Category Archives: Interviews

Interview: Straylings.


We think Straylings have made one of the underground records of 2012 with their debut full-length Entertainment on Foreign Grounds. Naturally, we wanted to know a bit more, so they talk tours, t-shirts and tips for the year ahead.

You don’t seem to have done many interviews… Is that more of a conscious decision to keep a bit of secrecy?

It’s not so much about those things really. We haven’t done many at this stage, but I think just staying focused on what we’re doing musically is the main thing for us.

Are there any plans to go on tour proper in the UK soon?

Yes we’re making plans to do that soon after the album’s released. We’ll have to see what happens but initially we’re hoping to do some dates around the south…

How was your recent headline appearance at the Camden Barfly?

Really good thanks! It was wonderful to see that it sold out, also we got to ask some bands we know to support us, so we really enjoyed the music that night too.

Your album, Entertainment on Foreign Grounds, comes out on the 26th of March. What’s the story behind the girl on the front cover, and do either of you own the jacket behind her?

I guess there’s an intention for the story in the picture to be open to interpretation, but also to touch on some conflicting themes like freedom and aggression etc.  The girl’s a friend of ours though… she really just happened to be there when we were experimenting with cover art.  The shirt is Oli’s yes, it seemed to fit the aesthetic we were after. It has made a couple of appearances at our shows too..

Who are your tips to make it big this year?

We’ve been enjoying Buzzard Lope and Orlando Seale & The Swell recently – they’re great to see live… Hopefully they’ll do well this year.

And what was your favourite record of last year?

Mishal Zeera‘s The Design. It’s a really accomplished piece of work.

Where’s your favourite place in the whole wide world? Link it to a song if you can….

… How about ‘Marrakesh Express’?

And finally, when life gives you lemons…..?

Lather, rinse, repeat…

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.


Interview: Pinkunoizu.


One of Denmark’s finest bands, Pinkunoizu, featured in our fresh section not more than one month ago. We liked them, and their Peep EP, quite a bit, so we asked some questions. They talk to us about go-karting, French writers and some crazy album plans:

Your name means ‘pink noise’ in Japanese. Can you tell us a bit more about where that came from?

It came from driving go-karts with some Vietnam vets in Idaho. There you could really feel the futuristic blow and the circular speed energy accumulating. The pink noise frequency specter made up a landscape of possibilities in which we felt the certainty of the band name.

You’ve cited Pavement as one of your biggest influences. What else inspires you from the worlds of art, music, t.v….?

I think basically everything makes up a sum of inspiration for us. Floating through this world, the digital one and the dream one, snatching ideas in a conscious or unconscious manner is what it’s all about. I’ve personally found direct inspiration from reading. That’s more comprehensible for me. Deleuze, Bataille, Céline and Baudrillard are some Frenchmen I like for instance.

Some of your tracks, like ‘Everything is broken or stolen’, sound as if they could go on forever (in the best possible way). Do you ever have trouble condensing a track down or is there always a clear idea in mind of the end product?

Some times we tend to play some long jammy passages that might be more fun to play, than to listen to. But hopefully it can be the other way around now and then. And hopefully some times the lengthiness is pleasing for both us and the audience. I don’t think length has been a problem for us, as in a real problem; usually it feels pretty natural when we play.

You released your debut UK release this year. Tell us a bit about that and why everyone should try their hardest to get hold of it.

It’s an EP titled ‘PEEP EP’. Three songs on there. If I hadn’t been involved making it, I think I would actually be really satisfied buying it and listening to it. It’s centered around a more layered and thick sound than what we do live. Not too noisy, but with a lot of exciting spatial dimensions on it.

Have you got any exciting plans lined up for the album release?

Yes! We’re gonna hijack a government helicopter and fly down to Syria and spread about all the LPs in Damascus and Aleppo. We’re excited to see if we can manage it.

You’re playing a one off gig in London at the end of November. Any plans for a UK tour?

We’ll be coming back to the UK in April to play, but we haven’t got the dates just yet.

Aside from your releasing your album, obviously, what are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?

We are looking forward to recording the next album I would say.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…?

