'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - EMMY THE GREAT
You know that time of night, when you are lying in bed, halfway between asleep and awake and you suddenly realise you have been crying for the last 5 minutes because your parents have never told you that they love you? Or you are sitting at work, idly staring at your left hand, trying to figure out where that scar came from which jolts the memory of a girl you saw only once as the bus pulled away from the hairdresser’s window? Or you throw a small ball out of your bedroom window and chase it to find adventure, but when you see it you realise that the real adventure was back in your house with your incredibly sarcastic cat? Or you answer an advert in the back of a newspaper for amateur detectives and find yourself assigned to a case where you have to determine whether pushing your forefingers together will stop the rain? Or you find yourself in a backstreet library, tutting at their selection when you casually breathe on a panel of glass, revealing a poem written in spit about a boy who time travelled back to before the earth was formed and who now floats through emptiness waiting for creation to begin with only his dad’s ipod for company? No? Then don’t read this interview with Emmy the Great as neither of us will want you to. Bye.
Jed: I saw you in 2005 @ club hedonistic and there was a problem with the audience talking over your songs. You didn’t seem happy. Do you find this is the case now you are a little better known, or does the type of music you play evoke whispers and drink orders over your quiet songs?
Emmy: I am always grumpy. i like it when people talk over my songs. doesn’t happen as much now mind you but it’s fun when they do. means I can make mistakes and no one notices except the people listening. I win.
Jed: Emmy the Great, Alexander the Great and Gonzo the Great. Who would win in a fight? Bear in mind that Gonzo’s best mate is Rizzo the Rat so he may have taught him street fighting.
Emmy: I don’t know if rats are good at fighting i would have to say me because one of those people is super dead and I’m sorry to ruin it for you but I’m not sure gonzo has internal organs and muscles and shit.
Jed: If I was to write ‘Emmy The Great: The Musical’, based on your repertoire, would you mind if I made it about time travel and the search for God? I have this theory that it would create some sort of rift which, when stepped through, would allow me to lead the Audiojunkies into the promised land. If so, and you played yourself, which time period would you travel to?
Emmy: I would travel to ten minutes from now so i can check my myspace again.
It’s cool to make the Emmy musical about god or whatever. do i have to play myself? I am busy checking my Myspace.
Jed: There is a rumour you might put out ‘Edward is Deadward’ as the next single. Is there a particular Edd this refers to? If not can I tell me housemate Edd, who incidentally is the SuDoku Grand Master of the world, that you wrote it about him?
Emmy: Yes it is Ed Fornieles, artist and lovely twat. He is not dead. He lives in hackney wick and he rides a bicycle. His girlfriend is literally Emma from the archers. Literally.
Jed: ’Christmas in prison’ is lovely. Not literally, that would be horrible. The song is nice I mean. If you spent xmas in prison, do you think you would bring the lovely ladies of Holloway together by making them forget their predicament with the power of SONG?
Emmy: Would i have to go to holloway prison? Can’t i go to the priory?
Jed: No. Another great Emmy was Emmy Kate Montrose from Kenickie. I once nearly kissed her. I did manage to kiss one of her bandmates though. Not the male drummer. So now that’s been cleared up… Do you ever have any groupies to speak of?
Emmy: Yes my mum comes to all my gigs, it’s a bit awkward kissing her though cause i know it’s only cause i’m in a band.
Jed: It would be a bit rubbish of me to ask you where you thought you would be in 5 years time. Without the aforementioned time machine its impossible. Instead, where were you 5 years ago? What were you doing?
Emmy: Oh we don’t talk about that year. That was a bad year.
Jed: Celebrity Big Brother has just started so before anyone else asks you: would you go on it? If you did who would you like to be in the house with you? I’m guessing not Gonzo the Great as you two never did get on…
Emmy: I wouldn’t go on it as everyone would hate me very quickly. i would not like to poo in front of a camera and also i think to go on celebrity big brother you have to have done NOTHING AT ALL for the last two decades and i have at least been going to post office and stuff. if i did go in i would try and take someone with a worse character than me, so i looked better.
Jed: You any good at PAPER, SCISSORS, STONE? Let’s play. If you win Ill give you an easy Maths question. If I win, Ill give you a hard one. Ok….. STONE.
Jed: Cheat. Ok Finally a Maths Question: How many cubic feet of dirt are in a hole
of one foot deep, three feet long, and two feet wide?
Emmy: i’m asleep now.
See kids. Maths is fun! All of your pop heroes are doing it. Check our Emmy the Great in these far flung places:
but not at
ORIGINALLY ON AJ JANUARY 2007
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - SHOUT OUT LOUDS
Every now and then I do a spot of moonlighting from
Audiojunkies when I’m asked to do interviews for certain publications or websites. For reasons unbeknownst to me it’s always Scandinavian bands that need generic questions thrown at them by me. When did I become the person to go to for our Scando friends? Why all of a sudden am I the only music journo with the capacity to string words together palatable enough for our Ikea-loving chums? And then I realised, it’s because I used to have a Swedish girlfriend. We split up because she wanted to go back to Gothenburgto study but now I know what really happened. Smacked with the grief of not being with me anymore, she set about trying to find little ways to remember me. She started off with small amounts of graffiti around Gothenburg, just things like “He used to like Moomins quite a lot” and sometimes “He liked the Ramones more than he liked me…”. She then printed up a load of flyers with my 10 favourite John Hughes listed films and posted it through the letterboxes of all of her neighbours. This obviously was a big deal in Sweden and made the local news. Collections of people started meeting up in local churches and youth centres to discuss the list, which spawned franchises all over Sweden, the biggest of which was of course the Stockholm chapter, which boasted 2600 members. It was at one of the Stockholm meetings, that a passing Danish couple became entranced by the list and brought it to Copenhagen where it in turn ignited riots throughout the city. Most of the fighting was due to the placing of Home Alone above Pretty in Pink. The controversy made headline news in Norway, where the Oslo chapter – also called ‘Shepherd’s Angels’, stormed the British embassy, killing 4 people in the process. Bands, inspired by this revolution began writing songs about The Real Troubles and now every band from that region is inspired by me. So this is the third time I have interviewed the Shout Out Louds, but it doesn’t seem nearly enough. I’d be happy to interview them every single day of my life, as their songs make me incredibly happy. Yes, I know it’s because the lyrics are all about me in some way, but sometimes I’m just happy to sit back on a bus and let the music take me over. If you haven’t listened to them before then I am incredibly jealous of you as you can discover them for the first time and listen in wonder at how one band can make pop music that perfect. Here follows a Shepherd’s Pi interview with Adam Olenius which is of course 9 music questions and 1 maths one! Enjoy!
