Interview: Jo Quail speaks with Carya Gish

Carya Gish, novelist and founder of independent publishing imprint Arcane Publishing, speaks to cellist and composer Jo Quail ahead of the launch of her new album Five Incantations at St John on Bethnal Green on 19th March.

Interview: Poppy Ackroyd speaks to Carya Gish

Carya Gish, novelist and founder of independent publishing imprint Arcane Publishing, speaks to musician and composer Poppy Ackroyd who will perform at the launch of Jo Quail’s new album Five Incantations at St John on Bethnal Green on 19th March.

Interview: Colours To Shame chat to Mark Angel Brandt

This month, Mark Angel Brandt, editor of metal, punk and rock review website Broken Amp, lent us his meticulous approach to music journalism to interview Glaswegian genre-switching metalheads Colours To Shame, ahead of their performance at The Facemelter this Friday at The Black Heart.

Interview: Ivan and Genia of Opensight on Italian cinema and hidden influences

Opensight have established themselves as stalwarts of London’s progressive music scene. Having played in the Metal 2 The Masses competition on several occasions, and with numerous studio recordings under their collective belt, these accomplished musicians create a sophisticated blend of rock, metal and a hefty dose of the cinematic. Their latest EP represents something of a departure from previous recordings, though it retains the theatrical flourishes and classic metal undertones that fans will recognise as signatures of the band. ‘Ulterior Motives’ also has the rather dubious accolade of being the only music that doesn’t cause my cat to leave the living-room. High praise indeed. In the run-up to the launch date, the band has released a series of teaser trailers, which serve to enhance the cinematic themes of their music, as well as being a fun and imaginative way to garner public interest. One of the trailers has also outed yours truly as being a member of The League Of Chaos. There goes my secret identity, dammit. I contacted Opensight to demand an explanation (under the subtle guise of discussing ‘Ulterior Motives’). What inspired you to write ‘the soundtrack to a fake movie’? Is there a secret screenwriter amongst you? Can we expect to see ‘the movie of the soundtrack’ at some point in the future? Ivan: We weren’t really thinking of ‘Ulterior Motives’ as a movie while writing the songs or anything. We really like when there is a connection between music and other languages like film, motion graphics, games, books and so on. Film music is a big influence, so it was natural to give that sort...

Post-prog and the punk ethic: an interview with Sumer

On 17th July 2015, CT writer Gem Caley ventured into deepest darkest Islington to see post-proggers Sumer play, and to badger the band about their upcoming gig with Opensight and Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster. The following article is based on a delightfully meandering conversation held in the children’s playground opposite the venue.

Survival Skills – new self-exploration by Acoustic Ladyland/Shiver guitarist Chris Sharkey

“This came about because it just had to happen. Basically I couldn’t put it off any longer. “ Chris Sharkey, renowned jazz-punk experimenter and guitar player for Acoustic Ladyland and Shiver is explaining to me over the phone what his latest electronica project is all about. Survival Skills, the name of the new solo act, gets its debut with Chaos Theory this Saturday at Power Lunches, and while his name is sure to draw a loyal crowd, this is definitely a musical and creative departure for Chris. “I just felt I had to express myself in this way. It just came about out of necessity really. I had been thinking about doing something like this for a long, long time.” Chris has done one-off solo acts before, but those shows were still making use of the man-with-guitar format and still very much in familiar territory. Survival Skills, as the name might suggest, is a more testing and experimental outing. But with great risks, comes great responsibility, something Chris is very conscious of. “I had a done a few shows recently,” he explains. “I was really just playing around with things, trying to figure out what I wanted to say. This time there will be some synths and loops and things like that, whereas before it was just me and a guitar. “It’s going to be different because it will be just me, and I will be responsible for the sound. “When you are on your own like this, it is sink or swim. You are trying to stay afloat, you are just trying to keep the whole thing alive.”...

An octopus with no rules – a Battleship Grey rehearsal

Our newest team member Lena Margareta spent an evening with Battleship Grey as they rehearsed in preparation for their single launch at Power Lunches on Saturday 1st November. Here’s what she had to say…   *******************   While hanging out with Battleship Grey during rehearsal, it takes a while to discover the bass guitar. After three songs I spot it, unused, in the corner behind a bin. It will eventually be picked up and played a little, but it’s clear that the position of bass guitar in this band is a slacker job.   “The guitar takes care of the lows,” says Bojan Nikolic.   He explains that they didn’t use to know any bass player they were keen on working with, so they just made do without. It seems to me this is a band which welcomes any obstacle as a reason to explore new ways of creating music. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they create obstacles on purpose, to force themselves into thinking outside the box.   I’m in a rehearsal room in Mill Hill, north-west London, where the four members of Battleship Grey prepare for the upcoming launch of their single Hunt what you like… I can’t recall ever witnessing a band rehearsal where such professional concentration rules. Talk between songs is kept to a minimum.   “Something like that,” says Rami Sherrington laconically after a run-through of the new song Live on the edge, live on the edge, live on the edge. He does look a tiny bit sceptical behind his drums, but rather than initiating a lengthy discussion he just starts the...

Irish roots and London soul: An interview with Yvonne

As a general habit, leaving one of London’s most promising rising songwriting stars waiting for half an hour at Camden tube station is not advisable. Genius has not time to waste, right? It is even worse that it happened to be the very start of autumn and the darkening city skies had begun their creeping gloom almost overnight, and the winds were starting beat a brave roar through the early evening market. But that’s what I did. Yvonne, who is launching at her soul-folk EP at The Gallery Café this Saturday, was left hanging around waiting for this douchebag of a scribbler to make a show. It is to my eternal gratitude that Yvonne is about as laid back as anyone can be. A London girl from Irish stock, she doesn’t go in for diva antics. As she herself says, she might be serious in her songs, but she’s a light-hearted person in reality. Endless Soul is a beautifully crafted, resonant and accomplished piece of work. If you were sharp enough to pick up a copy of her first outing The Rare One EP, you’ll already know that Yvonne has an ease and gentle power in her songwriting. Definitely imbued with folk influences, she creates dimensionality and atmosphere in each of her songs, very much in the vein of Laura Marling or Nick Cave in her narrative ability, but she able to capture complex and often dark emotions in quick bursts of lyrical and musical feeling. However, the most obvious and striking difference between Endless Soul and The Rare One is of course, the band. But the journey from...

Humour, explosive riffs and “subconscious jazz”: The genius behind Alright The Captain

With sharp burst of energy, explosive humour and tight no-nonsense songwriting, Alright The Captain are completely unique for a band coming out of the post-rock scene. Gone are the long spells of introspection and ten-minute track epics. These guys can take you on an emotional fairground ride in the space of three minutes, and you still feel exhausted. The trick with these guys seems to be not taking it all too seriously. The music is experimental in many ways – it takes a lot of risks, and from what they told us about their writing process, they are not averse to improvs and jams to get their ideas out. But there is no time or sonic space wasted. The result is a cathartic and energising experience, which is at once technically perfect and accessible to a wide range of audiences. We asked them a few questions about the writing process and their influences, in an attempt to get behind the genius of Alright The Captain.  Photo by Magda Wrzeszcz Snake Tits, which ended up on the Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters compilation is incredibly short. It’s the shortest track on that album. But actually, there are so many changes, twists and turns that it feels like a proper epic journey in itself. Was that the intention? When we were writing the songs for Conversational Skills For The Socially Anxious, they all just seemed to come around the 3:30 mark. Snake Tits was just one of those songs that seemed to write itself and just felt right at that length. I guess we just have short attention spans writing that stuff....