How Was 2021 For THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA

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)

OFF WHITE HOUSE RECORDS: Bandcamp – Website

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.”


.
What’s I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE about?

“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…

.
CHATEAU CHATEAU: Facebook

(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
Hills
“, 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.”


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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…


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ULTRASOUND: Facebook

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…


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GHOST PATTERNS: Facebook  

 

4,000,000 TELEPHONES – 80s Post-Punk Misfits Reload Their Guns – INTERVIEW

8 October 2021

British post-punk misfits 4,000,000 TELEPHONES are back in town after nearly
40 years. They cleaned and reloaded their guns and will prove that their sonic exploits have no expiration date. Next year an album of never before heard tracks comes our way. What to expect? A mix of punked-up Talking Heads jangle, pumped-up Gang of Four funk, and shacked-up Certain Ratio grooves, all served with a Devo attitude. Sound bonkers, right? You betcha.

Ahead of the upcoming release, we had a little chat with drummer/poet and
screenwriter Carl Antony Plover. But as usual, we start a Q & A with music.

Here’s Goats, one of the previously unheard tracks…

Hello Carl,
welcome…

4, 000, 000 TELEPHONES’ wasn’t really a world-conquering
band name. What’s the story behind it?

“The longest car in the world back in the eighties used to have
4 telephones and a safe in. We were going to call ourselves that,
until 4 million Telephones sprang into our minds, random.
No big meaning.”

How/when and why did all those telephones
got together and formed a band?

“Way, way back, 1983/4. some of us were in a show type
band and wanted to do something original, experimental.”


Back in time

What ambition was on the table: having fun or world domination?

“Create good art first. Push ourselves in new directions. If it was too obvious,
we wouldn’t do it, but as some national publicity came our way, along so did
ambition, which in turn destroyed the music. Wanting to reach a large audience,
put pressure on the band.”

Which song would you pick to introduce yourselves
to the people who never heard of the band?

“There’s a song recorded on the first album called Big House. That is
a great example of the sound we created. Anchored down by the bass
and rhythm.”

What thoughts pop up immediately when you look back at those years?

“How the music still stands up. And what a shame it is that more people didn’t hear it.
To be fearless when creating your art, and not bow to anyone.”

Nearly 40 years on and the band is, busy examining the archives. How
did that happen and what’s the group’s feel now being back in 2021?

“Our sax player Rick Woolgar sadly died earlier this year. That brought the rest of the original line-up back in contact again. We then unearthed an unreleased album’s worth
of music, which we plan to release.”

The recent previously unheard track you shared is ‘HARD MAN’. A terrifically catchy tune, with a loud and clear political message, right? What’s the song about?

“Well, there was another track called Goats we released earlier in the year. Hard Man, macho politics of the eighties. Macho men, shoulder pads, muscles, and fake tans.”

I’m sure you also have a lot to say about BREXIT?

“Well, I’ve lived in Ireland for nearly twenty years now
so I consider myself European.”

Do you still have contact with kindred bands/spirits from the early days?

“Not really to be honest. We have only just made contact with each other.
It’s been decades since we all met.”

On the black/white promo photo you all look more or less like Charles Dickens’ charlatan FAGIN. Was that the idea or what did you had in mind?

“We always saw the photos as another creative process and loved the sessions we did.
At the time we were still in the post-punk bubble, so to counter that we all wore suits
and greased back our hair.”

Which movie would fit 4,0000,0000 TELEPHONES
to express who/what they are?

“I think Tarantino has used obscure tracks to great effect in his movies.
That would be nice wouldn’t it?” (TUTV: Absolutely, I’m a Tarantino freak)

Legendary British music weekly MELODY MAKER wrote back then
they burn with rare intensity and come close to carving out a perverse
identity of their own”
? What the hell were they talking about?

“I guess we were doing something against the grain of what you would normally
hear on the radio. Live it was a very intense and powerful experience.”

What was a 4,000,000 TELEPHONES gig like?

