Intriguing In Sound And Vision – A Chat With The British DIY Songstress STEPH SWEET

STEPH SWEET is a most intriguing DIY indie songstress/musician, in sound and
vision, who lives underground in the UK. She ran away from home at the age of
fifteen and started singing in bands leading over the years to an innovative and
productive solo journey.

My greedy ears discovered her only recently, with her excellent new – 4th – longplayer EDIE. A fascinating record with sonic brain twists and sonic mood swings. Hard to really get into Steph Sweet‘s artistic universe, but maybe this interview will reveal more.

But as usual here on Turn Up The Volume, we start interviews with some music.

I picked my favorite piece of the new album. The mesmeric title track.

Hello Steph,
thank you for doing
this Q & A

On your Bandcamp profile, you tell us that you were signing before you
could speak. What kind of songs were you singing? Songs learned at school,
heard on the radio or already tunes you wrote yourself

“I literally don’t remember, but the story goes I would sing in gibberish to everyone
and I even had a nickname for it! Perhaps I was speaking in tongues?”

What and/or who inspired you the most to start your musical odyssey, Steph?

“My Grandfather was a brilliant pianist (and magician!) They used to have an old piano
and everyone in the street would come round and sing away the blues. My Grandmother was a wonderful, warm and loving woman who loved to cook and feed everyone and throw a party, even though they were so desperately poor, they all shared what they could.

I always remember their house as music and warmth
and laughter and hugs. Music is that magic to me.”

You’re a DIY artist. What does that really mean in practice?

“DIY is about musical independence, to me anyway! For the songwriting all the way through recording, sound-engineering, mixing and mastering I have my own, small
studio and my production company, Smoky Moon Productions handles all the photoshoots, artwork, design, films and distribution.”

In your bio, I’ve read that the online audio streaming music
platform Soundcloud helped you to really kick it off. How so?

Soundcloud was a diamond! There was a brief spell and it was just musicians….really fabulous. It was like joining a hundred bands, I’d get in at night and check out who’d written and posted a new tune, it reminded me of being a teenager in bands again!

I met so many kind people who really encouraged my work,
some who have become longtime friends.”


Which of your songs would you pick to introduce
yourself as an artist to people who never heard of you?

“It’s so hard to say, I’m niche baby! I’d go with…

Berlin Heel
Dancing Bears
Tesla and the White Bird

Earlier this year you released your 4th album called EDIE. On the title
track you introduce us to Edie. Is she for real or fiction, Steph?

“Well it started out about Edie Sedgwick but kinda morphed into
a song about my best friend! So it’s about both of them x”

American actress and fashion model, known
for being one of Andy Warhol’s superstars


Track 7 on the album is titled ‘What Did You Do In The Eco-Wars Daddy’? Must
be the coolest/weirdest song title of the year. What is the song’s story about?

“I wrote Eco-wars at a road protest after being mauled by security guards. They liked to
rip our clothes. On the first visit, I was wrongfully arrested by the Sherriff, whilst high
up a tree in a cargo-net after an accidental overnight protest. (It was all spontaneous,
I’d only gone on holiday for Mayday….it was quite the week!)

At that point the UK government hadn’t changed the laws to account for road protesters, so being so high up in an ancient beech tree was still actually counted as being in British Aerospace, so it should have been the RAF that nicked us and not the Old Bill in cherry-pickers…..(you did ask!) The second verse lyrics are taken directly from my charge sheet.”

As I wrote in my review of EDIE, I hear echoes of
THE KILLS and ROYAL TRUX. Do you hear them too?

“Sorry no, I’m not a Kills fan. But I love Royal Trux and saw them play in Brighton.
It was a staggeringly awesome gig. I haven’t listened to them for years but it’s
good to know they’re still influencing me.”

Did you listen to records of other artists to inspire
you during in the writing process of the songs?

“I don’t listen to any other music when I’m recording, my ears are all mangled from
hours and hours of production, I start hearing notes and rhythms in kettles boiling
and car alarms, so then I need the quiet to decompress….it’s great to finish the album
and get back into music again, so much good music around right now, such good vibes.”

(Royal Trux – Ghent, Belgium, 2017 – pic by Turn Up The Volume)

What does making music means for your heart and soul?

“It’s so hard to explain, but music feels like it’s in my bones.
There’s nothing like music to bring people together.”

Are you performing your music live, Steph?
If not, is that something you want to do?

“I’m getting an acoustic set together at the moment, just to do a few little gigs
to warm up and test my material. But really I want to join a brand new band and
just sing and leap about, rather than play the guitar onstage.I need to shake it baby!”

What specific movie would you pick to
soundtrack it with your music, Steph?

“Something wonderful by David Lynch.”

The best track and album you heard so far this year?

30 and Beyond The Infinite by Lumen Del Mundo

Horsedance by Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation

Is Steph really a SWEET girl?

“Sweet is a surname, not an adjective.”

Next step?

“Just some gigs and a documentary, very excited though…watch this space!.”

Thank you very much for this chat, Steph.
May the road rise with you.

Stream EDIE here…

Also on iTunes

It’s An Interview It’s A Rule – Meet IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL

Let’s talk

11 June 2022

Turn Up The Volume champions this British quartet for some time now. Why?
Because their karma is cool and most of all because their music exploits so far
(1 EP and 2 albums) are pretty cool too.

My ears tell me that their sound is inspired by the vocal and harmonious psychedelia
of the 60s/70s (The Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Eagles) and present (Band Of Horses, Teenage Fanclub, and Dinosour Jr‘s melancholic resonance). They rock both with electric panache and entertain gloriously with jingly jangly tunes and sticky pop earworms.

Enough reasons for an interview. Driving force Jim Styring will introduce us to his band
and their past and future works. But first, as usual, a piece of music to set the tone…

Hello Jim, pleased to have you for this Q & A

Where and when did IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL came
alive and what or who inspired the band’s name?

“I’d known our bass player, Mikey Barraclough, from a previous band. We got together in our home city of Lincoln, UK, early 2019, to write a bunch of new songs, with no real plans, just that we might get them recorded in the studio at some point. Martyn Bewick (guitars) and Danny Krash (drums) came on board for the studio sessions, but things worked out so well between us, we became a full-time band soon after.

You’re very lucky if you can find a group of musicians that all get
on and are on the same page musically. We’ve been very lucky.

The name IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL? Well, it is, isn’t it? Good or bad, it’s coming
back to bite you on the ass. Better watch what you do, ‘cos it’s watching you.”

Which track would you pick to introduce the band
to music fans who never heard of you?

“I guess we’d all probably choose a different song, but I would have to go with, ‘Back In ’78’ from our album, ‘Woke Up In Hollywood‘ It’s a great example of what we do, and is always a favourite live. It’s just a bit special that one for me. On the other end of the spectrum, you could choose, ‘Coffee Cup Circles‘ from the ‘Homesick For Our Future Destinations’ album. An up-tempo, in-your-face, punky blast of caffeine-fuelled adrenalin!”

I love the retro look/image of the 2019 EP ‘HIPSTERS AND AEROPLANES’.
Who came up with the visual idea and who designed it?

“A guy called Mick Dillingham did the design and artwork for that record.
We gave him some rough idea of what we wanted and he did the rest.”

You can stream ‘Hipsters and Aeroplaneshere

The cover of debut album ‘WOKE UP IN HOLLYWOOD’ (2020)
has a similar look. What’s the story here, Jim

“Again, it was Mick Dillingham. We asked for something that tied-in with the album title and Mick‘s imagination did the rest. He always surprises and never disappoints with his brilliant creativity and vision.”

You can stream ‘Woke Up In Hollywood’ here

For the second longplayer ‘HOMESICK FOR OUR FUTURE DESTINATIONS,’ the artwork’s style changed entirely. Was the band’s image a way to introduce the humans behind the music?

“Yes, that’s exactly it. We just thought it was time to show our faces; we’d hidden behind the music for long enough. A guy over in America, Steve Stanley, did all the artwork and design for that album. We were very happy with how it turned out, and the first time
we’d included a lyric booklet, which people had been asking us for.”

