Category Archives: Q&A

The interview corner.

Q&A: Telegram

The 5th of May was Ascension Day, it felt like the first day of summer and everyone had BBQ at the park. Except us – we were sitting in a bar next to the train tracks of the U1 interviewing Matt Saunders, the singer of UK newcomers Telegram. Later that evening the London based fourpiece would have their second German gig ever after the Munich debut the night before. Despite of the weather there was a decent amount of people who didn’t want to miss this historic event.

Telegram just released their debut album Operator in February featuring their hit single Follow amongst other rough, catchy, punkish songs. With this record they fulfilled the high expectations the debut single had set. Live on stage it wasn’t hard for them at all to recreate the unpolished sound of the record and they played a tight and fast paced set.

During our talk with Matt we got a glimpse of the creative process behind both their music and the accompanying art and visuals.

You just released your first album Operator. We noticed that it sounds almost like a live recording, very raw and unpolished. How did this decision come about to record it that way?

We recorded it on a boat down Docklands, which has a studio inside of its hull. Rory Atwell, our producer, has a quite “live” style anyway. Being a live band, we kind of wanted that energy on the album. It would have felt strange to people who have seen us play before to have a polished album, that wouldn’t feel right. When you release your first record, you’re still at a stage where you need to get people to come to your shows and check you out, so I think it should be a sample of what you’re like as a live band.

Were you consciously trying to find a middle ground between having a lot of rawness and noise on the one hand and quite catchy, accessible melodies and guitar parts on the other hand?

Yeah, you’ve got to be careful and find the right balance. When we write songs we start with an initial structure that is based on a simple melody and then we add noise and effects… I think if you start the other way around it’s not really working.
I love a lot of good pop as long as it’s real and you can believe the person that it’s coming from. As a band you are constantly told that you need to have one or two songs which will get you on the radio, which is the only way that you will get booked for festivals as well. You have to think on a different level about what you’re doing. We are trying not to let it get to us but it’s still how things work.

What are your thoughts on how the second album is going to sound like? Anything about the debut album that you want to depart from?

The first record is fast, it has a lot of pace in it. A lot of the new songs we are writing at the moment have that as well, but we don’t want to make a complete follow-up to the first record. We want it to be quite different, to be a little groovier in its tempo.

There is definitely a big consistency between your sound and your visuals. We noticed that all your music videos have the same intro for example. What’s the concept behind it?

I’ve got a VHS camera that we shot the first video for Follow on and I had a clear idea in my head how I wanted it to look. I used to work at a location for photography and film, which had two rooms with wooden panels on the walls. One was cream white and the next one was black, so we would do the same set up and click from one room to the other.
The credits in front were also made with that VHS camera. It has a controller where you can type in the credits and they come up on the TV screen, then you have to make sure that everything in the room is dark to film the TV screen. The problem is, if the thing breaks… (laughs) So I’m trying to copy all the letters so if it did happen we could just cherrypick letters digitally and pop them in … though it’s cheating a bit.

SONY DSC
Matt Saunders ©Nora Lee
Speaking of technology – you named your band Telegram and your album is called Operator. Is there a background to it, such as a retro technology theme?

Yeah, I think this aesthetic has a sort of dystopian, sci-fi theme – things like Kurt Vonnegut and J.G. Ballard, that imagery is quite attractive to me. The name “Telegram” came about four years ago, when I was looking at a newspaper which had a list of releases for record store day. I was just circling words that would be good for a band name, and there was a re-release of Telegram Sam by T-Rex. When that word came up it just felt good, satisfying in a way.
Operator was going to be called Telegram originally, which was lazy. We would always talk about calling it like a constellation or some other spacy thing… The name Operator came about because I was working on the artwork at the time and using a telephone as the basic back of the record as a theme – a telegram is being sent via a telephonic machine that you would press certain numbers on. This was maybe a day before we had to decide the title. As I was going through images of buttons on the telephone, one of them just sat staring at me, it said “Operator” and I thought “Ah, that’s perfect!” That sums up a lot of things that we’re about.

So you also did the artwork yourself?

Yeah, I went to art college for like four years and art is still a hobby of mine. I’ve also got a little studio space. For me the idea of somebody else doing the artwork is like getting another person to buy a birthday present for your girlfriend or boyfriend, giving them a couple of ideas what they’re into and then they go off and buy something for them. But if you find somebody to collaborate with that you can really trust then that’s worthwhile and I’m totally up for that. I mean there’s limits and boundaries and at some point I’ll have to get help, maybe.

Let’s talk about the lyrics a little. Do you focus on telling a story or is it more abstract…?

