Polly Scattergood has captured many a music fan’s heart with her soaring vocals and synth–heavy hit Wanderlust this summer. Appropriately then, Polly will be a very special guest of label-mates Goldfrapp at their sold-out Somerset House Summer Series event on 20th July; tomorrow!
Following on from the release of ‘Wanderlust’, Polly’s forthcoming album, Arrows, will come out on 23 September. We decided to have a proper natter with the Essex chanteuse to put the world to rights and discuss singing, stage fright and sparkly boots.
Your music has been described as “ethereal” and “quirky” – how would you describe it to someone who’s never listened to it?
Epic journeys, noisy in places, and delicate soundscapes in others. Big highs and big lows, but always moving forwards.
You have such a brilliant surname – did you ever get any interesting nicknames in school?
Yes, lots! I also have two brothers, so unfortunately I did have my fair share of nicknames – none I can share with you though!
How did growing up in Essex inspire your music?
I moved to London at 16 so that inspired a lot of my first album. Growing up in Essex was good, I have some incredible friends back there who I am still very close to. The place I grew up in is very bohemian and arty and I think that probably rubbed off into some of the songs from time to time.
How did attending the Brit school inspire your ambitions to get involved with music?
It didn’t inspire my ambition. I already knew I wanted to be involved in music before I went there. I guess it just gave me more direction, it helped me to hone in on what parts of music I love, which for me was the writing and composing. It also felt like a safe place to experiment, which was very good for me.
What current musicians do you look up to?
There are so many. I love The xx, Jon Hopkins, Sigur Ross, Yann Tierson, Nick Cave.
What do you love about performing?
I have a real love-hate relationship with performing. I agonize about it in the lead up to a gig, but then as soon as I’m on stage it’s like something kicks in and I just become totally addicted. It’s like the songs take on new personalities when you play them in front of a live audience, and sometimes a song which I have heard a thousand times in the studio suddenly changes and becomes a completely different beast when played on stage. Although that terrifies me I also love that sense of unknown.
How would you describe your fashion sense and style?
Geek chic. I love a big collar and a pretty dress. I find fashion very exciting and inspiring.
What do you love wearing to perform?
Usually little dresses – I also often wear a pair of Topshop sparkly ankle boots on stage, as they look super cool under lights and aren’t too high so I can still jump around without falling over! The other thing I like to wear is a hand-made silver antler from Bloody Mary Metal, it’s my lucky charm, it’s one of my favourite pieces of jewellery, I hardly ever take it off.
What’s next for Polly Scattergood?
Wanderlust was out a few months ago and I have a series of London dates coming up on the back of that, including a Goldfrapp support slot which I am really looking forward to. I also have a new single coming out, so we are shooting the video for that soon… and then the album!
Get all the Polly Scattergood updates your heart could desire on Twitter @pollyworld
Ever since she smashed her way onto music-fans’ consciousnesses in 2007 with her catchy cockney pop hooks, we’ve been a fan of Kate Nash’s feisty song-writing, devotion to good causes and ever-evolving hairdo’s and personal style.
Despite the saying; ‘what goes on tour stays on tour’, genius rocker and one of the nicest people in the music business, Kate has granted an audience with Topshop to tell us about her inspiration – both musical and sartorial and her unashamed love of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Sex And The City box-sets.
What inspires the music you make?
Relationships, my friends, my OCD, emotional trauma, movies, Tarantino, Roald Dahl, Tim Burton, Death, humour, fear, insomnia, anxiety, wanting to perform. Exploding rather than imploding.
When did you know that you wanted to go into music?
I played piano as a little kid and my parents had great taste in music, so my sisters and me heard The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin and loads more good stuff from a young age. I liked singing and writing songs at school. But I guess when I got rejected from university and was working at Nando’s and I fell down the stairs and broke my foot was the moment I really considered what I was doing with my life. I booked a gig after that and as soon as I played my first show I realised that I was going to do this. I just loved it so much.
How would you say your music style has changed in the last few years?
I think it’s more raw. I’m making the most honest music I’ve ever made. My live show has been progressing and changing for seven years so that’s affected my writing process because I know what I want to do on stage. I play bass now too. I make pop music and take influence from punk, rock, pop and grunge.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Gahh! Hard question! I think the live show is the strongest it’s ever been. So, maybe the Echoplex in LA. There were a lot of friends at that show and I was super-nervous, I crowd surfed to Bitch by Meredith Brookes, which was definitely a highlight! And it just felt really cohesive. My (all-girl) band and I have just played Glastonbury, which was awesome. I also have memories of Le Cigale in Paris a few years ago. That was an awesome show. But I think the show is better now. In the last couple of months something has just clicked and I know what I’m doing on stage now. I’ve definitely re-learnt how to be a performer. It’s funny how it changes over the years.