“We never quite captured the live show on record, we got close. We played a lot of shows over just a few years, so it was a tight, intense experience. You never knew what to expect. We used a very early drum machine, plus live drums. Plus tapes and treatments, before sampling existed. Six vocalists. A driving bass line. Shouted vocals.”


“Not many bands toured with two tape decks and a xylophone”

What/how much music from the archives’
search can we expect and when?

“We are planning an album’s worth of unreleased
material, either the end of this year or early next.”

Thank you very much for this chat, Carl.
May the road rise with 4,0000,000 Telephones.

While waiting for the upcoming – previously unreleased
material – album, I dare you to dance, without falling over
your feet to the band’s 1985 debut LP, re-released in 2011…


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4,000,000 TELEPHONES: WebsiteFacebook

Close Encounters With The Third Kind And Intriguing Portland Duo LORE CITY

29 September 2021

LORE CITY is one of Turn Up The Volume‘s most intriguing finds of 2021.
An art rock duo – Laura Mariposa Williams and Eric Angelo Bessel – formed
in 2011 and currently based in Portland, Oregon. So far they made 4 albums,
including their most recent one, the puzzling PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE LP.

In my mind, it’s a spiritual soundtrack for a science-fiction movie like Spielberg’s
1977 classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The past, the present and the future,
all in one. This is mesmerizing music that triggers your imagination in different directions. Laura Mariposa Williams‘ bewitching voice is the heroine of this record. Her psychedelic, gothic, far-out and at times wailing timbre magnetizes and hypnotizes while wandering in an orchestral space. About time to keep silent now and let Laura Mariposa Williams do the talking.

But as usual, before starting a Q & A, a piece of music as an introduction to the artist(s)…


.
Hello Laura,
Thank you for your time,

Is LORE CITY a real or fictional city?
Why this choice as your artist name?

Lore City is a real place in Ohio, but this is a coincidence. We’re not related.
Mostly we hope the townspeople aren’t mad at us. Our music feels like someplace
that we travel to, so our name resembles the idea of somewhere… a place of lore.”

Which song would you pick to introduce yourselves
to those who never heard of your music?

“I would pick “I Am the One” because it’s a song that was a long
time coming. Exhumed from the ethers – that’s a good place to start.”

Is your creative process a joint venture or a fusion of individual ideas?

“It’s a mixture of both. We tend to go solo in the development stage,
and then work side by side on finishing a song.”

The new album’s title is PARTICIPATION MYSTIQUE (written the French
way, isn’t it?). What does it mean related to the record?

“I discovered the phrase ‘participation mystique‘ while studying astrology.
It encapsulates the human experience so well: the mysteries of life, projection, attachment, delusion… concepts woven into the album. And yes, this is a French
phrase; the English phrase is ‘mystical participation.”

I’ve read in the press info that the 2020 event of ‘Saturn directly aligned
with Pluto within the constellation of Capricorn’ influenced the album’s
writing process. Honestly, I have no idea what that all means…

“These planetary movements reflected what was set into motion during 2020,
including the life-altering Coronavirus pandemic and the transformative Black Lives
Matter
movement. I’ve pointed out the symbolism between the stars and the earth because I believe in astrology, and I hope to get others into it, too.”

What did you want to visualize with the album’s artwork?

“The Participation Mystique album artwork is an evolution of the imagery from the previous album, Alchemical Task. A little wordless story about the roulette of being.”

‘I KNOW YOU KNOW’ is one of my favorite tracks. What’s the song about?

“The song acknowledges that others can see through things to the heart of
the matter like I do. It’s a rallying cry for kindred spirits.”


.
What movie would you pick to show on a big screen while the album’s playing?

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Except you’d have to play three of our albums to cover
the whole thing. So chronologically it would go: Kill Your Dreams, Alchemical Task,
and Participation Mystique. I think it would work, actually.”

What impact did that awful pandemic had on your musical activities?

“Since we were always at home together, we focused on writing, recording,
and launching the Lore City Music label. Making art was our tonic.”

