Category Archives: A chat with:

A chat with: HandS

All it takes is just one idea, or two from a pair of capable HandS and BANG – before you know it you’ve got the makings of some gorgeous music.  Hakon & Sofie have, with the help of rising star producer Pete Hofmann crafted some of the most subtlety elaborate dream-pop you’ll probably hear all year. They deserve to be the dinner party music for everyone who bought the XX album and more. Here’s as good a place as any to get started…

Both of you hail from Bergen, which is where the amazing Annie and Royksopp are also from. Do you reckon there’s something in the town’s water supply or something?

Hakon: Well Norway is really small, and the music scene even smaller. We work together and support each other which is why music from Bergen makes it big, and the little cold city is making its way in the massive international music market. Perhaps when it’s from a little strange town in Norway people listen for the contrast. Maybe it’s exotic?!

How did you first end up making music together?

We met and got quite drunk when Sofie had just turned eighteen and FINALLY could drink beer legally. We had one or two or three or you know…seventeen together, and found out we both shared a huge love of Pop music. Quite different tastes but at the same time so similar. We’ve ended up spending every day together from the day we met.

You’ve swapped Norway for the UK – what was your main reason for moving?

The reason we went abroad is because we know the music industry in Norway and Bergen, its very indie and based on local music. Although we make everything from our beats to lyrics ourselves, our sound is so Pop, it sounded like we had to go to bigger cities to get accepted for what we wanted to do. It feel right to try something bigger and more challenging than what other Norwegian artists do and to reach for the stars!
A big influence on your upcoming album has been producer Pete Hofmann. What’s it been like working with him?
We LOVE working with Pete as it’s easy to go into this little world we sometimes go into, where we think only we know what’s best. All off a sudden a super-talented person from the outside can say “Hey, this and that could be different and more like this”, and so on. So  far all his ideas and talent have made the material better and us even more engaged.
Would you say that ‘Wake Up’ is an accurate reflection of the rest the music you’ve been making?
‘Wake Up’ is our first single and we’re very proud of it. We’ve kept it to ourselves for so long and couldn’t wait to show you guys what we’ve done. At the same time it might not be exactly the sound of our future releases, it’s just going to turn more dancey and darker as we move along. We’re fascinated by the mix of heartbreaking lyrics, dark beats and the “happy” pop sound that tops it all and makes it all surreal and different.
What’s the plan for the rest of the year in terms of releases?
We want to play lots of live shows, to demonstrate to you all what we’ve working so hard on. Our aim is to be shamelessly engaged in what we do and try to reach the goals we’ve been longing for and ultimately share our love of Pop and great performance with you all!
Check out HandS’ SoundCloud page for more brilliant material and keep up to date with their latest releases and performances by following them on Facebook and The Twitter.
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A chat with: Erik Hassle

In Pop music few have managed to feat of not singing about sunshine and kittens, but genuine heartbreak and emotion without coming across as mopey or depressive. Think a ginge, one-man version of Hurts and you’re not a million miles off with Erik Hassle. While not a heart-throb in the traditional Eric Saade/Danny Saucedo model it’s not hard to find equally feverish fans of the 23 year old Swede. With the experience of surviving a brush with a major record label under his belt he’s recently released his new album We Dance, which promises to make you throw some shapes as much as it’ll make you cry:

Pieces was one of the most underrated and overlooked albums of 2010. Looking back, how do you feel about the whole experience of being launched by a major record label in the UK?

First of all, thank you. 2009 to 2011 was a hell of a ride for me, getting such a good spot on a classic label like Island was for me, 18 years old and straight out of school, a bit hard to grasp.  I couldn’t get a better opportunity to reach out to so many people and it gave me an incredible bunch of fans that I’m very happy about today. I’m coming back for them!

You’re famous for your distinctive hair. Have you ever dared dye it a different colour?

There was a period when I was about 10-12 years old when I always dyed my hair black. I was not happy about having both curly and red hair. That was until a girl I liked boosted my self confidence, telling me she liked both the curls and my African sunset colour. It quickly turned back into a red afro!

While we’re on the whole hair subject – apparently in Sweden and most of Europe having red hair isn’t a big deal while in the UK kids get bullied at school for it. Why do you think there’s such a weird cultural difference?

I think it is because it stands out in a quite distinctive way. Everything that is different is easy to pick on as kid. I get that. But I agree that it is a mystery that being red haired is such a big deal in England, where it seems to be a very common pigment compared to other countries.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve written a song about which you then decided not to record?

