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Archive for the ‘Interview with a pop star’ Category

MARIE BOINE is an artist from Norway with an incredible vocal style (watch the video at the bottom of this article) but her background and culture is far away from A-Ha and Eurovision entries that seems to mark the country’s musical identity.

She was raised in a small village in the far north, where the nights draw in quickly in winter, and daylight is sometimes a 24-hour phenomena during summer.

The region to me and you is Lappland, but to Boine (pronounced Boin-ee) and the rest of her people it is Samiland, or Sapmi, and they are distinct from the Norwegians who mainly live in the south.

Marie Boinee, in conversation, at the Pinetum Stage, Womad, New Plymouth(Craig Stephen)

Marie Boinee, in conversation, at the Pinetum Stage, Womad, New Plymouth
(Craig Stephen)

At an Artist in Conversation session at WOMAD in New Plymouth with Nick Bollinger, the singer described Samiland as “an area that was used by my people, the Samis, for thousands of years. Then it was colonised by the Swedes, the Finns, the Russians and the Norwegians, and they divided our land in four.”

It is a vast region, with differing landscapes throughout, and little vegetation, so fishing is a necessity. The language of the indigenous people is diverse with nine dialects recognised, and some are very different to the others; some are still alive, some moribund. Most of the estimated two million people living across the region are from the Nordic countries and Russia and the voices heard there now reflect that influx. Samiland, therefore, shares a sad history with the peoples of many countries in Europe (Ireland, northern Scotland, Euskadi etc) and globally where colonisers repressed the traditions and language of the inhabitants.

Repression

Those who tried to continue to speak in their own tongue in Samiland were chided.
“They banned the old Shamanistic religion that we had and the language” Boine said. “In the schools we learned the language of the majority culture. As a child the Sami language was only spoken in my village, at home, but when we came to school we were told that we had to forget the language so of course we were in a way brainwashed to feel bad about our culture.”

Boine left her village as a teenager to attend teacher’s college where she first became aware of her people’s history, and that had a major influence on her.

“I started to sing for myself because I wanted to trigger all these feelings of being inferior and I also understood that a large part of my people felt the same way. So everytime I published a song people would come to me and say ‘you are singing about me’. I understood that it was important to write and sing in my own language. But I was told ‘why are you singing this language, it will disappear’.

“In my home we spoke Sami so I grew up with the language but not with the singing, the traditional singing was banned. My parents became very Christian so they believed all the lies that the missionaries and the priests told about our culture being from the devil. So when I started to care about these songs I not only had to fight against the majority people but also my parents because they were convinced that the old songs were from the devil.”

Defiance

Boinee says she learned the songs from those families who refused to accept the Christian belief and kept the songs alive. She also went to the archives which were kept, somewhat surprisingly, by the colonisers because “maybe they wanted to keep the devil’s songs for themselves.”

Her parents were singing Christian hymns every night which at least gave her an opportunity to develop her vocal techniques but her parents also sang “in the old way, they were using the whale singing”. But as she delved further into her own culture and history she found new ways of singing. Some people thought her technique and timbre was similar to that of Indigenous Americans.

Despite being shy, Boinee battled her lack of self-confidence to perform on stage at the college she was studying at, and then was invited to do concerts, and, later, to perform for radio and television.
“In social situations I was very shy, but on stage, that was my home. I found the medicine in the music, that’s why I love to share this with my audience.”

She released her first album, Jaskatvuođa maŋŋá, or After the Silence, in 1985 and in 1989 her second album, Gula Gula, was picked up by Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. In all, she has recorded 11 studio albums. It would be easy to label Boine as a traditional folk singer, but there is far more to her and her band. They use a variety of instruments, some of them just implements that they managed to find a way of incorporating into their music, and Boine uses yodelling or yoik.

 

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LAU are taking Scottish folk to the music to the world. But their success is causing some consternation among the traditionalists in Scotland.

The Edinburgh-based three-piece add “loopheads, distortion and other electronic tools” to their core instruments of fiddle, accordian and guitar.

The trio of Aidan O’Rourke, Kris Drever and Martin Green have just played two sessions at WOMAD in New Plymouth, on New Zealand’s North Island, which followed their appearance at the same, global festival in Adelaide, South Australia.