…you turn red on the inside.

From Joe Abbitt.

Sucking Lemons.

Interview: Simian Ghost.

Swedish chillwave/electro troupe Simian Ghost released their seven-track EP Lovelorn on November 14th, through Hiest or Hit Records. We think they’re great, we wanted a word, and they very kindly gave us a few.

Firstly, can you talk us through your decision to produce this record yourself…

It wasn’t so much of a choice really. Lovelorn is a collection of songs I’ve made myself at home just to keep myself occupied. I can’t really relax if haven’t got some project going. I produce myself out of two reasons; one is that I want total control over what I do. The other is that I just can’t afford studio time. I think that might be the biggest reason. Not living the rock star life just yet.

It seems evident with ‘Lovelorn’ that the environment in which you write your music has a big effect on the overall sound of the album. What was the ideal location when creating this album?

I don’t think there’s an ideal place for making art. Whatever works is my rule of thumb. Our next album is produced in Mathias basement, so it’s a little more classed up production wise. We used three microphones rather than my usual set-up of one. I get what you mean though, and I really like how the environment, in a very tangible way, sometimes manifest itself within the work you’re doing. The kind of softness in “Gently Submissive” for example, comes from the fact that I recorded it at night and didn’t want to wake the neighbors. I was just trying out some melodies and the next morning I looked back at it and really liked the whispering vocals. I think the best art is 50 percent hard work and 50 percent lucky accidents. A great artist is the one who knows how to make good use of those accidents.

There have already been some complimentary comparisons in M83 and Active Child. If you could be compared to any band right now, who would it be?

I don’t know really. I feel a connection to Thom Yorke. He inspired me a lot when I was younger and I too fall very far to the left in terms of political ideas. But I really don’t know who I’d like to be compared to. It’s a great way to discover new music, to read what others compare your work to. Active Child for example, was totally new to me when people started discussing our similarities. I like that. GZA is a strong influence on my songwriting too. I’d love to be compared to the Wu-Tang Clan.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

Right now I’m listening a lot to Mount Kimbie, Moderat, Pantha Du Prince, Panda Bear, Caribou, Gold Panda, Luke Abbott and other interesting electronic and semi-electronic acts. I tend to float between listening to a lot of electronic stuff and more traditional guitar based alternative music. That’s where I come from originally. I always listen a lot to Sonic Youth.

Who were your major inspirations when writing ‘Lovelorn’?

These kind of questions are very hard to answer, because I listen to so much music, and you really don’t have much insight into how your subconscious sort and rearrange the ideas you lift from others. I’d say I was very inspired by the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson at the time. And also I had just downloaded the holy Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita in app form to my phone.

Are you planning a visit to the UK any time soon?

We’d love to visit the UK. There are some plans being made right now as to how and when we’ll get there. Hopefully before the end of this year!

Was the decision to sign to Heist or Hit Records a natural, smooth transaction or did it take time to commit?

The people on Heist or Hit are great. They work from a roots kind of perspective and they’re super nice people who really cares about their artists. That’s the kind of people I’d like to work with. And I’m not just saying this, I’ve worked with some real asses in the past.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…..??

I make lemonade. I squeeze those suckers and drink their juice.

From Richard Mutimer.

Sucking Lemons.

Interview: The Rifles

Shortly after the release of their third album, I caught up with lead singer Joel Stoker to see if he’ll ever write an album like my favourite, ‘No Love Lost’ again, and the success of their third record.

The success of your third album must be overwhelming; what is it about your new record that will surely see it peak higher in the charts than the previous two records?

I think it’s much more universal – a lot broader basically. I think a lot more people, once they hear it, will enjoy it. The first album was a lot more, say, niche.

What has the new line up for your band offered you when writing ‘Freedom Run’? Has it offered you anything different?

Live, it’s very solid, but I mean a lot of the songs were written indoors – me and Luke wrote them at home – so it’s pretty much there on a plate when we got to the rehearsal room. It’s just me and Luke who write the songs so it didn’t really affect the writing of the songs – but obviously the way it’s played, we’re really happy with the two new boys because they’re really solid, really good, musicians.

