Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Podcast: An Interview With Luke Fitton

My final podcast of the year is a chat with Luke Fitton. Whilst he's not quite yet a household name, Luke has had a hand in music that will have made itself audible to even the most oblivious of people. 

As part of the Xenomania songwriting and production team, Luke has worked with big selling pop acts like Girls Aloud, Little Mix and The Gossip, honing his skills as a songwriter and producer in one of the most successful pop production houses of the last 20 years.

But Luke's work is not all confined to the studio, he's also a working musician. We discuss the life of a gigging guitarist and all that comes with life on the road, comparing his earlier jobs to his current position as guitarist for Kylie Minogue's touring band.  

Download the podcast free from iTunes.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Podcast: An Interview With Emily Phillips

Emily Phillips is a songwriter who has written with artists like John Newman ("Cheating"), Rizzle Kicks (multiple tracks on both albums) and Jazz singer Kate Dimbleby. She got her start in music when Damon Albarn, who was her flat mate at the time, gave her a guitar and told her to write a song. Years later she has toured the world with her band Transcargo, built herself a successful career as a songwriter and started a family with husband/bandmate Ant Whiting.

Emily very kindly invited me down to the studio she and Ant work in to talk about music, creativity, Russian echo units and a rather unpleasant event involving a spider, an audience of 50 people and the man who wrote "Delilah". 

Click here to get the podcast on iTunes.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

D.D Dumbo Live At St Pancras Old Church - November 9th 2014

Churches make for odd gig venues. They're always atmospheric and interesting, not to mention acoustically superior to most buildings but they create a sense of reverence amongst an audience that, when paired with the wrong artist can detract a little from the show. Luckily for me and the other 60 or so people at D.D. Dumbo's show at the haunting, cracked and wonderful St Pancras Old Church in King's Cross, that wasn't the case here.
Having first heard of D.D Dumbo via NPR's brilliant field recording's series, I was intrigued to hear more of his rhythmic, guitar driven music and to see for myself just how his approach to live performance works.

Judging by his sparse between-song-chatter D.D Dumbo (Oliver Perry off stage) is a fairly unassuming guy. Soft spoken, polite and funny. The songs themselves though are complex, clever, and driven by almost irresistible grooves and rhythms. A lone figure on stage, Perry creates these layered and vibrant tunes from scratch using 2 drums, a modified Danelectro 12 string guitar, a loop pedal and a microphone.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Hiding In Plain Sight: The Low Sales Of The Ramones

A few months ago, Tommy Ramone passed away. The last surviving member of the original line-up of the Ramones. I could write here about the history of the band, talk about the hey-day of New York Punk, debate whether it started in America or England and go over hundreds of other points that I have far less knowledge than some other people might. Suffice to say that Tommy Ramone was a vital member of the band and without him, rock music would not be what it is today, but I'll leave the biographies and tributes to people who know more about Tommy than me. For example, Jon Wurster of Superchunk and Bob Mould's band wrote a really nice piece about Tommy and the band.

What struck me about the death of Tommy Ramone (Thomas Erdelyi outside of the band) was that he was the last living Ramone who played on the band's first record, 1976's “Ramones”. More shockingly, he was the only member who was alive to see it sell enough copies to be certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The record passed that milestone just a few weeks before his death. It's the only Ramones album, aside from 'best of' compilations, to have sold enough copies to qualify.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Podcast: My Conversation With Marika Hackman

I've been a fan of Marika Hackman's for a while. Ever since I was introduced to her particular blend of smart, literate folk and electronica, I've been interested in hearing her where she goes next. The thing that always intrigued me most about her was the dark, violent content of her lyrics and imagery which contrasted so well with her almost fragile voice. The tone of her music is complex and brooding but there is always melody and subtlety enough to to keep it from becoming a hard listen. 

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Royal Blood, In Conversation

Photo by Ben Thatcher (@BenjiTalent)
Around this time last year, I heard Royal blood for the first time. “Out Of The Black” sounded at once violent, forceful and almost brutal yet it was very melodic and at times catchy. “Figure It Out” had the same force behind it but was more complex and had an undeniable swing to it. They had that incredible sound too. Big, thunderous drums and a guitar sound that seemed so meaty and sonically diverse that it was hard to distinguish between bass and guitar parts. But the overpowering thing about it was the tightness of the playing. These were guys who had played together for a long time and knew their material back to front, obviously. Imagine my surprise then as I found out that there was only two of them, there was no guitar and they had only been together for a matter of months before recording the songs. I was impressed before, now I was amazed. 

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Speaks Louder Than Words - Tim From Transgressive

Speaks Louder Than Words is the podcast I produce and edit. Strangely, I've never really felt the need to mention it on Some Call It Noise before as, in my head at least, the two have always been very separate. The podcast is part of my work life. It's produced for Warner/Chappell Music and deals solely with Warner/Chappell artists and writers. The blog on the other hand is a personal thing, about music that is important to me regardless of where it comes from. The reason that I'm sharing the podcast on Some Call It Noise now is because this latest episode (which includes one of my rare appearances in front of the microphone) is one of the closest the subject matter has come to crossing over.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

On Wye Oak's New Direction

Last week saw a flurry of activity and announcements from Wye Oak. The band, originally from Baltimore but now spread across the USA, have announced the release of their fourth studio album, Shriek, on April 29th and the first track to be released from it, “The Tower”, has been played on various radio stations and podcasts and a video has been doing the rounds online.

Last year, when discussing the new album, Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack revealed that it would feature no guitars. This news came despite an August 2012 concert broadcast by NPR where the band debuted 2 new songs, both very heavy on guitar and both astonishingly good. However in the year and a half since then, the band has progressed and those songs seem to have fallen by the wayside.