Many artists covered other artists during the lockdown period.
Did you do that too? If not, which song would you pick to cover?

“We tend to stay away from covers, but if I ever did sneak one in,
it would be “Where I End and You Begin” by Radiohead.”

.
Do you play live? If so, what can we expect from a LORE CITY show?

“Yes, we play live. You can expect to look at the stage and think – this duo
has more gear than a four-piece band. Then enjoy Eric’s ambient drones
between songs as a special, live treat. Also, I don’t sing with my eyes closed.”

What‘s the best and worst track you heard so far in 2021?

“Well, overall the best thing I’ve heard in 2021 is Thom Yorke’s new project, The Smile.
The worst thing I could hear in any song is a wordless “whoa-oh-oh” chorus. Except that one Arcade Fire song.”

Any chance yet now that Joe Biden is the POTUS?

“What kind of a chance?”

What’s the next step for LORE CITY?

“Writing and recording and releasing and
repeating. Building a record library.”

Thank you Laura for this Q & A.
May the road rise with Lore City.

Stream/buy
‘Participation Mystique’ here…


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LORE CITY: Bandcamp

From Dublin Ireland… MONSIEUR POMPIER’S TRAVELLING FREAKSHOW

25 September 2021

MONSIEUR POMPIER’S TRAVELLING FREAKSHOW. Sounds kooky, right? Not only the band’s name is kooky, but also the orchestra conductor Monsieur Pompier, his new album, his video clips, and his freaking freaks are kooky. Expect bizzaro entertainment, synth-pop tunes, the French cancan, Kraftwerk bleeps, and sparkling sparks. Curious?
I thought so. Let’s start the Q & A show…

Who’s Monsieur Pompier? Is he for real or someone’s alter ego?

Monsieur Pompier is the leader and instigator of the Travelling Freakshow. He’s a
collector of oddballs and oddities and likes to present his madcap menagerie to the
world. Monsieur Pompier was at one time my alter ego, but over time the Pompier
side grew stronger and stronger by the day to the point where the “other” me faded
into obscurity. I’m pure Pompier now.”

And what about his Travelling Freakshow?

The Travelling Freakshow is my band of merry misfits, there’s ten of them so far but
soon there will be more. The Ear Fairy, for example, cleans your ears at night, takes the wax home with him and makes up small waxen sculptures depicting the people he visited. Guts The Cat is my fabulous feline who wears an onion for a hat, can turn herself inside out and occasionally, plays the fiddle. Micky Mould, by contrast, just wants to keep things clean and prevent anyone from enjoying their lives. He was created when I accidentally left a loaf of bread in my shed for several months.”

With song would you pick to introduce yourself to those who never heard of you?

“The Crabbit” is my current personal favourite and a good introduction to the demented universe of Monsieur Pompier’s Travelling Freakshow. “The Crabbit” is a half-crab, half-rabbit hybrid who entices young people into various vices. Once you’ve seen The Crabbit, you know you’ve got the habit.”

What impact did that awful pandemic had on your artistic activity?

“It had no impact whatsoever. I have a feeling Doctor Moogle might be behind it all.”

Many artists started to cover other artists during the lockdown times.
Did you do that too? If not which song would you pick to cover?

“I have a real aversion to covering songs but I will say that at our first ever show we
performed a ramshackle rendition of “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones so maybe
we’ll bring that back one day.”

Your new album is called TEATIME TERRORS. Why and
what or who inspired the title?

“I wanted to bring to mind TV shows like Tales of the Unexpected and The Twilight Zone,
bad Stephen King stories and folk horror. I feel the alliterative title sums up the mood of the album well. Unsettling, bizarre, yet eerily mundane in both the topics and settings.”

I suppose it’s you on the LP’s striking artwork. What’s the story behind it?

“The cover is taken from a 1950s piece of packaging which was originally used to
hold a pair of plastic eyeballs which one could drop into an unsuspecting friend’s drink. I always knew this would somehow end up as the album artwork as the face bore a striking resemblance to my own. The scanned design was then edited and embellished with new eyeballs and typography by the supremely talented Kate Stuart resulting in the final artwork.”

