After Gig Chat With The Surfin’ Birds

In a small, packed bar in the middle of the Falmouth high street, an unfamiliar sound could be heard luring people in. The sound of fifties rock ‘n’ roll colliding with punk and blues made something more fun and energetic. That sound, I found out, was the sound of modern surf music and boy is it entertaining. After an hour of dancing an inch or so from the stage on a small, crowded and overly happy dance floor I interviewed brothers Paul (Singer) and Liam (drummer) with bassist Dave about playing live as their band The Surfin’ Birds.


Q: What do you think of playing in Falmouth and playing here in toast?


Paul: I absolutely love it. There’s a friend of ours who invited us down in the first place, Simon Davis (who I’ve known a long time), so he just invited us down to do one show two years ago, and we come back; this is our fourth time we all gathered a crowd on the way so it’s all good. Every time we come to play its always alright and a good reception and people dig it; they like their surf music.


Q: What would you say to people who haven’t seen you play, what you say to expect?


Paul: A big, fat, sinister surf sound, it’s not necessarily a surf sound in the traditional concept of it but you’ve got the Fender guitars and the Wang bars and all that from the sixties which I love personally but were trying to revamp it. My brother, he’s into punk, ska and new wave and things like that and then you’ve got Dave on the bass who’s into Motown, James Jamerson and stuff and I love blues and I love blues and surf rock and stuff like that.


Q: People were dancing and were packed so close to the band; almost dancing with you. Is that something you look for in a gig?


Paul: I love that yeah, when the crowds ten centimetres away and you see them sweat just as much as you that’s a great feeling, of course it is. No matter if you’re playing in front of a thousand people or a hundred people I always prefer the closer crowds.


Liam: I like any gigs but I do prefer when it’s more intimate; you do get more of a reaction out of the crowd.


Q: What’s you favourite gig to date?


Dave: Today, it’s about as far back as I can remember and I’m the driver.


Paul: That’s a hard one because different situations, different gigs. One on the nicest ones was when we supported Wanda Jackson because we love Wada Jackson a rockabilly star from the 50s I do know though because I prefer little clubs. Simon has seen us so many times, he’s the one who got us the gig here.


Simon: My favourite gig of yours, probably the first time you played here, it wasn’t even the gig it was just playing at my house after.


Paul: We went to a student house after and we did a gig for about two and a half hours after and we got a bit pissed.


Q: When you  walk away from a gig what makes you think if it was a good gig or not?1653652_585787131506995_1207349579_n


Paul: The crowd, we get more into it if it is a crowd that is enjoying it. We’ve been to these gigs were people just stand there at the back and clap and say “oh my God you sound so close to the Sonics or the ventures” fuck that man, we just love the music and we play in our own way.


Q: What do you take influence from as a live band?


Paul: It’s like psychedelic Punk music, that what I call it. Were into bands like Cream and Hendrix and all those bands from the sixties, the Stooges, we love how they bowed everything together in the mid-sixties garage scene. Garage bands like the Sonics and we are the people. All those kind of bands that put it into a three minuet track. That’s great for an album but live you have to give it something else, you have to play off the sweat of your pants.


Dave: All about the crowd if, their into it you can really feed off of it and get in the zone a bit more, when it’s more tame, your tamer in your performance . As influence where trying to bring back the power trio, Cream and all that.


Q: What are you doing for the rest of the year?


Paul: Were just in the middle of doing an album and were recording that with ambassador records and that will be out around spring time so you can check it out on the internet and check us out on Facebook. We have some gigs coming up and we play all over, last year we played in Sweden and that’s the first time we played away; we had to bring our game to Sweden. That was quite nerve racking for us three country boys.


Q: Which do you prefer live or studio work?


Paul: Live! I love the studio because you can create, you can think about things and go through things and be bit more creative in that sense but I think live were its more off the cuff is more exciting because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.


Q: Does it surprise you that many people from bands prefer studio work?


Paul: Not at all, that could be their creative source. My creative source personally being into Blues and Jazz, I like to play and improvise.


Liam: With music you have to affect people. I prefer live because when you’re in the studio you’re not performing to anyone; were here to entertain.