Speaking before their first performance, O’Rourke said their style hasn’t always been welcomed, with various online forums describing their music as a betrayal of traditional music styles.

When we started what we are doing we knew some people would disagree and certainly there’s people who don’t like what we’re doing. And they make that clear online. But we expected that and we appreciate that some people want the traditional form to remain as it was in the 1960s and 70s.”

Green – from hails from Cambridge – says there is room for the purism of the long-established traditional artists such as Kenneth McKellar and Jim MacLeod.

None of us mind the traditionalists, we all have a great love and respect for tradition and you need a certain number of people that want to continue a certain idiomatic way of playing this music otherwise you’ll lose some of that style, so in a way we’re grateful there are people who aren’t doing what we are doing. What we’re doing suits the WOMAD festivals and other such events,” says the accordionist, who now lives in Pathhead, Lothian.

As an outsider I find the Scots extremely confident about their music and therefore free with what people are prepared for people to do what they want with it. There doesn’t appear to be a particularly preservationist society, it seems to be quite forward-thinking.”

Lau on the Shell Gables Stage (Craig Stephen)

Lau on the Shell Gables Stage (Craig Stephen)

Lau, who released their third album Race the Loser at the end of last year, have worked with Karine Polwart, and Cream’s Jack Bruce; have appeared on Later … with Jools Holland and performed at many diverse festivals in Britain and Europe. Their love of the tradition is matched by their inventiveness, and they focus on writing their own songs rather than play a series of standard Scottish folk songs and reels.

There’s a whole set of different things, I suppose songs that I write tend to have a humanist element but then Aiden uses landscape a lot as an inspiration,” says Orcadian Drever.

At WOMAD New Zealand their set list included the abrasive Save the Bees, containing a fairly obvious environmental message and Horizontigo, a song written by Green that explores his fear of mountains.

The first night sees Lau play to an audience that stretches from teenagers at the front to the Over 65s seating area tens of metres back. On the second night of WOMAD they find new friends, and an equally rapturous reception. They head to Japan in June, for their fifth visit to the country. Lau say the people there have no trouble understanding them.

The language thing doesn’t appear to be a barrier, not in the way that, say a Japanese artist signing in their own language might experience in the UK,” says Green.

People think our music is quite filmic so we don’t really need to explain what it’s about to the audience. They can make up their own minds,” adds O’Rourke.    

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Irving to be precise, a New Yorker currently on the road in New Zealand, just him, a trusty bicycle (a Surly Lone Haul Trucker cycle cross with 27 gears) with a trailer packed with a banjo, bouzouki, shruti box, Jew’s harp, mbira and a toothbrush. Irving’s playing up to 80 performances on the road, covering about 6000km across this magnificent country. He says his music is an “eclectic mix of song, story and illusion, designed to be shared in intimate spaces.” He will be playing in people’s homes all across the South and North islands over four months.

After about three weeks on the road I caught up with Gideon . I asked him first of all how’s he managing to lug all that stuff around:

“I am biking between 20 and 90km a day so far and hauling around about 65 kilos of gear. Aside from everything I need I carry a back-up set of many items in case something should break. People see what I’m doing and they say ‘so how long have you been a cyclist’, I tell them I am not a cyclist. I am just a guy who bought a bike and started pedalling. Maybe by the end of the trip I’ll feel differently. The biking is always very, very challenging for me. And many times I arrive to someone’s home and only have a couple hours before the show starts. It’s a challenge but a wonderful one and I’m loving every minute of it.”

How are you arranging the gigs, homestays?  

“Before I got to NZ I arranged about eight gigs through couchsurfer.org. Then I got some press including an interview with Kirsten Johnstone on Music 101 (on Radio New Zealand) and that brought in about 20 invitations. People providing contacts post-show has probably been the biggest booking tool next to the radio interview. I also put out the word to my network back home for any contacts and that has brought in about five shows. It looks like by the end of May, where I will end with a few shows in Christchurch again, I will play between 50-80 shows. Newspaper articles have helped too.”

I tell some stories that kind of bleed into song. I do some things with a looper. I make some odd and dramatic noises at unexpected moments. There is some backwards singing.

How are the shows being received?