I imagine a lot of the lyrics are rather sentiments, as opposed to stories, in the same way that you might feel angry or upset or interested or bored or in love or whatever it is you’re feeling, and of course there is a story about it, and then I abstractly write about it.
There are so many lyrics that are just a repetition of the same themes and lines, about love or missing someone or this or that… It’s just not very original, so I try to be more abstract to make it interesting. I’m a big fan of Leonard Cohen for example. He’s really good at creating lines of abstraction, and then there is one line that is really straightforward and very simple which ties it all together and gives it a meaning, before it goes back to strangeness again.

Do you put personal experience into your lyrics as well?

Definitely. There will be one line that’s very specific to something from experience, and the next will be more of a general feeling about time, or space … it’s quite mixed up.

We read that you crowdfunded your album. Is that something you would do again?

I mean, it was really hard work but at the same time – it worked. We had a record deal with Sony but after nine months of nothing happening, it fizzled out, and then we went that way instead. Initially I was a bit skeptical, I didn’t like the idea of crowdfunding. To me traditionally, growing up, that’s not how a band puts a record out. But actually I think the simple method of a fan buying a record upfront – paying for the record before it’s been made – is a really clever way to do it, because you’re not asking for anything more than the cost of the record you would pay for anyway, it’s just reversing the order in which it happens. And if we did it with a label they would take 80% and we would have 20%, of control over things as well. All of that nonsense disappears. I would recommend it, and we would do it again.

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Q&A: Cold Acid

Es ist Dienstag, als wir vor dem Pooca auflaufen. Zusammen mit zwei anderen Bands spielen Cold Acid aus Berlin heute Abend in der kleinen Bar auf dem Hamburger Berg. Die drei Jungs machen teilweise seit Schulzeiten zusammen Musik. Ihr tanz- und mitgrölbarer Indierock lässt jeden auf die Tanzfläche strömen, und das alles quasi im Selbstmanagement. Cold Kids Don’t Need Agencies, oder so. Wir landen also mit Daniel, Christopher und Eric beim Italiener, um uns bei Pizza und Bier zu unterhalten, untermalt von den ewig sich wiederholenden Klängen von “Time To Say Goodbye”. Irgendwie ironisch. Wir lernen uns doch gerade erst kennen.

Sänger Daniel, der eigentlich meistens bei Interviews nicht reden darf weil er immer Quatsch erzählt, blüht heute ganz besonders auf. In der nächsten halben Stunde erfahren wir, wie man Bandmitglieder per Bestechung rekrutiert und warum die Jungs nie mit Scooter touren würden, aber dafür gerne mal mit Helene Fischer.


IPD: Fangen wir mal von vorne an: Wie habt ihr euch überhaupt kennengelernt, seit wann gibt es euch?

Daniel: Eric und ich sind zusammen zur Schule gegangen. Ich hab damals schon Musik gemacht, seit ich 14 war, und Eric hat Schlagzeug gespielt. Immer wenn ich mit meiner damaligen Band nicht geprobt hab – weil unser Schlagzeuger sein letztes Geld für doppelt frittierte Hühnchenbrust ausgegeben hat, anstatt sich Sticks zu kaufen – haben Eric und ich dann geprobt. Wir kommen eigentlich aus Brandenburg, haben dort unsere erste Band gegründet, sind dann beruflich bedingt nach Berlin gezogen und haben unsere Band in Brandenburg verlassen. Das hatte für uns auch keine Zukunft musikalisch. Wir wollten beide weitermachen, mussten aber feststellen, dass wir keine Leute finden. Lustigerweise haben wir mit unserer alten Band auf einer Anti-Nazi-Demo gespielt, wo auch Christopher mit seiner Band gespielt hat. Der war zumindest Fan von uns, weil wir Turbonegro gecovert haben und er eine Turbojugend-Jacke anhatte. Auf der Suche nach einem Gitarristen ist Eric und mir dann nur noch Christopher eingefallen, der komischerweise sogar bei mir um die Ecke gewohnt hat. Und dann haben wir uns mal zu dritt getroffen, mit zwei Gitarren und ‘nem Schlagzeug.

Christopher: Ich wurde mehr oder weniger dazu genötigt!

Eric: Wir haben uns auf einem Konzert getroffen und haben ihm ganz viel Bier gekauft.

Christopher: Gaaanz viel Bier! Dann hieß es so: ‘Ja, du hast auch Bock auf so Schweinerock?’ Ich wurde mega abgefüllt und auf einmal hieß es: ‘Hey, hast du nicht Bock bei uns in der Band zu spielen?’

