We make entertainment – Interview with indie pop-rock band Palahniuk

Palahniuk is an indie pop rock band from Aylesbury, UK. Their sound, described as “irresistible brand of new wave rock” is coupled with their natural ability to entertain – musically as well as dramatically – ensuring that each gig is different, memorable and always high-energy. To see Palahniuk live is to experience something completely different to listening to their recordings. I spoke with Andy from the band, about their new single “Runaway”, difference between Aylesbury and London, and also about The Beatles.

Piotr Balkus: How you would describe your new single “Runaway”?

Andy: Amazing, but then we are our harshest critics. I think the best way to judge music is to listen to it yourself rather than listen to someone else describe it. Basically it has awesome lyrics, guitars, bass and drums.

You state that “To see Palahniuk live is to experience something completely different to listening to their recordings”. What is the main difference between that?

We try and make our live show something that you would remember; we make it a piece of entertainment instead of just a band playing. The show is always evolving, the sound is pure and raw and we want there to be this complete identity that you get with listening and watching music. In other words it’s loud, you can feel the music and you get to rock out with us and all the fans.

You come from Aylesbury. Is it place music friendly?

Aylesbury has a musical history with the famous Friars Club in the 1970′s and the band Marillion hailing from the town. However in recent years it has become less synonymous with music and art, although it still seems to have a desire for live acts. We hope to change that and bring Aylesbury back on the musical map; all it would take is an accessible venue to gain a reputation.

Do you prefer London or Aylesbury?

Both have advantages and disadvantages. Aylesbury is fun to play because of local support but lacks a brilliant venue to actually play. London is fun because it’s London and has some great venues, but with so many bands playing it can sometime be a hard sell to get people to come and see you.

You recorded cover The Beatles “It Wont Be Long”. Was it more a joke or serious thing?

It was serious in that we love The Beatles! The BBC were looking for bands to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ‘Please, Please Me’ so we recorded ‘It Won’t be Long’ as part of this.

Do you play The Beatles or other bands covers on your gigs?

We have been known to do a cover once-in-a-while and have covered other Beatles songs, but it’s not something we do regularly. We have such a strong set of original songs that we feel we don’t need to have a cover in the set.

What’s the craziest thing band ever done?

We once… did something crazy? I think we once did something so crazy that we forgot about it, because of the crazy.

Why people should check Palahniuk’s songs? What they can find there interesting?

We think we have crafted a sound that is unique to us. You hear one of our songs, you can hear it’s a Palahniuk song. There have been many occasions where we’ve finished playing and people come up to us and say ‘I’ve never heard any song like that’. We also find it difficult to place our music in a genre, Pop, Rock, Indie etc.

More about Palahniuk at:
http://www.palahniuk.co.uk
http://www.twitter.com/palahniukmusic

http://www.facebook.com/palahniukmusic
http://www.myspace.com/palahniukmusic

Music philosopher Basil Simon releases new album

The album “Dancing For The Money Man” is due for release on August 10th.

The title track of the Album “Dancing for the money man” will be the debut single release. It’s a song that has perfect timing for the times we live in in the western world. It has recieved wide support from listeners who believe the song reflects their current struggle through Austerity. The song has a chorus that goes “I run away I run away I run away” – it relates to those people who crumble under the pressure and find themselves turning to addiction in order to escape the realities of financial burden. He says about his first song from the album: “Everybody is running away from something in their minds! Many have childhood traumas that effect them for the rest of their lives. Many hide away in drug addiction such as alcohol, uppers, downers, nicoteen! Others eat far too much for comfort like me! Others don’t eat enough. A lot of people simply check out of hotel earth prematurely. There are so many people who choose not to face their demons. Others are finding new demons in particular economic hardship and pressure due to failing global economies. More and more traumatized minds are created each day. If you are running away from something in your life then I hope you find the strength to talk about it with others who understand. You are not alone. You can gain immediate help from our support forum at http://www.runaway.me I hope you enjoy this song.”

Basil Simon releases this album as a contribution to a new music genre he is pioneering, called ”sophic music“. Sophic means “containing wisdom”. Basil believes that all good music needs its own section in life. Any song that is intelligently delivering lyrics of positivity, inspiration and solutions to common human issues is Sophic.