I wrote a song for this album called ‘I’m in love with your daughter’. The lyrics are aimed against this overprotective father who, no matter how long it takes, will be waiting for a wealthy Prince to ask for his daughter’s hand and who will not hide his dislike for you. The twist in the chorus was “I’m in love with your daughter, like you. Guess I’m more than a little like you” When I played it up for English-speaking friends they thought it was a bit of a weird line. They wondered what kind of father this was. They thought it was a bit inappropriate. The lyrics make perfect sense in Swedish though!

‘Back Under Water’ is surprisingly uptempo compared to your earlier material and the new album is called We Dance. Does this mean that you’re feeling less down-in-the-dumps musically?

In a way it does or at least did while writing this album. We  had a lot of fun writing the songs and the mood in it came quite naturally from when we first wrote a song on the album called ‘We Dance’. Me and my producer felt that ” We gotta do this album all the same way” and decided to fulfill a dream of recording an album live. I have a very loyal and fantastic band and I asked them if they wanted to help me record it. We rented a classic studio in Stockholm called Atlantis for 12 days and nailed one song before lunch every day. I think recording the songs in “takes”  automatically made us pretty much friends with a snare being played a bit out of the groove or a melody slightly out of tune and so on and so forth. We felt positive recording the album and I think the end result listening to it is feeling positive as well.

Do you have any good luck rituals before performing live?

I have a lot of “warming up” rituals that I won’t reveal!

Would you ever enter Melodifestivalen?

No

Your duet of ‘If I Could Build My Whole World Around You’ with Agnes was amazing. Anyone else you’d desperately like to perform with?

Since on of my heroes Bobby Womack is back in the game, I could die happy having done something with him.

The album We Dance is out now. For more information visit Erik’s Facebook page or follow him on The Twitter.

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A chat with: Rock the Sexy

Sometimes a classy, polished bit of pop just won’t cut it. A bit like when you’re on your way home from a heavy night out and you’re drawn against your better nature into a kebab shop – Rock the Sexy are that musical equivalent. Filthy, flirty and fun with a debut single that samples Snap!’s classic anthem ‘Rhythm is a Dancer’, they are just what the Doctor ordered…you to stay well away from. It’s time you were introduced to the most unapologetically trashy girlband since Girlicious:

How was the group formed?

RtS: Rock Star Music Sweden held auditions. We were the most bad-ass bitches who came out on top!

What made you choose the name ‘Rock the Sexy’ out of everything?

It’s a bad-ass name!

How would you describe your music to someone who was deaf?

We’d have to brush up on our sign language first…

Image-wise, it seems that the likes of Ke$ha inspire you, right?

Hell no!  We like Dr Dre!

Describe the worst dates you’ve been on.

We don’t do dates, we keep that shit tight!

Who have you worked with on your upcoming album?

We’ve had a scout around for the best producers in Sweden and LA . You can expect da shit!

Have you decided on a title yet?

Hmm, we’re working on it. It’s tricky choosing.

Danny Saucedo, Eric Saade and Martin Rolinski; kiss, have sex or marry. Choose!

Kiss Danny, have sexy time with Eric as he’s sweet and marry Martin.

Between you, who would win in a fight?

We would probably all end up dead!

The single ‘Dirty Disco Freak’ is out now. Keep up to date with all things Rock the Sexy by visiting their Facebook page and following them on The Twitter.

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A chat with: Swiss Lips

FEAR NOT; Swiss Lips are not, despite what the picture below suggest, some twattish guitar band based in East London. They’re from Manchester and make genius pop. All the more reason not to pelt them with the contents of your bin and ask them some questions. Which I did.

So you’re called Swiss Lips, which apparently is also slang for “vadge” –  something you didn’t know when you christened yourselves. What made you pick the name?

Sam: It just popped into my head when we were desperate for a name. With the later realisation of the vagina connection our decision was made. 

Have you ever thought of doing a joint gig with that other Mancunian band whose name has genital connotations, the Ting Tings? (means “small willy” in Japanese)

We’d love to. I heard there’s a Canadian band called The Dirty Assholes, might as well invite them along too.

How did you end up bagging a record deal with the mighty Sony?

Luck I guess. We put our songs on some blogs, and then they got in touch. We just didn’t expect it to happen so fast.

Your first single ‘U Got The Power’ is a song all about being young and free. Do you look forward to singing it when you’re pushing 70 on your inevitable reunion tour in 2062?