Eric: Das war der erste Abend, wo wir zu dritt unterwegs waren. Wir waren aber bei Myspace connected und haben uns auf ‘nem Hellacopters-Konzert getroffen. Und ich glaube, dann haben wir auf der Warschauer Brücke auf dem Rückweg vom Konzert darüber gequatscht.

Daniel: Auf jeden Fall haben wir dann versucht, weitere Leute für die Band zu finden, weil wir keinen kannten. Übers Internet war blöd, so ziemlich jeder, der sich da reinstellt, hat eine verzerrte Selbstwahrnehmung von sich als Musiker. Irgendwann saßen wir in einer Kneipe, schon mächtig einen im Tee, und haben gesagt: Wir haben jetzt ein Jahr lang nach ‘nem Bassisten gesucht, das geht so nicht weiter. Dann wurde halt entschieden, wer von uns Gitarre spielt. Die Wahl ist auf mich gefallen und Christopher musste sich einen Bass kaufen. Hat er dann am nächsten Tag gleich, für 70€ auf eBay.

Daniel: Beim Gesang war es dann halt so, dass jeder mal probiert und der, bei dem es am wenigsten scheiße klingt, der macht es dann halt. Vor unserem ersten Konzert hatten wir sechs eigene Nummern und wollten einfach mal gucken, wie es so wird. Und wir hatten noch nicht einmal in die Saiten gehauen, da kamen schon drei Leute an, die uns – bevor sie uns gehört hatten! irgendwelche anderen Konzerte andrehen wollten. Da waren wir dann auch ein bisschen verdutzt. Wir haben dann angefangen, noch mehr Songs zu schreiben und Demos aufzunehmen. Danach ging alles recht schnell: Mitte des Jahres haben wir nur mit einer MySpace-Seite erste Konzerte gebucht und ein Fotoshooting in einer Kita gemacht.

Christopher: Das ist echt schon fünf Jahre her.

IPD: Und dann habt ihr weiter gemacht.

Daniel: Und wollten unseren Sound verändern. Anfangs war das so Hellacopters-Rock’n’Roll-Krimskrams, aber es gab halt so viele Bands, die genauso klingen, also war es schwierig, da rauszustechen. Wir haben dann auch privat unseren musikalischen Horizont erweitert.

Christopher: Wir haben ganz viel Black Rebel Motorcycle Club und Picturebooks gehört.

Daniel: Mittlerweile sind wir wieder an dem Punkt, wo wir uns noch weiter entwickeln und ein bisschen an der Schraube drehen wollen.

Christopher: Wir haben zum Beispiel 2012 unsere erste Platte aufgenommen [‘Cold Kids Don’t Need Acid’], im Studio von The BossHoss. Das war eigentlich ‘ne ganz gute Zeit. Wenn du reinkommst, siehst du halt die goldenen Schallplatten überall und bist schon ein bisschen überwältigt. Und wir haben echt wenig bezahlt dafür, dass wir dort so professionell aufnehmen durften.

Daniel: Was uns im Wesentlichen von anderen Bands unterscheidet ist, dass wir nie so viel Geld ausgegeben haben wie alle anderen, nie Kredite aufgenommen. Wir haben immer gesagt: ‘Wir brauchen halt Zeit.’ Um eine gute Platte aufzunehmen, braucht man schon Geld, aber man braucht vor allem gute Songs. Wir arbeiten alle noch nebenbei und stecken schon so echt viel Geld in die Band, da müssen wir nicht auch noch einem relativ Fremden Geld in den Hals stecken. Letztendlich trauen wir eigentlich überhaupt keinem.

IPD: Habt ihr mal über Crowdfunding nachgedacht?

Christopher: Bevor wir die Platte rausgebracht haben, gab es  zwei Angebote von Indie-Labels, aber wir dachten, wir können das alleine genauso schaffen. Wir haben in drei Jahren 150 Konzerte gespielt, in Österreich, Tschechien und Deutschland. Wir haben selber Konzerte gebucht, selber die Platte pressen lassen, und die Releaseparty organisiert in einem Club, wo 180 Leute reinpassen. Im Endeffekt haben da über 200 Leute Eintritt für bezahlt. Wir haben selber Plakate geklebt, auf der ganzen Warschauer Straße, und es hat sich ausgezahlt! Wir brauchen keine Agentur, kein Label, jedenfalls nicht jetzt. Irgendwann kommt aber der Punkt, dass du den nächsten Schritt gehen willst, z. B. vier Wochen am Stück auf Tour sein und irgendwann Zeit für ein Album haben. 2011, 2012 und 2013 haben wir jedes Wochenende gespielt, einfach um präsent zu sein.

IPD: Wie weit seid ihr mit eurer zweiten Platte jetzt?