Basil is a musical visionary who believes in doing good through his music. Basil previously had an album out in 1997 called “Mindfield” which sold approximetely 50 000 copies through Snapper. Prior to this he toured London doing live work including an appearence featured by Sky TV along with Take That.

He is noted for his brilliant national anthem for Sealand, a brief appearance on 2011 “X Factor” where he made the last 16 of The Overs category from over 100 000 entrants. He won admiration from Kelly Rowland, sang with Gary Barlow and became friends with Olly Murs. A serious weight problem saw his heart give out at Bootcamp and he subsequently left the competition. He plans a return in 2014. A succesful campaign to lose weight has already seen him lose 6 stones.

He is also interested in recording and supporting other musical philosophers and visionaries. Go to http://www.basilsimon.com to find out more about Basil Simon and his art. Follow him on Twitter, @BasilSimonUK.

Not always about beautiful girls with big breasts and big asses – Interview with Daddy’s Groove

This week I bring you a fantastic special feature with the hugely talented trio from Naples, Daddy’s Groove. Gianni Romano, Carlo Grieco, and Peppe Folliero became quite familiar with Italian club scene first and were then approached by major indie labels a few months later in order to join them as new Producers. The first amazing track, under the nickname of Spit was called “Falling”, which is still played by many of the top DJs worldwide. Numerous productions have now been released under the guise of Daddy’s Groove since 2008, mostly spinned from Top monsters DJs as well as picked up by Wicked club labels alike Axtone, Joia, Defected, Malligator… to name just a few. This is a brilliant interview, giving you a special insight into the amazing world of Daddy’s Groove. Enjoy!

Not everyone knows that you are close music friend of David Guetta and you are responsible for all instruments on his albums. How it happened that Italian deejays started to play with French dance music hero David Guetta?

We met David in Miami, he was a fan of us because of the jobs we did with Axwell and SHM, so we started to work on Little Bad Girl…he was really happy of the sound and from there we started to work together on his last Album “Nothing But The Beats”

David Guetta brought undeground dance music to mainstream. Do you – as his partners in beats – feel the part of this process?

Of course, it’s a great score for us being part of his productive process, we learnt so much from him and we always try to give the best on his sound.

What about dance music scene in Italy – country you come from. Is as big as French one?

Not at all. After the 90’s massive success and a long period of deep crisis, Italian dance music is growing up again, but at the moment the French “touch” is one of the best in the world. With Daft Punk, David Guetta, etc.

I have to ask you about very important song Crazy (Wild World). How it happened that Skin featured on this track?

We already were in touch usually playing together when she did her dj set all over Italy. Once Skin listened to our track, Wild World, in a train station on her Ipad, she felt in love with the music and she decided to sing it!

The funny thing about it is that not many young listeners knows who is Skin and they don’t know Skunk Anansie. It’s like you reinvented her for young dance generation. Is reinventing part of deejay’s job?

Yeah, it’s always been like that since the house music was born with the massive use of the sampling and the inspiration from the 70’s and the 80’s beats. DJ producer always gets inspiration from the past to arrive in the future.

Tell me please about video to Crazy (Wild World). It shows how crazy our world is and how many bad things happen. You think your music can help to avoid evil in the world?

Maybe not, but sometimes we love to show something that happen for real in the world. Not always beautiful girls with big breasts and big asses!

You do remixes, but also reworks and rebeats. Are you taking re-doing songs seriously or just do it for fun?

We do them for fun. Especially when we find something we really like. But our approaching is serious and we work on those tracks in the same way we work on our own productions.

I saw one of your last messages on Twitter. There was one word in it: Ibiza. Tell me a bit more about this place. Is it really paradise as it seems to be on television and in Pascals?

Yes it is… Ibiza is a place where you can find all that you love. Relax, music, fashion, inspirations, wonderful views, beautiful girls, great food. Honestly it is still the best place in the world to party!

There are good times for dance music. Kind of explosion of this genre in radio and music television. How long it will last? How long dance music will be popular? What do you think?