Yeah, although we’ll probably be dead by then, or businessmen with machine guns in briefcases and moustaches.

Your debut is due out in August. How much thought have you given the cover art?

A friend of mine is doing something now that we might use. We like photographs. Shouldn’t be too hard, nothing too intense. We prefer to keep things simple.

As for the music itself, can you give us a sneak summary of what to expect?

We have tried to write a really strong pop album, lots of big hooks, with a bit of dirt and misery thrown in to keep it well balanced.

Everything you’ve put towards your first album must feel so precious to you. What do you think the penalty for music piracy should be? 

I’m not sure. I think people should be able to download what they like, but just chuck us a quid now and then for some food.

In the event of things going amazingly well, are you scared or excited about the prospect about having deranged groupies who want to cut off ringlets of your hair to wear in lockets and have sex with you?

It’s probably best not to dwell  too much about the unknown…

Swiss Lips debut album will be released later this year. To keep up to date with all their goings-on, check out their Facebook page and follow ’em on The Twitter.

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A chat with: Apollo

This is Apollo. Asides from dressing up in nautical themed outfits and brightening up my Twitterstream with a constant deluge of rage and joy, he’s quietly formidably talented. It’s not going to happen overnight, but you’re going to wake up one day to find he’s taken over the world
When did you first start being obsessed with sailor iconography?

I’ve always been vaguely obsessed with the nautical. When I was about 16 or 17 (I’m terrible at remembering at what age things happened) I wrote a song called ‘O Sailor’ about being dumped for the first time. I wasn’t particularly into sailor iconography back then, I just liked the idea that a romantic interest can be like a sailor: in your life for a short period of time before abandoning you for their own adventures. Later a good friend introduced me to a lot of old early 20th century sailor erotica and I started to get into work by Pierre et Gilles, too.

What do you think that says about you?

It gave me a visual identity and my whole logo and image was centred around sailor schtick for a while. A lot of my songs utilise sea, ocean or water-related imagery so it fit pretty snugly. To be totally honest with you, I’ve calmed down on it recently. It’s still a passion of mine (although some people assume it’s also a fetish) but I didn’t want it to completely define me. It can border on camp sometimes, which misrepresents my work, I think. I’ve matured a lot since those days and like to be more visually diverse. It’s still a key influence and interest just not as all-consuming as before.

What’ve you been mostly been listening to since ‘Rope’ was first released last year?

I’ll listen to pretty much anything with a female vocalist so: a lot. Recently I was really impressed with Grimes’ album, but that’s the only thing that’s blown me away so far in 2012. Last year I was really into PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Björk and Kate Bush’s ‘comeback’ albums. Stonking stuff considering how long they’ve all been working. I think Camille, Feist, tUnE-yArDs and Julianna Barwick released excellent (underrated) albums last year too. I think women still get a tough time from music journalists. Their stuff is judged by a different standard and given a harder time, but that’s a different conversation.

Did you have much of an idea of how you wanted the video to look like before you started?

Oh totally. I’ve been imagining it since I wrote the song, about 2 years ago. It’s been through various incarnations but I always knew where I wanted it to be shot and getting to actually see that through made me tingly with joy. I basically had every set-up worked out in my head which made the process a lot easier. I’m a complete control freak artistically, mostly because so far I’ve had to do everything – producing, arranging, mixing, styling etc. – all myself. But my collaborators were key. The genius Jamie Brett especially. Couldn’t have done it without his expertise and abundance of ideas. But it mostly came from my twisted and gnarled brain.

How does that compare with the finished product?

I am so proud of it. The entire thing was funded and organised by me and was my first video project ever, but even without considering that, I think we did a great job. It’s not exactly what I had in mind – perhaps better actually – but you can’t control weather or outside forces (dead fish floating perilously close to me in the water, roses being blown to the other side of the lake by the wind, faulty smoke bombs etc.), obviously.

Asides from the two tracks on your Soundcloud, what would you say your unreleased musical tinkerings sound like?

I usually say ‘baroque pop’, but that doesn’t always mean anything to everybody. There’s a variety of ‘sounds’ but I’m a classically trained musician so there’s always some element of the electronic colliding with the arch, orchestral and melodramatic. That makes it sound like cheesey fusion, which it’s not. Hopefully you get the gist.

Any plans to gift us with them anytime soon?