Daniel: Wir sind, wie gesagt, dabei, uns musikalisch ein bisschen zu verändern. Letztendlich muss man abwägen, was wir für Möglichkeiten haben für die Platte. Ich glaube nicht, dass wir diesmal total viel Geld dafür ausgeben werden. Alle Leute in Agenturen machen nichts anderes als wir: telefonieren, E-Mails rausschicken… dafür braucht man sich nicht in Agenturen einkaufen. Uns geht’s jetzt erst mal darum, Demos zu veröffentlichen, die uns musikalisch wirklich weiterbringen.

Christopher: Wir haben ja schon bei der ersten Platte gesagt, dass uns eigentlich jemand fehlt, der daneben sitzt und sagt, wo wir noch was verändern können. Wir haben aber schon Demos aufgenommen und Ideen gesammelt. Da geht was.

Daniel: Es wird von uns ja auch nicht erwartet, jedes Jahr ein Album rauszubringen. Wir sind jetzt auch keine Band, die, wenn einer grad mal keinen Bock hat, sich sofort auflöst.

IPD: Gibt es andere Bands aus Berlin, die ihr im Moment gut findet?

Daniel: I Like Ambulance.

Christopher: Stop Eating Robots! Ich persönlich mag sehr Coogans Bluff. Es gibt aber keine Berliner Band, die so gut zu uns passt, dass ich mir vorstellen kann, mit denen auf Tour zu gehen.

IPD: Mit welchen Bands würdet ihr denn gerne mal touren?

Daniel: Ich glaube, das wäre jede Band. Einfach jede.

Christopher: Du willst doch nicht sagen, dass du mit jeder Band touren würdest. Mit Scooter zum Beispiel würde ich nicht touren.

Daniel: Na klar würdest du.

Christopher: Vielleicht würde ich’s wirklich machen!

(alle lachen)

Daniel: Aber nur fürs Geld dann.

IPD: Angenommen du kriegst kein Geld und dürfest dir eine Band aussuchen?

Daniel: Wenn ich jetzt zum Beispiel mit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club touren könnte, wüsste ich, dass ich jeden Abend eine geile Show sehen würde. Ob die Typen nett sind oder nicht, kann keiner wissen, aber ich würde sie trotzdem mega gut finden für eine Tour.

Eric: Bei Black Rebel wäre ich auch dabei, die Tour spiele ich mit. Ich wäre aber zum Beispiel auch bei den Arctic Monkeys dabei.

Christopher: Ich würde gerne mit Cloud Nothings touren… Blood Red Shoes… Brody Dalle… Ich möchte mit Brody Dalle touren. Ich lege mich fest.

Daniel: Ich würde auch mit Helene Fischer touren, wenn sie die O2 World voll macht. Vor 17.000 Leuten? Natürlich. Weil du Musiker bist und in deinem Leben nie die Chance hättest, sonst so viele Leute zu erreichen.

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Heute Abend spielen die Jungs nicht vor 17.000 Leuten. Eher vor 17. Als die ersten beiden Bands durch sind, ist die Mehrheit der Gäste schon weg, aber das hindert Cold Acid nicht daran, trotzdem eine großartige Rockshow abzuliefern. Inklusive Drummerwechsel und Medley aus den besten Indie-Hits der Nullerjahre. Und wer vom Publikum übrig geblieben ist, bereut es ganz bestimmt nicht, noch länger geblieben zu sein.

(all photos © S. Prahl)

Q&A: The Pictish Trail

The Pictish Trail aka Johnny Lynch is a curious character: Not just another beardy singer-songwriter, this Scotsman crafts weirdly beautiful songs on the spectrum between folk and electronic music from his secluded home on the small island of Eigg, using strange sound effects, harmonic vocals and his unique sense of humour. Backed up by bassist Suse and drummer Brendon, he wins the audience at cosy Schokoladen in Berlin Mitte over by storm with feet-tapping folk-rock ballads and melodies that linger long after. We had the chance to talk to Johnny before the show and ask him about his latest album Secret Soundz Vol. 1 & 2 (released on Moshi Moshi Records), running a label, and what it’s like to live on an island with ten times as many sheep as people…

IPD: Is this your first time in Germany?

TPT: It’s the first time doing headline shows. I’ve supported Malcolm Middleton and played in his band as well, and KT Tunstall. I had a lot of big shows in Germany with her. That was frightening, because it was 3,000 people every night and I was all on my own. I was really worried beforehand that the language barrier would be too much but it was not an issue at all.

IPD: So your double album Secret Soundz Vol 1 & 2 was released here a few weeks ago, but the first part was already released in 2008 originally. Are you growing a bit tired of it already?