What are you most looking forward to about touring?

It’s nice because you do get a good gage of songs once you play them live; you get a reaction from the crowd – you can tell what songs they enjoy, you get that feedback instantly from the crowd instead of hearing it through websites and magazines.

It seemed evident last year when performing acoustically that it was important to return to the normal set up of electric guitars, what did you make of the fans mixed reaction to the acoustic sets?

We really enjoyed it. That all started from a thing  we do every year at Boogaloo in Highgate, it’s just like a Christmas thing we do, an acoustic thing, and they’re always really good nights, so we thought we’d branch out and do a few more places. Everyone we spoke to seems to enjoy it.

There seems to be a bigger margin in your song writing from your earlier tracks such as ‘She’s Got Standards’ and ‘Hometown Blues’, to the newer stuff such as ‘Tangled Up In Love’. Will The Rifles ever write a record like No Love Lost again?

I’m not sure. I think the next record will be different again. We never set about trying to write this record to make it sound like anything – it’s just the way the songs turned out. I think next time we’ll be influenced by other things and they’ll sound different again.

Always looking forward – Any ideas for the fourth record?

No not really, like I said, when we get the time we’ll sit down again and I’ll suppose whatever place we’re in at that time – that’ll affect what the songs will wound like

And finally, when life gives you lemons?

(Laughs) You make lemonade don’t ya?

From Richard Mutimer

Sucking Lemons

Interview: Benjamin Francis Leftwich.

We caught up with rising singer songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich in Nottingham at this year’s Dot to Dot festival, and asked him a few questions. Check it out:

How’s it going?

Yeah very good thanks

Is there anyone in the line up today at Dot to Dot fest that you’re looking to check out?

Na to be honest man we haven’t really had time to check anyone out. We’ve just been gigging and driving straight back to the hotel and straight home or whatever so haven’t really had the chance, but I’d quite like to see Ed Sheeran at some point.

Your debut album, ‘Last Smoke Before the Storm’ is out on the fourth of July. What can fans expect from this album; is it much the same as your last E.P?

I guess it’s going to be the same as its acoustic guitar based, but I think it’s a slight progression as well because a couple of tracks I’ve had the band on, bit more of a sonic arrangement, couple with strings .

You’ve worked with Ian Grimble, who’s produced the album. What kind of effect do you feel he’s had on the record?

Yeah man I think he’s had a real positive effect. He’s a really creative producer and has a lot of ideas with sounds and ideas for songs, it was great to work with him, he had a real positive influence on the album

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

I’d say Id really like to do a collaboration with Mike Skinner from The Streets because I think he’s amazing lyricist and a really good song writer. I really really love his stuff.

What does the future hold for Benjamin Francis Leftwich?

Just touring really. I’ve got an Irish tour coming out and then we’re going to Europe for a little bit then America for a little bit, and doing a big tour in the UK in October.

Is there a festival in particular this summer that you’re looking forward to?

Yeah Glastonbury, Bestival, and Summer Sundae.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…

Make a pancake!

From Richard.

Sucking Lemons.

Interview: Olympians.

Following up our insight of the exciting new festival Playfest, we asked Olympians a few questions on the success of their competition win, and what it meant to them to be playing main stage amongst some big names.

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Stornoway Interview.

Stornoway’s debut album ‘Beachcombers Windowsill’ seemed somewhat of a breath of fresh air last year in amongst the Mumford and Sons hype, grasping a well deserved reception across the globe. I was able to speak to the lads about potential collaborations, covers and what the future may hold back stage before one of their gigs to discuss how it all happened. Despite it being front man Brian’s birthday the Stornoway boys still seemed rather calm, and happily informed me that if I had arrived 10 minutes earlier, I may well have indulged in some birthday cake. Oh well…

You’ve got some amazing gigs lined up around the world; did you ever imagine you would be playing to such places?

Oli: Maybe dreamed it, but never expected it.

Will your set up on stage change for your overseas gigs?

