Standing United Is The Key – Meet The Passionate And Activist Artist CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG

8 August 2020

This is truly the most thoroughgoing, passionate, instructive and noble-minded interview Turn Up The Volume ever experienced. A few months ago I discovered ‘Confidence Is The Key’, the new record by a Nigeria born, Ottawa based artist. Music with a heart and a soul, with a vision and a future, with a humanitarian message and profound warmth. Music that makes you sing, dance, muse, reflect and that brings the one love spirit of the late great Bob Marley to mind.

Meet the wonderful human being, peaceful warrior, and arresting voice CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG. Let’s start the acquaintance with a captivating track from her album. Open your eyes and ears and listen…

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Hello Confidence Survival,

Is CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG your real name or
an artist moniker and what’s the meaning of the name?

“My name is Confidence Survival Eyong (Confidence Survival being my first name
and Eyong being my last name) the idea behind the name Survival which is my dad’s first name is that he was able to survive 3 days after birth with just water because his
mom died during birth and also woke up in 3 days. Confidence, I don’t think much thought was put into it like it’s a big deal because having names like joy, peace, etc are common names in Nigeria.

Our parents always named us as an expression of how they feel or what the environment was at the time. Even though Confidence Survival was not chosen by me, I know Confidence is a true embodiment of what I am and what I need to be and have to survive in the journey that I’ve embarked upon, which is emancipating our people through music.”

When and how did you start your musical career?

“My musical journey started from childhood with my dad putting on music concerts
for 15 years straight so I pretty much grew on that. I was able to see the journey of
planning, choir rehearsals, other musical talents flying into the city from around the
country and since then I had the urge to be part of musical culture. I never really
had the chance to pursue music as a career until 2 1/2 years ago when I found Black Starliner Studios which facilitated the journey. Everything I needed to accomplish
what I am today, from lyrical production growing fully into self-producing and now
working with other artists, I couldn’t have done it without my team and there’s other
place like Black Starliner Studios.”

What are the themes of the album ‘Confidence Is Key’?

“The album is a journey about how one starts out to carry the burden or cause of one’s people and that is signified by the first track “I Take My Vow”. Once the knowledge of the missing link reaches you, your eyes become open, hence the second track “Eyes Open”. Ultimately, all humanity, no matter what part of the planet they are seeking for peace and
as I travel through my daily life, I’ve come to know that some people’s intentions are not aligning even though they say they are (e.g. the churches, government, and various sects) hence my third track which is “Peace On Earth”.

In knowing all this stuff, one comes to a point in their life where belief is not needed anymore because belief doesn’t make a change, we need to know and question ‘what
do we know?’
so that was my fourth track on the album “I Know”. After grounding on the knowledge, we then need to take action and stop being “Careless” leaving it to someone else and learn that it won’t stop until we take action.

However, because our plight is a global one and all people of Kush around the globe are experiencing this great injustice and inhumane acts, our solution to all this already given to us by the Honorable Garvey Trinity is we need to organize and act on one accord to overcome any situation and organization means unity, hence “United We Stand.”

‘CARELESS’ is one of the gripping tracks on
‘Confidence Is Key’. What’s the song about?

‘Careless’ was sparked from the reflection of knowing that this injustice didn’t start today. For centuries, people of Kush (misnomered black people) have protested and fought the colonial powers in order to be seen and treated as humans but to no avail, we are still at the same spot we started. We protest over and over again but can only spread awareness about our rage without truly seeing a way out of the systemic injustice. “Careless” does not only address the situations but for the first time in a long time, it gives us solutions.

Emphasized by the voice of one of our greatest leaders Marcus Mosiah Garvey, starting with a strong theme “to make ourselves free man” it is an appropriate song for this time that we cannot miss out on.

Careless” is about realizing that as a people we’ve been struggling for equal rights and justice for a while and due to our distraction in the pledge for survival, we have overlooked or neglected the importance of protecting people like ourselves that are standing up for us. We have left them vulnerable to the establishments that destroyed them and that’s why I emphasized the people in the video to show the long old line of the situation, the journey, and now the solution.”

“Careless” was written before the death of George Floyd. The series of events shed
more light to the injustice but I had already seen through search and reading at Sankofa Bookstore that it’s been going on way before and too also to people like George Floyd who go about their everyday lives being identified as threats to the common society because of the color of their skin. For example, Emett Hill & Rodney King were also before these series of incidents but they’re all significant to show how nothing has changed since the last protests and that the colonial institutions are alive and intact.”

What would you like people to take from the’ ‘CARELESS’ video clip?

I would like people to take from the video, the situation we’ve faced from the last 500 years to present, the journey which is how we’ve been coping putting up resistance for the inhumane and unjust treatments towards us as a people and the solution which is rooted right in front of our face that we’ve overlooked which is the philosophy and opinions of the Garvey trinity which can be summed up in one word – “self-reliance”. The establishment, the laws, the practices, and the lifestyle in general of the west towards the people of Kush needs a revamping and they must stop drinking the blood of indigenous. They don’t own the land and therefore have no right to govern or to block or bar anyone traveling through any territories.

We should never feel like we are begging or trying to belong in any society because we have as many rights and even more because we are once again indigenous to do whatever we want to do and go wherever we want to go on the planet because it’s our home and everyone must know that the only way the colonial empires got whatever land they claim is theirs is because they participated in the genocide that killed all the indigenes that they found in the land.

The people of Kush were here before Columbus, we did not come to the Americas on slave ships because we were already here and we came way before on our own ships and we lived and flourished on this land until the genocide of our people and the ones who were left were forced to build these cities which are now called theirs. We have more rights to the territories than anyone can claim because we built them with our bare hands and are still doing it today. We are not citizens and all colonial infrastructure from the media to the companies to even the security forces work with one mandate to keep the people of Kush in a state of P.O.W (prisoners of war) so what we call jobs today is pure slavery.