Sure. I’m uploading stuff slowly. I want to upload a song called ‘The Tempest’ that I’ve been working on for a while but it contains the single most complicated vocal take I’ve ever had to do so it’s got a way to go before it’s done. I’ll upload it in the next month, god willing.

If you had to choose between having a best-selling, era-defining pop record or a worldwide tour, which would you pick and why?

The former because surely it would produce the means to do the latter? I like to make my cake from scratch, have it and eat it.

‘Rope’ is available to buy from here. Meanwhile you can check out more of Apollo’s songs here, read his blog here and if you fancy witnessing some Grade-A rants, follow him on The Twitter here.

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A chat with: I am a Camera

H & Claire aside, there have been some brilliant male-female partnerships in the history of pop music; Stewart/Lennox, Gregory/Goldfrapp to name but a few. That’s not to say there’s not room for some more. I am a Camera have thrown their hat into the ring as a worthy baton-carriers of the damnably good duos tradition with three immensely impressive singles so far. If you haven’t heard of them before, you’ll soon wish you had…

You were formed in Manchester which obviously has a rather weighty musical heritage of its own. Did any of what inspired that inspire you, or was it more about the meeting of minds in the right place?

Frankie: I’m from Manchester, I love Manchester so I’m definitely inspired & influenced by the place. I spent years out most nights in different clubs listening to Manchester music, & these nights also introduced me to electronic music. We share a love of bands like New Order and The Smiths, we discussed this when we met but I think our meeting would have sparked the idea of I Am A Camera wherever in the world it might have been.

Ian: Actually we formed in both Manchester and London – Frankie was in Manchester, I was in London and we gradually merged. It was meant to happen – and did.

There are a couple of reasons why you would choose “I am Camera” as a band name – there’s the song by the Buggles or a ’50s Broadway play inspired by Isherwood’s brilliant “Goodbye to Berlin”. Or you might just really like photography…..any of the above?

Frankie: Well, we do really like photography but the idea came from Christopher Isherwood’s ‘Goodbye to Berlin’. The quote “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” is so relevant now when we literally can’t do anything without it being captured somehow, and ending up on Facebook the day after. We live in a CCTV nation.

Ian: I’m a big fan of Trevor Horn and I love the track but it was really down to the Christoper Isherwood stories.

Your last single was called ‘Commuter Love’. What would be your suggested action to someone if they really fancy someone they see on the way to work?

Frankie: I would say take a photo and get it posted on Tube Crush.

Ian: Flip your hair, flirt outrageously and if that doesn’t work maybe do a lil’ sexy dance. If you don’t do it, you’ll only hate yourself after the opportunity has passed.

Meanwhile, your new single is called ‘Factory Boys’. Do you think we’re due another Warhol or was he a one-of-a-kind speck in time?

Frankie: Warhol was one of a kind. I don’t think there could be another. He challenged the world to see art differently, and I think he succeeded. It wasn’t just his art, he made incredible films & music and was part of one of the most exciting times in history – New York in the 70’s, The Factory, Studio 54. I don’t think any of that could be recreated. I wish it could. Send me back there!

Ian: There will only ever be one Andy Warhol, he was an utter genius but I think there’s always room for someone new and exciting.

How did you feel about performing at Lovebox? Did you try and hang out with the indomitable Grace Jones?

Frankie: Of course we tried, who wouldn’t want to hang out with Grace Jones?

Ian: Being on the same stage as Grace, Lana Del Rey and Chic was incredible, we were so excited about it. Attempting to hang out with Grace was top of our list. I wonder what she smells like? Lavender and stardust?

Do either of you have any major phobias?

Ian: Snakes terrify me! I can’t even look at a television screen if they’re on it. Obviously Snakes on a Plane is not one of my favourite films…

Asides from the next single (which is TERRIFIC) what does the plan for the rest of the year look like?

Frankie: The rest of the year will be busy for us. We’ll be finishing the album, releasing more singles, making our videos, and aiming to play live a lot more too

Ian: The rest of the year will be gigs and finishing our album. We’re locked away in deepest, darkest North London cooking up a storm in the studio as we speak. We can’t wait for folks to hear it!

And if if it all goes utterly tits up, is there a back-up plan?

Frankie: Absolutely not!

Ian: There is nothing else.

‘Factory Boys’, the new single by I am a Camera is out now. The single ‘Commuter Love’ is also available to download. Visit their Facebook page or follow them on The Twitter for further information.

