Archive | April, 2010

Interview : We Have Band

28 Apr

Manchester trio We Have Band are a band that you’ll be hearing more about as their popularity rises. Whether you simply want to dance or work your stuff on the runway, the music of We Have Band is edgy, filled with a lot of 80s synth, attitude and aesthetic. Members consist of Darren Bancroft, Dede W-P and Thomas W-P (Dede and Thomas are married). With comparisons to Hot Chip, Talking Heads, The Rapture, ESG, New Order, the Presets and a little bit of LCD Soundsystem, We Have Band offers a fresh perspective on disco-revival and dancing despite statements explaining that they aren’t doing anything “new” within the music scene.

Produced by Gareth Jones (Grizzly Bear, Interpol, Depeche Mode), it’s no wonder We Have Band is gaining success with their EP “WHB” released April 5th as well as their unexpected win at Glastonbury Festival’s 2009 Emerging Talent Contest. Recently, We Have Band launched their single “Honeytrap” from their forthcoming LP “WHB” due May 11. Dirtbag Journalism caught up with We Have Band to discuss some of the past, present and future ideals of the band.

Dirtbag Journalism
: How are you doing? Are you in Germany at the moment? Describe to our readers how the tour has been going so far.

We Have Band : We just arrived in Germany. Took the train from Paris to Leipzig where we’re playing tonight. It’s going to be a good one because we’re playing with JD from Le Tigre’s new band called MEN. We met on the road in Australia and it’s always nice to play with bands you know. The tour has been going great. We did the UK, then France and now it’s Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium and Italy before the festival season takes us back to all those places again and some new ones. We just heard we’re playing some South America shows at the end of May, so we can’t wait for that too. It’s quite different touring with the record out now in Europe. It’s cool that everyone knows the songs and they’re singing them back at us, feels more complete than it ever has done before.

DJ :What has the response to your music been from fans from different parts of England? How are Manchester or Liverpool and say, London’s crowds, different from each other?

WHB :London can be a tough crowd a lot of the time because they’re a bit spoiled for choice and you always get loads of industry people at the shows, but we’ve played in London so much that we kind of know what to expect. It’s a good challenge to get the room going. Things are bit wilder on the regional shows for sure. Dede is from Manchester, so it’s always special to play there. The crowds in Ireland and Scotland are crazy too. We just went up there and we were blown away by the response.

DJ : What can we expect from your “WHB” LP ?

The record is very varied in pace which is the thing that seems to be surprising people the most. The singles are inevitably going to be the most pop moments on the album because they work best for radio but there are a lot of different things going on throughout. We feel like that’s what an album should be, a chance to stretch your legs as a band. If everything sounded the same it would really bore us.

DJ : Why should people pay attention to WHB? What sets you apart from other similar “disco revival/dance rock” acts ?

WHB : We never set out to reinvent music and that’s not what we feel like we’re doing.  For us it’s not about setting apart from anyone else; it’s more about vision and integrity. Like any band or artist we’re unique in that its us creating an experience on record or live and we’re caring for it as three individuals who believe in what we’re doing. Then when you add each individual audience member or listener to that experience it’s even more unique.

DJ : How did you meet Gareth Jones?

WHB : We contacted Gareth directly about working with us and he listened to the tracks and liked them. We met and had coffee and talked a lot and we all felt really good about each other so we went ahead. He’s a great guy and he’s got such an amazing list of people he’s worked with before like Grizzly Bear and Interpol and Depeche Mode, so it was very cool to work with him.

DJ : I absolutely love your music videos. How would you describe the band’s aesthetic ? How did you come up with the concepts for the music videos “Oh”, “Divisive” and “You Came Out”? Are you channeling any particular artists through these videos?

: Thank you. The videos are supposed to be extensions of the songs so we’re just channeling different parts of ourselves really. They’ve all been true collaborations in that we’re very careful who we choose to do them and we think about the ideas offered very closely, but then we just totally let go and let the directors follow their vision. It’s always a bit of a surprise to us to see the final result. The aesthetic has been pretty DIY so far because that’s always made the most sense. We’re not opposed to something slicker, but it would have to feel right with the song.

DJ : Favourite tour moment and/or city? Least favourite tour moment and/or city?

WHB : Our little USA tour last year was really cool. SXSW festival in Texas was amazing and we always love being in New York and LA, so playing both those cities was cool. Moscow is a lot of fun too, total chaos in the best way. We really don’t have a least favourite city. Anywhere with bad sound is upsetting, so whenever we’ve had that it’s not a good moment.

Posted by : Erin Pehlivan

Bad Ass Kids Grace Wolf Parade’s Expo 86 Album Cover

27 Apr

When Wolf Parade finally drop Expo 86(which is looking like it could see light as early as June); this very cute/really fucking bad ass cover is what you can expect to see according to Pitchfork. These three young gents are actually family members of Wolf Parade guitarist Dante DeCaro. Now that we have the cover, let’s hear a single off the new record boys.