We think everything is changing… At the moment pop music and dance music are really close. We think dance music will be popular for a long time…

Links:
http://www.daddysgroove.com/
http://twitter.com/daddysgroove

The only way to express is music – Interview with French ambient/electronica artist Xelomen

Known for her captivatingly swirling atmospheric tones, French ambient artist, Xelomen, speaks about her experiences and inspirations for composing music.

You describe your music as downtempo ambient. But you tend to mix downtempo with uptempo – that in my opinion is very interesting. How do you create music?

To be honest, I don’t really think about the style of music I compose. To me, downtempo music is not a specific style but a “grouping” or genre, like trip-hop, chillout or electronica. However, it’s true, I use tend to use slower tempos in much of my music. Maybe it comes from the fact that I’ve listened to breakbeat or drum and bass in the past. How do I create music? First of all, my guideline is to try to mix my melancholic ambient side with the energy of my beats… My point of departure is always my background atmospheric musical lines. However, as I never formally learned music theory, I’m working on instinct and by ear. For instance for melody lines I have to embroider them note-by-note. I also often make different versions of the same track and choose the closest to my personality.

You recorded a cover version of Mylène Farmer “Light It Up”. But it sounds like your own song. And I really like that tune. It’s very uptempo. Why did you decide to do this remix?

Of course this remix sounds like my own, I made it how I heard the song in my genre, btw I kept the melody of the original track. In my opinion this is the most interesting part of making a remix, and one of the reasons why I decided to make this remix? However, I originally got the idea because there are a group of fans called “ReMyxes” that wanted to release a compilation by choosing the best remixes of titles from the new album of Mylene Farmer. So I thought why not. I took “Light me Up” because I felt closer to this song than the others. What was interesting for me was working with no stems and having to transcribe all the melodies line from the original by ear. Unfortunately I never sent the remix to this group because by the time I finished they had already chosen one. But you can download it for free at http://soundcloud.com/soniamusic/myl_ne-farmer-light-me-up

Is ambient music popular in France?

I don’t think so, people are more interested in dance, techno and pop rock. In the early XXth century, we had the grand French composer Erik Satie who created an early form of ambient music that could be played in the background during dinner as he described it. He may be unknown nowadays. By the way, we can find the influence of ambient music in many tracks of French artists like Cascadeur or Saycet. And who does not know Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros or the great Telefon Tel Aviv… Since I’m on Facebook, I’ve had the chance to meet some amazing ambient musicians and I really encourage them, especially my compatriot Romain from Adeona, but also The Liquid Sky and State Azure.

British music and US music is so much more directed towards a pop and rock sound and the mainstream market. They don’t seem to accept electronic ambient stuff in the mainstream market. What do you think your music can offer them?

Hard question. I think that all over the world there are people searching for this kind of music, so why not in UK or US. I don’t pretend that my music is for everyone, but if someone is interested in it, it means that my music touched them, which makes me very happy. My point of view is that electronic ambient music is still part of an underground music movement. As you can hear on commercial radio most of the tracks played are, like you said pop, rock, dance or rap music. The music industry is very compartmentalized and if you don’t fit the mold then you have much less of a chance of having a career. However, although I’ve never contacted any labels or radio stations, I’ve recently had people asking to use my tracks for radio and to be released on compilations. I’m still working on offers I’ve had and I also will have some new tunes out soon, among them, a remix for the great Californian indie electronic band The Swerve.

I hear in your music the same atmosphere as in Roman Polansky’s movies. Especially in “Beyond My Control”. Have you ever thought about your songs as a soundtrack to a movie? What do you think about this idea?

Your words are kind, same atmosphere as in Roman Polansky’s movie, what an honor for me to hear that! But sure, I thought about it many times. People around me are always telling me that my music has some cinematic atmospheres that would fit perfectly with some movies. I should maybe consider this point of view and create a side project.

How has the place you live (Bordeaux, France) influenced you and your music?

Well, the place in itself did not influence me. What influences me are more things in life, behaviors, passions, emotions, love, and how I interpret them with my own vision. I’m also drawing my inspiration in music. I have three main sources: Brian Eno, which is for me the best ambient artist, Arovane, an incredible composer of electronic ambient music, and of course the famous electronic and film composer, Craig Armstrong.