The Truth never sets people free, it can only stand, only People can set each other free because we can act on it and apply the knowledge that we find. I want people to Seek alternate knowledge and question all information when it comes to the narrative of ourselves that comes from other people. Most of the information we were miseducated with from kindergarten to graduation was deliberate with an agenda to cover up our true history and keep us as a society to hate each other. People must know that the indigenes are not historical icons but are present now and that there is a present civilization that has existed, been functioning and traveling globally since and before 1492.”

When and how did you became aware of all injustices the black communities, worldwide, suffered for ages and, incredibly, still suffer from every single day?

“Everyone has always been aware, but due to the religious hypnosis, we react to it
differently and the majority of us ignore it because we’re not confident to stand up
to it. So we turn the other cheek and make it continue.”

“Did/do you, yourself, experience(d) acts of racism?

“We all have to realize that the issues on the table are not from the people on the everyday ground but from the administration that makes these practices of injustice
law. Every person is balanced in having a pleasant and unpleasant expression of their environment but our actions are all judged by the law and if the law makes it okay then we take it that it is, otherwise we all as humans want to coexist peacefully together without all the downsides of conflict. So we need to revisit the laws that make injustice triumph.”

“The security forces – slave catchers e.g. police – are paying their due allegiance to the colonial empires and by us identifying ourselves as the colour “black” being the status of a slave and not a people – e.g. Igbo, Zulu, Ashanti, Yoruba, e.t.c – we continue to denationalize ourselves from being the people of Kush – the Pyramid Builders – and make it legitimate for any inhumane, unjust and brutal acts to be done to us by the slave catcher”.

What does Kush Mean?

“I would like to get it clear that we’re not black. People are not crayons. We are a people with culture that have been denationalized from our original state of ancestral lineage.
We are Kush the pyramid builders and the word Africa is an insult because we are the autochthony of the earth. Kush refers to the indigenous people of the land, the mothers and fathers of all humanity who have now been denationalized in the present day to be called negroes and the color black which is in fact the legal status of a slave. Kush is both in geography which is The Blacks Land or Land of the Blacks and in People which is the people of Kush. It is the mother of Kemet and it is interchangeable with: Punt for Somalia, Nubia for Sudan, Ba for the bantu, Khoisan, Ibo, Twa, Ka, the bloodline of the Egyptian Perahs and Kendakes (kings & queens), Mandi / Mandingo, Tellem (All in the Mainland Kush which is called Africa). There’s also the Anu or Ainu in Asia, Picts (England), Finn (Finland), Grimaldi (Europe), Saami (Norway) Olmec & Xi (Central America), Skrealings (Canada), Mound Builders (United States), Fuegians (Fuji Island), Menehune, Negritos, Hobbits, Andaman Islanders, and our names keep changing. All People of Kush carry the ‘NEGROID’ phenotype and genotype and the reference for this information is in the book called The First Americans were Africans by Professor David Imhotep.”

Your message to the world is UNITED WE STAND beautifully expressed in the stand-out song of the same name recorded with several other artists. Can you tell us more about the project?

“United We Stand” was an unreleased project that was also finished before the COVID-19 Situation. It was done with 15 other artists and the COVID-19 turn of events shed light on the importance of global unity practically so I used the opportunity to further make the Official COVID-19 Victory Video that highlights the global participation in flattening the curve. From the essential workers, people that donated, and people that supported each other in their own way by providing care packages and home-made masks. It shows that they are not just being seen but also
acknowledged and appreciated.”

How concrete is your hope that one day all people – regardless their color, sexual nature or religion – will be treated the same way?

“There’s no hope for unity in this case, I just have confidence in people that we can all
work together to be the change we want to see to create a tolerative environment for
each other and hope is not in my toolkit because hope is leaving things to chance/fate but I stand on action which breaks down to goals and plans that are achievable and everyone has to get involved but to do that, we all need to be confident first.”

Do you see reggae as music of and for black people?

“All music is the music of the black – Kush – people because we are the rhythm of life, the mother and father of humanity and I do understand what you mean by “music of Black people”. I think what you’re trying to say in this case is if I think reggae is the general musical vehicle for the liberation of the people of Kush. And yes I do, it is one of the musical genres that express that confidently, traditional music that says nothing about liberation but shows the culture is another.


Bob Marley

Jamaicans, among other territories, have been disconnected from Motherland Kush (Africa) and like the others, they are trying to reconnect and find their way forward but what makes them unique is the knowledge they have tying back to the philosophy and opinions of the Garvey Trinity (Marcus Mosiah, Aime Jacques & Aime Ashwood GarveyThe Mothers & Father of Kush Liberation) which in one word is summed up to self-reliance, and their perseverance to be themselves and show their culture (the Rasta culture). This reflects in their lifestyle which is their systems, food, art, and music.

The general expression of this consciousness in their music is called ‘roots’ music which is known as reggae and because this musical culture has already been established globally, it makes it seem reggae is the instrument for the fight for liberation in the diaspora and new artists who are aligned with that consciousness tune into that expression. As much as I enjoy and promote reggae music, however, I wouldn’t classify myself as a reggae artist because as much as gospel can go across multiple genres being identified by the message, so does Sankofa. I am a Sankofa Artist


Sankofa artwork

“My music is advocating for justice through all of humanity, but at this point in time, the people of Kush are the ones being deliberately impacted by the injustices of the colonial empires. They are waging war in plain sight against Kush the people and its indigenous resources and everyone that speaks up to emancipate us, so just as they protect their interest at all times, I will also protect my interest because I am Kush and the only next question for every Kush out there is “when will it be my turn?

Which artist would you love to write a song with?

“Vybz Kartel, Mortimer, Umu Obiligbo, Flavour Ijele, Queen Omega,
Angelica Kudjo, Burna Boy, etc.”

Do you also sing/perform live?