TPT: It’s funny because I prided myself as being someone who is relatively prolific, I have written a long of songs but these 20 songs I’ve been performing for quite a long time. I’ve had other projects in between; I was in a band called Silver Columns and a lot of songs came in through that, so I’ve been mixing up a lot. Some songs are back from 2003, and I thought ‘People will be sick of these songs by now’ but then the album was released to a whole new audience, and it’s interesting to see which ones stand out as people’s favourites. Everyone’s got different favourites, I don’t know if that means it’s a bad album (laughs).

IPD: Your music can’t really be sorted into just one genre, there are so many different influences … Can you name a few of your favourite artists or records that have inspired you?

TPT: Well I run a record label and all the artists on that label, Lost Map, are a constant inspiration to me. I’m quite lucky that The Pictish Trail is just one part of what I do with music. I get to work on people’s records, I’m involved in getting them to press and radio, managing the label and all that stuff. So, Rozi Plain, Kid Canaveral, Tuff Love, all the bands on the label have been a big influence. But I’m also massively inspired by David Bowie, The Beatles, don’t know if you’ve heard of them … The Beta Band were a really big thing for me, they were kind of my punk movement when I realised that what they were doing with music made me want to make music. It’s just something so immediate and deceptively simple but really effective and beautiful. And I’m a massive electronic music fan, I’m a huge fan of Four Tet, Caribou and a lot of stuff on the Border Community label. I find electronic musicians’ approach to releasing music really interesting, the collaborative nature of recording is really cool, particularly the Four Tet stuff. I think he is a true pioneer in terms of recorded music.

IPD: Does a lot of your music just come from playing around with sound effects?

TPT: Yeah, a lot of it is just me on my own spending too much time with really bad broken equipment… (laughs) A lot of my equipment is quite old, but not in a vintage way, I just bought it six or seven years ago and it doesn’t work properly (laughs). I have never learned to play an instrument, I was never taught how to play guitar or keyboard, so a lot of my music and my recordings is based on trial and error. I don’t think I could work well with a producer, because I spend so much time trying to work out the parts… (starts singing a melody) Ah, no. (sings a different note at the end) No. (sings a different note at the end). Nah. It’s a lot of that.

IPD: So you’ve been releasing your own music forever basically, with your label. Now you’ve signed to Moshi Moshi Records, is that a strange feeling to be on someone else’s label?

TPT: It’s a relief. I’ve been doing this for ten years and yet a part of me thinks ‘God, maybe I’m the only person that likes my music’… So having Moshi on board, having their support has been a massive boost for my confidence. And it’s meant that I can take a backseat and think about the music and not about the marketing. Because it’s just embarrassing sending a press release to radio: ‘This is just a new album we’re putting out on the label… Oh yes, by me. Yeah it’s kind of good, really great actually…’

PictishTrail3_loresIPD: You live on the island of Eigg, but you’re not originally from there, right?

TPT: I just moved there; my girlfriend is a shepherd on the island. She used to be a journalist and then she took over her uncle’s farm on this island, and I went up to visit her and I was like ‘Oh my god, this place is totally amazing.’ It’s in the Inner Hebrides and it’s really beautiful, such a relaxing place.

IPD: Is it the typical green island with a lot of sheep and very few people?

TPT: Yeah, there’s about 800 or 1,000 sheep and there is 87 people. In fact Brendon, who plays drums with me, he’s from Eigg as well. He was born in Eigg and he has lived there his entire life.

IPD: Where did you grow up?

TPT: I grew up in Edinburgh, originally. I moved around a lot, my dad had a crazy job so we lived in parts of England for a while, and then we moved over to America and I did highschool there before returning back to Scotland. I went to university in Fife, I’ve been living in Fife for the last twelve years and then I moved over to Eigg about four years ago. And it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.

IPD: What’s the best thing about living on a small island?

TPT: There’s no distractions. Being able to experience just complete silence – nothing. At nighttime, it’s the most still, dark place I’ve ever been, ‘cause there’s no street lighting, no roads or anything, so you’ve only got the light of the moon. The stars just look incredible up there.

IPD: Does this place also play into your music? Does it change the way you record music?

TPT: It definitely encouraged me to do more, to have a set up in my caravan and it’s made me think about songwriting in a different way. When I first went there my mother had just passed away. I started living there the summer after she passed, so it was four months afterwards when the grief really hit me, but having that silence and no distractions just allowed me to come to terms with it a lot, and that really affected my songwriting. There was a real honesty that just kept pouring out. It’s a nice way to be able to deal with it. I think if I was in a city I’d be just going to the pub all the time.