Is it easy to be musician/artists in France?

If you want to be well known, indeed it is difficult, as it is, I guess, in other countries. My goal is not to be known, but to share my music with those that can appreciate it. I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself and the feelings you paint in your music. That’s the only way to catch the attention of people who are interested in this kind of music.

“Where words fail, music speaks” (it’s Hans Christian Andersen motto from your Facebook page). Is music the language you use to communicate with the world?

Of course, for me when the words fail, the only way to express what you have to say is music. It perfectly fits with the person I am. It’s hard for me sometimes to express myself with words so it was a need for me to find a way out. I’m communicating feelings through my music.

I’d like to ask you about German dj Andre Tannenberg aka ATB and French dj David Guetta. What do you think about them? Is their music an inspiration or challenge for you?

Well, they both have great careers, which shows that if we work hard we can succeed. But their style of music is so commercial, that it bores me to listen to it. I’m not inspired by their music at all, in fact it’s rather a challenge for me. I mean, composing music for singers or bands is a challenge for any composer. I would like to have this challenge and I’m still looking to meet the right people to help me realize this dream.

We create honest, catchy, accessible music – Interview with NY band Stone Cold Fox

New York based indie rockers, Stone Cold Fox, talk about their nostalgia inspired tracks from their debut release ‘The Young EP’.

I heard you play a take-away shows. Can you explain me what is this?

Take away shows are just little spontaneous shows in odd spaces.  Usually they are filmed.  It’s a once in a while thing.
 

Your music has got a hint of nostalgia. Is it because you live in New York? Is New York nostalgic city?

Our music has a lot of nostalgia in it.  I don’t think it’s because of New York.  I am actually from Maine, so if anything it’s more about leaving home in Maine, and less about being in New York.

 Aren’t you personally too young to be nostalgic and to play nostalgic music?

Haha.  No I really don’t thing anyone is too young to be nostalgic.  There are always times to look back on your life.  This album deals with that specific time for young adult when they have left home and are gearing up to find a new place to call home.  It’s about being in limbo between home and home.  As a man in my early 20’s I am in this limbo and I have nostalgia for what once was my home.  So I write about it.
 

You try to incorporate pop music and rock music. But I think incorporating pop and rock music is one of the hardest thing in the music world. Do you agree?

Honestly I feel like “Pop” is a constant revolving door.  One decade it’s Classic Rock, the next it’s Disco.  Where we stand now we have a whole melting pot of genres that we call pop.  And I feel it has actually become easier to combine genres and place it under a “Rock Pop” category because there is now so much to draw from and be inspired by.  Because we have become saturated with all these genres I’ve found it easier to write with them in mind because these combination are everywhere.  At the end of the day we try and create honest, catchy, accessible music.

Of course it’s hard to avoid comparisons Stone Cold Fox to The Strokes. They are also from New York. Are you the children of New Rock Revolution in any way?

No revolution for us.  Nor do I think those titles are really applicable these days.  The Strokes are certainly a part of our inspiration pool, but they by no means make up all of it.  We are both from New York, we both make music.  However they are field and fields more successful than us, they make very different music, and tell very different stories than us.  

Your EP is called “The Young”. Is this title a nostalgia for something what already passed?

“The Young” embodied all of the nostalgia we wrote about in the album.  It felt like an appropriate title.  Most of the songs on the album are about coming of age.

I’d like to ask about song called “American”. I think it’s your the most important song. Because of this line: “They won’t tell me what I am to be an American / I am here but my hearts at sea, they won’t speak of me”… “THEY” – you mean who?

The line “They won’t tell me what I am to be an American, I’m here but my hearts at sea, they won’t speak for me”  is about not letting others speak for you.

 Has your music other dimensions than only music? How much your music describes the world and how much it tries to change the world?

