in London coincided with BFI Flare. I can’t say this was pure coincidence. Queer Christmas, as it is comfortingly called by some of my favourite queers, is an annual celebration of what it means to be LGBTIQ+ in London. There are films galore and DJs play most of the nights in one or both of the bars.

So some of my evenings have been mis-spent, in the best possible way, at the BFI surrounded by gorgeous sexy people of all genders and sexualities.

Femme Brutal is a documentary about an Austrian burlesque troupe based in Vienna. The documentary included interviews with groups of two or more of the seven performers. These interviews were conversational and relaxed, showing the humour and shared chemistry between the people involved in the brutal, kinky burlesque shows.
Interspersed was footage from performances, shot as artistically as possible, with close-ups of bodies and the performances adjusted to work to camera, which ensured the people watching the film were as involved and included as if they were in a live audience. The final sequence was an elaborate power-play of sexiness between two of the performers.

I left flabbergasted, overwhelmed with joy at being home where I belong.

That weekend I went to the Roundhouse to see some performances as part of Roundhouse Rising, most of note was a stunning improvised collaboration between sound artist Gawain Hewitt and countertenor Patrick Terry, based on the theme of ‘water’. The set-up included a bowl of water containing a hydrophone, into which Patrick sang, and a large soundboard with waves painted onto it where the triggers were.

I couldn’t believe it had been improvised, the whole piece was so perfectly delivered.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit some of the young people’s pieces of work down in the Roundhouse Studios too. Audio Collective, made up of 11-25 year olds, has been working over the last few months on some sound art of their own, developed around the idea of water. The three pieces of art I saw were stunning and in great contrast to one another. It was easy to imagine them all within a gallery context, being interacted with and critiqued by pretentious art-types. My favourite was a piece created from sine waves and hospital drips, it was genius.

Then, back to the BFI for a night of three short films as part of the Glitter, Slush, Neon, Cake selection.

The first was a beautifully touching German story about a young teenager spending the summer with her younger maths tutor and her older ballet teacher. The second was a trashy Brazillian high school drama full of magic and lust.

The final film of the evening was a perfect honouring of femme sex workers set in a fictional American building called The Palace. It was just so wonderful, I wanted to dive into the film and spend the night adventuring with them.

Milk and Water

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Here it is!

My new single, Milk and Water is now available as a pay what you like one-track download on Bandcamp.

This will be the last release for a while. Thank you everyone who’s come to any of my gigs over the last 2 years and all of you who’ve bought my music or listened to it online.

Extra thanks to some special people who’ve given me the best advice I could ever ask for. I hope I can live up to their and my own expectations.

After the next few shows I’ll be focusing entirely on what I’m here for in the first place – music. So please bear with me while I work hard quietly away from you.

I promise you’ll get to hear it all eventually! Peace, I’m out.

This Summer Will Be Yours

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Okay folks

In celebration of what is about to be The Best Summer Of My Life, I’ve made you a super special totally awesome summer playlist: This Summer Will Be Yours

Enjoy!

(and for those of you not on Spotify, here’s the tracklisting)

Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon Urge Overkill

Atomic Blondie

Yeah Buddy Pulled Apart By Horses

The Boys Are Back In Town Thin Lizzy

School’s Out Alice Cooper

Cool Rider Michelle Pfeiffer

I Lust You Neon Neon

Heart Shaped Box Nirvana

See My Evil Tom Williams & The Boat

There’s A Rockstar In My Room Let’s Wrestle

Life In Paper Fucked Up

Forget The Swan Dinosaur Jr

Times Of Grace Neurosis

Loser Beck

I’ve Been Thinking Handsome Boy Modelling School ft Cat Power

I Will Follow You Into The Dark Death Cab For Cutie

Purple Rain Prince

Come Outside Melodica, Melody & Me

$200 Tattoo Eels

Floor Micachu

Cigarette Ben Folds

Move On Singing Adams

Honey All Over Gruff Rhys

Dumb Nirvana

Angel Sized Something Beginning With L

Mulder and Scully Catatonia

I Will Not Give In Let’s Wrestle

31 Pills Chris T-T

Cover Me Bjork (Dilinja Remix)

Nightclubbing Zombie Zombie

All Of The Lights Kanye West

Learning Curves Lianne Hall

Rainy June

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

IMG_0349

Argh! So much has happened since I did a proper blog I don’t know where to start. With a list of course!