What are your touring must-haves?
Speakers for the dressing room – so important for setting an atmosphere. Some dressing rooms are so horrible!
Headphones for the van.
DVDs Wayne’s World, Lords of Dog Town and Sex and the City seasons 1-7.
My creepers, sheer bodysuits, which I wear with everything – always. Fishnet tights.
My white Fender P-Bass guitar.
iPhone for calling mum and for Twitter (@katenash) and Instagram (@havingapartywithkatenash)
My Canon camera
What have you been listening to recently?
FIDLAR, Shuga and Jon Jackson. Sam Duckworth’s new record is so good! It just came out on Pledge and it’s sick. Dolly Parton, Sky Ferreira, Supercute!, Phyllis Dillon, Hollie Cook and a lot of reggae and soul actually, and Patti Smith interviews.
What artist most excites you?
Patti Smith. She is so powerful and so honest and smart. She makes me feel safe and makes me want to keep going.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
Patti Smith and Stevie Wonder
Tell us about your favourite films, programmes and music?
Dogtown and Z-Boys back-to-back with Lords of Dog Town. I am obsessed. I go to Dreamsville when I watch them. So cool. Sex and the City and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are the best TV shows of all time. They can get you through it all. My favourite album is Hole’s Live Through This. It’s my saviour.
How would you describe your style?
It’s a fusion of punk rocker, 50′s pin-up, old lady and a seven-year-old going through a dressing up box. I like mixing vintage and old things with designer pieces (the UK has some of the most amazing designers), and high street pieces. I think I’m always trying to dress like a movie star or a rock star or a character from a book.
Kate Nash is touring the UK this October, in case you want to get tickets
Tiny Dancer – real name not known – is the latest female singer to be tipped for superstardom. If you’ve seen Tiny’s video for her song Who Am I? you’ll know who we’re talking about when we say; flame-red Little Mermaid locks and Kate Bush-esque performance style.
Still only 18, this pocket-sized troubadour has already worked with uber producer Wayne Wilkins and earned herself comparisons to Gwen Stefani and Marina and the Diamonds. We spoke to Tiny about how she got where she is and some of her musical influences AND we’re giving you the chance to download her EP here. No need to thank us, we’re only doing our job.
How did growing up in Sheffield inspire your music?
Not so much Sheffield but my house – music was everywhere at home. My Dad is very musical and was always playing the guitar and listening to music from bands like The Beatles, Phil Collins, The Monkees and Genesis and that exposed me to a lot of great music very early and I grew up with a natural instinct to perform and write songs.
How was working with Wayne Wilkins who has worked with the likes of Beyoncé and Cheryl Cole?
Wayne is a genuine person and obviously very accomplished. He also has a massively infectious laugh! So to be able to learn and gain experience from someone who has been so successful, but is also a really great guy, made our collaboration very fun. He’s taught me a huge amount already.
Where did the name Tiny Dancer come from?
When I was about 6 years old I used to dance on my tip-toes and my Dad gave me the name, and it stuck. Everyone just calls me Tiny.
Which artists do you look to for inspiration?
I take inspiration from such a wide range of artists for many different reasons; Dinah Washington and Amy Winehouse for their fantastically emotional and gifted vocal. Grace Jones for just being herself, the ultimate Grace Jones. Undeniably Bowie, for everything, but that goes without saying. It’s really anyone who gets to do what they love, as it can only come across as genuine.
Which artist would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Azealia Banks is pretty wow!
What’s been your favourite album of the last year?
The Phoenix, Bankrupt. I totally love this synth heavy record!
How would you describe your style and what are your wardrobe must-haves?
I’d like to live in an eternal summer – I love wearing lots of two pieces, currently I’m very into my high-waisted disco shorts. Accessories also play a big part for me as they transform any outfit – I love wearing my watch as an anklet at the moment.
What do you hope to achieve as Tiny Dancer?
World domination?! No really, I’d just like to feel I’d inspired other people in some way.