You can stream the album here

2022 will be another KARMA COOL year with no less
than the release of 6 digital singles? Tell us about it?

“Yes, we’re going to be releasing six DIGITAL SINGLES individually, over the coming months. We’ve been locked away in the studio writing and recording and it’s very nearly time to let folks hear what we’ve been up to. We’ve been like mad scientists hidden
away in the laboratory, but with amplifiers and drums and other loud things.”

You worked with a special guest for 3 of the 6 upcoming singles.
Introduce us to him, Jim?

“Yes! We’re incredibly excited to announce, we have the one and only, Peter Holsapple joining us as ‘honorary 5th member‘ of It’s Karma It’s Cool, for three of the new songs!

Peter was a member of legendary, The DB’s, and played with REM on their huge
Green world tour, as well as playing on their multi-platinum Out Of Time album.

He’s also played and recorded with Hootie & the Blowfish for over 25 years, and is
currently a member of Continental Drifters, whose ranks have included Vicki Peterson,
from The Bangles, and Mark Walton, from the Dream Syndicate.”

There’s some big guitar things, some jangly pop things, even some mandolin
in there. To say we’re excited for folks to hear these songs is an understatement!

Name three songs (old or new) of other artists which can
subscribe more or less how the new pieces will resonate

“That’s a good question! We never try to sound like anyone else, we just do what we do. We all bring our own influences to the band and throw them into the pot. We let the listeners tell us what they hear in our music, we don’t give them any pointers or clues.

Who would you say you can hear in our sound, Jean-Luc? I will say this; people who have followed us this far won’t be disappointed!! And people who are just hearing us for the first time, where have you been?”

I suppose the recordings happened during the pandemic. What was the
making of like? Together in the same room, or individually from home?

“We just had to work the best we could around the pandemic and all the restrictions.
We did a lot of writing at home; once we had the initial ideas between us, we took them away and worked them up into something resembling a song. Martyn or Mikey would send me a guitar idea, I’d add melody and lyrics, then, when we were safely able to meet at the rehearsal room, we’d all work on arrangements and knock the ideas into shape.

We’re still in the studio finishing a couple of the songs as we speak, fine-tuning. They’re some of the strongest we’ve written, without a doubt. As Peter‘s over in America, all his overdubs are done online, he just sends them across. It’s worked out so well, Peter instinctively knows what a song needs and brings it to life.”

How about the visual artwork for the singles project, Jim?

“We have Mick Dillingham back onboard. I’ve already
seen some of the artwork, you’re going to love it!”

Will the band play live to promote the releases?
If so, what is an IT’S KARMA IT’S COOL gig like?

“Yes, we’re very much hoping to get out playing. We write songs to be played live, that’s when they really mean something, the connection with people. An It’s Karma It’s Cool show is exactly that, a connection with the audience; a feeling that we’re all in this together.

I would hope our songs resonate, and folks leave the gig still singing, with a feeling we were all part of something special. I always work hard to make the crowd as important
as the band, we can’t do this without them.”

Would you give free downloads of the 6 tracks
to BORIS JOHNSON if he would ask for it?

“If he were to feed the hungry, and house the homeless,
possibly. No t-shirt, though.”

Thank you for the Q & A, Jim
May the road rise with the Cool Karma.

IT’S KOOL IT’s KARMA: Facebook – Spotify


23 April 2022

British music web-magazine-site NME caught up with young Irish stars
FONTAINES D.C. who released their 3rd LP SKINTY FIA, a bold piece of
work, lyracilly and musically (it grows on you with every spin) for a big

It’s clear for NME. The Dubliners are the best band in the world.

Some quotes from the Q & A

“It’s difficult to stay in touch with Irish culture while you’re not there.
You grapple with guilt”

“People are looking to me for answers. What the fuck do I know?”

“Slowthai has an incendiary quality. His charisma reminds me of Mick Jagger”

“There are some bands who are trying to go head-to-head with world-renowned philosophers. They’re stepping up to a plate that isn’t for them. Just because you’ve written a couple of good albums, doesn’t mean you can skip a whole PhD. That, to me, is completely delusional, and I have no interest in doing that.”

Full interview right here.

The new album on Spotify

FONTAINES D.C.: Facebook

Turn Up The Volume and the frontman of the best band in
the world before they became the best band in the world (2019)


10 February 2022

Los Angeles’ funk-punk champions RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
have a new album out, their 12th, on April 1. Unlimited Love
is their first full-length since 2016 LP The Getaway. Along with
the news came the first single Black Summer (listen below).

They started their promo campaign with an exclusive interview
with music website/former famed magazine (since 1952) NME.

A few quotes from frontman Anthony Kiedis.

About gutarist John Frusciante

“The biggest event was John Frusciante returning to the band.
That was the most monumental change in our lives”

About turning 60

“60 don’t mean shit to me. I don’t put a lot of value or weight
in birthdays, milestones, round numbers, odd numbers or
even numbers.”

About the upcoming tour

We have to get really good at playing these songs live and then
it depends on the emotional health of the band. Tour is one of
the great survival tests and we’ll see what happens. I’m always
optimistic, and I see no reason to ever stop doing what we’re

FULL interview right HERE

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS: All Albums – Facebook

All You Need To Know About The British Multitasking Artist JAMES DOMESTIC

Questions and Answers

4 February 2022

He raps but is not a rapper, he produced a few records but is not a producer, he’s
an occasional poet, he fronts several noisy DIY bands, he’s frequently on Turn Up The Volume‘s stereo with his first bang-on singles, he has his solo debut LP/CD coming up
and a PI$$ER album to record, he likes Kraftwerk played by a steel band, he’s not from London, he has an awful memory for movies that he watched, he is all that or not, and more.

He’s James Domestic and this is his new brisk belter called Mañana

Hello James,

Your artistic resume is pretty extensive, James. What is it you like the most?

“Well, firstly, I’ve never called myself a rapper. I’m not really sure where that came from, though it has been said a few times now! Certainly, I enjoy hip-hop and there is no doubt
a little influence in from proto-rappers like BUTTERBALL, but it kind of ends there.

The poetry is a really occasional thing – I’ve done some spoken word tracks on some of THE DOMESTICS records, and had a couple of bits published, but I’m too immersed in music to do more in that realm right now.

For me, music will always be the thing I love the most; I mean I’m in so many bands and projects right now I can hardly keep up! “Producer” sounds a bit grand, but I think I’m still in the phase like I was for years with not thinking of myself as a musician, of just doing it and seeing what happens. I’ve produced a few records now, and done a few remixes for people, so in time I expect it won’t feel weird to call myself a producer… maybe. I’ve just got into painting too, but I’d struggle to call myself a painter!”

The first single of your upcoming debut LP is a fucktastic rant.
What is FAZE OUT about?

“The title is a hybrid of “phased out”, as in you feel like your relevance to the world is on the wane, like your place in it has become in some way tenuous, and “fazed”, as in being disconcerted by a situation. So, it’s both of those things rolled together really.

I think everyone feels a bit like that sometimes; like the rug’s getting pulled from under you, and you have to reevaluate and adapt to some curveball that life’s thrown at you. Sometimes it feels like life is just a series of curveballs; it’s fucking exhausting. If you
think Faze Out is a fucktastic rant, wait until you hear Bean Counter.”

What or who influenced your decision to go solo and make/record an album?

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. I’m still very much in all the bands too; THE DOMESTICS are gigging again from March 2022 and will start recording a new album in a couple of months. PI$$ER will hopefully record a new album in late summer. I’ve got new stuff coming out with others like TOKYO LUNGS, DA GROINS… so I’ve not “gone” solo, it’s just another thing on the CV, but one that has been gestating for a couple of years or more.

My taste in music has always been incredibly broad; I just soak up stuff like a sponge really. Punk and hardcore showed me the way, taught me how to get things done, taught me to just get on with it. It made me the man I am today! But much as I love it, sometimes
I want to listen to other things. I occasionally DJ, and that tends to be either soul and funk, or reggae, which I love. Y’know, I listen to electronic stuff, post-punk stuff, psychedelia, krautrock… the list is endless really, and there really isn’t space in the other bands I’m
in for those influences to come through to any great degree.