“The shows have been received very, very well. People have seemed quiet and engaged and impressively present. Playing shows in people’s homes lends itself to that kind of atmosphere as well. There isn’t a bar, the music isn’t background. You have an hour where people have come to listen to you. For the most part the audiences have been overwhelmingly warm. They seem to be pretty surprised for the most part.

“My show is a bit on the unusual side. I tell some stories that kind of bleed into song. I do some things with a looper. I make some odd and dramatic noises at unexpected moments. There is some backwards singing. I think people are also struck by some odd instruments they have never seen before. Shruti Box, mbira, Jew’s Harps, bouzouki and even the banjo. Shows are always free, but I put my CD’s out for sale and have my helmet out as well for koha. I tell folks they can pay whatever they like for the CD as I am excited to share it with anyone who would like one, but the suggested price is $20. I also say I am grateful for any donations or koha towards my journey/project/tour. Folks have been very generous.”

What’s the most bizarre one(s) so far?

“Hmmmmm….. they haven’t been that weird, mostly just very lovely. One of my favourites so far was in a kitchen in Dunedin. Nine people cozied in between the sink and the stove and we had ourselves a music show. They were a fantastic bunch. The kitchen turns out to be a great space for performance. The room they were going to do it in was ‘destroyed by cats’.

“Audiences have been between six and 100 (100 was at a school for 8-10 year olds, otherwise between six and 45).  In Ashburton my hosts had been overseas for nine months and used my show as an excuse to have a sort of welcome home party. Played in an artist’s loft in Timaru and my host, with his music mates, did a blues rock excerpt from Romeo and Juliette.”

Irving’s album My Brother Is Isaac is out now, available from his website:

http://www.mynameisgideon.com

It’s a great album, but I don’t have space here to give it justice so will review in a future post.

More info on it from this site:

http://mynameisgideon.bandcamp.com/

and more on the tour here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1303159828/my-name-is-gideon-way-over-there-tour

 

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Black Seeds guitarist Mike Fabulous has his eye on some real goodies at Auckland’s famous music store Bungalow Bill’s when Porky catches up with him.

“I have a great passion for obscure vintage guitars and there’s many to choose from here. Alas, it’s pretty much window shopping; it’s not as if I can afford to buy any of them. It’s still fun though,”

Indeed it is and a good way of whiling away your time before catching a flight to the Capital, Wellington, where the multi-talented band are based.

Surprisingly, Fabulous tells me, it’s only now that the Seeds, who’ve been around for about 12 years, have got a decent recording studio and rehearsal space here in the country’s greatest city, a move that came about through the finest forms of communication still available to man – word of mouth.

Previously the Seeds have been recording at The Surgery, which is also in Mt Cook. “That’s great to record in but outwith that we haven’t had a decent space where we can all meet, thrash some ideas around and then play them. It’s changed our world really and gives us way more options,” he says.

The benefits of this is that they have a space to practice ahead of the Double Scoop Summer Tour, a national jaunt that takes in all sports of obscure and groovy venues. None of the dates are in Wellington, sadly, but the Seeds are regular performers on Cuba and Courtenay.

That will be followed by a tour of Australia, a plan to lay down some tracks in the studio for about three months then take the groovy, reggaefied Seeds sound to Europe and the United States. And sometime thisyear there’ll be a new album, the follow up to 2008’s fantastic Solid Ground.

In the meantime, you can blow your mind by listening to two recently-released albums, the remix-heavy Specials and Live Vol. 1, much of which was recorded in Wellington as well as remote musical outposts like Paris and London. And Fabulous’ solo album Melodies, released under the Lord Echo moniker and fuses Afro-disco, soul, reggae and Ethio-Jazz is out now.

Specials includes remixes made up by internet boffins who tweaked tracks posted by the band on the web. See www.theblackseeds.com for more details.

 

 

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Hikoikoi are the kind of band the world needs just now in these unstable, uncertain times; an act that has an unshakeable dedication to peace and equality.

Thankfully, they’re also a damn good band, an excellent self-titled debut album released last year heralding their unique form of roots reggae.

Hikoikoi are heavily involved in the Parihaka Peace Festival in Taranaki, and Hikoikoi, the album, was laced with conscious-heavy tracks like Jah Armour and A Deeper Revelation.