Dave: Especially in our days how the markets going, an album is used as a tool to get people to go to your gigs, it’s gone on a roundabout circuit.


Q: Why should people come and see you live?


Paul: I’d say psychedelic surf music. It’s stuff to dance to but be prepared for the unexpected.


Liam: it’s not popular music but when you hear it your love it


dan le sac Interview

dan le sac is a producer and DJ who has the ability to create free flowing beats and intense soundscapes that provide a vivid backbone to all of the projects he has done with Scroobius pip. Last year he brought out Space between the words which showed off the spectrum of capability the music creator has and heightened his status as top DJ. In Repent Replenish Repeat the dark atmosphere is beautifully captured in layers of his soft and upbeat sounds. 

There is a darkness to Repent Replenish Repeat that separates it from the previous two dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip albums, did you intend to make a more intense album or did it just happen?

DlS: To be honest I find it difficult to say. Looking back Angles feels like I was aiming for something just out of reach, yet with Logic of Chance I had developed my production abilities so I could reach those places but got caught up in the process over the emotion. With RRR I feel like I found the fire ofAngles and been able to apply it. Strangely the biggest influence on this was my solo record, Space Between the Words, it was a chance for me to stretch myself without any real pressure.

How do you go about making the music for dan le sac vs Scroobius pip? Do you produce the track and then Scroobius Pip puts lyrics over it, or is it the other way around?

DlS: It can go either way, the first few tracks usually come along music first but as an album develops that can flip. We started this album with a huge amount of music, I had worked up a lot of the initial ideas during writing Space Between the Words, so as Pip started whittling the ideas down a pattern started to appear that we could both follow and bounce around.

Do you think it’s important to try and experiment with new sounds in the tracks you produce?

DlS: Always, I’m not someone who’s happy sticking in one place musically for very long. Everything I do it a result of me fiddling around with new ideas.

Have you got a favourite track on the album and if so, why?

DlS: It changes day to day! Stunner is always going to be a favourite, I’m proud of how close it is to the idea I had in my head.

The music you make is quite unique, who influences your sound?

DlS: Everything! Joy Division, Godspeed you! Black Emperor, Raymond Scott, Delia Derbyshire, Kraftwerk, Caberet Voltaire, El-P, Nick Cave, Nathan Fake, Clark, Jon Hopkins, Martyn, anything on Factory Records, everything on Warp, the entirety of Northern Soul, basically anything I can get my ears around.

You did a track called Gold Teeth with Flux Pavilion, how did that collaboration come about?

DlS: It’s kinda all on Scroob that one, he knows Flux throw Doctor P I think and we all just got it together. The beat itself was something I put together in 45mins on an afternoon then Josh and I bounced back and forth over for a month or so. It was fun, I definitely learnt a lot from it too.

If you could pick anyone else to work on a track with you, who would you choose?

DlS: Now that is certainly too hard to answer,  so many people I could learn from out there it difficult to think where to start. Weirdly at the moment though, the person I most want to work with is me! It’s been a long time since I worked entirely without collaboration and although it’s daunting, I think that’s the next route I’d like to pursue.

Between releasing The Logic of Chance and Repent Replenish Repeat you released Space Between the Words. Are there any song ideas that came out of doing solo work that you thought would be really good for working on with Pip?

DlS: I’d say 70% of RRR comes out of Space Between the Words, whether I knew it or not at the time!

In the music video for the track Stunner we get to see you using some of your hardware, what’s your favourite setup for producing music and playing live?

DlS: On the producing front it all about getting notes on the page, so my bass guitar and piano always need to be close at hand, as for live I always feel like it’s key to avoid relying on the Laptop, the MPC and KaossPads might not be as rock&roll as a Tele & a Marshall stack but it’s my way of making sure the crowd get a performance!

How did you first get into producing music?

DlS: My cousin, Billy Poskitt Jnr, got me into music full stop when I was a kid, my brothers were no use with their Phil Collins and Jodeci obsessions. Bill’s focus was always the emotion of a track first before the production, which is something I still try to do today. At about 14 I got an Atari ST & a cracked version of Cubase and taught myself all I could.