Repetitive beats and bass, a mix of sprechgesang, sung and shouted vocals, plus some other vocalists to add an extra dimension. Decent lyrics, no limits on instrumentation or rhythms… I just wanted to make a collection of great songs that were all different but had these elements to bind them together to make a cohesive record. I’m not into making one of those records that’s diverse but really jarring; there was a lot of that in the nineties, people just strutting around like fucking peacocks shouting “look what I can do! Aren’t
I clever!”.

Sure, I’ve got an ego the same as anyone else, but I’d rather make a great album than show off like a tit, y’know? At heart, it’s still a fucking punk record as far as I’m concerned.”

The album’s title ‘CARRION REPEATING’ sounds smelly.
What’s the story behind it, James?

“For me, it’s about the state of the world, and the UK in particular. You can take it a
number of different ways, I guess. Mostly it’s about history repeating itself and how it’ll carry on repeating and who gets to be the crow and who’s stuck being the carrion; the persistence of that. Who’s the fucker and who’s the fuckee, right?

You could also take it as referring to the potential for change, so like the crow – let’s say he or she’s a prime minister or president or whatever – maybe the carrion eating just gets too much and starts repeating on them, fighting back if you will, even in its rotten state. I like titles to be open to interpretation; I expect others will think of their own.”

Why should the whole wide world buy the LP?

“It really comes down to this: do you want polished turds masquerading as an alternative to the mainstream, made by people on an extended gap year before they get a nice job
at daddy’s firm, or do you want guts, spirit, and a modicum of integrity and intelligence in your music? It’s got bass, it’s full of great songs – I’m not afraid to blow my own trumpet about that. It’s unafraid music, not some corporate second-guessing bullshit with an eye on a demographic, a major deal and a number one album.

If I wanted to do that, I’d have done it by now, but it’s just not in me. Y’know, I’d love to have a big selling album, but I’m not going to censor or neuter what I do to get it or any
of that stuff. Life’s too short.”

What’s a JAMES DOMESTIC gig like?

“There’s no live band for the solo stuff just now. I’m still trying to get my head around how it could be done. It’s a daunting prospect really; every time I think about it and go through the songs I come to the same conclusion: I’m going to need six other people. A seven-piece band just sounds so unwieldy when you’re used to playing and touring as a four-piece. Mentally I have people penciled in for the different roles, and many of them contributed
to the album in some way.

A gig with THE DOMESTICS is loud, sweaty, and intense – more often than not with bodies flying about the place. I imagine a solo gig to perhaps not be quite as full-on as that as the tempos are nowhere near as high, and the sounds nowhere near as relentless. It’d be great to do it though. Easier on my voice too.”

You’re also involved with a band called BOTCHED TOE. What is it about?

“Very occasionally I’m not the one to start a project and just get asked to join. BOTCHED TOE is one of those projects. Dan from HAEST and KNIFE CLUB asked if I fancied doing a band with him and James Baughurst who he was in MATILDA’S SCOUNDRELS with.

He sent me some music and it was obvious I could do what needed to be done. Got Marcus in – who I’m also in HAZARD PROFILE with – on drums and smashed out ten songs, which ended up being the A False Glimmer Of Hope album. I’m really pleased with it.
It’s hardcore but not as fast as most of my hardcore bands, more riffy and spacious. Still sounds fucking feral though, which is what you want from a hardcore record innit. It’s up for pre-order now from Kibou Records in the UK, Amok Records in Germany, and some other places too – just google it.

Ah, the name… well that was Dan’s idea. It’s a line Danny DeVito says in an episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I’d never seen it, but he sent me a clip. DeVito seems like a cool fella so it’s fine by me.”

Your advice to young upstarting bands/artists?

“The best bits of advice I can give – and shit, I’ve made plenty of mistakes! – is never
pay to play, and never think that one person’s advice on anything is in any way definitive. That includes mine. But I will reiterate: never pay to play.”

How’s life in London post-BREXIT, James?

“I think what you’ve done here is made the mistake of thinking I come from London because of my accent. That said, all my family are originally from Bethnal Green and Hackney, but my parents had moved out to Hertfordshire by the time I was born.

Then for some reason I can never quite fathom, almost all of them upped sticks and moved to Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, where I grew up. I do have that London-Essex accent though because half of Clacton-on-Sea originates from London. I guess London is much the same as anywhere else post-Brexit. Same as Essex and same as Suffolk, where I live now. Same shit, different postcode.”

How is it possible that professional liar and lockdown
party animal BORIS JOHNSON is still in charge?

“It’s astonishing really innit. And people are still defending him! I swear Johnson could fuck a dog and murder a child on the steps of number ten and still people would defend him. Every week reasonably intelligent people become more and more incredulous and still it goes on and on. Who would you replace him with though out of that shit shower?

All the top jobs have been dished out to the Johnson sycophants, all of them fucking useless but loyal, to a point. When you see him next to any other leader it looks like some fucking pissed up lunatic has gatecrashed. What with him and Brexit it’s no wonder we’re the biggest joke on the world stage. Not so funny if you’re in it though.

Which movie would you choose to visualize your music?

I have a terrible memory for films. I can watch one on a Thursday, and really enjoy it, and by Friday I can’t even remember what I watched. Other things just kind of crowd it out. I suppose I could try to be cool and say some kind of cinema verité or La Nouvelle Vague or whatever, but in all honesty, any kind of comedy of errors, where the rug is constantly pulled from under the characters would be way more appropriate.

Nah, I’m going to say Train to Busan, just because it’s one I can remember.”

Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British Royal Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’, no restrictions whatsoever, what would be the outcome in sound and vision?

“If you listen to the official recording it starts with a massive rising snare roll, just like ‘War’ by Edwin Starr, so I’d be happy just to replace it with that. But if I was to do it, I’d give it a massive reggae bassline, some Latin percussion, horn section, a hip-hop beat, and a load of horrible guitar feedback at the end. That would actually be far more relevant, and reflective of the country it’s supposed to aurally represent, than the current version.”

The best track and album you’ve heard in 2021?

“I always find these questions impossible to answer. I listen to so much stuff in so many genres. Ok, today’s answer… favourite single is ‘Come Back with a Warrant’ by SCHIZOS. Favourite album… I’m going to say ‘Pan Machine’ by the EBONY STEEL BAND. It’s an album of KRAFTWERK
covers done with steel drums and I’m playing it a lot this week.

Ask me next week and I’ll pick something entirely different, I’m sure.”

Name three things you absolutely want to see happen in 2022?

“I really want to get the PI$$ER album recorded. I finished writing and demoing
it before the ‘Carved Up for Yuks’ remix album came out, but then lockdown happened, and Bri relocated, and Charlie’s in Sweden… it’s complicated, but we’ll get there.

Secondly, I want to see Johnson properly held to account. And not just him but his cronies who’ve aided and abetted him. This is literally the most corrupt – and unapologetically so – UK government I, and I think anyone, will have ever seen. They don’t give a fuck and they don’t care that you know they don’t give a fuck. We should string the fuckers up but
y’know what us Brits are like.

Thirdly, I’d like to see the record get into people’s ears and do well. I guess I’m quite “known” in certain niche circles, but beyond that; zero. Half the problem with putting out a record these days isn’t making a record that can have some appeal, it’s getting it heard by the people that would like it in the first place amongst all the other stuff that’s out there; that’s the challenge, and I’m not a natural salesman, I’m not out schmoozing and blowing smoke up the right people’s arses. I just want to make music and get it out there, make some fun videos, and generally be creative and enjoy life. It’s not much to ask, is it?”

Thank you, James, for taking the time for this interview.
Have a great 2022 and a successful debut album.