With that in mind it’s a little of a surprise to hear from dreadlocked bassist James Coyle that Hikoikoi’s sound is evolving away from the sounds that has its roots in Jamaica.

At the office where he works part-time as an architect in Wellington, Coyle told me more about the new direction and something that won’t change – they’re dedication to just causes

James Coyle, Paul Wickham and Ben Wood

Porky: What’s the plans for the band just now?

James Coyle: We’re recording a lot in the studio just now, and have finished one song that we’ll be releasing in September on a nationwide tour. It’s called Timewalking and signals new ground for the band. Quite often we have been focused on roots-reggae but this album will have elements of rock. A lot of the other songs that we’ve demoed for this upcoming album have a harder edge, they’re less cruisy than previous songs.

Porky: And what of the lyrics and themes on the new material, does that have a harder edge as well?

JC: We have a strong message, that of peace, but also a strong interest in past events, for example, atrocities carried out during World War 2, and also in this land, issues of colonisation. In the past we’ve supported the kaupapa of quite a few information concerts, like one in Tuhoe to support in the struggle of the people there. The police raids (in 2007) and what’s also happening now (the Government’s rejection of the Te Urewaras being returned to Tuhoe) – I like to think that music is part of a solidarity campaign, to push for past wrongs to be corrected.

(for more on Tuhoe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ng%C4%81i_T%C5%ABhoe)

(And for more on Te Urewara and the Tuhoe tribe: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/3677975/Tuhoe-negotiators-told-Urewera-off-the-table)

Porky: Can you give the readers an indication of what to expect on the single?

JC: We have a guy called Kieran Rynhart directing the video and it looks like it will be an interesting one. He’s starting from scratch with an image of a land that has nothing, then develops with mountains growing from the oceans, animals inhabiting the land and it goes through to the early discoverers of New Zealand, the colonisation of New Zealand and looks into the future.

Porky: Any idea when the album might come out?

JC: March next year. We’ll also be touring then.

Porky: Did you pick up some influences from other bands or just decide you wanted to do more rockier sounds?

JC: I think it’s the influences within us. There are three of us in the band with our personalities shaping the band. For example, Paul (Wickham), the singer – his previous band was much influenced by rock. Roots-reggae is something that unites us all but I’m very much into jazz, particularly Miles Davis.

Porky: It’s interesting how you are changing, as the debut album was very much a reggae record with various other influences.

JC: Looking back, we really dig that sound but we also found it quite cruisy and we thought that things should get a bit more intense. We have a pretty intense live show and the album will reflect that live sound. Our drummer, Ben (Wood), who also does a fair bit of producing, has a lot of experience in drum’n’bass so he also adds an interesting dimension in the studio.

Porky: Where are you recording, in the boat sheds again?

JC: We worked in two studios at Hikoikoi Reserve (in Petone) but Paul has since moved his business to Akaratawa, which is that crazy road that goes from Upper Hutt to Waikanae. It’s a beautiful property, the river runs through it and there’s plenty of swimming holes. It’s a great location and the garage where we record has an interesting sound that’s impacting upon on the band.

Porky: You say Paul is a businessman and you’re an architecture undergraduate, so to some people it might be a bit of a contradiction that Hikoikoi is about peace, justice and equality.

JC: I guess the only people who have time to be actively fighting for those things are devoting their whole life to it or allowed the time to do it, which we don’t. But when you talk about business, Paul is a traditional boat builder, so he’s working with his hands every day, and he’s a very humble man so when it comes to writing lyrics and composing music he brings that humbleness into it. He really thinks about the world, and the suffering of people less fortunate than we are in New Zealand. One track from the debut album, Sudan Sun, was projecting ourselves into their shoes and imagining what it must be like to be that hungry and oppressed.

Porky: I was reading a piece on a blog that said you were more of a consciousness reggae band than an activist reggae band, but it sounds like you’re a bit of both.

JC: We’re nothing like some activists, there are some activists who devote their lives to changing the corrupt systems. It takes a lot of commitment to be an activist and it is an aspiration of ours to devote more of our time to that.

http://www.myspace.com/hikoikoi

Hikoikoi playing in Wellington 2007

 

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The Phoenix Foundation are a six-piece from the capital of New Zealand, Wellington, who are one for the tuned-in.