Q&A: Tigercub

It’s a Saturday night when we’re headed to Molotow Club in Hamburg to have a chat with Tigercub from Brighton. They’ve recently signed to Blood Red Shoes‘ new label Jazz Life and played several shows supporting them in Germany. Tonight, however, is one of the few nights they’re playing without them. Instead, they’ll be supporting Die! Die! Die! from New Zealand. Confusion embarks in the backstage area as we’re not sure which of the four dressing rooms is free for us to settle down for an interview, when the singer of Swearing at Motorists – who are playing in the bigger room of the venue tonight – walks in and everyone starts introducing each other. This is where Tigercub’s bassist Jimi informs us that everyone in the band is called James, which doesn’t really make things easier. But we manage to have a smoke and a chat.


IPD: You just said so yourself, you’re all called James. So you’re…Jamie–

Jimi: No.

IPD: You’re Jimi.

Jimi: I’m Jimi, yeah, I spell my name like Jimi Hendrix, because I’m a try-hard and because I think it’s cool. I’m actually James, like… James.

IPD: So you’re all just James.

Jimi: Well, Jamie is actually Jamie. Which, in English, is a different name, although it’s kind of the same name.

Jimi: It took us like six months or something to realise we were all called James. And then we were like ‘Whoa, fuck!’ (all laugh) but yeah, that helps at soundcheck.

IPD: Do people mix you up a lot?

Jimi: Yeah, all the time. You know, your mum or dad are like, ‘Peter– Dave– Gary– Errrr…’. My mum would probably call me my cat’s name before mine.

Not-actually-Hendrix
Not-actually-Hendrix

IPD: So you’ve signed to Blood Red Shoes’ label Jazz Life. How did that happen? Did they just come up to you and said, ‘You’re really cool, we wanna sign you’?

Jamie: They’re from our hometown. Well, we’re from different parts of the UK, but we all live in Brighton.

Jimi: We rehearsed at the same place and we have a lot of mutual friends, and when I first heard about Jazz Life, it was because they released their last record on there. And now that they’re kind of getting on in their career I think they want to help young bands… and we’re in exactly the right point in our career where we haven’t had an album out or anything yet. I think they thought they could help us, which they have, massively. So we signed to them for the single and who knows, maybe we’ll do more with them. I hope so, cause they’re really cool. We love them. Being on tour with them has been amazing!

IPD: Your sound is very 90’s-influenced, musically. Next to the obvious influences you hear everywhere like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, etc., is there any trashy pop music from the 90’s you also listen to a lot? Any guilty pleasures?

Jamie: Shorty.

Jimi (laughs): Shorty… an obscure art-rock band, precursor to U.S. Maple. Dead brilliant, man. Absolutely brilliant. Guilty pleasures though… I love the song ‘Beautiful Stranger‘ by Madonna.

Jamie: I love that one.

Jimi (attempts to sing the guitar riff): I sing that in the shower all the time.

Gets to keep his name: James
Gets to keep his name: James

Jamie: Seal?

Jimi:Kiss From A Rose‘… don’t make me cry.

IPD: That’s a nice one. That’s not even guilty, that’s just a pleasure.

Jimi: That’s a proud pleasure! But yeah, we listen to a lot of bands at the moment… there’s a band called Girl Band who we really like.

Jamie: They’re fucking amazing, they do industrial punk, it’s sick.

Jimi: I think their latest single is about 14 seconds long or something. (makes noise)

IPD: We’ve recently seen one with a song that was like 15 seconds long. Do you know Slaves?

Jimi: Yeah, we played with them a few times.

IPD: They have this 15 second song called ‘Girl Fight’.

Jimi (sings in mock voice): Girl fight! Girl fight! Where’s your car, Debbie?

(all laugh)

Not such a stupid face: Jamie
Jamie is so tall, he doesn’t fit through most doors

Jimi: They live in Tunbridge Wells, which is like 40 minutes from where we live. So we’re not their friends, but we know them to say hello, how’re you doing.

IPD: So, Brighton. Other than yourself, who’s for you, personally, the best band or solo artist to have emerged from Brighton?

Jamie: Eighties Matchbox.

Jimi: The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. He didn’t emerge from Brighton, he ended up there. Or, I’ll tell you who really is good from Brighton: Charlottefield, the post-hardcore band with Tom House, who now plays in all kinds of different bands. No one really knows about them, but they are incredible, you see their name scratched in bar walls and stuff, and no one knows who they are. They played their last show about four years ago or something.

IPD: Did they just disappear?

Jimi: Yeah, but they just imploded, the drummer and the singer were going to kill each other if they stayed in the band any longer. But that’s what made them so exciting!