What can we expect from a live Monsieur Pompier performance?

“What is unique about our live shows is that not only do you get to witness the performance of the songs themselves, you actually get to meet and interact with
the characters in the songs, whether you like it or not. The Ear Fairy will inspect your
ear, Doctor Moogle will give you his diagnosis, and Banana Boy will shoot live beetles
at you with his slingshot.”

Which movie would you show on a big screen
behind the band to visualize your music?

“The Abominable Dr. Phibes.”

What‘s the best and worst track you heard so far in 2021?

“I recently discovered the band Stump and I think that their song “Buffalo” might be both the best and worst song that I’ve heard this year. Other music highlights from recent times that I suggest your readers check out right away include The Gathering Doubt, Tirikilatops, Scunner and Rita Braga.”

Are any Monsieur Pompier mouth masks available?

“We aren’t currently making masks available to the public but there are plans for
all manner of Monsieur Pompier merchandise including t-shirts and toys in the not
too distant future.”

Sparks or Devo?

“I love both bands but whilst I’m particularly fond of the Freedom of Choice album by Devo
I think that overall there’s a lot more meat on the Sparks bone. Lyrically, stylistically and simply in terms of sheer quantity, Sparks are the superior band for me even if they can end up being like as sickeningly sugary sweet that you can only eat so much of in one sitting without throwing up. My favourite Sparks albums are the self-titled debut album (originally titled Halfnelson), Kimono My House, and Whomp That Sucker.

Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart?

“100% Captain Beefheart. For me, Frank Zappa was a great technical musician but Beefheart was a true creative weirdo. My favourite Beefheart tracks are “Brickbats”, “Tropical Hot Dog Night” and “Harry Irene“.”

Next step for Monsieur Pompier?

“I’ve already got most of the tunes for the second album written. I just need to record them now. We’re performing live again and with Halloween approaching, we’re sure to be busy badgers in the coming weeks. Keep your eyeballs peeled for more music videos also!”

Merci bien, Monsieur, pour votre cooperation
May the road rise with you

Buy/stream the new album here…


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MONSIEUR POMPIER: Facebook

All You Need To Know About The Queen Of Swords And More – Here’s ROSIE REBEL From Brooklyn Pop Punk Gang TYPHOID ROSIE

7 September 2021


(photo by Mark Doyle)

One of Turn Up The Volume‘s coolest flaming discoveries of 2021 (so far) is pithy pop-punk gang TYPHOID ROSIE out of Brooklyn, New York. The gunslingers released their 4th album (never too late to discover cool flaming bands) called QUEEN OF SWORDS last month. A scream-and-shout along avalanche of fist-pumping firework anthems to start and end all moshpits with.

Rousing Riot grrrl ROSIE REBEL leads the troops. A loud and clear don’t mess with me
(and her sisters) feminist who knows how to get your lazy ass out of your lazy couch and fight for your right to go bonkers. She will tell us all about the band, the Queen of Swords, herself and lots of other stuff. But first, as usual, before starting an interview, a piece of music, let’s make it a gloriously informative one this time…

Hello Rosie, thank you for
taking time for this Q & A…

TYPHOID ROSIE, not really an obvious band name. Why that choice?

“I performed under the stage name Rosie Rebel as a comedian for a long time. The reason
I chose Typhoid Rosie is because I wanted to keep my comedy separate from my music. On stage with the band, I’m always telling jokes in between songs, and I’m still that funny person. The difference is that our music is really good and I want people to take it seriously. I went
with Typhoid Rosie because I was a History major and I got a kick out of Typhoid Mary.

For those of you who don’t know she was, she was a healthy carrier of Typhoid Fever who worked in kitchens getting everyone sick. She felt pretty good but everyone around her was dying. And this was in the days before indoor plumbing and hand washing. Also, I would like
our music to spread like an epidemic, and my name is Rosie, so voila, I went with Typhoid Rosie!”

Which song would you pick to introduce the band?