In my lyrics I try to write about my own philosophies and combine them with music.  Sometimes I write the heartbreak song but overall I much prefer to describe certain mind sets and the conclusions I draw from them.  In this way a lot of my songs end up being more about philosophy than story telling.  Some songs are just comprised of a series of one liners that make up the whole song with a steady theme.  But at the end of the day the output is music, and that is all it is.  If people care to read into it, agree with it, or disagree with it, than it is in their hands to “change the world” with it.  Music to me is more about inspiration.

Are you gonna visit Europe?

We would absolutely love to come to Europe.  We just started this project so I think it will be at least a year, but that would certainly be our goal.

Interview with fuck-rock band Blacklisters

Members: Billy Mason Wood (Vocals) Dan Beesley (Guitar) Owen Griffiths (Bass) Alistair Stobbart (drums) Hometown: Leeds Genre: Fuck-rock Description: Blacklisters formed in 2008, quickly earning a reputation as a formidable live act through aggressive, confrontational performances riddled with dark humour. Their music has drawn comparisons to the Jesus Lizard, Shellac, Pissed Jeans and Kong. The band have released 2 EPs, Swords (Best Enemies), and Belt Party (Childhood Sweetheart).

Your album is coming out soon. How you can convince people to buy it?

Yeah It is made out of solid gold and smells of flowers and each copy is kissed by a unicorn. It also has a bunch of songs we wrote on it and has a dog on the cover. Would you want anything else from an album?

You describe your music as very loud. And your gigs are very loud. What for?

I had a dream once and Freddie Mercury told me that it had to be or he’d get Brian May on us. That’s the last thing anybody wants.

You play Kasabian covers on gigs. Would you like to be as good as they?

It isn’t a Kasabian cover its just called “Clubfoot By Kasabian”. I think though that we want that more than anything. I have pictures of Serge the guitarist all over my bedroom and I dream of him holding me and rocking me to sleep Singing “Shoot The Runner”.

Is Blacklisters a bit of a joke band?

Only if that it’s a really good joke that works on lots of levels.

How many percent you play for fun and how many for other purposes?

13% fun 87% because we are afraid of Brian May.

I don’t know much about the music scene in Leeds. Are there any bands as good as you?

It’s quite diverse and there are lots of people in bands who know each other. So it makes being in a band enjoyable because there are lots of friendships involved. Loads are as good or better or loads better: These Monsters, Hawk Eyes, Pulled Apart by Horses, Humanfly, That Fucking Tank, Hookworms, Black Moth, Normal Man, Super Luxury, Runners, Queen ft. Paul Rogers, Black Eyed Peas, Angus Young, Slade, Justin Bieber and The Carpenters all of those are good.

Are you the best band in Leeds?

Up until his untimely death it would have Davy Jones’ The Monkees were the best band in Leeds. Now I’d say it’s between Black Eyed Peas and Slade but they are fighting it out on the park after school on Friday. Tops Off.

PB: I would describe your music as fuck-rock…

Billy: That’s totally fine by me. I like the word fuck and I like the word rock and I really like the font you’ve used so I am happy with it as a whole. Thanks.

PB: What do you think Kurt Cobain would think if he could hear your music?

Billy: He’d probably think something like “Wow this is good. This music makes me want to shoot my face off”.

PB: Thanks, that was real fun to interview you.

Billy: Thank you

Tim Byrd introduces us to his music and his band, The Straightjackets.

Does the place where you live (California) has any influence on the music you play?  I am referring to weather, people, particular mood in city where you live, etc.  If so, how can you describe this influence?

Not as much as the places I’ve lived and people I grew up with. My uncles, aunts, radio were more of influence on the music I listened and still listen to. I was four years old when I got totally hooked on music. My Grandpa Byrd brought me “Meet the Beatles”. He was in the Navy, also very in Love with his music. He,being in the service, was aware of the impact the Beatles were making across the world before they 1st appeared on Ed Sullivan. Well, I wore that record out… I’d listen to it almost every day, my head close to the record player speaker, singing along with it.

So California is influence-less? No influence from there for you?

Well, it has been too..Growing up near San Francisco, my uncle was old enough to see Hendrix, Joplin, the Doors and all that as it was happening. He played piano and I lived with him for a while at my Grandparents home in CA where I learned a lot from him. But my Mom would buy me the Beatles, Stones and other albums as they came out

What is your biggest influence?