James: And when the drummer quit, no other drummers could learn the songs, so they couldn’t carry on, ’cause he’s that good.

Jimi: Yeah, he’s like Mitch Mitchell [of The Jimi Hendrix Experience], but he looks like Professor Weeto! (all laugh)

Jimi: He’s got glasses, big beard, looks really strange… when I first moved to Brighton in 2007 I saw Guy McKnight from Eighties Matchbox and I was like (whispers) ‘What the fuck…’ (gasps) It was too much, he was too cool.

Jamie: The Wytches are good as well.

IPD: For us Non-Brightoners, what is the best venue for bands to play? What is one that you always wanted to play and finally did?

Jimi: That’s a really good question.

Jamie: I’d like to play the Old Market.

Jimi: That’s where Mac Demarco played recently and I saw Polar Bear there once, actually.

Jamie: Green Door Store is a good venue.

Jimi (points at the others): These two both work at Green Door Store, so they should say that or they’ll get fired.

Jamie: Every good band has played there… Girl Band…

Jimi: …Tigercub… It does feel like a European venue in a way. Though, with respect, it doesn’t have the same catering or rider capacities but… it’s on the station, it’s in an old Victorian archway where they’d put horses, so you feel the history in there.

James: It used to be a blacksmith’s as well, for horses and such.

IPD: Is there any venue that really sucks? Or any that you don’t ever want to play again?

Jimi: I don’t know if you can ever really blame a venue, I think you just have to take a bit of self-responsibility. I don’t know, there’s nowhere that’s really awfully, awfully bad. There used to be a venue called Hector’s House, which was really grotty, and the room and the sound was great, but everything was dirty and it was fucked. And then another company took it over and reorientated it and put in a nice bar and then loads of radio bands would play there and … they fucked it. But that’s subsequently closed. So there you go.

IPD: You’ve spent a lot of time in Germany now for the past few days. How has Germany treated you? Did you like it?

Jamie: Fucking love it here.

Jimi: Yeah, unbelievable.

Jamie: People here like music. It feels like, sometimes in the UK, people just can’t be fucking arsed with it, you know?

Jimi: People want to appear to like music.

Jamie: Yeah, there’s loads of stupid hipsters. But here, we get paid well and we get fed and we get beer and we don’t ask for too much, but everyone’s nice and cool and it’s a beautiful country and people love rock music.

James: People actually get excited about it.

Jamie: People like our band here!

Jimi: We flew to Düsseldorf on Sunday morning and we met Chris [the tour manager] at the airport and we went for a walk around town, and these three guys and this girl just heard that we’re speaking English, wanted to know what we’re doing, where we’re from, and we said that we were playing at Zakk that evening. And then the girl, whose name I forgot, I think it was Wilhelmine – in case she reads this, I don’t want her to be offended, I think it’s Wilhelmine – and she just messages us on Facebook, she kind of followed it through. It was really nice just to have someone coming to you in the street and take interest. I feel kind of guilty and embarrassed that if you’re a German band coming to England, I don’t know if you have that same acceptance.

IPD: Probably not. Because the music scene in England is so much greater, especially in indie music. In Germany you’re lucky to find a really good indie band.

Jimi: Like this band here, (points at a sticker nearby) Egotronic.

IPD: They are really good.

Jimi: They’re awesome. We were hanging out with them in Berlin. They’re coming to record in Brighton in January!

IPD: Alright, so what’s next for Tigercub? What’s your plan for this year and for next year?

James: Our single, the Jazz Life release, drops on the 1st of December so pretty soon after we get back. And then we’ll be looking towards putting out some more music as soon as possible. Just get back in the studio…

Jamie: …and record the album.

Jimi: We have this masterplan we came up with in Karlsruhe when we were really drunk about four days ago, that we want to do the album with [music producer Steve] Albini and we figured out a way how we could make that happen, but that’s still up in the air. A lot of good things would need to happen… for that to happen.

Jamie: It’s a little bit rushed this year because we’ve gotten popular this year and we’ve been gone for a while and now things simmered and since January, since we toured with Royal Blood, we got a production deal and we’ve been touring loads, playing loads of shows… and now we’re in Germany and stuff.

IPD: That happened really quickly, right?

Jamie: Yeah, we’re like ‘Fuck, we need to write an album now, we need to actually be a band’.

IPD: But don’t rush it.

Jamie: Yeah, don’t rush it… We’ve got the songs, but for it to come out – even in 12 months – it needs to be written beforehand, recorded and ready.

Jimi: It’s a bit like chess, in the way you need to have all these moved planned. So yeah, that’s kind of what we’ve set in album-time, really. And then hopefully a couple of people will buy it and love it!