“I’m gonna go with the Queen Of Swords on this one. It’s not even my favorite song on the record, but if I only had one song to play for others its that one. I’ve overcome a lot of tragedy and pain in my life and I believe that I was given these experiences to help others. I realize now that this is where the diamonds are made. Diamonds are cooked inside the Earth under the most extreme circumstances.

My gift is the ability to take that pain and transform that energy into something positive. It’s my expression of this pain that’s made me such a great artist. I want my songs to be the rocket fuel you need to blast you out of rock bottom. For this song I took the greatest fighting words of survival that I could think of: “Get Up!” Life is hard, but “Get up!”


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The new album’s title is QUEEN OF SWORDS. Who is she?

“The Queen Of Swords is a Tarot goddess who has mastered her emotions of mind over heart. She is a symbol of strength, wisdom and perseverance. If you’re an Aquarius, Libra, or Gemini, you might have some of these cerebral / air qualities about you. But at times, we embody all of these elements of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. The reason I chose her is because the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is letting go of toxic people that I love. It’s not in my nature to bury the living. I’m a Sagittarius. We are very truthful and cutting with our words at times but I’d rather have that than Judas Iscariot sitting at my table. People who plot and scheme, pray for your downfall, are jealous of you, who lie, and go behind your back. I’m one of the most giving and loving people you will ever meet, but some people quite frankly don’t deserve a seat at your table.

People drop red flags all the time. There’s only so long you can play victim, and deceive yourself. In this phase of my life, I’ve learned to love myself more, where others have failed me. And I believe that sometimes backstabbers become the greatest teachers you will ever have, because they put you in a situation where you are able to be given the choice to love yourself. Maybe that’s the greatest lesson you were sent here on this Earth to learn. It’s great that you can love other people, but you don’t need to sacrifice yourself in order to do so. Everyone thinks that happily ever after is some other person that’s come to complete you, but the greatest soul
mate you will ever have is yourself. Remember that!”

The record’s artwork is pretty awesome. What did you
wanted to visualize and who is the creator?

“Early on, I knew I wanted to call the record “Queen Of Swords”. Six out of ten songs on the record give homage to my obsessive tarot phase I went through. It took time to get my producer Phil on board, but eventually, he warmed up to the idea and ran with it. Phil had the idea of putting the Queen Of Swords in a mid-century living room as the album cover. He wanted the Ten Of Swords character lying dead in the foreground with an oblivious husband / father figure reading the paper in the background. Out the window is the Tower, and the 1950s car outside represents the Chariot. Originally we wanted a jukebox, but it became an organ instead. Phil spent months looking for the right artist and he found Paul Kepple who did the COOLEST tarot deck I’ve ever seen called the Zombie Tarot. If you’re a tarot junkie, you really need to get that deck.

Here’s the spooky part where fate comes in to play. Paul substituted an organ in the background in place of the jukebox idea, which is funny because it looks EXACTLY like my great grandmother’s organ that’s sitting in my living room. So I said, “It looks like my grandmother’s organ, lets keep it.” A clock on the organ reads, 1:11 which pays homage to all of the angel numbers that I see everywhere I go, and my favorite song on the record: 1:11. Lastly, I want to talk about my favorite thing, but I have to jump back to the hardest weekend of my life, when my Mother and Grandmother died 3 days apart. I was not expecting to lose my mom and it was Earth shattering for me. I looked for her everywhere I went. I looked for her in my dreams. Three days after my Mom died, I saw my Mom in a dream and she said, “Your eyes are bleeding!” It scared the shit out of me. A few years later, our drummer had a dream that my eyes were bleeding. Now fast forward to when Paul sent his final cover to us and I saw her bleeding eyes.

The bleeding eyes were an extra bonus Paul’s added that we didn’t tell him to put in. We never told him about the bleeding eyes in my dream, and it’s crazy to me how fated this all seems. I’m such a fan of his work, and I am so proud to wear his artwork on the cover of this album. The whole record layout is a work of art. Thank you Paul Keeple of Headcase Design!”

