Interview: Conformist

54-46 Caught up with Conformist  last week, who has produced in our opinion, one of the most exciting and innovative albums to come out of Wales this year, ‘Paid To Fake It’.

Innovative, mesmerising and most of all challenging – this record is a fantastic piece of ingenuity that is deservedly the recipient of lots of praise. All of us here are really looking forward to his next release which is on the horizon for the beginning of 2015.

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First of all, wow. Where do we begin? Did you have fun making this album?

Not sure if “fun” would be the word….!  It was like one long therapy
session.  There was occasional moments of relief when I would stumble into a
decent idea….in between the computer crashes, software failures and data lose
setbacks.  This was a record I made at home over the course of about 3 years
but some of the tracks were written 8 years or so back.  Towards the end I
just wanted to finish it and move on really.  When you’re not restricted by
studio time budgets you can be your own worst enemy.

For people who may just be getting to grips with your tunes – how would you
best describe your music?
Atari Teenage Riot covering The Sex Pistols, recorded by Aphex Twin then
chewed up and spat into a garbage can.

 

Who inspires you musically?
Everything but other people’s music. (Ed – top answer)

                                                           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joq2VaBu694


Can you describe your journey in music from the beginning to where you are now.


Shy boy lacking social skills given a PC and cracked software, lives in tiny
remote Welsh village, moves to the City to sit in dark room for years at a
time to make weirdo music to general bemusement of others.


How would you rate the health of the current Music Scene in Wales? Bands I
have previously chatted to bemoaned the lack of lack of an independent
mid-sized venue – resulting in less support slots for Local bands for
instance..  Is there anything you would do to improve the scene?


It’s healthy and vibrant.  Lots of people working hard for very little/no
financial gain just because they love music.  Gotta be admired.  Swn
festival is awesome, HUB festival too.  Personally I’ve always found it
really difficult to get gigs locally for Conformist so I can relate to that
struggle; would be great to have a larger venue in Cardiff to create some
more high profile support slots for our local bands.

Favorite Venue?
Locally Clwb Ifor Bach.  Good PA and sound engineers.

It is tempting to draw the comparison between your work and The Avalanches
‘Since I Left You’, what do you make of this?


Yeah that’s cool, I’ll take that!  Haven’t listened to that track in a long
time.

Favorite band/musicians?
I find reasons to dislike just about everyone but off the top of my
head….Flying Lotus, Clark, David Bowie.  That’s 3.  I can’t decide on 1.

Vinyl or CD?
I buy CD’s.  I totally get why people go vinyl but for what I do, if I hear
a sample that I want to use, I’d prefer to rip it from the CD.  Don’t like
the pop and crackle of vinyl when sampling.  Too Hip Hop cliché.

The best gig you’ve ever done?


Probably the Pop Factory last year.  During my first song people started to
put their coats on, not a good start, by the end of the second song the
venue was empty aside form my friends and the supports.  So that was a good
one. The Parrot in Carmarthen was a fun one; broke a knuckle and trashed my
£300 Kaoss Pad with a single kung-fu-esque arm chop.  Good times.

‘Post Death Sales Spikes’ – Bladerunner? Are you a fan of Vangelis?
Musically this is probably my least favorite track on the album and was the last thing I finished.  About 5 years ago my
best friend committed suicide; this is a loose tribute to him.  He would’ve got the humor in the track.  Not a massive Blade Runner fan, the score is cool, I prefer Ennio Morricone over Vangelis.

When we spoke earlier you said you had something up your sleeve for 2015..
Please, elaborate!


A new Conformist record before the summer, promote the fuck out of it,
hopefully play a few festivals and possible/probably tour.  Lots of
remixing.  Get a suntan.

Thanks for your time mate – all the best with future recordings (please give us a shout when its about!) 

Listen to ‘Paid To Fake It’ here:

http://www.conformistmusic.co.uk/#

Conformist’s Twitter page – https://twitter.com/conformistmusic/media

TB

Interview: Homes

54-46 bumped into Homes earlier this week to talk gigs out of a helicopter over Rome, Protestant Hymnals and his contemporary musical influences.. Catch his latest single Dualities Cave here.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCVG-0JrdV0

 

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For non-believers and future converts, how would you best describe the Homes experience?

Harmonies, 1970’s track arrangements, soul chord progressions and a good old story!

Tell us a bit about your musical journey so far?