  • In October 2010 I had the start of my first ever tattoo. It was finished in February 2011 and is one of the best things I’ve ever done. I love it and I am so grateful to the artist Henry Hate. He is like the Juliette Binoche character from Chocolat but for tattoos. I went in with an idea and came out with my soul on my skin.
  • I did my first ever solo tour of the UK. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to book any Wales gigs this time round but I’m hoping to soon enough. I went to Bristol, Cambridge, Glasgow and Ayr. The Scottish gigs were with tour buddy Dave Hughes who is like a cross between Shane MacGowan and Macaulay Culkin and knows more about Bruce Springsteen than anyone I know. I had tonnes of fun and adventures along the way. The new set-up using a small 80s keyboard rather than my big full-size one works much better (even though it does leave me with nothing to hide behind!).
  • I have new hair. It is short-ish and blonde. I adore it. The best hairdresser I’ve ever had did it. You can find her on Twitter. If I ever get a world tour, Sapphire is coming with me to do my hair.
  • I finally got to the Out Of This World exhibition at the British Library. It is fantastic. The only frustrating thing is not being able to touch and smell the original copies of these wonderful books. I will be going back again before it finishes.
  • My favourite wannbe-rollergirl’s boyfriend arranged an incredible birthday surprise treasure hunt for her around the National Galleries and Trafalgar Square. Her closest friends all dressed up as characters from her two favourite stories: Alice In Wonderland and Mary Poppins. It caused a bit of a ruckus when security tried to chuck us out though and we ended up being chased by around 7 security guards. It all ended in a tea party. I was the Cheshire Cat, obvs.

Future things:

  • The Very Exciting Thing I am doing is now underway. I still can’t say much about it but as soon as I can I will let you know. At the moment it is just in the research stages.
  • I booked my first holiday for about 5 years: In October I’ll be visiting one of my best friends in Bangkok then we’re also going to Bali too! I almost fainted when I read the confirmation emails. I have been ordered I’m not allowed to do any work at all while I’m there. I might have to sneak some online time to dispel any withdrawal symptoms!
  • The new single Milk and Water is almost ready. It has been a labour of love.
  • The artist development programme I created for Drake Music has finally been given a little bit of money for the first session. I’m really looking forward to it although it means more work for me!
  • Lots of changes have happened that make me think East London might not be the place for me soon, I love it here and of course my heart will always belong to London but I’m thinking more and more about moving away. I won’t be going too far and I’m sure you’ll read about this in the forthcoming year.
  • And FINALLY I am planning my next party. It won’t be until the autumn and will have a very different feel as well as be a more ‘exclusive’ event. More to follow!

So all in all a transforming few months. Not sure what’s next, which is (as you know) how I like it. Exciting times. #followthesigns

Me and The Beatles

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

All my music is produced at home. My set-up is very basic and I have limited knowledge about sound engineering. This suits me fine (for now) as I am not rich and I prefer minimal/rough sounds. It also gives me the opportunity to learn more and to retain complete creative control over the final tracks.

I’d like to share a story with you about some work I’ve been doing recently on the new single Milk And Water:

The lovely Simon Askew (well-known BBC producer and engineer) has very kindly been offering me some advice about production. In April I sent him links to The Angel EP and also a rough draft of the new single.

Many people have listened to The Angel and I’ve had a lot of great feedback but nobody has said this:

“…The first thing is both that mix and the Angel EP is all in mono! Is this deliberate? If so I think it’s wrong!”

No Simon, no. This was not deliberate.

Full disclosure: I didn’t actually know.

Through several weeks of email exchanges I rewired and panned and sweated and screamed, and continued to hate the massive gaps in my music technology expertise.

Finally ready to export the track to send a new version to Simon, I noticed a small drop-down box giving the options to export in mono, stereo split or stereo interleaved.

That’s right folks, a small drop-down box in the middle of my screen. I had seen this menu on everything I’ve ever mixed for the past 2 years and at no point had I thought: “I wonder what that’s for…”

Seriously. I am an idiot.

Like The Beatles, my recordings up until now have been in mono. This has the potential to go down in history as one of those hilarious early music making stories. Or perhaps not. Maybe I could pretend I intended it that way and release my own boxset.

Go ahead, listen to The Angel EP on Spotify or Bandcamp with fresh ears. Mono.

Me and The Beatles in Mono.

Cool.

[please note the new single will be in stereo, like I'm a normal person]

I Heart Joey

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

The incredible joey2tits (Twitter, Myspace) has done a pretty spectacular remix of The Angel.

I am entirely blown away.

I can’t thank you enough Joey.