ADAM OLENIUS: We are better a band, better friends and foes. And about the dogs..not that I can remember but we were talking the other day about getting a dog for our next tour.
JED: I remember Bebban mentioning that she wrote short stories, mostly horror ones. How are those going? I think the story was about a man living in the roof of a girl’s house spying on her… Oh I have to ask her about that. We are living all over the world right now (she in LA) so I hope she writes one about a mysterious death of an old TV producer.
Adam: You guys are definitely one of the nicest bands I’ve met. Do you ever get on each others nerves at all? Who causes the most friction and why? All the time. We are mean bastards. I mean we know each other so well and know what buttons to push. But we are like siblings. The fights never last long.
JED: ‘Our Ill Wills’ has now become my favourite album by a Swedish band ever. It’s the most consistent anyway. How has the initial reaction been to it?
Adam: Really good. I like the way the album is a little bit cinematic and it seems like everyone out there likes it too.. Some people with a sharp pen thinks is too retro but we are not looking back. We are really proud of the album. Until the next one..
JED: When writing it, did you just want to make ‘Howl Howl Gaff Gaff’ part 2 or did you try something different?
Adam: I think no band or artist wants to make the same records again. We wanted to work more with the arrangement and let the drums and other intruments take a bigger part in the songs. We kept the same atmosphere that was on HHGG but we just made it a little bit bigger.
JED: The name of the album refers to the fact that everyone has secrets. Can you tell us a secret about each member of the band?
JED: Björn Yttling (from Peter, Bjorn and John) produced the album and you call him the sixth member. What does he bring to the table that no other producer can?
Adam: He knows us really well and that was important for us at that time. He is the best one in Sweden and we wanted to record it at home in Stockholm. We wanted a more “rythmic” sound and he had the same ideas. And i like his band…
JED: Ted won an award for directing the video to ‘Young Folks’ (P, B & J). That’s great! Has he done anything else we may have seen?
Adam: We haven´t given him any vacation yet. But I ´m sure as soon as he get time to do some more videos the awards will be pouring in. He bought a new camera from Russia that is really good. He did a film for us in Tokyo.
JED: When I previously interviewed you guys you said that in the future you hope to write and sing a song in Swedish. It’s the future now! How is that coming along? Is the reason you have not done it so far due to the limitations – and less commercial opportunities – of not doing a song in English?
Adam: We have been working so hard to record and tour “OUR ILL WILLS” so there haven´t been time for that. But I have a few songs in Swedish well hidden in computer.
JED: Maths Question - Adam loves Swedish fish. He can eat 32 of them in an hour. His bandmate Carl needs 3 hours to eat the same amount. How long will it take them both together to eat 32 Swedish fish?
Adam: C´mon! How long will it take you to stop reminding me of school. I have to go to bed, it´s late. Bye.
If you want to learn more about Shout Out Louds then go visit www.shoutoutlouds.com and don’t forget to buy the new album ‘Our Ill Wills’ which pisses all over the new Coldplay one by a mile.
ORIGINALLY ON AJ IN JUNE 2008.
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - THE OCTOPUS PROJECT
When I was eight I used to take my classmates on supernatural tours around the spooky areas of our South London primary school. According to little Jed, our school was at some kind of Hellmouth crossroads where the slightest step could see you fall into the black pits of oblivion. This is the rough guide to my made-up school ghosts: There was THE GREY LADY: I used to point to a random staircase going down to a door and say: “Here we have the entrance to the boiler room where the Grey Lady lives. If you go down the steps you have to have an apple in your hand..”. “Why Jed? Why would you need an apple?” they used to say. “The grey lady is very hungry, and if you don’t feed her an apple she will eat you DEAD!”. THE DEVIL DRAIN: Pointing at a rather large drain cover: “Can you see those holes in the corner of the drain? That’s from where the devils horns poke through when he is trying to grab you and take you down to hell to kill you DEAD!..”.. THE HEADLESS NUN: A story about a headless nun walking around the corridors and whom would follow you into the toilets and rip you to shreds with the rabid head – with razor-sharp teeth - she held under her habit until you were DEAD!. All harmless fun no? That’s what I thought until I concocted one story which was slightly different from the rest. The school was connected to an elegant little church and we had our own secret little passage to it - a bit Potteresque - direct from the school playground. You have to go down a rather narrow alley which at some point had been an access route to an older part of the school that hadn’t been used in years. Halfway down this alley there was a door that led to a single toilet cubicle. Upon entering you’ll find shattered glass and cobwebs and every scary thought you’ve ever had rolled into one crowded space. “This is the scariest part of the tour my friends. This is where a girl hung herself by the toilet chain. They closed it down after that because kids kept on complaining they felt like someone was in there with them”. After a few months of telling people this story, kids started coming up to me to tell me that they saw the little girl around the school. Of course, I never believed them as it was I who started this baloney. Then one day I saw her myself. Looking up at my classroom window from the school playground I saw the figure of a girl. Her features were dark and her hair tied up at the back. Her school uniform looked ragged and torn and her eyes were black and hollow. She stared down at me in a way that expressly said that her death was my fault. I know she never really died, but I think the fact I brought the idea into fruition was enough to bring the ghost girl into reality. For the next few years Id always see her in the corner of my eye, sitting in the corner of the room by herself staring out into the playground, looking at the life she could have had. Sometimes she would grow brave and stand right behind me, breathing down the neck of my grass stained M&S shirt, whispering what evil things she planned to do with me when I least expected it. Two decades later the only thing that makes the hairs on the back of neck stand on end is…THE OCTOPUS PROJECT! Straight outta Austin, this electronic quartet released one of my favourite albums of 2007 ‘Hello, Avalanche’ so I thought Id pester them for a Shepherd’s Pi Interview. I talk to Josh Lambert about sea creatures, music and math (oh my).