They’re not the attention-grabbing, headline-making, hype-spinning band that the country sometimes produces and, unlike some of those particular acts – chose your own from the list – are capable of making some Damn Good Pop Music.

Buffalo (EMI) is the latest example of a sound that’s captivating with a thoughtful touch. Please take a trip through the city’s Town belt and hill suburb of Mt Victoria on the opening track, Eventually, and take your brolly with you.

Be enchanted by by the child-friendly Flock of Hearts, be invigorated by Pot and singalong like a mad thing to the wonderfully fruity lyrics of Orange & Mango.

Buffalo is a gloriously simple record, one that is very New Zealand in its themes, but also sounds like it could traverse traditional musical snobbery and parochialism, and appeal to, say, indie fans in Manchester.

It’s the fourth album from a band that’s been around since the late 90s, and is garnering positive reviews from the national press.

The ride began with the debut album Horse Power in 2003, progressing through Pegasus (2005), and Happy Ending (2007) which was given a decent run when released on limited scale in the UK.

Before a gig in Wellington, as part of their national tour, I caught up with frontman Samuel Scott in one of the city’s cozy wee cafes.

How’s the tour going?

The tour’s been going great. We’ve just had a show at the Powerstation in Auckland which sold out. That’s pretty cool as that’s probably the biggest venue we’ve ever played at, so it felt like we were stepping up another level.

After this tour I believe you’re going to London?

Later in the year, that’s the plan. We did a soft release of Happy Ending last year, putting it out on iTunes and doing limited runs at Rough Trade stores and other independent stores. On the back of that it got great reviews, such as in The Independent newspaper, so we felt we should go back there and capitalise on that. Hopefully, we’ll get a record deal over there soon.

Tell me about the recording of Buffalo, as it was done a little bit differently.

Yeah, we did some of the initial recording work at our own studio so we had more time to mull over the first set of ideas but we also worked from those initial recordings, so in a way we turned what were kind of demos into finished recordings. On previous records we fussed over things in the studio and over-worked them. On this one I think we got it just right. It was definitely an un-angsty album to make and I think it sounds like our least angsty album to date.

It seems to have worked as the reviews have been pretty good.

Well, people have been either calling it our best album or our worst one. Personally, I think it’s got qualities that weren’t on the last album. Happy Ending has that extra level of professionalism and big kind of big radio-friendly rock tunes but Buffalo has a humble quality to it which I relate back to Horse Power, our first record, so it’s more of a continuation of what we were doing six/ seven years ago, sort of bedroom recording music, low-key and intimate. It’s very close to our heart in terms of the music we want to be making.

And I guess doing things here in Wellington and New Zealand is very different from how you would do those things in London and Europe?

We have a lot more time in Wellington, like what I was saying about recording in our own studio here. But finding the same kind of kind of facilities is almost impossible in London, people are actually recording in their bedrooms because that’s the only place they have to do something. The two cities are so different in so many spheres. I like London, there’s always things happening there but I mainly enjoyed London as a travelling musician. I don’t think I could live there for too long, it’s too fast. I’ve lived in Wellington all my life and there’s so much more for me to enjoy here.

And there’s a bit of a Wellington influence on Buffalo, for example there’s a line in the opening track, Eventually, about Mt Victoria, which obviously would mean little to people in Christchurch and Auckland but clearly means a lot to yourself.

Yeah, that song’s about going for a walk in the Town Belt around Wellington during stormy days, something I enjoy quite a lot, going out in the worst-possible day and actually embracing the awful weather in this town, such as what we’re having today (it was raining heavily – ed). Wellington doesn’t always influence the way we write but it does creep in.

Are you benefitting from downloads or suffering because of them?

We do okay sales wise, every record feels like it’s getting us to more people. We’re not particularly concerned with the shrinking of the CD market because as long as you keep innovating, things will pick up in some way that no-one has picked up on yet. And vinyl sales have picked up over the last couple of years, they make up a really tiny proportion of the market but they’ve gone up quite a lot and they appeal to people who like us, to a slightly older audience who want that high sound quality. And if it’s a download, they want a decent sound not a crappy MP3 from a file-sharing site.