Sarah Jean. She is a real person, her She inspires me. It’s crazy. In the last 3 years I’ve come up with 70 to 80 songs, mostly inspired by her. She lives in Florida, but I met her years ago.I should say biggest inspiration, not influence.

Your music is very melodic, but in the same time very experimental. Experiments on styles, genres, jazz, pop, rock, etc. It seems like you are looking for something, crossing paths of genres. What are you looking for?

It didn’t hit me till I had to download my stuff to WeLoveYourSongs.com contest, when I had to pick a genre for “Sarah Jean” song. I never thought about it till I was asked. What would you call it? I chose ‘rock’ at first, but after listening to some songs in the rock genre I had to really think about it. The first thing that came to mind was ‘Classic Rock’ because that covers a wide range of different musical influences, Blues, Southern Rock, Ballads, Jazz, Funk..etc. How would you categorise “Sweet City Woman” by the Stampeders if you’d never heard it before? But I thought to myself, “How can I call it ‘Classic’ rock when no one’s even heard it yet?” It’s not classic by any means. You know what I mean. And UnClassic Rock wasn’t an option! Then I got to the next song, then the next, and I had to really think about it. When I come up with an idea, the last thing I’m thinking of is the genre, I just want to make sure I record it, because I know I’ll forget it! I learned that from Keith Richards, in an interview he mentioned how he always keeps cheap little tape recorders/dictaphones all over the place like antennas to capture ideas, or he’d forget! I started using my webcam on my laptop for that purpose.With cassettes Kurt Derita (from The Straightjackers, bass player on my submitted songs) and myself have hundreds of original ideas scattered about too many cassette tapes, it get’s to be too difficult finding anything after a while… Back to the question.. I like your questions! And I was worried I wouldn’t have enough to talk about for an interview… Blah, blah, blah! I love a variety of music, but If I have to pick one genre I’d choose Rock and Roll .. or Classic Rock maybe.

Why do you create music?

Another good question! I remember listening to the Beatles as a kid and being amazed that they made up the songs and played them. It seemed like magic to me! I wondered how they did it. I wished I could learn to do it. I wrote my first song”The Brown Blue Bird”. Lol, it was lousy! But I learned to play guitar and got into bands but never found satisfaction in learning other people’s songs. Keith Richards shared the greatest tip for songwriting.. He said in an interview that he keeps a tape recorder in every room to capture his inspiration! I use a webcam. If I dont record it right away, it gets lost, even if I remember the chords n arrangement. It just loses the initialfeel if It isnt captured as the inspiration hits. I write song because I love it. My goal is to write songs or just song that will be remembered forever, like the songs that never grow old to me and never will.

You said: “My goal is to write songs or just song that will be remembered forever”. Forever like Strawberry Fields?

Wow! That’s beyond remembered! (Laughter). I’m thinking more of something that can be heard in years to come and still be pleasing to the ear. But, my song: “Sarah Jean Blvd.” would be nice too, bnow that you mention it.

OK so tell me please about your band – The Straightjackets…

The Straightjackets started off when I was first uploading song ideas to youtube, as a joke. YouTube was new to me and there I was uploading videos of composition recordings, which I still do. But the songs started getting some attention after taking the songs to the studio.. I’ve known The Streetjackers them for years! Kurt [from the Streetjackers] and I started writing songs together in 1989.

Where you record your songs?

My friend Stan has a home studio. It’s top of the line equipment in a room upstairs. Well, the drums and snake is all downstairs. I love it, It’s four hours drive so we don’t get together as often as we’d like to.

Where you will be in 5 years and where you music will be?

Well, as people on the net started following, the name stuck. But we’re just doing what we can in the studio and just going from there. Still trying to find out along the way. We’re lucky to get what we get done in the short amount of time. We’ve actually been in the studio 5 years from now. We’ll have a lot more music completed. I’m hoping we keep getting the new followers and get some albums out. We’re getting together soon to record some new stuff. I’m thankful I have these guys to work with, and how it always seems to come alive when we get together. We’re just getting started and looking forward to getting our music out there to more people.

Thanks for conversation.

Thank you.