Although you’re busy touring Repent Replenish Repeat, have you got anything else planned for when you have some free time?

DlS: Just writing as much as possible, as I said above I’d like to write a true solo record with no outside help, but also there’s a couple of other projects (under different names) I’m working on, which have more of a defined direction, but it might be a bit too soon to talk about that!

Scroobius Pip interview

Scroobius Pip has become a much loved pop culture icon in the United Kingdom, standing against bad music and doing his best to support independent musicians through live shows, radio shows and his own music label. Rising in status while avoiding corporate publicity he and dan le sac released their fastest selling record Repent Replenish Repeat in October 2013.

There is a darkness to this album that separates it from the previous two, did you intend to make a more intense album or did it just happen?

SP: A lot of people have said this! And I tend to then point out that the first album included tracks about self harm, suicide and revenge murder. And the second covered subjects including domestic violence and the crumbling of society! So, no, there wasn’t a clear intent here! Haha. As far as I knew I was just continuing down the path I had been treading for some time.

You are renowned for writing lyrics about touchy subjects and Repent Replenish Repeat is no exception. Are there any lyrics you write that you think are a little too controversial or delicate to release?

SP: Not really. I mean, there were a few on this album that I was worried would be misinterpreted simply because people may assume they know who or what they are referring to…but that’s something you just have to accept as a writer. If you are releasing…and indeed SELLING your work to people then they have bought the right to interpret it as they see fit. So I try to just let that go. I don’t always succeed in doing so…but I try my best!

02You use new media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube a lot in promoting your work. Do you think that you wouldn’t have been as successful in staying independent from major record labels and mainstream journalism without these kinds of media outlets?   

SP: 100%. These networks and sites have been absolutely key in giving US the power to release the way we wish to, and then giving our fanbase the power to make it successful or not. I think you have nailed the three that have made the biggest difference for us of recent years (obviously we came up in the Myspace wave). Although I think the one I enjoy most is Instagram. But that may just be because I get in less trouble there.

You’ve been very busy with We Are Lizards, Edinburgh festival, the XFM show and Speech Development Records. Where did you find the time to write the new album?

SP: I became single! Simple as that. Haha. I had a realisation a year or two ago that artists DO work hard, but many do so sporadically. I realised that, when I worked at HMV, I would be up at the crack of dawn and working long hours every day. So I started to do that when not touring. I started to set my alarm. Get up early. Be at my desk to start work nice and early…and then work until its “home” time. There are a shocking amount of hours in the day when you don’t fill them with films, TV and computer games. But NOW I must confess that I fail at this a LOT as I love films, TV and computer games.

You’ve set a high standard with your lyrics both in terms of the concepts you tackle and the quality in general. Do you feel more of a pressure when writing lyrics now that your fans have come to expect so much?

SP: I’m not sure if I feel pressure but EVERY time I start a new record I am pretty sure I’m out of ideas. I always have that feeling that I’ve fluked it up until now. But somehow something tends to come up just at the right time. And when I feel that is no longer happening, I will stop. Content with all that has come so far.

Have you got a favorite track on Repent Replenish Repeat and if so, why?

SP: I’m not sure really! I really enjoyed writing to the music dan created for Terminal and You Will See Me. I loved all of his work on this album but they were a particularly fun experience as they were largely beatless. Just beautifully crafted soundscapes that I had to figure out how to weave words into.

How do you pick and choose the topics you write about?

SP: There is no real cut and dry system. I will note stuff a lot. Whether that be lyrics, words, subjects or concepts. And then I tend to just go through it all and it works as a coded diary as to what has moved me in recent months.

Why did you choose to end Repent Replenish Repeat with the anger of You Will See Me?

SP: What could follow it?! That was genuinely the reason. And I don’t mean that in a “it’s so awesome” way. Just literally, it builds up such raw tension and power that it felt any song that came after it we would have to concede that no one would pay attention to the first 30 seconds or so as they would still be recovering.

If you could pick anyone to work on a track with you that haven’t already, who would you choose?

