Tuesday, 31 August 2010
so who do we think the mystery duo are?
**[03.09.10 update: lock in alber!]
i hope that i am not alone in wondering, as i reel off various allergies, preferences and specifications of my order, whether the waitress isn’t secretly thinking I am the most anally retentive idiot she’s ever met in her life? or that the hot-to-trot barman is handing over my cosmopolitan while inwardly chuckling at what a lightweight I am, watching and judging away as I try to simultaneously focus on his face, pout a little, give an air of 50s pin-up AND find £6.50 in less than 30 seconds? chances are they probably are. having been on the other side of the counter, and whiled away practically every hour in a highly judgmental state- it really is an excellent source of entertainment when there is nothing else to do except clean the coffee machine- i am all too painfully aware that judgment must be being made on me.
perfect as i may appear to be, i am sure that every encounter i have with those in hospitality must be loaded with judgmental opportunity. i am a judgment waiting to happen: i am the picky vegetarian. I am the ‘oh bugger I left without my card’ girl. i’m definitely the ‘oooooh I can see three of your face’ girl. the worst thing is, I really care what these virtual strangers think of me! i'm sure any decent psychologist will tell me, after a little prying into my past, that years of watching a certain, unnamed, relative eat up, violently masticate and spit out every waiter and waitress we encountered has left me with a cringing, apologetic need to be liked by anyone who may be seen to be ‘serving’ me. enough people have suffered already.
my condition has reached its peak today. i couldn’t go in to a certain establishment because, quite simply, I was there yesterday. i was consumed with the fear that the awful label of ‘the one that has no life’ might be slapped on me. why do i care?! i am a strong, independent woman, with plenty of ‘life’, and no need for verification of this fact. right? mr barman? so, in light of this worrying event, i am compiling a list of ‘don’ts’, born from my slew of misinformed ‘do’s’.
DON’T be anal about your dietary requirements. yes, you may be a vegan, and whether the chef’s shoes that he cooked your meal in are vegan or not may seem to you to be a valid question. to him, you are a tree-hugging idiot. Let it go, open a vegan-shod restaurant, or eat at home… wearing your vegan shoes.
DON’T ask for gold rum instead of white rum in your mojito. you may think you are the obi-wan of mojito drinking because you once had one actually made in a real, live latin american country. when you were 16. they, on the other hand, are trained professionals with a carefully considered cocktail menu. this trick does not earn you respect… it earns you derision with a side order of white-bloody-rum-ok?!
DON’T become too regular. regularity is a tricky one to play. you’re on the right side when you get a friendly wave and some free peanuts. you’re on the wrong side when they’re asking you how your cystitis is clearing up.
DON’T try to pick up numbers/dates from any establishment you value. it can only end badly. either you have to avoid it like the plague because they decided you were their future wife (you didn’t)/ they told every other member of staff about your habit of sleep-singing busted tunes. or you wind up visiting daily explaining that you just can’t understand what could have happened to his phone, while he cowers helplessly behind the bins. either way… your favourite haunt is now a no-go. well done you.
and finally, DON’T whatever you do order something that isn’t anywhere on their menu. experience tells me this is the single most judgment-worthy, pretentious, ridiculous thing to do. in contemporary society, in circles of normal, non-pretentious, non-loaded people, a menu is not a suggestion; it is a specific set of specific choices, to be chosen from accordingly. i will guarantee you, if you go in to pret a manger tomorrow and ask them to knock you up a chateaux briand, you will feel exactly the kind of cold, hard blow of derision I’m chatting about. ouch.
Monday, 30 August 2010
whilst the rest of us bemoaned away our teens sat at the back of the bicycle shed, battling acne and alienation, First Aid Kit siblings, klara and johanna söderberg are touring the world, making music beyond their years. at the ripe old age of 16 and 19 respectively, they sing songs of domesticity and existential hardship, and for a lesser band it would reek of precocious pomp, yet their weary woodsy vocals carry conviction. the siblings began composing songs in 2007, but it was their youtube cover of fleet foxes' ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ that brought them to the attention of the knife, who went on to release their first ep ‘drunken trees’. their debut album ‘the big black and thebBlue’ was released this year on wichita records. as their myspace reads, ‘we aim for the hearts, not the charts’ but they will mostly likely penetrate both.
what does your music mean to you?