Brian: We’ll do a close as we can, because of the fact you have to carry everything out there on the plane – we’ll be slightly slimmed down. Normally I greedily use three guitars at every gig; that will be slimmed down to one or two, and things like that beast of a cello definitely won’t be coming, so it will be a little bit more streamlined. This tour we have a few extra surprises, with musicians and extra collaborations, couple of pieces of wood that we saw up, and TVs. We’re trying some things and just trying to be creative.

Who do you plan on collaborating with?

Brian: It’s with a band called The Keyboard Choir, and they’re an electro band. They remixed our song ‘I Saw You Blink’ and they’re doing a live remix on this tour where they’ll be looping and sampling my vocals and putting lots of instruments through their chaos pad.

You’ve created one of the best debut albums of 2010. Are there any artists that stood out for you in 2010?

Rob: Beach House. I don’t really know much about them, but I listen to them a lot and really like it.
Brian: I’ve been listening to a bit of The Unthanks.
Oli: My favourite for the year is Of Montreal. I kind of define my years by Of Montreal albums!

Are there any covers lined up for your next gig?

Brian: No actually. We’ve got so many songs that we want to play on tour as it is. We’ve tried a few covers in the past and enjoyed them a lot but there wasn’t really room for it on this tour. But earlier this year we did a cover of Wiley ‘Wearing My Rolex’ for live lounge on radio 1 which was good fun and we’ve done a version of ‘Right On Time’ by Black Box, a kind of gospel, dark version of that. But I’m sure they’ll be many more to come in the future.

Favourite album of all time?

Oli: Mine is Of Montreal… ‘Satanic Panic In The Attic’.
Rob: I really can’t narrow it down.

What does the future hold for Stornoway, have you started on your next record?

Brian: We’ll be doing more touring abroad as we’ve pretty much finished touring the UK…working hard on the new songs.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…?

Oli: Make lemon drizzle!

From Richard.

Sucking Lemons.

Sucking Lemons TV: The Futureheads Interview.

The Futureheads followed up their lemon session with an interview discussing all about their future works, what items they would take on a desert island and who they would like to collaborate with if they ever got the opportunity!

From Richard

Sucking Lemons

Ideals Interview.

With an exciting year approaching, Ideals have been busy of late solving commitment issues within the band. Unfortunately, they have had to part ways with guitarist Matthew Bunkell. The exit from their lead guitarist was completely mutual, with the rest of the band members still maintaining a strong friendship. Fortunately for Ideals, their plans for 2011 are still well in tact as they soon manage to fill the big boots of ex guitarist with new member, Johnny Healey.

We spoke to Andrew and Ben from the band about the slight member adjustments and what effect it will have on the band, and even the new lad Johnny gave his views on the subject.

Johnny, when the offer came did you even think twice about accepting it?

Johnny: I didn’t think about it at all because all I’ve wanted to do is play good music with guys that I know and get on with! It’s pretty much the perfect situation.

Were you aware of Ideals presence before you joined, and what did you think of them?

Johnny: I knew of Ideals from around a few years ago when they were called It’s A Trap. I used to play in a band with the bass player Simon when I was about 16 so there is a lot of good memories there and I always supported them when they began.

Will Johnny taking Matt’s place have an effect on your sound?

Ben: Johnny is a fantastic guitarist, he will add his own character to the songs, but at the same time still sounding like Ideals, you know. To be honest though, I think every band evolves in their sound as time progresses, hopefully people will hear that in our new single. I’m really proud of the new material, it feels like a real leap, Johnny’s helping us in a really great way.

What were the reasons for Matt to leave?

Andrew: Matt had a lot of university commitments, more so than the rest of us and our planned touring and gigging schedule didn’t allow him to do both. We all wish him the best of luck with any future projects and his Uni work.

Ben: It was a mutual decision by everyone involved, it was a really brave thing for Matt to be able to do, and he suggested that maybe it would be better to get someone who could properly commit. He’s one of my closest friends and I will miss him in the band…

How did you go around finding a replacement guitarist, and how so quickly?