SP: I’m not sure really! A lot of the people I idolise (Prince, Kate Bush) are people that I don’t really feel I would bring much to the table with at this stage. I’m not on their level! And then there is the fact that I regularly get to work with dan le sac and have had the chance to work with Danny Lohner, Travis Barker, Steve Mason, Flux Pavilion, Doctor P and many more! So I’m pretty happy with that right now.

What five up and coming artists would you say people should be checking out at the moment?

SP: Young Fathers


B Dolan

Vic Mensa

Cory Jreamz

For the readers, what advice would you give to spoken word artists and poets just starting off?

SP: Work work work. Write until you are too excited to keep it to yourself, then hit every open mic you can find and perform it for anyone and everyone that will listen.

Death Grips – Government Plates

Government Plates

Death Grips are a controversial, three piece elctro-hip hop group from Sacramento, California. They exploded onto the scene in 2010 with the fresh sounds of Exmilitary. In April 2012 they released The Money Store on Epic Records who they had signed with earlier that year. In October the same year the band released No Love Deep Web for free against Epic Records wishes and were consequently dropped by the label. To add free expression to free music the album cover for No Love Deep Web was a picture of an erect penis with the album name written along it.

Death Grips revealed that their next project was going to be released in 2014 on the label Third Worlds. However on the 13th of November 2013, 13 months 13 days and 13 hours after the release of their previous album, with no prior warning, the band released Government Plates.

Live Death Grips Government plates is the least hip-hop of all their albums so far, as the focus is not on the roaring vocalist Stefan (MC Ride) Burnett but the experimental sounds and noises created by drummer Zach Hill, and producer Andy Morin. Although the rough, intense and often distorted music they make are a big player in the previous albums, the central point has always been the bellowing raps of front man MC Ride.

Government Plates is a short, chaotic joy ride. It’s an amphetamine propelled sprint through a bramble bush. It’s a psychotic, psychedelic trip, not recommended for the light hearted.

The chaotic aggression of the LP sprints at you from the start and maintains speed throughout. The  sprint begins on track one, entitled You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it’s your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat. This distorted dubstep fused rally cry sets the intensity to an unrealistic high and immediately states that this project is going to be different from previous Death Grips ventures.

The ferocity of noise continues, heavily supported by a chorus of profanities right into the middle of LP and the track Birds. Birds is probably the most mellow of all Death Grips songs so far. Despite starting and rising into hallucinogenic sirens the slow hip-hop, accompanied by MC Ride’s uncharacteristic lullaby-esk lyrics, shows a Death Grips side previously unexposed. If you listen to this track a few times round it becomes disorientating, one of many feelings this album is able to purge from its audience.

In fact the journey this LP takes you on is an uneasy, uncomfortable ride and early on it gets stressful to listen to, I challenge anyone to sit still and listen to this album in full. However I find it hard to criticize such an experimental, boundary-pushing group because it’s very likely that this is exactly the feel they wanted to create.

Death Grips

In the second half, the album takes several uneasy, seemingly unguided turns before arriving at the final 7 minuet long outburst Whatever I want (Fuck who’s watching). This last track sums up the rollercoaster ride of a project that has come before it, it’s a fast synth ridden chaos that is like experiencing an overdose of all kinds of uppers and downers. Ending in a headache and with you wondering what the fuck that was.

There are many uncharacteristic things that are easily recognisable to fans of the Californian group, most notably the lack of lyrical content by MC Ride. The rapper arrives in short bursts and never gets into his trademark roaring flow but for people who have found themselves reeling away from the rappers style and attitude, this album is much more tolerable and a little more simple to listen to. Another thing uncommon to previous Death Grip releases is the accompanying videos, in which there is one for every track. It has been a rarity for any visuals to accompany the band’s music and really they should not have bothered this time round either.

Death Grips have made an image for themselves which lets them do whatever they want, however reckless, and be void of criticism. In the three and a bit years since their formation the band have pissed off, labels, fans and promoters, they release albums when they want, how they want and this album shows they can change direction and sound when they want, how they want. Say whatever you want about this band because it will never get in the way of whatever they wish to do next.