JED: Hi Josh, I find it hard to describe what kind if music The Octopus
Project produces. I usually just stand there with my thumbs up and a
smile on my face and hope I can hold it until they go away. Could you
help me out?
Josh: I don’t know if I can help you any further. I just stand there with my thumbs up and a smile on my face most of the time too.
JED: What came first, the name of the band or the Octopus amp covers? Ever
thought about setting up your own customized amp cover business? I know
a band that might want an owl.
Josh: The name definitely came before we did any visual things. I think we might have even named the band before we wrote any songs. In general, we try to veer away from any “octopus” themed visuals, but the robot octopuses that we put on the amps seemed to warrant use. Toto drew the original picture, and we used it on our buttons for a while, but a couple of years ago, Yvonne’s Mom decided to make some huge versions of the character out of felt. They were totally awesome, so we put them on our amps. Since then, we’ve kind of gone crazy with attaching different things to our amps. It’s an incredibly simple way to do something interesting visually with no set up at the shows.
I don’t know if we’d ever make the covers for money, but that’s an interesting proposition.
JED: What does the ‘project’ part of your name refer to? Is it the music or
Josh: When we named the band, we really didn’t have any theme in mind. We actually came up with the name while we were trying to name another band (but didn’t use it), and just pulled it out later when we formed this band. We liked the combination of the words, and it’s somewhat catchy. It’s kind of a dumb name, but it works. I’m sure it was just a subconscious choice, but the “project” part of the name definitely reflects how we work in general. We treat everything, whether it’s the music or something visual, as an exciting excuse to mess around and try something new. It’s a lot of experimenting and having fun.
JED: Do you think that Yvonne gets most of the attention because she is a
girl in what is generally a male genre? Do you guys get jealous?
Josh: I think Yvonne gets a lot of attention because she’s doing a ton of totally awesome things. I’m sure if any of the rest of us played the Theremin as well as she does, or made our own dresses/stuffed animals/etc. then we’d be getting more attention.
But, that’s not something we care about at all anyway. We definitely don’t get jealous of each other. We’re all working really hard together to make what we do, and our egos don’t ever enter the equation.
JED: I always forget how good you guys are until I see you play live. Do you enjoy that the most or is the creative process where your heart lies?
Josh: I think playing live and making records are two entirely different beasts. The longer we’re a band, the more the two converge, but we definitely treat them differently. On a record you’re trying to create a mood, or take people on a little journey for 45 minutes or so, so you have more leeway to get weird or experiment. Live, it’s all about entertaining folks and getting them pumped up, so you have less room to get spacey. Or else, you lose the audience’s attention.
So, to answer your question… I love them both equally. They’re just different.
JED: Your Latest album ‘Hello Avalanche’ is all kinds of awesome. I
particularly love ‘I Saw The Bright Shinies’ and of course ‘Truck’. It’s
definitely a progression from ‘One Ten Hundred Thousand Million’. Are
you happy with it and what has the general reaction been?
Josh: We’re definitely happy with it! We’ve never made anything that we didn’t want to go back and change something about, but I think this record is the closest to what we were shooting for than anything else we’ve ever done. We tried to make it equal parts weird and poppy/slick sounding and lo-fi, and I think it worked out ok. It was a blast to make!
I think the general reaction has been great. Folks seem to be the most excited about this record, so that’s fantastic! I had no idea what to expect while we were making it. It would be pointless to aim for anything in that sense. But, I was afraid that no one would get it. Most of the songs are in weird time signatures, and we were trying some new sounds out, etc. So, I figured it might not make sense to anyone except us. Even while we were doing the initial mix of “Bright Shinies” in Seattle, the engineer turned to us and said that he couldn’t really understand what was going on at all—granted it was the first time that he had actually heard the song in it’s entirety. But still, it totally freaked me out because that was my favorite song! Everything seemed to work out ok though.
JED: Have you already started planning the next album? Give us some goss!
Josh: We’re always working on stuff so it’s hard to say what it will sound like, but I’m hoping it turns out being the weirdest dance party you’ve ever been to.
JED: I have this idea that you do an album of Blue Oyster Cult songs and call
it MOLLUSC MUSIC. Have you got any crazy ideas in the pipeline that
could capitalize on your cephalopod status?
Josh: Nothing octopus related at the moment. But ya never know!
JED: Do you have any plans to come back to the UK? ATP was great but we need
Josh: Thanks! ATP was kind of mind-blowing in it’s awesomeness. No plans to come back for the rest of the year (lots of touring in the US), but we definitely want to make it back over there as soon as we can. We had a ton of fun!
JED: MATHS QUESTION - A fish is fifteen inches long. Its head is as long as
its tail. If the head were twice as long as it really is, the head and
tail would together be as long as what is in between. How long is each
part of the fish?