One of my favorite tracks is DEFEND YOUR TEMPLE. What’s the song about, Rosie?

“I’m glad you like it! We live in a very disposable World, where insecurities are worth billions of dollars. 3,000 times a day girls are told they’re ugly, old, and fat by advertisements just to keep them feeling ugly enough to buy their products. I studied these messages and also looked at the stories I grew up with. Classics like Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. When I looked closer at these with a critical eye, I found the messages disturbing: The Little Mermaid sells her soul and talents, and changes herself for a guy she doesn’t even know. Cinderella is not much better, who sits around crying waiting for mice, fairy godmothers, and princes to save her. Instead of giving little girls ideas that they’re not good enough until a man comes along,

I thought let’s throw those broken high heel dreams in the trash and I wrote this song. In my song, Cinderella is a badass who wears practical shoes to outrun all of the losers chasing her. My Cinderella is out there kicking ass, and just in case, she knows Krav Maga and has mace. I want little girls to be strong in themselves and to know that their body is a temple, and to guard their light, and cultivate their minds, souls, and talents before they think that they were put here to seek validation from a prince who may or may not show up. Save yourself Cinderella!”


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What impact did that awful pandemic had on the band’s activity?

“To me the scariest part is how much fear people consume. Honestly, I felt like one of the most stable people during the pandemic, which is weird for me because normally I’m the weirdo. Early on, I made my own mask on my sewing machine and walked my dog every day. I found secret abandoned spots to roller-skate. Meanwhile, my drummer, worked every day in his underpants writing this record. He’d be up with a guitar before I woke up. He found a way to make this record in isolation from the rest of the band. The man’s really a genius, he recorded drums, bass, guitar, rhythm and lead guitar in garage band.

Then he sent those tracks to our band, who played along with them until they were ready to record through amps in their own homes. Towards the end of the pandemic, he cut live drums in the studio. And our bass player also decided that he wanted to record in the studio. This is the first record in which I never set foot in the studio. I recorded on an SM-58 in my bedroom at the height of the epidemic. I felt like I had Covid at the time, because for the first time singing it felt like I had asthma. I guess you can say, while everyone lost their minds running from the Reaper, we finished this record.”

Many artists started to cover other artists during the lockdown times.
Did you do that too? If not which song would you pick to take on?

“We don’t do any covers, It is a smart way for people to find your music though. I have my own voice, and contributions. We have four albums so we could play three to four hours original material if we wanted to. But if you’re asking me what my favorite band to sing a long to, I love Cock Sparrer. It’s so fun to sing in a British accent.”

What’s a TYPHOID ROSIE gig like?

“I think I’m the most fun live performer. Except for Coolie Ranx from the Pilfers I don’t know of a better live performer than Rosie. Half these bands you gotta check their pulse to see if they’re still alive. Because I don’t play an instrument while I’m singing, it gives me the freedom to run around and dance. I’ve also learned the difference between singing at people, and bringing people in and connecting with them. I’m also funny, Is’ll hear that after shows, and its no surprise because I’m a comedian.

But here’s the difference between me and a lot of performers: So many people try so hard to be like someone else or to force a moment that they forget how to find themselves and be in the moment. Because life in each moment is really the greatest writer, we can try, but you’re better off riding the wave of life. When I look out in the crowd, I’m not interested in myself, I’m interested with connecting with you guys. Ultimately, these songs are for you. I already know these songs and heard em’ a thousand times.

The reason we put gang vocals, is because deep down, I’ve always heard you guys singing along with me. It sounds crazy, it’s just what I feel when I sing these songs. It’s not me, it’s us, and that’s how I feel about performing. I’m just as excited about you, as you are about me!”

Which movie would you show on a big screen behind the band when playing live?

“Pee Wee’s Big Adventure!”

It’s terribly sad to hear – almost every day – about sexual abuse of women in and out of the sexist entertainment world? What do you think, Rosie, is the deep-rooted reason(s) for this never-never-never-ending awful male behaviour?