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Next Level : Male Bonding

27 Apr

Although most bands may have that winning “I’ve made it!” high when signed to a label like Subpop (Fleet Foxes, Postal Service, Iron & Wine), for some reason, U.K. lo-fi surf-punk trio Male Bonding are still paying their karmic dues. Case in point: John Arthur Webb (guitar/vocals), Kevin Hendrick (bass/vocals), and Robin Silas Christian (drums) skipped Iceland on their last tour, and now their biggest fan Eyjafjallajokull is ticked; leaving them stranded in Los Angeles for the past few days. Then there’s also the fact that earlier this month in Montreal their van was broken into, and last year Hendrick had a burrito thrown at him where the only way to dodge it was to jump in front of a car.

But this series of unfortunate events is not enough to get these roommates from Dalston, a district of inner-London, down. The band has been around for only two years, but they’ve already toured with Soft Pack, Dum Dum Girls, and Vivian Girls; not to mention their debut full-length due on May 11, Nothing Hurts, features the latter. And it’s no surprise. Their single, “Year’s Not Long,” is a two and a half minute hypnotic scramble that puts the fast-forward button on any CD player to shame.

Male Bonding is booked until October with European tour dates, so if you missed them at Wrongbar during this year’s CMW, you’ll have to do without a live performance until they make it back across the pond. And as soon as Nothing Hurts comes out, you’ll definitely want them back. We at Dirtbag will even use the title of a Razorlight song to make our plea: “Don’t Go Back to Dalston” and come back to Canada.

Posted by : Melissa Kim

Interview : Los Campesinos!

27 Apr

Since being signed to Arts and Crafts in 2007, Cardiff’s Los Campesinos! have seen success on both sides of the Atlantic, offering an alternative to the electronic influence currently dominating the UK, as well as contributing something new to the landscape of Canadian music.  After releasing their third full-length album, Romance is Boring, to critical acclaim earlier this year, the seven-piece have increased their fan base exponentially by fearlessly presenting their unique brand of indie pop-rock to new and existing listeners, as well as to industry insiders and musical peers.  While their North American tour was forced to cancel and re-organize several dates as a result of the flight situation dominating much of Europe, they’ve continued their token fan-based interaction, taking to their Twitter and blog with updates and anecdotes which have become a trademark of the UK group.  Earlier this month, we had a chance to speak to Tom Campesino about their experience with Arts and Crafts, the difference between Canadian and UK labels and the importance of connecting with fans.

Dirtbag Journalism: Having been signed to Arts and Crafts relatively early, have you found a marked difference between the operation of Canadian labels versus what you’ve previously experienced or heard in regards to others?

Tom Campesino:  The main difference is with the people – that’s kind of what it comes down to.  And we’re sort of lucky enough that even though we’re in the UK and Arts and Crafts is in Canada, we get to work with good people. They’re music lovers, and I think also because Kevin Drew knows how to deal with bands, they were able to get a lot of things on that side right.  And in that sense, it’s just very easy.  I mean, in the end the real difference is the accents, really, because at Arts and Crafts they just have this sincere love of music, and it’s nice and it’s easy working with them.  And obviously the roster that they’ve got – we were sort of quite revered towards Arts and Crafts, and when we knew they were showing an interest in us, it was a really overwhelming thing, to be featured on a label with some of our favourite bands.

DJ: Being signed to that label, are you influenced by a distinct “Canadian sound”?  Or do Los Campesinos! refuse to be defined by their geographical background or location?

TC:  I guess because Arts and Crafts is Canadian and we live in the UK, we don’t share that communal vibe.  I mean, whenever we go over we get along great, but we’re not seeing them on a day-to-day basis, and it’s not necessarily like that in the UK. People like our management, we’re able to see and speak to all the time, but there’s not necessarily that same sort of same communal aspect or influence in our music.  But at the same time, I think we were influenced by Broken Social Scene before Arts and Crafts even sort of came into view, so in that sense it was kind of consequential.  In terms of influences, we didn’t look at the roster of the label and decide we want to fit in.  We try to do our own thing because I think if Arts and Crafts took any interest in us at all it’s probably because we were doing our own thing.

DJ: Well, you guys manage to be popular in both Canada and the US, and that’s quite a feat considering that right now a lot of UK music seems to be more electronic, and North American music is just doing its own thing altogether.  You guys manage to straddle both of those spectrums.