“‘Confidence Is Key‘ album was released parallel to the 2020 turn of events therefore
I haven’t had the opportunity yet because there are no mass gatherings however I definitely look forward to performing in the future.”

“Did you also join the BLACK LIVES MATTER protest marches.
If so what impressed you the most?”

“No I didn’t, I took the time to put together “Careless” music video which immortalized the protest and depicted the validity of why we as a people are frustrated and gave solutions to the situation. That was my lasting contribution and guidance for those in the streets. What I like most about the turn of events is the realization and actualization that we need each other to make this change by having common knowledge and that was finding statues that stood for injustice.”

Next step for CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG?

“Definitely, I would like to release a few tracks featuring some of the artists
I mentioned earlier but in the meantime expect eyes open music video
dropping soon and some performances upon gathering again.”

Your ultimate ambition?

“My ultimate ambition is to live and immerse myself in my culture
and artistically to convey that message at all times.”

Thank you Confidence Survival
for this great interview
May the road rise with you.

Listen to the album in full here…

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CONFIDENCE SURVIVAL EYONG: Facebook

INTERVIEW – Meet Red-Hot Poland Rockers IZZY AND THE BLACK TREES

26 May 2020

Poland’s IZZY AND THE BLACK TREES is a flamboyant and red-hot rock band out of
Poland turning up the heat with sharp-edged riffs, jagged licks, hammering drums and frontwoman Izzy‘s fevered vox in the middle. Last month they unleashed new, awesome, album TRUST NO ONE. A record that serves a versatile turbulent cocktail of high-energy jackhammers and amplified reveries. Many reasons to invite Izzy and find out more about the longplayer, Poland’s music scene, Picasso and vampires. But before we chat let’s start with one of the highlights of the album ‘Mr. President’

Here we go, welcome Izzy…

What triggered you guys to form a band and when/how did it happen?
“The band was formed in 2018, two songs which I wrote before “Winter’s Coming Down
and “Hay on Fire” were the direct trigger to form the band. We recorded those songs and released them on our debut self-titled EP in September 2018. Before I&TBT I had a folky electronic music project Miss Is Sleepy which was interesting but something was missing,
as it turned out it was the raw, rock’n’roll energy which emerged with the Black Trees.”


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Who came up with the name ‘The Black Trees’ and what’s the meaning behind it?
“The name was suggested by our friend and Vintage Records studio owner, Szymon Swoboda who said that Izzy (short for Izabela) and the Black Trees just sounds good.
Plus our debut EP was much folkier than Trust No One. Now we have stepped out of the woods into more raw, feisty, and rock ’n’ roll driven realms. The trees have splinters now.”

Which track would you play as an introduction to your music to people who never heard of you?
Picasso’s Octopuss and Mr. President – both are singles from our album. Those tracks are great to play live, there are fine melodies and noisy guitars in it. This is what defines our attitude to music I guess.”

Your excellent debut album is out now. Is there, lyrically,
a red thread throughout the songs?

“You mean is there a certain theme associated to all of the songs? Each one of them is a separate story really, but together they somehow match. Trust No One (first track on the album) is about trusting yourself before giving way to other influences or people who tell you how to live. Picasso’s Octopuss, King of Gardens is for the outsiders. After Dark is about the fear of the future and a craving to be invincible. Scream Sealions was inspired by a visit to San Francisco and beat poetry. Strangers Allow recalls the burning of Notre Dame cathedral. Kite Dancer is the most intimate lyric on the album, describes a relationship between two people, lovers. So you can see all of them are like mini-novels you can dive into.”

Izabela has her fists clinched on the album’s front sleeve.
What emotion do you want to visualize? Anger, resistance, pain?

“All of it! Some even say it looks like I’m about to start to dance haha! This is why this photo is pretty special, it shows lots of different emotions at once. For me it shows someone just before giving a punch, like boxers gathering their force just before giving their best shot.”

One of my fav songs is Mr. President. Which president are you singing about, Izzy?
“This is a complicated story….haha…well the song originally was inspired by the story
of Marylin Monroe hence the President. It turns out that it can apply to not only this particular story, it’s a warning to any president that overuses their power for the sake
of their own interests.”


Another intriguing track is ‘Picasso’s Octopuss’. Weird, yet cool title. What is it about?

“The song was inspired after a visit to a Picasso’s exhibition in London. There were a lot of paintings of women/octopuses. Picasso had this thing for women, to paint them in often disfigured and animal-inspired forms – for him an octopus was at the same time scary and seductive – I find this comparison very sensual and graphic – and so is the song I guess!”

Can’t we really trust no one?
“If you’re an only child you know what I mean (haha!) Trust is very important but sometimes you need distance to be able to trust the right people.”

Is there a lively indie/rock scene in Poland?
“Seems like in Poland hip-hop and pop/electronic music took over. Indie or rock scene
was stronger in the nineties/ noughties for sure. There are good bands of course and
good indie labels like Antena Krzyku (active since over 30 years). In our minds the scene
is not only limited to Polish territory we find that our music could find fans in Germany
or Belgium or the UK – so all we need is to wait until safe travel will be allowed again!”

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

“Some sort of film noir, about sexy vampires,
with classic swampy western bits.”

Favorite artist/band to do a world tour with?
“Ohhhh Sonic Youth (well now it would be Kim Gordon solo
I guess), IDLES, Oh Sees, Nick Cave wouldn’t be bad at all.”

Best track and or album you heard so far this year?
Sweet from Every Bad by Porridge Radio also the new
album from NY’s Public Practice is pretty cool.”

Next step for Izzy and The Black Trees?
“Putting out a video clip for the third single from the album, “Strangers Allow” – it’s going to be something special!! Surviving the lockdown and playing our first post-album-release live gig soon!”

Thank you Izabela for the cool interview.
May the road rise with Izzy And The Black Trees.

Hear/buy TRUST NO ONE here…


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IZZY AND THE BLACK TREES: Facebook

Great Artist, Great Voice and Great Human Being – Here’s The Wonderful ROWETTA..