Tigercub played a quite short, heated set under Molotow Club’s roof to warm up the small Saturday night crowd before Die! Die! Die! took the stage. Enough to give us a glimpse of what big things the Brightoners might have planned and to leave us curious of what else is to come.

‘Centrefold’ is out on Jazz Life on December 1. Listen below:

(all photos © S. Prahl)

Video Interview: Captain Casanova

Sometimes you discover the greatest new bands on the internet or through music magazines. But other times you just have to be at the right place, at the right time. Meaning: at the right gig.

That happened to me a year ago when I saw Danish alternative/grunge rockers Captain Casanova live for the first time. Since then I’ve been to six of their gigs which is due the fact that on the one hand these three guys have a super busy touring schedule and on the other hand you just have to see them again and again after you’ve seen them live once. Their shows are full of energy and fun. It is impossible to not have a good time. I recommend to stay around after the gig and have a beer and a sweaty hug with Rasmus, Kenni and their new drummer Kristian.

After their latest gig in Hannover I wanted to do a quick interview with them which quickly turned into almost an hour of joking around, speaking German, Danish and English, and talking about music.

Check out the not-so-short teaser for the full interview here: 

Live + Q&A: The Preatures in Hamburg (DE), 24.04.2014

Dancefloor preachings from Australia's latest must-hear (© D. Prahl)
Dancefloor preachings from Australia’s latest must-hear (© D. Prahl)

If you’ve been reading this blog attentively, you will already have heard of The Preatures, the latest hype coming from Australia. Well, I guess “hype” is not exaggerated if you consider they’ve sold out Hamburg’s Prinzenbar with just an EP up their sleeve. Looks like their grooving 70s sound, strong basslines and male/female lead vocal duo have made a lot of friends, not just among people who like the similar-sounding Haim.

This time around, however, we didn’t just do another plain gig review. The Preatures’ drummer, Luke Davison, was so kind to answer a couple of questions for us, compiled by myself and the wonderful Mme Blanchard. This is our first Q&A, but it surely won’t be the last!

ipd What are the preachings of the Preatures – if you were an influential political or spiritual leader, what message would you send your followers?
LD That it’s probably not the best idea to follow Preature preachings and to think for themselves. That or Star Wars.

ipd Which album or song do you listen to on repeat at the moment?
LD Undun – The Roots

ipd What effect would you like your music to have on your listeners?
LD Whatever they like – I feel if you impose an intended effect it’s not going to reach or relate to a broad audience. We just do what the song needs.

ipd Can you imagine your sound in ten years? Electronic robots, Magical Mystery Tour or a complete novelty?
LD Whatever the sound, hopefully hologram concerts are in effect.

ipd If you could decide freely, which musician, whether alive or dead, would you like to work with on a song and why?
LD Questlove – ’cause he’s badass and thorough. Or Nile Rodgers because he makes hits. Or Nigel Godrich cause every album he’s done I love. Oh boy this could go on but I need to soundcheck.

The many faces of powerwoman Isabella Manfredi (© D. Prahl)
The many faces of powerwoman Isabella Manfredi (© D. Prahl)
Gideon Bensen added some vocal and hairdo variety. (© D. Prahl)
Gideon Bensen added some vocal and hairdo variety. (© D. Prahl)

After successful soundcheck, The Preatures take the stage at the Prinzenbar, which I can’t get tired of repeating, is possibly Hamburg’s most beautiful live venue. (So beautiful you almost don’t wince at the price of €3.40 for a bottle of Becks – yet proceed to drink Staropramen for ‘only’ €3.) Frontwoman Isabella Manfredi looks like a 90’s teen idol with her fringe, pronounced eyebrows and tight sleeveless top, her four boys tend to sport the long-haired classic rock look with the exception of co-vocalist Gideon Bensen with his trendy undercut.

Some intra-band loving goin' on. (© D. Prahl)
Some intra-band loving goin’ on. (© D. Prahl)

Without doubt, Manfredi is the eyecatcher, bouncing up and down, flirting with her supposed boyfriend on guitar, and virtually bursting with positive energy. The audience shuffles around a bit shyly, as we Germans tend to do, but in comparison nearly flip out when finally their hit single ‘Is this how you feel?’ is played to end the set. After what feels like half an hour tops – not even two beers’ length – the gig is already over as the band have run out of songs. Maybe had there been a supporting act, it wouldn’t have felt as short. When it becomes clear there is not going to be an encore, the confused audience clear the room at only 10 pm – elsewhere usually the time the headliner takes the stage. However, I have no doubt Hamburg will welcome them back with open arms once the album is out – next time hopefully at the then newly opened Molotow, the original location set for the show.