TC:  It’s really flattering that we have any sort of fans at all, and I’d like to hope that if people do like it, it’s because we’re not constantly influenced by trends – and that’s something we’ve always tried to do from the start.  Since the beginning, we’ve always tried to go against that.  We wouldn’t necessarily rule out electronic music in the future, but we’ve never tried to move towards trends.  But it kind of feels like in the US there’s probably more room for diversity in terms of music, where the UK feels sort of limited. It just seems like there’s a very narrow vein of what’s popular in the UK, and there’s obviously a lot of interesting things happening beneath that level.

DJ:  You were also nominated for the NME Award for Best Blog last month.  Why have you chosen to remain to interactive with your audience?  Do you think this is the way bands need to be or does it simply reflect on you as people?

TC:  I’d like to hope it was the latter.  I’m sure there are kind of marked benefits to maintaining that type of relationship with your fans, but honestly I think it’s just that we’re very flattered when anyone shows any interest in our band.  I think now especially, it’s kind of impossible to shut up – and it’s perfect for that role, always communicating on Twitter with our fans.  And to me, it seems normal.  I guess we’re not at that stage where we’re massive or there is that distance – and I hope that there never will be. These are the people who come to the shows and are more likely to buy your music, so why shouldn’t you speak to them?

I guess part of it is because we don’t really feel like a proper band still. You don’t feel like a rock star when you’re walking down the street, because you’re not.  We’re just seven people who were students and kind of got a bit lucky, and that hasn’t really changed – so why should it change?

DJ:  Well having seven people in your band, that’s a relatively large group.  With this year seeing the release of records by Broken Social Scene, Arcade Fire and The New Pornographers, do you consider 2010 to be the return of large ensemble acts?

TC:  I don’t know if people will approach it in a trend-based way.  From our sense, it was always the practical thing. Part of it is that there’s a lot of bands that will normally be a four-piece, but when they tour, they often get test musicians along and end up being a seven-piece on stage.  So it’s almost like, what’s the point in that?  Why don’t you just get three more of your friends to play with you?  And that’s always how we’ve approached it.  There’s this sort of mega-element to our music that requires all of our members.

Posted by : Anne T Donahue

Dirtbag Debut : The Dream – Love King

27 Apr

” I got girls in Chicago, girls in Toronto” Love it!!!

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Dirtbag Debut : Foals – This Orient

21 Apr

The music world was left in shock when Foals dropped their promo single,  Spanish Sahara a few months ago because of it’s complete departure from their debut album, Antidote. Just hours ago, the official first single, This Orient surfaced on You Tube(but we got the scoop from Eat Sleep Breath Music).  It seems like at this point we can all agree that when Total Life Forever drops in May; the band will bring a finished project that will blow our minds. But you know, only time will tell. The boys recently did an interview, talking about their days of playing shows at house parties. They boys say “no more house parties”. We’ll see about that.

Posted by : Max Mohenu

Toro Y Moi Set To Debut Full Live Band On Tour With Caribou

21 Apr

If you didn’t attend the Toro Y Moi show in Toronto last week, don’t worry because you’ll get another chance very soon. It was just confirmed by PR team Force Field that Toro Y Moi will be touring with Caribou in support of the new record, Swim, which has already been Pitchfork approved “Best New Music”. The tour starts today in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Toro will be debuting his full live band. Here are all the dates :

04/21 – Wellesley, MA – Tishman Commons Wang
04/22 – Durham, NC – Duke Coffeehouse
04/23 – Athens, GA – New Earth Music Hall
04/24 – Charleston, SC – Eye Level Art Gallery
05/03 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Theatre*
05/04 – Ottawa, ON – Babylon*
05/05 – Montreal, QC – La TuLipe*
05/06 – Cambridge, MA – Middle East Downstairs*
05/07 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg*
05/08 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom*
05/09 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church*
05/10 – Washington, DC – Rock and Roll Hotel*
05/11 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre*
05/12 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle*
05/13 – Atlanta, GA – The Earl*
05/14 – Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon*
05/15 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live*
05/16 – Austin, TX – Emo’s Alternative Lounge Outside*
05/18 – Tempe, AZ – The Clubhouse*
05/19 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre*
05/20 – San Diego, CA – Casbah*
05/21 – Mexico City, ME – Teatro Fru Fru*
05/22 – Monterrey, NL – Escenica
05/24 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent*
05/26 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater*
05/28 – Victoria, BC – Sugar*
05/29 – Vancouver, BC – The Rickshaw Theatre*
05/31 – Calgary, AB – The Republik*
06/01 – Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room*
06/02 – Saskatoon, SK – Amigos*
06/03 – Winnipeg, MB – Royal Albert Arms*
06/04 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry*
06/05 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
06/06 – Lawrence, KS – The Granada Theatre*
06/07 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird*
06/08 – Louisville, KY – Zanzabar*
06/09 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop*
06/10 – Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light
06/11 – Columbia, SC – New Brookland Tavern

* = w/ Caribou

Posted by : Max Mohenu