FOLKMASTER FLYNN: THE RETURN OF JOHNNY

Posted on August 19, 2013

After a much felt two-year hiatus the dreamy champion of new folk is back. That’s right the golden-haired Johnny Flynn is back with a new album and ready to tour. The past 730 days haven’t been as quiet as you might imagine for Mr Flynn and instead of taking some much deserved rest he’s been focussing on another of his talents: acting. Whether it’s treading the boards with Stephen Fry at the Globe Theatre or imagining himself as a young entrepreneur at the Royal Court, Flynn has been flexing his theatre muscles and keeping those all important vocal chords in shape.

But this month we’re welcoming back the Mr Flynn we fell in love with. He’s reunited with his band The Sussex Wit and has already been charming the pants off festivals around the UK including Gentlemen of the Road Takeover, Larmer Tree Festival and Green Man. We stole some time with the creative young man to talk folk revivals, English countryside and changing nappies.

When you first came into the music scene you were part of the ‘folk revival’ – how would you describe your music now? And do you still see yourself as being part of the folk scene?

I don’t know – I just played in bands with friends and ended up doing my own stuff. I didn’t think of it as folk or a scene or a revival. I still don’t – that was just what some media projected onto it. I guess the type of music me and my friends made was communicative in the spirit of folk music and it was fun to play together or put on nights where we could hang out and play and listen to each other. It seemed a pretty natural thing to do. I don’t have any other thoughts on what it was. I don’t think of my music as folk music because that word is confusing and has a broad spread of connotations. I listen to a lot of folk music or at least music that people would call folk music. Traditional songs and field recordings and some of those melodies and sensibilities probably filter into my songs through me. But I just see them as songs. I really don’t like to limit what we do and who we are to being a ‘folk band’. But people can call us whatever they want.

You’ve always been seen as very English – do you still identify your music as being inspired by the English countryside and traditional music?

Sort of. I live in England but I grew up in Wales and my father was of Irish descent but he grew up in China. My Mum grew up in South Africa and her parents were Scottish and Welsh. So I’m not especially English. I think the far flung gene pool I come from and the sense of that past has as much an influence on me as my Englishness. I enjoy tapping into the consciousness of places I’m in so the ‘traditional’ inspiration comes from scratching the surface of places I visit.

How is this new album a continuation from your last?

It’s a bunch of new songs written by the same person 3 or 4 years later. That’s probably some kind of continuation. You can hear its the same person but I think it sounds fresh too.

You’ve also done alot of acting – Jerusalem and at the Globe – do you hope to do an equal amount of both still?

Yup. I just take each project as it comes. I don’t like to think too far ahead.

How did having children effect your music?

It affects everything you do and are so it affects your music – it’s hard to tell quite how at the moment but apart from anything else I have less time now so I have to be organised if I want to get to the studio or have an hour with my guitar – I need to find a babysitter. It has also made music really fun again – messing around playing fiddle for my son while he dances around and seeing it through his perspective as a purely joyful thing.

What do you most love about touring?
Hanging out with my friends. Hearing what new music I’ve missed while I’ve been changing nappies.

What are your must-haves when you’re on the road?
Travel pillow, ear plugs, notebook.

What do you do on your days off?
I can’t remember having a day off.

Find out more about Johnny Flynn’s new album, here.

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

Posted on August 12, 2013

Standing on stage with violins and cellos in hand respectively, Clean Bandit may not seem like the most-likely purveyors in dance heavy pop music. However, on listening it soon becomes clear that the band’s unique fusion of dubstep, electronica and live instruments is a smile-inducing riot of fun perfect for pulsating dance floors. Having met while studying at Cambridge University, the London based foursome are currently hitting the festival scene while fitting in performances for Radio 1’s live lounge and working on their first album.  Once Topshop HQ stopped dancing around to the band’s addictively good tunes, we caught up with them for some clean talking.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?

As dancey pop music with live strings, drums and lots of different vocalists.

Were you expecting your last track Mozart’s House to do as well as it did – what was that like?

We weren’t expecting it at all! It was an amazing feeling to see it in the top twenty as it was one of the first songs we created together. We had a lot of fun making the video.

How was it touring with Disclosure?