And what about solo projects, I know the band members like to do their own thing outwith the Phoenix Foundation, are there any plans on the horizon?

Not from me at the moment. I’m just focused on the Phoenix Foundation and ensuring that we’re doing everything we can to push Buffalo, and try and get it out there overseas. I’m already thinking of another Phoenix Foundation record before any solo project. I had a lot of fun doing those solo records and soundtracks but I’m really excited about the band again and being part of a group.

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Ten City Nation are one of the more exciting and independent-minded bands on the circuit in the UK, so it was a great pleasure to interview their frontman Seymour Patrick for this site.

The three-piece were born out of Miss Black America, an English band that gained a lot of deserved attention in the early part of the last decade for their blistering rock that had a certain respect for American indie whilst retaining a quintessential Englishness.

The initial incarnation broke up in late 2002, following a moderately-received self-titled debut and various personal problems. Seymour Glass, as he was called then, was the sole member of that version of MBA to coninue in Mk II. I saw them a few times in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk when I was living there,  this was following the split, and they sounded edgy without setting the heather on fire.

Eventually, with MBA past its sell by date, Glass, met with Neil Baldwin and Mike Smith over a drink and the original MBA line-up was back, under the name Ten City Nation.

I talked to Seymour about the reformation, their unusual methods of working, how he went “completely mad” and the fight against the crypto-fascist British National Party.

In the next Lowdown on the New I will review their second album, At The Still Point.


Porky: The new album sounds quite menacing, such as on tracks like Room 10101. Was there an event, or feeling that resulted in this aggressive sound, or was that the intention from the outset?

Seymour: I don’t think the way an album sounds is ever intentional, but there was a very strong feeling being totally removed from the world when we were making it.  We’re very aware that as far as music scenes go, we don’t fit in anywhere at all, so there’s that feeling of confident insularity, which may come across as menace and aggression.  We’ve learned over the years to be wary of outsiders, which is sad in a way but it also means we turn up to gigs feeling defiant, like a 3-man gang. We’re working on the next album at the minute and there’s that same feeling – that because we’re so removed from everything, all we have to worry about is whether we like what we’re doing.  What I’m essentially trying to say is that as a band, it’s incredibly healthy to have no friends.

Porky:  How did the transformation from Miss Black America to Ten City Nation come about?

Seymour: It was very long, slow, gradual and painful.  Me, Mike and Neil were the original line-up of Miss Black America – we recently celebrated 10 years since MBA started, in that I texted them bemoaning the fact that you get less than 10 years for manslaughter.  We wrote a lot of the songs from the first MBA album as a three-piece, so we already knew that we wrote well together.  The problem in the interim was that during 2001-2002 we toured the UK toilet circuit constantly, living on beer and crisps, my marriage broke down and I went completely mad.  By the end of 2002 Mike and Neil had had enough and quit, which I can’t really blame them for.  They formed a really good band called My Hi-Fi Sister, with Mike as lead singer, while I struggled on in MBA and eventually made a second album, which I was really proud of but the line-up in MBA was like a revolving door nightmare and I ended up having a complete breakdown.  So I’d just convinced myself that I never wanted to be in a band again when Mike and Neil invited me for a pint, completely out of the blue, bought me a drink and asked me if I wanted to form another band – I said “yes” and they finished their drinks and left, and that was that!  It was like something out of a 60s spy movie.  I’m amazed they didn’t turn up in disguise.

Porky: There’s been some comparisons to Nirvana and grungy/ punky US music in the press and in cyberspace. Are they fair or do you feel you’ve been misunderstood?

