Interview: A M I D A

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54-46’s interview with Manchester band A M I D A below…

How is the band doing? Everything Okay? Anything in the pipeline?

Hello, yes we’re doing very well, thanks. We’re just gearing up to record some new songs for 2015.

 

Describe your musical backgrounds and how you have got to where you are now.

I think we each have a different idea of the band we’re in, a different vision of the band we want to be in, but no one’s vision is winning. Thankfully.

 

For those yet to experience Amida, how would you best describe what you do?

To avoid the gruelling awkwardness of description, we would just direct people to our Spotify

Link Here: Amida – Boring Birth … or Bandcamp page (amidamusic.bandcamp.com).

 

Can you please explain your name?

I’ve been trying to figure it out myself. You are free to interpret.

 

Best gig you’ve ever done?

We always adore playing in Leeds, so it would probably be one of the shows we’ve done there.

 

Favourite venue?

For me, the Deaf Institute in Manchester.

 

 Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

A lot of the usual suspects, then a lot of other stuff that would sound pretty unconvincing if we listed them.

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

I think a female vocal could be really nice in the mix. The music needs a woman’s touch.

 

Favourite bands of 2014?

MONEY, and FKA twigs.

 

 Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

I’m all about streaming.

 

If you made a 5 song mix tape to impress a lover, what would you put on it? 

1. Sky Ferreira – Everything is Embarrassing

2. Chet Baker – There Will Never Be Another You

3. Depeche Mode – Slowblow (Darren Price Remix)

4. Al Green – Schooldays

5. Glass Candy – Etheric Device

 

Thank you very much for your time!

Interview: Totem Terrors

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54- 46 caught up with Max Hicks, bassist for Totem Terrors… Talking South Wales music scene, mix tape songs for lovers and his own musical influences.

 

 

How is the band doing? Everything Okay? Anything in the pipeline?

 

The band’s going great. We’ve been playing a bunch of shows lately, and we’re planning to record our second album in the next few weeks. It’s due out in Spring 2015.

 

 

Describe your musical backgrounds and how you have got to where you are now.

 

We’ve both been in bands since we were 16 or so, though we hadn’t met until I started this one. I started out as a ‘singer’ that was too scared to sing, then I switched to bass because nobody played bass and one of my sister’s friends was a bass player. He was a cool guy – he was older and respected among the youths of our community. He looked out for me a few times when I was being given a hard time for skateboarding, and I looked up to him, so it made sense I’d end up playing bass like he did. After a while, I got a chance to sing in a band – this time I wasn’t scared – and soon after that I played regular guitar whilst singing. Fast forward a couple of bands, and I found myself drawn back to bass, which is where I am now – and I still sing.

Rosie is a really good piano player on the quiet – that’s how she started – but she’s also been playing classical guitar since she was a kid. She joined this band as a drummer first. After a while, our first guitar player left, so Rosie switched to guitar, and that’s the way things have stayed.

 

 

For those yet to experience Totem Terrors, how would you best describe what you do?

 

Well, we’re an ‘indie rock’ band with our roots in post-punk, although we’ve progressed beyond that niche. We’re a two-piece – I play bass and sing, Rosie plays guitar and sings – but we use a drum machine, so we’re functionally a three.

 

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Best gig you’ve ever done?

 

Hard to say. Probably when we played IndieTracks festival in summer 2014. It’s a small indie festival based in an old railway station. We got to play in the station church, which is like a 1940’s Southern American tin shack type of affair. It was a great show – we played well, and we had a full house. Watching all those guys sitting on the pews was neat. And it was a Sunday – our own Sunday service!

 

 

How would you rate the health of the current South Wales music scene? 

 

It’s really good for up-and-coming bands, but the lack of an independent mid-sized venue in Cardiff is hurting the scene. No mid-size venue means no middle-weight bands playing Cardiff on their tours. That means less support opportunities for locals bands, less industry presence and less buzz in general. Touring bands come as far as Bristol, so Bristol gets all the action whilst Cardiff starves. It’s a shame, because at the street level there are dozens of amazing bands here (I appreciate Cardiff isn’t all of South Wales, but it is the capital and in my experience the majority of bands from other parts of Wales eventually end up here, at least for a little while).