4 April 2020

I’m sure many of you heard the brilliant soul voice of Rowetta without knowing her
name or who she’s actually is as she collaborated with so many artists that there’s a
great chance you have a record of them, with her gripping vox on it, in your collection.
She was born in Manchester and discovered her high-quality singing capability after winning a talent competition at the age of twelve.

For her countless fans Rowetta is best known for her work – on record and on stage –
with the infamous Madchester band Happy Mondays who she still tours with. I had
the opportunity to be impressed by her utterly cool stage presence and most of all
her tremendously impressive voice when playing with Shaun Ryder‘s gang in Belgium.
And something I already noticed before and now definitely again with this interview: Rowetta is a wonderful human being, a positive mind and an empathetic heart.
It’s a privilege to interview her. But first some music.

Here’s her brand new single, dance banger
‘The Game’ (Alexander Technique Remix),
a song by DJ Jay Potter & Rowetta…

Hello Rowetta,

What triggered you to become the artist you are. A childhood dream?
“It was never a dream of mine, as a child and I was ever encouraged to sing or
perform, but something magical happened when I was around 12 years old and
realised I had this unique, emotive and powerful voice. None of my family could sing,
so it came as a beautiful surprise and the more I sang, the better I got and as soon as
I got up on a stage and sang in front of an audience, I knew it was a gift and something very special to treasure.

Can you name some artists/bands you were involved with during your career?
“I have worked with many great people. I would miss out some if I tried to let them all. Here are some: Happy Mondays, Paul Oakenfold, Todd Terry, Frankie Knuckles, Simply Red, Inner City, Tom Stephan, Greco (NYC), Klangkuenstler, Third Party, Fun Loving Criminals, Danny Verde, Mobin Master, Rebel MC, Guru Josh, Steve Angello, Laidback
Luke, Swedish House Mafia, Gaz Cobain, Amorphous Androgynous, Paul Weller, Steve Cradock, Cornershop, Jay Potter, Alexander Technique, Steve Mac, Blossoms, Martin Badder, Winachi Tribe, Mike Pickering, Graeme Park, Peter Hook, Billy Ocean, Dave
Beer, Sub Sub, Ray Grooves, Delgado, Animist, Wade Teo, Steve Lawler.

Apologies for anyone I left out. I have been involved with a lot of brilliant musicians
and I am working with some amazing producers/ musicians now.”

With Happy Mondays, Top of The Pops – 1990

And which artists/bands you never worked with
would be on your dream list for the future?

“Nile Rodgers, Calvin Harris, Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez, and Marshall Jefferson would
be up there for sure and I would love to duet with Terry Hall of The Specials. I have
already approached him, and that may happen, which would be amazing.

I would love to have worked with Marvin Gaye, Frankie Knuckles,
Bowie and George Michael.”

Which are your three favourite songs you ever sang?
“Can’t answer this one, I love most of the songs I’ve sung and all the songs I’ve
written have special meaning so impossible to choose.”

Monumental…

Let’s go back in time. Were the early days with legends Happy Mondays
as wild and mad as printed in the press or just a myth?

“Probably madder. In this case, the truth is stranger than fiction. I will have to let people use their imaginations though. Some things are best kept between the band and those close.

I enjoyed the madness at the time though. Being the only girl on the tour bus, touring the world was such a great experience. The good times and the bad are all great memories to have now, looking back.”

What are your thoughts on Brexit?
“I wanted to remain, but the country voted to leave. I prefer not to talk too much about politics or religion though. I’m a musician and an entertainer.”

How do you spend your days now with these
surreal coronavirus times we live in?

“I am very lucky as I have a studio at home and access to so many amazing producers, so it’s a great time for new collaborations. A great time to be creative with lyrics and melodies. I am lucky that I enjoy the space and peace and quiet of home and I get to walk my dogs in the beautiful countryside.”

Any rituals before you go on stage for a concert, Rowetta?
“I just like to be on my own for an hour or so if possible, just to get ready and a quick drink of whiskey & Diet Pepsi. I don’t really warm up, as not always possible, but I like to stem my voice and hum a little, then a quick lie of ‘Kinky Afro’ (Happy Mondays song) and I’m good to go.”

Your favorite pet?
“I love my dogs like children. Have 2 children also, but they’re grown. I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Papillon. They are older now, so they are loving lockdown and have me running around after them.”

Your top three albums in your collection?
“It’s too difficult to choose just 3. I’m going to pass on this one.”

Your favorite three movies of all time?
Again very difficult but these are 3 of my favourites:
The Shawshank Redemption
The Color Purple
Scarface

Which female vocalist(s) inspired you over the years?
“Too many to list.”

Social media: a blessing or a poison?
“I enjoy it interacting with people, especially about music and the fun
side of life, but I am able to switch off and know to block and delete whenever necessary.

I try not to get involved with the negative side and try to steer clear of sites that allow abusive behaviour or bullying.”

Your future plans?
“At the moment it is difficult to plan too far ahead. Most gigs have been postponed until later in the year or 2021, so I will be really busy when this is over and in the meantime, I am going to make a lot of new music. I’m using this time to work on new, beautiful music and my voice is loving all the early nights.”

Thank you very much for this interview!
May the toad rise with Rowetta.

One of Turn Up The Volume‘s favourite Rowetta moments. Breathtaking…

ROWETTA: Facebook

All Rowetta photos by Angie Wynne

Post-Euro Tour Interview With Sprightly Synth Pop Act… THE BANKROBBER

4 June 2019

THE BANKROBBER is a twinkling Italian synth pop act that formed already a while back but released its gleaming debut album MISSING only last year. An ardent record with melodious pop symphonies and meditative musings showing the group’s high-quality songwriting skills. A quartet without sonic frontiers. Two weeks ago the four musicians returned from their first full Euro Tour, playing a total of 24 shows. Turn Up The Volume saw them glisten twice in his home country Belgium and was curious to know more about their European adventure. So, after a well-earned post-tour sleep, please welcome now singer/songwriter and guitarist Giacomo Oberti who will tell us some small and big stories from the past few months, after this musical intro for those who are not familiar with this South-European squad…

1. Last February when you started the Euro Tour your debut album MISSING
turned 1 year. How did you look back at the record one year later and did you
had a birthday party to celebrate?