Ben: A few years ago Johnny was once in a band with Simon, I think they were called Rough Cuts and I believe they had one practice and disbanded. When Simon went to buy a new bass earlier this year Johnny was working in the shop on Denmark Street. Then a few weeks ago when Andrews guitar got run over and smashed to shit (a hilarious tale for all involved except Andrew), he went to the same store and met Johnny, they got talking and Johnny offered to be our guitar tech. It’s all really weird coincidence. When we knew Matt was going to be leaving I guess his name was suggested as he was already planning on working with us and thankfully he fitted perfectly. He’s been playing guitar for 12 years, after the first practice we were so impressed we just agreed he was the guy.

You’ve already had a first rehearsal, how did that go?

Johnny: The first rehearsal went so well that I felt I’d always knew the songs and from the beginning, it was really tight. We also went across a few new ideas and even wrote a new song practically so I look forward to putting my own ideas on the table and writing an album with them. It’s going to be awesome, I can’t wait.

What kind of realistic progress do you guys aim for in the forthcoming year?

Andrew: Well we’ve been featured a quite a number of “ones to watch in 2011” articles etc and we’re currently lining up a few big reviews of our next single “Significant Other” which is released on Christmas day. From their we’re looking to just write a lot more material, tour in Europe and hopefully play a lot of summer festivals. The culmination of 2011 if everything goes to plan will be an album around January 2012 I believe.

From Richard.

Sucking Lemons.

Young Rebel Set Interview.

Young Rebel Set, a seven piece band all from Stockton gracing the world with their urban folk. New single ‘Measure of a Man’ has just been released with a new album well on the way after recently being mastered. Front-man Matty, gives Sucking Lemons more insight into the band, his favourite Artist and why he doesn’t support Middlesborough.

Where are you right now, what are you up to?

Matty: We’ve just finished breakfast, just done a balcony TV thing, at Hoxton square.

How did the seven of you form Young Rebel Set?

Matty: We met together by necessity of what I had recorded really. I started off as a solo project called Billy the Kid and then what I put down on record, I just continued laying down instruments, then thought it would be more exciting taking this on the road rather than it just being acoustic… so I had friends obviously, the two sets of brothers are already in the band I said could you come and back me up for a couple of gigs and everything kind of spiralled out of control. With attention from labels and what not, so we thought this must be a keeper so we settled on this full time.

Having seven of you in the band, was it difficult settling on a name?

Matty: We didn’t really, there was no democracy. We started out with a hundred names and couldn’t decided on anything then just got to the point where we were gunna have to call ourselves something sooner or later, but we wanted something that reflected us as a band because there’s so many of us; so we just decided we would stick with Young Rebel Set, there’s no meaning to it really.

Has there been anyone this year that’s stood out for you this year?

Matty: For me, Laura Marling, personally. But everyone’s got different opinions, but for me Laura Marling, ever since her first album came out, absolutely brilliant.

Did you see she was NME’s coolest artist this year?

Matty: Ah I didn’t know that no, I don’t buy NME! But I’m not surprised she is there like…

You’re constantly being recognised for your heart felt lyrics in your songs, is there a lyricist that inspires you at all?

Matty: Nobody really… Our lyrics are just straight to the point, just how it comes out. I admire Dylan but I don’t think he reflects in my own writing. Simple and honest I think, I’m not great with words so I just say it how it comes out, and I think it’s a good way to get it across to people, instead of sugar coating it and hiding behind big words.

There’s restrictions with writing your songs now with the label you are with, have you considered going about it on your own?

Matty: I think once we’re established maybe, but at this point we’ve just got to try and trust people in management and you can’t really just dismiss their judgement.

You’re all from Stockton, making Middlesbrough your local football team. Fan of their football team are you?

Matty: Ha, I don’t but the rest of the team do, I gave up a long while ago, I can’t really call myself a supporter!

I don’t blame you you, they’re having a terrible season!

You’ve got a new album coming out, what can listeners expect from this album?

Matty: Big tunes, just the same reflective lyrics, there’s nothing in there you can’t understand. I think everyone that listens to it can take something from it.

And finally, when life gives you lemons…

Matty: Suck on it and see?

From Richard.

Sucking Lemons