Follow Tiny Dancer on Twitter for more updates @tinydancermusic
Heading to London’s Lovebox? Or Germany’s Melt!? Well, do us a favour and make sure not to miss the Canadian duo you probably won’t have heard of but you definitely should have, Purity Ring. In the last month they’ve killed it at Bonnaroo festival, wowed viewers with a Boiler Room session and kept New York’s sodden festival-goers smiling at the Downtown festival. If that wasn’t all, they’ve just nominated for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize, the not-for-profit organization that rewards creativity in the music biz. Behind the buzz and the hype are Toronto-born and bred Megan James and Corin Roddick. The sound itself is dark and mysterious but kept the right side of pop with Megan’s haunting yet catchy vocals. There’s a little auto-tune, some home-made instruments and a whole lot of head swaying to be done. We spoke to the good looking twosome about making their own clothes and their best gig.
How did Purity Ring come to be?
We are teenagehood friends. We met mutually through playing music in our true hometown city of Edmonton. Corin was a member of a band that is now called Born Gold and began producing his own compositions during a 5 month long tour of the states with them. We lived in different cities at the time and still do, so our band is and always was a long distance endeavour. Aside from recording and touring.
Tell us about your unique instrument- choice can you tell us a little bit about this?
We started out with a strong initiative to make our live show something intriguing, as we couldn’t very well play the way we wrote, separately. We began with building a midi instrument of sorts that Corin could hit with drumsticks, his previous instrumental vocation. We set up a backdrop stand and a standalone drum that Megan would hit for emphasis in a few select songs. Corin has now developed the midi instrument into an array of crystal lamps that light up and sound when he hits them, the drum still stands, and we play beneath a sea of these hanging lights that react with different behaviours throughout the set, bringing a mood about that feels interactive with an audience. All of it is about letting people in and making our set seem like a welcome sphere of quizzical and familiar imagery.
Megan, can you tell us about the clothes you make for the band?
My previous vocation was among other things; sewing. I’ve been making clothing for a long time so naturally I would continue to do so. At one point I nearly succeeded in having my entire wardrobe homemade. It takes way too much time to keep that up but I happily continue to sew and wear and in the future hopefully share with more than just Corin and close friends. I mostly make fairly casual clothes for others, and a lot of dresses for me. As our live show progresses I’ll have a lot more to say about the way my clothing will also be a part of our visual atmosphere in a show, for now it’s just a comfort.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
That’s an extremely difficult question to answer, there are more than 100 amazing shows to choose from, but I must say, whenever it is asked one of the many memories that race through my head is Madame JoJo’s in London. It was our first show in the city and it filled out and felt like a wonder of experience for everyone who came. After I learned a bit about the history of the venue, and there was glitter everywhere from the night before I thought ‘oh this will place is a little bit magic,’ It came through as such. A lot of the time shows become a blur after touring for so long, but that one sticks out.
Download a track from Purity Ring here. Purity Ring will be playing at Lovebox music festival alongside Azelia Banks, Goldfrapp and D’Angelo. Get your last minute tickets here and keep up to date, here.
We like nothing better than stumbling upon a new boy-girl musical team on a lacklustre Monday morning so were overjoyed when our ears pricked up the luscious sounds of dashing duo, Big Deal. Anglo-US indie pairing, Alice Costelloe and Kacey Underwood, may sound like a gambling company but are in fact a twosome that have been slowly but surely getting the music biz excited. They both do vocals and both play guitar to languorous perfection and there’s nothing missing even without a rhythm section. It’s our favourite brand of fuzzy dream-pop with a lot of moody guitar riffs that we can see ourselves sunning ourselves to. As for the lyrics, they’re awash with romance and young love and there’s even adorable references to homework and days at school, “can’t do my homework, I can’t concentrate … it’s ruining my grades.” This month they play London’s hip Madame Jo Jo’s and one of Topshop HQ’s top British music festival, Lovebox.We spoke to the boy half, Kacey, about making music and if music were food, what edible goods Big Deal would be.
What came before Big Deal?
We were all in different bands with less nice people. Alice was in a band called Pull in Emergency and I was in a bunch of different ones but most recently Little Death.
What’s your “making music” process like?
One of us has an idea which we then bounce back and forth for as long or as little as possible til it resembles a song. It’s a lot like tennis, which we actually love as well.
Is it completely joint effort or does one of you lead the way?
If I am serving, I tend to win. If Alice is serving, I also tend to win. But it is always a very… ehem joint effort.
How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?
We do our best not to ever try to describe our music. But since you asked: like unicorns arguing.
If your music was a food what would it be?
What are your touring must-haves?
Fingernail clippers, Baraka and lots of good music to fill the drives with.
How would you describe your style?
Comfortable, mostly hardly washed, second hand germ-infested rags.
Who would be your dream collaborator?
David Byrne and Joanna Newsom
Watch Big Deal’s latest music video below and listen to their new single Dream Machines, here.