“Honestly we didn’t celebrate the first year of our album, because time is running so fast. We made a lot of things during the past year, but there was no time to release anything. The two months previous to the tour we were always in the rehearsal room to practice. Anyway, we don’t celebrate the past, we prefer to be focused on the future and look forward to new experiences. Missing has been a starting point after the release of our
first EP The Land Of Tales. We’re still happy with what we achieved. Of course we could have recorded some parts in different ways or with different sounds but what really matters are the songs and we still cherish them.”


The ‘Missing’ album

2. How was the overall public reaction on this first Euro Tour?
“The audience’s reaction was always great, each in its own way. We played in different countries and different kind of venues, so we noticed some differences but overall we met a heterogeneous audience. German people are definitely the ones who focus the most on the show, but we had the pleasure to meet so many wonderful people everywhere.”

3. The best thing you experienced during this first European journey?
“Good and bad experiences were usually common. We had a really funny experience in Delft (note = small Dutch town) the day after our concert in Rotterdam. We had lost the keys of the van (and we didn’t have a spare set), so after an hour of desperate searching we were sitting on a bench in front of the van in the parking lot, when Maddalena (our synth player/singer) abruptly jumped up at one point as she was surprised by seeing the van’s signal lights going on, all of a sudden. At first, we didn’t believe her. But a bit further down the road, there just in front of us was the main key. Fortunately, a passing car rode exactly on and over it and activated the key that way! The joy of seeing this was like winning the World Cup final.”


Maddalena after the key experience

4. The worst thing that happened during the trip?
Maddalena has broken her left hand’s finger a week before the end of the tour, but fortunately it was a tiny fracture and she was able to play on. And yes, we had a couple of bad experiences, like when we found out after the show in Passau (Germany) that the van’s battery was dead. But the worst thing happened in Marseille (France) when arriving at the venue we discovered that it had been closed for months.”

5. Going on tour is so hard for smaller bands. What is it that motivated you to ride
so many miles, getting not enough sleep and waiting daily for hours for all sort of things to happen before going on stage to play at night?

“We just love what we do and we believe in our music. I think touring is one of the best ways to make a name for yourself. Sometimes as you say it’s hard, but we made it and
at the end of those three months of traveling around Europe and playing our music we ended up with a good feeling because for a band like us, going on the road is a very important thing to do. It’s not easy to book concerts, it’s not easy to get paid enough to cover all the expenses and it’s not easy to share everything, every single moment, with
the very same four people for a long time but this is what we want to do. Passion is the foundation of our profession. Without that, it would be better to look for another job.
This was our first real European tour and we’re really proud of it and we want to thank
all the venues and all the people that helped us to make this possible.”


Driven by passion

7. The most beautiful place you visited?
“It’s really hard to say because we visited a lot of beautiful places, we played in European capitals like Amsterdam, London, Prague and several other big cities, but also in small towns we really loved like Marburg (Germany). Maybe overall our favorite cities were Rotterdam and Amsterdam because of the architecture and its people.”

8. The top 5 songs/artists that were played on the van’s stereo?
“Sometimes we had fights over the music, but as we had an average of 6/7 hours in
the van every day there was enough time to listen to almost all the music ever released
on this planet, even though we had to take e break from internet now and then, in favor
of the navigator. Anyway, there were also a lot of moments without music too, when we needed to relax. Usually, we played playlists from Spotify with tons of various artists. But
I guess overall our top 5 featured Coldplay, Air, Gorillaz, White Lies and The Neighborhood.”

9. Who felt homesick and how soon?
“After the first two months we had a break of two weeks, we went back to Italy and honestly, I didn’t want to leave again. I felt very comfortable at home again and I also wanted to start working on the new album.”

10. Which THE BANKROBBER song did you liked the most to play every night?
 ‘Tales Of Shady Places‘, A Good Guy With A Gun and My Revolution.”

A band’s favorite

11. Some bands try to connect with an audience by inserting a couple of famous covers into their set. You didn’t do that. Suppose you had to pick one to cover
which one would it be?

“We used to play ‘Lullaby‘ by The Cure. We thought about doing one this tour, but the reason we didn’t include a cover in our set eventually was simple. Because we actually couldn’t make a choice.”

Once upon a time

12. What would you do differently when going on another tour in the future?
“We had 24 shows spread over a period of three months. Next time we will try to play as much as possible but in a much shorter period of time and, of course, we would love to play in front of thousands of people in the future.”

13. Which famous artist/band would you like to join you for your next tour?
“It would be great to play with, among others, Biffy Clyro, The Neighborhood, Placebo
or Queens of The Stone Age.”

14. The next step for THE BANKROBBER?
“We are going to drop the new video for ‘My Revolution‘ very soon
and we’re already working on the new album.”

Thank you Giacomo for this interview,
may the road rise with THE BANKROBBER!

The MISSING album in full…

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THE BANKROBBER: Facebook – Website

(all concert pics by Turn Up The Volume!)

10 Questions About ’88 Tuned Piano Dreams’ For All-Around Composer And Multifaceted Musician… GARETH SAGER

Discover thrilling music and its maker(s) in 10 questions

From Edinburg, Scotland here’s multi-instrumentalist/composer/songwriter GARETH SAGER

First things first: this is no interview about Gareth Sager‘s post-punk-funk achievements with Bristol legends The Pop Group, nor about his other, early 80s, avant-garde adventure Rip Rig + Panic featuring a young Neneh Cherry. No, this interview is about mister Sager‘s classical solo album that Turn Up The Volume discovered during last Christmas fake jingle bells business days. A transcendent, gracious and overall unwinding piano longplayer titled 88 TUNED DREAMS that feels like a mind-massage every single time I play(ed) it.
Let’s start this Q & A with one of the highlights off the LP to put us in the right mood to
talk with the author afterwards…

Hello Gareth Sager, welcome at Turn Up The Volume!