Let’s go out with another funky punky single…

You can pre-order the album – out 22 April 2022 – via…
James Domestic
Kibou Records
TNS Records
Amok Records (Germany)

James Domestic: Website – Facebook – Instagram


29 December 2021

Imagine the late, legendary American poet/writer Sylvia Plath fronting a noise-exploring band, creating a striking combination of spoken-word poetry and metallic soundscapes. That’s what THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA accomplish with their sonic art. The way they embed their acute and outspoken views on political and social issues in sound and vision is pretty special.

No wonder the duo’s – Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi – LP called
FULL SPECTRUM, is Turn Up The Volume‘s the debut album of 2021.

Want to learn more about this DIY tandem? Check out this interview. As usual,
we start a Q & A with music. Here comes one of their two singles ‘Count The Dead‘…

Your stunning debut album FULL SPECTRUM came out last February.
What was the experience like, then and now, of having made a first longplayer

“Thank you! It seems so long ago that we wrote and recorded the songs in Full Spectrum.
It has truly been a journey to remember. It was tough of course, being independent artists, we only have each other to count on to get the job done.

Whatever you hear, read, see, or watch, has been made entirely by the both of us, everything from designing graphics and cover artwork, making our own videos, copywriting, of course, the music and lyrics.

Of course, there have been ups and downs in this journey, but at least we didn’t
have to do it alone. Also very happy to have made so many friends along the way.”

Already working on a follow-up?

“Yes, in fact we started working on the songs in our second album, Trust No Leaders, about a month after we released Full Spectrum. We wrote and recorded the album between April and August this year. It is now mixed and mastered and due for release sometime in 2022.

It’s definitely much heavier, and darker than our first album, both musically and lyrically. Our first album was about the metaphysical and the existential. But the new album looks inwards into the human condition, often going into dark places.

The current crisis and the events of our time have made it necessary for us to analyse, investigate, and expose the issues in urgent need of systemic change and look inwards into the human condition. But despite its dark tone, overall it pushes for making a future that prioritises people and the environment. It is about the awakening of the collective human spirit. It is about what it means to be human.

They are similar in the way that the lyrics are both influenced by theatre and literature,
the first album drew from Ancient Greek theatre to Shakespearean drama, and the new
album tends to be more precise and structured, as it draws elements from Carl Jung’s works, Classical Persian poetry, Gnostic texts, theology, and modern theatre.”

You released also two new singles after the LP. What’s COUNT THE DEAD about?

Count the Dead actually continues the themes addressed in Love in the Time of Pestilence, and is the second installment of songs which address the ongoing pandemic.

We composed this song as a protest against world leaders, whose negligence and recklessness have resulted in one of the largest avoidable losses of lives in generations.

We wanted to draw attention to the social and economic injustices that plague society, and the violent health inequalities that have been further exacerbated by the global pandemic, which has now claimed more than 5 million lives worldwide.

At a time when the world appears to be more divided than ever before,
discourse has never been more important, and urgent.”

The video for the other single THE PROPHET is very impressive.
What’s the process of the construction of the clip like?

Andrea: “We usually have a clear script before the music composition.
Samara is the best to make it real in visual form.”

Daphne: “Thank you! I think it’s our best video so far. Andrea and I will first discuss the storyline and the scenes we want to present in the video. I then go away and construct them scene by scene to go with the music and lyrics. This usually involves several layers per scene. With every new video we make, I learn new techniques and tricks. But all you really need is imagination, patience…and several Adobe photo and video editing software programs!”

Your spoken word performances are a fundamental part of the whole TCOMAS sound, Daphne. Any intention to sing on a track(s) in the future?

Daphne: “There’s going to be surprises in the new album but I can’t say it right now. But definitely no plans to abandon this. It’s our form of expression. I feel that it allows for the use of phrases, metaphors and imagery in a way that standard lyrical songwriting does not.

It is powerful, cathartic, and moving, and when combined within music, has the power to connect with the personal and collective unconscious on a really deeper level and singing would.”

What are the consequences of BREXIT for musicians?

“BREXIT and COVID killed and destroyed the economy
in the UK and guess who’s gonna pay for it?”

Any future plans to play live?

“Yes, of course, we are dying to. We would really love to, but unfortunately, this pandemic has made us seriously consider the implications of what it will be to go back ‘to normal’ when obviously the time is still not ripe and until we can ensure the safety of all our fans, and everyone in attendance, we will have to hold it off until better days come for all of us.”

Which movie would you pick to visualize the TCOMAS sound?

Andrea: “It’s difficult to pinpoint as each song sounds like a movie on its own. But let’s try, shall we? For Full Spectrum, I would say From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino as well Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) directed by Terry Gilliamould.

For the new album, Trust No Leaders, probably somewhere along the lines of Apocalypto (2006) meets American History X (1998) with a touch of Once Upon a Time in America (1984), with Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock as the director.”

Daphne: “Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), and Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain (2006). Film and the moving image play a big role in our music, not just in influencing the videos we make but also in the writing process as well. Being visual artists as well, image and sound always go hand in hand for us.”

Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British Royal Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’. No restrictions whatsoever. What would be the outcome, in sound and vision?

“The Sex Pistols have already done it! We’d stick with their version, because it is epic and irreplaceable. Especially this event where they played God Save The Queen (‘we mean it man’) on The River Thames in London in 1977 on the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth IIbeneath
the bridges of London
‘…before they were stopped by the police.”

The best track you heard all year?

‘Us Against December Skies‘ by Harakiri for the Sky

THE Event – good or bad – of 2021?

The Good:

Andrea:”The good one is that we are still here rocking more than ever before!”

Daphne: “We are really proud that we released our debut album and also
managed to write and record our second album in one year…and also start
a side project business:TCOMAS Studio.”

The Bad:

Andrea: “The worst thing happened in 2021: The Holy See now cannot be sued for cases
of sexual abuse committed by priests of various countries — as decided by the European Court of Human Rights.”

Daphne: “Delta and Omicron.”

Are you fans of traditional Xmas carols? If so, which one is your favorite?

“No, not at all, sorry! But we love to share our culinary traditions with each other, so we will whip up a Christmas feast and probably play some non-Xmas Jazz. Okay, okay, if we were to choose, it would have to be sung by Frank Sinatra, and only Frank Sinatra.”

Suppose you were asked to a DJ set on 31st December.
Name 3 songs you would certainly play?

“The new year is always a time to reflect upon history through great music.

For that, can we get 4 each, please? Our playlist will be the following songs, in this order.

House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals (1964)

Blowin’ In The Wind by Bob Dylan

Volare by Domenico Modugno (1958)

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron (1971)

You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen (2016)

Johnny Cash’s cover of Hurt (2002) by Trent Reznor (1995)

Lazarus by David Bowie (2015/2016)

Disturbed’s 2015 cover of Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel (1964)

Three things you really love to happen
in 2022 for Samara and Manimal

“We’d really like to go on a holiday!

A successful album launch

A Covid-free world (might be wishful thinking).”

Thank you for this interview, Daphne and Andrea.
May the road rise with The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara in 2022!

Back to the music.
Stream FULL SPECTRUM here…

TCOMAS: Facebook

How Was 2021 For The Architect Of Canadian Indie Label OFF WHITE HOUSE RECORDS And Her Fast Growing Team

20 December 2021

(photo by Turn Up The Volume)

Another troubled pandemic year, causing a wide varied range of big and small problems for humankind around the world is nearing its end. Hard to say what the future will bring as the viral enemy comes and goes, but never disappears, so far.

Despite the daily-life-altering confusion, Canada-born musician/singer-songwriter and indie addict Laura Lee Schultz re-activated her beloved Off White House Records label and signed several must-hear acts. A heart that’s dedicated to someone/something is a determined one that beats even harder when times are difficult.

Let’s hear Laura Lee‘s
heart beating…

You revitalized your label OFF WHITE HOUSE RECORDS
with loads of sonic fuel. What made you do it?

“I had a different life plan when 2020 began. Down The Lees was going to continue
playing shows around Europe, ERIIS with Naomi Sijmons (Renna Riot) and Mirabelle
Van De Put
(HAZE) would be unleashed on the world, and summer looked inviting!