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A chat with: Warren Nomi

With the music industry talent pool more competitive than a pond full of piranhas fighting over a lump of meat, getting your break can often seem impossible. Arriving in the City of Angels (and Devils) with nothing but a suitcase and hopeful talent, Warren Nomi is finally showing signs of getting there. Signed to a label who believe in his bewitching voice and looks, it’s great to be able to suit down and ask him some questions before he becomes a massive popstar…or professional gigolo.

Hello Warren. If you could be doing anything asides from answering dull questions right now, what would it be? 

Well, I actually enjoy being questioned and asking questions, unless I’m being subpoenaed! However the one place I always prefer to be and love to do is making music & being on stage. I’ve spent all of my life in a land of song and dance and I truly live the artists life.

What’s the most vile and degrading job you’ve had to do to support yourself as a budding musician? 

I have had so many for so long that I wouldn’t know where to begin” I have been supporting myself and my career since I was about 14. I have worked in fast food, department stores, at record stores, as a go go dancer, passing out flyers…you get the idea.  But, the most degrading job I have had to do is working at a nightclub where I was sweeping floors and cleaning toilets for celebrity clientele. I was forced to look at it as a networking opportunity, so I was constantly passing out my CD and business cards, introducing myself, as well as sweeping up loose cash that fell out of pockets and  purses when customers got a little too tipsy!

So, your first single ‘The Rush’ – what’s it all about? 

‘The Rush’ is my debut single on Citrusonic Stereophonic Recordings. I’ve been putting out my own music for a little while now, so this is my first record on a new label which is nice as there’s a proper team behind me. I worked on this song with a team of writers/producers from Australia and Sweden, so it has a very worldwide feel for me. I think ‘The Rush’ is a great introduction to my sound, but doesn’t necessarily represent what is always gonna come from me. The song actually is about enjoying and overcoming substance as well as finding your deeper rush, meaning true love or spirituality. At the same time it’s also a great song to party with and hit the floor. There’s sick remixes & a music video coming out shortly that I’m very excited about!

Presumably there’s an album on the way too! What can we all expect from it? 

Oh yes, I probably have enough material for two albums, but just to get one out would be a dream come true! People can expect songs that are a little more risk taking and bubble gum. I sing in my lower register in ‘The Rush’, but a lot of my material is using my higher register. I’m obviously a huge fan of the Eighties and Funk, so I have some tunes that are very Culture Club and Prince inspired. I also love to sing ballads, so I have some of those. All in all, you can always expect a song from my heart from me.

You seem to have embraced the whole “having a look” aspect of being a pop artist. How would you describe yours?

Thanks for the compliment. I’ve had so many different looks through out the years, it all depends on how I’m feeling on that day. I think it’s important to feel great about yourself and comfortable in your own skin, and you’ll look good in just about anything. For me to think I look good, I have to be in a good frame of mind, and my look to be cute, colorful & vintage. Red and blues are my favorite colours.

What was it like working as a dancer on Burlesque? 

Working on Burlesque was a dream come true, as I had just arrived in Hollywood moving from New York. As I watched Christina on set play her character, it was almost as if I was watching my own story in front of me. It was a really defining time for me also because I was homeless and living in a hotel. I just about lost my breath when Cher walked into the room. She has an amazing energy about her like no other. I remember looking at the person next to me going, “Oh my god, it’s Cher!” To work on that movie was an honour and I will always cherish that experience.

You’re a big fan of Amy Winehouse. Do you have a favorite song by her?

A star and talent gone too soon, perhaps too fragile for this world.  I do have a favourite song by her, it has to be ‘Love Is A Losing Game’.

How do you feel about her posthumous release? Would you want something unfinished by you released after you’d died?

Well, when you sign a record contract or gain notoriety, part of what comes with that price is that your work is accessible at any time and a corporation has your music under contract. With technology and the internet, it is very hard to keep what you do under wraps. When someone moves on to heaven, I think it’s a beautiful thing to have your final work remembered. So when my times is up, I would want nothing more than for what I recorded last or the picture I took last to be heard/seen & remembered with.

‘The Rush’ is available to download now. For the latest Warren Nomi news and gossip, hear it straight from the horse’s mouth via his Facebook and Twitter pages.