Josh: Oh man! I am soooooo going to cook fish tonight!!
If you like fish you will definitely like The Octopus Project, so visit them atwww.theoctopusproject.com why don’t you?
ORIGINALLY SHOWN ON AJ JUNE 2008
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - SALLY SHAPIRO
There is a controversial theory that Sweden is merely a conspiracy of cartographers. People who live in Sweden are really in the basement of a really big ship with lots of turn right signs and astro turf. Those who wish to visit Sweden on their holidays are instead flown to a BBC studio where they are drugged, hypnotised and brainwashed into thinking they spent the last two weeks in Ikea-influenced bliss. This motion is reinforced by the fact ‘Sweden’ want us to believe they have created a pop-monster in the guise of a charming young lady named Sally Shapiro. She is quite obviously either a robot and/or from Essex. If we were to run with this fabrication and put our trust in this new disco princess to save our ears, we might come out sorely disappointed when we discover her to be in fact mechanical. Nevertheless we have interviewed her in a Blade Runner Voight-Kampff Empathy Test kind of way… with a Maths question at the end. Uh huh, the first UK interview for Miss Shapiro, only on
Jed: Hi Sally, is it true that you never do interviews? Why?
Sally Shapiro: Obviously I do sometimes! But not real-life interviews. I’m very shy.
JED: Can I ask you your real name? Do you feel that your anonymity will be harder to conceal once you are really successful?
Sally: My real name is nothing important, and I don’t think I will be that successful.
JED: That’s the spirit! Pitchfork has hailed you as the best thing since sliced Annie. Do you welcome this praise or do you feel that now you under a lot of pressure?
Sally: Nah, I think my producer is more concerned about living up the expectations…
JED: ’I’ll be by your side’ is such a beautiful, fragile sounding song, it will adorn Side A of many a mixtape in years to come. How would you classify your music? It’s more pop than disco no?Sally: Thanks! Maybe you could call my music italo disco-influenced pop.
JED: Ok, I will! Every time I have been to Sweden I have noticed that there is the distinct feel of magic in the air. All of the old people fill you full of stories of Ogres and pixies filling every wood and riverbank. Is this just me or all Swedish people borderline mentalists?
Sally: Oh this is a very magic country! I sometimes think I’m just a character in a fairytale!
Sally: Our project is inspired by Italian 80s disco artists like Valerie Dore, Katy Gray, Savage and Fun Fun and also German artist Sandra.JED: Do you ever play live? I was reading something Johan Agebjörn wrote regarding the fact no one has ever heard you sing “I’ll be by your side’ live yet? Is this still the case? Next time I go to Sweden we can sing Karaoke together if you like. We can do a Kylie and Jason song. I’ll let you pick which one you want to be!
Sally: Yes, sadly I still haven’t sung any Sally Shapiro song for anyone. So please don’t build up too high expectations about that Karaoke thing…JED: You are quoted as saying : “I dance all nights long on small disco clubs and walk in the moonshine thinking about my love affairs.” Which is nice. Do you have many love affairs and does this influence your nocturnal activities?
Sally: Oh yes I have many love affairs, just listen to the album! And especially in the moonshine!
JED: Is there anything inspirational you could say to the Audiojunkies out there who are thinking of making cute little Italian Disco-Pop tunes in their bedrooms but are feeling disillusioned that their particular genre of choice will not be appreciated as much as say… Emo?
Sally: There are thousands of italo disco fans who have been thirsty for new songs ever since the genre died in 1989. At the moment there aren’t many artists making this kind of music (in Holland/Belgium there’s a scene but that’s mostly for the instrumental stuff) so you will probably be welcomed!
JED: I always end on a maths question Sally, so here goes: If a rooster laid11 eggs and the farmer took 5 of them and another rooster laid 14 eggs and 5 of them were rotten, how many eggs were left?
Sally: I guess here is where I should say something funny? Anyway it was nice speaking with you!
You can check out our dear Sally in these places. Careful though, she is very shy and her website might be hiding behind a cushion or perhaps a magician’s handkerchief. http://www.johanagebjorn.info/sally.html
words: Jed Shepherd
ORIGINALLY ON AUDIOJUNKIES JANUARY 2007.
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - JONATHAN KING
Now that Boris is in, times they are a changing. Our lovely alcoholics -surely a British institution - can’t drink on public transport anymore without being hassled by staff doing their jobs; he wants to prevent our beautiful street gangs from killing children who were probably asking for it anyway; he wants to phase out bendy buses just because they are vehicular death traps and most shocking of all he wants to introduce low emission zones to improve the air quality of our junk filled lungs. What is the world coming to when we have people in power who actually know what they are talking about? If Boris really wants to get down with the kids he should ask advice from a man who knows. A man who practically invented Youth Culture, a man who has had more hits than Winehouseand certainly more scandal. Step forward Jonathan King, who in the last week has released his new project onto our world. If you liked that song he wrote about Harold Shipman then you will love this. Its called ‘Vile Pervert: The Musical' and its 21 songs written and performed by Jonathan King mostly about the judicial system and the media. The Judicial system the media and doing bad things with boys. Audiojunkies decided to start a new season of the ever popular 'Shepherd's Pi'interviews (9 music questions and a maths one) on a man who will no doubt offend quite a few people. Because we couldn’t get Ricky from the Kaiser chiefs we got JK instead.
JED: Whats the premise of your new musical ‘Vile Pervert’?
Jonathan King: Primarily it hopefully entertains. Secondly, it makes people aware of some music - whether they like it or not, at least they get to hear it. After the events of the past 8 years, radio, TV and press avoid showing or playing the music. The delight of subtle social censorship. Thirdly, it might make some people think.