music is our therapy. we make music because we’re passionate about it, but also out of necessity. it's a way to deal with life, to release our troubles - you know the 'catharsis effect'. it brings us much ease. we’ve always been inspired by musicians who manage to move us with their songs. good music takes you places. being a musician is the dream.
working in a world of crazy, what has surprised you recently?
it might be when we saw devendra banhart at a swedish festival called peace & love a couple of months back. we were so surprised when we met him and he said “it’s an honor to meet you. i love your music. it’s fucking rad”. he is one of our biggest inspirations. hearing those words from him was very surreal and motivating as well.
are you enjoying your new found fame?
we’re trying our best to focus on the music and the creative aspects of what we do. we never try analyse how successful/unsuccessful we are and why that is. there is just no point. all it will create is pressure when writing the next album. we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. when one girl got really near klara she got all fanatical and cried “oh my god! she touched me!!!”. that was a bit shocking. these kinds of situations don’t occur that often, maybe our fans are very sane? we do have some very devoted fans though. one is a girl called Rafaela and she several fan-sites about us on the net (livejournal, youtube and tumblr). it's very flattering to see someone put effort into creating a fan site.
what little dreams do you hold in your heart?
writing countless amazing songs and recording them. then having a concert at the end of the day where we perform them for about 500 people, with a huge band and a gospel choir in a forest. also we find tons of money, the cure for diabetes and a way to stop climate change. we’d love to collaborate with the carter family or towns van zandt, but we all know that won’t be happening any time soon. maybe in the future scientists will find a way to bring them back from the dead and we’ll do something. you never know…
what has been your greatest challenge as a band?
being in a band with your sister is a challenge, for sure. but we make it work, somehow!
for readers who are not so familiar with your music, how would you describe your sound?
strong vocals. harmonies - plenty of them. an acoustic guitar, some keyboards and occasionally a bit of drumming. emotional and atmospheric. storytelling.
how does one become as wise as First Aid Kit?
don’t worry too much, grow your hair long, eat good food and take care of the planet. oh and buy our album!
and finally, what is your one great hope and fear for the future?
our hope for the future is that we can keep this up until we get old. it might be naïve saying this, as one would think we eventually will get tired of doing this, especially doing it together as sisters. however, right now, it doesn’t feel like that will ever happen. we’ll gladly sing our songs at 70, with long grey hair and wrinkles. a big fear for us is to lose the ability to write good songs that we can enjoy.
[interview by aine herlihy]
[interview by aine herlihy]
[photo by cici olsson]
there's nothing like a really good website to add a moment of calm and introspection to an otherwise uneventful bank holiday monday. i think truly fabulous websites are relatively few and far between, and the littlest mistakes can have people navigating away faster than really really faster-than-the-speed-of-light (and yes, that's the technical term) broadband. for example, normally i'm not really one for sites with music; i find it a bit presumptuous to be told what music i should be listening to. plus, the music people choose is generally across the board rubbish, so obviously there's that less-than-pleasing aspect to it too. anyway, this is not the case for label NON's website. it is no-holds-barred divine. it's difficult to explain without sounding overly melancholic; but whoever said there was anything wrong with melancholy? the music is hauntingly ethereal, and reflects the mood of the collections to perfection; looking like stills from some long-forgotten black and white film, the images from the golden dawn collection are achingly poignant, to the point where i was almost moved to tears by a picture of a pair of shoes (which sounds ridiculous, and granted is a bit of an exaggeration, but what's a bit of hyperbole between friends?).
there's not much more to say; it's better when you see it yourself. go. look. cry over accessories.
please leave your models at the door.
here's a bit more info from the gə-zŏŏnt’heit’ kids to whet your appetite:
FLATS - Fresh off support slots with the Klaxons and appearances at 1234 festival as well as upcoming appearance at Offset festival Londoners Flats bring their brash dose of DIY punk to gə-zŏŏnt’heit’. They have just released their debut, a 5 track EP of noise rolling in at under 10 minutes with enough energy they’ll have you dripping like a fucked fridge.
THE CAULFIELD BEATS – Glitchy electronics coming in the form of one guy, with what sounds like a button bashing track and field addiction, and we all love retro computer games and bashing buttons right? Right!
His angular dose of electronic broken beat will be sure to have you hooked and bouncing.
+ gə-zŏŏnt’heit’ DJ's playing well, whatever they want really.
all the info:
when: thursday september 2, 20.00 – late
where: level two netil house westgate street
hackney e8 3rl
cost: £5/£4 concession