1 / How different is Gareth Sager, The Pop Group’s guitarist, from
the musician that made a classical piano record last year?

“I’m pretty much the same guy, it’s just using different colours of sound to express different emotions. It is a pity the world feels the need to enforce classification. It encourages people to narrow down what they listen to. I hope most folk find music
they can enjoy in all categories. For me with rock music I tend to need to play with
a really great drummer, the whole thing rides on the drummer!”

2/ Your fascination for classical music goes a whole time back. What inspired you to make the gracious ‘88 TUNED DREAMS’ album so many years later?
“Yes I have been playing the piano since I was 6, so I have always written stuff at the piano. I built up enough pieces that stood on their own as solo compositions rather than songs. There are actually a lot of pieces recorded that didn’t make it onto the LP. I just had this amazing opportunity to record in Studio One, Abbey Road on the great piano there.”

3/ The LP’s cover intrigues me. If Keith Moon was still alive I would have thought that he threw a burning piano out of his hotel window. Why this image?
“I always like images that express being in the moment and a burning piano falling
from a tall building is a perfect way of expressing this. It’s the moment we’re living in!”

4/ I’m counting 14 tracks yet the record’s title reads: ’88 TUNED DREAMS’.
What and/or who inspired you to name the album that way?

“There are 88 keys on a full-sized piano and the piano has been called
88 tuned drums by jazz musicians.”

5/ The longplayer was recorded in the legendary Abbey Road studios. Didn’t that stimulate you to do some Beatlesque piano sequences and what was the overall feeling to work and play in that monumental place?
“It was totally fantastic, the biggest studio in Europe with me on my own at one of the best pianos in Europe. Though I didn’t let the ghosts of the past creep into my mind and didn’t let any of the magnificent histories of the studio affect me. I just got on with it!”

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6/ If you had the opportunity, which movie would you pick to visualize your
tuned dreams on a big screen, behind you, when playing the LP?


Orphée by Jean Cocteau

7/ Suppose you can take ‘1’ classic and ‘1’ rock album with you
to an uninhabited island, which ones would you choose and why?

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony because there’s so much going on
and ‘The Last Second of Normal Time’ by C.C.Sager because
there’s so much going on!”


Another Sager side

8/ If you could travel in time which classic master would you transfer to the
present to play a grand concert with in the ‘Royal Albert Hall’ in London?

“Franz Liszt or Duke Ellington.”

9/ Frank Zappa or Beethoven?
“Beethoven. I prefer interviews with Zappa,
apart from his work with Captain Beefheart!”

10/ What comes next, Gareth? The Pop Group, more tuned dreams
or do you have other plans?

“I am about to release a trash rock LP called ‘Juicy Rivers’ by Gareth Sager and the Hungry Ghosts and then there is a second LP recorded at Abbey Road with a quartet of tenor sax, cello and bass. The logical thing would be to put the latter LP out now after ’88 Tuned Dreams’. The folk that got into ’88 Tuned Dreams’ will possibly find the trash rock LP a
lot heavier! But luckily I just like good music and I’m not that logical!”

Thank you for this interview, mister Sager

Sit down, folk, dim the lights, relax,
here are 88 Tuned Dreams


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GARETH SAGER: Twitter – Spotify – Bandcamp


Tuned passion

10 Questions For Italy’s Spellbinding Post Punk Force… JAPAN SUICIDE

Discover up and coming artists in 10 questions

From Italy, here’s… JAPAN SUICIDE

JAPAN SUICIDE is an invigorating Italian collective, formed in 2010, that produces
a monumental, pitch black sound influenced by dark post-punk greats Joy Division,
The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, Bauhaus
and other kindred spirits. Their new album titled SANTA SANGRE shows how this band turns their idols’ sonic vision into blood-curdling vibrations of their own. The new record feels like a sci-fi voyage into a mysterious obscure darkness. Grand compositions, spellbinding orchestrations, and symphony-like reverberations take you to another, fantastical galaxy. Enough reasons
to talk to singer/guitarist Stefano Bellerba. Let’s start first with a splendid highlight off
the new longplayer…

Hello Stefano, welcome at Turn Up The Volume!….

1/ When, how and why did the band form?
“We formed in 2010. Matteo and Leonardo were in the same high-school and we have a mutual friend Luca (the author of our artworks) who told them about me, Stefano. After some years we met Saverio. To play music is better than work and at least you get free drinks.”

2/ What’s the story behind the band’s name?
“The band’s name comes from Mishima Yukio aka Kimitake Hiraoka (note TUTV: a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, film director, founder of the Tatenokai, and nationalist who committed ritual suicide in 1970)”


Mishima Yukio

3/ When did you know “this is how want we to sound, this is
what we want to tell the world”?

‘We Die In Such A Place’, our previous album, has been our first record made with awareness, while probably we still missed a real own voice. ‘Santa Sangre‘ moves to other sides than ‘We die in such a place’, and also I think that there’s something like an identity that can be recognized, maybe still in development and threatened from the roots, even
if it’s a thing that needs the people’s opinion. What I like is that in our music you can find different things, from a soundtrack to a pleasant melody to sing. And I think about how to improve all of this.”

4/ In the past two weeks I saw two excellent Italian bands play in Belgium (Secret Sight and JuJu) and I interviewed one (The Bankrobber). A coincidence or a new Italian music scene traveling around Europe?
“Well, I don’t know if we can talk about a ‘scene’, but for sure there are many bands that play the kind of music that appeals to people outside of Italy.”