JED: Did you write all of the songs yourself? You have one called ‘Wilde About Boys’ about having homosexual sex. What I was more concerned about was the one called ‘I Hate Coca Cola’. That’s a low blow, coke is great!
JK: Yes, all written and published by me (otherwise I couldn’t allow it to be viewed for free - the musical copyrights would be too complicated to clear. The Oscar Wilde song is, I think, funny but has a deeper meaning and is quite true - it will bring out the secret closet homophobes. As for Coca Cola - I genuinely hate it I’m afraid Jed! But that song too is very tongue-in-cheek as the last lines show. I hope people pay attention to my lyrics. Writers seem to express themselves less in song lyrics these days.
JED: Did you make any of it to deliberately offend or to be controversial?
JK: Yes indeed - controversy is good, it draws attention and makes people think. Likewise I am all in favour of offending people - that should make them think again, even if they end up with the same opinions.
JED: You can currently only get it online but do you have plans to ever perform it live?
JK: No, I’ve never been a live performer. But yes, I do hope it eventually becomes a stage show. I think it could well be a Rocky Horror Show of the future. The tracks are all available since I own them, so a cast could sing to the backings.
JED: Would you say lowest point in your life was being convicted of sex offences (some have been acquitted) or championing Orson?
JK: The experience of the false allegations, trial, conviction, prison and appeal process (still ongoing) was fascinating. The benefits far outweighed the negatives. As for Orson - I loved No Tomorrow (still do) but haven’t heard anything else interesting they have done. I’m very much a singles track person.
JED: What is the worst thing you have read about yourself in the media?
JK: The coverage of the case was so deliciously inaccurate that I couldn’t pick any one but I really don’t take myself seriously. In the scheme of things, one person’s image is pretty trivial. I had loads of equally inaccurate stuff about me in the years of “stardom”. I’m interested and intrigued by it. I think the movie sums a lot of it up.
JED: Do you think that you will ever be able to bounce back to the success you have had in the past? Do you think the general public will let you?
JK: It depends on your definition of success. Mine is personal happiness, love, friends, family, experiences, communication, creativity - I’m as “successful” in all these now as I ever was.
As for “public acclaim” or becoming the Pope, I think it unlikely that I will ever again be the much adored man who sang Una Paloma Blanca.
JED: You only served half of your seven year sentence and you have stated that you enjoyed your time in prison. Was this actually true or was it you sticking your fingers up at the media?
JK: It was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned more, was able to help people, saw things I’d never seen, became tolerant and patient (two things I’d never been before) - only the parameters changed.
The media is a very one dimensional, headline thing if you let it be and we all do - none of us have the time or, generally, inclination for depth. I’m as shallow as the next man. Sometimes we need circumstances to give us a reason to find greater depth of understanding.
JED: You still run the ‘Tip Sheet’ which basically does the same thing as Audiojunkies… so do you have any particular bands you think are going to be massive but we have missed?
JK: Sadly as I get older I become less able and less interested in finding new stuff. There’s very little that has grabbed me lately. But it’s also that, more and more, I hear copies and influences that are more “steals” than inspiration. I genuinely believe that VILE PERVERT: THE MUSICAL is more revolutionary than most else I’ve seen or heard. And as such I hope it encourages other, younger creative types to dig deeper and become more original - difficult as the world changes but still possible with the internet etc.
I’ve done something nobody else seems to have done - not for the first time.
I seriously hope this can set an example in the way it’s been done if not the actual music or film.
JED: MATHS QUESTION: One night in the 1970’s Genesis were asked to play a night concert. They decide to take a shortcut, but must cross a bridge. Luckily they have one flashlight. Because of the varying size of their instruments, it takes each member a different amount of time to cross the bridge - it takes Peter Gabriel one minute as he just has a microphone, Mike Rutherford two minutes with his guitar, Tony Banks five minutes with his keyboard and Phil Collins ten minutes to carry his drums. They must cross the bridge in pairs, traveling at the slower speed so if Peter Gabriel went with Phil Collins, it would take a total of ten minutes. Since there is only one flashlight, one person must come back across the bridge, then another pair can cross. They only have 17 minutes to cross the bridge and still get to the concert on time. What order should they cross to get everyone across and get to the concert?
JK: Peter with Phil first, then with each of the others leaving the mic with Phil so he can sprint back in seconds.
What a strange question.
If you want to check what all the fuss is about go here:
ORIGINALLY ON AUDIOJUNKIES MAY 2008
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - MANDA RIN
Most of you will know Manda Rin from her swashbuckling jaunt as a percentage of the poppiest super-band BIS. Since Bis exploded in a blaze of sweet glory, Manda was briefly in The Kitchen (before it got too hot) and then finally onto data Panik. DP has now shimmied off this mortal coil, but their never released album will be uploaded to their website to buy some time in the near future. Yes kids, its another one of those concept interviews (with a maths question at the end) you know and love… SHEPHERD’S PI!
JED: Hello Manda. Just when I have finally got my act together and written some questions for this interview, you go and break up Data Panik. Why would you do something like that?
MANDA: it was a long and hard decision. as we explained on the website, it was sadly just going nowhere whatsoever after over a year. promoters wouldn’t give us good supports, no one would get us on festivals, not a single label got in touch, so it was just very, very weird! i don’t expect major things, but that kind of response is quite rare. very sad, as no matter how good we got, it didn’t make any difference.
JED: So what’s your solo project all about? Is it going to have nice badges?
MANDA: It’s just my frustration at data panik not going anywhere! i can’t sit still. i want to make lots and lots of music, and get on a train or plane to anywhere i can to play. if it doesn’t work i can’t say i didn’t try. it is dead scary though! hehe, badges of course!