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A chat with: Beatrice Eli

With the influx in recent years of Swedish female artits, it’s sometimes confusing remembering who’s who. There’s obviously Robyn –  the “She’s not actually a lesbian, Mum” one, Agnes – the “Unsullied-by-Cowell Leona Lewis ” as well as “the one who never smiles” – Lykke Li. Fellow Swede Beatrice Eli is equally distinctive as the “sensitive lyrics but badass appearance” export. Resembling a cross between Lady Sovereign and Lisbeth Salander it’s an initial surprise when you first hear her pouring her heart out with such beautiful vocals. With  ‘The Conqueror’, her first of hopefully many more singles to come  released, it’s time you were introduced:

Tell me about the most awful live performance by another act/band that you’ve ever seen. Get bitchy!

Didn’t see this one live obviously but Enrique Iglesias’ epic fail performance where they’ve added on his vocals to a playback performance is pretty amazing.

‘The Conqueror’ is a strange song as it manages to be both quiet and sad but also a massive declaration. Is writing a big synthy ballad how you’d recommend everyone dealt with heartache?

If you do it well it could potentully lead to some extra cash in your bank account…so why not?

In the video you seem quite comfortable in your typically baggy, Sporty Spice attire. Have you always been like that?

I think I’m regressing into my early teen self and I wore a lot of sportswear back then so I guess so!

When you’re writing a song and you get stuck with the lyrics, what do you do to “get in the zone”, as it were?

I’ll have a Swedish type of beer called folköl which only contains 3.5% alcohol. Doesn’t get you drunk, just rounds up the edges a bit. Although I don’t believe in the whole drug/alcohol myth when it comes to creating music, everything sounds better when under the influence.

What would you say the biggest misconception about Swedish pop music is?

There are no misconceptions!

You’ve swapped Sweden for infamous East London. Do you ever feel like you have to make more of an effort to fit in with the locals?

There’s your misconception, I’m actually still living in Stockholm although I’m in London every now and then. I don’t really feel the need to fit in although in some situations I unintentionally do so…if that makes any sense?

With a bit of luck you’re going to be giving us an EP in the next few months. What can you tell us about it?

Yeah, there will be an EP coming out late summer. It’s a little taste of what’s to come really….

If you had to create a Frankenstein’s Monster out of different pop artists, whose body parts would you use and why?

I’m not too interested in popstars’ body parts I’d rather take their skills and “Matrix-download” them into myself! Wouldn’t mind having Big Pun’s flow and Björk’s vocal style.

Beatrice’s brilliant debut single ‘The Conqueror’ is out now. Keep up to date with what she’s doing by checking out her pages on Facecrack and The Twitter.

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A chat with: Goldman

Within any group or band there’s a fundamental rule – everyone should play a part. If you’re making music and it feels like you’re just a bookend there to balance out the numbers…then you probably are. Fortunately in the case of switched-on quintet Goldman, made up of Hayley, Paulo, Alex and Bos, everyone seems to bring something different and the end result is timeless-sounding Pop that you know will still sound as enjoyable 10 or 20 years into the future long after Nicki Minaj’s bum has deflated. With an excellent portfolio of songs assembled for you to listen to and some live performances planned during the summer it seemed like the right time to ask them some questions:

Goldman was first started by Hayley and Paulo. How did you two first know each other?

Paulo: Hayley and I met at secondary school. When we realised we were both huge music geeks we started hanging out and did a few performances together at school talent shows and the like. I moved away to London for university and when I moved home years later I asked her if she wanted to help me finish writing a song I’d started called ‘Don’t Forget To Breathe’. Hayley had a song called ‘Catch You’ that she’d written lyrics and melody for and so it went from there!

And how did you stumble across the remaining members?

Paulo: I worked with Alex for a company called Indie Mobile in Bristol, he was the head of the content team that I was part of. Alex did a remix of ‘The One’ and after that he asked a few times if Hayley and I would write a song and he’d produce it but I kept thinking ‘I dont know how to write a dance track’. Took a while for me to work out that it didn’t have to be a dance track and that Alex can pretty much turn his hand to anything, so we got him on board.

I met Ian in a music shop in Bristol. I went in to buy a bit of equipment I needed and he was this ball of energy and enthusiasm. I didn’t say anything at the time but I knew pretty much immediately that I wanted him involved in some capacity, so I checked him out online to make sure was as talented as he was energetic and then when our previous guitarist left the band, that’s when I approached him.

Growing up, did you each have any pop obsessions that you’d care to share?

Hayley: The Backstreet Boys without a doubt! Though it might not have been a musical thing, I genuinely believed I would one day marry Nick Carter.