Seymour: It’s entirely understandable because we definitely don’t sound British when compared to 99% of British music that’s happening right now, at least in the mainstream – and by “mainstream” I don’t necessarily mean bands who sell lots of records, I mean bands who lazily conform to the rules of how a UK indie band is “supposed” to sound.  That whole costume cupboard trust fund indie sound means absolutely nothing to us, so we have no interest in developing what’s currently seen as the “UK” sound.  There are a lot of bands currently getting press for sounding exactly like early Creation Records bands, but they only seem interested in apeing those bands rather than creating something of their own and they tend to be Anglophiles from elsewhere in the world. There are a lot of very good bands in the UK doing their own thing, it’s just that very few people have the balls to write about them or play their records on the radio.  We do sound like a lot of UK bands used to sound in the early 90s, particularly stuff like Th’ Faith Healers, Jacob’s Mouse and early PJ Harvey, and we’d be lying if we said we didn’t love Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age and Fugazi.  But Mike sings in quite an English accent really, and my voice is a lot less grating and emo than it used to be.  We just don’t milk our plums like so many indie singers do when they want to sound “English”.

Porky: What’s your future plans?

Seymour: Album number three, and lots of gigs.  We’re planning a Love Music Hate Racism compilation EP with R*E*P*E*A*T Records first of all, then a couple more EPs on my label, then the album.  We’re also planning UK festivals and tours in Germany, Japan and hopefully the US.

Porky: If Ten City Nation were to be killed a group of Cornish nationalists on Tuesday week what would your legacy be?

Seymour: Mike’s legacy would be his paintings and his collection of 2nd World War memorabilia.  Neil’s legacy would be an almighty flood caused by all the women on Earth weeping uncontrollably forever.  My legacy would be … a really, really good collection of T-shirts?  And I buy ace presents for my family, which I’m sure would be treasured.

Porky: Is downloading music good for TCN and for indie music in general?

Seymour: Yes – more people have heard TCN’s albums with minimal publicity than ever heard MBA’s records, which had the full hype machine in operation behind them and cost everyone involved thousands and thousands of pounds they’ll never see again.

Porky: How important is your involvement with Love Music Fight Racism and fighting against the British National Party?

Seymour: It’s very important to me, but what causes me a great deal of frustration is that it shouldn’t be my job to try and help convince people not to vote BNP: it should be the job of the other parties to show themselves as something other than a bunch of cretinous, self-serving wankers and to make the British public believe that they actually have more inside them than a gaping vacuum where a soul should be.  A vital job of any Government should be to make its citizens – regardless of background or ethnicity – feel that their best interests are being served.  Either this Government isn’t doing that, or they’re doing the worst PR job in history, and the other main parties seem incapable of offering anything that even resembles a tempting alternative.  Meanwhile, the BNP are going door-to-door and talking to people like they actually matter, in their own language rather than in the language of politics, and are offering scapegoats for their woes that seem logical in the context they’re given, so of course people are voting BNP.  I dream of a time when I actually want to vote FOR a party rather than AGAINST the ones I hate most.  But that time ain’t now, so we’re left with idiots with guitars like me handing leaflets to people who probably agreed with me in the first place.  It’s a shocking state of affairs and if I ever meet Gordon Brown, I’m going to punch him in the tits.

Porky: Any other Bury St Eds/ Suffolk bands the world should wake up to?

Seymour: Cure Caballo just won the BurySOUND Band Competition and their song Predators is ace, I’m looking forward to hearing more stuff.  Thee Vicars are brilliant, but you’ve probably already heard of them.  Tell It To The Marines started with the standard post-hardcore/emo sound and are rapidly turning it into something entirely their own, which is quite an achievement – we’re hoping to do lots of gigs with them this year.  And we also love Kunk, from Norwich, and The Resistance and Hyman Roth, who’re from Cambridge.  You can’t afford to worry about county boundaries when everyone everywhere is basically trying to rise above the same old crap.
Porky: What’s the weirdest or most outlandish gig you’ve done?

Seymour: In MBA we played at Soham Village College while Ian Huntley was still the janitor there – it was literally a few months before he killed those girls.  That’s only weird in hindsight, but thinking about it still makes my blood run cold.   In terms of actual gig weirdness, MBA were once asked to play at an actual Masonic lodge in Otley, West Yorkshire.  There are clips from it in the video for the Miss Black America single (it’s on YouTube).  And last summer, TCN played at a festival in a rural life museum in Farnham, supporting Jethro Tull and Mungo Jerry.  They had a TARDIS in one of the sheds.  We drank locally-brewed cider under the string lights, then Neil commandeered an abandoned stall, put some Northern Soul on the boombox and caused a mass pile-up of grooving revellers.  It was fantastic.

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