However, we all know what happened there. After the first lockdown, my partner
and I decided it would be wise to move closer to my family in Canada. It was
a difficult decision for me because I adore Belgium!

We were getting ready to go when Mirabelle said she wanted to release her lockdown album and launch HAZE. I offered to help and added her to the Off White House roster and provided her with support for the release. I wasn’t playing shows and I wasn’t writing. But I wanted to keep active in music. So I built a website, reached out to a few of my friends to see what they are doing and voila, roster.

I really wanted a place where new bands can collaborate and support each other. I don’t know if you have noticed, but everyone on the label gives kudos to each other on their socials. There is quite a bit of mutual respect going on.

I may be the founder of OWH, but we really want to operate as a collective.”

Do you have to be crazy to run an indie
record label in this day and pandemic age?

“Yes…and no. The model is changing. We always need music. That was very apparent
when the world shut down. We consumed so much music last year. It was insane!
We just didn’t have a chance to see our favorite bands live.

But we kept writing and putting music out. There will always be a need for music,
but the delivery of it evolves. And artists need to be compensated better for it.
Don’t get me started on the streaming debate.”

The “White House” in the logo doesn’t really look like
the one in Washington. Is it your own dream house, perhaps?

“It is definitely not the house in Washington! It was a run-down house in East Vancouver that was supposed to be white but was so discoloured from age. It stank like mold, was very cheap and I had a jam space in the basement. That is where the first Down The Lees album was written.”

How did the impressive roster come together so quickly?

“Well, I put my ear to the ground and just listened. Once I decided to open up the roster, I started talking to friends and looked around on the internet. HAZE was first. Bronson Arm came along because of Noise Rock Now, a FB group that is excellent. I found Foxeagle on Instagram and instantly fell in love.

I also have a few longtime friends in BC with new bands (Fantasy Boys, Bonnuit), and it just grew from there. Now I get emails with bands pitching their songs wanting to be on the label. That is how ’00_’ joined. And it’s growing! It didn’t take very long. Once the word spread, it was just a matter of deciding who to add.”

A couple of months after the label’s rebirth, your first excellent compilation came about. I always wondered how different artists end up on the same album. Who’s the architect and how does it actually work for compilations, Laura?

“The shocking, and unfortunately not surprising, discovery of the remains of 215 children at a Kamloops residential school prompted all this. It wasn’t hard to convince bands on the label to be part of a compilation that is a benefit for the Indian Residential School Survivors.

I live, work and play on the traditional, unceded territory of the Okanagan/Syilx people.
We wanted to do something to help our indigenous communities and this was one way we knew how. It was an excellent exercise for the bands because we all chipped in to make it happen. From artwork, to mastering, to content curation.”

The compilation is labeled VOLUME 1. So when can we expect VOLUME 2?

“We will have another one next year! Not sure what the theme will be, but it
will be excellent as the bands are writing and recording in the coming months.”

If you had the opportunity, which famous bands, from
the past and/or present, would you really love to sign?

“Oh wow, that is a can of worms! Would I want to sign bands that would make me rich so
I can have 5 houses? Or would I want bands that are not famous but feed my soul. I think the latter. Famous to me may not be to others. If Shannon Wright or Pile knocked on my door, I wouldn’t turn them away. Ultimate respect.”

What is your own musical status as an artist right now, Laura Lee? Plans?

“I have a few songs written that I recorded myself (with the help of a friend).
I plan to release them next year. If the world can get itself together by spring,
I’ll be back to Europe with some shows.”

Can indie labels survive the by now almost 2 years of pandemic drama?

“Some will and some won’t. Just like the fate of anyone or any business during
this crazy time. The mental aspect of this is heartbreaking. You may have the best
intentions and community behind something, but life can get in the way.

Most bands don’t survive, lots of labels don’t survive. I’m going to try my
best to honour the talent on this label as long as my heart will let me.”

The best track and album of 2021.

“I love all the bands on the label so I am not going to play favorites.
If I had to choose outside of the label:

Track: Racist, Sexist Boy – The Linda Lindas
Album: Hey What – Low.”

Are you a fan of traditional Xmas carols, Laura? If so, which is your favorite one?

“Traditional, not so much. Although, I’m a very nostalgic person and enjoy revisiting Brenda Lee or Darlene Love with a cup of hot apple cider. But if you are talking about The WaitressesChristmas Wrapping or Type O NegativeChristmas Mourning, I’m all in.”

Which song will be on your stereo on 31st December at midnight?

“During my youth, I used to stay home alone on New Year’s Eve to write and record
a song. It was an annual ritual. I wanted to avoid the pressure of having a drunken night that I wouldn’t remember in the morning. That was the first song I would hear at midnight. I haven’t done that in a long time. Maybe I should do it again. Definitely a good way to set intentions for the year, I think.”

Three things you really love to happen in 2022 for the label and/or personally?

“In no particular order:

Releasing a lot of new material for bands on the label and partnering with new acts that collaborate on such an inspiring level.

Return to Belgium/Europe for a month in the Spring to play some shows and visit friends that I miss dearly.

Improve mental health. This is something that is not talked about very much at all. This pandemic has been very damaging for artists on so many levels. The most heartbreaking of all is the depression, sadness and isolation that we feel. It is a loss of a dream. A loss of who we used to be. My friend Riel Hahn put it this way, “There actually is nothing else. Just this, that is only mine. It’s not my family, it’s not grief, it’s not romance, or deeply working on decolonizing. It’s just the thing I am, I do, I love, I excel at, where my edges are.” That has been taken away from us, and it is hard to reconcile with. My hope is that we can all help each other get through this, and honestly admit how dull our edges are. I, for one, have had a very terrible time with all of this. But I will continue to try and not give up. That is what I wish for everyone in 2022. To not give up.”

Thank you, Laura Lee, for this interview.
may the road rise with you, the label, and
all its artists in 2022.

Buy yourself your Xmas gift
and have a noisy night with Santa

Full OWH roster (click on name for more info)

00_ (Australia)
Bonnuit (Canada)
Bronsom Arm (US)
Dating Myself (Canada)
Down The Lees (Canada)
EP Island (Canada)
ERIIS (Belgium)
Fantasy Boys (Canada)
Foxeagle (France)
Haze (Belgium)
New Years Resolution (Canada)
Seperation Agreement (CA/BE)


How Was 2021 For Tucson, Arizona Rainbow CHATEAU CHATEAU… BLEU Tells Us All About It

9 December 2021

Band: CHATEAU CHATEAU (Tucson, Arizona)
Who: An evolving community of musicians led by power couple
Alex and Bleu. With beginnings in an abandoned aerospace warehouse
in 2018, Chateau Chateau has grown into Tucson’s favorite self-deprecating
glam-rock band, dusty and sparkly. They take pride in supporting
the LGBTQ+ community.

This up and coming sensation is gearing up for its second album, hitting the streets in 2022. It’s the follow-up to their notable 2020 debut LP Princess. An effervescent cocktail guitar/synth pop thrills with real-life stories of falling down and getting up again. Glam and glitter riot tattoo grrl Bleu is the charismatic Amazon in the middle and she’ll tell us all we need to know (so far) about Chateau Chateau and her personal struggles in her young life.

But as usual, we start a Turn Up The Volume interview with music
to get us in the right mood. And why not with some fucking shit…

Hello Bleu,

In your bio I read that CHATEAU CHATEAU is an evolving
community of musicians. What does that mean in reality?

“Ultimately, the band is led by Alex and I, Bleu, who write all of the songs, guide the vision and keep everything running on and off stage, but we welcome almost anyone who wants to make magic with us. We’re open to making music with anyone who loves what Chateau stands for as much as we do.

We often have horn players, dancers, synth players, etc. perform with us and become part of our little community.

It isn’t uncommon for you to see a rotating cast of performers from show to show. But some members like Jay, Bleu’s brother, have been with us for years. Jay switches between guitar, bass, synths, and more depending on the show and who else we have on stage.”

What’s the story/meaning behind the band name CHATEAU CHATEAU?