Paulo: When I was maybe 3 or 4 my nan bought me the first music I ever owned on cassette. She bought me Bad by Michael Jackson and Kylie’s first album. I played them relentlessly on my little Fisher Price tape player which was probably meant for kids stories! – I guess being exposed to pop music of high standards at an early age began shaping my musical taste.

Alex: My childhood musical obsession was Top of the Pops! I’d watch it religiously every Thursday (and then it moved to Fridays) – I even remember going to a party with my parents and asking their friends if I could watch it there. I was particularly into the dance music acts, so all the crossover rave acts like The Prodigy and KLF, and eurodance like Capella and 2 Unlimited were what I’d cross my fingers for! But I also had a massive Michael Jackson obsession – my tape of Bad went everywhere with me!

Bos: My Dad used to be a wedding DJ so I was subjected to the Top 40 non-stop for about 6 years in my teens. My obsession has never been with any one genre – melody, harmony structure and drums are my obsessions.

You describe yourselves as “Urban Electro-Acoustic Pop” – thats’ quite a wide umbrella term!  How else would you describe your music?

Hayley: Unpretentious, melody-driven, classy pop.

Paulo: Proper pop songs with various twists.

Alex: Eclectic! We’re not afraid to mix things up a bit, but it’s very much grounded in pop.

Bos: Poppy pop, pop. Proper Pop. Popper. Poppady pop pop!

What do you dislike most about music clogging up the iTunes Top 10 and how do you think you can offer something different/better?

Hayley: Too many people are trying to sound current instead of trying to sound like themselves. It might get them in the top ten but it makes it all sound the same. That’s why something like the Gotye track is quite refreshing.

Paulo: I loathe artists who seem to have about 5 singles a week out. There’s one particular culprit at the moment! I’d say we offer something unique in that we have a contemporary sound but proper songs underneath, we don’t write one verse and repeat it ten times, throw in a breakdown and call it a ‘song’. That would be massively dissatisfying.

Alex: Like most people, I’m so tired of TV talent shows churning out mediocre covers and proclaiming people superstars before they’ve proven themselves. We’re creating music that we want to make and using our own skills to create it, which feels much more ‘real’. I can’t imagine there’s much pride involved in some of the cookie-cutter stuff that’s about at the moment.

Bos: What they said!

What  things do you have planned for the summer that we should be shouting from mountains about?

Paulo: We have two new songs that should be surfacing on our website fairly soon and a few acoustic things planned but you’ll need to keep your eyes peeled on the website for details of those!

Alex: The live side of things is something working hard to develop at the moment, and we should be performing in the not-too-distant future.

Bos: We’re working out how to get the best performance out there that represents us, using the right mix of live instruments and technology to create the best show.

If you could each have superpowers, which would you pick? (asides from obviously turning things to GOLD)

Hayley: The power to turn water into rum.

Paulo: Weather control – it would of course be 90 degrees  in the shade all the time.

Alex: Time travel!

Bos: The ability to make Paulo stop talking!

To have a listen to the rest of Goldman’s lovely tracks pay their Soundcloud a visit, and for all the latest news visit their Facecrack page and follow ’em on The Twitter