 

 

 

 

Favourite venue?

 

I don’t really have one. I’m fond of certain places – Roll For The Soul in Bristol, or Brixton Windmill for example – but from a playing stand-point, there’s nowhere that’s obviously better than anywhere else. From a watching stand-point, I like non-standard venues. Theatres, churches, boats, that kind of thing. I think it keeps a well-worn idea (i.e. playing live gigs) fresh.

 

 

Who would you site as your biggest influences musically?

 

There’d be such a list! Plus, a lot of the time, your favourite bands aren’t necessarily the ones that have influenced you, only you might not realise that. Off the top of my head, I’d say PiL, Wire, Pixies, Talking Heads, Thee Oh Sees, Big Black, Pere Ubu. Rosie has a completely different list, needless to say.

 

 

If you could augment your band with the addition of any musician and instrument – what would you choose and why?

 

Well, a drummer is the obvious. We originally had a human drummer to go with the drum machine, so we’d get that double-drummers thing but with a small difference. After Rosie switched to guitar, we couldn’t find a permanent drummer, and we eventually settled as a two-piece. Outside of that, I’d go for a Martin Swope / Brian Eno sound and tape manipulator type of person, or a Bob Nastanovich percussionist / general mayhem generator. Fun people.

 

 

Favourite band of 2014?

 

Trust Fund. Or Nehruvian Doom, if that counts as a band.

 

 

Vinyl, MP3, CD or other?

 

Vinyl always.

 

 

If you made a 5 song mix tape to impress a lover, what would you put on it? 

 

I’d write her five songs and put those on there*. Either that or just put ‘Love Serenade’ by Barry White five times in a row because it’s hilarious. And sexy.

 

 

Favourite musical decade?

 

I think of decades in terms of ‘x5-‘x5, because I think it’s more accurate, at least stylistically. In which case mine would be ’75-’85.

 

 

Outside of Music, what are your passions?

 

Football, though I hate it sometimes. Writing. Skateboard art. Shoes. Girls. Can I say girls?

 

 

* I totally wouldn’t but the idea’s pretty good, right? (Very romantic – Thom)

 

 

TB

 

 

You can catch everything Totem Terrors Here:

 

www.totemterrors.com

www.facebook.com/totemterrors

www.twitter.com/totemterrors

totemterrors.bandcamp.com

www.soundcloud.com/totemterrors

Gig Review: The Hookworms, Kogumaza and the Scarlet Rascals

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Leeds based psych rock group The HookWorms headlined a 3 band roster at Clwb Ifor Bach in an sonic adventure through effect, peaking lights and wondrous sound.

Off of the back of the wave making album ‘Pearl Mystic’ – The HW’s ( only by their initials in an affront to pseudo celebrity) are looking to build on a stellar reputation with their 11 date ‘Hum’ Tour. The Hum is a ferocious and ominous concept -based on a phenomenon that sweeps the world mysteriously… described thus in the HW’s press release:

“As many as 11% of people can hear the Hum. Reported in the UK and USA since the 1940’s, the phenomena of these invasive low frequency Drones – responsible for insanity and, in extreme cases, even suicide – has many theories ranging from mechanical instruments to the clash of ocean waves, but nethertheless remains that rarest of things: an unexplainable anomaly…”

Having only briefly skimmed through ‘Pearl Mystic’  prior to the show – I was entering a somewhat unknown quantity. But as the raging tension of Away / Towards rippled through I could tell I was in for something special. One of the best album openers I have heard in years.

“we were writing pearl mystic to an audience in the same way your diary has an audience” – said HW’s guitarists SS “It’s written but if noone ever reads it that’s not a big deal. This time round though we knew we had a really clear audience, so the Hum is really bout different freedoms and constraints”

On to the Gig..

Their performance was ably augmented by Kogumaza and Scarlet Rascal, (the latter the best looking band I have ever seen) making it a mouthwatering night of shoegaze, modern psychedelia, Krautrock, fuzz and beautiful noise. As a warning, don’t make eye contact with the hypnotic gaze of Scarlet Rascal’s lead singer Luke Brooks –  you may never be able to break it. (Bit like the weeping angels off of Dr Who).