“At one point we had a whole story around it, but honestly we each picked a few names
we liked, and Chateau Chateau fit us best. You could say we’re a large, sparkly, grand, hard to miss group just like a French castle, though.”

Greatest musical influences?

“Definitely Talking Heads, of Montreal, Blondie, Joy Division,
Fanny, The Strokes, The Kinks, and Bowie

What track would you play to introduce CHATEAU CHATEAU
to music fans who never heard of you?

“Probably I Don’t Love You Anymore right now, but honestly our new album about to be released is a really good evolution of our music and showcases a good mix of everything we’ve done before, but at our best.”


“This song is actually my favorite story wise on the new album, the chorus quotes things my dad said to me growing up. When I wrote it I had found an old diary which had letters that my dad wrote to me when I was a teenager. My dad has an illness that changed his mind. I started getting punished for things I never did, and to this day still get treated like an awful piece of shit child. Even though I was a straight-A student, worked full time, was an athlete, etc.

Everyday I was told horrible things about myself and was constantly threatened with things like taking away health insurance, taking me off his will, etc. if I didn’t do exactly as he wanted. He unwarrantedly told me I was worthless, resentful, stupid, throwing my life away, and other things that as a young woman you shouldn’t have to hear. He would also send me articles on how being gay is a choice and constantly tell me I’m going to hell.

When I stood up for myself it only got worse. I learned patience, how not to treat people, and how to be on my own from a young age.

I had to build myself from the ground mentally and physically. I took the experience and learned and grew from it. Writing this song felt really good, I’ve always been so afraid of speaking about him and our relationship, and I fought too hard for too long to try to keep it. This song is the most honest I’ve ever been.”

On debut album PRINCESS the main vocals were
mostly by Alex. What or who decides who’ll sing?

“We’ve had a different vocalist on each album/era so far. This decision was part of a bigger conversation that Alex and I are constantly having: who is Chateau, what do we want to represent, and what is our identity. We decided that I can better represent who Chateau Chateau is, they think I’m a better vocalist so I dedicated a lot of time to improving my singing and frontman skills to do the job justice.

I also enjoy it a lot more, Alex never really liked the pressure. It’s a tough role but I love representing and getting to pour my emotions in vocally now, not just through music and lyric writing. If Chateau history was a little different, I would’ve been the front person from the very beginning according to Alex.”

I love the artwork of the LP. Who designed it
and what did you want to visualize with it?

“I design all of our artwork from album covers to Instagram posts to concert posters! For each era, I’ve wanted the look to evolve with us. The LP told a story of going from a really dark place of substance abuse, self harm, low self esteem and rock bottom, to taking back what’s yours and finding a voice and confidence in yourself and by yourself. So taking the original photos in my favorite crazy, kind of dingey dive bar in my hometown felt right.

The mannequin represents modern pressures and standards everyone is expected
to fit, and how without individuality and expression, we’d all be the same, and
going through the same motions. And having it in black and white with rainbow
lettering felt right for the message as well.”

This year’s 3 singles are all glam and glitter dance crackers, as glam
and glitter as all band pics and singles’ artwork are
. Is that look essential
to the band?

“That look has always been a part of Chateau’s image and is essential to who we are.
It started with the conception of the band – Alex didn’t want Chateau to look like every other band. I also like to think he wanted an excuse to wear glitter makeup. We wanted to basically throw a party at each show, to have fun and make sure our audience had more fun than anyone else.

So, it made sense to dress like a glittery glammed out 80’s pop band. We want everyone to feel confident and comfortable to express themselves for whoever they are. Our shows are a safe space to do that. Having a range from dark lyrics to loud fashion really tries to include room for everyone.”

Although I haven’t tattoos myself I admire the art of it.
What does body-tattooing mean to you, Bleu?

“As a tattoo artist myself, everyone has their own meanings behind their tattoos and
why they get tattooed. For me, I love getting to create that kind of personal art. Some of my tattoos have personal meaning, but most of the time I think of it as art collecting.

I do a lot of my own tattoos and it’s such a fun way to express myself and beauty. They make me feel my most confident and beautiful.

I initially started tattooing myself on the parts of my body I didn’t like, and it taught me how to love and not to be so hard on myself. I also have some tattoos that tell a story and bring back memories, some tattoos only I can see and they’re a daily reminder not to slip back into bad habits. Instead of hiding my mistakes I turn them into something I can smile at and remember.”

What movie would you pick to soundtrack it with CHATEAU CHATEAU music?

“Something like Big (1988) or Freaky Friday (1977). Obviously, the fun cheesy 80’s vibes were something I had to go with. But the message of duality, growing up to make some life-changing mistakes, and thinking you know better when you’re young.

You know that feeling when you’re a kid and you just want to be a grown up because you’re tired of being told what to do, but then you blink and your life has passed you by, and now you’re trying to find the time to hang out with a friend, take a nap, have some fun, and you want to be a kid again. I think our music would be perfect for one of those movies.”

How’s Post-Trump life in America?

Trump changed a lot. The last few years brought out the worst in a lot of people,
and divided more. But a lot of us have come together to try to create some real change.

Change is needed. In general, we fight for acceptance, progress, justice. It’s sad that
there are people fighting for things to go backwards. All of a sudden they’re talking about making gay marriage illegal again, making laws against abortion, essentially trying their best to oppress anything different than them.

It’s scary sometimes, last month I had to take the pride sticker off my motorcycle helmet because I got threatened by a man with giant American and trump flags on his truck and thought that was it for me. We do have a platform though, and we will continue to do whatever we can to fight for what’s right and donate to organizations in need.”

A lot of artists started covering other artists when the COVID-19
whirlwind turned our lives upside down. Which would you pick to cover?

“We actually got to cover Essential Logic’s Wonderful Offer! Or label, Kill Rock Stars, celebrated their 30th anniversary so all of the bands got to cover a KRS catalog song.
It was so fun to turn a post-punk song into our synth-pop version. We also have a cover coming up on our new album, Voices Carry by Til Tuesday, which has always been one
of our favorites!”

The best track and album you heard in 2021?

“I found a lot of old music that’s new to me, one of my favorites being Fanny who
has influenced a lot of the new music. Although it’s really hard to pick just one,

I discovered so many sick bands like New York Dolls, Vampire Beach Babes,
Mdou Moctar, The Old Haunts
, I could go on.

I can never pick just one! I’m always jamming out to all different playlists and genres
to find new music. The weirder the better, and if you know any cool bands always send
them my way!”

Are you fans of traditional Xmas carols? If so, which one is your favorite?

“Not as much Christmas carols, but more the Pop songs! Last year we covered Santa Baby by Ertha Kitt which was so fun. We love jazz. But I think my all-time favorite is Last Christmas by Wham!. Even as a kid I was jamming out to that song all December long.

It’s just so catchy and cheesy, but has those classic 80’s synth sounds and drum machine that you can’t miss.”

Which song will be on your stereo on 31st December at midnight??

“This is also such a hard one for me. Something like Liza Anne’s Bad Vacation, The Beatles’ Ticket to Ride, or Caroline Polacheck’s So Hot you’re Hurting my Feelings. All of them are upbeat indie pop songs that make you want to dance. They’re fun and pretty optimistic, and all bring me a lot of joy.

I just want something playing that’s going to give me good vibes, I’m stoked for the new year. So far they’ve only gotten better and I’m always looking forward to what’s next!”

Name three things you really love to happen
in 2022 for CHATEAU CHATEAU, Bleu

“We have an album coming out, so I’m beyond excited for the release of that! We’ll be announcing more details soon, but for now, we’re excited to be releasing singles from it. I’m so excited to see how everyone reacts to it, it’s my first time being this open and honest, and while being this personal is a little scary, it’s been so awesome and a crazy experience.

Secondly, we get to play a festival that we’ll also announce soon, it’s going to be such a great opportunity for us, it’s such an iconic festival we cannot wait! I’m hoping to meet some other cool artists there and expand more.

Lastly, we’re planning on touring, so I’m really just hoping that we get to continue to grow our audience and meet more amazing people, see more of the world, and just continue to grow and have a blast doing it!”