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A chat with: Alphabeat

Petula Clark sang “When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go downtown…” – what a cow. You’re more likely to get robbed and raped than have your spirits lifted by doing that. Instead, the safer and more effective way I’d recommend of banishing the blues is three words; “PLAY.SOME.ALPHABEAT.”   Since 2004, Denmark’s finest export have been on a personal mission to spread joy and catchy hooks wherever they go. Their first album managed the tricky balancing act of sounding indie enough to trick NME-readers but was everything a pop fan wanted too. While their second album, The Beat is… was a bit of a departure from all that, paying homage to Black Box and other early 90s dance, it was a gorgeous record too. So far the UK late spring/early summer weather has been predictably unpredictable, so what better than for the trusty Danes to whisk us off on a vacation…literally, with their latest single. What more could you ask for?
Where would the perfect Alphabeat vacation be?
There is no such thing as vacation when you’re in Alphabeat, but hey, a sunny beach on a remote island with everyone we love would be pretty good…
Your first album was mostly Eighties influenced, your second Nineties – does that mean we can now expect an early 2000s sound?
Nope, sorry! Would be kinda fun though. Late 90’s early 2000’s, endless sampled “real life” drum beats like Westlife, Atomic Kitten or what ever. But no. This time around we’ve combined the way we made our debut album with studio drums, guitar and the more “bandy” sound with the slick produced and modern sound we had on The Beat Is…with samples and all that jazz. It’s been a lot of fun to do it this way, nerdy and it’s been taking a lot of time but the result so far is absolutely amazing. You can expect an album with a lot of upbeat pop songs you can dance to!
For the past few years you’ve mostly been based in London. What non-obvious advice would you give to any Danes visiting?
We moved back to Copenhagen after three great years in London and all over the UK really. The road was our home for those years and we’ve been to so many lovely places. We’d probably tell people to enjoy the beauty of Edinburgh, go party all night in Newcastle, sightseeing in Bristol, shopping in East London and then end up on the beach in Brighton where the sun always shines for some reason. We love the UK and would love to go touring again sometime…if you guys want us back.
As well as doing your own material, you’ve also been writing for other artists. How have you found the whole experience of offering stuff to someone else with no guarantee that it’ll be released?
We did a bit of songwriting with other artists when we were in the UK and it was a lot of fun. It’s always thrilling to meet new people who share the same passion for amazing songwriting and then get into a room with a piano, a microphone and a Mac and then start recording stuff out of the blue. But we do prefer to do things on our own with our own touch though writing with other people is a great way to get outside the Alpha-bubble for a while…
Do you still have a record deal in the UK?
We don’t. But our Danish label Copenhagen Records (best label in the world, fyi) are distributed through Universal and that’s the reason why ‘Vacation’ is also available in the UK, Europe, US and a lot of strange places in the world. We still want to give every pop fan the possiblity to listen to our songs, so this is a great way to pay back for all the love everyone gives us by releasing our songs out there. You can have it if you want it. But it would be pretty good with a major label supporting us, so if anyone out there is up for helping us out we’d be glad to meet up. It’s hard to be a small band in a big world of pop without someone pushing it for you in regions such as the UK and US but we’re doing our best to spread the word ourselves on blogs, news sites, radio etc, and the help has been brilliant. It was fun to see ‘Vacation’ move into the Top 100 on iTunes UK on the day of release. All our hard work had paid off and the fans had heard the rumours of a new Alphabeat song. We are not sure if the new album will get a physical release everywhere, but at least we’re pretty sure our Danish label will release it on iTunes etc. for everyone who wants it.
Is the new album ready for release, or is it still being recorded?
It’s still in the making. So far 6 songs are mixed and done. We’ve still got a bunch of songs that needs the final touch and we should have a full album with joyful pop at some point late Summer, early Autumn.
Alphabeat has always been about fans lusting over Anders SG and Stine. Isn’t it time that the rest of the band showed their sexy side?!
Well, take a look at the new press photo. It’s 6 times sexiness!
Do you ever regret turning down the chance to tour with the Spice Girls?
Nope. It was way to early in our UK career to be thrown out there in front of 1000s of fans and we knew that we’d always be known as “the band who supported Spice Girls”. Today it’s more fun to look back and people know we are “the band who turned down supporting Spice Girls”. That tour ended all of a sudden, right? Good thing we said no. We played 160 live gigs in 2008 and got known for our own thing and not because we supported a big pop group. People know us for our very energetic live shows and we still hear from people who remember our small gigs at places like The Whelans in Dublin, King Tuts in Glasgow and The Water Rats in London. Always amazing. That we ended up selling out two nights in Shepherd’s Bush later that year was just the result of old school hard work and it felt so good!
Is there anyone in particular you’d really like to tour with?
Touring with Lady Gaga is probably the biggest act we could dream of supporting. And we did. It was an absolutely amazing tour around the UK. We also  turned down supporting George Michael back in 2007 when he was in Denmark, same reason as for the Spice Girls gig – too big and too early on. But if he reunited with Andrew Ridgeley and went on a “Choose Life – Again” tour we’d be there in a split second! The Talking Heads would also be a reunion we’d say yes to…”Stop Making Even More Sense”…maybe.
When people think “Alphabeat” they immediately think “joyous, happy” etc. Do you think you’ll ever write a misery-laden record about depression and suicide?
Probably not. We were once one of those boring early 2000s indie bands but found out it was just more fun to have fun.
We do what we do best and will probably make joyous and happy pop music till the day Alphabeat is no more.
‘Vacation’ is out now. Keep your eyes peeled for all the latest Alphabeat brilliance by visiting their Facebook page and by following the band and the hilarious Stine on The Twitter.
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