JED: What are the rest of the ex-data-panik members going to do now?
MANDA: john and steven still have their techno project Dirty Hospital, stuart will be doing his own material, and there’s nothing for graham as yet sadly.
JED: Has this all made you a little disillusioned with the whole game?
MANDA: a bit to be honest. i know it will never be the same as it was with Bis, but i just want to have fun again. i don’t want to have to ask for big guarantees to afford a van to drive to london in. fun, fun, fun!
JED: Would you like to join a fictional band with me? We will be based primarily on Don Quixote and sing songs about Dragon’s falling in love with dreamy peasant girls. What can we be called?
MANDA: sure! Dragon’s Demise
JED: Who would you Kiss, Kill or Marry out of these lot: Emilio Estevez, Chevy Chase, Peter Crouch.
MANDA: ooh, not so good choice really! erm, kiss emilio, marry chevy chase and kill peter crouch for having a silly name.
JED: Picture the scene. You’re down to the last 4 girls on X-Factor and its ‘The Songs of Bis’ week. The token Mancunian girl has chosen ‘Kill Yr Boyfriend’; the token black girl is singing ‘Teen-C Power’; the token fat girl is singing ‘Sweetshop avengers’.. so what will you choose? Please bear in mind that the celebrity judge for this week is Drew Barrymore.
MANDA: Amazing question! ‘monstarr!’ easy to sing and one to dance about like a loon to!
JED: Are there any artists/bands out there you would happily, without irony, recommend to the audiojunkies out there?
MANDA: CSS! they are my fave band of this year without a doubt and in every sense!
JED: Do you have a particular stance on the whole peer-2-peer/mp3 filesharing debate. As an artist yourself, are you protective about your recordings and feel it is tantamount to stealing the pennies from your pockets, or are you happy that people are sharing your music with the world?
MANDA: i am protective of stuff a bit, but i do love technology and getting stuff to people. i love MP3s but i have to say i prefer the legal ones. it’s only fair, and it’s not too expensive to support.
JED: THE MATHS QUESTION:
As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives.
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits.
Kits, cats, sacks and wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?
MANDA: 2402?! it’s like brain training!
(the answer was 1!)
ORIGINALLY ON AUDIOJUNKIES SEPTEMBER 2006
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - CULPRIT ONE
A brand new Interview concept to Audiojunkies, ‘SHEPHERD’S PI!’. Its a regular interview with a musician, but at the end there is a maths question! Yes, you read right, a Maths question. It’s the sort of music journalism that makes the kids sigh with post-modern feelings of joy. First up we have Culprit One, who has recently had success remixing the Automatic’s pretty damn big hit ‘Monster’, and is now making a claim for the charts himself. Audiojunkies love him, so read on!
JED: Hello James a.k.a. Culprit one. How are you?
JAMES: Very well thank you. It feels good to be doing an AJ interview after chatting to everyone on the ever-entertaining forum for the past year.
JED: You have just released the amazing ‘Sway’ EP to much critical acclaim. I must admit I actually forgot how good you were until I got this CD through the post! Sarah Howells’ (Halflight) vocals bring an eerily beautiful quality to an already catchy tune. Was this an attempt at reaching a more commercial audience?
JAMES: I felt that the original track was very strong and it had already picked up a lot of radio support as a taster for the forthcoming album. Around the same time, I began hearing about a local band called Halflight so went to check them out in Cardiff one night. Sarah’s vocal performance was just incredible and we got chatting on MySpace the next day. We started writing a track together, but then I realised that she would be perfect to lay a vocal over the instrumental version of ‘Sway’. We recorded it at the studio and were both really pleased with the result, but I had reservations about releasing it as the first single for Exceptional as it was so different from what I’d done before. Although some hardcore Culprit 1 fans were a bit shocked that I’d seemingly written a ‘song’ (shock horror!), the overall reaction has been fantastic, especially from the dance press. The next few singles are very different again and will prove that the album is an extremely varied affair!
JED: You’ve recently remixed a certain ‘monster’ for The Automatic. Do you claim full responsibility for their success? I would.
JAMES: Ha ha - well I hope it played a small part. I was understandably pretty grateful for the opportunity to remix a track that I knew was going to be a top 5 hit from the moment I heard it (at the time they were still an unsigned band rehearsing in the local studio). The remix went down well with the indie crowd and it’s just been licensed to the Japanese version of The Automatic’s debut album, which is very cool. As a result, I got to see Culprit 1 written in Japanese so I can now die a happy man.
JED: Your much anticipated album is due to be released soon. If it ends up being a full blown smash hit (which it rightly deserves on the back of this EP), What’s the first thing you will buy with the cash?
JAMES: Well, without wanting to sound like Gary Barlow - I’d buy my parents a house or whatever else they wanted. They’ve been extremely supportive over the past few years and continued to keep the faith when things weren’t going so well. There have been times in the past when they could’ve easily told me to ‘go and get a proper job’, but instead kept telling me to get back in the studio and write more tracks - very inspiring stuff. My girlfriend Simone would also be on the list of do-gooders in line for a Culp bonus reward, having put up with my music industry-related moaning for the past four years.
JED: Do you feel that there is a gap in the UK market for an intelligent electronic act, big enough to compete with all the manufactured dirge spawned by reality TV shows?
JAMES: Well I guess there are a few people doing a similar thing already - DJ Shadow, Four Tet, Aphex and Amon Tobin all shift a lot of records. I guess the one thing I have that appeals more to the mainstream UK market is my use of big vocal hooks - it doesn’t matter to me whether it’s a sampled hip-hop record or a hand-picked vocalist. All my favourite dance acts from the Nineties were ones that featured guest singers - Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and Leftfield. For some reason, electronic artists stopped working with vocalists and I think that kind of accounts for dance music’s very rapid demise at the start of this century. I’m on a one-man mission to re-introduce electronica to the mainstream!