As far as I’m aware it started with my dads influence on me from a young age forcing copious amounts of Motown, Soul and 60/70s Garage Rock bands down my ears! He’s a drummer that’s been playing in bands since the 60s. He made sure that I had a very good understanding of rhythm before id ever even think of playing an instrument. My mother was a trained secondary school and a concert level pianist which probably explains my love for the classical and 19th century romantic composers. Unfortunately my school was pretty backward and I was told i was ‘ an unsuitable student to play music’ which has probably given me an urge to prove them wrong after all these years!

The first band I started was pretty awful Deep Purple wannabe band when i was 14 called the Outback. We were bad, but it gave me my first taste of playing to an audience and under pressure. It was where i started to write songs, arrange and learnt to record which I’ve developed over the last few years to where i am now. Since then I’ve played in dozens of bands and a number of different guises from solo to 6 piece world dance outfits. HOMES is the full band outlet for my songwriting and Dylan Morgan is what i go under for solo purposes. =

You describe your music as an amalgam of trip hop, neo-psychadelia, romantic composers of the 19th century and country. That’s quite an eclectic mix! Who would you describe as your biggest contemporary musical influences?

Good question and one I usually find hard to answer. I come from deepest darkest wales which is musically steeped in protestant hymnals, country and psychedelia which i believe manifests itself somewhat in the music I write for HOMES. But some contemporary artists and bands I really rate at the moment have to be Wave Pictures, Metronomy, Chilly Gonzales and Roberta Fonseca. They all have a big influence on my songwriting at the moment for all sorts of different reasons. Including arrangement, storytelling, use of harmony and all out energy!

What is the way forward for Homes? Any releases on the horizon?

Well at the moment we are recording an EP that is as yet untitled, but are really excited about. We’re hoping to have it out in the new year, but can’t guarantee a specific date as its a work in progress. What I can say is that we’re taken a step back playing live for the time being to get this done, but are gonna be playing plenty of shows and festivals next year!
As a Cardiff Band, how would you rate the health of the current South Wales music scene? 

The music industry as a whole, is in a bit of low point at the moment. Live music venues closing down, record companies folding and numbers are down for attending shows! I’ve been living in Cardiff for about a year and half now and am so happy to see the music scene not only alive and well but thriving as well. There’s an amazing community feel to the music scene here, which I never experienced when I was living in London. Of course like any industry there are cliques, but to be honest I’ve never really felt that here. If you’ve got something good to show for what you do musically and work hard, peoples ears will pick up and word will begin to travel. I love it and feel there’s something going on in Cardiff that the rest of the country need to wake up and pay attention to!

Any plans to tour?

Absolutely, once we have the EP out then we can book some shows to promote it.

Best gig you have ever played?

Easy, i once played a gig in a helicopter above Rome in Italy. It was pretty bonkers!

(Ed- Surely this needs some elaboration?!!?!?)
Best gig you have ever been to?

To be honest one of the best bands I’ve ever seen has to a band from Bristol called Goan Dogs. They’re a 6 piece that mix tropical soca and cypso beats with desert rock. Their harmonies are extraordinary as is their songwriting.

Favourite venue in Wales?

My favourite venue in wales is either the Moon in Cardiff, because it has a lot of character and sounds amazing. Or the Penarth Pavillion because its pretty grand.
If you had to burn a 5 track tape to impress a lover… what tracks would you pick?

Oh I’d just play her Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. But if she wasn’t into too much smultzy lovey dovey then probably The Meters – Rejuvenation

Vinyl, Mp3 or Other?

Vinyl hands down.
Your favourite musical decade?

The one were living in. There’s more incredible music being made now than ever before and am very fortunate to grow up in this digital age where we can access any type of music on the planet in an instant.

 

 

 

Wish you all the best in your upcoming EP…

 

TB

Interview: Hijinkx

 

21 year old DJ James Stanley, Aka Hijinkx hits Clwb Ifor Bach on the 7th of November, bringing his own unique brand of house music to the capital… 54-46 caught up with him as he made his way down from Leeds.

 

 

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Describe your act to people who may not be aware of what you do.

 

I produce and perform electronic music ranging between 120 and 140bpm, generally conforming to house music ideals, emphasising groove and emotion.

 

 

 

How did you get into Dj’ing?