Thank you very much for the interview, Bleu.
May the road rise with Chateau Chateau in 2022.

Check this out. More glam and glitter
with debut LP Princess…


(All artists photos of CC by Jeaninne Kaufer)

How Was 2021 For ULTRASOUND… Voice And Face ANDREW TINY WOOD Draws Us A Picture

7 December 2021

British post-prog-punk romantics ULTRASOUND fronted by charismatic maverick
Andrew Tiny Wood showed up in 1997, thrilled and impressed many and made a tour
de force album with EVERY PICTURE (now reissued with a deluxe edition, see below)
in 1999. But just as I discovered and fell in love with the ultra-passionate London
combo they were already gone as they split shortly after the LP release.

In 2010, after the break-up wounds were healed, Ultrasound returned triumphantly
and produced two more notable longplayers (so far), Play For Today (2012) and
Real Brittania (2016). In this end-of-the-year interview, Andrew Tiny Wood
reveals that they are here to stay and have busy 2022 plans.

As usual, to get us all in the right mood, we start a Q & A with music. If you never heard of the band this live version of my favorite Ultrasound track Stay Young will open your ears and eyes. Epic, just epic…

You started your musical journey with a band called POSSESSION that produced
one album. How did this first adventure started and ended, Andrew ?

“I didn’t actually start my musical journey there. In terms of being in bands, we started
a short lived band at school which was mostly rock and Zepp inspired before I joined
forces with a post-punk band called Step TLV, which gradually became more inspired
by industrial music like Throbbing Gristle and we morphed into Possession.

I guess it ended when one of the members moved to London
and joined Coil, and I went to college.”

You used the pseudonym of ANNA VIRGINIA WAR.
A fictional name, I suppose?
Why that choice?

“I always identified quite strongly as
a woman and wanted to make a statement.”

Just before the birth of Ultrasound came POP-A-CAT-A-PETAL.
One of the weirdest band names I ever heard. Is there a story
behind it?

“It is derived from a volcano in Mexico called Popocatepetl,
which was regarded in legend as a famous warrior.”

What track would you play to introduce ULTRASOUND
to music fans who never heard of the band?

“Depends who they were and what kind of music they like. We like to think
that all styles are served here, and there is something for everyone.

For party animals I’d point in the direction of “Same Band“, goths to “Best Wishes“,
punks to “Fame Thing“, “Over There” or “Football Meat“, prog heads to “Blue Remembered
“, New Romantics to “I’ll Show You Mine”, and indies to “Floodlit World”.

After several singles, debut album EVERYTHING PICTURE came out in 1999.
Did you write all the songs or was it a team effort?

“Most of the music was written by Richard with lyric contributions coming from me. Obviously, the songs then came together via the band’s contributions so a certain
amount of team effort came into play there.”

Who developed the album’s artwork and what is it supposed to reflect?

“The cover is an ‘everything picture’ painted by the band, the idea being to create a piece of artwork using everything at your disposal. There is collage and paint, some destructive art and even some 3D elements (Richard stuck some valves into the canvas somewhere).”

What did you want to express with the LPs title EVERYTHING PICTURE?

“The title comes from a song on the album written by Richard, which advises
that even when the odds are all against you and you have failed at every turn,
pick yourself up and paint your everything picture – ‘the only strategy is action’.”

You said that the album was made with future generations in mind?
In what way and for what kind of people, Andrew?

“I was so used to discovering things from the past, and still do, and was very conscious
that people don’t always get into something until much later, an example being Nick Drake
or John Kennedy Toole, so potentially we were speaking not to the present audience, but to someone who was discovering this music at some point in the future.”

Did the band select all bonus tracks on the Deluxe Reissue edition?
And where do they all come from?

“Everything was chosen by me from our own archives.”

The group already split up in 1999? What happened?

“I don’t know. What does Wikipedia say?! I’d put it down to a breakdown of communication, and total childish idiocy. If only RuPaul could have been there
to tell us not to fuck it up!”

The reunion in 2010 started with a benefit concert.
What motivated you to restart?

Tim Smith out of them Cardiacs, who got himself into a bit of trouble, needed
help to which we responded, which started that whole ball rolling again.

Suppose you were asked to rewrite and put new music to the British Royal Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’. No restrictions whatsoever. What would be the outcome, in sound and vision?

“Well it would no doubt be anthemic and epic and be far too long and too slow(!)
and it would also no doubt contain hopeful messages for a revolution in which
the entire royal family are dragged through the streets in a wicker handcart
and pelted with rotten tomatoes in a gleeful attempt to return Britain to the
good old days.”

How’s life for a professional musician in Brexit England?

“Well I keep hearing nightmare stories from other musicians saying don’t even bother trying to tour in Europe, and many people are having to stop accepting Bandcamp orders because the postage is ridiculous, and we are covering a lot of those kinds of expenses, which most of us can barely afford.

It’s not just Brexit England either, it’s Tory England, where venues are being shut down
by tory councils due to noise complaints from landlords, and there is no funding so it’s becoming more and more difficult for people in this country to do what it does best. However, despite the hardships, we will always find a way. We have faced these things before and we will continue to fight.”

A lot of artists started covering other artists when the COVID-19 whirlwind
turned our lives upside down. Which song would you pick to cover?

“I did do a couple of numbers at the start of lockdown on my piano at home (“It’s Alright
by Black Sabbath and the Flaming Lips “Waiting For A Superman“, which I felt was rather appropriate for the times) and we did perform a couple at Richard‘s wedding too (Procul Harum’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale” and The Hollies’ “Air That I Breathe”).

I’d also love to do “Bump ‘n’ Grind” by Jackson Heights and
Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song“…I think we’d do that one justice.”

The best track and album you heard in 2021?

“Album is probably “The Mother Stone” by Caleb Landry Jones. I bought it on the strength of the cover alone which I found intriguing, and it didn’t disappoint. A sprawling, strange, psychedelic double album, which is both playful and dense. A disturbing and difficult to fathom a world that warrants many visits to discover its complexities. His follow up “Gadzooks Vol. 1” is also great.

Track is probably “It Is The Face Wish How” by Scaramanga Six from their forthcoming album “Worthless Music“, which in my opinion is their best album. This song is both huge in scope and bewilderingly strange. Scott Walker meets This Heat.”

Are you a fan of traditional Xmas carols, Andrew?
If so, which one is your favorite?

“I always liked “In The Bleak Midwinter“, which is downbeat and almost depressing.
The old classics have the best tunes but it’s a shame about all the god stuff in the lyrics,
which ruin them a bit. “O Come All Ye Faithfull” has some cracking harmonies.”

Which song will be on your stereo on 31st December at midnight?

“I guess if I was at home on my own I would want to get stoned and get involved with something long and strange, which leads me towards “A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers” by Van Der Graaf Generator, but if I was feeling a bit more mellow it would probably be “Sea Song” by Robert Wyatt because it’s the closest thing to perfection, and inspires me to try to be as good as that.”

Three things you really love to happen in 2022 for the band and/or personally?

1. Re-issue “Play For Today” on vinyl to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

2. Tour in support of the 10th anniversary of said album.

3. Write and record a new album.

Thank you very much, Andrew for this interview.
May the road rise with Ultrasound in 2022.

You can purchase the Every Picture Deluxe Reissue
below via Bandcamp…


More info here

A Chat With London’s GHOST PATTERNS Who Impressed With Their Stunning Debut Album ‘INFINITE’

19 November 2021

GHOST PATTERNS is a 4-piece London-based indie band that started its journey only
two years ago. Last September they released their stunning debut LP called INFINITE that struck me instantly as much as the debut full-length Bedroom by bdrmm struck me last year, a British band who also operates in the multidimensional world of shoegaze.

Infinite is an astounding accomplishment mixing the amplified haziness of Slowdive, the mystifying nightmares of Spacemen 3, and the multi-layer-constructing skills of My Bloody Valentine. Ghost Patterns design hallucinating soundscapes, sonic shadowplays where synths and guitars duel with each other while tireless drums dauntlessly beat, and wailing voices wander in an enigmatic fog of reverberation. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most fascinating records I heard all year.