We felt pretty lucky to listen to their shows every night. We love their music, particularly Neil our violinist. He fell in love with Help Me Lose My Mind (feat. London Grammar) immediately, and it felt really exciting as it wasn’t anywhere online at the time.

What are you currently listening to?

Gorgon City and Walter Ego.

What makes a great gig?

Lots of energy, and  the whole audience smiling!

What’s been one of your favourite gigs to play so far?

Probably when we played at Frank’s Café on the roof of a multi-storey car park in Peckham. One of our friends designed it, and you can see the whole of London from up there. It was one of our first gigs about 4 years ago, and it was a euphoric experience with the sun setting. Glastonbury this year was a lot of fun too. We were a bit nervous about that performance but it went well in the end.

There’s ice-skateboarding in your new video for single Dust Clears – how did that come about?

We discovered that our friend Guido’s dad used to be a figure skating champion in his teens. Jack (vocals, sax, bass) then came up with the story!

How would you describe your own style

Chic and unique.

What’s next for Clean Bandit?

We’re thinking about ideas for our next video. Also we’re hoping to finish our album soon.

Clean Bandit’s single Dust Clears is out now and is available to buy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A band with a desire to make upbeat electro pop is something Topshop HQ can happily get on board with. MAUSI, a boy-girl quartet working the festival circuit are filling the void of Saturday night dance worthy tunes with their musical stylings. Encouraging exuberant dancing at their wild energetic gigs – one fan suffered an unfortunate wardrobe incident because of it – we spoke to singer Daisy to find out more about the band’s style, inspiration and memorable performances.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?

We describe our music as the soundtrack to a lifestyle; a young European who is carefree, lives on the Riviera, jet setting around Europe for house parties in villas with swimming pools. It’s feel-good, electronic and upbeat.

Who are you currently listening to?

There’s a large variety of music we listen to, we’re not exclusive to one genre. It includes a lot of French electronic music and producers such as Breakbot, Phoenix, Daft Punk and Yuksek. As well as older songs by Talking Heads and classic dance floor tracks by groups like Earth Wind and Fire. Right now we are really loving Pharrell Williams, he seems to be doing a lot of collaborations these days.

What makes a gig great?

It doesn’t matter where is it, only that the crowd are having a great time. We have a really energetic set and when the audience really get in to it it’s so much more exciting for us and in turn we give even more energy back.

What’s been one of your favourite gigs to play live?

So far it was Melt! festival in Germany. It was an incredible 24 hours, but the atmosphere there was great and the audience was really going for it, we got a tweet afterwards saying a guy had ripped his trousers dancing so hard to our set!

How was it playing Lovebox?

Lovebox was so much fun, we managed to pack out the tent and there was a really cool lineup. Luckily it cooled down a bit that day so it wasn’t too sweaty.

How would you describe your own style?

My style is quite quirky, I like to combine classic cuts with bold prints and accessories.

What’s next for MAUSI?

We are going to release another single this year, play some festivals, do some touring and then hopefully lead into an album next year.

MAUSI’s single ‘Move’ is released on August 25th. Follow them on facebook/ twitter/ instagram.

FIVE COLOURS IN HER HAIR

Posted on August 8, 2013

Music superstar in the making, Adi Ulmansky is not your average pop princess. Hailing from Israel, her unique sound and eclectic mix of influences single her out as one of the most exciting singers to emerge this year. We spoke to Adi about her ever-changing rainbow mane, her love for Frank Ocean and why she’s all about the crop-tops.

Image credit: Yuli Serfaty

How did growing up in Israel influence your work?

Quite a lot, it’s very different music-wise. There is a lot of Mediterranean music on the radio and you can hear lots of Arabic elements. I think growing up there, and especially Jerusalem, definitely influenced my sound and my production.

How would you describe your music?

It’s a mix of fantasy elements. It’s electronica, hip hop, trap with lots of ethnic sounds and beats. I think my whole artistic view is about creating fresh combinations and making them my own.

When did you decide that you wanted to work in the music industry?

I never really decided, it’s just something I’ve been doing ever since I can remember. I always sang, and had a band called Lorena B for a while, but since I started producing my own music it’s got to a different level.

What other artists do you admire and is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with?

I’m really into Earl Sweatshirt, James Blake, Missy Elliott and Major Lazer. My dream is to collaborate with Frank Ocean. I love his sensitivity and song writing.