JED: If you were on X-Factor what would you sing and would you do beatbox?
JAMES: I must confess I’m a fan of X Factor - well the auditions anyway. I enjoy watching the seemingly endless supply of desperate mentalists begging the judges to let them progress. What would I perform? Well I do a cracking beatbox version of the theme tune from the much-loved Seventies children’s programme Gentle Ben. I performed it solo as a Culprit 1 encore one time and the whole club went mental. I’m waiting for that to end up on YouTube one day.
JED: If you were trapped in a lift with Charlotte Church with no hope of immediate rescue, would you eat her?
JAMES: No, but I would suggest an intimate embrace to conserve heat and energy.
JED: Do you think its lazy journalism to compare you to DJ Shadow? If so, then I’m also to blame. Obviously you are flattered by this comparison yah?
JAMES: Flattered? Yah indeed. I don’t think it’s lazy journalism, because he’s my biggest influence and hopefully that comes through in my tunes. When Annie Mac first made the comparison on Radio 1, I was well chuffed. To be compared to your musical idol is an incredible compliment. I like people mentioning it and you are free to use that particular comparison as often as you like, Mr. Shepherd!
JED: Do you want to plug anything? If so.. go ahead!
JAMES: Thankyouplease. My remix of The Automatic’s ‘Recover’ is out on 7’ vinyl on September 18th. The new Culprit 1 single ‘Sway’ is out now and has been rightly critically acclaimed - buy it now AJers! New single ‘Hollow’ featuring MC Incyte (our amazingly talented live vocalist) is out on Exceptional Records in November and the album will follow in early 2007. Safeness!
JED: THE MATHS QUESTION: A zoo has several ostriches and several giraffes. They have 30 eyes and 44 legs. How many ostriches and how many giraffes are in the zoo?
JAMES: I was awful at GCSE Maths and had to see my teacher at dinner times to get extra help. It is a painful memory and this question has reignited my previously well-suppressed fear of numbers. I’m too scared to answer it, sorry.
AUDIOJUNKIES - SEPTEMBER 2006
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - TEGAN & SARA
The best thing about being able to breathe underwater is not the ability to discover submerged Romanesque cities populated with delicate mermaids who all look a bit like Lindsey Lohan – no, it’s the ability to use your gills as an impromptu CD rack for those awkward moments when you get caught short. Similarly, the best thing about being a twin is not the capacity for your Extra Sensory Perception to allow you to reach the latter stages of Super Monkey Ball on the Nintendo DS without losing a single life – no, its apparently being in a band with your sibling and creating one of the greatest albums of all time. Alas, the Nolan sisters are no more, but Tegan & Sara are more than capable of filling their slots. Welcome to another ‘Shepherd’s PI’ interview with a maths question at the end! I might just let them have the answer as T&S are a bit special to me.. anyway… READ!
JED: Twins are meant to possess ESP. Have you ever had an experience where you have read each other’s minds or successfully predicted the outcome of a Canadian sitcom?
TEGAN: Not as of yet; though I do pray for that gift every night! Sounds lucrative.
JED: Do you think the fact you don’t live in the same city helps towards maintaining a healthy working relationship?
TEGAN: Who said we had a healthy working relationship?
(*yes living apart forces us to miss one another)
JED: What’s the biggest fight you have ever had, and if cornered by a Prehistoric animal, which one of you would prove victorious?
TEGAN: Every fight feels pretty big and epic. We don’t really fight anymore. We are too old and tired to care. If a prehistoric animal cornered us we would use our ESP to find a non-violent solution!
JED: Your songs are getting covered all over the place. Who has done the best cover and who would you ideally like to cover you?
TEGAN: The only cover I have heard is the White Stripes. That was pretty amazing. I don’t think I know who I would want to cover us but as long as it’s someone we respect or a cover done respectfully its pretty great.
JED: If you had a time machine, whose songs would you go back and steal? I think you could pull off ABBA’s back catalogue pretty good.
Outfield- Lose your love
Bruce Springsteen- Anything
JED: I’ve read you prefer the song writing process a lot more than actually touring the finished songs. How come? Also what’s the worst song you have ever written and which one of you wrote it?
TEGAN: I like both. Touring and writing/recording. But there are things about both that are tough. Mainly its just a weird life. Leaving and waiting to leave. Killing time. Its weird. Worst song….Uh. Superstar. ME. More for me. ME. Well; basically anything off our first two records by me I hate.
JED: Undoubtedly, one day there will be a Hollywood movie about the pair of you. Who would you like to play each of you and wish storyline would you like them to embellish the most?
TEGAN: Alyssa Milano. She can play both of us. I would like them to embellish our writing process. Make us seem more prolific and dramatic so the end result balanced more with how we are in real life.
JED: Have you started writing/recording the follow up to the brilliant ‘So Jealous’ yet? If so what are you going to call it? If you don’t know, you are welcome to make it up and include my name in the title…
TEGAN: We will put your name on the list of potential titles. We have no name for the record yet but we are working on it. Our Demos went out to our producer and managers last week. Sara called it ‘Sleepless in Moncouver’. Cute. But never going to be the title to the record I assure you. We usually name the record once its done.
JED: Are you going to come play in the UK during your Spring tour? We miss you, you know..
TEGAN: We would love to spend more time in the UK. We intend on focusing more of our time there with the new record.
JED: THE MATHS QUESTION: In my class (I’m not really in school) , there are 99 students other than me. 50 of us play Football, 45 Basketball and 50 play Volleyball. Only 15 of us play all three games. Everyone plays at least one game. How many play only two games?