The HW’s latest single, ‘On Leaving’ demonstrates perfectly what you are in for on this tour. The immense wah- wah’d wall of sound and tremulous building of energy are as what Loud and Quiet Magazine describes as ‘a firework going off underwater’.  The textures of their tracks defy logic – a cross fade of Bridget Riley’s work smashing into Piet Mondrian’s to create something unique, fizzing and very loud.

‘The Impasse’ (MJ describes this as sounding like suicide if they had a full band) and ‘On leaving’ are the two singles available online ..They are both absolutely fantastic. Can’t wait to get my hands on the 180g of the album and destroy some speakers…

There are similarities between Kogumaza and Hookworms and the influence is obvious. Kogazuma’s ambient guitar dronings have clearly influenced their work – and is acknowledged as such by the band.

Kogumaza Lee Rosys

 

Kogumaza

The HW’s cite them as “an utterly mind-blowing band and wonderful people. We wouldn’t be a band if it wasn’t for them and they mean so much to us.” Kogumaza are similarly a noise rock drone band – you think you have felt tension in music then sit through their set as it reaches its peak. The music rises and rise before you until its finale, until you are cut off you finally realise what you have been party to. As exhausting as it is rewarding. They released a split single in 2012 with the HW’s – a familiar story painting instrumental track called Ursids

Their website is available here: http://kogumaza.bandcamp.com/

‘Form and Function’ is a personal favorite of mine from Pearl Mystic. The most lyrical of the record is imbued with call and response lyricism that flex with ease and enjoyment. Just as you think the shriek of guitar had plateaued – the tension in the track rises again, ticking over metronomic drums – breaking out into a wonderful sunshine laden solo.

The gig was a strange but alluring amalgam of neo-psychedelic rock, drone, shoegaze, proto-punk, garage rock, Washington DC hardcore, 80’s British Spacerock and several other genres (breathe) too numerous to mention. I felt like I was party to a bedroom jam that just went on and on and on. It was a wonderful, almost transcendental experience and far removed from normal deadpan bands.

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Hookworms

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the club augmented this experience and I could really feel myself getting sucked in as the kaleidoscopic guitars played havoc with the audience and the mesmeric echo of fuzz-blitz engulfed all who were party to the gig. As the track ‘II’ melts away leaving behind a dazed listener, they break into the  atmospheric sounds the HW’s bring us into ‘What we talk about’.

The Hum is a departure from Pearl Mystic – as guitarist SS describes it, “The Hum Is really about freedom and constraint.” As the driving drums of ‘The Impasse’ opens and MJ’s sonorous lyrics rocket through it is self evident that the Band have developed into their own, forging their own personality.

The band is extremely proficient in their musical talent – and Lyricism as lead singer (somewhat cryptically named) MJ slows things down with ‘What We Talk About’ – a rare glimpse of his talent as a lyricist that isn’t overshadowed by acerbic organ or reverberations of noise & echo of voice.

What was also wonderful was the echoing, reverberating lyrics of MJ are complex and deal with existential themes (when you can hear them) and clearly depression as they are more often so distorted and contorted out of all recognition you simply have to embrace the music and let yourself be carried downstream at a furious pace. Their live performance grips you and refuses to let you go.

 

Unfortunately the singer’s voice Matt has broke down towards the end of their tour and ultimately I can’t say I am that surprised – the man puts so much gusto and energy into his hi-octane vocals that it must be an ongoing job to keep it at its best.

 

The Hum is set for release on the 10th of November 2014.

 

I can certainly say I am glad to have caught them in full swing. Get the Record here: http://www.piccadillyrecords.com/products/Hookworms-TheHumDeluxeTransparentVinylEditionWithBonus7-WeirdWorld-99096.html

TB

 

 

For All Things Hookworms

http://www.hookworms-thehum.com

https:/www.facebook.com/Hookworms

http://parasiticnematode.blogspot.com

http://www.weirdworldrecordco.com