“According to the UN one in three women worldwide have been assaulted, mostly by their lovers which is horrible. Some of this is just nature. The sperm chases the egg. I think the anger that some men feel derives from their own inadequency, and sometimes this comes out as violence towards women. It’s gross to think that a woman owes you anything. But some of it is just animal behavior. People forget that they’re animals. I take my dog to the dog park. Once in a while, you get a dog that just comes up and jumps on your dog and tries to slide his red rocket in. So much of sex is asserting power and dominance over another.

There’s plenty of good guys out there. There’s plenty of girls who treat themselves like garbage, who reject men who will love them. It’s even sadder when girls go against each other and stab their own girlfriends in the back. The best is when girls love themselves and each other. We’re the only animals who have knowledge and we have to strive to be better. Each of us should strive to love ourselves, all the wonders, and animals of this planet, and each other. Luckily
I do feel that the reason God / Karma is invisible is to see who people truly are when no one is looking. For the Jeffrey Epsteins, there is a special place in Hell just for them. I don’t think most people are bad. We carry both Heaven and Hell inside of us. I hope for the best always.”

What‘s the best and worst track you heard so far in 2021?

“‘Wow, You Can really Dance’, by Handsome Dancer, and
‘Wow You Can Really Dance’ by Handsome Dancer.”


Joan Jett or Courtney Love?

“Ha, I don’t like either. I had a chance to be in Spin Magazine if I would write about my favorite Courtney Love song, and I just couldn’t do it. Her eyes look so empty to me, and I don’t feel that we need to celebrate artists who are already famous. So I’ll pick 2 less famous singers who could use the recognition more: Nicole Atkins and Aimee from the Interrupters.”


Eat your heart out, Joan and Courtney

Brooklyn Nets or New York Knicks?

“The only sports team I like is the New York Rangers. Is that bad? But I guess I’ll go with
the Brooklyn team, The Nets cause I know a few people who tumble at Nets games.”

Anti-COVID 19 vaccination or not?

“There is so much fear going around. I have to remind people constantly that the Reaper knows where everyone lives. I’m of the old school, where I believe if it’s your time, not even the doctors can save you. They can slow your death down for a few hundred thousand dollars and keep you hooked up to machines. I’m vaccinated, my whole band is. I got vaccinated mostly so everyone would shut up. Not cause I believe in a company like Phizer.

To be honest, it got creepy when everyone started talking like a Phizer commercial. We shouldn’t trust so blindly in these pharmaceutical companies. Especially because our government is more in pocket of Big Pharma than they are invested in serving their own people. Pharmaceutical companies are the ones who created the Heroin epidemic, by pushing drugs that they knew were incredibly addictive, which by the way has killed more people than Covid. That’s crazy
how those drugs slipped past the FDA. Look at the all the carcinogens in our food sprinkled in
by Proctor and Gamble.

Cancer is worth billions, so these companies are very invested in sickness. Secondly, you have to look at the death rates. Fewer people are dying now. I think we’ve all been exposed to Covid, so whoever survived it, their bodies probably already know how to fight the virus. But, can vaccines work? Yes they sure can!

Next step for TYPHOID ROSIE?

“Punk record of the year! And Shows! Shows! Shows! Capice? I love when you say that by the way! Thank you for having us!! Thank you everything you’ve done to get our record out there. I’ll remember you!”

Thanks very much for doing this Q & A, Rosie.

I’ll remember you too, and your
band and the Queen of Swords!

Now, let’s play cards. folks.
Stream/buy the Queen here…


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TYPHOID ROSIE
Facebook
Instagram
Spotify

Rosie Rebel: Lead Vocals, Gang Vocals
Jeff Crews: Lead Guitar, Gang Vocals
Matt Van Ernest: Bass Guitar
Phil Wartell: Drums, Rhythm Guitar,
Bass (Track 10), Gang Vocals

Big Heart Big Soul Big Album – An Interview With Survivor ANGELINE CHAVEZ From Indie Rockers ONISM E

9 April 2021

Last February New-York based indie rookers ONISM E
released their debut album, titled SURVIVORS.