The angel (joey2tits remix)

At The Gates Of 2011

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Welcome to 2011. None of us have any money and many don’t have access to adequate healthcare, social services or education. But we do have a fresh start. We have each other. And music. There’s always the music.

Aims/Hopes:

Play loads of gigs

Finish the next single and the album

Find Toto

Get taken to Japan [Shut up, it could totally happen]

Visit California and Thailand

Dance more

Live consciously and give to others

Playlist (on Spotify)

The Tin Man Grasscut

Second Life Zach Hill

Made By Maid Laura Marling

Why Do You Let Me Stay Here She & Him

Every Exception Has Its Rule Blood Command

Fallen Angel Poison

Seasons of Love Cast of Rent

It Takes Blood And Guts To Be This Cool Skunk Anansie

Sweet Dreams Eurythmics

Shitlist L-7

Dancing In The Dark Bruce Springsteen

I Punched A Lion In The Throat Pulled Apart By Horses

Little Lion Man Mumford & Sons

Cliffs Karen O & the kids

28 Days Later London Music Works

London Is The Reason Gallows

London Loves Blur

Olympian She Makes War

You Don’t Own Me Dusty Springfield

Love The Lie Sage Francis

Pretty Good Year Tori Amos

It Had To Be You Harry Connick Jr

(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction Cat Power

Friendship Station Le Tigre

Next Girl The Black Keys

Where Is My Mind? Pixies

Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t've) The Buzzcocks

Somewhere Over The Rainbow Judy Garland

News News News

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I was so pleased to be longlisted for the Just A Girl competition and although disappointed not to get through, I was touched I was even included at all amongst some real talent. Thank you to everyone who voted and to The Girls Are for their support.

The gorgeous and a little bit wonderful She Makes War (Warrior Grrl) has invited me to play at her album launch on Tuesday 19th October.

It is on a boat, is free entry and is going to be made of awesome. You should all totally come.

____

Also, I’m very excited to announce I will be playing Midwinter Picnic 3 in Brighton on 16th January. The line-up is phenomenal and I am very honoured to be playing.

It is a charity event and tickets always sell out so you should get in there early to buy yours, here.

____

Lots of exciting things have happened since I last wrote anything on here so here’s a little list:

  • I forgot to tell you, I finally got to see Fucked Up. Many months have gone by now but they were as brilliant live as people said and I wasn’t disappointed. I saw Trash Talk at the same gig and they were just wonderful (although not so good when I saw them again at Offset). Their bassist is also one of the hottest men in rock music.
  • The Scouting Book For Boys came out on DVD, you should all totally go out and buy it or order it on your Lovefilm list or whatever the kids are doing nowadays
  • Hackney Family member Chud and I went to see Sage Francis supported by B Dolan at the Scala in London, it was without doubt the best gig I’ve been to. Ever (so far). The only downside was the crowd. The front was full of people just kind of getting it on a shallow level, getting in everyone’s way and generally being idiots.  The people who got it on a proper intellectual level (as well as musically) were standing at the back rather than getting involved. The performances were simply mindblowing and I will never forget the encore with both of them on stage joined by Scroobius Pip.
  • I did a thing and another thing.
  • Dry the River played the Twisted Licks Pakistan fundraiser. It was a great day, I got very drunk with my friends and the band was awesome. It was lovely to see the boys again after our crazy funs in summer.
  • I met one of my favourite people off the internets for the first time. She is amazing and it just goes to show, if you follow your instincts you’re usually right.
  • Lexapalooza 2010 was lovely (no surprise there). I saw old friends and new. I also discovered the pure genius of Justice Force 5. This annual festival is in aid of Breast Cancer Campaign, if you haven’t donated to them already, you can contact them to make a donation.
  • Some friends took me to the rollerderby. Hot girls, rollerskates, alcohol, cake, complex rules, watching people fall over… what’s not to love? My teams won both bouts, I should’ve placed some bets.

Some very exciting secret things are happening soon and I’m getting to see my heroes Scroobius Pip and Dan le Sac in November… more about all that later!

My two only pieces of sad news are:

I’m not going to Swn Festival this year, I will go to Wales soon for a visit but Swn clashes with the Just A Girl final. I was trying to go to both but it just became impossible.

In November, the Girls of the Penthouse are all moving on. I’m yet to find a new home but I’m pretty sure it is going to be amazing wherever it is. I can’t tell you how happy I am for Clare and Sandi who are both taking the plunge and moving in with their fellas. Love is awesome.