So I really got curious to learn more about the authors of Infinite. Thank you very
much Terry Hale (vocals/guitars/keys), Somrata Sarkar (vocals) and James Walker (drums
and percussion) for taking the time to do this chat. But, as usual, we’re starting an interview with music to get us all in the right mood. Here comes one of my fav tracks
on the longplayer…

Hello Terry, hello Somrata, hello James

Who or what triggered you to start a band?

Terry: “Essentially, James and I had a gig offer to play a Club AC30 record label night in London back in May 2019 without a band! It was off the back of a submitted demo, which later became our debut single ‘Disappears’, so we had about 6 weeks to pull a full band together! We played that night under my own name ‘Thale’ and have had the same line-up since then, but about two months later we settled on Ghost Patterns for the permanent band name.”

What’s the story behind the band’s name?

Terry: “After our debut gig, we started collecting band name ideas well into the hundreds, but basically the drop-dead rule was to make sure it was a unique name not taken on any social media, Bandcamp etc. We had to chop and change a lot of word combinations to make it unique, but in a way, I also think it seemed quite representative of the sounds we were producing too, so that could be why we all stuck with it.”

Which song would you pick to introduce yourselves
to people who never heard of GHOST PATTERNS?

Terry: “It may well be ‘Disappears’, our debut single, or ‘House Of Lies’ off the new album. But for forthcoming releases, we could look at other ways of writing and collaborating as
I don’t think were totally confined to any one particular sound at this point. For example, expect some more fuzzed up psychedelic type sounds on the new tunes we are currently working on.”

Recently your stunning debut album INFINITE came out.
A true triumph. Is the final result what you had envisioned?

Terry: “In some ways, it’s an accurate reflection of our circumstances, but in other ways, it’s not at all as it was originally envisaged. We had some outline demo ideas from around late 2019 and was about to book some studio time in London with engineer/producer James Aparicio, who has worked on some great records for Fuzz Club and other labels.

This was back in February 2020, but soon after the entire plan collapsed due to COVID!
So, I continued making more home demos, which gradually became more and more integrated into the finished songs and mixes. Sometime around the end of summer 2020, we ditched planning any studio time and simply because it just wasn’t possible! We also abandoned an E.P. idea to focus on creating a full album totally from home recordings, then mixed and mastered it ourselves.

Quite late on, we added and re-mixed two previous singles from our earlier
release, ‘Oracle’, and the song ‘Infinite’ eventually become the album title.”

The opening track INTRO (DEATH WISH) doesn’t sound like a song
about the birds and the bees. What about the death wish?

Terry: “This came from an instrumental piece based on another demo from a few years earlier. I think it became apparent during the writing of the album that this would be a good ‘intro’ type opener, so we left it without lyrics and kept the overdubbed vocals in
the final mix.

As for the song title, this goes back to a somewhat curious forced position back in summer 2020 of having to return to some kind of ‘normal’ life again at the first unlocking attempt, even though no one had access to vaccines, or even proper test and trace systems. Hence, it felt like a bit of a ‘death wish’ to put ourselves in that position at the time.”

Single HOUSE OF LIES is a flaming rocker. What’s the song about?

Somrata: “‘House Of Lies‘ is about the death of a friendship, realising someone isn’t
who they say they are. I was going through a difficult time processing betrayal from
a close friend. The song came out of anger, of realising this person who I trusted
really had no substance.

House of Lies describes a person who has carefully crafted their persona but is
ultimately empty on the inside. I spent a long time recovering from the emotional
damage I’d suffered from this person’s manipulation and narcissistic behaviour. When I wrote the song, I was fed up with feeling horrible. I just wanted to clean out any memory of them from my life. But I also felt stronger and in a space where I finally felt free of them.”

What or who decides who sings what song?

Terry: “I almost always do the music first in demo form together with the overall structure, so then it’s a case of working out who feels more comfortable to sing and develop lyrics and melodies over the music for each song.

I think ‘Safe’ was probably the only song that I had fully written and decided to keep my own vocals in. For the others, we did the vocals quite late on, as Somrata and I were only able to meet up once in person at our rehearsal space in April to go through the vocal demo ideas!

Prior to this, Somrata did her vocals for ‘Feel it Out’ at home based on instrumental
tracks that we had done and then mixed it into the finished song.”

How’s life in London post-BREXIT?

Terry: “It’s maybe a curious atmosphere of denial and a wish to move on, but also probably there’s still an element of fear too at the same time! Lockdown has ended
and Brexit has started, but there is an underlying current of uncertainty on both fronts.

I also co-run Other Side Promotions in London, booking bands from all over Europe
and beyond and having to deal with all the red tape and extra costs that goes with it.

Luckily, bands are still eager to play in the UK, so I’m happy to play a part in it and give exposure to bands on the psych, shoegaze, and post-punk scenes to help them along their musical journey. I think it also helps Ghost Patterns too to meet and share some great gig nights with other bands.”

What’s a GHOST PATTERNS gig like?

Terry: “It’s quite hard to judge that one to be honest, being in the band! Especially as we have had few opportunities to play live because of the pandemic. As we are still a new band, I’m sure we will find our own way to bring the recorded sounds and atmospheres into the live shows. It’s still a work in progress I’d say and will evolve further, but I think
the live experience could be slightly different as a distilled version of the recordings.”

Which movie would you choose to play on a big screen
behind the band while playing INFINITE in full?

James: “I think Last Year In Marienbad would look great as a backdrop to the album.

It’s a French arthouse film made back in the 60s. It’s like a brilliantly shot never-ending sequence of corridors, stages, and expressionless people. You’re not sure what’s supposed to be real and what’s supposed to be a performance. It’s open to interpretation (which helps!) but essentially, the people in it and the environment that they’re in, are trapped
in an infinite loop, where time and reality are questionable.

So, I think this fits well with the concept of the album. Within that are themes of deception, so I think it also really suits the single ‘House Of Lies‘. You’ll know what I mean when you watch it!”

Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine

Terry: “It’s an interesting one this..I’ll say MBV, but the ‘shoegazing’ genre wasn’t something I was really hugely into at the time. Keyboards are my original obsession
when it comes to instruments, so I was probably more into The Charlatans around that
1991 period.

I didn’t get a cd of ‘Loveless’ until about ten years after it was released! But once I heard it, that was it, the penny dropped. It covered everything, from the underlying songs to the ingenuity of the sounds and satisfied my psychedelic leanings being into that late 60’s period as well.

For Slowdive, they were a more recent re-discovery, apart from ‘Alison’ and ‘Souvlaki
Space Station
’ I’d say. ‘Slowdive’ from 2017 is an amazing sounding record and a stunning comeback as such.”

Ride or Swervedriver?

Terry: “I remember Ride’s early singles/ E.P. from seeing them on a great alternative
music show out in the late 80’s/ early 90’s called ‘Snub TV’, but they seemed to go off
my radar even by the time the first album ‘Nowhere’ came out.

So, for me, it was a case of re-discovery again about ten years ago listening back to
albums like ’Going Blank Again’. As for Swervedriver, I was never really familiar with them
to be honest, maybe I’ve missed a trick there!”

Best song and or album of 2021

Terry: “Margaritas Podridas self-titled album – amazing shoegaze/ psychedelic grunge from Mexico. A must see when they come to London! Or, from the UK, I’d say the White Flowers, ‘Day By Day’ album, which really is a beautifully produced record.

Next step for GHOST PATTERNS?

Terry: We are doing demos for our next bunch of songs at the moment, so hopefully this will be out in early 2022. It’s fair to say I think these songs will have a more tripped-out groove-based psychedelic sound than the intensity that’s on display for ‘Infinite’. We also have some great shows lined up with Qlowski and The Third Sound in January next year and hopefully, we will play live a lot more next year.

Thanks a bunch guys for this interview.
May the road rise with Ghost Patterns!

Don’t miss the band’s fantastic debut.
Stream/buy the album here…