TEGAN: I was never good at math. I will never answer a question like that again. Sorry. :)
words: JedAUDIOJUNKIES - SEPTEMBER 2006
'SHEPHERD'S PI' INTERVIEW - OWEN PALLETT
It’s a well known fact that if you sit facing backwards on a London bus, it is the closest you will get to the experience of time-travel without actually doing it. The overpowering sense of the unknown, coupled with nausea and fear add to the simulation. Coincidentally this is also the feeling I get when I listen to ‘He Poos Clouds’ by Final Fantasy, but being a seasoned time-traveler (26 trips to the 16th century and counting), I shrug off any ill-feeling which leaves me with the wonderful sounds of experimental pop music performed to perfection. My co-time-traveler is Owen Pallett, primarily the sole member of final Fantasy, and in the space between time, we stop to ponder existence. Whoosh!
JED: The first and most important question is: In your estimation, do you believe that you are better than me at Final Fantasy VII?
Owen Pallet aka Final Fantasy: Maybe. Did you beat the Emerald Weapon? I didn’t. I spent the last half of the game punching the couch out of boredom listening to Sephiroth’s yadda-yadda-yadda.
JED: Your music, though beautiful, must be quite difficult to pull off live, due to using loop pedals etc. Do you ever mess up? When you do, do you stop or just run it off, like when you trip up in front of a queue at the bus stop?
OWEN: When it messes up, the audience laughs and the show goes better. The show only goes badly when the soundman doesn’t turn it up really loud.
JED:I’m also interviewing Xiu Xiu. I know they are your favourite band, so what should I ask them?
OWEN:Ask him how many hearts he’s broken in his life.
JED:‘He Poos Clouds’ is not only a great name for an album, but also a brilliant body of work itself. I’ve read that it’s about the magic intertwined with every day life, but I might need it explained to me in layman’s terms. Imagine you are Barney the Dinosaur explaining it to a troubled child.
OWEN: The album is just about a bunch of stupid shit. Like dating, urban planning, the way the media views suicide. But then I applied different schools of magic as the “backbone” of each stupid-shit song. For example, the song about condo development attributes the construction of the buildings to magical attributes; there is a wizard conjuring these buildings, rather than a construction company building them.
So even though each song is just about a stupid-shit thing, it examines these things from a magical perspective. It’s the fantasy-novel equivalent of singing a song like “I see Jesus in the sun rising” or “Krishna is on the face of the water”.
JED: Audiojunkies recently had a poll which voted Canada as the centre of the Musical Universe. You cant take all the credit, but you’ve certainly done your bit to help by arranging the strings on Arcade Fire’s ‘Funeral’. Did you know at the time you were involved in something magical?
FF: Magical? No. Canada just doesn’t have the spectre of the NME or Pitchfork hanging over them. We don’t care about getting Kelly Osbourne to come to our gigs, or about getting a Best New Music tag. And it’s wonderful to not care about these things.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s successful in the rest of the world that just wouldn’t fly in Canada. Pretty much every new band out of England that comes to Toronto gets laughed at. Except Test Icicles, those guys were rad. And Art Brut are the best best best.
The English music scene is a sexist, money-oriented place. Every single band I like in England, I’ve told them to move to Berlin, or NYC, or Toronto. I begged The Long Blondes to get out of England. I offered to rent my flat out to Simon Bookish.
Hell, I’m ex-English. My father is from Penrith. But you guys have got to get it together. England sucks because you’re letting it suck.
JED: The Final Fantasy: Spirits Within was a terrible film wasn’t it? Have you seen Final Fantasy: Advent Children? What do you think?
OWEN: Oh please. Have you seen Willow? Now THAT’S a fantasy movie.
JED: Myspace cancelled your account due to the copyright on your name. What was your reaction to that? It doesn’t look good for my band ‘The Microsoft’…
OWEN: Who cares? I’m not trying to pass off what I do as a game or as a game soundtrack so I don’t think SquareSoft will mind all that much. If they do get pissy with me, though, I’ll fold like a card table and change my name to Pinal Pantasy.
JED: If they made a computer game based on you, what would you character do, and what would the underlying premise be? Would there be ninjas?
OWEN: No, no ninjas. My computer game would be made by Team Ico and would be about the last human on earth. He was once a husband and a father, and a very strong farmer, but the next day, the entire human race has disappeared. He’s surrounded by non-violent sentients who have no interest in him, and no use for him. He explores his world to discover what has become of the human race, only to find that they have been spirited away to another world. The non-violent sentients around him become gradually more distrustful of him, and eventually drive him out of the land. There is no fighting, but they are incredibly challenging adversaries, even in their passivity.
The lead character is beset by a foul disease, which begins to consume him, causing his statistics to drop as the game progresses, rather than increase with experience. He eventually finds his way to a tunnel through the mountains, where he believes he will find the rest of his race. As he finally emerges from the other side of the mountain range, his disease recedes, and he emerges to find a barren, grey land, devoid of the sentients who hate him. No humans either. The game ends with the protagonist wandering off into the grey netherworld.
In short, I’d like to kill the influence of James Cameron movies on videogames and replace it with French existentialism. ALL THE TEENAGERS OF THE WORLD WILL BE HELD IN RAPT ATTENTION, FOREVER.
JED: Has the death of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin affected your music? How can it not?
OWEN: No. I cried when I read that John Fahey died, though. I was 20 and had tickets to his show, and then he cancelled. Eight months later, I read his obit in the MOJO. I cried all night long, it was such a sad story.
JED: THE MATHS QUESTION: How many times can you subtract the number 5 from 25?
OWEN: Once. Then you have 20. (CORRECT!)
INTERVIEW ORIGINALLY SEEN ON AUDIOJUNKIES SEPTEMBER 2006