 

When you make music, there comes a point where you want to start performing it and along with playing music from other artists that you love, DJing is the ideal performance tool. Around the age of 16, I picked up a cheap controller and taught myself how to use it. As an introduction, it was a perfect learning platform and translated very well when I started using a professional club set up. I started taking things more seriously when I got to University; I sent promo mixes to reputable club nights around Leeds and finally started to acquire gig opportunities as I became acquainted with various promoters around the city. Till I was about 21, I used a laptop whilst DJing, but now I use USBs and enjoy it much more as it encourages me to feel and listen to what I’m playing as opposed to seeing it. I’d love at some point to perform my music entirely live, but at the moment, I love DJing and want to carry on doing this for the foreseeable future.

 

 

 

Tell us about your musical journey thus far. 

 

I come from a family of music lovers, so before I ever touched an instrument, I was surrounded by sounds. With my mum being a fan of folk and rock, it was tape cassettes of Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin that I’d here in the back of the old VW beetle strapped up in my car seat! Around the age of 9, I was randomly selected from a big primary school class (just because I think I stuck my hand up) to learn to play Viola, and this pretty much shaped my teenage years and opened many doors playing for Orchestras and string ensembles / quartets. Like most greasy haired teenagers, I also picked up guitar and played with various bands and groups. It was around A levels where I became so interested in composition, I went on to college to study music tech for a year and then took these taught skills to University where I specialised in electro-acoustic composition. With Leeds having such a localised, quality electronic music scene, I was able to form friendships with like-minded individuals and build my profile as an artist. Today, I’m still pursuing everything Hijinkx and would love to take it full time – I’m also composing music freelance.

 

 

Who would you site as your biggest musical influences to date? 

There are so many. But if I had to pin point one composer that completely encapsulates emotion in music and reminds me why music is the most expressive art form, it would be Frédéric Chopin.

 

 

 

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Vinyl or MP3?

 

This old chestnut again! I perform digitally, but prefer listening to vinyl. Performing using digital makes my life a hell of a lot easier when it comes to organisation. I can form genre, key and bpm playlists, tag and cue my tunes, prepare my sets efficiently and have access to music that is simply not available on vinyl. Unfortunately, a great amount of music nowadays, doesn’t get pressed to vinyl, so you either have to spend a fortune cutting records yourself, or going down the digital route. I like to take a few records along to gigs now and again though, nice to change things up. I’ve never really been an advocate of the whole digital vs. vinyl sound argument though, I think it’s all subjective and I don’t like it when people try to push their views and claim they that they are right. I do however think that vinyl culture is a lot more exiting and personal than digital. The experience of hunting and buying vinyl with the artwork that comes packaged with it is amazing, having a tune pressed to white label and actually being able to feel something that you’ve made is also really special.

 

 

 

 

Can you name your top 5 albums of all genres?

 

Tough.. no particular order!

 

Blue – Joni Mitchell

You Make Me Real – Brandt Brauer Frick

Spaces – Nils Frahm

Burial – Burial

Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin

(Lullabies to Paralyse – Queens of the Stone Age)

 

 

 

 

How has your music developed since you started out as a 18 year old?

 

Life is all about learning. I’ve learnt new technical skills sure, but also a lot about myself. Emotion is my main influence and drives my lust to create.

 

 

 

 

Talk us through the effect of social media and how an online presence has affected your ability to reach new audiences across the globe

 

Most would agree that it’s important as an artist today to sustain some sort of online social media presence. The ability to network music and keep those interested up-to-date with current projects is great for personal promotional. It’s not the be all and end all though, there still needs to be substance in the actual product advertised. Unfortunately, because there is no body to regulate the internet, there is a quantity over quality crisis today and too much rubbish floating around. The best way to conduct social media activity is to be humble and informative.

 

 

 

Best Gig you’ve played?

 

I’ve got many favourites, but I always refer back to one I did at some venue called Hollback Underground Ballroom. It was one of my first in Leeds, it was in a rough trading estate, it had four brick walls and a huge soundsystem. It lost its licence not long after the event.

 

 

 

If Simon Cowell offered you a million squid, would you pack it in and become the sixth member of One Direction?

 

No haha.

 

 

 

Outside of music, what makes you tick?

 

I love food, football and a bit of cricket in the summer! Friends, family, animals, clichés…….

 

 

 

 

 

Wish you all the best of luck mate with your upcoming dates. 

 

TB

 

 

 

 

Hijinkx’s bio: A 21 year old musician studying at University of Leeds. His eclectic taste and passion for electronic music is evident by his song selection when performing live and his pallet of production styles. Having now gathered a following and with one release under his belt, Hijinkx is going from strength to strength with forthcoming releases imminent on reputable record labels.

 

 

Hijinkx’s Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/hijinkx_uk

Hijinkx’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hijinkxdJc3hDVo