5/ Which song would you pick as the band’s signature track?
A Mood Apart (from the “‘We Die In Such A Place’ LP) ”

6/ What does the new album’s title ‘SANTA SANGRE’ actually mean?
“It means holy blood and it’s the title of a movie by Chilean filmmaker
Alejandro Jodorowsky.”

7/ In what way is the new record inspired by Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s
movie and Roberto Bolaño‘s novel 2666?

” The movie inspired Matteo to develop the aesthetic concept for the album. I think the result is a work that is dense, coloured, touching, freaking and also happy or at least eager. The lyrics of the opening track are directly related to 2666, to the movie’s scenery as well as to the novel’s idea of evil, that also inspired the tone and direction for all the lyrics.”

8/ If the band was an animal, which one would it be?
“A protist or a Schrödinger’s cat.”


Japan Suicide’s alter ego

9/ If you could go back in time on which artist’s front door would
you knock and ask to have a selfie together?

“I don’t make selfies (lol). But I would like to go out and see how certain artists work,
such as Brian Eno, Jonny Greenwood and late Italian composer Giacinto Scelsi.”

10/ Plans for 2018?
“We want to play the new album Santa Sangre live in the world
and also record some new stuff.”

Thank you Stefano for this interview,
may te road rise with JAPAN SUICIDE!

Here’s brand new album SANTA SANGRE (great artwork) in full…


Available on DiscDogs and Bandcamp

JAPAN SUICIDE: Facebook – You Tube – Twitter – Instagram

10 Questions For THUNDER ON THE LEFT – Hammering Band That Cares About Our ‘NATIONAL INSECURITY’…

Meet thrilling, up and coming, artists in 10 questions

Here’s… THUNDER ON THE LEFT

THUNDER ON THE LEFT is a heartfelt and hard hittin’ 3-piece dynamo out of the London desert producing deafening drones that will make your head spin 360°. Led by explosive frontwoman and passionate vox Carla the band develops a metallic and volcanic storm, fierce enough to blow big holes in our worldwide corrupted establishment. On brand new, barbed wire album NATIONAL INSECURITY you’ll hear crushing echoes, annex melodic vigor, of System Of A Down, Korn and RATM, both in vision and in sound. The LP is a mighty work of loud and clear protest against the eternal human rat race, against social abuse, against the Big Brother media, against impersonal gregariousness. We need committed bands like this. Pronounced artists who shout out, opinionated musicians who care. Thunder On The Left is a force to embrace. Let’s meet them, but start the acquaintance
first with the title track of the new record…

Welcome Carla (guitar, lead vocals), Arun (drums, vocals) and Adam (bass, vocals)
Let’s roll…

1 / When, how and why did the band form?
Carla: “In the mind’s eye of a visionary named fate, we don’t remember how, why,
when or where we met – fate brought us together.”
Arun:“And God said let it be so, and God said it was good!”
Adam: “In a long-forgotten Viking horde buried under centuries of history there lay a drum kit, a Telecaster, and an SG bass. We never questioned how it was they came to be there, or the vast coincidences involved in bringing us three together on that same cold, stormy night. Riffs do not question the fingers that play them, nor do we question the ancient magic that now binds us together.”

2/ What’s the story behind the band’s name?
Carla: “It’s from a book, of the same name, about disillusionment with society.
Listen to our music for a few bars of any song, and you’ll see why that fit.”

3/ When did you know “this is how want we to sound, this is what
we want to tell the world”?

Carla:: “We’d describe our music as the very well-behaved and fortunate looking child of three very overbearing parents.”
Arun: “I think we don’t ever truly know, it’s one of those things where we rehearse and it develops and changes just as we do as people, as we become better musicians. It develops alongside us, and when it comes out, that’s when we know. It’s never with pretence.”
Adam: “We’re writing the music we want to hear and between the three of us, there’s a lot of different influences entering into it. When we’re playing and we discover something great, we all feel it right away. It’s a physical reaction, like adrenalin.”

4/ What or who inspired the band to call the debut LP: ‘NATIONAL INSECURITY’?
TOTL:Carla wrote it as a reversal of the concept of national security. In the sense of how society is conditioned to live in a state of fear and paranoia from the media and feels anything but ‘secure.”


Artwork ‘National Insecurity‘…

5/ What’s your fav track on the album?
Carla: “Either ‘A Polite Fuck Off‘ or ‘Simply Eaten‘. APFO just sounds so good, and also perfectly mixes R n B (the bass-line for me in the verse) with heavy rock and an interesting sentiment (‘A Polite Fuck Off’ in this song meaning to cut someone out of your life without telling them as it’s pointless to try and sort out something they have engineered maliciously). ‘Simply Eaten‘ was finished at the studio, and I purposely left loads of the melody until then to work under a kind of weird positive pressure. I think it’s epic, brooding and very Post-Rock; it sounds huge. Also, how contemplative it is lyrically I think is a perfect way to end the album. It was written from a poem I wrote a long time ago.”
Arun: “‘A Polite Fuck Off’ is a special song to me, it completely encapsulates my influences in terms of drumming, and pushed me beyond my limits of what I thought I was capable of playing. In short, it just feels good to play the song. It’s groovy, it’s heavy, and the chorus groove always hangs back in a cool swing which you wouldn’t expect from such a heavy song. ‘Interlude‘ is another favourite of mine, a repetitive groove locked in with Adam is always a winner. I’d also agree with Carla with ‘Simply Eaten‘, I was close to tears when we were recording that song because the lyrics just hit home so hard at the time. I could go into detail with every song but those stand out immediately.”
Adam: “‘A Polite Fuck Off’ is so much fun to play… It’s full of energy and I love how it never stays the same for long, there’s always a change to throw you off your guard. ‘Survivor‘ is another favourite of mine. It’s all intensity from start to finish and I have a blast playing it live. ‘Simply Eaten‘ can’t go unmentioned of course, it was the last track on the album we recorded and when we finished playing it was an amazing feeling. That song creates its own atmosphere, and for those 6 minutes there’s no escaping it.”