Adi in Topshop. Image credit: Yuli Serfaty

You have quite a distinctive look, where does your inspiration come from and how important is personal style?

I like a mixture in both my music and my look. I really believe in doing what you find passionate, so my style is inspired by fashion and cultures that fascinate me, whether it’s Japanese anime or grunge, nineties fashion or street style. My style keeps on changing and I really like not being set to a specific genre or vibe.

What do you like to wear when you’re on stage?

I’m really into dressing up on stage and in videos. I love prints and mixing colours and I wear a lot of crop-tops because I’m dancing and want to feel comfortable.

Your hair has been a number of rainbow worthy hues, what are your beauty rules?

I’m really into colours, mostly pastel. My main rule is that it needs to feel fun, fresh and comfortable. I like having fun with my hair because it’s another way of expressing my point of view.

You have to travel a lot, what are your touring must-haves?

My MacBook pro, headphones, sound card and a microphone – I need a way to create my music on the road otherwise I feel lost. Also my Buffalo boots!

Adi Ulmanskyreleases her follow up debut EP ‘Hurricane Girl’ on 19 August 2013. Follow her on twitter @AdiUlmansky and listen to her latest tracks on soundcloud

NOT SO LITTLE ANYMORE: ELIZA IS BACK

Posted on July 30, 2013

On a rainy day like today there’s nothing better than a brand new tune to get you feeling sunny on the inside. For us, it was the return of Eliza Doolittle and her pop-perfect new single, “Big When I Was Little” that had us nodding our heads and finding our inner zen.

It’s been three low-key years of touring and writing after Eliza’s big breakout hit “Pack Up” stormed the charts and propelled the spiral-haired songstress to the dizzy heights of pop. Eliza has now returned to the music battlefield with a brand new set of catchy and equally cutesy songs. So much for “the New Lily Allen” – Eliza has proved she can imagine her very own fresh London sound. With a mix of 90s-inspired styles and a full take on bold colours, her breezy new video is hitting us in the fashion sweet spot. We had a little chat with the singer-songwriter from Camden about style, her favourite London spots in London and her exciting comeback.

Tell us a bit about your new album, Miss Doolittle – is it a musical departure for you? Or more of an evolution would you say?

Hey! I think a bit of both. I think I have moved on from many things but there will always be me threading it together and like you said, evolving it. I’ve definitely been on a mad journey since my last album, I mean it’s been 3 years so it would be a shame if I hadn’t grown in any way. So I hope I have!

You recently worked with Disclosure on a hit single ‘You And Me’. Are you friends with the boys? What was the experience of working with them like?

I’d love to tell you but I’ve signed a nondisclosure agreement… HA! Nah, they are the loveliest and working with them was so much fun!

We’ve seen you around at London Fashion Week a fair bit. Do you like going to fashion shows? Who are your favourite designers?

Well, actually you guys were my favourite along with Louis Vuitton last season. Not just saying that. I’ve actually said that in other interviews already. I love the look with the slip and the fur… hook a girl up!

How would you describe your style? What are you go-to pieces? 

The things I like to wear change all the time. For me I love to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing but I also love to try new things.

We often see you out and about in little mini dresses, short shorts and trainers – don’t you ever have the urge to wear a floor length silver gown covered in feathers and a giant visor with ram’s horns on it a la Lady Gaga? 

Haha! Yeh on a daily. I actually haven’t worn short shorts for a while now… I get really into stuff and then I get over it and want to try new things… keeps me entertained!

What three things do you have to have with you when you’re out on the road?  

My laptop (it has all my music), iPhone so I can keep in touch with the people I lurrrve and a really good set of speakers so I can blast it nice and loud.

What’s the strangest venue you’ve ever played a gig in? 

I bet there’s been a few funny ones… but right now the 1st thing I think of is in my Mum’s living room for my Granddads 70th birthday!

As someone who’s lived all their life in London, can you recommend a hidden or secret place to go or thing to do that we might not have heard of? 

Hmmmmm there are so many hidden nooks and crannies in London, one that comes to mind that you might not know is this taxidermy shop on Essex Rd in Islington that has all these amazing preserved animals and it just looks like an insane jungle. I think it’s called Get Stuffed.

Get Eliza’s new single here.

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