After a couple of spins Turn Up the Volume knew that this is
one of the best records you’ll hear all year and wrote…

“Gusto, high-spiritedness and anxiety are the keywords here. This warm-blooded LP
is a heart-rending reflection of the group’s state of 2021 mind. A galvanizing collection
of cohesive poignant emo songs influenced by the disturbing way our troubled world
is handling human issues, once-in-a-lifetime dramas, and the personal turmoil
of frontwoman Chavez.”

Big heart, big soul, big voice, big album.

Enough reasons for an interview. So, thanks to Eline for chatting with us.
But first, as usual, a piece of music with the album’s outstanding opener STAY

Hello Eline,

What’s the story behind the band’s name and
when did the musical journey start, Eline?

Onism is the knowledge that you are stuck in one body and will only
get to see so much of the world. The frustration in that thought is me
in a nutshell. I have been fortunate enough to travel a good bit.
I know I will never see all of it, and that makes me a little sad.

The band started it in 2017 with another guitarist. He left after we released
our first EP, and I kept the name and kept working on my own. This Onism E
lineup started in late 2019 in preparation for a music festival in Austin, TX.
We never got to play because then the pandemic hit.

Instead of just waiting it out, I decided to reach out to CeeRod
to play a bass line. The rest is history, as they say.”

Which track would you play to introduce yourself
to people who never heard of you?

“Oh, good question. It depends on the day. Ha. Today I
would probably play them, Survivors.”


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One of my favorite tracks is MY AMERICA and the video is both gripping and painful to watch. How do you see the future now that American idiot Trump is dumped?

I am hopeful but we have done so much damage to each other. Only time
will tell how we bounce back. I hope we are better for it in the end. I hope we
all learned some tough lessons that will make us better humans.

In the clip you wear a t-shirt with LOVE IS A VERB on.
What does the expression mean to you?

For me, it is about actively participating in my family life and my community.
I am not afraid to get my hands dirty. I hear people say all the time that they
want to help but don’t know how. I always tell them, whatever their gift is, to
find a way to use it. Love is active and requires action.


Your rad debut album calls SURVIVORS. Who are they? The band? The world?

“Both. Ha. If you are reading this, then you are a survivor. We have a way to go
but, you are here so, keep on keeping on.”

I love the album’s cover image. I’m sure big-time artists wouldn’t put themselves with a mouth mask on, on their records. Did you want to make a statement with your choice?

“I had not thought about it that way, but no, we did not intend for it to be a statement.
At the time we took those pictures, the goal was to stay healthy.”

The thing that crossed my mind immediately, when I heard the opening track
STAY for the first time was: that’s Aretha Franklin. Any thoughts on that, Eline?

“Thank you. That’s very kind. That is the influence of living in the south for so long. It does have a very pulpit-driven, preachy sound to the way I phrased it. You are one of the few to pick up on it, yay!”

A lot of musicians came up with a cover of another artist’s song during
these bizarre times. Which one would you pick to give it an Onism E touch?

“We’ve been talking about that for a bit. I think something from Radiohead, The Pretenders, Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark, Twenty One Pilots, or Ben Harper but, who knows. Ha.”

Voice!

Suppose you were asked to rewrite the American National Anthem,
what would be the outcome in sound and vision?

“I would not even attempt to or even know where to begin honestly…”

Which movie would you pick to screen behind you on stage while playing the album?

“Hmm. That’s tricky. I am going to go with a not-so-obvious choice and say Wonder Woman. It’s about hope, love, and fighting for a better tomorrow all in one. Plus, who doesn’t love Gal Gadot?”

New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets?

Next step for ONISM E, Eline?

“Live shows and more music! We remain hopeful that things will
continue to improve with the pandemic. I remain hopeful that by
summertime we will have shows in our pipeline scheduled for the fall.”

Thank you very much for this chat, Eline!
May the road rise with Onism E!

Buy/stream SURVIVORS here…


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ONISM E: Facebook