4 Votes (Turn Up The Volume’s one included)
for ‘A Polite Fuck Off’…

6/ What movie would you pick to visualize ‘NATIONAL INSECURITY’ on
a big screen, in the back of the stage, when playing a show?

Carla: “Battle Royale or A Clockwork Orange.”
Arun: “Nirvana live at Reading, 1992.”
Adam: “12 Angry Men.”

7/ Why is it that mankind, after all these ages, isn’t still capable of
living together and tolerate each other?

Carla: “Religion. Politics. Divide and conquer. Power. Greed.”
Adam: “People who seek power can never understand those who do not.”
Arun: “Ego.”

8/ If the band was an animal, which one would it be?
TOTL: “A mosquito. People under-estimate how deadly they are
until it’s too late. They are deadly AF.”


Thunder On The Left: deadly band…

9/ If you could go back in time on which artist’s front door
would you knock and ask to have a selfie together?

TOTL: “No-one’s door, we hate selfies, and the artists
we love enough to time-travel back to see, would too.”

10/ Plans for 2018?
TOTL: “Taking over the world, Pinky.”

Thank you, guys, for this interview with TUTV!
May the road rise with.
.. THUNDER ON THE LEFT

‘NATIONAL INSECURITY in full…

.

Available on iTunes


THUNDER ON THE LEFT: Website – Facebook – Twitter

10 Questions For Adventurous And Multi-Colored DIY Artist GRIS-DE-LIN…

Discover up and coming artists in 10 questions

16 February 2018

British DIY artist GRIS-DE-LIN is a compelling and adventurous singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who’s about to release her excellent debut album SPRUNG (out
9 March). She combines echoes of post-rock, blues & alt-folk while coloring her sonic pictures with wayward electronics that draw your attention non-stop. Her spiritual voice will bring major-league performers PJ Harvey, Florence Welch and Björk to mind. Yes, that good! Her intriguing compositions will strike you. Enough reasons to meet Gris-de-lin (artist name was inspired by French named materials Gris-De-LinGrey Linen – in the warehouse next door to where the artist lives.) Let’s start the acquaintance with the title track of the forthcoming full length. A captivating song about how a little bit of struggle
can lead to good things. The cuddly toys in the brand new clip “represent life’s misfits, gathered from local charity shops…”

Welcome Gris-de-lin at Turn Up The Volume!…

1/ When, how and why did you decide to become a musician/artist?
“I’d say it’s a compulsion not a decision, I started mucking about on the piano and writing songs at a really young age and always loved to sing. I joined my first band at age 14 so
I’ve been loading music equipment in and out of transit vans for a long time.”

2/ When did you know “this is how I want to sound, this is
what I want to tell the world”?

“This is my first solo album and the songs emerged from a time of big changes in my life. This meant I felt really free to experiment and just see what happened. I also wanted to challenge myself by playing most of the parts on the album myself, a sort of freeform musical bootcamp. It meant I could do things exactly how I wanted and that was really liberating. Lyrically I like to tell quirky stories based on true events though they’re often pretty personal too.”


Artwork debut solo album SPRUNG

3/ What inspired you to record your debut album SPRUNG in a nursery school?
“I wanted to record somewhere spacious with a nice atmosphere and not feel hemmed in like you sometimes do in a studio. Budget also played a big part but the nursery worked out great. Where else would you get to set a train-set up in the control room and play the keyboards with puppets on your hands.”

4/ What’s your own favourite track on the record and why?
“I’d say ‘Your Ghost’ because it’s the first track Chris (producer/engineer) and I started working on together. There was this moment when we were listening back and we were like ‘oh this is special!’ and from then on I was really fired up to record a whole album.”

5/ What movie would you pick to visualize SPRUNG on a big screen
in the back of the stage when playing a show?

“Probably ‘The Wicker Man’ ha ha, though without the human sacrifice bit.”

6/ Your press photos are quite special. Who’s doing the art/drawing part and is there any special reason to integrate it in the real photography?
“The artwork is by an artist called Kazland. I really love his work and asked him to design cover images for my 7” single and EP. Then I had the idea of getting him to also add artwork to my photos and it really tied everything together.”


Fascinating Kazland art

7/ How easy/difficult is it to recreate your orchestral sound live on the podium?
“It’s sometimes tricky but I reckon the live sound is pretty close, maybe a little heavier. Having played so many of the recorded parts myself I have to be careful not to be bossy when we’re trying to recreate everything. Luckily I’m working with some great musicians
so things have come together really well.”

8/ Which album would you really loved to have played on?
“I’d love to have jammed on any albums by Can… oh and ‘Remain in Light’ by Talking Heads. Playing on an album by Mogwai would be pretty awesome too.”

9/ If you could go back in time on which artist’s front door
would you knock and ask to have a selfie together?

“Well I’m not really a selfie kind of person, but I’d love to have a coffee with Patti Smith
or go for a walk in the woods with Leonard Cohen. I’ve a feeling much wisdom would be imparted and I’d come away feeling truly inspired. I’m reading Patti Smith’s ‘M-Train
On tour at the moment and it’s a real tonic for the soul.”


10/ Plans for 2018?

“The album comes out on the 9th March so I’ll be doing some UK shows to coincide, then a few summer festivals and a tour later in the year. I’ve also been working on a new album by the Berlin-based artist Gemma Ray that should be out later this year and also an album with Joe Gideon and Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) that we’ll be mixing soon. So reckon things are gonna get pretty busy!”

Thank you for this interview.
May the road rise with Gris-de-lin!

SPRUNG album out via BB ISLAND on 9 March.


GRIS-DE-LIN: Website – Facebook – Twitter

(All promo photos via Gris-de-Lin)